4,000 Years Old and Still Alive – Oldest Tree in Wales – Queen of Ordinary – November 24, 2014

IMG_0558  IMG_0555 Oldest living tree in Wales

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It is hard for me to imagine a living organism on this earth that is over 4,000 years old.  This yew tree, Llangernyw,  would have been alive 2,000 years BEFORE Christ walked the earth.  It was alive through all of modern recorded history.  It was around when the pyramids were being built.

We were there.  We touched it, we left our imprint.  It will probably still be alive long after we have passed from this life.  I have often thought about trees and the stories they could tell if they could but speak.  This one could fill a library.

Of course, my curiosity drove me to research other “oldest trees,” and I was stunned by what I found.  There is another known tree in Iran, the Zoroastrian Sarv, estimated to be about the same age as the tree we vised in Wales.  These two are mere children compared to the Mac Daddy of them all.

The world’s oldest known living tree is more than twice as old as Wale’s yew tree, and estimated to have sprouted sometime during the last Ice Age, roughly 9,550 years ago. The 16-foot spruce in the Dalarna province of Sweden has a root system that got started when the British Isles were still connected to Europe by an ice bridge.

The United States can lay claim to one of the oldest trees known to man on the planet.  Methuselah, as the tree has been affectionately named after the oldest man in the Bible, is a bristlecone pine tree in California’s White Mountains.  The tree is estimated to be almost 5,000 years old.  The location of the tree is not public knowledge in order to protect and preserve the tree.

It seemed that in our month long travels across the UK, God had ordered our steps to connect us with the ancient things of those places from the castle at Cashel, the Book of Kells, Giant’s Causeway, and even the oldest living tree.  I am in many ways still connecting the dots of those things most significant in our journey.  I am very thankful that our stops included a visit to this historic tree.

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The Abbeys of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales – Queen of Ordinary – November 17, 2014

DSCN5209DSCN5214 DSCN5215  The abbeys of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales are amazing.

Even though most of them are now in ruins, the beauty of design, the layout of the structures and the locations compared to the lay of the land are stunning.  Some are more memories than reality, and some are still in tact, but most are somewhere in between.

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I could only imagine what these places were like in their full glory days.  I was fascinated with the stone work, the precision, the beauty, and the endurance of these structures that are hundreds of years old.  The fact that this incredibly beautiful places were built and consecrated to those in ministry who had given their lives to serve God says something about the value set on relationship with God in that time frame.

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Most of these ancient abbeys are currently under historic protection and the grounds are maintained through government programs.  In these photos were The Abbey at Cong, Creevelea, Kylemore, Dryburgh, Jedburgh, and Melrose.  The buildings may be crumbling, but the sense of being in a holy place is still very strong.  But then maybe the buildings put is in such a reverent frame of mind that we were more acutely aware of the Spirit of God within us.

We Don’t Always Need to Question “WHY?” – Queen of Ordinary – November 6, 2014

IMG_1743  DSCN5522DSCN6843  Photos from Ireland, Scotland, and Wales

I am a person who always wants to understand the “Why?” of things.  I want to be able to logically sort through events and make sense of them.  Like a child, I usually have more questions than answers.

On a recent trip through the countries of Ireland, Scotland, England, and Wales I was tempted over and over to try to figure out the “why?” of it.  Why was I there?  Why had I had such a deep inner longing to be there for decades?  Why had God sent me on this journey?

It hit me very hard one day that if I didn’t quit trying to figure out all of the “whys” in this big adventure, that I was actually going to miss some of them.  The Holy Spirit spoke to my heart that I was supposed to enjoy the journey in the journey.

I was there to taste life in a different place, absorb as much of the beauty, the culture, the people, and the landscape as I possibly could.  It would take a very long time to seek out the whys and I could do that after I got home.  So, I let go of trying to figure it out and just enjoyed what was in front of me.  I’ve been home almost three weeks and there isn’t a day that I don’t think of something we saw or did in a new way, or process it with a new understanding.

I wonder how many other people in this world fail to enjoy the “now” instead of picking it apart looking for the “why”?  Since I consider myself to be quite ordinary, I dare say there are many others who are guilty of the same thing.

If someone hands us a gift, “Why?” should not be the first thing that comes to our mind.  When God showers His great love and gifts on us, we shouldn’t waste the gift or our time trying to figure it out.  Just enjoy.

I Corinthians 2:12 says, “12 We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.”

Even though I am borrowing this verse out of context, there is so much that God has freely given us in this world just because He loves us.  May we learn to embrace those gifts without staining them with the constant question of “why”.