Monday, May 4, 2009

Home again. just the start.

beginning euro-gorn.

end euro-gorn.

Euro-gorn is now euro-done. My trip has concluded but the journey has just begun. The point of travel is never to go somewhere but to learn. On my trip I have learned more than I thought I could have even if I was expecting to learn a lot. I landed at KCI this past Thursday and was met by t
wo of my favorite people in the world.

How blessed I am to be home.
How blessed I am to have a place called home.
How blessed I am to have people to make it a place worth calling home.

Throughout my trip I met amazing people, made some great bad decisions and saw lots of our world's cultural and artistic foundations. Everywhere between the UK, France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Ireland, Scotland and back again I never took a step that was not an entirely new experience. I wish I could sum up every minute I traveled in such a short way but let's be real here, that won't be happening. However, I do have 2,073 photos for sharing. From Big Ben to the Alps I have stories to share and memories to cherish.

All of this is just a start though. To my mother's chagrin I already have my next trip in mind. Perhaps a cycling trip through Germany? I feel Eastern Europe calling out. Who knows, maybe it is time to try a little haggling in Istanbul. Regardless I hope that there will be many more travel entries to be written. Hopefully the will be worth reading too. That will have to be left up to the future.

Now as far as an overall summary goes I will give it my best few sentence shot.

Never in my life have I more clearly seen God's provision. Most people know or have heard the idea that God provides and all that jazz. But what if we truly saw and really understood even a sliver of the amount that God cares for us. On my trip these past two months or so I believe I can see at least a little better how our Father loves us. He provided for me, watched over me and guided me (literally) through places I have never been.

Being in a place where the only person to rely on is Jesus is the best place to be. The sad part is in reality we all live in this same place everyday. We deceive ourselves into believing we have any measure of control. Honestly though we must consider and bring to mind who the true giver of each day is to us. The food in the kitchen, the air we have to breath, the safe bed to sleep in and the loving people come home to are no less of blessing and provision than a free meal and a bed while traveling.

Lots of people have asked me whether or not I felt alone on my trip. The truth is that no, I never did. Sure I felt lonely but only in the sense that I longed to hug the people I missed. But I never felt alone. Never in my life have I more stongly felt the strengthening hand of God. Sure I was sitting alone on train, planes and what have you but I always felt in my heart that I was actually just spending some sweet quality time with Jesus.

With all the distraction so of life pulled away perhaps I could more easily hear the voice of God. I also could see the real value of many of those distractions. Which always came to be pretty much nothing. Nothing compares to the greatness of knowing Jesus Christ as our savior and Lord. Read that again if you need to but consider that all of life is lived for one purpose or another. Unless your life is lived for the purpose of knowing Jesus more and more that ultimatly life will seem meaningless. I can not offer any validation of that claim other than to challenge the searching of your heart. I know you will feel it is true.

Well that is that huh? God is God and boy he is good. I hope to talk to many of you who have kindly followed my rantings here for the past months. This last post has been long but thanks for enduring and humoring my words. Thanks for your support and many of your prayers. Thanks for your friendships. Thanks for being you and thanks simply for the time taken to read. Soon I hope to be off again with perhaps maybe even more ridiculous stories. Either way give me a call, I would love to have coffee and share photos and stories, especially if you buy the coffee.

finally, from the ole' USA, cheers and yours always,


*see the below link to view thousands of photos. they are not all fixed, edited or complete but it is a start. sorry for the embarrasing ones, but that is how it goes you know.

Monday, April 27, 2009

four leaf clovers and waterfalls, which I did not chase.

Tomorrow I say so long and farewell to Ireland. My time here has been more relaxing then all of my journey added together. The Scanlon family has been more kind to me then I could ever deserve.

This weekend was loads of fun. Saturday John, two of his sons and myself set off for a horse race. Their horse came in second place and made for an exciting finish. Going to a horse race with horse owners makes everything a lot easier to understand to a newcomer. As with everything there is much more to a thing like riding a horse over some jumps then first imagined. I am learning that a lot here.

Yesterday I saw my first Irish rainbow, had my first drive through the Irish highlands and decided that although black pudding tastes good I never want to know what is in it. Also we spent time at a beautiful waterfall. We spend more than an hour climbing on the rocks, throwing a frisbee and trying to take photos of the waterfall with my camera. Batteries seem to go bad at exactly the worst possible time. Funny though.

Today is my last full day here in the land of four leaf clovers. A few thoughts:
-First off, four leaf clovers are much smaller than people think.
-Secondly they are super hard to find.
Besides, the grass here is such a shade of green that it is easy to become distracted with the scenery. Spending time hunched over looking for penny size clovers has continualy escaped my priority list.

Tomorrow I head to London for two days and then homeward bound, just like the kids movie with the two dogs and a cat. Go rent it if you have no idea what I am talking about. My goal is to put up a few photos of the horse race and waterfall later today. This post may not be as full of fun filled excitment as others but I promise that Ireland the place to go if you are into great history, peaceful relaxation and of course the obligatory golf.

Cheers from the green groves of Ireland.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

ireland. enough said.

Well it has been quite some time since I have updated. I have been really busy relaxing here in Ireland. Now to be fair, usually when I have been traveling I spend the days going place to place never stopping. Here though I am blessed to be able to rest. The family I am staying with is more welcoming than I could have ever dreamed. I am truly blessed and God truly provides.

Tonight I made chili for the family! To be honest it was the third time I have ever cooked it but what do you know, it came out wonderful. Sometimes you get lucky.

The family is made up of John, Eimear and their three boys. I have thus far learned three new games unique to Ireland. When I get back I am determined to spread Hurling, hurling being a sport and not another word for vomiting, of course. This is absolutely worth googling. I have been told it is the worlds second fastest game behind hockey. If this is not true it might as well be. Hurling requires the hitting or kicking of a small ball into a goal or above through uprights. Each player has basically a big stick-paddle made of wood that you use to hit the ball. Imagine lacrosse, football, hockey, soccer and baseball put together with no pads. I give it two thumbs way up.

Apart from getting beat up in hurling I have be able to see much of the country side and Dublin city proper. This Saturday I even am being taken to a horse race. Sunday we are going on a drive through the country and I hope to visit another one of the major towns.

Sometimes when traveling rest is a precious gift. This week means lots of down time and reading. While I have been reading I started reading through some lesser sited books of the bible. While reading through these latter books of the old testament I came across a few beautiful pictures of God's love for us.

What I saw was that we all have a shepherd. Perhaps your shepherd is success or maybe happiness. These won't satisfy and are fleeting. If your shepherd is family or money again you will be led astray. We all are given up to our own sinful ways and if we are honest, truly honest, at the end of the day we will agree that we are lost.

Jesus is the true Shepherd. This is such a cliche that due to over use falls on deaf ears. Think about a God who will go to the ends of life to bring back just one, you. This is what Jesus did. He through his death brought us back home, back to God our Father.

What is better? To be wandering around life thinking we can figure this thing out on our own or to be found, to be lifted up and carried in the arms of our Father back home, back into the fold? Personally I know with how many times I get lost on buses here traveling, much better do I trust being found by Jesus than finding my own way. Our own ways only find dead ends.

A week from today I am home. Sadness and joy both overwhelm me when I think about this. I apologize for the long post but this all has been on my heart today. Hopefully it made sense through the rambles.

Cheers from Ireland.

Normally I like to weave in photos with story but today enjoy some random photos from Germany to Ireland.

sketchy eastern berlin car-time

cow-time one

cow-time two

Friday, April 17, 2009

munich, wittenburg and berlin

to wittenburg.

The past few days have meant me treking across most of Germany. So please excuse the typos. Yesterday I bid farwell to Munich in hopes of spending a few hours in Wittenburg. Munich was a bunch for fun. The Baverian region is where lederhosen, beer and bratworst actually live in harmony. I saw everything from where the Nazi party started to the second most over-rated tourist attraction the Europe, the Glockenspiel. Please YouTube it and be amazed by the slow motion movements and out of tune bells.

the most impressive street musicians ever. please note the cello, oboe, flute and baby grand piano.

Now, on to something really great. Witternburg. For those of you who have not yet Googled the name Wittenburg is where Martin Luther (the monk not the King Jr.) spent much of his life and posted his 95 thesis on the Castle Church doors.

To say the least, awesome.

95 thesis doors and me.

Now granted the actual church doors that Luther posted his thesis on burnt down with the rest of a church but they did rebuild the church in the same p
lace to the same specifications. Doors are the same in the same place, tomato-tomoto. It was wonderful though to walk through the admittedly overwelming mueseum that was once Luther's house. Every peice of history displayed represented the standing up of God's people for the true Word of God. In Luther's time men were only allowed to study theology as the highest of pursuits. First they were required to master science, history, liturature, language, philosopy and mathimatics. Only then would one be let into the study of theology. It was considered the most difficult and worthy of pursuits. Sadly that recognition seems lost today to some degree.

After leaving Wittenburg it was on to Berlin and Berlin is where I write this post. Today I was up and out early from my host Casper's flat (yes like the friendly ghost). First I visisted the German parliment building and then it was off to a walking tour of Berlin. It would take far too long to describe what all I learned and saw today but I will list a few and then let the photos speak for what they show.

1. Germans never, never and lastly never cross the road unless they are at the proper location and have the go ahead from the signal. Seriously, jaywalking is some sort of grave sin here.

2. Berlin Wall: no less imposing and important than I thought, but not as thick. The wall is only four or five inches thick. Still though, the shoot-to-kill death zone and barbed wire added a bit to the lethality of the whole ordeal.

3. Tram system here: Not quite as good as London but on par with Paris. It is however much better than Rome which can be easily compared to a five-year-old pulling a three-wheeled red wagon.

4. Lastly, the German people are kind. Almost everyone you meet here is happy to help and usually smiling. Compared to many other major European cities this is a rarity. The city is clean and I really like it here. Berlin feels a lot like Chicago. In fact, Berlin's city symbol is a Bear so there you go. I think my Dad would fit in here except they have no baseball team losing all the time here to get mad about.

museum island upside down.

east and west of the berlin wall line.

That is Berlin so far. Two more days here and then to Ireland. I hope to post one
more time from Berlin with even more photos.

Good night from Berlin!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I once heard a story. no photos for this post.

There was once a farmer who was sitting by his fireplace during a terrible winter storm. As he was sitting there with a warm blanket and a cup of coffee he heard a sharp pounding sound from outside. The farmer went to the window and discovered birds.

These birds were caught in the storm and upon sensing the heat from the farmer's house determined to try to get inside. The birds were pounding their bodies up against the glass trying to reach warm safety.

The farmer felt sad and wished he could help these helpless dieing creators. He decided he wanted to help. So during the height of the winter storm the farmer went out to his barn. There he put lots of warm hay around, turned on lights and made the place as warm as possible. Lastly he flung wide open the barn doors.

The birds continued to hit their heads up against the house windows.

The farmer tried to push the birds in but to no avail. They simply scattered and flew around in fear. To the birds, the farmer simply looked like a huge scary creator waving around. Even though sure safety and survival lie only feet away, the birds did not follow the well intentioned farmer.

The idea came to the farmer that if for only a moment he could become a bird he could lead the others into the warm safety of the barn. He could lead them from the storm to shelter.

This is the Gospel. The farmer finally understood, and helps us understand why Jesus had to come and die for us. Yet many of us still bang our heads up against a window.

Yesterday I thought lots about this idea, the idea of shelter and hope. Yesterday I visited the NAZI Concentration Camp Dachau. This camp is what happens when men forget God. This camp happens when men forget the worth of a human life and where it comes from. This camp happens when people revert to primal thoughtless selfish urges.

This camp is what happens when sheep follow the wolf instead of the Shepherd.

Honestly I am not quite sure what to think about seeing this camp. I saw ovens where people were burned and I saw walls that of which people walked in but never walked out. I apologize for the less than light hearted post but it was a less than light hearted day.

Surely, apart from the saving blood of Jesus, we have no hope.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

settlers of catan


I just won at the game Settlers of Catan. They will mean nothing and everything depending who you are. I went with the "buy development cards and build roads method." I know someone who uses that and well, she usually beats me. But tonight, yes tonight, I was victorious. It is a small victory but again, to those who have played, there seems to be a post game glow that lasts perhaps 15 minutes or so. I think this is my second time winning so today is indeed a good day.

More importantly, and everlasting to say the least, is the fact that today is Easter. To some Easter is merely one of two days to attend church. Others though find that today is the most joyous day of year.
For believers today is the specific day to celebrate Jesus's resurrection. Granted, we should celebrate this equally each day. But there is something indeed special in the selective choosing of this one Sunday so sing a bit louder and specifically remember.

Jesus is risen! This means that as He rose so do we. Even though we sin, fall short of the standard and miss the mark Jesus rising means our record is wiped clean. We are forgiven, loved and given hope. A life without this hope is a scary one to face.

travel time.

Today we (Brooks an
d I) joined our host family for a bike ride through a forest. We ended up in another beautiful village where we went and hung out at the local brewery. So today consisted of church, bike rides, Frisbee, a brewery, settlers of catan and an amazing home cooked Easter feast. I can not think of a better day than today. How amazing it is when I look back and see all of the circumstances come together to make days like today.

God is so good to us.

biking riding on the Rhine River.

Happy Easter to all! Next is Munich and then Berlin. After that I move on to Ireland for a week and finally a few days in the UK.

Good night from Germany.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Switz, Brooks, Autobahn, Photos

Ok, well great news. I am in Germany, St Lion to be specific which is just outside of Heidelberg. Today I met up with my great buddy Brooks studying in Istanbul this semester.

So our original goal was to couch surf in Frankfurt. Well we decided that Heidelberg would be way more fun so we jumped onto a train, literally, it was leaving and we barely made it. And now we are blessed to stay with an American family here in Germany, thanks to our friend Matt from KU.

Alright, short post, lots of photos. These photos are all from Switzerland.

Enjoy. Love you all. God is good, today he provided a friend from home and American hamburgers.

view from my balcony at my host's house time.

ski time.

alps time.

hiking time.

rest time.

smile time.