Vacationing in Scotland and Ireland!

We enjoyed a week and a half in northern Europe in early August!  Bethany spent July in Copenhagen taking classes with the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design to prepare to teach some new courses at Urban School this fall.  Another teacher there, Kristjiana, was at Cambridge University taking a class to prepare her to teach something new this fall as well.  We met them in Glasgow on Saturday afternoon.  They rented a car so we could get around the country over the few days we were in Scotland.

Saturday, August 4:  Flew from Seattle to Dallas-Fort Worth to London Heathrow to Glasgow, a total of almost 14 hours, a long, but uneventful series of flights.  Beth and Kristjiana met us at the airport, with a rented car, and took us to the Hershill Guest House outside Glasgow, near Wishaw, for our 4 nights in the area.  It’s in a beautiful rural setting with very comfortable rooms and delicious breakfasts!  The family owners are very friendly and helpful.  

We began our visit to Glasgow by going to the Butterfly and Pig Tea Room downtown for Afternoon Tea…such a wonderful tradition!  Glasgow is abuzz due to the European Championships being held here, and in nearby cities in Scotland this month (aquatics, cycling, golf , gymnastics, rowing, and triathlon.)  Some sports are being held in Berlin, too (athletics.)

Sunday, August 5:  Drove to Edinburgh, about 40 miles east of Glasgow.   Since 1947, the city has hosted the Fringe Festival each August…music, drama, many performances of all kinds…something for everyone!   There were many people from all over there, but the crowds were manageable. We first went to visit the Royal Britannia Yacht,  now docked on Edinburgh’s east side in Leith.  Enjoyed afternoon tea on board.  We visited the Edinburgh Castle high above the city after that, and strolled the Royal Mile.

Monday:  Drove to Inverness, 3.5 hours north of Glasgow.  Carolyn’s family history has been traced back to the year 1620 when Robert MacKemey (McKemy) was born in the Inverness area.  What an absolutely beautiful city!!!  Climbing to the top of the Inverness Castle gave us a beautiful panoramic view of the whole city!  The legend of the Loch Ness Monster begins here, the river is The Ness.  Wish we had more time to stay there and explore.

Tuesday:  Today, we traveled to Loch Lemond and the National Park…beautiful lake, adorable ducklings along the beach.  We then enjoyed a tour of the Glengoyne Distillery, one of the many whiskey distilleries in the country.  The free samples were delicious!

Wednesday:  Checked out of the Herdshill Guest House after a delicious traditional Scottish breakfast of eggs, sausage, ham, potato, blood pudding, and beans.  We recommend this wonderful place to anyone traveling in the area and needing a comfortable place to stay.  After stopping to visit the Glasgow Cathedral, complete with a Lego artistic display, we headed for the airport and a 45 minute flight to Belfast, Northern Ireland.  After landing in Belfast, we took a taxi to our Airbnb apartment on Castlereagh in east Belfast.  Another great place to stay!  After walking downtown to Auntie Granny’s for dinner, we slept well after another very eventful day!

Thursday:  Spent the day walking all over Belfast, visiting the CS Lewis square and museum, St. Anne’s Cathedral (Anglican)…talked to the priest there and he told us about some of the things we should look for as we toured the sanctuary…then to City Hall which includes an amazing chronicle of the history of the city, and of Northern Ireland.  For dinner, we had fish and chips from “Bethany’ Restaurant.

Friday:  Got up, packed up, left the Airbnb in Belfast for Letterkenny.  But first, we stopped in downtown Belfast to visit the St. George’s Market, an old building taking up one square block filled with booths of all kinds:  clothes, food, jewelry, produce, EVERYTHING!  Then, we left Belfast for the Giant’s Causeway on the north coast.  It’s a very unique landform of basalt columns sticking up out of the ground, created by hot lava and cold ocean water.  Then, we headed west and on to Letterkenny, where we stayed at the Dillon’s Hotel.

Saturday:  Traveled to Ramelton, where Carolyn’s ancestors moved form Inverness, Scotland.  We visited graveyards, churches, ruins…Still nothing about the McKemy family name anywhere…then again, it WAS back in the 17th century.  We then stopped in Donegal at “Studio Donegal, Spinners and Handweavers.”  We saw very intricate looms that are still used today.  After dinner in Sligo, we stopped by the Drumcliffe Church and cemetery, where the poet William Butler Yeats is buried.

But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

We spent Saturday evening at Armadillo Bed and Breakfast in Grange.

Sunday:  After a delicious breakfast at the Armadillo, we headed to the Sligo Abbey in Sligo, a Dominical Priory built in 1252.    Then, we visited the Parkes Castle situated on the banks of Lough Gill, in County Leitrim, Ireland.  So many castles, abbeys, and churches yet so little time!  Hard to imagine what life was really like so long ago.  Wish we could read some of the inscriptions on the tombstones.  We then headed for the Abbeyglen Castle in the coastal city of Clifden, west of Galway.  Spending the night in an old castle was a rare treat!

Monday:  Woke up to an unusually sunny morning at the Abbeyglen, and took a walk around the area.  Always more churches to see!  After an amazing buffet breakfast, we headed for Galway.  Lunch in Galway was delicious, of course, so much fun finding those out-of-the-way pubs and restaurants.  Galway is a harbor city with a huge shopping district called the Latin Quarter that’s made up of street after street of shops, pubs, and entertainment.  Along the way, we enjoyed dulcimer music, a river dancer, singers, and a bagpiper!  Very touristy, but fun to walk through.  We then headed for Leixlip in the western suburbs of Dublin.  We checked in to the Court Yard Hotel, built on the site of the original Guinness brewery.  Arthur Guinness started brewing stout here in 1755.  The “Guinness Storehouse” is now located in downtown Dublin, but his descendants now live in the Leixlip Castle…of course.

Tuesday:  After breakfast, we headed by car for downtown Dublin.  We had planned to take the bus to avoid finding a parking place, but we didn’t know the busses only take coins.  Oh well, all was fine.  After parking in a garage, we first walked to the Christ Church Cathedral (Anglican)  and took a tour of the beautiful church, and built in the 12th century.  We got to walk up into the bell tower and each person got to ring the bells.  Also saw where the heart of St. Laurence O’Toole, patron saint of Dublin, WAS.  Yes, it was stolen in 2012 and recovered earlier this year.  It’s now in a more secure location in the cathedral.  Then, it was on to the Guinness Storehouse,  a tour through the brewery process used since Arthur Guinness moved the brewery to St. James Place from Leixlip.  Very interesting!  After lunch, we took a bus to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells display.  These are the four gospels written in the year 800 AD by monks in a monastery.  It’s very colorful, and absolutely beautiful…well, the books themselves are dark and dull looking, but microscopes and technology have created vibrant reproductions!   Amazing!  Then, you walk upstairs and through the College Library’s Long Room, with zillions of old books and busts of lots of important dead people.  We then walked to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and on to the parking garage to get the car and head back to Leixlip and the Court Yard Hotel,  while Bethany and Kristijana stayed in town to experience the night life a bit!  Our last day was a busy, and very interesting one!

Wednesday, August 15:  Time to head home…we traveled from Dublin, to Philadelphia, to Seattle, then drove home getting here around 10pm.  Bethany and Kristjiana flew from Dublin, to Reykjavik, Iceland, and on to San Francisco.  A great time was had by all!

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Happy 91st Birthday, Mary Frances!

Carolyn’s mother celebrated her 91st birthday on July 7th.  Carolyn’s sister, Theresa, and her husband were here from South Carolina.

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Dan and Emily visit Yakima!

Dan and Emily came to visit us earlier this week.  We did a lot of wine tasting up and down the valley…so many choices, and such a variety of wines, had delicious dinners together, and drove to see Mt. St. Helens.  It’s eruption in 1980 made for perfect soil for those vines we enjoyed the fermented juices from!  You get to go sooooooo close to what’s left of the volcano.  We saw Mt. Rainier, without clouds if you can believe it, on our way to the other side of the Cascades.  Lots of beautiful things to see here in Washington state.  If you haven’t been here, you need to visit us!

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Carolyn goes to the ELCA Youth Gathering in Houston!

Felicity, Jason, Carolyn, and 10 youth from Central Lutheran Church enjoyed the 5-day ELCA Youth Gathering that is held every 3 years. over 30,000 ELCA youth from around the country attended, with over 1,000 adult volunteers.  They learned about the church, worshiped, did service projects together, and had fun.  Carolyn flew down so she wouldn’t miss another Sunday worship at Central, the youth and two adults drove down, three days there, three days back.   Next one is in Milwaukee from June 29-July 3, 2021.  See you there!

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The Rev. Dr. Carolyn R. Hellerich is now a thing!

Carolyn graduated from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago Sunday, May 20, 2018 with a Doctor of Ministry in Preaching degree.  The graduation ceremony/Eucharist was held at St. Thomas Apostle Church near the seminary.

Bethany, Dan, Emily, and Dave were there to celebrate with Carolyn.  A wonderful weekend was had by all.

Thursday:  Dave and Carolyn arrived in Chicago Wednesday evening.  On Thursday, they enjoyed the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre production of MacBeth, rode the Centennial Ferris wheel on Navy Pier, visited Macy’s (Marshall Fields) on State Street, and ate at Harry Caray’s Tavern.  We stopped by the new Apple Store on Michigan Avenue, and had dessert for dinner at the Nutella Cafe.

Friday:  We took the train to Hyde Park and Carolyn’s rehearsal for graduation.  We ate at Giordano’s and strolled the neighborhood we met in almost 39 years ago.  We visited the Oriental Institute on the University of  Chicago campus, and reminisced about our early days together.  Wonderful memories!!!

Saturday:  Bethany arrived late Friday evening, and Dan and Emily Saturday morning.  We all took the train to the Loop and stopped first at Max’s Chicago Hotdog joint.  We walked along the lakefront and took photos around The Bean.  After visiting the Apple Store, we had a fantastic dinner, thanks to our wonderful children, at the Tortoise Supper Club on north State St.  The surprise was yet to be.

As dinner drew to a close, Carolyn and I learned that they were taking us to see HAMILTON, THE MUSICAL at the CIBC Theatre……..Really!!!!  It was amazing!

Sunday:  We attended the 10:30 service at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Luke on Belmont, a favorite of ours.  Beautiful service for the feast of Pentecost!  Champagne and strawberries for fellowship time following worship.

Had a quick lunch at the Hyde Park Potbelly Sandwich Shop, and on to St. Thomas Apostle Church a block east of the seminary.  Carolyn went to LSTC to get robed and lined up, we walked around the University of Chicago campus before going to the church for the graduation ceremony.  Dave taught at St. Thomas Apostle school while Carolyn completed her final year of studies at LSTC for her MAR in 1980-81.

The graduation, within a Eucharist, was long, but meaningful.  There were 24 M.Div. graduates, 15 other Masters level graduates, 3 Doctor of Ministry in Preaching graduates (Carolyn included) and 7 Ph.D. graduates this year, though not all were in attendance.  Carolyn graduated with a DMin in Preaching with two others, from Sweden, who did not attend.

After a tasty reception in the LSTC refectory, we went to Medici’s, the Hyde Park restaurant Carolyn and Dave had their “first date” (kind a) the day they met, 9/7/1979.

It was a wonderful celebration, thanks mostly to our fantastic children!  Photos of the whole week/weekend are below:

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Shopping and Visiting the New Synod Office in Spokane!

Enjoyed today visiting Spokane! We took some things from the assembly to the beautiful new synod office with a huge turkey roaming the grounds, had a wonderful lunch at Lindaman’s with Cathy Steiner, the synod’s efficient secretary, took Central Lutheran-Yakima’s LWR School Kits to the ingathering truck at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Spokane where we met a gentleman named Bill Wenke who used to live on Elm St. in St. Paul, NE! Shopped at Trader Joe’s…we really need one in Yakima…and roamed the mall before having a delicious meal at Blaze Pizza near the Gonzaga campus. Then made the 3 hour trip back to Yakima. Always nice seeing the gorgeous Washington countryside!

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Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod’s Assembly in Yakima April 27-29, 2017!

I was asked to be the Assembly Planning Chair for this year’s assembly.  I was honored to be asked. Our planning began last Summer,and  the planning committees began planning the annual event with our first monthly meeting in October.  It was an exciting process.  Thanks especially to Julia Bennett from Boise, our synod assembly Manager.  She led the planning well!

Now it’s over.  It was certainly a success, based on the comments I have received.  Below are a few photos from the three day event.

Friday, April 27: Opening Eucharist of the 2018 Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod Assembly in Yakima, WA. The service was held at Central Lutheran Church, led by the Grace Creek Band, and dinner was at the Yakima Convention Center.

Saturday, April 28th: The second day of the 2018 Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod Assembly in Yakima! A beautiful day…a day full of business sessions (voting, resolution reading and discussing, etc.) Mission Partner Table gazing, prayers and good fellowship…ending with the banquet and Holden Evening Prayer. Congratulations to all who were honored for ordination anniversaries!

Sunday, April 29th: The final day (morning) of this year’s assembly…We began with another business session, so much to do! Then had our closing eucharist which included the consecration of a new deacon, Diane McGeoch, who is serving Learning Peace in the Boise, ID area. Blessings, Diane!!! Thanks to Rev. Ron Glusenkamp, Director for The Campaign for the ELCA, ” Always Being Made New,” and Victoria Flood, the ELCA’s Director of Mission Support, for attending our synod assembly! So much planning, and even if I do say so myself as the planning chair, it was a stellar assembly!!! Time to Go in Peace and Serve the Lord!

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“Lake Maclaren” begins to fill!

To show that Spring is really here, the reservoir next to our house is beginning to fill, and the irrigation canal that traverses all around Yakima is now moving snowmelt from the Cascades and Mt. Rainier and Rimrock Lake to the towns and vineyards and orchards and fields below.  The water began flowing this morning.  “The Pond” should be full by tomorrow morning.  Jambo enjoyed watching what was happening…he’ll be happy to have ducks and geese swimming around again!

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Lent and Easter at Central and Christ, 2018!

Central, Christ, and Tree of Life held joint Midweek Lenten Services again this year at Central.  We also held a joint Easter Vigil on March 31st.  Happy Easter to everyone!

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More Renovations to 2105!

Several things have changed here at 2105 Maclaren Street, but there is still more to do.  We had the tile removed from the entryway and had oak flooring installed.  Looks much more like it must have when built.  It looks GREAT!  Also had a Microwave installed above the range in the kitchen…so convenient!

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