Tuesday, August 23, 2011

25th Anniversary Myrtle Beach Vacation! (published 8-23-2011)

Ah! Beach! Twenty-five years ago, newly married Mr. and Mrs. Appalachian Irishman spent their honeymoon at Myrtle Beach. Many things, in that resort city and in life, have changed. They beauty of the ocean, the reassuring repetition of the waves and tides, and Mr. and Mrs. Appalachian Irishman's love for each other have not.

Despite all the changes, of the last ten years or so in particular, Mrs. Appalachian Irishman's unconditional love suns Mr. Appalachian Irishman's heart and reassures him in waves.

Enjoy the photos!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

August Dacha Time (published 8-4-2011)

Ah, August dacha time in Russia! When Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and I lived in Russia, August was the month, when it seemed as if half the population of Moscow fled the city to enjoy a month at their summer dachas. The time was spent relaxing, socializing, enjoying the countryside, and tending the potatoes, cabbage, beets, and other crops that would sustain the family during the winter. The electric train rides between Moscow and Klin were often standing room only, as travelers came and went with gardening supplies or harvested crops. The aroma of fresh soil, harvested crops, and, yes, human sweat filled the wagons. We had opportunities to “go to dacha” with friends or to vacation, going to St. Petersburg, Turkey, and Ireland.

Americans need to slow down, stop, and take “dacha time” more often. We rush from task to task, work too many hours, endure too much stress, and lose our life balance in the process. A year, five years, a decade go by, and, looking back, we wonder how we came to the point in life where we are now. We bury ourselves in the darkness of our lives, failing to realize that the light is all around us.

The Appalachian Irishman has wandered through a decade of darkness – searching for understanding, purpose, motivation, and meaning, having faced a faith and career challenge – since his godly mother suffered a yearlong illness and passed, so traumatically and so early in her life, immediately after he and his devoted wife returned from Russia. A recent series of events has enlightened the Appalachian Irishman, causing him to renew, refresh, and refocus his life. It is his “dacha time.”

My dear, precious, and lovely Mrs. Appalachian Irishman has patiently endured and stood by her man’s side, even when he did not want her to do so. Her unconditional love brought her husband back from the brink. Words cannot express the depth of love, respect, and appreciation that I have for her. Thank you, my dear, for your patient long-suffering. Our renewal enlightens my renewal. The clouds have parted, and the future is filled with sunshine.

The Appalachian Irishman will take his “dacha time” now. He will find his center and pursue it, in meaningful focus and direction. God’s grace is there, as it has always been. He has just been waiting on me to find it again. Hum, where do we go from here? I drop the reins and look forward to His guidance.