Saturday, June 29, 2013

I've been I need to play there!!

Today we took a drive to St. Andrews.  It was about 1 1/2 hours north from Edinburgh.  The drive was really pretty...normal beautiful Scottish countryside...rolling hills and little villages.  We drove past Kirkcaldy (pronounced kir-caw-dy) but didn't stop.  We will stop there another day. 
This is the downtown of St. Andrews.  It is really a lovely town.  As we walked around the town it had a "college town" feel.  The University of St. Andrews is there and was very impressive.  I told Carolyn that "this would be a fun town to live in to attend school. 
This is the entrance to the ruins of the St. Andrews Castle.  It was originally build in the 12th century but was most active in the 15th century.  John Knox was active here.  For a period of time St. Andrews was considered the "religious capital" of Scotland.
This is inside the "courtyard" of the castle.  We walked through that arched entry to get inside the castle area.
The Castle sat right on the sea.  There was a cliff drop-off on the other side of this wall to the ocean.
We next went to the British Golf Museum...What else would you expect to see in St. Andrews?  This is the collection of clubs from the late 1800's.  We were given a guide book for the museum and it is fascinating to read.   The picture below is a collection of "Feather Balls".  The first reference to Feather Balls was in 1724.
The Feather Ball was made from three pieces of leather with the feathers stuffed through a small hole.  It was said that a good ball maker could make 3-4 balls in one day.  In the Thomas Mathieson poem of 1743, there was a description of the making of a feather ball.  "The feathers harden and the leather swells;
He crams and sweats, yet crams and urges more.
Till scarce the turgid globe contains it store."
A description from 1790 is rather less dramatic.  "The balls are made by stuffing a great quantity of feathers into a leathern case, by help of an iron rod, with a wooden handle, pressed against the breast".  The balls were boiled after they were finished...but there is controversy about the boiling of the leather - before or after being stuffed.  It was suggested that it took "a top hat of feathers" to fill the ball.  below is  a display of what may have been the process.  How far would the feather ball go you ask?  "A scientific trial was conducted and recorded in Glasgow in 1786 when a John Gibson hit five shots under the observation of two Glaswegian merchants, who proceeded to measure Gibson's shots 'in the most correct manner'.  According them, his longest shot was 201 yards, 1 foot and 11 inches while the shortest was 182 years 2 feet and 3 inches."
This is the Old Course Club House.  It almost seemed like we were walking on hallowed ground  :)    
Aye, it tis me...standing by the rail on the first hole of the Old Course.
The bridge leading to the green on the first hole of the Old Course.  The building in the background is the Old Course Hotel.
Me, Standing on the bridge...the Old Course Club House is in the background.  Between the tee and the green is a road and this bunkers on this hole.  What a great place.  I have played Pebble Beach...but now I must play St. Andrews - The Old Course.  This was the highlight of the day!!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

An average day turned to a wonderful day…

This morning I was unsure as to what the day would be…what would we do to keep busy?  We had three Work Choice Profiles to do first thing with three Elders who had been working in Ireland and were leaving for home…and a strange meeting scheduled in the later afternoon in Alloa.

The profiles went according to plan with the Elders.  The opportunity for appointment came from a phone call I received last Saturday.  The man stated that a taxi driver had given him our phone number and told him that we could help him find work.  After an exchange of a number of phone calls we agreed to meet him in Alloa at 4:00 p.m.

As we drove to Alloa we realized that we knew nothing about these fellows other than they did have current jobs, but needed better jobs.  They were not members of the Church but they knew a taxi driver who knew of us.  Our friend from Bulgaria arrived at the Church building about 4:45 p.m. – about the same time as the missionaires from Sterling and the Stake President arrived to meet with a lady they were teaching who had many questions about the Church.

We visited with our friend and agreed that we would help him with his CV…he would email it to us, along with the CV from his two friends.  We gave him some employment material on preparing for job interviews.  We also explained about our mission and a bit about the Church and also gave him a pamphlet which gives a brief explanation about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.. 

I connected our friend with the Sterling missionaries to allow a follow up to any questions he may have about the Church.  We will work with his employment challenge through email and possibly a follow-up meeting.  He went on his way back to Sterling.  The missionaries needed to run to another appointment.  The Stake President needed to go pick up his kids from school but the investigator had one last question.  The Stake President brought her in to meet us and asked if we would continue to respond to her question. 

She had an unanswered question about our belief in the Godhead.  The investigator told us she was a “born again” Christian but didn’t agree with any one organized religion.  She was very well versed in the bible and quoted many scriptures very impressively.  She was fascinated about the idea the missionaries had taught her of a living prophet being on the earth today.  She said, “If your message is true you should be shouting it from the roof tops to the entire world”.  

Her question related to the Godhead and the difference between her belief that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost were one, and our belief that they were one in purpose but three distinct personages with the Father and the Son having a body of flesh and bones.  We read scriptures from the Bible that showed the Father and the Son as two distinct beings and bore testimony that Joseph Smith learned that truth in a vision in 1820 when he saw them both.

We talked of different examples in the bible about the Father and the Son and with each discussion point she expressed her “born again” interpretation and wasn’t understanding our interpretation.  I then talked about the apostasy and how the priesthood power of God was lost following the death of the apostles.  This made her think.   I talked about Moroni’s promise in the Book of Mormon of how the Holy Ghost will confirm “the truth of all things”.  I referenced how Peter had said that there must be a restitution of all things before Christ would return and John saw our day in vision and the restoration of the fullness of the gospel.  Again, she stopped to think. 

As we talked, I bore my testimony of Joseph Smith and the restoration of the priesthood and the translation of the Book of Mormon.  And then I said, “…the bottom line is that you must find out for yourself whether Joseph Smith saw what he said he saw.  If he did, then you will need to change your thinking about God and follow the words of a living prophet.”  She agreed and said, “If that vision really happened, it is ‘Cosmic’”.

She is a lovely lady and agreed to study and pray.  She agreed to come to church on Sunday.  All in all it turned out to be a wonderful day…three profiles completed, a positive meeting with our Bulgarian friend, and a great teaching moment to bear testimony to a sweet lady.  (And in between this all, Carolyn was able to stop at the yarn shop and buy her next knitting project)

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is true!!!  The Father and Son are two separate and distinct personages with bodies of flesh and bones – being one in purpose, which is to bring to pass the immortality of man, just like Joseph said he saw!!

Monday, June 24, 2013

A busy week of travel…

This last week we have been able to travel a lot.  It started on Sunday.  We drove to Alloa for Church to meet the Bishop and introduce ourselves to him.  We have been connecting with him via phone and email, but we needed to meet him and some of the Ward members.  We have been working with a few of the members in that Ward and one friend who is not a member of the Church.  Alloa is about a 45 minute drive northwest of Edinburgh.

Monday we went to Motherwell, Hamilton, and East Kilbride to do flat inspections.  The “inspection” sounds a lot worse than it actually is.   They have the senior missionaries visit the younger missionary every couple of months to make sure the flats are being kept clean.  The Church has invested a great deal of money in security deposits for renting all these flats for the missionaries so it is an effort to protect the investment.  As one might expect, the flat in Motherwell occupied by the two young Elders was not as tidy as the two other flats occupied by young Sister missionaries.  J

From East Kilbride we drove to Irvine which is south.  We met with a young missionary who is going home this next week and did the Work Choice Profile with him.  The Profile is a tool we use to help individuals determine their interest levels in different types of professions to help them as they begin thinking about a career. 

From Irvine we drove to Saltcoats which is on the west coast.  I lived there when I was a missionary, oh, so many years ago.  The town has really changed…for the worse.  The downtown was really run down.  One of the biggest changes I have experienced since returning to Scotland is the amount of traffic and the Motorways (freeways).  None of the motorways were here in the 60’s when I lived here.  They weren’t needed, because most people couldn’t afford to own a car.  From Saltcoats we drove back to Edinburgh via Glasgow.

Yesterday we drove to Stonehaven which is near Aberdeen.   It is about 2 hours north of Edinburgh.  We visited the Dunnuttor castle.  It was built in about 1650.  That sounds really old until one realizes that the castle we visited in Linlithgow was built in 1450 and the Abbey in Dunfermline we visited was built in 1150.  We in the US don’t know what “old” really is.

This Sunday we drove to Dumfries which is about 2 hours southwest of Edinburgh.  We went to the Ward there to introduce ourselves, and the Stake Employment Specialists, to the new Bishop.  The drive was soooo beautiful!!!  We took the “scenic route” and it was great.  The beautiful countryside was unbelievable.  It was a bit cloudy and rainy so I didn’t get picture, but I will next time. 

Overall, we have probably driven 500 miles this week.
A few pictures of the castle we visited on camera settings and the overcast sky didn't let the true green color come through.
This was a sign at the entry of the castle walk that shows the view of what we were about to see.  They built a little village on this rock.  There were stables, garden areas, a chapel, and a number of different buildings on the flat top area.  Dunnottar has played a prominent role in the history of Scotland through to the 18th-century Jacobite risings because of its strategic location. Dunnottar is best known as the place where the Scottish crown jewels, were hidden from Oliver Cromwell's invading army in the 17th century 

The ruins of the castle are spread over 3.5 acres, surrounded by steep cliffs that drop to the North Sea, 50 metres (160 ft) below. A narrow strip of land joins the headland to the mainland, along which a steep path leads up to the gatehouse. The various buildings within the castle include the 14th-century tower house as well as the 16th-century palace.


One can see how well fortified this castle would have been.  The hike down was really pretty steep





When we hiked back up to the top there was a piper playing.  Oh, I love the pipe...well most of the time

We went into Stonehaven for lunch.  The restaurant was right on the harbor.

Looking across the bay to Stonehaven.  Stonehaven is located just south of Aberdeen.
Oh, before I more picture

This picture was taken at 10:00 p.m. last Thursday night.  We had just come home from Alloa and were walking to the flat.  It was really lighter than the picture shows.  It was cloudy and you can see the sun shining on the tops of the clouds.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

We continue to be busy...

We have had a couple of busy weeks.  We have been working in Alloa (about 45 minutes northwest out of Edinburgh) and also in Edinburgh.  We went to Church a fortnight ago in Livingston (about ½ hour to the west).  We have had 10 candidates come into the Employment Center this week and nearly half of them have been “friends of the Church”.  We do not limit our work to only LDS Church members.  We have been writing, editing, and re-editing CVs hoping to draft them in a way to catch the eye of prospective employers. 

In between all of this we have had some time to visit some places of interest in the area.  The weather has been fairly good…mostly sunshine in the morning and clouds, and some rain in the afternoon.  We carry our umbrella with us to ward off the rain.  So far it has worked pretty well.

Last week on our way to Alloa we stopped in Linlithgow to tour the castle/palace.  This was the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots and was built in about 1050 A.D.  Last Saturday we visited Dunfermline.  We saw the Abby and also the birthplace of Andrew Carnegie.  He was born in Dunfermline and his family left for America when he about 15 years old.  There was a museum in the cottage where he was born that told about his life.  He was a very ambitious man.  It stated in the museum that in 1901 he sold US Steel for $400 million and was listed as the richest man in the world.

We received our bus pass this week.  All seniors over the age of 60 are able to ride the bus – all over Scotland – without charge.  Last night we decided to test out the new cards and rode the bus into Edinburgh.  We walked around for a while and then came home.  We took the express bus so we saved £15 (about $23.50) on this one bus ride.

We drive most places, but there is limited parking in Edinburgh.  Our car uses diesel fuel at £1.37 per liter.  This is about $8.15 per gallon.  Driving on the left is becoming more natural every day.  I am studying to take the drivers license test.  My US license is valid for one year so I need to get a UK drivers license or we will be walking.  I have taken a few practice test of the written portion and definitely need to study some more.  Some of the senior missionaries don’t get their UK license so after one year they are transferred from Scotland to the Republic of Ireland (or the other way around) so they can still drive.  The couple in Aberdeen were in Ireland for one year and they will finish their mission in Scotland.  We can’t do that because we must work out of Edinburgh…so I must study!!

Today we went to the little village of Queensferry.  It was a neat little village.  I failed to take a picture of the narrow streets so you will need to wait until our next visit for the street…but I did take a picture of the bridge and the harbor.

This is the entrance to the Linlithgow Palace...the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots

The inner court

The fountain.  Each Sunday in July they turn on the fountain so we are going back to see it in operation.

This is the Great Hall

This is the Abbey in Dunfermline

The mother of William Wallace is buried under this tree.  There are 8 Kings of Scotland buried in the abbey.

Aye, that is me...

The bridge on the right is a train bridge and on the left is for cars.  The bridges cross the Firth of Forth to reach Dundee, Perth, Dunfermline, and points north.

This is the harbor at Queensferry.  The tide is out (obviously)  There is an inlet at the end of the dock where the water will return when the tide comes in and the boats will rise.  One must manage the tide to maximize the use of ones boat and the harbor.  ;)

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Family Name - IRVINE

During our recent visit into Edinburgh we discovered the Irvine tartan.  My Grandmother Boden was Ruby Rutherford Irvine.  Her father, John Irvine, was born in Dunfremline in the “Kingdom of Fife”, Scotland in 1848.  His parents were also both born in Dunfremline in 1823 and 1825.

A little history -  Fife is a council area and a historical county of Scotland.  It is situated between the Firth of Tay and the Firth of Forth, with inland boundaries to Perth and Kinross and Clackmannanshire. It was once one of the major Pictish kingdoms, known as Fib, and is still commonly known as the Kingdom of Fife within Scotland.  (The Picts were a group of Late Iron Age and Early Medieval Celtic people living in ancient eastern and northern Scotland.)…but I digress!

In reading about the Irvine family name it dates back anciently to Ireland and then more recently to southern Scotland (Dumfriesshire – the more common spelling is with the “g”) and northern Scotland (Aberdeenshire – the more common spelling is with the “e”).  These two lines – Irvine & Irving – are related.  The name is pronounced in Ireland (and the US) as “Ir-vine”.  In Scotland, the name – both Irvine & Irving – is pronounced as “Ir-vun”. 

We found the Irvine tartan and family Crest. (Not a bad looking tartan.)  Below is a picture of a coaster with the Irvine crest and a booklet telling about the history of the name.


The crest is a sheaf of Holly branches.  The motto is:  Flourishing in both sunshine and shade”.  Tradition is that William de Irwyn, of the Bonshaw branch of the Irvine family in Dumfriesshire fought with Robert the Bruce who had been enthroned as King of Scots at Scone in March of 1306.  It is said that William de Irwyn stood guard as the exhausted king took some much-needed rest under a holly tree.  This incident gave rise to the Irvine/Irving family crest and motto.

Sir William fought with distinction at the side of Bruce at the Battle of Bannockburn in June of 1314, when a 20,000 strong English army under Edward II was defeated by a Scots army less than half this strength.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

We must reach out to those in need

A person who wants to work, is capable of working, and does not have work, is a person in NEED.  Our obligation is not to judge or speculate about a person’s reasons for not working, but to stand ready to assist those who can and want to work.  We are under covenant to bear one another’s burdens and lift up the hands that hang down – to assist Church members and non-members alike.

In the scriptures we learn that Christ taught the importance of having concern for others.  A certain lawyer tempted Jesus by asking “Master, what shall I do to inherit Eternal Life?”  The Savior, knowing the heart of the man responded with “What is written in the Law?  How readest thou?”  The Lawyer answered, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.  The Savior then said, “Thou hast answered right; this do, and thou shalt live.

The Lawyer, in trying to justify himself, said unto Jesus, “and who is my neighbor?”  The Savior then taught us all a very important lesson…

A certain man went from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell among thieves.  He was stripped of his raiment, beaten, wounded and robbed, leaving him half dead.  Two different religious men – a priest and a Levite – both “passed him by on the other side” without offering any aide.  A third man – a Samaritan – saw him and had compassion.  He bound his wounds, set him on his beast and took him to an inn, and took care of him.  On the morrow when he departed, he paid the innkeeper and said, “Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I return, I will repay thee.”

Jesus now asked, “Which now of these three thinkest thou was neighbor unto him that fell among thieves?  They lawyer responded with “He that shewed mercy on him”.  “Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise”.

Are we like unto the Samaritan who stopped and offered help to his neighbor or are we like unto the Priest and Levite who passed by on the other side?  Are we reaching out to help those around us who are in need?

Being unemployed, and wanting to work is damaging to ones self-esteem.  One begins to question abilities and skills.  Family stress is increased because of financial pressures.  It produces a downward spiral that must be stopped.  Members – Priesthood holders and Relief Society Sisters – need to reach out to friends and neighbors to provide assistance to those around us.

“The real long-term objective of the welfare plan is the building of character in the members of the Church, givers and receivers, rescuing all that is finest down deep inside of them, and bringing to flower and fruitage the latent richness of the spirit, which after all is the mission and purpose and reason for being of this Church.”President J. Reuben Clark

The structure is in place within the Church.  We are functioning as Area Employment Specialists.  We are working with the Stake and Ward Employment Specialist in providing training.  We will be holding a training conference in Aberdeen at the end of June to help the Ward Employment Specialist better understand their responsibilities.  We will be holding a Career Workshop in Edinburgh in July to assist individuals who are unemployed or under-employed be better prepared in their search for a job and the interview process.

This week has been rewarding for us.  We have recently met with a fellow who has been out of work for over 2 years…definitely in the downward spiral of lacking self-confidence.  We reviewed some principles of interviewing and being prepared with “power statements”.  We also will be reviewing his CV.   As he left our first meeting there was a change in his countenance and a more positive outlook on life.  We met with a sister who was beginning the process to search for employment.  She was convinced that she had no marketable skills.  After our meeting she realized that she did have something to offer an employer and is excited to continue the training process with us.
We are excited to be involved in this work.  We can see that things are beginning to come together for us.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Trip to Edinburgh

Today we made our first trip into Edinburgh.  We are living only about 8-10 miles (if that) from the actual downtown.  There is no where to park in the city so we ventured out on the bus.  We are about one block from a major road into town.  We weren’t sure which bus was the best to take but the people at the bus stop were very friendly and helpful.  The bus system here is very, very good.  There are buses everywhere…the big double decker type.  We have applied for a bus pass but it hasn’t come yet.  Anyone who lives here, and is over age 60, can ride the buses free.  (Tax dollars at work)  It is amazing to see how these buses navigate through the heavy traffic and narrow streets.  (That is also a challenge when driving and they come up along side your car and your mirror is inches away from the bus.

We got downtown and it was a beautiful day.  We are still getting used to the weather so we had jackets and sweaters on and really looked like tourists since the “locals” were in t-shirts.  (I ended up carrying my jacket most of the day)  We wandered around town and then went into the National Scottish Art Gallery.  The art was amazing!  Pictures painted in the 1700’s and 1800’s.  Some were huge – maybe 20 x 25 feet – life size people and horses.

We then walked up to the Edinburgh Castle and wandered down the “Royal Mile”.  The street goes from the castle down to the Holyrood House.  It was really a neat street to walk and lots to see.  Over all...just a fun day seeing the City.  We mastered the bus and made it back home without any worries.

A view of the "Meadows" between the Old Town and the newer shops on Princes Street.  You can see that the day started out very nice.  Blue skies have become a real treat since we arrived.  We haven't seen that many!!

Through out the town we saw pipers up and down the streets.  They were close enough to one another that it seemed that you could always hear the pipes as you walked down the road.  Some cities have people playing guitars trying to earn a buck...Edinburgh has pipers!  Lots of "photo ops".

This was an old church (Kirk) just down from the Castle.  I took the picture and then we walked over to see the name of the church.  As is common in Edinburgh, many of the churches have been "repurposed".  This one contained a tourist information company and a restaurant.  We had a nice lunch here.
This Church was still an active church along the Royal Mile.

By the afternoon, the blue sky had given into clouds and the threat of showers.  This is the view of the Edinburgh Castle from Princes Street at the bus stop to return home.

This is the view of the Castle when we first arrived in the morning.  We have purchased tickets to attend the Military Tattoo in August.  This is one of the great events I still remember from my visit here as a young missionary...oh, so many years ago.  I am really excited to see it again.  This link may take you to the right website, but if not, just Google the Edinburgh Tattoo.
The Tattoo is a military festival that is unbelievable!!  Can' wait until August!!