I Have an Empty Nest After Forty Three Years

I read these words from a Psalm today.

My life is an example to many because you have been my strength and protection.
You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore my life again.
Oh God you have taught me from my earliest childhood, and I tell others about the wonderful things you do.  Now that I am old and gray, do not abandon me O God when my strength is failing.  Let me proclaim your power to the next generation, your mighty power to all who come after me.  Psalm 71 v 7, 17, 18, 20. NLT

My husband and I are living on our own, the first time in 42 years.  Our nest has been occupied with our children down through the years.  Today we definitely have an empty nest.  But we are entering a new season, a new chapter in our lives.  I do not feel very strong at the moment after a busy summer and the passing of my husband’s mother.  But I hope in God again to renew my strength.  He will help me again as he did before.  I am looking forward to this time with just the two of us.

You may wonder how I was able to carry, give birth to and rear fourteen children and be still alive.  God has blessed me with children and he has been my strength down through the years.  Brendan has always been there , a great husband and father to help us.

There is a song that says,
“One day at a time, dear Jesus,
That’s all I’m asking of you,
Give me the strength to do every day what I have to do. “

So I suppose the recipe for getting through life, like a little child, is one day at a time.
I did not know what the future held for me when I got married.  We had no idea.  God does not show us everything or we would be overwhelmed.
But as I look back, I take a deep breath and say “Thank you Lord for giving my husband and I the strength for the past 43 years of marriage and family.  Thank you for healing me from cancer to be alive to see all my children reared.  No sorrow, no mourning for loss, only joy at your goodness.”  I look forward to more opportunities to tell others about God’s power to forgive, heal and restore.

The Fig Tree’s Fruit is Sweet

I live in Northern Ireland where the weather is not extreme.  Our winter is mild and our summer is not too hot.  When I travel to warmer climates it takes time for me to adjust.  It is true the saying, “there is no place like home.”

Given that, I do enjoy going on holiday to the sun for a week or two in the year.  My body gets comforted by the rays of warmth on my back.  Then a quick dip in the sea or pool to cool off.  I do believe I get healing when I come to Greece.  The sun is much brighter there.  In the scripture it says ”   The sun will be seven times brighter when I heal the wounds of my people.”  Isaiah 30 v 26

This is my beauty treatment for the year.

When I go to the Mediteranean countries the stories from the bible come alive.
In Greece I have seen families sitting outside their white washed houses, eating, talking and relaxing under a veranda frame with a grape vine covering it.

The vine can grow up quickly.   It’s tendrils shoot out leaves in many directions so it can cover a large area.  The broad leaves make a green canopy to give shelter from the sun.
Fig trees can be trained along a frame as well.  Their broad leathery leaves protect and shelter from the strong sun’s rays.

The fig tree however takes years to grow.
Here is a fig tree I took a picture of recently.
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Neither of these plants wither in the harshest heat.  An added benefit to the householder is the sweet fruit both plants produce.

The fig tree and the vine are symbols of peace.
It is God’s will that man has a home and lives in peace and not war.
The scriptures tell us about the harmony of man benefitting from the plants.
Solomon is know as a wise king.
During Solomon’s lifetime Judah and Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, lived in safety, everyone under their own vine and under their own fig tree. (‭1 Kings‬ ‭4‬:‭25‬ NIV)

There was peace. Another scripture says,

Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the Lord Almighty has spoken. (‭Micah‬ ‭4‬:‭4‬ NIV)

In times of war, houses are demolished and trees destroyed.  No more days of peaceful family times.
Often families can be in turmoil and war internally.  No more happy times eating together and sharing.  The vine tree is left unattended and the fig tree not pruned.

But God gives hope when there is no hope as we trust and praise him.

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. (‭Habakkuk‬ ‭3‬:‭17-18‬ NIV)

Even in the darkest times of war from without and from within God promises restoration.

The Farmer hears the Cry of the Cow Separated from her Young.

We returned home after visiting family.  It is good to be home again in the middle of nature.
My neighbour told me the swallows leave on the 22 nd September.
We arrived back on the 23 rd and I was anxious to see if he was right.
This morning I looked out to see if there were any swallows gathered on the electric wires. 
There were a few circling over the trees.
This afternoon there is not a swallow in sight.
I missed their gathering on the wires to leave.
There is a stillness in the country.  All the animals in the fields are quiet.  If an animal makes a sound the farmer knows something is wrong.
Last night a cow was roaring in the field beside us.  I knew something must be wrong with her.
My neighbour is away on holidays.
I went out early this morning to see her.  She was needing attention.
Another farmer came by and told me the cow’s calf was missing!  He had found the calf and reunited them. There has not been a sound from them since.
All my children have left home.
I have been sad like the cow separated from her young.
But I will see them again.
I marvelled that the farmers help one another here when necessary.
At this time of the year some farmers take the calves, that has been reared by their mothers all summer, to market.
Then there is plenty of roaring from the cows that have been separated from their young.
The bond is broken and the cows would be uncomfortable with milk gathering in their udders.
This reminds me of a story in 1 Samuel 16

“Now then, get a new cart ready, with two cows that have calved and have never been yoked. Hitch the cows to the cart, but take their calves away and pen them up.
So they did this. They took two such cows and hitched them to the cart and penned up their calves.
Then the cows went straight up toward Beth Shemesh, keeping on the road and lowing all the way; they did not turn to the right or to the left. (‭1 Samuel‬ ‭6‬:‭7, 10, 12‬ NIV)
These cows were carrying the Ark of The Lord on the cart from the Philistines to Israel. These creatures defied nature and submitted to the yoke that pulled the Ark of The Lord.
Sometimes I have to go against my natural instincts when I have to obey God. Inside I want to scream but I have to submit to the yoke of The Lord.
Jesus said “My yoke is easy and my burden light.”Matt 11 v30

Perhaps this time of the year is significant.
The swallows go south, the calves are weaned from their mothers, Canadian Geese migrate here, and children leave home.
September 24 is the feast of Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the Jewish New Year.
The holiday is a commemoration of God’s creation of the world.
Perhaps the holiday reflects the cycles in creation.

L’shana tovah u’metukah

My Prayer For Your Healing

I want to thank you Almighty God for all you have done for me.
You alone are God of all the kingdoms of the Earth. You alone are creator of the Heaven and the earh.

I thank you for your son Jesus who suffered with whips on his back, died on the Cross and shed his blood so I can be forgiven and healed.  You have rescued me from death and have forgiven all my sins. You have restored my health and helped me to live.

I thank and praise you Almighty Father for blessing me with my husband and family and home. You have looked after me all the days of my life. You are worthy to be praised.
I thank you I can come boldly to your throne in heaven because your son Jesus made a way for me to come to you by shedding his blood.

Please listen to my prayer today for others, especially for those who read my blog today.
Your son Jesus said if I ask you anything in His name you will do it for me.
Because you have heard my prayers and healed me I believe you will heal others as I pray for them.

My prayer for you.

Thank you Heavenly Father for ( name ).
You are loving and full of compassion for ( name ).
I want to tell ( name ) that you are near to her and are acquainted with her grief.
I want her to know that you, Jesus took all our sicknesses, sins and curses on the Cross and shed your blood so she can be pain free.
Please deliver her from cancer or ( other disease, ( name it ) and demonic affliction ( depression, anger, rejection, lust, etc. ) she is suffering from in Jesus name.
By the stripes of Jesus she is healed.
Restore her to full health and I declare this disease will not come back again in Jesus name.
I give you all the honor and glory because it is through the power of the Name of Jesus ( name ) is healed.
Continue to protect her by the power of your Blood, and lead her not into temptation.
May ( name ) thank and praise you for what you are doing today in her life in Jesus name.

Please put your name or those you want prayer for, in the brackets, or when I mention ( her ).

References.
Isaiah 53, Psalm 86 v 15, John 15 v 16, Psalm 103 v 1 to 3, Isaiah 38 v 16

Difficulties in Life are Meant to be Cut Down like Grass. http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_assignment/writing-101-brevity/

I am on a break after a busy summer.
Time to stop all activity, no housework, cooking, shopping, talking, gardening, phone calls or driving.
I have learned if I don’t take a holiday at this time of the year my body will cry out some other way.
I will take sick and be confined to bed, or some other circumstance arise to cause me to stop working or giving out emotionally or mentally.
God knows we will over work.  He tells me in Psalm 23
“The Lord is my shepherd, he leads me beside still waters and green pastures to restore my soul.”
As I was enjoying the view of pine trees across from my window, the peace and stillness was broken by the chug, chug of an engine.  I looked out to see someone mowing the long grass outside.
The sound took me back fifteen years.

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Our family had moved into a big house with a big garden.
It was overgrown and had not been cared for.
Years of fallen leaves had built up and thorns and briers grew up freely.
I knew there would be rich soil underneath all this cover.
How was I going to restore this land?
I like a challenge and outdoor work.
I found a second hand lawnmower in the Ads for Free magazine, just like the one the gardener is using today.
It did not cost much but this was a power machine for me over the next years to clear my land.
Briers, thorns, old grass and odd refuse were cut to pieces and collected by my machine and I.
I sowed grass seed in the newly cleared ground and before long I had a green lawn.
I was not daunted by the overgrown garden.  It was a challenge I overcame.
I cleared my land of thorns and thistles.
Today I am glad to be resting from my labour.

Absolute Beauty, Daily Prompt. http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/absolute-beauty/

Thank you for today’s daily prompt.
It could not have been more timely.
On the fourteenth of September our thirteenth grandchild was born in Toronto, Canada. 
Our son sent us a photograph.
I see that she is an Absolute Beauty.
I can almost smell her smooth, soft baby skin.
I can feel the peace she emanates.
Well done Mum
What a joy for her mum and dad and extended families.
I was able to get to see most of my other grandchildren soon after they were born.
I will have to wait to see this little one.
When I had my own children I always enjoyed nursing my new born infant.
It is a special moment for every mother.
It didn’t matter to me if it was my first or fourteenth.
Each baby was special to my husband and I.
Their dad was at each of  their births.
This a special moment for the child to be held by their father.
His comforting hands can reassure the little one’s body and soul after the trauma of being delivered into this world.
He received each child as a gift from God.
Jesus said 

“He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 
And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 
Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” (‭Matthew‬ ‭18‬:‭2-5, 10‬ NIV)

He also said “a little Child shall lead them”
Our families welcome our new grand daughter and will support her parents to look after her.  As we do so we welcome Jesus and her angel who will guard her.  She is a special child.  
Thank you Lord for your gift to us.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/absolute-beauty/

The Fields are White Unto Harvest

I grew up on a small farm in Co Down, Ireland.
My dad raised ten children from farming the land.
He kept a herd of Freisians cows.
That meant milking the cows twice a day.
No lying in bed when one felt like it.
Mum reared chickens and sold the eggs to a local grocery store.
I used to carry buckets of grain and water across a field to feed the chickens, and then collect the eggs.
Dad grew crops of potatoes for the family’s use and oats and barley to supplement the feed for the animals.
We children always helped out when we could.
When the oats crop was ripe and cut, we would help dad gather up the stalks and bind them into sheaves.  The sheaves were then collected and built into a stack.  At the top of the stack an empty food sack was tied on to keep the seeds and stalks dry until threshing day.

 

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Here is a photograph I took recently of such stacks.  There are eight stacks, the number of daughters my father had. The scene prompted me to write this post.
This farmer keeps the tradition of threshing going to show the next generation how the oats were harvested.

Threshing day for dad would come around.   Farmers in the neighbourhood came to help with the work.
A Threshing machine was used to separate the seeds from the straw, and bind the straw into bales to be stored for cattle bedding.
It was an exciting and joyful day for our family.  We helped our mum prepare a big pot of stew and home made soda bread to feed all the men who came to help.  The boys helped the men while us girls played around in the sunshine.  It was a golden scene with the sun gleaming off the straw.
In Ireland in the past this harvest event would have been a time for match making.
A marriage could be arranged between a suitable young man at the threshing and a daughter of the household.
The single men who attended dad’s harvest may have had designs on us daughters, but we thought they were far too old for us.

We found our husbands in farther away fields in other counties.
Today some of our children have found husbands and wives from the nations.
We got news yesterday of the birth of our Canadian grandchild!  This is my harvest!

A very long way from the Threshing field in Dunmore.
Life in the past was more leisurely and people depended on each other to help with the harvest.
It did not matter if you were a Protestant or a Catholic when it came to helping your neighbour.
We  could not hate our neighbours.
Sadly the community atmosphere has disappeared.
Small farmers have to supplement their income with another job.
Big families are rare.
The combine harvester sweeps up the harvest .
No more cups of tea and soda bread with melted butter running down the sides in the harvest field.
No more talking and sharing stories or finding out who had got married or had a baby.

Jesus was familiar with harvest time in the Land of Israel.  He would have seen the farmers gather in the grapes, olives and wheat.  He mentioned stories relating to the harvest, olives being pressed to make olive oil, grapes being crushed to make wine and grain being crushed into flour to make bread.

We remember His death through the breaking of bread and drinking wine, the fruit of the vine.

He spoke of a different kind of harvest, the harvest of souls to bring to heaven.  He is looking for workers in His Harvest.  Let us bring joy to Jesus.

 
Nowadays we find out the news from friends via Facebook.
The harvest field is now the nations.
Welcome to my field.
Thank you for listening to my story.