Gladioli That Point up to Heaven

I bought a bunch of Gladioli in the supermarket this week.  The trumpet flowers open out from the tall green stems.  The gladiolii flowers come in many shades, purple, pink, red, yellow or white.  These flowers bring back memories of attending Church as a child and the routine of Sunday morning in our home on the farm.

In the country where I grew up, the community gathered at the church on the hill.  It was within walking distance from our home.  Dad and two of the family would go to first mass at eight o’clock. 

Seasonal flowers decorated the Church altar.   The gladioli stood out for me as the most beautiful flowers I had ever seen.  Their stems reached up to the heavens and the flowers opened up into trumpets.  I imagined they were brought from some exotic place far away.  I never saw such flowers growing in the local gardens.   

I remembered the smell of the incense and the singing of the choir at Church.  Words were sung to someone beyond my world.  My heart was lifted up above my circumstances.  People dressed in their best clothes.  Families sat together in pews.  Going to Church on Sunday for me was very special.  Those holy, innocent days going to Church as a child are long gone.  I was oblivious to the big world beyond the church and the farm.  I imagined the Gladioli came from out there somewhere?

Dad would stand and talk to neighbours after mass and get a catch up on the local news.  Mum would make fried, fresh, farm eggs and bacon with home made soda bread for dad’s return.  As we smelt the bacon we would turn up for breakfast at different times.  Sundays were restful.  No farmwork or school to go to.  No last minute rush to catch the school bus at the bottom of the lane.
The rest of the family would walk or get a ride in the car to second mass at eleven o’clock.  Whoever went to first mass would prepare the Sunday dinner for us all.  Dad would sit by the fire and read the newspaper.  It was his day off.  We usually had a stew.  I loved the smell of it as it cooked on the stove and we waited for the others to return.  After dinner we would listen to Family Favourites on the Radio.  I remember songs being played that were sung by Burl Ives, The Ugly Bug Ball, The Little White Duck or Rudolfh the Red Nose Reindeer.

I never heard about the Sabbath Day then. I now know that God intended that man should rest from his labour one day of the week.  Our family did have that day off.

Observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed. (‭Exodus‬ ‭31‬:‭16-17‬ KJV)

God intended the Sabbath for man to rest.  If God needed refreshed after working all week, I think I will take his example.  He does not want to harm us, it is for our benefit to have a day off, in this world where so many other things take up our thinking, strength and money.
Have a good Sunday.

My First Time Babysitting Grandchildren

I am still resting after rearing fourteen of my own children.  I have not rushed into the arena of looking after my grandchildren.  I know many peers that help out with their children’s children because both parents to go out to work.  

I called my son John yesterday.  He was getting ready to go to a wedding.  He sounded stressed.  I asked “Are you bringing the children with you?”  He has two boys under three.  Yes, he was bringing them.  What a nightmare?  I remembered many years ago when I brought my son that I was breastfeeding to a wedding.  I did not enjoy the day.  There was no one there who was sympathic to my situation.   I have found the attitude “You chose to have your children.  Tough on you get on with it.  You have a choice you know, not to have children, to save you all this work.”  Out of compassion for he and his wife I offered to babysit for a few hours until another relative would baby sit them in the evening.

I ventured to say “Put them to bed for their afternoon sleep before I arrive.”  I was hoping the boys would sleep most of the time I was there.  I arrived to see Rachel looking beautiful and glamourous.  She winked at me as they drove off for the day.  My son and his wife could have a day away from the children to enjoy a meal and relax with friends.

I made myself comfortable to do some work on my iPad.  Fifteen minutes later I heard  one of the boys crying.  I left him for a minute or two, hoping he would go over to sleep again.  But no, Daniel needed attention.  His mum told me he likes a bottle of milk when he awakes.  I prepared the milk and then picked him up from his cot.
He continued to cry even though I tried to comfort him.  He drank some of the milk but went back to crying.  I did not want to ring his parents and tell them their baby was crying.  I nursed him and prayed over him.  With his little arms he tried to push my hands away as I held him.  How come a one year old had such strong arms?  If any neighbour heard him crying they may have called the child help line to report a crying child.

After ten minutes little Daniel adjusted to his mum not being there and stopped crying.  He and I became great pals for the afternoon.  He isn’t walking yet but can stand up holding onto the furniture.  He crawled about the floor and played happily with blocks and looked at toy books.  

I needed to put some logs on the fire.   While I was doing that Daniel wondered off down the corridor.  When I looked for him he was in the bathroom.  He was standing up beside the toilet bowl dipping his hand in and sucking on his fingers.  Agharrrrr.   I don’t know if the toilet had been flushed.

I didn’t panic.  I have reared fourteen of my own children and no disaster is going to befall my grandchild that I will not be able to cope with.  I trust God’s promise.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; (‭Psalm‬ ‭91‬:‭9-11‬ NIV)

I did not rush him to the Local Accident and Emergency.  I washed his hands and mouth and carried on with our day. So keep the toilet door closed if you are baby sitting.
Daniel was none the worse for his day with me.   I was not reported to Childline and I did not have to go to the A and E.  His mum and dad had a great day out.

Preparing For Darker Days

On Sunday night the fourth of October, there were gales and heavy rain in my part of the world, Northern Ireland.  As we travelled home late at night, leaves were falling against the windscreen like a snow storm.  Next morning electricity was out and branches of trees, twigs and leaves littered the roadsides.  I thought winter had arrived suddenly.
Swallows have left and farmers have their crops harvested.  I was not ready for the season change.
There had been warm sunny days during September so I was unprepared for colder, windier and wetter days.  The forecast told me the weather would remain unsettled.  I felt like the animals that hibernate, I wanted to scurry for cover.
I remembered a dream I had many years ago.  I saw a stack of logs and a stack of coal beside my house.  I would have provision for cold days. This dream encouraged me to believe Proverbs 30 for myself and not fear the cold weather.

She has no fear of winter for her household, for everyone has warm clothes.
She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭31‬:‭21, 25‬ NLT)

Thankfully one of my sons was visiting. Patrick is home all the way from Australia. One of my children turns up when I have a need.  I needed his help.   He made a shelter near my back door to store logs.  He secured the covering on my shed so rain would not seep in.  He cleared the guttering of any buildup of leaves.  We emptied pot plants of fading summer plants.  We moved potted trees and shrubs to a sheltered part of the garden away from scorching salty winds.  Brendan secured a store of oil and coal. Thank God for my husband and son. I feel more prepared for the season ahead now.
This week has been a glorious week.  The forecasters were wrong.  We had sunny days to finish the work outside.  At night the full moon shone overhead.  Amazingly we had a glimpse of a red moon as it rose in the sky on Friday night.
Another sign as the Word of God tells us
I will show wonders in the heavens. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. (‭Joel‬ ‭2‬:‭30-31‬ NIV)
God is speaking through his Creation.
This Sunday night I am enjoying the glow and heat from my log fire in the hearth.  I will enjoy the rest and warmth indoors through the dark nights ahead.
Are you prepared for darker days?  The weather and news headlines forecast storms ahead.  The media instill fear for the future.  Do not be afraid.  Look up at the sun, moon and stars.  Look up to the One who created them and have faith in God. Call upon his name and you will be safe.  You will find shelter under his wings.

Enjoying the Waves on the Irish Shoreline

I went down to the sea this week. There is a full moon in the sky. The tide is higher than normal. The sea is covering the beach where we usually walk.

The Irish people who have settled in other parts of the world always dream of coming back home. We have had visitors who just love the simplicity of our land. I hope you enjoy this scene and taste the seaweed and the salt on your lips.

I have often dreamt of walking along the sea shore on my own away from everyone and the hustle and bustle of life.  I now am able to enter into my dream.

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The picture reminds me of this verse,
Should you not fear me?” declares the Lord. “Should you not tremble in my presence? I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot cross it. (‭Jeremiah‬ ‭5‬:‭22‬ NIV)

Http:// daily post. wordpress.com/dp-photo-challenge/dreamy/

 

I Crossed over My Jordon

Today it is my son’s birthday.  This day sixteen years ago I crossed over the Jordan into my promised land.
I had been pregnant with the desire to move house for five years.  My family was growing and my house was getting smaller.  I believed that God would give me land according to the size of my tribe, just like God did for the tribe of Judah.  I needed a big house for my big family.
I had been praying and I had dreams to keep me hoping.  I had a dream where the big river in the town where I lived was held back like the River Jordan.  There was grass growing on the bed of the river.  That tells me the river was held back for some time, but not for much longer.  This encouraged me.  I believed I would be moving soon.
We moved eighty miles away.  We stepped back in time.  God provided a seven bedroom house in a small town.  We were like the people in the south of England.  We had a big house and two cars in the driveway.  God fulfilled his word to give me a house according to the size of my family.  We were not put to shame.  
Our Heavenly Father, who cares for me, and you, saw my distress. Brendan and I had a big family and we needed more space.

I will tell of the kindnesses of the Lord, the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the Lord has done for us— yes, the many good things he has done for Israel, according to his compassion and many kindnesses.

In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭63‬:‭7, 9‬ NIV). The angel of The Lord went ahead of us brought our tribe into a broad place. The same God who helped the people of Israel across the Jordon helped our family cross the river in our town and settle 80 miles away. My family prospered and grew tall in the new space we had.
Isaiah 65. 
If the Lord delights in us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. (‭Numbers‬ ‭14‬:‭8‬ NIV)

In Transit. My Desire Fulfilled.

Yesterday’s suggested Daily Post was titled “In Transit”.
I am inspired by this heading to write, even though it is a day late.
For the last seven years Brendan and I have travelled to Canada in the Fall. I thought this year would be no exception.  I looked forward to our visits when we renewed friendships, ate out at Vancouver Golf Club and took some meetings to pray and encourage others in their faith.
Brendan got in touch with our host about our plans but the time did not suit him.  A Spring visit would suit much better.  Brendan agreed because he had much work that needed his attention here.
I was disappointed and perplexed.  I am alive. I have recovered from Cancer and want to see new things. I had two dreams about being in Canada earlier in July.  I let the idea of going to Canada pass.
I was getting ready for some visitors last week.  I found this pendant as I was cleaning.  

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Am I being prompted to think about Canada again?  Proverbs 10 v 24. “The desire of the righteous shall be granted.”   We were planning a round trip taking in Toronto to see my son David, Jacquelyn and attend their baby’s christening.  They invited us to stop with them.  We told him we would not be coming.  He was disappointed.
This morning I went back to bed.  I felt in my spirit a prompting to get up and not get depressed.  I looked at flights to Canada again.  I found a good deal flying with Aer Lingus from Dublin to Toronto.  I could afford it.  Perhaps I could visit my son while Brendan stayed to get work done he was committed to.  I asked Brendan and he agreed for me to go.
I went to book the flight but the internet was down.  I tried to book it over the phone but no one was answering.  I went into town and was about to book the flight when it would not accept my card.  There was money in my account.  What was wrong?
Home again. “Perhaps the address I gave for my bank details were wrong”, my husband suggested.  I called the bank and sure enough my new address was not registered.  I went back into town with renewed hope and went to book again.  Still no success.  I thought to myself, “Let me check if I have money in my account”
There were not enough funds in my account.  Not to be deterred I went to the bank and  transferred money from one account to the other.  Surely I will have success now.   Back to booking the good deal flight.  Too late they were sold out!
I took a deep breath.  I was getting hot under the collar.  I took off my coat and cardigan.  Will I give up.  Maybe I shouldn’t bother.  Doubts filled my mind.  I decided to try again.  I found another airline called Air Transit.  I looked up their prices.  I found flights that suited the times I was planning to travel and my purse.  I went to fill in my Visa card details but I misplaced it.  I’m  glad no one else was with me.  They might say”Stupid woman”.
I searched my coat, bag, books, under and in the car!  Not to be found.  Again I steadied myself.  I was at the last hurdle.  Will I persevere?  I prayed.  Thank you Lord.  I found the card down the side of the seat.  I filled in the details and with the click of a button my flight was confirmed.  
What a relief.  What a joy, my hope was not deferred and my desire to go to Canada is being fulfilled.  And I have a happy son and family waiting to see me.  I am going to see my latest grandchild.  I will see my children’s children as Psalm 127 says.
Do you have a desire to do something or go somewhere?  Press in to see it fulfilled.  I had twelve difficulties to overcome. Try and try again.  A desire can be like a flickering flame but God by his Spirit can fan it into flame and bring the desire about.  Alleluia.  God is good.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/in-transit/

Healing Autumn Leaves

The leaves in this picture glow like a fire! This plant gives a great display in the autumn. It never fails.

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I discovered this tree growing beside a little stream that flowed under the bridge. The photograph was taken between Banbridge and Rathfriland in Co Down. You can see the wall of the bridge behind. The tree was flourishing in the shade of the wall and in a sunny aspect with it’s roots bathed in damp soil from the stream.
Jeremiah 17 v 8 says “Blessed are those who trust in The Lord. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water.

This picture reminds me of Revelation 22.

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. (‭Revelation‬ ‭22‬:‭1-2‬ NIV)

As I grow beside the river of the Holy Spirit, soaking up the life from Him, I produce fruit and leaves of healing that I want to share with others.

Again in Colossians I read

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness for all he has done. (‭Colossians‬ ‭2‬:‭6-7‬ NLT). The tree above is a picture of faith.

The stream beside the tree can represent The Word of God. As I read it, I grow and I get nourishment. My faith will grow. My fruit and leaves will bring comfort and healing. Get deep into God’s word and others will come and see you burn with fire and they will get touched by the heat.