If You’re Irish Come Into The Parlour

Here is a song I sang growing up.

If you’re Irish come into the parlour,
There’s a welcome there for you;
If your name is Timothy or Pat (or David)
So long as you come from Ireland,
There’s a welcome on the mat,
If You come from the Mountains of Mourne,
Or Killarney’s lakes so blue,
We’ll sing you a song and we’ll make a fuss,
Whoever you are you are one of us,
If you’re Irish, this is the place for you!

I am in Toronto to see Ava, my son David and Jacquelyn’s baby. I am staying at Jacquelyn’s parents home. I am enjoying the change of season here. I took a walk and took this picture.

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David our son, was welcomed into the heart of Jacquelyn’s immediate and extended family. David has been fishing with Jacquelyn’s dad, brothers, uncles and and grand dad. I don’t know if they caught many fish but they had a great time. He has been to hockey matches, plays tennis and soccer, been on a visit to Washington to see extended family, and sightseeing at the Niagara Falls.

Maureen, Jacquelyn’s mum spent all Sunday cooking dinner for friends who wanted to come over to meet me. It was Thanksgiving and Christmas all in the one day.  
Maureen likes the windows open. I like a cool room too! She loves roast potatoes and Irish wheaten bread, which she bakes on the weekend. She had someone from Ireland she could share with. It was her mum’s recipe. Her mum grew up on the Shankill road. We celebrated her mum. Her memory lives on.

Jacquelyn was particularly fond of her and misses her. Her baby is wearing a cardigan her granny knitted for her.

Maureen’s aunt called by the other day. She brought a beautiful Christening robe, an heirloom. Her sister had hand knitted it and gave her for her children. Now it was being given to Jacquelyn for Ava’s christening. She told us how she loves to make soda bread just like we get back in Ireland. She has here fridge full of it ready to give as a gift to anyone who calls or comes into her parlour.

I am being made to feel welcome and part of the family. I don’t have to cook, clean or shop. I am available for babysitting when Jacquelyn needs me. It’s not hard work nursing a warm, cuddly, baby girl. Oh the joy of being a grand mother. I don’t have to do the hard work of feeding, dressing and changing.
It is lovely to see my son caring, protecting and treasuring Jacquelyn and Ava. A whole new world for him.

When Brendan travelled to North America twenty years ago he was welcomed with open arms, celebrated, loved and accepted. A big shock to the system when back home in Northern Ireland there was war. The Irish were rejecting each other.

I went to England 35 years ago to have my own daughter. I was welcomed by the Irish community as a long lost relative. They were from Kerry and I was from Derry. But we were all Irish in another country.

The words of the song above are true. Brendan, David and myself have been welcomed into people’s parlours.

Facing my Own Mortality

I was invited to dinner last evening.  I was sitting beside a great grand father.  He is eighty years old.  His son who is fifty was there, his grand daughter who is twenty three, and his great grand daughter who is a month old.  I learnt that this gentleman’s wife’s mother is still alive at ninety seven!   It isn’t often that you meet a family with five generations still alive at the one time. I felt young beside this great grand father. I am only a grand mother.

I have only seen my grand parents in family photographs.  I have been busy with bringing life into the world for twenty years, that I did not give much thought to death.

It was God’s plan that man would live for ever.  God created man and woman and gave them free will and put them in charge of the garden of Eden.  He told them not to eat of a certain tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  They could eat of every other fruit.

What happens the devil enters the picture.  He tempts Eve to eat of the tree.  Adam eats it as well.  They disobeyed God and their disobedience brought death to them and mankind after them.

I read in Genesis how Adam and Eve lived nine hundred years.  Their descendants lived hundreds of years as well.  Abraham whom God chose to speak to lived till he was 129.
In the Psalms the word of God says we can live to three score and ten and longer if we have strength.

I never gave much thought to death.  These stories from the bible encouraged me not to be afraid of death.  In fact I read about Jesus who died at thirty three on the cross to defeat death, and if I believe in him I will have life here on earth and eternal life in heaven.  The fear of death is defeated by Jesus.  The devil is defeated by Jesus dying on the cross.  I don’t need to believe the devil’s lies.  In John 10 v 10  “Satan comes to rob steal and destroy but Jesus came to give us life and life abundantly.”

In 2010 I faced death. I knew I was mortal.  I had not the power to live. I was diagnosed with fourth stage cancer.  I had a malignant tumour which means it brings death.  The doctors can treat it but the result is death.

I now know the power of Jesus to defeat death because people prayed for me and Jesus healed me from cancer and I did not die.  I will die some day but I no longer am afraid of death.  I now want to live life to the full in the years I have left.  I am alive to tell others about the power of Jesus death on the Cross.  Satan’s power is defeated in Jesus name.

Call on the the name of Jesus.

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.

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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 grow ing 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)