From the Top of the Sand Dune I watch the Seals.

From the top of the hill near where I live I can see the sea at Rossglass.  There lives the biggest gathering of common seals in Northern Ireland.

image from Islay Natural Trust.

 

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My son and I were out for a cycle on Wednesday morning.
I live two miles from the local Rossglass beach.  It suits me fine to go for a cycle locally as the roads do not have steep inclines.  The journey takes in some fabulous scenery and coastline along the way.
As I cycle along the road there is a stillness in the air.  I can hear the bees buzzing in the honeysuckle that is bursting out of the hedgerows.
My son is keen to advise which gears to use to tackle the hill ahead.
But I am enjoying what my eyes and ears are sensing.  I am not in a hurry.  I don’t have an appointment to keep.  It is good to be outdoors on a warm summer’s morning in Ireland.
We have rich farmland here.
There are different crops are at different stages of growth.
Some farmers grow Maize for cattle fodder.
Potatoes are growing in one field with rows of purple flowers and lush green leaves.
Another field has rapeseed growing.  It is ripe for harvest.
Another field is sown with barley.  It will turn golden soon.
The fields are ripe for harvest.
All the farmer has to do is plant the seed and it multiplies in the ground producing a good income for the farmer.
He has faith.  He is not fretting every day looking to see how his crop is growing.  He trusts God who causes the seed to grow in the ground.
God has promised seed time and harvest.

 

As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.” (‭Genesis‬ ‭8‬:‭22‬ NLT)

 

We can take courage from the farmer and sow good into people’s lives and it will produce a harvest in due course.
God is pleased when we bear fruit.

 

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.
But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father. (‭John‬ ‭15‬:‭5, 7-8‬ NLT)

 

We turn down a road that stretches along the Rossglass coast.
I suggested we stop for some refreshment. I had already prepared some coffee.
We parked our bicycles down a path to the beach and rested on top of the sand dune.
This particular coastline is an area where common seals congregate.  It has the largest colony in Northern Ireland.
“Perhaps we can catch a glimpse of some seals today” I said to my son.
This is a safe, quiet part of a large bay stretching from Ardglass to Newcastle.
The seals blend in with the colour of the stones and outcrops along the coast.
There must be plenty of fish in the bay.  Seals are not the friend of fishermen.  They eat too many fish.
The timing of our stopping off could not have been better.
The tide was coming in.  The seals lie on small islands offshore,  safe from anyone disturbing them.
As the tide rises the islands get covered with water.  The seals move to the next piece of dry ground.  There were about twenty heads popping in and out of the sea circling around after being dislodged from the rocks by the incoming tide.  Mother seals frollicked with their pups in the water.
I couldn’t believe my eyes.
A mother seal and her pup climbed onto an outcrop of rock not far from us.  Their black glossy bodies rippled up onto the rock to enjoy the warmth of the sun and just laze.  Others mothers and pups soon joined them.
The biggest seal, a male, took the highest point of the rock outcrop.  From the top he could be on the look out for danger, protecting his herd.  I suspect he was the head of the group.  They were of various colours, white specked, grey and black.  They blended in with the colour of the rocks.  I counted thirty seals.
I had a never to be forgotten opportunity to see the seals close up.  Different factors contributed to this moment.  There was a high tide and warm sunshine just happening as we were out this morning.  I could not have planned it better.
I sat for half an hour savouring the experience of this intimate scene.  The seals were oblivious to their visitors.  We were well camouflaged on the bank nearby.  From the top we could observe the wildlife.  It was special moment.
I did not have my camera with me that morning.  I went back the next day trying to capture some seals on camera.
Conditions were different.  The tide and the seals were far away.  As if to say “You will not recapture the moment” a mist quickly rolled in from the sea.  I keep the sightings of the seals in my memory.
Sometimes God displays his Glory just for our eyes.

 

“He leads me beside still waters to restore my soul.”  Psalm 23

 

 

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Containers filled with Blossoms That Open to the Sun.

I use window boxes as containers to  display flowers on my kitchen window sill.

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No this photograph was not taken in Greece, Italy, Spain or other sunny destination.

The colourful daisies open up in the brilliant sunshine.  If it is cold or wet they don’t show their faces and stay tightly closed.

We are a bit like these flowers when someone loves us.  We open up when someone is warm and encouraging to us and we feel safe with them.

Jesus is described in Malachi as the Sun of Righteousness who rises with healing in his wings.

God is love and there are no shadows with him.  His love causes us to open up like the flowers and become beautiful like my display of flowers.

It was taken in my back yard, where I live in Northern Ireland.

Ireland is known for its forty shades of green as mentioned in the song written by the Man in Black Johnny Cash after his first visit to here.

We have a high rainfall in Ireland.  But where I live at the moment is in the shadow of the Mourne Mountains so the clouds have dropped all their rain before they get this far.  We have many sunny days.

The bright display is cheery on my window sill and will keep on blooming till autumn.

Then I will empty and store my containers till next spring.

 

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My Son Overcame Difficulties to Graduate from Law School

I hear the screeching of sea gulls as they fly over the roof tops.
It is a familiar sound in Aberdeen, the granite city.
The bus takes us along the mile long street, busy with buses, cars and people.
Ah I am back in Aberdeen for my son’s graduation.

As well as the gulls, I hear the sound of helicopters overhead.

This is a sound familiar to us who are from Northern Ireland.
Military helicopters patrol the sky particularly at this time, when trouble could erupt again.
But unfortunately it is not a sound of prosperity back home in Northern Ireland.
It reminds us of the need for surveillance because of continued tensions between communities in Belfast.
In Aberdeen the helicopters transport goods back and forth to the oil platforms.
Aberdeen is prospering because of the oil industry.
I counted fifteen large ships anchored offshore waiting to get into harbour.
Today,  my husband and I am in Aberdeen for my son Jacob’s graduation in Law.
I remember our visits to this sunny, granite city.  Our daughter Mary graduated as a Doctor eight years before.
We enjoyed walking the long stand with the sunshine on our backs.
The people are warm and welcoming.  Two of our children have been blessed here.
There is no recession here.  New office blocks are being built.  New shopping malls being planned.
There are a hundred oil platforms offshore.
A lot has happened to me in the years since I first visited Aberdeen 15 years ago.
We moved house from Coleraine to Downpatrick, we have reared nine other children who have left home, I haved had fourth stage cancer and have been healed and am alive to tell the tale.
When I was suffering from cancer and did not know it, six children were still at home.
I was depressed so that would have had an affect on my children.
Jacob was studying for his A levels.  He did not get the required results and had to repeat a subject.  He was another year at home.  It must have been difficult for him.
He heard the news I had cancer when he was volunteering in Soweto, South Africa.  More emotional pain.  Only God knows how he must have felt being so far from home.
When he returned I was going through cancer treatment.
He was accepted to do Law in Aberdeen, where he has been studying for the last four years.
Today is a day of Joy.

I am alive to celebrate with my son his Graduation from Law School.  Perhaps his college friends or lecturers did not know the stress my son was under the previous couple of years.  His mum suffering from cancer, and this playing on his mind.

But God knew and has been with him.
When he came home at term time I noticed he had very bad acne.  I did not say anything.  Acne is related to stress.
I noticed recently that his skin is clear.  He volunteered that he had gone to the doctor about his acne earlier in the year.
He took some medication the doctor prescribed.  After a week he stopped taking it because of the side affects.  He decided to cope with the stress he was under by listening to music and relaxing by playing music.  He was healed.
I am so thankful to God for this healing.  I watched a programme that showed the side effects of some treatment that is given for Acne.  It causes depression!
Today we celebrate with him the victory over our circumstances.  He finished the race and has won the reward.
He has Graduated from The School of Law, University of Aberdeen.
Well done Jacob.

I am Being Restored and my Youth Renewed.

Do you ever feel you are tired and weary and can’t go on.

I have been there often but God always turns up to show his care for me.  In his word it says, Come to me all you are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.”

When we moved to our present home in Bright, a neighbour said you will get ten years added to your life living here.

Brendan and I were getting like the last house we lived in before we moved.
It was old, creaky, felt the cold, windows getting dim, and walls needed new coats of paint.
We could not do all the work needed for its upkeep any more.

Like the house we needed some loving care.

Brendan always mended leaks, fixed fuses, fixed washing machines when they stopped working, fixed door handles, changed light bulbs, got Internet access working and much more to keep the show going to rear 14 children.
Our present home is a new house.  Behold I make all things new.

And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children. (‭Revelation‬ ‭21‬:‭5-7‬ NLT)

My husband said “Praise The Lord” when he realised he didn’t have to fix anything any more.  Alleluia.
It is warm at the flick of a switch and from the sun streaming in the windows.
No more cold and having to light fires.
It has thick walls that are sound and strong and insulated.
Our eyes are brightened with the sunshine.
We have been out for ventures on our bicycles.
Our bones are stronger.
I have a new coat for our sons’s graduations.
God has given me a garment of Praise instead of a heavy spirit.
No more fixing for Brendan.
I do not have as much cooking, washing, cleaning, or grocery shopping.
Although I have pain as children leave home to settle other countries, God has not left me.
Jesus promised us the Holy Spirit who is my Comforter.
I are blossoming where I am planted like our plants in their pots.
I receive the rain that falls on me and I are at rest.
My youth is being restored and I will rise up with wings as eagles.
We flew to Aberdeen today for our eleventh son’s graduation from Law School.
We passed a big shop that is called “Bright House”.
My future is Bright and Beautiful.
God has done this for me.
God is faithful to care for me, when I am worn down by circumstances.
He revives my drooping spirits.
I hope in his promises.
I am writing all that has happenend recently to encourage you who read this.
What God has done for me he can do for you, no matter where you live.

God has healed me from fourth stage cancer and providing an environment where I remain healed.

Turn to God and believe in his son Jesus and receive his Holy Spirit.
He will make all things new for you.

 

Grandchildren are the Crown and Glory of the Aged

“May you live to see your grandchildren.”  Psalm 128 v 8 NLT

I was reading this verse on Wednesday. I was thinking, does this mean I will get to see my grandchildren that live near Dublin? I was not planning to see them. Could I go to see them soon?

My husband had taken photos at a recent family event. He takes great photos and puts them together and sends them away to Photoshop. He makes wonderful memories for his family.

Some photo books came in the post. They were a present for two of our grandchildren. Brendan suggested we go down to visit and deliver the books the next day. It was my husband and my 43rd wedding anniversary. I knew we should, because I had read that scripture.

As we drove into the street where my son lives, there was a lot of activity. Women were chatting at their doors while their children played with each other.

I thought of the verse Zechariah 8 v 5, “And the streets of the city shall be full of girls and boys playing.”

The warm sunshine brought everyone outdoors. When our grandchildren saw our car they ran over to hug us. They had been waiting for us. Because we were delayed I didn’t ‘t get the tea and scones that Tamara had specially prepared.

Tamara is a great cook and we all enjoyed dinner together, to celebrate our anniversary, when our son got home from work. We got to see, enjoy and bless their three girls before they go off to Italy.

We stayed at our daughter Shann’s home for the night. Her family were glad to see us for a surprise visit. The next day Brendan spent time helping our daughter work in her garden. She appreciated her dad’s help and expertise.

When the her children, a son and three girls,returned form school we got to spend time with them. It was a warm afternoon. They pleaded with their mum to put out a small swimming pool. They were so hot they just wanted to dive into cool water. Jean Luc unwrapped the pool. The girls were eager to get the pool working.

It was dinner time.  The children chatted to their dad telling all that happened at school. It was getting too late to use the pool. It will be filled with water tomorrow. We will have returned home and will have missed the squeals of delight as the grandchildren splash and dive in the cool water.

At bedtime the children came to us for prayer and a blessing.

“As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants—from this time on and forever,” says the Lord. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭59‬:‭21‬ NIV)

I am alive and seeing my children’s children.  I did not die of fourth stage cancer.  Jesus healed me.

“Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged.”  Proverbs 17 v 6

I Found a Ladybird in My Garden

I found a ladybird in my garden.  I did not have any in my last garden.

Hoorah.  It has blessed my garden.

I hope it brings its friends to kill the greenfly that want to consume the tender unfurling shoots and flowers.

I was considering how necessary and useful this small beautiful creature is in our gardens.

I mentioned in another post about how greenfly hindered my success at growing one of my favourite flowers, the lupin.

The lupin plant’s leaves unfurl in Spring. In May the first flower heads appear.

The greenfly love the new growth of the flowers. They leave the tough leaves alone.

Only a few pale, spindley flowers survived.

The ladybirds eat greenfly.  Ladybirds in one’s garden mean healthy flowers.

I was reflecting on the use of the ladybird and thought about my work as a mother with my children.

My young children are like the unfurling, tender shoots of the lupin.

As they grow up in the world the influences thereof and the lies the enemy of their souls tell their young minds, can hinder their beauty, maturity and development in life.

The lies and the pride of life land on our children’s head are like the greenfly landing on the tender flower heads.

I want to be like the ladybird.

A mother and father need to instruct the child against the dangers of believing the lies of the devil and not to believe others who would lead them into temptation to drink, greed, immorality and go the way of the world.

The bible says train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.  Proverbs 22 v 6

We tried to rear our children with this in mind.  I hope we have stopped the “greenfly” damaging their thoughts to some extent by telling them the truth.

Like the humble ladybird that eats the greenfly we parents are to eat up the lies and influences of the world that affect our maturing children.

The lies will be bread for us.

“If The Lord delights in us he will give us the land, a land flowing with milk and honey.

Don’t rebel against The Lord. Don’t fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us, their defence is gone and The Lord is with us. Do not fear them.”  Numbers 14 v 9

Photograph thanks to New Scientist

How Weeds, Slugs and Caterpillars disappear!

imageBrendan enjoys flowers. He worked with his pots,  filling with compost, planting, watering, feeding and refreshing.
When we lived in a town house our window boxes were overflowing with lobelia and petunia, thanks to my husband’s expertise.
People passing admired the display of dangling colours.
We collected various shapes and sizes of pots over the years.
Their numbers would be added to as presents on birthdays.
When we moved house the pots came with us.
Brendan’s garden of pots increased.  Daffodils and tulips and primroses sprouted each spring.
Window box displays continued each summer.
Roses did well without much attention.
There was always some flower growing as the seasons changed.
Even in winter there was colour from primula and pansies that danced in the breeze.
Over the last two years, as our children left home, Brendan and I came to realise our home and garden were too big for us.
The birds had flown the nest.
It took time for us to let go and move on.
We had many happy times and memories raising our children in our home in Downpatrick.
Brendan and I now have a new start, a new beginning.
We moved house this spring.
A house that is easy to maintain, no more ashes, just the flick of a switch for heat.
Out plants are having a new beginning as well.
We brought our plants in pots with us.  The yard out back looked like a garden centre.
Over the last few weeks Brendan and I have been sorting them out.
It is sunny where we now live and if my pot plants do not get watered often they will quickly deteriorate.
I was sorting out pots that did not seem to have any life in them and I was pleasantly surprised to find a harvest of bulbs.
I won’t know what they are until next spring.  I suspect most of them are daffodils.  Anyway our pots needed fresh soil so contents of all pots had to be inspected and sorted.  We found little tree shoots growing in some.  Seeds from trees in our last garden took root.  I have ash, sycamore and lime saplings potted out separately. Dead roots and weeds were disguarded to the dump.  The other contents of the pots were choking out the flowers intended to be growing taking away the nutrients and water.

A new beginning for bulbs next year.

I do not need to use slug pellets or roundup.  Other pests of our pot plants at our last house was snails.  They loved the trees, walls and hid under the rim of the pots.  They came out at night to eat.   Caterpillars just loved nastursums.  They munched at the tasty leaves.  The butterflies have not arrived yet so I don’t know if I will have caterpillars.

One way of getting rid of weeds, caterpillars and slugs is to turn up the heat.
The heat and the sunshine just causes them to wither up.
So our pot plants have a new start with weeds and slugs gone.
All is needed is watering regularly with the odd boost of Miracle Gro.
Flowers are blooming and a little pruning here or there is keeping things going well.
I am getting plenty of exercise, fresh air and sunshine as I water my plants.
Perhaps my new situation is telling me God is just dealing with my enemies in the spirit.
Like the slugs and weeds they cannot live in the new conditions.
The heat was turned up in our situation with having cancer and children leaving home.

Job in the bible went through suffering and did not know why.

But by means of their suffering, he rescues those who suffer.
For he gets their attention through adversity.
“God is leading you away from danger, Job, to a place free from distress. He is setting your table with the best food. (Job 36:15, 16 NLT)

God has brought us to a broad place, free from distress.
I can testify that God is good and faithful to keep his promise.  Believe and hope in God.
Brendan and I can flourish and grow without hindrance in our new territory.
God is faithful.  He said in His Word he will deliver us from our enemies.

O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy.  (Psalms 107:1, 2 KJV)