Granny Brings the Snow.

There was a meager amount of snow in Portaferry this week compared to other areas of N Ireland.

In Ireland we enjoy a temperate climate, not too hot in Summer and not to Cold in winter. We don’t have extremes of temperature. It means we can be outdoors all of the year. We don’t need air conditioning Summer or Winter. A fire in the hearth will get us through any unusual cold spell. We can gather there to keep warm.

N Ireland has been enjoying a cold spell with falls of snow this past week. The Christmas winter wonderland scene has come early. A log fire sounds so romantic. But a store of sticks have to be prepared beforehand. There’s nothing like a stack of logs neatly stacked away slowly drying. Thankfully Brendan and the boys get wood ready every year.

One can’t pass the opportunity to relax when it’s cold outside. It’s time for a crossword or a jigsaw puzzle. I’ve been working on one these last few days.

The cold weather can suddenly restrict one’s routine. I didn’t want to go shopping. Brendan was going to get some groceries for us. The roads would be slippy. It’s too cold. Then I remembered about my car. It was in the garage getting repaired. I rang the mechanic. Hey presto my car was ready. I forgot to ask how much the repair cost would be. Brendan helped me pick up my car, which meant a journey across on the ferry to Downpatrick and he kindly paid the not so small bill.

To cheer ourselves up we went for coffee. I received a text from a journalist to let me know she had published an article about me in the Belfast Telegraph that day. I bought a few copies. Brendan was distracted from the sting of the mechanic’s bill as we read the paper. I was delighted with the article and my retrieved car.

Brendan and I parted. He went shopping and I drove my car home. There was four inches of snow covering the back, top and front of my car from the snow fall the previous night. I wanted it washed off. I drove to the personalised car wash. It was closed. I went to a garage, it was closed. That snow was not going to budge. I drove back to Strangford to the ferry. I intended to go to the car wash to freshen up my car before I got home.

Strangford and Portaferry are on the edge of Strangford Lough in a micro climate. It’s effect keeps us warmer than inland. Some snow had fallen but it didn’t remain. One of the ferry men asked me where I was coming from. He was surprised to see so much snow on my car. This made me think. Here is my car covered in snow and there’s no snow around. I thought “I’ll drive to see my grandchildren and let them see the snow on top of my car. They’ll be happy to see it.” It was just getting dark.

The children came running out when I called them to see the snow. They coaxed their dad to make a snowman. All the snow was scooped off the car and a snowman built, eyes, nose and all. Their mum told me they had been talking all day about wanting it to snow so they could make a snowman. He still remains in the middle of the green grass of the lawn. God blessed the children with their hearts’ desire. I often say God gives us our heart’s desire. He is a good father.

I remembered Roy Woods’ Christmas song, ” I wish it could be Christmas every day.”
Here’s the first few lines.

When the snowman brings the snow
Well he just might like to know
He’s put a great big smile on somebody’s face
…..
Oh well I wish it could be Christmas everyday
When the kids start singing and the band begins to play
Oh I wish it could be Christmas everyday
Let the bells ring out for Christmas

Granny brought the snow and put a great big smile on the children’s faces even though there was a meager amount of snow in Portaferry.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/meager/

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Faith for Provision

It was 1998. Brendan wanted to take me to India, my first trip with him to the nations. He had been to India many times and wanted to introduce me to his friends there. Brendan wanted to bless me for looking after our children and home, while he travelled. He was wondering if it was the right time to go.

We had just moved house from one end of Northern Ireland to the other with nine children. We were still settling into our new home and getting a feel of our surroundings. It would mean getting visas and booking flights, and believing God for the provision.

One evening our family were relaxing watching a nature programm on television. It was about wildlife in India. The Brahmaputra is a river that winds across north India. The lush grass along it’s banks supports some of the biggest animals in the world. Wild buffalo, elephant, rhino, tiger, deer and many other species co exist. The documentary showed a large family of otters chewing on fish. They lay on the bank of the river in the sun contented with bellies full. There is plenty of food and space for all the species. They are not jostling each other for space. There is an abundance of water and food.

He covers the heavens with clouds, provides rain for the earth, and makes the grass grow in mountain pastures. He gives food to the wild animals and feeds the young ravens when they cry. (‭Psalms‬ ‭147‬:‭3-5, 8-9‬ NLT)

At this time we were in transition. We had just moved from a town house with its restrictions for a large family to a broad place, a bungalow with large garden on the edge of town. We had taken a leap of faith. The documentary was an encouragement to me that as God provides for the wild beasts in Northern India will he not provide for me and my big family. We had more space in our new home, for our growing boys. There was plenty of room for them all.

I reassured my husband to go ahead and book the flights for India. I had faith that God would supply all our need according to his riches in Glory. His bank is not broke. Heaven is not running out of gold. The streets are paved with gold. He is looking after all peoples and nations. Is it difficult for him to look after our family? He provides even for the animals, will he not also provide for us.

The documentary encouraged our faith. Brendan needed further reassurance. He asked a friend to pray. He responded and said God gave him the word, Thomas. This was a word of knowledge, one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Brendan researched about Thomas. He was one of the disciples of Jesus and it is thought he went to India.

The Holy Spirit confirmed I should go to India. Brendan went ahead and planned the trip to India. Friends looked after our children while we were away. God looked after all who were away and all at home.

It’s Harvest Time

It is August, the month of harvest in Ireland.  The fields of barley and wheat around our home are ripe. It has been a sunny, dry summer and the farmers can expect a bumper crop. I saw a tractor pulling a trailer full to overflowing with grain. Did the farmer do anything extra this year more than other years to get a bigger harvest? No he is faithful to prepare the fields in the springtime and sow the seeds of wheat. He waits. He has faith.  He expects to get a harvest a few months later.

No amount of worrying will help the seed to grow. No matter what the weather is like if he believes he will get the harvest in. It is because of God’s mercy and goodness we have had good weather this summer in Ireland for everyone to enjoy and especially for the growth of crops and fruit. The earth has brought forth bountifully. When we visited with friends over the summer we enjoyed the strawberries from their garden.

Last year at this time the ground in some parts of Ireland was too wet for heavy machinery to gather in the harvest. In September a dry spell of weather allowed the farmers to clear the ground. It was later than usual but the harvest time did come.
God word promises
““As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.””
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭8:22‬ ‭NIV‬‬

A prophetic word was given by an American prophet back in May. He said,
“For the next season there will be an open heaven over you. There will be a release of God’s revelation and power. You can expect to receive payment for the attacks of the enemy. God is breaking clouds of darkness and bringing people out of the wilderness and God’s light is going to shine.”

Yes the light has been shining naturally all summer. God is showing us his favor. I am like the farmer expecting a harvest from what I have sown naturally and spiritually. I am expecting payment for what the devil has stolen. God is going to move sovereignly on my behalf. I didn’t earn his mercy. I believe in his promises and his prophetic words to me. He is going to keep his promises to me.  I have faith because God has said in his word.

There was a rainbow arch right across the sky in front of my home on Saturday. It is a sign of God’s covenant with me and with all life on the earth. He will never again flood the earth. It is a sign to me that God is there and he sees and encourages me to keep believing him. He told Noah and his family when they came out of the Ark,

“As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.”
“And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you;
And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.”

God has blessed Brendan and I with increase of children. I believe he will continue to increase our family in number and multiply on the earth.  We will get our harvest now.  It is harvest time.

Living in Harmony

Watching a wildlife program about Japan has inspired me.

The most northerly island, Hokkaido has the harshest climate of all the islands of Japan. The people who have settled there are farmers who grow cereals and flowers in the short summer. Fishermen harvest the rich sea before the cold of winter freezes it over.

In September the Pacific salmon begin to return to the rivers of Hokkaido to spawn. Black bears gather at the coast to feast on the fish that team in the river mouths. Fishermen who also collect the bounty of salmon, sit mending their nets. These men and bears live in harmony with each other. There is plenty of food for both. Often a mother bear is fiercely protective of her cubs, but there is no need to fear in Hokkaido.

The farmers have reclaimed marshland on the coastlands. They were once the feeding grounds of large, tall, white birds called the Red Crowned Cranes. To the Japanese they are symbols of beauty and long life. A century ago their numbers were reduced to thirty pairs. They were in danger of extinction. The farmers, who drained the cranes’s feeding areas, rescued the cranes by giving them grain through the winter when the ground is frozen. Their numbers have now grown to 1000. Here is another example of men and wildlife living in harmony. They co-exist in the harsh conditions.

These cranes are known most of all for their singing and dancing. When they gather in large numbers they put on a show. The enormous birds lift up their heads and raise a deep call from their throats. They pirouette, jump and flap their large wings. They don’t crash on the icy ground. Their performance reminded me of the ballet dancers I saw recently in “Giselle.” The male star leapt across the stage. The many ballerinas created an enchanting atmosphere with their movements in the second act.

The Red Crested Cranes are an example to us. They live in a cold, harsh environment. They could chose a more comfortable climate. Instead they flourish, dance and sing where they are meant to be. Their beauty, strength and endurance are to be admired. I am encouraged to lift up my voice and dance, like the cranes before the One who created me, even in the most difficult of situations. The psalmist calls us to praise Him. “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” Psalm 150 like King David danced with all his might before the Lord when he brought back the Ark of the Lord.

I’m Nobody’s Child

I listened to a song my husband was playing on his music system.
The words go,

As I was slowly passing an orphans home today
I stopped for just a little while to watch the children play
A lone boy standin’, and when I asked him why
He turned with eyes that could not see, and he began to cry
I’m nobody’s child, I’m nobody’s child
Just like a flower, I’m growin’ wild
No mama’s arms to hold me, no daddy’s smile
Nobody wants me; I’m nobody’s child
In every town and village
There are places just like this
With rows and rows of children
And babies in their cribs
They’ve long since stopped their cryin’
As no one ever hears
And no one there to notice them or take away their fears
Written by Cy Coben, Mel Foree • Copyright © BMG Rights Management US, LLC”

Nobody’s Child sung by The Travelling Wilberys
This song was written back in 1949 when orphanages were common.  They were set up to care for children whose parents had died or had no one to care for them.  Some children were given the opportunity to be adopted into a caring family.  The above song describe an orphan’s situation clearly.

When my husband was in China, he visited an orphanage.  Most of the children were girls.  With China’s one child policy a boy was preferred to a a girl.  Many girls were left abandoned in streets or fields.  The children lay in cots that were lined up along the wall.  They had long since stopped crying because there wasn’t the people to give extra time to them.  They were fed and given shelter but were given no extra attention.

Brendan picked up one little girl and nursed her. Half of her nose was missing.  It had been eaten by a rat when she was left abandoned.  This little girl was blessed.  She was going to be adopted by an American family.

I take comfort from God’s word which says,
““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 ‭18:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬
If there weren’t human beings to minister to these children, the Angels would help.

I have felt perplexed and dispairing when I hear of such stories.   I chose to be open to have children and give them the necessary care as far as I was able.  A little child starts out in life trusting those around him.  When he cries he calls for food and comfort for his discomfort.  If the child has parents they will see to his needs.

There are not many orphanages in Western countries today.  Contraception is accepted to control how many children a couple have.  Immorality has increased.  If anyone has an unwanted pregnancy, abortion is available.  A test is offered to mothers to see if their baby has any abnormalities.  If the baby is found to have an abnormality an abortion is offered.  I do not agree with the world’s idea to solve the problem of unwanted children.

I have travelled in India.  On the back of lorries and on bill boards I read the caption,
“One plus one equals one.”
This idea has caught the imagination of the people in India.  Their thinking is to have one or at the most two children.

I believe in Jesus, and as I read in God’s word on page two of Genesis, it says,
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.””
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭1:27-28‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I choose to believe that it is God’s will for a couple to be open to have children.  A child is a blessing from God, the fruit of the womb a reward.
“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭127:3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

My husband and I chose to be open to have children.   We have reared fourteen.  God has been faithful to help us to this day in our work of looking after our flock which has increased to eight wives and husbands and nineteen grandchildren.
I wish that people would choose to believe in Jesus.  He is the answer to people’s distresses and the need for children to be born and cared for.

Jesus took a little child and taught his disciples, grown men, a lesson.  He said,
“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. “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭18:3-6‬ ‭NIV

If one receives a child he is receiving Jesus and Jesus will help.  I believe.

Washing Dishes

Brendan and I are visiting with our son Aaron and family.  Marta, our daughter in law has just had a new baby boy!  A new baby causes a big adjustment in any family.  Mum isn’t just as available as before to see to the other children or see to her housework.  She is busy feeding her baby and coping with the after shock of giving birth.  All the change in the family helps the other children grow up.  Another step to maturity.  Help is needed to wash clothes, dishes, shopping and cooking.  Aaron and Marta will get through this phase.  We can encourage them because we have survived child rearing to tell the tale.

Another fulfillment of the promise from Psalm 128 v 6,  “You shall see your children’s children.”

To help after dinner Brendan and I washed the dishes.  This brought back memories of the small kitchen in our first home.  There was no room for two people to stand at the sink.  The kitchen was the coldest part of the house.  I didn’t want to stay there too long after dinner.  No making wishes over dishes in the sink!

image

Brendan did some improvement to shelves and cupboards.  Dishwashers were not common in any household then.  My wish over dishes was to have a dishwasher.  I bought a second hand machine for fifty pounds!  It was a good buy at the time.  The children cheered.  No more standing in the cold kitchen washing dishes by hand.

We have always lived in older houses.  The kitchen always needed updated in each one.  Modern houses come with inbuilt washing machines, cookers, sinks and work tops.  The big bedrooms and big living rooms in the older houses compensated for the small kitchens. The dishwasher has continued to be an important item in my kitchen. It serves a great  purpose for any housewife.

In Memory of Nannie

I read in the local paper that Catholic missionaries are visiting each home in the parish over the next three weeks.  Attendance at Church each Sunday is dwindling.  It is twenty years since the last mission.

I remember there being a mission in our parish every few years when I was growing up.  People were encouraged in their faith by the visiting speakers.  It was an opportunity to renew one’s faith in God.

My daughter had a remembrance dinner for her Nannie, my husband’s late mother, recently.  She died two years ago around this time at the ripe age of ninety four.  Shann was telling me that Nannie, who was a widow and her sons had left home, kept a missionary every time there was a mission in her parish in Lurgan.  I never knew this about Nannie.

image

Next week Brendan and I are going on a mission to Slovakia.  Brendan has travelled to many nations.  She now has missionaries in her own family.  Who knows what blessing has come to her family because of her hospitality to the man of God.  She received her reward on the earth and in heaven.

I am reminded of the story of the widow from Zarephath who let Elijah the prophet stay with her when there was a famine in the land.  She was going to make her last meal when Elijah passed by.  He asked her to give him water and food and she did.  He said to her,

“For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’ ”
She went away and did as Elijah had told her.
So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family.
For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.”  1 Kings 17 v 14 – 16.

Later the widow’s son died.  Elijah brought him back to life.  So Elijah worked two miracles for the widow because she let him stay with her.

Nannie was very generous with her widow’s pension.  Her source of provision never ran out.  Money seemed to turn up for her.  There was always a welcome in her home for the poor person.  Nannie would admit herself she was not perfect.  But she believed in what The Word of God says, ” pure religion is to look after the widow and the poor.”

When we would visit she always wanted us to pray for her before we left.  She had an overcoming spirit even though she had many sorrows in her life.  She was widowed since she was thirty years old.   She always sent our children money to help them at university.  She gave money to Brendan when he travelled.  Only God knows her sacrifices.  Our children are blessed because of their Nannie.

“but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭20:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

She is with the great cloud of witnesses looking on.