Clap Hands on Receiving a Degree

 

My daughter Hannah received her degree in Master of Science, specialising in Midwifery this week. There was great excitement as we gathered with her at the Graduation ceremony in Dublin from Co Down, Wicklow, Belfast and Bratislava. We all had a part to play to keep Hannah encouraged over the last two years. She studied part time for her Masters. She would be exhausted on a Tuesday night after her trip to Dublin. Will she get her dissertation in on time?  Sweat, prayers and tears went into getting this Masters degree.

The hard work paid off. She completed with flying colours. She got the prize. She overcame and got the victory. Isn’t that something to write about, or the saying goes, “Something to write home about,”

Photographers took photos in the fading light. Students looked smart in black gowns, blue trim and mortar boards. Girls balanced in the highest of heels specially worn for the day and posed for the cameras on their i Phones. Photos were dispatched on What’s App.


It was time to gather in the hall and await the entrance of students, lecturers and dignitaries from the university. The orchestra played and trumpets announced the arrival of the procession.  That was the loudest noise that was made in the whole session. We were advised not to clap after each student received their award. The whole event seemed a bit dull without the accolade and celebration of each one’s achievement.

Clapping hands is like sounding a bell. The metal gong on a bell is called a clapper. Clapping raises a sound to heaven of jubilation and thanksgiving. Students and parents get dressed up in their best for the occasion and want to congratulate their daughter and friends on their success. Some African parents were there to celebrate. They shout, dance and sing to celebrate victories.

Clapping also has health benefits. It stimulates blood circulation, the lifeline of the human body. Having a good blood flow brings well being.

Clapping also shakes the powers in the air. When the children of Israel were going around the walls of Jericho they gave a great shout and the walls of Jericho fell down.  When Jesus was coming into Jerusalem all the people were honoring and praising him. Some one complained but Jesus said if they don’t praise me even the very stones will cry out.
One reference in the scriptures says the trees will clap their hands.
“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭55:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Perhaps the trees outside the auditorium were clapping their hands.  After the ceremony finished we were treated to the best food I have enjoyed at a university graduation.  This was a saving grace.

I believe it is important to give the time to clap each student as he receives his degree.

browser:
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/degree/

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Restore our Fortunes.

God will restore our fortunes.

Today I read in Northern Ireland Visitor’s Journal the following article.

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I was born near where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea in Co Down Northern Ireland.  I took its beauty for granted.  I left home at 18 and studied in Coleraine, eighty miles away.  A new university had opened there and I applied to go there and was successful.  I remained there and raised my family.

I came to visit with my sister for a few days with four of my youngest children.  She lives in Co Down.  We went for a drive to Newcastle.  As I approached the town I was amazed at the beauty of the mountains that stood before me.  I had not appreciated this beauty before.
Are not we all like that.  When we are young we can’t wait to leave home to seek our fortunes somewhere else.

Percy French wrote a song which helped  publisize the Mountains of Mournes in Co Down.

Oh Mary this London’s a wonderful sight

With people here workin‘ by day and by night

They don’t sow potatoes, nor barley, nor wheat
But there’s gangs of them diggin’ for gold in the street
At least when I asked them that’s what I was told
So I just took a hand at this diggin’ for gold
But for all that I found there I might as well be
Where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea.

The song tells us about a young man who left behind his girlfriend in his hometown near the Mournes, to seek his fortune in London.  He comes to realize the futility of hard labour away from his homeland, his beloved and his beautiful country.

Some years later my family moved from Coleraine back to Co Down.  God brought me back to my father’s land.  Just as he doing for his people Israel.  Over and over God promised his people Israel that he would restore them to the land of their forefathers.

Down the centuries many people have left Ireland.  Many songs and laments about Ireland have been written.  The inspiration comes out of hearts remembering where they came from and longing to return.  They listened to stories their forefathers told them.

Psalm 126 describes the fulfillment of the longing of the Jewish exiles who returned to their homeland from exile.

“When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dreamed.
Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.
Restore our fortunes, Lord, like streams in the Negev.
Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭126:1-6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

God fulfills dreams.  Are you longing to return to your homeland?  Take the leap of faith and return.

God is restoring my fortunes and filling my heart with joy in my homeland.

The Arctic Terns Have Arrived.

I drove out this morning to town.  I parked my car along the sea front and walked on the sunny side of the street.  It was too chilly on the shaded side.  Resident gulls and Brent geese on the waters below were enjoying the warmth of the early sun too.

The winter slumber of people and nature has been awakened by the warm sun and noisy gulls eager to prepare for new life.

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The population of gulls along the shore has increased dramatically this week.  Artic terns have arrived at their usual nesting place on an island near Strangford harbor.  They are safe from intruders across a short stretch of water, but near enough for the onlooker to enjoy their activities.  They gather in the evening, bodies white against the black, sea washed rock.

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Another attraction for many black headed gulls this morning was the presence of a farmer ploughing up a field nearby.  It is seed time.  He is busy getting the land ready.  I was reminded of the poem I Will Go With My Father A ploughing, by Joseph Campbell.

I will go with my father a-ploughing
To the green field by the sea,
And the rooks and the crows and the seagull
Will come flocking after me.
I will sing to the patient horses
With the lark in the while of the air,
And my father will sing the plough-song
That blesses the cleaving share.

Instead of horses the farmer today is using a big tractor pulling a large wide machine which grinds up the soil.  Hundreds of gulls follow the fresh upturned soil.  They dive for tasty morsels of worms and insects destrubed by the machinery.  Rooks and crows live nearby in the forest.  They join in the foray, just as the poem says.  Joseph Campbell was born in Co Down.  Perhaps his father ploughed in the green fields by the sea near where I live.

Look at the birds of the air,  they don’t sow nor reap yet your Heavenly Father feeds them.  Matthew 6 v 26
I saw our Heavenly Father at work today feeding the gulls.

Daily Prompt. Always something there to remind me.

I was reminded of the pain many Irish Families have suffered and still suffer as a result of one of them leaving home to live abroad when I listened to a lady sing to her great grandchild.

The Irish people are known for their storytelling, music, dance and songs.  River dance and the band U2 are know throughout the world.  There are many people of Irish descent that live far away from their homeland, in Australia, Canada or United States.  They keep their heritage alive by singing songs they knew before they left home.

I was watching a recording of a Canadian great-grandmother sing to her great-grandson an old Irish Ballad, called The Star of the County Down on the internet.  Here are some of the words.

Near Banbridge town, in the County Down
One morning in July
Down a boreen green came a sweet colleen
And she smiled as she passed me by.
She looked so sweet from her two white feet
To the sheen of her nut-brown hair
Such a coaxing elf, I’d to shake myself
To make sure I was standing there.
Chorus
From Bantry Bay up to Derry Quay
And from Galway to Dublin town
No maid I’ve seen like the sweet colleen
That I met in the County Down.

I live near Banbridge in Co Down Ireland. I am touched that somewhere in Canada is a lady who stills remembers her homeland she left as a young woman. She is keeping alive her identity. She is now telling her great grandson about Ireland in song. She is sharing with her great grandson something about her past in song. Perhaps she identifies with that young strong lassie from Banbridge in the Co Down with the nut brown hair.  Now her hair is grey and her body is frail.  Outwardly she is wasting away but inwardly she is that young “Star of the Co Down.”  Some day that little child will ask his mummy “Where is Co Down that my Nanna used to sing about.”
She will tell the story of how Nanna left Ireland to live in a new country and all the adventures that followed, good and bad. When he grows up he will want to visit that place, about which his Nanna sang.

I have met many young people who have come to Ireland to return to the town or district where their forefathers lived. It is a holy moment for them. All sorts of emotions arise. They try to imagine the relative leaving home and family never to return.
Were their hearts breaking?
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/always-something-there-to-remind-me/

Celebrating St Patrick along the Ancient Pathway

I returned to Co Down sixteen years ago.  I was born and lived in Co Down till I was eighteen.  I went to university in Coleraine eighty miles away from home and remained there to get married and rear my children.  In those days I might as well have been moving to another country.  God led us to live return to Co Down.  This scripture spoke to us,

“Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.’ (‭Jeremiah‬ ‭6‬:‭16‬ NIV)

Today, St Patrick’s Day, I am savoimageuring the blessing of living along the shore of Strangford Lough.  There is a small bay below our house where gulls play about on the water.  The water is still. A lone heron stands on a stone for long periods of time looking out for food.  A flock of Brent Geese fly in low over the water.  They come to get some fresh water from a stream nearby that flows into the lough.  My soul is at rest.

I am amazed that these Brent Geese’ only winter habitat is along the shores of Strangford Lough.  Thousands land here after a long journey from Northern Canada in September.  Most are to be seen along the sunny side of the Lough.  They feed on Eel Grass and return in April to the tundra to have their young.  The Brent Geese link me to the past.  For generations  they migrated here.  Their generations back would have been here when St Patrick arrived as a migrant.

In the fifth century St Patrick came to these shores.  The main means of transport in those days was by boat.  A boat could access inland by river.  He came to Ireland answering the call of God to go as a missionary.  He would have sailed up the entrance to Strangford Lough and up the Quoile river.  It is recorded that he settled in Saul near the river.

The tourist board of Northern Ireland has mapped out the St Patrick’s trail which helps visitors travel to areas where early Christians settled.  I have lived in three sites that are along this trail.  I lived in. Saul St,  Downpatrick for sixteen years,  one year in Bright, and now in Portaferry.  I can imagine those early Christians coming ashore like the Brent Geese to get some fresh water after their sea journey.  They could have built a shelter and fished from the sea that was teeming with fish in those early days.  No pollution or over fishing then.  They may have even built a settlement on this land where we now live.

St Patrick’s writings mention scriptures, dreams, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.  It is interesting that the Christian denominations, Evangelical, Pentecostal and Catholic all look to St Patrick as their patron in Ireland.  At least we are united in the heritage St Patrick left us.

In Ireland we are blessed to have a Christian heritage for 1500 years.  Ireland is known as the Land of Saints and Scholars.  Many missionarys travelled from these shores into Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and the Americas.  God is calling the Irish men and women to remember the God of their forefathers. I celebrate St Patrick today, not with green beer, leprechauns, or parades, but by being quiet on this ancient site remembering the God of St Patrick.  He is the same God I worship, 1500 years later.  Praise Him.

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.

Weekly Photo Challenge. Street Life. A View of the Street where I am Going to Live

I am moving from the town to the country!

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From the noise of traffic, school children laughing on their way home, and people passing by, to the stillness of the countryside.
From a view of the houses and green rolling hills of Co Down to a Bella Vista of the Irish Sea and the Mourne Mountains.
From a four storey house with wide staircases to a single storey chalet bungalow with lots of rooms leading off one floor.
From tall trees and flowering shrubs here to trees and plants that are sculpted by the salt laiden winds from the sea.
From a night sky beyond roofs of close knit houses to an open sky full of bright stars.
From a house full of children and activity, to serenity and peace of only a few of us.
From lighting wood burning fires to heat from the flick of a switch.
I am going to be living where the sky, sea and mountains are big and bright.The reflection of light off the sea makes the mountains in the distance look white.

The future definitely looks bright.  Praise God he has prepared a place for us to live after I am healed of cancer.  God has kept me alive.

Brendan and I will enjoy our new home. Who could ask for anything more.

Days can be sunny
With never a sigh
Don’t need what money can buy
Birds in the trees sing
Their day full of song
Why shouldn’t we sing along?

I’m chipper all the day
Happy with my lot
How do I get that way?
Look at what I’ve got

I got rhythm
I got music
I got my man
Who could ask for anything more?
I’ve got daisies
In green pastures
I got my man
Who could ask for anything more?

Old Man Trouble
I don’t mine him
You won’t find him
Round my door

I got starlight
I got sweet dreams
I got my man
Who could ask for anything more?

I got rhythm
I got music
I got my man
Who could ak for anything more?
I got daisies
In green pastures
I got my man
Who could ask for anything more?

Old Man Trouble
I don’t mind him
You won’t find him
Hangin’ round my front or back door

Who could ask for anything more?
Who could ask for anything more?

http://daily post.wordpress.com/2014/03/28 street-life/