The Father of Fourteen Children

Today my husband and I are celebrating a great Achievment, that all fourteen of our children have qualified with a degree from top universities in the United Kingdom. Our two youngest children just found out their results: Abraham got a 2: 1 degree in Chemistry from St Andrews and Angela got a 2:1 degree in Neuroscience from Edinburgh. We will be attending their graduations in June and July.

Psalm 128 says
“How joyful are those who fear the Lord — all who follow his ways!
You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be!
Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine, flourishing within your home.
Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees as they sit around your table.
That is the Lord’s blessing for those who fear him.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭128:1-4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I want to thank my husband. He chose to follow The Lord many years ago. Today almost forty years later I see the fruit of his choice back then. I am happy at his side and his children are successful. He has been faithful through many difficulties of family life in this generation when being a father is not honored.

Brendan chose to have as many children as God would give him. It has not been easy. One has had to be patient, endure, remain calm, pray in times of trouble and rejoice in times of joy.
An Arab taxi driver in Israel said to Brendan when he learned we had fourteen children, “You will go straight to heaven because it must be hell on earth.” A lady in Florida said “Oh your poor husband.” when I told her we had fourteen children.

I must admit I have not been as sympathetic with Brendan. But God sees Brendan’s heart and has been with him through many trials and temptations. He has strengthened him when the going got tough. But as the song says “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” I would not be alive unless he believed that God would heal me. I had fourth stage cancer and I would not be here to see my children graduate.

My dad was a pioneer in his day when there wasn’t much money. He wanted his eight girls and two sons to receive an education. We all attended grammar school. My sisters qualified as teachers and nurses. I graduated from the University of Ulster.

Brendan loved books from he was young. He would spend many hours in his local library. When he visited friends with his mother he would take down the books from the shelf and read while his mum chatted. His call to be a writer was developing back then.
He encouraged his children to do well in education. There was always books in our home and a desk in each of the children’s room to do their homework. We didn’t have a TV when our children were growing up. Those children developed a love of reading books. Brendan coached his children and inspired them to be high achievers. If they failed he helped them to get going again.

We were blessed to have good schools for our children to attend, in Coleraine and Downpatrick in Northern Ireland. So a big thank you for all those teachers who encouraged and took an interest in our children.

A big thank you to each of my children who endured the difficulties and temptations that university life brings your way. You succeeded. You endured to the end. I am proud of you.

Above all God blessed us all with health and strength to achieve this success.

But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.””
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭10:17‬ ‭NIV

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Keeping my Home Clean

“Where there are no oxen, the stall is clean, but from the strength of an ox come abundant harvests.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭14:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬
I found great comfort from this scripture when I was rearing my children. There is plenty of hard work and plenty of mess; Brendan and I had to see beyond the hum drum of daily life. We had young children but they will grow to become adults who will make a difference in the world. They will work, prosper and increase as they have wives and families of their own. They will bring a harvest of good for others. They will make a difference in their generation.

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It’s just as well I had an easy going disposition. I never thought it a priority to dust and clean and Hoover . Some people are house proud and keep their home like a palace where the family cannot relax. Don’t leave that there. Pick that up. Wipe that mess up. If I was constantly demanding my husband or children keep the house clean it would not be home where everyone enjoyed being together. My energy went into breast feeding, nursing, cooking, shopping, overseeing, driving and seeing to the needs of others. There was no extra energy to have the house spick and span. My husband had to get used to the busyness in a big family. He lived with his mother as an only child before we were married.

I kept the amount of clothes each child had to a minimum. That meant less washing, and less clothes to be left on the floor of the bedrooms. Each child who was old enough helped with clearing of dishes, filling the dishwasher, washing of pots and pans and sweeping of the floor after each meal. We had wooden floors which were easy to brush and wipe with a mop. I expected the children to look after and keep their bedrooms clean. I never got to the top of the house each day to check. Peace reigned instead of stressing over untidy bedrooms or dirty dishes.

Life was to be lived. After school there was time to play with friends outdoors, or with toys indoors. My girls enjoyed reading books. They would be found in their rooms engrossed in a book. We didn’t have a television in those early years. We found it a waste of our time. Often it brought strife. There would be diagreement of what programme to watch. We got rid of it and we found plenty of other things to occupy us.

My big kitchen has a tiled, speckled flour. The dirt does not show up on it. It can be left for days without being cleaned.

We had green carpets throughout the bedrooms. They kept the rooms warm but didn’t show up spills or grim. A weekly Hoover refreshed the carpets to keep them clean. Buying a dishwasher was my first big investment in my kitchen. It proved invaluable. Dishes could be stored in it and washed when it was full. That kept the benches clear and clean.

My household was full of family over the Christmas period. Bathrooms needed cleaned, the washing machine was in use a lot, clothes needed dried, beds needed changed for new visitors. I felt I was running an hotel.

It is quiet now with children left home. There is less work needed to keep the house. The stall is clean.

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

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.

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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.

I will Tell of God’s Healing Power to the Next Generation.

One of the names of God is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  He is interested in the generations after us.  The Jewish people were told to tell the next generation about the signs and wonders God had performed for them.  How he opened the Red Sea for the people to pass through in safety.  How he provided manna in the desert for them to eat and water that gushed out of the rock to drink when they were thirsty.  The new Testament is full of stories about what Jesus and his followers did on the earth in their generation.  People were healed, delivered from demons and promised life in heaven.

I want to tell my children and their children, and future generations about what God has done for me.  I have stories about the reality of God.  Children like stories.  Books for children are very popular.  Children are eager to learn about the world around them. Teenagers are very impressionable.  Mao se Thung convinced the next generation of university students to enforce his Policital ideas from his red Book. Millions were killed by his young army as a result of the regime.  My stories will bring life and not death to the next generation.

Young people may wonder “What is the point in my believing in God and obeying his commands?  I am young, healthy, strong, I have money, a good job, everything looks rosy.”  The prodigal son went off to see the world.  After many years when things didn’t work out he needed help.  I was like that.  I turned to God for help in my distress when I was twenty eight.  I tried to follow his ways since then.  When I was nearing death God was faithful to help me.  So the years of following God have not been in vain.  It is true God has not abandoned me now I am old and grey.

People coming to my blog site for the first time may wonder why I am telling stories about my family, food, garden, my holidays, birds, scenery, and not All about cancer.  I looked at my list of topics I write about and cancer isn’t even in the top ten.

I now tell stories about how my life is being restored.  I am not just healed of cancer, I have new life experiences happening all around me.  My eyes are opened to see all the life around me, in my garden, in nature, in new grandchildren and in restored relationships.  If I was in the grave I could not write or tell of the wonderful things that are happening to me.  The grave cannot praise God.  I am alive to give thanksgiving and glory to God.  I now live for God.  The old Angela is dead but my new life is hid with Christ in God.  I no longer live but Christ lives in me.

When I believe in God the Creator, and his son Jesus he gives me so much in return.  As I have faith in God he is faithful to help me when I need him.  He promises to be with me in trouble and deliver me out of it.  He will not forsake me now when I have grey hair.  I can highly recommend you my reader, no matter what age you are, to have faith in God Almighty, creator of the heaven and the earth.

O God, you have taught me from my earliest childhood, and I constantly tell others about the wonderful things you do. Now that I am old and grey, do not abandon me, O God. Let me proclaim your power to this new generation, your mighty miracles to all who come after me. (‭Psalms‬ ‭71‬:‭17-18‬ NLT)

I am alive to tell of the goodness of God to the next generation.
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/generation/

 

 

 

Family Memories Created.

 

Psalm 145
Let each generation tell its children of his mighty acts.  Everyone will share the story of your mighty acts, wonderful miracles and your wonderful goodness.   Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.  You rule generation after generation.

Last weekend I invited family to visit.  It was an opportunity at the end of the summer and before children go back to school to spend time with one another.  It was also our son John’s birthday.  We remembered other family members’ birthdays that are in August and September.

Isaac is home on a visit from Canada and Angela is leaving to study in Queen’s university.  No, not in Belfast but in Kingston, Ontario far acros the Atlantic in Canada.
The weekend was a great success.  God blessed us with good weather.  We had clear skies in the day and night.  The sun shone and the full moon shone brightly over the bay in front of our home.

I wanted to show my family a National Trust Property at the end of the Ards Peninsula, where there are open spaces of fields and beaches.  Cousins went off together to climb down to the waters edge.  The grandchildren threw stones in the water and our children chatted with each other, enjoying the relaxed atmosphere.  One of my grandchildren joined me to collect sea glass and pottery.  I was amazed to find some there on top of the stones high above the shoreline.  Over the weekend I was given gifts of finds from the beach the grandchildren had picked for me.  I will make a collage to remind us of the event.

Brendan is excellent at creating memories.  He brought a kite which he launched and flew overheard for the time we were at the beach.  I am reminded of the song,
“His banner of us is love.”

Brendan lit a fire.  Everyone, young and old gathered sticks and debris that kept the fire burning.  Someone found a Wellington boot.  A competition to see who could throw the welly the furthest happened.  Grandchildren, children and grandparents took part.  Everyone was included.  Brendan can create fun without expense.  Memories were created.

When we parked the cars, dark clouds in the distance threated a downpour.  We contined anyway.  The clouds did not get to us.  Instead a beautiful rainbow appeared overhead.

We returned home tired and thirsty.  Everyone slept  well that night.

The weekend was an opportunity to share with my family all the “wonderful goodness” God has given to us this last year, new homes, jobs, grandchildren, continued good health and travel.  God is faithful.

I am inspired by the festivals Moses commanded the people of Israel to have when families gathered for a week to spend time together.  I think it is a good idea for family to get together for a day or weekend at least.

I am alive to see the next generation and tell them about God’s mighty acts in my life.

August Blues. I Have Joy Now Instead Of Blues

September’s weather has come in August here in Northern Ireland.
It is cooler and wetter.  The summer is cut short. 
The last bank holiday was a wash out.
In previous years August had been a busy month for me.
I had to get my children ready for the return to school.
I would check on last years’ school trousers, jumpers,  blazers or skirts to see if I could squeeze another year out of them.
If not I paid a visit to the local drapery store to get the necessary outfits.
That would have been my biggest bill of the year.
One year I had eight children at school.
The Lord promises my children will not go begging in the street.

I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. (‭Psalm‬ ‭37‬:‭25‬ NIV)

I wanted my children to feel fresh and smartly turned out as the new school term started.
My last child left second level education last year.
All the uniforms are forgotten and schools ties’ and blazersimage are hanging at the back of the cupboard, only to be retrieved for a fancy dress party perhaps.
I don’t know if I have more money in the bank this year in August, but I am glad I do not have the stress of shopping for back-to-school items.
August is a time of harvest.  Fruit is ripe, wheat, oats, barley, hay and maize are ripe.
Fruit, plums blackberries and apples are picked.
In the past August has been a month of testing for me.
It steers the course for the coming year.
I had three children in August.  
I was in hospital in hospital twice in August.
But this year I am expecting fruit from all I have invested into others.
The farmer sows seeds in the spring.
In autumn he expects a harvest.
It grows of itself.
Our creator causes the growth.
So it is I expect my God to cause the growth in seeds I have sown into people’s lives to produce a harvest.
And I expect to eat of it.
Two people I prayed for in the past have had life changing experiences this August.
I have joy when I hear of answered prayers and when God uses me.
I am not expecting a baby this year but I am expectant for God’s promises to be fulfilled in my life this August.
Are you expectant?

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/august-blues/