From Intense Heat to Gentle Rain

I return to Northern Ireland.  I  carry the benefits of the holiday in Greece on my skin, in my mind,  and in my body.  I have my beauty treatment for the winter and the few extra pounds will sustain me in the colder days ahead.  My mind and body are rested.

Our son Isaac welcomed us with a meal of cooked fish.  He had fished it from the sea just an hour earlier.  He had  caught it when I rang to let him know we had landed into Belfast and were on our way home.

I am reminded of the story in the bible about Jesus preparing a meal of fish for his disciples.

“As soon as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid there on,and bread.”  KJV John 21 v 9.

Back in Ireland, warmth and freshness are in the air.  Flowers in the garden are flourishing in the extra September sunshine.  Purple Lupins give a welcome display at my back door.  A light shower of rain fell.  The beads of water glisten like diamonds.  Nasturtium planted late must think it is spring.  I love the deep green of the leaves and the orange, brown flowers.

I spent a while in the green house.  Tomato plants that didn’t need must attention all summer, have become fruitful vines.  I pruned back leaves to expose the fruit to the sun.  The main stem can now send its energy to the ripening fruit.

imageimageApples in the orchard are being painted red with the evening September sun.  The fruit that has fallen to the ground has been chewed on by rabbits and pecked at by birds.

What a picture of God’s beauty and goodness.

You take care of the land and water it.  You make it very fertile.  The rivers of God are full of water. You soften the ground with rain and then you give it a good crop.  You give the year a good harvest.  Psalm 65 v 9-11

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Sun, Sea and Sand in Zakynthos

The sun sets over the hill to the west on the last evening of our holiday in Zakynthos.  Shadows are cast along the shore as the sun beds are folded away and umbrellas are pulled down.  Footprints in the soft sand are a sign of the many people that have passed this way today.

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The cool of the evening is very welcome after a hot day.  I believe anyone coming to this beach will leave rested, healed, beautified, blessed, rejuvenated, refreshed and restored.

He leads me beside still waters to restore my soul.  I thank God I am alive to enjoy the goodness of God in the land of the Living.

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.   (‭Psalm‬ ‭23‬:‭2-3‬ NIV)

I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. (‭Psalms‬ ‭27‬:‭13‬ KJV)

We have met people from different nationalities, German, Russian, English, Greek, and Austrian.  We have met young and old, from the babies and toddlers to the two eighty something year old couples that were our neighbors at the poolside.  We could not communicate but we all were enjoying the warmth of the sun on our bodies in the silence.

A swim in the sea is welcome to cool our bodies.  It is no effort to swim in the salty, still, shallow waters.  The young and not so young, able bodied and not so able bodied, buxom and slim alike, bodies modestly covered and others less well covered take a dip.

This is a favorite beach not only for sunbathers but also for Turtles.  The females lay their eggs high up on the beach in May and the young hatch out in October.

Earlier today our friend brought us to a faviourite restaurant, high above the town of Zakynthos.  We enjoyed the glorious view, the red roofed houses below, and the blue bay shimmering in the sunshine beyond.  A Ferryboat from the Greek mainland announces it’s arrival into the harbor with a loud horn blast.  We watch it dock.  Other boats are dwarfed by this new Ferry.

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For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. (‭Habakkuk‬ ‭2‬:‭14‬ NIV)

We return from this haven to the hear of the turmoil in the nations.  A new Labour leader has been elected and some countries of Europe close their borders to Immigrants.

I will keep looking to Jesus, like Peter in the storm.  He could walk on the water as long as he fixed his eyes on Jesus.

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. (‭Matthew‬ ‭14‬:‭28-29‬ NIV)

That Which is Stolen is Restored by God

In my “About post,” I said I want to write about how God helps me in my life.

At the end of January I was preparing to go on a trip.
The morning before, a young man walked into my kitchen, found my husband’s car keys hanging beside the door.  He stole our Saab car.
My neighbour knocked on the door.  He told me “Someone has just taken your car!”  It was a big shock.  I was upstairs and had not realised someone had entered our home.  The neighbour had watched it all happen from where he lives.  I was gob smacked.
It was nine o’ clock in the morning.  Children were passing.  School traffic was heavy.  
What a nightmare.  The police called and took details.
The incident was so strange I just laughed.
I thought to myself, “My husband is going to get a car upgrade.”  
He did not find it funny.  The car had passed the MOT recently and quite a sum of money was spent on it.
Our cars have been attacked before.  It usually happens when we are going on a ministry trip.  We have got used to coming under attack from the enemy of our souls.
The devil comes to rob, steal and destroy, but Jesus comes to give us life and life abundantly.  John 10 v 10
We prayed that God would restore a car to us.  He did it before and we believed he would do it again.
The car was found later.  It was destroyed.  The police told us the driver has crashed into several vehicles on his ventures through town.
Our insurance company said we would be liable to pay the cost of damages if the driver was caught!  He has not been caught.  Trials come to test us!  
I believe all things work together for good.  Romans 8 v 28
Three months on I am settled in the country and it would be nice to have a car to get out and about.  My husband put his mind to looking for a car.  He was specific.  He wanted a black automatic car.  I wanted a Saab.  We now have a black, automatic Saab!  It did not cost the earth.  It was much reduced.  It is in great condition.  We have joy and thank God for his restoration.
He is the Living God and he restores our lives and our goods!  He cares for me.

 

 

 

How we got a Big House for our Big Tribe, our Promised Land

 

Then The Lord  said to Moses, “Divide the land among the tribes, and distribute the land in proportion to the tribes’ populations, as indicated by the number of names on the list. Give the larger tribes more land and the smaller tribes less land, each group’s inheritance reflecting the size of ite population.  (Numbers 26:52-54 NLT)
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When our tribe became sixteen, we were outgrowing the house in which we lived.  Five  of our older children had left home.  Our home then was suitable enough for my children who were toddlers or under ten.  But I knew as my boys got bigger they were going to need more space.
I began to pray and ask God to for a bigger home.  His word promises “The Lord will supply all you needs.”  I needed a bigger house for my tribe.
 I was encouraged by the scripture I have mentioned above.  I was believing God would provide a big house for my big family.  He blessed me with my children so I believed God would help me rear them and provide a home for them.
 Many people believe one is crazy for having a big family.  In these times getting married is not popular and having children is even less popular.  “Where will you get the money for a big house.”  “It must be very expensive to feed and clothe your children.”  “How will you pay for their education.”  I had faith for each day and not worry about tomorrow.
Jesus said “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:31, 33, 34 NLT)
Having Faith in God takes off all the pressure.  God is not a liar.  When he promises to do something he will bring it about.  Our part is to believe, be patient and not doubt or give up hope.  The danger can be when one has to wait a long time for the fulfilment of a promise, the temptation is to give up hope.  Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”Proverbs 13 v 12.
 I tried to move to the country.  There is space in the country, my children could roam over fields, like I did as a child. I saw a large Presbyterian Manse for sale.  We showed our interest in buying it but were refused.  I found another big house to let in the country,  but again was rejected.  I kept looking.  We tried to move down to Kerry.  That did not work out and I was bitterly disappointed.  I had been hoping for five years for a bigger home.  I gave up.  My husband said he would do an extension in the house in which we lived.  I did not want to hear.  I fell out with God and stopped praying.  But he didn’t fall out with me.  He had his plans.
 A friend of mine, a single mum with four children was praying for a new home.  Her children got sick during the winter because of the cold house in which she lived.   She found this beautiful house to rent.  I thought “God has helped my friend.  He will help me.”  My faith was restored and I began to believe again that God would help us.
 A few months later my husband had a picture of a man he knew from the past.  He would see this picture every morning for three weeks.  At last he called this man up and talked to him about our interest in finding a bigger home.  He is an estate agent.  He lived in another part of the country, in County Down.  That is where I lived when I was young.  Would God bring me back to live there? Another scripture came to mind.
At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home. I will give you honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes,” says the Lord.. (Zephaniah 3:20 NIV)
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We waited another five months.  Our house sale completed.  We had to move in October.  We called up the man Brendan connected with many months earlier.  We went down to meet him and his wife and they welcomed us and were willing to help us. No more rejection.  We prayed together and asked God to guide us.  We need other members of the body of Christ.
Our new friend was able to find a house suitable for us.  It was owned by the nuns from the convent where I went to school when I was young.  We got favour because they remembered me and our family.   We lived there for a year.  It gave us time to settle in this new area and for our children to adapt to their new schools.
We met regularly with other people who prayed.  They were praying for us to have a permanent home.  We did find a house suitable for our needs.  We were welcomed in our new community.
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God gave us land according to the size of our tribe.  Thank you Lord.  He is faithful.  Our children grew tall and flourished in their new home and big garden.  They made new friends.  They could walk to school.  No stress.

 

DP Challenge I am Looking Forward to the Golden Years of Life after being Healed of Cancer

In this world we have to live with one another, young and old, rich or poor, black or white, male and female, even though we have different perspectives of each other and disagree with one another.  Writing has helped me slow down and think outside the box and look at life from another’s perspective.
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Here are two stories that gave me perspective about my age from someone else’s view.
I went to a local store recently to buy a fish supper.  Here in Ireland it is our favourite, tried and tested take away.  Pizza and kebab shops have opened and shut down again.
I was taken aback when the assistant said “Do you want the pensioner’s deal?”  I forgot I had white hair and I certainly did not feel like a pensioner, even though I am one.  I also thought a pensioner’s portion would be a few small pieces of cod and a few chips!  The lady noticed my surprise and quickly reassured me that the portions are the same but it is cheaper.  She was being kind.
 This was the first time I realised that other people see my age, but I had never considered how I look to other people.  I feel young inside and think I am young on the outside too.
 A few days later, in another village I was looking at some outdoor plants for sale.  I heard this voice hail me saying “Young lady, can I help you?”  I looked around to see if there was someone else he was talking to.  He was talking to me!   I smiled and picked out a pot plant to buy.  He was a good salesman.
When I look back I remember when I was ten years of age I thought my mum was very old.  She was only forty at the time.  That was not old.  My eldest child is over forty now and I think of her as thirty something.
I was married at twenty.  In my generation it was common to get married young.  Nowadays young women and men find it difficult to meet a suitable partner and the average age for marriage is around thirty.  I think it is harder to raise children today because of the pressure on the family unit.
I have a friend who is sixty five.  She looks like fifty.  I put it down to her mother and father living into their nineties.  She always knew there was someone looking out for her.
When my husband and I attended parent teacher meetings for our younger children, we were the only grey haired parents there.   The other parents were much younger.  I hope my children were not embarressed letting their friends see us.  From my perspective I was a parent and my age did not matter to me.
My children told their teachers when their first nephew was born.  I attended an event at the school soon afterwards.  I was congratulated for being a grandmother.  I had never been celebrated as much for having my own children.  There must be something special about getting to see one’s grandchildren.  Thankfully I am alive and have survived cancer, to see twelve grandchildren so far.
The scripture in psalm 127 says “May you live to see your children’s children.”  It is a blessing.
I  realised my age when I did not have the strength to work in the garden for long.  A few years before I was clearing ground, digging up my vegetable patch or mowing the lawn.  I now plant up pots.  I know my limits.
My husband and I have been considering moving from this big home for a couple of years.  We now see it is too much work for us.  We are delighted to be moving to a smaller home that suits our needs.  God has guided us in this new move.
As one is older one has a perspective on life that is coloured by experience, mistakes, pain and how one copes with what life throws at you.  Younger people have less experience and generally are influenced by their peers rather than experience gained over many years.  Like the child who burnt his hand he knows not to touch the hot stove again.  The Word of God says we learn obedience through the things we suffer.
Jesus said to Peter, who was a bit head strung, “When you are young you will go wherever you want but when you are old others will lead you.”
God made us and he realises our vulnerability and weakness as we get older.  We may be concerned about a loved one or our health may fail.  One is not in control.  But if one trusts God he will give us courage and strength to keep going.  Jesus said “Cast all your care upon me because I care for you.”  He is our refuge in time of trouble.
The bible is full of promises about when one is old.  Here are a few that give me hope in the goodness of God.
Psalm 91 says “With long life will I satisfy you”
“Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone.
Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.” (Psalm 71:9, 18 NIV)
Psalm 90 promises we can live till we are seventy.  As one believes God’s word one can expect to live to seventy at least.  Too often we listen to what doctors or others tell us instead of listening to what God says.
“Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty. But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble.  Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom. (Psalms 90:10, 12 NLT)
I believe being there for my children and grandchildren is important.  It gives security, like my friend, that someone cares.  Can a mother forget the child she bore?  I am staying alive because I want to see the promises that God has given me about my family and destiny fulfilled.
I am blessed to have a loving, caring husband for companionship for the latter part of our lives.  He often tells me the best is yet to be.  I agree with him.  The work of looking after my children is over.  I will still pray for them.  I am looking forward to my new home and new beginnings.
I can say that God is faithful.  He has cared for me during my younger years and even to my gray hair.  I can truly say God is good all the time.
From my perspective as I am older it is good to rest, value life and be thankful.  Love covers and protects us all and helps us to live together even though we have different perspectives.
dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/weekly-writing-challenge-golden-years/

In Canada

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There is a promise in God’s word that says “I would have fainted unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living.” (Psalms 27:13 NKJV)

My husband’s work involves travelling to the nations and I have often travelled with him.  But this year I stayed home with Angela to help her through her studies and help her keep up to date with university applications and keep life as normal as possible  for her.  She was missing her siblings and we were all feeling our house was a bit empty.
When we moved to our present home there were nine children with us.  There was always activity, companionship, warmth, cups of tea, chats around the fire.  Life was bursting out at the seams.
I have been in turmoil over whether I should stay on in this house.  It holds many memories for us and our children.  I looked around at all the things I had put together to make this house a home.  I have enjoyed living here.  I looked out at the patio area that Brendan and the boys had built.  Patrick had the idea.  We spent many happy times there having meals and barbecues.  Downpatrick is not in Australia.  Ireland is known for its rain.  But the sun shone on us.  There is a beautiful view across the countryside from the patio.  Many an evening we have sat there enjoying a meal watching the sun go down.
If I look out another window I see a paved area that my son John built for us for our fortieth wedding anniversary.  Beyond in our garden is an area we let grow wild.  Brendan had often had a bonfire there with the children around him listening to his stories.  The walls of our home hold many memories.
Summer came round.  Angela finished school and exams and her decision was made about university.  She had a party and had fun with school friends. They said their fare wells before moving on in their lives.  Brendan lit a Chinese lattern for them.  It lifted off the ground and flew away into the distance.  The girls stood quietly gazing upwards till the balloon was a speck in the sky.  The end of an era.  We will all move on.
In September Jacob, Abraham, Isaac, and Angela left for university.  Brendan left for a trip.  It was a long year for me.  I was feeling restless. I had been confined to home for the last months because of a broken wrist.  I had cabin fever.
When Brendan came back from his trip he saw that I was in need of some tender loving care.  I was about to faint!  He booked a trip for a whole month in Canada!  Four years ago when Brendan and I were speaking at a conference in Canada a couple invited us to Dawson Creek.  It sounded magical, as they talked about the snow that they have there.  I thought to myself if I am ever in Canada for a longer period of time I would like to go to that magical place up north.
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Brendan has been to Canada many times over the past twenty two years.  He prays, prophesies and  encourages people.  On this trip I have joined him and I have been praying for healing.  In between we got to enjoy the hospitality of our Canadian friends.  I have certainly got to enjoy the goodness of God in the land of the living this trip.Image
I got to go up to Dawson Creek after all.  We saw the snow, got a sleigh ride and tasted a bit of life there.  David Roch, our host is a chef and we had a great time with him and his wife.  We went to Moby Dick’s in Whiterock for their famous fish and chips with Randy and Christine Emerson. image We went to North View Golf club in Surrey tonight .  There were Christmas decorations, friendly staff and excellent food.  Check it out if you are ever in Vancouver.  Randy brought us to visit someone in hospital and afterwards we went to Max’s, an award winning deli.  We also got to hang out with Ivan Fox in Sechelt.  Thank you.
Jesus said “Who is my neighbour.”  He went on to tell the story of the Good Samaritan.  He helped the man to the Inn where his needs were cared for.  We have been staying at the “Inn” in Canada.  The Canadian flag has leaf on it.  The people of Canada are called for the healing of the nations.  I have received healing in Canada.
God is faithful and good.  All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.  He wants us to have rest and refreshment as well as work.
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