Sixteen Graduations in One Family

Brendan and I set off for Scotland from Belfast City Airport on Thurday. We arrived on good time for our Flybe flight. I was looking forward to spending the afternoon with our son who was picking us up from the Glasgow airport.

We checked our flight on the screen. It was rescheduled for a hour later. That was fine. We relaxed in the lounge. Our flight was called but we were told to wait in the lounge. Time passed. We missed our flight! A big shock! Brendan comforted me but I was shaken. An attendant arranged for us to get the next flight at six thirty without any further expense. That eased the pain. We missed seeing our son. More waiting.

Today, Friday, 7/7/17, our daughter Angela graduated from Edinburgh university. We were with her to see her receive her award along with over a hundred other students. It was a colourful and jubilant occasion.

Angela is the last of our fourteen children. All sixteen of us have received a degree from university. It is forty five years since I graduated from university. Today’s celebration was worth the waiting.

I have lived to see all my children graduate after having cancer in 2010. God is good. He is faithful to keep his promise that he will bless my children. Exodus 20. Brendan was at each birth of our children and at each graduation. That must be a record. He is a great husband, dad and grand dad.

God and his angels rejoice when we were born on the earth. God and his angels are rejoicing over us today.

When God gives a promise nothing can stop it coming about. Our own mistakes, difficulties, even missing a flight will not stop what God plans to bring about.

Exam Weather

It is May, the time of the year that college students dread. Exam time. In Ireland there are blue skys and sunshine, typical exam weather. Instead of studying one would prefer to sit in the park and hang out with friends.

Two of my children are studying at St Andrews and Edinburgh. This is their final year and they hope to graduate in June. Abraham finished his last exam this morning. What a relief after five years. He is celebrating. No more lab research, library, exams, reports or lectures. Angela has handed in her dissertation and has three exams to sit. Only a few days to go.

Seven years ago I was suffering from Fourth stage bowel cancer. I was wondering if I would live to see all my children graduate or indeed see any more grandchildren. Nine children have been born since then and I have my outfit ready for two graduations this summer. Praise God, he has kept me alive to enjoy the goodness of God in the land of the living.

I started my treatment of chemotherapy and radiotherapy on July the first in 2010. Each day for five weeks I would attend the City Hospital Cancer Treatment unit in Belfast. I told my husband I wanted to try out a different cafe each day for lunch after my treatment. It would lift my spirits before the long journey back home. Let’s celebrate now, whether I was going to live or die! Brendan didn’t know what to think.

I had been diagnosed with cancer back in April. Since then I was given promises from God that I would be healed. People were praying for me. I was encouraged by this new hope and I began to respond to it. Students from Queen’s University, Belfast graduate In July. Placards outside restaurants advertised places for graduation dinners. I thought I will organize a meal and invite my daughters who were visiting, a step of faith. It will be my graduation from cancer dinner, even though I was just starting my treatment. I had been to a graduation dinner each year for some of my children as they finished university for the previous five years. Three of my daughters joined me for dinner a few days later. They must have thought I was crazy. They were trying to cope with my diagnosis and were hoping the best for me. I had lamb for dinner and remembered another lamb, who was sacrificed for me, Jesus.

Brendan arranged another surprise graduation for me. On the day of my last treatment my daughters Mary and Nora walked into the waiting room of the cancer department with a bunch of flowers and balloons. They presented them to me as Brendan played the song, “Pretty Woman” on his I phone. Music and joy filled the room, a light relief in the somber atmosphere. I was taken by surprise and uplifted with my loving family, another step of faith on my healing journey.

This summer I am seven years cancer free. I’m alive to celebrate my last two children out of fourteen graduate from university. I’m alive to praise God for his touch in my life.

What Happened When My Second Son Left Home to go to Canada

It is a month now since a second son left home to work in Canada.
Isaac, my twelfth child and seventh son, graduated from University of Ulster with a degree in Public Relations.  The twelfth child to get a university degree in our family.
He worked hard and was diligent in his studies.
His graduation ceremony was in the morning and he started his journey to Vancouver that night.
Isaac desired to go to Canada again but he was not sure when to leave.
He had secured the important two year visa.
He had been given a token for 500 dollars towards a flight to Canada after he helped an unruly passenger on his last trip.
He looked at flight prices at the end of June.
After the third of July the prices to Canada went up.
He was able to book a flight on the third of July, the day of his graduation, and the price was covered by the token.
We had a great day celebrating with family but all too soon he was away.
I returned home that evening with the celebration balloons, which are a bit deflated now.
A bit like the way my heart was feeling.
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Over the next few days I was very tearful when I remembered Isaac.
The car mats were all that was left of his car.
His football gear was left in his room.
Would he wear the Downpatrick shirt again?
The towels on the floor of the bathroom and the empty bottle of aftershave were other memories.
Isaac had lived at home for the past year and was a great support to my husband and I.
Isaac means laughter.  He brought joy and comfort to us.  He helped us both with IT skills.
He helped with the house move.  He got on well with other family members.
He helped keep the home fires burning over the winter.
He helped kept our home warm as well as our hearts.
After Isaac left we both were a bit down.
We both suffer silently our pain of two sons leaving home to work in Canada within a month of each other.

In Genesis 3 v 16

Because of disobedience, God said to Eve, “I will greatly increase thy labour pain and thy child bearing.  And in pain will you bring forth sons.”

I believe this scripture means one will have pain not only in having children but also in rearing children.  Hence the heartache of separation after rearing children.
My husband spent some time making a photo album of the graduation day.
We remembered Isaac as we looked at the photos.
God comforted our hearts and the pain has gone.
It is now their time to make their way in live.  Like the young birds they have to leave the nest.
It is the way of life.  We lay down our lives as parents to give life to our children.
I know God has good plans for Isaac.
I am proud of him.
He will prosper whatever he puts his hand to.

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. (‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29‬:‭11-13‬ NLT)

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.