Sacrifice is True Worship

The Air Transat plane had a bumpy landing into Calgary.  This city on the Canadian prairie presents a challenge to any pilot. Winds from the Rockies circulate over the area. I had been traveling for eight hours.  I held my neighbor’s hand.  She was frightened.  The tension eased and many passengers disembarked.  The rest of us were continuing our journey onto Vancouver.

I had a toothache over the previous weekend.  It was bank holiday Monday so my dentist was not available.  I needed attention as I was leaving for Vancouver on Tuesday.  I got some penicillin and pain relief from an emergency dentist at the City hospital.  I thought that will sort my condition till I get back in a week’s time.

The toothache did not ease on the journey.  I doubled the dose of medication.  My head was so sore I couldn’t enjoy any movies or music offered.  I dozed on and off.  I comforted a lady beside me who was traveling on her own.  When the flight landed in Calgary I rushed to the bathroom.  I was feeling sick.  Why did I not stay at home.  This long journey is all too much.  Why did my son have to get married in Canada so far away from home. Too much a sacrifice.

Then I remembered the scripture,
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I will make my body a living sacrifice despite the pain.  This is true worship to God.

I have suffered other pain over the past two years.  I have had heartache.  My husband and I had travelled to Vancouver many times over the past ten years, speaking about the love of God to many people.  Canadian friends have visited Ireland.  I encouraged the connection between ourselves and Canada because of a dream.  This dream has tested my heart over the past two years.

My son David moved to live in Toronto two years ago.  He and Jacquelyn have a baby girl.  I now have a Candian grandchild!  The Irish/Canada dream connection was strengthened.  I have visited them in Toronto.  It is not too far to travel from Ireland.  There are good flight connections out of Dubin.

When Isaac finished his studies two years ago he too left for Canada.  He had spent some time in an internship as part of his degree.  I thought he was going to visit friends there and would return after a few months.  He has been working in Vancouver ever since.  He developed a relationship with a Canadian girl.  Will I see him again?  Vancouver is 7000 Kilometres away across the ocean and continent, the end of the earth!

I thought back to Irish mothers whose sons left for America down through the decades because of circumstances, famine, hardship or war.  Many left N Ireland during the recent troubles in the seventies.  These mothers made sacrifices to let their sons leave and give them an opportunity of a better life.  Many did not see their children again.

As a mother I have a choice.  I can nurture the grief and mourn over my two sons who live far away.  I may not see my grand children growing up.  I can remain sad.  I don’t want to internalize my pain and develop some sickness as a result of my depressed situation.  That’s what happened when I had cancer.

God has healed me of fourth stage cancer and saved me from dying six years ago.  I don’t want to get sick again.  I choose not to internalize my heartache.  I cast my pain upon Jesus.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭11:28-30‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Jesus became a Sacrifice on the Cross when he shed his blood and died.  He took all my suffering and pain.  I share in his suffering as I experience the pain in my heart of  my children leaving home.  I will not deny the pain and say I am alright.  I have gone through the valley of loneliness and sadness.  I will offer up this pain of toothache and heartache as a sacrifice.  Jesus mother Mary watched as her son was cruelly killed.  Her heart was pierced.  Jesus spoke to the women as he carried his cross to Calvery.  He knew that women would suffer in child bearing and rearing.

A large crowd trailed behind, including many grief-stricken women. But Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.”
Luke‬ ‭23:27-28‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I awaken in the night with Jetlag.  I hear a train’s horn blowing.  The sound gets stronger as it passes nearby.  It is a familiar sound from my visits to Canada in the past.  At day break I hear new sounds.  Chuck chuck, whistle whistle, chirrup, chirrup, the sounds of a dawn chorus. These sounds speak to me to welcome me to this different country before anyone else is up.  We have been hosted in a beautiful home in the woodland.  We have attended barbecues, breakfasts and been well received in Vancouver.

The wedding day has arrived.  The bride and bridesmaids are excited.  They are getting ready.  The bridegroom, our son, has found his bride.
Jesus has healed me.  My toothache has gone.  My heart is healed.

By the stripes of Jesus I am healed.  Isaiah 53.

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day in Canada.  I will celebrate the day in victory grateful to have lived to see another of my children married and setting off and released into his new future.

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

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A Princess Cup for my Teacher

 

Sara Joye said “Grandma, I want to buy a Princess cup for my teacher.”

“What is a Princess cup?”

“You know, like your cups, Grandma.”
She pointed to some china cups with flowered patterns  in my cupboard.  ”
“Do you not have these in Slovakia.”
“No grandma, only in your house.”
“Would  you like to get a special patterned cup and saucer for your teacher?  I understand now.”
“Yes, I just love Princess cups”.
She held a china cup in her hands close to her heart as if it was the most beautiful, tender thing in the world.

I enjoy collecting jugs and china plates with flowers and gold trim on them.  I display them on my dressers in the kitchen.  Forty years ago a China Tea Set was a “must have” item for a bride.  It would be kept in a safe place and only brought out for tea with special visitors or at Christmas or Easter.  My husband bought me a china tea set.  Its design was called “Angela.”  Sadly I didn’t keep it safe.  I liked to use it often.

I was reminded of words from the poem The Old Woman of the Roads by Patraic Colum.

O, to have a little house!
To own the hearth and stool and all!
The heaped up sods against the fire,
The pile of turf against the wall!
To have a clock with weights and chains
And pendulum swinging up and down!
A dresser filled with shining delph,
Speckled and white and blue and brown!
I could be busy all the day
Clearing and sweeping hearth and floor,
And fixing on their shelf again
My white and blue and speckled store!
I could be quiet there at night
Beside the fire and by myself,
Sure of a bed and loth to leave
The ticking clock and the shining delph!
Och! but I’m weary of mist and dark,
And roads where there’s never a house nor bush,
And tired I am of bog and road,
And the crying wind and the lonesome hush!
And I am praying to God on high,
And I am praying Him night and day,
For a little house – a house of my own
Out of the wind’s and the rain’s way.

I had often dreamed of having a dresser to display pottery, fine china, glasses or gifts, high up out of little children’s reach.  In my new home I have two dressers.  Items I collected over the years are now on display.  Chinese patterned plates, I received as a twenty fifth anniversary present, wine glasses, china plates, gifts from my children and family photos.  My dream has come true.  My collection is being added as I pick up a bargain from a car boot sale or craft market.  Now my grandchildren admire my collection.  To their eyes it is treasure.  I must be a Princess, instead of a poor wanderer as the poem depicts.

On Saturday Aaron, Marta and their children went to shop locally.  Portaferry is a small village.  I wondered would Sara Joye find any Princess cups.  Her Mum prayed.  “Dear Lord please let someone bring Princess cups to the Charity shop today.”

image
They set off.  Some time later they called me to give them a lift home.  It was cold and raining.  But the children’s spirits were not dampened.  Instead there was great excitement.  Princess cups were purchased at a bargain price.  It happened just as Marta had prayed.  In an Antique store or Fine China shop these goods would be costly.  The prized purchases were carefully wrapped to keep them safe on the journey back to Slovakia.

Sara Joye’s teacher in Slovakia will receive a Princess cup from Ireland.

Testimony Tuesday. My Consultant Didn’t Want Me to have more Children.

When I was expecting my eleventh child I attended my consultant for a routine check up.  After blood pressure was checked, temperature taken and weight checked he wanted to talk to me.  He went on to tell me there was a risk my baby could be born with a disability because I was now forty years old.  I refused to listen to him even though he was a respected consultant.  Many women spent lots of money to go privately and get his help at the their births.  I told him I believed in God and God would look after me and my baby.   If I had  shown any fear he would have offered me an abortion.  I changed doctors.  I found a Cathoilc lady doctor who didn’t judge me for having more children.

When I delivered my son Jacob another doctor suggested to me not to have any more children.  He said, “Your body is like a car, it will break down.”  I quickly responded, “No Doctor, God will renew my strength.  I went on to have three more children.  I was in my forties.  I didn’t always listen to the doctor.

My husband said every time I went into labour it was like having a revival meeting.  I would be calling on Jesus when I had a labour pain.  Having my son Aaron was the most memorable time for Brendan.  When I started in labour with Aaron we walked to the maternity home that was near where I lived.  It was like a home from home.  The midwives looked after the mothers.  The GP doctor would be in attendance when the baby was due to be born.   I was in labour all night.  The night nurses stayed on in the morning to see my baby born.  The night nurses and the new shift of nurses were all around my bed.  The doctor was in the background waiting.  The pains were getting intense.  The nurse asked me to lift up my leg.  I said “lift up The Lord “.  Everyone was embarressed.  Aaron was born to the sound of “Praise The Lord”.  He was a bouncy baby boy weighing in at ten pounds ten ounces.  Mother and baby were all well.  Brendan went home to get a rest.

Two people who worked in the Maternity Home became pregnant after my visit there.  One lady was a carer and another was a midwife. They were telling me when I returned to have my next child.

My consultant wasn’t the only one who wasn’t happy with me having many children.  Another doctor said on his notes “This unfortunate woman is pregnant again”.  That was when I was expecting Ruth, my seventh child!  Friends and family were fearful for me.  Thay thought something would happen to me if I continued having children.   I became afraid of what others thought.  I became pregnant with my eighth child.  I was afraid to tell anyone I was pregnant again.

Well meaning friends invited me out for coffee or to the gym.  They thought it would be good for me to get out for a time away from work at home with children.  I attended exercise classes with a friend.  I had never been to the gym before.   I still didn’t tell anyone I was pregnant.  At twelve weeks I had a miscarriage.  I lost my baby.  I could see the little human being of twelve weeks.  Brendan and I were sad.  Brendan took the  small baby and put it in a box.  He asked The Lord what to do.  The Lord told him to buy a grave and bury our child and to give our baby a name.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (‭Psalm‬ ‭139‬:‭13, 16‬ NIV)

Brendan bought a burial plot in the cemetery.  He took all of us there to bury our child.  All of our family gathered around as Brendan put the box in the soil.  We prayed a prayer , cried a little and went back to the car.  Brendan put the tape recorder on in the car.  It played a song by a New Zealand couple with the words in it, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book.”  We were all comforted by these words.  Our baby lived twelve weeks but God knew every day ordained for her.   My husband had a dream some time later.  God showed him our baby was a little girl and he called her Deirdre.  She was with The Lord in heaven.  I hope this is a comfort to other mothers who have had a miscarriage  or have had an abortion.  God is taking care for the little ones.  I will see my daughter in heaven. Like David when his son with Bathsheba died he said,

He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” (‭2 Samuel‬ ‭12‬:‭22-23‬ NIV)

After loosing my baby I told God I was very sorry for being fearful of what others thought of me being pregnant.  I told him I was sorry for going to the gym, which may have endangered my unborn baby. I realised that God is the author of life.  It was not within my own power to save my baby.  I had become blaze.  I was always healthy and my babies were healthy.  I determined never to be afraid of what others thought of me having children.  I was delivered from the fear of man. Doctors, friends and family can give advice,  but I want to obey God first.  He is my creator and helper.  I honor him.

David and Bathsheba had another son after their child died.  I became pregnant again and had my son Patrick.

Pens and Pencils. https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/pens-and-pencils/

 

I bought a writing pad and envelopes recently.

These items connect me with

imagethe past when I remember my mother writing a letter to her daughter who had left home.  She had sent many letters to her leaving children after that.  She would have looked out for the postman to see if there was a response to her letters, a longing for a demonstration of love to be returned to her.

I enjoy getting a hand written letter that the postman brings. At a Christmas event my sister gave her siblings hand written letters we had sent to her forty years ago.  They brought back memories, jogged the mind to remember past events, and produced a few tears.

I set the writing pad and envelopes in my writing bureau, knowing I will be inspired to use them, someday.  That “someday” was this morning.  I have just written a hand written letter to my friend, whose phone is not reliable.  And even if it is working she often does not answer it.

Very often an elderly relative appreciates a hand written letter or card.  They are not able to connect with Facebook or e mail, the modern way of communication.

When my children were at home it was difficult to find a pen when one needed it to make a note to buy an item or when my husband needed one.  The pens always circulated into bedrooms and under beds.  No matter how many pens were left in a holder to keep them together, it would have to be refilled often.

Now the pens stay in the overcrowded holder.  My husband would forget the children are not here any longer, and would include a packet of pens in the shopping when they are on offer.  He cannot pass a bargain.

Our first Christmas card this season was from our son Jacob.  It was sealed on the outside with wax.  He wrote down thoughts from the heart to his mum and dad on the beautiful card.  I found out later he had sent a hand written card to each of his family at Christmas time, especially to those who live in other countries.   He is not a fan of Facebook.  I still have his card on the mantle piece of the fireplace.

I bought some of my children fountain pens this Christmas.  I remember using one for all my school work.  The teachers were very careful to make sure we had neat hand writing using an ink filled pen.  Some traditions are returning.

I Asked My Husband to Help Me With the Dishwasher.

 

Some of my children have been home for Christmas festivities and rest.   The last child left yesterday to go back to St Andrew’s university via the French Alps.  He must be influenced by princes.  Prince Willliam went to St Andrews and skied in the Alps.

When my children lived at home, chores wereimage delegated to each child.  Someone was in charge of the dishwasher, to load it and unload it.  Now Brendan and I are on our own I ask him to help in the kitchen.  I started to unload the cups from the dishwasher yesterday morning.  I noticed thy felt gritty.  They were not properly washed!  I asked Brendan if he would have a look to see why the dishwasher was not functionally properly.

“Is there dishwasher salt?”
“No I don’t have any.”
“There’s bound to be some about.”
I didn’t answer, wondering where am I to find it among all the stuff we still have to sort after our recent house move.

I left Brendan to work away cleaning up the dishwasher.  He removed two arms that spray hot water over the dishes.  The holes in them were blocked, so were not working efficiently.  Brendan removed certain debris, rice, string, glass, a piece of plastic, and other food particles.

He put the parts together again and completed the task.  It took longer than I thought.

When I involve Brendan in the work he does a thorough job.

A husband and father has many skills we as wives and mothers don’t often draw upon.  Very often I do the job myself to save hastle, or my pride says I can do it better.
If the husband brings home the money to provide for the family, he and we may think he has done his job.

How come the children will listen to their father and not the mother?   How come we hide what the children are up to from their father in case dad will be too harsh with them?  A child will respect his father when he is disciplined and it brings peace to the mother.

How come men don’t worry too much?   A man has grace to look after his wife and children.  If I don’t ask for his help he does not get an opportunity to use the grace God has given him.  

How come God made man to have strong, broad shoulders?  It is to carry the responsibilities we as women were never intended to carry?

How come men go off to the pub,  the football match, golf, or find another woman?  Perhaps they see us doing such a good job on our own, going out to work, looking after the children, shopping, cleaning and disciplining  that they feel they are not needed.  They were never asked so they find some other outlet to occupy their time.

Children will follow our example.  If a child sees his father taking a caring role in his family there is more likelihood he will do the same for his family.  If a child sees that the mother takes the caring role, as the father absents himself then that is the model he will follow.

As a wife and mother, cook and carer I busied myself over the years.  I worried, got anxious and prayed.  I often did not ask my husband for help.  Pride and independence prevented me from asking for help.   We grow up in society that tells us we are a failure if you can’t do things yourself.  Independence is offered to us.  You don’t need others. Earn enough money to buy independence and kill yourself in the process and one is left old, lonely and bitter.

I have learnt through my experience of life, through pain and failure that God’s pattern for marriage is the best.   He has the blueprint.  I have learnt to relinquish control.

What do you want, women, for your husbands and children?   Relax, don’t do all the work, ask the husband to help and take his rightful role in the family.  Respect his position that God has given him.  Let him lead.  Let him look after you.  Ultimately God will hold him responsible for how he looked after his family.

How I Learned to Use a Computer

While at school I was good at English Language but not so hot with English Literature.  My reading was limited to true life stories.  I did not like writing letters unless I had something good to write.  My husband would sit at night and tell my children stories about his childhood.  I never shared any stories from my past.

In 2004 when my fourteenth child went to primary school, I decided I would freshen up my typing skills and learn to use a computer.  I had an idea that some day I would write about my family.  My children in the primary school were being taught computer skills.  I wanted to get up to date.

I went to a typing class back in 1976 at the technical college in Coleraine.  My second child went to play group while I attended the class.  I had just moved to that town.  I got to meet new people.  I enjoyed the coffee break more than the actual class.  I was learning to type on the old typewriters.  I learned basic skills, asdf with my left hand and lkjh with my right hand, but made friendships there that have lasted till today.  I met an Indian lady, Shanti, who taught me how to make curries.  Pauline became my friend.  She had two children the same age as my own.  Everyone from that class went on to full time employment.  Motherhood became my full time employment.

Habits never change.  At my new computer class I enjoyed the coffee break best.  I got to chat to some of the other ladies.  One said to me, “You could get a job in Management with your skills after having fourteen children.”  She only encouraged my pride.  I thought to myself, “Yes that is true.  I must apply for a job.  I could supplement our income.  My talents could shine for all to see.  At last I could be free from the kitchen sink.”

When I returned home I threw the car keys on the table and announced to my husband  “I am going to apply for a job.  A lady told me today I could easily get a job in Management.”  He looked at me perplexed.  He was used to my strong will.  He did not say anything.  I didn’t ask his advice.
I went upstairs to my room and thought “Perhaps I should ask God?  Is it his will I go out to work?  It seemed a good idea to me, I could earn some money.”

God spoke to me through the scriptures, in other words “Do you want to work for me.”  I believe looking after my husband and children was the work God had called me to do.  I gave up the idea of going outside the home to work.  I had a full time job at home.  I gave up the struggle.  Going out to work was not mentioned again.

I finished the computer course.  Brendan let me use his computer to practice my skills.  There was an exam at the end of the ten weeks.  I had to complete a basic skill, such as writing a letter, save it and print it out.  I pressed the wrong button and my work disappeared.  My fears came rushing back to me of being in an exam and not knowing what to do, and failing.  Panic set in.  I felt like I was in the board room with Lord Sugar.

I steadied myself and thought “What am I doing getting annoyed over this exam.  I have a life experience of rearing my family, which is more important than a disappearing document on a computer.  It is not the end of the world.”  There is nothing wrong with failure.  I learnt from my mistakes.  I am careful to save all work I write on the computer now.

Over the years when I read from the bible some words would speak to me.  I would write them down with the reference.  If I needed to remind myself I could refer back to my notes.  Brendan called them my “Rewrites”.  He thought I was re writing the bible.  But he always bought me a new diary every year to keep my notes in.  I have a shelf full of these books.

I thought I would  like to progress to getting a computer to keep my notes.  But a computer is a bit more expensive than a notebook.  I was given some money so I said to Brendan “I wanted to buy a computer.”   Laptops were becoming popular.  Sometimes the children wanted to use Brendan’s computer to do their homework.  I reassured him that if I got one the children could use it.  He agreed and I bought a basic Dell Laptop.

E mail was becoming popular.  I used the laptop to send e mails to my children or friends.  Once in a while I would send an email about all the news in my family to each of my children who had left home.  I got great feed back from them.  They enjoyed my writing and wanted me to keep in touch.  This was the beginning of my writing.  I was encouraged by my children’s response.

My children taught me how to use the new laptop.  I did save some notes on it.  My children got the most benefit from it, doing their homework.

In April 2010 I was diagnosed with cancer.   It was my birthday at the end of May.  I was returning from one of my hospital visits when Brendan brought me to PC World.  He wanted to buy me a new Laptop. He said, “This is for you.  Don’t let the children use it.”  It had a gleaming, shiny red top.  I said “I want to write a book about my children.”  I have many life experiences I wanted to write about.

One of my daughters told me recently she thought I was crazy.  In one of her weak moments she didn’t think I would use it .  I had cancer after all.  My husband believed differently.

After I knew I was healed I began to use my laptop with great enthusiasm.  I wouldn’t let the children use it.  I wrote down about my recent experiences going through cancer.  I even watched Alan Sugar’s “The Apprentice” on I Player.  My son suggested I start a blog.  He set it up for me on WordPress and I stumbled into the cyber space.  Alleluia.  The whole world has opened up for me.

In 2012 we were visiting our daughter.  She had just bought a new I Pad.  She accessed much information through touching the screen.  She could type up an e mail swiftly on the touch typing screen.  Brendan was watching.  In May of that year he bought me a new I Pad.  It has been such a blessing to me.  My blogging has increased.  I can be in touch by e mail.  I can take photos easily and transport them to emails or WordPress.  I can take it on a flight with me.  I can take photos from the aeroplane portal.  I take photos on the beach.

My shiny computer sits on a shelf near me.  It was used by my children since 2012 for home works, applications for jobs, writing up CVs, e mails and watching movies late at night.  All their information has been deleted from it.  I will use it again.  I will collate all my re writes and use them.

My husband is a skilled writer.  I have learnt much from him.  He has written four books.  Thousands of copies have been distributed here and abroad.  Staying Alive has been translated into Slovakian, Italian and will be translated soon into Russian.

There is a time for everything under heaven.   God has guided me along the path of life and saved me from many snares.  It is now time for me to write and tell stories of good news.

Thank God for the development in Media Technology.  We are living in the days Daniel spoke of when knowledge and travel will increase.  Daniel 12 v 4

If You’re Irish Come Into The Parlour

Here is a song I sang growing up.

If you’re Irish come into the parlour,
There’s a welcome there for you;
If your name is Timothy or Pat (or David)
So long as you come from Ireland,
There’s a welcome on the mat,
If You come from the Mountains of Mourne,
Or Killarney’s lakes so blue,
We’ll sing you a song and we’ll make a fuss,
Whoever you are you are one of us,
If you’re Irish, this is the place for you!

I am in Toronto to see Ava, my son David and Jacquelyn’s baby. I am staying at Jacquelyn’s parents home. I am enjoying the change of season here. I took a walk and took this picture.

image

David our son, was welcomed into the heart of Jacquelyn’s immediate and extended family. David has been fishing with Jacquelyn’s dad, brothers, uncles and and grand dad. They caught many fish and had a great time. He has been to hockey matches, plays tennis and soccer, been on a visit to Washington to see extended family, and sightseeing at the Niagara Falls.

Maureen, Jacquelyn’s mum spent all Sunday cooking dinner for friends who wanted to come over to meet me. It was Thanksgiving and Christmas all in the one day.
Maureen likes the windows open. I like a cool room too! She loves roast potatoes and Irish wheaten bread, which she bakes on the weekend. She had someone from Ireland she could share with. It was her mum’s recipe. Her mum grew up in Belfast.  We celebrated her mum. Her memory lives on.

Jacquelyn was particularly fond of her and misses her. Her baby is wearing a cardigan her granny knitted for her.

Maureen’s aunt called by the other day. She brought a beautiful Christening robe, an heirloom. Her sister had hand knitted it and gave her for her children. Now it was being given to Jacquelyn for Ava’s christening. She told us how she loves to make soda bread just like we get back in Ireland. She has here fridge full of it ready to give as a gift to anyone who calls or comes into her parlour.

I am being made to feel welcome and part of the family. I don’t have to cook, clean or shop. I am available for babysitting when Jacquelyn needs me. It’s not hard work nursing a warm, cuddly, baby girl. Oh the joy of being a grand mother. I don’t have to do the hard work of feeding, dressing and changing.
It is lovely to see my son caring, protecting and treasuring Jacquelyn and Ava. A whole new world for him.

When Brendan travelled to North America twenty years ago he was welcomed with open arms, celebrated, loved and accepted. A big shock to the system when back home in Northern Ireland there was war. The Irish were rejecting each other.

I went to England 35 years ago to have my own daughter. I was welcomed by the Irish community as a long lost relative. They were from Kerry and I was from Derry. But we were all Irish in another country.

The words of the song above are true. Brendan, David and myself have been welcomed into people’s parlours.