Black Guillemots Nest Nearby

The Loughshore Rd in Portaferry, Co Down is very popular with local walkers, and more so during the Covid restrictions. There is less vehicle traffic. A family of Black Guillemots have become quit celebrities to local visitors.  They have brought joy to many people during this difficult time when people have had to self isolate.  Getting out in nature among God’s creation brings healing to the soul and mind.  

The Black Guillemot is a small black sea bird with a white patch on each wing. Each has a pointed beak, smooth feathers and red feet. They feed on sea creatures and can dive very deep underwater to feed. It’s a privilege to get to see such wild life nearby.

Black Guillemots have a nest amid the rocks in the wall along the shoreline of Strangford Lough.  They  have become quite tame. Passersby stop to watch them as their family play in the water below. My daughter was driving past last evening. Two birds were sitting on the wall. I asked her to reverse the car to see if we could see them up close.

Amazingly the two birds were not disturbed as we stopped. They didn’t fly off. We were able to take photos of them close up. What a delight.

The waves from storms in February breached the shoreline wall in various places. Some were repaired before the lockdown. The road had to be closed to traffic about a mile along the shore from where we live. The wall was broken and part of the road fell into the sea. The Covid lockdown prevented workers getting to fix it.

Then in July when work was due to start to repair the road, it was discovered that another group of Black guillemots had built nests nearby. They were still feeding their young in the nests. The department of the Environment stepped in and advised work to stop. The repair didn’t go ahead. The workers are waiting till the Black Guillemots are finished reading their young.

Boats

I make boats from drift wood I find on the shore near where I live. I have wood I intend to use that is the remains of a rowing boat that was abandoned by its owner. The winter storms buffeted and broke apart the once loved vessel. I enjoy making something new and beautiful, a sailing boat ornament, from that which is discarded or broken. The reclaimed wood is now loved by its new owner as it sits on display in his home.

Today I travelled across Strangford Lough by ferry to see and pray for a friend. While I was waiting at the harbour a beautiful, slim lined yacht passed gracefully through the water. It had two masts that reached skywards. It towered over other yachts parked nearby. The ferry seemed small in comparison to this vehicle. It is a visitor to these parts.

I soon forgot about the beautiful vessel when the ferryman said my ferry card, to pay for the journey, was out of credit. I resisted the temptation to be annoyed. I paid the full price for the journey.

On my return home I wanted to call into a shop to top up my card which gives subsidised journeys on the ferry. I knew I risked not getting on the ferry because of restrictions to the number of vehicles due to Covid. I collected my card and drove to the terminal. The boat was full and the ferryman signalled to me, no more vehicles. I stopped, resigned to wait an half an hour till the ferry returned.

I said a quick prayer, “Please Lord let the ferryman change his mind.” Just as I said that he asked drivers on deck to move forward to make room for another vehicle. He beckoned me forward.

I was super excited at the quick answer to prayer. I was full of joy and thanked the men for their help in making room for me. The ferry launched forward. I saw the sky move and wondered what was happening. Then there was a crash. My car had moved backwards and broke the long pole that is lifted and closed when cars get on and off the ferry. I was disoriented and in shock. In my excitement at getting on the ferry, I forgot to put the handbrake on. No one else saw what happened.

I waited trembling on my journey across the Lough. “What will the staff think when they see the pole crash landed at the back of the boat! I have damaged the ferry boat. That woman I made room for, look what she has done!” Perhaps I should have stayed at home and not bothered going out to help a friend. I remembered a promise from Psalm 121, ” I will watch over your going in and out”. I said another quick prayer, “Help” to God. I waited as other cars started up their engines, preparing to disembark when we got to the other side.

Then one staff member discovered the damage. He called to another. Three or four men gathered to look at the fallen barrier. I waited in trepidation. There was no scolding. No rebuke. In fact they laughed at what had happened. Thankfully they waved me forward and off the boat. They will take care of it. No calling the police to the scene of an accident. Thank God for the ferrymen who helped me today.

I got home. The yacht I saw earlier was parked offshore. It is beautiful. I stopped for a minute to reflect on my adventure. I told Brendan about what happened. He raised his eyes. He asked if my car was damaged? I forgot to look. Later he discovered a dent, the size of my hand just above the back lights. Thankfully the lights weren’t smashed. This new damage is just an addition to the war wounds my car has got since Brendan bought is for me six weeks ago. I have a story to tell about each one. We laughed together.

The Old Heron Waiting


The tide is high
In Strangford Lough

No room to wade on the shoreline
The water is lapping against the wall
I’m safe here on the ledge
My favourite spot
Jutting out of the water
I’ll wait
And keep warm
With my neck
Sunk between my shoulder blades
I’ll wait
Till the water recedes
I’ll wait
To dart at some tiny fish
Lingering in the shallows
I know their hiding places
I’m too old
To fly from my perch
To find another spot
I’ll leave
Those fishing grounds
To the younger ones.
I’ll wait

The Old Heron Waiting



The tide is high
No room to wade on the shoreline
The water is lapping against the wall
I’m safe here on the ledge
My favourite spot
Jutting out of the water
I’ll wait
And keep warm
With my neck
Sunk between my shoulder blades
I’ll wait
Till the water recedes
I’ll wait
To dart at some tiny fish
Lingering in the shallows
I know their hiding places
I’m too old
To fly from my perch
To find another spot
I’ll leave
Those fishing grounds
To the younger ones.
I’ll wait

The Water of Life

The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead is often referred to as a river, a well or water. Jesus told the woman who had come to get water from Jacob’s well that he would give her water to drink and she would not thirst again. If anyone is thirsty let him come to Jesus and whoever believes in him, out of his belly will flow rivers of living water. John 7 v 37. In the Old Testament Isaiah prophesies “Come all who are thirsty, come to the waters.” Isaiah 55 v 1.

The Holy Spirit is referred to as a river that flows from the throne of God. Wherever that river flows there will be trees, fruit and leaves for the healing of the nations. Revelation 22. The salt water will become fresh and there will be fish and wherever the river flows everything will live. Ezekiel 47.

Are you thirsty today? Are you in the wilderness? Do you have no money? Are you facing a battle in your life where there seems no victory or escape? Are you facing death? I have good news for you. Ask our Father to give you his Holy Spirit.
Three armies King Joram, King Jehoshaphat and The King of Edomite were gathered in Israel to defeat the King of Moab their enemy. They came to a wilderness where there was no water for the armies or their horses. Defeat stared them in the face before they even faced the enemy. Where were they going to get water to feed such a vast number of men? They enquired of the prophet Elisha.

“and he said, “This is what the Lord says: This dry valley will be filled with pools of water! You will see neither wind nor rain, says the Lord, but this valley will be filled with water. You will have plenty for yourselves and your cattle and other animals. But this is only a simple thing for the Lord, for he will make you victorious over the army of Moab! You will conquer the best of their towns, even the fortified ones. You will cut down all their good trees, stop up all their springs, and ruin all their good land with stones. The next day at about the time when the morning sacrifice was offered, water suddenly appeared! It was flowing from the direction of Edom, and soon there was water everywhere.”
‭‭2 Kings‬ ‭3:16-20‬ ‭NLT‬‬

God can provide for every situation we face. We are sure of victory when we call on The Lord’s name and have the Holy Spirit flowing in our lives. We don’t have to be spotless, sinless or perfect to receive the Holy Spirit. He is the one who will be with us and he will make us spotless and sinless. There is hope, help, health, honour, harmony, harvest, humility and happiness wherever the River of God flows.

I was in a hopeless situation facing death from Bowel Cancer ten years ago. I was facing defeat. God did not leave me there in the pit. He sent his Holy Spirit to revive me and heal me and bring me life. I am remaining healed!

The Unnamed Innocent

I was reading this morning an article about the death of George Floyd. The writer encouraged us to remember this man’s name and speak of the injustice he suffered. He died after being pinned to the ground by a police officer. Thank God for mobile phones. His treatment was videoed and broadcast throughout the world.

Violence and protest marches took place in many cities in America and around the world, despite the guidance of our governments not to gather in groups due to the pandemic. People voiced their outrage at the death of George Floyd.

I have been reflecting recently on the importance of one’s name. I believe God calls me by my name. A priest gave me my name when I was baptised as an infant. Then a child was baptised soon after her birth. He called me Angela. This means Messanger, like the Angels, who are messengers of God. He gave me a second name, Petronella. This means solid like a rock. My names are prophetic for my life. I survived as a baby, despite many infants dying from diseases and Ill health. I survived rheumatic fever later when I was nine years old. Untreated this can leave one disabled. I have survived broken limbs. I survived malignant cancer ten years ago. I gave birth to fourteen children. I’m staying alive!

I now tell others about the God who created me in my mother’s womb and who cared for me all the days of my life.

“O Lord, you alone are my hope. I’ve trusted you, O Lord, from childhood. Yes, you have been with me from birth; from my mother’s womb you have cared for me. No wonder I am always praising you!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭71:5-6‬ ‭NLT‬‬
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:13‬ ‭NIV‬‬

He is God Almighty, his son Jesus and his Holy Spirit, three in one. I am fulfilling my name Angela. God has made me like a rock to survive many difficulties thrown at me. I am fulfilling my name Petronella.

In the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem is recorded the names of most of the six million Jews who died in the concentration camps. In so far as possible each one is mentioned by name and where he was from. These records are a memorial on the earth to each one who died. He is remembered by his people after him by name. Each one mattered.

Every year on November the eleventh in Britain, leaders and people gather in towns at a Memorial Stone where the names of soldiers who died in World wars are recorded. They are remembered by name. They are given dignity and their memory honored.

A thought came to me the other day. What about the little children who have been aborted in my country since March this year. They have not been given a name. They will not be celebrated by each one’s mother or father. Get rid of the unseen problem. There is no mobile phone to record the lethal injection. There is no photo taken at the child’s birth. No beautiful clothes to cover the child’s nakedness. Northern Ireland was a safe place for me to have my children.

But God sees.
“You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The unborn children return to God who created them . He is caring for them. They will be remembered as those whose blood was shed. There is eternal life. There is a heaven where there will be no more pain. God is loving but he is the God of justice. He saw the unformed body in the womb. He keeps a record in his book. He remembers and he will bring justice for shed blood of the innocent children.

Jesus told us to use his name to pray to the Father in heaven. I am writing this article in Jesus name. There is power in the name of Jesus. His name is the name above all names. In the end every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

My Angel Mosaic

 

I am so grateful that I was able to do some craft work during the present restrictions due to the Corona Virus pandemic.
I have made some boat, cross and angel mosaics.  
I collect broken pottery and sea glass from my local beach.
My favourite items I have created are the angels.
I have some place mats I bought at Christmas time.
They are mirrors with sparkly markings on the edge.
The broken base of cups or saucers are suitable for my angels.
Two broken pieces make up the wing and skirt of this angel shown in the picture.
The upper body is made of a piece of brown bottle sea glass.
The head is a piece of poetry from a broken jar.
I like this particular angel in the photograph.
The rim on the wing and the curves on the skirt remind me of the wheels with the Angels in Ezekiel.

“As I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the ground beside each creature with its four faces.
When the living creatures moved, the wheels beside them moved; and when the living creatures rose from the ground, the wheels also rose.
Wherever the spirit would go, they would go, and the wheels would rise along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.
When the creatures moved, they also moved; when the creatures stood still, they also stood still; and when the creatures rose from the ground, the wheels rose along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.”
‭‭Ezekiel‬ ‭1:15, 19-21‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Ezekiel saw a vision of angels.  Millions of angels are around the throne in heaven worshipping God.

“Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!””
‭‭Revelation‬ ‭5:11-12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

An angel is allocated to each one born on the earth.  Jesus said,

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭18:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Our angels watch over us and preserve us from harm.  Human beings live on the earth but they have a connection to heaven while living here.  Let us live in the light of this truth and respect little children.

Bird’s Nests

I am always encouraged when I watch birds in my garden. Jesus tells us to look at the birds. They don’t sow nor reap yet our Heavenly Father looks after them. We are more important to God than birds so we are encouraged to learn from the birds.
There are swallows nests in the eve of a barn and a swallows nest in a hedge nearby. Psalm 84 says “Even the swallow and the sparrow find a nest near your altar where she can rear her young. “. An altar speaks of a place of prayer. So if one is praying in his home be sure there will be a bird’s nest nearby in the springtime.

I’m fascinated by the energy the birds exert in rearing their young. Firstly they fly here and there to collect material to build a nest. Then the female lays her eggs and hatches her young. The male and female gather food to feed the hungry chicks. The poor parents are exhausted after the young leave the nest. I often felt like that after the summer when my children were home for the summer. I have never seen chicks in a bird’s nest before. This year I had the treat of seeing my first nest of young.

After visiting a friend before lockdown, Jean sent me a picture of a robin’s nest. She had been furloughed from work and was enjoying her garden. The parent birds had found a safe spot under a plastic covering in a shed. Jean wanted to use a table she had stored there. To her delight she found the nest with three chicks in it. She didn’t unsettle the nest but checked it every day till the chicks fledged three weeks later.

She inspected the nest more closely and found small purple pellets at the bottom of the nest. She did some research and it was suggested they acted as insulation and absorbed waste. How clever the robins are. They even know what can be used as good material for their rearing of their young.

My son is home during lockdown. Back in March we had some logs that needed chopped. Each day my son enjoyed a bit of exercise chopping the wood. His dad and he cleared a space in the yard to store the wood for next winter.
One morning in May I noticed a Wagtail flitting in and out of the wood pile. Was he building a nest in the
midst of the newly stacked logs? I never got to check where the nest was.

But I was social distancing at a friend’s farm recently. He said come here I have something to show you. At the back of his modern tractor in between the gear for lifting heavy weights was a nest with three baby wagtails. He told us the parents feed the young when the tractor is not in use. When the tractor is in use the parents follow it to feed the young when the farmer stops. How special is the lengths the birds go to rear their young and overcome obstacles.

I heard a cuckoo recently. It had a clear crisp,call. I was cheered to hear it’s call. They fly in from Africa in April. The female lays her eggs in a wagtails nest or other convenient nest in the meadow. She is lazy. She leaves the rearing of her young to poor little birds that feed one hungry Cuckoo chick after it has pushed the other young out of the nest. The Cuckoos don’t stay too long they fly away in May.

My daughter lives in a street in Belfast . Blackbirds have built a nest in a bush in the hedgerow. She sent me a photo of the nest with young in it. The parent birds fly in and out to feed them. Ruth is keeping her cat in lock down in case she disturbs the birds.

All these three stories of birds has comforted us during this season of isolation. We are looking to the birds as Jesus taught us. They don’t wear masks or are restricted in rearing their young. They continue to survive.


Beautiful Lupins

It is May 2020. The government has urged us to remain at home until further notice for fear of the spread of the Corona Virus in the country.

It has been unusually sunny and warm here in Ireland for May.   I am not confined to the house. I am out enjoying my garden tending to plants that are breaking ground in the safe warmth of the sun’s rays. They new growth is thirsty. Pot plants already established soon wilt if not refreshed with water.

I had to rescue two lupin plants from an invasion of greenfly. The new shoots were weakened by dry conditions and their position in the shade at the back of the house. The green fly landed and began to eat at the juicy heads of flowers that were reaching up beyond the leaves. I sprayed the offending creatures with soapy water. I watered the plant. It’s leaves grew strong again instead of limp. I moved the plants to the front of the house where the sea air and sunshine will help them recover.

God promises in his word there will always be winter and summer. I’m so happy with this reassurance. I found this winter cold and longer than usual. There were storms and wet, dark days. The wind found any space past door frames and windows. Inside the house was cooler than normal. I am enjoying the windless and warm days of summer.

I can relate to the flowers.  One needs the proper conditions to flourish.  A good place in the sun, fresh air and water, strong against any infection or enemies.   Jesus promised he would give me water that I will not thirst again.  He gives me his Holy Spirt who revives me and strengthens me body, soul and spirit.  


I have tried to grow lupin at my previous homes without success. I am determined to look after the lupins that grow here. I believe they flourish here because the greenfly doesn’t like salty air.

The lupin remind me of days of my childhood. My birthday is in May. I probably was feeling happy at the thought of my birthday coming soon. I noticed the beautiful flowers that appeared on trees and roadside verges as I walked alone to school. I walked past a neighbours garden. This lady had a colourful display of lupins every year, pink, purple, yellow and white. They were in full bloom on my birthday. It’s that time of year again. I am tending my lupin plants.

Happy Birthday Brendan

It was my husband’s seventieth birthday last Saturday. Our children had planned to fly in from Canada, Slovakia, Italy, England and Scotland. Due to the Corona virus lock down the planned celebration with family and friends was cancelled. The children were disappointed not being here with their dad to celebrate this special day.

I was looking forward to the event marked on the calendar. Brendan had been busy for the past few months helping me finish my book. He would awaken at five am and start working. A friend of his called one day. My son told him Dad was resting because he was up at five am writing mum’s book. The friend put his hand to his heart and appeared shaken, saying to me , “Brendan must love you very much.”

It was a glorious sunny day on Brendan’s birthday. Some of our children are staying with us at the moment and working from home. We planned a celebration for Brendan with just a few of us. We hung bunting and balloons around the garden. Abraham prepared a barbeque.

Different kinds of guests dropped by to celebrate with us. Unexpected visitors arrived from Africa; swallows that return every year to nest in the barn. Brent geese flew overhead. They are preparing for their long flight to Canada. They leave Strangford Lough at this time every year. Bees buzzed among the apple and pear blossoms. Starlings flew in and out of the garden wall where they are building their nests.

The open space of our garden where Brendan’s pot plants, shrubs and trees are bursting forth was an ideal venue. Bird song provided the music. All freely given by our Creator God.

Abraham put together a video of each of our children reciting one of Brendan’s poems. I shed a few tears when I saw our children. We had a great celebration despite the circumstances. Happy Birthday Brendan