Don’t give a Woman a Colour Card

Celestial, Teal Magic, Hidden Glade and Chocolate Kiss.
No they are not the names of drink cocktails, cakes or a mystical holiday destination. They are some of the names of colours on my paint colour card! My head is in a spin seduced by these enchanting names. Nowadays one has many more choices of colours than the seven colours of the rainbow, blue, red, orange, yellow, green, indigo and violet.

Our present home has had a make over this summer. All electric fixtures were checked. Old light fittings above doors were replaced and the car park light repaired. Old bulbs were replaced with luminescent long life ones. The roof, gutters and yard have been power washed. Windows frames and surrounds needed repairs. The outside walls, some indoor rooms, doors and windows are looking good after being freshly painted.

I read in Isaiah 60 v 10 that ““Foreigners will rebuild your walls.” Workmen has been with us during the sunny months of July and August. They don’t realise they are doing the Lord’s work. They don’t realise that my walls are ever before him. Isaiah 60 v 18 “Your walls will be called salvation and your gates praise.” They are rebuilding, repairing and renewing my home.

My daughter bought a house in Liverpool. Finding a house, putting an offer on, waiting to see if it accepted, applying for a mortgage can test one’s patience. More waiting was needed for the owners to move out after they agreed to sell. It can be one of the most stressful events in one’s life.

She took ownership of her new home in February. The house was cold with no curtains. She slept on a mattress on the floor the first night. More stress. The first thing she arranged was a carpet clean and the walls painted. She didn’t have the time to choose wonderful colours for her walls. They were all painted magnolia. I lived with magnolia in all my homes. Brendan thought it the best and cheapest option when we were on a budget rearing a big family with many rooms and corridors in our home to paint. He and some of our children were the painters then.

Four of the inside rooms needed freshened up as well. Brendan was happy to let me choose the colours for the inside rooms. I was given a colour card by the painters. There were so many different shades of green, blue, greys and yellows. I trusted my own judgement and picked the colours, olive, Bokhara, mustard and yellow. Brendan looked nervous but agreed and sent off an e mail to the painters with the choices.

The painters arrived on Monday morning this week armed with brushes, buckets of paint and sheets to cover any furniture. They walked into my workshop. They looked nervously at the clutter. It couldn’t possibly all be covered up with the sheets they had brought. There was relief written over their faces when I told them they could start in our bedroom which had been cleared out.

Some of our family were visiting. Brendan co ordinated a clean up of my workshop for the painters. I hid upstairs. Whatever will be will be. The painters started painting in my workshop the next day. Brendan saw the first strokes of the Bokara paint on the walls. He looked for me and protested “Your room is going to be a bright orange like Easyjet.” He was beginning to regret letting me choose the colours for any room. I went to look. I agreed. What can we do? Can I live with bright orange in my workshop?

I asked the painter, his name was John, could we change the colour. He explained that each tin of paint had been individually mixed to order. They could not be changed. I let him continue his work. After four coats of paint and two disgruntled men, my workshop is transformed to a warm orange/brown shade like the sunset. It didn’t turn out to be the new Easyjet room. It is more reminiscent of an oasis in the Sahara desert. The workmen fiinished the other two rooms and left yesterday. One is golden and the other sunshine yellow. We have four fresh rooms and Brendan is happy. He’s busy picking out suitable art work.

Brendan told me John said to him “Never give a woman a colour card!” He was happiest with old faithful magnolia! A wall painted magnolia doesn’t take four coats to finish. Two other daughters moved house this year. There is no magnolia in sight. Stairways are painted navy blue. Other rooms are dark shades of green, grey and blue. I was inspired by their choices. I and my girls have boldly coloured homes.

I awoke in my olive green bedroom this morning enjoying all the shadows the morning sun was creating on the walls. Each wall was a different hue of olive. The smell of fresh paint has cleared. The painters are gone.

Praise God for colour and beauty. It lifts our spirits. A friend of ours returned from abroad many years ago. It took him time to recover. Everywhere was grey; grey skies, grey streets, and grey walls. Ireland is definitely a country of forty shades of green. Take a drive though the countryside and count the different hues of green and yellows of harvest. I am inspired by the beauty of my surroundings.

In any dark days of winter that are ahead my heart will rejoice as I sit in my sunset workshop or welcome my guests or family into the sunshine guest room.

Say No to Abortion

 

A news item from the BBC on my iPlayer reminded me of an accident that happened eleven years ago.  I quote, “A driver had a lucky escape when a metal pole crashed through the front window of her car, up through the steering wheel past a baby seat and out the back window.”

My daughter in law had just left her older girl to school. She was returning home with her younger child who was strapped in a car seat in the back. The car slipped off the road and hit a row of wooden fencing. Two wooden planks shot through the windscreen, narrowly missing the mum and child. Praise God neither mum or child was harmed physically. My daughter in law was traumatized at the thought of what could have happened.

I am confident that Angels were watching over them that morning, diverting the planks away from harming anyone. Psalm 91 tells me,

“No harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,”
‭‭‭Psalm‬ ‭91:10-11‬ , 12 NIV

Jesus said
“He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them.
And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
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 ‭18:2-3, 5, 10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

This coming week people in the south of Ireland will vote to decide if the law should be changed as regards Abortion.
Ireland has been a safe place for me to rear children. Family life is important in Ireland. Grandparents are honored, marriage has been held in honor and children have been welcomed. Ireland has upheld these values for generations. Forty five years ago when I first travelled south one would visit a restaurant on a Sunday. Families including grandparents would be out for dinner, relaxing and enjoying each others company.
I’m glad I have raised my children in Ireland.

I hope the people of Ireland take to heart and remember what Jesus said.
“Do not despise one of these little ones.” Don’t let the law be changed.

Late April in Slovakia

I’m sitting under a willow tree in Slovakia,
My body welcoming the warmth of the sun
Along with all the creatures
That had to endure the long winter.
Life is breaking forth all around me.
Sparrows chirp above me in the branches,
Taking turns to fly up
Into crevices in the wall
Building their nests to have their young.
I survey the green panorama of the forest trees.
Two weeks ago they were bare brown trunks.
Doves call from their midst.
The apple trees burst forth buds and flowers
Attracting bees that buzz and hum
Busy collecting nectar and pollen.
White butterflies float in the air,
Outlined by the green background.
Although a thousand miles apart we share
Familiar wildlife in our gardens.
Sparrows, swallows, doves, bees and butterflies know no borders.
My son works with the soil.
My daughter in law is planting flowers,
Free from the repetition of washing dishes and clothes,
Cooking, baking and cleaning.
Their children play nearby,
Safe in the space of the new mown garden.
A hose gushes cool water.
The children dart in and out of the spray,
Running, chasing and squealing.
Barbecue smoke drifts through the air,
Inviting us to the picnic table.
Grilled chicken, courgettes, pineapple
Sweetcorn and mushrooms are ready.
Let’s dive in.

Peter Rabbit

Every evening my son and children would be frantic looking for their escaped pet rabbit.

Last summer he was given a pet rabbit. His children named him Peter Rabbit. It was pre-owned but not pre-loved. When a bunny is young it is furry and cuddly, and is attractive as a live pet instead of a fluffy toy that doesn’t breathe. But a pet needs looked after, fed, watered and space to sleep and run. It may not take to being cuddled or it can mess up the kitchen if kept indoors. Soon the novelty of a pet rabbit wears off. Peter Rabbit had grown up, had a mind of his own and didn’t want to be cuddled any more. It wanted adventure.

At first Peter joined in with my son’s children when they were playing in their back garden. An elderly neighbour who lived on his own commented that he loved to hear the children play and listen to their squeals of delight when they played happily together. He would have heard a different cry when they would fall or fight but he didn’t mention that part.

The two older boys played together. The third child wasn’t always included in their play so he made friends with Peter Rabbit. He was chased round the garden or often got soaked when the boys were playing with the hose as their dad watered the garden. When bedtime came mum and dad were busy making dinner and getting their young family to bed. Toy tractors, diggers, buckets and spades were scattered where the children left them. Peter Rabbit was forgotten about. He made his own way into his bed in the shed for the night.

School term started, cold days came and the little children were not out playing in the garden as often. Peter Rabbit was alone. He began to find his way beyond the garden squeezing under the gate. He wanted to explore. He survived cars, dogs and cats in the neighbourhood. Of an evening when mum would return from a school run a neighbour would return Peter Rabbit. This happened a few times. Eventually the neighbours gave up. But Peter Rabbit always found his way home for the night.

Soon this young family were feeling hemmed in and needed for more space for their growing family.  Mum and dad busied themselves through the winter keeping up the routine of getting children to school, making meals and caring for their children. The young family and Peter Rabbit survived the winter.

My son began to look for a bigger house. They would ideally have loved to move to the country. But there was nothing suitable available. God cares for the little children. He cares for the parents. He understood our son and daughter in law’s pressure in rearing a young family.  He even cares for our pets.

A friend of their’s told them a house was available near where she lived in town. It wasn’t on the open market yet. Would they be interested in looking at it?  They went along to view it. It was a big old house with a walled in garden and a green house with two grape vines in it. When I heard about the grapes I said, “That is the house for them”.

They were a bit daunted at first. “How will they heat it?” “Can they afford it?” But look at the grapes. It is private, it is safe for the children, no one overlooking your garden. It has a sunny aspect! The estate agent suggested my son put in an application. The house would be freshly painted and carpets cleaned for the new owner.

I was totally confident that God would provide a bigger home for my son and his family.  I believed God for our growing family and he has always provided.  In Numbers 33 v 53 I read,

“Take possession of the land and settle in it, because I have given it to you to occupy. You must distribute the land in proportion to their size. A bigger tribe gets more land.”

I went to visit my son and his family a few days ago in their new home. The front door opened into a bright hallway, already family photos on the wall, a spacious living room, kitchen, play room full of toys and bedrooms. More than they could ask or think.  The back door opens onto the garden, a natural sun trap. They had their breakfast out on the lawn on their first morning. What freedom and beauty.  The Lord has given my son his promised land!

We sat down in the sun for a cup of coffee together. I marvelled at the goodness of God in the land of the living. A Robin flew past me and landed in the hedge behind. It then perched on a chair and pecked some crumbs from the table. Peter rabbit was munching happily nearby. The young children played together somewhere in the big garden. We heard their voices. Mum and dad could enjoy time relaxing in the sun having coffee secure knowing their children were safe. Peter Rabbit won’t want to escape again.

My son and children won’t be frantic looking for their pet rabbit again.

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

Article Published in Local Woman Magazine

I had the privilege of having an article written in a Northern Ireland magazine.
It is called Local Woman. The Belfast editor, Maureen Coleman got in touch with me. She wanted to print something for Mother’s Day.
Here is a copy of the article. You can go to your local newsagent and as for the March copy of Local Women.

 

 

Honouring God

 

The festivities of this season are finally over. The bereavement in my extended family and the resultant sadness has overshadowed this Christmas time for us all. Different memories and pain can resurface when we mourn with those who mourn, and weep with those who weep. Our remembering of a Saviour born for us in a stable in Bethlehem has become more poignant. We have hope of God’s present help in time of trouble. His mercies are new every morning. Despite it being some of the longest days of darkness, physically and spiritually, the sun rising gloriously in the sky each morning has given us reassurance of our creator’s love and care.

“My name will be great among the nations, from where the sun rises to where it sets. In every place,” says the LORD Almighty.
For I am a great king,” says the LORD Almighty, “and my name is to be feared among the nations.”
‭‭Malachi‬ ‭1:11, 14‬ ‭NIV‬‬

We had some of our children stopping over with us in the last ten days. Shopping, cooking, hosting, keeping fires lit, praying, keeping hearts lifted up in the face of sorrow has all been accomplished as we helped each other. Each one played his part. My husband Brendan is standing looking out for the welfare of his flock. I have felt overwhelmed at times but an embrace, a prayer or a word of encouragement has kept me going. Those who are strong have helped those who are weak. When one falls one can lift the other up. Our arms have been lifted up. Thank you all.

I am thankful to WordPress. Though its site, I have had the privilege of telling others what the Almighty Living God, who is King of all kings and Lord of all lords, has done for me. Through his power my husband and I reared fourteen children, and I am healed of fourth stage Colon cancer.

I want to begin a new year by giving thanks and honour to God for all his goodness and blessings to us. He is our shepherd. He will bring us through. He has helped us in times past and he will help us again. Didn’t he bring the children of Israel through the Red Sea, didn’t he help David kill Goliath, didn’t he kill armies that rose up against his people. He is the lamb that was slain, he is the babe in a manger, he is the Lion of Judah, he is the binder of wounds and healer of hearts, he gives us water and we will never thirst again, he gives us eternal life, and his name is Jesus.

Finally, I want to thank you my readers for taking the time to read my blogs.

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

Clap Hands on Receiving a Degree

 

My daughter Hannah received her degree in Master of Science, specialising in Midwifery this week. There was great excitement as we gathered with her at the Graduation ceremony in Dublin from Co Down, Wicklow, Belfast and Bratislava. We all had a part to play to keep Hannah encouraged over the last two years. She studied part time for her Masters. She would be exhausted on a Tuesday night after her trip to Dublin. Will she get her dissertation in on time?  Sweat, prayers and tears went into getting this Masters degree.

The hard work paid off. She completed with flying colours. She got the prize. She overcame and got the victory. Isn’t that something to write about, or the saying goes, “Something to write home about,”

Photographers took photos in the fading light. Students looked smart in black gowns, blue trim and mortar boards. Girls balanced in the highest of heels specially worn for the day and posed for the cameras on their i Phones. Photos were dispatched on What’s App.


It was time to gather in the hall and await the entrance of students, lecturers and dignitaries from the university. The orchestra played and trumpets announced the arrival of the procession.  That was the loudest noise that was made in the whole session. We were advised not to clap after each student received their award. The whole event seemed a bit dull without the accolade and celebration of each one’s achievement.

Clapping hands is like sounding a bell. The metal gong on a bell is called a clapper. Clapping raises a sound to heaven of jubilation and thanksgiving. Students and parents get dressed up in their best for the occasion and want to congratulate their daughter and friends on their success. Some African parents were there to celebrate. They shout, dance and sing to celebrate victories.

Clapping also has health benefits. It stimulates blood circulation, the lifeline of the human body. Having a good blood flow brings well being.

Clapping also shakes the powers in the air. When the children of Israel were going around the walls of Jericho they gave a great shout and the walls of Jericho fell down.  When Jesus was coming into Jerusalem all the people were honoring and praising him. Some one complained but Jesus said if they don’t praise me even the very stones will cry out.
One reference in the scriptures says the trees will clap their hands.
“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭55:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Perhaps the trees outside the auditorium were clapping their hands.  After the ceremony finished we were treated to the best food I have enjoyed at a university graduation.  This was a saving grace.

I believe it is important to give the time to clap each student as he receives his degree.

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