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.

browser:
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/degree/

Praying in Tongues

A friend shared a video about a little girl preaching and speaking in tongues with me today. I am very excited. Let the little children come to me for such is the kingdom of heaven.

Psalm 8 says “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings you have ordained praise to silence the foe and the avenger.”
When my children were young we would gather at night and pray as a family. We now pray with our four grandchildren who live nearby once a week. They sing and dance and jump about. I am inspired by this video to go further and encourage them to speak in tongues.
We make the gospel complicated. We are suspicious of someone who needs God instead of letting the Holy Spirit come and do his work in the person. In our pride we want to control. Is the person good enough? He is an alcoholic. She is a prostitute. I don’t want that person to come into my house. I can’t cope with this. She hurt me. I can’t forgive him. That person should be in a mental home. The devil will attack you. You will get into trouble. What church do you attend?
The good news Jesus will deliver you out of every trouble. Psalm 91. He has given his Holy Spirit till the work on earth is done. Do you want to be involved in his work in these days? Get praying in tongues more. Shut off your own thoughts and let the river flow.
Three weeks ago I prayed for God to touch a lady who says she is an alcoholic. She felt lighter after prayer. A few days later people said to her “What happened to you? You look different. Her eyes were bright.”
She is now asking us to pray for her children and extended family and friends. Her young daughter is reading the New Testament every morning. Her sister got healed of a wasting disease and a friend has stopped drinking. The Holy Spirit is doing his work. She continues to speak a few words in Tongues but God’s power is operating.
Other powers are at work in our lives. The power of sin, the power of the world and the power of the devil. Gods power is greater than any other power.
Jesus defeated the power of sin in our lives. Isaiah 64 says,
“You hid your face from us and gave us up to the power of our sins.”
But Jesus breaks the power of sin and we don’t need to be under its power any longer If we believe that Jesus forgives then receive his forgiveness and freedom. We don’t have to keep on doing the same old habits we can’t break ourselves.
“For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, (through Jesus’ death) even though we are guilty of many sins.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭NLT‬‬
Jesus sent Satan running when he died on the cross. The devil was made a spectacle. His power was broken over us. In the name of Jesus we overcome his power.
Jesus overcame the power of the world. We no longer need be seduced by its pull on our hearts and minds.
Simply by receiving God’s Holy Spirit and praying in tongues we have a weapon to overcome in this world. Receive your promised land! Be like this little child.

Faith for Provision

It was 1998. Brendan wanted to take me to India, my first trip with him to the nations. He had been to India many times and wanted to introduce me to his friends there. Brendan wanted to bless me for looking after our children and home, while he travelled. He was wondering if it was the right time to go.

We had just moved house from one end of Northern Ireland to the other with nine children. We were still settling into our new home and getting a feel of our surroundings. It would mean getting visas and booking flights, and believing God for the provision.

One evening our family were relaxing watching a nature programm on television. It was about wildlife in India. The Brahmaputra is a river that winds across north India. The lush grass along it’s banks supports some of the biggest animals in the world. Wild buffalo, elephant, rhino, tiger, deer and many other species co exist. The documentary showed a large family of otters chewing on fish. They lay on the bank of the river in the sun contented with bellies full. There is plenty of food and space for all the species. They are not jostling each other for space. There is an abundance of water and food.

He covers the heavens with clouds, provides rain for the earth, and makes the grass grow in mountain pastures. He gives food to the wild animals and feeds the young ravens when they cry. (‭Psalms‬ ‭147‬:‭3-5, 8-9‬ NLT)

At this time we were in transition. We had just moved from a town house with its restrictions for a large family to a broad place, a bungalow with large garden on the edge of town. We had taken a leap of faith. The documentary was an encouragement to me that as God provides for the wild beasts in Northern India will he not provide for me and my big family. We had more space in our new home, for our growing boys. There was plenty of room for them all.

I reassured my husband to go ahead and book the flights for India. I had faith that God would supply all our need according to his riches in Glory. His bank is not broke. Heaven is not running out of gold. The streets are paved with gold. He is looking after all peoples and nations. Is it difficult for him to look after our family? He provides even for the animals, will he not also provide for us.

The documentary encouraged our faith. Brendan needed further reassurance. He asked a friend to pray. He responded and said God gave him the word, Thomas. This was a word of knowledge, one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Brendan researched about Thomas. He was one of the disciples of Jesus and it is thought he went to India.

The Holy Spirit confirmed I should go to India. Brendan went ahead and planned the trip to India. Friends looked after our children while we were away. God looked after all who were away and all at home.