The Harvest Moon

Deuteronomy 4:19 says

When you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the Lord your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven.

This week I had the privilege of seeing the Harvest Moon rise over the city of Zakynthos. At Bohali above the city, the moon appeared over the horizon as a red glowing ball. It rose high in the sky giving light to the sea and land below.

I reflected that everyone on the earth can see the moon at some stage in twenty four hours. How amazing is this spectacular view of the Harvest Moon all over the world. All the nations can see God’s handiwork. He made it all.

How to Access my New Book, The Grapes are Worth It.

http://www.irishprophet.com.

If you look up my husband’s website, as above, you will find my book The Grapes are Worth there. I wrote the bare bones of my story and Brendan who is a gifted writer, added the flesh.

it is a testimony of how God helped my husband Brendan and myself in our life together and how He helped us raise fourteen children.

God rewarded my Faith in Him. I believe in what His Word, the Bible says. John”s gospel says The Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us. This is Jesus who was born, lived in a family like us, healed and delivered anyone who came to him, and died a cruel death on the Cross.

I availed of this historical fact. Jesus body did not stay in the grave. And he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans’ v 4

When I believed in Jesus I received the blessings He won for me by His death on the cross. Forgiveness of sins, healing of diseases, deliverance from demons, and restoration of relationships and the promise of eternal life.

Our marriage would have ended because of our life style of rebellion. I turned to God because I wanted my marriage to survive and raise my two children. God turned my life around from cursing to blessing. Deuteronomy 28. Leviticus 26

Less of Me and More of God

Brendan and I moved house recently to be near four of our children and their families. The whole downsizing thing was worse than expected. Today I tried to sort out some boxes and albums of photographs. There were loads of them. Brendan always took photographs of his big family.

The pictures sent me on an intense emotional rollercoaster ride which lasted all day. It was as if a big hand reached deep inside my heart and stirred up so many memories and emotions of people I loved, living and dead. Photos of family events, holidays, birthdays, weddings, graduations, football successes, new grandchildren, new towns, foreign travel and ministry adventures were all lying hidden and forgotten in these old boxes and albums.

I saw my fourteen children blooming and sprouting from baby, teenager, adult, some into marriage and parenthood. I wondered how Brendan and I reared fourteen children. Praise God who daily renewed our strength. When my children were young I was happy with them tucked up in bed at eight o clock at night. I wasn’t really prepared for a house full of teenage girls and boys.

The photos recorded joy, beauty, feasting, play, rest, exploring, walking, swimming and friendship. Each decade shows development, children at primary school, grammar school, university, work, marriages and grandchildren.

What was clear to me is that God has changed every one of us. For myself, as I walked down through life, I had to die to what I personally wanted to allow more of His kingdom in my life. I could see a change in my appearance from year to year. God so often lifted burdens that were too heavy to carry. I will continue to be charged into the likeness of Christ. As someone said, God hasn’t finished with me yet.

My choices today will steer my life for the next ten years. Will it steer me into life and health or will I end up in trouble because wrong choices? Even if I make bad choices God in his kindness will not let me continue in my mistaken ways. He gives us a way of escape and a chance to start afresh because of His love. Like a Father who watches over his children so God is watching over us. He knows our frame and He knows the pitfalls. I am being changed from one degree of Glory to another.

As I rummaged through the photos I was reminded of a short humorous poem Brendan once wrote.

These are the good old days we’ll all remember well.

Turned into days of heaven, from these bad days of hell.

It is good to remember the good times.

Day Trip in Northern Ireland Series

Hurrah. Lockdown has eased in Northern Ireland. Shops are open and people can dine out again in Belfast.

Brendan and I were going on a Mystery Tour with Our daughter, Ruth. Mary Black’s songs were seranading us as we headed north out of Belfast.

Brendan and I were singing a different song eleven years ago as we went to the hospital to have a test to check for cancer. “Because he lives I can face tomorrow”. The Cherry Blossom trees at the entrance were in full bloom.

Today eleven years on Cherry Blossom Trees are in full glory in the sunshine. They seemed to line our journey today, waving from gardens and hedgerows. Scripture says the trees of the field will clap their hands as we go out with joy. Yes I have joy after those sad days of cancer eleven years ago. I am healed by the power of the name of Jesus.

Our first stop was Ballyronan, a caravan and woodland park on the shores of Lough Neagh, the largest lake in the British Isles. Plenty of wildlife flourish here. We saw two healthy herons up ahead on the walkway. Whopper swans and ducks come here from Iceland. Chaffinches and sparrows sang overhead in the Ash tree branches. Although we didn’t see any, there is a good population of bats and owls.

Our next stop was where the River Blackwater joins the Lough Neagh. We lingered there in the stillness. A kingfisher flew over the water and disappeared in a flash.

Time for lunch. We headed towards Ardboe. At a crossroads not far away was a small building with a sign outside saying

High Cow Bagels, Drive Through. Coffee.

Brendan said “Let’s stop here. This guy has a sense of humour.” High Cow is the English translation of Ardboe. Ard means High and Bo means Cow.

I asked the Chef, “Is there any cow on the menu.” We chatted back and forth and had a good laugh. I told him I was healed of cancer. He was happy to receive some of my books.

Ruth looked at the menu.

High Cow Classic, High Cow Melt, The Cowboy Melt, High Cow Big Breakfast and much more. We enjoyed a unique tasty lunch, coffee and a High Cow Classic Bagel al fresco. The chef was a bundle of fun and the food was five star. I’d definitely go back again.

You never know what you may find when you leave the motorway and go on the roads less traveled.

Pinky my Dressing Gown

There is an item of clothing that is very important to me. When I get up in the morning the first thing I reach for is my dressing gown. I was often so tired after feeding a baby through the night I eeked out the last few minutes before I got up to get the children out to school.

While rearing a big family, there was no time to get washed and dressed first before everyone else was up. There was always a rush to get using the bathroom in the morning with so many children. I helped the younger children get ready. A wipe with a facecloth and hair brushed was sufficient to look respectable for school. 

I have lived in big, older houses so the air can be chilly first thing in the morning. I like to wrap up tightly before I go to make a cup of tea. The kitchen can be the coolest part of the house unless one has the luxury of an AGA cooker. My dressing gown helped me keep warm tied tightly around my waist.  

I have had different dressing gowns over the years but I’ve had two favourite ones. A friend bought me a new dressing gown for going to hospital to have my daughter Mary forty years ago. It was full length, made of silk like material, navy in colour with flowers printed around the bottom. I had it for many years. I felt quite glamorous in it. When we were in Kerry one year I mistakenly left it behind. I regretted losing that dressing gown. I wasn’t able to find another one like it since.  

Ten years ago when I was diagnosed with cancer, my daughter bought me a dark pink gown made of towel fabric. I suit pink and it felt very warm and comfortable to wear. I’ve worn it these last years. I call it Pinky.

No children to get out to school now. I enjoy my garden on a sunny morning still in my dressing gown inspecting the new growth of spring time. I would be out there for hours unmindful of the time passing. I better get dressed.

My husband would be particular about what I wear. If he didn’t like something I was wearing he would soon let me know. He never commented on either of these dressing gowns. He bought me a sheepskin pair of slippers. When I saw them first I told him they are what grannies wear. I didn’t think I would wear them. In my home they are my constant footwear, so warm and soft on my feet. Pinky and the granny slippers have been a comfort to me in the cold nights and mornings.  

I am often awake through the night. Sure enough my favourite dressing gown would keep me warm in my night watches. I did most of my blogging at night, prayed or worked on my mosaics. I would be caught up for hours in my workshop. Later in the morning I could be found still pottering about my kitchen, baking or cooking into the late morning still with my dressing gown on.  

During the last two months Brendan and I have moved house. Initially it was quite daunting to start packing up. Two of my daughters helped during the Christmas holidays pack up some kitchen ware. Mary helped me with some of my clothes and other items in my bedroom. She was strict with me. Do you wear this? Have you worn this item this last year.? Yes I am guilty I had many dresses that were hanging in my wardrobe that hadn’t been worn for a long time. I did succumb to my daughters wishes to get rid of many items., less packing.  In the following weeks I packed clothes, books, jewellery that I didn’t want to get lost in the general afray of un named boxes.

The time came nearer to the final leaving date. Two other daughters came to help pack. I was glad of their help and I left them to make decisions.  I was trying to adjust to the change that was on the horizon for me. Leaving a large home with a beautiful view over Strangford Lough. I didn’t have the energy to do much packing. They did a thorough work giving up their time to help us move. 

A big blessing for me was Ruth finding a ring that my husband bought for me while I was on holiday in Egypt many years ago. It was made of silver with fourteen dark stones on it, representing all my children. I thought I had lost it fifteen years ago. It meant so much to me, and I missed it. No matter what the girls did in the move after that I forgave because they found this precious piece of jewellery in a desk cabinet.

One of the casualties of the move was my pink dressing gown. It was discarded with other worn clothes. Another daughter has tried to replace Pinky with other dressing gowns she bought for me a few years back. One made me look like a polar bear. I dreaded to wear it in front of Brendan. Another was a dark full length satin gown which wasn’t comfortable around my waist. I went back to good old faithful Pinky.

It had been with me through cancer, when I was writing me book and in the night when I would be working on my mosaics.  

When I spent my first night in my new home Pinky was not at hand to keep me warm in the morning. We were separated. I had left the rest of the packing to my girls to finish. Pinky became a casualty of the move. My daughters thought Its time for Mum to get a new dressing gown! Like my other favourite gown I can’t find another one like Pinky.  

My girls and I joke about it. All is forgiven because Ruth found my favoite ring that I thought was lost forever. I now wear the ring on a string around my neck. I can carry my children close to my heart.  

I now seek to wear a different garment , one the Lord wants me to wear.

“You are chosen by God for this new life of love, so dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.”(Col 3:12,13). And where will you find that on the “High Street”?

Bird Singing in the Night

Outside my hotel window

The Christmas street lights are bright

It is the dead of night

A bird is singing

The sweet tweets echo through the silence.

Is he announcing good news?

Is he calling for attention

Like the multitude of heavenly hosts praising God

When the angel announced Jesus birth to the shepherds

Singing Glory to God in the highest

And on earth good will to all men.

There is room for me in the Inn

In a soft plush bed

Because He was born in a straw lined manger.

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 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.

Historical Jerusalem

The chill of winter is in the air yet the Almond Trees lining the streets of Jerusalem are  in blossom. The prophet Jeremiah spoke about the Almond blossom being a sign from God that he is alive and active even in harsh conditions to bring about his promises in our lives. I am always encouraged to keep believing God’s promises for me. Brendan and I are just home from visiting Jerusalem.

erusalem is an historical city. Today it is flourishing. There was disruption on our way from the airport. Lorries and heavy machinery blocked our way. New roads and tramways are being built. Cranes litter the skyline helping in the construction of tall buildings for hotels, businesses and homes. We saw with our own eyes the restoration of Israel as prophesied thousands of years ago. People are returning from the nations to make their home there. Mothers and babies, old men and women with canes are walking the streets of Jerusalem. Groups of young men and women are sitting, talking, rushing or playing. Abundant life is all around.

We walked in a park dedicated to Teddy Kollek. He was Jerusalem’s Mayor since 1967 to 1993. He is numbered with the leaders of old who restored Jerusalem, for example Hezekiah. In his time Kollek put in place programmes for housing the people, theatres , libraries and old people’s homes. He encouraged peace and unity among Jerusalem’s people. He raised finances to help with the work.

School children came for lunch In the Kollek park. Water fountains burst into life as geysers bubbled up to differing heights. Young boys skipped in and out of the spray. The park is a welcome oasis for the weary child or tourist.

I was reflecting on my visit to Jerusalem as I happened to read Psalm 48.

We had heard of the city’s glory, but now we have seen it ourselves— the city of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
It is the city of our God; he will make it safe forever.
O God, we meditate on your unfailing love.
God himself is in Jerusalem’s towers, revealing himself as its defender.
Go, inspect the city of Jerusalem.
Walk around and count the many towers.
Take note of the fortified walls, and tour all the citadels, that you may describe them to future generations.
For that is what God is like.
He is our God forever and ever, and he will guide us until we die.”