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”?

Early Morning Visitors

Wednesday was a bright sunny morning here on the shores of Strangford Lough. There are always plenty of birds out enjoying the winter sunshine just as much as I do.

We threw out some scraps to feed the usual birds in our garden. But today a group of gulls flew in and frightened off all the locals.

Gulls in our garden

How Great Thou Art

Praise God for the beautiful display in his creation these recent days in Co Down, Northern Ireland.

Beech trees in gardens and hedgerows are resplendent with leaves of reds, orange,  gold, yellow, and brown.  These trees hold onto their leaves despite wind and rain.

Strangford Lough is full to the brim today.
The Ferry looks imposing on the high water.

To crown a beautiful sunny day we have a full moon tonight.
It’s light is glistening on the waters.
The reflection brightens up my bedroom.

Its good to be alive!

At the end of the day I want to proclaim to God,
How great thou art!
How great thou art.
You are beautiful beyond description.

Too marvellous for words.
I love you Lord!

Visitor From Iceland, The Redshank

On one of the mornings over the Christmas season I did go bird watching. I didn’t disturb my own flock who were getting a much needed rest.

Each time Brendan and I take a walk along the Lough shore we enjoy the newness of each scene.

image
One morning I picked out a wading bird with orange/ red legs and beak and speckled brown body. It is a Redshank. It bobs its head, looking here and there as it walks along the water’s edge. It feeds on insects and molluscs in the mud. When it is disturbed it flies up in the air and makes a loud screeching sound. There is a distinctive “v” shape on its back feathers while in flight. There were a number of these birds dotted along the seaweed, well camouflaged . They were not feeding together.
When I checked my bird book I was delighted to discover many Redshank come to winter in Ireland from Iceland. So this beautiful creature I saw could be a visitor from Iceland!
Today I am in Iceland. My husband and I travel back and forth to Iceland from Ireland like the Redshank.

A Place of Space, Peace and Quiet.

I was reading from 1 Chronicles this morning.

The men listed above by name were leaders of their clans. Their families increased greatly, and they went to the outskirts of Gedor to the east of the valley in search of pasture for their flocks. They found rich, good pasture, and the land was spacious, peaceful and quiet. (‭1 Chronicles‬ ‭4‬:‭38-40‬ NIV)

This passage reminded me of the South West of Ireland where The Lord led us to go on holiday for the first time thirty years ago with our “flock.”   Brendan had bought our first car and we were thinking of going on holiday together.  Brendan asked me, “Where would you like to go on holiday?”  I immediately thought of Kerry, in the south west of Ireland.  The best way to accommodate  our growing family was to rent a holiday home.

We felt the Holy Spirit was telling us to get in touch with someone in Kerry, who was in the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship.  This turned out to be George Mc Auliffe.  Brendan rang him and asked him if he would locate a house to rent suitable to our needs.  He had never heard tell of us before,  but he kindly responded and found us a holiday home.  The two weeks it was available was at the beginning of August when my eighth child was due.  I wasn’t afraid of travelling there, because my children never arrived on the date the doctors suggested.

i believe holidays are not a luxury they are a necessity.  Family life, being together, can get neglected when work and other pressures put demands on the dad and mum.  Being together on holiday helps everyone unwind.

The day to travel arrived.  We were so excited to be setting out on an adventure that would take us 600 miles away.  The Peugot 505 was filled with children and provisions for our stay for two weeks.  We invited another family to stay in our home when we were away.  We believed in sharing with others.

As we got nearer Kerry we’d looked at the colourful houses with gardens full of roses.  Would that be the one we will be staying in, or that one?  I would like that one.  We dreamed on.  The one we finally arrived at was beyond our expectations.  There were five bedrooms and two big living rooms.   Mary even had a room of her own!  It seemed like heaven for the children.  Plenty of space inside and outside the house.

Our children poured out of the car, stretched their legs and arms like cattle released from the stall.  There was plenty of space to run and chase each other.  There were cows in the green fields over the fence.  Good pasture lands.  There were rainbows in the sky.  It was near the beach.  The journey was worth it.

Back then there was war in Northern Ireland.  There was pressure in the atmosphere.  Everyone was under a cloud.  Kerry was so different.  There was no oppression, people welcomed us with their soft arms, hearts and voices.  George introduced us to other families who welcomed us into their homes, even though we had a big family.  Thus began our visits to the Kerry and Limerick area.  From that year on we went for two weeks holiday there during the troubles in the north.  We enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and warm welcome wherever we travelled.  We always returned refreshed.

In more recent years,  Brendan and I have been on a holiday to Greece in May to recharge our batteries after winter and work schedules, take in the sun and good food.  Our children have left home.  We had not planned anything this year.  There was no time free in May.    My body was weary and needing some attention.  I dreamed of travelling west in Ireland to be refreshed seeing the mountains and green valleys.  I decided to help Brendan continue prepare for people who were coming to stay with us.

June was busy with guests from Alabama and India.  The day before guests arrived another friend called to offer us his home in Adare at the end of June.  When Brendan told me I was delighted.  God is faithful.  He knew my need of rest and he provided.   As we shared our home with others, God inspired another person to share his home with us.  He had let us and our family stay in his home many times over the last years.  Not everyone wants to let a big family have the run of their home.

A man reaps what he sows.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (‭Galatians‬ ‭6‬:‭7, 9‬ NIV)

On our holiday in Adare, we slept, worked in the garden, ate and slept again, a bit like hobbits.  One of the evenings we ventured out to visit a friend.  We travelled along the coast of the Shannon estuary through Ballybunion and on to Tralee.  I remember stopping at a viewing point overlooking Tralee sometime before when our children were with us.  The blue of the river and ocean framed the hills of Clare to our right and the stronger mountains of the Dingle peninsula to our left. Tralee was nestled in the green valley below.  The big sky had plenty of room for darks clouds carrying rain in the midst of clear parts where the sun shone through. There was always a cloud dropping rain somewhere.  I could spend hours on that spot letting this beauty wash over my soul.  I drank in the beauty again that evening.

The glory of God covers the earth as the waters cover the sea.

I now realise why we came on summer holidays with our children to this part of the world so many times down through the years.  It was a place of quiet, peace and space, with lush pastures to restore our souls.

Have You Had a Bad Hair Day?

When travelling I often run out of the shampoo and conditioner that suits me best when at home.  When I travel with Easyjet or Ryanair I am limited to the small amount of liquid that is allowed on carry on luggage.  I am at the mercy of the gifts of shampoo in the hotel room or the shampoo belonging to my hosts or the type of water, whether hard or soft.   I never know what my hair will turn out like.  My hair could turn out curly, wavy, smooth or standing out or up.

I was feeling a bit frustrated last Saturday morning before an event in which Brendan and I were taking part.  Tempers flare easily when one is tired.  My hair looked dull and I was feeling dull.  It was our last meeting after a busy schedule in Slovakia.  I had to encourage myself in The Lord to finish the race.

Afterwards I read this scripture.  

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 
Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. (‭1 Peter‬ ‭3‬:‭3-4‬ NIV)

I quieted myself, picked myself up, gathered my bag and coat and waited for our lift.  No more worry about how I looked.  After hours of praying for people, I looked radiant.  The important thing was that Brendan and I worked in unity.  The Lord gave Brendan and me the strength to finish well.

From Geography Class to seeing the Niagara Falls

I visited the Niagara Falls on a recent trip to Canada.
When we approached to town of Niagara I could see the cloud of mist that rises up from the Horseshoe Falls. I got excited. I have heard about this feature many times. I remember first hearing about the Niagimageara Falls over fifty years ago. I attended a country school in Co Down in N Ireland. I was standing with other pupils around a map of the world with our primary school teacher. We were having a geography lesson.
Here is photograph I captured on my iPad.  I have a bird’s eye view.

I get to see the Niagara Falls when my thirteenth grandchild is born.

My son dropped my friend and I off at a viewing point. Opposite I could see the American Falls. Then upriver is the bigger Canadian Falls or Horseshoe Falls. What power and beauty in these tumbling waters.
I could not but praise The Lord, the Creator of the heavens and the earth.
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_assignment/photography-101-water/

 

 

Absolute Beauty, Daily Prompt. http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/absolute-beauty/

Thank you for today’s daily prompt.
It could not have been more timely.
On the fourteenth of September our thirteenth grandchild was born in Toronto, Canada. 
Our son sent us a photograph.
I see that she is an Absolute Beauty.
I can almost smell her smooth, soft baby skin.
I can feel the peace she emanates.
Well done Mum
What a joy for her mum and dad and extended families.
I was able to get to see most of my other grandchildren soon after they were born.
I will have to wait to see this little one.
When I had my own children I always enjoyed nursing my new born infant.
It is a special moment for every mother.
It didn’t matter to me if it was my first or fourteenth.
Each baby was special to my husband and I.
Their dad was at each of  their births.
This a special moment for the child to be held by their father.
His comforting hands can reassure the little one’s body and soul after the trauma of being delivered into this world.
He received each child as a gift from God.
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. 
Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in 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 ‭18‬:‭2-5, 10‬ NIV)

He also said “a little Child shall lead them”
Our families welcome our new grand daughter and will support her parents to look after her.  As we do so we welcome Jesus and her angel who will guard her.  She is a special child.  
Thank you Lord for your gift to us.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/absolute-beauty/

Hello Morning Glory

The full moon is on my left high in the sky.
An aeroplane flies south just in front of the moon.
It is lit up by the light of the sun reflecting off its fuselage.
The sun is rising to my right.
The sky is changing from water colours of pink and purple to pale blue.
It will get brighter and warmer minute by minute and light up my kitchen.
Swallows twitter, swirl and rest on the telephone wires, gathering for their exit to warmer countries of the south.
I hear a croaky crow.  He is scavenging for breakfast.

Like the song “All God’s creatures got a place in the choir.
Some sing low and some sing higher.
Some sing out loud on the telephone wire.”

A solitary robin tweets.  I look out and he is sitting on the fence.
He will stay close all winter.  He will stick it out in the Irish weather, sun, wind or cold.
The robin was my mother in law’s favourite bird.
It visited her narrow back yard.
It brought delight to her in her latter years when she was confined to her home.
She passed away last week at the age of ninety four.
The shadows of the trees and house get shorimageter and darker as the sun rises.

 

A dozen sheep form a line as they walk down to the meadow opposite to graze in the warmth of the rising sun.
Their thirst will be quenched from the dew on the grass.
Some of my roses have responded to the September warmth and sunshine.
The red and yellow blossoms surprise me.
“Action”.
No it is not a film studio.
It is what I see and hear as I look out from my desk this morning.
The Lord is the director of this show.

This  scripture is very true.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth. (‭Psalm‬ ‭19‬:‭1, 4-6‬ NIV)
Alleluia! Alleluia!

Hovering around him were seraphim, each with six wings.
In a great chorus they sang “Holy, holy, holy is The Lord Almighty! The whole earth is filled with his glory. The glorious singing shook the Temple. Isaiah 6 v 2

May the Sun of Righteousness rise with healing for you today.  Malachi.

Where the Mountains of Mourne Sweep Down to the Sea

imageI went to Newcastle today, where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea.
Our family is mourning the death of a much loved Grandmother, who died at the age of 94.
I needed to get away from the emotions and pressures of the present moment.
It was one of those days that carry over a bit of Summer into Autumn.
I did not want to walk far, but a special treat came to me.
My eye caught the colours of flowers growing along the river bank.

 

I was not expecting to see such an oasis of all kinds of meadow flowers.
Someone had planted them.
It is a tourist attraction that did not cost much, a few packets of seeds.
It will prove to be a great hit with the evening strollers.
I thought of the Scripture,

“For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.
They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams.” (‭Isaiah‬ ‭44‬:‭3-4‬ NIV)

This is a wonderful promise I hold onto for my children.
God is pouring out his blessing today on my mother in law’s descendants, even in the midst of sorrow.