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

What it is like to be going through Empty Nest Syndrome!

I wrote about our present home before.
It was the provision of The Lord fourteen years ago for us and the nine children who still lived at home.
We now have an empty nest!  There are no more fledglings left!  They are grown up and have moved on from their parents.  Yes, it is lonely after all the activity of a full household.  Instead of children running up and down the stairs all I hear is the timbers creaking.
Many of the seven bedrooms are empty.  The heating is turned off in the rooms.  Where there used to be life, chatter, laughter, lights on and essays being written, there is silence and a chill in the air.
There is no one to call to make a cup of tea and have a chat.  There is no news about what friends are up to.
There are no cries of “Who touched my Razor.”  “Where is my toothbrush?” “Who used my hair jell?” “Dinner is ready!” “It is prayer time.  Come down for prayers.”
I do not have to check the rooms to see if everyone is in bed.  My boys and girls slept in peace in their warm beds.  They were always well rested to face all the activity of their young lives.  He gives his beloved sleep.  Psalm 127 v 2
There are five levels of stairs in my home so one had to shout loud.  Even then everyone did not hear the call.
An African man came to visit.  He enjoyed all the buzz in our home.  It reminded him of his own country where there is plenty of activity and noise.
The jam in the cupboard grows mould because there is no one to eat peanut and jam sandwiches.  I throw out vegetables and leftovers in the fridge because there are no hungry boys coming in from football to eat them.
The washing machines are silent.  I would have two washing machines on the go to wash towels and all the jeans and socks.
The house was warmer then with all the bodies in the house.  There was help to keep fires lit and logs cut.  I loved the sound of the Hoover on the landing.  I knew the carpets were getting refreshed.  Now the dust gathers and we don’t see it.  Cobwebs grow on the shutters.
A proverb says “Where there are no cattle the stall is clean but with increase of oxen there is strength.”  There always was help to keep the family going.  The children did their chores.
There are no football bags in the corridor to trip over.  I don’t have to replace many toilet rolls.  There is no smell of burnt toast.  The kitchen sink is not full of dirty saucepans.  All the signs of life are gone.
The grass is beginning to grow in the spring sunshine.  The plant pots need refreshed. Hedgerows need pruned.  The work is too much for two of us.  Reluctantly Brendan and I have agreed to downsize.  We have to leave this Old House that has lovingly protected us and our children for fourteen years.  It has been a shelter from the wind and rain.  It’s gardens provided play areas for our children and their friends and grandchildren,  soil to grow my vegetables, trees to climb and swings to dangle from.
Take a look at this video on YouTube:
Brendan and I and the children have enjoyed many times of tea on the front garden where the morning sun shines.  The children come down one by one to sit with us and enjoy the moment. We enjoyed many barbecues and conversations around camp fires.  It’s hedgerows provided homes for blackbirds, doves, robins and sparrows.  Blossoms on the Laburum, Magnolia and Rhododendron tress signalled spring.
We had champagne on the lawn for our son’s wedding.  That was a great success.  And the birthday parties?
We are moving on before all the spring activity starts and I will be tempted to stay.  We will keep the memories in our hearts.
Thank you God for providing this house in which our family flourished.
video of This Old House by Shaking Stevens With thanks.

DAVID’S BIRTHDAY part two

My daughter got in touch with Brendan at the airport.  The information desk paged him on the intercom.  He was soon to board his flight to London.  He returned home to be with me at the hospital.  Our baby was well on its way when Brendan arrived.  I was delighted to see him.  The labour progressed.  Brendan brought me extra courage and strength.  David was born, a healthy baby boy of ten pounds with a strong pair of lungs.

I have always been excited when I started in labour.  I know the waiting is over and my baby will be born soon.  I had no fear for my well being or my child’s health.  I believe in God’s promise that “Children are a gift from God”Psalm 127 v 3 and “He will keep me safe in childbearing.” 1 Timothy 2 verse 1.

Children wait in anticipation for a Christmas present from parents, or “Santa Claus” and do not be disappointed.  Before Christmas I see parents going around franticly looking for their children’s presents, greeting stressed out and spending much money.

“You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” (Luke 11:11-13 NLT)

Brendan and I decided many years ago to delete Santa Claus out of our family.  We had many reasons.

1.  Santa Claus is a lie. If we as parents tell our children lies when they are young, then how will they trust us  to believe important things we tell them later in life.

2.  This lie is mixed in with an important event in the Christian calendar, Christmas, the birth of Jesus, a gift from God the Father.   It is good to give gifts to one another at this time to celebrate God’s gift to us.  But let us be truthful about it. You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.

3.  One can live within ones means.  Many people get into debt at Christmas time.  The consumer society makes most profit at this time.  How come Santa does not go to the poor countries of Africa?

4.  One does not have to get stressed out living up to expectations of having to buy presents, Christmas tree, turkey, make big meals, celebrating.  Christmas Day is the most stressful day of the year when family tensions run high.

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (Matthew 6:31-34 NLT)

5.  Many people want the fun, fellowship and feasting but do not acknowledge the One that Christmas is all about.

It turned out that eight of our children were born around the Christmas season.  Our children were gifts from God to us.

I was very comfortable in the maternity unit I was transferred to.  It was a home from home.  Twenty five years ago mothers were happy to stay in hospital to get help with their babies. One could get a good night’s sleep.  The night nurses fed the babies.  Now because of financial cuts and mother’s choice the stay in hospital is one or two days after the baby is delivered.

I was happy for Brendan to go to the conference.  I would stay in hospital and enjoy the care, until his return.  I got plenty of rest, good food, and had time to bond with my beautiful new son.
I had no care for tomorrow.

David is a bright, handsome young man.  He has a heart to work with disadvantaged people.  He has already worked in Nicaragua and India.  He is overcoming difficulties to get into his destiny that God had planned for him before he was born. May God bless him this year.

It is also the twenty fifth anniversary of the Keg Worth aircraft crash today. On the night of David,s birth, when Brendan was on his way from Belfast to London, a flight from London to Belfast crashed with 114 people on board.  Forty seven people died.  It is a sad day for many.  I will not forget David’s birthday.

David’s Birthday

On the  eighth of January my son David will be twenty five.  He is my tenth child and fifth son.  That made my family up to five boys and five girls, a nice round figure and an equal number of boys and girls.

When I was expecting  David we had the opportunity to get some renovations done in our home.  We were blessed to move to a house big enough for all of us while the work was going on.  Aine was our live in Nannie at the time.  She was with us for two years and was a great blessing, helping with my work of rearing children.

Different events happened to us in that year. Brendan had a smart little black sports car.  He was driving past a building in Coleraine when a bomb went off.  The car windows smashed, debris reigned down on the car and Brendan was pretty shaken.  I think the loud blast affected his ears.  But Praise God Brendan was able to drive home.  The car was restored.  Life went on as if nothing happened in the Mc Cauley household.  Brendan did not have time to think he was injured.

I was learning to drive.  I was enjoying my new freedom driving out in the country with the driving instructor.  No children to look after for a while.  One day Brendan suggested I apply to do my test.  The instructor was happy to drive me around as long as I was paying.  So a driving test was arranged.

I had a dream while I was expecting David, that I will never forget.  I saw these scorpion / horse like demons.  They were coming to get me.  I was frightened of them but I remember saying to them “I am going to tell Brendan on you.”  They all ran away.  What the dream was telling me, if I come under attack from any demons, all I have to do is tell Brendan and he will deal with them.  My husband has the authority to protect me.  When I had cancer Brendan was able to take his authority over me and drive away the demons that were trying to kill me.

We spent Christmas in our temporary home and got ready for David’s arrival in the New Year.  A friend sent us a Christmas card with a family of rabbits on the front.  Ha Ha. It did not bother me what friends thought about me having a big family.

Brendan had booked to go to England for a conference in January.  We thought our baby would have been born before Brendan was due to leave.  My babies tended to come late and David was no exception.  I was happy Brendan went ahead to the conference in England.  I hoped our baby would wait a little longer.

We all waved to Brendan as he headed off to the the airport with his friends.  I reassured him I would be okay.  About an hour later my waters broke, which is the beginning of being in labour.  I sent one of the children across the road to my friend, who sent me the card with the rabbits, to ring the airport to try and contact Brendan.  We did not have mobile phones or i Pads then!

Brendan had been to the birth of all my children.  He was always a great support to me at the births, comforting and praying for me.  Would we be able to get in touch with Brendan before his flight left, and return to be with me for the arrival of our son?

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