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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The Strangford / Portaferry Ferry Choir

 

Tonight the Strangford/ Portaferry Ferry is lit up and the deck is a stage for choirs singing Carols.  Praise songs ring out over the Lough in the chilly, evening air.  School children and adults take part.  Drivers are entertained as they make their way home.

image

At the ferry exit on each side of the Lough there is a mini Christmas Market.  I am at the Craft Fair with my Seaglass Mosaics.   John, my son is exhibiting his Bog Oak and Bronze.  We are hopeful for a successful evening.  It is a good opportunity to meet families from our community.

My mosaic collection began in May this year, after I picked up some green pieces of glass from the local beach.  I was inspired to make a picture of Ireland with a piece of Seaglass for each of the thirty two counties.  More inspiration has followed.  I enjoy the peace and results as I work.  I never dreamed I would be making mosaics, never mind selling some at a Craft Fair.  I believe The Holy Spirit gives me the inspiration.  He is the Creator.

I have visited the Christmas market in Bratislava.  It is full of Craft Stalls selling Christmas Fare.  It is a event where friends and families meet to have time together, sharing mulled wine and kebabs.  Eight of my family are there in Slovakia tonight!  From one Christmas Market to another, Ahoi!

I was excited to learn that the idea of Carol singing on the Ferry came from Vancouver, Canada.  I have been to the ferry terminal at Nanaimo and have travelled on the ferries to Seashelt and Vancouver Island.  My son Isaac is in Vancouver at the moment.

It all began fifty years ago with one boat decorated with Christmas lights.  Now fifty boats take part in the Carol Ships Parade of Lights.  It is a great attraction for visitors during the Christmas season in Vancouver.

The Ferry Crossing between Strangford and Portaferry is the oldest continuous ferry crossing in the world!  I can imagine Patrick and the early Christian settlers making the crossing back centuries ago in a wooden craft.  Our Ferry ship today is humble in comparison to the big ferries that dock in Nanaimo.

It is a wonderful experience to have a Christmas market and Choir Ferry so close to my home.  May this festival grow as the years pass and become a successful tourist event and attraction for Portaferry and Strangford.

Some information taken from an article in the Down Recorder, published on 2nd December.

Security in the Promise of God’s Word.

Psalm 121 v 7
The Lord will keep you from all harm.
The Lord will shield your going out and your coming in from now on for evermore.
On the Ryanair flight to Bratislava, I read this comforting Word from this Psalm.
The Lord, God Almighty who lives on high over all the earth, promises to keep me safe from I leave home till I return.

imageI left home at 4am and travelled by car and Aircoach to Dublin airport.  The flight to Bratislava seems to always be fully booked.  There are plenty of prams waiting to be loaded in the hold of the plane as we board.
Brendan and I were warmly welcomed by Marta.  We will rest till the grandchildren fly in from school looking for their Irish Grand dad and Granny.
I will rest knowing the security of my Heavenly Father watching over us.  The adventure in Slovakia begins.

Suicide is Not Painless

I was on the last leg of our journey home from Bratislava yesterday evening.  We picked up our car from my daughter’s apartment.  I was driving from Belfast.  I was driving along Shaws bridge and pulled up at traffic lights.  
Brendan turned on the CD player.  A CD called Visions from K-tel, a compilation of movie songs was playing.  A song called Suicide is Painless started.  It was the sound track from a movie called MASH written in 1969.
I couldn’t believe my ears.  The words said 

That suicide is painless
It brings so many changes
And I can take or leave them if I please

The game of life is hard to play
I’m gonna lose it anyway
The losing card of some delay
So this is all I have to say

Words have power.  These words have power.
Just then I turned left after the traffic lights into a busy dual carriageway of traffic that was coming straight for me.  I took a wrong turn.  Thankfully some angels were protecting us from disaster.  The traffic slowed and gave me space to make a quick  U turn and escape.  I avoided suicide! 
I wonder what has been the fruit of the words of this song down through the years since it was written and played?  Has many people have come under the power of these words and committed suicide thinking it is painless? The writer, who was a fourteen year old boy, did not know what he was doing. Words have power.
Pain surrounds suicide.
My husband was alerted to pray for a friend many years back.  He felt the spirit of suicide come into his car as he drove home.  He rebuked the spirit of suicide in Jesus name.  He prayed against the spirit of suicide having any influence over his friend.
We later learned that our friend had tried to committed suicide that night by walking into a river.
Next day Brendan went to see him.  He has just taken some Gramoxine, a weed killer.  A second time he attempted suicide.  His daddy was dying in hospital and he was distraught.  He was taken to A and E where all the alarm bells went off.  The doctors said he would be dead in nine days.
We alerted others to pray for him.  God heard our prayers and healed him totally without any side effects.  Praise God.
Instead of being passive be careful what you listen to.  Words have power for good or evil.
Brendan turned off the CD!