Daughters in law.

One of today’s reading at Church was from Proverbs 31.

“A perfect wife who can find her? She is far beyond the price of pearls. Advantage and not hurt she brings him all the days of her life.”

One is sure to wonder who one’s son will marry. In India it is the tradition to have arranged marriages for sons.  The mother of the son gets to arrange a suitable wife. I’m thankful we don’t have that tradition here and I’m sure my sons are thankful too. I was reassured and comforted by a the scripture that says I will give your sons understanding wives.

Fathers can give their sons an inheritance of houses and wealth, but only the Lord can give an understanding wife. Proverbs 19 v 14

This word doesn’t say what religion she will be, what nationality she will be, what family she comes from,  if she is a good cook, or what kind of a job she has.  There are no conditions, only that she is an understanding wife, chosen by God.

Five of my eight sons are married. Tamara is from Italy, Marta from Slovakia, Rachel from Ireland, Morven from Scotland and Simone from Canada. My boys moved beyond the parish. These are the days that Daniel spoke about. Knowledge and travel will increase. My children have got to avail of both. Thanks to Ryanair and Airtransit they have flown to Europe and Canada to find wives.

I came across these two photos on my phone today. I am encouraged that’s these ladies are enjoying wearing necklaces I made. They inspired me to write this blog.

It was my daughter in law, Simone’s birthday this week. Isaac and his family live in Canada. When Hannah visited them recently she gave Simone a necklace that I made. She was delighted with it. A little bit of Ireland.

Morven, who is married to Patrick lives in Scotland.  I’m happy too she  is  wearing the green sea glass necklace I made.

I’m thankful for all my daughters in law that God has chosen for my sons.  They are under the shadow of the Lord’s wings and are covered by the Blood of Jesus.  They are and will be the mothers of some of our grandchildren.

You Shall Wear Them All as Jewels.

I picked up this ring today from the jewellers.  I had left it there some time ago to get enlarged to fit my finger.

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My son Isaac was home from Canada last month for a visit.  He left Ireland in July 2014 to work in Canada.  He not only found work there but also romance.

Earlier this year Isaac travelled with Sam Emerson on a mission to Kenya.  My husband connected Cloverdale Church with a pastor in Kenya that educates and cares for orphans.  The church continue to support this work.  So my son from Ireland goes to Kenya via Canada to meet a pastor his dad met many years ago.

Isaac and Sam had some time to kill while they waited for their flight out of Kenya.  They went downtown Nairobi.  They enjoyed the colourful culture of this country so far away from Canada or Ireland.  Isaac’s dad travels to the nations, so Isaac was comfortable seeing a new nation.
Isaac found a silver ring with jewels on it, in a shop or market place, I don’t know which.  He counted the number of jewels.  There were sixteen, the number of children in his family plus dad and mum.  It reminded him of his family.  He purchased the ring and kept it safe.
Isaac presented it to me when he returned home for a visit.  I was touched when he told me how he came by the ring.
Brendan often says, “God knows where I live.”
That day God knew where Isaac was.  He picked up a piece of jewellry in the midst of the hustle and bustle of a street in Kenya.  It reminded him of home.  He is one of those sixteen stones on the ring.  I will wear this ring.

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.
Your children hasten back, and those who laid you waste depart from you.
Lift up your eyes and look around; all your children gather and come to you.
As surely as I live,” declares the Lord, “you will wear them all as jewels;
you will put them on, like a bride. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭49‬:‭15-18‬ NIV)

VIDEO: Young Swans Meeting

I often get inspiration from bird watching.  Jesus told us to “Look at the birds of the air.”

I was pleasantly surprised on Sunday evening near dusk.  I was returning home along the River Quoile when I noticed a gathering of swans in a bend of the river.  I stopped the car and scrambled out to investigate.  I had never seen such a large flock of swans there before.

Young adult swans were having a evening together.  Circling, resting, washing, dipping, sailing, hissing, eating, cleaning, chirping, doing things swans do.  Apparently at these get togethers the young adults chose life partners and start a family together the next spring.

The male and female swans mate for life.  About eight eggs are laid and hatched.  In the Downpatrick area I have seen families of swans up to seven fully reared young.  At about a year the cygnets leave the parents and join the flock of other single swans.  When the swans are four years old they are mature to pair off and make a nest of their own.  They have to find a new territory to rear their young in safety.

It was timely for me to come upon this scene.  My daughter is leaving home to travel to Canada this week.  Another son will leave soon.

Seeing the young swans together reminded me that it is the natural process of life for young to leave their parents and meet other young people of their age.  My grown children will start out in their lives and meet his or her life partner and start a family of their own.

Daily Prompt. Always something there to remind me.

I was reminded of the pain many Irish Families have suffered and still suffer as a result of one of them leaving home to live abroad when I listened to a lady sing to her great grandchild.

The Irish people are known for their storytelling, music, dance and songs.  River dance and the band U2 are know throughout the world.  There are many people of Irish descent that live far away from their homeland, in Australia, Canada or United States.  They keep their heritage alive by singing songs they knew before they left home.

I was watching a recording of a Canadian great-grandmother sing to her great-grandson an old Irish Ballad, called The Star of the County Down on the internet.  Here are some of the words.

Near Banbridge town, in the County Down
One morning in July
Down a boreen green came a sweet colleen
And she smiled as she passed me by.
She looked so sweet from her two white feet
To the sheen of her nut-brown hair
Such a coaxing elf, I’d to shake myself
To make sure I was standing there.
Chorus
From Bantry Bay up to Derry Quay
And from Galway to Dublin town
No maid I’ve seen like the sweet colleen
That I met in the County Down.

I live near Banbridge in Co Down Ireland. I am touched that somewhere in Canada is a lady who stills remembers her homeland she left as a young woman. She is keeping alive her identity. She is now telling her great grandson about Ireland in song. She is sharing with her great grandson something about her past in song. Perhaps she identifies with that young strong lassie from Banbridge in the Co Down with the nut brown hair.  Now her hair is grey and her body is frail.  Outwardly she is wasting away but inwardly she is that young “Star of the Co Down.”  Some day that little child will ask his mummy “Where is Co Down that my Nanna used to sing about.”
She will tell the story of how Nanna left Ireland to live in a new country and all the adventures that followed, good and bad. When he grows up he will want to visit that place, about which his Nanna sang.

I have met many young people who have come to Ireland to return to the town or district where their forefathers lived. It is a holy moment for them. All sorts of emotions arise. They try to imagine the relative leaving home and family never to return.
Were their hearts breaking?
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/always-something-there-to-remind-me/

Hope in British Columbia, Canada is a Special Place for Me. https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/places/

I was in Vancouver recently.  As we drove along the highways in Vancouver I saw the sign for Hope on every overhead signpost.  I thought it must be a large city up country.  But it is a small town in the Fraser Valley, but if one wants to drive east in BC you will pass through Hope.  As you drive towards Hope there are magnificent views of the mountains and the river Fraser.

In October 2008 Brendan and I were speaking at a conference in BC. imageCanada.  On the Sunday afternoon we were driving back to Vancouver along the Fraser Valley.  We stopped for a coffee break in this town called Hope.  The cafe was known for home cooked pies.  Our host said you can get mile high pie here!  I wondered what he meant.  In the display cabinet was a variety of home baked pies, blueberry, chocolate, banana, summer fruits, apple, lemon meringue and rhubarb.

I chose the biggest, the lemon meringue with a good helping of cream.  It was the biggest lemon meringue I have ever seen.  Lemon meringue is my favourite.  In Canada the vans  and the trucks, the rivers, the mountains, the highways and the bridges are big.

Seven years ago I would have been bleeding from my colon and hoping it would go away.  Over the next few years I got hopeless for my future.  I was slowly dying.  Until in 2010 I could not hide the bleeding any longer.  I was getting weaker.  I was in despair.  I was unhappy, in distress, lost hope, lost heart, discouraged, I threw in the towel.   I resigned myself that things would not get any better.  I felt lonely and rejected, even though I had my family around me.  I was depressed and felt misunderstood.

Life was going on around me.  I felt left behind.  My children were doing well and leaving home.  My home was getting empty and so was my heart.  My husband was busy with his work.  I didn’t feel I was needed any longer.   Everyone seemed to think mum will be around forever.  I had been strong for everyone one else, but now my strength was failing.  What was there for me to do when all the children had left?   I was hopeless.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭13‬:‭12‬ NIV)

Over the next four months I went through treatment the doctors ordered and my family and many people in the body of Christ prayed for me.   God healed me of 4th stage cancer.  I am alive to tell others that God heals today.  He is not a God far away who does not care.  He is near to help us when we cry to him.  My hope was gone but God in his faithfulness helped me.

Today, nearly seven years later we were back in Hope.  I asked the driver, “Did you know where the cafe is where I can get coffee and “Mile High Pie?”  Hope is a small town.  We found the cafe easily enough, off the main highway.  I checked it out, and yes it was the same place.  The cabinet was full of fresh sweet pies.  I looked them over and found the lemon meringue!  I enjoyed a coffee and pie at ten o’clock in the morning!  Other customers were looking at me.  In Canada people don’t eat sweet pie till the afternoon.

In the seven years since I was in the town of Hope I have gone through the valley of death.  God has brought me through the other side because I grabbed hold of hope in the goodness of God to heal me.  I celebrated my hope being restored as I ate the Mile High Pie in the town of Hope.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/places/

Family Friday. My Coats did not Wear Out.

As you can gather from my recent blogs, I believe in keeping warm and I like woollen products.

Brendan bought me a beautiful three quarters length coat.  It was made from wool.  It was navy with bunches of grapes in the weave.  It was comfortable to wear especially when I was driving.  It also suited me when I was pregnant.  The children cuddled in beside me when I was wearing it, like a mother hen covering her chicks.  I enjoyed wearing this coat for many years.  The scriptures say that the children of Israel walked round the desert for forty years and their clothes did not wear out.  This coat of mine didn’t wear out!  

“During the forty years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet. (‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭29‬:‭5-6‬ NIV)

The symbol of grapes is very important to me.  When I read in the scriptures that the children of Israel went into the promised land.  They saw grapes and giants.  The grapes were that big it took two men to carry a cluster of them.  But the people were afraid of the giants and failed to go into the land God promised them.  Isn’t that often the case in our lives.   We are afraid of change because of fear or lack of faith.  Joshua and Caleb said “With God’s help we can defeat the giants and eat the grapes.”  But the people did not believe.  I wore my coat as a statement of faith.  I wanted to eat grapes and destroy giants.

Since I read this scripture I decided I would believe God.  With God’s help I have defeated some giants along the way.  For example.  Cancer is a giant.  With God’s help I am healed of cancer.  I believed God to help me.  I am alive to enjoy good food especially grapes.
 
Ten years ago a friend gave me a fur coat.  I was wearing it till recently.  It was full length and made of artificial fur fabric.  I wore it constantly from Autumn to Spring.  It protected me from cold winds, when we would go for a walk.  It kept me warm like the caring arms of my Heavenly Father.  I looked prosperous.  I did not have to get dressed up.  I pulled on my coat and I looked a million dollars.  I have travelled to Canada, Iceland, New Zealand, England, Scotland and Slovakia in my fur coat.  No one complained about me wearing a fur coat. I felt at home when  I was in Iceland recently. Garments made from seal skin and animal hides were for sale.  People who live there need to walk or work outdoors in the harsh, cold weather.

Brendan and I were visiting in New Zealand.  We had to travel by bus to a friend in another town.  We had two cases each, to haul around with us in a strange place.  Tempers were frayed. It was springtime and I was getting hot under the collar pulling my cases up and down hills.  Eventually we found the right bus stop.

We got on the next bus that stopped.  It was home time for the workers.  The bus was full.  Standing room only.  Brendan told me to get in and find a seat while he lifted the luggage up.  The driver was impatient to get on his journey and was not a happy camper.  There was no luggage compartment for the cases!  As I walked up the aisle people looked at me as if I was an alien in my fur coat and red face.  There, Brendan and I stood in the aisle, cases blocking the walkway.  We looked like two mad Irish bears.  No one offered help.  Eventually as people disembarked we got a seat and rested our weary bones.  We laughed at this incident for many days later.

Soon months back I had a dream I was wearing a red coat.  I completely forgot about the dream.  Brendan and I went shopping looking to buy some presents for friends in Canada.  It was sale time.  Brendan found a red coat and asked me to try it on.  Hey presto, it fitted me and was comfortable.  It was made of wool.  He bought it for me.  I remembered my dream.  It came true.  I had to hang up my bear coat! 

Brendan and I are travelling in Canada at the moment.  We flew up over the mountains from Vancouver to Dawson Creek in a Bombardier aircraft.  I felt safe in this plane.  It reminded me of home.  Bombardier parts are made in Belfast, N Ireland.  When we arrived at the small airport I was greeted by the ground staff as if I was a dignitary.  “Welcome to Dawson Creek.  Have a good day lady in red.”  We all laughed.  I am getting compliments everywhere I go.  

Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭51‬:‭11‬ KJV)

Hunting for Bear or Moose in Dawson Creek

Some men in Canada take a weekend off to go Moose hunting.  They travel miles, take camping gear and whatever is needed, in their four by four vehicles.  I did not have to travel far to go hunting.  Moose live wild in Northern Canada.  They normally live in the mountains and forage on food they dig out of the snow.  They come near towns in the winter when they are short of food.

I looked out the back window of the home in which we are staying.  I noticed big footprints in the snow.  Would it be the footprints of a Bear or Moose?  I wanted to take a closer look.  We are in Dawson Creek right now, enjoying the bright sunshine and the snow.  This afternoon I decided to go bear or moose hunting on my own.  I thought I was safe enough.  I didn’t stray far from the house.  I walked along the field at the back of the house.  Yes I found a large footprint.  I followed the tracks up the back .  There were fresh animal droppings, more evidence.  I was excited.  Here I was in the snow up in the North of Canada far from the green grass of home.  I took photos for my investigations.

I was wearing grips on my boots, but they came off in the snow.  I had to go back to find them, alas for they were borrowed.  I found the grips and returned to the house, thankful there was no bear or moose lurking.

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I looked up the internet using my evidence of footprint and droppings to find out what animal had passed by.  I was very happy with the result of my search for large footprints in the snow.  My investigations told me there were Moose about.

I heard a call from downstairs.   Our host told us some Moose were spotted a block away.  We pulled on our warm jackets and got in the vehicle.  We didn’t have to drive far.  There is the bushes was a mamma Moose and a calf.  I had never seen this animal before.  The Moose was well camouflaged in the brown bushes and grass.  When it stood up I couldn’t believe how tall it was.  It looked like a horse, had a hump like a bison and fur like a bear. The young one stood behind in the bushes.  The animals were not startled.  They did not run away.  They just keep a close eye on us.

We stood watching for twenty minutes, face to face with Moose.  Another once in a lifetime event in Canada.  We have had good days in Canada.  God is good.  I am alive.

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. (‭Psalm‬ ‭27‬:‭13‬ NIV)

I Hear the Brent Geese Honking.

My front door is one hundred and ten steps away from the sea shore.  This morning I can hear the honks of Canadian Brent geese that graze along the waters edge.  The sun is coming up over the hill to the left.  It will melt the crisp frost that has whitened the grass overnight.  It’s a new day dawning.

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I think of the song by Matt Redman

The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

[Chorus]
Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name

You’re rich in love, and You’re slow to anger
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find

The Brent geese come to this area of Strangford Lough for the winter.  I always think of our friends from Canada when I see them.  They remind me of the blessing Canadians have been to my husband and family.  Canadians have visited us and we have visited Canada.

There are four aeroplane trails going west to east as I look up in the sky.  Flight paths pass over Ireland from Canada to London.  After the Christmas festivities with friends and family my heart is being drawn to travel and the nations beyond to tell my story of God healing me from cancer.

I was reading from the scriptures this morning.

This message is from the LORD, who stretched out the heavens, laid the foundations of the earth, and formed the human spirit. (‭Zechariah‬ ‭12‬:‭1‬ NLT)

How good it is to sing praises to our God.
He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.
He counts the stars and calls them all by name.
How great is our Lord! His power is absolute!
His understanding is beyond comprehension! (‭Psalm 147 v 1 to 4

These scriptures remind me that the God who made the heavens, made me, and he healed my broken heart and healed my wounds and is restoring my life from sadness and sorrow.

I want to sing Bless The Lord Oh my soul.  I am alive to praise The Lord.  Psalm 88 says the dead cannot praise God.  It is good to be alive to hear and see the Brent Geese.

My sons, daughters and grand children were strumming on their guitars, playing a tin whistle and singing last night as we gathered together.  Songs of joy are filling our home and hearts.

One of my grand daughters gets up early to play her guitar and write songs.  She has to rush when her mum calls her for school.

He awakens me morning by morning and fills me with joy.

Can’t Beat Home Made Bread

We took a break from unpacking, washing and cleaning.

The sun was shining and reflecting off the water in front of our new home in the country.  We don’t just have a pond at the bottom of our garden, we have Strangford Lough!  I decided to make some Irish wheaten bread which cooks beautifully in the Aga.  Brendan wanted to go for a walk.  I asked him to wait till the bread was cooked before we left.  A friend said he would go for a walk and leave the food in the oven but too often they were away longer than they intended and the food was burnt.  I didn’t imagewant that to happen.

Brendan and I went for a walk along the bay.  The water lapped against the sea weed covered rocks.  I forgot my binoculars to do some bird watching.  I didn’t need them today as some birds were close by, gulls, sandpipers and many more were feeding on the shore. We walked around a little peninsula which becomes an island when the tide is high.  We sat down in the sunshine had coffee from my flask and enjoyed the view, Bella Vista.

The Lord is my shepherd; he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restores my soul. (‭Psalms‬ ‭23‬:‭1-2‬ KJV)

When my children were young I always wanted to move to the country to live.  I thought they could work off a lot of energy playing in the open spaces, like I did as a child.  It was not practical to live in the country for my family.  Living near schools, shops, friends, health centre and dentists in the town was more suitable.  The children could attend after school activities and sports events without me taking them by car.  They could walk home.  We weighed up the benefits of living in the country or the town.  Living in the town suited our young family better.

I haven’t made bread for twenty years.  When the children were young I made a batch of wheaten loaves every week.  Our children loved the hot bread with butter and jam running over the sides.  It was very satisfying. Baking bread was gone for a season but not forgotten.

When I was in Canada recently my host, Maureen, relaxes on the week end and makes a wheaten cake of bread for her family.  Her mum, who was from Belfast, taught her how to make it.  She keeps an Irish tradition going.  Perhaps she inspired me to get going again making bread.

I remember my mother made griddle soda bread for us.  It is made with flour, baking soda and buttermilk mixed together.  The dough was turned out onto a floured baking board, shaped into a circle an inch deep and cut into four parts.  The dough was placed on a hot griddle on top of the cooker.  When one side was cooked it was turned over to finish it off on the other side.  The smell of the cooking bread brings memories of provision, warmth and comfort.  If I was about when the bread was ready I loved to have a piece with butter melting on the fresh slice.   Homemade soda was fat free, nutritious and inexpensive.  Those were the days before supermarkets and mass produced food.

My first loaf of wheaten bread on my new Aga turned out tasty.   Brendan enjoyed it for lunch after our walk.  The smell of the freshly baked bread filled the room.  We will have daily bread from now on.

Jesus told us to pray, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. (‭Matthew‬ ‭6‬:‭9-11‬ KJV)

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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.
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