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 Old Heron Waiting



The tide is high
No room to wade on the shoreline
The water is lapping against the wall
I’m safe here on the ledge
My favourite spot
Jutting out of the water
I’ll wait
And keep warm
With my neck
Sunk between my shoulder blades
I’ll wait
Till the water recedes
I’ll wait
To dart at some tiny fish
Lingering in the shallows
I know their hiding places
I’m too old
To fly from my perch
To find another spot
I’ll leave
Those fishing grounds
To the younger ones.
I’ll wait

Say No to Abortion

 

A news item from the BBC on my iPlayer reminded me of an accident that happened eleven years ago.  I quote, “A driver had a lucky escape when a metal pole crashed through the front window of her car, up through the steering wheel past a baby seat and out the back window.”

My daughter in law had just left her older girl to school. She was returning home with her younger child who was strapped in a car seat in the back. The car slipped off the road and hit a row of wooden fencing. Two wooden planks shot through the windscreen, narrowly missing the mum and child. Praise God neither mum or child was harmed physically. My daughter in law was traumatized at the thought of what could have happened.

I am confident that Angels were watching over them that morning, diverting the planks away from harming anyone. Psalm 91 tells me,

“No harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,”
‭‭‭Psalm‬ ‭91:10-11‬ , 12 NIV

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.
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 ‭18:2-3, 5, 10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

This coming week people in the south of Ireland will vote to decide if the law should be changed as regards Abortion.
Ireland has been a safe place for me to rear children. Family life is important in Ireland. Grandparents are honored, marriage has been held in honor and children have been welcomed. Ireland has upheld these values for generations. Forty five years ago when I first travelled south one would visit a restaurant on a Sunday. Families including grandparents would be out for dinner, relaxing and enjoying each others company.
I’m glad I have raised my children in Ireland.

I hope the people of Ireland take to heart and remember what Jesus said.
“Do not despise one of these little ones.” Don’t let the law be changed.

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.