Arctic Tern Takes Sanctuary

An Arctic Tern was taking sanctuary along the sea shore today.  It was warm in the morning sunshine and sheltered from the wind in a bend of the shoreline and safe from danger.

Brendan and I went for a walk this morning to Ballyhenry Island.  We noticed a lone Arctic tern sitting on a stone.  Normally the terns are in pairs or a group along the shore.  This bird did not look as if it had energy to go diving for food today.

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The terns come to Swan island opposite Strangford to nest and have their young in June.  They leave at the end of the summer and return to Africa.  The terns squeal, fight, swoop when they are feeding or returning to their nest. They dive into the water for fish, and take off again.  They are full of energy.  Here is a photo of a healthy group and one young taking a rest after fishing.

The average Arctic Tern lives about thirty years, and will, based on the research, travel some 1.5 million miles during its lifetime.  It is famous for its migration; it flies from its Northern breeding grounds to the Antarctic and back again each year, the shortest distance between these areas being 12,000 miles.  The long journey ensures that this bird sees two summers per year and more daylight than any other creature on the planet.  How amazing that this bird can travel so far.  We are privileged for it to visit us.

I took a closer look at the lone bird through the binoculars.  The bird’s feathers around the mouth look grey instead of the usual black.  The beak and legs were a dark red instead of a brighter red.  I think this bird may not have much longer to live.  It has taken sanctuary in this quiet place to spend its last few days.  No more flights around the world for this bird.

This coast must be the place where grey haired and grey feathered creatures come to stay.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/sanctuary/

Oncologist Friend Surprised at my Survival from Cancer.

While on our visit to Slovakia I had dinner with a friend who is an Oncologist. She has many year’s experience. I met her before in November 2010 after I believed I was healed of Bowel cancer. It was early days then after my treatment. I knew when I was telling people I was healed, many of them had an attitude, “We will see.”

When one has fourth stage cancer, which I had, the doctor gives treatment to extend one’s life whether surgery and/or treatment. The cancer usually continues to grow and cause death. The doctors will admit they do not have a cure for cancer. They treat the condition. I know the seriousness of my diagnosis but I give Glory to God who has healed me.

My daughter was helping me pack last weekend. She found some notes I had from a doctor, the Consultant Laparoscopic Colorectal Surgeon who was writing to a colleague. I will quote some of the letter.

“I explained to Mrs Mc Cauley that pre operative chemo radiotherapy was used as an adjunct to surgery rather than an alternative to surgery. The current evidence would suggest less than 5% chance of healing from chemo and radiotherapy only. It is unknown for such a good response to chemo radiotherapy. Even if the tumour has fully responded to the chemo radiotherapy there may be viable cells within the lymph nodes. If there is lymph node metastases then chemotherapy would be warrented to reduce the risk of disease. I explained that surgery to remove the rectum was a major operation but there could still be groups of cancer cells. Therefore a non operative approach could not be recommended.”

I explained to the doctor at the time, that I believe that God has healed me and he does not do part jobs. He has done a complete healing for me with no matastases.

Another consultant wrote,”In my opinion, Mrs Mc Cauley should be strongly urged to proceed with the next stage of her treatment.”( surgery). Leaving the treatment at the chemo radiotheraphy
stage is not sufficient for her long term survival.”
“There is significant risk of damage to the bowel after chemo radiotherapy, colitis, discharge, inflammation and bleeding.”

Praise God I had non of these side effects from the chemo radiotherapy.

I read this Psalm today.

I love the LORD because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy.
Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!
Death wrapped its ropes around me; the terrors of the grave overtook me.
I saw only trouble and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the LORD : “Please, LORD, save me!”
The LORD protects those of childlike faith; I was facing death, and he saved me.
He has saved me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. And so I walk in the LORD’s presence as I live here on earth!
I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD. (‭Psalms‬ ‭116‬:‭1-4, 6, 8-9, 17‬ NLT)

I showed the Surgeon’s letter to my Oncologist friend. Her mouth fell open. ” I did not know that you had such a big tumour.” It was nine centimetres. She continued, “It is normal for there to be metastases with such a big tumour.” She was looking from her doctor’s point of view. My friend had sympathy for the doctors who were treating me. “They must have been very stressed with you”, she added. She was amazed that I did not have an operation. She admitted, “You look so well six years on.”

My Oncologist friend admitted this is a miracle. She was perplexed at my survival from such a serious condition.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/survival/

Spring Is Springing.

Yesterday was one of those days promised long ago.  “You will see many good days.”
The sun rose and its light reflected off the water.  The light brightens up the front of our home.  I went up through the house to pull back the curtains to let the warmth and light in.

I heard bird song.  It is just January.

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Outside my window I noticed birds feeding among the dead leaves.  A wren, a blackbird and a robin turned over leaves close to each other.  None of them chased the other away.  They live at peace with each other.

I looked out onto a walled garden at the back.  A starling was inspecting a hole in the wall where a family of starlings had been reared last year.  He must be preparing for this year’s brood.  Chaffinches sang and flew about in the ivy above on the wall.  I will keep an eye out to see if they have nesting places in the wall as well.

I remembered back to our house in Saul Street where there was a garden that had trees and undergrowth at the back.  It was an ideal habitat for birds.  Blackbirds found plenty to eat under the leaves that had not been cleared away.

Many things needed my attention.  In the past I would have been overcome by worry and stress about my children or other pressing needs.  Nowadays after being knowing God’s power and love to help me be healed from cancer, I cast my care upon The Lord.  The cancer will not come back!  Today I can see and enjoy what is around me.  I go out and enjoy being alive.

Later in the day I decided to pay a visit to a friend.  I went to the vegetable store that sells locally grown produce.  No GM produce there.  The owner showed me early daffodils and tulips.

On my way to a friend’s house a hare crossed my path.  He ran along the road in front or me and then swerved into a field.  I stopped to see him skip over the hill.   Hares are rare and are know to be seen in March.

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I parked the car to take in the view of the sunset.  Another car pulled alongside.  A man got out with his camera.  He was looking for that memorable short.

The water level was low in Strangford Lough.  I walked along looking for Sea Glass.  I picked up some shells.  They make good angel wings in my mosaics.

My friend was glad to see me.  I am so thankful to God for being alive to enjoy a good day!

I Must Go Down To The Sea Again

imageI am inspired to write this blog after reading “Sweet Killough, let down your Anchor”,  written by Maurice Hayes.  His mother was born in Listowel Co Kerry.  Living in Killough at the other end of Ireland seemed a million miles in the 1930s.  Her mother sent her a copy of the Kerryman every week.  News from home kept his mum in touch.  She seldom got to visit Kerry.

Hopefully my experience will give you a flavour of life along Strangford Lough near my home in Portaferry, N Ireland.  For my family abroad, my friends and followers dotted around the world, please take a walk with me on this pleasant November morning.

Brendan and I decided to take a walk, soon after sunrise.  Each time we take a walk we get a glimpse of the wildlife along the seashore, in the water, in the air or on the nearby grasslands.  This morning was no exception.

In the bay in front of us many colourful buoys, all shapes and sizes bob about in the water.  They provided anchors for yachts during the summer.  The swallows have left and so have the boats.  They will winter out in the safety of some yard.  Each buoy has a bird perched on it.  The biggest buoy has the biggest seabird, ranging from a heron, cormorant to some seagulls.  They squabble for supremacy.
They rest there enjoying the rising sun and still air.

Along the road I see a small upturned crab, partly eaten.  How did a crab get stranded along the road. I believe it is the remains of a meal a crow had left behind.  There is a forest along part of the shore.  Crows settle there in the evening.  In the morning most of them head off to feed on fields inland.  Not so our resident crows.  There are a dozen of these birds that have adapted to living off food from the shore.  As I was driving one day a crow dropped a sea shell onto the road.  The shell cracked open and the crow enjoyed a tasty morsel.  Clever creature.  They have adapted to foraging along the shore: food at their doorstep.

Brendan drew my attention to two aeroplanes flying west overhead, one in front of the other, to a far off shore.  We are enjoying having our feet on the ground after our recent travels.  We are beside still waters instead, having our souls restored.

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

We heard a honking sound from the other side of the lough.  There were large birds, I think swans, flying in formation to our right.  Brendan counted fourteen, the number of our  children.  They have flown the nest.  Gone but not forgotten.  This day forty four years ago I gave birth to our first child.  So started many years of child rearing.  A new season for us now.

A group of oyster catchers were hardly noticeable along the water’s edge.  They sprang into flight as we approached.  Herons and oystercatchers live happily together along the shore.  Gulls will try to chase herons, much to their annoyance and screech their disapproval.

A lone curlew catches Brendan’s attention.  He takes a closer look with the binoculars.  It has a distinctive long curved bill.  My Little book of Birdwatching comes in handy.  A few blackbirds dart into the hedgerows, taking shelter for the winter.  I was delighted to see a group of the Brent Geese sheltering behind Ballyhenry Island.  They had ventured down the coastline from Newtownards.  They looked fat and their white under bellies were high lighted in the low sunshine.  I can expect them soon to be feeding near the bottom of our garden.

A large bird dropped speedily into a field nearby.  It later perched on the top branch of a tree in the hedge row in the distance.  We could see markings on the back feathers.  We knew it was a bird of prey, but which one?  I looked up my Little Book.  It was a female kestrel.

The ultimate visitor was a seal diving into the seaweed offshore.  This area must be his territory.  We have met him before.

All of us were enjoying the unexpected warm morning.   Brendan and I returned home uplifted, thankful for the beauty of creation around us.  I had braced myself for a cold wind with hat, scarf and gloves.   But no, it was a pleasant, warm, bright morning down by the sea.  Unlike John Masefield’s description of his going down to the sea in his poem  ” Sea Fever”.

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

Thank you for sharing my walk down by the sea.

“All creation rightly gives you praise.”

Daily Prompt. Through the Window.

I live in a beautiful place.  I live on the Narrows at the entrance to Strangford Lough, the largest sea lough in Ireland.

Today the weather is different than many of the days recently.  Winds blew and the surface of the water was ruffled.  In the distance the sea swell made breaking waves at the mouth of the lough.  Yesterday sea and sky were grey.  The  sea reflected the storm clouds.

But today all is well.  I look out my window and see still, blue waters that stretch to the mouth of the lough where it joins the Irish Sea.  It is unusually quiet.  There is no bird song.  There are no birds flitting about.  They have no need to attract a mate.  The young have flown the nest.

The Strangford Ferry is out in the middle of the bay.  The sound of the Diesel engine is a welcome sound.  It breaks the silence.  It is faithful to travel back and forth between Portaferry and Stangford.  It provides an important service.  I do not feel cut off from the rest of the world.  One mile down the road I can catch this ferry and It brings me into the world again.

For the moment I am enjoying the view out my window.  The sea meets the sky in the middle of my panorama.  Both are blue today.  The morning sun rises.  There is a contrast of greens before me.  My lawn, which was cut recently, is light green.  The mature trees’ leaves are dark green.  Their green outline stands out against the blue sky.   Red poppies and hosta at the side of my garden welcome the warm sunshine.

Our cat sits on the window sill, waiting patiently for her meal.  She washs her face with her paw.  I don’t feel guilty as I eat my breakfast.

The lough seawater slowly rises with the tide and approaches the sea wall at the bottom of my garden.
Today there are no crashing waves making the waters approach menacing.  A lone yacht is anchored in the bay.  There is no sound of the metal tinkling against the mast.

I thank God this morning for the view out my window.  My eyes are brightened.   I am alive to see the goodness of God in the land of the Living.

Look on me and answer, Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, (‭Psalm‬ ‭13‬:‭3‬ NIV)

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

Nothing Can Separate Us From God’s Love.

Romans 8 v 38
Nothing can separate us from God’s love. Death can’t and life can’t. The angels can’t and the demons can’t. Our fears for today, our worries for tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can’t keep Gods love away. Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Man has always been exploring the earth.  When people thought the earth was flat, Columbus set out west on the ocean to explore.  He believed the earth not to be flat.  He reckoned if the earth was round he would end up in India.  That is why he called the natives of North America, Indians.
Captain Cook explored the south East oceans to discovery more islands, Australia and New Zealand.  These were fearless men who weren’t afraid of stormy oceans and the discomfort of sailing ships.

Scriptures tells us the earth is a circle.
God sits above the circle of the earth. The people below seem like grasshoppers to him! He spreads out the heavens like a curtain and makes his tent from them. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭40‬:‭22‬ NLT)

In these last weeks I have been finding out from the media new discoveries that man is making.  Pluto has been photographed, men are flying around the earth in a spacecraft, “high above in the sky” and man had has gone down “to the deepest ocean” in a specially made vehicle to look for a creature not before seen by human eyes, the Giant Squid.  God’s love went with all these explorers to the farthest ocean, up in the sky or in the deepest ocean.

I was fascinated to watch a programme about a live Giant Squid being filmed for the first time in its habitat 700 metres below in the ocean.  For forty years a scientist has been searching to see a live Squid.  He was rewarded after forty years!   Sometimes a dream we have takes a long time to be fulfilled.  This man was rewarded to see his desire come true.  He didn’t give up.  There was great rejoicing among his colleagues who were working together when their discovery was made.  It was breaking news.  You can watch this footage on U Tube.  Type in Giant Squid.  This creature lives in the depths.  God created it.  He knows the depths of the ocean.

Psalm 148. Praise The Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths.

The earth is displaying all its beauty morning by morning as the sun rises till the evening when it sets. It shows us God’s power and his divine nature for us who don’t go exploring,  like others.  Gods love reaches down to us wherever we are.  “You know when I sit down and when I stand up.”  Psalm 139.

Last evening when we were out for a drive we saw a double rainbow and a beautiful sunset.  There were signs in the sky.   How great is the love of God for us indeed.  It reaches down to man whether he is at home or in the highest heights or the deepest ocean.

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/