It’s Harvest Time

imageimageimageTo every thing there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.  A time to plant and a time to reap.  Ecclesiastes 3 v 1 and 2
What a joy to see the results of sowing seeds, seedlings, corms or bulbs in the soil.
The farmer planted seeds of wheat nearly a year ago and he now harvested the golden crop that has grown up.
My husband enjoys flowers.  He planted one of my favourite flowers in early spring, Gladiolii.  Green shoots have been growing all summer until now when we have a array of Beauty reaching up to the sky.
I planted a courgette seedling.  Look what it produced.
My son went fishing last evening.  Here is the harvest of his labour.
We are eating the harvest of fish from the sea and plants from my garden.  We delight in the richness of colour in our garden.
God has made everything beautiful for its own time.  Ecclesiastes 3 v 11

I Began to Fear Growing Old.

I was reading a list of recommendations given by Pat Devilly a popular fitness trainer from Galway, on his post.  A line on the list reads,

“Spend time with people over seventy and under the age of six.”

Having reared fourteen children, I have spent much time with children.  I have to admit I have not spent much time with older people over the years.

After reading this Blog by Pat Devilly, I decided to pay a visit to an elderly friend.  Ten years ago she had two knee replacements.  She was very brave and recovered well.  Every night her sleep is disturbed by night sweats.  She has to change her night dress through the night.  I thought “Poor lady, she has to endure this hardship.”  I was humbled to hear about her difficulties but she continues enduring without complaint.
I began to fear growing old and with it failing health.

I was reading on Facebook recipes for being forever young.  Drink plenty of water, eat vegetables, don’t take sugar or processed foods, go for walks, garden, lose weight.  The list goes on and on.  I realized I would become exhausted trying to be forever young and eating lettuce to avoid pains and aches that many older people suffer.

I began to drink more water and my whole system reacted to the excess fluid.  I wasn’t well for days!  I tried to diet but failed miserably.  I try to go for a walk but other demands come first.  The weeds are flourishing in my garden!  The dreams of cooking wonderful dishes with the herbs from my garden has not materialized.

I decided to stop reading such articles on Facebook, I stopped drinking excess water, I eat when I’m hungry and don’t starve myself.  I will go for a walk when I desire, not because I should.  I will go back to gardening when I have the strength.  I will continue to wear the dress size I need to and not try to fit into a smaller size.  My body and mind were getting stressed with the fear.

I reminded myself of the scripture fromPsalm 91
“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;  He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” (‭Psalm‬ ‭91‬:‭14-16‬ NIV)

God promises me a long life.  If I have any sickness, pain or any other trouble in the future God promises to deliver me from each one.  As for me I will enjoy my life each day and not live in fear.  God has delivered me from death by healing me from cancer.  He will continue to help me.

Why does a Child do the Very Thing you Told him Not to do.

Have you ever told your child not to touch the biscuits you have left in the cupboard?
He does the very thing you told him not to do!
Temptation comes and he takes the biscuit.
How often have you been disobedient to parents or those in authority over you?
The problem seems to be in our nature.
We do the very thing we are told not to do.

image

In the garden of apple trees today I am reminded of the story of Adam and Eve from the scripture.
I believe that God created man and created the earth for him to enjoy.
God gave man free will and gave him charge over all creation.
God met Adam in the garden and talked to him.
He did not have to work hard.
He just had to tend the garden and enjoy his surroundings.
One thing God asked of him was not to eat the fruit of a certain tree.
There were loads of others to eat.
What did Eve do?  She picked the forbidden fruit and gave it to Adam.
Temptation came to her in the form of a serpent.
They disobeyed God.
Don’t we often do the same.  Disobey guidelines we are given for our own good.
We are like Adam and Eve.
But the good news is Jesus came on earth to rescue us from our sinful nature.
If we believe in him he gives us the power to obey and not be disobedient.
We can we restored to walking and talking and hearing from God and taking charge again of what God created us to do.

Grandchildren are the Crown and Glory of the Aged

“May you live to see your grandchildren.”  Psalm 128 v 8 NLT

I was reading this verse on Wednesday. I was thinking, does this mean I will get to see my grandchildren that live near Dublin? I was not planning to see them. Could I go to see them soon?

My husband had taken photos at a recent family event. He takes great photos and puts them together and sends them away to Photoshop. He makes wonderful memories for his family.

Some photo books came in the post. They were a present for two of our grandchildren. Brendan suggested we go down to visit and deliver the books the next day. It was my husband and my 43rd wedding anniversary. I knew we should, because I had read that scripture.

As we drove into the street where my son lives, there was a lot of activity. Women were chatting at their doors while their children played with each other.

I thought of the verse Zechariah 8 v 5, “And the streets of the city shall be full of girls and boys playing.”

The warm sunshine brought everyone outdoors. When our grandchildren saw our car they ran over to hug us. They had been waiting for us. Because we were delayed I didn’t ‘t get the tea and scones that Tamara had specially prepared.

Tamara is a great cook and we all enjoyed dinner together, to celebrate our anniversary, when our son got home from work. We got to see, enjoy and bless their three girls before they go off to Italy.

We stayed at our daughter Shann’s home for the night. Her family were glad to see us for a surprise visit. The next day Brendan spent time helping our daughter work in her garden. She appreciated her dad’s help and expertise.

When the her children, a son and three girls,returned form school we got to spend time with them. It was a warm afternoon. They pleaded with their mum to put out a small swimming pool. They were so hot they just wanted to dive into cool water. Jean Luc unwrapped the pool. The girls were eager to get the pool working.

It was dinner time.  The children chatted to their dad telling all that happened at school. It was getting too late to use the pool. It will be filled with water tomorrow. We will have returned home and will have missed the squeals of delight as the grandchildren splash and dive in the cool water.

At bedtime the children came to us for prayer and a blessing.

“As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants—from this time on and forever,” says the Lord. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭59‬:‭21‬ NIV)

I am alive and seeing my children’s children.  I did not die of fourth stage cancer.  Jesus healed me.

“Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged.”  Proverbs 17 v 6

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.

THE MAGNOLIA TREE

I planted a Magnolia tree outside my kitchen window some years ago.

It has now well established and brings me joy when it comes to life.

Here in Ireland it is one of the first trees of spring to produce flowers .

This year spring has been delayed five weeks according to the experts because of cold weather.

Birds were interrupted in building nests and daffodils held back their yellow trumpets till warmer days.

 It is now mid May and the garden is bursting into life with tulips and rhododrendon blossoming all at once.

 This is the first year sparrows have nested in our hedgerow.

As I look out my window and see them I am reminded of Matthew 6 v 28 when Jesus said

“Look at the birds of the air they do not sow nor reap or store away in barns and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?

The Magnolia flowers have appeared at last and look like candles.

 They open up and seem like white doves perched on the spreading branches. Or like the fingers of a hand opening up in praise to God.

The leaves are a luminescent green and glow at dusk.

This beautiful picture develops before my eyes each year without any effort on my part.

Men get praise and awards for beautiful houses they build.

An artist is recognised for a piece of work he produces.

When we have a meal that is lovingly prepared we praise the cook!

As I see the beauty and glory of my garden I cannot but help praise God who created all this life.

I remember the words from Isaiah 61 v 11

“For as the soil makes the young plant come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteous and praise spring up before the nations.”

Man, if he meditates on his creator, is likened to a tree in Psalm one.

“He is like a tree planted beside streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leave does not wither.  Whatever he does prospers.”

Enjoy your garden.

Angela