My Grandchildren’s Christmas Play.

I attended my grandchildren’s Christmas play this morning. When they appeared on stage the mum, dad and myself had to wave until the two boys caught our gaze. They were ready to get on with the show knowing family were watching.

It doesn’t seem so long ago since I was watching each of my own boys and girls in a traditional Christmas play. They would dress up as a shepherd, an angel, a wise King or a donkey. They sang songs about Jesus birth.

Today’s event was different. The children invited us to see how six other nations celebrate Christmas. Poland and China were my favourites. The little ones were dressed in red Chinese costumes and flat hats. I must congratulate the teachers on managing so many young students. A big effort indeed.

I called my son last night to tell him I wouldn’t be able to make it. I was too far away, too cold, too tired, alone and my car wasn’t working. I awoke early. I changed my mind and made the effort to go. The electric plugs had fused. First hurdle to overcome. I dressed in warm clothes because the chilly cold winter winds were blowing. I got the ferry. It was navigating across from Portaferry to Strangford on choppy waters. I sat nervous in my van. I hoped the wind would die down for my return journey.

All the effort was worth it to see my son’s and grandchildren’s smiley faces because granny came along. I remember being at a school event after my first grandchild was born. Everyone was congratulating me on being a granny. It must be an important hurdle for a woman. We now have eighteen grandchildren. Most of them live too far away to attend school plays. They live in far flung places; Canada, Slovakia and Dublin.

I’m glad I didn’t miss today’s Christmas show.

The Blind and the Lame

I was up late into the night getting ready for a craft fair.
This morning I awoke late and was feeling tired. I’m still recovering from a broken arm. I was going to forget about the craft fair.
My husband encouraged me to go. He helped me get ready and came with me to the event.
People were beginning to gather. There was a festive atmosphere. A choir serenaded us with Carol songs. Some words of one song caught my attention, “healing the lame and the blind”.
I sell mosaics and my book Staying Alive at the craft fair. It gives me an opportunity to talk about Jesus healing me from fourth stage cancer. If anyone is interested I offer to pray for them for healing.
A couple of young teenagers stopped at my stall to admire my seaglass necklaces. One of them had a cast covering the lower part of her leg. She walked with the aid of crutches. I asked her what happened. She had broken her foot. I asked her if she enjoyed sports. She said she was an Irish dancer. I offered to pray for her healing and she accepted. I proceeded to pray for her healing in Jesus name and declared she would dance again.
When I was packing up after the event a young mother called me over to tell me her son was off medication. I had met her in the hairdressers two years previous. Her son had deteriorating eyesight. He was getting help from medication that was injected directly into his eye. I cringed at the thought of this young boy having to endure this treatment with little hope of his eyesight being restored.
I offered to pray for her son. Next time I was talking to her she was telling me her son was off the injections and was taking medication orally. A year on I met her today and she told me he is off all medication. His eyes are better. He can see! Jesus is healing today.
I remembered the words of the Carol, the lame shall walk and the blind shall see.

The Chaffinch

What a colourful bird is the Chaffinch.

In springtime when the birds are feeding their young many come to our garden to eat the titbits my husband leaves for them. The food ranges from bread crumbs, left overs and some seeds. Each bird is glad of any extra food to feed their fast growing young.   I enjoy the company of our feathered friends.

Over the summer the Robin was our regular visitor, with only a few visits from Sparrows and Tits. The young had flown the nest and the breeding season had come to an end. The adults could take a rest. We would have only an occasional visit from the Chaffinch.

The Chaffinch is larger and stronger looking than the robin and more confident. He is handsome with a blue-grey cap, reddish-brown breast and back.

It’s now winter. Brendan supplements the food he leaves out with bird seed bought from the pet shop. The Chaffinch is now a frequent visitor. Brendan noticed he comes to feed when dark seeds are left out. He is not so fond of bread or other lighter coloured seeds. He feeds on seed from the thistle, which is a thorny plant. The chaffinch is sometimes associated with Christ’s crown of thorns.

It is a delight to see this beautiful visitor on our fence in the morning especially after reading about the chaffinch’s association with Our Saviour. I lift my eyes to our God who made the heavens and the earth. I thank God for his son Jesus. The crown of thorns pierced his head, blood flowed down his forehead and matted his hair. The flesh on his back was opened up with the thongs of a whip. His body and clothes were covered in blood from his wounds. Men turned away from the sight.

“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭53:2-3, 5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Jesus wounds healed me from fourth stage cancer.

The Gospel is Good News.

The gospel is good news.  Jesus Christ came from God to help us become children of God. He was born of a woman and became flesh and blood like us. He died for us to free us from sin and death. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested. Hebrews 3

I believe Jesus Christ walked on the Earth in Israel. He had friends and after he died his friends told others about Jesus being the Saviour of the world. God confirmed the message by giving signs and wonders and various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit that we read about in the scriptures. The message of the gospel has been handed down through generations of believers for 2000 years.

The Bible is a book inspired by the Holy Spirit and gives an account of God’s dealing with mankind. He chose Abraham to be the father of all those who believe. Through Abraham’s descendants he prepared a people who could receive his son as the Messiah. The New Testament tells about the works Jesus did when he was alive and other works his disciples did after he died.

I began to read God’s word forty years ago for myself. I read about what Jesus did when he was on earth. I read the stories of Moses and Abraham. I decided to believe in Jesus as the only one who knew how best I could live and free me from the fear of death, and forgive my sins and free me from condemnation and guilt. I know he is real and he helps me. I believe in the Father God who is the creator of all things. I believe in the Holy Spirit who teaches me how to live. I made a covenant with God. I gave my life to him and he gave his life to me. He lives in me. He is keeping me alive. He is real.

God has worked signs and wonders for me. He delivered me from a mental home. He delivered me from death and healed me of cancer. He healed my heart that was damaged because of rheumatic fever. He restored my broken bones. He has blessed with with fourteen children and eighteen grandchildren to date.

If anyone reading this blog once believed in Jesus this message is for you.
“So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it.” ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭2:1‬ ‭NLT‬‬
“Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ. Remember what it says: “Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled.”
So we see that because of their unbelief they were not able to enter his rest.”

Believe in God!! Turn back today to God. Believe again and trust God. Say sorry for turning away and like the prodigal son you will be welcomed with open arms by God the Father. Don’t let the devil blind your eyes to the truth. Turn again and you will hear His voice telling you how to live.

Father in Heaven, Almighty God you are the God of gods and Lord of lords, and King of kings. I honor you and thank you for your truth given to mankind through Jesus your son. He shed his blood to remove the veil of unbelief that blinds your people from believing. I blow away the lies of the devil that deceives people’s minds from believing. Let your light now shine upon my readers today and let them be freed from darkness and despair and fear of death. Grant them faith to believe in your son Jesus because no one comes to him unless you draw him. Amen.
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭3:12-15, 19‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Healing the Wounds

The season has changed.  This weekend the clocksgo back.  I went outside and looked up at the full moon high in the sky.  It was lighting up the land and sea below. I spent a few moments marvelling at the beauty all around. Praise The Lord maker of heaven and earth.  I didn’t stay too long in the chilly air. I headed off to bed looking forward to the extra hour under the blankets.

Here at my home in Northern Ireland it is a beautiful day. The sky is blue and clear of clouds. The sun is shining brightly, yes more brightly than normal. It shouldn’t be so warm at the end of October! The yachts and boats that were moored in the bay have gone.  The owners brought them to the harbour.  They have been hoisted out by a crane a few days ago.  It’s time to store the craft for the winter.

My grandchildren are visiting. It is warm outside, the air still and the water surface like glass. The conditions tempted the children to go down to the shore. It is a perfect day to go messing about in the water. They persuaded grandad to help them put our boat in the water again. It is a small yellow pedalo. It glides quietly over the water. No need for oars, sails or an engine. Just turn the pedals with your feet. Our grandchildren have such fun in it. No need to own an expensive yacht. The only equipment each one needs is a life jacket. Supervised from the shore by grandad and their mum, the children paddled effortlessly up and down the bay till their hearts were content.

I am reminded of the scripture,

“The light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be seven times brighter, in the day that the Lord binds up the breach of his people, and heals their wounds.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:26‬ ‭KJV‬‬

As I am writing this I hears the calls of some birds overhead.  I look up.  It is a chevron of seventeen swans flying south.  They must have taken advantage of the perfect weather conditions, light by day and night to migrate south for the winter.

I am nursing a broken arm. It is very painful. I am feeling helpless and miserable. I fell from a stepladder as it crashed under me. My right arm and bottom took the full impact. Today, three weeks on I am encouraged by God’s word. My wounds will heal.

If you are feeling discouraged, are sick or heavy burdened don’t despair.  Look up.  See creation all around.  Your Heavenly Father who created all this beauty cares for you.  Through believing in his son Jesus you will be healed.   It’s time for your breaks and wounds to heal.

“Be still and know that I am God”

An October Morning.

Oh the stillness of Monday morning.
The house is quiet.
No popping of the toaster, or the kettle boiling for tea and coffee.
The high chair is empty till the next grandchild comes to visit.
No airport pickups today.
Visitors from far away places in England, Canada and India have left.
The light, warmth and stillness invites us outside.
The calm after the storm.
Our friend the robin welcomes us.
He flutters and swirls around me, excited.
Others birds in the forest are singing their hearts out.
Two blue tits come down inquisitively looking for food.
A blackbird calls.
A solitary Raven chases away any competitors for the food scattered on the lawn.
The sunshine glistens on the water, thousands of lights dancing.
Tinkle, tinkle sounds come up from the last yacht below in the bay.
Where is the sun bed?
It hasn’t been packed way yet.
I stretch out and look up.
A few dry leaves drift past.
There is the blue sky beyond the bare branches.
Somewhere up there in an aeroplane is my son and his family.
I will savour the sunshine and beauty.
It’s a new day, I will not be sad.

Don’t give a Woman a Colour Card

Celestial, Teal Magic, Hidden Glade and Chocolate Kiss.
No they are not the names of drink cocktails, cakes or a mystical holiday destination. They are some of the names of colours on my paint colour card! My head is in a spin seduced by these enchanting names. Nowadays one has many more choices of colours than the seven colours of the rainbow, blue, red, orange, yellow, green, indigo and violet.

Our present home has had a make over this summer. All electric fixtures were checked. Old light fittings above doors were replaced and the car park light repaired. Old bulbs were replaced with luminescent long life ones. The roof, gutters and yard have been power washed. Windows frames and surrounds needed repairs. The outside walls, some indoor rooms, doors and windows are looking good after being freshly painted.

I read in Isaiah 60 v 10 that ““Foreigners will rebuild your walls.” Workmen has been with us during the sunny months of July and August. They don’t realise they are doing the Lord’s work. They don’t realise that my walls are ever before him. Isaiah 60 v 18 “Your walls will be called salvation and your gates praise.” They are rebuilding, repairing and renewing my home.

My daughter bought a house in Liverpool. Finding a house, putting an offer on, waiting to see if it accepted, applying for a mortgage can test one’s patience. More waiting was needed for the owners to move out after they agreed to sell. It can be one of the most stressful events in one’s life.

She took ownership of her new home in February. The house was cold with no curtains. She slept on a mattress on the floor the first night. More stress. The first thing she arranged was a carpet clean and the walls painted. She didn’t have the time to choose wonderful colours for her walls. They were all painted magnolia. I lived with magnolia in all my homes. Brendan thought it the best and cheapest option when we were on a budget rearing a big family with many rooms and corridors in our home to paint. He and some of our children were the painters then.

Four of the inside rooms needed freshened up as well. Brendan was happy to let me choose the colours for the inside rooms. I was given a colour card by the painters. There were so many different shades of green, blue, greys and yellows. I trusted my own judgement and picked the colours, olive, Bokhara, mustard and yellow. Brendan looked nervous but agreed and sent off an e mail to the painters with the choices.

The painters arrived on Monday morning this week armed with brushes, buckets of paint and sheets to cover any furniture. They walked into my workshop. They looked nervously at the clutter. It couldn’t possibly all be covered up with the sheets they had brought. There was relief written over their faces when I told them they could start in our bedroom which had been cleared out.

Some of our family were visiting. Brendan co ordinated a clean up of my workshop for the painters. I hid upstairs. Whatever will be will be. The painters started painting in my workshop the next day. Brendan saw the first strokes of the Bokara paint on the walls. He looked for me and protested “Your room is going to be a bright orange like Easyjet.” He was beginning to regret letting me choose the colours for any room. I went to look. I agreed. What can we do? Can I live with bright orange in my workshop?

I asked the painter, his name was John, could we change the colour. He explained that each tin of paint had been individually mixed to order. They could not be changed. I let him continue his work. After four coats of paint and two disgruntled men, my workshop is transformed to a warm orange/brown shade like the sunset. It didn’t turn out to be the new Easyjet room. It is more reminiscent of an oasis in the Sahara desert. The workmen fiinished the other two rooms and left yesterday. One is golden and the other sunshine yellow. We have four fresh rooms and Brendan is happy. He’s busy picking out suitable art work.

Brendan told me John said to him “Never give a woman a colour card!” He was happiest with old faithful magnolia! A wall painted magnolia doesn’t take four coats to finish. Two other daughters moved house this year. There is no magnolia in sight. Stairways are painted navy blue. Other rooms are dark shades of green, grey and blue. I was inspired by their choices. I and my girls have boldly coloured homes.

I awoke in my olive green bedroom this morning enjoying all the shadows the morning sun was creating on the walls. Each wall was a different hue of olive. The smell of fresh paint has cleared. The painters are gone.

Praise God for colour and beauty. It lifts our spirits. A friend of ours returned from abroad many years ago. It took him time to recover. Everywhere was grey; grey skies, grey streets, and grey walls. Ireland is definitely a country of forty shades of green. Take a drive though the countryside and count the different hues of green and yellows of harvest. I am inspired by the beauty of my surroundings.

In any dark days of winter that are ahead my heart will rejoice as I sit in my sunset workshop or welcome my guests or family into the sunshine guest room.