Visitor From Iceland, The Redshank

On one of the mornings over the Christmas season I did go bird watching. I didn’t disturb my own flock who were getting a much needed rest.

Each time Brendan and I take a walk along the Lough shore we enjoy the newness of each scene.

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One morning I picked out a wading bird with orange/ red legs and beak and speckled brown body. It is a Redshank. It bobs its head, looking here and there as it walks along the water’s edge. It feeds on insects and molluscs in the mud. When it is disturbed it flies up in the air and makes a loud screeching sound. There is a distinctive “v” shape on its back feathers while in flight. There were a number of these birds dotted along the seaweed, well camouflaged . They were not feeding together.
When I checked my bird book I was delighted to discover many Redshank come to winter in Ireland from Iceland. So this beautiful creature I saw could be a visitor from Iceland!
Today I am in Iceland. My husband and I travel back and forth to Iceland from Ireland like the Redshank.

The Arctic Terns Have Arrived.

I drove out this morning to town.  I parked my car along the sea front and walked on the sunny side of the street.  It was too chilly on the shaded side.  Resident gulls and Brent geese on the waters below were enjoying the warmth of the early sun too.

The winter slumber of people and nature has been awakened by the warm sun and noisy gulls eager to prepare for new life.

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The population of gulls along the shore has increased dramatically this week.  Artic terns have arrived at their usual nesting place on an island near Strangford harbor.  They are safe from intruders across a short stretch of water, but near enough for the onlooker to enjoy their activities.  They gather in the evening, bodies white against the black, sea washed rock.

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Another attraction for many black headed gulls this morning was the presence of a farmer ploughing up a field nearby.  It is seed time.  He is busy getting the land ready.  I was reminded of the poem I Will Go With My Father A ploughing, by Joseph Campbell.

I will go with my father a-ploughing
To the green field by the sea,
And the rooks and the crows and the seagull
Will come flocking after me.
I will sing to the patient horses
With the lark in the while of the air,
And my father will sing the plough-song
That blesses the cleaving share.

Instead of horses the farmer today is using a big tractor pulling a large wide machine which grinds up the soil.  Hundreds of gulls follow the fresh upturned soil.  They dive for tasty morsels of worms and insects destrubed by the machinery.  Rooks and crows live nearby in the forest.  They join in the foray, just as the poem says.  Joseph Campbell was born in Co Down.  Perhaps his father ploughed in the green fields by the sea near where I live.

Look at the birds of the air,  they don’t sow nor reap yet your Heavenly Father feeds them.  Matthew 6 v 26
I saw our Heavenly Father at work today feeding the gulls.

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.

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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.

How Weeds, Slugs and Caterpillars disappear!

imageBrendan enjoys flowers. He worked with his pots,  filling with compost, planting, watering, feeding and refreshing.
When we lived in a town house our window boxes were overflowing with lobelia and petunia, thanks to my husband’s expertise.
People passing admired the display of dangling colours.
We collected various shapes and sizes of pots over the years.
Their numbers would be added to as presents on birthdays.
When we moved house the pots came with us.
Brendan’s garden of pots increased.  Daffodils and tulips and primroses sprouted each spring.
Window box displays continued each summer.
Roses did well without much attention.
There was always some flower growing as the seasons changed.
Even in winter there was colour from primula and pansies that danced in the breeze.
Over the last two years, as our children left home, Brendan and I came to realise our home and garden were too big for us.
The birds had flown the nest.
It took time for us to let go and move on.
We had many happy times and memories raising our children in our home in Downpatrick.
Brendan and I now have a new start, a new beginning.
We moved house this spring.
A house that is easy to maintain, no more ashes, just the flick of a switch for heat.
Out plants are having a new beginning as well.
We brought our plants in pots with us.  The yard out back looked like a garden centre.
Over the last few weeks Brendan and I have been sorting them out.
It is sunny where we now live and if my pot plants do not get watered often they will quickly deteriorate.
I was sorting out pots that did not seem to have any life in them and I was pleasantly surprised to find a harvest of bulbs.
I won’t know what they are until next spring.  I suspect most of them are daffodils.  Anyway our pots needed fresh soil so contents of all pots had to be inspected and sorted.  We found little tree shoots growing in some.  Seeds from trees in our last garden took root.  I have ash, sycamore and lime saplings potted out separately. Dead roots and weeds were disguarded to the dump.  The other contents of the pots were choking out the flowers intended to be growing taking away the nutrients and water.

A new beginning for bulbs next year.

I do not need to use slug pellets or roundup.  Other pests of our pot plants at our last house was snails.  They loved the trees, walls and hid under the rim of the pots.  They came out at night to eat.   Caterpillars just loved nastursums.  They munched at the tasty leaves.  The butterflies have not arrived yet so I don’t know if I will have caterpillars.

One way of getting rid of weeds, caterpillars and slugs is to turn up the heat.
The heat and the sunshine just causes them to wither up.
So our pot plants have a new start with weeds and slugs gone.
All is needed is watering regularly with the odd boost of Miracle Gro.
Flowers are blooming and a little pruning here or there is keeping things going well.
I am getting plenty of exercise, fresh air and sunshine as I water my plants.
Perhaps my new situation is telling me God is just dealing with my enemies in the spirit.
Like the slugs and weeds they cannot live in the new conditions.
The heat was turned up in our situation with having cancer and children leaving home.

Job in the bible went through suffering and did not know why.

But by means of their suffering, he rescues those who suffer.
For he gets their attention through adversity.
“God is leading you away from danger, Job, to a place free from distress. He is setting your table with the best food. (Job 36:15, 16 NLT)

God has brought us to a broad place, free from distress.
I can testify that God is good and faithful to keep his promise.  Believe and hope in God.
Brendan and I can flourish and grow without hindrance in our new territory.
God is faithful.  He said in His Word he will deliver us from our enemies.

O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy.  (Psalms 107:1, 2 KJV)

How the Humble Lily is a Sign of My Healing

 

I have some lilies blooming in my garden.  They are flourishing.  There are six lilies growing in a pot and they are so unusually big.  They have never bloomed like this before for me.  

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I am reminded of a picture of a lily a young man sent me, when I believed I was healed of cancer, and others, including the doctors, did not.
 
Back in 2010 I had fourth stage bowel cancer.  The doctors advised fives weeks of chemotherapy and radiotherapy to reduce the tumour, in preparation to operate to remove the tumour and part of my bowel.  I believe that God heals diseases today as we pray in Jesus name.
Many people were praying for me.  I believed I was healed three months after I was diagnosed.

It was hard to convince others that I was healed.  I caused a furore amongst the doctors in charge.  A senior doctor was cross with me.   He said this has never happened in my thirty years of working with cancer patients.  Another young doctor said he would be the first to give me a big hug if I was healed.  
Others, especially my family and friends were encouraging me and supporting me in my faith.

One particular friend painted a picture for me.  It was a picture of a white lily.  I asked him what was the meaning of the picture.  He believed God inspired him to do the painting.  He said a lily is a symbol of completion.
The lily is mentioned in the bible when Solomon was building the temple.  The pillars that supported the roof had lilies carved on the top.
“The capitals on top were in the shape of lilies. And so the work on the pillars was completed.” (1 Kings 7:22 NIV)

This young man’s visit was a great encouragement.  I believe God was confirming that my healing was complete even though the doctors had not done any tests on me.
Two months later the doctor called me to the hospital.

They wanted to arrange to do surgery to remove the tumour as was planned.  He was dismayed when I said I believed I was healed.  My husband agreed with me.  He went for a second opinion and came back to insist we arrange a date for an operation.  I said I did not need one.  He let us leave.

I was called by the head doctor’s secretary the next day and asked to attend a quickly arranged appointment to check to see if the tumour was gone.  I had a colonoscopy.  I talked to the nurses as I went into the testing room that I was healed.  They just smiled.  

The doctor could not find the tumour.  I saw for myself on the monitor screen that my colon walls were like a baby’s skin.  Alleluia.
I remain healed four years on through faith in God.
That is why the lilies in my garden bring me joy today.

My Childhood Memory of Colourful Lupins Remembered

It is very hot today.
I am reminded of summer days walking to school.
I lived in the country.
I walked three miles to school.
I passed houses, lanes, hedgerows and fields.
Some fields had black and white cows grazing.
All my surroundings looked big to a small girl as I rushed to get there on time.
For the first half of the journey I walked alone.
Other children would join me as I got nearer the school.
My return from school was more leisurely.
On the hot days the tar blistered on the road surface.
My fingers tips turned black as I burst the bubbles.
At a crossroads a single lady lived.
She was grey haired but remained the same age to me.
She would speak to me as I passed.
I remember a lilac bush that blossomed in her garden in May.
It always was in full bloom on my birthday.
I loved the smell of the lilac, cone shaped flowers.
She would cut off a few branches to give to my mother.
Further along beside a bridge over a small river was a gooseberry bush.
I would always check to see if there was any fruit on the thorny branches.
I picked the bitter goose “gabs” as we called them, before the birds finished them off.
Over the hill lived a family with four children.
I met one of those children recently and she said she always remembered me smiling.
I had no cares in the world then.
Just past their house was a short lane with a house at the end of it.
I never met who lived there but I remember the flowers in the garden.
It was ablaze with colour; yellow, pale pinks, dark pinks, plum, blue and white, and purple.
The lupin flowers stood tall outlined against the sky.
This is my favourite childhood memory.
Down through the years I had not seen such a display.
I tried unsuccessfully to grow some lupins in my garden.
The green fly ate the unfurling flowers.
My husband planted a lilac tree for me at my last home. It did grow.
I was visiting with my daughter and family in the Wicklow hills this week.
It was our 43rd wedding anniversary.
At the bottom of her garden is an abundance of lupins of all colours growing tall and beautiful.
I noticed little red insects, with black dots on the flowers.
They are called lady birds.
I remember picking them in my palm to inspect them as a child.
Aha I thought.
These little insects eat greenfly!
That is why my daughter’s lupins are not wasted away with greenfly.
My daughter lives in the heart of the Wicklow hills away from farms that are sprayed with insecticide.
These little lady birds survive in the habitat there.
I was able to relive a childhood memory on my 43rd wedding anniversary in my daughter’s garden.
The in between years have had their sorrows.

Isaiah 51 v 11 says,
“Therefore the redeemed of The Lord shall return and come singing unto Zion, 
and everlasting joy shall be upon their head.

I am being healed and restored by God.
Fifty years, on I am reminded of my walk to school on happy, sunny days.

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge. Street Life. A View of the Street where I am Going to Live

I am moving from the town to the country!

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From the noise of traffic, school children laughing on their way home, and people passing by, to the stillness of the countryside.
From a view of the houses and green rolling hills of Co Down to a Bella Vista of the Irish Sea and the Mourne Mountains.
From a four storey house with wide staircases to a single storey chalet bungalow with lots of rooms leading off one floor.
From tall trees and flowering shrubs here to trees and plants that are sculpted by the salt laiden winds from the sea.
From a night sky beyond roofs of close knit houses to an open sky full of bright stars.
From a house full of children and activity, to serenity and peace of only a few of us.
From lighting wood burning fires to heat from the flick of a switch.
I am going to be living where the sky, sea and mountains are big and bright.The reflection of light off the sea makes the mountains in the distance look white.

The future definitely looks bright.  Praise God he has prepared a place for us to live after I am healed of cancer.  God has kept me alive.

Brendan and I will enjoy our new home. Who could ask for anything more.

Days can be sunny
With never a sigh
Don’t need what money can buy
Birds in the trees sing
Their day full of song
Why shouldn’t we sing along?

I’m chipper all the day
Happy with my lot
How do I get that way?
Look at what I’ve got

I got rhythm
I got music
I got my man
Who could ask for anything more?
I’ve got daisies
In green pastures
I got my man
Who could ask for anything more?

Old Man Trouble
I don’t mine him
You won’t find him
Round my door

I got starlight
I got sweet dreams
I got my man
Who could ask for anything more?

I got rhythm
I got music
I got my man
Who could ak for anything more?
I got daisies
In green pastures
I got my man
Who could ask for anything more?

Old Man Trouble
I don’t mind him
You won’t find him
Hangin’ round my front or back door

Who could ask for anything more?
Who could ask for anything more?

http://daily post.wordpress.com/2014/03/28 street-life/