August Blues. I Have Joy Now Instead Of Blues

September’s weather has come in August here in Northern Ireland.
It is cooler and wetter.  The summer is cut short. 
The last bank holiday was a wash out.
In previous years August had been a busy month for me.
I had to get my children ready for the return to school.
I would check on last years’ school trousers, jumpers,  blazers or skirts to see if I could squeeze another year out of them.
If not I paid a visit to the local drapery store to get the necessary outfits.
That would have been my biggest bill of the year.
One year I had eight children at school.
The Lord promises my children will not go begging in the street.

I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. (‭Psalm‬ ‭37‬:‭25‬ NIV)

I wanted my children to feel fresh and smartly turned out as the new school term started.
My last child left second level education last year.
All the uniforms are forgotten and schools ties’ and blazersimage are hanging at the back of the cupboard, only to be retrieved for a fancy dress party perhaps.
I don’t know if I have more money in the bank this year in August, but I am glad I do not have the stress of shopping for back-to-school items.
August is a time of harvest.  Fruit is ripe, wheat, oats, barley, hay and maize are ripe.
Fruit, plums blackberries and apples are picked.
In the past August has been a month of testing for me.
It steers the course for the coming year.
I had three children in August.  
I was in hospital in hospital twice in August.
But this year I am expecting fruit from all I have invested into others.
The farmer sows seeds in the spring.
In autumn he expects a harvest.
It grows of itself.
Our creator causes the growth.
So it is I expect my God to cause the growth in seeds I have sown into people’s lives to produce a harvest.
And I expect to eat of it.
Two people I prayed for in the past have had life changing experiences this August.
I have joy when I hear of answered prayers and when God uses me.
I am not expecting a baby this year but I am expectant for God’s promises to be fulfilled in my life this August.
Are you expectant?

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From the Top of the Sand Dune I watch the Seals.

From the top of the hill near where I live I can see the sea at Rossglass.  There lives the biggest gathering of common seals in Northern Ireland.

image from Islay Natural Trust.

 

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My son and I were out for a cycle on Wednesday morning.
I live two miles from the local Rossglass beach.  It suits me fine to go for a cycle locally as the roads do not have steep inclines.  The journey takes in some fabulous scenery and coastline along the way.
As I cycle along the road there is a stillness in the air.  I can hear the bees buzzing in the honeysuckle that is bursting out of the hedgerows.
My son is keen to advise which gears to use to tackle the hill ahead.
But I am enjoying what my eyes and ears are sensing.  I am not in a hurry.  I don’t have an appointment to keep.  It is good to be outdoors on a warm summer’s morning in Ireland.
We have rich farmland here.
There are different crops are at different stages of growth.
Some farmers grow Maize for cattle fodder.
Potatoes are growing in one field with rows of purple flowers and lush green leaves.
Another field has rapeseed growing.  It is ripe for harvest.
Another field is sown with barley.  It will turn golden soon.
The fields are ripe for harvest.
All the farmer has to do is plant the seed and it multiplies in the ground producing a good income for the farmer.
He has faith.  He is not fretting every day looking to see how his crop is growing.  He trusts God who causes the seed to grow in the ground.
God has promised seed time and harvest.

 

As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.” (‭Genesis‬ ‭8‬:‭22‬ NLT)

 

We can take courage from the farmer and sow good into people’s lives and it will produce a harvest in due course.
God is pleased when we bear fruit.

 

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.
But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father. (‭John‬ ‭15‬:‭5, 7-8‬ NLT)

 

We turn down a road that stretches along the Rossglass coast.
I suggested we stop for some refreshment. I had already prepared some coffee.
We parked our bicycles down a path to the beach and rested on top of the sand dune.
This particular coastline is an area where common seals congregate.  It has the largest colony in Northern Ireland.
“Perhaps we can catch a glimpse of some seals today” I said to my son.
This is a safe, quiet part of a large bay stretching from Ardglass to Newcastle.
The seals blend in with the colour of the stones and outcrops along the coast.
There must be plenty of fish in the bay.  Seals are not the friend of fishermen.  They eat too many fish.
The timing of our stopping off could not have been better.
The tide was coming in.  The seals lie on small islands offshore,  safe from anyone disturbing them.
As the tide rises the islands get covered with water.  The seals move to the next piece of dry ground.  There were about twenty heads popping in and out of the sea circling around after being dislodged from the rocks by the incoming tide.  Mother seals frollicked with their pups in the water.
I couldn’t believe my eyes.
A mother seal and her pup climbed onto an outcrop of rock not far from us.  Their black glossy bodies rippled up onto the rock to enjoy the warmth of the sun and just laze.  Others mothers and pups soon joined them.
The biggest seal, a male, took the highest point of the rock outcrop.  From the top he could be on the look out for danger, protecting his herd.  I suspect he was the head of the group.  They were of various colours, white specked, grey and black.  They blended in with the colour of the rocks.  I counted thirty seals.
I had a never to be forgotten opportunity to see the seals close up.  Different factors contributed to this moment.  There was a high tide and warm sunshine just happening as we were out this morning.  I could not have planned it better.
I sat for half an hour savouring the experience of this intimate scene.  The seals were oblivious to their visitors.  We were well camouflaged on the bank nearby.  From the top we could observe the wildlife.  It was special moment.
I did not have my camera with me that morning.  I went back the next day trying to capture some seals on camera.
Conditions were different.  The tide and the seals were far away.  As if to say “You will not recapture the moment” a mist quickly rolled in from the sea.  I keep the sightings of the seals in my memory.
Sometimes God displays his Glory just for our eyes.

 

“He leads me beside still waters to restore my soul.”  Psalm 23

 

 

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I do get Mad but I Have Learnt to Forgive and Forget.

I do hold grudges but after a while I choose to forgive and forget.

I get mad at times with those closest to me.

I was mad last night is fact.

Very often I go to bed angry with someone.  I toss and turn and can’t get to sleep.  I get up and watch a programme on TV.

Perhaps I write down what I am upset about.  By the time I have written down the problem I am happier and can go back to bed.  

It is better to talk things over to clear the air before bedtime.

Scripture says “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry and do not give the devil a foothold.  Ephesians 4 v 26

But very often the other party is not aware there is a problem or is to tired to resolve the issue.  So the anger remains till the morning.

If the issue is not resolved I hold a grudge.  But sadly I am only harming myself.  The other person is often oblivious to the hurt done, so the anger grows.  The bitterness increases.  The devil has got a foothold.

This is what happened to me when I developed colon cancer.  I was upset with people and did not get issues resolved.  I became angry, unforgiving and bitter.

Forgiving is the key to life, health and happiness.  

I find it easy to accept God has forgiven me, but it is harder to forgive someone who has hurt.

I choose to forgive others.  It may not be easy.  I do not want to get sick again. 

 

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Singing the Blues. The Time for Singing of Birds has Come

 

A good night’s sleep is always helpful when I am down.  Lack of sunshine and warmth can give me the blues and cause me to scurry to the comfort of a warm bed.  Sufficient unto the day is the troubles thereof.  

When I awake and my worries, anxieties or depression are still heavy on my mind I have a quick prayer, Help Lord. 

Whatever time of the day if I am overcome with loneliness, despair or despondency I would get a cup of coffee and something sweet and relax.  I would listen to some uplifting music, or a worship song.  If there is one I really like I would play it over and over.  I would pray for someone else or pick up the phone and talk to a friend and encourage them. If that fails I would share with my husband.  He often sees things from a different perspective.

Having something to look forward to doing often gets me out of the blues.  The down time will come to pass.

It is springtime.  The time for singing of birds has come.   I will sing and be joyful as well.

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How I am adjusting to The New Technology

 

I do like using my i Pad.  What a great invention!  Initially I didn’t think I needed one, and said so when Brendan wanted to buy one for my birthday.  Many years ago when my children got their first mobile phones, they enjoyed texting their friends.  I thought I will never be using one of those.  I had to eat my words when I got my first mobile phone.  I find texting invaluable to be in touch with family and friends.

My children are now up graded to i Phones .  They are texting, taking photos, listening to music, playing games, talking and recording all on this little machine in their hands.

Again I thought to myself I do not need one of them.  Then came the day I could not get hold of a plain mobile that texts for free and phone calls are cheap. I had to give in and go for an upgrade. I can even take photos.  Now I have to pay a monthly bill and I don’t know what for?

I took some interesting photos of scenery recently.  I asked a friend to help me transfer them to my I pad.  It was not quite as simple as I thought.  They told me I needed a Dropbox.  What on earth is a Dropbox.   Maybe it is not on this earth.  It is probably up in the sky somewhere!

Another friend had some beautiful photographs of my garden.  I asked if he would send them to my e mail, so I could store them.   I have advanced to use the e mail and store photos.  He told  me to install What’s App on my phone.  I was only asking for a simple doable request.  I am not a whizz kid on information management.  I just wanted some one to help me.

I must admit I am guilty of avoiding explaining something to a child.  I was just too tired to answer and told him to “Google it”.

Why does the mobile phone sales assistant want to get extra commission by selling a pensioner a phone that runs up a big bill?  Why are the younger generation impatient to help someone who is older?  Were they not helped by us when they were young to learn their A B Cs and cross their Ts and dot their Is.

One cannot survive on one’s own.  Let’s not be independant.  Let’s share skills and help one another with doable requests.

Much knowledge separates the generations and the genders.  The more we are independant, we do not need others and do not receive help from others.  I am willing to see the situation from another’s perspective.  Maybe the person I asked to help me was under pressure to get to work or had other pressing things on his mind.   Maybe he will change his mind.

I think many of us get illnesses because we internalise our frustrations.  Perhaps we think others are too busy to listen or they may not understand one any way, so why bother.  People go to the doctor looking for help.  Very often they are offered a prescription of pills to numb the pain.   A wise doctor may be able to look beyond and offer a comforting word of encouragement.

A wise person said “A good night’s  sleep solves many problems.”  It is like balm to one’s soul.

Let us communicate, stop, listen and help one another.  That develops love and understanding.  We will be all the more healthy.  Then we will be obeying one of the commands Jesus gave us “Love one another.”

 

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We built This City. Daily Prompt. Downpatrick, in Northern Ireland, the Place where I Live.

Next Monday, the 17th March is St Patrick’s day.   There are celebrations all over the world on this day.  In America green beer is sold.  When my husband was in China on St Patrick’s Day the locals gave him a can of Guinness.  He said it was the best can of Guinness he had ever drank in China.  It was the only one!
The Irish people have spread all over the world and that is why most countries have heard of St Patrick.
St Patrick  is celebrated as an man who lived among the Irish in the fifth century.  He preached the gospel of Jesus and did many signs and wonders among the people.  It is recorded that he drove the snakes out of Ireland.  There are no snakes in Ireland.
The town where I live is called Downpatrick.  It is claimed that St patrick is buried here.  Many tourists come to visit this historical place.
The people of this town have lived at peace with each other during the recent troubles in the seventies.  Every Good Friday all denominations of Christians walked through the town behind a wooden cross.  People took turns to carry it.  The people of the town demonstrated their unity, when in other parts of Northern Ireland people were being murdered.
I believe there is a blessing over Downpatrick because of it’s history as a centre of Christianity and civilisation.  There are many schools and colleges in our town.   Christian brothers set up a school for over eleven year old boys back at the beginning of the twentieth century.
They brought education to the poor.  My children attended this school.
I was praying for a bigger house for our growing family.  I needed more space.  I believed that God would provide for us a big family, like he provided for the tribes that went into the Promised Land.
About that time I read in the bible “Look for the ancient pathways where you will find rest for your soul.”  Jeremiah 6 v 16.  Downpatrick is an ancient pathway where Christians have lived for many centuries.  St Patrick may have walked down the pathway or street where we live.
My husband and I believe that God can speak and guide people.  God showed my husband in a dream to get in touch with a man who lived in Downpatrick.  This man, some months later helped us get the big house we now live in.   It has seven bedrooms, two kitchens and two living rooms.  We will be ever grateful to our friend who helped us find a home here.  He helped us when we were in need.
Downpatrick has been a blessing to our family.  Our children were welcomed into the schools.  Their friends’ parents welcomed them into their homes.  The local soccer club and Gaelic club were somewhere safe for my boys to play, supervised by responsible caring volunteers.  It felt as if we always lived here.
We joined with other Christians to pray in unity.  We were blessed.   Where brothers dwell together in unity there The Lord commands a blessing.  Psalm 133.
Since we moved here as we prayed with others for our town,  new things have come here.  A new hospital is built, a new cinema, two new schools, and a new supermarket.
Where I came here I met other families that returned here to rear their children.
Downpatrick is a pleasant and safe place to live.
We have a vibrant Art Centre that gets funding from the government.  Downpatrick punches above its weight.
It has a pleasant climate.  It rests in the lee side of the Mourne Mountains.  The rain falls on the mountains, so we receive less rain than other parts of our country.   We often had our dinner outside in the summer time.  We could never do that in the last town we lived in.
There are beautiful local parks and coastlands.  Within seven miles we are at the beach.  Coney Island is nearby.  It is made famous by the Van Morrison song.
As people live together in harmony the Mayor of our town will have an easy job.
Soon we are moving to a smaller house not far from Downpatrick.   I will always be grateful to God for leading us to live in Downpatrick.  I am thankful to all the teachers, coaches, friends and neighbours who helped our family and have made our time in Downpatrick a happy one.
you too can be guided by God in your life.  He will speak through dreams or circumstances that may arise in your life.  God loves you.