Iceland the Island of Fire

 

My husband and I are in Iceland after a two hour journey from Belfast International Airport.  Brendan planned this trip back in July 2014.  It is the fulfilment of a desire I have had for ten years.  The first people we spoke to at the airport were two Irish women from Kilkenny who have been living here for twenty six years!  It was good to meet them.  History tells us that some Irish people settled in Iceland one thousand years ago.  The Irish are still here!

I was just reading from Psalm 18.  I read the following verses.

I called on the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and he saved me from my enemies. The sorrows of death entangled me;  But in my distress I cried out to the LORD; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry to him reached his ears. Then the earth quaked and trembled. The foundations of the mountains shook; they quaked because of his anger. Smoke poured from his nostrils; fierce flames leaped from his mouth. Glowing coals blazed forth from him.
Then at your command, O LORD, at the blast of your breath, the bottom of the sea could be seen, and the foundations of the earth were laid bare. (‭Psalms‬ ‭18‬:‭3-8, 15‬ NLT)

Back in May 2010 there was an eruption of Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland.  It disrupted travel in Europe for many weeks.  I had been diagnosed with cancer the previous month.  My daughter had booked for us to visit her and her husband in Switzerland some time before.  We were planning to go even though I wasn’t well.   Because of the ash cloud from the Icelandic volcano our flight to Switzerland was cancelled.  I was disappointed.

But I am not disappointed today.  Psalm 12 v 13 says “A hope deferred makes the heart sick but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”    My desire to come to Iceland is fulfilled.

I was reading through some brochures about Iceland after our arrival.  It is known as the land of fire.  Iceland has a high concentration of active volcanoes due to its location on the mid-Atlantic Ridge.  One volcano erupted out of the sea and created new land.  Last August another volcano
Bardarbunga, erupted with intermittent earthquakes. It continues to bubble up five months on, as the video from Sky news shows.

I am amazed when I read Psalm 18, particularly the words “The foundations of the mountain shook, the bottom of the sea could be seen, glowing coals blazed forth from him.”   David, who wrote this Psalm, prophesied two and a half thousand years ago what is happening in Iceland today.  I am reminded of my distress four years ago when the cords of death were entangling me and I called upon The Lord and he delivered me from death.   He heard my prayer and and like David of old, he answered me.  Alleluia.

My interest in visiting Iceland was inspired by Tim Severin’s book about a voyage that he travelled from Ireland, Scotland, Pharoe Islands, Iceland to Greenland.  He followed what was thought to be the path St Brendan took many centuries before.  My family visited the boat In which Tim travelled.  It is preserved in Kerry, Ireland.  It was built from wood and covered in seal skins, materials available to the early Celts.

I am happy to be here on this island of Iceland in 2015, mentioned so long ago in writings from St Brendan.

Alleluia.

Shared from Sky News: Volcano Spectacularly Erupting Five Months On http://news.sky.com/story/1409583/volcano-spectacularly-erupting-five-months-on

I want to honor the Iceland people who live in an environment that many of us could not endure.   They keep their hearts and land open to the nations who want to come and see the signs and wonders in their island; the Northern Lights, the turbulent lava in a live volcano, the glaciers and the warm geysers to mention a few.

It gives me more reason to Praise the Creator of all things.

 

An Inherited Brooch Brings Back Memories.

I was wearing a brooch on my coat lapel today.  It belonged to my husband’s mother.  I liked it because it was in the shape of a tree.  It caught my son’s eye as we were out for a walk.  He said “Is that the olive tree with all the branches around your table.”  He was referring to a scripture that described our young children sitting around our table.
Blessed is every one that fears the Lord; that walks in his ways.
For you will eat the labour of thine hands: happy will you be, and it shall be well with you.
Your wife shall be as a fruitful vine within your house: your children like olive plants round about thy table.
Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed imagethat feareth the Lord. (‭Psalms‬ ‭128‬:‭1-4‬ KJV)

We used to sing this Psalm often.  Abraham said “Let me count the number of leaves on it.”  He counted fourteen, the number of children we have.  I was excited and could not wait to tell Brendan.  I showed the brooch to him and he was pleasantly surprised as well.  He counted the number of leaves.  Yes there were fourteen.  But he looked again and counted six white leaves and eight green leaves.  We have six girls and eight boys in our family.

The brooch is inexpensive but it is priceless now.  It is prophetic.  Nannie had this brooch for many years.  I bet she never expected her son would have fourteen children.  I am wearing it in memory of her and all our children The Lord gave us.

Children are a blessing from The Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Psalm 127

We moved house recently.  Brendan has been working to get our home ready for visiting family and grandchildren.  We push ourselves to get one more job done, even though our bodies ache.  We take a break and start again.  We have a big house and it is a bit  lonely with just the two of us, after years of activity and bustle.  Our hearts ache as well when we remember our loved ones far away.

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?  Though she may forget I will not forget you.”  (‭Isaiah‬ ‭49‬:‭15‬ NIV)

Abraham returned from university yesterday; the first of the birds flying home to Ireland for Christmas.  Three more arrive on Friday.   I am blessed today as God reminds us of all our children we reared down through the years, in this little brooch.  They are returning home.  He has not forgotten us.

Lift up your eyes and look around; all your children gather and come to you. As surely as I live,” declares the Lord, “you will wear them all as ornaments; you will put them on, like a bride. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭49‬:‭18‬ NIV)

I will wear my brooch and think of God’s love and faithfulness to us.  Yes his promise to me will come true.  My children will return.

I received an e mail from a friend in Canada. She reminded me of Proverbs 13 v 12,

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭13‬:‭12‬ NIV)

When I was suffering from cancer I had lost all hope in the future or my dreams and prophesies coming true. But God intervened. He had mercy on me and for his Name’s sake he healed me. Today my hopes and dreams are coming true. The brooch resembling a tree is an encouragement to me that my longings are being fulfilled, and that God is restoring my life.

There is life after cancer. I am staying alive.

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.