A Bird’s Eye View

I’m looking out from an apartment on the third level of an hotel in Greece. I have a bird’s eye view of the sea in the distance, trees, mountains, clouds, tourists and birds. Just above me two sparrows are making a home under the roof tiles. I look down the row of apartments and notice other sparrows flitting in and out from under roof tiles. In this hotel, not only do you get an apartment to stay in, you also get the company of a couple of sparrows rearing their young above your balcony.

It is May in Greece. The weather hasn’t settled yet to be sure of uninterrupted sunshine for the tourist. One takes a risk to take a holiday at this time. We have had rain, sunshine, west winds and east winds blowing. I have my winter coat with me just to be sure to be warm if the temperatures drop.

The swallows are making their nests as well. They build where a wall meets an overhanging roof. They can be a bit messy and visiting tourists may not take kindly to a bird making his nest on their balcony. As a couple of swallows start to build the owners come along and remove the offending mud shelter. The next day the swallows start over again. So it goes till the birds are defeated and it’s too late to have their young.

Today I was able to continue my bird watching when we were out for a meal. I saw how one man has come to terms with the visiting swallows and his visiting tourists. He has built boxes around the nests and a platform below to catch any bird droppings. So no mess for the tourists to see. There is a welcome for the tourists and the swallows. Some swallows have come back to the same nest for years. They flew in and out while we had our meal . This owner has learned to be eco friendly. I looked up as one of the swallows sat proudly on the nest to hatch her young knowing she was secure in the shelter provided by the human owner. Man and birds are living in harmony.

“How lovely is your dwelling place, LORD Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young— a place near your altar, LORD Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭84:1-4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

God knows the sparrow and the swallow. I am blessed when they are around.

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Ireland is on Fire

The temperature map for us today looks like Ireland is on Fire.

imageIn my last blog I talked about the summer weather in Ireland being unpredictable. It surely is. It is forecast today to be the hottest day of the year. A few days ago I was drenched with rain in Killarney and Galway.
Last night there was a full moon. It’s light dazzled and reflected off the water of Strangford Lough outside our window. Such a beautiful view before I closed my eyes to sleep.
I read a notice the other day. It said “When the storm clouds come live life. Dance in the rain and have joy.”  Perhaps that is why the Irish are known all over the world for dancing.  Remember Riverdance?

May Ireland not only be ablaze with sunshine today but let us take hope that God will set us on fire with his love, healing and pour out his Holy Spirit on us today.

Let us enjoy this day. Rejoice in The Lord always.

From Intense Heat to Gentle Rain

I return to Northern Ireland.  I  carry the benefits of the holiday in Greece on my skin, in my mind,  and in my body.  I have my beauty treatment for the winter and the few extra pounds will sustain me in the colder days ahead.  My mind and body are rested.

Our son Isaac welcomed us with a meal of cooked fish.  He had fished it from the sea just an hour earlier.  He had  caught it when I rang to let him know we had landed into Belfast and were on our way home.

I am reminded of the story in the bible about Jesus preparing a meal of fish for his disciples.

“As soon as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid there on,and bread.”  KJV John 21 v 9.

Back in Ireland, warmth and freshness are in the air.  Flowers in the garden are flourishing in the extra September sunshine.  Purple Lupins give a welcome display at my back door.  A light shower of rain fell.  The beads of water glisten like diamonds.  Nasturtium planted late must think it is spring.  I love the deep green of the leaves and the orange, brown flowers.

I spent a while in the green house.  Tomato plants that didn’t need must attention all summer, have become fruitful vines.  I pruned back leaves to expose the fruit to the sun.  The main stem can now send its energy to the ripening fruit.

imageimageApples in the orchard are being painted red with the evening September sun.  The fruit that has fallen to the ground has been chewed on by rabbits and pecked at by birds.

What a picture of God’s beauty and goodness.

You take care of the land and water it.  You make it very fertile.  The rivers of God are full of water. You soften the ground with rain and then you give it a good crop.  You give the year a good harvest.  Psalm 65 v 9-11

The Glory of God in Creation

imageI have been living in the country these last eight months.  I have the joy of seeing the clear night sky at times.  I can see the Milky Way, like a whisp of light across the sky.  The stars shine brightly, when there is no moon or clouds.  Last weekend the full moon rose in the east and circled high in the sky and set in the west in the morning.  It was very bright outside at night. The area where we live is called Bright.  I wonder why?

With the full moon comes high tides.  I went down to the local beach.  The water was still.  It rippled and lapped gently on the sand.  Another evening I could hear the roar of the sea as there was a strong wind blowing.  What a variety in nature all around me.  No day Is the same.   I am reading the bible of creation.

By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, and what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.  Hebrews 11 v 3

We went out for dinner with our daughter recently.  She drove along carefully as it was dark, raining and windy. We ran for cover into the restaurant.  Half and hour later I stepped outside to take a phone call.  It had stopped raining and there was no wind.  On the way home later there was a clear sky.   I was able to show my daughter the stars.  It is true what they say about Ireland, “Wait a while and the weather will change.”

I have seen a few rainbows recently.  There are dark clouds with rain in one part of the sky, and the sun shining in another part.  An ideal situation for a bright rainbow.  The rainbow is a sign in the sky of God’s presence.  He put the rainbow in the sky for Noah, as a sign of his covenant that he would not flood the earth again.

Over and over God says in his Word He is the one who made the heavens and the seas.  As I am experiencing the changes in the heavens and the seas so close at hand, my heart overflows with praise to The Lord.  I believe in the God who made the heavens and the earth.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. (‭Psalm‬ ‭19‬:‭1-4‬ NIV)

Dare to believe in God.  It pleases God when we believe.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/trio-4/

Holidays

Holidays are like sleep; problems don’t seem so big after a good night’s sleep.  There is a saying that goes “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”.  It is time to walk or drive to be together and enjoy the beauty of our country.  We always went places where our children could have fun for free, a beach, forest or playpark.  One time we even saw elephants without going to the zoo.  We just parked alongside a field, where a circus was letting the animals graze.

One may think he cannot afford to take a holiday.  We have found God is faithful to provide the money we needed for holidays.

Psalm 23 says The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.

When Brendan and I got married in June 1971 we went on honeymoon to Southend to visit relatives.  We got the ferry overnight to Liverpool and then the train to London.  It was the first time I was in England.  When we returned to Ireland we did not go immediately to our new home but hitch hiked to Donegal and travelled around having an adventure until our money ran out.

The adventure of our lives has continued till this day.  Travelling did not hinder us when we had children. We were interested in community living and we heard about people who lived together in Findhorn in the north of Scotland.  I got some money from teaching.  We headed off the next day with two children to Scotland.  We travelled by boat, bus or hitch hiked.

Our travels took us through Glasgow, Inverness, Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh.  Isn’t it interesting that seven of our children have gone to university in the same towns we visited back then?  Scripture says he will give us the ground where our feet shall trod.  We did not stay in the community.  We returned home and grew our own community!

Each summer we would always plan to go on holiday.  For a few years when we had three children we went on summer youth camps as volunteers.  We got to have a holiday and got paid for it.

Corrymeela is holiday centre in north Antrim, hosting families on holidays from troubled areas of Northern Ireland.  A lady who worked there offered us a holiday.  Our family was growing but that did not deter us.  I think we went there about three years running.

When we had seven children Brendan bought a car, a Peuguot 505.  We felt so blessed.  Brendan and I decided that year to venture out on our own as a family and rent a holiday home.  We were talking together and Brendan asked me, “Where would you like to go on holiday”.  I had a desire to go to Kerry.  Brendan heard of an organisation called the Full Gospel Business Men.  He had one of their booklets.  He looked it up to see if there was anyone in Kerry who organised meetings.  He got in touch with the leader and asked him to look out for a house for us.

I was expecting my eighth child.  We headed off with the car full, Brendan myself and seven children.  The house was a dream.  Plenty of rooms, washing machines, showers, and rainbows outside.  Our children loved the space.  Kerry is famous for milk and golden butter.  In the field beside the holiday house our children got a close up view of the black and white cows and heard the sounds of them tearing and munching on the grass.

We attended prayer meetings in our friend’s home.  I was praising The Lord and dancing.  People were afraid I would go into labour.  My son John held on for another two weeks.  We have been going to Kerry since, over the past twenty seven years.  We have made many friends and were always warmly received and blessed.  It became an oasis for us from the troubled North each July.

We are just back from a week’s holiday in a house quite near the mouth of the River Shannon.  We never went to Kerry for the sun.  Normally it rains, but this year we had wall to wall sunshine.  It was as good as being in Greece without the flights and expense.