Family Friday. We Didn’t Get Invited Out to Dinner

While in Canada recently, a young man called David, picked us up from the airport at Dawson Creek.   I remembered him from my last visit.  He came to a meeting with his wife and four small children.  They were like little mice playing quietly, not wanting to disrupt the meeting.

This couple reminded Brendan and I of times past when we would attend meetings with our young children.  I had eight children at the time.   The children joined in the singing and were well behaved when someone was speaking.  We were the biggest family there.

Our host was telling us that David and his family don’t get invited out to dinner, because people think a family of four is too much to cope with.  They can cope with adults but not young children!   I sympathised with David.  Wouldn’t the parents feel loved and accepted it someone had their family over for soup even.  

Getting everyone ready for Sunday meetings became stressful for us as our family increased.  We had to be up early, get dressed, be on our best behaviour, sit through services and then come home to make dinner for all of us.  When we had ten children we decided to stay home on a Sunday morning.  It was more relaxed for us all.  Brendan taught our children in the relaxed atmosphere of home.  I had plenty of time to cook dinner.  For seven years we stayed home on Sundays.  Jacob, Isaac, Abraham, and Angela were born in those seven years.

We remembered the love of God for children. 
He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭40‬:‭11‬ KJV)
We knew God was carrying us in his arms.

In the earlier years when I had seven children we met up with friends for picnics.  We would meet in each other’s homes for lunch.  The other ladies were great cooks.  Our children were around the same age, and played happily together.  But as number eight child, number nine child, etc arrived the invites for dinner stopped.  We were alone on Sundays together with our growing family. We lived far away from our parents or extended family, so no aunts or uncles to give a helping hand.

I will always remember the kindness of a friend, Rose Rodgers, who invited ten of us for dinner.  She knew my husband was away on a trip.  He was working on a mission and often I would come under attack from the enemy, the devil, when he was away. The enemy would use these tactics to wear me down. If I was not able to look after the children at home then my husband would have to stop travelling. I was determined I was not going to miss this dinner.

Came the day to go, I asked one of my daughters to help get the youngest child ready.  She put the child in the bath and turned on the hot tap.  She forgot to turn on the cold tap as well.  I was busy seeing to the others when one of the other girls came running in shouting, “The baby’s legs are scalded.”  I was calm.  I knew this was an attack from the devil to stop me going out with my children for dinner.

I attended to the baby, dressed her, told my other children to get in the van and wait for me.  We drove to the doctors surgery just to check that the baby was okay.  I was praying all the way.  I told the other children to behave while I went into the surgery.  I didn’t know how long I would be.  While I was waiting to be seen, one of the children came running to find me.  Two of the girls were fighting in the van.  I had to go out and restore calm. One was annoyed with the other for hurting the baby and was battering her with a stick. They were traumatised at the thought of permanent damage being done to their wee sister’s legs. I told them God would heal my baby’s legs. I returned to the doctor.  He dressed the baby’s legs with cream and he reassured me her skin was not harmed.  

Praise The Lord.  I drove off with the van full of children to my friend’s house.  We all filed in and apologised for being late.  How I enjoyed that meal.  My friend had a big heart.  I will never forget this kindness from Rose Rodgers.

Can’t Beat Home Made Bread

We took a break from unpacking, washing and cleaning.

The sun was shining and reflecting off the water in front of our new home in the country.  We don’t just have a pond at the bottom of our garden, we have Strangford Lough!  I decided to make some Irish wheaten bread which cooks beautifully in the Aga.  Brendan wanted to go for a walk.  I asked him to wait till the bread was cooked before we left.  A friend said he would go for a walk and leave the food in the oven but too often they were away longer than they intended and the food was burnt.  I didn’t imagewant that to happen.

Brendan and I went for a walk along the bay.  The water lapped against the sea weed covered rocks.  I forgot my binoculars to do some bird watching.  I didn’t need them today as some birds were close by, gulls, sandpipers and many more were feeding on the shore. We walked around a little peninsula which becomes an island when the tide is high.  We sat down in the sunshine had coffee from my flask and enjoyed the view, Bella Vista.

The Lord is my shepherd; he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restores my soul. (‭Psalms‬ ‭23‬:‭1-2‬ KJV)

When my children were young I always wanted to move to the country to live.  I thought they could work off a lot of energy playing in the open spaces, like I did as a child.  It was not practical to live in the country for my family.  Living near schools, shops, friends, health centre and dentists in the town was more suitable.  The children could attend after school activities and sports events without me taking them by car.  They could walk home.  We weighed up the benefits of living in the country or the town.  Living in the town suited our young family better.

I haven’t made bread for twenty years.  When the children were young I made a batch of wheaten loaves every week.  Our children loved the hot bread with butter and jam running over the sides.  It was very satisfying. Baking bread was gone for a season but not forgotten.

When I was in Canada recently my host, Maureen, relaxes on the week end and makes a wheaten cake of bread for her family.  Her mum, who was from Belfast, taught her how to make it.  She keeps an Irish tradition going.  Perhaps she inspired me to get going again making bread.

I remember my mother made griddle soda bread for us.  It is made with flour, baking soda and buttermilk mixed together.  The dough was turned out onto a floured baking board, shaped into a circle an inch deep and cut into four parts.  The dough was placed on a hot griddle on top of the cooker.  When one side was cooked it was turned over to finish it off on the other side.  The smell of the cooking bread brings memories of provision, warmth and comfort.  If I was about when the bread was ready I loved to have a piece with butter melting on the fresh slice.   Homemade soda was fat free, nutritious and inexpensive.  Those were the days before supermarkets and mass produced food.

My first loaf of wheaten bread on my new Aga turned out tasty.   Brendan enjoyed it for lunch after our walk.  The smell of the freshly baked bread filled the room.  We will have daily bread from now on.

Jesus told us to pray, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. (‭Matthew‬ ‭6‬:‭9-11‬ KJV)

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/gone-but-not-forgotten/

People are Like Flowers, they will Blossom in the Right Conditions

 

My husband and I love working in the garden.

We often pick up bargains of plants at markets at the end of the growing season. 
We look out for exotic plants at the local supermarket.
It is exciting when spring comes round, to see what appears in the pots from bulbs and dried up roots we planted in the late autumn.
Our last home had a big garden with hedges, walls and trees.
I could position plants that suited the different conditions.
When we moved house recently we could only bring our pot plants with us.
We now live near the sea, no trees for shade but it is warm and sunny.
Our new climate has advantages and disadvantages.
Strong, salty winds blow in the winter and hinder tree growth and plant life.
A neighbour said he spent a fortune on plants for his new house and they all died in the winter.
He warned me that “Nothing will grow here,” as I planted out my window boxes in spring after I moved here.

 Image

Okay, I have not lived through a winter yet, but I am determined to make the most of the hot, sunny, long days of spring, summer and autumn.
 Lilies have blossomed a month early in the same pot, but in their new setting.  They never flourished like this before!

My roses are doing well in the sunshine and free flow of air. 
Before they were shadowed by trees.
Plants need good soil, water and light to grow.
Jesus told the parable of the farmer and the seed.
Where the seed fell on good soil the plants grew up and produced thirty, sixty and a hundred fold.
On the rocky stony soil the seed died soon after planting because of dryness and lack of nutrients for growth.
We can flourish in the right conditions to remain healthy, and grow.
Jesus is the Light of the world. 
When he shines on us he brings healing.
The Holy Spirit is symbolised as water.
The Word of God is symbolised as Bread.
Plants need light, water and good soil with nutrients to grow.
If we are nourished by the spiritual symbols light, water and nutrients, we will flourish body, soul and spirit.
Jesus is the Good Sheperd. Psalm 23 promises The Lord will lead us beside still waters and green pastures to restore our souls. 
I am being refreshed in body, soul and spirit in this new land.