Black Guillemots Nest Nearby

The Loughshore Rd in Portaferry, Co Down is very popular with local walkers, and more so during the Covid restrictions. There is less vehicle traffic. A family of Black Guillemots have become quit celebrities to local visitors.  They have brought joy to many people during this difficult time when people have had to self isolate.  Getting out in nature among God’s creation brings healing to the soul and mind.  

The Black Guillemot is a small black sea bird with a white patch on each wing. Each has a pointed beak, smooth feathers and red feet. They feed on sea creatures and can dive very deep underwater to feed. It’s a privilege to get to see such wild life nearby.

Black Guillemots have a nest amid the rocks in the wall along the shoreline of Strangford Lough.  They  have become quite tame. Passersby stop to watch them as their family play in the water below. My daughter was driving past last evening. Two birds were sitting on the wall. I asked her to reverse the car to see if we could see them up close.

Amazingly the two birds were not disturbed as we stopped. They didn’t fly off. We were able to take photos of them close up. What a delight.

The waves from storms in February breached the shoreline wall in various places. Some were repaired before the lockdown. The road had to be closed to traffic about a mile along the shore from where we live. The wall was broken and part of the road fell into the sea. The Covid lockdown prevented workers getting to fix it.

Then in July when work was due to start to repair the road, it was discovered that another group of Black guillemots had built nests nearby. They were still feeding their young in the nests. The department of the Environment stepped in and advised work to stop. The repair didn’t go ahead. The workers are waiting till the Black Guillemots are finished reading their young.

Family Memories Created.

 

Psalm 145
Let each generation tell its children of his mighty acts.  Everyone will share the story of your mighty acts, wonderful miracles and your wonderful goodness.   Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.  You rule generation after generation.

Last weekend I invited family to visit.  It was an opportunity at the end of the summer and before children go back to school to spend time with one another.  It was also our son John’s birthday.  We remembered other family members’ birthdays that are in August and September.

Isaac is home on a visit from Canada and Angela is leaving to study in Queen’s university.  No, not in Belfast but in Kingston, Ontario far acros the Atlantic in Canada.
The weekend was a great success.  God blessed us with good weather.  We had clear skies in the day and night.  The sun shone and the full moon shone brightly over the bay in front of our home.

I wanted to show my family a National Trust Property at the end of the Ards Peninsula, where there are open spaces of fields and beaches.  Cousins went off together to climb down to the waters edge.  The grandchildren threw stones in the water and our children chatted with each other, enjoying the relaxed atmosphere.  One of my grandchildren joined me to collect sea glass and pottery.  I was amazed to find some there on top of the stones high above the shoreline.  Over the weekend I was given gifts of finds from the beach the grandchildren had picked for me.  I will make a collage to remind us of the event.

Brendan is excellent at creating memories.  He brought a kite which he launched and flew overheard for the time we were at the beach.  I am reminded of the song,
“His banner of us is love.”

Brendan lit a fire.  Everyone, young and old gathered sticks and debris that kept the fire burning.  Someone found a Wellington boot.  A competition to see who could throw the welly the furthest happened.  Grandchildren, children and grandparents took part.  Everyone was included.  Brendan can create fun without expense.  Memories were created.

When we parked the cars, dark clouds in the distance threated a downpour.  We contined anyway.  The clouds did not get to us.  Instead a beautiful rainbow appeared overhead.

We returned home tired and thirsty.  Everyone slept  well that night.

The weekend was an opportunity to share with my family all the “wonderful goodness” God has given to us this last year, new homes, jobs, grandchildren, continued good health and travel.  God is faithful.

I am inspired by the festivals Moses commanded the people of Israel to have when families gathered for a week to spend time together.  I think it is a good idea for family to get together for a day or weekend at least.

I am alive to see the next generation and tell them about God’s mighty acts in my life.

Testimony Tuesday. Something Broken Made Into Something Beautiful

I have taken up a hobby of making mosaics from broken pieces of glass and pottery.

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One sunny morning in Springtime I went for a walk along the foreshore.  It is a stony beach.  I noticed pieces of green glass glistening among the pebbles.  They were looking at me inviting me to pick them up.  I picked one up, then another, and another until my pocket was full.  I felt like I was panning for gold in the stones of the shoreline.   Brendan joined me is my treasure hunt and he collected a pocket full too.  We collected other species, shades of blue, white, and brown.

I inspected them all when I returned home.  I asked myself what can I do with these colourful but broken pieces of glass.  The edges weren’t sharp any more and their colours were cloudy from the years of being broken and worn with the sea storms.  They had lost their shine.  Circumstances in life bring troubles, disappointments, lose or rejection leaving one worn down with the storms of life or relegated to the ash heap.

When washed and grim removed, my pieces of glass were ready to be positioned into something beautiful.

As I looked at the different shapes of green pieces I was inspired to make a mosaic of my country, Ireland, which has thirty two counties. I would use a piece of glass for each county.  I found a piece of wood and a tube full of tile filler.  So started my hobby of making mosaics.  I tried out putting other colours of glass together.  I find I relax as I work.

On Saturday I discovered a new site along the shoreline to build up my supply of broken pieces. I added to my collection, pieces of pottery.  I was excited to see how these pieces would clean up.  Some had blue willow patterns, some had plain colours.  How would they fit in to a mosaic?

As I worked I reminded myself how glass is made.  It is made from the common material, sand.  The sand is heated to 1700 degrees. Through the fire sand changes to become glass.  Pottery is made from clay, a common material.  The clay is treated in high temperatures to turn it to pottery.

The Word of God tells us that we were created by God.

Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. (‭Genesis‬ ‭2‬:‭7‬ NIV)

Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭64‬:‭8‬ NIV)

Sometimes when I go through difficult times I wonder what is happening to me.  This passage from Peter explains,

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. (‭1 Peter‬ ‭4‬:‭12‬ NIV)

When I go though the fires of difficulty I am being transformed to be a useful vessel for The Lord, like the sand being transformed to glass or the clay to pottery.

The pieces of glass and pottery on the beach are all that remain of useful vessels.  Perhaps the blue glass was a beautiful perfume bottle or the piece of pottery, a treasured piece of willow patterned delph on a bride’s dresser.

But even after many years Our Creator God can reach down and touch all that remains of a broken vessel and make something new.  My mosaics speak to me of hope.  There is life after brokenness.  They can be displayed on a dresser again or adorn a bathroom wall and be a thing of beauty again.  God will restore lives again.

Enjoying the Waves on the Irish Shoreline

I went down to the sea this week. There is a full moon in the sky. The tide is higher than normal. The sea is covering the beach where we usually walk.

The Irish people who have settled in other parts of the world always dream of coming back home. We have had visitors who just love the simplicity of our land. I hope you enjoy this scene and taste the seaweed and the salt on your lips.

I have often dreamt of walking along the sea shore on my own away from everyone and the hustle and bustle of life.  I now am able to enter into my dream.

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The picture reminds me of this verse,
Should you not fear me?” declares the Lord. “Should you not tremble in my presence? I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot cross it. (‭Jeremiah‬ ‭5‬:‭22‬ NIV)

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