Dark January

I’m dreaming of Summer holidays

Yes, it’s not a deck chair

Yes, it’s not a Piñata Colada

Yes, the glow is not from the sun

I have to make do with

An armchair

The coal fire in the hearth

And a cup of hot coffee

To keep me warm

As the cold wind howls past my window

Making it seem colder than it is.

 

An Appointment With Nature

 

Over the summer months I have been focusing on writing a book. I haven’t had much exercise; not even working in the garden or walking. Despite a minimum of attention tomatoes, herbs and flowers have blossomed in the sunny summer we have had. Butterflies flutter and swallows swoop overhead . They are enjoying the end of summer sunshine.

My body was telling me it needed some exercise. I feel a bit stiff after sitting at a desk for hours on end.  I needed to get away from my computer and books.  I needed to get outdoors to see life around me.

Yesterday I awoke early to a warm, bright morning and decided to go for a cycle. I prefer cycling to walking. It is not too taxing pushing my bike along the Loughshore Rd. The seashore was just to my right. I heard the sound of stones hitting one another and stopped to investigate. I counted ten turnstones, tiny seabirds, busily upturning small stones and feeding on the juicy morsels of insects exposed. The birds were well camouflaged against the brown and grey seaweed and stones. One wouldn’t know they were there except for the noise they were making. I was delighted to discover them on my trip outdoors.

Each time Brendan and I go for a walk there is always something going on in nature. On the way home I noticed a dozen teal ducks who had come ashore to drink fresh water from a brook that trickles down to the sea. They were resting and preening their feathers. They were safe, warming themselves in the morning sunshine. How beautiful? What have I been missing?

A speaker once said that Nature is the bible of creation. Jesus said “Look at the birds.” I learn a lot from watching birds.

This morning I was full of aches and pains after cycling. I was feeling sorry for myself and wanted to stay resting under the blankets. I didn’t want more pain from exercising. Brendan encouraged me to come down for breakfast. After a chat and food I was revitalised. I persevered to go cycling again. I decided to keep up the exercise. What has nature in store for me this morning?

I got my bicycle out again. I wasn’t disappointed. I stopped to rest at Ballyhenry Island. It was low tide. A flocks of seagulls were sunbathing. I heard the chugg chugg of a boat in the distance. It was setting out towards the marine station where research is taking place. I watched as it came close.

A tall black bird caught my eye in the distance. It was flapping its wings. Perhaps it was stretching after feeding. It continued to flap and stretch its wings for fifteen minutes. I was amazed at its energy.   It’s not easy to see a cormorant up close.  They keep their distance from danger.  When on the ferry one can catch a glimpse of a cormorant as it surfaces after diving for food.  Their short legs and streamlined body help them easily glid into the water.  They have been likened to penguins. Bird Island off Kircubbin is where they can safely nest and rear their young.

I thought of the following scripture,
“Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding,
you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars,
wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds,
kings of the earth and all nations, you princes and all rulers on earth, young men and women, old men and children.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭148:7-12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I imagined the cormorant was praising The Lord with its outstetched wings for more that fifteen minutes. I could not keep my arms raised for fifteen minutes. I marvelled as I watched the black bird in the distance.

It was time to return home. I look forward to tomorrow morning. What will the birds be doing?

My Energy gets A Recharge

My energy levels needed a recharge after a busy season.

My husband always arranges a holiday when we both need to take a break from work and the business of home life and recharge our batteries.  We already visited Kerry at the beginning of August.  It was now September.  Ruth and Stuart offered us a stay in their cottage in Scotland.  A chance to take in the beauty of West Scotland and rest before we go on mission to Slovakia.  More recharging of our energy.

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One evening on our return from Scotland, my daughter left a bunch of flowers on the counter when she came in from a busy day’s work.  Dinner had to be rustled together for seven hungry people.  The flowers lay in the midst of someone cutting bread, or making coffee, dirty dishes and saucepans.  Life went on.  No attention was given to the flowers.  When family were fed, dishes cleared, washed, individuals filtered away to rest.  I needed to rest after a hectic day.  The bunch of flowers were still on the bench.

Another daughter was packing up to leave for university.  My fourteenth child, is starting her final year at Edinburgh Univerity.  Last minute arrangements had to be attended to.  Boarding pass at the ready, who would leave her to the port, where is my hair dryer, did you see my purse?  She came in and out of my room asking me questions.  She was getting fraught.  In the end she relaxed in a hot bath and washed away all her stress.

There was no time to get sad at her leaving.  Angela has been home for the summer and has been a blessing to her mum and dad and other family that stayed.  She introduced a summer camp for some of her nieces and nephews.  They had a great time.  The sun shone, they canoed, swam, shopped, face painted, cycled, had barbecues, and enjoyed their wee cousins.  It was the highlight of the holidays for Maggie Sue.

Other events this summer have included our son Isaac’s wedding in Canada, our first grandson’s Confirmation, a grandchild’s baptism, our son Patrick’s wedding in Scotland, a new grandchild, our forty fifth anniversary and my sixty fifth birthday, family visiting from Canada for the wedding, visits to Kerry, Arran and Tarbert,  having two American families stay at different times, and hosting a Gathering in Corrymeela.

I’m taking a deep breath just now.  But Praise God I am alive and not dead from cancer in the grave.  I am alive to see my children married and see my children’s children.  God has been gracious to our family.  I am being restored in the midst of life.  It is not a time for me to put my feet up.

Later that night I went down to the kitchen when the house was quiet.  The flowers were still on the bench unopened.  Everything else was cleared away.  I undid the wrapping, fetched a vase, cut off unnecessary leaves and arranged my flowers into beautiful display.  I admired the gift my daughter brought home for me.  There was no celebration to mark.  Just to show me her appreciation and love. This touched my heart.

“Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.”
Psalms‬ ‭127:3‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I often receive rewards from my children and husband, especially gifts and holidays.  I have been enjoying the roses after the dust of the summer has settled.  They all help to recharge my energy levels.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/recharge/

My Childhood Memory of Colourful Lupins Remembered

It is very hot today.
I am reminded of summer days walking to school.
I lived in the country.
I walked three miles to school.
I passed houses, lanes, hedgerows and fields.
Some fields had black and white cows grazing.
All my surroundings looked big to a small girl as I rushed to get there on time.
For the first half of the journey I walked alone.
Other children would join me as I got nearer the school.
My return from school was more leisurely.
On the hot days the tar blistered on the road surface.
My fingers tips turned black as I burst the bubbles.
At a crossroads a single lady lived.
She was grey haired but remained the same age to me.
She would speak to me as I passed.
I remember a lilac bush that blossomed in her garden in May.
It always was in full bloom on my birthday.
I loved the smell of the lilac, cone shaped flowers.
She would cut off a few branches to give to my mother.
Further along beside a bridge over a small river was a gooseberry bush.
I would always check to see if there was any fruit on the thorny branches.
I picked the bitter goose “gabs” as we called them, before the birds finished them off.
Over the hill lived a family with four children.
I met one of those children recently and she said she always remembered me smiling.
I had no cares in the world then.
Just past their house was a short lane with a house at the end of it.
I never met who lived there but I remember the flowers in the garden.
It was ablaze with colour; yellow, pale pinks, dark pinks, plum, blue and white, and purple.
The lupin flowers stood tall outlined against the sky.
This is my favourite childhood memory.
Down through the years I had not seen such a display.
I tried unsuccessfully to grow some lupins in my garden.
The green fly ate the unfurling flowers.
My husband planted a lilac tree for me at my last home. It did grow.
I was visiting with my daughter and family in the Wicklow hills this week.
It was our 43rd wedding anniversary.
At the bottom of her garden is an abundance of lupins of all colours growing tall and beautiful.
I noticed little red insects, with black dots on the flowers.
They are called lady birds.
I remember picking them in my palm to inspect them as a child.
Aha I thought.
These little insects eat greenfly!
That is why my daughter’s lupins are not wasted away with greenfly.
My daughter lives in the heart of the Wicklow hills away from farms that are sprayed with insecticide.
These little lady birds survive in the habitat there.
I was able to relive a childhood memory on my 43rd wedding anniversary in my daughter’s garden.
The in between years have had their sorrows.

Isaiah 51 v 11 says,
“Therefore the redeemed of The Lord shall return and come singing unto Zion, 
and everlasting joy shall be upon their head.

I am being healed and restored by God.
Fifty years, on I am reminded of my walk to school on happy, sunny days.

 

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