An October Morning.

Oh the stillness of Monday morning.
The house is quiet.
No popping of the toaster, or the kettle boiling for tea and coffee.
The high chair is empty till the next grandchild comes to visit.
No airport pickups today.
Visitors from far away places in England, Canada and India have left.
The light, warmth and stillness invites us outside.
The calm after the storm.
Our friend the robin welcomes us.
He flutters and swirls around me, excited.
Others birds in the forest are singing their hearts out.
Two blue tits come down inquisitively looking for food.
A blackbird calls.
A solitary Raven chases away any competitors for the food scattered on the lawn.
The sunshine glistens on the water, thousands of lights dancing.
Tinkle, tinkle sounds come up from the last yacht below in the bay.
Where is the sun bed?
It hasn’t been packed way yet.
I stretch out and look up.
A few dry leaves drift past.
There is the blue sky beyond the bare branches.
Somewhere up there in an aeroplane is my son and his family.
I will savour the sunshine and beauty.
It’s a new day, I will not be sad.

Brilliant Sunshine Ireland.

Our cold January mornings have been cheered by the brilliant light of the sun reflecting off the water in front of our home.  I’m reminded each morning of God’s mercies being new every morning.  No matter what our difficulties, God promises to rise with healing in his wings.  (Malachi)

The sun shining in our windows give added warmth to our front rooms. It brings an invitation to venture out for a walk or work in the garden, instead of lingering under the bedclothes. The shoots of snowdrops and daffodils are already appearing above ground.

Today is different. The ferry between Portaferry and Strangford is suspended due to fog over Strangford Lough. The chill is not dispersed by brilliant light today.

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

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?

This Sunflower Brightened my Day

This sunflower caught my eye last week as I was out and about.

image

 

Would you believe this is from someone’s garden in Northern Ireland?

The head of the flower lifts it’s head to the sun to receive power to grow and flourish. We can be like that if we lift our eyes to Jesus. He is the Sun of Righteousness who rises with healing in his wings. Malachi 4. He looks down on us with eyes of compassion and lights up our life and gives us power to live.
As I look on the bright face it causes me to smile.
The yellow petals hold the sunshine as the season changes.
It captures the sun for wet, windy, dark days that are ahead.
This picture encourages me to hold sunshine in my heart to shine some brightness into others’ lives in the coming days.  I hope I can make someone smile.

IF I WERE A BLACKBIRD

I have a big garden, hedgerows at the front and trees at the back. In the spring it becomes a hive of activity. Blackbirds, starlings and sparrows are busy overturning autumns leaves looking for insects.  They are getting strengthened for the busy time ahead, building nests and rearing young.

One year there were so many blackbirds nesting in the hedgerows, that I wanted to call our house, “Blackbird Cottage.”  It is a joy to hear them sing from early morning in May, when they are flitting to and fro feeding their young.  Sometimes their tones are raised when there is danger about in the form of our cat.

Today I missed the birdsong and all the activity of the birds in our garden.  I wondered, “Where do the birds go for the summer?”  I checked this question out on the Internet and the RSPB website gave the following information.  I quote.

“Firstly, for many birds we are coming to the end of a hectic breeding season.  After all of the battling for territory, courting mates, finding nesting material, gathering food for young and chasing off predators, it is no surprise that some of the birds are looking a little worse for wear.  Late summer is the time to moult all of the worn and damaged feathers to be replaced with a shiny new set that will keep the birds well insulated through the cold winter months.

During the moult, which takes a number of weeks, birds change their ways, becoming quiet and reclusive.  They don’t want to expose themselves to predators whilst they do not have a full set of flight feathers which would make them much more vulnerable.  They will still be around but skulking under hedges.  Also many birds depart to the wider countryside to feast on the seasonal peak of seeds and fruits.”

I mused.  That is exactly how I feel at the end of the summer.  I have been busy with rearing my children, when they are off school or university and there is more work for me to do.  We all stay up later because of the longer evenings, more outings for walks and definitely more cooking and shopping.  My feathers are definitely easily ruffled.  I have bags under my eyes, my nails are brittle, my hair is grey and my skin dry, my legs and arms are weak. If only I could fly away to some resting place like the birds where there is an abundance of fruit and food.

Psalm 55 v 6 says “Oh that I had the wings of a dove!  I would fly away and be at rest.  I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.”  Even the birds hide and rest.  God sees our distress, whether it is tiredness, mental anguish, worry about money or concern for a family or whatever trouble comes our way.

Jesus said to take the birds of the air as our example.  Matthew 6 v 26 says,

 Look at the birds!  They don’t worry about what to eat—they don’t need to sow or reap or store up food—for your heavenly Father feeds them.  And you are far more valuable to him than they are. 27 Will all your worries add a single moment to your life?”

Another comment on the RSPB was from a visitor.  He said  “Robins spend summer on the French Riviera: a popular spot is Juan-les-Pins.  Starlings flock to Brighton for the world famous murmuration festival, while blackbirds fly off to their second nests, usually in Cornwall.”

I laughed.  Birds of a feather flock together.  Starlings often gather together in flight and do acrobatics in the sky.  They dance and twirl to have fun.  It is good to meet up with friends of like minds and hang out for a while.  We are going to a gathering of friends at the end of September.

Some people are rich enough to have second homes in the sun.  We don’t have a second home but we are off to Greece soon.  Psalm 104 v 15 says, “God gives man wine to make him glad, and olive oil as lotion for his skin, and bread to give him strength.”  I will get my heart strengthened, body rested and sunshine to warm my bones.  We are learning from the birds.

Chow

Angela

Bible quotes from the Living Bible