How Weeds, Slugs and Caterpillars disappear!

imageBrendan enjoys flowers. He worked with his pots,  filling with compost, planting, watering, feeding and refreshing.
When we lived in a town house our window boxes were overflowing with lobelia and petunia, thanks to my husband’s expertise.
People passing admired the display of dangling colours.
We collected various shapes and sizes of pots over the years.
Their numbers would be added to as presents on birthdays.
When we moved house the pots came with us.
Brendan’s garden of pots increased.  Daffodils and tulips and primroses sprouted each spring.
Window box displays continued each summer.
Roses did well without much attention.
There was always some flower growing as the seasons changed.
Even in winter there was colour from primula and pansies that danced in the breeze.
Over the last two years, as our children left home, Brendan and I came to realise our home and garden were too big for us.
The birds had flown the nest.
It took time for us to let go and move on.
We had many happy times and memories raising our children in our home in Downpatrick.
Brendan and I now have a new start, a new beginning.
We moved house this spring.
A house that is easy to maintain, no more ashes, just the flick of a switch for heat.
Out plants are having a new beginning as well.
We brought our plants in pots with us.  The yard out back looked like a garden centre.
Over the last few weeks Brendan and I have been sorting them out.
It is sunny where we now live and if my pot plants do not get watered often they will quickly deteriorate.
I was sorting out pots that did not seem to have any life in them and I was pleasantly surprised to find a harvest of bulbs.
I won’t know what they are until next spring.  I suspect most of them are daffodils.  Anyway our pots needed fresh soil so contents of all pots had to be inspected and sorted.  We found little tree shoots growing in some.  Seeds from trees in our last garden took root.  I have ash, sycamore and lime saplings potted out separately. Dead roots and weeds were disguarded to the dump.  The other contents of the pots were choking out the flowers intended to be growing taking away the nutrients and water.

A new beginning for bulbs next year.

I do not need to use slug pellets or roundup.  Other pests of our pot plants at our last house was snails.  They loved the trees, walls and hid under the rim of the pots.  They came out at night to eat.   Caterpillars just loved nastursums.  They munched at the tasty leaves.  The butterflies have not arrived yet so I don’t know if I will have caterpillars.

One way of getting rid of weeds, caterpillars and slugs is to turn up the heat.
The heat and the sunshine just causes them to wither up.
So our pot plants have a new start with weeds and slugs gone.
All is needed is watering regularly with the odd boost of Miracle Gro.
Flowers are blooming and a little pruning here or there is keeping things going well.
I am getting plenty of exercise, fresh air and sunshine as I water my plants.
Perhaps my new situation is telling me God is just dealing with my enemies in the spirit.
Like the slugs and weeds they cannot live in the new conditions.
The heat was turned up in our situation with having cancer and children leaving home.

Job in the bible went through suffering and did not know why.

But by means of their suffering, he rescues those who suffer.
For he gets their attention through adversity.
“God is leading you away from danger, Job, to a place free from distress. He is setting your table with the best food. (Job 36:15, 16 NLT)

God has brought us to a broad place, free from distress.
I can testify that God is good and faithful to keep his promise.  Believe and hope in God.
Brendan and I can flourish and grow without hindrance in our new territory.
God is faithful.  He said in His Word he will deliver us from our enemies.

O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy.  (Psalms 107:1, 2 KJV)

Outdoors on an Irish Spring Morning

OUTDOORS ON AN IRISH SPRING MORNING

In the early morning light,

Inspecting my plants,

Redeemed from the move,

Watering and feeding,

Placing and admiring,

The sun is shining,

The wind is blowing.

Doves are cooing.

Swallows are tweeting.

Lambs are bleating.

Sheep are responding.

Cattle are munching,

Horses are grinding,

The sea is roaring,

Creation inspiring.

Cancer Healed

 

I have experienced malignant cancer healed completely.  The effect of cancer was reversed and the tumour disappeared.  I am cured through the power of Jesus.

Today is the fourth anniversary of me going to the doctor with symptoms of colon cancer.  It was confirmed weeks later after I had a colonoscopy.  The Oncologist Nurse told me I had malignant cancer.

The definition of malignant according to the Marriam-Webster dictionary is

medical : very serious and dangerous : tending or likely to grow and spread in a rapid and uncontrolled way that can cause death

I was stunned.  Everyone thought the inevitable.

I had an MRI scan and a CT scan taken later. All the results of these procedures were considered by the Oncologist team in the City Hospital in Northern Ireland.  This hospital is well known for the care of cancer patients.

I looked at the photos taken of the cancer.  I saw the reddish growth.  The scans showed I had a 9cm tumor in the lower part of my bowel.  I had fourth stage cancer.  The doctors treat the patient hoping to extend life but they do not offer a cure.

The head doctor told me his team had discussed my case.  They decided the best way to treat me was to have five weeks of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.  This was just to reduce the tumor.  I would have an operation to remove the tumor and the part of my bowel which was affected.  I would have an ileostomy fitted.

I was very sad and depressed.  My family and others began to pray for me.
In the past I had prayed for people to be healed.  I believed in Jesus who when he was on earth cured those who were ill, Luke 9 v 11 NIV.  He is the only one who offers a cure. I was too weak to pray for myself.

I went through radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment.  I did not have any side effects of burning, nausea or hair loss.   The doctor called me to have an operation six weeks later.  I believed I the cancer healed completely.  The doctors were annoyed with me.  They said treatment does not cure cancer.  You need an operation!  The head doctor examined me and confirmed there was no tumor.  He gave me a letter saying so.

Four years on I remain healed of cancer and I am restored to health and strength, more than before.  I believe cancer will not come back.

It is by faith in Jesus I am healed and remain healed.

Nahum 1 v 9 “Trouble will not come a second time.”

I give glory to God for his tender mercies to me.

My book Staying Alive is the story of the cancer healed.

 

 

How I am adjusting to The New Technology

 

I do like using my i Pad.  What a great invention!  Initially I didn’t think I needed one, and said so when Brendan wanted to buy one for my birthday.  Many years ago when my children got their first mobile phones, they enjoyed texting their friends.  I thought I will never be using one of those.  I had to eat my words when I got my first mobile phone.  I find texting invaluable to be in touch with family and friends.

My children are now up graded to i Phones .  They are texting, taking photos, listening to music, playing games, talking and recording all on this little machine in their hands.

Again I thought to myself I do not need one of them.  Then came the day I could not get hold of a plain mobile that texts for free and phone calls are cheap. I had to give in and go for an upgrade. I can even take photos.  Now I have to pay a monthly bill and I don’t know what for?

I took some interesting photos of scenery recently.  I asked a friend to help me transfer them to my I pad.  It was not quite as simple as I thought.  They told me I needed a Dropbox.  What on earth is a Dropbox.   Maybe it is not on this earth.  It is probably up in the sky somewhere!

Another friend had some beautiful photographs of my garden.  I asked if he would send them to my e mail, so I could store them.   I have advanced to use the e mail and store photos.  He told  me to install What’s App on my phone.  I was only asking for a simple doable request.  I am not a whizz kid on information management.  I just wanted some one to help me.

I must admit I am guilty of avoiding explaining something to a child.  I was just too tired to answer and told him to “Google it”.

Why does the mobile phone sales assistant want to get extra commission by selling a pensioner a phone that runs up a big bill?  Why are the younger generation impatient to help someone who is older?  Were they not helped by us when they were young to learn their A B Cs and cross their Ts and dot their Is.

One cannot survive on one’s own.  Let’s not be independant.  Let’s share skills and help one another with doable requests.

Much knowledge separates the generations and the genders.  The more we are independant, we do not need others and do not receive help from others.  I am willing to see the situation from another’s perspective.  Maybe the person I asked to help me was under pressure to get to work or had other pressing things on his mind.   Maybe he will change his mind.

I think many of us get illnesses because we internalise our frustrations.  Perhaps we think others are too busy to listen or they may not understand one any way, so why bother.  People go to the doctor looking for help.  Very often they are offered a prescription of pills to numb the pain.   A wise doctor may be able to look beyond and offer a comforting word of encouragement.

A wise person said “A good night’s  sleep solves many problems.”  It is like balm to one’s soul.

Let us communicate, stop, listen and help one another.  That develops love and understanding.  We will be all the more healthy.  Then we will be obeying one of the commands Jesus gave us “Love one another.”

 

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Lingering at the End of our Holiday

At the end of a holiday is the time I love to linger and not want the day to end. Tomorrow it is back to reality, work and the challenges of life.
I met three of my four daughters at the weekend after their holiday in the sun. One of my daughters and her husband had booked to go on holiday but the company grew to five.  All of them work long hours and they badly needed a break.
There was not as much sun as they had hoped.  But they had plenty of sleep, wine, good food, and fun hanging out together.  They all seemed to me different after a week away; youthful looking, relaxed, joyful, peaceful.  They seemed aglow, transformed after their holiday.
I had been praying for them that God would make His Face, His Son, to shine on them after they called me to tell me there was no sun!  I know it is God’s will for our bodies to be refreshed.  Jesus took his disciples aside for meals and times to talk alone.  The Jews had festivals during their year when the people gathered together for times to relax and eat.  It is a need of the human condition.
This is exactly why I have always said ” A holiday is not a luxury but a necessity.”  Even though we are a big family we always made a point of going on holiday each summer.  It is time to chill, laugh, swim, make a barbecue etc.
So the time I remember lingering was on holiday the evening before we were due to travel home.  Back to work and cold weather.
The evening sun was going down behind the hill in the west.  The beach was empty.  The sun beds no longer held relaxed bodies.  Their work of healing was over for the day.  The bleached white sun umbrellas flapped in the gathering evening breeze.

image

Brendan and I had just finished our meal in the beach cafe.  It was of fresh fish.  The abundance of the sea shall be added unto thee.  We were finishing the wine and reminiscing.  Totally relaxed now compared to irritating moments we had together at the beginning of our holiday.
We wanted this moment to last.  We lingered till the sun went down behind the hill and the chilly air blew in from the sea.
This article was inspired from Daily prompt
 

Happy St Patrick’s Day.

 HAPPY ST PATRICK’S DAY
 Did you know that St Patrick’s Day, is the second biggest festival celebrated in the world after Christmas?  Why?  Ireland, this small island on the edge of Europe has many diaspora all over the world.  And where ever the Irish are they remember the Irish Patron Saint, Patrick.  It is a day for the wearing of the green.
St Patrick’s Centre lit up with green lights.  St Patrick’s grave is situated in the graveyard of the Church behind this centre.
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Wherever you live in the world I am sure you have heard of St Patrick.  Maybe you have Irish ancestors.  We travel to Canada and we meet people there who love Ireland even though they have never been here.  Some of our friends there have some relative in their  family line that came from Ireland.
Many people come to visit Ireland wanting to see where their ancestors come from.  Even some presidents of America claim to have Irish ancestors.  Information on the Internet has helped people with their searches.  We have had American students visit Ireland and they break into tears when they see the homeland where their forebears lived.
The Irish are in different parts of the world for various reasons.  In the 1800s there was a terrible famine in Ireland.  The population dropped to 4 million, because of death and exile.  In the 1600s some Irish were sent into Europe and the East Indies as slaves by Cromwell.
Down through the years the young people left Ireland for work in England, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and America.
Patrick came and lived among the Irish and through his love, and example he brought the love of God to the people.  It is said he used the Shamrock a small plant with three small leaves to explain the Trinity, three persons in the Godhead.  The Irish wear the Shamrock on St Patrick’s day.
Early Christians travelled to Scotland and down into Europe as far as Slovakia.  Brendan was in  Switzerland in 2012 to celebrate six hundred years since St Gallian went there from Ireland.
With living on an Island the Irish became sea faring people.  They built small wooden curraghs. The Irish monks travelled by small curraghs up the rivers of Europe.  St Brendan travelled with others to the land we now know as Canada on a boat made of wood and sealskins.
At one time in the nineteenth century there were eight million people living here.  Many lived in small holdings but were able to grow oats and potatoes, kept a few chickens.  A cow would have been kept for milk. They were able to live off their produce.  Porridge was made from the oats and the women made their own bread.  Soda bread and potato bread can only be bought in Ireland.
I grew up on a farm.  My mother baked bread, we had chickens, we had milk from the cows.  We did not go hungry.  Only on a Sunday did we have a chicken, a stew or soup. We lived well and dad and mum reared ten children.  We did not go hungry.  We were content.
We have a Christian heritage that has come down the generations from the days of St Patrick.  In the twentieth century many missionarys went from Ireland again to the nations, especially into India and Africa and set up schools and hospitals.   My mother’s sister worked in Nigeria around the 1960s.
Ireland had become infamous in the 1970s because of the war in Northern Ireland.  Injustice, bitterness, hatred, division and poverty erupted into war between people from Catholic and Protestant backgrounds.  What a shame it has brought to the name of Jesus.  Nations have looked at us and said God is love.  How come Christians are fighting one another.   In Russia and India people heard of the bombs and bullets.
In Chronicles the Word of God says “If my people will humble themselves and pray, and turn from their wicked ways I will heal their land.”  People began to pray.  I attended a woman’s prayer group.  We represented the different denominations in our country.  As we prayed we found the only One who brings forgiveness and reconciliation, Jesus.  Before he died on the cross he said about those who crucified him,  “Forgive them because they know not what they do”.  After thirty years the war ceased.  Thanks God for his mercy.
Ex President Clinton visited Derry recently and encouraged us that he is travelling all over the world to negotiate peace between warring groups.  He uses the example of the Northern Ireland as a place that lives in peace after thirty years of war.
May we travel again as missionaries of the Gospel, like St Patrick and bring the love of God, forgiveness  and reconciliation to the nations.

What it is like to be going through Empty Nest Syndrome!

I wrote about our present home before.
It was the provision of The Lord fourteen years ago for us and the nine children who still lived at home.
We now have an empty nest!  There are no more fledglings left!  They are grown up and have moved on from their parents.  Yes, it is lonely after all the activity of a full household.  Instead of children running up and down the stairs all I hear is the timbers creaking.
Many of the seven bedrooms are empty.  The heating is turned off in the rooms.  Where there used to be life, chatter, laughter, lights on and essays being written, there is silence and a chill in the air.
There is no one to call to make a cup of tea and have a chat.  There is no news about what friends are up to.
There are no cries of “Who touched my Razor.”  “Where is my toothbrush?” “Who used my hair jell?” “Dinner is ready!” “It is prayer time.  Come down for prayers.”
I do not have to check the rooms to see if everyone is in bed.  My boys and girls slept in peace in their warm beds.  They were always well rested to face all the activity of their young lives.  He gives his beloved sleep.  Psalm 127 v 2
There are five levels of stairs in my home so one had to shout loud.  Even then everyone did not hear the call.
An African man came to visit.  He enjoyed all the buzz in our home.  It reminded him of his own country where there is plenty of activity and noise.
The jam in the cupboard grows mould because there is no one to eat peanut and jam sandwiches.  I throw out vegetables and leftovers in the fridge because there are no hungry boys coming in from football to eat them.
The washing machines are silent.  I would have two washing machines on the go to wash towels and all the jeans and socks.
The house was warmer then with all the bodies in the house.  There was help to keep fires lit and logs cut.  I loved the sound of the Hoover on the landing.  I knew the carpets were getting refreshed.  Now the dust gathers and we don’t see it.  Cobwebs grow on the shutters.
A proverb says “Where there are no cattle the stall is clean but with increase of oxen there is strength.”  There always was help to keep the family going.  The children did their chores.
There are no football bags in the corridor to trip over.  I don’t have to replace many toilet rolls.  There is no smell of burnt toast.  The kitchen sink is not full of dirty saucepans.  All the signs of life are gone.
The grass is beginning to grow in the spring sunshine.  The plant pots need refreshed. Hedgerows need pruned.  The work is too much for two of us.  Reluctantly Brendan and I have agreed to downsize.  We have to leave this Old House that has lovingly protected us and our children for fourteen years.  It has been a shelter from the wind and rain.  It’s gardens provided play areas for our children and their friends and grandchildren,  soil to grow my vegetables, trees to climb and swings to dangle from.
Take a look at this video on YouTube:
Brendan and I and the children have enjoyed many times of tea on the front garden where the morning sun shines.  The children come down one by one to sit with us and enjoy the moment. We enjoyed many barbecues and conversations around camp fires.  It’s hedgerows provided homes for blackbirds, doves, robins and sparrows.  Blossoms on the Laburum, Magnolia and Rhododendron tress signalled spring.
We had champagne on the lawn for our son’s wedding.  That was a great success.  And the birthday parties?
We are moving on before all the spring activity starts and I will be tempted to stay.  We will keep the memories in our hearts.
Thank you God for providing this house in which our family flourished.
video of This Old House by Shaking Stevens With thanks.