Friday 30 April 2010

Happenings.

We have been getting on with things as usual these past weeks. Sean is still doing well with his swimming and loving it. Sigita had been giving him one-to-one lessons which really helped him, so much so, that when he went back to his Aura classes, he was able to skip three levels, move on to the Saturday morning coaching class and was placed in the advanced class. I take him to the pool every Thursday for the open swim there and sometimes he spends two or three hours there practicing his lengths, meeting and playing with other kids and just horsing around, as you can see in this photo!

We are still schooling at home and getting on with that. I realize that things were becoming a bit stale in this department so we go to the Library more often and I have booked a couple of field trips for Sean. Next Tuesday we plan to visit Paddy Clarke's Photographers where they will allow Sean to use their cameras to take photos and then they will show him how to use the computers etc. We went to visit them four years ago and were invited back so we are looking forwards to that. The week after that we hope to visit a book binders workshop.Sean 2006

Last week we went to the park to do some work there. It was pleasant enough weather and Sean enjoyed running around in between working on his books. I took this photo of him up in his (and half the kids in the town) favourite tree and thought I would compare it with a similar photo I took a few years ago. I am keenly aware that this kind of fun behaviour will end very soon and want to capture it before it disappears altogether. However, I think he will swap this for some other form of play like basketball and football when he goes to school next year :o)Sean 2006Sean 2010

I am still helping this little lady with her homework a few evenings a week. The proceeds are going towards Sean's sailing boat. She is a wee dote and working well for me.My sister Caroline and her son David has opened a cafe in town and has agreed to allow Sean to work there on Friday afternoons and pay him a small amount to put towards his sailing boat! It's all very easy stuff, rolling up cutlery in napkins, tidying tables etc. He is really enjoying being there, meeting people, getting free food, soft drinks and tips!I go along too and instead of her paying me money, we came to the agreement that Niall, Sean and I can eat there free once a week which suits us all very well. She is also displaying and selling Sean's gift mugs. They are selling very well in Blackrock and the Hospital shop which is encouraging Sean. The knitting club is back up and running, this time in Paula's home.. or garden. When it is held in the garden about three girls come that usually miss out because they are not allowed into anybody's house so that's a real plus.We're lovin it!


Wednesday 28 April 2010

Finally!

I finally have the time to do a bit of blogging and post some photos.

April is a month in Ireland when we have the National Spring Clean and this year I signed our estate up to take part in it. Instead of organizing a one day event we decided to have a clean up for a few hours in each week of April. We had bags and gloves sent out to us by the organizers which was helpful and encouraging. Encouraging because I was able to show the children here the letters and items etc., and stirred them up for the clean up; to help them feel they are a part of something bigger.
They are great kids for the most part, very willing to work and all I have to do is go outside with a yard brush or watering can and they all come a-running! Of course the older kids wouldn't join in in a fit... but they had their day with planting, cleaning and Bible Clubs in the past, and I am happy enough to let them move on. There are plenty of youngsters to keep the show on the road and me active!

One other thing that is encouraging us to tidy up is that Cluid, who own these homes are having a competition to see who had the nicest estate/apartment block and the first prize is €400. Well, you would think it was €4,000 the way the kids got all excited about it! I told them that 'if' we win, we will hire out a big bouncy castle for them for the day and buy loads of ice cream lol!

On the first week of April we swept and tided up a couple of different areas around our small estate.

The second week we spent sweeping and digging around a very dirty area just off the entrance to where we live. Initially this was planned to be the entrance to a new estate but due to the recession and lack of funds the project has been put on hold. Sadly, kids use this place to hang out, smoke and break glass etc., so it really needed a clean up. There was quite a bit of digging involved here because grass has grown along the kerb but we had two spades and lots of willing hands and eventually got it done. This, for me was the best day because although the work was hard and the day was hot and the children had to take turns with the spades, yard brushes etc., they worked very well together with no falling out. I was very proud of them.This little 2 yo helped for about two hours!
We worked very hard at it and ended up buying two boxes of ice pops and sitting on the curb enjoying them.

On the third week we swept up. We also washed the doors etc on the community Centre and washed chalk graffiti off lamp posts. The kids really enjoyed this! (You can just imagine the fun they had with the water!) We finished off with chocolate bars as a treat.

This last week we had a full clean up where we picked up litter from all over the estate. We also planted ivy along the long wall that is on the way into this estate. This time we had drinks and pringles as a treat.

I really enjoyed getting the kids involved in the National Spring Clean. I think it is a great idea and look forwards to taking part in it again in 2011. So, to celebrate this months activities we have booked the Garda van (free use of 14 seater police van and police driver) for next Thursday and hope to take about 10 of the kids who have been working with me for a tour of some of the pretty estates in Co Louth. We may stop someplace nice like the Bally Mac Hotel for a drink and snack in their lovely gardens and hopefully during all of this we will take part in a treasure hunt that Niall promised to organize! Happy Days!

Saturday 24 April 2010

My favourite things!

A friend sent me this via email...It's all ahead of us :o)
Botox and nose drops and needles for knitting,
Walkers and handrails and new dental fittings,
Bundles of magazines tied up in string,
These are a few of my favourite things.

Cadillacs and cataracts, hearing aids and glasses,
Polident and Fixodent and false teeth in glasses,
Pacemakers, golf carts and porches with swings,
These are a few of my favourite things.

When the pipes leak, When the bones creak,
When the knees go bad,

I simply remember my favourite things,
And then I don't feel so bad.


Hot tea and crumpets and corn pads for bunions,
No spicy hot food or food cooked with onions,
Bathrobes and heating pads and hot meals they bring,
These are a few of my favourite things..


Back pain, confused brains and no need for sinnin',
Thin bones and fractures and hair that is thinnin',
And we won't mention our short shrunken frames,
When we remember our favourite things.


When the joints ache, When the hips break,
When the eyes grow dim,
Then I remember the great life I've had,
And then I don't feel so bad.

Mark Dever

I'm reading a book by Mark Dever called "Twelve Challenges Churches Face" and am being blessed by it. He has a lovely gentle way about him that I admire and appreciate. Here is a quote from his book that caught my eye...

Stroke your love for God and desire for his presence and give time to cultivating that self-denying love that actively chip away and exports your heart from the concerns of this world to eternal concerns.


..... I think it's the kind of quote you have to read twice.....

Here is more of his writing biased on love in the Church. Keep reading, it is well worth it...

What is the grace of the Lord Jesus? It is the grace of God available to us in our sins through Christ. Christ came and lived a perfect life. Christ in no way lived a life of hatred to God, nor of disobedience to his will. He obeyed perfectly. He died on the cross as part of his loving, voluntary identification with us, and by his death he accepted God's wrath as a substitute for everyone who would ever repent of their sins and trust n him. God's grace is extended to sinners through Christ.

Do you know this grace? If not, why not begin now with a new life? Ask God to forgive you of your sins for Christ's sake and to fill you with his Spirit. Live for God in obedience to him; live with him now self-consciously as your Lord, and the change will be remarkable. Paul called it a new creation; Jesus called it a new birth. Friends, this is far more important than a pay rise, losing a few pounds, or finding that new job.

My Christian brothers and sisters, are you showing such Christlike love and grace to others? Wife, are you loving your husband? Husbands, are you caring for your wife as you should? Friend, have you reached out to those who are away from home? Son, have you expressed your thanks to your parents? How about you who have been sinned against? What have you done to express honest forgiveness and to further honest reconciliation? Brother or sister, how have you cared for other members who are trapped in their sins? Have you given time to seeing them, spending time with them, praying for them, asking them tough questions, encouraging them, exhorting them, loving them?

I wonder how we as a church think we are ever going to be very good at evangelism or world missions if we are not very good at applying the gospel of Christ to our own hearts and to the relationships we have right in our own churches. It is my prayer that we see more and more evidences of God's love in our congregations.

Sunday 18 April 2010

Catch up

Well, not really :0)
I have been mad busy this past week or so and haven't had the time to blog... and still haven't! This is just a small post to say hi and that I am still in the land of the living.

I have been delivering thousands of tracts and leaflets, working very hard in my estate, buying and planting with the children and continuing with Sean's education. I hope to post some photos soon.

How are you getting on?

Friday 2 April 2010

John Newton

I am not what I ought to be.
I am not what I wish to be.
I am not what I hope to be.
Yet I can truly say, I am not what I once was.
By the grace of God I what I am.