I Love Xtra Special Days - Things I Love #31

Today is my last day of the

31 Days Blogging Challenge

So that in itself makes this a special day.

 I did enjoy the challenge of doing a 31 day series and getting to write about things that have now given me more ideas for future blog posts.

HOWEVER it is not as special as the Xtra Special Days I want to tell you about today.

Perhaps our Xtra Special Days may encourage you to make Xtra Special Days for your family or give you some ideas of things to do.

I Love Xtra Special Days.

I get excited when I know our family are going to have an Xtra Special Day.

What in my opinion is an Xtra Special Day?

Well mostly it is a day when all or most of our family are going to do something different and significant  together.

It can be a full day or part of a day but normally a set event.

It is a time to have a fun day together or an exciting day or a simple more meaningful day special to your family.

Like for example

The Day our whole Family Visited The Somme - July 2007

We are standing at the grave of my grandfather who died at the Battle of the Somme July 1st 1916, 11 days before my mother was born.

I had visited his grave once before but this was a time with all of the family.

Ski-ing in Switzerland - December 2007

We decided at the last minute to go ski-ing over Christmas.
We had only skied once before as a family when the children were very young in America.
Plus we have never ever been away from our home for Christmas before or after.

Go-Karting - December 2008

For a day out for Linda's birthday and we are so competitive.

Linda's Graduation - July 2009

Yes I know that the two boys graduated as well but I'm just picking out some of the Xtra Special Days

Plus the fact is she was totally excited when she discovered that the actor Alun Armstrong (from New Tricks - ITV) was being presented with an Honorary Degree and then he had his picture taken with them and stood beside her and talked to her.

Just to prove this is all true, here they are together

Hot Air Balloon Ride - August 2009

I had always wanted to do this so the kids bought me this adventure for my 50th Birthday.

Only Fred and I went up in the balloon but all three kids were there at the event with us and took photos of us and drove the car round to follow our journey to the end destination.

This also proves that vertigo and a problem with heights are not the same thing.

Jonathan ordained as a Pastor - March 2010

Fred and I travelled from Belgium, Daniel from Belfast and Linda from Norwich so that we would all be together for this event in Leeds.

Other family came from Northern Ireland and from the Manchester area as well.

The Day We Saw the Replica of Noah's Ark in The Netherlands - August 2010

I had been looking forward to this for a few years since I had first read about it and if you have been following this series you will know how much I Love Arks

Daniel's Baptism - March 2011

Well at this stage our family was still only 5 but a certain young lady called Suzie was also in the church that evening when Daniel got Baptised.

We were delighted that Jonathan was also invited to take part in the service along with Daniel's minister in Belfast.

Our Day at Tayto Castle - December 2012

We talked about doing this when the kids were young but never got round to booking it during their school holidays but now we live only 30 minutes from Tayto Castle and of course it goes without saying that WE LOVE TAYTO CRISPS.

Our Family Photo Shoot - Feb 2013

Okay so the kids will cringe when they see which picture I have chosen here but IT IS MY BLOG!

They said that for our 30th Wedding Anniversary they were buying us a family photo shoot because the last one had been done in 1992.

However we were in three different countries for a few years around the anniversary time so finally we arranged it before Linda went even farther afield to South Korea.

Our Trip to South Korea - July 2013

Fantastic to meet up with our two Korean friends Sharon and Park who we originally met in Belgium and never thought we would see again.

Oh and of course to visit Linda and meet all her new friends.

Daniel & Suzie getting Married - October 2013

Beside the beach on a windy October day but look at all the smiles - the wind and cold couldn't stop those.

And now you know who that girl Susie is - who we didn't know and neither did Daniel on the evening of his Baptism.

Segway Playtime - August 2014

I know I mentioned this in I Love Silly Things that Make me Laugh but you should have seen how excited I was that day - I had so looked forward to getting on a Segway and then enjoyed it so much that I still like to talk about it.

Unfortunately Jonathan took ill and had to stay in bed at Daniel & Suzie's House all day so he missed this and that is why there is only the five of us instead of the six.

In the future there are going to be more Xtra Special Days

When Jonathan gets married, when Linda gets married and when grandchildren come along.

But in the past there have also been 6 very Xtra Special Days in our lives - the days when each of us individually asked for forgiveness from God and accepted the gift of Salvation through Jesus death on the cross.

And there is going to be one Xtra Special Day to beat all of them and that is the day when we are all going to be in Heaven together with our Lord and Saviour.

Have you had that Xtra Special Day in your life when you became a Christian?

Are You Looking Forward with absolute assurance that one day you be with your Saviour for eternity?

If you are not sure that you will spend eternity with Jesus then you may be interested in watching the 321 video at the top of the sidebar.

I hope this will enthuse you to think of ideas or use some of these ideas to instill family excitement in days you spend together as the kids get older.

Don't forget!
 These Xtra Special Days can be simple or complicated,
 far away or nearby your home,
 take up most of the day or just a couple of hours
 the most important thing is that you all have
 fun together and build memories.


I Love Worship - Things I Love #30

I did a weekly Sunday series from January to June this year where I considered  Why we worship and really enjoyed looking at the attributes of God through that Series.

Today I'm thinking about Why I personally love worship for Day 30 in my 31 Day Blogging Challenge called   Things I Love.

Fred and I are involved in leading the worship in our church which means we lead the corporate singing of our praise and worship to God.

Some people see this as all that worship consists of but we  also need to remember that

Worship is an act of devotion towards God

So when I look at it like that then it is obvious that as a Christian I should automatically love worship.

If we consider our purpose on earth  as mentioned in Why We Worship 1  (nothing to do with all the Purpose books I see around me - but simply what the reason we are alive is) then we see that

Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever

But because we are human and imperfect, I know that we are not immediately drawn in to worship and it may feel completely alien to some of us.

One of the reasons I love worship is basically because I love singing and we find it easier to worship God in a song, don't we - someone else has done the hard work of writing the words and arranging the music and we just have to read the words listen to the tune and sing along.

But can't we do other things that are very easy 

We can use the Bible as a great means of Worship.

Reading and memorizing God's Word is a great and easy way to worship God.
Either on our own in our quiet times or in church among others.

Reading some verses in worship to God
Here we are reading out His Word which is powerful and in doing so we are agreeing with what God has said.

Reading out Bible Verses that are simply words of Worship
Here we are reading what others have said in worship and we are in agreement with them.

Reading out Bible Verses about God's Love
Here we are reading and concentrating on the Love of God.

Reading out Bible Verses about God's Mercy
Here we are reading and concentrating on the Mercy of God.

Reading out Bible Verses about the nature and attributes of God
Here we are reading and concentrating on the very essence of God

Reading out Bible Verses about Jesus
Here we are reading verses about our Saviour and basking in all that He has done for us.

Reading out Bible Verses declaring our intention to Worship God
Here we are reading verses which are telling God that we will Bless Him, Praise Him. Obey Him and His Word.

Reading out Bible Verses encouraging ourselves and others to worship God
Here we are reading bible verses written by the apostles other followers of God to encourage us all to worship

We can use Prayer as a great means of Worship.

Talking to God in Prayer is a great and easy way to worship Him.
Again either on our own in our quiet times or in church among others.

Praising God in Prayer
We are talking to God in acknowledgement of His Greatness.

Thanking God in Prayer
We are talking to God about the wonderful things He has done for us

and how He has answered our petitions.

We can use Our Thoughts as a great means of Worship.

Thinking about God Regularly is a great and easy way to worship Him.

and let's not leave out what we started with

We can use Song as a great means of Worship.

Singing to God is a great and easy way to worship Him.
Again either on our own in our quiet times or in church among others.

Singing all those wonderful hymns that have been written throughout the ages and all the more recent songs and choruses mean we are praising and worshiping God.
Also at the same time we are learning and memorizing His Word which is so often contained in the verses of the hymns and learning doctrine.

Then we should Progress to other Forms of Worship we may not find so Easy to start with. 

We can Obey the Word of God.

We can Tell others about His Love and Work in our Lives.

We can Write our own Praises and Speak our own Praises.

We can Write our own Songs and Sing our own Songs.

We can Wait in the Presence of God and receive new Words and Songs from Him.

O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth.    
 Psalm 96:1

O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvellous things:    
Psalm 98:1

Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles, 
and the inhabitants thereof.   
 Isaiah 42:10

Thanks for joining me for this challenge & please drop by other days for the others in this Challenge.  If you would like to see a list & links to all of the 31 days just click here on Things I Love 

If you would like to follow this 31 Days Challenge with me please sign up for a reminder email near the top of the side bar.


I Love Unusual Fountains - A Dose of Encouragement & Things I Love #29

Today I'm combining my 31 Days Challenge

                    Things I Love

with my usual Wednesday Series

              A Dose of Encouragement

I love fountains but I have seen so many over the years in various countries where we have lived or gone on holiday that I now like to look out for unusual ones.

Maybe it is just because I love watching moving water or prancing about in waves - I wonder does paddling in cold ripples on the beach also qualify here?

When we lived in Belgium we were in a Village called Tervuren and it was a lovely village with a royal castle and the gardens were open to the public as a park.

There was a roundabout in front of the castle and a long road leading up to it and shortly after we arrived there they started to work at the roundabout.

It was a mystery as to what they were going to do with it because it was obvious soon enough that it was not just going to have nice flower beds.  Well you can probably guess it must have had a fountain because that's what I'm writing about today but for the story and to see just what type of fountain was involved you will need to read Tervuren Fountain

We have lived in America and Belgium as well as our homeland of Northern Ireland and we have also visited several places on holidays over the years so I've picked out some of the more unusual fountains in those places as a representation of

 "Fountains throughout the World".

From Top Left going round Clockwise we have:

  1. Washington D.C.
  2. Singapore
  3. Geneva, Switzerland
  4. Manneken Pis - Brussels, Belgium
  5. Paris, France
  6. Las Vegas, USA
  7. Seoul, South Korea
  8. Old Faithful Geyser - Yellowstone Park, USA

These are all beautiful fountains but my heart lies firmly with the one in Tervuren which is more unusual than these and as I would pass it on almost a daily basis it continued (over all the years we were there) to put a smile on my face each time.

Tervuren Fountain  will always be special to me - you really need to go and have a look.

About halfway through my time in Belgium I was fortunate enough to be in a ladies group which managed to arrange to visit the workshop of the man who created the Fountain.  This workshop was at his home and all around his large (very large) garden were many more sculptures of many different animals and people and objects.

I remember telling him that I already knew then that The Fountain at Tervuren would be the thing I would miss most when I left Belgium and it is true, although I do miss the friends I made there as well.

It took Tom Frantzen a long time to design, get all the materials necessary and then to create this beautiful feature.

This always makes me think of my wonderful creator who did not even have to gather together materials because He made the world from nothing.

Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed 
by the word of God, so that things which are seen 
were not made of things which do appear.

Tom Frantzen is a very gifted sculptor and has made beautiful things but even though we use the word create in this context he really made them out of other things whereas God is the true creator because he made the world and us and everything in the world from nothing.

Oh how marvellous is my God.

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: 
for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure 
they are and were created.

Have you acknowledged God's wonderful creation?

You should, because you are His wonderful creation.


While in south Korea this year I found another lovely fountain; quite small but I loved the idea of it so I'm adding it in for you to see here.

  If you would like to see a list & links to all of the 31 days just click here on Things I Love 


I Love Silly Things that make me Laugh - Things I Love #28

I Love to laugh and giggle and I am so thankful that I have a husband who is full of fun and makes me laugh a lot.

There is only the two of us left at home now that our oldest son Jonathan is working in Leeds, our second boy Daniel married and in his own home and our daughter Linda teaching English in South Korea.

So you could think our home is quite quiet - which it is, but there is still normally something to have a laugh about.

You see Fred really does have a good sense of humour and of course after all these years together he knows how to make me laugh.

Like one day when I was standing in the kitchen checking my phone and he suddenly announced he was just going to delete his post (as we call the mail in the UK) and I turned round to see this.

Having the phone in my hand I quickly got a pic of him tearing through some of the post.

Then there was the day he got excited when his new toy arrived.  It's a Cajon and he just unpacked it and sat down on it and started drumming on it and singing and was as happy as a kid.

Or last Christmas time when we went for a walk around the grounds of a castle with Jonathan and when Jonathan wanted to take a picture of us from the top of the ruins Fred and I were joking around and acting stupid and giggling our heads off.

Of course when our Pastor said he wanted to invite an Italian Christian Clown over to visit schools and churches and talk to the children about Jesus I knew that Fred would help me out with things and would join in the fun with the kids at church and we both had a great time with Dario the Clown

But sometimes Fred just has to smile his cute little boy smile at me and I can't help but laugh at him.
It brightens me up at any time.

 Just look at that smile and the twinkle in his eyes.

 Our kids might be grown up but they enjoy a laugh and some silly fun too.

Here's Daniel and his dad at Daniel's stag do last year.

Linda is often referred to as the random one because she just starts talking about whatever comes into her head and she thinks up the silliest presents at times

This was a picture she put on facebook and tagged me on the knife - it had something to do with trying to look at her reflection.

The one on the right is when she posted about having had a scarecrow massacre.

Jonathan may be the oldest and everyone thinks "the most serious" but he is always on snapchat sending silly pics to his friends and his brother & sister.  

This picture below was taken in The Netherlands on a family outing a few years ago while we were living in Belgium.

Now just in case you think that I am only making fun of my family I can assure you that I do silly things myself (and laugh at myself) - like when our nephew was running with the Olympic Torch and I let myself be caught in a picture running alongside him.  Everyone had a good laugh at that one.

And here I am with two friends doing some Hawaiian dancing at an Hawaiian Themed party we had in our house in Belgium

 Earlier this year a group from church went on a bus trip and I warned some of them that I expected them to go for a paddle when we would get to the coast.  Now Northern Ireland never gets too hot and hence our sea water is always cold so in the end there were only 4 of us silly enough to go in for a paddle but we had laugh even if it was cold.

This summer when Linda was back on holiday from South Korea we did something I was really looking forward to just like a big kid.

We went on Segways and I am longing to get back and have another go - it was such good fun.

 Two Christmases ago we had a puppet night at church and just one silly little thing sent me and some others into fits of laughter - I still laugh every time I think of it.  Even right now!

You can read about it at  3 Kings & a Camel

I hope you laugh at silly things.
I hope you enjoy bits of fun daily and can see the humour and fun and enjoyment in things around you.

I believe it is good to laugh and to share fun times with others planned and unplanned.
And I believe that God has given us a life and friends and family that he wants us to enjoy.

I don't believe that God wants us to be grim and gloomy all the time.

I don't believe that as Christians we have to be quiet and serious all the time.

Laughter is good for you and having fun is good for you and it is also really good for relationships.

Thanks for joining me for this challenge & please drop by other days for the others in this Challenge.  If you would like to see a list & links to all of the 31 days just click here on Things I Love 

If you would like to follow this 31 Days Challenge with me please sign up for a reminder email near the top of the side bar.