A Pop Up Bridge - Xtra Special Day

One of the best things about having moved to live in the eastern half of Northern Ireland is the proximity to the Mourne Mountains. 

As we drive south along the A1 towards Banbridge  I laugh when my husband Fred says "Look at that view".  I don't even have to look because I know he is referring to the beautiful outline of the Mountains of Mourne.

Occasionally he doesn't make this remark but replaces it with "The clouds are spoiling the view of the Mournes today" in a very disappointed tone.

We often say it would be lovely to take a picture of that view but in a car on the dual carriageway that is not possible.

When our son Jonathan comes to visit we quite often find ourselves heading off for an afternoon to somewhere around or within this mountain range and that was exactly what we did when he was here a few weeks ago.

We had our granddaughter's birthday party on the Tuesday afternoon at 3pm but we still had the morning free so off we drove ready to get some good pictures (we hoped) of the latest point of interest in our Wee Country.

Yes we were off to see a Pop Up Bridge.

I'm calling it that because I keep hearing about Pop up shops, cafes and whatever and this bridge could be said to just have popped up because it literally just appeared suddenly.

The bridge is in the middle of a reservoir at Spelga Dam in the heart of the Mourne Mountains.

Normally no-one can see the bridge because the reservoir water level is high so the bridge is always under the water.

This summer has been so dry (even though Northern Ireland is known for it's rain) and without the usual rainfall the level of the water in the reservoir fell noticeably.   This picture below shows the different water level marks on the side of the dam and it is very obvious that the water level this month was much much lower than normal.

So for the first time in our lifetime this stone bridge (normally hidden by the height of water) was clearly seen

and it was possible to walk across it into the centre of the water in the reservoir.

From the car park where my husband Fred took the panoramic picture above the bridge can hardly be seen in the distance and the people walking along it were hard to distinguish but many people had been coming day after to see this spectacle and walk where there was normally water and no path.

We took quite a few pictures from the car park and then drove on round to find somewhere closer to the bridge.

We found a road down to a pathway to the reservoir and left the car there with many others to start the walk to the bridge.

This pathway was not part of the bridge.

This was the start of the bridge, the rough ground after the smoother pathway.

As you can see from the cyclist the bridge was at a lower level than the pathway and he was having a hard job to get his bike back up again.

Once on the bridge we could see the poor condition of the ground we were walking on but then it had been under water for many many years.

There were lots of people there that day to walk the bridge and they kept passing us
because we stopped to take so many pictures trying to get a good angle on the arch of the bridge.

After many stops we arrived at the arch of the bridge and of course stopped again to take more photos.

As quite often happens we took some of each other taking photos of each other - if you get what I mean.

Some little videos were grabbed as well, like the one showing exactly what happened after this last picture had been taken.

Then there was a very strange sight, Fred had gone on ahead more quickly than Jonathan & I so that he could do something different, something you normally don't do on a bridge

he greeted us from his seat on part of the broken pathway under a tree!

We took more pics here at this spot and then continued along the pathway for quite a distance until we got to the end of it.

Not only did we walk across it as far as was possible but I did what many people know I like to do - I had a little paddle (just don't tell anyone I had my bare foot in the reservoir water).


A Shield of Wisdom - Dose of Encouragement

When I was ill at the start of this year several things came to mind while doing the usual mundane things, you know the things that still need to be done whether we are ill or well.

At one stage I had a problem with my eye in the middle of the flu and other infections.  I couldn't use my eye properly for just a short time but it made a difference.

I had a Pad on one eye and of course still had to put my glasses on to read.  That wasn't really a problem when I was reading as the glasses would actually help to hold the pad on the eye.

I remember having to go downstairs to get a hot and cold drink and I had my reading glasses still on to hold the eye pad on.  So I had one eye closed and the other eye with prescription reading lens over it.

Not so bad on the stairs but when it came to the smaller movements or things to be done there was more of a problem

Did I really see two sweeteners drop into that mug?

Did I stir in the powdered coffee well enough?

Did I leave enough room for milk?

It is amazing what happens to our perspective if we are not keeping both our eyes open and also looking through the wrong lens.

I could so easily have taken the glasses off then and held the pad over my eye with my hand and saw things clearly; but I was tired, sore and lazy and chose the easy option.

We may not be intentionally seeing things wrongly but for the sake of convenience or for us to be more comfortable we end up not seeing something clearly.

Or we may be happy to see the worst or read the worst into a situation because it suits us and then any lens is acceptable.

A lens of listening to what others might say and not checking it by the Word of God.

A lens of thinking we know better than to have to check with God's Word.

A lens of thinking we are more important because we have a role in the local church so we can dictate how to handle a situation.

A lens of having allowed the wrong influences of other people to distort our viewpoints. 

Photo Credit:  Pixabay

Every morning as we have breakfast together Fred and I pray to thank God for the previous day and all the things we are thankful for from that day.

Then we pray for ourselves and our family and our friends and other incidents of life or illnesses or travel etc.

But we always end up the same way.

Lord we ask you to keep us all safe and healthy, 
protect us wherever we go 
give us wisdom in everything we say and do.

This WISDOM refers to what we do or say towards others and also actually what comes to us from others.  You see a lot of what is said or done to us influences the way we speak or act toward others.

So we know that it is important to have wisdom to govern what to say and do to others just in normal interactions and we want to be guided by God in what we think, say and do then but we also need that extra wisdom not to jump in without thinking when others say or do something to us.

Wisdom to say the right things God would wish us to say or to know when to not say anything.

Wisdom to know what is being said to us and when to accept it or reject it.

Wisdom to know what to do in a situation and what not to do.

Wisdom to receive the right things people would tell us or advise us to do and when to not listen to the wrong ungodly, unscriptural contributions of others.

Wisdom to know the situation, timing and the meaning or purpose behind the words spoken to us is very important.

Wisdom to know how quickly to answer someone.

Once we speak we cannot take back what we have said but also once we hear something from someone it is difficult not to be affected, manipulated or controlled by that item of information or the attitude that came with it.

Above all we need the wisdom to deal with all our interactions correctly and biblically.

In the Bible we are told to talk to people if they have hurt us or we think they have done something against us

Matthew 18:15-17
15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

and we should not stir up more antagonism in ourselves by thinking on it and talking to others in complaint.

This is the wisdom of God because if we don't follow these steps we will hold things in our hearts to churn over and let them fester and this will make us angry and we will in the natural person then want to strike out in some way against this annoyance to us.

God's Wisdom can be a shield to us.

God's Wisdom is not always made clear to us but we should expect to see His Wisdom when His Word presents us with instructions for life.  We should then acknowledge it and try our best to act on it but certainly not just push it to one side and not think to ourselves about why He bothered to have it stated clearly for us in the Bible.

God's Word has been given to us to guide and lead us but also to instruct us clearly in many matters and when we come to something clearly instructed it is there for two reasons.


For our good.
For the good of others.

God knows what we humans are like - He created us, He knows us better than anyone else and so He has told us to go to someone else first if we feel they have done something wrong or hurt us.  When we ignore this instruction we are ignoring what God has told us to do, we are being disobedient and we are also ignoring His wisdom in the situation.  

This means we will not be in His Will at that time and will instead be opening ourselves up to more hurt and letting resentment build in our hearts.

It also means that we will not be giving others the opportunity to get right with God if they have truly sinned.

Then there is also the case where going to the person will clear up a misunderstanding of the situation and we will see that we had jumped to conclusions or been influenced wrongly buy others.

Where is our protection when we ignore His Wisdom?

Why would we ignore His Word which is there to help us?

Why would we think to ourselves that any way we decide to act which is different to His Word, will ever take us through the situation in the way He would want?

Why would we ever want to have to go it alone when we can walk with Him by following the steps He has laid out for us?

Instead let's pray that we always remember to shield ourselves with God's Wisdom and not allow any old lens obstruct the view we have of God's Will through His Word.


Sunday Scripture - Psalm 145:1-3

Sunday Scripture is just simply a thought or two on a Bible verse that may have struck me afresh or maybe for the first time or has always been special to me.

In the Prayer Meeting at church last Thursday evening I was thinking on one of my favourite verses which is

     Psalm 34 verse 1   
         I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

Now this is often a verse I think about during a prayer time but the next day I opened some notes I had forgotten I had written down about a year ago and there straight away I saw my few lines about Psalm 145 and it so described how I felt our prayer meeting had been even more than Psalm 34 did.

In Psalm 145 v 1-2  the Psalmist says:

This seems to be more intense than Psalm 34 and this is how I am sure our church members felt as we prayed together from the tone and content of their prayers.

We were exalting and extolling God, we were blessing Him and we were praising His name and we want to do that for ever.  It is good to be in such unity wanting to completely praise the name of the Lord together.

This was our ADORATION to the Lord our God.

But why would we want to give our adoration to God?

Well taking these two verses on their own is not enough, we should always look in the context around the verse and when we look at the next verse you can see the very reason we had felt as we did.

In Psalm 145 v 3  the Psalmist gives us the reason why we act as described in verses 1&2:

So why do we extol, bless & praise Him?

Because God is Great and no-one or no-thing can ever outdo Him or overshadow Him in Greatness.

How Great is Our God?


The Greatness of God is limitless, no end to it can be found.


10 gift Ideas for Baby Girl's First Birthday/Christmas - Need Help?

Coming up to our granddaughter Ruby's first birthday I had to do a lot of thinking about what we could give her as a gift and I decided to work on a blog post based on this.

So here we are with 10 Gift Ideas for a Baby Girl's first birthday or of course it would also suit for Christmas ideas.

If you haven't got a baby girl to buy for then click through and see 

Click the pictures and names of toys below to find out more about each one.

Click the Numbered Titles below to see a range of examples.

I am not including clothes here as we seem to find that our granddaughter always has too many clothes but if you really like buying clothes check with the mum first about what size would be best.

I am also not including a doll or doll's pram as usually this is something bought by the family.

1.  Peek-a-Boo Elephant

Ruby has always loved it when any of us would play peek-a-boo with her even if we just put our hands over our eyes and then pulled them away.  She would always giggle.

So when I saw this elephant I knew I just had to get one for her and it was part of our Christmas present to her when she was only 6 months old but would make a great interactive playmate for a 1 year old.  The ears go down in front of the eyes and then lift up again.  Two buttons concealed in the soles of the feet make it talk or sing.

There are lots of varieties of this so I did a lot of looking around to pick the one I thought was best and I was definitely not disappointed with it.  This is the one - it is all grey but others are all pink or you can also get pink and grey ones.

Baby GUND Animated Flappy the Elephant Stuffed Animal Plush, Gray, 12"

2.  Books

It is never too soon to start reading to your child.

Cloth Books

At this age I think cloth books are a great idea because little hands can grab them for themselves even when very young, they don't hurt themselves with them, they can pull at them and they can easily be washed if they throw up over them.
Those benefits in the last sentences comes from experience.

Premium Soft Baby Book First Year, Cloth Book with Crinkly Sounds, Fun Interactive Toy

Bath Books

Also those soft plastic books that can even go into the bath are a great idea and they also have most of the same benefits as the cloth books.

teytoy My First Baby Bath Books, Nontoxic Fabric Soft Baby Bath Toys

3.  Wooden Educational Jigsaws.

Girls and boys both love jigsaws and it is never too early to start them on simple pull out jigsaw puzzles because first they are learning to lift the pieces out and then they learn to place them back again.  Great for dexterity of little hands and fingers to begin with and then for hand eye co-ordination later.

Here are two for the girls who love animals

Coogam Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle Set, 6 Pack Animal Shape Colour

4.  Musical Instruments 

Children of all ages respond well to music and they love to move to the sound.

I think at the early age it is very good for their cordination even if we introduce some very simply musical instruments like a tiny tambourine or jingle bells or clappers.

Of course as they hold them and move their hands and arms we need to keep a close watch that they d not hit themselves with any of them.

Kids Musical Instruments - Childom Musical Instruments Wood

5.  Shape Sorters.

Our kids had a simple round tub with a lid which had 3 shapes cut out and then there were 4 sets (different colours) of the three objects that would fit in through the different holes.  They never tired of this for the first few years.  Such joy and clapping when they could put each piece in correctly.

Now they have them in all different forms.  Like the Noah's Ark sorter that we got Matthew one day when we saw it cheap in Lidl but unfortunately we never know when these types of products will appear again in Lidl stores so I can't suggest it.

Fisher Price make a nice one which is a tub with a lid and with a handle.  It has appeared in Matthew and Ruby's house too.

Fisher-Price Baby's First Blocks

6.  Puzzle Play Mats

Lots of places sell these types of mats where they are like a very large jigsaw with letters or numbers.
They are very colourful and of course educational but also a softer place for crawling and sitting than a wooden or tiled floor.

It was because of the hard tiles in our expansive kitchen floor where the kids play that made me first think of getting a mat.

StillCool Baby Foam Play Mat (36-Piece Set)

7.  Pop Up Pals

The one we have for the grandkids was given to us by my niece some time ago and I couldn't find the identical one online but there are many that are very similar.

The children love to see the animals or characters pop up when they hit or turn the shape in the correct way.  At one years old it is more hit and miss but gradually we will see Ruby catch on to the different ways to produce the pop up just as we saw Matthew do it.

The one shown here was chosen because of the good reviews it has received.

Think Gizmos Interactive Pop-Up Animals Toy

Need ideas for a Baby Girl's first birthday? Just check here!

8.  Musical Activity Table

While I was researching this I found a review by another blogger for a musical table.

I had been debating about a child's table and chair set for this post but had just made up my mind that the table and chair set was not right for Ruby yet so would not be right for other one year old's and here I found this review.

It was very favourable and so are the reviews on Amazon so I thought this would be a great idea to incorporate the music (which should lead to dancing if she is anything like her brother) and the table to stand at now that she is standing and starting to walk.  Then one day I walked into their house and someone had given them one of these and I saw firsthand how Ruby could stand beside it and enjoy making music.

Oh and don't forget the hours of delight the lovely noise music will bring to mummy and daddy!!

VTech Play & Learn Baby Activity Table,

9.  A Child's Bible.

As I said above it is never too soon to start reading to your child.  They just adore to look along as first you turn each page and then they try to turn them.  Of course they like to turn back the pages too which is rather infuriating for someone like me who wants to read the story when it is the first time they  have seen the book.

Also never too soon to get a child's Bible.  Even though at that age even the simple bibles may seem too much for them just simplify the story even more as you turn those pages and reveal the pictures.

At the shower for our grandson Matthew our gift was the Jesus Story Book Bible by  Sally Lloyd Jones.

The Jesus Storybook Bible Deluxe Edition: With CDs (Hardcover)

This version has a set of CDs along with it.

The book is well written and well illustrated and Matthew loves to go grab it each night to have his Bible Story (+a few other books) read before bed.

Now it is playing in the car as they travel so Ruby is getting acquainted with it there and will soon be having it read to her as well.

There are other versions of it too which are cheaper than this one.

The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name

10.  Personalised Bracelet.

When I was thinking and thinking and thinking for something special for Ruby and something that had not been already got for Matthew I was really having a hard time because other gifts like a Doll and a Doll's pram etc. had already been got by her mum's side of the family.

In the end I thought about an expanding bracelet.  I had one as a small child and so did our daughter Linda so I did a search and found one for Ruby.

I can be personalised up to 15 characters including spaces so you can get more than the child's first name if you wish and it comes in a little bag.

Personalised Child's Bracelet -

The birthday and party have passed for us now and we no longer have a baby granddaughter we now have a toddler as she has started to walk.

I am not an Amazon affiliate and do not receive any compensation for my suggestions here