Showing posts with label America. Show all posts
Showing posts with label America. Show all posts

Monday

What are Good Friends? + Free Friends Rhyme - Coffee & Conversation









What are Friends?

What are GOOD Friends?

Are you blessed with Good Friends?

I know I am.







And I know that in the different places I have lived in the world God has always provided good friends.


One example from America was the person who invited my three kids and myself for a meal after our first Sunday in the church when we had only been in the country for 2 weeks & Fred was in Germany with work.  She had just met me and did this for us even though she already had another couple and another family of four coming for dinner.
Throughout our 3 years there this friend was always looking out for us and willing to have our kids stay over to let us go on a special weekend.


One example from Belgium was the person who called me up after her husband had met my husband Fred at church and arranged to take me for coffee and show me around the area, then they also took us to a homegroup and many more friendships grew from that.


Then there are the friends from our younger years who we may not see too often but they are still good friends and we can pick up on the friendship even after a long break between seeing them.


Some years ago I started to make Name Rhymes and sell them at craft fairs along with some other items so today I thought I would include one to help to describe what Good Friends are.






So again I ask

Are you blessed with Good Friends?

Are you thankful to them?

Are you thankful to God for providing good friends?

Some say that to have good friends, you yourself, need to be a good friend.

I believe that we shouldn't be a good friend to have a good friend in return but we should simply do as God would want us to do and


just be that good friend regardless of any benefits to ourselves.


Let's do it!
Come on we can do it!


Don't Forget to download your Free Printable HERE















Saturday

Everyone's Irish on March 17th

Disclaimer:
There is an affiliate link on this blogpost.


Who can forget St. Patrick's Day?



I was brought up in Northern Ireland and I wouldn't forget it.


Of course I knew all about St. Patrick!


He was the guy who drove all the snakes out of Ireland so I was happy about that as I absolutely hate snakes.








He was the Patron Saint of Ireland and the missionary responsible for bringing the Gospel to the country so I was also very happy about that.

He was ....., 
                      He was .....,  
                                            He was .............


                  Well to be honest I actually wasn't too well versed on St. Patrick himself.



     I had always heard of him and knew that the shamrock was somehow associated with him, there were cathedrals named after him, and people outside Ireland thought that everyone was called Paddy because of him.


The Shamrock


     I didn't really need to know too much about him when I was young, or maybe I just didn't pay enough attention.


     When I went to University in Belfast in the late 70's I realised that St. Patrick's Day was used by a lot of people as an excuse to go and have a "Good Drink" but that didn't interest me either.


In 1992 we moved to The US to live in the state of Delaware for 3 years due to my husband's work.
All I had known about Delaware before that was the song "What did Del-a-ware Boy" that I had often heard my older sister play when I was a child.  But because we were going to live there we soon learned some other things about the lovely second smallest state in America and its great location between places like Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore and Washington DC. so people would have places to go when they came to visit us.

We loved all the new things we could experience in America, the snowy winters, the hotter summers, and the American accent.  In America our children were always being referred to as the Irish kids but after our return to NI our daughter was referred to as the American girl because she had picked up an American accent.

While we were in America we just couldn't believe the reaction of everyone to us - even strangers in the supermarket who would come up to us and say


"Oh I just love your accent, say something"

what were we supposed to say?


"Hello" ?

                                                                                                           and then what?









People would make all sorts of statements about loving Ireland and wanting to go there,
  
             or tell us they were half or a quarter or even a sixteenth Irish themselves

                            or ask us if we had been to various Irish pubs yet



                                   
While we lived in America we heard about the St. Patrick's Day parades in New York and Boston.
They seemed to be very elaborate and of course our children were hearing all about St. Patrick's Day from the kids at school.  It was rather surprising to us that Americans would be so excited about the day of the Saint of another country.  We also realised that it was much more commercialised than back in Northern Ireland.

There was so much talk about the St. Patrick's Day parades and events in America yet we had never been to a St. Patrick's Day parade but that wasn't surprising as there was not a lot of information or advertising of any parades in Belfast or Dublin before we went to live in America.

When I did some research recently I discovered that there have been parades in 
Boston and New York for many, many years. 

It is believed that the first St. Patrick's Day Parade in Boston was as early as 1737
and the first in New York was is 1762.


St. Patrick's Day Parades old and new in New York


Click HERE & HERE for more info on St. Patrick's Day


However as far as I have been able to find out St. Patrick's Day Parades have only been held in Belfast since 1998


In Dublin they started in 1931 but they were simple parades 
and the First St. Patrick's Day Festival in Dublin was in 1996.


Please let me know if you have any other information that would indicate earlier parades - I feel that there may have been some smaller ones perhaps not nearly as elaborate as the ones they have now


Belfast (left)     and     Dublin (right)


Since our years in Delaware we lived back home in Northern Ireland for 9 years and then went to live outside Brussels in Belgium for over 6 years.

In Belgium it was almost like being back in the US when it came round to March each year.  Suddenly everyone was telling us about any connections they might have with Ireland and there was lots of talk about St. Patrick's Day, the Irish, and "GREEN BEER"



After Belgium we returned to Northern Ireland but moved to the town of Banbridge in County Down this time.  
Also in County Down is the town of Downpatrick which contains the burial site of St. Patrick.


 Banbridge is not too far from Downpatrick and it is also not far from the city of Armagh where I remember many years ago when I was a child spending a lovely summer's day seeing the two beautiful Cathedrals there named after St. Patrick.  

A few years ago Fred & I finally went to our first  St. Patrick's Day Parade and where better to go than to the one in Downpatrick, although I did not have the opportunity to see his resting place at that time my husband, son and I did drive back one day last year to do just that. 


Downpatrick Parade



So no matter where we go in the world we meet someone who claims to be Irish, 
                   
                   or that their great great great grandmother was Irish 
                                      
                                     and also appear to know more about the Irish than the Irish people do themselves.







We always hear others talking a lot about St. Patrick's Day and now everywhere I go on the internet, especially at the moment on Pinterest and hosts of US blogs there are recipes and greeting cards and crafts and printables and clipart all with more than a "Hint" of GREEN  


But there seems to be so much confusion between St. Patrick's Day and some myths about Ireland with lots of rainbows, pots of Gold, and leprechauns appearing in the parades and crafts and printables. 

These things make it more commercially appealing; but at the same time a lot of the St. Patrick's Day things are now omitting the man himself and the reason he is our Patron Saint, he brought the Good News of God's Salvation to the country of Ireland.

See more info on St. Patrick here


 But how can anyone forget 17th March?

Banner Thanks to Free Downloads from InstantDisplay.co.uk

Well not even Commander Chris Hadfield could forget it while up in space taking and tweeting all his great pictures of the world.  He took a great shot of my home town of Londonderry and of course he had the "Touch" of GREEN as well.



Commander Chris Hadfield & Londonderry

I had never seen a greeting card for St. Patrick's Day or buns (cupcakes) with green colouring added to the icing etc. specifically for St. Patrick's Day until I became a blogger and now it is hard to miss them with such a variety of ideas for crafts and recipes.

My husband suggested I add my own St. Patrick's day recipe but really he was just thinking of his favourite "wee green things" which is his name for the Peppermint Chocolate Tray Bakes I make for him.
I have to admit they are so yummy that they are quite addictive even for me and I am not usually keen on mint. 

If you are interested in St. Patrick and would want to learn more you may find some interesting books Here on Amazon

And even some books for kids about St Patrick  Here on Amazon



Oh, and just in case you still don't believe me that everyone is Irish on March 17th then what about this



Caption found in A Guinness Storehouse


Disclaimer:
If buying through Amazon I get a little commission but that does not mean any extra expense to you.


Wednesday

I am Petite! Who Cares? - A Dose of Encouragement


Yes. I am Petite!


That does not mean I take size 10 (UK) or below and it maddens me when people use petite in this way.


I am petite because I am smaller than 5' 3".








In fact I am not quite 5' 1"



I do need clothes that are the right length and in the right proportion but it can be very hard to find these even in the small sizes but much harder in sizes over 12. Then we also have to put up with a more old-fashioned look for the petites in those sizes.


When we lived in America I found a lovely shop called "Petite Sophisticate" and I just adored the clothes from there. But there was another problem and that is: Why should we have to pay more money for items that actually have less material in them than "normal" items?








My husband is almost 6' tall so there is a bit of a difference between the two of us. Even so when we had our first son I prayed that he would not be short like me but taller like his dad. 2 years later we had another son and I prayed that he would be tall as well. 3 years after that we had our daughter and I prayed that she would not take after me.



God answered my prayers and our oldest boy is almost as tall as his dad, the second boy is taller than his dad at around 6' 3" (sometimes we joke that I prayed too hard for him) and our daughter is about 5 inches taller than me. My sister used to joke that I needed a stepladder to kiss Fred (my husband) but that's not really a joke when it comes to Daniel (son no.2) and he normally ends up with a kiss on the neck instead of on the cheek.






So I was back to the petite clothing problem when my son Daniel was getting married and I needed an outfit.



I really needed a petite outfit.



Another thing that often goes hand in hand with someone being petite is the attitude of others towards them.


We get lots of remarks about our height.


"Gosh you are small!"

I know I am, do they think they are the first to have noticed?


"You'd better stand in front for the photo or you won't be seen."

I know I have to stand in front, do they think this has never happened to me before?


I normally look at my husband Fred in one of these "height challenged" moments and he smiles just the right way to show he has noticed and he knows how I feel. If he's near enough there will be the squeeze of my hand or a wee stroke on my neck.
Fred can do something just between us that makes me feel cared for in situations where others don't take time to think how I might feel.



Often people don't stop to think how we feel.




So looking for a special outfit is not an excitement for me but can be a dread because of the lack of choice and the way I may be treated.


I know I can't dwell on the fact that others aren't thoughtful or considerate all the time and I know that there are probably times when I don't stop and think to be as considerate as I possibly can.


There is only one person who cares about us all enough to know how we feel and what we need and that is the God.


When I see my husband being so thoughtful and understanding of what hurts me then I see something of the example of Christ and this is the way it is in a marriage. The husband is to love his wife just as Christ loves the church and this means being protected, provided for and cared for giving us security in our relationship.


So obviously when we see a good example of this in a marriage it helps us to remember the security we have in Christ even when we tend to temporarily forget His promises.








Of course this is another good reason to read some of the Word of God each day to be constantly reminded of how much Christ cares for us, enough to die in our place when we did not deserve His love.


Doesn't that make us feel cared for, loved and protected?


Doesn't that make us want to be part of His family?


Doesn't that lift us when others put us down?


Doesn't that bring us joy?




People don't stop to think how we feel. Who Cares?



Saw this riddle for the word PETITE
and I just wish it were true 

but it makes me smile anyway.






Well what about that outfit I had to get for Daniel's Wedding?

You can read all about that at What Will I Wear?

and

Here are some other  Doses of Encouragement