Wednesday

I was going to miss the Butterflies - A Dose of Encouragement



When we lived in Belgium there was a strange type of bush that grew up high in the summertime at the front of our house.


So we never bothered to find out what type of bush this was.

Because we were renting the house the owner was responsible for the borders, shrubs and trees and all we had to do was cut the grass.







One day in July 2009
Fred and I were sitting in the house on our own when I saw a butterfly go past the front window.  Then just a few mins later I saw another one and then another and another.  I remarked to Fred that I had seen four of them and thought that was unusual.

Then when I saw another I walked over to the window to have a look to see if it was simply the same butterfly flying past different times or had we got a few hovering around.

You can imagine my surprise when I saw not one, not 5 but loads of butterflies all the same type sitting on that strange bush.  I called to Fred and we both opened the window and stepped out onto the balcony/veranda that stretched the length of the house.  We were able to stand there and see the butterflies close up and we counted 34 butterflies on that bush at the same time.

Fred went and got his camera and spent some time taking pictures of this awesome sight.




We stood for about 30 mins watching the butterflies as they fed on this bush, parts of which were showing the effects already.

We just stood and watched in amazement, not able to tear ourselves away from this beautiful sight.


How did all those butterflies know to appear at our bush on that one same day?


This was a day we will never forget, a unique day a quiet but awe inspiring day.

14 months later and we were in the throes of doing the inventory of our belongings in this house and organising to buy a house back in Northern Ireland.  The time had come to leave Belgium.

We had been back on a few different trips looking for a house and had fallen in love with one which had a lovely kitchen and Sun Room and nice bathrooms, almost the opposite to this one in Belgium.

At different times I would say about what I would miss about the house in Belgium but there were a lot of things I wouldn't miss.

One of the things I would miss was the fact that our house was in a lovely location enabling us to drive past the Tervuren Roundabout most days and that was a sight that put a smile on my face with it's beautiful fountain.

Another thing I was going to miss was the butterfly bush as I continued to call it even though by this time I had looked it up on Google and found out it was really called a "Buddlea".  I knew I was going to miss seeing the butterflies gathering there even though mostly we only saw a few at a time.  I have always loved butterflies and like things that are decorated with butterflies.

Along with all the friends we had made I knew that certain little things had made our 6 years in Belgium very happy and special to us and this simple bush was one of them.

Well in December of 2010 we left Belgium covered in snow and could hardly see what was left of the Buddlea bush which had been pruned back excessively and was practically hidden by the bush in front of it




We moved to Northern Ireland also covered in snow and were very busy moving in the week leading up to Christmas.     

The New year passed by and quite a few months also as we continued to get settled in.


We were going to miss the Butterflies!


Then one day we realised that a bush in our new front garden which had been rather scrawny looking when we arrived was now growing up tall, then a while later it started to flower and you can image our surprise and delight to discover that we had a Butterfly Bush at our new home.

We had even taken a family picture in front of the bush a few days after moving in not realising what it was.




Now we have never had 34 butterflies on this bush in Northern Ireland but in the past few summers we have regularly seen 5 or 6 at a time.  Maybe someday they will all come but because of our open location at the top of a hill we may never get a mass of butterflies like we did that day in Tervuren.

It is hard to move home and to move from one country to another.  It is hard to leave people & things behind

So thank you God that I don't have to say  "I miss the butterflies".





Who can say that God doesn't care about how we feel when we see that he gave us another Butterfly bush in our new home!










Sunday

Why We Worship 11




I am taking time each week to ask myself "Why we worship"


Today I want to focus on the fact 

                  yes fact 

                              that


God is everywhere.   


He is OMNIPRESENT



This doesn't mean that part of God is in one place, 
                                             
                                                  another part in another place 
                                                               
                                                                         or another in a third place.  


It means that all of Him is present everywhere at the same time, not part of Him in different places.

So there is no-one like our God because no-one can be everywhere at all times.



God has told us that He reigns in Heaven and Earth,























What a consoling and exciting piece of knowledge for us to have.


We are never alone from God, He always hears our prayers, He is always there to comfort, guide and support us.







However,

this also means that no-one can hide from 
God 
                         
                              or that we can do anything behind His back 
                                            
                                              as everything is done in His presence so He sees and hears it all.




Jeremiah 23:24

Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.







Does this not thrill you to know for a fact that wherever you go, He is there?






Friday

5 Essential Items to make the Housework Easy PLUS a Bonus TIP

Yes I have   

                             5 things 

                                             that 

                                                      are essential 


for making the Housework as easy as possible in any room.





No matter what room, these 5 things will really make your jobs easier.








1.   STEAMER





 Since I bought my steamer I will not tackle a good cleaning without it
  • windows
  • floors
  • tiles
  • showers
  • toilets
  • baths
   these are just the main things I use my steamer on but not the only things.

Remember the fridge in the kitchen last month - yes I used the steamer to get the stain off the bottom of the fridge.   You are probably thinking  "Is she mad?" but if do then you haven't seen my fridge so click on over to  Is This the End of the Kitchen?
The flat attachment is great for a lot of areas but then there is also the nozzle attachment which means you can get steam into small areas and corners and along edges.
Plus most of the time you don't need to use any cleaners because the steam is such a great cleaner and what could be healthier than water and no chemicals.

Only one problem with my steamer  -  it's green, oh if only it were BLUE!





2.   VINEGAR



You only need to go on Pinterest to realise what a great item white vinegar is,  there are just so many uses for it  - but please remember you want brown vinegar
when it comes to chips (French fries)



Of course vinegar is even more powerful
                when it is combined with the next item















3.   BICARBONATE of SODA / BAKING SODA





This can be used with water to make a paste and is a great cleaning product.
Check it out in Pinterest and see the many suggestions there.

Or mix it with water and vinegar to have a sizzling cleaning experience.
Again check it out in Pinterest and see the many suggestions there.

Also have a look at a previous post where I gave a link to the 
Toilet Bombs















4.   SPRAY BOTTLE



Use the spray bottle with a mixture of water and vinegar to help clean loads of surfaces etc.
Check it out in Pinterest and see the many suggestions there.

Or mix water and vinegar and bicarbonate of soda to have a stronger cleaner.
Again check it out in Pinterest and see the many suggestions there.

A spray bottle is great because you can spray a little cleaner or spray, spray, spray for a bigger amount and much more easy to control that trying to pour something out.


The bottle in the picture is from a Tea Tree Oil product which I used while in Belgium because it was not harmful to the environment but unfortunately my husband was not too keen on the smell so I don't use the product now just use the bottle.

Of course it is cheaper to use the water and vinegar than to buy a that cleaner.




5.   TOOTHBRUSH





Well this is that little tool that can get into the smaller places, corners, along ridges, and can be used for a light brushing or a heavy scrubbing.


Then combine this with any or all of the above and what can escape your cleaning attack.

















These last 4 things are kept in a plastic container with a handle that is easy to grab and take with me to each room (pity the steamer can't fit in too!).



OK I bet you thought I was forgetting about the bonus TIP I mentioned 

in the title of this post.



No way would I forget something!         Okay just don't ask Fred how true that is PLEASE



The Bonus TIP


I keep a packet of Cleaning Wipes in various places especially the

  • bathroom
  • ensuite
  • Guest Bedroom ensuite
  • Back Toilet
  • Utility Room
  • Kitchen

Then when I am in any of these rooms I can do a quick wipe over before I leave the room.


For example 
I go to use the bathroom so before I leave it I just check if the wash hand basin is ok and if not I grab a wipe and a give it a quick wipe over and leave.

If there is a small spill or stickiness in the utility room or kitchen I can get a wipe out of the packet quickly and deal with it rather than let it wait until later or waiting for hot water and getting a cloth out and dirty for the small job.  Just wipe and go no need to dry off.




Maybe you have the same essential materials or maybe you have something else you feel you can't manage without - if so let us know.









Wednesday

I think I'm turning into my father! - A Dose of Encouragement




I know, I know, that sounds ridiculous:


          how can a girl turn into her father?






Well the thing is I can remember well the times years ago when my father would need to buy something new and we would get annoyed at his choices.

Basically because he hadn't made any new choices.

You see I remember the day my dad came in and showed me a new tie he had bought and I was very bewildered because I was sure that I had seen that same tie often; 


tied around his neck.

I was right he had simply gone out and got himself the exact same tie.







Why had he done that?

Well his response was that the other one had started to fray a little.

Yes, if the tie was fraying then it probably was time to pop it in the bin and maybe even a good reason to go buy another one but not to buy one the same surely.  However my father was very pleased that he had managed to get the same tie.


Then I remember the shoes he liked to buy, & the sweaters; practically the exact same each time. 

When he needed anything he liked to get the same as he had before.  


I'm sure it was a relief to my mum that he was not that interested in buying furniture for the house so she got to go pick that and we did not have something just like the previous one.

There was one main exception; he did not get the same car each time.   But I think that had more to do with the fact that he felt he didn't know as much about cars as my brother-in-law did, so he would take his advice on that issue.



So have you guessed it yet?







Why I say I'm turning into my father?



I love to wear slippers around the house.
 


As soon as I get home I take off my shoes and on go the slippers. Due to the situation of where we live now and the fact that I am not working, I do spend a lot of time in the house so I have slippers on for many hours each day.


What have I discovered?

In the last 3 years since we moved to this area I have gone to the same shop and bought the same slippers on several occasions.  The last two times I bought two pairs at the same time.  I don't just mean the same style of slippers, or the same make of slippers; I mean the same make, style, pattern and colour (blue of course).

It actually started before we moved here, while we were still living in Belgium.
For the last few years there I had bought the same slippers each time (not the same as here though).  I just got to the stage where when I found a really comfortable pair of slippers at a reasonable price then why go looking for any others. 


And It's not only the slippers.

No it has now progressed to my shoes.  

I discovered a very comfortable pair of black shoes and loved them so much that when I saw them in cream I got a pair of those also.  Since then I have bought 2 more pairs in cream and two more in black.  Hence when I am not wearing my boots you will find me in these cream or black shoes.








Undoubtedly I am turning into my father.


There is one time when I wear a different type of shoe.

  
On Sundays going to church I wear a more dressy shoe and I do have a variety that I can wear.  But of course as you already know, as soon as I return home from church I won't have the shoes on.

    I'll be in my slippers. 


There is a white top that I just love to wear and have worn it for over 10 years.

This top has v neck short sleeves and has a butterfly design to one side which is made from little diamante things.  It has always been easy to wash and only recently have I found that it is not as easy to get stains out of as it used to be.  I have searched but cannot find the same top - of course I can't when it is so old. 

 I just wish that I had got 2 of these (or even 3) because I would wear it with almost anything.  


Do you not agree that I am turning into my father?


I mentioned this to my sister one evening a few weeks ago and she laughed at me, but then she did agree because she remembered being with me a few years ago when I actually did buy two of the same black top (I knew that it was going to be a good one as soon as I tried it on and I was right).

She also remembered that just that same afternoon I had complained when I was in the shoe shop (the one all those slippers had come from) because I could not see the same slippers and I am down to my last pair - why did I not buy more!



I am worried now that I am not going to be able to get those same ones again.








I suppose we all have to admit that some things are passed down to us from our parents; likes and dislikes, some habits, some distinguishing features, some attitudes.
Unfortunately we don't always get the good attitudes, habits, likes, or features.  
More often we tend to pick up the bad habits and attitudes.


Thankfully we can't pick up any bad habits from our Heavenly Father,
we don't witness Him having a bad attitude,
He has no ugly features for us to inherit. 



No, our Heavenly Father only has beauty to pass down to us,

grace, mercy and loving attitudes that we can learn from

and only good examples of good habits to set us like forgiving over and over again.




Thank you Father for your love and all the great attributes we see in you and in Jesus.  

Help us to focus on these and grow to be more like you day by day.

   Amen.


I want to be able to see that I am growing more like Jesus and my Heavenly Father in all parts of my life.

Do you?




Sunday

Why We Worship 10





I am taking time each week to ask myself "Why we worship"



Many people nowadays say that God is only a God of Love and want to forget about justice but justice is not a harsh thing, justice is keeping to what is right.

Isaiah 30 v 18 states that
    The Lord is a God of justice
but the verse also highlights the grace and mercy of God




God lets no sinner off the hook without a fitting punishment, or a fitting substitutionary atonement.

God is concerned with all the wrongs in this world.

God wants to right those wrongs.


I am thankful that God cares about the things that are evil and wrong because ultimately they hurt me and everyone else.

So it is very comforting to remember what it says in His Word and realise that God is in control even though we tend to focus on the wrongs.





Let's look at another passage also in Isaiah


Isaiah 45: 18 - 22

18 For thus says the Lord,
Who created the heavens,
Who is God,
Who formed the earth and made it,
Who has established it,
Who did not create it in vain,
Who formed it to be inhabited:
“I am the Lord, and there is no other.
19 I have not spoken in secret,
In a dark place of the earth;
I did not say to the seed of Jacob,
‘Seek Me in vain’;
I, the Lord, speak righteousness,
I declare things that are right.
20 “Assemble yourselves and come;
Draw near together,
You who have escaped from the nations.
They have no knowledge,
Who carry the wood of their carved image,
And pray to a god that cannot save.
21 Tell and bring forth your case;
Yes, let them take counsel together.
Who has declared this from ancient time?
Who has told it from that time?
Have not I, the Lord?
And there is no other God besides Me,
A just God and a Saviour;
There is none besides Me.
22 “Look to Me, and be saved,
All you ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.





It is because God is a just God that he provided His own Son as our Saviour.







Wednesday

What Happened to the Ribs? - A Dose of Encouragement


The other day we got some lovely ribs and I decided to make our easy ribs recipe which I shared on this blog last year.  See Easy Delicious Ribs






Fred helped me prepare the vegetables so that was done quicker than if I was just doing it myself and as I put them in at different stages I just went back and forward between the kitchen and the study (internet!) where I had been before we started.


Everything was going great (in the study) and I presumed all was great in the kitchen because gradually I could smell the cooking as it progressed.






When it came time to eat I thought it didn't quite smell like the ribs were completely done but they had been in long enough and we were hungry so I got the plates and drinks ready and took the roasting dish out of the oven, took off the tin foil and proceeded to scoop the ribs and veg unto the plates.


All I heard was Fred say

"Sandra, Did you put the BBQ sauce on the ribs?"



Well you've guessed it, that was the reason why it hadn't smelt just right.  I was so disappointed because Fred really likes BBQ sauce and I knew I had spoilt the ribs for him.  I like BBQ sauce but don't like it as strong as he does so I knew that the ribs would be fine for me if we just brushed them with some sauce now and put back in the oven for 10 mins.

The flavour of the meat and vegetables already in the juice around the ribs would be good enough for me but Fred would really miss the flavour he was expecting throughout the meal.

So 10 mins later I dished out the dinner to a very hungry Fred. He didn't complain but I knew that he didn't get the meal he had been looking forward to.

Why had that happened?

Simply this:
  1. I didn't check the recipe  -  Why would I when I had made it up myself and had made it several times?
  2. I didn't do it in the normal way  -  usually by myself and so not chatting to someone else
  3. I didn't check the oven closer to the end of the cooking.
  4. I didn't check it out as soon as things didn't smell just right.

My mind was on something else, I was not paying enough attention to what I was doing.



Sometimes we think it is just a small thing to not pay proper attention or to forget about something for a while but what about the results of that?



It might seem a small thing to us but it could make a big difference to someone else.



In this case I almost really spoilt my husband's meal but in other cases of not paying enough attention someone could have felt a lot of hurt which can lead to bitterness and a rift in a relationship.



Even in a conversation with someone we can let our minds wander and not pay attention to exactly what they are saying and so not really know how they are feeling.


We can even act like this towards God in our prayer life or our bible reading.




Are you ever guilty of not paying enough attention to others?


I am thankful that God still pays attention to us and still wants to talk to us even when our minds are always wandering.


Do you know what God is trying to say to you each day or are you not paying close enough attention to Him either?




Sunday

Why We Worship 9




I am taking time each week to ask myself "Why we worship"


Today I want to look at God's Mercy.


Mercy is "not getting what you deserve". 


ie.  It is like a judge finding you guilty of a crime, but then not administering any punishment.


The Bible tells us that God is Merciful towards us.




So God shows us his mercy by not giving us the punishment we deserve.

          The punishment we should receive because of the sin in our lives.

          The Punishment which should be death and complete separation from God.


This is a compelling reason for us to worship God and give Him thanks.








Thank you God that you are a merciful God.


Can you pray this along with me?