3 More Coffee Mugs! - A Dose of Encouragement

Last Friday was my birthday.

If you hadn't heard you should read last week's Dose of Encouragement I'm Too Sexy for this Card and have a laugh.

So because 2 of our kids are living in different countries from us and the third was working at a Christian Youth event all weekend, cards and presents were arriving in the post.

Yes you are probably thinking that I got coffee mugs from all three of them because of today's title but you would be wrong!

Well partly right and partly wrong!

Our oldest son sent me Dvds

because he knows that Fred and I love to relax watching a dvd usually of a mystery or crime series
and both our sons love this series so they want to get us to love it too.

Our second son sent me a Taster Set of 5 bags of coffee

because he knows how much I enjoy my coffee and he and his brother enjoy trying out new coffees too and they know I'll always share.

(I know you are thinking - this is leading up to the mugs now because coffee and mugs go together)

No not yet!

I think this is the point when I should mention that Fred also bought me a present but it was quickly returned.

 Due to the fact that HIS idea of what indoor plant I would like was nowhere near MY idea of what I wanted to put in our house.

All because he knows I like the colour Blue!  (I've also blogged about that HERE)  

But then our daughter's present was

                                               (drum roll)

                                                             a mug.

Look at that happy face!

That is the face I had for the dvds and the bags of coffee as well.

But not the face I had for the plant.

Fred did not hear the happy voice and thank you's that the kids heard about their presents.

No he got a

                            "I can't believe you bought me that thing" 

                                                                                                face and voice.

You see it was obvious to me that he had just gone into the supermarket (3 mins drive from our house) to get something and spotted the plant and decided to buy it because he did not have a gift for me.

Now in all fairness to me, Fred had asked me what I wanted for my birthday a couple of months ago and I said I wanted to go away for a few days.  He had agreed but things don't always go as planned and he had his bout with food poisoning and two trips abroad with work and then was again not feeling too good so there had been no trip in the end.

And that plant was not a good enough substitute: given that I didn't like it and it was too big to put anywhere in the house.

All I could say was:

                 Look at the mug Linda sent me.

                        It suits me exactly.

                                She knows what I like.

                                       She pays attention when I say something.

You see a few weeks ago I had noticed that two of my mugs were getting rather faded and it was hard to read what was written on them

The one on the left says MUM & the one on the right says MOTHER

I mentioned about the mugs saying that the mum and mother were very faded so perhaps it would soon be time to get a replacement one with grandma on it (hint, hint) and Linda immediately thought that she would get me a mug to replace these ones.

Well she told me later that she had to get me one with mother on it as she wasn't in the position to get me one with Grandma yet.

Linda also designed the mug herself.

Not only did the mug have Mother on it but it had butterflies and they were blue - my favourite colour!  -  but of course you know that by now.

If you didn't know that I love butterflies then you should read  "I was Going to Miss the Butterflies"

If you could see closer in to the picture of me with the mug you would also see that there is something else written on the other side of the mug.

Mother knows best.

And oh did I think that I did!

But I was wrong.

Because the next day I discovered that Fred had been planning to get me something else all along 

It was exactly what I had wanted but I had not asked for it.

He had been listening to me when I talked about this months ago.

I told him that he shouldn't have kept it a secret so I wouldn't have been annoyed at him.  

But he didn't see it like that.

He saw it as a surprise for me not a secret.

He knew I would love it.

Nothing to do with BLUE or with MUGS.

How many times do we think we know what is happening?

How many times do we think we know best because of our view of a situation?

How many times do we get it wrong?

How many times do we look back on something and realise that God was planning something that we could not see, or that we could not understand because we did not see what He saw or know what He knew.

We don't know everything; only God does.

We don't know what is best; only God does.

How many times do we turn to Him with the wrong attitude and ask why something hasn't happened yet?

How many times do we think we know the best time and way for our prayers to be answered?

How many times do we think He wasn't listening to us?

I am guilty of all of this as well as the attitude I took on my birthday.

Are there any of us who are not guilty of behaving like this toward God at times?

Thankfully God is ready to forgive our attitudes just like Fred was ready to forgive mine.


Why We Worship 26

If you have been visiting with me for "Why We Worship" each week I would like to thank you for your company and your comments.

I have been writing this for 6 months and today we come to the final post in the series.  I think this is the only thing that I could have chosen for our final one.

(If you have missed any of the posts in this series you can catch-up by clicking on the Devotionals tab at the top.)

And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM:    Exodus 3v14

 This is the holiest name for God in the Old Testament.

There is no-one else who can make such a statement.

We serve a God who is the only "I AM"

He is the God of NOW!

Not a god of the past.

He is the God who is ALIVE with us!

Not an idol made of bronze or stone.

He is the God who is PERSONAL!

Not something that doesn't relate to us.

"What does it mean I Am?   He is what?"  some might scoff.

We could not answer that to suit them 


He is unfathomable to us.

He simply exists and is everything we could possibly think of
and even more besides.

Who could ever think of worshipping anyone else.


I'm too Sexy for this Card - A Dose of Encouragement


You can't sing that over the phone.

This is what my oldest son said to me in a telephone conversation last year.

So no doubt he will be saying


You can't say that word on your blog.

If he sees this post.


Okay I am a 55+ wife, mother, new mother-in-law, and ready to be a granny (if they can take the hint).

And I suppose 55+ mothers are not seen as sexy to their children, or to many other people for that matter.

But my husband bought me this card for my birthday last year.

Because He has a sense of humour.

All I could do for the first 10 mins was laugh, laugh, laugh.

Then I started to sing.

You see it is a musical card and when you open it this deep voice sings

"You're too sexy for this card, too sexy for this card, too sexy by far."

So after the 10 mins of laughing I just had to sing it and I danced around the lounge singing it.

Now what happens after you have a long laugh and a song and dance routine?

Well obviously you are very happy, in a good mood (and have had some exercise) so obviously it is good for you.

Then just at that moment comes the phone call from your son to wish you a Happy Birthday.

Of course being me I just can't resist it.

I just have to do it.

I say

"You're got to hear this"  

and I


He says

"What's That?"

and I tell him it's the card his father gave me.

Then I make the big mistake


I start singing it to him

and that's when he says


You can't sing that over the phone.

Yes there are certain things you don't talk to just anyone about.

You can't sing that over the phone!

Fred and I love a joke and teasing within the family and good friends, but yes there are some things that you don't talk to just anyone about.

I am so thankful that Fred and I can talk to each other about anything & everything because we know each other so well and we trust each other after all these years together.

I am saddened when I see other marriages where the couples do not share everything or would feel they need to keep secrets from each other.

If we cannot have the right relationship with our spouse then I feel it would be very difficult to have that right relationship with God.

Then the question also is could I have sung that song in front of God?
Well I did because when I was singing it and dancing round the lounge God was also there and let's face it He knows all about our relationships and what exactly we do, say and sing every day.

I'm too Sexy for this Card

We need to remember that we have to be honest before God and not pious.
He knows what we think and feel anyway.

But that does not mean that we do not still give Him honour and respect.

It just means that I know that He knows all about me and I am not going to pretend that I do not have a laugh and a dance with my husband when God has been there all the time.

Well it is my birthday on Friday and I will be opening that card again and no doubt Fred will laugh at me as I dance around the house but I'll try not to tell Jonathan when he calls this time as two years might just be too much for him to bear.


He is a Pastor you know.


Salmon with Peppers

 Do you have a meal that you know you will probably have the ingredients you need in the house at any time?

Well this is one of those recipes because this works great with frozen salmon fillets as well as fresh ones.

I normally have everything that is needed because they are things we would use often and because we are fond of salmon I always have some in the fridge or freezer (so easy to defrost quickly).

This was the first meal my husband had after he had been so ill for days with food poisoning and lets face it he is not a great fish eater but he does love this.

So it basically is very easy to prepare and cook and in total takes about 50-60 mins


Salmon fillets   enough for 2 people
Red Peppers  1 per 2 people
Green Peppers   1 per 2 people
Onions    1 per 2 people
2 table spoons olive oil
8 table spoons balsamic vinegar
boiling water
Black pepper
Lime/Lemon Juice
Enough Rice for 2 people


1.  Mix the oil and balsamic vinegar together in a Pyrex/casserole dish not too small.

2. Cut up onions and peppers in lengths and add to dish stirring around in the mixture.

3.  Place in a preheated hot oven for 10 mins then  add some boiling water and stir around, leave in oven for another 5 mins or until the vegetables look like they are starting to soften.

4.  Place the salmon on top of the vegetables, grind some black pepper over the salmon and then drizzle salmon with lime/lemon juice as much or as little as you like.

5.  Place dish back in oven and cook for a further 8-10 mins.

6.  Then grill on medium/high for approx. 5 mins.   Salmon should be soft but nicely browned on top.

7.  Serve Salmon and vegetables on top of rice and scoop up remaining juices from dish to pour over rice.

As you can see from the picture I had two different types of Salmon fillets this time simply because I grabbed the first two packets I found in the freezer 
(shape doesn't matter to us).

We love this meal and have it at least three times a month.

NOTE:   When we want to feel even more healthy we just leave out the oil
 and it is fine that way too.

If you try it let me know what you think.


Why We Worship 25

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

We are coming to the end of our series based around the attributes of God.

Next week will be the last one to be contemplated.

So this week I want to look at something that I really only started to think about in the last year or so.

Of course we have always thought of God as the only true God.

But here I want to think about God as God the Most High God meaning that He is Sovereign over everything.

He is in control in every situation.

So there is nothing or nobody (not even ourselves) that should come before God in all aspects of our lives.

Yes that is hard because most aspects of our lives we can quite easily say we are handing over to God but it should be all aspects of our lives.

In everything we should put God first.

In every day nothing should dethrone Him from being the King, the Lord of our lives.

All reverence must be given to God.

All honour must be given to God.

All glory must be given to God.

All worship must be given to God.

Is God the MOST HIGH GOD in your life?

Do you give Him all the worship?


Sun & Work in the Garden - Organising

Northern Ireland had some great weather this week so definitely it was time for the GARDEN.

We have to be flexible here so when it is good weather we get out and tend to the garden and when it is not so good weather we do inside stuff obviously.

      So I was out in the garden every day this week.

          Gosh did I work hard?

  • I cleaned up those two white PVC sun loungers that sat in our back garden since last summer.
  • I lay on that sun lounger and tried to do some work on my laptop but the sun was too bright and so I couldn't see the screen properly so gave up and went inside for a drink.
  • Later I lay on that sun lounger and read a short story by Agatha Christie.
  • Later I did get up and go in and put in a washing  -  well it was really too hot to work in the garden on Monday

- quote of the day from me on Facebook

  • I posted about blogging on my blog.
  • I lay on that sun lounger and read another short story by Agatha Christie.
  • I wrote a blog post based on those sun loungers in the garden for my Wednesday post

  • Later I did put in another washing
  • Then I did a little ironing  -  well it was really too hot to work in the garden again on Tuesday

  • I searched for some pictures that I needed to make a collage to finish off that blog post about the sun loungers and then posted it.
  • I went out to the front garden and did some weeding until I was too hot and tired

    First Section was cleared completely of weeds

Next Section partially cleared of weeds

Next Section not weeded

  • I had a little fun on facebook with a few posts.
  • Later I did put in another washing
  • Then in the evening I went out to the front garden and did some more weeding and brushing up  -  well it was a bit cooler and better for working in the garden

Section on other side nearly fully cleared of weeds
and good news the badly pruned Lavender is starting to grow again.

- quote of the day from me on Facebook

  • I face timed with our daughter in South Korea after breakfast for me and just before bedtime for her.
  • I got bananas for a special person who returns home from Morocco on Friday evening.
  • Did a lot of sorting of photographs on the computer and scrapbooking things.
  • Later I did put in another washing     
  • Then in the evening I went out to the front garden and cut the grass there  -  well it was about time I got that lawnmower out

Front lawn cut but needs some treatment

- quote of the day from me on Facebook

  • I did another washing
  • I tidied up the kitchen.
  • Did more sorting of photographs from my phone on to the computer
  • Then in the afternoon I went out to the back garden and cut the smaller section of grass there
  • Later I went back out and cut the larger section of grass at the back  

-  well I did want to get it all finished for Fred coming home 


I did have to get this blog post out today!


Which one won out this week?

Had to be FUNWORK because the rest of my time spent indoors was spent on
 the computer or ipad!


Make Good Use of What you Have - A Dose of Encouragement

Each day when I sit at the computer in my study I will at some time turn my head to look out of the window beside me.

Now the weather in Northern Ireland is not that hot and sunny and when we do get good weather it is limited to a few days now and again during May - August.  Although as I am writing this the sun is beaming down into my back garden which is the view I have from my study window.

We are also known for our rain (although we do not get any more in the year than Delaware or Belgium - I know this because those are the other two places we have lived in and I did a bit of research - it just seems like it).

So you may be surprised to find out what is sitting in our garden since May last year (not this year).

This is the view that I have from my study

Yes those are two white PVC sun-loungers sitting in my garden.

And Yes they have sat there for over a year because we are rather lazy and didn't bother to put them away and also because we got a new BBQ last year (we used it twice) and some extra chairs to match our table so the BBQ and the chairs are now taking up the space in the garden shed where these two sun-loungers and their matching 6 recliner chairs used to be.  We gave the chairs and cushions to our son and daughter in law so that they could have something in their garden shed.

Now the point of this is that those two sun loungers always make me think of the chairs and the chairs always make me think of our Sun Room in the house we lived in, in Belgium for over 6 years.

You see when we got to Belgium we had a Sun Room but no furniture to go in it so I thought well we will probably buy a sofa for it.

But also when we got to Belgium we had garden furniture but no garden shed to keep it in and the garage was under the house so it was just not feasible to expect Fred to go down to the garage every time we would want to sit out in the back garden.

So we just sort of started off by putting the garden chairs into the Sun Room.  It was very convenient to just open the door from the Sun room to the garden and lift out whatever number of the chairs we needed.  It was so convenient that they stayed there for the whole time we lived there and we never bothered to buy proper furniture for the Sun Room.

So then you see we could say we just "made do" with what we had for the Sun Room.  


I spent many happy Monday mornings there sitting on those chairs as I prayed specifically for our kids.

Many evenings were spent sitting on those chairs with family visiting from the UK.

Many evenings were spent sitting on those chairs with other visitors from all over the world.

Many very happy occasions were spent on those chairs as our church homegroup met in our home for pot luck dinners.

Our homegroup was like our family away from our homeland.  Most of the group were from other countries having come to Belgium through work etc.  These were the people of all ages who met together on a weekly basis to worship and study God's Word together.  These were the people who looked after each other in all sorts of ways when we had no other family to turn to. These were the people who shared each others joys and heartaches and prayed together through the deep desires of our hearts.

No-one ever asked why we had garden furniture in that room.

So you see NOW I don't think of us just "making do" in all those years;

  NOW I actually think of it as "making use of what we had" 


   it being a "good job".

We had people of every class of life in that room and every single one of them happy to sit on those chairs.  That room was always full of smiling faces and I am thankful for the great memories that were created there.

Sometimes we are tempted to think that what we have or what we can do is not good enough for God.

Sometimes we think we need to go do something someone else has done, or something that seems to have more effort put into it, or something that is more noticeable as being a unique act of outreach for God.

Sometimes we think it isn't good enough just to use what we already have and that we would just be "making do" and not doing enough.

If we think like that we can overlook or miss the opportunities God has put             in our path.

If we think like that we can always be worrying about getting things perfect before we speak, or act or even pray and read God's Word.

If we think like that we may even be disobedient to God who has already given us the talents we have that we are not stepping up to use.


 If instead we simply ask God to guide us as to what He would like us to do, who He would like us to serve, and where, how and when He would like us to do so and make the talents that He gave us available for Him to use through us we will be in His will.

So the next time you think you are just going to have to "make do" with what you have either in belongings or in the talents and the gifts that God has given you (or as you may think the not so good as other people's talents and gifts) then think of my garden furniture in my Sun Room.

Remember that you can make use of what you have and use it wisely for the benefit of yourself and of others.

Be thankful for what you have and that you are not "just making do".

God wants us to MAKE GOOD USE of what He we have because it came from Him.