An Aladdin's Lamp - A Dose of Encouragement

I went online one day to do my travel map for fun and even though I have travelled to quite a few places it decided that I had only visited 12% of the world.  

I asked Fred to go and do his because he has been to so many more countries than me but he just laughed and said he was too busy.

Fred travelled a lot last month but I saw him each weekend and I even travelled with him for 2 of the weeks.  This was because he was doing all his work in Southern Ireland and drove everywhere.

Now this month he will travel much further away and I won't go on any of the trips with him and I will not have him home for all of the weekends.
In fact I will not have him home for many days at all for the rest of the month.

He is going to Sweden, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, and finally back to Southern Ireland.
This will be his first visit to Abu Dhabi but it is not his first time to the other places.

Some years ago when he went to the Middle East he brought me back a little gift.

Now because Fred has travelled with work for many many years he has not brought home gifts every time.  The first few trips he brought gifts for the children because they were young but then as the travelling continued he would only occasionally bring something back.  Mostly he would bring me a plate from a new country or a different State in America because a plate from Delaware was the gift he had brought me on his first trip to America.  
So years later I ended up with quite A collection of plates.

But this little gift from the Middle East was not a plate - it was an Aladdin's Lamp.

The lamp is metal not plastic - we already had a plastic toy one that Linda had with the genie from the movie Aladdin.

It was not a very expensive item but rather attractive.

Fred knows me well enough to know that I like things that are a little bit different to the norm.

It sits in our dining room most of the time as an ornament but has occasionally been taken with me to be used as a visual aid when I'm speaking at a Kids meeting.

One of the first things I am always asked by the kids is

"Can you make a wish?"

followed by

"Is there anything inside?"

So the lid has to be lifted off and little eyes peer inside only to be disappointed that there is nothing there.

No the lamp is empty.
No it is not a real lamp.
It is not even an expensive item.


That little lamp reminds me of Fred every time I look at it and it makes me smile.

I don't think that I can get Fred back home by rubbing the lamp and making a wish.

I simply know that one day in a foreign land Fred saw that lamp and bought it for me.

I wasn't with him to make him think of me but he still did.

It makes me grateful that I have a husband who does not forget me when he is travelling with work.

It makes me grateful that I have a husband who cares and thinks about me often.

It makes me think of how God thought about us all the time

God thinks about us at all times. He always has and He always will.


when we did not speak with Him,  He still thought of us
when we wanted our own way,  He still thought of us
when we were disobedient,  He still thought of us
when we were not children of God,  He still thought of us
when we were not even born yet,  He still thought of us


before the world was created,  He had thought of us


God had thought of us and Jesus was already prepared to die for us

We are 





     when people think of us, 

     when people remember to include us in their lives.

Should we not be the same because God thinks about us at all times.

He always has and He always will.



Top 10 Things that make a Good Hotel Room

During the month of March Fred was travelling around Southern Ireland with work.

That meant several hotel rooms to enjoy or not to enjoy.

He had to go to Sligo, Galway, Limerick and Athlone in one week which meant a lot of driving in the evenings between those cities.

I rarely travel with him but that week I decided I was going too when I saw his itinerary.

Neither of us had been to these places before so obviously it was a good opportunity to see a bit more of our neighbouring country but more importantly I did not want my husband getting too tired having to drive so much in the dark, that he might have an accident.

Now of course it also meant 4 different hotels in one week - and that is not pleasant no matter how good they are.

Then the following week he had to go to Cork and Clonmel so he asked me to go then too because of the long drives.

Another 2 hotels in 3 days.

It might sound like a great job to be able to travel and stay in hotels but when you talk to most people that do this type of job they will tell you it is not one to be envied.

Hotels are not homes away from home unless you are paying an exorbitant amount to stay in the fanciest hotels imaginable but even then no matter what your home is like

"Home is always BEST"

You will be most relaxed and comfortable in your own home.

However hotels should make every effort to make their rooms clean, odourless, warm, and inviting if they want any of us to return.

So from those weeks away and our various other trips throughout the world I have come up with my


One evening we walked into our allotted room and immediately lifted the phone to get moved to another room.
Someone had obviously been smoking in a non-smoking room.

I am not going to be happy & comfortable in a room that has any type of smell.


How many times have you not felt like you almost needed to be a contortionist to be able to sit on a toilet and also reach the toilet roll holder?

Even a taller person with longer arms than me would have a problem in many hotels.


Ok some of us like a firmer bed and some prefer a softer bed but I think we will all agree that none of us like to feel the springs!

Yes one of the beds in our last trip was guilty of that.


Every room should have a bedside light and I am not sure that I can remember a room that did not have one and when it is a single bed only one is required but when it is a double or larger bed then TWO are needed.

Also please, please, please let me be able to switch mine off at a different time to Fred and also not have to walk round to his side of the bed to do that.


On different occasions I have opened the heavy curtains to find net curtains and then when I have opened these there are dirty windows.  So dirty they have no need for the nets, but maybe the hotels think that the nets will deter us from finding the dirty windows.

In one room in this Eire trip the rod holding the net curtains fell down as I opened the outer curtains.

Dirty Windows makes you wonder what else is dirty!

hotels should make every effort to make their rooms clean, odourless, warm, and inviting if they want us to return


I am not JUST saying that there should be A chair in the room - oh how I hated the number of times that the only place to sit was on the bed - but I am talking about a comfortable chair not just a hard backed one by the desk/dressing table/TV stand.

In this one room this is what happened

A.  Even though there were two chairs in the room there was not enough room between the bottom of the bed and the desk to put a chair

B.  I had to pull the bed down to the desk so that I had something to sit on while I worked on my laptop and yes I know it is a LAPtop but when you are working on it for any length of time you like to have it on a table or desk.
Can you see the gap left at the top of the bed?

C.  Dirty windows.

D.  Curtain rail fell off.

E.  Only one light over the double bed.

Oh yes and this was the room we were moved to after the room with the smell!


Repeatedly we have found that rooms have air-conditioning which is great in any country.
Mostly the little boxes on the wall will appear to give the choice of what temperature the room can be set at but how often do they actually work properly or it is obvious for us to know how to set them?


For anyone staying more than one night in a room you can expect that they will have something they want to do other than just sit on the bed and flick through TV channels.

I often wonder why they want us to have room service (and they do because they can charge more money) but yet there is no table at which they can set the tray for us to eat.


It used to be the thing we would notice immediately sitting beside the bed.  Not any longer.  The majority of rooms I now see are devoid of the pen and notepad.

No matter how long I am in a room I am bound to want to jot something down.

Like when you suddenly want to make a note of something that you have just remembered you need to do the next day or a blog idea has just flitted into your head but you are just falling asleep.

Or perhaps when you have to ring reception to find out all the simple details that should have been in the information booklet that they have removed from the room because they are putting in a new one the following week - so my question is: Why remove one before the other is there to replace it???
(True Story)


No-one and I mean no-one wants to be woken up by the sound of a flushing toilet in another room but sometimes that is understandable.  However we definitely do not want to be constantly hearing ever single toilet on the same floor flushing or in fact the cistern filling up again or water flowing through all the pipes on the floor.

In one hotel room it was so loud that I kept running into the bathroom because I thought our toilet was making the noise and it wasn't.


A Gideon Bible.

So often now as we travel we find that hotels are not allowing the Gideons to come and leave bibles in all the rooms or they are now removing them.

If you feel that there should still be a Gideon bible in your hotel room please ring reception and let them know because the local branch of the Gideons would be delighted to be asked to provide more bibles.


Songs for Worship #15

Welcome to the Sunday Series

Last year from January to June I wrote a series on
Why We Worship  where I considered an attribute of God each Sunday.

At different times people mentioned to me about a song that a post reminded them of so I thought that I would now go through those attributes again with a song for each one.

I hope you will follow along with me.

                         Looking today at 

God is The Creator

God of Wonders

Lord of all creation,
Of water, earth and sky.
The heavens are your Tabernacle.
Glory to the Lord on high!

God of wonders beyond our galaxy,
You are holy, holy.
The universe declares your majesty,
You are holy, holy.

Lord of heaven and earth
Lord of heaven and earth

Early in the morning,
I will celebrate the light.
When I stumble in the darkness,
I will call your name by night

God of wonders beyond our galaxy,
You are holy, holy.
The universe declares your majesty,
You are holy, holy.

Lord of heaven and earth
Lord of heaven and earth

To the Lord of Heaven and Earth
To the Lord of Heaven and Earth
To the Lord of Heaven and Earth

Holy, holy
Holy, holy

God of wonders beyond our galaxy,
You are holy, holy.

Precious Lord, reveal your heart to me,
Father, holy, holy.
The universe declares your majesty,
You are holy, holy, holy, holy

To the lord of heaven and earth
To the Lord of Heaven and Earth
To the Lord of Heaven and Earth
To the Lord of Heaven and Earth
To the Lord of Heaven and Earth
To the Lord of Heaven and Earth

If you would like to see the post from last year that this is based on please click on the graphic below


The Easy Way to Prune The Buddleia (Butterfly) Tree - Organising the Garden

Do you have a Buddleia Tree in your Garden?

Have you ever seen a tall bush that has a very attractive purple flower that tapers to a point?

This is a Buddleia Tree or as many people have named it the Butterfly Tree because it attracts butterflies to nibble and devour those lovely purple flowers.

Let me say right from the start today that this job was not FUNWORK!

No definitely not.


Because I am not a keen gardener.

I ended up tired and with sore hands and arms.

Fred was also very tired.

However it was made EASIER because 

1.  we worked together on it 

2.  we had the right tools 

3.  we had the right plan for the job.

It all started when we realised that Fred was able to take some time off last weekend from the report he was writing and the weather was dry and not too cold.

So we went out together to the front garden to tackle the pruning of the Buddleia Tree or Butterfly Tree.

Right Tools

Fred got out the big tarpaulin type thing we have for bundling up the branches to go to the dump and then started into the tree.

Now the first year we had to do this we were inexperienced and did not have 2 pruning shears nor the tarpaulin but we learned from that experience and now we are properly equipped.

When I came out Fred had already started and was busy in behind the tree.

He had one side well started


a pile of branches were waiting for me to cut them up smaller and put them on the tarpaulin


so were a second pile.

Yes that is me with the pruning shears cutting branches to make them smaller to be more manageable for collecting up and going to the dump.

Fred was of course still busy cutting at that tree

and throwing out more & more branches toward me.

When I had got through those two original piles I called Fred out to do another job that is not so hard.

Right Plan

To jump up and down on the pile on the tarpaulin so that they didn't get too high.

Definitely think he enjoys that more than the pruning from the look on his face in the different pics.

Then the same process started all over again with the rest of the branches until we had them all cut and flattened and some of another bush added to the pile.

Of course a good workman will always clean up after himself.

More Right Tools

Next comes some more very important equipment for this job.

The Bungee cords (at least that's what we call them).

I love these things because they are so very useful inside and outside the house.

Continuing the Right Plan

The tarpaulin has metal eyelets at the corners and along the sides so Fred takes one of these elasticated Bungee cords and attaches it to one of the corners and then

stretches the cord out and attaches it to the opposite corner.

He repeats this in the same way for the other two corners and then

joins the opposite sides together to complete the bundle.

Now that really is a large bundle but with the 4 cords it is well held together ready for the journey in the boot of the car to the dump.


will it fit in the boot of our car?

That is what we said the first time as well and there was no problem but the car we had then was bigger.

However we still have no problem with this car as well as the boot is a good size

and with the back seats down the bundle goes in easily, and yes I do help him!

The Best Tool!

Well in my eyes the best tool for this type of job is the next thing Fred decided to buy because it made my job so much easier after the first couple of years.

I call it a wood shredder because it is just like a large paper shredder.

So much easier on my hands and arms and it is amazing how large a branch it will deal with.

It even took a branch this size

and can manage thick ones well.

The Last Good Tool

Then someone Fred met at the refuge centre (dump) very kindly gave him one of those large white bags and it is easier for us to empty straight from the shredder into the bag

And easier for Fred to get in and out of the car because of the handles.

Now here is the tree when the job is finished.

It is well pruned back as these trees have to be and you do not have to be extremely careful in the pruning and as an experienced gardener told us a few years ago "the more they are pruned back the better they will flower".

So basically it is a relatively easy gardening job to do because 
you do not have to be too careful how or where you cut 
as long as you do prune it well back 
do it either in March or early April (Spring)
or October (Autumn)

So to make it easier learn from us and have

the right plan

the right tools 


right company 

for the job.

Now we are wondering if again we were not stringent enough in our pruning but this is roughly the same as we did last year and we had a good result from that as you can see.

And the best test of all is how many butterflies it will attract.

We had more last year than the year before although they flittered around so much it was hard to get pictures of them.

Although this was a day of hard work for me (I'm not fit) when it comes to the Summer I will have many days of pleasure because of my beautiful Butterfly Tree.

If you have a Buddleia enjoy your butterflies.


Your Next Coffee Break - A Dose of Encouragement

Easter time two years ago.

I had 3 large Galaxy bars of chocolate which were almost out of date and I didn't know what to do with them.

Gee what a problem!!

               Eat them of course.

 But not when we were trying to lose weight & cut down on cholesterol.


My friend had called round the day before.

                Maybe I should have given them to her?

                                But wasn't it bad for her health too?

Maybe I should have taken them to the kids in our small Sunday School Class?

But they had already got lots of Easter Eggs from everywhere they went and should they really be eating too much chocolate?

 I know they were too young to be disciplined enough not to tuck in quickly to any chocolate they get.

Is it a sin to throw out chocolate?

                                           I don't think so.

                                                             But did I have the willpower to do it?

                                                                                       Yes, they went into the bin!

My will power is not always this good with chocolate, is yours?

There are lots of other things in our lives that we really need to throw out but ??????????

There are things that clutter our homes.

Then there are also things that clutter our minds.

These can be very difficult to get rid of.

But as a Child of God we are not alone and when we take the first steps to decluttering our minds so that they are freer to concentrate on

the Bible Study we have been planning to start into for months,

                or the one we have started and not continued with

                                or the extra time we had planned to take to pray;

God will be ready to meet with us.

God will be ready to meet with us

Yes it is us that have the cluttered minds and are not ready.


My will power is not always this good, is yours?

So let me offer a little suggestion to help us get started and throw out some of this clutter from our minds.

Instead of grabbing a novel, or an ipad or even your phone when you are having your mug of coffee or tea in the middle of the morning or afternoon,

why not

Make your next coffee break time for you & God