Freedom is not Free

This is one of my favourite photos from our 2008 trip to the US. (Please ignore the date on the bottom of the photo....it's wrong! It was Sept 2008.)

It is the Soldier, not the reporter
who has given us freedom of the press;
It is the Soldier, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech;
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer,
who has given us the freedom to demonstrate;
It is the soldier, not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial;
It is the soldier who salutes the flag,
serves under the flag and whose coffin is
draped by the flag,
who gives the protester the right to burn the flag.


A Recommended Listen

This is my recommended listen for this week.

You may have heard of Paul Washer: he has preached some powerful sermons. This one was preached in Ireland, it would seem.

Listen out for this quote in the powerful passage on Christ's curse on the cross.

'If you can call yourself blessed; it is only because He (Christ) was cursed. If you can call yourself unspeakably blessed; it is only because He was unspeakably cursed.'

Have a listen. And have a wonderful Lord's Day.


Stonechat taking the wrong turn

This poor little bird found its way into our garage the other day. When I walked in, it tried to escape, but flew straight into the window instead. The bang on the window seemed to injure it, so Catherine held it for a while. Talked to him. Molly-coddled him.

Eventually, he did fly off. Isn't he lovely!

And not a sparrow falls to the ground without our Heavenly Father's knowledge.



This morning, as I was about to pray at morning worship, I looked at the
kids, and these were my thoughts:

This morning when we woke, we felt no fear like the thousands who live in a war zone feel;

when we woke, we felt no fear that persecutors were going to pounce on us today, like thousands around
the world do;

when we woke, we heard no loud, frightening neighbours, terrorizing our street - instead, we heard the roar of the sea and the song of birds;

when we woke, we felt no hunger like countless others, who went to bed last night hungry, and had no idea what they would have to eat today;

we woke this morning surrounded by those we love - unlike the millions who woke today lonely and alone;

we woke this morning, knowing the Truth that 'Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners' - unlike the millions who have never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

What blessings we have. And if we were to name them 'one by one', our list would be never-ending.

I can truly say that, 'unto me happily the lines, in pleasant places fell'.

My cup truly runneth over, and Goodness and Mercy have followed me all the days of my life.


I need a massage....

I ache.

My back aches.

My legs ache.

My hands - yes, my hands - ache.

I am so, so tired. Today, we were in the plot. All day. We (ok, the Builder) put up the frame. The Builder's Big Brother and I planted about 70 cauliflower. Then we planted almost 100 leeks.

The Builder sowed carrot seeds, parsnips and beetroot.

I transplanted many salad leave plants, spring onions, coriander and various seedlings.

Last week, we had major preparation for today. First, we rotivated the plot and this made it so much easier to prepare the soil for planting, and for sowing seed.

This is the plot being rotivated, and the Builder's hands appear very contemplative.

Having rotivated both plots, the potato plot was ploughed, and then we got a-planting.

It was a team effort. Notice me in my jacket and hood. The weather was SOOOOO cold. It's May. May!! It was about 6 degrees Celsius. There was also a 50mph wind. I tell you, it felt like November.

The Builder also added some shelves to my little greenhouse, and so I was able to put lots of my seedlings here. It looked FAB!

He does the nicest things for me.

And so to today....

First, he put up the frame. For us to grow veg, here on our island, we have to battle on a number of different fronts. The frame is a wind shelter; it keeps out the rabbits; it keeps out the wind (to some extent); and when we are done planting, it will have netting over the top to keep out the pesky butterflies. This means I will not have to go through every cabbage leaf in order to find and destroy caterpillars. I have done this in the past. It is NOT a nice job.

Did I mention that it's a wind-break? Just in case you hadn't picked up on that....

Below is the Builder and his Big Brother preparing for the planting today. My dear husband likes everything to be.....precise. No kidding. The cauliflowers we planted today are 600mm apart. Not 650mm. Not 700mm. They are 600mm apart. Every one of them. The rows are 700mm apart.

and the taut string makes sure I don't go askew. That would affect the growing of the cauliflower. They like it all to be neat. They have feelings, I'm told. I don't want to take any risks with my precious veg, so I do as I'm told.

Here is the cauliflower planted, and we are just about to plant the leeks.

All in all it was a wonderful day.

But now I want to know if anyone knows a good masseur.

Where is that Builder when you need him??!

Scottish Americans!

Many of you will know, or at least will have guessed, that we kinda like the USA.

Just a bit...

The week after we came home from our holiday, my friend arrived at our house with this cake!

Isn't it fantastic!

Mmmm - you should have tasted it. You would then know just how good it was.

A couple of days ago, Dawn was here again with her gorgeous kids.

Here's a photo of our wee guy with her wee guy. Aren't they adorable.

They both seem to love the USA too.

I get the feeling they're both being influenced by someone.

I wonder who?!


We Do not 'Do' God

The year was 2003.

Tony Blair was our Prime Minister.

Apparently, 'Great' Britain had grown up (read: was too educated to believe in God);

had lost its unwanted baggage from the past (read: had forgotten its history);

and was now basking in a new glory (read: had a swaggering pride in youth and cared nothing for the wisdom of the aged).

The US President, George W Bush had been in the UK on a state visit, and Tony Blair was being asked whether faith bonded them. As soon as the American journalist asked Mr Blair this question about his belief, Alastair Campbell, who was the Prime Minister's communications manager and an avowed atheist, stopped the interview in its tracks: "We don't do God," he barked from the sidelines.

The Daily Telegraph reported after this incident:

One could write a book about everything that this little intervention has to tell us about Mr Blair and his style of government, and about Britain in 2003.

What does it tell us about modern Britain, that Mr Blair's chief adviser on his 'image' should think that it would look bad for him to mention God?

We don't do God

I remembered this incident the other evening as I watched our last Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, leave office. He made a short speech, but was careful not to mention God in any way.

He said he was thankful that, although he was losing this part of his life, he still had his most important areas: that of being a husband and father.

No mention of thanking God for this.

He ended by saying: 'Thank you, and.....

(Surely he'll say 'God bless you')


Yep. It seems to be true: We don't do God in the UK anymore.

Queen Victoria once said that, 'England's Greatness was to be attributed to the Bible. When she loses the Bible, 'Great' Britain, will no longer be Great.

I guess that says it all.


Blessings shared

I am going to try and put this whole experience into words. I doubt the words will truly convey my feelings, but I shall try.

Probably THE moment of our holiday to Canada and the US was the moment - at almost 3 o'clock in the morning on our second full day - I opened the door to the house we'd been given in New Jersey.

Picture the scene. The previous night we'd only had 3 hours sleep, but we weren't able to leave London, ON until lunch time that day. (We had an elderly relative there we wanted to visit.)

And now, at long, long last, after 13 hours of almost constant driving, we had reached the coast of NJ and the house that had been so kindly lent to us.

We parked the car. All I could think of was flopping into a bed.

Any bed would have done. In fact, any floor would have done. Any horizontal space would have been bliss at that moment.

I climbed the stairs, put the key in the lock and opened the door to a scene that was beyond anything I could have hoped for. Apart from the fact that the house was beautifully furnished and decorated.....and it really was.....apart from that: It was all lit up. It was gorgeously warm. It was probably the most inviting scene you could have imagined in that situation.

I almost cried.

I could hardly believe how good God had been to us. Why do we find it hard to believe that our Heavenly Father is going to shower blessings on us??

The following morning, we opened the blinds to this scene.

I almost cried again! It was SO beautiful. I wanted to Praise God with my whole heart.

While I was musing on God's amazing love and goodness to undeserving sinners like us, I saw this posted on the fridge door in the house.

This spoke the words I couldn't articulate. I couldn't find the words to thank the family who offered us their holiday home. All I could do was pray that God would richly bless them for their kindness to us. We can truly say that for us it was, 'a place of peace, a desired haven'.

What a Heavenly Loving Father we serve.

I pray that whatever God gives us in this life, we will be just as willing to share it with brothers and sisters in Christ.

Lessons in Fashion

The day we went to the Statue of Liberty was damp and not at all warm.

I didn't want to be cold, and I didn't want to be uncomfortable. Now, I had shoes that were warm and not too comfy; and I had sandals which were VERY comfy, but not too warm.

My answer??

......you ready for this??

See below....


Can you imagine the mortification our poor daughters suffered! They almost refused to be seen with me!

But this was my reasoning:

1. It was cold, and I didn't want to have cold toes.

2. We had to walk, and I didn't want to be uncomfortable.

3. We were m-i-l-e-s away from anyone we knew, so it didn't matter who saw me.

Oh the joy of being in your forties and not caring about fashion any more. I keep telling my daughters that one day - one day - they too will put comfort before fashion.

Yep, they might even wear sandals and socks ....at the same time!!

Of course, at the ages they're at, they are sure they will NEVER do such a thing. Mmmm.


Our Special K!

This is OUR Special K
with....... Kellogg's Special K !!


A Belated Recommended Listen

Having been away for a couple of weeks, I haven't given my 'Recommended Listens'.

This sermon is a 'must listen' for anyone - anyone who has a home, is head of the home, will be head of a home one day.... for husbands or fathers - present or future; for mothers or wives - present or future; for children; for grandparents.

I would love to hear from people how they 'do' family worship, or maybe how they saw it being done in the past. There aren't many of us who are content that all that should be done, has been done, or is being done. Comments are not for criticism, but it would be interesting to hear of others' experiences.


Technical Question

Could anyone tell me why the photos in my earlier posts will enlarge when you click on them, and the photos in the later posts will not?

Why would this happen?

If anyone has any answers, please, please make them simple.

Well, I suppose if they're not simple, I'll hand them over to the kids. They are the ages for technology. I am not.

Some photos

Some photos

The Statue of Liberty.

We couldn't but think of the thousands that fled persecution in Europe to come to the USA. What this sight must have meant to them.

This was the New York skyline. It was very misty the day we were there, but this weather has its own beauty.

This photo shows the gap where the Twin Towers used to be. I am not going to attempt any words. There are none.

The Atlantic - New Jersey style.

Some of the gorgeous Pennsylvanian countryside.

(taken from the inside of the car, so please excuse the reflection!)

I have more photos of beautiful countryside in PA, in OH, in MI and in Ontario. Not to mention in Scotland. I'll post them later.

They really show how over-populated our earth really is. I think not.

Cultured Children

We had booked tickets to hear Cleveland Orchestra perform at the Severance Hall, Cleveland. We all dressed up in our finery, and were set for a wonderful evening of culture.

The music began. Calum was sitting next to me, and two minutes after the music began, he whispered:

Calum: 'This is beautiful'

Me: (smiling smugly at the thought of how cultured the children we'd bred were) 'It is, darling'

5 mins later

Calum: 'I'm bored'


Me: (horrified) 'But you just told me you thought the music was beautiful'

Calum: (rolling of the eyes) 'I said the BUILDING was beautiful. The music is boring.'

Oh well, you can't win 'em all.

Where have I been??

So, where have I been??

Well, you asked! In the past week, we've been on a roller-coaster.

Our holiday plans looked precarious to say the least last week.

An Ash Cloud. Whoever had heard of such a thing?

Well, we'd all heard of it by last week. Not only had we heard of it, we'd followed every movement of it. Willed it to stay. Willed it to move more quickly. Willed it to do anything it wanted if it would just clear a path from our home to Glasgow, and from Glasgow to Toronto.

The first request went unheeded. We heard at the VERY last minute that our flight to the mainland was not going to happen. We heard at 2.45pm last Wednesday. The last ferry before our Glasgow-Toronto flight was leaving the island on Wednesday at............2.45pm. No kidding. We phoned the ferry company; asked them if the ferry had sailed; told them we had a flight to catch in Glasgow the following day; got in the car and flew.... sorry, I mean, we drove carefully and within the speed limit......cough..... to Stornoway. The ferry company held the ferry back 15 mins for us. Thank you guys. I will never again complain at the feeling of sea-sickness I get just looking at the ferry. I will never again wish I'd flown to the mainland rather than put up with the smell of diesel on the ferry. I will never again.....oh, I don't think I can make any of these promises, but for the time being, a big THANK YOU to Caledonian MacBrayne. For the time being, we love you.

Here is the ferry arriving in Ullapool

And thanks to the passengers, none of whom complained - at least to our faces - that their journey was delayed by almost 20 minutes.

We had to take the bus from Ullapool to Glasgow, and because the ferry had been delayed, we were going to miss the connection from Inverness. En route, I phoned the Inverness Bus Station and - you're getting the picture here - they delayed the bus for us!

Thank you National Express. I shall never again complain about buses.

I'm making too many promises here. Think I'll stop.

Suffice to say our flight left the following day. It was actually delayed 9 hours. Nine hours in an airport.

Problem? Not at all. A good book, comfy reclining chairs, the odd cuppa. I was made! How often do mums get to do that? It was great!

Costa del....airport! We took over the 'comfy chairs' section, and enjoyed the rest!

The flight did, eventually, take off, and this is a photo of the screen on the plane showing where we are.

As you can see here, we are still in UK airspace, heading Northwest out of Glasgow.

As I write this, we are on the I-80 (I think!) heading towards Michigan.

Since landing on this side of the Atlantic, we have visited an elderly relative in Ontario.

We have driven to Ocean City, NJ.

We have climbed the Statue of Liberty.

It was wet and misty the day we were here, but I always feel

this weather has its own beauty

We have driven through the most incredible and frightening thunder and lightening we have ever seen.

We have visited dear friends in Washington DC; we have been to a baseball game; and to a concert by the Cleveland Orchestra.

And all being well, very soon, we will be meeting up with dear friends in Michigan.

This is just a quick overview. More information on most of the above will follow!

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