June 21, 2012
Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a house by the sea? The view as you ate your breakfast would be wonderful and imagine the morning strolls across the deserted sands (perhaps even with the occasional swim) and going to sleep at night to the sounds of the waves lapping against the shore.
The problem here though is that this house seems to have recently lost a big chunk of its front garden. We’ve seen other houses along the coastline that have had to be abandoned as they have become unsafe to live in – sadly it looks as if this house might be heading the same way, but I hope not, I hope they are able to find some way to save it.
(Large version of the photo here).
June 18, 2012
Looking again at this photo I took on Saturday, it brought to mind yesterday’s gospel reading, especially:
The Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens. The earth produces the crops on its own. First a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens.
What a great encouragement these verses are to anyone involved in any kind of Christian ministry; it might seem that nothing is happening and yet (if it is of God) then there is much going on behind the scenes that we may be unaware of. One day the harvest will come…
March 28, 2012
I just learnt yesterday that a ‘Conjunction’ is the term used for whenever two celestial bodies appear close to one another in the sky. It has been wonderful the past two nights to have clear skies and to see what is apparently a rare conjunction of Venus (the one nearest to the moon in the picture) and Jupiter (at the top).
Although they appear to be close to one another, they are of course mind-bogglingly (is that a word?) far apart. The moon is 238,000 miles (382,900 kilometers) from the Earth, at the moment Venus is about 67 million miles (108 million km) from the Earth and Jupiter is about 535 million miles (861 million km) away! (Source). Naturally these are tiny distances compared to measuring the distances between stars, but there is something special about our planetary neighbours.
Venus is the second closest planet to the Sun and is similar in size to the Earth. It has a barren rocky surface and an atmosphere of carbon dioxide with clouds of Sulphuric acid! Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest planet in our Solar System, over 120 times larger than the Earth!
Some words from Psalm 148 seem appropriate:
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!
2 Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!
3 Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all you stars of light!
4 Praise Him, you heavens of heavens,
And you waters above the heavens!
5 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For He commanded and they were created.
6 He also established them forever and ever;
He made a decree which shall not pass away.
February 14, 2012
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
(1 Corinthians 13)
Have a great day, whoever you are and whoever you spend it with, especially if it just you,
alone with God…
February 3, 2011
There’s that strange and surreal place between dreaming and waking where the two merge into each other. The other night (or rather early morning) I awoke with a rather odd poem going around my head, about a tree…
It had all started the previous week when my better half and I were enjoying a pleasant walk along the beach at Long Strand. We came across the tree in the photo above and well I thought it interesting enough to take a picture of. Clearly my subconscious thought it interesting too, interesting enough to come up with a strange poem about a strange dream about a strange tree! How did I remember the words? Well, I happened to have my mobile phone nearby and just typed it in, all in one go…
Please take this poem about as seriously as you would read My lovely horse ;-)
Strange tree where have you come from,
What story do you have to tell?
Were you borne here on stormy seas, a refugee from fire or spell?
Oh what would you tell me if only you could say,
perhaps the hopes and dreams caught in your branches reflect the light from whence you came?
Strange tree what do you carry
What a load you have to bear?
Bottles, Tin cans, shoes and netting, things now beyond all care.
Oh what would you tell me if only you could say,
the hopes and dreams caught in your branches are so much more than things that were thrown away?
Strange tree where will you go to
When it comes your time again?
Will you roll upon the open seas to distant shores or mountain glen?
Oh the only thing I can tell you, all that I can say,
is that the hopes and dreams caught in your branches will live on in memories beyond this sunlit day.
(Hope I made you laugh!)
May 17, 2010
Nikon D70s, f4.2, 1/5 sec, ISO 200, 85mm
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
This was the view from the Rectory garden just after ten o’clock last night. Too large to be a star, my best guess is that it’s Venus (see here).
Photo notes (If you’re interested in the technical aspect of the picture): I set my camera on a tripod, placed on firm ground and put a timer delay so that there would be no vibration for the long exposure necessary. To my surprise I noticed however that even though there was no wind and I didn’t touch the camera during the exposure the picture is still slightly blurred. The only conclusion I can come to is that the slap of the viewfinder mirror caused it. Unfortunately my camera does not have mirror lock-up, which would have prevented this. Next time however I will take a much longer exposure and hold the lens cap over the lens for the first second so that the initial vibration is not recorded on the final picture.
December 28, 2009
From a distance, it looked promising. Nestled on a rocky and weathered outcrop, buttressed against the Atlantic waves by craggy cliffs it warranted further investigation. However there was disappointment ahead. Some property ‘developer’ had constructed perhaps some of the most ugly and out-of-character-with-the-landscape block of flats that I had ever seen. I had to check the map to make sure we were not in Soviet era Stalingrad. I wanted to be sick.
Perhaps one of the blessings of post Celtic-Tiger Ireland is that these brown paper envelope developments will at least temporarily come to a halt.
What is it about us humans that we have to ruin God’s beautiful Creation? Of course there are many examples of buildings that fit the character of the landscape in which they exist. Natural and local materials (rather than reinforced concrete) put together in a way that is sensitive to the surroundings can actually enhance a landscape. God made us to be co-creators, to make things that reflect the great skill and talent He has given to so many builders and architects. But how many of us do things for God’s pleasure and glory above the desire for short-term satisfaction and profit?
Before I get too carried away I’ll stop right there!
Happy New Year to everyone (hopefully more than one) reading this and may you know the fullness of God’s love, life and blessing in 2010…
October 13, 2009
Nikon D70s, f9, 1/250 sec, ISO 200, 450mm equivalent (click to enlarge)
This picture of the moon was taken a few days ago in the early afternoon from the front garden. Nasa have been up to things crashing two unmanned spacecraft on to the moon’s surface to try and see if there were any signs of water in the past. An interesting experiment or a waste of money? I’m not sure.
It was you who opened up springs and streams; you dried up the ever-flowing rivers. The day is yours, and yours also the night; you established the sun and moon. It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter.