BOOM – Black Bag


When I was clearing out the house in Ireland I found my Granny Barr’s handbag.

My Mum had kept it when Granny died in 1965. It held some special memories including my Granny’s confirmation card from the 1890s. The bag probably dates from the 1940s and is the only bag I ever remember my Granny having.

Granny was eighty when I was born in 1960 and she always wore the same style of clothes; a black wool skirt down to her ankles, a long white apron over the skirt and a blouse with a black cardigan over it.

Granny always smelled of TUNES a type of candy that had menthol in it and that claimed would « help you breathe more easily ».

Born Ellen McClean she was one of thirteen children. The family was very poor and she started work in a mill when she was just ten. As a part timer she went to school half time and worked half time.

My Dad was her only child and I was his only child so you can only imagine how much Granny loved me and I loved her too. There is no doubt in my mind that she could not have loved me more.

The handbag is something I could never part with and is on the way to the USA. I hope Aaron will keep it and give it to his kids someday so we never forget our roots.

Who would ever have imagined that this bag would have had such a journey.

Blessing # 141 – Love that Lasts


When Halloween comes around and your girlfriend is dressing as Eeyore there is only one thing you can be. POOH!

There is no doubt that this was planned weeks in advance. When did Mother find out and when did we go shopping for the costume? You guessed right the hunt for a POOH onesie started at 5:00 pm on the evening before Halloween!

We did our local Target, 3 Goodwills, Party City, Big Lots and by 7:15 were becoming desperate and thinking we may have to be a nun instead.

Not a POOH costume to be found.

So the radius of the search had to be extended to the next town.

Bingo we hit Target and as if by magic we found a single bear suit onesie and bagged it!

With Dads shrunk red polo shirt on top we had the perfect POOH.

Let’s hope Eeyore loves it!!!!

Blessing #141 – Hitting TARGET

BOOM – Bluebird


When we were out this morning for our constitutional Dibley and I had a Bluebird as our companion.

These little birds are so beautiful. They are quite tiny with little red breasts like a European Robin but they are the most brilliant blue.

They were out in force this morning all around the neighborhood. I had never seen so many of them at the one time and Google couldn’t give an explanation. Maybe one of you may know why.

The little guy that followed Dibley and me did so for several hundred yards. He was hopping along on the ground and then flying into a tree then swooping down to the ground again even getting quite close to us at times.

It made me think of my Mum and her Robins who faithfully visited her each day on her kitchen windowsill. She fed them well!!

Am I the only one or does anyone else ever feel that little critters, birds in particular, bring us love letters from our nears and dears on the other shore?

Anyway, this little lovely made my day!

Blessing # 140 – Natures Company

BOOM – Benevolence in Bereavement


This morning on NBC – The Today Show, Savannah Guthrie was live in the great city of Pittsburgh.

Savannah was covering the tragedy of Saturday’s shooting at THE TREE OF LIFE Synagogue.

Back in the studio was Hoda Kotb. As the two anchors exchanged comments both were struggling to hold back their tears.

Like all of us they’re asking WHY?

As Savannah interviewed some of the victims families, the first response doctors, the mayor and the Rabbi of the Synagogue the grace and goodness of this tight knit community in this time of deep hurt, sadness and loss shone through.

The words of Rabbi  Jeffrey Myers spoke volumes. “Hate is not welcome here” he said. “You can cut off some branches but the TREE will continue to grow.”

All of us need to nourish the TREE with our love. We need to speak up and stand up against any form of discrimination and hatred.

As everyone who spoke this morning said.

Love has to triumph.

Blessings # 139 – The Grace of Good People

BOOM – Bakers


From this afternoon until Sunday evening the Ohio Reformatory for Women (ORW) will host 40 volunteers taking part in the 49th Kairos Prison Ministry Weekend at this site.

Kairos has been a great blessing in my life over the past five years allowing me to meet many  wonderful women. They have great diversity in background and there is little chance I would have encountered them had it not been for Kairos.

Most importantly, my eyes have been opened to many aspects of Gods Grace and his unconditional love for all of us. You can find out more about Kairos at the website

Over the course of the weekend we give each person at the prison a little token of love.

This is simply a ziplock bag containing one dozen home made chocolate chip cookies. Since there are 2500 inmates and almost 1000 staff at ORW this means we need to bake 3500 Dozen Cookies!!!

Since each volunteer is responsible for supplying 85 dozen cookies major help is needed


Thankfully while I was packing up things in Ireland many friends from our Church were baking like crazy. So much so my target was well exceeded in fact my car is packed with 160 dozen cookies!!

Krishna packed everything up for me so I didn’t need to touch a single chocolate chip when I got home!!!


If you too would like to contribute just say a little prayer over the next few days for the 30 participants on the weekend that they may find new hope and a new start in life.

Pray also that the weekend will touch the hearts of all at ORW and have a positive impact on the entire community and on our team.

Blessing # 138 – Gods Time


BOOM – Booty

ACF0FDEC-1190-4D3C-9EC7-52A74E965203.jpegWhen you are not quite sure when your next trip back to the homeland will be it is vital to prepare in advance.

So my little hand luggage has a nightie, a few toiletries, my baby book that my Mom made for me and a lot of irresistible treats.

The theory is always that these will be rationed and eaten as treats. Theories are made to be tested and broken. The fist pack of Tayto the worlds greatest Cheese and Onion chip has already been eaten and there is another good hour till boarding.

There is little doubt that before you read this Aaron will have demolished much much more.


Blessing # 137 – Portable, Palatable, Pleasures 😋

BOOM – Broken Biscuits

Years ago in Ireland broken biscuits (cookies) were sold by the pound at a much reduced price.

This was a treat for kids and those on a tight budget and I have a vague recollection of buying them as a child in a local grocery shop.

Yesterday, Carol, Phyllis, their Mums and me went to a little café in an antique shop in Belfast that is called Broken Biscuits.

The cafe is set up to resemble a tea-room  of the 1940s and the Mums had such a good time talking about the good old days.

The cream tea was super good too.

Blessing #136 – Broken or Not Biscuits Are Yummy

BOOM – Bedding


During the clean out my cousin Becky came with a whole crew from her Church.

They worked so fast like professional movers and helped find good homes for some beds and bedding.

Barbara, a friend of Carols, also took some sleeping bags and comforters for the homeless.

Not to be overlooked towels and pillows that were well past their sell by date went to the animal rescue for bedding of kittens and puppies.

When all the hustle and bustle was over and the house was empty a good bed was what was most needed.

Phyllis had this waiting for me along with the cosiest comforter imaginable.

Blessing # 135 – A Good Duvet and A Sound Sleep

BOOM – Booked

The house in Ireland was the Fort Knox of a very extensive photograph collection.

Krishna was renowned for taking photos and printing them in at least doubles and then making albums. All this stopped about ten years ago when it became difficult to find film. He never has taken to digital media !

The result of his efforts meant a trip down memory lane as all the albums had to be sorted through and the most important photos shipped to the USA.

Many people featured in the albums over the years.

If any of you recognize yourselves please know you are also now saved on my phone forever!!!!

Blessing #134 – Digital Cameras

BOOM – Been Busy


It’s impossible to explain how much the help of friends means when you need them most.

When I arrived on Sunday the task of clearing and cleaning the house and getting it ready to handover on Friday seemed almost impossible.

Fear not, almost immediately Carol, Liz, my cousin Anne and her husband Maurice arrived and by the end of the day major progress was already made.

Monday morning first thing Paddy swung into action and ordered a dumpster (aka as skip) to be delivered immediately. Carol was back with Liz as well as Lorraine, Phyllis and Maureen.

Each person took on a particular area. Boxes for the auction filled quickly and when the dumpster arrived there was enough trash to fill it to the brim.

On Tuesday the team from Bangor  Auctions worked so hard. They had to do two runs with their big van completely full to take away all the items for sale. In total we will have 65 lots!!!

Rooms started to clear and once Wednesday was over and McGimpseys Furniture Removals had safely packed up all the items of sentimental value to ship to the USA all that was left to do was clean.

So just as the keys were being turned for the final time on a very empty and a never before so clean house a magnificent sunrise gave us the thumbs ups on our terrific teamwork.

Blessing #133 – Friends to the Rescue


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