Our story so far….June 2019…Hello!

Our story at the moment is that we moved from a terraced house in Derbyshire, England to a dormer style cottage in Southern Leitrim in the Republic of Ireland at the beginning of December 2018. The cottage is in a rural area and we have approximately 3 acres to play with as well as the cottage. We are in the process of doing the cottage up and although stressful at times, it is going well so far! You’ll have to read back over old posts for the details if you are interested. It’s changed a lot so far! It’s now dry for a start….

This is where we now live – a little bit different to a terraced house..

‘We’ consists of myself (Cathy), my husband Chris, and two of our children who are almost 2 and 4 (at the moment obviously). We have two other grown up children as well who are still in the UK.

We are Jesus followers who try to listen to Him and follow Him constantly. We feel that He did bring us here, but I get that a lot of people will think that’s not a real thing..(it is).

I do talk about God quite a bit and what we think He is doing in our lives and I will try and persuade you to seek Him for yourself and ask Him if He is there. The reason I do this is because as far as I’m concerned he is the cure for us all. He is who we all need and it would be very selfish of me to not to try and tell you about Him. Also, our lives are completely entwined with Him and it would be impossible to do a blog without talking about Him to be honest.

Jesus saved my life, He saved my husband’s life, He saved a lot of my friend’s lives and He can save your life…give Him a try.

I do also have a sense of humour and it is quite interesting stuff 😀

Mowing the runway.

Welcome, please read, enjoy, ask questions or whatever, I love doing this blog and I do try to be very honest and open. There were various aims of doing it, to give a realistic view of relocating to a different place/country, specifically a small holding, to tell people about Jesus, to give me an outlet (I love writing) and to keep friends and family updated. I’m hoping some people may also just find it plain old interesting!

Toodle pip…

Bits and bats.

Well I’ve learnt a fair bit this year from planting up the greenhouse. I’ve had to thin the tomato plants out because I planted too many, too close together and I’ve removed the French beans because they were getting mildew and making that section really crowded and too damp with not enough air flow. So now the squash might start to produce something. A couple of squash rotted because it was so damp. Apart from that, things in there are pretty good. The ones I didn’t expect to do well, the brassicas, ie broccoli, turnips, sprouts, are absolutely thriving. When I first planted them I thought maybe I was making a mistake and they should be outside, but apparently not! I am gong to try to see if I can grow more peas outside though, I know it’s late but we have them left and may as well plant them.

Huge sprout plant!
It’s a beautiful day today.
J’s ‘quarry’

In other news, I have decided to start on the kitchen. Chris will almost definitely not have time to do it this year and it’s been driving me mad. So I’m slowly starting to clear and prep it for painting and tiling. So that’s going to be a slow one, but will hopefully be really nice once it’s done. There’s very, very little storage here, so I’m hoping to figure that one out too.

Chris is currently in the barn working on the car again, because it failed the retest. So he’s pretty busy with that and plenty of other things on his to do list.

It’s been too wet recently to do much weeding or work actually in the garden so I’ve tried to get some done this morning and make the most of the good weather. It was great! Still loads to do, (always) but it’s a good start.

Hi!

So there it is, some snippets from our life.

The wild flower patch. It’s smaller then it looks here, but it’s great.

It’s all a lot rougher than it looks on these pictures. But we all love a pretty photo 😬

Love to you, friends and family 😊.

Cathy.

So I’m sat here..!

So, I am indeed sat here:

More precisely, you see the grey feed box? I’m sat on that. That’s my perch when I come up here.

And the boys are down there, behind a wall at the moment this photo was taken.

It’s gone really nice, after again hammering it down again earlier. Still got the wellies on though. Always got the wellies on…It is Leitrim after all!

So, now that I’ve pulled you into a aah that’s nice. I thought I’d just mention that we’ve started at a new church this last Sunday and that the church is Catholic. I’ve avoided saying it outright, not because I’m ashamed, because I’m not, but because of the reaction this may provoke amongst some. We fully believe it’s where God wants us and as Mary says at the wedding in Cana. ‘Do whatever He tells you’. So there it is, said outright. We are very happy with the decision and are excited about where God will take us and those around us.

It really is beautiful sat here.

So there you are! Jesus is indeed Lord and God is good. I’ll write again soon. The boys have wandered off so I’d better go.

Ta ra ducks 😁 (I never say that in real life even though I lived in Chesterfield.)

Cathy.

I have a new phone.

I do! I have a new (well, a refurbished) phone. My old one had a line down one side where the U/I/J and N buttons were so they didn’t type. I either had to get predictive text to do the word for me, not type that particular word or turn the phone the other way and do it that way (not all apps let you do that). The thing is, it’s taken me a while for my brain and fingers to catch up that I have a new phone and that I don’t need to avoid those particular letters or manipulate my phone to write. My fingers automatically try to avoid them and I am very surprised when they write without any problems.

This made me think, this is what we’re like when we come to know God, through Jesus and on our journey with Him. We are born again, we are made new, but we still have reactions and ways that we often find ourselves falling back into. One of the main differences is that God doesn’t leave us like that and we tend to become more aware (through the Holy Spirit) of the wrong stuff/ways that we’re falling back into. But that imprint can be STRONG! but God is more, He is stronger, able to keep us, nudge us, work in us, change us, change our hearts, as long as we are willing to be changed and sometimes when we’re unwillingly willing haha. And like my fingers are gradually learning that all the keys on this phone work, I am learning that God gives me everything I need and I have no need to seek anything from any other source. I often want to, but I don’t actually need to. Just want to add in here that other christians can also help a lot, especially in pointing you to God and in loving you properly (and that involves truth telling too).

One of the best pieces of advice I have ever been given is ‘never doubt God’. He is God, He is in charge, His ways are higher than our ways, He knows what He is doing. So no matter what is going on, no matter how bad things look, no matter what! He is still good and we need to keep trusting Him and following Him. He will fill your heart with His love if you let Him, He will make you complete. I think there can be a bit of a tendency in some arenas to wonder where He is when things get difficult, or to expect him to solve things our way all the time, but I can tell you He is there and He is the one who will get you through absolutely anything, simply by just being there and being God.

Just think for a minute about the disciples, where they ended up. What their lives became and how they lived them. I don’t think they planned any of that or even had an inkling of what was ahead whilst Jesus was even still physically with them. He turned their lives upside down and inside out. As far as I’m aware, from Acts onwards, all apart from one were martyred. Now, this dawned on me yesterday.. why do we expect to just have lovely, planned lives when we follow that same Jesus? Do we really wish for His will to be done? Or just our will to be done? Our lives could be changed like theirs were, in a flash! Now that’s always a thinking point. It is for me anyway. Sort of helps with perspectives too.

Life is more than what we see. It is eternal. It is so much deeper and more beautiful than anything we can possibly imagine.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud,
    be gracious to me and answer me!
 “Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!”
    Your face, Lord, do I seek.
     Do not hide your face from me.

(Psalm 27:7-9)

I think I’m going to write again, it’s only been a month…

I feel like writing again, so I’m a going to write. It’s been a month since the last one, is that enough of a break?

I’m not sure what’s happened since the last ones, apart from we are emerging from lockdown, sort of. Chris has been back at work for ages and it almost feels like he was never off! We’re into what Ireland is calling phase 3, phase 4 has been delayed, I think that was opening the pubs (the ones that serve food are already open) and having larger indoor/outdoor gatherings etc.

It feels mighty weird to me at the moment, I mean, if it’s just you, I suppose you can go out and go into shops and around and about more easily, but with young children it isn’t that simple. They run about and touch things and the youngest definitely does not and should not be expected to understand any distancing. Plus, I know we can go to parks etc now, but I’m not sure how comfortable I am with that at the moment. Because on the one hand you’ve got encouragement to go out, wearing masks if you’re going shopping etc, but on the other hand, we’re still being told to limit contacts and keep local, but we can also go anywhere in Ireland if we want to. I suppose we’ll just have to decide what’s acceptable to us and stick with that, but it’s obviously not always easy with other people around either who have different ideas.

Getting that balance between what’s right and not just retreating because of fear is somewhat difficult I find. There doesn’t really need to be a rush with us either, because I don’t work outside the home, so I don’t think staying home for a while longer will hurt much, or just going out for walks etc.

We aren’t part of a local church yet, despite me being told that apparently we’re going to one in Manorhamilton (we aren’t), but we will be part of one soon. More on that, when it’s appropriate. I’m still taking part in the online church meetings which Church in the Peak in Matlock are still doing at the moment.

The chickens are getting huge! They run to see you when you walk up (they don’t like being picked up though). I keep hoping I’m wrong but I can’t help noticing that 2 or 3 of them now look as if they may be cockerels, I’m still hoping they aren’t, we really wanted more than 2 hens. By September we will know I would think. I’m going soft, and I’ve grown a little attached, I really don’t want to kill them if they are cockerels. I will, if I need to, but I don’t want to.

So! A little scripture to end on. I can’t help noticing that there’s a lot of ‘rights’ talk about at the moment. Whilst I don’t actually know the scripture that says ‘stick up for your Christian rights at all costs’, there’s actually more about looking after others who are vulnerable rather than shouting about our rights, this is pretty cool and very against the grain. Matthew 5:38-42.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’  But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.  And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.  Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

and it goes on to say about loving and praying for your enemies…Read it, it’s good!

Jesus is so heart wrenchingly good….and clear…and against the general worldly grain. I forget this stuff sometimes and then realise again and it’s like a gush of pure, unadulterated God love.

So hello and goodbye. I will write again soon.

Cathy.

Blog.

I think this may be my last blog for a while, I think I need to take a bit of a step back and give myself a bit more privacy and space. There’s also opinions on everything under the sun flying about everywhere and I don’t think there’s a lot of room for more. I have a couple of things to say today though.

  1. Father’s day. Treasure your dad’s. Mine died last year and it’s something I struggle with every day, along with the fact that I left the area where my family is so I can’t support them. A card or a text really isn’t much effort and it may mean a lot.
  2. This place is beautiful as many, many people have pointed out. It also is and has been an extraordinary experience. But it can also be very lonely and challenging. So pray for us if you have half a mind to do so.
  3. This coronavirus thing…I can’t help noticing that a lot of people seem to decide their actions at the moment based on others, well, they’ve done this so that means I will because they have. Nonsense. You do what you can and what you deem sensible and right. You are accountable for your actions, not other people’s. They haven’t made a mockery of everyone distancing or not travelling because they have, they’ve made a mockery of themselves.
  4. God loves you.
  5. I really think I need to learn to love like a child does, this is what our J said about his dad:
Isn’t it lovely?

I think I’ll still be using Instagram, I love pictures. I’ll probably be back on here at some point, not sure when though.

See ya!

Cathy.

Challenging.

Life is challenging in general at the moment and I don’t actually mean personally and here, I mean in general. Attitudes and tempers are flaring, the news is going mad, it’s very tempting to get caught up in it all. Getting caught up in things is fine and good providing we go about it the right way. Hunger and thirst for righteousness by all means but insulting people just because you don’t like what they do or how they do it, probably isn’t the right way or how to love our neighbours.

What I find challenging is that we can’t expect people who don’t know Jesus to actually act like him. We can try to change people, we can try to change the world and laws, we can say things are evil (and they often are), but without knowing Jesus, it is all in vain. God changes us, despite popular opinion, we do not change ourselves.

Recently I have started thinking again about what life is about here, for us. There are a few changes happening, we’ve left the church we were part of and feel God is probably calling us to a more local one, one that most believers that we know probably would not expect. It’s a bit of a period of waiting at the moment. Obviously the churches are closed, but are apparently allowed to open again from 29th June (which coincidentally is my salvation birthday). But what I am praying is ‘your will be done’, it’s a scary prayer in some ways, it shouldn’t be, because if we truly trust God then we should trust whatever He tells us to do, ‘do whatever He tells you’.

Then I’ve just seen an interview this morning where someone said that should be our prayer, that we will do whatever he tells us and go wherever he wants us. Seen a few things recently like that too. Not to mention the Lord’s prayer, so yeah, bring it on. We will do whatever you want us to do and go wherever you want us to go Lord. Now be still and watch and wait and don’t worry about what other people think.

Scripture says a lot of things, trouble is, in this blog I often don’t have the time to delve too deeply on here. But the main one as far as I can see is when you know Him is to love God and love your neighbour as yourself. Delve deeply into God, read, spend time with Him, acknowledge He is there as part of your normal everyday activities and life, He isn’t relegated to a back room, He’s there and our lives as Christians should follow Him and be with Him. He is so full of love and joy and peace, He runs to meet us, like in the parable of the prodigal son, so this should not be a burden. Sometimes it feels like it is, but it is often in those times that our relationship and faith is actually strengthened. Over the past year I’ve questioned and prayed and laid awake with Him and wondered and asked if He is there and even real. My dad’s death really threw me and did things in me that I don’t even understand. The overwhelming answer I now have is yes, He is most definitely real and here. He is not scared of questions, He is God and instead of running from Him and doing our own thing, we need to run towards Him and be with Him. Doing what He has set for us, not what others have set for us.

One other thing I am feeling, the Christian world seems very segregated, people are often very suspicious of other groups, I do feel the time is coming when these barriers need to be broken, we as people will not know how or see a way of doing this, but God does. Charismatics, Evangelicals and Pentecostals often seem very suspicious and don’t like the Traditional churches and vice versa, there’s ‘exvangelicals’ giving their stories all over the place, people who seem distracted to me (especially on Twitter) who seem more intent on correcting other churches than reaching the lost or loving people, although I can, in some circumstances see why. Catholics are often seen as not even being Christian by these groups, which I feel is very unfair. But then some (not all) Catholics talk the same about protestants. So silly. So watch this space, we may be going over to the other side…of the same coin. Providing it is His will… Church is not about us, or how we look, it’s about Jesus.

This may not go out on facebook….I may change my mind..but maybe not today…

Goodbye..

Cathy.

Ooh it’s turned rainy.

So, an update, since I wrote the last post on what is going on here, there’s a few things happened. The chickens went out earlier than I was planning, mainly because they suddenly got absolutely massive. So the electric fencing is up and they are all set up in their coop and roaming around during the day. They seem to be loving it, we still can’t tell how many roosters and how many hens, so that is still to come…

They’re just over six weeks old now.

Chris has painted the barn roof, just to set the scene, it’s quite a high roof, made out of metal and we spent a few days there, him doing the stuff, like wire brushing and painting and me holding the ladder. The bit where he had to actually get on top from the front to do the middle part was the scariest, but he did it and I have to say well done, there’s no way I would have gone up.

It’s now done and a lovely shade of grey! This was before it was done, he’s wire brushing in this one.

Then lastly, the polytunnel is coming on really well, things are growing and it’s so nice to go and sit there in the evening, it’s a good place to pray, quiet, with the birds singing. That’s as long as the midges don’t get in, some evenings they’re rife!

I’m sure there’s lots of things to talk about, but that’s it for now!

Bye!

Cathy.

My head is spinning…

Isn’t it busy on social media and the news recently, so much going on, so many opinions?! The good, the bad and the mediocre, so many theories, so much hatred coming out from so many places too. I’m sure there is love too, but a lot of stuff I’ve seen is very negative. My head is literally spinning, perhaps a fast is in order….

In saying this I don’t mean to denigrate things that have happened, there are terrible things that have happened, it’s just all the opinions that make me spin..

I was thinking a bit last night on honesty and just being us, who God made us to be. Mainly about the typical ‘how are you?’ ‘fine thankyou’ type response that most of us seem to do all the time. What is that???!!! Why do we feel like we can’t just say it as it is at the time before everything builds up to boiling point. It would probably be healthier. Of course, I’m talking about myself too. This thought actually came from a couple of interactions I had. Of course there’s healthy and unhealthy conversations, people to trust, people not to trust, dependent on what exactly it is, but when did this ‘front’ become expected? or is it just me that feels like that?

I am not a robot. I am a human. So are you if you are reading this…. We can tell God anything, but the bible also tells us to confess things to one another too and be part of a group. I don’t think I’m mistaken on that. So when are we going to actually do that in a healthy manner? are we? Am I?

I’ve just been reading the beatitudes, chapter 5, verse 4 says: Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted”.

I don’t think we follow this very much of the time (as Christians), there seems to be an expectation quite often (in the protestant bit anyway) of pull yourself together, get with God, capture your thoughts, you’ll be fine. Why are you acting like that?

If you think I’m wrong, that’s fine, it’s how I’m feeling. Yes we need to read God’s word and believe what He says, but it is fine and good to mourn and weep and lament, often for a time. I believe that if we don’t do it when we need to, it then becomes unhealthy and closed off.

I still miss my dad so, so much. I miss a lot of things.

I weep for him, I wish he was still here, I wish I knew where he was, but I don’t. But God does. I will trust Him on that one and I will pray for my dad and my family. But let people mourn, there are many reasons for mourning. Let them mourn and just direct them to the ultimate comforter. Don’t make them feel as if they shouldn’t, I find non verbal disapproval in particular is rife…

This is not personal to anyone in particular, it’s a general feeling I often get and I wanted to get it off my chest. Don’t be uncomfortable with those who mourn, don’t says ‘but isn’t it great that……..’ or things like that, just love them, be with them, let them mourn, let them cry without getting in their face let them just be. Trust God with them.

(I’m not sharing this on facebook, I don’t want the exposure on there for this one, so much for being vulnerable, Twitter’s fine, hardly anyone reads it off Twitter anyway :))

Bye.

It is good.

I’ve just been looking at the last post to see what’s happened in the week since and there’s a fair few things really. Hello! by the way.

The chicks are now four weeks old, they’ve been outside for a few hours a couple of days this week, not today, because the wind and rain has been horrendous, but they did for the two days prior to this. They loved it, after learning to negotiate the ramp in the coop. They’re still not sure, but they’re getting a bit braver.

The electric chicken netting has arrived and is sort of in place, but not finished yet. We’re hoping to finish that this weekend and aiming for the chicks to be out permanently in about 1 1/2 to two weeks time. They’re getting far to big to be in the cage they’re in, so they’ll love ranging in a much larger space. We’re really hoping we’ve proofed it enough, I guess we will see.

Chris has returned to work this week, so it’s just me and the boys at home during the weekdays now. It feels strange because he is back at work but we are still supposed to be distancing and staying at home whenever possible. It isn’t hard, because the test centres are still shut we still haven’t got a valid test on the car, so I can’t go anywhere anyway (and that’s fine by me). I heard that tests were being extended by four months, but when I checked, it said ours had expired. I think it might be because we’d had it tested and it had failed, Chris took it for a retest when lockdown first happened and found the test centre closed.

Things are growing in the greenhouse! It’s so exciting, I can’t describe how much I love growing things. Every time I go in, I seem to notice something else germinating or that is getting new leaves. We have a line of French beans and two rows of peas, broccoli, cabbage, leek and turnip seedlings, tomato plants, radishes, beetroot seedlings, cucumber and butternut squash.

We are waiting to see if the sweetcorn and carrots germinate, the seeds were a bit older. We also have a load of pots with annuals growing and are waiting for them get big enough to plant out.

It is still strange for me when I contemplate us living here, I’m beginning to realise that it is actually the ideal place for us in a lot of ways. The place and the possibilities are what I’ve wanted since I was a kid. It feels strange too because I ‘ve read a lot of diverse opinions recently, mainly from different Christian camps about gifts and God and abundance and hardship and not expecting anything or expecting loads or if you expect loads are you into the prosperity gospel and therefore ‘bad’ or are you just seeing God how He is, a God of abundance, but! whose plans are not our plans, who sees and knows everything and therefore even if we were to lose everything, we should still have joy because of knowing Him….Trusting Him means trusting Him whatever happens, whatever you have… so yes, I get that, I get trusting Him is more important than anything. but personally I also find it hard then to fully appreciate what we have, that there’s no guilt in having this. I guess I’m a work in progress and that thankfulness and knowing His love and reading His word is key.

It hit me last night as well, living simply is not wrong. I think I get the impression sometimes that everyone seems to think you can’t live simply any more and that makes me feel like I have to ‘accomplish’ things or race through life impressing people. The thing is, I don’t, I can live simply and well with the family, growing veg, being with our family, putting them first, praying simple prayers that have powerful impact and as God said when He made everything ‘it is good’.

Oh and we made scones today 😊

Chickaversary!

I had to update today, it’s the chick’s three week anniversary. Look at them!

They’re brilliant, still don’t know the sex though. Chris has been busy sorting out the large cage this week. Trying to find any gaps in the wire and mend them, so we hopefully won’t get rats in as well as any other animals. Once the birds are off heat and fully feathered, they should be able to go out. We’ve ordered a roll of electrified chicken netting to go round the grassed area so they can range a lot further than just in the coop. We daren’t leave them free ranging without electric fencing because we know we have foxes and we’ve been told there are mink around. We have paving slabs down because it gets so wet, we don’t want to have any problems with mud and the birds getting soaking wet in the winter, because that would make them get too cold.

Lastly, it was my birthday this week, happy birthday to me! It’s a strange week because Chris may be going back to work next week, we don’t know for certain yet, so it’s all going to change again. But many people know what that feels like. What has got to me a little bit recently, is that I’ve realised we won’t really be able to visit our friends and family in Derbyshire for quite a long time, probably not this year and that makes me a little sad. Kids grow up so quickly and that means last time we visited J would have been 4 1/2 and he’ll more than likely be 6, when we next come over in person. Ah well, it is what it is, at least there’s loads of ways of keeping in touch. So, love to all of you.

This is our field, it’s starting to look a lot more meadow like now, rather than a rush filled bog 🙂

Bye for now.

Cathy.