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…

Four years – part 2.

So, four years in Ireland. I’m going to be honest in this one. It’s been hard for me. Chris has loved being here, but I’ve struggled a lot. I am going to talk about it, so if you sigh at this, just stop reading. But my dad died back in the UK, shortly after coming here and then I had to grieve by myself, here. On my own. Processing everything, by myself. Alongside everything else that’s been going on. Alright, not on my own, my immediate family are here. But no one else. And it’s funny how much a lot of people don’t want you to ever talk about this or be ‘unhappy’. Which actually makes grieving really hard and makes the process really hard and makes you mask how you really are. People often even ignore what you’re saying when you try and talk about it. I’m sorry if this seems condemning, it isn’t intended to be, I just want to be honest.

I’ve spoken before about grief and how strange it is, how you think you’re ok and then it punches you in the stomach and says, why hello! you thought I’d gone, now feel the pain. And it’s very difficult to know what to do sometimes.

I write to process, but because I don’t want to be subject to certain reactions or even none reactions, I haven’t been honest in the slightest. Since my dad died, I’ve struggled. I’ve had extreme lows frequently, I’ve cried a lot and that is still ongoing. I’ve got angry as a result and then other people have sometimes been in the firing line. I don’t go around in a miserable manner, or crying over everybody but I have actually been very, very, unhappy.

You see, I don’t know how to process grief really. I’m not sure if any of us do. But I seem to be bad at it. I’ve taken it to God and He seems to say the opposite to what others say. And when I say others, I mean people back in the UK. God seems to say, it’s fine. Grieve, feel it, stop covering it. No, you don’t have to pour out your own feelings on anybody and at anytime, but grieve. That doesn’t impinge on my plans.

You see, I have a problem with people feeling like you should be ‘over it’ and they seem to think this very quickly. And I’ve got something to say, and that something is stop.

You see, I’m sick of the hardline approach to this, people die, get over it, just trust God, It’s all in God’s hands.. and various variations to this. It doesn’t work. We are human, God made us human, with all the emotions that entails. And yes, we need to take thoughts captive and all that…but do you know what else… this can sometimes be confused with denying perfectly legitimate feelings that need to be thought and processed and worked through. It also leads to prayer.

I’m also sick of my own inbuilt thing that says to me, ‘why are you grieving like this? you don’t deserve to grieve like this? you weren’t even that good a daughter? and, other people have it far worse, why are you feeling like this?’ amongst other things, I think they are the thoughts that need taking captive. Not the actual grief.

Patience is a virtue…apparently…how strange that not many of us seem to possess much of it, or love.

Holy Spirit come.

Well, there you go, an outpouring from me. Inspired by someone else. Inappropriate? Appropriate? Condemning? Real? Truthful? Embarrassing? I have no idea, but I’m publishing it anyway. and yes, to all those who insist you count every blessing, yes, I am hugely blessed, and yes, I am also happy, which is a strange thing to admit amongst saying I’m very unhappy and sounds contradictory but isn’t really. It’s like everything, when you know God and things go wrong, it’s still terrible, but you do have his assurance and presence, so it’s sort of ok too, but not.

Sort of ok, ha, I’m really blasting down the evangelism route today…

So goodbye for now. Happier ones to follow!

Cathy.

Four years.

So yes, this week, it’s been four years since we moved here. Four years! It doesn’t feel like four years. How many times can I say four years? Quite a lot, it would seem. Four years?!! haha.

Well, I thought I’d blog. I’ve really been enjoying writing them recently. I’m sort of crafting as it were. Writing different things, enjoying it. Trying it out. I always write to God when I’m stressed or worried. I keep a book, well several different books, strewn around the house, to write and draw in. And I tell you what, it’s really good. The other day I really felt like God was saying ‘Martha, you are…worried about many things…’ 😀 (Luke 10:41), so I did what it says in Philippians and took my many things to him in writing, anything! no matter how stupid or not right it sounded, went down on paper, it was great (and ongoing).

So, four years… As most of you know, a lot has changed. Both in the house, the ‘grounds’ (that sounds very posh, it’s a garden, some trees and a field), and in our lives. The area around the cottage is in certainly looks good compared to four years ago, it was extremely overgrown and damp. In fact, there was a little pool of water that used to appear on the kitchen floor near the wall, now no more! the place was very damp, we got heat into it and it started drying out. It was unpleasant for a while whilst it dried out and then it got a lot more pleasant and it’s actually a lot warmer now in general than it was then. We were all sleeping together in one room when we arrived (I actually quite liked that) and now we have our own rooms and beds not blow up mattresses. We have a bathroom with a bath fitted instead of using a tub and then a plaster bath to bathe in, in the kitchen – pure bathroom luxury now.

It has been exciting. it’s also been other things. But mostly we’re very glad we came here. We’ve definitely changed through the experience. We’ve had to learn a lot, especially in living with each other through massive change and hard work. Thankfully, God is with us and the Holy Spirit works in us and teaches us and changes us. God definitely gives you grace to be and live wherever you are. I love the growing thing, the front garden is a bit of a mess this year though, I need to sort that, I haven’t had much spare time or the right weather to do it this year.

It’s funny though, I’m a bit of an excitement freak, I quite like change in lots of ways and start yearning for different things once life gets settled. For example, I tagged Chris in a post advertised for the Isle of Canna in Scotland (as a gardener), but Chris, perhaps being a bit more realistic, ignored it. Probably for the best. Haha.

So, hello and thankyou to all the people who have faithfully kept updated and read the blogs and posts. Thankyou to a certain lady who even sent us a card on our wedding anniversary, I really, really did not expect that and it was awesome to receive it.

You see, it’s a funny place to be, sometimes, here. It’s gorgeous and it’s what we wanted, but you’re on your own a lot. Which, I am also ok with most of the time. But it can also be hard occasionally. Especially when I think about friends and family back home. So that gesture at that point was really lovely.

Thank you to another female friend who has taken me though life with her for quite a long time now (about 14 years), she is someone I can always go to and always get wisdom from her and motherly love. Godly wisdom. There are also a couple of others, who have helped keep me on the straight and narrow over the last few years. So thank you. I’m not naming names, but you should have a good idea of who you are. Ooh, it’s like the Oscar’s….

Sometimes I feel alone, but I’m not, firstly there is God, always. Scripture says he never leaves us nor forsakes us. Then there are others, friends. I’ve found that being thankful for the ones who care, thankful to God, sort of eclipses the bitterness that can build up if you aren’t careful, because of people who don’t. It’s easy to dwell on stuff that doesn’t matter and you need to talk reality to yourself. Y’know, ‘I am not the centre of everyone’s universe’ sort of thing, lol. I was really upset about a year ago, someone replied to a comment I’d made on something, with a really snarky remark. It really, really, upset me, I was feeling a bit vulnerable at the time. But then, since then, I’ve thought about comments I’ve made in the past that have probably really upset people and I think well, yeah, …. forgive them.

That’s the trouble with social media, you can write something and publish it at a click, and we don’t always think, or I don’t. Although I’m better at it than I was. I put a comment the other day and then deleted it because the tone and what I meant just didn’t come across well by writing it. And then that looks odd because you put something and then delete it. I’m a bit too impulsive for socials in a lot of ways, I’m a bit reactive, or can be. That can be a strength though, as well as a drawback. You get good at sincere apologising. haha.

I went back on facebook after a few weeks off in November and it’s funny how it disrupts me and disturbs me in a lot of ways. I found I was hearing God a lot more too, when I was off it. There must be a happy balance.

Right, I’m off now, we’re putting the tree up today and all that. Should be a good’un. And, hello family! we miss you. I’m still hoping to get across some time over the next six months. It’s been a long time.

See you soon. May God bless you in every way.

Cathy.

God loves bad guys.

I walked into the dining room the other day to hear J saying to I (younger brother), ‘yes, God loves bad guys y’know’ and littlest exclaiming ‘He loves bad guys!’ and J replying ‘yes, He does.’

I love that they know that anyone can come to God and know Him through Jesus, no matter what. That everybody is made in God’s image. And that God so loved the world that He sent His only son to save them.

Happy Advent! (I want to scream Happy Christmas really!!!! )

Cathy.

How inappropriate.

I wrote this a couple of weeks ago and have decided to publish it 😀 It is a bit of a nonsense post it has to be said.

I sometimes wonder what I could write on here and get away with… then I think, no that’s childish… then, I think, fun though. There are all sorts of things I can think of but that are just not appropriate (said in an English posh voice).

I’ve just been interrupted from my writing by one of my sons appearing to choke violently because I asked him to eat another mouthful of mashed potato. Then I think, when he’s older, in view of what today’s society is like, because I’ve written that, I’ll be classed as intrusive and inappropriate once again. lol. He’s fine, by the way. And they are actually, usually, very healthy.

I dislike that word ‘inappropriate’, there are, of course, things that are inappropriate, y’know, eating with your mouth open, having sexual encounters in public, yelling at anyone at all nowadays.. which is also bizarre coming from a 70/80’s child where everyone seemed to yell. But I think it’s the way I’ve heard it said many times, which was in a totally condemning way, puffing up the speaker in a way I’ve rarely seen. ‘How inappropriate’. (said in their mind, I’m so much better than they are.)

Of course, it’s all from my perspective, so, whether it’s true or not is another matter. and I’ve said it before at some point in my life, just like most of us. I try not to nowadays because there’s usually a lot better way to put things. And saying, ‘that’s inappropriate’ to people without explaining, rarely goes well. And talking behind their back, well, that’s even worse.

So, there you go, a blog about something or nothing. Feel free to say ‘how inappropriate’. Spike Milligan would be proud. I like his poems. I’ve been learning some of them with the kids recently. I had a little book of his poetry too, when I was a kid, I used to love them, especially the little drawings and the bizarreness of it all.

God loves ya folks.

Ta ra.

Cathy.

Winter, winter, winter, winter…

And it is pouring down today! It is boggy and muddy and squelchy and windy and alright, not officially winter, but it is starting to feel like it. So, I’ve done the outdoor stuff this morning, i.e. hens, ducks, getting wood in, chopping kindling and I got the remaining onions in from the greenhouse and plaited them up… and now, I’m sat here whilst the kids do exercises off YouTube. They were getting a bit rowdy earlier left to their own devices, so that’s what we decided on. I took some photo’s while I was outside this morning:

I’ve had to do a makeshift enclosure within the tunnel, for the ducks. They just create mess everywhere. They’ve created stagnant ponds at two corners. So they’re enclosed within a run again. They seem happy with it, all three girls are laying almost daily. Also, with the run of the tunnel they were laying eggs all over the place, mainly in the mud, instead of their house, so all eggs were covered in a layer of mud. They’ve been using the house since I enclosed them, which is a massive bonus. You aren’t supposed to wash eggs unless you’re using them straight away or putting them straight into the fridge. I prefer keeping ours at room temperature, they last quite a while. So not being really muddy is a definite bonus.

I’d left some onions in the tunnel to dry and now it’s starting to get damp in there I thought it was time to bring them in. I’ve braided them together and they’re hung near the oil range, to help them dry out properly.

All the chickens are inside their shed, probably until the spring now. I’m doing what’s known as deep littering, which is just adding a layer of shavings regularly, rather than fully cleaning them out. And then, if it works out how I’m thinking, I’ll do a massive clean out in the spring. (if it works out). They got red mite this year, the first time I’ve ever had that problem, so when they were brought in, they were all powdered a couple of times and treated. Some are still looking a little pale though, so I’m wondering whether I need to do it again.

As you can see from the photo after the chickens, the ground really is wet. I’m glad the chickens are off it for a while. It’s quite slippy, I have to watch my step! 😀

So, in addition to all this, what have we done recently..? well, I’ve been in a lot with the kids, we haven’t had the car much, so we’ve mainly (not entirely) been at home, which is ok for a while but then I start to get a little stir crazy. There’s a lot to do and I very, very rarely, if ever, feel bored, but we will hopefully have the car a bit more soon. I’ve had a filling this week, when we first moved to Ireland, I had to have a root canal. The tooth on top had cracked and so I had to have it sorted and filled. I’m not used to having much dental stuff done, the dentist was lovely though. My emotions are all over the place sometimes, right in the middle when there was smoke coming out of my mouth and I was immobile in the chair I started thinking about how my mum always made sure we looked after our teeth and had milk regularly and all that, and to my surprise and horror and amusement (in a weird way), tears started rolling down my face. I recovered though fairly quickly. They didn’t have a bawling wreck on their hands anyway 🙂

Then, last night was apparently an Irish tradition, we did it for the first-time last year. The tradition is that you let your kids stay up to see the Late, Late, Toy Show on RTE dressed in pyjamas and give them copious amounts of sweets and anything else their little hearts desire whilst watching Ryan Tubridy interviewing children and singing and dancing and talking and promoting toys and all that. The kids lasted until 11 pm, then it was bed. It was really nice actually. Specially that they didn’t actually stay up until midnight or after. We also had a takeaway from a town near us, they call it ‘Asian Street Food’. So that was a real treat, it was gorgeous. The petrol stations and shops round here sell these big bags of mixed sweets, jellies, sour ones etc and so that’s what we got on the sweets front. I’m feeling it a bit today though, I ate a lot of junk food, I’m a light weight nowadays. Doesn’t stop me from eating junk though, I really need to get fit…! Looks like it’s YouTube exercises for me as well as the kids. They love them, mainly minecraft ones, zelda etc etc.

Church has been great, we haven’t been able to get for the last week or two, but in general it’s been lovely. I didn’t expect to like how it was originally, but I love it. I love the mass, I love the words, I love that God is there. I even loved that littlest has been playing up a bit and I’ve had to hang around the entrance sometimes for a while, waiting for him to be ready to go in. Because we’ve been at the entrance, it’s meant I’ve said hello to people coming in, which I wouldn’t have done, had I been sat inside. God is good.

On that note, I will say goodbye for now. Goodbye and God bless you. Oh, Oh, yes! One final thing, I’ve started reading a book called ‘All About Heaven’ by John Oliver. And I haven’t finished it yet, but I really do recommend it if anyone wants to know anything about ‘present heaven’, and where we go when we die now, rather than when Jesus returns. There’s some emotive stuff, mainly because the reason it was written was when his son died. But it’s also very reassuring and has a refreshing perspective about life in general.

See you!

Cathy.

Just believe?

I want to address something here that I know is a barrier. What I want to address, hopefully briefly, is what I would call ‘powerless christianity’. How I would describe this, is becoming a christian is viewed in terms of it merely being a choice. A choice among many other religions, a choice that you take to make yourself ‘feel’ better, a ‘crutch’ as it were, a choice that takes place that means you have to keep that belief going yourself, it’s all about what ‘you’ do and who ‘you’ are. It almost leaves God out of the equation completely. And of course, in that circumstance, it’s very easy to decide, well, this isn’t working, I’ll try something else.

I’m talking here, to people who look at me and others and think ‘oh, how nice, they have a nice little belief in God, that must feel lovely’, ‘but I can’t/won’t do it’, or of course the ones who say, ‘oh yeah, you’re not stupid are you? believing in your cloud daddy? it’s just superstition’. Also, those who believe all beliefs are viable and you can just pick and choose depending on what you want to believe and what makes you feel good, and also people who have come to God and become Christians but it’s somehow all about their decisions and belief and God has somehow lost His power in that scenario. They have to keep the belief going and their salvation going, which of course you can’t without partnering with the Holy Spirit. And God has become in their minds, this God that doesn’t really care, that needs begging to come to them, who no longer performs miracles, who is there, but doesn’t really do anything.

What I will say now is, Christianity is different to any other ‘religion’ you have come across. The reason it is different is because we worship and know or perhaps are coming to know the creator of the universe, the creator of you and me, the unique miraculous, wonder working God who actually loves the people He has created with a never ending, wonderful, real, love, who changes you and gives you life. When you believe, when you put your faith in Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes to you, to live inside you to be with you. Jesus, God with us, Emmanuel. He changes you, in the best way possible, He cuts your ties with sin, He puts you in relationship with God for the first time since you were born, without barriers. All because of Jesus.

If you read the new testament, especially the gospel accounts, which are the accounts of the life of Jesus, written by four different men – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. You read about a man called Jesus, who claimed to be the only way to God, who claimed that if you come to Him, you’ll never hunger or thirst again, who performed miracles, who raised the dead, healed people, delivered them from demons and saved them. The Jesus who hated evil, who called people who loved the rules but didn’t particularly love God or the people, white washed pillars, who saved a women’s life who was caught in adultery, saying let him who is without sin cast the first stone, but then said to her, now go and sin no more. He was the only one who was without sin by the way and He could have killed her – He didn’t. He saved her. This is our Jesus. Try meeting Him.

He is our powerful, real God, who made you, he’s the reason you’re alive and here. I pray that He opens your eyes to Him and yes, His power, but that’s not actually the main reason we love Him, we love Him because He loved us first (1 John 4:19) and ‘but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us’ (Romans 5:8).

He is real. He is true and He is faithful. If you call on His name you will be saved (Romans 10:13).

I pray for Him to open your eyes and for you to put your faith in Him.

Thanks for reading.

Cathy.

Note – I am not a theologian as such, I am a believer who has come to know God and whose life has been transformed by Him, through His love. I speak like this, because I want others to know the transformative power of His love and presence. The transformative power of Jesus taking their punishment so they can be free from sin and death and know they are so loved He went to the cross for them and was then resurrected. You are resurrected into new life when you believe in Him. I want people to have the assurance of heaven and to start living through that assurance now. There is nothing bad in God.

Lighten up.

There was a voice in my head this morning, whilst we were shopping, saying ‘lighten up’, so maybe I will (maybe). We did actually have a really nice shopping outing after that. So, I thought I’d give a few updates from our recent ish life here in Ireland. A few anecdotes as such…not that they’re very light… a strange selection of tales really.

Our eldest chipped one of his front teeth a month or so ago. He and his brother were doing YouTube exercises and having a wonderful time, until they bashed heads. Then there was screaming and J holding his mouth and saying, ‘what’s this?’. It was a bit of chipped tooth and a bleeding lip. Strangely, I wasn’t actually sure what to do, I’m normally pretty clued in with injuries. I had vague memories of being told to put teeth in milk and all that. So I googled it and decided I needed to ring the dentist. It wasn’t classed as an emergency, so he got an appointment for a week’s time. They were really good with him, it has to be said, the dentist was lovely. It was J’s first time, so I wasn’t sure how he would react, but he listened and did what was asked and stayed very calm. (I was over the moon.) So while I wrestled with his little brother in the corner of the room, J got inspected, the tooth got sealed?? (it was a permanent tooth) and sorted. We have to return in December.

The thing that always gets me here is you have to pay for children’s dental care at a normal dentist. It’s very different to the UK, even if you have a medical card, which generally helps with payments, you still have to pay for your child. You have to pay for medical prescriptions too. I got told whilst there, there is a school dental service which we are still eligible for, even though we home educate, but there is a waiting list. I still don’t really get it, I don’t get what they do or how it works. I know in the UK, the dentist just encouraged us to bring our little ones with us when we had check ups so they would get used to it. But here, it’s just not like that. It seems to be very, only go if you have a problem. Correct me if you’re reading this and I’m wrong… So, we paid around 90 euro for J’s care and there will be a check up charge when we return. I’ve looked up the school service but not had much joy finding anything out about it yet, I will continue looking though. We find the health system here quite confusing it has to be said. It also shows how spoilt/well looked after we’ve been in the past in the UK I suppose! J seems fine by the way and so is I’s head. I guess if you’re private, in the UK, that might not be free either mind. We always had NHS care.

Although, talking of heads, I (littlest brother) had an epic freak out one night a few weeks ago, I was in the bathroom and he’d just left to go into the dining room, he wan’t happy. I heard a thud and a shriek and crying. He’d bashed his head (hard by the looks of it) on the corner of the dining table (I can only presume whilst throwing himself about) and gashed it. Here, I come into my element nowadays. We’ve had a fair few head lacerations since we’ve been here, so out come the saline, gauze, steristrips and dressing. This is where I feel like a nurse again…and ta da! He’s now healed and fine again. When we had a bit of an accident out walking and had a bit of a failed A&E trip, it triggered me into sorting out my first aid supplies, so we’ve usually got a fair bit in stock nowadays, as well as a small transportable kit. He’s fine now, he does seem a little prone to it though. I have to say, I hate that moment of pushing back the fringe to see the damage…

One more medical one. I got woken up in the middle of the night by one of the boys the other week, he was holding the lower centre of his abdomen and saying he had dreadful pain, he was literally hobbling. I decided not to panic and got him downstairs, so the noise didn’t wake the other one. Two would be harder, especially to get back to sleep. I then questioned him and felt his tummy (with difficulty, he didn’t want me near it). I do wonder how parents get on sometimes, I have some training so have a good idea on what is a sign of what, but most can’t know that, can they? Even I was in two minds whether he needed attention or not, but as I’ve made up my mind not to use hospitals unless we absolutely need to, and due to the fact there were no other symptoms to suggest something serious, and where the pain was did not suggest it either. I decided not to alert anyone and it turned out, in the morning, he was absolutely fine with no further symptoms. I wouldn’t have blamed anyone for getting emergency services involved though if it happened to them. It’s very disconcerting and worrying when it happens. I was praying all night after he’d gone back to bed that he’d be ok, even though I knew it was very likely he would be.

Last story, my glasses broke again last week, I’m a bit renowned for breaking my glasses. I was just stood by the front door, waiting for the dog to do his business, when bang, a lens fell out onto the floor. I found it (with difficulty lol) and on peering at my glasses, realised it was beyond my repairing (probably with sellotape) capabilities. So, I extricated my old glasses from the kitchen windowsill where I’d left them quite a while ago and whose arm actually did need fastening back on with sellotape, put them on and realised that my eyesight had become quite a lot worse since I’d used them… I had to hold anything at arm’s length to even have a chance of reading whatever it was. I was trying to text a friend the next morning and it was hilarious, glasses dropping off, phone at arms length…. So, the next day, off we all toddled, dropped Chris off at work and made our way to the opticians to see if they could do anything. Turns out they only opened at 9:30, so we had to go to a cafe, which was awesome! We love cafes. Then, we went to see them. It was quite funny, because the lady on reception looked at them and said, oh yes, they’ve been quite badly damaged haven’t they? and I said, well I think so, yes, quite some time ago. She then said, how did they get this badly damaged? and I said, ‘well… I think… I might have stood on them, I can’t really remember’. How stupid is that? I ‘think’ I might have stood on them. The things I say when I’m embarrassed. I actually remembered afterwards that I’d put them on the floor whilst I laid down on the rug and then because of how blind I’ve become, stood on them before I remembered they were there. And, of course, that damaged the frame, so at some point the lens was going to drop out…. My response makes me laugh. Anyway! I left them with her, with doubtful promises to see what they could do and when I returned, they’d mended them, not 100% they kept saying, but they’re brilliant. I’ve never appreciated my glasses so much ever. I’ve been quite resentful of the fact that I even have to wear them (I hate the fact that I can’t see to read), but (at the moment) the resentment has gone and I’m loving that they’re even a proper shape for wearing again! yes! (And the repair was free.)

And so, I’ll leave it at that for now, I think. I like everyday occurrences. I think they’re often amusing and interesting. Whether you do, I’ll leave that for you to decide.

Goodbye, goodbyeee, goodbyeee.

Cathy.

Trust.

I’ve been thinking a lot about trust over the last few years. To be more precise, about what does it mean to trust in God. As some will know, since we moved to Ireland, we have been on a journey of coming into Catholicism from a Charismatic background. It was actually a very solid background and I am extremely grateful for the teaching and the solid foundation I received there. We also, after a few doubts along the way, are now as certain as we can be that our local Catholic church is where God wants us.

As expected, there are some differences in the way Catholics and protestants view salvation. I’m also still learning about this. The main one, that Jesus is the saviour, is the same. Contrary to what people have said to me, Catholics do not think they need to come to God through Mary or any other saints. They hold the saints and Mary in extremely high regard, but they do not view them as saviours. I’m not going to write any more on that at the moment.

But also, as I’ve fumbled and trodden this path we’ve been on for the past nearly four years. The path of coming to Ireland, the initial rush of new place, new journey, new adventure, fading into how do I do this life now we’re actually living here. Also, of course, combined with the pandemic which happened a year after living here. I’ve been questioning my relationship with Jesus at times. Do I actually believe in Him for my salvation? Do I trust Him with my life? What does it mean to actually be born again?

Don’t worry, fellow believers, yes, I believe I know Jesus and that He holds me tight. But! I also think it can be healthy to ask these questions. Wrestling with them, talking to God, letting Him correct your path where it needs correcting and walking with Him through it all.

One reason I know He is real is that (as my husband said last night), quite simply, He is real. His existence is actually a known, historic fact. He was real, he lived, died and was resurrected and ascended into heaven. There were many witnesses. All for us to come into relationship with our father God and have no barriers to knowing Him.

Another way I know He’s real and that I know Him is from experience. Some may argue against this, but I know, for a fact that He has changed me and continues to change me in such radical ways. I was a sinner and he took me and loved me and changed me. He made me so I no longer needed to sin, I do, but I don’t need to and don’t actually want to. He makes us quick to repent and come to Him and be changed. That’s one of the main differences.

The bible says that when we are in Christ, that we are made into a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). I would say that we are ‘in Christ’ when we ‘confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and believe with our hearts that he was raised from the dead’ (Romans 10:9), believe in Jesus that He was given for us to believe in Him and have eternal life with Him (John 3:16), (edit – I’m adding the scripture – God so loved the world, that He gave His only son, that all who believe in Him should not perish but have eternal life). When we believe that He (Jesus) is the only way to God (John 14:6) ( ‘Jesus answered, I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me’.)

1 John 2:2 also says ‘He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but for the sins of the whole world’. Propitiation means he atoned for our sins, as in took the flack, the punishment. The Gospel Coalition in an article put it like this “averting the wrath of God by the offering of a gift.” That gift being Jesus, once and for all.

So when we come into this life of knowing Him, our sins, the stuff we have done wrong is atoned for, we are made right with God. We are forgiven. As such He has freed us from the ties of sin, He has purified us, set us free and therefore able to live lives that honour him because of what He has done. He came to set us free from sin, not confirm us in our sins. I also believe the whole argument that often happens over faith vs works is a non argument as far as I am concerned. If you have faith, you will have works.

I’ll leave James 2:14-26 here….

 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

Basically, as far as I can see it. It’s just all very logical, if you have faith, as I said above, you will have works. I just want to add as well, just because we, as humans, don’t see them in others, it doesn’t mean they aren’t there. We exist to please God, not brag about our good deeds.

Aren’t we a funny lot, we christians? We should be some of the most encouraging people on earth, but for some reason we often aren’t. We withhold praise, we ignore things, we have a thing about being hypercritical if anyone posts anything to do with God. (Which is why I get nervous about publishing something like this). When God is for us, and if we love Him completely and utterly, we can’t really go far wrong. (Don’t be fake though).

This is a terrible confession, but this is another way in which I know he is real. In the past, quite a while ago now, when things have happened I’ve thought ‘I’m going to renounce Him, He’s let this happen, therefore I’ll say He isn’t real, I’ll walk away’. I know, terrible, but probably more common than people confess. But the thing is, when it came to the crunch, I just couldn’t. Because, and this is the thing, I just ‘know’. I just know He is real and that He is there and that He loves me and sent Jesus to die for me/us and be resurrected. Because he cares for me. So one of the reasons it is so difficult to explain faith is because once you come to know Him. You just know in your knower that He is real and that all this is real.

It’s all so beautiful.

Cathy.

It’s a beautiful day (again)

It is a beautiful day outside. Of course it doesn’t have to be a beautiful day, just because it is outside. It could be a horrible day, I could decide for it to be a horrible day, by my attitude (which I have done in the past and recent past and which we all sometimes do) or just by taking on things that just aren’t mine to take on. Worries, fears, anxieties…. of course I do have them, everyone does, but God specifically says to lay all our anxeties on Him because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7) and to not ‘let’ (emphasis mine) our hearts be troubled or afraid (John 14:1-3). So, as I go on with Him, I am learning to do this.

Not to sound too arty far.. But God is the reason it’s a beautiful day really. He made the day, He made us, He’s everywhere and he is obvious everywhere. Just look at this view out of the window:

Look at the sky!!!

I know it may sound a little up myself to talk like this and I do struggle a lot with worry sometimes (like most). I have a lot of time here to think. But more and more this enables me and pushes me to go to God, to trust myself and my family to Him and actually trust Him to do his stuff in life as well as learning to listen to Him, so we/I can do our/my bit in partnership with Him. In turn this also teaches me not to be a slave to my emotions and conform to Jesus not the world. I’m not saving the world, He is, through Jesus and through the Holy Spirit working both independently and with His people. If this sounds puzzling that’s because it is in a lot of ways. It’s not, but it also is. Let’s just trust Him and stop thinking we have to do things exactly like everyone else. He works in the most amazing ways and we sometimes just need to ask for and practice a little patience and then we see Him and hear Him.

Sorry if this sounds confusing, God is just so fascinating and wonderful and His ways sometimes seem both so obvious and mysterious. Thank you God for loving us.

Amen!

Cathy.

Hello my lovelies.

Hello my lovelies! Do you know, my dad used to call me that. When I saw him, he’d say ‘hello my lovely’. At the risk of sounding repetitive, it’s a really lovely thing to say and mean to someone. I miss my dad a lot.

Life here has been ongoing as usual, home ed’ing, `starting to finish up the gardening and tidying up a bit, attempting to sort the house out, baking, cooking, Chris working and making things of use as always, he’s very good at it and of course I’ve been sorting out the ducks and chickens.

Life seems to have gone really quickly this year, summer has flown, the growing is almost over, as in planting. We’ve got a few things to over winter – purple sprouting broccoli, cabbages, leeks, spring onions, but most things are at an end. I’ve just got rid of the last tomato plants out of the tunnel. The ducks are now in there for their winter home and were making a mess of the mats I have down to stop weeds, so everything is coming up and it’s being cleared. Since the ducks have been in the tunnel we’ve actually been having some eggs! The magpies and crows can’t get at them any more, so we have them. The chickens have stopped laying for the winter and the ducks have started! it’s only a couple a day, but they are so good for baking.

Isn’t grief weird? Going back to the comment about my dad. It comes and then it backs off and then flattens you again and then retreats and then punches you in the gut again and then ebbs again. It’s very strange and it’s very hard. It makes you (or me anyway) also think about different things in relation to that grief, such as the past/history, the future, how quickly life goes, how different it is from one decade to the other, or even from one day to another, how nothing is actually predictable and also about how much we value stuff and ways of being that actually mean nothing. You know, things that meant so much 10/20 years ago, opinions, feelings, things, actually mean so little now. People really do matter, God and then people.

I’m extremely grateful for my dad. I might not have always said that. In my younger days I could be extremely arrogant and extremely self centred and self pitying and there are times where I felt extreme resentment against my family for no good reason really, just for the fact that they were fallible and human. Just like all of us. I’m glad he saw what God did with me, that I was restored and made into a decent human being, that he saw me out of debt and married and with a larger family. That he saw me happy and in a better relationship with him and the rest of my family. I’m very grateful for that, and I am absolutely certain that I need to thank God for that. He is the one who redeems, no one and nothing else does.

So, I’m not sharing to facebook this time, I’m off it (and instagram) for November. I needed a break from all the information overload and I kept going on it repeatedly and just doing the scrolling thing. I have to say, life has been a lot better without it in most ways. I actually felt like I was withdrawing for a short time too! How bizarre is that?? Now I don’t, I feel quite ecstatic!

So goodbye! for now.

Cathy.