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…

In a day…

Tomorrow (the 7th December), we will have been here a year. So today last year was a goodbye day really. The house was nearly completely clear of stuff, we had a camping table and chairs in the living room and air mattresses in our bedroom. We were getting up very early on the Friday morning to set off.

It was a day of lasts in a way, the last day in my house, my nice little terrace, the last time I saw my dad in person. That makes me sad. But I am very glad we saw them.

We also had a curry night at home with a friend of ours that night. It was great. It was also weird because we knew we were moving to Ireland the next day and things weren’t going to be the same after that. We’d been doing a special food night almost once a week for a while, just eating together, having a laugh, talking about God and life. It was lovely. I think we had themes but my memory is hazy on what they were… I’m pretty sure we had a crisp night and an icecream night of some sort too…… 😀 and spent one night trying to find the best ring and text tunes ever.. They both have Knight Rider I think… I have the Bare Necessities…

So, one year ago we were preparing to leave, fairly excitedly, but also with trepidation because we didn’t really know what to expect, of the house, or Ireland, or the journey really. What I have found is it does take time to settle in, to feel like you’ve done the right thing, to start to make friends. To get used to living differently too. If you are moving, just give yourself grace, relax, take it easy on yourself and others, because it is normal for settling in to take quite a while.

So, hello family, friends and especially Mr G, we miss you and it would sometimes be lovely to transport you Star Trek style to ours. Although we don’t live as far away as it could have been, it’s still a bit of a trek. I’m just very glad that I’ve been able to come back a few times this year to see you. We’re also very glad that a couple of people managed to get over to see us. That was lovely for Chris too. It was so good to see you. We even had nice weather for you! God is good. All the time, whatever the weather..

Well, what a day..

Yesterday was an interesting one too… We dropped Chris off at work (because we’re on one car at the mo), took some washing to Carrick, waited for that to be done, I drove to pre-school, J was really upset and didn’t want to go in. I mean ‘really’ upset. He’s also been a little unwell, so he didn’t end up going.. Save me from the ‘force him to go’ brigade..I know my child, you don’t… It’s not discipline to force a child into pre-school kicking, screaming and crying as far as I’m concerned. Then we came home, I was trying to practice my flute, the kids went upstairs to play, littlest started throwing things so I went upstairs to stop him and see what they were up to.

When I got upstairs I walked into the bedroom with a growing sense of ‘OH NOOO’, there was bird seed all over the floor (and sawdust), I asked what it was doing there and then heard chirping. I asked where the quail were and was pointed to the toy kitchen where 6 of them had been placed in the toy microwave, on top of a ton of bird seed… It might have been funny, but they’re still meant to be under heat and one looked like it had been seriously hurt… I was so, so upset. Ended up carrying the ill one around in my hand to warm it up and give it a bit of security and then placing it back under the heat with the others, later on. It looked really ill, it was all stretched out with one leg outstretched, I thought it might have broken it’s neck. Weirdly, however, it’s now fine. So strange… I don’t know whether it was just scared or very cold or whether it was injured and recovered, no idea, but it’s fine! J now hopefully knows the importance of not getting them out… he got into bed and pulled the covers over himself because I was so angry and upset about what happened. I was upset at myself too, I’d been so intent on getting the practice in, that, that was all that mattered, not what they were doing.

Such is life with kids… expect the unexpected… or such is life really. I also prayed for the quail. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really expect it to live or a prayer for a quail to be answered…. I was contemplating actually putting it out of it’s misery. But whatever the problem was and whether it was just the heat or God, it lived! 🙂

Things didn’t go as planned for the rest of the day either, I was meant to be going to a worship evening and didn’t. It just all got very stressy with tired kids (and parents). I’m learning, slowly, that things don’t have to go the way we have planned. I’ve got a feeling I’ll be learning this for the rest of my life. God is still God, the world still turns, we are still loved. No matter what.

Here we are again:

It’s been a typical washing morning from what I remember them to have been like months ago. Littlest threw up twice on the way there. The ones at Leitrim were out of order, Tesco’s at Carrick was like ‘hallelujah!’ but having loaded 18kg worth of clothes (sort of) into it, realised that particular one was also out of order. Finally, after swearing a bit (quite a bit…) unloading the massive load of washing and reloading into the 8kg machine, we have some clothes being washed! Yes!

I’m just hoping it doesn’t break down…

Littlest is having fun with the wipers anyway 😁

So this week…

This week has been interesting… Chris had the week off and intended to get the greenhouse up, but it proved not to be as easy as we thought it would be.. He’s been working on it all week and he’s done a great job and it’s looking great but it’s been difficult.

So this week:

The jeep failed its test, so we’re down to one car at the moment.. and the jeep needs work doing. We’ve ordered the parts and Chris will have to do the work one weekend (he has quite a lot on at the moment)… If your car fails the test here, you have a month to get it retested, but it still costs 28 euro. If you take longer than a month, its the full cost and full test which I think is 55 euro. There’s NCT places that you have to go to, there’s no going to a local garage to get it tested, it has to be the official one.

The greenhouse/polytunnel (it’s a bit stronger than a normal polytunnel) proved a little complex to put up, Chris is getting there, but there was a lot more work than we first thought. He had to make his own parts for it and do some bracing etc etc..

Chris got something in his eye again and we had to go to the hospital again this morning for him to get it removed.. It’s been removed and we don’t have to go back this time, but his eye is painful.

The dog disappeared this afternoon for a bit..he took himself off for a walk and reappeared later looking all sorry for himself… See picture below.

The washing machine has broken, I keep retrying it, but it isn’t working..so it’s off to the machines at the supermarket again this week. The ones I loved when we first got here. Until I realised they break fairly frequently haha. At least we have a drier set up now, that’s good. So we don’t have to hang around waiting for clothes to dry too.

On the plus side, the greenhouse is going to be great once it’s set up. We’ve watched quite a few Christmas films by now and are on full Christmas film mode..no tree yet though, that comes in a couple of weeks. The muppets Christmas Carol is a particular favourite at the moment. I’ve started playing my flute again and am playing with the worship band at church, playing it regularly again is really good. The weather has been cold but not rainy for the last few days. I love the frosty clear days, I’d much rather have them over the rain. The kids have been playing out more again too, because it’s been drier, which is great. I also managed to do some strimming because Chris was off and could start it, for some reason, I have problems starting the strimmer but am ok once it’s going, in fact I love using it. Chris got a photo of me for once! I’m always taking photo’s but Chris isn’t as trigger happy.

The quail are also doing quite well so far, still tiny but we still have seven and they seem healthy.

All this stuff is fine and dandy but I’m choosing to focus on Jesus much more again over the next weeks leading up to Christmas. I’m doing the reading the gospel of Luke thing, there’s 24 chapters so you can read the whole lot and finish on Christmas Eve if you read one chapter a day. I need his peace and his love and his joy and to take my days with Him, minute by minute every day. He really does change everything for the better, always, no matter what.

At this moment..

I am currently sat in a car park in Carrick on Shannon, waiting to take the jeep for it’s test. I had to come in earlier to get the head lights focused so at least it should pass that part of the test. I’ve been hanging around for quite a while. Not much longer to go now. So I thought I’d write.

We’ve had some quail hatch in our little incubator this week. Seven so far, all of those are now two days old and looking very healthy. They’re in the brooder (basically a very large hamster cage with a heat source put inside). they’re so tiny, the bars need to be very close together. This was one hatching:

If you listen closely, you can hear Chris’s music 🎶

And this is them:

Well, a couple of them. They’re gorgeous and really friendly. If you put your hand in the cage, they jump onto you. We haven’t made our minds up at the moment as to whether we are actually going to use them for meat as well as eggs.. the thought of killing them for food sort of freaks me out at the moment. But we’ll see..

Also, I realised this week that the darkness around where we live doesn’t really bother me any more, In fact I like it now. It felt so, so, dark when we first moved here – no street lights, not many lights in general around. Switch the lift off at night and it felt close and scary. Now I find it very peaceful and relaxing. Good how things change sometimes. Also, when it’s a clear night, the stars are gorgeous. I said to a friend this week that you step outside at night and it surprises you, you look up and promptly forget everything else. “He restores my soul..” (Ps 23:3)

And…

“He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭147:4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Amen!

well, that’s used some time. Bye!

Lost but not lost.

I feel a bit lost at the moment. I don’t really know how to describe it. I’m ok, but then also not. I have moments where I’m excited and happy and even on a level, but then moments where I cry and mourn. For so many reasons, it’s been hard coming here. I was excited and it is good but then things happened, we were suddenly on our own, dad died and then I was hit by grief, homesickness and regrets about not being there and not getting back in time and other things. Adjusting to a new place and meeting your own doubts and feelings of inadequacy can be hard too. Getting past it is also hard, but doable. We all seem to have this image of going somewhere and it’ll be ‘great’ and what we always wanted and of doing great things, but in practice it’s actually harder work than that. There is nothing wrong with hard work, but like it says..it can be hard..

There’s so much to do here, Chris is out at work a lot, I find myself not doing much in the house sometimes because I don’t know ‘what’ to do. It’s difficult to clean because of the amount of stuff stacked and I also don’t actually have much inclination, because I also have to make sure the children are safe in the house whilst I’m doing it, keeping track of a 2 year old whilst you’re hoovering upstairs is actually not that easy. And combined with a 4 year old, I often start doing things and then don’t complete them or end up leaving things around because I’ve dived off to deal with something else.. Most parents will probably identify. I am actually ok with this, I love being with the kids, but it’s adjusting to what is actually possible which is sometimes frustrating and an ongoing process.

Also, there’s practical things like – how long will the oil last for the heating? can we afford to have it filled? (we actually can at the moment). Am I giving the children enough attention? What are we to do about the trees? When are we supposed to do this or that? What if this? What if that? haha. How am I supposed to structure our days? Are they warm enough at night? Are they watching too much TV? Am I actually giving proper attention? When am I supposed to have time with God? Have we got milk? (the nearest corner shop is a couple of miles away). where is everything???(we put things down and they go missing at the moment, I think because there’s stuff everywhere). This is also all part of our learning I think, to trust God fully.

AND! why is there so much stuff. going on in the world and why are people so obsessed with it. On my opening page on the laptop browser, there’s so many headlines and so many of them are about people’s appearances, work they’ve had done, opinions on just nothing really, speculation designed to rile people up. Trouble is, it works… it’s such a distraction from what is important. What matters? I think this is such an important question.

I’m just glad we have God in the midst of this confusing, worrying world. Our rock who we look to in times of trouble, or anytime really. He sometimes doesn’t feel real or like he is there. But He is. He really, really is. And He makes everything calm down again, he deals with the cracks and life starts to make sense again. Our dwelling place is with Him, not with all this stuff. Not in arguments or disagreements, not in point scoring and trying to say things are right when they’re not. He is the meaning and why we are all here.

I look at my kids and I see Him, I speak to people whilst out and God works, albeit in small ways a lot of the time, but very significant ways. I spend more time with Him really, than I ever have, I just often don’t see it. I’m quieter than I ever have been in a lot of ways. We spend quite a bit of time driving and He is there and we talk to Him. In the quiet of the night (and it is very quiet here at night), He is here, in the everyday doings, in my secret crying and laughter, He is here. He gives us joy in the midst of everything, and this joy is deeper and so much more than just being ‘happy’.

One other thing, these are normal, natural reactions to huge changes and just need to be worked through and actually acknowledged.

I see a lot of posts which seem to be saying how we should be, whether Christian or none Christian. What I will say is, God meets us where we are. We just have to be willing to meet Him or at least open to the possibility. He understands us and He knows us and works in us. I have a very simple prayer now, that my day is His. I try and take every moment as just being His. This takes the pressure off and keeps it simple.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:26-28.

This is a get it out of me post and my own opinion…:D whether you like it or don’t like it, may God bless you completely and utterly and bring you into or further into His Kingdom.

Bye for now!

Cathy.

Wednesday 13th November 2019

I love writing the date like that. It reminds me of first learning to write the date and when I was taught how to write letters properly. As in letters to people, with your own address at the top right etc. I’ve got a feeling it was probably my mum that taught me that. Useful stuff.

Anyway, hi 👋

I’ve been a bit quiet recently, it’s just not felt quite right to write for a couple of weeks. I had no inclination unusually, but that is fine.

There’s been quite a lot on my mind, what’s new? I hear you say, and yes, you’d have a point. Anyway, hurrying along..

One of the main things I like about being here (and anywhere really) is the travelling around. I love driving and seeing new places and just the actual journey. I find it quite relaxing and exciting. Plus, just about all the journeys here look like this:

plus, the cottage can get a little claustrophobic at the moment at times, as we’re still just mainly in one room for living during the day. So I try and get out quite a bit. It is temporary and we make the best of it we can.. but tempers can be a little frayed occasionally…we went to the toy shop in Sligo yesterday, it was great. The journey takes you by Lough Gill and it’s really beautiful with woods and hills all around.

Chris has finished tiling the floor of what we’re calling the dining room:

so we now need to clean up, get the walls ready and paint.

‘This is the living room:

And this:

still, there are whole families who live in one room places or even in tents, so Thankyou Lord, for a home.

Not much else to write at the moment, apart from I’m still considering homeschooling.. that may be a separate post at a later date… and God is good.. He is always there throughout everything. Culture shock included… (that is something I was made aware of this weekend and is very interesting). Homework- Look it up.

Ta ra!

Cathy