Our story so far….June 2019… blog intro update…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…

When someone dies…

Another one I’m not sharing on face book etc. I don’t think…

I’m currently sat here watching ‘the great British bake off’ with my youngest. Eating salted peanuts and feeling a little sorry for myself. It’s quite nice really. I’ve got a cold, so I’m allowing this today…

Anyway, doesn’t life get thrown on its head when someone dies? I don’t know if it’s the same for most people, but I’ve found, particularly when my dad first died, it throws up all sorts of thoughts. Some of the main ones for myself were regarding life and stages of life. How bizarre and short it actually is and that we are going to actually spend most of time in eternity, not here. So why are we here? I’m not going to answer that one other than there is purpose, of that I’m sure. We are made by God and for God, of that I am also sure and He is a good God. It’s a funny old life. But there are joys everywhere as well as sorrows.

I started looking at my kids and thinking about how my dad had once been their age (and wondering what he was like) and then at ourselves and thinking, he was our age too… then looking at the children again and thinking, they’ll probably be old one day, they’ll die too, and it’ll pass so quickly, even if it doesn’t seem so at the time. Also, how we all have to die and go through that process.

What is life about? I can tell you now, it isn’t about eating and drinking and what you can get out of it in a selfish, all about us sense. That stuff, even me sat on the sofa eating peanuts, doesn’t make us happy. It’s allowed and it can be nice and food can most definitely be a joy and a blessing…but It’s not what we’ve been made for…we are made for God and by God. And until we come to Him we will always try and stuff our lives full of things and ‘causes’ in search of our meaning.

Life is short and unpredictable. Live your best life, seek God, seek His will and His way. Seek out the good that He has for you, the talents He has given you, seek beauty. You were made you for a purpose. Be the you He made you to be. Don’t be anything else, don’t waste your time trying to be someone you are not. You were born to be you. Simple is good, remember that. The only way you can know you is through your creator.

He loves you.

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Personal

This is quite a personal reflection/prayer and I’m not sharing it anywhere apart from here. It’s just something I wrote this morning to God. I often write to God. I find it works well for me.

I miss my dad, Lord.

I see his face, his presence, hear his voice, and I want him to still be here.

Its not right that he isn’t here (in my finite mind).

Please can I see him again in heaven? Please.

I miss him so much.

I wish I had a letter from him.

I wish I’d known him better.

I wish I’d loved him better.

I can’t believe he’s dead in some ways.

I suppose that is because eternity is written into the human heart.

Thank you.

Amen.

These are a few of my favourite things!

A friend said quite a while ago now (in May I think) ‘have you listed your 10 favourite things?, it’s a really good thing to do’. I thought about doing it and wrote a couple of bits, but then left it. They mentioned it again when I was last in England, and I thought today, I’ll do it. He clarified it as things you are grateful to Him (God) for – ‘just recall your childlike happy moments. That explanation really helped.

I’ll give a couple of mine, not all of them. Then I’ll tell you what surprised me about it.

1) lying in the sun on the beach/outside with my eyes shut. Listening to the sounds around.

2) wandering around on a nice day, just being, watching, listening.

3) the bedroom at night, when it is dark and quiet.

Simple things, that I’m grateful for and love. There’s many more. Although beef crisps are on there too…. Some are slightly more energetic and there are more than 10. It’s weird but I feel like it’s starting to change my thinking..

What surprised me was it made me really think about what I actually do like/love/enjoy and it wasn’t any of the stuff like Facebook, using my phone, tv. Running around doing activities… Some of which I do, a lot. It probably shouldn’t surprise me but it has caused me to think quite deeply over how we spend our time. When I say we, I’m mainly speaking about myself and the children.

It was a really good exercise to do. Questions I suddenly had for myself were, are my kids being given the opportunities to simply ‘be’, to play, to enjoy the simple things in life. Things that we maybe took for granted growing up, but aren’t always there now. Things like time… with people, with me, and to be by themselves, to explore and experiment, to simply be our/their selves. I also think that sort of lifestyle can open you up to God, hearing Him and becoming aware of Him. I was listing things that I enjoy, simple, lovely things and was aware that I don’t do them very often! So my kids probably aren’t either.

It may look like an idyllic life for the kids here sometimes but you really don’t see the full picture and the TV has been on a lot since we’ve been here. It’s been stressful and there have been periods when it hasn’t been good. (Interwoven with good of course). There are choices to make and we can make good ones or bad ones. How we spend our time is probably a good topic to think about.

It may surprise some, but I’ve been thinking about quiet a lot since we came here. Almost craving quiet times and silence. I love silence, even though it isn’t actually silence, it’s so full, so God filled. So beautiful.

The start of the poem Desiderata kept coming back to me the other week “go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence”. I think it is possible to have a life that is not completely rampant with ‘stuff to do’ and schedules and worry, governed by business (and other people’s business), I really do. I don’t mean people shouldn’t work, or prioritise, or do lists (I really like lists), we should, I just think we could look at our lives differently and maybe look at what is good for us, ask ourselves tough questions on what actually does fuel us and what is good for us and take it from there. How has God made us to be? Make some space to hear what is really important. Just be us. Learn to be in the moment.

God also gives us peace in the midst of anything and everything if we come to Him.

In Philippians 4:4-7 it says this:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

So it seems like it’s a sort of exchange really, tell God everything, ask for what you need, thankfully, in fact when I looked up supplication it said it meant ‘the act of asking or begging for something humbly or earnestly’, and He will give you peace you do not understand. Is that not one of the best exchanges ever?

Bye! Do your favourite 10 things list if you’re so inclined..if not, well, there’s other ways for God to talk to you.

Peace in the storm..

Topical! Hurricane Lorenzo is currently doing the rounds in Ireland. I don’t think we’ve got the worst of it, the West Coast will probably get that, but it is very windy and I watched the rain descend from the hills this morning. I love that part about living here.

Since living here, there have been all sorts of feelings and real practical things we/I have had to deal with that we have found difficult (I can only speak for myself really, (Cathy) but I do know Chris has had different challenges). I’ve mentioned many of them as I’ve gone along on my blogging journey but not all, as some are private. The main ones that I have seen have been that moving somewhere completely different often firstly brings out the worst parts of you in to broad open view….because things that make you stressed/worried/frightened are there and cannot be avoided. If these are then brought to God and submitted to Him, I’ve found that they then change into better areas and God changes you, sometimes slowly, but He does and the situation under His guidance suddenly doesn’t seem as bad.

It’s really easy to lose perspective too, lose the reason why we are here, to get super submerged in ourselves. But you know what I find, we love God and really want to be submitted to Him and when you love God and want Him to be in control, He tends to work through these things, ungodly though they may be to start with.

I’m being a bit vague, but it doesn’t really matter. I’ve had some really basic things that scared me, such as venturing onto the pre-school premises and getting a place for J, but I did it and it was fine. I got quite scared and wanted to hide for a while when we first came, but it’s starting to change. There are other things that worry me now, other, bigger, things.. but I am learning more and more to submit them to God and to trust Him, because there is no other way basically. I know He is good, I know He is there, I know Jesus died for me and rose from the dead to give me new life and a relationship with God. I know I have God’s spirit, the Holy Spirit to guide me and help me at all times and I know I so often fail, but his mercies are new every single day and Jesus died for every single sin we commit, past present and future. You can have this too by the way, it’s not an exclusive club…

I LOVE this quote a good friend sent me quite a while ago now:

Do not concern yourself with what might happen tomorrow. The same everlasting Father who cares for you today, will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace then, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations. (St Francis de Sales).

So true, I have personally found this quote combined with scripture and chats with friends extremely helpful. My life is not my own, I am seated with Christ in Heavenly realms, I was bought at a price and that price was Jesus. Jesus is our peace, nothing and nobody else will suffice.

Another beautiful day

Two things I want to add about yesterday’s blog. I was going to write more on them but I’ve decided not to…

1) Pressure can also be a catalyst to change…therefore, not always bad…

2) Criticism is not the same as truth, you can tell the truth and it is not criticism.. Truth is truth by the way, it is not one truth for you and another for me.. all truth comes from God.

Thankyou, my plan yesterday was to continue today and then go onto a trust post and a couple of others but it’s changed for now.

I think I’ll just share a few photographs from today. We had a look at a little place called Cormongan Pier. It’s literally a few parking spaces, a tiny bit of sand, a ramp and a little pier. From what I can gather, people do wild swimming here too. I can see why, it’s absolutely stunning. We’re meant to be getting a storm tomorrow – ‘Lorenzo’ – so I did wonder if today was the lull. Lough Allen was so still and quiet and beautiful.


Pressure…

Pressure, whether real or imagined is a horrible feeling. And the same feeling I would think, wherever it comes from, and who is to say what is real and what is imagined in this realm of feelings…who, apart from God really I think…

I find there are so many pressures in this world that make me feel uptight and get a ball of squirmy horribleness in the pit of my stomach. (and don’t tell me I’m the only one, because I know I’m not.) I was about to write that there are real and valid pressures such as child rearing and general responsibilities, but I thought again and thought, no! they aren’t actually meant to be pressures, but actually joys. Maybe it’s the perspective that is so often off.

My own pressures that are definitely not of God are (as far as I’m aware, I’m sure there’s more): the pressure of what people think, living up to what I ‘think’ they expect of me, the feeling that I definitely fail on everything all the time (especially parenting) and fitting everything in, whatever ‘everything’ is. I even find in Christianity (and secular) circles that scrolling through say Facebook or Twitter, you get bombarded by what is expected from you and thousands of ‘opinions’. I’ll be honest, I find it very stressful.

The simple fact is, I actually don’t have to get stressed or worried….God’s word (the bible) is explicit in this, but people (including me) so often simply do not help in these matters. We either validate and say ‘oh I know isn’t it dreadful’, or we criticise, especially in the realm of parenting…(in the realm of anything really) and mainly just to make ourselves feel better…or we ignore any feelings instead of acknowledging them and bringing the person or ourselves back into God’s word and will. Please stop. We are not here to criticise and put down, we are here to help. To submit to Christ..

I need to get back into God’s word…who is with me?

This is psalm 119 verse 105. It’s a long and beautiful psalm. I love how honest the psalms are.

See you soon, or at least write soon.

Cathy

We are Back…

So we are home now (that’s me and our boys), Chris stayed in Ireland whilst we were away.

I love travelling and I like the journey. When we take the ferry from or to Dublin, the whole thing takes about 12 hours, including the ferry crossing.

Coming off the ferry into Dublin.

However, I have my sat nav set up to avoid toll roads so (I think) that’s why I always end up travelling through Dublin centre. It’s interesting (I quite like it in some ways). But it is so busy, you’re sat in traffic for quite a long time. The interesting thing this time were the cyclists and people on electric scooters. It was terrifying… they zip in and out of traffic and through really narrow gaps. Fair play to them, they look very skilled and it is definitely quicker than using a car.. but it’s quite awe inspiringly scary too…I suppose it must be similar in London.

We got back around tenish last night. It was so dark, the little lanes were actually easier than the main roads to drive on. I couldn’t see the markings on the main roads very well and people tend to drive right up behind you. It started belting it down with rain whilst we were on the main roads and it was dicey. There was a lot of prayer and singing going on…and we got back safely.

It’s doubtful now that we will be travelling to England again for quite a while. Although we obviously don’t know for certain. It was a lovely time with lots of special memories that are imprinted in my memory. But now it’s Ireland time. We will keep in touch though..don’t worry about that. There will also be praying going on for those who need it. It’s time to immerse in God, follow Him and see where He leads.