Between 2019 and 2020 Update!

Well now…. there are positives and negatives to write about as usual. The negatives aren’t too negative so I’ll start with them.

My tooth pain I had a year ago has returned, I’ve been back to the dentist and have to have a root canal done next week. They tried a big filling approximately one year ago and it’s lasted a year but has now become really painful, so it’s antibiotics and painkillers until next week. I find it a little daunting as I’ve never had anything like that done before, but to be Derbyshire about it… it’ll be rate…

Five out of the seven quail babies died! I don’t know why, the two that are left seem very healthy, they’ve grown loads and are feathering up. The ones that died, it just happened really quickly (and it wasn’t from J putting them in his play cooker). Looking it up on the old google, it seems this can be quite common. I’ve changed a few things like from using shavings to paper, I’ve started putting apple cider vinegar in the water to prevent bacteria, I put the temperature back up for a while and mixed some chicken starter feeder in with the quail feed. So we’ll see what happens with the two that are left. At least we have two! I think we may stick with chickens in the future.

Moving onto the good…

Chris has been off last week and this week up to New Year, that’s been good. He worked on the jeep and it has now passed the NCT (Irish MOT equivalent). He’s now busy chopping down the trees next to the house (amongst doing other things…cough…model aeroplanes…), there’s a lot of trees to fell, approximately 40 ish on that small patch of land next to the house. We want them down because they are fairly old, very close to the house, completely obscure the sun from where the greenhouse is going (and the veg plot), the view beyond them is awesome and Chris would like to plant some silver birch there instead – with fewer trees, planted further apart and a little further away from the house as well.

Just starting to see the mountains through them.

I’ve done a little gardening this week for the first time in quite a while. It was great. I’ve got another addition to my Wolf-Garten collection which is this beast!(it’s so good!):

The front garden desperately needs weeding but it’s been so, so wet, I haven’t started it until now. I’m going to try to get it weeded over the next couple of weeks. Starting to get it ready for the spring. It’s been fairly warm here really, to say it’s December. Just quite windy and wet.

I gave two lifts over the past couple of days to people, this isn’t to say look at meeeeee, but it just seemed like God stuff without being directly God stuff as in giving the Gospel or anything. Because, both times, I actually wasn’t going where they wanted to go, but I felt like I should take them. It was interesting! I like meeting different people too.

Finally, God wise. I’m thinking about Christmas and the New Year at the moment. I’m mulling and trying to get quiet with the Lord and listen. When I say quiet, I don’t just mean get on my own and be quiet with Him, although that is part of it. I sort of mean learning to have a quietness/peace about me that means that no matter what is going on I’m aware of Him (this may not make sense to you and the quietness/peace would actually come from Him, but I don’t know how else to describe it). I don’t always find this easy, but love it and feel a real yearning to do it. It can only do good, so I guess I’ll see what happens.

Bye!

Cathy.

It’s Christmas!

and I’m not sure what to write about. There’s a lot in my head again and I’m figuring as I write….

Christmas. Christmas is great. Since I came to know Jesus it’s loads better than before. I can remember feeling utterly hopeless, the year before I came to know Him, I didn’t want to go home from work on Christmas Eve and was in tears. One person noticed and helped me by just noticing and being nice basically (he was a Christian I worked with). Since then, there’s been a joy and meaning about it that although I (usually) liked it, changed Christmas utterly.

I’m actually not going to go into the birth of Jesus, or quote scriptures. Just know, He came for all of us, not just some.

What I am going to say is, this still didn’t stop me from grieving this Christmas. I’m still real, I still have feelings and thoughts and parts of this Christmas have been hard. Mixed in with the good.

If you haven’t read this before, we moved to Ireland in December 2018 and then my dad died in February 2019. My family all live in England, so we aren’t close by to them any more.

So, a week or so before Christmas I was feeling ok, I’d been through another intense grieving patch a few weeks before and was thinking that maybe that was it and I was ok. Then the Saturday before Christmas this year, it hit me again. When I say hit, I mean HIT. It is like being hit in the gut and heart with fresh realisation. I see his face and hear his voice and just physically feel the separation. This is the best way I can describe it. It carried on into Christmas morning on and off and then got better again. Although I have found grief does that, it comes and goes and is deceptive. Getting through Christmas minute by minute with Jesus was good though. He is always here, giving meaning and comfort and reassurance. The one who never leaves.

So to all those who find Christmas difficult, I know all our experiences are different, but just keep going, minute by minute if necessary. Try talking to God, He really does make it better. He’s also a long term God. You may not see the way through right now, but there is one.

God bless you.

Cathy.

Since when?

We’ll see how this goes… I’ve been thinking, literally just now, so I’m just going to write. I’ve been listening to the song History Makers by Delirious and combined with a prayer request I saw the other day from Bethel and various other people to pray to bring a little girl who had died back to life, something is stirring in me.

Since when did I/We become this nation of believers who are willing to settle? To settle for Christ being reduced to what we make Him, to settle for doing good works only, to be happy with going along on our own little lives, putting God in a box and bringing him out to do what we ask Him to do and that alone? Rather than what He is asking us to do or doing Himself?

I/we need to remember, He is the miracle maker, He raises us from the dead and He can do it spiritually AND physically. He restored sight to the blind, healed the lepers, healed everyone who came to Him, cast out demons, fed and watered people miraculously, and so much more (and still does). He spoke truth and real truth, not our version. He told the Pharisees they were white washed pillars and we need to be aware ourselves of when we are getting like that. Not just of other people’s deficiencies……(ahem, note to self).

He is a miraculous God. He raises people from the dead. Do we believe that? Do we actually believe it? Ponder on that. Because I am. Also try believing in it, in Him, in what HE can do. Not us, in our weary, resigned, isn’t life crap, aren’t we rubbish sinners sort of way. That is not what we are meant for.

I think what challenged me most this week, was that little girl, who had been declared dead by the doctors and her mum asking for prayer for her to live again. Thing is, it doesn’t challenge me faithwise (I don’t think) because I know He can do that and I have no problem asking for that. The thing that got me was I knew a lot of people (even believers) would think it was mental. I hesitated to share, and then shared anyway. If the parents have faith to ask, I have faith to pray. The outcome is God’s and God’s alone.

Ephesians 2:10 states this:

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

I for one believe this is so much more than what I/we make it. I don’t want to settle for less than we should have.

Your Kingdom come

Your Will be done

On Earth as it is in Heaven.

Life in the Spirit should be so much more than what we can see or touch or think of, I want to see God working miraculously in everday circumstances, everyday lives and believe that he can! We are made to reflect Him, please help us Lord!

Amen.

A year in Ireland!

So, the one year post, I didn’t have time to do it at the weekend. It’s been a fairly busy one. Chris has a horrendous amount of jobs to do at the moment and has been working on the jeep this weekend, so it passes it’s NCT. We went to our church’s Christmas dinner on Saturday evening, it was great! and (as a bonus) we got an almost unknown thing in our lives… a photo of us together!

Anyway, so what format should this years worth of living in Ireland blog take? A phrase that keeps coming to my mind over the past few days is that ‘no one who starts to plough and then keeps looking back is of use for the Kingdom of God.’ (Luke 9:62). So, I don’t feel it should be an emotional, oh we had it so good type thing. We did and it can be good to look back and see how things have changed and to remember certain times in our lives, but the point here is, I’ve been hesitant really, to throw myself all in, to living and being here, in a lot of ways. So as I said when I last got back from the UK, it is time for living in Ireland now. (Unless we get told by God to go somewhere else of course). I’m sure all of you who read this probably know this more than myself in a lot of ways. Of course you throw yourself in! You’ve moved there! Yes, but it’s taken a while for my brain to realise this is now our home and where we live, rather than a temporary vacation. There are definitely times when we all (including J) think, that’s it now, we’ve had enough, can we go home now please? It’s comical really, how we are and think when we feel insecure and alone and stressed.

The truth is, that it doesn’t matter where we are, we have God and so can go anywhere and it can be home. In practice, it just takes some getting used to and realisation of this dawns and then regresses and then dawns again. God does know this though and I’m pretty sure He has it in hand :D.

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1-2).

To look elsewhere is folly.

Anyway! practically speaking, when we arrived on the Friday evening a year ago, not knowing what we would find, in a lot of ways (we were hoping the electric was definitely connected and it turned out to be so). I’d picked up a chicken at the supermarket where I’d collected the house keys from (yes, a supermarket), so we ate and then set up the air mattresses and travel cot in the living room, Chris lit the burner, which was a pot belly stove that belched out smoke, and then I think we just went to sleep. It wasn’t freezing from what I remember, but I do remember that when you breathed out inside the house, you saw your breath. The next day we set to, cleaning and moving the air mattresses upstairs to one of the bedrooms. That’s where we slept every night, in one room together for quite a while, on the air mattresses, wearing jumpers and hats and with extra blankets. It was quite an experience really. I can’t remember the exact dates but I think the removals company took between 6 weeks to 2 months to appear with the stuff. But weirdly, it’s lovely to have some of it, like a settee and a table, and beds and some toys, and of course tools, but we do really still have too much stuff!

So over the past year, the area all around the cottage was cleared and we now have front gardens and we’ve started erecting a greenhouse on the back. We had new windows and a front door put in (wind gusted through the old windows and door). We’ve had an oil fired range put in and that heats the radiators too. (We are cooker rich, we also have an electric one.) We replaced the smoke billowing pot bellied stove in the living room with a new multi fuel stove. We removed all the flooring in the dining room and bathroom and dried the floor out and then Chris has tiled it all. In fact, we dried out the whole place really, it was quite damp in parts, in fact the first couple of weeks at least, the bed clothes were damp and you’d wake up in the night and feel your hair or bed clothes and they would be damp. Part of the kitchen floor was actually wet too. It all seems fairly dry now, just with a couple of parts that still need to dry. We got a dehumidifier too, that has been great. We had it treated for woodworm and had all the downstairs ceilings plastered. Chris has performed wonders with the field – it was waist deep in rushes when we arrived and we have a tractor, he also got a full time job. Quite a lot has happened really, fairly quickly. So that is good!

I’ve been thinking a lot about the line I put to explain this blog, where it says we are moving the Ireland in search of a different way of life. The way this was meant originally, is not how it’s turned out and I’m not quite sure it was the right thing to put! Basically, Chris is busier than ever, as am I and the different way of life (I think) is currently more personal and spiritual than physical and practical. Which is also good and which it should be too!

Anyway, enough of this, I’m rambling…

I could go on forever, but I’ll stop there for now.

I’ll end with…..

Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased! (Luke 2:14)

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.