This week…

So this week has been changeable to say the least, we’ve had a massive range of weather, it snowed, then it was sunny and then we had a weather warning for rain yesterday (which actually wasn’t too bad where we are) and then today we are awaiting storm Jorge, with an orange weather warning for wind from midday until tomorrow morning. The weather is so unpredictable, but I know it’s the same in many places.

I think it snowed on Wednesday…

Then it melted and then it snowed, melted, snowed, etc. Then it was just really wet.

This is the septic tank in case you were wondering…

wet!!! I am really looking forward to being able to sort the garden again.

But you know what, in spite of the wet and cold and snow, there are plants coming up, which I think is awesome. I haven’t got a picture of the rhubarb, but I ‘ve decided rhubarb is brilliant. It’s wet? It’s cold? It’s snowing? I know I’ll sprout and grow – yeah! But if I look carefully in the garden there’s some self seeded corncockle coming through already and the daffodils that I planted are growing and even signs of tulips coming (and they’re in a very wet part).

I think this is corncockle.
These grow wild all over the place.

I love finding these signs of life, new things, growing, despite horrible weather. From what I remember, it will all change very quickly, primroses will be growing all over the place, foxgloves also, celandine at the sides of the paths. Then it will all change again. I want to keep a sort of nature diary that records all of this, new plants coming through, different times of the year, all perfectly planned by God, growing at the right times.

Then there’s the birds! The swallows will be coming back before long. They’re something else, it’s lovely to watch them swooping and flying together. Spring is coming. Honestly. But for now, we’ll enjoy what we’ve got.

Anniversaries..

Anniversaries are funny things aren’t they? No different in some ways to any other day, but they also are. You can remember exactly what happened (or sometimes our own version of it too) and go over it and remember, it can be good or it can be bad, depending on a lot of factors really I think.

It’s a year ago today that my dad died, in the early hours of the morning. I hadn’t got home in time, I went back during the day. It’s funny, I miss my dad, even though we didn’t often talk in depth, or see each other loads, I really, really miss him. From talking to others I know that this isn’t unusual and that it is just painful. So, there it is, death, separation, is painful, so we do it the best way we know how.

The strange thing is that it was a first for me in other ways too. I had to get the plane with the two littleys on my own (they were 1 and 3) and then get to the hire car place with them and get sorted, whilst trying to get to grips in my head with the fact that dad had died.. The airport was fairly easy really, I used a sling most of the time with the littlest and it’s a short flight. It was getting the shuttle bus to the services and waiting for the hire car that was challenging. Controlling a nearly 4 year old by the side of a services/petrol station whilst trying to sort paperwork and wait in turn wasn’t funny. It kept me distracted though. Then I got a car seat that no one knew how to put in and I had to google it, The nearly four year old was climbing all over the car, and when I sat in the drivers seat I realised I didn’t even know how to start it (I’m used to old fashioned keys) that was the last straw, I really wasn’t much of a witness for Christ at that point, I’d reached the end of my tether, but we managed and went on our (not so merry) little way. It was a relief to start driving.

We were there all week and then I returned a couple of weeks later for the funeral, with just the littlest, the then 4 year old stayed with Chris (who got sick whilst we were away unfortunately). So we got the plane again, but to Stansted this time (there were no flights to the one we wanted) and had to take the train journey up to Chesterfield which I think took a few hours. My sister then picked us up. It was actually quite an adventure, despite the sadness which was constantly there. Memories are good though, today I’m remembering him, I’m crying, I’m laughing, I’m listening to music that reminds me of him. My dad. I miss you. I will be saying ‘Slainte’ tonight I think. Just the one though 🙂

Slainte!

Why are we here?

Why are we here??!!!! is going through my mind quite a bit recently. And not the existential why but, Why are we here? In Ireland? we’ve left friends and family and travelled here to live in a little cottage which is driving me insane at times because it’s so messy and not done, and we still haven’t got the bathroom or dining room or kitchen done in the slightest or painted upstairs or ….aaaaagh. Calm yourself woman. It is fine.

And?!! what am I doing for God?? That may be tackled (or may not be) in a different post.

It is very messy, tools etc all over what will be the dining room, the bathroom isn’t messy, but still have a plaster tub as a bath. Which we have to fill with a shower attachment and then empty with a container. It does the job though, it is a bath. No sides to work on in the kitchen, but you do sort of get used to it.. although if anyone comes in at the same time as me when I’m cooking, I can get a little what is known as ‘sharp’… all the non fridge/freezer food is stored in a grey plastic box in the living room, baking ingredients in a different plastic box.

It will get done, the truth is that Chris is out of the house more than 11 hours a day (correction- 10 hours) from Monday to Friday, his work is tiring and he’s had a mountain of jobs to do as well as this. The cars kept breaking and he has mended them himself, he’s had to leave the green house whilst he’s been doing the cars and then the weather has been vile since, so he hasn’t been able to do what he wanted to do on the green house. It’s been hard for him. It will get done, in time.. I try to get bits done but it doesn’t always work very well. The house is dry, warm, nice to live in on the whole…but the clutter!!! aaaagh…

It’s quite an experience. Going to God with it all is always quite helpful. 🙂 (understatement), as is getting outside.

Oh Happy Day!

Happy Valentine’s day folks, I just want to say that we don’t treat it like a huge deal really, but it’s nice when you do get something and give something (we did). I did spend many years as a single and it was particularly during this time I really did have to learn that the real love that matters, the love that made us in our mother’s wombs, the love that will restore us to how we should have been in the beginning, the love that heals, only comes through Jesus. Definitely not through verses in cards or even a husband. Mind, having said that, I’ve had to learn it in marriage too, because unfortunately neither of us is perfect and as many couples do, we probably started out hoping that each other were (bit of a shock when you realise the truth ;)) … A certain verse I absolutely love is this:

My beloved speaks and says to me: “Arise my love, my beautiful one, and come away, for behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtle-dove is heard in our land…” (Song of Solomon 2:10-12)

Beautiful. I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it many more times, to me, this is the gospel, the good news of Jesus. He makes all things new.

He really does, whether we feel it or know it or not. He is real. He is God. I had a dream one morning this week before waking up, it was weird, but I’m going to share it because I like weird, I believe it was a God dream and God does weird too, in fact He probably invented weird (don’t shoot me). It makes me smile, it makes me ponder, I/we have ideas about what it means, and some scriptures in mind, but not the whole thing yet. I’m not going to put them. I’m just going to put the dream, hopefully, just how it happened without presumptions, so here goes.

I was in the woods at the side of our house looking down towards the field and thought oh no, the neighbours stock have escaped into our field! I could see a load of cows and sheep mixed together in our field, which was odd, because they’re never kept together. I looked around and then thought I’ll leave them, I can’t do anything with them, someone will come for them. Then I noticed there were loads of cattle and sheep also in the field at the side of our wood (the one we don’t own), there’s usually at most a few cows in it. Then I looked down into the wood again and there was a lion (lioness because there wasn’t a mane) prowling around, I think it had it’s back to me. I felt scared and I knew I could fly (weirdly) so I turned around took a run and a jump and was flying, I could get/fly high if I used my legs as if I was running. Some time around this point I also realised I had a nurse’s Id badge clipped onto either my belt or pocket and that I had our littlest boy with me. It was made very clear to me that I had an ID badge on. We flew and kept flying and then ended up outside some sort of shop (??) and littlest went in, I said ‘no’ but he went in anyway (I didn’t want to) so I followed him. I straightened myself up, smoothed my hair down etc and went in, there it ended.

Both Chris and myself felt it was a God dream, so we’re pondering it and asking Him and praying. Weird, as I said, but very interesting! If anyone feels God speaking about it, feel free to message! There’s been other stuff along the way, since we’ve been here, but I’ve never felt free to share until now, so here it is!

Bye!

Heart of Worship.

That title is shamelessly stolen from the Matt Redman song. The beautiful, beautiful song that it is. I’ve been worshipping recently and have been playing songs I haven’t played for a while. One of them tonight is called You’re Worthy of my Praise, it’s on ‘The Best of Passion’ (2006). I downloaded the album in March 2014 when I was laid on our sofa downstairs at our house in Chesterfield, I hope it’s not too upsetting but I was miscarrying at the time. I was having pain in every way and worshipping because it was all I could do. I was crying out to my God and he answered but not obviously at the time. The lyrics are ‘I will worship’ (I will worship), with all of my heart (with all of my heart), I will praise you (I will praise you), with all my strength (all my strength)

It’s safe to say I was heartbroken both then and for a long time afterwards but “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). And although it didn’t feel it at the time, he was and he does. It was strange, I’ve always been a worshipper, ever since I first came to know Jesus, I was saved partly through the words of a worship song called ‘Salvation’ by Simon Brading and those words were ‘God stepped down and lifted me up’. When I miscarried and for the short time afterwards, I worshipped and I worshipped, I also bought a bottle of booze but was then unable to drink it, unable as in I tried and then didn’t want it, because that just wasn’t me any more, God had changed me. All I needed was him. He loves and holds us like no one else will ever, ever do. I worshipped and I read the bible and read about the bleeding woman who was healed when she touched Jesus’ cloak and thought that when I went back for my check scan in a week, maybe just maybe, there would be a new heartbeat. There wasn’t. I don’t know what I felt really, I was hurting so much I wasn’t really able to process anything. My baby, our baby, had gone. All the plans we’d had, all the feelings, the ‘knowing’ you were pregnant, the expectation, gone, just like that. Just gone. I was empty.

I know some will think, why write about it now? it’s done, it’s gone. I will tell you why. It’s important to know that there is hope, there is always hope, no matter what is going on, there is always hope. There is heartbreak experienced in so many different ways and God can be there with you in it. You’re also to grieve. We come to God exactly how we are and He is always there. We don’t need to be anything or do anything or act in a certain way, we just need to come to Him. He is a good father. To be honest when I remember the details of what happened, it still breaks me, but not in a way in which I can’t go on. In a way that I really hope that I can just be there for others and maybe help in some small way. All I really wanted was to be held and loved and to be able to express my grief. Church were great, they even did us some meals to take the pressure off. Thankyou whoever reads this.

After the second scan, I found it very hard to worship God, I loved Him and I wanted to but my body was heavy, my hands were heavy, to lift them felt like I was lifting lead and when I worshipped, the tears fell and fell. On reflection, that’s good. That’s how it’s supposed to be, but being human, you feel self conscious and just want God to minister to you, not always other humans. Or sometimes I just wanted to run out or off. It got easier as I went on, I can’t remember exactly what happened but I just worshipped and tried to let it all out, all the pain.

A few months later we were in a meeting and the preach was just starting, the preacher started and then just stopped and said ‘Cathy, your womb is healed, your womb is healed now!’. I was like ‘what?’ and then realised what he had said, he was also someone I trust and trusted to hear from God. After my very quick initial ‘no way’, I repented of that and received the word and believed it. That very day, I started feeling strange sensations in my abdomen, butterfly type sensations and as time went on realised I was pregnant. That pregnancy went well and our lovely J came along. God had kept his promise of healing, just not how I thought it was going to be. He is the only healer, he is the real deal, and He heals in every way, never just in the singular.

God is God, we are not 🙂

Edit- This bit is added on… I wanted to honour someone. The day I miscarried or I should say, the night after, we went to our church prayer night and I froze in the passageway to the room, just froze, I was so overcome I couldn’t move, I was panicking and one of our elders walked down and he just held me and let me sob on him. His shirt was soaking, so thank you Peter. I think it’s one of the most caring things I’ve ever known in a world (and sometimes church) that isn’t good at confronting pain. God is though.

Interesting….

Well! Yesterday was interesting, we actually had a really good day on the whole. Spent the morning here, playing, doing some informal sort of learning with the boys, playing with the blackboard and blocks and chatting. Had dinner, then went out to a play centre which is about an hour away.

Thing is, the brakes on the jeep have been making a little bit of noise and the night before, I’d pulled up on the drive and my braking foot felt like it had gone through the floor, the pressure had gone. I pumped and it came back. I then went in the house and promptly forgot what had happened. I mean completely forgot! I only remembered after we’d got in the car the next day and set off to the play centre. I then stopped, text Chris to tell him what’d happened to see if he had any advice…. then me being me, carried on regardless. On the way, there was a loud clunky noise at one point, which sort of felt like something falling off, but a lorry was going past at the same time so I just told myself that maybe something had just been on the road and been hit by the lorry and therefore wasn’t off our car. So again, I carried on, I did probably know it may have actually been off our car because I was very careful with the old braking.

We got to the play centre and there was a message from Chris saying we shouldn’t really be driving it and to take care and be light on the braking… so we had a great time, came back out and went home. I was very careful, very very careful and noticed that the brake light was coming on every time I turned the steering wheel left… hmmm.

Turns out, the brake pad fell out on the way to Sligo…so we aren’t driving it now (until it’s repaired that is). We’re ordering the parts tonight..

Yes, I ignored the brakes….Something wasn’t right but I carried on regardless, on my own little merry way. We can all definitely be that way inclined in every aspect of life I think. Something to ponder on!

Are you Listening??!!

Then the LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD. Behold, the LORD is about to pass by.” And a great and mighty wind tore into the mountains and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a still, small voice. (1 Kings 19:11-12).

I realised the other night whilst lying in bed, that my thoughts had got so loud (or I was thinking a lot of thoughts is another way of putting it) that I couldn’t hear the wind and rain outside. It was like I suddenly clicked out of the thinking and heard the rain and then realised how consuming our minds and thoughts can become (or mine anyway). So much so that I couldn’t hear something really quite loud that was happening around me. It also made me realise that I can actually switch it off and click on to still mode where I can actually relax, listen (and hear God). So it’s good really, also, our bedrooms are in the roof, so you can hear the rain on them very clearly

I’m not even sure what I actually think about a lot of the time, but I know I think a lot. I always have done. I also know that when I have an idea for a blog my brain goes into overdrive and I think and plan and write things out mentally. I actually don’t mind that, but I’m also recognising I need to rest my mind and just rest with God. It’s not just the blog but many other things, think, think, think…

It can be a benefit, but it can also be a hindrance to connection, and rest. So, one way I’m dealing with it is to pour everything that’s on my mind into a journal every day. That way I don’t automatically pour it all out via the blog or via social media. Some is relevant, but not all. Writing is cool and writing to God is even cooler.

The view where I type from is pretty awesome too.

Excuse the window…