As a follow up to yesterday’s intriguing blog, I did indeed cut up a load of wood yesterday morning whilst the kids played outside. It was a gorgeous day and I’m very glad I planned to do it because it’s really windy and wet today. Apparently it’s due to Storm Aiden today. I think I’ve done enough wood for at least a few days. My back’s twinging but I think it’s because of doing work I’m not particularly used to yet rather than an injury. It’s probably good for me.
I didn’t manage to paint the whole kitchen ceiling but I did manage to outline it and then did the rest this afternoon, so one coat is done! Saying I’m going to do it did give a bit of a push as well. So just need to do a coat or two of normal paint and then onto the walls. It feels good to be doing it, it’ll be even better when it’s done! The roller gave me a lovely coat of spatter which I quite liked.
And! big drum roll….!! The septic tank has been emptied and apparently it’s in good condition. It’s the first time Chris has been able to get a proper look at it and it’s ok. This, apparently is another of Chris’s skills, how sewage works… A neighbour organised the emptying and for that we are very grateful.
Chris thoughtfully got some photo’s so here they are 😀
It’s so good that it’s been emptied. Apparently we might be able to leave it another two years, at least one but hopefully two. So that’s another thing off the current list, although Chris still has some work to do clearing the outlet. It may also seem a slightly strange thing to be talking about, but we’ve never had to deal with a septic tank before and the emptying/maintenance of it, so it’s interesting to us! Specially when it involves our toilet not getting backed up! We also didn’t have a clue who to get in to do it, so again, big thanks to the neighbour.
Today, I have two main jobs I want to do, which are:
1) chop as much wood up as possible and 2) paint the kitchen ceiling.
Wood chopping – we have a load of rings up at the stone shed which is set back at the side of the field. The wood is from trees that Chris has cut down since we’ve been here. If you’ve ever looked at my husband’s videos on YouTube you can see the shed on there I think.
As today is forecast to be dry, I’ve figured I’d better get on with it. We keep a close eye on the weather now for these very reasons! We keep needing more wood daily, as we’re trying to just use the fire for heating at the moment (saving the oil) and it’s also often pouring down. So obviously when the weather’s good I need to get on with it. Where we chop the wood turns into a squishy mess too so you’re sliding about whilst you’re cutting it up. I might look for a piece of stone to put down. Chris has put one down at the entrance to the chickens because that was getting very gloopy and it’s great.
Kitchen – I’ve finally started preparing and painting the kitchen. I spent a lot of yesterday filling and did a little painting. So today (hopefully) I need to water down some white paint, cover the floor and paint the ceiling. I’ve been avoiding it as I really don’t like painting ceilings, but it needs doing. It’ll also splatter easily as I’m painting thin paint onto plaster, so I’m just going to try to get it done.
So instead of sitting here writing I’d better get on with it! I also have a three year old climbing on me and the laptop (which is quite nice :)) See ya!
So, last night and today has been interesting. Chris had a bath last night, all was well, he was tired and relaxing, then I heard a shout. Cathy bring a bucket! (He said mop as well but I didn’t hear that). I went in and there was water all over the floor. It turns out it wasn’t just water, the toilet had blocked and was leaking all over the floor.
Chris sorted it and mopped it up and detached the toilet and unblocked the pipe etc etc (a smelly job), whilst I put the kids to bed. In the process of removing the toilet, it broke and so it turned out we needed a new one fairly quickly.
So onto the internet…. and this is where Ireland seems to turn into a big black hole of nothingness. It’s so interesting and frustrating sometimes. You just don’t seem to be able to find certain things online here very easily. Where we live, there are also no shops that you’d immediately think of to get one from. We are only about half an hour or so away from the border, so half an hour away from Northern Ireland. We knew there was a Screwfix in Enniskillen so we looked there (on the UK site). They had what we wanted and we could click and collect, the only thing is, you have to put a UK mobile number in so they can text you, they won’t accept an Irish one. We don’t have a UK mobile.
When we found that out, we had a look at Screwfix, Ireland. The nearest one to us is Galway, which is about 2 1/4 ish hours away, compared to an hour away for Enniskillen, and they didn’t have it for either delivery or collection, neither did many others. We then tried Homebase because we know there’s one at Sligo (an hour away), but you could only order online from the North. Here, you have to contact the store directly or visit, which isn’t very handy when you need it quickly (and during a lockdown).
We searched and could not find anywhere where we could simply buy a toilet from apart from Screwfix. So we used someone else’s number (with permission) and they text Chris when they got the ‘it’s ready’ text through (thankyou), which was really quickly, early today.
So Chris took the day off from work, went and fetched it and has fitted it already and it seems really good! He says he’s going to use the bits from the old one for planters (It’s expensive to dispose of heavy things here), so I look forward to having stuff planted in a toilet. haha.
Anyway, there’s our little toilet anecdote. I’m very glad Chris is good at doing things, he’s never put a toilet in before but he installed it easily and it is working. That’s always a bonus, a toilet that works. And, it has to be said, putting one in for the first time with no problems is skill! Living near the border is also very useful sometimes too. I’m also very grateful that you can actually get a toilet so quickly with a bit of help and that we have a new toilet, the old one was a bit grotty.
It turns out our septic tank needs emptying, so now we need to find someone to do that. We’re waiting on a number, so another new experience!
We’ve had our wedding anniversary, our seventh, to be precise! Which is awesome. I’d got to a point where I didn’t really believe I’d get married when I met Chris. I wanted to, but I’d almost (almost not totally) given up on the idea. Then we met.
We met about seven months before we started actually going out. In August 8 years ago, I went to Chesterfield Church in the Peak on a Sunday morning as it was bank holiday weekend and the Matlock one was not meeting. I can remember someone in the meeting actually saying ‘I would have a weekend off if I were you’, but I’m very glad I didn’t. I went to the Chesterfield meeting, we met, we didn’t say much to each other, sort of smiled and I got made a fool of from the front of the room as usual. I think we were flying paper aeroplanes but I can’t remember why :).
Then over the next seven months we just seemed to ‘bump’ into each other. I also started helping with a Freedom in Christ course at Chesterfield which Chris was on. But I ended up not finishing the course with them. It just felt wrong at the time, so someone else took them through it. I went to join a new home group from the Matlock church which had started meeting on the same night. But again, as I said, we kept ‘bumping’ into each other. I even saw him one night when I was Street Pastoring in Chesterfield Town Centre and had a chat. It was really lovely to see him.
Then, I think it was around Christmas 2012 ish or maybe January, I got a face book friend request. So we started skirting around one another on there, commenting on things, having conversations, then in March Chris asked me out. The thing is, I said no, not because I didn’t want to but because I was going to our church group night that night. I’d been single a long time and made mistakes whilst being single so I was convinced that God needed to come first. I think that confused him and it took a little while but then he asked again and we met and went for a walk one Saturday for the first time. then we met the next day too and then most days/evenings after that from March time I think.
The walk was lovely, it was at one of my favourite places in Derbyshire. Time after that went quite quickly, it was accompanied as usual by many emotions and things accelerated fairly rapidly. From going out for the first time in March, we got married in October 2013 and then started living together and it’s been a journey ever since!
Chris is one of the most faithful men I’ve ever met, he is hard working, he is straight forward, he can turn his hand to almost anything. He is not all sweetness and light (who wants that) but he is definitely the right man for me and I’m the right woman for him. We compliment each other.
Marriage has been a roller coaster, getting used to one another, trying to learn just to love, not put each other down for being different. Trying to manage the stress of life whilst still loving one another is difficult! But it is so worthwhile. The main thing as well I’ve found about marriage is that the promises made to each other and in front of God is the most difficult part but needs taking seriously. For better or worse is a promise and it means you stick together through everything. When one hurts the other, you forgive. I’ve made some massive mistakes in our life together and so has Chris, but we are together and will remain so. God is the glue.
I thought about the last blog, not long after writing it and thought ‘I bet people will think I’m nuts talking about God telling me not to bother about going out to home school things or meeting people until at least after Christmas’. Either that, or think that I’m escaping from life.
Well if you think I’m nuts, that’s ok, I don’t particularly mind. I just know that God speaks and is concerned about our everyday lives. Also, I’m not hiding, believe me, I’ve questioned whether it’s that and it’s not. I just asked God a question and I felt Him answer. He wants the good of our family even more than Chris and myself do. And…Ireland has just decided to return to what they refer to as a level 5, which basically is a lockdown similar to what happened in March/April and limits you to exercising within 5km of your home. They are keeping kids at school, but as we are home schooling, that isn’t relevant to us.
I will also say, about this blog, that what you see on here is a mere snippet of our lives. I purposefully don’t put many personal details or stories of people we may know or things that happen because I believe that would be infringing on privacy, so unless I have express permission, I very rarely talk about people we know and what may be going on in that area. Which obviously limits the conversation slightly. So welcome to me talking about me again…ha. Also, I know it’s a bit of a strange blog in some ways, it’s not homeschool/smallholding/Irish life/Christian specific, it’s just life, our lives, here and that’s why I like it, God is in everything and works through everything.
Something happened when I came to Ireland, I got scared. I guess it’s a big move really, I was really excited, then I got scared, I didn’t know people, everything was different (and believe me it is), the work we had to do on where we lived was intimidating, we both thought at times ‘what have we done??!!’ and then my dad died, which just threw everything. I couldn’t believe I’d left when he was so ill and then I was here and my family was in England. It hit me that they wouldn’t see the kids growing up and that we’d taken a lot away from them and that and the grief has been very hard to deal with. Grief is hard to deal with, that’s how it is. But all that is part of the life we’ve chosen, but I did get scared and lost a lot of confidence. It’s funny how much of our confidence is based on what we know and situations we know and people we know. So it’s been a process. A process which is personal and common I think as well. But as I said on the last blog God works all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28). And I can see it too.
I came downstairs this morning and felt a massively strong urge to sit down with my notepad and write this.
You see, I’ve found that doubt in my life leads to all sorts of bad outcomes. When I’m worrying, when I’m stressed over non specific things, when I get angry and I don’t know why and all sorts of other things that I won’t list because it would be massive. It is, I’ve realised, very simply, because I am not trusting God, I am leaning on myself or others and not Him.
He understands what is going on and why and we don’t. I’m not even particularly talking about Covid, I’m talking about life in general.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.
Just think of the lightness we actually have in God through Jesus, should we let ourselves go there. Just think!
..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… (Phillippians 4:6-7)
Supplication in this context apparently means ‘a call for help from God’, to ‘plead humbly’. So doing the happy clappy smile and saying everything’s ok when it isn’t, is not what this is all about, but going to God, asking him for help and ‘yielding’ as a good friend of ours is fond of saying, is.
One example I will give of listening to God and not people is I asked him a month or so ago what to do about meeting people, especially in relation to home schooling and the context of covid, because we still don’t know many people here. The answer I felt He gave was (paraphrased) ‘chill, don’t worry about doing any of this until at least after Christmas, enjoy your time’. Now this has been difficult at times because of what everyone else seems to think, events have been on that I would have like to have gone to in some ways, but I felt Him say no. So I didn’t and actually it took a load off. So thankyou! It makes sense as well, because we would have had to stop going to the event I had in mind, with restrictions that have been reintroduced, and that would have been harder on the kids. So yes!
We are becoming Catholic.. I know I’ve mentioned it but I thought I’d just be a little more open.
We are indeed becoming Catholic, all being well, it’s a funny time to do this in some ways, as I mentioned yesterday, the churches have closed again here and we haven’t a clue when it will be official. But y’know…God’s timing, not ours and all that.
The Catholic thing will be a shock to some, not so much to others, some won’t care, some will think we’re downright heretical/idolatrous by joining Catholicism, or being fooled.. some will even be happy. Some will think we’ve become ‘religious’ or rules based and don’t know God’s love and grace properly. As far as that is concerned we just try not to be hypocrites and let the love and will of God guide us, not men. I’ll let you into a secret…Believing Catholics know God’s love and grace too…(and His gifts).
It’s been quite a journey, looking back, I can see on my own journey and how God has brought my personal journey and Chris’s together, that He really has worked in us individually and together to bring us to this point.
I will tell the story at some point as best as I can (mine, anyway, I can’t speak for Chris). But for now I’ll stick at this. What I will say is, I think it’s been happening since before we even came to Ireland, maybe even for years.
What I will also say is, I’ve been through the theology, the history, the objections, wrestled with myself and God, asked a ton of questions, worried, mourned, examined the sacraments, felt deep joy and peace as well as being perplexed at times and it is not a blind decision. We also continue to read and watch and talk to God. We feel it is the right decision, one we very much feel that it is where God wants us. It wasn’t an easy decision, mainly because of where we come from and how easy it would be to just stay there. It’s very much the start of a new part of the journey for us and I don’t think it should exclude us from being a part of the general ‘Christian’ world either.
Jesus is Lord and remains so. Always.
So, may God bless you with knowledge of Him! And I’m still Cathy. There’s just a little difference, I’m now Catholic Cathy (as Chris has been calling me)……. or just a woman of God really, a worshipper, someone who God has placed in His heart and He in mine, a sinner who now belongs to Him. To put it in short, I am His and He is mine.
Well! I haven’t really felt the urge to write much recently, until today. I’ve had a bit of a blog block! But what to talk about? So much happening still around the world…. So much I could say…but I think I’ll stick to here today.
So! Life carries on here in much the same way at the moment. Home schooling J for a short while in a morning, learning mostly through just doing life though. Although Ireland has gone to what they call Level 3 in relation to Covid and increasing cases. So you stay within your own county, still limit your contacts and there’s no indoor gatherings etc, well, apart from schools I suppose, and workplaces. Church services have been stopped again, although church buildings are open for private prayer.
So many jobs to do for both of us. Life here is never boring, I’ll definitely say that. We have such long lists! (in our heads, I haven’t written everything down). So getting the balance between family and jobs can be difficult. What I mean is, spending actual one on one time with the boys for example, can get sacrificed a lot because of doing things. Most of the house still needs tidying up and decorating, we haven’t got any storage or surfaces in the kitchen. We don’t really have light shades or curtains up yet in most rooms, the ones we do have up are held up with garden canes which were up when we came. I think we need to get another dehumidifier for upstairs too as we get into the winter months, it gets so humid. But, on a lighter note! It’s so much better than it was, I love that we can take a bath actually in a bath rather than a plaster bath and that it’s in a proper bathroom! It’s so easy to get complacent and forget how much of a blessing it actually is.
Outside, it is seriously neverending, we’re still sorting the trees that got chopped down, there’s such a lot of work just to get those sorted and there’s still loads of trees left to cut down and process too.
The field needs cutting regularly to get rid of the rushes and Chris can’t always do it if it’s very wet as the tractor can’t be used on it when it’s like that. But it is looking good! We need to sort out fencing on two sides of the field too, but that won’t be doable until we’ve sorted the trees out, partly because some trees are lying across the fence. There are fences there, but the posts need replacing. It also isn’t an urgent ‘now’ job.
There are also the chickens to take care of, there is chopping wood to ensure we have enough to burn (but we have a lot of wood, which is great) and taking it down to the house, weeding the garden, growing plants to try to fill the garden, weeding, sorting and planting the greenhouse. Processing anything we need to from the greenhouse. Keeping all the grass cut around the house and loads more. Chris mends the cars himself if needed, and there’s been a lot of that over the past couple of years and there’s obviously the normal everyday housework and jobs too. I can just stay here every day and always have something to do. Chris also has his full time job to do too, which is also very hard work. He has some serious stamina, I have to say.
So, it is hard work, but hard work is good for you and we do enjoy it on the whole. It’s mainly the prioritising and choosing what’s most important that can be difficult. The lack of space and clutter when cooking can get very frustrating too, but its doable. I’m trying to get the decorating and preparation for decorating done (very slowly) in the kitchen. The boys have started helping with certain tasks, such as loading the wheelbarrow with wood and transferring it to the box in the house and they (in general) seem to enjoy, they also really like the greenhouse, although I have to be careful they don’t knock over the plants. As the plan is to get a few more animals in the future too (not completely decided on what yet, or when (not this year)) there will definitely be more to do then too!
I try to spend time with God every day, what I’ve found recently is that I can superficially come and go ‘hello’ ‘I’m praying’ whilst doing other things, which is sort of fine, but there is a space to come into, a ‘silence’ in which I can enter into His presence more deeply. It is this that sustains me, this intentional (even if it’s not a long time) coming into his presence and His love. I often fail, I often get frustrated with life and get short tempered and irritable and He is always there, He knows me and loves me anyway (you too) and changes me, sometimes gradually, sometimes quickly.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23).
The greenhouse has almost been cleared now, apart from Brussel sprouts, turnips, lettuces, leeks and garlic. I’ve covered the spare beds with cardboard and mown grass in an attempt to stop weeds from growing before next spring and I suppose it will warm the soil too. I’m growing lupins in pots from seed and they will stay in the greenhouse until the spring when they’ll go into the front garden. I also plan to try growing some sweet peas, I’ve never tried them at this time of year, but it’s worth a shot.
There’s a couple of robins and a wren who always seem to be around at the moment, everywhere you go when you’re outside, or you can often see them through the kitchen window on the wood pile, they’re lovely. It’s really nice to hear a flutter and see the robin really close to you. The swallows have gone now, there’s a few wagtails about and J has decided they’re the smallest birds in the world! Nothing I say can persuade him otherwise. Most of the flowers are still going strong in the garden and the wild flower patch, they seem to come into their own later here than in Derbyshire. The Cosmos and cornflowers are really going for it all of a sudden, amongst others. They’re beautiful but I really need to sort the weeding out, otherwise the ‘garden’ is going to get swallowed up by grass etc over the winter and it’ll just look like another part of the land.
This is helping because it is me taking almost a more objective look at what we need to do and whether we actually have as much as I think. What I do know is you can just keep on working all the time until you drop unless you make an effort not to. Whilst that is ok sometimes, it’s not if you still have the kids bedtime to do, so! priorities, priorities!
Having said all this, it sounds like we have a never ending lifestyle of wholesome outdoors running about life, today, we don’t, at this precise moment we have the tv on, the kids were watching operation Ouch but now Sooty is on and I’m attempting to get some energy up and get going and decide what to do, if anything. My motivation is not there at this precise moment (and I’ve eaten too many biscuits!).