What’s happening at the moment? Jobs…!

So what are we doing at the moment? It’s quite a busy time really. We’ve agreed to have our windows and door replaced, they should arrive for fitting over the next 4 weeks. The range and a new fire are being installed in just over a week (all being well) and an electrician is visiting tonight to check out the electrics (I am so thankful that he is coming).

Chris is currently strimming the field, all 3 acres – he has bought a steel brushcutter blade for the strimmer and it’s getting through it a lot better than the grass cutter blade. It’s very hard work and he’s building a shed today as a bit of break from it. (The future plan is to possibly get a little tractor and use that and to probably get a few goats). The shed will be great to temporarily store all our boxes that we aren’t unpacking yet and will allow us to do up the cottage more easily. I’ve decided I need to re-box a few things to give us more room, it makes more sense than winding our way through stuff we don’t yet have storage for in the house.

There’s a little plantation right next to our cottage which you can see on the above photograph. Eventually, the spruces are going to be chopped down as they’re very tall and quite close to the house and we’re hopefully going to have some native trees there instead. There are a couple of birch already in there but struggling and a lot of holly.

I knew there were some bottles in the wood, but this week I started investigating a little further and there are what looks like hundreds! I’ve started excavating them and am going to keep on doing so. It was suggested that we do a bottle wall, I’d love to in some ways but with everything we have to do now and over the next few years it is currently unlikely – so bottle bank here I come!

So I (Cathy) am watching Brexit and the UK and Irish responses to it with interest and I have to say, since we’ve been here we’ve met with nothing but friendliness and have been welcomed in general but Brexit particularly online seems to be stirring up a lot of anti English comments, I don’t know if that is because of the certain type of people who comment on online posts or if it is a general feeling, but I have to say the English or the UK don’t exactly help themselves sometimes. Whoever started the petition to get the Republic to join the UK is a little bit assumptive or taking the mickey methinks.

So anyway, back to the old homestead….I’m getting hatching egg fever again, I think I’m going to go for the breed Cream Legbar if possible as they are autosexing, you can tell if they’re male or female as soon as they hatch, which is helpful. I’m REALLY looking forward to hatching them, I just need to find a supplier over here. Cream Legbars have green/blue eggs and are bred mainly as laying hens, not for meat.

last year’s chicks 🐣

I’m also going to start reading up on goat keeping as I mentioned earlier, I think we have probably decided on goats as the main/first animal we will keep. Only a few as we only have 3 acres but we will see, there is no rush, as we also have to get the premises ready, as if you have livestock, you have to be registered with the Department of Agriculture as a goat/sheep keeper and be approved. We don’t know if it will be this year or next, but it will probably happen at some point.

Bye for now. May God bless you one and all with the knowledge of Him.

Cathy.

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There’s a lot on my mind at the moment!

I find writing a blog quite easy and enjoyable in some ways and not in others. I enjoy it, I find it quite therapeutic in a lot of ways, I find it difficult sometimes to discern just what I should write (and not write) and in how much depth. I have a lot of depth… I also love that it is a record of our journey and what God is doing with us and our lives.

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Writing as I feel is required and being truthful can be quite difficult when I start thinking about the readers and unless I’m vigilant I can start tailoring content so I have it easy, just get approval and write things people want to hear. I get that, I do, we all want to hear nice things. It’s just that was not the aim when I started this blog. The aim was to be open, honest, truthful and vulnerable (as well as quite comical at times). I wanted it to help people who may be thinking of doing similar things, to be an encouragement whilst being open and to portray God in a real way to people who do not know Him.

I have also not really had time nor the energy to actually go into much depth recently about how this time has been for us individually and as a family. It has been exciting at times and new and a blessing, but also stressful, new and speaking for myself, sometimes terrifying. We all find different things frightening and strangely, probably naively, I didn’t think moving here would bother me. I thought it would be exciting and new and that I would just throw myself into it. But in many ways I have been scared because it is so new, and I have frequently felt very anxious and stressed. I am very imaginative and I have to keep a firm grip on my thoughts and imagination, otherwise I get carried away…Bert and Ernie ing as Chris would say (because of a clip that he remembers from Sesame Street).

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Escalation is what it means! Thinking something and then moving onto something else and then something else and then the whole world blows up.

Strangely, this has been good for me, although uncomfortable. I’ve had to get with God, to do as he says frequently “do not fear” and the only way I’ve been able to do this is by spending time with him and reading his word and then the situation changes almost without me realising. God makes me loving and kind, without Him, I am nothing, I have nothing. Thankfully, He is always with me because of Jesus and no matter what I think or feel he is always with me. He has made me (and anyone else who gives their lives to Him) a promise that He will never leave me nor forsake me and that is HUGE. Think about it, God who made you, who knows every hair on your head, who knows your thoughts before you think them, who knows absolutely everything about you…Loves you and will never leave you. He forgives you every sin ever, past present and future and does not change His mind.

God loves you. He also loves me. Jesus died for you. He died for me too. Jesus rose again for you so you can have new life with God. So can I and I have.

Thankyou.

Perfect love casts out fear. Now that I find, is true. Again, I repeat, try Him.

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It was our Last Sunday at Church in the Peak today…

I’ve been there ten years, ever since I was saved and Chris has been there about 5 1/2 years. They’re my/our family. They’ve been with me/us through all sorts of life changes and us with them. That’s probably why we still feel part of it, despite the fact we’re going to Ireland on Friday.

Another reason (the main reason) is that Scripture says that God sets the lonely into families (Psalm 68:6) and so he did with me and Chris and continues to do so with many others. All you have to do is ask as he also says “ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened”. (Matthew 7:7). He is ready and eager (not just willing) for you to ask him in. Try him.

So, back to church this morning. It was great and very moving. They prayed for us, we were given words from God (God speaking through people), which were very reassuring and we have gifts too and an amazing card! So generous. Saying goodbye was such an honour. So again, thank you. You sent us off “proper”.

Sink on a log (Mk 2)

A little bit more about us and where we are moving to.

The cottage we are moving to has intact stone walls and wooden framed windows, it has floors, it has a roof which seems to be in pretty good condition. It has a basin with taps and a functioning toilet in the bathroom (No bath yet). There is a basin with taps in the kitchen. There is a water supply. There are two burners to provide heat, one in the living room and one in the kitchen area and there are some radiators in the house which heat up when the stove in the kitchen area is running.

We don’t have any central heating in our current home, warming it with fires when required so radiators are a luxury.

There is also electricity in the cottage, which does need checking out but it is there! We don’t have a phone line there yet but there is good mobile phone reception.

There is a small kitchen area with a Belfast sink. All I really need apart from that is a table, cooker and a bit of storage, then jobs a good un, at least to start with. We lived for quite a while at our current address with no kitchen at all, not even a proper sink. It wasn’t easy, but it was liveable. See below:

This was our very lovely and functional sink on a log, although there is actually no sink on looking. There is a funnel. We survived. Chris is very handy.

Also, when I first purchased our current house there was no heating, just two gas fires which got condemned soon after moving in and there were aluminium framed windows. It was cold in the winter. Very cold. We just layered up in bed, had halogen heaters, at some point got a log burner put in and got on with life. We’re tough, me and my daughter. We now have insulation, two wood burners and double glazing – it’s a lot nicer (it has to be admitted).

Chris and I are under no illusions that our new life will be easy, but we will be fine and I think we will enjoy it. I and I think Chris are not made to never take risks or have hardship. We think it is worth it and we will always, always make sure we look after our kids.

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7)

The above is where we are coming from I think. God is also our dream giver and our provider. However! If anyone has any tips on how to make the cottage homey until our stuff arrives, feel free to share. We will be taking all our camping things with us (including pots and pans), air mattresses, bedding, wool blankets, warm clothes, cooker, baby bath, towels etc etc. We will have a better idea closer to the time on when the removals company will be getting to us.

Chris has also purchased something called an eco fan, which you put on top of your stove. The warmth from the stove generates electricity, causing the fan to turn which circulates the warm air around the room and house. Our house has seemed a lot warmer since using it.

onwards!!!

We Have Exchanged!

We have exchanged contracts this afternoon and completion is agreed. Such good news. No going back now!

It’s been a funny day, full of all sorts of emotions including joy and laughter but also tears and kicking and screaming (and that’s just me haha), we’ve started soaking the fruit for a Christmas cake (my first one I’ve ever made).

Good old Mary Berry. J is very interested in it. He likes cooking and baking.

I’ve also been looking into simpler ways of cleaning the house and clothes, washing up, shampoo etc. As in using household products like vinegar, lemon juice and bicarbonate. Also, traditional soap flakes and Epsom salts for various things. I’m not that genned up yet but I will be. It really interests me. One reason is that we will have a septic tank which we want to look after (which is new to us), but also, I seem to be getting more allergy prone with an itchy mouth and nose quite frequently, so want to go back to basics. I’m terrible when dust is disturbed, so have to damp dust and need to do it a bit more frequently! I also want to try to reduce the amount of plastics we use and live more frugally.

Chris finishes work tomorrow, then we’re out for a meal with our church community group. Then Chris’s eldest is coming for the weekend, which we are looking forward to. I’ve spoken to my eldest today, who is still in LA at the moment and it was lovely. Bittersweet in some ways because when she gets back we will have gone, but we’re not that far away and her dad and my family still live locally.

onwards and upwards!

Everything seems to be working out at exactly the right times. #inGodwetrust

Gods promises never fail and one promise is that he will never leave us nor forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:6 and Hebrews 13:5). That is why I trust Him with what we do and where we go. God is in charge and wherever we go we trust ourselves to Him.

Bye for now.

Cathy

Four weeks to go!

Yes folks, all being well, four weeks today and we will be in Ireland. It’s a strange feeling, I’m full of excitement and am really looking forward to doing this together as a family but also have lots of other feelings whirling around inside me. It’s difficult to describe.

Nerves for one, I suppose. Will we be welcomed? What will they think of us? Will the kids be ok? Especially J as it probably isn’t long until he will be at school there (I’ll really miss him). Will everyone we’re leaving here be ok? Lots of things really. I think the answer is, we will be fine. Everything will be fine. In fact, much more than fine. We have Jesus, so even when things are not fine, they also are – topsy turvy I know!

Practically, we’ve seriously started packing now and have boxes everywhere.

Our three year old – J says he “just wants to get there now” (cute) and I have started making lists of companies and people we need to inform. It is surprisingly long. It also feels strange because for the utility bills, I actually need to cancel the accounts because we aren’t staying in the UK.

The process also feels quite freeing though, as I have a list which I am going through and cancelling services and payments off. With each cancellation there is a big line that goes through the company name. Really need to keep things simple in the future…

There’s still lots I need to look into, such as bank accounts, national insurance payments, getting our cars checked out once there and the plates changed, whether we can keep our mobile contracts or not. I think probably not, but we will see (it’s on the list) and we also need to look into medical care (I think we have to apply for a card once there, but I need to look at it again).

Plenty to keep us occupied anyway!

The ferry journey is booked now too and Chris has given his notice in at work, so here’s praying that it all goes smoothly!

This week has been good, I’ve tried to make some room for fun/time with the children. I sometimes get so wrapped up in what’s going on that I feel like I don’t play with them enough. So we’ve had some fun. Going out, Throwing the ball for the dog, walking, getting the bus, running round, baking, talking. I find it really difficult to be present sometimes because my mind gets sooo full. But I’m trying to practice just being with them (I mean with no distractions) and enjoying it for at least part of each day. Thank you God for our children!

Testimony Tuesday

I thought I’d share today the story of how I’m no longer addicted to alcohol despite this being thought to be impossible.

I was very similar to a lot of people nowadays, I started drinking when I was a young teenager (around 13ish) but me being me, I tend to go to extremes with whatever I do. So it quickly escalated from bottles of cheap wine to vodka and became daily from a fairly young age really. There were periods in my life where I didn’t drink so much – so when I was pregnant with my daughter when I was 20, I didn’t drink and for a while after I didn’t drink regularly but when I did I completely overdid it, binged and drank to the point of insensibility. I never seemed to have that ability some do, of just enjoying a drink. Once that bottle was open, once I was out having a drink – the gloves were off.

Also like so many other people I got into a lot of trouble whilst drinking, found myself in dangerous situations, acted irrationally, got hurt (fell downstairs a few times, off walls etc etc). I also eventually started losing my memory when drinking, particularly when drinking vodka, it’s like my memory would suddenly switch off and the next day, I would remember nothing. I had so much shame and guilt that had accumulated and this acted like a vicious circle in that I’d drink again and then feel worse but then drink again.

As I got older, the drinking changed in that I did a lot of it in my house on my own. I was embarrassing to go out with because I just got SO drunk, so I just drank at home. It was also a bit of a secret, so I think I isolated myself too. In my early 30’s (I’m now 44) I was drinking most if not all evenings, often into the small hours, waking up on the sofa at 3 am still holding my glass. I felt a need of it. I can remember going and sitting outside a supermarket and feeling what felt like an irresistible urge to go and buy vodka. I “needed” it. I tried not to but did. I liked vodka because it didn’t make you smell the next day (well not as bad as some) and as I was working. I didn’t want people to know. The next day I often felt dreadful, racing heart, shaking hands, a sense of fear and doom… (alcohol is a depressant if you didn’t know).

Then I met Jesus. Through someone I worked with. Gradually things changed, almost without my realising it. The drinking lessened, then stopped. I had one last bout where I got absolutely “hammered” and it was almost as if I needed that as a wake up call and then I was healed. I put my faith and my life in Jesus hands and no longer needed booze.

Now, I can have alcohol in the house, I can have a drink and enjoy it. I don’t have to finish the bottle. I don’t even particularly enjoy more than one drink, whatever it is. In fact, when I had my miscarriage, I purposefully went and bought a bottle of rum, intending on getting drunk, but just couldn’t. It was like there was something inside me physically stopping me. Which of course is true, the Holy Spirit is inside me now. Which is truly amazing.

Jesus has healed me in so many ways. This story to me is just awe inspiring. I was addicted and now I am not. I believe this is the only way we can be truly healed from addictions – through Jesus, he makes us new, not better versions – new.

It is now 10 years and counting of being able to have a drink but not getting drunk. I feel no pressure to drink, or not drink. I rarely even think about it. God is indeed good.

Bye for now.