Big difference in a short space of time…

I’ve been thinking…not always good news, but this is pretty positive. What I’ve been thinking about is how much our little house has changed in a short space of time and how much you can forget or take for granted in a short space of time.

When we first arrived on the Friday evening on the 7th December, so nearly two whole months ago! I know I said it was warmer than we expected, and it was, but! we could see our breath whilst indoors, the walls upstairs in the bedrooms and also the bathroom were actually wet and the floor in the kitchen leading from the wall inwards was wet as well, it was really wet. Remarkably, as soon as we started putting heat into the building it all started drying out, but only after a week of not looking forward to going to bed (really not looking forward to it) because the bedding and the air upstairs actually felt wet as well. We’ve since realised we put a lot of heat in and that probably initially caused more damp, as we then didn’t realise a window needed to be opened a crack as well for ventilation (and it’s essential when cooking).

One of our jobs in a morning is to go around drying the insides of the windows and it has gradually improved – it has to be said this was Chris who initiated this. The dehumidifier has been a majorly good investment too in improving the dampness. On looking at photographs I’ve also remembered we took the flooring up in the dining room and bathroom so it could dry out.

We’ve learnt a lot about old buildings since moving in (especially in Ireland) and what to do with them and we’ve read up a bit about damp. Apparently, a lot of what surveyers tell you about damp is not right, it’s about looking at the causes, not treating with injectable damp proof courses etc. The main issues with this place was the lack of drainage around the building and having it all cleared and gullies dug out to drain all the water away from the building was the best thing that could have been done. Thank you God for our friend with his digger who was recommended and came to do all that work. There’s more to be done but that was a remarkable thing to have done within a very short time of being here. Also, he knew what he was doing and we didn’t! Chris also fixed the gutters and made sure the water wasn’t running onto the building.

Before and after photographs above… Gravel has also been put down since on the back to make a drive. The front gardens are going to be flower beds, conditions permitting.

I also watched Terry Waite speaking on a BBC clip tonight and he was speaking about when he was imprisoned and a major factor in surviving was actually living! Each day he was imprisoned, “that was his life” he wasn’t waiting for a life, he didn’t know if he would survive or when or if he would be released. But each day is our life, every minute of every day and while he was imprisoned he wrote poetry, he wrote his first book in his head! I have to admit, I’ve been a little sorry for myself at times recently and this really spoke to me. It is something I normally do believe in, living for that day, but it is so easy to lose perspective.

Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:34)

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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”.

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.

Testimony Tuesday

I’m starting to blog a series of true stories of how people came to know Jesus, or of other significant events. We call them testimonies. This one by a friend of ours called Dave is the first to kick off the series.

No longer an Ostrich

Up until the age of 33, Christianity for me was a target for ridicule, the name of Jesus a swear word, the existence of God as remote as the moon, and the thought of eternal life – far fetched.

Working in sales, selling machinery, since the age of 19, I considered my life reasonably successful. I enjoyed sport, meeting with my friends, drinking beer and having a loving wife and family.

Like everyone else, life gave me my share of kicks in the teeth; broken relationships, redundancy and the death of my much loved mother. Adopting the ostrich position or joking my way through things generally worked but when my wife became a Christian and I saw new joy in her face, I knew something was up.

It was not, however, until God spoke to me that I ever doubted my atheist views. After six months of resisting God, I gave up running from his love. I asked God to forgive me for the many things I had done wrong and to take charge of my life, not knowing what would happen.

I met Jesus Christ for the first time and He changed my life wonderfully – the past hurts dealt with, a new joy and intimacy with my wife Lesley, renewed self confidence, and best of all, experiencing the love of Jesus Christ.

No longer do I curse Jesus but I thank Him for His free gift of eternal life, His friendship and new hope for the future. To know the creator of the universe is the greatest privilege of all.

Hope

but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles,
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

(Isaiah 40:31)

…when I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God whose word I praise, In God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?

(Psalm 56:3-4)

There are so many more words in the bible about hope. real hope is Jesus. In who he is, what he’s done and does, and just him really. Hope is so much more than what we see, what we plan, what we wish for.

Hope is the big picture. Why are we here? What is our purpose? What are we? Who are we? What happens when this life ends? I was reading John 6 this morning and this shot out at me:

All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast  out. 

For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 

And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has  given me, but raise it up on the last day. 

For this is the will of my Father, that everyone looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on  the last day.”

(emphasis all mine)

Now that’s hope…If you come to Jesus, he will never cast you out, you will have new life with him and not only new life but eternal life…this is what you were made for….

I need to go now, it’s getting increasingly hard to do these posts whilst the babies are up..due to the youngest climbing on me and trying to either tap the keyboard or sit on it. 😀 and also the oldest has just come downstairs and told me I need to wipe his wee off the floor of the bathroom..!(tmi?)

We have someone from a removals company coming round on Monday to assess how much stuff we have and quote us a price for moving…things are moving slowly!…

 

 

 

It’s a busy time at the moment…and uncertain…but exciting!

Update on the move so far because we keep being asked. We sold our house subject to contract back in June, but have not yet exchanged, we have now sent the signed forms off so exchange of contracts can take place.

We are buying a cottage in Leitrim in Ireland (all being well) which needs a little work, but is liveable, which also has 3 acres of land with it. Our Irish solicitors are brilliant and are keeping us up to date well, they have asked the sellers a few questions and are currently waiting for answers. It is pretty certain we will be moving, we have paid the deposit and had an engineer’s report.

In order to buy a house in Ireland (it is Southern Ireland), we need PPS numbers, (personal public service numbers) and these should be coming either this week or next. An absolutely lovely lady rang me this week from Ireland just to check the details. She was very friendly and said she was originally from the area in which we are buying and seemed really pleased when I said we were moving there.

Another question we keep being asked is about work/jobs. The answer to that is, no, we don’t currently have jobs waiting there for us. We have subscribed to various sites which advertise jobs in the areas we would be fairly close to. To those who may worry because we haven’t got work waiting – don’t worry, we will be fine. Chris is an extremely hard worker, who will work hard at absolutely anything he does and has been in constant work for years and if necessary I would get part time work to subsidise us, but that will probably not be necessary. I do intend to be at home with the children as long as it is possible.

The last commonly asked question is schools – yes there are schools nearby, as far as I am aware there is a little village primary school about four miles away. It is also legal to home school in Ireland if it became necessary or we decided to do that. Unlike here, education is only compulsory from the age of six in Ireland, but apparently most children do go from the age of four/five.

We are really looking forward to moving but whilst we are still here we are trying to make the most of the time left. We have been going out as a family at weekends, talking together more, spending more quality time together really, making good use as far as possible of  our time here. We went to a place called Magna on Saturday. It was so good, J (our 3 year old) and Chris were absolutely enthralled and there is a really good playground there too, which we went to afterwards. It’s also good, because if you pay full price once, you can then get in for a year for free afterwards. We also belong to the National Trust so we have been making the most of being members, getting out to various places as a family.

I’ve also met an old friend today at a local playgroup at the Baptist Church Hall, it was great! There were also two ladies there who looked after my daughter when she went to the after school club maybe about 17 years ago and another fella called John who is part of the Baptist Church who may have taught her at school (I only realised this after he left, I never got a chance to ask him). It was a very friendly, relaxed group and we all enjoyed it. J doesn’t always like indoor groups but he seemed to quite enjoy this one.

Chris and I are also actually going out!!! tomorrow!!! It is our wedding anniversary so we are celebrating God’s goodness in our lives and each other. Five years! It doesn’t actually feel like five years, even though we have packed it full. I loved our wedding, it was a good, good day. God was in it completely and utterly. Thank you Lord Jesus.

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