I’ve been thinking about writing again…

I’ve had a memory come back to me, because I’ve been thinking about writing and ability and enjoyment and spontaneity in writing.

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Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on Pexels.com

When I was in junior school, probably around the age of 8 or 9, I loved writing and I was good at it, I wrote very spontaneously and with imagination and just wrote, without planning or much thought in some ways! I Just loved using my imagination and loved writing. However, I can remember there was a certain teacher, this teacher decided I didn’t write creatively correctly and decided I needed to know how to write properly. I needed to know how to plan my pieces of work, to plan a beginning, a middle and an end…not just write.

Looking back at this, it rises my blood pressure a bit, because the effect it had on me was the opposite to the possible aim of it… I became anxious about writing, I couldn’t write like she wanted me to and it really affected my perceived ability and enjoyment of it. So I didn’t really write like I had done previously any more. Not for a while anyway.

I think this sort of thing, amidst other encounters and the general fact I really didn’t like school from beginning to end influenced my considering home schooling for my kids. If I’m giving my children to someone else to influence and build up (or not) and teach and do life with, which is what happens in schools, I need to be able to trust them. I know there are fabulous teachers, it’s just I also know it just takes one to damage them as well (as it does parents, and I am in no way perfect there).

Although when examining this memory I did also consider if it was a necessary part of teaching and maybe I just don’t like it because I don’t like discipline. I came to the conclusion that no, it wasn’t necessary, it wasn’t just what she said, it was the way she did it… it was wrong.

I think what also influences me is that I’ve already brought up a daughter, who was and is expressive in the way she presents herself and she is artistic. This seemed to present great problems in her latter schooling days. The school establishment seemed to have great worries and problems with the fact that she sometimes had pink hair, had a stretcher in her ear and some piercings. I will never forget her coming home from school in floods of tears and deeply hurt, because she had been called into the office, because someone who had seen her on the way to school had called the school to object to her hair and say she was a bad example…I was furious. Mainly about the way it affected how she saw herself and the world, about the fact someone could be so superficial as to say she was a bad example because she had pink hair. Have you spoken to her? Do you know her? Why are you so worried about what my daughter looks like? aaaagh…Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t like the stretcher either, but it didn’t affect her schooling in any way at all. In fact, she was a straight A* student. She could have done with more pastoral support really, rather than putting down for her appearance, although her textiles teacher was amazing and like a second mum to her in some ways. I’m really glad she had her.

Teaching is an amazing job and we’re all teachers in some way, but “with great power comes great responsibility…”:

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. (James 3:1-2)

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. (Luke 6:40)

There are so many scriptures in relation to teaching but I think this is my favourite:

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (John 14:26)

I think my problem is that this ‘has to be done in a certain way’ can be our attitude to life sometimes too – you’re not doing that right – it’s got to be done like this. I’ve never gone for this, there’s just part of how I’m made that looks for other ways of doing things, I don’t just take it because somethings been done a certain way forever that it has to carry on like that. I think that’s why I made a good nurse to be honest. Some things need challenging and some things don’t, but I love finding new ways of doing things and I quite like challenging the status quo. I can be quite annoying because of this, because I question, because I don’t just take things that I’m told as gospel. But I do think it’s a gift, and as part of Jesus’ family, this is vital for me, because it’s how I’m made. But as the quote above shows, it is the Holy Spirit who I need guidance from and whom I love getting guidance from, so I don’t just do things for the sake of me….or because I enjoy change…also, to help me accept and love others who do like routine and rules and doing things a certain way. I can be a bit rude occasionally… as well as fantastically loving and kind 😀

Have I drifted from the subject? yes…never mind… Maybe that teacher’s approach works if someone is struggling with their work, maybe she really thought she was helping.. but she wasn’t. Please try not to stunt creativity (I’ll try too). It’s a gift.

Can you see what it is yet?

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Here’s a clue:

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Baaaaa

I need to get me some instructions!

Because this is just a flying post and because I don’t seem to have many photo’s of me, here is me:

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Baby Shepherd has decided he needs me all the time at the moment. Which is fine with me. He’s my last baby and therefore if he wants constant cuddles, yes please.

And yes, I am grey, I died my hair for years from about the age of 18 if not before, because I went grey really young. (If you look at the wedding photo’s in the previous posts my hair is really dark.) As did my mum and my gran. My mum was on trend way before her time and never dyed her hair, which I think is brilliant. It took Chris encouraging me for me to actually take the plunge. He was really really for it and says he prefers it now. I’d got to the point where I was absolutely sick and tired of dying it every month and hated the smell and everything about it. Turns out, grey quite suits me and weirdly people remember me too, far more now than before. It took a bit of getting used to, especially as you get a lot of veiled looks from people and second glances (but not of the sort I used to be used to :o)

Gray hair is a crown of glory;
    it is gained in a righteous life.(Proverbs 16:1)

I’d love to take the credit for this righteous life myself or even say yes! that’s why!, but unfortunately, or actually fortunately, I can’t, it is down to Je-sus (said like a football supporter). Sorry if you think that is disrespectful. It isn’t. I think we worry far too much about appearance and respectability when worshipping our one and only. It is probably not really obvious how I’m saying it unless you know me quite well. You are the one and only Jesus, nobody I’d rather be me for…

See you later. It’s late, I start going a bit hyper at this time…time to sleep…

Flower Power!

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I think of all the interests Chris has had (and he has had many), this is my favourite, running closely with the allotment. He started growing cut flowers a few years ago, and we now always have an enormous patch of self seeded corncockle and this year some calendula and fox gloves. We also grow lavender and some daisies, which come every year and also have cosmos, carnations and achillea growing. My favourites were the Sweet Williams Chris grew when he did biennials one year. They were gorgeous, I think they are my favourites, although it is hard to choose.

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Through this hobby we discovered Higgledy Garden. (we didn’t literally discover him, we found him on the internet…) Who is hilarious, has excellent quality seeds, is a mine of information and always includes a hand written letter (he also has lovely handwriting :D). He’s really interesting, he currently lives on a canal boat with his dog. If you’re going to buy seeds he is definitely worth taking a look at.

If we are to grow flowers (and produce fruit and veg) in the North of Scotland, we will probably have to buy a polycrub. They’re like a really really tough polytunnel, made to withstand the winds I think. They make them out of recycled salmon pipe and are based in Shetland, which will be handy if we move there!

 

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(Picture taken from the nortenergy website)

Can’t wait!

Waiting and wondering..

I feel sad today, for a reason, a valid reason, but still sad, and it affects me with people close to me if I’m not careful so I need to watch myself because I can start taking it out in an angry way on them. And that’s not acceptable. Although it’s okay to be sad, I need to process it properly and also be loving. Emotions are normal, I sometimes think I need to stop them I think, but no, just handle them in a good way (whatever that is, I’m still learning). I read a while ago that children need you to be a wall, so they run into you and you don’t move. I try, but don’t always manage it!

Anyway, I am also happy, just because I’m here and have a family and friends and more than that, God. He is my loving, beautiful father in heaven who is always here and is in charge. No matter how much we think we are in charge…we aren’t. Although we do have a big role to play in partnering with God too, He rules. HE IS THE LIGHT WHO SHINES IN THE DARKNESS, AND THE DARKNESS HAS NOT OVERCOME IT. and will NEVER overcome it. (Sorry about the shouting).

In other news…although until Chris has viewed the Croft we won’t know if it is right for us, it feels as though we are just waiting now. We need to know costs, so I’m waiting for a quote from a moving company in Shetland, because if we can’t afford them, we will have to sell most of our stuff and go up in a van. I’m also waiting for a Shetland solicitor to quote us. Because we are looking to buy in Scotland we need an English solicitor for the selling and a Scottish solicitor for the buying. The system is also different in Scotland, the solicitor is usually the one who puts the offers in for you, and it is often sealed bids with details such as when you expect to move, how you are paying etc. It is usually offers over too, rather than offers around, I think if you offered what we offer in this country, 20/30,000 less than the asking price, you’d get laughed out.  I actually think their system is really good. If there is more than one person interested a closing date is set and sealed offers go in for the owners to look at. It seems really fair. Each home has also got a home buyers report already done, so that is really good.

I have to admit I am a very impulsive person, and I keep having to check myself, because I keep thinking just put an offer in!! Although we’ve never been and haven’t seen it. So, Chris and his dad are off up there next week and we will know then. Chris was on his way home from work the other day and the registration plate in front of him spelt out the name of the island we are interested in moving to. (which was interesting, because that was similar to the ‘fleece’ I laid out for God, when I was asking whether it was right to go). Guess we will know next week. That’s also providing our survey on this house goes well and the sale goes through. It’s in God’s hands (said in an American accent).

 

 

 

This is church!

When we leave, one of the reasons I will be sad to go will be to leave our church.  (CITP) They are nuts in the best possible way (forgive me, (you have to). God always puts together a load of people who are completely different from one another and would never normally spend time with each other and makes them family together.

This is them at our wedding (also with our own family, who are also pretty cool, my mum and dad are standing next to me):

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These are our elders at the recent catalyst festival (click on the following link for YouTube video), (CITP elders) Note the use of team work and willingness to take instruction from the younger members. Notice the rhythm and dance moves!!! Notice the resignation that this is what is required of them and their grace as they get their groove on 😬.  Also notice that at least one of them is really enjoying it! They are brilliant.

Seriously, church is awesome, because of Jesus. I know that this is not everybody’s experience of church and I’m really really sorry if you have had bad experiences but church is meant to be goooooood. It will always be hard work in some way because there’s so many people thrown together, but take it from me, it’s worth it. When I’m getting fed up I always have to remind myself that we’re all human, only Jesus is perfect and through Him we can always check ourselves,  forgive if necessary and move on! Also, it’s family and families are hard work! But definitely worthwhile. This family have been there for me and plenty of others through thick and thin. They do awesome work in the community and with our new church building they will be able to do a whole lot more. They don’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk too.

Did you know that the church is the people, not the building? That Jesus gave himself up for her (the church, his people) so she may be holy and without blemish (that’s us)? That He nourishes and cherishes the church? (Again, us) (Ephesians 5:25-29). And wants to nourish and cherish you? My perception of it used to be so wrong it was unreal. I thought all church people were up themselves, self righteous a..holes. Now look at me! Look at where God’s put us! In fact, don’t look at me, look at God!

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Well that was nearly 5 years ago, but you get the picture!

 

Thank you God for loving me, thank you God for loving me..and you…

 

Communication..Express yourself…

As a little aside, I’ve been thinking about communication.  I’ve discovered I can often communicate and express myself far better in writing than I can in person.  Don’t get me wrong, I can express myself verbally and non verbally….sometimes too forcefully, other times not enough… But I find it so much easier when writing.

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I’ve decided that this may in part be due to our expectations when conversing and of not being listened to or heard.. I don’t think we often let others express themselves properly. We try to correct and almost try to change what they think or are saying before we’ve listened to them and this in turn can stop people from being able to express themselves verbally and knowing they are being heard.

Although I suppose this may also encourage the development of other gifts, and ways of expression and creativity. With no challenges, few things develop… Also, I suppose that is part of why I love writing, no-one can really shut you up, it’s your writing with no interruptions. I am able to sort my head out without interruption.

When I’m with people, I really really do not want to do the superficial thing of  gazing intently into someone’s eyes as if they’re the most interesting person ever  whilst not listening at all.

I have never felt that God has told me to shut up or cut me off mid sentence. He has quieted me and told me to stop or slow down, but he is always there and listens carefully without looking over my shoulder for the next person to talk to and without thinking what he is getting from the shop later. But then again, He is God and present everywhere all the time, yet able to be with me one to one and care about me and see me. I am not a blurred face in a crowd, I am known personally and loved by almighty God and so are you.

I do also realise we are all different and express ourselves differently and for some, writing or other forms of communication for example art or music, are their lifeline, expression and a God given gift, it doesn’t have to be verbal. For me, I love writing and doodling, it charges me up and is therapeutic, but I do think we can all help in person by just listening, not correcting, at least not to start with and by valuing each and every person and just being with them. (this is not intended as a lecture, just me trying to put my thoughts in order). Also, wouldn’t we know others so much better if we just listened to them? I want to know people properly, not superficially (This does NOT mean I want to know all your secrets! well, unless you want to tell them)

This sums it up really:

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger (James 1:19) 

Enough said for now.

Over and out.

 

We’ve accepted an offer!

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our beautiful garden

So we have today accepted an offer on our home. It’s a cash offer too so it could potentially go through quite quickly providing no major problems pop up along the way..REALLY hoping this. Please may there be nothing major…

Mixed emotions…

Excited for the future and our journey and what God has in store and also know it’s time to move on. But this has also been my home for the past 13 years, the first 8 were just me and my daughter doing life together. It was our safe place, we’d moved around quite a few different houses and this was the one Tasha said she didn’t want to leave. When I first started nursing, I used to do a week of nights once a month and so she had to virtually live somewhere else for a week every month and she started to hate it.  She wanted some stability I think. So we moved here when she was ten and I went on the district rather than doing hospital nursing. It seems so long ago, but it’s not really. So much has changed in that time. I made so many mistakes, we had some rough times but we also had some lovely times. I really love my daughter, she lives in London now and I am very proud of her. She cares about justice, she always has, since being a little girl. She’s incredibly talented and vulnerable and raw.

I was saved in this house, when I was 34, ten years ago.   So I was healed from alcoholism and smoking here, amongst other things, by Jesus.

Tasha grew up here, she worked hard and worried me by going out on midnight walks when she was an older teenager. I confused Tasha here by being saved, she got good marks despite having pink hair (and me being saved 😁) and went to Uni in London to study Art, a month before Chris and I got married. She did amazingly well at uni and is now doing her masters.

I was in terrible debt here, debt which got paid off thanks to CAP. CAP do amazing work. The debt was paid off about a month or so before getting married. That was a prayer answered, we did not want to go into marriage in debt and we didn’t.

Chris and I met whilst I was here and got married, we didn’t move in together until after we were married. That is a miracle in itself given our backgrounds. God changes us so much and so much for the better. He makes us new.

We had a miscarriage here, a miscarriage I didn’t understand, I felt in full faith for God to restore the beating heart in my womb, for it to show up on the second scan a week after losing the baby. But he didn’t. But he did heal me, heal my womb and give us more babies.

I gave up my nursing here, I gave it up to look after my babies, Because being there with them and for them is really important to me, especially after doing my nurse training whilst Tasha was little, I later felt like her childhood was far too rushed – got to get here, got to get there. But I also gave it up because although I loved actual nursing, I was sick of the rubbish associated with it and burnt out. I didn’t want to go back but am now starting to feel almost ready… Not quite though… It’s a while before Ira goes to school.

I gave birth to my first boy at home by accident because I didn’t get to the hospital in time. We didn’t even get out of the front door. It was great and very very special. We got to stay at home. (I say by accident, I originally wanted a home birth and was persuaded otherwise, so thanks God for giving us what we had asked for 🙂 )

I gave birth to my second boy here, in a planned home birth. Not one the midwives were keen on because of my age and because they thought he was a big baby.  It was fast and he was born well but I worried the neighbours because i was taken into hospital in an ambulance for monitoring because of blood loss. It was very exciting for me – I think I was high on hormones.

We got an allotment here, which was a God thing… I asked God what I should do and He said get an allotment, we got our chickens here – which I have loved.

So!! You get the picture… A lot of stuff has happened, much much more than I’ve put here…God has done absolutely loads of good stuff in my/our lives. Rubbish has also happened but that is not of God. I have screamed at Him here, cried with Him, begged Him for help here, laughed, worshipped, got rid of demons here. Came to life here!!!!  Learnt from Him (or not) here.

But it is time to leave. It’s time for us to bless this place and move on. Memories intact. And all our family will always have a place with us wherever we live. That includes George, Chris’ eldest son as well as Tash. Love you Tash.

sorry/not sorry. Love these pictures. Byeeeeeeeeee for now.

Welcome to our blog!

This is and will be our family’s story of moving to Ireland, from Derbyshire, and everything that goes with it, amongst other thoughts and stories. *This is our original welcome page, I’ve now done a new one on 5/6/19.

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If you go back to the start of our blog and read, we give our stories so far, our God testimonies and various ponderings. We hope you enjoy this. I (Cathy) have found through this a rediscovered love of words, the word and writing, I love it. I also love interacting with people so please feel free to comment, message, ask questions or just read!

The following scripture is from Revelation 3:20 and reveals what Jesus heart is like:

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

This is what he did and does with us and it is what I pray everyone entering this site discovers. He is the best, the most exciting, the one and only God, the reason why we are all here, the reason for living.

Welcome! Welcome! Welcome!

Contentment

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I had an experience last night.  I was sat in the living room looking through into the kitchen and was looking at and listening to the washing machine. I felt contentment, I felt peace, I felt security. I then realised I hadn’t felt content for quite a while in a lot of ways. Strange that a washing machine made me realise that, but God works through everything.  Also, I can remember lying in bed in a morning when I was a child and hearing my mum in the kitchen doing the washing and various other things and feeling very content and secure whilst listening to this, so maybe that is what also sparked that feeling and realisation.

So what does this mean?

It means I realised I’d been wanting something more than I’d got for some reason.  It means I have been discontented and I don’t even know with what, just life, which is ridiculous.

Sitting there yesterday evening watching the washing machine, I started to think and try to remember what Paul (in the bible) said about learning to be content in all circumstances and I’ve had to look it up. So here it is, Philippians 4:11-13 (ESV):

 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

So there it is…I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Not through my own power or even through things happening to me, obtaining things or doing things, but through Jesus and through His spirit. This was also spoken about in our church meeting this morning about in our weakness He is strong.

This is the bit: 2 Corinthians 12:9-10:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

It doesn’t come easy to me to boast of weaknesses, at the moment I tend to be a bit defensive, but if it means Christ’s power will then be with me and in me and I will function through Him and in his strength. Bring it on! I don’t have to be perfect, that’s the bit that Jesus did. And does. And will do. So Lord! I cannot do this life without you. We need you in everything and in every way and I hope and pray that others come to know you like this.

This looks like contentment to me, our boy at a couple of months and again this week at the age of three. Gorgeous.

Oh and it is looking like we’ve probably sold our house….watch this space…eeeek..

 

Nagging toddlers and persistent widows

Having previously mentioned that I found our church festival challenging, I’ve been thinking, and prompted by a statement by Chris that he’s been pestering our daddy God like our three year old, found I needed to write.

I didn’t just find the festival difficult, life can be quite difficult I find with a toddler (as well as wonderful) Every parent in the world probably agrees. However, recently it has been specifically so. Our toddler has started repeating himself whenever he wants something, especially if we have told him he cannot have it. It feels like a form of torture.

One example is, I DO want it, I DO want it, I NEED it, I NEED it, I NEED it, I NEED it, I NEED it, I NEED it, I WANT IT, I WANT IT, I WANT IT, I WANT IT, I WANT IT, I WANT IT, I WANT IT… I need the television on mummy, I need the television on mummy, I need the television on mummy, I need icecream, I need icecream, I need icecream, I need icecream, I need icecream, “not for breakfast, we don’t have icecream for breakfast” but I NEEEED it, I need it, I need it, I need it, I need carry, I need carry, I need carry, I need carry, I need carry, I need carry, I need carry, I need carry, I need carry….play with me, play with me, play with me, play with me,play with me, play with me…this is an extremely shortened, restricted version of it and only one example of his persistence, it is a very effective technique for wearing someone down. He is persistent and tenacious and although annoying and very difficult for us, we feel this is probably actually a gift, not a burden. A couple of our friends have also said this. My problem is actually responding calmly rather than blowing up and also sticking to my guns when required!

Chris said the other day that it reminds him of the parable of the persistent widow, this is the ESV (English Standard Version) of Luke 18:1-8:

And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.  He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man.  And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’  For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man,  yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’”  And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says.  And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

So! there is a lesson in there with our nagging, annoying toddler who is also wonderfully comical and funny and serious, standing there with his hands on his hips telling me to stop talking or to get off my computer,or demanding another story or food or milk or attention or to play with him.

God asks us to pray persistently, to cry out to him, to keep going, to pester him! As Heidi Baker said in her talk on Sunday at our Catalyst festival, God loves to play with his kids. And I can learn a lot through our challenging toddler. A lot more than I have written here!

What would happen if we really prayed? and prayed? and prayed? and prayed? what would happen if we spent quality time with God, got to know Him more, if we LOVED spending time with Him. This is my aim for this year again.

“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37.4)

He also changes the desires of our hearts… Oh Lord, I delight in you, I love you, thank you for everything, thank you for the fact that Jesus lived the life we cannot live, died the death we deserve and rose again from the dead to give us back our relationship with God and to give us eternal life. Thank you that with you death is defeated and we rise with you into the lives we should have had originally and come to know you, our maker, our reason for living, our everything.

Finally, one of my favourite parts of the bible, the beginning of John, (John 1:1-5 ESV) I find it really dramatic, I can almost see the words going up on a screen at the start of an epic adventure film:

In the beginning was the Word,

and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 

He was in the beginning with God. 

All things were made through him,

and without him was not any thing made that was made. 

In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

 

Jesus is the answer to everything!

My posts are like buses, nothing for ages, then a load at once….