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”.

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No time to do blokey Friday

I’m writing this having just taken my first ever Christmas cake out of the oven and with J running round blowing up boxes with a bicycle pump and littlest fastened into the high chair (they’ve just eaten).

This is my cake!

It isn’t perfect, but it’s good enough! (I have made fruit cake before), just never done the keeping and feeding with sherry before. We will take it with us next Friday and decorate it there.

We’ve had the okay to collect the cottage keys next Friday now. The big shed is packed, we are getting there! It is amazing how many of other people’s belongings I’ve found whilst sorting through our stuff. Sorry if you’re one of the ones to whom they belong! Word of advice, don’t lend me books unless you’re very good at reminding me or don’t mind a wait of a few years. 😂

We’re off out tonight with friends, then having an early Christmas Day/dinner tomorrow afternoon with my folks. All this saying goodbye is fun but strange! (Thank you for it though!)

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.

Right! So!

where to begin?! Get to the point I suppose. Well we are completing on the seventh of December on our house and hopefully moving straight to Ireland.

We’ve signed the contracts on both houses and arranged a removals firm for two days before completion (it can take between 7 and 28 days to get your stuff!) this is because there are usually multiple house moves on the same lorry and they travel around dropping each persons belongings off in turn. We will know more about how long it is likely to be nearer to the time.

So we will have to take a few things with us, like air beds, travel cot, bedding, thankfully we are taking the trailer which has most of our camping stuff in it, so we will have some cutlery, plates etc and the camping cooker if necessary. Oh yes, and warm clothes.

We are moving (in December) to a cottage on a field that thankfully has running water (but no hot unless the fire is running) and Chris needs to check that out before we use it. It currently has no shower or bath, no cooker, no kitchen really haha, wooden framed glass windows, damp…! But it does have a roof and walls and 2 fires and 3 radiators (providing the back boiler is ok), a toilet and sink and a Belfast sink in the kitchen. It should be a real first for us! Camping in December! We are really looking forward to it.

We need to book the ferry now, and then carry on boxing up and letting whoever we need to know we’re moving. I have a long list… I do like lists though, you can scroll a line through what you’ve done – very satisfying!

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.