It’s nearly winter again!

It’s absolutely beautiful here at the moment, cold, but beautiful. In December we will have been in Ireland for a year.

There’s loads to do in the garden and a load of strimming, the last cut before the winter. It’s become apparent that doing all the strimming as well as working full time and doing lots of other stuff in the house, is just too much for Chris, time wise as well as physically, so I’ve volunteered to be chief strimmer (I love doing it) and Chris has fitted me into the harness and shown me how to use it. I’ve only done it once so far, but am raring to go. I need to make the most of rain free days. It also feels really good to do something physical.

The strimming is actually the glamorous bit though, because there’s a load of weeding to do too, in the flower garden and where my veg patch was. It’s on your hands and knees in the wet, wet, soil type weeding, whilst keeping an eye on the kids. I did a bit yesterday, but I need to do a lot more. So it’s one of those just do it, make a choice to enjoy it type jobs really. You can learn a lot from gardening

In the house, It’s been bank holiday weekend this last weekend (yes we get an extra one) and Chris has almost finished tiling the dining room floor. He’s spent about three days on his knees, as well as a full weekend a couple of weeks ago and has done such a good job. It’s going to be so good practically and it’s going to look brilliant when it’s finished. Interesting fact – we chose the same quarry tiles that we had in our old house. We felt it suited the cottage, it was built around 1900 which was also when our terraced house was built.

Doesn’t look very glamourous from the photo, but life isn’t about looking glam..! (wait til it’s cleaned up too.) Chris is really good at doing work like this.

There’s loads I could have spoken about, so much has been going on in both Ireland and the world recently…but I’m choosing today to focus on the house because it’s been so long since I’ve updated and because the topics have probably also been done to death elsewhere…

On a separate note, I’m going through a reading phase, in the past couple of weeks I’ve read ‘The heavenly man’, ‘Run, baby, run’, and ‘God’s Smuggler’. There’s no words really, reading real life accounts about people who’ve put their lives in God’s hands and what he has done. Reading about Brother Yun, in the heavenly man, the suffering (and potential death) and his willingness to face it for Jesus. Andrew going behind the Iron Curtain and the trust in God to provide and protect, Nicky Cruz, who was so messed up, a bloodthirsty gang leader, becoming God’s and then following him, reading about his redemption, hearing his journey in a truthful way… Straight forward, non frothy, real faith and a willingness to do anything and experience anything for God. Breathtaking.

6 Month-Versary

Six months! Really! Another month has passed. I’ve actually found the last month pretty hard, for various reasons. One being, I think if you live somewhere that needs various things doing, for a while it’s ok, then you start (or I do) doing the I wish thing which means you can become a little unhappy with progress. Even though for the length of time we have been here, the transformation is remarkable already.

It’s also difficult sometimes, managing the kids and doing what I have to (or think I have to) do. My mind goes mad sometimes, with alsorts circling around with what I could be doing, what I need to do, what I should be doing….and that is not productive and is very tiring! God calms me. I LOVE the outside of the cottage, the garden, the wood and the field and so do the kids, working outside and planning them when I can is really good.

Chris is also working very hard at work and at home and life sort of just passes by really quickly. I’m sort of managing this a little better now and trying to relax a little, spending focused time with God really, really helps this and being realistic (we simply cannot do everything at once). We are planning on sorting the bathroom out next, but for now we actually have a big plastic plasterer’s tub that we can bath in! We can actually use it as a bath, instead of using a tub and strip washing. It is amazing what sort of difference something like that makes to your attitude! I found it on Amazon and people had put things like this in the comment: ‘if you haven’t got a bath this is amazing, get it’. So I got it..

Next time I put a photo up there will hopefully be a different bath picture to add to the collection. We’re looking at them on t’internet tonight.

So I thought I’d add to the before and after theme:

There are so, so many before and after shots I could do…

I think I’ll leave it at that, I could do pictures of us as a comedy thing..but to be honest we don’t look that different…Chris has lost weight with his job, but that’s it really. I have been ill and stressed recently but apparently look quite good??!!

Ha. Well hello and goodbye for another day. God is good, we are safe, nothing that we rely on is guaranteed, apart from Him, so trust Him.

Couldn’t leave without mentioning the field, its gone from a boggy, reedy, place where you were up to your waist in places in rushes, to a cut, lovely field in which the grass and some flowers are taking over again rather than the rushes. Chris has worked so hard on it and it is really paying off.

Good bye!

Cathy

Goodness

So I’m going to briefly mention the last few weeks. As I’ve mentioned, I was ill, some sort of viral thing that started as a cold, worsened until I felt like I could hardly move with big temperatures, then as that part improved, moved to my throat and chest. I’m still not quite there yet, my voice is still a little hoarse and I’m still coughing but I feel waaaay better than I did. I can actually do stuff now. With two little ones at home too, it was difficult.

I’m fed up with getting ill, since being here we’ve all been much worse than normal. I’m looking at our diets now and I’m taking supplements too. Exercise is next, once the chest has cleared. And of course, following God closely and perhaps with a little more discipline. Not that this is guaranteed to avoid ill health but it’s something that’s on my mind.

Speaking of which, there’s a song by Bethel called the goodness of God and I listened to it and worshipped to it right up until my dad died. Then I couldn’t, I couldn’t bear to play it. I have been able to play it and sing it today for the first time since. It talks about singing of the goodness of God. He is so patient and kind, I’ve also had some pretty good Godly friends to talk to over the last few weeks/months. Who’ve also spoken God’s words to me and looked after me by pointing me to him. You know who you are, Thankyou.

God always meets you where you are. There’s no need to work anything up, be anything you’re not, just come to him and trust He’s with you and for you even when you can’t feel it or hear Him. Just trust. If you have friends who know Him, try them too.

(that’s my advice anyway)

Cathy

Here lies the body of…

only joking! (As Chris would say).

It’s our outside fire that Chris has made for us. It’s great, the tombstone makes sure the smoke doesn’t go everywhere. Hoping to cook on it sometimes this summer.

New bed dug today, only a small one. J said he wanted to grow carrots, so I dug one and the seeds are in. I’m not sure whether they’ll work, the seeds are from last year and I’ve never had much success with carrots, but I guess we will soon see. The sticks mark the rows.

I gave J his own little bit of garden today (he chose it), mainly because he kept running on and digging in the bits I’ve planted. In the photo he is using my early birthday present. He’s really good with it too. It’s a Wolf Garten set, they have interchangeable heads and the ones I chose are a tiller and a weeder. J has also sown some sunflower seeds too today. He seems to really like gardening. Maybe we should start a family business 😆.

Ouch!

It’s funny but I was just sat here having a cup of tea and suddenly thought ‘my dad’s died’ and teared up. Isn’t it strange how losing someone effects you. Normal morning, normal conversation, feeling pretty ‘normal’ then ouch, pain. I suppose it makes me aware to the fact that there is a lot going on inside all of us though. Definitely more than meets the eye.

1 Samuel 16:7

But the Lord said to Samuel. “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

This is one of the many reasons I love God, he sees our hearts, not just our outward appearance. Thank you Lord.

It’s a picture sort of day..

Played out this afternoon. Amazing how good it makes you feel. Adjusted the leaning plants from yesterday’s wind and followed J about. Really calm day today. Such a difference in 24 hours! Amazing with how wet it’s been that some tulips have come up and have buds! We saw a couple of goldfinches too but I couldn’t get a picture on the phone, they’re too small and quick. They’re very beautiful.

I don’t know what to write at the moment..

I don’t. Life is busy with the family and house. Grief for my dad keeps coming in waves – memories, pictures in my mind mainly, regrets, nice thoughts, grief for my mum. I’m ok, then not. But life does go on. It’s hard for me, being here at the moment in some ways. I miss things, places, people, normalness (not sure that’s a word, but hey). I know a fair few people are probably thinking get a grip, look where you are! But that’s how I’m feeling at this point. It’ll change, but at this moment of writing it’s true. It’s all a process…

So hello – in a nutshell, both cars are now Irish plated, so insured and taxed legally too… As I write, Chris is working on the car to try and get it through its test. He’s a star. His new job seems to be going well…I need to find a carpenter and a tiler to sort the kitchen and bathroom, then we can get a bath and have some kitchen storage (we are really looking forward to that). The electrician hasn’t yet turned up, so I’ll probably have to find someone else. I’ll look on done deal (an Irish selling site), I think, there’s always people advertising on there. We just need a few bits checking out, an immersion doing, outdoor lamp and cooker point wiring in. Also need to get a normal cooker for the warmer months when we won’t have the range on. I’ve started planting seeds in pots (mainly flowers) and bought the seed potatoes, so I’ll be doing them soon ish. Growing things is always good. It is a good thing.

I’m praying that knowledge of God grows in this place and in our families, proper knowledge through Jesus, our beautiful saviour. I pray that we can help people know our Jesus is also their Jesus, that he lived, died and rose again for them. ‘Tis true!

Not bad to say I didn’t know what to write at the beginning.

Bye for now!

Cathy

It’s April!

Time seems to be flying by. Over the past week Chris has been getting used to his new job, we’ve had a skip delivered and have already filled:

The boys have been playing out a lot. It is fantastic for them here, they just run about and explore and play:

We went out for the day on Sunday to Lough Key (pronounced Loch). It was the first time we have been out for the day just to relax really since we’ve been here. It’s just been so busy, we haven’t made the effort until now. It was such a great day, there’s forests to walk through and Lough Key itself, and a cafe and play area (much to J’s delight). It was needed and it was great. It might sound a bit weird but it was also great seeing trees like oak, chestnut, ash and beech again. Round us there’s a lot of pine and I missed those trees! There are birch and ash around, they just seem to get subdued by the pine sometimes.

I think I mentioned before we’ve had one of the cars almost sorted:

new number plates! Love the Irish spelling of Leitrim. But we are still waiting for the other car to be sorted, apparently we are waiting for some sort of code, then we can go back to the VRT office again… and get the new reg plate number. The above car also needs to pass the NCT (MOT equivalent) because it failed. Chris is picking the parts up tonight and then hopefully doing the work at the weekend. It’s tricky for him juggling everything now he’s working full time but we are prioritising and I’m doing as much as I can at home too. He’s done so much already since we’ve been here it’s quite remarkable.

lastly! We found a garden centre, It’s near Lough Key, called Ardcarne. Someone from church recommended it. So we’ve now got our pots and compost so planting will begin this week. Yay! It’s also good to see the things we’ve planted so far, starting to bud and get leaves, despite the fact it’s been so wet and windy.

(I know rhubarb grows just about anywhere, but it’s so nice seeing something edible growing.)

Finally. I really missed my mum on Sunday. It is good here, but there’s also very hard parts. Especially since the recent death of my dad. I sometimes (quite often) feel like I’m still on catch up, like we’ve moved here, but my brain hasn’t really caught on or up yet. It was a bigger decision than I thought originally, moving here. It’s the right place for us to be I think, it’s just difficult when it affects others.

look up!

You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.” (Psalm 27.8)

Medical care?

The bureaucracy in Ireland is quite outstanding and not in a good way. We got asked to ring HSE about our medical card application yesterday and they’ve asked us to provide a valuation of our house! I’ve looked it up and there doesn’t seem to be any reason for this…the means test shouldn’t include your home…so I’ve emailed them to ask why it’s been requested?? It might be a mistake, but it’s quite a hefty one if it is. The NHS is a beautiful thing you know… value it. I wish they had it here.. or at least a version of it. It’s really wound me up to be honest.

I’ve asked for that application to be stopped until we know what Chris will be earning. (Praise God again that he’s got a job and that he enjoys it!). Then we will apply again.. I don’t get it (the medical system) at all here. It does worry me sometimes when I hear stories about the hospitals, and also how far away they are. Our GP (it has to be said), is brilliant though.

But as God says: Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

So this is what I do, daily. I tell him everything (unlike you lot who get the edited version for which you should be truly thankful 😆) and as it says in Phillipians:

The Lord is at hand; 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. (Phillipians 4:4-7).

I need to read this more ^ (And practice it)

Gods peace is good. Better then good. Indescribable in some ways, or certainly unexplainable in any other way than it is from Him. It’s certainly my only option. Peace in the midst of uncertainty, in a country which is beautiful but very new to us.

Blah

Been feeling absolutely &£&));;”!! today, physically and mentally, so thought I’d focus on some nice things:

a doorway that caught my eye in Drumshanbo on our way through..

our boys playing outside ❤️

Snail shells that J has been collecting today.

My evening view from the little wood when I went to get the dog.

The panoramic view from the top of our field, I sat on a big rock and stayed there for ten minutes just looking:

I needed those ten minutes to get a bit of perspective back and just have a little break. (The dog also needed a run.). It is certainly beautiful here. It’s also quite remarkable that we are here at all. #gottabeGod