Our story so far….June 2019…Hello!

Our story at the moment is that we moved from a terraced house in Derbyshire, England to a dormer style cottage in Southern Leitrim in the Republic of Ireland at the beginning of December 2018. The cottage is in a rural area and we have approximately 3 acres to play with as well as the cottage. We are in the process of doing the cottage up and although stressful at times, it is going well so far! You’ll have to read back over old posts for the details if you are interested. It’s changed a lot so far! It’s now dry for a start….

This is where we now live – a little bit different to a terraced house..

‘We’ consists of myself (Cathy), my husband Chris, and two of our children who are almost 2 and 4 (at the moment obviously). We have two other grown up children as well who are still in the UK.

We are Jesus followers who try to listen to Him and follow Him constantly. We feel that He did bring us here, but I get that a lot of people will think that’s not a real thing..(it is).

I do talk about God quite a bit and what we think He is doing in our lives and I will try and persuade you to seek Him for yourself and ask Him if He is there. The reason I do this is because as far as I’m concerned he is the cure for us all. He is who we all need and it would be very selfish of me to not to try and tell you about Him. Also, our lives are completely entwined with Him and it would be impossible to do a blog without talking about Him to be honest.

Jesus saved my life, He saved my husband’s life, He saved a lot of my friend’s lives and He can save your life…give Him a try.

I do also have a sense of humour and it is quite interesting stuff 😀

Mowing the runway.

Welcome, please read, enjoy, ask questions or whatever, I love doing this blog and I do try to be very honest and open. There were various aims of doing it, to give a realistic view of relocating to a different place/country, specifically a small holding, to tell people about Jesus, to give me an outlet (I love writing) and to keep friends and family updated. I’m hoping some people may also just find it plain old interesting!

Toodle pip…

Take your massive plank out of your eye!

So this morning I’d been on at Chris (a bit) for his sweariness. We had a little bit of banter and exchange of views. Then I went off to the ducks and chickens to feed them.

I had my pink raincoat on with the hood up. So all I can deduce is that the ducks thought a big, pink monster was coming towards them and into their pen. They went nuts quacking and running around and one of them actually flew over two electric fences up and out of the pen and therefore was wandering about on her own on the field.

Well the ducks are really difficult to catch if they get out. So I ended up following her and herding her back to where she should be. So I’m in this ditch at the side of the field and then scrambling up a bank and all that after her. It was raining too. My one sided conversation went something like this:

‘Come on, come on…’ (said in sweet voice and throwing food…no interest). Then when it got a little difficult…’You f……ng stupid bird, I only want to f….ng catch you, where are you f……ng going! I’m not going to f……ng eat you, I’m trying to f….ng rescue you from the f….ng fox you f…..ng awkward ………, mind I wouldn’t blame you if you thought I was going to eat you, where are you f……ng going now??!!’ etc etc.

I did eventually get her and I also clipped their wings so it (hopefully) won’t happen again. But it did make me laugh at myself (and think) that I’d just berated Chris and then done that.

Don’t we all think we’re good until we realise we aren’t!

And that! my loves, is why we need Jesus. He is. And He changes us. Simplistic, but true.

Good day to you! (and yes I did have a conversation with God about it in case you’re wondering :))

love Cathy.

On a sidenote, the drake is starting to colour up. Isn’t he beautiful?!

Fantasy vs Reality.

I was thinking yesterday afternoon and my thoughts basically went like this. Fantasy (us fantasising about things/situations/relationships/life) is often much better than actual life. It never quite happens how we imagine or often how we would like. Or the reality is so utterly different to how we imagined it. But with Jesus. It is actually the direct opposite. You get so much more than what you imagine or think. In fact, I don’t think we are capable of actually getting the utter reality of Jesus until we actually meet Him when we die. He gives so much more than we can imagine. He is so much better than our imagination/feelings.

I love the verse in the bible that goes;

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,… (Ephesians 3:20).

God is so much more than all we ask for or imagine… Why don’t you ponder that for a while? Sit on it, think about it, ask God about it. Jesus never lets us down, He’s already done all that is required for us to know Him without hindrance. (Think Rick Astley.) Life with Him may be hard sometimes as well as beautiful. Your very essence and everything you were never bothered about can become very real issues to be dealt with. But the promise is that he never leaves us nor forsakes us, he doesn’t leave us as orphans but puts us into families, He completes what He starts in us, He restores and redeems us, He gives us life, He gives us hope, He gives us love.

If you don’t know Him, I can reassure you that He will answer if you talk to Him. If you google (or whatever search engine you use) the above phrases, you will find them in the bible. Plus many, many more.

Again, the real Jesus is so much better than our imagination.

See ya!

Cathy.

Write until you can write!

I’ve just been looking and it’s been about two months since the last blog, so hi to everyone. The absolute last post I did also seems to have disappeared off the blog for some reason, but never mind, it doesn’t really matter. I’ve had a bit of a writer’s block again, so as the title says, I’m writing til I write.

So, since the last smallholding type jobbo – the ducks have been outside for ages now, they’re massive and all grown up looking, there’s one drake now and 3 girls, which will be fine for now. One of the girls got eaten by a predator so I’ve moved the rest to a more secure run now.

The growing has been going really well in general. The tomato plants are massive but are actually really late in producing tomatoes, they’ve come now, but aren’t red yet. There’s nothing wrong with them and they’re growing well, they’re just late. I can only put it down to the fact that it was really quite cold here right up to July time. Same with the cucumbers, they’re starting to grow, but only just starting. The gherkins are nearly ready for pickling.

We’ve had tons of celery, we had a good amount of new potatoes which have since been eaten and also put into celery soup which I’ve portioned and frozen. We’ve now got green beans, swedes, spring onions and lettuce growing in that bed. The maincrop potatoes should be ready soon and the sprouts and leeks will be ready in the winter/spring I would think. I’ve also got some purple sprouting broccoli to plant out and some more cabbage.

The runner beans are growing well in the greenhouse, I think I’m going to leave them on the plants and let them dry so I can use them as kidney beans. I do cook chilli quite a bit. The peas have not done brilliantly inside, if we do them next year, they’ll be outside. The kids have loved what we have produced though. I’ve also got haricot beans growing, which again I think I’m going to let them grow and dry. Could maybe make baked beans and add them to stews and all that in the future. I’m trying to store quite a bit for use over the winter. Not sure how effective it will be, but it will be more than we’ve previously managed! So that is good. Oh yeah, I cut the broad bean plants down to ground level because that’s apparently what you do (they put nitrogen into the soil as they rot off) and three have grown again and are flowering! Bonus!

Since the last post, we’ve also had visitors for a week. Chris’s parents came to see us. They stayed elsewhere but visited every day. It was great, It had been three years since we’d seen them in person. Three years is quite a while, especially when you have young children, they grow and change so fast. That’s one of the main things that bothers me about moving here. But strangely, it also didn’t feel as though it had been three years too, so that was good. I am hoping to nip across to see my family at some point, for a weekend or something, but I don’t know when yet.

Travelling is slightly more awkward than it used to be. We only have one car now and a motorbike (plus a normal bike with an engine). So if it is raining hard or if Chris needs the car for some reason, we don’t have it. So we won’t quite have the ease we used to with travelling. It doesn’t make it impossible though. We’ll probably fly in instead of going by boat and have to be collected or get the coach or something. Family, I will let you know I promise (not just turn up haha). I did actually have it really easy a couple of years ago, I just drove back. Home ed makes it really easy as well, we can come whenever we like and J’s passport was sorted very quickly, so that’s no longer a problem. Officially, when you read the rules, you’re not supposed to need a passport to travel between England and Ireland because of the common travel area, but you’re always asked for them at the airport. I suppose it’s probably the most reliable form of ID.

It’s been so hot over the last week, it’s been gorgeous. Thankyou God! It’s meant to be breaking tonight with torrential rain and a storm. Haven’t seen any sign yet, but it’s meant to be on it’s way. Then lower temps and more rain this week. It’s been lovely walking about in my crocs rather than wellies. It hasn’t been as hot as England though, I’m quite grateful for that. There’s been a stream of people driving past our house over the past week with trailer loads of cut turf for the winter fires. That’s something that’s very different about Ireland. We’ve been splitting wood whilst it’s been hot too and Chris is very busy making a log store out of steel. Pictures to come soon.

Anyway, I think that’s more than enough for now. I have plans to write more soon.

Cathy.

Move along, move along..;)

Well, don’t things happen quickly at this time of year?! I’ve just been reading the last blog I wrote and things have changed very quickly. The ducklings are massive and have been outside for a while now and the raised beds are full! I’ll put a picture up. In fact, the ducklings are so big that I’m thinking of putting them in with the lone adult duck soon.

The raised bed that was very sparse in the last blog.

So, how are you all? I pulled my back a week or so ago, my lower back, it’s almost back to normal now but it was dreadful. I only got down on the floor to do the fire and it just went and was spasming for quite a while. A friend gave me some exercises to do and I just tried to keep going (it was better than sitting) and asked for prayer and praise God it’s just about better. I actually had to ask Chris to do some of my jobs, which I’m not very good at, I usually just get on with stuff, so in that way it was probably very good for me (actually asking for help). But anyway, I’m very pleased that it is so much better, it’s mainly when I get up from sitting, it’s still very stiff, I have to bend backwards to loosen it off. I haven’t been able to get down to pull weeds or garden or anything, which was both a frustration and a relief. I’ve sorted one side of the front garden a while ago, but the other side, whilst looking lovely because the daisies have gone absolutely nuts, is also totally full of weeds amongst lovely plants as well. It’s mainly the horsetail that bothers me (and buttercups, they spread like mad), but ah well! such is life. It does actually look like a meadow.

Chris is in the midst of putting a door on the barn (shed) at the moment, I’ll put pictures up once he’s done. He’s been working really hard because he wants to get it done as quickly as possible. It’s starting to take shape and will look really good (and keep things safe inside). when it snows or rains, when it’s really hard, it goes inside and this will prevent it (obviously).

I’m trying to grow more and more produce at the moment, being self sufficient is actually really hard I think, unless you put a lot of work in and we really are not nearly self sufficient, but I’m trying and it is so rewarding to eat food that you have actually planted or brought up (such as chickens) and I’ve recently discovered that I actually really like raw kale, which is a very good thing, seeing how I really like crisps too. (I like them a lot. Need to be healthier). The weather’s been pretty dreadful up to today, it looks great today and I’ve even been hanging clothes up to dry in the polytunnel instead of using the drier, as I don’t want to use the electricity in that way unless I have to. As everyone knows, it’s getting a tad expensive! The weather does look extremely lovely at the moment, through the window as I’m typing.

We’re going shopping in a bit and then I’m hoping to mow and plant some seeds after. We’ve already done the formal home ed bit today, so we’re freeeeee! Free anyway. Speaking of which, we went to a library the other day and someone actually said to me that if the kids are at home being ‘home schooled’ they can get a ‘one sided view’…. It never fails to surprise me what people feel they can say when you say you home school/educate. Someone else in a playground a while ago told me that if they were in school they’d have an Irish accent, as if that is a reason to put them in school…

On the positive side, eggs have been selling well and people keep dropping in extra egg boxes for us to use, which is a real blessing, thank you! And! If you’re ever in Belcoo, which is just over the border, fairly near where we are, the spar shop does amazing cakes, buy one! And! They push your car down the road when you need a bump start. Our car wouldn’t start last week and I was parked facing the shop with the kids in the back. I didn’t know what to do. I asked the fella there if he had jump leads and he came back out with the postman and someone else and they pushed us out and then down the road! Gave me good instructions too on what exactly to do. And was very patient with me when the steering wheel locked because I hadn’t switched the ignition on. Haha. Amazing people.

Anyway, God bless ’em and God bless you, totally, utterly and completely. May He brighten your day and light up your life with His love, compassion and mercy. Open our eyes to you Lord!

Ta ra!

Cathy.

Hey dudes/dudessa’s,

I’ve realised recently that I haven’t written anything for over a month! So I think I’d better rectify it, I’ve had writer’s blog….haha. Rubbish but spectacular joke right there (and true).

How’re you doing? We’re good. In a nutshell, we’ve hatched five Khaki Campbell ducklings (who are terrified of us despite regular attention/handling).

The greenhouse and three raised beds (all new this year) are all planted up with quite a wide variety of salad/veg and growing quickly.

I’m reading up about water bathing and pressure canning (only reading at the moment) as ways of processing and storing food and we’re very busy with the garden/field and house. I always forget how busy spring/summer is, there’s never enough time to do everything, but it is also very good, especially with the longer days. All the grown chickens are now on the field with an area of electric netting, the broody is still separate and in with her five chicks and all seem healthy and there are six young cuckoo maran in another separate run as they aren’t yet old enough to go into the main one. There are four girls and two boys, so the two boys will have to be either rehomed or culled to eat when they’re a bit older. They’re growing very fast.

The paler one with the larger comb is the male.

We’ve started back at church meetings again for the first time in probably nearly two years (in person). It has been great! It’s a local Catholic church and if I’m being honest I was dreading it and had been putting it off. For purely selfish reasons really, like noise from the kids, feeling out of place, not knowing what to do, being different from what I’m used to. And it’s been amazing, I seem to have just been able to put aside all the fears, trust in God and just go and be with Him and everyone else who is there without worrying about doing the ‘right’ thing and the only way I can describe it is so ‘sweet’, a real sweetness of God, His presence in a real way, that just negates everything else. It’s been beautiful. I’ve also found I get really emotional when they get to the eucharist part. It’s profound. It’s not like where we’ve been before in a lot of ways, not everyone sings, just a small choir who are also sat in the pews, but it does not change the beauty of the worship. I’m still swaying and singing in my heart and saying Jesus’ name to Him. So different, but not different as well. I went through a massive doubt phase earlier in the year, not about Jesus, but just about doing the Catholic thing, and I’m now convinced I had to do that and examine the decision and go through it with God in order to move forwards. I’m sure it’s not all going to be sweetness and light, haha, but so far so good. I am available, as the song goes. All these different forms of worship are actually so good in their differences, in my humble opinion anyway.

We had a fire the other day and cooked sausages on it for tea, we have a permanent bit set up for it near the chicken shed. We’re taking advantage of when it’s dry, we had a dry spell of a few days and it was lovely.

Would like more dry weather though (obviously), we were also busy cutting the grass on the field that day and resiting the chickens. After a couple of weeks on the grass we have to move them. They’re great fertilisers, as are ducks, as long as you move them before they wreck the grass.

I’d forgotten how messy ducklings are, they’re inside at the moment in the old bath, they soak the shavings every day and really smell! No matter how you try and give them their water they still spread it everywhere, so I’ve given up with fancy ways of giving it and am giving it in a little bucket that they can reach over with their beaks but can’t climb into. They’re gorgeous, but very messy! In a week or two I’m planning on moving them to the chicken shed, I need to build a little pen though, so I need to see what we’ve got lying around to do it with. They’re still too little to put outside unless they’re completely penned in, the rooks or magpies would probably have them. I’m in a war with those particular birds at the moment because they keep stealing my lone duck’s egg every day. It promotes inventive thinking anyway! I managed to nab one yesterday, she laid it while I was there – one to me!

There’s obviously a lot going on in the world, but I’m not going to write anything on that at the moment apart from yes it is absolutely heartbreaking, but always trust God and pray (talk) to Him. If you don’t know Him, get to know Him and no matter what is happening, trust Him, talk to Him, try to listen and be aware of Him always. Walk in His ways, tell Him everything, do what He tells you and again, trust.

So, just a catch up really. I’ll write more soon.

Love, Cathy.

Hello Internet Land.

Morning to the people of Internet Land. I’m sat at the laptop in our dining room. You can see the front of the house from here and not long ago I had to shoo away about five sheep who looked like they were eating my daffodils.

View from the window, minus sheep.

The house is a bit of a mess at the moment. I took it upon myself last week to eventually empty the shed of our boxes containing belongings that we brought with us over three years ago. It’s been brilliant in some ways, I’ve discovered things I didn’t even remember having! Begging the question, do we really need them?? But there was a load of books, pictures and a couple of ornaments that I love (I tend to keep ornaments to a minimum, so they are ones we love). There was even some of my clothes, which is always good news. Baby stuff too, sleeping bags, blankets etc, so a bit of reminiscing went on too.

But anyway, yes, the house is messy and we actually don’t really have much space to put anything. We need to get some shelves put up somewhere, which will make things much better, the question is, where? It also made the house smell, because the shed is very damp around the edges, mainly where the boxes were and the bottoms of the boxes were mouldy. I think that’s wearing off now. It’s easy to get a bit despairing at times when I look around, it seems so crowded, but it won’t always be like that, so I just need to do what I can and get on with it. It does make my heart beat a little faster when I look around though and not from pleasure haha.

But there is also pleasure in the looking round, yes, there are toys everywhere in the living room, (as well as a lot of junk elsewhere) and that is often the cause of my going ‘aaaargh!’, but it’s also lovely, it’s only for a short time in life, then the junk changes, and so it is also good and I will take pleasure in the fact that my kids are at home, have good imaginations and play really well.

It’s been strange and beautiful really over the last few years since we decided to home school, because the world tells us and we tell ourselves often that we cannot possibly spend all our time together and that we need ‘me’ time etc etc and ‘what are the kids going to do all day’. The thing is, what I’ve found anyway, is that there are periods where the eldest says ‘what do I do?’, but that very quickly he naturally finds something to do and that something is normally playing and being completely absorbed in something imaginative. Strangely, they seem to have got better and better at playing! Like it’s a skill! I guess it is. Also, it’s become so very normal now, just being together. Going everywhere together, And I love it. I didn’t keep them at home for company, which I think has been thought by some. I thought and still think it’s the best option for us, I don’t need company like that. But I do like it a lot.

There are plenty of moments where I feel like tearing my hair out, and moments where I think ‘what am I doing??!, but the good outnumbers the bad by far. Time management is an issue for me, there is so much to do, but I’m gradually getting to grips with that. Praise God for His mercy and His love, that enables us and gives us wisdom for all circumstances! I do find as well, that you do naturally develop your own rhythms, all of you, where you can get the time you need, it either happens naturally or for example, I use the greenhouse quite often, to just give myself ten minutes and get my breath and sanity back. The getting my breath is generally due to the jobs and other stuff, not the kids. Step into God’s presence on purpose! I need to remember life is good. God is even better.

I found a sheet of photographs when I was clearing the shed, which had a load of photographs of our eldest boys second birthday and it made me happy but sad too. We always tended to do family gatherings on birthdays and Easter etc, food together and all that and now we can’t. It’s definitely one of the bitter things about moving away. There’s plenty of sweet, but there’s also plenty of bitter. I’m talking about those bitter/sweet moments. I really miss friends and family at certain times, Easter being one of them. Our old church has recently stopped doing the livestream on a Sunday, and I understand, but I have to admit I feel a bit lost at times, sad. I miss them so much. But you do also just have to just get on with your life, otherwise it’s easy to get too caught up in the past and miss what’s happening now.

We do need to start attending church here and getting to know others more maybe. But it’s just so different, I don’t think people get how different. Also, the thought of getting my four year old through a mass makes me very nervous. But Jesus loves me, and He is guiding me through all of this new ‘stuff’. I don’t have to be impatient because He isn’t. There’s a lot of excitement when you move somewhere new, a lot of hope, a lot of busy! but the fact remains that the incongruency between I’m somewhere that is beautiful and I am blessed, grates with the fact that I actually get really homesick and admitting it is absolutely ok.

Brilliant thing yesterday though! Our car passed it’s test! It passed! Praise God for a husband who knows what he’s doing with it! I nearly whooped in the test centre. Or did I? haha. I know I turned around staring and grinning at the certificate and the people around, going, ‘it passed, it passed! it passed!!’ A man said ‘congratulations’ 😀 And! while it was being tested, I took the boys to a coffee shop for the first time in over two years. It was so good, so, so, so, good. Being sat inside a coffee shop with my boys, them eating cakes the size of their heads (almost) and me drinking a coffee. I shed a tear (abnormal for me I know (that is sarcastic)). That is one of the good things about this year, simple things have become so good. I have to get this in too, the kids are currently watching YouTube, dogs that are dressed up as Ghostbusters. They make me smile.

That will do for now! Happy Easter, good bye and God bless you all in all ways and all things.

Ta ra!

Cathy.

Windy weather..!

Yesterday and last night was horrendous! The wind was so strong it blew our new egg stand over, thankfully, it’s ok and didn’t take anyone down with it… But I’ve taken the cabinet out of it (it has glass in it and part of it broke) and we’re going to put shelves in it instead. I’ve also weighed the bottom down with rocks.

It’s getting a bit warmer apparently and the plants are growing in the garden, so I guess that’s a sign that it is, but it still feels cold to me.. It’s so exciting in the greenhouse, all my little seedlings are growing more and more every day. I’m not yet quite sure where I’m going to put everything but I’m sure it’ll work out. We have some gherkin cucumber plants this year, I think I need to look up how to look after them and what to do with the gherkins. It’s all good fun as they say.

It was lovely prior to this week, yes, it got cold, but it was dry. It is so nice when it is dry. Then it’s legged it down (rained a lot) again for a while, so everywhere is soggy again. The weather here is so unpredictable. Then again, everywhere we’ve been they always say the same thing, ‘all four seasons in one day’. They said it in Orkney, I’ve heard it said in England and they say it here. But I have to say, I think it is more unpredictable here than in Derbyshire.

Our new chicks are coming on well, unfortunately as with most chicks, we don’t yet know what sex they are. So I’m beadily watching out for signs. I’ve managed to spot the cockerels quite early with our recent hatchings so I should have some idea soon. As always, hoping for girls, but with most hatchings, the best ratio is usually 50/50. So just part of life with chickens I’m afraid! J (our eldest boy) loves them. I bring them downstairs for him a couple of times a day and he handles them and looks after them for a bit.

Getting a grip on home ed can be tricky! I signed us up for the art classes (It’s called the ‘go sketch club’ if anyone is interested). I think she’s doing some free classes during Easter. But J is not that interested in doing them. Our sign up has come to an end, but I probably won’t be signing us back on for now. Maybe later at some point. Littlest might like it when he’s a bit older. I really liked them. It’s hard realising that your interests are not always their interests! and when to push it and when not to. She had some really good ideas about how to start people off drawing, and was so good with the kids. I recommend her if your kids are interested in art.

I’ve sent off for J John’s (A UK preacher/evangelist) book on the Easter Story for the kids and we’ll be reading and talking about Easter when it comes. Maybe look at different traditions and why it’s celebrated in different ways, things like that. Make sure the kids realise what it is really all about. Jesus. I just love just saying His name. He’s just so ridiculously powerful and beautiful and yet he washed His disciples feet. Think about that, I’ve spoken on that before in a blog. But He, Jesus, washed His disciples feet. He came to serve, not be served. The Lord of Lords, King of Kings came down as a baby, to a relatively poor family, grew up with them, fully human and fully God and served. He healed people, He freed people from oppression, He delivered them from demons, He helped them, but not only that, He forgave people’s sins, He said if you come to Him you would never thirst again. God. Jesus. Beautiful King who came down for us, suffered terribly, but saw us as the joy set before Him. Then was resurrected so we can have life and life to the full with Him. It’s so hard to put it succinctly, you can put it briefly and clinically, again, like I have before, ‘He came to save us from our sins’ and that is true, but through all this, He does so much more.

And! we have life with Him after death, eternal life. Death is no longer to be feared. He gives and gave so much more than we realise. He still does all that stuff, He still heals, He still gives freedom, He still loves us and he is alive. Easter is awesome, because He is. People often say it’s about new life, spring etc and it is, but also, so much more, because when we come to Jesus, because of His sacrifice and resurrection and when we give our lives to Him, and tell him to have it all. He gives us life.

Thankyou for reading. Have a lovely day.

Cathy.

It’s Sunday!

It’s Sunday (talk about stating the obvious) and I’ve come to sit in the caravan for 5 minutes or so. I’ve been to Sligo this afternoon to pick up six new chicks.

They all look a little like this 😊

They’re beautiful. I said I wouldn’t hatch any, but I never said I wouldn’t buy any. They’re about 4/5 days old I think. And apparently lay dark brown eggs when they come to the right age, which will be lovely.

Chris has made a stand to go outside our house, which we are putting spare eggs into. It looks amazing. I wasn’t sure how well selling eggs would take off but they’ve all gone so far! so thank you.

It took about an hour to get to the lady’s house who was selling them, and then of course an hour back. But when you’re in Ireland, this sort of distance sort of becomes normal really. It just doesn’t seem that far any more. And it was a nice journey too, very scenic, with mountains, Mary’s and fields all over the place.

It’s spring, so it’s busy, but good busy. We’ve gone down the no dig route with the greenhouse. So we’ve done a basic clean up, put compost all over and then covered with the planting membrane’s. I’ve tried to cover everywhere in there this year as weeding becomes a huge task otherwise. I’ve got enough to do with the front garden, never mind anywhere else. It’s covered!

It’s ready!

Things are growing fast! And because the poly tunnel is made from polycarbonate, it seems to hold the heat quite well and the young plants aren’t getting any frost damage because there isn’t any inside there.

So far, we’ve planted red cabbage, beetroot, chard (although I don’t actually know what to do with chard yet), lettuce, spring onions, broad beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, gherkins, chillis, sunflower seeds and early potatoes outside. There’s probably more, but that’s what I can remember off the top of my head. I say this every year… but it’s so exciting!

That’s enough for now. I need to go back in. Hope you’ve had a good Sunday.

Cathy.

The way…

I’m a little bit conflicted about writing the following, so I’ll try and keep it brief. I wanted to write about the past week, but the following just keeps going around in my head, so I’m going to get it out. I may do another blog about what is going on on the ‘homestead’. For the homestead peeps. It’s definitely less heavy ha.

I just wanted to remind Christians of something. What I want to say is… your particular part of church, your denomination (or no denomination), the way you worship, the group you mix with, the way you express your faith, what you do……is not (shock, horror) the way, the truth and the life. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through him.

I will repeat it again, your particular church is not the way, the truth and the life. Jesus is. the scripture is not ‘no one comes to the father except through (enter church name), it is: ‘Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Thankyou for listening. Bows and exits swiftly, haha.

I feel quite strongly about this, a long time ago, I was of the opinion that no one apart from Christians in my particular part of Christianity were ‘saved’. Then I took part in Street Pastors and swiftly realised that this was complete rubbish. I did literally go in suspiciously looking for error and non Christians, because of the impression I’d been given as a new Christian, and it was wrong. The ‘church’ is the whole church, the church of all believers, not just our own little bits.

I am not aiming this at Catholics like some might think, I’ve seen this attitude in both non Catholics and Catholics. I’ve seen Catholics mock the ‘other side’ as it were, undermining their decision to follow Jesus. They seem to be of the opinion that we ‘protestants’ think it’s ok to pray one prayer and then we’re saved and can go about our lives in much the same way and still have a seat in heaven. Well, that’s true to a certain extent, we, like all Christians, are covered by the blood of Jesus, covered by His righteousness, once we put our trust in Him, so yeah, our past, present and future sins are forgiven. But what you fail to acknowledge or realise is that once Jesus is in you. Once you have genuinely (and that is the key I think, genuineness), put your trust in Jesus and made Him Lord of your life. He makes you new, gives you a new spirit and the law is now written in your spirit/heart rather than just your head. So your life changes. The Holy Spirit speaks into our lives. But please, those who mock, don’t. We love God, we follow God, we make mistakes, we confess to God and repent, and we’re forgiven. We take it seriously (well, I do) and do all things because of the Love of God and the love that this brings out in us.

“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” (John 10:28-29).

But also, on the other hand, like I’ve already mentioned, I’ve experienced the other end, where people who actually know very little about Catholicism or other parts of Christianity, develop a ‘them and us’ attitude and decide they know their beliefs because of (quite often anyway) what they’ve been told by other people in their particular church. What I will say about believing Catholics that I have either met or experienced online, is that they are reverent, deep, want to experience everything God has and Jesus is their saviour and they trust everything to Him, including suffering.

Another interesting thing is, I’ve been between worlds for quite a while now, looking and watching both Catholic and non Catholic worlds and what I find interesting is that the non Catholic world over the last two years especially has been preaching more and more on the way we live and the way we honour God with our lives. And the Catholic church seems to be preaching grace more and more often. It’s very, very interesting.

The church is the church and we worship Jesus. He is the saviour of mankind. We are not. I think one of the reasons I feel so strongly about this is that I’ve been like this, I’ve made assumptions on people, I’ve acted as if no one else on earth could possibly know Jesus apart from people in my particular church. And that was wrong. We need to listen to people, not make quick, glib statements and tell them our views.

Anyway, if you’ve made it though all that. You may have figured out that I’m trying to figure some stuff out at the moment. So I’m just trusting God and asking Him ‘what do I do?’ as I saw quoted on Heidi Baker’s facebook page the other day. We can trust Him no matter what, which is always good.

Disclaimer: I am not an expert 😀 (but I do have God’s spirit in me).

God loves ya people!

Cathy.

It’s the Tuesday post! On a Wednesday!

Warning: I do talk about a car accident in this, not in graphic detail, but it is there.

Well it’s been quite a week, but I’m having to decide what to put in here. Do you know, someone said to me not that long ago ‘all will be well in the Lord’ and she’s right. It will. No matter what is going on here and now. All will be well in the Lord. If it isn’t now, it will be one day. And by Lord I mean Jesus. I love these verses: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6).

It’s so good to know that Jesus gives hope. That is what he gives. You know, sometimes I’ve thought of the whole thing in terms of ‘oh no, people who die who don’t know him, won’t be in heaven’. And that, to me, is just absolutely heartbreaking. But I’ve come to realise, yes there is a decision to make to follow Jesus, for Him to be Lord of our lives, but me/us knowing someone’s decision is not the last hope. The last hope is someone crying out to God wherever or in whatever circumstance they’re in. Even at the end of their life, or especially maybe. For God to speak to them too. A thing that gives me hope is that I know a lot of people’s default when terrible things happen is to actually pray. Because the need for God, the knowledge of God (as far as I am concerned) is built into us, whether we are completely aware of this or not. And God is full of mercy too, which is something I think we sometimes forget.

You know, I wondered about God and the afterlife a lot in my life before becoming a christian. From childhood all the way through my adulthood, up to 34, when He drew me to Him permanently. We seek solace and hope in so many ways don’t we? When I was a child, I can remember reading my bible, on my own, in my bedroom. But I didn’t really get it. When I was older, things happened and I got very angry and upset and yelled at God and told people He didn’t exist. But He did and does.

Then other things happened, I had a baby one week before I was 21, I lived with her dad at that time, and then, I think when she was one, there was an accident. Her dad was driving his parents to an airport on the M1 when our car broke down. They pulled up onto the hard shoulder and waited for his brother in law to come and rescue them. From what I remember he pulled up and they started transferring the bags and then a lorry hit the cars on the hard shoulder and left the motorway. When he hit one car, that car hit the other and in that process, my girl’s dad and his parents were seriously injured and his brother in law was killed. I got one of those phone calls in the early hours of the morning from the hospital to come in and my parents came to look after my girl and my dad drove me to the hospital. I’ll never forget the horror of those first few weeks. All our lives were impacted and changed, whether mentally or physically, they changed.

I can remember being terrified in the hospital. I wasn’t a nurse then and knew very little about what was going on. I can remember walking about the corridors literally sobbing and not knowing what to do. There was a lot happening. I won’t go into it all. I can remember being terrified when they said how long he was going to be in hospital, it actually wasn’t as long as they predicted. I can also remember getting a prank phone call from someone who presumably knew him and pretended to be him and pretended to be in pain, telling me I had to come in quickly. I went straight into the hospital and he knew nothing about it. People can be horrible.

I can remember at his brother in laws funeral, feeling absolutely furious because the vicar was talking about him being somewhere ‘better’.. To me, where could be better that at home with his young boy and his wife.. I was only about 22 I think (I apologise if any of this is wrong, it was a long time ago). But I can also remember over the coming months that it was probably one of the first times I contemplated whether there was life after death properly. As in seriously. It is a serious business really. I cried a lot!..

I think we all have these moments, I can remember another time, years after, when I’d broken my heel. I was a single parent by then and felt quite scared and very alone. I’d had surgery on it and had a pot on and all that, which may not sound that serious, but it was to me. I had moments of pure misery, where I recalled all the things I’d done wrong. I even tried to apologise to a couple of people for stuff that was quite a while ago. And what strikes me is it’s so similar to what God does when you know him. He brings you to repentance. But when you know him, you know where to put all this stuff. You bring it to him and if it is necessary, you do make amends. But it is God who forgives.

I am sorry if people don’t like me writing about all this. I’m not after pity, I just love contemplating how God works in people’s lives and how He can work in our lives. He works all things for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purposes (Romans 8:28) and the good news is that I’m not one of the spiritual elite. He’s there for you too. Not just me, or the chosen few. He’s there. This is not to negate the absolute horror of what happened to us or what happens to others, it’s still horrible.

I can remember all too clearly from several times in my life, the horror of life, the horror of what can happen or what has happened. The feeling that you’re in some sort of nightmare from which you cannot escape every time you open your eyes in the morning, every time you lie there in bed unable to sleep, as well as many other situations. But what I can also tell you is that God is there, as Revelation 3:20 says, … 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.

That’s a promise and that is that is that.

God bless you one and all.

Cathy.