So where's the snow?

Muddling through in Austria; God, life and a small black dog


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Kickstart!

Our little house group asked for a kickstart, and this is what we got! We all have an instinctive knowledge of God, but it is at our peril that we ignore him when we opt in or out of belief.Bevere uses an allegory to show just what will happen to us, not only when we die, but on the judgement day. Scary and a real wake up call. It’s there in the Bible, but we all pass it by with complacency.As Christians, believing in Jesus, yes, we do get to heaven, but there is a life accounting to be made. I’m sure that I’m not just loving God for the rewards that Bevere goes on about. After all, you don’t love someone for them to thank you. For me, it’s the being with him. But then again, if something I’ve written or said brings a person to know Jesus, I’d like to know, that would be a reward for me.My first reaction was to yell, help to God, is this true? I’m sorry if I’ve goofed, let‘s start again, I repent. I thought I was in your will. Out walking I began praying in tongues and at work listening to the Bible on the phone, it took a while to find a UK voice! Not that it would make God love me anymore, but to let his word and spirit wash over me and clean and heal me. Was I still his beloved Anna? When I was a new Christian I heard this said behind me and jumped out of my skin!Then I began to consider the peace I had found writing and claimed that I felt this IS his will. He had given me the plots for the books in dreams, and I feel such a peace and contentment in this life now I’m doing it. Especially when creating, I can’t wait for the new day, however mundane.I began to wonder if my not writing, which I started in 1991, if I had kept on, what sort of writer for him I would now be. I have a talent for wrong decisions. Now I’m right and I’m holding on to it.I was also convicted that I needed to be giving Dave more respect, and to stop moaning and grumbling about him in my head, and when I asked Holy spirit, he stopped me (well mostly) we are so happy at the moment, even if not perfect. Both loners together, at this point of my change, I am so happy with him and he seems so too. I am at times aware of how much I do love him and when I’m engulfed in that, I send that feeling of love on to God as well.The other morning, while walking the dog, I was saying to God how do I witness to people in my situation here at the moment, the answer came autobiography, so that will come next year. Something I’ve avoided for years. I feel as if I’m in the calm, centre eye of the storm in his safety. I am in the right place now!Not that there aren’t lessons. Reading Bevere, about being jealous of other’s successes. I am. I must realise these books are Gods, funded by his money. I need to let God market and concentrate on writing his words. But being a perfectionist, I have to go on and on at the words till I feel they are perfect. But he okayed using the book marketing company, so he will use them. It’s his money.The Bevere book also has the best explanation of dying to self I’ve read. It’s the world set of carnal values that are about you, money, politics, ideology, replacing them with Jesus, so these values just don’t mean anything to you. Only God.Lastly healing. I’ve had my diverticulitis, my unbelief due to the symptoms taking over. I believe in speaking to my mountain as I am a born again Christian and believe the power of the risen Christ is in me. So now I say, in the carnal, symptoms you are toast, you are being treated by carnal medicine, and you are healed supernaturally. Illness, you’re pants. As you see or imagine yourself well, that builds hope, increases faith and enables the healing. A recent bug, I said you have a day symptoms, then you are gone, and the next morning they were! My unbelief is shrinking and my faith building, but I have a long way to go.


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This Winter

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It seems like only yesterday that we got back from England, and I treasure that memory. I came back with no depression, just a deep peace. I’ve finally adjusted to this winter quiet, in summer I look now forward to the rest! But I seem to bustle around mostly due to the dog being walked twice a day. We’ve had duty with Meals on Wheels, I’ve started my library service. I just love being there, planning things, meeting people, and the quiet. My love of books extends to those in German now! Meeting with friends to dog walk, chatting as we walk or we watch the dogs play, echoes of those times in the parks in the UK.  The holiday lets have been easier, I got rid of a lot of furniture in the spare room, and so have more dryers, and for our main flat, we’ve got Polyester cotton quilt covers, that take up less room in the machine and  dry quickly, so I’m not stressing about the house being full of laundry! I’ve stopped being silly about working every Saturday either! The job with Interhome as a keyholder I love meeting the people away from the stress of arrival day. I’ve made the odd mistake over bookings, but I’ve learnt now to  get someones surname spelt out if there’s a problem!  I’ve just had a new English student come knock at the door, more jobs finding me, thanks, God! Dave has the meeting for Burg Finstergrün this Sunday, when we will know what his contract will be this year. I’ve started my new book, just need some quiet in the house to get on…..

I’m starting to hunt down the certificates so that I can get an Irish passport through my Grandparents, hopefully that will fix Brexit!

Then it will be a summer of gardens, dogs, flats, sunshine, meals on wheels. I feel settled. I have more training in the  Salzkammergut in June for being a librarian, I have to write this book review in German -argghhhh! Steph and Paul are coming over for my birthday. Its her 30th this year and I’ve just finished a special book of photos of her from 0 to 30. I did one for George too.

The winter has been amazing with a long really cold spell with blue sky and ice,(see posts) which could have gone on longer as far as I’m concerned. Oh, the crunching of hard cold snow underfoot! I like real cold! We’ve just had a mild spell but last night brought more snow, don’t want a too early spring if it means another late snow that destroys my fruit!

The only thing that jars, is my faith. I’ve felt God saying to me that he has given us Ramingstein as our area of witness. Its not about housegroups and home churches, its about shining with his light, being his love in the community. To stop going around the houses with housegroup-we’ve been trying for ten years and each time its grounded. And I believe, someone new is coming here who will sort all of this out. Its not my job, just to instigate. This year will see if all this is so.

I mean to look back at this post at the end of this year!!


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So What Next and a Christmas letter?

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December 12th

I’ve just had a real blast teaching the now annual English course, and this time I had the Intermediate Class and they were great, even though I did make a bit of a bog up with the Passive voice, have to go and study it…..

Now I’m home, back to walking the dog and annoying Dave! I’ve had answers to prayer, where God has told me two things that have given me real peace.

Firstly, where I’ve been wingeing on about missing the kids, he said quite clearly to me – Haven’t I been looking after them and blessing them while you’re away for the last eight and half years???

Secondly, where I’ve been miserable about our future, not knowing the way forward, hating doing the gardening and changeovers on the holiday houses, he said, there is nothing wrong with the situation, the problem is you and your attitude to it!  Sank back into utter peace. And when I read our Christmas letter, it put it all into perspective how God has changed things for us this year and I’ve been too blind to see it at the time.

Quite what I’ll do for work next year, I don’t know. I’ve had a few English students and the work with our little business kept us busy in the summer. We’re living a life of peace and suddenly I can perceive this.

The dog has of course helped, along with the regular walking , which has me 10 kg lighter since March! I’ve realised what a hypochondriac I’ve become since my operation and the menopause. My Hashimotos must be controlled with the hormones and selenium – when I stopped it I began to live in a brain fog. But I don’t need to panic each time I feel something in my chest or have indigestion of have a bout of the palpitations – it’s all been going on for over two years, nothings happened, I must stop panicking!!!!

I want to paint and God has shown me that I need to re-think my approach to it. See it like a written document or book that I wont leave until its right. And my mission-to try to paint my joy in his creation.  Here’s our letter below. Thanks Lord!

 

Christmas last year was one of our best ever, after  we drove to England via Munich and Paris and then the ferry from Cherbourg to Poole. It was less traumatic than we thought due to the Sat Nav and we’ll do it again, but when we can take a bit longer and stop off more on the way………

As the ferry left France, we heard the sad news that Herr Pagitsch, (or Paggy as we called him) had passed away.  His brother, Hubert inherited the house and has completely renovated it. We were honoured at the funeral to carry a lantern and the cross to the Graveyard.  Hubert has given us the use of Paggy’s greenhouse which is wonderful!

Anna hit a low point after all this, and were beginning to question our being here and what the way forward was. Then into our lives exploded a small puppy, who Anna named for some peculiar reason, Swingle. A black, short coated, farm dog mixture, she has chewed a lot of the house, cost a fortune as we had to fence the garden, but over the year she has calmed down and her sweet but mischievous nature gets her forgiven most of the time and has got us fitter through  going walkies!

In April Dave landed a job at Burg Finstergrün as a helper, and spent a lot of time strimming the Castle grounds into order throughout the summer.

We had more gardens to do this summer and have another holiday flat to look after, which is about our limit for coping with the work in the winter ski let season.  We don’t know yet if Dave will go back next year, the Burg management is still deciding after a quiet season. We’ve continued doing Meals on Wheels, and have got to know some lovely people in the village.

Anna was at home during the summer, doing a lot of dog walking! She has just finished teaching what seems to be the annual English course in Tamsweg and after Christmas will be trying to find something part time all year round.  She has been teaching evening classes in English and has had several private students during the year and maybe this will grow.

She also broke our yellow fiat panda in a stupid accident, and we now have a new Red Panda, which someone hit while it was parked as Dave delivered Meals on Wheels. That’s more than enough car trauma for one year!

The weather this summer was really hot, but this time with enough rain to keep the grass and the veggies growing in our garden. Now we have Paggy’s greenhouse we’re going to try melons in ours next year!!!!

We’ve also made some really good new friends this year with dog owning in common. They have lived in the Ramingstein for ten years!  Like living in Cornwall, the Lungau is a very closed community and although we do have some Austrian friends, this new friendship is wonderful!

Stef is coming out here for Christmas and we hope to get to the UK sometime next year depending on work. George and Michelle are still in Wareham and enjoying being dog owners too!

The Church in Lungau is taking very slow, tiny steps forward. The PCC has agreed to run an Alpha course, but this has fallen at the first hurdle as there are no training courses for the leaders in the near future in Austria.  Our small Bible group is looking at some evangelism training and their way forward too.

So a year of changes, the work situation is slowly improving, and we feel more settled at the end of this year than last, but who knows what’s around the corner?

Happy Christmas!  

 


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Enjoying Life

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One thing I can’t put in these posts is the sound. At the moment, the Blackbirds are singing their wonderful, liquid song, its such a wonderful backdrop to life. We missed the song thrushes this year as it snowed in May and they cleared off. The Martins and Swallows are all around me as I walk in the mornings.

Life has a new pace. Maybe because I’m getting a little fitter and a little lighter with the dog walking, I find that I can do so much more in life without being poleaxed with tiredness. Yes, bedtime can be a bit earlier, but I’m usually up by 7, and if I need the car, I take Dave to the Burg, then Swingle and I go walkies. Back here, its clear up whatever chaos she’s made, all the usual, my quiet time, and if I’m lucky a time to write and paint.

I collect Dave then often we’re off to do someone’s garden or play in our own. Meals on Wheels makes the morning short, and I really enjoy the days when I can just stay at home. There’s numerous painting jobs to be done around the house, but Oh dear, its raining!

I should feel guilty about being at home, but I don’t. I have a new friendship which I’m treasuring, and an old one renewed. I have four people to teach English too, all the aforesaid meals duties, though that’s only once a month, a busy time with changeovers on the holiday houses. And you know who and a contract to teach in October, just about the time Dave finishes at the Burg.

Then on top of this, we’ve been studying Power thoughts by Joyce Meyer. It’s transforming us, the biggest lesson being not to take offence, which we do so much with our bickering. My cup is full to overflowing,Thanks Lord!


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All Change!

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First dandelion of the year!

I’ve been praying since the really bad winter for change here in our lives, for a confirmation that we are to stay or its time to go home. Change arrived all right in the form of Swingle, Dave even having a complete change of heart over dog ownership. He now plays with her maybe more than I do!

Now under my prompting (I didn’t nag, just gave him the details) he applied for a job at Burg Finstergrün, and started yesterday. He’s working in the garden and as a general helper. WOW!  Just hope he doesn’t have to meet the dreadful Erna (see posts of my time at t’Burg). The hours mean that there will be time to do the gardens and houses we do already and no need to advertise. I’d felt quite strongly when I began wording it, to stop and I was thinking to myself about it a few days on, and again thought, no the work has to come to us, an hour later we had the call from the Burg.

This leaves me at home (YAAAY) with time to write and I’m really going to work on my painting. I will be doing Meals on Wheels and the holiday changeovers -lets hope its not another season of guests from hell and the main house falling to bits. I have had an approach to baby sit another dog, and I will charge for this. I’ll have to sort the insurance on this, but it could work.

I was also killing some time in Tamsweg last week and I felt propelled to visit Gina who works in one of the shops – she will call me for tutoring her son – YAAY  again! Another ex student is coming to me for more English lessons -Yay! I have a contract to teach English again this autumn, just about the time Dave finishes at the Burg.

So it really seems that stopping trying to do things and leaving it to God means that things come to us, and for the next year, our place is very here. We will Christmas here and maybe afterwards when the ski season lets are over, drive to the UK for a visit, maybe avoiding the cabin fever of this year, all the possibilities are there. Thanks God!


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A strange day…….

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Dave and I have been really praying about our future here in Austria and after the events of the past couple of days, I’m begining to wonder if things such as the meeting with the Priest and yesterday’s bizarre afternoon are some form of answer!

In the morning, I had a call from our Pastor, saying he’d had a mysterious phone call from a man in English a few weeks ago and he had arranged to meet him at the Burg at Three in the afternoon. He had no idea what it was for, there was something to do with a warzone and he couldn’t ring the bloke back.  He couldn’t attend anyway as he had to teach that afternoon. So Dave came along to ride shotgun in case it was a depressed asylum seeker from the local centre. We prayed before we went in, maybe God did have his hand on it…

I went to reception and met an familiar face from when I worked there who informed me the mystery man was getting married there that afternoon. We went up to the Chapel where we met his parents who sent someone off to find the groom. They were waiting for our Pastor to come and do a Wedding Blessing or Ceremony, – they had been married civilly earlier as you have to do in Austria. My blood ran cold. The poor bloke who looked shell shocked.

So I rang the Pastor who exploded down the phone. I can’t do weddings without the right paperwork, I’ll end up in Prison, this guy should have sent me all the forms. He wouldn’t/couldn’t even come to do a blessing. All I got was a tirade of how nothing was going to happen, he even said at one stage I could do a blessing myself.

More discussions. Dave and I went down the hill to the Priest’s house. He was a surprised as us. He had been rung by the bloke, but as he wasn’t Catholic there was nothing he could do, nor was he even ready to go and give a blessing. He and given the groom our Pastor’s number. Back to square One. Then I rang Heidi who is one of the lay preachers and is a human dynamo. She agreed at once to come and do a blessing but wouldn’t make it till six. The wedding party took it well, and were taking photos and chilling while they waited. We had to leave as we had another appointment but Heidi rang later and said she did a lovely little service in a candle lit chapel, using English and German. Phew.

And our Pastor? Another phone call spewing the same stuff, not a word of Oh B’*§$% I’ve screwed up big time, I didn’t understand. No, Just this cant be done, its not the law I can’t come. Maybe something has happened to him in the past where he cant own up to stuff, I don’t know. But at least Dave and I were there and by God’s Grace it was sorted. The only thing I regret is that the couple lived in the same part of the world as Andrew Wommack and I wanted to ask if they knew of him………


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Catholics and Protestants

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Our local Priest runs evening talks after the Mass on Monday nights and the proposed theme was  ‘There gives only one Father God’. With great glee, Linda and I decided to go as the radical Protestants and see what he was going to say. We went to the Mass before as a mark of respect – although not all did.

I sat as usual somewhat bemused but felt the Love of God all around me and a touch of naughtiness and what we were going to be talking about- would I put a silly point of view over?  I really began to feel how silly the ritual all was, the bowing and not drinking the wine, and as I’ve thought before, but all this doesn’t really matter to God? What does matter is our hearts and our desire for relationship with him. If we are loving Jesus all these fripperies I don’t think really matter! I also remembered my childhood and always being sat in the front row during Mass with my grandmother, and the utter boredom of it!  Some of the words I could remember too, although in English. All perfectly lovely words to praise God!

So into the Parish rooms to sit around the table and chat. There was no Mrs Doyle bullying us into tea which was a shame…..There was 10 of us, with three men besides the Priest. My heart fell a bit as one of the men I know. Although Catholic he is dead against what the church does and is trying to change it from within. Maybe a noble sentiment. However this has led to an antagonistic attitude and I knew he would try to dominate the discussion from his point of view and so it was. I felt my love disappearing.

The Priest did a historical resume of both churches and we got tied down in the history of the schism and then Bruno pitched in about the Saints. I agree, if people have led a  great life, maybe died for their belief they are great way finders, but when we go to them rather than Jesus, it aint good. You can’t pray to dead people its unbiblical, talk to the living one!

Then the discussion got beyond me, and when Bruno had shut up, the Priest tried to take the reins again and move on. So of course we got into the difference in the sacraments. I was getting wound up by Bruno now, fed up with him and had things to say myself, which I feel were the prompting of the Holy Spirit. So I let rip. Explaining I come from another culture and we have huge churches where the sacraments are not in the services as a rule, and Jesus and the Holy Spirit are very much there. That what matters is love. For one Church or ideology to think its better than the other is arrogant. When we have Jesus at heart all the ritual is unimportant. We have the truth in the Bible (that didn’t go down so well). The talk went on and I again said we must be together. That the devil laughs when we tie ourselves up with condemning theology . together we could do so much for the world in these times, but he keeps us divided. Time was up, all were tired. The Priest finished on the rod of power being passed on down through Peter to the current Pope- I can see that. And why is the Bible not added to – well the Catholics would say it was. Then  we got the Bride for Christ bit – yes, ok, but first we need to tell the people the truth about Jesus. The last bit made me giggle again when the Priest said that he believes that when Jesus comes, he’s going to be Catholic! He hadn’t studied all these years and got these conclusions to change his mind.

So a discussion that wasn’t held together – and I saw Bruno cornering the poor Priest as we left, but Linda said I spoke OK. So at last, I’m a bit usable in little things. Life us regaining its integrity for me. Yippee! I hope that I can make contact more with the ladies that were there and we can show this love.