So where's the snow?

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


Back again!!

As autumn suddenly arrived on the first of September, I finished my book and after some time of catching up, I’m finally free to blog!! It surprised me how I felt a weight was lifted when the second, readable draft was done and I handed it to my best friend to read. My newly born. I’ve an idea of where it needs changing and it is a bit on the short side, but that’s far more fun than having to cut bits!

So now will come loads of posts talking about my summer, its good to be back!

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Oral Tradition


When our son and his wife visited recently, we had a discussion about my Dad, who was ‘One if the Few’ in the Second world war. I was able to show them some fairly boring photos, which I must get my brothers to have a go at identifying, but could tell them the family tales my mother told me about him.

It then struck me that the kids know nothing about my childhood. I talk about people but never tell them about lives. In this day of media and laptops and everyone taking selfies, or going on the ancestry sites, have we lost track of the simple tradition of telling family stories to our kids. Telling them of the wealth of their heritage, how our families are formed. Writing it down has no guarantee of being passed on. Yet in a generation that is constantly recording itself, we need the family tales told before they are lost forever. There are family shots in my Mum’s album who I have no idea who or why they are there, and now never will do.

Talk, pass it down.


The Living Sacrifice

Weird clouds as the storm departed

This is a repeat of an earlier blog series as I’ve just increased where the Blog appears.

Living Sacrifice – what a mouthful and what a daunting expression this is, especially to someone not really knowing the Bible. There is the picture of something being slain on an altar which is horrible and as Andrew Wommack says, the trouble with a living sacrifice it keeps on getting off the altar.

This expression is found in Romans 12, 1 -2 and a lot of preachers make a lot of this, I quote below from the NIV;

‘1. Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy , to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. 2. Do not confirm any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is –his good, pleasing and perfect will’

The series then unpicked this statement, and to be a LS, is basically come to the end of your self.  And I have so done this!  God’s allowed me to follow my own desires in my writing, my degree work, although he showed me his purpose in working at the Fortune centre.  Here I’ve learnt patience, about my arrogance, my low self esteem, and the commensurate high sense of self importance, I’ve learnt how to clean bogs and be the invisible member of a team (well nearly).  I have this sense that there is nothing left but God, and I’ve made him my last option as I’ve slowly built a spiritual wall around myself, which I can see neither over or round.  I would counter those who would say that God has broken me – for I am not broken, I am his beloved and he has shown me these things in a way through my spirit so that I’ve come to recognise them and pray against them and learn, even though at times I’ve let them run while still being aware of them.  He’s let me discern and I feel has said that he made me, some of these things are damage and some things – like my love of control are not necessarily bad if used in the right way. I am at the end of myself, I lay myself on that altar and say I’m yours.  Do with me as you will, no holds barred. I know there are times when I’ll try to crawl off, as this self of  body  and soul (my thinking) which lives in the present time and space rears its physical needs, desires, cravings and will against that of God spirit of God who lives inside me, but I know I just have to climb back on board.  Its not a bloody place. When I get what is called a ‘Flesh flash’ of me wanting to do things for me, the Spirit will help me deal with it. As the series went on, more and more insights came to me and at last I’ve begun to get on the next stage.  I laid down my blog writing as a symptom of self, but I believe he’s given back to me this burning desire to share with people in this way through words so here I am.

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Thoughts on working again

Burg in the snow!

It’s about ten days until I go back to the Burg and in some ways I’m really quite relieved. Its been a long haul at home, and the days when I’ve been stuck here all day without the car can be difficult. It helped when I brought loads of books back from the UK, along with writing this blog and researching my autobiography.  This I’ve shelved as its revealed a lot to me about myself and the consequences of my actions along with the things that have happened to me, making me unable tosee a platform to share this that can benefit anyone.  In some ways the experience had me feeling soiled!

I’ve been gardening like mad too, now spring really seems to be here.  Of course, being me, each day here is now precious, not boring  as I work through a list of jobs, so the house is in order until the autumn.  There wont be so much time for cleaning (whooppeee)!   The therapy project comes on slowly as we get our application into Tu Was and see the tax advisor.  I’ve got to be the accountant as Edith hates such stuff.  We still need to get transport for the asylum seekers worked out and find customers!  We’ll have a Workshop soon and send out loads of invites to it.

I’ve been partially uneasy being at home so long as I’ve got dole money and feel guilty as this isn’t my country. Though I pay taxes and National insurance  here I feel a bit odd about it, like I shouldn’t take from a country that isn’t my own.  Yet people here say, go on take it!

 This winter has been an odd mix of laziness and loneliness.  I don’t think I could live like this long-term, I’m too young, perhaps in 25 years or so.  Maybe I should have another horse or dog to keep me occupied! I feel at my best when I have an aim or purpose or list for the day – it was great when I did all the painting in the autumn, and it’s always easiest when Dave is at home to bicker and get bored with me!

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More introspection and Paggy news


View from St Leonard's church towards Tamsweg and Preber

I’m writing this towards the end of March as I know the start of the Burg is imminent and for a few weeks I’ll be knackered as I adjust. I  always feel guilty at being home, when others and Dave are working.  Various new jobs are being advertised on the local Jobs website, but Helmuth has made a huge mistake of putting the wages down.  It seems really unfair that a server, although they work some evenings, on the same hours as us earns about 300 Euros a month more.  When you consider the sheer hard work with no hoovers, and lugging stuff up all this stairs it seem even more unfair.  I bumped into Michaela today, she thinks so to, so what should we do?  We know there’ll be the ‘ we don’t have the money response’, but……..

This is a quite and quite lonely life.  Admittedly I can now go and do stuff in the garden.  Yet maybe I’ve always been a solitary soul.  As a child I felt alone and played horses by myself in the old stable block and read a great deal. Then at Little Marsh, I was alone, even when the kids came – although once they were mobile and vocal I yearned for a break! and is now back again, and while I’ve got something to do such as blogging I’m  ok.  I’ve read so  many chic lits books which have bloggers and writers in them lately that I see myself suddenly finding international fame  by chance and having a writing career so I can please myself….hmm, dream on!  At least blogging means that although not a lot of people (as yet) are reading this, I’m in a sense published.  I spent so long getting my novel not published that I don’t want to go through that again! My small readership doesn’t bother me really, this is so much more for my own pleasure!

Not a lot has happened with the Asylum seekers, as we can’t get transport organised and Edith is adamant we shouldnt start something where no one will pay us. She went and saw one of the county MPs, I couldn’t go as I had to get dave from work then.  Typical politician, telling us what we already know and not being prepared to be interested because she had her foot trodden on by a horse in a Team building session and has had trouble ever since.  So hopefully next week, Edith and I will go to the Tirol for a meeting with the other EAGALA peeps in Austria and hopefully get some hot tips from them….

Paggy is having his house deep cleaned by the Red Cross ladies and it makes such a difference.  He’s not well though.  His left wrist (the working one) has been very swollen and painful, but is improving.  He’s lost weight, now this might be due to the fact that he’s getting meals delivered which are for diabetics and he’s cutting back on the sauce, but he’s not himself.  He even didn’t rise to my jesting the other day, I  find myself wanting the jokes and innuendo to return.

Postscript; while I was hoeing my flowerbeds today I got the familiar yell from his garden and he was down inspecting his greenhouse, and I went to admire his tulips.  It soon was back to the have a beer and ribbing, praise God, he’s on the mend!

I feel guilty that as a neighbour I didn’t suggest I could help and just watched the place get messier.  He ‘s such a proud man, you’d never know if he felt he was losing grip or just ignoring it.  Then he says he couldn’t understand where the rubbish had come from on his patio and you begin to see his situation.  I’ve seen this with Mum and Gran and others, that a fall or operation comes and that’s the end of things.  It’s as if this jolt to the system causes the downward spiral to the end.  Oh I so don’t want this for myself, I’ll fight this, I want to go suddenly with all my facilities, how many of us get that though?

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Our place - Snowtime!

I’m still trying to adapt to being at home so much and there do seem to be compensations.  I’ve cleaned and sorted the flat and chucked so much stuff that we’ve already accumulated in the last three and a half years. The relief of not actually having to get up the following morning is great.  Nethertheless, I don’t linger in bed, I like to be up and about the flat.

The first thing I like to do is go around and open the windows and the blinds, a sort of claiming the day. Then a good view out of the kitchen window to see what the weather is doing.  I can see if the river is running high and brown with rainwater and what sort of clouds on the horizon, meaning rain or snow or sunshine.  And of course, checking how many vultures are lurking around the bird table!  There are so many beautiful birds that do visit the table – pink and blue Jays, black white and red Woodpeckers, red Bullfinches, not to mention the Chaffinches, Greenfinches and all the family of the Tits – the mostly lovely being the long tailed Tit.  But my most vigorous visitors are the sparrows and I remind myself I’m helping an endangered species!  Field sparrows in noisy, messy groups, who sit in the feeder flicking the seed onto the ground with great abandon (not allowed to say gay anymore!). I’ve spent ages trying to get over their waste and the right mix of seeds.  But I’ve given up, I buy a bag a week from the co-op and mix it all together.  The other birds who wont sit on the table do benefit from their activities.  My next job is to go out and feed the vultures and quite often they’re sat in the bush shouting, to just fly off as I approach, returning within minutes to feast.

This week I’ve been then sitting with Bible to do some study, to find some answers.  Just what should I be doing?  There’s like a huge wall in front of me.  Maybe I’m still in my wilderness time, needing to be made usable, maybe some issues he still needs to resolve with me.  I’m more at peace now than the last week where I was unable to face a day without  a task on my to do list.

Quiet time over, its Facebook, emails and a scan of the Mail online. Then household jobs and pottering on the aforesaid jobs that goes on. At best with some audio teaching on followed by some music at full blast. Thank heavens for our thick stone walls! Evening includes preparing the fires, then supper, Andy and Joyce on the TV, and then bath with a book.

Am I allowing these routines to become my life so I’m trapped by them?  After a day doing stuff and work, the idea of a day doing just this seems so sweet.  Or is it a start of an obsession?  Or is it a way to order my life?  I’m doing loads of writing, so maybe God has fulfilled my original dream of a quiet place to study and write and paint (though not doing the painting yet). I’m starting to write my autobiography, and its surprisingly hard work. Reading my diaries takes me back to their time and place and emotions, as if they’re just happening.  I’m praying for a revelation form God as to how to create it to help people. I’ve thought of an interactive online form where people can add comments and their lives too. Can I take the negative stuff?  What would I do if someone found me who I didn’t want to meet again???? Yet, I still can’t see the use of a life to him where there’s so few people.  Where I used to crave solitude (and still do on a day off as a way of de-stressing), now I need people so I can witness and love them.  Ah well, just over four weeks till we go to Blighty……………….