So where's the snow?

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


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My Praise Place

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As I was driving back from dog walking this afternoon, it suddenly struck me, that in the car, pootling around the Lungau, especially in beautiful weather with the window down, this is the biggest place where I praise God and glory in his creation. Maybe it’s because the body is physically occupied with driving and part of the brain with watching the road, and the rest, in this active quietness is set free to seek him and revel in his beauty around me. I’ve been very at peace lately, but worried I’ve been ignoring him, but he’s here and something is getting free, I’m tuning my face to him in thanks, that is my main focus with him at the moment.

Where is your praise place?


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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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The raising of Lazarus

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One of the things that has been taught to me while here is the skill of patience. I’m beginning to get the idea, but I’ve still a long way to go. I’ve James Merrit to thank for this teaching and it’s one that was a real WOW moment.

When Lazarus dies is the one and only time that Jesus delays doing anything, hanging around before he sets off for Lazarus’s home. He even says that he has hung around so that God can be glorifed in what will happen. No doubt this had the Apostles scratching their heads, what was he on about now?  Mary and Martha meet them on their arrival and complain of his delay, it certainly tested their faith.

 We can’t understand why God appears to wait about and not answer our prayers. But the answer is,when we’re in his will, that in our long wait our faith is tested, especially when we’re hanging on by our fingernail. The end point causes an explosion of faith, truth, belief, worship and wonder, that we can suddenly see the lessons, the blessings and how our journey has an amazing end.  It’s a testing,a proving and a blessing. Like Mary and Martha.

The point is two fold. When we don’t know what will happen, we seek ways to increase our faith, hang on and believe. When the end point happens, we are there, in our spiritual explosion. But if the example here is understood, it should increase our faith as we are tested because we have the example of the explosion of faith and belief at the time of Lazarus. So the knowledge that it will come and be amazing  itself increases our belief. We just need to know there will be an end point and it’ll be fantastic. This is our  faith builder. When we understand this story. And it’s a catch 22.

Lazarus was the only guy Jesus shared the podium with, because his resurrection caused an outpouring  of faith and  belief in Christ which had the Jews plotting to kill Lazarus too. It burst though all the hardened hearts of that time. It set the grounds for the  resurrection.  I did wonder, is this a gimmick, a miracle to increase belief? But its not a trick! Such wonders are of God and if I need such a test to have a fantastic breakthrough, I’m holding onto this journey with more hope that ever before.

John 11, 1 – 12,10

Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”

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Ascension and Pentecost

One of the recent Holidays here was for Ascension day, as in when Jesus returned to heaven before he sent the Holy Spirit down on Pentecost – next weekend’s holiday!  Now I don’t hold with all this time and date setting it’s just a man-made thing although we can guess a timescale from the events in the Bible.  There was quite a lot of stuff on the TV on the day here, which I liked. In the UK no one would dare to stand up for the Faith of the Country, they might offend a Muslim  somewhere.  I’ve never heard of a Muslim complaining of things which are often found in their own creed.  It’s the idiotic political correct politicians who cause all our problems –rant over!

 Back to the TV, they were showing a church that is  dedicated to the Ascension and the pictures on the ceilings.  One of which showed one of the Apostles looking heavenwards, at a picture of the soles of a pair of feet!  My first reaction was to giggle but Dave told me off!  Then I thought, well maybe this is a simple way to portray the event, although we’re told he disappeared in clouds.

Its one of those mysteries I suppose is beyond human understanding, although as Science increases more theories come forward and explain things.  How did a man die, resurrect then disappear into heaven, God knows!  At church on Sunday we actually had a good sermon about this time for us as Christians. During this pause  inbetween the two major events we can eagerly await the arrival of the Holy Spirit – the Pastor was forgetting himself a bit about how this is all a marginal calendar.  But what struck me most was that unlike the Apostles at the time, we know whats coming.  We have the sureness. They had only a death, a miracle and an abandonment.  If only they’d know they wouldn’t have had to hide in fear and trembling!