So where's the snow?

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


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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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An Extra-ordinary Church Service

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Last Sunday morning,  I was feeling a little sad, as Linda and I were sitting alone in the Chapel, feeling that no one was coming to the service and we’d have to go home.  Then Heidi arrived in a rush having been stuck behind a bus all the way from Murau! Everyone else followed just after 10 o’clock, just like the UK services! What a relief!

We then had a wonderful service, which blew me away, the sermon I’ll write about in another post.

The Professor had brought three of the asylum seekers, heavens knows what they thought as it wasn’t a traditional service. And of course, we (me) brand the seekers with a dismissive brush but these three blokes had me interested, they were Christians from Iran,  I wondered where their families are.

All this was just after I had been wingeing to Dave about how I missed the UK services, with good music, praise and a tangible feeling of the Holy Spirit! Everything was there and what bowled me over was this was something Heidi had prepared, God working in advance! But maybe the preparation was for the Asylum seekers, not me!!!!

I apologized to Holy Spirit if I was causing this feeling of overwhelming sadness,  by my attitude and asked him to forgive me. I’ve had this as a premonition before but wasn’t so in this case, it was my attitude that stank.  In fact for a few days, I’d been waking with a oh no, I’ve got this to do, gloom, gloom and realised this was from you know who and rebuked it!

The songs, one of which was Amazing Grace were all known to me, even if we sang in German, and I welled up with tears as I do when I’m praising/feeling God in a service. I’m not saying that I rely on these emotions to experience God, but I more open to him when the songs move me.

I haven’t felt so much love around me for a long time, I felt healed and full, that I’m back. The Car accident took me on a journey away from his presence because of the injury in my spirit. I knew I was wandering away and Dave chided me for walking the dog when Andrew Wommack is on TV – I will try to take some podcasts when dog walking but I need to hear around me. But I’m studying again, having never relinquished the two chapters a day, I’m reading about the Galatians and its like I’ve never read it before.

My passion is back.


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Trainee Hermit?????

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For the past few weeks while Dave has been out of the house doing his work experience (snigger snigger), I’ve had the place wonderfully and silently and peacefully to myself.  My childhood memories are of being alone, playing alone although it can’t always have been the case, and anyway, why was I on my own, where was everybody? Our days at Little Marsh were alonely too, but after a while I had the kids.  So being alone is easy for me, safer than with people. So I’ve spent the days with my quiet time with God and chatting and trying to hear his word, reading, blogging, trying to paint and unsuccessfully trying a new book, bits of gardening and harvesting, and special times with friends around.  I know that maybe this time is the sweeter because I know it will end as Dave goes back to his course on Monday, but he’ll be out the house on mornings. I feel God has given me the go-ahead to start a new House Group, but just to hang on a bit with the invites –he’s given me the biblical basis and the running order of the evenings, so I wait for the go ahead.

I take each day at a time.  At moments a gulf of despair will creep in, will I ever work again?  I know God has something up his sleeve for me, but I have no sense of it’s arrival.  Then, well as long as I get some money, what do I care if I don’t?  I like being at home!  Jobs applied for and no answer. If I think of going back to the UK, my stomach knots up, but it would be such a relief to do all in English, and England feels friendlier than here does at the moment. When Dave’s course is over we talk of packing our bags and running away.

Last night we were watching a programme on people who spend their summers up on an Alm, milking or caring for cows, or collecting Entian roots for schnapps. All that time alone, nothing, just the Alms seemed like heaven to me.  Yeah says a voice, no internet there, no contact from the kids.   A lot of these places have no electricity, how long would the camera battery stay charged?  Still as maybe so long as I had paper, pen and a Bible…..

Anyone got a spare hermitage??????


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Home or away?

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Regular readers will know that many times I’ve used the view from our kitchen window,here in Austria, in snow and summer as I waste many idle minutes pondering on life, talking to God and just watching the birds and the weather.

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When we were in Swanage, we rented a small cottage on the High Street. Completely unexpectedly we found the most incredible view over Swanage.  To the right we could see the sea over the rooftops, in front all the lovely grey stone cottages and the Swanage Railway and bus station. The hills behind the town beckoned me to walk them again. We could even sit on the loo and watch the trains steaming in and out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was a view to engross and always something new.

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Then it struck me.  Here out of my window, I see and hear no sounds of life apart from the waterfall, nor see people apart from cars on the road. Here, as I sat in the garden was the noise of trains, buses, cars, but most of all, LIFE.

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I could hear people in the street talking as they walked past, people going to the church over the road, people pottering in their gardens, doors banging, birds singing. And people are life. Suddenly my home seems like an empty wilderness.

Jeremiah 29, v 10-14


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Taking a break

I’ve decided to take a break from blogging, especially the Postaday, as its just taking up too much of my time.  I’ll probably do the photochallenges but for the moment its goodbye.

I seem to be in a place where not a lot is happening, I’m sort of treading water, not doing much and what I do do, I’m doing half heartedly.  I need to rethink just where I’m going with my writing and life.  I need to find a focus, discipline and direction.  To do this, I’m going to put my time into saturating myself in the Word and seeking God’s face.

Thanks to all my followers, you’ve been such a blessing!