So where's the snow?

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

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Jesus and the Wall

 So  after all I had been listening to, I was experiencing a renewal.  My doubts about the path we’re on here were gone and I now needed to take more steps and explore the way.A teaching of Andrew’s talked about using your imagination to see God’s will and plan, and that positive imagination is HOPE. Together with my renewal of using toungues I decided to battle with that wall.

 I had been reading  about Jesus being the shepherd (John 10 v 1-7) and how he goes into the sheep pen collects his sheep and then leads them out into pasture, funny I’ve only just understood this picture of practical sheep keeping!  So I sat and saw this wall, and could see a brick wall with some trees behind.   So I began tearing down bricks, and some had names on them, self, arrogance, family, Erna, horses, disbelief, self pity (I’m good at that!)  and I could see them lying on the ground.  The wall grew neither smaller or shorter although now 30 brick were on the ground.  So I decided to give it another go and went back to reading. 

 Matthew 7, v 13-14, and John 10, v 7

 I don’t need to destroy the wall, I have a gate, Jesus, I just need to find the small and narrow gate in all that undergrowth!

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Life goes on despite the lack of snow!!!

One of the Lungau Trachtenmode Groups at the Volkskulturfest

I know I keep on harping on about snow but everyone’s remarking on the lack of it.  Several of the  local resorts are now building their pistes with snow canons, we had minus 9 last night, so that helps. This is because snow is made here purely on water and cold air, no chemicals because of the pollution of the waterways.  We drove to Murau today and some of the shady sides of the valley haven’t thawed for weeks and the frost is so deep it looks like snow. I’ve just seen a report on ORF evening news with resort owners looking resolutely cheerful  even though they cant make the  snow – due to temperature inversion its actually too warm for the canons- its only those on the north side and hence shaded that are snow making!

Also whats up in the Lungau this autumn.  There seems to be a funeral every week, when I was in Mariapfarr yesterday I could hear the funeral bells both there and in St Andre and there was another in Tamsweg this week.  There’s been 21 losses in Ramingstein alone, is it the odd weather??????

I had coffee with a new neighbour on Thursday and she’s a lovely lady, we talked away.  I’m guilty of telling about Erna’s moaning the entire summer, and she knows her, but volunteered herself that she’s difficult.  This family built a house on the corner of our plot, and seems were deeply unpopular with all for it – but as that was in the 1980s things have calmed down.  I’d seen her previously with another friend at The Lungau Volkskulturfest in September, she’s a member of the Ramingstein Frauentrachtenmode group, and I’ve been invited along to one of their meets.  It involves wearing the local costume and turning out on parades – see photos.  At least I’ll get to meet some more folks – I’ve also felt hesitant about going being a foreigner.  I can hear my dear departed mother laughing at me, and probably so will my daughter too! It seems so sad that its through our neighbours death I’ve got to know more people.

Most important though is that now I’ve got a Crosstrainer, in an attempt to regain some fitness, I’ve lost all muscle tone – and to think that I thought working at the Burg would keep me fit.  So the contraption is in the spare room and after the first session, many muscles are complaining – tough I say. Funny as I walk more with God, I feel more distanced from this body and can laugh at its desire for food and rest.  As Andrew Wommack says, all this trying to subdue the flesh through denying it etc doesn’t work, you need to renew your mind first, then the body follows!

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Snow, snow, quick,quick, snow!

It'll be here soon enough, this was by the Joeph Merle Hutte in Schonfeld a couple of years ago

This autumn’s mild weather prompted my change of blog title, and as I write on the 15th of November, there is very little snow here at all.  We had some on the tops, such as Obertauern a few weeks ago but its all melted. Normally by now there’s enough to start the season and some of the hotels advertising for staff must already be open. There’s no glacier here for all year snow, so maybe they’ll have to bus people to Zell am see…….the snow usually turns up here in force at the end of the month and us valley huggers are in no rush for it to arrive!  There’s no apparent change in the forecast yet, we’re getting -8c at night which is normal and beautiful days. It seems Italy and France had shedloads of the stuff, but its thawed! The Austrian football team just got snowed in in the Ukraine though……..

Now I’m out of work and looking for something that’s all year, but all I’m finding is seasonal stuff.  We have work with the Asylums until the end of the year when the funds run out,  our first real therapy client and the two girls I’m teaching to ride who may go on through the winter, so it makes it difficult to find something – if we could just get funding next year, I could go self employed.

Work aside, life is wonderful!  God has changed things quite suddenly.  We now have a new Bible group, we met for the first time last week and it was lovely and spirit filled.  We just sat and chatted, all having so much to say on what we believe and have experienced, I feel we’ll eventually find a theme and study that, but at the moment we’re getting to know each other.  It’ll be weekly and you know for once I’m not worrying about being out late and feeling tired, for not only has God lifted the tiredness and deep fatigue, he’s given me a renewed spirit of eagerness to be out and about and enjoying life,(Thanks Joyce Meyer)  this is more than increased medication it’s a renewal.

Then through the sadness of or neighbours loss, I’ve got to know Lizzie, and through her found out about the local keep fit class in Ramingstein.  I went for the first time last night and although I wasn’t quite as bad as I thought, I’ve found I can’t hold my legs in the air while lying on my back – no muscles at all, will need to practise.  I only dissolved into laughter at myself once!  Out of that I’ve an invitation to coffee with another neighbour.    I’m also planning an English Christmas tea party and have baked cakes and will do mince pies, funny its taken me nearly five years to get this far.

Life is good, thanks God!

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Healthy Lungau?

More from the LungauVolkskultur fest (LVKF), blog to follow!

Sometimes it amazes me how people are cared for here.  I went to visit Paggy the other day and took him his prescription to find him with a huge box of medicines and a shiny box of daily doses on the table.  He told me that a woman comes weekly and sets it up.  later I visited the other neighbours and she was doing there and later was at the other neighbours what care, and it means lonely people get contact each week.  Nice!

When we were first here, having worked with disabled people, I couldn’t help notice how many there were with what I’d call slight birth defects – such as a limp.  Then there are obvious stroke victims who are quite young.  Then as we became aware of the diet here.  Drinking and smoking without any apparent teaching on the dangers – and look at how beer is a part of life.  When Dave worked at the builders they had a beer dispenser in the rest room, and when I was on the Job seekers course, there was beer on sale. The alcoholics were thrilled and were on their first by 8.30 in the morning.  They all think me nuts when I moan at the Burg at having to sit in a smoke filled room….the smoking ban was introduced there this year under much complaining from the staff, I imagine that by October the smokes will have bronchitis and flu from having to smoke in the Hof!!!  They din’t like it when I luaghed at them! You don’t see the alkies on the streets like in GB and most of the local events I’ve never seen anyone binge drinking etc, but we don’t go to the events for the young uns so I can’t say!

And the diet!  sausages in so many form, cheeses of all sorts. (Ok so I gripe a bit having hugh cholesterol and being unable to indulge).  plenty of healthy bread and the ubiquitous semmel- white bread rols that atste and smell like heaven when fresh.  You see kids being given a semmel as a snack – better than sweets?  Yet, they eat loads of salad and fesh veg, make loads of their own jam and in the autumn a lost of places have their own meat in a calf or pig slaughetered on the place.

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Austria, Lungau and health

Healthy cows in the mountains!

 Some of these reflections are maybe all over Austria, some particularly Lungau, I’m not sure!  For example, on TV there are the getting fat people thin programmes as in England, and its interesting to see what has made them fat here.  The problem is sausages in all shapes and forms, semmels, leberkaese ( a sort of hot luncheon meat but much nicer tasting), cheese , and only a little on the chocolates and coke we see in GB- same story, when you eat more than your body needs, you put on weight.

The health system here is quite different to GB, maybe behind it in some ways, in others ahead.  We’re lucky here that the local main hospital is in Tamsweg so that makes thing easier travelling.  The whole system does rely on a lot of paperwork but it functions.

When we arrived we had a special ‘E-card’ which is basically your health record and is a plastic card, this lasted for two years under a reciprocal health scheme cos we’re EU.  Once we started work, we went under the Austrian system and paid through our wages – pretty like GB! When we went to find a doctor, we were told the local guy in the village had a drink problem and so went to one in Tamsweg. We met him briefly as we presented our cards – his response was oh no! not English, but he changed his view when he saw we had the ecard – apparently there are problems with the Uk paying on the holiday cards.  We had no health check as we arrived, Dave handed over his medical notes we’d got, but in English they probably weren’t much use.  The doc has never spoken to us in English but has made us aware he can when he suddenly translated a word for us!  He runs a single practise, and there are about six working thus around the town.  There are no appointments, you just learn when not to go, such as a Monday morning, when everyone has their weekend ailments to be diagnosed. He does blood tests himself and chemotherapy for his patients in a back room.  There is a number system and that’s infuriating when you think you’re next and someone  walks in and queue jumps!  He’s sometimes late, which seems to be when he’s been on night duty, fair enough,  but sometimes he’s just not there – for example one day a note on the door said he was at a funeral.  He takes weeks off too – leaving a note on the door as to which other practises to go to.

We’ve wised up to this now and keep a copy of the dates.  He might not be the most popular Doctor, but we like him.  In other practises, we’ve had to wait two or three hours to be seen and the locals seem to accept this.  The ecard means our records are all accessed (well we guess so!).  We have to get repeat prescriptions from him – of which his receptionist keeps a signed pile.  In one practise, the receptionist signed it herself!!!!!! Ecard again.  If you get referred to another doc, you need to get a little yellow form from the house doc to the specialist, without this you have to pay!

The Surgeon, eye specialists, internal medicine, all have practises in the town, so as I found, I simply went the next day and queued and saw him.  Of course its a matter of numbers, but what a relief for it to be so easy. Four years ago, our Doc suspected I had a hernia so it was a relief to go straight away to the Surgeon. He had his own ultra sound machine in the practise and I was diagnosed on the spot.  What day would you like your operation?  Next Thursday please!

The hernia wasa surprise to put it mildly.  I’ve spent years lugging bales of hay, but two months lugging trays of chocolate in the choccy factory and crunch!  Following this I developed Diverticultis – which in hindsight I think had always been there, but the operation and lying about got me infected. Again diagnosed and into hospital with immediate treatment. It was through this they found I had very high cholesterol  due to my under active thyroid – this explained a lot about why I’ve spent my life feeling more tired than other people, and that’s been corrected too.  Maybe God sent me to Austria to get diagnosed!  The hospital here is clean, staffed with friendly people, is well-ordered and efficient – even though it has a pub in the foyer where you can smoke and drink, or just tip it in your drip!

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More shepherding for me -baaaaaa!

Orchids in Lessach

The follow-up to  Tu was has led to God reaching me another lesson that I hope will stay.  On the evening of the results, I had to pick Dave up from work and as I arrived he was leaving in the van with the boss.  Could I come back in half an hour? I was so cross, it wasn’t worth going home, so I bought an ice cream and tried to doze in the car.  Later I just couldn’t get through to him that all I wished he had done was pick up his flippin mobile and say I’m in the truck, I may be late. I could have stayed at home.  He knew I would be there at six.  It  was, well I didn’t know I was going, or how long, he just couldn’t see my side.

Then Michaela had been telling me about yet another job she’s taking on and the next day, denied a lot of the details to me.  I don’t like being lied too, and I felt we were friends and she wouldn’t treat me like she does the others.  I wasnt angry, just saddened.  So I thought, she’s had a hard life, she loves bossing me and telling me all her troubles, but its obvious that really my side is of no interest to her – especially as she obviously wasnt the least bit interested in my Tu Was adventures (yeah, I know, that’s just being peevish).

All my life has been a search, if not exactly for approval  but for people to be interested in me,  maybe due to my childhood events.  I am always surprised when I find feet of clay, and I see that’s unrealistic.  Why do I always expect perfection?  Why do I always strive to get everything right?  How have I arrived at this?  More shepherding needed I think! Dave turned around and said to me, well why should Michaela be interested in what you do?  He even says to me that he has to ‘try’ and take an interest in what I’m doing.  I don’t tell him stuff precisely because he’s just not interested or tells me I’m obsessed with horses – and of course he’s not obsessed with anything……or he forgets everything I say and then says I havent told him but apparently Lois and Michaela’s bloke are just the same so maybe its a man short-term memory thing.

Anyway.  Without reading self-pity into this, please understand.  There is only one person who is interested in you, who wont let you down, forget, dismiss or ignore.  and that’s God.  He’s the only one who wont fail you. Jesus has been in all these bad places, betrayed, ignored, shunned. All my life I’ve been looking for people to love me and be interested in me and endorse me, and every single person has let me down.  I don’t mean this to sound arrogant,  as if I’m someone special.  No there’s one person who has been there all my life and  I need to stop trying to find someone who will,  if not let me down, rather understand and support me, because he’s been there all along.  I’ve been so dumb.  And its so liberating.  I need to set no more unrealistic standards for the people in my life, all will somehow fail me because we’re human. The one I need has been there all along and will be.  I need to turn to him for my succour and support, and with this I have peace.  He will not hurt me, he has loved me from the start and will do whatever daft things I do.  Its given me peace.