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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Growing older

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Many of you have read my views on ageing and my own minding not to give into it. And getting freaked out when things do change. Well, I read a lovely book recently, by Adam Houge, Quiet times with Jesus, which uniquely is written in the first person of Jesus speaking straight to you. I don’t agree with all there, the voice at times doesn’t seem the Jesus I know, BUT  here I found a whole new way of thinking about it. Look on life as a pilgrimage to Jesus, finding your way to him through all the seasons of life. I began to see that growing older, which I’ve seen so negatively as illness and mental deterioration doesn’t have to be so. It can be a time of peacefulness and acceptance without the terrors of teenage and the exhaustion of being  a Mum. It’s a way to a perfect goal.

Life has to be seen from both sides, if its to be a full experience. I can live with these ideas, and will ponder on! Thank you Adam!


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Is your phone on?

My thanks to James Goll for this!

This share really struck home to me. I’ve been whingeing and whining about our future here and why doesn’t he answer our long term prayers!  Of course, Jesus is the word, and the word of God is in the Bible and the word is spirit.

So I decided to take another tack. Rather than sitting at the desk with a notebook or anxiously praying for a revelation, I was going to take the Gospels and read them, and keep reading. Letting the Word and Spirit sink into me, not questioning, not analyzing, almost reading it like a novel. Let it pour into me. And so I have been doing. I have seen things and the Holy Spirit has shown me things which I have had to make note of, but the biggest effect is just the word filling the part of my brain that reads leading it into my spirit.

Any changes or answers yet? No but a re-kindling of a closeness, something coming alive in me again. Doesn’t mean that I’m still not frustrated and angry and a bit desperate about our long term future here, but underlying is the deeper calm.  I’ve to stop clutching at straws, trying to imagine how God will resolve this, I’ve had so many false hopes here and I will not accept them any more. I cannot see how the situation will be resolved, but I’m stopping trying to manipulate.  Just let him fulfill the already answered prayer, and with the authority of the Risen Christ within me, I command change! Watch this space!


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Game of Life – Book review

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I know loads of people are hooked on the Game of Thrones books and TV series, but I’ve never got into serial dynastic punch-ups, I even got a bit bogged down with The Lord of the Rings. But I have found a similar book which I’m surprised  hasn’t been made into a TV series, and I’ve read it several times. Sweet start which quickly descends into chaos, storms and floods, inter kingdom punch ups and even some genocide – not really my thing. However, what links this all together is the story of a search for one man that goes down the generations,  a very wibbly wobbly timey wimey thing.  Each time you think the character is the one, he blows it in some way. There’s loads of supernatural symbols and tales and stories and great special effects, so hippies and tekky freaks are happy.   Finally, right at the end, the right guy gets found (as in all good plots), and he gets a cult following, until the climax when everyone turns on him and he gets murdered in a most vicious way.  But like many of these characters, he comes back again and the book ends on one of these catalytic warning stories but which is also a great tale of hope,  leading into a sequel, as the book shows he’s still around, never in fact left.

Do I need to tell you which book I mean?


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Time out -power time

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How often after Jesus had been alone did he go and do great things? As I have already written, after the death of John the Baptist is one example. Now after he has healed the Mother In Law, he’s off on mission to all over Galilee

Andrew Wommack and Joyce Meyer both talk about the necessity of a quiet time, be it two minutes in the loo avoiding the kids or a couple of hours with the door shut. It’s taken me a long time to get  to this and I will not have it turned into a law  if it’s missed, I’m not going to beat myself up about it, and I will not have a clock in there either. I can talk to God anytime, anyplace.After all, God doesn’t respond to how long I spend with him, but the quality and the openness I receive him. And maybe, one day I will burst out of that room, full of power, enabled and ready for my mission!

Jesus Prays in a Solitary Place

35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”

38 Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” 39 So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.


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Puzzling Parables

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One of the things I’ve struggled with in the Bible is the use of parables. Yes, they are great, as Jesus well knew to illustrate and explain a point. But as in the Isaiah quote below, it seems God had deliberately blocked them from understanding. In the big crowds Jesus tells the story of the soils and even the Disciples don’t get it. So what was the point?

It does seem that at the time (Still under the Old Testament Law)  when the people and the religious bods, deliberately broke his law or overdid it  and sinned, that one of the effects was that God then hardened their hearts not to understand. Again, what was the point? Surely he desired that they turned back to him? Or is this an Old Testament thing where God laid out the punishment as there was yet no reconciliation?  Or maybe, if they had repented and turned, then they would not have plotted and schemed for Jesus death, which had to take place in the culture of the time.

Joyce Meyer says people always enjoy her teaching more when she talks about her own life, so maybe in those days people really enjoyed hearing stories that relate to them – about the land and agriculture around them.  Verse 34 says Jesus used parables all the time, but did they get it?  I’m still flummoxed on this one!

How often did Jesus preach from a boat or on a mountain? He showed all the skills of basic crowd control, maybe some could say that the crowd backed him into the water, but they stopped and listened. Have you ever thought how did they all hear in such acoustics?  God’s voice!

The Parable of the Sower

1Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. 2 He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said:3 “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”

9 Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

10 When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. 11 He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables 12 so that,

“‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving,
and ever hearing but never understanding;
otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’”

13 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”