So where's the snow?

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


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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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Testimony

The storm - hailstones hurtling onto the Hof

This is first of a series six I’m reposting as I’ve added extra shares to the Blog.This summer I posted  a spate of blogs  that I wrote in the spring as I was having a break and dealing with stuff as in that Woman and life, but also because I knew I was back tracking in my faith and needed to do something about it.  The blogs are full on Christian which I hope might inspire some comment -although if something interesting happens I’ll add!

 I started off the season with all the best intentions, using scripture to deal with that E woman but I fell by the wayside as stress and tiredness took their toll, and laziness too as I relaxed my Bible and prayer time. It was  in some ways  a desire not to get tied to a regular reading in case it became the law ie just a ritual which I know now is a lie.  It was a twisted thinking because I need scripture to feed me spiritually and let God speak to me through it.  God will not love me more because I do it, he just gets more chances to talk to me!

The Burg being quieter meant that there are now days when we work on our own and so my MP3 comes out and I wander the Burg like a demented wombat singing when I hope no one’s around and listening to Andrew Wommack downloads.  This amazing man does all this for free, the only telly evangelist I know who does so.  We are partners with him and so I feel free so to do.  Last year I had listened to the How to Find, Follow and Fulfill God’s will in your life series and as the player was on the blink, it seemed a good idea to start here again as I’ve felt for a long time we had taken a wrong turning.

http://www.awmi.net/extra/audio/1066

 As blogged, Edith and I have finally started the Asylum seekers work and yet I was just feeling a sense of dread and hoping no one would turn out.  I began to see that here I was fulfilling a dream of working with horses and kids again and I was so guilty of not loving them at all. It was particularly when a little five year old girl took my hand for reassurance I was shamed and began to love again. I even had the naughty joy of nicking one of Lois’s customers one day and it all came back to me, I need to refresh my teaching skills so that I don’t run out of things to do in the lessons. 

 So I set too and cleaned bogs and listened.


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Indian Summer

 
Confused apple tree

We’ve been enjoying the most amazing weather here, in fact since it last snowed!!!!!  Its been frustrating being cooped up in the Burg especially as the season has been extended.  A German TV channel is making a living in the Middle ages series and three journalists have to live in a nice cold Burg later this month and do all things medieval.  Saying that, they’ve already had to have cold baths with their clothes on in the Hof for the advertising.  There’s been a ‘Plumbs Clo’ built which is the old castle one where you stick your rear end over a hole in a wooden plank – but that was a fake because the original loo was underneath!  I’ll be in on the filming as nice kind Helmuth has given us extra work coming each day to do the real loos and showers -grrrrr, right while my daughter is here.

Schonfeld, one of our favourite places to walk, just on the edge of the Lungau

Back to the weather. Its got the plants here really confused. Up on the mountains the Alm roses are flowering again and in a local village one apple tree is in bloom -see picture above. I think it maybe has more to do with that village having been hit by the hail in August and then the brief snow, the heat has made it think of spring.  As we’ve got snow forecast for Saturday, poor thing is in for another shock!  We’ve been up in the mountains walking and its been amazing,some farmers still have their cows up their as we’ve had this warm spell, may save them a bit in hay!  We’ve harvested the garden, and it all seems so odd when its so warm.  Dave and I have had the annual argument about putting the geraniums into the cellar for winter -ha I won and the garden is still full of colour, though I dare say I’ll give in if it does snow….

Bringing the sheep down off the Alm, and a big party at Goriach!

Life is so busy at the moment, that I’ve little time for blogging.  Edith and I are having an EAGALA workshop on the 21st, Stef is visiting so I guess there wont be many blogs until the end of the month -happy autumn!


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Oh no, not an Erna Blog……….

More Burg in the snow

As I write its only 3 and a half weeks till the end of the season at the Burg. I’ve moved on so much in the last few weeks and gone backwards too!  On one shift with Erna, she was just so completely mad that I lost all respect for her.  She’d been told we’d cleaned the Chapel the previous day but insisted on going in and sweeping.  When I challenged her, she said everything was so dirty, she had to do it, but 30 seconds later came out.  She even re-swept some stairs Michaela had just done, she must have realised she’ done them.   This was the point she ceased to matter to me. In respecting her as a co-worker, who was senior to me, it had to be my fault when something was amiss.  Now I don’t value her opinion, I feel nothing about her, the past is forgiven and forgotten, after all the pain she has caused me this season, it’s over.

The real end came when one day she exploded in fury at us in the shower rooms.  We hadn’t realised some bar on the shower door could be raised, and so was dirty underneath.  I don’t know what you do all day, its only me who can clean, just one more thing and I’ll go to Rosie (the Head cook and her mate, our boss actually is Helmuth!) she screamed more in dialect I didn’t get.  I’ve never seen Michaela so upset, she was all for leaving, but she decided to hang on till the end of the season.  So now, its me working with Erna while Michaela absents herself, she wont speak to Erna, and you know, I don’t mind the situation!  I speak to Erna when I need to ask something, otherwise we work in silence.  I think the penny has dropped that she has shouted at us once too often.  Now I’m the one in the middle!

Both Michaela and I are leaving, enough is enough.  I’ve prayed that if I’m wrong, to have some message/knowledge from God and similarly if I should apply for the job of ‘Burgrat’ or manager at the Burg.  So far nothing either way, except more attacks of the unexpected, unexplained sadness which hits me sometimes, whose cause I cannot pinpoint – or maybe it is that I should stay.  I pray on…..

The other day, someone spilt candle wax all over the Rittersaal floor, which on the old wood just seeped in and solidified.  I think maybe the solution is to use an iron  to reheat the wax  through newspaper which will absorb it. Of course, I got the ‘look’ when I said so.  Erna consulted the all-wise Rosie who said use bleach and soda.  Result?  Right in the middle of the Saal is a huge patch of lighter coloured wood with blotches of wax in it, oh I feel sooooo smug!


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Autumn this year

Following on from my autumn blog, we had a real touch of it this weekend.  The snow was well and truly forecast, so this Sunday, all over the Lungau, the cows were on foot going home.  They caused the most horrific traffic jams -hahaha!  

Snow in the Hof

The rain and snow arrived on Monday while I was at the Burg. Luckily, Dave at home and performed a rescue on our marrows and geraniums.  The tops around us are all white but the temperatures will be back up again by the weekend. I just felt so sorry for those farmers who for some reason left it till Monday to bring the cows down in the snow, that must have been really freezing work!


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Der Lungau, Four years along – Autumn

Autumn with the turning of the stunning sycamores followed by the larches, often seems to be wonderfully warm weather – especially around the time of National day.  When unashamedly flags are on buildings and people celebrate. There also seems to be a time in late August when you’re suddenly aware of a change in the air, its a coolness  and a yellowing of the light, to me that’s the start of the fruitful part of autumn.  We go regularly in the summer to the MariaPfarr church for ‘Holiday maker’ services.  in here the windows aren’t stained, the light is wonderful flowing onto the flower decked altar, and its here I’ve often first noticed the autumn light change. In autumn its cooler to walk and a completely different vista to the summer mountains.    There is the new festival of Bauernherbst here, in an attempt to get farm produce sold. There are scarecrows all over the valley and more beer, music and sausage to go with it!  Then as all gets colder, a lot of the people running Hotels take themselves off for a holiday somewhere warm.

The end of the year really seems to be coming when there is the Sheep gathering at Goriach.  There is a small village at the end of this valley and to here the sheep are brought down from the mountains, sold and taken home, a real party in Lungau style.

Goriach

Early winter can be drab and dull but as I’ve blogged it has its own charms – along with the return of Dave’s seasonal bronchitis!  There’s the last riding festival, the St Leonhardiritt in Tamsweg.  This was cancelled for a couple of years firstly I heard because of the bills and moaning about cleaning up the streets, and then the guy who runs it had a major fire at his stables and didn’t quite have the time.  It was back last year with a ride up to the Pilgrimage church of St Leonhard’s  and then back. Earlier they had  just gone into the carpark at the edge of the town and then had games, but this time it was quite rightly judged that this was too much after the ride to the church.

Waiting for the blessing at St Leonhardiritt

All Saints and Souls is really celebrated, with the graveyards decked with dry flower arrangements, from heathers and dried plants. There’s a  big visiting of families, graves and a special currant bread is baked to share.  Another time of stress for the Garden centre!

Then we have to change the car tyres ready for the snow.  I hate it when it comes too early, love it at the right time, though I must say, I didn’t make a snow man this year – maybe I’m growing up!  Kasiermandel comes in November, its another wonderful local custom.  Then comes St Nicholaus and Grampus in December with these evil devils trying to thwart St Nick, they never win, but its another excuse for a booze up and a parade – often held behind security railings to stop people being beaten up and injured.  It really is as if the devil is in the air.

The  far less commercial Christmas approaches, with home baked wonderful biccies everywhere we visit, and not a single mince pie. Advent crowns are BIG here, but with only four candles for each Sunday before Christmas.  Last year I attended a lovely service with folk Christmas songs as they blessed the crowns I didn’t really see why they needed to unless its because as I’ve found by the Christmas the first candle has started to burn through the wreath and therefore the table and so on!  The Christ child comes on Christmas eve, in a country where the Christ still is in Christmas, and its a time for me to see my kids.

A very Catholic area, but always something to look forward to on the horizon.  As I’ve said before, we’ve lost so much in England with our Protestant heritage. Among these festivals are concerts from the schools and brass bands, and modern plays and exhibitions.  a busy land. And we’re famous, it was here in Mariapfarr that Silent Night was written and in Obertauern (ok not quite Lungau) that Help was filmed by the Beatles.