So where's the snow?

Muddling through life from Austria to Wales; God, life and a small black dog


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Summer highs and lows

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Much like last summer, I’m enjoying my walks with the dog, days potteringalternating with extremely busy times, especially when we have meals on wheels duty. I’ve also added the extra joy of redecorating the house. The preparation is worse than the actual painting but I’ve been having a big clear out too.

Having a mean streak caught me out yet again!  I could have taken some little cards and matched out yellow bedroom, but I saw the ready mixed paint was 20 euros cheaper, so I snatched that off the shelf- result a bedroom that owes more to a Policeman’warning vest than a bedroom, but at least it feels warm!!!!

On my latest Meals on Wheels stint I was aware of how great I was feeling despite being so busy, I wasn’t lagging although sometimes I was just so tired I was falling asleep as my head hit the pillow, but I had no sensation of this tiredness where in the past I would have to take a nap in the afternoon!

I began to suspect that I was still having symptoms of gluten intolerance, so I double checked all that I was eating. And found that it was highly likely that my beloved porridge oats that I have for breakfast could well be contaminated – yes, they were the chepest brand….. So I looked for alternatives and found that you can buy Rice flakes, which cooked in the microwave made a very nice alternative – if a bit like rice pudding  for breakfast!  But I just felt a huge freedom from the sense of burning and discomfort in my stomach. The palpitations are gone- I one day indvertantly ate some Gluten, and could feel it straight away and in three days had a couple of mild pappitations, but no more! I’ve now bought guaranteed gluten free oats from the interweb, but the delivery is so expensive, I have to eek them out, NO health food shops in Lungua, the one time I miss a big city shop!

So whizzing around on MOW I was suddenly was aware that I was rushing around but was at peace. I was resting in God because I was so busy, I didn’t have time to be constantly absorbed by myself. I must learn to rest in this. I felt strongly  that despite all my misgivings, I am here at the right time, in the right place, despite my missing my kids. This bliss went on the whole week, but of course, sooner or later I blew it, but its informing my thoughts. For example, I’d put myself under pressure, oh, I must read the Bible daily, feeling that I should be more upset about all this end time stuff around me and friends saying that I should be driven by a sense of urgency we have to prepare the Bride for Christ!

NO! God created us to have firstly a relationship with him and walk in the cool evening garden. I’ve been letting other people heap guilt on me. And I’m staying in this quiet place and seeing the changes around me. It will change, its not a stasis, I’m sure but the more I hang on to the pressures other people put on me, the drier and the further away from his peace I will be.

Then the guilt started tripping me up. Everyone else has family around or is having a holiday (such as the PC shop that still hadn’t fixed my laptop), I felt excluded especially when a friend who has family staying was too busy when I wanted to pop in. Wallow, wallow wallow, I’ve always had a sense of being left out from my childhood and this cracked in with a vengeance! Self pity rolling in.

Then the other Anna lent me a CD about the end times, and I thought, oh n, not again, signs and omens, panic panic, run around like headless chickens in your faith. But I listened to it (might have fallen asleep the first time though).

It was citing the marriage at Cana and had some background knowledge. It was Mary, who had organised the wedding. She had been duped over the wine. She asked Jesus in expectation that he would do something before his time and he did. There was a lot more but this is the hub. We should be living in a sense of expectation, which he classed as a sure knowledge that something will happen, even if we know not what. Is this a counter to unbelief? It suddenly makes sense to me of the times we’re in, he’s showing signs of being on his way, we should be excited not obsessing about how many earthquakes there’s been. And to be sure he is going to to do something before the time arrives. It’s a gestalt shift, from doom and gloom to a looking forward excpectantly.

 

So I prayed that I didn’t know what he was planning but he knew how I’m feeling. And so I waited for something. Takes time, that night, Edith rang me up, just asking me to visit, and we had such a nice time just catching up.  Prayer answered, here is a friend who isn’t on hols, hasn’t got reams of family and just wants a chat! Lovely!

Then this weekend Dave really was tired so on a beautiful Sunday I was off for a walk with Swingle in the most beautiful scenery on my own and I was again so aware of my alone-ness, not loneliness. Being an island. I got like this last summer. Is it any good for me? Being fed up. Got back after a glorious walk to a sleepy husband, but by the end of the evening I explained how I’m feeling and how good it would be for us to take a break, so I got, oh, I don’t like the crowds, we’ve got the changeovers, we’re going to the UK at Christmas, blahblahblah.

What I felt was that although we had been together on the weekend, we hadn’t been together or done anything, it was just like being on my own most of the weekend and loathe as I am to admit it, I miss his company , even on walks when he’s moaning about a perfectly well behaved dog. We’re spending a beautiful summer in separate camps. I can see his weariness, but he could make some effort. If it is so bad maybe he should see a doctor. But then again he’s over 60 and a six day week is to much! The following week, we found a compromise, we just sat in the garden, no TV, had a meal together and just chatted. Now I’m looking forward to him having some time off in September………..

 

 

 


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Arrogance

My first horsey job, me, six Haflingers and loads of kids. Such a shame they closed.

As I’ve said, God has had a lot to deal with me on , and the main thing he’s dealt with me is ARROGANCE, which is intermingled with self-esteem, and self-pity

It all began out riding one day when I decided to take a certain route home and it came to me that I was being arrogant, because this was not the way the boss had directed, and who was I to decide? I argued with myself, over the practical issues of my decision yet the thought was continued nagging away at me.  This wasn’t of me, it was God.  I believe he does discipline or cause us to suffer but it’s not in the same way as when we are abused and suffer for our faith, He chastises and teaches us through Gentle Holy Spirit, there’s no hitting with a stick. (1  Peter 4, v12 and 19).  As Christians we suffer for being Christians e.g abuse and are glad.   And this world brings its own problems, that’s life. He began a process that took over a year to bring me to the place where I am now, and parts of it were difficult to take but I needed to be shown and there’s probably more to come.

 Each time I did something, or made a decision it was as if this arrogance was highlighted and I looked at myself as is from outside. Then I read the Marian Keyes novel, Rachel’s Holiday and how when she gets into therapy, its highlighted that arrogance can come from an overgrown self-importance, which goes with low self-esteem.  I was right back  in childhood.  How I’ve always been aware that I musn’t like myself too much, or I’d become bumptious, like my child self showing off to people, in a loud voice, when I grow up, this is my shop and so on.  I’ve always been aware that I had to keep this under control because I was such a big head.   The book also said how low self esteem could just be inherited or simply be caused by being part of a big family.  Or maybe it was that I was brought up by my mother and grandmother, no father, older brothers who were distanced or bullies (to my mind)  no idea about what love is or even about men.  None of which could be avoided but……..

 A lot of this shows up in my attitude to Dave – especially, where I used to wish he’d do something I could respect him for – SUCH arrogance.  Why should he have to prove himself to me before I will repect him? It’s been though Joyce Meyer that I’ve learnt that he’s different, male, that’s all!  I’ve been with him for over 26 years, he’s not going to change – get over it!  He’s achieved a hell of a lot with even coming over here and speaking another language. I don’t do lawnmowers, he doesn’t do phones.  Why should I be better than him? He’s equal to me, I’m no better. We enjoy our company together so why mess it up all the time.  ( Even now a voice is saying but what about when he picks on me – WELL I’VE USUALLY STARTEDIT!)  It’s not all about me all the time – self pity and the pity party (Thanks Joyce) Oh, how she pointed that out, guilty again, but now after having a real battle with myself to even to acknowledge this,  I can see myself doing it at last and stop!

Then I had a run of events where I was embarrassed by me.  Such as turning up at the gym on the wrong day, giving someone the impression my birthday was soon and getting a card too early, going to buy some curtains and finding them too expensive so backing out, she knew and I knew!   Then it clicked, that at times I embarrass God.  When we had the house competition at the stables,at lunch time Lois told me to get some refreshments and I said no and sat in self-pity  by the car  eating sandwiches.  I then realised I often feel excluded from big groups, or like when at the FC I got nothing in the secret santa (was he trying to teach me then?).  I had  to get over this, it is immature, it comes from somewhere in my childhood, but now I can see and live with it.  Then maybe it’s another side of arrogance.  When I don’t get the attention I think I need,I sulk –ooooops. The next time such a situation occurred, it was a battle not to let the self-pity win, but I won!  It hasn’t been easy but the result is a peace that I’ve never had before.  Doesn’t mean it doesn’t come back, but self-awareness shows it the door. Just when you think the battle is won……..during my first aid course at the Burg we had a break and after we had had coffee and cake, we were all offered a beer and I vehemiantly said no.  And wondered at the same time why I was saying it, I wasn’t driving and I like a beer.  I heard myself going on about preferring wine.  It wasn’t till after I realised what I had done.  Self pity.  In a big group I was on the outside, not only becasue I was new, but I couldnt understand much of what was said.   So I havent grown up at all, I couldn’t hold forth  so I didnt talk at all.  At others times I chat away when its a small group, going the other way. I need to find the middle line.   It isnt that I’m shy on big groups, I’m not handling being the centre of attention.  And its why I think I dont need German lessons, but go on my own little way getting it wrong, doing it on my own.All this informs so much of what I do, nah , wont bother cleaning that, it looks ok, when earlier we had been told to do something regardless.  Since a child when I became aware of how ‘bumptious’ I can be, I’ve quelled a lot of my behavoiur, What would happen if I let rip and let it all out? How will I ever get over this?  Why (apart form the obvious) is God teaching me all of this?  Having to reason things through, I now am thinking, well, the bumptious Anna is a result either of the things that went wrong, or is genetic.  Is it possible to recover the original, unblemished soul?  Would that then make me a different person? What next I wonder?