Saturday, 6 December 2014

Happy Sinterklaas :0)

I have some good news and I have some bad news!!

The good news is that I have been given an extra hour at work and a pay rise. Yippeeeeee!!  I will now be doing 2 mornings which is great.  The bad news is that as I suspected the idea to work 30 hours on the flexi plan was not a goer - there just isn't enough work for that many hours. The other bad news is that I am getting another new case worker as my 'new' case worker is moving to another job.  Honestly talk about getting the run around.   I'm starting to think it's me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

November has just flown by probably because  I've been very busy.  I suddenly had a large number of custom orders to fill - it was really exciting actually.  I had a large order for NZ themed cushion covers for one customer - who emailed this week to say they were very happy and will prob want to order some more.  For another customer I made 2 dresses, and for a third customer I had to remake a Christmas stocking she had purchased but that I had sold the day before to a Rawleigh customer and had forgotten to remove it from my Felt store.  Thankfully I still had fabric and I was able to whip one up for her quickly.  Rawleigh sales have also gone up which is nice.

Noah came to stay for a weekend recently as Aimee and Richard had a work do to go to in Wellington.  We had an awesome time although he was a bit under the weather with a runny nose and cough.  I have yet to have him come and stay when he is well.  He is starting to talk a lot more with words that I can understand.  He actually talks heaps I just have no idea what he is on about, but he is happy when I agree with him.  While he was here we had a Skype session with cousin Asher and another the next morning with cousin Inge.  He will be seeing both in the next few weeks so it'll be interesting to see how they get on.

The next few weeks leading up to Christmas are going to be pretty full on with 2 trips a week up to Palmy to look after Noah as Aimee is working extra pre Christmas and working at work 2 mornings a week.  Next week Ryan, Ineke and Inge are coming to stay for a few days and the week of Christmas Tim, Yvette, Asher and Noah will all be staying.  Busy but exciting times.  I have to make sure I get enough sleep or I'll be a right off come Christmas.

To be honest I have been feeling a bit melancholic this past week - in fact I had it so bad that I haven't even read this weeks junk mail yet, something I usually love to do.  I think it's a combination of being over tired, the weather which can't seem to make up it's mind, my (not) 31st wedding anniversary that is coming up this week, Christmas and just feeling lonely.  Probably watching a romantic movie this past week didn't help either, it makes me so aware of what is missing in my life.  I guess sometimes you cope better than other times.  I've shed a lot of tears this past week but I have been doing a lot more praying too which I think is a very good thing.  I need to focus more on the Lord and trust in Him, but sometimes the shadows in the valley are so overwhelming.

Today's therapy was a day outside in the garden since the weather was so nice.  It has helped and I feel much better - mentally. Physically I'm tired, but I guess that'll mean I sleep well tonight.  Actually sleep isn't usually a problem as I sleep very well.  I just need to make sure I get enough of it by going to bed on time as I tend to stay up a bit too late at night but am also waking up too early thanks to the birds who are just oh so cheerful at 5.30am - NOT!!!!!!!

Well on that note I'm calling it a night - time for a cup of tea  and an early night I think.

This Christmas may you know Him more fully through the love and grace He so richly bestows.  May Jesus always be your joy, your hope, your song.  And may this Christmas and each day of the new year be directed by His guiding hand of love!

Till next time.

Love and blessings

Sunday, 16 November 2014

It's been a while since I last wrote so I guess it's time for an update.

Last time I wrote I was heading off the the Fabri-a-brac de-stash in Palmy.  It was a beautiful sunny day and I can report that although it started a bit slow it actually went quite well and I was very happy with what I sold, although I still have plenty of fabric left over. I think in the next few weeks I'll have to get the camera out, take some pictures and start listing what's left on TradeMe.  It would be nice to sell off some more pieces.  First though I have to work my way through the growing list of custom orders that I have suddenly received.  It's a really nice feeling actually.

After the 'high' of the Fabric-a-brac weekend things pretty much turned to custard to be honest and I have been feeling a bit down at times.  It started with another bout of the tummy bug.  This is the third time this year that I've been hit with the tummy bug.  I think all the years of not being sick (maybe cause I was too busy looking after Roy) have caught up on me.  This one really knocked the wind out of my sails and it has taken a while to get over it - mainly the tiredness that went with it.  I'm feeling way better now and hope this will be the last sickness for a while.  I had hoped that my healthy fruit, kale and chia seed morning smoothies would have helped boost my immune system but obviously not.

So as if being sick wasn't enough of a downer I also had an appointment at Winz to meet - yip that's right - to meet my new case manager.  Yes you read that right I have a new case manager - apparently my 'old' case manager moved to a new position so all her cases were reassigned.  It is so frustrating having to go through the whole rig-ma-roll again.  It was an interesting meeting.  It would seem that not all the case managers are on the same page - I decided to talk about the course I was interested in doing to up-skill so that I had better job prospects, but apparently I don't qualify for any help as I am not a single mum with children at home.   To be honest I felt pretty gutted as I was really keen to do the course but can't afford it.  So much for them saying they'd help me out if I needed help.  Obviously up-skilling is not important.  I did discover however that if my current job could guarantee to pay me for at least 8 hours but preferably 10 hours of work than on Winz's flexi scheme they could provide funding to top the hours up to 30 to get me off the benefit.  Sadly that isn't going to happen as there is no funding for that many hours and there isn't enough work for me to do 30 hours a week.  It really all comes down to the Winz 'books' looking good and them being able to say they have lowered the unemployment rate.  Anyway I have decided to not stew on it and look at it again in the New Year.  I want to enjoy the lead up to Christmas.

The weather the last few weeks has also been a bit all over the place - one minute you think summer has come and the next you're lighting the fire - not that I'm complaining about that part - lol!  The worst part has been the wind - boy have we had some wind.  In fact it's been so windy I haven't even bothered putting out the Rawleigh sign as it just keeps blowing over.

I am really glad that Guy Fawkes has been and gone again for another year.  Poor Jack didn't know what to do with himself he was so upset with all the banging and popping going on outside.  It always amazes me why people need to let things off at 11.30 at night as if it is darker then than it is at 9.30.  Hopefully this is the last year  they'll be available for the public to buy.

Boy I do sound grumpy don't I but it hasn't all been bad.  I have been blessed too.  I had a great day out in the garden in the sun two Saturdays ago.  I got the lawns all done, weeded all the gardens, pots and edges, I went through all the branches that Hillary had cut down for me and collected all the good sized branches to dry for kindling. I also chopped another couple of branches off the orange tree which were just at the wrong height for head hitting. When I dropped one of the branches on the ground out scuttled about a dozen different sized cockroaches - yuck, shiver!!!!  I have also planted some vegetable seeds (beans, peas, spinach and lettuce) in the garden and am hoping they will come up soon.  It'll be nice to be able to pick some fresh veggies from the garden for dinner.  At the moment I am still enjoying the asparagus that I have growing.

Hillary come and collect the pile of left of camilla and lemon/orange tree branches and took them away for me as I couldn't fit them all in my wheelie bin.  I was also blessed to receive a free load of  firewood this week.  It still needs to dry but it smells wonderful and will be great for next year.

Church wise there have been some exciting happenings.  Firstly 2 weeks ago the congregation gave the go ahead to start building our own church building.  For the last two and a half years we have been meeting in a local school hall as the church we had been using had been deemed an earthquake risk and could no longer be used for worship services.  The school hall has not been ideal esp in winter but it has helped to fill a need.  It will be nice to have our own building in the near future.  We have also been blessed to have an interim pastor and his wife come to minister to us for the next 3 months.   It is so good to have Christ centered preaching from someone with a passion for the Gospel - the good news that God loved me (and you) so much that He sent His son to die for us. What an awesome gift.  What a great way to start each week.

I'm not sure where September and October have disappeared to but November is also flying by.  Is it just me or does time seem to go by faster and faster??  It's amazing to think that in 6 weeks a second Christmas without Roy will have been and gone. I want to say a HUGE thank you to all who continued to support me with your love and prayers.

Until next time God bless.

Love and hugs,

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

I can't believe I'm actually going to write this but ...... I almost wish we were heading into winter rather than summer.  Yip I really said that - lol!!  And that from someone who loves summer. Notice I did say almost as I really am pleased that summer is on it's way, loving the sunny days, longer evenings, bare feet, shorts and t-shirt weather.  The reason I'm looking forward to winter is because my new wood burner has been installed and I want to use it.  Actually  I have had it on twice, not because I really needed it but there were a couple of coolish evening so I tried it out.  I love it.  The heat is amazing.  So nice to have the whole house toasty warm.  Here is a pic of the before and the after.

Unfortunately I do have to do a little bit of tiling as we discovered that they had not tiled under the old gas heater. There are tiles ther but they are the old tiles that they covered with the new bigger tiles. I am thinking of getting some sort of contrasting mosaic looking tiles to put into the empty space.  Haha I will probably find that I just live with it the way it is for the time being, it's not so noticeable as the wood burner sits over the top of it and in winter I will probably store some firewood under the wood burner and then it wont be noticeable at all.  Thankfully I was able to sell the gas heater which was a bonus.

Since I wrote last I have had a very busy few weeks.  I had an awesome day with my sister chicks from Wellington.  It is always so nice to be able to spend the day together but sadly it always flies by too quickly.  I feel very blessed to be able to call these two ladies not just my friends but my sisters as well.  They are wonderful listeners and encouragers and are a great blessing to me.

I have finally spent a whole day in my sewing room actually sewing.  I  finished 2 dresses that were waiting for hems and buttonholes and I made 3 other dresses from scratch.  It was an awesome feeling to be so creative.  I  can't wait to do some more sewing this coming weekend.  I have the spring cleaning bug and my sewing room has had a major overhaul last weekend.  I have been doing a lot of sorting out of fabric, measuring, labeling, and pricing for the Fabric-a-brac that I will be attending on the 1st November.  I am hoping to sell as much as possible of my fabric stash - and I have a BIG stash.  Once I was done with that I decided my sewing room needed a clean-up and that is exactly what it got, even the wardrobe got tidied.  I rearranged my sewing tables as well and I must say I'm very happy with the way things look - all neat and tidy. Almost a shame to mess it up again by sewing - lol!!  Inside the house I still need to spring clean the laundry, the downstairs office and the garage, but I think I might wait with the garage  till some of the boys are here to help.  Oh and the back shed could also do with a clean out - that is a job I'm not too keen on as I'm not sure what sort of creepy crawlies and little critters I might discover.  It'll def be a gloves on job.

I have been busy outside as well.  Last week I did the lawns twice in one week - the first day I did it without the catcher as it was pretty long, the next day I went over it again this time with the catcher on as I didn't like all the clumps of grass on the lawn.  My friend Diana reckons I have OCD - lol!!  She's probably right.  I can get a bit pedantic about some things. I just like things neat and tidy.   I even managed to mow the bank thanks to the ramp Dad sorted for me - 3 planks of wood.  It worked like a charm and means I can do it by myself.  Tomorrow if it is still nice weather I'll do the lawns again as they are growing so fast at the moment.  Diana's hubby Hillary came over with his chain-saw and chopped down 2 Camilla trees that I wanted removed and also cut the lower branches off both the lemon and orange trees so that I no longer almost scalp myself when trying to mow under them.  I even managed to get some firewood out of the removed trees. I also found a whole lot of very dry firewood under the deck which Hillary kindly cut up.  I've become a wood and stick collector - lol!!  It is a shame to throw branches away when they can be saved, dried and used as kindling.  That's recycling right!!!!  

Life can be cruising along just fine when bang you hit an unexpected bump. That's what happened the other day when I suddenly developed a tooth ache. I tried to ignore it but that didn't work very well at all, so reluctantly off to the dentist I went.  The dentist discovered that my molar had a crack in it, hence the pain esp when eating something cold. Much drilling and tension on my part and it was all fixed. I am pain free, well almost, the pain to my wallet is still being felt.

I have finally decided to do a course (assuming Work and Income will pay for it) on accounts admin and payroll.  I think I need to get some sort of qualification as there are a number of jobs I can't/don't apply for because I don't have the relevant skills.  It'll be good to have something to work towards and that I can add to my CV.

All in all I am  becoming content with my life, although I still have moments when being alone gets me down.  But I am finally finding my rhythm and my walk with the Lord grows stronger daily.  I continue to put my trust in Him and seek His guidance in my life.  I know that the Lord loves me and that I need to look to Him (which I do) but sometimes I can't help thinking that love with skin on would be nice too.

Well on that note I think that is about it for another chapter. 

Until next time.

Love and blessings.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

It's Murphy's Law!!!!!

No sooner was my gas heater turned off than the weather went pear shaped.  The temperature dropped to winter temps  which resulted in the best dumping of snow on the Tararua's we've had all winter.  In fact since having no gas heater we are onto our second cold snap already.  I decided to use the oil column heater that I had been given, but for some reason it wasn't working so Dad gave me the instruction book to read.  But before reading the instructions I though maybe it would be easier to use the small fan heater I use in the downstairs office. Sadly that was not to be - it went - as in it turned on - but for some reason it wasn't heating, just pumping out cold air so no use at all.  I plugged the oil heater in instead and after reading the instructions turned the dial and there was a poof sound and a terrible smell and that heater had died too and fearing a fire I very quickly unplugged it.  Two heater down!!  I even thought (only  for a fleeting second  mind you) about sitting in the bathroom as it was nice an warm in there thanks to the towel rail being on.  My sister in law suggested that I could  fill the bath with pillows so I'd have a comfortable place to recline.  I must say candles can be a good source of heat and with the sliding door to the dining room shut the lounge does become warm-ish.  Thankfully I now have an old bar heater to use when I need it and thankfully to date it is still going.  The good news is that I can almost guarantee that as from this coming Wednesday the weather is going to improve - because that is when they are coming to install my new fire!!

My brother Ron and Dad are going to build me a wood storage shelter in an unused part of my back yard but close enough to the back door that I don't have to cart a full wood basket for miles.  I'll do some before and after photos.  It is an area that isn't used at the moment but does need mowing so I'm all for less lawn.  Better order some fire wood too.

It is a bit strange to now have no children living in Levin.  Something I discovered I do need to adjust too, and actually grieved over a wee bit.  Their lives all move on - as they should - but I must admit to feeling a bit stuck and left behind.  Not that I am making any plans to move as I totally believe that you shouldn't follow your children around, and anyway I have 4 so how do I choose???  I'm actually feeling a lot better about it now that time has moved on a bit.  We will just have to make an effort to stay in touch, but I guess that is the case in so many aspects of life.

Last week I had a lovely day out Op shopping with one of my best and oldest friends.  Not that this friend is old (although she is older than me, but only by about 11 months 2 weeks)  but we've been friends for years - in fact we worked out that we'll be hitting 38 years of friendship next year.  We decided that when we get to our 40th anniversary we'll do something special, DV, - no idea what we're going to do yet but we've got time to think about it.

Although we have had some cold days we've also had some lovely warm spring days as well.  Last week Wed was glorious so I made the most of it and spent the day outside.  I managed to get the lawns done, the veggie garden turned over and some veggies planted, my asparagus is starting to sprout new spears - yum.  I transplanted the strawberry plants which were growing in the veggie garden and planted them into containers for up on the deck.  Now there is just the front garden to weed and mulch.  I'm not really sure what to do with the front garden.  At the moment it's a bit of a wild mess with bulbs popping up all over the place.  It really needs some structure.  I'll have to give it some thought.

Mum, Dad and I did a trip down to Wellington 2 Sunday's ago to visit Dad Nugteren.  Nephew Andrew was also in Wellington and did the morning service.  Dad Nugteren came to Church which was wonderful, but very tiring for him.  We were thankful that we got to see him at Church because he was fast asleep when we went to the rest home to visit him - 2 nurses tried to wake him without any  success so we left him a note and headed back to Levin.  We plan to go down again sometime in Nov.

Rejection sucks - big time and it does little for your self confidence.  Last week Monday I had 2 job rejections in one day - it sure put a bit of a damper on my day.  I have been giving things some thought and when I go for my next meeting with my case working I will talk to her about maybe doing a book-keeping or beginners accounting course.  Or maybe I should go down a completely different track and do a hairdressing course.  It'll give us something to talk about.

I am really looking forward to this coming week - I'm having a 'chick' day with my 2 very dear friends from Wellington and of course my wood burner is being installed.  I am also planning on carry on my 'spring cleaning/sorting' which I started today by sorting out the wardrobe in my sewing room.  Today I did the wardrobe in the spare room.  I have applied to have a stall at the Fabric-a-brac event in Palmerston North at the beginning of Nov and want to see if I can sell off some of my fabric and accessory stash.  

Well that's it for another installment. 

Until next time.

Love and blessings

Thursday, 18 September 2014

It's official - I am finally human!!!!!!!! Well as far as Winz (oops make that the Ministry of Social Development) is concerned. I have always felt like a number with them, but no longer. Last week I had another meeting with them. I tried to get out of it but that was a no goer so off I went armed with a few issues I wanted to get sorted and all the jobs I have applied for this year - quite a bundle I must say.  I saw a very nice lady who was not only on time but who will also be my case manager  from now on. I'm not sure why it has taken this long to be allocated a case manager, but then there is lots about MSD that I don't understand.  We had a nice chat and ironed out a number of concerns I had. She was very impressed at how I have been managing and how active I have been in seeking work. She has assured me that if anything come up that she thinks will suit me that she'll be in touch (we'll see) and if there was anything I need, or any courses I wanted to do to let her know and she'd see what she could do for me. She seemed willing to bend over backwards to help me as she said I'm not the sort of person who comes in every week looking for a handout. Haha!!!  I told her the less dependent I was on them the better.  From now on I have to see her ever 4-6 weeks just for a quick catch up which shouldn't take more than 5 mins she reckons.  All in all a good outcome and I was able to get to work only an hour later than my usual start time.

Actually although the meeting with MSD went well it has left me feeling a bit meh!! (for the loss of a better word), no maybe contemplative is a better word. My case manager said that if there were any courses I wanted to do to let her know, which got me wondering - was there???  Is there a course I'd like to do and if so what?? Here I am applying for jobs because I need work and that's ok but what do I really, really want to do?????  I honestly have no idea!!!!  I guess I'll just keep applying for jobs (2 more this past week) until inspiration strikes - if it ever does or until I get a job.

Tuesday a week ago the GIGGLES group from Church had another get together.  We had a lovely evening of fellowship and did a personality test, which was a lot of fun and caused much laughter.  Most of us had a fair idea what we thought we were before doing the test.  My personality is that of a Beaver very closely followed by Golden Retriever with a bit of Lion mixed in as well.  My lowest score was as an Otter (you'll have to Goggle them if you want to know more.  Here is the link Personality Test).  It was actually interesting to do this test as I think my results would have been a bit different if Roy had still been alive.  Due to his death the Lion part of my personality has become stronger than it would have otherwise been.

Last week Friday I had an evening out. A proper dress up evening out.  I haven't had one of those sorts of evenings out in a very long time.  Aimee and I had a mother daughter date night.  First we went out for a very yummy and rather fancy, but not too expensive dinner during which I had my first ever cocktail, what a sheltered life I've lead!!   I am happy to report it was very, very delicious and I'm sure I'll be trying them again in the future ;0)  After dinner we strolled down to the beautiful Regent Theater in Palmerston North were we went to see The Phantom of the Opera stage show.  It was!!!  Loved it, loved it, loved it. The Phantom is my all time favourite musical.  When it came out as a film I saw it a number of times and even bought the dvd.  In fact I have 2 versions on dvd.  The opening music gave me goosebumps and brought tears to my eyes.  The singing and acting was wonderful - it was the best night out ever.

I stayed the night at Aimee and Richard's and the next morning I got to go and watch Noah do his swimming lesson which was fun.  He is very confident in the water.  We had lunch in town and then Noah came home with me for the weekend as Richard was away Sat/Sun and Aimee had to work. It (Noah's stay) started out well but once again he became unwell - I am honestly starting to get a complex as he seems to often be unwell when he come to stay at my place. In the mornings he was fine,  ate a hearty breakfast and was his normal happy self, but by days end he was running a temp, glassy eyed, coughing, runny nose and looking very miserable. Thanks to paracetamol he slept well at night. I took him home on Monday and on Tuesday Aimee took him to the Doctor - his chest and throat were fine but he did have an ear infection in both ears, which explained why he was unsteady on his feet. The poor wee guy is now on antibiotics and hopefully on the mend.

The other exciting thing (well I think it's exciting) is that I've made a BIG decision. I received a letter earlier in the month from my gas provider letting me know that from the 1st Oct my daily charge would be going up from 90 cents to $1.25 a day. The gas fire is the only thing in my house on gas which means for 6-7 months of the year I'd be paying nearly $40 for something I wouldn't be using. Back in 2011 we had to replace our old gas heater as it died and we looked at different options but decide to stick with the gas because at that stage we had a special deal where we didn't pay a daily charge but our usage charge was a bit higher. That was brilliant as it meant no bills over the warmer months.  However the original company was taken over by another company and they discovered they weren't making any money off me over the summer months so they reinstated the daily charge, but kindly lowered the usage charge. But now they want to up the daily charge up again which I'm not thrilled about at all, so after some thought I have decided to get rid of the gas heater and I had some quotes for a wood burner instead. I didn't want to get a heat pump as I don't like them - they're too drafty and my area is too big to heat. The quotes are in and I have decided which one I'll take (the cheapest of course). I rang the gas company and they sent me a form to fill out giving consent to having the meter removed which apparently could take 5-10 working days depending how busy the service man was. Well apparently they're not too busy here in Levin because I emailed the form back yesterday afternoon and this morning at 9am a man was standing at the front door to come and remove the meter. In less than 5mins he was all done and gone.  I  can now expect a bill to arrive for $150 + gst  which really seems a bit steep for 5mins work and considering they take the meter with them as well, not that I have any use for it.  Tomorrow I'll go and drop off the signed copy of the quote and get that ball rolling - in the meantime should this cool-ish yucky, rainy weather continue I'll just have to rug up and if it gets really cold, I'll either go to bed or succumb and use the column heater .

Finally! Finally!! I have my sew-jo back. Or should I say my sewing mojo?!! I spent a bit of time in my sewing room cleaning up and sorting out recently.  I especially had a sort out of my fabric/s, which isn't easy going when you're a fabricaholic like I am and have a lot of fabric (oops found a vise after all - lol!!).  Every piece of fabric was a struggle because I would suddenly get an idea of what I could use it for, but I was tough on myself and now I have a container full of fabric waiting to be photographed and listed on TradeMe.  I suspect that I'm going to have the same struggle when I take their photos.  It felt good to be in my sewing room and I am so inspired that I have almost finish the first in a series of dresses for Inge - she is fortunate to be the only grand-daughter at this stage because I  love designing and sewing little girls dresses.  Ryan and Ineke I suggest you make sure Inge's suitcase is almost empty when you come in December because I'll be able to fill it for her ;0)
This past week I have stopped watching the news because I am so over all the rubbish they have on there every night.   It is much more relaxing to watch another episode from my collection of Remington Steel dvd's instead.

Tomorrow I'm off to Otaki to lend a hand 'dismantling' the Conservative Party shop so it is all gone before election day. Then in the afternoon it'll be time to get the Church bulletin done again for another week and  hopefully Joel and Tia will be coming for dinner and a catch-up on how their house hunting has been going. They are planning to move to Palmerston North where Tia now has a job at Melody's Bakery where Richard and Aimee work.  Joel has been made redundant from his job so is also busy looking for work in Palmy.  It will be strange not having any of the children here in Levin anymore, but so is life.

All in all it's been an eventful couple of weeks in which a lot has happened and I have achieved much too.  I thank the Lord for continued good health (although I still have a lingering cough which is a bit annoying) and I continue to trust in Him for all things.

Until next time.

Love and blessings

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Who'd have thought that I'd be going into politics!?  Definitely not me but I kind of have.  I received an email last 2 weeks ago from the Conservative Party - of which I'm a member - letting me know who the candidate for my area was. The email included contact details if I wanted to help in any way like distributing pamphlets or host a sign.  So without a seconds thought I flicked off an email offering my services to distribute pamphlets and my front berm for a hoarding.  On the Sunday the lady popped in to drop off the pamphlets, I invited her in (not something I usually do with strangers) and we had a lovely chat. Things have kind of snowballed and I am now her secretary of sorts. I manage her database, write and send out letters as required and will help out in her campaign office in Otaki when I can.  Sadly it is unpaid but it'll look good to be able to add this to my CV.  Exciting times ahead and I'm learning a lot, but otherwise things on the job front are very quiet - 3 more applied for and 2 more rejections.  The latest one that I applied for really, really appeals but we'll have to wait and see - it closes next week.

After 2 weeks I have finally stopped coughing, almost and am slowly getting my voice back.  It still gets a bit croaky towards the end of the day and esp when I'm tired but it's way better than it was.  I have had to cancel having Bible Study at my place twice already due to being unwell, so Lord willing this week it will go ahead.

Yesterday was the first day of spring and also another birthday that Roy is not here to celebrate.  I spent the day up in Palmy looking after Noah which was nice.  He is a good distraction.  But it was bittersweet too.  It makes me sad that my grandchildren have no Opa and have little or no memory of him.  On Sat while doing my much needed housework (haha makes it sound like the place was a tip, but anyone who know me will know that my house is never a tip, I just hadn't dusted in a while)  I stopped to look through the photo album I made for Roy about his life -  probably not the best plan as it ended in tears - literally, but it did get me thinking about the book I want to make for my grandchildren so that they can know who their Opa was.  It's a wee project that will eventually happen just not yet as I'm not sure I'm quite ready yet.  At the moment it's still formulating in my head.

I recently did one of those quiz things that are so popular on Facebook at the moment - it was how rebellious were you as a teenager.  Mine came in at 16%.  I can even name the 2 major rebellious events in my teenage years, although Mum and Dad may be able to name a few more - they were piercing my own ears and sneaking outside to smoke without Mum and Dad knowing - yeah right like they were born yesterday!! Horrors!!!!!  What a rebel!!!!  Actually I wasn't I never did the night-club scene or the excessive drinking thing.  We had parties but that was always with the Church youth-club.  I have probably been tipsy once in my life.  See I really was a 'good' girl. Recently I read an article (prob while waiting for the Doc at the beginning of August) about the actress Helen Mirren.  In it she said - "I'm a would-be rebel. The good girl who'd like to be a bad one.  But I’ll never make it as a bad girl…I’m too fearful. Too much of a wimp,"  Haha that's me.  My wild child is well and truly buried I think, however I have discovered that I am way stronger than I ever knew, and every now and then the rebel in me makes an appearance. I like the heady 'freedom' of not being 'answerable' to anyone - except God of course.  Sure I'm going to make mistakes, but they're mine to make and hopefully learn from.  I'll listen to advise but weigh it up with what I want, need and what I think is going to work best for me. Some people will think I'm plain crazy and that's ok, they can think what they like. 

What's she gone and done now I hear you asking??  I guess after that spiel there must be something coming!!  

Don't worry it's nothing really drastic like dying my hair purple, getting a nose ring - hmm now there's a thought, or selling up and joining a commune - lol!!!

If you've kept up to date with my blogs you'll remember that back in July (the 29th actually) I wrote about feeling like I had lost sight of the Lord's work in my life and the comfort I found in the words of the song by Stewart Townsend - "In Christ alone my hope is found, He is my light, my strength, my song; my Comforter, my All in All, here in the love of Christ I stand."  Well I can now see those words everyday - yip I've gone and had them tattooed on my inner arm.  I imagine right now there is a bit of head shaking and tut-tutting going on.  It's ok, keep calm and carry on!!  I don't have many vises - I don't drink (excessively) I don't smoke, gamble, do drugs but I do like to express myself with body art.  It gives me great comfort to see those words - "In Christ alone my hope is found" - and for me a beautiful testimony of where I am in my journey not only as a widow but also in my spiritual life.

So there you go, now you know.  Time to pick your jaw back up off the floor.  As for me I'm off to make dinner - home made veggie soup.  I am definitely  loving these evenings now that it's longer light - a sure sign that summer is once again on it's way.

Till next time.

Love and blessings

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

I'm over August.  The sooner it's finished the better.  August has not been a good month for me health wise.

I started the month with a tummy bug thanks to a visit to the doctor.  I think!!  I had to go and see the doc as I needed some new scripts.  Because I haven't actually seen a doctor since October last year they booked me in.  After a 45mins wait I saw the doc for a total of probably 5 minutes and was then charged a hefty bill.  I really think you should get a discount for the time you have to wait after you appointment has passed.  Anyway I left with the needed scripts and as it turns out the tummy bug had secretly hitched a ride too.  I felt ok the rest of the day although I did have a bit of a headache and at dinner time I felt a bit light headed, but I thought that maybe I'd just stood up to fast.  Joel had kindly bought Indian for dinner - mango chicken for me with a garlic naan.  However after dinner things were not sitting quite so well - garlic and I don't usually get on very well even though I love it so I thought that was probably the problem.  As the evening progressed so did the feeling of un-wellness.  Finally after a very restless night with a number to trips to the bathroom the mango chicken and rice and I finally parted company.  What a relief!!!  I sure felt better once my tummy was empty.  I can tell you I was very, very pleased I'd taken a bowl to bed cause there was no way I'd have made it to the bathroom in time.  Throwing up really, really sucks, even more so when you're all by yourself.   Needless to say Indian is not going to be on the menu for a while, in fact anything that has rice in it is a no go for a while I think. Shudder!!!!!!

I spent the next day (Saturday) on the couch in the lounge.  My Mum - bless her - was my angel of mercy delivering a big bottle of lemonade and a box of chicken cuppa soup - just the thing for sick tummies.  In between sleeping I watched one of my favourite shows from the 80's on DVD - Remington Steele - nothing like watching a suave and very good looking young Pierce Brosnan to help you feel a bit better. Amazingly even though I slept off and on during the day I slept really well that night too.  Sunday and Monday were quiet stay at home recovery days as I was pretty tired and weak from not eating for a few days.  I had planned to go and look after Noah on Monday as I woke feeling pretty good that morning, but after my shower I was just worn out so thought it best to spend the day at home.

Thankfully by the following weekend I was well again and off I went down to Christchurch for a long weekend to see Tim and Yvette and to finally meet my new grandson Asher.  He is a bonny wee lad who looks very much like his daddy as a baby. It was so nice to have Oma cuddles with him.  Richard, Aimee and Noah came along too and we had a wonderful weekend together.   Interestingly Noah wasn't too interested in Asher.  Maybe it's a boy/girl thing because I remember Inge being very interested in Noah when he was a baby.  She was all over him.  The weather was beautiful the whole time we were there although nippy esp at night and the company was even better.  We  were also able to Skype with Ryan, Ineke and Inge which was really nice.  On Monday afternoon we headed home again arriving in a wild, windy and very wet Wellington.  The landing into Wellington was one of the bumpiest I've ever experienced.  We were really pleased when we finally made it down.

Now that I'm home I am sick again - this time I have a terrible cough.  I cough so much that by the end of the day I have a headache.  I also have a croaky voice, a sore chest from coughing so deeply and at times a bit of a temperature.  I'm also really tired but I guess all the coughing will do that.  All in all I feel blah and I'm praying that this cold will soon be gone.  I started August with being sick and it looks like I'm ending the month that way too.

So between being sick and tripping to Christchurch I have also worked, applied for 2 more jobs, and finished knitting and finally sewn up a cute jersey for Noah - love the knitting part but hate the putting together part.  I also did a bit of sewing - friend  needed 2 new wheat bags for her Mum so I whipped them up for her.  It actually felt good to get behind my sewing machine again and the urge to sew is coming back, esp as I bought some lovely fabric so I can sew some dresses for my favourite grand daughter.  The problem  though is that my sewing room is a mess and in serious need of some attention.  I hate working in clutter - when I get my energy back I'm going to do a HUGE spring clean.  At the moment I only go in there to dump stuff or to get the vacuum cleaner.  I better be careful I don't become like the hoarders you see on TV.

Well I think that's about it from me for the time being I'm off to read for a while before going to bed..

Thanks for your continued love, support and prayers.

God bless.

Love and hugs

PS: If this contains more mistakes than normal I apologise, blame it on the cold. ;0)

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

I know it's been a while since you've heard anything from me.  I have been meaning to write but couldn't. Why haven't I felt like writing?? Because I've been stuck!!  I've been in a funk or maybe a rut is a better way to describe it.  I've lost my direction and I hate to admit it I've lost a bit of my sparkle and enthusiasm.

Maybe it's a winter thing, but the last few weeks have been pretty hard going.  It's been so bad that I've even stopped going swimming in the morning - mind you the freezing mornings have definitely had something to do with that, but I'm not even motivated to take Jack to the dog park when the weather is good.  I don't sew anymore either - I have a number of unfinished things waiting for attention and I have no interest at all.  The only time I enter my sewing room these days is to get out the vacuum cleaner - see it's bad  I'm definitely in a rut!!!!

Now don't get me wrong the last few weeks haven't been all bad - there have been plenty of high points/blessings but these have been a wee bit overshadowed by the lower points.  Over the last few weeks I applied for 3 more jobs and got 3 'rejections' back.  That really has put a dampener on my self confidence and has left me feeling very disheartened.  I guess I'm itching to get on with my life, move forward if you like and I'm not sure how or where I'm meant to be going.

So how do I move forward??  I'm past the coping, sorting, coming to terms stage, I'm ready for the what's next stage but I have no idea how to move forward from the rut I now find myself in.

I want????????????????????????  I want??????????????????????????  What do I want????????????

I want my old life back - a happy content life where I am financial stable, had a man who loved me, goals and dreams ..............

These days the goals and dreams seem too hard.  I'm tired, lonely and yip feeling very VERY sorry for myself.

And then the Lord gave me a much needed kick in the pants with some very thought provoking sermons, a wonderful series of books I've just finished reading and here I am feeling like blogging again.

I have become anxious because I have lost sight of the power and work of the Lord in my life.  God is my refuge and fortress, in Him I trust (Psalm 91:1-2).  I can trust that He is in control of all things for He takes a personal interest in my life.  God claims my trust for He has done great things for me through the death and resurrection of His Son.  To quote the words of a favourite song - In Christ alone my hope is found, He is my light, my strength, my song; my Comforter, my All in All, here in the love of Christ I stand.

And so I strive to stop trying to do things in my own strength but to rely daily on His strength.  I strive to seek Him daily for my comfort and peace.  I strive to work on being patient, on waiting on the Lord to reveal the path He has set before me, a path which will be revealed in His good timing and I strive for a closer walk with Him.

Is it easy????  Nope I'm as human as any of you, but I know that with the Lord's help I can do it.  As I said I'm itching to move forward with my life but not without the Lord's help and guidance.

I think I need to make some new friends, not that I don't love my old friends but some single friends could be nice too.  It's a funny dilemma really because as a couple you have mainly couple friends, but now I'm single I sometimes feel out of place in the couple friends scene - kinda like a third wheel. Now I'm not sure how to go about making new single friends bar putting a sign around my neck that reads 'single and available' - lol!! which probably isn't a very good or very wise plan at all.  Actually the thought of 'putting myself out there' to make new friends is a wee bit scary so I'm not going to worry about it and I'll just leave it all in the Lord's hands.  He's got it sorted I'm sure ;0)

On the subject of friends I have been instrumental in getting 2 new groups up and running in the last month or so for the ladies from Church.  One is a fortnightly afternoon coffee fellowship group for the older ladies in the congregation most of whom prefer not to go out at night.  We bring along something to do (eg: knitting, embroidery, crochet) if we want and otherwise the focus is on fellowship and spending time together.  We have between 8-10 ladies who attend when they can.  The other is a monthly evening ladies group which has been named GIGGLES (I can see you smiling). GIGGLES stands for Girls IGod, Growing, Loving, Eating & Sharing. We got together for the first time last week with a meal and movie night.  Ten ladies attended and we had an awesome and fun filled night.

What else have I been up to since I last wrote??

I've been working some extra mornings at work which has been great.  In fact I am now doing an extra morning every fortnight.  I had a wonderful dinner out at my brother and sister-in-law's place, an awesome day out with my sister chicks in Paraparaumu - it always does my heart good spending time with these beautiful and wise sisters in Christ.  I had a catch up day with my sister and her children when they came up to Levin for a visit.  I had a Skype session with my new grandson Asher - well actually with his daddy and mummy, but he was there even if he slept through it.  I made a day trip up to Ingelwood with Mum and Dad to pick up the newest member of their family - a dog.  I've been out with the GIGGLES group, attended the coffee fellowship afternoon group twice, I  finally finished and washed the baby shawl for Yvette, looked after Noah as usual on Mondays and managed to read 3 books. Oh I also applied for the 3 jobs I wrote about earlier which I didn't get, served customers, delivered orders, worked on TradeMe, did the usual housework, laundry and lawns.  Sounds really busy that's for sure.

I'm looking forward to making a trip down to Christchurch soon to spend some time with Tim, Yvette and Asher.  So looking forward to having  Oma cuddles with this precious wee boy.

I'm off to do some knitting, I'm working on a jersey for Noah.

May He who hold us all in the palm of His hand be with you this week.  May He watch over you and bless you all.

Till next time.

Love and blessings

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Wow 2 blogs in one week - well I did say I'd post something when I have news.

I feel very blessed to let you all know that I have another grandchild. 

Introducing Asher Roy Nugteren.
Born at 3.01pm 1st July and weighing in at 9lb.

What a blessing from the Lord this precious little man is. 

To be honest I have very mixed emotions - although I am very, very happy at Asher's birth  it is tinged with a bit of sadness as I miss having Roy here to share this wonderful moment with.  You think when you've passed 1 year that you've faced all the firsts but it's not true. Odd ones pop up when you least expect them.  I'm sure there will still be others to face that I'm not even aware of.

Brrrrrr I think winter has finally arrived.  It is very cold today and I think there will be a good dumping of snow on the hills.  That'll be the first this winter.   I always love snow on the hills - it gives Levin a holiday town feel.  Makes for a cheap holiday ;0)

Stay warm those of you who are suffering from the cold.

Till next time.

Love and blessings

Monday, 30 June 2014

I'm feeling tired.

Not physically tired, but mentally and I guess a bit emotionally tired too.  Maybe it's the winter blues or maybe the year that has been has finally caught up.  What ever the reason I think I need a holiday - somewhere warm, sunny and tropical would fit the bill I think.  Somewhere to laze away the day without a care in the world and recharge my battery - dreams are free I guess!!

Time to get back to reality.

Speaking of dreams - I am sleeping well but boy do I dream a lot lately.  Actually maybe that's why I'm tired!!  A couple of weekends ago I had Noah come to stay for 5 nights.  Now Noah is really into Bob the Builder so being a good Oma I catered to his likes with some dvd's to watch and a CD with Bob the Builder songs.  Guess who turned up in my dreams those five nights??!!  Yip you guessed it - Bob did.  I don't always remember what I've dreamed about, but sometimes I do and when  I wake up feeling tired  I know I must have had a busy night.

A while ago someone asked me if I'd ever dreamt about Roy and I vividly  remember only 1 dream - probably because it was more of a nightmare and I woke up during it.  It happened probably a month after Roy had died.  I dreamt that we were in bed together and suddenly Roy complained that he was so very, very cold.  When I turned over he was lying there white and stone cold - I remember getting a huge fright and waking in tears.  As far as I know I have not dreamt about him since that time.  I have never ever told anyone about that dream but it has always stayed with me.

The last few weeks have been busy (nothing new there) and have flown by (nothing new there either).  I spent some time with dear friends for Aussie.  It was so good to see them and spend time together.  Thanks John and Trudy you are both a blessing.  Your porridge pot is safely back in the cupboard till you come again.

Noah has also been to stay as I mentioned earlier.  We had a great time although he was a bit under the weather as he was off his food - this definitely means he's sick as he is a fantastic eater.  Thankfully he did sleep well.  I worked out if I put him to bed a bit later than his normal bedtime he would sleep a bit later in the morning and I could get up before he woke and have a shower.  At times like this you sure miss the extra pair of hands and eyes.  We managed well but I was pretty tired by the time he went home.  That saying that says it's nice when grandchildren come and it's nice when they go is definitely true.  I love my grandchildren to bits and love having them come and stay, and although I miss them when they're go again it is also nice to be able to put your house back in order and 'relax' and get back to your own routine.  Oh how quickly we become set in our ways - lol!!!!!

While Noah was with me Aimee and Richard were up in Auckland winning awards and trophies for Melody's New World Bakery at the BIANZ Bakery of the year competition.  Melody's is the third best bakery in New Zealand and they are the supreme winners of the creative cake category.  Below are 2 pics of the cake and the gingerbread house (kombi van) that they made for the competition.  They are both amazing.

GOLD AWARD - Gingerbread house - Christmas Theme - a kiwi Christmas at the beach

GOLD AWARD - Celebration Cake - Gatsby Theme

They also won awards for their bread display and for a variety of specialty breads they now make.  If you want a cake made they're the people to see - some free advertising for Richard and Aimee and Melody's New World ;0)

WINZ has also been in touch as I had to go and see them to be reassessed for my job seekers allowance. I filled all the info in online and then went in to see a very nice gentleman who told me I was an easy customer to deal with - I guess that's a good thing!!  While I was there I talked to the job broker about a job I was interested in and I had to send her my CV.  So that's another job applied for.

The job at Kindy has come to an end - a) because I resigned and b) because the parent has decided to keep his daughter home because of the cold weather.  I have been at Kindy 5 weeks and seen the child 2 morning!!  I've come to realise during these last 5 weeks that I have outgrown Kindy (now that is really saying something for me), it just isn't what I want to do work wise anymore - I'd rather do photocopying.  Actually this has become the joke at my job at ELP (English Language Partners). We always have plenty of photocopying to do and it isn't the most exciting task.  Recently my boss asked me to ring around all the schools in the Kapiti area to ask if  we could place a small ad in their newsletters to advertise our services.  Now I hate making phone calls (probably why I'm not a telemarketer)  I told my boss that he was making me step outside my comfort zone and he knew it was bad when I said I'd much rather do photocopying.  It has now become our gauge on how good or bad a job is - lol!!  Thankfully there are not many jobs that are worse than photocopying!!  I am blessed to have some extra hours become available at ELP which is great and will make up for not working at Kindy.

The Rawleigh business has also 'come alive' again with a few more email/phone orders.  I have also (today actually) dropped off all my knitted items at a store here in Palmerston North.  They will be sold on consignment with the shop taking a 20% cut.  I am very excited about this and the lady loved the items I brought in so it'll be interesting to see how they go.  They will also take custom orders if people want a certain style but in a different colour - in fact one of the ladies who works in the shop loved that knitted hat that Noah was wearing so much that she has already put in an order for her 3 year old.  Mum you could well be busy ;0)

I got my tax forms filled out with some help from my brother and sadly I made a loss of neg $17 this year.  Not a great way to run a business so I def have to fine tune a few things I think. All a learning experience that's for sure. A profit is definitely something to strive for this coming financial year I'd say.

Well I think that's it from me for now.  I had hoped to tell you that baby Nugteren had arrived, but he hasn't - he is taking after his father who was 10 days late.  As soon as I know I'll let you all know.  In the meantime prayers for a safe and smooth delivery are welcome.

Wishing you all a wonderful week whatever you're doing and where ever you are.  Stay safe.

Until next time.

Love and blessings

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Today it is one year since the Lord called Roy home to be with Him.  At 2.20am on the 8th June 2013 Roy finished his earthly walk and is now resting safely in the arms of his Lord and Saviour. 

Why God does this is still the HUGE unanswered question - a question that will probably remain unanswered this side of glory.  Why was it so important for the Lord to call Roy home when he still had so much more to do down here with those who loved him.  I sometimes still struggle with the why of it all and yet knowing the answer won't change what has happened, nor would it make things any easier to dear.   We can trust that " all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28 even if we never understand the 'Why"!

I guess it has been a good day today although I have shed a lot of tears (quite a few writing this blog to be honest), but I guess that is to be expected.   There has been sadness at the loss of Roy, but also tears of sadness for my children - some of whom struggle with the loss of their father. This hurts my heart very much.
We decided to make today a family day so Joel and Tia picked me up this morning and we spent the day in Palmy with Aimee, Richard and Noah.  It was a lovely day, we spent some time at the beautiful Esplanade feeding the ducks, looking at the birds in the aviary and watching Noah have a great time on the slide.  Later while Noah had a sleep we played a couple of games and had a Skype session with Tim and Yvette. After a wonder roast lamb dinner with Yorkshire puddings all prepared by Richard we also Skyped with Ryan, Ineke and Inge over in England.  It was really nice to be able to spend time together even if we are far apart and Noah and Inge really enjoyed seeing each other.

I guess the first anniversary is a time to reflect on the year that has been. 

Those who have been following my blog will agree a lot has happened in this last year.   This past year has been filled with blessing  - a new grandchild on the way (due end of this month), celebrating my 50th with family and friends, good health, and the everyday blessings we so quickly take for granted.  God has been gracious and has seen me safely through even if the journey has not always been easy.  I am adjusting to my new normal even if there are aspects of it that I don't like.  I have discovered who I am as my own person not just as the wife/widow of Roy and mother of my children.  I am stronger and more resilient than I actually knew I was.  I have discovered thing about myself that I didn't know existed - a strength,determination and grace that can only be God given.  I have learnt to trust the Lord for all things, to stand up for myself, to make my own choices and to not be afraid to say what I think.  It is not in my nature to wallow in self pity - even if I do have moments when I just wish the world would stop so I can get off.

In practical terms I've learnt a lot too - I'm really good at mowing lawns now,  I can pump petrol and check the oil (note to self to do that this week).  Haven't had to change a tire yet but that's why I have an AA card. I wield a mean pruning saw and am pretty handy with a rack and a spade too.  I have kept my business running, started 2 new jobs, lost 15kg's, started and maintained my aqua jogging regime 4 mornings a week and through that and my job meet new people.

And yet .......... 

I find myself wondering when people ask how I'm doing if I'm actually being honest when I say I'm doing well. 

I guess all things considered I am doing well and yet how do I explain that the biggest thing I struggle with is loneliness.  That there is a HUGE empty ache in my heart.  

Now I know that some of you will say that I need to look to the Lord to fill that ache and I know that He does and will, on a spiritual level.  What about on a physical level?  I am 50 years old (young), I was engaged at 17 and married at 19 to a wonderful man for almost 30 years.  I expected we would spend our lives together until we were old and grey, but now I'm alone and I hate it - there I've said it.  I hate being alone.  I have conquered many thing over this last year except this one thing - loneliness.  How do you get over the empty feeling of having once been the love of someones life and now you're not because they're gone?  How do you get over the loneliness of coming home to an empty house day after day, of having no one to share with, to discuss  things with and to spend evenings with?  No one to take you out on 'date night', to walk along the beach with or to go away on a romantic weekend with.  How do you get over the loneliness of an empty bed night after night and waking to that same empty bed morning after morning, to no hand to hold, no arms to hold you tight, no kissing, no cuddling, no intimacy and no sex (blush! there I've said that too)?  

I mourn deeply today for all these things that I no longer have.  The thought of living my life alone brings me to tears.  Will that loneliness ever go away??????  I'm not sure since I'm only 1 year into this journey.  I know I have weeks where the loneliness is buried deep and I just get on with life.  Maybe because of what today is the feeling are much more raw and the loneliness is so much more profound.  I pray daily that the Lord will give me the strength and the courage to face the days, weeks, months and years ahead no matter what they bring.  That He will quiet the longing in my soul and grant me His peace.

Maybe this blog should have come with a warning at the beginning about a soul being laid bare!!  As I said earlier today actually this past week has been about reflecting on the year that has been and although it has been a year of growth and many, many, many blessings it has also been a year of struggle as well and I guess I just needed to share that part of it in this blog - I always feel much better once I've put things into words..

I do want to take a moment to say a HUGE thank you to all those who take the time to read my blog every time I post something - I know it's not always that exciting but thanks for following my journey.  To those who have supported me during this past year with their prayers, cards, visits, words of encouragement, acts of service and gifts - thank you.  I feel very blessed by each and every one of you and you have all made this journey that much easier to travel. May the Lord bless you.

In 4 minutes it'll be a new day and in a way the beginning of a new year.  So Happy New Year to me - lol!!!

Time to get some sleep or Noah and I will both be taking a nap tomorrow.

Till next time.

Love and blessings

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

I started this post yesterday, but it didn't really flow so I decided to leave it and try again today (Tuesday).  I was feeling a bit discombobulated yesterday - I'm not really sure why, although I am starting to suspect that the trip to Wellington may have had something to do with it.  I may have to test my theory but popping down that way again soon.

On Sunday we (Aimee, Richard, Noah and I) went down to Wellington for the day - the weather there was stunning with not a breath of wind.  We went to church first - always wonderful to catch up with the lovely people at the Reformed Church of Wellington, many who hold a very special place in my heart - hence why I think I feel a bit unsettled. :0(  After church we went to Jesse and Hannah's for lunch before going to see Dad N to celebrate his 89th birthday.  He seems to be settling in well in the new rest home and it was lovely to have been able to spend an hour or so with him on his special day.  The rest home had set up an area for us in the dinning room and had even provided afternoon tea which was really nice.

The past week has gone well.  I started my teacher aide job at Kindy on a very, very cold Wednesday morning last week.  After 2 hours of being outside I was frozen stiff - it always amazes me how children don't feel the cold and run around on bare feet and in T-shirts with snotty noses.  My kidney's ache just thinking about it. It took me ages to warm up once I got home.  I have decided to take some immune booster cause I see my self being sick come the next school holidays - that's how it's always gone in the past when I worked at Kindy.  I think the little girl and I will get on fine once she gets used to me.  For the time being her Dad will be staying too which is ok.  On Friday she wasn't there but I had a meeting with the Group Special Ed coordinator and have also spoken to one of the Kindy teachers to see if there will be things for me to do on the days then the child is away  because otherwise I feel a bit like a fifth wheel in a center already overrun by teachers and parent helpers.  Time will tell how this will all work out and as it is not a permanent position I continue to apply for jobs.  In fact today I have applied for 2 more jobs.  I'll keep you posted.

On Thursday and Friday afternoons Noah came to visit while his mama and papa were working on the cakes they are making for a competition. Noah is a happy wee chappy who brightens my day and keeps me on my toes.  It is amazing watching a young child develop, explore and grow in understanding about the world they live in. Maybe we have more time to enjoy these stages with our grandchildren than we did with our own children because then we were so busy raising them.

It was nice on Sat to be able to pottered around home - I did some baking to take down to Wellington, caught up on the washing and even did some sewing as I had an order for an apron which still needed to be made -  the sewing went well and has helped me feel inspired to sew again - I've found my sewing mojo it was hiding under a pile of fabric!!  At 4pm I decided to mow the back lawn as it was getting a bit long - it started as an I'll just do this one piece cause it's the longest but quickly progresses to just doing this piece, then that piece and before I knew it I'd done the whole back lawn.  Of course it's never as simple as just quickly mowing the lawn - first I have to pooper scoop (the joys of having a dog!!) and then I have to pick up all the lemons and oranges that keep falling off the trees - they aren't good for the compost as it become to acidic or so I've been told.  Then  when I'm all done, because I have been well taught by my Dad, the lawn mower and the catcher got a hose out so they go away clean. Buy 5 o'clock I was all done and very happy with the way everything was looking. Leftovers for dinner - that's one thing I really hate, cooking for one.  I often still make too much and usually I have no idea what to make.  I'm not a very adventurous cook really.

I have finally had a Skype session with Ryan, Ineke and Inge which was really nice.  It was great to hear how things were going for them over in England and to spend some time chatting with them.  Roll on Dec when they will be back.

Yesterday I looked after Noah at my place instead of at his as Aimee and Richard needed to continue working on the competition cakes with the help of Richard's Nana.  These cakes are going to be a-mazing if the sewing machine cake I got for my birthday is anything to go by.  When I'm allowed I'll post some photos.

I think I might have overdone it while aqua-jogging this morning and I now have an achy shoulder blade.  I could really do with a massage right now to work out the knot.  I might just have to heat a wheat pack and use that instead since there are no handy hands to help out.

Well I'm off to do some crochet - I have a baby shawl to finish before baby Nugteren makes his appearance.  Then next on my list is to finish the birth sample cross stitch for Noah that way I can start the one for baby Nugteren - plenty to do.

Thanks to those who continue to take the time to read what I write.  Have a great week and let your light sign.

Love and blessings


Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Winter has definitely arrived - we had our first frost last night - brrrrrrrrrr it was cold.  Actually I don't mind a frosty start if it means we get a sunny day like we had today, not that is was warm in the sun, in fact it was bitterly cold outside.  It was 5 degrees on the Post Office clock this morning when I went to work and had risen a whole 2 degrees to 7 when I popped out to do the banking.  I'm not sure what it eventually got too but I suspect it'll have been in the low double figures.  I'm looking forward to seeing snow on the Tararua's - I always feel like I live in a tourist town when there is a good dumping of snow on the hills.  It makes for a cheap holiday.

The upside of winter is soup - it was lovely to come home this afternoon to a house that smelt great thanks to the pea soup gently cooking in the slow cooker. Roll on dinner time.  Pea soup and fresh buns - yum.

It's been an interesting couple of weeks which started with me feeling very 'flat'.  I think some of that feeling was because of  the weather (I don't do endless sunless days very well) and some of it was from having been so busy the weeks before.  I just didn't know what to do with myself even though I had plenty of things I could have done - nothing really appealed.  By the Friday the weather had improved and the sun was out so with a bit of help from my very young helper (Noah had come for a visit) we set about raking up the leaves on the front lawn.  The pile was HUGE and Noah had a ball climbing into it and throwing the leaves about. I managed to stuff the whole pile into the wheelie bin as there were too many to go in the already full compost bin.  On Sat the sun was shining again and it was nice and warm so I decided to have an in the garden day.  The agapanthus needed to have their heads removed so that was the first job, from there I moved on to pruning the wild rose bush on the bank.  It was a prickly job and due to a lack of gloves a scratchy job too.  I conquered the bush but not without it biting back, my hands and arms were covered with scratches and blood.  The next day I had to get Mum to remove some rather nasty thorn splinters from my hands -ouch!  Thanks to Dad I now have gloves - for next time, assuming the rose bush survives the pruning I gave it.  I also pruned (severely) one of the feijoa trees which had only produced tiny fruit for the last 2 years. That's Biblical right!!??   I tell you I am bad news when I have a pruning saw in my hand - no tree is safe ;0)

The lawns also got a haircut - in fact since they were sooooooooo long I thought I'd cut them without the catcher as I'd be forever having to empty it - the plan worked ok except for all the grassy humps that were left all over the lawn.  Being a bit of a perfectionist by nature this new look was just not sitting right so I decided to rake up all the grass, put it into the wheelbarrow - by hand, and then deposited it  from the wheelbarrow into the compost bin - by hand!!!!!!  Phew she was a big job as I have a big back lawn.  The lawn ended up looking not great but better and I got a good workout.  All in all it was a good days work.

This past week I had to go to another workshop at Winz to do with writing a CV.  I was a bit unsure why I had to attend this workshop as last time I'd attended it I was told I was all done and some one would be in touch to see how things were going - I never heard a thing.  So I attended the workshop and was again told at the end that I was now all done and someone will be in touch to see how I'm getting along - I wont be holding my breathe - lol!!!!  I'm not sure what is going on there but it's not very organised.

The job front is still quiet although I have managed to get 4 hours of Teacher Aide work at one of the local Kindy's.  It is just a short term position but it's a start.  As with anything new I'm a bit apprehensive although I'm working at a Kindy I've worked at before about 6 years ago so I do know a few of the teachers which is nice.  I start tomorrow so I'll tell you all about it next time.

I am still  going Aqua-jogging in the mornings at 6am - 3-4 times a week.  This morning it was really, really, really hard to get out of bed.  I hit the snooze button and contemplated staying in bed but since I was wide awake I decided to bite the bullet and go.  To be honest I am amazed myself - I hate getting up on cold mornings, esp out of a snugly warm bed.  Speaking of snugly beds - there is nothing nicer than lying in a warm bed listening to the wind howling and the rain falling on the roof - I find that so relaxing.  Almost as good as lying in bed listening to the sea.

It struck me yesterday that a year ago Roy left home and never came back.  A year ago yesterday Roy went to the hospice to have his meds fine tuned and to be evaluated after his fall on the stairs and he never came home again.  In 2 weeks time a year will have passed without him - only a year - 365 days and yet it feels like a lifetime.   It's such a strange feeling, maybe it feels like Roy has been gone so much longer because the year has been so full of 'stuff' and I've been busy recreating my life - my new normal.  The reality is that life is fleeting and we soon become but a memory in the lives of those who loved us. Life moves on and that's a good thing.  I give thanks to the Lord for His constant care over this last year and I trust that He will be with me in the years to come too.  If I mourn a little that's ok - it's not Roy that I mourn for, he is in the presence of our Saviour.  I shed tears for the life/love I had and for the empty place that has been left behind and the loneliness that brings. For the uncertainty of the future and the scariness of that future, yet there is joy and peace too as I know who holds my future in the palm of His hand and He will watch over me.  I don't know what the future holds - good or bad, but I know who holds the future and in Him I put all my trust.

Until next time.

Love and blessings

Monday, 12 May 2014

I feel like I've been living in a bubble this past week and today have suddenly come crashing back to reality.  My bubble goes by another name and that it's called 'being on holiday' - that time when you de-stress and all the worries,care, decisions and bills that make up your normal daily life are put on hold temporarily.  I have just spent a wonderful week (almost) in Christchurch visiting Tim and Yvette, other family and friends.  I had an awesome if busy time away and sadly it flew by as holidays always seem to do. For those I didn't get to see I'm sorry I just ran out of time - maybe next time!!  I want to say a BIG thank you to my wonderful niece Karen for shouting me the trip.  Love you big time hun.

While I was in Christchurch I was able to help Tim and Yvette out with their shift into their first home.  Wednesday afternoon was spent cleaning the new house - it really needed it and smelt and looked way better by the time we were done.   On Thursday I spent most of the day with my dear friend Janice.  We had a wonderful time shopping did lots of chatting, laughing and catching up and no one had a headache (last time I was in Christchurch our day out together was cut short due to Janice having a sever migraine).  I also joined Arie and Janice at a Rotary dinner which was very nice.  I want to say a HUGE thank you to Arie and Janice for their kindness and generosity towards the cost of getting my car fixed.  I am truly blessed. Thank you, thank you, thank you.  Love you both heaps.

On Friday I spent the morning doing the Church bulletin (what a blessing to have a laptop and the internet) and then I spent the afternoon/evening with my cousin Femmy and her family.  We had  lunch at the mall, a lovely walk in Riccarton bush and then dinner at her place - it was another wonderful time of sharing, laughing, some tears and lots of encouraging each other.  Saturday was moving day.  Tim and Yvette didn't own much furniture as their rented property was furnished, but it meant we needed to pack up the kitchen, clean it and then unpack the items that belonged in the house.  We managed to get everything done and out of the house by 12.30 which was great.  Over this past week I have cleaned 2 kitchens and 2 fridges - I had been thinking mine could do with a clean but I'll leave it for a few weeks I think.  Yvette and I left Tim to clean the carpet and headed off to Yvette's baby shower which was an wonderful afternoon.  Baby Nugteren will be a well dressed wee lad when he arrives in June ;0)

Sunday was my last day in Christchurch.  I went to Church in Bishopdale with niece Melinda and nephew-in-law Julian.  The service was great and it was nice to afterwards catch up with friends I might otherwise not have seen.  The rest of the day I 'hung out' with Tim and Yvette and helped unpack the kitchen a bit.  When you shift organising your kitchen is always the worst job I reckon cause nothing seems to fit like in the old one.  It always takes time to get it just right.

Having helped Tim and Yvette shift got me thinking to how many times Roy and I had shifted since we got married and it come to 8 times - wow and before I got married I had already shifted 8 times so in total I have shifted 16 times - amazing!!!!!!!  No plans to shift again anytime soon but you never know.  The problem is each time you buy a bigger house which means more space for more stuff - it's amazing how quickly you accumulate things.

The flight home was very smooth and I arrived back in Palmerston North to find Aimee waiting to pick me up.  While we were waiting to pay for the car park a lady came up to me and asked if I was Jolanda, when I said yes she said her name and it was a friend from High School who I hadn't seen since I'd left school.  I wouldn't have recognised her, but she did me which means I haven't changed much in the last 30 odd years - is that a good thing????  We had a quick catch-up in the cold car park and hopefully will touch base through Facebook and maybe get together sometime as she lives in Palmy.  It was a really lovely surprise.

I stayed the night at Aimee's so I could look after Noah today - silly to drive home only to drive back the next morning.  Noah is walking really well now and chatters a lot too - not that we can understand him but that will come eventually - I think he'll be a real talker once he finds the words.  This afternoon I drove home again in the rain!!!  This time it wasn't dark though as Richard had had an early start this morning so finished early.  Jack was very happy to see me and Joel came around for dinner which was nice.  My suitcase is all unpacked and the washing is on.

Tomorrow morning I have to work and then I'll spend the afternoon catching up on business 'stuff' that has piled up while I was away.  My boss is away this week so hopefully he has left some things for me to do.  Last week he was away too and I had a bit of a blonde moment - when I got to work I realised that I'd left the key to unlock the office at home so I had to go home and get it - thank goodness Levin isn't too big.  I will be better prepared this week.

The job I wrote about last week has not come to anything due to them not being able to accommodate the hours I had available.  I am actually ok about it.  Tomorrow I will have a chat with the lady from Group Special Ed to let her know what hours I have available and see what she has on her books for teacher aide work.  It will all work out I'm sure - God has a plan and I take comfort in that.

I had a lovely letter with photos from Ryan and Ineke today.  Their trip went very well and they seem to be settling in quite well in England.

I think tonight will be an early night - I am looking forward to sleeping in my own bed again and I am planning to be up early tomorrow so I can go swimming again.  It's been a whole week since I last went and although I am looking forward to going again it was nice to sleep in while I was on holiday.

Well that's it for another edition.  Until next time have a wonderful week and God bless.