Sunday, 26 January 2014

Goodness me my blog has been read in Barbados, Israel and Brazil this past week - that's amazing.

It's Sunday afternoon and it's just me and the dog (actually the cat is around somewhere too I think) so I thought  I'd sit down and do some writing.  The last 2 Sundays I've been down in Wellington so it was a wee bit weird being back in Foxton.  It felt kind of like I'd been away on holiday for a few weeks without leaving home expect on Sundays.  A holiday that isn't a holiday!!

As I mentioned in my last blog on Monday afternoon the earth moved rather vigorously for those of us living in the lower part of the North Island. I sustained no damage which was a blessing.  The  2 wine glasses which broke don't count as damage especially as it was my own fault - it isn't wise to stack small wine glasses on top of upturned bigger wine glasses, you're just asking for them to eventually fall down and break and that's exactly what happened.  I consider it a lesson learnt and I didn't use them anyway so no great loss.

The problem with having a major earthquake is that people become unsettled and then when the come to visit me they get concerned every time my house shakes and rattles thinking it's another earthquake. This 'phenomena' happens when big trucks hit a certain spot on the road as they head north.  I'm used to it and can tell the difference between an earthquake and a heavy laden truck, but I do sometimes wonder how good all that shaking is for my house.  The worst time is the early evening when all the big trucks are doing their Wellington to Auckland run.  As I live in a 70km zone they have a bit of speed already when they hit the spot.  I'd say if the trucks were only going 50km/h the effect would be much less.  Maybe a letter to the council is in order.  I'll put it on my  things to do list, which isn't an actual list but just in my head.  That's probably why some things don't get done!!

On Tuesday I spent the day with my sister chicks from Wellington.  What a great day we had - as usual.  And as usual it went way too fast and I miss them terribly.  We had lots of laughter, lots of sharing, lots of encouraging and just a pinch of mischief.  I appreciate that we can be open and honest with each other, encourage each other and share our thoughts, dreams and worries.  Although we live far apart and our lives are moving in different directions I know that they are always there for me as I am for them.  That's true friendship and something to be treasured.

I guess in our lifetime many people will move in and out of our lives, most are passing acquaintances who over time we will lose contact with. True friends are the ones who when distance, time and circumstances separate you fit right back in when you see each other again - as if all that time apart has never happened.  You just continue where you left off from the last time you were together.

So what else have I been up to this week - well I decided to start aqua jogging again and went 3 times this past week.  I was up at 5.45am and at the pool just after 6, that's when it opens. I spend about an hour at the pool first aqua jogging and then swimming laps before heading home for a shower and breakfast.  I'm loving it and I feel great.  I'm not usually a morning person and it is still dark when I leave home but there is something special about swimming and then watching to sun come up.  I love the water and swimming and I also love the beach, but I'm not into swimming at the beach.  I remember as a child being at the beach and seeing a group of people working to resuscitate a young lady who had obviously almost drowned, that has stayed with me ever since.  I do love beach walks and will happily 'paddle' in the water but I won't swim.  Anyway this week my plan is to continue with my early morning swimming regime.  I think it'll get harder once winter arrives cause getting up on cold mornings sucks even if a nice warm pool is waiting.

What else have I been up to??  I looked after Noah as I usually do every week, I unpacked and sorted the rather large Rawleigh order that arrived via the courier.  Rang those who had placed orders for various things and arranged times to deliver them.  I applied for another job - thanks Jackie for again helping to tweak my CV - you're a gem.  I also mowed the lawn, did a bit of gardening, I did my housework (properly) and did a spot of de-cluttering.

My 'therapy' when I feel I need it is too rearrange my lounge.  Others do retail therapy, but not me - I lug furniture around, get hot and frustrated and finally have things were I want them. Rearranging is not easy in my lounge as I have this rather large hearth the sticks out into the room meaning there are only so many ways of arranging the furniture.  Anyway after the last few weeks I decided I needed some therapy to work some things out of my system, however, because it was already very warm by 9am on Saturday morning the thought of shifting heavy objects around was actually not very appealing, so I decided to just de-clutter instead.  And as these things usually go you make a start somewhere and the ball just continues to roll.  High shelves and the top of bookcases etc that usually get  only an annual dust due to no-one being tall enough to see onto them anyway got a good going over, cupboards were cleaned out and bookshelves de-cluttered, I now even have more bench space in the kitchen and my windowsill in there is also free of clutter.  I managed to collect 3.5 boxes of stuff that I no longer want/need and that was only from the kitchen, lounge and diningroom.  These boxes are now residing in the garage just incase I change my mind about any items, they will eventually go to the local Op shop.  Next on my list is my sewing room - but that's for another day sometime way, way down the track cause I may well need retail therapy once I've tackled that room so I need to save first ;0)

So there you go - I am once again of sound mind thanks to my 'therapy' session on Saturday.  Having everything looking spic and span both inside and out is a great feeling, although it has make me wonder what on earth am I going to do this coming week to fill my days??!!  I'll just have to do some sewing - hopefully the fabric I ordered from America arrives soon, oh and ironing, I need to do some ironing as I have a rather large pile of novelty pillowcases that need ironing and packaging for the upcoming market. And if I really have nothing else to do there is always TradeMe - it's about time I did a bit of work on there as I have a cupboard full of things to photograph and list.  All in all there is actually plenty to do to keep me out of mischief - who me get into mischief!!  Never!!

Thanks once again for taking the time to read this chapter of my journey.  In my clean up yesterday I came across the following prayer and I just wanted to share it with you. Maybe it'll help you as much as it has helped me.

The Knots Prayer

Dear God:
Please untie the knots
that are in my mind,
my heart and my life.
Remove the have nots,
the can nots and the do nots
that I have in my mind.
Erase the will nots,
may nots,
might nots that may find
a home in my heart.
Release me from the could nots,
would nots and
should nots that obstruct my life.
And most of all,
Dear God,
I ask that you remove from my mind,
my heart and my life all of the 'am nots'
that I have allowed to hold me back,
especially the thought
that I am not good enough.
Author Known to God

Wishing you God's blessing this week. 

Love and hugs

Monday, 20 January 2014

Something happened last weekend which has made me stop and ponder and I've decided I really need to write about it to get my thoughts out there and clear my head.  I think some of this may be attributing to the ho hum feeling I wrote about yesterday.

On Sunday I congratulated a lovely lady on her 60th Wedding Anniversary.  She thanked me for my kind wishes, but said she felt a little embarrassed to be happy knowing that I was never going to get to celebrate such a mile stone.  I appreciated what she said but assured her that she had every right to be happy - 60 years is a big deal.  I did however come away feeling a little sad.  Not because I would  never get to celebrate 60 years of marriage but because she felt embarrassed to be happy for my sake.

Many of us have 'crosses' to bare in this life and I think it is sad and wrong for us to become so engrossed in our own self pity that we can not reach out and  be truly happy and celebrate with those who have special moments to celebrate.  Romans 12:15 tell us to "Rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn".  True Christian love will make us take part in the sorrows and joys of others,  it should not about us and how we feel, or about what we want in our lives but about building up the other person/people.  If God has given us a crosswhatever it maybe,  to bear for a season then we need to bear it graciously trusting that He will supply all our needs in His time and that His love for us will get us through, that His timing is always right and so are His plans for our lives.

Am I sad that I will never get to celebrate 60 years of marriage - of course I am.  My heart aches at the thought of spending the rest of my life alone, never being held in someones arms, never being kissed with passion, never having someone to share thoughts, dreams and intimate moments with.  All those couple things that other couples have and I now don't.  Yes that makes me sad, but I truly rejoice with those who do have those things, those who get to celebrate their anniversaries be it 20, 30, 40, 50 or even 60 years.  What a blessing to get to spend a lifetime with the one you love, how can I not be happy for these people - they have been given such a precious gift that can so easily be snatched away.  I feel blessed to have been given almost 30 years with Roy.

I will probably never know why God in His wisdom decided to call Roy home to be with Him and why I now have to live without him.  But it is what it is - don't get me wrong I loved Roy very, very much and we had a great marriage and a very happy life together, but Roy is my past and what we had will eventually become very precious memories.  I can not live in the past nor would Roy want me too.  His biggest wish for me was to be happy so if there is any gift I could give him it would be that - to be happy.

I can hear some of you asking - how can she write all this when Roy has only been gone 7 months??!!  I think because my grieving started already a year before Roy died if not longer ago than that.  We knew when his bladder cancer had become aggressive and was found in his lymp nodes that we were living on borrowed time - we just didn't know then how much time that would be. We were able to enjoy the time the Lord allotted us and also grieve together that it was far shorter than what we had hoped it would be. Maybe those last five years together has made my journey much easier.  Maybe that is why now suddenly I'm having these unsettled feeling, the eagerness to see what the Lord has planned for my future.

It's funny you know cause Roy and I did talk about what we'd do if one of us was no longer around - I guess it's something all couple talk about at some stage.  Roy always said he'd never remarry and I think he would have been very content with his life alone had that been the case.  That was just how he was - he would have had a busy life with his archives, church work and all the other things he was passionate about.  I on the other hand wasn't really sure what I'd want to do - it isn't easy trying to imagine yourself married to someone else when the love of your life is still with you and your happy. Roy said he could see me re-marrying again should it come to that. I can honestly say that if it's in the Lord's plan I'm open to the possibility.  Not that I'm planning to jump into anything just yet, but friendship is always a very good place to start.

Speaking of jumping I had a very shaken, not stirred moment that has seen me high tail it to hide under the dining room table along with Jack - the dog.  We have just been rocked by the biggest earthquake that I have ever felt - 6.3 apparently.  Wow my heart is still pumping and my legs are all wobbly.  That really was very scary, I'm ok and the only damage was 2 broken wine glasses, although the fishtank lost a bit of water, some Rawleigh stock fell off the shelves and all the kitchen cupboards were standing open but everything else seems to be ok.  Hopefully we're not in for too many more of those.  I hope everyone else is doing ok.

Well that is it from me.  I feel much better having been able to share my thoughts.  I want to encourage you to reach out to those who mean something to you - life is short so love them, respect them and be happy for them even when it's hard.

Thanks for listening.

Blessings and much love,

Sunday, 19 January 2014

I am pleased to say that I have been mouse free this week.  However I did get up one morning to find a bird inside (not a little one either, a big Thrush) - it always amazes me that my floor can be covered in bird feather and yet the bird still has it's clothes on, they must have lots and lots of feathers.  This bird had a fortunate escape from the cat as I finally found it sitting on the window sill in the kitchen - I opened the window and off he/she flew.

I've been told that I should write a book about the mouse adventures from last week and I have been thinking about maybe giving it a go.  I will have to change the ending somewhat though as I don't think 'swimming lessons' is a good way to go.  I'll see what I can come up with.  Maybe this is the start of a whole new endeavour for me. That project I was talking about a few weeks ago.

So my week has again speed by.  On Monday I spent the day looking after a sick wee man.  Noah had become unwell while we were down in Wellington last week Sunday.  Although he was eating ok he had a raging temp of over 38 degrees and no energy to do anything but have cuddles and sleep. I was more than happy to give him as many Oma cuddles as he needed. We even had a wee nap together.  Aimee took him to the doctor and his ears, throat and chest were all fine so it was probably a viral thing.  It took Noah about 2 days to get over it and now he is back to his normal chipper happy self.

On Wednesday a very good friend came to stay for a few nights for a 'sleepover'.  We've been friends since we were 13 years old and way back then we regularly had sleepovers - where we would chat till all hours of the night, or rather morning.  We decided since it was school holidays we'd have a sleepover for old time sake - and we had a great time - just not with the late into the night chatting, probably because we are older and wiser now.  Well maybe a little bit wiser but definitely a lot older.  Although I'm still on the down side of 50 - if only for another few weeks, while Diana is over that hill - if only just.  It was great to spend time reminiscing over the 'good old day', the people we knew back then and the things we used to get up to together.  They were fun times with great memories.  Life and our futures seemed so easy then but little did we know (thankfully) the paths our perspective lives would take or that eventually oneday we'd end up living in the same town again and rekindling what has always been a strong friendship.  I am blessed to call Diana my friend and I thank the Lord for her support, love and friendship.

as I mentioned this year I'll be turning 50. Next month in fact - in exactly 26 days from tomorrow I'll finally be turning the big 5 0!!  I'll let you figure it out but here's a clue - my birthday's on that special day set aside for 'lovers and secret admirers'!  It's amazing really!!  Not so much that I'm turning 50 but where has the time gone??  Once upon a time 50 seemed so old (probably when I was 13 and the world was my oyster), but now I'm thinking 50 is the new 40 cause I definitely don't feel old.  Roy used to always call me a spring chicken, but I guess even spring chickens eventually age - and that's ok, as long as I don't become a tough old bird I'll be happy ;0)  Anyway you're only as old as you feel - the saying goes "Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional" so I like to think I'm not quite grown up yet - occasionally.  Life needs to be fun and I am definitely open to some fun and new adventures this year.  Bring it on :0)

Today I again made a trip down to Wellington, this time for the baptism of my great nephew - wow now I do feel old because that makes me his great aunt - help!!  It was an awesome day even if it was again blowing like anything down there - we definitely don't go for the weather.  Roy's Mum, Aimee and Noah all came along too.  It is so nice to be able to spend time with family and friends and renew acquaintances. The only down side for me is that it leaves me feeling a wee bit unsettled.  It happened last week after I'd been and I feel it again now.  I feel just a little bit sad and empty - I guess the best way to describe it is a longing!! An if only feeling!!  So for now I feel a bit ho hum and hopefully it'll pass soon.

Last week I spoke with my boss and as yet the funding has not come through for my job and it could take another couple of weeks before we know whether the position will continue this year.  There was a job in last weeks paper which really appealed so I have been tweaking my CV and plan to apply for it, it's 15 hours a week so would fit in well should the funding come through for the English Language job.  I covet your prayers that the Lord will show me what His will is.  In the meantime I have plenty of sewing to get done as Aimee and I will be having a stall at the Waitangi Day Gala in Rongotea on yip that's right Waitangi Day.  We are praying for good weather and no wind ;0)

Well in the words of Woody Woodpecker "that's all folks" for another week.

Have an awesome week and stay safe.

Love and blessings

Sunday, 12 January 2014

I have had a very interesting week and I have discovered that the Lord definitely has a sense of humour.

In my last blog I wrote about the cat bringing home mice which she lets go in the house, and I also wrote about needing a project - well I think you know where this is going!!!!!!!  This week I've had both - mice and the project of catching mice!!

When I came down stairs into the dining room on Monday morning I found  the outside cushions were all in a heap and the cat looking intently at the book case and I thought - mouse!  I didn't have time to investigate further as I had places to be, so I left her too it.  When I finally got home at about 8.30pm the cat was still sitting in the dining room, now looking intently up at the curtain. And I thought hmm the mouse is still in the house!!  I carefully opened out the curtains and there sitting on the very top, hanging on for dear life was a tiny wee mouse.  As I reached up to grab it it slipped through my hand and disappeared under the bookcase with the cat hot on it's tail.  It was then that the fun and games began - it is amazing the small spaces that mice can get into and also how unhelpful a cat can be when it comes to catching a mouse.  Pixie finally did catch it only to let it go again - the mouse took off across the dining room floor and ran straight into the dog who also tried to catch it but missed.  The mouse high tailed it back under the bookcase with both the cat and the dog after it.  I must admit looking back now it was very funny to see the cat and the dog (who isn't a little dog) both cramming themselves under the bookcase because they could smell where the mouse was.  It took almost an hour (I was determined to catch the mouse before I went to bed) but with the use of a very sturdy knitting needle I finally managed to pry the mouse out of it's hiding place and catch it.  Both the cat and the dog wanted the mouse of course when they saw it dangling from my fingers - when children leave their toys laying around they get taken away and so it was for the cat. The mouse received some swimming lessons which it wasn't too happy about and now resided at the bottom of the wheelie bin ;0)  Drama over, furniture put back in place and order restored so off to bed I went - it had been a long day.

On Tuesday I had a visit from a very good friend from Wellington which was really nice.  It was so good to be able to spend time catching up, sharing and encouraging each other.  I have known Ann since our children were little and attended Playcentre together in Newlands, Wellington.  As she was leaving we saw the cat again staring at the bookshelf and Ann said - mouse, and I said surely not!!  Well I was wrong and Ann was right because there huddled under one of the outdoor cushions was a very  small stunned mouse. It was too stunned to run anywhere so it was easy to catch.  This mouse also received swimming lessons and now also resides at the bottom of the wheelie bin.  I'm on a roll  the score now sits at Jolanda - 2, cat - 0, mice - 0.  I am pleased to report that the rest of the week has been mouse free - thank goodness.  There are only so many free swimming lessons I'm willing to hand out ;0)  I am also thankful that I'm not scared of those sneaky wee critters.

On the lawn mower front I can now report that it is finally fixed and in working order.  It wasn't what was thought as the blow out with compressed air (yip I remembered what that was called) didn't help.  Apparently there was a hole somewhere which meant getting a new part, which took time - I don't really know the ins and outs, I'm just pleased to have a working lawn mower again. A HUGE thanks to Dad for making my lawns look presentable again.

The rest of the week has been pretty uneventful - I had some sewing orders to fill and send away, I wrote a letter that I felt the Lord had been prompting me to write and send. I did the washing and housework (so exciting but needs doing none the less!!) and tidied away all the Christmas stuff, pottered around in the garden and ok I admit it I also finished a book and started another one - I love a good read.  I have also started making some plans for my birthday next month -!! The weather hasn't been great but that seems to be the way summer is going this year.  There is nothing we can do about it so we just have to go with the flow.

There is no news on the job front yet.  The office officially opens tomorrow so I am hoping to hear something this week.  I am praying that the funding for the position comes through, and if not that the Lord will make clear where and what He wants me to do this year.  This year is a new page which is currently blank and I am looking forward to putting something on it.  Today a friend said it was onwards and upwards and he's right, there are exciting times ahead for me and I am ready to face my future whatever it might be and bring.  There are bound to be some 'stumbles' along the way but that's ok, I'll work through them, learn from them and become stronger because of them.

Today has been a busy, exciting and tiring day. I had took a road trip down to Wellington with Richard, Aimee and Noah and Roy's Mum.   My nephew (in law) was leading the service in the church where Roy and I spent the first almost 20 years of our married life - goodness that means I've been in Levin for 10 years already!!!!  Thanks Julian for an awesome sermon - God has given you a great gift, may He continue to bless you in the work you do for Him, and Melinda too - love you both lots.  It was wonderful to be back in my 'old stomping ground' and catch up with family and friends many of whom I haven't seen since Roy's funeral.  It made me just a wee bit homesick as I do miss all the lovely people down there - I don't however miss the traffic (which admittedly wasn't too bad today) and the weather, esp the wind - having said it's been pretty windy since we got home and I am hoping the shade sails over the deck are going to stay in place.

So that was the week that was - mouse excitement and all.  Oh before I forget I want to say a HUGE thank you to the mystery person who left a lovely and generous gift in my letterbox this week.  It was very timely and gratefully accepted.  Blessings.

I wish you all a blessed week. Till next time.

Love and hugs,

Sunday, 5 January 2014

I was not going to write about this anymore, but I just have too.

My lawn mower 'saga' continues, but now not only is it a saga but it has turned into a mystery as well!!

Just before Christmas one of my sons was going to mow the bank for me.  He first did the bottom lawn with no problems - the mower went like a charm, however once up on the bank the lawn mower wouldn't restart.  Yes there was petrol in the tank - I always check that before I do any lawn mowing now - I learnt that the hard way ;0)  The boys cleaned out the air filter and checked and cleaned the spark plug and still nothing.  It would run on the little bit of petrol available when primed and then stop.  It was put into the shed for a 'rest', in case it was just flooded but there was no improvement the next day.  Dad came to have a look but he was also mystified, so brother Ron was called in - he tried a few things he thought it might be but it still didn't go - oh if you kept pumping the prime button it went, but as soon as you stopped the mower did too.  So off the lawn mower went for a visit to Ron's place where he took the machine apart, cleaned everything, put in new petrol and put it back together - without leftover parts and it still doesn't go.  So now we are all mystified!!!!

Dad had a chat to one of the guy's from Church who knows about these things and he thinks it might be a blockage in the carburetor - hmmm I think that's right!!  Anyway it's apparently a 10 minute job to fix with some pressurized air - which I know has a special name but I can't remember what it is right at this moment!!

I'm just pleased that so far it has rained a lot so there hasn't actually been an opportunity to mow any lawns - mind you all we need is some warm sunny days and the grass will be off.  Dad is taking the mower in to be fixed tomorrow for me and we will see what happens.  It'll be either good news or not so good news!!

On the garden front - I love having a veggie garden.  I have harvested 2 meals of beans, lots of little cherry tomatoes which are just yummy, 3 cucumbers which are also yummy, the snap peas haven't produced yet but won't be far off and the silver-beet is ready to eat.  The lettuce went to seed because I didn't eat if fast enough and the spinach didn't come up - again - even though it was a new packet of seed. The pumpkin plant that came up in the compost is growing well and have flowers so hopefully it'll grow some pumpkins too.  The strawberries are continuing to produce, just enough for me and although last year I had an amazing crop on my red currant trees this year I managed to save, yes save about 10 berries because the birds ate the rest - I have had heaps of little wax-eyes enjoying the flowers in my feijoa trees and I think they found my red currants too. If the flowers on the feijoa trees are anything to go by I'll be in for a bumper crop this year, esp with all the rain we've been having - yum.

The downside of all those birds is that Pixie (the cat) seems to think that it's ok to bring them home for a visit and then she lets them go inside the house.  To date I have managed to rescue 3 birds and I can tell you it doesn't make your morning to come downstairs and find your dining room floor littered with feathers and you have no idea where the owner of those feathers has gone.  It amazing how many feathers a wee bird has.  I eventually found it in shock hiding under the wastepaper basket.  And don't get me started on the mice that she brings home!!  I'm not scared of them but I don't appreciate having to turn my house upside down trying to find them - although it does mean that the house gets a spring clean on a regular basis.

I know that in my last blog I wrote about trusting God with my future and not being worried about it and that is all still very true, but I must admit to feeling a bit out of sorts the last few days, a wee bit blue, well no not really blue because that's depressive and I don't feel depressed more unmotivated and a bit restless, a bit lost really.  I'm not really sure why - maybe it's a New Year's thing, maybe it's an uncertain of the future thing, maybe it's a weather thing - we've had a lot of rain lately or maybe it's a what am I going to do and where am I going thing.  I even feel unmotivated to sew which is a real worry - for me!!

Maybe what I need is another 'project' to focus on now that the decking is done, but I'm not sure what - I'd love to paint the walls in the lounge as I'm over the green.  I'm really not sure what I want and that is probably the problem.  I've lost my mojo and I need it back.  If you find it please send it home ;0)

I have now also run out of things to write so not only have I lost my mojo now I also have a mental block - hmmmmm I just can't win.  Time to go and read a book I think or maybe watch a movie.

I wish you all God's blessing this week and hopefully by next time I'll have removed the block and maybe even have my mojo back.

Till next time much love and hugs,

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Welcome to 2014 :0)

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year.  Did you make any resolutions??  I haven't because I never keep them so why bother.  I have however been reflecting on the year that was.

2013 has been an interesting year - actually that might be understating it a bit.  Although there have been times of great sadness there have also been plenty of times of happiness and blessing.

We were blessed to be able to attend all the markets that we had booked in for even though Roy had at the time become quite sick because of his radiation treatment.  We were blessed to be able to make a few trips up to Hastings including one to celebrate Inge's 2nd birthday.  We were blessed with the arrival of a second grandchild - a little boy named Noah Christopher in honour of his Opa. We were blessed to be able to spend a family weekend together in celebration of my parents 50th wedding anniversary and have time with my aunt from Holland and good friends from Aussie.  After this we also had a week where Inge came to stay and although Roy was by then becoming a lot sicker he was still able to spend time interacting with her.

In June sadness and loss came when the Lord called Roy home to glory and yet even then there was also comfort and joy.  Comfort in the knowledge that Roy was now safe in the arms of his Lord and no longer had to suffer the ravages of the cancer that had taken over his body and the joy of family time spent together and that we were all able to say a proper goodbye to him before he left us.

Since Roy's death there have been a great many blessings too.  I have been blessed with the on going love and support of family and friends - I wouldn't be where I am today without you all, thank you so much.  I was blessed with a job - albeit part time and still not confirmed for this year.  I am blessed that at the moment I am financially stable and have even been able to afford some house improvements.  I have been blessed to be able to spend time looking after Noah and watch him grow and develop.  I am blessed with good health, a positive attitude and a ready smile.  I am also starting to come to terms with the new normal that is now my life and even enjoying it.

The biggest blessing of all is my strengthened walk with the Lord.  I trust Him completely with my life, I feel at peace in the knowledge that He is in control.  "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11  I love that word 'hope'.  What a comfort and what a joy and what an awesome God we serve.

So you're probably wondering how my Christmas and New Year went - they actually went better that I have thought they might and I can tick another set of firsts off my list.  I must admit I was a little bit apprehensive about going to the Christmas day service as I expected plenty of tears, but the Lord surrounded me with His loving arms and I felt very much at peace.  I also really appreciate my youngest son Joel coming with me.  Joel and I spent the rest of the day with my parents before Aimee, Richard and Noah came for the night.  On Boxing day we did the extending family Christmas thing and again it went really well and we had a lovely time catching up with each other.  
The days between Christmas and New Year were very busy - Noah came and stayed for the night so his Mama and Papa could both work in the bakery as just before Christmas they had suddenly received a HUGE catering order.  I also had my 15 year old niece come and stay for a couple of nights which was lovely.  Jess really enjoyed coming with me to look after Noah.

 I must admit I actually found New Year harder to face than Christmas - it's the suddenly loneliness of not being part of a couple and having no-one to share that first New Years kiss with anymore - it sucks!!!  (as my sister in law Helen would say)  I wasn't planning on staying up for New Year, but that changed and I ended up having family over which was really nice and it all went better than I thought it might.  I'd made a big batch of Olibollen which were really, really yummy and went down a treat. 

As I write this it is almost the end of the 2nd day of 2014 and I can't help wondering what this year will bring.  There are already some plans to look forward to - family get togethers, a BIG birthday for me, family coming from overseas, the birth of another grandchild and probably plenty more that I don't even know about yet.

My prayer is that this year I continue to grow in the Lord, that when the time is right He will show me His plans for my life, that I am can find true contentment and be comfortable with the person I have become.  I also hope that this year will go a bit slower than last year did, but my guess is that won't be the case.

May your New Year be blessed with peace, love and joy. I send you my heartfelt best wishes with joy that never ends and I wish you God's blessing for 2014.  

Till next time.