Sunday, 23 February 2014

Time to sit down and put pen to paper  - so to speak.  My problem is where to start as a lot has happened since I  wrote my last blog.  The last 2 weeks have been filled with times of joy and happiness but also with sadness and loss.

My birthday weekend was awe-some!  It was so good to spend time with my children and grandchildren.  The house we stayed at was a large stunning old Villa surrounded by beautiful gardens.  It was very peaceful and relaxing.  On the Saturday afternoon  we  invited family and close friends to come and join the celebrations and with the weather being beautiful we were outside most of the afternoon/evening and I think everyone had an great time.  My children did me proud - they churned out an almost endless supply of wonderful tasting pizza's which were cooked in the very, very large pizza oven.  They ran everything smoothly and did an awesome job.  My very talented daughter made the most amazing birthday cake for me which truly blew everyone away.  I wore my new dress and felt greatly complimented when my youngest son saw me and said - "Wow mum you look great" - love you hun.  Thanks too for all other compliments I received - it was a nice wee ego boost ;0).  And it's nice to know all my swimming is paying off.  I have since bought myself another dress - that makes 2!! - amazing the things you suddenly do at 50 :0)

My birthday party was a wonderful occasion, a time of creating new memories and although I did have a 'wee' teary  moment when everyone sang happy birthday I feel very blessed, not only by my wonderful family and extended family but also by the dear friends who came to celebrate with me.  I want to thank you all for not only making my 50th birthday a wonderful celebration but also for your support and encouragement since Roy's death.  I am honored to call you my friends. Thank you too for all the lovely cards and gifts. I have been very spoilt.

Here are some photos, but not one of me in my dress as I don't actually have one yet.  I might post one later.

Manakau Retreat

I was allowed to sleep in this wonderful room since it was my birthday!

My birthday cake - it was very yummy too.

On Sunday morning we woke to the news that the Lord had called Mum N (Nana) home to be with Him.  We all shed tears, not so much of sorrow, but more relief that her suffering was now over and she was finally at peace.  On the Thursday before my birthday Nana had suffered another stroke and things didn't look good so the news of her passing into glory really came as no surprise.  We decided rather than stay out at the Villa, that we'd head home.  We all went to visit Dad N (Pop) which he really appreciated.

The week that has since past has been a flurry of activity - family arrived from Australia, funeral preparations where made, more family arrived from different parts of NZ and from Australia - some were delayed because airports were closed due to fog but they all finally made it, some of the  Aussies had to travel the 'long' way to get here - via Auckland rather than flying into Wellington which meant an all night road trip down to Levin.  All Pop and Nana's 14 grandchildren were able to be at the funeral.

Pop with his 14 grandchildren

The funeral service for Nana was held on Friday - I wasn't sure how I was going to react, but it was actually ok.  Two of the songs we sang at Roy's funeral were also sung at Nana's and they were very hard  for me to sing, but otherwise I was fine. Maybe because the funeral firstly was less personal to me, but also there was a difference because of the age of the person who had died. I can now finally say I have been to the cemetery and although for a moment it was hard to see the spot where Roy was buried, it was also a bit of a relief to have finally done it and having all my children and family with me made it a lot easier.  I had actually been curious as to what the grave would look like and I was pleased to see a small cross with his name on it marking to spot of his earthly remains.  My Dad made a lovely comment as we were about to leave - he said "On resurrection day this is going to be a really busy place" - what an awesome thought.

As I said it has been a time of happiness and sadness - a whole bunch of firsts have been faced and through it all the Lord has upheld and sustained not only me but the whole family.  Today the last of the family departed Levin and now the reality of what has happened will hit Pop. He has been amazingly strong this last week, but please pray for him, that he might feel the Lord's continuing comfort and strength as he faces the days, weeks and months ahead without a visit from his beloved Janna.

Even with everything going on I have still been Aqua jogging 4 morning this last week, applied for 3 more jobs, looked after Noah and had him stay over night - which ended up being a bit of a bad night as the poor wee guy threw up twice during the night right through his cot and over himself. In the end I took him into my bed.  I put pillows all down one side so he wouldn't fall off the edge and I 'slept' (not much) on the other edge and Noah literally used up the rest of the bed.  For such a little person he sure takes up a lot of room - needless to say I didn't get a lot of sleep that night.  I also washed the car, did some gardening and weeding, had people for lunch, dinner and staying a few nights, loads of washing (thanks to Noah) and been busy with Rawleigh customers.  And the weather has been hot, hot, hot even at night which has meant only sleeping under a sheet with all the windows open and being eaten for dinner by the mozzies - I have 7 bites on the top part of my left arm and they are sooooooo itchy.  I'm thinking I might need to apply insect repellent before bed to keep the wee suckers from using me as their meal.

Oh that's the other thing that happened on Tuesday this week I again had no hot water - this time I didn't have a major meltdown but rang Electra who sent around someone to check the meter box and this time it wasn't the pole fuse that had blown but the fuse in the meter box.  The Electra guy changed the fuse and when he popped it back in it blew straight away so he said the fault was with the element and that I'd need the services of an electrician.  I rang my friendly electrician and he came and fixed the problem and also replaced the thermostat - which was prob the original as it was in Fahrenheit and no longer working - sometimes at night you could hear the cylinder bubbling.  It will be interesting to see what sort of difference this will make to my power bill.  

All in all it has been an eventful few weeks with much more to come over the next few weeks.  The weekends on my March calendar are getting very full with birthday parties to attend, 2 for my grand children and one for my oldest son. I was thinking about my non-existent social life the other day - not that Roy and I were social butterflies, but we'd have a meal out now and then, go to the stock cars or a movie but I'm not going to do those things by myself - so I now have the social life of a hermit!!!!  How sad is that - lol!!  I need to get a life!!!!

Well that's enough wonderings for this edition.

Thanks again for your continued, love, support and encouragement.

Till next time.

Love and blessings

Sunday, 9 February 2014

It sure has been a roller coaster few weeks with highs and lows and plenty to keep me busy.

I was blessed to have two of my favourite boys come and stay last weekend.  Ryan and Noah.  Ryan came to spend the weekend with me while Ineke and Inge went down to Christchurch for a family wedding.  Noah came for the weekend as his Papa and Mama had a work do to go to all day Saturday.  The Lord sure does work in mysterious ways for not only was it a blessing to be able to spend some quality mother son time with my eldest son, but the Lord knew that Ryan would be needed to help out in a much more dramatic way.

On Saturday afternoon Roy's Mum (Nana to all her grandchildren) suffered a massive brain bleed (stroke) and was taken to Palmerston North Hospital.  Ryan was able to organise things from this end and arranged to take Pop (Dad N) up to Palmy on the Saturday evening to spend sometime with Nana.  At that stage the doctors were unsure if she'd make it through the night.  On the Sunday after church Ryan again picked Pop up - no easy feat as Pop needs help (a lot of it) to get in and out of the car and is wheelchair bound, and Ryan again took him up to Palmy to see Nana.

I also went up to Palmy along with Joel and his girlfriend Tia to drop Noah off at home and then we headed to the hospital to see Nana.  She was asleep when we got there and snoring and for a moment I was back in Roy's hospice room on the last day he was with us - boy that was a really, really hard moment and it has taken me a few days to work through the emotions that have resurfaced.  You think that the wounds are well and truly healed over when in fact they are only lightly healed and it doesn't take much to break them open again.  When I mentioned how I'd felt to the boys they said they had exactly the same reaction when they saw Nana.

At the moment Nana is relatively stable - although she is paralyzed down her right side and has little to no speech.  The hope is to move her to the hospital here in Levin so it will be easier for Pop to visit her everyday and less distance for daughter Joc to have to travel to come and visit her parents.  Meanwhile we pray.  What do we pray for??  For healing - of course, but also that if it is His will that the Lord calls Mum home - it is very hard to see her suffering and Pop as well.  But the Lord has numbered her days as He has for us all and He will call her home when His timing is right and not a minute, in fact not a second before then - so we also pray for the Lord's strength, comfort and peace to face the days and weeks to come and that in all things His will be done.

The Lord sends all sorts of situations into our lives that can stop us dead in our tracks for a while, be it sickness, a serious accident, a death, a debilitating physical condition, unemployment etc, etc. We can pray that the Lord will relieve us of the situation that we find ourselves in and He may well answer those prayers, but we shouldn't be sitting back on our hands expecting the Lord to answer the way we want Him too because it's not about our will but His will being done.  God may yet give us what we ask for but it'll be in His timing not ours, so we need to make the best of the situation we find ourselves in.  We have a responsibility to face the reality of the situation and we need to be pro-active so that we can cope with the path the Lord has currently set before us and should He answer our prayers the way we want further down the road what a blessing that will be.

So that was the lows of this past week - although even in the sadness of what has happened with Nana there has also been the joy of strengthened family bonds as this wonderful family that I have the privilege to be apart of  does what it does so well, which is to be there for each other and support each other in times sadness as well as in times of joy.  

So the last 2 weeks were not all sadness there were some highs too.  Spending time with Ryan and Noah was definitely a high.  Ryan and I took Noah for a long walk, we did lots of talking and we played a number of games of Carcassonne and Crib.  Noah had a great time getting to know Uncle Ryan and Uncle Joel too when he came by for dinner.

On Thursday (Waitangi Day) Aimee and I had a stall at the Waitangi Day Gala run by the Rongotea Lions.  It was the first outside market I've done since Roy died and it actually went really well despite the wind. We did have to battle with flying stock and toppling clothes racks but we soon got it all sorted and now know what we need to do to improve things for next year.  Aimee and I work well together and the set up and pack up was a breeze.  We're pretty good and putting up and taking down a gazebo.  We both sold well and I was pleased to have taken along some Rawleigh products as they sold well too.  I had wondered how I would cope if people asked where Roy was as he was well known in the area as he had been a Scout Leader up  there when he lived in Sanson before we were married.  I only had 3 customers who asked after him, 2 were shocked to hear of his death and the other wanted to know how I was getting on as he had purchase off me via email and therefore knew of Roy's death.  So all in all it was a wonderful if tiring day and one we'll definitely do again next year - hopefully next year there will be no wind!

I have now been aqua jogging/swimming 3 times a week for 3 weeks - it isn't getting any easier to get out of bed in the morning at 5.45am esp as it's dark at the moment.  I have this running battle in my head about staying in bed verses getting up.  Getting up always wins in the end so that's good sign.  I am really loving the aqua jogging/swimming and I feel so good afterwards. I have also made a whole lot of new friends and have even been invited to their Friday morning coffee get together - I suspect that the average age of these ladies is probably somewhere between 65 and 70 years of age so I do feel a little on the young side but it sure was nice to be included even though I couldn't make it due to other commitments.  This coming week I hope to go swimming 4 mornings.

The other highlight of this past week is that on impulse I purchased an item that I haven't owned for at least 25 years I'd say if not longer. I saw it , I liked it, I tired it on and loved it so I bought it - what is it you ask - it's a dress.  Those of you who know me well will know I don't do dresses or skirts - I'm a jeans, pants and shorts kinda girl.  I think my weight loss and exercise regime has given me a new confidence to try new things and I'm starting with a dress.

I have only 4 days  left before I will be moving into a new era of my life.  On Friday (Valentine's Day) I will be turning the BIG 50!!  I best make the most of the 4 days at 49 that I have left.  The story goes that I was born very close to midnight between the 13th and 14th Feb, but by the time everything was done and dusted it was well and truly the 14th so that became my birthday.  Something that you may not know about me is that officially my name is Johanna, but Mum and Dad decided to call me Jolanda instead -it even says that on my birth notice from the newspaper.   This has made life a bit confusing at times, at one stage I even had an IRD number for each name!!   In Holland they say that when you turn 50 you've seen  Abraham (for the men) or Sarah (for the women) - apparently that means that I will have gained wisdom through experience.  So does that mean that up until then I've been un-wise!!??   I guess that's much nicer than being told you're now 'over the hill' - that's enough to make anyone feel like they're ready for the scrap heap.  50 is the new 40 I say so bring it on :0)  Even though it is another first to face I plan to enjoy it and spend a great day celebrating with family and friends.

Well I think that's it for this time.  Next week I might even have some photos to post, we'll see if anyone takes any.

Wishing you all a blessed week.

Much love