Goodness me, the gaps between posts are getting bigger and bigger. Thanks to those who have let me know that they really enjoy reading what I write and also for encouraging me to continue, I will try my best.
I hope everyone has had a wonderful and blessed Christmas and that the New Year is going well. My Christmas was pretty good. The children all went to the 'in-laws' this year so I spent Christmas day with my Mum and Dad and my sister and her family in Whitby. We had a lovely afternoon and the weather was beautiful. New Year was a non event really. It happened, but I didn't stay up to see it in. Not much use staying up when you're by yourself. I did make oliebollen which were very yum. Dad esp enjoyed them and he took 2 bags home. On the Sunday there were still heaps left so I took them to Church for coffee morning - thankfully they went like hot cakes. I like oliebollen, but after spending a morning making them I've kinda had enough, probably more from the smell than from eating lots. The first day of the New Year was a scorcher - the temp outside on my deck in the shade got to 31.9 degrees. All the family (well those who were around) came for a New Years day family dinner, which was a really nice way to begin the New Year, although it was almost too hot to eat. That evening was one of those rare evenings where you can sit outside in the dark because it was so still and and mild, so that's what I did after I'd tidied up after everyone had left I grabbed a bottle of cold cider and sat outside enjoying the beautiful moon and the stars. It was wonderful - peaceful and relaxing, a good time to ponder the past and wonder about the future.
Since I last wrote there have been some highs and some lows. Soon after my last blog I got a phone call from my case manager at Winz to let me know that she wouldn't be available for our next appointment as she was moving on to a new position in Wellington. Since then I have heard nothing so I am expecting to receive a letter sometime advising me of who my new case manager will be and an appointment to meet him/her - this will be the 4th one. In this case no news suits me fine.
The extra hours at work were great - both from a financial point of view but also to be working - I loved it. Unfortunately I am too efficient and by early December I had managed to get everything (the back log) that needed to be done, done so that was the end of the extra hours. October also saw me making the early Monday morning trip up to Palmy again to look after Noah and Tilly as Aimee was returning to work. This has continued with me also going up on Thursdays for a while in November due to the busyness of preparing for Christmas and I think this month there will be some Thursday's required too as Aimee is busy with wedding cakes. It is a wonderful blessing to be able to spend time with both Noah and Tilly, watching them grow and develop, although all Noah's 'Why' question can get a bit tiring ;0)
In November I had another first - boy you'd think after two and a half years that you'd have covered all those, but no surprise, surprise a new first popped up. I was blessed to be invited to attend a 35th wedding anniversary dinner of some very dear friends. A first outside of family events. To be honest I was reluctant to go, but decided that it was something I needed to eventually do, so I went and I had a lovely time. It was held in Wellington so my friend Diana came down with me and I dropped her off in Whitby for some Oma time with her new grandson., on the way home I picked her up again and we were back in Levin just after 11pm.
Another thing that happened late November was the installation of Roy's headstone. It is so nice to see that Roy's earthly resting place has now been marked. Many thanks to those who helped make this happen. xxxxx
November/December saw the arrival of another great nephew and another great niece to the Nugteren clan. Nothing like being a great aunt to make you feel just a wee bit old - I am currently the great aunt of I think 19 great nephews and nieces and that will increase in the coming year with I believe 2 more on their way.
November also had a down side. Without going into specifics (as it is now water under the bridge) a situation arose that caused feelings to be hurt and things to be said when emotions were running high which were taken the wrong way and in hind sight probably shouldn't have been said. It was an all round horrible situation as these things usually are. But it did get me thinking about how we portray ourselves to the world around us and because of that we judge people by what we see. The chorus from song Masquerade from the Phantom of the Opera comes to mind - "Masquerade! Painted faces on parade ........ Hide your face so the world will never find you." If we are honest we all wear a mask of one kind or another, keeping our true feelings/situation mostly hidden, except from maybe an exclusive few, because we want the world to see us as doing ok, that we're happy, content, coping etc. If anyone asks 'How are you doing?' most people will answer 'I'm doing ok' - but what does that really mean?? Do we say that because that is the answer the asker is expecting, or do we say that because we actually want to be seen as doing ok. I guess it's a pride thing. We don't want people to feel sorry for us, so we get up every morning and the 'mask' goes on and we get on with our daily life, because that's expected, it's what helps us feel 'normal' and it helps to keep one sane, we want to be seen as being 'ok', everyone else seems to get on with life and cope so why should we be any different. But at the end of the day secure behind our closed door the mask falls away and the sadness, tears and frustrations come crashing in because nothing has changed - the troubled marriage is still there, the illness we might be battling, the wayward child, the chair and bed are still empty, the loneliness is still there, the financial pressure is still there, the frustration of another job rejection. Come morning the mask is back in place and the whole dance begins again and that becomes your life, and that is actually ok because choosing to smile and be positive even when things aren't going well doesn't make you a fake. It actually means that you want the world to see that you're doing great, coping, surviving, getting on with life and enjoying the blessings life has to offer rather than dwell on the hardship and stresses. I guess what I'm trying to say with all this is - that we shouldn't judge people by what we see because we may not being seeing the whole true picture and don't assume that because they seem to be doing ok that they must be. If we really care for someone and we know they are going through a rough time we shouldn't just accept their 'ok' answer, but dig a wee bit deeper.
For me personally I will always say that I'm doing great or ok is someone asks and that is because truthfully I am doing great. I am very proud of everything I have achieved in the last 2.5 years. I take
pride that I have managed to sort out and keep the Rawleigh business running. I am proud of the job I was able to get so
soon after Roy's death and for the things I have been able to achieve and learn
through that job. I am proud of the financial decisions I have made - renewing
the mortgage, organising insurance, getting a small loan for the new
wood-burner, the deck railing and many other things including all the stuff that
needed to be sorted out as a result of Roy's death. I am proud of the fact
that to date I have always been able to pay a bill and that the only people I
owe money to is the bank for the mortgage and on my credit card (still paying off 4 new tires and the car service). I am proud of all
the jobs I have applied for and that even though it has at times been soul
destroying I have never given up. But I am most proud that this whole journey
has drawn me closer to the Lord in whom I place my complete trust. I know He
has a plan for my life and in His perfect time it will happen. I am proud of
what I have achieved and that through the Lord's grace I have become a strong
women with an even stronger faith.
But I'll admit I am also tired and just a wee bit frustrated - I'm tired of the endless financial struggle and juggling that is constantly on my mind, I'm tired of applying for jobs and the stress that comes with that and the knocks to my confidence every time I get a no. I keep thinking I should take some time off from applying for jobs, but as yet I haven't. I even applied for one between Christmas and New Year - lol! I currently 2 applications pending and 2 to apply for this coming week. I want to get out of this rut that I feel I'm in. I want to move forward, I want to be financially free (read - out from under Winz and my 'obligations' to them) and I want to get on with my life. I want! I want! I want! But I know I need to be patient for a bit longer - everything will work out in the Lord's timing - it just seems to me seems to be taking a long time to happen, but I guess one day I'll look back and see how everything worked out just right.
So besides applying for jobs the first few weeks of 2016 have been busy. I had a lovely weekend away in Wellington last weekend staying with sister in law Joc. My plan had been to go down on Friday late afternoon but a rather violent storm swept through that day so I delayed until Saturday morning. After a good natter and some lunch we went into Wellington to Te Papa to see the Gallipoli exhibition which was really good. We went back to the Hutt for a quick bite of dinner and then headed to the movies - thankfully we had our tickets already cause we arrived a bit late - yip we were those people - not the last ones to arrive though, there was another couple after us. However we soon discovered that we had been given tickets for the wrong movie (this was a French film with sub-titles, we wanted to see the Suffragettes movie) so at an appropriate time we got up and walked out - thankfully it was dark, but I'm pretty sure the people we had to pass - twice - were not so impressed. We were able to get the tickets changed for the movie we actually wanted to see for a bit later that night. It added a bit of fun to our evening. It was also wonderful to be able to go to Wellington Church and catch up with friends, both locals and out of towners.
This past week I also restarted at work even though the office doesn't officially open until coming Monday - I did a whole lot of catch up non urgent stuff. You know that your day is not going to go well when you turn off your alarm and go back to sleep only to wake 45 mins later in a panic cause you're going to be late for work. Thankfully my hours are flexible so I was able to make up for being late by working a bit longer. It was good to be back.
Last week I went to the doc as I have been having a bit of trouble with my left ankle. A number of years ago (actually it was soon after we moved into this house so well on 8 years ago) I took a tumble down the stairs and sprained my ankle (no x-ray was ever taken). It has never been right since and when I do a lot of walking it often feels like it is going to give way. Before Christmas it got very sore and is now very swollen by the end of the day. After a very busy day mowing the lawns just after new year it was very sore and I suddenly noticed a rather strange bobble on the top of my foot - so I made a doctors appointment. His initial diagnosis was either gout or rheumatoid arthritis, both of which I was a bit shocked about - he ordered blood tests and an x-ray and gave me a script for painkillers which I haven't actually used. The blood test came back as all fine, no gout, no rheumatoid markers, inflammation
markers show there is an inflammation - somewhere (ummm I think the puffy ankle confirms
that). One test has had to be sent away and will be back next week - I'm not actually sure what that is for but I guess I'll find out if something shows up. X-ray
showed nothing much but was waiting to be read by the doc. So I have an appointment to go back to the
doc on Tuesday afternoon to see where to now. The ankle still swollen, when I stand it tends to bend inwards, the lump
is a bit bigger and it has become more sore and stiff to move and walk on. And so the mystery continues. I'll keep you posted.
Well I think that might do for this edition. It has become way longer than I thought it would. Hopefully it hasn't been to boring a read.
I have a few prayer requests - please pray that the Lord will soon open a door of full time work for me and also for extra patience to wait. Also that we get to the bottom of what is going on with my ankle.
Wishing you a blessed Sunday and I'll try and be in touch a bit sooner next time.
Love and blessings