In the quietness of this space, it seems right to share with you, friends, the news that I am beginning to gently explore a new relationship. It is new and fragile and precious, and I am not sharing it widely in the real world, as I seek to protect it and hold it close, but here I know that it will be held in prayer, and I thank you for that.
The worst happened......the YFG passed [which IS good] but the EFG failed :(
The YFG did extremely well to pass with only one minor, but the EFG had a catastrophe at a junction: the lights changed and she did not know that she had to move forward to trigger a sensor which would change the filter light to stop the opposing traffic so that her lane of traffic could move forward. Because she didn't move, the lights went through the cycle back to red and she held up the whole lane - so that caused the fail. She'll do it again, and should be fine. Apparently she executed an immaculate three point turn.
The YFG has been out on her first solo drive - she went and did the grocery shopping yesterday morning whilst I was at work. She's on half term so she thought she would get that nerve wracking first trip over and done with. She's out in the village tonight at her best friend's house having a takeaway but I think she should be home soon.
Thank you for continuing to read. Lovely to read all the comments on the last post.
Jackie has given me a nudge to come back to this space this morning, so I am here to say "Hello, and wow, where did January go?!"
We're up to our eyes in work, revision for mocks for A levels, and driving tests for both girls this week in Peterborough (YFG) and Aberdeen (EFG) - I am just hoping that they both get the same result, whatever it is, as the tension will be huge if one passes and one fails!
I am buying the odd bunch of daffs to cheer the desk and remind me that Spring is on its way, but on dark and cold mornings when I struggle to get out of bed, it still seems a while away - but the occasional glimpse of the sun gives me hope!
This morning, I am waiting for a grocery shop to be delivered, then I am off to work later in the morning. We are asked to only work two sessions a day, so it is the afternoon and evening for me today. It is a sensible rule, but one to which I struggle to adhere some weeks - when I have to attend meetings which are arranged by others, I have to go whenever they are, and that makes the diary a challenge occasionally. We get round this by counting the days we work three sessions and then having an extra day off now and again when they have mounted up.....the trouble was that when I counted the days in January and looked for a day I could take off - and the soonest one I could find free was mid March. I have got leave booked more regularly so I am not being worked too hard.
The role continues to change and be developed - the latest incarnation of it to be suggested is that I take pastoral charge of two of the churches in the circuit. Discussions have been had and it will be brought to the circuit meeting for decisions on 1st March; it is an exciting development and I shall be thrilled if it is accepted, as they are two congregations of which I am particularly fond, and it will mean working more closely with both of them.
It's also been a season of reconnecting - I've picked up a couple of new "friends" from Facebook, who actually were not new but very old! A friend from uni appeared in my Facebook feed as he had been involved in a partnership between with the Church of Scotland and the Methodist church, so I sent a quick message to say how delighted I was to see the two denominations working together and to send a word of encouragement - and now the emails have been flying between north and south as we catch up on the twenty two years since St Andrews! It has also been great to share news of other fellow students as he has kept up with different ones from those with which I have been in contact.
I'm very much enjoying and being challenged by Ann Voskamp's "The Broken Way" book and study online and would recommend them hugely to those of you interested in a little introspection and personal growth. As her book on gratitude impacted on me so much, I think that this one will also be life-changing but in a different way.
Better go - shopping has just arrived! Love to you all and thanks for your patience!!
Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year.
The dinner is in the oven, the presents are unwrapped and being investigated, the girls are watching a film, and we are all together, at home, with a warm fire and plenty of food - how very blessed we are!
Here I sit, with twinkling lights decorating the windowsill, folk going past in the their cars taking the kids to school, the news on the tv in the background and thinking about getting ready to go off to work in under an hour. I realised last night that I haven't been here for about six weeks, and I was overdue for a catch-up. If you are still reading, even with my long absences, I thank you.
Gratitude has long been part of my life now and I started an Advent theme on my Facebook posts with that idea at its heart. Each day I am posting a few words about things for which I am grateful that day. In all the hustle and busy-ness of getting ready for Christmas, I wanted to stop and be content with what I have now, rather than always looking forward to what will come in the future. Anticipation is good, but so is contentment in the now.
Angels have been a huge part of my life in the last month - we have "Angels and anticipation" as our Advent theme for church and circuit life this year, so we have had Angel festivals, angel plays, angel Messy Churches - I am just about done with angels for one year, and we are joking that our theme next year will be "Silent Night" so that we can be quiet and reflective instead.
Only five more sleeps and then the EFG will be home from Aberdeen for Christmas. She has another exam tomorrow and then some socialising before she comes home on Saturday - can't wait! Really looking forward to having her here for three weeks.
I hope you are all keeping well, and life continues peacefully. I shall get round to reading more blogs sometime soon, but not this week! Someone jokingly said that I would get a rest soon, but I can't see one coming until after Christmas lunch - but I shall be ready for it by then. There are troubles in the circuit and lots of work to be done even in the New Year so we need to have a break and recharge our batteries over the Christmas holiday. The boss is taking the workers to Norwich to see Mamma Mia in February so we are looking forward to that immensely as our staff day out!
All Saints' Day was the patronal festival of the church in which I grew up, so it does mean something to me for that reason, if no other. It's hard to sort all these saints out, and sometimes easier just to think of them all!
This past month has been a challenging one.......the YFG has been to Aberdeen to have a look at the geography department, and loved the uni, but thought it would only be ideal if it were closer to home. It's on her list, but UEA at Norwich is looking as if it might be the favourite. She went there for a Geography Summer School in July and got on really well, so hopefully she might score a place there.
The EFG came home for the weekend and just went back yesterday - we had lunch with Grandypops whilst she was here, and we generally had a good weekend together. She's doing well, and has to keep her nose to the grindstone for another 7 weeks now until the Christmas break.
The FH's best mate died at the end of the week before last, and we have his funeral this week. He was an amazing old gentleman, who lived almost 86 years but his last days were spent at home, as he wanted, in the busy household with his daughter and her family. I have had the privilege of supporting them through this time, and taking the funeral. He and the FH went on all sorts of adventures together, and we are sure that they are together again now.
The FH's son has been and FINALLY taken the FH's old banger of a car away! That feels like a major achievement in life, and the old car is no longer cluttering up the gravel driveway at the back of the house. Next step is to get a skip in and clear out some more rubbish.......whether he will ever clear out the tools and machinery that the FH left him from the workshop is another matter...
Financially, as we approach the end of the year, I am relieved to see from the charts that we are just over £2000 up in addition to the new-to-us car which I bought in March, so doing very well at saving again this year. Frugality has its moments, and we are looking ahead to the time next August when the bereaved parents' allowance, the child benefit and the tax credits all end as the YFG will turn 18, and making sure that everything is doable within the income that we will have left, so we are saving as much as we can now, not only as a cushion for then, but also to prove to ourselves that we can live on less. The YFG will have much less than the EFG in terms of income, as Aberdeen has a very generous financial package for low-income English families, which the YFG will not get elsewhere.
Keeping our priorities in order is a significant part of that - the post has just arrived with a £22 text book which the YFG needs, so that has been put in her room, but the Boden catalogue which arrived at the same time has gone straight in the bin.
We have also reclaimed the dining room as a usable room in the house - the girls are thrilled and I am looking forward to Christmas lunch in there this year.
I hope that you are all well - I do have a nosey around your blogs occasionally when I sit down for a cuppa. Toodle pip for now though x
The blog roll hasn't reappeared yet, so if anyone does know how to get it back, I would be very pleased to hear from you.......
In other news, the EFG has sacked one driving instructor in Aberdeen who was incredibly rude and unhelpful, but has found another, who comes highly recommended. Good sign - he also has a waiting list, but she got onto that before she sacked the woman she is leaving. She had had to pay the woman for a block booking in advance, so she has lost about £10 for the last little bit of time she has not claimed, but she is not worried about that - far better to be clear of such a negative personality, she feels.
Continuing with the roads, the YFG has passed her theory test in the last couple of hours and is on her way home from the library where she took the test, and we will shortly be off to see my dad.
He's had a health scare and is a bit fragile. It was his 87th birthday on Monday, so we suddenly became conscious that we hadn't seen him since the EFG was at home, and thought it was time we made the short journey across the Fens to see him - but then quite by chance, the YFG's driving instructor took her to his town yesterday on quite a route. Unfortunately, they did not stop in to see him but he would have been thrilled to have seen her behind the wheel!
Work? Manic. Too many hours last week...... Love it though, and the people!