Monday, 31 December 2012

Sixty Blessings.

Just under 3 years ago I started counting my blessings with this blog post.  I have got rather out of the habit this last 6 months, so here is a little bit of catching up, as I try and end the year in a way I would like to continue the next one.

840. Cold toes being warmed by my husbands feet.
841. Watching my doggie cuddle up with my daughter in her snugly onesie.
842. Children happy to fuel me with cups of tea.
843. Listening to the sound of the dishwasher being unloaded.
844. Daughter getting 100 percent attendance certificate after her first term in secondary school.
845. New friends made through twitter.
846. The joy of seeing people happy with things I have created.
847. An overgrown front garden.
848. A good harvest for minimal effort from my veg patch.
849. Time to curl my daughter's hair.
850. Hugs with my teenage son.
851. Pretty crochet hooks sitting in a pot.
852. A year of amazing holidays.
853. Time to pray as I swim.
854. Watching our new church service stretch and grow.
855. Hope for 2013.
856. Dark days in front of the television.
857. A country no longer at risk of drought.
858. The opportunities 2012 has given me to stand by those who have been hurting.
859. Not buying any mince pies this year - just making over 70.
860. Watching my children's sense of humour grow and mature.
861. A year full of scrabble games.
862. Learning to sing in the rain.
863. Joy filled cuddles with newborn babies.
864. A special little girl making me feel like a million dollars - just swimming together!
865. Watching the most affectionate little boy I have ever known kissing and hugging all his pre-school teachers at the end of an ordinary session.
866. The start of a new women's group in our church.
867. The joy of seeing new authors being born.
868.  Lovely ideas shared on Pinterest.
869. A simple Christ centred Christmas.
870. A home-made Christmas.
871. Finding good suppliers of fairly traded cotton yarn.
872. My son developing some good healthy friendships and engaging in REAL make believe play.
873. Reading past blog posts and being amazed at where God has taken me.
874. 4 years of blogging - how time has flown.
875. Anticipating who God will put in my path this next year.
876. Watching very sill films on the tv :o)
877. Dear daughter painting my toe nails.
878. Thinking up silly games to play with friends.
879. Finally getting my hair styled shorter.
880. My lovely husband's shopping logic.
881. A  new dress.
882. Blogging friends who daily inspire me.
883. Growing the strength to ignore (and sometimes even pray for!) those who hurt me rather than wanting to seek revenge.
884. Home made coconut ice.
885. Watching the wind blow.
886. A Christmas tree full of beautiful memories.
887. Sofas getting old and saggy.
888. Another year full of home made bread.
889. Hot water on demand.
890. Sitting down as a family and discussing hopes for the next year.
891. A church that is promoting growing faith together as a family - priceless.
892. A spider in the sink reminding me of my children's favourite cartoon when they were little.
893. So many walks along the beach.
894. A dog who can hold onto a full bladder all day to avoid going out in the rain.
895. New ideas to craft with what is in my cupboard rather than purchasing new stuff.
896. E-mail conversations with one of my God-daughters.
897. Counselling advice taken and being regularly put to use.
898. Waking up and finding it was only a dream (nightmare).
899. Watching my 11 year old cuddling her baby toy.
900. Christmas cards/letters, reminding me to make the effort to see old friends.

Just one hundred more to go before I get to my first thousand!  Thank you so much to Ann Voskamp for introducing me to this practise.



Thursday, 27 December 2012

A Quiet Christmas

What does Christmas mean?  Family? Friends? Church? Jesus? Presents? Food? Pretty lights?  Over the years all these things have taken a turn.

This year for me it has been about Stillness.

Our Christmas Eve didn't go to plan, we usually go to the same cinema watch a Christmassy film and then go to the same restaurant.  We arrived at said cinema to discover the film had sold out (we hadn't thought of booking as in previous years films have never been full!).  We ended up having to go to another cinema to watch a different film, that turned out okay, when we came out no restaurants were taking new sittings.  We ended up going home and getting take out pizza, that would have turned out okay, except we rarely have take out pizza and it upset my stomach!  It was nice to see the children excited and I was very surprised when we went in the kitchen before bed and found this
The glass is full of water as she felt Santa needed to watch his weight!

My lovely husband was working on Christmas Day, it has happened in the past but this is the first time the children are aware of it.  This made me totally rethink our day.  Food was definitely not going to feature any importance, we had a special breakfast with lovely fresh pastries before any present opening, but that was the only meal we all at down together for.  For the rest of the day, I put a selection of nibbly food out on the table and we grazed through the rest of the day (the children did eat rather a lot of chocolate).

My mum had gone up to the East Midlands to spend time with my brother and his family (something I had to instigate to get a break).  My niece is physically closer and not in a secure unit this year so we were able to arrange for her to be brought over for a couple of hours.  She didn't want to come to church so we went to the 9.15 service which was lovely.  Sadly we had to leave before the communion to be home in time for our niece.

It was lovely to see her opening her stocking.  The children's stockings were given to the children when they were very small by my sister when she was alive.  The girls have the same ones with an angel on them and my boy has a Santa on his.  We spent most Christmas Days all together, either at hers or at ours.  This is only the second Christmas Day the children can remember not having woken up all together.  I didn't know that my husband was snapping these pictures.
In this one particularly my niece looks so much like my sister it took my breath away.  Her face profile, her body posture, her hair, oh how it makes my heart ache.

A very nice care home worker came a little too early to pick her up as we were having a go at using the girls new pom pom makers, but he very kindly was happy to sit and chat with my husband and son while we finished what we were doing.

After she left, so did dear husband.  We ended up watching a lot of television! My daughter and I did decide to start a project with her pom pom makers though, did you see the wreath in the first photo in this post?  It was full of plastic ornaments, but in common with my door wreath which you can see in my previous post we decided to fill it with pom pom's
My lovely friend in New Zealand came on line later in the evening which meant I had some adult conversation and a bit of scrabble playing.  The day then ended with the extra surprise of my husband getting off work three hours early!  Which was so lovely as we would have all been in bed otherwise.

So all in all it was different.  It was quiet.  It was peaceful.  God was there with us, it feels as though we were able to keep the real meaning of Christmas at the heart of our day.  I am now determined to celebrate the Christmastide season and not just leave Christmas behind now that the 25th has passed by.  I haven't decided what we will do, I know it will be quiet, but I hope we can keep it Christ centred.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Christmas crafting.

I have been having a wonderful time crafting this Christmas, if you click on the two photo's above you can see a little more of what I have been up to.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Another Year Older

Autumn has been hard.  We have had the first anniversary of my dad suddenly dying and the 4th anniversary of my little sister dying.  My mums mental health is raising serious concern, so far we have managed to keep her out of hospital this time.  My nieces troubled behaviour continues, though again Praise God she has not managed to get herself physically moved on again, except for short hospital stays.  My health has as usual been up and down.  My medication is under review and this week have the great joy of hip steroid injections to look forward to!

There are however days of loveliness usually provided by my dear long suffering husband.  My birthday this year was definitely one of them.

After a luxurious lie in we set off for a walk in the beautiful New Forest village of Beaulieu

It was so much fun watching my puppy dog Pippin getting a surprise when the water 'broke' under her feet, though she did seem to enjoy licking the ice!
I spent a long time choosing some delicious chocolate from this chocolate shop and enjoyed watching these little elves busily working away.
 We then retreated to a local hostelry for lunch.
 Pippin very quickly settled down.
Then in the evening after present opening with the children when they had returned from school I got taken for a lovely meal at a local Italian restaurant.  There was even time for some fizz and chocolate while my husband and I watched some funnies on the television afterwards while the children were out at activities.