It’s been a funny old year, but I am so glad to report that I have arrived at the end of it in one piece and with all my faculties intact. There have been some losses, some gains, some highs and some lows. A few notable mentions:
My Gran – my Gran passed away in February this year and even though her health had been suffering for some considerable time, it still came as a shock and her death has left a huge hole in all our lives. She was a wonderful lady whose love for others marked her out above everyone else. Gracious, cheerful, loving, hospitable, generous to a fault, she will be forever missed.
Education – I passed the first module in my renewed assault on my degree in June this year. It wasn’t a brilliant pass mark, but it was more than I was expecting and it has set me up to carry on with the two modules that I started in September. All being well and good, I will have my BA in June this year. My son passed his Grade 4 Bass Trombone with Distinction in March and he scraped through his Grade 5 in November. He might have done better if he had learned his scales, but hey, everyone knows that scales and kids don’t mix!
Work – I managed to earn some money this year by invigilating exams at my husband’s school, and I also managed to get a few hours supervising in the classroom too. Not exactly my cup of tea, but it paid a few overdraft fees so I’m not complaining.
Church – I completed my first year as an Authorised Lay Minister (ALM) with my church this year, and I am in a period of contemplation and prayer about what – if any – my next steps are. I have had an absolute ball at Messy Church this year. It has been fun, noisy, messy and challenging and I’m really looking forward to more of the same next year. I have delivered two sermons this year – one at our partner church in Blackley, and one at my own church. It was a bit strange, but also entirely natural, to preach to my “own”. I actually felt myself grow during the process of research, writing, editing and then delivering them and it’s something I may have a bit of a touch for. Let’s see what God’s plan is for me this year!
Finance – if you have seen any of my posts about this subject you will know that finances have been extremely tight this year. To be totally honest there have been several weeks where they have been non-existent and had it not been for my parents and my friends we would not have eaten for days at a time. We have cut back so far even on essential spending over the years that when the crunch came, we had no more to cut back on and so the only option was to not buy food. Or medicines. Or fuel. Or pay bills. Anyway, that particular storm has passed and we have got a financial plan in place that means while we don’t have any spare cash we can now at least pay for things like dental care and eye care. I can also pay for my medicine again, so we are ending the year on a high note as far as finances are concerned.
Family – you must know by now that my family is a barmy lot! We have had some great times together this year, including an impromptu roast dinner yesterday (aren’t they the best?!). We have played carols, watched the sunrise, played with a kite on the beach, been for bike rides, seen a wild barn owl, watched Santa’s sleigh pass overhead, fallen out with each other over daft things like “who left their trainers THERE??!!”, played a lot of games, listened to a lot of music, laughed a lot, cried a lot, missed each other a lot and generally got on like families do.
Music – I have conducted the band on top of the world this summer (OK, well perhaps not up Everest, but it felt that high to me after a 2 hour hike up to Stoodley Pike!), been eaten alive by the world’s most ferocious midgies (OK, perhaps not, but if you’ve ever been in Todmorden park on a summer’s evening you’ll know what I mean), played the Last Post at a friend’s funeral, arranged a Queen song for brass band that included the use of half a dozen bicycle bells, begun writing my own song (required for my music module for my degree) and made a start on a Christmas song for my friend Gill (I promise I’ll get it done for next year Gill!). I had the privilege of conducting my son making his debut as a soloist this Christmas and have cried at the sheer emotion of 20 toddlers singing Away in a Manger. It’s been a varied one!
All in all, 2014 has been good to me and I feel like the hard bits have made me stronger. It’s not often I can say that but this year, truly, it’s been a blessing.
My best wishes and my prayers to you dear reader and I will see you safe and sound in 2015. God bless you.