Daybook Entry – New Year’s Eve 2016

021114_2314_DaybookEntr1.jpgFor Today… the last day of 2016

Outside my window… I can hear some isolated bursts of fireworks going off locally. The weather is mild to cold but not frosty yet.

I am thinking… about some changes I need to make in myself, my outlook, my worldview and my expectations.

I am thankful… for so, so much! Where to start? Well, first and foremost I am thankful for the ever present grace and love of God in my life. My faith in him (and his in me) has got me through so much this year and I am thankful to have reached this point still in one piece.

I am praying for… Charlotte and Kieran who are dealing with the most heartbreaking loss anyone can imagine; my brother who is going to be having an operation in a couple of weeks and is facing a long recovery time afterwards; Roy, Margaret, Iain and Megan who will be taking a big step next week; Emma who is starting a new job on Tuesday; Ethan who has got a high-pressure time ahead this term.

I am wearing… a happy smile this evening as I look back at what has happened this year.

I am creating… a new way of thinking. I have come to realise that my thought patterns and behaviour patterns need an overhaul if I am to ever make progress with my life. For example, I am desperate to write a full length novel but fear of failure is holding me back. I know I have the skills (talent is as yet still untested), but I keep talking myself out of doing anything about it because I think my story is not good enough, or that people won’t want to read it and so on. I am trying to create a new way of thinking about myself where I concentrate on the positives of what I’m doing rather than worrying about the (unknown) negatives.

I am going… to put my new thinking into action over the coming weeks and let’s see where we are by half term.

I am wondering… whether I ought to do something about my physical health as well as my mental health this year…

I am reading… “Speaking in Bones” by Kathy Reichs. I was fortunate enough to receive an Amazon gift card for Christmas which I have already bitten into and bought this latest one in the Temperance Brennan series. I have had my eye on it for a little while and I was really chuffed to be able to buy it on Boxing Day. I’m nearly at the end of it and to be honest, I can’t wait for bedtime tonight so I can go and finish it!

I am hoping… that our financial difficulties will be eased this year, if not resolved somehow. I have faith that we will be ok.

I am learning… to ease up on myself, to lower my expectations, and to celebrate the small things.

In my garden… we have a gazebo erected over our deck area at the back of the house. We put it up there for Christmas Day so we had somewhere dry to put the settee out while we had the long tables set up for dinner. We haven’t got round to putting it down yet but I rather like it and might persuade Kevin to keep it for a while.

In my kitchen… we have some snacks and treats waiting to eat while we watch the final Harry Potter film later on tonight.

A favourite quote for today…


A peek into one of my days… I’m going to cheat here and show you a few photos from December as there’s too many to choose from!

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A bonus little video for you: filmed outside our house on Christmas morning as we played for our neighbours before church. Hope you enjoy it!

One of my favourite things… is planning and researching things for writing about. One of my least favourite things is spotting when “research” becomes “procrastinating” and getting a move on and to get writing.

Post Script: This year has been a year of spectacular highs and devastating lows, and this is my chance to acknowledge those difficulties and joys and to say a public thank you to everyone who has got me through it all.

Those of you who have followed my blog over the months and years will know that from time to time my mental health takes a hit, and that my family’s financial situation is not particularly secure or hopeful. This year has been the worst we have endured and we have come close a few times to crossing the line. However, we have been blessed on so many occasions by the kindness and support of family and friends who have seen us through. With gifts of food and other necessities, and on more than one occasion the gift of money, our family and friends have literally saved the day. Ethan would not have been able to go on the trip of a lifetime with the music centre had it not been for an anonymous gift of a substantial amount of money which was put through our front door the day before the deadline for payment. More recently, we were facing a very lean Christmas with no spare cash to be able to buy any presents for anyone but again, from anonymous gifts, we not only were able to get some gifts for our children but we have enough now for both Kevin and I to be able to replace our glasses in a couple of weeks. We are both desperate for an eye test and new glasses but until this money came in, we were getting very anxious about how we were going to pay for them. As I said, we have been extremely blessed and we are so grateful for everyone who has helped us in 2016. The grace of God has been in abundance in our family this year!

Some high spots have punctuated the seemingly endless struggle to “get by”, such as our family camping holiday in Wales this summer (again, paid for as a gift to us – and boy are we glad for that gift!). We were joined by my brother and his family for a few days, which was a great experience, and I got to enjoy some spiritual time in a very special part of the world. I finally finished my studies and I got my degree this summer which is an achievement I never in a million years thought I would ever do. Kevin and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary this year too, which, as with my degree, is an achievement and milestone I never thought I would ever see. But we did and I am proud to have made it with my best friend and partner in life.


Carolling in Todmorden

We had a great time carolling round Todmorden tonight, playing for people in their houses, outside some pubs, at the foot of both Christmas trees, and lastly, in the Legion in the town centre.  We gained a super-fan along the way who cheered us on till the end of the evening. He was rather “merry” but could tell we were playing quality stuff… Good man!!

A well deserved pint together afterwards put the tin hat on the evening too. Banding when it’s done right is a joy and a blessing, and I’m glad to be involved with Team Tod!!





Whose Round Is It?

You know it’s nearly Christmas when you have sat for 2 hours in a pub playing carols with your mates. Which is just what I did tonight. Hic!

Very good fun and well received by the punters the carols tonight were at the Lancashire Fold pub in Middleton. I couldn’t face beer tonight so I kept to gin and tonic. Made the 12 days of Christmas a bit difficult to follow out of the red book (if you are a brass player you’ll know what I mean by that!) so we didn’t play that and just stuck to the simple stuff…like the Snow Waltz and carols.

Love it!!

rudolph cartoon



Wednesday Hodgepodge

Wednesday Hodgepodge – 19th December

Welcome to my Hodgepodge entry for this week. If you want to play along please visit Joyce here and follow her instructions. Welcome aboard, let’s go for it!!


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1.  How will you spend ‘the night before Christmas’?

We will be going to church at around 4.30pm for a Crib Service – a service aimed at children (of all ages!)  where we tell the Christmas story by laying the characters in the crib. It’s a lovely way to start Christmas and is a total joy to be part of. After that we will come home for our first meal of the feast. In recent years we have done our version of fasting on Christmas Eve which is then broken when we come back from church and we begin the feast of Christmas. We won’t eat too much but we will be treating ourselves. Usually we will be visited by my husband’s sister and her husband at some point and then there is usually a bit of last minute wrapping to do.

We will be setting out a mince pie and a glass of sherry for Santa and a carrot for the reindeer and pinning up stockings on the fireplace before we go to bed. Even though my kids are 19 and nearly 14 it’s still one of those things we do as tradition and I can’t see us ever abandoning that. When Emma was born we bought her a little stocking to hang up and then when Ethan came along we replaced that one with a Winnie the Pooh and a Tigger one for the pair of them. We pin those up for them even now, and we have taken to pinning up Emma’s original stocking for her boyfriend Sam as well. He’s 25 but seems to enjoy the novelty!!

2.  What is something you are not?

I am not at all good at controlling my anxiety and stress. I am good with the things that I can control but for the things that are out of my hands I am terrible. I wish I could learn to let things go but I get irrationally anxious about the most ridiculous things.

3.  Fudge-are you a fan?  Your favourite flavour?

I do like fudge but I can only have little bits of it because I find it very sweet and sickly. I’m not a fan of messing about with traditional foods and flavours so my fudge flavour of choice is vanilla.

4. Did you attend any craft/vendor fairs in the month of December?  Do you prefer homemade goodies or the more professional stalls?  Are you giving any homemade gifts this year? 

We had a craft fair at church at the end of November which was fantastic. I do like homemade goodies and it doesn’t bother me that they are less than perfect to look at because to me, the beauty of homemade is in the love that has gone into it by someone’s own hands. That’s true of biscuits, cakes, sweets, cards, clothes, hats, decorations….. Homemade is better for me.  And yes, I will be giving some homemade gifts this year. I do a mean chocolate truffle and I have been told my shortbread is rather nice too so there will be some of those made soon.

5. What’s your favourite type of holiday gathering?

Informal ones where lots of people turn up out of the blue and we have a good time just by being in each other’s company. Lots of food, lots of fun, lots of family, lots of love = happy times!

6. We’re approaching a new year…what’s going to be different in 2013?

This is dangerously close to a “what are your new year’s resolutions?” type question! I would like to think that my attitude will be different in 2013. Not that there’s anything wrong with it this year, but I think there is definitely room for improvement. My biggest fault is that my lack of self-confidence stops me doing so many things, and it’s criminal!

7. Share a favourite scripture, quote, saying, or song lyric relating to peace. 

 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God”. Matthew 5:9

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 
I have been playing carols again tonight!!

(Tori's head at the bottom left) Kevin, Me, Emma, Phil and John
(Tori’s head at the bottom left) Kevin, Me, Emma, Phil and John
Kevin, Me, Emma and Phil (just out of shot on the left is Tori and on the right was John)
Kevin, Me, Emma and Phil (just out of shot on the left is Tori and on the right was John)


If you’ve been inspired to complete your own Hodgepodge this week please hop over to Joyce and follow her instructions. Happy Hodgepodge!!!