Oh January

Yes, it’s me – again after another long break between posts. Sorry if you missed me. January has just been busy. In the same way that December was busy. And November was busy. And October was busy.

My life is just busy – there are a lot of things in it!

Even though I had two weeks off over Christmas, followed by another few days where my sister and step-mum came to stay, since then it has been GOGOGO. This past Saturday was my first Saturday off since November (excluding the Christmas/New Year break) and I totally wasted it by being very grumpy.

So here’s a quick-ish update of My January

New Years: I had a super fun New Year. In the morning Rosie and I went to see Frozen at the Carlton Cinema (I’ve blogged about that place before) and then we had lunch at a little café next door which was very quaint and sweet. In the afternoon I went into town to try and find something to spend my Christmas bonus on [why can you never find anything to buy when you have money, but when you have no money there are tons of things you want?] and whilst buying DVDs I fainted in a shop. Totally embarrassing. So I had to wait for an hour at the Doctor to get checked out and told I was absolutely fine and it was probably just low blood pressure which I can do absolutely nothing about.

For the actual Evening of New Years’ Eve I went to my friends’ Steve and Liz’s house and they cooked an AMAZING seven course dinner. We ate from 7.30pm to 11.30pm and then watched the London Fireworks at midnight. I stayed over at their house (in their super comfy guest bed) and then on New Years’ Day I went to my friends’ Johnnie and Kate for brunch. New Years was a very foodie time. We had intended to have a New Years’ Day walk – like we did last year with our Small Group – but it was absolutely howling with rain and so a walk was absolutely not going to happen. We watched Mission Impossible 4 instead. Interestingly, even though I’ve never seen the first 3, I still knew exactly what was happening. Funny that.

2nd – 4th: I went back to work on the 2nd and very sadly one of our foster carers unexpectedly died on that morning. We were all so shocked and it still doesn’t feel real that it’s happened. It’s very sad.

5th -8th: My stepmum and little sister came to stay Sunday night to Wednesday morning and we had three fully jam packed days of fun! We went to the Beaney Museum in Canterbury and did the explorer challenges which Jessica thought was great, and we had hot chocolates in cafes, Dominos pizza, dressing up, colouring, playing mermaids in the bath (Jessica, not me), a ton of Disney movies (well…six) plus a trip to the Cinema to watch Frozen! (Jessica’s second every time in the cinema…my second time watching Frozen! I’m a bit in love with this song) Jessica and Michelle stayed at my brother’s on Sunday night and with me Monday and Tuesday, and we saw my brother and his girlfriend every day so there was a whole lot of family time and I loved it

9th onwards…. WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK!!!
We had a Consultant working with us for a few days, helping us improve our service after our Ofsted inspection back in October – and for a few days it felt completely mind crushing and overwhelming. At some point each of my colleagues and I have had mini-meltdowns. One of my colleagues has even hidden under her desk a few times (to make a point and be funny…not from a genuine breakdown) There has been a LOT of tea consumed, and I am trying to be comforting and positive about it. It’s good for me that I can remember that this job is not going to affect my salvation, but my colleagues don’t have that so I just try and model that peacefulness for them.

But it paid off, because we had a Monitoring Visit from Ofsted last week and we have exceeded expectations and Mr Ofsted was really pleased with us. We all did a Happy Dance after he left. I was overjoyed. We still have work to do – there is always work to do – but it is lovely to feel a bit more like we have a handle on things.

Of course,that’s how I felt when I walked into the office on Monday but my happy bubble very quickly deflated when I heard about the FOUR separate incidents that happened over the weekend – three of which required reporting to Ofsted! Yikes.

And yet, somehow, we manage. We keep going.

I don’t have much “spare” time but what I do have I am trying to enjoy.

Free evenings are mainly spent in my pyjamas watching Brothers and Sisters. I’ve gotten halfway through Season 3 since I bought it on New Year’s Eve (before I fainted!)

I am also trying to read more this year, and actually only needed to renew my library books once to have enough time to read them all (the last lot of books I took out in 2013 I had to renew four times before I could get through them all) I have plans to read one Christian book per month – for January I read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp and really enjoyed it. I have February to June’s books all sorted. I also have a list of fictional books that I want to read so I’m trying to balance it out. Usually I read in bed for about 30 minutes before I go to sleep; it helps to turn off my brain.

The most exciting thing I have done lately was BOOK TICKETS TO GO TO THE USA AGAIN!!!!! (insert very excited giggling here)

Not only am I completely delighted and ecstatic to be going to see my wonderful friends and their beautiful children again, but I am also very thrilled that I get to fly from my local airport which is just half an hour away so I can easily get a lift there and I don’t have to wake up at 4am, and somehow the flight itself is so much cheaper than flying from Gatwick or Heathrow. More money to spend on new holiday clothes and treats for those cute kids!

Wow. It’s 9.15pm already. I know that’s still super early for loads of people but in my job you need all the sleep you can get so…off I go to bed!

I do honestly swear I will try and blog more regularly. I miss writing, it’s just finding time and motivation after a long day to say nice things rather than ranty things. But I will try.

-x-

 

 

 

 

Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014

Today is the first day of 2014. A new year; an exciting year. 

2013 hasn’t been the easiest year of my life – my family has dealt with cancer, and other illness, and I’ve faced challenges left,  right and centre in my personal and professional life.

But despite the seemingly negative things that happened last year (which feels strange to write as 2014 is only 22 hours old) there were many more positive and wonderful things that happened which made 2013 a pretty great year overall…

Such as, 

 

 

– I got to visit my amazing friends in America during the Spring,  and spent 2 whole weeks playing games with their children,  reading scripture and having great talks with them

 

 

– I moved into my own house; something which scared me a lot at first that has turned out to be a brilliant decision.  My house is beautiful, and peaceful,  and a real sanctuary after busy times at work. I love entertaining here and having my family stay at Christmas made this Christmas the sweetest we’ve had in many years

 

 

– my sister beat cancer!

 9 weeks after she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, during which she had a life-threatening operation and radio-iodine therapy, we were told there’s no cancer left! She is doing so well and I am so thankful to God for sustaining us through this. We had a cancer-free Christmas and Abigail is getting back to her old self.  She even has modelling work lined up for this month! 

 

– I got promoted at work…twice! Back in April I was made Senior Social Worker in our Agency,  and following our Ofsted inspection in October I have been enrolled on a management course so I can begin working as Deputy Fostering Manager!  I am excited and a bit daunted by this new challenge. My course is a Level 5 NVQ in Leadership and Management of Health and Social Care Services (Children and Youth Services) We hope that I’ll have completed the course by the end of this year. 

 

– my sister Rebecca got married to Simeon in June, and he is a delightful brother-in-law 🙂 they have 2 terms left at University and then they’ll be moving down to Plymouth again

 

…and that’s only a few of the brilliant things that have happened this year.

 

Dear 2013…

You have been a good year,  and I thank God for the blessings – the fun, laughter,  happiness and love. I’m also thankful for the challenges; the difficult bits, because in those times I have been able to rely on God to keep hold of me and comfort me. 

 

Thank you,  2013, for being lovely. I pray 2014 is full of wonderful things too

 

-x-