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-

Two things…

I have had two grand revelations this week…

The first is that I am awful at maths. I said in Sunday’s blog post that it was 10 days until my trip to the States. Obviously that was very wrong, because at that point it was actually 12 days to go. Now it is 8 sleeps! Maths was never my strongest point; I’m an English/History/languages girl. There’s way more flexibility and room for thinking than in maths. Clearly, I cannot even do basic counting. Never mind. We can’t all be Einstein.

The second revelation this week was much more amazing and wonderful. As I said in Sunday’s post, I am entering into a transition period where I’ll be moving, again, to a new house. I also said that I couldn’t afford to live alone…so I have had to give this situation completely over to God and trust that His plans are good. Having moved house so many times, I really liked the idea of staying in one place more than 2 years. I love my house, and it is so great to live here – but I’ve had to surrender the whole situation to God. Not easy…but worth it! I prayed about it and worked out what I felt needed for living in Canterbury to be financially viable.

What I didn’t say was that last Friday, I approached my boss and asked if it was possible to increase my hours at work, or increase my salary. I currently work 4 days a week (32) and usually work at least 8 hours “overtime” during evenings/weekends to make it to a full 40 hour week, but I take my overtime as time off in lieu. (Clear as mud, yes?) I was asking if I could work a standard 40 hour week (Monday to Friday) or stick at 32 hours but for a higher rate. I’ve not had a payrise in the 2 years I’ve worked there, but I’ve never been in a position to need one.

When I raised it with my boss, she asked if we could schedule a meeting this week to talk about it in detail. I spent the weekend NOT worrying about it, because I know that God has greater plans than anything I could ever orchestrate and that all things would work out in the end:

Romans 8:28 – And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good

The meeting with my boss took place yesterday, and the amazing thing is that she had already decided to give me a payrise…because I am being promoted!

Whoop!! I’m now Senior Social Worker at our Fostering Agency. I get to take on more responsibilities, a supervising role for our students, and the financial benefit means that I can afford to get my own place without any difficulties!! As I said to my friend Simon, I won’t be buying a yacht anytime soon and won’t suddenly have a craaazy lavish lifestyle, but I will be able to start saving and will have more financial security.

God is just so incredible. He already knew that everything would be fine; he had worked it all out but through it I learned more about trusting him and relying on him completely. There was nothing else I could do, but lean completely on him and I’ve seen, yet again, how faithful he is. What a demonstration of his love; that he gave me peace in the situation and I was able to rest knowing that He had good plans for me. He knew exactly what I needed – to be able to stay in Canterbury near my friends and my church, and to be able to have a place to call “mine” – how blessed am I to have such a powerful but gentle Father God, who cares about what my heart craves and desires.

I am still completely in awe and overwhelmed by his gracious love.

-x-

Prince William and Catherine Middleton

ROYAL WEDDING!!!!!

This is the first Royal Wedding of my generation and I am SO excited – I’ve been up since 8am wathing the coverage on BBC, and it’s just amazing 🙂

Days like this make me very proud to be British. I love that we have a monarchy, and that even in this era when the world is worried about wars and famine and poverty (which we of course should be concerned about) we can still be happy for our future King and his bride.

One of my earliest memories was watching all the coverage when Princess Diana died, and I remember seeing Princes William and Harry walking down behind the funeral cars…I was only little, but these are the things that you remember, aren’t they – and I’m feeling very patriotic and excited that we are getting our future Queen today.

Yay for Prince William and Catherine Middeton 🙂