Happy little house

On Friday/Saturday I moved into my new house – for my first ever time living completely by myself (no parent/siblings/housemate)

I cannot believe how smoothly everything went! Considering how anti-moving I was about 2 months ago, by the time Thursday night came around I was buzzing with excitement and could not wait to go and pick up my keys the next day. I guess I just need time on my own to process things and figure it out. I’m a planner and a thinker.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been so busy packing and sorting things that I haven’t really had time to sit down and chill out – that’s what I had planned for this week. Moving time coincided with an incredibly busy time at work, with deadlines for 5 fostering assessments, so I’ve really been pushing it there as well as at home. I am thankful for a place to rest and relax šŸ™‚

Pictures of moving day/my new home will follow – when I can find my cable and also the oomph to upload and sort through them – along with a post about how thankful I am for the people who helped me. A team of 15 people overall – amazing! I am totally blessed.

For now though, I am going to make a hot water bottle and snuggle up to catch up with some TV on iplayer – I haven’t yet figured out the central heating (I think the radiators need bleeding?!) and one of the delightful perks of living in a very old house is that it is full of draughty little nooks and crannies! Blankets and hot water bottles – the way to go šŸ™‚

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Here we go again

I am one day away from my house move!! Picking up keys to my lovely little cottage tomorrow at 930 and am quite unbelievably and undeniably excited. Packing has gone very smoothly and yesterday I even managed to get my wardrobe and bed dismantled, thanks to sweet Debs and Aaron.

Van is coming at 830 on Saturday morning (thanks Simon!) and then small group friends and some people from church will be helping me load furniture and move it over to the new house. Times like these I am even more thankful for my church family!

Tonight I have a night off from packing as it’s Kate and Faith’s birthdays and we’re celebrating with a BBQ…the first of the year.

So many exciting things are happening, I am one blessed girl
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Home is where…?

Over the past few months, I’ve been thinking a lot about “home” and what it means. I have lived in twelve houses so far in my life. That’s an average of 2 years in each house (although some were longer than others) which feels absolutely crazy when I say it. For me, each of those houses was home, in its own way – because I was with my family, or because I made it home.

I really value having a space to call ‘home’, that’s mine. In each of the places I’ve lived, someone else has made the decision for us to leave. Either a contract ended, or a landlord decided to sell the house we were living in, or someone else’s situation has changed which has impacted me.

But, in the last couple of months since I have been looking for a new place to live, I’ve come to realise that home isn’t the place where you eat or sleep or shower, or the place where your stuff and clothes are stored. For me, home is where you feel loved.

Which means, I have a lot of homes.

I am incredibly blessed to have been made to feel part of a lot of amazing families. For example, my great friends David and Rachel – who I met when I was 15. In the 8 years we’ve known each other they have loved me and supported me as a big brother & sister would, and I’ve been able to spend vacations joining in life with their crazy fun family.

Or, my discipler Philippa and her family (another 4 crazy kids!) who over the past two years have welcomed me into their home for meals and evenings chatting over a cup of tea, birthday parties and celebrations. I love going over for dinner after work, and getting to spend an evening playing with the kids andĀ chatting with Philippa about life.Ā A special joy is putting their 3 year old to bed each time, reading her a story and praying with her.

There’s my small group too – an incredible bunch ofĀ people who were thrown together by some ‘luck’ of the draw, butĀ over the years we have become a close-knit group of friends who are able to share in the good and badĀ of life. We have such fun ; meeting up twice a week (and often at weekends too), going away on holiday, celebrating birthdays and special occasions.

For someone like me, who doesn’t have a huge extended family, having so many people in my life is a great blessing. One I should thank God for more regularly. It doesn’t matter where I live, whether I live alone or with someone, because my God cares about me so much that he has connected me into so many places where I feel safe and comfortableĀ – where I feel like I’mĀ home.

And, on top of that, he has blessed me with a new house that exactly fits my “ideal” – the list of things I said to my mum about what I was looking for, which is just yet another sign of how much my God cares about me.

Super blessed.

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Ā 

It’s official!

Today I got confirmation that I am officially moving to house #13, a sweet little terraced cottage I have found. It’s in a lovely area and just seems perfect, Ā I even have a little garden space! I’m a little perturbed by the cellar but I’m sure I will get used to it. I’m fairly excited…let the packing begin!

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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.

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Jazzy

This Wednesday, Rosie and I went to see Chicago at the local theatre. I had so much fun!! IĀ  haven’t seen Rosie in a little while, other than saying “hello” at church, so it was lovely to spend a whole evening with her. We had dinner at hers beforehand and caught up a little, then off we went to the Marlowe.

I love Chicago! The staging of this version was particularly impressive because the band were on the stage, rather than in the ‘pit’. They incorporated the band area by having doorways/entrances to the stage and the musicians were very much a part of the show. And, instead of having the characters in the wings, they had chairs lining alongside the band’s stage so the entire ensemble was on stage for the majority of the time.

Roxie was played by Ali Bastian, who used to be on Hollyoaks. Velma was played by someone whose name I can’t remember and Billy Flynn was played by Steffan Booth. It’s a bit funny actually, because Steffan was on Hollyoaks too – back in the day (I think I was about 13) and he played Ali’s character Becca’s boyfriend, Jamie…who died in a potholing accident.

It was a bit weird to remember thatĀ  I was very into Hollyoaks for a couple of years as a teenager. We’re talking online forums and absolutely could not miss an episode or the omnibus (I think one time I cried because I’d missed it…) Nowadays I can’t think of many programmes I’d less like to watch!

Anyway, the show was great and it was lovely to spend some time with Rosie. There are lots of shows coming up at the Marlowe that I want to see…Dirty Dancing for one! I think Ro and I are going to see that together.

And now, I’m back in Devon for a much anticipated long weekend. I drove down last night, and my sister and her fiance were supposed to be driving down then too – but they got to Birmingham and their car broke down. They have breakdown cover and we thought they had journey completion…apparently not. The recovery driver insisted on taking them back to Bangor. Fortunately though, it was a quick thing to fix and they are somewhere on the M5 at the moment. Hopefully they will be home by 11 and can get a decent night’s sleep because…

TOMORROW we are looking at wedding reception venues and then in the afternoon we’re trying on dresses! It’s a proper action packed weekend with a real-life written down agenda…so I’m a bit thankful that I’ve had a whole day off with Mum. We did a bit of shopping this morning and I’ve been crafting and relaxing all afternoon.

There was a point where I nearly died…climbing the ladder into the loft and the ladder gave way. I was literally half in/half out. Could have been quite badly injured but fortunately we just laughed hysterically whilst I dangled there!

…and on that note, goodnight!

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Home again…to a heatwave!

I don’t know what’s going on with the South EastĀ  – temperatures in the thirties and clear blue skies?! My car reached 33 degrees yesterday and driving with the windows down for ten minutes only brought it down to 30.5. I thought I was going to melt, and I also needed my asthma inhaler since apparently my lungs don’t like extreme heat.

I can’t believe it’s hotter here than it was when I was in Majorca! Our highest temperature there was 29, I think, but it was lovely thereĀ because when you got too hot you just jumped in the sea. I think my manager would be a bit annoyed if I took a stroll to Ramsgate harbour everytime I got a bit warm!

Actually my office is not too bad…it’s one of those buildings that cannot absorb heat so it’s great in the summer and awful in the winter. It was lovely to have the sun coming through the window and not actually get too hot.

Anyway, this is just a quick post to say that I’m back in the UK and will do a proper holiday update and Summer Bucket List update soon, since I’ve already managed about four of my aims!

Enjoy the sunshine and don’t forget the suncream!

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