Monday, 20 December 2010

December Daily - 19th December

We battled to church despite the fact that Market Hill was closed and found we were one of the chosen few to have arrived in one piece. Apparently a few people gave up on the way.

As our lunch guests were unable to make it, we opted for the same planned menu but just eating a little later, eventually sitting down around 2.30pm for beef stew.

Our annual Christmas do (we do a drinks do or a party every December of one kind or another) was going ahead tonight - regardless of the weather. We lost a few guests, mainly those from further afield than Witham who didn't want to face the icy roads later on. But we did have a goodly gaggle of carol singers arrive at 8.30pm from CGC, many of who where in our youth group when we attended that church. It was amusing to think that we had more people in our house last night than we amassed for Family Eucharist this morning!!

The food table...before the hot food came out. The highlight was definitely the gorgeous cheese selection from Maldon Deli along with the baked fig ball to go with it. Fabulous!
After all the clearing up, I sat down to relax a bit and watch the final of The Apprentice and see Stella English crowned the worthy winner. A great series, enhanced by Stuart Baggs and I thought Lord Sugar was more personable this series - softening in his old age!

Baked fig balls YUM! http://www.seggiano.co.uk/products/04cheese/figs.html more info if you'd like it!

Friday, 17 December 2010

The Smith's Christmas Eatings - our 2010 letter...

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December Daily - 8th - 16th December

8th - Youth Group tonight, all about 'Why bother being a Christian?'...we also got excited about our Christmas party next week, discussing games and food and decorations. It was decided (by the kids!) that we would definitely have our Christmas tree up by the 15th so we will put it up the day before Matilda's birthday...breaking a 4 year tradition!!


9th - We attended our first Victorian evening as a family tonight...M was born on a Victorian evening 4 years ago nearly. They happen on the first and second Thursdays of December and Maldon High Street is transformed into a hive of activity, lots of stall holders and shop keepers dressed up in Edwardian and Victorian dress, caps, aprons, dresses, suits....there are hog roasts, chestnuts, gifts, games, crafts and a general Christmassy atmosphere. Matilda loved it, especially the free sweets they gave away at different places and the fairground rides she got to go on!

10th - Matilda's birthday weekend; Ellie and Ollie and Freddie arrive, we have a trip out to Maldon Deli and then E&O babysit for us while we head out to the TOM Christmas Huddle in Walthamstow.

11th - A relaxing and sunshine filled day. Walk at Prom, Mexican lunch, Tiptree Cheap Shop for cake decorations, Strictly Semi finals, Roast Lamb, cake decorating and party preparations.




12th - 4th Birthday party. Great fun had by all, 10 kids, assorted adults, lots of iced gems, jelly, little sandwiches and the usual games...Matilda loved every minute and was so tired when we got home that she fell asleep standing up! She was Jessie the Yodelling Cow Girl from Toy Story - and we had various other Disney Characters attend too!

13th - all of us, pooped! Could not get up this morning, after all the busyness of the previous few days and the excitement too, it all caught up with us. We did manage to all get to work, school and nursery and also to buy our Tree and decorate it!

14th an early start for M's birthday itself, with a few presents in bed, a new dress to wear and the excitement of a new bike too! The rest of the day went as normal with M at childminder's, Andy at school and me at meetings with the Bishop's Team and one of the youthworkers I supervise. In the evening, we had an easy pasta dinner at home before putting M to bed - not until she'd had all her new books read to her though! We then headed out to my work's do with the Bishop's Team and partners which was a bring and share dinner...we brought dessert since we had already eaten earlier and shared the seriously sinful Girdlebuster Pie from Nigella's Christmas.


15th Normal day on many levels, followed by the Random Youth Christmas party at ours. Highlights include Pass the Parcel with forfeits, Ibble Dibble game, the After Eight game and a gorgeous Malaysian curry brought to the table by 2 of the group..yummy! Lots of laughs and relaxing time together to end the first term that this group has existed...they are a blessing and a highlight of our week! Thanks lovelies!

16th I finally managed to finish the Christmas cards today - all written, addressed, stamped and posted. Our emailed Christmas newletter was also scheduled to go out today (I'll link to that in a seperate post.) Our Advent Calendar pocket contained the tag labelled 'Mummy Daughter Date' as I was attending a Craft afternoon at M's nursery which was great fun and lovely to see her 'hosting' me in her special space with her friends...we then headed into town, covered in glue, glitter and paint and stopped off at the library and the Deli for some more quality time together. The day finished off with our friends Louis and William coming for dinner which was most enjoyable and I trialled a new recipe on them - Cider Chicken with Mushrooms and anchovies which was yummy.

There we go, all caught up...no wonder I'm tired, when I read it all back I haven't really taken a breath until today! Love Fridays - hope you're having a good one, whatever you're up to...xx
Back tomorrow!

getting behind...

Despite my best intentions for a December Daily blog series, I've got behind...4th birthday and a house of visitors scuppered the weekend a bit and I haven't had any time til today to even sort photos out, let alone write anything...

I'm hoping to get back on track as I want to journal these days, as much for myself as anyone else and so I'll be back with December Daily 8-17 December...and hope to keep it up after that too!

For now, here's a few pictures of the birthday girl who turned 4 on Tuesday...

sofa snuggles

The Princess Castle cake - thanks for Ellie and Ollie for their decorating and creative strategy!

The Birthday Girl's bike - at around 6.30am on her birthday!

We had all day present opening - before and after nursery and the day after too!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

December Daily - 7th December

7th December


An unremarkable day in many ways - work, meetings, time with youth workers. Andy was at school, Matilda at her childminders. But still a lovely day with some hilarious and special moments...

I did manage an extra hour at home just before picking them both up when I prepped dinner which meant we could all eat together which is one of our daily aims of Advent. I did a variation on this Three Bean Chilli recipe from Rachael Ray which we had with polenta.
Matilda and I had some lovely snuggle time, curled up on the sofa and chatting about all the craft she is making at Yoriko's and nursery before she went up for a bath. Her eczema is not great at the moment so her baths contain Oilatum and she is slathered in aqueous cream all over afterwards.

I then had a night out at a Scrap Happy Crop which I have been to once before. I finished a few of my ongoing projects, including an album for my nephew and a little something for my dad too who is having a little op on Friday. My newest kit arrived today aswell:

Look at all those lovely papers and colours...can't wait to start playing this weekend!
December is flying by...crikey...

Monday, 6 December 2010

December Daily - 6th December

6th December
Back to normal today after the snow week - all of us back to work, school and nursery.
I had a breakfast meeting and a lunch time meeting, followed by a blood test then back to Maldon to get M for her class at 4.30pm so it's been a manic day.

Matilda had her final dancing lesson of the term and was very pleased with the card and chocolate she received from her teacher!

We had dinner at home altogether, with our Advent Candle lit and Matilda and I read The Camel who found Christmas as her bedtime story. We had a lovely conversation and prayer time as she was asking about people who didn't think Jesus loved them and how she wanted them to know that He was looking forward to seeing them at Christmas! It felt like a bit of a lightbulb went on for her tonight and we prayed for children in the world who don't have as many toys as she does.

I have been at PCC tonight - really not something I want to record here in detail, but I was glad to come home and have my first Amaretto Sour of the season. Yummy!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

December Daily - 4th December

4th December


Firstly, back to yesterday - we had a great night out with our chums, K&S and L&K...really fun, great food, Christmas is coming!!



Already I'm enjoying the discipline of taking photos every day and noting the important and significant small things...it's bringing out the joy in everything, especially in this special time leading up to M's birthday and beyond it to Christmas. 
Up early enough this morning to watch Strictly It Takes Two from last night, do the Advent Candles and Calendar and come to slowly!
Andy headed out to an accountability session with a guy from church and then a music practice for the service tomorrow. I've been straightening out the house ready for an estate agent to come and value it for us - all part of the process of preparing for a possible move and change of direction next year if Andy is selected for ordination training. 
A chilled afternoon including some baking and some sorting of the garden and preparing food for us and the arrival of the Baguettes for dinner - the 3 kids are being babysat while we adults go out to see Harry Potter, finally, at the cinema! 
Today has felt like a metaphorical semi-colon in the week;            ...the snow coming down and causing us to stop our plans and schedules,  in itself has caused me to go a bit frantic thinking about what I could do with this newly released time. I've realised I have still overstuffed the days a bit too much, worrying that I might not get these free days again and so I should use them wisely. Today, I just lay on M's bed in her room while she laid out her building blocks to make a castle for her princess bath toys and we chattered and she got into her zone of playing and we listened to the Big Bible storybook about Mary being told she was to be the Mother of Jesus;    
and I closed my eyes...probably only for 10 minutes or so but it was so necessary and I feel better for it. 

Friday, 3 December 2010

SUNDAY PAPERS

SUNDAY PAPERS Being Pregnant - the waiting begins

This is a great series of posts from Richard Passmore for Advent...check out yesterdays and sign up for the rest.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

A December Daily...1st December slight belated!

I didn't quite get myself ready to do a Scrapbooked December Daily, a la Ali Edwards this year...would have been pushing it a bit far really! If only it could all be a full time job... :-)

Anyway, thought I'd compromise and do a December Daily blog post of what we're doing so we have it for future memories and to make us laugh.

So this is a bit late but here goes:


1st December:
A Snow Day! Andy is off and Matilda was most put out that we might keep her off nursery that we decided we'd try to get her there...roads were clearer than expected because no-one else was silly enough to go out!
So, a day at home just me and the Boy...we chilled out a bit, tidied and cleaned the house (we were supposed to get the house valued but the appointment were cancelled), watched some TV and got ahead with Christmas cards and some other bits and pieces.
I spent some time in the afternoon adapting our pocket Advent Calendar that hangs on our hall/lounge door to include little tags with extra treats and activities for 12 out of the 24 days.
When Matilda got home, we did pocket 1 - and the treat was Hot Chocolate and Marshmallows!
Andy ventured out in the snow, briefly getting to Tesco's for some supplies and then to go and pick up some loaned ski gear for his trip in February.
Matilda prayed for more snow but that everyone in the world would be warm and cosy in the night.
A lovely, quiet and snowy start to December - looking forward to tomorrow and more snow!


Tuesday, 30 November 2010

end of November cometh...the illusion of Santa...


I had a realisation that, 4 years ago today, I was heavily pregnant with M and expecting to pop any day...as it was, she didn't make an appearance until 14th December which seemed a long way off at that point and seems a long way off now - but it will come round soon enough! And we have lots to do before then!
Can't believe my little Bean is going to be 4! She is just really great company at the moment and has come home unexpectedly from her childminder this afternoon cos Andy's school is closed and so her got her on the way home. They are snuggled up watching Home Alone and we're going to do some craft stuff later on...I have had to take a sick day from work today as I've got a nasty fluey bug - sore throat, snotty nose and generally feeling pretty unwell. I had a lazy morning and a hot bath with tea tree oil which hopefully will clear the passages...and now I'm just pottering on with a few online jobs which don't require too much thinking or strain! Hence the update now...

So, tomorrow is December 1st and although I know Advent officially started on Sunday, we're only getting going with those bits of preparation in time for tomorrow. We have a pocket Advent Calendar which this year will not only have small chocolates inside, but may also have some challenges, activities or other treats (like hot chocolate with marshmallows before bed etc.) We always have a candle to burn down one notch each day and we try to spend evenings when we're all in together with only music, no TV and spending time talking, playing games and getting excited about Jesus' birthday. Every year, Matilda is more aware of what the season means and this week, she's been enjoying the new Vicky Beeching album 'Eternity Invades' and singing along to the 'Glory to God Forever' track. It's great that she can enjoy the gift giving and receiving season, as well as understanding the reason behind why we get to do all this fun stuff. Previously we've really not done Father Christmas in a big way at all, but with her being at nursery and having lots of little friends to talk to, she's pretty into Santa etc. - we still don't 'do' Father Christmas particularly but we do have some little presents in a stocking on Christmas morning and she is aware we buy those, not Father Christmas. I find it difficult to have integrity about that aspect of the season's traditions without making M feel like she's missing out or we are weird. So Father Christmas is around, but not referred to specifically and we choose to do stuff about the Jesus story rather than other more localised traditions.
First off in this house though, we focus on Matilda's birthday as her special day of the year. Despite it being so close to Christmas, it is far enough away that we can do her birthday justice before we need to get focused on Christmas. So, the tree doesn't go up until 15th December, or evening of 14th at the earliest if that is what she wants to do on her birthday evening. We keep other decorations to a minimum, bar the things I listed above and most of that will go up on 15th December.

So, while I have some space and the Boy and the Bean are occupied, I'll get on with some other jobs online and elsewhere and leave you to let me know what you do about the 'illusion' of Father Christmas? Does he make an appearance in your house?

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Advent activities and ideas

Karen Edmisten: The No-Panic Advent Series, in the right order this time

With a slightly more Roman Catholic slant (no matter) this is a great post with some lovely ideas for family activities, traditions and ideas to focus on during the season of Advent (which starts on SUNDAY!!)

We'll be doing a prayer board this year, similar to the Jesus stocking and our advent calendar will contains some chocolates but also some challenges and activities - probably leading to chocolates!

I'm looking forward to the season of Waiting this year - we're quite strict about not doing too much Christmas stuff until after M's birthday (14th) and it's good to not get carried away because of that. No tree or too many decorations until 15th December usually. We want the focus on our celebrations to be on Emmanuel, God with us, Jesus our friend and the promise of fullness of life in Him.

What are your Advent and Christmas traditions and activities??

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

shuffle music meme

Can't remember who tagged me first on this, but thought it would be fun!!

) Turn on your MP3 player or music player on your computer.
2) Go to SHUFFLE songs mode.
3) Write down the first 15 songs that come up–song title and artist–NO editing/cheating, please.

Pass it on.

Here goes:
1. Many Roads - Andrew Peterson
2. I'm not your baby - U2
3. Run the Race - Doug Horley
4. Kissing You - Des-ree
5. Can't Breathe - Martyn Joseph
6. You are Everything - Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross
7. Love gets me every Time - Shaina Twain
8. Yesterday, Today and Forever - Vicky Beeching
9. Shaken Up - Delirious
10. Amy Hit the Atmosphere - Counting Crows
11. Just One Smile - Dusty Springfield
12. I'm on my way to Canaan - Mahalia Jackson
13. 86 - Green Day
14. If not for Your Grace - Israel Houghton and New Breed
15. Forever - Chris Tomlin

Reflects the eclectic mix - U2 and Green Day plus a bit of country, gospel and the mighty Counting Crows! 
Look forward to reading your list!!

Friday, 12 November 2010

Gift Ideas for the 2010 Holiday Season — Simple Mom

Some great ideas here from the SimpleMom website - some of the links are US sites but once you get the idea, I'm sure you could be resourceful enough to find them elsewhere.

Ethical, original, local and personal...be inspired!

Gift Ideas for the 2010 Holiday Season — Simple Mom

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Just a thought...scrapping, youth ministry and life skills

Just a thought that I'm putting here as it's only in formation but it gives me a reminder if it goes off the radar.

I was at a conference yesterday for work Youthwork Summit which was really great. During that day I had a few conversations with old and new friends, particularly about working with young women and the difference between that and working with young men.

I had a thought, as I was reminiscing about my previous role working with homeless young women, that so much of the great progress that was made with them was when we encouraged them to tell their stories and to do that creatively - sometimes through drama or through another craft activity.

I wonder whether my interest in scrapbooking;  chronicling significant milestones, events, emotions and people might be something which could add to or initiate self esteem and life skills development work with young women in a creative and safe way...as well as being huge fun and producing something really tangible at the end? Even just the journalling element of these type of projects gives some opportunity for developing literacy skills and measuring out and cutting paper, card and other equipment will help with some numeracy skills and other practical problem solving in daily life.



Certainly, it seems a possible avenue to think about and progress this year while our eventual destination in terms of Andy's journey is unclear...as it's something I could work on wherever we ended up living...

Your thoughts...know anyone doing this sort of thing already? Any suggestions of conversations or contacts I could make??

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Due Date

Today we are marking a date that is both painful and a significant milestone.


Back in February 2010, when we had got used to the positive pregnancy test and were beginning to plan for baby number 2, our doctor gave us an expected due date of October 6th.


All parents or those who are pregnant and over-due will know that a due date means nothing really, but for us, after the shock of being told we were expecting twins and then the pain of losing them 3 weeks later, this is the only date we have ever had to mark what could have been. We know that having twins would probably have meant they could have come any time in September...but October 6th still holds significance and has loomed large in these last few days.


We're marking today in our own way, thinking and crying and talking together. We also launched a new youth group in our home this evening which sits as a potent sign that life and new seasons continue and we must choose to join in with the journey.




But there have been some things which have comforted me and I'd like to share them with you. 


Firstly a poem, well known I guess but beautiful and potent and full of hope:

Remember

Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day.
You tell me of our future that you plann'd:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.

Christina Rossetti

I have also been challenged and comforted by the example of Hannah in the Bible. Hannah focused her attention onto God in her pain and her loss and her barrenness and silently in her heart, praying only with her lips and not with any words.  (1 Samuel 1)
The prognosis on us before we had Matilda was of barrenness, and by a miracle we conceived naturally and have a wonderful little girl, nearly 4. WOW. 
We conceived naturally a second time and despite the loss of our twins, we know that God has blessed us through this experience and given us grace in our weakness and provision in our desperation. 

So, through all of this, I want to pray as Hannah prayed:
My heart rejoices in the Lord
My strength is exalted in the Lord
I smile at my enemies
Because I rejoice in your salvation.

And I stand on the promise of 1 Corinthians 15 - "the dead will be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed. O Death, where is your Victory?"

Death does not have the victory in our lives or in our home. We miss and love our babies that we never got to meet or hold, but we know that there is a sure and certain hope of seeing them again. Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see ( as Doug Horley would sing!!) 

Thanks for your prayers, your friendship and your love to us over these months. Reaching this due date is a milestone, a stake in the ground and we move on from here with a deep breath and a sense that God is in control. He has made us more aware of his presence through our grief. Thank you God for all your goodness and faitfulness. 

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Knoxville Tennessee


A few people have asked when I'm going to post about my recent trip...and I've only just had a spare minute after my return to blog about it.
This week has been crazy, as much as last week was calm and serene and wonderful. I appreciate the former because of the latter.

The details of each day are not exciting - Emily, Jack and I spent our days around the routine of 5 week old Madeleine and that made it all very gentle. Jack had a quiet week, pastoring-wise, so he was able to have later mornings and be home for dinner. Emily and I walked each morning round the park for 2 miles, before the heat of the day and by the time we had done that and then showered and fed Madeleine again (well. Emily did!) it was time for lunch!!

We went to an Andrew Peterson concert on Tuesday night which was awesome...and we have bought 2 of his albums since.
I had a scrapbooking class at Scrappin' in the City which is an amazing boutique/shop/community/workshop where I made a birthday book in 2.5 hours...I was very pleased with myself!
Emily and I had lots of time to chat, read and chill, with a bit of extended shopping on Friday which was a lot of fun! We also saw our mutual friends for lunch at Tomato Head - and I consumed a yummy Southwestern Salad...really craving those now we are truly in autumnal weather here in England!



It was really lovely to be around with Emily and Madeleine and Jack for lots of firsts - first bath without crying, M's first trip to Target (in fact, to any shop!), first nap in her cot...




 So it was pretty bittersweet when I had to leave. The trip and time away had been what I needed it to be - space for reflection, time out of the normality of life and a chance to make new and good memories of this time of year when our babies would have been due. In so many ways it exceeded my expectations and it was wonderful to be subsumed into a family and to be able to look after them as they cared for me. It was a special trip and one which I shall never forget and I'm grateful to Andy for releasing me to do it.



And it is wonderful to be home...I was met at the airport with a 'MUMMY' homemade sign and I worked 30 hours in 3 days this week to allow me to have Friday off as normal with Matilda, which was so great.


So as September fades away and October begins with all it's autumnal colours and wintry skies, I feel a bit of sunshine in my life and the love and prayers of wonderful friends who gave up precious time with their daughter to allow me to come and be. Thank you, Emily, Jack and Madeleine and we can't wait to host you...next year, fingers crossed.

Ta ta for now...

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Heading to TN and retelling the story

In just over a week, I'll be hopping on a plane and making my way out to south eastern United States for a little break. You may have read on this blog about our loss earlier in the year and our journey since then and this is part of the healing process.
Around now we would have been reaching the end of a twin pregnancy if all had gone to plan. It's difficult to know when the date would have been as twins are even more unpredictable, but it would have almost certainly been sometime in September. Back in the aftermath of the miscarriage, we realised that 2010 was looking very empty without this event to mark a stake in the ground and so we made the decision to look for positive, memory making experiences so that September 2010 wouldn't always be about loss, sadness and miscarriage.

Andy and I this summer...he's pretty cool
Thanks to Mr Tesco Clubcard points, converted into Airmiles, I am flying out to Atlanta GA where I'll be picked up by Emily and Jack to have a week with them and their new, month old daughter Madeleine. Can't honestly remember if I've told the Jack story on here, but I'll tell it again anyway!

Back in 2004 we were having some work done on our house in Gateshead. As it was roof work, very messy and dusty, we went off to New Wine festival for a week leaving the workmen to get the job done. It was a wet week, plenty of rain in Somerset for the festival and the same in the North East. On our return to our house, we unlocked the front door and were faced with a smell I can only describe as rotting. All the way down our stairs, directly in front of us was black sludge and the walls had black wet patches all down them.
We were in complete shock - and it transpired in the following few hours that our builder had left the roof uncovered on a night of thunderstorms and huge amounts of rain and we had been flooded from top to bottom...
Fast forward a couple of weeks - we'd moved out cos the house was uninhabitable, the insurance company were assessing the damage and the dehumidifiers were doing their best to dry out the house. Living with Andy's godparents near Durham, we started to lick our wounds and the implications of the flood were sinking in. It was pretty depressing. I had compassionate leave from work, Andy eventually suffered anxiety bouts which left him deflated and struggling to engage with people at all. In the midst of this, in early September we were invited to lunch with Andy's other godparents and their new Methodist minister...well, free meal we thought and a change of scene...
And there we met Jack King, newly arrived from the States, Tennessee to be precise and over for a year as part of his seminary training. He was the same age as me (26 at the time), living in the Manse or Vicarage and getting to know not only the church but also the North East culture and language and food!
We had a great year, lots of fun times, meals out, trips to the beach and theatre and just general hanging out and connecting with this great man of God who was just wanting to make the best of every opportunity. Jack and Andy especially bonded and Jack was introduced to the extended Smith clan on their many visits as well as to my folks.
On 7th May 2005, at our combined housewarming/27th birthday party, Jack blessed our newly refurbished, redecorated home after 6 months of work, renovations and living elsewhere. It felt like a coming home in so many ways and that evening was one of the most significant and memorable of my life.
After a year, Jack returned to Tennessee, to a job in Knoxville at the Methodist Church there and we kept in touch as much as we could. Just after his arrival home, Hurrican Katrina struck and he was involved in huge amounts of ministry and outreach to displaced people from New Orleans.
Jack met Emily on his return to Knoxville and they married on 7.7.2007 - we weren't able to go, Matilda was only small and money was not so forthcoming with just a few months notice. But we did visit for 10 days in August 2008 with Matilda who was then 18 months. Meeting Emily was nerve wracking - what would she be like, would she like us? But it's fair to say that she and I had a soul connection, something God given and truly special came about in those 10 days and it was with many tears and sadness that we left to come home at the end of our trip...we promised to return again for Andy's 30th birthday in 2011 which we still plan to do.
But with the events of this year and the sadness and loss and rebuilding we have been doing, I needed something exciting and unique to to focus on. Soon after the miscarriage, while I was convalescing at home, Andy asked me what would make me feel better or I would look forward to doing. I didn't have to think long before I said "I'd like to travel on my own"...Andy's following question was "Where to?" and I knew I'd want to go and see Emily. I have many wonderful friends and family, more than a girl deserves. But there is something unique about a friend at long distance, who it isn't so easy to see or contact, where time zones mean we're asleep when they're awake and lives go at a different pace.
Google Chat has been a life saver as Emily and I have kept in touch and worked through many feelings and emotions. She took time out of lectures to chat with me online, rang when she should have been sleeping and enabled me to see beyond my immediate situation and gave me hope for the future.
I feel very blessed at her willingness to give up some of her precious time with her new baby to spend with me next week. I am amazed and in awe of a God who has allowed me to follow and share in such a dear friends' pregnancy and have loved that journey, in spite of the pain we have also found in it. Pain is not always bad, it is refining and forms us in a way which is more precious as a result. I have no doubt that it would have been easier to stick only with friends who haven't been pregnant, but in Emily and in my sister, I have people whose preciousness to me and whose understanding of me have enabled me to cope with pregnancy close at hand. It was with huge elation that we stalked Facebook and waited on emails for news of Emily's labour and we rejoiced at the birth of Madeleine Clara King on 19th August, followed by the birth of our nephew, Frederick Peter Lane on 24th August.
Freddie
Madeleine
There are a mix of emotions right now - I am SUPER excited and cannot wait to get off that plane in Atlanta and see Emily and Jack and kiss that baby's head. I am also desperate for switch off time...being disconnected will be so good for me and I am going to try and be disciplined about staying off facebook and just keeping in touch with home. But my Love Language is acts of service and I want to bless Jack and Emily and Madeleine with my time there and hope I can be useful in getting them settled in their new home (they moved 10 days after Madeleine was born!), and doing what I do best - feeding people! I am nervous about being away from home - missing Andy and Matilda and having these experiences without them will be weird. This is a situation where I'm not sure of how I will feel...and I'm not good with the unknown or the unplanned. But God has been teaching me so much about letting him take control - and miscarriage in a way is the ultimate lack of control. Nothing I could have done would have changed the outcome. I don't understand that, but that's the way it is. And I must leave that with the Lord, who has plans to prosper me and not harm me, to give me a hope and a future and my hope and my future lies in my wonderful, faithful, loving husband and my clever, inquisitive and hilarious daughter. Only God knows what our family will look like in 2, 5, 10 years but I am content and thankful for all I have and all I have been through...strange as that may sound.
Who knows what these 6 days away will bring. I am open to whatever God wants to do in me and I shall be surprised I am sure. And I'd appreciate your prayers (Jack and Emily may do too!)

Friday, 10 September 2010

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Bank Holiday, birthday and baby pictures

We had a great weekend in Surrey, celebrating my dad's 60th birthday and meeting our new nephew Freddie. Here are some pics:

Just born - Frederick Peter Lane
scrummy

Proud cousin meeting Freddie

any excuse for champagne!
a birthday cuddle for Papa
Daddy Ollie and my mum, known now as Didi

up a bit, down a bit...
meeting Freddie...he did stop crying!


my beautiful sister and beautiful nephew

My dad opening his gifts and cards
dancing in the garden with the party dress girl!