Tag Archives: wedding

Standing on a Road I Didn’t Plan.

I can look at my life right now and quite confidently say had you asked me 5 or 10 years ago what my life would be like on February 8th 2013 I wouldn’t have described anything like the reality. I used to be a real dreamer before life got its teeth in. I would probably have told you that I saw myself married with a baby, probably a boy called Martin, and quite possibly still on maternity leave from a full time job that had provided handsomely for us to save  little nest egg toward the overall cost of raising Martin and any siblings who may come along. I would have probably told you I couldn’t see myself living anywhere that wasn’t a quiet village within the catchment area of a good Christian school.

Life has an uncanny ability to take your dreams and plans and twist them or tear them up and destroy them. Sometimes along the way it has felt like even the dreaming was foolish and I was deluding myself. There have been times when I thought I would end up on my own for the rest of my life, although I didn’t ever believe that was God’s plan. Many times I got impatient and prayed angry, impatient prayers demanding to know why I was stuck in a rut. I remember one particular evening where it really felt like God was holding out on me.

My previous church had traveled from York to the Lake District for the first of two away weekends, the B-on-Fire Weekend (the second was at a similar time the following year). We all arrived across Friday evening, having dinner when we arrived and sorting out who was in which dorm. We enjoyed a time of fellowship that evening and it was great to be together as a church family. We shared time on the Saturday too and some of us went out and walked up some of the big hills and mountains. I went up one of the big hills, Cat Bells, with my sister and two best friends (who I really miss right now). We had a great sense of achievement and another member of our church group took a photo of us at the top. After the exertions of the day and all the time spent together I decided to find a quiet place and have a few minutes to myself. I remember I sat in a stairwell and thought back over the day and reflected on what I was going home to the following day. Home was okay but it felt lonely at times and the monotony of stacking shelves five days a week had worn me down. I wanted a better job, a partner who would love me and a hope at least of having a family. I sat on the stairs telling God that if I was going back to life exactly as I had left it I would rather not go back, but that wasn’t an option. When JLW found me I must have been there 15-30 minutes and I had tears running down my face. She tried to get me to talk but I was so upset I couldn’t at first. It took at least 5 more minutes and LCT joining us before I managed to sob out that I didn’t want to go back to my life the way it was. They prayed and LCT said that all the pieces would fall into place.

The following year when we were there again I had changed my job and moved to lodge with IndysGrandma but I still slipped quietly to that stairwell again because my job wasn’t secure, lodging didn’t feel like a home and I was still single. I went and prayed and cried all on my own that time because JLW and LCT had some fairly big issues of their own that, unbeknownst to me, were kicking off while I was in the stairwell. The pieces weren’t in place for me or for my friends right then.

Over the years I’ve watched my friends as the pieces have fallen into place for them but not for me. I have tried so hard not to covet their partners, children or lives as I see them. I’m sure that JLW’s life isn’t always as great as it seems to be and that everyone has their struggles at times. I just look at where my life has gone in the 5 and a half years since the tears in the stairwell that first year and see a mess. I’d love to be married right now to an amazing man and be expecting my second child, a sibling for my 2 year old, in about 5 weeks.

I’m unemployed, not working even part-time and that makes me very frustrated and often quite down. Life at home has been difficult because both of my parents have been out of work for health reasons so we’ve had financial struggles. Church can be difficult, walking into what feels at times to be a very middle class environment where I don’t always feel at home.

There is however one gem, one shining light even when I’m down and church feels like walking into a room full of strangers; my fiance. We’re often at church together and sometimes having him there makes the difference between whether I stay or walk straight out. He makes me laugh at the most ridiculous things even when I’m down and his arms are there if it’s really bad.

In eight weeks I will marry my own amazing man. We can look forward together to spending some time building our relationship stronger because although after 2 years it seems quite strong we recognise we still have some building to do together. In about a year we’ll start to think about adding a little one or two, although we’re not planning on calling a son Martin. We’re starting to make my dream a reality. Still there’s a piece missing, I’m still trying to find the right path to the right door that leads to the job God has in his plan for me. I try to believe it’s there somewhere and it will happen one day when I’m not expecting it, but for now it’s hard sometimes to keep the faith and knock at the doors.

Where will I be in 5 years? I don’t know. I think I’ll be happily married, hopefully with at least one child. I hope I’ll have a job, even just a part-time one. I might be playing with my creative skills and selling things I knit or decorating cakes or something. I might even find someone who’ll pay me for my writing. Only God knows and He isn’t sharing that information with me. I’ll try to live each day as it comes and not worry about tomorrow.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Happy 2013

So, it’s been a while since my last post. A few things have happened, one or two I’ll touch on here, others deserve more time and their own blog posts.
The jumper with the Enterprise remains unfinished, but I don’t feel bad about that. The sense of urgency to finish it quickly left when Fiance gave me an early birthday present. I’ll blog separately about the present and the convention.
For the past couple of months my hands and knitting needles have been kept busy knitting dolls to raise money for Kidz Klub York and I still have two or three left to complete. Again I think there’s a separate post to be written about this.
I’m sitting here now, playing with writing a post on my new smart phone, my legs draped over Fiance’s lap, The Rock (as in the Nicholas Cage/Sean Connery film) providing a backing track. It’s nice to be in my fiance’s flat on New Years Day, just chilling out before he goes back to work. In 95 days we’ll be in a bar in town celebrating our nuptials with friends and family. We’ve got a lot to do before then. There are people making suggestions and trying to help, for which I am grateful as so much of this wedding wouldn’t be possible without the help of others. I hope we can remember that the day we get married is our day and our friends and family can help it to be the day we want. I’m still confident that the wedding day I’m imagining can and will be the one we have.
So, that’s the biggest thing I’m looking forward to and planning for in 2013.
I’ve noticed people are reviewing the last year in a lot of blogs etc. I can’t remember enough to say a lot but there were some highlights I can share:
Finishing up my time as a Parish Assistant/Intern at my church- I had a great 11 months on the core children’s work team, rather than as a somewhat peripheral volunteer. It was good to see the inner workings of the children’s ministry. I learnt some things from my year, about children’s ministry, church and myself that I’ll carry forward and hopefully use in the future. It was good to be on the team but taking a back seat, a step away from Sunday children’s work has allowed me to learn some things too.
Being on a different team at New Wine 2012- this challenged my view on change and pushed me out of my ‘comfort zone’. I thought the age of the children I worked with in those cowsheds year after year was part of what drew me back. For six years I had worked with 10 year olds who would have sensible conversations about what they were learning, I thought that was important. I discovered that a bit of fun and real nonsense can teach 6 year olds the same things. Some of the ‘little ones’ in my group seemed to understand every bit as much as the children 4 years their senior did. I believe we made a difference in those lives and that the ones who asked Jesus to be their friend will follow him for the foreseeable future, as the 10 year olds do.
First real holiday with Fiance- our trip to Wales was so much fun, even if we were almost blown away in the night. Camping together, being on our own for those few days without any agenda or real plans was fun and spontaneous. We might plan better next time and invest some money in a tent better made to withstand British weather but I wouldn’t wish away the evening with the dolphins and the rainbow at sunset for a dozen windproof tents. I’ll remember that for a long time.
Destination Star Trek London- there’s so much I could say about that weekend and will in a future post but it really was the most amazing weekend of 2012.
Christmas- this year we hosted my family for Christmas at Fiance’s flat. As Christmas is just 2 days after my birthday the whole weekend blurs into one. Lunch with JK, the pantomime, church, lunch with Fiance, Brother, Sister, Mum and another friend, midnight mass in a cathedral (not to be repeated) and then Christmas Day waking up to share my morning with Fiance, Fiance picking up my family, Dad being discharged from hospital before dinner, gifts, laughs and LOTR Monopoly.

2012 was a pretty great year but what with my wedding, friends having babies (including a set of twins) and a new Star Trek film I think 2013 looks like being pretty awesome. Hopefully finding a job I love will be the icing on the cake.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Pooh: Where are you going? Piglet: That’s what I’m asking myself. Where?

In just over three weeks I finish as a Parish Assistant (intern) at my church. I’m coming to a crossroads, one where I can’t afford to go back and spend half of every week helping to plan and lead my church children’s work.

If I want to marry Fiancé 41 weeks tomorrow I need to find paid work so I can contribute to the cost of that. Looking at the different aspects of a wedding can be daunting, especially when I don’t have a job.

I am trying to follow God’s leading in the search for employment. It’s not an easy time to be looking for a job. So many people are in the same position. Every vacancy has hundreds of applicants and it is easy enough to see that some people have more qualifications, experience and confidence than I do.

I don’t know exactly what I will do with my time after the next three weeks are up if I don’t get a job. I have a Christian summer conference to go to and help with the kids there and perhaps some time away with Fiancé. Aside from that I don’t know what I will do if I don’t find a job soon. There are options. I can do a limited amount of voluntary work. I have stuff, lots of stuff, that I could sort out and maybe sell. I know that the work involved in wedding planning will take up a lot of time as will doing all the D.I.Y aspects that save money on the detailed stuff.

I know I have skills, knowledge and experience to offer and employer. I believe God can open the door to the employment where my skills, knowledge and experience can be used best. I don’t know when or where that will be, I have to trust that God does and keep trying to push doors. One door will open and I will find the right place to work.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

I am always with you. Even when you can’t see me, I’m here.

Today is the 17th anniversary of the day my Grandma did not wake up. I wrote this post 8 days ago and scheduled it to publish today because I don’t think I could have written it today. The quote is from the sequel to Grandma’s favourite Disney film, a sequel she did not see. The rest of this post is a letter to my Grandma, but one I don’t mind sharing with you as it tells a little more of my story.

Dear Grandma,

How is Heaven? I hope it is still lovely and that you are with Nancy, David and Granddad.

I know time does not pass there and you must think you have only been gone for the blink of an eye. Here today is the 17th anniversary of the day you left us. I still feel sad when I think about it.

I can still remember, even now, how I sat on the manhole cover by the sports field and prayed you were in Norwich for Pukey’s 7th birthday 17 Novembers ago. I even wondered what my gift from that trip would be. I didn’t want there to be a reason for the doctors to keep you in. The next time I saw you was in the hospital. You didn’t look like my Grandma, or feel like her when I hugged you. The spark had gone, that ‘something special’ we had was broken. I guess, deep down, I knew I had lost you that day, especially as I screamed inside when you said you would not have treatment. I hated hearing those words. I thought you would at least try to fight the cancer for Brother, Sister, Soppy and Pukey, but especially for me. I did not understand how my Grandma could give up so easily.

When Aunt LC arrived you got her to take me to get my ears pierced (piercings that have since closed up). It was a long promised thirteenth birthday present but you thought you might not make my thirteenth birthday. I hated that day. It should have been you with me, I hardly ever knew LC. I had to paint a smile on my face when I showed you gold studs. I cried myself to sleep that night, my ears stung and kept reminding me those holes and studs might be all I got from you for my thirteenth birthday. All of a sudden I didn’t want them, I wanted the old Grandma back.

You lived to see me reluctantly become a teenager. As I hugged you in floods of tears as we left that night I already wanted to turn back time and live in another era of ours. I wanted to go back to the glorious days when cancer was something that killed Nancy years ago when you were young but had never darkened your door since. To a time before I ever felt the need to ask God to let you live longer, a time before I dreaded Granddad’s knock on the door.

We had six months between you laying in the hospital bed accepting the last chapter of your book was being played out and the wet Thursday June 1st when we laid you in the ground. We had time together, just you and me and shared time with the others. We even took Sister when we went to Coltishall for Easter with LC, Soppy and Pukey. We made memories.

I have walked through life for so long now not able to see you but carrying you with me; the memories, the dreams we had, the love yo left. I’m not 13 any more, on my last birthday I turned 30. I have been engaged for nearly six months, his name is not Cuthbert but I know you would like him. I’m trying to convince him that those 4 letters need to start the name, first or middle, of one  of our children and my middle name should be our daughter’s first name. We’re trying to plan our wedding, at Newton of course. I couldn’t get married anywhere else.

I love you Grandma, I always will.

Your little pet xxxxx

Leave a comment

Filed under Letter for...

You think you’re very grown up, but you have a great deal to learn.

Tears stung my eyes as I cuddled up to Fiancé in the dark. It was Christmas Eve 2011 and we were staying at his father’s house in Arnold, Nottingham. It felt like it had been a long day. We had two fairly late nights before, on the Thursday we had been to the pantomime, Brother, Sister, Fiancé and me because Friday was my 30th birthday. Then on Friday we went to my family home for dinner and watched Love Actually two days earlier than my family’s new tradition dictates. It had been so lovely to spend time with my family and Fiancé for my birthday. The two late nights and then the drive from York to Nottingham had made us both quite tired. Then there was an extra ingredient, alcohol. After sending FiancésFather out to get cola from the shop before it shut it would have seemed rude not to have a drink or two of vodka and coke. I went for two.

So the tiredness and the alcohol were not great aids to my emotional stability and the fact that this was the first Christmas properly away from home I had ever had did not really help matters. Fiancé and I had been talking on the drive about him finding a flat to rent in the next few months, somewhere he could take on that would eventually become our first home together. It was all so exciting, we had been engaged two weeks and were talking about getting a flat to live in together. My head was merrily cantering ahead of anywhere we had reached already dreaming of the children we might have and how awesome that would be. It was also trying to plan the wedding all on its own, in the way that your imagination sometimes runs away with you. All of this was spinning round in my head and in the bed in the dark with Fiancé on the camp bed just feet away (or was he?). It suddenly seemed all too much and the tears came bringing a sob or two with them. Before I could speak Fiancé’s arms were around me holding me close and safe. That’s one thing I love about Fiancé, how just having his arms around me can make me feel like there’s nothing that can hurt me. I tried to explain, still crying, that it all seemed so terribly grown up to have just turned 30 and to be talking of weddings and flats, of getting married and spending the rest of my life living with Fiancé. He listened and tried to reassure me. I don’t remember exactly what he said but I do know that he made me feel we could face whatever the future and growing up might mean together, that he would always be by my side.

I had tried to rebel against growing up. Since the darkest days of puberty, which were mixed with the grief of knowing Grandma had cancer and then her death, I had wanted to be anything but grown up. My fight to cling on to some of my childhood was going quite well, thank you very much. I still slept with a big Pooh Bear teddy most nights and several other dolls and soft toys by my pillow. My duvet sets had Tinkerbell and Pooh Bear on them. My Baby Born doll occasionally came out to play as did the six-month-old size baby doll Zoe that is jointly owned by me and Sister. I had tried to become a nursery nurse, to help other people by looking after their children and partly because it would give me an excuse to still be a child myself. For me being a grown up seemed to mean that I would have to leave everything of my childhood behind, that meant David and Grandma too, and I wasn’t sure if I could do that.

Since meeting Fiancé I have chosen to/had to do a lot of grown up things. Things like: going on proper dates and dressing like a real young lady instead of some grunge fan teenager, going to house parties where alcohol is being served, applying to work for my church unpaid and moving out of my family home to do that, having to fend for myself when it comes to doing the household things like washing and cooking and getting engaged. A lot of these things barely seemed like blips on my radar eighteen months ago, even less so six months prior to that.

In some ways it feels like emotionally I have been fired on a rocket from where I was two years ago to where I am now and Fiancé lit the touch paper. Some of the things I have met with our church staff chaplain to talk about kept getting pushed back onto the shelf even a year ago because I wasn’t emotionally mature enough to consider really confronting them, things about how my grief for David and Grandma has held me back and about the insecurities I feel when I get close to people. I’ve gained in confidence a little and because I now have Fiancé to talk to and I know I can trust him I am starting to open up with him.

I still feel like this is a roller-coaster sometimes and inside there’s that scream that I’m never sure whether it’s excitement or fear.  At times I am desperate for it all to stop and let me catch my breath before we go round again, but there’s almost a sense that is too much to ask right now. There’s a wedding to be planned and that seems to bring with it more ups and downs to be negotiated. We spend time together at Fiancé’s flat, testing the water there for when the day comes that I actually agree that yes, I live there and that can be a little testing at times. We usually get on quite well though. I’m trying to find a paid job so that I can make a contribution to the wedding fund and with the current economic climate that is often not easy.

The one thing I do know is that I know the guy who is operating this roller-coaster and I trust him to be in control. It’s God that’s in control and he’s the best one to be there. He knows what we want from our wedding, which at the moments seems more than we know ourselves and He knows how we’re going to get it. He has answered prayers before that may not have been spoken and I trust that He can do the same with this wedding. We want to glorify God with our wedding day and He will make that possible in ways that we don’t yet know. I’m not sure if Fiancé, who is a younger Christian than I, is quite on the same page as me with God’s plans and provision but I’m guessing that when everything falls into place he’ll see.

Hopefully when the wedding planning is all done and I’m no longer Miss but Mrs the roller-coaster might stop for a while, or at least hit a plateau, but in the next 11 months I know I have a lot of growing up still to do and an awful lot still to learn.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized