Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

11 January 2015

Moving into 2015

At the beginning of the year I was truly glad to see the back end of 2014.  It feels very wrong to say that because I know with all my heart, soul, mind and strength that God was ordering our steps day by day in His loving kindness.  But at the jars of clay level, it was just a tough year.  In our better moments my husband and I would say, "economy of scale."  In my own darker moments the words "annus horribilus" crossed my mind and sometimes my lips. 

As you know, my mum passed away.  And it became necessary for us to settle my mother-in-law into an aged care facility.  Which led to clearing out not one but two family homes with our siblings in the second half of the year and preparing said homes for their new lives.  (Declutter now, I tell you.  Your kids will love you for it.)  And while all of this was happening my beloved Scripture programme at our local primary school was placed under review by the new principal and was shut down at the end of the year - completely his right and privilege but still, it ached to see it go.

So with Mum safe with Jesus, MIL safe in good care (nice and close for easy and frequent visiting), both family homes and all their contents nearly done and dusted and no Scripture this year (which took two days of my week last year), 2015 is looking very different from any year I can remember in a long time.  Maybe ever.  A large chunk of my previously very scheduled week is now unscheduled.  Ten years ago, even five, (even two!) those gaps would have been planned for and filled already - two weeks in.  This time around I am not filling the space. 

But there are some things I would like to do this year including...

Resurrecting the Philippians project.  Memorising the whole of Philippians fell in a mighty heap last year - but last year, more than ever, I saw how important it is to have Scripture locked safely away in one's own heart and mind.  Philippians has always been my soft spot to fall.  This is what I want more than anything to put away for times ahead.

Reading the Bible.  This year I am using my usual favourite plan (daily OT, NT and Psalms, getting through the OT once and the NT and Psalms twice) but with a twist.  Firstly I'm adding a fourth daily reading.  While I am in the gospels from the plan I'll add a chapter of Romans per day.  And when I reach Acts and beyond I'll read a chapter of the gospels per day.  Also, I have started at the beginning of the year in the middle of the plan (ie. from 1st July) so that Chronicles and beyond (ie. the prophets) get my first-half-of-the-year, fresh attention.  That department was a bit (lot) short changed last year.

Learning to crochet.  I've been inspired by the work of a couple of friends and always come back to admire Ali's beautiful rugs...

From here...

...and here

which takes away the bad press crochet received from lurid, acrylic granny squares.  (For a minute's amusement, enter "ugly crochet projects" into google images.)  I'm thinking real fibres, elegant colours and maybe starting with something slightly smaller than a rug.  All (helpful) advice will be gratefully received.

Writing letters.  I was going to call this the "Forty Letter Project" but now that I'm feeling less "a project for the new year" oriented, I think I'll just stick to "writing letters."  Some might be quite short but very lovely because I got a set of these postcards for Christmas.

The big question will be whether to send the postcard coloured in or left for the recipient to colour.  Mmmm....

And finally, leaving the week reasonably flexible in the first instance because I feel tired. I just haven't got the capacity to fill in all the spaces in my week at the moment and I have the luxury of some time to leave some of the recently formed gaps empty.  The tiredness will pass though and then the more flexible week will come into its own because the other thing I did last year was have my teaching licence reinstated.  I'm off to do a bit of relief teaching.  (I flies right in the face of a certain epiphany from a few years ago.  There's a backstory to it which won't be making it onto the Internet.  You'll just have to trust me on this one.)

And when there's no teaching to be had and I am feeling more energetic, there is plenty, day by day, to be doing.  It will be interesting to see how this goes.  I generally thrive on a structured, timetabled week.  It's all I've ever known and having unpredictable days is an entirely new concept.  I may end up connecting a few new synapses out of this.

Happy New Year dear ones.