Saturday, 2 January 2016

Looking back, planning forward

Happy New Year.

New Year's resolution - Take more photos, write more blog entries.  It's four years since I started my blog and although I have written as often as I thought I would, I do enjoy sharing our family updates with you.  Hopefully some of what we share is useful as well.

So to start off the new year, I thought I would write about all the things I didn't get round to writing during 2015.

Church Life
We have continued to contribute to the family life of St Michael's church and as Andy leads the creche once a month, I have taken on leading (rather than helping) a Sunday School session for 5-9 year olds. I also lead occasionally and have started to relax into leading a more formal style of service.  Andy has been involved in encouraging some of our younger men through a men's group and took them away camping in the early summer at the CVM event "The Gathering" which saw 2000 men worshiping God in a field just outside Swindon.

CVM - The Gathering 2015
We had some great church family events this year as well, with a weekend "away", using another Swindon church's premises for a day of Bible study.  We also had a murder mystery dinner to start the weekend and while I cooked for the 60 people who attended, with some help from Josh, Andy and the boys joined in the entertainment as part of the cast for the murder mystery (write that down, write that down - as quoted by Andy several times during the evening!).  We also hosted a comedy evening, transforming the church into an entertainment venue (it's amazing what you can do with a few standard lamps, rope and dust sheets!) and great evening was had by all who attended.

Murder Mystery dinner preparations
Music is still a great part of our family life and Jacob and I regularly helped lead worship through the year, Jacob on guitar and me singing.  However for our Christingle service the music was led by a whole band of young people.  Josh, on keyboard, was the oldest at 19 (that day as it was also his birthday) down to some of singers who were 6.  Another element that has become a Christmas tradition is a choir drawn from across our congregations, drawing together all our singing styles, to present carols and led the singing at the carol service.

St Michael's Music Group - Practicing hard!
We have ended the year tracking where our Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes have been sent this year.  It is a lovely way to bless those less fortunate than ourselves at Christmas in God's love.
Shoe boxes ready to send
Those of you who regular read my updates will know that sport, participating and watching,  is a huge part of our family life and 2015 was no exception.

We followed Swindon Town up to Wembley again during the year for the league 1 play off finals. One day we hope to share the joy of winning at Wembley with the boys, but for another year we came home feeling down.
Wembley - League 1 play off finals 2015
Having older children means that they can take advantage of mid week sporting events and took themselves off to Wimbledon this year for the first week's Friday action.

Day out at Wimbledon
Josh also arranged a day out in Cardiff with friends for a day of rugby watching "judgement day".  It is lovely that they are growing into independent young men.

Andy and Josh went to watch Wales in their warm up for the Rugby World Cup, when they played Italy.

Wales v Italy - World cup warm up
We have also watched the tour de France, Rugby World cup and Wimbledon as arm chair supporters.

Family life
As part of Josh's Christmas present last year, he and I went to Birmingham to see the Strictly come dancing tour (we enjoyed it so much we are off back there again this year).

I sat and passed the next module in my Business Analyst Dipolma and have just one left to go plus an oral examination to fit in during 2016.

Jacob had a regular problem in the Vizor household during November - invitations to be in two places at once.  Both offers were for presentation evenings - one for his GCSE certificates and awards evening and the other was a surprise presentation from the LTA.  We contacted the school to explain where he would be and arranged a separate occasion to collect his school awards while we took him to collect the Wiltshire LTA Young Volunteer of the year award.  The mantelpiece is now very full and he carries on like this we will need a trophy cabinet rather than just a shelf.

Josh's application for a university place is progressing well and the offers have started to come back through to him.  We have two visits planned for February to help decide which university will become his first choice and to look seriously at the accommodation choices.

Josh and I squeezed in a second Good Food show this year and I treated him to a cocktail making workshop, which will go down well as an ice breaker (no pun intended) at university.  He has collected quite a drinks cupboard over his birthday and Christmas and we bought a cocktail shaker set.

We have had several trips to the cinema as a family - the male contingent decided the local cinema wasn't up to standard for the Bond release so they headed off to the nearest 4K cinema to view Spectre.  However, we did all go together to watch Star Wars as a Christmas treat.

Jacob has started to learn to drive and is currently on his way back from Scotland where he has spent the past 5 days walking in the Cairngorms, staying just outside Aviemore with the Wiltshire Scouts Midwinter Expedition.

This blog entry doesn't include the boys summer trips or our Silver Wedding celebrations, which I have already written about.

It is always surprising to look back and review all that we have done and how we squeeze it all in.  However we know that all we accomplish is part of God's plan for our lives and it managed in His timing.

That said as part of planning for the New Year, I am taking part in a 40 day devotional for Mums called - Spending time each day with God to hear his voice into my parenting is a refreshing time.  I have read their book and been part of the launch team for the devotional and these two ladies write from the heart and from God.

Our prayer as a family this week is that God will bless those around us in all their plans for the coming year and may His love shine out from all we do.

The Bible verse that has come up for this week is very timely for a New Year, that reminds us as we start to fill up the calendar that we need to learn from the things we do.  To me it also says that we should make the most of the days God has given us and make them count.

Teach us to number our days, 
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

With God's blessing for 2016 from my family to yours,

Jo x

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