So... it's been a while, eh? Hello! How are you guys doing? I wanted to share some of the goings on over the last few months, and hopefully explain why I haven't been around all that much except to check my messages and reply to butterwort questions. I'm sorry that I haven't been more active more frequently, it's just been an incredibly difficult few months.
Last July, I very suddenly became an aunt. We knew that my sister was pregnant but she went into labour far too early -- four months early -- due to reasons that we still aren't aware of, and this meant that both she and my tiny, tiny niece (1lb 4oz/580g upon birth) needed special care. We didn't know if my niece would survive, but thankfully she made steady progress by the grace of God, with the help of the doctors and nurses supporting her. She had to stay in the hospital for a good four months before being released, and during that time lots of complications came up which caused us a lot of stress and exhaustion.
I can't really succinctly describe the events that took place or the way it affected us individually as well collectively, as a family, so I won't try. I wrote an extended post about it on my blog, which you can find here
. (I started a blog, yay!) To be blunt: I was in a position where I needed to be much more involved in my niece's care than would, perhaps, ordinarily be expected of an auntie. This was an immense privilege and blessing, but also a challenge, so the bulk of my energy went into that. Here is a more recent photo of my wonderful, miracle niece...
Isn't she stunning?
In other news, as mentioned briefly a moment ago, I started a blog that is separate from my main website. It's more about life with M.E. and how that works when you believe in an all-loving God who could heal you any second and yet, so far, actually hasn't. It's called "of Christ and Chocobos
" and has an underlying video game theme. I try to update it once a week... it's been fun and I'm really enjoying it, and hope to expand the site a little bit in the near future. I'm considering moving the "not so secret garden" over to WordPress as it's not a bad system, though Weebly still wins out over it for ease-of-use in adding images to posts.
As well as that, I've been getting more involved in my church in the area of worship; I've been a member of our church band for nearly two years, but have recently started taking on the responsibility of occasionally leading the worship time, which is a big responsibility. I'm very shy, actually, and don't really like putting myself on the "front lines", so-to-speak, so this made total and complete sense.
I do enjoy it but it is a challenge and when I'm due to lead I can get a bit panicky as I try to navigate nervousness as well as balance the practical stuff that I need to do so as to fulfill my role properly. I'm really, really grateful for the opportunity to serve my church more in this way, but I am finding it very challenging. It takes me out of my comfort zone entirely, which is generally a good thing, but yeah.
And I've been learning how to play the ukulele, which is awesome. I really enjoy it! I can't play guitar due to my condition but a ukulele is much smaller and the chords are a whole lot easier to learn! It made sense to try and learn an instrument to help me to lead the worship at church... I never imagined that I would actually be able to play an instrument like this -- so I'm very excited and am enjoying the process of learning new songs and how the instrument sounds with others. I've still got my harp and am gradually learning stuff on there but it's a lot more complicated than the ukulele, so it's nice to have some dilution from the difficulty.
Speaking of things that I never imagined would happen... I have some really, really, really big news.
Stephen proposed! He took me for a walk up a local hill on Sunday afternoon and asked me to marry him. We had been talking about marriage for a long while, and so far have been together for fifteen months. While I'd hoped that he would ask soon, I didn't know he would propose there and then! It was a very blustery day with a chilly wind but the sun was shining and we could see for miles and miles all around us!! I didn't know if I'd actually be able to manage climbing the hill due to my illness, but something in me told me to keep going and we were able to get as near to the top as we could. An amazing walk -- we basically floated back down!!! Have any of you ever seen the film "The Englishman Who Went up a Hill but Came Down a Mountain"? More like "The Englishwoman Who Went Up a Hill but Came Down Engaged". Hurrhurr. That's become our pun.
I just can't believe it. I mean I can, yes, but it's so incredible. I grew up not thinking I was worth anything and, since meeting Christ and becoming a Christian, have gradually learned that I do have value and I mean something, but even so I couldn't have fathomed that someone would love me enough to want to marry me. There's a lot to think about -- housing (we don't want to live together before marriage), the day itself, family (his family is in Wales) -- so yes, tons to plan, but we're just going to enjoy this for a couple of weeks before we start planning properly. I'm sure I'll keep you all apprised in some way or another. With photos. Photos!!! Might be a while as I have no idea what to expect over the next few months (except that things will be busy), so I do continue to ask for your patience.
(Oh, and I'm doing a Master Herablist (herbology) course, which is fascinating but difficult. But fascinating! So yes. Yay!)
And... for posterity...