Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Wedding anniversary

So yesterday was our very 1st wedding anniversary. 
It seems slightly strange at our age to be celebrating just a year of marriage but it's absolutely brilliant !  
 For our anniversary, Ellie got a pretty new ring, I got a beautiful wedding photo collage (photo of it here), and to top off the day I managed to keep a secret - a surprise evening of pampering at Nirvana Spa for us both.  It was soooo relaxing (and very quiet) !  
Neither of us can really believe that a year has passed since our wedding day.  The year has been filled with activity and busyness, some tears, some pain, some laughter, some memories, and a huge amount of change for everybody.  But, by the grace of God, we have come through it all…and a new unique family identity is definitely being established…slowly but surely. 

After one year Ellie and I are still sleeping in the lounge (we've progressed from the sofa-bed to the floor now !!) but we will be getting a bedroom soon as we have now agreed a house rental nearby starting from mid-July.  

At the end of our first year of marriage, we are grateful for : -  

- Our God - who never leaves us nor forsakes us
- One another - we treasure being together !
- Our 5 delightful children
- Silliness - there's a lot of it !
- Friends
- People who have faithfully prayed for us over years and who continue to do so on this journey that we are now on together
Plus :-
 - Me - My bike, and doing lots of miles through the berkshire/hampshire countryside
 - Ellie - Sam the dog...and their walks together.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Birthday !

Sunday was Ellie's birthday. It was great!
I had taken the children shopping last week and we'd all bought presents which they'd all then wrapped (with varying measures of success!!). Ellie had her presents in bed (aka: on the sofa!) with a cup of tea. I then did a special birthday breakfast, we all went to church, then we had a special birthday dinner, the girls made a special heron birthday cake and we then had a special birthday tea for a very special lady!!
Ellie got to relax through the whole day.

It's the first time for 13 years that Ellie hasn't needed to do any planning on behalf of her children in order to make the day special…. in past years her children have wanted to make the day special but, of course, they needed help to do so….this year, it was my privilege to lead our combined child flock through the planning and execution !
She had a lovely day and felt very spoilt. Ha !

A week or so after Ellie and I first spoke on the Care For The Family Widowed Young Support Weekend in June 2010, she phoned me just after I'd come back from food shopping at Asda (I'd been crying all the way around the shop!!)... It was a phone call that was to change both of our lives and the lives of our five children….these last few days I've been thanking God (through tears for a change!) for this beautiful woman, an outstanding mum and step-mum, whose faith is so inspiring to me. I also keep thanking Ellie for making that phone call!! The thing that most inspired me about this wonderful lady when we first spoke is that, at no point, did I ever detect any hint of bitterness despite the hideous pain of her journey…only brokenness.

 Looking forward to many more birthdays together!

Thursday, 7 June 2012


16 years ago today I became a Father for the very first time.

It was a day that was to change my life forever.  My beautiful daughter was born weighing 7lbs 14.5ozs just 5 minutes into the day that she was due on [at this point I could make a cheap joke that it's the only time she's ever been on time for anything-but obviously I wouldn't be tempted to do that :-) ]
16 years later and I now have 5 children in our unique family.  I love them all to bits, and so does Ellie !!

I'm a dad and I'm a step-dad.
Ellie is a mum and she is a step-mum.

The word "step" comes from the old English word "steop" which literally means "loss".  There are many people in step-families up and down the country of course - we are not that unusual.  However in our situation the loss isn't caused by divorce, betrayal or any personal choice, it's caused by the death of a loved one.

The most encouraging thing I know is that God's family is a step-family too.  His family is made up of a jumble of different people from different backgrounds and experiences, uniting around their love for Jesus and for each other.  God's family also represents the creation of something new out of the brokenness and loss of the past.  It's a fabulous inspiration for our family!

This past year has been a huge learning experience, and has had many challenges, many tears, some failings and some great triumphs too.  Sometimes as parents we've felt like we're treading on egg shells and much of the time life has felt overwhelmingly draining emotionally....but slowly and surely we are evolving a unique family identity that is a privilege to both Ellie and I; shepherding the hearts of five delightful and precious children into adulthood.