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GroomNews Christmas 2018: A Year of Surprises December 13, 2018

Posted by Phil Groom in Advent and Christmas, Family, Life, Watching and Waiting.
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One of the best things about life is its endless capacity to take you by surprise. I think it’s safe to say that certain shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night understood that…

Knitivity, by Phil’s Mum

Knitivity, by Phil’s Mum

Sometimes those surprises are good. In no particular order, as they say on Strictly:

  • The arrival of a new great-nephew, Adley. Okay, not a complete surprise, his parents, Sam & Darren, did tell us that he was on the way: congratulations, Sam & Darren!
  • Family get-togethers, including a wedding for one of Sue’s cousins and Phil’s Mum’s 80th birthday party…
  • Phil landing his dream job with Canal & River Trust in April…
  • Visiting lots of lovely coffee shops – and discovering their magnificent cakes – whilst on retreat at Alnmouth Friary…
The Village Tearooms, Alnmouth

The Village Tearooms, Alnmouth: without a doubt, one of the best cafés in Alnmouth!

  • A Special Appreciation Award for Phil at this year’s Christian Resources Together Authors, Booksellers and Publishers retreat…
  • The opportunity for Sue to take a holiday in Cornwall and explore Land’s End with her sister, Alison…
  • Catching up with friends we hadn’t seen for years…
  • Discovering the free public tennis courts at Bradford-on-Avon during our summer holiday on Almost

Sometimes those surprises are not so good:

  • Getting back from that summer holiday only for Sue to wake up in excruciating pain one day the following week, leading to various tests and investigations and – eventually – a diagnosis of a prolapsed disc, a consequence of her long-term hip problems. The good news, however, is that her back is now much better, the pain is under control and she is on the waiting list for a hip replacement…
  • Phil being told in November that his wonderful new job is one of around 240 roles at risk of redundancy within Canal & River Trust as the organisation undergoes a major restructuring…
  • Phil’s Dad collapsing, being rushed into hospital and being diagnosed with stomach cancer…

Meanwhile many other things in life continue as normal:

  • The joys and challenges of being an Archdeacon, which include taking services and supporting parishes through clergy vacancies, meaning that most weeks we attend a different church, always good fun; sitting on various committees; licensing new clergy and other church workers; sitting on various committees; helping to resolve conflict; sitting on various committees; doing radio interviews; sitting on various committees…
  • Sue’s studies in Ecclesiastical Law in Cardiff. It’s a two year course, so this is her final year already!
  • Sue’s swimming, 50 or 60 lengths most mornings, interspersed with Pilates classes, physiotherapy sessions and walks along the towpath, all of which combine to help keep her fit.
  • Sue’s Mum, still living in her own home with the support of a live-in carer.
  • Phil’s driving lessons, the end of which are hopefully in sight as his driving test comes up just before Christmas! Clear those roads!!

All in all it’s been an interesting year with plenty of ups and downs, but we’ve been aware of many people praying for us through the rough patches: if you’re one of those people, thank you – we’d be grateful for your continued prayers, especially for our parents with the challenges they’re facing.

As always, this comes to you with our love, prayers and very best wishes for Christmas and the year ahead,

Phil & Sue (signature)

 

 

 

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