Well, 2014 was one heck of a year for us. I’m not too sad it’s over, to be honest.

The two big hitters of the year were the death of my Mum back in April (and everything leading up to it, and following it), and being recommended for ordination training (again), but this time actually starting it.

My younger son also started going to nursery school, and he now goes for 6 sessions (i.e. 1/2 days) a week. He’s also managed to get through 2 childminders this year. In both cases they announced they were giving up childminding, and gave us 6 weeks notice to find alternative childcare!! I don’t think it was because of him…

Thankfully the elder son has had a quieter year, the biggest excitement probably being that he is now a scout.

I spent much of the first quarter of the year on the phone or dashing down the country to be with my Mum. I’m so glad I was with her on her last night, and was able to speak at her memorial service in the summer. It’s been a lot of hard work executing her estate (and it wasn’t a particularly complex will either), but we’ve about managed to wrap it up. Like the loss of my Dad a decade ago, it’s been great to be going through this with my two sisters. I found the loss of a second parent easier, I think partly because I had a better idea of what to expect, but also because I don’t feel like there was unfinished business between us. There were 2 or 3 times when I was sure it was “goodbye”, but each time she rallied! So the end, when it did come, was no surprise. Praying quietly with her by her side as she drew near the end was a privilege.

The ordination thing was the other rollercoaster – going to another BAP (at the same place as last time), knowing in the back of my mind that my last BAP was in the shadow of my Dad’s death, and this BAP was with my Mum on a fairly sticky wicket! But together we discerned God’s ongoing calling, and my recommendation report was better than first time around (which you might hope – would be a worry if I was in the same place spiritually as 7 yeasrs ago).

The Yorkshire Ministry Course was the only realistic option for training, and so far it was been brilliant. During term time, my “space” has completely evaporated. I refused to give up climbing and photography altogether, and my “rocks” come before my training – but mountains of reading, note taking, essays, lectures. Really really good stuff, and I’ve never read the Bible so intensely before (most of the whole NT in 10 weeks – a book or more a week, each read in a single sitting). But the theology side is half the story – it’s really about formation, being formed into a minister of the Church, and a visible/”official” public representative of God and Jesus.

Without doubt the best part of the course is the other people on it, and the time we spend together. There are already one or two people who have made a huge difference, and I’m sure will be friends for life.