2012 – Prayer, Pride and Pauses

Hard to believe it, but we’re already half way through February 2013. It seems crazy that over 6 weeks have past since we bade a fond farewell to, quite probably, one of the most memorable and brilliant years in modern British history.

It was also a year that featured some major decisions as a family, and a frustrating delay.

With such an eventful year the only way to go about summarising it is to start at the very beginning (apparently it’s a very good place to start) – and probably jump about a bit along the way as well.

We went into 2012 knowing that we needed to look at moving house. With my job being over my comfortable commute time, it meant I was getting very tired during the week and not able to do much in the way of socialising in the evenings and the weekends were pretty much spent catching up on rest ahead of the next week of driving. The big question for us was “Where to?”

We’d prayed lots and looked at Google Maps plenty, before narrowing our search down to the west of Northampton – and specifically either Daventry or Rugby. As regular readers here will know we then proceeded to have some fun family weekends away to explore the area and the towns and to test-drive some local churches. Very quickly it became apparent to us that Rugby was where our next stop would be – there’s just something about it that felt right and it’s amazing how it feels like we’re going home when we visit. In fact, it feels so right that it genuinely hurts if we ever drive by there at the moment as we KNOW we should be living there.

So the house went on the market, following some hasty de-cluttering and re-decorating in some parts, and we started to explore houses on the market in Rugby. We even fell in love with a great house that was on the market for an amazing price and was perfect for us.

But it wasn’t meant to be, at least not straight away – we got to September and had to take the decision (due to schooling and exams etc) to pull off the market temporarily. We don’t know why we’ve had to hit “Pause” but we know there’s a reason and a purpose for it.

With the new year here it’s time to dust off the boxes, review “The Plan” and hit play again – let’s get the house on the Market and get moved!

A massively busy and intense, but wonderful and joyful, weekend in April featured not only my parents celebrating 40 years together but also my cute ickle baby bruvver tying the knot (at long last). It was a crazy hectic weekend but one that will definitely go down in the annals of Hartley history… just wish I’d had the courage to play the Hallelujah Chorus when the vicar announced “I now pronounce you man and wife”

2012 also featured London. A lot!!!

Beginning right in January with a trip to see “The Lion King” with the kids – an absolute joy and one that can be strongly recommended as it really is amazing.

With the uncertainty over house moves etc, we didn’t get any tickets for the Olympics – but we were glued to our TV set from first thing in the morning until well into the night, along with most of the country. We did manage to secure some amazing tickets to the Paralympics though – including a session in the stadium and a Park pass for the Olympic Park.

I said it numerous times on Facebook and Twitter during summer last year, but I have never felt so proud to be British in my life. I’ve always been patriotic, and unashamedly so, but last year we rose to the challenges of economic woes, of previous olympic games, and of previous successes – we rose and soared above and beyond. We didn’t try and pretend we weren’t who we are but we embraced our heritage, we grasped hold of our achievements and we then said “THIS is who we are!”

The Olympic tagline was “Inspire a generation” and there’s been much focus on wether or not there’s been an increase in sports take up since the games, but to my mind that is a very narrow minded view. Did the games inspire people to be proud of who we are? did the athletes inspire people to achieve goals and never give up? did the gamesmakers show that we can have a community spirit and that it’s a positive thing?

To top off our London festival, me and Mrs H had a nice weekend getaway which saw us taking our time around Stratford Westfield (and boy was it odd seeing the Olympic Park in a quiet state and with some bits being dismantled), wandering around London itself and taking in some gorgeous sights and sounds, and then going to see Rock of Ages at the theatre. With unbelievably wonderful company I can honestly say it was a brilliant weekend. The show was beyond excellent – getting the audience involved, ad-libbing and improvising (at one point to the intense blushes of the lead actor), and rocking out to some seriously classic ’80s rock anthems.

There was loads of other bits’n’pieces going on – but a lot of stuff got put on hold whilst we waited to see what the house situation was going to look like.

And that, in a nutshell, was 2012. A year that taught us frustration and patience in equal measure, and had us seeking God more than ever for direction, wisdom, and guidance. There were (and still are) challenges and trials, but there was a lot of joy and celebration. Looking back I think it’s safe to say that we all grew during the year, as we faced the imapct of our decisions and the subsequent delays – and I firmly believe we’re all the better for it. I don’t know why we didn’t move last year, we may never know, but we still came through it with resolve and conviction.

A pretty good year when all is said and done!

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