I do not remember the last time I had a cold and it definitely came with a vengeance. I was very miserable, felt frustrated and at the same time refused to surrender to its effects and battled on. In contrast I noticed that others, especially Mark who were sensible and just went to bed. Good health is a gift from God there is no doubt about it and I realised how something which starts with simple but painful throat strain if not looked after, can and does become more much more serious. Ignoring the symptoms of ill health is foolish in theory I know this too well but in practice I am prone to doctoring myself.

I do not recommend this, I was really careless with my health and proud I reckoned I could handle it. Unfortunately I needed medication to get better. Pride and stubbornness is a very difficult trait to shift or even manage in our character and that spills over into our spiritual lives too. We are guilty of trying to battle on alone without God’s help and this is sad.

Why is asking for help so hard? One of the values of Jesus that was highlighted in the previous magazine was about being ‘Vulnerable to others’. This can mean different things to different people at various stages of their lives but there is always a sense of saying that we can’t manage alone.

Before Christmas is always chronically busy for most people and Clergy are no different, in fact it is often more demanding for us with regard to the various events that we attend. Our church family recognise this and are so sympathetic and caring, so thank you all very much for your prayers and understanding. After Christmas many of us will make promises to others and to ourselves that we will not fuss just as much next year; that we will not be drawn into the craziness once more. If anyone has any tips I would love to hear them. I am blessed to have a loving, caring and sensible husband to calls me to account on the balance of our lives. We all need people in our lives who give us permission to walk away or say no sometimes. I am getting better, I hope.

Looking back over 2011 we have shared lots of funny and joyful moments and surprising moments too. Still there has also been heartbreaking times when we watched loved ones become sick or even pass away. Our hearts go out to all who are glad to have left 2011 behind because for them, it was a tough year.

I consider ministry to be a privilege and I have been challenged, encouraged and blessed by the lessons that I have learnt, the people I have only just met, those I have grown closer too and those I am getting to know more as we share together.

Christmas does seem very far away but I do hope you enjoyed our celebrations. I want to thank all who took part in any way. It made everything so magical. It was a time of celebration and joy. We look forward to a New Year with new opportunities and increased faith in the one who is above all. May God Bless you as we share together as a Church Family. I love you all and thank you for your partnership and love.

With our love, commitment and dedication

Diane, Mark (and Bob of course!).