Those Facebook '2014 round up' things are a great way of summarising the year in pictures. But only after publishing it did I realise that it's actually not all been plain sailing. There have been many happy times - this isn't a 'woe is me' blog.
But to ignore the reality of the more bitter moments is to wallpaper over the reality of life, and pretend we live in a Disney film. And as much as I would like to do that sometimes (hello John Smith), it's not true and it's not helpful.
So much of this season can boil down to a pressure to be happy, lighthearted and suddenly forget the normal ups and downs of the last 364 days. We don't help ourselves or others by doing this.
So here's how my year really looked:
2014 was Sunday roasts with friends. Coffees in the city; yellow flowers, Ben & Jerry's and a solitary to-die-for brownie at the end of a rough day.
Job interviews, life admin, wedding prep with invites, découpage and jam jars. Playing keys for the first time in church and doing life with home group. Ecstatic dancing to good news and prayers graciously answered. Goodbyes and all the loss that comes with it. Turbulence and turmoil, new homes and IKEA flatpacks.
Weddings and gatherings and new homes. The cementing of friendships through laughter, prayer, occasional tears and always tea. Discovering that the things you've longed for don't look how you expected them to. The rearing up of old beasts; good friends, chocolate, and a LOT of patience. Brokenness, openness and sheer gritting of teeth.
Walks through Greenwich park in the sunshine and watching Morris Dancers on the heath. The walk from the boys' house to our flat. The loss of dear ones, friendships, and a silver ring somewhere in west London. Waffles, fancy dress and awkward cookies in Hyde Park.
Street food on the Southbank; Monday nights with Tingley; reunions with many wonderful people I'm blessed to call friends. Roadtrips with Lydia and getting acquainted with east London. A thawing out and a going deeper. Bridesmaiding for two really special ladies in my life; new friendships, fireworks, poppies.
Thank you to everyone who made this year REAL in all its joys and imperfections.
Here's to the next...