I love Pembrokeshire. Being back in the countryside, and close to so many amazing beaches is such a wonderful treat and we have adored being able to go walking and exploring in our free time. Spending time outdoors together has always been such an important part of our relationship and we really missed it when we lived in the city and it was so much harder to find some proper green spaces. The summer is especially wonderful and I'm looking forward to the next few months.
Our house has also been great. A lot of the house was newly decorated when we moved in and we had a new kitchen put in a couple of months ago. I have loved making it into a real home.
It is difficult that Pembrokeshire is so far away from most of our friends and family; one benefit of Cardiff was its proximity to the M4! We really miss being able to have regular visitors and going to see people (especially as Josh works every weekend) but that is just one of the sacrifices we have to make for this job.
One of our greatest joys has been developing friendships within the churches that Josh works in. The people are amazing and I love that we have a church family that we can invest time in, feel a part of and serve. We have been so blessed by people's kindness, generosity and welcome, especially in the last few months since Alys' birth.
Josh has also had the opportunity to meet many members of our community through his job and I have had contact with a fair number of people through baby groups etc. Because of the size of the town you normally end up bumping into a few people you know when you're out and about and I love that sense of community.
Being a clergy family
Josh has absolutely thrived in his role here, and it's wonderful to see him happy and healthy after a difficult few years in Cardiff. It sometimes feels odd to me that I have a husband who is responsible for preaching, taking weddings and funerals, comforting the bereaved and visiting the sick - surely we're not grown up enough?!
If I'm honest, although I have written about my desire to be a vicar's wife for several years it took me a long time to become adjusted to the reality of actually being one. My only experience of working for a church was when we were still childless and I was actively involved in the day-to-day running of things (as a church administrator) and as a result I had an expectation that being a vicar's wife would be fairly similar. I guess I imagined I would be heavily involved and feeling like I was using my gifts but the reality is that much of the time I have to sacrifice my involvement in order to look after the children so that Josh can do his job well.
I have got to the point where I can now accept this role for this season of life, but at times it has been incredibly frustrating - especially when the children have been difficult and Josh has had to go out to work doing things I would quite like to do instead of mothering!
Surviving and Thriving
This year has not been the easiest for me. We spent a hectic first few months settling in and then in September I found out I was pregnant and spent the next four months feeling wretched with extreme sickness. Even after I stopped feeling sick, anaemia and the short winter days left me feeling exhausted until around March by which time I was hugely pregnant and couldn't do much.
Although things have gone well over the last year I feel like I have just been surviving rather than thriving. Even on days when I have felt physically well I was just going through the motions; finding things to do to get through the day with Ivy.
A lot of this is due to loneliness. Although we have met a lot of people I think building a community around you takes time and we have often felt quite isolated here. We both thrive on having a large group of friends with which we can share life, and although we have made great friendships with a few people we would definitely like to build on this and feel like we're able to do fun things with friends rather than only ever as a family unit.
Having said that I do feel like I'm 'coming out of the fog' after having Alys. So much of the last year has been about waiting for the new baby to arrive and I was reticent to commit to too many things in case I wasn't able to carry on with two children in tow. Now that Alys has been born I'm beginning to forge a new routine and I'm excited about some of the plans and ideas we have for the coming months. It also helps that I'm so much busier with two children in the house; although it's exhausting it makes the days go quickly and I don't feel so much like I'm simply finding things to do to pass the time with Ivy.
As I look back on my blog posts containing my thoughts and doubts about moving to Pembrokeshire I can see how God has orchestrated things and is working through our move here.
My desire and prayer for our next year here is that we can deepen our relationships and support network and that I can find my niche within the church and feel like I am serving and being of use in some way. I feel that we are beginning to thrive here and I long for this to continue and grow into deep joy found everyday.