Logan, Hayden and Madison

It’s that time of year again when we send and receive Christmas cards and letters with updates from friends and family, so in that spirit here is the annual message from our tribe.

Obviously, it’s been an odd year, but we’ve made it through and still have a smile on our faces.  It was our first full year in Bendigo and moved into our new house in April this year.  We had a block of land to build on, but needed to sell it when my work situation changed, but it has worked out well and we now have a lovely place on the edge of the bush.

Our oldest son, Hayden, turned 15 in March and is growing into a fine young man.  With all of the COVID changes, he was only able to play a couple of matches with his new footy team here, which was a shame as they were a terrific team with a great coach and he was loving it.  He started field umpiring for the first time, but with the season cancelled, he was only able to adjudicate a handful of games, but he’s back in training for next year.  He has just completed Year 9 at his new school and has settled really well.  He has made some great friends and feels as though he has really found his tribe.  He has a wonderful faith, a soft heart and we are very proud of him, although Karen would prefer that he shaves his dodgy moustache off before Christmas Day.

Madison turned 13 in November and has had a wonderful year as well.  She was unable to play netball this year with her new club, but managed to get a few basketball games in.  She is still full of energy and ideas and can be found wandering around the house doing Tik-Tok dances.  She and Logan graduated from primary school this year and she was rapt to have her makeup and hair done for the ceremony by her very clever cousin, Yonah.  She has a big bunch of fun-loving friends and has made the most of our move.  She and Logan have recently started attending youth at our church and has already had some wonderful experiences there.

Logan turned 13 in November as well (of course), giving us a house full of teenagers.  Clearly, there are going to be some fun times ahead.  He is taller than me know and has even passed his big brother, much to Hayden’s chagrin.  He has made some great friends at his new school and has also kept in touch with his Melbourne mates more than the others.  He still loves his Minecraft and is back playing basketball.  It’s incredible to see how much he has grown this year and he is a ripper of a kid with a cheeky sense of humor and deep faith.  I can’t believe that he and Madison will be in high school next year.

Karen has had a big year of change and was fortunate to find a new job at the kids’ school.  Whilst it has been a big change for her, she is doing a great job there and has met some great colleagues.  She continues to be the driving force behind the family, keeping them all active, even when there were no organised sports.  She is enjoying being much closer to her sister and their family, and their friendship has been a real blessing this year.

For myself, as for many people, it has been a very challenging year.  I lost my new job (which was the reason for our move here) in March, which was just before the big impacts of COVID here in Australia.  It was an incredibly tough few months as I applied for any job that would have me.  I was very fortunate to get a casual role, even though it required me to commute about five hours a day back to Melbourne for a couple of months.  I won’t miss that.  Then in late August, I started a role in the banking sector, which has been a wonderful opportunity.  I am working with some terrific people and am very grateful.  My usual optimistic nature has been challenged this year, but with a lot of prayer, many walks through the bush with Dusty and the support of my wonderful family, I’m still smiling.  Oh, and Richmond won the AFL premiership as well, so it wasn’t a totally wasted year.

As a family, we love Christmas and can’t wait to celebrate the birth of Jesus together with the extended family.  I hope that you have a fantastic Christmas and festive season and thanks for your support and encouragement throughout the year.