Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas '06 continued

And the Parents…

Fiona has gone back to work this year, working part-time from home as a Project Worker for the National Christian Youth Convention (NCYC) for the Uniting Church. The position is 18 hours a week for 12 months. Things have been pretty hectic over the last month as Convention starts on 3 Jan 2007 in Perth, WA! Fi and Niall have been sharing the office downstairs (Niall is looking forward to getting it back soon!), with Fi working Tues/Wed while the kids are being looked after. The work has been interesting and challenging, but a great experience – focussing on recruiting leadership for NCYC and providing resources and training for them. The most challenging bits were researching models of small groups (and writing a paper on it) and also producing a Training DVD for all Community and Small Group Leaders. But it has all worked out in plenty of time and looks fantastic. It has been great working with young people from Newcastle to help make this all happen, and getting to know the next generation of young people (they were all young kids when we were last living in Newcastle)! Fi heads over to Perth in early December to run training and then Niall and Fi go over on 31 December to attend NCYC (without kids!) for 11 days. She’ll have a break from work for a few months until Connor is about 3 (July 2007).

Fi has started doing some walking and jogging (shock horror!) 3 times a week, usually before the kids get up (they are late risers!), balancing out all the hours spent in front of the computer. There hasn’t been much time for singing this year, with only one performance at a Christian Women’s gathering, and otherwise helping out with music once a month at Jesmond Park Uniting’s morning service. But we have had the chance to meet some great young families through the church and have a few get togethers. And we have met a few families through the Thursday playgroup.

Niall has relished the opportunity to work with students at the University – a great passion of his! The UCATSA group (UCA Tertiary Students Association) is very active, having several weekly bible studies with a range of young people involved (including Uni attendees, graduates and TAFE students). They have a great awareness of environmental and social justice issues and work hard to integrate that into their everyday life, including their bible studies. As Chaplain, he has had the opportunity to network with the other denominations and was recently in the Newcastle Herald talking about why he decided to leave secular work to work for the Church – great article! It has been a good year, but a tough year in many respects as the stress of Ministry never completely goes away.

Niall has increased his fitness with more jogging, swimming and riding (we’re really close to the Uni!) and entered a Triathalon in May, placing quite highly in the swimming section particularly! He also joined the church’s Soccer team, although had to withdraw after a knee injury during a game, which has hampered subsequent exercise this year. He had exploratory surgery on his knee in December, which has been very sore ever since. Unfortunately he has to have full blown surgery on it next year sometime. But he has enjoyed some chances to have a jam with various jazz groups through the year and we have managed to get to several concerts at Dungeon Jazz, which we’ve really enjoyed this year.

The extended family…

The big news this year is Dr Ross McKay finished his medical training (and starts his intern year in 2007 in Canberra again). Ross and Sophie are off to Italy for Christmas and a well earned break after a very busy year. And of course, Murray and Yvette are getting married on 27th Jan 2007 in Goulburn, after Murray coordinates the State Summer Camp of course. Hilary (Niall’s mum) and Jeff are enjoying their small farm in Gloucester, working hard in the garden and surrounds. It’s a great spot and the house is set up with some great environmentally friendly features (and some homely comforts). The property runs along a creek and is surrounded by hills – very scenic and quiet. We enjoyed a weekend with all the McKays in late November (an early Christmas!). Jeff has done lots of travelling to PNG still this year and Hilary has come along on two or so trips. Hilary got some casual work with Gloucester hospital and nursing at the local doctor’s surgery.

Fiona’s sister, Angela, has continued her singing, performing in some shows and doing several auditions. She just changed employers, and is now working at Calvary Hospital, Kogarah.

Ros (Fi’s mum) and Hilary have been well – been painting the house and working towards some extensions (in 2007). Hilary hopes to retire in April next year, then work part-time. The kids love going to Nanna and Poppy’s house!

Ren (Fi’s dad) and Glynis are enjoying their retirement. They’ve been working hard on their new house – the latest addition being new lawn. Tim started high school this year and has been going well. His guitar playing is going well and he has started going to youth group this year. Kanella is still in Sydney working and doing well from all accounts.

Aunty Dawn (Fi’s great Aunty) is doing ok, although has gone considerably downhill these past few months as her legs have started to weaken. She loves the visits every Thursday after playgroup from Fi and the kids – and she loves watching them eat all their dinner! It’s been great to see her on a regular basis and help out with her shopping etc.

Every month brings new challenges for us, but we’re looking forward to continuing to face them together. And as the kids get older, we enjoy bringing their input to our family. Laura and Connor have brought us such joy (and frustrations at times!) – we’re blessed to have them. We know God continues to walk with us and gives us strength through the friends we make, through our families and her presence in our midst. We pray that you will know God’s presence with you and your families this Christmas as we celebrate Jesus’ birthday and all that God offers us.

God bless,

Fiona, Niall, Laura and Connor McKay.Posted by Picasa


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