Saturday, December 22, 2012

2012: Another Year Over

It’s that time of year again. Yes, another year has passed.

Our daughter Callie is nine years old and both Nettes & I are now in our 50s and beginning to feel it! Anyway, here is this year’s round up of our family news.

College work

I am still teaching A Level Psychology to sixth form college students and my wife Nettes continues to work supporting adult college students with additional needs. I am enjoying commuting to college on the train now that we have finally got rid of the car. To be honest I never really enjoyed driving and find life much less stressful without it.

Church Alive

We are still a very active part of Church Alive, both of us teaching Sunday school, taking our share in hosting a home group and generally serving in the church.

This year Nettes stepped down from overall responsibility for the Sunday school and the church gave us a couple of thank you gifts. They treated us to an afternoon at We Are Mud where all three of us decorated our own mugs. But more amazingly the church paid for our living room to be re-carpeted too, after living for 10 years with a patchwork of old second hand carpets.

Nettes was also involved in the church’s holiday club over the summer and I helped out at a cafĂ© for the parents. Nettes continues to regularly help at our church’s Friday evening kids club Kids Alive too. We were proud to discover that our sister church in Zambia has started a Kids Alive, so Callie and Nettes have been helping our Kids Alive raise money for them.


We are still plugging away at WorkShop the little Thursday morning job club that Nettes & I started a couple of years ago. We continue to give people one to one support in job hunting, CV writing and any job coaching they need. We are now a Jericho Job Club which means some additional resources from this network of job clubs including vacancies being sent to us on a regular basis.

Spring Harvest

Over the Easter holiday as a family we had a great time at Spring Harvest – a Christian conference at Butlins in Minehead. I had a great time in the prayer house, Nettes loved the Bible studies and we both got to a number of different sessions. Our daughter Callie had her own children’s meetings that she thoroughly enjoyed. We also got some time to enjoy the facilities at Butlins and had a go at some archery and fencing.

Community Involvement

Again this year Nettes has been working with many of our neighbours on our area’s RHS It’s Your Neighbourhood in Bloom award. This is only our third year and we have reached the top tier: Outstanding - a great achievement. Working together with neighbours has been an important part of Nettes’ year and she is also involved in the compilation of a community calendar promoting the Residents’ Association and local services.

Another exciting project is the development of a local timebank, which is in very early stages but should come live early in the New Year. This enables people to get time credits for services they give to friends or the community and then get help back in return - one hour credit for one hour of help. If anyone lives in an area with a timebank we recommend getting involved.

We have also been growing vegetables in our local Grow Space, which now has a polytunnel greenhouse and have had a couple of community events up there. Our most prolific crop has been the nasturtiums. They’ve taken over our front garden. We’ve been eating the flowers in salads and Nettes has a wonderful recipe for stuffing the leaves.

Summer Holidays

The highlight of Callie’s year was the holiday in Devon staying with Nettes’ cousin Ann over the summer. It was great to see family again after so long. Callie made new friends including a pen pal. Nettes also took Callie and her friend Isabelle to the Isle of Wight and had the strange experience of staying in her old house, which is now a very nice B&B. There have been many changes in Freshwater as one would expect. It was a lovely surprise to find Nettes' childhood friends Sally and Tony now running The Church on the Roundabout in Newport.

At home

We’ve had a lot of work done on the house this year. As well as getting a lovely new living-room carpet we have had the bathroom retiled and the garden completely transformed.

I have now also started studying for a Diploma in Life Coaching by distance learning. So I am busy writing assignments and reading plenty of books about life coaching. I am still blogging on my Christian blog CharisMissional and I have started a new personal development blog Authentically Positive, which includes some of the ideas that I'm learning about life coaching and some of my knowledge of psychology.

Also early in the year, I set myself the goal of losing two stone and I actually managed to lose nearly three over the course of the year. I also found out that I needed hearing aids this year and had a pair fitted at my local hospital.  If you think you might need hearing aids please get some. The results are amazing.

Meanwhile Nettes has got very involved in crafting again, mainly knitting and crocheting for charity and for fun.

Please keep in touch!