Greetings from the Darts of Davidson
A curious combination given Belinda’s maiden name!
No, we haven’t moved again; instead the boundaries of the suburbs of Belrose and Davidson seem to have changed, although we are not really sure when this happened.
Well, what an incredible year we’ve had…
For those of you who haven’t heard, we discovered extensive termite damage in our new home in January of this year, barely a few weeks after we sent our last Christmas letter. It seems that the previous owners would have been aware of the problem, but failed to disclose it during the sale. By the time we realised there was no legal recourse possible on them. ‘But didn’t you get a pest & building inspection?’ I hear you asking. The answer to that question is yes, which is why the story ultimately has a happy ending.
It seems that the pest inspector failed to detect any termite damage, when in fact it was clearly visible in the roof if he had taken a more careful look. Fortunately he had professional indemnity insurance, so after protracted correspondence, reports, inspections, photographs and negotiation, the insurance company eventually chose to settle our claim for compensation. This money will allow us to make the necessary repairs early in the new year!!!
We have had an exciting year at Bridgeway Community Church (www.bridgeway.cc) previously known as Christian Worship Centre. The year began with a ‘School of Church Planting’ run as a mid week conference in February. We enjoyed excellent teaching input from Terry Virgo, Simon Pettit and Pete Brooks.
We recently left the Baptist Union of NSW and are now in relationship with the New Frontiers (www.newfrontiers.xtn.org) family of churches. It is not a formal denomination as such, more a group of like minded churches with leaders relating to each other via an apostolic network. If all that sounds a bit confusing and you would like to learn more, please take a look at the web site or give us a call.
The church has doubled in size over the past twelve months and we look forward to what God will do in our midst during 2004.
We have enjoyed the opportunity to get away a couple of times during the year. Perhaps the most memorable is our touring holiday with the Lea Family over the Easter school holidays. We travelled with camper trailers and stayed at a variety of caravan and national parks along the way. We visited Tumut, drove through the Snowy Mountains, stayed at Bright in Victoria and spent a number of days in the Victorian Alps. We climbed Mount Sterling and visited Craig’s Hut, built for the classic 1982 movie The Man From Snowy River. We then drove to a little Victorian town south east of Melbourne called Korumburra, stopping there for a number of days while visiting the surrounding district. The highlight was a trip to Philip Island to watch the Fairy Penguins perform their nightly march up the beach. We returned home via the Princes Highway staying at Buchan Caves, Eden and finally Nowra where we celebrated the trip with an excellent meal at the Shoalhaven Ex-Servicemen’s Club.
About The Children
Thomas, our firstborn, turned 9 this year and has completed year 3 at school. He has had an excellent year school wise with outstanding results in all his subjects. His teacher, Miss Christian, was great and really seemed to bring the best out in him. Earlier in the year he was awarded a Student of the Week award and received a special award at assembly, which is a great privilege as only a few of these are given out to each class every year. This year has also seen Thomas develop a few special friendships with other boys in his class, particularly Alex and Ryan. As the only sporty person in our family (so far) Thomas has played soccer during the winter and is playing cricket during this summer season. As parents required to watch such games we can only say give us a soccer game in pouring rain and below zero temperatures that only takes 45 minutes compared to a 2 - 2/12 hour game in the scorching sun that moves SO slowly! He also loves his swimming in our pool, riding his bike, playstation, people, talking, eating, people, talking, rugby and now Ford cars. In fact Ford Cars have become quite an interest after he was invited to go to Bathurst with Ryan and his family. Our car innocent son came back a Ford supporter and now we are given intricate details of any and every Ford car that we pass on the road. We are hoping that the interest will fade but it's not looking that way so far. Thomas has also been attending the Friday Nite Program at Church and Kosmic Kids on Sunday mornings. Thomas is developing into a lovely young man with a good heart who is physically growing at a tremendous pace - he now stands as tall as half way up his mother's face and he is only 9!!! He is very much loved by his brother and sister who see him as "the best big brother in the whole wide world".
Our second born, Bethany Joy, has had a huge year as she started school this year. She also has done very well academically and we can really see the benefits, for her, of having held her back one year so she commenced school in the year she turned 6 instead of 5. Her reading and writing is coming together very well and while she enjoys that, it is the social networking of school that has taken up most of her time - making friends, changing friends, making friends etc. She was nicknamed the class "care bear" by her teacher as she is always on the lookout for people to help. She finished the school year exhausted and we know that she will really need every day of the school holidays to rev up for next year. Bethany went to dancing lessons once a week to have fun and also develop co-ordination and gross motor skills, she was glad however when the year came to an end. It is her plan to play soccer next year (great - another sporty person!) although if we can manage it we would like to put her into art lessons as she is an incredibly arty and crafty/creative person and we would like to let her develop her skills. Bethany enjoys playing in the pool, playing with her toys, people, talking, creating wonderful things, and talking. From time to time she does concern us with her health as she gets far more tired than the boys and often suffers from a sore tummy and sore legs, however various trips to the doctor have turned up nothing. Bethany is a delight to us and is an incredibly sensitive gently little thing who is dearly loved by her brothers.
Our last born, Simon, Mr Personality, easy to please and going places in the world, turns 5 in a few weeks and is off to school in 2004. He has just completed his 2 years at pre-school and couldn't wait to finish so that he can go to big school like Thomas and Bethany. He is very ready and seems to have the personality to cope with all that school will bring. He and his mother have both enjoyed this last year, spending special time together before all the little chicks have left the nest. Simon suffered again with constant ear infections, despite having grommets, in the first part of the year until our doctor was finally able to stumble on a treatment that has kept him clear of infections for the second half of the year. As a result his speech is becoming much clearer and his health has improved greatly. You'll never believe it but he also wants to play soccer next year so we're not really sure where we'll end up with all 3 wanting to play. Simon enjoys playing the playstation, having friends over, talking, playing with his brother and sister and having wonderful cuddles with his special friend "Ooty". Simon makes us all laugh and is an all round good fellow who has an outward looking nature, he is dearly loved by his brother and sister. He also has the distinction of having named our first family cat “Saucer”, and in case you are wondering, there are no plans to obtain “Cup” at this stage.
My wife is a constant source of fascination to me. How does she manage to achieve so much in a 24 hour period? Surely she must have found an extra hour or two buried in some hidden space/time continuum the rest of us mere mortals simply don’t have access to! Belinda is much loved by her adoring husband, three delightful children, and many adoring friends and fans. She celebrated her 40th birthday this year, amid a chorus of disbelieving fans; ‘Surely this woman could not be forty, her husband must have typed a 4 instead of a 3 on this invitation?’. In true Dart tradition, her birthday festivities lasted well over a week after celebrations in a variety of homes and restaurants. Belinda has continued her casual cleaning work this year, but is hoping to find something a little more permanent during school hours in 2004 as Simon starts at OFGS. Once again, she has done an excellent job running the ROCKETS group for 3-5 year olds at church this year. Belinda also did a computing course early in 2003; she now has her own email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) and is much more confident on modern software. It’s amazing how much the IT world has changed since she left ABWAid nine years ago.
I have had pretty intense year. I am still at LSE in the role of Commercial Manager with special responsibility for all things financial. Belinda & I together ran a pilot course entitled On Becoming Childwise, The Series, a 10 session video based program for all parents, providing clear strategies for parenting. It is based on the very successful Growing Kids Gods Way course by Gary & Anne-Marie Ezzo. We are already promoting our 2nd course to commence Term 1, 2004. I continue to be a member of the music team at Bridgeway. Looking after the house and pool has tended to fill up any remaining ‘spare’ time on the weekend. Despite the maintenance, the pool is a tremendous source of fun for the children, their friends and Dad too!
Thank you for being our friends and we trust that you will forgive us for the fact that this Christmas letter has arrived so many days after Christmas. We send you our love at this time and pray that you will have a memorable 2004.
With love from the Darts of Davidson.