Christmas Greetings 2007

A new life is cause for thanksgiving
We celebrate ours and the world's

Catherine and Robert with baby Mathieson

The pressure, the pressure! It all bubbles to the surface at the end of the year. But wait! Christmas is really about the Coming of the Christ Child and all that means to us as Christians and that good news should be our focus from which we send you our love and hope for the future. It's so easy to let the minutiae of life take over.

We have just returned from our second trip to Tasmania this year to celebrate David's brother John's 70th birthday. The other trip was in March, a gathering of cousins on David's mother's side, the Jessup family, backed up by the "re-opening" of the old family farm house at Derby beautifully renovated by John and his wife Dot.

When we went to Tasmania, we'd only been home a week from our 6 week caravan trip overland to the S.W. corner of Western Australia. In Perth we stayed with Hazel's son Barton, his wife Jo and their two children, Sienna (4) and Charlton (6). It was lovely to see them settled and happy in their very pleasant residential environment since their move from Melbourne in April. Hazel's nephew Martin and family have moved from South Africa and also live in Perth so we all enjoyed a fun day together. Later we explored the countryside, enjoying Bunbury, Margaret River with its wine region, Denmark, Albany, and Esperance. Around the south west the seascapes are spectacular, long wild beaches of fine sand, whales, wind farms and wildflowers. On day two of the four day return journey across the Nullabor Plain , we had mechanical trouble with the van and had to leave it on the side of the road 100 kms from anywhere marked on the map, spending the next two nights at the Roadhouse. Not much to do but stare at the hot flat windy treeless landscape and read or watch T.V. More repairs were to follow at Ceduna. One compensation was that Ceduna has an excellent Aboriginal arts and cultural centre. We had many fascinating, happy and frustrating times rolling along with the van and never seem to learn that we should allow more time for all the things we want to do!

January was spent at David's house at Wesburn and while there we saw Simon (Hazel's youngest son) Anita and their 3 children, Hamish 5, Mikaela 3 and Lachlan 1 move to St Kevin's Outdoor Education Centre in country Victoria. They have all thrived in the country, with Anita enrolling in education studies and becoming a wildlife carer. Mikaela can no longer ask for a bottle as a baby kangaroo has it! Of Hazel's family only Drew and Gabriella and their three children Adam (16), Dylan (14) and Blake (10) are still in Melbourne. They are keen basketball players and their parents dedicated chauffeurs.

The big family news on David's side is the birth of Mathieson Richard Beswick to Robert and Catherine, their first and our 15th grandchild. We enjoy all of them and are quite practiced at birthday parties - and now at junior ballet school concerts. Of Helen and Mark's family James, 20, is now at La Trobe Uni, and Tim, 18, has completed high school. The other two, Lachlan and Alice, are also keen on basket ball. Bruce continues working at Melbourne University on his PhD thesis and in the bookshop. Andrew has been to London and Amsterdam for Amnesty International meetings and Paula joined him briefly in London making some academic contacts relevant to her thesis work, while Amelia and Tom enjoyed the Gold Coast with their other grandparents.

David has continued his research and writing and has given some seminar papers this year. He also has had some academic and ministerial supervision work, attends a monthly theological reading group and takes some services. His academic work remains the major challenge with difficult traditional concepts like consciousness, will, purpose and meaning now gaining more open recognition in understanding human motivation after being neglected for decades.

After trying David's patience to the utmost, says Hazel, she bit the bullet and several consultations later invested in two hearing aids – maybe 15 years of ingesting anti-malarials has had some bearing on her deficit? Hazel keeps active with table tennis, lawn bowls and irregular walks along the beach just over the road and she joined the Penguin Club this year. The Uniting Church PNG group continues to be even more active, since the recent workparties to Hazel and Ron's old home, Rarongo Theological College, Rabaul. Buildings have been replaced or repaired, and the Ron Williams Library too has been renovated. Further interest in PNG was provided by Harris standing in the National Election for E. Sepik Province. He lost to the sitting member but learnt a lot and maybe next time?? Continuing our love of the Pacific, a short trip to Samoa celebrated our 5th Wedding Anniversary, enjoying "Aggie Gray's" hospitality and being in the tropics once again.

Sadness has touched our lives too, with the sudden death of Hazel's late sister-in-law Judy Williams and of Bruce Eastwood (cousin of Ron's in Kaniva). Sara came from Brisbane for Judy's funeral. Judy had been her first point of family contact when she was at boarding school in Geelong and Hazel and Ron were in PNG. David too has felt the loss of some old friends and colleagues this year.

We are keeping pretty well, but notice that we are not as full of pep as we'd like. We look forward with hope to the changes a new government is heralding and to companioning each other through the daily ups and downs of life.

With love and best wishes,

Hazel and David Beswick

Previous Christmas letters: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006