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Showing posts from 2008

Hannah wins Christmas card competition!

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Hannah has won a Christmas card design prize for her school.  Her design was selected from everyone in the school to be the school Christmas card!  This follows Elijah winning an environmental art design prize last week!

Elijah wins environmental art prize

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Elijah won a prize for designing a page in a calendar about recycling. Here he is collecting his prize from the Mayor.

Teaching post

After several months of search Eileen found her perfect job. It's a two day a week principal's release post. She went to a pre-interview visit last week and just loved the school. After preparing and praying hard for the interview she felt really ready, and it went fine. A few days later a letter arrived saying she had got the job. She was thrilled.

She starts tomorrow and is really looking forward to it. We found after school care for the kids too. Everything just fell into place. God is good.

Home making

Almost three months since last update, sorry about that. Well, we did move house. On Thursday 18th September to be exact. We found a lovely home in Lurgan. It's invester magnolia, and has a really big back garden. Which is very muddy at the moment, roll on the Spring when we can sow grass.

The last few months have been settling in and making a home. The kids changed school and really like their new one. They settled very quickly, much quicker than last year when we returned from Paraguay. Both of them have been selected for music lessons - Elijah for Clarinet, and Hannah for Violin. We'll have a little ensemble before long!

My job is still going well, based in Loughry now and a 45 minute commute. Not too bad. I'm involved with press and communications which is keeping me more in the office than I'd like. I get out and about once a week or so at the moment.

Eileen is still job hunting. Next week we'll take the plunge and go for after school child care so s…

New Job, new home

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Well things are moving quickly. I started my new job last week and I have to say it's just what I hoped it would be. I'll be out in the wilds much of the time visiting farms and drawing up management plans to improve the conservation value of farmland habitats. This first few weeks have been training and job shadowing. There have been some long commutes, up to 100 miles, but hopefully that will reduce when we move house.

It looks like we'll be moving at the beginning of September. We managed to get a mortgage and have found a lovely house in Lurgan. It means a big move for the family, but we have prayed long and hard about this and we know it's God's timing.

Day 1 in BA

I'm in Buenos Aires and Eileen is with the kids in Scotland. The trip is going really well so far. Here are some photos. Check out lacaldera2008.blogspot.com for updates.

Argentina trip

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Tomorrow I leave for Argentina. I'm leading a SAMS Ireland trip to the diocese of Northern Argentina that has a link with the Diocese of Down and Dromore. There are 10 young people and another leader, Katy. The team are really talented and I'm looking forward to see how they all get stuck in.

We leave by bus from Belfast for Dublin airport, then fly via Madrid to Buenos Aires. We have two days there sightseeing and then go to Salta in the North West in the foothills of the Andes. We're staying in La Caldera helping develop a retreat centre. We return on the 25th of July.

It's a long time to be away from Eileen and the kids, I'll really miss them. We'll be apart for our anniversary on the 7th. Hopefully modern technology will allow us to talk pretty often. I'll be updating via text message, you can see the results on the right side of the blog. The team also has a blog at lacaldera2008.blogspot.com.

Emotional Rollercoaster

The last couple of months have been quite a ride. We have been trying to figure out exactly where we are going to live, work, and send our kids to school. But trying to buy a house here at the minute is like trying to walk through a mortgage lender's minefield. The lenders want you to bear all - your bank account, spending habits, ever to prove how you acquired you savings. They pick through it all looking for holes and excuses not to lend you money. Mines have exploded twice already.

Eileen has had a few teaching interviews, but no success as yet. She is applying for jobs from one end of the country to the other, and if she gets one that may affect where we can live - it's a bit of a chicken and egg thing. Teaching jobs in Northern Ireland are really hard to get. There are up to 100 application for each post and the criteria are very specific. We are just praying the right job for her will there soon.

I did get my security clearance through for the Department of Agricult…

Foundation weekend

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This weekend I'm in Navan, Ireland for the beginning of a new era in the Church of Ireland theological training. I'm at a Foundation Course weekend to explore a calling to ordained ministry. It's a chance to ask God what the future holds. In Paraguay it looked like I was heading towards ordination, but returning last year meant that was not meant to be.

After coming back Eileen and I have been asking God what's next. We thought it was going to be with St. Jude's and SAMS, part-time with both, but then the Advisor in Countryside Management job came along. The Church of Ireland is changing however, now there are options for distance learning - the Foundation Years allows you to explore possibilities. Tonight we had a get to know you session, sharing in a small group how we come to be here. The rest of the weekend is exploring what Vocation is all about.

We're staying in the Irish Mission Union building, which looks at bit like Shawshank Prison. The food i…

Great Photo

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I just love this photo. I was taken in January and captures the moment the children saw the sea at Crawfordsburn Country Park.

Jobs, homes, and pets

It has been an eventful month - interviews, job offer, home offer, new pet - lots of emotional ups and downs.

I had a job interview in February for a job with the Department of Agriculture in Loughry. It was for an Advisor in Countryside Management, something I was interested in way back during university days. Before the interview I discovered there were 37 candidates, so I thought my chances were next to nill. I was trying a door, if I was meant to take this job it would be a miracle if I was offered it. A week later I received a rejection letter.

A couple of weeks later I was in Cork visiting some churches. Eileen phoned to say I'd a job offer from the same people who rejected me a couple of weeks earlier. I'd come second and another post had come up straightaway. I knew straightaway I was meant to take it. Now I'm waiting for security clearance, which is taking months. I still don't know when my starting date is.

Meanwhile we'd also put an offer in on a …

Changes afoot

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It's been a while since our last update – we're now heading into Spring. Today is the 8th Feb and it's a beautiful early Spring day. The crocuses are flowering and it's lovely weather for the kids to ride their bikes in the park.Christmas was good. It helped the Elijah and Han settle back, especially school with the nativity, and special Christmas events. We had a big fall of snow the kids made snowmen in the garden and snowball fights in the street.
They are making friends and beginning to seem at home here. Our fear is that a possible change in jobs means changing house and school. But we'll have to deal with that if it happens.Eileen and I are still waiting for permanent jobs. I had an interview last week for a Countryside manager, but there were 37 people interviewed, my chances are slim at best. I have offers of 2 part time posts – with SAMS and a church. This week will clearly show direction for me – I think it's becoming clear God wants me to stay…