Before you take a peak.....

You need to be aware this is our old blog. Dave (the blogger) started blogging when, as a family, we went to India for 3.5 months from April - August 2008. This blog is the story of our time there. You'll find lots about our story by going to the 'archives' section of the blog to the left below.

If you want to see our current news go to our new website and blog here..

December 09, 2007

Christmas 2007 update

I realised today that in most of our Christmas cards this year, rather than sending a Christmas newsletter as we have traditionally done, we have put in a slip of paper that says ‘if you want to catch up on our news, have a look at the blog’. So I thought I better make a bit of an effort to update the blog with a bit of 2007 news…….!!

It’s been a good year for the Hiders! Very tough in parts (very tough!!) and yet at the end of it we are together as a family; happy, and with all we have ever really needed (not wanted - but needed!). In this day and age, you can’t really want for more than that can you?. Almost daily we hear of family splits, kids kicking off, arguments, feuds etc and so we have come to the conclusion that being together and happy at the end of each year is a major achievement these days – even though it doesn’t feel like it’s been that hard work!

Doing something like this ‘review of the year’ enables you to get a bit melancholic and look at what has been different about this year to others. My general impression is:

The kids are far busier than ever (and therefore so are Sarah and I). Like many parents of young kids these days, we often don’t properly sit down til 8.30/9pm on most nights after an afternoon/evening of after school clubs, running the kids to swimming, trampolining, friends houses and sleep overs etc. It’s mad, but the up side is the kids have loads of friends and are well and truly fit and healthy and active! It's just the parents that are a bit shot though!! Linked to this.........

Sarah and Dave are getting old and hate it! We are both convinced we are still 21 inside (!) but we are finding that the odd visit to the Doctors ends up with him saying ‘it’s what happens when you get to 40 - sorry!!’ Where does life go eh??

Things mean less: I, for one, am less convinced than ever that ‘stuff’ matters. I confess I like ‘stuff’ (my gadgets etc) but the bottom line is if I lost it all tomorrow I would seriously not be the slightest bit upset - apart from my PDA (diary, e mail, contacts etc) as that has become the only thing that keeps me sane!!!

Our trip to India next year is, I hope going to back this feeling up, not just for me but for Sarah and the kids too. I guess bringing the kids up today in a very materialistic society is one of the biggest frustrations I feel about the UK. We have done our bet to raise the kids in a way that is not bent on acquiring stuff but, in our culture today, it’s as if you are fighting a losing battle……Really hard this one…

Life is good: Re reading the 3 things I’ve put so far they all seem very negative and that’s not meant to be the case – sorry. I did say it might be a bit melancholic! Seriously, life is generally good but I guess you will agree it’s also tough. Some of that is about the phase we are in in our lives (with young kids etc), some of that is about the phase we are in with faith and Church (see later) but, yes, life is good. We have a great family (immediate and wider), great job, great house in a great location and some great friends etc

So that’s the general muse back on life in 2007. How's each of us been doing this year:

Doing OK generally but ready for a big 2008! Sarah really is the backbone of this family and, because she cannot work, is available to care for the kids in a way that, if we were both working, she couldn’t. She spends most her life in the (stupid Hereford) traffic going to and from school, clubs, houses etc but is just the reliable 'Mum' that is always there.

Sarah is well into the worship team at Church – she loves it – it’s her real passion. This takes her out practising many weeks and singing on Sundays
Sarah’s health continues to be a drag even though she copes with it all in a way that blows me away (and anyone that she has contact with). Things have come to a bit of head this year (as you will see elsewhere in this blog) with the need for Sarah to have a hip operation (or possible resurfacing) next year on her right hip. She has had the bone density scan now and the operation has been brought forward to the 3rd January 2008. We expect her to be able to get up and get around after a few weeks but not to be fit and healthy for a good few months.
We are, our course hoping that this is going to eventually make a huge difference to Sarah’s life….

There is obviously a little anxiety as to the op which and huge disappointment (if we are really honest) that, not only did we believe in the general promise on scripture that God wanted to heal (by your stripes etc…) but Sarah also had some very specific promises that God had made to her (in various ways at various times) that he would certainly heal her of this arthritis. We have been working through recently what having this op means in the context of healing now and are not going to do the charismatic thing of ‘God will use whatever means He will (thus inferring God’s healing is a way that God can heal?) but, being honest, it’s frustrating and disappointing…..

This girl has always been a massive delight to us and is turning out to be such an amazing grown up little lady!! Oh flippin’ heck I can’t believe I just called her a little lady!!! Sorry for being over the top but she just is so kind, warm, generous, supportive of others less fortunate etc. She bright and brainy (from her Mum of course!) and all round a huge pleasure to parent. We are at the stage where things are changing for her – she wants more independence (without some of the responsibility of course!) and all that comes with growing up but hey ho!!

Esme is in class 5 at school and is doing really really well – no idea where she gets it all from! She is a mad sports freak and loves anything extreme be that roller coasters, bungee type sports, mountain biking etc etc. She is in virtually every sports club at school and stays after school etc. She loves her main sport at the moment which is trampolining and has done well at it (see the video elsewhere in this blog).

Ditto really. Josh is just the loveliest boy you could ever dream of and we love him so much! He is so different to Es in many many ways and yet they have so many things that they love doing together. They fight at times but just love each other to bits. Esme is so protective of him (at school etc) and Josh adores her and looks up to her – he won’t go far wrong if he does that.

Josh is in year 2 and loves school to bits. I genuinely think all of his class are his friends (never any fall outs or anything) and he just loves the play aspect of school. We love to just sit and watch him play with his play mobile stuff and make up the most amazing stories – even I join him too sometimes!

Well for me this last 2 years have been the toughest of my life. Full stop. Last year was hard physically as (due to many situations I have now got a lot more perspective on now) I had mini breakdown. This sounds so stark to say this now and it really didn’t feel that bad at the time but I have moved on now from not wanting to admit I did have one. Things only lasted for a 2-3 months in the end but things were quite acute for 4/5 weeks. As I say there were lots of reasons why it happened I think although, at the time, it really did jump up and bite me unexpectedly. Work were brilliant and Sarah was an absolute rock for me. Things are OK now in that area and, in fact I would say I feel better (mental health wise) than I have done for a while.

For me the massive challenge this year has continued to be this mad faith journey I am on. Never quite sure how to sum things up in a short sentence when people ask ‘how’s things going these days’ as, one thing I have learnt is that the words I have in no way can explain the journey I have been on (and still seem to be on) in my faith. Many people have spoken to me and said ‘oh I had a crisis of faith’ which I then hear them describe and it is nothing like mine at all!!!

Bottom line has been that every sure foundation I felt I had in my faith in God has been rocked. No stone (at all!) has been left unturned and I have been left many many times feeling 100% alone in a struggle that I can never ever put words to. At the same time as this ‘friend dynamics’ have changed (for all the right reasons) but this has left me feeling very alone and not able to find person to share this with (other than Sarah). The only comfort at times I have found in this desert has been some amazing books where authors have described what I am going through in the most scary similarity which has given me some comfort that I am not the first and won’t be the last. See elsewhere in this blog for how the ‘God on mute’ book impacted my life in a the most profound way leading me to a place in the summer of this year where I resolved (in the midst of the darkest place spiritually I have ever ever been) to continue to face in God’s direction rather than turn another. I have, on many occasions this year been inches from throwing what faith I had in God in and, if I am honest it has only been the consequences of what this would mean to my family, that has stopped me.

One other huge source of inspiration and steer through this time has been has been meeting with a Benedictine Catholic monk at the local Belmont Abbey who, after looking into whether I could use the Abbey for a retreat, made time and space for me to see him weekly and listen and explore more about Faith with him. This was an awesome experience and one that, with the evangelical history and upbringing I have got, can only have been engineered by God – that a Catholic monk should be my support at this time. I’d been told Catholics were……??!! Well all I can say is this saint listened to me, directed me and helped me keep on track at a time when no one else was offering that help.

I am in a place now where I have made a sure commitment to stay pursuing my faith in God, knowing He has been very active in my life and believing He will be in the future but for the now……, having no sense whatsoever of His life at work in me. BUT I’m cool with that! It’s not what I want or that the Bible promises and, by gum I have not got any answers as to ‘why me?’, but I have learnt that many many Christians have experienced what I am going through and so my focus is on developing a deeper faith (somehow) rather than ‘rushing to get things fixed’. I DO know I am in God’s hands and, on rare occasions, feel that……

Doing massively better than ever before now we have gone through a very painful transition time. I’m totally out of doing anything which is ‘right’ but very hard to live with.

India 2008:
Don’t plan to say anything on the India trip here as there’s loads elsewhere in the blog. Bottom line is we are off at the start of May now and back 2nd week August

Well here’s a quick run down of the year for the families:
My family:
My Mum and Dad: Doing well. Still away a fair bit with various activities (although not Mastersun now). Up (with Sarah’s Mum) this Christmas. Very involved in their Church.

My Grandad: Now in a care home and loving it. It’s given him a new lease of life. Great!

Paul: Still in China but finished with VSO and moved to Kunming and teaching at ‘Roberts school of languages’ (a little like futurekids that he used to teach at). He has a great blog at

Andy and Ali & Kids: Louie (their first child) doing well (cute!) and they have now just had a second called Daisy. Doing well and very involved in school where Andy works and Church. Harry (Andy’s 1st) doing well – still in Guernsey.
Sarah's family: (She had a great time at her 40th party this year - see the pic below)
Sarah’s Mum:
Doing good and happy in her new home. Off to New Zealand for 6 weeks in New Year

Garry & Susie & Kids: Good. Garry got a new job. Kids doing very well at school

Jen & Kids: Good. Boys doing amazing in band now and getting famous. Jenny & Eve hope to come to India to visit us. We had a good camping holiday with them this year. Jen has a nice bloke in tow..

Andy and Sarah Vicky & Zoe: Good although lots of health challenges. Sarah just got new job Vicky doing really well with modelling - see your latest Asda magazine & hair colour product as she is right there!!

Matt, Karin & Freya: Doing well. Saw them recently which was nice

So I reckon that’s about it – bored you witless eh? Look forward to hearing your news…..

So, it's just to say to you all a very HAPPY CHRISTMAS and we hope 2008 is a great year for you......
Lots of love to you and thanks for all your support and love again this year. xx