Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas 2013

Loving greetings from our home to yours
as we celebrate our Saviour's birth




We are pleased to report to you that, despite the progressive and accumulating evidence of our bodies' ageing processes, we are well.

My work (Joy) as the village midwife continues, but these days I find myself realizing more often the time will come for me to no longer commit to getting out of bed in the middle of the night to attend women in labour.  Noel continues to contribute significantly to the work of the local Church, and has recently joined the PCV Missions Committee.

We feel especially blessed to be able to spend time with the younger members of our family, and to contribute to the lives of our grand children. We continue to experience God's mercy and grace, from generation to generation.  “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour … God’s mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation ...” (Luke 2:47,50)

Here are a few pictures from this year's album:

A 'selfie': Poppy and Grandpa...

Lucinda joined the family ...

Beautiful mummies and babies ...

Poppy and James climbed mountains ...

Mothers, babies and midwives ...
Noel's birthday - all the candles we could find!

Poppy and Lucinda, at Kyneton
Amelie at the farm
L-R: Lucinda, James, Poppy, Amelie, Eve

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas 2012

Thanks to Alistair, Rebecca, and James Gray for the photo.



Loving greetings
from our home to yours
“Let us now go to Bethlehem, and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.”
Luke 2:15



As we once again come together to celebrate our Saviour’s birth, we have chosen this lovely image of a precious young child, who is experiencing the Christmas celebration with eyes wide open, learning the stories, and singing the songs of our faith.
The second reflection that I (Joy) would like to share from this picture is that time-honoured theme of mother and child, a theme that occupies my professional and personal life, and brings me a great deal of wonder.
Noel and I have come through 2012 with a wonderful sense of thanksgiving for life and love.
We pray that God will bless you in the coming year, and that you will know peace and strength in all of life’s challenges.
With love,
Noel and Joy




Sunday, December 25, 2011

Sunday 25 December, 2011


Our thoughts go out to loved ones around the world as we celebrate our Lord’s coming as a human child into this world.

Noel and I are well, and thankful for the many aspects of life that add richness and depth to our experience, and enable us to bring support and strength to others.

We live in a rapidly changing world. Many of the experiences we encounter are not what we would choose, if we had the opportunity. Yet the principles of a good life will endure: to act with justice, to love kindness (mercy), and to walk humbly with our God (Micah6:8).

We love receiving greetings and news, whether by post or electronic, and look forward to opportunities to spend time face to face.

In the mean time, we pray that you will know God’s blessing and strength.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

2010


Christmas 2010 – loving greetings from our family.

As another year draws to a close, Noel and I are very thankful to God for the health and strength, and the wonderful family with which we have been blessed.

As is clear from this photo (which has the photographer’s watermark on it), taken 11 December, we have welcomed another son-in-law into our family. We had a joyful time celebrating the marriage of Miriam, to Neville, in Sydney. As is also clear from this photo, we have welcomed two beautiful grand children in May this year.

As I have reflected on the highs (and lows) of this year 2010, my mind has returned consistently to the two new babies. The wonder and beauty of new life is powerful enough to keep me going for as long as I have energy to think and write. Like ripples in a pond, my thoughts have then moved to our other precious grand-daughter Poppy, and the terrain these children will need to navigate as they grow up. It is a different world from those experienced by previous generations.

In my musings about our grand-children, and our children, my thoughts moved to the story of a baby, in Exodus 2. "The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him three months." (verse 2) Another version says he was "a goodly child".

The story is well known. After three months the mother made a little basket of papyrus, and plastered it with bitumen and pitch to make it water-proof, and set it in the shallow reedy part of the Nile River where the princess would come to wash. She set her daughter Miriam as the onlooker, ready to offer practical assistance of a Hebrew 'wet nurse', the baby's own loving mother, when the princess also saw that he was a fine baby, and decided to keep him. This decision saved the life of that baby boy.

When the birth of a child is welcomed by a mother who sees that this is "a goodly child", and that mother does all in her power to protect and nurture the child, even in the most adverse circumstances, there is hope for the future. It was no miracle that the mother of the child saw that he was "a goodly child", and defied the government of the day in the most strategic way in looking after him. The miracle was that the princess shared in the vision of "a goodly child". She knew exactly what the mother intended, and she agreed with the mother's plan to save that child's life.

We are confident as we face the year ahead that we can trust God for strength and courage in all situations.

This past year I have continued in private midwifery practice, and am pleased to say that although there is still no indemnity insurance available for home birth, private midwifery is still legal. I am privileged to be a teacher and mentor to other midwives, and welcome many readers to my professional blogs. I have published an e-book, Midwifery from my heart, which I am happy to send as a .pdf file to those who request it.

Noel’s work distributing water treatment products to primary producers continues in a small way. Noel is also fully committed to the work of our church, which takes a large proportion of his time. Noel’s mother, Lily Johnston, is very frail, and is being cared for in a nursing home.

May God's blessing be on you as we celebrate the birth of the Christ child.
With love
Noel and Joy

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas greetings 2009



[Photo: This year we revisited the Windsor Presbyterian Church, Queensland, where we were married in 1973.]


With our loving greetings this Christmas, and with a prayer for God’s blessing on you in the coming year.


Joy and Noel

The God of eternity
entered our time and space.
Put aside infinity
to join a frail race.
Glorious mystery:
babe in a lowly place,
at mother’s breast
content.

Joy Johnston 2009

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

2008




How quickly this year has passed! Once again we are receiving wonderful letters, emails and cards from our family and friends. In this brief letter we want to renew that link with some we have known all or most of our lives, as well as with those whose journeys along life’s path have only recently shared with ours’. We trust that this Christmas and new year will be a time of joyful celebration, reflection and refreshment for you.

We want to take this opportunity to thank God for another year, in which we have been well and able to continue making contributions to our community, and our family. We value simple pleasures around our home and garden, and I (Joy) enjoy Thursday morning tennis when I can.

Noel has continued his work focus in the Aitex business, as well as fulfilling the commitments as Session Clerk at our Church. I have enjoyed another year of midwifery practice, including teaching and mentoring, and volunteer work with mothers and babies in peer support groups. Any work commitment can be deeply demanding at a personal level, and we value the support and love we receive and give within our dear family.

Recently I have worked on a fairly ambitious project to place family photos and historical records on the Internet. I have set up a series of blog sites, each one focusing on a line within our families. This work does not require a high level of technological skill, and blogs are free to set up. I have enjoyed the challenge of collecting and displaying family photos and information. Links to the various blogs can be accessed from http://joyandnoel.blogspot.com/.

We are hoping to be with our young ones for Christmas dinner in Bendigo. We hope to have a family photo to add to this letter, which will be stored with other annual letters at the family blog.

We look forward to contact with all our dear family and friends, whether it’s a phone call or a cup of tea, or a longer visit.
With our love
Noel and Joy Johnston



PLUS a couple of pictures of Grandpa and Granny in action.

Monday, December 8, 2008

2007






As we join each year in the celebration of Christ’s birth, the annual letter has become a moment in which we reflect on the year that has passed, and look forward to the coming year. We remember our first family Christmas letter, sent from Michigan USA in 1973, complete with a picture of Noel and me proudly holding our baby Miriam. Over the years that picture has developed, as you know, and this year we are delighted to include our new son-in-law, Alistair Gray, who married our lovely Rebecca earlier this month.

The other highlights for us in the year past include visiting family members in Queensland and New South Wales, as well as being able to welcome loved ones into our home. We enjoyed our month of relaxation and refreshment in January, driving long distances across this vast sunburnt country.

This year Noel’s mother Lily, who is 95, has moved from her own home into residential aged care. Although frail, she is looking well, and enjoys outings to special events and family meals.

Noel continues his work in our company Aitex, as well as being Session Clerk in the Church. I have been privileged to continue in midwifery, attending two or three births a month; most in the home. This year I have increased my role in facilitating peer support groups for new mothers.

This sort of letter would be incomplete without a brief mention of our young ones – each precious to us. Miriam lives in Sydney; and works as Project Officer in a government health service. Rebecca and Alistair are setting up home in Bendigo, and Bec has transferred her employment to Bendigo. Paul, Leanne, and Poppy (who is a dear 3 ½ year old) live in Boronia, at the foot of Mount Dandenong. Josh and Anna have returned after a wonderful short-term mission experience in Cambodia, and are settling into new jobs.

Last month we celebrated Noel’s sixtieth birthday, and are thankful to God for his health. Our prayer is for wisdom as we go about our daily tasks, and the unexpected challenges that come from time to time, and for strength sufficient for each day.

With our love and prayers for God’s continued blessing on you,

Noel and Joy