Saturday, December 30, 2006

It's been a busy week with Christmas and travelling to and from Tauranga. We had a lovely Chrissy with Nigel's family and then a second one with my family on the 27th. Of course we got lots of great pressies and ate too much food so this next week it's all salads and cold ham for us (not that we're complaining mind). Last night I was snuggling into my darling when I felt a creepy crawly on my elbow. I brushed it away and as I did the little blighter bit me! We quickly turned on the light and saw a big black spider crawling around my pillows. Yucky yucky. It wasn't like this one in the pici (I thought this one looked good for effects :-) but it sent everyone into a mild panic as we iced it and prayed that there would be no long lasting problems. This morning, when I woke up, all was fine but it is open season on all spiders from now on.

Tomorrow is New Year's eve. Back home it is a BIG event with año viejos (a large paper mache effergy) and loads of fireworks. Here in NZ it is a much quieter affair. We will probably play some games and eat (what more eating?) with friends and my parents. It will be very quiet indeed and I may not even make it to midnight.

Next Saturday the packers arrive to take us to Auckland. We are kind of looking forward to it and kind of not. I know that might sound silly but it's yet another move and we've had enough of that. The boys announced that they were 50% wanting to stay in Palmerston North, 49% wanting to return to Ecuador and 1% wanting to move to Auckland. I guess that's how we all feel right now but it's part of God's next step for us so we will be obedient and move. He's bound to have some good things in store for us there. Can't wait to find out what they are.

Happy 2007 to you all.

Sunday, December 24, 2006


I pray that you have a blessed Christmas with family and friends, wherever you are this weekend. May the Lord grant you peace and happiness for today and all of 2007. Thanks for hanging out with me on my journey "home".

We are in Tauranga with Nigel's family for Christmas day then whizzing back to Palmerston North the next day for another Christmas with my family. It's so nice to be with family. I've missed it.

With love, many blessings and many happy Christmas wishes to you and yours


Thursday, December 21, 2006


"....the reason why I'm broken, the reason why I cry, is how long must I wait to be with you. I close my eyes and I see your face. If home's where the heart is then I'm out of place. Lord won't you give me strength to make it through somehow. I've never been more homesick than now. Help me Lord because I don't understand your ways. The reason why, I wonder if I'll ever know. But even if you showed me, the hurt would be the same because I'm still here so far away from home. In Christ there are no goodbyes. In Christ there is no end. So I'll hold onto Jesus with all that I have, to see you again. I close my eyes and I see your face. If home's where the heart is then I'm out of place. Lord won't you give me strength to make it through somehow. I've never been more homesick than now." (Mercy Me 2004)

What more can I say. It's been a hard week.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

This is the Regent Theatre in Palmerston North's main street. It is a beautiful old art deco building that has recently been renovated and is now used for major productions and university graduations in the region. Last night my boys school had their end of year production here. It was fabulous! It was based around a magical, musical bus tour through our city, surrounding regions and school. The show was 1 1/2 hours long but was extremely well done.

I have to admit to a wee cry as I watched my boys on stage, performing with 350 other children. The looked like real kiwi kids and not Ecuadorians. I was so proud of them for how well they have taken the adjustment back to NZ. We threw them into school just one week after arriving in the country and they have taken to it like ducks to water. Tomorrow is their last day at Winchester School so it is another round of farewells for them. It's not going to be easy to change schools next year. In some ways this has been a soft landing for them as they remembered many kids from 3 years ago as well as staff. Next year, however, they will be in totally foreign environments with school uniforms, different expectations and no friends. They are starting from scratch (as we all will be) and I suspect it won't be easy for them. At least we have 6 weeks before we have to worry about all that so we are going to enjoy being in our own home (we move the 6th January) and settling into our own space.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Yesterday was a grumpy, miserable, homesick day. I felt really sad and struggled most of the day. It wasn't until Nige and I hid away and chatted that I felt a little better (actually the fairy mushrooms we opened (candy) helped enormously as well :-)

I woke up feeling blah although I was looking forward to the Christmas pageant by the children's church at the morning service. I had missed out on traditional Christmas Carol services for the past 8 years (some Ecuadorian Christians think that Christmas and all the carols etc are a waste of time) so was looking forward to a good old sing along. My mood wasn't helped by the opening hymn being "Chesnuts roasting on an open fire" and then the offertory hymn was "Ruldoph the red nosed reindeer"! Talk about culture shock!! The kids did well and then the service was about acknowledging those who had served in the kids ministry but it was all presents and niceities. So different to what I have become accostomed to.

The weather had turned cold again. We had had such beautiful days this past week but yesterday was windy and wet and most of the time my feet were freezing. I'm sick of being cold. I want warm, sunny weather that makes you sweat! I pump the heat up in my car to keep myself warm. It's pathetic!

I questioned how my life is making a difference to those who have less than me, who need to know God. In Ecuador I could be different positively and encourage others in their lives but here I'm just bumming around, eating candy and missing home.

I know it is a passing faze and today I feel a bit better. I think I have had enough of doing not much and am ready to set up home, bake in my kitchen, help my family settle into some good routines and begin work in the office (although that won't be until April). It's not an easy place to be in but I still know that God has asked this of us so am willing to weather these storms for Him.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

It's Christmas time. I just love it.We have entered the Christmas season and last week we decorated our fresh pine tree with lights, tinsel and all of my parents decorations. The boys and I found some silly masks and hats and we had some fun. Its nice to see the lights at night (once the sun finally sets around 8:30PM) and the boys faces light up at the wonder of Christmas. They haven't really put their orders in for pressies knowing that we have just bought a house but I'm sure, if I asked them, they would have a list a mile long. We are spending Christmas Day with Nigel's family and then travelling back to Palmerston North the next day for a Scoones family Christmas on the 27th. It is so nice to be able to spend this time of year with family. That's one thing I found really hard back home in Ecuador....not having family around on special occasions. I have wrapped all my pressies and finished all my shopping. The boys have just 3 1/2 days left of school for the year and next week are performing a school thing at a large, fancy theatre here in town. I'm looking forward to that.

Our anniversary yesterday was just lovely. We had a whole day to enjoy each other's company and have fun relaxing together. Nige surprised me with 15 beautiful roses. It has been his tradition to buy me a rose for every year of marriage but I figured that I wouldn't get them this year as they are so expensive here. I was always spoilt with more in Ecuador.....20 roses in a big arrangement for just $5! It was a lovely surprise. We drove around the surrounding areas, looked in small crafty shops, relaxed in a spa pool filled with bubbles, ate a picnic lunch in the city's rose gardens (one of the top 5 rose gardens in the world) and then had a lovely dinner out. It was a special day together, just the two of us. I am thankful to God for a loving husband and a great relationship. I'll have to pray for loving wives for my boys when they get older. There's nothing better!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Tomorrow is our 15th Wedding Anniversary. Yay!!!!
It seems very strange to think that it was 15 years ago that I dressed in white and was sung up the church aisle by my prince charming. What a fun day it was. So many happy memories. Then there have been 15 years of highs and lows but I wouldn't have made it through them without my man by my side. We have had a lot of adventures and I am looking forward to many more.

I know that 15 years is something to celebrate. There are many couples in the world who haven't been as fortunate as me. There are many broken families out there.

Tomorrow we are off for a picnic lunch with all our favourite foods then to the motel where we stayed our weddng night. This time we will have a spa pool in our room so there will be lots of soaking and bubbles around. Then we are going out to our favourite restaurant for dinner. That's the joys of having grandparents around. We can get away for the day and night. Yippee!!!

I heard this song the other day and it reminded me of my hubby and I. Perhaps you will think of your loved one as you read it.

Me Without You. (Rebecca Saint James)

Like a band without a drummer
That's me without You
Like a year without a summer
That's me without You
Like a king without a country
Like a room without a view
Like an empty gun
Like a fatherless son
That's me without You

Like a ship without a rudder
That's me without You
Like a child without it's mother
That's me without You
Like a story with no ending
Like a foot without a shoe
Like a wasted feast
Like faithless priest
That's me without You

Me without You
A pitiful sight
Me without You
It ain't never gonna feel right

Like a war without an enemy
That's me without You
A disease without a remedy
That's me without You
Like a crime without a victim
Like a sleuth without a clue
Like an empty gun
Like a fatherless son
That's me without You

Me without You
A pitiful sight
Me without You
It ain't never gonna feel right

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Strawberries! I just love'em. It's the beginning of the strawberry season here in NZ and I have to admit to having had a hard time waiting for them to arrive and get cheaper in price. Back home in Ecuador I could buy them every week. They never seemed to get any more expensive (Christmas is a really expensive time to buy strawberries and I mean REALLY).

I love them covered in icing sugar with a big blob of cream. Deathly for any diet but they are a fruit so have to be good for you :-)

Today I'm whizzing up the road to buy a couple of kilos (1 kilo is $3NZD) and then I'm turning them into jam. Isaac loves strawberry jam and there really is nothing better then fresh, sticky, sweet jam. Hopefully it turns out okay. I haven't made jam in years so Mum gave me a quick lesson before she disappeared off to work. Maybe this is the beginning of me, the perfect housewife and mother....aren't they supposed to do baking and makes jams and jellies?

Friday, December 01, 2006

This has been a very busy week. Nige arrived home from his tripping around, on Tuesday and since then we have been trying to sort out insurances, budgets for next year and getting quotes for removal companies to move our stuff to Auckland. On top of this we also had an evening for our supporters to honour and thank them for all that they have given to us and our ministry in the past years. I spent most of 2 days cooking desserts and nibbles. We treated them to empanadas and tres leches which all went down a treat. We played silly games, had a piñata and gave them a small gift like the pici beside this. We bought heaps of these balsa wood birds from Puyo last November when we went to the Amazon jungle for a holiday. They were great gifts as they were cute and extremely light to carry. It was a fun night. We are extremely grateful to all our supporters, both financial and prayer, who have supported us through 8 years of ministry. Without them our mission wouldn't survive. It is indeed living by faith.

Last night the boys and I went to a concert at our church. The christian band "The Lads" was there and they played for 2 hours. It was a fun night and I just loved watching the boys jumping up and down to the music. They so enjoyed themselves. Caleb came home hoarse and very tired. They were worn out. It's great to have such amazing music and role models for my kids. They are playing again at church on Sunday so that will be great as well. We got their autographs on CD's and my kids will never forget their first, real, rock concert.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Kiwi Kids and Cricket

On Saturday the weather was fine enough for my boys school teams to play cricket. It's a typical NZ sport that's played over summer. I have had many conversations with people of other nationalities who have no idea as to what cricket is or even how to make sense of the non sensical rules. That just makes me laugh. I have no idea about Amercian Football!

Anyway, kiwi kids play a form of cricket through their schools and my two were eager to join ijn on the fun. For the last two weeks it has been cancelled due to the weather but this week, despite a howling, cold wind, play went on. Isaac's opposing team failed to show so it was a win by default fo them. Caleb's team played and lost by just 11 runs. It was fun to watch them enjoy themselves.

We decided that since Isy's team was going to miss out on a game that the adults/parents would play with the kids and have fun. They threw me into the batting side and I have to admit I did quite well. I at least hit every ball that came my way...not like another mother who missed it everytime. I ran between the wickets and, even though my youngest child says I run like an old woman, I quite enjoyed it. Now that's quite and achievement for someone who really hates sports! In the evening the boys played tennis with some friends and I have even considered buying the family tennis rackets when we get to Auckland as there are tennis courts just around the corner from our house. Might be a good way to get some much needed exercise. I would prefer dancing lessons with my hubby but after years of trying to get him into them I might just have to flag that wee dream.

One of the things that I was thrilled about was the way that kiwi kids encourage each other in sports. There was lots of encouraging remarks to boost the morale of someone or just to praise them for a good job. These are 9 year olds I'm talking about. Even the parents were really ecouraging of all the kids, not just their own. It's something I haven't seen a lot of over the past years. Ecuadorians are so competitive that if someone deos a poor job they get hammered by the others. Even the kids are encouraged to discourage or demean someone else's efforts. I was extremely proud of the kids I saw play on Saturday. I hope they continue to behave in such a way as they grow up. What am amazing world we would have if everyone was so encourging.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving.

To all my American blog buddies....have a very happy thanksgiving. It's not something we celebrate here in NZ but in some ways I wish we did. It's nice to have a day to remember how thankful we are for family and friends. We have celebrated a couple with other missios in Ecuador and they were fun days. One year there was a mad panic as the turkey went bad and we had to get ham. I didn't mind though. Guess that's what the Guayaquil heat will do to a good turkey (also unreliable freezers in the supermarket!)

Anyway, have a fabulous day of being thankful and eating too much :-)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The sermon in church today was a thought provoking one for me. In fact it was one of the most meaningful services I've been to in a long time. Our home church has been working through what it calls it's "Roots" series which is looking at the christian worldview throughout the Bible. I think it is based on a recent book but they have incorporated, not only good teaching, but also cell phone poetry, art, flowers, creative writing and worship to make it even more meaningful. Today was the final in the series and was based on the book of Revelation.

What I liked about it was that the guy who spoke acknowledged all the nutty theology that some people expound and then got to the real root of the book....that Jesus is coming. But one thing, in particular, that he said resonated in my brain most of the day. "As Christians we look forward with expectation to that great and terrible day when Christ comes again". Terrible? I guess I had never really thought about it but it made me think that even though my heart cries Amen when I hear of His return there is also a part of me that doesn't want Him to find me lacking in any way, or to find others around me lacking in their lives. But I know that will happen. I know that I will not be perfect (nor will others be) but that it is by His GRACE that I will enter eternity to worship Him with the multitudes. I can't wait! I can't wait to see Him descend from heaven in all His glory, complete with trumpet sounds and angelic choirs. I've often wanted to draw/paint how I picture this great day but have always felt inadequate. It's a heart thing and I think I'd be too hard on myself if I didn't get it just right so I've never tried. Maybe, one day, when we get settled and I have a little time I might get into painting and see where my brush takes me.

One of my favourite worship songs in Spanish describes Christ sitting on the throne. It says something like this:

Seated on the throne, surrounded by light,
With eyes like fire and a face like the sun
when he opens his mouth His voice is like thunder
A great rainbow crowns Him
He is the lamb who couldn't be beaten
He is the beginning and then end
They throw their crowns before Him.

Now this does sound a lot more poetic in Spanish itself but this is the one song that inspires me to paint. Can't you just picture it? I think it would be beautiful. Yet I stop myself and always come back to the "great and terrible day". I don't want anyone to miss out. I guess it's up to me to make sure that no one does. You too huh?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

This morning I'm heading back to Palmerston North and my littlest boys. I can't wait! It has been a long 2 1/2 weeks without them. We have talked on the phone most days but they have always been distracted by TV or a game they are playing. Now I will have their undivided attention and hopefully lots of hugs. I'm tossing up as to whether to collect them after school and have them hug me with all their friends around or whether to wait with open arms when they walk in the front door. Oh decisions, decisions, decisions.

My big boy left this morning to begin his NZ tour with the current Director. He pops back to us all on Thursday for a couple of days and then he is off again. It will be nice to be a complete family again, even if it is only for a litle while. It's not until December that he will be with us for a long period of time and that feels a long way off.

It's been a good couple of weeks. We have managed to take everyone in the office out for coffee (hot chocolate for me) and have sussed out what people enjoy and even dislike about their jobs. It has given us a better idea of who people are and where they will fit once Nige takes over the reins. We have caught up with some long time friends and best of all have found ourselves a house and schools for the boys. We have achieved everything we set out to do so that's great.

But for now I'm just looking forward to a big, squeezy cuddle from my boys.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I love to worship! I love the rhythm of the music, the words of the songs and the time just praising God. It's fabulous. To date I have really struggled in the NZ church. I cry every time we start to sing because we are singing in English and not in my heart language of Spanish. Spanish has so much more depth to the meanings of the words and I find it a much easier and meaningful way to worship.

This past Sunday we went to the Latin American church "Cristo Viene" which is here in Auckland. It was like coming home! Nige was hassling me that I would cry but I didn't. I had a big smile on my face as we sang. I loved the kisses of welcome, the chats, the rhythm of the music and especially the words of the song. It was just wonderful.

We talked about it afterwards and realised that we both felt the same. It would be such an easy church to slip into and feel at home in. We could attend a small group meeting weekly and the kids would do fun things in the children's programme (this week they performed a drama). But we also realised that we can't do that. We really need to assimilate back into NZ life and be a part of a NZ church. We need to be kiwis and not the latinos we think we are :-) I think we will try and make the effort to visit this church regularly though.

Some of you have asked about our house. Well, let me tell you that it has 3 bedrooms, an open plan kitchen and dining area and separate lounge, inside laundry (most are in the garage now), separate bathroom and toilet, a garage and a small section with not much on it. That's great as we've never been big gardeners but it gives us a chance to plant what we want....Lavender and lilies for Richelle and native trees for Nige. The three schools that the boys will need in the next 5 years (primary, intermediate and high school) are all within a 10 minute walk of the house and the SIM office is a 10 minute drive so it's just perfect. We are in the process of getting all the paperwork finalised by Friday when the sale will become unconditional. It's all very exciting!!!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Our the middle of the street

We did it!!! We have bought a house!!!

It all has happened so fast but we have such a peace about it and are truely excited. Yesterday I awoke with such a burden for this house. It seemed to be playing over and over in my mind and I couldn't shake it. We decided to have another look through it and there and then decided that this was the one for us. It became a little stressful as it was a multiple offer situation but we put our best foot forward and came up trumps. God was certainly working on our behalf. Nige was so excited that he couldn't get to sleep until 4:30 AM and he woke me up at 2:30 AM to tell me so :-) Then we both chatted for hours about our new home.

So this is it. It's just what we wanted and needed even down to silly little details such as window latches and skirting boards. God has found us a great place that has us written all over it. The best thing is that we are within an easy walk to all the schools the boys will need in the next 10 years.

Than you so much for praying. I know that God has been using you and has answered in an amazing way. I still have a week left here so we will use that time to get some final conditions met on the house and to enrol the oys into their new scools. They are really excited which is fabulous.

God is good.
He is good indeed!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


My friend Lydia sent me an email this morning as a "get to know you" kind of thing. I thought I'd use it as a tag so here are my answers. If you want to copy and post yours in the comments that would be great (or if you're a blogger then add a link). I'd love to find out more about you too.

1. What is your occupation? Missionary
2. What color are you socks right now? I'm wearing slip on shoes and no socks to make it easier for open homing.
3. What are you listening to right now? the whirr of the office photo copier
4. What was the last thing that you ate? stir fried chicken and noodles. Oh I forgot the chocolate for dessert! (that's the one good thing about being back in NZ :-)
5. Can you drive a stick shift? absolutely
6. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? purple, lime green or orange. Maybe all three in a swirl. Now that would be cool.
7. Last person you spoke to on the phone? Steve, the real estate agent
8. Do you like the person who sent this to you? She's the best.
9. How old are you today? 37.
10. Favorite drinks? Earl Grey tea, apple juice
11. What is your favorite sport to watch? I'm not really a sporty person. If I was doing a crafty thing at the same time then it would be any sport.
12. Have you ever dyed your hair? yes. i once had it really short and bright purple!
13. Pets? Not as yet. we're waiting for our own house and then we'll get a cat. we miss Hine.
14. Favorite food? Thai and Mexican
15. What was the last movie you watched? Out of the Blue (see below)
16. Favorite holiday? Christmas
17. What do you do to vent anger? sulk and storm off
18. What were your favorite toys as a kid? my pink dog. I used to pretend he was real and I lived in my own apartment.
19. What are is your favorite, fall or spring? autumn!
20. Hugs or kisses? both
21. Cherry or blueberry? Blueberry
22. Do you want your friends to send this back? yes
23. Who is the most likely to respond? hopefully someone will
24. Who is least likely to respond? no idea
25. Living arrangements? staying with my parents while we house hunt
26. When was the last time you cried? Sunday, at church. I was sad that the worship wasn't in Spanish
27. What is on the floor of your closet? summer sandals ( hang over from the heat of Ecuador) and a new bottle of shampoo
28. What did you do last night? watched LOST then had an early night.

So that's me. Now it's your turn.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

So, we've looked at something like 15 open homes this past weekend. What an experience that was! It's weird to walk into someone's home and poke in all their cupboards and rooms. You certainly get a different sense of who people are and what their houses are like.

After a fulll day of house hunting on Saturday we were feeling tired and quite discouraged. Sunday was a bit better and we managed to find our dream we could walk straight into and make a home. But guess's about $150,000 out of our price range!!! That was depressing :-( We did find another possibility. It was an okay location and a good price and didn't need much doing to it but now that I'm investigating the local schools around I don't know how suitable it will be.

One thing I found interesting was the "feeling" I got from certain houses. One was a particularly grungy place but there was an overhwleming feeling that violence had occurred there. It was sad. Then we visited 2 houses owned by hindu believers. They had their prayer closets full of gods and their red flag outside symbolising their place of blood sacrifice. One felt particulalry oppressive and left us both with thumping hearts and pounding headaches. I know that God is bigger than all of that. "Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world".

So it was an interesting experience. This week we are off to make contact with a couple of land agents to see what they can do for us. We continue to pray.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Nige and I are about to embark on, perhaps, our most expensive venture. Tomorrow we fly to Auckland to spend 2 1/2 weeks, looking around at houses and schools for 2007. Our dream is to buy our very first home but we have never done anything like this before so feel quite unprepared. I think we will need a help guide :-) We are armed with a deposit and a preapproved mortgage so now it's shopping time.

Please pray for us in these next couple of weeks. We need to find the right house, in the right area and for the right price. It all seems very difficult as the area we are looking in is quite an expensive one. But we know that God has gotten us into this adventure and He will provide for us. I'll keep you up to date with how we go.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Now I do love F.R.I.E.N.D.S. I've managed to watch pretty much every single episode they ever made and have laughed my way through the whole lot of them. But they're not the friends I'm talking about. On Sunday I remembered the friends I have in Ecuador.

At church this weekend there was a reunion for those who were in the youth group in the 1970's. Now that wasn't me might I add....I was only 2 years old when some of the started!!!! During the offering time they played a powerpoint show of their friends who had since passed away. Some had died really young. As in any montage like that NZers tend to play, as background music, "Friends" by Micheal W. Smith. That song always gets to me and this time was no different.

I have to admit that during the song I was looking at the reunion group to see who was crying. Just a curious little thing I like to do to suss people out. But then the words of the song hit me and I was the one bawling my eyes out. It wasn't because I was feeling sad for those who had died but it was more for those I had left behind in Ecuador. It's funny hw very little things set me off crying. I tried to cover up the rolling tears but in the end gave up. I just let them flow.

So here are the words to that song. Just for Linda, Cathy, Glenda, Lydia, Christine, David, Guy, Juan David, Melissa, Diana, Daniela, Ramiro, Alto refugio and many others. I miss you!

Friends by Micheal W Smith

Packing up the dreams God planted
In the fertile soil of you
I can't believe the hopes He's granted
Mean the chapter in your life is through

But we'll keep you close as always
It won't even seen you've gone
'Cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong

And friends are friends forever
If the Lord's the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
'Cause the welcome will not end
Though it's hard to let you go
In the Father's hands we know
That a lifetime's not too long
To live as friends

And with the faith and love God's given
Springing from the hope we know
We will pray the joy you'll live in
Is the strength that now you show

Though it's hard to let you go
In the Father's hands we know
That a lifetime's not too long
To live as friends

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

"Out of the Blue".

On Tuesday Nige and I snuck off to the movies. It is the cheapest day to go to them so we have been the last couple. Last week we saw "World Trade Center" which was a great movie and this week we saw "Out of the Blue".

Now I suspect that most of you have never heard of this movie. That's because it is a NZ movie based on a shooting tragedy in 1990. I remember it happenening.

Aramoana is on the peninsula near Dunedin (bottom of the South Island and my birth place). It is a very small, fishing community and as a family we used to drive there for picnics at the beach or on Sunday aftrnoons. In November 1990 this sleepy hollow hit NZ headline news because a man, named David Grey, took a gun and killed 13 people. Now this is unuual as you can only have a gun if you are a registered gun holder and requirememnts for that are pretty strict. Nothing like that had ever happened in NZ before (certainly not to that scale).

The movie was very well done and didn't focus on the blood and gore as much as the triumph of ordinary NZers. A 74 year old woman (who still lives) was a hero, dragging herself across gravel roads and bush to call for help. There were others who did remarkable things. It told the story of Grey himself, who was probably a paranoid Schizophrenic. It showed his struggles and delusions. A recluse in the community who had isolated himself totally from everyone else.

I have seen many news interviews with the makers of the film but was touched by one done with Stacey, the youngest survivor of this tragedy. She was just 3 and was shot in the stomach while her mother, father and 2 brothers were lying dead beside her. She has no living memory of the incident and the actors shared how they realised that, by doing this movie, they were actually creating some memories of her family and that terrible day, for her. It was moving to think about that as I watched.

So as much as NZ is the clean, green, safe country in the world bad things still do happen here and their memory lasts forever.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


I looked down on mine this morning in horror. They are long and unpainted. Gross, gross gross! They seem to have be hidden under socks and shoes for so long that I have neglected them. I'm so used to seeing them on a daily basis under little, strappy sandlads that I had forgotten them entirely.

Time to pamper them I think. Maybe later today as this morning we are sharing with a bunch of little old people and then tonight I am speaking at a woman's group. I'm taking Tres Leches (three milks dessert) which is yum so hope they enjoy it.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Is it you?

Are you the lucky 1000 page viewer? Did the counter click over to that magical number when you entered? Drop me a note in the comments and I might just have a litle something for you!

What do you think of when I say Spring? Is it suuny, yellow daffodils like this?

Or cute, fluffy lambs like this?

Or could it even be the gentle, colourful blossom on trees?

Perhaps it's more like this? Well that would be the truth if you were in NZ right now. Big, black rain clouds hover over the country. We've even had snow to low levels in the South Island. It's been freezing yet we have all these amzing, "warm" things to remind us it is actually spring. We should be in the middle of the spring season yet for much of the time it feels like the middle of winter. Now I don't think that is just because I've come from the tropics and haven't seen rain since truely is miserable here. I'm looking forward to some summer sun, some clear blue skies and no wind! Bring it on!!!

The one, good thing about the weather is that it is nice to be able to snuggle up in fluffy sheets and a cosy duvet at night, with the electric blanket on. I haven't had one of those for years!!!! I think I'm going to have to invest in one for next winter 'cos if the weather is worse than this then, I'm going to need it.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The fourth and final term of the year has begun at school. And with it there have been a couple of changes....namely in the "walking to school" department.

This has been somethng that the boys have been super keen about but their parents (namely us) have not been so happy about it all. You see, for the last 8 years they have never walked any further ahead of us then our holding hands allowed. We have ALWAYS been there with them. They have never popped down the street by themselves for anything. Only recently have we allowed them to purchase their own food at the food court in the mall. But then that was only once we knew where they were going and could see them at all times.

Today we allowed them to walk, by themselves, to school. We live just 1/2 kilometre from the entrance and they only have to cross one road to get there. That road is patrolled by a school patrol that tells you when to cross and when to wait. They were so excited! I'm sure they felt quite grown up. Nige and I were feeling more apprehensive then they much so, that we jumped in the car, drove to the school entrance and waited for them to walk in the front gate. All without them seeing us. Silly huh? But it made us feel better and we were quite happy for them to walk home after school.

So that was today's big lesson in living in NZ. We passed with flying colours I think and it was really nice to see them when they walked in the front door after 3 PM. I had even made muffins. Yum Yum!!! Now the big problem is that Nige and I have no reason to go walking in the mornings. That's not good, so we are going to have to bite the bullet and walk anyway. We'll see how long that lasts....if it ever begins :-)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Back in Palmerston North now after our trip home yesterday. The weather was supposed to turn all nasty and wet but we managed to get home again before too much hit. It was a beautiful day to leave Tauranaga and drive south.

We arrived in Taupo at lunchtime. This is a lake in the centre of the North Island and is quite a tourist spot. We popped in and visited Nigel's youngest sister for a few minutes and then had some lunch before continuing our trip down the island. Isn't it just gorgeous?

The next town of interest was Taihape (pronounced Tie happy). This is also known, in NZ, as the Gumboot capital (hence the picture of the big gumboot that stands in town). Every year they have gumboot throwing competitions. Being a farming community the gumboot can be seen everywhere!

We played "Can you name the next town" game with the boys, trying to educate them a little about NZ geography. They did pretty well and earnt a little money on the way but I think there was a lot of kiwi ingenuity being used with the prevalence of road signs :-) They're not silly are they?

By the time we got to Bulls we were just half an hour from home but tired and hungry so it was a quick trip to McD's for an ice cream to give us the last bit of energy to get to the house. Yay for McD's!!!!! Actually I snacked on a cheeseburger but the filet o fish looked pretty enticing as well.

So we have made it. Thankfully the weather held up although we did run into some snow swirls on the desert road (the road through the central plateau). Last night it snowed quite heavily for this time of year and that road was closed with some cars stuck so God was good to us. But Palmy is cold and I have hugged the fire most of the day and worn gloves to stop my fingers falling off.

I hope you're a little warmer than I am!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

New Tickers.

I thought the old ticker was looking a little dull so tonight I have pottered around and created a couple of new ones. Can you believe it has been that long since we were in our heartland? I find it quite freaky. At times life in NZ can seem so normal and then at other times it feels a mile away from what I know or even understand.

The second one is a countdown to our 15th wedding anniversary. That seems like a mammoth milestone in itself these days. There are times when I feel like I've always been married. I can barely remember a time when Nige was not in my life. I like it that way :-)

Tomorrow we are driving back to Palmerston North. It is supposed to rain the whole way down which will be a bummer but the drive will only take 5-6 hours, depending on how many stops we need to make. I took some great shots at the beach yesterday and then again tonight of the sunset. It sure is beautiful here.

Blessings to you all.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

So we're back....but now are away again :-)

Here's a couple of picis of us on the boat. That's me looking all pensive at the South Island. As much as I was born there and lived there until I was 16, it always feels a little like returning home when I see the South Island again. It was nice. The boat trips went really well. I popped a little pill and didn't feel yucky at all (well maybe just a little on the way down). The boys did really well too and Isy was happy to go on the big boat.....after all our coaxing beforehand.

We had a nice time catching up with family and meeting our wee niece, Grace who is 5 months old. She had her dediction on the Sunday and wore the gown that her mother and I had worn when we were both dedicated many years ago.

The top photo is my family (I know, I look a lot like my mum) and then the next one is my sister Neroli, her hubby Bruce and wee Grace. Cute huh? It was a nice time to be with them. We even managed to pop over the windy hill to Nelson where I caught up with my best friend from when I was 4!!!!! That was cool and she is still just the same. I remember the way she looked, her hand and facial expressions and even the inflections in her voice. It's funny how we are still so similiar to who we were when we were little.

Now we are at the other end of the North Island with Nigel's family in Tauranga. We drove up yesterday in our new car and are enjoying being here with them. We will be here until Thursday and then it is back to Palmerston North and school starts again on Monday. We're not feeling like we are resting too much and the list of things to do once we return to PN is getting bigger by the day but we are enjoying seeing people. This afternoon we are off to see Nigel's Grandmother so that will be nice.

We are now on DSL at home so that is nice. Now I can catch up on you all. This pici, of the super good looking couple, was taken at Grace's dedication. Spunky huh?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I'm going NUTS!!!!

I have been without a DSL connection for nearly two months! Two months!!! I'm going out of my mind!!!! I haven't been able to regularly read my blog buddies entries and I have been out of touch with you all for long periods of time. I'm missing my friends and all their life events.

The company that we have signed up with said it could take up to 2 weeks to be linked up. Two weeks!!!!! And that's with us wiring it all up! Two weeks!!!! In Ecuador it took just two days. You heard right....two days and they came, drilled the wee holes in the wall and wired us up. And that was a third world country! Come on NZ!!

I have lots of blogs things to write about but won't do that today. I will inundate you when we are finally connected. Oh what rejoicing there will be on that day. Tomorrow we're off to Blenheim. My sister,her husband and our wee niece (now 5 months old) live there and this is a big weekend for them. Grace, our niece, will be dedicated in church. It will be our first chance to meet her and we will get to hang out with my sister and hubby who we haven't seen yet. It will be a busy weekend but it will be a nice one.
The bit that won't be so nice is this...the Interisland ferry. Boats and I do not go very well together. Something to do with motion sickness, the rollicking waves and the meat pie smells. Yuck yuck yuck. My dad is the same so we may just find a spot to lie down and not move during the whole 3 hour trip. The ferry runs between the North and South Islands, cossing the Cook Strait. It is a very scenic journey...not that I get to see it much:-) At some point you can see the Southern Alps from the tip of the North Island. We have spent much of the week trying to convince Isaac to get on the boat. To date he is a lot happier about it but the true test will be as we board. He should be okay if we bribe him with lollies (candy) and meat pies. Yuck yuck yuck!!!!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Hi all!

It's great to be back, even if I am only borrowing a friends internet connection to chat with you all. We are working on our own connection which should be up and running in a couple of weeks so once that is done I should be in better communication with you all. I've missed you!!!

We are now in our home town of Palmerston North. It's great to be back on familiar ground but this place is SMALL! The town has just 66 thousand people living here which is tiny after the 3 and a half million of Guayaquil. It's a cute city; totally flat which is helpful as we are yet to get a car and are walking everywhere. We've eaten lots of yummy NZ food and are now trying to be better in the food department. My mum's scales say that I have lost 7 kilos in the last year without even trying so I am keen to not gain those back. I like mum's scales ;-)

But let me tell's cold! this is what I look like while I am typing this, except my scarf is a lot cuter (all pink/purple and fluffy). But my hand are frozen and I'm making lots of mistakes as my fingers begin to freeze over. There's no snow here nor even frosts but the wind is the killer. Today I got a sore ear after walking to collect the boys from school. That's what cold wind will do for ya.

The boys have begun school and are doing okay. The first couple of days have been tiring (they're used to finishing school in an hour and a half whereas now they have 6 hours of work) but today they were both really happy when we picked them up. It's nice to see a smile on their faces.

Nige and I have been hiding away from everyone this week a little but are now finding our feet and are ready to face the world. It will be nice to see people we care about again.

So that's it for this week. I'm hanging out for my own internet connection so will pray that it happens sooner rather than later. See you soon.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Can you believe it? We're in NZ and we're not leaving!!! Bizarre I know!

After 3 weeks in the USA and over 30 hours travelling (Charlotte-Atlanta-Indianapolis-Los Angeles-New Zealand!)on Saturday/Sunday we finally arrived on NZ soil at 7 AM Monday morning NZ time. The flights went well until the last one when my dear hubby felt unwell and ended up on oxygen for a couple of hours! Talk about a freak out!!! They even offered to have him wheeled out of the plane and customs area. I quickly replied that that wouldn't be necessary as his parents, who were waiting for us on the other side of the big doors, would have a mild heart attack if their only son was wheeled out. He did perk up towards the end of the flight and all went well.

We were met by Nigel's parents and brother in law and 2 of his kids (they are missios in North Africa) as well as the current director and his wife and a member of the SIM NZ council. It was so great to see them. Later on that day we hung out with the rest of the family that were in Auckland and called the rest of our families that weren't. It was so nice to hang out with people who understood how we were feeling. They gave us this helium balloon and also a lovely rose. How sweet.

As the plane landed in Auckland we all burst into tears. Partly, I think, from relief but more so from a deep sadness that this was it and we weren't turning back anytime soon. Nige asked if we had to fake being happy when we saw people and I replied that we had to, just for a couple of minutes and then we could be real again. It didn't even end up like that. We were happy to be with family again and then during the day were able to express our pain. They, having all been missios, understood. We didn't need to say anything. It was great!

We have slept reasonably well and are feeling a lot more alive than we did on Monday. We are all waking up early though as our bodies are telling us it is lunchtime when in reality it is just 5 AM. We got to see this lovely sunrise over Auckland on Tuesday morning. It is not my intention to see many of these in the future but for now they are beautiful :-)

So this week is all about hanging out with family (Nigel's family), farewelling his sister and family back to North Africa and then heading to Palmerston North and my parents on Friday where we will be based for the next 4 motnhs. The boys start school on Monday so that will be a good break for us all.

My internet access is rather sporadic at ths time so I will do my best to keep you up to date. Have a great week!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

I have decided to follow Jesus.....No turning back. No turning back.

Yesterday, in chapel, I lost it. I know, I know, I tend to lose it more these days but yesterday I totally did.

It had been our turn to present our country to the rest of the SIM International staff. It was expected that we would present something about the NZ office but we really have no idea about that so decided to present Ecuador. I thought I would find it really difficult to see our friends and "family" on the big screen but instead I felt an enormous sense of pride. They were doing such a great job back there, serving the Lord with great gusto and I had had the privilege of serving with them. It was a joy to see them.......and then we sang.

It was the old song "I have decided to follow Jesus". You surely know the one I mean. Anyway I was singing it with great enthusiasm and then came to the words "no turning back" and I realised I was doing exactly that. I was not going back!!! That's when I lost it and couldn't sing any more (I'm such a woose!!!) It hit me...I'm not going back. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not next week even. I had visions of myself landing in Auckland airport on Monday morning and I felt my heart sink. I should be joyful as I will get to see family again but I was overwhelmed with sadness and a great sense of loss. It was hard to contain the tears.

Yet, I have decided to follow Jesus and I am glad to do it. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else in this world except in the midst of God's will for my life. I have no doubt that this is what He is asking of me now but the finality of it leaves me weeping. Then, yesterday afternoon we had a girly get together which was lovely. There I read Psalm 37 and found a part of a verse where it says".....and the Lord will lead me by the hand" (can't remember the verse number off by heart). I know that He is with me in all of this and I know that my tears don't threaten Him. In fact He encourages them and just loves me through them.

So I will sing:
I have decided to follow Jesus
I have decided to follow Jesus
I have decided to follow Jesus
No turning back
No turning back.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Shopping! A girl's passion!!

Since being in the USA we have done a bit of shopping and I have LOVED it!!!! The three boys in my life have tolerated it only as long as they get something nice and new as well. I don't mind that as it means I get to buy for them which I just LOVE as well :-)

The supersized Wal Mart was fun although we had to go back twice as in the first couple of hours we only bought for the three boys and the next hour or so was for me. We have managed to stock up our wardrobes and have even coped well with the "casual-professional" clothing status of the office. I have to admit that I have been feeling like I have been dressing up for church everyday. But it has been nice to "look" nice for a change instead of frumping around in capri pants and tshirts all week.

We bought our new computer the day after we arrived (a Mac of course!) and have even splurged out and bought a digital video camera so one day soon I will figure out how to upload a video onto my blog. We've never had a video camera before and this one is really cute so I plan on having a lot of fun with it (thanks Steve for putting us onto it). We've also bought ourselves some nice, comfy sports shoes for an excellent price (the US sure knows how to have a good sale price) so this should be an incentive to get walking when we get back to NZ. At least we won't have a car for a little while so walking should get us into a good habit. That's the plan anyway ;-)
So I found this pici on the web and figured it accurately represents my three boys feelings on shopping. Needless to say all the money has been spent and the suitcases will be well and truly full so no more shopping is on the agenda.......for now anyway!!!!!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

"Wherever I lay my hat...."

So where is home? I remember the words of a song in the '80's which goes something like "wherever I lay my hat, that's my home" and I think this is true of me. Everyone else on the course with us are from a specific place. For example when they are asked "where are you from?" they answer, "Thailand", "India", "Burkina Faso" "Paraguay" etc. But when I am asked where I am from I have no answer. I get stuck! My heart answer is, of course, Ecuador but then could it even be New Zealand? I have no idea.

For now we are at home in the USA. We have laid our hat at the SIM US guest house and this is where we live. It feels like home. We generally know the rules and we can survive. We cleaned our little unit today and washed sheets (just like normal people on a Saturday) so now it feels even more like ours. The crunch will come next week when I have to pack again and tidy it up before leaving. That will be hard. Yet again we are leaving home.

Our next home will be for 5 days in Auckland and then a couple of months in Palmerston North where we will we living with my their home. That might be tough at times but it will be nice to reconnect with them. I am definitely looking forward to the day when I am in my own home, with my own stuff in the right places, and my own rules. That feels a long way away right now but I know the day will come.