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 house....one we could walk straight into and make a home. But guess what....it'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 April....it 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 were....so 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?