Sometimes, no words are necessary

A member of the church, who previously had been attending services regularly, stopped going.  After a few weeks, the preacher decided to visit him.

It was a chilly evening when the pastor found the man at home, alone, sitting before a blazing fire.  Guessing the reason for the visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace and waited.

The preacher made himself at home, but said nothing.  In the grave silence, he contemplated the dance of the flames around the burning logs.  After some minutes, the preacher took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth, all alone.

He then sat back in his chair, still silent. The host watched in quiet contemplation.

The single ember's flame flickered and slowly diminished. There was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more. Soon it was cold and dead.

A short while later, the preacher glanced at his watch and realized it was time to leave.  He slowly stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire where it immediately began to glow once more.

Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting, but as the preacher reached the door to leave, his host simply said, "Thank you so much for your visit and especially the fiery sermon. I will see you in church next Sunday."


Kiwis pulling together

Hubby showed me this link on trademe (NZ version of ebay) that lists help for the earthquake victims.

Christchurch earthquake support link

As of this posting, there are 1172 emergency accommodations listed for those who have lost their homes. 

Also there is a listing for lost and found pets--74 so far, with some who are volunteering to foster animals until things can settle down..

Someone is sending a 40' storage container that I am sure will be useful to many.

It warms my heart to know that New Zealanders pull together in the time of crisis.


Another earthquake

It was in Christchurch again--the same place as last year. This one seems to have done damage to different parts of the city and is quite devastating.
I am in the north island, so was not involved. Pleass pray for those that were.

Old-fashioned Hay Day

Being a city girl, I really didn't know what to expect at the 'Hay Day' in Tariki last weekend. I was surprised and amazed at the old equipment and vehicles that were still running like new!

Grindstone for sharpening blades

This is a 'pit saw' for, well, sawing in a pit that was dug if the log was too big to saw normally.

Must be a guy thing.....



...that New Zealand has a low crime rate!!



Something happened to me when I moved to New Zealand. I don't know when it happened, but it happened. I became much more curious and adventurous. Maybe it's because I had someone to experience things with. Maybe it's because there are so many things here that I never noticed before. I don't know.

I do know that, before NZ,  I wouldn't have given this kiwano (horned melon) a second look, much less take it home and taste it. For those who aren't adventurous, I will tell you that it tastes exactly like a cucumber. A cucumber in jelly. With more seeds. Weird thing. Now I know.


My husband is a dirty, rotten, stinking liar

Today is Valentine's Day in our part of the world. Hubby told me last week that he wanted to take me for fish and chips on the beach and I thought that was very sweet. It was not your 'run of the mill' Valentine's dinner and he knows I like the beach. I had no reason to think he was lying.

On the way, he says that it's high tide so we will go to Ngamutu Beach. Liar.

We get to the fish and chips shop and he says that it's a bit windy so we should go to a table just outside the shop because it's more sheltered. Liar.

We get our order. He says, 'Follow me to the table,' Liar.

I follow, innocently waiting for our Valentine's Day meal, having no idea that he's still lying. We get to Chaddy's Charters (he's the guy that married us out on his boat in 2007). Hubby smiles oh-so-smugly and says, 'There's a place in here.'  We walk into the office. 'Chaddy's going to let us eat on his boat,' he says, walking through to the boat launch.

 'Oh,  yes, Chaddy will be on the boat, too,' he says. 'He will be driving while we eat.'

I guess this proves I'm not the suspicious type because he had everything planned, including jacket and hats in case it got too cold. And me without a clue!

So off we went to the place we got married. And while we ate, there was a fishing line trailing behind the boat so we were officially 'fishing', too!

The sea was a bit rough on the way out, but it was still beautiful.

This guy sleeping in the hole in the side of the island might have been one of the same seals we saw on our wedding day!

He also got us pirate get-ups, just for the fun of it.

Chaddy hand-fed this huge sting ray with the innards of the fish we 'caught'  when we got back in port.

Whatever am I going to do with him?! It's definitely not Kansas!



...Grace, formerly of the Hawera SPCA.

A couple of weeks ago, her picture was in the Hawera paper as a new arrival at the SPCA and I told Hubby I wanted her.  I never thought I'd actually get her!

She's about 2 years old and was given to the SPCA when her family had to move without her. Now she has a home with lots of love and space and probably some spoiling, too.


Hubby's been at it again!

This is Hubby's latest creation that he sold on trademe. It's a friesian mailbox bought by a dairy farmer.


Are Kiwis rude?

This is a question that I have been trying to answer since I arrived in New Zealand four and a half years ago. (You can click the 'rude kiwis' label to read my earlier posts on the subject)

For those who haven't followed the whole story, here's a quick recap:

Being from America, I tend to like Americans. What was 'normal' behavior for Americans, in my humble opinion, was (mostly) having strangers in the store or on the street make eye contact and smile. 
It was (mostly) courteous drivers who looked out for pedestrians. 
It was (mostly) people staying out of the walkways so others can easily maneuver around you. 
It was (mostly) those in places of respect and responsibility holding their tongue until they get the facts straight. 
It was (mostly) drivers allowing you to pull out of a parking space in safety, even if they didn't intend to use your space.
It was (mostly) courteous salespeople who smile and speak to you and act as if they know you are the reason they have a job.
It was (mostly) folks willing to do 'the dance' with you with a smile.[You know 'the dance'...that shuffle you both do back and forth, trying to decide who is going to which side so you can both get through a tight space, all the while looking at each other and smiling (or trying not to giggle)].

These things don't exist in any abundance in Taranaki. Here in Stratford, there is little tourism and thus, Hubby has been trying to convince me that it is in solely this area folk that are lacking American-style congenialities and not the country as a whole.When we go to other areas of this country, things are a bit more friendly, as Hubby is quick to point out. However, those are usually touristy places and, to me, it's logical PR to be nice to tourists.

Well, after our vacation holiday to the South Island, I am going to have to say that I believe he was right all along!

We stayed in Richmond (just south of the large city of Nelson) which has a population of about 15,000 (with lots of tourists staying the night and passing through). Of course, there was the world-wide obligatory summer road construction going on just outside the entrance to our rental but we never had a problem getting out in traffic because there was always a driver that let us out. I was gobsmacked.

I went shopping a couple of times at the local Pac N Save (huge chain store) and only once did I find a shopping cart trolley in the middle of the aisle unattended. The check out ladies were smiling and chatty. It was wonderful!!

In the parking lot, drivers patiently waited until others pulled away before getting into the abandoned spot--unlike Taranaki, where they would be in the spot before you could get the car out of 'reverse'.

In the mall (yes, an actual mall, not a string of 4 storefronts together), children were chided to behave. When Hubby spoke to a little girl of 3 or so that had bolted away from Mum, Mum smiled and spoke instead of giving Hubby 'the stare'.

One day, he also got actual comments on his t-shirt (it says 'save the planet, duct tape can't fix everything') for the first time in the 3 years he's been wearing it. 

I feel like we were in a different world for the time we were there. Maybe it was the size of the town. Maybe it was the 'touristy' mentality. Maybe it was other tourists who were the polite ones. I don't know.

But I do know that Hubby was impressed enough to put that area at the top of our list of possible places to move to when the kids get out of school. I can't say I blame him. And I certainly don't disagree.


The last leg of our holiday

 The last morning of our trip, the kids got to go fishing one last time. We dropped Hubby's Mum off at the train station to visit her sister in Christchurch and we headed to the ferry terminal. Hubby took these photos while I napped.

I enjoyed watching the rainbows in the splatters of water outside my window.

And then we were on our way home. It was a long day and we'd be home late, so we figured the kids would listen to their ipods and maybe nap before we got home. We were wrong. So wrong. 

Hubby and I put in a compilation CD he had made for our wedding and we began to quietly (at first) just relax in the front seat and enjoy the drive as the sun set. But when familiar songs came around the kids perked up in the back seat and started singing along.  So we sang. Loud! We rolled the windows down and sang at the top of our lungs for about 2 hours, replaying the 'favorites' over and over and over!

It was a fabulous way to end a great holiday. And it certainly wasn't like anything I'd ever done with my parents! That was one for the record books!


various photos from our holiday

We rented a 'cabin' (it was an actual house that was as big as ours back home!) for 5 days that had this fella and one of his siblings (or him again) inside every day!

This kid was just happily digging his little heart out on the beach. When I inquired as to his intentions, he just shrugged and said, 'I'm just digging.'

The flax growing beside the outside terrace of the coffee shop had been braided and woven.

I have a 'thing' for clouds.

It was icky, but I held the starfish Hubby scooped from the ocean and plopped into my hand upside down as the kids were fishing. Holding it wasn't so bad, but watching all those tiny tentacles wiggling around on his underside was the icky part.


Farewell Spit

Click map for larger view to follow our virtual holiday tour.

 Farewell Spit is a scenic reserve and bird sanctuary. The only way to get to the end to see this lighthouse, without a special permit, is by tour bus.

A Maori carving is erected there.

Even though the spit is mostly shifting sands that are very dangerous to boats and animals (it's where most of  the whale beachings occur) there is a wetland in the middle with marsh plants and animals.

The sands are forever blown around by the wind, making ghostly shodows.

These are tiny sand images made by the wind.

I learned that it is illegal to get within 20 meters of a fur seal in NZ. We saw this one as we crossed the water from a 'pan' (a lagoon that fills with the tide then drains as the tide recedes). I can't imagine how far down the wet sand went, so it was a good thing the guide knew where he was driving.

The whole family enjoyed the tour and the tour guide was very knowledgeable and fun.  I have posted a few more photos on my photoblog. Click here.