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Friday, November 28, 2008

A Day from God

Have you ever had a day or an experience that you feel was simply a gift from God?  A moment that was so special you knew you hadn't  done anything to earn or deserve it, it was simply God smiling at you and asking you to enjoy the gift to its fullest.  Last week I had a day like that.  Chad was helping with a race an hour away in the mountains that would be ending the next day here in Wairoa.  I decided to go up for the day to help out with whatever needed doing.  I arranged for the kids to spend the night with friends and had just cozied up to the computer when the phone rang.  My friend Ruth asked if I would like to ride up to the race in the helicopter with her.  Her husband, Russell, was going to be doing the air support for the race.  At 4:30 the next morning Ruth and Russell picked me up.  We headed to the hanger and got into the helicopter.  I had never been in a helicopter before.  As we went up, my grip began to relax and the peacefulness of the darkness surrounding us washed over me.  As we came into Tui, Russell turned the helicopter around as a glorious sunrise was coming up over the mountains then we descended into the fog below.  I hopped out and ran over to Chad who was waiting for me.  We got a coffee and watched the race begin.  The race was well staffed with volunteers so Ruth and I were not needed.  We decided to catch a water taxi to the other side of the lake to cheer for the runners as they passed a checkpoint.  For 30 min. we rode across Lake Waikaremoana, the wind whipping our hair and the sun smiling down on us.  A friend who is an EMT was also headed out to the checkpoint to help with emergencies.  He told us about a waterfall a short hike from the drop off point.  When we landed we knew we had about 2 hours before the first racer came through so Ruth & I decided to hike up to the waterfall.  We walked through stunning rain forest, jumping on rocks to get across rivers and streams.  We turned a corner and our breath was taken away by the view of the waterfall in front of us.  We went off the trail climbing down rocks, getting as close to the bottom as possible.  We sat down on a large rock and with the mist from the waterfall dampening our skin we ate a few oranges picked off the tree that morning, and soaked in the beauty.  After hiking back we sat and cheered for the racers passing by.  After awhile we caught another boat heading back across the lake.  Another 30 min. ride with the wind blowing in my face while mountains were flying by.  We arrived in time to enjoy another coffee before the first racer crossed the finish line on his bike.  After watching several cross the finish, Russell announced he was done and ready to head out.  Leaving Chad behind I followed Ruth into the helicopter and we headed out over the countryside for Russell to do another quick job for a farmer before heading home.  The scenery of New Zealand from the air was beautiful.  As Wairoa came into view I was taken aback by the beauty of the town surrounded by hills, a river winding into it on one side and the ocean crashing into it on the other side.  By 5:00 I was back home with the kids, but not quiet ready to let go of the beautiful day.  We picked up some fish and chips, went down to the river to eat them and then popped in a movie in the evening as we waited for Chad to come home.

No Worries - Kris

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Many people have asked us if we would be celebrating Thanksgiving this year.  I had this brilliant idea of throwing an American Thanksgiving feast to share with our friends.   The main item needed was a turkey.  As turkeys are considered a bit of a rodent here, I have never seen one for sale in the grocery store but they are running around all over the place, so that didn't seem too difficult.  Our friend Russell took Chad and Damon hunting for a turkey one day with the promise that I wouldn't make him eat it.  They shot several with Damon apparently doing quiet well.  Upon examination they determined that there wasn't enough meat on any of them (because it is spring) to justify bringing one home to me.  Not having a turkey took care of the problem of who was going to have to pluck the feathers out of it when Chad got home!  So without a turkey I gave up on the idea of having a Thanksgiving feast.  Turns out we have a Christmas party on Thanksgiving anyway.  I think I will bake a pumpkin pie (although the weather has me a bit turned around and what I am really craving is a lemon meringue pie) and take it up to Chad's office!
I hope each of you enjoys the holiday weekend with your family, remembering all we have each been given in the past year.

No Worries - Kris

Monday, November 17, 2008

Guy Fawkes

In New Zealand there is no 4th of July but there is Guy Fawkes day.  Guy Fawkes day is basically the same.   Heaps of people go out and shoot off fire works, the only difference is they are not celebrating their country's independence.  Guy Fawkes was a man who was part of a Roman Catholic group of men that wanted to blow up the house of parliament and kill all of parliament with it.  This is known as the "Gun Powder Plot".  The master mind of the plot was not Guy Fawkes, as you might have guessed, it was actually a man named Robert Catesby.  Guy Fawkes was just appointed the position of executing the plan (because of his military explosives experience).  So, they hid 1,800 pounds of gun powder in a cellar under the parliamentary building ready to be set off to kill all of parliament.  But when their plot was uncovered, Guy Fawkes was going to blow himself up while blowing up Parliament.  He took a flare and attempted to ignite the powder charge, and at the last instant Peter Heywood took the flare from him.  Guy Fawkes was tortured then was hung almost to death.   He jumped off the gallows, breaking his neck to save himself from being disemboweled.
So we had a great Guy Fawkes night lighting off of heaps of fire works into the pitch black sky.  Even after hearing the story behind Guy Fawkes day it still brings up the question for me, why would your country, which hails to the Queen, celebrate a man who tried to kill her and all of parliament?
(This happened in 1609 so don't really mean this Queen just the one way before it).


Monday, November 10, 2008

The Old Church

We have been working on manners at dinner.  Things like put your napkin on your lap and don’t sit on your knees.  But the biggest problem was not putting your elbows on the table.  So as a reward, on Sat. the 8th we went to Napier for dinner to a nice restaurant called The Old Church (it really was an old church).  After a long day of shopping we changed into our nice clothes and we were on our way to The Old Church.  Mom and Dad had already been there, so they were quite familiar with it.  It was a very big and beautiful church.   Once we got inside we were led to our seats, which were very big and comfy.   The table looked nice.  We picked out what we wanted, and then the waitress took our drink order.  All us kids got different, fancy, new (to us) drinks.  They were all very cool fun, fruity drinks!  When our food finally arrived it looked very fancy and it looked pretty good!  I did not really like the fettuccine, so Dad gave me some of his yummy, juicy steak! (Yum!)  After we had finished eating our dinner, we ordered dessert! (My favorite!)  They were very fancy and they looked the best!!  They had put looong pointed sticks on the tops of them that they had made out of caramel!

-Elena and Maddie

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Hut

The kids & Chad recently had a 4 day holiday weekend celebrating Labor Day.  Paul, whom Chad has gotten to know through the rescue society, invited us out to his farm to spend the night with some friends in "the hut".  We packed our stuff knowing it would be a bit of a camping experience and followed Ruth and Russell out to the farm, 30 min. away.  We pulled into the driveway and in the drizzle packed all our stuff and kids into his truck and headed out over the farm, through gates and pastures and wooded areas.  Absolutely beautiful!  Russell pulled up to a couple more trucks and said because of the wet we would not be able to ride the 4 wheeler in so we would have to hike it.  He was prepared, handing each of us a pair of gum boots to wear for the weekend.  We headed off into the woods down a very, very long hill.  From the car I have often admired the hills, wistfully saying "wouldn't it be fun to climb one of these hills?"  The next morning would fulfill all desires for a lifetime to come.  We slipped and slidded down the hill and coming around a curve "the hut" came into view.  Situated amongst the trees a corrugated metal building with a porch and new awning welcomed us.  We made it with all our gear and were greeted by two other families.  Throwing our bags inside and tossing our sleeping bags on the bed we grabbed a chair and settled in on the porch for an evening of visiting and cooking out sausages and venison steak.  As it began to really rain and cool off we decided to head inside.   For some reason the kids all decided to come out to the porch and closed the door behind them.  We were all locked out.  After 30 min. of hemming and hawing, walking around "the hut" and going back and forth with different lengths of wood and other things, the men were able to pry a window open and lower Elena through.  Everyone headed inside and I visited the long drop (outhouse).  The wood burning stove was nice and toastie, the kids began playing games, and the marshmallows were pulled out.  No one was familiar with smores but one family had heard of them so they brought the fixing.  New Zealand marshmallows are not the same as US marshmallows.  They are small, pink with powdered sugar on them and a bit grainy.  After unsuccessfully trying to explain the concept of roasting rather than burning the marshmallows we put them on cookies.  Again, there are no graham crackers in New Zealand.  I have searched high and low and nobody has heard of them.  So chocolate coated cookies were used.  After the smores attempt we prepared for bed.  There was one bunk bed along the wall, so the 8 kids snuggled in on top and the 8 adults laid down like sardines in a can.  Fortunately no one snored!  We woke fresh.  It was still drizzling but after a trip to the long drop I headed out for a bit of an explore.  Following a beautiful path I came across a river with several fabulous swimming holes.  What a place to relax on a beautiful day!  After breakfast and dishes were done, we packed up and headed back up the hill.  It was long, steep and slippery but we made with without loosing anything.  It was a good night of meeting more people and enjoying some company.

No Worries - Kris