Day 100 – A familiar face at church in Wellington?

This was our first and only church service in Wellington.  We found the closest building.  We were going to attend the 11:00 Sacrament meeting but when we got there the parking lot and streets were packed with cars.  This could only mean one thing…it was Stake Conference!  We walked into the back of the cultural hall and looked up to see the visiting General Authority sitting on the stand who looked very familiar.  Bob took a picture and then blew it up.  Oh my gosh!!!  It was Craig and Debbie Cardon from Gilbert!

Visiting Authority Craig Cardon

We made our way to the front and when Craig saw us, he was shocked and kept saying “Where am I!?”  It was wonderful to visit with them for a moment.  They are actually assigned here as the Area President in New Zealand and live in Auckland.  We grabbed a picture to prove it!

Cardons in New Zealand

And to end this blog just a few joyous pictures that keep me smiling here in New Zealand!

Poor little James, he got his fingers smashed in a door and so it was off to the ER…again! No broken bones thankfully.

David’s birthday celebration on Sunday with the Ekstroms.  They were on a nice summer eves walk with the kids.

And our darling, darling, darling little Poppy off to her first dance class!

Blessed beyond measure…

Day 100 (more) – Downtown eating and inspiring art.

Wellington has more restaurants than NYC per capita!  The concierge has given us a list of some of their finest dining experiences from historic buildings to a food truck…

This is Logan and Brown on Cuba street.  They serve smaller portions ~ big ambience.  It is in an old New Zealand Bank building.  The space is as important to me as the food.  It was lovely afternoon with Bob.  Cuba Street is a local boutique type shopping experience to not be missed if you are ever in Wellington.

The Boulcott Bistro.  This is an early century home turned restaurant.  You will see the stairs are narrow and steep.  I always try to imagine who used those stairs while it was still someone’s home.  Fresh flowers says to me they care about the details.  The food was good, ambience better.

I think I posted this before but it is worth noting that though it was a food truck, the food was amazing.  It sits on the side of a bending road next to the ocean on your way to Weta Caves Museum.  That’s the only address I have.

Rotisserie by the seashore in Wellington

What you find when you’re walking the boardwalk in Wellington.

It is a city that honors and encourages its arts.


Bob and I thought this had to be some kind of funky BBQ restaurant.  As we got closer we found it was a public restroom.

book lady

A story or poem or quote can be found all over this giant sculpture of a woman.

They have these walls around the boardwalk by the sea to encourage artistic expression

Dog trainer in park

My favorite picture we have ever taken!  It belongs in some magazine.  This guy is a trainer and I suppose he was testing their obedience.  Those dogs did not move.  I wanted to go up and pet them but worried I’d break the spell.

Christi with quote on pier

One of the beauties of a sabbatical where you are trying to make big decisions is that you stay alert for moments that inspire.  This quote spoke to me and my personal journey to detect why I am here.  It is little moments like this that make me grateful for the smallest tender mercies and signs that remind me that God is ever watchful and involved.  I know I am not here by chance and so I cannot just watch and describe life.  We need to find the courage to live it…”Damn the torpedos” comes to mind.

 I am the city of action and the world headquarters of the verb.

(I’ve have never fully understood the etymology (the origin of a word and the historical development of its meaning) “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”.  It was a famous order issued by Admiral David Farragut during the American Civil War during the Battle of Mobile Bay, a paraphrase of the actual order, “Damn the torpedoes! Four bells. Captain Drayton, go ahead! Jouett, full speed!”.)  Now you and I know.

Day 100 (August 29th) Spiders,Volcanos and Eclipses – Natural Wonders across the sea…

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I would not consider myself a tourist.  Large crowds, bad cafes and gifts shops full of things I don’t need but strangely want.  We decided to stop by to see the Wai-O-Tapu Volcano on our way to Wellington.  This would have been August 21st and day 92.

Bob at Thermal

I am a collector of “survival” pictures of plants that should not grow in their circumstances but do.  The forest that surrounds the volcano is covered in sulfur and while it is not just salt, salt is a part of its mineral composition and should never be able to survive.  There is a great analogy here…I’ll let you come up with it.

Yellow branch from sulfar

All around the park is evidence of the minerals finding their way to the surface of the earth.  These sulfur crystals on the side of the mountain is just one of many deposits we saw in the park.

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal

I was a little late in getting my camera out.  We were walking by a large lake of boiling water with the steam being so thick you could hardly see.  I was trying to film Bob emerging from the “fog” …  a little late but you get the idea!

This thermal wonder provided us an incredible pallet of color all around.  This green “Devils Bath” picture pales in comparison to the real thing.

Devils bath

Devils Bath Thermal

Though we were in New Zealand I was taken back to memories of China when I saw this cup of tea being carried around by a tourist.  Taxi drivers always had them in their cars which always smelled like…a dirty sock.  I turned into a stalker trying to grab this picture before I lost them on the trail!

China tea

While we were on the other end of the world our family was experiencing a phenomenon in America…The solar eclipse.  This picture was both fascinating and creepy.  It looks like the ground is boiling.  You would think that someone this young would have no idea what he was looking for…but knowing it was Calvin…he was probably explaining it to the adults:)!

WETA DIGITAL ~ Inside these walls is not business as usual…

Weta Digital

This looks more like an apartment complex but inside these walls are created some of the most epic films ever digitally created!  Don’t believe me?  How about “Lord of the Rings and Avatar…among many others!

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Film and television visual effects filmography

We were able to tour the workshops where they explained how they created the faces, props and costumes.  I held the sword that Tom Cruise used in The Last Samurai.  It was plastic!  It was a total geek fest in there.

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The One Ring - Lord of the Rings $5K

This is my Kate Blanchett moment when I saw the price tag for the ring ($6,000)

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Bob was happy to see me pass the test…

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Christi Galadriel Worsley

I asked them where the word “Weta” came from.  Screen Shot 2017-08-29 at 11.18.59 AM.png

I was sorry I asked.  It looks like it may be the inspiration of some of their characters/costumes.

Day 95 (August 24th) Wellington is beautiful and family history…

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect of Wellington.  Having stayed in smaller towns for most of our stay I was assuming we would find a bit of the same thing.  It was evening as we turned the bend and saw this beautiful city for the first time.  The city and crescent shaped harbor were lit up and I knew this was going to be a new and wonderful adventure.  I couldn’t be sure but I felt as though I would fall in love with this city…and fall in love I did.

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The round building in the lower middle part of the picture is the parliament where they conduct all things politics.  They call it the Beehive and is an 1970’s addition to the original building which is far more stately.  I point this picture out because the Bolton Hotel, where we are staying, is just one block behind and one block to the left.  It is our beacon while we make our way back to the hotel at the end of the day.


This is where bad and good architecture collide…Screen Shot 2017-08-24 at 10.56.19 AM.png


Finding Family in New Zealand

Craig Blake (Nairns) picked us up at 5:00 last night at the Bolton hotel.  We found out in quick order that he did not have a great relationship with his father (Colin).  When he was 8, his parents divorced because “he (Colin) had found food and alcohol” and left the family without any income as he drank most of it away.

His father went on to marry again and had another daughter.  He eventually divorced his second wife and spent the rest of his life alone.  His obesity and drinking took a toll on his heart and at the age of 81 he died alone in a rest home.

Craig  has only had real contact with his father the last 20 years.  It is interesting is that his extended family have been involved in genealogy for quite some time which is how they found Dad Worsley.

Collin Nairns - relative through the Forsyth line(The young father is Colin Nairn’s.  Dad Worsley has been working with him on genealogy connecting us to through the Forsyth line.  Part of our time here was to find Colin and visit with him about the joint heritage.  We had an address in Hastings and were ready to set out to meet him.  To be sure, Bob did some sleuth work and found that Colin had died the day before we landed.  He passed away in a rest home in Auckland! The person at the rest home called his next of kin to tell them of our visit.  Within a few minutes Bob was talking to Craig, his son!  It is safe to say that hospitality is a way of life for the Kiwi because he invited us to dinner at his home to meet the family.  Craig is the baby in the picture.  He had one older sister who lives in Honolulu and a half sister that lives in Australia from his father’s second marriage.)

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(Colin was a math and science school teacher.  He loved sports and was a volunteer coordinator of rugby tournaments for amateur teams in Auckland.)

When we arrived, Craig’s wife Julie, was busy in the kitchen making dinner…which was by the way delicious.  It was good to have a home cooked meal.  Bob pulled up the genealogy from and they began to try to make the connection.  Though they were not successful, they feel certain that with a little more digging they will find how the two families are related.

Bob and Craig Nairns

Collin and Bob…cousins?Craig, Julie and Emma Nairns - family in New Zealand Emma, Julie and Craig

Julie was a wonderful cook.  Even the cheesecake was homemade.  We may have just had dinner with total strangers in Wellington but it was totally worth it!


Day 89 (August 18th) – “In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit” (after church tour of Hobbiton)

My only wish while we wandered the Shire is that everyone would go away and I could soak up the magic of this little town with homes in the ground, fire coming out of chimneys and all the round doors.  It is a place where round doors and gardens and tiny mailboxes with such attention to detail that you were transported to another world.  Even the bus ride to the site played the theme song with a little history before we got there.Sign into hobbiton

I love homes, especially where the home fires are burning…

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We bought a home in New Zealand!  It does need some remodeling as it only goes back about 4 feet and is all dirt…it’s a true makeover project.

inside hobbit home

They filmed the 2 trilogies in over 150 sights and it took 9 years from finding the land to making its way to the movie screen.  Sir Peter Jackson, Director of the films flew over both north and south islands to find the perfect locations.  When he flew over the Alexander Ranch on the north island and found a large pond with a majestic tree and beautiful rolling hills he knew he had found the perfect spot for Hobbiton!  They filmed for 3 months in the Lord of the Rings here and only 13 days for the Hobbit films.

Almost immediately after the premiere of The Fellowship of the Ring they began showing people around.  Since the original set was never designed to last, it was a pale imitation of its current set-up.  Alexander, the farmland owner and Sir Peter Jackson the director, partnered up to build a new version of Hobbiton using permanent materials designed to last and taking into account the locations popularity with tourists.  Now when you visit the location, everything looks real and you wonder if you opened a Hobbit hole, what might be lurking inside.  No matter what direction you look in, there are no tall buildings, roads, or power lines.  You don’t see anything but green hills and tall trees.  The skyline is just white clouds floating by.

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hobbiton home blue dooryellow door hobbinton

When I walked up to get my picture I noticed this little watering can for flowers and I just could not help myself…

Gandalf’s Cutting – This is the path that leads you into Hobbiton.  You will see several scenes where Gandalf and Frodo ride out of the Shire.  You see the young Bilbo Baggins run through it when he decides he wants to go on the great adventure after all and runs to catch up with Gandalf and the dwarfs.

stone wall hobbiton

Attention to detail  

Sir Peter Jackson, director of the film was fanatical about every detail.  Because the book describes the pear trees that the children would eat from he tried to find some to plant that were miniature.  He could not find any so he settled for miniature apple trees.  After all, the hobbits were only 3 to 3 1/2 feet tall.  How could they reach them?  Each house had it’s own unique mailbox and one home had it’s own woodshed with small pieces of chopped wood for their small fireplaces.  Each home had the same quality of thatched roofing.  For ambiance, they set up fire boxes just inside the facade chimneys so that smoke was coming out of them.

Samwise Gamgee’s hobbit home.  This is the last scene you see in Lord of the Rings.  The little boy that Sam picks us is actually his son and the baby girl that his wife (actress) was holding was her daughter in real life.  They used quite a few of the casts children in the scenes with families.

If you can ignore the golf cart you will recognize the home of the Baggins.  Their home was on top the hill because they were the wealthiest in the town.  Apparently even the hobbits had their own class system.  These are the stairs that lead to his famous round door with the carving that Gandalf left on it!

baggins home with cartSteps to Baggins home

The tree above the Baggins home is the only tree that is not real on the property.  Sir Peter Jackson had the tree from the book replicated.  It has over 200,000 leaves individually wired to the branches.  Before filming, Sir Peter fell ill and so it postponed the filming.   When they returned the leaves had faded and changed color just enough that Sir Peter had them all removed and hand painted.  You will see this tree for only 6 seconds in the film.  I told you he was a bit crazy about detail.  They take the branches down one limb at a time…note the knot in the tree where one branch is off being re-leafed.

Below is the Dragon Inn where we were served Ginger Beer along with all the little children while the adults drank a dark ale real beer.  They served a delicious beef and ale pie too. Both were delicious.  The ambiance warmed your soul…or maybe it was the ale?!

The park where they celebrated with Gandalf’s fire works.

teeter totterSwing in celebration park

Again…this pond was an important detail to the shire because in the book it speaks of the frogs.  The sound was important to the natural ambiance of the movie.  The problem was that the frogs quickly multiplied and soon enough all you could here was the croaking.  The actors had a hard time even hearing direction.  So they removed most of them safely (according to the tour guide) to another farm and replaced them when filming was over (according to the tour guide).  I’m not sure how they identified which ones belonged back at the pond:).

Frog Pond hobbiton

Beyond the shire was breathtaking.

hillside with trees hobbiton

Never a more appropriate bit of wisdom for then and now

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To end our day we went to the glow worm caves.  It was interesting but not really worth taking space on this already very long blog post…  In the end it was a lovely day in middle earth.

(We find the best little places to eat in the least expected places!)

Day 89 (August 18th) – Kerikeri in the rear view mirror and onto our southbound adventures…first stop Hamilton and the Temple

We knew it was time to leave Kerikeri when we had the entire downtown memorized and started recognizing people at the ATM machine…waitress from Ake Ake, salesman from the sporting goods store and Bob from the Barfoot and Johnson Real Estate. Leaving Kerikeri marked the beginning of the travel part of the sabbatical.  I think Bob would have rather just stayed settled into our routine.  I was ready for a new adventure.  So off we go…

First stop on our way to Rotorua was Hamilton, just an hour south of Auckland and the LDS Temple…

The temple sits on top of a hill in the outskirts of town and is surrounded by 3000 acres (estimate) owned by the church.  It became evident that this was not just a temple site and visitors center.  This was a compound of historical and new buildings the likes of what you would see in Salt Lake City.  In fact the sister missionary said that Hamilton is the Salt Lake City of New Zealand.  Surrounding the buildings were acres of amazing landscaped parks, playground and pathways.  It was hard not to do the math on what this must have cost. The Stake Center was dedicated just 4 weeks ago.  Bishop Davies was one of the GA’s that came for the dedication as he is over all the temple construction and remodeling.  He told the congregation it is the most beautiful Stake Center in the church and he was NOT KIDDING!  The chapel alone was spectacular with large LED screens for those on the stand to watch the meeting on.  It was like a mini (very mini) conference center.  With Sunday being just a few days away we determined we would make the 1 1/2 hour drive back to experience it.  It did not disappoint…


Day 84 (August 13th) Count your blessings instead of sheep.

I love this movie and I love this song.

My prelude into this blog… enjoy.

Preview YouTube video White Christmas Count your Blessings

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Bob and Christi Picture

I am not one to be very open about my life.  Rose colored glasses comes to mind when it comes to writing honestly.  I do not want you to know my struggles just my victories.  As a biography it makes for boring reading and even worse, I have left the reader with no insight as to how I have worked through my struggles.  Resolutions that could benefit my posterity…and anyone else that might happen upon my life’s journey.  It is why I have no journals.  It breaks my heart that my grandchildren will have no record of my life, my stories, my trials and struggles and most importantly my triumph over them.  I am resolved to leave them my stories and hope that it comes in handy during trials of their own.

To be honest there have been moments on this sabbatical when it seemed the best thing to do was to just go home.  This intense focus on Bob and I and our future has been both hopeful and discouraging.  It would seem that after 40 years of marriage we would have a lot of lifes lessons figured out.  I have been inspired by thoughtful books, Ted Talks and articles during this sabbatical but theory is much easier than application.

There is hope in understanding

This is what I believe, I hope it helps.

Meyers Briggs

Rather you believe in the 16 personality types determined by the Meyers Briggs test or not, the fact remains that we are all uniquely different.  Even within the personalities are percentages measuring how much we lean into each personality type, evidence of how we come to the earth so uniquely us.  God intended it to be this way.  He needs each of us to stand apart and do our part.  Allow me to share two quotes that have empowered me to go in search of me…

“We detect rather than invent our mission in life.  We need to be aware of our own uniqueness and the singular contributions we can make to the world.” Stephen Covey

“Everyone has their own specific mission in life.  Therein they cannot be replaced, nor can their life be repeated.  Thus, everyone’s task is as unique as is his specific opportunity to implement it. “ Victor Frankl

With that said, I think it is one of the great human struggles…to honor ourselves and our mission and to empower those we love to do the same.  It is especially hard in marriage. The personal and intimate nature of the relationship of a husband and wife adds so many more layers to the complexities of life.  We kneel across an alter, make eternal promises, entrust our hearts to the care of our new spouse and then step outside the protection of that sacred moment and begin the process of weaving our live’s tapestry.

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Sometimes we don’t get to choose the color but if and when we do…I’d go for the “joyful” colors.

For Bob and I, we could not be more different.  Our tests show that our personality percentages measure up to 80% and 90% in each of the four categories.   Needless to say, it has been a struggle to know how to honor our differences in such a way that when our differences collide we are empowered to be ourselves without arming up for battle or folding in the middle of the conflict.

Honoring myself has been a very difficult challenge.  I remember reading in the book “Emotional Agility” that we never degrade our child the way we so quickly degrade ourselves.  It was a moment of clarity and a mantra when I start in on myself.

Count your many blessings

In church today, our closing song was “Count Your Many Blessings”.  I’ve never been really fond of the melody.  It feels like something a marching band should be playing.  I suppose that’s why I have never really listened to the words.  But in another Brenee’ Brown talk (she’s going to think I’m stalking her!) I listened to yesterday, she said that gratitude is not the product of joy….joy is the product of gratitude.  So when we started singing today in church I paid attention.

First Verse

Count your Blessings 1

Billows in the tempest would indicate your are in the middle of a storm on the ocean and that would my greatest nightmare.  Discouraged would be one way to put it but terror might be another and certainly being lost would mean more than “Where are my keys”.

I am now admonished to count my blessings…in a storm where waves and sails are billowing and all is lost?  Really, at this point I’m thinking, who wrote these lyrics?

To be honest, I know I would be both surprised and grateful to realize all that the Lord has done for me but I’m not sure this exercise would do much good except to distract me during the storm.

2nd Verse

Count your blessings 2

Burdens rest like elephants on my chest.  Sometimes it’s hard to breath.  Nighttime is the hardest.  The tenor singing group “Gentri” describes it perfectly in one of their songs:

“When the night is fast asleep, but my heart is still awake.  All my thoughts, they trouble me and it’s more than I can take”…and then the admonition…”Don’t let go.”

I have a new perspective on burdens.  I’ve spent many hours supplicating the Lord to ease my burdens.  These past five years I have felt abandoned as I prayed for direction on Consolari.  I felt divinely inspired and yet the heavens felt silent.  Just a few weeks ago and after several nights of watching documentaries of the Civil War I found myself more listening than praying in the early morning hours.  I began to imagine the prayers of those young boys dying on those battlefields and the cries of there mothers. The prayers to keep them safe from harm.  There were 650,000 mothers who did not get an answer to their prayers.  It was then that I realized that my burdens have been nothing…nothing in comparison.  Funding for a concert hall while all around me…well you get the picture.

That morning I did count my blessings, I got perspective and all my doubts were gone. I confess I haven’t been “singing all the day long” but I see more clearly, which makes me want to sing!  That clarity was tested just yesterday when I got an email from Sandy Nickerson from the Walton Family Foundation.  My plan was that when I received the email I would have Bob open it because I knew it would be a yes or no on the lead gift for Consolari and if it was a no, I would be devastated.  I saw her email, felt no panic and opened the email.  No anxiety.  Sandy asked me to call her.  We were able to quickly connect and had a lovely conversation about life and family.  The Foundation loves the project but it was not aligned with the Walton’s mission and they would not be offering funding.  Moment of truth…complete peace in my heart.  Complete calm.  Bob was shocked.  I think he was bracing himself for a few hard days with me falling apart which would have been a valid fear knowing my past disappointments.  It was like Frodo Baggins had handed me the ring and I passed the test. All my doubts just flew away.  So perspective and clarity was my antidote for burdens, especially when they are eternal.

Verse 3

Count your blessings 3

I’m not so envious of the land and gold thing.  Though there are those that look at my life and would say there is a reason for that…because you have known a little of that world yourself.  Those that know me well would understand.  Money cannot buy what I want most and that is to make God proud, to do what I was sent here to do on earth and to have these people with me for forever…

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Verse 4

count your blessings 4

I love breaking down words to fully understand how and why they were constructed. Discourage is a great word.  Dis – COURAGE.  I am a woman of courage and so my discouragements have never felt well in my soul.  Remembering that God is over all gives me permission to hand it over and stop fretting.  This life…what I often refer to as camping…is temporary.  Eternal views from vaulted skies gives me the courage I need. And if that weren’t enough, “angels will attend, help and comfort give you to your journey’s end”.  I have felt angels attend me.  I saw my Dad the other night in my dreams. He could not speak to me because he was still afflicted with Alzheimer’s but he held me. He was my angel that night.  The most powerful experience with angels, however, was when Chelsee had been laboring for over 24 hours to give birth to her stillborn son Peter. She was emotionally and physically exhausted and all we could do was stand by her and watch.  She then looked to me and asked me to pray.  I held her hand with my right hand and placed my left hand on her head.  I began to pray…Chelsee stopped me.  “Mom I need you speak louder…so everyone can hear”.  Then something came over me.  I felt a mantle, an authority to pray in earnest on behalf of my daughter.  A felt strength as I called upon the angels of heaven.  Chelsee had born enough, and born it with incredible courage and faith.  It was enough.  Within 30 minutes our little Peter was born…a perfect little boy, our angel in heaven.

Singing in the Rain

I love this movie…and I love this scene!

I’m singing in the rain
Just singing in the rain
What a glorious feelin’
I’m happy again
I’m laughing at clouds
So dark up above
The sun’s in my heart
And I’m ready for love
Let the stormy clouds chase
Everyone from the place
Come on with the rain
I’ve a smile on my face
I walk down the lane
With a happy refrain
Just singin’,
Singin’ in the rain

(I smile knowing that anyone reading this is singing the old show tune!)

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The Challenge:

Elder Uchdorft describes God’s blessings as rain pouring down from heaven.  The problem is we all put up our hypothetical umbrellas to block them.  How can you count them if you won’t receive them. (

Bob and I are putting the promise of gratitude to the test.  I’ll start by saying I’m grateful this blog is finished!



Day 84 (August 13th) Last Sunday in the Bays, Ents and Best Thai ever…

We have now visited 6 different branches/wards in the Northland of New Zealand.  I imagine our experience is much like that of a visiting authority from the church.  They get a broader idea of how the members are doing around the world.  Beyond the spirit of the branch one must consider the geography and demographics to determine what is needed and why the struggles. For instance most the branches we attended were small and for the most part economically challenged.  Bob pointed out that they were also beach front towns.  We made that observation because today we attended our first inland ward and it was by far the largest we have attended.  It felt, almost, like home.  The chapel was large, the pews were almost filled, they had a youth musical number (As Sisters in Zion and Armies of Helaman) and the pianist actually played the hymns we sang from the hymn book.  I realized I could actually sing the alto harmony!  They were overwhelming Maori and without exception, they were strong articulate members of the church. It also appeared to be a more affluent congregation.  We surmised that it was density of population.

With that said, the smaller branches seemed to be more friendly.  I think they were grateful for new hands to shake.

True to our Sabbath day activity we set off on our last place to see while in the Bay of the Islands.

This is Rainbow Falls and oddly enough it is almost in our backyard here in Kerikeri.  I personally thought it would be underwhelming.  As it turns out, the falls and the forest trail is the most majestic site we have seen so far.  The smell of the forest with its moist dirt and the moss hanging from the trees added to the delightful day.

Rainbow Falls

As I stood wondering how you could ride that waterfall down and survive…this is what Bob was thinking!

ENTS! You could see how in the “Lord of the Rings” movie they were able to find so many magical scenes to film in.  I personally imagined “Treebeard” waking up and carrying me around. That would be an awesome tourist attraction.  When you think about how trees NEVER move you realize why he moved so slowly!  Ents is an Anglo Saxon word meaning “Giants”.


And when we thought we had found all the great restaurants in Kerikeri we drive by a Thai restaurant just as we left the forest.  It was a risk to stop but we have revisited all the other restaurants enough that they were starting to say…”You again!”.  It was the best Thai food we have ever eaten.  I’m always a yellow curry fan and my dish did not disappoint.  Bob had the sweet and sour chicken. Food and presentation was amazing.

With only four more days of dining here, we are making a list of the final four restaurants we want to eat at:

Thai, Kauri Cliffs, Ake Ake and Whakepui.

Maybe I’ll let Bob weigh in…

Day 81 (August 10th) “Post”ing our future and going gray.

This is the ever changing window into our work here in New Zealand.  We have mixed both A/R’s as my son would call them (Action Required) which is Bobs thing.  I added all the “emotional theory filter”.  We will whittle away at this until we come home with a clear idea as to how we want to live the balance of our lives and yes, that is the view from our bedroom window these past 6 weeks!  Sheep roaming the Shire…

Work on the window

As you begin to think through a balance of life plan the first thing you do is give it a timetable.  It is a bit sobering to realize that the time Bob and I have on earth, God willing, comes close to the time we spent in our homes in both Gilbert and Mesa.  I still feel so young!   Aging is a reality that is hard to embrace when you are young.  I could not imagine a day when I would look into a mirror and see gray hair, wrinkles…and the “neck”.  Well the only solution to the “neck” are turtlenecks which  means I’m going to have live in cool weather the rest of my life.  You can make bad decisions in your youth that you think you can outrun, that they will never catch up to you.  They will.  On the other hand, good decisions produce a lifetime of joy.  My life, though it has had its challenges, has been a lifetime of joy and this is why.  We are missing our oldest grandkids and of course Peter but look at that family!

Family Picture Christmas 2016 copy.jpeg

No regrets.  

On the lighter side ~ I have been thinking about growing out the gray.  With Kristen Sanders in America…I haven’t had much of a choice but I’m kind of liking the idea of going more natural.  We will see my resolve when I get home.  I will unpack and go see Kristen.  Those are my two top priorities when I land in Phoenix.

What do you think?


Day 79 (August 8th) Early morning rise and thinking about our family

Jessica sent this the other day.  It really puts into perspective how far away we are.  The Northland is somewhat tropical but if you close your eyes and imagine Vermont…it all of a sudden feels much closer! Oh, and Jessica…you need to charge your phone:).

so much water

Though we are far away, I’m so grateful most of you were able to gather for a weekend at the ranch.  I’m even more grateful for all the pictures and videos you are sending!!!

This one of Tessi laying on Chancy’s head is priceless.  Tessi on Chancy

So many blessings in the back of a truck!

kids in truckbed