Enjoying Santa Barbara

IMG_20160319_162955We’ve truly enjoyed our week in Santa Barbara.  It’s been filled with lots of people time, great conversations, settling into a new work rhythm, plenty of laughter and long walks.  Tomorrow we head further south to enjoy a family Easter celebration before settling in Camarillo until the end of the month.IMG_20160319_163126After our time in the rainy north, we have enjoyed the southern California sun.  Today was a bit overcast but just like this sweet little seal, we soaked up the sun we did get.  Santa Barbara is always a beautiful, enjoyable stop and we’re privileged to have this as one of our homes during this season of traveling for work.IMG_20160319_165513

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

‘Twas the night before Christmas; there wasn’t a sound.
Not a possum was stirring; no-one was around.
We’d left on the table some tucker and beer,
…Hoping that Santa Claus soon would be here;
We children were snuggled up safe in our beds,
While dreams of pavlova danced ’round in our heads;
And Mum in her nightie, and Dad in his shorts,
Had just settled down to watch TV sports.
When outside the house a mad ruckus arose;
Loud squeaking and banging woke us from our doze.
We ran to the screen door, peeked cautiously out,
Snuck onto the deck, then let out a shout.
Guess what had woken us up from our snooze?
But a rusty old Ute pulled by eight mighty kangaroos.
UtewithKangaroosThe cheerful man driving was giggling with glee,
And we both knew at once who this plump bloke must be.
Now, I’m telling the truth it’s all dinki-di,
Those eight kangaroos fairly soared through the sky.
Santa leaned out the window to pull at the reins,
And encouraged the ‘roos, by calling their names.
‘Now, Kylie!
Now, Kirsty!
Now, Shazza and Shane!
On Kipper!
On, Skipper!
On, Bazza and Wayne!
Park up on that water tank. Grab a quick drink,
I’ll scoot down the gum tree. Be back in a wink!’
So up to the tank those eight kangaroos flew,
With the Ute full of toys, and Santa Claus too.
He slid down the gum tree and jumped to the ground,
Then in through the window he sprang with a bound.
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He had bright sunburned cheeks and a milky white beard.
A jolly old joker was how he appeared.
He wore red stubby shorts and old thongs on his feet,
And a hat of deep crimson as shade from the heat.
His eyes – bright as opals – Oh! How they twinkled!
And, like a goanna, his skin was quite wrinkled!
His shirt was stretched over a round bulging belly
Which shook when he moved, like a plate full of jelly.
A fat stack of prezzies he flung from his back,
And he looked like a swaggie unfastening his pack.
He spoke not a word, but bent down on one knee,
To position our goodies beneath the pine tree.
Surfboard and footy for us two.
And for Dad, tongs to use on the new BBQ.
A mysterious package he left for our Mum,
Then he turned and he winked and he held up his thumb;
He strolled out on deck and his ‘roos came on cue;
Flung his sack in the back and prepared to shoot through.
He bellowed out loud as they swooped past the gates –

“MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, and GOOD ON ‘YA, MATES!”

Adapted by Yvonne Morrison

Possum Magic- Book Review

Children’s books are very special to me.  I love re-reading the books that I grew up enjoying but I also love reading new adventures and falling in love with new characters.  A friend recently introduced me to this very fun book, Possum Magic, that highlights some of Australia’s unique animals and food.

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Take a trip around Australia with Hush and Grandma Poss.  These sweet animals will steal your hearts with their curiosity and adventurous spirits.  And this book has the magic of making you hungry too:-)

Launch in Still Life

We’ve made it through two days and have three left to go.  Thank you for praying us through.  Here are a few pictures of this week so far:

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The circle of chairs where we have worship and devotions each morning.  Many families have kids with them through this process.  Although they aren’t with us all day, they do make an appearance in the evening for dinner and toys, like this truck get scattered about.  Children are a blessing.

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The walls are being slowly covered with the discussions and topics we are covering this week.  Although the content isn’t new to me, it is great to refresh and have new conversations from different perspectives.

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These notebooks are our lifeline for the week and Ryan is dutifully taking notes.  Snacks help keep us alert and this bag of crispy m&ms was a gift from our airplane seat mate.  Thanks Sparkle!

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And each evening we get to return home to our friend’s house and their two purring kitties.  Instead of a hotel, they graciously offered for us to stay with them since they are also attending Launch this week.

Comparing PNG and Australia

I’ve done a lot of thinking about the similarities and differences between Australia and Papua New Guinea.  These countries are close together and both have a special place in my heart.  Australia and PNG are, of course, very different countries but they have many similarities.  They share some of the same unique animals; cassowaries, tree kangaroos, wallabies and other marsupials.  They are also both common wealth countries.  Papua New Guinea was under Australian control until 1975 when Australia freely gave PNG it’s independence.  This is another reason for some similarities in certain laws and governmental practices.  But there are also many differences, starting with size.

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Papua New Guinea may be much smaller but it has significantly more languages being spoken.  Australia has some aboriginal and immigrant languages spoken in addition to English but Papua New Guinea is the country with the most languages spoken in the world.  There are over 800 languages spoken in PNG in addition to English, Tok Pisin and Hiri Motu which are the three official languages.

I did a quick search for other similarities and differences and found some really interesting information.  Papua New Guineans make 93% less money and they are also not high energy consumers using almost 88% less oil and almost 95% less electricity than Australians.  In our world of very high consumerism, Papua New Guinea is doing pretty well for our planet.  This is consistent with my experience while living there.  I was less of a consumer, bought most of my clothing second hand, relied more often on my own feet for transportation, ate more locally and organically and much more.

Each country I have lived in is very different.  I look forward to discovering more about Australia once we are living there:-)

Spiders

A Noiseless Patient Spider  By Walt Whitman

A noiseless patient spider,
I mark’d where on a little promontory it stood isolated,
Mark’d how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,
It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.
And you O my soul where you stand,
Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them,
Till the bridge you will need be form’d, till the ductile anchor hold,
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.

epa03133643 Thousands of spiders build new spider webs after floodwaters forced them to move to higher grounds, in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia on 06 March 2012. Reports state that more than 9000 people have been evacuated from Wagga Wagga as flooding continues to ravage vast areas of New South Wales.  EPA/LUKAS COCH AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT

A recent article, It’s raining spiders in Australia, showed up in my newsfeed this week.  Australia is known for interesting, crazy animals and animal related stories.  This is one of the those crazy times that is almost unbelievable but it’s true.  According to the New York Post, usually during August and May, spiders descend on a city in New South Wales, causing the ground to be covered in what looks like snow but is actually the cotton-like thread from the spider’s webs.  According to the article, this even inspired Walt Whitman’s poem.

Happy Kiss-iversary!

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Two years ago today I stood in this spot, Ryan held out a flower, asked me to be his girlfriend and he kissed me for the first time.  Thanks to Ryan’s ability to remember and recall dates for this one.  I knew we started dating sometime in March but he remembered March 18th as that special day.  Today we went back to the scene, our friend’s backyard, to reminisce (they were at work but had given us permission to hang out for a bit).  We fed the fish in the pond, hung out in the hammock for awhile and remembered many of the things have happened in the last two years.  Happy Kiss-iversary Ryan!

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