Our Vision Video

While in Australia last year, Ryan took his video camera.  He finally had a chance to put some of the footage together.  We’re excited to share the first of what we hope will be many videos.  You can also watch the video on our website- both the video page and our financial page. This introduces you to the places where we hope to live and work.  Happy watching!

The music is from claybird, a group of Fremantle locals.  You can listen to it and buy it on iTunes as well.  Enjoy!

On This Day in History

Happy May Everyone!  Here are a few random fun facts to welcome this new month.

On May 1st 1786 Mozart’s opera “Marriage of Figaro” premiered in Vienna, Austria.

buffalo bill

On May 1st 1883 “Buffalo Bill” Cody put on his 1st Wild West Show.

On May 1st 1920 Babe Ruth hit his 50th career homerun and his first homerun for the Yankees.


On May 1st 1941 Orson Welles’ movie Citizen Kane premiered in New York.

On May 1st in 1966 the Beatles played their last British concert at Empire Pool in Wembley.


On May 1st 1967 Elvis Presley married Priscilla Ann Beaulieu in Las Vegas.

On May 1st 1991 the Milwaukee Brewers beat Chicago Cubs, 10-9, in 19 innings. (I had to throw that one in for Ryan.)

Happy Epiphany!

Today is January 6th also known as Epiphany or Three Kings Day.  This is the end of the 12 Days of Christmas and part of celebrations in many countries.  We often forget the non-hallmark holidays since many people went back to work as usual here on Monday.  But once again I was reminded when I texted a friend and they told me that they would be busy for the “remainder of the nativity feast”.


So here is a little about the meaning of and the traditions around Epiphany.  I was first introduced to this when I lived in Germany, where the tree was decorated on Christmas Eve (with real candles!) and it was left up until after Three Kings Day.  I didn’t really understand the significance but once I looked more closely at the church calendar it started to click.

Epiphany is the celebration and recognition of Jesus as the son of God.  It fits with Three Kings Day because this day was a celebration of the visit of the magi.  They came, worshipped him, acknowledged him as the son of God and gave him gifts fitting for his life and death (Matthew 2:1-12).  In some places, like Germany, boys and girls dressed as the wisemen go from house to house singing and collecting money for charity.  Once again I don’t remember all the details but Three Kings Day is definitely still celebrated in the Catholic church in many parts of Germany.  It would be fun to know about more traditions and church celebrations from other places.

I remember being told that the 12 Days of Christmas song, that is popular here in the US, also has spiritual significance but after doing a little digging I’m no longer sure that the spiritual meaning wasn’t just added recently.  I love finding Christ and the gospel signified in cultural or other contexts but I’m not a fan of attributing spiritual meaning where there really isn’t any.  I’ll keep researching but for now my position is that the 12 Days of Christmas is just a secular song that’s exhausting and fun to sing, gold rings, pear tree and all.

But I did find a different song of English origin, A New Dial, that dates much later (around 1625).  There is no doubt of the spiritual significance in this song as they count down the 12 days of Christmas.  And so I will leave you with these lyrics which can be found many places but I got these ones here.  Happy Epiphany everyone!  What a sweet day to remember that Jesus is God’s son.

A New Dial
What are they that are but one?
We have one God alone
In heaven above sits on His throne.

What are they which are but two?
Two testaments, the old and new,
We do acknowledge to be true.

What are they which are but three?
Three persons in the Trinity
Which make one God in unity.

What are they which are but four
Four sweet Evangelists there are,
Christ’s birth, life, death which do declare.

What are they which are but five?
Five senses, like five kings, maintain
In every man a several reign.

What are they which are but six?
Six days to labor is not wrong,
For God himself did work so long.

What are they which are but seven?
Seven liberal arts hath God sent down
With divine skill man’s soul to crown.

What are they which are but eight?
Eight Beatitudes are there given
Use them right and go to heaven.

What are they which are but nine?
Nine Muses, like the heaven’s nine spheres,
With sacred tunes entice our ears.

What are they which are but ten?
Ten statutes God to Moses gave
Which, kept or broke, do spill or save.

What are they which are but eleven?
Eleven thousand virgins did partake
And suffered death for Jesus’ sake.

What are they which are but twelve?
Twelve are attending on God’s son;
Twelve make our creed. The Dial’s done.

ESL Christmas Cheer

Today was my last day subbing for the adult ESL class.  We still did some learning but all the exercises were done with red and green pens for just a little festive flair.  We also listened to Christmas carolers from the other classes and a couple of my students brought in some delicious food so we had our own little celebration.

CarolingIn the new year, the regular teacher will be back and I will return to subbing for many different classes.  I’m glad that I had the opportunity to get to know these students better by seeing them on a regular basis.  And it was very fun to kick off Christmas break with some food and unscripted time together.


Getting to Know Camarillo

Each place I move has a different feel, a different sense of community and a different way of celebrating their uniqueness.  For example: Ukarumpa has Hamburger Night, community theatre and Banquet.  Sacramento has 2nd Saturdays, art walks and the Capital.  Santa Barbara has both the ocean and mountains, State Street and 1st Thursdays.  And now I’m getting to know Camarillo.

Concertinthepark2Camarillo has the Outlets, old town where they have a weekly farmers market, and concerts in the park.  Concerts in the park are held during the summer and they are free for the community.  They have a great variety of music and it’s fun for all ages.  This summer they have everything from a tribute to Elvis, to the Rat Pack and last Saturday was country night.  People put out chairs and blankets starting Thursday night to save their spots on the lawn at Constitution Park.

IMAG0005I definitely felt like I was getting into the summer feeling when I went out early Friday morning to put down my blanket.  A lot of people had already staked out their spots and saved them with chairs and blankets.  We chose a nice Starwars blanket to save our space for the country concert 🙂   Since it’s in the neighborhood, Ryan and I just walked over.  And the park people bring in porta-pottys, designate walkways on the lawn and generally make it a pleasant experience for the crowd that gathers.

Concertinthepark1And a crowd certainly gathers.  Starting late afternoon on Saturday people bring picnics and start hanging out in the park.  There are families, couples and groups of people just enjoying the good weather and fun atmosphere.  Some people go a bit crazy and bring tables and we even saw a couple flower centerpieces.  But I guess that’s just how Camarillo rolls.  And because Saturday was country night, people came in their boots, hats and ready to dance.  There was a lot of two-stepping and line dancing going on by the stage.  It was a lot of fun and I am looking forward to more concerts in park!


#11-#13 Why I Love My Husband

#11- His sense of care and protection.  For example: when we go on walks, he purposefully walks on the outside closest to the street. We rarely walk on busy or dangerous roads so in some ways this is a formality but he genuinely wants to protect and care for me.  With this little gesture, he is putting actions behind his words.

#12- His willingness to sell/get rid of many of his DVDs, baseballs cards and records.  Since we are hoping to be mobile, we don’t have the storage capacity for everything.  Ryan has begun the process of sorting through his large collections.  Anyone interested in buying DVDs, baseball cards or records, let me know.  We’ll make you a great deal!

IMG_0348DVDs lined up alphabetically on our wall.  The line extends well into the shadows.

IMG_0350Yes, these tubs are filled with baseball and even some football cards.  I love hearing Ryan’s collecting stories.  Some of these cards came with pizza and most of them are filled with sweet memories.  How about starting a collection for one of your kids?

IMG_0352This is just a fraction of the records Ryan is willing to part with.  But he’s not getting rid of everything because there is something still very special about listening to music on vinyl.

#13- His commitment to me.  He reminds me often that he is committed to loving me and making our marriage work.  His words help me to feel safe and secure in our relationship.

Check out the first 10 reasons why I love my husband: #1-#4, #5-#7, #8-#10.  Ryan is a wonderful, remarkable man.

Waltzing Matilda and the Library

When a friend of mine gave me the opportunity to substitute in a school library for the next two weeks, I jumped at the chance.  Not only is it an excuse to head up to Santa Barbara a couple days a week but it’s fun to get to spend time with some cool kids and share some more about Australia and Papua New Guinea.  This week we will be talking about poetry and Banjo Paterson.  This interesting guy wrote the lyrics to Waltzing Matilda as well as lots of other poetry.


Waltzing Matilda is Australia’s unofficial national anthem.  And I’m pretty sure just about every Australian knows the chorus if not most of the verses too.

Check out this YouTube video (Waltzing Matilda) for an explanation of some of the lyrics and to hear this tune.  Be warned, it’s catchy so you might be singing it for the rest of the day.

Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong
Under the shade of a coolibah tree,
And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled:
“Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me?”

Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda
You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me
And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled:
“You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me.”

Down came a jumbuck to drink at that billabong.
Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him with glee.
And he sang as he shoved that jumbuck in his tucker bag:
“You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me.”

Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda
“You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me”,
And he sang as he shoved that jumbuck in his tucker bag:
“You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me.”

Up rode the squatter, mounted on his thoroughbred.
Down came the troopers, one, two, and three.
“Whose is that jumbuck you’ve got in your tucker bag?
You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me.”

Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda
“You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me”,
“Whose is that jumbuck you’ve got in your tucker bag?
You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me.”

Up jumped the swagman and sprang into the billabong.
“You’ll never take me alive!” said he
And his ghost may be heard as you pass by that billabong:
“Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me?”

Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda
“You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me”,
And his ghost may be heard as you pass by that billabong:
“Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me?”

The Spirit Moves- Yes it does!

This is just a brief overview of this past weekend in South Carolina.  The conference will be the subject of my November Newsletter so I look forward to sharing more with you after Ryan and I have had more time to process the experience.

IMG_9898Day in and day out, the Spirit of the Lord is moving.  Interactions with the call to go has many different manifestations but every Christian is called to respond.  As Giotis, a pastor from Greece, pointed out- It’s about ordinary people, living ordinary lives with Gospel intentionality.

IMG_9897This weekend was an amazing mix of reunions, soul stirring worship, face to face team time, vision sharing, encouragement and receiving nourishment from the word of God thanks to some great speakers.  The music was led by Kevin Twit.  If you haven’t listened to Indelible Grace, which was founded by Kevin Twit, you should!  Check it out on their website Indelible Grace Music.

IMG_9893One of my favorite things this weekend was being able to spend time with my friend Shannon.  Here we are pictured enjoying the falls in downtown Greenville.  Shannon is currently raising support to work with the Perth team as a visual artist.  You might have heard me talk about her tea bag art but if you follow her blog Yellow Brick Studio then you will be able to track her progress and see parts of her latest work which includes lots of paper straw covers!


A Didgeridoo in Washington

Yesterday I hiked a mountain in eastern Washington and listened to the sound of the didgeridoo echoing across the hills outside of the tri-cities.  My friend definitely married a cool guy.  His didgeridoo playing attracted interested parties and brought us some fun conversations.  Today I am back in California after an overnight in Oregon.  The road trip may be over but the memories remain!


How fast can an Emu run?

Want to know the name of one of the smallest but most deadly animals in the ocean?  How about why sharks never stop swimming?  Or why water temperature is important to saltwater crocodiles?  All these facts and more can be found in my latest Newsletter from June.   This short but informative read might even leave you singing an Aussie Animal tune.  And if just reading the newsletter wasn’t enough to jog your music memory, how about these YouTube videos.  Kookaburra sits in the Old Gum Tree and Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport.  Happy Singing!