Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
What is man's primary purpose?
The answer is “Man's primary purpose is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”
The Hoosier family has to add this question to our family's tenets:
What is our family's secondary purpose?
The answer is “The Hoosiers secondary purpose is to provide comic relief for their friends and family by sharing their various life trials and events so that those around them can experience a high level of entertainment and experience a reduction in their own life stress.”
By now, you are probably wondering “What in the world have the Hoosiers done now in New Zealand?”
On Monday, in the sporty rental car, Craig backed into a small wooden post causing a small dent in the bumper. Oops. No big deal, because we're thinking, American Express has an extra layer of car insurance for its card holders when they reserve and pay using your AMEX card. Or at least we thought they did, until this morning. Craig called American Express International Services to see what we would have to do before we returned the car only to discover that there are six countries that AMEX does not cover. Do I have to tell you any more? Yes, New Zealand is one of the six. After having the discussion of “why didn't AMEX alert me to this when I rented the car”, we embarked on a mission to get the dent out of the bumper. So instead of touring Taupo as a tourist, we went to the car wash (so we can truly assess the extent of the damage), the hardware store (so we could obtain the necessary tools to suction and/or beat the dent out of the bumper) and then to the local paint and body shop because the car wash showed us that the damage was noticeable and the tools at the hardware shop didn't work. The guy at the paint and body shop did inform us of how to take care of the problem and what would be a fair price to pay. However, he couldn't take care of it and we wouldn't be able to either without a source of heat with an extension card, a rubber mallet and a suction cup apparatus. Hmmmm...the conclusion was that there was no easy fix to this problem! UGH. AMEX did tell us that we could file a letter of reconsideration (I guess that is like filing a request for them to reconsider paying the claim?). Do you think this would really work? Well by this time it is after lunch now and we decide to continue to enjoy our day in Taupo as we ponder exactly what to do about this ummm little blip in our vacation. All we really have done all day is shake our head about it, not really believing this has happened! We will take pictures in the morning and run by the "panel beater" shop (aka body shop) for a written estimate prior to turning in the car in the morning and flying to Sydney. Surely, the week will get better? or is Alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good very bad day a true book?
Not all is lost though as we enter Taupo as true tourists and wander the streets that line the lake and take in some shopping. We walked into a hunting and fishing store only to discover the lady working there is a LSU fan!! What are the odds of that happening? And you know we do not believe in coincidences so we took that meeting and the time of fellowship as a gift from the Lord to encourage us to enjoy the day. Her kindness and warmth renewed our spirits. Here is a picture of her and Craig in the store....
By the way, did I mention that when we got up this morning it was -4 C? That is very cold. I didn't even do the conversion because here was my thought....if 0 C is our 32F then -4C is below freezing and who really cares exactly how far below freezing it is?......Its COLD!!
Lake Taupo is probably the most well-known and frequented tourist site on the north island of NZ. It is beautiful and to try to capture it by camera and/or video is next to impossible. However, we did try. Here are a few pickies......that's Kiwi for pictures:
Obviously, you get the idea that the scenery in NZ is beautiful. New Zealand has lush green landscapes and the sky is a brilliant blue. The water is clear and blue except in the thermal areas (see previous post and pics). The air is fresh and clean to breathe. Couple this scenery with some of the nicest people you will meet and you have a wonderful place to visit. Craig would like to become the travel ambassador for NZ – he thinks he could easily encourage people to visit New Zealand and bring their families!
Tomorrow, Thursday, we depart New Zealand and fly to Sydney, Australia for a new adventure. We are sad to leave NZ.....we haven't had enough time to see what we want to see nor to visit with enough Kiwis. We do want to put in a plug, though.....IF you ever have the opportunity to come this way, please do. You won't regret it, we promise!
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
We covered math first....we had to covert the outside temperature from Celsius to Fahrenheit because it was -1 C this morning !! Then we discovered we were doing math all day as we were converting metric measurements (kilometers to miles; kilometers per hour to miles per hour, etc.) By the end of the day, we were getting faster at this conversion process.
Next, we covered economics as we discussed the issues of cattle and sheep farming as we would pass miles and miles of pasture land full of herds of cows or sheep. I often thought about our Almighty and the phrase “He owns the cattle on a thousand hills”.
Then we visited a Maori village, where we toured a “live” thermal village. You can see their website at www.whakarewarewa.com. Our tour was fascinating to say the least and it covered such topics as cultural studies, history, language, science, home economics, and religion. How did we cove so much in one stop? The Maori people and their history enthralled us for almost two hours as we walked this village and listened to Anita, our tour guide who was a 4th generation Maori guide. Very personal, warm, kind, and friendly is how we would describe Anita. She shared the history of her people, their current cultural practices and some of their language as she escorted us through the village. This is a picture of a Maori sleeping house used in previous times (not currently).....
We covered science principles and home economics as she explained the active geothermal activity of bubbling mud pools, boiling mineral springs, silica terraces, and erupting geysers. This is Anita, explaining the thermal springs to us...
Here is a picture of a mud pool...they used to sell their mud for medicinal purposes but could not keep up with the demand so they stopped. They only use it for their people.
When she opened the hangi, she taught us how they cook their meals using this thermal activity to steam whatever they are cooking. Here is someone's dinner in a hangi.....
She also taught us how they use the thermal pools to blanch vegetables and cook puddings. Finally, Anita took us to one of the churches in the village. It happened to be an Anglican church and there is also a Catholic church. It surprised us that they had churches in their village. It surprised us more when she said “It doesn't matter what church you go to, at the end of the day there is only one supreme being.” Sad, isn't it ? She didn't see the need for revering God as we know Him. Unfortunately she feels it is okay to have any god and every god as long as you recognize that there is only one.
From the Maori village, we traveled a few miles down the road to Wai-o-Tapu, Thermal Wonderland. Off to a major science adventure, especially if you are into geothermal formations and physical science. “This is New Zealand's most colorful and diverse volcanic area.” The pools were varying colors from yellow to orange to lime green to just mud color. You can see their website at www.waiotapu.co.nz Here are some of our pictures of the colored pools.....
Thanks for joining us at school today.
Monday, June 22, 2009
We have had some good laughs, though. After getting our luggage and going through customs, we had to pick up our car rental. Easy enough, except for a minor detail. They drive on the opposite side of the road! Which means that the steering wheel and all the controls are on the right side of the vehicle. If you could have seen us in the Hertz rent-a-car parking lot! First, Craig tried to enter the vehicle from the left side (which is normal for us in the US); then, after we loaded and he got in on the correct side, he discovered all the controls were on the opposite side. He said it felt like driving while looking in a mirror. He only had to drive around the parking lot 2 times to “test” it out and then we were off. Thankfully, the sun wasn't up and we discovered that New Zealanders don't start their days very early. Rush hour was not until 8:30-9:00 am so he had plenty of time to practice before the roads got busy. The only thing that kept giving him fits was the blinker control and the gear shift. The gift shift for his vehicle at home is on his right; in this vehicle, it is on his left. He has parked the car twice only to discover later that it was never put in park prior to turning the ignition to off! Then, he discovered that every time he wanted to use the turn signals, the windshield wipers would come on. The funny part was that we were driving in beautiful sunny weather with the wipers going!!
Then check out these road signs.....do you know what they mean?
Friday, June 19, 2009
Hopefully our next post will be from Down Under....
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Many of you are wondering how that could be...."why, we are way too young to have been married that long." LOL!
You see, I was just 12 when I got married :0!!
I told that to someone today and she replied with "Well, you are from Alabama." (Imagine the drawl in that sentence.)
I laughed....you see, I am not from Alabama but from a close cousin (Louisiana) where marrying at a young age probably would have been acceptable.....that is if you could have convinced MY parents!
So as to not reveal our exact ages at marriage (I was over 12), the family "rule" I lived with was you had to finish your degree BEFORE you were eligible for matrimony. And that meant your undergraduate degree, not just a high school degree. I graduated from college in May, married Craig two weeks later, and then moved 350 miles away from family to start our journey. And what a journey it has been !
At times, marriage has been an arduous trek. And at other times, it has been a a slow, peaceful stroll. But, at ALL times, always with the Lord. He has never left us, nor forsaken us as we have traveled the path He has laid before us.
As Craig said from day one -
Our lives have been enhanced and enriched because the Lord gave us the blessing of marriage. He has taught us to rely on Him and to trust Him with all things and in all things. He has been faithful to two young adults who started out on this path 22 years ago who had little of nothing but each other, some huge hopes and dreams, and the Lord as our guide. We walked pathways we never dreamed we would walk and we have experienced struggles we never dreamed we would have to go through. We have experienced great highs and very low lows. All while we were learning not just about each other but, more importantly, about the Almighty God we love and serve. Love does grow deeper as the years go longer.....both for your spouse and for the Lord. What a wonderful God we serve!
We pray our marriage testimony, in some small way, encourages you in your walk with the Lord!
Many smiles to you........debra