Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Merry Christmas to all!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tuesday's Tangent...

I remember an assignment from my early school days....  to describe something so an alien visiting from another planet would understand what you're talking about.   I think that I even used this concept when working w/ one class to describe 'popcorn'...  Pretend you're writing for someone who's never seen, heard, smelled, touched it before...  someone not from our planet...

Sometimes that's what I'd like to say to people I come in contact with...  pretend I'm from another planet and don't have any knowledge of what you're taking about... start at the very beginning...  'cuz really, I'm not from around here.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

St. Nick in Oz....

At Brenna's last Surf Life Saving Club gathering, they had a special visitor!!  Santa came in... 

The kids, in their SLSC uniforms, running out to meet the Big Guy as he rides the waves in...

Santa riding in on the "rubber duck" to greet the kids....

Santa making it safely to shore.  Brenna's to the very left of the pic... ;-)

Santa talking w/ the kids...  Isn't it great that he's wearing his red and yellow surf life saving club hat!  Safety first.  Brenna's in this pic too.  She's got her "rashie" on to keep out UV rays and keep away board rashes.

Santa even took some time to greent he little ones... 
What a fun morning!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

See Brenna and Darian on Santa's List

This was so easy and so fun!  I checked and both kids made it on the good list.  ;-)

Here's Brenna's

Here's Darian's

You can send your picture to Santa and see which list you've made this year too.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday Flashback...

My sweet little sis...
over 20 years ago...
Who tolerated me dressing her up and making her pose for countless photo shoots. 
We have numerous shots through the years, guess I was going for the western look here.
It was fun having a little sister to dress-up, well, fun for me anyway.
Happy Birthday, Jane!
Love you!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Aussie Jingle Bells


but please note... a "thong" = flip flops :-)

Thanks to my neighbor, Joy, for sharing the video with me!

Thankful Thursday

Technology is a wonderful thing.  It's amazing that i can chat face-to-face with family and friends across the world through the internet!  Being able to stay connected across the miles brings me much joy.  The process boggles my mind, but i don't need to understand it to appreciate it... and i sure do appreciate seeing familiar faces now and again.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday Flashback...

Sharing a moment together
We were spinning in circles and hanging upside down.
Brenna's 3 years old.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thankful Thursday

In the rollercoaster that is life, the ups and downs are more tolerable when shared with friends.  When we moved to the other side of the globe, I wondered how that journey would change, would I be taking those ups and downs alone, or isolated? 

I am thankful beyond words, and amzingly blessed, to discover that although I may be far away, I'm still surrounded and supported by friends.  There are still many hand offered to celebrate the good with us, or hold our hands through the difficult.  God is good.

Thanks to all the friends who shared in the excitement with us when Brenna was elected female School President for next school year!  Yes, I am extremely proud of her!  And thankful that she can see so many other excited for her achievement as well.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Trying to get in the spirit...

learning a new Aussie jingle...  ;-)

hope you enjoy it!
(and can see it!)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Finding the right words

I am not good with words.  In high school, I would frequently ask my Mom to help me find a word.  Actually, I just fired questions at her, trying to come up with the word I wanted... "I need a word kinda like...", "I think it starts with...", "It's a little different than..."  I don't know if she even answered, but eventually I found the word I was looking for.  Yeah, she even got calls from me during college to find help me find the right words.

Now, in a odd twist, the words have changed.  I'm still speaking English, my native tongue, but it's not all the same.  I recently had a chat w/ my daughter on the walk home from school.  She rattled off some of the highlights of her day.  I responded with a confused look.  :-/  She quickly 'translated' the Aussie speak that she had quickly incorporated into her vocabulary.  Obviously, I'm not there yet.

It's rather strange to know what I want to say, and not have the right words to say it.  Well, I suppose that's not too strange after all.  ;-)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday Flashback...

a priceless moment...
making mountian pies w/ Pappy in PA
a time honored tradition on our summer (and other) visits
it's warm enough in Oz to be thinking about mt. pies
Looks like D's going for some cherry... mmm....

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thankful Thursday

It often amazes me how people can say or do something very meaningful to me when they think what they've done is ordinary.  You know, one of those moments when someone unexpectedly lifts you up when you're down, or gives you encouragement when you're feeling unsure.  I believe that God's hand is guiding, or perhaps prompting that moment.  But no matter how it happens, it makes me quite thankful for those moments and those friends.

Although we no longer live close to many of friends and family, I still get those unexpected, just-at-the-right-time encouragments.  But instead of a smile, a hug, or a kind word, they come in the form of a facebook post, an email, or a bit of mail. 

God has been good to me, by the friends and family I'm blessed with and their kind and caring hearts.  Thank you, God.  And, thank you, dear, sweet friends... each and every one of you. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tuesday's Tangent...

If you know me well, or perhaps even at all, you will have noticed that I often talk in tangents. I move from one topic to another without a clear, understandable connection, well, at least not to the casual observer.

So here's a new weekly addition (i hope) to my blog... Tuesday's tangent... allowing you, my dear (but few) readers, to go on a random tangent w/ me. (it is quite an honour, i know).

I have realized i have 'comfort clothes'. Clothes that I like to wear when I'm feeling a little unsettled or unsure. Some people do 'comfort food'... surely, 'comfort clothes' makes sense too.
well, it does to me! ;-)
oh, look! a chicken.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Turkey Time Down Under!

Oddly, there's no days off school or work on the fourth Thursday of November in Australia. ;-) To adjust w/ the lack of official holiday, we decided to create a new fourth-Thursday tradition... meat pies! (or actually, pie of your choice) Here's the family enjoying their yummy pies and drinks brought from home. mmm....


And then, on to the turkey...

Despite the fact that the high for the day was in the 80's, I just had to cook a turkey for our first Thanksgiving in Oz... with all the trimmings. Looking back, that might not have been the brightest idea, but it did make for a memorable day! Thankfully, I was able to find oven bags, just not jumbo turkey sized ones. So a couple adjustments had to be made. But I was able to find some important elements like jellied cranberry sauce and close-enough spinich dip ingredients.

Shawn and Darian took apart the kitchen table to set up a grand dining area in the back room. It felt just like a Sunday dinner at Grams. :-)

Cooking in the kitchen... veggies ready to roast, two crock pots cooking, stuffing and cheesy green beans on the stove... all looking good... but why do I need a flash light??? hmm...

Passing or gathering food....

One end of the kids' table! The kids outnumbered the adults. I'm so thankful that Darian and Brenna had friend that were willing and able to come join us in sharing a bit of our culture. One of D's friends asked how often we did Thanksgiving.

The whole gang... all Aussies except us. And I think it's the first time I've worn a skirt. I'm sure it's the first time I've been so warm.

Brenna and her friends chillin' after dinner... and enjoying a healthy dessert.

Darian and his friends checkin' out some videos on uTube. Ya do what you can when there's no football on. ;-)
And time to play outside... all the kids together. It was a great moment to see!
A tasty end to a great day! The desserts were a hit. Even though pumpkin is ususally cooked as a 'savory' or side dish here (roasted or as a soup), several of our friends tried the pumpkin pie and a few even liked it!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday Flashback...

flashing way back....

June, 1991
my cousin Jill, me, and my little sis Jane
after my high school graduation ceremony
oh, how i loved that dress!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful Thrusday

I love holidays! Especially those that bring people together! which means, I really love the American holiday of Thanksgiving! While it's great to remember our roots and the thankfulness of survival, harvest, and the beginning of a country, I love the time with people!

I started cooking the Thanksgiving turkey the first year I was married. (but we didn't eat it together... though that's another story). And have taking over the holiday since then, and gladly. I love having family and friends over, eating together and making memories. Our thanksgivings have been shared w/ friends from Korea and England, planned visitors as well as surprise guests. And it all fills me w/ many warm fuzzies.

I'm sad to be away from all my traditions this year, but thankful for all the memories of the past, all the good times and blessings. And some of me is excited to begin new traditions while cherishing the past.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thankful Thrusday

Besides being thankful today, that although I missed Thurs. in Australia, it's still Thursday in the states, of course!
This week I've been thankful for the courage, resiliance, togetherness, and support that my children have shown.

Despite being unable to participate in Surf Life Saving Club and being quite discouraged last week because of an inadequate swim time, Darian has gone to the pool every day this week to improve his swimming (to the best that I can help him) for this week's timed swim. He has not given up or backed down. I am impressed.

Brenna has gone along to the pool and encouraged her brother with his swimming.

This week, Brenna has been nominated to run for school principal (like school president, i think) for next year. She has spent her evenings working on "Vote for Brenna" posters. For being new to the school, that's wonderful! Yesterday, Darian started helping make posters. :-)

May God allow them to continue to be courageous, resiliant, and supportive as He leads them through the paths of life.

These pics are just for fun... 'cuz everyone loves to play in the rain!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

a little catch-up

I don't have a very good track record at keeping this updated. Once again, I'll try to do better. (for anyone who might check here now and again, not sure who that might be)

Since my last post...
  • *I had my first-ever suprise party!! I was so surprised, i forgot to take any pics. But it was fabulous. Shawn arranged it and i didn't have a clue. Well done, love!

  • The very next week, Darian was in the hospital unable to eat with a tube down his nose draining his stomach, and awaiting to hear if surgery was needed. Thankfully, his intestines fixed themselves and he was out within a week.

  • As a team, we participated in the Wollongong Relay for Life. Thanks to Shawn for organizing a team and Del for joining us for the event!

  • We experienced our first ever dust storm! Darian woke up to a red/orange sky. It was quite eerie. And dust covered every surface of everything. eek!

  • We enjoyed several visitors from around the state, as well as a few from the US. So glad to see so many loved faces and new friends.

  • We've had some wonderful dinners and gatherings with some dear Aussie friends, both in homes and at community events. They're so dear to me and are always there to offer a friendly explanation. :-)

  • The kids have joined a surf life saving club where they can learn about safety in the ocean and develop water skills and friendships.

  • We've welcomed a new team member, Noah Kai Whaley.

  • We're getting to know our neighbors and people around the communtity (schools, shops, clubs).

  • And we've been granted our visa! We feel like we've been waiting a long time for it. So, now I'm focused on finding a job.

Whew! now you're all caught up (though, i'm sure i've forgotten something). Hope it won't be so long next time. ;-) Maybe you can hear some of my thoughts and insights (or ponderings) soon.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Fifteen years! :-)

...and we've only just begun! :-D

Our wedding day
1994 - Plymouth, MI
in our house
2002 - Clinton Twp, MI

before a friend's wedding...
2008 - Jackson, TN

15 years together.
and a wonderful day of enjoying eachother.
2009 - Wollongong, Australia

Thursday, August 13, 2009

roller coaster

Darian, Brenna, and Aunt Jane at the beginning of a great day at Cedar Point for a HalloWeekend in October of '07.

I love ridin' roller coasters! In fact, one of my favorite summertime destinations is Cedar Point, "America's Roller Coast" in Sandusky, OH. Tons of rollercoasters, yummy park food, and great memories.
But lately, I've been on a different sort of roller coaster. Still lots of ups and downs, often in rapid succession, but not nearly the fun. Though sometimes I do get that queazy feeling in my stomach.

Adusting to a move can be hard. I had no idea how challenging it would be to add culture shock into that mix. It seems silly that we could experience culture shock in a country that so similar to our own. But it's definitely had it's shocking times. I think that it just might be more frustrating because we should understand the language and so many other things. But truly, it is a different country. Not only do they use some confusing words (or words in confusing ways), but there's also a difference in values and customs, things you can't see or touch.

While I ride this roller coaster, I'm trying to stay connected and share what's going on. Sometimes, that doesn't seem to work. Hopefully that will change, I'd like to bring you all along this journey.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It's been a while....

Sadly, I've been too quiet recently. I've discovered that it's difficult for me to want to share what's going on, what I've been processing when it's not all sunshine and roses.
The past couple months have been a crazy time of adjustment. Some obvious adjustments like moving, jet-lag, driving on the other side of the road, and using the metric systems. Others are not so expected, redefining roles, understanding different lingo (yes, even in an English speaking country), struggling with expectations and reality.

I've been told what I'm going through (as well as the rest of the family) is "normal", but it doesn't make it any easier. Some days, I question my intellegence, since it surely shouldn't take so long to accomplish a menial, common task. (that surely I could do in my sleep in the states).

My goal is to me more "vocal" here, sharing not only daily events and pics, but also some interal struggles and crazy moments. We'll see how that goes.

The family after our first "footie" (rugby) game. I had a blast! (don't think the kids were too impressed. maybe next time)
A day at Bombo Beach in the middle of winter. It was an unseasonably warm winter day, so we went exploring. Brenna asks every day if we can go to the beach. This day we let them get totally soaked! They laughed and played it the freezing (to me) cold water. Good times.
Everybody working together to assemble Darian's bed. It was a great moment to sleep on our own beds in our own (rented) place. Although it was more work than I expected to get settled. But it's good to be on that journey. At this point, we still don't have our shipment from the states (it was shipped out in early April, i think)

A day with the family on the rocky shore on Shellharbour. It was a cooler winter day and the waves were lovely to watch coming in. God's creation is amazing to observe. I'm often aware of it here. For I while I watched Shawn and Brenna out on the edge. Very cool.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

a bit of today...

We took some time to enjoy the city today... or mostly. After lunch and a peaceful, unhurried morning (but not in that order), we visited the lighthouse and watched the waves come in for a couple minutes. :-) The wind was strong and the waves were fierce. It was a beautiful sight. There was one brave surfer out... or at least at the beach near the lighthouse. (I however was wearing a sweatshirt!) Then we visited a local mall. (the mall's here include grocery stores, fresh fish shops, fruit markets, banks, and the 'normal' mall stuff) Just getting to know the area a bit.

Oh, and we drove around to look at potential rental properties. We've seen quite a few already and are working on an application for a couple. But, there's still some good possibilities out there. (The rental market here's a bit crazy. The leasing agent schedules an 'inspection' which is like an open house of the property (sometimes w/ the current tenant still there). Then those who are interested come for a look-see. There are usually between 5 and 20 interested parties, sometimes even more. And, they're all interested in the same properties. Several (we've hear of 27!) apply and the ones who pass the agent's approval get shown to the landlord who makes the final decision about who gets to rent the place. hmm....) I'll keep ya posted about how that goes. :-)

Thankfully, we've got a great place to stay while we're searching. :-D

pictures coming soon....

Saturday, May 16, 2009


The past year has been a time of waiting. But more importantly, it has been a time of growing. God in his infinite wisdom placed us in a loving community of fellow believers who would encourage, listen, teach and direct us in reflecting Jesus and his love in our lives. The year we spent among the Skyline family has helped me to grow in so many ways. And for that I am thankful. Deeply thankful.

Some special friends, Jeff and Ashley, who were a great help and comfort to me.
Some of the folks at our send-off party. Thanks for your support!
Love, kind words, and hugs after the elders' prayer for us on our last Sunday.
Gathering outside the host home just after putting suitcases in the car.
(i didn't have to carry one outside! wow!)
Getting in some last minute love and hugs from our loving Skyline family.
Our cups were filled and overflowing.

God has blessed us with amazing support and love. I am humbled by his provisions. God is good.