Sunday, December 28, 2014

Brisbane Christmas 2014

Christmas in the mission was a time of joy, tired feet, a lot of mail for the missionaries, laughter, pavlova, some old traditions, new experiences, heat and sun, Christmas fruit cake, gatherings, friends, sharing the gospel, gifts, using our talents, mince pies, christmas parade with live camels, goats, a donkey and reindeer, sand and surf, gifts from home, our Christmas newsletter, Skypeing family, "He is the Gift cards", some shopping, Aussie jingle bells, our gingerbread outback shack and best of all the reason for the season, celebrating His birth, His life and His love for us!

Saturday, November 29, 2014


The climate in and around Brisbane is sub tropical, the winters, about May through September are dry and cooler with a lot of sunshine. Summer, about December through March, is hot, humid and the wet season, including cyclones. Queenslander architecture started about 1840 in Queensland. Which is one of the states of Australia, this style of house can be found in other parts of Australia, but is very common in and around Brisbane. The house is built on posts. The posts serve several purposes. It is easier to have a level platform on which to build. Houses can be moved easier, it is easier to control pests (like termites), better for the flooding and torrential rains and last but not least air flowing under and around the house keeps it cooler. Some people put slats around the bottom for a decorative effect. Some have built underneath, providing more space for living. Back in the beginning one of the main features was always a large veranda, some of these homes are large and beautiful. Some just have a small porch. They are all built of timber and usually have tin roofs so the rain runs easily off. As we travel Brisbane we have seen many that look like haunted houses, people live in them but the upkeep is so expensive that they can't maintain them and then there are some gorgeous homes, with large verandas, detail work, well maintained, there is an interest in preserving this style. They are unique.
This week we had  a cyclonic storm. It came in fast and furious. We were at the mission office when it struck, the noise was deafening from the hail hitting the roof and windows. In our ward one house had 16 windows broken. The temple also had some windows broken. We were fine, but our car now has dimples all over from the hail stones. There was a lot of damage from uprooted trees falling on houses and cars, a lot of power outages. The storm was short lived but left a lot of damage. Most of the debri is cleaned up and the sun is shinning, the heat and humidity are climbing. Summer is here.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

In The Leafy Tree Tops

The trees in Australia enchant us. Forever more when we think of our time here we will remember the wonderful people we have met, the noisy, singing abundent birds and the fabulous trees. We have marvelled at artic beech trees in the rain forrest, magnificent banyan trees that children can play hide and seek among their roots, vine entwined trees, gum trees that line the banks of the rivers and roadways. The beautiful jacaranda trees that bloom purple in the spring and the aptly named bottle tree. One day we were driving in an area called New Farm and we happened upon Abbott street. The pavement goes around the trees and the trees look like chandeliers! We love all these truly amazing trees!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Earth With Her Ten Thousand Flowers... Bear This Record, God Is Love

Toowoomba is known as the Garden City of Australia. Every spring they have a flower festival where people can go and view the gardens, public and private. We spent a day with the flowers, flowering shrubs and blooming trees. We hope you enjoy the pictures, if only we could include the beautiful, sweet, floral aroma!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

It's the Light

On a recent P-day we took the opportunity to travel to Springbrook Mountain, a World Heritage Area.  Springbrook is a plateau that was formed millions of years ago from a massive volcanic eruption and is now part of the Gondwanna Rainforest.  There was a beautiful clear blue sky as we left the Briabane area but by the time we reached Springbrook the sky was cloudy and it looked like we were going to see why it is a rainforest.  When we arrived at the national park we carefully planned the places we would visit.  Beginning with a drive through the rainforest where we saw wallabys for the first time in the wild, they are fast and stay hidden, too fast for us to get a picture. We saw cookaburos, they might have been sitting in a gum tree. We arrived at an area called the Best of All Lookout.  After a gentle fifteen minute walk through the rainforest where he saw beautiful Antarctic Beech trees that are about 2,000 years old we came to the lookout.  The view was stunning, we could see Mt Warning and beyond to Byron Bay.  The clouds were thickening and you could see the rain approaching from the distance.  Returning to the car we next went to the Canyon Lookout.  When we arrived it was raining lightly but undeterred we donned our rain jackets and umbrellas and went to the viewing point.  The Canyon Lookout overlooks the valleys created by erosion, we took several pictures and back to the car for the next stop.  When we arrived at Goomoolahra Falls in the rain we followed the cool creek that runs through the forest and cascades over the rocks to the canyon floor 80 meters below.  The view from the top of the falls was fun with more pictures taken under umbrellas.  When we returned to the car the rain had stopped and the sun was coming out.  Being the photographers that we are we thought we would return to the Canyon Lookout to see if there was any difference in the sunlight.  This time no umbrellas, the sun was shining and the clouds were dispersing. From the lookout point the beautiful green color of the forest below popped.  The shadows created by the sunlight gave greater definition to everything, this time we could see just how jagged the cliffs are and the layers of lava flow were apparent.  We spotted several waterfalls that we didn't see the first time.  The contrast created by the light really added to the visual feast we were having.  This time we stood and pondered just how beautiful the creations of God are and thought about how the Light of Christ can have such an impact in people's lives.  We watch each week how when people are taught the gospel their lives begin to light up.  Their countenance becomes brighter, their smiles are numerous and they have more purpose in life which seems to make them happier.  Timing our day to end it with a hike at dusk to the Natural Bridge and Glow Worm cave.  We discovered that glow worms are really fly larvae that create a chemical reaction to glow in the dark to attract flies and insects to be captured and consumed by them.  As it became dark the glow worms began to appear on the cave ceiling like stars in the night sky. Who knew glowing fly larvae could be beautiful, but then we saw a lot of beauty on Springbrook Mountain, Australia.