"It's been a long, cold, lonely winter" - or at least a long, cold, rainy winter. I heard this morning that New Zealand hasn't seen a winter as rainy as this one has been since they started keeping track in 1973. If my math is correct (and it often is not), that means that it has been at least 37 years since winter has been this depressing in New Zealand. I think we had more rain this winter than they've had those 37 winters put together. No one here can think of 2 consecutive clear days in the past 4 months. I actually can't think of a single day that was clear from start to finish.
And then - this rainbow. Just when I was almost wishing the Lord would just officially send another flood and end it all, He set the sign of hope, the sign of His promise, in the sky once again and...He never lies. Five straight days of sun and warmth. Richard and I couldn't get over this rainbow. We'd never seen anything half as perfect in the American sky! It's the kind of rainbow you drew in bold colors as a child, before you realized that "rainbows" are usually just "faint fragments" that never have leprechauns sliding down them. This photo doesn't do justice to the intensity of the colors, nor can this post do justice to the lift in our collective spirits.
So, on the first day of this warmth and sun, we grabbed the girls and drove as quickly as we could to someplace, anyplace, where we could enjoy the "magnificent natural beauty" of New Zealand that we've heard so much about. We were not disappointed. The stunning scene above was about a 30 minute drive from our house - a petting farm situated on a mountain. As we hiked upwards (slowly - at the pace of a 14 month old) we fed, rode and petted every sort of beast, starting with piglets and chicks at the waterfall-studded mountain base and finishing at the summit with yaks and Texas longhorns. It may have been one of the top 20 most perfect days of our lives.
seriously cute lamb (or kid - we're not very good at that yet...)
the main attraction for our girls was
... a bug. naturally.
Richard's spirits were so fine and free
that he had a deep heart-to-heart with an
I think they discussed the Steelers.
I was giddy enough to impersonate the emu -
AND let Richard photograph it
at the peak.
happy smiles because we made both girls walk
the whole time (a super-early bedtime was in the bag!)
At the moment, we're in the midst of a lovely 2 week school break. These breaks are our main planning time for the coming term, but also afford us opportunities to explore a bit. We're hoping to make one more excursion this week and then dive into the final term before summer break. This week we're also hoping to feature two "guest bloggers" - a couple of the youth have agreed to share a bit of their experience of youth group thus far and we're looking forward to their posts! Hopefully they can share their unique perspective on what this mission offers them ... without talking too much smack about the "Americanisms" that provide such endless fodder for humor among our youth. But I doubt it. So brace yourselves, Americans....do brace yourselves. You have no idea what we endure - but you might be about to find out.