Sunday, November 6, 2011

spring in mt maunganui

We've been busy, busy, busy.... just a brief overview here complete with a few photos. Last term ended in a whirlwind of retreats and trips, leaving us all a little breathless and exhausted. We had two weeks to recover before plunging in to the final term of the school year before Christmas/summer break. Rich and I took the kids to visit friends over in Raglan. Raglan is one of the surfing capitals of the world and features indescribable waves crashing against sheer cliffs and black sand beaches. We took in the sights while staying with our friends on their picturesque little farm. The view from their front door is below. Their endearingly friendly kid (more puppy than goat) is above. 

We came back in time to host a world-class rugby world cup party. About 40 people crammed into our living room to watch the All Blacks beat France. Nearly all viewers had their faces painted for the festivities, including the Americans present. 

Then term four began. Our theme for the youth groups is "Five Phrases That Will Change Your Life". We're building talks around mantras, mottos and Scripture that can give grace in the midst of myriad challenges. Some examples incluse "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!" and "Jesus, I trust in You!" and "Be not afraid!"  Girls group is studying "pathways to God" - taking intense looks at the spiritualities of various saints. We've studied the little path of love of St Therese and Mother Teresa, who advocated serving God by doing small things with great love. We've trodden the peaceful path of trust of de Caussade, who recommended a simple self-abandonment to divine Providence in all things. We'll be exploring quite a few more paths over the coming weeks and will probably blog more about this fascinating topic. Rich and Glen are leading the boys this term on The Royal Road of the Cross, discussing the virtues of sacrifice and manly altruism. We've also celebrated the feast of All Hallow's Eve with the youth by organizing a saint-costume themed progressive dinner.

christine and I painted 16 nearly identical paintings 
to distribute to each membre of girls group

Our wonderful angel Christine has been accepted to NET and will be heading to Australia in early January. She'll be volunteering in youth ministry there for a year. [Rich's poor parents must be pretty sick of this side of the globe sucking all their family members away.....] We're all really really REALLY excited for her - and very sorry for ourselves. We'd love prayers (stat!) for another awesome woman to take her place for the young girls here in New Zealand. 

Lastly, in response to the many thoughtful queries about Joseph - he's doing fantastic! He's looking great,  happy, healthy - a wonderful miracle in the flesh! He's discovered how to sit and how to bear weight on all fours. He has been appalled at how much his three new teeth have hurt and is not pleased to have three more coming through. On the other hand, he is delighted to discover there is such a thing as ice cream in the world.  We offer him a taste of sheer bliss a few times a week to help him put on some pounds and he couldn't be more grateful. He wants to write a whole blog thanking Uncle Dave for offering that piece of medical advice! Today at his monthly hospital check-in he'd finally inched up above the 2nd percentile line and now holds a proud space halfway between the 2nd and 9th percentile. Way to go, Joseph! His liver functions took a small turn for the worse this month for the first time in a while, so please pray that ice cream therapy might turn out to be as beneficial to his organs as it has been for his weight.

thanks uncle dave!!!!!!!!!