Sunday, January 22, 2012

summer vacation(s)

With just a couple of weeks left before the school term starts again
(along with the full swing of youth ministry)
we decided to take the kids on some little trips. 

First we went tenting up in the Coromandel Peninsula, 
about four hour's drive north 
(such a joy with three little ones in the car!)
But it was worth it. Completely. 
Our site was in the heart of gorgeous farmland, 
surrounded by the pointy green hills I have come to love so much. 
My heart is now forever divided between Pennsylvanian snow
and the awesome hills of New Zealand. 
I'll never be completely happy while either one is absent. 
Maybe heaven has both.

Our tent touched this fence. Cows and sheep roamed the hills all around us. 
(Had I not been sleeping on the hard earth with nary a cushion underneath me, 
I might have mistakenly thought myself in heaven already.)

Not only was our campsite adjacent to farms, but to the sea as well. 
Our tent was a three minute stroll to an amazing beach. 
But I'm not really "into" the beach.  At all.
Even after living in a beach town for almost two years now.
It's a five minute walk to the water and I barely ever go.  
I'm always either way too hot or way too cold near the ocean
and after 20 minutes of laying in sand, I think
Okay, that was nice, but now I really want to get up and do something.
I think I don't know how to relax very well. 
Rich does. He loves the beach. The girls do too.
Bernadette won't swim in it - or even approach the tideline - 
but she will happily and silently dig for hours in the dry sand.  

As I have come to require pointy green hills, 
so Richard has come to require the sea
This trip gave us both just about everything we needed!
I enjoyed watching the sunsets over my beloved hills 
and Richard enjoyed new ocean vistas. 
The girls absolutely loved sleeping in a tent for the first time -
so really Joseph was the only one who found camping to be a bit overrated. 

Rich tries to convince Bernadette for the 73,648,734th time that the ocean is not scary.
I don't think he made any progress. 
We came home from camping,
 had two days here to do laundry, repack
and pop into the hospital for Joseph's monthly doctor appointment.
It was a great appointment.

Joseph Pio has completely normal liver functions this month
for the first time in eight months
We have not had this positive a doctor's visit
 in his whole ten months, 
and certainly not since all the drama began when he was six weeks old. 
Thanks be to God. 

Then we set off two hours south for Taupo. 
Friends of friends have a vacation home there 
which overlooks the largest lake in the southern hemisphere.
The photos below are from Taupo. 

The lake is adorned with walking path upon which I enjoyed 
watching the sun rise during my new 6am walks. 
Rich loved taking both our girls out on a rowboat
and we all put on swimsuits and splashed in the water, 
which was this clear!

Maria and I found a secluded little cove
where flowers grew higher than our heads
 and we brought the whole family back to enjoy it.

I like lakes. Way better than oceans.
And I like ducks better than seagulls.
I always see fuzzy ducklings at lakes, but has anyone ever seen a baby seagull?  
Lakes are sweeter than oceans. Different kind of beauty altogether.
They lap rather than crash
They taste better if you accidentally swallow them. 
I've no terrifying memories of being knocked over by a lake 
and not knowing which way was up and oxygen.
In a lake I can see that my submerged feet are safe from sharks and jellyfish and crabs.
Also those things don't live there. 

I'm in awe of the ocean. 
She's omnipotent and dangerous. She possesses the rhythm of eternity. 
She makes me small and filled with wonder.
She's evocative of everything that taught me fear of the Lord.
But the lake -
the gentle, peaceful lake - 
humble even in her vastness and depth -
her beauty taught me to love Him. 

Bernadette swam here. With no coaxing. She actually rolled in the shallow water. 

It was a good and busy week -
and now we're glad to be home again. 

In the coming days, Rich and I will sit down together 
to begin hardcore planning for Term One, 
which starts a week from today.

Lastly, this is a really big week for Rich in his pursuit of an "American" job, 
& we ask extra prayers in this vein! 
We are completely confident that the Lord, 
who has provided for us abundantly at every step
 in this mission to which He called us, 
is not going to abandon us now, saying,
"Thanks kids - but you're on your own from here out!"
Still. we need to discern what to pursue 
and what to accept, 
so we're praying for peaceful surrender to God's Providence 
and for the graces of prudence, wisdom and patience. 


  1. Kelly, I love the way you wrote this, the content and the beautiful pictures. My great love is the water. You made the lakes and the ocean come alive. thank you Mom

  2. Thanks be to God for the good news about Joseph - I am catching up on your posts as you can see:) Will call soon!

  3. I hope to someday go to New Zealand and your blog has been a reason for me to see it. I wish it weren't so far, but it might be worth the long trip!!! We are rejoicing with you about Joseph. God has a plan for him just like He did for Tim Tebow.