“Mud in the eye” – “When the time comes…”

(Jim’s second blog.)

After the experence in Te Anau (previous blog) I became friends with a Dutch guy, Hans, at night tech college. We needed to swat for our finals so Hans invited me to his flat one evening to go over some notes and ask questions of each other.

After about an hour and a half we tired of the questions and swat so we went into the living room where I was introduced to another flatmate who was watching TV.

As TV was a new medium in the 60s and my parents could not afford such an expensive luxury (the same price as a second hand car) I was not familiar with the faces or newsreaders on the one local TV station. I was glued to the screen.

We watched a documentary of a small town in Canturbury, NZ, high-lighting different occupations and trades – butcher, baker, candle stick maker – and including the local church. Staight away Hans spoke to the flat mate and said, “This is Jim’s thing – the church.”

John (not his real name) said, “What do you mean?”

Hans passed it off with, “He’s a Billy Graham man or something.”

John then started to ask me questions about me being a Christian. We talked about the universe and that science was a fact but it cannot deal with the supernatural power of God.

(Note: Asking Jesus to come into your life is a supernatural experience. Being born again is the most life-changing experience you will have in a life time.)

The most amazing thing that was happening to me was that every time John asked a question I answered but I knew logically and from learning I actually didn’t know the answer proving …..

Mark 13: 11 …do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.

We debated and talked till 2 in the morning. John invited me over for tea that night and we talked and debated again until 2 the following morning.

John then asked to come to church. We sat at the back and all my friends were “oohing” and “ahhing” because John was the local TV news reader, whom they recognised.

John commited his life to Jesus and started a life work with a Christian mininstry.

This is the second time in my short life that God used me simply because I was willing and available. I was amazed at the answers that I could give as needed to convince “John” of the existence of a real and loving God and his son, Jesus.

Do you have a similar experience? I’d love to hear about it.

Next time… God uses broken people.

Just wondering… and pondering…

Do you ever wonder..? just wonder…? Things like…

What are you here for?

Why do you love to do certain things?

Why…??

What…??

As I sit at my desk watching the world go by I realise it is a while since I have written a blog post… So why should I write one now?  Why not just sit and ponder?

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So easy to sit here and just watch the world (and tide) go by…!

…Because I realise that I love to write… and I love to write not just for myself but to inspire others in some way … if possible.

…And then I start thinking about my other passions… photography, reading, travel…

Why photography?  Because it helps me capture things I am passionate about… God’s creation, family, friends…

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Why do I love to read?  Because that is my “escape”… I delve into someone else’s world and hide from the reality of my own… books I read must be “easy-reads” – nothing too detailed or descriptive and I generally only read before sleep at night so I don’t want to be stimulated… boring, eh?!

Why travel? Because there is a big wide world out there and much of it is so beautiful and waiting for me to photograph it! I don’t like cities or shopping (though this hasn’t always been the case and I concede that it may change again…) and I’m past the age where I will risk physical injury unnecessarily (adventure tourism-type activities), so my “bucket list” includes trips to such places as Scotland and Nova Scotia (chasing my heritage) rather than London and New York, for instance. Until the doors open for travel to such distant places I am happy to continue exploring the “corners” of New Zealand.

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One of my favourite “corners” of the world!

Now, I know I have many more years behind me than are before me but I keep quoting (to myself as much as to anyone else) CS Lewis: “You are never too old to set another goal or dream another dream.”

So, I encourage you to activate your dreams, follow your passions and move forward… You are on this earth for a reason.

You have gifts and talents (probably those things you are passionate about).

You are able to inspire, bless and encourage others… do so with excitement and joy and purpose…

And do let me know if I have triggered “something” in you… cos then you will bless and encourage me knowing you have read this little blurb…

“Mud in Your Eye”

This is an experiment on networking through my website and Facebook…

Jim, my husband, is keen to start a blog with the above name “Mud in Your Eye” (the reason for this name will be explained if this goes ahead.) But before he does this he is keen to see what sort of discussion he generates by posting his first blog on my site… i.e. he would love any response/questions/comments … Interested?  Read on…

Can your dreams come true?

Let me tell you about a dream I had…

It was Queen’s Birthday weekend, 1969. I was soon to celebrate my twentieth birthday and had recently completed a building apprenticeship. I took my car (Mark 1 Ford Zephyr) and three friends to my sister Heather’s place in Te Anau. We stopped for a feed of fish and chips on the way and arrived fairly late in the evening as we travelled after work that Friday from Dunedin (New Zealand).

I bunked on a couch in the sun room. The others were scattered throughout the house.  It had been a long day and immediately I fell asleep.

Before dawn I started to dream… I saw myself standing at the edge of Lake Te Anau baptising a person in the water. Next I saw myself speaking in a church. I woke from the dream with a feeling of peace and well-being. I kept this dream to myself.

That morning we all took a guided tour to the glow worm caves across the lake. On returning my sister introduced us to a guy named Peter (who worked for Telecom). Peter spoke of making a commitment to Christ at a Billy Graham crusade in Carisbrook, Dunedin, two weeks previously.

Peter asked me to water baptise him in the lake as his church, or anyone else for that matter, did not perform the ceremony (my dream temporarily forgotten).  I immediately said that he would need to come to Dunedin where a pastor would perform the ceremony. Peter said, “The Bible does not qualify who baptises. I would like you to baptise me in the lake.”  (Having been a follower of Jesus Christ for the last 4-5 years I realised he certainly had a point.)

We then proceeded to the lake with towels and swim wear. With 3 or 4 people looking on, Peter spoke about his commitment to follow Jesus Christ. I then immersed Peter under the water in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and in the name of Jesus.

As soon as I lifted Peter out of the water the dream came back to me. I still kept this to myself as I realized I could be speaking at the Presbyterian Church, which Peter attended, the following morning.

Peter invited us to attend church with him…  I spent a nervous night wondering what might come to pass!

We arrived at the church just after 11am next morning. I was thinking “it” was not going to happen.  But Peter came running out of the church saying that I would be speaking as the minister had the mumps and the Sunday school teacher said I could speak instead.

The small church was full.  What a challenge to say the least!  The only thing I could think of was to repeat Billy Graham’s word from two weeks previous – a message of salvation. 

I spoke from the heart with a clear voice.  I had an interesting experience while delivering the message – I saw people with their arms up around their faces and the Lord said to me, “They’re fighting what you’re saying” because my words were relevant to their lives.

Was this a call for me to ministry? It certainly was a very actual realisation of my dream – both the baptism and the preaching. 

So, tell me, have you had prophetic dreams which have eventuated? 

(Joel 2:28 ….Your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.)

Tekapo to Christchurch… sorry to be heading home…

All good things must come to an end, so they say… and sadly, this was the day we were to head home….

BUT… a couple of things to do on our way…

We had hoped for a dusting, or even more, of snow in the morning at Tekapo.  Alas, it was just another hard frost with snow just out of reach on the nearby hills. The weather was obviously cold but not too windy for a drive up to Mt John. I had hoped to do some star gazing at the observatory on Mt John the previous night but it was closed due to which winds so we star-gazed from the hot pools instead.

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“The hills are alive with the sound of….. wind and flippin’cold!!” 

I still needed to take Rosemary and Steve to the lookout anyway so that is where we headed after breakfast. Well, I’ve never been so cold… 4 layers of thermals and/or wool and I could still feel the cold on my skin! Luckily Jim was alert to the wind direction and strength or the vehicle door could have been swiped off it’s hinges! There are brilliant views to be seen from the top but, after a quick walk around the cafe (the outside, that is) to see all that can be seen, a few “must-have” photos and we were really pleased to jump back in the vehicle and Jim and someone else enjoyed the luxury of the heated seats!

Another mandatory stop was at the church  fullsizeoutput_29f2and the sheepdog  [Info spot: to honour collies which the Scottish shepherds brought out with them to farm in the area.] on Tekapo Lake shore.
fullsizeoutput_29faThe wind wasn’t as bitter down here though we weren’t tempted to wander for long.  Jim and Steve had a chat to the church “caretaker” of the day while Rosemary and I wandered and took just one or two photos before taking a short drive around the eastern shore of lake. The Caretaker suggested a Pie stop on the way home …. we must do that as it will be our last chance.

And then we really did feel like it was homeward bound.

fullsizeoutput_29fc  Burke’s Pass is a quaint village with a group of unusual “shops” clustered on a bend in the road. And not far past that is Fairlie where it really does feel like we are “nearly home.” However, it is in Fairlie that we “must stop” to sample our final pies. The Bakehouse is the home of Lieber Pies, hand-filled with imagination, and well-known for many miles around.  I needed to compare the “Pepper Steak” with Sheffield’s “New York Pepper Steak”…. very close but I did feel Sheffield’s pie had a slight winning margin – though, as I said, I am definitely not a pie connoisseur!  We also tried the “Pork & Apple pie” and decided the pork would be better “pulled” rather than in chunks.

At Rakaia it was time for leg-stretch… jolly cold out of the car so that was short-lived! And then the most boring (actually, only boring) part of our journey…

We arrived home to gale-force winds and a very cold house… tempted to carry on and come back when we felt more welcome!

So, here ends my South Island travel blog. Would I repeat the trip? Absolutely! Would I travel with the same company? Well, we became such a well-oiled machine, who wouldn’t?… chef and shopper on board, dishes, breakfast, lunches, driver, packing, etc all down to a fine art… Next time I will ask Steve to cook with Rice Bran Oil, though, as I believe that has a higher smoking temp and we mightn’t have to open so many doors and windows just when we are trying to warm up a unit on a cold night! And I will ensure all units have separate bathrooms – not walk-through-bedroom ones – and well-equipped kitchens. And Jim will fix the CD player in the vehicle so we can have some music to sing along to – especially when we’ve heard enough of his “stories from long ago”! And Rosemary, well…. she can continue making perfect sandwiches and showing so much appreciation when it’s her turn to sit in the front on the heated seat!

Cromwell to Tekapo via Aoraki/Mt Cook … is it really there??

More rain as we left Cromwell [Info spot: Named after Oliver Cromwell. Previously known as “The Junction”, “The Point” and “Kawarau”]…. oh well, can’t complain… it is winter!  But some snow would be lovely… we do have chains and plenty of cold-weather coats.

fullsizeoutput_173Cromwell is “The Fruitbowl of the South” and has an interesting past. It was not only once a large gold-mining settlement but much of the old town was drowned to create a dam, now Lake Dunstan.  Some of the old town has been preserved (now called “Old Cromwell Town”) and is well worth a visit and wander. So many historic sites around Cromwell that we didn’t have time to visit but they’ll be there for another time.

The rain eased as we followed Lake Dunstan (Clutha River) northwards.  Another scenic drive though the Lindis Valley and Lindis Pass – New Zealand’s ever-changing terrain never fails to astound me no matter how many times I travel the roads!

 

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“Antiques” and “Collectables” enjoy a spot of sun on the verandah!

A morning tea and  “pie” break was called for at Omarama. Glider pilots love the air here, near the southern end of the Mackenzie Basin. The skies are usually clear and empty providing accommodating updrafts. We enjoyed a hot cup of coffee sitting under the verandah of an antiques shop, closed for the winter months, and reading many amusing and quaint sayings through the door of the shop and around us. fullsizeoutput_29e8

Onward and upward, after buying some of the best-ever fresh salmon at the salmon farm by Twizel – a “must-buy” whenever we are passing.

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Aoraki/Mt Cook is up there somewhere!

A left turn at Lake Pukaki and I’m looking for a glimpse of Aoraki/Mt Cook [Info spot: NZ’s highest mountain. Aoraki means “Cloud Piercer”]… oh, sad… it’s once again shrouded in cloud – the story of my visits! However, it is a lovely drive on an exceptionally well-maintained road (necessary for all the traffic, I guess!) Thank you to “Peter” who provided a wonderful viewpoint – as cold as it was!

It must be many years since I visited the tourist centre and Hermitage as I didn’t remember any of it – beautiful new(?) accommodation and restaurants; a well-stocked shop and the Sir Edmund Hilary Alpine Centre.  We agreed not to spend the time or money to wander through the centre – a pity is so expensive for NZers.  But we did think a weekend stay at the hotel was within the realms of possibility in the future. It was so cold outside the doors that we didn’t even venture along one of the many trails we had hoped to wander on to catch awesome views of the famous peaks somewhere up yonder.

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Rain? sleet? snow flakes? on the windscreen at Lake Pukaki.

So back down the mountain road to Tekapo with thanks again to “Peter” at whose lookout we stopped for a sandwich – in the vehicle!

 

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Another great lake view from our motel unit – this one of Lake Tekapo.

We were delighted to find that we had another brilliant lake view from our motel unit – and the unit was warm and welcoming, too. Rosemary, Steve and I braved the cold wind and icy air to stretch our legs with a wander around the shore to the Church of the Good Shepherd. Two of us called in to a very-touristy shop on our way back and had a browse in the warmth.

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Church of the Good Shepherd at Tekapo from the new pedestrian bridge.

After another yummy tea, cooked by our resident chef Steve, we drove the short distance to the thermal pools for a delicious soak – definitely worth the chill running between the pools!

 

Te Anau to Cromwell… landscapes, cloudscapes and derelict buildings.

A wonderful sleep was had by all!! The rain arrived in the morning as it does for me whenever I visit Te Anau.  We agreed to take the slighter longer route to Cromwell rather than back-track to Queenstown.  It wasn’t long before we left the rain behind to enjoy the different and varied scenery through Southland farming country.

 

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I wonder if I’ll ever see a pencil sketch of this…??

Old buildings squat in fields at frequent intervals and soon Jim declared that I should be taking photos of these to add to his “accumulation”.

“What accumulation?”

“The ones on the computer that I am going to draw with pencil one day.”

“Oooo…kaaay… ” (I’m not sure just what he was referring to here…) but, with this confession, we were then on constant lookout for old rundown and dilapidated buildings.

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Not much left of this one…

Not only did the landscapes keep us focussed but so did the cloud-scapes. The rolling farmlands were luscious and green and above brilliant shapes and swirls spread before us in amazing displays of white on blue.

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Amazing cloud formation.

“I know what we’re having for lunch ….! Jimmy’s Pies!”

“Jimmy’s Pies? You haven’t made any pies!”

“No, Jimmy’s Pies at Roxburgh – I used to stop there and buy a pie at Jimmy’s Pies when I was young on the way to the possum festival.”

Well, I guess if ‘Jimmy’ has been making pies since our Jim was a lad, and is still making them, they can’t be too bad!

And when we pulled up at Jimmy’s Pie Shop there were enough customers lined up for us to think we were on to something worth tasting!  I chose an apricot pie, being in the heart of apricot country, but as it wasn’t apricot season, this pie tasted like any other apricot pie much to my disappointment – my mistake!

 

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Someone was trying to confuse us in Clyde.

Another stop at Clyde while Rosemary checked the wool and craft shop in her continual search for certain merino wool – she got lucky this time! Jim had a wander around the old buildings looking for earthquake damage… yes…we wondered about that too – it has just become a habit of his since working for several years with earthquake repairs here in Christchurch. We drove to the top of the dam, took a couple of terrible photos, and continued to Cromwell where it was, again, too wet and cold and miserable to do anything but find our accommodation and settle in for the night.

 

 

Onwards to Milford Sound and back to awaiting comfort at Te Anau..

With all the tourist buses on the road to Milford we were pleased to see an almost equal number of toilet signs along the way… stop in 5kms… 6kms…4kms. We didn’t avail ourselves of any of these (largely in fear of being overrun whilst in the conveniences!) but I was delighted (I think!) to read signs in many of these “little rooms” all over Southland asking users to “Please put ALL paper in the toilet” – some in no less than ten languages and all with accompanying pictures demonstrating the correct and incorrect ways to dispose of the said paper.

But, enough “toilet talk” and on with our journey…  The mountains rise up beside us and one can easily get the feeling that they want to close in and engulf the unweary traveller.  Mighty, sheer rock faces are stunning to view but hard to capture their true magnificence on camera.

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The mountains appear to be closing in on us!

There is a constant “Wow!” factor in this land of the Hobbit and I feel the first uncomfortable feelings of claustrophobia. How amazing were the men who “conquered” this terrain!

There are many short walks and tracks one can take on the way to Milford from 30 minutes to 6 hours or more.  Our time only allowed for a couple of short walks so after driving through the Homer Tunnel [Info spot: Named after William Homer who discovered the Homer Saddle on 27 January 1889 and suggested that a tunnel would provide access to the Milford Sound.]

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Homer Tunnel from Milford end.

we had a second break in our trip at The Chasm.  This is a pleasant stroll through a “goblin forest” to, as the name suggests, a chasm in the rocks where the water falls in dramatic fashion. It was impressive enough to us but, as mentioned previously, the region had been without the usual rainfall when we visited – to see the chasm after a decent rainfall would truly be awesome.

In the twenty-plus years since I was at Milford, things have grown… buses lined up in the car parks, cruise-boats lined up at the wharves, tourists buzzed around the info centre and cruise-boat terminal, cruise-boats came and went… We ate our sandwiches in the terminal, took the mandatory photos of Mitre Peak and had a wander to the info centre.  One day I will return for an overnight cruise… in the summer after some heavy rain… so I can truly enjoy the magnificence of the sound.

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The boat timed itself perfectly for this shot with Mitre Peak!

The two hour trip back to Te Anau was broken only through the Homer Tunnel where we saw some keas flitting about. [Info spot: Kea is the only true alpine parrot in the world. It is endemic to NZ; a very curious and unusual bird.] We hadn’t seen any of these birds on our travels thus far so I was keen to make an acquaintance. As there were no obvious signs telling us not to feed the birds Jim threw a small piece of biscuit at one of the pair as I prepared to capture the beautiful colours under the wings.  It took a few tosses and I gave in to the cold before the keas obliged!

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A kea poses for the camera.

IMG_9117The mist rolled in as we wound our way back through the towering alps so the luxury of our “new” motel unit beckoned us without further delays….