Monday, July 23, 2007

on sunday night fran and I did something a little exciting... we got baptised! I guess this is where I take the plunge and talk about my faith on my blog, so here goes... I'm sure fran will say why he did it on his blog...

I've been a christian since I was 16, and from the moment I met God I knew I was never going to walk away from the amazing love I found. at the time I went to an anglican church and had seen friends get confirmed when it meant little personally to them, so I decided to stick with the commitment I knew I had made in my heart. I spent some time away from God at uni, but when I got back into church and God it was a renewed & passionate commitment and God did amazing things in my life. my first trip to austin, TX, in 2001, marked a radical change in my experience of God as I got the know his grace, love and freedom in a deeper and totally joyous way and meet people similar to me with refreshing faith. then God brought fran to sheffield and introduced Himself! we were married in 2003 and as part of what God was doing in our lives we felt that we would be going to New Zealand 2 years later. leaving the UK was easy in some ways because it felt so right, but being in a new country with no network of friends or church to start with was very hard and we've both become much more grounded in the last 2 years. just recently I've started to study the Old Testament book Song of Songs which has just been amazing - I'm learning about new stages in my christian walk which helps me to see where I am, what God's doing and how He wants me to be happier and freer and more in love with Him. Particularly the verse 'Dark I am, yet lovely' (Song of Songs 1:5) has struck a cord in me - I find it pretty easy to realize my sinful nature, but much harder to know that I am truly lovely. at small group a week ago we were reading through Colossians 2:12 'And when you were baptized, it was the same as being buried with Christ. Then you were raised to life because you had faith in the power of God, who raised Christ from death.' it just hit me fully - I want to know daily that I am raised to the fullness of life and freedom that Jesus brings, which means I can come boldly and gladly before the throne of God (Hebrews 4:16). and that's nowhere near as eloquent I'd like to be - I wish I could fully express in words how amazing and wonderful God makes my life... maybe no words exist to describe it.
it was also a wonderful thing to do together, and has rooted us deeper together in our faith.

our small group hosted the baptism at our members' blair & christine's house, who were the very first people to welcome us at Queenstown Baptist Church. their house is in the most beautiful location on top of a hill overlooking lake wakitipu and the remarkables mountains next to which fran jumps daily. blair had set up lanterns and a brazier so those out of the spa didn't freeze, and we got dipped at dusk with the stars coming out above us. I tell you, I felt like a queen at a five start resort, we were so blessed by our friends. it was a really special moment. after some star gazing from the steamy tub we had a meal all together cosy inside next to the wood burner and watching blair's birthday present - the eagles in concert dvd!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

winter freeze
we've just had a really cold snap that's lasted about 3 weeks and led to some amazing ice formations in the shady areas around town and in the woods. icicles as thick as my arm, freeze-thaw ice crystal growth in the ground and huge encrustings of ice on the creek I go for a walk by. check it out...

hoar frost ice crystals - each made up of perfect hexagonal ice tubes about 1mm wide

icicles - the biggest we saw were 15-20cm diameter

the old hydro pipe and dam

amazing ice formations on the edge of the waterfall

the icicles above this looked like organ pipes

curved ice crystals formed as the expanding crystals pushed earth sideways from the edge of a bank and gravity pulled them down as they formed

we also saw holes in the tracks where stones and boulders had melted the ice crystals under them and sunk into the expanded earth, by as much as 10-15cm. on the banks at the edge of roads there's ice floes over exposed rock inches thick where it's been accumulating for the past weeks, and in places the frost is so heavy & accumulated it looks like snow! makes the freezing temperatures a little more worthwhile :)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

sheffield reunion & birthday BBQ!
hey - I'm visiting the UK in august and having a BBQ on Tues 14th Aug if you'd like to come & say hi/catch up/eat a sausage... It's at Bea & Andy Marshall's House - 3 Freedom Road, Walkley (Sheffield) - come from 4.30 if you have kids, or 7.30 if you have jobs... Bring something to sizzle and something to drink, bread & salad provided.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


winter did indeed arrive full force about 3 weeks ago with heavy snowfall that came down to lake level, caused mayhem on the roads and cut us off from the rest of the island. we were nice and cosy and warm with our log burner stacked to the top and throwing out heat :)

fran got to get out snowboarding a fair bit and start using his season pass. I'll be having a taster day later in august to try out snowboarding - I've only ever done english dry slope skiing and that was when I was 4!

on tuesday fran went off to phoenix, arizona, for 5 days for some wind-tunnel training at skydive arizona. travel got a little interesting when his flight from auckland was delayed 6 hours, but he still made phoenix by nightfall (1.30am) and changed accommodation options from the $8 a night bunkhouse (read: non-airconditioned wood shed with night temps averaging 27oC) to the dropzone motel which he got for half price with air-con, private bathroom, sky tv.... I probably shouldn't say too much else, but he's done 30 mins training so far and was absolutely loving it!

today I drove south to five rivers cafe to meet my friend sandy from methven for coffee & lunch. the southland has been having heavy frosts and freezing weather and the scenery was just breath-taking. the frost was so heavily crusted onto grasses, trees and fences that sheep glowed gold against the stunning white and cattle stood out like black polka dots. I've never seen trees completely white with frost... it was quite hard to concentrate on driving!

fran will be between 25 to 40oC warmer than me for the next 5 days - we're having hearty winter weather, and my wood ran out yesterday so this morning my bedroom was 3oC. I've just had 4m3 of wood delivered so now I get to stack it all!