Sunday, February 18, 2018

Sunday 18 Feb 2018  My time flies when you are having fun 😀 Two weeks since the last blog post.  Maybe that is a blessing for those who look at the blog.

Monday, 5 Feb -   It was nice to have a few days off and be able to sleep in a bit.  Seminary today was good.  We doubled the seminary attendance today - we now have 2 seminary students.  That is good, as it is always good if more than 1 student is in the class.  Then home work on some personal stuff and administrative things for Church.  This afternoon we went visiting and playing taxi.

Tues, 6 Feb - the exciting thing today was that one of the sisters in the branch was evacuated by emergency plane to Newcastle as she was experiencing contractions, but she still has 3 months to go before the baby is full term.  We will be in Newcastle this Thursday and will check in with her.  The other, not quite as exciting, thing today was that Mike used his fruit picker with one of the members to pick mangoes from some of the trees down the road from our house. Then there were all the normal things like Primary activity day

Wed, 7 Feb - Another trip to Coffs Harbour for some medical checkups for one of the sisters.  As mentioned earlier it is about 1 1/2 hours one way to Coffs from our home.  District Training Meeting (DTM) tonight and dinner for the missionaries before DTM.

Thur, 8 Feb - Seminary and then leave for Newcastle which is a 6 hour drive.  We have a Missionary Zone Conference on Friday.  We stopped by the John Hunter hospital and visited the sister who is expecting.  She is doing well and the hospital is trying to help her keep the baby in for as long as she can.  The hospital staff is really quite kind.  The Church sisters in Newcastle have rallied round and have visited the sister and are taking SUPER good care of her.  God bless the Relief Society (RS).

Fri, 9 Feb - we attended the morning part of the Zone Conference and then Mike took Margaret to the hospital so she could spend time with the pregnant sister.  Mike went back to the zone meetings.  The Book of Mormon musical is coming to Sydney from Melbourne and so we were being instructed on how to behave and take advantage of the additional attention this would bring to the Church. The musical is one of the most highly attended musicals in history so there is a lot of interest in the real thing as well.  Mike picked up Margaret in the afternoon and we headed back to Grafton as we had a building clean up on Saturday.

Sat, 10 Feb - We helped do a deep clean of the meetinghouse this morning for a few hours.  Then a nap to recover from the trip and lack of sleep.  We took a few hours off and went to see "Darkest Hour", a movie about Winston Churchill and his initial decision to NOT negotiate peace with Hitler. It included the Dunkirk small boat rescue.  Interestingly, it included a phone call between Churchill and Roosevelt in which they discussed the USA taking planes near the border of Canada for the UK to pick up and pull across the border into Canada and then take back to the UK.  Mike's Aunt Edy was one of the people to fly the planes to the border and then walk away from the plane.  Wowee - real history in the making in the Whinery family.

Sun, 11 Feb - A special Area broadcast for the New Zealand and Australia saints out of Salt Lake City. We heard from some of the 70, Sister Bonnie Oscarson and Elder Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Mon, 12 Feb - Seminary (every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday) at 0630.  Then Margaret went to help with the Monday declutter.  Mike worked around the house and in the yard, and then ran some other errands.

Tue, 13 Feb - A normal day with seminary, Primary activity, plus any other things that always seem to popup unexpectedly. We had Scott over for dinner.

Wed, 14 Feb - Mike's birthday, but nothing special happened -other than he is still alive and kicking. We did a bit of celebration during dinner prior to DTM - there was an apple/sultana pie for the birthday pie.  All 4 elders were in Grafton for DTM, so that was really nice.  Oh yes, Elder Haley gave a driving test to one of the Elders which had no special exciting moments - thank goodness.

Thurs, 15 Feb - A normal Thursday.  Elder Haley did have to wrestle with the real estate agent for the Coffs Harbour elders a bit.  This is getting to be a weekly thing as we try to get some compromising done by the agent - a challenge to Elder Haley's patience.

Friday, 16 Feb - Elder Haley helped with the weekly clean up prior to Sunday - something he does each Friday morning.  Sister Haley went out to do some visiting of sisters. We then made several visits together in the afternoon and other errands and Church related visits. There are a number of small things that need to be done for the branch each week, but they are different each week and each day - but it has to be done.

Sat, 17 Feb - the sisters in the branch held a RS activity in Maclean.  They drove up and visited the Ferry Park Gallery which houses heaps of hand made items.  Then off to the Maclean park along the Clarence river for a picnic lunch.  After lunch some of the sisters visited with Joan in the nursing home and that was really appreciated by Joan.  Poor Mike stayed home and worked around the house, in the yard and worked on his mum's US federal taxes. Oh yes, Mike was able to walk to the local Hanks Kitchen and get himself a steak & bacon pie for lunch.  I guess he did ok for himself.

Sun, 18 Feb - We had President & Sister Denley from the District in for meetings today.  They were the main speakers.  We held a pot luck luncheon afterwards.  Then home working on various branch items and the blog.

There are not many pictures from the past 2 weeks, but here is what we have.  More should have been taken, but we forgot to take our cameras out and take the pictures.

What it looks like outside at 0500 AM as we are getting ready to go to Seminary

By 0600 when we are leaving for Seminary, the sun is beginning to spread a bit of its light onto our world.  Sunrise is now at about 0630.

Tuesday Primary Activity Day.  Doing some limbering up before the real action

3 legged race at the beginning.  Note the super couple on the left of the photo

Oops.  There needs to be some coordination among the team members

Slow and steady loses this race.  But it was fun.

Wheelbarrow race

This wheelbarrow almost was running himself, but Mason just barely held up Elder Corpany's legs.

And the final race.  Get set,     Go

And the final sprint to the finish line

Our favourite spotted calf is growing up and is not so small any more.

Sunrise on a cloudy day

This shot was for our friend Mel Roth.  We did not know that he had a resting place here in Australia

The beginning of Zone Conference at the Charlestown Ward building

Sister Wang.  She is now in Charlestown, but we got to know her in the Sydney YSA ward.

The miracles come after your trial of faith and taking action on your faith

The young missionaries teaching the other missionaries.  We are always amazed at how well these young men and women learn and become such good leaders and teachers.

Going across the highway and held up by the telephone poles is a small foot bridge for wildlife.

Here are the ropes and ladders feeding from the bush/trees to the beginning of the walkway

And the beginning of the walkway

Another shot of the ropes and leads from the trees to the walkway across the highway.  The highway is fenced off to keep the wildlife off of the road, so we hope that the animals really do use this high wire.

Another shot of the walkway from one side of the highway to the other.

A close up of the netting that makes up the walkway

Our favourite Brahman calf.  He is growing up also.

We found this frog on the wall in our garage - right near the door to the house when we came home the other day.

Roos in the cemetery in South Grafton.  Maybe they are visiting relatives that did not make it across the road. 

Kind of boring watching those humans take our picture.  They look harmless as far as humans go.

Roos on the run

Maybe they are doing their family history????

Maybe Granpa Roo is buried in the plot in front of them and they are paying their respects.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Monday, 29 Jan -  It is decluttering day for Sister Haley.  Elder Haley installed a hose holder at the sister's house.  Then Elder Haley checked in with the seminary teacher and ran a few errands.  Then home to start work on USA 2017 taxes since he had a spare hour.  Then worked on the blog to get it caught up.  Margaret is squaring up the various fabric lengths for the table runner.   We just got one of our daily drama calls, so Sister Haley is off to the hospital to hold a hand and keep anxiety down to a low pitch.  We have been promised rain today, but so far all we have gotten are clouds.  The wind is really blowing today, but it blows quite vigorously most days here in Junction Hill.

Tuesday, 30 Jan - 0500 comes early.  Today is the first day of seminary and we are to be there to help lend moral support. Actually we had to cancel the seminary class today because the one & only seminary student had a migrain, so we will try again tomorrow. We did start the weekly Primary activity today at 3:30 pm.  Several of the neighborhood kids came, so we are off to a decent start for the new year.

Wednesday, 31 Jan - 0500 did come again today.  Seminary starts at 0630. We get up, shower and put a little food into our stomachs and head out for Church at 0600. Seminary goes from 0630 to 0730.  Then we went home and ate a bit more, so we had a full breakfast.  Then Mike called his mum on Skype.  Margaret played taxi driver again today. We had the Grafton missionaries in for dinner and both the Grafton & Coffs missionaries for DTM at our home. We did find some ice cream in the freezer for dessert after DTM.  We had to report the odometer reading on the car since it was the last day of the month - we report our kms at the end of each month since we are only allocated a certain number of kms per month on the car.

Thursday, 1 Feb - Seminary again.  The seminary class runs Monday - Thursday. We talked with one of our children when we got home. We reported our monthly fire alarm inspection on the Church website. We held the Branch Presidency meeting early and at our home today, since the President had to make a run to Coffs later that evening.

Friday, 2 Feb - Sleep in day.  No seminary, so Mike slept in 45 minutes and Margaret more (not saying how much more). We had some errands and taxi driving to do in the morning and then picked up the RS President at 1 pm and headed for Brisbane.  The Branch has a temple trip this weekend at the Brisbane temple. Margaret & I stayed with our friends from Newbury Park, Bob & Susan Errington, who are serving in the Brisbane Mission Offices.  It was really good to see them and catch up on what they are doing there.It rained all the way up to Brisbane.

Saturday, 3 Feb - We attended the temple in the morning, doing an endowment session and then some sealings of husband/wife and children to parents.  We had lunch after the sessions and then headed back to Grafton about 1 pm. It rained from Brisbane until we got to Maclean.  We stopped in Maclean and checked out some of the areas there that the RS want to use for a picnic for the sisters on 17 Feb. There are some nice spots and some pretty scenery.

Sunday, 4 Feb - Fast Sunday.  It was a good meeting and the testimonies were good.  We worked on several Church projects and then spent the rest of the day at home. 

Sunset over the pastures of Grafton

The moon - a few days before the Super Red Blue moon which we were not able to see because of the clouds.

Now, how do you make this thing work??

Well, what do you know.  Isn't technology something?  Elder & Sister Haley, Elder Ta'ala, Elder Lankford, Elder Rex, Elder Corpany

Mike sneaking out of Hanks Kitchen.  What is in those boxes he is carrying?

Choco icing jam filled donuts in this one.  Two of the donuts are for the Elders, not Mike

Pink icing jam filled donuts.  Wow, these were good.  Two for the Elders and one for Mike

On the way back from Brisbane, we found this lane which is named after our son, Ryan  (or so we like to believe)

Looking over the mighty Clarence River from a hill top in Maclean.  The river curves to the right and then (if you look closely) you will see it curving back to the left in the mid-section of the photo.  The river is actually flowing north at this point, so the water is moving from the left to the right of the picture.  The river will reach the ocean up north a bit at Iluka

Rain clouds a brewing near Grafton

It is definitely the rainy season & summer here in Grafton. Lots of high cumulus clouds all last week 

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Sunday, 28 Jan 2018

Monday, 22 Jan -  It is declutter day for Margaret at one of the sister's homes.  Mike ran some errands and then got back in time to help defrost a freezer and fix the outside water hose.  Mike took in one of the whipper snippers (weed eater or trimmer for the yanks) to the lawn repair shop to see if it was repairable. Then later that evening we played taxi and took one of the sisters to the little Coles supermarket to buy some groceries.

Tuesday, 23 Jan -We prepared to go out on errands, etc. this morning.  Before we left, we found that the power was out - the energy company was doing some work on the transformer that feeds our neighborhood.  We finished our breakfast, read our scriptures and then manually opened the garage door so we could get the car out.  Then off to our errands.  Sister Haley went to a doctor's appointment with one of the sisters.  Elder Haley ran some donations to the local Vinnies Op shop and picked up the whipper snipper that was declared non-salvageable by the repair shop.  Then home for lunch and then back to pick up Margaret from the doctor's office.  We then went to the branch meeting house for a meeting with the area CES person on seminary.  The branch's new seminary teacher was there and all 3 of us were instructed on the seminary program for 2018.   After a few hours of training, we all left and went home.  The Haleys went back to shuffling fabric to get the "right" sequence of the fabric for the table runner.  Mike is going blind looking at changes.  Margaret is baking Australian Kent pumpkin  (squash to the yanks) so that she can make a pumpkin pie to share with Steve Cole and his wife this coming Saturday.  Steve is a local minister at the Hub/Baptist Church here in Grafton.  Steve has been to the US&A and really likes pumpkin pie, so we are taking one to him as a friend offering.

Wednesday, 24 Jan - This morning Mike had is weekly Skype call with his mum.  Margaret played taxi about the same time.  Then if was prepare for the elder's dinner time as we had to go shopping for some of the food for the feed tonight.   DTM will be conducted by the Zone leaders, so we will have DTM at 6pm and then have dinner afterwards.

Thursday, 25 Jan - We played taxi driver today and visited with one of our neighbors.  The husband is going in for cancer surgery next week. It will be pretty major stuff so we want to keep in touch with his wife. Mike attended branch presidency meeting in the evening. Pretty much a ho hum day with things to do, but no real excitement (thank goodness as we do get plenty of drama some days). We did meet with the new seminary teacher and discussed the upcoming start of seminary.

Friday, 26 Jan - AUSSIE, AUSSIE, AUSSIE OI OI OI   Today is Australia Day.  No fireworks up here in the sticks, so we had a quiet day. Mike did go out with his new fruit picker and pole and pick some more mangoes off of the neighborhood trees that are along the side of the road and are on public land.  No picnics or bbq.  Just did things around the house and tried to lay low.  In the evening, we did have to escort one of the sisters home as the power had been out in her neighborhood and there was a suspected murder or altercation (it was hard for us to get the true story) near here home.  So she did not want to go back home without some back-up - which ended up as us.  We followed her home and checked out the property and house for any intruders - we found none, thankfully.  Margaret made a pumpkin pie that we are to share tomorrow.

Saturday, 27 Jan - We talked with one of our daughters and grandson on Viber.  It was nice to see them and talk with them.  We played taxi again today for one of the sisters. In the early evening we visited one of the baptist ministers, his wife and family and had pumpkin pie.  We had a good time and got to know them a bit and hopefully they got to know us too.  We think we have new friends in the Christian community and that is good.  I have some questions that I would like his opinion on, so we hope to meet again over the next few weeks.

Sunday, 28 Jan - A busy day at Church. Elder Haley conducted Sacrament meeting, taught the YM/YW Sunday school lesson and conducted the discussion in Priesthood during  the 3rd hour.  Sister Haley led the discussion in Relief Society (RS) during 3rd hour and made some visits and a meeting with the RS president after the 3 hour Church block of meetings.  Then we had the drama of the day and made a few stops at members houses to help with the dramas of the day.  Then home for dinner and relax a bit.

We think we have the combination of fabrics for the table runner

We came home to a new squatter on our front yard.

Preparing the pumpkin for the pumpkin pie

Makings for TWO pumpkin pies.  We only made one pie, so there is potential for another one in the future!!!!

Some observors during Mike's morning walk down to the Clarence River

A little bit of fog in the lower parts of the pastures

The fog coming up through one of the lower areas along the walk to the Clarence River

Boat wreck at the fishing boat ramp on the Clarence.  The boat gets covered during high tide

The Mighty Clarence River.  This is the end of the walk, so now we turn around and walk back home

Spider Webs along the road and in the sunrise

Getting checked out on the way home

Look at those ears.  And they say - look at that silly human

Yep, looks like we still like the fabric lay out.

Mangoes from the local mango tree.  The fruit picker and rod have paid for themselves as a good, big mango sells for $2 to $3.

There is a storm a brewin' above our home.

Sunset over the Clarence and storm clouds

Panorama of the storm clouds in the west and the sun setting.