Tuesday, August 15, 2017

4 Aug - 13 Aug 2017

We arrived back home in Sydney Friday, 4 Aug, morning.  Jamie Costello (Costello's Opal Discovery) met us at the airport and drove us back to Hyde Park.  Jamie gave me my blue/green opal cuff links.  We visited with Cristina and the Lems for a little bit and then made our way to the car and drove out to Rhonda Crosbie's before we lost our energy.  It sure is nice to have friends in Sydney where we can crash for a night.

Saturday, 5 Aug - we amazed ourselves and had the car loaded and on our way to Grafton by 8:30 AM.   The car was full, but we were able to get everything in but one plastic laundry basket. The drive up to Grafton was uneventful, but the weather was perfect and we were able to see the country side.  Australia country is pretty.  We arrived at our new home about 4:30 pm.  We unpacked the car and did some unpacking of suitcases.  We will leave the hard work until Monday.

Sunday, 6 Aug - Fast Sunday and we were able to hear & bear Testimony of the Saviour, Jesus Christ, and His restored Church.  The testimonies of the Grafton Branch members were good.

Monday, 7 Aug - it did arrive and now we cannot put off the unpacking and organising of the house any longer.  Lots to do.  We are very appreciative of the Browns who were here before us and all that they did in getting the house set up and leaving us with some yummy food supplies.  Beth Norman had come in late last week and cleaned up the house as the Browns were swamped with all they had to do to move back home.

Tuesday, 8 Aug - we did more cleaning & organising.  We also attended a Primary youth activity that is held every Tuesday from 3:30 to 5 pm.  We will be attending this every week.  Elder Haley met with the Branch President for a bit and was given some assignments, but he (Elder Haley) is looking for more.  We are pretty much feeling normal by now, so we can get back into our normal morning routine of prayer & scripture reading - it took a bit of a hit during our travels and recuperation.

Wednesday, 9 Aug - We continued to work on the house most of the day.  We stopped in the later afternoon and went to the Zaffino's for dinner.  It was very nice of them to invite us to dinner and a good break from cleaning the house. In the morning we were able to talk with GGma Haley on Skype for the first time in a few weeks.

Thursday, 10 Aug - This was a CLEAN & ORGANISE the house day.  We did get some shopping done for food and some supplies, etc that we needed for the house

Friday, 11 Aug - MORE CLEANING.  The branch held a movie night at the branch meeting house tonight. Everyone brought a snack to share and we watched "The Other Side of Heaven".  It was good to be with & meet some of the members.

Saturday, 12 Aug - More shopping, organising & cleaning. Plus ironing of shirts to be ready for Church meetings tomorrow. Oh yes, and preparing a crock pot of Chicken stew for the lunch tomorrow after the meetings. We took a drive out to Ulmarra on the A1/Pacific Highway, just to get out of the house for a bit.

Sunday, 13 Aug - President Denley & his wife (of the District Presidency) were the speakers today in Sacrament.  Sister Denley talked about how Heavenly Father does exist and that the world and all of us are proof that He does live.  She told about taking a 1,000 piece jig saw puzzle and tossing it in the air and seeing if it would fall together by itself.  She was trying to show one of her grandchildren how it is not reasonable to assume that there is no God based upon how this earth has been formed and all the things living on it are put together so neatly. The odds of the puzzle putting itself together is in contrast to the great puzzle of the earth & man which is together - not by chance, but by design and management from our Heavenly Father & His Son, Jesus Christ.

OK, fun & games are over. It is time to buckle down and get to work.  Next week we start visiting and doing what the branch President asks us to do.

the car packed to the ceiling

Almost to Grafton

The main shopping mall in Grafton

We are HOME

Side view of the packed car.  The last of the things were loaded in through the back windows and then the windows rolled up.

Jello anyone?  Left by the Browns

Our solar clothes dryer with wind technology to rotate it.

The back deck.  The room in the background is an extra room to be used for whatever.

some of the neighbors down the road

Our welcoming committee to Junction Hill.  Junction Hill is a bedroom community 7 km from Grafton and where we actually live.

An Australian farm house not far from us

"The Scream"  I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.  A 50/60s ice cream shop in downtown Grafton

Betty Boop at the Scream

Part of main street, Grafton, on a Saturday afternoon.  Most stores close at 1 pm on Saturday.

The Ulmarra Hotel

The Clarence River. It runs through the Clarence valley and through Grafton

Just in case you forgot where we are living.

Beautiful, downtown Ulmarra.  We love the wrought iron work on the 2nd floor balconies.  Typical of Australia.

The opal cuff links, but the photo does not do them justice

Night is coming to the Clarence Valley.  Beautiful sunsets almost every night - at least during the winter months.

24 Jul - 4 Aug 2017

This was the longest and shortest week + of the year.   It seems like we were gone forever from Sydney and yet the time went by fast.  We are so grateful that the Church allows Senior Missionary Couples to take a short leave of absence from their mission for special life/family occasions.  We were blessed to be able to go back to Georgia, USA and see our newest grandchild, Isaac, the son of Brea & Don Thompson.  We also had a few days to stop by and see Mike's mum on our way back to Sydney.  It was good to be at both places.

Isaac is a really good looking young baby and has been quite nice to his parents, as far as having a good disposition and not crying too much.  That has been a real treat for the new parents.  We were able to be with Isaac from 24 Jul - 28 Jul (Margaret stayed a few days more) and Mike was able to be with his mum from 28 Jul to 2 Aug.

While in San Antonio, TX with his mum, Mike was able to get her PC up and going so she had access to Skyp & scanning which had gone "south" with the updating/cleaning of her PC. Lots of time to visit, talk and fix things around the apartment.

Margaret was able to play grandma for a few extra days and she (and Brea) really enjoyed the extra time with Isaac.

We were able to leave the USA easily knowing that we still had a mission for the Saviour to complete and felt that our place was really in Australia at this time.  We are looking forward to being with family again, but know that Australia is where we are to be for the next year.

LOTS of pictures of Isaac Oscar Thompson and family.

Sydney Harbour.  The South Head can be seen in the upper left of the photo

Happy Grandma with Isaac Oscar Thompson

Proud Grandpa

Isaac, Gpa H, Brea

Brea with Isaac's sister, Saoirse

Nice, He is asleep

Getting ready to cry

Dad (Don) and son

The guardian overlooking her brother

Two sleepy heads

All snuggled up for a nap

Walking down to Don's office

The neighbor's kids (goats)

The Thompson's home in Alpharetta, GA

Gpa gets a chance to read while Isaac takes a nap (again)

Brea & Don - getting ready to have a few hours out by themselves

THE Smile

Testing out the high chair

GGma Haley's storm at sea quilt for Mike & Margaret.  Brea is going to hand quilting the quilt

Elder & Sister Haley when they were a bit younger.  Found at GGma Haley's apartment in San Antonio.

Mike, GGma Haley, Margaret

Mike, Ryan Haley, Margaret

Mike, Marisol Martinez Haley, Margaret

Ryan & Marisol at LAX, shoving us onto the plane to Sydney

Friday, July 28, 2017

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Our last week at Hyde Park - sad times.
Monday - we had breakfast with Cristina de Godos.  Met with and cried with Sariah Sun at lunch.  Then we went to Carlingford for Home Evening with Elder & Sister Haleck, Area President and member of the Seventy.
We held our last IELTS class on Tuesday. Taught our last English classes with the Elders & Sisters. Then used Wednesday & Thursday to pack up the flat and get everything stuffed in the car.
Wednesday evening we had dinner with Bishop & Sister Akroyd at "Pancakes at the Rocks", along with the other members of the Bishopric.
Thursday was pack up the flat day.  That was an all day experience, especially deciding what to take/not take.
Friday - we helped with & attended a Zone Conference at which Elder & Sister Haleck presented part of the teaching & instructions.  Then we left about 2 pm (after lunch) and headed to Rhonda Crosbie's for the night.
Saturday - we drove back to Hyde Park and cleaned up the flat.  Saw the Lems and made arrangements to get keys to them and see them on 4 August.  Then we drove back to Rhonda's and spent the rest of the evening with her. Margaret finished the table runner for Sister Lems - the colours are really nice.
Sunday - We went to Dural ward meetings.  We saw Dennis & Paulette Phillips, Tom & Virginia Anderson, Keith & Anita Thompson.  We had lunch with Keith & Anita after Church meetings. We then headed back to Rhonda's and spent the evening with her.
Monday - flew out of Sydney, headed for Isaac Oscar Thompson (and parents) for a week.  Sydney - See you later.

Our office "decorated" by the sister missionaries

Elder Su, Haleys, Elder Yang

Elder Finlinson, Haleys, Elder Graffe

Sister Antenorcruz, Margaret, Sister Lu

Margaret & Helen Tang

Elder & Sister Haley
Summer & Hanna Lu

Claudia & Margaret

Our sign telling everyone when the last IELTS class will be.  So Sad

Berta & Haleys

Some of our neighborhood from the veranda at our flat

more neighborhood.  Downing Bldg in the center

More neighborhood

Akroyds, Haleys, Ahipenis, Dycuecos, Michael Wilson

Sister Lems table runner - made by Margaret

Other side of the table runner

House near Greenwich meeting house that we like

Our old home area in the 1990s

Christmas in July present to Margaret from Rhonda Crosbie

frost/ice on the windscreen of our car - Rouse Hill, NSW

Wentworth Towers - our home for the last year. Level 9, Flat 59

Haleys, Sister Chen, Sister Cooksen

Haleys, Sisters Antenorcruz & Lu

Our flat living room

Flat kitchen

Flat bathroom

College Street headed towards St. Mary's.  On our way out of town

The street that Luke, Judy & Ambika live on

Back by popular demand

Something a bit more serious pertaining to women

A sign that Margaret likes

Sydney Harbour

Sydney CBD & environs