Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Mon, 19 Mar -  Seminary is first thing on the agenda.  Sister Haley went to declutter some more today.  Elder Haley met with the new branch building rep and helped get some things set up for him.  Mike called the realtor to find out when we will have to vacate the house 😢😬  Elder Haley also worked on some welfare issues that needed to be taken care of.   We picked up the elders and drove out to the Jones at Flaggy Creek for dinner this evening.
We are beginning to understand and know how the early Mormons felt.  We had a good life in Sydney and then moved to a wonderful house in Grafton.  Now we are asked to pack up all our things in the nice house, give most of them away and move into a much smaller place.  Kind of like the Saints that moved from New York to Kirtland; set up a farm or house and have a nice life going only to be asked to move to Indepence, Missouri.  How much is the Lord going to ask of us, but I am glad we are in Grafton and moving and not in the same situation as the early Saints.  We will do what is asked of us, and Love it, knowing it is what is best and well worth the small trial.

Tue, 20 Mar - Seminary - rise & shine. Elder Haley walked & exercised during the first half of Seminary. Then he tried fixing some photoelectric/motion detection lights that cover the parking lot - he was unsuccessful.   Contacted the local propane gas company to see if they would take an EFT from the Church to pay an account for one of the members, but they do not, so we have to use BillPay which the Church does not support.  That means Haleys will use BPay from their account to pay the gas bill and then get reimbursed by the Branch Welfare account.  Worked on an inventory of all the furnishings in the house for the Mission President, so he can decide where all the items will go or be sold.  Stopped by Hanks Kitchen to pick up the reward for our Seminary student - we give her a baked good from Hank's each Wednesday as a reward for "hanging in there" and coming to Seminary. Elder Haley read the Primary section of Handbook 2 from the Church so he was prepared for his first monthly meeting with the Primary President tonight.  We went to our afternoon Primary activity and played 4 square and cricket today.  Some of the kids that normally come over did not because they have "footy" (rugby) practice on Tuesday afternoons.   Met with the Primary President and reviewed the Primary Sunday schedule.

Wed, 21 Mar - It sure is dark at 0500 am.  Day light savings time will make the clocks change at the end of the month and that will bring a little sunshine into our lives a bit sooner.  Mike talked with his Mum this morning - thank you for the video chat technology. Went on a food buying errand as we have 6 young missionaries coming for dinner tonight.  Elder Haley went over to the Girl Guides to pay the camp out fees this past weekend, and to return the building keys.  Ah yes, now home and have shoes off and relaxing for a few hours - er, I mean minutes. The latest drama has just occurred.  A call from a sister who does not receive her government payment for a few more days, and needs a few things for her illness. There sure seem to be a lot of people on government help here.  Now back home and getting ready to feed the bottomless stomachs of the 6 elders.  We have our elders, the district elders and the Zone leaders here this week for District Training Meeting (DTM).  Our food budget just got wiped out for the next 3 weeks 😆😏

Thurs, 22 Mar - No Seminary this morning, but Mike did get up to walk and work with his weights while walking.  We are at Family History Centre (FHC) in the morning from 10-12.  Mike usually works on other things in the building during this time, such as the trash and vacuums the upstairs.  Sister Haley played taxi driver.  We called a member who lives in Yamba about coming to visit, but this week does not look good.  Then back to the meetinghouse in the evening for FHC and Branch Presidency meeting.

Fri, 23 Mar - Cleaned the meetinghouse in the morning and got a call from Lydia Mathieson in Yamba.  She invited us for lunch and a visit.  We headed her way around 11 am and got there just after 12 noon.  We met her and her husband, Fraser Mathieson, at their place and had a lovely 5 hour visit with them.  Both are from South Africa and Rhodesia. Fraser is the grandfather of Kate Mathieson who will be marrying Richard Difford in August in the Brisbane temple.

Sat, 24 Mar - We helped with the final cleaning of the Zaffino's rental home.  They are moving back to the Gold Coast.  Elder Haley met with one of the sisters in the branch later in the afternoon.

Sun, 25 Mar - Normal Church meetings before and after the 3 hour block of meetings.  Sister Haley and Elder Haley also visited with some of the members later in the day.

The lane off of Flaggy Creek Rd to the Jones' home.  Not sure how long the lane is, but it seems to be at least 1/2 mile (1 km)

The Jones' lane at night on the way home

Elders Ta'ala, Palmer, Lankford, ??, Shortland, Heu.  One cannot feed them enough

Sister Haley, Lydia Mathieson, Fraser Mathieson

Elder Haley with Fish cakes, pineapple fritter, sweet potato cake at the Maclean Clarence River Fisherman's Coop

A picture of the Fisherman's Coop

Elder Lankford mowing grass at the Zaffino's

Elder Palmer whipper snippering the Zaffino's yard.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Monday, 12 Mar -  Oh my, it was early this morning when we got up for Seminary.  It was nice to have a few days off before the alarm so rudely awakened us. 😆😃  Then back home for breakfast.  Sister Haley was then taken to the declutter centre for the morning.  Elder Haley ran and errand and then worked on some welfare things for one of the member families.  He also spent some time finishing up the blog from last week.  Now it is time to change out of white shirt and use the whipper snipper (weed eater) on the edge of the yard.  oh, yes, Elder Haley did stop by Hanks to find out when they delivered new, fresh goods in the morning (and picked up an apple slice to reward himself for checking on the delivery times 😋 )

Tue, 13 Mar - Picked up some TVs from one of the sisters and took over to the recycle tip. Made hospital visit.  Played games at the Primary activity.  We were invited over to the Normans for dinner along with the elders and Scott.  Sister Haley & Elder Haley stayed after the meal and washed the dishes while Beth Norman went to her "having a baby" class.

Wed, 14 Mar - Last day of seminary this week.  Ran errands.  We did meet with the new owner of the house and asked him to consider letting us stay until August.  He said he would talk it over with his family and get back to us on Friday.  We had Scott over for dinner since there was no DTM tonight.

Thur, 15 Mar - Lots of errands and drama with some of the members.  We worked on getting a gas bill from one of the members and processing it through the welfare system. We were at the FHC from 10-12 and then 630-830pm.  Elder Haley also attended Branch Presidency meeting.  Lots of stuff to keep one busy, but nothing super extraordinary.

Friday, 16 Mar -  Cleaned the meetinghouse in the morning. We did get a call from the new owner and he was not able to give us any extension on staying in the house, so we will have to move to someplace in the next45-60 days.  What a bummer. Went to the Clock Tower Hotel to celebrate Dorothy Ledwidge's birthday - she turned 86 today. Finished buying marshmallows for the Branch camp out that starts tonight.  We picked up Scott Howard and Sister Stiller at 4pm and then drove out to Magpie Park which is real near Jackadgery and the Mann River.  We got there around 5 pm and set up our gear in the open sleeping dorm.  We had about 15 or so sleeping in the roon, plus a few others in one of the other room.  Peter Arnull was the chef for the weekend - he did a great job.  We had a camp fire later in the evening and roasted marshmallows and made s'mores.  We sang some Aussie songs and just relaxed around the fire.

Sat, 17 Mar - Happy St. Patty's Day.  After breakfast we cleaned up and packed our bags.  Then we headed out in 2 groups - one for fishing and one for swimming & kayaking.  We went with Joyce Wallbank on the fishing expedition.  Joyce had her fishing pole and cast it out into the river and then she decided to go swimming up stream of the fishing pole.  She badgered Elder Haley until he relented and went in for a swim as well - actually more of a get totally wet and enjoy the cool water of the Mann River.  Sister Haley & Stiller stayed on the shore.  Around noon we headed back up to the caravan park and had HUGE ice cream cones.  Then back to Magpie Park to pick up our gear, do the final lock up and head for home.  We dropped off Sister Stiller and Scott, and then to our place.  We showered and it was nice to be cleaned up. We did have to do some grocery shopping and then run to one of the motels in South Grafton to pick up some clothes that one of the District Presidency and left by mistake.

Sun, 18 Mar - President Norman was crook, so he asked me to conduct the meeting today at Church.  After the 3 hour block, we held a linger longer to finish off the food that we had left from the camp out.  Then home and work on family history until dinner time.  Mike warmed up dinner while Margaret continued to work on family history.  We did get a call from President Checketts, Mission President, and were told that we might move into the elder's flat and stay there until we leave Grafton.  The elders would be moved to a different town for the interim.  We shall see how all this goes over the next week or so.  Never a dull moment in the mission field.

Mike's reward - apple slice from Hanks

Brooms Head, NSW

Looking towards Brooms Head, Red Cliff

Panorama of Brooms Head, Red Cliffs

Margaret at Brooms Head

Roos in the camp sites at Brooms Head, Red Cliffs

Another Roo

And a few more roos in the camping area

And more

A picture of Margaret taking pictures of roos

Mike getting ready to eat some of our picnic dinner

Just missed getting a picture of these roos on the beach. Up they came, bounding past us

A good side shot of one of the roos flying by

Mike taking a picture of one of the roos

Here is the picture of the roo

Sunset with roo in foreground

Hold steady while I take a picture of you and your joey

Morning sunrise and fog just off of the ground

Pictionary at the primary activity

Our mottled calf and cousin

Mike, Dorothy Ledwidge, Margaret Leach

Three Margarets.

The bunkhouse/dorm at Magpie Park, Jackadgery, NSW

The main cabin with the kitchen and dorm, Magpie Park

Getting the bonfire going

A bit too hot to roast marshmallows at the current time.  Just wait another 15-30 minutes

Rain Best swirling a glow stick

Another glow stick swirl

Rain Best above his glow stick

The kids lying on a mattress and getting ready to swirl their glow sticks

The swirl with lights out, so we can see the glow sticks

Morning fog at Mapgie Park

Some of the brave souls at the branch camp out, Mapgie Park, Jackadgery

Rumble the dog, Spencer Norman, Sage Best

Joyce Wallbank out in the Mann River with Elder Haley trying to decide if he wants to go any further or not.

I guess he went further.  The water was cool and refreshing

Margaret, Sister Stiller, Joyce Wallbank soaking their feet in the Mann River

Mr. Bull in the field across from our favourite mottled calf.  He is about 6 to 12 inches taller than any of the cows in the field.  He is a magnificent animal.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Monday, 5 Mar - Seminary is the first thing to get our attention this morning.  My 0500 comes quickly and quite early in the day.  After Seminary this morning Sister Haley went decluttering.  Elder Haley stayed home to make sure all was ship-shape for the "lookers" that will come this afternoon to see the house, since it is now on the market.  Also, Elder Haley did not cut the grass low enough for the declutter sister, so he has to lay low for a bit.  This afternoon the real estate agent brought 2 different "lookers" to the house. Tonight I received a phone call from the elders in Coffs Harbour. They told me that the vinly flooring in their kitchen had been repaired. This repair has taken me from mid-December 2017 until 5 March 2018 to get fixed - no big deal. There had been a rip in the vinyl and a piece missing, so it was fixed by a local flooring company.  They flooring company had to move the fridge to get a piece of the vinyl to fill in the hole in the middle of the floor, but was not able to move the fridge back in place until after the glue had dried, so they asked the elders to do that for them later in the day.  When the elders moved the fridge back into place, they tore the vinyl in a new place 😭😬😵

Tuesday, 6 March -  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RYAN (our oldest child). Seminary this morning.  Elder Haley worked on cleaning up the storage room during seminary. I called the flooring company today and told them my sad story about the vinyl being torn again - they could not believe it, but said they would organise a repair party.  I asked them to lock the elders in the bathroom until the work was done and the fridge was back in place. Then when we got home, Margaret took a nap and Mike ran errands in town.  Getting ready for the Primary activity.  The leader sent a text message that it is raining out in the country and the creeks are flooding so she will not be able to make it in today.  Scott came over for dinner and we had pulled pork sandwiches, roasted pumpkin with maple syrup & brown sugar - comfort food, if there ever was such a thing.  We received a call that the house we are living in has been sold to a person who wants to live in it.  We now have to see what can be done to negotiate with him to allow us to stay until August when we head back to the USA.

Wed, 7 Mar - Seminary - nice and early (well, early anyway).  Mike talked with his mum via Skype - the technology and permission of the Church to use the technology for senior missionaries is wonderful. Visits and taxi driving.   Took out the rubbish for the sister in the hospital in Newcastle.  We held DTM tonight and had just the Grafton Elders over for dinner - hamburgers, etc.

Thur, 8 Mar - A day off from seminary, so Mike took his early morning walk & weights.  Family History Centre (FHC) from 10-12.  Margaret worked in the FHC and Mike did clean up and other things in the meetinghouse.  We had a late Birthday lunch for Mike at the Village Green Hotel - Chicken schnitzel for Mike and salmon for Margaret.  Well worth the visit and we will have to go back once we get enough room in our bellies for additional food. Branch Presidency meeting and FHC for us in the evening.  Sister Jones should be posting the FHC notices up around town, so hopefully we will start to get some more business in the FHC.

Fri, 9 Mar - Mike helped clean the meetinghouse.  We had building inspectors come by at 10 am to check out the house for the new buyer.  Margaret baked cupcakes for the RS bday activity/baby shower to be held on Saturday.  Mike check with the locksmith about some keys for the FHC and found out how to take some of the locks off that we did not have keys for - and did not need to lock up the files anyway.

Sat, 10 Mar - Mike mowed the yard while Margaret went into town to do some shopping for the baby shower.  The baby shower was in the afternoon and went quite well.  Margaret then worked some more on the table runner for Sister Cox and was able to get the last 2 pieces of fabric sown on.  Pictures of the not yet finished table runner are below.

Sun, 11 Mar - We had President and Sister Alfred in for speakers in Sacrament meeting today.  It is always nice to have them in Grafton.  The branch held a potluck luncheon after the meetings. Lots of food.  We had a new family, Paewai from NZ, move in, or start to move in today.  They will actually move into their home, south of Grafton, next weekend. Immediately after the luncheon, we went with Clive Best to administer blessings to one of our members in South Grafton and to administer a blessing to the husband of one of our members. Later,  we (Margaret & Mike) visited with one of our neighbor families, the Howards, and borrowed a sleeping bag from them for the branch campout next weekend. We learned that Judy Howard has walked parts of  the Camino de Santiago trail in Spain. She has walked over 1,000 km of it.

it is still blooming, since about November/December 2017

Elder Haley's bike repair shop

The activity room at the meetinghouse (the garage) being used for Primary Activity day. Eli on the scooter.

Ashton acting goofy

TJ and Ashton

Olivia and her pretty smile

Olivia and her brother Ashton


The Brahma calf is staying too skinny and still has the long ears.

The storage shed before clean up

The storage shed after some organisation

Late Happy Birthday lunch, Mike.  Salmon in the foreground and Chicken Schnitzel with gravy in front of Mike

RS baby shower set up

Hand knitted

This outfit hand knitted by Sister Stiller's mum.  Absolutely gorgeous

It is hard to see, but the center piece is a Nappy cake, made from clean nappies (diapers).

Our spotted calf is getting bigger each week.  Soon he will grow up and go away to another farm and hopefully not the butchers.

Sunset.  It looks like the whole area is on fire, but it is just the sun setting.

The same sunset later on the Carr's peninsula

One of the cattle roaming loose on the peninsula.  Note the might Clarence River in the background

Where did the cowboy or cowgirl go?  At lease we still have their horse.

We have a few pedestrians on the road going out from the peninsula

So what are you doing here, disturbing our evening tea?

Typical view of the Grafton country side, with cattle and all.  We just love it.

The table runner - Australian map side

The table runner - Aboriginal fabric and other Aussie fabric side.  The border is the last thing to do.