Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Grimes' Special Merry Christmas Wish to you

Hello to our friends & family (on every side of the globe), 14 December 2011

It is with mixed emotions that I write this year's Christmas Letter.  Most of you will have heard that Peter and I were planning on visiting Canada this Christmas and had booked our trip in July and had arranged to see the Miracle of Christmas with Mom and Dad in Pennsylvania and we were all very excited.  But alas, Dear Dad went home to be with the Lord at the end of August and we moved our trip up for obvious reasons.

Whilst it was a very bitter sweet trip, we were also able to catch-up with a lot of family and friends and at times the trip seems so surreal, but we captured some great pictures and below are a few collages I have created.  There were so many highlights of the trip; for Peter – the Blue Jays Baseball Game and for me – the lovely afternoon at Niagara-On-The-Lake with Mom and Peter, not to mention all of the wonderful visits with family and friends.  I have also included an awesome picture that was taken of Mom and Dad just the week before he took his final flight home.

So, we will be spending Christmas at home in Springfield Lakes this year but a lovely bonus will be seeing Chase on Christmas Day.

Our year started with the devastating floods in January and Peter and I had the opportunity of helping a couple John and Gael from the Centenary Suburbs and we have since caught up with them over a lovely dinner and heard the story of their house being rebuilt.  Even now as I have started writing our letter, I am sitting along Brisbane Terrace in Goodna that was completely under water and it seems so surreal to imagine that it even happened, but I only have to look across the street and I can see the evidence as some houses are still bare, waiting for reconstruction of their walls and residents waiting for insurance settlements.  They are predicting another wet summer again but they are keeping a close eye on the levels of the dam this year.  I still remember our drive back to Brisbane from Gladstone after spending Christmas with Beth (Peter's mum) and how the road was closed because it was flooded, and even when it was finally clear for us to pass, the level of water was so high to the bridge, it was incredible and scary all at the same time.  I have included a picture which might help you appreciate it a tiny bit.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Water - what can I say about it?  It is  I remember hearing that our bodies are actually full of alot of water; so I went to Wikipedia and had a quick look to see if I could find some statistics.  Voila, on average, our bodies are 57% water.  That is also why I heard that we find being by the water so soothing and relaxing.  I know that I sure do!

In addition to living in Brisbane which is reasonably close to the beautiful beaches of either the Sunshine or Gold Coast, we live in a suburb that has been developed around a man-made lake and the suburb up the road, another man-made lake.

Peter and I particularly enjoy Fish & Chips by the lake up the road.  Below is a collage I put together of two of the lakes; we were enjoying breakfast at one and had just finished fish & chips at the other.

Ah, water - you are a beautiful thing!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Eye-Catching Jacarandas

Jacaranda season is upon us in Queensland at the moment - a favourite time of year for me because it reminds me of Spring Blossoms back home.  They give off a soft subtle scent, too, which is just lovely.

Just a couple minute drive from where I work is Goodna; one of the suburbs that was devastated during the floods earlier this year and whilst some of the beautiful Jacaranda trees were destroyed, many survived and have come up looking as gorgeous as ever.

This coming weekend is the yearly Goodna Jacaranda Festival which features the beautiful trees and there are lots of activities for the whole family.  Peter and I are involved in an Emmaus weekend, so we might not make it down for the weekend activities, and just to be sure I did not completely miss out on all that beauty, I popped over during my lunch today to snap a bunch of pictures.
So, hey, if you are in the neighbourhood, I encourage you to head out for a drive; if not to check-out the weekend festival, why not take in the beautiful sight of God's glorious creation.

Take a moment and stop and smell the roses....I mean Jacarandas!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Now Is The Time To Get Motivated

Yep, its time.  It has been too long since I have been working towards getting fit.  I was on the road to fitness, but alas, my surgery set me back a bit.  My bike broke, so that was a bit of a setback, too.

I started looking on Ebay in the hopes that I would find another bargain like my first bike, but no such success - no bargains to be had.  So, I have begun my search for "the" exercise bike.  It is a bit confusing.  They say you get what you pay how much is too little and how much is too much.  I want one that is welded well, so it doesn't break like my first one.  Hopefully by the weekend, I will be the owner of my new bike so I can get back on track with my fitness regime - I am ready to get back into gear and into shape.

Let's get motivated!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Apartment Gardener "Al" - Visualizing Next Year's Masterpiece

When I wrote my last blog about our new Rose "Jack", I mentioned our neighbour Al and how he continues to work his wonder on the garden at the apartment building where my parents live, since moving there and leaving his house.  Well, alas, I was just going through some more of my pictures from our recent trip to Canada and discovered a perfect picture, showing Al doing what he does best - tending to the garden.

I said to mom recently, "I do not know how he gets through the colder months of the year, not being able to garden", but then I had an epiphany, he probably visualizes what it will be like next year and that keeps him going.

A good lesson for us all, I reckon--to be setting those goals and to be reaching for something not yet achieved, rather than just staying at status quo.  I know that Peter and I have a few dreams and we are dedicated to keeping them alive until we see them come true.  How about you?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

'Jack' The Rose

What a lovely gesture from special friends - they gave us a beautiful red rose, in memory of dad.

We have placed it right at the front of the house, quite close to the front doorway.  A rose and our puppies in the backyard would be a recipe for disaster.  Besides, this way, we see the rose as we leave for work each morning and return home each afternoon.

And then it occurred to me - the rose would be called "Jack".  How fitting I thought.  Dad loved to putter in the garden at home; either trying to grow tomatoes or tending to the raspberries and his latest project was Uncle Paul's rhubarb in the apartment's garden that our old neighbour Al has looking so beautiful.  I took a picture of the apartment's garden this past trip, but it really did not do it justice.

So alas, we have a rose called Jack in memory of our dear dad who we miss but we are so thankful of the promise we have that we will be reunited again.  Keep blooming dad!

As the Proverb saying goes, "Take time to smell the roses."  See you in the morning "Jack". 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

"In Memory Of Dad" John (Jack) Tough - Slide Show & Extract from Celebration Service

A very big thank you to Roger for recording Dad's Celebration Service!

The following is the slide show that we put together to share some of our awesome memories of dad.  Our family is very thankful that we love photos!

The audio to the slide show includes the Call to Worship at Dad's Service by Major Dena Hepditch and then my solo (or rather a duet) of my singing with my recording of The Colours of Your Love.

You will always be in my heart Dad and memories of you will never cease!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My Holy Discontent - Inclusive! Not Exclusive

Wow, it has been a while since I wrote my last blog article. Life seems to be a bit busy of late, but in the midst of the busyness, a topic that is near my heart has surfaced in recent days.
There is a lot of awareness these days of bullying and harassment; particularly in schools so it tends to target the younger population. I disagree and furthermore, bullying and harassment has always been around and displayed, in my opinion, in cliques; e.g. exclusive groups, not just in schools. Yes, I understand that we cannot be friends with everyone and hence, people generally have a peer group with whom they share  common interests. Take Jesus for example, He had 12 disciples who were His close friends and then had three (3) others whom were His really close mates. But alas, Jesus had a rapport with all the people when He travelled around the countryside sharing His message of love and grace.

I really appreciated reading a post from Joyce Meyer's facebook page just the other day. It said, "The amazing thing about Jesus is that He loves everyone. He excludes nobody."

My memories from when I was school aged are not of my being the most popular or the prettiest; but rather that I felt awkward and fat (a doctor even labelled me as overweight in a report - funny the things you remember!, but no, I was not fat) and although I tried to achieve at sports, I was not very coordinated and I can remember dreading track and field day because I knew there would not be any ribbons coming my way. Funny the things we remember! Hhhmm...

I believe that we all have a desire to belong and to feel accepted and even though we may have received that love and acceptance from our homes and families, the stigma of feeling like an 'outsider' or 'different' in a wrong way in other settings; e.g. school, youth group, leaves an impression on one's heart so that you will do everything within your own power to make sure that people do not feel that way, ever! It is not how God intended!

And here's the thing - are we modelling the inclusive or exclusive behaviour to our children? To the younger generation? Go ahead and ask yourself and answer honestly. Probably because it did affect me in my childhood, I make an extra effort to make people feel noticed and special - it can be as simple as a "smile" and a "hello", giving them a moment of your time.

I have to remind myself daily that some people are oblivious to their behaviour, but alas, it can still hurt - we are human afterall. But, as I am accountable solely for my own behaviour, I will strive to make sure that I am living a life of inclusiveness to others.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Canada for Christmas - Here We Come!

Hint - if the words in the picture are too small, click on it and it will open up in a larger view format for you!
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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Happy 7th Australian Wedding Anniversary - WOW!

A lot of people reading my blog would be familiar with Peter and my story about how we met....but reflecting today about seven years ago, even I have enjoyed re-reading my story that I wrote as a testimonial for the ChristianCafe website where Peter and I met.

Here is a little history about how we met.  If you had told me that I would log-onto a Christian Singles Internet Website, I would have never believed you, but never say never.  On June 23, 2002, I signed up to the Christian Café as a trial member just to check it out; you know, a different way of meeting people, maybe make a few more friends.

The short story is that Peter and I started chatting within a day of each of our joining the café.  I remembered my trip to Australia in 1989 and thot, hey, I should say "hi" to this guy from ‘down under’.  Well, that was the beginning of the end so to speak.  We hit it off and chatted lots via the website (our record typed conversation is 5 hours) and then we started talking over the phone, but not before I put my Private Investigator Hat on and confirmed that Peter really did exist.  After many more chats & phone calls, we discussed next steps because we were definitely going somewhere with this relationship.  Both of us had told a few close friends to be in prayer with us and to be accountable to as well.  So, I traveled to Australia in September 2002 and had the most amazing 5 weeks of my life.  I stayed with friends of Peter’s from his church who also were amazing.  God is so Good!  I felt a peace from the moment I arrived at the airport & met him for real.  We became engaged on September 30, 2002 and below is our engagement pictures we had taken while I was there.  Check us out!
So, we were planning our wedding in Canada on April 26, 2003 & then I’d move to Australia.  Well, Peter came to Canada for Christmas 2002 and met my family & friends.  Peter’s itinerary was very full and it was not until January 1, 2003 that we had time to just “sit, chat and veg”.  As we reflected on 1) our two trips, 2) his returning to Australia on January 10, 2003, 3) the 15 hour time difference between continents and 4) our being apart again, Peter re-proposed to me and asked me to marry him and return to Australia with him as his wife.

So, we were married on January 7, 2003 at the Hess Village Wedding Chapel in Hamilton, Ontario.  The candelit service was attended by immediate family and friends and was followed by a Chinese dinner.  We accomplished a lot in a very few days—in fact, we both believe that if we could survive those few days of 1) packing up my apartment and office, 2) arranging the marriage license (which is a story in itself), 3) organize a wedding, honeymoon in Niagara Falls (honeymoon capital of the world) and 4) move to a new country, we can survive anything.

My parents and Sheeba (family pet poodle) saw us off at the airport on January 10, 2003 and we arrived in Australia on January 12, 2003 with our winter gear on to surprise Chasely (Peter’s daughter), and his family and friends.

As I am writing this, Peter & I recently celebrated our 1st Anniversary and we are both very happy and know in our hearts that God brought us together.  Like some other testimonials I have read, my (Brenda) family found it hard to understand my meeting someone over the internet and discussing marriage so soon after meeting and I believe that unless you actually experience it for yourself and know God’s peace, it is not easy to comprehend.  To others reading this that may be experiencing similar challenges, let us encourage you to allow your families time to adjust to the idea and pray that God will confirm this in their hearts, too.

We look forward to holding a post-wedding in Australia in June 2004.  We stay connected with family and friends in Canada and Australia via the internet, e-mail, phone calls, webcam videos and by good old-fashioned snail mail, too.

Thanks to Christian Café for making our meeting possible.

Brenda (Canada) and Peter (Australia)

talkinghands252 & grimsey828

Since that was written in early 2003, we held our post-wedding renewal of vows celebration and it was a lovely day.  I reckon I will blog a bit more about that another day; but for now, I have included a photo of our wedding favour from the day and one of the happy couple.

Monday, June 6, 2011

My Faith Journey Part 2

Wow.....four weeks ago today I was almost waking up in recovery after having had surgery.  So, God did not provide a supernatural miracle; for whatever reasons, it was His will that I have the surgery and go through a little bit of inconvenience and some pain, but I know this - I trust Him.

Now, this is an interesting concept, trusting God because there is an element of unknown in this trusting thing.  This requires faith which comes through a relationship with God. It is through my knowing God as my Heavenly Father or Abba Daddy as I like to refer to Him, that I learn more and more about His character and hence, I can put my life in His hands.  No, not always easy because we are still human and struggle with the flesh daily, but by reading His word and letting the truths of His promises get into my heart, I can battle the thoughts of my mind and live by faith.

A good verse that I just thought of is 1Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1, King James Version

I never went to bible school so I am not a expert, but my testimony is based on personal experience.  When I call out to, talk to and pray to God, I know that He hears me.  This is exactly what happened that very first night in the hospital as I was recovering from the operation which ended up being a bigger deal than I originally expected.

Despite the good drugs they were giving me and my pain was under control, I did not sleep well. So I made good use of the time by calling Canada and talked with my parents seeings how while I should have been sleeping, they were in the middle of their day!

After my phone call, I thought to myself, "I know, I'll listen to some music."  So, I plugged my earphones into my phone and had a look through my library of music and found a couple of 'unnamed' songs and my curiosity got the better of me and I wanted to check it out.

My God, my Heavenly Father, my Abba Daddy had heard my prayers before surgery and even the ones following after and this was His personal answer:

I do not know what or who you believe in, but I wanted to share my testimony with you, in the hopes that it may encourage you in whatever chapter of your life you may be in - whether it be a challenging or difficult time, a stretching or uncertain time or even if you are in a good place at the moment.

My life has had good times, not so good times and yep, even bad times and I am so thankful that I have never had to go through any of those times alone.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

How To Decide What To Do Today?

I cannot remember who actually gave me this picture (my mom maybe?), but it captures me to a 't'.  The quote says "I mean to work hard, Lord, but I keep running across things that are more fun to do."
Today I have a few things that I could do but it is deciding what to do.  It is a gorgeous day outside but I am still restricted to light duties, so no gardening/weeding for me today!
I should probably go for a walk, but I am a bit nervous navigating two kelpie/cattle dogs on my own...they are pretty strong and given the right or wrong conditions, depending on which way you look at it, they could easily cause me to lose my balance and splat!
My husband has gone out this morning, so I will give walking the dogs a miss at the moment, and I reckon I should go and tickle the ivories for a bit.  Reorganizing and tidying my messy desk can wait until later!
Are you a bit like me in that yes, you can multi-task, but in doing so, you tend to do a little of each thing but not enough to actually get the job completed?  I am reminded of the words on a paperweight that I was given by a dear colleague who has since passed away, Bonny Phalen, it says "Do It Now".  That has always been a challenge for me, but I will keep trying....focus on one thing and get that done and then move on to the next task.
Make a list and tick them off as you complete them - a sense of achievement!  It does not have to be fancy - it can be a list on the fridge (goodonya mom) or a list in my diary or yes, I can even use tasks in outlook.
Just decide on what to do and stick with it until it is done.  Now, I will have a go at listening to my own advice! lol
Have a great Saturday everyone (or Friday if you are still behind us) in another time zone.

Friday, May 27, 2011

My Faith Journey Part 1

Wow....these past few weeks have been a journey of stretching my faith.

In case you may not know, I discovered that I had an incisional hernia a few weeks ago and required surgery.  We are blessed to live in a part of the world that benefits from a great health system and hernia repair surgeries these days are probably a dime a dozen and often times, it is day surgery or an overnight admission at best.

Well, I really did not want to be another dime.  I was hoping and praying for a miracle - a supernatural one.  My husband Peter has great faith and he, too, stood in agreement with me and his faith was unwavering.......more than mine sometimes.

In the end, I was another dime as surgery went ahead and on this occasion, God chose to use medicine and the health professionals to fix up my hernia, and the surgery ended up being a bit more extensive in the end, too - I got a two night hospital (hotel) stay!

Over the next few blog entries I would like to share with you a bit more of my journey, my personal testimony and how God showed up and ministered to me in a personal way.

This morning is a perfect example.  After a bit of a restless night's sleep, I came into my office for a bit of quiet and reflective time and God brought to my remembrance this absolutely beautiful hymn and He washed over me with His love and amazing peace and comfort.

The lyrics are below and I have included a youtube link for your listening pleasure, too.

My Jesus I Love Thee I Know Thou Art Mine Hymn

My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I love Thee because Thou has first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree.
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

In mansions of glory and endless delight,
I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Our Recent Adventure - Queen Mary Falls

Queensland had another long weekend this past weekend gone by, so Peter and I embarked on another adventure, but this time we did not head for the coast.
Instead, we headed inland a bit through Teviot State Forest after driving through the very full Moogerah Dam.  It was a bit windy, steep and narrow heading up through the State Forest, but our faithful little Honda Jazz proved itself again.  We drove over a couple of brambling brooks and passed herds of cattle grazing along the roadside.  It was a beautiful day for a drive.
The drive took us just under 2 hours and once we arrived, we decided to take in the sights straightaway and then went on the walk that takes you to the bottom of the falls and then back up to where we started....we did not rush as we took in the sights, so it took us just over an hour. From memory the signs says to allow 40 minutes.
Going down hill was pretty easy, but by the time I reached the top, I'll admit I was a bit winded....but hey, if Peter and I keep this up, we may even be able to join our friends John and Astrid!  Just would take alot for us to join them on them bush and mountain walks.
The air was so fresh and cool - it was a lovely day for a walk and yes, I took some photos.  Below is a video I put together complete with the sounds of the falls and the water travelling downstream.
After our walk we enjoyed a bite to eat at the local cafe and then headed over to visit the birds.  They are very tame and you will see how I was able to feed them straight from my hand.  Peter took some good shots and there is one in particular that shows off the brilliant green of the king parrots and the crimson rosellas are beautiful, too.
Well, it is time for bed for me, so I'll attach the video now and sign off.  Talk again soon.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Rise Up With Wings As Eagles

My mom shared the link with me about the eagles and the Raptor Resource Project and I have enjoyed watching the hatching of the eggs and the majesty of the eagles.  You can watch the live video, too - 

 I am reminded of this verse:

 31But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31, King James Version)

In preparation for the Easter weekend ahead, I am reminded of the new life that Jesus Christ bought for us by His death and resurrection on Calvary!

Monday, April 11, 2011

How's The Serenity?

So last night was such a beautiful evening, the puppies and I went outside and just sat and enjoyed the beautiful, peaceful evening!
Hello Mr Moon!

I had a bit of a fiddle with the camera to try and adjust the exposure so that I could catch a few of the stars - not sure if you can see in this resolution because I made the picture a bit smaller for the blog.
Ah, I am reminded of a famous Australian movie "The Castle" where the question is asked over and over "How's the serenity?"  It has become a bit of a family line with us now when we are out enjoying the lovely peace and quiet.........or when we are somewhere wishing for a bit of

Do you ever find yourself enjoying a peaceful situation, but then wham, something or someone comes along and wrecks it for you?  Yeah? Well, Jessie and Jake sure did last night.  The neighbourhood cat "Garfield" has no mercy when it comes to my puppies - whether he is on the other side of the fence and last night, he came right out in the open in the neighbour's front yard. Poor Jake, I thought he was going to lose it! Good thing I had a solid grip on the lead.

I think this can be a bit like life sometimes.  Just when we think everything is going along nicely, something comes along and tries to throw us a curve to get our attention away from where it should be.  I am thankful that God always has a solid grip on me and my life, so that He helps me stay on track.  Where would I be without You?

Love the chorus lyrics from the song we have sung at church the past couple of Sunday's by Jesus Culture:
Your love never fails,
It never gives up
It never runs out on me!

In closing, a gorgeous postcard picture of my puppies, who bring me a lot of joy - Jessie and Jake.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Another Beautiful Day At The Coast - 26 March 2011

No, I do not reckon that I will ever tire of just sitting and listening and watching and relaxing amidst the amazing creation of my Heavenly Father! Peter and I enjoyed another gorgeous day at the Coast - specifically the Gold Coast, which is south of Brisbane versus the Sunshine Coast which is north of Brisbane.

Because of our location in Brissy and Ipswich it is a wee bit quicker and easier access to go south and after about one hour's drive we arrived in Tweed Heads, New South Wales which is just over the Queensland border.  Right next to Tweed Heads is Coolangatta, Queensland and this is where we finished our beautiful day with a walk along the sand and then indulged in delicious Gelato Ice Cream at the Gelatissimo overlooking the beach! Peter enjoyed Mango and Berry and I had Caramel - both delicious.  We visited the local bowls club in Tweed Heads and enjoyed a bargain lunch for $6.90! But boy, you really have to be quick - if you don't get in for lunch by 1:30 pm, sorry about your luck! We got in by the hair of our chinny chin chin! lol

Monday, March 14, 2011

Do You Reckon You Are A Good Listener?

I reckon that most people think that they are good listeners, but alas, it is a skill that we could all improve on and hey, I am talking to myself here, too.
Do you find that after conversations with family, friends and colleagues that you try to remember exactly what you spoke about? Do you have problems recounting facts, figures and even names of people?  You are not alone.
We live in a world where we are bombarded with so much information in a day, that sometimes I think my brain might explode.

The amount of information that you and I come into contact with versus the likes of our grandparents when they were our age, is significantly greater.
With the introduction of email and computers and the world wide web, our worlds are so much smaller, too!
Within just minutes of the recent devastating tsunami and earthquake in Japan, the news was transmitted across the globe!
So, is it any wonder why we might struggle with shutting down our thought processes long enough to just focus on the current conversation we are having.
A lot of us are already preparing in our minds our responses to the person we are talking with instead of totally listening to what they are saying.
And when we do speak back, are we actually checking to make sure that we heard them correctly?
This kind of listening is not only really important at work, but also with your children, spouses and friends.
I really want to be a better listener, so I am going to work at developing my skills better.
At the end of the day, I want to be able to recap a conversation that I have had with a person almost verbatim and I am told that it is possible.

Focus, remove distractions and just listen.......without taking notes.  Yep, I used to like to take notes, but by doing this, I am actually distracted and not completely focusing on the person speaking.  I find that I have to ask the person to repeat themselves to make sure that I heard them correctly.  Sure, getting the person to repeat themselves is not a bad thing, but if you are needing them to do this because of a distraction (emails, thinking about the other job that you need to finish, the things you need to pick up at the shop so you can make dinner, or any other number of things), then you are not giving the person your undivided attention.

Go ahead - I challenge you to become a better listener! You know you want to and I reckon that it will enhance the quality of both your life and the person with whom you are conversing!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I Know God Is Watching Over Me

I am thankful today that I can rest knowing that despite a poor night's sleep last night, that God is watching over me.
Lord, help us to trust You 100% with the little things and the big things each and every day.
And thanks to Joyce Meyer for always bringing a timely word for the right season - Help us not to be led by our feelings!

Have a good day everyone!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Beam Me Up Scotty!

"Make it so #1", "Engage", "That is not logical", and of course "Beam Me Up Scotty!" Some popular sayings from Star Trek.
I wonder if the creator of Star Trek's television series ever dreamed that it would become as big as it has become!
Pretty amazing........pretty much as amazing as the ability to be "beamed up" I say!
Well, it happened to Phillip in the New Testament - no technology involved, but rather transported by the Holy Spirit. 

Acts: 8:39-40
39 Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea. (Acts 8:39-40, New King James Version)
I wonder how I can arrange to beamed over to Canada? That would be so cool! Completely bypass the 36 hour trip involved (this includes travel from destination to destination; e.g. travel to airport from home, transfer connections, etc., and travel from airport to destination in Canada).
Hey, with my God all things are possible.  I'll have to keep chatting with Him about it and see if it can be arranged - that I be beamed over!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Blog Design - Plain and Simple or Loud and Colourful

Just had another look at my blog tonight and really thot it looked too plain, hence, I chose another template and now it is a bit loud and colourful - maybe a bit too much?
I have a colleague who I believe is a bit of an expert, so yeah, I have run the question by her for an expert opinion.  Her website is: - she is a virtual assistant, website designer and blogger.  She and I worked together back in Canada with MCSS for ODSP. has been a while - am I remembering those acronyms correctly? lol
Got to love government, eh?
Well, stay tuned - I'll update you with the advice I receive.  I really have so much to learn.
But hey, a really good friend reminded me today that it is good to be stretched!

It Is All In A Word

So last weekend I asked Peter to pick up some buns at the store so I could make sandwiches.
Ooops, wrong word - I should have said rolls; e.g. sandwich rolls.
Now, I know that you might think this is silly, but alas, I knew in my mind what I meant when I said buns, but alas, the Aussie bloke, he did not! I am still Canadian afterall!
I should have taken a photo of the flat, sad looking buns that Brumby's sold as buns; e.g. hamburger buns.
Alas, I have seen much better representations of hamburger buns in my day!
And then, of course, I could have meant a kaiser bun - yeah, bakeries in Canada made lovely kaiser buns.  And what of bagels?  Yes, I was lucky enough to find a place that sells bagels, but forget a selection - one kind fits all and pretty pricey, too!
Nope, not complaining, just saying.
Australia and Canada are both Commonwealth Countries but it is really funny when you start to make a list of all the different lingo we have for things.
For example:

In Canada: I'm toast = In Australian: I'm stuffed (tired)
In Canada: Can I hold your baby? = In Australian: Can I nurse your baby? (simply hold, no feeding involved!)
In Canada: Bench = In Australia: Countertop of kitchen (totally different - yep, bench is something you sit on in Canada!)
I could go on and on, but yeah, I think it is funny and from time to time, Peter's and my ability to communicate with each other can get complicated! Yikes - it is hard enough sometimes for women and men to understand each other without adding the challenge of a mixed language! lol
Well, just thought I'd share this funny thought today!
Au revoir! (French for good-bye).

Saturday, January 15, 2011

My Expression of Gratitude and Shock

If you live close to Ipswich or Brisbane or actually, alot of other places in Queensland, Australia, you have probably seen first hand some of the devastation that the recent floods have brought to so many.

When I visited Australia in 1989, I was told about the flood of 1974 and how Jindalee was flooded and even since my move to Brisbane, Queensland in 2003, I was often reminded that the houses along Oxley Road on the way to Indooroopilly were flooded and how the water covered some of the roofs.  But no, never in my lifetime did I think that I would live to see the day of another tragedy so similar.  In fact, this flood was even more severe than 1974 because the Wivenhoe Dam was since developed in the late 1970's to prevent another flood occurrence like 1974.  The dam holds twice as much water as Sydney Harbour (and that is pretty big!).  So, if Queensland did not have the Wivenhoe Dam, the flooding would have been much worse than that of 1974 - I shudder just to think of its magnitude.

Brisbane is the 3rd largest capital city of Queensland and Ipswich is a large metropolitan area as well.  Brisbane's population is 2,067,663 (comparable to Toronto, Ontario, Canada at 2,503,281 and also covers a wide geographical area) and Ipswich's population is 155,000 (comparable to St Catharines, Ontario, Canada - 131,989).  Many other cities and towns have been affected but I am covering the two cities where I live closest to and at the moment, I currently reside in Springfield Lakes in Ipswich.

When I first moved to Australia in 2003, water levels in the dam were not 100%, but not at dangerous levels - I remember the fun we had at Scarba Street watering the gardens and Jessie, our first puppy used to try to eat the water coming out of the hose.  But within a couple of years, the drought was upon us and Peter took me to Wivenhoe so I could see first hand how low the level was.

Well, in the last year, we have seen the levels rise due to good rainfall and heavy rainfalls sometimes.  In fact, the dam exceeded 100% capacity earlier this year and the gates were opened to, in fact, release water from the dams back in October 2010 which was a big deal and alot of people went to visit, to see first hand and experience a mini "Niagara Falls."

Take a look at this video which shows the powerful water release.

Have a look at this video which shows the powerful release.
So, the rain has continued to fall keeping the dam full and with the ongoing and constant torrential rain that we have been having leading up to Christmas and continuing into the new year, it has meant that more and more releases from the dam were required.  Accordingly, this meant that the water was spilling into the Bremer River en route to the Brisbane River and filling all the Creeks and other waterways connected, not including the rain falling into the catchment areas.

The rainfalls on 7th and 10th of January made some of the regional roads inaccessible for staff travelling into our work and for those of us that did come into work at Redbank on Tuesday, 11th January, we did not stay long - we were advised to leave work before 10:00 am and have not been back since.  Wow!

As I mentioned on facebook earlier this week, I was not holding out alot of hope that our workplace at Redbank would escape flood damage, but alas, we escaped narrowly.  Peter reckons it was 50 meters away from our front door.  I'll post these pictures another time.

We've kept updated of the flood situation via facebook (excellent site by the Queensland State Police) and by the news - various stations and yes, even ABC.  The coverage overseas has been very good and accurate, too.  And I think Premier Bligh has done an outstanding job.  She can hold her head high and know that she has done a fabulous job in this horrific time for her state of Queensland and I think she conducts herself incredibly in the press conferences and she can think quickly on her feet responding to questions.  (Julia could take lessons....oops...did I actually write that?)

So, as we were offline Friday - no Internet - it was very frustrating, Peter & I joined efforts and contacted staff at work to see if anyone was affected by the flood (unless obviously not in suburbs affected). Still no power at work, but our boss will check again on Sunday and we will let staff know if back to work Monday at Redbank.

Today, after a quick call to Canada to speak to mom and dad - no skype yesterday :( - we headed to Goodna to lend a hand with the clean-up but alas, the traffic was a gridlock.  I was not thinking on my feet (I was, so I was a little late in capturing this picture with Peter's IPhone, but I think you get the general idea.

So we rang the coordinator and hence, headed over to the Centenary Suburbs where we used to live and the location of our previous congregation to help out there.

Nothing could prepare me for what I was about to see.  People's livelihoods lost and sitting stacked up high on the curbsides.  The beautiful houses were no longer beautiful but barren of furniture with water marks of how high the level rose and mud and yes, that horrible stench of stinking beach.  The generators were going and water pressures were trying to remove the reminder of the mud and the smell - there was so much sludge on the roads, it made walking almost dangerous.  I nearly fell several times.

The last house we helped at were a lovely couple who had only just returned from visiting their children overseas, arriving home in the wee hours of Wednesday morning only to be told she had to get out of her home.  Very little was sad.  I started the job of cleaning her collection of CD's.  She was so moved by all the people that had showed up to help her and her husband.  A couple of times I thot she looked close to tears - so emotional, but I reached over and gave her a friendly touch on the shoulder and asked her how she was coping and gave her a little hug.  She said she was fine, but her whole life had changed in an instant.  Most everything gone!  She could not thank everyone enough for helping and we exchanged contact details and I've taken the rest of her CD collection home to finish cleaning for her.  It was the least I could do.

People came from all over - some registered at the designated volunteer stations set-up by the councils and others like us, just turned up.  They came from New Farm, Albany Creek, Tingalpa, Bundaberg (this guy had already been through his own flood and lost alot, too!) and from Kenmore and of course, Springfield Lakes, too.

What an incredible and emotional day!

So as Peter and I headed home to our home up high on a hill in Springfield Lakes with very thankful and humble hearts, I asked him to drive by our previous place of residence in Middle Park.

You see, we lived just around the corner from the McLeod's Gold Club and the Peter Lightfoot Oval, both of which were totally flooded out.  I got out at McLeod's and took a few shots - wow....the smell......ghastly!

The brown dirt is indicative of the water level.
Notice to golfers.
Water levels have not totally come down.
We drove around the corner and discovered that our old house had escaped the flood narrowly, but were prepared - hard to see in picture but they had sandbagged the entrance from the patio.
When I say narrowly escaped the flood, the following picture is the house 2 doors up.
What you see in this picture is a very small scale of the mass destruction to homes, businesses and farms that the people of Ipswich, Brisbane and other communities have experienced.  When I think of those in places like Chinchilla and Condamine who have had more than 1 flood within the past 2 to 3 weeks and have had to evacuate their homes and do not know when they will be able to return, I am in awe of the Aussie Spirit.

And, for those who have lost loved ones in the tragic floods including the inland Tsunami in Toowoomba, Grantham and in the Lockyer Valley, I express my sincere sympathies - I cannot imagine your grief and pain; particularly the family whose older brother gave up his life for his younger sibling, to save him.  I also think of those who have family that are still missing and are waiting for word - our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Hence, this blog entry from me today on the eve of 14 January 2011 is both one of gratitude and shock.

To my Canadian friends and family, the next time it snows and you have to shovel, be thankful - for it is not thick and ugly smelling mud.  This past week I have thot many times, I would give almost anything for a snow day over the devastation this flood has caused.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Appreciating God's Creation

I love the ocean - most bodies of water in general actually; lakes, dams, rivers, ponds.  And yesterday I got to visit one of my favourite spots - the Gold Coast.  What can I say? It is a beautiful, majestic view and sound all rolled into one!

View of Surfers Paradise

The sea breeze in my face feels refreshing, not to mention feeling the sand between my toes and then the absolute bliss of just standing there looking out at the beautiful view of blue with the white of the crashing waves.

For some that have grown up with the beautiful beach, perhaps it doesn't hold the same thrill as it once did; but it reminds me to enjoy the simple pleasures of life.....and the ocean is anything but simple.
So, I think for me in 2011, I'm going to make an extra effort at stopping throughout my days and appreciate God's creation and when I have my camera handy, I'll snap a few shots, too and share on my blog.