Saturday, August 28, 2010

Intimations of Heaven

For a variety of reasons, I have been prompted to think of the eternity that awaits us with God. Isaiah dramatically tells us how tightly God holds us; Hebrews talks about the impermanence of this world; and a friend's poem reminds us of beauty beyond anything we can imagine.

There is so much to do here, so much to see here, so many people to connect with. Yet we are bound by time and aging. We are called to a Life Eternal, still each of us must accept that call.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A final look at winter in New Zealand

Ohope Beach on the eastern shore of North Island rests at about the same latitude as San Francisco. So, unlike the Oregon coast in winter where rain can fall for days on end and be quite cool, Ohope Beach enjoys a goodly amount of sun and mild winter temperatures. Meg and I had overpacked our cold weather clothing--our packing would have been appropriate for South Island which is much colder in the winter.

Frankly, it was a delightful way to beat the August heat of La Grande. We did have a few days where we were homebound in the rain, but most of the days we were able to take long walks on the beach, enjoying the sounds of waves, the beach combing, the light. And, of course, the time with Sebastian and Emma, and Matt and Teresa was full of fun.

So, we have seen New Zealand in the summer, the spring, the winter. Hopefully we will be able to make a trip in March or April and enjoy it in the fall.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Lord merely spoke...

When the Lord formed the earth, He saved the best for last and created New Zealand! Today, Sunday, is our last full day here. We leave Ohope/Whakatane in the early afternoon for Auckland. We fly back to the States in the evening. As you can tell from my recent posts, the presence and the power of the ocean here is constant. After all, New Zealand consists of North and South ISLANDS. I have been reminded continually of the many references in the Psalms to the Lord's power in creating and containing the oceans. Here are a couple.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Photographic Hilites I of New Zealand, 2010

We have less than a week left here with the family in Ohope Beach, North Island, Bay of Plenty. Whereas the first week and half passes slowly, the sand of the hour glass is now rapidly filling at the bottom. Our days have been filled with the happy voices of our grandchildren, and activities with them. We have enjoyed long beach walks, shell collecting, sunrises and sunsets, travel up and down the coast. This is an exceptionally beautiful country. We are blessed to be able to visit.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Forgiveness and Joy

A sunrise and sunset shot from Ohope Beach, overlooking the Bay of Plenty, create the theme for this week's spiritual themes. I never cease to be awed by the Psalmists statements about God's forgiveness toward those who seek him humbly, completely, repentantly. There is such joy in that realization of eternal love. With that we can, as St. Seraphim says, share and kindle joy in others. In that way, we become a spiritual presence to others, a companion on the way.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Our first week in New Zealand

Well, it was just a week ago today that Meg and I arrived in Auckland, and then took a commuter flight to Whakatane, the harbor town closest to Ohope, North Island, where Matt, Teresa, Sebastian, and Emma live. Matt has been working at a hospital in Wellington for three months, to demonstrate to the Austral-New Zealand Medical Society that his US Board Certification should be recognized down here.
One of the reasons we made this winter trip was to give Teresa the chance to spend a week with Matt while we took care of the grandchildren. It is tough being grandparents, but somebody has to do it :). I mean, we get the children off to school, and then we must find time to read while drinking tea or coffee, walk on the beach with Aggie, the black lab, pick up sea shells, take sunrise and sunset pictures, eat great fish and chips, drive on the wrong side of the road--I know how sympathetic you are feeling for us.
It is fun adjusting to driving here. The basic lesson is remembering to drive with the center line next to you. I have found that is the key orientation fact for me as I drive. The challenge then is to drive into parking lots on the far side instead of the near side--and not to turn the windshield wipers on when using the turn signals. So far, I am under 10% in turning on the wipers rather than the directionals.
Central heating is non existent in New Zealand. Our bedroom is quite cool at night, probably around fifty five degrees. We sleep under a great comforter, and feel like we are in a cozy den. Since it gets dark at five thirty and light a seven, we sleep quite deeply.
As always, we are impressed with the beauty of the country and the kindness of the people. We are blessed to be here.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The comfort of being held

Loss is for now, but not forever. And while we wait for the eternal reunion, we can, if we choose, let ourselves be comforted by the knowledge that we do not live in an impersonal universe. We enjoy a Presence beyond the mystery, a Creator who by His nature cares for us. But as always, it is a choice. God doesn't stop loving us; we decide how to receive His love.