I woke up this morning with that Peter Allen song in my head… “I still call Australia Home!” Hmmm I so relate to the “I’m always travelling, I love being free” part. And I’m sure some of you dear people who read this blog (I’m hoping somebody reads it…) are frustrated that you are not out exploring this wide brown, make that red, land as well. Our life-style choice is not for the faint hearted, or the ill equipped, or the weary and yet we have been all those and more. But what can I say, it’s a simple life in many ways and an unpredictable life as well. The toll on each of us is different.
Leisl, my lovely red-head, desperately misses friends and is often in tears about not having friends for more than a few days at a time. I am so thankful for the James’, the Barrett and the Mann Families for making an effort to keep in touch with us…we all love contact with these special people, but Leisl longs for it. Connection! Occasionally we meet new friends, and one such beautiful young lady is Brooke Hill. Her Mum Donna Hill is the National Field Staff Leader for MOPS Australia and they live in Tassie. Donna is one amazing woman, she is gentle spoken, thoughtful, considerate, caring and inspiring. Yep she is a treasure! We were all delighted to meet her family when we were in Tassie last year, but I had not expected her lovely daughter to continue her contact with my older girls. That in itself is remarkable. Sometimes Brooke’s beautiful emails are the only emails that my Leisl receives. I praise God for that lovely girl who is reaching out to my desperately lonely red head and my honey-eyed Josie so regularly. My prayer for Leisl is that she would develop special, deep, long lasting friendships. I am so sad for her at times. I have definitely questioned what we are doing in light of her sadness. But she makes the most of it all as well. Our red-head has a quirky sense of humour, lets just say slap stick is her thing! She randomly makes us laugh with her quick wit and funny insights. In some ways this lifestyle has revealed so much more of her personality. And be warned, she is the UNO queen and she will take you down!!! Leisl is a very creative young lady, her art work is AMAZING! And she has developed a keen eye for photography. She is not separated from her little camera for long. And sing…boy she can sing. Her repertoire is enormous. Her MP3 player is overworked! And at times, in our confined travelling space, so are our ears!
Rosa, our extrovert, ping pongs through all her emotions with rapid fire efficiency often leaving us wondering what just happened… At age 8, our hazel-eyed lass is still trying to find her own style I think. But she seems content. Rosa tries very hard at School, but finds school hard! Does that make sense? Yet she is so incredibly coordinated, she can run like the wind, jump, dance, move, chat, throw, swing…you name it. Physically she is unreal! Those genes do NOT come from me! This trip has revealed a new passion for Miss Rosa, she loves to fish! And blow me down if she usually catches as well. This thereby qualifies her to give all others who are engaged nearby in the attempt to catch fish to a long string of well meaning advice. Can you imagine it? She has caught the only edible fish on many occasions! Thank you Great Uncle Nigel for inspiring this little girl when you took her to catch her first fish ever on The Derwent River in Hobart! She has caught 4 fish so far and one medium sized turtle! That is more than me….and dare I say, more than any of us! (Note: Daniel has caught the biggest though, while we were in Maningrida last year he caught a Yellow finned Tuna, a Golden Trevally and a Queen fish!) We are hanging out to snag a Barra sometime, Please Lord….. Perhaps Rosa will be the one to succeed in this endeavour. Perhaps at Kakadu or on The Gibb River Road we will get that opportunity. Is it wrong to pray for such a thing???
|Rosa now has very short, cropped hair!|
Connor, is one of those kids that is best dressed in BROWN! He is literally bathed in dirt from the moment he wakes to the moment we wash him to rediscover exactly what skin colour he is! He is all boy! Grubby, full on, curious and ah, disgusting! His sleeves are for wiping apparently, the wearing of undies is optional apparently, tissues are definitely not even considered and his pockets usually reveal numerous unusual objects all precious, apparently. I have pulled a sheep jaw complete with rotting teeth from his collection, tiny springs, wire, corks, fuses, fish hooks, rocks, bullet casings, sticks of varying shapes and sizes, leaves, bugs, red claw claws, screws, bottle caps, literally all manner of fascinating things. He is super fit! When we go on walks Connor runs ahead and back, ahead and back, ahead and back etc. We figure he does every walk twice! When we enter a Gorge or are near any kind of rocky surface we often lose him only to discover he’s scaled some freaky cliff face and there he is wayyyy up there waving frantically! When we went to King’s Canyon, he literally ran ahead, took off with no thought to the pace the rest of us were making. Thankfully Poppy took off after him. At one point, we spotted him far ahead in the distance on the edge of….you guessed it, a sheer rock cliff face, Gulp! He was apparently unperturbed but the rest of us were a bundle of nerves. We were reunited shortly after that, thank you Lord! Connor is best described as curious, imaginative and too smart for his own good! Whilst he achieves well in school, he applies himself with all the effort of someone who would rather be out there in the wide open spaces doing something else! This lifestyle choice has been good for the relationship he has with Daniel, he is super handy on any job, knows all the tools, the names of all the bits and pieces and he can even wire up power points! Not sure how I feel about that one….
Josie, our honey-eyed girl has blossomed into a beautiful young woman. She is absolutely loving life on the road, being self managed in her schooling and the people we come across! She is quick to respond to all those lovely friends who write her letters and emails. She often has her nose buried in a book (I cannot keep enough books on board to satisfy her insatiable appetite, nor Connor’s actually), or her head bent to her journal, or determined to keep playing her violin. She still plays well, although I long to be able to provide some sort of instruction for her. Neither Daniel nor I can play, so we are at a loss in knowing how to help her. To her credit she has continued to practice most days, is often getting people to choose a song from a violin solo book Nonna gave her, and disciplines herself with her Grade 4 AMEB workbooks. I hope some good will come of this for her sake. I believe she is gifted in this area and have to trust that God has it all sorted. Josie is developing into a beautiful person inside and out. She is up for anything, is often fearless, and the most willing to have a go. Something else that I’ve noticed is her magnetism to little children, she is drawn to them and they are likewise, drawn to her. She is quick to encourage others and quick to pray. She is also very creative in a detailed kind of way. Where Leisl is flamboyant in her choice of art medium and colour, Josie is specific and exact. Both girls produce mazing artwork, but their styles are very different. For example, Nonna has really encouraged Josie to sew, knit and embroider. She tackles these tasks with a minimum of difficulty, like a duck to water. I wonder where her learning limit is? Josie is also our hummingbird, she is always humming violin music….which is nice when we are in wide open spaces!!!
My Hunky-Dorey, Daniel, is thoroughly enjoying living the nomadic life. He has worked in numerous places, gained so much experience electrically that he would not otherwise have had if we had stayed on the Sunny Coast. He has learnt more about the mechanics of our car, basically lots of handy stuff to keep us on the move….from doing the regular servicing to servicing hubbs, changing shockies, changing the panhard arms etc. He has learnt so much from each of the M.M.M projects we have been involved in as well. If you, perchance have the opportunity to be involved with M.M.M please be aware that you may have to turn your hand to all manner of tasks not just those that you are comfortable with. I had to plumb a toilet straight into the septic on one such project…but I digress. Suffice to say he is a very handy fella to have around. When we are on the move he has all the attributes of a child long at his desk released for play time….his curiosity is insatiable, his intelligence unsurpassed and his perseverance in difficult circumstances admirable. I am amazed at Daniel’s problem solving ability, his quick, clear thinking shows a wisdom that is God-given! He has taken to writing regularly for the “Camper Trailer Australia” magazine like a duck to water….cool calm and collected on the surface and paddling like crazy underneath! I thoroughly enjoying seeing memorable moments of our journey in print and hope others enjoy the story as much as we do. I am often surprised at the speed he learns things. One skill I have thoroughly enjoyed watching develop, is his ability to capture the heart of the M.M.M projects we’ve been privileged to be involved in. He has taken to producing a short wrap up of the projects in a DVD format. Think power-point with class! I’m so impressed with the results of the recent W.A. Heart of the Kimberley M.M.M Safari we’ve just been involved with. I hope that you will get to see it at some point
| That’s me driving the I.T. |
(talk about growth phase!)
As for me….well I am most definitely getting an education! My multi digit long division is all good now… Funny that! Seriously it is a both a joy and a burden to Home-School the children. I find it very stressful at times, and yet they are all doing very well. It is not at all what I thought it would be like, but possibly more full on than I first realised. I find myself constantly on the go. And I get so very tired as a result. However, it is all worth it! I love knowing exactly where my kids are at, what their struggles are, which areas of school challenge them, and what makes them tick. That is priceless! There are times I long for connection, for space, an oven, a coffee with a good mate, time to sit and write, time to read, even such simple luxuries as new clothes… But we get by. I have thoroughly enjoyed visiting with MOPS groups along the way, although I confess we have been so constantly on the move throughout second term that I haven’t had the opportunity. Perhaps this term will be different. MOPS is still very much on my heart. I love the Mums, I love the Leaders and I just love the Ministry! MOPS changed my life! Whilst my direction within MOPS from this point is unclear, I still feel it is something I’m called to do. You could say, I’m waiting for further instruction in that area. Come to think of it, we are waiting for further instruction in a few areas, not the least of which is where to go next. We often pray about where to next? When do we stop? Where do we stop? Are we to go overseas? How? What is it that we are to do? I am at peace with the decision to live this way. I do find it hard at times, physically, mentally and emotionally. I miss my family and my friends terribly. Strangely I don’t pine for all those material things we had to get rid of before we left. I know it’s odd to not have a home base, a patch of dirt that is ours, or furniture in storage somewhere….but it is what it is. We have more than enough. God has blessed us, provided for us, spared us and answered our prayers. His fingerprints have been all over this trip of ours, we’ve been saying that: “we make our plans and he determines our paths”…and that is how it is! I still have a few hobbies, I read (thanks to those beautiful Lit n Latte ladies) and occasionally get to skype in to Book club, I write sporadically (not as much as I’d like but that’s cool), I get to take numerous photos (I confess I am snap happy) and I am on the adventure of a lifetime with my family growing closer to each other and to God. He is so good to us. He is our map, our compass and our light.