Hills, hills and more hills...

A beautiful day on the lower east coast of the north island today. The kids and I drove from Papakowhai to Napier via the Wairarapa and enjoyed a beautiful Autumn day through typical rural landscapes. The low autumn sun created an idyllic aura over the paddocks and lolling hillside and the late afternoon haze and sunset cast an awesome spectrum of colour over the cloudless skies. God is quite the artist, and I reveled in His quixotic creative hand. If I were a photographer I would have been quite frustrated by the complete inability to capture such a scene but I would have been compelled to try. My kids are going to grow up quite appreciative of the NZ country side as I can wax lyrical with a captive audience on a lengthy car trip. They even join in these days, and we had great desultory conversations about colours in the sky and where they come from (why is the sky blue type questions), discussing atmosphere and light etc etc. So cool. I really enjoy the journey on that side of the country even though it takes longer. C announced in a semi-endearing fashion that Z was probably going to be a nerd as she liked Social Studies (one of C’s dreaded topics). Z was a bit miffed at first until C explained to her what social studies was and she seemed appeased. The ‘nerd’ comment slipped by the wayside.

My kids are pretty good at spending hours in a car finding interesting things to say about the 56 thousanth sheep they’ve seen, or different styles of fencing, or interesting coloured farm houses, or dilapidated old sheds, or power lines, or road markings. With family in Whangarei (now Ahipara) we are quite the experienced car-cricketers.

We are now settled into our beach-side holiday home for the next 5 days. I am sitting in the kitchen, with my cup of tea and mint slice, checking email and Facebook. It’s a very still night but the waves I can hear sound quite rough. I am looking after my friends’ kids as they head off to raft down some rapids. I do hope they return. I have had the low down, both verbal and written, about the health needs of one of these kids, including the Epipen instructions. I knew before but I am now keenly aware of the trust that has been given me to even be asked to look after this wee man. The kids are all in bed talking and reading. It’s very pleasant. There are seven of them but the dynamics work well. On Friday we head to Palmerston North for the weekend for a dancing workshop that the girls have signed up for.

The ‘Leading Like Jesus Course’, that started yesterday promises to be very rewarding and fulfilling. I know I will love it. I don’t think there will be miraculous wine making sessions, but never mind. I was impressed by the willingness of most of the participants to be fairly open from the outset. The ones who were less self-exposing were probably just more private sort of people. They still seemed genuine. I am not really sure of the benefit of getting those people all together and connected though, as the online forums are not a requirement of the course but we will see. I guess local networking is good at the end of the day. What surprised me was that I was the only female. That wouldn’t have bothered me 15 years ago, in fact it was quite normal and I relished being called one of the guys. But this time I was a little intimidated. This course ends with a two day workshop in a house somewhere. Oh well at least I will be guaranteed bathroom time to myself surely. What I did appreciate was the less talking in general, and therefore a much more peaceful day than if there were more or mainly women. On the other hand I have a nagging disappointment that the church (whole) still has gender controversies to do with church leadership. I am grateful that for our church, these discussions are redundant and have been for years. And I must say, I have not seen too much all-out anarchy as a result.

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