*that* crowd

2012-09-23 Jaala Spain 005

“People in that crowd want to make poverty history,
but NOT if they have to pay for it themselves”
― Ben Elton, Meltdown


overcoming second thoughts



It’s under six weeks until we leave.
We’re supposed to be stepping up the miles, but we hadn’t walked in nearly two weeks – life stuff got in the way.
Maybe that’s why today’s should-have-been-easy walk was a struggle. Maybe it was that we didn’t take our poles – perhaps they help more than we realise. Maybe it was all the stairs – give us hills to climb and we’re happy, but plonk stairs in front of us and you can feel the discouragement in the air.

So we walked not even 8km and could not bear the thought of doing it twice more on one day. Certainly wouldn’t want to do it again tomorrow. Giving up before leaving is not an option, so I can see that we need to prioritise walking time in real life and not just on the calendar. Tomorrow I’ll choose a path sans stairs…and we’ll take our poles, too.

guest post: by Josiah

Spain Sept 9 Rabanal (13)

he went….he walked…..he was usually pretty quiet….just like he is at home….
and that’s probably why a guest post from the Eldest Son,
who will not be accompanying us, was not forthcoming

so we’ll show you something else instead:
the advertising flier we’ve been putting up around town
(just click on the words “advertising flier” above and it will miraculously appear)
could we dare you to print off half a dozen
and see if some local businesses will let you pop them on a wall?

just the thought of it is making Josiah smile – see him below?…smiling!

Spain Sept 21 Hospital da Cruz (5)

confessions of an elite athlete


Elite athlete…actually that’s not me!
I remember coming home from school delighted that I had won the high jump. My mother rightly pointed out, “It’s a small school.”
I became a school librarian instead of pursuing a place on the athletics team.
Truth be known that was a better fit for my interests anyway.
I remember sitting inside lost in books as a child. My father would urge me to, “Go outside and get some fresh air.” I would heed his command – with book in hand.
So I’m not sure who is more surprised at me going for a long hike – my parents or me!
In fact, as we trudged up an eternal hill this morning and scrambled up over rocks and stumbled down over tree roots, I realised I don’t really enjoy this….not the actual process. Belief informs my practice – I know the benefits of fresh air and exercise, I see the results of more peaceful kids after a day of hiking, I understand that it’s good for us and I do like the awesome views and watching fantails flit beside us……and so we do it.
We decided to use this “thing that we do” to bless others. We won’t write any records, I’m not interested in being the fastest or walking the furtherest….we just set a little goal and we’ll go for it. Funnily enough, time as a librarian may well have started me on this almost-athletic path; the paid librarian took a book from the shelf one day and gave it to me to read and it sparked an interest in taking a long walk. Now it is almost happening.



Look at today’s climb: 3km straight up, total elevation gain 753m, 9.5km at a fair clip (over 4.5km/hr even including photo stops) No wonder it’s not my favourite activity!!

PS. The book was “Walk Across America”, and when I read it recently it did not capture me in the way it did as a thirteen-year-old……but now I am doing my own walking anyway – perhaps it has served its purpose.

Lake Wainamu surprises


1. Friends came with us – thanks guys!
2. We stumbled across a waterfall and brilliantly clear pool
3. Instead of being a there-and-back track as indicated on the map, it was now a loop…..and a shorter distance to boot
4. Long grass, still wet with dew
5. We happened upon a team carrying out research on the lake’s health….and the team leader gave us an impromptu and very professional and engaging lecture
6. Lunch at the beach…..long jump….wave jumping…..

sacrifice that made me weep

We have friends who have lots of kids and little money. And then they go and take in more kids, not because they can afford to (they can’t), but because they have enormous hearts. These friends are donating $100. They don’t even know where their food is coming from some days. I got a lump in my throat when I heard what they would give.
Without mentioning names I told the kids this story and we stopped to give thanks to God for these people and to ask Him to bless them 100-fold for their sacrificial generosity. We talked about the widow recorded in the Bible who gave only a penny, but it was all she had and how that expressed her love of God and her reliance on Him to provide for her needs – our friends are just like the widow.

That night there was a letter on my bed beside an envelope that clattered with coin.

Dear Mum and Dad,
I would like to make a donation to charity water.
I would like to donate all my $50 to charity water plus the $10 from the A***s from xmas plus the money in the envelope (All my cash)
Would you mind putting it to charity water?
The total should come to $65.20
I wanted to donate before but I also wanted to keep my cash, however the story mum told me this morning was the inspiration I needed.
Love you lots

Another lump in my throat, only this one squeezed out of the corner of my eye and trickled down my cheek.
Generosity inspired. No guilt.
Sacrifice struggled through. Not compelled.
Readily given. Nothing withheld.

I ask God that He will continue to woo our children, our friends to give themselves completely to Him for the rest of their lives.

No photo today – a poem, instead….

When he has more than he can eat
To feed a stranger’s not a feat.

When he has more than he can spend
It isn’t hard to give or lend.

Who gives but what he’ll never miss
Will never know what giving is.

He’ll win few prizes from his Lord
Who does but what he can afford.

The widow’s mite to heaven went
Because real sacrifice it meant.
-Edgar A. Guest