Sunday, March 23, 2014

Beaut and Grandis

The pictures this week are totally out of order, but we know that no one cares and we just have to put them together with a story line of our week.  The above photo is Shelly Beach, near Port Macquarie.  Our speaking assignment was there this weekend.  This is the second time we have gone to Port which means that we must have been here close to a year!  We have made the rounds of all the country branches and are now starting over on the list.  

This is a "beaut" scene at the beach in Port Macquarie.  The background is even "beaut" :)  We have decided to collect some shells at the beaches we visit.  We have been told that there are some blue shells that Chanel will buy but so far we can't find these shells - beauty!  Oh well, the fun is always in the hunt....

The surrounding sites were marvelous. We even got some exercise going down to the beach and back up the stairs to the top of the hill.

We met a new friend at Harry's Lookout.  It's a goanna.  The Aussie family who showed it to us called it a water lizard.  It wasn't afraid of us and seemed satisfied that we helped it get a drink of water.  In return he patiently posed for the camera. We were warned earlier that we don't want a goanna bite.  They are not poisonous but their mouths are full of bacteria and it's an automatic trip to the hospital for treatment. Whoa!!!
Also if you stand still like a tree, they will climb you - naw, we did not want this "grandis" lizard climbing us!

What more could we ask for than our own, private little beach?

A bird's eye view of our little beach. We were able to get in the water and feel the waves and undertow.  Australians spend lots of time at their beaches - and no wonder, they are clean, cool, and inviting.  The Tasmen Sea is peaceful, lovely and never ending; a beautiful place to be on a clear fall day.  Hard to believe it is autumn and heading towards winter, but that is the subject of another blog entry.  

The Port Macquarie Branch of the Church is composed of some very dedicated members. They have had wonderful missionaries to help teach the gospel to people they meet.  There were about 55 people there today and a young man who is getting ready to go on a mission spoke as well as one of our Elders who is getting transfered on Monday.  Sister Feil was able to play the electronic keyboard and Elder Feil taught the Young Men in priesthood meeting.  We left after church to head back to Carlingford and one of the very kind sisters, brought over a cooler full of lunch for us to eat on the way home. Not only does this small branch have a young missionary getting ready to go but they also have a couple leaving in April to serve in the Family History Center in SLC, UT.  These branch members are obedient and diligent.  They are a great example to us. 

The 8 acres of grounds surrounding the chapel have some beautiful trees. This is a Lasiandra.  In spring, the Jacarandas have the purple blossoms and in fall the Lasiandras have the purple blossoms. It is actually a bush and very popular in NSW.  We think this would be beautiful in our yard, but of course, it likes warm weather.  And we do too - when we see pictures of snow, it seems so "foreign".  

This is the tallest tree in New South Wales.  It is about 400 years old and we feel we can relate.  A Senior Missionary in the tree world!!! The site is called Grandis which basically means grand and large.  This is a Flooded Gum Tree.  This area has a lot of these trees in different sizes.  Some have fallen.  It reminds us a little of the Redwood Forests in California.

Nearby palm trees are also very large.  The forest is full of these trees, too.  We were now in the rain forest - 5 k's on a dirt road.  It was definitely the road less traveled.  But the peace and quiet were deafening.
Every forest must have it's own, quintessential outhouse.  Also referred to as a toilet.  Welcome!

Possibly the next tallest tree in New South Wales with a very small representative of humanity in the front.

These are photos of the road to Grandis so we could see the tallest tree.  These show the abundance of trees in the area.  So, what is new?  This is New South Wales.  There are beautiful trees everywhere!

These views of the M1 show how this heavily used freeway was a difficult one to build.  The rock doesn't move easily.  Everytime we return from the North, this site tells us we are close to home.  Whenever we see the trees coming out of the rocks, we are reminded of the phrase "Bloom where you are planted".  
This is a "beaut and grandis" scene.  The Sydney Australia Temple backed up by a full moon.

This is a rare photo of the missionaries from the Hebersham Zone following their attendance at the temple.  This is a wonderful group of dedicated missionaries.  They serve in areas where there are many kind and generous people who feed them well.  They have to balance good food and good exercise. :0  Of course, so do we and 30 minutes at 6:30 am is sometimes not enough!

We had some visitors from Sweden-recently released missionary (Elder) Robert Baker and his sister, Sophia.  It was good to see them and we had some nice chats.

Following a lease signing it was good to have lunch at the nearby "beaut", Dee Why Beach. Our lunch was the ever-favorite Kabab sandwich.  It is flat bread with meat, hummus, tahini, cheese, veggies, lettuce, onions, and sweet chili sauce!  It's a bargain at $8 and missionaries love them.

The older gentleman above was putting on his flippers and preparing to surf - he must have been close to 80 and is our newest idol.  Beaut!
Notice the Sydney skyline in the background.  

This is Captain Phillips Lookout.  He was the first captain who brought the convicts over.  

And totally out of order are the last three beautiful photos of Shelly Beach and Port Macquarie.  The house above is the B & B we stayed at.  We are going to try those from now on.  
Just so you know it has been a "beaut" of a week and also a "grandis" week is coming up.  You have probably guessed accurately that "beaut" is short for beautiful and "grandis" means grand or large. The world was created by God and it is large and beautiful.  Although we are on the other side of the world we enjoy learning of your activities thru FaceBook, FaceTime, Google Plus Hangouts, iMessages and emails.  Thanks for your efforts to keep us included, involved and informed about your lives.  We enjoy it immensely.  With love and hugs from Oz,
Elder and Sister Feil, Grandpa and Mamoo, Molly and Tom, etc.

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