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Fi mum23

Royalty, Wife, Mummy, friend, teacher, student & fitness blogger

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Exploring God’s creation

What colour is your lifejacket?

Quite often, the Holy Spirit will prompt me on a future blog entry.  This happened to me on the very first day of our cruise, so I did what I always do in these situations, got out my phone and typed it into a note ‘for a time such as this’ (ha ha), when I’d find the time to sit at my Mac and blog about it.

As a little side-note, but still very pertinent to this blog, I am simply LOVING  (& very appreciative) how I have such a great ‘open phone line’ with my Heavenly Father, and in turn am often very aware of Holy Spirit prompting.  Now, I’m in no way saying that I always get it right, coz I so do not !!  There are times when I ignore that still small voice, or buy into the lie that it was ‘just my own thoughts’.  I always know this has happened as a turn of events play out and I’m able to see plain as day where I should have listened to the still small voice, and I didn’t.  Most of the time, it’s very small things.. nothing life changing by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m sure it’s exactly those times when The Lord is teaching me to lean on Him in EVERY situation.  It always prompts me to be constantly aware that if I don’t continue to work on and foster that relationship with The Lord, one of those times won’t be about a small, non-life-changing issue, but something much bigger.

John 14:26 – But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom The Father will send you in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

So, with all this in mind, when I am confident The Holy Spirit has given me a message, I get it written down so that I can explore it later.

Because it’s always interesting to start off a ‘story’ or message with a ‘sizzling start’ (that’s grade 3 curriculum coming back to me right there), here we go…

It was a gorgeous sunny Friday, standing on Riviera Deck of the Sea Princess.  My family & I were standing with lifejackets in hand while waving off dear friends that had come to farewell us.

As you can imagine, it’s kinda awkward walking around carrying lifejackets.  They’re not the modern type you’d use when going on a speedboat etc, but the very ‘boxy’ type that I imagine are made that way for easy mass production, as well as efficient storage in small spaces.

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After waving off our friends, we headed to our super exciting safety Muster.  As we were walking to our muster station, carrying my boxy lifejacket, I really felt, within my spirit, that I was being told the following very clear line.

JESUS IS YOUR LIFEJACKET !!

Because it wasn’t a particular ‘must be dealt with now’ type of prompting, I didn’t think on it too much at that time (too busy listening to the fascinatingly interesting safety talk of course), but it was the following day when sitting quietly on Promenade deck with nothing but my husband’s silent company, a great book and a drink (non-alcoholic of course, as I assume some of you may not like me BUI.. Blogging Under the influence …Bahahahahahaha ), that my mind went back to that still small voice and it’s message to me the previous day.

What kept coming back to me was this notion of carrying that awkward lifejacket around with me the entire cruise.  I remember thinking to myself (which, yes, I know is kinda silly) “I wonder if our friends saw us with the lifejackets and thought we had to have them with us at all times on the cruise?.”  Yes, feel free to laugh, as it is a funny picture, as I know they’re clever enough to have not thought that.  When asking for clarification it was made clear to me that the idea shows me that we have Jesus with us AT ALL TIMES and he IS our lifejacket.  He protects us and gives us that amazing sense of security.  He keeps our head above the water, even when the ‘seas’ get rough and the ‘waves’ are high.  (Is anyone  else singing ‘Oceans’ by Hillsong in their heads right now?)

The biggest illustration though was that while the boxy lifejacket is cumbersome to carry around (& worse to wear), and we all couldn’t wait to put it back on the top shelf of the cupboard in our stateroom, to hopefully stay there for the remainder of our cruise.. the lifejacket that we have in Jesus is a pleasure and a gift to ‘wear’.

Another element to the illustration was about the colour.  The boxy lifejackets on the ship are bright orange.  Most lifejackets are bright aren’t they as one of their features needs to be high visability etc.  The question we need to ask ourselves is …  When our friends, family, circle of influence etc see us ‘wearing our Jesus lifejacket’, do they see a bright orange, highly visable ‘lifejacket’ or do they see a faded, shabby one?  I wonder if some people even like their Jesus lifejacket to come in a Camo design at times… like those times that we want to ‘fly under the radar’ and slip into sin areas we know we shouldn’t.

This illustration says to me that yes, we can choose Jesus as our lifejacket but do we wear it at all times, care for it, keep it in tip-top shape?  highly visible & effective, or do we wear it only when it suits us, throw in the cupboard for weeks or months at a time, change the design of it at times so that it’s ‘easier’ (less cumbersome) to wear etc. When we do that, we are actually hurting not only ourselves, but those around us.  Those people that are possibly put across our path in order for us to witness to them.  We are called to be light in the darkness.

Personally, while working with this illustration, I want my ‘lifejacket’ to be a BRIGHT FLURO orange.. I want people to see Jesus within me from far off… & not just in appearance, but in action & deed.

I have found from personal experience over the years that when the lifejacket seems burdensome and weary to wear, it’s at those times that I have let me relationship with The Lord wane.  I’ve not given him my best, my first, my time.  Praise The Lord, I’ve never wanted to take the lifejacket off, never even come close to thinking it, but I am honest enough to know that at times my lifejacket has appeared dull and barely visible.  It always continued to have it’s practical elements of protection, but was I wearing it with the straps undone… living on the edge so to speak. I’m extremely grateful for the influences I’ve had in my life, in particular within the last 5ish years, that have brought me to a place of doing up the clips, tightening the straps, cleaning off the ‘dust’ and bringing it back to HIGH VISIBILITY.

So, to wrap up what I’ve taken from this particular message from The Holy Spirit, I want to keep my lifejacket BRIGHT and VISIBLE !!! How am I going to do that?  No matter how much time, big or small, I already devote in quietness to The Lord, I’m going to work at increasing those times.  I’m going to increase the times that I read from my ACTUAL bible, as opposed to using the app on my phone.  It’s convenient, I know (believe me, I know.. because I can make the font nice and BIG), but it’s also easy to have a txt message or a phone call come in and then poof…  quiet time disturbed.. even if you ignore the call/message.

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Also, I’m going to increase my journalling.  I really enjoy it so it’s certainly not a chore, and much is learnt from each journalling entry.

Praise & worship is also a big part of my walk with The Lord.  So many modern worship songs are full of great teachable content, but you really can’t beat the old hymns.  They are so rich in God’s word…  with so many of them copied straight off the pages.  So, increased time listening to God’s word in song is in order too.

With all this in mind, I’d say 2016 is looking pretty darn exciting !!

Blessings Peeps  xox

 

 

 

Cruising to New Zealand – Days 9 & 10

Sea Princess log Saturday 12th December 2015.

In the early hours Sea Princess made her approaches to Akaroa Heads.  From there Sea Princess proceeded toward her anchor position in Akaroa Bay.  When in position Sea Princess let go her Port Anchor at 0644.  Shortly after, the first passenger tenders proceeded ashore.

Akaroa was our only port that required use of the tender boats.  We were going on another booked tour today..  Scenic Akaroa by Double decker bus.  This was a great sightseeing tour around Akaroa and the spectacular Banks Peninsula area while riding on board a beautifully restored 1960s London Routemaster Double Decker Bus. ( of course we sat on the top level.. why go on a double decker bus and sit on the bottom level?  I mean, seriously)  We headed all the way up into the hills and made a stop at the Hilltop Cafe (aptly named right) We had a great morning tea there as well as had pictures with a particularly friendly sheep.

While on the tenderboat heading ashore , we were chatting with the gentleman I was sitting next to.  He asked where we were from etc, all the normal question guests ask each other when chatting, but while talking to him, I really seemed to recognise his voice. Anyway, he went on to ask us if we ever attend the EKKA and as soon as he said that, I knew where I knew his voice from.  He’s an announcer at the EKKA, and has been for as long as I can remember.  It was really fascinating hearing some of his stories.  He actually does announcing work all over Australia, including all of the other ‘EKKA type’ shows in other states.

We sat with him & his wife up at the cafe and continued to chat while having a very nice coffee/hot chocolate.

The town of Akaroa was originally founded by the French, and it has certainly retained a lot of that heritage throughout.  Jaz unknowingly dressed to fit in beautifully.  LOL.

After being dropped off in the town centre by the DD bus, we leisurely made our way through the town and back towards the ship.  There was a lighthouse we’d been told was worth seeing up past where we would re-board the tenderboat.

The sights, mainly the gardens, in the town centre really reminded us of having been in NZ back in 2008.  The soil must be fantastic over there as the gardens are always stunning, as well as the general countryside being so green & lush.

This stop in Akaroa was the closest to anything we saw last time we did NZ.  We didn’t go to the North Island at all last time, so each stop there was completely new, and we also never got to the very bottom of the South Island, so the next stop of Dunedin was much anticipated.  One of the tours available from Akaroa was a bus trip into Christchurch,  which was one of the places we based ourselves in 2008.  You could also do the Tranz Alpine  train journey over Arthur’s Pass from this destination also. We did this last time and it was AMAZING !!  I would highly recommend it to anyone going to NZ.

After exploring the lighthouse and surrounds, DH & Master 13 headed off up a bush track in search of further adventure while Miss 14, Master 10 & I headed back to jump on a tender boat back to the Sea Princess.

Being out on Promenade deck was interesting to watch the passing scenery as we made our way out of Akaroa Harbour.  The ships log read as follows.

With all passengers back on board and all tenders recovered at 1735 Sea Princess commenced heaving her port anchor.  The port anchor was ‘aweigh’ from the sea bed at 1755 and brought home at 1810.

Hearing the anchor come up was fascinating too as it was a full 15mins of very loud ‘clunk clunk clunk’.  You couldn’t hear it from inside but as we were out on deck, we could hear it very clearly.

Sunday Dec 13th brought us to dock in stunning, but bitingly COLD Port Chalmers. The ships log read..

At 0537 Sea Princess embarked the local pilot and made her approach into the channel.  Swinging the vessel in front of the berth arriving all fast at 0722.

(I’m thinking whichever Officer did that log wasn’t in the mood for chit-chat.. LOL)

We had been warned by the Captain the previous night that the temperature in Port Chalmers/Dunedin was to be a chilly 11 degrees.  I promptly went to the store onboard and purchased an additional jumper, as well as a scarf.  As we were lining up to disembark, you could feel the cool air coming in through the open door at the gangway and many of us were commenting that it didn’t seem too bad and we’d probably find it quite pleasant.  Well, the very instant that you stepped out of the ship, the cold wind hit you.. and I’d say the wind chill factor was -50… ok, it probs wasn’t that cold in reality, but it sure felt like it.

We had a booked tour organised for Dunedin and the train we were to board was waiting for us on arrival and sitting only 50m from the ship.  You’d have thought we would have found it ok, being such a short distance, but no, that was the longest 50m of my entire life.  Brrrrrrr.

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The train took us through the dramatic Taieri Gorge on a journey that crosses 19th century cast-iron bridges and travels through 10 mountain tunnels.  I just LOVE train journeys so I really enjoyed this trip.  The commentary was great by the volunteers in our carriage.  They told us all about the lore of the central Otago region and it’s colourful gold rush days.

Disembarking the train at the heritage listed Dunedin Railway station, we boarded a motor coach for the scenic drive to Larnach Castle.

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William James Mudie Larnach, of Scottish descent, was born in 1833 in New South Wales, Australia. His banking career began in Melbourne then followed the gold rush to the Australian goldfields where he was manager of the Bank of New South Wales at Ararat. His bank was a tent and his equipment consisted of dogs, a gun, and strong boxes.

Gold was discovered in Otago, New Zealand, in the 1860’s. Larnach was offered the position of manager of the Bank of Otago in Dunedin, which serviced the extensive goldfields. He sailed for Dunedin in 1867.

Larnach’s brillant career encompassed his merchant empire Guthrie and Larnach, banking, shipping, farming, landholding, politics and… speculation. He travelled extensively and was a cabinet minister in the New Zealand Government, holding various portfolios, over a period of twenty-five years.

Larnach was married three times and had six children. He was pre-deceased by his first two wives and his eldest daughter, Kate.

He took his own life in the New Zealand Parliament Buildings in 1898.

Building Larnach Castle
Larnach was a man of great vision and created a magnificent residence for himself and his family.

A story is told that William Larnach and one of his sons went for a horse ride along the top of the Otago Peninsula to choose the best site for their home. Today you can still see why this site was chosen as it has wonderful panoramic views of Dunedin, Otago Harbour, the Peninsula and the Pacific Ocean.

First the site was clear-felled, then the hill site was levelled by putting pegs into the volcanic rock and pouring salt water on them to split the rock. Approximately 200 men spent three years building the shell of the Castle and then gifted European craftsmen spent 12 years embellishing the interior.

Materials from all over the world were used – marble from Italy, slate from Wales, floor tiles from England, glass from Venice and France. No expense was spared in creating Larnach’s dream home! Many New Zealand native woods were also used – kauri ceilings, rimu floors and honeysuckle panelling. In 1885 a 3,000 square foot Ballroom was added.

The Larnach Family
Larnach’s first wife Eliza Guise, had six children – Donald, Douglas, Kate, Colleen, Alice and Gladys. Eliza died at the age of 38 when Gladys was still a baby. Larnach then married Eliza’s half sister Mary Alleyne. They were married for 5 years when sadly Mary also died at the age of 38. Larnach then married a much younger lady, Constance de Bathe Brandon.

Larnach was struck by tragedy when his favourite daughter Kate died in her 20s. Five of the children were sent to England for their education. This meant long sea voyages and a lot of time away from the Castle and family.

After Larnach’s suicide in 1898 the family was further torn apart by legal battles over Larnach’s property as he died intestate. The family then sold the Castle in 1906.

Going up the very narrow 27 steps to the tower was pretty cool.  You can defs see the full 360 degrees from up there.

You can see from the picture above that the castle was built was scottish ‘castle like’ features, but also the Australian ‘Queenslander’ style with the wide verandahs.  You can see they are now glassed in, but originally there were open as William Larnach was  used to in Australia, but apparently they were soon to learn that they were very unprotected high on the hill, back when there were no trees to form a wind break etc.  It was very unpleasant to be outside so the verandahs were closed in with the glass you see now.

During the drive back, we were treated to all sorts of fun info on Dunedin & surrounds.  For example, one of their streets is in the guiness book of records as being the steepest street in the world.  Some of the other passengers from the Sea Princess had a go at running down it. (the younger passengers clearly)

The buildings throughout Dunedin were really lovely.  Very obviously Scottish design etc.  Another interesting note was the Welsh Dragon over the doors of the Dunedin Fire station.  I could show you soooo many pictures, but I’d be here all day.

At 1703 all passengers were back onboard Sea Princess and at 1704 The Captain gave the order to commence singling up the morning lines.  At 1705 all mooring lines were back onboard and Sea Princess began thrusting off the berth and proceeding out through the narrow chanel before setting South Westerly courses around the southern coast of New Zealand toward the Fiordland National Park.

Ok…  that’s it for days 9 & 10.  Man this holiday is taking forever to blog post.. mainly because my internet is rubbish…  bring on NBN…  hopefully that will greatly improve things.

Blessings peeps !!!

 

 

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