Monday, November 30, 2009

the thanksgiving marathon

SO being Americans here in a distant land we felt that it was only our obligation to share our favorite American holidays with our new New Zealand friends.  At first it started out as just having a few people over for Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday Nov. 28th, but as we began spreading the good news we found more and more of the people we wanted to be there were busy that night.  Thus began our venture of 2 Thanksgiving dinner with all of our friends here- I believe there was about 40 over Thursday and Saturday's feast!

Mashed potato central.

Yummy rolls!

Our livingroom soon turned into the kids playroom on Saturday afternoon.- Hayley and Faith were coloring,  Jules, Ava and Lucas were loving the little toy farm.

Our dear friends- 1st the Oamaru clan -Morgan not looking at the camera, Hayley Gareth and Lauren (the other American) all rounding off the corner of the table.  Morgan and Hayley are so awesome, Thomas knew morgan through Cornell, once we moved here Hayley (Morgan's finace) and I became fast friends.  They have been such a blessing to us.  Then there's Pam and Lucas, Dave, Ava and Jules and Rox and Charlie on the other end- Pam, Jules and Rox are all part of our Yummy mummy sports team- they let Thomas and I join even though we don't have toddlers.

Up the other side is- Fleur on the far end, Hannah and Ross, Ken and finally Craig (who goes with Pam and Lucas).  We met Ken and Fleur at church, Ken and Thomas have a common IPhone bond that is unbreakable- and Fleur and I just really enjoy spending time together, so it works out:)  Ross and Hannah also go to our church, they are an awesome couple and she recently opened a stunning clothing store in town.

Boys and their toys- we sent them off outside while we finished getting dinner ready.  The amount of treasures they returned with every 5 minutes were incredible.
It was truly a memorable thanksgiving, being surrounded by all the people that have befriended us and spending time together was a huge blessing.  We could not have asked for a more wonderful day, there is so much to be thankful for.

Our New Zealand home

I know you've been on pins and needles waiting for this day to arrive, finally pictures of our house!
Our dining room table ready for Thanksgiving dinner- looking into the kitchen.


The doorway straight ahead goes into our on suite bedroom (with walk in closet!). And the doorway on the right goes to the downstairs apt. and guest bedroom.

Skyping with the family while they were in Florida.

Our bed- the throw pillows are my favorite.

Looking into the kitchen, there will be more to come later!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Mt. Somers Hiking Track

Mt. Somers Hiking Pictures- featuring Sally, Jenna and Thomas

The appropriate hiking attire- Jenna and Sally

Half way down/up the trail

The valiant team- Fabulous Fit Sally, & Team Jomas :)

There were streams and waterfalls all along the path, it was beautiful.

At the top- Pinnacle Point.  I was so happy to sit down, well worth doing again I must say.  We had a blast!

The latest Kiwiisms

I figured it was just about time to share our newest "kiwiisms" with you all.  It's been about three months since we've moved all the way over here, and I think our American accents have softened a bit.  Our western NY "a" and "r's" aren't as spread out, in fact one of our friends' little boy said to me just the other day "hey you said that like a Kiwi."  Is that a good thing?

Thomas' favorite phrase would have to be "choc-a-block" and mine..."good on ya.'"  They just roll off the tongue it's great.  To be choc-a-block is to be is packed full, like really really full.  "Good on ya'" is like you go girl, or something like that.

Not only do they have entertaining phrases, but we were watching the Breakfast show, aka Kiwi Good Morning America and we were hosted by: Ingrid Hipkiss at the news desk, Rod Cheeseman (sporting a mustache) on sports, and the one and only Emma Brainman giving the weather wearing a 1920's bathing outfit.  Where do these people come from?

Tune in next time for more funphrases to use and spice up you everyday conversation!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The I heart revolution


WE think all people matter to God, so all people should matter to us too.

Thomas and I went to see "The I heart revolution" that was put out by Hillsong United this past thursday.  You may have seen it advertised, it was on for one night in the states then came here to NZ for one night and we were lucky enough to catch it.  For anyone interested is was quite a thought provoking production based on the Hillsong band's tour around the world and all the people they encountered.  They were challenged by all of the need in the world, and talked with people that were making a difference in the lives of their community.  It's hard to put into word, all I can say is it challenged the way we think about things and what we are doing to impact God's kingdom.
There are so many places around the world that have people with obvious needs- food, clothing, water.  Sometimes I feel like in more westernized cultures it can be more difficult to see those needs in people's lives, we try to cover up how we're really feeling and say that everything is fine.  How do we serve God and love people when we don't see the needs?  One quote in the movie showed a picture of a homeless man sitting on a stoop and the questions was asked- "Do you see yourself reaching down to pull this man up or sitting down beside him and loving him."  It struck me that my job is not to reach down and lift people up to where I am, but to come along side them, to sit and meet them where they are and show them God's love in a practical way.
I think we were called here to NZ to walk beside people, Christian and non-Christian to love them and live life with them, to be living examples of Christ's perfect love for us.  I am definitely not saying we are perfect, it's a constant surrendering of yourself to Christ.  An everyday choice to be used for the glory of God.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Happy Tuesday!

I woke up this morning to a beautiful sunshiny day, what a blessing!  Last night we had a lazy night after making a stellar dinner of lamb chops and macaroni and cheese pasta bake, yummo.  As we took a walk out in the back pasture looking out at the mountains I was reminded of just how blessed we are to be here.  It's been exciting, now we're trying to plan what our next trip will be:)  Any suggestions?

Monday, November 16, 2009

happy holiday

happiness = one wonderful weekend together and no robot calls:)

Life has been a bit hectic in the land down under for the past few weeks.  Thomas has been working so hard everyday, while I stand by his side cheering him on - go team go!  The newest news in the life of the Matthews family is...wait for it... we bought a CAR, yay, a little diesel Citroen. So as anyone would do with a new car, we took it for it's first road trip this weekend. One of the best things we have found about living in NZ is that they seem to have quite a few more days off than we did in the states.  Each region of NZ has a holiday throughout the year- (kind of like each county back home) and ours happened to be this past Friday so we took a drive down south- destination Waitaki Dam. 

The Waitaki River is one of the largest in NZ provides the opportunity for many power schemes. There are about six different dams, varying in size supplying power to southland. With so much power and so few people, one wonders why such a high cost of electricity--the answer is yet to be discovered, but the technology of the dams is amazing.

The views were incredible as we overlooked glacial water of the perfect blue color.  How we wish we could bring you all here and share this amazing experience with you all!  Hotel Matthews still has vacancies- Rob and Ter are coming in late January then Chris and Jen Noble come in mid February, so anyone else is welcome to work vacations in accordingly:)
<---- Thomas loved the huge floodgates, it would bring out the boyish wonder in all of us.

Summer is slowly making an appearance here, it has been on and off so far, still a bit like springtime.   We did manage to start our garden, Thomas has the green thumb while I just help with the weeding.
We will have to send pics of the house soon.

Love from New Zealand:)