Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Still Call Australia Home...Wish It Was Closer!!

I've been living in the United States for nearly 29-years now.
I have lived here longer than I lived in Australia.
I still consider myself very much "Australian."
Though, for the past year I have been mulling over becoming an United States Citizen.
It is amazing to me sometimes, that even though it has been 29/30 years since I have seen some of the people that I grew-up knowing in Australia, they still have the ability to touch my life.  
One of the most difficult things to cope with living thousands of miles away, are the life changing moments.  I do miss the fun things like when the ladies in my family would get together once a month for lunch.  It is always difficult to miss fun things.  Birthdays, engagements, weddings and births.  But, perhaps the hardest to cope with are the deaths.  Aunts, Uncles, little nephews, family friends...
My Dad, my Mum and my brother.
All are grieved, all are missed.

This week I have been thrown for a bit of a loop.
Via facebook I found out that someone I knew from growing-up in Australia had been ill and the prognosis was grim.  I had reconnected with the family a little via facebook, and I followed his daughter's blog.
In church on Sunday, the congregation sang, "Abide With Me."  I have always loved that hymn, but, on Sunday, it caused the tears to flow.  I kept thinking of the Triffitt family, what had been and what was to come for their family.

Lisa King blogged about her Dad HERE.
If you check out her blog, be sure to read the two posts about her Dad.

That Sunday morning in church, it hit me.
I knew why I was feeling so emotional.

Way back in 1983 - can it really be that long ago??  Nick Triffitt was my Bishop at church.
A Mormon bishop is the leader of a local congregation (known as a ward) with duties similar to those of a pastor, priest or rabbi.
I was 20-years-old (nearly 21) and at a bit of a crossroads in my life.  I was dating someone pretty seriously, but I wanted to serve a mission for my church.  Nearly everyone thought I should get married, well, at least everyone who shared their 2 cents worth with me!!!  I went and spoke with Bishop Triffitt and told him that I wanted to go on a mission.  He also thought that I should consider the marriage route.  Finally, he said that we both should spend the week praying about it, and next Sunday dedicate a fast to the situation.  We would meet again that Sunday after church.
When I walked into his office, Bishop Triffitt had the papers that needed to be filled out sitting on his desk.  He said that we needed to get things moving as quickly as possible, that the Lord wanted me to serve a mission.
Looking back, Bishop Triffitt was a very young Bishop.  He may have been young, but he made a difference in people's lives.  I only wish that it had all clicked with me earlier.  He listened to the promptings of the spirit and in return, guided me.  I will be forever grateful and I hope he knows that his guidance set in motion a happy life.

I do have one more story to tell, and I like to think that my Mum is confessing this to the injured party!  Maybe she already did, but my kids love this story!!
When Nick Triffitt was still Bishop, my Mum made him a Christmas fruit cake.  In the weeks leading up to Christmas, Mormon Bishops conduct tithing settlements with members of the church.  It can result in some very long Sundays for the Bishop.  So, Mum made one of her fruit cakes for him to munch on during the afternoon.
Mum used alcohol to soak the fruit.
Usually not a problem for the alcohol is cooked out as it bakes.
This particular year my Mum forgot the alcohol step.
Not thinking, Mum poured some alcohol over the top of the fruitcake as it sat cooling.
Bishop Triffitt said it was the best fruitcake he had ever had.
I told my Mum that I hoped he wasn't pulled over by the police on the way home!!

My thoughts and prayers are with Nick Triffitt's family as they mourn the loss of a husband, father, brother, grandfather...
A few years ago I was attending our church's temple in Orlando.  Each of the temples have a beautiful room called the Celestial room.  There wasn't anyone else in there for a short period of time and I was waiting for Jim.  There was a brother and sister (siblings, not just a brother and sister in a church sense) there who were attending the temple for the very first time in preparation for going on missions.  There were many family and friends attending with them, and as they came into the Celestial room, they stood by the doors and waited for the brother and sister to come in.  As they did, everyone hugged everyone and the tears flowed.  Joy on every one's face.  Happiness.
I remember thinking that this is what it was going to be like.
This is how it would be when I got to seem my Mum, Dad, brother and our little Emma.
This is how I imagine my former Bishop.
Joy and happiness.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Tale of Three Roads...or...Farewell to Ireland

 Time to play catch-up on my blog again.
But, I would first like to do one final post about our trip to Ireland.
 The most difficult thing on our trip was the driving.
Not because you drive on the left side in Ireland.  Jim handles that very well.  But, the size of some of the roads.  
We put the roads into 3 different categories.
The first being the narrowest.  Just when you thought there could be no road narrower than the one you were currently hurtling down at a break neck speed, the GPS managed to direct you to a road that had the width of a sheep trail.
Roads without any type of paint lines were the scariest.  Extremely scenic, but terrifying.  Usually could not fully appreciate the view because your eyes were shut or covered.  Especially if a car was coming the other way.
There was an added danger bonus when Jim covered his eyes.
Just Joking!!!
 This photo is a bit blurry.
Hard to focus when hanging on for dear life.
My eyes may or may not have been shut.
But, at least this road had a line.
When there was a solid line, that was a good thing.  It usually meant that there was room for two cars to go down either side of the road without one having to pull over as far as they could to the side.
We breathed a sigh of a relief when there was a line.
 The best road of all was one with dashed lines.
 Even better still was this......
For some reason, our GPS had an aversion to this type of road.
 Not sure if this wave has an official name or not.
We came to call it many things.
The Irish Wave
The Gratitude Wave
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for letting me squeeze by wave.
Everybody used it.
Even the person who sped past at 200kms an hour and side swiped our car.
 On the Tuesday morning we left, we had our last full Irish breakfast.
Yes, we even ate white and black pudding.  Miriam's (the owner of the B&B) husband is a butcher.  It changed my opinion of black pudding, and I had never had white pudding before.
Tomato, sausage, bacon, baked beans and scrambled egg.  I ordered the scrambled egg for Sam.  If it was a true full Irish, it would have been fried eggs.
 Sam had pancakes, they were yummy.
 It was a rainy day.
We made our way to the airport.  Turned in our poor sideswiped car with a minimum of fuss and started the drudgery of working our way through customs.
Aer Lingus was a pretty good airline to fly with.  Would recommend them. 
We are always so concerned about Sam when we fly.  We always arrange for one of us to sit in front of him so we don't have to worry about him kicking someones seat the entire flight or putting his tray up and down, up and down.
Sam was an angel.
The kids sitting behind us???  Not so much.
The parents didn't help, felt like turning around and telling them to chill out, they were making matters worse, but, because I have been there done that, I didn't.

Great trip.
We met some wonderful people and had some wonderful experiences.
Would love to go back and repeat some of the things we did and try out and see some new things.
Our family loves to travel and have been able to do so.  There are many more places on our wish year.  Oh, wait, it is already next year!!!!