Seriously, Lest We Forget

I love Anzac Day. I really do. The sound of kids enjoying a day off as they play in their yard, the parade, the memorial service, the bikkies…mmm… the bikes.

But more than enjoying it, I think its really important.

I get sad each year at the parade. When we first moved to Townsville more than 7 years ago, we would be busily escorting hundreds of elderly diggers out of their vintage military vehicles. It was a delight and they always thanked us for being American… after all, America played a huge part in the battle of the coral sea. Australia may have looked a lot different had we not showed up, actually.

Its been sad to see fewer and fewer diggers proudly exiting their vehicles and waving to the crowd. They’re literally dying off and this year, one of the estimates I heard was 10… 10 Townsville diggers left. How many will be there next year?

I find it so sad… and yet part of life… and the reason why I think its important we don’t forget.

We must remember the battles that have been fought before we got here… the lessons that were learned, the reasons foundations were laid, the traditions that should be upheld, the relationships that were forged…

Not just when it comes to war, but in general. Any achievement we may experience is largely due to those who have been before us  either by teaching us, or preparing the way for us. Sure, it may not have been perfect, but it was a stepping stone, and we have the privilege of walking the path, extending it, building higher, carrying on the baton.

As I consider where other have been, and what steps forward I will take, I hope that I, too, can leave a legacy… another layer… something that not only my children can build on, but those I work with now and who will do what I do later… so that they can go much farther and higher than I ever well.

Lest we forget.


Australians, All Let Us Rejoice!

Our dual citizenship feels a bit more real this year as we have the opportunity to vote in … four elections this year:

  1. Australia State Elections
  2. Australia Federal Elections
  3. Australia Local Elections (city council)
  4. US Presidential Elections

We love to vote. Call us silly… patriotic… pathetic… whatever. We love the small parts we can play to influence the countries we love and are a part of.

So, true to the Australian national anthem, we were rejoicing today as we went to the polls and participated in our very first Australian election!

votes not boats!

Unfortunately, Max wasn’t rejoicing quite as much. Somehow he thought that we said we were going to go “boat” not “vote.” Fair enough. For a kid his size, a boat would be far more exciting that standing in a long line, writing on a piece of paper, and dropping it in a box.

Some of the things I enjoyed about this election? You actually get to rank your candidates in order of who you’d want. That way, if there’s a little-known person running for office who you really like, you don’t feel like you’re throwing your vote away.

What I didn’t like? No “I Voted” sticker. I love those things! Makes me feel like a proud patriotic citizen all day. But I guess in a nation where you get fined if you don’t vote, a sticker is probably a bit redundant. Oh well! Maybe we’ll get one with our absentee ballot for the US election this year!! 😉

Either way, we’re praying for the best outcome and wisdom for all the leaders put into office today.

“In history’s page, let every stage advance Australia fair!”

Renewable Energy

This weekend we found ourselves at the Townsville EcoFiesta and Lifestyle Expo on Green Living… or something like that.

Mostly, we love hitting up this gorgeous park called Queens Gardens and browsing some local innovations while listening to some folky tones from local musicians like our friends Woje… and getting free stuff.

But we’re also keen to put our hands on the roof painted with special paint to resist the heat, and entertain the comments of my observant teenage brother on the irony of the place he’s just come from is all about conserving heat… NOT repelling it.

Uncle Luke is here.

We couldn’t be happier.

And even though we did learn our share of energy and water saving tips, our energy was renewed in a different way too.

The, sort of way.

The, i’ sort of way.

The, sort of way.

I left home when my brother was just older than my son. And now he’s 14 and travelled half way around the world on his own to hang with us. Awesome. And though our energy levels have hit level, we’ve also been renewed in a deep, soulful sort of way.



Keeping the ANZAC Spirit Alive In Our Hearts

The ANZAC spirit is something special.

Its similar to the way Americans feel when they see a bald eagle flying across a blue sky. Or the reason Canadians seem to plater their flag on everything from their backpacks to their underwear.

But its more than a symbol.

ANZAC stands for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps.

But its more than a history story or a battle.

Its about a spirit.

The ANZACS were known for their ability to keep their sense of humour, even in difficult times, to be resourceful when they had nothing, to give their life for their mates, to be courageous, even when others weren’t, and to respect all.

We celebrated that spirit this week.

We waved our Aussie flags at the town parade.

We cheered for our veterans and our soldiers.

We teared up as we saw the “wounded in the line of fire” soldiers driven by.

And we bowed our heads and hearts (and closed our toddler eyes) as Bishop Putney led thousands of our community in prayers of gratefulness to our God.

But we also celebrated our friends and the ANZAC spirit that lives between us.

Not because we’re soldiers fighting in some far off land, but because we would give our lives for each other.

Because the best birthday parties are the ones made of flowers clipped from your friend’s garden.

Because someone took the time to op-shop for a teaspoon for every single one of her friends. (Even though she was the birthday girl.)

Because laughing together is a lifeline, no matter whose grandparent passed away last week (for the record, there were three.)

Because it takes courage to wear a black hat with a pink and white dress, even if it is the only one you’ve got. (Too much? Definitely! As if I’m that fashion conscious, I’m sorry to say!)

Happy Birthday to the loveliest pregnant birthday girl and ANZAC friend!

This Cyclone Yasi Update Brought to You by The Hoovers

Well, we don’t want this to turn into a weather blog but we really wanted to write and ask for your prayers with this weather! As you know, the storm on the weekend (Cyclone Anthony) downgraded and did not cross the shore with much damage at all. (Yeah!)

We are now tracking another cyclone – Yasi. Its a good thing that Jared & Max prepared on the weekend as we were already ready for this storm!

my hunk-a-spunks

This storm is significantly larger, and in fact, possibly the largest storm to ever hit the Queensland coast. While it does not look like the eye of the storm will hit us, we will have a lot of rain and wind. Many people have been asking us whether we will be evacuating. Our house and ministry centre are actually located along a big hill so we do not need to evacuate at this time! (Yeah!)

We live in that white circle surrounded by blue!!

In fact, we have prepared fully, flashlights, matches, portable stoves, candles, board games, water, food… and even some comfort food! 😉 (Which was on the list of things to have available!!)

The rain and wind have started and there is anticipation and caution in our heart – we must be wise and prepared. But we are not afraid! We are bunkering down in our home within the next hour where we will stay until the storm passes. This is the safest way to ride it all out and we’ll look forward to some cozy family time!

We appreciate your prayer for our family, for our ministry centre, and for the communities of North Queensland.

We anticipate losing power sometime today or tomorrow but will endeavour to keep you updated as we can. Don’t get worried if you don’t hear from us! We will most likely be just fine enjoying dunkaroos and card games!


The Hoovers

The Meat In a Cyclone Sandwich…

** UPDATE ** Before you read on, you should know that this cyclone headed for Perth dissipated into a big storm and the one headed here is looking to hit further south with less population. Of course, still appreciate prayers for our neighbours! 🙂 Thanks for praying!

Well, as if the flooding a few weeks ago wasn’t enough, it is still wet season/cylcone season here in North Queensland and we find ourselves in the middle of a cyclone sandwich.

Bianca is headed to Perth (where we have a YWAM centre) and Anthony is headed straight to Townsville, where we live.

As of late last night, it was headed right for our neighbourhood…

The reality is, we get cyclone warnings every year and in our area, we have yet (since we lived here) to experience anything majorly destructive. However, better safe than sorry and today will be spent taking necessary precautions for our family and the nearly 200 staff and students on our centre.

As we prepare, we’d like to invite you to pray with us. We love a good storm but we’d pray that this would dissipate and would not be damaging when it crosses land. Those interested can track the cyclone at

Thanks for praying!!

Following Our Little Leader to Aussie-dom

January 26 is the July 4 of Australia.

Our Aussie Boy Leads the Way

Australia Day. A day to celebrate a nation.

And for us, it was a day to become Australian.

New Aussies

For those who didn’t know, Max was Australian before he became American. Strange, we know. His first passport was Australian. And we even had to take a special trip to the US Embassy to prove that yes, his mommy and daddy are totally American and its okay for him to be one too.

Funny thing how hard it can be to prove you lived in a country for 20+ years.

So our little world travelling dual citizen inspired us.  (Yes, at only a few months old.)

We filled out the papers. Actually, I filled out the papers. (Hey, its a lot of work, I’ll take some credit!!)

We took a test. (Both got 100%!)

And this Australia Day, we became… Australians.

Our Aussie Friends on our Aussie Day

So what does this mean?

  1. We can come and go as we please (No more visas and paperwork)
  2. We can vote (We LOVE politics! Bring on that civic duty!!)
  3. We can travel on an Australian passport (Make that, we MUST travel on an Australian passport! We can’t even leave the country until it arrives… hopefully next week!)
  4. We continue to benefit from Australia’s amazing national health care system.

We are also still fully American. We have our passports. We still vote (albeit by absentee!). And even though there’s no health care coming our way from America, there are a bazillion other things we love about the country.

But its Australia Day… so we’re celebrating this nation!

Aussie Aussie Aussie ... Oi Oi Oi

A nation where the spirit of “mateship” guides relationships between friends and strangers.

A nation with a tenacious, pioneering drive.

A nation where you’ll never survive without a sense of humour and the ability to laugh at yourself.

A nation where you can walk to the store barefoot.

A nation where if you don’t know who Don Bradman is, you might as well turn around and go home.

We are so grateful that this culture has taught us how to be better friends, to never give up, to laugh, to not take ourselves to seriously, and to enjoy sports just that little bit more.

Happy Australia Day… to all our mates around the world.

Our littlest Aussie mate