Friday, November 13, 2015

Brisbane Beauty & Tender Mercies

After our conference was over in Tugan, Larry and I rented a car and traveled to Brisbane.  We had two main reasons for going there - we wanted to attend the temple and to visit with Jessie Lammi and his family.  "Elder Lammi" was one of our favorite missionaries who served in our ward back in Boise.  We had him and his companion, Elder Alvarez, over for dinner and often would visit with them.  Knowing Elder Lammi lived in Australia we hoped we might somehow be able to connect with him when we learned we would be going there for the conference. At first we were disappointed when we looked at a map and discovered that Bundaberg was so far away from where we would be - over a four hour drive from Brisbane.

As it turned out, his family was traveling to Brisbane at exactly the same time we would be there since Jessie's younger brother, Triston, would be leaving for his mission.   This was just one more "coincidence" of our mission that felt like a special tender mercy from the Lord. Being with them in the temple was a real highlight of our trip.

We drove up Friday evening, after dropping off the Schwenkes in Surfer's Paradise where they were going to be visiting with some family there.   As we headed on to Brisbane we were treated with a magnificent Australian sunset.

We stayed at a lovely Bed and Breakfast, Chapel Woods B&B that we very much enjoyed.   I captured this film of the bird sounds in the back yard which were pretty amazing.

Chapelwoods Bed and Breakfast

After our time in the temple Saturday morning we went out to eat at a local restaurant with the Lammi family and had a great visit.   Once we said our good byes we headed out to return to our B&B.  However, there was one problem.   Our GPS quit working!  Larry does a great job of driving in all the different countries we go to.  But Brisbane is a BIG city of over 2 million people set within an urban area that extends even further.  We had NO idea of how to find our way back without navigation.

We both started praying really hard that we would be guided to know where to go.  We had about half an hour of white knuckle tension as we tried to figure out what to do.  We took what we THOUGHT was a turn in the right direction and ended up in the longest tunnel either one of us had ever experienced - over nine miles long.  Once we were in that tunnel there was nothing we could do but keep going till we got to the end, which was clear out by the airport. It was rather scary to be so lost in such a big city.  We figured we would go find the place where we were supposed to turn in the rental car and tell them we needed a new GPS.  However, around the airport the one we had suddenly kicked in again, so we were back on track.  What a relief!  Once our directions were pack in place we had no problem getting to the part of town where we needed to be.  We got a bit more of a tour of the beautiful city of Brisbane than we had intended.

One of my most vivid memories of Brisbane was all the many jacaranda trees that were in full bloom when we were there - the deep purple blossoms were beautiful and the scent was heavenly.

On Sunday we found a ward near where we were staying so we could attend church.  On Monday we did a bit of hiking and found some geocache.  We saw some huge white cockatoos along with other interesting birds along the way.


Australian Magpie

Cockatoo photo from redbubble
We got to walk around the lovely Botanical Gardens but discovered there I had lost the battery to my camera.  Oh no!  When I fell and broke my hand in Fiji my camera had gone skittering across the sidewalk.  The clip that holds the battery in was broken so ever since I've been holding it closed with a piece of tape.  Apparently the tape had come loose and the battery dropped out somewhere.  We searched all over the car and the area we were walking there, but no luck.  We probably lost it in the woods when we were geocaching.   I was very disappointed to not be able to capture any more photos of our trip.  But we did the best we could to stay positive.

So my lesson learned from this was that this trip, like life had some GOOD things (meeting with the Lammis and the wonderful B&B where we stayed) and some not so good things (getting lost with no GPS and losing my camera battery).  I could stay stuck in being upset about the things that went wrong or I could focus on my gratitude for the blessings and beauty we had enjoyed.  The choice was  mine.  Sometimes it's really hard to stay optimistic when things are not going the way we want or when serious adversity comes our way.  But in good times or hard times, there is ALWAYS plenty to be grateful for.  Learning to keep that perspective is the journey of a lifetime.

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