Raining - Sunday Reflection

She had been shopping with her Mom in Walmart. She was just a sweet young thing.

It was pouring outside. The kind of rain that gushes over the top of rain gutters, so much in a hurry to hit the earth it has no time to flow down the spout.

We all stood there under the awning and just inside the door of the Walmart. We waited, some patiently, others irritated because nature messed up their hurried day. I am always mesmerized by rainfall. I got lost in the sound and sight of the heavens washing away the dirt and dust of the world.
Memories of running, splashing so carefree as a child come pouring in as a welcome reprieve from the worries of my day.

Her voice was so sweet as it broke the hypnotic trance we were all caught in "Mom, let's run through the rain," she said.
"What?" Mom asked.
"Let's run through the rain!" she repeated.

"No, honey. We'll wait until it slows down a bit," Mom replied.
This young child waited about another minute and repeated: "Mom,let's run through the rain."
"We'll get soaked if we do," Mom said.

"No, we won't, Mom. That's not what you said this morning," the young girl said as she tugged at her Mom's arm. "This morning? When did I say we could run through the rain and not get wet?
"Don't you remember? When you were talking to Daddy about his cancer, you said, 'If God can get us through this, he can get us through anything!"

The entire crowd stopped dead silent. I swear you couldn't hear anything but the rain. We all stood silently. No one came or left in the next few minutes Mom paused and thought for a moment about what she would say.
Now some would laugh it off and scold her for being silly. Some might even ignore what was said. But this was a moment of affirmation in a young child's life, a time when innocent trust can be nurtured so that it will bloom into faith.

"Honey, you are absolutely right. Let's run through the rain. If GOD let's us get wet, well maybe we just needed washing," Mom said.
Then off they ran. We all stood watching, smiling and laughing as they darted past the cars and yes, through the puddles. They held their shopping bags over their heads just in case. They got soaked. But they were followed by a few who screamed and laughed like children all the way to their cars.
And yes, I did. I ran too. I did get wet. I guess I needed washing too.

Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions, they can take away your money, and they can take a way your health.
But no one can ever take away your precious memories...So, don't forget to make time and take the opportunities to make memories everyday.
To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.


Our Tow Vehicle - a LandCruiser

We have been asked a few times about our tow vehicle. It is a 2005 Toyota Land Cruiser 100 series with manual gears. We bought it second hand back in 2009 with relatively low kilometres from a mining company. It already had a bull bar. It also had a snorkel. We get an average of 430km to a tank while towing the van.

Now I really have to confess I have not the slightest bit car knowledge. (There's even a family lore about the time I reported to Rob about a friend of his buying a new car. Rob wanted to know more...Ummm it is white...ummm I think it is a sedan.... ummm... Boy did I get told off! Now I know to ask whoever to give me all the details a guy would want to know and I write it down so I don't forget!) I have since learnt a little more but not much... I now know the difference between most vehicle types such as 4WD, sedan, station wagon, ute, pantec truck etc... but some seem harder to define as the definitions blur somewhat! I can recognize a few car trademarks, and even a few cars now by sight because we had one of them once! That's why I love the VW Beetle - it is so distinctive. Yay Herbie forever! Oh what the heck I am hopeless and I acknowledge that... Now back to the car we have and yes, I have to run to Rob for most of these details!

Cooking on the back of the car

The seats are really comfortable which is important to me and it gets me from point A to point B without any hassles. I am not completely hopeless either around a car. I can change tyres, I can check and fill the oil. I know what the radiator is and how to fill it without cracking it. I do hate checking the tyre pressure with the little duvey lackey Rob has, but I can do it at the garage. But I love being a woman, on the 2 occasions I have had a flat tyre, some gentleman has come along at just the right time and changed the tyre for me! it life wonderful! :)

The back opened - I never promised it would be tidy for you!

Since the purchase Rob has added various bits and pieces including a turbo glide...(I have no idea what that is for but he is very happy with it! LOL). Rob installed rear vision cameras on both the van and the vehicle and an electric brake controller.

Rob built a cargo barrier and some custom boot storage to hold some of the tools, spare car parts, a few ropes and lots of 'stuff' that he feels he needs to carry. Normally the drawers have a stainless steel 'cover' which doubles as a bench top for cooking and food preparation etc.

The smaller drawer

The 2nd larger drawer

Above the boot storage we store our 110litre Waeco fridge, which can slide out for access right next to the plug to run it. Take note of the simple small fat screwdriver that acts as a brake for the slider! It does the job wondrously and is cheap and simple to operate!

Thankfully he also built me a permanent step so I can climb on it to see into the fridge. He has a spare battery installed under the bonnet and another spare battery in the boot.

My step near the tow ball

In the boot area we would normally also carry a One minute pop up tent, 2 self inflated air mattresses, sleeping bags. In the back seat area we carry the Camps 6 book and a small cooler bag with iced drink and fruit for nibbles on the road within handy reach of the passenger seat and a spare jacket for each of us if it cools down. 

The Nifty fold flat open fire BBQ cooker that Rob made

On the floor area on one side would be the Cast iron camp oven and the Nifty Barbeque. On the passenger side would be the 2 camp chairs for picnics. In the back seat area I like to keep a bag for the current in the car craft project and some incidentals such as toilet paper, wipes, a mini first aid kit and a fire extinguisher. We tend to remove a lot of these things when we are home.

The One minute pop up tent

Five lessons about the way to treat people

These five important lessons were passed to me via an email many years ago. These lessons are full of wisdom in how to treat people. I am not saying that they are true life stories, but still they make valid points for our considerations.

1. The Cleaning Lady.

During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one: "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?"
Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.
"Absolutely," said the professor. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say "hello". I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

2. Pickup in the Rain

Car in the rain; Photo: Flickr
One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab. She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a giant console colour TV was delivered to his home.
A special note was attached. It read: "Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband's bedside just before he passed away. God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others," Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole

3. Remember those who serve.

Waitress Photo: Flickr
In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10 year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. "How much is an ice cream sundae?" he asked. Fifty cents," replied the waitress. The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it. "Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?" he inquired. By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient."Thirty-five cents," she brusquely replied. The little boy again counted his coins. "I'll have the plain ice cream," he said. The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left. When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies. You see, he couldn't have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.


4. The Obstacles in Our Path.

Boulders on road Photo: Flickr
In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way. Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand! Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.

5. Giving When it Counts.

Blood Transfusion at Bayalpata Hospital Photo: Flickr
Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare &serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year-old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes I'll do it if it will save her." As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the colour returning to her cheeks.
Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away?".
Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.

I don't know the source of these stories.
However please advise me if you know
so that I might give the appropriate credit due!

Why do I love travelling in an RV

One of the best things about travelling in an RV of any sort is meeting many, many people from all walks of life. This is doubly true about free camping or boon docking. There just seems to be something about free camping that make people open up more and tell you their stories, about the places they have been, what’s good and maybe what is not so good in their opinion interspersed with all of the wonderful memories they have lived through, thrown in between. Free camping seems to equalize us all and develop a sort of camaraderie even for if it is just one night!

Camping at Merle in Kakadu National Park

Australia has it all. We have some of the most beautiful, awe inspiring and certainly unforgettable marvels the world has to offer.

Sandon Point Boat Sheds           Photo: Chilby Photography
Magnificent sunrises in the east and sunsets in the west, the whitest beaches with fantastic surf or quiet meandering creeks and billabongs.

Mollymook Beach at sunrise    Photo: Chilby Photography

We have craggy mountains and rolling hills, escarpments and waterfalls, broad sweeping tree less deserts and tropical jungles. The temperature can be meek and temperate, hot and sultry or freeze your butt off cold.

Misty forests near Robertson, NSW             Photo: Chilby Photography
You can soak in hot springs, explore snow caverns or sit under the shade of a welcome coolabah tree.
We have some of the world’s most unique animals that can be found nowhere else in the world outside of zoos, such as the emu, kangaroo and the platypus.

Emu just walking by at Curtain Springs
The most fantastic part is that we can see it all in our very own recreational vehicle ensuring we have all the things we need at our finger tips for a fabulous holiday or lifestyle that is the envy of everyone not already on the road living this lifestyle!

This is our tow vehicle and caravan (American tend to call them trailers)

You can buy these magnificent scenic photos and other magnificent Australian scenic photos as prints from Chilby Photography. I am not earning any income from this recommendation - it is purely that I admire Brad's work and want to share it with you.

An e-reader is a traveller's best friend

Reading is one of life's greatest pleasures. Books can take you many different worlds within the comfort of your chair. Written words can entertain and educate you.

My Sony E Reader

As with just about everything in our lives, technology has introduced us to a new way of reading. An e-reader, or electronic reader, is a device that stores reading materials for easy and convenient reading. Generally they are the size of a single thin hardcover book. Most e-readers are now equipped with a wireless Internet function that enables you to download materials straight from the web to the e reader. Users can download books, newspapers, journals and other many other documents.

This is fabulous news for us travellers whether we hit the road in a RV, fly or whatever. Obviously there are space limitations RV's and luggage which can reduce the number of books you can take with you.

Here are some more benefits of an e -reader:

  • An e-reader is compact, light and portable. Depending on the memory capacity of your e-reader, you can store maybe a thousand books, articles, newspapers etc in one small but powerful device.
  • E-books are cheaper to purchase. You can easily find eBook versions costing maybe $3.50 (and occasionally free), while a paperback version may cost $10 and a hardcover version may cost anywhere above $20.
  • E-books can also be downloaded from your public library as a loan thus making it even cheaper again. You just gotta love your public library.
  • E-reader is a great help to the visually impaired. An E-reader has the capability to enlarge the font size as well as a zoom feature which will make it easier for anyone to access the books or to zoom into photos etc for better clarity of tiny details.
A Kindle e reader

So what is there to stop you from finding a nice reading nook or even hammock and losing yourself in a lovely e-book.

Happy reading!

What’s your favourite style of reading material?
Personally my escapes are historical fiction or a craft magazine.

Seeing God

I can see God's hand everywhere where I look when I am out in nature. I find my problems are so much reduced when I survey the wondrous works of His hand.

Orange Lacewing butterfly as seen in Cairns

I marvel at the intricacies I see in the variety and wings of a butterfly, the large ungainly run a penguin yet the sleekness of its swimming agility. I can see the hand of a creator. I can't begin to comprehend the variety of flowers that I can see yet apparently there are many more insects that haven't yet been discovered than there are flowers in the world.

Platypus; Photo source: Dave Watts

To wake up in the soft light of a new day and to see the glorious sunsets each day just sets my heart aglow. I see that there is an order even in the tiniest details, yet I can only begin to appreciate the way God has created the world, from then incomprehensibly tiny, as well as the unimaginably large things of this universe. I can see that God has a humorous side too when I see the juxtaposition of the shy, elusive platypus.

With such marvelous evidence of a designer, I can not doubt the existence of God?

Sunrise at Coalcliff, near Wollongong, NSW, Australia. Photo by Chilby Photographics

"I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." - C.S.Lewis

So awaken yourself to see the beauty all around you and allow yourself to be in awe of the mystery and greatness of God.

Hungarian Goulash recipe

Wow! I am enjoying using the DreamPot, our new thermal cooker. I think the thermal cooker works very well with the RV lifestyle. Just a few minutes cooking in the beginning and then letting the insulating pot do the rest of the work without any more energy being used is just the ants pants!

Hungarian Goulash

After a long drive or bush walk the last thing you want to do is set up a tasty healthy meal that involves much preparation.

Another thing with me being a morning person is that I have the energy to make the dinner in the morning and set it aside in the thermal cooker and then when it is time for dinner, it is all done or at just about. I did cook the rice separately this time, though apparently one can cook that in the smaller pot above the casserole.... maybe next time I will try that. Baby steps for now!

This recipe has passed down from my Grandmother who was a professional caterer and with a French husband, they both thoroughly enjoyed their foods! Here it is.


2 tablespoon oil
2 tablespoon margarine
1 kg steak cubed - (I prefer skirt steak)
½ plain flour
2 large onions
1 tablespoon paprika
2 carrots cut chunky
2 potatoes peeled and cubed
1 beef cube
2 tin tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf
Salt & pepper
½ cup sour cream
Heat oil & margarine in a frying pan.
Toss beef in seasoned flour then
Add meat to the frying pan & brown well.
Stir in onions and brown lightly.
Add paprika & water.
Add water, stock cube and remaining ingredients except sour cream.
Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, then transfer to large pot before transferring that pot into the insulating chamber of the thermal cooker for a minimum 3 hours hours, preferably 6-8 hours.(I cooked ours for 7 hours). Season as desired & stir in sour cream just before serving. Serve with fettuccine or rice.

Paprika can go bitter if heated without water.
In the interest of losing weight, I omitted the sour cream and I don't think anyone even noticed.
This ended up being sufficient for 8 people (with 2 cups of rice all cooked up).
It is an excellent meal to freeze for days ahead when you haven't the time or energy to cook at all.

Let me know what are your favorites camping recipes -  a link in the comments is fine. 
I will look at each and everyone of them!

Brother, let me be your servant

Many of us are more than willing to help a friend in need. Yet sometimes there comes a time when, as hard as it may be that we need to let others help us.

Andy over at My Old RV survived a Texas hailstorm that delivered softball-sized stones for 10 minutes just a few days ago. Andy lives full time in his RV home which did not survive.

Just some of the hail damage to Andy's rig

Literally holes were blasted through the walls in dozens of places.
He really needs our help and just think about it folks, it can really go against the grain to humble oneself to ask for help. I know I would hate it.

But Francis of Assisi first penned the thought which "Blessed is the servant who loves his brother as much when he is sick and useless as when he is well and an be of service to him".

This was so eloquently written up by Richard Gillard, into a popular song
Brother, let me be your servant.
Let me be as Christ to you.
Pray that I might have the grace
To let you be my servant, too.

Letting others help me was a hard lesson for me to learn but that's a story for another day!

Go read Andy's story. Maybe you can make a donation to help him get a home again.

Fraser Island

Some time ago we had a privilege of camping and 4 Wheel Driving on the world’s largest sand island, Fraser Island.

Fraser Island: Photos source: Australian Traveller

It is a World Heritage Site, making it a precious part of Australia’s natural and cultural heritage. It 122 km long and the only place where sand and rain forest live in harmony.

Photo source: Morgan's blog
There are beautiful long stretches of the purest white beaches you would see just about anywhere in the world. Endless clear blue skies, deep, translucent clear blue fresh water lakes, exotic rainforests and extraordinary sand cliffs are what goes to make Fraser Island a tourist mecca. It is also a great place for camping and 4WD. If you don’t have your own 4WD you can hire your one from nearby Hervey Bay on the mainland and explore the island at your leisure. You can pitch up a camping place on the beach, although you will need a permit. Alternatively you could choose the Youth Hostel or one of the many lodges and take a tour.

Typical sand road Photo source: BugBog

Photo Source: Travel Insider

Fraser Island is home to over 300 species of bird, including many rare coastal birds such as pied oyster catchers. The ground parrot also resides here along with honey-eaters and cockatoos. Pure bred dingoes, which are Australia's wild dogs, are also on the island. Though generally shy of humans, they are wild and visitors are advised not to feed them as they are highly dangerous and have been known to intrude in camp grounds especially when scavenging for food.

Wild Dingo photo source

You may be lucky to catch a glimpse of humpback whales as they migrate from the Antarctica between July and August. The sea, as inviting as it may appear to the casual observer are fraught with dangers such as Tiger Sharks, stingrays and other stingers which abound in the waters off the beaches!

'Oceanic' Nudibranch - a Sea Slug Photo by Richard Wilsher
Any of the pristine fresh water lakes of Fraser Island are safe for swimming. Lake McKenzie is probably the most famous of the lakes on the island. It has crystal blue waters and perfect white sands. However fame comes at a cost. It is a popular place and it can get rather crowded in the middle of the day during peak season. I liked to visit some of the other more remote lakes as all of them are terrific.

Photo source: rvantoy via TripAdvisor
We endeavoured to spend every second day driving through the rainforest either to a distant lake or the other side of the island. It didn’t really matter where we went everything was wonderful. Some of our team wanted a decent cappuccino at the end of one of the 4WD treks. There didn’t seem to be a shortage of coffee shops – they knew where they all were. I loved the idea of relaxing under the shade of the trees within walking distance of one of the many fresh water stream running down to the ocean. I also enjoyed walking along he beach and occasionally indulging in a bit of sand dune surfing. I also enjoyed walking around the ship wreck on one of the beaches.

Photo source: Innovation Hervey Bay

God's Wings

A little something to put things into perspective...

After a forest fire in Yellowstone National Park, forest rangers began their trek up a mountain to assess the inferno's damage.

One ranger found a bird literally petrified in ashes, perched statuesquely on the ground at the base of a tree. Somewhat sickened by the eerie sight, he knocked over the bird with a stick. When he gently struck it, three tiny chicks scurried from under their dead mother's wings. The loving mother, keenly aware of impending disaster, had carried her offspring to the base of the tree and had gathered them under her wings, instinctively knowing that the toxic smoke would rise.

She could have flown to safety but had refused to abandon her babies.. Then the blaze had arrived and the heat had scorched her small body, the mother had remained steadfast ...because she had been willing to die, so those under the cover of her wings would live.

'He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge.' (Psalm 91:4)

Being loved this much should make a difference in your life. Remember the One who loves you, He died so that you might live. So go, be different because of it. Remember Easter all throughout the year.

source: SXC: Ambrozio

Bus Conversion – shopping & making plans

Rain, work, and a bit of a cold on my part and a injured back on Rob’s part have kept us from making much tangible progress on the bus conversion over the past few weeks, but there has been plenty of thinking about the motor home going on. And that's something, right?

Installing the skylight

We really are looking at we want to have in the motorhome and what we can live without. We are not looking at possible resale value of the motorhome, though eventually we will come to a point where we can’t traipse around the country anymore and then we will need to sell but hopefully this will be many, many years away. No, this motorhome is being designed just for us. We have travelled long enough to know just what it is that we want. Sure there will be compromises, but it will be closest thing to what we want and what we can have at a reasonable price. We are not into a fancy rig that will have everyone envying us. We know we want a higher roof, higher benches, reclining lounge. I don’t want a washing machine or an oven, heck we are not even going to have a built in hotplate cooker in the kitchen.
I am thinking of having a double butane stove on a sliding shelf pulled out from the back of the bench. This way if we want to cook outside, it is easy to take it out rather than having a separate unit indoors and another out doors. When we tent camped for more than 3 weeks on our trip to the tip of Cape York, we kept on eye on the fuel consumption and effectiveness of the burners and decided that it is just as economical as LPG gas.

We have a clear-ish plan in our head for the bus' finished interior. We have begun to troll the internet to locate sources for many of the various components that the bus conversion is calling for.  As I mentioned earlier, a key challenge was sourcing a new chain for the motor. Well that is on its way here from America after having to be hand made. The captain’s chairs have been made and they have arrived from Casino. These chairs can swivel right around 360 degrees to be used as part of the dining setting.

Rob made the shower, though it still needs some finishing touches. Last week Rob picked up the aluminum sidings that we had ordered but he needs to do more strengthening work before the sides can go on. (That reminds me, I had better start thinking of designs and do I want it decal or painted?)

We have bought the mixer taps for the kitchen and bathroom. We have also bought the permanent toilet, the skylights and most of the windows.

The slide-out mechanism has been ordered though the American manufacturer does not seem too enthusiastic to deal with it’s Australian customers. I gather they think the Australian market is too small to bother with. I feel sorry for their Australian agent here. We can’t ignore them as Rob believes that their product is superior to anything else he has seen and he doesn't want to make his own this time, as he did in the last 2 caravans.

There are also quite a few items that I am hoping to see at the Sydney Camping and Caravan Super Show which starts on the 20th of April.

We have planned the placements of the solar panels though we haven’t bought them as yet! Rob is still debating with himself just how many batteries we will have.

I have been thinking about the kitchen, figuring out the height of the drawer shelves etc. Rob has designed and has started the framework for a uniquely innovative cupboard above the bed.  Here is one photo of Rob starting this unit before he did his back in, but it won’t make much sense at this stage until it is all finished.

So... We may not be moving real fast... but Rome wasn’t built in a day either.

Hoo Roo & keep safe