Merry Christmas to all of our readers…Its Christmas Day today in Tasmania…

Finally, we were able to take a picture early in the evening of a high-speed train decorated with Christmas light. We’d hope for a nighttime train for a better shot. However, each time we heard a train coming in the dark, we quickly ran outside with the camera only to find that particular train wasn’t decorated. We’re pleased with this photo.

This marks the fifth Christmas since our departure from Minnesota on October 31, 2012. Each one has been unique in its own way, especially when living outside the US. There isn’t any snow. It’s usually warm and has even been hot in some locations. 

The penguin mascot, this gigantic penguin, is decorated for Christmas.

Over these years of world travel its made no sense to decorate a Christmas tree or our vacation home when we’d be required to purchase everything when we’d have to leave it all behind.

Only a few homes in penguin have elaborate Christmas decorations as this festive display.

To our great surprise, we were not disappointed in any of that. Having long ago let go of owning “stuff” we’ve both acquired a perspective of what really matters to us. And, it has nothing to do with owning furnishings, pots and pans, flat screen TVs and Christmas decorations. 

More elaborate Christmas ornaments on a local house.

It has everything to do with embracing our surroundings, learning about varying cultures throughout the world, while taking time to stop to notice the song of a bird, a blooming flower or an expansive ocean view.

We are in awe of this elaborate display in Penguin.

Last night, Christmas Eve in this part of the world, we sat outside on the veranda in the front of the house sipping wine. We discussed how we don’t miss having an elaborately decorated home with twinkling lights, a variety of Santa displays, exquisitely wrapped gifts under the tree and the smell of cookies and other holiday treats baking in the oven.

Wild red flowers, perfect for the holiday season.

All we’re missing is being with people we love. In a mere 154 days, a little more than five months we’ll all be together again. There’s no making up for lost time, but there is such a thing as making new times together. To that end, we eagerly and enthusiastically look forward to our visit to the United States.

Decorated penguin outside a store in town.

As we waved to passersby last night, in cars, yelling out “Merry Christmas” or walking along the sidewalk in front of our vacation home, we were reminded of the warmth and friendliness of people of Penguin, Tasmania and Australia. 

St. Stephen’s Anglican Church in Penguin.

Even the conductor signalled and shouted “Merry Christmas” as the train went by. There are few places we’ve visited over these past four years that have been quite like this. We couldn’t love Penguin more!

Uniting Church in Penguin.

Today, we’ll walk in the neighborhood as we’ve done many days since arriving in Penguin three weeks ago today. During each walk we’ve found something new and interesting, only adding to our joy of spending this precious six weeks in this special little town.

This penguin house has been decorated indoors, making it difficult to take pictures at night through the window. Nonetheless, it was quite an exhibition.

May each of you who celebrate, wherever you may be, have a Merry Christmas filled with companionship, a world of wonders and an abundance of love. 

Another view of above display.  Breathtaking!

Photo from one year ago today, December 25, 2016:

A year ago today our power was out. We went for a walk in Pacific Harbor, Fiji to see this small boat heading down the Qaraniqio River.  For more details, please click here.

Merry Christmas!…It snowed an hour from here…Welcome to Hawaii, Santa…

The next-door neighbor’s chair gives a good perspective of the massive size of these waves.

Here’s a link to the news report on the snowfall and subsequent road closing on the Mauna Kea volcano.

Tom says that our kids from Minnesota brought the white Christmas with them. On top of that Tom and I, alone at home preparing Christmas Eve dinner while the kids all went to the beach, saw some of the biggest waves we’ve seen so far!

The pool in our yard is located in front of these white chaise lounges.

In our travels, Mother Nature seems to gift us with something wonderful for Christmas, a treasure she seems to pull out of a hat, a treasure she knows we’ll love.

It almost appears to be a waterfall.

Isn’t that what the holidays are all about? Appreciating God’s wonders, the birth, and life of a son. the birth and life of those we love and the myriad gifts we receive when we put aside the presents, the shopping, the laborious tasks in preparation of the next celebration with those with love.

The wave as it builds momentum.

This year, the gifts we receive are that of our grown children, their spouses, and our precious grandchildren right here beside us. In the past two years, they’ve been with us in our grateful hearts, and today and over these next many days we see their smiling faces, taking a hug, a glance, and a moment, always to be remembered, always to be treasured.

What a beautiful break in this wave.

Oh sure, it’s not all sweetness filled with perfection. But then, who’s family is? For us, we all get along even with our varying views on life, politics, and even child-rearing. But, we choose to keep those staunch opinions to ourselves for other places and other times in order to bask in harmony and lightness. Time and life are too short.

Our yard in the second house, so close to the surf.

Yes, the questions are asked, “Will we settle down in the US anytime soon?  When, where, and if we will we ever settle down.” At this point, we have no clear answers other than the one we cling to whenever we’re asked,  “Health providing, we’ll carry on.”

The aquamarine color of the wave as it breaks near the shore is breathtaking.

Who’s to argue with happiness? I remember as a child, longing to see happiness reflected in the faces of those I loved and that wish continues today for all of our loved ones.

We were curious as to this shape on the left side of the upper portion of this wave. Do any of our readers have an idea as to what this could be?

Today, we reflect on our joy in these photos we took last night on Christmas Eve shortly before sunset. It bespeaks the magnificence of this magical world we live in with all its ills, political unrest, and waning bounty that Mother Nature tries so desperately to gallantly protect.

The variation in the colors of the sea is amazing.

We sign off today wishing each and every one of our readers, our family, and friends the utmost hope, passion, and contentment in the holiday season and year to come. God bless.

                                            Photo from one year ago today, December 25, 2013:

This lovely female impala came to visit us on Christmas Eve while we were in Marloth Park last year. For details, please click here.