Friday, 26 November 2010


It was Thanksgiving yesterday in the US and although we don't officially celebrate the holiday here it's still a time when you think about what you are grateful for. All the talks on Sunday were about gratitude and being thankful for what the Lord gives us, and after church we all stayed together for some soup and bread to give thanks for what we have. When I was a child in England we had Harvest Festival which is a tradition since pagan times to give thanks for successful harvests. I remember Harvest Festival during my primary school time. People would bring fruit and vegetables from their gardens or farms, and there was always fresh loaves of bread that made my mouth water. This food was then distributed among the poor and senior citizens of the local community. I remember staying over after school to practice the dancing which we performed. Good times!

I am grateful for so many things that it is impossible to list them all here but here are just a few:
  • Family
  • Husband
  • Children (even if they don't pick up after themselves!)
  • A kind and loving Heavenly Father
  • My Saviour Jesus Christ and His atonement
  • Friends
  • Good health
  • The scriptures
  • Living in a safe country
  • Having enough to eat
  • My husband's job
  • Modern technology
  • Running water
  • trials that make me stronger
  • callings to help me grow
and so on.......this list could go on forever!

I know I am blessed and I count those blessings frequently.

Hugs to you all,

Wednesday, 27 October 2010


Before the autumn break Daniel's teacher mentioned that she thought it might be a good idea to get Daniel's eyes tested as she feels he may need glasses. He couldn't read certain words or letters on the overhead projector and she'd even put him to the front of the classroom. As you can imagine, Daniel wasn't very pleased to hear this news although I am pretty sure he was aware that he couldn't see correctly.
I rang my opthalmist to make an appointment and was told that we'd have to wait 5 weeks to see the doctor. Wow! What a long time - although Daniel was quite pleased at this news.

Well, we finally got to see the doctor on Monday afternoon and guess what? Yes, Daniel is short sighted (-1.0 in both eyes) and he is colour blind! He can't see pastel shades of red and green! Well that shocked me! Apparantly I carried the X-gene through me from my father who was also colour blind. This I did know. My brother Keith is also colour blind but apparantly it only jumps over a generation meaning he couldn't have got it from our father, but rather from our maternal grandfather, J.Cecil Tullett. I called my mother and she confirmed that he was indeed colour blind. Wow! All of my kids have a 50/50 chance of being colour blind - nice!

This was the test that the doctor did on Daniel and he couldn't see any of the numbers except for the 25. The number 29 is Daniel's main problem - red and green.

This afternoon Daniel and I went to the opticians and looked at some glasses. After about 45 minutes he had made his decision and we ordered them. They should be ready in about 7-10 days and Daniel doesn't care how long they take! It will take a while to get used to them but hey, if you can't see then you need glasses! I know how he feels: I was 13 when I got my first pair of glasses and I cried!!!!

Anyway, photos will follow once the glasses arrive......

Hugs all,


Thursday, 7 October 2010

A job well done

My mother deserves a certificate and it should say: "This is to certify that Betty Gray climbed and walked around the Lünersee in Brand, Austria. Well done!"
What an adventure we had! After a miserable Tuesday (weather wise), Wednesday turned out lovely just like Monday's weather. The hubster wanted to take us to a mountain lake in Brand, Austria (about an hour away from home) that he'd visited lately with work colleagues. He was so impressed with it he wanted to show it to us, so off we went. 
Brand lives off tourism. It's a ski resort in the winter (The hubster took the boys skiing there in February) and a walker/hiker's paradise during the rest of the year. To get to the lake we had to take a cable car up. The hubster wanted to walk up so we split off with Mum, Daniel and myself (Jordan is at Lake Garda in Italy with friends) taking the cable car and him walking. 

This was taken on the drive up to the cable car station. The leaves on the trees are starting to turn yellow and gold. Autumn is so pretty.

I took this photo from the cable car. The little white dot within the red circle is actually the hubster on his ascent up to the lake.
 The Lünersee cable car: (sorry it's a bit blurred)

 Waiting for Roland

 A wind swept and sun blinded Mum amd I

This is the left hand side of the lake looking out from the restaurant and the most strenguous part of the whole walk. The rest of the walk around the lake is flat but this bit you have to climb over. The hubster wasn't sure whether Mum would be able to walk it but he let her decide. Looking from the restaurant it didn't look too difficult and mum thought it wouldn't be too hard for her.
 The view looking to the right from the restaurant. Isn't the turquoisey green of the lake just gorgeous?

The sign at the bottom said it would take 1 hour to walk up but the hubster actually only took 35 minutes! So once we'd taken the short journey up we sat down at a table at the restaurant and played Yatzee until he arrived. (I soooo need to cut Daniel's hair!)

We decided to have lunch right away and then walk. Mum ordered "Schnitzel and pommes frites" and I've never seen such a large schnitzel before. Believe it or not, she ate it all!

After being fed and watered we set off on our adventure...... up and up......

 Mum having a break.........

The view back down to the restaurant. 

Daddy and Daniel......always ahead of us! Daniel had originally not wanted to come. Hiking is not his favourite pasttime especially without Jordan but we somehow managed to get him to come with us and as usual, he enjoyed himself. Here he is looking over the lake with the binoculars........

The view back down to the restaurant from the highest point of our hike:

 On our way down.....Congrats Mum, you did it!

 Just over half way....

 Nearly two thirds round the lake.

The hubster decided to walk ahead of us and then walk back down. We took our time and went down with the cable car and joined him at the bottom. I am so proud of my mother and I believe she is too! Since her fall last December in New Zealand, she hasn't done a lot of walking and even though she was tired by the time we got back to the car, I think she is glad that she attempted and succeeded in walking this lake. Way to go Mum! By the way, she was asleep on the sofa at 7.30pm........

I now have a sun and windburned face and look like a panda bear......way to go Rebecca for not wearing any sunscreen.......

Til next time.


Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Meersburg and Affenberg

As the weather decided to stay lovely for another day we decided to take the opportunity and go on a day trip. When my mum and dad visited us a few years back we took them to Meersburg, a small old town on the German side of Lake Constance and looked around the old castle and walked up and down the quaint old streets. Well my mum decided she wanted to visit it again (she remembers not being very well that day and the trip is rather blurry in her memory) so off we went. We drove the 40 minutes to Constance and took the ferry over to Meersburg. The journey across the water only takes 15 minutes and you can either stay in your cars or get out and enjoy the view.

The name of the town means "Burg on the Lake", the former referring to the castle which, according to a tradition from 1548, it was built here in 630 by the Merovingian king Dagobert I.


There are many hotels and restaurants considering the size of the town's populations of approx. 5600.

  A lot of the architecture in the town have the same step like roof features

Daniel, Mr. D and mum sitting on a wall with the lake behind them

Mum at the viewpoint on to the lake 
 A part of the old castle

We had lunch at a hotel restaurant called Hotel Bengel which we thought was appropriate as "Bengel" means "rascal" in German and Daniel was being a little rascal as he was losing his patience with us while we were trying to decide which restaurant to eat at :)
Look at the signs behind my mum's head "Today's Fine Food" and "Open" - what country are we in again? Germany? So funny!

 Mum and myself after lunch

After lunch we made our way to Salem, a 15 minute car drive away from Meersburg to visit Affenberg, a monkey sanctuary.
More than 200 Barbary Macaques live freely within a forest area of 20 hectares. A footpath guides the visitors through the monkeys' home range where you meet the animals from eye to eye, without any physical barriers. Specially prepared popcorn is distributed free and can be fed to the monkeys. This concept not only provides  fascinating contact with the monkeys, but also offers excellent conditions for observing, photographing and filming. Furthermore the park has proved to be an ideal field for behavioural studies and it also contributes to the conservation of the endangered Barbary Macaques. Entire groups have been reintroduced to their native homelands in North Africa.

We really enjoyed ourselves in Affenberg. We fed them and interacted with them at close quarters. We got to see the keepers feed them fruit and veg and then gave us a 15 minute "view" into their lives. He explained that the 200 monkeys are separated into three groups and live quite separate lives. He told us about his group of 80, showed us who the matriarch and patriarch of this group were and how that all works. There were some really cute babies! It was very interesting and well well worth the visit.

After Affenberg we went to Friedrichshafen quickly to do a bit of grocery shopping as the Euro is so low and makes it worthwhile for us to buy across the border. After that we drove back to Meersburg to take the 5.50pm ferry back to Constance. The weather for the day had been superb and had been cloudless up until about 5 pm. What a day!


Well that was our Monday. We're off to Austria on Wednesday so we'll see you here on Thursday.....


Enjoy the sun while it lasts!

Conference weekend is always a highlight of my year; I just love it! I love the inspirational talks that motivate me to improve myself and nudge me to do better and as President Hinckley once put it to try "to stand a little taller". This weekend was no different and I have a mental list of things that I want to work on.
My mum is visiting us at the moment and we both went to the Relief Society meeting on Saturday afternoon and watched the first half of Saturday morning's session (live) at the chapel before our backs started complaining. So we went home and I watched the second half on the internet. I really enjoyed President Uchtdorf's talk about choosing the better part and that sometimes slower is quicker.

On Sunday morning while the boys were at Priesthood, Mum and I went to visit a friend of mine in hospital and then after lunch we took a ride to the lake and walked from Goldach to Rorschach and back. The weather was superb and the people were out in droves taking advantage of the warm autumn weather before the cold and fog set in.


It was cool to see this old steam train pull into the station. We were lucky to see it last time we walked along the lake but I didn't have my camera with me then. This time I did!!

Here's to more sun-filled days.......

Becca x

Thursday, 30 September 2010

The Power of Words

I came across this uplifting YouTube video yesterday called "THE POWER OF WORDS: 50 WORDS THAT LIFT, MOTIVATE, AND INSPIRE FROM A LDS MORMON VIEW" and wanted to share it with you:

Are we aware how powerful words can be? Yesterday I was playing around with my boys and said jokingly, "I'm surrounded by idiots!" and low and behold, today at lunch time one of the boys called his brother "an idiot" and he meant it. We've never tolerated the kids calling each other names but it seems by me using the word idiot, even if it was only as a joke,  gave my son a "free pass" to call his brother one. We so have to be aware of the language we use because our kids copy it.

Anyway, getting back to the video and the fifty words - I chose six words I felt were special to me at the moment (I had wanted only five as it just sounds better but I couldn't do five, so six it is). They are words that have meaning to me either in my relationship to my children, with myself or my husband and I want to use them to help me to improve these relationships. Here they are.

  •  Mercy    Tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook error
  •  Progress   Increasing in truth and light
  •  Unity   Oneness and undivided having the same spirit dwelling in them
  •  Encourage  To inspire and give hope
  •  Confident   Having full belief
  •  Teachable  Readily receiving instruction

I'll let you know how I get along with these six words and how I am able to use them to improve the relationships of those I love. I know now that MERCY and ENCOURAGE are going to be the hard ones as I have the tendency to be negative with one of the kids at the moment and he needs just the opposite. So, onwards and upwards......


Wednesday, 29 September 2010


Lately Melissa and I have been listening to the musical "Wicked" and one of our favourite songs is "Popular". It is so catchy and we love it! If you get the chance to listen to do then do so :)

Funnily enough I've been thinking about popularity these past few days.
Is being popular all it's cut out to be? Does it bring disadvantages with it? What happens when because your so popular your guy friends want to be more than just friends and you have to stop being so open and unguarded with them? What do you do when people tell you that "you just shine" when asked what it is that makes the guys fall over themselves?  What do you do when you spend so much of the evening or activity saying " hi" and having people say "hi" to you (because you know so many people) that you don't have time to talk to the real cute guy you have your eye on? Do you then wish that you weren't so popular?
Personally, I never had this problem! I was never popular. I had my close group of friends but I was never in the "really cool" group. The guys I liked hardly ever liked me and the ones that did I didn't have any interest in; except for two guys that weren't members of the church - typical eh? But I guess that is all irrelevant now as Roland found me and whisked me away to Switzerland at the tender age of 18! ;)
But seeing popularity from this other side has made me realise that it's not always as easy as we assume it to be. I guess the grass is always greener on the other side......

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Busy weekends

September has been a busy month and we are all looking forward to life slowing down a bit. One weekend was spent with members of our stake going on a hike together. Our motto for the year was "Unsere Berge bezwingen" which means to overcome our personal "mountains", or in other words to attempt overcome some of our chosen traits or weaknesses. As a crowning event for our work we joined together as a group of saints to literally climb a mountain, the Ebenalp. We met in Wasserauen in Appenzell Innerhoden at 9.00 am and set off in single line to climb the 768m to Ebenalp.

It wasn't very easy to walk in single line especially as people were stopping to take photos (I only took mine when we had come to a halt - sorry for the blurry ones ;) ) so after about 20 minutes the hubster and I started to overtake people to get to the front. After that it got a lot easier :)

As we climbed out of the forest the weather was rather foggy but we hoped that by the time we reached the summit that it would have cleared up.......

No, this is not blurry - it's fog! And by the time we got the the top we were sweaty and hot and in no time at all we were freezing our butts off.

 We took refuge in the building where the cable car reached the summit and it was full of mormons eating their lunch on the floor!

Daniel was so cold I asked him if he wanted to wrap himself in the blanket - he did :)

 After our singing and dedicatory prayer the clouds and fog started to lift......


Looking down on to Seealpsee. Isn't that green just breathtaking?

The hubster and I took a different way down  - a longer way, of course so it was just the two of us. Jordan went with his group of friends and Daniel didn't want to walk down so he went down in the cable car with Krystyna. We arrived back down in Wasserauen just after 4pm - tired but happy.

The weekend after this one found us in Zürich for a special conference with Elder M Russell Ballard. The spirit was strong and we came away uplifted. Elder Ballard's talk about staying close to the whisperings of the holy ghost touched our souls and we have been trying to follow this wise counsel. The hubster tried this out on Sunday afternoon as he felt that he should come with me to visit a sister I visit and teach who is currently in hospital. While we were there she asked for a blessing and he was able to call another priesthood holder to come and assist him in giving this dear sister a much needed blessing. He was glad that he listened to the promptings of the spirit.

The following weekend after the conference was our ward temple trip. Every year we travel as a ward by coach to the temple which is 2 hours (by car) in Zollikofen. The primary aged children are tended while the youth participate in baptisms and the adults do a session.  There was a special moment in the celestial room as Renée, Krystyna and I sat together on a sofa holding hands and feeling the bonds of sisterhood and friendship. (Our husbands were all helping out in the baptistry)

For lunch we all drove to a nearby restaurant and were able to eat and chat with friends before loading ourselves back in to the coach for the journey back to St. Gallen

I just love this picture of these young aaronic priesthood holders.....

The day after our temple trip was our ward primary presentation. The children did a great job and we (the primary presidency) got a lot of compliments for it. They sang well and spoke clearly and the sunbeams were just darling. Personally, I am glad its over with and look forward to a few months of "normal primary"

So this was our busy September with October just around the corner. October means General Conference and school holidays and my mum will be flying in on Wednesday for a three week visit. It seems to me that it'll be a good month......

Hugs all,