Summer Break Over

sands of the sea

Some of you may have noticed I’ve been MIA for a few weeks. I’ve had such a great relaxing break over our summer holidays that I wanted to give writing a rest. In that time my husband and I, along with our children, have spent some time with extended family in Australia. We had a much needed holiday on the beach for about 10 days, and we also did some renovation work on a property we own in Brisbane. The change of pace has been good, but with school going back this week it’s now time to focus on the new year and all that it has to offer.

Over the last few weeks I’ve also been exploring my feelings about this blog. While I love writing about missionary work – it’s something I feel passionate about – I also started it with the idea that I would make connections with like-minded mums and families. I’ve appreciated all the followers I have, and especially appreciated those who have taken the time to connect with me through either comments left here or through the Missionary Moms Email group. But (here comes the but) in the last few months it has occurred to me that there has been less and less contributions here by followers and visitors. I’m not sure why (maybe someone would like to share their thoughts on why…it’s ok, I’m thick skinned and open to any suggestions), but I can only surmise that…well, I’m not really sure what to surmise.

I know the information on this blog has helped many, and I know it will continue to help those missionary mums and families who have questions about the many facets of missionary work and what it’s like to support a missionary in the field. Indeed, with the huge wave of missionaries about to land on the shores of the earths 5 continents, I expect it is needed more than ever. So, I’m not about to abandon it completely, however, with the surmising I’ve done, and with other things developing in my life right now, I’m wondering if it’s better to slow down a bit and even re-asses the format that the information comes to you.

Any kind of feedback would be good. So please let me know if you have any thoughts on this. Some ideas I’ve had include making the blog more private, so visitors would feel more comfortable about sharing their thoughts, photos, or experiences – particularly in regards to their missionary. Lighten the tone of my writing, or share inspirational thoughts on missionary work from our leaders. Or maybe even change the look of the blog…any ideas or suggestions will definitely be taken on board.

I look forward to hearing from you. In the meantime, I will still be here, but maybe not quite as often as in the past.



Ring, ring…why don’t you give me a call


Yep, and you know what that means….that long awaited phone call.

So here are my suggestions on some things you might want to include in on that conversation.

Believe me…you may think you have a grip on what you want to talk about, but when comes the voice on the other end, all thoughts flee and you become a babbling mess (well, maybe not for all of us, but it has been known to happen).

Here is that list. I posted this last Mother’s Day and at Christmas too…but always good to repost for those who may be new missionary mums and dads.

Downloadable version available at the end of this post…


These suggestions are kindly shared by Betty Pearson, who hosts the LDS Missionary Moms Email Groups. If you have a missionary serving somewhere in the world and have not yet signed up for an email group, then you are truly missing out. Betty volunteers endless hours of her spare time to provide this free service, and there are literally thousands of missionary mums connecting every day because of it.

No matter where your missionary is serving in the world, there is an email group of missionary mums connected to his/her mission. The women in these groups are fantastic. I personally belong to two groups; one connected to the mission my daughter is serving in, and the other connected to the area I live in.

Now for that list…

This is certainly not an exhaustive list, I am sure there are many more ideas that can be added to it, but it is here merely to get you started. Also, don’t think that you have to ask all these questions in one sitting.

I would suggest that you have pen and paper on hand to record any significant responses your missionary may have.

The Church in Your Area:
How many members in your ward/branch?
What is the church building like?

The Area You Serve in:
What is the town like?
Rural, small town, small city, med. city, large city?
What does the area look like?
Flat? Rolling hills? A lot of trees?
How hot is it?
How cold is it?
How often does it rain?

About Your Companion:
How is your companion?
How long has he/she been out?
Is his/her family LDS?
Do they support him/her with letters?
Life member or convert?

Your Wellbeing:
Are you sleeping well?
How is the food?
What is the best food you’ve eaten?
What is the weirdest food you’ve eaten?
How many dinner appointments do you get?
What do you usually eat for breakfast?
How are your clothes?
How are your feet?
Any problems?
Do you need more toothpaste?

Your Surroundings:
What is your apt like?
Is it in a big building?
Are your neighbors friendly or scared of you?
How far away is the Mission Office?
What do you see outside your window?

Other Missionaries You Serve With:
How many in your District?
Where are they from?
Who is the District Leader?
Zone Leader?
How often do you have Zone Conference?

Your P-day Routine:
What do you usually do on P-day?
What service do you do?
How often?

The Work:
Who are you teaching at the moment?
What do they do for work?
What are some of the questions they ask?
How much door knocking do you do in a week?
How much teaching do you do in a week?

Another suggestion by one of the mums from our email group was to ask the missionary to open their journal at a random date and start reading.

Well, I hope these questions have been helpful. You may even be able to come up with some more.

Enjoy the call with your missionary and I would love to hear from you how the experience went.

Download and print a PDF of these questions – Questions to Ask on Mothers Day Use the back of the page to record any special comments or information your missionary shares.

Excitement and Disorientation

Part 2 of ‘The Return of the Missionary’ Series


Excitement and Disorientation.

From Dave and Wendy Ulrich

Ending a mission can be challenging, and it is not unusual for missionaries to feel disoriented and a little lost. Often they are physically and emotionally tired and looking forward to a few days to sleep in, visit with friends, and do nothing. Parents rightfully expect children to come home from a mission with new maturity, skills, motivation, and discipline, and may be dismayed to see them sitting around playing video games in their pajamas. Try to remember that missionaries have worked 60+ hour weeks for months and years with no weekends off and no vacations, and outside of these work hours they were expected to study, plan, keep up an apartment, and help companions. They need a little time to rest, to learn to be a “normal” person again, and to integrate their new self with their old environment. At the other extreme, they may be quite judgmental of the family, overly idealistic in standards, and not want to let go of mission patterns. This is certainly not all bad! Don’t get defensive, and don’t tease – just be kind and patient. Make sure they have some kind of personal space, especially if they won’t get their old room back. They also need some non-missionary clothes, books, music, and activities that gradually reintroduce them to normal life. Ask about their plans, interests, and needs in a supportive, non-judgmental way. Listen, learn, be patient, and remember: They won’t stay in this “lost” phase forever.


What do I think?

Even tho’ a missionary has been living in the world, their world is one wholly dedicated to the service of the Lord and other’s. Just like being wrapped in a clear bubble – still seeing the world around them for 18 months or two years but free from its influences. On return, that bubble is popped and suddenly you are breathing the same air as everyone else. It takes time to re-explore it and find your place within it.

As a return missionary I think I fit Dave and Wendy’s description perfectly. One of the hardest parts of serving a mission for me was the first 3 months after I returned. I felt very disoriented and a little lost. I remember being excited to come home and begin the next phase of my life, but I really didn’t expect it to be quite so hard to adjust to a new kind of routine (well actually no routine).

The regiment of mission life didn’t exist any more, and in a lot of ways I felt a lack of purpose. I was really grateful for parents who were very patient with me; who didn’t pressure me to be something I wasn’t ready to be.

Many of my friends had moved on – married, moved away, or simply made new friends. I remember one time, not long after reconnecting with my best friend, how she complained that I talked too much about my mission and wondered if I had anything better to talk about. I was devastated. The one person I thought would understand had just impatiently brushed me off.

I must also admit that I had thought, and mentioned once or twice, about how my family  needed to up their act in terms of living the gospel. I’m pretty sure there were a few raised eyebrows behind my back…but glad to say that they never seemed to take offense at it.


1. Do you have any expectations for your missionary when he/she gets home?

2. Have you discussed as a family how you are going to assist your missionary to integrate their ‘new self with their old environment’?

3. Do you have an experience that you would like to share here of how you assisted your returned missionary to settle back into life?

**Part 3 will explore the ‘Need for Structure’ soon after returning home.

>> Part 3 The Need for Structure >>

The 14 Day Challenge

For those of you who are not a friend of Missionary Mums Meeting Place on Facebook, you might be interested to know that for the last 14 days I have been sharing one idea a day on how to join the online conversation.

If you would like to join with 56 other people, then you are welcome to ‘Like’ the Missionary Mums Meeting Place Facebook Page. You can follow the link HERE, or by clicking the ‘Like’ button on the menu bar on the right side of the ‘Homepage’ on this site. That way you can get any added updates there automatically, as well as keep up to date with posts here.

But, for the benefit of all I have decided to share the 14 ideas here on my blog.

Challenge Day 1: First challenge is to share my ‘What to Share’ post with your FB friends. If you are not comfortable sharing it with all your friends, then you can choose who to share it with by selecting the ‘share on a friends timeline’ option. That way you can select specific people to share it with.

Challenge Day 2: Another FB share. A touching focus on what fathers can do to raise their daughters. Share this short video with your FB friends by clicking the ‘share’ button and leaving a short message about how it makes you feel. *Don’t forget to watch it first 😉

Challenge Day 3: The article in Mormon Midrashim, ‘Freedom and Faith’, has relevance to those of us who celebrate our freedom every day (I love the name ‘Mormon Midrashim’, it evokes the feeling of two cultures meeting, both so different in many ways, but both connected in so many other ways).

Please have a read of it and if you are brave enough post a comment at the end of it. And don’t forget to share it on your facebook profile…

Challenge Day 4: Todays challenge is really simple. Just take a look at this very short video on being genuine when answering questions about the church. But don’t forget to share it with those friends who you think might like to watch it too.

For my Aussie friends, some of you might recognise Bro. Mike Otterson from years gone past. He is currently the Managing Director of the Public Affairs Department for the Church.

Challenge Day 5: Share this video with family and friends who might need it…

Challenge Day 6: Have you ever struggled with how to explain the Plan of Salvation to someone you thought might be ready to hear it? Todays challenge takes you to a blog post that gives a wonderful explanation of this great plan of happiness. Whether it be for your own benefit or the benefit of someone else, this post is well worth exploring, and makes for a great Sunday read, as Katheryn offers lots of extra links to support her writing.

Thanks to one of my favourite LDS bloggers, Kathryn Skaggs, at the popular ‘A Well-Behaved Mormon Women’ Blog.

Challenge Day 7: This video is close to my heart as I only just recently experienced something similar with my beautiful YW at church (You can read about my experience at Missionary Work of a Different Kind).

If you have a daughter who is looking for a 10 hour project for her Personal Progress, then here is a great idea. But don’t forget to share it with some of your other friends and family. It involves missionary work of a different kind.

Challenge Day 8: This one is easy. Visit and then share the blog post ‘Joining the Conversation – What to Share cont.’. Looking more in depth at what to share when starting the conversation, and what to share when adding to an existing conversation.

Challenge Day 9: I have just added this link to my most recent ‘Joining the Conversation’ post – ‘What to Share continued..’. So thought it would also make a good addition to my 14 day challenge to join the conversation online.

Heather Farrell shares a heartwarming story on her blog, ‘My Testimony of The Book of Mormon’, about a missed opportunity to share her testimony of the Book of Mormon. Her feelings come from the heart and it carries a beautiful spirit.

Challenge Day 10: Today’s challenge is just for fun. I’m sharing an ‘I’m a Mormon’ video by my friend Sarah. These days Sarah seems to pop up on many LDS blogs since the Church released their widget for bloggers. She is wonderful, bubbly, and can talk the lid off an iron kettle if you let her. I have been lucky enough to work with Sarah on a couple of stake and multi-stake events, and have always enjoyed feeling her energy.

Here is the video that will show, and below is the link to the widget download.

For Aussies, you will love it and feel at home with Sarah. For my other friends…welcome to Australia 😉

If you have a blog and would like to include Sarah’s video on it, then here is a link to the widget download:

Challenge Day 11: Question – Have you created an LDS profile on As of this week the Church will be beginning a campaign to share many of the current LDS profiles on Twitter. This will allow, “… people all over the world to read the testimonies of members of the Church who have shared their beliefs, interests, and experiences through” (from an email we received this week informing us of this move).

So, today there are 2 things to do.
1. If you have not created a profile on, then visit there and do so.
2. If you Tweet, then sign up to follow and keep an eye out for some of these profiles so you can re-tweet them.

Challenge Day 12: So here is a real life, of the moment opportunity. Yesterday the Bloomberg Business week published an extremely biased article about how the church handles its finances. For some, even the image they used on the front cover of their publication was offensive in the way they manipulated a sacred event in our history to sensationalise the story. This article is an example of how people can really get things wrong.

In response, Katherine Skaggs of ‘A Well Behaved Mormon Women’ blog has offered a balanced view to this article. As usual, she does a wonderful job of it. Including adding the churches view on financial independence.

So, here is your challenge (you can do one of either, or both):

1. Visit Katherine’s blog and leave a comment so that you can join the conversation there.

2. If you are feeling really confident, visit the Bloomsberg Business Week online, and make a comment there about how you feel in regards to their article.

Remember, if you are not sure how to approach your response, visit my blog post on ‘What to Share’ when joining the conversation.

Challenge Day 13: Almost to the end of our 14 day challenge to join the conversation. Todays challenge involves something very simple. Go to the ‘Missionary Mums Meeting Place’ FB page. If you haven’t liked the page yet, then go ahead and do that. If you have, then at the top of the page, just beside the ‘LIKE’ button, there is a drop down menu that offers you a chance to share the MMM FB page with your friends.

Today’s challenge is to invite, or ‘share’, this page with those of your friends who you think would benefit from it. There might be some people on your friends list who would be interested in some of the ideas that I have shared here. They don’t necessarily have to be a mother of a missionary, but just someone who you think would like what is on offer. If each of you invited just one friend to join the group, that would more than double our numbers.

Go ahead…you know you want to…Thanks for taking the time to follow my 14 day challenge.

Challenge Day 14: Well, this is it. The last day. I hope that someone out there has enjoyed one or many of the challenges. It is hard to tell from my end, I don’t get a lot of feedback. So todays challenge is to let me know what you think. I am pretty thick skinned, so I can take just about anything. But most of all, I would love to have you just say hi and even tell me if you were brave enough to take any of the challenges.

Things You Should Never Do On Your Mission – Part 3

Part 3 of Memory Lane Series. It is here that I reminisce about the funnier and more unique experiences I had on my mission over 30 years ago.


5. Never assume that everything an AP says is true.

When I served my mission, even tho’ I was older than most of the Elders out (and in some cases more mature), I always had a deep and abiding respect for the two Elders who served as Assistants to the President (AP). Not that I didn’t have respect for all the other Elders, as silly as many of them could be, they had my respect for the mere fact that they were sacrificing two years of their lives in service to the Lord. In my book, there is nothing more worthy of my respect.

However, the roll of AP seemed to carry with it something really special. The Mission President had chosen these two Elders to assist in the workings of the mission as a whole. There was a lot of responsibility placed on their shoulders as leaders, and the pressure was never off them. They were expected to maintain the roll of AP – speaking assignments, Zone conferences, assisting the President in determining where missionaries will serve and with whom etc – as well as continue to meet the same kind of missionary goals that all of us were expected to achieve; their load was huge.

On this occasion I remember hearing from family at home that one of my friends there had just received her mission call, and was coming to serve in the APM. My excitement was barely contained. I really loved this young lady, and had a very high regard for her. What an amazing missionary she would make, and maybe, just maybe, we might get to work together one day as companions. I shared these thoughts with many of the missionaries I worked with. They too were excited for me, and anticipated the day when this sister would come into the mission.

My excitement brimmed over one Sunday evening at a missionary fireside, and I just had to share this with one of the AP’s. This Elder had been one of my Zone Leaders in the past, so I knew him fairly well, and felt confident that he would share in my enthusiasm.

With dismay I listened to him respond (and I remember his exact words to this day), “Sis. Maine, you will NEVER get to serve with this sister as a companion”. I was shattered…

He explained that it would be wrong to put two people together who were friends from home, and that it would cause more problems than it was worth. He then listed all the things that were wrong about it.

It took me several days to get over the disappointment of his statement. But I eventually did.

However, my excitement was still on a high when I heard that she had finally arrived in the mission. I rejoiced in the knowledge that she was there and doing the work.

I still remember the joy in my heart when, just one transfer after this particular AP had returned home from completing his mission, they announced that my new companion would be my friend from home. I knew then that you could never assume that what an AP tells you is true.

6. Never pass up a chance to have your companion sing to you.

For those who have served a mission, you will agree that there are always some really low points to it. Now, on the whole a mission is probably one of the best experiences a person can have in their life, and on returning, there is not often many negative experiences that you would remember. The good experiences far outweigh the bad.

But I do remember some really low points to my mission. Times where I really struggled with feelings of rejection and disappointment. Hey, the scriptures teach that there is opposition in all things. Without the bitter we would not appreciate the sweet. So there was certainly always a purpose for this.

I was really blessed to have had amazing missionary companions. If you were to ask me which was my favourite, or which was the best, I would not be able to tell you. They were all so very different, but all offered something to me that I needed and learned from at the time. I love that about a mission. The Lord blesses you as much, if not more, than you can ever repay Him.

So one of my companions was the best at something that I needed more than anything at the time – singing. We lived in an area that was incredibly hilly and difficult to navigate. It was also in the middle of winter, so at times it was wet, cold and miserable. Sometimes this was ok, as we loved to stomp in the puddles and make the most of it. But, on many occasions I would find myself grinding the peddles of my bike, homeward bound through teaming rain, tears streaming down my face, wondering whether it was all worth it. There were some dark moments in this time of my life.

Somehow tho’, I was always able to find my way out of it when I remembered to ask my companion to sing. There were many days where you could see two wet and bedraggled missionary sisters walking the streets of Perth, Australia with one of them singing “How Great Thou Art” at the top of her voice. Oh, that was just what I needed on those days. Her clear, beautiful, vibrato voice ringing out praises, filled me with such love and hope.

Now, whenever we sing that song at church it takes me back to those days. Not in dread and remorse, but in thankfulness and joy.

<<Back to Part 1 of Memory Lane<<

<<Back to Part 2 of Memory Lane<<

>>Forward to Part 4 of Memory Lane>>

Cutting the Ties

Some of Susan's Ties

As Elder ‘T’ stood to give his farewell talk just before entering the MTC, you would have been forgiven for thinking that he brought with him his own personal cheer squad. Sitting in the congregation were four of his friends, all sporting the same colour tie as him. These were just five of the 13 ties that Elder ‘T’s’ mum had made he and his friends while he was studying at BYU-I.

But this was not just a quirky display of solidarity for a newly called missionary.  For Susan Bever, it was the only way she could think to support her missionary son as he dedicated the next two years of his life to the Lord.

After losing her job, and with no means of a steady income, Susan determined to find a creative way to help support him. When discussing her situation with her sister one day, and knowing that her son was about to submit his mission papers, it was suggested that she give tie-making a go.

Having been a seamstress for much of her life, Susan felt confident that this could be the opportunity she was looking for. She declared, “I couldn’t make a financial commitment, because I didn’t have the income to make it… the purchase of a piece of fabric was about all I could do.”

Elder ‘T’, sporting a new tie, and ready to serve…

The term cutting the ties took on new meaning for Susan as she bid her son farewell. Since August 2010, when her son entered the Provo MTC, she has cut, sewn, and sent him at least 3 ties per month; and estimates that by the end of his mission he will have received close to 200 ties.

Not all of them end up around his neck tho’. Elder ‘T’ generously shares some with fellow missionaries, and many of his investigators. When this happens, Susan simply gets back to cutting and sewing some more.

But this is not the extent of her commitment. Susan is determined to share her tie-making talents both at home, and across the globe. She makes ties for many of the missionaries serving around the world from her own ward, as well as sharing them with missionaries serving near to where she lives. It is her way of showing support for not only her missionary son, but for dozens of other ‘s as they spread the gospel.

Recently, through the LDS Missionary Mom’s Email group, Susan offered to trace, cut out, and mail several tie patterns for any of the missionary mum’s who might like to sew a tie for their serving missionary. Each pattern was traced by hand, tailored to measure the individual missionary, and mailed at her own expense (in my case, sent half way around the world to New Zealand).

Since making those first few ties for her son and his friends, she, and her sister Lois, have started up an online tie making business.  “All Tyed Up” gives you an idea of  the extent of her tie-making skills. Susan also suggests that if the tie you are looking for is not there, then it is only a phone-call or email away.

Elder ‘T’ shares one of his favourite tie’s – 8 inches wide!

If you are interested in purchasing a tie from All Tyed Up, then pop on over to Susan’s website and scroll through the huge range she has displayed there. Orders cannot be made through the website, but if you email Susan with your order or questions, she can make arrangements from there.

Some interesting facts about ties:

  1. Not all men are the same size and therefore can’t wear the same size tie – you have to make adjustments for both taller and shorter men. Susan has made a tie small enough for a child – a tiny 42” long, as well as a tie for a 7’7’’ tall man – a huge 78”.
  2. Ties can come in different widths, according to your preference.  Susan makes ties to order, anything from 1 ½ “ wide through to 4 ½” wide.
  3. Ties can be made with many types of fabrics including cotton, cotton-polyester blends, silk, satin, satin brocades, ultra suede, and denim – just about any material can be used.
  4. The only type of tie she would encourage missionaries not to wear are character ties – Spiderman, Pokemon, Little Mermaid etc. But as for which colours not to wear, according to her missionary son, “If she makes it, I will wear it”.
Thank you Susan for allowing me to share your inspiring story. We wish you and your son all the best as he prepares to return home in August.

There is an assortment of ways that we can be missionaries or, at least, support the missionary effort. We are all blessed with different talents and abilities, and it is up to us to find those talents and use them in the unique way that only we can.  Susan found her unique way.

I wonder if any of you have had a similar experience with something that you are passionate about? Please share with us here what your passion is, and how you see it as an opportunity to support the missionary effort.

Get the Guff…Aussie Lingo 101

Australia stub

Australia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

G’day mate!

A couple a sheila’s, through the bush telegraph, asked me to give them the guff on some Aussie lingo. There are lots of sheila’s out there with missionaries who are in the outback and have gone walkabout. They want to gobsmack their missionary when they get home with a real Aussie g’day.

It’s here that you will get the guff on some dinky di Aussie lingo. There are some bonza words and sayings that will definitely impress your mates. So, if you are within cooee of someone, sheila or bloke, and you’re not out the back o’ Bourke somewhere, then ‘ave a go, because she’ll be right once you practice a little. You may want to use the bush telegraph to let your cobba’s know about this, because it’s fair dinkum! But be careful you don’t get too ocker and come off sounding like a yobbo.

Did you get that?

If not then here is the translation:

This post was prompted by a couple of requests on the LDS Missionary Mums Email Group, to share some of the more common Australian terms – the lingo. Many of the missionary mums I talk with there have missionaries serving in Australia, and love to be able to welcome their missionary home with banners and signs with Aussie sayings on them.

So I thought it would be fun to share some of these sayings here. I have broken them down into two groups. Sayings that are more commonly used, day to day, and sayings that are used less, but are iconic in nature – unless maybe if you come from the outback.

However, let me preface this by saying that it is all purely in my opinion.

For those of you who don’t have missionaries serving in Aus, then you may just get a kick out of reading some of these. If you have an Aussie friend somewhere, you could even try one or two out on them.

More commonly used lingo:

Bloke – male, man, guy. “He’s a nice looking bloke”
Aussie (pronounced Ozzie) – An Australian. “I’m an Aussie”
Aus (pronounced Oz) – Australia for short. “I come from Aus”
Mate – friend, companion. “He’s me mate”
No Worries! – That won’t be a problem, all is good. “No worries mate, I can do that”
G’day – Hello. “G’day mate”
Buckley’s – You don’t have a chance. “You’ve got buckley’s”
All good – Everything is ok. “It’s all good here”
Arvo – Afternoon. “I’ll come over this arvo”.
Crook – sick or ill. “I am feeling a bit crook”.
Ear bash – talk too much. “That bloke can really ear bash”
Relo’s – Relatives. “All the relo’s are coming too”
True Blue – the real thing. “That story was true blue”
Dinky Di – the real thing. “He’s a dinky di Aussie”
Avos – Avocados. “I love a bit of avo on my sandwich”
Back o’ Bourke – a very long way away. “It’s way out the back o’ Bourke”
Bingle – car accident. “I got into a bit of a bingle today”
Gobsmacked – stunned, amazed, in awe. “I was totally gobsmacked by what she said”
Chook – chicken. “We’re having chook for dinner”
Crankey – angry, upset, annoyed. “He made me really crankey”
Footy – Australian football. “Let’s watch the footy”
Good on ya – Good job, well done. “Good on ya mate”
Macca’s – McDonalds. “Let’s go to Macca’s for dinner”
Shonky – a bit suspect, a bit dubious. “That car looks a bit shonky”
Snag – Sausage. “Snags for dinner tonight”
Barby – A Bar-B-Q. “Put another snag on the barby will you?”
Sunnies – Sunglasses. “I need my sunnies, it’s too bright”
Thongs – Cheap rubber backless sandals, flip flops, jandals (not underwear). “Will they let me wear thongs?”
Get the guff – Know what is happening, what’s the latest news. “If you want to get the guff, then ask me”
Togs – Swimming suit, swimmers, bathing costume. “I’ll just put my togs on”
Outback – The rural or country area. “He comes from the outback”

Less commonly used lingo:

Sheila – female, women, girl. “She’s a nice looking sheila”
Bonza – Great, fantastic. “I met this bonza sheila today”
Beauty Mate (ripper, grouse) – That’s fantastic, good job! “Beauty mate, all good”
Cobba – Friend. “He’s a cobba”
Fair dinkum – that’s the truth. “Was he fair dinkum about it?”
ave a go mate – Why don’t you try it out. “Just ‘ave a go mate”
She’ll be right – Everything will be all right. “She’ll be right once we get going”
Bush Telegraph – local gossip network, grapevine. “I heard it on the bush telegraph”
Gone walkabout – lost, or can’t be found, taken off. “I can’t find her right now, she must have gone walkabout”
Within cooee – within hearing distance. “Try to stay within cooee of me”
Ambo – Ambulance. “Someone call the ambo”
Galah – stupid, silly person. “Ah, ya silly galah!”
Hooroo – Goodbye, see you later. “Hooroo, see you soon”
Ocker – Someone so Australian that it even embarrasses an Aussie to be around them. “He’s real ocker”
Yobbo – an uncouth, sloppy, rude, person. “He’s a bit of a yobbo”

I finish this list of sayings with the suggestion that there are many more Aussie colloquialisms. I have not included all of them as you would probably get bored by the end of it.

If you have any others that you would like to add here then feel free to do it through the comment box below. If you think I got it wrong somewhere then I would be happy to hear about it too.

Beef and Sweet Potato Burgers

Beef and Sweet Potato Burger

I feel really privileged to share this recipe today, as it comes from my good friend Naomi. Some of you may know her from her highly successful blog Seven CherubsShe is the mother of seven very cute kids, and she blogs about her adventures in that department.

Naomi is an extremely talented writer who, over the last few years, has managed to build her readership to an enviable size. I have discovered she is very organised, and has some really great ideas on how to run a happy and streamline household.

One of the most satisfying achievements of her online presence, and I am sure she would agree, was organising an online fundraising campaign for a close friend who lost both a son and her husband within 4 months of each other. Naomi single handedly raised almost $45,000 for her friend. An achievement that she should be very proud of. 

This recipe comes from her blog and is really scrumptious.

My kitchen became a testing ground this week, and I had several missionary aged girls around to give me their verdict. Result?…top of the list of our most favourite homemade burgers. The sweet potato adds such a rich full flavour to the meat. I don’t think I can ever make another burger without it.


Beef and Sweet Potato Burgers

Serves: 4, or 2 very hungry missionaries
Preparation time: 10 mins (prepare the mix and patties before you leave home in the morning, place them in the fridge, and they will be ready to cook when you get home).
Cooking time: 20 mins


350g (12oz) orange sweet potato, peeled, cut into 2cm pieces
1 garlic clove, crushed
400g (14oz) lean beef mince
2 tsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 zucchini, grated
2 tbsp olive oil
4 mediums sized mixed grain rolls
1 avocado, mashed
Sliced tomato, cucumber ribbons, soft lettuce and sliced red onion to serve
Beetroot slices (optional)


  1. Steam or boil sweet potato until tender. Mash. Combine with garlic, beef mince, parsley and zucchini. Form into 4 patties.
  2. Heat large non-stick frying pan. Add oil and heat. Cook patties over medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side or until cooked. Keep warm.
  3. Halve the rolls and spread with mashed avocado. Top with patties, tomato, cucumber, beetroot, lettuce and sliced red onion.

Take care not to overload the mix with sweet potato as it can make it very soft and difficult to keep its shape when cooking and eating. For this reason, I would suggest that you stick to making smaller patties and have two medium sized burgers, rather than a single larger one.

If you find the patties are too soft and they break up when cooked then next time add some fresh breadcrumbs and an egg to the mix to help it bind.

I added the beetroot to the ingredients list (it wasn’t part of Naomi’s original recipe) because here in Australia we rarely have a burger without it. So I urge you to try it at least once.

While I still have several recipes to share over the next few weeks, I invite you to send me any that you may have. Please email me at

Printable Recipe:

Download Word Doc with colour image – Beef and Sweet Potato Burgers

Download Word Doc without colour image – Beef and Sweet Potato Burgers

What More Could a Mother Want?

The leap

When your missionary daughter says to you she loves you but doesn’t miss you, is not homesick, and doesn’t want to come home, you really know that those apron strings are being cut.

Direct quote just two days into her MTC experience, “I love you guys so much, don’t miss me too much because I’ll be having the time of my life …I am definitely not homesick yet”

But I am ok with that. I have never been one of those mums who dies a little bit inside every time her child steps out into the big wide world and discovers something new to explore (without being there to make sure they don’t hurt themselves).

My parents left home when I was 19. They packed everything up, stored it away (including me), rented out our family home, and moved to the other side of the world to discover their family history roots in the UK for 2 1/2 years. I was left behind to fend for myself.

I wasn’t sure I was ready for that. But I had no choice. I was thrown into the waters of life and was told to sink or swim.

It was a difficult time for me. At times I struggled to keep my head above the water line. I really didn’t know who I was without my family.

Looking back on that experience now, it was a defining time in my life. I discovered an independence I never knew existed. I discovered an extended family within the church that became my support when I needed it.

But most of all I discovered who I was and what I believed. I no longer just believed on the traditions of my fathers. I learned for myself the rich blessings available to me, as I trusted in the Lord. I began to apply everything my parents had taught me, and I discovered that it was all true.

My parents had planted the seed of faith in my heart, but that faith wasn’t going to grow much more without me applying it on my own. I no longer needed the faith of my fathers to get me through. They had helped to plant the seed, now it was time for me to nurture it.

So when my daughter says to me she loves me, but doesn’t need me, it is not a sign that I have failed. It tells me she has found her swimming style and is on her way to becoming all that her Heavenly Father wants her to be.

As a mother of a missionary, every time I receive an email or a letter from my missionary daughter I feel fed, and alive. My faith is strengthened as I see my purpose here on earth bearing the fruits of my labour. She is discovering for herself who she is, what her purpose on earth is, and is bringing that purpose into the lives of those she teaches.

Hang on, did I just throw my daughter into the waters of life and tell her to sink or swim? Or did she jump herself?

Whatever it was that just happened, I know that she is making the most of the experiences she is having. Her faith is increasing, and she is discovering who Heavenly Father wants her to be. And she is having the time of her life.

What more could a mother want…

Guest Post – From the world’s best trainer…

Ask any returned missionary, and just about all of them will claim that the most influential person on their mission was their trainer. I fall within that claim. Today I am introducing to you the person who taught me everything about being the best missionary I could ever be. The effects of her teaching have reached far beyond that very short 18 month period of my life.

Tonja and I met up recently, for the first time since our missions, at The Australia Perth Mission 27 year reunion – under President Daniel H. Ludlow 1981-83. We immediately slipped back onto familiar ground and have remained in contact ever since.

Tonja shares here her formula for being the world’s best trainer. The list of those she trained on her mission will attest to her authority on this subject. The advice given here is timeless.

Mum’s! If you feel at times that you wish you could help your missionary, this may be just one of the ways you can. Read up, and maybe there is something in this post that you can share with your missionary when he/she becomes a trainer for the first time.


Training a New Missionary
By Tonja Swoboda Davis

New missionaries can either be a blessing to a ‘trainer’ or a curse!  Personally, I think I was a curse.  I was so excited to be in the mission field and conquer the world. (Well, in this case, Western Australia, which is almost the size of the world)  My trainer was nearing the end of her mission and didn’t quite understand my determination to spread the gospel to everyone!

Our personalities were also very different.  As senior companion, she was the decision maker.  However, I have not always been good at following.  I often rush forward, no hesitation. When my companion hesitated, I moved forward, often with her running to catch up with me…the junior companion.

Well, I survived and so did she.

A few months later when I became senior companion and training a brand new missionary, I was eager to help my new companion be the best she could be.  My mission president advised me to share with my companion everything I knew so she would be better and stronger to share the gospel with others. I tried very hard to do that with Sister Maine (my first trainee), and with Sisters Day, Rasmussen, Norell, and Marchant (those that followed).

Later while observing them, I noticed that they approached doors and people the same way I did and even used similar phrases and hand gestures as I did.

Above anything else, I wanted them to have confidence in themselves and know they had the knowledge, experience and the Holy Ghost to guide them.  Their message was so important that a loving Heavenly Father would not leave them alone – but give them companions that would love them and guide them.

Having a son currently serving a full time mission, I am reminded of how important companions are to successful missions.  They will have challenges each day, but they don’t need those challenges to come from a companion!  Even though one would think a missionary would be easy to get along with, that isn’t always the case.  What can one do?

Characteristics of a good trainer:

  • A Christ-like attitude.
  • Recognise you are being watched, act accordingly.
  • Avoid negativity, always!
  • Look for the GOOD, and it WILL be found!
  • Unexpected acts of service makes all the difference; making their bed while they are in the shower, fixing them breakfast, shining shoes, ironing shirts, leaving encouraging notes.
  • Genuinely complimenting a companion in front of others.
  • Praying for them.
  • Teach a missionary all you know and allow them to take the lead.
  • Ask for opinions and incorporate it into daily planning.
  • Organising ‘exchanges’; allows them the opportunity to be the ‘lead’ missionary and gain experience.
  • Write a letter home to the companion’s family telling them of positive experiences while serving together.
  • See a companion as God sees them and have an appreciation for them and His service.

Some scriptures that may be of help to a new trainer:

Hebrews 13: 1-2, 6-9, 13-14, 16-18, 21, 24-25

1 Timothy 4: 12-16

Missionaries are about a GREAT WORK and will bring to pass much good.  Know that long after they have returned from their mission, those that follow (literally) will continue THEIR work as well as their own.

Missionaries have been called of God to lead. Lead they will. By learning all they can, giving all they can, and being the best they can, their efforts will be warmly received and they will be blessed.

Tonja Swoboda Davis 
Served in the Australia Perth Mission from 1980-81. 

Background on Tonja:  At 17 I wanted to do something different so I went off to Brigham Young University in Provo, not knowing a single person. I soon was introduced to the full time missionaries who taught me the gospel and I was baptized a short time later. My life was changed forever.  My husband served a mission to Hawaii and our son is currently serving a Spanish speaking mission in St. George Utah.

A highlight of my life was having an article published in the October 2009 Ensign  ‘Freely Given, Gratefully Received’.  The whole process was inspiring.  I love to write, love reading and have been an elementary school librarian for several years.

Tracy and Tonja at 25 year mission reunion

Tracy and Tonja at the 27 year mission reunion (2009) for The Australia Perth Mission (APM).