Monday, December 29, 2008

a 'surprise' meal

We were going to have a 'surprise' meal for dinner tonight. A 'surprise' meal is one which I have given no thought to prior to about 5.30pm. I came home ready to surprise my family (and myself!) with a nutritious dinner. Trouble was, I had taken no meat out of the freezer and the kids were wanting to eat immediately...

I did indeed get surprised. It seems that we left the house this morning without shutting the freezer door properly. Bingo. Four sorts of meat defrosted and ready to go (as well as 2 loaves of bread, 2 packets of donuts, some iceblocks...)

The kids were surprised with their sausages. Andrew and I are about to sit down to a meal of prawns. Tomorrow night, it's steak and more sausages. The dog was surprised with her extra bone.

At least we'd run out of ice-cream.


Is it just me or are there an awful lot of patterned shirts and dresses out there at the moment?

I've never really been a patterned clothes kind of a person. I'm more plain. Plain black, plain brown and red is my basic repertoire. Lately though, and against my better judgement*, I've joined the crowd and ventured into patterns. I now have three patterned shirts.

Can I say that I think the whole patterned thing is a mistake? I was looking at a room full of people today and those in plain colours looked the best. The patterns gave the room a messy and almost dated feel. I think we may look back on the patterns of summer 2008, shake our heads, and vow not to go there again.

* thanks mum!


I have new boxing gloves and a punching bag.

I have a basic short routine that I can do (a few standard boxercise moves), but am after more ideas. Anyone got any?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

pete and petal - kids talk rhyme

I wrote this as part of a kids talk I did this morning. Ten points for anyone who can correctly guess my passage. A guy from our congregation admirably acted the parts of Pete and Petal.

Pete and Petal

Pete was strong and Pete was tough
Hard as nails and really rough
Each day he trained from noon till night
Building muscles, what a sight
he was to see
He'd stand, he'd look and say with glee,
'No-one, nothing can beat me!'

Pete was strong, Pete was tough
Hard as nails and really rough
But was his meat and might enough?

Uh uh.

A semi-trailor big and bold
On the wrong side of the road
Bowled him over, knocked him flat
That was then the end of that!
Rough and tough, our strong man Pete
was squashed and flattened on the street.

Pretty Petal, what a sight!
Prinking, preening, day and night
Brushing hair until it glowed
Fixing ribbons, tieing bows
around her curls
She'd stand, she'd look, she'd give a twirl
and say, 'I'm such a pretty girl!'

Pretty Petal, such a sight
Prinking, preening, day and night
But is her future really bright?

Uh uh.

As years flew past her heart went cold
She saw that she was growing old
Her lovely hair was grey and thin
And whiskers grew upon her chin
She saw herself and screamed in fright
Pretty Petal – what a sight!
She stamped her feet, she bawled, she cried
Her beauty gone and she would die.

Alas for Petal
Alas for Pete
Alas for all death can defeat
Petal and Pete, they should not trust
their bodies, they are not enough.

There's only one thing that is sure
They should have trusted in their Lord.

sar 2008

Saturday, December 27, 2008

how pathetic am I?

I just caught myself gleefully reading an old blog post where a godly blogger was writing about a temptation that she had given in to. I then read follow up posts where she was fighting the sin and gaining some control in that area of her life. I enjoyed the follow up posts much less than the first one.

Because I don't struggle with that particular sin (at the moment) I basked in feelings of self righteousness and victory over my christian sister. Isn't that horrible!

I struggle with many other (more significant) sins. Why could I not feel compassion for her in her battle and joy with her in her victory?

Yet another thing of which to repent.

Friday, December 26, 2008

christmas carols vs incarnation songs

Nathan asked a great question in the comments a few posts below...

"I also wonder why we don't celebrate the incarnation and sing the good, theologically strong carols all year round."

Made me reflect on the difference between christmas carols and songs on the incarnation. I like both and have written both but I think there is a difference. Christmas carols invite us to be in the moment of the incarnation. Using words like 'hark' and the present tense ('Joy to the world, the lord IS come') they take us back to the time (night? romantic me likes to think so!) that Jesus was born and help us experience the wonder of it. Non-carols speak about the incarnation as something that has happened, rather than something that is happening right at this moment.

So Nathan, I don't think we sing carols all year round because it feels silly. Jesus is not being born right now (nor is he on Dec 25th, of course, but it's easier to pretend he is when we're surrounded by nativity scenes) so let's not sing as if there's a baby in front of us.

Everyone loves a baby. I love the idea that God became one and a woman got to hold him and nurse him and rock him to sleep (women throughout the ages have basked in this idea - in a very maternal and slightly manipulative way!). But I think a mature understanding of the incarnation goes a good bit further than baby Jesus. We need to grasp both the wonder and the horror of having God with us. We need more songs that do that.

is it just me...

... or is christmas spiritually insignificant for others too?

I don't feel bad about this. Christians aren't compelled to keep this particular festival. I make the most of it evangelistically, but I spend plenty of time during the year thinking about the incarnation so Christmas isn't so special in that way.

What do others think? I like the opportunity to give gifts. I like the parties and family times. I like that Jesus is on the agenda. But I'm not feeling a whole lot, spiritually.

How about you?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

happy christmas!

Hope you have a lovely day and don't waste too much of it reading blogs.

I'm off to my parents' on the gold coast for a couple of days, then back into things for a few days, then off to Fiji and NZ. Life's tough.

Thanks for dropping by,
love in blogdom.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

what does santa add?

In the comments for my Santa post below ('Is Santa a LIE?') Dan asked quite a useful question -

"What does Santa add? How does he help us to remember and celebrate (to reference an Australian songwriter) 'our God come near'?"

Any ideas?

nathan goes to townsville

I've just rediscovered Nathan's blog. He offers his readers much valuable advice and uses a bright and airy template that you just want to look at. Why not add it to your reader?

Monday, December 22, 2008


I bought you last year in the Christmas sales
your bright red sticker read 'reduced to clear'
I picked you up and checked, not old or stale,
a bargain- yes! Or so it did appear

at first but treasures real never do come cheap
and you've since cost me months of thinking clear,
weeks and weeks of solid restful sleep.
Bipolar flits from fear to joy to fear

are what I bear and still I don't despise
my purchase - No! I send you Christmas cheer.
A costly gift may soon be put aside
and that bought cheap can end up truly dear.

sar 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

sin and weakness

"Another point: we are often told in the New Testament to 'be strong' (1 Cor 16:13; Eph 6:10, 2 Tim 2:1; 1 john 2:14). Isn't people's weakness (stupidity, lack of independence, forgetfulness, cowardice, vanity, corruptibility, temptability, etc.) a greater danger than evil? Christ not only makes people 'good'; he makes them strong, too. The sins of weakness are the real human sins, whereas the wilful sins are diabolical (and no doubt 'strong', too!). I must think about this again."

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison, p148.

something I hate...


Through the kindness of a well meaning friend, I may be about to enter an awkward relationship. One in which I will have nothing to say (nothing, that is, that can be said) and they, likewise. Through God's grace, something good may come of it, but most likely nothing more than mutual awkwardness.

I hate awkwardness. I hate the stilted conversation that comes when you feel you have to censor everything you say. I hate appearing as if I have nothing to say. Bring on the new creation when there will be no more of this!

hook me up

In contrast to what I've said elsewhere, I think that the current body pump triceps track (#68) is about the best ever. Who needs a bar?


I made tomato chutney yesterday. My whole family is mad keen on that kind of thing. Fear that it won't live up to my Grandmother's. Anyone know a good recipe that I can try next time?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Is Santa a 'lie'?

I don't think so. I think he's a game that grown ups play at christmas time with little kids. Santa's an imaginary seasonal character. A fairy tale. A mystery.

I don't see any problems with parents telling their little kids stories about Santa. I don't see any issues with adults pretending that Santa is real. I think its good for parents to be a bit evasive when asked if Santa really exists. Here's a few responses we've given to the question 'Is Santa real':
  • what do you think?
  • you've seen him in shops haven't you?
  • He looked pretty real to me when I saw him in myer last week!
  • and again... Hmmm. What do you think?
Kids are pretty good at sorting out fact from fiction. If parents are reasonable and don't get passionate and dogmatically positive about Santa's existence, most kids will have worked it out by the time they hit school. And have had fun with the fairy tale while they were little.

Let's not sweat it. Let's not bring out our capital letters and call it a LIE. In christian families where the bible is regularly read, there is no chance of long term Jesus and Santa confusion.

it's all fun and games until...

My 7 year old is in the backyard burning holes in a piece of paper with a magnifying glass. I am upstairs and can smell the smoke from here. He is playing so happily that I don't like to stop him... but I may regret it if he burns the house down. What should I do?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

a question

How much gym is too much?

Do I have a problem if one hour a day no longer feels like enough?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Spy Life Kids Club

I have a complete program for a 3 day kids club. Thinking of selling it online. How much do people pay for this kind of stuff?

Package would come complete with:
  • three talks from John's Gospel aimed at 4-10 year olds
  • 3 sets of bible activity books (pre-readers, early readers, readers)
  • spy life song
  • 'Get Silly' Spy Drama
  • 'Spycraft' booklets for 3 age groups (think craft, but with a spy slant- fingerprinting, codes, invisible inks etc)
  • name tag masters
  • advertising masters
  • hall decoration ideas
  • job sheets
all nicely presented and pdf-ed for your convenience.


alternate carol arrangements

If anyone has interesting ways of arranging christmas carols, do share.

Last night at our carols service I was nearly falling off my piano stool in boredom. It was only the odd carol which we managed to do something new with that kept me awake.

Post your ideas here so I can try them out next year - or next week at church, or on christmas day.

(Don't get me wrong, I love singing christmas carols. But playing a dozen back to back can get a wee bit tedious.)

In the mean time... Here's what we did with Silent Night.

Silent night is in 6/8 time. How nice. Singers sang it that way. We played accompaniment in 12/16 time. Kind of like this:

Added some seconds to most chords as well. Sweet.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

'god rest ye merry gentlemen'

is the only christmas carol I'm not thoroughly sick of. All the others are dull dull dull.

For the 2 of you out there who may care, we play God rest ye merry...

Dm Dm A
1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2

Dm Dm A Dm Dm A
Dm Dm A Dm Dm A
Gm F Dm C
F Bb C Dm C
F Bb C
Dm Dm A etc.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

spy life song

Just finished writing this for our Spy Life kids club that starts on Monday. Nothing like getting things done in advance! The verses match each day's teaching: 1. the bread of life, 2. the resurrection and the life, 3. the shepherd who gives his life.

The writing is a bit sloppy - syllables don't quite line up between verses - but right now I don't care. Tune is boppy and, of course, there are actions.

Spy Life Theme Song

I spy a hungry crowd
wanting to be fed
Jesus, he can help
gives them fish and bread

Spy Life! Spy Life!
When I spy Jesus
I spy life.
Spy Life! Spy Life!
When I spy Jesus
I spy life.

I spy two women sad
by their brother's grave
Jesus cries, 'Come out!'
and gives him life again

I spy a sheep in strife
who's wandered far away
Jesus, the good shepherd
will give his life to save

sar 2008

busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy

busy busy busy busy busy busy....

Kids club starts on Monday. Too many kids. Too much to do before then.

Carols at church tomorrow night. Need to finish the arrangements tonight.

Also need to iron transfers onto 14 shirts, write 2 kids talks, make 77 name tags, write 2 more verses for our kids club theme song and more and more and more. All tonight.


Maybe I'll blog instead.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

On rejecting Mr Rochester

Ali's written some personal reflections here, here and here. Good stuff, and not just for the unmarried.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Arch Hart talks

For the last few days I've been listening to these talks and reading this book by Arch Hart. There is much to challenge me in my management of myself (although I don't have depressive tendencies) and in my parenting. AH predicts that within 10 years, all teenagers will be on antidepressants because of over-stimulation of the pleasure-center of the brain (by multi-tasking on electronic media) which leads to anhedonia (inability to experience pleasure). He also has much to say about church services and anhedonia - which I may write about another time.

Do listen to these talks if you're not aware of this stuff.

I'm on the computer less as a result!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

christmas carol website

After wasting half an hour last night fixing up the errors in 2 Rejoice Christmas Carols (it's G major that has one sharp, not D and Dm chord is not a good alternative to E major. And yes, it matters) I decided to ask Mr. Google for help.

I found this site. Complete with all your carol needs: SATB, melody and chords, lyrics, transpositions... I played 12 through in practice this morning and only found one mistake.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

christmas shopping...

... almost done!

Can I say that going into Target on a busy day is a mistake? I'm sure the checkout girl was playing a slow motion game.

Wasn't worth the $3 I saved on one item.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Oh no.

I'm working again tomorrow. I'm not good at saying no.

songs on abortion

We've just finished our Amos series at church and have a topical sermon this week on abortion. Question is, what songs go with a talk on abortion? I have some ideas but I'd be interested to see the direction others take it.

Any ideas?

the end of an era

For the last 6 years my friend and I have run our 'Open the Box' playgroup. We've had lots of fun, gotten to know many, many families, taught kids about the world and God, and written lots of children's songs (buy them here and here!)

Today is my last day at playgroup. My youngest goes off to school next year and I am moving up with him. I am sad.

I thought about keeping on with it, but I just can't. I've been feeling like a rather pathetic member of the human race this year. Far too busy and letting people down with my inability to return emails, keep commitments etc.

Next year I'll be teaching one more RE class, belonging to one less bible study group, hopefully writing more and trying not to get either too slack or too dependant on the gym (how many classes a week is too many?)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Off to work again

Hopefully, my last day this year. But who can say?

Monday, December 1, 2008


It's our 13th wedding anniversary tomorrow, so Andrew and I went out to the movies tonight*. We saw Australia. I don't see many movies, but the slight patriotic streak in me wanted to see this one. Truth is, I love Australian scenery and I love the idea of the whole world seeing it.

Australia is an epic. It's like watching 3 movies back to back. The sound track is a little hard to handle (with its not-so-subtle waltzing matilda motif) and the bad guys really do wear black hats, but... I enjoyed it. Visually it's nice and the story could have been a lot worse.

Anyone else seen it yet?

* It was either go out tonight or have a romantic trip to presbytery together tomorrow night.

I have to go to work!

I'm over this.

Same class as Friday, so I can't do the same stuff again.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

happy happy day

  • house is clean and tidy
  • christmas tree is up (only half of it. We don't have much room so I only put branches on one side so it sits straight against the wall.)
  • church was great
  • drove down the coast and swam and played singstar with a friend
  • all kids in bed
  • my dinner is ready for me to eat
  • hopefully no work tomorrow (really, what teacher is going to have a day off at this time of the year?)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

how to make a smoke bomb

I think the smoke might be a little toxic, but it looks like fun.

feeling happy

Well, thankful actually, which is better. Tonight we had a gingerbread house evening at church with an excellent talk on the prodigal son. Lots of visitors came (40% of the room?) and many of them ticked the best box on the feedback card - including my two friends.

no idol tomorrow night

What should I do?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

spy life is coming!

I love the bellgothic fonts

body pump 68

I've done the new release a couple of times now. Warm up and squats are pretty standard, the chest track is good - doesn't feel as long as some others. I expected the back track to be harder with clean and presses not broken up with rows, but it's actually pretty easy - as far as back tracks go. The 4 clean and presses are all over in 12 seconds (I watch the clock!) and there are only 3 or maybe 4 sets of them. The triceps is different to normal, with no bar work. I'm not sure what I think of it. It's hard to make it hurt because at our gym the heaviest weights you can hold in one hand are 2.5kg. Song is cool. Biceps are pretty standard, though there are no full singles - all the fast ones are bottom halves. Lunges is fun. Right leg with bar, right leg without bar, left leg with bar, left leg without bar, then front squats - where you balance the bar on the front of your shoulders (tricky to do if you're using a decent amount of weight) and squat. The position of the bar makes it pretty intense (but fun!) I can't do the cross hand grip thing, but I don't think it matters. I just hold the bar like I'm going to do a shoulder press. Shoulders, abs, and warm down pretty standard.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Banana Bat #3 - Return of the Banana-i

by Joel R. Age 7.

[this is part 3 of a continuing saga]

Once upon a time people had taken over the banana system. But one day a banana became a banana-i (a banana jedi) and fought the people.

The banana-i drew his freezing light-saber and whacked the human's burning light-sabers.

Fj fj fj fj fj fj fj went the light sabers.

Then the banana-i whacked the human's waist. His body fell off his legs. The banana had won, but not completely. There were ten or so more people to deal with.

F-ching, b-ju, f-ching, b-ju, f-ching, b-ju! Out went the other people with a f-ching!

The banana had won. He went to the banana system and partied.

Watch out for Banana Bats 4 - The people strike back! The people have invented storm troopers, a type of robot built especially for war, dooming the banana-is....

happiness and gratitude

I was chatting with friends today about happiness. Our discussion reminded me of this, which is worth a read.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

If you run out of flour...

I was making some biscuits this afternoon. Couldn't be bothered cutting my 500g block of butter into 2 or 4, so melted the lot and figured I'd just bake up big.

After I had added brown sugar, a bit of peanut butter and some eggs, I realised that I only had about one and a half cups of flour. Around a quarter of what I needed. Hmm. What to do... Cornflakes and rolled oats?

It worked.

(Kind of.)

Australian Idol - Wes wins

Would you believe I fell asleep in the ad break before they announced the winner? Woke up at the start of NCIS. Had to look at the website to see who won.

I've enjoyed this series. May even buy a cd.

Now I'll have to find something else to blog on.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Just for the record...

... I'd like to say that committees are a bad way of getting things done. Issues take on a life of their own, divorced from the people whose lives they affect. Politics take over and bad decisions are made.

But what's the alternative?

Friday, November 21, 2008

jesus cleanses the temple

Our little one is not so little any more. He'll be 5 next month. He draws funny pictures. This is Jesus in the temple going 'whip whip!'. Jesus is on the left and the 'baddy' is on the right.

have you voted yet?


We're reading Esther as a family at the moment. A good story for the kids - they are enjoying it. I wish it didn't use the word 'virgin' quite so often.

It was interesting to read about King Xerxes in chapter one. The kids had a very low opinion of him. He was a bragger (we're memorising 1 Cor 13 just now so the kids know that bragging is not good), treated his wife as a possession, and thought everyone should stop what they were doing to bow to his most unreasonable commands. I, however, having had a good dose of MD lately, found myself feeling for Xerxes. His wife did show him disrespect by not obeying him in public, I mused... It took the kid's most definite support for Xerxes' wife to make me see that my response was wrong. The text sees Xerxes' 'leadership' as pathetic bullying.

spy life, dyslexia, sherbet, bran loaf and firefly

Have not been posting much later. My mind has been fairly occupied with:

  • Putting the final touches on my kid's club - which I did most of the work on back in July. Kids club starts in 3 weeks and 2 days. Put the first advertising out yesterday and have quite a bit of interest already.
  • Reading about dyslexia. Trying to separate good quality research from pop-psychology and work out how to best help our boy #2. Trouble is, many experts want to blame parents for not reading enough with their kids in the pre-school years and not helping them with their homework once they are at school. Hurts a bit to read such stuff. In our case at least, it's completely untrue. Even now, I would spend half an hour most days reading to Joel and over an hour on homework. I'm currently reading this much more encouraging book. The dyslexia symptoms fit Joel perfectly - but isn't that the key to self-help books? Suck the reader in by sympathetically describing all their symptoms and then offer the magic solution. Anyone have any knowledge about this kind of stuff? Joel is a very bright boy in many ways, but reading is a struggle and his spelling is worse than bad.
  • Working a bit. Today I had year 4's. The teacher left instructions for me to make sherbet with them at 9am this morning. Each kid was meant to make a bagful (containing 20 tsps of icing sugar). I managed to get them to do one between two and not eat it till second break, but even so... Was it some kind of joke the regular teacher was playing on me? Who would feed kids 20 teaspoons of sugar for morning tea and then expect them to function well for the rest of the day?
  • I've also been baking. Trying to find joy in domesticity. Realised that there is no joy for me in following recipies. So I make it up. This week I've made a cornflake slice, a peanut butter, cornflake and apricot slice (was going to be biscuits but I couldn't be bothered), and Bran Loaf. Bran loaf is the healthiest. Here's how I made it. Mix together 1 cup of mixed fruit (sultanas, chopped apricots, whatever you've got), 1 cup of unproccessed bran, half a cup of sugar and 1 cup of milk. Soak for a few hours. Mix in 1 cup of SR flour, put it in a tin and bake it till you think it's ready (40 minutes?)
  • Watching Firefly and wondering if it really is morally wrong to go around the universe stealing things and shooting people. Malcolm Reynolds makes it look so appealing!

Monday, November 17, 2008

big storm in brisbane

Our brother and sister-in-law had a big tree squash their house yesterday afternoon. Praise God they are all safe.

Two work calls this morning. I think many people have cleaning up to do.

Idol Review

What can I say? Wes is great and can sing anything. Mark is pretty good and will go far. Luke needs to go - but could probably sell cds despite his less than perfect voice.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

bring on the end of the school year.

Had to go into school this morning to talk to a teacher about an unpleasant classroom issue which was a very big deal to one of our boys. I can normally hold myself okay in conflict situations. Not so those involving our kids. Was no fun, but had a good outcome, praise God.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

worth a listen

I've had many exegetical issues with MD's current sermon series, but this talk is great. Okay use of bible and excellent pastoral stuff.

Monday, November 10, 2008

read better, preach better

Great! A new blog to read! Stimulating ideas from thoughtful people.

Looking forward to following Bruce's ideas on faith. The arguments about how to read pistis Christou have always interested me (is it faith IN Christ or the faith OF Christ?) Anyone else care? (I think you all should.)

alas for teale

my heart bleeds.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Idol Review

Things are wrapping up. Top two are pretty clear:

Wes - Reliable. Always good. Tonight he was fantastic. He warmed into his first song well and What a Wonderful World was lovely.

Mark - Tonight, as good as Wes and possibly more interesting. To see a man with scars all over his head singing 'Everybody Hurts' feels real.

Luke - His voice has character but he still doesn't do it for me (though I like him much more without the goatee). Tuning for the first song was well off, but they could fix that up in the studio.

Teale - Surely he'll go this week! He just doesn't cut through - either vocally or personally. A friend we had lunch with today likes him because he looks like David Beckham.

What do you think?

disappointing holiday reads

Just back from holidays. Beach, friends, family - all great. Books - not so good. Mostly my own fault for not preparing well enough.

In my experience, accidental kisses don't happen all that often. There is usually a degree of intentionality on the part of at least one of the participants. But imagine this situation... You're getting on with life when suddenly a friend, acquaintance, or even a complete stranger falls in your path and what do you know... [xxx] A rare occurrence, I would think.

Not so in my holiday books. Three out of four heroines experienced the 'accidental' kiss. By the third, it was getting old.

Holiday Read #1 - Alexander McCall Smith - The Comfort Of Saturdays
My mum gave this to me for my birthday. I've enjoyed the rest of the series but this one took a nose dive. The Isobel-Jamie relationship is really starting to sound very much like the relationships in the other (trashier) books I read this week. Jamie is far too perfect. Talented, good looking, thoughtful, attentive father who can't get enough of his son, giver of perfect gifts... Charlie the baby is unbelievably 'good'. Never gets in the way. Never stops anyone doing anything they want to. Isobel's inner whine is very similar to those of her paperback sisters. 'I love him so much. Does he really love me?' I found it quite tedious. It had a few moments that I enjoyed - like the Dove saga which continued from the last book. But perhaps AMcS needs a new heroine. Anyone else read it?

Holiday Read #2 - Harlequin - The Marriage Solution
(I read this out of desperation. In our holiday unit it was a choice between romances and westerns. Perhaps I chose badly.) Think Mills and Boon, turn it down a couple of notches and you have this book. Very poor. Pure, thoughtful Katie marries sexy, rich Carlton in order to clear her father's debts. But accidently falls in love with him along the way. Oh no! How can she hide from him the fact that she loves him when he only wants her physically?

Holiday Read #3 - The Wedding Arbor - A heartwarming, inspirational CHRISTIAN romance
Not sure how this one found its way onto the holiday unit bookshelf, but surely a safer choice... Um no. Just need to get a couple of things off my chest at this point.
Miss Sara (heroine), I don't think that lapsed Xn Adam is your divinely appointed guardian, even if he is strong and sympathetic. And I don't think it's God that's leading you to stay in his one room log cabin for a fortnight. Sorry if this shatters your 'faith'.

Holiday Read #4 - Charmed - A Tale Of Two Pipers
About 30% as good as the tv show.

So the books were disappointing. But our dvds were a good choice: Firefly. Brilliant

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Amos kids talks

A new family walked into church today just before I got up to do a fire and brimstone kids talk on Amos 3-5. I admit that I considered changing it on the spot. I've been giving a set of talks accompanying our sermon series on the book of Amos. Here's how it's looked so far:

Week 1 - Adults did Amos 1:1-2
I did a talk on King Solomon's bad choice (worshipping idols) and the consequences that it would bring - the split of the kingdom. My visual was a map of Israel which I cut with a stanley knife so the kids could see how the northern/southern thing worked.

Week 2 - Adults looked at Amos 1-2
I talked about bad king Jeroboam 1 and the decision he had to make about whether to worship God or keep on worshipping idols like Solomon did. He chose poorly. Had a visual of Jeroboam 1's head (with a frown and mean eyebrows) which folded out into 12 or 16 (I've forgotten) similar looking kings to show that all the kings continued like Jeroboam 1 until Jeroboam 2.

Week 3 - Adults did Amos 3-5 - so did we!
I talked about how God had had enough. He had put up with sinful Israel for a long time. By the time of Jeroboam 2, the whole country of Israel had gone bad - injustice etc (which is what happens when you stop worshipping God). God had given many warnings (famine, drought etc) now judgment is inevitable. The lion has roared. Israel should be afraid!

Hm. Where to go from here? The series is going well. The kids are remembering the story from week to week.

On Holidays!

We are off on holidays for a week! While you are slaving at home or at work, consider us, sitting on the beach at Caloundra (Sunshine Coast)! I'll consider you, for a brief moment! See you next week.

Idol Review

Micheal Jackson night. Here are my thoughts.

Teale - Billie Jean
Man! He can turn anything into soft rock. Billie Jean as a ballad. Wow! (I still don't like him.)

Mark - Bad
Verses were bad. Chorus good. At least there was no crotch clutching. (But he has nice shoulders.)

Chrislyn - Thriller
She needed an auto-tune plug-in but it wasn't as bad as it could have been. Stupid song choice.

Luke - The Way You Make Me Feel
Limited vocal ability should be a problem in a singer, but if you chose the right song it doesn't matter. Great song choice.

Wes - Black or White
He is in a different class to the rest of them. And he can dance!

Order (best to worst) - Wes, Luke, Mark, Teale, Chrislyn.

Could we lose two?

guard your heart

Isn't it funny how our personalities determine the particular bend that our sin will take? Ali and Bec have written posts responding to the wrong idea that 'guarding your heart' means mounting a wall of self protection. I had never considered that it could mean such a thing. My sin takes me in another direction all together.

Just in case you tend towards wall building, here is a fantastic C.S. Lewis quote (from the DesiringGod blog):

Of all arguments against love none makes so strong an appeal to my nature as “Careful! This might lead you to suffering.”

To my nature, my temperament, yes. Not to my conscience. When I respond to that appeal I seem to myself to be a thousand miles away from Christ. If I am sure of anything I am sure that His teaching was never meant to confirm my congenital preference for safe investments and limited liabilities.…

There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell. (From The Four Loves, as found in The Inspirational Writings of C.S. Lewis, 278-279.)

Friday, October 31, 2008

interesting or annoying?

Despite my issues with his exegesis, Mark Driscoll has made many valid and insightful pastoral points in his current relationships series. Among his best, MD says:

"The difference between interesting and annoying is time"

speaking about the fact that we are often drawn to our opposite (extroverts marry introverts etc.)

What do you think?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

two bonhoeffer quotes on singing

There are some destroyers of unison singing in the fellowship that must be rigorously eliminated. There is no place in the service of worship where vanity and bad taste can so intrude as in the singing. There is, first, the improvised second part which one hears almost everywhere. It attempts to give the necessary background, the missing fullness to the soaring unison tone, and thus kills both the words and the tone. There is the bass or the alto who must call everybody's attention to his astonishing range and therefore sings every hymn an octave lower. There is the solo voice that goes swaggering, swelling, blaring, and tremulant from a full chest and drowns out everything else to the glory of its own fine organ. There are the less dangerous foes of congregational singing, the "unmusical," who cannot sing, of whom there are far fewer than we are led to believe, and finally, there are often those also who because of some mood will not join in the singing and thus disturb the fellowship.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, from LIFE TOGETHER, translated by John Doberstein, Harper and Row, 1954, p. 60.

"It is not you that sings, it is the Church that is singing, and you, as a member of the Church, may share in its song."

Bonhoeffer, p. 61.

What do you think? Is unison singing superior? Are you guilty of adding a harmony part?

Monday, October 27, 2008

horseriding in rockhampton

birthday dinner and flowers

From my friend Sylvia.

Andrew made this. Char grilled salmon with pumpkin, asparagus and parsley relish. 'Twas very good.


I've been blogging for 6 months! Haven't run out of things to write yet...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Idol Review

I'm over it. Bring on the end of the series. Rolling Stones week. Was mostly okay.

Wes - Jumping Jack Flash
Good as always

Rushani - Wild Horses
Didn't like the breathy tones in her voice. Ear rings, dress and song all cabaret.

Luke - Honky Tonk Woman
A 'moment' would have been nice, but okay. I felt like doing a line dance.

Teale - You Can't Always Get What You Want
More soft rock with a country twang. Better than last week, but still...

Chrislyn - Get Off Of My Cloud
She performs really well, but would she sell cds?

Mark - Angel
First time I've really liked him. I could have gone on listening.

Top two - Wes and Mark. Bottom two - Rushani and Teale.

Song of Songs 5

I've just written and scrapped a post criticising an online sermon I listened to this morning. In many ways it was a good talk. It said lots of useful and insightful things about the ways that wives deny their husbands. Problem was that it linked the ideas to Song of Songs 5.

For the record, I'd just like to state what I think S of S 5 is about. Here's the passage. It's accepted that it's the woman speaking, except for the words in italics, which are the man.

2 I slept but my heart was awake.
Listen! My lover is knocking:
"Open to me, my sister, my darling,
my dove, my flawless one.
My head is drenched with dew,
my hair with the dampness of the night."

3 I have taken off my robe—
must I put it on again?
I have washed my feet—
must I soil them again?

4 My lover thrust his hand through the latch-opening;
my heart began to pound for him.

5 I arose to open for my lover,
and my hands dripped with myrrh,
my fingers with flowing myrrh,
on the handles of the lock.

6 I opened for my lover,
but my lover had left; he was gone.
My heart sank at his departure. [a]
I looked for him but did not find him.
I called him but he did not answer.

7 The watchmen found me
as they made their rounds in the city.
They beat me, they bruised me;
they took away my cloak,
those watchmen of the walls!

8 O daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you—
if you find my lover,
what will you tell him?
Tell him I am faint with love.

To me, this is what is going on. The woman is in bed at night, flitting in and out of sleep waiting for her lover. Her lover arrives at the door and calls for her to let him in. She calls back teasingly that she can't get up because she's already undressed. He tries the lock. She gets up to open the door for him (with perfumed hands - she's been expecting him!), but he has fled for some reason - perhaps because of the watchmen who feature in the following verses. The woman, in desperation (perhaps dreaming) goes out to look for him and is beaten by the watchmen. Overall, I think, the verses picture the desperate intensity of sexual love. It's like a fever. A dangerous thing.

Do you have any thoughts?

Friday, October 24, 2008

my new commentary

Today is my birthday! Andrew got me this lovely book* that I've been wanting for a while. Can't wait to read it.

* husbands. I wouldn't recommend that you buy such a book for your wife unless she has expressed a definite interest.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

student ministers

Off to a meeting tonight. A question to help me think through a few things beforehand...

What are the things a student minister should learn specifically from his church placement during his years at theological college?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

just so you know...

... It takes 2-3 washes to remove 30+ sunscreen from your hair. Apply carefully.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Teale lives on.

Who is voting for this guy?

desire resisted

desire resisted
over time
into a quieter longing
better directed

come lord jesus.

sar 2008

my beautiful picture

Joel made this for me for my birthday this week. I feel very loved.

Our dog is sitting on top of the second letter 'm'.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Idol Review

AI was on earlier tonight so I got to introduce the kids to all the wonders... Well, kind of. They've known about AI for many years and have watched it on the internet. It's 'mummy's show' and the reason why we all must chip in with the weekly house clean on Sunday afternoon/evening. Impossible to watch Idol when the house is dirty! Here's what we thought:

Pretty poor again. The first four should have been kicked off weeks ago.

Mark felt a bit flat - don't know why the judges were so positive. If Sophie can't make a 'moment' in that context, I don't think she'll be able to anywhere else. The limitations of Luke's voice are really becoming apparent. Weak. Teale is embarrassing. No more soft rock!

It was a relief when Chrislyn stepped on. She can sing and did.

Wes was by far and away the best. He sang 'If I were a carpenter'. Nice.

Roshani should have been great but it she wasn't. Off key and boring.

Top two - Wes and Chrislyn. Bottom two - Everyone else (Luke and Teale). Teale needs to go this week. Agree?

Joy is...

... getting paid $56 per hour to read The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe to a class of fascinated 9 year olds.


Vanilla slice has its own blog. If you're a fan, go and find out where the best slice is to be found!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Before The Music Dies

Want to know how to create a pop star? Watch this. Got to love auto tune.

Want more? Look here.

In a male teacher's classroom...

... it is very difficult to find a biro. Or a pencil. Or a timetable. Or a clean and flat piece of paper.

I have replaced 3 male teachers this last week. I'm sure they were all good teachers. The piles of stuff in each classroom showed that the kids had been doing some interesting things. But... female teachers (especially in primary schools) take pride in their beautifully decorated and ordered classrooms. Male teachers, it seems, don't. In one classroom the year 3/4 kids had exercise books they called their 'everything books'. They were for spelling, maths, art, science, whatever. The female teacher next door (who I've also replaced) would be horrified!

It takes all sorts!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

MD on Song of Songs

I've been listening to MD's Song of Songs series, The Peasant Princess. Of course he has lots of good and interesting things to say, but I think he's cheated a bit.

If you see the Song as a manual for sexual ethics and practice, the main issue you need to address is that of whether the couple were actually married. The passages which speak about her brothers suggest to me that they weren't. eg...

Chapter 8

1 If only you were to me like a brother,
who was nursed at my mother's breasts!
Then, if I found you outside,
I would kiss you,
and no one would despise me.

2 I would lead you
and bring you to my mother's house—
she who has taught me.
I would give you spiced wine to drink,
the nectar of my pomegranates.

3 His left arm is under my head
and his right arm embraces me.


8 We have a young sister,
and her breasts are not yet grown.
What shall we do for our sister
for the day she is spoken for?

9 If she is a wall,
we will build towers of silver on her.
If she is a door,
we will enclose her with panels of cedar.

10 I am a wall
and my breasts are like towers.
Thus I have become in his eyes
like one bringing contentment.

MD says they were married and gets around the fact that the ceremony doesn't happen til mid way through by saying that it's not chronological. My concern is that they really don't sound married while they do sound like they are enjoying eachother! I don't think it's a dream sequence either.

But if you're looking for a picture of happy monogamy, why would you expect it from Solomon?

goal achieved!

Regular readers might recall that I've been trying to lose weight. My original goal was to lose 7.5kg in 7.5 weeks. I lost the first 5kg pretty fast, but the last couple have been slower to shift. But I've now done it! It took me 10.5 weeks. I feel great.

Now the hard part. Not putting it back on again.

Monday, October 13, 2008

think, parents, think!

What hope is there for a boy called Hillary?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Idol Review

Rock night didn't really rock. Here's my summary.

Luke : Are you gonna go my way
Fun, but is it shallow that I want him shorter and leaner? He's trying to do the Shannon Noll thing, he just doesn't sing as well or look as good.

Thanh : Shadow of the day
Lose the piano! What's the point of sitting behind it if you're only playing sustained chords? We know that you can play... either play something impressive or just sing. I'm a little bored.

Sophie : Anna's Song
She's very pretty and knows what she can do well. Still bored...

Teale: Slide
Desperately bored. I wonder if they even bothered plugging in his guitar. I'm sure someone in the band could cover the four chords he's playing. If I could negative vote I would. I'd channel surf if I had a remote handy... This is not good.

Rushani : The Pretender
At last someone looks like they're putting in some effort. Not my cup of tea, but pretty good.

Wes : Desire
I love this guy. He alone makes the whole hour and a half worthwhile. He does U2 without looking try hard. He's got it all. [But what's with the stupid light show?]

Chrislyn : Don't Speak
Start wasn't so good, but it got better. I think this AI experience is going to kill Chrislyn. She is so young and so vulnerable. I think she's put on weight in the last few weeks which is a sign that she's not coping.

Mark : Sex on Fire
Not sure I like the song but he rocks. Impressed with the fire-transpire rhyme.

Overall, not such a great night. Top two: Wes and Mark. Bottom two: Teale and Chrislyn.

What did you think?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Where did I come from

Twas time to get us a 'where did I come from' book. So we went on down to Koorong. I had a title in mind that looked okay on the internet, so I went and found it in the store expecting to just grab it and go. I'm glad I looked inside first. The book (which was supposed to be aimed at 6-9 year old boys) recommended that when our kids ask 'where did I come from' we start by reframing the question.

Here's how the conversation is meant to go:

Boy: Mommy (yes, spelt that way), where did I come from?

Parent: Son, you mean you want to know how you grew inside me?

Boy: Yes, that's it.

Parent: Well you started small. See these pro-life photos here of a very tiny baby? Then you got bigger and bigger. See these pro-life photos? That's how it happened.

Boy: God sure made me special. Babies are special right from the very beginning. I'm so glad to be in your family, mom. And in God's family too!

Parent: Son, you're a credit to us. Come and ask any time you want to see more photos of babies before they are born.

End of conversation.

Now, of course I have nothing against teaching our kids to value life right from the very beginning. And I hope we've always done that. But I think that this book was kind of missing the point. Don't you think?

This is the book we ended up with. It just says things as they are.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Driscoll and church planting funding

Look, I love Mark Driscoll as much as the next person (and have probably listened to more MD sermons than most) but I think some of his advice is contradictory.

Craig (here) talks about how Driscoll is against giving hand outs to church planters. They should support themselves until they have a congregation who will pay them. Fair enough. But he also says:
  • Church planters must prove themselves in their own homes first, by getting married and having kids
  • Husbands should not send their wives out to work to feed the family. He said that in the early days of Mars Hill he did wrong by his wife in this.
  • Husbands should be present in family life

Not sure how these all fit together. Perhaps church planters are a special breed of men who are able to work two full time jobs and still be good fathers and husbands.

I think I'd be more in favour of some kind of sliding scale outside funding. 100% year 1, 50% year 2, 10% year 3.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A theological question

Help me out.

Can you spot any problems with this verse?

The lion roars! Oh nations will you heed the warning
Before in judgement stubborn hearts are torn?
For every knee will bow and every tongue will worship
Flee to his side find shelter from the storm.

[from the lion roars (posted below)]

How about line 3? I'm thinking Philippians 2 "...every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord." But can we say that everyone will worship Jesus? I think the line is okay* - since on that last day everyone will have to bow (some under compulsion). Is worship something that one can be forced to do?

I'd make it easier and just change the line to 'confess him', but 'confess' is an ugly word and 'worship' is beautiful...

What do you think? Appreciate ideas. Hoping to debut this song soon. It's already got a tune.

* well I wrote it!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Madam's gone


Oh well.

The Lion Roars

We're about to start a sermon series on Amos. This lyric was inspired by Amos 3:8. The book of Amos is pretty bleak - 99% judgement. Hope only comes in the last 2 verses. Alas, no-one would sing a song like that (except maybe Gordon) so I ventured away from Amos for 3 of the verses.

What do you think?

The Lion Roars

The lion roars and light dispels the reign of darkness
From chaos order's issued by his plan
A world is born, she cries in joy, her Lord adoring
The stars, the earth, all creatures, every man.

The lion roars! Creator enters his creation
The oceans bow, the rocks, the rivers sing
The Lord of all is here, he shares our pain and burdens
But guilty hearts mock, crucify their king.

The lion roars! The cords of death too weak to hold him
Ascended high he reigns forever more
He calls his people draws us near to him in mercy
Our future certain, our forgiveness sure.

The lion roars! Oh nations will you heed the warning
Before in judgement stubborn hearts are torn?
For every knee will bow and every tongue will worship
Flee to his side find shelter from the storm.

SAR 2008

Idol replay

Hey look! You can watch all the songs from last night here. Save time - watch them all in 16 minutes.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Idol Review

ABBA night. Much more interesting than last week.

Chrislyn - Mamma Mia
The least convincing I've heard her so far. Didn't seem like so much fun. Her voice was too yelley. Not nice to listen to. C+

Sophie - Gimme Gimme Gimme
First time I've really liked her. Good arrangement. B+

Thanh - The winner takes it all
I've always liked Thanh but tonight he was fantastic. Would have liked to see him out from behind the piano - by the end he wasn't really playing - but it was near perfect. A+

Roshani - Money Money Money
Very cabaret. She sings so well but still I don't care. B+ (Would have been an A if it had done anything for me.)

Wes - Fernando
Wierd chords. I'd like to hear it again. I could listen to this guy all day. A

Mark - Waterloo
He looks like one of the personal trainers at my gym. Nice tones in his voice but I'd rather see him pump weights than ever sing that again. C

Madam - Dancing Queen
Perhaps its the style but she seems to sit just below the note. A few nice moments but I wasn't convinced. B-

Teale - Thank you for the Music
I wasn't thankful. But if I appreciated a country twang I might be. B

Luke - Knowing Me, Knowing You
Dark! Bit karaoke still. C+

Best performances - Thanh and Wes. Bottom three - Mark, Luke and Chrislyn.

What did you think?

Why I love NOT having daylight savings

Many of you southerners think that we Queenslanders are behind the times because we do not put our clocks an hour forward in the summer months.

For the record, let me say that I love NOT having daylight savings time. Here's why.

  • I love that it's easy to get out of bed in summer. I wake up naturally at 5.15 and have time to do some jobs and hang the washing before I go to the gym at 6am. In winter I need to set my alarm, drag myself out of bed and drive in the dark.
  • I don't like putting the kids to bed while it's still light.
  • DLS time actually makes people stay at work for longer. You don't feel it's as late as it is so you keep on working. This is why governments instituted it in the first place (so I've heard).
  • Queensland is a big state. Up north it is hot. Really hot. People escaping to their air conditioned offices do not want an extra hour of sunlight and extreme heat after work in the afternoon. Much better to finish work at the equivalent of 5pm than 4pm. North Queenslanders look forward to it getting dark. DLS will never be good for them.
BTW. Some people say that Qlders are just worried about their curtains fading. This is not my concern. I have blinds.

Anyone else passionate?

UPDATE: Just re-read this. I sound a bit red-neck. I'm not, really. I'm not anti-south either. I loved living in Sydney. Brisbane is better, though!

silent valentine

Let me say from the start that there is very little original work about this poem. I copied the secret valentine idea and it's just a standard iambic abab 12 liner. But it was quick and fun to write. Sorry that it's not February. If I was more patient I'd hold it till then.

Silent Valentine

This year I send you for a valentine
no words of love, written, uttered, purred
for in case I ever change my mind
this silver silent service is preferred.
I leave no clues or evidence behind
no telltale fingerprints on glasses blurred
and yet I'll wrap your heart up in a bind
with sentiments unspoken, words unheard.
A blind man will still feel the warm sun shine
The deaf will sense the flutter of a bird,
I send to you this silent valentine
that speaks a volume though it says no word.

sar 2008

Thursday, October 2, 2008

i hate shopping

How is it that in an entire shopping center I could not find one article of clothing that I wanted to buy? Am I just bad at looking?

Is it just me...

Or does anyone else find this funny?

(in case you can't read it - Author is Michael Bird)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Idol Review

Not an inspiring night, over all. Pretty boring actually. So boring that my sister wanted to flick over to 'Dancing with the stars'. Having a celebrity judge isn't great. The celebrity is so keen to suck up to their potential audience (ie. us) that they don't want to say anything negative about anyone in case they're our favourite.

Thanh sang You're The Voice. Farnsey is rarely a good choice. It didn't take off. B.

Chrislyn sang Chains. My sister thinks Chrislyn would be a superstar if she had a gastric band. (I, of course, wouldn't think anything so shallow...) My sister started working out how many kilos Chrislyn could lose before the end of the series is she did the procedure tomorrow. A.

Tom has got to go. He sang Light Surrounding You which, at it's best, is a dreadful song (so preachy!), and it definitely wasn't at it's best. D+.

Marcia may have found Teale sexy, but I didn't. B-.

Rushani sang Heading in the right direction. It was really good, as always, but I find that I don't care. A-

Wes is always convincing. He sang Friday On My Mind and it was great. A. (My sister says A+.)

Luke will lose his voice soon and go back to sheep shearing. And we'll get over it. B-.

Sophie sang Don't Hold Back. Yeah, it was probably better, but I'm still not sold. C+.

Mark sang Age of Reason and again, I didn't care. B-.

Madam has to learn how to choose songs. Hook Me Up didn't work. B-.


Lovely to be here. Great to see my sister and her kids. So far we've been horseriding, watersliding, indoor playing, giant pillow jumping, to Yeppoon, church...

Rockhampton really is a nice place. From our deck we have a great view out over the southern hills. Driving down the main street is a delightful experience - a long, wide, straight road heading to the northern mountains, with no cars to speak of... though several crazy pedestrians who think nothing of running out onto the highway.

My sister is like a 3 month old puppy - 2 speeds - on and off. She is go go go go all day. Why just watch Australian Idol when you can clean your teeth (with 2 electric toothbrushes - faster that way), pump weights, cook and do the washing at the same time? Why b/feed one child when you could be feeding two? Makes me feel a little lazy but life is never dull!

Interesting the similarities between us. Mannerisms, confidence, opinions. Though we've made life choices that have taken us down quite different paths, common genetic material counts for quite a lot.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Off to Rockhampton tomorrow!

Tomorrow I'm taking the boys up to Rockhampton to stay with my sister for a few days. She is somewhat hyperactive, she has three small kids, works as a surgeon, goes to the gym, flits between her husband in Hong Kong and our parents on the Gold Coast... She's planned all sorts of things for us to do with her up there. The kids are excited about rock pool swimming and horse riding. I'm hoping to take us all along to our friend's church. Should be fun.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

what's NOT allowed...

... moving into a new room to play because the old room is too messy.


I am the queen of the flyer this week. I've made three different ones so far, and it's only Tuesday.

Just finished this one. It's for a supporter's event for QUT Christians (an AFES group). You should come along. Consider yourself invited.

I love spring!

28 degrees. Life is good.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Australia, what are you thinking?

I actually voted tonight. I usually put in one vote per season. Perhaps I should have put in one more vote.

Alas, when we think of who we could have said good-bye to...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Idol Review

sang Jack and Diane. It was a bit off tune.

Brooke sang Betty Davis Eyes. Very nice voice. Very pretty. She looked like she was trying to have betty davis eyes herself - which isn't quite what the song is about.

Madam was a bit off tonight. Subdued. But she was sick so we'll forgive her.

Mark sang I wanna know what love is. He needed to stand up straighter. But maybe he was going for the constipated look.

Tom was awful. He sang Uptown Girl. It sounded about as good as a year 8 talent quest.

Chrislyn showed her True Colours. Thank goodness there was no Kyle 'touchdown' tonight!

I thought Teale was crazy singing I still haven't found what I'm looking for. It was much much much better than last week (even quite good), but really, why try to compete with Bono?

Sophie also sang much better than last week with Sweet Dreams.

Wes sang Dancing in the Dark but didn't need to impress us with his guitar. He was great.

Rushani was good again but makes it look too easy.

Tahn sang Every Breath You Take like the stalker song that it is. Fantastic and slightly concerning.

I particularly enjoyed Wes and Tahn. My bottom two would be Tom and Luke.

What did you think?

the definition of useless

On Friday I bought a new toaster. Admittedly, I didn't spend a whole lot of money on it. Only $14.95. I didn't intend for it to last forever. Maybe just a year or two.

As far as I can see, the electrics work perfectly. It looks quite nice. Has a white exterior that won't get too hot, nice silver part on top, removal crumb tray. Just one problem. The slots are so narrow that a slice of bread can't fit in. (I'm not talking about home sliced bread either. Shop bought and sliced.)

Completely useless. I'm taking it back.

Friday, September 19, 2008

bonhoeffer and disappointment

Today I have been watching dvds from Moore College's 2006 School of Theology. The topic was the consolation of theology. Great stuff. So far I've listened to lectures on Robert Banks speak about C.S. Lewis and pain, Peter Bolt speak about Kierkegaard and anxiety, and Brian Rosner talk about Bonhoeffer and disappointment.

I'm quite taken with this Bonhoeffer quote:

"Nothing can fill the gap when we are away from those we love, and it would be wrong to try and find anything. We must simply hold out and win through. That sounds very hard at first, but at the same time it is a great consolation, since leaving the gap unfilled preserves the bonds between us. It is nonsense to say that God fills the gap; He does not fill it, but keeps it empty so that our communion with another may be kept alive, even at the cost of pain" Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Thinking about the many emotional 'gaps' God leaves unfilled in our lives. Our want for partner, child, friend.. whatever, are real longings and God in his wisdom doesn't fill them. Perhaps his leaving them empty legitimises them as longings and we should thank him, in spite of the pain we feel.

woo hoo!

school holidays!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Are we closet legalists?

In this very sensible post, Jen B argues that sex is for marriage, not ministry. I raised some similar concerns I have about the sort of things often said at ministry wives events back here.

I think my over-riding concern is that we are much too keen to offer advice to others about family and ministry. What do you think?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

my dog does her poos on concrete

Inspired by our very cute puppy, I have written a kids' story. Some of it anyway.

It would fit into the hairy maclary genre.

I think it has potential.

Any illustrators out there? I can send you the text.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Five Reasons Why I'm Glad To Be A Presbyterian

I need to write this post. Bear with me.

1. There is more chance of hearing the bible preached in a presbyterian church than in any other kind of church in my city.

2. Presbyterianism encourages creativity, quick thinking and precision timing. Really it does. To achieve good things for the gospel at the denominational level, creative solutions and lightning fast reflexes are essential to prevent serious meeting-deterioration. I have been truly amazed at the skills of some in these areas. One very skillful presbyterian bided his time during a lengthy debate and then, with precision timing, jumped in, quoted the code book and won the day! I cheered (on the inside!)

3. Presbyterianism teaches patience. Do I need to say more?

4. Presbyterianism is the only place where an entire committee would sincerely applaud the fact that a potential OT lecturer is proficient in Aramaic as well as Hebrew.

5. The Presbyterians have a seriously good theological college in Brisbane. And they let others in too!

just 2kgs to go

My seven and a half week weight loss challenge finishes next Tuesday. I aimed to lose 7.5kgs in 7.5 weeks. Six and a half weeks down and I've lost 5.5kgs. I feel pretty good - I can now get through a gym class without a drink and my clothes fit again (which is satisfying and convenient).

But I think it will be pretty hard to shift the last 2kgs in just one week. Perhaps I need to change the rules and weigh myself without my joggers on.

Any suggestions to help me succeed? I'm not into supplements or starving myself.

[update: not into amputation either. Thanks anyway Nathan.]

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Australian Idol

I'm a fan. Enjoyed the show tonight. Thought the judges were a little harsh with a couple of performers and not harsh enough with another few.

Here's who I wouldn't mind not seeing again: Teale, Jonny and Sophie. Tom wasn't good either.

What did you think?

I love my kids

One of the things I love most about being a parent is that my kids are like me and our tastes in music and books are similar. We've just spent a very happy hour watching youtube musical songs. We all loved it. "Just one more, mummy... How about You Can't Get a Man With A Gun?" Ummm... Okay!

Our second son is currently working on learning the words to 'One Night in Bangkok'. (This song came out when I was 9. I thought it was just the coolest thing!) They understand the characters and basic plot of chess (everyone is screwed up and uses everyone else for their own purposes) but I'm glad he's too young to be able to catch and understand all the words. 'I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine!'

life's more fun when you can light a fire

I've not been posting much lately. It's not that I don't have things to say - I do. But many things are better left unsaid. So I'm trying not to say them.

Hopefully I'll have something postable soon.

In the mean time, here are some pictures from Joel's 7th birthday.

The cake I managed to construct for us at home!

The cake my friend Sylvia made for Joel's party.

Toasting mashmallows at our 'after dark' party. Life's more fun if you can light a fire. (We also lit up a tennis ball and kicked it around the yard, but the pics weren't great.)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

vark learning style questionairre

Self-obsessed me likes to take tests. This one told me that I'm an aural learner. Unsurprising.

What are you?

(thanks sophg)

ministry wives angst

I went to a ministry wives day on Friday. The speaker had many good things to say and it was helpful. (This post is not a critique of Friday's event.)

I have been to many ministry wives training days. Often, I don't want to go, fearing that I'll just hear the same old stuff again. Many of my friends come away feeling intimidated or depressed at how badly they're doing.

Just in case anyone who looks at this blog are asked to speak at such an event, here are a few points to remember:

1. We're easy targets.
Many of us have very tender consciences and you are speaking to us at the points at which we're most vulnerable - our marriages and our christian service. It really matters to us that we serve our husbands and God's people well - that's why we're in the positions we're in! So be gentle in rebuking us. It really hurts!

2. Our husband's ministries are very different.
There are different challenges in being the wife of a senior minister, an assistant minister, a campus worker, a college lecturer, and a missionary. Don't assume that everyone faces the same challenges as a pastor's wife. In some ways, it is easiest to be a church wife. Many of the others have undefined and invisible roles and the tricky job of supporting their husbands from afar.

3. Our families are very different
What one husband needs from his wife can be quite different from what another needs. Some families are higher maintenance than others. Some wives do it tougher than others.

4. The bedroom is only a very rough barometer of the health of the relationship.
Dissatisfaction in this sector does not necessarily indicate that there is trouble in other areas of the marriage. (Really, who feels like it 3 hours after giving birth?) If you tell us it does, some of us will feel needlessly guilty.

5. A well known church planter from Seattle has observed that minister's wives commit adultery even more often than ministers do. We need to be talking about this.

6. Even if we fail in everything, God still loves us and tomorrow is a new day of grace. Tell us over and over again about God's forgiveness. We so easily forget!

A word for the catastrophizer in me

'There is always something bigger than the heartache of the moment.'

Timothy S. Lane and Paul David Tripp. How People Change, p.126.

Monday, September 8, 2008

gastric bands and persuasion

My sister has just done a course in gastric banding (she's a surgeon). On the weekend I read a book that she's to give to people who might be considering surgical procedures to aid their weight loss. The book was well written, scientific, sympathetic and depressing. It was very down on 'lifestyle' weight loss strategies (diet and exercise) because they just don't work long term (apparently). It then went through the pros and cons of all the surgical options, concluding that the lap-band is by far and away the best option.

The book was persuasive. So, persuasive, in fact, that after reading it for an hour I felt that a gastric band was the only way forward for me. Sure, I might lose these couple of kilograms, but sometime in the next few years I'll probably put them back on again. Pointless, pointless, pointless. Willpower can only last so long and chocolate slice tastes so good...

Then I woke up. WHAT?!? I'm well within my healthy weight range! Why would I even think about bariatric surgery?

A bit concerning, really. That a sympathetically written medical book could convince me that I need potentially life-threatening surgery to deal with a problem that I don't have.