Tuesday, December 29, 2009

1&2 Kings rolling along

I had a couple of weeks off, but am back into it now.

I've pretty much finished writing the workbooks (easy peasy with my new font!) - 3 levels - pre-reader, early reader, reader.

I've written a song - Jesus, ten out of ten!

I still need to make a map - like this one, but just Israel.

Still need to script all the lessons (sounds huge, but I know where they are headed)

Still need to work on set and visuals - but I have helpers for this.

Still need a set of royal jokes for our court jester to amuse the kids with.  Can anyone help with this?

All good.  And we don't start teaching till the end of January!

I CAN do this...

I can write a whole Sunday school unit on 1&2 Kings without getting the kids to make a single crown.  Yes, I can do it.  I really can.

at the moment...

watching - buffy season 1

readingFree of Charge : Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace (Miroslav Volf)

working on - Sunday School material on 1&2 Kings

writing - a handful of songs that all sound the same

exercising - in the pool and weights room

wishing - life was always this relaxed

looking forward to - new year, teaching kids about bad king Manasseh and good king Jesus, my foot being better so I can run and jump again.


You?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

I've been watching Doctor Who christmas specials

We will never spend christmas eve in London.

We go through a lot of masking tape

Here's why.

Anyone else use up whole rolls of masking tape making dinosaur sculptures?  It is hatching out of an egg.  You can't quite see the legs and tail but they are there.




the perfect choc chip cookies


After a couple of months of trial and error and armed with my new digital kitchen scales, I have made the recipe for the perfect choc chip cookies.

I started with the 1:2:3 (sugar:fat:flour) ratio found in this book.  This ratio makes a shortbread-like cookie.  I prefer my cookies less like shortbread, softer and... just different, so I fiddled with the ratio.  I think my adjusted ratio makes a better cookie than the best recipe I've found before.

Here's what I did.

I started with 1:2:3 - 250g:500g:750g ratio, then upped the sugar, lessened the flour and added an egg white.

So, cream together 300g sugar and 500g butter.  Throw in a teaspoon of vanilla essence and an egg white and keep beating.  Fold in 650g flour and a big packet of choc chips (375g).  Roll into balls, flatten onto lined tray, bake for 10ish minutes at 180C.  Easy.  Yum.

the main game

I was over at a friend's place last week.  The kids played and I watched my friend spend over 3 hours in the kitchen baking and preparing food for visitors coming the next day.

I was amazed at her serenity and contentedness.  How can somebody be calm and happy when cooking is taking up so much of their time?  (I'd just go down to woolworths, buy a couple of bbq chickens and then do something else.)  Does my friend cook happily because she is more godly than me?  Because she loves her family more than I love mine?

By the time I left I was thinking to myself, "She must feel so frustrated.  She's worked hard all day and has got nothing done!"

Then I caught myself.  Nothing?!?  Actually, she has made a magificent birthday cake, a pavlova and numerous other things.  Why doesn't that count in my mind?

Then I came up with my theory.

The main-game theory.

The main game is an activity that gives a day purpose.  The main game will differ from individual to individual and may change over time.  A person may have several main games, but engagement in a main game is necessary for an individual to feel that she has accomplished something.    

My friend was happy because for her cooking was the main game.  The day had purpose and meaning.  She had achieved the main game.

Cooking is not the main game for me.  I could make six fantastic birthday cakes (actually, I couldn't) and I still wouldn't feel that the day was redeemed.  My main game is something else.

What is the main game for you?  What do you rush through in order to engage in it?

Friday, December 25, 2009

some stuff we got for christmas

  • a wii
  • buffy season 1
  • new kitchen scales
  • wii remote
  • pizza stone
  • lots of lego
  • blokus 3d game
  • bath sheet
  • nice little dip dishes
  • biscuits
  • chocolates (x3)
  • lollies (x2)
  • paints, easel, canvases
  • doctor who dvd
  • money that I'll buy some books with
  • 39 clues books
  • cap gun

some things I hate about christmas night tv

  • elves
  • reindeer
  • santas
  • children
  • ice
  • stupid stupid sentimental songs that play during the closing credits.
Can we move on now?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

happy christmas!

Here, have a free song!

[People who have been reading for a while might remember it first appearing here.]

Thanks for keeping me company this year. 2009 has been emotionally fairly full for us. Your bloglove has been comforting and energizing. See you, well... tomorrow probably.

s
xo

Just had my best game of tennis ever...

... on our brand new Wii.

Waiting for kids to go to sleep, then Andrew and I will play again.

Happy Christmas everyone.

Imagine no religion

Michael Jensen has written a great article for ABC unleashed.

I'm sure you've all read it.

The comments are horrible. Does that means it has cut through in some way?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Heavens Sing

The heavens sing of Christ
their praise resounds on earth below,
O heart arise, the tune of grace
is life unto my soul!

Lift up your voice
and join the angel's song
Oh heart, sing out!
The tune of grace revives my soul

When I was lost and far away
a tune came to my ears
a melody that turned my heart
and stilled my raging fears.

This grace it lifts me from despair
it's comfort when I weep,
and when I lie encased in death
it wakes me from my sleep.

So may I with the angels sing
of Christ, proclaim his word,
Until the tune of grace is heard
and sung in all the world.

sar 2009

Marital Rating Scale - for wives


from here.

I think I fail.

Marital Rating Scale - for husbands


from here.

I need more theology...

... if I'm going to come up with anything even remotely fresh.

As I've noted before, for congregational songwriting you need to think theologically not exegetically. Think exegesis and you'll come up with either a scripture in song ditty or a more significant song that a church might want to use once a decade. Neither are commercially viable.

But my doctrine tank is running low. Can anyone recommend something for me to read or listen to?

satisfaction is...

... waking up to find 2nd stage demos of a couple of very hopeful songs in my inbox.

We are getting there.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

entertain me, dammit!

It's christmas and blogdom is closing down for the holidays.

No one is posting much anymore.

No one is commenting.

I'm bored.

Leaving and being left

Our best friends left our church last weekend to pursue paid ministry elsewhere. Their move away from us was inevitable, but still horribly sad. M and I have done just about everything together for the last decade.

I wrote this poem when I was in an angry stage. Of course it adds unnecessary drama to a relatively insignificant farewell, but where's the fun in keeping things in perspective?

Leaving

It's easier to leave than to be left,
Only one can get to do the leaving.
It's better to bereave than be bereft,
One departs, the other's joy bereaving.
But can you see me sink into despair?
Am I one to wallow, fears believing?
If pages have a perforation, tear!
And if unsure, then rip and test their cleaving,
Try it out! There is no use in heaving
pointless days to pointless weeks and grieving
empty years still left to pass and weaving
hope from air with futile movements deft.

It's better to bereave than be bereft,
So while you talk of leaving, I've already left.

sar 2009

Introverts in the church


We just ordered this. Looking forward to reading it. Some of my best friends are introverts...

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Few Short Years

This is the age of waiting,
This is the age of pain,
Of empty arms and weary hearts
and longing for Christ's reign.
Another age is coming
“Come Christ our Lord,” we pray
Just a few more years
A few short years away.

The fight will soon be over
Our troubles soon will cease
Christ will come, make all things new
And we will live in peace.
But now we stand in battle,
Until that better day,
Just a few more years,
A few short years away.

Hold on, he is coming
Christ our saviour.
Hold on, he is coming.
Jesus come!

Christ our Lord has risen
Glorious, radiant son!
guilt atoned and wrath appeased
The fight with death is won.
For Christ has sin defeated,
We'll see its final day,
Just a few more years,
A few short years away.

sar 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Well, colour me fundy...

... but child #2 spent his time in church this morning drawing pictures of an evil looking Santa and writing:

S - S
A - A
N - T
T - A
A - N

He's been on my blog watching silly youtube clips I posted.

I got all angsty and whispered to him 'Don't draw that! People will think you're crazy if you go around saying Santa is Satan!"

He smiled at me, got a new piece of paper and drew Santa with horns.

Who can I blame for this?

Periodicity

WARNING: Men may find this a little confronting. Read at own risk.
(I think it's worth reading even if you do find it confronting.)


Periodicity

My friend declares
Being woman and virgin she
Takes small account of periodicity

And she is right.
Her days are calmly spent
For her sex-function is irrelevant.

But I whose life
Is monthly broke in twain
Must seek some sort of meaning in my pain.

Women, I say,
Are beautiful in change,
Remote, immortal, like the moon they range.

Or call my pain
A skirmish of the whole
Tremendous conflict between body and soul.

Meaning must lie,
Some beauty surely dwell
In the fierce depths and uttermost pits of hell.

Yet still I seek,
Month after month in vain,
Meaning and beauty in recurrent pain.

Lesbia Harford (1917)

huh?

My recent comments widget seems to have died.

Not sure what to do. I've become a little dependent on it.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

christmas carols tomorrow night


In the park.

My favourites?

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen with a 123 12 123 beat, Cold Play Silent Night (above) and funky While Shepherds Watched.

Praying for dry weather.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

BE AFRAID, BE VERY AFRAID...

Nathan takes this stuff really seriously. He posted this last year for our edification.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

today

I took Joel to the initial consultation with the d-*-y**slex*-ia woman.

I went in reasonably hopeful. My mum (a research psychologist) and I have been reading around the Da*vis method for d*y*sle**xi-*a correction and what we've found in peer-review journals has been mildly favourable of the program.

I came out less hopeful.

This is no quick fix. After the week long one-on-one intensive (30 hours) there are 100-300 hours of follow up we'll need to do at home to see success. And that's just for reading. After that we'll need to tackle Joel's spelling issues and his possible dysgraphia (handwriting) problems. And nothing is guaranteed.

It is as expensive as I feared it would be. Maybe it would work. But maybe most things would work with so many hours of effort.

Mum and I are going to continue our reading. We'll work out what we think is the best way forward and put together our own program and use speechies, OTs etc. when we need them. If this doesn't work, we'll consider paying the money for the Da*-v-*is program.

Thanks for your prayers and concerns.


** stars put in because I'm writing for my regular readers, not google tourists trying to sell me stuff.

It's nearly christmas...

... so where are all the anti-Santa posts that I love to hate?

Come on bloggers! Bring out your capital letters and Santa/Satan paranoia! Do not waste this opportunity!

[For real fundy-fun, click here!]

A special christmas high-five to the commenter who can find the most amusing anti-santa link.



This one might win if it wasn't so drawn out. The Carmina Burana music is a nice touch.

The Magnocellur Hypothesis

This is fascinating.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

dyslexia

Our 8 year old (child #2) is considered to be gifted with a learning disability. Teaching him to read has been incredibly hard. Although he's very bright, he's failing English and all his other school work is suffering because of this.

He has had fantastic teachers this year and as much support in the classroom as he is ever going to get, but he's only getting further behind. I've had enough and have decided to try something different to address his problems.

For those who are interested in this kind of thing, here's a profile of our boy.
  • On the WISC test, he scored - Verbal Comprehension - 98th percentile, Perceptual Reasoning - 90th percentile, Working Memory - 42nd percentile, Processing Speed - 16th percentile, Full Scale - 82nd percentile.
  • He has no behaviour problems at school.
  • He has a huge desire to read. He loves being read to and after I've said no more, he'll take the book away and keep trying himself. But his reading skills aren't up to books at his interest level.
  • He has no problems with comprehension. All of his issues are with decoding.
  • He reads for meaning, often substituting words with similar meaning, showing us that he doesn't read phonetically.
  • He muddles the order of words on the page.
  • He muddles the order of letters within words. This morning he read the word 'yawn' as 'away'. This kind of thing is very common.
  • He can't track across the page with his eyes. He struggles to point to words himself. I need to do it for him.
  • He is getting pretty good at doing comprehension exercises at school without ever reading the text.
Tomorrow he is booked in to see someone who 'corrects' dyslexia through the Davis program. I'm worried that it's an untested method, preying on the desperation of parents like me. Tomorrow is only an initial consultation, but if we go ahead with the whole thing it will be very expensive.

I've been combing the net for scholarly reviews of this method. This one looks interesting and there are another couple, but nothing that makes me feel confident in handing over a significant amount of money. Does anyone out there know anything about any of this?

Monday, December 14, 2009

where the wild things are


Don't take your six year old and his friends to see this movie.

I'm not good at reviewing movies. Perhaps it was amazingly good and I just couldn't tell. It certainly did have some good points... Anyway, here are my thoughts. Take them or leave them.

Because it was based on a little kids' book, I expected it to be made for kids. It wasn't. Not 6 year olds, anyway. They were disturbed or bored by most of it. They were laughing out loud at some of the bits - like the snow ball and dirt fights - but didn't really know what to do when these bits ended badly. At one stage I pulled out my movie tickets to check that it was PG and not M rated.

Overall, it is a movie about the sadness, anger and confusion felt by a boy from a divorced family. His mother is stressed and overworked, his father is absent and his sister is also struggling to cope. Max (the boy) looses it when his mum has another guy over and won't come and see the cubby house he has built. He puts on his wolf suit, yells, bites her and then runs away to where the wild things are. He tells a few fibs and becomes king of the wild things. The wild things are a sad, angry and confused mob who are in the habit of eating their kings when they find out he not capable of solving their problems and making them happy. Max sees in the wild things some of his own dysfunctionality, but he cannot fix their problems. He goes home to his mum who is waiting for him.

The movie offers no magical happy ending for either Max and his family or for the wild things. The only way forward is for everyone to love and be loved and try their best to get on.

The characters were very well drawn. The boy and his mother and sister were painfully believable, and so were the wild things. At points, the drama could have been happening in my lounge room. I think this made it hard for the kids to see. It was obvious they weren't enjoying it.

It felt really long. The kids thought it was the longest movie they had ever seen. It wasn't.

Visually it was good. The animation seemed well done. The scenery was not exactly beautiful, but it matched the story perfectly. I liked how Max's wolf suit was filfthy.

The line of dialogue which stood out as bad was the key line taken from the book: "please don't go, we'll eat you up we love you so." In the book, this line is a favourite. It displays the futile agression of the wild things, and Max's authority over them. He says a firm, no. But in the movie it is almost a romantic croon. Feels wrong.

Overall, I have no idea. It's a thoughtful movie. I found it to be more bearable than most kids movies. Perhaps for the older boys?

Anyone else seen it?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

tomorrow

My little one turns 6 tomorrow. We are giving him Anikin's Y wing fighter lego thing and a nerf gun. The other boys have been wanting these, so I think Micah will be pleased.

I am taking him and two friends on a magical mystery tour. A magical mystery tour is a day out that I have not planned adequately in advance to be able to put details on the invitation. This tour was so lately planned that I didn't even write invitations. But I've firmed up the details now.

At 9am we're going to laserforce and at 11am we're going to the movies to see Where The Wild Things Are. Should be fun. I've packed Micah's favourite foods - cheese rolls, pistachio nuts, salt and vinegar chips and strawberry milk. Hope the other kids are into savoury. There is no birthday cake because Micah doesn't really do sweet. I might stand up a few candles in the bacon and eggs we're having for breakfast.

Friday, December 11, 2009

faucet fail

from here.

five adolescent activities I like to engage in

1. Songwriting
2. Listening to the same song until I own the emotions of it.
3. Imagining that I'm feeling depressed or heartbroken when I'm really just suffering from an over indulgence in #2.
4. Reading Twilight and watching Australian idol
5. Trying on dresses that I have no intention of buying.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Cost Of Discipleship

I'm reading this again. DB is always good for the soul.
"The only man who has the right to say that he is justified by grace alone is the man who has left all to follow Christ. Such a man knows that the call to discipleship is a gift of grace, and that the call is inseparable from the grace. But those who try to use this grace as a dispensation from following Christ as simply deceiving themselves." Deitrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost Of Discipleship. From chapter 1.

The first chapter of this book is a brilliant call to repentance. I wonder if in some of the songs I've written I've been guilty of cheapening God's grace but not linking it closely enough with discipleship. Andrew preached on this on the weekend and spoke of grace being like a university course that you are undeservedly given a place in. While the gift of the place in the course might be given to you for free, it is a very expensive gift. It will cost you hours and hours of study time each week. Like his first disciples, we become christians when we turn from our old lives and follow Jesus. Not just when we pray some magical prayer.

the dos and don't when dealing with the downcast

This is great. Everyone should read it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

new font bought...

... and things are back on track.

I have 2/8 worksheets completely written, and the others will happen fairly quickly from here.

The Cafeteria font family is lovely. Don't you think?

argh!

Until the font issue is sorted, I'm just stuffing around.

how much money is too much money

to spend on the perfect font?

a new project

I'm writing a unit of Sunday School material on 1-2 Kings. Pretty excited about it. I only have eight weeks to teach throught the books, so I can't cover it all. This is how I'm breaking it up.

1. Solomon good
2. Solomon bad
3. Rehoboam and Jeroboam
4. Ahab of Israel
5. Jehoash of Judah
6. Hezekiah of Judah
7. Manasseh of Judah
8. Jehoiachin of Judah

I'm completely leaving out the Elijah/Elisha narratives (I think they deserve their own unit of work) and have chosen 8 representative kings.

The kids' workbooks will be made to look like royal photo albums. Each week they'll have to colour in a cartoon-style drawing of the weeks' king and scrapbook it into their albums with coloured paper, fancy scissors and stickers. They'll also need to rate the king against a Deut 17 / 1 Kings 2 inspired checklist and answer a few questions.

Sound fun? I think so.

Still need to think some more about how to tie it to Jesus each week. The whole series drives quite nicely towards Jesus as the king that we really need... but I'm not sure how I'll express this week to week. I don't want the Jesus bit to be a tacky add on. Perhaps I won't actually go to Jesus each week. Just raise the question of how this king thing can ever work... Ideas?

I'll also have a song and a couple of memory verses.

the fields on the field

Martin is blogging! Have a look and encourage him. He'll have heaps of good stuff to say once he gets into the swing of it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

andrew

To Wii or to PS2

We had decided to get a PS2 for the kids for christmas. Old technology, but so cheap. Andrew and I both like smart new shiny toys, so I've felt a little unsettled about the PS2 decision. Feels like buying a 486 computer.

But today Jean mentioned that she's bought a Wii... If her family has gone the Wii way, maybe it's not a bad direction to move in. And there is the argument (that I've always laughed at) that Wii is a healthy option. But Jean works out to Wii fit. Hm.

I've been unexpectedly called into work today. The money I'll earn would be the difference between a PS2 and Wii. Maybe...

Suggestions?

working today

Which dvds should I take in? Can't imagine there is any work for the kids to do.

Monday, December 7, 2009

as surely as the dawn (version 8,465,326)

As surely as the dawn will come
as certain as the day
there's comfort for the weary
hope for all who stray.
The father holds his arms out wide
and bids the sinner come
find shelter in the storm
as certain as the day
as surely as the dawn.

As surely as the dawn will come
it was for me he died
my hands drove in the nails
my selfishness, my pride.
And though my heart is black with sin
the morning's light breaks through
and hope has been reborn
for mercy comes anew
as surely as the dawn

As surely as the dawn will come
we'll rise to meet new life
redemption's price is paid
God's wrath is satisfied.
Now kindness is the air we breathe
forgiveness, grace will come
new to us each morn
as certain as the day
as surely as the dawn.

sar 2009

Lego dudes are really expensive...


... but they come with a whole lot of free bricks.



[thanks megan.]

Sunday, December 6, 2009

cleaning

Today I cleaned out the big boys' bedroom. It was awful. I think I filled an entire wheelie bin with rubbish.

I realised again how much stuff the kids have that they never even touch. Our project for the school holidays is to play with every toy in their toy cupboard, play every game and do every jigsaw puzzle. On top of that we want to see if Joel, Micah and I can read every picture book on the shelf. Nathan's job is to see how many of his chapter books he can get through. This is no small project and will ensure that I don't neglect the kids. I'll need to play with them, otherwise the toy cupboard that I just cleaned out will be out-of-control messy again.

We don't need any more stuff! Please don't give us anything for christmas!

[Actually, some itunes money would be nice!]

I've been away...

... in Bundaberg for a wedding. Was great. Back to normal blogging very soon.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

advent calender


I made these with a year 7 class on Monday. Fairly simple. 25 little origami pockets stuck on a piece of cardboard and decorated. Teachers - suitable for year 5-7, most kids had finished in 90 minutes.

farewell song

video

I wrote this for school. It's a bit sucky, but does the job. It will be performed tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

wedding anniversary

#14 today.

Well done to us.

We ate gourmet pizza for dinner. I had a delicious rainforest pizza. Andrew had a spicy chicken thing which was so hot it was almost inedible. The kids had ham and pineapple.

Bad time of year for a wedding anniversary. Andrew has three sermons to write and give between now and Sunday morning.

As sure as the morning

As sure as the morning
as certain as the day
there's comfort for the weary
hope for all who stray.
The father holds his arms out
and bids the sinner come
so come to him for mercy
find shelter in his love.

My sin drove the nails
my selfishness, my pride
were thorns upon his crown
the spear within his side.
And though I'm scarred by sin,
corrupted through and through,
the morning's surely coming
with mercy ever new.

As sure as the morning
we'll rise to meet new life,
redemption's price is paid
God's wrath is satisfied.
Now all is grace, each moment
is kindness undeserved
So I will live to thank him,
I'll live to praise my Lord.

sar 2009*

* Kind of 2009. It's a reworking of a song I wrote a couple of years ago that we couldn't make take off. New meter. New title line. New words. Hoping for better things this time.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

how twilight should have ended

struggling

Warren the word overuse watchdog is amazing. It's true that he sees through us like glass.

new internet plan

No more maxing out! No more slow ends of month!

We have lots and lots of internet!

Now I can watch silly youtube clip after silly youtube clip and not worry!

(New plan does limit our phone calls though... Oh well. What are real relationships compared to kelly clarkson videos?)

spam skypers...

...go away!

I do not want your products or your advice.

Monday, November 30, 2009

this week...

...I may not post that much.

I'm working pretty hard on lyric writing. Sometime soon we need to come up with something good. Hoping it will happen this week.

I'm also pretty busy at school. The song I wrote for our school principal is being sung on Friday. There are quite a few rehearsals that I have to squeeze in amongst everything else.

The christmas shopping is not yet started. Oh well.

So you might not hear too much from me. Then again, you might. But don't worry too much about me. I'm doing okay, despite that post last night that I deleted.

ps. The plato-judaisers post, a few down, is worth a bit of thought if you're into that kind of thing. I'll continue the plato heaven stuff when I have a chance.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

last night...






















...I had ten friends over for a creative memories card making party. My friend Tash is a CM consultant. It was lots of fun and the cards look great.

Because I hosted the party, I get a free product. I think I'll get the tearing tool. It's pretty cool - like a bumpy ruler. Your rip your paper along the edge of the ruler and get a natural torn look, but the tear won't get out of control like it could if you did it yourself. Anyone have one?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

judaisers are like...

...the man in the cave looking at the duck on the wall.

Colossians 2:16-17
Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

This is not a nice thing to say. I think the Colossian Christians would have understood this reference to Plato - and the culprits would have felt insulted. But, hey, in Galatians Paul tells the Judaisers to go castrate themselves!

the ideal dude



thanks stuart!

Friday, November 27, 2009

working again

I always expect work to dry up at this end of the year. It generally doesn't.

Today I'm teaching yr 6 at an easy school. Should be fine. Unlike yesterday and Monday.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The things we do to procrastinate!

I found a few lines of something I wrote a while ago and finished it off. This stuff comes so much easier than church songs. What do you think?


With Me

One glance, across a crowded courtyard
You stand, between a hundred heads
Eyes lock, and all else moves to background
I am caught and held and never free again

Chorus:
I stand my heart is ready, waiting
You call 'come shelter here with me'
I fall beneath your branches
faint with hunger, sick and weak with
wanting you
with me.

One tune that's always, always playing
Same chords, a silken thread that binds
All things, they move in counterpoint for
Now what's mine is yours and what is yours is mine.

sar 2009

plato's cave analogy

plato's forms

I couldn't find a bite sized piece of Plato for you, so here is part of Jostein Gaarder's explanation in Sophie's World.

"Let us assume that you have dropped in from outer space and have never seen a baker before. You stumble into a tempting bakery--and there you catch sight of fifty identical gingerbread men on a shelf. I imagine you would wonder how they could be exactly alike. It might well be that one of them has an arm missing, another has lost a bit of its head, and a third has a funny bump on its stomach. But after careful thought, you would nevertheless conclude that all gingerbread men have something in common. Although none of them is perfect, you would suspect that they had a common origin. You would realize that all the cookies were formed in the same mold. And what is more, Sophie, you are now seized by the irresistible desire to see this mold. Because clearly, the mold itself must be utter perfection--and in a sense, more beautiful--in comparison with these crude copies.

... [Plato] was astonished at the way all natural phenomena could be so alike, and he concluded that it had to be because there are a limited number of forms "behind" everything we see around us. Plato called these forms ideas. Behind every horse, pig, or human being, there is the "idea horse," "idea pig," and "idea human being." (In the same way, the bakery we spoke of can have gingerbread men, gingerbread horses, and gingerbread pigs. Because every self-respecting bakery has more than one mold. But one mold is enough for each type of gingerbread cookie.)

Plato came to the conclusion that there must be a reality behind the "material world." He called this reality the world of ideas; it contained the eternal and immutable "patterns" behind the various phenomena we come across in nature. This remarkable view is known as Plato's theory of ideas.

I'm sure you've been following me, Sophie dear. But you may be wondering whether Plato was being serious. Did he really believe that forms like these actually existed in a completely different reality?

He probably didn't believe it literally in the same way for all his life, but in some of his dialogues that is certainly how he means to be understood.

...

All right, Sophie, I'll explain it more clearly: a gingerbread man can be so lopsided after all that baking that it can be quite hard to see what it is meant to be. But having seen dozens of gingerbread men that were more or less successful, I can be pretty sure what the cookie mold was like. I can guess, even though I have never seen it. It might not even be an advantage to see the actual mold with my own eyes because we cannot always trust the evidence of our senses. The faculty of vision can vary from person to person. On the other hand, we can rely on what our reason tells us because that is the same for everyone.

...

When you see a shadow, Sophie, you will assume that there must be something casting the shadow. You see the shadow of an animal. You think it may be a horse, but you are not quite sure. So you turn around and see the horse itself--which of course is infinitely more beautiful and sharper in outline than the blurred "horse-shadow." Plato believed similarly that all natural phenomena are merely shadows of the eternal forms or ideas. But most people are content with a life among shadows. They give no thought to what is casting the shadows. They think shadows are all there are, never realizing even that they are, in fact, shadows. And thus they pay no heed to the immortality of their own soul."

p72-76

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

decent verse

Oh grace! It lifts us from despair,
it's comfort when we weep,
and when we lie encased in death,
it wakes us from our sleep.

sar 2009


All the other verses are bad bad bad. And we're onto our 6th chorus - with each as poor as its predecessor.

frustrating...

....stupid, stupid song!

top 5 things I learned from new moon

1. The more aware an actor is of how hot he is, the less hot he is.
2. Life is unlivable if you are not hanging off some guy.
3. Even the best love story is a bit stale in a sequel.
4. Vampires and werewolves definitely add something to a movie.
5. Less is more when it comes to dialogue.

PS2, PS3 or wii?

Anyone have an opinion?

what is the most real?

This world or the next?

The difference between the old Narnia and the new Narnia was like that. The new one was a deeper country: every rock and flower and blade of grass looked as if it meant more. I can't describe it any better than that: if ever you get there you will know what I mean.

It was the Unicorn who summed up what everyone was feeling. He stamped his right fore-hoof on the ground and neighed, and then he cried:

"I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now. The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this. Bree-hee-hee! Come further up, come further in!"

C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle.

all in Plato

“Kings and Queens,” he cried, “we have all been blind. We are only beginning to see where we are. From up there I have seen it all – Ettinsmur, Beaversdam, the Great River, and Cair Paravel still shining on the edge of the Eastern Sea. Narnia is not dead. This is Narnia.”

“But how can it be?” said Peter. “For Aslan told us older ones that we should never return to Narnia, and here we are.”

“Yes,” said Eustace. “And we saw it all destroyed and the sun put out.”

“And it’s all so different,” said Lucy.

“The Eagle is right,” said the Lord Digory. “Listen, Peter. When Aslan said you could never go back into Narnia, he meant the Narnia you were thinking of. But that was not the real Narnia. That had a beginning and an end. It was only a shadow or a copy of the real Narnia which has always been here and always will be here: just as our own world, England and all, is only a shadow or copy of something in Aslan’s real world. You need not mourn over Narnia, Lucy. All of the old Narnia that mattered, all the dear creatures, have been drawn into the real Narnia through the Door. And of course it is different; as different as a real thing is from a shadow or as waking life is from a dream.” His voice stirred everyone like a trumpet as he spoke these words: but when he added under his breath "It's all in Plato, all in Plato: bless me, what do they teach them in these schools!"


C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle.

For Kutz and Stuart, following this debate. (some bible next time.)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

new moon

Jacob makes Edward look like an anaemic weed. Don't you think?

the one I love

seeing new moon tonight


Scoffers, go away.

I don't want to hear it.

I am going and it will be great.

Monday, November 23, 2009

nothing to say...

... desperately trying to come up with a decent song.

8686. Anyone...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

gym pet-peeve #3 - the backless hoodie

A couple of my gym instructors are into these. Seems a stupid garment. Surely?

stan wins!

That's it for another year.

I think Hayley's song was better than Stan's.

idol final tonight

Don't care who wins. Both Stan and Hayley are good.

Last year I fell asleep just before they announced the winner. I'm feeling fairly stuffed already so might sleep through this year as well.

Who are you going for?

feeling like a failure as a human being.

Won't kill me.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

new look blog

what do you think?

I tried quite a few, but kept on feeling like I was pretending to be someone else. I'll change back if I can't get used to this. Not sure the blue is really me.

beauty and truth

what are they?

nightswimming

Friday, November 20, 2009

bright kids

I taught some clever 11 year olds today.  I gave them the task of working out how many squares were in this square:



then in this square


then in a 4 x 4 square.

Then I asked them to work out the formula.  I gave them a little clue to help them out, and after about 15 minutes, 2 kids got it.  I was impressed.  Could you work it out? 

Thursday, November 19, 2009

disaster cookies

I've had many cooking adventures since getting the ratio book for my birthday.  I've made several batches of biscuits roughly following the 1:2:3 (sugar:fat:flour) ratio.  Most have worked well. 

Last night I thought I'd try a short cut.  I melted the butter and mixed in the (white) sugar instead of creaming them together as I usually do.  I also had some condensed milk which I chucked in as well and white choc chips.

The biscuites weren't a triumph.  The sugar didn't disolve properly and the end results looked like they had been sprinkled with sugar.  Not sure why, but something funny also happened to the butter.  When I pulled them out of the oven, each bikky was frying in a fatty yellow puddle.  When they cooled down they were crunchy on the outside and doughey in the middle.

So not great.  I called them my disaster cookies.  The kids thought this was a little harsh because they still tasted delicious.  Put enough white chocolate into anything and it will be okay.

Next year I'm considering having a regular feature - Simone's cooking adventures.  What do you think?  Perhaps others with the ratio book could try too and we have a bake off!

it's [not] my funeral

Andrew found a new and strange mole on my back last night.  I decided not to panic and didn't panic.  I booked a doctor's appointment.  Very mature.

But it would have been a shame to have let such a thing pass without a little drama.  While lifting weights this morning and marvelling at how well I was feeling (considering that I was dying of skin cancer) I planned my funeral.  I was wondering who would show up.  Would you, blog friend?  (Good to know, for catering purposes...)

It seems, though, that I probably don't have cancer just now. 

Oh well.

safe in our saviour's hands

I just got a tune back for this lyric that I wrote 15 months ago! 

It's good. Too melancholy to be a hit, but lovely to listen to.

to be so loving...

This was buried in the mass of comments a couple of posts down.  Thought I'd dig it out for a closer look.

Nathan said,

I'd love to be showing so much love to my brothers in Christ that stupid people asked whether I was gay or not. People are now starting to question if Jesus was gay. That people would ask the question can't be an altogether bad thing if there's no substance to it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

top 5 annoying things about today's adventure in lyric writing

1. I read 6 chapters of bible before I started.  Always a good thing.  Lots of interesting stuff.  I never expect that what I read just before I write will end up in my lyrics, but always hope it might... (There are some particularly cool verses in John 1-3 an Habbakuk.) I spent the first half hour mining the chapters for verses with poetic potential then gave it up.  Unless you want to write a scripture-in-song type ditty, you need to think theology, not exegesis.  Exegesis is not commercially viable (because it makes for dumb songs).

2. After 2 hours I had 4 versions of a chorus.  I eventually ditched them all. 

3. After 5 hours I have a chorus and four verses.  But none of it's very good.  Yes, if it were published it would probably be sung occasionally, but no-one would really care about it.  Especially not me.

4. the trochaic meter (dum de dum de) sounds trite.  Or it that just the way I'm saying it?

5. I'm pretty sure P will take one look at it and decide it's not worth pursuing.  I'd do the same.  Oh well, there goes 5 hours.

I have a chorus!

playing grown ups

I was almost a bi**h at my grown-ups meeting last night.

I had the chance to single handedly and majorly stuff someone around because of a (smallish) personal grudge I felt towards him.  It would also have meant a pile of inconvience for my committee.  I didn't do it, but enjoyed the feeling of power in the 2 seconds that I contemplated it. 

How horrible.

to-do list for today:

1. shopping
2. washing
3. house tidying
4. write hit song.
5. write lots of blog posts so November's stats don't look so pathetic and so my readers stick around.

There is no food in the house, no clean school uniforms left, and we have friends around this afternoon, but #4 is the most pressing.  #5 may have to wait.

back later today...

Was up half the night with a croupy kid.  Now, there's absolutely no food in the house - breakfast or lunch.  Need to sort that immediately.

Will be back to respond to the posts below later today.  Keep the comments coming.

Monday, November 16, 2009

out of the sky

Joel and I wrote a choose-you-own-adventure story while we were on holidays.  We wrote it as a big flowchart and I've now turned it into a blog.

What do you think?

It just needs some pictures. 

sexual confusion and friendship

With homosexuality increasingly becoming an option for the average Australian, I'm wondering how our talk about sexual purity will change in the coming years.

The trouble with sexual temptation and sin is that they compromise relationships. I can't have the kind of close relationships with guys that I might want to have because:
  • close cross gender friendships can have the appearance of immorality, leading others into sin or bringing the name of Jesus into disrepute
  • close cross-gender relationships might lead me into immorality
  • close cross-gender relationships may tempt my friend to sin.
I hate this, and look forward to a world without these problems.

But if homosexuality is normalised in our society, will the problems of cross gender friendships also be the problems of same sex friendships? Will I be discouraged away from having close girl friends in case such relationships are (or appear to be) sexual? Will we warn our single friends of the dangers of flatting with another girl or confiding in another girl? Will all close friendships be seen as suspicious? Will all our relationships be compromised?

This may seem a long way off, but I can see a world full of very lonely people in the future (and now as well). Temptation and immorality will only increase if close, healthy, chaste friendships are wanting. But in a world of sexual confusion, how is friendship possible?

Any ideas?

Back to real life with a bump!

Class 4B at ES. One child now facing suspension.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Top 5 things that I've missed while being away

1. My dog
2. A couple of friends
3. Fast internet
4. All the blog love
5. My skype headphones

Top 5 things I've used while being away

1. My ratio cook book, butter, flour, sugar and eggs.
2. Sunscreen (an entire 1L pump pack)
3. My phone (QuadraPop)
4. Togs
5. [um... no. That's it.]

Top 5 things I've learnt while being away

1. Camping is fun if the camp site comes with 2 kitchens, private bathrooms, a gym, a lap pool an indoor play center and two waterslides.
2. The 1:2:3 ratio makes great cookies. Especially if they have lots of while choc chips.
3. I am a legend at QuadraPop - a mobile phone game. I've invested alot of time into it, and it's paid off.
4. That I'm vain enough to care about the tan marks that my togs leave on my back
5. That I love the beach best when it is as calm as a swimming pool.

I'm back!

Might write a few lists to get me back into the blogging thing!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Daddy (by Joel)

daddy is a bady
who lives in a cloudy
meger monstres bomb proof
closit that was boosed
into outer spacs were the monster
truck blue it up

Joel R.

[daddy is a baddy
who lives in a cloudy
major monstrous bomb proof
closet that was boosted
into outer-space
where the monster truck
blew it up.]

At least I'm not the only evil parent. I like Joel's short 'o' assonance through lines 3 and 4 and half-rhyme end of line rhymes.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Idol

Nathan's gone. Oh well. For the first time in AI history, I think the top 3 are actually the best 3.

Why did Hayley try to do U2?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Annoying Mummy

Of course, I am the worst mother in the world. Joel wrote this today. I was sitting next to him making him do spelling. He might have started out a little angry, but he finished up with a big smile on his face. Nothing like a rant-poem to get it all out of your system. Enjoy! I did.

Annoying Mummy


Mummy is annoying day and night,
Sometimes I don't like to be in her sight.
She bans me from the computer,
She definitely can get a bit cuter,
She smacks really hard.
When I just might win
She calls in reinforcements.
Daddy shuts me in my room
and the door bangs, BOOM!

by Joel R. (age 8)

I particularly like lines 6 and 7. Does Joel really think there's a chance he might win? Against me? If things have gotten to the 'reinforcement' stage, he's got no chance. Kind of fun seeing your parenting from your kid's point of view!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

having a great holiday...

...but wifi caravan park internet is just not worth the fuss. I'll check in on friday.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Saturday, October 31, 2009

top 5 things that I don't do

1. Tax returns
2. Bill paying
3. Car packing
4. Planning for any holiday except our regular trip to Caloundra
5. Yard work

If Andrew died, I'd have no access to cash (my fault, not his), no electricity, no gas and no internet (!). We'd go on the same holiday each year, but everyone would need to gather their own stuff. The yard would be overgrown. Eventually the tax office would catch up with me, but it would take them a while because I wouldn't open the letters they sent.

None of this would be Andrew's fault. But I'd probably blame him anyway for enabling my helplessness.

Oh blogging king, we humbly bow before you...


Simone - green
Ben - purple
Nathan - orange

ratio


I got this book for my birthday last week.

Used it last night to make biscuits by the 1:2:3 sugar:fat:flour ratio. It makes sense. I know how that ratio works, now I tinker it to get a batch of biscuits just how I want them.

Now I need a decent set of kitchen scales. Maybe for christmas.

Blogging graph


Just because I could.

This graph compares my number of blog posts per month (green) with Ben (purple), Al (orange), Andrew (brown) and Izaac (blue). I really wanted to put Nathan on, but I can't easily get monthly data off his blog. You can see the June blog-off spike clearly on Ben's line - mine is not so clear since I pulled out on day 8.

November should be a dip for me since I'll be away for half of it. See you all soon.

top 5 things I like about halloween

1. Jack-o-lanterns

2. Jack-o-lanterns

3. Jack-o-lanterns

4. Jack-o-lanterns

5. Jack-o-lanterns

top 5 problems with halloween


1. It's an import. Not really part of our culture.
2. The idea of trick or treat is nasty. 'Give me a lolly or I'll do something bad to you!'
3. I'm good with dress ups and make believe, but it is a bit silly if you take it too seriously - as many people seem to.
4. I saw halloween pumpkins on sale for $24 each. This is a rip off. Another shop had the same pumpkins for $10 each. Could the whole event be about money?
5. I felt silly going into Kmart yesterday and buying a book in the twilight series from a checkout girl dressed up in her halloween vampire gear...

holidays!

Andrew is home after his longest ever absence - 6 days - and we are on holidays.

I won't post much during the next couple of weeks.

Tomorrow we are going camping here. I've been a little hesitant at the thought of using up a week of holidays camping, but this is 5 star camping. Resort camping. We'll be sleeping in tents, but that's about where the camping bit ends. I'll be swimming in the lap pool, using the gym, sitting undercover and ignoring the kids (they'll be able to amuse themselves pretty well on the water slides, in the indoor and outdoor playgrounds and games rooms).

Next Sunday we are going up to Caloundra again - staying at kings beach for the 8th year in a row!

Hope you have a fantastic couple of weeks.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Top 5 rules for coping with adversity and leading a less offensive online life

When a bad thing happens...

1. It may feel good to yell the details to the world in a cathartic blog post. Don't do it. It will only make things worse.

2. You may think you'll just write the blog post to get things off your chest but not actually publish it. Mistake. Once it's written, the post will scream out to you 'Publish me, publish me!' It's cries will get louder and louder and more and more unbearable until you hit 'publish'. And don't kid yourself. If you've written the post, you will publish it.

3. If you really need to write something, use paper.

4. If paper doesn't satisfy and you fingers are itching for the keyboard, frame your thoughts in a list.

5. If the list doesn't satisfy, nothing will. Either slit your wrists or break rule 1.

andrew comes home tonight

11pm.

till then ...

blogging

Kutz called my blog 'lovely and personal'. I don't think I aimed to write a personal blog when I started out. I used to scoff at blogs that dwell in the minutiae of life*. And now I have one. But 'lovely and personal' makes it sound almost virtuous. Like a delicate flower...

*Just so you know, I had weetbix, allbran and strawberry yogurt for breakfast this morning.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

lonely

I'm a LOTE teacher today!

Doko e ikimasuka?

School ni ikimas.

That's all I've got.

We might do music instead. Or maths.

My muscles are turning to jelly!

I haven't lifted anything heavy for 9 days. I haven't jogged or jumped since last week.

I've done 2 decent swims, but that won't help much.

Andrew, come home!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

wondering

I have quite a few fb friends that I barely know. I'm good with that. There's one guy I'm pretty sure I don't know at all. His friend request sat waiting for me to respond to for ages, then the other week I clicked yes just to get rid of it. He has 1400 friends and we have 6 in common. His initials are RB and he describes himself as a 'Sydney-based ethicist'. Does anyone know him? RB, do you read this blog? Do I know you, or are you just a random friend-collector?

top 5 dos and don'ts for wives

Ben points us to MD's marriage and men talk in which men are given a real beating. MD also has a marriage and women talk, in which he says some strongish stuff, but nothing compared to what he says to the men.

It's marriage prep season, so Andrew and I are doing quite a bit of thinking about marriage at the moment. If I had to give a talk to wives (ie. myself) and I wanted it to be fairly cutting, these would be my top 5 don'ts for making your marriage better.

Top 5 don'ts for wives

1. Don't be a cold hard b**c*. Look at your husband when he speaks to you. Smile at him. Be warm. Make an effort.

2. Don't be manipulative. Say what you mean. Mean what you say. Don't play nasty games.

3. Don't hide stuff. Hiding something from your husband is a fairly good indication that you've crossed a line and done something wrong. If you don't want him to see the shop receipts or whatever, you probably need to repent*.

4. Don't be critical and naggy. Especially in front of others. It is disrepectful and unattractive.

5. Don't be lazy. Sometimes he'll need to carry you. Sometimes you'll need to carry him. That's okay, but make sure you are pulling your own weight whenever you can.

And here are my top 5 'dos'...

Top 5 dos for wives

1. Assume the best of your husband for as long as you can. Interpret his actions (and inactions), intentions and motives in the best possible light.

2. Make encouraging words your default.

3. Be affectionate and enthusiastic.

4. Have fun together.

5. Act or overlook. If he has a habit or something that irritates you, work out if it's worth speaking to him about. If it is, speak to him about it. If it's not, learn to overlook it.

Note the point that I didn't make. I think that one comes into #1, #2 and #5 of the 'don't' list, and #2, #3 and #4 of the 'do' list.

Pray for him as well.

Do you agree with my lists? What would you add/subtract?

*Hiding birthday and christmas presents is okay.

psalm 84

1How lovely are Your dwelling places,
O LORD of hosts!
2My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the LORD;
My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.
3The bird also has found a house,
And the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young,
Even Your altars, O LORD of hosts,
My King and my God.
4How blessed are those who dwell in Your house!
They are ever praising You. Selah.
5How blessed is the man whose strength is in You,
In whose heart are the highways to Zion!
6Passing through the valley of Baca they make it a spring;
The early rain also covers it with blessings.
7They go from strength to strength,
Every one of them appears before God in Zion.
8O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer;
Give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah.
9Behold our shield, O God,
And look upon the face of Your anointed.
10For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside.
I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
The LORD gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
12O LORD of hosts,
How blessed is the man who trusts in You!

Top 5 things I don't like about being a single mum

1. I can't go to the gym in the morning or the night
2. I eat chocolate slice for dinner, because I can't be bothered cooking.
3. I have to take the kids out on all the little errands. My usual practice of 2-3 trips to Woolworths a day is not viable.
4. There is no natural end to the day - normally Andrew will finish work and come upstairs.
5. There is no one else to tell the kids to be good. I unpacked the dishes myself because it was less draining than getting one of the kids to do it.

[Andrew is away for a mere 6 days. My list might look different if it was permanent. The items are in the order I thought of them.]

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

music and lyrics


I've held off watching this movie because I thought it would be dumb.

I've watched it now and can confirm that it is dumb.

Highlights? Um... Can't think of any. Maybe I missed them. I slept through probably a third of the movie.

Monday, October 26, 2009

something I learned today

When two eleven year old boys are talking about whether uncircumcised looks better than circumcised, it's not necessarily a conversation you need to shut down.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

wuthering heights


A few initial thoughts on Peter Bowker's adaptation of Wuthering Heights which was on the ABC tonight.

  • Burn Gorman was fantastic as Hindley (but I'm a torchwood fan...)
  • Cathy's character was given a very generous interpretation. Only once did she come across as a spoilt, selfish brat. Her love for Heathcliff came across as a deep and pure affection - rather than as the twisted thing it is in the book.
  • From part one at least, Healthcliff is some kind of romantic hero. In the novel, the reader tries to position him as this and fails.
  • Nelly comes across as more intelligent and insightful than she is in the book.
  • Visually, very attractive.
  • Thought the flashbacks were done pretty well.
Looking forward to part 2. Anyone else see it?

Sydney

Andrew and I had a fantastic couple of days in Sydney. Andrew is still there - stressing about an assignment he has to put in tonight. I'm home alone for the week, realising that I can't do basic things like unlock the downstairs to get to the washing machine... Can we hold out till Friday?

Highlights of the weekend
1. Going round the harbor on Lara's dad's boat with Philip and his UK friends, Lara and Ben.
2. Introducing Andrew to my emu friends.
3. Having such a great time that Andrew and I both forgot it was my birthday. Surely, the best kind of birthday.
4. Singing at twist. Always good, but a little different this year. More piano - and a very nice piano, very nicely played.
5. The songwriting discussion thing that I was a part of with Micheal M, Rob S and Philip P. Jodie McNeil interviewed us and we chatted together about the songwriting process. We were worried it could be a bit self indulgent and boring for people to listen to but it was heaps of fun - for us at least! MM showed us the evolution of come hear the angels sing - which was so interesting, Rob introduced a new song (it had some nice alliteration), I spoke about traction in lyrics and Philip told us his AABA + x factor method.
6. Micheal Jensen's workshop on musical styles and church music and stuff. All good fun to argue over what it means to transform cultural styles for the gospel... Remains to be seen what practical use the discussion will be.
6. Fish and Chips at Manly. Thai with Rob and Claire.

Idol top 5

Kate had to go. Next week Toby should join her. Please.

James
1. Moved well. Good vocal. Overall, just not as gripping as it could have been. They say he's getting better and better, but I'm getting more and more bored.
2. Guitar playing not completely pointless. Should ditch the band, do it all himself. I'm less bored.

Toby
Nice guy, but so dull. Can we move on?

Nathan
1. Poppy and pitchy. Needs to gain 5 years and lose 5kg.
2. Better. Pitch still not there.

Hayley
1. What a star. Owns the stage and makes the backing singers look 5th rate.
2. Can we just say she's won now?

Stan
1. I sigh at the song choice but he did it okay. Pretty good in spots.
2. Dancing odd.

Order - Hayley, Stan, James, Nathan, Toby.

Dragged a bit. Could have done it in an hour. Don't care about their joy in seeing home again.

What did you think?

home

twisted and tired.

Friday, October 23, 2009

andrew and I are on a plane

to Sydney this morning.

A big wave to southern readers.

You should all be at Twist tomorrow.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Open letter to Jason from Timmakeacut Information Technologies

Dear Jason,

Thank you for your many emails offering to design a website for me. Although I didn't ask for your services, you have been persistent in your offers to help. In another world, this might be commendable.

I do not now or at any stage in the future plan to take you up on your offer. My reason for this is simple. Your fonting.

It is awful. If you can't chose an attractive and readable font for a simple email, I clearly can not trust you to design an entire webpage.

Please do not send me any more emails. Your fonts choices make me queasy.

If you aspire to be successful spammer, I recommend that you improve in this area.

Yours,

Simone R.

today

1. Thought I wasn't going to survive RPM at the gym. Wondered how many people it would take to carry me out of the RPM room if I passed out and fell off my bike.
2. Said 'no' to three work requests for that school. (Yes, all for work today. Desperate times. Final one came at 8.50am - 'are you sure you can't work today?')
3. Bringing order to a chaotic home ahead of Sydney trip tomorrow. Have tidied, dusted and vacuumed. Still to mop and cook.
4. Need haircut. It's been 6 months.
5. Need to bath dog. She's going to grandma's for the weekend.
6. Friends coming for dinner tonight
7. Playing grown-ups tonight
8. Need to pack kids and us for weekend.
9. Need to work out what song I'll be talking about at Twist on Saturday. Suggestions? (Something I wrote.)
10. Go to bed - leave at 7am tomorrow morning.

I've started something

The other day I posted 12 [sharable] things that I like about my husband. I wrote it after I had written a rather polemical comment on Izaac's blog against people raving about their marriages. Truth is, I hate hearing people (preacher's mostly) dropping comments about how fabulous their marriages are. Especially when they are not balanced with details about how they suck as a spouse. It comes across as very thinly veiled boasting.

Even lists about how great our partner's are is moving towards dangerous territory. Hopefully I didn't cross the line. Nathan's still reading, which is a good sign, because he has a sensitive stomach when it comes to personal sharing.

Anyway, others have jumped on board and are writing lists too. Check out Ben's, Amy's, and Soph's. Any others I haven't noticed yet?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Glass half full?

We do warm up questions at bible study. Kind of like Ben's Monday quiz, but shorter and without the cool graphic.

This week's questions were:

1. Favourite breakfast food?
2. Why do people smoke?
3. Is the glass half full or half empty?

Here are my answers.

1. Cereal
2. Because they don't give a stuff
3. Neither. It's either overflowing or completely empty.

How would you answer?

on refugees

The way we (ie. people on talkback radio) speak about refugees, you'd think that we deserve to live here in Australia. That it's because of things we've done that we have such easy lives. That we are more worthy of health and comfort than the rest of the world.

I didn't build any of the roads I drive on. I didn't grow the food I eat. Like most Australians, I work a little and have an awful lot given to me just because I was lucky enough to be born here. The prosperity we enjoy comes to us as gift.

We should be grateful and ready to share.

I love...

... the cathartic effect of writing.

Last week I was feeling horrible - depressed, miserable, yuck. I moped for days then wrote six words describing my state: I'm a mess at the moment. Within ten minutes it was over. Back to my normal, chirpy self. Was it the 4 closely occuring 'm' sounds that did it?

Is it wrong to be so [pathetically/delightfully] shallow that a single sentence can cheer me up?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Peter Jensen Presidential Address

This is great stuff. You should listen.

desperate

I've had 4 calls from here today. Unfortunately, I had to say no four times.

Monday, October 19, 2009

MJ on musical styles

This looks fun. I'm sorry I won't be able to be there - I'm part of the writing workshop at Twist.

Will I see any of you there?

what I hate #397

Married couples commenting on eachothers' blogs. Bleagh!

12 [sharable] things that I like about my husband

1. That he's a Christian.
2. That he's married to me.
3. That he can do stuff, like build a room under the house and hook up a tv and change a light globe.
4. That he's not the slightest bit controlling.
5. That he is tall.
6. That he is stronger than me, even though I work out and he doesn't.
7. That he needs to shave every day and he does shave every day.
8. That he can beat me in an argument.
9. That he is kind and doesn't put me down ever.
10. That we have fun together.
11. That it's 5.32pm and he's fine with the fact that I've made no plans for dinner.
12. That I'm pretty sure he'd choose me again if he had the choice.

no idol review this week

I fell asleep last night and missed most of it.

But I did catch Nathan singing Music of the Night. Great song, of course, and in his style. But I really didn't think he was great at all. Pitchy in parts and really, just not that good. Why were the judges raving so much?

What did you think?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

new blogs on my sidebar

I've updated my sidebar blog list for the first time since February. Additions include:
  • my brother-in-law Phil, who writes on politcal stuff,
  • prolific commenter Laetitia,who blogs occasionally,
  • Sam and Soph who have a delightful line of colour up the top of their page,
  • Al who commutes interstate to college,
  • Wendy, missionary in Japan, currently on home assignment,
  • Izaac, who has a z in his name, and
  • Kutz, who is interesting, funny, competent and at our church.
I'd link to you too, if you had a blog... or if I knew about it.*

A big thank you to everyone who takes the time to amuse me. If you're on my list, I'll click on you 20-30 times a day even if you don't update much.

* Lurkers, this is your call to come out of the shadows!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

community movie night

We're just home from an activities afternoon and movie night that our church ran in the park. It was great. Lots of people came and everything ran smoothly. I painted kids faces for over two hours. Full on. I was meant to be on balloon modelling, but face painting seemed a more desperate need*. There were four of us doing it. I specialised in Dalmatian and Spiderman faces. Not so good with pretty things like flowers and butterflies. Here's some of my work. It looked better before dinner.

* face painting also leaves you with some feeling in your fingers, unlike balloon modelling. Thanks Kutz.

I learnt a new term today

Globally gifted.

I'm not globally gifted. Wish I was.

I have big gaps in ongoing people management and administration.

I'm pretty good with short term projects. Pretty good with things I can do all by myself. Good in many up-front roles. Good at coming up with ideas. Very bad at asking people to do stuff. Atrocious at bill paying, form filling-out etc.

Churches want ministers who are globally gifted. Most will be disappointed.

The trouble with work...

... is that it encourages me to put a dollar value on time. An amount of time is not worth a certain amount of money. This is silly.

It is ourselves we give, not our time. I give myself in service to this person or that task. It is the person I'm serving or the task that I'm doing that is important. Not how long it takes or how much money will be put into my account at the end of it.

If a task is worthwhile and I've committed myself to it, I should give myself ungrudgingly.

Raising a child is an important task. It could take 18 years or longer, but however long it takes, I will give myself to it out of love. Choosing the right birthday present for my husband could take a while, but it would be time well used.

This last week or so I've been bitter about the amount of time I've spent on church stuff. Counting hours is such a stupid thing to do. What do I expect? A pay cheque? The task I'm doing is worthwhile. I know that. We're not short of cash. Why don't I just get on with it?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Top 5 things that will help you function better in a classroom and perform more adequately as a human being

1. Improve your vocabulary. Four letter words starting with F and Sh should normally be avoided in ordinary interactions. Save them for special occasions.
2. Don't make a big deal of things that aren't a big deal. If someone bumps into your seat while walking past, let it go. It doesn't matter.
3. If you've done something wrong and it's pointed out, apologise quickly and that will probably be the end of it. Arguing it out will generally not help you.
4. If in doubt, do what the teacher has asked.
5. If you are a 12 year old boy, do not touch your female teacher in any way.

purgatory

Yesterday I said I wouldn't work there...

Rejecting work is a risky thing. There is a good chance you won't be offered more for a while.

In this case, that's not so. I'm working there today.

Pray for me.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I have made a map of the NT world


I've needed this kind of thing for ages. I've made it so that I can put on or pull off whatever places I want or don't want marked.

For future Sunday School units, it will turn into an OT world map.

For school projects it could turn into a modern day map... So many possibilities!

I'm pleased with it. Worth the couple of hours it took.

just said no...

... to teaching perhaps the trickiest kids on this side of town.

Feel a little bad about it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

feeling glum and pathetic

do I:

a. Go to the gym
b. Go for a swim
c. Blog about how pathetic I'm feeling
d. Go to bed

red dresses

I have a thing for red dresses. While I generally don't enjoy clothes shopping, I love red dress shopping. If I pass a shop and there is a red dress in the window, I will go in and try it on pretty much regardless of the cut or cost. Even if I don't buy it (I usually don't) I've had the joy of looking at it, touching it and wearing it - if only for a minute.

Today I went past a clothes shop with a rack of red dresses out the front. After I tried one on I took control of myself and reasoned that I didn't need another red dress in this particular cut. I walked out of the shop with a purple dress feeling like I had done a noble thing.

Do you have an obsession with any colour or article of clothing?


*****
And while we're on colours, the book of Revelation is red and John is purple. Matthew is a sharper colour. Yellow? Bright green?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

top 5 stupid things I've done in the last 24 hours

1. falling asleep at 8pm last night
2. waking up at 9.15pm, baking and blogging till 1am
3. not sleeping much between 1am and 5.30am (gym)
4. not eating lunch today (no time)
5. walking round the house for the last hour feeling everything is out of control and randomly bursting into tears. [Low blood sugar? Exhaustion?]

Happy face now, for dinner guests!

Impossible Mission Game Footage

Good times!

Monday, October 12, 2009

ministry and discouragement

I came home from church on Sunday morning feeling hugely discouraged. I had spent every spare second the previous week writing and planning for our new Sunday School unit. Much creativity, much thought and many many many hours of work had gone into it. And, I think, it went fairly well.

I don't resent time spent on church stuff. It is my choice how much energy I expend on things and how many things I say 'yes' to. So why was I feeling so down after Sunday?

I've had a couple of days now to reflect on this, and here's what I've come up with.

It's not the amount of hours I've put into something that makes me feel good or bitter, nor the outcomes, nor the thanks (or lack thereof) that I receive. Rather, it's whether or not I feel in it on my own.

What made me feel bad on the weekend was that no one else seemed to care about what I cared about. It mattered to no one else whether or not our kids understood the bible better. [There was one very notable exception to this. P., you are wonderful and a great encouragement.]

Now, I'm sure that this is not actually true. I'm sure that parents and teachers and others in the church really do care about the gospel being taught to and believed by the next generation. So how might they express this? A few ideas:

1. Be a part of kingdom work yourself. I will feel encouraged to do ministry in my patch if I can see you wholeheartedly and sacrificially serving in your patch. I know that it's not my ministry that's important, but the progress of the gospel in the world. If I see that the gospel is really important to you, I will feel encouraged to work harder and more joyfully in what I do. Talk to me about what you've been up to.

2. Join me. Ask how Sunday School is going, ask how you can pray for it, pray, and if you are able, join in yourself! The most wonderfully encouraging moments come when people offer to join in, not waiting to be invited. Why not do that?

3. If it is a ministry that you are a part of, be a part of it wholeheartedly. Come along every week. Miss other things in order to be there (and don't expect a star sticker for you sacrifices.) When you are there, be there! Be positive and take responsibility for things as you can.

4. Try not to talk about how busy you are. Generally, it is the busiest people who are doing the most for church. We make time for what is important to us. It's okay if you can't fit in another commitment, but hearing busy-ness sited as an excuse can really hurt the person asking - particularly if they feel overwhelmed with all that they are trying to do. Say that you can't do it and offer to pray for the ministry.

Any thoughts? I would love comments on this one.