Saturday, February 28, 2009

dimonds in the bush

My friend Helen has started a blog. It's worth reading.

Helen and her family have moved to country Queensland to work in a Presbyterian church. They used to be with us. We miss them.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Silly Sausage

Here's a classroom game I learnt last week.

Pick 2 kids. Stand them 5 meters apart at the front of the room. One has to say 'silly' and the other has to respond with 'sausage'. Then they take a step closer to eachother. They say the words again and again stepping closer and closer until one of them laughs. The first kid to smile or laugh is out. He/she is replaced with another child until everyone has had a turn or you've run out of time. The overall winner is the kid who was in for the longest.

It's lots of fun.

I'd be thankful if someone could justify it with an educational purpose.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

prayer request

Could those who pray please pray for my friends M and S and their boy Luke. I explained the circumstances here.

I was able to pray with M this evening. As you can imagine, she and her husband are very upset. The situation is bleak. I saw Luke briefly. He said, "I know you! You're Simone from Spy Life!" I am happy that he remembers the kids club that he attended in December and am praying that he remembers the bible stories - especially about Lazarus. I suggested to his Mum that I meet with him for RE (religious education - I would have been his RE teacher at school this year). She is open to it and I'm probably going over early next week.

M and S value your prayers. I value them too. I know the two other kids in the family but don't really know Luke. He turns 7 this weekend.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Through This Night

I wrote this for this situation.

Through this Night

There is an arm that holds me tight
When I am all alone
Someone is with me by my side
I am not on my own
Our God is never far away
He will hear me when I pray
And I will get through this night

There is a voice that calms my soul
When I am torn apart
The voice that called the world to life
Speaks life into my heart
He says, 'the darkness won't last long
Cling to me and you'll be strong
And we will get through this night'

Our Father watches from above
And every thought's a thought of love
He will not leave
We needn't be afraid
In sorrow, danger he is near
He catches every falling tear
Counts them all
and dries our crying eyes.


There on the other side of dawn
another world awaits
a better world, our bodies new
where we will always stay
there's no beginning and no end
God is there, our Father, friend
And we will get through this night

sar 2009

I WON!!!!

Darth Vader. $4.25

[Thanks Nathan]

my friend Sylvia...

...makes me chutney.

It tastes so good that I eat it straight from the bottle.

I love...

... how the little skype pencil shows when you are deleting something.

i stayed up late last night...

...writing absolute trash.

Not a single line is salvageable.

Sometimes it just doesn't happen.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

the position or the person?

When you are hiring someone for a ministry organisation, what do you look for? A person who perfectly fits the position description or a person who would be a great to have working for your organisation?

I know who I'd choose.

the 80/20 rule

This is an interesting article about the 80/20 rule which (apparently) exists in most churches. The theory is that 20 percent of the people do 80 percent of the work. Ed Stetzer describes lack of ministry involvement as the most common sin in many churches. He blames the problem on a three tier church structure of lay people, missionaries and clergy, and argues that congregations and clergy have a co-dependent relationship whereby the congregation needs to be rescued and the minister receives affirmation for rescuing them. The minister and the few involved people end up enabling the rest of the congregation in their helplessness.

I have some sympathy for Stetzer's ideas. It is disheartening when you see the same already overworked people turning up for yet another working bee. I know that I find it much easier to just do something myself than go to the trouble of convincing someone else that they can do it, and I do like the affirmation that comes from doing stuff.

But, overall Stetzer's article left me cold. In our church I think that well over 50% of the congregation are working to capacity on church stuff. For some people, capacity is attending a bible study group and being on one roster. For others, showing up on Sundays with their kids is as much as they can handle. I have a reasonably high capacity for visible busyness. That's how I am. Because of my stable upbringing, particular genetic makeup and physical health, I can get quite alot of stuff done. And I like doing it. But don't mistake it for Christian love and service. Some of it I do because of love for Jesus and his people. But if I wasn't a Christian I'd still be busy.

I think Stetzer's biggest problem is calling lack of church involvement sin. It may be sin. You may say 'no' to Sunday School teaching because you are lazy or because you don't care that kids are taught the bible. Or there may be another legitimate reason. It might not be sin.

The christian life isn't about doing stuff. It's about resting in Christ, standing firm in faith in him. We are called to love and serve his people but we cannot prescribe how each will do this.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Romans 8:18-20

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

It will be worth the wait.

Patience.

We are not mucking around here

Children's ministry really matters.

I've just found out that L, one of the boys who came to our kids club in December has an inoperable brain tumor. Short of a miracle, he will die. I know his mother. They are a playgroup family. His brother is one of Nathan's best friends. I have just started to teach L in RE. He is in year 2. Merely 7 years old.

Please pray for L and his family. They are not Christians.

At kids club in December we learnt about life. How Jesus gives us life that goes on even after we die. Please pray that L will cling to Jesus. Pray that I will get a chance to speak personally to L. Pray that Andrew and I and other Christian friends will have good things to say to his family. Pray that Nathan will be a good friend to L's brother. Please pray for many miracles.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I have a new font!

Avenir.

It's lovely. Arial with style.

(I am currently using 'light' and 'medium' from the family group. The medium is quite bold.)

Here one moment

Colin Buchanan's bushfire song.

Friday, February 20, 2009

the more time I have...

... the more time I waste.

Today I had to work from 12-3. I got so much done from 9 till 11! Would I have achieved any of it if I had had a whole day? Probably not.

The less time I have, the better I use it.

Got to keep busy!

labels

As I've indicated before, our boy Joel is an interesting kid. In many, many areas of life he is competent and very clever. In others, the opposite. Because he is clever, he has developed ways of coping with and hiding his struggles - often so successfully that we forget that they exist at all.

One thing Joel struggles with are labels. Putting names to things. We first noticed this when he was little. He didn't know his colours. He could sort things into groups, but for the life of him could not label the groups as blue, red or green. He didn't finally sort out pink and white until he was well over five. Learning the alphabet was a nightmare - so many letter names to remember! Numbers were no fun either, although he has a very good mathematical understanding.

Last night it was brought home to us that Joel, now in year 3, still does not know the days of the week. We asked him which of his teachers he had each day. He held up his fingers to represent the 5 weekdays and showed us that on days 1,2 and 5 he had Mrs. K, and on days 3 and 4, Mrs. V. He could not explain it in any other way. Months remain a complete mystery.

Joel has many other funny little habits. If we ask him to spell a word he will often spell it using his fingers, moving them into the shape of the letters. It's as if he's playing a game, spelling it without opening his mouth. What I think he's really doing is covering for the fact that he can't remember the letter names.

There are many other things that we have put down to quirks in his character which are probably little strategies he has developed to help him through life.

I can see that Joel has huge potential to create, explore, imagine and love. But I don't understand how his mind works. I'm thankful that God does.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The art of conversation making

A great post.

Okay guys. No excuses now. You know how, so just get over yourselves and do it.

They say that 'time assuages'

They say that 'time assuages,'--
Time never did assuage;
An actual suffering strengthens,
As sinews do, with age.

Time is a test of trouble,
But not a remedy.
If such it prove, it prove too
There was no malady.

Emily Dickinson


What do you think? Does time assuage?

God Unlimited

I have (what I think are) two good titles for a kids song about God's attributes: God Unlimited and God To Infinity. I got the ideas flicking through my Bruce Milne.

Trouble is, I don't know what such a song would actually say. The 'Infinity of God' sounds really cool - in a Buzz Lightyear kind of a way - but I need to think more about what it means. Any ideas? Perhaps I should have listened harder in Doctrine 1.

Anything I should read? Preferably something we'd have on our shelf.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

nathan goes to townsville

I've finally gotten around to linking to Nathan's blog on my side bar.

I've been waiting until it reached the standard of the other blogs I read, but with this post he's made it. Nathan is an expert in trivialities. Make him your guru. Learn from him.

Baby Baby (Look into my eyes)

My lyric writing book suggested that we write a song entirely out of cliches, making sure that nothing original sneaks in. I can guarantee that there's not an original syllable in this. What fun! Songs like this just write themselves.

Baby baby (Look into my eyes)

we've only just begun
and I can't stand the pain
give me half a chance
and I'll take you back again

I know I've done you wrong
but we can rise above
forget my foolish pride
surrender to my love

look into my eyes
see my broken heart
touch my very soul
I'm falling apart

Oh baby baby
Oh baby baby

way down deep inside
I know that its all right
although it hurts so bad
you'll always hold me tight

this thing that we have
is worth fighting for
I get down on my knees
don't walk out the door

Oh baby baby
Oh baby baby

look into my eyes
see my broken heart
touch my very soul
I'm falling apart

Oh baby baby
Oh baby baby
Oh baby babeeeeeee

[normally I sign my work. not this time.]

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

pet-peeve

Just about everything is annoying me right now.

cliche and songwriting

I've never read a book on songwriting before, but today I got this one from the library.

For someone who writes as much rubbish as I do, it's pretty cutting. There's a whole chapter devoted to cliche: cliche phrases, cliche rhymes, cliche metaphors, cliche images. There are pages and pages of cliches listed. I know them so well. I love them. I hate them.

I struggle more with cliche in Christian songs than other stuff. When writing for church, we're working with limited subject matter. And we have the added constraints that our words must be edifying and easily understood. The stream of fresh water quickly runs dry and I move to stagnant pools.

But it's a good book. Nice stuff on verse development and using rhyme well.

gym pet-peeve #2

Men who wear reflector gear to keep themselves safe on the RPM bike.

gym pet-peeve #1

Men who shave their legs so they can ride faster on the RPM bike.

Monday, February 16, 2009

babies everywhere!

Everyone seems to be having babies this week. Congrats Rochelle and Simon, Richard and Carolyn, Graham and Beth, Paul and Helen... All little girls too! Fabulous.

[Correction: mostly girls!]

"You should do it while we're at school."

Andrew and I were having a kiss and cuddle this afternoon. As often happens, others came to join us. Here's how the conversation went.

Me : Honey, you'd think it'd be possible for us to have a cuddle without others muscling in.
Andrew : You'd think so.
Joel : You should do it while we're at school.

[I guess we've been told! (Andrew thought that was worth sharing!)]

Life is screwy and complicated

If yours isn't now it will be one day.

Just a warning.

more on paperwork

Because of my phone call to CCLI last week updating our address, I've just gotten paid for the first time in 18 months.

Unfortunately, because I've never given them my tax file number I'm getting taxed at 50c in each dollar. Andrew doesn't think we can recover the money.

Oh well. That's just how things are, I guess.

If I was anyone else, I'd consider filling in a tax file number declaration form so it doesn't happen next time. But I'm me so I won't.

The CCLI people are brilliant to work with. They are used to admin incompetents so just accepted my patheticness and said they'd sort things.

[AAHHH! Just noticed that many of my J is for Jesus songs aren't up there yet. That'll teach me to write songs independantly. Collaboration all the way. (Anyone want a job? I'll give you a 50% cut in royalties if you do my paperwork for me. Surely it's better for me to get 50% than nothing at all!)]

something is wrong with this blog

is anyone else having issues with blogger?

off to work

Half a day. Better than nothing. Quite good, in fact!

I am tired

so so so tired.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

valentine's day is stupid

But I wrote this a few months ago.

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Hundred Years

Okay. So I'm writing this song and PP has given it a killer tune. Perhaps our best yet. The chorus is beautiful. It's for emu's up and coming kids cd. I wanted to put a demo up for you to have a listen to, but PP's a bit self conscious about his voice - so you'll have to wait.

Anyway the issue is, what do the first couple of lines of the chorus mean? I thought it was pretty obvious and theologically fine. Can anyone spot any potential issues?

A hundred years

There is a world where love is true
A world where no-one lies
Where hate and anger are unknown
and friends don't say goodbye
A world with Jesus on his throne
And when I'm there, his child, his own
Nothing else will matter at all.

There is a world with shadows gone
A world with no more night
The sun will shine through every day
and turn our wrongs to right
All sin and darkness cast away
Forgiven, free, I know I'll stay
Nothing else will matter at all.

A hundred years is worth the wait
A thousand years will seem a day
A flash of time compared with what's to come
We'll touch, we'll hear, we'll taste, we'll see
The wonders of eternity
and then we'll know our world for what it is.


Our houses, money, dreams and plans
are mist and nothing more
Like grass without the summer rain
They'll pass away for sure
But Christ forever is the same
And when I hear him call my name
Nothing else will matter at all

sar 2009

no work call today or yesterday or monday

I never get called in to work ever anymore.

(Except when I can't work because I'm sitting in an airport waiting for a jetstar plane that's not coming.)

They must have realised that I'm the worst teacher in the whole world.

Now, to use today wisely...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Fire

Normally, I love to tell a story. An experience has only been half lived until its been told and retold and catastrophized.

But this is a story I haven't particularly wanted to tell. When people ask, I sigh inwardly and think, 'here we go.' (But I do talk!)

First, let me say that we don't actually have all that much of a story to tell. We didn't get really near the fire. We didn't see flames. But we might have.

We were at Forest Edge Conference Center at Neerim East for my sister in law's wedding. A great time with family and many old friends. We were all staying on site which was lovely. The wedding ceremony was outside by the creek at 9.30, then there was morning tea and lunch and a chinese tea ceremony. The photos of the interesting sky (in post below) were taken at about 3pm. All of this time we knew that there were fires nearby, but we weren't concerned. It was very hot (47 degrees). Outside the wind was blowing fiercely, like in a fan forced oven, but inside it was crisp and even cold in the delightful air conditioning. Perhaps we should have had suspicions that something was wrong at about 4pm. Everything outside was olive coloured. Strange.

At around 5pm the alarms went off and we were called into the dinning room. The doors were shut and John, the camp site manager, spoke to us. He told us we were safe while we were in the dinning room. There were no trees very close by and we were in a valley. He said that it was a shame he couldn't get into contact with anyone but there was a fire plan and whatever we did we would do together. We still had power and he thought we might keep it for the next hour. While there was power we would have good air to breathe. After we lost power we'd have another hour of emergency lighting.

Outside the wind was howling. It was as black as night although it was still day. The sky was red. We weren't allowed to leave the room. I felt desperate to get out. I didn't have any shoes on my feet and was dressed most inappropriately for an emergency. I didn't have anything with me. No phone (not that I had reception anyway), no writing materials, nothing for the kids... Surely I was an exception and they'd let me go back to my room... But I had more sense than to ask!

A take-charge soul organised a roll call. There would have been 100+ people there, including quite a few kids. We were half way through the roll call when we lost power. At that point I got scared. No air, no lights (almost no lights anyway), no contact with the outside world, no shoes and this horrible noise of blinds beating against glass windows. We moved the kids away from the edge of the room. Nathan and Joel started to cry quietly. I paced up and down the room praying silently, wishing the roll call was over, wishing Andrew would come and cuddle me, and wishing someone would pray out loud. Looking out at that point it was hard to imagine that we would ever get out.

John said he had never seen anything like this before.

I soon started rationalising... thinking back to other fires I had heard about. It would be unusual for 100 people to die. Most likely many of us would get out. But perhaps we'd be heading home with fewer kids... Unhelpful thought.

Andrew's dad lead us all in prayer. I spoke to our kids. Told them they needed to be brave. And prayed with them again, and again a little later.

After that someone went outside and put up the blinds so they would stop making such an awful noise. It made us all calmer. Soon, things seemed much better. The intense adrenaline fear thing can only go on for so long (10 minutes, Arch Hart would say) and after that we all settled down into a longer term stress response. I played with my sister-in-law's hair, paced around some more, and found a phone that had reception (bless optus!) and called my mum and friend.

Older missionary types who knew about coping in times of danger got out board games. Scrabble anyone? Uno perhaps? Not me. Games like that stress me at the best of times! There were three guitars floating around. A guitar is such a comforting thing to hold. A few people sang.

The staff organised some food for us (they were wonderful!) John got a generator going and hooked up some fluro lights. He had a black face from all the ash outside. The wind seemed to die down a little and I was over the moon when there was a small amount of rain. (Actually, little bits of rain are worse than useless in a fire. The rain would have evaporated long before it came near the actual fire and the lightning that accompanied it lit three more fires.) We could see a tiny patch of normal sky. We all began to think that we'd just sit it out and be able to leave in a few hours.

At 8.30 one person from each family was sent back to their room to gather up all their belongings and throw them into their cars. The rooms and cars were 20 meters away from the dinning room. At 9.00 we put the kids to bed (ours slept under a table) and we had another roll call. Then a police man came to talk to us.

He let us know something about how much danger we were in. The closest fire was still 30 kms [?] away but with the wind the way it was, 30kms was not far. He wanted to get us all out of Forest Edge because if the fire came closer the fire fighters could not defend us. There were currently nine trees over the only road in. The police officer was clearly worried. So was John, whose house down the road no longer had windows.

Hm. Okay. Oh well. Back to the board games. Still, conditions did look much better outside and I didn't think we'd actually be evacuated. We were to stay put until the police came to get us. We were given a 11pm bedtime.

Jo turned on her wireless internet to read about the fires. They didn't even make the top story! But we comforted ourselves that everything was probably being managed really well. There were no reports of anyone dying.

Most of us were asleep soon after 11pm. Naomi and Choi (the bride and groom) were still there of course. That felt wrong.

At about midnight, maybe after, I woke up hearing people talk. We had to be out in half an hour. They had cleared the road and things were okay at the moment. But they were expecting a wind change in the early hours of the morning that would send the fire directly to us. We put the kids in the car and drove in convoy to an evacuation center in Warrugul.

Warragul is a lovely place. They have electricity and a nice basketball court that can be slept on. They also have lots of helpful people handing out matresses, food and water bottles.

We slept there for the night feeling safe and well.

Joel woke up at 4am and started vomiting. He kept vomiting for the next 36 hours. Apparently, this is quite a normal stress reaction. We were horrified to hear the ever worsening reports about the fires. And felt and still feel that our experience was nothing.

We drove to Melbourne on Sunday and spent the day with the family. We flew out to the Gold Coast that evening and drove back to Brisbane on Monday morning.

When we got home Andrew and I fell apart a bit. We found it very hard to settle down and do anything. But a good cry has helped.

We are praying for others who have lost everything. May God comfort them and give them strength.

UPDATE: John has some stuff up on his blog.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

the overuse of 'reply-all'

Grrrrr! I hate this.

If we don't need to hear what you have to say, don't make the email come our way.

If you don't want to be on some mailing list anymore, reply-to-sender is fine. I don't need to know. In fact, 99% of the time I don't need to know. And I don't want to know.

Stop it!

Ben on Oprah's dog tribute

I just choked on my diet soft drink reading this. Do read, but swallow before you get to the last line.

Saturday Afternoon at Forest Edge


Micah and his cousin Pip looking at the strange sky. Saturday mid-afternoon.


Naomi and Choi's wedding















With parents of the bride. Doesn't the blue dress look fantastic!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

psalm 121

I sang this psalm with my family-in-law at the wedding on Saturday morning. What a great thing to believe.

Psalm 121

A song of ascents.

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?

2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;

4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;

6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;

8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

on seeking after a mate

A rather heated discussion on feminist type stuff is happening over on Craig's blog. Being married and all, I can't respond with a whole lot of emotion.

However, I'd like to draw attention to something Craig said that I don't quite agree with:
It's so old fashioned I know, but if you want kids almost your #1 priority in your 20s needs to be finding a decent bloke, marrying him, and getting pregnant. You can get serious about your career after that, and still have 30+ years at it.

I'm good with the career bit. My mum is an academic now, but she didn't start uni till I was in high school. There is working life after kids!

But. I suspect that it's self defeating for a single woman to have getting married and getting pregnant as her #1 priority. In my experience, guys don't find that all so attractive. And to be honest, I would find a guy with 'get married' as his first priority a bit desperate.

But I think I get Craig's point: if you want to get married and have kids, don't waste your 20's hanging out with loosers who would make crummy dads.

I was scared last night

Fires are awful. Thanks for your prayers. All of our party got out safely.

I'll write up my fire experience when I want to.

Just now I don't want to.

my sister in law was married on Saturday

It was a great occasion and shouldn't be overshadowed by the events that followed.

Friday, February 6, 2009

I mean, really, really bad

Don't fly with jetstar.

jetstar is a dumb airline

[just letting the frustration out.]

jetstar is stupid

Am I allowed to say that?

Jetstar cancelled our flight to Melbourne this morning. No reason given. Didn't tell us till the last possible moment, although it was clear that they knew hours earlier. We are annoyed. We get on a plane at 7.20pm tonight and will arrive at our destination at midnight. We are travelling with 4 children - one is 5 months old.

This is not the first time this has happened to me. I am never flying jetstar again and I reccommend that you don't either.

[To make it up to us, they gave us a few $8 food vouchers. We spent their equivilent on a taxi away from the airport.]

Thursday, February 5, 2009

it's not fair

We are going to my sister-in-law's wedding on Saturday. She is getting married at Forest Edge, Neerim East, a couple of hours from Melbourne. [An aside: Victoria is surely a silly place. It will be 43 degrees on Saturday. 43 degrees!]

For weeks I have been looking for a nice dress to wear to the wedding. I've tried on dozens and most looked worse than dreadful, despite the fact that I'm smaller now than I've ever been (sz 8-10). But tonight I found three dresses (from this shop) that fitted very nicely and bought one of them. I was feeling content. Hours of shopping had yielded a good result - one dress.

I then had 20 minutes before the shops closed to buy something for Andrew to wear so he wouldn't have to swelter in his suit. I did it. New pants, new tie, new shirt. Easy.

Brought them home for Andrew to try on. Here's the injustice. He looked great. Very sharp. Heaps better than me.

Men are just easier to dress than women. Put them in a shirt and tie and they look good. We go to hours of fuss and bother chosing the right thing and never look as good anyway. It's not fair.

paperwork and stuff

After moaning for the last few days that I must be a hopeless teacher (just because I didn't get called into work on Monday) I checked my papers and found that I hadn't actually submitted the beginning of the school year stuff. It's done now and I'm off to work today.

I may be an adequate teacher, but I am not an adequate paper-worker. Yesterday we found 2 CCLI cheques from 2007 and 4 medicare forms from 2006 all uncashed. I also realised that the reason I haven't received any CCLI cheques for the last 18 months is not because nobody is singing my songs, but because I haven't changed my address details with the ccli people (I aim to never write a song entirely on my own. If I write with someone else, they sort out the admin so they can get paid - and so I get paid too, without having to do anything... or I will get paid when ccli has my correct address!)

But I'm getting good at school forms. Yesterday I filled in 3 excursion medical forms, 1 'my child does not have headlice' form, one speech therapy refferal form, one parent directory form, and 3 arts council consent and payment forms. Those who know about my disability will be impressed.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I have faith in education queensland again

Today I had a brilliant meeting at school. I spent one hour with Joel's classroom teacher, deputy principle, guidance officer, gifted and talented specialist teacher, and special needs co-ordinator. We all got together just to work out how best to educate my boy. How special is that! I am very thankful. Joel is a complicated kid. He doesn't have behaviour issues and he's managing to pass most subjects (so the school wasn't really obliged to go to such effort), but he has had more trouble than expected learning to read and write. His psych tests have shown that he is highly intelligent (well into the gifted range) but has a very slow processing speed (16th%) and low working memory. We have worked out a few strategies to try in the classroom and at home to get him reading and writing better, but their main concern is that he is stretched with creative tasks and encouraged to engage in school. I was given details for all sorts of gifted groups to get into contact with - which I won't at this stage. Might teach him to read first.

It would be wonderful if all kids who were having troubles at school were given such thorough attention. But I think they probably aren't. Joel has the advantage of having an interesting intellectual profile and an assertive mum. If your child is struggling and you suspect that something is wrong, can I suggest you visit the school's guidance officer? They are your best friend in such a situation. Many very good teachers have no training in learning difficulties. I had to push last year to have Joel's assessment happen. His teacher didn't recognise that anything was unusual ('Some kids are brighter than others.... We all learn at our own pace...' etc) and didn't consider calling in the G.O.. This is normal.

nathan

I had my first baby 9 years ago today.

He is a nice boy. I like him and am pleased to be him mum.

He is extroverted and optimistic and reliable and organised. He knows more geographical general knowledge that I do. He reads atlases and beast-quest books. He is obsessed with star wars, star wars lego and Lego Star Wars 2 (the original trilogy) computer game. He is well spoken. He likes gadgets.

We have gotten him an ipod nano for his birthday. Andrew and I think it is cool.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

it is song writing season...

...and no self-respecting 9 year old would put up with the shallow rubbish I am writing tonight.

Note to self: Do not ever rhyme shame to pain or tears to fears again. Not. Ever.

Ew.

UPDATE: less-cringeworthy lyric written. It's called 'nothing else will matter' and is aimed at the tween market. Tomorrow I may hate it.

favourite love story

We started Ruth today in our bible study group.

Being a new year and all, a get-to-know-you game was needed. Because Ruth is a love story, our GTKYG was this:

Tell us, what is your all-time favourite love story (book, film, tv, whatever) and why?

I think our answers were fairly revealing.

So, what's your favourite love story?

[guys, don't answer.]

Can we pray for or about anything?

This is what C.S.Lewis says,

'Even an intimate human friend is ill used if we talk to him about one thing while our mind is on another, and even a human friend will soon become aware when we are doing so. ... It may well be that the desire can be laid before God only as a sin to be repented; but one of the best ways of learning this is to lay it before God. Your problem, however, was not about sinful desires in that sense; rather about desires, intrinsically innocent and sinning, if at all, only by being stronger than the triviality of their object warrants. I have no doubt at all that if they are the subject of our thoughts they must be the subject of our prayers -- whether in penitence or in petition or in a little of both: penitence for the excess, yet petition for the thing we desire.

If one forcibly excludes them, don't they wreck all the rest of our prayers? If we lay all the cards on the table, God will help us moderate the excesses. But the pressure of things we are trying to keep out of our mind is a hopeless distraction. As someone said, 'No noise is so emphatic as the one you are trying not to listen to.'

C.S.Lewis, Prayer: Letters to Malcolm. (4)

I've been trying to live this out for the last couple of weeks, praying for all that is on my mind in a mix of penitence and petition. With some success. God does indeed order the cards when we place them all before him.

bible study and r.e.

After considering different learning styles and personality types (and reading leading better bible studies) I'm amazed that any group ever runs successfully!

Our women's b.s. group is starting this morning. I'm praying that God will be among us and somehow give us the grace we need to learn together. We're looking at Ruth, using a modified 'sweedish method' [I admit to finding this term rather... well... sensual?] I think it should be great - but then again, I have the personality and learning style best suited to the group thing.

I also start teaching RE (that's scripture for southerners) again today. I have 3 year 2 classes. All good.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Obesity surgery in Rockhampton

My sister is the surgeon in this article.

She will be on SBS's Insight in the near future.

a solution to the odd-arm problem

here.

Prayer without words

I'm also reading C.S.Lewis on prayer.

The great C.S. thinks that prayer without words is a possibility and even the superior form of prayer (though difficult to achieve):

For many years after my conversion I never used any ready-made forms except the Lord's prayer. In fact, I tried to pray without words at all -- not to verbalise the mental acts. Even in praying for others I tended to avoid avoid their names all together and substituted mental images of them. I still think that prayer without words is best - if one can really achieve it. But now I see that in trying to make it my daily bread I was counting on a greater mental and spiritual strength than I really have. To pray successfully without words one needs to be 'at the top' of one's form. Otherwise the mental acts become merely imaginative or emotional acts - and a fabricated emotion is a miserable affair. C.S. Lewis, Prayer: Letters to Malcolm, #2.
Karl Barth disagrees:
There can hardly be prayer which does not shape indefinite thoughts and words... On the whole, wordless prayer cannot be regarded as true prayer. CD III/4, 111-112.
I am thoroughly verbal. I can hardly have a thought without translating it into words. Much less a prayer.

But what about you? Do you ever pray without words?

52 posts in January

I just had my biggest blogging month. 52 posts in January. That's a lot (I usually write around 30 a month) especially when you consider that I was away for half of the month. Hm.

I wonder how many of them were actually worth reading.

Barth and Jensen on prayer













This week I've been reading Karl Barth on prayer. I was surprised to find that his definition of prayer is pretty much the same as that of Phillip Jensen and Tony Payne in their great little book on prayer.

Basically, prayer is asking God for stuff. Nice and simple.