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.