Friday, December 30, 2011

In case anyone missed it...

... here is the final part of the Queen's 2011 Christmas address. I think it's beautiful.


"Finding hope in adversity is one of the themes of Christmas. Jesus was born into a world full of fear. The angels came to frightened shepherds with hope in their voices: 'Fear not', they urged, 'we bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

'For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Saviour who is Christ the Lord.'
Although we are capable of great acts of kindness, history teaches us that we sometimes need saving from ourselves - from our recklessness or our greed.
God sent into the world a unique person - neither a philosopher nor a general, important though they are, but a Saviour, with the power to forgive.
Forgiveness lies at the heart of the Christian faith. It can heal broken families, it can restore friendships and it can reconcile divided communities. It is in forgiveness that we feel the power of God's love.
In the last verse of this beautiful carol, O Little Town Of Bethlehem, there's a prayer:
O Holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us we pray.
Cast out our sin
And enter in.
Be born in us today.
It is my prayer that on this Christmas day we might all find room in our lives for the message of the angels and for the love of God through Christ our Lord.
I wish you all a very happy Christmas."

Lessons from Janette: #1 - Wifely Submission

Book - When Comes The Spring
Page - 63
Context - Newlyweds Elizabeth and Wynn have their first (and only) fight. She wants to go hiking in a skirt. He wants her to wear an unbecoming (but safer) pair of men's trousers. Elizabeth spends some time praying, then realises she was wrong not to submit to Wynn. This is their make-up discussion. 

“There will be times, Elizabeth, when we won’t agree about things. Times when I will need to make decisions in our future. ... I might have to ask you to do things you will find difficult, things you can’t understand or don’t agree with. Do you understand that?”

I nodded again. I had just been through all that in my talk with my God.

“I love you, Elizabeth. I will try to never make decisions to satisfy my ego or to show my manly authority, but I must do what I think is right for you - to care for you and protect you. Can you understand that?”

I searched his face and nodded again.

“This time - the pants - it would be too dangerous on the trail in a skirt. I know the trail, Elizabeth. I would never expose you to the possibilities of a bad fall. I-”

I stopped him then by laying a finger gently on his lips. “It’s all right. I understand now. I’m glad you love me enough to fight my foolish pride. I mean it, Wynn. Thanks for standing firm - for being strong. I needed that. I’m ready to let you be the head of the home. And I want you to remind me of that as often as necessary - until I learn it well.”

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

When Calls the Heart

We're staying in a denominational holiday house for our holidays. There's a bookshelf full of suitable reading material for manse families. I'm enjoying a series of Jeanette Oke prairie romances.

Elizabeth is a beautiful, godly, 21 year old teacher. She's from a rich city family and has decided that marriage is not for her. She feels a strange discontent with her perfect life and when her half brother suggests she move 'West' to teach, she takes that as God's leading. While building her new life out West, she draws great comfort from her devotional reading of Nehemiah. She meets Wynn, a handsome, competent  Christian man, who has decided that he must be single to fulfil the role God has given him as a mounted policeman. After several misunderstandings, they fall in love and on the last page of the book, decide to marry.

It's quality stuff. I'm up to the sequel When Comes The Spring. So far we've explored issues of wifely submission and race relations. Deep and edifying stuff.

Monday, December 26, 2011

off on holidays

back in 2 weeks.

I may blog while we're away.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

helicopter

As predicted, it's broken.

Joel had one successful flight, then Andrew had a go while Joel was off getting dressed.

Much sadness followed.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas

We did the Christmas thing with my family on Tuesday. Full meal, all the family, lots of presents... Since then, I've felt like Christmas is done. It's seemed strange that everyone else is still anticipating it.

But tomorrow (today?!) is the real thing. We'll have a pretty quiet day - mostly just by ourselves. (Andrew's family is gathering next Sunday.) I think I've done pretty well choosing presents for the kids. I can tell you what I've gotten them, because they'll have opened them by the time they get to spy on this.

Nathan gets a pretty nice ukulele. It's a tenor one with a pickup (Boulder Creek, Riptide.) He needed a uke for school (his mother wrote the booklist!) and we both agreed that if we were to buy another one, we wanted it to be a decent one. (I'll use it at work 2 days a week.) It has two sound holes and sounds delicious. I read reviews of just about every uke available in our price range. This one didn't get excellent reviews, but it was the one that both he and I liked the sound and feel of best. Amazing the number of $200+ ukes that haven't been set up right and are out of tune on the second and third frets.

Joel gets a remote controlled helicopter (I know. It will break in 3 hours. But he's been asking for one for most of his life.) He also gets some more wood for the treehouse he's building and a couple of tools. And he gets another book (which he can read - yay yay yay!) and a smiggle book light.

Micah, bless his little third born heart, gets an iPod nano. He want to listen to more children's music and less ColdPlay. I've had my day with kids' music. Just can't do Bobby and the Bonsters any more. Yes Micah, you can have your own iPod. With headphones.

This all seems very extravagant. And it is. Nathan knows the point at which I'm weakest* and he attacked me there. Joel asked for a bass clarinet, but I was strong and said no. (The $2000 price tag and his lack of practice helped me stay resolute.) Apart from last year's trombone (school requirement...), I've not spent this much on them at Christmas before.

You?

*mmm. Music shop.

John's gospel comics

As I've mentioned before, I'm writing a unit of Sunday School material on John's gospel for our network of churches to use in term one 2012. I hoped to be finished by now, but I'm nowhere near done!

Trying to find interesting things to put in the booklets. Kids do worksheets all week at school and are jack of them come Sunday. For the big kids, I want the booklets to prompt discussion. To try and facilitate this, I've been working on little comics to go with each lesson. I've posted the first few below. What do you think?

Riddle #1

Riddle #2

After the 5000 were fed...

Jesus and Nicodemus

Happy Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

dear potential school arsonist,

If you splash some petrol around and then start a fire in a wooden building, the building will burn. If it takes more than a few minutes for the fire to be spotted, then there is a good chance that you will cause millions of dollars worth of damage.

Please don't say you didn't know.

Yours,

Simone

16 year old charged with arson

Here.

Didn't take too long to find him.

Wonder what will happen from here.

Two new babies!

Praise God - Sophia was born to Nathan and Robyn this morning and a much prayed for little girl was born to Dave and Petrina this afternoon.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wii Fit

My sister got us a Wii Fit for christmas. It's pretty cool. My mii has a wii age of 45 which is a little unfortunate. She needs to lose 8kg to have the best BMI for illness avoidance. I'm keen that she lose the weight, so she's working on it with her Male Trainer.

So far she's done a short step session, which was about as energetic as watching TV. She also ran for 12 minutes. She needs to burn about 500 calories a day. Less if she stays off the chocolate.

Anyone else got one? Use it?

Monday, December 19, 2011

How many nerf guns does one household need?

Apparently eight isn't enough.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Warning: Supernatural Themes

What's with that?

Please warn me if a tv show doesn't have supernatural themes so I won't bother watching it.

Philip Jensen on church

I enjoyed this article What is Church for?


It's a challenging read. Our thoughts on church growth etc are so much compromised by ego for those of us in ministry (or married to ministers). 


You should read it. A couple of things that have come out of it for me:


Belonging vs believing.
PDJ argues that the current church growth theories that tell us to get people into church first, let them belong first, and then believe later, are wrong. The church doesn’t give us the gospel; the gospel gives us the church. The church is built by people coming to faith.


This was certainly my experience. I came to faith in Christ (through a SU camp) and immediately felt I was part of the church. So I set out to find a congregation to attend and be a part of. It was natural - and things like size and musical style didn't matter. I was looking for people who believed to learn the bible and pray with.


In the last ten years I think I've had much too much a focus on getting people into (my) church. Belonging has been what I've been aiming at, hoping that believing would follow. And there's been quite a few people who have come along. How it's generally worked (with exceptions) is that they've come along for a while (a year or two even). People have tried to make them feel welcome but eventually they've drifted out. And I've beaten myself up because I mustn't have made enough effort to integrate them. But there was no hunger for God's word there. They were not part of the church because there was no faith in Christ.


I need to do better with this.


Our church uses a connect, grow, serve model for how things are meant to work. It's tidy but flawed. Conversion is hinted at and hoped for somewhere between connect and grow. And also, what did we train for at theological college? To be socially lubricating people who can build a group of people around ourselves? 


Of course there's nothing new here. But I need to refocus.


Church planting
"There’s any number of people who are very keen to plant churches, but they’re not actually planting churches; what they’re doing is founding their own church, which they are going to stay in for the rest of their life as it grows bigger and bigger into a megachurch."


Ungenerous? Truthful? What do you think?


Building my church vs building the church
Accordingly, we shouldn’t be too concerned about which local or earthly gathering is ‘built’ by our efforts. If I evangelize someone and (by God’s Spirit) he is gathered into Christ’s heavenly assembly, it doesn’t really matter which earthly assembly he ends up in (so long as it is one in which he will continue to be built). Or if I pour time into someone to help them grow and develop and mature, and they take their gifts and do their building work somewhere else (not in my church), what does it matter?


Yeah. I think that this is where a ministry like AFES is at advantage to us in suburban churches. With uni ministry you only expect to keep  people for a few years. We expect to keep them and so our desire to see God's kingdom increase is muddied with our desire to see our church increase. Teaching RE is good for me in this. It's a ministry that I can pour myself into, praying for increase in God's kingdom without having any expectation of short term increase in my own church.


Did you read it? Any thoughts?

Friday, December 16, 2011

just noticed...

The three ELO songs I posted below. Eldorado, Shangri-La, Xanadu. A common theme.

It wasn't on purpose.

Want to go there now. It's been a big day. The school burnt down this morning and I visited my very ill grandmother this afternoon. Tried to talk to her about our Shangri-La.

school in the news

Here.

My school.

Burnt.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

ELO feast




Last minute gift ideas?

Not that it's the last minute yet. Not even close.


It was Micah's birthday yesterday. He loves Ticket To Ride (Europe) so we got him the Nordic Countries version. I was organised and ordered it from the US (along with some other games) and it cost us about $50 (including postage). It will cost you much much more if you buy it in Australia. But Ticket To Ride is a fabulous game and worth it.



One of his friends gave us Rubik's Race. We're loving it. Andrew is sitting at the table practicing it now (He went down big time tonight!). Great for ages 7+. I imagine it doesn't cost too much.



Wednesday, December 14, 2011

How to find something

1. Assume that you will be able to find it. Using words like 'nowhere' and 'impossible' will not help. It is somewhere and finding it is quite possible.
2. Make a list in your head of all the obvious places where it could be.
3. Look properly in each of these obvious places.
4. Retrace your steps. Think about when you had it last and think what you did with it then.
5. Tidy your room. Properly.
6. Ask mum*.

* Note well. Don't ask mum where it is until you have completed steps 1-5.


How to get me disproportionately worked up.

Write a post about what introverts are like.

Every time.

I fume.

Andrew listens.

S - They're saying that introverts THINK and  REFLECT more than me and overall are more INTELLIGENT than me. So unbearably SMUG!


A - Who wrote it? 


S - Some random I've never read before.


A - Um... Overreaction? Why does it matter? 


S - IT JUST DOES.


A - Maybe they are just trying to compensate for the awkward and difficult lives that they lead. Let them think they are more thoughtful and clever if it helps them in their misery.


S - GRRRR.


Here's the thing. I think I might actually be an undiagnosed introvert. While still being an extrovert.

I hate small talk and social pleasantries - let's get down to the real stuff. What's keeping you awake at night? What will the new creation be like?  I like large wads of time by myself. Four hours a day is no where near enough time to read and think and reflect. I hate noisy parties where I can't easily hear what people are saying. I'd much rather hang out with a couple of friends than with heaps of people. After I've been socialising I want to go off by myself. I don't get excited at the thought of speaking to strangers (unless they are interesting strangers and are willing to speed through the introductory stuff)...

Maybe I get cross reading introvert stuff like this because I feel like the post is saying that I am not like I actually am. That I can't have certain characteristics because I'm an extrovert.

Maybe psychs will do more research and find that the introvert / extrovert distinction is flawed and they'll come up with something else.

Monday, December 12, 2011

friends?

This video is doing the rounds at the moment.

It's fun.

It's got me thinking again about friendship.

What is a friend, anyway?


friend  (frÉ›nd) [Click for IPA pronunciation guide]
 
— n
1.a person known well to another and regarded with liking, affection, and loyalty;
2.an acquaintance or associate
3.an ally in a fight or cause; supporter
4.a fellow member of a party, society, etc
5.a patron or supporter: a friend of the opera
6.be friends  to be friendly (with)
7.make friends  to become friendly (with)

According to this definition, there is no reason why men and women can't be friends. A man may fight alongside me for a common cause. He may, through the course of life, become well known to me. I should regard him as a friend. The question is, whether sexual desire trumps and nullifies all else. The men in the video thought so.

I don't.

Sexual desire inevitably complicates a friendship (and it lurks in pretty much all male/female interactions), and puts (often annoying) boundaries on how far it can rightly progress... but, hey, in this fallen world, all friendships are complicated. What about the envy and competitiveness I feel while doing lunch with the school mums? And what about people with homosexual desires? Are all warm human interactions impossible for them? Has lust drowned out all else?

No.

But of course I'd say that. I'm female.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Excited!

I get to keep my job next year! Yay!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

having a little cry...

... writing goodbye notes to my favourite students.

One is moving to Melbourne.

Others are going to high school.

I wish I could make goodbyes illegal.

Why can't everyone just stay where they are?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Academic Awards Evening.

The year 7 song was epic. Parts were good. It was heaps of fun. My band was great (considering that they were 12 year old boys.) One of them will be a rock star.

But I think that the evening will be remembered because of our guest speaker. He was a student at the school 70+ years ago. Here's a blurb about him:

Professor Graham Cooksley is Professorial Research Fellow in the Discipline of Medicine at the University of Queensland, Royal Brisbane Hospital and is a herpetologist in the Department of Gastroenterology at the Royal Brisbane Hospital. His major research interests are in pathogenesis and treatment of chronic hepatitis. He specialised in internal medicine and completed a research doctorate on protein metabolism in the liver. He did post-doctoral work in the UK. He was Senior Lecturer, then Associate Professor in Medical Biochemistry at the University of Queensland with his research interests centred on hepatitis. In 1981 he worked at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, USA. He was appointed Director of the Clinical Research Centre, Royal Brisbane Hospital Research Foundation and was the inaugural Secretary of the Asian Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver. Professor Cooksley was Convenor of several International Meetings on Hepatitis C and Hepatitis D. He has more than 200 publications in international literature, has given numerous presentations at scientific meetings and has given over 180 invited lectures at national and international meetings. He is still working today.

Yep. Just the kind of old boy you want speaking at your awards night. His speech was incredible - incredible in that he managed to offend just about everyone in the room! After he had said all the stuff you'd expect him to say, he offered everyone some advice. We should understand science. If we understand science we won't believe in stupid things like horoscopes, alternative medicine, acupuncture or chinese medicines. He went through each of these, one by one, poking fun at them and showing how if you understand science, then you won't believe in any of them. The highlight came when he gave the example of Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs had cancer and needed an operation. But instead of having the op he chose to try natural therapies. He talked to his cancer and ordered it out of his body! Steve Jobs paid the ultimate price for his stupidity. By the time he asked for an operation, it was too late and he died. Let that be a lesson to us all. Science, kiddies, science!

I've bitten off more than I can chew...

Year 7 graduation song tonight.

Maybe we should have just done one song rather than seven...

The hardest bit is the guitar re-tune needed after Eye of the Tiger (they play it in drop D). Needs to be fast and silent. A tall order for 12 year olds.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

NMR, NMP.

My new policy.

Children, expect to hear it repeated regularly for the next couple of months.

Lost your book, you schoolbag, your iPod, your togs?

NMR, NMP.

Not my responsibility. Not my problem.

Sort it out yourself.

socialism in the classroom

I got sent this last night:
Classroom Socialism
When the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.

(Allegedly & without prejudice)
An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that Obama's socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama's plan". All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A.... (substituting grades for dollars - something closer to home and more readily understood by all).
After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.

The second test average was a D! No one was happy.

When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.

As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.

To their great surprise, ALL FAILED and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.It could not be any simpler than that.

Remember, there IS a test coming up.
The 2013 elections.

It's been doing the rounds for at least the last couple of years. This time I received it from a committee of my denomination that regularly spams us with right wing American nonsense.

I wrote a fairly direct email response to the man who sent it to us, but then changed my mind and sent it to Nathan instead. I still need to get it off my chest.

A few thoughts.
1. This is a bad analogy. Try this one instead.
2. Reforming health care so that the most vulnerable have access to hospitals etc does not make Barack Obama a socialist. He may be further left than you are, but that's mostly because you are a far right self seeking greedy capitalist.
3. Why are you sending this to me, anyway? Do you think I'm on your side? To tell you the truth, I find this kind of alarmist email much scarier than Obama's alleged socialism.
4. What does this have to do with us here in Australia? Nothing!
5. What does this have to do with Jesus or living as a Christian? Absolutely nothing! So don't spam our whole denomination with it!

Yeah. I'm annoyed.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

march 2012

I'm speaking at a women's conference next year. I'm pretty excited about it. I get to do three talks in a SERIES! Guys, I know this is normal stuff for you, but it's pretty rare that a woman gets asked to do any straight expositional talks (not specifically evangelistic or topical) let alone 3 in a row. I'll be working from John's gospel - John 3, 6 and 11. I have evangelistic talks on John 6 and 11 already (I did Lazarus last night) which I'll work up some more. I'm pretty into John 3 (Nicodemus) at the moment and I think it will make a good intro to the set.

But I know how this will go. When I actually sit down to write, it will all be bad and I'll remember how terrible I am at writing talks. I'll say that any success I had in the past was just a fluke and that I'd prefer to pull out my toenails, one by one, than to keep going.

Friday, December 2, 2011

gingerbread #4

All over now.

Tonight was our church's event. I had some friends come along. And I did the talk. And it was a pretty full on talk.

Half way through I was freaking out. I knew what was coming next and I didn't want to go there.

But I did.

Hope my friends are still my friends.

Next year someone else can have the job of gingerbread queen. I'm done.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Amazing news

Praise God! Praise God! Praise God!

Haven


My new favourite TV show. It's fantastic. Beautiful scenery. Beautiful actors. A romance that should drag out for at least a couple of seasons. And supernatural violence.

Love it.*




*Find it all on youtube! And some of it on iview.

The Star of Christmas




Copied Catriona's very cool design. The lips go up and down when the star talks.

Sleeping dog

It's hard when it's hot.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I'd write some thoughtful post

If I had any thoughtful thoughts.

But I don't.

'tis the season...

... for endless concerts and events.

Gingerbread continues (one more!). Speech night next Tuesday (with our epic year 7 graduation song). Carols in a nursing home on Wednesday.

On Sunday afternoon we have Micah's first cello concert. He's had four lessons now, so it's time he performed! Micah is an independent little fellow. Unlike his older brothers, he practices without whinging (imagine that!), and by himself (!). Mummy, you don't need to tell me what the notes are. I don't know what all of them are called, but I know how to play them. On Sunday he's playing Tap Dancer (open strings and first positions, featuring his favourite bit in the middle where you tap the cello with the bow), Mary Rocks (can you guess how it goes?) and Hot Cross Buns. Classic songs.

You?


RE over for 2011!

Yay!

We had our end of year do yesterday for all the RE kids in the school. I made a star puppet (like this very cool one that Catriona designed) and we did a little skit... You can imagine how it went. The star says 'I am the Star of Christmas', Lenny the puppet says, 'No you're not... Jesus is.' Stars says, 'No, I'm the Star of Christmas'. Lenny still doesn't understand etc.... Then we told the story of the wise men and king Herod (showed the sand bible version first) and Andrew gave a little talk about the man who wanted to be the star of Christmas. You can imagine. I had my band of awesome playing christmas carols and everyone rocked out.

I had a few kids come up to me afterwards and say how much they liked Joy to the World. They asked if I wrote it. [I wish!] Have they not heard it before?!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

5 advantages of monastic life

1. It is life in community. There would be lots of people around all the time. I like this.
2. I could take a vow of silence for 6 hours a day. Bliss!
3. Enforced prayer times.
4. Lots of community singing.
5. No gingerbread house events.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I'm thinking of becoming a nun

I'll go off to some place. Leave all this behind. No more marking. No more school politics. No one will speak to me for a few hours each day. Someone else will cook. I can be on a wash-up roster.

Maybe I could be in charge of music. I'll sit by myself most of the day and write a bit and choose cool songs for us to sing. Then my nun choir could sing them well. How many times a day do nuns do corporate singing? Five?

Good times to be had in a convent.

Who wants to join me?

[I'll have to make sure I find a convent that's good with me going off to the movies to see Breaking Dawn 2 next year. I'm also after one with body pump classes each day, a 25m pool and good internet access. Know any?]

final list for year 7 graduation medley

Intro - start of something new
year 1 / 2005 - Eye of the Tiger
year 2 / 2006 - Forever Young
year 3 / 2007 - How to Save a Life
year 4 / 2008 - Viva la Vida
year 5 / 2009 - I Got A Feeling
year 6 / 2010 - Count on Me
year 7 / 2011 - Someone Like You

Good times.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Also...

Edward never sparkled. Despite being outside in goodish weather.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Breaking Dawn, Part 1.

What was that?

Comedy? Romance? Horror?

Strange.

It was like the producer read the book and thought, Oh man. What do I do with this? I can't produce something this sentimental and still respect myself. Maybe... these lines were meant to be funny... Yes, that's it! Comedy! And there were some lovely comic spots that provided nice relief from all the syrup. I wanted them to continue.

Then there were moments of horror. Like the cake made out of corpses. I quite liked that. And I had no problems with the blood bits at the end either.

The romance really was a bit hard to take. So corny. But laid on nowhere near as thick as the book, so I shouldn't complain. The nervous Bella walking down the aisle was tough for us all.

The werewolves were better done than in the past. Still not good, but almost scary at a couple of points. The wolf dialogue scene was really bad. Embarrassingly so.

Rosalie - the incarnation of beauty - was not. At points she kind of looked masculine.

Did you notice how pieces of music from the other movies came back in this one? It was good at first, then became a bit much.

The main odd thing about this movie was that the narrative wasn't nicely shaped. There wasn't really a climax. They tried to make one with some wolf conflict,  but it was all resolved a bit fast. Then they tried for a volturi cliff hanger half way through the credits. They needn't have bothered. We'll all be back for more next year anyway.

Yeah, I enjoyed it. 2.5/5? 3?





good things today.

1. I gave out 60 tuned up ukes to kids who ordered them at school. I felt like Santa. They were happy. I was happy.
2. Finally got the year 5s singing consistently well at RE. It's been our project this semester. The trick? They need to own it. Have year 5s song leading and playing. Give the kids out the front microphones. And choose cool songs.
3. Micah had his third cello lesson. He's doing well. Hot Cross Buns and Mary Had A Little Lamb this week.
4. I'm off to see Breaking Dawn right now.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

gingerbread

I've made a few gingerbread houses in my time. I've got it down. The trick is to not fuss. If you fuss, your house will collapse. I can chuck one together and decorate it in under fifteen minutes. Then I wait, bored, for the next two hours while everyone else painstakingly builds their houses. Sometimes I help out by rebuilding the houses of those who have fussed.

For the last couple of years I've put no effort into decorating my houses. Because, let's face it, they all look fine when they are covered in lollies, dusted with icing sugar and wrapped in cellophane.

But I'm going to four gingerbread house making events in the next couple of weeks. It's time to change my attitude. This year I will put in effort. I think I'll have a different theme for each house. No time to buy anything special for tonight's, but next week...

A spooky theme?



going to Mackay for the weekend

Seeing a friend, giving a talk and making my first gingerbread house for the year. Should be fun.

Friday, November 18, 2011

39 episodes of Sea Change watched...

... Now back to real life.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

today I had the most brilliant idea.

An invention.

Something every kid needs in summer.

Would make me rich.

Marco Polo goggles.

I was going to patent the idea.

Unfortunately, I wasn't the first to think of it.

A shame.

loving...

... Tim Freedman's cover of You Weren't In Love With Me. It's fun.

You can't out-tragic the original, so I'm glad he didn't try.

beach day!

Skipping school today and going to the beach with friends.

I've just made a mix cd for the trip. Some good stuff on it including Tim Freedman's cover of You Weren't In Love With Me and some new Cold Play. Life is good.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

things should be wrapping up at work...

But they're not.

Quite the opposite.

Who'd be a music teacher at the end of the year?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

assessment found

Phew.

I've lost all the testing I've done for an entire class

Reports due tomorrow. No idea what I'm going to do.

Why am I so hopeless?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Year 7 Leaving Song

This is going to be fantastic. Finally sorted what we are doing. The kids are super keen and so am I. Three weeks before the end of primary I've found a bunch of year 7 boys who sing well and want solo parts... D'oh! Remind me to do something like this earlier next year.

Anyway. Here's what we've got. A medley of songs. One representing each year of primary school - I tried to choose a song that charted well in each year...

2005 - Eye of the Tiger (remember? Lee Harding (Idol finalist) did it.)
2006 - Forever Young
2007 - How to save a life
2008 - Viva la Vida
2009 - Love Story? I got a feeling?
2010 - Fireflies? Hey Soul Sister?
2011 - Firework

I'll play piano. I'm putting together a band of awesome (Band of Awesome is the name I give to any group of kids I work with. Some are more awesome than others.)


Sunday, November 13, 2011

wasabi peas

Yum.

I'm going to eat them till I have no tastebuds left at all.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

yeah.

Between the 25 episodes of Sea Change I've watched this week, I've also been trying to write a song picking up theme's from John's gospel. My last attempt didn't amount to much. This week's attempts have been consistently rubbish - so in my depression I've retreated into more YouTube...

This is what I'm up to now. Interesting metre - 10 10 12 6. It needs a chorus/bridge/refrain/something and another verse.

There is a life that can unlock the grave
A power great beyond all earthly laws
A love so fierce it reaches into death to save
then holds our hearts secure

There is a stream where thirsty souls can drink
A place the weary rest amidst the strife
There is a table laid with wine and living bread
Where seeking souls find life

sar 2011

how many episodes of sea change is too many?

I've just finished the second series.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

a lame excuse

I walked past the swimming pool at school today. Micah's teacher called me over. She was very unimpressed. Micah was sitting out of swimming. His excuse, "I have to do my homework this afternoon and if I go swimming now I'll be too tired to do it."

Um.

No.

It's 3.30 and Micah has just finished his homework. Five minutes ago he asked Andrew and I to go away and leave him alone so he could work.

Again, no.

We feel we're in uncharted territory. Not had a child defiant in this particular way before.

Abide with me.

Rememberence day tomorrow. I can't forget it because I'm a music teacher. I have a small ensemble (Joel - bass clarinet, Nathan - trombone, a sax, a eupho and a few trumpets) playing Abide With Me. Today I have to source an adequate trumpet player for the last post. If I can't get a kid up to speed, I'll have to play it myself.

My boy can read!

Which is good, because he's 10 now. I wish I could give 2008 me (or even 2010 me) a snap shot of Joel now. For the last month he's been reading the Percy Jackson books. He's not a fast reader, but he is reading for hours every day. I have to take his books off him at meal times. This is amazing. 

Some history. It took us weeks in year 1 to teach him the alphabet and simple words like 'the'. In year 2 he still couldn't read at all. The G.O. did a full assessment (which was very interesting - (97th percentile for higher order stuff, 16th percentile for processing speed)). She said that a kid with his profile would learn to read when he wanted it badly enough. He would have to learn in his own way. Even though the G.O. suggested it would be a waste of time, he was withdrawn from classes for lessons in how to sound out words. [Basically, Joel reads with his right brain. The left side is the side that sounds out. The right brain cannot sound out.] He hated it and still cannot sound out words. But he's taught himself to read anyway.  He's getting the meaning of the stories completely correct, and most of the words right - except proper nouns. These are consistently wrong - but who cares?

He's reading. I'm now looking forward to year 7 naplan. In year 3, Joel did the comprehension task without reading the text at all. In year 5, he looked in the text for the answers. Perhaps in year 7 he'll start by reading the text! [But maybe not. I was a good reader and never ever wanted to read the boring text on a comprehension task.]

Hello Latvia!

I don't understand these stats either. 


Australia - 934
United States - 547
United Kingdom - 133
Latvia - 26
Netherlands - 20
Russia - 19
Ukraine - 17
Germany - 11
Georgia - 8
Poland - 7

But thanks for reading. Special hello to my friends in Latvia, the Netherlands, Russia and the Ukraine. Coach Bags, is that you?

This lesson is brought to you by youtube.

Yesterday I taught 5 classes about Pachelbel's canon. We listened to it, talked about how the chord progression works, played the chord progression, learned a few other simpler melodies in it, played them on our ukes and then played them against each other and against the chord progression. Then we listened to Vitamin C's rip off Graduation Song. Then we watched this. I needed to edit our a few words (with my handy mute button.) Interestingly, the year 5s enjoyed it more than the year 7s. Probably helped that Joel was in my first year 5 class - he set it up well by saying how funny it was. The kids believed him so found it funny and then excitedly spread the word it the next 3 year 5 classes.







Fun times post assessment. Alas, I've not yet written any more reports.




Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Diver Dan is about to leave Pearl Bay.

First time I saw it I was distraught.

Then...

What I'm finding difficult right now.

1. Having a shower
2. Finding clothes
3. Getting ready for work
4. Writing reports
5. Not watching sea change

What I find difficult #2.

Not doing (stupid) things that I want to do if there is no gun against my head stopping me.

(And even then I sometimes still do them and accept the bullet as an unavoidable consequence.)

Lentil stew anyone? Birthright? What birthright?

What I find really difficult.

Doing anything at all that I don't want to do.

Man. I'm 36! Surely I should be more disciplined by now.

Just. Do. It.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

watching series one of sea change

I should be doing other things.

Cooking dinner with head phones on and youtube playing.

right unhappy

My friends and I are helping to look after a friend's two year old while his mum is in hospital.

His little world has been turned upside down and he is sad. He'll play well for a while, then things will fall apart and he'll tell us firmly that he wants his dad or he wants his nanna. But his biggest want is never expressed to us. Mum.

I want him to be happy but in a way I'm glad that he's not. Someone is missing so it's right that there is a hole. The hole is testimony to his relationship with his mum. Praying, though, that we can fill in enough of it to let the weeks pass as quickly and happily for him as possible. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Twilight Running Festival

I'm going to do this. 10km race on the 18th March next year.

I know I can run 10kms, but I'm so slow. Yesterday I did 10kms in 1.19 which is pathetic. I might as well have walked it. My aim is to get it closer to an hour. Andrew thinks I can do it. I'm unsure. The training diary I've downloaded says I need to run 3-4 times a week - generally one long run, 1-2 40min runs, and one speed session where I go hard for a minute or two six times.

Anyone else want to join me? It's good to have a goal. This is quite a nice event. Sunday afternoon. Andrew did it last year (in like 42 minutes!)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Alex reads Twilight

I'm a little bit in love with this guy. Hilarious.


Friday, November 4, 2011

choral workshop

I went to a choral workshop today. Got some great hints on how to make primary choirs sound better and sang through lots of fantastic repertoire. 


I've gone to four of these in the last 12 months. This one was the best because he didn't dictate what kind of sound we should be going for (i.e. the sound of his choir!) When asked a question along those lines he said...


'The only thing two choral conductors will ever agree on is the incompetence of the third.'


Basically, everyone likes the sound that their own choir makes and thinks everyone else's sucks. Yep. That's my experience!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

We won!

Not that it was about winning or losing. Of course.

We're all winners, aren't we?

They ran the line - we don't need more Australian tv because we already have enough. TV stations more than comply with the standards. If we stop importing TV shows, other countries will stop buying ours and our economy simply couldn't handle that. We also need imported TV in order to learn about other cultures.

I was proud of our kids that they came up with two rebuttal points on the spot for stuff that we hadn't talked about.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

the antidote to fear

Jesus - the first and the last.


When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. 
Revelation 1:17-18

Pace yourself! the Author is wrapping things up!

Al quoted this.

So soon you will be in that part of the book where you are holding the bulk of the pages in your left hand, and only a thin wisp of the story in your right. You will know by the page count, not by the narrative, that the Author is wrapping things up. You begin to mourn its ending, and want to pace yourself slowly toward its closure, knowing the last lines will speak of something beautiful, of the end of something long and earned, and you hope the thing closes out like last breaths, like whispers about how much and who the characters have come to love, and how authentic the sentiments feel when they have earned a hundred pages of qualification.


Powerful. Ten years ago I didn't feel like I was running out of time. Now I know I am. Got to keep running. Got to do things now I won't be able to do later... 

The Slap

I've been watching this. Not sure what I think. The main thing that's stood out has been that sex takes about 20 seconds. Efficient.

Anyone else watched it?

post catch up.

Hi everyone.

Things have been a bit quiet around here for the last little while.

Hope none of your hearts have broken over this. The space I've left has no doubt given you opportunity to discover new and more interesting places in the blogosphere. Perhaps I've even been deleted and replaced on your reader... [Tell me who has taken my place. I'll hack into their account and hijack their blog.]

Anyway... I thought I'd post briefly on a few things I've been thinking about. Comment if anything catches your eye.


s

Monday, October 31, 2011

year 7 farewell song

Ideas?

Good Riddance has been done recently. So has You've Got A Friend In Me.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

debating debating debating

Last one this Wednesday night. Bring it on.

We're arguing that we need more Australian made television.

Far too difficult a topic for ten year olds.

We're affirmative. If you were negative, how would you argue your case?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

So maybe all the busy of the last couple of months has caught up with me.

I've been feeling pretty flat. And sad.

But still busy. 5 birthday parties/compulsory play dates this weekend. Another prep musical on Monday. Five classes of kids to finish assessing (2 already finished!) 180 reports to write. Pointless choir thing on Thursday night. Many kids to rehearse for various things. Grumpy kids of my own (with a grumpy mother who can't get round to writing anything that she wants to write.)

When will all this end?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

36.

Nathan, now you can call me old.

now I'm excited!

So it's my birthday today. I wasn't at all excited. It's going to be a huge work day for me - I won't have even 5 minutes to sit in the staff room and eat cake. Nathan is going off to camp. I have a cool idea for a little birthday party but can't find a time that suits all 4 of my friends.

But now I am excited. Andrew and the kids got me one of these.

Just got to get through the next 8 hours, then I can play.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

prep micro-musical

Tomorrow the first of my prep classes are performing our micro-musical Once Upon A Time.

Because of school holidays, school concerts and pupil free days, I've not seen or rehearsed them for weeks. I've not finished writing the script and they don't know their lines. But they know the songs and the vibe of the story. It has a very full narration and the kids lines are all pretty obvious. I have about an hour to pull it all together in the morning, then another 45 minutes in the afternoon to get them dressed etc before the parents come.

I'm telling myself it will be okay. Prep parents will be generous.

I'm also hoping to get four year 7 girls to come and help me pull it off. I can give each of them a group of kids to take responsibility for.

It will be okay. (See, I keep telling myself!) The costumes will look nice. I've gone for simple smock like things:

Knight - Red satin smock, gold belt, cape, sword.
Dragon - Green smock, tail
Humpty Dumpty - Colourful cardboard egg tied around neck.
Grand Old Duke plus men - Red satin smocks, gold ribbons around waist, shields.
Fairies - Green satin smocks, holly tied around heads and waists, alfoil covered straw magic wands
Princesses - Pink smocks, silver ribbons around waists, pretty see though fabric sashes, cone shaped medieval princess cardboard hats with ribbons.

And I've got some cool cardboard castles (that I made years ago for a church kids' club!) for our props.

It will be okay.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Some things...

...are only endurable with large quantities of alcohol.

I don't drink enough.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

poems by Joel

Joel is doing poetry at school. He gets it. He's been writing some at home too. I just found a file open on the computer. This one's my favourite. (He has chosen a picture to match each one.)

Paintings

Paintings blush of colour
Swirls of wonder and glory
Life on the wall.





These next two paint bleaker pictures.

Death

There's a zombie chain sore murderer
Hacking at your door
He'll hack your head off for all the gore
You'll die a painful death and he'll like it all the more.

Gloomy Day

As the brown sky sinks behind gloomy town
It hangs like an old tie
The cars huff by a group of children playing war
Behind a barbed wire fence.


twist pastor's conference talks

Here.

Philip's talk (the state of music in the church) and Bob's first talk (corporate music as pastoral care) are up. Both worth listening to.

John kids church outline version 521

John 1 - Life from the beginning

John 3 - You need new life

John 6 - Bread for life

John 10 - Full life

John 11 - Resurrected life

John 13 - A life of love

John 18-19 - A life laid down

John 20-21 - Life forever

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

worship and an affectionate evangelicalism

What do you think?

Part 1 here. Part 2 here. More in the next couple of days.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

RE today...

...was Daniel in the lion's den.

Easiest story in the world to tell - which was good because we only did 5 minutes prep. I read the story through twice. For our first class (200 year 2-3 kids) I set it up by explaining the government of Babylon at that stage - King Darius, 3 governors, 120 officials... then just told the story.

Wanted to do something different for the second class (200 year 4-5 kids). I got Andrew to tell the story and I sat at the piano and played background music. Was fun. It was nice playing off each other. Andrew had to fill out the story more than he usually would so my playing could take effect. We'll try it again sometime. Might even practice beforehand*.

*Unlikely!

John 3:1-15

I've been thinking about this passage for a while, wondering about Jesus' logic: how did he get from Nicodemus needing new birth to the snake on the pole? And how do I teach this to kids?

I think I've cracked it.

We have Nic all self righteous. "We know that you are a great teacher..."

Jesus replies with, "You know nothing. You need to be born again."

Then Nicodemus is all.. What? How?

Then Jesus tells him that he is as good as dead. Like the Israelites under judgement in the desert. They were dying of snakebite because of their sin. Nicodemus (despite his pharisaic righteousness) is dying of his sin. He needs new life. The Israelites were given life through looking to the lifted-up snake. Nic needs to look to the lifted up son of man to get his new birth and live.

He doesn't understand now, but when he sees Jesus on the cross he will. He'll look up and believe and be granted eternal life.

And us?

Do we know that we're as dead as the snake bitten Israelites in the desert?

Will we look to the one lifted up and live?

it all really sucks.

Five thoughts.

1. It is your fault. Not 100% your fault. Maybe not even 50%. But you have to own some blame.
2. The world won't come crashing in if you admit the things you've done wrong. Nothing can be fixed until you do.
3. Repentance is wonderful and liberating.
4. This would be easier to talk about if you were a christian.
5. It all really sucks.

wish life would stop for a while.

Monday, October 17, 2011

PD day

Pupil free today.

Was brilliant.

James Morrison, QSO people, Harley Mead, Typology.

A master chef finalist made lunch for us all.

Good times.

keep an eye on the briefing today

The next article in the twist series may say some unexpected stuff. Interested in what you think. It's not up yet, but should be sometime this morning.

A taster? "The commonly held evangelical argument for all of life worship is not necessarily in accord with the Bible’s trajectory for worship."

Notes from Bob Kauflin Songwriters’ Dinner


Editing and collaboration.
Years ago, Bob used to get writers to present their songs to a big group. This didn’t work. People expressed contradictory opinions and confusion resulted. Now they do it with an American Idol style panel. 
A great song (or the makings of a great song) will be recognisable straight away. 
Bob might say ‘great tune idea’ then send them back an edited version. The writer may or may not like Bob’s edits. If they don’t like them then they should re-write it themselves. But the bad line can’t stay in. 
If you have to ask 'what does it mean?’ then the song is not worth working on.
Bob encourages a good collaborative attitude between writers. If someone else can come up with a great lyric for your song - ask for help. Bob will often say - "you go work on this with x."
'If we don't ALL think this is a great song, why would we inflict it on the church?'
What hinders process? - when someone insists that others must like their idea.
Bob might suggest concepts.
Don't defend your line. Come up with a better line.
We need to be much harder on ourselves. None of us has done our best yet.
Don't give in to despair/discouragement 'I'll never write another good song again.' Boo hoo. If you don't try you certainly won't. 
Hard work. Need to work with each other in this.
What hinders collaborative process - when someone insists that others must like their idea.
.........
What makes a good song?
Mark asks - Do you have a style vision ... A unity you're aiming at? It’s easier to collaborate if you all share style vision. [great question!]
Bob says, I don't know. - Here's what I'm aiming at.
Easy to sing - range a-d
Stepwise movements
Not too many unexpected twists - except one good one.
Easy to learn.
Easy to understand (for all believers)
Creative imagery vs confusing language
If people don't get it, it's not a good metaphor.
Isaac watts quote.
Normal words put together in a good way.
Hard to forget - memorable - words and tune.
Hard to dismiss - compelling, inspiring, fresh
Hard to categorise - appealing to one generation is easy. Needs to be a style that appeals to everyone - A really good song. Songs that unite not divide people. Style maybe ... If it’s authentic, you'll probably get away with it.
So styles may be different on one album... but what looking for is what comes out of you. 
Stay away from wanting to write in a 'style that makes people love us.'
Worship isn't a 'sound'. People think that worship sounds like 'this'. Organ, or hillsong.
Bob wants 7-8 songs out of 12 that churches WILL sing.
When focussing on words, we tend to be wordy and not leave 'space'
Q - What Songs of yours are the most popular?
A - hymn-like ones. (Q - same with emu?)
Shouldn't judge song by whether our fans like it. Fans are too generous. Won’t make us better writers.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

humiliation.

I'm searching old hard drives, reading everything I've written in the last 5 years. Most of it is really really bad. I mean. Really bad.

How horrible to think that in a couple of years I'll look back at what I'm writing now and cringe. Maybe I'll never put anything up on my blog again. This could be my last post ever.

come kneel before the cross

Okay, this is a modified version of the 'come mourn with me' idea I was playing with yesterday. It's meant as a meditation on the cross. A strange meter (couple of hiccups left in). Still needs a chorus or bridge or something and another 6 re-writes. Too glum?


Come Kneel Before The Cross


1. come kneel before the cross
and mourn with me a while
in sorrow and sadness know God’s love.
the lashes on his back
the mocking taunts he bore - 
the cost of his love for us.

2. the thunder of God’s wrath,
death’s merciless embrace,
willing, the guiltless pays the price.
my life forfeit in sin
can now begin again
bought by his sacrifice.

3. Have we no tears to shed?
Can we not comprehend
our precious salvation dearly bought?
O Lord come change our hearts
and set our lives apart
Holy to sin no more.

sar 2011