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.