Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Idol Review

Not an inspiring night, over all. Pretty boring actually. So boring that my sister wanted to flick over to 'Dancing with the stars'. Having a celebrity judge isn't great. The celebrity is so keen to suck up to their potential audience (ie. us) that they don't want to say anything negative about anyone in case they're our favourite.

Thanh sang You're The Voice. Farnsey is rarely a good choice. It didn't take off. B.

Chrislyn sang Chains. My sister thinks Chrislyn would be a superstar if she had a gastric band. (I, of course, wouldn't think anything so shallow...) My sister started working out how many kilos Chrislyn could lose before the end of the series is she did the procedure tomorrow. A.

Tom has got to go. He sang Light Surrounding You which, at it's best, is a dreadful song (so preachy!), and it definitely wasn't at it's best. D+.

Marcia may have found Teale sexy, but I didn't. B-.

Rushani sang Heading in the right direction. It was really good, as always, but I find that I don't care. A-

Wes is always convincing. He sang Friday On My Mind and it was great. A. (My sister says A+.)

Luke will lose his voice soon and go back to sheep shearing. And we'll get over it. B-.

Sophie sang Don't Hold Back. Yeah, it was probably better, but I'm still not sold. C+.

Mark sang Age of Reason and again, I didn't care. B-.

Madam has to learn how to choose songs. Hook Me Up didn't work. B-.


Lovely to be here. Great to see my sister and her kids. So far we've been horseriding, watersliding, indoor playing, giant pillow jumping, to Yeppoon, church...

Rockhampton really is a nice place. From our deck we have a great view out over the southern hills. Driving down the main street is a delightful experience - a long, wide, straight road heading to the northern mountains, with no cars to speak of... though several crazy pedestrians who think nothing of running out onto the highway.

My sister is like a 3 month old puppy - 2 speeds - on and off. She is go go go go all day. Why just watch Australian Idol when you can clean your teeth (with 2 electric toothbrushes - faster that way), pump weights, cook and do the washing at the same time? Why b/feed one child when you could be feeding two? Makes me feel a little lazy but life is never dull!

Interesting the similarities between us. Mannerisms, confidence, opinions. Though we've made life choices that have taken us down quite different paths, common genetic material counts for quite a lot.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Off to Rockhampton tomorrow!

Tomorrow I'm taking the boys up to Rockhampton to stay with my sister for a few days. She is somewhat hyperactive, she has three small kids, works as a surgeon, goes to the gym, flits between her husband in Hong Kong and our parents on the Gold Coast... She's planned all sorts of things for us to do with her up there. The kids are excited about rock pool swimming and horse riding. I'm hoping to take us all along to our friend's church. Should be fun.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

what's NOT allowed...

... moving into a new room to play because the old room is too messy.


I am the queen of the flyer this week. I've made three different ones so far, and it's only Tuesday.

Just finished this one. It's for a supporter's event for QUT Christians (an AFES group). You should come along. Consider yourself invited.

I love spring!

28 degrees. Life is good.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Australia, what are you thinking?

I actually voted tonight. I usually put in one vote per season. Perhaps I should have put in one more vote.

Alas, when we think of who we could have said good-bye to...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Idol Review

sang Jack and Diane. It was a bit off tune.

Brooke sang Betty Davis Eyes. Very nice voice. Very pretty. She looked like she was trying to have betty davis eyes herself - which isn't quite what the song is about.

Madam was a bit off tonight. Subdued. But she was sick so we'll forgive her.

Mark sang I wanna know what love is. He needed to stand up straighter. But maybe he was going for the constipated look.

Tom was awful. He sang Uptown Girl. It sounded about as good as a year 8 talent quest.

Chrislyn showed her True Colours. Thank goodness there was no Kyle 'touchdown' tonight!

I thought Teale was crazy singing I still haven't found what I'm looking for. It was much much much better than last week (even quite good), but really, why try to compete with Bono?

Sophie also sang much better than last week with Sweet Dreams.

Wes sang Dancing in the Dark but didn't need to impress us with his guitar. He was great.

Rushani was good again but makes it look too easy.

Tahn sang Every Breath You Take like the stalker song that it is. Fantastic and slightly concerning.

I particularly enjoyed Wes and Tahn. My bottom two would be Tom and Luke.

What did you think?

the definition of useless

On Friday I bought a new toaster. Admittedly, I didn't spend a whole lot of money on it. Only $14.95. I didn't intend for it to last forever. Maybe just a year or two.

As far as I can see, the electrics work perfectly. It looks quite nice. Has a white exterior that won't get too hot, nice silver part on top, removal crumb tray. Just one problem. The slots are so narrow that a slice of bread can't fit in. (I'm not talking about home sliced bread either. Shop bought and sliced.)

Completely useless. I'm taking it back.

Friday, September 19, 2008

bonhoeffer and disappointment

Today I have been watching dvds from Moore College's 2006 School of Theology. The topic was the consolation of theology. Great stuff. So far I've listened to lectures on Robert Banks speak about C.S. Lewis and pain, Peter Bolt speak about Kierkegaard and anxiety, and Brian Rosner talk about Bonhoeffer and disappointment.

I'm quite taken with this Bonhoeffer quote:

"Nothing can fill the gap when we are away from those we love, and it would be wrong to try and find anything. We must simply hold out and win through. That sounds very hard at first, but at the same time it is a great consolation, since leaving the gap unfilled preserves the bonds between us. It is nonsense to say that God fills the gap; He does not fill it, but keeps it empty so that our communion with another may be kept alive, even at the cost of pain" Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Thinking about the many emotional 'gaps' God leaves unfilled in our lives. Our want for partner, child, friend.. whatever, are real longings and God in his wisdom doesn't fill them. Perhaps his leaving them empty legitimises them as longings and we should thank him, in spite of the pain we feel.

woo hoo!

school holidays!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Are we closet legalists?

In this very sensible post, Jen B argues that sex is for marriage, not ministry. I raised some similar concerns I have about the sort of things often said at ministry wives events back here.

I think my over-riding concern is that we are much too keen to offer advice to others about family and ministry. What do you think?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

my dog does her poos on concrete

Inspired by our very cute puppy, I have written a kids' story. Some of it anyway.

It would fit into the hairy maclary genre.

I think it has potential.

Any illustrators out there? I can send you the text.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Five Reasons Why I'm Glad To Be A Presbyterian

I need to write this post. Bear with me.

1. There is more chance of hearing the bible preached in a presbyterian church than in any other kind of church in my city.

2. Presbyterianism encourages creativity, quick thinking and precision timing. Really it does. To achieve good things for the gospel at the denominational level, creative solutions and lightning fast reflexes are essential to prevent serious meeting-deterioration. I have been truly amazed at the skills of some in these areas. One very skillful presbyterian bided his time during a lengthy debate and then, with precision timing, jumped in, quoted the code book and won the day! I cheered (on the inside!)

3. Presbyterianism teaches patience. Do I need to say more?

4. Presbyterianism is the only place where an entire committee would sincerely applaud the fact that a potential OT lecturer is proficient in Aramaic as well as Hebrew.

5. The Presbyterians have a seriously good theological college in Brisbane. And they let others in too!

just 2kgs to go

My seven and a half week weight loss challenge finishes next Tuesday. I aimed to lose 7.5kgs in 7.5 weeks. Six and a half weeks down and I've lost 5.5kgs. I feel pretty good - I can now get through a gym class without a drink and my clothes fit again (which is satisfying and convenient).

But I think it will be pretty hard to shift the last 2kgs in just one week. Perhaps I need to change the rules and weigh myself without my joggers on.

Any suggestions to help me succeed? I'm not into supplements or starving myself.

[update: not into amputation either. Thanks anyway Nathan.]

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Australian Idol

I'm a fan. Enjoyed the show tonight. Thought the judges were a little harsh with a couple of performers and not harsh enough with another few.

Here's who I wouldn't mind not seeing again: Teale, Jonny and Sophie. Tom wasn't good either.

What did you think?

I love my kids

One of the things I love most about being a parent is that my kids are like me and our tastes in music and books are similar. We've just spent a very happy hour watching youtube musical songs. We all loved it. "Just one more, mummy... How about You Can't Get a Man With A Gun?" Ummm... Okay!

Our second son is currently working on learning the words to 'One Night in Bangkok'. (This song came out when I was 9. I thought it was just the coolest thing!) They understand the characters and basic plot of chess (everyone is screwed up and uses everyone else for their own purposes) but I'm glad he's too young to be able to catch and understand all the words. 'I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine!'

life's more fun when you can light a fire

I've not been posting much lately. It's not that I don't have things to say - I do. But many things are better left unsaid. So I'm trying not to say them.

Hopefully I'll have something postable soon.

In the mean time, here are some pictures from Joel's 7th birthday.

The cake I managed to construct for us at home!

The cake my friend Sylvia made for Joel's party.

Toasting mashmallows at our 'after dark' party. Life's more fun if you can light a fire. (We also lit up a tennis ball and kicked it around the yard, but the pics weren't great.)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

vark learning style questionairre

Self-obsessed me likes to take tests. This one told me that I'm an aural learner. Unsurprising.

What are you?

(thanks sophg)

ministry wives angst

I went to a ministry wives day on Friday. The speaker had many good things to say and it was helpful. (This post is not a critique of Friday's event.)

I have been to many ministry wives training days. Often, I don't want to go, fearing that I'll just hear the same old stuff again. Many of my friends come away feeling intimidated or depressed at how badly they're doing.

Just in case anyone who looks at this blog are asked to speak at such an event, here are a few points to remember:

1. We're easy targets.
Many of us have very tender consciences and you are speaking to us at the points at which we're most vulnerable - our marriages and our christian service. It really matters to us that we serve our husbands and God's people well - that's why we're in the positions we're in! So be gentle in rebuking us. It really hurts!

2. Our husband's ministries are very different.
There are different challenges in being the wife of a senior minister, an assistant minister, a campus worker, a college lecturer, and a missionary. Don't assume that everyone faces the same challenges as a pastor's wife. In some ways, it is easiest to be a church wife. Many of the others have undefined and invisible roles and the tricky job of supporting their husbands from afar.

3. Our families are very different
What one husband needs from his wife can be quite different from what another needs. Some families are higher maintenance than others. Some wives do it tougher than others.

4. The bedroom is only a very rough barometer of the health of the relationship.
Dissatisfaction in this sector does not necessarily indicate that there is trouble in other areas of the marriage. (Really, who feels like it 3 hours after giving birth?) If you tell us it does, some of us will feel needlessly guilty.

5. A well known church planter from Seattle has observed that minister's wives commit adultery even more often than ministers do. We need to be talking about this.

6. Even if we fail in everything, God still loves us and tomorrow is a new day of grace. Tell us over and over again about God's forgiveness. We so easily forget!

A word for the catastrophizer in me

'There is always something bigger than the heartache of the moment.'

Timothy S. Lane and Paul David Tripp. How People Change, p.126.

Monday, September 8, 2008

gastric bands and persuasion

My sister has just done a course in gastric banding (she's a surgeon). On the weekend I read a book that she's to give to people who might be considering surgical procedures to aid their weight loss. The book was well written, scientific, sympathetic and depressing. It was very down on 'lifestyle' weight loss strategies (diet and exercise) because they just don't work long term (apparently). It then went through the pros and cons of all the surgical options, concluding that the lap-band is by far and away the best option.

The book was persuasive. So, persuasive, in fact, that after reading it for an hour I felt that a gastric band was the only way forward for me. Sure, I might lose these couple of kilograms, but sometime in the next few years I'll probably put them back on again. Pointless, pointless, pointless. Willpower can only last so long and chocolate slice tastes so good...

Then I woke up. WHAT?!? I'm well within my healthy weight range! Why would I even think about bariatric surgery?

A bit concerning, really. That a sympathetically written medical book could convince me that I need potentially life-threatening surgery to deal with a problem that I don't have.

Friday, September 5, 2008

this golden snitch

(2 Cor 10:5)

this golden snitch
of fancy flies
up and away
out of my clasp
and though I reach
and strive to grasp
my secret soul
still wills it stay
beyond my reach

just one more day

lest it, in chains
be forced to bow
to christ

sar 2008

holy father,

adjust my heart and strengthen my will that I may take captive every thought for obedience to Christ.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

random facts meme

I was tagged by Ali to do this meme. Here are the rules:

1. Link to the person who ‘tagged’ you!
2. Post the rules on your blog!
3. List 6 random facts about yourself!
4. Tag 6 people at the end of your post!
5. Let each person know they have been tagged by commenting on their blog!
6. Let the tagger know the entry is posted on your blog!

random facts about me:

1. I got married when I was 20. Looking back, I was far too young. But I chose well, so what does it matter?

2. I trained as a high school teacher (music and english). I now work as a supply teacher two days a week - mostly in primary schools. I think I could be a good primary school teacher if I knew anything about what primary kids should learn. At the moment I know very little, but get by on the fact that I can tell a story.

3. I had my first romantic encounter when I was in year 7. A boy, Matthew, gave me flowers at the end of year formal. I was so embarrassed (my parents were there!) and didn't know what to do so I pushed them back at him. This was really quite unkind of me. I had been flirting with him for months and he felt pretty bad. I did too. I didn't get a chance to say sorry, because we all went off to high school after that and I never really spoke to him again. Oh well.

4. I like to do the extrovert thing and chat to lots of people, but there's nothing that I'd rather do than hang out with close friends.

5. Sometimes I think blogging is about as satisfying as having half a conversation.

6. I have three kids. I feel guilty that we don't have four. After #3 I was reluctant to get pregnant again because I lose my creative spark when I'm pregnant and breast feeding. I think this is a pretty poor reason for not having another child.

Six people. Hmmm.

Lucy, Ruth, Prue, Rebecca, and you, faithful reader, in my comments section if you don't have a blog.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

weight loss and george matheson

I've been studying my blog stats. It seems that the best way to get hits is to write posts on George Matheson (a scottish hymn writer) and weight loss.

I'd combine the two and write on George Matheson's approach to weight-loss, except it would all be pure conjecture.

Did GM have a weight problem? Look at this picture (thanks wiki). Perhaps he did, but it might be just his robes. If he did need to shed a few kilos, he would probably have found exercise a challenge, being blind and all. Cooking would have had its challenges too.

Is that enough? Has Mr. Google led people to this pointless post?

Just in case, let me add a few more catch words: rainbow, hymn-writer, fat, diet, women. That should do it!

ps. If you're actually interested in George Matheson, let me point you to this great series of blog posts.

did you know...

... that cars make a strange tic-tic-tic-tic-tic-tic-tic sound when they are completely out of oil?

I do.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

end of OT celebration!

Joel (age 7) has just finished OT (occupational therapy) for the next little while. After 5 months working to improve his visual sequential memory, he has moved from the 4th percentile to the 53rd for visual sequential memory tasks. Yay for average skills! Joel now has one strategy he can use to remember visual patterns - verbal rehearsal. This is one more strategy than he had at easter.

In case you were wondering, visual sequential memory issues make school life not so much fun. Reading is difficult because you look at a word and half a second later forget which order the letters went in. So you are constantly reading words back to front and inside out. Copying from the black board is near impossible because you have to keep moving your eyes up and down and can't keep track of what letter you are up to. And spelling is a nightmare because you have no intuitive feel for what words should look like.

But thanks to the skills of our friendly OT, we're getting through. Joel's visual memory will probably never be good, but we've started to teach him coping strategies so that he can keep up in school. We are blessed to have so many professionals to help our kids with their struggles. It seems that my dad had similar issues to Joel (it's nice to have bad genes to blame!) All that his teachers could suggest was that he get his eyes checked.

Monday, September 1, 2008

why do I say I'll do these things?

I've just made the most stupid looking flyer ever.

stress, metabolism and weight loss

Since I'm on a weight loss kick at the moment, I thought I'd post a few thoughts on the subject. I'm a little hesitant to do it, ultimately it's not something that really matters and in the game of weight loss, women often feel very beaten (when the playing field was never level to begin with...) But anyway, here are a few ideas.

1. Weight loss and stress
Most women fall into one of two categories: stress eaters and stress non-eaters. Me, I'm a stress eater. Put me under a bit of pressure and that block of chocolate, tub of ice-cream, or loaf of bread looks irresistible. My stress non-eater friends assure me that their plight is pretty bad, but I wouldn't mind it occasionally (They tell me that they get anxious and can't eat and later because their stomachs are so empty the thought of food makes them nauseous, so they continue not eating, and just feel sicker and sicker...) Unsurprisingly, stress non-eaters tend towards being underweight, and stress eaters tend towards being overweight. It's not rocket science.

But what this means is that it's very difficult to lose weight if you are stressed. A friend of mine has put on considerable weight in the last few years. She has a very high maintenance family (no, worse than you are thinking) as well as other significant pressures. To label her as greedy or undisciplined because of her current waist circumference would be unfair.

So, unless you're a stress non-eater, you'll lose weight best when you feel some degree of calm and contentment about yourself and life. This will be a considerable hurdle for many of us. (An aside: ever notice how being told that you're chubby doesn't make it easier to lose weight? It causes stress and makes that mud cake all the more appealing!)

2. Weight loss and metabolism
I read up on this last night and am pretty taken with it. Hope it's useful to you.

Our resting metabolism (which is the amount of energy we use when we're doing nothing) is dependent on the amount of lean muscle we have in our bodies. The more muscular we are, the more energy we use, simply because it burns a lot of kilojoules just to maintain muscles. So if you have a slow metabolism (if you put on weight easily), you could increase it by getting a bit more muscular. If you want to lose weight, the most efficient exercise to do is weight training. If you walk you'll burn kilojoules while you're out walking, but if you do weights, you'll burn the energy while you're working out and your metabolism will increase and you'll continue to burn the kilojoules during the day.

Now here's what was new to me. When we lose weight, we lose it from fat AND muscle. If we only diet and don't exercise, we will lose weight at first but pretty soon our weight loss will decrease because our metabolism has slowed because our overall amount of muscle has decreased. So if you diet for a couple of weeks without doing any exercise you could end up with less muscle and a slower metabolism - resulting in weight gain reasonably soon. Interesting, huh?

3. Weight loss and the future
It's not a competition. The person who dies the thinnest doesn't win. (In a hundred years time none of our bodies will have much flesh on them.) The person who averages the lowest BMI over their lifetime doesn't win either. Actually, how much we weigh is something of an irrelevancy in the eternal scheme of things. Most women worry about their weight far too much. And because of point #1, such worry is counterproductive. We need to be more concerned about loving Jesus and serving our neighbours and families than we are about our dress size.

If you're interested in a much more thorough look at dieting - check out these posts on Jean's blog.