Monday, December 29, 2008

a 'surprise' meal

We were going to have a 'surprise' meal for dinner tonight. A 'surprise' meal is one which I have given no thought to prior to about 5.30pm. I came home ready to surprise my family (and myself!) with a nutritious dinner. Trouble was, I had taken no meat out of the freezer and the kids were wanting to eat immediately...

I did indeed get surprised. It seems that we left the house this morning without shutting the freezer door properly. Bingo. Four sorts of meat defrosted and ready to go (as well as 2 loaves of bread, 2 packets of donuts, some iceblocks...)

The kids were surprised with their sausages. Andrew and I are about to sit down to a meal of prawns. Tomorrow night, it's steak and more sausages. The dog was surprised with her extra bone.

At least we'd run out of ice-cream.


Is it just me or are there an awful lot of patterned shirts and dresses out there at the moment?

I've never really been a patterned clothes kind of a person. I'm more plain. Plain black, plain brown and red is my basic repertoire. Lately though, and against my better judgement*, I've joined the crowd and ventured into patterns. I now have three patterned shirts.

Can I say that I think the whole patterned thing is a mistake? I was looking at a room full of people today and those in plain colours looked the best. The patterns gave the room a messy and almost dated feel. I think we may look back on the patterns of summer 2008, shake our heads, and vow not to go there again.

* thanks mum!


I have new boxing gloves and a punching bag.

I have a basic short routine that I can do (a few standard boxercise moves), but am after more ideas. Anyone got any?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

pete and petal - kids talk rhyme

I wrote this as part of a kids talk I did this morning. Ten points for anyone who can correctly guess my passage. A guy from our congregation admirably acted the parts of Pete and Petal.

Pete and Petal

Pete was strong and Pete was tough
Hard as nails and really rough
Each day he trained from noon till night
Building muscles, what a sight
he was to see
He'd stand, he'd look and say with glee,
'No-one, nothing can beat me!'

Pete was strong, Pete was tough
Hard as nails and really rough
But was his meat and might enough?

Uh uh.

A semi-trailor big and bold
On the wrong side of the road
Bowled him over, knocked him flat
That was then the end of that!
Rough and tough, our strong man Pete
was squashed and flattened on the street.

Pretty Petal, what a sight!
Prinking, preening, day and night
Brushing hair until it glowed
Fixing ribbons, tieing bows
around her curls
She'd stand, she'd look, she'd give a twirl
and say, 'I'm such a pretty girl!'

Pretty Petal, such a sight
Prinking, preening, day and night
But is her future really bright?

Uh uh.

As years flew past her heart went cold
She saw that she was growing old
Her lovely hair was grey and thin
And whiskers grew upon her chin
She saw herself and screamed in fright
Pretty Petal – what a sight!
She stamped her feet, she bawled, she cried
Her beauty gone and she would die.

Alas for Petal
Alas for Pete
Alas for all death can defeat
Petal and Pete, they should not trust
their bodies, they are not enough.

There's only one thing that is sure
They should have trusted in their Lord.

sar 2008

Saturday, December 27, 2008

how pathetic am I?

I just caught myself gleefully reading an old blog post where a godly blogger was writing about a temptation that she had given in to. I then read follow up posts where she was fighting the sin and gaining some control in that area of her life. I enjoyed the follow up posts much less than the first one.

Because I don't struggle with that particular sin (at the moment) I basked in feelings of self righteousness and victory over my christian sister. Isn't that horrible!

I struggle with many other (more significant) sins. Why could I not feel compassion for her in her battle and joy with her in her victory?

Yet another thing of which to repent.

Friday, December 26, 2008

christmas carols vs incarnation songs

Nathan asked a great question in the comments a few posts below...

"I also wonder why we don't celebrate the incarnation and sing the good, theologically strong carols all year round."

Made me reflect on the difference between christmas carols and songs on the incarnation. I like both and have written both but I think there is a difference. Christmas carols invite us to be in the moment of the incarnation. Using words like 'hark' and the present tense ('Joy to the world, the lord IS come') they take us back to the time (night? romantic me likes to think so!) that Jesus was born and help us experience the wonder of it. Non-carols speak about the incarnation as something that has happened, rather than something that is happening right at this moment.

So Nathan, I don't think we sing carols all year round because it feels silly. Jesus is not being born right now (nor is he on Dec 25th, of course, but it's easier to pretend he is when we're surrounded by nativity scenes) so let's not sing as if there's a baby in front of us.

Everyone loves a baby. I love the idea that God became one and a woman got to hold him and nurse him and rock him to sleep (women throughout the ages have basked in this idea - in a very maternal and slightly manipulative way!). But I think a mature understanding of the incarnation goes a good bit further than baby Jesus. We need to grasp both the wonder and the horror of having God with us. We need more songs that do that.

is it just me...

... or is christmas spiritually insignificant for others too?

I don't feel bad about this. Christians aren't compelled to keep this particular festival. I make the most of it evangelistically, but I spend plenty of time during the year thinking about the incarnation so Christmas isn't so special in that way.

What do others think? I like the opportunity to give gifts. I like the parties and family times. I like that Jesus is on the agenda. But I'm not feeling a whole lot, spiritually.

How about you?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

happy christmas!

Hope you have a lovely day and don't waste too much of it reading blogs.

I'm off to my parents' on the gold coast for a couple of days, then back into things for a few days, then off to Fiji and NZ. Life's tough.

Thanks for dropping by,
love in blogdom.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

what does santa add?

In the comments for my Santa post below ('Is Santa a LIE?') Dan asked quite a useful question -

"What does Santa add? How does he help us to remember and celebrate (to reference an Australian songwriter) 'our God come near'?"

Any ideas?

nathan goes to townsville

I've just rediscovered Nathan's blog. He offers his readers much valuable advice and uses a bright and airy template that you just want to look at. Why not add it to your reader?

Monday, December 22, 2008


I bought you last year in the Christmas sales
your bright red sticker read 'reduced to clear'
I picked you up and checked, not old or stale,
a bargain- yes! Or so it did appear

at first but treasures real never do come cheap
and you've since cost me months of thinking clear,
weeks and weeks of solid restful sleep.
Bipolar flits from fear to joy to fear

are what I bear and still I don't despise
my purchase - No! I send you Christmas cheer.
A costly gift may soon be put aside
and that bought cheap can end up truly dear.

sar 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

sin and weakness

"Another point: we are often told in the New Testament to 'be strong' (1 Cor 16:13; Eph 6:10, 2 Tim 2:1; 1 john 2:14). Isn't people's weakness (stupidity, lack of independence, forgetfulness, cowardice, vanity, corruptibility, temptability, etc.) a greater danger than evil? Christ not only makes people 'good'; he makes them strong, too. The sins of weakness are the real human sins, whereas the wilful sins are diabolical (and no doubt 'strong', too!). I must think about this again."

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison, p148.

something I hate...


Through the kindness of a well meaning friend, I may be about to enter an awkward relationship. One in which I will have nothing to say (nothing, that is, that can be said) and they, likewise. Through God's grace, something good may come of it, but most likely nothing more than mutual awkwardness.

I hate awkwardness. I hate the stilted conversation that comes when you feel you have to censor everything you say. I hate appearing as if I have nothing to say. Bring on the new creation when there will be no more of this!

hook me up

In contrast to what I've said elsewhere, I think that the current body pump triceps track (#68) is about the best ever. Who needs a bar?


I made tomato chutney yesterday. My whole family is mad keen on that kind of thing. Fear that it won't live up to my Grandmother's. Anyone know a good recipe that I can try next time?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Is Santa a 'lie'?

I don't think so. I think he's a game that grown ups play at christmas time with little kids. Santa's an imaginary seasonal character. A fairy tale. A mystery.

I don't see any problems with parents telling their little kids stories about Santa. I don't see any issues with adults pretending that Santa is real. I think its good for parents to be a bit evasive when asked if Santa really exists. Here's a few responses we've given to the question 'Is Santa real':
  • what do you think?
  • you've seen him in shops haven't you?
  • He looked pretty real to me when I saw him in myer last week!
  • and again... Hmmm. What do you think?
Kids are pretty good at sorting out fact from fiction. If parents are reasonable and don't get passionate and dogmatically positive about Santa's existence, most kids will have worked it out by the time they hit school. And have had fun with the fairy tale while they were little.

Let's not sweat it. Let's not bring out our capital letters and call it a LIE. In christian families where the bible is regularly read, there is no chance of long term Jesus and Santa confusion.

it's all fun and games until...

My 7 year old is in the backyard burning holes in a piece of paper with a magnifying glass. I am upstairs and can smell the smoke from here. He is playing so happily that I don't like to stop him... but I may regret it if he burns the house down. What should I do?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

a question

How much gym is too much?

Do I have a problem if one hour a day no longer feels like enough?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Spy Life Kids Club

I have a complete program for a 3 day kids club. Thinking of selling it online. How much do people pay for this kind of stuff?

Package would come complete with:
  • three talks from John's Gospel aimed at 4-10 year olds
  • 3 sets of bible activity books (pre-readers, early readers, readers)
  • spy life song
  • 'Get Silly' Spy Drama
  • 'Spycraft' booklets for 3 age groups (think craft, but with a spy slant- fingerprinting, codes, invisible inks etc)
  • name tag masters
  • advertising masters
  • hall decoration ideas
  • job sheets
all nicely presented and pdf-ed for your convenience.


alternate carol arrangements

If anyone has interesting ways of arranging christmas carols, do share.

Last night at our carols service I was nearly falling off my piano stool in boredom. It was only the odd carol which we managed to do something new with that kept me awake.

Post your ideas here so I can try them out next year - or next week at church, or on christmas day.

(Don't get me wrong, I love singing christmas carols. But playing a dozen back to back can get a wee bit tedious.)

In the mean time... Here's what we did with Silent Night.

Silent night is in 6/8 time. How nice. Singers sang it that way. We played accompaniment in 12/16 time. Kind of like this:

Added some seconds to most chords as well. Sweet.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

'god rest ye merry gentlemen'

is the only christmas carol I'm not thoroughly sick of. All the others are dull dull dull.

For the 2 of you out there who may care, we play God rest ye merry...

Dm Dm A
1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2

Dm Dm A Dm Dm A
Dm Dm A Dm Dm A
Gm F Dm C
F Bb C Dm C
F Bb C
Dm Dm A etc.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

spy life song

Just finished writing this for our Spy Life kids club that starts on Monday. Nothing like getting things done in advance! The verses match each day's teaching: 1. the bread of life, 2. the resurrection and the life, 3. the shepherd who gives his life.

The writing is a bit sloppy - syllables don't quite line up between verses - but right now I don't care. Tune is boppy and, of course, there are actions.

Spy Life Theme Song

I spy a hungry crowd
wanting to be fed
Jesus, he can help
gives them fish and bread

Spy Life! Spy Life!
When I spy Jesus
I spy life.
Spy Life! Spy Life!
When I spy Jesus
I spy life.

I spy two women sad
by their brother's grave
Jesus cries, 'Come out!'
and gives him life again

I spy a sheep in strife
who's wandered far away
Jesus, the good shepherd
will give his life to save

sar 2008

busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy

busy busy busy busy busy busy....

Kids club starts on Monday. Too many kids. Too much to do before then.

Carols at church tomorrow night. Need to finish the arrangements tonight.

Also need to iron transfers onto 14 shirts, write 2 kids talks, make 77 name tags, write 2 more verses for our kids club theme song and more and more and more. All tonight.


Maybe I'll blog instead.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

On rejecting Mr Rochester

Ali's written some personal reflections here, here and here. Good stuff, and not just for the unmarried.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Arch Hart talks

For the last few days I've been listening to these talks and reading this book by Arch Hart. There is much to challenge me in my management of myself (although I don't have depressive tendencies) and in my parenting. AH predicts that within 10 years, all teenagers will be on antidepressants because of over-stimulation of the pleasure-center of the brain (by multi-tasking on electronic media) which leads to anhedonia (inability to experience pleasure). He also has much to say about church services and anhedonia - which I may write about another time.

Do listen to these talks if you're not aware of this stuff.

I'm on the computer less as a result!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

christmas carol website

After wasting half an hour last night fixing up the errors in 2 Rejoice Christmas Carols (it's G major that has one sharp, not D and Dm chord is not a good alternative to E major. And yes, it matters) I decided to ask Mr. Google for help.

I found this site. Complete with all your carol needs: SATB, melody and chords, lyrics, transpositions... I played 12 through in practice this morning and only found one mistake.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

christmas shopping...

... almost done!

Can I say that going into Target on a busy day is a mistake? I'm sure the checkout girl was playing a slow motion game.

Wasn't worth the $3 I saved on one item.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Oh no.

I'm working again tomorrow. I'm not good at saying no.

songs on abortion

We've just finished our Amos series at church and have a topical sermon this week on abortion. Question is, what songs go with a talk on abortion? I have some ideas but I'd be interested to see the direction others take it.

Any ideas?

the end of an era

For the last 6 years my friend and I have run our 'Open the Box' playgroup. We've had lots of fun, gotten to know many, many families, taught kids about the world and God, and written lots of children's songs (buy them here and here!)

Today is my last day at playgroup. My youngest goes off to school next year and I am moving up with him. I am sad.

I thought about keeping on with it, but I just can't. I've been feeling like a rather pathetic member of the human race this year. Far too busy and letting people down with my inability to return emails, keep commitments etc.

Next year I'll be teaching one more RE class, belonging to one less bible study group, hopefully writing more and trying not to get either too slack or too dependant on the gym (how many classes a week is too many?)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Off to work again

Hopefully, my last day this year. But who can say?

Monday, December 1, 2008


It's our 13th wedding anniversary tomorrow, so Andrew and I went out to the movies tonight*. We saw Australia. I don't see many movies, but the slight patriotic streak in me wanted to see this one. Truth is, I love Australian scenery and I love the idea of the whole world seeing it.

Australia is an epic. It's like watching 3 movies back to back. The sound track is a little hard to handle (with its not-so-subtle waltzing matilda motif) and the bad guys really do wear black hats, but... I enjoyed it. Visually it's nice and the story could have been a lot worse.

Anyone else seen it yet?

* It was either go out tonight or have a romantic trip to presbytery together tomorrow night.

I have to go to work!

I'm over this.

Same class as Friday, so I can't do the same stuff again.