Monday, August 31, 2009

Narrative shape in the new creation

What will it look like?

Basic old-creation narrative shape looks like this:

Tension builds over time. The climax comes about three quarters of the way through, then things are resolved and the story ends pretty fast. Trouble is, with this narrative shape increases in tension are generally created through danger or sin or unfulfilled desire or sadness or something else distinctly old-creationy. In the new-creation we will, of course, hear and tell and re-tell The Great Story - which more or less follows old creation narrative shape (and maybe for old-time's sake we'll read Pride and Prejudice occasionally), but what will new stories be like? Will a whole new mode of writing be required to match the new world that we'll be living in?

Perhaps tension could be created by a how-much-better-can-things-get kind of suspense. But how would resolution be achieved? Perhaps there would be no resolution. Such a narrative shape might look like this:

But I can't imagine that being so satisfying. Nor this tensionless model:

What do you think?

Basic old-creation narrative shape matches our humanness. We (men especially) look at that first graph and find it very familiar. It makes sense to us. I wonder how God will manage the new-creation narrative shift without changing our essential humanness.

As you can see, I'm concerned with the real issues here!

Theologians, get thinking on this one.

[I'm pretty sure that God has it sorted and it's just my imagination that's lacking, but... It's interesting.]


'This is what we do.'

This talk
is good for the soul. (Phil Campbell - from Mitcheton Presbyterian Church)

Principal farewell song

a uniform put on
left home, you crossed the sea to serve
a soldier loyal and brave
your duty learned and lived and taught
and now, passed on.

twenty year have gone
a thousand school assemblies
we've grown together strong
you've stood behind us, been our strength,
for now, so long.

So, the years roll by
the hourglass of time
turns and bids us part
and as we say goodbye
we look back with thankfulness
on the years that you have spent
walking by our side

Our praises you have earned
Our uniforms we wear with pride
We stand, foundations firm
Our duty we have learned and now
We serve, we serve.

sar 2009

What do you think? Too gushy? (A certain amount of gush is unavoidable in such a song...) Does anyone know about these kind of events and what's appropriate?

Sunday, August 30, 2009


... the word overuse watchdog, will not be happy with the AI judges.


... the kind I love.

Church, lunch with friends, jog, nice drawing/playing/talking time with kids, AI, blog.

Idol Review - Wildcard

I enjoyed idol tonight. Here are my thoughts:

Lucie - Boogie Wonderland
Hated the song. A grandmother selection. She has a great voice, but I don't care.

Casey - Never Say Never
I am a sucker for this kind of soppy song so should have loved it. I didn't. His falsetto was unconvincing. Didn't cut through.

Aliqua - Power of Love
Yeah. Stupid song choice, but she knew that. A few off notes. The most boring accompaniment ever - this wasn't her fault - but why? She looks fantastic and has a great voice. I'd like to see her again, but don't think it was great.

Lauren - Low
Her diction was bad - I couldn't make out most of the words - but I like her and almost hope she gets through. She's a belter (which goes down well on AI) and is pretty and interesting. Nothing compared to Hayley, though.

Tim - Yesterday
I disagree with the judges. Hated it. If only he would just sing the song! And his eyes look fidgetty on the camera. I'd like to hear him again if he could ditch the soul thing.

Ed - White Noise
Nice in spots but overall, ordinary. Why this song? The original is fantastic and so fresh in our minds. Ed's voice was off pitch and not strong enough.

Tenielle - Kiss Me
I love this song. But I wasn't as sold on it as I wanted to be. She's a frail flower. Frail flowers generally die pretty fast on idol. But she has a spark of something original. Some nice tones. The song needed more smoulder. She looks lovely when she talks and laughs but is flat and boring when she sings. I was worried about her dress.

Toby - With Or Without You
Why do people do U2? Really, why? Just to show everyone how great Bono is? Why compete? I thought Toby's low bits were awful. His high parts were good. He shouldn't hold his hands out like he does because they look ridiculously big. [I like the look of the rest of him, though.]

Hayley - I Do Not Hook Up
Love her. My favourite. So far better than everyone else. I think she's the first girl rocker on Australian Idol who has ever been good. Her take on this song was original and fun. I'd buy it.

Overall - Four I'd like to see get through: Hayley and ... I don't know. Maybe Aliqua, Lauren, Tenielle, Toby... Who do you think should get through?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

pre-school options - how to decide

[Sorry for the silence. I've had a half written blog post waiting to be finished for the last couple of days. Unusual for me. But I've been working and the computer's been playing up (it misses me when I work too much!) Here's what I've been thinking, reflecting on the motherhood discussion happening around the place.]

I'm not convinced of the value in developing a theology of motherhood - though Jean does a pretty good job. The bible is reasonably silent on the subject, though it assumes that a mother will love her children (such a thing is natural) and that the parents will be the primary care givers. As parents we are instructed to raise our kids in the knowledge and love of God and because we are Christians we must display the fruits of the spirit in our dealings with them (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control etc).

Within this framework, we are free to run our households as we see best. There are many decisions which have no clear right or wrong answer. For example, bedtimes. I have always favoured early bedtimes for my kids. Probably mostly because my patience is running short at the end of the day, but also because studies show that sleep is a good thing for kids and my children will not nap during the day. But in other countries, the idea of a bedtime for children is considered absurd. Kids stay up as late as they like and sleep in the day if they're tired. There is no right and wrong on this. It is cultural and personal and in the end it doesn't really matter.

The issue of childcare is a little more complex, but I still put it in the freedom bucket. It is, of course, possible to make a terribly unwise (read 'stupid') decision but this decision will not necessarily be sinful (though it might be). If we are committed to loving our kids and taking responsibility for their upbringing and Christian training, then I think we are free to work this out as we work it out. I don't think that motherhood is an especially sacred task - it's one of the many spheres of life in which we work out our salvation. Some women will have an overwhelming desire to have their children at home with them all the time. This may be a good, neutral or wrong (eg. she may be controlling or overly fearful of outside influences). Others will not particularly enjoy at-home time and will eagerly await the school years. This, too, may be good, neutral or wrong.

In terms of childcare options for the preschool years, in our society we have the following options: ft at home with mum (or dad), at home with a nanny, institutionalised child care, grandparent or relative care, family daycare, friend/neighbour babysitting, a preschool program (in the one - two years before school) or any combination of these. I don't think that any are inherently sinful.

So, presuming that we have a strong sense of love and responsibility for our kids (ie. we are not looking to shirk our responsibility to care for, raise and train them) how do we make a decision about which to choose?

I suggest that we think through these 3 things - I've listen them in order of importance:

1. What will be good for my child.
What outcomes am I after, how can I best achieve these?

2. What will work for my family. What other things influence the decision - work, other responsibilities etc.

3. What I want to do. Which are you naturally drawn towards?

On point one, I found this study helpful and interesting. It predicts kids' behaviour, socialisation, intelligence and happiness in their first year of school based on their childcare history (whether they have been at home ft, gone to preschool, daycare... whatever.) It is pretty thorough.

After allowing for the influence of control variables (personal characteristics, family and school factors) results indicated the following:

centre-based child care

 attendance at centre-based child care in the year, 5 years prior to schooling, predicted lower levels of self-control and higher levels of externalising behaviour in the first year of schooling;

 more days (4 or 5) per week or more than 30 hours pr week of centre-based child care in 5 years, 4 years or 2 years prior to schooling, predicted lower measures of social skills and academic competence, and more problem behaviours. The results were particularly strong in relation to the extent of care in the 2 years closer to birth and developmental outcomes.

 children who attended 3-year-old preschool regardless of the year prior to schooling or extent of attendance per week, had higher levels of cooperation;
 attendance at 3-year-old preschool 3 years prior to schooling predicted lower levels of externalising behaviour;

 more days of 3-year-old preschool 2 years prior to schooling predicted higher levels of cooperation and summed social skills.

 children who attended 4-year-old preschool regardless of the year prior to schooling or extent of attendance per week, had higher levels of academic competence;

 attendance at 4-year-old preschool in the year immediately prior to schooling predicted higher levels of cooperation, self-control and academic competence and more hours per week predicted lower levels of problem behaviour;

 attendance at either 3-year-old or 4-year old preschool, 2 years prior to schooling, predicted higher levels of cooperation, self-control and summed social skills in the first year of schooling;

family day care
 family day care, and particularly family day care 3 years prior to schooling, predicted greater risk for lower levels of cooperation and academic competence in the first year of schooling than the extent per week of this care

occasional care

 more days and more hours of occasional care 5 years prior to schooling predicted lower levels of confidence;

nanny care
 more days and more hours of nanny care 4 years prior to schooling predicted lower levels of internalising behaviour, including children appearing sad or depressed, lonely, anxious in groups, having low self-esteem or being easily embarrassed

grandparent care
 regular grandparent care 3 years prior to schooling predicted lower levels of academic competence as did regular grandparent care 2 years prior to schooling.

 in addition, more days of grandparent care 3 years prior to schooling or 2 years prior to schooling predicted lower levels of academic competence, more hours of grandparent care 4 years or 2 years prior to schooling predicted higher levels of summed problem behaviour, and more hours of grandparent care 4 years or 2 years prior to schooling indicated risk of lower levels of cooperation.

 in the year immediately prior to schooling, more days of grandparent care increased the risk of lower levels of cooperation. These risks were greater when grandparent care was more than 2 days per week or more than 30 hours per week.

care by neighbours, friends or others
 care by neighbours, friends or others regardless of the year prior to schooling or the extent of that care predicted higher levels of internalising behaviour, including children appearing sad or depressed, lonely, anxious in groups, having low self-esteem or being easily embarrassed

 regular and more extensive care by neighbours, friends or others in the year immediately prior to schooling predicted lower levels of confidence, selfcontrol, summed social skills and higher levels of internalising behaviour, hyperactivity and summed problem behaviour in the first year of schooling

father care

 children who received more regular father care 5 years, 4 years, 3 years or 2 years prior to schooling were more likely to have higher levels of cooperation in the first year of schooling. These benefits were greater when father care was for 3 or more days per week or more than 30 hours per week.

mother care
 more days of mother care 3 years or 2 years prior to schooling predicted benefits for cooperation at school. More days of mother care 2 years prior to schooling also provided benefits for higher levels of summed social skills in the first year of schooling, and more days of mother care 5 years prior to schooling protected children against higher levels of hyperactivity at school.

 more days of mother care in the year immediately prior to schooling, especially where this care was for 5 to 7 days per week, predicted risk of higher levels of internalising behaviour including children appearing sad or depressed, lonely, anxious.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

'Give her a real job!'

I was speaking tonight with a committee colleague tonight about the difficult task of being a 'women's worker' at a church.

Basically, here are the problems:
  • It is an intense job. Lots of 1-1. Hearing people's problems. Full on.
  • You have to drum up business yourself. Really hard to make another phone call asking a busy woman to meet up with you.
  • Unstructured. Guys have a sermon to write (at least sometimes). Girls have no big structure dominating each week.
  • You have to work with, for and under men. Men who are married to other women (mostly). This is hard because they want to be godly, so keep you at arms length. But you need to have someone to offload to. Also hard because, lets face it, men live on a different planet to women and can't understand.
  • 'Women's workers' are usually single. Being single can be tricky at the best of times, but working for a church can exasperate feelings of loneliness and isolation.
  • Job insecurity. The last to be put on, the first to be put off.
  • a largely invisible role
  • Being bottom of the pecking order is tough, year in and year out.
His response fascinated me. So obvious, yet I never thought of it. He said, 'Don't employ a woman to do 'women's work' - give her a real job!'

Would we ever employ a guy in church to do 'men's ministry'? No. We'd employ a guy to do such and such a job and he'd minister to guys because he is one. Employ a woman to co-ordinate growth groups, children's ministry... whatever... and she will do 'women's work' along the way but she'll have:
  • a structure to her week
  • respect from the staff team and congregation because she is doing a job
  • more job security
  • purpose
  • a real role.
It makes sense to me. What do you think?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The trouble with recipies...

... is that they focus on procedures instead of understanding.

I'd like a book that talked me through cake theory. What is the ratio of milk : eggs : butter : flour to make a general cake? How is a mud cake different? What effect is produced if you alter the flour/milk ratio? What ingredient is it that makes a cake richer? etc etc.

And what of biscuit theory, scone theory or slice theory? [I'm sure they're related.]

When kids learn cooking from mum or dad or the school home-ec teacher, all they learn is how to follow a recipe. I want more that that. I want to learn how to write the recipe book (or mostly, just how to do without it.)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


This blog has been boring lately. So painfully boring that I've stopped reading. If you're after entertainment, go play minesweeper (or watch the movie).

Loving Summer!

In August too! Bonus.

A grief observed

This book is worth reading. The beginning, painfully raw. Angry at God, confused. The end, sad still, but peaceful. Here's how it starts:

"No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing. At other times it feels like being mildly drunk, or concussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in." C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed, p. 5.

C.S. Lewis on 'Getting over it'

"Getting over it so soon? But the words are ambiguous. To say the patient is getting over it after an operation for appendicitis is one thing; after he's had his leg off it is quite another. After that operation either the wounded stump heals or the man dies. If it heals, the fierce, continuous pain will stop. Presently he'll get back his strength and be able to stump about on his wooden leg. He has 'got over it.' But he will probably have recurrent pains in the stump all his life, and perhaps pretty bad ones; and he will always be a one-legged man. There will be hardly any moment when he forgets it. Bathing, dressing, sitting down and getting up again, even lying in bed, will all be different. His whole way life will be changed. All sorts of pleasures and activities that he once took for granted will have to be simply written off. Duties too. At present I am learning to get about on crutches. Perhaps I shall presently be given a wooden leg. But I shall never be a biped again." C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed, pp. 45-46.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The trouble with work...

... is that it's so hard to just do a little bit.

I am working 4 days this week. Don't want to. I should have said no this morning but wasn't thinking.

Today I taught classroom music for a teacher I like and respect who is 8 months pregnant with twins. Today it was 32 degrees. I can understand why she wasn't up to going in to work. I was asked to work because I would actually do music with her kids rather than just do... whatever it is that non-music teachers do when taking music.

But I was already booked up at the kids school to teach PE (!) on Wednesday and Year 5 on Thursday. This afternoon the school called to see if I could also work Friday teaching the same class as Thursday. I said yes because having the same teacher 2 days in a row is clearly best for the kids and because I want to suck up to the kid's school (working there is so convenient and eventually I'd like to only work there).

But now I'm working 4 days this week and tomorrow is flat out hectic anyway (bs/RE). How did this happen?

66 books

My friends are after an accompaniment for this song.

66 books in God's Holy Word
Telling the story of Jesus my Lord
The books of the Bible I now will tell
The books of the Bible I know so well

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Dueteronomy.
Joshua, Judges, Ruth,
1st and 2nd Samuel,
Kings, Kings, Chronicles and Chronicles.
Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job
Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastees
The Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah
Lamentations, Ezekial, Daniel
Hosea, Joel, Amos
Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Naham Habbukuk
Haggi, Zachariah, Malachi.

Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans
Ist and 2nd Corinthians
Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians
Collosians Thessalonians 1 & 2
Timothy, Timothy, Titus, Philemon and Hebrews, James
1st and 2nd Peter, 1st and 2nd John, 3rd John, Jude and

Can anyone help?

bit echo-ey in here

[not that I've been saying much.]

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Joel's book week poster

This year's theme is 'book safari'.

I like form


any movement
will not be
north south pull
so don't
move but

sar 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009

farewell song

I need to write a farewell song for our school principal who's leaving after 20 years. Any ideas for theme/content/genre?

Mr. Smacky

Ready and waiting with a smile.

the good samaritan

Showing this to kids at church tomorrow.

our delinquent dog part 3

A busy morning for a little pup. First a visit to the vet, then on to the hairdresser.

The vet felt her tummy and it seems most likely that Arry is not pregnant. Despite her antics with 2 dogs, we have escaped puppy-dom. We are relieved and a little sad. The kids are just sad.

It is still possible that there are pups hiding in there somewhere, but the vet said she'd be surprised. Oh well. Maybe next time.

Next time?!?!

Yes. Maybe. But next time I'll be prepared. Arry will be wearing doggy-chastity pants unless we find a well behaved, similar sized, pedigree. No more biff encounters for us.

Here is Aravis with her new summer cut.

Friday, August 21, 2009

romantic love vs. obsessive/passionate love

Passionate, obsessional love doesn't last. Apparently. Certain books I've read tells me it does, but I guess I should trust the experts. Romantic love can, they say. (From here.)

"I think generally, in the literature, love has been measured as passionate love, so I think that's one reason for this widely-held assumption that love had to fade in relationships," said Bianca Acevedo, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who authored the study while she was a graduate student at Stony Brook University. "The obsessive component is generally combined with the romantic component. Thought of that way, it looks like it's diminishing, but if you assess the romantic love differently than the obsessive component, it happens for a greater proportion than what was generally thought."

Romantic love has the same intensity, engagement and sexual chemistry as passionate love has, but without the obsession, Acevedo said. Passionate love, on the other hand, includes feelings of uncertainty and anxiety.

'I don't argue with women'

I've heard this policy.

Being female, it makes me relieved, sad, cross or amused depending on who says it.

Weaker vessel and all that
is normally the argument that comes from Christians (Xns, that is, who aren't complete red-necks). I think this is kind of okay (kind of) because it's tapping into something... but.

I think it's right that we alter our method of discussion based on who the other person is. But I don't think this should be done solely along gender lines. Instead, I think we need to consider the power balance between us and the other person. For example, in certain relationships, because of my personality, my life experience, my role, my education and my knowledge, I will hold the power. The other person may or may not realise this. I need to be careful not to tread on such a person while I'm discussing/arguing a point with them. In other cases, I'll be the weaker partner and will appreciate the other person being gentle with me.

I had a situation last year when a senior, high profile minister and theologian criticised the lyrics of one of my songs. He wrote a reasonably forceful letter asking us to do a rewrite. I cowered. He was wrong, but I didn't want to argue with him. The power imbalance was too great. I wanted the guys to deal with it for me.*

But if it had been a 25 year old guy, I'd have taken him on and delighted in it! In fact, I'd have needed to be the one being gentle. It would be highly likely I'd be more confident, knowledgable, theologically educated and connected than him. It would amuse me greatly if he wouldn't argue with me based on my gender.

What do you think?

I do understand the sentiment of 'I don't argue with women' (kind of). On the whole, women are much more likely to be offended by a rigorous discussion. And I, myself, am usually more gentle arguing with women than with men.

But where's the fun in life if no one will argue with me?

Andrew and I are heading off to have a good argument together over lunch.

[ps. any guy who says anything negative about this post in the comments, agrees with me.]

* They wouldn't. They showed their support of me by making me write the letter.

Nathan's opinion talk

Today I'm presenting my opinion that kids should have a limited amount of time playing games on the computer. There are 3 reasons why kids shouldn't spend too long playing computer games.
1. Computer games are bad for your brain
2. Too much computer is unhealthy
3. Playing games on a computer can make you boring

1. Computer games are bad for your brain. Research has shown that children who play too many computer games will not have developed the frontal lobe section of their brains. The frontal lobe is useful for maths, reading and writing and most importantly, self control. Kids who play too long on the computer will do worse at school and find it more difficult to behave properly.

2. Too much computer is unhealthy. Kids should be active, running around outside and playing games like football and tiggy. Kids who play too much on the computer will get unfit and fat.

3. Playing games on the computer can make you boring. If you play a certain game too much you start thinking about the game all the time and you can even talk about it all the time. This is boring for your friends unless they play the game and like it too.

Kids should have a limited amount of time playing games on the computer, because
1. Computer games are bad for your brain
2. Too much computer is unhealthy
3. Playing games on a computer can make you boring

I usually get half an hour (and sometimes an hour) on the computer on non-school days. I think this is good, but sometimes I don't like it.

Nathan R. (age 9)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Nehemiah, the (ENTJ) godly Israelite

Andrew is preaching through Nehemiah at the moment. Why wouldn't you? Nehemiah is all about leadership. And leadership is important. We've been chatting together about Nehemiah and there's no doubt that he is impressive. We'd like to be impressive too. So in the grand tradition of poor biblical work we decided put Nehemiah through a Myers-Briggs analysis so we know what personality types we should aspire to.

E or I? - E. Clearly. He was friends with the king.
N or S? - N. He seemed to intuitively know whether or not to trust people.
T or F? - T. Tough call, though. His feelings for Jerusalem affected his actions, but on other occasions his thoughts ruled.
P or J? - J. This is one organised man!

ENTJ. I think we have it! Nehemiah without a doubt!
ENTJ - The Executive
ENTJs are natural born leaders. They live in a world of possibilities where they see all sorts challenges to be surmounted, and they want to be the ones responsible for surmounting them. They have a drive for leadership, which is well-served by their quickness to grasp complexities, their ability to absorb a large amount of impersonal information, and their quick and decisive judgments. They are "take charge" people.
I just need to work on my J-ness. Andrew on his E-ness, N-ness and T-ness.


Nehemiah is about a whole lot more than leadership. Actually, it's about a whole lot apart from leadership. I challenged Andrew to preach the series not using the L word at all. Tricky, but not impossible.

Over here, Andrew has posted brilliantly about what Nehemiah is really about. You should go read. Really, you should. He argues that Nehemiah is the model godly Israelite - a type of Jesus the faithful Israelite, not a type of Jesus the king. He also has some interesting stuff on Nehemiah's first person memoir style.

bloggy apology

It seems apologies are in the air. I've been busy at it. Nathan is doing it in list form.

In the past I've written apology poems. I'll re-post this one from last year. There's another here.


If it were possible to ingest one's own foot
I'd have done it.
My soapbox against your latest passion,
Claims that pants like that are out of fashion.
I forgot your birthday, called your mum a cow.
If feet were smaller, I'd have swallowed one by now.

Clueless doesn't nearly sum it up.
I'm the friend you can trust to say
the One Wrong Thing.
Call for winter weather in the spring,
Suggest the cake you've eaten is enough,
I deliver insults off the cuff.

Tact is not my gift.
Diplomacy, poise all escape me
and toenails scratch my heart.
Still, as I make thoughtlessness an art,
know that this is true:
My thoughts are never far away from you.

SAR 2008

warren is wonderful

If you haven't met him yet, go over and give him a pat.

we made butter today!

Year 6. What fun!

It's on again!

The child care debate continues over here. Jean is writing a series of posts on the subject.

Her first is on attitudes. It's worth reading.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

One sentence summary for each book of the bible

Izaac suggests the idea of coming up with a one sentence summary of each book of the bible. Great! I've spent 5 minutes. Here are mine for the Pentateuch.

Genesis - from one man, all people, from one man, a nation

Exodus - out of Egypt, out of slavery

Leviticus - a holy nation

Numbers - in the wilderness

Deuteronomy - the LORD your God

Mine aren't sentence summaries so much as titley things. Not sure about Deuteronomy. It strikes me as a book where God bears his heart and shows us what he's like. What do you think? Agree? Disagree?

child care mop-up

The child-care debate seems to have paused for a little while. Just as well. I wonder if 51 comments is Jean's record... Makes sense with Nathan's comments graph.

I feel a little like I took on the role of the liberal there's-no-right-or-wrong-in-mothering advocate. I'm not that. At all. [Just like to clear up any confusion by stating that I think many mums do a bad job.] There is right and wrong. Patience, kindness, gentleness and self control are good. Anger, manipulation, harshness, impatience, bitterness and neglect are bad. It is important that we train up our kids in what is right. Bad if we don't. We must not provoke them to anger. Etc. Etc. Within the framework of love, I think we have some freedom in how we raise them. So much will depend on our own personalities. For an ISTJ type, this will mean running a well ordered home. The furnishings will match and there will be a system for everything. The mum may need to work hard at expressing her love for and finding joy in her kids. For an ENTP like me, there will be much energy, enthusiasm and fun while I'm interested. I'll need to work on staying interested.

I'm thankful that I didn't work while the kids were little. I'm also glad I can do two days a week now (but I have the perfect kid-job... teaching.) The year Micah turned 4 I had him in care for a few hours a week while I helped out at the kids school, taught RE and sat in coffee shops. It was the first break I had had in 8 years. It was wonderful.

I, personally, have quite strong opinions on all sorts of things regarding child rearing. Here are a few:
  • overuse of after school care is tragic
  • kids are part of the family community and should fit in with it
  • second best can be fine (if it's not bad)
  • laziness is not good but so easy
  • family baby-sitting can be abused just like child care can
  • we should be generous with eachother but question ourselves carefully
Just a few.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

restlessly wanting.


don't know.

Abby died 3 weeks ago tonight.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Andrew on 7-day-a-week childcare

He doesn't blog often but it's worth looking at when he does. Andrew has entered the child care debate, suggesting that the whole question could be more cultural than biblical. What do you think?


Although you have given me a stomach upset,
Weak knees, a lurching heart, a fuzzy brain,
A high-pitched laugh, a monumental phone bill,
A feeling of unworthiness, sharp pain
When you are somewhere else, a guilty conscience,
A longing, and a dread of what’s in store,
A pulse rate for the Guinness Book of Records -
Life now is better than it was before.

Although you have given me a raging temper,
Insomnia, a rising sense of panic,
A hopeless challenge, bouts of introspection,
Raw, bitten nails, a voice that’s strangely manic,
A selfish streak, a fear of isolation,
A silly smile, lips that are chapped and sore,
A running joke, a risk, an inspiration –
Life now is better than it was before.

Although you have given me a premonition,
Chattering teeth, a goal, a lot to lose,
A granted wish, mixed motives, superstitions,
Hang-ups and headaches, fear of awful news,
A bubble in my throat, a dare to swallow,
A crack of light under a closing door,
The crude, fantastic prospect of forever –
Life now is better than it was before.

Sophie Hannah

I love poems that are lists of things. SH does it so well. And that second last line! I'm a fan.

mum's day off continues...

We're probably all just restating our opinions, but the debate continues over on Jean's blog. Up to 40 comments now.

for whom did Christ die?

Mike Bird puts the question and posts nice short responses from three different scholars:

Paul Helm holding the Calvinist View
Michael Jensen holding the Amyraldian View
Ben Witherington holding the Arminian View

Which view do you hold?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

In a black out...

1. Sit at the piano (in the dark) and play Be Thou My Vision.

2. Decide that D (the key in which you usually play it) is unsuited to black out moods.

3. Play it in Bb - an appropriate blackout key.

4. Just for fun, try to play it in all the different keys.

fruit wars part one

It's all in the font.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I have no font.

So how can I possibly make a Sunday school lesson for tomorrow?

It's all bad bad bad. Till I have a font, I have nothing.


galatians 5

great talk here.

Friday, August 14, 2009

at the art gallery

Joel - why are there rude pictures?

Me - the human body is a beautiful and interesting thing.

Joel - I know that. So why aren't I allowed to draw them?

Me - Um...

What would you have said?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Our delinquent dog part 2

13 months ago, we became dog owners. Before that, I was an animal hater. I didn't want a dog but the kids had begged and begged and Joel needed something special at that particular time. So we took the plunge. Long time readers may remember my deliberations on breed. Basically, I wanted the battery operated variety. One that was around when it suited me and not around when it didn't.

In the end we got Aravis - a beautiful Cavalier x Tibetan Spaniel. She was very cute from the start, but I wasn't really into her so didn't touch her at all if I could help it. In this post, I said that I hoped to like her eventually. In a house full of men, Arry is now my special friend.

Today I sat outside with her for half an hour, talking about whether it was really necessary to run down the stairs and bark at every passer by. She conceeded that it wasn't necessary and agreed only to bark at men and weird looking women. We talked about quite a few other things but I didn't raise what was really on my mind.

You might remember the story of Arry's adventures with a good looking mini foxy. Unfortunately, things did not end there. A few days later, while we were away in Rockhampton, Arry went under our friend's fence and had an encounter with 'Biff'. Biff is not an attractive creature. Not the kind of guy you'd want hanging around you're adolescent girl. Apparently Biff has a great personality, but I'm struggling to care about that right now. The two dogs had to be pulled apart (thanks Chris!) and Biff cried his heart out for 45 minutes.

So, with one dog or another, it's likely my girl is expecting. I'm feeling maternal and clucking over her quite a lot. The kids are very excited. Trouble is, I don't want Biff's pups. Anyone got a couple of hundred dollars to fork out for a Cavalier x Staffy pup? No. I didn't think so.

piano practice

I'm sitting in my room yelling/singing to Nathan down the hall on the piano. 'E G G'. F is not close enough! I know the whole book off by heart, note for note. I can hear every mistake, every hiccup in timing. Don't think I didn't notice.

just took the dog for a walk around the block...

... I had to carry her home.

This has not happened before.

Maybe it's time to go back to the vet.

july... on the calender each year, but we're never prepared.


...has four walls of ice and a roof that blocks out hope.

july... a black hole that sucks in the rest of the year.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


As a parent:

+'ve - With their fun and upbeat natures, there's a little bit of kid inside all ENTPs. They approach parenthood with a fun-loving attitude which has a serious underlying goal: to make everything a learning exercise (for themselves as well as for their children) which promotes the child's growth into an independent, logical thinker.

- The ENTP is likely to be somewhat inconsistent about spending quality time with their children. One minute they will exhibit a lot of interest and enthusiasm towards being around their kids, and will display a great deal of affection for them. However, as soon as they get caught-up in one of their grand schemes for improving a system somewhere, they're likely to inadvertantly neglect their kids.

As a spouse:

+'ve - fun, enthusiastic, wild and willing while committed to the relationship.

-'ve - committment to the relationship may last as long as two weeks! Always excited by anything new, they may change partners frequently.

As a friend:

+'ve - ENTPs are flexible and easy-going, and genuinely enjoy interacting with others. They are likely to choose to surround themselves with people who are intelligent, capable, and idea-oriented. They love nothing better than engaging in a good debate with someone who can hold their end of the conversation. This will stimulate and energize the ENTP, who is highly competitive and loves to discuss theories.

-'ve - Can be unsympathetic. Can fall into the practice of one-upmanship. Tendency to not follow through on their plans and ideas. Their love of debate may cause them to provoke arguments.

[from here.]

I love this stuff. Naval gazing is a delightful activity.

I hate...

... that all the pretty blog formatting I do for Firefox looks messy in Explorer.

Internet Explorer is stupid anyway. Why use it?

[My sitemeter tells me that just under half of you are stuck in the IE bad old days.]

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

andrew pics (just for fun)

smile! it's show time!

Ekka holiday tomorrow. Student free on Thursday.

Goody goody. We're stocked up with dvds - Old Dr. Whos for the kids, Journey to the Center of the Earth for everyone and Torchwood for me. The kids are also making their Simpsons debut. They really wanted to get it because Bart had a light saber. I'm already regretting that I said yes.

We don't do TV on school days so this is a treat.*

* translation: I'm not a bad mum.


This is what we did in circuit class this morning. Looking forward to inflicting it on Andrew. It was horrid.

warm up - 5 minute run

circuit 1
- pushups with jump in out between each
- bicep curls (15kg)
- overhead press and squat (15kg)
- rotate plank
- step ups

one minute each, 20 second break in between.
repeat 3 times (2 minute break after each cycle)

circuit 2
- step ups
- squats (20+ kg)
- lunges (20+ kg)
- dead lifts (20kg)
- ab leg push/pulls

one minute each, 20 second break in between.
repeat 3 times (2 minute break after each cycle)

Monday, August 10, 2009

What I love about kids...

...That they'll spend a couple of hours copying the cover of the book they are reading. Just because they want to.

happiness is...

...finding out that the run you thought was 5km is actually 5.5kms.

responding to a midlife meltdown

Sure, you have your marital issues, but on the whole you feel so self-satisfied about how things have worked out that you would never, in your wildest nightmares, think you would hear these words from your husband one fine summer day: “I don’t love you anymore. I’m not sure I ever did. I’m moving out. The kids will understand. They’ll want me to be happy.”

But wait. This isn’t the divorce story you think it is. Neither is it a begging-him-to-stay story. It’s a story about hearing your husband say “I don’t love you anymore” and deciding not to believe him. And what can happen as a result.

Here’s a visual: Child throws a temper tantrum. Tries to hit his mother. But the mother doesn’t hit back, lecture or punish. Instead, she ducks. Then she tries to go about her business as if the tantrum isn’t happening. She doesn’t “reward” the tantrum. She simply doesn’t take the tantrum personally because, after all, it’s not about her.

Let me be clear: I’m not saying my husband was throwing a child’s tantrum. No. He was in the grip of something else — a profound and far more troubling meltdown that comes not in childhood but in midlife, when we perceive that our personal trajectory is no longer arcing reliably upward as it once did. But I decided to respond the same way I’d responded to my children’s tantrums. And I kept responding to it that way. For four months.

“I don’t love you anymore. I’m not sure I ever did.”

His words came at me like a speeding fist, like a sucker punch, yet somehow in that moment I was able to duck. And once I recovered and composed myself, I managed to say, “I don’t buy it.” Because I didn’t.

Not sure about the 'end of suffering stuff' that it goes on to talk about, but this is quite a story. Worth a read.

h/t: craig

no work today!

hooray hooray hooray!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Asking a question is not a neutral activity

Just thinking.

more on a day off from mothering

Over on Jean's blog, Carmelina has offered a fairly thorough criticism of my position that we should mind our own business and not make an issue out of whether or not a mum puts her kids in daycare once a week so she can have a day off.

You can read it for yourself, but here are her points:

1. Such a question is not necessarily asked with poor motives. And even if it was motivated by the wrong things, it may still be valuable to discuss it.

2. If this is an area of freedom, it's still worth talking through how we exercise our freedom. We should work out together what's wise.

3. We should be interested in each other's parenting. Being interested is not being a busy-body.

4. Whether we put our kids into day-care for a day a week is not a matter of 'considerable irrelevance' (as I described it.)

I didn't state my position particularly clearly in the first place. You can go over to Jean's blog to look at my response to Carmelina. In a couple of days (or when I can be bothered), I'll write a proper response here.

My basic position remains the same: this is an issue of freedom and we need to leave families free to make it themselves.

Australian Idol

starts tonight.

Watching it with the kids this season.

I wish

youth came without the arrogance
one was composite
undo was an option
cold days were limited to July
over meant not under
understanding could be bought
lunch boxes came home
dreams weren't so confused
sometimes was more frequent
tomorrow started sooner
away was nearer
yellow was my colour

sar 2009

Saturday, August 8, 2009

feeling down?

Try butter chicken and good friends.


O God, O God, how weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable seem to me all the uses of this world!

Friday, August 7, 2009


If one were composite,
division without destruction
would be possible.
As it is, the pieces lie broken
and we have nothing.

sar 2009

Thy way, not mine, O Lord

Thy way, not mine, O Lord,
However dark it be:
Lead me by thine own hand:
Choose out the path for me.

Smooth let it be or rough,
It will be still the best;
Winding or straight, it leads
Right onward to thy rest.

I dare not choose my lot;
I would not, if I might;
Choose thou for me, my God:
So shall I walk aright.

Take thou my cup, and it
With joy or sorrow fill,
As best to thee may seem;
Choose thou my good and ill.

Choose thou for me my friends,
My sickness or my health;
Choose thou my cares for me
My poverty or wealth.

Not mine, not mine the choice,
In things or great or small
Be thou my Guide, my Strength,
My Wisdom, and my All.

Horatius Bonar (1857)


... if your kids are given paint pens to use on glass, maybe suggest that they just use them on the glass parts of the shower and not on the taps, tiles and grout.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

martyrdom and motherhood

There's a discussion happening over on Jean's blog about stay at home mums using daycare to get a day a week to themselves. I've written a fairly lengthy response (essentially saying that it's a matter of freedom).

One of Jean's readers posed the daycare-as-time-out question saying "There seems to be a general lack of willingness to sacrifice our personal satisfaction in life for the sake of our children. We will give up our career but not all those other things we like doing."

I wonder when it became necessary to sacrifice our personal satisfaction and interests for the sake of our kids. Not sure I ever have. And I'm not sure a martyr-type mother who has given up everything she likes would be much fun to hang out with.

If you're at home with little kids and there's something that you really want to do, find a way to fit it in. Talk to your husband. My guess is that he'll be keen to help you work it out.

some posts didn't need to be written

Like that one I just deleted.

If you read from a reader, you probably still have it.

If not, sorry, you missed out.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

shower art

Eight kids here this afternoon. Look at what they did.

At least it takes some attention away from the mould.

do my quiz

Ben has quizzes. Ben is cool. I want to be cool. I will make a quiz.

This is an unashamed comment grabber. Lurkers, come out of the shadows. Amuse me.

1. chocolate or strawberry?
2. anxiety or despair?
3. protein or carbs?
4. extrovert or introvert?
5. mountains or beach?
6. Queensland or NSW?
7. poetry or prose?
8. Austen or Bronte?
9. AFL or NRL?
10. Anne or Emily?

I love teaching

I had a great day today, teaching at my kids' school. I had year 6's and they were happy and enthusiastic and well behaved.

Amongst other things, I taught them about advertising. We analysed a magazine ad together and talked about how the advertisers need to make us feel we need something that, up until this point, we've done okay without.

Then I chose three fairly useless objects: an empty Pepsi can, a 5 year old classroom clock, and a 12 year old (486) computer. The kids got into groups of 2 or 3 and had 10 minutes to come up with a way to promote these objects as something that we need. They had great ideas. The Pepsi can was a Micheal Jackson relic - he had drunk from it. For another group, it was an environmentally friendly pencil tin. The classroom clock is a discontinued line destined to become a collectors item. It also makes you feel warm - reminding you of happy times in the school classroom after you've moved on. And best of all, the computer. Three girls performed a skit showing a frantic family. A busy mum is trying to search the internet, cook dinner and set the table all at the same time. Her modern computer opens up web pages so fast that she can't do the other things she needs to do. The hectic pace of life is too much. Mum needs to slow down. She needs a 486. Ahhh. Life is now much more relaxed! A whole meal can be prepared while waiting for a page to load!

I get to teach them again tomorrow. Why wouldn't you be a teacher?*

*THAT school called me the other day. Wanted to know why they haven't seen me for so long. The words 'better offers' came to mind! I get paid an extra $100 a day if I go there... (they tend not to put teachers on contracts) but I still don't want to go! I love teaching and, like all teachers, prefer to work at schools where I get to teach.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

every woman needs a room

Apparently, every woman needs a room of her own to decorate herself, carry out her projects etc. What would your room look like? How would you decorate it? What would you put in it? What would you do in it?

[Guys, you can answer too.]

Here's mine.

I don't need a room. Just a table in a coffee shop. Nice comfy chair (lounge style), space I can work with unlimited caffeine drinks and lots of people to look at. Backpack with a jumper (and, if I could get away with it, a blanket - I like to be warm), lots of pencils, 3 scribble books (one blank, 2 with lines), and a few books/articles to read. My table would be in a corner or along a wall, but I'd need to be sitting so I could watch everyone walk by.

How about you?


Got to love personality profiles that tell you how great you are.

As an ENTP, your primary mode of living is focused externally, where you take things in primarily via your intuition. Your secondary mode is internal, where you deal with things rationally and logically.

With Extraverted Intuition dominating their personality, the ENTP's primary interest in life is understanding the world that they live in. They are constantly absorbing ideas and images about the situations they are presented in their lives. Using their intuition to process this information, they are usually extremely quick and accurate in their ability to size up a situation. With the exception of their ENFP cousin, the ENTP has a deeper understanding of their environment than any of the other types.

This ability to intuitively understand people and situations puts the ENTP at a distinct advantage in their lives. They generally understand things quickly and with great depth. Accordingly, they are quite flexible and adapt well to a wide range of tasks. They are good at most anything that interests them. As they grow and further develop their intuitive abilities and insights, they become very aware of possibilities, and this makes them quite resourceful when solving problems.

ENTPs are idea people. Their perceptive abilities cause them to see possibilities everywhere. They get excited and enthusiastic about their ideas, and are able to spread their enthusiasm to others. In this way, they get the support that they need to fulfill their visions.

Does anyone have a dud personality type?

I hate...

...that my tears will stop.

Jennie B. on forgiveness

A wonderfully thoughtful post on forgiveness here.

Often it happens that a person's sin against us is not an aberration, but an expression of something that is an integral part of who they are. Even once we have forgiven them for that action, we find that all our interactions with them have the echoes of that sin within them. We realize that as long as we know this person, it is likely that they will hurt us in the same way again and again.

I love Jennie's article and feel what she's saying, but how much is forgiveness possible when there's no repentance? In the case of someone who, in their very essence, hurts us - someone who is perhaps clueless about the extent of the damage they have done and continue to do - if this person has not repented (expressed responsibility, sorrow and a desire to change) maybe forgiveness is not something that is possible. I'm wondering if we need to look for other biblical instructions for dealing with such a situation. A few ideas: turning the other cheek, loving enemies, praying for those who persecute you, forbearance, getting rid of bitter and angry thoughts, leaving vengence to God...

Such things are not all that different to forgiveness, but they are things that are achievable from one end. If the other person hasn't repented, a real reconciliation and restoration of the relationship that forgiveness implies can't happen.

What do you think?

blog wordle

This is where things have been at for me recently. Return to regular blogging sometime.

Monday, August 3, 2009

funeral kids' talk

When someone that we love dies, we feel really sad. We miss them and wonder why it happened. But when it's someone as small as Abby, we can also feel worried. Abby always had her mum and dad to take care of her. But who's looking after her now? Is she all by herself? Is she alright?

Even though she's so little, Abby has gone somewhere that none of us have ever been. I can't tell you if the sky in that place is blue or pink or purple or red because I don't know. I haven't been there. But someone has. One person has been there and has come back to tell us what it's like. And that's Jesus.

Jesus tells us that when we die, it's not the end. Everyone who loves God goes to be with him in heaven. A wonderful, safe place. God is looking after Abby. He knows and loves her and will take very good care of her.

Jesus also tells us that we will see Abby again. At the end of time (which could be tomorrow, or next week, or in 1000 years) Abby and everyone else who loves Jesus will be raised to life and given brand new bodies. Bodies like these ones but much better. Abby died because her little body got very sick. Abby's beautiful new body will never get sick. We will see Abby again. Running around and having fun as she used to. We'll know her and love her and we'll never have to say goodbye again.

I have a balloon here. Pink.

On this side I've drawn a sad face because I miss Abby and feel sad.

On this side I've drawn a happy face because I know that Abby is safe with Jesus and because I know I'll see her again.

We've got enough balloons so that each of the children can have one. After we finish in here, we'll hand them out. You might like to draw some faces on your balloons. Then we'll go outside, and let them fly off into the sky together. When we see them go, we'll feel sad for Abby but we'll remember that this is not the end and that she is safe and happy.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

cheese and ham pancakes

A homemade recipe by Joel and I.

Mix together:

2 cups SR Flour
2 cups milk
2 eggs
pinch salt
teaspoon sugar

Stir in:
chopped ham (however much you've got)
1-2 cups grated cheese

Fry spooonfuls in well greased fry pan. Flip to cook on the other side. Serve with salad or vege to justify it as a meal.

Lazarus Kids' talk

Thanks for your prayers today. This is the kid's talk I gave in church.

We have a terrible enemy. Death. We spend a lot of time battling this enemy. We use weapons like medicines and operations and we try to stay healthy. Sometimes we do well and we think we're winning... but sooner or later death beats us. None of us are strong enough to beat him, our weapons aren't good enough.

We lost a battle against death this week. Little Abby got very sick and she died. We're sad. And we should be sad.

But Jesus shows us that even though we can't beat death, he can. I'm going to tell you a story now. Something that Jesus did to show everyone that he is stronger than death.


Jesus had lots of friends, but some of them were very special to him. These are Jesus' friends Mary and Martha. Mary and Martha, together with their brother Lazarus were very dear to Jesus. Mary loved Jesus so much that once she poured expensive perfume all over his feet.

Mary and Martha loved Jesus and they believed that he was God's son, the king of all the world. But one day something terrible happened. Jesus was away in another town and their brother Lazarus got sick. Mary and Martha felt worried. They knew that Jesus could make their brother better, so they sent a message to Jesus asking him to come quickly and heal Lazarus.

Do you think Jesus would come?

When Jesus heard the news he didn't come. He knew that Lazarus was very very sick, but he stayed right where he was for another two days. Jesus' friends were confused. What was Jesus doing? But Jesus said, 'Wait and see.' He was going to show everyone that he was stronger than death and that death didn't have to win.

After two days Jesus started the journey to Mary and Martha and Lazarus' house. It took them them a few days to get there because they had to walk. When they did get there, everyone was very sad. Lazarus had been dead and in a tomb for four days. Mary and Martha and Lazarus' friends were crying. They wondered why Jesus hadn't come sooner.

Martha came right up to Jesus. "Lord," she said, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask."

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies. Do you believe this?"

"Yes, Lord," she told him, "I believe that you are the Christ,the Son of God."

Then Mary came up. She said, 'Lord, if you had been here, our brother wouldn't have died.'

Jesus saw everyone so sad. They had loved Lazarus and Jesus had loved him too. It is awful when death wins.

Jesus walked over to Lazarus' tomb and he cried.

'Look how much he loved Lazarus,' everyone said.

Now death might be stronger than us, but death is not stronger than Jesus. Jesus had known all along what he was going to do. He wanted to show everyone that he could defeat death.

Jesus came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance.

Take away the stone," he said. But nobody wanted to take away the stone.

'Lazarus has been in there for four days.' they said.

But they moved the stone away as Jesus asked.

Jesus looked at Lazarus' tomb. He stood up and cried out in a loud voice, 'Lazarus, come out!'

Do you know what happened next? The dead man came out, his hands and feet still wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

Jesus said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go."

And everyone was amazed. Lazarus had been dead, but now he was walking around again! Jesus could defeat death!


When Jesus raised Lazarus to life it was actually a sign to prove to us that Jesus can do something even better than what he did for Lazarus.

You see, after Lazarus came back to life again, he was just like he was before he had been sick. Just like a normal person. But eventually, his body got sick again (maybe when he was very old) and he died. Lazarus still couldn't beat death forever.

Jesus said, 'I and the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live, even though they die.'

Jesus raised Lazarus to life to show us that he is stronger than death. Everyone who believes in him will live even though they die.

Little Abby has died. Jesus could have raised her body straight away like he did with Lazarus and we would like it if he had. But one day, like all of us, Abby would still die. Jesus does something much better.

Right now Abby is in heaven with Jesus. She is waiting with him for the day when he will make her a brand new body. One much better than Lazarus' body. And one much better than her old body. Her new body will never get sick or hurt or sad again. It will be perfect in every way. At that time Jesus will absolutely defeat death. And we will all be happy. That's what we look forward to.

[Feel free to borrow this talk. Pictures in reverse order - thanks blogger!]

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Mike Bird on his theological influences

This is hilarious. I like the N.T.Wright vs Tom Wright bit best.

if you pray...

... could you pray for us and our church in the next couple of days?

Tomorrow will be an emotional day when we'll announce the birth of a baby (please God) and the death of a small child.

Andrew has put our current series on hold for a week so he can speak about death and grief. The funeral is on Monday.

I am speaking to the kids both at church tomorrow and at the funeral on Monday. Please pray that my words will be true, sensitive and helpful to both the kids and the adults. Also pray that I'll be able to get the words out through my own tears.

Please pray for the grieving family that God will be real and present to them.