Sunday, January 31, 2010

'My School' Website: A blunt and inadequate instrument

Amen and amen.

satisfaction is...

... a Sunday School set.  Made by Mel and Lizi.




Environment really matters for kids stuff.  A good set is worth all the time it takes to make.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

B&B catch up

When I was in 3rd year at uni I used to watch the Bold and the Beautiful about once a week.  I worked in a Woolworths bakery each Saturday, and the girls I worked it would catch me up on the other 4 episodes.  All good fun while you are bagging breadrolls.  I've seen bits of B&B probably once a year since then.  I've always found it pretty easy to pick up the thread - it's just a matter of working out who Ridge is currently married to (Brooke or Taylor), which Forrester man Brooke is currently sleeping with/pregnant to (mostly not the same), and what terrible thing has most recently happened to Taylor (ship wrecked/kidnapped/died/dissapeared...)

In case anyone hasn't experienced the Bold and the Beautiful, take a few minutes to catch up on the 23 years you've missed!

Preventative Elegy

There will not be a burial,
There will not be a wake.
No ashes will be sprinkled
Over the stream or lake.
There won't be a cremation,
A coffin or a shroud.
No hearse will park along the road -
Your death is not allowed.

There will not be a graveyard,
There'll be no marble stone
Bearing a carved endearment.
No flesh will shrink to bone
And in the town that loves you
There'll be no sobbing crowd.
No one inherits anything -
Your death is not allowed.

No grief will need to be disguised
As just a bit upset.
No one will wonder whether to
Remember or forget
Or which would cause the greater pain,
And whether we laughed or rowed
Last time will be irrelevant -
Your death is not allowed.

Others will die instead of you.
A fixed amount must die
(If there are quotas with these things)
And strangers' wives will cry
But I will have no need to say
I loved you and was proud
To be what I have been to you -
Your death is not allowed.

Sophie Hannah
from Hotels like Houses
and Selected Poems

Friday, January 29, 2010

"If we can't identify the lowest achieving 10% of this country's children, then what are the school league tables for?"

After watching Torchwood tonight, I know why Julia Gillard and co. have introduced my school.  It's just good emergency planning.

want to help emu test new songs?

from an emu email to supporters.

Emu is currently planning its next big release of congregational songs for later this year - and we need your help! We want to know what you think of the songs we are planning to publish and how well they would work in your church. This is going to happen in focus groups in Sydney (Gladesville) and Brisbane (Carina) on 1st March, and Oxford, UK on 12th March. We will give you access to the songs first - then you come along and sing and give feedback. Our numbers will be limited - so if you would like to attend, please reply to philip at, and include some information about yourself, eg. 'I run my church band', 'I really just love singing in church' etc., so that we can get a broad range of people coming along. If you are nowhere near those locations, there may still be a chance for you to have some input, so let us know.

If you've been reading for a while, you might recognise some of the lyrics.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

boredom (from Jan 2008)

Before I started this blog, I wrote facebook notes.  I was just looking through them and found this. (the link won't work unless you are a fb friend.  But don't worry - I've pasted it below.)  I wrote it two years ago and it got some interesting comments.


Today I have been feeling incredibly bored and the fact that we've maxed out our broadband and are now back to dial up speed hasn't helped...

Anyway I was feeling fidgetty and so thought I'd look on the net. Have you ever noticed how when you are bored there is nothing interesting happening anywhere on the WWW? Incredible, isn't it? Probably didn't help that I lacked the patience to wait for most of the pages to load up.

But I did stumble onto something interesting today. Ben Myers has written a theology of boredom. It's great stuff and it got me thinking about what boredom is and why I feel bored.

To me, boredom is a restlessness with life. A dull anxiety that makes me too impatient to employ myself in meaningful activity. A stuffiness of spirit that makes me blind to the goodness of God around me. A graceless heart gazing with unwonder on the world.

a box
taped shut
a few airholes
for my breath
I push my fingers in
the brief dreams before I expire
are better than this

[cheery, huh!]

Ben raises the question of whether boredom is a sin or an inevitable consequence of living in a fallen world. What do you think?

I'll post my thoughts soon.

ps. Reading Ben's theology of boredom very quickly made me un-bored!

pps. I think boredom is like (very) short term depression. What do you think?


If you haven't already read this post of Ali's, you should.


It is the subject of every poem, most songs and a good many blog posts that I write.

Parents do stupid things to their kids

Here are a few things that I'm not going to do when my boys are teenagers and beyond.
(Note to self: reread this list each year)

Five things I'm not going to do as my kids get older:

1. Tell them they are going to hell.  (Unlikely to lead to any positive communication)
2. Put them in a situation where they are not likely to make christian friends
3. Tell my teenage kids they can't go check out other churches
4. Be controlling
5. Throw tantrums when they make a choice I don't agree with.

Always best to talk about what kind of parent you are going to be in the future.  Don't worry about now!

Here is a list I might have written a few years ago:

Five things I'm not going to do when my kids are primary aged:
1.  Tell them to clean up their rooms 50,000 times per day when mine's a mess*
2.  Tell kids to hurry up and get ready for school while I'm lazily sitting behind a computer.**
3.  Make excuses for son's very poor reading and spelling ability saying things like 'he's actually really smart...' ***
4.  Yell. ****
5.  Chose a school based on educational outcomes rather than ministry opportunities.*****

* My bedroom doesn't count.  The rest of the house is sparkly clean - and I did that!  The kids only have responsibility for one room (half even!)  Surely they can keep that clean!
** Not that I'd ever do this.  Ever.
*** I had no idea before.  High school teachers know nothing about learning disabilities (I didn't, anyway.)
**** Hm.  Talk to my kids about this one!
***** We are lucky that our church is 400m down the road from one of the most sought after primary schools in Brisbane.  No decision really.  But having taught around many schools, it would be very tricky to deliberately choose one that wasn't great.  

Andrew has a new phone

I think it will make him a better person.

An iPad is what I need.

busy busy busy

Kids have been back at school for 2 days and still I haven't had my 6 hour coffee shop sit!  Tomorrow?

Exciting stuff though. 

Andrew and I have been doing some fun exercise circuits.  Fun because Andrew hurts and I don't.  

Our 1-2 Kings church4kids program begins this week.  We've printed and bound 150 kids' workbooks. Meryl and her friends at MPC have written a companion at home read-think-pray booklet covering some of the kings we don't get to look at on Sundays.  It's great stuff, taking my angle (and fonts) and pushing the older kids further.

Also in the initial stages of planning a Brisbane Twist Music Ministry Conference.  Fantastic.  More info soon.

Sadly, it's 6 months today since Abby died.  She is not forgotten.  Come Lord Jesus.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

school tomorrow!

Tomorrow my children go back to school - years 1, 4 and 5.  I've enjoyed the holidays but it's time.  I'm ready to hand them over and they are surprisingly ready to go.

For the last couple of days I've been sorting out their school stuff.  My kind friend (who has four kids of her own) helped me cover their books (30+) (so far beyond the expectations of any friendship...).  They look beautiful.  Only one of the dozen+ that she contacted had anything like a bubble.  Not so for the ones I did!

But David Tennant makes even a bad contact job attractive!

Anyway, I'm hoping for a few days off.  I'm thinking 6 hours in an air conditioned coffee shop with some books, some pencils and some blank paper.  Bliss!  Surely no teacher will need a sicky this week?

Monday, January 25, 2010

7 things I can say to myself regarding body image

Over here, Rachel is starting a series on body image.  I look forward to reading it. Often we talk as if body image issues are the domain of teenage girls. Not so.  As Rachel points out, mature women stupidly hanker after impossible, pre-adolescent thinness just as their daughters do, and judge themselves and others by their ability to attain such perfection.  

I have nothing of any significance to say on the topic, no profound way forward in the battle to view our bodies rightly, but I feel like writing something, so I'll write a list.

7 things I can say to myself regarding body image.

1.  I am a mature woman.  I should expect to have the figure of a mature woman.  I will not resent my hips and thighs.  [Skinny jeans will always look stupid on me (as they do on most women) so I won't try them on.]  Three children have grown in my womb.  My shape will be different to what it was.  This is a small price to pay.  I will not make it my aim to look as if I am 20 years younger than I am and that I never bore children.  This is an insult to my years and my family.  I will aim to be healthy and fit for the tasks I want to do.

2.  If I watch movies and tv shows where the heroines are pencil thin, I am going to want to be pencil thin too!  If I think what I watch is not going to effect me, I am stupidly over-estimating my strength and discernment.

3. God has made me to need a certain amount of food to survive.  Scientists have worked out how much this is, based on my gender, level of physical activity, age etc.  It may be significantly less than I've trained my stomach and mind to think that I need.  When I exceed this amount, I will put on weight.  If I exceed it long term, I will have (often major) health issues and I will be fat.

4. Like all areas of life, the games of beauty and weight control are not played on a level playing field.  If may be harder for me to keep my weight under control than it is for my friends.  My friend may be prettier than I am.  I need to stop looking over my shoulder and coveting her body. 

5. I am thankful to God for my pretty and graceful friend.  I find joy in her movement and appearance as I do in a purple and orange sunset or a mountain stream.  I do not need to feel threatened by her beauty. 

6. Losing weight and changing habits is hard work.  If I cut what I'm eating by a third (as many Australian women need to do) I will suffer discomfit (I'll feel hungry and get headaches) while my body adjusts to the new regime.  When I start exercising, it will hurt.  I need to push through this.

7. I need to accept that my body is dying.  Every day I am getting older and any efforts I make will have no effect on the final outcome.  In a hundred years my body will be an unattractive pile of bones in the ground (as will that of my thin sister and fat cousin).  Some things last beyond this life.  They are more important.

But I am a little patriotic...

I made damper today with the kids*.

Basically, just a big scone mix (4cups SR flour, tsp salt, 2 tsp sugar, rub in 2 tbsp butter, add 1cup milk, half cup water) chucked in the oven. Be as rough as you like with the mixture.  Spread enough butter and syrup on it and it will be fantastic.

*Well, with one child.  And she wasn't mine.  But all the kids ate it.  Does that still give me good mum points?

embarrassment is...

... taking an Australian flag towel to the gym in late January.

It was the first one I pulled out this morning.  My pump instructor gave me a special smile and thumbs up imagining that my towel choice was an act of patriotism.

It really really was coincidental.  But I don't expect anyone to believe me.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

from cadbury with love

my purple paper and silver foil

you will unwrap me

for the sweetness, the
I offer

my smoothness

a tiresome month
vainly boasts of new beginnings

but confident I wait.

I am here.
your constitution
is always to fall,

so why should I fear
never kept before?

sar 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010

sunday school material presented...

... okay.  What's next?

writing the emotions

I cut your phone line.
now a sniper, I lie and wait

for she who dares approach
your gate.

sar 2010

[Can you guess which one?]

Bad Wolf Bay

Am I nerd enough to join this site?

Quite possibly.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


the back of each page is blank.
the second half of every thought
a withering trail
that stabs.

a sigh.

a dimension is missing.
my laugh is hollow,
the stars are just a stain upon the sky

for you are gone.

sar 2010

A new project

Just a little one.

Join me if you like.

Each day or two I'm going to spend a short amount of time (say 15-20 minutes) thinking about a particular emotion and trying to capture one facet of it in 50 words or less.

Here's a list of emotions I've come up with.

  • depression
  • anger
  • sadness
  • grief
  • joy
  • happiness
  • excitement
  • fear
  • love
  • obsession
  • jealousy (thanks Tim)
  • despair
  • contempt/disdain (al, anika)
  • temptation
  • hollowness (tim)
  • contentment (chris)
  • guilt

Have I left any out?

Pick one, if you like, and have a go.

It doesn't have to be a masterpiece.  Post it on your blog or in my comments.

the joy of ratio cooking...

... is that I don't need to open up the cupboard to find a recipe.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


... we went geocaching and then I made fettuccine with my friend (from scratch!) and then I went to the wonderful cool library all by myself.

Great day.

Monday, January 18, 2010

welcome back!

My stats tell me that you are all coming back from holidays.  Fabulous!

Things have been fairly boring round here in blogdom.  Nathan and I and maybe one or two others have been keeping the airconditioning on.... But dull dull dull.

To save you trawling through the very boring archives of my last month (which I know you would ALL feel you needed to do!) let me point out the only posts really worth looking at.  You may well debate that these posts were worth the click, but anyway...

I had a little rant about time richness and single women
I had a big rant about the book Introverts in the Church.

I complained about being bored
I posted a couple (this one's dead in the water) of songs (this one's had another 10 versions since then - perhaps it's final version tonight) and a poem.
I've also written many posts on the progress of my 1-2 Kings sunday school material.  If you are interested in that kind of thing look here.

[Nathan posted a few very funny things to keep me from slitting my wrists.  Can't find them all now.  He should do a post like this.]

Consider yourself caught up.

oops. I think I've just written a ballad

So I've written this lyric and it has a few good lines... but it won't go anywhere because it refers directly to a couple of bible stories.  There's a verse on Moses and a verse on David then a chorus tying it together.

Why is it that with adult congregational music you can't retell bible stories without it sounding really naff?

I can do it in kids' songs, so why not in adults'? 

I blame you, churchgoer!  Why don't you want to sing ballads?

It is too hot!

I thought better of it.

1-2 Kings

On Thursday night I'm presenting my 1-2 Kings Sunday School curriculum to our teachers and the teachers of two other churches who are also using it this term. I thought I'd include some background on the books in case anyone is unaware (I naturally assume that everyone knows this stuff, but I shouldn't). Perhaps more interesting, is my take on application - which others may not agree with. Anyway, I'll be saying something like this. Any thoughts?

What is 1-2 Kings all about?

The books of Kings continue the story of the books of Samuel. (The break between Samuel and Kings is artificial.) They begin with the rise of Solomon, treating his reign as the as the golden age of Israel. The Abrahamic promises are fulfilled – Israel is a great nation, at rest in the land of Canaan, blessed extravagantly with wealth and wisdom and the nations are coming to her for blessing. Moreover, the promises to David are also fulfilled – his son is on the throne and the temple is built, and the Exodus image of God being present in the cloud comes along for the ride as well. Abraham, Moses, David all wrapped up together and given to Solomon. Bully for him!

But we don't get to enjoy this idealised picture of the kingdom for long. Solomon's foreign wives (accumulated in order to form political alliances) inevitably lead him into apostasy. In judgement, God rips the northern ten tribes out of the hands of Solomon's inept son Rehoboam and gives them to Jeroboam to rule. Only two tribes remain faithful to Davidic rule – Judah and Benjamin.

In order to keep his people away from Jerusalem and thus consolidate his rule, Jeroboam sets up two alternate shrine in his new Kingdom (called Israel) - Dan in the far north, and Bethel in the South. The writer of Kings is not impressed with Jeroboam's rejection of Jerusalem which is symptomatic of his general disregard for Yahweh's rule. All of the kings of Israel follow in Jeroboam's apostate steps, despite much prophetic activity and many clear warnings of coming doom. Successive northern dynasties are brought down before Israel is finally defeated by Assyria. We are encouraged to see the inevitability of this. Israel has chosen the path of death, rejecting the covenant, and faces the judgements outlined in Deuteronomy 30.

The faithfulness of the southern kingdom (Judah) is marginally better than that of their northern cousins. In the centuries following Solomon, there are 2 good kings (Hezekiah and Josiah) who attempt to keep the covenant, 6 not entirely bad kings (including Jehoash who we'll look at) and then there's the rest – who, like their northern counterparts, flagrantly reject God's rule. The question throughout 1-2 Kings is 'how long will God put up with this?' Each king is measured against a Deuteronomy checklist which none come close to fulfilling. The collapse of Judah seems inevitable. A better king is needed.

What should the kids get out of it?

I want the kids to become immersed in the Kings narrative. I want them to feel with the inspired writer the failures (and successes) of the kings. I want them groaning over Israel's hopelessness and feeling the inevitability and rightness of God's judgement. If the kids can learn to see and assess Israel's history from God's perspective, this will help them see their own lives and situations as God does.

I don't think we need to push too hard at application. If the children are drawn into the narrative and shown how Jesus is end point of the story, we will achieve a great deal. With the weekly story and repetition of the checklist and song, the children will learn:

  • That we should worship God alone
  • That we should love God with all our hearts
  • That accumulating wealth and marrying people outside the faith are dangerous things
  • That our most natural drift is into disobedience. Our obedience to God can be half hearted and short lived.
  • God is ready to forgive us as soon as we turn to him
  • The Israelites followed the lead of their king. If their king scored badly, so did they.
  • Jesus is the only one who scored 10/10. The only perfect king.
  • If Jesus is our king, we follow him and get his 10/10 score.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

My desk

Ali tagged me in this desk photo thing.  You have to take a picture of your workspace and post it.

Mine, as you can see, is a total mess.

A few things to notice:

1. Shoes under the desk.


2. Kids' gifts on the wall

3. And a few books (Ali- including one of my new Sophie Hannah's.)

Now I tag Nathan and Al.**  Don't worry if I didn't pick you!  Wait patiently and you will get a go.

[** Come on guys, you can do this!]

Friday, January 15, 2010

A day without comments...

Have I missed the rapture?  Am I the only one left?  Wandering lonely in the blogosphere... All my comrades taken... And I....Left behind!

Is there anyone out there?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

In praise of hot wives

Can everyone please heed this?

two Lesbia Harford poems

A lady and I were walking
Where waters flow;
A lady and I were talking
Softly and slow.

This is what you were saying,
Lady of mine,
"I will be sad without him,
Yea, I will pine.

But he would never leave me
If he were free.
That's what my love in prison
Whispered to me."

September, 1919

The Folk I Love

I do so hate the folk I love,
They hurt so.
Their least word and act may be
Source of woe.

"Won't you come to tea with me?"
"Not today.
I'm so tired, I've been to church."
Such folk say.

All the dreary afternoon
I must clutch
At the strength to love like them,
Not too much.



I was sitting in a coffee shop this afternoon listening in on a conversation.  Two women were gossipping about a mutual friend who had called her son 'Rascal'.

I'm looking forward to teaching him in a few years!

as for the foreigner

It is a strange thing that I, a 21st century Australian woman, should be reading the scriptures of the Jewish people.  What have the historic records of this Hebrew people to do with me?

I'm a christian and all of it is mine in Christ.  This is wonderful.

But every now and again I come across a verse which is mine - not just in Christ - but mine in all my un-regenerate gentileness.  These verses make my heart sing and realise anew that God does indeed want me to seek and know him.

Here's one I came across today.  Read and feel your heart warm.

Solomon prays: "As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your name-- for men will hear of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm— when he comes and prays toward this temple, then hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your own people Israel, and may know that this house I have built bears your Name."  1 Kings 8:41-43

jesus! amen

we bow our hearts to the ground
turn our wills to you and pray
'as this book is read,
breathe life into the dead.'

jesus lord, living word
piercing our souls like a sword
cut through our defence
and make us wholly yours.

and the people said 'amen'
and the people said 'amen'

o church arise and stand in praise
heaven speaks and hearts are changed
as we hear his word we sing, proclaim,
'jesus!' amen.

o spirit come light our eyes
for without you we are blind
dull in sin remove
the scales so we can see

o father make us like your son
as we hear your word today
guide us into life
and show us how to love

and the people said 'amen'
and the people said 'amen'

sar 2009

Still working on this one.  It has a new verse since I posted it last.  Is the spirit verse okay, or is that father/son stuff?  Would you sing it?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

pt - 10 days in

I am a week and a half into my role as Andrew's personal trainer.  After a shakey start (well, he was shakey anyway (and in considerable pain)), I feel like we are making progress. 

Here's the little circuit we did after dinner tonight.

[Swim 1500m (before dinner)]

Circuit 1 - Repeat 3 times, one minute break after each round
  • push ups - 15
  • squat and shoulder press - 10kg x 15
  • skip - 100x
  • plank - 1 minute
  • tricep dips - 15

Circuit 2 - Repeat 3 times
  • lunges - 10kg,  10 each leg
  • bicep curls - 10kg x 15
  • shoulder press - 15
  • side plank - 45 seconds each side
  • chest press - 20kg x 15
He's finding it tough, but considerably less tough than a few days ago.  I'm hoping to increase his weights in the next couple of weeks, and add a third circuit to the program.

He's going pretty well.   The male thing is so unfair.  I've been doing this for years, but at his current rate of improvement he'll overtake me in a couple of months.  

why... theological colleges spend so much time teaching verse by verse exegesis? 

Why not use that time to teach students how to extract the big idea from a passage and how to understand the passage in the context of it's book?

The word by word, verse by verse details aren't going to be much use to anyone if the bigger picture can't be seen.

to wish impossible things

How to make a woman fall in love with you

Last night I watched the bachelorette while colouring in.

Falling in love, it seems, is easy.  The bachelorette was madly in love with no less than three different men in one episode. 

In case any of you guys are struggling to make that special someone fall for you, here are some tips. 

1. Be pretty good looking.
2. Take her to an island resort.
3. Spend most of each day looking into her eyes.
4. Tell her 19,548 times that she is beautiful.
5. Tell her that she is smart.  (This may not be true, but needs to be said.)
6. Kiss her a lot.
7. Tell her that you can see the two of you together for a long long time.  Even forever.
8. Tell her that you are madly in love with her.
9. Tell her that she is the one you want to have a family with.
10. Avoid anything that will remind her of mundane normal life.

1-2 Kings older kings booklet

I promise I won't post forever on the Sunday School material I'm writing.  I'm nearing the end of the creative stage so pretty soon I'll lose interest.

Here is the finished product of the older kids booklets.  I stayed up late last night colouring and 'scrapbooking' the pictures in, so the kids can see what their books might look like at the end of the term.

I still love the font and don't regret the price I paid for it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

understand me!

I think many people find me a pain in the neck to work with.  But I'm not.  I'm just a poor, misunderstood ENTP...  Okay.  I am annoying.  But understand me and working with me may be less painful.  Ten things.

1. I hate asking people to do thing.  I really hate it, so I put it off and put it off until it's absolutely the last minute and then I ask... but not very well - often I minimise what needs to be done, doing as much myself as I can - then I look like a one-woman band who doesn't actually want anyone else's help...

2. I run on enthusiasm.  I can move small mountains when inspired by a new project.  When my enthusiasm runs out (usually after the creative stage of the job is over), I need people to carry me.

3. I'm an up front person.  I'd rather a class of 25 than a single kid.  When on my game, I do upfront stuff well (eg. together time in Sunday school) and it costs me very little.  Don't assume I'll competently transition to a smaller group.

4. I'm a big picture person.  Unless it's my current pet project, I will not be able to deal with details.

5. I want to know you.  Sit down and talk to me about something significant and I'll love it.

6. I think fairly quickly.  Women often feel intimidated by this, mistaking it for cleverness.  I'm not particularly smart.  Talk to me for long enough and you'll realise.

7. I have ridiculously high standards for material that I have to use (eg. bible studies, sunday school curriculum, school lessons, recipes...) Mostly, if I haven't written it myself, I'll hate it.  I know this is stupid but I run on creative buzz and there is no buzz for me in using other people's stuff.  The least painful thing for me to do is make my own bible studies, school resources and sunday school material.  You shouldn't feel you need to follow my lead on this.

8.  I'm a routine person.  I don't carry a diary and it stresses me out having non-routine stuff locked in heaps in advance.  If you ask me to do something with you in 2 weeks, I'll look confused.  Ask me to do something now and I'll be keen.  Does this mean I'm a STABO person?

9. I have a very bad memory for names.

10.  If you give me something, I will lose it.  If you send it in an email, I'll have it forever.

What do you wish people understood about you?

oh man!

I got linked to by a hate blog. 

I won't link you to it because it is a horrible site.

Monday, January 11, 2010

map of ot israel

I've almost finished...

... my 1-2 Kings Sunday school material.  I've just got to write the lessons.  Hm.

Here is Solomon, young and old.

(Sin makes you sad.  That's why the second Solomon looks so glum. It also makes your hair thinner.  Try it and see.  Sin for long enough and your hair will get noticably thinner.)

I think he looks like Rodger Ramjet.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Flight, Sutton Foster & Megan McGinnis

just bought on itunes...

Wish by Sutton Foster.

I love her voice.  I've been listening to her (probably illegally) on you-tube for a year or more. 

what makes a great weekend?

Saturday sleep in

Pump class


Dinner with friends

Buzzing church

Long luch with friends - thoughtful and stimulating conversation

Exercise with Andrew

five really unfair things

1. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader doesn't come out at the movies till December.
2. Mummy isn't fair in any way except one...
3. Movies are all over-due.  The Hobbit should have been made before the Lord of the Rings but it doesn't come out until December 2011.
4. Doctor Who episodes are released in the UK before in Australia.  This is not fair, but it's even worse because we see the trailers which say the episodes are already out...
5. Mummy won't let me get LOTR on audio book.

I'm wondering if TV is too much a part of Joel's life.


...the boys watched Star Wars episode 3.  They've been asking for a long long long long long time.

Friday, January 8, 2010

how common is your name?

SIMONE is the #711 most common female first name

0.015% of females in the US are named SIMONE.

Around 18375 US females are named SIMONE!

Interestingly, son #3 has a more common name than I do!

MICAH is the #520 most common male first name

0.017% of males in the US are named MICAH.

Around 20825 US males are named MICAH!


But maybe that's just in bible-belt America. 
From here.

ten good things I'm looking forward to

The last 2 posts are really negative.  Time for some sunshine.

Ten good things I'm looking forward to

1.  The new creation.  Where good-things lists will be more fun to write than bad-things lists.
2.  Doing weight training with Andrew tonight.  He can walk again now, so there are no excuses! 
3.  A new minister is getting inducted in our neighbouring pressy church tonight.  I'm looking forward to seeing him go well.
4.  Joel being able to read the Lord of the Rings.  He has just listened to the Hobbit on audiobook and is desperate for more.  We are refusing to read him LOTR and won't buy it for him on audiobook.  We're hoping this will motivate him to work hard on his reading so he can read it himself.  At this stage he is just pulling the book off the shelf and looking at it longingly.
5.  Micah doing year 1 this year and learning to read.  I don't think it will be difficult for him and will bring him joy.  He's also desperate to have homework to do.  Bless him!
6.  Lots of babies being born this year.  I'm praying that God will give babies to many friends and this year.  Especially those who have had to wait a long time for this blessing.
7. My bible study group starting up again.
8. Teaching RE with Andrew.  We'll probably do different classes, but the same year level (yr. 2) and at the same time so it will feel like we are working together.
9. Finishing writing my 1-2 Kings sunday school material.
10. Nathan and Robyn joining us at church.

5 annoying things that people do when preaching on the OT

I rarely preach, and when I do it's pretty much never on the Old Testament.  So I'm well qualified to offer advice to others who do!  Here are 5 annoying things that I've noticed about many OT sermons.  If your sermons are online, I could be talking directly to you here!  They are all linked.

1. Gold mining.  This is when the preachers just picks out a few verses that he/she likes and preaches on these rather than preaching on the entire passage in its context.
2. A-narrative preaching.  Preaching on a passage without placing it in it's narrative context.  What was happening in Israel/Judah at the time this prophet spoke?  How would the original hearers have understood his words?
3. Testament leaping.  Jumping to the New Testament as a short cut for understanding an Old Testament passage.  Look properly at the passage before you, then you will be better able to take it to the New Testament.
4. Stock-Standard application.   Like the cheesey smiles if the istock photo family, pre-packaged general points of application will rarely cut through.  I switch off when I hear the familiar platitudes beginning...
5. Genre-deaf preaching.  Preaching a passage without adequately considering the genre in which it is written.  eg. Preaching the psalms as if they were epistles, the proverbs as if they were law or Song of Songs as if it were narrative.  Bad things happen when genre is ignored.

6 issues I have with 'Introverts in the church'

It seems that there isn't a negative review of this book anywhere on the internet.  Everyone else loves it, so I'm probably wrong.  Of course, a lot of my annoyance could be put down to the fact that I'm an extrovert and this book is not about me.  But it is about me - or it feels like it anyway - and I'm the baddy.  Extrovert or introvert, read it if the topic interests you.  There's some good and useful stuff and you'll probably learn something.

Here are my criticisms, in list form.

1. It over-generalises.
It reads very much like a book I've recently read on dyslexia.  Written by a dyslexic, the book was all about how dyslexics are brilliant, gifted and misunderstood people.  There were many over generalisations about how dyslexics think, learn and act... and a 'the world is against us' air about it. This book is similar.  The extrovert/introvert difference is but one part of our personalities.  McHugh very often describes introverts as deep thinkers.  I don't think that deep thinking is a function of introversion - but something else (they Myers Briggs profiles have a thinking/feeling category).  I know many introverts who are not thinkers.  They have no constant internal monologue happening, they are not particularly reflective, they are not really interested in thinking profound thoughts.  But they are introverts.  McHugh flags his difficulty in isolating his introversion from other parts of his personality (p35) and I think this is perhaps the biggest weakness with the book.  Perhaps it could be better titled "ISTJ*s in the church".  

2. I think it's written to the American church.
Things are a little different here in Australia.  Megachurch isn't where we are at.  I don't think most Australian christians would classify Jesus as an extrovert.

3.  McHugh confuses the struggles of humanity with the struggles of introverts.
On page 50 he writes, "While extroverts commonly feel lonliness when others are absent, introverts can feel most lonely when others are present, because ours is the aching loneliness of not being known or understood."  But this 'introverted' loneliness is surely what loneliness is - felt by introvert and extrovert alike!  The life-of-the-party extrovert can be desperately lonely while entertaining a crowd.  The 'aching loneliness of not being known or understood' is felt even more acutely by the person who has heaps of friendships - even deep friendships - and is still unsatisfied.

4. McHugh misunderstands extroverts (ie. McHugh misunderstands me!).
I'm an extrovert and I need loads of time by myself.  Intense people stuff wears me out too.  I'm a thinker.  I have a constant, noisy internal monologue happening.  I treat my ideas as my children.  While I can do broad and shallow, I much, much prefer to spend time with one or two really good friends.

5.  I'm not sure why, but his complete lack of reference to children and parenthood** annoyed me.

6.  His bent towards a mystic spirituality is one that I don't share.

*or whatever he happens to be.

**The only mention of parenthood that I can recall, was when he was talking about how extroverted parents mess up their introverted kids.

I'd be interested in what others think.  Particularly introverts - Jean? Helen?  And extroverts - Nathan? (I'm thinking this would get on Nathan's nerves even more than it got on mine!)  Everyone, actually.  I ordered my copy from the book depository.  It didn't cost much. Read it and tell me that I'm ungracious and wrong and I'll repent.

In a couple of days I might write a list of things I liked about the book to balance things up a bit.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

introverts in the church

Reading this.  Grrrr.

[review to come when I am more rational.]

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


I have spent much of today drawing pictures for my Sunday School material.  I was hoping that if I left this job for long enough, someone else would do it for me.  Alas, it didn't happen.  I'm not a drawer.  I sat down with my kids' 'how to draw people' book and followed the steps.

I've now done 4/8 pictures.  They'll do (probably), but look laboured - like an essay written by a non-English speaker or a melody by a non-musician.

I'm hoping they'll be rescued by my nice font.

Anyway, here's Rehoboam.

and here's Manasseh.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

I'm a PT!

Andrew has agreed to let me be his personal trainer for the next month.  This is very exciting for me.  Maybe not so fun for him.  Need to think how to best inflict pain help him get fitter.

We started last night with a brief strength session:
Abs - 10x roll outs, 15x crunches, 15x leg scoops, 15x raise/lower legs, 15x leg throws
Shoulders - 30x push ups, 30x weighted arm raises, 15x overhead presses
Triceps - 30x kickbacks on each arm, 15 tricep pushups

I need to work out a weekly schedule.  Being January, we're pretty flexible so I should be able to work him pretty hard.  [Just so you know, Andrew is not unfit.  He was training for a marathon last year and could run for 3.5 hours without a break.  He got injured in June and hasn't been able to run since.  He just needs some gentle wifely encouragement to start trying some different sorts of exercise!]

Maybe something like this?

Sunday - Both of us - Swim 1.5km
Monday - Me pump class, Andrew - cardio circuit - skipping and boxing + some strength
Tuesday - Me circuit class, Andrew - Abs, chest, shoulders, triceps, biceps, shoulders + legs
Wednesday - Me - swim, Andrew - big time cardio (jumping etc)
Thursday - Day off
Friday - Me - cardio class, Andrew - swim.
Saturday - Both - strength

hints for making pizza on a pizza stone

1. You need to use a paddle.  Get the biggest one you can find.
2. Put heaps of flour on the paddle.
3. Don't make your pizza hang off the ends of the paddle.  Just because you can roll the dough out nice and thin doesn't mean you should.
4. Stuffed crust seems like a good idea, but is awkward to get into the oven.
5. Even if you turn it into a mutilated mess trying to get it into the oven, don't fear - it will still taste fantastic.

Exercise and caffeine

Magic combination.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

feeling flat and pathetic

There is nothing to watch on telly.

It's hot and the gym is shut so I can't swim.

I hurt my foot 3 weeks ago and haven't been able to do any cardio on it since.  I thought it was okay so went for a jog yesterday.  I can't walk now.

The kids are fighting.

I'm bored and restless.

What's wrong with me?

[Andrew has just put a pepsi max into the freezer for me.  Could the trouble be that I've been drinking a lot of caffeine lately and haven't had any for 2 days now?]

Friday, January 1, 2010

my dad...

... is a life saver at Tallebudgera SLSC.  He's currently looking for a 17 year old boy who went missing a couple of hours ago.  We can hear the helicopter searching the creeks and canals near here*.  Horrible.

* we are staying with my parents at the moment. 

time rich - a myth about single women

``Oh! my dear Lydia,'' she cried, ``when shall we meet again?''

``Oh, lord! I don't know. Not these two or three years, perhaps.''

``Write to me very often, my dear.''

``As often as I can. But you know married women have never much time for writing. My sisters may write to me. They will have nothing else to do.''

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 11.

I'm not sure when the myth that single women have more time than married women first surfaced, but it seems to have been around for a while.  Austen put it into the mouth of silly Lydia Wickham - which should be reason enough for us not to repeat it - but still it does the rounds...  I often hear it from preachers and others who are looking for a bright side to singleness.  "A single woman doesn't have kids, therefore she has heaps of time to serve on all these church rosters..."

There is no reason why we should assume that single women are time rich.  Many of us assume it, thinking back to when we were single (at uni) and assume that our single friends have stayed in that stage of life.  But an older single woman (say in her thirties) is not still in the uni stage of life.  She has responsibilities.  She most likely has a full time job that occupies her from 8am till 6pm five days a week.  Outside of that time she needs to exercise, house clean, shop... mostly with no one else to help her.  If she wants any human contact outside work, she'll need to arrange it (which is pretty painful) and go out of her home to get it.  If she lives with other people, she may be able to socialise at home, but this brings with it some potentially difficult terrain...

In our society that links busyness with importance, to assume that someone is not busy is to imply that they are not important.  Of course, the link between busyness and importance is far from justified... but to be labeled 'time rich' is still insulting.  If Shirley has a full-time job, it's unlikely that she has any more discretionary time than a mum with a couple of kids.    

As a mum with little kids at home, I had plenty of time to do stuff.  Yes, there were the little baby stages which were pretty intense, but I had quite a lot of flexibility, time when I could go out and meet friends in the park, meet friends at bible study, meet friends at playgroup, meet friends at the pool... When the kids were asleep or occupied, I could blog or plan conferences or do desktop publishing jobs for church or whatever...  And now while my kids are at school and I work a few days a week, I have time to do all sorts of things that a woman with a full time job cannot do.

At times when we are sick or sad or lonely or depressed or overwhelmed, our productivity will decrease.  We'll be able to do fewer things than usual.  Just getting through the day will take more effort.  Many of us experience this when our kids are little and we put it down to motherhood.  But many of our childless sisters are experiencing these things too - with little sympathy.  To assume that a single woman will have time to do things that we cannot do is to unkindly burden them.

A married woman with kids may or may not be time rich.  A married woman without kids may or may not be time rich.  A single woman may or may not be time rich.

Let us have no more condescending generalisations about time and single women.