Wednesday, March 31, 2010

talk done.

I've already forgotten what a beast it was to write.

It went well.  I held people even though it was longer than it should have been (it was still only 20 minutes).  I had something to say and I said it.  God is kind.  Thanks for your prayers.

In this talk I explored some new ideas.  New for me, anyway.  Hopefully not heretical.  I'll tell you about them sometime. 

I sat on a table with a non-christian lady who has come along to many such things.  Turns out we have a few mutual interests and she will email me about them.  Could be interesting.

There's buzz to be had in the talk giving business.  It's good that the writing is so painful.  Otherwise, I might get hooked.

Tintin crosses the waterfall

Joel has another talk to do at school.  This time, he has to 'sell a book'.  He's chosen a Tintin comic.  So, of course, we've made an animation.  Hopefully, this is the last one for a while.  I'm a bit over it.  Next term I'm going to encourage him to paint or write a poem or do something less fiddly.  I've heard that there are kids out there who just stand up and speak for a school talk...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

2967 words

I speak fast, but this is far too long.

I've finished though.

Just need to lose a third of it.

Did you know...

...that it's possible to run an Easter RE assembly without talking about the resurrection?

Andrew and I ran the year 2-3 Easter assembly today.  We talked about the usual Easter stuff.  Didn't really think there could be another option.

Others ran the Year 4-7 assembly.  There were blessings and modern day parables and prayers for the world and songs about being lifted up on eagles wings... but our boys (in years 4 and 5) did not miss that their RE teachers were on the wrong track.

I can do this

I will write this talk.

two ideas for easter kids' talks

1.  Why did Jesus die?
To explain how Jesus took our sin when he died on the cross

What you need: 
  • A3 piece of paper (landscape) with 2 people outlines drawn on.  They should be labeled 'Me' and 'Jesus', 
  • A piece of glass or perspex (A glass chopping board works really well.  If you don't have glass or perspex, make something with clear contact or laminate your piece of paper.)
  • Paint or tomato sauce or something messy like that.
  • A sqeegey or something maybe a sponge.

What to do:
Stick the piece of paper behind the glass, so you can paint on the person and wipe it off again.
Explain to the kids that the picture on the left is me (and you) and the other is Jesus.  Talk about sin.  Say how it messes us up, gets in the way of our friendship with God etc etc.  While saying this put mess (paint, sauce, whatever) all over 'Me' picture.  Explain that Jesus had no sin.  See?  All clean.  Talk about how God has to deal with sin etc.  He does that by putting all our sin onto Jesus (use squeegy to transfer mess onto Jesus, leaving 'me' clean.).  Talk around all that kind of stuff.

(This isn't original.  Don't remember where it came from.  Was it part of bible in ten?) 

2.  Humpty Dumpty Easter Set
Explain that Jesus came back to life again.  We used this in our RE assembly today after we had told the story to reinforce the fact that Jesus rose from the dead.

What you need:
  • Guitar or piano (if possible) and singing voice
  • Humpty Dumpty easter egg, or just a big regular easter egg.
What to do:
Humpty Dumpty is one of my favourite Easter characters.  Huh?  All the shops I look in are filled with humpty dumpty eggs... (show one or ask kids if they've seen them.)  I like humpty dumpty eggs because they are filled with smarties.  Yum!  But Humpty Dumpty is actually a really sad story.  A tragedy in fact.  (Ask kids if they remember the story.  Get a kid to tell it.  Make a few comments about the poor choices that Humpty made.  He should never have been sitting on the wall in the first place.  Dangerous etc.)  What we are going to do now is a re-enactment of the humpty dumpty story.  Just as a warm up, we might sing the song through a couple of times. (sing)  Need a volunteer...  (choose someone.  Everyone sings at appropriate moment in the song, helper needs to push humpty off wall.  Watch him smash.  Sing song.  Watch him smash...  Make sure he gets really broken.)   Like the song says, 'All the kings horses and all the kings men, couldn't put humpty together again.  And it's true.  Look at him.  I can't fix him.

Death is a bit like that.  When someone is dead, there's nothing we can do.  All the kings horses and all the king's men can't make the person alive again... But there's an exception... (talk about Jesus coming back to life.)  To help you remember this, we have a song to teach you (to the tune of Humpty Dumpty):

Easter Friday, Jesus has died
All his friends were sad and they cried (boo hoo)
Sunday morning, what a surprise,
Jesus has risen, Hooray he's alive.

sar 2007

(you can get free sheet music here)

Give the kids a bit of egg each to eat!

Monday, March 29, 2010

fishing for sympathy

I was having a whinge to Andrew today about how painful it is to write a talk, so time consuming, woe is me, who would ever agree to do this etc.

He told me to suck it up because he has two to write for this weekend.

So I'm looking elsewhere for sympathy. 

Anyone? Anyone?

slow cooker loaded for tomorrow night

My self-righteousness is exceeding that of the scribes and pharisees!


I'm trying to work at home. Apparently, it's the godly way.

But I can't.

The mess is stressing me*. 

The windows are dirty. 

The floor needs a mop. 

There are overdue library books.

I need caffeine.

I need strangers around me.

I need the noisy serenity of the coffee shop.

Get me out of here!

*and it's not too bad.

not working today

I was all set to say 'no' to work today.  I was going to be firm.  I worked three days last week.  I'm already booked for Wed-Thurs this week.  I've got a talk to give on Wednesday night that is no where near finished.  We don't need the money.  I don't need the stress.  I will say no.  I will.

But work didn't call this morning.

It's one thing for me to reject them, but quite another for them to reject me!  It's raining.  Teachers are always away when it rains!

Why don't they want me?  Maybe they think I'm incompetent.  Maybe I am incompetent.  Maybe I'll never get a call again...

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Off to watch Bones.  Sick of this millimeter by millimeter thing.  How about he gets moved to another unit, she gets sad for an episode, but recovers when she finds that her new partner out-awesomes him...

godliness as patience

I was speaking to Kutz the other night.  He was telling me how he sees sin as the distortion of a desire which was originally good. So if he feels tempted, he thinks about the particular temptation and tries to discern how, pre-fall, that desire would have been expressed.  He looks backwards.

I do a similar thing, but look forwards.  All of the desires that I feel now are in some way a longing for the new creation.  So when I'm tempted to sin (which is usually about half a second before I'm in the thick of sin) I think about what it is that I really want.  What part of the new creation am I particularly hanging out for at that moment? 

Patience, then, is the virtue I need to cultivate.  I will get what I want, and get it in a much more magnificent form than I can imagine.  But not yet.  I need to wait. 

Just a few short years.

carrot pancakes

The great thing about the internet is that it gives me a forum in which to feign competence in areas in which I really have very little competence.  My friends generally do not ask me for cooking advice.

So make what you will of this post.

Here's a recipe I made up tonight.  (The cupboards are bare and I need to fill lunch boxes.)  The kids' verdict was 'pretty good' but my cooking is all they've ever known.  I think they'd be better with more sugar (but that would defeat the healthy thing I'm trying to go for.)

Carrot Pancakes

3 carrots, cooked and 'pulverized' (as Micah says!)
2 cups SR flour
one dessert spoon sugar
2 eggs
2 cups milk

Combine ingredients.
Beat with electric beaters.
Heat frying pan and spray with oil stuff.
Pour spoonfuls of mixture into pan and cook.  Flip, cook again. Remove from pan.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

planning holidays

Is there any affordable way for a family to go skiing for a week?

Friday, March 26, 2010

the search for blogger approval

Gordon links to me from time to time.  To get a Gordon link is to be personally validated.  A big star sticker on my forehead.  I live for the Gordon link.  But he's picky.  Many of the posts that I deem to be link-worthy don't attract the attention they deserve.  Then a couple of weeks ago I thought I had hit the jackpot because of my insightful profundity, but now I realise it's just that Gordon has a slow cooker obsession happening. Oh well.

baptised before birth

Andrew is reading through the baptism record books for our church.  It's the kind of thing we do on a Friday night.  He just found one Hamish James who was baptised before he was born.  9 months before he was born, in fact.  Don't think too hard about the technicalities.


As I walk to the kitchen to wash up 9 plastic dishes and 9 plastic lids, I look back to the good ol' days when cling-wrap was socially acceptable.


A brand new day to praise!

I got a tune for this last night.  I love 3/4 of it (which is pretty good for a first go.)

It has a happy, bright tune.  I can imagine it working first song up in the Sunday service.  Can't imagine it in the evening.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

comparison = envy

This is right, isn't it?

I wonder if envy our biggest challenge as christian women (and men too).  We are always looking at one another's children, homes, skill-set or whatever and feeling either proud because we're winning (though we'd not call it that - we'd rather say we're content with our lot!) or envious because we're losing (though we wouldn't call it that either - we'd say we're discouraged or depressed or even 'discontent' would sound better!)  Content is the opposite of envy, but contentment is worth nothing when we're winning.  Just like my kids' doing what they are told doesn't really count as the virtue of obedience if I'm telling them to do something they want to do - like go and play on the computer.

Contentment kicks in when I look at my more accomplished, prettier, richer and happier sister and am genuinely happy for her and satisfied with my own lot.

My ideal week

Sunday - church
Monday - work
Tuesday - RE / Bible Study
Wednesday - Coffee shop day
Thursday - work
Friday - Andrew day
Saturday - kid day

Everything falls apart if I have to work for 3 days.  Then I don't want a day with Andrew on Friday and things are out of hand by Saturday.  I worked Monday and Wednesday and I'm off to work today.  Grrr.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

okay theologs. I need your help.

Issues with Never Alone

Can I say that God departed from earth with the crucifixion?  Of course I know that God did not absolutely depart.  But God the Son did.  If he didn't, then in what sense did Immanuel happen?  If God didn't depart in some way, then we make a mockery of the incarnation.

What do you think?

I'm trying to rewrite the end of the second verse to show people that I'm not a heretic, but maybe I am...

Help me.

the busy christian's guide to busyness

I'm reading this. Hoping it will change my life... a little bit.  I like (almost) all the things I'm busy with, and don't really want to give anything up!  I try to fit in one thinking/reading day a week, one day with Andrew and one day with the kids... but sometimes things get a little out of control! 

His 4 steps are:
1. Use your time efficiently - he has a whole dreadful chapter about things like intrays! Awful stuff.  A quick skim through was enough to know that I didn't really want to read it!  (I wonder what he would think of my practice of going grocery shopping almost every day?)
2. Sort out your priorities.  I enjoyed this chapter.
3. Glorify God all the time. (I'm up to this chapter)
4. Identify the desires of your heart that make you try to do more than God expects of you.

Family preciousness gets on my nerves. (I'm guilty of it at times.)  So I like this quote:  "I shocked someone recently by asking them to name one occasion on which Jesus speaks positively about families.  Every time Jesus talks about families he sees them as competing for our loyalty to him and his community." p59.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

bad songs

As I've mentioned, I'm starting a year 4-5 choir at our kids' school next term.  I'm quite excited about possible repertoire.  There is so much fantastic Australian stuff available.  These guys publish great choral music.  I'm a big fan of Paul Jarman's beautiful work and I also had them send me samples of Ian Munro's settings of Andy Griffiths' verses.  (For the uninitiated, Andy Griffiths penned books like 'The Day My Bum Went Psycho" and "Just Disgusting" and is renown for his ... childish... humour.) To make the choir appeal to 10 year old boys, I thought it would be good to start with some funny and slightly on-the-edge songs.  The Munro/Griffiths samples I looked at were good, but harmonically and rhythmically too ambitious.  So I thought I'd try my own.

Take this delightful little rhyme from Andy Griffiths' Bad Book:

Penny McRose picked her nose
Morning, noon and night.
She picked it until her head caved in
And her family died of fright.

Being such a rhyme, I thought I'd wed it to a classic tune.  Like this one:

Can you see how right it is?

tuesdays are manic.

It would be heaps easier to go to work.

8.45am -shopping
9.30am - bs prep
10am - bible study
12 noon - help with swimming at school
12.30pm - RE prep
1.15 - RE
2.00 - hang around school because there is no point going home
2.45 - pick up, buy N soccer boots
3.30 - afternoon tea, unpack bags etc.
4.00 - homework (this is no small deal)
6.00 - soccer training

Doesn't seem like that much, but everything is pretty intense.  BS and RE and homework are so draining.  Ask me to teach English or Maths to other people's kids and I'll do it without exhaustion.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Crispy No-Fat Banana Bread

It has cooled down now and is crisp.  Andrew likes it.  I find it too sweet.  I don't think we'll have any trouble eating it, though.  I might even take some to bible study tomorrow.  Worth another try with less sugar.

fat free banana cake

Right now I am trying to make a fat free banana cake.  Or banana crisp bread.  Or... something.

Here's what I've done so far.

I beat up 6 egg whites (220g) with 220g of caster sugar and a bit of vanilla essence.  Then I folded in about 220g of SR flour and a mashed banana.  I poured it into a papered square tin and baked it for about 30 minutes in a moderate oven.  I've just removed it from the tin and chucked it into the fridge to cool down.

At this stage it looks like a cake.   The bit that I pulled off the side was pretty chewy.  I'm thinking that I might cool it down fast then cut it open and see what it's like.  I've left the oven on in case I want to slice it up thin and cook it biscotti style.

This sort of experiment can, of course, go horribly wrong.  If it does, I'll comfort myself that the banana had to be used and the cost of the other ingredients was less than $2.

But perhaps it will be a triumph!

Anyone want to take a bet?

a concerning quote

But how many of us think like this!

Today my class of year 7s had to pick a quote, research its author and context and present it to the class.

One boy chose this Micheal Jackson quote : "It don't matter if you're black or white"

He presented the quote to the class, told us about Michael Jackson and did a moon walk, and then the teacher-librarian asked how this quote personally mattered to him.

He replied, so honestly, "I don't care 'cause I'm a white guy!"

a beautiful quote

Today you are You, 
that is truer than true. 

There is no one alive 
who is Youer than You.

Dr. Seuss

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Bones and the drawn out love story

Bones is the only TV show I'm really watching at the moment.  I'm under no illusions.  It's entertaining, but pretty average stuff.  The story lines are unconvincing, the characters plastic and the script ordinary.

But it does have the one requirement for an addictive TV series: the drawn out love story.  If you were to ask what Bones is about, one might suggest forensic science or crime or workers at the Jeffersonian Institute.  But these answers would be wrong.  The show is about the relationship between Booth and Brennan.

Without the drive of this romance, the show would be unwatchably boring.  So I switch on each week in order to see their relationship move that one millimeter further.  After 5 series I'm thinking that it's time there was some resolution.  But maybe there won't be.  Bones' character sits somewhere on the autism spectrum... Maybe they'll do what the writers of Doc Martin did - keep us waiting for series after series, give us 2 episodes of delicious immorality, then have it all fall into a realistic but depressing heap.

Anyone else watching?

top 5 things I love about blogging

1.  The community of blogdom.
Blogging is not just about writing, it's about being part of a community.  There are a number of blogs that I read every day.  I go hang with these guys in their rumpus rooms. Some of them drink coffee.  I chat with them as I sip my pepsi max or sprite zero.  Sometimes I just go and listen.  They make me laugh.  They make me think.  I see the world through their eyes and am changed by them.  Sometimes they come over to my place.  This really cool.  (Until they dis my slow cooker!)
2.  Blogging helps me think.
I don't know how much I know or don't know a topic till I've tried to express it.  Talking to myself is dull.  Blogging gives me an opportunity to put my ideas into words and have them read, critiqued, and sharpened by others.  I didn't know the exact purpose of the slow cooker till our discussion on Thursday.

3.  Blogging helps me write.
Most of us learn by doing.  If I was teaching high school English, I'd make my kids blog each day. Blogging is a great training ground in written expression.  It gives us a reason to write and a platform to publish what we've written.  If you do it enough you'll find your voice.

4.  Blogging, as a medium, works for me.
It's immediate.  It's interactive.  It's technically easy.  What's not to like?

5.  Through blogging, I occasionally say something worth saying.
I think the world is a richer place now that we've had this discussion.

How about you? What do you like about blogging?

Job and suffering

We had a great weekend away with church friends.  Excellent teaching from the book of Job.  My heart is warmed and challenged.  I have a new motivation to godliness: Trials and temptations are an opportunity for God to show Satan that our relationship is real and that I don't just serve him for what I get out of it.  Now to live it!

Thursday, March 18, 2010


- ministry wives thing (I've got to say some stuff on blogging)
- church camp

All good.

Dorothy Sayers - Are Women Human?

This is an excellent post.  I must read the book.

I particularly like Sayer's quote about Mary and Martha.

I think I have never heard a sermon preached on the story of Martha and Mary that did not attempt, somehow, somewhere, to explain away its text. Mary's, of course, was the better part--the Lord said so, and we must not precisely contradict Him. But we will be careful not to despise Martha. No doubt, He approved of her, too. We could not get on without her, and indeed (having paid lip-service to God's opinion) we must admit that we greatly prefer her. For Martha was doing a really feminine job, whereas Mary was just behaving like any other disciple, male or female; and that is a hard pill to swallow.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

slow cookers are great...

...because I can feel self-righteous all day about the fact that I have dinner organized.  Normal frypan meals only give me a couple of minutes of satisfaction between the time when I've done the hard work and the time when the dinner is on the table.  And I don't get to enjoy those 2 minutes because I'm so busy yelling at the kids to get to the table.

Slow cookers all the way.

what I like about being a parent

Child #1 sits next to me and asks a hundred questions about all sorts of stuff just because he likes to.

Child #2 takes my pillow to bed with him each night because he thinks it's the most comfortable one in the house (which it is!) but also because it's mine.  I steal it back when I go to bed.

Child #3 has long skinny legs and a front tooth missing.  He still occasionally comes into our bed at night ("It is WAY too dark out there!") but wriggles so much that we evict him pretty quickly.

Sometimes I'd like to just hold on to now.

Clem 7 Family Fun!

We took a trip through the 4.5km long Clem 7 tunnel tonight!

Good times!

I felt like I was on a plane.  The air has that pumped-in flavour.  I can still taste it in my mouth.

Very confusing at the other end.  Took us a few wrong turns to work out where we were.


Manasseh, Hezekiah's son
Broke all God's rules, every one.

His father pulled the idols down
he smashed them all upon the ground
But Manasseh, evil man,
stood them all back up again.

This dreadful king, he truly would,
worship anything that stood
still for long enough, and then
he'd find more things and worship them!

He carved out Asherah poles and Baals
He bowed before the moon and stars
He worshipped all the heavenly host
He talked to witches, looked for ghosts

Jerusalem was filled with blood
From end to end there was a flood
From south to north, from west to east,
Manasseh moved and, what a beast,

he slashed his sword like one insane
and left behind a thousand slain
and then he went back to his home
and turned on those who were his own.

Manasseh took his own poor son
and made him through the fire run
He did all this to please the Baals,
the Asherahs, the moon, the stars

And then Manasseh, what a nerve!
Took all the gods he liked to serve
and stood them in the temple: No!
This evil king would have to go!

Manasseh was so truly bad
That God, though patient, said he had
had enough. He set a date
when like a grubby, dirty plate

Judah, he would scrape and wipe
Away with them! A single swipe
and they'd be gone. God's word was true
and that is what he said he'd do.

Manasseh, Hezekiah's son
broke all God's rules, every one.
And all the people followed him
So Judah writhed and sank in sin.

sar 2010

    Tuesday, March 16, 2010

    nothing brings a tear to the eye faster than...

    ...self pity.

    This afternoon I need to get over it and get on with the job.

    Wasn't I told beforehand that life would be like this?


    This will be fantastic.  Tell the music people at your church!  Let me know if you want brochures.

    Chopin animated interval graphic

    This is fascinating.

    h/t: addison road

    Monday, March 15, 2010

    a long day today

    I could have predicted it from the names on the roll.

    Dante and Memphis are two that stood out.

    Many others I couldn't pronounce.

    about blogging

    Nicole is heading to Brisbane and speaking at a ministry wives conference on Friday.  She will be teaching us about sustaining our spiritual fervour.  I'm looking forward to hearing her and meeting her in person.

    Because we both blog, we are getting interviewed together about the whole blogging thing.  We are getting asked about why we do it, how it's useful for our spiritual growth and what we perceive the dangers are.  I've been thinking about it a lot in the last couple of days, but haven't wanted to blog my thoughts yet.  (Which is why I've not been writing anything at all!)

    My main question is this:  How responsible am I for what people do with what I write? 

    A very minor example.  Just say I post a poem with a rude word in it.  People read this poem and it makes them do bad things, like:
    a.) use the word inappropriately themselves ("Simone posted a poem with that word in so it must be okay for me to say it to my kids and grandma.")
    b.) gossip to others about how bad I am for even typing such a word
    c.) think I am just so way cool to have such an edgy and under-used word in my vocabulary and bow down and worship me...

    Clearly, all of these are stupid ungodly reactions and if anyone actually did them then they would need a kick in the head a change of heart.  But, as a blogger, how much care should I take to ensure that I cause no-one to stumble?  The trouble with this medium is that what I write is available for everyone to read - so should I keep everything to a G rating just in case anyone under 14 stumbles across my blog?  Should I not put half formed ideas out there in case they turn out to be wrong and people pick them up and run with them without reading the meta in which they are shot down convincingly?  Should I not make cracks about my denomination in case people read and quote selectively and think I hate it - when I'm actually very thankful to God for it, committed to it, and fond of it too.  Should I not critique conservative ideas about womanhood, motherhood and women's ministry in case people think I do not agree with the bible's differentiation between men and women?  I could get around all this by being super careful in all I write and balance and measure everything ("of course, when I say x, I don't mean y and z, except in the instance of b or perhaps c..."), but I think I'd lose my readership pretty fast and my desire to write, too.   

    So what do you think? 

    How responsible am I for what people do with what I write? 

    Saturday, March 13, 2010


    I have so so much to do.  Kids talk to write for tomorrow (on Manasseh!), lunch to organise for tomorrow, house to tidy for guests tomorrow, Easter evangelistic talk to write (lazarus), conference bits and pieces to do, we are out tonight....

    On top of this I have a whole list of things I am desperate to do:
    • read my new poetry book
    • listen to some beautiful choral music
    • try to write some music for my new choir
    • go for another bike ride with Andrew
    • sit down at the piano with our new congregational song and try to work out why the chorus isn't working
    The thing that makes it okay, is that all the things on my want-to list can wait, if necessary, until the new creation.  I will get to do them eventually!

    Now, for some patience...

    God Departs in 'Never Alone'

    Quite a few people have been concerned about this.  Some considerably so.  Let me clear it up.

    Hi ****,

    Thanks for singing our song.  I hope it worked okay with your congregation.

    Others have also questioned what that line means.  I think it is most clearly understood if you consider it with the previous words:

    'A creeping dread in every heart,
    Lost in the world, now God departs."

    When I wrote these lines, I had Luke 23:48 in my mind. 

     Luke 23:46-48
    46Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last.
     47The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, "Surely this was a righteous man." 48When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away.

    The word 'lost' does not refer to Jesus but to us. Humanity. In crucifying the Son of God we were putting ourselves in a very lonely position.  We were trying to remove God (in Jesus) from the world.  And, in a very real way, we succeeded.  God was with us in the world and we caused his departure (not ultimately, of course).  The people standing around realized something of what they had done and beat their breasts. 

    These lines were not meant as a comment on God abandoning Jesus or anything like that.  I simply meant that one moment God was physically with us in the world, and the next moment, he wasn't.

    Is that okay?

    Thanks for asking.  It's good to know that you are thinking about the words that you are singing.

    In Christ,


    Friday, March 12, 2010

    Discussion question

    "It is possible to be a godly woman and never have anyone over to your house."

    What do you think?

    happiness is...

    ... ordering a whole lot of beautiful choral music!

    There is nothing so sweet as the sound of a good choir singing a Paul Jarman song.

    Thursday, March 11, 2010

    slavery to sheet music

    Craig has written a piece for Sydney Anglicans on directing music at church. This bit touched my heart:
    Another major challenge, for my church at least, has been managing the sheet music. It is continually going missing, or winding up in the wrong folder, and we spend precious minutes at rehearsal trying to track it down.
    So true, so true.

    Sheet music is dreadful stuff.  It tries to rule my life.  Before church on a Sunday I just want to get on with practicing.  But I have to search for the sheet music first, and make sure there is a copy for everyone.  During church I want to play in a key in which the congregation can actually sing.  But the sheet music says G major, so what can I do?  And I don't want to play 4 different chords per bar but that's what's written!  After church I want to go talk to people.  I don't want to do the tedious task of filing stupid music away.  But I have to.  I am a slave to these little black dots on A4 pieces of paper.  I need them so I have to obey them. And what they scream out is 'FILE ME!' and 'PLAY ME!'  But I don't want to do either.

    I need a solution. 

    Here are my options:

    1. We put a nice little ipad on each music stand. 
    I think there could be a system with CCLI where when song owners publish a song, we send it electronically to CCLI - both sheet music and a recording (we already do this - but we could do it in a way that it could easily be put on a website - Scorch or whatever).  Then CCLI chuck it up on a site and churches can pick their songs and play them from the screen.  If ti was done in a decent program, we could transpose it easily and have just a melody and chords, just chords and words, or a full piano score.  The program could keep a track of what music we are using and bill us accordingly.

    • Clean.  After the initial registration, there would be no paperwork.  No CCLI returns to put in, no sheet music to lose.  No paper, no mess!  
    • Useful. You could do transpositions or whatever with a single click!  You could play a demo of the song so you know what you are aiming for. You could use whichever version of the score was most helpful to you: chords and words, melody and chords, full piano...
    • Non-existent. Such a system doesn't really exist yet.  Someone would need to make it.
    • Expensive.  Hard to justify the expense when there are people starving in the world
    2.   We ditch sheet music all together and memorise every song instead.

    • Cheap.  Saves money on photocopying.
    • Educational.  Memorization helps you understand the music better - if you understand it better, you'll improvise better and transpose better.
    • Freeing.  Most sheet music (for modern songs at least) was never intended to be played.  Not having it there will free people up to play what they should play
    • Clean.  No mess to clear up.  No music to file.
    • Cooler.  You can play with a fan blowing in your face and the music won't fly away.
    • Helpful.  Will show the drummers that we are as clever as they are.
    • Satisfying.  Great adrenaline buzz at the start of each song. Excellent feeling if you make it to the end together.
    • Scary.  Suggesting this would freak people out.  
    • Dangerous.  Higher possibility of major musical catastrophes... 
    3.  We continue our lives of slavery to printed music.  
    But who wants to?

    Which option should we take?

    Wednesday, March 10, 2010

    I have orthodics!

    Finally they've arrived!  One is built up slightly higher than the other.  It's really weird.  I stand up and it's like... both my legs are the same length or something.  Crazy!

    Still limping, though.  For how long can a foot hurt?

    jaundiced jackal on a jukebox in jeopardy

    This is part two of Joel's term 1 talk trilogy (talk 1 here).  He has to find some interesting words starting with J and explain their meaning to his class.  Of course, he couldn't just stand up and tell the class about his five words...

    Tuesday, March 9, 2010

    I have to write a bible talk

    It's been so long that I've forgotten how.

    Can anyone tell me?

    yesterday I wrote 3 letters...

    ... saying all sorts of things that I thought I needed to.  It felt good to get it all off my chest.

    Still feels good.  I feel heaps closer to the people I wrote to.

    Even thought I haven't sent them.

    And probably won't now.


    Monday, March 8, 2010

    My Ideal Day

    My ideal day would look like this:

    6.00 - gym
    7.00 - kids happily get ready for school.  No lost hats or swimming caps.
    8.15 - good traffic on way to school
    8.45 - blogging, quick house tidy (it's pretty good already cause I did it all yesterday!)
    9.30 - go to coffee shop and sit and read and write, hopefully producing something good.
    2.45 - get kids, do fun projects with them.  Better still if Andrew happened to have afternoon off (unlikely)
    6.00 - feed kids
    7.00 - put kids to bed.
    7.15 - friends come around, eat take away, stay up late.

    How about you?

    a proud parenting moment!

    Don't the little ones grow up fast?  My boy (Nathan) reached a milestone today.  He got his own blog!  It's called TP Hut and I've added it to my sidebar. 

    Nathan is an avid blog reader.  He loves the silly stuff on Nathan (senior's) blog and the funny stories on Ben's.  He's been wanting his own for ages and I've been saying no, but Trevor (thanks Nicole) said it was a good idea, so now I've agreed.

    I'm going to try and stay out of it and let him blog whatever he wants.  He knows about internet safety and I'll keep an eye on things but I think this could be a good opportunity for him to: find his own 'voice' (everyone needs to do this!), learn to type, amuse his friends (and me), and express himself.  As he gets better at typing, I might encourage him to write some opinion pieces.  But for the next little while I'm suggesting that he master that all important blogging form - the list!

    Do go over and have a look.  I won't think it weird if you drop him an occasional comment.

    No work today!

    Hooray hooray hooray hooray!

    Saturday, March 6, 2010


    I've been procrastinating for the last two hours.  I need to write my Sunday School lesson on Hezekiah (2 Kings 18-20) some time in the next 11 hours.  I also need to sleep in that time, eat breakfast, iron clothes and get us all to church.

    But I've been wasting time instead of writing.

    I have an idea, though.  I have a map of the ancient middle east (a bit like this one).  I'll raid Nathan's game of Risk and steal some figures and use them to represent the scary Assyrian army that was moving through taking over everyone.  I'll talk about how Israel was already wiped out and how King Sennacherib had taken over most of the other countries in the region. 

    Some questions.
    Where do I start? With scarry King Sennacherib or with godly King Hezekiah, or with Joash from last week, or with the fall of Samaria?
    What bits of the story do I draw out? If I want to paint Hezekiah as a good king, I need to draw out the ways in which he is like The Good King - Jesus.  In the Assyrian taunts I'm hearing hints of Psalm 2, 1 Samuel 17 and Matthew 27:43.  Hezekiah is like Jesus because he (mostly) trusted God to deliver him.  God vindicated his name and delivered Hezekiah from death at the hand of King Sennacherib.  Jesus was delivered through death as are we.  God will always vindicate his name.  The whole world will see that he is Lord. 
    What is my take home message?  Hmmm.
    Where do I finish?  I think I might finish where 2 Kings starts - with God's assessment of Hezekiah.  Pretty good.  8.5/10 I think.

    An epiphany

    I had an epiphany last night.  Let me tell you about it.
    Men have 1,185 chapters of the bible.  Women, it often seems, have about 4.  (If I was to be generous, I could count Esther or Ruth and stretch it to 10.)

    In the last few years I have been getting increasingly frustrated with books and articles and talks directed at women.  Last year I wanted to give up going to ministry wives events.  Every time I've heard or read the words 'Biblical Womanhood' I've felt my mind and body shake almost as if I'm angry.  I gear myself up for yet another guilt or boredom inducing re-run through Genesis 2, Titus 2, 1 Timothy 3 or Proverbs 31.

    I've been asking myself why I react so strongly to the mere mention of these passages.  Is it because I don't think they are God's word?  No.  Is it because I don't want to hear what God has to say to me?  There may be a little bit of this, but I think it's something else.  Is it because I don't agree with the writer or speaker's interpretation of these passages?  Sometimes, maybe, but it's more than this.  Is it because I'm discontent with my lot as a woman?  No. I have a husband and kids that I love, friends, a great job, a great church, writing hobbies, the gym and you, dear blog reader!  I wouldn't swap my lot with anyone!

    So why the extreme reaction to talks and articles on Biblical Womanhood?

    Last night I worked it out.

    It is because they often seem to be written assuming that the reader isn't already doing the things that they are talking about.  Or at least I read them and feel that I'm being accused of not doing the things that I should be doing.  I know that this is not the author or speaker's intent, yet I am left feeling flat and discouraged (or angry).  When I can't fit anything more into my life, I'm presented with a whole list of stuff that's yet to be done.  The task is overwhelming. I cannot accomplish it, and no-one can, because the things on the list are not the kind of things that can (or should be) ticked off.

    A standard list from such a seminar, article or book might look something like this: 
    We should be:
    • being hospitable
    • making meals for people at church
    • playing with our kids
    • having lots of sex with our husbands
    • feeding our families
    • helping out in soup kitchens
    • re-organising our pantries and getting the house under control
    • making family budgets
    • helping other mums with their kids
    • doing bible study with other women
    • being the family CEO from our kitchen-office
    • teaching younger women how to sew and cook
    Many of these things will never be finished.  If I help out in a soup kitchen one week, there's probably 15 vacant spots with no-one to fill them next week.  While I'm rearranging my pantry, the kids are collaging all the empty boxes to the walls in their bedroom and so I'm no further ahead in getting the house under control.  I play with my kids for half an hour after school and then I feel bad because I don't have the time (or inclination) to play with them for longer.  For every one woman I spend time with at church, there are another ten who I feel I should be investing in.  I had sex with my husband this morning and now...

    So I'm left with a choice.  I can:
    • Be angry.  Rant about how I hate these talks and seminars and books and articles and sound like raving feminist.
    • Take my flat and angry feelings to God in some kind of repentance.  Say I'm sorry for not being what I ought to be.  And then feel like there's still something wrong because I'm repenting of ... I'm not sure what.  Being a human with limitations?  Being a woman who likes to blog and work a couple of days a week? Or?
    • Talk myself out of guilty feelings by listing all the ways that I have fulfilled the list.  In the last week I have made more food for others than for my own family.  I have taught the bible in various ways to over 300 children.  I have had many people through my home.  I've kept my house tidy and my children fed....    All this is true but it's a pretty unhelpful exercise.  I like to not notice the things that I do.  I do them because I want to do them, not in order to fulfill some sort of requirement or impress myself!
    So what's the answer?

    When we were at Moore College, the most encouraging women's fellowship evening was one in which Peter and Christine Jensen spoke to us.  They started off by telling us the ways in which they could see that God was working in our lives, the things about our community that were evidence of the growth of the gospel among us.  Our care for eachother.  How we were gentle in how we spoke.  How we went to church each week, whether we felt like it or not.  Yes, there were things we struggled with, but largely, we needed to quit all the analysis and just get on and do them.

    I think it's the same with this kind of stuff.  An occasional 'well done, you are doing okay, keep going' would be heaps more encouraging than books telling me all the things that I need to be doing.  Of course, some people probably do need a kick in the pants, but when I look at my bible study group, the women in it are all doing fantastic jobs of serving their families and our church.  One woman who's youngest child has just started school, looks after another mum's 4 kids one day a week so the mum can go out and do all the jobs she needs to.  Another with a six month old baby manages to do the admin for our Sunday school as well as loads of other jobs.  Another mum who sometimes struggles being at home looking after her own toddler is an endless stream of encouragement to other women in a similar position.  Our bible study group is fantastic, and I suspect it's not all that unusual.

    Making women feel guilty is easy.  But guilt is a dreadful motivator.  Encourage us to keep going at the things we are doing well and we will do them more and serve joyfully.

    End of rant.

    10 reasons why I love being part of a denomination

    1.  I have a sense that the kingdom is bigger than just my local church, and I have an easy forum in which I can see and watch and help it grow elsewhere.

    2.  I have fellowship with great people that I don't go to church with.  Andrew and I are connected with a network from our denomination who we meet with each quarter to eat, chat and pray.  They care about how our church is going and we care about their churches.

    3.  I share a common enemy with others.  My pressy friends and I can get together and whinge about The Denomination or The Code or The Confession or Presbytery or whatever demon is haunting us at that moment.  This is fun.

    4.  I get to enjoy group jokes.  (Anyone seen the latest newdirections?)

    5.  If we go all heretical, someone will (probably) pull us up for it.

    6.  Research* has shown that people in denominations feel more connected and loved than those not in a denomination.

    7.  Someone else cares about stuff that I don't want to care about (like money and insurance and child-safe).

    8.  Being part of a denomination makes you look (slightly) more legit and less cult-like to those on the outside.

    9.  There is money we can borrow for building projects and stuff.

    10.  All the cool people are in my denomination.

    * Sample size, 2 people.

    Friday, March 5, 2010

    making butter chicken and dahl

    ...and eating it with friends tonight.  Yum.

    One serve of the butter chicken has 82g of fat and a whole day's calories. And that's without the rice!

    Hopefully it will be worth it.

    Thursday, March 4, 2010

    The Cat Came Back

    Old Mister Johnson had troubles of his own
    He had a yellow cat that wouldn't leave his home;
    He tried and he tried to give the cat away,
    He gave it to a man goin' far, far away, far away.

    But the cat came back the very next day,
    The cat came back, we thought he was a goner
    But the cat came back; he just couldn't stay away,
    Away, Miaow! Miaow! Miaow!

    The man around the corner swore he'd kill the cat on sight,
    He loaded up his gun with nails and dynamite;
    He waited and he waited for the cat to come around,
    Ninety seven pieces of the man is all they found, all they found.

    But the cat came back...

    He gave it to a man going up in a balloon,
    He told him to take it to the man in the moon;
    The balloon came down about ninety miles away,
    Where he is now, well I dare not say, dare not say.

    But the cat came back...

    He gave it to a man going way out West,
    He told him to give it to the one that he loved best;
    The train hit the curve, and then it jumped the rail,
    No soul was left behind to tell the gruesome tale, gruesome tale.

    But the cat came back....

    The cat it had some company one night out in the yard.
    Someone threw a boot jack, and they threw it might hard;
    It caught the cat behind the ear, she thought it rather slight,
    When along came a brick-bat and knocked her out of sight, out of sight.

    But the cat came back....

    Away across the ocean they did send the cat at last,
    Vessel only out a day and making water fast;
    People all began to pray, the boat began to toss,
    A great big gust of wind came by and every soul was lost, soul was lost.

    But the cat came back....

    The cat was a possessor of a family of its own,
    With seven little kittens till there came a great cyclone;
    Blew the houses all part and tossed the cat around,
    The air was full of kittens, and not one was ever found, ever found.

    But the cat came back....

    The atom bomb fell just the other day,
    The H-Bomb fell in the very same way;
    Australia went and England went, and then the U.S.A.
    The human race was finished without a chance to pray, chance to pray.

    But the cat came back the very next day,
    The cat came back, we thought he was a goner
    But the cat came back; it just couldn't stay away.
    Away, miaow, miaow, miaow!.

    Harry S. Miller

    I'm stuffed.

    Chocolate or exercise?

    and I was so pleased with myself.

    This morning I got up early and prepared what I thought would be 4 meals before breakfast (2 for us, 2 for others.)  I knew I'd be out all day, so for us I made a slow cooked sausage casserole.  I used a recipe base (unusual for me) and it was one made for a slow cooker so nothing should have gone wrong.... but it did.  I have burnt sausages for us for dinner tonight.

    That'll teach me to be organised!  From now on, its back to good old think-about-it-at-5.45 meals.

    Wednesday, March 3, 2010


    I'm going through my old teaching resources and have found a cool collection of rounds that I had completely forgotten about.

    Anyone remember these:
    • Let's put the rooster in the stew
    • Hey Ho Nobody Home
    • Canoe Song
    • Shalom Chaverim
    • Toembai
    • Rise Up, O Flame (Praetorius)
    • Debka Hora

    primary school choir repertoire

    I will be starting a year 4-5 choir at our school next term.  I'm after repertoire.

    Anyone?  Anyone?

    I'm looking for winner songs that will be fun and achievable - unison and 2 part to begin with.  The kids have never sung in a choir before.

    I'm trying to avoid odes to music and songs about world peace.  The year 6-7 choir master inflicts these on us at every available opportunity.

    Any ideas?

    Tuesday, March 2, 2010


    How many internet tabs is too many to have open at any one time?

    My limit is 6.  That's the number the top of my firefox browser can comfortably hold.  Any more than that and I start to stress.

    Andrew's limit is about 300.  I panic when I look at his computer screen.  I quickly kill about 20 of them then realise the task is beyond me so I open up firefox again in (yet) another window.  I'm sure his computer has tabs still open from last easter. And it's not just me.  Others have spoken about Andrew's excessive tab use.

    How about you?  How many tabs do you have open right now?

    homework acrostic

    At last the rain is
    Unleashed. It
    Tells of the
    Unusual occasion when
    Melted rock is frozen.
    Nobody wants winter.

    by Joel R. (age 8)

    Andrew says that this must be a real poem because he doesn't understand it.  I don't either, but don't care because the words sound so nice together.  Should I suggest he re-write the 5th line and try to stay on topic or just leave it as is?

    Song of Songs

    Gary Millar is a fantastic guy - humble, interesting, funny, and passionate about the same OT books as me. How could you not like him? His talks on the Song of Songs were good. I appreciated his approach but wasn't convinced by a few things.

    Millar's approach to the Song rests on his reading of chapter 8. Solomon is the author and the book is a critique of his own ... experience...  in matters of love and marriage.  This is Solomon's wisdom on the topic.  He realises that contentment, peace, shalom, lie in exclusive, committed relationships like the characters in this book enjoy and not in his own ridiculously polygamous lifestyle.  Millar deduces this from 8:11-12.

    The woman says:
    Solomon had a vineyard in Baal Hamon;
    he let out his vineyard to tenants.
    Each was to bring for its fruit
    a thousand shekels of silver.

    But my own vineyard is mine to give;
    the thousand shekels are for you, O Solomon,
    and two hundred are for those who tend its fruit.
    (8:11-12 NIV)

    Solomon's vineyard is his harem and the tennants are his harem staff.

    I don't mind Millar's approach, but I think it's made stronger if you imagine it is the lover (male) speaking in 8:11-12 (the text doesn't specify).  Miller thinks the speaker is female on the basis of the vineyard reference from 1:6 ('my own vineyard I have neglected').  I disagree.  In 8:12, I think the vineyard may well be referring to the woman's body (as in 1:6) - but the point is that her body is his to enjoy.  Another translation renders it this way:

    King Solomon had a vineyard
    on the hill of plenty
    He gave that vineyard to watchmen
    and each would earn for tis fruit
    one thousand pieces of silver.

    My vineyard is all my own.
    Keep your thousand, Solomon! And pay
    two hundred to those
    who must guard the fruit.

    I'm no Hebrew scholar so I don't know if its a good translation, but it works for me poetically.  The lover is comparing his lot to Solomon's and concluding that he has it better.  It is better to be an ordinary man in love with one woman than to be a king married to 1000.

    Millar pointed out that the Song is much vaguer than some big-time speakers would have us think.  The images are suggestive and enticing but not explicit.  They mostly cannot be tied down to particular things.  Furthermore, many specific application points that have been made in talks on the Song of Songs come more from the speaker's head than from the text!  This was refreshing to hear.

    It was interesting to hear Millar say the Song is more about love than sex.  In this context, the two are hard to separate.  But worth considering.

    His ideas about how to take a talk on the Song to Jesus are what I think might be his most tenuous - though in the big scheme of things, not unhelpful.  NASB has the Lord appearing in 8:6

        6"Put me like a seal over your heart,
             Like a seal on your arm
             For love is as strong as death,
             Jealousy is as severe as Sheol;
             Its flashes are flashes of fire,
             The very flame of the LORD. 

    From this, Millar argues that the strength of our love is a reflection of the Lord's.

    Trouble is, the -Yah in verse 8 could just be an emphatic -yah, rather than a reference to Yahweh.  NIV renders it that way:  "It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame."  I'm not a Hebrew scholar, so I don't know.  And I'm not a preacher, so I don't care.

    It was an interesting evening.  If you are in Brisbane you should get along and hear Gary speak on Deuteronony at QTC in the next couple of days.  I'll be there if I don't have to work (which is unlikely because it's raining.).

    Monday, March 1, 2010


    ... I am going to a lecture on Song of Songs. Should be fun.

    work work work...

    It's all I ever do.

    I was hoping for a day off today. Not so.

    When am I going to blog?