Monday, May 31, 2010

song choosing, song writing

I'm running an elective at Twist on Saturday about how to write congregational songs and how to choose songs for your church to sing. I'm trying to work out how to make it fun and useful for the two distinct groups of people that will be there.

While the two topics I have might seem very different, they are actually closely related. If you know how to identify a bad song, you'll be a better judge of your own work. 80% of good writing is throwing out the rubbish.


It does exist.

I'm going there today.

Hope it will do some good.


Yesterday I sorted through Micah and my cupboards. We now have 12kg of clothes to toss out.

12kg! From two of us!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Twist Brisbane...

... is on next Saturday. If you haven't registered yet, you should right now.

I mean it!


June looks set to be a fantastic month.  Here's what's on for us:

Tuesday 1st - My choir has its debut performance - Close Every Door. We are performing for 200 year 4-5 RE kids (Trying hard to link everything I do at school with RE or church!)

Friday 4th - Philip P flies in from the UK, Kristi from Sydney. Get ready for Twist. Dinner with friends.

Saturday 5th - TWIST Brisbane!

Sunday 6th - Church music day in Rockhampton

Monday 7th - Recording up some of our musical

Sunday 20th - School Fair. Our church is having a fairly high profile role. Should be fun and hopefully worthwhile.

Wednesday 23rd - Teacher farewell. Choir performance with animation behind (This is my baby. I'm working with some year 7s).

Friday 25th - Sunday 27th - Twist Away Sydney (you should come to this!)

Tuesday 29th - Holidays! We are driving to Canberra then down into Victoria (near Bright). We hope to see some snow!

Does life get better than this?

Saturday, May 29, 2010


I stayed with my friends Tony and Michelle last night after watching My Fair Lady. Tony is preaching a series on holiness soon and has many interesting ideas. Here are two things that grabbed me:

1. "God's holiness isn't something that separates him from us, but that draws him to us."

2. "I read Christian books on holiness and I feel guilty. I read the bible and I don't."

Any thoughts on these?

my fair lady

I saw a school production of this last night. Quite well done.

Friday, May 28, 2010

tonight's workout

Here's what I inflicted on Andrew (and myself).

-20 squats (with 20kg) immediately followed by 20 squat jumps       x3
-5 minute non-stop boxing
one minute rest
-20 chest presses (20kg) immediately followed by 20 push ups        x3
-5 minutes non-stop boxing
one minute rest
-20 rows (with 20kg) immediately followed by 20 push pull chest things     x3
-5 minutes non-stop boxing
-50 cruches

It hurts a lot but is all over in 35ish minutes.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Today I ran about 3.8kms. I took the car in to the smash repairers to be fixed and thought I'd jog the 4.5kms home.

My injured foot coped very well, but I had to stop and walk because my orthotics had rubbed the arches of my feet raw. And I had thick socks on!

Frustrating! I almost made it.

art and me

At school I considered myself hopeless at art. I saw art as something that either you could do or you couldn't do. My drawings didn't look like I wanted them to look so I concluded that I couldn't do art and so never really tried. Funnily, though, I never saw music like that. I thought music was something that you had to learn and practice and that if you put in the effort for long enough you'd become competent.

Sitting in on Joel's art classes for the last couple of years has made me change my thinking. Certainly, I have no particular talent for visual art, but if I learn some skills and practice a lot I can achieve some sort of competency.

I've always wished that I was arty because it would be a handy skill to have for kids' ministry. So now I'm trying. And I'm having fun. Every week or so I sit down and have a go at drawing something. Often the kids join me and we each work on a similar project. I try to model patience and not throw tantrums and rip up the page when I'm unhappy with my work (this is easier for me than for others in my family!)

I'd love any advice anyone has. Tell me what I should try.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

virtuous character of a woman quiz

Who cares about virtuous character? I scored Dorothea in my Middlemarch quiz!

(Come on! Do my quiz! (It doesn't matter if you've not read Middlemarch.))

Middlemarch - The Quiz!

What do you do when you've just finished an epic book but aren't willing to put it away yet?

That's right, you blog on it.

And after you've done that, you make a quiz to inflict on your blog readers.

Come on! Humor me!

Find out which Middlemarch woman you are!
(guys welcome!)

(Post your result in the comments.)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Middlemarch : on the awful nearness that marriage brings

"'Marriage is so unlike everything else. There is something even awful in the nearness it brings. Even if we loved some one else better than - than those we were married to, it would be no use' - poor Dorothea, in her palpitating anxiety, could only seize her language brokenly - 'I mean, marriage drinks up all our power of giving or getting any blessedness in that sort of love. I know it may be very dear - but it murders our marriage - and then the marriage stays with us like a murder - and everything else is gone.'"

Middlemarch Chapter 81

Middlemarch : on having a clergyman in your family

“Oh, my dear, when you have a clergyman in your family you must accommodate your tastes: I did that very early. When I married Humphrey I made up my mind to like sermons, and I set out by liking the end very much. That soon spread to the middle and the beginning, because I couldn’t have the end without them.”

Middlemarch Chapter 34

Middlemarch : courtship expectations vs married reality

"How was it that in the weeks since her marriage, Dorothea had not distinctly observed but felt with a stifling depression, that the large vistas and wide fresh air which she had dreamed of finding in her husband’s mind were replaced by anterooms and winding passages which seemed to lead nowhither? I suppose it was that in courtship everything is regarded as provisional and preliminary, and the smallest sample of virtue or accomplishment is taken to guarantee delightful stores which the broad leisure of marriage will reveal. But the door–sill of marriage once crossed, expectation is concentrated on the present. Having once embarked on your marital voyage, it is impossible not to be aware that you make no way and that the sea is not within sight—that, in fact, you are exploring an enclosed basin."

Middlemarch Chapter 20

no time to blog...

... I'm reading Middlemarch.

It's long, I'm a slow reader, and I'm hooked.

So many bloggable passages, but I don't want to stop reading to blog them!

(Off to work now. Silent reading time, anyone?)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

choose your own adventure kids talk

I wrote this choose your own adventure story for our kids talk today.

Andrew was preaching on 2 Samuel 11-12 and I wanted to introduce some ideas before I tell the David and Bathsheba story to the kids next week.

If I had time, I'd have added some pictures and thought more about the life advice/gospel advice thing.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010


This is the most sensible stuff I've read online about d*y*slexi*a. Bit depressing, though. However hard we work, the problems will always be there.  There is no catching up. The gulf only gets wider.

But this, too, is grace.

Having a small sip from the cup of disability (and my cup's contents are very dilute) has made me feel for those who have to gulp it down constantly. Prayers.

* Sorry. I don't want to be spammed.

on the superiority of fantastic rice crackers...

... I don't think much needs to be said.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

when your tupperware lady is a man...

... you buy more.

I just bought $140 worth of plastic from the only straight tupperware guy in Brisbane.

I had to call up his wife to chat to her about a couple of products I was after. 

She had the knowledge, he had the charm. 

What a team!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

10 thoughts on sexual sin from 2 Samuel 11-12

1. Idleness and boredom can lead to trouble.

2. Lust can be particular. David had many women with whom he could have legitimately had sex. He wanted Bathsheba.

3. David's sin in 2 Samuel 11 mirrors Eve's sin in the garden.  Both saw the fruit/woman, considered it/her delightful, took it/her, and then ate/had sex. In both cases, God confronts the sinner with their sin and the consequences.  The difference in 2 Samuel is that David repents.  Adam and Eve blame each other.

4. One sin leads to many more.

5. A friend who will unquestioningly help you cover you tracks is a bad friend to have.

6. We all have our weaknesses.  David had two: the habit of using women for his own purposes (cf. Michal in 2 Sam 3) and the inability to bring about justice in his own home and among his friends. These two weaknesses caused major issues.

7. It is interesting that what God speaks to David about is not his sexual ethics but his mercilessness. In the previous 2 chapters, David has been commended for showing the love and compassion (hesed) of God.  God was gracious to him, and he responded in graciousness to others.  It is his un-hesed like behaviour towards Uriah that he is rebuked for in chapter 12.  I am not wanting to trivialise sexual sin (it is not trivial), but it is not the act of having unwed sex that David is punished for.  It is his mercilessness to Uriah (in taking his one wife and having him killed) and lack of gratitude to God for all his blessings.

8. From #7, I wonder if rather than getting all worked up over the sin of lust, we would do better to combat it by working to have the love and compassion of God influence all areas of our lives.  Something like.... "You struggle with lust? Yeah, me too, but I'm not going to act on it because God has showed so much love to me and in response I'm going to show love to x,y, and z. Entertaining lustful thoughts won't help me do that."

9. If life is boring cause you've stayed home when you should have gone off to war (or work), you should busy yourself with thoughts of how you can be merciful to others.  This is what David did in chapters 9 and 10 and it kept him out of trouble. (Kind of.)

10.  God is gracious.  From the beginning, David deserved nothing from God.  God gave him so much and would have given him more if he had asked.  After the Bathsheba/Uriah incident, David deserved nothing but judgement.  (How many commandments did he break in chapter 11?)  But God forgave him as soon as he began to repent!  Bathsheba (who we have to assume is complicit in the whole sordid affair) was given another child - Solomon - who is particularly loved by God, incredibly gifted, and part of the family line of Jesus.  What other God would do that?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sunday, May 16, 2010


My foot started hurting on the 11th of December last year. It's hurt pretty constantly since then.

But lately I've not been noticing it quite so much. I've only been limping some of the time. I've not had to sit down so much. I've only cried out at the stabbing pain a couple of times this last week.

But I'm sick of it being sore.

Starting tomorrow I'm going to pretend it doesn't hurt. According to the physio I will probably not do any more damage. It is just pain. I can handle it. Tomorrow I'm going for a jog. Tuesday I might do some jumping. Wednesday I think I'll jog again.

Kids' Talk - 1 Samuel 18 (David and Jonathan)

[Not the greatest kids talk ever, but I'll post it for the sake of completeness. It is on David and Jonathan in 1 Samuel 18. Andrew preached on 2 Samuel 9-10 which includes the bit about Mephibosheth (Jonathan's son). I had a few guys helping me, playing the parts of Jonathan, David and Saul. Saul should wear a crown. Jonathan should wear a royal robe (a sheet) and have a sword of some sort. David stood on one side of me, Saul on the other, and Jonathan stood in the middle.]

There can only be one king. We can only serve one master. The question is – who is it that we'll serve? Will it be God's king? Or someone else?

This was a big question for Jonathan. Jonathan was a prince. His dad, Saul, was King of Israel. The boss. The big guy. The important one. But was Saul God's King? No. Because of his sin, God had rejected him. Saul might be king now, but he wouldn't be for long. God had picked out someone else instead.

Do you remember who that someone else was? David. The little guy.

God had taken his blessing away from Saul and given it to David. God wasn't helping Saul anymore, so Saul stopped winning battles. When the Philistines came to attack, big Saul couldn't defeat them. But little David could. Remember Golliath?

God made it clear that David was his king, not Saul. Do you think Saul liked that? No. Not one bit. He was jealous. He was angry. He wanted to kill David.

This put Jonathan in a very tricky position. We can only serve one king. Who's side would Jonathan be on? David's? Or Saul's?

Jonathan loved David. The two of them were good friends. And Jonathan could see that God was with David. But Saul was his father.

Saul thought Jonathan should be on his side. “Come on, son!” he said. “Don't you see that as long as David is alive you'll never get to be king. If we kill David, I will stay king and after I die you will be king! Come on! We must kill him!”

Who would Jonathan choose? If he stuck with his father, he would stay prince and one day get oi be king himself! If he joined David's team, it was like he was working for his dad's enemy!

There can only be one king. Jonathan knew that. And Jonathan knew that he had to serve God's king. No matter what. He took of his royal robe. He gave it to David. He took his sword. He gave it to David “You are God's king,” he said, “so you are my king too.”

Because Jonathan helped David, he never got to be king himself. Did he do the right thing?


We can only serve one king. We need to be like Jonathan. We need to serve God's king, no matter how hard it is.

God's king is Jesus. Are you serving him or someone else?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Friday, May 14, 2010

One day, our car was parked outside our house...

... when a crane ran into it and smashed up the back. 
The driver was pretty freaked out by what he had done.  He's thinking of paying for the damage himself so he doesn't have to tell his boss.  A friend was driving past and saw what happened.  If he hadn't I think it's possible that the crane guys might have done a runner.

It's annoying for us, but it's an old car and we have another.  I wonder if the crane driver has stopped shaking yet?


So we're writing this christmas musical.  All the songs are basically done now, I'm up to drafting the narration.  Trouble is, Joseph doesn't really feature.  He'll be on stage, but just as Mary's tag along.  Is this a problem?  Should we give him his own song?  Make something of him? Or ...


My four week old choir just had their first success with part singing.  I was wondering if they would ever get it.  We sang let's put the rooster in the stew as a round.  The held their parts!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

sluggish recent comments widget

It seems to be staying a comment behind.  If you post a comment and it doesn't appear on the side bar, chuck a comment on this post and see if it helps.  (Then delete the comment if you want.)

Andrew on 2 Samuel 10


new thoughts on 2 Samuel 9-12

New for me anyway.  In list form because they aren't coherent yet.

1.  2 Samuel 9-12 is a discreet section.  2 Sam 8:15-18 reads like a conclusion to the previous section.  The Ammonites are are Israel's enemy in this section.  The battles against them begin in chapter 10 and they were finally defeated at the end of chapter 12.

2.  2 Sam 9 and 10 both contain very favourable accounts of David.  David shows kindness (hesed) to Mephibosheth (9:1) and Hanun (10:1).  The kindness that the Lord has shown to David (7:15, 9:3) is overflowing from David to others.  Mephibosheth's reaction to this kindness ("What is your servant that you should regard a dead dog like me?" (9:8)) is similar to David's reaction to God's kindness ("Who am I O Lord ..." (7:18))  Hanun's reaction of suspicion and anger is quite the opposite and leads to the war against Ammon.

3.  A good sign of whether we really understand the kindness that God has shown to us (in Jesus) is whether or not we pass it on to others.  In chapters 9-10, David shows that he gets it.  We need to accept God's kindness to us and show we understand it by passing it on to others.

4.  Rejecting the kindness of God's king is dangerous.  Hanun experienced the consequences of this.

5.  In the whole sorry story of David and Bathsheba (2 Sam 11-12), David's sexual ethics are not the primary problem.  The main problem is David's lack of kindness to Uriah.  The lamb parable that Nathan tells shows that it is David's mercilessness that he is being judged for.  God has given him so much, but David is no longer passing kindness on, he is taking from others.  This is bad and stands in contrast to the last couple of chapters.


Lately I've been as insufferable as the woman in the poem below on this blog.  Sorry.  There's been far too much kid stuff. 

mothers' day rhyme

I'm woken on this mothers' day
to such a perfect sight:
two golden heads, they lift the blinds
and sun is streaming bright

onto the tray they've brought for me
of tea, organic toast,
and gifts and handmade cards. They ask
which I will like the most.

Perhaps the little broach my son
chose himself and bought
to match the colour of my eyes.
Such love, such taste and thought!

Or maybe it's his sister's gift,
a scarf, that I'll prefer.
I say I'll wear it and each time
I do I'll think of her.

My children, I don't like to boast,
are really quite amazing.
Uncommon in their aptitude,
their dilligence and training.

Tiny Tim, though only three,
already writes his name.
His sister, Sally, you'll agree
is destined to much fame.

She leads her class at little gym
She climbs and sommersaults
so beautifully, and just last week
she shimmied up a rope.

And all the other mothers stopped
their chatter and they stared
to see my daughter shine.
I'm sure they think it isn't fair

that God bestows unevenly.
One child and not another
he gifts. I lift my eyes and say
"Well, you should see her brother!"

I don't blame them.  The world needs both
the common and the high.
They'll keep their feet upon the ground
while me and mine will fly.

"My kids aren't perfect," I explain,
"Sometimes they'll fight and yell.
One child insists of Mozart
while the other wants Ravel.

I carefully point out to them
the error of their ways.
They weep repentant tears then turn
and brother, sister say

'I'm sorry,' to each other. I'll
admit I'm moved to see
such good behaviour. It reflects
so very well on me.

When night time comes, without a sound,
they toddle off to bed
and whisper 'Mummy, I love you.'
I kiss each pretty head

and count the many things I've done
to make them be this way.
Of course, genetics always have
a major part to play.

I've blessed them with my intellect,
my beauty, sense and style.
I've cultivated manners, taste,
exposed them to a pile

of foreign cultures, languages,
we eat organic food,
they follow my example and
are never, ever crude.

Your kids, I'm sure, are perfect too,
in their imperfect way.
I'm sure they'll grow up just like you
and just like you they'll play

their part in our society.
Rebecca, Ryan, Kim,
Imagine! They may one day work
for Sally or for Tim!

My thoughts go out, this mothers' day,
to you. I wish you luck.
But truth be told, if I were you
my mothers' day would suck.

sar 2010

House Clean!

The day is looking up!

I will do this.

The worst thing about a day off work is that I have no excuse not to do all the things I haven't 'had time to do'.  Clean the house, shop for food, edit that song (I hate editing)... I'm going to spend an hour now getting the house under control, then I know I'll feel better (pretty good, actually!) about the prospect of a day to myself.

I will not waste it sitting behind this computer.  I won't!  Whatever good stuff you all post, I am not going to look at it for the next hour.  No, I'm not!  Even if you write comments here, I will not read them until the housework is done.

everybody hates me

No work call today.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

hymns of the lukewarm church

Thanks Nathan for pointing this out.

My favourite ones are Be Thou My Hobby and Take My Life and Let Me Be.  Which ones appeal to you?

The Dormouse and the Doctor

This poem is everything I love about poetry.  It is touching and sad and true and funny.  One of our favourites.

The Dormouse and the Doctor

There once was a Dormouse who lived in a bed
Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red),
And all the day long he'd a wonderful view
Of geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue).

A Doctor came hurrying round, and he said:
"Tut-tut, I am sorry to find you in bed.
Just say 'Ninety-nine' while I look at your chest....
Don't you find that chrysanthemums answer the best?"

The Dormouse looked round at the view and replied
(When he'd said "Ninety-nine") that he'd tried and he'd tried,
And much the most answering things that he knew
Were geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue).

The Doctor stood frowning and shaking his head,
And he took up his shiny silk hat as he said:
"What the patient requires is a change," and he went
To see some chrysanthemum people in Kent.

The Dormouse lay there, and he gazed at the view
Of geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue),
And he knew there was nothing he wanted instead
Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red).

The Doctor came back and, to show what he meant,
He had brought some chrysanthemum cuttings from Kent.
"Now these," he remarked, "give a much better view
Than geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue)."

They took out their spades and they dug up the bed
Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red),
And they planted chrysanthemums (yellow and white).
"And now," said the Doctor, "we'll soon have you right."

The Dormouse looked out, and he said with a sigh:
"I suppose all these people know better than I.
It was silly, perhaps, but I did like the view
Of geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue)."

The Doctor came round and examined his chest,
And ordered him Nourishment, Tonics, and Rest.
"How very effective," he said, as he shook
The thermometer, "all these chrysanthemums look!"

The Dormouse turned over to shut out the sight
Of the endless chrysanthemums (yellow and white).
"How lovely," he thought, "to be back in a bed
Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red.)"

The Doctor said, "Tut! It's another attack!"
And ordered him Milk and Massage-of-the-back,
And Freedom-from-worry and Drives-in-a-car,
And murmured, "How sweet your chrysanthemums are!"

The Dormouse lay there with his paws to his eyes,
And imagined himself such a pleasant surprise:
"I'll pretend the chrysanthemums turn to a bed
Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red)!"

The Doctor next morning was rubbing his hands,
And saying, "There's nobody quite understands
These cases as I do! The cure has begun!
How fresh the chrysanthemums look in the sun!"

The Dormouse lay happy, his eyes were so tight
He could see no chrysanthemums, yellow or white.
And all that he felt at the back of his head
Were delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red).

And that is the reason (Aunt Emily said)
If a Dormouse gets in a chrysanthemum bed,
You will find (so Aunt Emily says) that he lies
Fast asleep on his front with his paws to his eyes.

A.A. Milne

Monday, May 10, 2010

1 Samuel 16 Kids' Talk

[Previous 1 Samuel kids' talks here and here.  I used some of the same pictures at the start of this one.  I then got 7 guys to pretend to be David's brothers (showing muscles etc) then my little Micah to be David.]

Sometimes we want to be the big guy. The one who is strong and impressive. The leader of the pack. The one who would never get laughed at or teased. The one who tells everyone else what to do.

Saul was the big guy. He stood a head taller than anyone else. He was strong. He was handsome and he was... a very bad king for God's people.

The trouble with being the big guy is that it can make you think that you don't need God. You think that you are big enough to win battles by yourself. You think that you are big enough to make up the rules. And you get a bit too big for your boots.

Which is what happened with Saul. Big King Saul thought that he didn't need to wait for God's prophet. He thought that he could offer sacrifices to God himself. But did God like that? No.

God rejected big King Saul and was looking for a new king. Someone who was... smaller.

God told Samuel to go to the town of Bethlehem and find a man called Jesse. One of Jesse's sons was going to be the new king of God's people. But which one?

Samuel looked at Jesse's oldest boy. His name was Eliab. Samuel liked the look of him. He was big and handsome. Samuel said to himself “Surely this Eliab is the one!”

But God said no. “Don't take any notice of what he looks like or how tall he is, because I have rejected him. God doesn't see like people see. God looks inside. He know what we're really like.”

Hm. Which one then. How about Aminadab?

No. Not him either.


No. God didn't chose him.

Samuel looked at seven of Jesse's sons but God said no to all of them. “The Lord hasn't chosen any of these,” he said to Jesse. “Are there any more? Are these all of your children?”

“There's one other,” Jesse said. “But he's just a boy. He's little and he's out looking after the sheep.”

“Go and get him.” said Samuel. So Jesse sent someone to get his youngest, smallest son.

David came in from the field. Samuel looked at him and said, “this is the one.”

Often we want to be the big guy. But God's not interested in big guys. Big guys (like King Saul) can think they are so big they don't need God. They can think they are too big to keep God's rules. Or to ask God for help. God chooses the little guy. Like David. Like Jesus. People who don't look strong. People who aren't too big for their boots. People who will trust God to win the battle and save them.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

mother's day school craft

Nathan gave me a mother's day card with this little rhyme.

My dirty little fingerprints I’ve left on every wall
And on the drawers and tabletops, I’ve really marked them all
But here are some that won’t rub off, I’m giving them to you
Because I’m thankful to have a mum that’s just like you!

I think the teacher got the design and poem from here (Nathan's card looks remarkably similar to the one in the picture...)

I have to admit that I'm not really into this kind of thing.  I like my kids to give me stuff that reflects them, not some sappy web rhyme that the teacher's printed out  (at age 10!)

But I really liked what Nathan wrote inside the card.  It is so him (and so true).

Dear Mum,

Happy Mother's Day!

And it is Joel's fingerprints on the wall.

From Nathan

Saturday, May 8, 2010

These flowers are for my friends who are sad this mothers day.


We're writing a Christmas musical.  It's called 'Don't Close Your Eyes' and will be a short (20-30 minute), narrated production.  We want have it ready for Christmas performances.  It's May now and we've got 4/5 songs written.  I've just got to do the narration (just!) and fix up the last song. 

It's very exciting hearing the tunes as they are written.  Philip is a master at this kind of stuff.  All those years watching Disney musicals has paid off.

I'm trying to negotiate a way for the kids' school to do the musical with our church.  I'm thinking that the main parts (narrator, Mary, Angel, Shepherds) will be taken by church adults with a school choir behind them.  We could perform it at the end of year RE assembly and then they could all come to church (!) for a performance at our carols service.  Anyone tried anything like this before?

Friday, May 7, 2010

motives and stuff


dessert ideas?

Going to have dinner with friends tonight.  I need to take dessert.  Ideas?  Suggestions?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Phillip Dawson

Tomorrow, Joel has to give his talk on Philip Dawson (an obscure soldier who fought in WW1).  He is pretty good at it now.

He did this picture this afternoon.  It's not really Phillip Dawson.  We've got no idea what PD looked like (except that he was 22 years old, 5 foot 7 and 148 pounds).  We traced this guy and coloured him in with charcoals.  I did one too.  Never used charcoals before.  They are scratchy.  I think I prefer soft creamy pastels.

This time tomorrow, Joel will have no more talks to do until August.  We will all breathe a sigh of relief!

Back into the pit...

Same as last Thursday.

I survived then.  I should get through today as well.  Shouldn't I?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

kids and writing

I don't know what the current education theories are on how to teach kids to write well.  My personal opinion (based only on my own experience) is that writing is best taught one-on-one, working together on a project.  I remember sitting with my mum for hours (normally a couple of days before a school assignment was due) going through the best way to structure an essay, making sure that the flow within paragraphs was logical, that the sentence lengths were varied and interesting and checking that the conclusion was strong (you know a conclusion is strong if you can hear 'land of hope and glory' playing in the background as you read it out loud!)  Mum had a big hand in a few of my early high school assignments.  I don't think this was a problem because by year 10 they were entirely my own work and much better than they would have been otherwise.

For homework, Nathan (age 10) had to write a story based on this ad.  A pretty hard task.  Most grown-ups I know would struggle to do a decent job of it.  We worked on it together and came up with this.  I'd say it was 60% my work.  It's not assessable, just a NAPLAN practice activity (like everything else year 3, 5, 7, and 9 kids are doing at school right now!) but I'll probably let the teacher know I had a hand in it.  Do you think I should have helped him so much, or just let him go by himself?  

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

dyslexic palm cards

Joel has to give a 2 minute talk on a local WW1 veteran.  It is an excellent, though ambitious, task for an 8 year old and the whole family helped with the research (as we were asked to.)  [This website has service records for every Australian who served in World War 1.]

Unfortunately, we can't help Joel present the talk. His school has very high standards for oral presentations and the criteria sheet basically demands a creative, informative and flawless oration.  Creative, Joel can manage well.  Informative we can make happen.  Flawless is impossible.  Joel is not great at decoding words on a page.  If he sits and thinks hard he can make sense of a text, but reading words quickly, accurately and discreetly from tiny palm cards is just not possible for him.  So what to do?

Andrew recorded himself reading Joel's talk.  Joel listened to it many times (20+), but his memory isn't great and it became clear that palm cards were still going to be necesssary.  We tried getting him to read the talk from the sheet, thinking that since he had heard it so often it would be easy. But it was still very stilted and full of mistakes ("Why does the word young look so much like Europe?")

Joel suggested that he handwrite his own palm cards.  Being a too-involved mother at this point and knowing his spelling skills, I wasn't keen on the idea.  But no one had a better one so Joel made up his palm cards and after several rehearsals can now deliver a more or less fluent talk.

Here is the first palm card:

Can you work out how to read it?

Let me translate.

You might be wondering how I got these bandages.  It all started two years ago, on the 2nd of August 1915. I was a young 22 year old firefighter and I heard about the war raging in Europe. I decided to stop fighting fires and start fighting Germans instead.

The next couple are even better.

I traveled to our local war office and enlisted for service in the Australian Imperial Force.

I remember the day well. I stood up and took the oath:  I, Philip Dawson, swear that I will well and truly serve our Sovereign Lord the King in the Australian Imperial Force until the end of the War, unless sooner lawfully discharged, dismissed or removed. I will resist His Majesty's enemies and cause His Majesty's peace to be kept and maintained. I will faithfully discharge my duty according to law. So help me God.

I sailed to Egypt became a part of the first pioneers battalion. We were trained and then sailed to France to take part in the Battle of the Somme. This was going to be a very important battle. Some said that it would end the war. It didn't.

Poor wording apology

In case anyone misunderstood my poorly worded post below, I think Nicole's missional motherhood posts are great.  That's what I was trying to say.  I like Nicole stuff because she encourages us to let the gospel shape our family life.  This means we'll go out of our way to befriend and serve people even if they are unlike us.  With such a mission, life for us, our husbands and our kids will be less 'peaceful' (in a worldly sense) but more Christ-like.

Sorry for my careless wording.

[I am intentionally not linking to the peaceful family life blog I wrote about in the post below.  My policy is to not link to or comment negatively on blogs unless I regularly read and comment (positively) on them.  If I had linked to this particular blog, there would have been less confusion.]

Monday, May 3, 2010


A friend pointed me to a blog where someone had written a family mission statement.  Their family wanted to have a 'happy, simple, worry-free life'.  'Peace' was their mission, and they searched the bible (proverbs and james, anyway) to find advice on how to achieve the goal of a quiet, calm, sheltered home.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, these verses went unnoticed!

Made me realise how different this mission is from Nicole's.

UPDATE: Just realised I worded this really badly.  I like Nicole's mission.  I think it is like Jesus'.  Unlike the happy, simple, worry-free life mission.

Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang

I watched this movie today.  Loved it.  It had a thoroughly happy ending.  I almost cried.  (The old woman sitting a few seats down from us really cried.)  If your kids are into this kind of thing, go.  It's much better than the trailer makes it look.

home alone

 My family has been gone since Saturday morning.  They got back at about 3.30 this afternoon (54.5 hours after leaving!)  It was great to have the opportunity to miss them. 

I packed what I thought were the right number of clothes.  70% of them came back clean.  The clothes that all four of them wore over the 2.5 days fitted easily into one plastic bag but I think it may take three washes to have them clean again.  The soap and the toothbrushes all look to be in pretty much the same condition as I sent them.

But this is why it was a dad's and kids' camping trip.  My insistence on basic hygiene and nutrition would have been annoying to everyone.

While the boys were away, I:
  • did 3 classes at the gym and one boxing session at home
  • had dinner with a friend
  • bought new clothes
  • bought a new poetry book I've wanted for a while
  • sat in sizzler by myself for 3.5 hours
  • cleaned the house and washed all the linen
  • went to church
  • had my little friend Cate over to stay.  We watched Dr. Who and ate popcorn, went out for breakfast, went to the movies, took the dog for a walk and baked gingerbread men.
A great weekend.  Dad's can I recommend camping as a good way of bonding with your children?  The longer the trip, the better!

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Make me a cake if you want me to
Eat. Place a sliver on my plate and I'll
Taste it with you.
Away with mere words.
Paint the sky, play
Hide and seek, let
Off or

sar 2010

Saturday, May 1, 2010


Ally makes really cool stuff - like this bag.

She's giving one away to celebrate her blogoversary.  You should go and see.  Maybe buy something.

ingredients for a great evening

1. A good friend (Thanks Tash!)
2. Take-away Indian
3. A little bit of wine
4. Josh Groban youtube clips

home alone!

Andrew has taken the kids camping.