Tuesday, June 29, 2010


We got to Dubbo and decided to stay for a couple of days and do the zoo.

Anything else to do while we're here?


This is new for us and very exciting!


We hope to get to Canberra.

Monday, June 28, 2010


7 things I like about God

1. God is not insecure about his own majesty and power. He's not threatened by the devil or by people because there's no competition.

2. Though he has no need for us (we are tiny, stupid and nasty ants, inhabiting an insignificant planet), he stands with us, acts for us and LOVES us!

3. He came up with the idea of the incarnation and actually went through with it.

4. He came up with the idea of the crucifixion and actually went through with it.

5. He knows us completely and still offers us complete and ongoing forgiveness.

6. He gives us the honor of serving him and makes it so that serving him is not stifling but more wonderful and freeing than serving ourselves.

7. His word is more sure than the laws of the universe. The mountains will collapse, the oceans will run dry, the stars will forget their course, and the sun will fall but God will not go back on his promises.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

I'm back...


We go away on holidays tomorrow - Canberra, Harrietville.

Twist was excellent. More later.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

off to sydney early tomorrow...

not packed.

clothes not dry.

twist material not ready.

but dinner was fun and I'm taking a computer so I can blog when I'm bored (if there's internet!)

all good!

does this design 'carry my narrative'

Eventually, psychological nits must be treated in the same way as the real thing

Micah has had head lice. We share a brush, sometimes a towel and often a pillow, so I thought I didn't have a chance of missing out on an infestation.

After a week of paranoid scratching and fruitless conditioner and fine-tooth combing, I have succumb and given myself a harsh chemical treatment. There was no other way to get rid of this psychological case of nits.

After treatment, I am no longer itchy!

4/5 family members now have a blog!

Joel started one yesterday.

This is a great way to keep his artwork without clogging up the house!

new blog design

Like it?

I'm not convinced yet. Vote in the poll over to the right to tell me what you think.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

how to get a lot of traffic through your blog

Include the name of the prime minister connected with the word 'gone' at the time of a leadership challenge.

[I'm google's #3!]

creepy guy

There was an attempted abduction from the school down the road the other day. Since then, police have issued a description of a guy who has been hanging around our school and other local schools lately. The kids have been told about the situation and have all had the stranger-danger talk.

Joel and his friends have been keeping theirs eyes open (in an alert-but-not-alarmed kind of a way) for people matching the description. They saw these guys at the school fete and wondered if either is the culprit. They are looking for a tall, African-American man who wears lots of gold jewelry. I like how Joel has identified the accessories these men were wearing - the man on the left has a shark tooth ('sark') tooth necklace and the man on the right, a gold necklace, a gold ring and gold on his thongs. I also like the unit of measurement Joel has used. The desk! The man on the right may look shorter, but he's actually three and a half desks high, compared to the man on the left who is only three desks high.

k***n r**d gone?

what I hate

Editing lyrics and the 11th hour and 59th minute. Why didn't we see the problem with that line months ago?


My house needs attention. The washing is moving towards out of control. There's no food in the house. I'm working tomorrow. I'm flying to Sydney early Friday morning. And I have 10 people coming to dinner tomorrow night.

I can get the place under control tomorrow afternoon if I can get dinner for tomorrow organised tonight.

What do I feed everyone?

It can't include chicken or egg. It has to be something I can make 24 hours in advance.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

twist away is this weekend!

I'm running the songwriter's strand with Michael Morrow.

We are trying something new - an experiment in collaborative songwriting. 15 of us working on the same song. I think it will be a really useful teaching exercise. None of us will be able to be too precious about our ideas.

The most people I've co-written a song with before is about 6. The Bible Alphabet. If I remember rightly, there were tears over whose lines made the final cut...

I'm very much looking forward to working with Michael again. We haven't written together since J is for Jesus. And that was a fantastic experience of collaborative writing.

You really should come to twist away this weekend. The corporate singing times last year were one of the most fun I can remember anywhere. I'm sure registrations have closed, but you can always beg. Go on!

I love running a choir!

Last night I played 'song for the mira' through about 50 times and made up some pretty harmonies and made Andrew try them out with me over and over till I was happy and confident with them. Next term I get to inflict this and more of my favourite songs onto my choir. They, in turn, will inflict them on their families and friends and my favourite songs will be sung by many!

Why wouldn't I do this?

What I'd say at an RE parent evening

[cut, pasted and expanded from comment below]

Introduce myself - explain that I'm a teacher, that I'm from x church, that I love teaching their kids

Outline my program for the year

Give them a sample lesson - tell them a story from bible. (maybe)

Explain some of the [side] benefits of having kids in the program - better understanding of English literature, history, culture etc.

Talk about how RE helps kids
1. It gives them a better understanding of themselves - they are valuable and loved by God, they (like all of us) make bad choices, do the wrong thing and hurt others. They feel guilt (some quite acutely). Knowing what to do with guilt is really important. In RE we talk a lot about forgiveness and the God who knows everything that we think and do (both the good and bad stuff), who takes our actions very seriously but continues to love us.
2. Helps with fears. There is someone who is holding everything together. The overall narrative is under control. There are painful things along the way but these aren't the last word.
3. Gives hope - life after death.

Common questions kids ask.

Which bible to choose


 What do you think? How would you do it?

Monday, June 21, 2010

can't we do better than this?

Today I visited a centre/school for children with autism. My friend is on the board of this particular organisation and we were given a tour. The facilities were clean and cared for and one building was brand new. The staff were very thankful for what they had, but compared to the state school that my children attend (and compared to many other state schools I've worked in) it was all pretty basic and inadequate. Can't we do better than this?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

so much to be thankful for!

Our school runs the mother of all school fetes. Get your average school do, multiply it ten and you have our fair. We were there for 11 hours. Our church ran a stall (Nathan and Robyn made coffee) and we raised some money for the school. I got to speak to heaps of choir and RE parents. One mum told me that her boy asked for a bible for his 8th birthday last month. She got him one and also got him a book on world religions to keep things balanced!

I need to run a parents RE info night. Pray that it will still seem as important after the holidays.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Stuck at home.

Andrew out.

Kids in bed.

I've got stuff to do but haven't the attention span to do it.

Would someone please blog something?

I have a new idea!

It's a good one.

Life holds much!

twist away conference

is on next week.

Anyone going?


... to Sarah B's lovely voice on our Christmas musical.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

is it okay...

... if I stop asking God to give me gifts that I don't have and instead be bold in asking him to help me use the gifts I do have for the best possible good?

There are many gifts that I feel I ought to have (being a minister's wife and all!) but don't have as part of my personal make up. I believe that practice makes you better at things, so I could apply myself to the diligent cultivation of such gifts. For the last many years I've felt that faithful service of God meant me desiring a 'minister's wife' gift-set*.

But now I'm wondering if a true understanding of the body and of humility requires me to just be content with who I am. There are all sorts of things that I'm not good at. Others will need to do these things. Because if I did do them, I wouldn't have time to do the things which are actually my thing. (And I'm pretty bad at them anyway.)

Now, you are probably thinking 'Duh! Of course!' But what if I made a list of the gifts I don't have and have decided not to pursue, and you find that they are the things that you think are the most important of all - the particular gifts that you think all else should be sacrificed for? Would that make a difference?

*interestingly, I've always defined the minister's wife gift-set as that particular set of gifts I don't have!

Death Raids (by Joel)


“Quick get into the bomb shelter!”

Tom was a young twenty two year old knife sharpener. Well, that was before the war. Now he is a gunner. Will was a bomb maker, but he quit that job because the factory he was working in blew up. He is also a gunner now. Tom is yelling directions everywhere because the captain is dead. There's blood and gore everywhere. Will falls into a pit. Tom is watching from above. Bombs drop into the hole. Tom shuts his eyes and runs around like a mad man. There are bombs blowing everywhere. The poor people who step on them will be blown to bits, but Tom had no time to think about that. All he can think about is getting away from the crazy bombs. It looks like a mad kid had built a castle of guts then blown it to bits with fireworks.

Suddenly a storm of gun bullets fire: rat-tat-tat-tat-tat! Tom trips then falls into a hole full of guts. He swims to the side but before he can get out a bit crumbles and falls away. Then he sees Will with internal bleeding and his guts flopping out. Next he sees a man with a blood red bayonet. “Argh!” he screamed and shot the man.

The man had blood all over him. Johnny Turk hops out with a machine gun, firing like mad. Everyone is falling to the ground then, BANG! Tom is hit. Flopping to the ground, he feels nothing at all. For a moment he thinks he is dreaming, but then, no, it is too bad for a dream. He is not dead, but then, POOF! Smoke goes everywhere, then sparks. Men all round him are on fire. There are flashes of light everywhere. OOF! Tom falls in the pit. This time it's a pit of blood. But the blood goes boiling hot.

“Fiery hell!” Tom screams as the back blood goes bubbly.

Tom just gets out in time, then BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG.

Blood! His blood.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

ever on

After several weeks, I'm still not ready to put Middlemarch back on the shelf. If writing a which-Middlemarch-woman-are-you-quiz was not enough to get the story out of my system, I wonder if dreaming about Middlemarch, The Musical might be? I'd need to ditch a few characters and a good 500 pages of content, but Les Mis survived more than that.

Here's a preview lyric, inspired by Eliot's Shakespeare quote 'My grief lies onward and my joy behind'. Can you guess who should be singing?

Ever On

1. What weary miles I travel
every day I seek
my journey's end but know it brings
no joy and no relief

my path is narrow, winding
with darkened shadows lined
and only grief lies onward
all my joy is left behind.

Ever on, up each hill, around each bend
Ever on, till I reach my journey's end
Step by step, though this path
leads me further from my heart
ever onward, ever onward I will go.

2. The wall between us rising
and petty tyrannies
are bricks that separate our souls
and thwart our destinies

A web of lies is woven
my heart held in its bind
now only grief is onward
all my joy is far behind

3. A phantom clothed in splendour
Emits her glorious ray
I reach and yet I cannot touch
the vision fades away

Awake, my soul to reason
leave dreams of every kind
for only grief lies onward
all my joy is far behind.

sar 2010

something I found out today

Preps annoy me.

They are too needy.

Often their parents are also needy.

It takes them far too long do the most basic things.

When they say they have to go to the toilet, you have to let them go - just in case - even if you think they're fudging.

Some of them suck their fingers and then want to hold your hand.

They don't do silent reading by themselves.

They don't do anything by themselves.

They cry if they don't get picked for a game.

They cry if a year 7 teacher has painted his face blue for an alien thing.

And sometimes they just cry.

I'm unsympathetic. I don't care enough.

Give me older kids.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

the trouble with metric...

... is that the words are so ugly.

'Miles' is nice. 'Kilometres' is awful.

'Inch' has a certain something about it, but 'centimetre'?

Poetically, metric will never take off.


... is living up to expectations.

Apart from one day of post-adrenaline suckfulness, June has been hip month.

Things I'm thankful for:
- aeroplanes, music conferences and good times
- andrew and the kids - who like that I'm involved in lots of stuff
- that we can teach re at school in a high energy, fun way
- that there are so many great stories in the bible - makes kids ministry a breeze
- my lovely choir and that I have time to be really involved in the school community
- the teachers at school - they are so committed to educating our tricky #2. Today I found out that the deputy and principal have both been talking with his very able classroom teacher trying to work out strategies to teach him and stretch him. And he's not a behaviour problem! They are just genuinely interested!
- Robyn who keeps our church hall clean. She works every week picking up after untidy people like me. I was in there this afternoon and the place sparkled.
- an entirely-for-fun middlemarch lyric I've almost finished.

8 month old hears for the first time

Yep. I'm teary!

poo prayer

not to be missed!

Sonnet 50

How heavy do I journey on the way
When what I seek (my weary travel’s end)
Doth teach that ease and that repose to say,
“Thus far the miles are measured from thy friend.”

The beast that bears me, tired with my woe,
Plods duly on to bear that weight in me,
As if by some instinct the wretch did know
His rider loved not speed being made from thee:

The bloody spur cannot provoke him on
That sometimes anger thrusts into his hide,
Which heavily he answers with a groan,
More sharp to me than spurring to his side;

For that same groan doth put this in my mind:
My grief lies onward and my joy behind.


Monday, June 14, 2010

Sunday, June 13, 2010

what do you do...

... with historical doubts about the OT?

Like if I find it hard to believe that Moses brought THAT many people out of Egypt. It's not that I think God couldn't have done it - I'm confident that God can do whatever he wants - but could the wilderness actually hold that many people?

And the flood. Am I liberal if I think it was localised?

I'm not losing sleep over this stuff. Just wondering if I should be.

Is it possible to have doubts about these things and still be absolutely committed to the inspiration of scripture (as I am)?

Or am I on a slippery

into liberalism?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

the cat came back

One of our favourite teachers is retiring this term. This is our contribution to her farewell.

What do I do when...

... my almost 9 year old takes his little brother out to his backyard mud pit and they play a jumping across the mud game.

At 8 oc'lock in the morning.

On a school day.

When we are all about to walk out the door.

And I have to go to work.

And Andrew is away.

And it's the little brother's sports day.

And the little brother falls into the mud pit.

And gets his only pair of joggers soaking wet and muddy.

And himself filfthy?

I'll tell you what I do. I get really really angry and ban them both from tv and computer FOREVER (which means at least this weekend) and smack the almost 9 year old with my hairbrush. The little brother has to wear a too-big pair of shoes to his sports day, destroying any (small) chance that he might have had of not coming last in the races.

Just keeping it real.

Happy times in our household!

Friday, June 11, 2010

long legged sailor

This is how my choir sounded in their warm up at 7.30 this morning.

I'm fed up with gender debates

Okay. Rant time.

I'm fed up with all of this

Why all the emphasis on gender? It's a big fat side track. Yes, I know it's got to do with the authority of scripture and all of that, but I'm over it dominating every newspapers article about the church, every girl blog (including mine), every women's conferences, every mega-church sermon etc etc etc etc. The gospel is about Jesus and the forgiveness of sins. Life in Christ is about faith and love and hope. Gender issues are way secondary. But we seem to be talking about them all the time.

Let me put a few things out there.

1. I don't think that the problem with most marriages is that women don't submit to men and men don't lead. I think it's more basic ungodliness. Pornography, unfaithfulness, impatience, pride, greed, envy, hatred, laziness, selfishness. We need to work on these things, but they almost never get spoken about because we are so hung up on gender stuff. And quieter guys who are pretty godly start feeling like failures because they're not the macho assertive leadership types.

2. I don't think we need to imprison ourselves in our genders. We are humans, people! We don't need to assess everything we do against some vague (or stringent) male/female code. "I'd like to cross the road. What is an appropriate way for a woman to cross the road, showing proper respect and deference to her husband???" Blah blah blah. Quit the analysis and get on with it!

3. I think this gender nervousness makes women overly precious (idolatrous?) with motherhood. Hang it, it's all we've got! Every other sphere of life seems to belong to men. Conservative women look at each other suspiciously if they seem to be finding satisfaction in career or ministry or recreation ... so we become obsessively focussed on our children and ... housework! This seems silly.

4. I believe whole heartedly that we should be obedient to Paul's words in 1 Timothy 2 and Ephesians 5. But let's not make these couple of verses the lens through which we see our whole existence.

Okay. Tell me I'm wrong.

super woman

Rachael over at in tandem has just finished a series on the legend of the super-woman - particularly the ministry superwoman. It's good stuff, but she's received very few comments. I haven't commented because there didn't seem to be much that needed to be said.

But here are a few thoughts.

- we are all called to serve. Laziness and selfishness aren't options open to christians.

- our attitude to service should be proactive, not reactive. Why not look around and see how you can further God's work in the world? Find ways to love and give, don't wait for someone to ask you to do something.

- those we label as 'super' ministry people are usually just those who are being proactive in service.

- everyone has a part to play to make the body work. If a single tooth hurts, the whole body will be in agony. If the big toe goes on strike, the body will limp.

- those who take a back seat at church often do it because they are afraid of being found-out as incompetent at something. Those who are proactive in service have accepted that their incompetence will soon be painfully evident to themselves and those around them. (Those who haven't yet discovered their incompetence, will soon.)

- I would hate it if anyone thought I was a 'super' ministry type. Yeah, I do a lot of stuff, but the super label assumes some extraordinary strength that I definitely don't have. I'm no more capable of doing music, teaching sunday school, organising morning tea and talking helpfully to people on the one Sunday morning than anyone else would be. Something will give (often my temper!)

- Also, anyone who thinks me 'super' just doesn't know me. My friends know I'm tired, flat, discouraged, hurt, sinful and incompetent as much as I'm anything else. 

- Thinking of people as 'super' types allows us to judge them more harshly. All the stuff that such people do is not appreciated (because, hey, she can do all of that effortlessly!) but the stuff they do not do (or do not do well) is often thought of and even spoken of.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I'm cold

Spring? Where are you?

My Favourite Ahlberg Books

Ben is posting on Ahlberg, so I thought I would too.

Allan Ahlberg is my favourite children's author. I get sick of most other stuff, but never Ahlberg. His stories are funny and cutting and delightfully well written.  I never enter a P-3 classroom without at least one of his books.

Here are my favourites.

The whole Gaskitts series is brilliant. Picture/Chapter books. School settings. Fast paced action, interweaving plots, subtle and fun language, and a different supply teacher in each book - Mrs. Doom, Mr. Cruncher.... So so so funny. Not many shops have them, but they can be ordered in.

1. The man who wore all of his clothes
2. The woman who won things
3. The cat who got carried away
4. The children who smelled a rat.

Suspense, action, a villain, a hero and, not many words! Chuck out most other things to make room on your shelf for the Fast-Fox, Slow-Dog series.

Slow Dog Falling
The Hen House (wonderfully scary!)

Chicken, chips and peas
The mother hen mysteries
Chickens in the snow

I think they're out of print, but grab one if you ever see it.

This one has it all.

Have you read them?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

there's nothing to be lost...

... in being as positive and uncomplaining as possible.

ten things I've learned in the last week

1. When a sound guy mentions BGM, he is talking about background music.
2. Adrenaline makes you un-hungry.
3. Not going to the gym (combined with the adrenaline un-hungry thing) makes me lose weight fast.
4. Singing with a group of music people is heaps of fun.
5. When choosing songs for church, if you really want your people to sing, you should think radio pop music rather than classic fm. Sing a song heaps, then retire it quickly.
6. SDAs are kind people. (The ones who lent us their hall at the last minute, anyway.)
7. When recording, getting your vocalist to sing the same line 60 times is not unreasonable.
8. Not all electric pianos are equal. (Most are bad.)
9. Great things can be achieved with a Macbook, an electric piano, an external hard drive, some decent software and a microphone.
10. You should all get to a twist conference. (I already knew this one!)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

drinking adrenaline.

It's what I've been doing for the last week.

A great substitute for meals and sleep.

Zing and good times.

But it can't go on.

Normal life to resume soon.

Friday, June 4, 2010



Bring on the next few days!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

it's not [greed/materialism/irresponsible use of money] if it involves a musical instrument

Tomorrow, amongst many other things, we are buying a trombone. Every household should have at least one. For the next 6 months, we'd like to have two.

We are buying a Bach TB301 Advanced Student model. Andrew and I are looking forward to playing duets with Nathan.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I am sick

I've been in denial for the last week, but now it's gotten past that.

I didn't go to work this morning (even though I was asked to teach Micah's class) because I couldn't speak. My voice is back now, but a headache has come with it. And my nose isn't pretty.

If things don't improve by tomorrow, I'm moving to my pepsi-max and panadol flu survival plan. It can probably get me through the weekend.

I'm h-a-p-p-y!

Praise God!

The twist glitch has been fixed.

twist material written!

I've got too much stuff to say, but most of it is written down and it all feels kind of obvious. Maybe I'll just hand out my pretty handout and we can have a chat or do songwriters' show and tell.

Cauliflower, potato and leek soup.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

my boy...

...thinks like me.

Compare his post with mine.

twist brisbane...

... is bursting at the seams!