Monday, February 28, 2011

you-tube fest

Listening to heaps of stuff. Looking for more choir repertoire.

Looking for something a little different I can arrange up.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

happy birthday

six rows of five soldiers
march with torches in hand.

at twenty-one you were given a key to the door.
you locked it behind you.

at thirty all the doors burn down

the ghosts attack
and the skeletons dance.

sar 2011

if only

My heart is full for friends who are struggling.  It will be hard and long. Praying for a good end.

I need a metaphor. Some way of getting my head around it.

The right metaphor feels, for me, as good as a solution. If only it were.

Are women crazy

I've been reading this (and this and this.) h/t: Ali.

The theory is that 'craziness' - the emotionality and insecurity that women often experience - is sin and needs to be stopped. I'm thinking about it.

What about depression* and anxiety disorders? Many women have these and of course sin is a part of them (as it's a part of everything.) But is it helpful to label such experiences as sin?

*the writer speaks about irrational anger and sadness.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

What would you have done?

Joel was over at a friend's house today. The mum called and asked if he could stay over night. The catch was that he'd have to go to mass with them this evening. Joel was okay with going. He has no aversion to church. (Why would he?)

I said he could, but he needs to be home tomorrow morning in time for our church. What would you have done?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Angel series 4

This is all getting a bit the bold and the beautiful.

command my heart (version 2, draft 1)

I wrote a version of this a few years ago. Never went anywhere. Half the lines were bad and it was a dud meter. I've now re-metered it and replaced most of the lines.

It's an adventure in alliteration. Trouble is, the feature sound - C - is very harsh. Not one you'd want repeated too often. There's also lots of Ws and Rs and Ls which aren't particularly desirable either. And the ending is lame.

But anyway, we're aiming to write 20 songs in the next little while in the hope that one is a keeper, so...

Command My Heart

1. Command my heart, oh Lord my God
direct my stubborn will
Catch every restive thought and deed
and call them all to you.

You speak the sky alive with stars 
One word the storm is still
So speak, command me, oh my God
and turn my heart to you.

2. Command my heart, oh Lord my God
Ignite your spirit’s fire
Consume each worthless worldly lust
And capture my desire.

How could I long for any more
Your love can make me new
Command my heart, oh Lord my God
So I will long for you.

3. Command my heart, oh Lord my God
and draw me to your grace
two planks of wood, the arms of love
my rock, my resting place.

My feet unsteady, I will fall
But you are ever true
So hold, command me, oh my God
And turn my heart to you.

sar 2011

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Just watched this on tv. Oh man. Chuck it all.


It's heaps of fun at the moment.

My choirs are sounding pretty nice. Van Diemen's Land is the best choir song ever. It's an achievable two parter with lovely harmonies. The kids love it and so do I.

My year 5s are just finishing the semester's work(!). I'll assess them on it next week then move on to what I want to teach them. We'll learn some uke chords then make little recorder/uke/percussion ensembles with 3 or 4 kids in each and they'll choose a piece to perform together. I've asked the kids for suggestions. I imagine I'll be charting up many songs in the next few weeks! At the end of semester I might combine it with some technology stuff and get them to record themselves and maybe make a film clip to go with it. Fun times.


I've been doing it most nights for a long time now.

It's getting increasingly expensive, increasingly time consuming and I'm sick of it.

I don't want to do it any more.

Can I stop?

I'd be willing to also stop eating dinner if that's what it cost.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


doing Genesis 37-50 in bs and church

Someone made the comment that Egypt needs Joseph back again.

two dates for your diaries

Thursday August 25 - Brisbane Convention Center - John Piper

Wednesday October 5 - Creek Road Presbyterian Church - Bob Kauflin

Monday, February 21, 2011

christ as the philosopher's stone

From Wiki:

The philosophers' stone (Latinlapis philosophorum) is a legendary alchemical substance, said to be capable of turning base metals, especially lead, into gold(chrysopoeia); it was also sometimes believed to be an elixir of life, useful forrejuvenation and possibly for achieving immortality. For a long time, it was the most sought-after goal in Western alchemy, meditated upon by alchemists such as Sir Isaac NewtonNicolas Flamel, and Frater Albertus

I discovered this lovely little hymn by George Herbert

    Teach me, my God and King,
        In all things thee to see,
And what I do in any thing,
        To do it as for thee:

        Not rudely, as a beast,
        To runne into an action;
But still to make thee prepossest,
        And give it his perfection.

        A man that looks on glasse,
        On it may stay his eye;
Or if he pleaseth, through it passe,
        And then the heav’n espie.

        All may of thee partake:
        Nothing can be so mean,
Which with his tincture (for thy sake)
        Will not grow bright and clean.

        A servant with this clause
        Makes drudgerie divine:
Who sweeps a room, as for thy laws,
        Makes that and th’ action fine.

        This is the famous stone
        That turneth all to gold:
For that which God doth touch and own
        Cannot for lesse be told.

Isn't that a cool image? Christ as the philosopher's stone. The elixir of life, immortality is found in him. Ordinary work, our 'drudgerie', is turned into gold when touched by Christ!

Trying to work it into a not-too-obscure cong song (with a HSM meter.)

Herbert + Disney = ???

Sunday, February 20, 2011

ashton uke

Okay, so I bought this cheap ukulele. Wanted to see if it's as bad as it could be. (Apparently this is the kind that schools normally get.) It is pretty bad.


  • price
  • 3 of the 4 strings sound almost okayish on the first 4 frets.
  • the other string sounds okayish open.
  • it has an easy clean laminate finish.


  • the action was set so high that it was painful to play. (note past tense)
  • the strings are awful. Really thick.
  • the frets aren't a semitone apart after #5. On the C string they fail after the first fret.
  • It has an easy clean laminate finish.

I wish I could be more positive about it, but it's a pretty poor excuse for an instrument. In my mind there is no excuse for the ridiculous height of the action or the misplaced frets. I feel wrong even considering buying a class set, but in the current ukulele crisis, maybe a poor uke is better than no uke. But maybe not.

I've been operating on it. Figured it couldn't get much worse... I got the knife onto both ends and cut away a significant amount to lower the action. This has made it easier to play. Tomorrow I'm buying a new set of strings. This might make a big difference. There's nothing I can do to fix the frets, but the kids won't be playing past the 5th anyway. The C string will always sound bad.

Here's what it sounds like now.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Listening to...

thinking about...

... Christ as the philosopher's stone.



Six rides in 2 hours. I was fine till Joel convinced me to go on this one with him. An hour later I still feel unwell.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

any mumford and sons fans out there?

A kid at school has requested a m&s song for recorder or ukulele. Any suggestions?

What would be good for a 10 year old to sing or play?

another verse

It's like catching lightning the chances of finding someone like you
It's one in a million, the chances of feeling the way we do...



This is the famous stone
That turneth all to gold
For that which God doth touch and own
Cannot for less be told.

George Herbert, 1953-1632.

QTC OT and Principal positions

Applications are invited for the positions of
Lecturer in Old Testament & Hebrew

To commence January 2012

Queensland Theological College (QTC) is the training college of the Presbyterian Church of Queensland, and also provides high quality theological education to students from a number of other denominational traditions. QTC's aim is to provide training that faithfully applies the Word of God to the real world. We seek to do this as a real living Christian community, and as part of a wider Christian fellowship in Brisbane and our state of Queensland.

2011 is the 100th year of QTC’s ministry, which is to be celebrated on 25th August with Dr John Piper as our guest speaker, at the Brisbane Convention Centre. Our name, Queensland Theological College, reflects the fact we're keen to train all kinds of people for all kinds of Word- based ministries throughout Queensland and the world. Visit our website at

In advertising the position of Lecturer in Old Testament and Hebrew, QTC’s governing committee (the CMT) is seeking a person capable of also being nominated to fill the role of QTC Principal.

Applicants with relevant post-graduate qualifications, pastoral and lecturing experience will be considered for this position. It is essential that applicants be ordained Presbyterian Ministers or Elders (or are qualified to be ordained as such), holding a theological position consistent with that of the Presbyterian Church of Australia. For more information go to

Applications close 22nd March 2011. The position is full-time, normally for terms of five years, effective from January 2012.

Please send your application, CV and references via email to Rev Phil Strong. If you have any questions about these positions please contact Rev Strong.
Rev Phil Strong Convener, Committee for Ministries Training, Presbyterian Church of Queensland PO Box 554, Carina QLD 4152 Phone: 07 3398 4333

QTC Announcement

17 February 2011
New Season for Queensland Theological College
Rev Dr Bruce Winter is well known as the spearhead of the dramatic reversal in fortunes at the Queensland Theological College (QTC) – with enrolments growing at a rate faster than any college accredited by the Australian College of Theology over the past four years. 
Chairman of QTC’s governing committee, Rev Philip Strong, has announced that Dr Winter will have a change of roles and remain with the college at the end of his current five year contract. Rev Strong said, “We are thrilled that Dr Winter is remaining with us in a teaching capacity in this next stage of life and ministry, as he steps down from the role of Principal.”
Dr Winter joined the faculty from Tyndale House, at the University of Cambridge. He is a world leader in the study of first century Roman history as it relates to Christianity, and has published several works in that area. It is proposed he will continue in a lecturing role with QTC in the honoured position of Research Professor and in his ongoing role with Emmanuel College as the Director of the Institute for Early Christianity.
Rev Philip Strong, paid tribute to Rev. Dr Winter’s work, announcing that the Presbyterian Church of Queensland will be asked to honour him by conferring the title of Research Professor in New Testament Context and Systematic Theology from the 1st January 2012. 
“Under Dr Winter's leadership, QTC has developed significantly over the last four years. His enthusiasm and academic capabilities have been crucial to outstanding growth in the college’s teaching staff, student body, and reputation. We are thankful for his service during that time, and we are very pleased to honour him with this position, which marks the esteem with which he is held. We pray his involvement with QTC as our research professor and as a teacher of our students will continue for many years to come,” Rev Strong said. 
Rev. Dr Bruce Winter’s retirement as Principal will be effective December 2011. It is proposed that he will continue with the college as a research professor and lecturer. He also continues as the Director of the Institute for Early Christianity in the Greco-Roman World at Emmanuel College, University of Queensland.
Dr Winter's Research Professorship marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of QTC. 
Rev Strong also announced that QTC is advertising the position of lecturer in Old Testament and Hebrew language. The college is seeking a lecturer for this position who also has the gifts and experience for the role of QTC Principal. The position is to commence January 2012. Further information can be found at

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

finished angel series 3

still laughing

about restaurant websites.

3 hours...

...and still going strong!

tips for surviving meetings

I'm having a lot of practice with meetings lately. Several each week at the moment, it seems.

I'm not a natural. I struggle to focus my whole mind on the topic at hand (mostly, my whole mind isn't needed). I struggle not to think dark thoughts about people who speak for too long. I struggle with the hard chairs we have to sit on.

But I have developed some coping strategies. Some small things that can be done to turn a dull meeting into an opportunity to hone skills in concentration, multi-tasking, and to actually get things done.

Read and learn.

1. Take your laptop and mobile internet. You can't count on there being fast wireless internet available and you'll need it.
2. Have a skype friend in the meeting. Skype them about strategies to speed up the meeting. Work together. Write good motions. Push them through.
3. Have a concurrent skype meeting with someone else not in the room. Try to achieve something in this time. Tonight I'm going to be thinking about marketing an event.
4. Really care about one thing on the agenda. Use the dead times in your meeting to research this item carefully and come up with a good plan for what needs to be done. Work out how you can speak to the item as convincingly as possible, using as few words as possible. Others will thank you for this.
5. Once your item is done and your skype buddies have given up on you, write an alto part for tomorrow's choir song or draw pictures of everyone in the room.

On editing

Wendy's post on authenticity and openness has got me thinking*. I'm a believer in authenticity and openness up to a point. But I'm also a believer in editing.

We all edit. Even if you think you are just saying stuff as it is, you are editing.

And we should edit. All the pettiness and ingratitude in my heart is horrible and I shouldn't want to share it with you. To voice it is often to give it oxygen. We ought to edit it from our conversation and  writing because we want to cut it from our lives.

So I think we need to edit sin. Not that we should try to make ourselves look better than we are, but sin is ugly. It's details are unpleasant to hear and read and if they are not, then that's even more dangerous.

But there's other stuff we should edit too. Some of our struggles and even some of our joys. It may not be helpful for people to hear these. We can choose who we share certain things with. That's not being unauthentic or closed. It can be consideration.


Openness and authenticity - Yes. Let people know you. But:

  • guard people from the details of your sin. They mostly don't need to know.
  • don't complain or grumble. That's not openness. It's just ungodliness.
  • be considerate about who you share what with.


*I've got no problems with anything Wendy wrote.

Monday, February 14, 2011


It's fine and even fun when your kid finds it easy.

When it's too hard for them it is awful for everyone. And pointless.

When someone smiles at me

I feel like smiling too...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Couch to 5K in 6 weeks

I'm doing a running program with Nathan (age 11). I can already run a few kms. He's not a runner at all. But the aim is that we'll both be doing 5kms in another 5 weeks.

This week we've gone for four walks together. We did 5km today. Tomorrow we do 5km again but do 5 x 60 second runs in that 5kms. Then we gradually build up the length of the runs and cut the recovery time in between them. It seems achievable.

Anyone done anything like this before?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

there's someone else

Yes. You used to be everything to me.

But now you're not.

It's not that I love you any less, but there were things you just couldn't do for me.

He can do them. Well.

I knew you'd feel like this and I feel bad that you do but what else could I do?  Should I have gone on ignoring my own needs? Should I have kept on doing without for your sake? Was that what you wanted?

It took courage to make this decision. I still love you. I always will.

In time, maybe you'll understand.

But tonight, don't wait up.

New phone!

I feel like a traitor somehow. My macbook would have loved to have an iPhone to talk to but the HTC legend was cheaper and gives me infinite calls and texts.
Andrew is happy. He's an Android man.
(First ever mobile blog post. I think.)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Tips for naming your baby #638

If you name your child after a volcano, even a fictional one, expect explosive behaviour.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Now I remember!

Just yesterday I was thinking to myself about how much I love teaching and wondering why I ever didn't want to take a supply teaching day last year.

Today I got called in to teach year 1 at a particular school. It's all come back to me.

I have to go in tomorrow as well.

I can do this.

this will quickly drive me to insanity

Recorders. 30 of them. For four hours.

But what I've discovered is that the more the kids want to play a song, the faster they will learn it, and the quicker we can move on to something else. We've been playing through the prescribed book. Unsurprisingly, songs like 'the clown' and 'clowning around again' were badly done. After teaching these songs for hours I honestly can't tell you how they go. Uncompelling arrangements of Gs, As and Bs and Bs, Cs and Ds. Who cares? But I gave the kids 'Jingle Bells' which is the final song in the book and after 10 minutes most of them could play it. Because they wanted to.

So I'm after some different repertoire. (I think I can now say that we've done the method book adequately.) I'm after 5 note songs - G-D. Last year I taught the kids the chorus of 'Love Story'. I'm after something classy like that.

a question

Do African American and Hispanic kids have deeper voices than Anglo kids? I've been you-tubing around and Anglo children's choirs seem to be singing half an octave higher than AA and H choirs. What's this a reflection of? A biological thing? Or the fact that Anglo choirs are using repertoire from back in the good old days when people wanted to sing high?

I prefer the deeper sound.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

how cool

In the last week, two school families have spoken to me about wanting to come to church.

I pray these prayers but don't really expect God to answer!

throw my blog a bone

Ben said I should.

But sorry. I got nothing.

More Important Things are calling. Really loudly.

My third (and most important) choir starts at 7.30am this morning. I've got like 80 kids coming expecting it to be fantastic. They've been promised music folders and all sorts of other ridiculous and unnecesary things (fun, I think was one of them.) What if I can't deliver? What if they hate the songs I've chosen? Songs? Heck! I've only got one song charted up ready to go! Choir runs for an hour! AHHHHH!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Unfun =

writing out choir parts.

charting up choir songs

I put it off and I put it off but it doesn't do itself and it doesn't get any more fun.

What is the answer?

Easy. I sing the line. You remember it.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Baningati Bye Away

I might try this with one of my choirs this week.

From here.

Bright Eyes


Friday, February 4, 2011

pure, starry whiteness


next time I suggest a sleepover party...

... suggest I think again.

first song for year 1-3 choir

Got a conference to name?

I'm your woman.

I have just successfully named one and have a swag of (rejected) names to offer you at a greatly reduced price.

So what are you after?

Nathan turned 11 today

We have a few friends sleeping over.

Thankful for 11 years with my big boy.

new email

I'm trying the gmail thing. Wanting everything to work together nicely. Blog, email, work email...

The old one will still work, but my new one is nicer.

It is my 3 name with dots in between them

My middle name is avis. So work it out.

mac back!

My macbook is back! But it's not quite my macbook. Hard drive died. I lost everything.

Oh well. New start.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


I've been organising something terribly exciting.

Can't tell you more now, but if you like this, then plan to be there.

* unconfirmed

Student Council - Vote for Nathan!

Not sure his classmates will get all the jokes.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


I listened to kids play recorder for 3 hours.

What's with these natural disasters?


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

friendship song for my prep choir

Green hair
It doesn’t matter
Blue skin, polka dot hat
Two chins
Why would I worry?
A friend is a friend and that is that.

Put your hand in mine
We’ll fly to the moon and the stars and the heavens
Don’t stay on your own
Come dream a dream with me
‘Cause I am a friend, you see.

Green hair
It doesn’t matter
Blue skin, polka dot hat
Two chins
Why would I worry?
A friend is a friend and that is that.
You are my friend and that is that.

sar 2011