Thursday, March 31, 2011

Can I just keep reposting this on fb until people read it?

Stop with the stupid statii. Okay?

what faith looks like

Imagine a rough and dangerous, ocean with little old me in it getting tossed around. Not much fun, but there's a rope coming down from the far east. It's secured to something pretty solid in the far distance. I hold onto the rope. However big the waves get, I can stay above water. I even use the rope to pull myself closer to whatever's holding it.

Faith is the rope. It joins us to Jesus. If we hold onto it, we won't go under and will eventually reach the shore.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

GTD chapter 3 - vertical focus

Took me a while to understand what he was getting at here.

Horizontal focus is where you think about moving the project forward towards its goal. Next steps etc. It's apparently all that's needed in most situations. Seeing the form on the table in front of you. Picking up a pen. Signing it at the bottom.

Vertical focus takes things deeper. It's needed in more complex situations. Finding creative solutions to problems. I'm all for vertical focus. This is where the fun is to be found. More of it.

Allen starts by talking about back-of-the-envelope planning. You're sitting in a coffee shop and dream up an idea (he talks about hashing out an agenda for a sales presentation - probably the equivalent to my dreaming up an idea) and jot it down on any bit of paper you can find. He says this tends to be the most productive kind of planning and this natural planning model is what we need to aim at. Excellent! I'm with him here, 100%. Back-of-the-envelope planning is what I do!

But then he goes on to break up natural planning into 5 stages! No no no. No no no no no! Something stimulating and creative and wonderful is about to become tedious. 

The natural planning model
1. Defining purposes and principles
2. Outcome visioning
3. Brainstorming
4. Organising
5. Identifying next action


Natural planning has a vision for where we want to end up. We use it for many things - getting dressed in the morning, choosing a restaurant for dinner... Unfortunately, we tend not to use it at times when we really should. We're reactive and just try to get ourselves out of the crisis at hand.

Natural planning is natural, he argues, but not normal. Most people don't stand back and look at the big picture. They just try to untangle the mess in front of them. I see his point.

From here, the chapter went on in painstaking, boring detail, to explain how to do natural planning. Step by step. How to define purpose. How to brainstorm. Blah blah blah.

I think this chapter has a lot going for it. We need to think big picture.

But this is the world I live in. Whenever I do anything, I see the end product in HD. I know exactly how I want my Sunday School curriculum to look. Right down to the fonts on the page. I know exactly how I want the set set up. I know how the unit hangs together. I can see all that right from the start - in fact I can't start doing anything on it before I see the end product. [Which, incidently, is why I'm such a beast to work with. I'm told that my choir has to wear long, elastic waisted blue trousers. What?!? My choir doesn't dress like that!] 

If someone is already a big picture person, giving them instructions on how to see a vision is laughably pointless. It's like giving me a five step method for breathing! I can't help but do it!

But you tell me. If someone's not naturally a 'visionary'[!], can they learn to be?

GTD advice for anon

Anon - if the puke would take less than 2 minutes, you should do it right now. Otherwise, work out if you need to DEFER or DELEGATE the puke. Are you the best person to do this? If so, you need to work out when the best time to puke would be and set up a hole proof system where you'll be reminded to do it.

ps. I'm bored too.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

inspection tomorrow!

 Which carpet?

I don't know what carpet stain you're talking about.

The difference between an average RE lesson and a good RE lesson

A little bit of preparation. Just 15 minutes more makes a big difference.

We are coming to the close of our 'stuff God like' series.

According to us (and the bible), God likes people (Gen 1), righteousness (Gen 3), mercy (prodigal son) and humility (pharisee and tax collector). All these things come together in Jesus.

Last week we saw that God became a person in Jesus. In today's lesson, Jesus was tested and proved righteous. Here's how the lesson went.

1. We sang our stuff God likes song. We've been writing it week by week. It's not a complicated (or even good) song. The kids sing it well because they had a hand in making it up.

Stuff God likes
Stuff God likes
Is it chocolate, icecream
cars or bikes
What is the stuff God likes?

People yeah
People yeah
With arms and legs and brains and hair
People yeah

Righteouness yeah
Righteouness yeah
Following God, being awesomely fair
Righteouness yeah

Forgiving you
Forgiving me

I won't be proud and boast about me

2. Andrew ran a following instructions game where one lucky contestant was blind folded and had to follow his instructions to get through an obstacle course. Would they pass or fail the test?

3. I told the story. In the bible God tests his people to see if they are righteous. In previous weeks we've defined righteous as following God's instructions. Need to believe that he knows what's best and he cares about us. Test #1 - Adam and Eve - retell story, stick FAIL sign over pic representing Adam and Eve. Test #2 - God's people in desert - tell story - God rescued them from Egypt has promised to look after them, promised land etc. How would they God when faced with no food problem? FAIL. Would they follow God's instructions and only collect enough manna for one day? FAIL. Test #3 - Jesus - Matt 4 - Tell story about Jesus' testing. First test - would Jesus trust God to provide food for him like Israel should have? Yes. Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word of God - He followed God's instructions, unlike Israel. Second Test - Would Jesus put God to the test in order to show everyone his power? Third Test - Would Jesus bow down to Satan - No. Adam and Eve, Israel and us, epic fail at righteousness. Jesus, epic success.

4. Song we're learning 'So Great Is Jesus' Love' - Point out line about Jesus being guiltless.

5. Silly song. This week Time to fumigate, to tune of I'm Yours - Jason Mraz.

GTD chapter 2

David Allen teaches a 5 stage system for managing workflow:

1. We collect things that command our attention
2. We process what they mean and what to do about them
3. We organise the results, which
4. We review as options for what we do
5. We do the work.

Chapter 2 explains each of these phases in pain staking detail.

The focus of the collect stage is that we get everything in hole-proof buckets out of our heads. Processing is the emptying the collection buckets: chucking stuff, filing information for later, doing short (<2minute) tasks immediately, and delegating or deferring longer tasks. In the organising stage we set up lists of renewable reminders, 'incubating projects' blah blah blah. Lists. Next-action categories. Calenders. Appointments. And my favourite - 'Tickler' files. Then we review everything. Daily, weekly, monthly, annually... Then #5. We do stuff.

I read this chapter a week ago. The thing that stuck in my mind that I have put into practice is the 2 minute rule. If a task takes less than 2 minutes, do it now. I can put up with most forms of torture for 2 minutes. So I won't put this task off. I'll get it out of the way. I'll fill in that school permission form.

The rest of the chapter contained some good ideas (which I'm unlikely to use), but too much is made of the whole process of getting ready for work. People who spend so much time collecting and processing and organising and reviewing stuff sometimes convince themselves they've actually achieved something when they haven't really. In my particular job, I think we'd achieve much more if #5 was focussed on rather than #1-4.


Monday, March 28, 2011

not feeling too positive right now.

And I tend to share my pain.

things I hate #546

Excuses. Even good ones. Especially good ones.

If you really wanted it, you would find a way.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Saturday, March 26, 2011

song for the moment - faith

I falter where I firmly trod

Tennyson and doubt.

Michael writes this stuff really well. Well worth reading.

lines have to be drawn

We will not eat dinner in front of the election coverage unless we voted in the election.

love election coverage


Even though it's not my state and the outcome was pretty clear from the start.


... I stop finding wee on the toilet seat, rim and lid, everyone will be sitting down from now on. No exceptions.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Beyond Horizons (again!)

This song is now on it's 4th tune and 6th lyric. We're starting to feel positive about it. Its current tune is unusual but kind of compelling. Perhaps, just possibly, the song could go somewhere. Still too early to tell.

I've put more theological thought into this one than most. And its closer to the edge of orthodoxy than most. It is meant to be about faith. Does it give a decent picture of faith? What do you think? I'd prefer theological critique pre-publication...

Beyond Horizons

1. Beyond horizons faith can see
Into a distant land
Across the ocean waits for me
My home, my promised land.
Looking past today
To a world away
The eyes of faith can see

Beyond horizons, across the oceans
There is more than life today
A flowing river, a shining city
where all our tears are wiped away
So in faith we take our cross and bear
All things for joy will meet us there
Beyond horizons.

2. Beyond horizons Jesus saw
A land of pure delight
And for its sake he gave up all
His throne, his name, his life
Knowing God would save
Him from the grave
His eyes of faith could see…

3. Beyond horizons we will see
That faith was not in vain
For every promise Christ will keep
And every glory claim
With his word our guide,
Our vision, light
Our eyes of faith can see…

sar 2011

My soul cleaves to the dust.

Revive me according to your word.
Ps 119.25

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Beyond Horizons

1. Beyond horizons faith can see
Into a distant land
Across the ocean waits for me
My home, my promised land

My eyes look only on today
But faith can see a world away

2. The faithful old of long ago
Glimpsed from afar her shores
They longed for her as for a home
That they had known before

So faithfully their footsteps trod
Still searching for the land of God

Beyond horizons, across the oceans
Faith sees more than life today
By faith we know that a land is waiting
Where all tears are wiped away
So today we take our cross and bare
All things for joy will meet us there.
Beyond horizons.

3. Beyond horizons Jesus saw
A land of pure delight
And for its sake he gave up all
For us in sacrifice

In faith he knew that God would save
His soul, his body from the grave.

sar 2011

I wish...

... songs about faith were as easy to write as songs about big bad wolves.

faith song

It's coming together.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lady Dressed in White

I discovered this song cruising around you-tube. I can only find one recording of it. Can't find where I can buy it. I want it for my year 1-3 choir. It's beautiful. Anyone know it?

UPDATE: Found it!

Lady Dressed In White - Lin Marsh

Along the castle walls she walks.
As if she's floating through the air.
She never smiles she never talks.
Her sorrow seems to great to bear.

Oh lady dressed in white
are you waiting for your love?
He will come again to find you.
Oh lady dressed in white
are you doomed to walk these walls?
Must the spell forever bind you?

The mist it swirls around her feet.
Alone she paces to and fro.
Her trembling hands her sorrow show.
And as the morning light appears
she turns her head as if to go.
Her lovely face is streaked with tears.
Her story we will never know.

Oh lady dressed in white
are you waiting for your love?
He will come again to find you.
Oh lady dressed in white
are you doomed to walk these walls?
Must the spell forever bind you?

She will weep all alone.
So she leaves with a broken heart.
Her story we will never know.

Monday, March 21, 2011

you will fit in this square box, yes you will!

I feel like an overbearing parent forcing a thuggish son to do ballet.

I'm meant to be writing a song on faith.

The song doesn't want to be about faith. It's determined to be about heaven. I'm determined that it be about faith.

Who will win?

My guess, neither of us.

Bill Grogan's Goat

Bill Grogan's goat
was feeling fine
ate three red shirts
from off the line.

Bill took a stick
gave him a whack
and tied him to
the railway track.

The whistle blew
the train drew nigh
Bill Grogan's goat
would surely die.

He gave a groan
of awful pain
coughed up the shirt
and flagged the train.


I taught this to my year 1-3 choir today. Worked.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

who has an incredible husband?

I do.

Andrew ran in a race this afternoon. 10km in 45 minutes. I think he was in the first 100 out of 2000. Fastest runner did 32 minutes.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

This is me being patient.

Okay. So there's this bluetack that you've coloured with a significant amount of red biro ink, worked into a ball, and left in the sun for a couple of months. You come back to play with it and find it's become really sticky. It gets all over your fingers. You try to wash it off but water doesn't remove it. What do you do?

Macbook dead

Again. 2nd time in 8 weeks. My faith is wavering.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Getting Things Done #2 - Thoughts on Chapter One

1. I don't think I'm the intended audience for this book. Its opening sentence reads:

"It's possible for a person to have an overwhelming number of things to do and still function with a clear head and a positive sense of relaxed control."  

I think the intention was for the reader to doubt that such a happy state was possible. (Andrew wondered if it is technically possible for anyone to be faced with an overwhelming number of things to do and not feel overwhelmed. But we'll let that one go.) I don't doubt it for myself. I don't think that I feel the problem that the book is addressing.

2. David Allen likes alliteration. Elevated levels of effectiveness and efficiency. ... tools, tips, techniques and tricks...  

3. GTD identifies the problem as the new demands of this new millennium. He thinks the old methods of organisation are insufficient, as are the new programs and gadgets that are coming onto the market - Microsoft Outlook and Palm PDAs.

Perhaps this new millennium is more stressy than the last. I wouldn't want to make a call on that. But he clearly doesn't have my nice little macbook or an iphone.

4. His main thrust seems that you need to be able to efficiently capture all the things that need to get done, file them efficiently (outside your head) and identify the next step needed to push each project forward. Okay. I'll see where this goes.

5. The idea of capturing stuff outside our heads is so that we can achieve a 'mind like water' state where our heads are clear of worries and stress so that we can logically think about and do one thing at a time. I've got a few issues with this. It's not always necessary to capture everything externally to achieve a clear mind. I can achieve it geographically. (I go to a coffee shop.) Or I can just decide that some things aren't going to haunt me. (If I have some outstanding paperwork, I calculate how much not filling in the form is going to cost me and decide to absorb that cost.) And bigger things that cloud our minds and limit our productivity often aren't of the kind that can be 'captured' in an organisational system and filed away with a 'next step' instruction for later. Big time productivity killers like relationship breakdowns, griefs, addictions and insecurities aren't, I suspect, going to be helped much by a GTD capture system. (Though I find that capturing such things in a poem or song quite helpful.)

6. We need to have a system that we trust in order to get things out of our heads. I guess the rest of the book will spell out his system as the solution we need.

7. This section of the book is called The Art of Getting Things Done. I'd question if art is the right word to use here.

Okay. Over to you. What did you think?

Getting Things Done #1

I'm starting this book tonight. Feel free to join me.

But first things first. The cover.

I don't like it. Don't like the tacky gold writing. Don't like the left hand column busyness. Don't like the suit. Don't like that it looks just like a self help book. Don't like that it is a self help book.

But, hey. We all know not to judge a book by its cover.

So I'll read.

Paper bag ready*. Away we go.

* Reading/hearing about organisational systems makes me hyperventilate.

Getting Things Done

Hate the idea of a book that prescribes in detail how I should run my life. Hate hearing about boring organisational systems. Clearing in-trays. Clearing inboxes. [Inboxes! Honestly, why would you do this? An inbox is a ready made, automatic filing system!] I'm not interested in systems or clear desks! I'm interested in ideas and people and fun!

But I've decided to read (at least some of) GTD. I'm going to have a paper bag on hand to help with the hyperventilation issues. And I'll blog about it - because what's the point in doing something unpleasant if you don't share it with others?

For the record, I'm actually pretty good at getting things done. Some imagine that people with my personality type and diary aversion live in constant chaos amidst mess and mayhem. I don't. (Well, the mayhem is there.) My house is a clean as many and tidier than most. I've been described as obsessive about washing up and such things. I don't like clutter (though 'the unclutter' website sends me into a panic (like GTD)) and throw away anything that gets on my nerves. I keep appointments (mostly), I'm generally not late, I work and I do quite a few other things as well. So what am I going to get out of GTD? But I'll read it because GTD evangelists tell me I should.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Power, recognition, status, comfort.

I mustn't seek out these things or live for them.

Says Keller.

There's a challenge.

Monday, March 14, 2011

school camp

Had a lovely day. A pleasant 75 minute drive with Tim Keller to keep me company. Good times with 100 excited kids. Food I didn't have to prepare or clean up.

At 6 o'clock tonight I was thinking how lovely it all was and how sorry I was to be going home.

By 7 o'clock something had changed. I was hanging out to leave and couldn't get out the door fast enough. Feeling for the other teachers who still have 2 days to go.

It took me two hours to get home. I got lost. Headed off in the wrong direction. The mountainous dirt roads should have given it away. They didn't. Eventually, the sign 'Kenilworth' did. I shouldn't be allowed to drive after dark.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Andrew's birthday

10,000 dead?

Prayers for Japan.

duck song

I'm going to year 5 camp for the day tomorrow.

I'm looking forward to it. I have to run a session - I get 16 kids at a time. I'm going to teach them to play and sing this song. Then I'm going to leave. The teachers then can listen to it over and over again for the next two days.

Good times.

Friday, March 11, 2011

tomorrow afternoon

Rob Smith is coming to speak at our church. His topic is forgiveness.

I'm really looking forward to it.

If you live in Brisbane, you should come. We kick off at 3pm.


I'm going on a long walk with Andrew.

Then maybe a coffee shop.

Then I'm rehearsing my little kids (year 1-3) choir. We're performing next week.

How about you?


Joel takes enormous pride in his long fingernails. He wants them to be like Granny's. Unfortunately, he also likes to play in the dirt. Not a good combination.

Last night I insisted that they be cut. I told him to go get the nail clippers. He said, "That's like making Jesus carry his own cross."

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Micah's singing kookaburra

sick bay art comp

The school sick bay has just been refurbished. The P&C are running an art competition to brighten it up. The winners will have their work framed and hung on a sick bay wall for all to see forever and ever amen.

The brief was to draw something that makes you happy. Psycho robotic ponies make Joel happy, but he thought that they may not make everyone happy. So he drew a bird instead. This is a big step forward. Two years ago he'd have submitted the pony and wondered why he didn't win.

thoughts on judgement from Matthew's gospel

1. Coming judgement was a big part of Jesus' teaching.
2. 'This generation' is repeatedly mentioned and we are told judgement is coming on them.
3. The judgement Jesus talks about involves sorting people out into two groups, rewarding one group and punishing the other group.
4. If life for the righteous is eternal, then so is punishment for the wicked. (Matt 25:46)
5. God seems to be punishing people because he is angry with them.
6. God's judgement is well deserved. The people Jesus was speaking to/about had done bad things.
7. Fire is often used as an image of what judgement is like. Not so much, I think, to purify the evil as to dispose of it.
8. Judgement can be escaped.

love wins

Love the title.

If there was a heresy I was going to fall into it - then this is it.

But I don't think Rob Bell would cause me to.

bright vs gifted

I'm off to a meeting to talk about supporting gifted and talented students at school. Not just bright kids. Gifted kids. There's a difference:

Bright Child            Gifted Child
Knows the answers.      Asks the questions.

Interested.             Extremely curious.

Pays attention.         Gets involved physically 
                        and mentally.

Works hard.             Plays around, still gets
                        good test scores.

Answers questions.      Questions the answers. 
Enjoys same-age         Prefers adults or older 
peers.                  children.

Good at memorization.   Good at guessing.

Learns easily.          Bored. Already knew the 

Listens well.           Shows strong feelings 
                        and opinions.

Self-satisfied.         Highly critical of self 
Bright kids are easy to teach. You teach them something, they practice it, they get it, they do it. Gifted kid are heaps trickier. They will have opinions on what you are teaching. They may already be able to do it (which is good), be bored with it, not want to do it, have their own way of doing it, or disagree with the whole premise on which you are operating and refuse to do it. And giftedness is often bundled in with disability, which complicates everything considerably (and makes it more wonderful).

I'm going to this meeting to try to support kids whose giftedness is in the arts areas. It's likely their teachers have no idea that these kids are gifted. Many will be right brain dominant visual-spacial learners.  These kids may be messy, big picture types - they'll be annoying to teach because their brains work in a non-sequential way. They could be atrociously bad at basic things like spelling and memory work, organisationally impaired and unconscious of time. But they have fantastic thinking skills and imaginations. 

Anyway, I'm off to this meeting. Have you notice that we only ever talk of giftedness in children? That's because with grown ups potential doesn't matter. What you have done is what we care about.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


severed head

back to regular programming

God rewards those who wait for him

And he likes puppies.

be inspired!

isn't he beautiful?

5 things a good-girl blogger would blog about

1. God's goodness
2. Flowers
3. Ponies
4. God's goodness in making flowers
5. God's goodness in making ponies

5 things a good-girl blogger would not post on her blog

1. poems with bad words in them
2. posts that criticise ideas
3. posts that express doubts about stuff
4. posts about meetings that go on for too long
5. posts about being a good-girl blogger.

maybe I should read this book

turned over a new leaf.

For the common good it seems I need to learn how to be a good-girl blogger.

Be more careful about everything I write.

So I will. For the rest of the morning at least.

Speaking of leaves, here's one up close.

Isn't it great? Fearfully and wonderfully made. Like me.

Angel series 4


Poor ole Angel. He's destined to always be miserable.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

3 bad jobs this afternoon

- write a sunday school lesson (a very tricky one)
- set up direct debit for my phone
- call insurance company.

I don't want to do any of them. Especially the last two, but I have to or I'll have no phone and will be summoned to court. My heart is beating way too fast. I can do this.

Monday, March 7, 2011

hymn revival

What hymns would you like to hear spruced up with a new tune?


When I drove to the gym this morning I needed to turn on my headlights. The sun is rising later again.

Another year has slipped away.

I've been going to the gym on Monday mornings for 5 years now.

Life is racing forward. Too fast.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


I'm not into it.

It's not that I don't believe in it. I'm just not into talking about it heaps. I don't really have anything to say. Not sure what it will be like. Can't imagine it or get my head round the eternalness of it.

I listened to a sermon tonight. It was on abortion. The point seemed to be that we should discourage people from having abortions because we care about their souls and they'll go to hell if they have an abortion (unless they repent afterwards). I'd never thought of arguing it that way. If they weren't xns weren't they going to hell anyway? Might as well abort...

Other sermons I've heard from this guy have been great. An American thing?

so I got this new phone.

It came with a 2GB modem and was going to be the answer to my lack of blogging.

I thought I could use it at work. Shoot up a post in a dull minute. At lunch time or during a staff meeting.

Trouble is, I chose a bad carrier. All the press is correct. The $49 per month that I pay gets me no network connection.

I'm giving them one more week then it's the TIB.

angel series 4

They're just making it up as they go along.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Friday, March 4, 2011

Working again.

Might as well be full time. I've taught M, W, Th, Fr this week and last and on Tuesdays I've been in doing RE.

The coffee shop is calling for me but again I say no.

Year 3 supply today.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Heavens Sing

A song of ours is available free download on the emu music facebook page.

Left hand column, down a bit.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

don't you wish you had a fun job like mine?

Thanks for your choir suggestions. I now have heaps of ideas.

I've just written an arrangement of When The War Is Over. I'm going to try a slow a reflective style. 2 part. 3 part sometime. Vocal soloey bit at the end over the top of the 3 part Aint Nobodies. Ooh ooh - that makes 4 parts! And the kids are only 10! (But these harmonies are easy.) Saxophone solo in the middle?

Fun times. Unfortunately there is a 'walk to school' breakfast on tomorrow morning so it'll be a shorter rehearsal than usual. Priorities guys!

Cold Chisel - "When the War is Over"