Thursday, June 30, 2011

song idea

What do you think?

This might be the second or third verse of a song called

Behold the Cross

Behold the cross
When ambitions soar
And worldly dreams of wealth and fame
knock at your door
Behold him there
crownless, enthroned in pain
he gave up all to serve
so let us serve again.
sar 2012


... so you have this baby, at like 11 o'clock at night, after labouring all day. And then you check yourself out of hospital first thing in the morning and take 2 of your older kids to their singing and ballet lessons.

I mean, why not?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Edmund Dale Rayner, 9lb 1



I keep checking all the blogs I love to hate hoping to find something that will amuse me...

Some news soon? 14 hours is too long for a 4th baby.


...for news that my sister has had a baby.

(Can't believe it's three years since her last!)

She's been going all day. Some news soon?

next time...

... someone asks me to do a job promoting something, remind me to say no.

I'm bored with this.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Once Upon A Time

I'm writing a little musical for my preps. This is the first song.

Once Upon A Time

1. When kings would rule the land
And queens would always wear
Flowing gowns with sparkling crowns
around their golden hair
When prince and princesses
would dance at balls so fine
Once upon a time, once upon a time.

Once upon a time
Once upon a time
Once upon a time
Once upon a time

2. When dragons hoarded gold
And witches muttered spells
When fairies flew where rainbows grew
and all things ended well
When knights would battle brave
Their swords and shields would shine
Once upon a time, once upon a time.

3. Once upon a time
In dreams it can be ours
We’ll fly away, beyond today
Build castles in the clouds.
So let us journey now
Imaginations climb
Once upon a time, once upon a time.


I've been planning to write this post for the last month but haven't, cause it's a bit embarrassing. So, consequently, I haven't posted much at all. But time to end the silence.

I've been working on some hymn rewrites. In the past I've blogged passionately on how terrible it is to mess with someone else's work... and now I've done it. And to Wesley of all writers - who explicitly wrote that he didn't want anyone altering his words.

So come on. Condemn me.

Since he's long dead, legally I've not done anything wrong. But ethically? Does 200 years make a difference? And does motive matter? I'm trying to get (a version of) this particular hymn sung again. Because of its meter and language it won't be popular without a reworking. And I've given it a drastic one. Over 50% of the lines are mine.

Anyway. Tell me what you think. Am I a hypocrite? And can you pick apart the patchwork (without looking up the original) and guess which lines are mine and which are Wesley's?

Love Divine

O Love divine, what have you done!
My Lord, how can this be?
How could the ever living Son
Give up his life for me?
Nails through his hands, sword through his side
How could our God immortal die?
God instead of me!

Behold him, all as you pass by,
The Prince of life and peace!
Come, sinners, see your maker die,
And ask “What can this mean?”
Come feel with me his blood applied
Now guilt is gone, wrath satisfied
God instead of me!

Love divine, in my place
God of wonders, God of grace
God instead of me.
Love divine, bore my shame
no more guilt, no more blame
God instead of me
God instead of me

Then let us sit beneath His cross,
And catch the healing stream:
All things for Him account as loss,
We give our hearts to Him:
Of nothing think or speak beside,
My Lord, my maker, crucified!
God instead of me!


May or may not be posting much.

Going away next week. Not 100% sure where. Maybe Fraser Island.

This week we're hanging out at dreamworld (till our passes expire on Wednesday) and I'm trying to do music practice with each kid each day ("I'll write out the music to Raise Your Glass if you turn off that computer right now!) Also playing board games. And trying to market 3 conferences...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

dance academy

I found it all on youtube.

I'm up to episode 22.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Irish eyes smiling on Queensland Theological College

The Queensland Theological College (QTC) will appoint the Rev Dr. Gary Millar as its new principal from 2012.

The college, the training arm of the Presbyterian Church of Queensland, has experienced dramatic growth in the past five years under the stewardship of outgoing principal Dr Bruce Winter, and the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Queensland yesterday decided to offer Dr Millar the position of Principal, and lecturer in Old Testament and the Hebrew Language.

The convener of the Presbyterian Church Committee for Ministry Training, Rev. Phil Strong, said QTC is thrilled at the appointment of Dr Millar to the role.

“Dr Millar is currently Senior Minister of Howth and Malahide Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Ireland, his doctoral studies focused on the book of Deuteronomy, and he has had extensive experience lecturing at the Irish Bible Institute and theological colleges around the world.”

“Gary comes highly recommended by theological scholars and churches around the world. He is a world-renowned teacher and scholar, and theological students and ministry workers have widely benefited from his published work.”

“This appointment will build on the strong foundation laid by the outgoing principal, Dr Bruce Winter. We thank Bruce for his years of service and for the energy and enthusiasm he brought to the role. We are delighted that Dr. Winter will be remaining at the college as a Senior Professor in New Testament and the Director of the Institute of Early Christianity.” 

“Enrollments at the college have experienced exponential growth under Dr. Winter, and we are confident of a smooth transition between principals and look forward to the continued growth of the Queensland Theological College over the next five years.”

[Nathan penned these words. Most of them, anyway.]

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

big concert done

Don't know how much we raised, but the kids played in time. Pretty much every group. It was excellent to be able to sit in front of the kids (keeping them in time!) and tell each group as they finished that they were brilliant. I love seeing kids buzz. Makes me buzz.

New Principal for QTC

You heard it first here.

As of 2012, Gary Millar. He's brilliant.

big concert day

[Boring post warning. Skip if you like.]

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. etc. That's what I'm telling myself.

But having these grand schemes 3 months out and actually bringing them to completion are different things.

I teach 95 year 5s. They are all performing tonight. All of them. In 20 different groups.  Plus band, choir and a whole year 5 song. We're charging admission, and selling food and drinks, and raffling off a cool set of mini bongos and very nice little ukulele. It would be good to raise $2000. I want the concert to be done in under 1.5hours. I may be dreaming.

I spent 2 hours yesterday getting the stage sorted and stringing up microphones (hiring sound equipment is my new hobby.) I then rehearsed 25 of the kids. Today I'm rehearsing the rest of the program. I have kids in charge of sound and stage management, Slideshow, poster making, props and gear, video recording... Here are some things that I've learnt.

  • Don't give a drum to the kid who can't play anything else. Egg shakers are the best.
  • Timing really matters. More than the notes. "If you miss a chord, don't go back and try to catch it up!" GRRRR!
  • Overestimate the days required to rehearse the kids just before the performance. Adults can stick around and work into the night until everything is right. Kids can't. The school day is short and broken up with annoying breaks. The keen girls will happily work through all the breaks. Not so the boys or the girls who actually need to practice for longer.
  • Draw up a rehearsal schedule, minute by minute detailing which groups will be on the stage when.
  • Have very clear jobs for your helper kids to do or they will be annoying.
  • Boys love running the sound desk.
  • Choir mics are fabulous at picking up recorders and ukes.
  • Don't put the kid misbeating the drum under a choir mic.
  • Don't give my middle son the job of making the powerpoint. Lots of animations, not much content.
  • Parents are probably more generous than me. I'm really worried about a few acts. Hoping the delusion factor gets us through.
I'll enjoy things tonight. That's what I keep on telling myself.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Rosie's Recount

A lovely piece of writing.


Our vacuum died the other day. I'm thinking of replacing it with a robomaid. Anyone got one of these?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Brisbane sound group

I love these guys. You call them up, tell them what you need (2 choir mics, 1 normal mic, long cables, a mic stand), they package it up and lend it all to you for a very small amount of money.

They are can-do people. No stress. Want to pick up the gear the day before and return it the day after? Sure. Need to change your order at the last minute? No worries.

If only all businesses were this easy to work with.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Well that was a complete and utter waste of an hour.

I worked up a mild sweat in one song, I think.

I didn't puff at all.

It was like a senior's fitness class with a lot of bottom shaking added.

The instructor's physique was fine as far women's bodies go, but not exactly an advertisement for the fat burning value of the class.

She told us we did very well and she'd love to see us back next week.

The chances are remote.

Okay mums and dads, report season is upon us.

Five things to remember as you are attending interviews and reading report cards.

1. Only 2% of children are gifted.
2. If your child is not achieving at school, don't tell the teacher that it's because they are gifted and bored.
3. Don't plan a career in rocket science because your kid did well in year one and two. They may or may not go well in the future. Similarly, kids who struggle early on won't necessarily end up pushing trolleys at woolworths. Don't get too depressed or too cocky whatever the report says.
4. Parents tend to be a bit delusional about the intelligence of their kids. When Nathan was in year one I was amazed (and depressed) hearing how apparently brilliant all the other kids were at reading and writing. I teach those same kids now (5 years on) and am underwhelmed.
5. C is sound. Sound is okay.

I know I've written this kind of stuff before, but really. Listen up.

The way of the future.

Nathan is changing my details with the aec. I think i'll have him do all my forms from now on. He likes it.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Wet blanket killjoy type? Me?

Yeah. Maybe.

This picture is doing the rounds on fb at the moment.

"Take a good look at this picture. It's one of the most remarkable photographs ever taken. The tiny hand of a foetus reaches out from a mother's womb to clasp a surgeon's healing finger. It is, by the way, 21 weeks old, an age at which it could still be legally aborted. The tiny hand in the picture above belongs to a baby which is due to be born on December 28. It was taken during an operation in America recently. Paul Harris reports on a medical development in the control of the effects of spina bifida ... and on a picture which will reverberate through the on-going abortion debate here." More...

It is an amazing photograph. That part is true. But the rest of the story isn't really. The tiny hand isn't reaching out from a mother's womb to clasp a surgeon's healing finger. The foetus and its mother are completely sedated. The doctor has pulled the baby's hand out.

Does it matter? I guess not, really. But why emote-up the story? Half truths will not add credibility to the pro-life cause.

Friends, check stuff out before you post on facebook. The baby's name is Samuel Armas (he's now 11). Google him.

on a damascus road conversion to atheism and the long journey back

This is worth a read.

When I think about atheist friends, including my father, they seem to me like people who have no ear for music, or who have never been in love. It is not that (as they believe) they have rumbled the tremendous fraud of religion - prophets do that in every generation. Rather, these unbelievers are simply missing out on something that is not difficult to grasp. Perhaps it is too obvious to understand; obvious, as lovers feel it was obvious that they should have come together, or obvious as the final resolution of a fugue.

ht: mj

Sunday, June 12, 2011

4 reports left

My slacker kids.

I've given them all Bs at the moment, based on the As they got for their March recorder tests.

I think some of the mothers will be horrified if they end up with Bs. Let's see what this week brings.


I don't even know who this kid is!

9 reports to go.

The tricky kids. All boys. Four able but slack kids who would be on As if they had put in any effort at all. I've been delaying grading them, hoping that they'll pull something out of the bag before the concert. Three kids who haven't stood out in any way, good or bad. Two kids who are in leaderless groups - I suspect that they would have surprised me if they were grouped with go getters.

Can I not write these ones, please?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

the last 30 reports...

... don't seem to be writing themselves.

I'll give it another day and see what happens.

kung-fu uke

uke playing uke

concert flyer

Don't you hate it when you spend ages working on something, then not really like what you came up with?

Has been one of those days.

Joel did the pics. He drew me a series of ukulele men.

Friday, June 10, 2011

definitely maybe

Watched this tonight with Andrew.

Take home message? What my kids really want is for me to be happy. They want that so much that they'll sacrifice their desire to live with both their parents to get it.


Spending up on the eq account!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

45 reports written.

Can I stop yet?

What I want to say is...

... I think your kid is a star!

This semester, students have been exploring the possibilities for music making on recorders, ukuleles, and a range of tuned and untuned percussion instruments. They have had the opportunity to perform individually, in small groups and in larger classroom ensembles. Michael chose to focus on the recorder for his major performance piece. He performed the melody line for ‘The Imperial March,’ utilising the entire range of the recorder, working with a large number of chromatic notes and keeping time with his ensemble group with apparent ease. Michael has also worked well on a variety of tuned and untuned percussion instruments, demonstrating a very high level of musicality. 

This semester, students have been exploring the possibilities for music making on recorders, ukuleles, and a range of tuned and untuned percussion instruments. They have had the opportunity to perform individually, in small groups and in larger classroom ensembles. Ella chose to focus on ukulele for her major performance piece. She performed ‘The Duck Song’ and ‘Van Diemen’s Land’ demonstrating a very high level of musicality. Ella can progress effortlessly between C, F, G and A minor chords, while singing and keeping in time with others in her ensemble.  Ella’s recorder playing continues to develop well. She can play melodies using up to eight notes with a very high degree of accuracy. Ella has worked very well with the other girls in her group this semester, showing initiative and commitment. I look forward to seeing what she can achieve next semester.

reporting fun

Been a bit quiet. It's reporting time. I had structured my year 5 course around our big concert which happens on the 21st. I was going to assess the kids on their performances then. 

But as it turns out, reports are due this week.

So I'm making it up.

I've been listening to them rehearse all term so have a fair idea, and if a kid pulls something unexpected out of the bag, I'll be able to change things, so.... Must get underway.

I'm giving away far too many As. But really, if a 9 year old can stand up and perform a song in front of 200 people (in a group of 3 or 4) without a mistake and keeping in time with others in their group, and also play the recorder decently well, then I think they deserve an A. 

How do you like this comment?

This semester, students have been exploring the possibilities for music making on recorders, ukuleles, and a range of tuned and untuned percussion instruments. They have had the opportunity to perform individually, in small groups and in larger classroom ensembles. N chose to focus on the xylophone for his major performance piece. He performed ‘Drunken Sailor’ demonstrating a very high level of musicality. He can move quickly and accurately between notes, keeping in time with others in his ensemble. N’s recorder playing is developing very well. He can play melodies across the entire range of the instrument, utilising all of the chromatic notes. N is consistently well mannered and has taken on a leadership role in his ensemble group. 

Or how about this one?

This semester, students have been exploring the possibilities for music making on recorders, ukuleles, and a range of tuned and untuned percussion instruments. They have had the opportunity to perform individually, in small groups and in larger classroom ensembles. F chose to focus on untuned percussion for his major performance piece. F performed ‘The Duck Song’ demonstrating a sound level of musicality. He is learning to keep time with others in his ensemble.

Monday, June 6, 2011

I'm not going to be able to teach forever.

Times like this I realise my voice just isn't up to it. Eight days after the death cold began, I am still coughing and spluttering and struggling to read a whole story to the kids. So easy to damage your voice... Pretty sure I already have.

My principal is lining up an appointment with an EQ staffing officer for me tomorrow - so I can talk about going permanent if I want to. Not sure I want to. She's happy to keep me on contracts.

So what will my next career involve? Not sure I can do that much but teach. And teaching is lucrative and easy and fun. Working for a church would be heaps harder. Children's minister. Now, there's a bad job. Admin, admin, admin, admin, admin, child safe, blue cards, FORMS. Nope.

Full time christian song writer. No. I'd be driven to madness. (And I'm not good enough.)

Here's an idea. I'd like a job as an ideas person. You come to me with a situation - something not working quite right, you need a new approach, a new employee, new model for business, a new employer, a new church - and I'll come up with an idea to make things better. I'll describe the outcome you want in some detail and tell you what to do to get there. I like doing this. I'd like doing it even more if there was money attached. Anyone want to employ me?

you heard it first here!

Colin Buchanan will be performing at piperinbrisbane


Dinner tonight - cornflake steak

Plus chips. (Salad already eaten. It was there. I promise.)

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Dance Academy came on after Doctor Who tonight. I wanted to watch it but the boys wouldn't let me - "Mum! It's one of those teenage shows where they love eachother and then get angry..." I turned it off thinking I'd iview it later. But I can't. I have to buy it. $3 an episode. Will you think worse of me if I do?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Cure - Siamese Twins - 1983

just had some very good news

about this event.

Stay tuned.

house clean.

Sing the vacuuming song with me, kids!

Click goes the lego
click click click...

Friday, June 3, 2011

today I've gotten things done

No manilla folders.

No brother labeller.

No 'tickler' files.

I wonder how I managed it?

Rome fell.

Persia fell.

Babylon fell.

Assyria fell.

America will fall.

When do you think it will happen? Will it be sudden? Will it be painful?

Is there a difference between not liking something and needing to lobby against it?

I think there is.

I don't like that Baha'i is taught in my kids school. I don't think that Jesus likes Baha'i. It's a false teaching that will pull people further away from God and make our society a worse thing to be a part of.

I don't like Baha'i RE, but I'm not going to lobby against it. Australia isn't a christian country, so if I'm to be allowed to teach the bible at school, the Baha'i lady must be allowed to teach her religion as well.

I drove past one of these posters today. I didn't like it. I don't think Jesus likes it either. The reason I don't like it is because it normalises homosexuality. I think that to have sex outside of heterosexual marriage is wrong and will lead people further away from God and make our society a worse place to live in.

I don't like these posters but I'm not going to lobby against them. Australia isn't a christian country. There is no law against homosexual behaviour. I don't think they breach any public standards - the men are clothed. If there was a similar poster of a heterosexual couple I wouldn't have (much of) a problem.

What do you think?



If there was this event that you paid for, that was advertised as running for 2 hours and it finished up 45 minutes early would you feel ripped off?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

just across the road from us...

... there's a room full of musical instruments that no one uses.

This morning I took a french horn. I'm going to get another this afternoon so Andrew and I can play duets. Might fetch a clarinet too, and some music.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

for karen - the best book to read is the bible

This is the tune I know. Does anyone have another?


Dear master, in whose life I see
All that I would, but fail to be,
Let thy clear light forever shine,
To shame and guide this life of mine.

Though what I dream and what I do
In my weak days are always two,
Help me, oppressed by things undone,
O Thou whose deeds and dreams were one!

John Hunter

life is good again.

I can't talk much yet, but the rest of me feels fabulous.

Two days ago I wondered if life was worth it.

The good news is that it is!

Thanks for your prayers and for putting up with the whinge. You all helped heaps. I need company in my misery - my throat hurt so bad that I couldn't complain adequately to Andrew (lucky him!) - so you all copped it instead.

I think hell would be a really sore throat, with no one at all anywhere to talk to about it (even/esp God). I think I would go insane in about three days.

[Joel is heaps better, too. He sat in a coffee shop with me today for 2 hours. All it cost me was a plate of lasagne and chips for him (his appetite is back!) He is pretty good at the coffee shop thing. Drew some pictures. Didn't talk too much or complain at all. Mentioned a couple of times that we had stayed longer than anyone else. Nathan is saying he's feeling worse. I think he wants lasagne tomorrow. Micah would insist on going to school (without a jumper) if he was dying.]

you get what you get...

... and you don't get upset.

Dinner tonight

Oh bananas, when will you return to us?

sickie bucket 101

Some mums have mad skillz in the kitchen. Some with play dough. Some with craft. Some with storytelling. Some with patience and kindness.

My mad skillz are in sickie bucket training.

I started sickie bucket training my kids before I began toilet training them. Both are important life skills.

There are many places you can go to find tips on toilet training. Not so easy to find help with sickie bucket training. So let me offer my simple 5 steps to sickie bucket training.

1. Don't ever suggest that your kids throw up in the toilet. Having your head in the toilet bowl is disgusting. No kid who is feeling sick is going to want to hang out in the bathroom just in case. This won't work. There will be vomit on the carpet or on the bed.

2. Teach your kids that if they feel even slightly sick, to get a sickie bucket. Keep many in the house. Nothing is lost if they don't actually use it. They can just carry on with their play with the bucket safely beside them.

3. If your kids are little, stay close after they've asked for a bucket. When they are about to start vomiting, direct them to the bucket - don't carry them to the bathroom! Hold them. Rub their backs. Tell them it sucks. Then compliment them for their great use of the sickie bucket. "Look! Well done! None went on the floor!"

4. Train your kids in identifying possible sickie buckets that could be used in emergency cases. I told our kids that I would rather pick up dinosaurs from the floor and wash out a toy crate than have to clean vomit off the carpet. Walk around the room with your kids. Get them to identify impromptu sickie buckets. Make sure there is always something right next to their bed that could be used.

5. When your kids are bigger, start to train them in how to empty a sickie bucket. I call it the pour, flush and wash method. Kids often enjoy steps one and two (if they aren't too sick.) Step three needs some supervision (and disinfectant).

today's challenge... pretend I'm in a coffee shop when I'm not.

I'm at home. With a sick boy. Sick myself (though on the mend, but I can't talk.)

Ahhhh! The drugged sleep!

Why didn't I think of this before?

I feel wonderful!

(Except for my throat.)