Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Resolutions.

1. Move north. 
2. Parent a teenager.
3. Get a new job.
4. Get a new church.
5. Experience life in a different climate and with different people.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Want a tour through our new house?

Andrew made this little video for the kids. They won't get to see our new place for another 3 weeks. Take a look!


Plan A has been successfully executed. Our new house in Cairns is set up (except for one room). Our kids survived without us for four days and made it to Melbourne. Their very gracious grandparents survived as well.

Today we flew from Cairns to Melbourne. The air isn't as thick and warm down here but it's great to see the kids again.

It doesn't feel like Christmas to us. We gave our boys their presents over a week ago. We're doing our extended family Christmas thing on new years eve, so tomorrow will just kind of be another day. But we'll go to church. So far this month I've only heard 5 christmas sermons, so it will be good to get another one in!

I hope you all have a very happy christmas.


Friday, December 21, 2012

What really sucks...

... is that we'll have broken the back of our unpacking just when the Mayan calendar ends and the zombie apocalypse starts. Perhaps we should just keep our stuff safe in the container for a few weeks while everything finds a new post apocalyptic normal.

What's not to like?

crocodiles, humidity, heat, distance from friends and family


Friday 21st December

Don't believe this day is here!

By some mighty miracle, everything is going to plan.

Andrew and I are in Cairns. We've just been for a 5km jog and a 1km swim. It's a lovely 24 degrees.

In one hour we sign our lease and pick up our house keys.

Then at around lunch time, all of our stuff should be delivered.

This afternoon, my mum drives our kids from the Gold Coast to Brisbane. Tomorrow, they set out for Melbourne with Andrew's parents. We'll meet them there on Monday night.

But now we've got to get ourselves ready for the big unpack. The removalists put beds together etc, but we've got to do the rest. How long should it take? Ten hours? Twenty?

Monday, December 17, 2012


The removalists arrive in 30 minutes.

Big day.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Last Sunday at Church

After 10 years.

I'll miss the piano.

And playing it with people who know what I'm thinking.

And being able to say 'That was rubbish. Let's do it again.' without offending.

I'll miss the beautiful rose window.

And the lovely organ pipes.

And our pretty leaf logo.

I'll miss the morning teas, lovingly prepared.

And the conversation and laughs in the hall.

I'll miss being in the place that has so many memories.

Breastfeeding a little one in the hall. My baby asleep under the piano while I played.

Joel hiding under the communion table during church while I was playing piano and trying to communicate to friends that I had lost him.

Joel's name written in permanent marker on the church wall (in his backwards 6 year old scrawl.)

Nathan sitting at the sound desk.

I'll miss being around people who have watched our children grow, who have cared for them over the years and who love them.

I'll miss being around people who know me and love me despite knowing me. The people who have prayed with me, ministered to me, grown with me.

I'll miss the familiarity, the history.

But none of that is what I'll miss most.

Thank you all for the last decade.

We love you and will miss you.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

House cleaning.

I think houses should come with waterproof insides so I could just hose it all out. 

There could be a three step house cleaning machine. You clear everything out, then hose it with the sudsy wash, then rinse it with water, then dry it with a massive blow dryer.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The mother of invention


I wrote Nathan out a harmony part for 'Safe and Sound' as part of the year 7 graduation song medley.

He played it through once or twice then lost it. Or maybe I lost it. I certainly lost my own chart.

I offered to write something out for him again but he said, 'Don't worry, Mum. I'll just make it up.' And he did.

That's my boy!

Choices: Get better with paper organisation or learn to improvise.

We have a house!

Next Friday, we'll be moving our stuff in to this house.


We've not seen inside it at all - there's no inside pics on, but we trust that it is pretty much the same as all the other houses in the suburb.

Ticking stuff off

Academic Awards evening performances - DONE
Musical - DONE

Today the year 7s have to repeat their graduation songs at a school assembly. I need to organise that, then clean up all the sound gear in the school (quite a big job), return my school computer, box up all my work resources and clean out my classroom.

The packers come to our place tomorrow. It is a disgusting mess. Before they get here we need to pack our bags - Andrew and I for a week, the kids for a month.  We also need to chuck out about 10 wheelie bins worth of stuff. Not sure how that is going to happen.

I should probably just start.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Plan A seems to (maybe) be going ahead.

It looks like things might fall into place for our move. All our stuff is getting packed up on Friday and is going on the train on Monday. We are now told that the house we've applied for will be available pre-Christmas. I'm hoping pre-Christmas doesn't mean Christmas Eve. We need it next Thursday - 20/12. Someone is having a look at it for us today. After that, our application can get processed. If we suit and the date works, then we can buy flights to Cairns next week and move in.

Things seem to be moving very slowly, but hopefully we'll know one way or the other by tomorrow. If this house isn't going to work out, we have to quickly start the process again with another one.

Cool date


Monday, December 10, 2012

Read between the lines.

Dear Parents,

On Wednesday this week, reports will be handed out. On Thursday there will be class break up parties, a farewell to the year 7s and a final school assembly. The kids will have emptied their tidy trays and taken all their books and pencils home. Their chairs will be stacked in piles and the desks will be pushed against the walls.

On Friday, the teachers use the day to tidy up their own stuff, empty filing cabinets, finish filing everything and moving their things into the classrooms they'll be teaching in next year. There is a special lunch for staff. While some children come to school, attendance on this day is not expected. There will be no lessons held. The few children who are at school will be grouped together and put to work cleaning. Notes will not be sent home for children who are absent.

It's been a great year, but we are all looking forward to THURSDAY afternoon. We hope you have a lovely holiday.

Yours etc.

Wrapping up...

3 performances and one cd left to do at school.

I'm organising the year 7 leaving song again this year.

I'm a sucker for wanting to give lots of kids parts, so we're doing a medley of 5 songs - Skyfall, Chasing the Sun, Good Riddance, Safe and Sound, and Hall of Fame. It's length is a bit epic, but the kids like it.

Last week of school!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

3 weeks without sugar or artificial sweeteners

I've lost 3kg.

I don't miss sugar.

I had half a can of diet softdrink yesterday. I used to guzzle the stuff, but drinking it now seems kind of pointless.

It's meant to take 3 weeks to lose the taste for sugar. I think I've lost it, but I'm a bit bored with eating overall. I've been too busy to experiment with any new flavours, so I've pretty much just eaten things plain. I'll need to work more with fresh herbs etc if I'm to keep going. I'm not hungry much anymore except at lunch and dinner times, which is good.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Love in blogdom

We had a lovely email from a Cairns blog reader this week.

She had some good advice on property in Cairns. Who would have thought of issues like flooding?

Two performances down....

... And one cd basically made.

Still got to finish year 7 cd and get the kids to burn them all off.

This time next week the packers will be here.

Still no house confirmed.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Song for today. Air Conditioner.

One performance down!

My Junior Choristers are amazingly good at picking stuff up quickly. Fab.

RE finished!

Monday, December 3, 2012

My next three weeks - 6 performances, 4 cities, moving house.

Tuesday 4/12

RE Christmas pagaent. Put on by my Junior Choir with half hour rehearsal. I hope they'll be able to pull it off. For 7 year olds, they're a pretty disciplined group.

Final church bible study. Sad.

Wednesday 5/12

Junior Choir performs (outside! Annoying!) at the building opening post school fire in December 2012.

Year 6 CD launch. Remember all those songs I've been posting? I need to finish tidying them up by Wednesday and print of a pile of CDs. We're having some kind of party.

Thursday 6/12

Funeral for Andrew's great aunt. The third elderly relative we've lost this year.

Friday 7/12

Staff Christmas Party

Saturday 8/12

Church Christmas carols rehearsal.

Sunday 9/12

Church Christmas carols and preschool pagaent.

Monday 10/12

Rehearsals for next two days

Tuesday 11/12

Academic Awards evening. I'm organising the year 7 graduation songs (Chasing the sun, Good Riddance, Hall of Fame, Safe and Sound) and accompanying the senior choir. Rehearsals all day, performances at night.

Wednesday 12/12

Premier of 'Courtney - The Musical'. Remember that *great* idea I had in January, that I'd get a group of kids to write a musical? Well, it's done!

Thursday 13/12

Kids' last day at school. I'll be saying goodbye to all the kids on this day.

Friday 14/12

Micah's birthday. The packers arrive and put all our earthly possessions into boxes.

Saturday 15/12


Sunday 16/12

Final Sunday at church.

Monday 17/12

All our earthly possessions go off on a train to Cairns.

Tuesday 18/12

House cleaning.

Wednesday 19/12

House cleaning then drive to my parents place on the Gold Coast.

Thursday 20/12

If we've found a house, Andrew and I fly to Cairns. Kids stay with my parents.

Friday 21/12

If we've found a house (hopefully!) Andrew and I unpack our stuff and set up shop in Cairns. Kids go to Brisbane to Andrew's parents.

Saturday 22/12

Kids drive with Andrew's parents to Melbourne. We continue to unpack.

Sunday 23/12

Kids continue to drive to Cairns. Andrew and I have a day off together.

Monday 24/12

Andrew and I fly to Melbourne.

Tuesday 25/12

Happy Christmas!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

How do you know when you've become too obsessive with

Is it when you find yourself checking every half hour just in case some new rental property has appeared?

Is it when you check within 30 seconds of waking up in the morning, despite knowing that rental agencies don't start work until 9am?

Or is it when you check at midnight and then again at 3am?

Just wondering.

Not that I do any of those things, of course...

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Free Song!


EMU is giving away free mp3s of our song Did You Know.

Just click here.

If you are a regular reader, you'll have heard about this song from its very beginnings. Many of you also had input into the lyrics.

I'm fairly pleased with how it ended up. Our school choirs are singing it at the moment and loving it. Download it and enjoy!

Happy Christmas!

Monday, November 26, 2012

24 songs for a new church

New for us, anyway.

I've been working on putting together a 6 month playlist for a church. The more you sing a song, the more the congregation gets into it, so I want to really limit what we sing at first to just 20 or so songs.

I've gone for easy to pull off songs. Ones that people will learn quickly, ones that I know I can get a music team to play well, ones that will get a conservative group singing.

What do you think? Would this list work in your setting or would your people be bored senseless?

How Great Thou Art
When I Survey
Be Thou My Vision
Amazing Grace
Great Is Your Faithfulness
Come, Christians Join To Sing

Re-tuned Hymns
May The Mind of Christ My Saviour
Rock Of Ages
My Hope Is Built
Before the Throne Of God Above

Modern Hymns
In Christ Alone (Townend/Getty)
How Deep The Father's Love For Us (Townend)
Come People Of The Risen King (Townend/Getty)
My Heart Is Filled With Thankfulness (Townend/Getty)
O Great God (SG)
This Life I Live (Morrow)

Never Alone (Percival/Richardson)
You Never Change (Smith)
We Belong To The Day (Morrow)
No Other Name (Hodge)
The Heavens Sing (Percival/Richardson)
Jesus, Thank You (SG)
Grace Unmeasured (SG)
Let Your Kingdom Come (SG)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The problem with women's ministry 4 - Over-reaching?

Okay. This one will be controversial. I'm going to bounce off something that Jean said to get us started, but I'm actually not just talking about what she says. It's a much bigger issue. Once again, feedback (especially strong, negative feedback) is welcome.  

In this post, Jean states:

Titus 2:3-5 makes it pretty clear that Paul gives the responsibility of teaching and training younger women to older women (rather than to male overseers like Titus).

I disagree. I think the responsibility for teaching ultimately rests with the overseers of the church.

As I said in my last post, I think Titus 2:3-5 sets up a model whereby older women teach younger women what is good, by setting an example that encourages them to love their husbands and kids etc. The scope that Paul has in mind for older women teaching younger women, seems to be practical areas. Older women are to set an example of practical living that brings honour to God.

An older women who is irreverent in her behaviour, a malicious gossip and often drunk will not be able to teach what is good. Her example will not encourage younger women to lead sensible, pure, kind, hard working lives, loving their husbands and kids etc. An older women who is reverent in behaviour and not a gossip or drunkard will be in a position to do this.

It's fine for women to meet with one another to teach and be taught the scriptures. It's great if you want to do that, but that's not what Paul has in mind here. This verse doesn't compel you to do it. The responsibility for teaching the faith still remains with the overseers. It's an over-reach to say that older women are ultimately responsible to teach younger women doctrine. 

Why have I bothered to write about this. Why does it matter? Three thoughts.

1. I think that this interpretation of Titus 2:3-5 is another legalistic load that women put on each other. Meeting with younger women and teaching them is just another thing we are all failing at. I've been encouraged to think of myself as the 'older woman' since I've been 18! In conference after conference I've been told that I need to be meeting with younger women and reading the bible with them. It's suggested that instead of going back to work, women should spend their time 'fulfilling' Titus 2:3-5.  What I don't hear half so often is what Titus 2:3 really says to me as a (somewhat) older woman - I should be reverent in my behaviour and not gossip! Just about every woman I know who has had kids is interested in hearing younger mums' experience and offering advice. This comes pretty naturally for most women. The tough thing is hanging out with a young mum, then not going and gossiping about her with the next woman you see. If I can be reverent and not gossip (and keep sober!) then I will be an encouragement. 

2. Perhaps we overplay the teach thing in Titus 2:3 because we are deep-down dissatisfied with the idea of not being able to teach men and run churches. Thoughts?

3. I think we ought to be talking about every member of the church being involved with ministry, but the ministry that Paul seems to want from every member of the church is that of doing 'good deeds'. It is mentioned 9 times in Titus! Good deeds are what we are saved to do (2.14)! 

That's enough for now.

Comment away! 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

the new me

Andrew says that one of the down sides of a big move and a new situation is that you have to take yourself. Flaws and all.

I say No.

With this new move I am going to reinvent myself.

I will be different person.

I will be outrageously organised.

Paperwork? I'll be the queen of paperwork! I will not procrastinate with permission forms. I will open envelopes with typed addresses. Heck, I'll even fill in the 7 year old CCLI form that they've sent and resent about 40 times now.

I will be a Getting Things Done devotee. Or maybe I'll even write my own book so others can learn from my mad organisational skillz.

I will no longer lose things. Everything will have it's own special spot and I'll put things back in the right place not just into some random cupboard to get them out of sight.

I will be brave enough to draw up and send out a roster. I will ask people to do things well in advance. I will not say yes to what I can't do.

I will do grocery shopping for more than one day at a time. (If Jesus returns, the poor folks who are left behind can eat it.) Maybe I'll write a shopping list.

Just wait, friends. Next year you'll need to be introduced to the new me.

Friday, November 23, 2012

No sugar one week in.

I'm 2kg lighter than I was this time last week!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The problem with women's ministry #3 - Model/Curriculum

I’ve appreciated reading everyone’s answers to the questions from the last post. In this post, I’ll attempt to answer my first question, which I think is the most important one.

Q - Do you think Titus 2 gives us a MODEL and a CURRICULUM for women's ministry, or just a MODEL, or something else or maybe neither?

I think Titus 2 certainly confirms for us the natural model of older women teaching younger women. I don’t think Paul’s original readers would have found this to be a revolutionary idea. And it really isn’t revolutionary to us either. All of us have picked stuff up from older generations. For better or for worse, much of how I operate as a wife and mother has come from watching my own mother in action. Everyday, without even meaning to, I copy her. I just do what she did.

I don’t think that Paul’s big point here is that older women should teach younger women. I think Paul’s point is that they should teach them what is good. The older women are to be reverent in their behaviour, not malicious gossips and not enslaved to wine so that what they teach the younger generation will be good, not bad. Their good example will encourage the younger women to live God honouring lives. 

I think example is the key idea here. Why? Look down to verse 7. Titus is to urge the young men to be sensible by setting the example.

Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified...”

The word ‘example’ doesn’t appear in the older/younger women section, but looking at the NASB (I’m no greek scholar!) it seems that the strongest verb in vs 3 is ‘be’ not ‘teach’. 

Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good...
What the older women ARE will teach the younger women. So there is an model in view here, but the model is that of older women teaching the younger women what is good by setting a good example. 

But do these verses offer us a ‘curriculum’ for women’s ministry? I don’t think so. Three reasons.

1. I don’t think that Paul has any up-front formal teaching role for women in mind here. I think it’s much more organic than that. Older people will always set an example to younger people. The older women are to make sure that in the way they live, the younger women are encouraged to live out their faith well. 
2. I think that the list given in vs 4-5 (and 3) is possibly more situational than it first appears. The word ‘sensible’ appears many times in Titus, but not at all in any other epistle. The younger women are to be encouraged to be sensible (2.5). The older men are also to be sensible (2.2) and so are the younger men (2.6) and so are the overseers (1.8). Could it be that good sense was lacking in Crete? Now, good sense may also be lacking in our context, but since it doesn’t seem to have been such a problem in other early churches, I am loathe to put it onto a set ‘curriculum’ for women’s ministry.

Also, did you notice that older women are to encourage younger women to ‘be subject to THEIR OWN husbands’? Why is the phrase ‘their own’ included? I wonder if it is because of the Cretan situation where false teachers are upsetting whole households (see 1:11). How does one upset a ‘whole household’ except by driving a wedge between husband and wife? Is this like the situation of the weak willed women in 2 Tim 3? 

For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses.” 

Instead of doing what these false teachers say, women are to be subject to ‘their own’ husbands. They are to listen to their own husbands. Not to someone else’s. This explanation is a little tenuous but I think we should think more about the inclusion of the words ‘their own’. I suspect that Paul is thinking a little differently to Eph 5 and Col 3 here. 

3. Seeing these verses as a prescriptive curriculum is dangerous. The inherent danger in seeing these verses as a curriculum is that we rip them out of the context of Titus causing us to wrongly apply them.

I think, for example, Titus 2:5 does not justify a 12 week course on how to be a ‘worker at home’. I don’t think that any theology of stay-at-home mumdom should be developed from here. I suspect that the ‘at home’ bit is in contrast to being malicious gossips going around to other people’s homes making trouble. 

As soon as we start thinking ‘curriculum’ we tend to stop thinking careful exegesis. We make jumps from the bible to the latest christian how-to book. There is a danger of reading far too much into each phrase (particularly in the name of developing a theology of ‘biblical womanhood’). We need to apply these words, but the best (and most cutting) application will come when we look very carefully at the original context, see how it would have cut in that context, and only then think about our own context.  

That’s probably enough for now. To summarize:
Model, yes.
The model is that of older women teaching the younger women what is good by setting a good example.
Curriculum, no.
It’s not helpful to see this as a prescriptive list of what older women are to teach the younger women because Paul has in mind primarily leading by example and because these things are more situational than they might initially appear and so we need to apply them with caution.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The problem with 'women's ministry' #2

In the last post I asked "Is it possible for a woman to be ministered to entirely in mixed settings and to thrive in her faith?"

Many of you contributed answers.

Roughly, they fell..

Yes - 30%

Yes... but - 30%

Yes... BUT - 30%

Pretty much everyone agreed that theoretically at least, a situation could exist where a woman was ministered to exclusively in mixed settings and thrive in her faith. Most people though, wanted to add a bit saying that the biblical way ala Titus 2 is for older women to be teaching younger women.

It's this passage I want to look at in this post.

3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.
There are a couple of ways that people seem to look at these verses.

First, these verses are sometimes understood as giving us a MODEL of women's ministry and a CURRICULUM to follow. The model is that of older women teaching younger women. The curriculum (the content of the teaching) is loving your husband, loving your children, being sensible, pure workers at home, being kind, and being subject to your husband.

Second, these verses are sometimes understood as giving us a MODEL to follow, but not a prescriptive curriculum. The model, again, is that of older women teaching younger women. But the curriculum given in these verses (loving husbands and children etc) is context specific. In the Cretan context (Cretans, remember, were well known liars, evil beasts and lazy gluttons), Christian women needed to be taught to be hard workers rather than lazy layabouts like everyone else. In our context today, older women might teach younger women different things.

Some questions

1. Do you think Titus 2 gives us a MODEL and a CURRICULUM for women's ministry, or just a MODEL, or something else or maybe neither?

2. Does how you think about women's ministry reflect your answer to question 1? For example, if you think we are given a model and a curriculum, are you following the curriculum? (ps. what is the older single to do with this curriculum?0

3. What do you think this would have looked like in titus' context?

4. What do you think this passage says to the formal structures of 'women's ministry' that we set up in our churches and denominations?

Your answers, then mine.

No Sugar Day 4

All good. No cravings. I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything.

The test today will be bible study morning tea. Don't touch the cake.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Why the republicans lost.

If only our politics were as interesting as US politics. I'm loving all the post game analysis.

Goodbye Sugar

With all the stress of this year, I've put on 5kg.

I've not been feeling as well as usual. I've not had the energy I usually rely on to do all the things I like to do. I've been eating badly.

So. Time for a change.

The key to losing weight and being healthier is to cut one third of what you eat. All diets do is tell you which third to cut.

I've decided to cut the sugar. According to Sweet Poison (and my experience!) sugar is addictive. You have something with sugar in it and then you want more. Even if you are not hungry. My book says that if I stop eating sugar, my appetite will return to what it should be and I'll only want to eat when I'm hungry.

The problem is that just about everything in the fridge and pantry are laced with large amounts of sugar - yoghurt, tomato sauce, weet bix... and so over the day I'm consuming around 30 teaspoons without even realising it. Apparently it's the fructose part of sugar that is bad. Fructose is in fruit, but in fruit it comes packaged with fibre and goodness so your body has to work for it.

Here's what I'm trying.

Virtually no sugar for three weeks.

Breakfast - oats and milk
Lunch - Sandwich - meat/egg and salad - no mayo (it's sugary), no tomato. Be careful with bread selection.
Dinner - Normal stuff - meat, vege, rice, pasta - but no sauces that contain sugar.
Snacks - nuts, popcorn, no-sugar crackers, even chips can be okay.

35 hours in and I'm doing okay. The cravings are interesting but manageable.

I'm going to reassess after 3 weeks. The cravings for sugar should be over by then. If
I feel good, I'll reintroduce fruit and use dextrose (the non addictive part of sugar) for occasional treats.

We'll see how it goes. Anyone else tried this?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I have a job in Cairns next year!

2 days per week at the boys' primary school.

Exactly what I wanted!

Some of it might be music, some of it could be filling up non-contact time for teachers.

The Principal has already asked me if I'll run a session on the pupil free day teaching the teachers how to play uke. He wants to order 150 of them and give one to each teacher to keep in the classroom and then also have some class sets.

I'm really excited.

Thank you God!

The problem with 'women's ministry' #1 - A Question.

Let me say from the outset that I'm a fan of women's ministry. I'm a woman and I like being ministered to. I am taught the faith, prayed for and served by many, and I am grateful to God for this.


I think our current notion of 'women's ministry' exacerbates the problem that Jenny and others have outlined of labelling neutral life options as christian or non-christian. I also think that well-meaning women's ministries sometimes cause us to lose track of what the gospel actually is, and bog us down with other things leading to self righteousness or despair.

I'm going to write a series of posts outlining what I see as the problem. I'd love all sorts of people to chime in. Feel free to give your opinion. Disagree strongly if you like. I'm thinking all this through at the moment because we're moving into a new church in a new city next year and we get to do some re-inventing.

Let's start with a question.

Is it possible for a woman to be ministered to entirely in mixed settings and to thrive in her faith?

She could go to church on Sunday, go to a combined men and women's bible study group, never meet formally with an older christian woman to chat through christian living issues, not go near women's conferences and never read christian books or blogs written specifically for women.

What do you think? What's your gut reaction?

I think all of us agree that this situation is possible, perhaps in a situation where there isn't really an alternative, but do you think it's okay? If there was a 'women's ministry' program in your church - maybe a bible study group, a breakfast, a day conference - would you think she ought to join in or would you be good with her just doing the mixed group ministry thing?

I'm keen to hear what you think!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The trick to writing report comments fast...

... is not caring.

Parents of upper primary students will not be comparing report comments with eachother. It doesn't matter if they are all pretty much the same. The students will not feel less loved if I've not added a personal comment (I hope).

Today I've powered through report comments in record time. Two whole year levels - 6 classes - in just a couple of hours.

This semester, Year 7 students have been developing their aural skills, learning new ukulele chords and composing their own songs. H can notate complex rhythms and melodies with a very high degree of accuracy. She can progress smoothly through a wide range of chords, playing songs with skill and musicality. H composed an effective and imaginative song, demonstrating a very good understanding of how rhythm, melody, chords and lyrics work together to create mood and emotion.

This semester, Year 7 students have been developing their aural skills, learning new ukulele chords and composing their own songs. J can notate simple rhythms and melodies with a good degree of accuracy. He can play a range of chords on the ukulele, progressing smoothly between them. J composed a song, demonstrating some understanding of how rhythm, melody, chords and lyrics work together to create mood and emotion.

freedom in Christ

Jenny wrote a great post the other day about our freedom in Christ. She pointed out how we stupidly label things as more or less christian.

Here's a taste in case you haven't seen it yet.

Here are some sweeping generalisations that I've experienced in my time as a mum. 
Homeschooling (more Christian). Working mother (less Christian). Daily family devotionals (more Christian). Strict sleep routines (more Christian). Child watches television (less Christian). Immaculate house (more Christian). Lunches from school canteen (less Christian). Perhaps you've had experiences of this in your own context. And each context has it's own subtleties. 
But as Paul has reminded the Galatians, there isn't a more or less way of being a Christian. You either trust in Jesus or you don't. It's free. It's simple.

Here's my question. Why do we do this?

1. A natural tendency that many of us have is to be busy-bodies. It is right for us to be interested and involved with one another's lives, but we often overstep - especially in the name of 'ministry'. The choices that my sister makes are actually not my business.

2. Seeing others make the same choices as us makes us feel justified in our decision. Seeing someone make different decisions is threatening. It makes us question whether what we chose was right. Rather than face this feeling, we shoot down the person who is different. Pretty insecure, huh?

3. It is easier to be 'all-one-in-control-crying' (or attachment parenting, or homeschooling, or public schooling or whatever) than to be all on in Christ. We mistake uniformity for unity. Maintaining unity in the context of diversity is hard, but it is profound and wonderful.

4. Here it is. I'm going to say it. I think women's ministry has a lot to answer for in this. More on this in another post.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

We are the most strict, unreasonable parents in the whole world.

We won't let our kids play realistic FPS (first person shooting) games.

This game came out today and we aren't getting it. 

Aren't we terrible?

Oh well. Watch this video. The game is probably rubbish anyway.

Monday, November 12, 2012

A church formed around the idea of doctrinal purity...

Is only a couple of years away from a split.

And the pious talk and counter cultural lifestyle only hasten what's inevitable.

Sooner or later a theological or practical issue will come up and the leadership won't agree on it. Because of the disproportionate number of black-and-white thinkers in the congregation (black and white thinkers are drawn to doctrinally 'pure' churches), the issue will become fundamental. The angular personalities of the people involved will make patching over differences more difficult.  Because the church is not part of a well established denomination, there will not be systems in place to help deal with the conflict.


Sunday, November 11, 2012


For autotune to work, you have to be kind of in the ball park.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


1. Despite his mad right wing views, I have a soft spot for Douglas Wilson. I don't mind listening to his sermons now and again.

2. I just spent one hour researching Japanese toilet paper trying to find an answer for Wendy's photo quiz. I've got a few ideas, but that's one hour of my life I'll never get back.

3. I have a new tv show. It's called Demons and is on ABC3.

4. My dog is asleep on my bed. She likes it there. I'm so soft that I don't kick her off. Four years ago I wouldn't have thought this possible.

Life lessons for my biggest son

going to 'a' party.

1. Wear ironed clothes.
2. Brush your hair.
3. She'll appreciate the present more if you've put some effort into the wrapping. Make it look pretty. Probably don't use the superman wrapping paper.
4. Choose a small card. The bigger the card, the more you have to write. (Extra points if the card matches the wrapping paper.)

I know you don't understand why these things matter, but trust me. They do.

house hunting

We've been haunting for the last couple of months in preparation/anticipation/procrastination for next year. We want to rent a 4 bedroom, fully air-conditioned house with a pool, closish to the kids schools and our church in Cairns. Does that sound horribly materialistic? Maybe.

A few things:

- There's really no point in looking now since the decent things that are available now almost certainly won't be available in January.
- Looking makes the move seem real and help us to imagine life next year, so is kind of worth doing (in moderation.)
- very quickly becomes an obsession. Oh. I better look again now. Something else may have been added in the last 30 seconds.
- Cairns is not really any cheaper than Brisbane for rentals. But we currently live in an expensive suburb, so for the same price we should be able to add a/c and a pool.
- 'Fully Air-conditioned except 2 bedrooms' is not fully air-conditioned.
- A house in Cairns with 'all the extras' but no a/c or pool, does not have all the extras. A big shed will not make the summer bearable.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

So. Another 4 years.

I find US politics fascinating, but more fascinating than the elections themselves, is the response of Christians.

Of course US Christians who sit to the right are pretty disappointed about Obama's re-election. But what should they do to prevent such a thing happening again in 2016?

Doug Wilson who blogs at Blog and Mablog says:

Over the next four years our energies should be focused on getting all Christian kids out of the government schools. If your kids are educated by people who are soft in the head, why would you expect them to grow up and not vote for people who are soft in the head? 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I'm sorry to be a pain...

... but the spambots have taken over my email. I'm getting 15 a day.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

And yet another song - Broken Fairytale

This is by a couple of year 7 girls.

And another song - Chocolate Is The Best!

This is clever and sweet and simple.

Again, a year 6 boy.

11 year olds can do anything.

Year 6 song - One Of Them

I like this one. Written by a boy. Not a break up song, but just as passionate.

Viola lesson today!

First with Tamsyn for months!

Waiting to find out how badly my technique has deteriorated.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Call me parochial...

... but, unlike Kevin Rudd, I don't think Australian schools need to devote more time to LOTE. There are only so many hours in the school week, and every extra minute doing one thing means a minute less doing something else. And when it comes down to it, the something else is probably going to be music.

Baptism at church today...

... for a new believer for whom coming to faith was very costly. She gave a moving testimony about the joy of sins forgiven. This is what it is all about.

"He could never have done that."

Yes he could.

And I could have as well. And so could you.

Whether he did do it or not, is another matter.

But he could have.

There is no sin into which we are not capable of falling, given the situation and the means.

Yes, feel sad. Feel disappointed. But don't feel shocked.

Friday, November 2, 2012

off to the music shop.

I don't enjoy shopping except in music shops and the apple shop.

Today I have to go to a music shop.

I'm not going just because I want to. This is not unjustifiable materialism. 3 separate teachers have said that new books are needed. I have to go. It would be wrong not to.

The task now is to leave the shop with only the 3 books I'm going in to get...

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Drink whatever tea you like. Just be sure to match it to the right cup.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I haven't said it for a while, but...

... I love my viola.

It's up there with the husband, the kids, the dog and my macbook.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sunday, October 28, 2012

An Announcement

This morning, Cairns Presbyterian church voted to 'call' Andrew to be their lead minister. Andrew has accepted the call and we'll be moving north in January. 

This has been in the pipeline for quite a while. 

We've been in Clayfield for almost ten years now and have put down roots. It hurts to tear them up. We're horribly sad to be leaving our church and our friends and our families but think that this is right - both for our church and for Cairns.

We're excited and daunted about what's ahead.

We'd appreciate your prayers.

Family conversation about Andrew's desktop publishing

Andrew - This is meant to look like a bible.

Me - I don't see it.

Andrew - It's subtle.

Joel - It doesn't look like a bible. It looks like a bum.

Andrew - [deletes image]

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Resurrection song - draft one.

What do you think?

There is a love

There is a love, so fierce a love, 
that breaches death to save
A power great, beyond our laws, 
that has unlocked the grave.

For Christ descended into death
and battled satan’s fury
Armed with faith and righteousness
he rose to life in glory.

His triumph fills our hearts with hope
and strengthens weary frames
for those in Christ have naught to lose
and everything to gain

Love has won the victory
Death’s reign is now defeated
The grave has lost its pow’r o’er me
I stand, in Christ, victorious.

Why would I fear the rolling years?
Or fight the ebbing tide?
The sands of time may cover me,
But I, in Christ, will rise.

The sands of time may cover me,
But I, in Christ, will rise.

sar 2012

Thursday, October 25, 2012

song ideas for new little kids cd

We're starting the think about making a new little kids cd in the 'Very Very Very Big God' and 'J is for Jesus' series.

Any thoughts on topics for songs for this age group?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A new idea - 'forbidding' things as a sign of egotistical leadership

I could be completely on the wrong track with this, but tell me what you think.

In bible study this morning we were looking at 3 John. These verses stuck out...

I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say. 10 For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with wicked words; and not satisfied with this, he himself does not receive the brethren, either, and he forbids those who desire to do so and puts them out of the church.

This guy, Diotrephes, doesn't accept John's teaching, unjustly accuses John of something, and forbids anyone from showing hospitality to John's ministry friends.

But John's use of the word forbid interests me.

Is the word 'forbid' ever used positively in the epistles. i.e., does a godly christian leader ever specifically 'forbid' christians from doing something?

There are 2 other verses in the epistles that use the word 'forbid'

  1. 1 Corinthians 14:39
    Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues.
  2. 1 Timothy 4:3
    men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.
Paul says we are not to forbid speaking in tongues and warns against people who forbid marriage. Paul certainly tells people how they ought to live, but he never 'forbids' something. Is this because freedom is such a feature of the christian life? In contrast to Paul and John, Diotrephes seems a bit controlling. Don't you think? 

Am I drawing too long a bow to suggest that we should we be wary of Christian leaders who forbid their people doing things? Could forbidding things show a leader to have the kind of love for 'being first' that Diotrephes had?


Sunday, October 21, 2012

5 things I noticed about Melbourne roads

So, for the last 48 hours I've been driving an 8 seater bus around Melbourne. I specialise in the Kew-Airport run, the Balwyn - City run, and the Footscray to Kew run. I've developed an intense relationship with my hired sat-nav.

Melbourne is a different driving experience to Sydney and Brisbane. Five things.

1. There are two types of roads: Freeways (fast but expensive) and tram roads (a challenge to my godliness).
2. Cars aren't a priority on tram roads. The pecking order seems to go: trams, pedestrians, bikes, cars.
3. Melbournians are surprisingly patient about the slowness of travel. Glen Ferrie Road? Yes, I guess it's quite slow. We. Haven't. Moved. For. Five. Minutes!!!
4. If you take a wrong turn in Melbourne, your can recover from it pretty easily. Just do a U turn on a tram line or something.
5. It would be possible to live without a car in Melbourne. More so than B or S anyway.

Thursday, October 18, 2012




Melbourne tomorrow.

3 cities in 4 days.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Year 6 and 7 compositions

I've been spending a stupid amount of time marking and recording my year 6 and 7 kids' compositions. The task was that they had to make up a song with at least a verse and chorus, attempt to chord it up, and make a rough demo recording (using audacity, garage band, and iPod or smart phone.) From there I did a basic backing track and I'm now in the process of recording the kids' vocals.

It's been a ridiculous amount of work, but I'm pleased with the results so far. Here is one I've finished - Moved On- I think it's lovely. This particular student wrote it all by herself - every word, every note, every chord.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Creativity as a liability. 5 points.

1. I'm not talking about general creativity here. I'm talking about creativity when it's a defining part of who you are. It's compulsive. You can't switch it off.

2. Creativity is a liability because you have to come up with everything yourself. Where's the excitement in second hand ideas? What's the use of doing something that's been done before? It feels pointless and even wrong. Copying other people's ideas is like plagiarism.

3.  Creativity is a liability because it means constantly reinventing your own stuff. Last year's lessons can't be reused this year because there's no energy in reusing stuff. The buzz has gone. There's no energy to be found there. So every year we reinvent the wheel.

4. Creativity is a liability because what energises the creative, exhausts everyone else. Ask anyone who has tried working with one. The creative is always pushing ahead to the next thing...

5. Creativity is a liability because uncreative, mundane tasks will be looked at with distaste or fear and most often won't get done.

Of course I'm not suggesting that we ban creativity - were such a thing possible! I just wanted to point out that it's not all pretty paintings. There's a flip side to it.


Portal 2: 'Want You Gone'

Loving this song. Joel suggested it as a year 7 leaving song.

Go make some new disaster
That's what I'm counting on
You're someone else's problem
Now I only want you gone.

creativity is a liability

Of course it's more than that.

But it's true.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The spammers have gone negative!

At the moment I'm getting around 10 spam comments on my blog a day.

None of them make it past my inbox of course, because I have to approve comments on old posts.

Spammers are usually an encouraging lot. Generally they tell me how great my blog is. Often they ask for advice so their blogs can be as awesome as mine. Last week they started offering to help me write posts. But today the insults have started. What do you think of this?

The next time I read a weblog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me 
as a lot as this one. I mean, I do know it was my choice to learn, but 
I really thought youd have one thing attention-grabbing to say.
All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you can fix in the event you werent 
too busy on the lookout for attention.

Monday, October 1, 2012

5 points on flying

1. Jetstar is a decision you will regret most of the time.
2. Standing in the boarding queue early doesn't get you a better seat on the plane.
3. Long weekend + tourist destination + jetstar + one baggage counter open = long long queue
4. 10cm more leg room would be delightful.
5. Footballers who keep on whistling Flo Rida's Whistle tune on planes and in airports should be locked up.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Silly Suzie and the Razzle Dazzle Party

Here is my kids' talk for tomorrow morning. (It's on James 1:22-24). Here's a powerpoint of my visuals. I'll have on the screen for the adults to look at, but I'll use the actual visual in front of the kids.

Silly Suzie and the Razzle Dazzle Party

Once upon a time there was a girl called Suzie. Here she is. Can you say hello to Sizie?

Suzie was excited. She was going to a razzle dazzle party! She needed to dress up in her best razzle dazzle clothes. Here they are. A razzle dazzle watermelon skirt, A matching watermelon shirt, shiny shoes, racey razzle dazzle socks, and a bit of bling - a sparkly necklace. Do you think those things will make her look razzley dazzley enough? 

I think Suzie will look great.

Okay Suzie. Time to get dressed.

But when Suzie started to get dressed, things started to go wrong. 

She put on her razzle dazzle watermelon skirt, but... look what she’s done! Silly Suzie! It’s upside down! And her matching watermelon shirt? It’s crooked! 

Next, her racey razzle dazzle socks. What’s she doing? She’s put them on her hands!

Now for her shoes. Oh no!

Surely she can’t go wrong with the necklace...

Well, maybe she can!

Silly Suzie! She doesn’t look like she’s ready to go to the party, does she?

‘There,’ she said. ‘I’m all ready for my razzle dazzle party. But before I go, I’ll just take a quick look in the mirror just to make sure I look all right.’

So Suzie stepped in front of her mirror and when she saw herself, she got a surprise. She saw that her skirt was on upside down, her shirt was crooked, her socks were on her hands, her shoes were on the wrong feet, her necklace was around her ear, her ear rings were on her elbows...

‘Dear me.’ She said. ‘I look a fright! I need to get fixed up!’

But as soon as Suzie stepped away from the mirror, do you know what happened? She forgot what she looked like and went to the razzle dazzle party just as she was. With her clothes on all wrong! She forgot what she saw in the mirror!

So Suzie went off to the party. Do you know what happened when she arrived? Suzie’s friends were all in their special razzle dazzle clothes but when they saw Suzie, they stopped what they were doing and they stared. Oh my goodness! Suzie! Didn’t you look in the mirror!

[But she did look in the mirror, didn’t she. She just forgot what she saw.]

Suzie’s best friend Belinda knew just what to do. She took Suzie by the hand, took her into the bathroom and helped her get fixed up.

She looks better now, doesn’t she?

Suzie was silly. She looked in the mirror and saw that her clothes were wrong, but straight away forgot. She didn’t fix them up!

Very silly.

Did you know that sometimes we can be just as silly as Suzie.

Listen to what the bible says. 

“Anyone who hears God’s word but doesn’t do what it says is like someone who looks at themselves in a mirror and then goes away and forgets what they look like.” 
You see, the bible shows us what Jesus is like. It shows us how Jesus is kind and loving and brave and good. 
But it’s also a little bit like a mirror. It shows us what we’re like. We see how we’re not like Jesus. We can get angry. We can be unkind and unloving.
When the bible shows us what’s wrong with us, what should we do? Should we just walk away and forget about it? No! That would be silly. We need to remember what the bible says and do something about it. We should say ‘Jesus is kind, so I’m going to try to be kind too.’ 
If I read the bible and then just forget about it, then I’ll be silly like Suzie. And I don’t want that, do I?
Let’s pray.
Dear God,
Please help us not to be forgetful like silly Suzie. Please make your word stick in our minds so that we can change and be more like Jesus.

Friday, September 28, 2012


Just listened to a rough mix of our new song Did You Know. It is just what I hoped for! Our other one - My Heart Delights (version 10 billion) - is different to what I expected... but kind of good. There are a handful of other songs on the cd that I like a lot.

It will be released next month.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

All alone in a disgustingly messy house.

Andrew is out working.

The kids have gone away for the weekend.

Even the dog has abandoned me.

There are explosions coming from the kitchen. Joel's parting gift was the audio of a computer game he's left running in some tab somewhere on the computer.

I should clean up but I'm moping instead.

iview time?

Kids' talk this weekend

Between RE and Sunday School, I think I'd give at least 25 kids talks a year. Maybe up to 40. I'm not new to this.

But this weekend I have to give a talk to a group of kids I don't know at all. Complete strangers. There's likely only a few of them but I've got no idea if they will be toddlers or pre-teens. And they won't know me.

Preparing this talk has made me realise how much I depend on kids liking me. All of the kids at school know me and I have a reputation for being fun and exciting (and sometimes a bit growly - but in an 'I love you but you are driving me mad' way.) Because the kids are on side with me, most things work.

But what if these kids think 'Who is this random and why's she talking to us?'

What do I do then?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Les Mis Movie coming!

Of course Cosette is blonde.

The Soprano Will Always Get The Man

Eponine smiles as she sinks, safe from harm
She's finally wrapped in her longed for one's arms.
And Marius, once decided and firm,
Finds he is now divided and torn.

The sky or the sea? The day or the night?
The chocolaty rich or the strawberry bright?
The gods, they look on and smile smugly sure
The alto? The soprano? We've been here before.

"It's sad," they lament, "but she'll just have to go.
Her rich, mellow tones are too deep and too low.
Her eyes are too dark, her dress is too tight,
And the green that she wears shows her soul is not right.

"But Cosette, sweet Cosette! When she sings it's a ray
Of sunlight that brightens the darkest of days.
Oh Marius, come! See her wind caressed curls!
Surely you'll agree, she's the pick of the girls!"

And the tenor, of course, can't resist her blonde hair
And her trills give him thrills. Oh come on, that's not fair!
A man can't foresee that a voice now so bright
Will soon turn to screaching from morning till night.

Marius, soon you'll regret what you've done.
Your flower will droop when brought in from the sun.
But come, the song's written, the script must be read
And a heartbroken alto is better off dead.

So die Eponine!  This embrace is the best
an alto like you can ever expect.
It's the way of the world that no matter how thin
Her soul or her art, the soprano will win.

sar 2010