Sunday, April 27, 2008

His grace IS amazing!

Check out the stage presence and the pipes on this kid!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

My Bridge

I was distressed and confused last week for certain reasons that seem strangely trivial now. I prayed and read my Bible a lot. A phrase kept popping into my mind "troubled waters". I did a scripture search on these words and I found the text Isaiah 57:16-21 which, in the King James Version, refer to the wicked as a "troubled sea". A beautiful word picture is painted of a God who goes in pursuit of the rebellious (me!) to give healing, guidance and restoration.

I also Googled the words "Troubled Water". I found the lyrics to an old song named "Bridge Over Troubled Water". The song itself is almost cliche after getting FAR too much air play and played over schmaltzy movie scenes, but I read, really read, the lyrics. It was almost like God was singing me a love song.

HE is my bridge over troubled water, He has laid Himself down, He has given me rest

Why I Write

I don't know why other people write, but the main reason I do is to organise my own thoughts and deal with the many contradictions within my own mind, heart and soul. It kind of reminds me of a scene in Harry Potter where Professor Dumbledore plucks memories out of his mind and places them in a "pensive". This device used to look at memories in third person or to accurately share memories to others by actually showing them. This keyboard and monitor is my pensive. I pluck out stray thoughts, values, feeling and experiences and I look at them. I dissect them like a frog in a high school science class, crudely attempting to see what makes them tick, what makes me tick. Perhaps, when I have bashed away for a few more years, I will get the answer. As it is, when I am done bashing away, I am sometimes a little closer to the answer for myself. I throw it out there, hoping that perhaps what I have written will bring someone a little closer to the answer of why they tick.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Another amazing clip

I know this is lazy blogging, but this clip moved me to tears last night. It contains footage of "Team Hoyt", a father and son team who do triathlons together. The father has been quoted as saying the look on young guys faces as they pass them is priceless!

Stop saying stop - one thing I do

I have a parenting proverb that I play in my head sometimes. "If you have to tell a child to stop doing something three times in twenty minutes, you need to tell him to do something." The times when it seems like I am telling them every few minutes "put that down, leave that alone, don't do that, stop touching your sister, he might not WANT a hug right now! etc." At those times I need to stop and advise them of the road ahead and how to handle it. "You need to choose a book and sit down until I finish up here" or "There is ten minutes until tea. I will set the timer and you need to pick up all the blocks before it goes ding, let's see how you go!". This works best if you can muster a bright, gentle tone of voice (not always easy!) and make it sound like you're doing them a great favour with the suggestion (I am, I am helping them see their next birthday! LOL).

Usually the effect is immediate. Hands that had been idly roaming about the room get busy, eyes that had been restlessly shifting, looking for something unknown, become focussed and on task. Responding whinges or moans are fairly uncommon as the task usually gets changed to something far less pleasant. Attention seekers become more settled as they realise that attention is coming later down the line and they have something to distract them, the indecisive are relieved of the sometimes overwhelming task of deciding what to do next. They are aware of the consequences of disobedience, I don't need to remind them of those very often, and they are very savvy on what shouldn't be done - especially if it's a sibling doing it. What I DO need to remind them of is what they SHOULD be doing, making sure their hands and mind are occupied positively. If you don't know what they should be doing, other than not bothering you, it should be no surprise that they don't either! If you don't tell a child what to do, how are they meant to know?

It also gives me the trump card. If the child chooses not to follow the direct instruction, their action can be clearly dealt with as defiance and disobedience. It isn't waiting until Mum is stressed enough to scream, there is no confusion about an honest mistake or misunderstanding. If they have met my eyes and acknowledged and instruction, yet still choose not to follow it I can be firm and immediate with consequences knowing that I am responding to their need for boundaries and discipline, not to my own stress levels.

*warning, soap box parenting philosophy ahead* LOL

I believe this way of doing things also relates to the Biblical edict to "train up a child" (Proverbs 22:6). If you had a new apprentice mechanic, you wouldn't just point them toward the workshop tools and say "knock yourself out kiddo!" You'd teach them actively, give them tasks to meet their skill level and the odd one to stretch them a bit to help them develop new skills. If want our kids to grow up with life skills, values and the general aptitude to succeed in life (however you define that), we need to get in there and get proactive NOW. It can start with teaching them how to choose a fun and appropriate game or task. Teach them, train them, equip them, allow them time, space and autonomy to practice the skills, then offer direction if it is needed and train a little more. Gradually you find them making the positive choices on their own and using those skills, so hard earned, effortlessly. Let them know about the road conditions ahead (even the ones YOU are experiencing if and when that is appropriate) and how to handle them (Deut 6:7, 1 Cor 9:24, Heb 12:1). When our little ones are struggling, a pep talk and some direction from their 'coach' is sometimes all it takes to start running the race well again

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


This movie looks awesome

Am I shepherding or sheep-dogging?

I had a random thought on parenting today. Am I shepherding or sheep-dogging? Sheep-dogs are used to round up a mob of sheep. They are amazing to watch. Their eyes firmly fixed on the sheep, they stalk, leap, run and occasionally bark behind the sheep, rounding them up and directing them where to go. I do this sometimes with my children! I round them up, stalking along behind them, eyes fixed firmly upon them, pushing them up the paddock of life. I leap and run to catch them before that bad habit develops or gets worse, pushing them toward good habits and healthy, educational goals. Sometimes I even bark!

A shepherd's sheep know his voice and follow his command. He intimately knows his flock, and they know him. They follow behind him while he has his eyes, most of the time, fixed on the destination. Looking ahead for the potholes and dangers, knowing which sheep will be tempted by that juicy grass or curious about the other hidden danger. He watches over them calmly and can move forward with confidence that they will follow. Beloved shepherds a lot. He doesn't need to say more than a few words, if any, and they slip into line. They slide their hand into his and gaze adoringly moments after being brought back into line by his 'shepherd's crook'. He very rarely barks!

I think I need to shepherd more!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Well, our big news. No we are not pregnant (that I know of) in spite of my use of the word 'expecting' last Friday - some people got a little excited!

Our big news is - we are buying a house!! Just waiting on finance now, please pray for us that our paths and choices be directed by the Lord! It needs a fair bit of work but finally we will be able to set down some roots in a community without fearing that a landlord will sell and move us on (has happened three times in the last three years). I must admit I do feel a little trepidation at the idea of moving again (I LOATHE packing and moving with the fire of a thousand suns!) but the idea of having our own home is so appealing to me.

is becoming so baby mad it is a little unsettling! Every time she sees a picture of a baby or a baby on TV she has to comment on it and ask me when we are having another and if it will be a girl. I think she really wants to even up the numbers! We had a relaxing Sabbath at home on Saturday and she really enjoyed all of us spending time together as a family. She's a real Daddy's girl at times! She impressed the community health nurse greatly when she knew all her letters for the vision test and 'helped' check Christopher over (Erin passed her various equipment from the ever-present toy doctor's kit - if that kid doesn't do something medical I will eat my hat!!)

is thrilled with the fact that we have about half a dozen sheep in the paddock. He was quite funny telling Christopher (who was a little upset and yelling) "Shhhh! Quiet! Horses sleeping, sheep in bed!" LOL His speech is just amazing now, it is as if one morning he woke up and thought "Hey, I'll use grammar now! Whole sentences here I come!" He is also flirting very heavily with the idea of toilet training. I am not that keen on it to tell the truth because it will be difficult to maintain during a move (L plate toilet users can't just 'hold' for ten minutes until you get home!) so we will see how he goes.

is over 10 kg, wolfing down any food that comes his way (carrot makes him uncomfortable and 'farty' and too much banana makes his skin break out) and he's contemplating teeth (usually between 2 and 6 am the poor love!). He is still moving backwards but can roll over and over sideways as well and spin on the spot. It is just forwards that he has to master! He is just the sweetest baby on earth and I want to milk each moment of this precious early time in his life.

The house:
First comes the crisis, special event or series of crises and special events, that tear you out of routine and set you in survival mode. Then comes the denial "oh it's just a bit messy, I'll get on top of it soon. After all spending time with the kids is more important! What does it matter if the kitchen floor is adhesive?". Then comes the depression and bleakness. Then comes the shame and guilt "if I was more organised.....I am just too lazy.....I need to prioritise better.......why can't I fix this? I am an intelligent woman??? Aren't I??????????" Then comes the avoidance through seeking other projects, spending more time online, reading more books, going outside more etc. Then comes the surrender "OK, I am in crisis. I can't fix this on my own. I am embarrassed to have people in the house. I feel guilty most of the time. Lord, I need your strength.". Then we crisis clean, grab the home management book and climb out of the abyss, step by step, prioritising each day according to the Lord. I am part way through the last one!

still doing it, only just making the goal this week. I feel SUCH a difference though, it is amazing. Should have done this years ago.

preview image
Lilypie Baby Ticker

Lilypie Baby Ticker

In Gratitude

#7 A surprise Sweet Alice blooming hidden in the overgrown lawn

#8 A husband patiently waiting, keeping the bed warm for me

#9 the hush of sleeping children


Sunday, April 20, 2008

For all those who think they have a large family

I was just reading the blog of a lady who has had her 11th child - her eldest is 11! They have a very inspirational story. Check it out if you have a moment: Lockwood Family

Friday, April 18, 2008

Our New Favourite Nursery Rhyme

Moses supposes his toeses are roses
But Moses supposes erroneously
For nobodies toeses are posies of roses
As Moses supposes his toeses to be

Erroneously is Erin's new favourite word. It rolls of the tongue deliciously don't you think?!

Proper blogging back next week. I am expecting to share some Big News!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Fair Play

Erin: We should call our next boy baby Christopher.

Me: But we already have a Christopher, wouldn't it get confusing? I'd give you something to give to Christopher for me and you might give it to the wrong one!

Erin: Well, I'd just get another thing and give it to the other Christopher and then they'd BOTH have something and no one would be left out! Our Christopher's growing up big now, we need another baby Christopher in the house.

.........I guess it is only fair to make sure everyone gets something! And I am glad I am not the only one in the house missing having a little baby around. :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

One Thousand Gifts

#4 Bare feet and wet grass

#5 The expression of sublime contentment in the eyes of my baby as he feeds

#6 Blond wisps escaping pigtails

PS Jon has need of the study at the moment but I have much to tell you when he's done!

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Itch

I think we all have an itch, mine is writing. I like to knit, sew, embroider. Coming in from the garden with the smell of fresh earth still about me or placing a melt-in-the-mouth meal in front of my family makes my soul sing. Spending time with a good book or laying out in the sun warms me to my toes. But if I miss these things, if life takes over and the craft lays idle, if the weeds take over the garden and our main food group is 'defrosted'. If the only book I open is the Bible, and only at the Appointed Times, and the sun hides its face for a while. I sigh and simply get on with life, knowing a change of season will come. If I don't get to write though.... Paragraphs compose, rearrange, polish and refine themselves in my mind. I will drift off mid-conversation, contemplating a stray word, concept, fragment of an idea. My mind will whir as I get into bed, stories, characters, concepts fighting for air space in my thoughts.

So I sit down, fingers to keys, to write. Then silence falls. The sonnets still to single syllables. The poems fall silent and still, hiding themselves and stilling the exquisite song they had whispered to me. Essays become dry and lifeless and stories, trite and cliche. The temptation is to leave it. Surely there are more important things with which to fill my time? But I know the itch will return, compelling me to come and try again. Besides, if I fail to improve what I have, add interest to the talents with which I am entrusted, I know well the fate that awaits me. So I groan at the keyboard, gnash my teeth at the monitor, set writing goals and make myself just keep hitting the keys. I squeeze in some time with a pen and a journal while the children play or sleep. I edit and rewrite in my head a thousand times before my fingers hit the keys.

It is a compulsion, and itch, rather than a sweet enticement. I know very few writers who actually ENJOY writing. Oh, the initial drafting is fun for those rare moments when it just flows and tossing around of ideas is lively and amusing. But the craft? Michael Angelo said once of a statue he created "I saw an angel in the marble and I carved until I set it free." So we carve. Covered in dust, chips showering us. Muscles cramped and fatigue dogging our heels. Then all of a sudden, we sit back and look at the whole. And sometimes, very rarely, we set an angel free.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

One Thousand Gifts

....a random list of the gifts I already have.

The gummy grin, moist and unabashed, that greets me in the morning

Being folded in my Beloved's arms

The smell of wet grass after the rain

mixing it up

Erin has found things a bit of a challenge since our big weekend. Still catching up on sleep and experiencing the inevitable 'deflated' feeling that one gets after a big event she's been pushing the boundaries. I wanted to do school work with her today so we could have some positive one on one time, but I also wanted to mix it up a bit to add interest and excitement to avoid a spiral into the abyss of whinge. Taking an activity from my new Peggy Kaye book "Games for Reading" I sat on the lounge room floor with tape, scissors, texta and index cards. Ignoring the low level whine that has been Erin's default setting for the last few days, I quietly started writing on the cards and sticking a bit of tape to them, then sticking them to parts of my body. She fell for it. Within minutes she was inches from me trying to work out what each word said and giving ideas for new cards. A few minutes later I was decorated from head to foot in index cards saying "tummy", "foot" and "finger"! We took them off and decorated her, then took them off and did me again. Twenty minutes together of positive FUN! Neither of us had a cross word to say for the whole time. I tucked the precious words into an envelope to put in the cupboard for next time. Oh, and she learned to read a bit too!!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Happy Birth Day to Me!

I remember writing a time-line of what I wanted to achieve in life when I was about 13 or 14. By this stage I wanted to be married, have a farm and have at four children and be pregnant with the fifth. Life didn't go exactly according to plan! Things have started to go in a much more positive direction for me though since I stopped making time lines and started handing over control to God. It hasn't been easy for me though, I like control.

There is an old 80's British sci-fi comedy called Red Dwarf that has a character that reminds me of me. Each semester Rimmer would carefully write out a timetable, colour coded and neatly ruled, to study for his final exam. He would spend so much time making this time table that when it was finished, he'd need to make a new one because he'd lost so much time making the first one - and then of course he'd need another, and another. Until the final night before the exam he'd try and cram in everything he needed to know. Each time he took the exam he was such a wreck he'd flunk in spectacular fashion (i.e. write "I am a fish" 1083 times before passing out). There is a temptation to make my home management book, blog, homeschooling etc. into my version of the colour coded time table. There is a temptation to spend so much time setting goals, organising, researching and categorising that I avoid taking the brave step of teaching, learning, loving and living.

We have a Great Administrator. He has set goals for me, such as loving my husband and children, keeping my home (Titus 2), submitting to my husband (Ephesians 6) and allowing a gentle, quiet spirit to be my adornment (1 Peter 3). I need to ask myself constantly, am I filling my time with that which works toward the goals God set for me, or have I taken control and started turning the tools that were supposed to be helping me into the focus of my life? Am I madly making colour coded time tables while my children are pushed to the side and my husband is ignored? Have I fallen for the deception of "I will just get organised then I will live as God asks"? Am I excusing my lifestyle with "I will just do a bit more research before I follow the directives of the Bible"?

Hebrew thought made no distinction between the sacred and the secular. This was a teaching of Greek philosophy that stole into mainstream thought much later. Study is an act of worship, as is cleaning the house, wiping snotty noses, cooking a meal, kissing a skinned knee. Sacred times such as Sabbaths and Festivals were only the deep pools in the river of spiritual life. The tools we use need to be used to His glory, not become distractions from the Almighty directives.

My prayer for my life is that I will become a woman of His Word. That I will hand over the priorities of my day to Him. That I will LIVE my life, rather than have it be something that simply happens while I am making other plans.

God Bless You,

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Well, it's been a crazy couple of days but we seem to be settling back into routine now. We had Mum here for a few days which as been a life saver for me. All my laundry is done! I had been slowly clawing my way on top of it again but it was two loads forward and one load backwards! My lovely Mum did LOTS of washing, folding and even ironing while she was here. The only thing I was worried about was her exhausting herself doing it all! We had Christopher's dedication on Saturday and my wonderful in-laws were here too. Kester had cooked so much that we are still eating left overs! We had an open house pot-luck after church and there was so much chipping in that I think I spent most of the time just directing people rather than actually doing anything! I didn't even have to do much of that seeing as Jon went into "chef mode" and managed things beautifully. I am very blessed that this all happened because I have hit a wall physically. I have decided that along with exercising and cleaning up my diet, I need to get to bed earlier. I have been saying this for months but it has gotten to the stage that I have to DO it or I will end up getting ill.

thoroughly enjoyed the weekend and got COMPLETELY spoilt by doting friends and relatives (one day she will have to learn that not EVERYONE who sets foot in the house has a present for her!). She was left totally exhausted by Monday and we are taking it very easy at the moment. She said something very sweet and lovely earlier today and I remember thinking "I must blog that" but do you think I can remember what it is??!!

has developed his fastidious nature to the point where he makes his preference that the blankets are put in a certain way and the curtains closed completely etc. very clear. So far he is doing this quite politely and sweetly so he's getting his own way! His rock collection is also expanding. He loves the rocks, he carries one around almost constantly, washes them, talks to's quite cute!

is having solids two or three times a day, moving even more (although still backwards) and has had another growth spurt I'm sure! He has also discovered gargling which keeps him amused for hours! He is also sleeping a lot better.

The house:
has almost clawed its way out of the abys in spite of the fact that I have fallen asleep every time I have sat down today.

The garden:
is slowly getting cleaned up but is in major need of another big day of me just getting in and doing it. Next weekend at home!!


preview image
Lilypie Baby Ticker

Lilypie Baby Ticker

Monday, April 07, 2008

Off the band wagon

Hear that? That great thump? That's me falling off the band wagon. I moved a lot during the last week, but none of it was exercise. It was all preparing for young Christopher's dedication. I have hit exhaustion point over the last few days (oh, it was worth it! it was great!) and the (stress + a tendency toward compulsive eating + LOTS of food about) - any form of exercise = weight gain! Oh well, back into it again. Fresh start this week!

Thursday, April 03, 2008


Well life as always is going at a hectic rate! I am busily preparing for Christopher's dedication and the housefull of visitors that brings with it while trying to conquer Mount Washmore (3 days of rain after me not being quite on top of it for a while = no clothes!) and cook for the lunch we will have here on Saturday.

Big news?
we are all relatively healthy for the first time in three months but Christopher has started demanding to be fed through the night again so I have started him on solids. He is crawling backwards very well but shows no sign of first gear yet. The older two are lovely as always! There is a computer in bits in front of my computer atm so I will do a proper entry after the dedication is finished with and Jon has cleared a space for me! 50 computers in the house and the only one I want I can't get to!!