Go mbeannai Dia duit.

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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lessons learnt.

God made death so we'd know when to stop. ~Steven Stiles

A lot of what we learn is learnt by osmosis. We don't consciously realise we are learning anything ~ like Ditz copying her Pa. Mind you she wanted to drive & they had words but she had the right idea.

Our children learn how to live from us ~ & they learn how to die. I've never sheltered my children from death. Not that I'm morbid about it but death is a fact of life & better to be matter of fact about it. Mind you I had hardy types; practical; prosaic & definitely unfazed. More curious than anything else.

So when we knew my dad was dying we rounded the troops up to say their goodbyes. Not easy. It's never easy but the chance to say goodbye is important & every single one of them had the option to not come. No~one opted for that choice. The only one I was worried about was Ditz. Ditz is more like her mama than the others ~ too vivid an imagination, too little practicality. The emotional type & believe you me Ditz can display plenty of emotion. She was also the youngest so when we took the kids back home I asked Liddy to tuck Ditz under her wing. That's never easy either, Ditz being an independent sort, but I needed to go back to the hospital & couldn't be in two places at once.

Even if people cope well there's a lot of emotion when someone dies & I've always been a chronic people watcher. Writer's temperament. There's always part of you able to stand back & watch what's going on dispassionately if not necessarily comfortably & what I found myself doing was watching my mother like a hawk. Why? Because generally women outlive men which means the chances are that one day I'll stand in the place she stood then, newly widowed, left alone to pick up the shattered pieces of her life, all her plans for the future to be rearranged for one & I want to be able to do that well, for me & for my daughters.

My mother has courage. She didn't wallow in her grief. She allowed herself 12 months but she got on with her life. She made herself join in things. She did not allow the fact she was partnerless to stop her from attending functions on her own. She didn't cling to the past but accepted things as they are. In her 70's she's learnt how to be a DJ & does a radio program each week. She can outwalk both Liddy & I, never mind Ditz. She exercises & does crafts & paints beautifully in watercolours. Her life is busy & full. I notice because she's not the only widow & other women have not done so well. They seem trapped by their grief, anathema to themselves & everyone else. I do not want to be like that.

Nor do I want to be like Dearest's nanna who stopped living the day her husband died. I've never understood that. I can not see how it is proof of love or honours the dead to simply give up on life.

I am not my mother. Two women could scarcely be less alike but though I tackle life differently I know the lesson by heart. Life is for living. You only get one shot at it so it is to be lived to the very last breath.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Somebody burst my bubble.

“We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution of the universe.” Goethe

I worry about me. Organisation is not my strong suite. It's one reason we use an umbrella school ~ that & to keep the government off our case because the school does that bit. And I had that bit together; I really did. Three examples of Ditz's work in each subject each term. Even I could manage that & I did. At about this point in the term I start rounding up Ditz's work to send in so I was a little bit puzzled by today's phone call. I don't think our supervisor has a grip on paperwork organization either.

We had a most interesting conversation about Ditz's math ~ which has gone missing. Between us we've lost about 3 term's worth. Now I know I'm a klutz so I keep all Ditz's work to be returned in one folder & I've always been particular about sending it in. What I don't do is keep the returned work. I have no storage space & no use for it so out it goes. An entire book of Math~U~see has not been recorded. No way did I not send that in. I don't order new math until we are doing the last lot of tests. I tear the tests out the day I bundle them up & send them in to be recorded. So here I was wandering round with the phone glued to my ear looking for returned work. I found 2 lots ~ with little stickers on. I don't do stickers so I know it's been in to the school & been returned to us.

Now every time Marilyn visits with us she does a math session with Ditz. Sometimes it's more needed than others. I know she knows exactly where Ditz is with her maths ~ we just don't have the paperwork to prove it. Marilyn was madly apologetic. These things happen. *shrug* The bit I mind is having to tell Ditz she's got to redo at least one test. You have no idea!

Now all this is bad enough but the school has obviously had some trouble tracking work so these little bar coded stickers have been sent out, one to be attached to each work sample. Sound simple? How I wish. Firstly, even with my glasses on these are almost impossible to read. Reading them is necessary because they tell you which work samples they want. I have just discovered this. Now math & science are not an issue. They are very straightforward. Where we come unstuck is with our history & English. As they are our strong academic area I am sooo not impressed! Firstly we do a lot of dictation & grammar work. Ditz does a lot of creative writing but she doesn't like to share so getting samples is like pulling hen's teeth. Our analytical writing is done in history. I try to get one essay a term out of Ditz. So I don't have one piece of analytical writing for English, or one piece of creative writing & I don't have reading comprehension examples because we don't do them. Ditz has read the first dozen books of this year's curriculum & by the time we're done with the Sonlight stuff she's got a pretty good idea of what the book's talking about. Now for History we scrapbook. Map work, notes, craft stuff goes into a scrapbook because Ditz really, really doesn't like to write. Not school stuff at any rate.

So I am sitting here scratching my head wondering what I'm going to send in. We did our poetry analysis. Does that count as reading comprehension? That's one; three to go. I can see me sneaking stuff out of Ditz's novels to cover us & she'll shoot me. Ditz finished her essay on Hitler. History we are always on top off & her scrapbooking pages always look good. I have all bar one of the math tests ~ the one that has disappeared between here & the school. Science we are working towards.

Just in case you think Ditz does no actual school work I must dissuade you though we sometimes veer so far towards unschooling I scare myself. Ditz is her mother's daughter & tends to get obsessed about a topic. Hitler was her last one. At present it is pirates. Gypsies is the next one. For these Ditz does all her own research & reading & notetaking. That she can actually do this is one of our success stories. Unfortunately her methodology is not strictly academic. More like research notes for an acting part or background research for a novel. Not strictly useful for anything. *sigh*

And the thing is I am so not interested just now because the curriculum I've been waiting on for 5 months arrived today! Finally! This is our bible stuff & it looks terrific ~ & music history. I'm keen to start & give Ditz something a little different but instead we will be pottering round redoing math & looking for Ditz's science. I might just do a Ditz & have a meltdown. Do you think it would help? Nah, me either but it would sure feel good!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Sunshine State.

Winter either bites with its teeth or lashes with its tail. ~Proverb
We are Queenslanders. That's the bright lolly pink bit in the first map. It's the second largest state & roughly 25% of Australia or to put it into perspective 7 times the size of Great Britain, more than double the size of Texas. Yeah, it's a big place.

I was toddling round on the net just double checking my facts because anything to do with numbers I'm likely to get wrong & I was pretty mind boggled. Now for some reason [probably due to my technological incompetence] I landed on tourist sites ~ which is all well & good but totally misleading. Seriously misleading. And they were all saying the same thing. Sub~tropical.

Now we are subtropical, ie below the tropic of Capricorn. Cairns isn't. Oh deary me no! No, Cairns is definitely tropical; tropical as in Cairns has 2 seasons. It has a wet season [summer] & a dry season [winter] ~ just the two seasons. If you live there you wear a woolly jumper in winter. Everyone else goes swimming.

If you live out west you're probably part of the desert that just flooded. The climate in the Great Dividing Mountains is different again. By sub~tropical I can only think they mostly mean Brisbane, which is the capital of the state, & where the plane's most likely to offload you unless you realise there's an international airport at Cairns & it's right next door to the Great Barrier Reef. Most people don't & they get dumped at Brisbane airport & Brisbane is sub~tropical, which means we get mild, pleasant winters whose temps range between 14 ~ 28C [57.2 ~ 82.4F]. Cairns on the other hand has winter temperatures ranging between 20 ~ 30C [68 ~ 86F]. We won't go into their summer temps. Sticky!

Last time I was in Cairns the wet season arrived with a vengeance & the rain chased us down the coast flooding the rivers as we passed. Just so you know.

We get somewhere in the vicinity of 1.5 million tourists a year, give or take the odd million. They arrive with lists of the day trips they've got planned. A cursory study of the map reveals 7, 400 ks plus of coastline ~ most of it a long, long way from Brisbane. This is important to know because Queensland has 1 of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world & 4 World Heritage listed sites ~ none of which are in Brisbane. The 2, 300 k of the Great Barrier reef is the largest natural feature in the world & can be seen from space ~ but you can't see it from Brisbane. It requires you travel quite some distance from Brisbane in order to see it. Just now from Bowen to Gladstone 90% of the reef's gone, smashed to smithereens by cyclone Hamish.

We have the world's largest sand island [184 000 hectares], Fraser Island, but it's 4 hours from Brisbane & world heritage listed so worth the visit because it's the only place in the world tall rainforest grows on sand dunes. Or there's the Daintree, the oldest rainforest in the world but it's 2 hours north of Cairns. Also world heritage listed, 1 200 square ks of rainforest that is home to 30% of reptile, marsupial & frog species in Oz, habitat to 65% of butterfly & bat species & 20% of our bird species. Thirteen species of the birds are found nowhere else in the world. Oh, & it's totally gorgeous! Moving right along & still heading north up into the Gulf you will find yet another world heritage listing : Riversleigh, home to Australian marsupial fossils. Nowhere else in the world will you find such a continuous, rich, detailed record at a single site. The 4th world heritage listing is the Great Barrier Reef.

We get 300 days of sunshine a year I'm told but we haven't been seeing much of the sun recently. It's been wet. Very, very wet. Tropical wet. Someone should inform whoever's responsible for the weather that we're sub~tropical & are supposed to have more than 2 seasons a year.

And just so you know, unless you're out in the sticks or at the zoo you're extremely unlikely to see kangaroos or wallabies or koalas wandering round. We're out in the sticks so we see these things but Brisbane is a modern city. No wildlife allowed.

The *One Days*.

"Countless numbers of people have eaten in this kitchen and gone on to lead normal lives" Unknown
I have children & children like to eat. The older they get the more they like to eat; 3 square meals a day & snacks in between. Some days the thought of having to prepare even one more meal is enough to give me a case of the screaming heebie~jeebies & make me completely brain dead. Food is the bane of my life. Needless to say my kitchen is not my favourite room in the house!

For children & food to give them & a kitchen to cook it in I am heartily grateful & it is true I like the idea of a well used family kitchen ~ so long as I am not the one in it.

I like pretty things in my kitchen: hanging pots of trailing viney things, delicate china cups in blue & white, bright cornucopia baskets overflowing with fruit, scented candles & I like kitchen smells: yeasty bread, baking cookies, soup makings, the sharp scent of basil...If I were rich I would have a kitchen full of pretty things & I would never cook in there. Never.

Unfortunately I am not rich ~ nor ever likely to be. Week after week I would trail my long row of ducklings through the shops bypassing all the pretty things I knew would be money wasted, the inevitable victim of children with more enthusiasm than couthe, buying the mundane essentials. Week after week I would console myself with the *one days*. One day the children would be big enough not to destroy delicate things. One day my kitchen would be my own. One day I could afford this or that trinket. One day...

For years I made do with a battered wooden cutting board, though my shallow little heart hankered after a pretty glass one. Perish the thought in this house! I despised my plain wooden board though it served me well & faithfully, surviving the untender ministrations of countless children, countless meals, outliving the knives that scored its surface & the pots that scorched it.

Well I have reached that oasis; the one days have arrived & guess what? I am still using my battered wooden cutting board. Yep. Research has found wood deals better with bacteria than plastic. The type of wood doesn't matter. Wood is a natural antiseptic & studies have shown wood kills bacteria within 3 minutes. Wood is also self~healing. The sort of shallow scores made when preparing food close of their own accord. Hot sudsy water & a good scrub is all that's needed to clean it. They are far less likely to harbour mildew than a plastic board & won't damage your expensive knives like steel or glass. A new board, if you want to be fussy, can be sealed with mineral oil...& besides wood is pretty. I like pretty...but I already said that.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Unsocialised homeschooler.

Learning to perform on stage is really learning to live comfortably with fear. ..Isaac Ster

This is one of my favourite quotes ~ for all sorts of reasons but it is sadly pertinent today because today was the dry run for the street theatre dramatists.

I understand fear. I know all about stage fright. What I do not understand is accepting defeat before you even begin.

All term the 20 or so kids involved in the drama club have been making masks, learning how to develop a character, a little bit of mime, a little stylization with the intended aim of doing some actual street theatre. The idea was to attend the pool party on the island & do a dry run to iron out any kinks before doing a show in town. The dry run was a good idea; street theatre is really scary.

Quite a number of kids pulled out immediately from the pool party run. Still there were about 8 kids who said they'd do it, enough to develop a theme. Ditz was pretty excited about the whole thing; party; swimming; dancing; acting; socialising = Ditz heaven.

I ran Ditz along to the public pool about 4.30 & went in to confirm the pick up time to find that the drama teacher had been fielding calls all day as one after another of the drama group woosed out. She was pretty disappointed. Not surprised. All public school kids. All being teased about drama class. Some bullied mercilessly. No way, no how were any of those kids getting up in front of their peers & making themselves into a target. Ditz was the only kid to turn up with her mask expecting to act.

With no~one to act with & no~one for support the drama coach expected that Ditz would pull out too. She doesn't know Ditz! As Ditz so succinctly put it, 'I joined drama class so I could act!' Yep, she donned her mask, got into character & did her Ditzy thing. Did she get teased? You bet your bottom dollar she got teased. Were the other actors envious? Yep! And that's the thing, isn't it. It never, ever gets any easier. Never. There will always be someone who wants to criticise unfairly. There will always be mockers. It is always going to be hard to put yourself out there & attempt to convince people of something improbable. Acting is all about taking risks. Big risks. No~one is going to hand you your Oscar on a silver platter. Life does not work that way.

And I have the unsocialised homeschooler!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The devil finds work for idle hands to do.

Humor is a rubber sword - it allows you to make a point without drawing blood. ~Mary Hirsch

A bored Ditz who can bear?

There I was at choir immersed in my book when I became aware of an odd quality to the sound emanating from the choir. I listened more carefully. It sounded like there were 3 or 4 different keys being attempted with the bulk of the choir waffling round in total confusion. Not a good sound!

I asked Ditz about it in the car going home.

'Oh, that,' said my Ditz casually. 'That was a set up.'

A set up? A set up! Who's setting up who here? Turns out that there is a pre~arranged signal that causes a number of the better musicians to change keys ~ but they all sing in a different key. This is enough to ensure most of the choir becomes quickly lost. The number of kids who lack confidence that they are singing the right thing is mind boggling. All Ditz has to do is drop out for a note or two & the others singing her part drop out too because they've been following & relying on her. Ditz does it just for fun. *sigh*

'So which bright bunny dreamt this up?' I enquired. Need I have asked?

'Well, Boy Soprano & I had nothing to do between AbbaMania performances,' Ditz defended herself. Yikes! Thankfully Alison has a sense of humour. She will need it if those two team up together any more.
Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul. ~John Muir

My friend Sian is one of the most creative people I know. She doesn't have much of either time or money but she can do amazing things with very little.

A cheap birdbath & a child's wading pool became a small fountain in her front yard. Not only does it satisfy the soul but it provides relief from the relentless heat. The sound of falling water splashing softly into the pool creates the illusion of coolness, a peaceful oasis on days when the centre of the island swelters under oppressive heat & refreshment on humid summer nights.

This was her holiday project, a project she had had in mind for some time but what really impressed me was that she didn't spend mega~bucks on it & it's incredibly effective. For a while it looked like it mightn't happen ~ the guy with the doovie~dackie to move the mulch didn't show up, issues with pumps & electricians, crashed computers that had to be re~something or other & immunised against nasty little viruses but she persevered & now she is back at work I hope she is enjoying the fruit of her holiday labours as she crawls into bed at the end of a long day.

I dunno. This project just really impressed me.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Food for Thought.

The King of love my Shepherd is,
Whose goodness faileth never;
I nothing lack if I am His
And He is mine forever.~Henry William Baker

Ah, but do we actually believe it & believing do we act as if we believe it?

Liddy left her book lying round ~ Set Apart Feminity by Leslie Ludy ~ & I'm the sort of person who will read jam jar labels if they're left lying around so having nothing else to read I picked it up.

I have been curiously immune to the fashion & beauty industries all my life so was skimming past the references to those things that have never interested me when I was arrested by the story of Jia. Jia was found by Christ at 16, the child of rural Chinese peasants. The Chinese Government is so harsh in its treatment of Christians China sends more missionaries into Muslim countries than any other country because 'There's nothing the Muslims can do to us that our own government hasn't already done.* In China the price of following Christ is high ~ & those who choose to follow Christ know it!

Jia knew as soon as she declared Christ her family would disown her & kick her out ~ & so they did, leaving her to fight for her very survival on the streets. Now Jia travels from town to town owning nothing but the cloths on her back, reliant on God for every meal,with her friend Lin declaring the love of the Lord to everyone she meets, radiating that love, unable to keep silent about what Jesus has done for her.

It begs the question doesn't it, from the comfort of my Australian living room with it's multiple chairs, stereo & t.v ~ How much do I really love Christ? What am I willing to give up? What still binds me to this world instead of to my Lord & Saviour? If my choices were as stark as Jia's how would I choose? And in reality who has more? And more of what? Food for thought, hm?

What good is having someone who can walk on water if you don't follow in his footsteps? ~Author Unknown

I went out for an hour & look what happens.

Physiological response to thinking and to pain is the same; and man is not given to hurting himself. ~Martin H. Fischer

The course of my life is not set to run smoothly. Ditz & I detoured on our way home from violin to pick up Liddy from work & 1 or 2 items I wanted for dinner. I had it all neatly planned & I knew I had a tidy kitchen because I absolutely loathe & abhore trying to cook amidst mess, especially someone else's mess. It means I deal with my kitchen when I know I have to use it.

So the best laid plans of mice & men...I walked into a house that just seemed to be bursting with muscular young men doing lots of different things as loudly as possible. My kitchen was a pigsty & stank fishily but in reality there were only 2 young men & I own both of them. *sigh* Who knows where they'd come from or when they had arrived or when they were going agian. I hastily revised my dinner plans.

Theo has given up his room on the mainland preparatory to going north which means that for all practical purposes he is homeless. Dino is temporarily jobless ~ which means he is cash strapped & home is the cheapest place he can live temporarily while he sees about getting his shoulder operated on. He wants me to drive him in to his MRI next Wednesday. It would be a Wednesday. Do you know how much juggling I have to do on Wednesday?! NOT a happy mummy but he is my son & I love him so I will drive him in to town to his MRI.

Meanwhile I have a boat parked in my driveway. The boat has a rather large hole along its seam that needs welding & my little car does not have a tow bar. The freezer, which I do not have time to deal with, is icing up from being opened & shut constantly to accomodate all the fish & crabs that keep arriving in my kitchen. The pantry has taken a beating & Liddy is having a mini fit because all the little treats she buys herself & doles out slowly over the course of a week have been found & eaten before she's even sampled one of them. I feel for Liddy, I really do.

Ditz is in heaven. She knows full well that my boys will have me in & out of the house at odd hours for one thing or another so I won't be able to give my full attention to her schooling & she is hopeful I will overlook her in the chaos. It has been known to happen.

Now, don't get me wrong. We are delighted to see them & happy to feed them but there is no escaping the fact they create havoc in my house. The girls & I are busy but we have our routine down to a fine art so that everything runs as smoothly as possible. The boys believe a little chaos adds spice to life. Hm. Not my life. It simply creates devestation. So it could be a devestating week, o.k?

Monday, March 23, 2009

On not seeing what's in front of your nose.

I have my own little world, but it's okay - they know me here. ~Author Unknown

Things change, imperceptibly...then one day you wake up wondering how you got here. Worse you wake up wondering how you're going to get out! That's what living with Ditz will do for you.

See three years ago I changed Ditz's curriculum. Actually we changed everything. We changed umbrella schools, supervisors & the way we did things & toddled off in a new direction. More reading. Lots & lots more reading & that is a very good thing but it changed something fundamental about the way Ditz & I did school. I wasn't as involved. I thought this was a good thing & Ditz was maturing, {Well, that's what I thought!} able to work on her own, get her work done...yadda, yadda. I think lots of things it's probably better not to think.

It took a while but it slowly dawned on me that Ditz really wasn't all that happy. She complained a lot about her curriculum. It didn't matter what it was she complained. If I even hinted she might like to do stuff on her own she went into meltdown. She mentioned *real* school more & more often. Not even an option given the state of our Public Schools round here. I was puzzled. Really. I was. Ditz's curriculum was carefully chosen just for her, to meet her needs, accommodate her learning style, incorporate the things she likes & thinks important. The child should have been in clover. Seriously. She wasn't in clover. I was scratching my head.

O.K. I'm slow. Real slow. There is one constant about Ditz, stemming all the way back to her time in the womb when everyone would cluster round my *bump* pat it, stroke it & talk to it; Ditz is a people person. Company is the name of the game. Taking her books in to her room to work quietly by herself was never going to make Ditz a happy Ditz. Fundamental.

And there I was wondering why Ditz was so happy to do Dictation & Grammar! Mummy time! Anyway as I was trying to help Ditz untangle her notes on Hitler & pull her essay in to some sort of order it suddenly occurred to me Ditz was working pretty cheerfully. Instead of sending her off to read on her own I sat with her & read aloud. Ditz cheerfully interrupted with all sorts of trivia about the period we were reading about. It occurred to me I wasn't having to drag stuff out of the child, she was offering me information. *sigh* I got a synopsis of her next trilogy. [Yes, she writes books. They are a deep, dark secret & she's so shy about them she only very occasionally reads me a passage that she thinks might pass muster]. Then all unbeknown to Ditz she provided me with an introduction to poetical analysis! I'd been wondering how to broach this with Ditz & the child just handed it to me on a platter! Oh! You want to know what it is?

Well, Ditz usually has one or two songs she's working on getting all the words down pat & the notes right. We get a lot of constant singing & often it's the same passage over & over. Drives my mother nuts. At the moment it's Hoist the Colours from Pirates of the Caribbean. I like this one so am not objecting too much. Ditz does like to show off & every so often she thinks she can take her mother on on her own ground & win so she started asking me what I thought some of the lines meant. Poor Ditz. I mightn't have watched these movies all the way through but I know my mythology. Viola! Poetical analysis 101! It's a start, ok. I love the internet.

I don't think I often do things the way they're meant to be done & back in the bad old days we did very little grammar. It was one reason I really wanted to change curriculum, schools & supervisors. What little we had done Ditz just wasn't getting. What's more I don't do grammar as a separate subject. I simply do the phasing that comes after the dictation. Which meant that Ditz was thrown in at the deep end. Nouns, verbs adverbs, subject, predicate, articles, prepositions, subjects, objects of the preposition ~ Ditz got them all at once. I spent weeks & months walking her through her grammar work, fitting it together like a jigsaw. Every so often I'd ask her what something was not very hopefully & sometimes she'd get it but mostly she wouldn't. Then all of a sudden, just recently, it's clicked for her. She can see the patterns & she's got a better grasp of her grammar than I do.

Homeschool is always a bit bumpy. Interruptions. Life gets in the way ~ but no more than in regular school. I just have to remember Ditz likes company. It makes her world go round. Having her world go round makes Ditz a happy Ditz & a happy Ditz makes my job easier. It is a small price to pay. Besides, Ditz is fun to be with. Mostly.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Why silence?

God speaks in the silence of the heart. Listening is the beginning of prayer. ~Mother Teresa
There come times when I have nothing more to tell God. If I were to continue to pray in words, I would have to repeat what I have already said. At such times it is wonderful to say to God, "May I be in Thy presence, Lord? I have nothing more to say to Thee, but I do love to be in Thy presence." ~O. Hallesby

The hardest thing to do is to empty myself of me....& there is so much of me to get rid of. For me one of the attractions of silence is that is is possible to do this to some extent. Given an hour 15 or 20 minutes of it is wasted chasing my own rabbit trails. It takes at least that long to clear my mind enough to even begin to think about God in any meaningful way.

People who leap straight into prayer amaze me. They amaze me because it takes me a bit to organize my thoughts. They amaze me because I try to allow the Holy Spirit to guide & direct my prayers ~ which are not often the things I am fretting about when I set out to pray & rarely concern me when I'm done. Go figure! People who leap straight in to prayer amaze me because I'm still trying to clear my thoughts when they start & I'm left wondering because while the prayers of a righteous man availith much, sin will have our prayers bouncing back at us & going nowhere.

Prayer, deep prayer, requires time & patience...& practice. After twenty minutes I usually start to *centre*. My mind clears & the tranquil presence of the Holy Spirit settles. Outside distractions subside so that is becomes possible to listen to the still small voice of God. This is the prayer I like best ~ to simply rest in the presence of the most high God. This is not prayer as it is practised in the majority of our churches & what passes for prayer leaves me empty & dissatisfied.

Now I know most people can't cope with a whole hour of silence. This is why our homes are filled with the noise of the radio or television. So it has been a blessing as our home church evolves to find oasis of silence in unexpected places. One of these is in music. I can't sing, that's Ditz's department, but I don't mind belting out a simple tune with the best of them on occasion. With just the 6 of us & Liddy providing the music from modern bands like Casting Crowns we aren't making a joyful noise unto the Lord. I can shut my eyes & simply listen to the words & the melody & allow the Holy Spirit to minister to my spirit. This is bringing me into a meditative state of prayerful attention so that as we read through the scriptures I don't feel the need to talk much ~ so odd for me I know.

The simplicity of our service is spiritually satisfying. Reading the scriptures & just talking through them is edifying & it is bringing close fellowship. So having finished Philippians this week we had a short discussion as to where to read next & are moving into Revelation. I love Revelation. After the gospel of John it is my all time favourite book of the bible. For a chronic fantasy reader Revelation is an absolute feast!

The other thing we are considering is our first outreach which sounds much fancier than it actually is. Our other family goes away camping regularly so on those weeks we are thinking of doing a youth fellowship in the evening with those youngsters Liddy has already been outreaching to. Maybe. Just a think but we're thinking about it. Prayerfully. In silence.

No love lost.

Sleep is a symptom of caffeine deprivation. ~Author Unknown

"Glamis hath murdered sleep"...& I so wish I was Issi curled warmly round Ditz's feet & sound asleep.

"Two am & all's well," the town crier calls on his rounds but why am I awake to hear his cry go up? I don't know but I am bright eyed & bushy tailed ~ which is not at all how I'll be when it is actually time to get up & function. I just love *white nights* & this is my second in a row. My children are not going to love Mrs Grump in the morning doing the teary~deary.

Whatever is bothering my soul prayer has not brought solace. What can the Lord be thinking of? Doesn't he know I need my beauty sleep?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Hen's Day Out.

Man's heart away from nature becomes hard. ~Standing Bear

It's been a while since we've had a *mental health* day or gone out with Liddy for a short road trip & Sian's been on holidays so we decided a *hen's day out* was in order; Tamborine Mountain was our destination.
True to form as we set out the drizzle began & we drove the first part in pouring rain with Sian just a leetle nervous. She's heard the stories about Liddy's driving. The highway gets up to 110K & Liddy made me ride shotgun just because I'm used to her. Actually her driving is quite good now & she does pretty well until she starts getting tired.

Tambourine is in the same general vicinity as Springbrook & O'Reilly's for those of you who have been following our wanderings through this part of the Great Dividing Range. It is almost directly behind the Gold Coast so as you climb the mountain you get spectacular views back towards the Gold Coast ~ or would do if it wasn't pouring rain.

Our first stop was one of 2 fudge shops. This was to keep Ditz happy because Ditz is never keen on these ventures until we have dragged her unwilling carcass along & proven what fun she can have. We then went to an *Op Shop* Sian was keen on. *Op Shop* = opportunity shop & sells pre~loved, used, 2nd hand things. I love these places. The girls are less keen but what is a day out unless you eat?

We chose the Olive Cafe which looked gorgeous with a large outdoor eating area, potted olive trees & a resident white cat.
The aromas were wonderful & we were all really looking forward to our meal but over all it was rather disappointing. There was no water carafe provided & I'm not sure Tambourine's lack of town water & drought is any excuse for not providing water but I got the only really decent meal & there is no excuse for that. Liddy & Sian ordered pasta with chicken, avocado & Camembert. It read beautifully on the menu & I was tempted but pasta is too much food for me & as it turned out it was too creamy, too rich & really, really bland. Ditz ordered lasagna; she ate it all but she must have been hungry because it wasn't very nice. I, on the other hand, ordered chicken skewers on Greek salad & that was very good. That had been Liddy's second choice & she was really sorry she hadn't ordered it.

Despite the poor meal the surroundings were lovely & the girls began hamming it up. Poor Sian. She must wonder which planet we've dropped from sometimes. Ditz can be hysterical when she gets going & she was in fine form.

You can't have a mental health day without a walk in the woods. We chose Witchety Falls, which has the honour of being the first National Park in Queensland. I've given up trying to figure out what people consider a difficult walk. For us this was quite an easy walk though the devastation of heavy rainfall after a long drought period was evident everywhere. Not a lot of wildlife around but it was definitely the wrong time of day for that & the girls were in a rather giddy mood:
Captured by vines;

Eaten by trees;

Consumed by roots;
Transformed into woodland elves.

We corrupted Sian.
The falls weren't running at full blast but still pretty & Liddy never considers a walk a proper walk unless there is water to show for it. Rain does not count.
At least we had one sensible one with us.
From some places on the Mountain you look down into the Canungra Valley, which is still farmland. The other way you look towards the Gold Coast & a skyline pricked by skyscrapers.
Our last stop was the cuckoo shop. Sian & Ditz share a love for these lovely European clocks & the little birds peeping in & out. The man running it didn't bat an eye when asked to give a demonstration. He must get asked that a lot & Sian, who has harboured a long & secret hankering after a cuckoo clock, finally succumbed & bought herself one. We laughed & hope everyone gets used to being cuckooed fast! As we headed home we stopped at the Nut Shack which sells macadamias but Liddy was really disappointed in that. I merely thought it far too expensive & we already had fudge. Fudge is good. It should help the mental state for some time.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Thinking aloud here...

Genius is more often found in a cracked pot than in a whole one. ~E.B. White

MrsC over here has been talking a lot about *parentless* kids ~ you know, kiddies whose parents seem to think kids can & will raise themselves without the need of too much help from mum & dad. One wonders if they think much at all but whatever.

Then last night I had the opportunity to witness the other side of this coin & I was seriously cringing inside. This poor little kiddie seemed to be mummy's showpiece that she dragged out to boast on, pummel & poke & prod to within an inch of his life because the poor child was a genius & misunderstood at school. I don't think much of schools so we won't go there & besides I have serious doubts about the reliability of the witness.

It got me thinking though, watching the kid try to squirm out of mum's clutches, because I don't know any perfect parents & I certainly don't know any perfect kids. Most of us fall somewhere between the two extremes of either under parenting or over parenting. Some things we get right, others we get wrong. Some of what we think is right the kids disagree with but because we're the parent we get to decide. Some of what we get wrong turns out to be right in the end & other stuff not so much.

I know I'm a lousy disciplinarian. I seriously expect my children to be reasonable human beings. What planet did I think we landed on?! And I can be a tad erratic ~ here today, gone tomorrow but I am excellent in a crisis ~ as my kids know. Very little shocks me when it comes to human behaviour ~ theirs or their friends. They know they can chat about whatever's on their minds & be heard & they all know they are deeply loved, cherished, blessings from the Lord. I think we've got that message across.

So what is your *happy medium*? How do you think you are doing? What would you change if you could? What do other parents do that makes you cringe?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Mutiny on the High Seas & Sackcloth & ashes..

Siblings are the people we practice on, the people who teach us about fairness and cooperation and kindness and caring - quite often the hard way. ~Pamela Dugdale

I grew up with 2 brothers. This would not have been my choice. Mark was a Ditz ~ noisy, invasive, too, too much & he liked poking about in my things & reading my books but at least I didn't have to share a room with him. That dubious honour went to my other brother.

John did not seem to find Mark as difficult to live with as I did. Mostly they seemed to get along. As young men they were very close & up until the day Mark died he liked spending time with John. There were, however, the odd altercations & they invariably occurred as publicly as possible.

We were sailors. I sailed a Moth ~ a solo boat as befitted one who found getting along with other people almost impossible & living with them beyond endurance. My brothers sailed a Manly Junior together. They had the perfect arrangement. Mark liked to enjoy himself; John liked to win. Mark crewed for John. So long as Mark did exactly as John told him there were never any problems. When there were problems they tended to be spectacular because Mark was something of a firecracker when roused.

It must have been a particularly fraught race ~ or John was being more than usually tyrannical. Whatever the cause as the boys approached the finish line, in front of a crowded clubhouse, Mark suddenly lept overboard & started swimming for shore. John unceremoniously reefed him back aboard. Concern for his little brother's safety? Perish the thought! They would be disqualified unless John finished the race with the crew he began with!

Anyone who saw this still talks about it. Those who knew Mark add it to the long list of stories of the things Mark was notorious for arriving in sackcloth & sprinkling ashes over his head to apologise for getting a girl home past her curfew! I believe it took some time to remove the ash stains from their carpet.

Growing up I used to be quite envious of my brothers because they had each other...but of course if I'd had a sister I would have had to share my room so all for the best. However I felt strongly enough about it that I never wanted Liddy to be the only girl in a family of boys, although we waited a good long while before we got Ditz & if you ask Liddy she will tell you in no uncertain terms that the boys were experiments that should have been discarded once the perfect child [her] had arrived on the scene & having got her what were we thinking by ruining her life with an unasked for addition?

There is no perfect family, no perfect family size but I have been blessed with my daughters. I will always be *mummy* but sometimes I get to be a sister of sorts too. I appreciate that more now I am older & I am glad that they will always have each other.

Never say, "oops." Always say, "Ah, interesting." ~Author Unknown

For reasons of sheer (fill in the blank)'s post landed here...if you're so inclined. I have no idea how to get it back where it belongs. You can never say that blogging with me is dull!

Monday, March 16, 2009

The week's collage.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. ~Plato

Liddy & I bought Dearest a *new* computer ~ & Issi took it over. Issi likes new things & is always very interested when we've been out for the day & hangs around until he knows exactly what we've brought home. And no, he wasn't moving for anyone...or not until Dearest & I brought home the new chairs, but I don't have pics of those yet, & then Issi hogged my old one, parked beside my computer, because he knows jolly well if he's parked there he'll get lots of lovin'.Then there was the gnome I found on my roof ~ or was it a brownie doing her good turn for the day? Liddy is kind, & having a better head for heights than I do, got up on our roofs to clean out the gutters. I emptied the buckets for her as she filled them & passed up the secateurs so she could cut back the branches scraping along the tin roof. Not a good sound. Worse than fingernails down a blackboard. Truly. Ditz got left Home Alone Monday morning, which she quite likes, just her & Issi keeping an eye on each other. She was good & did her reading while I was gone then helped me put together the two office chairs Dearest & I had gone to get. So long as it doesn't involve schoolwork she's a really helpful kid. She had made some melting moments as a special treat too. Yum. She knows the way to her mummy's stony heart.

We were pretty hot & bothered by the time we were done & running late for violin but Ditz got an extra long lesson seeing she missed last week. She's sorta doing grade 3 & when I think back to the two of us trying to figure out how to just get a noise, any sort of a noise, out of her instrument because we didn't know about rosin, well, she's come a long, long way in a few short years.
The girls deny there's any family resemblence between them.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

It's here!

A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water. ~Carl Reiner
It's official. I have a jumper on while waiting for the sun to rise; Autumn is here.

Autumn is my favourite time of the year. There are the purely practical joys. The colder weather kills of the mozzies & sandflies. This is good, believe me, as both are in plague proportions during summer. No~one has to worry about how much clothing they can safely remove before they become completely immodest. Trust me on this one. When the thermometer is nudging 100F & the humidity is in the 80% range clothing is not something anyone wants too much of. We don't have aircon which is bad for the environment & bad for people. Those of us who like to snuggle under a doona at night can do so without fear of melting into a damp puddle. Walking anywhere actually starts to look attractive again & a hot meal is welcome.

There are aesthetic pleasures too. Issi is fluffing up his coat & looking like the cattiest of cats while his nose twitches appreciatively. He can stop being confused temporarily. No longer does he need to seek that elusive patch of sunshine in front of the whirring fan; he can just seek the sunshine & bake luxuriously. The smell of rendering soup pervades the house & the girls' heads are bent over the cookbooks choosing sweet treats to fill the house with warmth & good food.

Now I know in some places Autumn announces its arrival with a pretty turning of the leaves until only bare twigs remain to greet the winter but Autumn is far more subtle this close to the Tropic of Capricorn. If you didn't know you might even miss it until the sudden & unexpected arrival of winter. There is a certain crispness in the air first thing in the morning & a delightful whiff of dampness. Only those who have experienced the hot, dusty mornings of an Australian summer can truly appreciate this. The haze of summer is replaced with a sharp crystalline quality & the leached colours become rich & true.

And if, as we do, you live in the midst of bushland there comes with a changing of the seasons a changing of the guard. Some birds hang around all year ~ the kookaburras & magpies, the curlews & lapwings. Other birds, being migratory, come & go with the seasons. The jeweled rainbow birds that came with the spring have departed south & north. This is the demarcation line for them. The rollers have gone too. Soon the black swans will arrive to winter on the bay. These small changes give me inordinate pleasure.

Now is the time for yard work, to plant & dig, to prune & coddle so that everything is well established before it has to brave the delights of a hot Australian summer. As the heat eases it is so much easier to get stuck into the school work, Ditz & I snuggled up together reading or doing map work, Iss thrumming like a heater over our feet. He knows how to find the Good Life!

This is the time of year I make time for the occasional walk through the mangroves with the dappled water oozing sleekly between the grey trunks, the soft, muted colours marbling the surface, the silence so deep, so profound that the whir of honeyeater wings sounds like a gunshot. It is in the silence too that the voice of God sounds loudest.

LobStar has arrived!

Fame is rot; daughters are the thing. ~James Matthew Barrie

I feel like I'm being stalked. Just as well I love the stalker. Lobstar has entered the room. If she lands in your blogspace she's perfectly harmless, quite tame & responds well to offerings of chocolate. Go leave her some bloggy love.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Joy cometh in the morning.

I know that two and two make four - & should be glad to prove it too if I could - though I must say if by any sort of process I could convert 2 & 2 into five it would give me much greater pleasure. ~George Gordon, Lord Byron
I don't agree with mathematics; the sum total of zeros is a frightening figure. ~Stanislaw J. Lec, More Unkempt Thoughts

I don't agree with mathematics. I agree with math so little I rarely use it. Cooking is all done by how the thing looks & feels. Any numbers floating around are just to be used as a rough guide. Money is not math. Money is in a realm all its own.

So teaching Ditz math has been an exercise in torture for both of us. We started well. I can add & subtract fairly well to ten ~ even 20 if I take off my shoes & socks. I can multiply with a little help from my fingers & divide unless you mean long division ~ which is just silly.

Seriously though, we began well. I did a lot of concrete math with Ditz & we originally began music for mathematical purposes. Math was Ditz's favourite subject. It required no writing & could be relied upon to behave itself. I was careful to express no negativity about a subject I dislike intensely. Somewhere down the years all that changed. Now I couldn't tell you which of us hates it the most but I can assure you no subject is more reviled. The good news is we have the basics solidly under us.

We have come unstuck over fractions. I do not know how this can be. This is the child that will wave a sheet of music manuscript under my nose without bating an eyelash that has things like 16 notes to a four count scribbled all over it & what is that, pray tell, if not fractions? The stranger the count the less trouble Ditz has with it musically so I am at a loss for why she has so much trouble otherwise unless she has a bar of chocolate available.

However we did manage, albeit slowly, to add fractions, subtract fractions & even multiply fractions. What we could not seem to do was divide fractions. When you are asked to do the exact opposite of the result you want [multiply to get a division] it enters the realms of the ludicrous & well Ditz knows it.

Now I know kids plateau out & sometimes you have to put things aside & come back to them later & lo & behold, suddenly they *get* it! So we tried that ~ three times. We haven't done much math in a while. Dearest tried & Liddy tried & Sian tried & Ditz was just as bamboozled as ever. There are lots of steps & they have to be done in the right order & I know that is one of the problems. Ditz & I aren't strong on sequencing. Ditz also omits steps from her written work so backtracking to pick up problems is just a tad difficult.

This happy state of affairs might have continued indefinitely but unfortunately for Ditz we use an umbrella school. This does not work much like an American umbrella school from what I can gather but once a term our supervisor gets on a ferry & comes for a visit. Friday was her day. Math was on the agenda. [sssh...Don't tell Ditz but I asked if she'd go over the division with Ditz.]

The Lord has been both gracious & merciful to us. We love our supervisor ~ & we had some choice ones when we were with another provider so we appreciate Marilyn no end. She is the sweetest lady, has the patience of Job...& she is a math teacher by training. Now I admit when I first learnt that I rather quailed in my shoes as the math freaks & the music weirdos rarely have much to say to each other & I feared a clash of priorities but there was no need to fear. Marilyn appreciates Ditz in all her Ditziness ~ & she sure took some appreciating yesterday! One hour & 45 minutes later Ditz may just have grasped enough to be able to move forward despite all the eye rolling.

Marilyn has worked with us for going on 3 years. She knows in every other area we have a grip & move forward steadily so she wasn't too fazed about looking over the rest of Ditz's work though knowing music is Ditz's thing she was interested in the grade 4 stuff she's studying. Every time I look at it I see fractions & wonder how come Ditz can't do the ones in her math book!

The good news? There is something called foundational maths ~ probably better understood as math for dummies or math for the unmathical & that is what we will use to finish off Ditz's math. No geometry. No algebra. No trigonometry. For the Lord's bountiful mercies I am truly grateful!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Give a child a unicorn...

"But within me the unicorn still remains, a formless shadow in the spaces of my mind." -- Josephine Bradley, In Pursuit of the Unicorn

There are two sorts of people: there are people who have imaginary friends & there are people who think that people who have imaginary friends are quite mad.

Having imaginary friends is the basis of good story telling. You have to know the characters you invent at least as well as you know your friends, sometimes better.

I don't know who is responsible for the odd conversation we had at Toscanis. I've no idea how it began but I rattled the secure cage Liddy inhabits by announcing I've never quite outgrown imaginary friends.

'By why,' my bewildered & literal daughter enquired, 'would anyone want anything other than reality? Whoever has imaginary friends?' At this point Ditz pipped up to announce she did. Ditz has Shima. Shima was a unicorn ~ was because as Ditz outgrew her need for Shima she couldn't simply let her fade into decent obscurity. No indeed. She broke of Shima's horn & pierced her heart with it. Only Ditz. I didn't bat an eyelash while Liddy stared at the pair of us as if we were both barking mad. We're not, at least I'm not. I'd better not speak for Ditz but I'm as sane as the next person.

Ditz & I are used to Liddy. She inhabits a different world. It is a very concrete, literal world, very black & white, very worthy & worthwhile but it lacks a little something. Ditz & I provide the pizazz, the sparkle, the little *something extra*.

Liddy worries about me but there is no need. Someone who can believe in fairies at 10 has no trouble transitioning to angels & demons at 15. The spiritual world is very real to anyone who can imagine anything ~ which could reasonably account for so many alcohol fueled artists but that's another ramble.

Not the first time I've thought about this. An odd thing to think about maybe but spectacularly more interesting than the financial crisis, which I can do nothing about anyway & which is simply dull beyond belief & making everyone fussing about it equally dull.

So what is the attraction? Well, I've thought of several things. When God made man in his own image he made man a creative being. There's nothing quite like creating your own world, even your own people. Ask Ditz. Once she saw the possibilities she wondered why she'd ever fussed about writing. Then there is the purely practical. So much of my life is beyond my control [& wildly out of control at that] but creating something, anything, gives control. A character upsets you? Torture & a slow death for them! It exorcises plenty of demons. It changes the world. No, not literally, but indefinably. When you create something beautiful & lovely, even if it's only in your mind, you carry that with you into the real world & it impacts on how you deal with the real world. I don't know the author of the quote about being in the gutter but keeping your eyes on the stars but it's applicable. Then there is problem solving. Give a character a quandary & see how they solve it. Actually the possibilities are endless. Excuse me while I confer with my friend here...

Raise the white flag.

To err is human, but to really foul things up requires a computer.
Farmers' Almanac

The Government stimulus package came through today. We used some of it to buy Dearest a computer. I want Dearest's computer. Liddy & I went into town to the Government recycling shop because Government departments buy new computers every 2 years & there is nothing wrong with the old ones. Mostly they are hardly used at all. Flat screen, horizontal tower, great graphics & cheap, cheap, cheap...*sigh*

The thing with computers is that they are great...until they don't work. O.K, not going there. I can screw up a computer faster than just about anyone I know ~ with one or two exceptions. Mine, which is old & well used & has absolutely everyone's junk clogging up it's memory, has just had a face lift. I missed it. I get pretty good graphics on mine. I'm used to it's quirks. My keyboard abandoned the letter T some time ago. I know to go back & check I have all my Ts. I have a great collection of pics which I really should move to Photobucket & the novels I've never got round to backing up on something because, frankly, I don't know how to do that. So when my computer went down it took lots with it ~ including Ditz's notes on Hitler. She had hopes of never seeing those again.

Liddy & I hate buying computers. The guys in the shop are smarmy & they wear funny shoes. We are highly suspicious of those shoes. They think we don't know what we're doing [which is true] & are an easy mark [which we're not.] When in doubt walk away. They are so terrified of losing a sale they'll do just about anything. We're formidable. When in doubt we refer the salesperson to the other one of us. He never knows who he's trying to sell to. Yes, I know. It's mean but what's a girl to do?

We decided on a computer. We avoided all the extras Dearest doesn't want & we didn't want to pay for & asked for a graphics card because Dearest wants the computer to check his stamps for flaws. We won't go into how dull we all think that is. We agreed on a very reasonable price which was about midway on what we were prepared to pay & we waited while the computer was secreted away into a back room to get its graphic card installed. Some time later we learnt the computer we had chosen would not take the graphic card. We got a much better tower & monitor for the same price so they could install the graphics card. Their mistake so we just smiled sweetly. In my case I just smiled vaguely. I had no idea what the chappie was rabbiting on about & had to have it all explained to me later by Liddy who, at the time, just hissed, ' Nod & say yes,' so I nodded & said yes.

Dearest is very happy with his new toy. Liddy hardly got lost at all, didn't travel the wrong way down a one way street even once & crossed none of Brisbane's dozen bridges heading for the closest water... all in all a very successful day.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Gardening requires lots of water - most of it in the form of perspiration. ~Lou Erickson

Liddy is home sick. The problem with Liddy is she's got to be very sick indeed before she is happy lying around twiddling her toes so she promptly looked around for something to do. What she found was my garden.

Now I am old enough to really appreciate strong young muscles doing much of the heavy spade work for me but having weeded & dug & fertilized & mulched Liddy then decided what she really needed was a trip to the nursery. Now we do have a nursery on the island but it should never be used for vegetable seedlings as no~one involved in the nursery seems to know an awful lot about plants so the poor little seedling are left to outgrow their pots, flower & fruit & do all manner of things that are extremely unhealthy for any good little seedling.

I looked at the child in complete disbelief. Cyclone Hamish might have spun eastward over the Pacific Ocean to dissolve harmlessly but we are still getting the residue of squally showers & wind. Travelling was not something I really wanted to do ~ especially as I had cancelled out all Ditz's outside commitments. Liddy pleaded. She begged. She promised to pay for my ticket & take me out to lunch. I'm easily bought. Ditz, who has had enough of home confinement but really can't be let loose on her choir, decided to come too. Besides Liddy is anxiously trying to accumulate the last of her driving hours.

So we bundled up & headed out. Liddy, anxious to make the most of her time took a longish trip out to a nearby nursery which wasn't much help in the vegetable line. While we were there we spotted a Botanix ~ which was absolutely huge but useless & expensive so we backtracked to Bunnings where we got everything our little hearts desired except the cauliflower.

Liddy then took us to Toscanis for lunch. We like Toscanis. We've never had a dud meal there & their salads are exquisite. Liddy had Moroccan Chicken with a yogurt & mustard dressing on her salad. Very nice. Ditz opted for Penne Spumante ~ trust Ditz. It tasted hugely alcoholic & I thought she mightn't like it but spumante is one wine I don't mind & it seems Ditz doesn't either. I just had the Chicken Toscani which came with a mustard sauce & vinaigrette dressing on the salad. Mine also came with chips. I'm not a big chip fan so I shared them out between the girls. And yes, mum, we did dessert. Liddy had orange cake, Ditz did a double chocolate bomb & I had tiramisu. On the way back to the car we picked up some Chinese for Dearest who always misses out on these little excursions.

Liddy & I went straight to work planting everything out when we got home. The showery weather is perfect for getting everything well established though I suspect once this wet spell passes we will find the worst of the heat has gone & we are truly in autumn. Liddy thinks she might have got a little carried away. It will be a compact planting but I think we have room for everything: a double lot of celery & beans; cabbage, tomatoes, cucumber, snow peas, & a mixed mesculine planter plus another lot of strawberries.

The price of fruit & veg at the moment it pays to garden on the side to help stretch the budget & I am blessed to live in a climate where many things will grow through the winter months. I do like a happy garden A happy gardener isn't half bad either.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Much ado about...

"Now we sit through Shakespeare in order to recognize the quotations." Oscar Wilde.

37 plays. 154 sonnets. An ongoing squabble amongst the academics & not so many of us who've actually read one of his plays or sat through one at the theatre. My kids can't believe I laugh ~ in the right places.

So, just to muddy the Shakespearean waters a little more, have you seen this? *swoon* It's been in the Cobbe family for 3 centuries; some people have all the luck, & is purported to have been painted of *sweet Will* during his lifetime. Much better looking than the usual awful thing one sees. Love the hooped ear~ring. Even back then the arty lot were into self display.

It was painted in 1610 when Will was 46; either he kept his age well or the artist took a bit of *artistic license* but seriously, what an improvement! It might actually get the girls at least reading some highbrow literature, though Shakespeare could be bawdy enough at times.

So what do you think, girls?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Cleanliness is next to impossible. ~Author Unknown

Mess is what happens when a. I am never here & b. we all get sick. Actually we're not even sick sick, just * a little unwell.* Ditz may actually be sick. I am cancelling all her outside activities as the primary symptom is a sore throat & a massive headache which means she is in no condition to huff & puff her way on an instrument. However as our supervisor is visiting on Friday I must actually do some housework, something I only ever do under duress, but especially dislike when I don't feel well.

Mindless activities are great for several unrelated activities. Prayer. Plotting novels. Writing poetry. There's something about unrelated movement that frees the mind & why I dislike cooking. I can't write stories & cook. Something must give. Usually it's the food.

Headaches I take straight to bed but we lay around like dead chooks yesterday watching the cyclone satellite ~ I told you we were unwell; that's even duller than watching paint dry ~ so today I must catch up & pretend we actually have a grip. I don't feel like I have much of a grip on anything today & thanks to Hamish our temperatures are oscillating wildly along with the humidity. In between showers I have to try & dry the washing ~ outside line so it could be a losing battle. And I am procrastinating. Can you tell? Ok. Off we go!

Sunday, March 8, 2009


In some places it's known as a tornado. In others, a cyclone. And in still others, the idiot's merry~go~round. Jack Handy

We're waiting on Hamish coming down the coast. He's been a naughty boy & went up to a category 5 but he's decreasing now & with a bit of God given luck he won't cause havoc & destruction. They don't normally come far enough south to bother us but we're bound to get loads of rain. At least he might fill our dam. It's the least we expect.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

What is wrong with...

If Christians would really live according to the teachings of Christ, as found in the Bible, all of India would be Christian today. Gandhi
The Church?

I'm at it again because it has been bugging me, bugging me enough to make me irate & when I get irate I write. So either make yourself a cuppa & settle in comfortably to thrash it out with me or bolt for the hills because I'm good & mad.

Well, you're probably thinking, thinking I'm upset already with our small fellowship, that didn't last long! Nope, not upset with our fellowship. And seriously there's nothing I can actually do about this either.

You've heard me rabbit on about discipleship as opposed to conversion. Well, every so often you run into someone who puts what you're thinking into words better than you can & has the scholarship to back it up. For me that someone on this issue is Keith Green. That Keith Green. The dead one. The musician. That Keith Green.

Green has a list of things the church has used down the years that have become a trap & actually prevent people from coming to true salvation. Now initially I think these things were good & anointed by the Holy Spirit but as so often happens when man gets his hands on spiritual things he chokes the life out of them & persists with something that has been long dead because we are creatures of habit & like our comfort zones to remain undisturbed. I know I do.

So what are these things? The alter call. The *Sinner's Prayer.* *Salvation* tracts. Bumper stickers. Follow up programmes. Now before all my dear Christian sisters jump all over me & testify to one or other or all of these things bringing someone they know to Christ let me remind you of the parable of the sower. Lots of people hear the gospel message. Lots of people receive it gladly but... that is no proof of salvation. The proof is in changed lives... & I am not talking about external things like going to church. Our churches are full of the unsaved who don't know they're not saved.

Think I'm a kook? Well try this. Scripture says that those who worship the Lord must worship Him in spirit & in truth. We know that the truth will set us free. We know that the Spirit is the one who changes the heart because it is the heart God looks on, so we are talking about an internal change here that has an external application. That application is in worship.

As I've mentioned we've been reading through Philippians. Chapter 3 this week. The word used for worship in Philippians chapter 3 is latreuo. What an interesting word that is! We get the English word liturgy from it. If you're Catholic or Anglican you will have a good understanding of what a liturgical worship service entails. Now comes the interesting part. Guess what the primary meaning of latreuo is? To minister; to serve! Uh~huh. Put that alongside of offering our bodies as a living sacrifice & I think you get a much better picture of what Paul is talking about when he talks about worship.

We are so afraid of coming across as cranks or weirdos or extremists that we water down the gospel seeking to make it more *acceptable*. Interestingly that wasn't Christ's way. The man was constantly upsetting people. His home congregation tried to throw him over a cliff because of his teaching! That was some time before he had a go at the money lenders in the synagogue.

If I am truly not my own, having been bought at great cost, if I am truly the libation poured out, a living sacrifice, then preaching a half hearted gospel is just not good enough because it is not the truth. Discipleship comes at a cost. I know I have 5 kids & every single one of those 5 kids has made a *decision for Christ*. I am not naive enough to think that decision is enough to save them. It is evidence of a work of the Holy Spirit but as they mature so must their faith or it will be abandoned as serving no purpose. Each must, like Jacob, wrestle with the Lord into a personal relationship with Him...& then continue on. You seriously want to know how many nights I've sat up with teenagers thumbing through my bible trying to explain stuff to them? What to know about all the phone calls I field answering questions?

How many *Christian* kids do you know who leave home & abandon their faith? Does this not suggest to you that we are doing something wrong? Gandhi got it right.