Wednesday, November 20, 2013

When life with littlies is hard...

We're in a rough spot at the moment. The kids have been sick & not sleeping well for weeks, I've got a typical case of pregnancy exhaustion, Dave's been away more than usual, the Christmas craziness creeps every closer, etc etc etc.

So this post from Femina is a balm to my weary soul. 

One of my favourite sounds

Our beautiful kids singing together. Keep listening for F at the end.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Seems it was inevitable

I had a feeling I would walk out of the Kindy AGM with a job for next year. 

At least I'm not on the executive committee. 

Just Social Rep for SP's room. Surely I can do that. 

It's interesting to reflect on the 'meeting skills' that church membership provides. Although I have very little to base this on, I would guess that a good number of people in that room had never been to an AGM before, and the idea of moving or seconding a motion was obviously foreign or scary. I was the only person not on last year's committee that was willing to do it. Thank you Pressie church for exposing me to many such situations. 

Now, what does a Social Rep do? Ideas, please :)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Living in the Digital Age (writing prompt)

Two years ago, I lay in a hospital room. The wonders of the digital age revealed a desperately ill unborn baby. 

The doctors said they had some things they could try. 

A few life-changing weeks later, the same ultrasound machine showed a very different picture. Today, we have a healthy, happy 22 month old daughter. I am still in awe. 

For us, technology worked wonders. And yet, others are grieving for their children, whom modern medicine could not help. Death comes to all of us, eventually. Sometimes technology delays it. Sometimes not. 

If we had lived in the pre-digital age, could God have saved our girl? Could he have miraculously healed her without medical intervention? Without our even knowing there was a problem? Of course He could. God is God, and He can do anything. 

Would He have? I don't know. 

This post is part of Meredith's 'Prompted to Write' event. Click on over in a few days to read the responses of others. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Easy Teddy Bear Ears

The theme for the kids' music concert this year is Teddy Bears Picnic. Our kids are each going dressed as their favourite teddy bear. So this afternoon I made 'Mike' ears for SP. And it was so, so easy. 

Take a piece of thick paper or thin cardboard. Draw curve for ear. I traced Mike's. (yes, as you can tell by the floor, the children were crafting too)

Fold paper an inch below the bottom of your ear outline & cut out to make a too-long oval. Then do another one for the other ear. (Trust me, it will make sense in a minute.)

Fold the paper where you want the base of the end to be, then fold the gap in the middle into 4 equal parts.

Then bring them together to look like this:

The ribbon headband will go through this gap, and the top of the T shape will sit flat against the child's head so the ear stands up straight.

Decorate the ears however you wish. I got this yarn from Spotlight for 99c. We'll also be sticking it on a t-shirt to make it fluffy & Mike-like. (any suggestions on how I should do this, please comment!)

I'm sure you won't use your finger to spread the glue over the cardboard because the glue spout is broken and you don't want to disturb the busy children round your feet by getting up for a paint brush.

Tie a piece of wool/ribbon/whatever around child's head. It's like a halo, but crossing the top of the head instead of near the forehead.

Once the decorated ears are dry (the waiting was the hardest bit for us), wrap them around the ribbon, position them on the child then glue them in place.

I used pegs to make sure the cardboard held it's T shape so the ears won't slide around on the yarn.

Once dry, wear. Or in my case, make your child wear them for the photo, then hide them away so they don't get wrecked before the concert.

Ta da! One set of teddy bear ears, ready to go :)

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Due mid-June. All good so far. Yay :)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Learning from others...

Sometimes I'm away for work over a weekend, which among other things gives me the opportunity to see how other people do church.  It's a really interesting thing to do, especially in America.  I've been to some places that are quite large, others that are quite small, some that are very traditional in everything, some that are less so.

On a couple of occasions I've had the chance to visit Capitol Hill Baptist Church for their Sunday morning service.  You might have seen Mark Dever, their senior pastor, at ministry/preaching seminars here from time to time, and I think he's endorsed a few Matthias Media books over the years too, as well as writing his own.

They start things off with what they call "Core Seminars".  Think of it like a workshop, or a topical Bible Study group.  There are around half a dozen to choose from, each of which would have between 8 and 30 people attending.  Topics covered include Biblical Theology, marriage, guidance, New Testament, apologetics, church membership, things like that. 

Core Seminars run for almost an hour, then church starts. It's a full on experience, starting with a few songs, then times of prayer and Bible reading before the sermon starts.  Most churches I know of target a 15 minute sermon, but CHBC sermons go for more like 45 minutes.  It's not easy to concentrate for that long when you're jet lagged.

But getting back to the topic of the post, what have I learned from these visits?

1. Welcoming.  The way a visitor is welcomed sets the tone for the whole morning.  When there's a culture of anyone coming up and welcoming you (even with sometimes silly questions like "oh, you're from Brisbane, do you know so-and-so?"), it has a big impact.

2. Music.  Doesn't need to be big.  My observation here is that CHBC have thought this out quite carefully.  Instruments are just a piano and acoustic guitar.  But they have three or four singers (the guitarist is also one of the singers, and the main coordinator I think) to make sure that there's a voice and a face in every direction in the hall.  They choose songs to suit the sermon each week, and aren't constrained by era, source, or familiarity.  I've sung very old hymns there, familiar modern songs, and unfamiliar hymns and songs too.  In fact one chap I was speaking to said that it wasn't unusual for him not to know all the hymns, even though he could clearly sing with gusto when he did know the song.  They quite like going acapella for the last verse, which I think can be overdone, but at the same time there's a definite lift in the voices as they do it.  And I think acapella can be very useful for drawing attention to lyrics.

3. Communion.  I haven't been there for a communion service, but I love the way they prepare for it.  They do it in the evening service on the first Sunday of each month.  The morning of, and the week before, they explicitly remind the congregation that communion is coming, and encourage everyone to prepare themselves for taking the Lord's Supper.  No doubt in my mind, when people listen and respond to that sort of encouragement, spiritual growth will follow.

4. Diversity and humility.  CHBC is near the US Capitol obviously.  It's a well-to-do area, and the congregation includes lots of congressional staffers, senate staffers, lawyers, and wider government and military personnel at all levels.  But I haven't seen any signs of one-upmanship or people trying to big-note themselves.  Some come in suits, some come in jeans and t-shirts.  There's no pressure to conform - if a particular song or prayer leads people to raise hands, fine - they don't force everyone to do it, nor do they force people to keep their hands down.  During one hymn, an older lady in the back pulled out a tambourine and started shaking in time with the song.  Just that one, she wasn't trying to do it for everything, but it fit with that particular song.

5. Bible.  With a 45 minute exposition, the Bible is undeniably at the centre of their time together each week.

I'm sure CHBC have their flaws - every church does, because they're made up of sinful human beings.  And I wouldn't necessarily want to apply all of their practices to my own church.  But I think we can learn a lot by observing how other churches do things, and be better disciples of Christ and more effective ministers for him as a result.

Everything's bigger in Texas

Or so people say anyway.

Ant it seems to be true.  The airport is massive - Brisbane has the Airtrain between terminals, but Dallas-Fort Worth has 5 terminals, space for at least one more, and a bunch of remotely-driven trains for shuttling from one to the next.  The highways are enormous - easily on par with Los Angeles.  The "trucks" (utes in regular Aussie English) all need running boards to get up to the seat.  And there are huge churches everywhere.