Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Wish I didn't say that...

Yesterday I said something I later regretted on Facebook. I was trying to be pointed and a little humorous, and while it was relatively inoffensive, it wasn't kind or generous.

What's amazing is how God works his timing out so perfectly to teach us these things.

I posted the comment and headed out for some exercise. I am currently listening to The Next Story by Tim Challies. The chapter I listened to talked about how easy it is to be destructive with words in the digital age, we just throw them out there without thinking about the consequences.

I came home and repented, but really, the damage was done and my heart was exposed.

Today, Tim Challies posted an excellent reflection: A Holy Moment about regrets he has had about commenting on others online, and the risks that this digital world presents when we forget the people we talk about are real people.

That is my risk with digital communication - it's so easy to just send an email or post a comment without interacting with the person at all. It's all my communication on my terms. No sense of how they might receive it, how they might feel upon reading it or how it could be read wrongly.

That's what I need to continue to work on - grace and generosity in an online world.

**

If you are interested in thinking more about what life and faith look like in this digital age, I highly recommend you get a copy of The Next Story. In the next few weeks I will be doing a little series working through some of Challies' ideas. I have found it incredibly helpful and challenging so far and look forward to listening to the rest.


Monday, August 29, 2011

No more needles

We have reached the end of childhood vaccinations in this house.

All those needles at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 12 months, 18 months and 4 years are now completed.

Miss 4 had her last ones last week. I think the four year ones are the worst, because once they get one, they really know what is coming for the second one.

And for the first time of all of them, I cried too. Don't think it was nostalgia, but rather sympathy... some parts of childhood you are happy to complete.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Grief

Many of you will know or know of Nathan Tasker, singer songwriter. He and his wife Cassie recently lost their dear twin babies at 21 weeks. Nathan and Cassie have both blogged about their loss and grief, and Nathan did a recent radio interview on The Open House Program.

I don't refer to this to create spectators for their grief, but rather for those who have suffered similar griefs who might find it helpful. (And I have only chosen to do so, because they have decided to made their news public).

There are many couples who grieve the loss of their babies, and knowing that you are not alone can be a help along the way. In the radio interview, Nathan speaks of how the Christian community has helped them in these early weeks and how that has helped to sustain them, and how even though they do not understand why God has allowed this to happen, they continue to turn to him for answers and support.

We have known many people over the years who have lost babies. One friend told me (15 years after) that,
"It hurts like hell for 10 years, then it starts to ease."
When I mentioned this to others in similar situations, they have acknowledged such a statement to be true.

I say this, both for those who grieve - to know that it will hurt for a long time; and for those of us who support friends through such a loss - we need to be a support for the long haul.

***

For those looking for other personal journeys through such a time, Molly Piper's blog is well worth reading.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Hiding Place

The Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom with John and Elizabeth Sherill

This audiobook has accompanied me through 9.5 hours of exercise over the last few weeks. I loved every minute of it.

Many have already read The Hiding Place, but if you haven't - I highly recommend it. It is an autobiography by Corrie Ten Boom of her childhood and family life in Holland in the early 20th century, and then of the invasion of Holland by Germany in WWII. She and her family led the resistance movement in their town, including hiding many Jews in their home. Eventually, she and her sister (in their 50s) and her father (in his 80s) were arrested and imprisoned. She was later transferred to a German concentration camp.

It's a story with devastating power, about how humankind can be so sinful, and also so gracious. So cruel and so kind. But much more than that, it tells of a family's dependent reliance on God for all things, and their trust in him no matter what.

It's not an easy read (in terms of content), but one that all Christians should read, especially those who think history isn't worth bothering with.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Captain America

We were lucky enough to have a date night on Saturday night, thanks to Husband's mum visiting, so we went to dinner and a movie.

We saw Captain America - The First Avenger, another in a line of Marvel comics which have been turned into movies. We also saw Thor earlier this year. I really like them - I quite like blockbuster movies: all action but no gore, no swearing, mild romance, completely unrealistic, etc.

Thor was probably funnier, but Captain America was good too, and Hugo Weaving is a very good evil villain.

At the end there was a trailer for next year's movie - The Avengers, which brings the characters all together - so now we need to see Iron Man on DVD as well. We so rarely go to the movies, it's a nice treat when it happens - especially when we both actually want to see the movie.

Bring on the blockbuster, I say.

Friday, August 19, 2011

One-to-one bible reading

One-to-One Bible Reading, David Helm

This is an excellent little resource for those who would like to read the bible with someone but just don’t really know where to start. It is appropriate for any person you might meet with: non-Christian, new-Christian, or committed Christian.

Here are words from Helm we all need to hear:
the greatest hindrance to inviting someone to read one-to-one will be an unbiblical view that you are not ready for this. You will tell yourself you haven’t been properly trained, or simply don’t know enough about the bible to help another person along the way. In fact, you may even try to convince yourself that someone should be initiating reading the bible one-to-one with you, rather than you initiating it with another person. It’s a tempting thought.

But it’s also not true.

Any committed Christian is capable of initiating a good conversation on a biblical text. (p24, emphasis mine)

However, the truth is, many of us are just too scared to try. This book is what you need to give you some help. Part 1 covers the basics of what to do in one-to-one bible reading, why to do it and how to go about it.

Part 2 gives some methods on how to actually read the bible with someone, and some guidelines. He introduces both the Swedish method and the COMA method of bible reading, with the clearest explanations of both that I have read.

Then, comes the material that is invaluable for those starting out - there are suggested books of the bible (divided up into sections) for different people (non-Christians, new Christians, etc). There are whole sets of questions for different types of literature (gospels, OT narrative, prophetic, wisdom, epistles, etc). Then there is a set of 8 studies working through Marks’ gospel - perfect to start with an unbeliever. All of these are even reproduced again at the back of the book as photocopyable sheets. You can also download them.

I think this should be standard reading for all committed Christians, especially bible study leaders, youth group leaders, etc. Give them out this year as Christmas presents!


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Not quite yet

I had a great interaction with a school mum today, which made me realise we are like-minded.

Today is Miss 4's birthday, and this mum (of a 5-yr old boy and 2-yr old twin boys) asked if she was turning 5? I said, no, 4.

She said in a resigned voice: "bugger".
(for non-Australian readers - this would be 'bummer' or 'shame', said with emphasis!)


I laughed out loud. It was such a classic response from a parent who is happy to see her kids get older and looks forward to them being school age. We had a good laugh about it. I realise I have a kindred spirit in her now!

Monday, August 15, 2011

A hint of spring

After a very cold and wet winter, it's lovely to see the beginnings of spring around the place. every year I am surprised by how early our almond tree blossoms, it started last weekend, with it's gorgeous white flowers:


And the beginnings of new leaves:


One week later, it is covered in new growth, and our backyard begins yet again to look less bare.

Also, my favourite trees in all Adelaide are blossoming - the pink ones (I have no idea what they are, someone could surely enlighten me?)


Spring is surely one of the best times in this city.


Friday, August 12, 2011

Boundaries with Kids

Boundaries with Kids, Dr Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend

To date I have avoided the juggernaut that are the Boundaries books by Cloud and Townsend. However having realised it's a continuous bestseller and having read another book by them (Raising Great Kids: Parenting with Grace and Truth) some years ago - I thought it was time to give it a try.

I was pleasantly surprised. There is nothing particularly new in it and the concept of boundaries with children is definitely not one that is foreign to me as a parent. However, it was helpful in many ways.

The bulk of the book outlines 10 areas where children need to learn, these include: consequences, responsibility, respect, motivation, evaluation and honesty. All of these are couched in boundary language and it's all common sense stuff. If you were struggling to manage your children, either young or older, there would be lots in here that would be valuable. It also teaches parents how to manage themselves with their children - in essence, how to choose to be an in-control parent.

So, all in all, a helpful, sensible book from a Christian perspective. Another one to add to the growing collection!


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Resource request

Blog readers - I am after a resource.

Do you know of any books dealing with the challenges of parenting with shared custody arrangements?

I would like something from a Christian perspective, especially if there is wisdom on managing shared parenting between a Christian and a non-Christian. However, if there is sensible material from a non-Christian perspective, that would be helpful too.

Feel free to either comment or send me an email.

Thanks.


Friday, August 5, 2011

Triple Zero Kid's Challenge

I came across a great website recently, thanks to our neighbourhood watch newsletter.

The emergency services across Australia have created a Triple Zero Website for children. It's a set of cartoon scenarios which require either police, fire, or ambulance help. It helps kids (kindy and primary schoolers) know what to do in an emergency.

I'm what I call a 'catastrophiser'. I tend to imagine the worst. So I have wondered what would happen if there was an emergency in the house - would the kids know what to do? I even used to wonder if you could ring 000 just to have a practice (but knew we better not).

This website shows kids what counts as an emergency, when to ring 000 and what to say. Even I found it helpful and when I had reason to call 000 for the fire department recently, I knew how the phone conversation would go and I was ready for it.

I think it has sunk in for the kids too, as after we played on the website, they created an emergency game outside, calling 000, asking for fire, or police or ambulance and explaining the situation to each other over the 'phone'.

That was time well spent online.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Reference from Chris's update

If you are clicking across from Chris's 10am newsletter this week, the reference for teaching doctrine to your children is this one: Teaching the Faith - resources.


(Apologies to readers not from my church - this post will make no sense!)

The show did not go on

As part of last week's trip to Sydney, there was also some lovely time with my family. One of the treats that mum, my sister and I had planned was to see Mary Poppins on stage. We had dinner out, went to the theatre, sat down and enjoyed the show - for 30 mins until one of the very impressive sets got stuck on stage. The curtains closed, we sat for 30 minutes while they tried to fix it. It started again - for 5 minutes, the house got stuck again, the curtains closed. We had an early interval. Sat down again and... they announced the show could not go on and was cancelled for the night! It was a shame, but no problem - they refunded everyone's money and one could rebook - if one actually lived in Sydney and didn't just happen to be there from interstate.

It made us think: of all the shows we have seen over the years, if you count the shows I have seen (which are a few) but nothing compared to the ballet, opera and theatre my parents and sister have seen - none of us ever recall a show stopping and not going on. Mum has seen ballet dancers pull muscles and slide offstage, costumes fall apart, etc, but the show always went on. Sadly, it didn't last Thursday night.

Also it really wasn't handled very well. It was just an announcement over the intercom, very matter-of-fact "Sorry the show has been cancelled for tonight". It would have been so much better if Mary or another cast member came out, and explained what had happened, apologised and said "thanks for coming". I would even have been happy to clap the cast for the amount of show that we saw, it wasn't their fault something went wrong.

Ah well, it was a fun night anyway and we walked away with a good story.

Two silly sisters expressing their dismay


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Conference

I was in Sydney over the weekend for the Sydney Diocese Ministry Wives conference. This is my 'booster in the arm' every 2 years. We are taught from God's word and consider life from a ministry wife perspective. The teaching was fantastic, the speakers were excellent and the seminars very encouraging - I went to one on 'respecting your husband' and another on 'staying fresh in ministry'. There was a panel of grownup minister's kids, talking about what it was like growing up as a minister or missionary kid. There was also a great session on 'growing great teams'.

For me, a real attraction to the weekend is the chance to catch up with friends - a huge number of our friends (especially those in Sydney) are in ministry so this is my chance to see how everyone is going in the ministries God has placed them. It's a very encouraging time, but I also found it emotionally exhausting.

I have come back to Adelaide and am thrilled to be here, thankful for the ministry Husband is involved in, extremely thankful for the team we work with, and very thankful to God for all of it.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The conveyor belt

The conveyor belt has started again.

Our youngest has started kindy today, which means in just over a year she'll be starting school. I have always felt that it's like a conveyor belt at this stage. They start pre-entry (one afternoon), then next term it's proper kindy (2 days), then a year later it's school and before you know it, it's all happened again. But for us, this is the last time it's happening.

She was very excited, but I thought she might not be so keen once she got there. She can be slightly more hesitant than the other two. However, she confidently walked in ahead of me, carrying her own bag, said hello to the teachers, looked around, announced she was going to play on the equipment and then told me I could leave! I was probably there for 4 minutes. Sometimes, I wish they were a little less independent, just a little...