Monday, December 14, 2015

Mrs Frisby and the Rats of Nimh

Mrs Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, Robert C. O'Brien

I read this book myself as a child, and so was excited to find it still available for my kids.  Mr 12 enjoyed it on his own a few years ago (and still enjoys it), and I have just read it to Miss 8 & 10, who also swiftly became fans.

Mr Frisby, a widowed field mouse, lives on a farm with her 4 children.  Her son, Jonathon, falls ill and she seeks help for his safe recovery from another mouse, a crow and finally an owl, who suggests she see the rats and ask for their help.  All the animals on the farm know of the rats, but tend to avoid them.  Bravely facing her fears, she does as instructed and in time comes to hear the story of the rats themselves and how her own husband used to be one of their friends.

It is at a simple level a lovely story of intelligent animals working together and helping one another.  At a deeper level there are comments on laboratory testing and whether animals can be civilised.  Reading it again as an adult, I reflected how it truly represents a humanistic world view – that is  that people (or in this case, rats), when given the chance can develop into something better and become more civilised, more human, as it were.   Of course, this is completely at odds with the Christian view of the depravity of man, and our need for a saviour, rather than having the ability to save ourselves. Mr 12 and I had a brief conversation to that end. 

In the end though, it’s also just a lovely story.

Monday, December 7, 2015


Last year a group of Christian families from our local primary school hosted a gingerbread house event for school families.  

As it was well received last year, we decided to do it again.   Our group of 7 families attend 5 different churches, so we went to a different church this year, the advantage of which was that is was closer to the school (and not in the city which some people don't like travelling to) and the hall was air-conditioned - a big plus!

Initially estimates suggested we would have less people coming than last year, but a late rush meant it was about the same size.   100 people came (61 kids & 39 adults) - representing about 27 families at the school (not including the 7 host families).  All in all, 62 houses were made.

Again, we had a short talk about the first Christmas and everyone had fun.   We will have to see how to keep working on it in the future.   It's probably worth doing for at least one more year to gain momentum.   However, some of our host families are leaving the school, and we need to think about how to keep the children's attention during the talk time.

Good problems to have however.  People were very positive and seemed to enjoy it and it's a great way to keep the real Christmas story on the agenda for people this time of year, while having fun as a family.

The host family kids with their houses

My three little helpers for lolly sorting

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

December Status Report

The tree is up, the advent boxes are out and Christmas season has started in earnest.   Love it.   However looking at the number of tree decorations we already have, I may have to curb my guilty pleasure of buying more decorations each year and sets for the kids in the future!

End of primary school is nigh.  Mr 12 is counting down the days to the end of his primary school years.  He had a transition visit to his high school yesterday and enjoyed it, so is looking forward even more to next year.   I think the lure of a laptop is also driving the excitement a little.     

Finished a major project.  The Bayeux tapestry (a version of it!).  Purchased in Bayeux, France in January 2001.  15 years later I have finally finished it and it is now framed and on the wall.    I am very much enjoying looking at it regularly.

Have managed to make some decisions regarding next year.   We will continue to do the marriage courses (4 in total), some seminars (marriage and parenting), help with AFES wives conference, and I am looking into some study options.  I am planning to have Term 1 a bit quieter, as I have no idea what the transition to high school looks like for me or Mr 12, so it seems wise to keep some more time free.

Pondering the evocative power of music.   Music certainly can bring back memories.  I have had two strong reactions to music that I recall (not including Christian music – there have been a few of those as well!)  First was in 2001, at EuroDisney.   We were waiting to see the Main Street Parade and the music started up, and I was drawn back to happy memories of my childhood visiting Disneyland and Disneyworld and the fun and joy that those times were.    Husband was somewhat startled to discover me weeping in response.

It happened again last week at the movies as the Star Wars music started up, leading into the preview for The Force Awakens.   My sister and I spent hours as kids watching episodes 4, 5, & 6 and I can probably recite all the dialogue.   More happy memories awakened by great music.  I am very much looking forward to seeing the new movie, let’s hope it lives up to the hype!