Friday, 29 February 2008


Sophie made a mask today for school.

encouraging words

I’m currently reading “the Ministry of Motherhood” by Sally Clarkson. She describes a model of motherhood based on the ministry of Jesus with his disciples. A mother needs to teach and disciple her children in the same way that Jesus taught and made disciples of the twelve. She identifies five ‘gifts’ that Jesus gave to his apostles and that a mother can endeavour to give to her children:

  • the gift of Grace,

  • the gift of Inspiration,

  • the gift of Faith,

  • the gift of Training,

  • the gift of Service.

I have so far only read about the first two gifts. I have found it challenging and encouraging and hope to change in light of what I have read. I found the section on the grace of encouraging words particularly helpful.

With these thoughts in my mind yesterday, and listening to Sophie sing a song which went something like this…

    Praise God, praise God

    because he has made us

    He made us children

    And he looks after us

    He gave us parents to look after us

    Who cook our food

    And who give us somewhere to live

    Praise God, praise God

…I decided now was the time for some encouraging words.
She said, “Mummy, was that a good song?”
Me (eyes brimming with tears), “That was the most beautiful song I have heard in a long time”.

And then I smiled, and kept smiling, and kept looking at her past the point at which one usually looks away. I wanted her to know I really meant it. And she kept looking at me. And then her smile wavered and she rushed towards me and buried her head in my shoulders and said, “I love you, Mummy”. (everyone sigh)

So I can affirm the power of encouraging words. I can affirm their power for building our relationship.

My question, at this stage is, how can I make sure I make disciples of Christ, not disciples of me? I’ll keep reading.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

In secret, or not?

Some of you may remember this post I wrote while I was suffering severe shock after a collection for a jumble sale.

Well I have had an epiphany. The guiding principle for giving here, is not Matthew 6:3-4 (don’t let your left hand know what your right is doing), but Matthew 5:16 which says;

”…let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

How could two principles for giving be so different? I'm sure the answer is that they are not, but this so much of an “ah-ha” experience for me that I’ve yet to gather my thoughts to reconcile the two. Stay tuned…

Which flower is this? (6)

This flower is Acacia linifolia. Common name: flax wattle.

All wattles have that typical fluffy yellow flower. The flower is actually an abundance of stamens. I don't know if I've ever seen the petals of a wattle flower!

There are so very many different types of wattle. Even though they have that distinctive flower, their leaves can be very different from each other. They can be long and slender, or short and spiky, or big and divided or just ordinary leaf-shaped.

The flax wattle, above, is common in the lower blue mountains and flowers in the summer. It's flowers are pale yellow and it's leaves are long and slender.

Friday, 22 February 2008

What was he thinking?

Matthew was sitting on the floor this afternoon with a book. He was turning the pages and after each turn he would clap, four or five times. Turn, clap... turn, clap... This went on for at least thirty seconds (this is a long time for a toddler)! I wonder what he was thinking.

It was a book on Immanuel Kant by William Wallace. Which makes me ask again... what was he thinking ??

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Sophie's Teacher

Here is the photo I promised in this post.

Back on line. Hopefully back posting soon.

Hey where are all you Australians?? What flower is this?

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Thursday, 7 February 2008

on pause

This blog will be on pause until our phone is connected. It's been tricky blogging from someone else's phone line and I've decided to give it a break unitl ours is connected. It might be a while...

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

travelling with kids

We have travelled with our children quite a lot, in the car, on planes and on boats. I thought I'd share some of the things we have learnt that have made this travel easier. There will be three parts. This is the first. If you have any other tips, please share them with us!

Long Distance Car Travel
Glen comes from Griffith, a country town six hours non-stop from Sydney. His parents and extended family still live there. His brother has moved to Dubbo, another country town about six hours non-stop from Sydney, in a different direction. This means that when we are in Australia (usually based in Sydney) we often face multiple long distance car trips. How do we manage? Here are some things we have learnt.

* make a day of it
We have found it best not to try to make record time when traveling long distance with the children. Instead, we leave plenty of unconstrained time. That is, we don't make plans to meet people or do things when we arrive at our destination. We plan three or four stops for food, toilets and play. This may require forethought as driving around a town looking for a park or the information centre can be a pain.

* food
We try to pack plenty of food for our trip. It is much cheaper to pack our own, and usually much healthier. We pack meals and snacks for when we stop. We also pack emergency snacks for the car. We don't like eating in the car because of the mess and potential danger in an accident, but sometimes preserving sanity is more important.

* places to stop
We plan stop at parks to give the children space to run around. We usually work out which towns to pass through according to how good their parks are. It might be worth asking around if you don't know in advance. Most parks have toilets (although in varying degrees of cleanliness). It is easy to eat at parks, no need to worry about mess (or manners). If wet, the playgrounds at fast-food restaurants are a blessing. They also have toilets, often with change tables that public toilets at parks often lack.

* toys to hold and play with
We pack a few toys for each child that they can hold or play with. Usually without removable parts (which can be swallowed or lost). For infants, toys that move and shake and rattle and buzz are good (think about the annoyance factor for you first). If you don't have any, see if your local library has a toy library and check out their collection.

* sleep
Plan the trip as if none of the children will sleep, and then every minute they sleep is a blessing. Pack a pillow to make sleeping easier for older children. Don't skip sleeps or tire them out before the trip as they cope better with being cooped up if they are not tired.

* things to listen to
Don't forget to take tapes or CDs of favourite songs, or nursery rhymes to listen to. Download some stories from If you can put up with the annoying bits about Prince Bertie the Frog at the start of each story these may pass away hours of your trip very pleasantly.

* word games and singing
Think about some word games and songs that you can play or sing with your children. This is particularly helfpul if you are by yourself and unable to turn around to sort things out or pick up toys and that sort of thing. "I spy" works well, colours or letters (spying things inside the car) and "Let's look for a ..." (for
things outside).

* emergency stops
Don't be afraid to make extra stops if they are required, even if its just the side of the road, for an emergency toilet stop, nappy change, stretch of the legs or a feed for the baby. If worse comes to worse, stay the night somewhere short of your destination.

I hope these things are helpful (they are certainly not exhaustive) and please, please comment with things that you have learnt about long distance car travel with your children.

Monday, 4 February 2008

stuck in the mud

...or not. The other girls were all playing stuck in the mud at a birthday party yesterday.

This was the safest place:

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Which flower is this #5?

Do you recognise this flower?

Can you identify it?

You might know someone who can... you might make use of a botanical key... you might find it on the internet, or even in a book.

A fabulous 4x6 print of the above picture will be sent to the first person to post a comment with its correct common name, the first person to post a comment with its correct Genus name, and the first person to post a comment with its correct species name.

What are you waiting for? Have a go!

See this post for more details.

Hair Cuts

The girls have been suffering from heat rash so today I cut their hair.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Heaven help me...

... it's only day three!

We began school this week. Sophie is doing Kindergarten through the NSW correspondence school. I am her teacher on the spot. Bethany comes too... until she's had enough and vanishes to play quietly in their bedroom. Matthew comes too.

On the first day, Glen asked Sophie, "How was school today?"

She said, "Great!"

He said, "What was your teacher like?"

She said, "Great!"

Today, Glen asked, "What did you do at school today?"

Sophie, "(sigh) Nothing!"

Glen (trying again), "How was school today?"

Sophie, "(sigh) Boring!"

(Mother hides head in shame)

Then Bethany began talking about what she had done in school today. Then Sophie said, 'only joking, Daddy'. It hadn't been quite so bad after all. Whew!

Friday, 1 February 2008

flower #4 is...

...a Flannel Flower, Actinotus helianthus

Well done to Nicole (who, being the first, will receive a fabulous
print) and Julie (who also recognised the most beautiful of flowers).

Keep watch next Monday for the next flower on "which flower is this?"

The petals of the flannel flower are actually not petals, but leaves. They are the "sepals". Sepals are the leaves (usuall small and green) underneath the head of the flower. This makes flannel flowers easy to distinguish from other flowers that look similar, like daisys. The petals of daisys are real petals and there will be sepals as well underneath the flower head.