Monday, 31 March 2008

the Sovereignty of God

People here have a very spiritual world view. There is often talk of evil spirits, especially as being the cause of this, that or the other. Hence we have been very careful to teach Sophie and Bethany that God is all powerful and is in control of all that happens. Nothing happens that is not by his hand. And as much as a three and five year old can, they seemed to have grasped this. Sophie told the lady next to her on the plane when we came across in January, that without God holding up the plane, it would fall down.

Now, they were chatting this afternoon and talking about how God makes everything happen. Then Bethany happened to fall over and she said, "Oh! God made me fall down"
to which Sophie said, "No, the Bible says, 'He will not let your foot slip.'"
Then Bethany said, "That's funny, there's a mistake in the Bible!"

We'll have to work on inerrancy next.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

That was then...

(about four days ago)

This is now....

Thursday, 20 March 2008

obstacle course

Sophie had to run an obstacle course as part of a her Maths classes!

At first it took her over three minutes. We got it down to 1 minute 12

where am I?

We're having phone and power problems, hence the silence. Hope to be
back soon.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

A post-posting tag

I don't know if this is within the blogger code of ethics or not, however, now that my sister has started a blog, I tag her to do this meme.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Jessica's visit

Here are some photos of when my cousin Jessica visited at the end of last year.
A traditional, floral welcome.

Here she is helping paint the new library.

a questiony meme

I was tagged by Nicole to do this questiony meme. Now I tag Erin, T and Heather.

1. Were you named after anyone? No. My parents didn’t know anyone called Rachael.

2. When was the last time you cried? It the middle of the night last night trying to get Matthew to sleep again without waking any of the students or the neighbours.

3. Do you like your handwriting? Yes

4. What is your favourite lunch meat? Honey ham

5. Do you have kids? Yes

6. If you were another person would you be friends with you? I don’t know… I know myself too well.

7. Do you use sarcasm a lot? No

8. Do you still have your tonsils? Yes

9. Would you bungee jump? No.

10. What is your favourite cereal? Toasted muesli

11. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? No shoelaces on thongs, but I never did when I had shoes with shoe-laces.

12. Do you think you are strong? Not strong enough.

13. What is your favourite icecream? I love any ice-cream I can get. As I haven’t been to town yet this year, I’m still waiting….

14. What is the first thing you notice about people? What colour their skin is, who they might look like, which island they might be from.

15. Red or pink? Pink clothes. Red flowers.

16. What is the thing that you like least about yourself? my sinful, doubting heart

17. Who do you miss the most? There’s lots of people I miss a lot.

19. What colour pants and shoes are you wearing? Women don’t wear pants in Vanuatu, its most inappropriate! I’m not wearing shoes either.

20. Have you ever re-gifted? Yes.

21. What are you listening to right now? Sophie chatting away about the tower she is building; Don Carson on Revelation on my mp3 player.

22. If you were a crayon what colour would you be? blue

23. Favourite smells? Frangipani flowers

24. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? My mum.

25. Do you like the person who sent this to you? yes!

26. Favourite sports to watch? I really don’t like watching sport on Television, in fact I hate it. I like watching team sports at a local ground, I enjoy the atmosphere.

27. Hair colour? mouse brown

28. Eye colour? Grey (I like to think they are blue but my husband tells me I am deceived)

29. Do you wear contacts? No, though maybe I could get some blue ones.

30. Favourite food? Custard, hot, on apple crumble

31. Scary movies or happy endings? Happy endings

32. Last movie you watched? “God’s Outlaw” about William Tyndale

33. What colour shirt are you wearing? Green

34. Summer or winter? Spring

35. Hugs or kisses? I agree with Nicole, depends on who is giving them!

36. Favourite dessert? Cheesecake

39. What book are you reading now? The ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson.

40. What is on your mousepad? Don’t use one.

41. What did you watch on tv last night? TV? There’s no TV here.

42. Favourite sound? Silence at about 8pm in the evening.

43. Rolling stones or Beatles? Beatles

44. What is the furthest you have been from home? I was going to say Vanuatu, but then I wondered whether Tasmania was further from Sydney, but it isn’t, and then I thought, well Vanuatu is home now, so Tasmania would be the furthest I’ve been.

45. Do you have a special talent? Not really!

46. Where born? Sydney, NSW, Australia


Just so you know how beautiful it is...

Friday, 14 March 2008

To infinity and back.

We have a copy of "Guess how much I love you" by Sam McBratney. It's a bit mushy for me, but our children have really taken it to heart. Sophie loves us "as far as heaven and back". Bethany, still guided by her own experience, loves us "to town and back" but "not to the biscuits, that's not very far at all".

Bethany, more than any of our other children (more than Sophie, that is!) is always saying "Mummy, I like you" or "Daddy, I love you", even at the oddest moments. Recently it has been "Mummy, I love you all the time or "I still love you when I am at Kindy". Yesterday, she asked, "Mum, do you love me all the time?"

"Yes, yes, yes!" say I (taking the rubbish out the door). "When you are good, when you are naughty, when you are at home, when you are at Kindy, even when I am cross and grumpy."

"Good", said she, and off she went.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Butter-fruit Salad

Avocados are in season at the moment. Otherwise known as butter-fruit, they are only 25 cents each! Consequently, we have been eating a lot of them. I have developed a great salad using other seasonal vegetables. Try it... it's delicious!


  • 1/2 an avocado, cubed
  • 5 foot beans, cut into inch-long pieces (so called because they are a foot long)
  • 5 capsicums, cut into rings (capsicums here are a fraction of the size of Australian ones and one never knows whether they will be spicy or not)
  • 2 shallots, cut thinly


  • 1 teapsoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • pinch salt, pinch sugar, pinch pepper
  • juice of half a wild lemon (or lime)

Cook the beans in boiling water for 1 or 2 minutes, drain and toss with
other ingredients and dress. Easy.

Mma Ramotswe on Human Nature

Mma Ramotse, Alexander McCall Smtih's Lady Dectective on the edge of the Kalahari Desert, is quite perceptive about Human Nature. She says,

"...people never behave themselves as they should. 'We are all human beings,' Mma Ramotswe had once observed to Mma Makustsi, 'and human beings can't really help themselves. Have you noticed that, Mma? We can't really help ourselves from doing things that land us in all sorts of trouble.'

and after some thoughts to the contrary, Mma Makutsi, her worthy and indomitable assistant, has to agree...

"I thing you're right Mma,' she said. 'Everybody has a weakness and most of us are not strong enough to resist it.'"

And later, when chatting (interrogating was too strong a word) with a suspect...

"And of course it was always difficult for Mma Ramotswe not to feel sympathy for another, however objectionable his conduct might be, however flawed his character, simply because she understood at the most intuitive, profound level, what it was to be a human being, which is not easy. Everybody, she felt, could do evil, so easily; could be weak, so easily; could be selfish; so easily. This meant that she could understand and she did- which was not the same thing as condoning- which she did not- or taking the view - which she did not - that one should not judge others. Of course one should judge others, and Mma Ramotswe used the standards of the Old Botswanan morality to make these judgements."

Blue Shoes and Happiness; p 2-3, 103

I found these reflections interesting because she believes

  • there is a way we should behave

  • none of us do (she leaves it open that we could which I wouldn't)

  • it is right to judge others according to some objective morality

I haven't found thoughts like these in popular literature for some time (though I haven't read much over the last five years). I wonder if perhaps we are supposed to think of these ideas of quaint and old-fashioned, belonging, like Mma Ramotswe, to some far-away little thought of place that bears little resemblance to the post-modern, secular, morally autonomous, western world. Perhaps. Perhaps Mma Ramotswe, in her gentle and engagin way, is just what is required to make us all think again. Perhaps.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Mama Mercy

Here is my dear friend, Mama Mercy, on her way to the outside kitchen in order to cook dinner.


This is the 100th post on this blog!

Tuesday, 11 March 2008


We had a little rain this afternoon...


We had an emergency visit to the clinic last night after Matthew fell and cut his head open on (of all things) an upended Sunshine powdered milk tin !!

which flower is this? (7)

This flower is Epacris microphylla (I think), common name; Coral heath. See another image here

The flowers are very small, only about 1cm across and the leaves are even smaller. They grow in damp heath. I found this one on a track down to the Fire-Trail behind Russell Ave, Valley Heights, Blue Mountains (when I was in Australia over Christmas).

It belongs to the EPACRIDACEAE family. Notice one, how the flowers are tubular with five petals and two (below), how the leaves grow straight out from the stem without a petiole (the leaf-stem). These features are typical of the family.

Other Epacrids include Epacris longiflora and Epacris impressa which is the state emblem of Victoria.

Happy Birthday Matthew

Matthew turns one today.

Thanks everyone for the gifts!

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Little Boys and Lolly Pops

At one point in the party, I caught Matthew wandering around sucking on a lolly-pop (these were part of the 'treasure') and thought 'who gave that to him?' and then thought 'oh well, it's his birthday... wouldn't've let Bethany get away with it though'. Then I picked him up. Soon after, he dropped the lolly-pop. 'Good' think I and put it out of reach. He promptly swings his other hand around, and sticks another lolly-pop in his mouth. Man! Who gave him that one? What hope for his teeth here ?


School for Sophie this week included a unit on TOYS which finished with a Party. It was supposed to be a Party for her Toys. Earlier in the week she had to organise a guest list, write invitations, cook and decorate. Since it is Matthew birthday on Monday, we decided wouldn't do a toy party, but we'd have a real party for Matthew's first birthday. She invited all the children from Kindy. We made a cake, anzac biscuits, popcorn, fairy bread with chocolate sprinkles and simboro (a local food). When the children arrived they all made party hats and then we played statues, musical chairs and had a treasure hunt which Sophie had prepared herself (including drawing all the clues). Then we sang happy birthday, ate the food and watched a small movie.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

"Who will I send?"

Last night after dinner we watched a short video about the un-reached people groups in the 10/40 window. It encouraged people to pray for those that have never heard about Jesus and to pray for missionaries to go and tell them. When it had finished…

Sophie, “Well you’re a Christian, Daddy.”

Glen, “Ye-es..”

Sophie, “You could go.”

Glen, “But we’ve come here!”

Sophie, “It’s all right Daddy, I already know about Jesus.”

Glen, “But…

Sophie, “And I can look after Bethany. I might need some help with Matthew.”

Out of the mouths of babes…

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Mma Ramotswe on Childbirth

I have been enjoying reading the books in the No. 1 Ladies Dectective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith. The heroine, a traditionally built African woman, Mma Ramotswe, runs a Detective Agency in Botswana on the edge of the Kalahari Desert. The books are engrossing and entertaining and filled with the warmth and sunshine of Africa. As the series progresses they seem to be more about Mma Ramotswe's life and thoughts (she reflects a lot on life, like others of McCall's protagonists, apparently) than the agency itself. Here she is on childbirth and morality.

"Mma Ramotswe was given to philosophical speculation, but only up to a point. Such questions were undoubtedly challenging, but they tended to lead to further questions which simply could not be answered. And at that point one ended up, as often as not, having to accept that things are as they are simply because that is the way they are. So everybody knew, for instance, that it was wrong for a man to be too close to a place where a woman was giving birth. That was something which was so obvious that it hardly needed to be stated. But then there were these remarkable ideas in other countries that suggested that men should actually attend the birth of their children. When Mma Ramostwe read about that in a magazine, her breath was taken away. But then she had asked herself why a father should not see his child being born, so that he cuold welcome it into the world and share the joy of this occasion, and she had found it difficult to find a reason. That is not to say it was not wrong - there was no question that it was profoundly wrong for a man to be there - but how could one justify the prohibition? Ultimately the answer must be that it was wrong because the old Botswana morality said that it was wrong, and the old Botswana morality, as everybody know, was so plainly right. It just felt right." (Tears of the Giraffe, p17)

I find the exactly same thoughts about childbirth here on Santo. It's definitely women's business. Yet in my own culture (in Australia) it has almost become morally abhorrent for the Father not to be there, so liberal have we become. Yet the really funny thing is that when I was in labour with Matthew and a male student midwife turned up, I couldn't cope and wanted him to leave.

So, how do we decide about right and wrong? How do we justify a prohibition against anything? What if it feels right?

Thankfully, we are not left to decide based on our feelings or on tradition. The One who is above all cultures and who made them and is not bound by them, has spoken and revealed to us what is right and wrong. This does not mean it is always easy to know what we ought to do in every situation, but it gives us a good and just basis upon which we can build and in which we can have confidence.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

What on earth is this?

I thought we'd have a break from flowers this week. Instead we have… well what do you think it is? I think it is some sort of mushroom.
But I'm not really sure. Interesting, isn't it.

Mushrooms are the 'fruits' of fungi, very small (microscopic), thread-like structures that grow in the soil (or in decaying wood or
other organisms). In Australia, they often grow in association with the roots of trees in the bush. They help the trees absorb nutrients from the soil (which is very poor in nutrients).

A mushroom is the sort of fruiting body with which we are most familiar. You may also know of puff-balls or stink-balls or bracket fungi (the disc like ones that grow out of trees or logs). Most fungi don;t have large fruiting bodies like these and go about their lives totally un-noticed. In fact, taxonomists think that there are still large numbers of fungi yet to be discovered.