Saturday, 28 February 2009

Which flower is this? (28a)

This flower is,

Grevillea buxifolia ssp. phylicoides

of the family, PROTEACEAE.

Again, note the long extended style so typical of this family. See the same feature in this Banksia, the Mountain Devil, and the Crinkle Bush; all different genera from the same family.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Wholemeal Flour

This Monday, for the first time in four years, we were able to purchase whole-meal baker's flour in town.  Hooray.

Unfortunately, it is infested with weevils.  And one can't sift whole-meal flour like white flour!

I think I have discovered the reason multi-grain bread was developed.

Mrs Piggle-Wiggle on washing up.

Tim Chester wrote this great post the other day about washing up.

The same day, Sophie was reading Mrs Piggle-Wiggle's advice to Mary Lou, who ran away from home because 'that woman' could not possibly be her real mother... real mothers who love their daughters wouldn't insist that they wash-up! Here it is;

"Now that's a funny thing," said Mrs Piggle-Wiggle. "I mean your hating to wash dishes so much, because you see, I like to wash dishes...

"When I wash dishes, Mary Lou, I pretend that I am a beautiful princess with long, golden, curly hair (Mary Lou's hair was jet black and braided into two stiff little pigtails), and apple-blossom skin and forget-me-not blue eyes. I have been captured by a wicked witch and my only change to get free is to wash every single dish and have the whole kitchen sparkly clean before the clock strikes. For, when the clock strikes, the witch will come down and inspect, to see if there is a crumb anywhere. If there are pots and pans that have been put away wet, if the silverware has been thrown in the drawer, of if the sink has bot been scrubbed out, the witch will have me in her power for another year."
(from Mrs Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald)

I know which method works more effectively for my six-year-old!

Myself, I like the 'listen to a talk on the mp3 player' method. Maybe I should listen to some more Tim Chester.

God at work

If you've been amazed at the change in Bethany (as I have) over the past six months (see the change from this, through this, to this and this), you may been wondering what has produced it.

Well, it's been an amazing testimony to the work of God in answer to our prayers! His spirit is changing her heart day by day. It's a change I pray will continue while ever she walks on this earth.

And this little book, Leading Little Ones to God by Marian Schoolland has been really tremendously helpful (read reviews here). After this incident, Glen began reading it with her, a chapter each night. Little by little she has grown in her understanding of who God is and how much he loves her. It's been terrific.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Another song from Bethany

Bethany (age 4) sang a little ditty in rest time today. It went:

We love each other.
We-e-e love each other.
I don't know why we love each other.
I don't know why we love each other.
Be-e-e-cause we want to love each other,
because we-e-e believe in Jesus.
Yeah yeah yeah.
Yeah yeah yeah.
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah....

Monday, 23 February 2009

Which flower is this? (28)

According to my book, this flower is not terribly common, not very long-lived, not very fruitful and is prone to infestation by scale-insect.

Do you know what it is?

Here we are...

Saturday, 21 February 2009

growing up island

Can I recommend this series of posts by Erin from purple frangipani.  She gives a good account of growing up at Talua.  As I have said previously, not much has changed, except the mobile phones!

More recent posts can be found here, here and here.

cross out the 'I'

I've been reading Dr. Helen Roseveare's book, Living Holiness.

It's been an interesting and challenging read.  The main point to each chapter is clear and illustrated powerfully by examples from her life and the lives of the people she worked with in Congo. 

Here is an example.  Here she is talking about dying to self.
Pastor Ndugu, a godly African church elder, first made this truth real to me, some four years afer I started my missionary service in Congo.  Things had gone wrong at Nebobongo.  I was very conscious that my life was not what is should have been.  I was losing my temper with nurses, being impatient with the sick, getting irritated with workmen.  Everything had got on top of me.  I was overwhelmingly tired, with an impossible work load and endless responsibilities.  Suddenly I knew that I had to get away from it all and sort myself out and seek God's forgiveness and restoration, if I was to continue in the work.
The pastor had seen my spiritual need and made all the arrangements for me to go to stay in his village for a long weekend.  I felt crushed by my own wretchedness and oft-repeated failures.  I knew I was quite unworthy of the title 'missionary' and I yearned to know the secret of a closer walk wit God and of a new in-filling by the Holy Spirit.  On the Sunday evening, I went to the pastor and his wife, as they sat together in the palaver hut by the embers of the fire, and asked him to help me.  I did not have to explain what I meant.  He knew.
Opening his Bible at Galatians 2:20, he drew a straight line in the dirt floor with his heel.  'I,' he said, 'the capital I in our lives, Self, is the great enemy.'
Stillness reigned.
'Helen, ' he said quietly, after a long pause, 'the trouble with you is that we can see so much Helen that we cannot see Jesus.'
Again he paused, and my eyes filled with tears.
'I notice that you drink much coffee,' he continued presently, apparently going off at a tangent. 'When they bring a mug of hot coffee to you, wherever you are, whatever you're doing, you stand there holding it, until it is cool enough to drink.  May I suggest that every time, as you stand and wait, you should lift your heart to God and pray...' and as he spoke, he moved his heel in the dirt across the I he had previously drawn,
'... Please, God, cross out the I.'
It was very still.
There in the dirt was his lesson of simplified theology- the Cross - the crossed-out I* life.
From Living Holiness, p75-76

* (emphasis mine)

which flower is this? (27a)

OK. I think I've worked this one out. It's

Platysace lanceolata.

Family APIACEAE. See here and here for other images.

Flannel Flowers are also in the APIACEAE family, which I think is also the celery family. I'm also wondering about onions, shallots and the like... there's something about those flowers that looks quite familiar.

Friday, 20 February 2009

how did it go?

We sang this song in college devotions (chapel) this morning.  How did it go?

Well the chorus was beautiful but we really struggled through the verses.

I learnt some things and I am still wondering about others.

I learnt that singing is not my forte, nor is composing.  I love singing but I am a follower not a leader.  This makes it difficult when you are trying to teach others a song unaccompanied.  Why did I attempt it?  What made me think I could do it?  Pride probably.  A classic case of a belly-button attempting to be a mouth.  It should probably remain out of sight!

Which makes me wonder, is it always best to stick to what one is good at?  Perhaps there is a place for learning humility through experiences like this.  Someone commented to me that, it's good for people to see that white people aren't perfect at everything.

Singing is a powerful medium for the proclamation of truth when it is done well.  What about when it isn't?  Is intent, no matter how good that intent, enough?  (Leaving aside for the moment the possibility that intent wasn't all that pure either).  What about the desire to share with others through song?  What's the place for this?

It made me think of this 'bathroom' parable.  It gives me some encouragement... but not enough that I'll be singing in church (or anywhere else) again soon.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Samaritan Woman

Here's a song inspired by reflection on John 4:1-42. We'll be singing it tomorrow morning at college devotions.

Woman Samaria*

Woman by the well,
Your life filled with sin and shame,
Cut off from the most holy place,
Cut off from his bounteous face.
Woman Samaria,
We’re just the same.

Not on this mountain.
Not in Jerusalem.
(But) we worship in spirit,
We worship in truth.
Not houses built of stone.
But (built) with each one of us.
We worship in spirit,
We worship in truth.

(Though) tired out from the journey,
He spoke words of spirit and love;
Living water, great gift of God. [x2]
Israel’s Messiah
Sent from above.


Hearing his words you believe them,
No longer condemned, you run
Straight into the presence of God. [x2]
Filled with the spirit
Life in the Son


Come drink living water
His words of truth, believe,
He’ll carry you right to the Father [x2]
Cleansed by the spirit
You’ll be received.

chorus, twice

* 'Woman Samaria' is Bislama for 'woman from Samaria'.  Identity in Vanuatu is very tightly related to where you are from.

** bracketed words are the ones we crossed out for the sake of rhythm when singing

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Which flower is this? (27)

Hey, hey, hey!  We're up and running again online. So I thought I'd mark the occasion with a Which flower is this?

This first series of five flowers will be ones I photographed while in Australia over Christmas, either from the Leura Cascades, or from the Valley Heights fire-trail behind my parent's house. 

Here's the first one.

It was situated at the top of the steps up from the Leura Cascades on the round track back to the picnic area, right near where the photograph of Sophie, Bethany and Matthew (in their winter clothes and looking very chilly) which I posted here, was taken.

At first I thought it was a RICE FLOWER, having seen something similar in the nursery at Bunnings. But having had a good look in my Key Guide to Australian Wildflowers, it is clear that it is not.  RICE FLOWERS have only four petals on each of those very tiny flowers, but this one has five, and this one doesn't seem to be in my guide.

So... what is it? Do you know? Can you guess? Don't be afraid... just click that comment button.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

a compliment for sure

This morning, Matthew was so pleased that I had arranged a biscuit for
him in church that he said,

"Good girl, Mum!"

It's almost exactly a month since his last attempt at a compliment
(see post on 14th Jan), and he seems to have learnt something
important in that month!

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

your little brother

"There's no room
for my feet",
you cried out.
"I can't sleep!"

In I went and
there you were,
in that small bed,
on the floor.

Hearing your sobs,
he awoke.
And seeing you there,
he joined you.

And you slept,
he and you.
Not room for one.
Enough for two.

Monday, 9 February 2009


Here are some pictures of Bethany's first week of school.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

hanging in there...

It's been quite here for a while for a number of reasons.

First, there was a spill on my computer which put it out of action for
a while. When I returned to Vanuatu Glen was able to fix it so now
it's even better than it was!!

Second, ever since an electrical storm a few weeks ago, our phone line
has been completely dead. There is only one phone on the whole of
campus that works and so while we have access to email through their
phone line, we have no access to internet (it is too slow and
expensive to use on someone else's line). If you want to contact us,
email is the best option. Comments to the blog come to me via email,
(thanks for your recent comments Bec and Alan. Alan, your comment was
helpful and I'll post a response as soon as we're online again). I
can post via email, like today, which I may do every now and then.
The formatting never quite works as well that way... and I can't post

Thirdly, correspondence school has begun for the year. Bethany has
started so it's taken me a while to get my head around supervising
school for both of them. Kindy is quite intense and while much of
Sophie's work is directed by a tape, there's only so much self-
directed work a six-year-old can cope with!!

So if you're hanging in there to find out what's happening... thanks
for your faithfulness!! We're doing well back here in Vanuatu. It's
raining a LOT and that keeps the place cool. The three weeks
intensive Greek course Glen was teaching with Pastor Shem for the
inaugural class for the bachelor program has gone really well. It's
orientation this week for the students and the big opening service and
feast this coming Sunday. Term One begins on Monday. There's a new
family from New Zealand come to work on staff at Talua, with five
children, and our girls are spending much of their spare time with
them at the moment.

I'm hanging in there for the satellite internet which is on the way...