Go mbeannai Dia duit.

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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Day out With the Rest of the Family.

As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live. ~John Paul II

 My beautiful cousin turned 60 this week. My large extended family is the terror of unwary females marrying into a bevvy of tall, leggy blondes who swoop on all & sundry hugging & kissing.  Star has been spared the family assault until recently.  Like others before her she is now a little shell~shocked & realises her singing cousin is neither a family anomaly nor a little strange.  It is in the blood.
 We celebrated at Harrigans, which is down Jacob's Well way & so out in the sticks there are neither signposts nor directions.  More than one of us got lost...  We travelled down with my mother as Liddy has our car for the weekend.  After days of torrential downpours we actually got a really nice day.

Harrigans is a *family* pub.  Aussies can stop thinking the local with the 5 o'clock swill.  It's much more like an English pub though considerably bigger than any English pub I got to see ~ & I saw a few.  Cheap lunches.  It has a lovely decor & being next to the marina has gone for a nautical theme.  Rather nice really.
 And this lovely lady is another cousin, a rather special one because she kept her promise to a rather besotted child & her wedding was the only time I ever got to be a bridesmaid.  Every girl should be a bridesmaid at least once in a lifetime.  Other family that has served overseas on the mission field.  Extroverts.
And I lost Star to the jazz & swing band.  She'd bravely gone to request a song ~ which they didn't know~ so having mangled her song of choice they dedicated one they did know to her! The luck of the Irish?  She certainly looked Irish enough with her hair a lovely shade of red when the light caught it, a delicate porcelain skin & a sweet smattering of freckles. 

She's performing herself tomorrow before we resume schooling. Great way to end the holidays.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pet Peeve.

We all have them ~ those things that really get under our skin & annoy the heck out of us.  Silly things.  Stupid things. Well this is mine.

I cannot abide those e~mails that regularly arrive in my box from friends or get posted on my Facebook page declaring that if I am not ashamed of Christ then I will pass this on to at least a dozen of my unfortunate friends & begging me to please not break the link ~ & I always do!  Always.  I refuse to pass this ....[insert mild oath of choice here] along.

Why?  Because 1. It is superstitious nonsense.  Honestly.  What do people think will happen if one person breaks the link?  How on earth do they get around to believing that if everyone follows the prescribed prodedure God is under any obligation at all to act as this rubbish proclaims?  It boggles my little mind.  Really it does.

2. Um, this is God we're talking about here.  You know, the guy who made the universe & invented those pretty math thingies that duplicate endlessly but which I don't understand.  God.  God, who gave us the minds we're supposed to think with.

3. And this is a biggie;  We're told not to do it.  Really we are.  We are not to dabble in magic or superstition or witchcraft & that's what this is asking us to do.  Look at it.  A+B + C = D.  That's magic not math!  Do this, this & thus & this will happen for you.  Somehow I don't think so!  It is manipulative & that is witchcraft.  I can't believe how many so called Christians are gulled by this stuff faithfully passing it round over & over when it is an offense to God.  Must be.  Violates what His word clearly tells us not to do!

4. This is just a personal narkism. Inevitably the sender links it to misplaced patriotism declaring roundly that unless we are all unashamed enough to pass on this stuff bad things will happen to our nation.  Well, bad things are gonna happen ~ but not because a chain letter didn't get passed on ~ & that's all this is.  A chain letter disguised under a *Christian* banner!  No thank you.

5.  You are all safe.  I will not be passing this most recent incursion into my e~mail box along to any of you.

6. As an aside, frankly I am tired of the sickly sweet version of Christianity. This is not the Christ I see in the gospels.  I see a man not afraid to tell it like it is, even if that lost Him followers.  I see a man not afraid to confront wrongdoing & give it it's proper name: sin.  I see a man brave enough to face the cross & all that meant.  I see a man with courage enough to confront His Father's wrath for our sake & bear the consequences!  And I am not ashamed to say I follow this man.  Not a candy god.  Not sweet enough to gag on.  But He is mine & I am His & if I am following closely enough you will know that by what I am & perhaps you will ask me about that ~ & if I'm not I am the one with the problem.  It is time for Christians to step up & realise Christ is never going to wrap them in cotton wool & demand nothing of them.  Rather he will hand them a spiritual sword & demand everything.  Time to get real,  people.  And ditch the junk mail. Please.

Monday, April 25, 2011

An afternoon's sailing.

...All I ask is a tall ship & a Star to steer her by.~ John Masefield.

When I sailed I used to sail Moths ~ not like these! ☺ These were just coming out & they were so lightweight they broke if you looked at them the wrong way.  They still look like they'd smash to splinters in a delicate little breeze but the Moth had two major advantages in my book: they flew like the clappers & they required no crew.  I have always preferred solo sailing ~ & being competitive I really only ever liked racing.  I liked bad weather.  I liked fast boats ~ & when I could get it I liked being the trapeze man.  If I could go back 20 odd years I'd like to try one of these ~ just the once.  Just to say I'd done it.  Just so I knew how it felt to fly a boat.

I can't say I've missed sailing, not really being the sporty sort.  I can ~ I just can't normally be bothered.  Give me a good book & my computer screen any day!   Just the same our fellow~worshippers are boaties & what boaties enjoy talking most with other enthusiasts [though that is not a requirement!] is boats & boating & I am very good at talking.  What's more I know a little bit about boats.  I could sail practically before I could walk & while I absolutely loathed it I have done the cruising thing though in my book hell would look very like being confined on a boat in bad weather! 

Anyway, our friend has just bought himself a smaller version of the Laser.  I was never a fan of the Laser.  For a Moth freak they were heavy & slow & even after they made Olympic status I still didn't like them.  Besides they were a 16' monstrosity that carried way too much sail area for my 5'5", 7 stone nothing.  I'd have spent a lot of time in the water.  I know I would because my first season on my Moth I spent so much time swimming the rescue boat used to follow me round picking up the buoys as I rounded them & following me home.  I was inevitably the last boat home.  My second season I'd gained another 1/2 stone & was lethal up to about 20 knots!

So my friend has been fixing his new possession up & like any sailor I've ever known was keen to put her in the water & show her off ~ & then get someone else to try her out so you can compare notes. I was that someone else.  Dorky me actually agreed to this!  Seriously, I haven't set foot on a dinghy in more than 30 years!  And I'm now over 50! Sailing conditions in our bay are dodgy at best & my kids have all heard the story of how I once sailed backwards around Coochimudlo Island!  Sadly a true tale.

 The girls came with me: Star to watch cautiously from the beach; Liddy to join me on board.  Now my kids have done very little sailing & what they have done has tended to be on something quite a bit bigger than a 14' dinghy.  Liddy had no faith in my abilities at all & no real idea.  She draped herself languorously along the front seat curled around my vang & sheeting arrangement then threw her not inconsiderable weight hastily my way as the boat began to lean & the outside water threatened to become inside water! 

When you sail in enclosed waters like our small bay  getting clean air is something of a novelty.  What you tend to get is dead spots, sudden wind shifts, directional changes & nasty & unexpected gusts ~ all of which threaten to tip you into a cold & malevolent bay. Liddy was one worried bunny.  I was worried too ~ though for slightly different reasons.  I'm not as young as I used to be.  I'm not as strong as I used to be.  I'm not as fit as I used to be; I really dislike getting dunked ~ & I had a nervous passenger who was tending to hurl her weight about rather than gently shifting it so the poor dingy was lurching across the bay like a drunk!  I then found as we went about Liddy was hauling on my mainsheet to help me out!!! Ouch.  I had deliberately let it out so we could sort ourselves out!  We only had a couple of feet in the cockpit & it was a tight fit, what with Liddy putting her head through the sheeting arrangement & me tangling my tiller extension between her & the boom, & there was Liddy on the wrong side of the boat tight hauling the mainsail while I was still trying to untangle my tiller!  It made for excited sailing.

I don't know if my friend was worried or not but he launched his tinnie complete with Wife & baby & Star & followed us round!  It was only gusting to 15 knots & that is something we should have been able to manage without too much trouble.  On my own it would have been so much easier but our combined weight in this little boat was making her rather heavy in the water, heavy on the tiller & slow to respond.  I'd love to take her out on my own in a steady breeze & see how she does.  She will never fly like a moth.  The old ones were chined & you only ever had an inch or so of hull in the water & they were devilishly fast; fast & delicate. Just like the Moth they were named for. 

When the tide turned we headed back.  Just beyond the mangroves the wind dies right out but there is a trick to coming in under those conditions if you know it & it's like riding a bike.  Once you know how to sail you never forget.  I was doing things automatically, never even thinking about them: watching my luff, watching my sail~tails, checking for the dark patches on the water which tell you your next gust is arriving, constantly shifting my weight to get the best out of the boat ~ adjusting, adjusting, adjusting.  And I got a compliment.  My friend is a braver man than I thought.  He told me after that most people who say they can sail take his boats out & promptly capsize them, then need rescuing.  We got in & out under our own steam  ~ & we didn't capsize!  The getting in again impressed him but I have always found sailing in light conditions hugely frustrating & best done as fast as possible ~ which we did.  We've been asked back.  I just might, you know!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easterfest 2011 is the largest drug and alcohol free festival in Australia ~ Easterfest boast.
 Wave to Dave; he's the one in the blue T & VMs occasional pianist ~ Mibus' keyboard artist. They were featured artists at Eaterfest this year & I believe Star actually went & said hi.  Dave is sweet & said hi back.  No, he really is nice.  Genuinely sweet & nice & a really good musician.
 Toowoomba is as Toowoomba always is at this time of the year:  Misty & nippy round the edges.  Such fun to camp in.
 The Happy Campers.

My girls.  Star will have so many good memories of happy times with Liddy.

The food was dubious....
And they got rained out, the big marquee collapsing under the weight of water.  The river came up causing concerne amongst the powers that be & things got shifted in a hurry.  Figure Star saw it all as a Grande Adventure.  Liddy, older & a little more circumspect, was happy to have her own warm dry bed last night. All their clothing was sodden so today we are washing & hanging & if we are blessed our rain will hold off until some of it is dry.

Not Easter

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever Psalm 136

What do you do when you think the church has screwed up really badly & has ended up celebrating a Pagan festival in the name of Christ?  How do you negotiate the waters for which you have no language?  No precedent?  Where are the signposts & guidelines? Just what do you do about the whole schmozzly mess?

These are questions we have been wrestling with in our little island getaway for several years ~ more if you count the years we have argued over how to celebrate Christmas & what to do about the GPs, who still give our kids Easter eggs. 

Once you step away from what everyone else is doing you suddenly find yourself in treacherous waters with hidden currents & unexpected snags.  It sounds simple.  If you don't want to celebrate, don't.  Only there's the GPs, & the one who really likes milk chocolate & the fact all the churches are busy geeing everyone up for Good Friday & Resurrection Sunday ~ seriously?  Can they not count? 

And I hate, loath, abhor the whole money thing & the parents screaming in the shops about the cost to give their kids Easter eggs & no idea about any of it: not Christ, not Eostre, not the cross & not the bunnies.  It makes me ill.  It makes me cross.

So last year we did a Seder & celebrated Passover & that was interesting but I think I did it badly & I wasn't real keen about doing it again this year.  With the girls away I was seriously going to ignore the whole thing.  Our friends are usually away for Easter ~ only this year they weren't & they wanted to know what we were going to do.

Now I will share a little something, mostly because it amuses me & I'm sure it amuses God.  For the better part of a month the Lord has been landing me in Psalm 136 & for the life of me I couldn't work out why.  Nothing lept out at me.  I didn't feel the prompting of the Holy Spirit to pay attention to anything in particular.  I have been stewing & frustrated & then last night, as I was putting together an abbreviated Seder to share with our friends I finally got it!  The final psalm in my Seder booklet is ~ yep! Psalm 136!

So why should this amuse me so much?  Well, I came to the conclusion after my reading, after tons of research, after the Holy Spirit leaning on me hard & putting a fire in my bones that the only Festivals the church should be celebrating are the one's God ordained.  After all He says they will still be celebrated in the kingdom to come.  Christmas won't;  Easter won't, but the Passover will be: the Feast of Tabernacles, the Days of unleavened Bread, Shavout, Yom Kippur & Rosh HaShanah will still be celebrated & in all seriousness shouldn't we be getting used to this?  Anyway, there it was.  God was reminding me I got it right last year & we were to remember the Passover, not because it is Passover but because in symbol & ritual it forshadows Christ's sacrifice.  It is such a joy to recognize the signposts that lead like a flighted arrow straight to the Cross!

And you know, having decided to do a shortened Seder so we could talk more about the symbols & how this was the meal Christ celebrated with His disciples the night he was betrayed I trotted off to the shops to buy my bitter herbs & my parsley ~ to find the floods had squished that! True.  Tabouli, parsley, bitter herbs were not to be had & our own garden is sadly bereft.  In desperation I bought parsley from the nursery.

This morning, unusually for me, flowed really peacefully.  There was such a sense of serenity & holiness as I set the tall white candles in their holders, salted the water,  placed my egg & lamb's bone on the white plate with the bitter herbs & the parsley.  Every act had a sense of sanctity to it ~ & I kept it simple.  We set out our morning tea as usual with the Seder things.  Dearest read about Christ sweating drops of blood as He prayed for this cup to pass from him & then we lit the candles & walked through the Seder ~ & it was lovely.  Our friends really enjoyed it.  It was peaceful & it was sacred & it was a holy thing we did.

Knowledge is a funny thing.  Once you have it you can't ever unhave it.  And knowing that Eostre is the same as Asarte who is the whore of Babylon whose animal was the hare & whose symbol of fertility was the egg what I thought ~ & what I think ~ is that the church has played the whore.  A little compromise has leavened the whole loaf. And look, it's so easy. 

 Hunting for eggs is fun.  Dying eggs is fun.  Chocolate is always good! Where's the harm?  Only all these things began life as pagan religious rituals & if we actually understood our bibles we wouldn't do it.  Leviticus ~ that long tedious book that lists all the things you can or cannot eat or wear & how long after birth a woman must wait before she can go to the temple ~ except its not about things.  It never was.  It is about a principle; the principle of holy verses unholy, clean as opposed to unclean & the principle is simple.  The unclean thing defiles.  What is unclean can not be made holy & this is the principle Easter violates.  The pagan is not made holy by Christianizing it.  Rather it defiles the whole.

So them's my thinks about Easter & why we didn't celebrate it this year ~ & why we won't next year either.  I don't know how we will celebrate but I figure as the Holy Spirit leads us further into All Truth we will be shown God's desire in the matter & He will give us the guidelines & the signposts & we will find the language to describe the path we are called to walk.

So whatever you call it & however you celebrated, may the blessing of the Lord Jesus Christ rest upon you & grant you peace.

Friday, April 22, 2011

I've tracked down many things in my time - suitcases, dogs, the occasional husband - but you're the first clients who've ever mislaid their children. ~The Thief Lord

Buying dvds on the island is dodgy at best.  They tend to be really old, really bad & really cheap ~ but it's been really wet so I flicked through them & came away with The Thief Lord.  I'd never heard of it before.  Never read the book.  Knew nothing at all about it.  I merely had a really bored child who was fed up with reading, had composer's block & was fed up with the long slow drizzle falling from the sky.

And here is what I learnt.  Sometimes you get lucky.  This is one excellent little movie.  Basic Robin Hood plot consisting of one rich young man bullied by an uncaring father [the Thief Lord of the title], 2 recently orphaned boys & a gaggle of other orphans who hang in an unused movie theatre called the Stella & steal from the rich to support the poor ~ or so they think.  Add in an aunt & uncle chasing the cute orphan, an incompetent detective sent to track the cutie down, a pretty photographer & an old man willing to pay a lot of money for  the theft of a broken wing.  Set the whole thing in picturesque Venice & you have an unusual plot part fantasy, part suspense, part comedy, part tragedy.  And it works!  All the young actors are excellent.  What is more, although to push the plot along some of the adults are wicked the children also find sympathetic adults willing to help as they negotiate the treacherous waters of trust & betrayal.

The Theif Lord began life as a book by German author Corneila Funke, who did the Inkworld books. The movie, a British/German venture, was released in 2006 by Warner Bros & was nominated for the 2006 World Soundtrack Awards.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wild Mary.

Life is like that.  Things that are not on the menu keep on happening. ~ Mary Wesley.

I've decided I like sinners ~ especially the unrepentant sort.  Not that I would want to be one but they know how to swallow life whole: the good, the bad & the ugly.  Mary Wesley is one of the interesting ones.

What?  You don't know Mary Wesley?!  For my introduction to this fascinating woman I must thank the BBC who turned The Chamomile Lawn into a t.v series.  I promptly went & bought the book.

At the time I knew nothing of Mary Wesley except that she had her first book published when she was 70 ~ which I still find rather inspiring.  She was an unwanted child, badly tutored at home because she stubbornly refused to learn, got dumped alone in a French boarding house at 14, & belonging to a military family moved 27 times in 20 odd years ~ a recipe for disaster if ever there was one.  Her family nick~name was "Wild Mary" ~ & she was very wild.

She was also brave, working for MI5 during the war & knitting jumpers to support herself in her old age before becoming a literary phenomenon.  Her writing is compulsive reading despite being full of rather shady characters & nasty surprises.  Nine months before her death she gave Marnham permission to access her private papers & write an authorised biography.  It is a racy, rackety tale of an unloved child lurching through adulthood from lover to lover while along the way gleaning material for some of the more unusual novels of the 2oth century.

Given how wet it's been ~ & that for all practical purposes I am childless for Easter~  it's not a bad way to spend my time.  Marnham has a pretty engaging style himself  & I am enjoying Wild Mary immensely.  Not for the faint~hearted or those with delicate sensibilities.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It always rains on tents. Rainstorms will travel thousands of miles, against prevailing winds for the opportunity to rain on a tent. ~ Dave Barry

Easter is invariably wet ~ & wet it has been!  Four inches in the past couple of days. Star has been watching the cloud anxiously.  Last year she was still a little young but this year she has been deemed old enough & mature enough to go to Toowoomba with her sister for Easterfest.  Added bonus this year ~ Mibus.  Dave is often the Vocal Manoeuvres' pianist & the girls know him quite well.  The kids get put under canvas in Queens Park ~ with the added bonus of knowing when we lived in Toowoomba their father managed this park & was responsible for much of the glorious rose beds.

Liddy promised Star this trip together last year because despite their occasional spats & the age difference they actually get along very well together.  When they were younger the more reserved Liddy would use her extrovered little sister to break the social ice more often than not.  Then Star grew wise to what was going on & refused to play.  They will miss each other & I will miss the bizarre conversations because my youngest often opens her mouth before she engages her brain & we get a Star Classic.

Liddy: I'm going to have a shower.
Star:  I'll go with you.  We have to save water.

Know what she meant but it's not what she said!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

"In Latin America the border between soccer and politics is vague. There is a long list of governments that have fallen or have been overthrown after the defeat of the national team." ~ Luis Suarez

 Two years ago Liddy was playing under Premiers at the local club. It's a big family club.  Liddy played with them for years & she was good.  Better than good but a series of wacko coaches & nasty injuries ending with a shattered collar bone finally saw her walk away. 

 She didn't play last season. This season she signed up with a different club, the club the girls from church play with.  A premier team this is not.  I went to my first game last night because that's what I do in soccer season: I stand on the sidelines in the cold & the dark bouncing up & down wildly & screaming Lid's name every time she touches the ball.  Well, it's one way to keep warm.

Most of the girls have never played before.  They lack ball skills.  They lack fitness.  They don't read the game.  They don't play their positions.  It was not an exciting game to watch ~ except when Lid got hold of the ball.  She scored her first goals of the season: a lovely cross past the goalie from just inside the box & a cheeky little chip over the goalie's head from the other direction.  She scored first & that lifted the whole team but this team has something the premier team didn't; great attitude.  They care for each other out on the pitch.  Liddy loves building people up through sport so she was coaching & encouraging all game & the coach is playing her wide, where she likes to be because Liddy has never been as keen on scoring goals as she has been on setting others up to score.  She has great ball placement & her crosses into the box are a joy to witness.  If she can manage it she much prefers to pass the ball than take a strike herself.

She came of the pitch relaxed & happy.  It's been years since I've seen her enjoy her soccer like that.  No~one gets fraught about whether they win or lose.  They are there to have a good time & I thought that this is what Liddy brings to Chile: She loves her sport & it's through her sport she outreaches & shares the gospel.  I am so going to enjoy watching God work this one through Liddy because Chile is soccer mad & Liddy loves her soccer.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Eye of the Beholder...?

How many observe Christ's birthday! How few his precepts!

O! 'tis easier to keep holidays than commandments.

~Benjamin Franklin

I grew up in the church; Dearest didn't.  Dearest is conservative in his thinking; I'm not.  I appreciate the liturgy; no~one else in this house does.  Our children have been raised non~denominational yet 4 out of 5 were baptised as Presbyterians.  Not Star, as it so happens.  Star chose to be baptised when she was 8 in our little non~denom Island church.

Denomalisation sits uncomfortably with Dearest ~ & with our children. They have been taught the word of God combined with the Spirit of God is the final authority ~ not some man~made creed or theological doctrine because they grew up here.  Here, where more often than not they were the only children, then the only  teenagers, in church.  They learnt early you pay a price for being a Christian. They have been part of our struggle to be in the world yet not of the world.  They have struggled.  We have struggled. They have watched churches over here rise & fall.  They have witnessed God rebuke the sin amongst His people ~ & they have been disgusted by the poor witness of those who profess to belong to the Living God.  They have learnt some hard lessons.

So I have been fascinated as I have listened to my household discuss last Sunday's service.  Star, who from her earliest years has had a ministry, was plain & simply bored out of her brain.  Dino was envious that these kids had grown up surrounded by adults & children who shared the same beliefs.  He has stated openly he wished he'd grown up like that. Liddy, who has made this her home church, is  a little protective despite refusing to take out membership.  Membership would require full immersion dunking & my very non~denom child, who has been both baptised & confirmed in  2 other denominations, fails to see the point. Dearest was like an arid desert suddenly drenched with water.  I hate it: too noisy, too distracting, too lacking in reverence for me ~ but then I'm the oddest of the odd so pay no attention to me.  And then, as my children circled warily they put an unerring finger on the deepest problem, & one that is not confined to this particular church.  Many, if not most western churches suffer from this particular illness: they are soft.

It is a wealthy church where most parents each hold a job, own multiple cars & even multiple houses & can afford the toys but they are not spiritually strong.  So many who should be mature & ready for strong meat are still supping on baby's milk.  For me this is both disturbing & deeply troubling.  As the Lord begins to shake the very foundations of the earth Christendom should be readying for battle.  We are the ones who will be persecuted.  We are the ones the Lord will send out to gather in His harvest.  We are the ones called to stand in the gap & plead for an unrighteous people.

I have been surprised by how many Christians have been surprised by our willingness to let Liddy go to the mission field.  Willing does not equal easy but one of the stats that has shocked me profoundly is the one that states the biggest impediment to missionary outreach is Christian parents!  Christian parents do not want their children on the mission field.  Let others go, but they want theirs safe at home.  Even with Liddy stating unequivocally she is called to missions, even with our willingness to back her up, we still have Christians, Christians, telling us this is wrong; she should not go.

Paul uses some very strong language when discussing who we are in Christ.  Amongst other things he says we are not our own, we have been bought with a price; he calls us slaves.  A slave is owned body & soul by their master.  They go where they are told, when they are told, to do what they are told.  They work until they drop from exhaustion ~ & that is only their rightful duty.  The concept of slavery is foreign to us.  It disgusts us ~ as in a worldly sense it should.  No man can rightfully own another human being.  This is not so in a spiritual sense.  We are already God's for He made us & every breath we take is a gift from Him.  I do know there is no room for compromise in the Kingdom to come.  It is all or nothing & so my prayer for me, for my family, is that the Holy Spirit would be a consuming fire in our bones.  As Job discovered when he had nothing but God, he needed nothing but God.

As Liddy admits, it was hard spiritually growing up here but she is immensly grateful for the lessons learnt.  She is spiritually stronger for it & she has learnt survival lessons that can be learned no other way. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Life is a tragedy for those who feel, and a comedy for those who think. ~ La BruyereI have to share.

Yesterday I lost my tenuous grip ~ on everything.  I am no fun to play with when that happens.  I am weepy.  And miserable.  I sleep a lot. I find it hard to get out of bed let alone actually do anything & forget achieving.

And this is what the Lord did for me:

Liddy left me a message on FB to say she had bought the gluey stuff to glue the rubber strips on the mainland car doors back on & was sitting in a park waiting for it to dry.  One thing I could stop fretting about finding the time & resources to do.

The lady whose daughter I have been lugging all over Brisbane for choir rang to offer to take Star with them last night so I didn't have to travel.  Star, who is very rarely unchaperoned anywhere by at least one member of her over~protective family was rather chuffed.  Same lady offered to take Star to her next performance ~ a huge blessing as Liddy is away that weekend with the car & it all looked like becoming a huge drama in my life.

Liddy took Star to the library & Star came home beaming.  She had found me a book!  She pointed to the picture on the spine.

"Look, mum", Star could barely contain her delight in her own cleverness, "It's historical."  Hysterical, more like.  My lovely, thoughtful & loving child never looked beyond the icon on the spine, which to do her justice did designate the book as historical fiction.  When you've been reading books as long as I have you have a nose for when *history* is a misnomer for *Romance*. I am trying not to gag as I wade through it.  And can I let you all in on a little secret?  It gets worse.  Knowing my obsession with all things Celtic & having been raised with the knowledge she is related to the Kings of Scotland on the *wrong side of the blanket* Star had scoured the shelves for something Scottish, something Bonnie Prince Charlie~ish.  Oh dear.  She couldn't have chosen a worse period if she'd tried with both hands for a month of Sundays!  It's not just that the Scots lost, it's that they put their hope in such a vain & incompetent peacock of a man.  Best not to go there.

So when I picked Liddy up from the boat I thought I'd do something nice for Star, seeing how our library keeps such odd hours & Star is never here on Wednesdays when it opens late because that is the rotation day & all the new books come in.  Star almost always has a pile of books on order & there is invariably something sitting on the shelves for her.  And do you know what my beautiful, wonderful child had done?  She had ordered the next Cornwell book on~line for me when I was too busy to do it for myself & there is was!  Ready & waiting with the new rotation amongst Star's collection of Anime & DVDs ~ one of which is Casablanca! *Swoon*  What's more, Star had ordered for herself, Golding's Lord of the Flies.  OK, so I really loath that book but I am hugely impressed she is reading it for *pleasure*.  When she is done I can use it for *school*.  Oh my!  I outdo me in mummy sneakiness some days!

The Lord wasn't quite done with me for the day either.  Dearest, who gets worried when I start falling apart [because if I fall apart the whole house falls apart & great is the destruction thereof] cooked dinner.  Lots & lots of veggies & I don't have a meltdown the way Star does if a bit of meat juice accidentally ends up in my meal.  I prepared the girl a lovely cheesy omelet that was almost ready when she walked in the door ~ with her leftover Maccas still in her hand!

"Oh!" said Star.  "I would much rather have had that than Maccas," & promptly proceeded to devour a second dinner.  Good thing.  Omelet isn't something that keeps.

And lastly, but hardly least, the Lord pointed out I am hardly the first mother in the world whose children He has called to the ends of the known earth ~ & I will hardly be the last.  It's all very well for Liddy, so my mind goes, she gets all the adventure & I get to stay behind & worry about her ~ & wait for news.  Did I ever mention how much I hate waiting?  To say nothing of her grandmother from whom I learnt the great & ineffectual art of worrying.  At which point the e~mail came through from OM ~ & I do know it's standard issue but something I think every missionary's parents need to hear ~ & missionary grandparents too: the acknowledgement that they too are giving something up ~ normal hopes, dreams, expectations.  Something better may take their place but the old still needs to be let go of first.  In fact it has obviously been such an issue over the years OM have put together a support organization.  Check it out.

So I have been loved & I have been told & I am feeling much better today, thank you.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My life seems to be on hold just now.  I don't seem to be doing anything but support ~ & wait.  I hate waiting. 

I think I am beginning to grieve.  That's ok.  I do tend to get ahead of myself.  Better to have a slow leakage now than a nuclear explosion in August. 

So my bubble is a little fragile just now. I will be back when I am reasonably certain it won't suddenly explode in my hands & cause a mess.  Hopefully that won't be too long.  I'm the garralous sort. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

"The command has been to 'go,' but we have stayed — in body, gifts, prayer and influence. ~Robert Savage

Some things don't change much.  Liddy used to climb into her high chair & pontificate away, laying down the law to the entire household ~ & mightily peeved if no~one listened to her.  And a Hen's Morning!  Oh, my!  The way she would bang her milk mug on the table to announce she too had something to say over the coffee & cake.  It used to be sorta cute.

Like I said.  Some things don't change much. Sunday Liddy was speaking in church ~ her church.  All week we have listened as she worked to get her ideas down on paper & remember enough she wouldn't need notes or palm cards & when I tired Star took over giving her performance pointers & criticising her default position & generally rolling her eyes at Liddy's lack of acceptable deportment.

Sunday meant a 7.30 boat for my entire household. 7.30!!! Dino didn't walk in the door till 6.45, having been to a friend's 21st, & Star thinks being woken any time before 9am is a hanging offence.  I think Liddy was a little stunned that we were all prepared to roll out to show our support.  I'm a given but her dad has a broken back & very rarely travels anywhere.

The kid's travelled over in the tinny while Dearest & I travelled far more decorously by ferry.  By the time we arrived Dino & Star where busily buying themselves a hot & greasy breakfast which they proceeded to share with their father while I gagged out the window.  How they could that early in the morning I do not know but they did.

Now Liddy & Star & I chose this church together & we chose it for 3 reasons:  It had biblical teaching; it had a strong youth fellowship; it was missions orientated.  We did not choose it for its friendliness & I have always found it a really cold church & not the least welcoming.  It took Liddy, who is approachable & personable if a little shy initially, a long time to make friends.  Dino is still struggling.  I have rarely even been spoken to & then only briefly.  Admittedly I'm usually at the youth service with Liddy & that's a little off~putting for many young people but as the service is not just younger people one might expect something a little different.  At which point I really should point out I actually don't mind.  I find small talk with people I don't know really difficult & completely exhausting.  So dragging the entire family that's round at present into a church most of us attend only sporadically & which Dearest has never been to was already a little intimidating.

When God has a point to make He's not shy about making it.  We were warmly welcomed at the door. This gentleman also made a point of speaking to us later & remembered all our names!!!  That's impressive!  Three different Welcomers noticed our presence & came across to be introduced.  None of them knew Liddy or that she was speaking that morning.  The ladies in front turned round to chat to us all.  Several gentlemen came over to speak to Dearest.  Dearest, who so rarely gets a chance to socialize, was in his element.  I left him to it!

At some point Ian & Ruth, the QLD OM co~ordinators arrived to show their support & several of the youth group also turned up to show willing, given the morning service isn't popular with any of the youth.  Liddy was very nervous but she is a Miss~Have~A~Chat & speaks clearly & fluently.  She talked about growing up on the island & the small island church, about the Brazilian street children, about how God touched her heart & called her into mission.  And I was giggling to myself because the verse Liddy got on Saturday night coming home on the boat was from Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound

Those of you who have felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit to speak out in church know that there is an anointing that comes with that if it is of the Lord & there is attentive silence.  Despite the flaws in her presentation & her nervousness that anointing was on Liddy as she spoke.  The church was silent & attentive.  She will get better with practise.

Ruth snavelled me after the service.  She was desperate to make sure I understood that though the initial training is only for 9 months she is certain Liddy will be taken on for the extra 2 years.  I have always known that & told her so.  We discussed the finances, which is coming in in lots of small amounts.  I am ok about that.  Lots of small is better than only one or 2 large gifts.  We were also in agreement that the Lord wanted to be certain Liddy knew she was totally reliant on Him for everything.  The church still hasn't agreed to finance her at all, though several individuals have.  That may yet change but it is not the point.  The missions team is not supportive.  It is one of those odd ones.  They are alone in their concerns.  So far Liddy has beaten them to everything that needs doing: she organised her *gap team* on her own initiative; she organised her prayer support [thank you so much all those of you on that from her mummy]; she has her spread sheet, her brochure, her pamphlets all done. 

To my utter surprise, because Dearest has only ever heard us speak about this church, Dearest was really happy with the teaching & the church.  We picked up burgers & wraps & abandoned Liddy who had to speak a second time at the youth service, & we all piled into the tinnie to come home.  That was lovely. The water was a glorious cobalt blue; the tide was high.  The mangrove branches lay across the water in deep olive pools & amongst the topmost branches shags spread their wings to dry & hawks perched watching for unwary mullet.

Our cats were very gld to have everyone home safe & sound again.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Weekend.

Weekends are a bit like rainbows; they look good from a distance but disappear when you get up close to them. ~John Shirley

 One veggie garden planted.  Thanks, Dino!
 Two cats a~playing....
Three: sun & cloud & rain to make a sunset.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Because Seeking asked:of mice & men & angel wings.

He will give his angels charge of you to guard you in all your ways....Psalm 91:11

I have written about this before ~ on the blog I crashed ~ but though it is a good story I don't talk about it much outside the family.  It is one of the stranger things that have happened to us as a family.  It makes us no holier than any one else but for those few minutes it was given unto me to have the scales stripped from my eyes to catch a glimpse of the war waged beyond our everyday senses in the Heavenly realms & the lengths to which God goes to protect His people.
At the time we had 3 children.  Jossie had just turned 4 & our twins were new borns, about 6 weeks old.  We had been on a camping holiday down at Yamba & were returning to our home in Toowoomba with our commodore laden down with car seats, children, blankies, bottles of water & snacks & we were towing a trailer laden with one huge tent, a large wooden cot & all the other paraphernalia that goes with an extended camping trip with small children.  It was a lot of weight but the commodore was one of the better cars we have ever owned & Dearest, who likes driving, was travelling well.
We weren't all that far from home when Dearest decided the sun was at a bad point & we changed drivers.  I don't mind driving on the open road, particularly when there isn't much traffic, so we swapped over & Dearest promptly went to sleep.  I scooted up the highway.
To this day Dearest & I disagree about what happened next but as he was asleep for the first part of it I maintain he's far more likely to have details wrong than I am. ☺ I turned off the highway onto a secondary road.  I was still doing about 80Ks when I hit gravel & the trailer I was towing began to fishtail wildly behind me.  Amongst all the oddities yet another oddity is that just before we came away Dearest had lectured me on what to do if a tyre ever blew & though I didn't know it at the time I had just lost the front passenger tyre. I remembered not to slam on the brakes.  I remember thinking the car would slow because there was an incline coming; all I had to do was keep the car on the road.  On one side we had a ditch & a nasty drop.  On the other we had a ditch & the side of a mountain.  Hitting either would not be pretty.  Staying on the road was a really good option, but we were all over the road as the trailer swung out wildly behind me & I struggled to hang onto the wheel & maintain some control.
I was just starting to think we might come out of this in one piece when a semi~trailer crested the rise travelling like all the hounds of Hell were on his tail. Time does really funny things when you are in these sort of situations.  It seemed to spaghetti out.  I had time to asses the situation.  I had time to make choices. I saw the next day's headlines: Family of 5 perishes in Horror Crash.  I thought, well, at least we're all together.  I saw the horrified whites of the other driver's eyes.  I knew we were about to die...
And then we were given our miracle. Suddenly I had two angels riding shotgun on my mudguards. As I point out to my children, if you think I had any time spare  for a detailed observation you are completely delusional. I know they were really big & really muscled & they had really big swords.  They looked like old fashioned warriors & one was black like a Negro & the other was Saxon fair.  If they had wings I never noticed but somehow I think they didn't.  For the heartbeats it took for our car to pass the semi~trailer they held our car dead straight on the road so we could pass each other in absolute safety.  Then they were gone.  My trailer was back to swinging wildly across the road & Dearest was awake & horrified & helping me hold the wheel until we eventually slowed to a stop ~ at which point I had a well deserved meltdown!
I am quite sure that we were supposed to die that day.  If we had there would be no Liddy, no Star.  Our boys would never have grown to manhood to fulfill God's purpose for their lives. I couldn't understand why we had been so wonderfully preserved when so many perish under less out of control situations.  It showed me that there is indeed a terrible war being waged beyond our mortal senses & we are part of that battle ground.  Now as Liddy prepares to step out onto the mission field & Dino talks more & more of mission work in Africa I begin to see how much of what God wishes to accomplish through our family nearly ended up under the wheels of a semi~trailer that day.
My kids love hearing this story.  It has given them a sense of destiny which I don't think they understood.  Only now are they seeing that there was a purpose ~ & that purpose has nothing to do with them.  They are merely the agents for God's will.  These days I think they are OK with that.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Revisiting Prayer.

No one is a firmer believer in the power of prayer than the devil; not that he practices it, but he suffers from it. ~Guy H. KingPrayer: our long distance communication line to God.  As Christians we are told to do it, encouraged to practise it & defeated when we read of the giants who spend hours in prayer when our own paltry efforts seem to rise no higher than the ceiling & go nowhere.

When we were children my mother always admonished us to "Read the instructions first!" None of us ever did.  Only when completely lost & defeated did we refer to the instruction manual.

Sadly I approached prayer in the same cavalier fashion then wondered why I wasn't getting anywhere.  At one point, when I was considered a mature Christian [perish the thought!] I confessed at a bible study I didn't pray.  That wasn't strictly accurate but I was profoundly tired of talking to someone who never talked back.  It's nearly as bad as the people who never let you get a word in edgewise.  I was particularly peeved because one of the only prayers I can ever remember praying is that I would become a woman of prayer ~ so you know, I was majorly peeved.  Ask & it shall be given,....poured out, pressed full measure ...& all the rest.

That little word *become*.  Become implies something I missed ~ time.  It takes time to grow.  It takes time to become anything but like the impatient & petulant child I am I wanted it handed to me on a plate without any effort on my part & God never ever works like that.  It is bad for us.

Over the years I did some experimenting ~ without having read the instruction manual.  You see if God was real, & He said He was, then one could have a relationship with Him ~ & He says that too.  Without relationship I felt the whole thing was a fairly pointless exercise.  I could just as easily talk to myself without the angst & fraughtness ~ & very dull it would quickly become.

I began reading, as is my want when I get stuck & am looking for answers, but most of what I read was singularly unhelpful.  I reverted to experimentation.  Now I want to make it perfectly clear that this wasn't the smartest thing I've ever done.  Most of us have no idea about the spiritual realms or the inherent dangers, though scripture warns us to test the spirits because there is not just the Holy Spirit inhabiting the spiritual realms.  Only by God's grace & mercy have I not come to serious harm because He says those who seek Him shall find Him ~ with the proviso that they seek Him with all their heart.  The first question God wants us to ask for ourselves is, How serious are we?  If we are serious He will engage with us.

Now the prayer I have always found hardest, & one of the most common of all prayers, is the prayer of petition.  I never have come to terms with asking for that which the Lord already knows I need ~ or that my friends need.  In prayer as in life I will do without rather than bother the Lord with those things we both know perfectly well He knows about.  I know this is not scriptural but there you have it.  Working on it, ok.

The prayer I have found easiest is the prayer of thanksgiving, the prayer of meditation & the prayer of contemplation.  Two of those 3 make great use of the imagination, & I'm strong there so naturally that is where I headed.  Plus it held the promise of greater intimacy.  I was driven by the need to get closer to God & headed anywhere that held even the remotest possibility of that.  Naturally those were 2 of the harder areas that required time & patience & discernment.

I struggled.  I floundered.  I wallowed.  Occasionally I got glimpses of the light, moments of perfect lucidity, & what I desired above all else, intimacy with God. Get a taste of that & you will always hunger for more.  Along the way I learned some things.  I learned patience is my friend.  I learned if I wanted to walk in the spiritual realms I needed to pray for protection before I set out.  I learnt there are distractions & that not all that is available is of God.  I have made mistakes, lots & lots of mistakes, but I know the reality of God & I would not trade that.  I do wish, however, that Richard Foster's Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home had been available when I began this journey nearly 40 years ago.

Foster identifies 21 different sorts of prayer.  He divides these into 3 categories: the inward [inward transformation]; the upward [intimacy with God]; the outward [ministry].  I grabbed this when were were in Koorong at the beginning of the year & am reading through it slowly, not in order but according to what has grabbed my attention & spoken to my condition.    Of all the books I've read on prayer, about prayer, the how tos of prayer, this has been the most helpful.  Foster shares openly his own struggles in prayer & exercises that may help.  Personally I don't find these particularly useful ~ what has been useful & comforting to me is the confirmation that certain aspects of prayer that I have engaged in, willy~nilly & not necessarily from choice, like the prayer of tears or the prayer of rest, aren't that unusual & have a long history within the overall church tradition.  Those areas where I struggle in prayer may yet open up because, as Foster points out, so much of what occurs in prayer is a gift from the Father & how He chooses to engage with us.   If you want to deepen your prayer life & get closer with God I'd recommend a read of this book.

 One review.

And here.
What I wanted to chat about is what I'm reading just now:  Richard Foster's Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home ~ but that will have to wait while I address another issue.

I vaguely remembered seeing something very disparaging about Foster & thought I'd just check before writing about what I wanted to write about.  See Foster has been accussed of New Ageism, Buddism, Psycho~babble & more & we shouldn't be putting a lethal cocktail like that into our minds now, should we?  Well, should we?

  The trouble is I've heard of Foster.  I've read his works & while there are things I very much disagree with [he's ecummenical] his fruit I consider good.  I had never heard of either Albert James  Dager or W.B Howard.   Having waded through several pages of vilification I decided I needed to know who these people are. Dager, conviently, is almost unknown.  He does have books on the market & the only review from a reputable source I could find confirmed my sense that the man was unbalanced  & slightly nutty.  W.B Howard is a woman & the founder of Endtime Ministries.  Eveything I could find of hers dates back to the early 2000s ~ & most of it hasn't come to pass; she argues, if I have understood her correctly, that the U.N has already instigated the One World Church.  Um, the U.N mught like that but do you see Islam agreeing to that?  Or the Christian Fundies?  Both authors belong to the *Ranter's School* ~ & not only do I dislike ranters on principal I loath not being able to follow an argument through logically because every time it gets sticky the paragims get shifted.  So I wrote them both of as not worth listening to.  Their thoughts don't count. is worth noting everything we think we know has been filtered through our perceptions of the world & will have some sort of a slant.  Everything!  That is ok.   So long as we acknowledge that fact & make allowance for the fact we could be wrong, just possibly, we should be able to navigate treacherous waters without shipwreck.  I know I very much appreciate middle~eastern viewpoints on the bible, which is a middle~eastern book & written with a middle~eastern mind~set~ because they have so expanded my understanding of God's vision & the inter~relationships of the middle east countries.

That being said, Foster is a Quaker.  He is a Christian Quaker.  He has studied psychology.  There are likely to be things not everyone agrees with but that should neither dismay nor deter us.  He draws on a number of Christian traditions, which is only to be expected when discussing the prayer tradition within the wider Christian church.  That many of these are Catholic should neither worry nor alarm us.  If the protestant church abandoned certain aspects of prayer the Catholic church can hardly be faulted if the only examples are to be found within their tradition.

OK. Then there is the thorny problem of  "Now this I mean, that each one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ."[1Cor.1:12] There is no need to squabble & create divisions ~ & the church has always been very good at that! Nope, hold everthing up to the light of the scriptures.  Take the good that is to be found, toss away the rest & let your neighbour do the same because not everyone is going to have the same understanding.    So even though Foster may not be of your tradition & worse, refer to traditions you disagree with, there is a great deal of wisdom to be gleaned from his understanding of the practise of prayer.

As for the Buddism, New Ageism & all the rest ~ I can't say I've ever found any evidence for such accusations.  It may be there.  I read fast, I skim things that don't hold my interest & I tend to read thematically.  That is not sequentially but by pulling together associated ideas.  If you have never done this & don't know what I mean then you probably don't want to!  I will be discussing Foster's book in my next post but please do as scripture instructs & discern everything through a scriptual lense.  I have done my homework but that doesn't let you off the hook!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The best way to garden is to put on a wide-brimmed straw hat and some old clothes. And with a hoe in one hand and a cold drink in the other, tell someone else where to dig.~ Texas Bix BenderI don't know if it's a sin; I do know I live too much in my head. It's exhausting ~ as Liddy is finding out.  So now the term is practically over & I can leave Star reading in bed with a good conscience I decided that now we oficially have autumn weather, crisp mornings,  cool evenings, it was time to do something I rarely get a chance to indulge in during term time: garden.  Naturally it has begun to rain.

Nothing detered I grabbed Marlow, who is prone to cry if I am out of sight for more than 2 minutes & drive the entire house insane, & joined Kirby in the yard.  Marlow was rather shocked to find himself  outside & unceromoniously dumped among the weeds.  Kirby, on the other hand, was absolutely delighted.  He parked himself to get the best view of my activities & watched with interest as I started planting these out. We began with 1/2 a dozen from mum's several years ago. They propogate themselves prolifically & are a wonderful groundcover & hole filler with the added bonus of getting a pretty mauve & white iris style flower with a yellow centre.  A little mondo grass to plug the smaller holes & voila!

We beat the rain~ just.  I called the cats & headed in.  Kirby shot between my legs at the fist spits knowing what was coming but Marlow, who I'm sure is as thick as a brick & unused to the great outdoors, was so taken with the novelty of the exercise he'd ignored my call. As the rain arrived in torrents he cowered on the ramp to the verandah  not wanting to slink round the corner into a biting wind & race for the door.  Instead he simply mewed pathetically. I had to go rescue him. He is pathetic.  Totally, absolutely pathetic.  And everyone in this house panders to him.  His neurosis is indulged.  Everyone from Dearest to Star pick him up & cuddle him  while making reassuring noises that they will find his alpha for him & life will be just fine.

So in between showers I will be digging holes & planting seedlings.  I will rake my yard because we don't believe in grass.  It's a surface feeder & heavy water user & no~one in this country of long term drought should ever grow grass ~ not that my opinion ever stopped anyone but thems my thinks.

I am hoping for some fine weather.  Liddy & Dino & I want to redo the veggie garden before the cold weather sets in.  I'm not real hopeful.  Easter here is sodden more often than not.  This year looks like running true to form.  Maybe I will drag out a canvas & paint.  A little time is a heady feeling.  I feel a rush of blood to the brain.

'All gardeners live in beautiful places, because they make them so.'~ Joseph Joubert

Monday, April 4, 2011

"I have been described as a lighthouse in the middle of a bog: Brilliant but useless." ~ Connor Cruise O'Brien.

We are having a rough year.  Some years are like that.  I knew from experience that by the end of grade 10 my kids have had enough.  They are waaay over being educated.  Star is no different.

The National Curriculum is not helping.  Schools are being squeezed into conformity ~ our umbrella school too.  As a family we don't do conformity well.  I am hoping Star will be all done before it gets really bad but we were struggling to get on top of her work before our end of term visit from our supervisor  ~ not helped by some dodgy curriculum.

Our school is generally very good & we have always had a good bit of leeway.  English & History have never presented a problem for us.  Whether I have curriculum or not we do well.  Star often nominates her area of interest & I go with that.  I can usually put my hands on at least a couple of books she won't baulk at completely.  I have never yet found a religious curriculum I like, let alone am happy with.  However the school said she had to carry a religious component & nominated Frank Hamrick's The Life of Christ from John's gospel.  Never'eardovit.  Wish I never had.   Now the link to a review is positive but I'm no Calvinist so when we started *digging deeper* I found myself baulking.  I didn't like the tone.  I didn't like the assumptions.  I didn't like what I was reading.  You cannot argue people into belief ~ which has never stopped people from trying.  Even Paul is guilty of that one. 

Now it is possible to work round someone else's theological dogma to some extent but I also find this text bits & piecey & if you've read here long enough you will know I abhor curriculum that does this.  I loathe a little of this, a little of that & a pinch of something else.  I am an immersion learner.  I am an immersion teacher & Star is used to me.  I was already going slightly nutty with a muttered running commentary under my breath that was hardly complementary when it occurred to me we needed to produce something for the school ~ which meant looking at the *digging deeper* topics. Ouch!  No way, Hosea, was I touching a goodly portion of those topics.  I was certainly not teaching them.

I expect many Christians will feel very differently about this curriculum but it is advertised as *non~denominational* yet teaches doctrine: the doctrine of the virgin birth,  the Incarnation, Gnosticism & all the rest ~ & that by it's very nature means the writer must take a particular point of view.  His does not happen to be mine.  Spare me please!  We don't need more Christians who can argue apologetics.  We need more Christians who know Christ.  It's not that I necessarily disagree with the doctrines discussed but I do dislike the way they are presented

I scoured the chapters we've read for something that wasn't going to have me frothing at the mouth, choosing the most harmless & secular which is a fairly meaningless exercise.  Then there is the bullying tone: do this, don't do that .....fairly gets my back up.  Just imagine what it would do to my child!  I have to edit heavily. So I  had to explain that we wouldn't be doing a fair bit of this curriculum, certainly not the tests because I couldn't *teach to the test* something I don't actually believe ~ at least not in the format in which it is presented.

If you like your Christianity hard & fast & straight down the line it will probably work for you but I am a Quaker.  I'm not generally in the habit of telling people what to believe or how to believe it.  I prefer to explore possibilities ~ which is a good bit messier I agree ~ & listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit & wait, sometimes a long time, for understanding.

Our supervisor is lovely ~ one reason we didn't want to lose her.  There is something about working with other Christians, particularly Christians of the gentle persuasion. M arrived with her hubby W in tow.  We have met him before & he is absolutely adorable~ a big one~of~a~kind man with an insatiable curiosity about everything, a deep love of God & a sweetness when dealing with messy human beings.  He is an ex~Anglican pastor & we are always delighted to see him.  Dearest stowed him in the car & off they went to see what had changed since W was last here.

Meanwhile M & Star sat down to do battle with Star's math.  Star was not feeling co~operative.  Math does that to her.  It really brings out the worst in her.  It brings out the worst in me too & let's face it; Star knows perfectly well I never did any math for grades 11 & 12 & I still have a uni degree.  Actually, although it was a required subject, I hadn't actually done any math in years.  I had the text books.  I sat through the classes.  I occasionally made random scribbles on paper but seeing how none of it made a single iota of sense to me it would have been a huge waste of everyone's time except I redeemed the time by reading under the table.  Perhaps I shouldn't admit that but as my children never tire of pointing out, I don't do bored well, & math bores me terribly.  And M knows she is on her own dealing with Star because my honest opinion ~ it's a waste of everyone's time forcing my child to do math.  We are all over it.  So is M as it turns out.  She thumbed through the work we had managed ~ about 3/4 of the booklet, quickly worked out Star had understood very little of it & cared less & admitted defeat.  Star couldn't believe her ears! 

I don't know how we are going to do this one because every text I've looked at I've known neither Star nor I can do.  Oh we can do bits of it but as soon as multiple steps are required our eyes start glazing ~ & multiple steps are required.  Take one ADD child & one clueless mother & you have a recipe for mathematical disaster.  And just so you all know;  I manage the finances in this house.  I do the budget, pay the bills, balance the cheque book ~ & I have done all our married life.  Star can do all those things too.  She can go at least one better because she can work out the sales thingy.  And that is what makes me so cross.  Star can do the everyday stuff very well.  She is actually really, really good at that.  She manages her small income from pocket money well enough to be able to buy a lot of her own clothing ~ & trust me; on our income she doesn't get very much pocket money.  She has saved out of that enough to pay for her ticket to Easterfest this year.  Liddy has agreed to take her if she can pay her own way.  She can work out, perhaps not according to textbook formula, how much material she needs for a sewing project.  She's a bright girl.  When she needs math for something she can work it out but doing exercises for the sake of it...? who in their right mind wastes their time like that? ~ & despite what some people seem to think, Star is very definitely in her right mind.

Everybody but us pothers about Star & her math but why?  See Star's not the only child I've had educational issues with & I have learnt something very important.  God, who designed our children, gave them everything they need to survive in this world.  My hugely dyslexic child has zero comprehension from the written word.  That's right ~ zero!  Yet he has multiple qualifications across a variety of fields~ fields where he could be the hands on learner he is.  The one who barely scraped a grade 10 pass & hated math joined the army to do computer techno stuff & aced algebra ~ a subject he'd never looked at before.  I could give example after example.  My kids are different learners.  They work best with a huge amount of autonomy & flexibility.  Every child is different & that is the first reason why a National Curriculum is doomed to failure before it even begins.  People are not conveyor belt parts.  Not everybody is going to learn the same things at the same rate.  Not everybody is going to be interested in the same things.  After the basics are mastered it should very much become a matter of personal preference.  The only real requirement is being able to read.  A person who can read can master anything, anything at all.