Thursday, 25 December 2008

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Kids' Singing in the Congregation #3

At the end of March next year I will be co-presenting a workshop at the CCOWA Perth Children's Ministry Convention. The topic for the 2009 conference is "Music with Meaning" and my workshop is titled "Integrating children's music and church music".

I am posting my workshop draft in dribs and drabs over up-coming "Tuneful Tuesdays" and whoever wants to comment and help me improve the draft before it becomes the final version will be welcome and appreciated for their efforts. (See here for previous Tuneful Tuesday posts.)
I. Helping children participate in music with the entire congregation

2. Choosing songs with Kids in the Congregation in mind

Songs which have a simple rhythm and a tempo that is upbeat but not too fast for children to sing along to, and which are easy to clap along to, or can involve other movement are both easier and more enjoyable to sing for children and adults.

A) A catchy tune will help everyone in the congregation remember the words, especially the children.

> Hymns and songs with multiple verses sung to the same tune are easier for children to learn and sing along with than songs which have multiple elements such as verses, chorus, bridge and musical interlude.

> Tunes should be in major keys (C, G, D) rather than minor keys.

> Tunes should have a strong, simple rhythm (4 4) and not be syncopated.

B) It is great to occasionally include a song typically considered a “Children’s Song” within the congregational singing time. This shows the children that music they might well consider to be “theirs” is part of the musical repertoire of the wider congregation, just as the children themselves belong to the wider congregation. It can help the children to understand that they belong in the wider congregation, and it can also help the adults to realise that the children belong there as well.

> Children’s Songs used with the whole congregation, which may be appropriate, could include something from the popular EMU Music kids’ CDs or by Colin Buchanan. Some of these, while written with children in mind, have lyrics that are great for teaching and reviewing basic doctrines or for hearing the words of Scripture aloud.

> Traditional Children’s Songs (the Christian music equivalent to nursery rhymes), such as Jesus Loves Me and Trust and Obey are also great if used sparingly. These in particular can also be appreciated by the elderly members of the congregation who will often recall them with fond memories of when they used to sing them as children.

C) Children will benefit from being involved with the music as well as with the singing.

> Children can join in with some musical accompaniment to some songs if they are given suitable instruments as they enter for church, such as maracas, tapping sticks or tambourines. This can go a bit crazy, particularly if there are too many instruments handed out or if the instruments are overly noisy ones.

> An alternative is to have one or more of the Musicians play “children’s instruments” in a position where they are visible and audible to the congregation. This will present the children with sounds they are familiar with from home, kindergarten and school situations, and help them to recognise that the music belongs to them, as well as to the adult members of the congregation.
Next Tuneful Tuesday: II. Making congregational music understandable and meaningful

[Image courtesy of CCOWA.]

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Humpty Dumpty

I woke up a few days ago to find Abigail sitting at the desk in the study, wanting "to put Humpty together again". Fortunately, having just sorted out a billion toys the night before, I had a fair idea what she wanted.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

What to play when the toys are packed away?

Samuel singing into an electric cord microphone, with packing boxes in the background. Apparently the removalist who packed the books in the study expressed incredulousness at packing 17 boxes of books just from the study alone. Obviously never moved a theology student and his bibliophile wife before!Abigail and Samuel decided that, since everything else was packed, they might as well pack themselves as well!Last day of moving today!

Make-Your-Own Bible Story Books

We had the Make-Your-Own Bible Story Books coil bound last Friday. They were too large to have spiral bound! When I put all the pages together, I realised we had done a lot of Circle Time in the past year. They are huge!Each of these pages represents a story read or told to the children while they coloured, with a few memory verse colouring pages and one or two copywork pages as well. Some of the pages have the kids' oral narrations of the story typed and pasted to the pages as well. I collated the stories in presumed chronological order, rather than biblical order, because that will help the children to understand which event happened when in relation to the other events.

Here's Joshua colouring one of his pages:
(There are still a few uncoloured pages in the middle at the end of the Old Testament to keep them busy over the moving period.)

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Thanks to our Moving Crew

Having a well earned lunch break in the yard of the new house, at a table and chairs they had just moved:L-R Ros, Rohan, Bruce, Gerard, Jeff

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Moving starts today

Yesterday, Jeff and Joshua finished pulling apart the cubby house that Jeff built for the kids, and they painted. He has promised them a new, better one at the next house.We will be moving to the new house today, tomorrow and the next day.

And Jeff has let me know that we might not get a phone connection (or internet connection!) for two weeks, because of all the public holidays coming up. We are going camping with my parents and brothers and the kids' cousins between Christmas and New Year's as well. I have a few posts scheduled to go up over the next fortnight.

So this is my last opportunity to write that I wish all the readers of this blog a very blessed Christmas, celebrating the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I hope your New Year is one of blessing and challenge, as by God's grace, you grow in sanctification so that you may be blameless on the day He comes in glory.

I'll be back next year! God bless.

Kids' Singing in the Congregation #2

At the end of March next year I will be co-presenting a workshop at the CCOWA Perth Children's Ministry Convention. The topic for the 2009 conference is "Music with Meaning" and my workshop is titled "Integrating children's music and church music".

I am posting my workshop draft in dribs and drabs over up-coming "Tuneful Tuesdays" and whoever wants to comment and help me improve the draft before it becomes the final version will be welcome and appreciated for their efforts. (See here for previous Tuneful Tuesday posts.)
I. Helping children participate in music with the entire congregation

1. Children can participate in singing when they know, or at least are familiar with, the tune and words of songs.

A) Tune: Children generally sing with a higher range of notes than adults. They are capable of learning to sing to the tune just as easily, if not easier, than adults. Just as with adults, they will need to be given prompts as to when the words begin within the tune.

> It is helpful for children to hear the tune before it is sung. A short musical prelude to the singing can help them (and the rest of us) to sing along with the tune rather than along with what they think the tune might become. This is especially important with songs which are unfamiliar to the congregation.

> It is helpful to have a Song Leader or Singer whose voice will be audible to the congregation above the volume of their own singing and for at least one of such persons to be female, as women have a voice range more comparable to a child’s than men do. On the other hand, a lot of music for church use is written in a key that is too high for most of the adult congregation, so this needs to be balanced. The Song Leader must be able to sing well and comfortably in the key that is used, so that children can sing higher if they need to but everyone in the congregation has a suitable example to follow.

> It is helpful to have a Song Leader or Singer who will stand in a position where they are visible and for them to give obvious cues as to when the singing will begin and end (at the beginning of the song and at the beginning and end of each verse, after a musical interlude, etc). Examples might include raising and lowering the microphone to/from their mouth.

B) Words: Young children are good at memorising repeated words, so even if they cannot read well, they can learn the words to songs quickly, especially the words of a chorus which is repeated a few times in the song.

> It is of great help to children for there to be songs that are repeated in the congregational setting. For example, a congregation might only sing songs from a limited repertoire when the whole congregation are together, with the Play List being changed every quarter. Congregations may also have a “Song of the Month” which is sung every Sunday for a month so that they children (and adults!) can learn it thoroughly.

> If such a Play List is used by the church, it would be of great help for a Song List to be provided to parents for use with their children at home. According with the rules of copyright, a Church Song Book with words and simple tune line for the song list may be photocopied for those parents who wish to sing these songs together with their children during the week, as part of family worship times and to help the whole family learn the words. Parents who feel unsure of their own singing ability can be encouraged to purchase individual songs online so that a CD of Church Songs may be made for use in the car or at home to reinforce knowledge of songs.

> Likewise, the words and tune line of the Song of the Month could be included in the weekly bulletin handed out to people as they enter for church. This can be especially helpful for non-readers and beginning readers. I have found my children can learn one verse or more in a week; it took my four year old daughter two weeks to learn Amazing Grace and my five and four year olds learnt the verses of In Christ Alone easily one week at a time.

> The people in charge of the congregation’s Play List should always be on the look out for good new songs, which are based soundly in Scripture. However, no more than one new song should be sung while the children are present with the congregation, to avoid confusing them too much.

> New songs can be sung as a demonstration just by the Song Leader / Singer without the congregation joining them, the first time they are used in the congregational setting. (Songs which have not been sung at least once in the past 6-12 months should be considered “new” again.) For some churches, during the offering or while Holy Communion are taken can be suitable opportunities for this to occur. Alternatively, the Musicians could play the tune of upcoming new songs immediately prior to the service beginning. Another good time to introduce new songs to the congregation is at a time when the children are not present. This has the added benefit of ensuring at least some of those singing in the congregation the first time the children join in to sing it already know the words as well as the tune.

> When a song is introduced, if it has a chorus, it can help if the Song Leader recites the words of the chorus once to the congregation to give children advance warning of words they might be able to join in with, even if they can’t read or can’t read fast enough to read and sing in tempo.

> Children who are too young to sing along with the words or do not know them should be encouraged by the Song Leader and the adults sitting near them to hum or “la la la” along with the tune, or in the parts of the tune where they are unfamiliar with the words.
Next Tuneful Tuesday: I.2. Choosing songs with Kids in the Congregation in mind

[Image courtesy of CCOWA.]

Monday, 15 December 2008

A Call to Spiritual Reformation ch5a

As I mentioned, I have decided to do a series of posts on the book by Don Carson, "A Call to Spiritual Reformation", which I am reading slowly but steadily at the moment. You might like to join me in reading it, or simply learn from my comments.
Chapter Five: A Passion for People - 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13 (First Half)

This chapter is based upon an examination of 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13.

Carson points to the concern of Paul for the Thessalonians that is shown in this letter. Paul's concern drives him to pray for their spiritual welfare, and also to pray that he might be able to come back to them to teach them more adequately.

Firstly, Paul's prayer springs from the passion he has for the good of the people.

1. "Paul's prayer arises out of his intense longing to be with the Thessalonians."
Paul does not have a merely professional interest in the church he began when he spent a brief time in Thessalonica. Rather, he has a profound desire to be with them so that he might nurture their faith. Paul is not content to minister at a distance, only through his letters or emissaries he sends (although he has used these when unable to come himself), rather he earnestly seeks to be with them in person so that he might serve them directly. Are you content to serve the church only in the background, afraid to take on a more active, personal role? Do you have an opportunity to meet with a specific individual to read the Bible together, pray together, hold each other accountable and support each other with a closer, deeper fellowship than you have with most of those in your local church?

2. "Paul's prayer arises out of passionate affection that seeks the good of others - not their praise, gratitude, acceptance, and still less some sense of professional self-fulfillment."
Carson has some strong words here in condemnation of those who, unlike Paul, see their ministry to the people of God as something they do to feel satisfied, comfortable, or appreciated. "The question is, How can I be most useful?, not, How can I feel most useful?" [italics mine]. Which of these is the way you think when you are considering how you might serve in your local congregation? In contrast, Paul desires to build them up, strengthening them in their faith so that they will be able to withstand trials and persecutions. "Paul has a pastor's heart."

3. "Paul's prayer springs from unaffected delight at reports of the Thessalonians' faith, love, perseverance, and strength."
Too often, Carson notes, we pray about situations and for people because things appear to be going badly. Yet Paul finds an opportunity to rejoice in the good report he has heard from Timothy about the Thessalonians' faith. Paul is encouraged by the positive things he has heard, because he genuinely cares for the Thessalonians and desires the best for them. The lesson that Carson draws from this is that, "if we are to improve our praying, we must strengthen our loving. As we grow in disciplined, self-sacrificing love, so we will grow in intercessory prayer." Who do you love whom you will pray for today?
Next time: A Passion for People - 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13 (Second Half)

[Cover image from koorong.]

Saturday, 13 December 2008

We got THE house!!

Bond and first fortnight's rent paid this morning.

Moving on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday... we have a lot of stuff.

Thursday, 11 December 2008


My brother Daryl, who works at Kalgoorlie as a mining engineer, sent me this photo, taken today at the Argo mine:Now I couldn't understand this image immediately, when he described it as a "waterfall", and neither could Jeff. So I'll explain it. The walls of the mine are normally black, like the rocks at the right of the photo. The soil around Kalgoorlie is red desert sand. So what colour is water that has rushed over this red sand? It's reddish brown. Thus the gigantic brown flow pouring into the pit in the centre of the image is a massive waterfall, as are the other streams of brown to the left of the photo.

Just to give you a sense of proportion, the black cylinder at the bottom of the pit (LHS) is a tank which is about the height of a house I think. The entire pit down to the entrance of the actual mine is 105m (almost 115 yards) deep.

Isn't that amazing?

Don't you love it when God...

Don't you love it when God confirms major decisions, which have been made with much prayer seeking His wisdom?

As I've written about ad nauseum this past few weeks, Jeff applied for, was offered, accepted and then on Tuesday evening signed a contract for, the job as Pastor of BCC. All this has taken place very quickly, but not without a lot of prayer as we earnestly sought God's will for Jeff's future work in ministering to God's people.

To be honest, there weren't many other options immediately apparent when Jeff found out that the UC wouldn't accept his application. Most of the positions were either in places where we couldn't see ourselves going (eg the remote North West of this state) or in types of ministry which Jeffrey did not feel would make a good fit for him (such as being a Youth Pastor).

The only other possibly suitable position we heard of was only being discussed as hearsay, wasn't known about by others in that denomination when we asked, and had never been formally advertised. Jeff didn't feel the denomination would be the right fit for his personality either, although we have a lot of respect for several pastors we know from it, and no questions about their doctrine.

Then this morning, less than 48 hours after Jeff signed the contract with BCC, what should pop into his email box? Information about an official job vacancy for the job we had heard rumours about.

Now some people, I am sure, would read the ad and start to second guess themselves, wondering whether they had made the right decision. But from our perspective, coming so soon after Jeff signed the contract, it is a wonderful confirmation that Jeff did indeed make the right choice to become the Pastor at BCC. This other job could have been advertised a month earlier, I am sure, and then Jeff may have felt more pressure to apply to a position in a denomination which he does not feel comfortable for him. As it is, he never felt that pressure because the job was not officially available. But now the ad is out there for the person who God does want to fill this other job, to see it and respond.

So I am thankful for this email. It really is kinda neat when you see God's hand so obviously at work in your own circumstances.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Circle Time before Christmas

For the past year we have been sharing Bible stories with our children in our Family Circle Time. We started at Christmas 2007 with the beginning of the gospels, worked our way through the NT narrative, and then turned to the OT narrative. The plan was to work our way through quickly enough (not covering everything) to be at the end of the OT ready to begin with the nativity narrative again at Christmas 2008, which is fast approaching.

Next year we will be adding in a consistent Circle Time on Saturdays as well as the week days when there is not BSF class, I think. As the kids get older and are familiar with more stories we will probably go slower through the Bible. Or perhaps we will take our children through the Bible at a slower rate individually, reading chapter by chapter through with them one-to-one so they can be trained in the skills of individual Bible study. We'll see as they get older I guess.

You might have noticed, or perhaps not, that we've been so slack with Family Circle Time lately that I haven't even been including it in the last two so-called Weekly Reports that I've done, covering the past month. But... I talked to Jeff about how I do want to cover the major events of the second half of the OT, even if only very very briefly this year before Christmas. So this week and next we are giving the kids multiple Bible story colouring sheets in Circle Time (if they only do one, that's okay, but there are enough for them to go back to at other times of the day as well) and we're covering the following schedule - and believe me, it has become very much just a "highlights" tour:

Monday 8/12: finish Samuel
Tuesday 9/12: Saul
Wednesday 10/12: David (during Saul's reign)
Thursday 11/12: David (during his own reign)
Friday 12/12: Solomon
[Skip planned coverage of Elijah, Elisha and the northern kingdom]
Saturday 13/12: Some of the other kings of Judah (Jehoshaphat, Joash, Hezekiah & Josiah) and the prophet Isaiah
Monday 15/12: Daniel
Tuesday 16/12: Esther
Wednesday 17/12: Nehemiah & Ezra

Next year I hope we can be more consistent in our Circle Time at the end of the year and get through some of these stories in a whole lot more detail.

Then we'll head in to our pre-Christmas Circle Times. Last year we began with Isaiah's prophecy of the virgin who would give birth to a son, to be called "Immanuel", which means "God [is] with us". Our memory verse before Christmas was Isaiah 9:6. Then we read about Zechariah and Elizabeth's pregnancy and the birth of their son John, who was born while Mary was pregnant with Jesus. The focus was on the miraculous nature of these births, and that they were part of God's plan which He was bringing to fruition and openly proclaiming as the work of His own hands.

This year, our focus is again going to be on Jesus' birth as a fulfilment of prophecy. However, having studied through Matthew with BSF this year, I am excited to be focussing on Jesus as the promised King: of Israel... and the entire universe. Also on the idea that Jesus came to make a way for the people's faithful allegiance to be in the One True God, rather than in men or pagan idols.

So this is our Christmas 2008 Circle Time schedule:

Thursday 18/12: Genesis 49, especially vv 9-12 "The Sceptre will not depart from Judah..."
Friday 19/12: 2 Samuel 7 especially vv11b=16 "the LORD himself will establish a house for you... I will be his father, and he will be my son."
Saturday 20/12: Micah 5 especially vv2-5a "But you, Bethlehem... out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel... He will stand and shepherd his flock..."
Monday 22/12: Luke 1:26-38, 46-55 Birth of Jesus foretold to Mary (and Mary's Song)
Tuesday 23/12: Matt 1:18-25 Birth of Jesus foretold to Joseph
Wednesday 24/12: Luke 2:1-5 Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem
Thursday 25/12: Luke 2:6-7 and Matt 1:25 The Birth of Jesus Christ!
Friday 26/12: Luke 2:8-20 Angels visit Shepherds, and Shepherds visit Jesus
Saturday 27/12: Luke 2:21-38 Infant Jesus presented at the Temple
Monday 29/12: Matt 2:1-12 The Wise Men visit Jesus as a young child in Bethlehem
Tuesday 30/12: Matt 2:13-18 Jesus' family escapes from Bethlehem to Egypt
Wednesday 31/12: Matt 2:19-23 and Luke 2:39-40 Jesus' family returns from Egypt to Nazareth

So there you have it! If I can get the last week's pages organised this afternoon, I will get the kids' Make-Your-Own Bible story books bound tomorrow or Friday. Their Circle Time folders are absolutely bursting! They can colour the last few pages after it's already bound and that's one less thing to organise before our move and Christmas.

Just another update

Two of the Elders from BCC came around to our house last night and, after taking us through Jeff's contract for two hours, Jeff and the elders signed it. So he is now officially employed by BCC as their Pastor, to begin Sunday 1st February, 2009. Wow! I am so looking forward to this new adventure! That Sunday we will just join the congregation at the service, and then on the 8th Jeff will have his "Commendation" ceremony where we are formally introduced to the congregation at the service before their monthly Fellowship Lunch. Jeff will preach for the first time a fortnight later. It seems like the Elders have really thought through how they want to introduce Jeff to the congregation so I am really pleased about that - it shows they will be great guides for him as he adjusts to this new job and works out how he can best fit with the congregation to serve them. The Elders will be announcing Jeff's appointment to the position this Sunday, so I need to get a family photo ready before then. I think I will take a leaf out of Kellie's blog and Photoshop something that will also be suitable for Christmas/New Year cards.

On Monday, Jeff rang the agent for the house in the block behind the church twice and was able to obtain about 40 photos via email even though we couldn't immediately schedule an inspection because it's still tenanted. After poring over these for hours (well, that was me, not Jeff), Jeff put in an application for the house yesterday morning. We have found out that about $60 of the rent is to pay a gardener, so we have asked if we can have the rent reduced and take care of that ourselves. Apparently there was a bad tenant previously who did not care for the garden hence they have decided on the need for a professional, but we have offered to pay an extra garden-specific bond to cover the eventuality that we should not keep it to the same standard as when we move in (if we move in!). Jeff made the point to the agent that he has a back injury that is covered by compensation that provides a gardener if he is physically unable to take care of the garden, so it would make more sense for that to pay for the gardener if we really can't take care of it. I am really hoping that we will be able to rent this property and at a reduced price. It has a bore, so keeping the lawns green won't be a problem with water restrictions. When we met with the elders last night, they were very enthusiastic about the possibility of us moving so near to the church. And it has floor boards in every room other than the play room at the back of the house which has what looks like quite sturdy carpet. Not a hair of shag pile in sight! Wherever we end up moving, I'll post pictures as soon as we get the essentials unpacked.

Now I just have to make a To Do List for the move. Lotsa lotsa stuff to do!

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Kids' Singing in the Congregation #1

At the end of March next year I will be co-presenting a workshop at the CCOWA Perth Children's Ministry Convention. The topic for the 2009 conference is "Music with Meaning" and it is aimed at those involved in Music or Children's Ministry with their church, school or beach mission. (The 2010 conference will be aimed at parents.) My workshop is titled "Integrating children's music and church music" and I am writing it at the moment, working with another lady who is experienced in the music side of things to supplement my knowledge of and experience with children.

Having noticed that I don't seem to post too much of anything on Tuesdays for some unknown reason, I have decided to post my workshop draft in dribs and drabs over the up-coming "Tuneful Tuesdays" and whoever wants to comment and help me improve the draft before it becomes the final version will be welcome and appreciated for their efforts. So here is the introduction...
Matthew 21:15-16
15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, "Hosanna to the Son of David," they were indignant.
16 "Do you hear what these children are saying?" they asked him.
"Yes," replied Jesus, "have you never read,
" 'From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise'?"

This workshop is about making music with the entire congregation:
I) easier for children to participate in with an attitude that honours God; and
II) more understandable and meaningful for children as they participate in worship and are edified.

I. Helping children participate in music with the entire congregation

When children join in with congregational singing, they are joining in with the body of the church in a powerful way. Singing songs with well-chosen lyrics helps the congregation verbally express their thoughts and feelings about God and to God. When children sing along in the presence of adults who are also singing Christian songs, they to learn how to express their own emotions about and towards God in a manner that honours God: in praise, thanksgiving, repentance and yearning. When children are able to sing along with the wider congregation, they learn from experience that they belong to the church as important members along with the adults; they are not merely part of some separate group who happened to come to the church building together.

II. Making congregational music understandable and meaningful

When children join in with congregational singing, they are exposed to words and phrases that enable them to both clarify and express theological thoughts in a clear acknowledgement of Biblical truth. In their use of specifically Christian words, which may not be familiar to them from their Children's Ministry or family's discipleship, they are being given entrance to one part of the Christian Life, that of using words to relate and respond to God Himself. When well understood, these words can later be used by the child in the context of spoken prayer and discussion, and need not be restricted to their use in song. Of course, this is only true insofar as the words are either explained or used in the lyrics in a way that enables their meaning to be grasped by the children as they sing them.
Next Tuneful Tuesday: Helping children in the congregation sing along with a tune

[Image courtesy of CCOWA.]

Friday, 5 December 2008

Next up: Moving house!

Now that we know where Jeff will be working next year, we need to organise to move house. At the moment we rent a house about a 30 min drive from the church. That would be close enough if we were just joining the congregation, but as the Pastor Jeff will need to be a lot closer. We are hoping to find a suitable house to rent either in the suburb or in one of the adjoining suburbs.

We have a few things we will be looking for in a new house: four bedrooms, or three plus study as that's what the fourth will be. The second and third bedrooms need to be big enough for twin single beds, not just one single bed. Many bedrooms in Perth seem to have room for two beds but do not really when you take into account the way cupboard doors open and where windows are etc. Also we need either a double lock up garage or a secure workshop/shed for Jeff's carpentry tools. At the moment all of his wood working stuff takes up the same amount of space as our car in the other half of our garage. We want a fenced back yard or front yard suitable for the kids to run and play in. And I must, must, must have tiles or floor boards or lino or anything other than shag-pile carpeting in the dining room! The carpeting in our dining room in this present house has been a bane of my life for the past almost three years. We also need enough wall space for all our book cases. I don't want stairs as we've had them in our last two homes and people just fall down them too much, even when it's only two steps down into a sunken lounge like in our present home. And... we'd like some other things, but really these are the most obvious and important things. I guess it would be great if we were able to have a space for the kids just to be play in, away from the main "hospitality areas" like dining and lounge, that I knew didn't have to have every single toy put away before people to visit. And I guess from that perspective of hospitality it would be great if it had space for more cars to park than just in the garage.

[Wow, just re-reading through this list makes me feel pretty worldly and materialistic.
God, please keep me to Your priorities!]

Last night we looked at a few online rental info sites and found a few properties which look like they might be suitable. One is actually pretty much over the back fence from the church and across one street. Not immediately next to the church so people just wander across without thinking, but close enough to be within easy walking distance. Here's some of what the rental site has to say it their blurb:

Immaculate partly renovated 4xbed, 1xbath, sep lnge, dining, formal dining/office, lge family, dble gge & lge workshop/shed. 2xreverse-cycle air con units, all bedrms with ceiling fans. Very roomy, lots of parking, neat bore-retic gdns. Gardening and lawnmowing included. Available mid Dec...

It sounds (and looks) ideal. As Mrs T thought as well when she went looking online on our behalf this morning. So we have sent an email off to the agent and are waiting to hear back.

There are a few other houses in the neighbouring suburbs but nothing that stands out as well-suited as this one.

We'll be praying about this over the next few days and weeks. I'm not all that worried about it because we have up to two months to move; we could even move after Jeff began work if this was absolutely necessary, but obviously this would not be ideal. When we moved to Perth we had two weeks to find a place to live in, have our rental application approved, and move in before Jeff began his Greek intensive at college. And it all got done! And we have been able to stay in this place for the whole three years of college and the rent has remained manageable all that time. I can remember God's kindness and provision to us then and be reassured that He is still watching over us in the same way today. Not that I think He's some sort of magical fairy godmother or anything like that, but I do know He will work all things out for the best for the people whom He has called by His name.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

A "Real" Job for Jeffrey

Hooray | Hooray | Hooray

Jeff was offered the job as full-time Pastor at BCC this evening
(and of course said yes)!

Hooray | Hooray | Hooray

Thank you for your prayers - and Thanks be to God for this wonderful opportunity to serve Him!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Jobs for Daddies and Mummies

First of all, marry each other.

The daddies pick flowers from the garden for the mummies when they have their wedding.

Guard each other and feed each other.

Mummies born babies and mummies milk babies - they give them milk from their boobies.

Mummies swing kiddies (on the swing) and daddies do that too.

Worshipping God (adults and kiddies do this and babies can stay at home with mummies or uncles or aunties or whoever).

Cutting trees down with mummies and daddies and kids and babies stay at home and go to bed. Babies go to child care then.

Finished. That's all. Good-bye.

[According to Anna.]

Nikki Nikki Tembo

A while ago I posted Joshua's narration of the picture book Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel, which my children enjoyed as part of our studies of Asia.

This morning I found an online recording of an earlier, longer version of the same story. This Chinese fable is by H. Cramer adapted by Paul Wing and told by Paul Wing on the record around 1964 (or possibly 1950). In this one, the boy, whose name is slightly different to the Mosel version, and who is also called Long-Name-No-Can-Say, is stuck in the well because he is too fat, having been spoiled by his over-indulgent parents. He must get slimmer before he can get out of the well.

You can listen here: Joshua and Anna loved it, but be warned that it's not very PC in it's use of stereotypical accents and other elements.

HT: Kadyellebee

Monday, 1 December 2008

A few more bits of good news

Since Samuel did his first wee in the potty, he has done one or two in the right place each day. This Sunday, we were delighted (I think my shouts of joy might well have startled the neighbours) to find he had done a poo in the potty as well. Hooray! It might indeed be smooth sailing for toilet training my last one... but I'm not counting any chickens yet!

Secondly, thanks for your prayers; we think the interview went very well on Sunday afternoon. It may have helped that I was in somewhat of an elated mood from the aforementioned potty incident, but that's neither here nor there. The questions were really good ones, not just light fluff. Stuff like (to Jeff) "Since you have been a member of both the Baptist denomination (tending towards Calvinism) and the Uniting denomination (tending towards Arminianism from it's roots in Methodism) where do you stand on the Calvinist-Arminian spectrum?" And to me, "What do you think about infant baptism versus adult or believer baptism?" We were also asked to identify each other's gifts and our own weaknesses, which would be a valuable question to ask at any time. It was quite rewarding to reflect later upon how close our marriage is that questions like this could be answered without hesitation. The best part of the interview was being told at the end that we will probably know whether Jeff will be offered the position by the end of this week. This is a lot quicker than we were expecting, because the selection committee has the power to make the offer, without having to take it to a meeting of the congregation first, as would happen in a Baptist church.

And finally, I've been trying intermittently to lose weight since I finished feeding Samuel a year ago. Having been pregnant or feeding or both continuously since mid-2002, my body was run down and suffering from my lack of self-control in the matter of diet. With the help of my doctor and a renewed sense of the importance of reaching a healthy weight, I have lost 5kg (11pds) in the last five weeks and about 9cm off my waistline and am feeling very proud of myself. I am determined to keep my efforts up - and the scales down!

It's good to be reminded to thank God for His smaller, everyday mercies, as well as the biggies like salvation. So thank You, God, for these three blessings.