Friday, 29 May 2009

A little bit of Australiana

In the last week I have received two emails with photos that made me laugh out loud. I used to live in the Northern Territory of Australia, so perhaps that has affected my sense of humour. For those who have never been there, the two species of crocodiles (Crocodylus johnstonii and Crocodylus porosus) that live in the NT are both protected. Since becoming protected their numbers have skyrocketed and plans are afoot to introduced controlled culling, because they are becoming a dangerous pest. Saltwater crocodiles (C. porosus) do stalk, attack and kill people, as well as domesticated animals far larger than the wild pig.

This first picture came with the caption, "Pig hunting, Northern Territory style."(I can't be sure that isn't retouched, but it is definitely plausible.)

In the context of the photo above, this one seems somewhat ridiculous.

It sure is a lot safer living here in Perth, despite the Red Back spiders.

[I have no idea of the copyright origins of these photos. HT to the anonymous emailers who first sent them out.]

Monday, 25 May 2009

Abigail is now 4!

Happy birthday to my dear little daughter Abigail, who is now 4 years old! We have a Special Breakfast for birthdays. Abigail asked not just for pancakes, but for a "pancake cake".We had a fun time watching Abi open presents this morning.

Abigail's birth - a story in photos

One of our birthday traditions is that I will tell the birthday child the story of their birth, while we snuggle in bed together in the morning. I cannot believe it has been four years since I first stared down at her little head lying on my chest, in complete shock at her mop of dark brown hair!

WARNING: Abigail was born by caesarian section. I have included lots of photos in this post; none show private body parts (except one view of newborn baby buttocks), but there is blood, so don't scroll down if you're squeamish. All of the medical jargon is kept to the end, so feel free to skip that as well.

Here I am on the morning of Abigail's Big Day:Daddy and Mummy prepped for theatre:
Abigail is here!
Daddy cuts Abigail's umbilical cord:
I want my mummy!
Daddy introduces Abigail to Mummy:
First cuddle with Mummy:
She has hair! Are you sure she is ours?
Anna meets her sister:
Joshua meets his sister:
Snoozing with Daddy:
Abigail was born in the Royal Darwin Hospital. It always makes me laugh when I see how they lay claim to all babies born there as their own:

Abigail was born by planned caesarian section after she turned to the breech position at 35 weeks. From ultrasound measurements, she was predicted to be around 4.1kg, which is generally considered too large to deliver safely naturally in the breech position. (In the Lancet Term Breech Trial, for example, the cut off for trial of labour for breech births was 4kg.) She turned out to be 4.24kg (9 pounds, 5 1/2 ounces) when she was born. We were blessed to have four weeks in which to research, consider and pray about the risks of a trial of labour versus a planned caesarian section. I have heard that emergency c-sections can be quite emotionally traumatic. That was not my experience, because we went into the operating theatre confident that this was the right thing to be doing for the health of both of us.

I am very, very thankful for the great encouragement and assistance of the midwives program at RDH, which I was in for the duration of my pregnancy with Abigail. This program ensured that I was seen by a pair of midwives throughout my pregnancy for each of my antenatal visits except the initial one and 36 week check up. If I had delivered naturally without complications, the birth would only be attended by those same midwives, without doctors but within the general hospital labour ward.

My midwives greatly helped me in my fight to be allowed to continue in this program when the hospital higher-ups wanted to require me to have an ultrasound to ensure I didn't have placenta praevia, despite my complete lack of symptoms. (Placenta praevia is a serious complication to pregnancy if it does occur, but it is almost always able to be diagnosed without an ultrasound. Obvious symptoms include abnormal fundal height measurements and unexplained blood loss during pregnancy.) In the end I was forced to have the ultrasound if I wanted to continue in the midwifery program, which is only for low risk pregnancies. But I was able to elect to have a very short ultrasound, without the usual nuchal fold measurements wrt Downs' Syndrome being taken, despite the sonographer's insistence I "needed to know".

When Abigail turned breech, my midwives stayed with my case, even though I was no longer eligible to be part of the Midwifery Program. They helped me to find information about breech births and all the options available to us. They clearly explained the risks and possible problems with both caesarian section and natural breech birth. They also organised for me to have a doctor from the hospital attempt an external cephalic version (ECV), where the baby is (if it works!) turned by a doctor pushing on the mother's abdomen. It didn't work for us, and I almost decided to call Abigail "Mary", as in, "Quite Contrary"! One of the midwives was able to attend me during my op, despite not being part of the medical team for the operation. (She's seen taking photos in one of the pics above.) And she organised to obtain the doctor's report on Abigail's birth for me, even pointing out where the doc had written, amid all the highly technical medical terms, "Breech extraction of a cute girl."

The only thing that I later found was wrong in all that they told me, was when they said that I had the same chance of delivering naturally for a future birth after a caesarian section. This was true at that hospital, where caesarian sections are not greatly encouraged. But here in Perth, aka the Caesar capital of Australia, I found my doctor assumed I would want a second caesarian section (for Samuel) after having one previously, despite Samuel not being breech and me having had two births naturally before. The VBAC rate is only the same as the VB rate for those women who actively choose to push for a VBAC, despite the presumption of caesarian section by the vast majority of doctors. I really had to fight for my minimal intervention VBAC here in Perth. For that, Birthrites was a fantastic source of support and information. But that is a story for another time... perhaps November, when we celebrate Samuel's birthday.

(I posted about sharing my memories of Anna's very different birth, back here, for anyone who is interested.)

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Salvation by God Alone pt 2

In reflecting upon God's role in accomplishing my salvation, I have been singing the song Heavenly Father, Beautiful Son a lot.

It is from the CD Valley of Vision by Sovereign Grace Ministries. The subtitle of the CD is Songs for worship inspired by the classic book of Puritan prayers. You can buy this "classic book" (or read a few sample prayers) here. According to my sources, it is OOP, so currently unavailable through Koorong.

I have particularly appreciated this song because it speaks of the role of each of the three Persons in the Trinity in bringing sinners to salvation. At different times in my Christian life, I have tended to focus on one of these three, perhaps to the detriment of the others. But
God, who is one substance (character, nature; HOLY) is also three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This song helps me to remember that all three have been at work in my salvation. It was not sufficient that the Father should send, His Son also had to go. My salvation was not only accomplished through the act of Jesus' death and resurrection, but also applied to my life when the Holy Spirit regenerated my heart, enabling me to turn in repentant faith to the Father for the one and only way He has made for me to be saved.

Heavenly Father, Beautiful Son

Verse 1
Father, You loved me
Sent Your Son to redeem
Jesus, You washed me
By Your blood I am clean
Spirit, You’ve opened these blinded eyes
And brought me to Christ

Heavenly Father
Beautiful Son
Spirit of light and truth
Thank You for bringing sinners to come to You

Verse 2
Father, You gave me
To Jesus to keep
And Jesus, You love me
As a shepherd, his sheep
Spirit, You’ve given me faith in the Son
And made our hearts one

Verse 3
Father, You’re waiting
To hear my requests
Jesus, Your loving
Open hand is outstretched
Spirit, You’re in me, You intercede
And help in my need

“Heavenly Father, Beautiful Son” words and music by Mark Altrogge. © 2005 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI).

[I wasn't sure about the ethics of posting the full lyrics online, but the publishers have made them available for free online here, and I own the CD, so I think it is okay. The image comes from here.]

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Salvation by God Alone

Kellie commented on my recent rebuttal on one atheist's argument, that reading it, "Really makes me thankful for God's grace."

God's work in accomplishing my salvation is something I have been pondering of late. At our Women's Gathering this Thursday we read the prayer that the believers "raised their voices together" to pray after Peter and John were first arrested by the prominent priests of Jerusalem, questioned, and then released (see Acts 4:23-31).

In response to initial persecution for spreading the gospel of salvation through faith in the name of Jesus Christ, as proclaimed by Peter in particular (see Acts 3:16, 4:10 and 4:12), the believers began their prayer with praise to God. They addressed their prayer with the descriptive title "Sovereign Lord", whereby they acknowledged that God not only has authority over all things, He also has power over all things. The believers went on to praise God for making "the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them." It is because God created all things that He has this authority and power over His creation. As we teach our children, God made the universe and so it belongs to him.

Having reflected upon God's supremacy, the believers prayed about the situation they found themselves in. In apparent contrast to God's supremacy, Jesus' apostles (the people God chose to be witnesses to the life, death, resurrection and ascension of His Son Jesus Christ) were experiencing opposition to the proclamation of their message. Yet the believers did not view this opposition as a refutation of God's authority or power. Rather they recognised that this was part of God's plan. "They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen." This is just how Peter had recently explained the execution of Jesus Christ at the hands of the same priests (Acts 2:23 and <3:18, for example). So rather than give up their hope of salvation, which was based in God's raising Jesus Christ back to life after his death (Acts 2:32-33&36 and Acts 4:2), the believers prayed that God would equip them to speak boldly about Jesus despite the opposition. They asked that God would perform "miraculous signs and wonders", so that despite the challenges and rejection of the gospel message by some people, others would believe the message and come to faith in Jesus Christ.

As a testimony to His authority and power, God answered their prayer. Luke records in Acts 4:31 that "After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly." Later, in Acts 6:7, we read that, "the word of God spread." Not only that, but, "a large number of priests became obedient to the faith." What a wonderful testimony to the mighty power of God! Despite their public opposition to the proclamation of the message of salvation through faith in the name of Jesus Christ alone (Acts 4:12), many priests later came to believe that exact message.

One of the lessons that has been brought home to me through reading and studying this passage, is that it is God alone who achieves our salvation. Often, we focus only on the reformation statement Sola Fides. "Faith Alone" encapsulates the Biblical doctrine that our salvation is accomplished only through faith in who Jesus Christ is (God's Son, the One who was sent by God as His Messiah to save His chosen people) and what Jesus Christ has done (in his death on the cross, Jesus was sacrificed as an atonement for our sins; this means that Jesus took the punishment for our rebellion against God in our place, so that we do not have to suffer the consequence of eternal separation from God that our rebellion deserves).

We can easily forget that there were four other "solas" that emerged from the reformation (You can read a brief description of the Five Solas and their historical development here.) Another of these five statements is Sola Gratia. In English, that is translated as "By Grace Alone". Grace is an often misunderstood term, but it simply means "a free gift". Grace is that which we receive through no effort of our own, not as a reward for anything we have done, but merely because God chooses to give. It is God's work that makes the salvation of Christians possible. Yes, he achieves this through their faith in His Son Jesus Christ. But it is vital to realise that it is God who grants Christians this faith in the first place. As it says in one of my favourite passages from the Bible, Ephesians 2:1-5:

"1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved."

Friday, 22 May 2009

I know he won't want to see this when he's 18

But I thought it was absolutely gorgeous.Here are Samuel and Abigail, dancing to A Very Very Very Big God. (Abigail got dressed up first. Samuel just chose his dress up costume to be like her.)

Doing Exercise like Daddy

Jeff had just been granted a medical discharge from the Army when we met. He had a back injury which has since improved greatly. One of the things he is meant to do, to keep his vertebra working pleasantly, is exercise. At the moment, Jeff's physio has given him exercises to do using a giant inflatable ball. The kids find these exercises fascinating.

I will spare you from a photo of Jeff rolling around on the giant blue ball, but here is a sweet photo of Abigail using a balloon. She told me, "I'm doing exercises just like Daddy".

Play Nice

I really appreciate the days when the kids play nicely together.

I took this photo a few weeks ago, while all four children played for several hours with minimum disagreement. Joshua and Anna played for a long time building castles with Mega Blocks. Who would have thought that Joshua would still be playing with a present he was given for his first Christmas (thanks Uncle Daryl!) five and a half years later?

They had a whole scenario that they were playing out, with Anna's block person being the Queen and Joshua's the King. The King was busy off having adventures and the Queen was feeling quite lonely without him: she built a plane so she could go to meet him. The King had a Knight, so he hadn't really missed her. I'm not quite sure if you can extrapolate from that to surmise the situation with Josh off at away-school and Anna missing him at home, but I do know that my mother-heart was filled with joy to see them playing so companionably.Joshua's castle is at the centre of this picture, and Anna's is at the bottom left. Her castle was somewhat less magnificent than his, but that was mostly because Joshua got a head start on Anna when it came to selecting the blocks to use. Anna was busy with Abigail and Samuel and the Little People farm when Joshua first began building.

Is this the best atheists can come up with?

"Unfortunately, there are many holy books, and they all disagree with each other ... This god seems to be an exceptionally unreliable oracle -- most of what he has supposedly said is wrong." An argument for atheism from PZ Myers in this reply to an LA Times op ed piece by Charlotte Allen on the repetitious rants of atheists.

Myers' line of argument is patently ridiculous. You would have to look very hard to find a person who subscribes to any of the five main world religions who believes that their particular holy book was written, or inspired, by the exact same God who inspired all the other holy books.

The "god" is not unreliable: the simple explanation is that there are many "gods" all causing different holy books to be written. Or is that too obvious an explanation for these allegedly "pedantic, scholarly" atheists to understand?

For example, many Christians believe that the devil has led people to believe things which are contrary to the truth the Christian God has revealed in the Bible. In Myers' terminology, this entity (the devil) would be "a god", but not in the terminology of Christianity. Other Christians would see this divergence of religious texts as a result of the human tendency (in Biblical language, the "sinful nature") to want to worship anything other than the God of the Bible. Other religions also have explanations for the divergence of the assortment of holy writ from what they accept as correct.

The existence of many different statements purporting to present the truth of who God is does not mean that there is only one author of all these statements. Nor does it mean that all of them are false. Only one of them needs to be correct.

Personally, I don't think the correct statement is the statement presented by atheists. For all their time allegedly spent reading and writing books, the evidence of the article quoted above is that prominent atheists still cannot form a simple logical syllogism without blatant fallacies. So I can't hold much hope for the substance of the rest of their so-called "reasons" either.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Anna's achievement

Anna has just finished reading The Calf that Couldn't, which was the last reader in the third level of the Endeavour Reading Program. She is now reading most words from this level text confidently, and she no longer needs me to guide her eyes with my finger underneath the text. On the weekend she decided to have a go at reading a little book she was given for her birthday, and she did well all on her own, demonstrating that she is now beginning to read because she wants to, not because she has to. Hip hip hooray!

This accomplishment means that Anna has now achieved a reading ability roughly equivalent to a the expected standard for the end of grade one. For a little perspective, this is week 14, out of 40, of her "Pre-Primary" year (the year before compulsory schooling begins with Grade 1).

Not to mention, she still loves to dress up and dance!

And mine!

I just went to have myself weighed and I have lost another 2kg (4.4pds) in the last week. This means that I am now (finally) down to the weight I was when I went for my first pregnancy check-up for Samuel. At last!

Now I only have the after-effects of the first three pregnancies to get rid of! I'll get there eventually.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

It's not quite 7am...

And I can hear the pitter-patter of little feet through the house.
I can also hear excited voices whispering to each other.

Abigail: "Joshua, it's Church Day!"

Joshua: "Anna, it's Church Day!"

Anna: "Don't forget your money to give to God!"

Oh, I love my kiddies so very, very much.

Friday, 15 May 2009

I have to vote tomorrow...

And I just don't know which box to pick!

Tomorrow is the referendum for - or against - the introduction of Daylight Saving Time to Western Australia.

I've lived here through three and a half summers, but the last three have been during the trial of DST, so I don't really have any memory of what summer is like here without DST. I lived in the tropics before this, where there was very little change in the sun's rising and setting times throughout the year, so moving to a place with "real" seasons and a vast difference in day length between summer and winter really threw me. I remember spending our first winter in Perth mystified by the fact that Jeff wasn't ever home from college before sunset.

I really like the way that when DST begins, my children are no longer waking me up at the ridiculous time of 5:30am. But then again, perhaps the discipline and opportunities of an early start in the summer outweigh the fleshy benefits of a government-sanctioned sleep in.

[edit: I began this post yesterday and didn't get any further than this. So I'm going to finish it up now and post it anyway.

You would think after three years of a trial I would have worked out how I wanted to vote on the issue, wouldn't you? At least given it some thought?

Well, I have had numerous conversations with other people about it. One of my friends, Mrs T, has always said she will vote No. The conversation mostly came up when I was over there for a babysitting swap and they were trying to get the kids down to sleep and it was still light outside. My M-I-L is totally against it, out of sympathy with dairy farmers, I think.

I think I really like it for myself, personally. Mostly because the kids don't wake up so early. I'm not sure that we really do anything extra in the summer to take advantage of the later light. Frankly, the summer days this far down from the equator are so long, having sunset a little later doesn't make all that much difference. It's still going to be "late" in my view of things, even without the change to the clocks. And then, I don't have a job outside the home, so I can chose my own time to begin the day, anyway (well, unless the kids decide it for me).

A few days ago I asked Jeff what he was going to vote, and he said he'd vote "No". I asked him why - I was a little surprised, since in most of the conversations we'd had, we had agreed that it was easier to have the kids getting up "later". He said he had decided that he didn't much care either way, so he was going to vote No because it seemed like the No people were more impassioned about the issue, and cared more about it than the Yes cohort. Upon reflection, I had to agree with him there. I guess that's because most of the people who are telling us to vote No (in the letters page of the newspaper, for instance) are doing it for personal reasons. In contrast, the people who want us to vote Yes are doing so mostly for business reasons: there is a longer overlap of working hours with the eastern states, since they have DST already and have done for years, so it makes business transactions easier. I kinda think if you really want or need to have your business out here in the west, you should be prepared to accept that Perth is an entire continent away from Sydney (4110km, slightly over 2550mi). Not that this will encourage more businesses to migrate here, but still.

So I found myself at the voting booth still not knowing what to write. I walked there, so again, you would think I would have had time to work it out as I walked across the suburb. But we let Joshua and Anna ride their bikes, and the other two went in the double pram, so I spent most of the way watching to see that no-one rode across a road without stopping and waiting for an adult. Didn't think about the vote at all!

When I walked out, Jeff asked me, "What took you so long?" I was almost embarrassed to admit that I hadn't known what to vote so I stood there praying about it for a few minutes before I wrote anything on the paper. In the end, I wrote No. Want to know why?

I prayed, LORD, Please help me to know what to vote. And I just thought, "Know", that sounds the same as "No". Hmm. I think I'll vote No. I'm not sure if this was God answering my prayer or not, but at least now I know that I have taken a stand against my fleshly propensities to desire a morning sleep in. Um, Drat!?!

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Herod's Temple

This week in our Women's Gathering we will be studying some of the events that happened at Herod's Temple, in Jerusalem. I have been looking for reliable schematics to tell me where places such as "the temple gate called Beautiful" (Acts 3:2) and "Solomon's Colonnade" (Acts 3:11) are, and I ran across this amazing model. Check it out!

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Ode to Mothering Part 4

"Mothering is part joy and part guerilla warfare." Ed Anser

We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else. As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us. Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. ~ 1 Thessalonians 2:6-9

Just in case you are wondering, the first three posts with this title, and one earlier post, together form the transcript of a talk I gave yesterday at our church's Women's Breakfast. You can read them all in order from these links:

A typical Saturday morning
Ode to Mothering 1
Ode to Mothering 2
Ode to Mothering 3

Happy Mother's Day!

Ode to Mothering Part 3

While acknowledging that I have much to improve upon when it comes to gentleness, there is one matter where Paul and I are perfectly matched. His cause, the one that saw him imprisoned for years, is mine as well. Paul was a Christian, and he wanted people to know about Jesus Christ. Paul wanted people to know that Jesus is God’s Son, the King who rules over everyone whether they recognise that authority or not. Paul wanted people to know that Jesus is the one man who came to die, to pay the penalty for the disrespect people show to God, so that instead of facing God’s anger, we can have peace with Him.
The people that Paul loved so much, worked so hard for, and lived with gentleness among, were the people who he had told about Jesus. Paul’s efforts bore good fruit. These people became Christians, and Paul then spent several years teaching them to be committed, faithful Christians.

My absolute number one goal as a mother is exactly the same as Paul’s was with these people. I want my children to know who Jesus Christ is, and to believe in Him and trust in Him as their King, the one who saved them.

Now you might have other goals for your children. If you are not a Christian, my goal might sound pretty strange or even bizarre. So I thought I would explain why this is my goal. Funnily enough, it’s the same reason that Paul gave for his own hard work telling people about Jesus. I want to please God. It is as simple as that. I’m not so worried about pleasing people, although I do have my moments when I wonder what people think about me. I’m not really concerned about having heaps of money, or being powerful, or looking great. I am a Christian. And that means that I have made a decision to stop living my life according to my own natural desires, and to begin directing my life towards doing what God wants me to do, instead.

To that end, I am working hard every day. I am striving to show God’s love to my children with every gentle word that I speak, and every gentle action that I make. I want my children to know and love Jesus Christ, in the same way that I do. One day I will look back and see the results of my hard work and my efforts at gentleness. I hope and pray that I will be able to say with joy, just as Paul did, that my children “became imitators of us and the Lord”.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Ode to Mothering Part 2

So what was it that hard-working Paul thought was so significant about the way mothers do things? Paul wrote that he had been “gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children.” Paul thought that a mother’s gentleness was a thing to emulate.

When I read that, I am not sure whether to laugh or to cry, because I know that I am not nearly as gentle with my children as I want to be. If I was a gentle mother, I would be calm, kind, tender-hearted, mild, easy-going, even-tempered and self-controlled. I don’t think anyone who knows me well would describe me as more than one or two of these things. Yet they are all things that I aspire to be!

I want to be more like my friend M, who has seven children and somehow did not loose her sense of humour when severe pelvic pain confined her to bed for the last few weeks of her latest pregnancy. Her calmness in the midst of a very busy household is a great encouragement, and also a challenge.

I want to be more like my friend S, who maintained her quiet determination in the face of being diagnosed with leukaemia 10 weeks into her fourth pregnancy, and stoically put up with the daily vomiting caused by the only chemotherapy drug that was safe for her to take while she was pregnant. Her ability to be honest about her ongoing pain, without grumbling about it or growing bitter, is remarkable.

I want to be more like my friend C, who has overcome the flaws in her upbringing in a series of foster homes to become a mother of three who loves each one of her startlingly different children equally, cherishing their uniqueness. She has high standards for herself, but unlike me she doesn’t get impatient or annoyed when her pre-schoolers aren’t able to live up to those standards.

Indeed I think gentleness, such as that of a mother caring for her little children, is a quality that all of us, mothers and others, would do well to cultivate.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Ode to Mothering Part 1

Mothering is hard work. The only people I have ever heard say that it isn’t, have absolutely no experience of what they were talking about. And the hard work just keeps going on and on and on. My youngest child is only 2, so I have a good many years of intensive mothering to look forward to. I know that while some of this hard work may be lessened as my children go out to school (and no longer track dirt into the house every single daylight hour), there also will be added work as I help my children deal with the certainties of homework and making school friends, and the possibilities of learning difficulties and bullying. And then, I know that the heart work of mothering does not stop when a child finishes school or turns 18 or moves out of the family home or gets their first job or gets married and even has children of their own. For example, D’s son is grown up and married, yet this past week she has been working very hard for him, much of the time on her knees, because his wife had a serious car accident and D has been praying very hard.

When I think of all the hard work involved in my mothering, I am tempted to feel sorry for myself and grumble about it all to my husband or anyone else who will listen. One of the things which encourages me is to think about another very hard worker.

This particular hard worker is an inspiration to me. When this person once reflected upon their work, they used words such as “toil” and “hardship”, so I know they had lots in common with me. This person said that they worked “night and day”, which also sounds a whole lot like my ‘on-call at all times’ mothering work. This person wrote of “sharing their lives”, which describes perfectly the intimate day-to-day interaction I have with my children. This person said they did not want to be “a burden” to the people they were working for, which sounds a lot like the heavy responsibility I feel to be the best mum I possibly can be. This person said the people they worked for were “dear” to them. They even said “we loved you so much”, which is exactly how I feel about my own children. Having so much in common with this person, I know that I can learn from the way they approached their own hard work.

The only thing is, this person wasn’t a mother. That would have been impossible since the person was a bloke. But he wasn’t a father, either. Actually, he was single and childless his whole life. Which means that in some ways, we are completely different. He lived a long time ago, in a far away country, and spent years in jail for a cause he believed in. I live in 21st century Australia and haven’t had more trouble with the law than earning a speeding ticket 15 years ago.

Interestingly, this man – his name was Paul – thought that the two of us do have a lot in common. Actually, Paul seemed to think that the work of a mother was something to admire and even copy. We live in a time where feminists have done all they can to make the job of mothering seem pretty worthless, but Paul lived at a time where women weren’t valued much at all, in a culture that was highly man-centred. Yet Paul went so far as to brag about imitating mothers!

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

New Profile Photo

I've just added a more recent profile photo, and I thought I would show you all in 'widescreen':

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Children Desiring God conference

My blogging buddy Amy is at the Children Desiring God conference in Minneapolis this weekend. So far, it looks like a good mix of practical advice and sound theology to train those who work with children in Christian ministry.