Wednesday, 30 September 2009

In honour of my wedding anniversary

I would like to quote the lovely Anne Shirley of Green Gables, on the topic of the love between a minister and his wife:

"I think [Mrs Allan, the minister's wife] is perfect. Mr Allan thinks so too. Mrs Lynde says he just worships the ground she treads on and she doesn't really think it right for a minister to set his affections so much on a mortal being. But then, Diana, even ministers are human and have their besetting sins just like everybody else."

I love my husband Jeffrey. And yet, I am under no illusions that he is perfect.

I thank my God that Jesus Christ is my ultimate Bridegroom,
perfect in every way,
as He loves me so much that He laid down His life for me.

The Bible says (Isaiah 62:5), "As a Bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you." May this be true for you just as it is for me, this day and forever more.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Joshua the Teacher

This morning, before school, Joshua decided he would teach Anna and Sam to count to ten in Japanese. He stood on the coffee table, pointing at a painting with a ruler, while Anna and Sam sat in our new (second-hand) homeschool desks, repeating his words clearly. Then Joshua decided to go one step further, and teach Anna how to write the words for each number.I'm not sure he spelt them correctly in his example, but she copied from it very well, before he read through her words with her and pointed out the only mistake.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Peeling Potatoes

Granny taught Anna to peel carrots recently, and on Saturday while I was at Papercrafters, Jeff taught Samuel to peel potatoes. Anna and Sam both think peeling is the best job in the world!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

An Aquarium for School

A few weeks back, Jeff set up an aquarium at Joshua's school, complete with tadpoles, fish and water plants.Anna got to go to school with Jeff and Joshua for the morning, and she loved it. She did say it was a bit harder doing the writing than she had thought it would be... she was with a grade one class, after all. Joshua was very pleased to have his Dad come to school just to do stuff with him.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Saturday, 19 September 2009

The Storeey ov Rescyoo Man by Joshua J

An early illustration of Rescue Man, from January 2008:
A transliteration into Standard Australian English - for those who cannot read "Joshie-ese" fluently - is provided at the bottom of this post. For those who would prefer to do their own translating work, I have provided a transcription of the text below the image of each page.

Hints for translation:

Joshua's most common error in writing is to mix up certain letters that look very similar. In this passage, he has often replaced b with d and p with d or q. Sometimes, other letters are reversed, so a short j is probably actually intended to be an i; t and l often suffer this fate as well.

Most words are spelt incorrectly (being honest!) but usually according to a basic understanding of the rules of Phonics. Translators may try reading the words out loud and thinking about what other sounds might be represented by a given grapheme. Hence story is spelt with eey after the r. I think the first e was added to "make the O say its name". The second e was added because ey is a common ending used to represent the final E sound, as in key and monkey.

All text copyright Joshua J, September 2009.The storeey ov rescyoo man.
1 in hud worcin tawn a
dadey was deen in The hasdtl
vay nam him rescyoo man.
2 rescyoo man growi up.
rescyoo man livd inu a
qee has he didin get trets he
wos a helfe boo.
3 rescyoo man.
he went for his forst flit
it wos fun ver wos a qoll
in frunt ov him he bumqd

in too it he had too go too
4 in hosdtl.
he had cut his hed cut ii dan
too his scul he had too get it
stichd vay gavd him sum
medsen so it dident hort he
fel a slep.
5 The sooquhiro.
rescyoo man went a rand
The tan it was pesfl he

see a sin vat seb satby
soop hiro rasing.
The rasing.
he bilt his hsip The ras
bging ot dube wun
6 The a wood
a goodee wun badee testu
hol ezee haw ese itis wos
Too cil The bades reseyoo
man cilb him.

can we conplet The
necst chapter tmoro.

[The following words had been erased and written over with the above question.]
7 The chapdr of bef.
The bade rodots sent bi
The cilu The ume reseyoo-
man bibent no Wot
to stop vem va got
aut ver guns

[To be continued???]

The following translation of the original story by Joshua J is provided with every care for accuracy and absolutely no assurance of inerrancy. While spelling errors have been corrected, the only grammatical corrections have been standardisation of some capitals and addition of punctuation marks where the author indicated sentence breaks were intended. The erased section has been included in its appropriate sequence.

The story of Rescue Man.
1 In hard working town a
baby was born in the hospital.
They named him Rescue Man.
2 Rescue Man growing up.
Rescue Man lived in a
poor house. He didn't get treats. He
was a healthy boy.
3 Rescue Man.
He went for his first flight.
It was fun. There was a pole
in front of him. He bumped
into it. He had to go to
4 in hospital.
He had cut his head, cut it down
to his skull. He had to get it
stitched. They gaved him some
medicine so it didn't hurt. He
fell asleep.
5 The superhero.
Rescue Man went around
the town. It was peaceful. He
see a sign that said Saturday
super hero racing.
The racing.
He built his ship. The race
began. Another won.
6 The award.
A goody won. Baddy tested
how easy how easy it is was
to kill the baddies. Rescue
Man killed him.
7 The chapter of death.
The baddy robots sent by
the killer. The army Rescue
Man didn't know what
to stop them. They got
out their guns
Can we complete the
next chapter tomorrow?

Just in case you are wondering, Rescue Man has been Joshua's alter-ego for some time. This post tells how it all began.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Puffed Sleeves, Anyone?

We are reading through Anne of Green Gables as a family after dinner some evenings, and I have already provided some choice quotes on those in Christian ministry. That post sparked quite some hilarity from my fellow Ministry Wife from Perth, Meredith.

The condemnation for a minister's wife who has Puffed Sleeves (horror of horrors!) is funnier when you realise that in a recent chapter, Matthew goes to Mrs Lynde and organises for Anne to receive a new dress for Christmas, that has puffed sleeves, to Marilla's dismay. Matthew had observed Anne with her friends and noticed something was different, and then set out to rectify the situation, despite his agreement with Marilla that she was to be solely responsible for the raising of Anne.

Earlier in the novel, when Marilla and Anne were discussing Marilla's choice of clothes for Anne, the matter of puffed sleeves had come up as well. Marilla expressed disapproval. Anne responds, in one of the quotes I have in my blog's RHS column at the moment.

"But I'd rather look ridiculous when everybody else does than plain and sensible all by myself," persisted Anne mournfully.

Fortunately, I must say, Anne's opinions of the necessity of beauty are somewhat tempered the events of the novel. Of far more aggravation than any issue of Puffed Sleeves is the dire situation of Anne's red hair which shows no signs of darkening to auburn. (Sorry if this is getting too personal, Amy.) So Anne industriously purchases some hair dye from a travelling salesman, but it doesn't turn her hair the guaranteed "raven black".

"I thought nothing could be as bad as red hair. But now I know it's ten times worse to have green hair."

"I mean to devote all my energies to being good after this and I shall never try to be beautiful again. Of course it's better to be good. I know it is, but it's sometimes so hard to believe a thing even when you know it."

Somebody has already written my book!!!

Um... I mean, the book I wish I had written myself!Amazon has Touched by a Vampire due for release Oct 6, 2009.
(Anybody looking for Christmas present ideas for me reading this post?)

You rock, Beth Felker Jones! Though I'm not sure why you didn't even ask me for notes...
As those who have read this blog back in June and July will know, I thought and blogged a lot about the Twilight Saga after I read the books. One of my first posts on the books, with a bunch of links to critical responses, linked to Beth Falkner Jones' article for the Gospel and Culture Project, Vampires and Young Female Desire.

And completely co-incidentally, I have a "Twilight Chat" scheduled with my friends S & C, to discuss the books and in particular their Mormon themes, on October 6. So you might get some more TwiSaga posts from me around then, since even without Jones' book, I have a fair bit to say on the topic:(Just in case you feel the urge to preview some of my thoughts, you can click on my images to open them in their full size.)

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Opinions on Ministry from Avonlea

We are reading through Anne of Green Gables as a family after dinner some evenings, and I am finding some unique and hilarious insights into opinions of those who enter Christian ministry within the pages. Mrs Rachel Lynde, ever ready with a word on many subjects, has had several things to say. Anne's take - on Mrs Lynde's opinions and the matters themselves - is at times wise beyond her years.

For those who are not familiar with the Anne books, Marilla and Matthew are Anne's adoptive parents; Mr and Mrs Allan are the newly wed, newly arrived to Avonlea, minister and his wife.

"We met the new minister and his wife coming from the station. For all I was feeling so bad about Mr Phillips going away I couldn't help taking a little interest in a new minister, could I? His wife is very pretty. Not exactly regally lovely, of course, - it wouldn't do, I suppose, for a minister to have a regally lovely wife, because it might set a bad example. Mrs Lynde says the minister's wife over at Newbridge set a very bad example because she dresses so fashionably. Our new minister's wife was dressed in blue muslin with lovely puffed sleeves and a hat trimmed with roses. Jane Andrews said she thought puffed sleeves were too worldly for a minister's wife, but I didn't make any such uncharitable remark, Marilla, because I know what it is to long for puffed sleeves. Besides, she's only been a minister's wife for a little while, so one should make allowances, shouldn't they?"

Old Mr Bentley, the minister whom Anne had found lacking in imagination, had been pastor of Avonlea for eighteen years. He was a widower when he came, and a widower he remained, despite the fact that gossip regularly married him to this, that, or the other one, every year of his sojourn. In the preceding February he had resigned his charge and departed amid the regrets of his people, most of whom had the affection born of long intercourse for their good old minister in spite of his short-comings as an orator. Since then the Avonlea church had enjoyed a variety of religious dissipation in listening to the many and various candidates and 'supplies' who came Sunday after Sunday to preach on trial. These stood or fell by the judgement of the fathers and mothers in Israel; but a certain small, red-headed girl who sat meekly in the corner of the old Cuthbert pew also had her opinions about them and discussed the same in full with Matthew, Marilla always declining from principle to criticize ministers in any shape or form.
"I don't think Mr Smith would have done, Matthew," was Anne's final summing up. "Mrs Lynde says his delivery was so poor, but I think his worst fault was just like Mr Bentley's - he had no imagination. And Mr Terry had too much; he let it run away with him just as I did mine in the matter of the Haunted Wood. Besides, Mrs Lynde says his theology wasn't sound. Mr Gresham was a very good man and a very religious man, but he told too many funny stories and made the people laugh too much; he was undignified, and you must have some dignity about a minister, mustn't you, Matthew? I thought Mr Marshall was decidedly attractive; but Mrs Lynde says he isn't married or even engaged, because she made special inquiries about him, and she says it would never do to have a young unmarried minister in Avonlea, because he might marry in the congregation, and that would make trouble. Mrs Lynde is a very far-seeing woman, isn't she, Matthew? I'm very glad they've called Mr Allan. I liked him because his sermon was interesting and he prayed as if he meant it and not just as if he did it because he was in the habit of it. Mrs Lynde says he isn't perfect, but she says she supposes we couldn't expect a perfect minister for seven hundred and fifty dollars a year, and anyhow his theology is sound because she questioned him thoroughly on all the points of doctrine. And she knows his wife's people and they are most respectable and the women are all good housekeepers. Mrs Lynde says that sound doctrine in the man and good housekeeping in the woman make an ideal combination for a minister's family."

"I'm not half so skinny as I was when I came here, but I have no dimples yet. If I had perhaps I could influence people for good. Mrs Allan said we ought always try to influence other people for good. She talked so nice about everything. I never knew before that religion was such a cheerful thing. I always thought it was kind of melancholy, but Mrs Allan's isn't, and I'd like to be a Christian if I could be one like her. I wouldn't want to be one like Mr Superintendent Bell."
"It's very naughty of you to speak so about Mr Bell," said Marilla severely. "Mr Bell is a real good man."
"Oh, of course he's good," agreed Anne, "but he doesn't seem to get any comfort out of it. If I could be good I'd dance and sing all day because I was glad of it. I suppose Mrs Allan is too old to dance and sing and of course it wouldn't be dignified in a minister's wife. But I can just feel she's glad she's a Christian and that she'd be one even if she could get to heaven without it."

"I hope I shall be a little like Mrs Allan when I grow up. Do you think there is any prospect of it, Marilla?"
"I shouldn't say there was a great deal," was Marilla's encouraging answer. "I'm sure Mrs Allan was never such a silly, forgetful little girl as you are."
"No; but she wasn't always so good as she is now either," said Anne seriously. "She told me so herself - that is, she said she was a dreadful mischief when she was a girl and was always getting into scrapes. I felt so encouraged when I heard that. Is it very wicked of me, Marilla, to feel encouraged when I hear that other people have been bad and mischievous? Mrs Lynde says it is. Mrs Lynde says she always feels shocked when she hears of anyone ever having been naughty, no matter how small they were. Mrs Lynde says she once heard a minister confess that when he was a boy he stole a strawberry tart out of his aunt's pantry and she never had any respect for that minister again. Now I wouldn't have felt that way. I'd have thought that is was real noble of him to confess it, and I'd have thought what an encouraging thing it would be for small boys nowadays who do naughty things and are sorry for them to know that perhaps they may grow up to be ministers in spite of it."

I'm posting this under "Church History".

Scarface Josh

Giving Scarface Claw and Harry Potter a run for their money...In case you missed the story, here it is. And here is how he looked two days later.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Weekly Reports 2009: Term 3 Week 5-6

Anna has read a half dozen more pages of Sparky the Space Chimp (ER#5) but still not finished it. I really need to sit down with her for some long slabs of time to listen to her read but we have somehow fallen out of the habit. She has continued to progress with Reading Eggs but her free subscription expired last weekend and we have yet to decide if we will purchase her a proper subscription.
Abigail has read Sam (BB#1.2) and Dot (BB#1.3). She has also completed another half dozen pages from LEM Phonics Workbook 1.
Anna has been doing more copywork and less tracework. Her tasks have ranged from five lines of copywork, which was one long sentence from her narration of Thumbeline (by Hans Christian Andersen) and six lines of copywork from Mark 10:32-34 (she still has another 12 lines to complete the passage).

We have read quite a few Hans Christian Andersen tales:
Thumbeline, The Tinderbox, The Sandman, The Jumpers, The Rose Tree Regiment, The Naughty Boy, The Swineherd, The Emperor's New Clothes, The Real Princess aka The Princess and the Pea, The Nightingale, The Little Match Girl and The Red Shoes.
The girls betook themselves to the Nursery Rhyme books one day as well.
I have continued reading aloud Anne of Green Gables to the extent where Anna just named a new Dolly that she won last weekend "Anne". Jeff has read aloud a much shortened version of Around the World in 80 Days which did incite interest. We have also shared a few picture books from our home library and Jeff has read at least three Asterix comics to the children. These last are Joshua's choice from the school library, but the girls are enjoying them as well, as I am noticing from a few additions to their vocabulary.

Anna has completed the chapters on shapes (Ch7) and measuring length (Ch8) from Primary Mathematics 1A and will be moving on to the chapters on Halves and Quarters, Time, Money and possibly Graphing from 1B over the next two months.
I ordered Earlybird Mathematics 1B (the second semester Kindergarten-level course from Singapore that Joshua and Anna used together last year at the Pre-Primary level) from Chariot Press at the CHESS conference on Saturday. Abigail will begin work from that as soon as it arrives, and leave the rest of the Nursery Rhyme maths books, which is similar to what I did with the older two. I picked the 1B to start with since that has less on numbers (which she is fairly adept with) and more on shapes and time and other practical mathematics, which Abi is less knowledgeable in. Of course, we will continue to use the Maths Mastermind hands-on materials and their tasks, which she enjoys.

Abigail and Anna did some tracework/copywork from Hebrews 13:17 to present to their BSF Children's Leaders, as I wrote about at the bottom of this post.
Anna chose to memorise Mark 10:32-34 to recite at our evening church service last Sunday, when Jeff was preaching from that passage (and the surrounding passages). She did a marvellous job of reciting in front of 12 unrelated adults, having already practised on such willing listeners as Dad, Granny, Mrs D (from Women's Gathering), Mrs Felicity (our BSF Teaching Leader) and Mr K (one of our elders). I learnt the passage along with her:
They were on their way up to Jerusalem with Jesus leading the way and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to them. "We are going up to Jerusalem," he said, "and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the Chief Priests and teachers of the Law. They will condemn him to death and hand him over to the Gentiles who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise."

We have also made time for a little bit of craft and Joshua has been working with Jeff to make a Zoo for his "XYZ project" for the school open evening this week.

Last Thursday two families from the Women's Gathering came over to our Play Room for lunch and a play afterwards, which was a lovely time to get to know one another better and encourage each other.
Abigail had a play day with her friend I on Saturday, while Anna had a play day with her friend R. The boys spent the morning at the church Busy Bee doing a big job of backyard clean up in the house next door to the church which is owned by the church and rented out. Apparently the boys had a great time, Josh with an axe and Sam with some secateurs (can you tell I wasn't present?!?) and their toy lawn mower.
I spent the day with several friends at the Christian Homeschool Seminar and Show. The talks were only so-so, but I was able to purchase the Earlybird Mathematics curriculum for Abigail that I used with Joshua and Anna last year, which pleased me immensely. The company I had purchased those books from previously is MIA. I was also able to examine the LEMP Phomics Workbook 3 and purchase that to do orally with Anna over the next two months (as review); Abigail will write in it when her turn comes to use it some time next year.
I am writing this post Monday evening. Since Friday evening, one or more of us have been involved in 15 different events, not including school attendance. The outings ranged from the Boys' Brigade Aladdin dinner Pantomime on Saturday evening (we only got the kids into bed at 10:30pm!!) to lunch with the F & B families from church on Sunday, after the morning service and the church AGM. Josh and Anna both had Brigades this evening and Jeff and I both had separate meetings tonight; fortunately mine was here at home! But as you might imagine, I am exhausted, mentally and emotionally. So now I am going to bed.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Craft Time a Hit

(Can you see why I get them to do craft? Yes, when I'm not taking photos I am doing my BSF Bible reading questions.)

When Joshua came home and saw what everyone else had done, he wanted to have a go as well. He decided to give his productions to two friends at school.

Nursery Rhyme Joy

Yesterday, Abigail and Anna sat on the couch singing Nursery Rhymes together.

One of the best things about Nursery Rhymes is that they are easy to learn and also easy to remember from a visual prompt, such as a picture book illustration. Each time Abigail turned the page, she would ask Anna, "Do you know this one?" Most of the time, Anna would burst into singing immediately.
In this case, neither knew the rhyme, but Anna said, "That's okay Abi, we can still look at the pictures."I love a book with hundreds of pages and a picture on every page! (It makes me wonder if that was the real reason why psalters had all those intricate pictures in the margins: to give the kids something to look at while they sat with their parents in church meetings, through long elaborate liturgies, before Sunday School was invented.)

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

The Problem with Catalogues

"Sammy buy this Lego!""Look! That Blue Rock Monster, Mum.""I not scared, I brave. I shoot Rock Monster!"

Monday, 7 September 2009

Last minute reminder for CHESS

CHESS is on again this weekend! I went last year and purchased some helpful curriculum resources as well as enjoying the help of seminars on various home ed topics and time to catch up with other home eders I know here in Perth. Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend this year, but if you are thinking of home educating in Western Australia, CHESS will be a very useful day.

From the brochure I received in the mail:

Saturday 12 September 2009

9:00 Registration
9:30 Session 1: Providing Tools for our families
10:30 Morning Break
11:00 Session 2: Preparing for Home Education
12:00 Lunch
1:00 Session 3: Teaching Australian History
2:00 Session 4: Curriculum Summary
3:00 Session 5: LEM Phonics
4:00 Book Browse and Buy
5:00 Close

@ Bull Creek Westminster Presbyterian Church,
32 Bull Creek Drive, Bull Creek

$10 individual or $20 Family
Payment on the day, no pre-registration required

Children are welcome to attend, provided they are quiet and accountable to their parents

CHESS is run by Light Educational Ministries, and other Christian curriculum suppliers are usually there as well. (I have used the LEM Phonics materials with Joshua and Anna to great success and Abigail is now using them as well.)

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Happy Father's Day

To My Husband Jeffrey,

who sets such a good example for our children to follow...xxxSharon

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Thoughts on Sin

There are times when I reminisce not exactly fondly but at least with fleshly yearning for those times before I was a Christian when I sinned unthinkingly. But at the same time, I now know I shouldn't sin and I honestly don't want to. It is a strange conundrum that I am coming to recognise more and more in my life. I can't just sin without feeling the depth of my guilt anymore, without struggling with remorse. And so I can't sin willingly, unhesitatingly, wantonly as I did before, when I was headed at a flat out run for destruction.

Now, there are times when the weight of my desire to sin is so present it is almost like a thick fog that I struggle through. And yet, I am keeping on through that fog, with God's help, because I know that my Saviour lives in me and through my resistance of temptation He is shaping me into the holy vessel that He desires me to be: conformed to His shape, not my old one.

One of the things that reassures me that my faith is real is the intense hate I feel for my own sinfulness. I never felt that way before I was a Christian, even if at times I did feel a little guilt. So even in those days when I struggle most with the sad knowledge of my own sinfulness, I also rejoice the most because I know the depths of my Saviour's love for me most intimately.

~ Sharon

Parenting Hour #2

Since Jeff and I agreed that Monday's we would have a regular "Parenting Hour" and had our first one, we have missed two Mondays before we sat down for our second. In part, this was because we have had visitors and our weeks have been disrupted. But another major reason was that we have been quite disorganised and haphazard, and our priorities have not aligned well with what has actually been happening in our lives. There's something in the discipline of Physics called Chaos Theory, and we've been seeing it at work in our days a lot lately! So this week, our Parenting Hour was devoted to a conversation about the way we use - and waste - the time God has given us.

I talked *at* Jeff for a while, then he responded, while I interjected. From this, you can probably gather that I thought he had a problem. Well, being honest - and after a week listening to the Holy Spirit convicting me - I am as much to blame for our time mis-management as Jeff is.

You might have noticed I haven't posted much this week. Well, our Parenting Hour was to blame. Having talked the problem through together, Jeff went to work on Tuesday and developed a general weekly Schedule for his pastoral duties (Bible reading, prayer, sermon prep, admin, pastoral visits, meetings, leading Bible studies, etc) which he will be taking to the elder with oversight for him to confirm. This Schedule will see Jeff home around 5pm most evenings, and also home for one or two afternoons as well to offset his evening responsibilities. Jeff gave me a To Do list of the things he wants me to prioritise in my day-to-day life, and surprise, surprise, blogging doesn't make the top five. My To Do list also includes a Routine for the evenings, a sort of loose, micro-Schedule.

Here's my To Do List:
1) Keep on top of the washing (clothes, towels, sheets, etc)
2) Have dinner ready to eat by 6pm each night
3) Do a weekly shop Thursday night
4) Host playdates or dinners about once a week (this requires the house to be reasonably tidy and clean)
5) Evening Routine:
5:30pm play room tidied, kids into pjs / cook dinner (one of us sorts out kids, the other sorts out food)
6:00pm dinner
6:30pm Read Aloud Story / Dishes (one of us reads, the other washes up)
7:00pm kids into bed

You know, Jeff isn't asking me to do much at all. But I really do have to be honest and admit that I struggle with doing the necessary tasks involved in home making for our family of six.

The BSF lesson this week was on the Korahite rebellion (Numbers 16-17). Korah already had a very important job. He was a Levite from the clan of Kohath, so he was responsible for the care and transport of the items from the Tablernacle, such as the altar. But this vitally important duty wasn't enough for Korah. He went to Moses and Aaron and declared that since all the Israelites were holy (set apart as God's people), he wanted to be able to act as priest as well. The problem was, God had chosen Aaron to be his High Priest, not Korah, as He made clear when the earth opened up and swallowed Korah and his fellow insurrectionists. It is God's decision of what good works we should do, and who should do them. We need to follow His will for us. I need to follow God's will for me!

I have realised this week, since we first talked on Monday evening, that I am a bit like Korah. I don't want to be! But I do tend to look at the jobs God has for me - washing, cooking, cleaning, reading story after story to the kids - as mundane. They don't seem as interesting as other tasks, mainly outside the home, where I get to think and talk and teach and be publicly known. It isn't that I want to compete with someone else's God-given ministry, but rather that I am not content with my own. Jeff and I had a "Conversation on the Couch" yesterday afternoon about this tendency of mine. He said that we both can suffer the same problem. We see a need, or an opportunity, and we begin to serve... but then, once things are going steadily, we often become discontent and start to look for new needs, new opportunities. I am struggling with the allure of The Next Good Thing. Now that we have recognised the problem, however, how do I go about solving it, before I turn into an open insurrectionist like Korah? I really do not want to follow in Korah's footsteps, right down to the earthy grave of an enthusiastic but wasted life.

I need to focus my energies and attention on the Right Here Right Now Good Thing. But how do I do that? Jeff suggested I take the Nike approach: Just Do It. As with so many elements of the Christian Life, when I know the right thing to do and do it, even if I don't want to do it, I will find that my obedience brings God's blessing of a contented heart.

I think I have been seeing that blessing already this week. Yesterday morning, while I hung up the washing, Samuel chattered to me about all the things he was imagining (mostly he likes to play being a fireman), and when they heard our voices, the back fence neighbours popped their heads over for a chat, which was lovely. We compared pea plants (theirs are several metres tall: Sandra says its the sheep manure) and Bob told me about his latest efforts to penetrate the Kokoda-like jungle of a certain corner of their back yard, which is otherwise very well maintained.

On Wednesday, knowing that I was hosting the BSF Fellowship in the afternoon, I had the girls do their penmanship before BSF, setting them part of a verse related to the week's lesson, which they then gave to their BSF Children's Leaders. It turned out that I had chosen the very verse that was the children's verse for that day: Hebrews 13:17: "Obey your leaders and submit to their authority." Abigail in particular was very pleased to be able to give Mrs Anna and Mrs Bonnie her work, and the surprise on Mrs Anna's face when she saw what verse they had written made me feel nice inside as well.
Abigail's tracework and illustration:Anna's copywork (straight from her Bible, not from a hand written example):
On Tuesday, we had chicken spring rolls (Delicious! Thanks Janine) with chips, peas and carrot for dinner, and I read a long chapter from Anne of Green Gables. Actually, I've read nine chapters from that book this week. It was quite remarkable to see how even Joshua, who is a very typical six-year-old boy, given to finding amusement in burps, calmed down and listened quietly when Anne was being read. Jeff and I have enjoyed the reading almost as much as the kids; the chapter "A new departure in flavouring" had some amusing and instructional quotations regarding the arrival of a new minister and his wife to Avonlea. The following quote shall perhaps provide an appropriate ending to this post:
"Mrs Lynde says that sound doctrine in the man and good housekeeping in the woman make an ideal combination for a minister's family."