Saturday, 13 November 2010

Music to my Mothering Ears

Me: "So Joshua, what fun things are you looking forward to doing while you have your sleepover with L?"

Joshua: "Well, we mostly have fun reading books together."

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Remember Lemmings? GliderPRO? Tetris?

In the search for fun, challenging, non-nasty computer games for Joshua to play, I thought today of Lemmings.According to Lemmings Universe, "Lemmings is a puzzle game in which the goal is to guide a certain number of Lemmings to the exit on each level. The Lemmings enter the level through one or more hatches somewhere on the level. They can be assigned skill that are used to help them get to the exit."

Originally an Amiga game, a version of Lemmings was given to me free with my first Apple Mac, when I bought it straight out of Uni. Unfortunately, I don't have the CDs for it now. But I found an online version here. This javascript version (it plays in a web browser window) only has 10 levels in each of the four ratings (Fun, Tricky, Taxing and Mayhem), rather than the original 30 for each, so the jump in skill level between level 10 in Fun to level 1 in Tricky (etc) could be a challenge. But Joshua managed, with my help, to get through the 10 levels of Fun, and I enjoyed it even more than he did, I'm sure.

Another favourite of mine from the free games that came with my Apple Mac was a paper plane game called GliderPRO where I had to fly the paper plane through a complex series of rooms in buildings, never letting the plane fall to the ground.You can download it for free from the author John Calhoun, here. That game was an enjoyable challenge for me through my first year of working as a teacher and beyond. And it didn't involve teaching maths to teenagers, which was not such an enjoyable challenge of those times. I think Joshua will enjoy this one as well, but he may have to fight me for the computer to get at it!

Now I'm off to play an online version - unfortunately not a clone for the original Tetris:How well I remember the hours spent playing Tetris on the uni computers when I should have been writing code for my programming classes!

Friday, 15 October 2010

Abigail's First Day of Away-School

Abi joined Joshua and Anna at their away school today. It was a busy day for me, since Jeff flew down to Albany to be with his mum and step-dad for a few days, as Ron is sick in hospital. It was also a work day for me, so I was glad I'd asked our babysitter to arrive a bit earlier than usual. We managed to only be 5 minutes late for the school assembly. There was lots of excitement as it is the children's first day in the new school buildings that have been being built on site for the last three terms. The classrooms looked very tidy and crisp, and Abi looked very neat and crisp as well, at the beginning of the day.At the end of the day it was another matter - she was tired, disappointed about a few expectations not being met, and quite upset over (of all things) the fact that she had to leave her hat in the classroom and not bring it home overnight.Wednesday and Thursday saw a gradual improvement in her response to school, as she grew used to the routine and the way things work at school. The best thing from my point of view was having her tell me at the end of Thursday's school day that "You can invite those two girls with the black hair and the ... um ... blond hair to my birthday." Incidentally, Abi's birthday isn't until next May. That was Abi-code for "They are my friends."

PS And I enjoyed my time alone with Sam on Wednesday and Thursday as well.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Pets

Sam: I would like a dog pet.
Dad: Sorry, our landlord says we can't have dogs here. What about a pet tiger?
Sam: No. Tigers are too scary.
Dad: What about a pet snake, a long snake?
Sam: Nope. Snakes are too scary.
Dad: What about a spider, a really big black spider?
Sam: Nope.
Dad: What about a pet elephant?
Sam: No. ... They sit on little boys.
Dad: They sit on little boys, do they? Well, what about a pet camel?
Sam. No. Camels live in the desert.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Family Adventure to Scarborough Beach

Making the best of the beautiful Spring sunshine, we headed to the blue and white expanse of Scarborough Beach this morning.We thought we might only be there for a short time, but the kids were having so much fun we decided to stay a little longer than we'd planned.

I loved taking the kids into the water one at a time for a dip, and having a bit of a paddle myself as well.Anna was the bravest and spent the most time out with me.The others were too busy having fun with the sand.Even Anna and I succumbed to after a while.
We were home for a late lunch of mini franks and salad in front of the TV watching the grand final* (that's AFL, for my non-Aussie friends). It was a draw, so they'll have a rematch next week. How anticlimactic! Something about this reminds me of a certain election...

*Er... and for those who know me personally and find it hard to believe I would watch AFL even for a grand final, I will admit that I didn't actually watch it. I went into another room and read a book - Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins - but I did have a quite snigger when I heard the final buzzer go and knew there was a draw. My big bro will be pleased, or at the very least satisfied. In his words from an email a few days ago, "Collingwood vs St Kilda - I can't think of anything less appealing (other than maybe Collingwood vs Port Adelaide). St Kilda have no appeal, due to their tediously boring gameplan and the complete unlikeability of their players (most notably Stephen Milne)... Collingwood are.... Collingwood. The only thing better than seeing Collingwood lose a GF by 100 points is seeing them lose a GF by 1 point. Meh.. I'm just going to have to blank out the AFL 2010 season from my memory banks. It never happened." Well, Joshua enjoyed watching it, having been prepped for the experience by watching a few games when his Grandad was here recently.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Boxing Kangaroos

Granny shot this video from her kitchen window: video

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Aah... Spring is here!

I love Spring.

I think Spring is my favourite season in the south. It reminds me of the Dry season in Darwin.

Here are five things I like about Spring:
(1) Finding a pansy flowering between the pavers in our back yard:
(2) Finding a gigantic ladybird enjoying Abigail's flannel sheets on the washing line:
(3) The kids using lots of energy riding their bikes and scooting their scooters and swinging on the swings ... etc ... so at night they sleep well and soundly:
(4) The sun rising early enough that there is time for the kids to read or draw at the breakfast table before we have to leave for school or church:(But not rising so early that we are woken before 6am by children who are cheerfully and loudly awake, declaring, "Sun's up, Mummy!".)

(5) Mostly, I like Spring because I can hang out the washing on the line and get it dry without:
(a) worrying that it will be rained on before I get an entire load hung up (as in the Winter); or
(b) getting so hot hanging it on the line that I need to wash myself when I'm done (as in the Summer).
My fourth load for today is currently drying on the line. The rest are already picked in, folded and put away. Now I'm off to hang out the fifth load.

Friday, 10 September 2010

A breakfast story and a bedtime game

At the breakfast table yesterday, Sam decided to tell me the story of Cinderella, beginning with the clock striking midnight:

Cinderella ran away from the ball room.
She dropped her glass slipper.
The man found it.
He tried it on the other ones, Cinderella's friends.
Then Cinderella tried it on.
Everyone said, "It fits! It fits!"


Sam loves to listen to fairy tales. We borrowed two fairy tale books that came with CDs from the library and I had to renew them twice, I think; he and Abi liked them so much. He also enjoys listening to the Jesus Storybook Bible on CD (by Sally Lloyd-Jones, narrated by David Suchet), which is the kids' regular bedtime listening. Sam asks for that to be put on every night as soon as he is in bed. He can quote parts of it verbatim and sometimes plays games with me using the words from the JSBB. On Tuesday, our game went something like this:

Sam: "Mummy, you be the sleeping girl," (that would be Jairus's daughter*, Mark 5:21-42 and Luke 8:40-56) "and I will be Jesus."
Me: "Okay." (Close eyes and lie still on the bed.)
Sam: (Puts his hands on mine.) "Honey, it's time to get up!"
Me: (Open eyes and smile.) "I'm better!"

Sam: "Now you be Jesus and I will be the sleeping girl."
Me: "Okay."

Sam: (Closes eyes. Makes loud snoring sounds.)
Me: "Honey, it's time to get up."
Sam: (Stops snoring immediately. Opens eyes and sits bolt upright.) "I'm hungry!"

Sam: "Again, Mummy! Again!"

* From Luke 8:
Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. "Stop wailing," Jesus said. "She is not dead but asleep."
They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But he took her by the hand and said, "My child, get up!" Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up.


From the Jesus Storybook Bible, p219-220:
Just then Jairus' servant rushed up to Jairus. "It's too late," he said breathlessly. "Your daughter is dead."
Jesus turned to Jairus. "It's not too late," Jesus said. "Trust me."
At Jairus' house, everyone was crying. But Jesus said, "I'm going to wake her up." Everyone laughed at him because they knew she was dead.
Jesus walked into the little girl's bedroom. And there, lying in the corner, in the shadows, was the still little figure. Jesus sat on the bed and took her pale hand.
"Honey," he said, "it's time to get up." And he reached down into death and gently brought the girl back to life.
The little girl woke up, rubbed her eyes as if she'd just had a good night's sleep, and leapt out of bed.
Jesus threw open the shutters and sunlight flooded the dark room. "Hungry?" Jesus asked. She nodded.
Jesus called to her family, "Bring this little girl something breakfast!"
Jesus helped and healed many people, like this. He made blind people see. He made deaf people hear. He made lame people walk.
Jesus was making the sad things come untrue.
He was mending God's broken world.


[Image from koorong.com]

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Cross Country Athletes

(A report by Joshua)

I really wasn't prepared. I never knew this was going to be so tough. I came in 29th place. My friend Sean came 26th and Moss came 39th; he fell on a stick and still was pretty fast.

After the race, I made a new friend, but I don't know his name. I built a rock castle with him while the other races were on.

Me with my friends, Lachlan, Moss and Sean:

At the start line, I thought the race would be longer than it turned out to be:
I ran with all my strength the whole way:
Moss did a very good job and I am proud of him:

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Abigail was listening in Sunday School

This afternoon Abigail (who is 5 years old) asked Jeff to write out a prayer for her to copy into a little book she wanted to make. This is the transcript:

"You are my mighty King, and I am your sheep.
You are my mighty King, you look over me while I eat.
I am your flock and you are my Shepherd.
You come for me* and walk with me.
You help me grow big and strong.
You guard over me when I am scared.
You watch over me and I love you.
You are my King because I love you.
I love you because you are God."


Abi was obviously listening hard in Sunday School this morning. Miss Jacinta was leading the kids through lesson #6 from the kids@church curriculum, Serious Play 3: Trusting God and living for Him. Lesson #6 looks at one of David's prayers recorded in Psalm 23, which begins, "The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not want."

This whole term, the Abi's Sunday School class are learning about the prayers of various people in the Bible, and they are learning to pray themselves using the biblical prayers as a model for their own. This is narrative scaffolding - an educational combination that works very well with a diverse range of students. The students hear a story that helps them to understand the meaning and usage of the literary genre (in this case, prayers) and then they are encouraged to build their own literary attempts modelled upon the examples they are given (that is, they are encouraged to pray themselves).

Along with the actual skill of praying - and yes, it is a skill that can be taught and learnt! - the children are learning of the character and nature of the God to whom they pray. You can see that evidenced in Abigail's prayer above.

* I find it fascinating that Abigail prayed "you come for me" rather than "You comfort me." Verse 4 says,
"Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me."
I am not sure if Abigail misheard the prayer/psalm in Sunday School, or if she is also recalling what we learnt ages ago in BSF about Enoch, whom we still sing about sometimes:
"Enoch - walked with God,
Enoch - walked with God,
Enoch - walked with God,
And then God took him home."
Either way, it is fascinating to watch my child's understanding of who God is grow bigger and Truer as she studies the Bible.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Frogs

Abi (left) and Anna (right) "frog watching":
Joshua has also been "frog drawing":

Friday, 3 September 2010

Thoughts on Evangelism (1)

I've been thinking about evangelism a lot lately. In both of the churches that I attend (my home church whom I serve as Children's Ministry Worker in the mornings, and within which body my husband is the pastor; and the church which I join for evening services) I have heard sermon series on evangelism and mission-mindedness this year. Last Saturday a good friend, who came to Australia as a refugee from Sudan and studied at Theological College the year ahead of Jeff, held an update evening on his work providing training and support for native pastors and evangelists in Sudan through the Sudanese Gospel Mission (more on David's work in another post). And I have been reading Augustine's Confessions as well; Book V brought quite a few evangelism thoughts to mind as well.

---

In Bk V.13, Augustine says, “Unknown to me, it was you who led me to him [Ambrose, bishop of Milan], so that I might knowingly be led by him to you.”

This sentence caused me to recall the people who led me to the LORD, who God used to lead me back to Him. I am so thankful for their determination to share the gospel with me. Especially Nathan, a fellow teacher who argued and argued with me in the Science teacher’s office over our need for a saviour and the identity of God’s chosen Saviour: Jesus Christ. I was so determined to reject all he had to say, and yet his invite to Alpha was the spur for me eventually attending Alpha with Jeff, even though I didn’t go to the Alpha course that Nathan invited me to. And it was at the Alpha course that I couldn’t get away from the Truth of the gospel.

Who did God use to lead you to Him? Have you thanked God lately for their witness to you?

Who have you told about Jesus?
Have you only told your children? Or are you actively seeking - and praying for - opportunities to tell many people about the good news of Jesus?


In John 15:26 and 16:13-14, Jesus says, "When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. ... But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you." It is, ultimately, the Holy Spirit who opens peoples eyes to see the truth of the gospel, and softens their hearts to respond to the gospel with faith.

Have you thanked God lately for the Holy Spirit's work in your heart, convicting you of the truth of the gospel?

Have you been regularly praying for the Holy Spirit to be at work in the hearts of those who do not yet have faith in Christ?


---

In Bk V.6, Augustine says of the Manichean Faustus, “My ears were already ringing with these tales and they seemed to me none the better for being better expressed, nor true simply because they were eloquently told. Neither did I think that a pleasant face and a gifted tongue were proof of a wise mind. Those who had given me such assurances about him must have been poor judges. They thought him wise and thoughtful simply because they were charmed by his manner of speech.”

In thinking about this section, I was thinking about how much stress (Christian) homeschoolers can put upon the necessity to develop literacy skills, in particular rhetoric skills, so that Christians can share the gospel charmingly. If logic skills are also emphasised, this is all to the good. But if our children grow up to be able to tell the gospel clearly, but cannot defend its basis from biblical and observable reasons, they may come across as nothing but snake oil salesmen. And they may end up doing more harm to the gospel than good, if they persist in using bad arguments that are easily discredited by the dogmatic New Atheists, who will continue to act as antichrists well into our children’s future, I imagine. (1 John 2:22 - Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son.)

Further, if we fail to teach our children that our faith is indeed sound and reasonable, we leave their own faith at the mercy of those people who, like Faustus, argue charmingly but without substance. This is where we see the need for Christian organisations that argue polemics, such as the Creation Ministries people. I know they have their faults, and are perhaps just a touch blind to the fact that belief in a literal 6 day creation of the world does not actually equate with belief in Christ Himself (after all, I am sure “even the demons believe that – and shudder” - James 2:19). But they do a great job, in their Creation magazine and online, for example, of providing tools that defend one of the basic doctrines of Christianity (God is the Creator of everything) in a way that is both generally logically sound (not falling into Faustas’s fault) and also charming and engaging. I think in our raising of our families, and in teaching Sunday School, etc, it is good to be utilising such resources so that our children grow up knowing their faith is defensable and reasonable, even while they also know that it is only by God’s grace in the work of the Holy Spirit that they have heard and accepted with faith that gospel message.

What are you doing to build up your own faith, encouraging yourself with the truth of the gospel message?

What are you doing to build up the faith of the "little children" in your care, whether they be your own children, kids at Sunday School, or even adult "lambs" who have just heard the gospel and are new believers?


---

One further thing. Augustine says of Ambrose that he “was a man known throughout the world as a man whom there were few to equal in goodness.” (Bk V.13)

This is the third characteristic of those who would be winsome for the glory of God in the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our faith must not merely be evident in our words as we teach and preach the gospel. Our lives should also be lived in a way that brings honour to the LORD as our Lord, and does not undermine our arguments of the veracity of the gospel message of new life in Christ. The concept of sanctification – the gradual process of being made more like Christ through the counsel of the Holy Spirit within us and our obedience to His instruction – is one of the basic tenets of Christianity. If our daily lives show that our claim to having a new life in Christ is a fallacy, then we undermine our presentation of the gospel message, no matter how logically sound and rhetorically persuasive the manner of its delivery. In contrast, if we, like Ambrose, are known as godly, good people, then our presentation of the gospel message is enhanced. If we are seen as honest people, we can be understood to be presenting a true, believable message. And even if the message is not ultimately believed, our lives still bring glory to God through the evidence of our own ongoing sanctification.

As Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippians (1:27-28), "Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God."

What evidence of sanctification is there in your life?
Are you conducting yourself in a "manner worthy of the gospel of Christ?

Any thoughts?

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Another Family Adventure

I started posting a while back about our Family Adventures. In the depths of winter, we came down with a few colds and such, so didn't manage to keep up with it.

But for the last Saturday in winter, we went to a nearby church's Kids' Fair. The church ran it as an outreach event to the local families. I attend this church for evening services while our church doesn't have them and I am out the back with the Children's Church every Sunday.

We got photos of Sam and Abi having fun, but Josh and Anna were having far too much fun to be caught on camera. They found several friends from school (Emily, Lauren, Luke and Sean) and enjoyed the jumpy castle, popcorn, fairy floss, the puppet show, modelling with clay and model racing car track while Jeff and I followed Abi and Sam from one activity to another.

Abi enjoying her hotdog:
Sam loved painting with brushes and sponge stamps:
Abi had her face painted and then rode a pony:
Sam was able to ride the pony as well:
It was a wonderful day together, and I'm glad we are back into our Family Adventures.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Penpals

Abigail received a letter from a friend today. This particular friend lives here in Perth, but we don't see him nearly as often as we did in the past since we moved to a distant suburb. They keep in contact via very occasional play dates and slightly more frequent letters. This is the first of Abi's letters to her penpal that have actually consisted of real words and sentences, though!Translation:

Dear Isaac,
Thank you for that lovely letter. I hope we get to play soon.
[...]
Love from Abi
xoxoxoxoxoxox


Here's the picture she drew for her friend:

Monday, 23 August 2010

Ubiquitous Contamination

(This post continues the thread begun in "Something worse might happen to you" and Life Savers.)

A fortnight ago, Jeff and I and our four kids went to dinner with a couple from our church and their adult son. They took us to the local Chinese restaurant to celebrate the birthdays of all three men.

Now, this particular Chinese restaurant serves crab. But, knowing I am allergic, we didn’t order any meals with crab. Instead, we had pork, and chicken, and beef, and tofu. Plain rice, with no poisonous prawns. The problem was, our food as contaminated. Someone in the kitchen hadn’t washed a pan, or a dish, or a knife properly after preparing a crab meal for someone else that night. And one or more of our meals had tiny, invisible crab toxins in them.

Shortly after we left the restaurant, I began to cough, which is the early sign of an asthma attack for me. By the time I got home, I knew I needed to take an antihistamine tablet. And within a few minutes, I was asking Jeff to stab me with my epi-pen and ring triple zero. I sat on the couch, my hands shaking, my shoulders heaving as I struggled for breath, tears flooding from my eyes, as I sat waiting for the ambulance. The medics gave me oxygen, commended us for doing the right thing using my epi-pen, and took me to Royal Perth Hospital for the night to recover.

Now I didn’t plan to eat the crab that had contaminated the food I ate. I didn’t ask for it. But, I knew it was a risk when I ate at that restaurant. That’s why I carry my epi-pen with me. Lately, I've been reading food labels a lot and discovered that shellfish is an ingredient in a lot of foods where I wouldn't expect it, such as the jar of Thai Green Curry paste I nearly bought last week. It's also a possible contaminant in foods that I thought might be suspect, like the pre-packaged frozen fish from the company that also sells frozen crumbed prawns. And it also might be present in foods that come as a complete surprise to me, like the pea and ham cup-a-soup packet I couldn't buy this week.

I’m learning that shellfish, just like sin, is pervasive. Sin can be there in my life, even when I think I am obeying God just fine. Because God’s definition of “sin” isn’t just the big, bad acts that I think of when we hear the word. Sin isn’t just doing things like committing murder, or stealing, or even telling a “little white lie”. Sin is whatever I do when I ignore or disobey God. So that includes every single act that I do when I don’t deliberately choose to do it for God.

Examining myself for this sort of "invisible, yet still deadly, sin" means asking myself questions such as these:
Did I put God's glory or my own personal desires first when I voted on Saturday?
Is there a more godly way of spending my Sunday evenings, after I come home from evening church, than just plonking myself down on the couch and watching Bones? (Is watching TV just a way of shutting off my mindful responses to what God has been teaching me through the sermon/s?)
Do I choose to work for the glory of God when I wash the dishes and fold the clothes, rather than letting the dirty dishes pile up by the sink and the clean clothes pile up on the couch? (Do I recognise the value in my sanctification that comes from putting others before myself?)
Do I pray honestly and earnestly "in everything", or is prayerful dependence on God something I mouth platitudes about while my prayers actually consist of occasional one liners that demonstrate my unwillingness to depend utterly upon the sovereign grace of God?

And like the food contaminated by crab particles that were miniscule, but nevertheless poisonous, I need to face the fact that any sin, no matter how small in my eyes, separates me from God and would, without the saving intervention of Jesus Christ, inevitably lead to eternal death. (That's hell, folks.)

Examining myself for this sort of "miniscule, yet still deadly, sin" means asking myself questions such as these:
Do I keep all of the minor promises I make to my kids (mostly to get them to stop nagging me), or am I really telling a deliberate lie each and every time?
Are my interactions with my husband characterised by loving, submissive service; or are they flawed by occasional derogatory remarks that show disrespect towards him, constant nagging that reveals my unwillingness to recognise his headship in our marriage, or bitterness over the way he spends his "free" time?
Is my attitude to food, and chocolate in particular, one that magnifies the God who created everything - including the cocoa bean - or is it one of unthankful gluttony that seeks to slake my thirst for the joy that is found in the immense goodness of God in what Augustine called things of "the lowest order of good"?
Do my short but snappy bursts of anger at my kids reveal a heart that is burdened with pride, impatience, and self-will; or a heart that strives to be humble, patient & enduring, and selfless?
What does my impatience with everything from the rate at which my children tie their shoes to that driver in the lane ahead of me say about my contentedness with the position God has given me? What does it say about my (earlier in the day) prioritisation of my own self-centred activities over daily necessities, that led to the need for my present haste and consequent impatience?

Perhaps you might ask yourself similar questions. And don't put off finding the time to answer.

If you're not a Christian, you should also ask what your answers say about your need for God's saviour, Jesus Christ, who took the punishment for your sin for you already on the cross.

If you're a Christian, the Holy Spirit within you will counsel you as to how you should live. Listen to Him!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Life Savers

(This post continues the story from my last post, "Something worse might happen to you".)

If I slip up, and sin again, Jesus still saves me from the deathly consequences of that sin. And once again, my shellfish allergy reminds me of how that happens.

When I got back to Australia, and was able to get an appointment with an allergy specialist doctor, he told me the same thing. I can’t eat crab, lobster, or any other shellfish. To me, these foods are poison. And because I suffer from asthma, if I do have a reaction to shellfish, it is likely to affect my breathing, rather than just giving me an unpleasant-looking case of hives, such as my mother gets if she eats mango.

The doctor impressed upon me that if I don’t have the epi-pen he prescribed with me, I can’t eat anywhere. So now, I carry it in my handbag along with my asthma puffer, everywhere I go. If I do have an anaphylactic reaction, the epi-pen will inject adrenaline into my leg, and it will kick-start my body’s recovery process.
Jesus, just like my epi-pen, is my Life Saver. Jesus has rescued me and continues to preserve me daily from the sure death that comes from the sin in my life. Jesus has promised me that God will give me eternal life. Jesus has made that promise to you as well. In John 11:25, Jesus said “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live.” That promise is for you as well. Jesus went on to say this: “Whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

I want to ask you the same question. Do you believe that Jesus has saved you from the deadly consequence of your sin? Do you believe that God will give you the gift of eternal life, to never die, because Jesus died in your place? That’s what it means to truly live.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

"Something worse might happen to you"

Many of you will have seen the photo that I posted a while back, of my husband Jeff and I on the last day of our holiday to the USA.We look pretty happy, don’t we?

Would any of you guess that I had almost died only a week before this photo was taken?

Well I did. Here’s another photo, of that time.
One evening during our five week driving tour of the western half of the US, Jeff and I dined out at a rather nice, small, busy restaurant. For the last four or five days we had been in Washington State, enjoying the delights of coastal food. This evening, in Astoria on the northern coast of Oregon, I decided to order a bowl of Dungeness Crab pasta. It was delicious!

But to me, that crab pasta was also poisonous. You see I didn’t know, when I ordered that pasta, that I am allergic to crabmeat.

Jeff and I enjoyed our meals, he paid, and then we began the short walk uphill through the drizzling rain to our Bed and Breakfast. We were only about 20 metres from our B&B when I felt something like a punch in my chest and started breathing a bit harder. After a few deeper breaths, I mentioned to Jeff that I thought I might be having an asthma attack (along with all our kids, I’d been diagnosed last winter). I could still speak fine. As Jeff and I made our way more quickly now to the B&B, we tried to work out what had set off the asthma. Surely not the exercise of the short walk from the restaurant, since we’d walked much further and steeper trails in the last four weeks exploring the Grand Canyon and other wonders of the American environment.

When we got to the B&B, I used my puffer, which I had left in our room. But it didn’t seem to work. After a brief improvement, my breathing was actually getting worse. After only a few minutes, I was taking heaving breaths, my eyes were tearing up, and I knew that whether this was an asthma attack or something else, I had to get to a hospital. Through breaths, I told Jeff he had to take me to a hospital… and then, when he couldn’t contact our host to get directions, with a rather clear head despite my shuddering breaths, I suggested he look up hospital on our GPS.

I know that God is in control over everything that happens. But honestly, when I found out later that the emergency department was only about 1km up the same road we were staying on – a one way road in the direction of the hospital – I knew that God had been looking out for me, knowing what was going to happen when I chose to eat that crab pasta.

To cut a long story short, the triage nurses took one look at me when I stumbled through the doors of the emergency department, gasping for breath, and whisked me into the closest room. They put an oxygen mask on me (oh, bliss!) gave me an injection of adrenaline, as well as giving me several antihistamines, and after about half an hour, I was almost breathing normally again. My episode of anaphylactic shock was under control, and now I just needed to recover. They discharged me at 2am and I slept through much of the next two days of our holiday, exhausted from nearly dying.

The one thing those emergency department staff drilled into me before they discharged me was that I was not to eat shellfish again. Never. If I did, it just might kill me.

The next morning, as I looked back on what had happened, I was reminded of a few verses in the Bible. The first, I had read in my regular Bible study that week. In John 5:14, Jesus talks to a man he has just healed. The man had been an invalid for 38 years, and now he could walk again. Jesus warned him:
“See, you are well again. Stop sinning, or something worse might happen to you.”

What the emergency department staff had said, reminded me of that verse. They had said, “Stop eating shellfish, or something worse might happen to you.”

Jesus said to the healed invalid, “Stop sinning, or something worse might happen to you”: something worse than 38 years unable to walk? What on earth could be worse than that?

There’s another verse in the Bible with a similar warning that tells us just what the “worse” thing is. Romans 6:23 says “The consequence of sin is death.” The Bible tells us that sin – ignoring and disobeying God – leads to death, in just the same way that for me, eating a plate of shellfish will lead to death.

Of course, I didn’t die from the crab pasta, because the hospital staff intervened. And Romans 6:23 goes on to say that we don’t need to die from sin either. It says, “But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” God doesn’t want us to die as a result of disobeying Him. God wants us to trust His Son Jesus Christ, and to accept the good consequence that comes from trusting Jesus. That consequence is just like my second chance after eating the poisonous pasta – but even better. Eternal life is God’s gift to everyone who trusts in His Son, Jesus Christ, who already died on our behalf so that we can live forever with God.

Because I trust in Jesus, I am going to have eternal life. But Jesus is not just some “get out of jail free card”. I still need to work hard to “stop sinning”, because Jesus calls me to a high standard, a life of complete obedience to God.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Just because ... Sam is cute


"Will you snuggle me up?"

Peter and the Wolf

Grandma and Grandad visited last week for a few days before setting off on a month long cruise. While they were here they entertained the kids with a CD of Dame Edna telling the story of Peter and the Wolf, complete with the orchestral score. They had quite a bit of discussion about what the different parts of the music represented, and how the speed, volume and other characteristics of the music helped us to imagine what is happening in the story.

This morning, Abi asked if she could make a book, (5 sheets of folded A4 paper, bound with string):Once we had made the book she decided she would write the story of Peter and the Wolf. I promptly opened Word and transcribed her narration:

Peter went into the thicket. You shouldn’t go into the thicket because a wolf or a fox might eat you. There was a wolf in the thicket. But just in time, Peter’s grandpa realised that Peter should not have gone into the thicket because there could be a wolf. So Peter’s Grandpa rushed outside because he knew there was a wolf going to come. So he got Peter before the wolf came.

After they were inside, Peter saw the wolf and decided to save the cat, because the wolf had eaten the ducky.

But bad hunters came. Not to kill the little boy, but to kill the wolf. They tried to kill the wolf, but the little boy called Peter told the hunters to not kill the wolf but take him to the theatre show, to sell him for lots of pieces of gold. Golden gold!

Before the hunters could find the wolf, Peter got a good idea. He told the birdie to fly around the wolf’s head so that Peter could tie the wolf’s tail to the tree. After the hunters came, they told him to untie it and hold the string. But Peter said “No, don’t kill him. Take him to a theatre.” So that is what they did.

There's something about Asterix

It's lovely to see Joshua and Sam sharing an interest - even if I am fairly certain Samuel doesn't understand more than half of what is going on without the words, and even reading the words Joshua doesn't get every joke.
(These photos were actually taken back in July, I think. It is a long time since I've blogged.)

Monday, 12 July 2010

Jungle War story


Jungel wore [war].
By Joshua, J...
Once in the Rainforest A group
of stray soldiers attacked the
Cobra Hideout. The cobras kept
on spitting on the soldiers.
The soldiers kept on hitting
then [them] with their spears at the
cobras and throwing dynamite
on the hide-out. The cobras [...]


[This is a literacy task Joshua completed in school last term. It is a final draft, though not complete. His spelling has dramatically improved this term since he has been having extra help. He has been learning to ask for help with his spelling when he is unsure, and to spell more common words from memory and phonetic rules or cues.]

Letter to a friend


Dear Lauren
I hope I can come to your house soon.
I am looking forward to you coming to
my house. If it is not raining we can play
on the trampoline. If it is raining we can play
with the doll's house. We can play with the
blocks if you like playing with blocks.
See you soon,
Love, Anna. x x x x x x x o o o o o o o o


[Anna sat next to me while she wrote this and asked for help with the words she had difficulty spelling, such as "forward" and "trampoline". That is why her spelling is so well done.]

Friday, 9 July 2010

Big Ben and the Thames

Jeff found a photo frame that we have never used the other day, and since it came from England (from our Christmas with Joshua's godmother's family back in 2005,) Jeff thought it a good idea to put in a family photo from our holiday to England. Amazingly, of all the photos we took, there were only three family photos taken. And two were versions of the same; you know, where someone blinks in one so you take another. We chose the "most English", I cropped it, and here is the result:
L-R: Abigail, Jeff, Anna, me, Joshua (Sam was yet to be conceived.)