Tuesday, 8 July 2014

The President's Hat

Antione Laurain's The President's Hat is for France what Mr Rosenblum's List is for England: a different place, a different time; the same gentle, warm reflections on life.

Monsieur Mercier, quite remarkably, finds himself in possession of the President's hat.  Really and truly.  And really and truly, his life is quite remarkably changed.  But then the hat passes to someone else whose life also changes remarkably.  And so on, until eventually... (but let's not spoil the ending).

An entertaining journey through 1980's France.

This book was another delightful surprise in our post-box.  Again, 've had no success finding out who sent it... if it was you... thank-you.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

confetti or spaghetti?

We are having fun with our poetry unit.  This week we looked at limericks (I admit, not the most sublime of all poetry, but loads of fun nonetheless).

Here's one we all contributed to; but we can't decide on the ending.

There's the happy ending:
There once was a young girl named Betty
Who befriended a hairy old yeti.
They married that night,
What a beautiful sight!
The snow - it danced like confetti.

Or not:
There once was a young girl named Betty
Who befriended a hairy old yeti.
They married that night,
Then had a big fight,
On his head she dumped her spaghetti.

What do you think: confetti or spaghetti?

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

your sins are forgiven

"Your sins are forgiven."

Do these words bring you relief, joy and comfort?

Or do you shrug your shoulders, yawn, and reach for the remote?

I was listening recently to a sermon on Mark 2:1-12 where Jesus heals the paralytic. But before he heals him, Jesus says to the man,
'Son, your sins are forgiven.' (Mark 2:5)
At this point in the sermon, the preacher described the man's thoughts; (in an anguished cry)
'but what about my LEGS, Lord?'.
And then, by extension; but what about my MS, Lord? ...my daughter's tumor? ...my husband's schizophrenia? What will you do about that, Lord? These are truly cries from our hearts and it is right and good to cry out to Jesus like this.

But I want to humbly suggest that it probably wasn't how that man responded to those words.

Do you remember what Jesus disciples asked when they saw a blind man,
'Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?' (John 9:2)
Or the assumption that the Galileans had suffered at Pilate's hands because they were worse sinners than others? (Luke 13:1-2)

In both instances, Jesus corrects this way of thinking.  There are many reasons (or none we can fathom) that people suffer, sicken and die.  And yet all of us are sinners.  Just as we should not understand suffering as resulting from sin, we should not equate success (or blessing) to righteousness.  However, it probably was the way most people thought at that time and in that place.

Bad things happened to you because you did something wrong or because you were a bad person.  It was God's judgement.  It demonstrated to all what God thought of you.  This was the air the paralysed man breathed. There was no room for doubt; the evidence was there. His sin must be great because his punishment was great.  So was his shame.

Nothing can be done for this man.  His sin is great. This punishment is just.  There is no hope.  Not in this world.  Not in the next.

And he lay before Jesus.  Imagine his anxiety.  Would Jesus, also, condemn him?

Jesus says,
'Son, your sins are forgiven.'
Can you see him?  Do you see the furrows on his brow scatter and dance at the corners of his eyes? Do you see the smile wash over him like the evening tide?  Do you feel his relief, his joy, his hope?  Even before he has been healed.

Do you understand, now, why Jesus said those words?

And do you understand, now, why it is that Jesus heals him;
'so that you may know that the Son on Man has authority on Earth to forgive sins?' (Mark 2:10)
I had always thought that the Jesus did what could be seen (the healing) to prove his authority to do that which could not be seen (the forgiving).  This works, but it is not all.  There is a closer connection.

In order to demonstrate that he has authority to forgive sin, Jesus deals with the consequences of sin.  Sin and its consequences have been completely and utterly removed from the man's life; as far as east is from the west.

Can Jesus forgive sin?

Yes he can!

in the country

The parcel has arrived in Vanuatu.  After leaving Melbourne, it went via Sydney to Port Vila.  Hooray!

We find the regular postal service more reliable that couriers.  In Vanuatu, couriers don't deliver to the door.  The parcels are signed off upon arriving at the courier's office and then they contact you to let you know there is a parcel for you.  This may take some time, and often we hear via word of mouth that there is a parcel somewhere for someone (at least the internet makes it easier to track them).  Some companies only have offices in the capital and they send it via regular services to the destination island anyway.

Unfortunately, most businesses won't take our word for it and continue to send things via courier.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

the journey continues...

The parcel has now been in Melbourne for a few days where the Lithium ion batteries contained within are being assessed for suitability to fly.

Too bad if they fail.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

the joy of tracking parcels

Over the years, some of our parcels have come to us via exotic destinations such as Vietnam and Venezuela.  But this last one, which has been sent by courier, has to be the most well-travelled parcel ever.
It was sent from Nevada, USA on Monday 9 June and 
left California, USA the next day. 
Then it went to Leipzig, Germany and

on to London, UK on June 11. 
Then it was sent to Nairobi, Kenya arriving the following day. 
Then it was sent to Sydney, Australia,
(arriving at last in the right area of the world)
only to be sent again to London, UK, where it arrived Friday 13 June.

Stay tuned to find out where it will get sent next!

Monday, 9 June 2014

an acrostic poem

Here's a poem one of my children wrote today.  It made me laugh.

Marvellous at

Hope it brings a smile to your face too!

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

so here's a question or two or more

We're doing a music unit on vocal devices in song.  I have some questions.

When speaking of "growl" do we mean someone has a growly voice, or that there is a particular sound, apart from the words, that is a growl?

What is the best example of growl in Tina Turner's songs?

What is a good example of the use of falsetto in pop music?

Thanks for any help you can give!

(Keep in mind the age of our children!)

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Yumi stadi long buk ya Mak - 9

Blong dowlaodem stadi ya (ten pej evriwan):

  • Klik long raet saed blong maos long pej ya antap. Nao klik long toktok ya "download linked file" mo bae stadi ya i download i go long komputa blong yu.
  • Narafala rod: yu prestem "command" mo klik long pej ya antap mo bae stadi ya i open long wan niufala pej long internet browser blong yu, mo afta yu save "save" o "print".

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Ten things I've learned while doing school with my kids.

...in no particular order...
  1. Our biggest enemy is tiredness, mine particularly. 
  2. Hunger is the next. 
  3. "Do it later" is a better option than pushing them to continue when they've reached their limit. It's not giving in. 
  4. Children really can learn to sing (thanks Simone for this tip, though can't remember where), even in tune with others. There is hope. 
  5. Blocks of twenty minutes or so is a good length for a subject, maybe up to thirty minutes if there's interesting things to do. Then you need to do something else. 
  6. Lots of breaks are helpful, not lazy. 
  7. Children bloom with praise and encouragement. 
  8. They can't do their best work all the time
  9. When there are things to work on, work on one at a time. For example, if handwriting needs work, forget about spelling for a while. And when the handwriting needs *lots* of work; focus on one thing at a time, like no capitals in the middle of words. When that's mastered, then move on to letters being a consistent size. 
  10. Some kids can write forever; some tire after a few sentences. Some think of wonderfully creative expressions at the drop of a hat; some can't come up with a new idea to save their lives. This is a challenge.
...all probably part of the training for real teachers...