Monday, 25 August 2008

what plants need

Two and a half weeks ago, we began an experiment to find out what seeds need to grow. We set up five pots with different conditions for growth. The first two had soil, water and light; the third had no soil; the fourth, no water and the last, no light. After a few days, we found that while no seeds germinated in the conditions without soil or water, they did not appear to need light to germinate.

After another two weeks, this is what we could see:

With light, soil and water, most of the seeds have germinated and look very healthy. The large one is a bean sprout.
Beans sprout very quickly. The smaller ones are paw-paw sprouts which will eventually grow much taller than the beans.

Without soil or water, no seeds germinated.

And without light...

... the seeds germinated but they did not grow well at all. They are long and spindly and the bean sprouts (which had yellow leaves previously) have lost their leaves.

Our conclusion is that plants need soil, water and light in order to grow well.

But you all knew that already!!

Time Away

We spent a few days in town last week. A small time away for rest and recuperation. It was lovely.

We had fun at the park.

Sophie and Bethany spent one morning painting a T-shirt each.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Which Flower is this? (17)

Well I have given up on the library and so far haven't had good enough internet for months to purchase online, so now I will proceed with "which flower is this?" anyway. I don't know much about tropical flowers and I have no books to help me (so there won't be much in the way of names... any help is very welcome!), but let's have some fun...

I chose this flower because I mentioned it in my very last which flower is this?. It is a Hibiscus, but it has many many more petals than the usual five-petalled shape which you can see here. I first thought there were many layers of petals, but on closer inspection, it is actually many flowers bunched together, a bit like an arrangement on a stick. This means that there are as many of the reproductive parts (the stigma, style and anthers) as there are flowers, and interestingly, not one of these is as large and pronounced as in the more usual hibiscus.

This one is growing outside my friend, Linda Vutilolo's house. Linda is Joshua's Mum.

Friday, 22 August 2008

How to get around in Vanuatu

Actually, this was a campaign vehicle. That's right, national elections are coming up. Can you imagine Barak Obama travelling around like this?

Thursday, 21 August 2008

How to flag a taxi in Vanuatu

1. Stand on the curb
2. Wait until you see a taxi coming
3. Wait until you can see whether or not there are already passengers
4. Wait until you make eye contact with the driver
5. Raise your eyebrows
6. Wait for the taxi to come screeching to a halt, turn around and stop at your feet.
7. Hop in.

It never ceases to amaze me how well this works!

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

because Jesus loves me

Bethany ran to me this afternoon, threw herself in my lap and her arms
around my neck, and said, "I love you, Mummy."

And I asked, in a moment of self indulgence, "Why do you love me?"

And she said, after a moment's thought, "because Jesus loves me anyway".

I am wary of over-interpreting the comments of a four-year-old, but
wouldn't it be great if we could all love others because Jesus loves
us. Not because they make us feel good or because they give us food
nor because they love us or because they are great or because they
love us back; but because Jesus loves us anyway. Then perhaps we
could love the unlovely, just the way He does.

Monday, 18 August 2008

how to make a volcano

We had fun making this volcano, too!

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Feminine Appeal - True Beauty

In preparation for next month's book with the EQUIP BOOK CLUB, I've been reading Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney. This book is a helpful and practical exposition of Titus 2:3-5; a wonderful example of an older woman training the younger. This book has made me think about my relationship with my husband and my children and encouraged me to be more servant-like in attitude and behaviour. In fact, my scrubbing of the floor the other day was inspired directly by reading this book.

I do have some questions, however, about the priority she places on physical beauty over inner beauty in the section on developing 'Grade A Passion' within marriage. Perhaps it is unintentional and perhaps I have misread what she has said. I'll outline my thoughts and would really appreciate your comments.

In the section entitled, "Be Attractive", she repeatedly encourages women to take special care of physical appearance. She says, '"We should give the same careful attention to our physical appearance after marriage as we did before", and "we should strive to care for our appearance- not only when we go out, but also at home where only our husband see us." Her point is that we should not give our husbands second best and should strive to be beautiful in their eyes, but I think she has missed the more important point, that our best does not consist of 'make-up, hairstyle and clothing'.

When she does turn to what Peter says about inner beauty, she begins with "Now, I must also acknowledge..." which gives the impression that she has dealt with the important stuff and that what follows is somehow less important and a little inconvenient. But I think that it is what she says next that is the crux of the matter.

Peter says (1 Peter 3:3-4, NIV),

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit which is of great worth in God's sight."

Our beauty should NOT come from outward adornment (such as make-up, hairstyle and clothing). INSTEAD it should come from our inner self. Peter is not saying that our beauty should come from our inner self as well as outward adornment, but instead. While he is not saying that we must not adorn ourselves outwardly, he is saying that our beauty ought not to come from these adornments. These verses are not just a consolation as we age, that as our physical beauty decreases we can take comfort in our inner beauty (as is suggested by her describing what Peter says as 'good news' in the face of the reality that physical beauty passes away and her use of a more senior friend as an example of this inner beauty). No. It is this quiet and gentle spirit that makes us beautiful in our youth and in our old age; before we are married as well as after; when we go out and when we are at home. It is this that makes us beautiful in our husband's eyes.

Having said all that, perhaps she's right. Maybe when it comes to developing passion and sexual intimacy within marriage, Song of Solomon is the right place to look, not Peter. However, I don't think there ought to be this dichotomy. I don't think there is an inconsistency between what Peter says about inner beauty and the Song of Solomon which so obviously delights and rejoices in the physical beauty of the lovers. Let me suggest that it is not a bride's outward appearance that makes her beautiful to her husband, but her inner self. Her inner self makes her beautiful to him, all of her beautiful to him, including her outward appearance. She is wholly beautiful to him because of her quiet and gentle spirit. And because she is beautiful to him he rejoices in her. He is attracted to the way she looks because she is made beautiful by her quiet and gentle spirit.

Carolyn Mahaney has done more in recent years to encourage women to develop this quiet and gentle spirit than most and I am deeply indebted to her for her insights and practical help. I just wonder whether these virtues ought to be supreme also in developing passion and intimacy in marriage.

How's Matthew?

Matthew awoke in the middle of the night starving hungry and awoke this morning bright and chirpy and before long was kicking a plastic bottle around the room.  We think we are over the worst of it!  He is sleeping now.  Thank you for your prayers.
On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers.  Then many will give thanks on our behalf fof the gracious favour granted us in answer to the prayers of many." (1 Corinthians 1:10-11)

Friday, 15 August 2008


Matthew has had a high fever for the last couple of days.  Early this afternoon it was 39.6 degrees Celsius.  He has been very unsettled and upset.  We are not sure what is wrong and would appreciate your prayers.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

what plants need

Sophie's also been learning about what plants need to grow.

Here you can see that she has set up 'pots' with different conditions for growth.  The first two have soil, water and light.  The third has no soil.  The fourth was not watered and the fifth has no light.  In each pot there are ten paw-paw seeds and two bean seeds.

So far, no seeds have germinated in the "no soil" and "no water" pots.  However, the "no light" pot has been very interesting.  More seeds have germinated in this pot than in the first two pots, and this is was they look like:

So we have found out that seeds don't need light to grow (assuming our bucket did block the light!!) but something is not right, as they leaves are yellow!  What will happen over the next few days...

Isn't science fun???

change colour

Sophie's book for this week's literacy unit was "Try This", a collection of experiments to try.  She tried this one, "How to change the colour of a flower".    She put a few drops of food colouring into a glass of water, found a white flower in the garden, cut the stem, put it in the water and put the glass in a sunny spot.

The next day, this is what we saw:

helping hands

On Tuesday I arose early from my afternoon nap and thought I'd scrub the bathroom floor while the children were still happy playing quietly.

Before long, it was not me scrubbing the flooor, but they:

Friday, 8 August 2008

Ban Ban

We're spending the weekend at Ban Ban this weekend. Ban Ban is a sprawling village to the east of Luganville. We're going with four students, two with families, for this month's component of their field experience. Please pray for us. Pray for Joel who will give the sermon; pray for Glen who will be leading the bible study; pray for Susan, Lignes and myself as we lead a bible study for the women for the first time. Most of all, pray for the people of Ban Ban that they would come to know God better and love him more dearly.

This will be my first time in a village like this. I am quite nervous.


I have just finished reading Ayan Hirsi Ali's book, Infidel. This is her memoir. She tells of growing up in a Muslim home in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia and Kenya. She speaks of running away en route to Canada to meet up with the man she was forced to marry. She becomes a refugee in the Netherlands. Here she comes face to face with the West, the evil society she was taught to fear and to hate. What she finds instead is a peaceful, clean, prosperous society where the government doesn't beat you and even the police are kind. She begins to question everything she has been taught about the west and the answers she finds lead her away from Islam, away from religion and tragically also away from God. She concludes that the peace, prosperity and kindness she finds in the West is a triumph of reason over religion.

What do you think? Is she right about reason? Is it only the Enlightenment (the triumph of reason) that has shaped our modern world? What about the Reformation? What has produced the relative peace we have in the West?

It is a riveting read, another eye-opening account of life in a world with which I am so unfamiliar. I would recommend this book, particularly as a motivation to think through the history of our modern society and the philosophy upon which it is based and also as a motivation to pray for our muslim sisters, not that they may know the freedom that reason brings, but that they may know the freedom that Christ brings.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Praying with Bethany again

You may be pleased to know that Bethany asked me to pray with her before Kindy yesterday.

when I was at school

Sophie is doing correspondence school with the NSW Department of Education. I'm sure it's different to being in a classroom, but it's still just ordinary old Kindergarten.

This year, in the literacy program, apart from learning to read, she has learnt about contractions and apostrophes; contents and indices; verbs and prepositions; exclamation marks and ellipsis.

When I was at school, I didn't learn about verbs until my year nine French teacher, exasperated by our ignorance, spent two weeks teaching us about English verbs. And I didn't know what a preposition was until I studied Greek at college.

I suspect Sophie is not actually expected to remember these terms yet. Even so, I am learning plenty!.

Note for readers outside of NSW: Kindergarten is the first year of school proper. In many places, this is called year one or first class.

Monday, 4 August 2008

growing up island

Erin grew up in Vanuatu, at the very place, in the very house in which we now live. She now lives in Australia and has begun a series on her blog called growing up island. You might like keep an eye on it to get another perspective of life in South Santo, Vanuatu.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

sounds of Saturday

Saturday morning at Talua is a time for work. Outside work. Work around the home.

Today I was hanging my washing on the verandah. It was raining. Pitter patter pitter patter pitter patter. I can hear the thwack of a small axe as a small boy cuts firewood. I hear the thud thud thud of a machete as a young woman trims the edges of her garden and the scratch scratch scratch of a scrubbing brush as her sister washes in an outside sink. Rusher rusher rusher, a boy scrubs the pots with sand to remove the black from the fire. And the chatter of the small children, wandering, watching and laughing, too young yet to work.

Friday, 1 August 2008

my friend

Joshua is Bethany's best friend. He is also Matthew's hero. Matthew can't say "Mum" with any consistency, but he can say "Joshua". Sometimes he walks around saying, "Joshua, Joshua, Joshua....".
Here they are walking hand in hand down to watch the women weave thatch roofing to repair the roof for the pre-school sand-pit.

chick, chick, chick

We are growing very fond of our little chick.