Sunday, 30 November 2008

off we go

We're off back to Australia today. There's been a few changes with our flights, so I'm a little nervous about everything.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

can you see it?

He's looking at you!!

After we had returned this baby bird to its nest a few times this afternoon (the nest was right about Matthew's swing) we realised it's poor Mother was trying to give it a flying lesson. When we finally let it be we watched with delight as its mother coaxed it across the grass, trying to turn those hops into flight. Last we saw her, she was still trying. They hopped right out of sight!

Friday, 28 November 2008

can't get enough of me?

look here and here for more!

A visit to the clinic

We went to the clinic this morning. The 'clinic' is the local medical centre. It is served by one nurse who lives with his family on site. There is a retired midwife on a nearby island who helps with deliveries.

The clinic is a small, two-roomed hut. It has a corrugated iron roof and painted green plaster board walls. Only they are so old and moldy that they are more grey than green. There is a large hole at one place in the outside wall and the fly-screen is pulling away from the edges of the windows. If I didn't have malaria already, I'd probably catch it here, thought I, on my first visit.

There is another small hut over across the grass. This is for patients who need a drip. That's where you end up if you eat poison fish. And yes, they always come out again.

Small, dingy, run-down. Not where I expected I'd be taking my children for medical advice.

But that's where we were this morning. And, I have to say, that's where we received helpful, friendly assistance and were given (for an extremely nominal fee) all the medication we need to put the children on the path to good health again.

And that's what I have found every time we have been there. The nurse really knows what he is talking about.

I am really thankful to God that we have a clinic like this so close to us. Open all hours.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

heart broken

"Where's Daddy?"

"Come back, Daddy!"

Poor little Matthew. The girls never seem to mind...

Bye, Dad!

The children said, 'Bye, Dad!' this morning as we saw Glen off at the airport.  He heads back to Australia today.  We'll follow on Sunday.

Glen heads off early to go to SPRTE with a group of students from USP (University of the South Pacific), Port Vila, and a group from Talua.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Help Wanted

Next month at Equip Book Club we’ll be reading the book of Luke together, and I’ll be the contributor!


There’s all sorts of background information that would be really helpful to us as we read Luke, but I don’t want to include it in my posts. First, because I know that other people have done it better already (there are a lot of great resources out there on the web), and second because I want to keep my posts short enough for people to read.   It would be great if I could find these resources and link to them rather than reproduce it all in my posts.

The trouble is that with our snail’s pace internet connection, it’s virtually impossible for me to find them. Are you willing to help?

I am looking for these sort of resources:
  • historical background to the gospels 
  • theological background to the gospels
  • maps of Galilee and Judea at the time of Jesus
  • an overview of the Old Testament (particularly with mention of Isaiah)
  • mp3 downloads of talks on Luke, either sermon series, lecture series or an overview of the book.

Please email me ( with anything you find. Thanks!

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Which flower is this? (26)

This is the final orchid in our series.

It's a small purple orchid that, in contrast to all the others we have seen (which grow as epiphytes upon other trees and stumps) grows from the ground. You can clearly see he parallel veins in the leaves, the six 'petals' and the 'column' that is the male and female reproductive parts fused together. This orchid grows outside our home, and just about every home here at Talua.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Guy Fawkes Day

Today is the day for Guy Fawkes Night.

We don't celebrate Guy Fawkes Day in Vanuatu, and we didn't in Australia. Nonetheless, it has always been a special day in my family, particularly for my Dad.

Guy Fawkes was one of the catholic conspirators in the Gunpoweder plot to blow up the British (protestant) Parliament and therefore kill the King, James the first, on this day in 1605.  The plan was foiled and Guy Fawkes was subsequently hung, drawn and quartered.

So why is this day remembered in the Taylor family?

Firstly, my Dad is English and the English celebrate Guy Fawkes Night in remembrance of the above events.   There will be bonfires and fireworks, and a dummy Guy Fawkes will be tossed on the flames.  Interestingly, I remember this tradition continuing in Australia on the Queen's birthday holiday when I was a child.  There would be crackers, a bonfire and a dummy tossed on the bonfire. I don't know if it still continues...

Secondly, my Dad's mother is descended from Lord Monteagle who is thought to be responsible for foiling the plot to blow up parliament.

Thirdly, it is my Dad's birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD!!

Here is the beginning of a verse written just after the plot, the first line of which my Dad used to quote over and over again! Do you know the rest of it, Dad?

Remember, remember the fifth of November,
The gunpowder, treason and plot,
I know of no reason
Why the gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Sunday School Closing Service

On Sunday, the day before yesterday, the annual Sunday School Closing Service was held at Talua.  Here is a picture of the Sunday School Choir.

And here are Sophie and Bethany, having just finished taken the offering without falling over or spilling the contents of the plate. Just after I took this photo, Bethany decided it would be fun to stand on one leg. My heart wasn't the only one to beat more loudly at this point!

Monday, 3 November 2008

When Sophie gets angry

You may remember this review I wrote about When Sophie gets Angry, Really Really Angry by Molly Bang. At the time I was quite critical of the message of the book. I still agree with everything I said but I am now much more sympathetic with the purpose of the book and appreciate the magnitude of the task; how to help young children deal appropriately with their anger.

What has changed?

What has changed is that we have had a tricky month or so dealing with our Sophie’s anger. When she gets angry she has been expressing this in ways that we think are unacceptable and we have been trying to work out how to teach her to cope with her anger differently. It has not been easy. This is what we have worked out.

1. Recognising the situations that make her angry. At the moment these occur when she is tired and either
• I insist that she does something she doesn’t want to do, or
• she believes she has been (or is about to be) punished unfairly.

2. Planning the school day so that we avoid those situations if possible. I try to give her enough breaks in the day so she doesn't get fed up with working. I try to let her know what is coming up so she isn’t surprised by something she doesn’t want to do and give her time to pack up after play; not expecting her to be ready instantly for intense mathematical thinking when she was just reading a favourite book.

3. Giving her a specific phrase to say when she feels that she is getting upset. When she feels herself getting upset, she says, “Can I go and sit on the ladder, please?” The ladder is a small wooden ladder resting against the tree outside. She is allowed to go and sit on this ladder until she has calmed down and is ready to come inside and talk.

4. Dealing with the situation that caused her anger when she has calmed down. Going out to the ladder gives her time to calm down, but it doesn’t mean she has escaped from the situation. If she was getting angry because she didn’t want to do what I asked; she still has to do what I asked. If she getting angry because she didn’t think that the coming punishment was fair; she will still receive it (if it was fair). It allows us to deal with the situation without ‘sinning in anger’. And then we talk about forgiveness and reconciliation (in vocabulary she understands).

In all this we recognise that at the heart of the problem is sin; she wants to do what she wants and gets angry when we won’t let her. We can plan all we like to avoid expression of the sin, but it will still be there. We can develop all the strategies in the world to cope with this sin, but there will be times when it gets out of hand. In the end it is the Holy Spirit that will change her. And so we have been praying that he will, as has she.

I also recognise that sometimes it is my sin that brings out her anger. Sometimes it was unfair punishment. Sometimes I have expected too much of her. And these will be for my own selfish reasons. For instance, wanting to hurry her through her work so that I can do something else. I also pray that the Holy Spirit will change me, to teach patiently; to discipline justly; and to mother lovingly.

And in all these we rejoice in the forgiveness that has come through Jesus Christ, praising God that his acceptance of us is not based on our sinlessness. And we rejoice in the work of the Spirit in our lives, depending on his power for change. And we look forward to the day when we will be like our Lord Jesus, pure and blameless in every way.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Sunday School Picnic

The children left for the annual Sunday School picnic early this morning.

Can you find our girls?

posts I've enjoyed this week

… include this one from Nicole about re-thinking feminism. My journey has been similar to Nicole’s. I first began to have doubts about it when I saw how female teachers often treated the boys in my classes during my senior years of high school. It was not all the female teachers, but they were the ardently feminist ones.

… and this one from Jean about hating our children. This was very helpful for me as the very different parenting techniques here in Vanuatu are a continual source of angst for me.

… and this one from Lydia was challenging.