Friday, 29 May 2009

a trip to town

Yesterday I went to town.

The day before Glen waited from 12:30pm until 2:00pm on the side of the road for a transport before giving up and returning to the house.

Yesterday morning I decided we really really needed to do some shopping and I would go to town.

12:00pm  Sophie and I leave the house and head out to the road. We hear a transport coming and run. We make it but it is full of people and produce for market. It doesn't stop for us.

12:20pm  Another transport comes. It also is full and doesn't stop for us. Sophie is doing well chatting to one of the students also coming to town.

1:00pm  a group wanders past to go into the bush to cut wood to make a bench for peole like us waiting for a transport. I joke that if they get working I'll have somewhere to sit before we get a transport. Set a deadline of 2:00pm, after that I will return to the house.  Sophie says we should pray.  We do.

1:20pm  Another transport goes past full of produce for the market and doesn't stop. This time I am sure we would've fit on top of those copra bags.  Sophie plays on the soccer field.  She yells that she has prayed again.

1:45pm  The students return with the wood. Sophie complains about being bored.

1:50pm I'm wishing I hadn't set myself a dealine so I could return to the house and have the afternoon nap I don't have if I go to town.

1:53pm  An empty truck turns up, stops, we climb on the back. This one has wooden benches to sit on so the ride is relatively comfortable.

2:45pm  We arrive in town. I have 45 minues until trucks begin to leave town for the south (where we live) at 3:30, an hour 45 until the goverment offices shut (4:30) and just over two hours before it will be very difficult to get a transport home (at about 5pm).

We go to the supermarket.  I place an order for our bulk purchses, grab a snack for Sophie and some panadol for some lack-of-fibre-in-the-diet-related-discomfort.

We go to offices to handover the cheque for the staff superannuation (on Glen's request as he is acting bursar).  There is a queue although there seem to be clerks free.  I wait.  After ten minutes I leave.  It is 3:00pm.

We hurry to the post office.  I have some urgent letters to post.  There is a long queue at the western union desk and only one worker.  This means the post office turns into a western union office.  We wait about 15 minutes.  Sophie is bored.  I give her a scrappy piece of paper and pencil I find in my bag.  The officer in charge of customs sees me and takes me into their store room to help with the box of commentaries on John by Ngewa that Glen ordered for class this term. It is very heavy but we put it on the trolly. She also gives me all the mail and parcels for people at Talua.  I don't want to carry them.  I don't want to be rude.  I take the mail and sort through it for the parcel slips.  I decide not to take the parcels, except the  box of commentaries.  The class Glen wants it for has already started.  The cardboard box is broken.  We find a new one.  It isn't big enough.  I put the rest in my back pack along with the rest of the mail.  I sign out the parcel in the customs book.  Then I wait for the ordinary post office person (not the customs officer) who is still doing the western union work.  Eventually I get to send my letters and we leave.  I will have to come back for the books in a taxi, the box is to heavy to carry.  It is 3:40, now too late to go back to lodge the superannuation.

We go to the stationers to but blu-tak.  This is exciting!  We've not been able to buy it before.  I buy one for Glen.  He uses it for ear plugs when there is lots of noise at night.  I buy one for school.  I also buy cardboard.

We go to the butcher's.   This is the store that has (for the first time) been supplying wholemeal flour.  There is no more.

We hurry to the Pharmacist.  It is 4:00.  They are closed.

We go to the supermarket.  We do our shopping.  There is no more brown rice which I saw for the first time two weeks ago.  Where is all my fibre?  They are really helpful and kind.  It is 4:20 and I have to get back to the Post Office before it closes.

I go outside and find a taxi.  We fetch the carton of books.  We pick up our boxes from the supermarket and go to the "depot" from which trucks leave for the South.  It is a space outside a store next to the bamboo hotel.  There are large clumps of bamboo.  We call it "bamboo".  We unload our goods and the student who came with us is there.  She looks after out things while Sophie and I go to the market.

I go in search of fibre.  Grapefruit and Paw-Paw.  I find a lady selling grapefruit.  We fill up a huge coconut-palm-leaf basket with all her grapefruit.  The student turns up.  There is a truck ready to leave.  I race through the market quickly purchasing corn, beans (a foot long), cucumbers, avocados and paw-paw.  No time for anything else.  Sophie wants a coconut.  I tell here there is no time.  I remember she hasn't had anything to drink all afternoon.  My hands are full.  We manage to get some money and she goes back for the coconut.  The lady helping me carry the grapefruit is waiting to cross the road.  I go with her.  I put the produce with our growing pile of goods.  There is no truck.  The student says they decided to go back into town for something.  They'll come back.  Sophie is trying to cross the road.  The helpful lady is helping her.  I go to help, too.

We wait.  It is getting onto 5:00.  I hope this truck will pull through otherwise I don't know how we will get home.  I don't fancy staying the night in town.

We buy ice-creams and some flour.  White.

The truck returns but it is now full.  Our largish pile of goods is working against us. 

We see another from the south.  We talk with the driver.  When he sees our goods he says they are full.

There is an empty truck parked on the roadside but no driver.  We find the driver.  He is happy to take us.  We load on the goods.  We climb on board.  There is a wooden board on the floor of the truck-tray which is surprisingly comfortable.  Some school girls climb on too.  They live in a village near us.

We wait.

The driver comes and we go.  The student realises she has forgotten to buy a newspaper for one of the staff.  We pull over for fuel.  She runs inside for the paper.  All is well.

It is dark when we get home and after dinner time.  Sophie delivers the goods we have purchased for friends.  I make dinner.  I am too tired to clean up.  I will do it tomorrow.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

a note from Sophie

"awda xtb for Sophie"

She's mentioned it a few times, but I keep forgetting, hence the note tonight.

Cute, and pleasing.

I don't mean to imply

that Jesus didn't know what would happen when he prayed that... which makes his prayer all the more remarkable. It's the submission of will to the will of the Father that I think is striking.

not my will, but yours

I've been reflecting on these words of Jesus a lot, recently.

James says,
'Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, or carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. [...] Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live or do this or that."' James 4:13-15
And I've realised how much the plans I make are a reflection of my will, not God's will. This doesn't mean I oughtn't make plans. I should, and wisely, and then pray that God will do his will. And I pray that my will be conformed more and more to His.

Friday, 15 May 2009

walk along the beach

Here are some photos of a walk (our only walk) during our (very wet) holidays.

At low tide, we walked across the coral reef (this is all dead coral, not very exciting to look at) to a small island in Turtle Bay. We saw sea snakes and loads of sea-slugs (beche-de-mer in French from which we get Bishlama, the name of the pidgin English here, from its roots in the trade of sea-slugs and other commodities many years ago).


On our way back I was more than knee deep in water, which for the children was quite something!

Here we are walking around the island.



Here are some tree-roots which I found totally fascinating. I imagine they must be mangroves.



And here's a lovely picture of Glen with Matthew.



Despite the constant rain we did have a lovely time. Yes, I know this is a tropical climate, but the rain was so unusual that the road to Talua from town was flooded and cut off for a whole day. This has not happened for at least twenty years.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

cleaning help

Any tips as to how to get crayon off lino?

We've used jif and detergent to no avail.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

another lesson from school

Sophie's English work at the moment centres around a book called Billy the Punk by Jessica Carroll.

It is about a small boy, who after seeing some Punks in the market, transforms himself into a colourful imitation, including the defiance of authority associated with the image. At the end, his father takes him to the army barracks where he sees a scottish regiment parading. The book finishes with Billy's request of his sister to borrow her tartan skirt... 

The book doesn't, in the end, glorify punks particularly, but does model independence, defiance, and being different. These were all interesting and challenging concepts to discuss with a small child.  All can be very good and all can be very wicked depending on when and how they are exercised.

This morning we took a excursus in which we talked about the authority of God and the authority of parents (under God) over a child. We talked about sin being the defiant rejection of this authority, the wish for independence from God (and from parents!). We saw that independence can be simply a sinful wish to do our own thing.

We also discussed how it can be a good, proper and right thing when it means following God rather than the world. The strength to be independent and different in such circumstances is desirable!

We thought that there are situations when independence is neither good nor bad but simply an expression of opinion or creativity or ability that has no moral significance.

Weighty issues to be discussing!

Monday, 11 May 2009

how to hang washing

In a rare moment of hanging-the-washing-togetherness, Glen and I were
discussing various systems of hanging washing. We came up with five
different systems (the first three particularly pertinent to hills
hoist lines).

1. One can hang the heaviest pieces (like towels and jeans) on the
inside working out to the lightest pieces (like light shirts and
undergarments). This way the weight seems distributed so as to put
least strain on the wire.
2. Or one could hang the heaviest pieces on the outside so as to dry
more quickly.
3. Or one could hang the shortest pieces on the outside so the rising
or setting sun can reach the inner pieces.
3. Or one can hang like pieces together,
4. or pieces belonging to different members of the family together.

What's your system?

Friday, 8 May 2009

Easter traditions

Nicole wrote some really helpful posts leading up to Easter about how to celebrate Easter (here's the first). Spurred on by this, we also learnt a memory verse in the days leading up to Easter. This was ours:


All the hearts went up at once and we turned over one at a time. A small easter egg was given to each child who could say the as much of the verse as had been revealed at that time. Even Matthew worked hard to learn it. Thanks Nicole! It was really helpful.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

A crafty afternoon

Here's a little heart cushion Sophie made last week all by herself.   Then she promptly gave it away to a friend.

I am constantly challenged by the generosity I see in my children.  I preach it so much but don't seem to be able to practise it quite so cheerfully!

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

My Mum


Here's a great little book by Anthony Browne that came with the unit, "Our Families" that I referred to here. It's a lovely book and really affirming of mothers. Maybe that unit won't be so bad after all!

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

The Most Terrible Creature in the World


Last week our children enjoyed making masks and putting on a play with their friends from New Zealand who also do correspondence school.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Explore the What?

We also have been really impressed with XTB bible reading notes for children and also have lamented the relative difficulty in obtaining them (thanks Nicole, for the tip!).  However, we have encountered one small problem.

 We noticed that Sophie was completing an extraordinary number of “days” worth of the notes completing upwards of six days in a sitting.  On probing, we found that she had discovered that she didn’t actually need to read the bible in order to answer the questions in the notes.  Most of the answers have a code, which can be de-coded or the answer is given straight away in the notes following.  The codes were so much fun that she would simply read the notes and answer the questions and go on to the next one without ever opening the bible.  That would take too long!

 The tool we had given her to help her read the bible was only teaching her that she didn’t really need the bible to know all the answers.

 It’s not the fault of the tool at all.  The tool itself is not faulty, but as with any tool, there is a danger of misuse.  It’s the same with adult daily bible reading notes.  It’s the same with the notes in study bibles.  They are great helps but if we read them rather than the bible we are guilty of misusing them.

 For the time being, one of us sits with Sophie and we do XTB together.  This way we ensure that God’s word is read and it is great time together.  Certainly bed-time has been less difficult since this practise began.

A break

It is now the end of term and Talua has a two week break. We'll be away for this week. Posts are scheduled, so stay tuned...

Saturday, 2 May 2009

our families (2)

In my quest to answer the question I asked here, I have begun reading a this little book by John Piper which is basically an expanded chapter from the book, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. I found as I was browsing through, at the end, a closing challenge to men and women. Point 10 relates to men and women as fathers and mothers. This is what he says to women,
That, if you have children, you accept responsibility with your husband (or alone if necessary) to raise up children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord- children who hope in the triumph of God- sharing with your husband the teaching and discipline they need, and giving them the special attachment they crave from you, as well as that special nurturing touch and care that you alone are fitted to give.

And to men,
That, if you have children, you accept primary responsibility, in partnership with your wife (or as a single parent), to raise up children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord- children who hope in the triumph of God; that you establish a pattern of teaching and discipline that is not solely dependent on the church or school to impart Bible knowledge and spiritual values to the children; and that you give your children the time and attention and affection that communicates the true nature of our Father in Heaven.

I suspect much of the answer to my question will be to do with
  • the nature of womanhood as opposed to personhood
  • the nature of God as Father
  • and simply, biology (or the way we have been created)
I also hope to listen a talk by Lesley Ramsay "The Essential Mum" (avaiable here) which Alison recommendend here.