12 February 2013

Making that transition

On Saturday I went to a conference for people involved in children's ministry.  It's an annual event - I went last year and then wrote this post about helping children to transition from kids church into the life of the big church. 

This year's keynote speaker spoke in passing about the transition topic and said that in his church, at the end of primary school, he was taken aside (the end of his time in Sunday School) and asked, "Now that you are finishing up with Sunday School and moving to church, what do you think you would like to do to serve the church?"   He gave an answer and over the next three years was taken under the relevant person's wing and trained up for that particular area of service.  By the time he was into his last couple of years of high school he was a fully functional, serving member of his church and has never looked back.

He assumed, as he grew up, that this is what all churches did (and do.)  But they don't. 

It's so simple.  It's so obvious that it seems almost silly to even mention it.  And yet I am so glad he said it in all its simplicity.

06 February 2013

And this summer's reading

Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner.  Brilliant.  Looking forward to reading it again at some stage.  In the meantime, if anyone local wants to borrow my copy, let me know.

Which prompted me to reread Gilead by Marilynne Robinson.  It's still good.

And then there was Jane Austen.  I received this gorgeous anthology for Christmas. 

I have watched lots of films and television series of Jane Austen adaptations as well as various spin offs.  But as it happens I haven't ever read any of her actual words.  I should have read Emma at university but that particular course operated at the rate of a one novel per week for the whole year alongside another unit I was doing that also involved reading a novel each week (and not the same novel) - and so Emma was one that slipped through the net.  (Not much to contribute during that tutorial.)  This anthology presents JA's novels in order of their publication.  So far I have read Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice.  Turns out that I serendipitously read the closing chapters of P&P on day of its 200th anniversary.  Currently reading Mansfield Park.  It did take me a while to settle into her style but I am happily there now and looking forward to the rest.  (And you know that you have settled into the style when you spontaneously answer your husband's text message, "Can you come and get me now?" with "We shall set out soon.")

I also reread How to Really Love your Child by Ross Campbell.  Interestingly I came upon some details that didn't sit all that comfortably on this second read through.  However they were just details and in essence I still think this book is excellent.  It was definitely worth reading through it again and I am glad to be reminded of all the good principles held therein.  I will be reading this annually until such time as I need to be reading How to Really Love Your Teenager annually instead, which in fact is not that far off in one case.

04 February 2013

This summer

The boys are back to school today.  It has been 47 days since they were last at school and we have had a ball.   So nice to get to the end of the long summer break not counting down the minutes until the dulcet tones of the morning SCHOOL'S STARTING siren can be heard across the neighbourhood.  (It hasn't always been like this.)  Here's a glimpse of the last 47 days. 

Christmas - tree and house decorating, cooking, shopping, wrapping, unwrapping, singing, reading, praying, teaching, reflecting, visiting, celebrating.
Saw "Les Mis" (not for everyone but I loved the stage production and I loved the film), "The Hobbit" (wonderful to be wandering around Middle Earth for a couple of hours), "Wreck it Ralph" (better than hoped for) and "Quartet" (a must see for fans of "Marigold Hotel".) 

Successfully managed to avoid kids' films with zombies central to the storyline.

Ate fish and chips by the beach.
Had a glorious two week holiday housesitting for friends who went elsewhere for holidays.  (Thanks again dear ones.)  We live near the hills and our friends live near the ocean.  The two week seachange worked for us.
Took the Smooth Chopper with us on holidays.
Watched "Brideshead Revisited."  It's still marvellous.  And that soundtrack...
Purchased a beautiful 3/4 sized violin.
Celebrated my birthday five times over a period of 17 days.  Pretty funny for one who actually likes to keep a low profile.
Watched lots of swimming lessons - pool and beach lessons - and over the course of the summer swam in five different pools and at two different beaches.
Enjoyed reunions with friends home for Christmas from other parts of Australia, England and China.
Tried several new recipes.  Some were received better than others.
Discovered chai lattes.
Started my new Bible reading plan - daily reading from the Old Testament, Psalms, Proverbs and the New Testament and getting through each of these once in the year.  This plan represents the smallest Bible reading load I've given myself for several years, despite there being four sections to read each day.  I'm enjoying taking my time with smaller chunks.
Rode down a fairly long and fast water slide and lived to tell the tale.
And read some books...but that is for another post.
And all the usual (you know, that housework type stuff that keeps things up and running)...but that goes without saying and is barely blogworthy.

03 February 2013

Bringing in the new year

When is it the new year for you?  I chatted with a friend in early January about when the new year really kicks in.  For some the new year starts on 1st January.  That makes sense. 

For some it is a little more fluid.  The new year starts when they go back to work after the Christmas break, which may be before 1st Janaury or sometime in January. 

In my head the new year starts on the 27th December the year before.  There's Christmas.  Then there is that gorgeously quiet and still day that follows Christmas.  And then on the 27th December I put my head back up and I am into my new diary for the following year.  I am finished with the previous year's diary.  Tired of the old, bent out of shape, scribbled all over one.  Ready to open the brand new, crisp and clean diary.  (And I must boast...this year I have THE perfect diary.)

But then there is tomorrow, when for us, school returns.  And then all the midweek school, church and community activities kick into action.  It's feeling a bit like New Year's Eve around here.  Except that we won't be staying up until midnight.  And it must be true because today I wrote two cheques and almost put 2012 on both of them!

01 February 2013

Status Report: February

Back: on the grid again after being away on holidays for a couple of weeks.  Did you miss me?

Reinstating: the Status Report...and wondering if anyone else out there in blogosphere would like to join me in writing status reports at the beginning of each month.  You know, as a bit of a blogosphere community building exercise.

Copying: Rebecca

Wondering:  if anyone will join in another blogosphere community building exercise that I've cooked up recently as well. Have been having a few little ideas while I was away. Stay posted.

Eating: nothing...and dinner was nothing to write home about either.  Only got back home today and Old Mother Hubbard's cupboard was bare.  Going shopping tomorrow.

Drinking: water.  With lots of ice blocks.

Reading: Exodus, Psalms (in the 20s), Proverbs chapter 6 and Matthew in the current Bible reading plan.

Also reading: Mansfield Park by the lovely Jane Austen.

Thankful: for great summer holidays this year.  We've had a ball.  Apart from one patch after Christmas the weather hasn't been unbearably hot this time around.  Feeling rested, restored and ready to go.  The year is about to begin in earnest.

Looking forward: to running a workshop at a conference for people involved in children's ministries next weekend.  My workshop - the gleanings of 15 years in the classroom...all those helpful little tips and tricks that teachers have like not saying, "Who wants to play a game now?" because that leads to a) raucousness and b) divided unruliness when some say yes and some say no.  Best just to say, "We are playing a game now" without giving an option.  Twenty tips help Scripture teachers maximise their teaching time and minimise their need to discipline. 

Unsure: as to how I'll finish this post off without it seeming too abrupt. 

Deciding: to go with the abrupt ending.  Got to do some other things before bedtime.