Friday, March 30, 2012

Archibald Prize winner 2012

A self-portrait by Tim Storrier. Interesting that his face is actually sketched on the bit of paper floating behind him. A bit "out there" I think.

Some of the others are quite interesting too. The one of Father Bob captures him well.

Check them out here.

Reading this week...

I've had this one reserved at the library for a while. When I went to pick it up this morning, with toddler and baby in tow, the woman who checked it out for me told me it was "disturbing" and she didn't know whether she could have read it when she had young kids. She said it was very good though.

I'm expecting it will be. The subjects (dysfunctional attachment and parenting) are things that I'm interested in from a professional viewpoint. But I'm hoping it won't freak me out too much if I recognise any of my own feelings in it.

I wanted to read the book before I saw the movie, which must be due out on DVD soon, I think.
Anyone else read it? Or seen the movie?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

New jacket...cleverly disguised as school dress up costume

This morning I bought myself this jacket from the local Rivers Clearance shop. Normally I'd wait until later in the season when the price gets reduced even further so I could get an even bigger bargain, but I'm in search of a costume for Aidan to wear at his Australian Notables day at school next week. He has to dress up as Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and I thought this looked like what an aviator might wear.

Just taking one for the team here. Tough I know. Now I need to convince Chris that it is something I might actually wear after Aidan's finished with it. It isn't too bad. I'm sure I'll wear it somewhere.

Why do Christian women find it so hard to read Christian books?

A question I've spent some time pondering in the past few weeks, and after a small turn-out at Book Chat last weekend.

Why is this so, I wonder? So many women at my church have said to me that they really struggle to finish reading Christian books. They're great at buying them, but getting beyond the first few chapters is a big challenge.

I used to be like this. Someone would tell me a Christian book was really good, so I would go out and buy it. Then it would sit beside my bed, unread, or if it was lucky, with the first few pages read, and nothing more would happen. I thought setting up a Christian book discussion group might help me to finish reading some of the ones I had and encourage others to do the same.

This has had an inconsistent response. Sometimes numbers have been really good, other times much less so. Sometimes I think it's the book. We had a go at reading J.I. Packer's Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God last year. Very worthwhile reading but I did find it hard going and I think some others found the same. We only had a small number at that discussion as well.

But other times...I'm not sure. The book we read this time around (The Murder of Jesus) was a great read. And it wasn't too hard to get through. Once I started reading it, I finished it within a few days. There were a few cancellations for last weekend, due to health and transport issues. These things happen. But then, in typical fashion, I start to wonder if maybe it might be me. I start thinking about other groups I know about who are reading books (of the non-Christian variety) that don't seem to be having difficulty attracting numbers. I suppose that's what Satan is wanting me to think.

I don't think women avoid reading Christian books because they're too busy or time-poor to read. I enjoy reading and I know that if I really want to read something, I'll make time to do it. I do this all the time. The books that aren't the Christian ones look a bit more interesting so they often find their way to the top of the "to read" pile beside my bed. But they don't challenge me to change my life in any way, or to become more godly in my thinking.

Perhaps that's what lies at the heart of the problem. I sincerely hope it's not me that's stopping people from coming to Book Chat, although in the moments I spend wallowing in self pity, I feel like it is. What I actually think is that it takes discipline and effort to read a Christian book (and finish it). What I read is going to make me painfully aware of my sinfulness and how I need to change myself. That's hard and confronting to deal with. It's much easier to go to the group where I can have a good time talking about some other book that's good for now but less meaningful in the eternal scheme of things.*

Even though numbers weren't high last Saturday, the quality of the discussion was wonderful. I would have loved to hear what others thought of the book too. I often think that reading a book that links heavily to Scripture chapter by chapter in a Bible study group is something we should do more of.

So with all that in mind, next term we are going to read Barbara Hughes' book Disciplines of a Godly Woman. The link takes you to a review by Tim Challies who is a well-known evangelical blogger.

The word "discipline" is already putting me off a little bit. But that's what I think reading Christian books comes down to in the end. Discipline isn't easy. And it's only by God's grace that we can do it. It's much easier to pick up the other stuff on our bedside tables waiting to be read. But as Christian women, why wouldn't we want to be disciplined and to read something that helps us to live a more godly and less wasted life that matters for eternity?

*All this is not to say that we should only read Christian books. I think that reading both is a great idea and I do go to a group that discusses other books, which is really excellent too!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Singing the group assignment blues....

Group assignments used to drive me nuts when I was at University. I'm such a self-sufficient and perfectionistic type that I hated having to depend on other people to get stuff done and see it not done to the (perhaps overly high) standard that I would have produced.

So the second assignment for the subject I am tutoring at Uni this semester involves an assignment done in pairs. They have to come up with a contract on who will do what, and then produce an essay about a client group that is commonly seen by Occupational Therapists.

Most of them came pretty well organised and with topic preferences sorted out. I was able to give them all their first or second choices so that was good.

But there are always the annoying few who don't have their act together. Two of them had paired up but nominated no topics and then disappeared at the end of the session without coming to see me to have a topic allocated (even though I asked them to wait until they had one before leaving). Now I'm cranky with them for not listening and want to give them one of the harder topics to do. Just so they get the message that paying attention to what I tell them is important. Funnily enough, tonight's session was about professional communication skills. Nice that they followed it up with a big fail on listening.

And one guy had no partner, no topics nominated and asked if he could do the assignment on his own. I felt some sympathy for him but This is a group assignment, buddy. Unfortunately there were no other unpartnered people left for him to pair up with. So now I have to check in one of the other tute groups to see if there's any other spare people.

Other than the disorganised people, I'm really enjoying this new job. Most of the students are really keen and enthusiastic about the material and join in with the activities. The subject/unit co-ordinator is excellent. I've worked with her before so I knew she would be well organised. Tonight's topics and activities were fun and interesting.

I'll enjoy it while the fun lasts. Their first assignment is due in on Easter Sunday. Twenty one 1500 word essays will then need to be marked...I can see that being a lot less fun.

Monday, March 26, 2012

4th child rolls off parents' bed

You'd think I would have learned by now. Not a proud parenting achievement, I'll admit, but all four of our children have rolled off our bed when they were babies.

Today was Rowan's turn. I discovered today that he's now reached the age where he can't be left unattended on our bed anymore. I left him there asleep while I came downstairs to send a few work emails and to make a list of what was still needed to finish Aidan's school project that's due tomorrow.

While I was on the computer he woke up and I could hear him whingeing. Then...thump.

From prior experience, I knew immediately what the sound was. There was a moment of silence before the screaming began.

When I raced upstairs, I found him flat on his back on the floor looking a bit shocked. Fortunately otherwise unhurt. A feed fixed him up fairly quickly, thank goodness.

Each time this has happened (I've never actually witnessed it occurring, I guess if I was around I would have saved them before it could happen), I've always said to myself that I'll never let it happen again. And it's only happened once for each of my children. Aidan was the unluckiest one. The house we lived in when he was a baby had wooden floors in our bedroom. That was a heavy landing. All the others have landed on carpet.

Maybe I should just think of it as a family tradition. Perhaps one that I'm not as keen to hand on to future generations. I'm thankful that he's okay. And I now know that letting him sleep on our bed is no longer an option.

It's like a graduation day. He's not my little newborn anymore.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

First tutorial written

I scored the topics of basic task analysis/problem identification, goal setting and documentation. I tried to think of ways to make them exciting but let's be honest here. They're pretty dry. Trying to find a couple of humorous YouTube videos to add to the task analysis section.

I only have to write one more. That one's on confidentiality and the therapeutic relationship. I feel plenty of case studies coming on for that one.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Discouragement defined

When you realise that people aren't as committed to/motivated by/invested in something as you are.

Sometimes all you can do is pick yourself up and keep trying. And praying.

Settling in for an evening watching the Queensland election coverage

How sad is that. I don't even live in Queensland but here on the border we get all the Queensland television stations so I'll definitely be tuning in.

It probably won't be very exciting though. I'm predicting the conservatives will be able to declare victory by 7pm.

I always spend part of the evening pondering whether Antony Green on the ABC's coverage is on the autistic spectrum. His memory for who won which seat for which party three elections ago is freakish. I know he has his magic computer but I do think he can actually remember without looking at it. It reminds me of Dustin Hoffman in Rainman, but without all the strange rocking movements that Rainman had.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Struggling with change

Normally, I like trying new things. When I see that change needs to happen, I will generally have some ideas (not immediately, but after some reflection time) on how to make something better than it currently is, and want to be involved. Speaking in the language of Rogers' Diffusion of Innovations theory, I don't think I'm in the "innovator" category, but certainly I perceive myself as being in the "early adopter" or at least "early majority" crowd.

But I'm struggling with a change that's happening at present. I think it's because I feel like there hasn't been enough consultation about where we want to see things heading. Hopefully consultation will come in the next few months and it's just me being not patient enough now.

I've probably said more than I should here. It might offend some people. But it's how I feel.

Or maybe others are more on-board with this than me. Maybe I'm just more of a "laggard" than I thought I was. I need to pray that I will be open to new ideas and that I will be more patient (a prayer I've prayed many times before) and wait for God's timing rather than mine.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The rather bizarre intersection of stand up comedy and Christianity

I haven't attended a church that does Hillsong songs for some time now, but I wouldn't mind hearing this version of "Shout to The Lord" again.

There's plenty more of this guy on YouTube. He also has funny segments on different handraising styles during singing, and some about homeschooling.

And speaking of wildlife...

...Chris just arrived home from Bible Study to find a tawny frogmouth sitting on top of our mailbox. We've just been out to spy on him.

Not sure if I can get a photo of him. It's starting to rain. Will see what I can do.... edited to luck, he'd gone by the time I got the camera out.

Toilet training...for sloths

Now that we are starting to see some light at the end of the toddler toilet training tunnel here (at least for another couple of years) it's time to celebrate. What better way than by watching cute youtube videos of sloths toilet training? The one wearing the Bonds wondersuit is my favourite.

Apparently the sloths now have their own TV program on Animal Planet in the UK. You can read more about sloth adventures here.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Winners are grinners

What an exciting finish to this year's Sheffield Shield. In my world, it's quite rare to use the words "exciting" and "Sheffield Shield" in the same sentence.

Well done to Queensland. Clich├ęd, I know, but I think cricket was the big winner here. So many times, the longer form of the game drifts off into boredom territory. From all the news accounts, it sounds like this was good right to the very end.

Picture from here.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Great book I found in the library for Rosie

Babar's Gallery. A fantastic read for the littlies and adults alike. Babar and Celeste set up an art gallery to display all their stored artworks, with elephantized versions of many famous paintings, including The Scream, the Mona Lisa, and Botticelli's Birth of Venus. Hilarious.

Babar and Celeste's kids have plenty of questions to ask of the art appreciation kind as they are looking at the portraits too. "Does it have to make sense?" was one of my favourites.

If you've visited, or planning to visit, your local art gallery, this is really worth reading to your kids. There's a list at the back of all the famous artworks featured in the book (if, like me, your art appreciation and recognition skills are limited...).


Happy birthday Sydney Harbour Bridge

I don't live in Sydney (in fact, I've only been there twice in my life...) but I think the bridge is beautiful. 80 years old today and still going strong.

Would love to take a photo like this one myself one day. Sydney for our next holiday perhaps?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Yesterday I had a great time....

...over on Jean's blog doing a quiz on mothering styles and personality types (based on Myers-Briggs). Check out the post here. You can do the quiz here and print off a list of suggestions on how to manage motherhood with your personality type.

I'm the classic ISTJ personality, so I scored the boring "responsibility mother" type.

Sigh. I knew it. I'm always being told by my husband that I need to lighten up and have more fun.

There was another style called "totally there" mother. That sounded much cooler.

Time to bring on some happy surprises for the kids I think....

It's definitely...

Spelt this way. So many people get it wrong that someone made a website about it.

Check out D-E-F-I-N-I-T-E-L-Y for details.

Spelling nerd here, I know.

The Murder of Jesus

Book Chat Term 1 happens next Saturday. For the past week I've been reading the book. Nearly two thirds of the way through it now.

It is a fantastic read. I've never said this about a Christian book before (sad, but true...) but this truly is a book that is "hard to put down." It was a bit difficult to get started on, but once I was into the story I just wanted to keep reading and reading. The way Macarthur weaves together the different Gospel accounts (and draws on Old Testament prophecy as well) is brilliant.

If you've had this one sitting on your shelf for a while (it was first published in 2004 around the time when the movie The Passion of the Christ was getting lots of attention), get it out and read it. It's not as easy to buy these days, although you can try here, it only costs $14 with free postage. It's also available as an ebook for even less.

It's a really good book to read as Easter approaches. A sobering reminder of what Jesus went through to save us from sin and death.

I'm hoping other people enjoyed reading it too. I'm going to make hot cross buns for afternoon tea to go with all the Easter discussion.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I rented a lens for my camera

An 85mm f/1.8D portrait lens. I'm trying it for a week to see if I'd use it enough to warrant buying one for myself (they don't come cheap new...around $400...although that's not as expensive as some lenses).

I love it already. I wonder how many photos I can take of the kids in seven days...

Monday, March 12, 2012

In the spirit of "Food on My Dog"

Maddie the Coonhound standing on things.

Weekend fun

Photos from our weekend adventure walking behind waterfalls. One of my top five favourite activities to do. We've had lots of rain in the past couple of months so there was plenty of water to see and enjoy.

Waterfalls are one of God's most amazingly beautiful creations. We're so blessed to live less than an hour's drive away from all of this.

Mint take 2

Follow up from this post.

This lot's been much better (I took the above photo yesterday afternoon). We've had a good amount of rain in the past couple of weeks so it's really taken off. I got Rosie on the case to help as well. She loves running around with her tiny watering can so I've told her she can water it as much as she likes.

The lavender's still about 50/50, I'd say. I'm not sure it likes the position I've chosen for it. It's a bit windy there. I might have to move the pot somewhere a bit more sheltered while it gets established and then I can put it back where I want it. I'm still trying to work out the fine balance between too much and not enough water on that one as well.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Today at church...

...a student from my uni tutorial group turned up.

I hope she wasn't put off by seeing me there and that she'll come back again. We don't have lots of University students at our church but there are a few of them, and the number is slowly growing.

Today at our congregational meeting at church there was discussion about starting a second congregation because our main one is getting quite large. Maybe we should be looking at a Unichurch option. There are a couple of Universities around here. It could be a really good ministry to get into.

Attention KFC

"Goodification" is not a word.

Nor are any of the following: "goodest," "gooder," "goodify" or "gooderer."

Stop making up stupid words to try to hide the fact that your product is full of fat and not at all good.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Next time you're craving something sweet....

...try these instead. Celery boats with peanut butter and sultanas in them. When I went searching for images I also found them with teddy bear biscuits sitting in the peanut butter like they were rowing the boat. Cute.

They're very yummy and the sultanas make them a little bit sweet (but not too sweet!).

I used that new whipped peanut butter in mine. It's rather addictive, a bit like eating peanut butter flavoured mousse.

When the kids get home from school today we'll make some more for afternoon snacks.