Monday, April 30, 2012

My next tutorial includes some emotional intelligence reflections

It's been very interesting to prepare.

One of the questions I'm going to get the students to think about is this one (on self-awareness):

"If knowing yourself in totality equals a score of 10/10 for being self aware and a score of 0 equals a score of being completely unaware, what score would you honestly give yourself?"

According to the authors of the book I'm referencing (this one), pretty much no one ever gives themselves a score of 10/10, even if they submit their scores confidentially. Most people average out at about 7 or 8.

Which leads to the question, "What is the other 20 or 30% of me up to?"

They suggest that the answer may lie in comments we make after the event such as "Why did I say that?" "Why did I go out with him?" or even "Why on earth am I doing this course?"

Or those incidents where you just wish you could go back and rectify some ill-thought out comment or action that you sincerely wish you hadn't said or done.

We learned nothing about Emotional Intelligence when I went to Uni. It hadn't even been invented then. But I think it could be one of the most important things for these guys to learn.

Here's another one of those blogs that the internet was made for

For anyone who has visited their parents and asked themselves the question "Why on earth do they still have that??"

You can submit photos to it. I think my parents might have a lot of things that would be suitable. But thanks to the Brisbane floods last year, there are far less of them than there used to be.

Bonds Easysuit

I think this could be the most inappropriately named item of clothing ever.

I have just wrestled Rowan into one. It does look cute when the baby finally gets into it, but don't be fooled by the name. They are in no way easy to put on or remove.

I'll say it here and now. The Bonds Wondersuits are much better.

Struggling a bit at the moment

Not sure why I'm feeling a bit low. Probably a combination of lots of things, actually, rather than one thing. But one of the biggies is that I'm without a car for a few days. There's lots to do here at home (isn't there always?) but not having the option of being able to get out of the house if I want/need to is a little bit unsettling.

So this morning I was digging into Disciplines of a Godly Woman to see if I could find some helpful Biblical verses.

And I found one of those "old faithful" go-to verses. Philippians 4:6:
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God"

At the moment, my praying isn't much more than "God, please help" but it's good to know he wants to hear from me.

Friday, April 27, 2012


But what better way to procrastinate than by listening to the Go-Betweens on YouTube?

The quintessential memory of Brisbane in the 1980s....

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Our 7 year old announced today...

...that he intends to read every book (both adult's and children's) in our house. Obviously we'll need to do a bit of censoring with some of the adult material.

That's if he gets that far. He's decided to start the quest somewhat ambitiously by reading our teeny weeny print version of the complete works of Shakespeare. So I'm predicting that, like many of this particular child's projects, it will run out of steam within a very short time.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Some Elisabeth Elliot wisdom

I found this in one of the appendices to Disciplines of a Godly Woman:

"The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances."

Such a helpful thought. This was very challenging to me. So often, I have felt that if only I had this, knew that, was in that social group, if my kids would just do the right thing, or if we lived in that place/house with that particular job, then I would be contented. And yet so often, when I reach the point of having what I've so desperately coveted, I discover that it's still not enough. This is why. It's not changing the circumstances around us that makes the difference. It's living with Jesus in our hearts that makes the difference, not some ongoing search for fulfilment in worldly things.

I think I need to read more of Elisabeth's work. Does anyone have any recommendations?

Back home again

Rested. Relaxed. We swam many times in the pool pictured here. It was so warm that Rowan got to have his first swim. Five days of perfect beach weather and then the rain started as we were driving home. I felt like a very good holiday planner. After a couple of wet beach holidays we needed a fine one!

Finished reading Disciplines of a Godly Woman on my e-reader while we were away. More on that in another post. The quick version is that it was a good read.

Have to re-mark one assignment tonight and do another two that my colleague has already done, to check that we are on similar ground with our scores. Then I need to start uploading the results to the Uni webpage.

Sigh. Oh well. The fun was good while it lasted. And at least while it rains, I am not wanting to be anywhere else but inside.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Off for a few days

For some rest and recovery time. The weather forecast is looking up compared to what it was earlier in the week so that is good.

We had a lovely offer from Chris' Mum and Dad to come up to where we are staying and look after the kids one evening while we go out for dinner. It's been a while. But Rowan's not as unsettled in the evenings anymore so we can probably do it.

Looking forward to it.

Talk to you all next week.

Just checking out my blog stats

On the new-look Blogger dashboard.

Mostly my audience is Australian. But I do have 72 page views from Russia, 5 from France and 1 from Argentina.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

In the minefield of parenting (and Christian parenting) literature...

...finally, somebody speaks some common sense.

This from Dr Sandra Aamodt, author of a recent book called Welcome to Your Child's Brain:

"Everybody wants one-size-fits-all parenting advice, and I think the one thing that's really come out of the last 20 years of research into paediatric behaviour is that there's never going to be one-size-fits-all advice. Parents do have some ability to influence events but you really must start with the child you have and not the child you wished for."

Amen, sister. I want to read this book already.

One of my big issues with many parenting books (both Christian and secular) is that they are overly simplistic and advocate their own approach as the one true way. That is, by following the book's program, routine or whatever, you are guaranteed a child who sleeps all night, behaves properly in every situation and becomes a Christian when they grow up. It's not as straightforward as this generally. And it makes some parents stressy and anxious if their kid doesn't fit the pattern. The less stressed ones just say they're flexible and don't follow the program to the letter, which is fine, but then why bother with it at all in the first place?

I relate much better to the books that give choices. The ones that suggest following the child's lead rather than what the book says. The ones that say that if this works, do it, but it doesn't always work. If something else works better, then try that. Maybe you'll need to try a lot of different things. The ones that give the message that we're all trying our best here, and there are no guaranteed outcomes in this parenting gig. All we can really do is keep trying (and messing up with our kids lots of times), and praying for them and for ourselves.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Getting there...

The assignments are getting quicker to do. Some of them are even sounding a little bit interesting.

One of the tasks they had to do for it was to complete an activity diary of everything they did for a week. I found a few who go to church (one of them was a Mormon). One of these people wrote that a human's divine purpose in life was to achieve results and experience personal fulfilment and enrichment. I asked if she could give me a reference for that because I said you could argue alternative viewpoints (for example, as cited from the Westminster Shorter Catechism, "Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever....").

I didn't actually include that last bit in my comment on her assignment. But it was tempting.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The pain continues...

The assignment marking is dragging on here so I haven't had as much time to do fun stuff like looking at YouTube videos or finding funny pictures to share with whoever might still be hanging in there reading anything that I post here...

I think the assignment I am about to start on might be one of the better ones. At least this person seems to be able to string a coherent sentence together. Some of the ones I've done so far have entire paragraphs that consist of a single sentence. It is hugely difficult to read, let alone to follow whatever point they are trying to make. Short. Concise. It's much better, people.

And there are a couple of plagiarism cases that I'm going to have to look into a bit more. They're from the ones who are chronically unprepared for sessions, regularly turn up late, and then don't do anything productive while the tutorials are on. And so, predictably, they are now going to crash and burn.

A couple of days ago...

I was reading this post on Femina about the little things in motherhood, like the unloading of dishwashers before the dinner time rush. The point made in it was worth making and helpful to think about, although I confess that most days, my dishwasher is unloaded before the dinnertime rush begins here (we're once a day dishwasher people in this house)...not that I'm proud, or legalistic about it or anything like that. It just happens or it doesn't and we get by either way. On days when it doesn't happen, yes, that does add a little bit of extra effort to the evening chaos and clean-up time.

Anyway, I digress. I was more than a little offended by the use of the word "spastic" in the post. This was in the context of "everything will feel spastic at dinner time" (if the dishwasher is not unloaded). I showed my husband the post. He didn't like the use of the word either. As therapists, we know that the word "spastic" actually means something completely different to that implied in her post. He actually was commanded in first year physio to never refer to other things (or people) as being "spastic" because the term is so offensive to people with cerebral palsy.

He said I should comment. I was unsure. So I didn't. I thought if I did, the comment might get moderated out of existence.

Fortunately, two other Australian readers were braver than me and said something. I'm glad they did (and Deb, if you're reading, was it you that said it first??).

It's just a reminder that we need to be careful about our choice of words on the world wide web. I do read Femina reasonably often. It's quite good, although I think that sometimes it edges into the territory of home and motherhood idolatry a little too far. In general, the posts are helpful and Biblical. But it's a bit of a turn-off when this kind of language creeps in.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Marking assignments is painful

I managed to get through one very difficult essay this evening.

Sigh. Another twenty more to go. I hope there will be easier ones than this.

Some C.S.Lewis wisdom for the day...

"The real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings, coming in out of the wind.

We can only do it for moments at first. But from those moments the new sort of life will be spreading through our system: because now we are letting Him work at the right part of us. It is the difference between paint, which is merely laid on the surface, and a dye or stain which soaks right through. He never talked vague, idealistic gas. When He said, "Be perfect" He meant it. He meant that we must go in for the full treatment. It is hard; but the sort of compromise we are all hankering after is harder - in fact, it is impossible. It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad."

From Mere Christianity, cited in A Year with C.S.Lewis:Daily readings from his Classic Works p.208.

It was the bit about the "wishes and hopes for the day rushing at you like wild animals" that caught my attention. It certainly feels that way some days here. Shoving all that other stuff back takes a lot of effort.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Mebbin National Park

Had a lovely time eating chip sandwiches and Easter eggs for lunch today. And playing with my new camera lens. I love the purple dress but I think it may be getting a bit short on the gorgeous long legged toddler. She's had a big growth spurt in the last few months.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter feasting

Roast loin of pork, roast potato and sweet potato, beans and carrots (made by Chris). We served the meat with some plum chutney that I made yesterday based loosely on a recipe I found here.

We had lots of plums that needed to be used up, so I made little plum and hazelnut cakes for dessert. I substituted almond meal for the hazelnut meal. They taste just as good either way.

And obviously I have also consumed (some) chocolate today as well.

Yum. But I can feel some exercise will be required tomorrow to recover from all of this...

Hymn for Easter Day

First published in 1739 and still going strong today. Great work, Charles Wesley.

And sung very nicely by the King's College boys as well.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Hymn for Good Friday

Love the Rockingham tune. Should be sung more often, I think.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Something funny after a difficult evening...

From here.

About that panel beater we never wanted to see again...

Back we go tomorrow with the silver bullet bus.

I just smashed up the front passenger door on a low post (one of those ones with a cable string attached to it) when I was turning into the carpark at the University library tonight. I turned hard left too soon as I was coming in and didn't even see it until I heard that sickening sound of metal crunching. Well, I didn't even see it then. To start with, I didn't have a clue what I'd done. I was sitting there feeling pretty freaked out and I actually had to get out of the car to see what had happened.

I couldn't move it off the post by myself either. Fortunately the kind shuttle bus driver and another nice bloke helped me with that so the post didn't do any more damage as I was extricating myself from the mess.

Sadly, it's not just the front passenger door either. A tiny two inch ding in the side sliding door as well will mean it's not going to be a cheap fix by the time they replace everything. I asked Chris if he thought we might get a "frequent crasher" discount. I don't think he found it funny.

Fingers crossed they can get it fixed up in the school holidays when we're not doing very much. Thankful to God that we have another car so we can still get around (albeit with limited numbers) while it's off the road...again.

Darn those posts. I'm starting to wonder whether I need to limit driving the van to very familiar places and routes so I don't crash into anything else.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Are all children getting a fair go at school, no matter what their background or postcode?

Well, I think we all know the answer to that question.

But Insight is tackling it tomorrow evening on SBS, covering the recent Gonski report which got a bit buried in the wake of the recent federal Labor leadership challenge.

Read more here.

If you're not home then, they usually repeat it a couple of times during the week or you could watch online.

Great political quote

Tony Fitzgerald expressing his opinion that merit based selection should be used to demonstrate transparency in the appointment of senior public servants in the new Queensland state government:

"The current toxic political culture can be radically altered by an infusion of public-spirited talent to counteract the mediocrity and venality of those power-brokers and professional politicians whose life experiences are limited to practising the dark arts of misinformation, secrecy and character assassination, and who pursue power by all available means."

I think he may have been suggesting that the days of "jobs for mates" in Queensland might not be over.

And how many fantastic words are there in that single sentence? I love it.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Hymn for Palm Sunday

A bit of Chopin... an accompaniment to this evening's main event, which is coming up with client confidentiality scenarios that are appropriate for first year students.

(I'll never be able to play this one!)