Showing posts from September, 2012

Are you a competitive parent?

I wouldn't say I am all that competitive but I sometimes feel like I've ended up as a participant in Project Offspring.  I didn't know that I was entering a competition when we decided to have kids.  I naively thought I was just having a few kids to create a little family.

Oh no.  How little I knew.  It all started at my first mother's group - 'How many hours is he sleeping at night?  How often do you feed him?' and we were off and running.

I'm not a person who thrives on competition.  I sometimes wonder if I'm a little bit alone on this.  I like to achieve but I don't find being in a competition very empowering.  In fact the opposite - I feel quite deflated by it.  I've never been a star - never the best academically, never the best at music, never the best at sport.  Always pretty good but never the best.

Am I unhappy about this?  No.  I mostly feel fine about my mediocrity!  I don't mind not being the star.  And I don't mind if my…

Tales from an unusual childhood [1]

When I was 7 my family lived in Bangalore in the south of India for three months.  Bangalore was much larger and snazzier than the small country town in the centre of India that we were used to. 
I don't remember a lot about that time.  I do remember that the students in the flat above us used to play ABBA's 'Money, money, money' all day and I learnt the words for that song very well.  Ironic as I reflect on it now that they were theological students headed towards pastoring small Indian churches ...  Mind you, not much of my Indian childhood was untouched by music - it was just that this was Western music, music in a language I understood well. 
I remember my brother learning to take his first steps.  But most importantly I remember reading a whole book on my own for the first time.  It was 'Wind in the Willows'.
It was during those short months that I started to catch the reading bug.  There wasn't much else to do.  I wasn't going to school, my reg…

Parachurch ministry Challenge 3: 'So umm, what exactly does your husband do then?'

Chatting during the week to some friends who are also involved with university ministry, one of the challenges is trying to explain what it is you're actually doing all day (not that dissimilar to a stay-at-home-mum or a church minister, 'But don't you only work on Sundays?').  In many ways it doesn't matter all that much if others don't understand what my husband does.  Most people think that librarians read books all day so it's not unusual to misunderstand one another's jobs.  I guess the tricky thing with parachurch stuff, is that you are trying to raise financial support for a job that people don't really 'get'. 
It's usually easier to understand if you at least went through uni yourself and were involved in this type of work as a student.  It can be really tough to explain to someone who hasn't been to uni and just sees that uni students have long holidays.  It's not like church work where you do tend to see people week i…

The lesson my mismatched dinner set teaches me

Sometimes this is what I would like my dinner table to look like.

But here's what I actually serve dinner in.

It's hard sometimes to look at beautiful blogs and beautiful magazines and beautiful photos and then be confronted by reality.  I live in a world the bombards me with the insistence that all I have should look beautiful and perfect but it isn't.

So instead I look up and around at the people eating out of the imperfect dinner set and remember what really matters.

Not my mismatching bowls.
No way.

Book review: Winter of our disconnect

My kids (especially my boys) have been totally freaking out while I've been reading this book over the last week.  'You're not going to do this to US are you Mum?'  They obviously know that I'm quite fond of the grand announcement 'Right - no screen time, I'm SICK of it', so their nervousness may not be unwarranted!

American born writer and journalist Susan Maushart found herself at the start of 2009 in Perth with three teenage children who rarely interacted well with her or each other.  They were all ensconced in their own digital worlds and as a single Mum, her guilt never allowed her to say no to her kids.  Overtime they had all retreated to their bedrooms, eating on the run and sleeping whenever they felt like it.  So Mauschert announces on the last day of their family holidays that they are going to disconnect all their technology for six months.  For the first two weeks they also lived with no electricity.

The drastic measures she took seemed to…

Para-church ministry: Challenge 2, contentment

Probably the biggest challenge with this type of ministry is fund raising.  Sadly Christians (including myself) are very attached to their money (despite, well at least the last time I checked, believing all we have comes from God).  My husband has had to do A LOT of it recently and it is hard work.  Draining, humbling, awkward - people who do this type of work don't have super powers that make them find it easy to ask for money (they find it hard just like anyone would).  It can be depressing at times that finding the financial support takes hours of time away from the actual work on the uni campus.

Mind you, at the same time it is so encouraging when people do give, because they are essentially signing on to be partners in the work.  And it makes you feel like a whole lot of amazing people are caring about what you do because they've invested in the ministry financially.  There are two very distinct sides to the fundraising coin.

For me personally, I've been on a journ…

YA book review: The Maze Runner

If you liked 'The Hunger Games' you might like this dystopian book.  'The Maze Runner' by James Dashner (2009), opens with Thomas waking up in an elevator knowing nothing except his first name.  He finds himself in an open area called 'The Glade' with about 60 teenage boys.  The Glade is surrounded by high walls that close each night at dusk to protect them from the deadly half animal/half machine Grievers that come out each night.  During the day the walls open and a special group of boys, Runners, leave the Glade to try and solve the maze that surrounds the glade.  None of the boys know why they are there and remember nothing of their past.

This is a fast paced book but I have to say not the most well written book.  The premise of the book kept me reading to the end.  It is quite violent and the boys have their own language which is essentially modified swearing.  I do think this book will appeal much more to boys than girls - since there are basically no g…

Book recommendation: Nanny Piggins 7

Latest Nanny Piggins book is out.  Number 7 in the series, called 'The Daring Rescue'.  This is a great series and I've had a lot of success with this book at work.  Kids in Years 3-6 have enjoyed it and it is fun to read out aloud.  My number 3 child read it in one sitting.  She's assures me she read it properly despite it taking less than two hours.  
I read an article a few weeks ago about the author.  Her name is Rachel Spratt and she used to be a comedy writer for Australian TV.  She now has two kids of her own and started writing the series when her kids were little.  

Saying 'no' to your child

Here's my piece of parenting advice for the week.  Practice saying 'no' to your child when they are young.  It will help them.  Truly.

Why?  Here's what I've been thinking about recently.

Earlier last week I had the privilege of hearing Paul Dillon speak.  He's been talking to teenagers and families about drugs and alcohol for the past 20 years and he was fantastic.  He said he'd like to smack some parents around the head for the lack of backbone they have with their teenagers on the issue of alcohol.  It's the old 'Well, everyone else is doing it Mum' argument that seems to press all our buttons so brilliantly.  He said parents need to learn to say 'NO' to their teenagers and show them some tough love.  They are afraid of upsetting their children so give in.

What he didn't say is that many parents are afraid of upsetting their children from the day they are born. I have no problem with loving and caring for my child and keeping t…

Para-church ministry: Challenge 1, number of relationships

A bit of background.  I'm married to a church minister, but he doesn't work for a church.  He works for a not-for-profit organisation that supports the ministry of Christian students on a university campus.  He is responsible for a team of about 20 full time staff members and is responsible for ensuring that the funds for this organisation are raised to pay everyone.  He also works closely with the student leadership of the group which at the moment has about 800 students involved.

Here's my first challenge about this type of ministry (nice way of say 'big fat whinge' but anyhoo, off we go).

I am on the introverted end of the spectrum but we have A LOT of different groups of people in our life that we are involved in.  The ministry is large and busy and totally people orientated.  We have our family (which is large and busy and people-orientated!).  We also go to our local church (which is thankfully not too large, but is also people-orientated).  We have two sch…

Afternoon tea

Actually made afternoon tea for the children today.  Haven't cooked much other than evening meals for a few weeks so they will be a little surprised.

I would like to think this is what I would be doing everyday if I wasn't working, but I know this is a fantasy.  I wasn't spending hours at home cooking before.  I only had time today because I have no car and a sick child so I was forced to do something useful at home.  I think I even cleaned the shower I was that desperate for things to do!

Back to my book.   Don't want the house to look too good.  The children will wonder if they've returned to the right house if I change it too much.  ;)

Grey hair update

O dear.  5 months in - NOT looking good at all :(

None of the people I work with have asked me about my hair yet.  I am very impressed with their diplomacy!  The kids however - hmm, not so much ...

Movie: The Hunger Games

I loved the book so I was a little nervous about how they were going to pack the whole book into a movie.  But the kids I work with assured me that the movie was good so I watched it this week.

The premise of the book is that a boy and a girl from each district in a dystopian North America are chosen each year to fight to the death in a reality TV show called 'The Hunger Games'.  The winner gets much glory and secures wealth and safety for their families.  It is a horrible premise but made a good read.

The movie was two and a quarter hours long but they still didn't manage to convey the same level of suspense that the book created.  I was chatting to some kids at school yesterday about whether or not the movie would make complete sense if you hadn't read the book (there might have been unexplained assumptions made).

I wondered how they were going to deal with the gory themes in the book but the movie was actually really well done.  Having seen it now I would probably…