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Showing posts from March, 2010

Confessions of an earl grey addict

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I have to confess in this public forum that I'm addicted to earl grey tea.

I used to like the expensive stuff (Twinings) but because I drink so much of it, over the years I've had to buy the home brand version because I couldn't afford to sustain my habit.

On Monday mornings I'd go to playgroup and have a cup of tea.  But one wasn't enough.  I'd have to go back for another.

I'd visit a friend and enjoy the first cuppa.  But start to wonder if it too rude to ask for another, an hour into our visit.

I don't have milk or sugar with it.  That just wrecks the purity of the experience.  I would branch out sometimes and enjoy Lady Grey or French Earl Grey for a treat.  But for everyday purposes my friend was the 'Earl'.

But two weeks ago I went cold turkey.  I just decided that it was time to break the habit.  I have entered the world of herbal teas with all its strange flavours.  Peppermint (toothpaste dissolved in hot water).  Camomile (wee in hot…

Update on books in our house

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So - time for some updates on popular books in our household. I pick them up all day from one end of the house to the other so I have a pretty good sense of what they're into at the moment.  Drives me crazy.

The older three kids (11, 9 and almost 8) have really enjoyed the 'Wimpy Kid'  series by Jeff Kinney.  I've found them quite funny too.  I think they are great for kids who aren't big readers.  There are lots of funny illustrations and short bursts of text.

My 9 yo girl has also started the 'Anne of Green Gables' series this term.  My favourite set of books in the world, so I'm happy!

Our no 4 child is in home readers land having just started Kindy.  He is sooo proud of himself.  However, hasn't really got that much of a clue at this stage!

And I've been reading, but nothing that I'm feeling excited enough about to recommend to you.  I do have a great parenting book I've enjoyed (I'll share it with you soon), but no fiction that…

How to be a successful CHRISTIAN parent (or not)

Let me wade into this most dangerous of waters!  An area of such sensitivities that I have resisted writing about this for a long time.  But I have opinions - so I'll throw them into the mix!

I have noticed a general feeling of panic among many Christian mothers.  The pressure to get this Christian parenting thing worked out NOW, while the children are little, or else face failure.  And how does one fail?  By having children who are not believers.

I know that we do truly want our children to be trusting in Jesus for themselves.  Of course.  Please don't hear me wrong.  That is my heart's desire for my children.  More than anything else.

But we speak about others.  'Older parents'.  Even 'minister's families'.  Who have (wait for it) ... 'unbelieving children'.  I wonder if behind these comments, is a dismissal of those Christian parents.  As if they have failed.  As if they just did not get it RIGHT.  We are encouraged to reflect on what it is …

Guilty mums

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If you want to talk to a group of people who feel guilty talk to a group of mums.  They often discuss all the things they're doing wrong that make them feel like they are failing.

If you want to witness an even more guilt-ridden group of women talk to CHRISTIAN mums.  I am one of these.  There is a lot  heaps of guilt flying around that group.

Which intrigues me.  Aren't Christians supposed to be freed of guilt because Jesus died on the cross for them and so dealt with their sin?  There just shouldn't be so much guilt.  Surely there should be freedom and trust and rest in God's assurance of salvation.

But in the last week three different people have asked me what we do with our kids and Bible reading.  Some families are very good at structured family prayers and Bible reading.  Ours, sorry folks, is not one of those.  So when people ask me (I am, after all, married to a minister) assuming I might have some pearls of wisdom to share on this topic, I am a disappointment…

Friendship as you get older

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Last night I had a great night out with my old school friends.  One friend lives in the States and is in a Australia for a month.  We always use her visits as an opportunity for a catch-up.

We laughed and laughed and were very noisy (poor neighbours).  At one point we were asked what we remembered most about our time at school.  I remembered getting off the bus after school, walking to the cake shop and hanging out in the park next to my house.  We used to spend a lot of time in that park in Year 11.  I remembered how we just had hours to spend chatting and laughing.  What did we talk about when we'd just spent all day together at school?

Uni was another time in my life where I seemed to have a lot of time for friendships.  Lots of time to develop deep relationships in a short amount of time.  Many of those relationships remain my closest friendships today.  And having small children.  Long days to fill up where there was nothing better than finding another mum with kids the same…

Birthday

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So ... it's my birthday and I thought today would be a good day to write down a few thoughts about what it means to be an 'older woman who is reverent in the way she lives' (Titus 2:3).

When I turned 30 (a few moons ago now),  I remember being told by a woman older than me at our church, that she was shocked I was only 30.  I was, of course, a little offended.  Did I look old?  No, she reassured me, I sounded old in the way I spoke.  I sounded wise.  Like I knew what I was talking about.

I laughed.  No one had ever said I was wise.  I wasn't actually thinking that anyone really ever took much notice of what I said.  I just rambled on and hoped for the best.  (Not much has changed I hear you say!)

However, I was struck at that time of the responsibility of my words.  What words, if someone was actually going to listen to what I was saying, were they going to hear?  Would they hear positive words or complaining words?  Contented words or discontented words?  Words of su…

The Good Wife

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I've been enjoying the new TV show 'The Good Wife' on Sunday nights.  I started watching it because I was curious about the premise of the show (and I always like Julianna Margulies in her E.R. days).  Alecia Florrick stands by her husband, the district attorney, as his infidelities are made public and he is subsequently gaoled for his crimes (sexual favours, bribes etc).  How does a wife cope with this level of public exposure and embarrassment?

Since he ends up in gaol, Alecia sells the family home in the suburbs, moves to a city apartment, moves her two teenage kids and goes back to work to support her family.  After thirteen years of staying at home to look after the children she reenters the workforce as a lawyer.  Conveniently she is no bozo, having graduated top in her class at Georgetown and is offered a job by an old classmate, who is partner in a large law firm.

Of course, at the end of the day this is just another legal drama.  But running through the episodes a…

Time to be the grown-up

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Years ago I read the Australian parenting book 'Parenting Inc.' by Terri Hardwick (2005).  It was recommended to me by my sister-in-law and I found it very helpful at the time.

However, I can actually only remember one idea from the book, which is not uncommon for me.  I glean a few ideas from a book and then add them to the collection in my brain.  Probably indicates something about the capacity of my brain at any given time, rather than the quality of the book!

The idea was that as a parent you have to recognise that you are the ADULT in the parent-child relationship.  Now you really are thinking 'How dumb is this woman? Isn't that obvious?!'

Of course it's obvious but I have spent many moments in my parenting life feeling angry or frustrated or hurt because my child hasn't done what I wanted them to do.  I take it personally.  'Doesn't she (the 18 month old) understand how bad my day has been?' or 'Can't he (3yo) just stop throwing t…

Juggling marriage with children

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I've been thinking about my last post and the implications it has for how we conduct our marriages.

I want to say upfront that I don't think this research justifies parents spending a lot of time away, separate from their kids.  I know of parents who never holiday with their children because it is too tiring (I wrote about holidays with kids last year) or parents who always go on weekly dates leaving sad children at home who are unhappy about being left with the babysitter.

It's tricky isn't it?  We're encouraged to strengthen our marriages for the sake of our kid's well-being, but we need to be careful of only doing marriage separate to our children (and at the expense of what is good for them).  It is our relationship that brought these kids into the world.  Our kids shouldn't feel as if they are hindering our marriage.

Watching the way we relate to each other, the way we speak to each other, do housework together, laugh together, argue together (and res…

Put children second to your marriage - it's good for them

My friend sent me this link a few weeks ago to an article in the UK's Guardian newspaper.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/feb/07/parents-advised-put-children-second

Proof that 'helicopter parenting' (ie.  hovering, over-involved parents) is in fact bad for your children.  Finally - vindication for some of the neglect my poor children experience!

And what would be more beneficial to your children than hovering over them all the time?  Spending time investing in your marriage - this has more of an impact than the amount of effort you expend on giving your kids every opportunity or protecting them from anything bad.

YAY!  It's OK for them to get a bit bored, have a few sibling fights and make their own way to band rehearsal.  And it's good for them that we have a strong marriage.

Thankfully a 'U.S. therapist' has made my default method of parenting acceptable!

'The Tall Man' by Chloe Hooper

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If you're Australian and you are pretty ignorant about Aboriginal Australia you should read this book.  It is confronting and difficult to read but worth the time.  Just a warning:  the author is anti-police and anti-missionaries but these issues are understandable within the context of the situation she is writing the book in.

The book recounts the story of the death in custody of Cameron Domadagee on Palm Island (off the Queensland coast - nearest city Townsville) in 2004.  The aftermath was a riot on the island which made the media in Australia.  She visits Palm Island, spends time with his family and then follows the legal case against the policeman involved, Chris Hurley.  Which is a long process - about three years.

If you've read 'Joe Cinque's Consolation' by Helen Garner it's in that type of genre.

I don't have any profound thoughts on this topic.  It is just the sad and depressing reality of Australia.  What confronted me most is that it is such…

I used to be so TOGETHER - what happened?!!

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I used to be able to keep on top of everything.  Well - no longer!

Take yesterday morning for example.  Another instance of top parenting by Jenny.

I am woken at 7.20 am by the sound of my front door opening.  I suddenly realise in that instant that the older kids are supposed to be leaving for their 7.30 band at school.  And I was supposed to be getting them up to do this because Rowan had already left at 6.30 am.  Well, I stumble out of bed to the sight of my daughter walking out the door saying, 'I have to go, bye and I left you a note'.  I turn around to see my son stumbling out of bed with the same realisation as me - he is supposed to be at band NOW!  By some miracle he managed to get dressed, packed and shoved a piece of toast down while I quickly drove him to school to arrive at 7.31 am. Impressive!

Note to self:  make sure alarm is set.

Note to husband:  don't turn the alarm off

Note to daughter:  you are amazingly independent and seem to survive despite your mothe…

How to be a successful parent (or not) - the sequel

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After I felt terrible all day on Friday for being a failure, my Kindy child came out of his classroom and said, "Look Mum - my table won the week's points and we all got an award".  Did he even mention missing the dress-ups?  NO!  After all that ...

That's the fun of parenting - it's totally unpredictable.  For good and bad!

Have you seen that old movie 'Parenthood' starring Steve Martin?  There's a great scene at the end of the movie where the couple have just found out they're pregnant with No 4.  They're at a preschool concert for their daughter and their number 3 toddler is creating havoc on the stage.  Dad is freaking out at the thought of another child in all this chaos but Mum's happy.  They both imagine they're on a roller-coaster ride - up and down, up and down.  Exciting, yet totally terrifying and risk-taking at the same time.  Such a mixed bag of emotions.  I love that scene.  I often think of it as I ride my own roller-coas…

Guest Book Review : 'The Billionaire's Curse'

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I thought I'd share a book review that Aidan (almost 12) wrote for school last week.  He got this book for Christmas and read it on Christmas Day.  Richard Newsome is an Australian writer and this book came out in 2009.

Today I am writing about 'The Billionaire's Curse' by Richard Newsome.  The main character is Gerald, a fifteen-year-old boy, who has just inherited twenty billion pounds from his dead great Aunt Geraldine. Then there is Gerald's new friend Ruby.  She is a girl who is not scared easily and always wants to prove herself.  Ruby has an older brother Sam.  Sam is always trying to best his sister, but hates rats.


In the 'Billionaire's Curse', the world's most valuable diamond has been stolen.  And after reading a letter from his dead great aunt Gerald finds outs that his aunt was murdered and that whoever killed his great aunt wants to kill Gerald too.  


After two attempts to harm Gerald and his friends by a mysterious 'thin man', Ge…