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Showing posts from July, 2011

More on minister's kids

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Wow, being on a panel is exhausting. I've given some talks on this topic before but on a panel it is hard because you can't prepare before so you are madly thinking the whole time of a response that is useful, relevant and makes sense, all on your feet. We had questions being texted through during the session plus questions and comments from the floor.

I suspect that some of the stories we shared about the mad visitors to our front doors may have freaked some people out. But we worked hard to convey the great privilege that it is to grow up in a ministry family.

I did feel a bit stressed afterwards that me admitting publicly to such an audience that I had never wanted to marry a minister may have been seen in the wrong way! I just don't have a great personality for being a public person. Yet here I am.  I suspect that many of those childhood experiences have in fact given me a good grounding for coping with the realities of a ministry life.

I had some interesting discus…

Minister's Kids

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On the weekend I'm attending a conference for the wives of Anglican church ministers in the Sydney area.  I enjoy it because I get to catch up with lots of friends who are scattered over a large geographic distance.  It's also helpful to hear some teaching and reflection on coping with some of the pressures and challenges that come with being married to someone in this particular role.

I've been asked to be on a panel titled "My Dad's the Minister" because my Dad's an Anglican minister.  It should be fun - the other women on the panel are all minister's kids too and great, funny women.

I am a little nervous about this topic.  It's a very subjective experience to talk about.  Everyone's families are different.  Everyone's got a different personality.  Everyone's experienced a variety of contexts.  I feel reticent to say too much in case it sounds prescriptive (my pet hate).

Personally, I didn't love it and swore, quite confidently,…

Children's Book Council of Australia awards 2011

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One of the great aspects of my job as a children's librarian is that I get to spend a good deal of time looking at the books selected for the short-list by the Children's Book Council of Australia for their annual prizes.

I'll be interested to see who wins but I already have quite a few favourites from the early childhood shortlist.  I'm still working my way through some of the other categories.

'It's Bedtime William!' by Deborah Niland, tells the story of William, who is not very good at going to bed (sound familiar anyone?!) but on this particular night really does have a lion asleep in his bed (his parents, unsurprisingly, don't believe him).  Unfortunately the lion wakes up and wants to play, then doesn't want to go to sleep and makes William quite tired and grumpy.  Kids love the irony of the book (and it is quiet therapy for the parents).  I really enjoy reading this book aloud.  Good fun.

'Maudie and Bear' by Jan Ormerod is actually fo…

Book Review: Elizabeth Berg

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I had a bit of theme going on holidays when it came to reading.  I wasn't up for any full-on literature so I read a couple of books by the American author Elizabeth Berg.  I've read quite a few books by her after a friend recommended her to me.  I really enjoy the work of Anne Tyler and Berg writes in a similar vein to her (although Tyler is still funnier and cleverer).

Elizabeth Berg's books tell the stories of women, their lives, relationships, friendships, children, careers.  A whole range of issues and stages of life. Nothing complex (including many of the characters).  Good for easy, holiday reading.


In saying that though, the first book I read was called 'Talk before sleep' and tells the story of a woman whose best friend is dying of breast cancer.  While terribly tragic, it also told the story of a married woman hankering after the freedom of her single friend, but in her friend's sickness and impending death, she is revitalised in her understanding of t…

Kids and reading

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Three of my five kids are avid readers.  I can't get them to do much else.  Which is a problem at times, but does make things like school a whole lot easier.  People (and teachers) often assume that they could read before they started school.  But, no, they come from my parenting style (aka - quite slack and generally go with what ever makes life easiest) so no teaching going on at home before they started school.  Actually, none of them could read fluently until the end of Year 1 when they were all about 7 and a half years old.

Which is all fine.  But there has been that 2 year period of quiet uncertainty between them starting school and them finally getting the hang of it.  So while my kids haven't progressed at all for months and months, there's always a kid in the class who is extremely gifted so just picked it up without trying.  Or the parents who work really hard at it so they have children who are reading well after one year of school.

I've just been going thr…

Braces off!

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Fifteen months ago I had braces put on my teeth.  I had them off last week.  I feel very relieved.  Even though I had got used to them by the end, I still felt very self-conscious about them.  In my job I speak to a lot of people I don't know each day.  And every time I'd talk to them, I'd feel the desire to explain the braces. However, I did meet quite a few other 'adult bracers' along the way - it was quite bonding!  I also found it hard to speak clearly when I was up the front, even though I have actually done a lot of that in both my job and other contexts throughout the time.  So it is nice to be able to articulate words clearly and not feel very tired after speaking in public.
I'd take a photo of my teeth (and they do look lovely) to show you, but three days after I had them off, I developed the foulest cold sore I've had for years.  Weirdly, I had no cold sores while I had the braces on.  I normally get them about every 6 - 8 weeks (including the day …

Great day for me in the one sport I actually follow

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We're die-hard road cycling fans in our house.  So today is a very super exciting day.  To have the Australian, Cadel Evans, actually win the Tour de France, is incredible.  Three weeks of cycling, 200 kilometres a day, up and down massive mountains in the Pyrenees and the Alps - it's a huge achievement.  So many things can potentially go wrong.  Get in a crash.  Break a bone.  Have a mechanical problem.  Have a tummy bug.  Be in a dysfunctional team.  All of these things have happened to Cadel before.  He's come so close to winning before - in 2007 and 2008 he came second.

Everything went right for him this year.  Great team.  No injuries.  No crashes.  Consistent performance in each stage.  Kind of felt that if he didn't do it this year, it probably wasn't going to happen.  But, wow, it got close, very close, at the end there.

I like the Tour de France because it has a nice level of complexity that keeps it interesting.  It also only takes three weeks a year - …

What I'm learning from my 4.23 am wake-ups

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I'm not really doing such a great job of blogging at the moment.  Partly it is because I've been away a bit and partly it's because I haven't had any ideas of what to write about.  Incredible some would say - you seem to have plenty to ramble on about in real life!

So here's a ramble folks.  We enjoyed a lovely, desperately needed break last week.  I slept beautifully which I enjoyed but then I felt freaked out by this.  It made me realise how badly I sleep normally these days.  In the past I've been very proud of my sleeping abilities.  Slept through screaming newborn babies in hospital (one of whom was actually mine, and yes, 'you do actually need to wake up and feed it dear').  I am a champion at sleeping through children who wake up during the night, as my husband will testify to - they all call out 'Daddy, Daddy' and if he's away one of the older kids needs to come and wake me up (I do love them, truly).  And now, with no babies, I find…

Am back

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Have had holidays (thus the week of silence).  Woke up this morning at 4.30am - wide awake with my mind racing with all that needs to happen with the kids, work, life in general.  I don't like it, but waking up in the middle of the night, stressing out, seems to be part of the territory these days.  It didn't happen on holidays so it is definitely a stress thing.

However, the good news is that I am now off to (hopefully) get my braces off.  Exciting.

If you want to feel old ... (a review)

Apologies for the grumpiness from Wednesday but so pleased you could all share in my little 'moment'!

So then, if you want to feel old ...

Well, yes, I did feel quite elderly but it's all relative in that context.  The president of the student group is a postgraduate doing a PhD and it was interesting to see how the younger students perceived him as an elder statesman (which in that context I guess he is in some ways).

I actually had a very relaxing three days.  I went to the main sessions and got to hear Rowan give most of his talks.  The topic was on the church and they were helpful talks - much emphasis on thinking about our local church as a valuable and significant place in God's plans.  And not just weak and small which is often how we feel in our little local church.  I don't get to hear Rowan preach much - different to when he worked for a church and I heard him all the time.  I did discover though that I'm quite introverted these days.  I couldn't…

Pushy parents

OK - time for a quick whinge.  After a day at work of dealing with a large number of pushy and demanding parents - I'd just like to know - what is that about?

I have five children.  I understand that it is unlikely that they will not always be able to attend every activity/event/outing together because (a) they are different ages, (b) not every activity is suitable for every child.  Some of my children will probably miss out on something that their sibling can participate in.  So if I choose to take one of my children to an activity that is suitable for one child only, I don't expect the people in charge to also then entertain my smaller children.

I also understand that if someone says to me, "I'm so sorry, but we're full and since you didn't book you won't be able to attend this event", it actually does mean that I can't go to the event.  That my child will miss out.  That I will need to find an alternative activity to pestering a poor libraria…

Adult fiction winter reading

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Here are some ideas for your winter holiday reading.  And there is nothing better than some good fiction on a winter holiday.

The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship by Lisa Verge Higgins is an easy read.  It tells the story of three friends who are grieving the recent loss of a fourth friend to cancer.  Their girlfriend leaves each of them an instruction that she wants them to follow after she dies.  For each of the three women they are confronting and life changing instructions.  It's not rocket science this book, with the three main characters being fairly predictable types. Kate is a housewife with three kids and shaky marriage.  Jo is the hard nosed business woman.  And Sarah is the humanitarian who works  as a nurse in war zones while stuck in the memories of an old romance.  But I still enjoyed it.  Good holiday read - not too (at all?) deep.

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson tells the story of retired Major Pettigrew as he lives life in a small English…