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Showing posts from October, 2012

Putting up feet

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I put my feet up for 48 child free hours over the weekend with a group of girlfriends.  And we talked. And talked. And talked.  Who knew we had so much to say?!

Such precious times together.  We have shared much together that is both deeply sad and hugely joyous over the years.

I now have a sore throat.  I think I am genuinely unwell, but maybe I just talked too much?

Jenny's (possibly dodgy) advice column: When should I get married?

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I was recently chatting to a 27 year old friend.  I mentioned that I had five kids which she thought was amazing and then said she'd love to have babies.  We got to talking about how she and her boyfriend would like to get married and would like to be married before they had kids.  But they couldn't get married because they didn't feel like they had enough money for a wedding etc.  to get married.

My answer.  You should just get married.  You will never, ever feel like you have 'enough' money.  No one (generally) feels that they have hit a point in life where they have enough.

There are bigger issues about getting married than having enough money.  Truly.  A big wedding and mortgage do not determine the quality of a great relationship.

Like, do you trust the person?  Do you like them?  Are they your best friend?  Do you laugh together? Do you feel like you can commit to the person?  Do you feel like you have lots in common that will sustain you through your life…

The bag I didn't pack

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This is a picture of the bag for Year 6 camp that I didn't pack.  I love not packing bags.  It brings me much joy.  After many years of packing for all the kids it feels SO liberating.

I used to hate going away because of the packing.  But over the last few years the kids have pretty much packed themselves.  They ask me what to pack and they pack it.  If they're going away on a camp by themselves they print off the list and pack it.  It is so glorious.

Sure, it can have downfalls. I optimistically (and probably quite lazily) let the 5yo pack her own bag for a church weekend away earlier in the year.  Yeah, ok.  So we could have done with another pair of undies and something warm for her to wear (the flouncy pink party dress probably wasn't the ideal camping gear).  Oh yes, and a towel would have been handy, as would have a pair of socks (it rained the whole weekend).

But we did have a Zhu Zhu pet (that awoke during various points of the night to wake us all up and freak …

Kid's book review: Wonder

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If you read no other kid's book this year, read this book.  My 12yo daughter read it earlier this year and loved it.  And it's been sitting on my desk for weeks but I've been distracted by other books.  I'm so glad I finally got around to it.  I was crying by the end.  It is a beautiful story.

The story is about a 10 year old boy called August  who is born with severe facial deformity that means he has been homeschooled.  But his parents have decided that it is time for him to attend a mainstream school so the story begins with his orientation visit to Beecher Prep where he's going to start grade 5.

This is a book perfect for upper primary kids.  The author has captured the world of this age in an incredible way.  The story is told from the point of view of the different kids involved in the story.  From the main character August, to his older sister Via.  From the point of view of his new friends Jack and Summer.  From the point of view of Via's new boyfriend…

Tales of an unusual childhood: 2

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My five year old sister cut her fringe.  Big chunk out of the middle of her thick, brown fringe.  She did it with her little friend who lived next door.  They thought it would be fun to cut their hair together.  Under normal circumstances I don't think I'd even remember this as much of a big deal, because every family has one of these stories.

But we were due 'home' in a few days and all my mother's planning that we would look decent (despite having lived in the middle of nowhere in India for three years) fell apart.  I remember a lot of worry about what we would wear on the plane, sewing new dresses so that when we stepped off the plane we looked OK - trying to convince everyone in Australia that we were still normal.  Untouched by life in India.  Not deprived.

But then my sister cut her hair and my mother's efforts seemed in vain.  I have a strong memory of getting off the plane in Sydney, walking across the tarmac in our new beautiful dresses and my sister …

Book review: The casual vacancy

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The Casual Vacancy is J. K. Rowling's new book for adults.  I have to admit that I started it with very low expectations, mainly reading it because, hey, I'm a librarian and people are going to ask what I think aren't they?

The start was a bit clunky and I wasn't very impressed by her writing, but by the quarter mark I was hooked and Rowling's story telling skill (which frankly is what has got her through Harry Potter) took over.

The book reminded me of a grittier Maeve Binchy.  Set in a small country town in England, Rowling has basically written a social commentary of a town that includes all classes and the tensions that exist between them.  It's not a pretty picture that she paints and none of the people are particularly likeable characters (perhaps the character that dies early on is the nicest person in the book).  It's also all fairly depressing and there are some confronting aspects to it (teenage s*x, drug use, child neglect).

Rowling does teenag…

Three principles for real encouragement

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It has taken me a while to write this final chapter in my thinking about encouragement because I've realised that it is complicated trying to work out what practical encouragement looks like for different people.

So here are three little principles I think are useful when we think about how we're going to encourage one another as Christians.

1.  It needs to be about Jesus.  The core purpose of encouragement is that it exists to help us keep trusting in the truth of the good news of Jesus.  It reminds us that we are part of God's family - we are not alone.  We encourage one another by pointing each other back to the truth ('speaking the TRUTH in love').

2.  It needs to NOT be about me.  Sometimes I see women (myself included) involved in the act of encouragement because it makes us feel more connected to someone else.  As we cook a meal we are thinking less of service and more about strengthening a relationship.  Which is all nice - but what happens if we end up n…

Working mother of 5

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Don't you think that sounds like it could turn up in a newspaper one day to describe me?

Funny thing is, while it is true, I feel much more defined by the 'mother of 5' (who also has a paid job) than the 'working' part of the description.

I loved being on holidays with my kids.  Admittedly holidays is such bliss in our house because there is no running around with music lessons, swimming, sport etc.  So it is a bit of fantasy land when compared to normal term time.

But I suffered such a lot of grief and withdrawal when I went back to work this week.  I just missed being around my kids (even though they also drive me a bit mental at times).

And I feel a little bit like I'm not quite tough enough.  That I'm meant to be desperate for the working side of my life, because the kid side is just not enough to make me a whole person.

It didn't help me much that on Sunday there was an article in the paper talking about all the outsourcing that two working mothe…