Friday, May 30, 2008

#31 a HUGELY wonderful husband who accepts me as I am

#32 warm socks

#33 little boy hugs that squeeze impossibly tight

#34 curling up in a big chair with a good book

#35 the ability to create order from chaos occasionally in this home!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

How do you cope with frustration?

Last week I waxed eloquent on the need to have frustration in the lives of our children. I talked about how frustration, when managed properly, can by the catalyst of learning and innovation. Then I started thinking.

How do I manage my own frustration?

In the past, I have been a great abuser of inanimate objects. It was rare that I broke things, but I wold certainly cut them down to size verbally! People, also, have been the recipient of my acid tongue. By age 16 I could turn arrogant middle aged men into quivering masses of jelly. I wouldn't yell, I'd just use a smile and some well chosen words to cut deep. I have hung up the phone and poured out my frustrations verbally at the poor plastic implement. There were a few 'memorable' incidents where I didn't hang up properly and my verbal outpouring was heard loud and clear on the other end. Once, my unsuspecting, newly-wed husband haddn't answered the phone at work because he was already home, unbeknown to me. Needless to say he was in the NEXT ROOM to hear my tirade!! The honey moon was well and truly over that day. James Chapter 3 is actually about me.

I have made progress where this is concerned. I have grown in the Spirit and I have learned to hold my tongue more often - so I thought. Then I watch Erin growl with frustration and tell off the toy she was using - in perfect mimicry of me. I see her use words to cut her brothers down to size, and a strange sense of deja vous washes over me.

And I realise, I don't always learn.

I do not always take the frustration of waiting in a telephone que to catch up with some bill paying or put speaker phone on while I fold laundry. I do not use that time to learn patience, learn to use my time efficiently and for His glory, learn to be still and Know that He is God. Instead I gripe, bang around the house, tap my foot as I look at the Clock - that all powerful implement that I too often let rule my life instead of being a tool to make it easier.

I do not always use the disappointing, frustrating or hurtful actions of others to learn to love the unlovely and be kind to the ungrateful and the wicked (Luke 6:35). Instead I will become self-righteous and indignant. I will tell my husband of the unjust nature of it in glorious Technicolor - in front of my children. Then I wonder at them bristling at the toy-box injustices inherant in having siblings.

I do not always persist with a task that is hard or keep at the mundane with diligent focus. Too often I have given up and taken on a new fad or method of doing things, throwing out the good of the old ways rather than redesigning the old to be better. Forgetting that the new brings with it a whole new set of challenges to solve.

I do not always allow the frustrating circumstances of life to humble me and bring me to my knees - the natural position of learning.

I do not always allow frustrating experiences with others to humble me to learn from them and think of them as better than myself (Philippians 2:3) or look to their interests as well as my own (Philippians 2:4).

So, now I have a new challenge. Now I must be the change I want to see in my children. I must embrace frustration as a chance to let the Lord do something wonderful in my life. I must use it as a catalyst of learning and innovation.

What a challenge lies ahead!

Monday, May 26, 2008


Beloved has finished building from scratch a trailer he designed himself. It is registered and ready to roll. It looks fantastic! I will get a camera that works one of these days so I can show you. He started building it last October, but seeing as there were the normal demands of our lifestyle plus some weather delays on painting etc. and he was out of commission for quite a while with illness late last year, I am impressed that he managed to finish it as quickly as he has!!

And Christopher can clap. I am very proud of him too.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Going from looking more and more like an aggressive cancer with only a 1% survival rate, Daniel Lockwood is now in the clear for cancer completely! Jaynee is still not clear on all the details. Her Spanish isn't great and Daniel was fairly drugged up, but doctors say NO CANCER! Praise the Lord. Please continue to keep this family in your prayers.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Please pray

The Lockwood Family, missionaries in Mexico, are facing some awful trials. Daniel, the Daddy of the family, has been diagnosed with cancer. He is in a strange hospital alone while Jaynee is home with their 11 kids. Pray for them please! If you could also put a comment on their blog to encourage them, that would be appreciated greatly by Jaynee


Winter is definately on the way. Each toe has between one and five chilblains from standing on the tile floor in the kitchen so it feels a bit like fire ants have taken up residence in my socks.

keeps changing her mind as to what she wants for her new room. The only constant seems to be the rainbow!

has become quite bossy of late and often tells Christopher "Shhhh QUIETLY!" at the top of his lungs! The irony hasn't quite hit him yet. He is nearly two, my baby! I am not ready for this yet.

is caterpillar crawling, sleeping four hours during the day and twelve hours at night and saying "Bubububububub". Very cute. He is also drooling constantly and chews everything that he doesn't throw up on. Babies are gross.

The house:
Needs packing, but I have taken advantage of the warm weather for the week to get back on top of the washing. So I need to get going!


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Lilypie Baby Ticker

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A season of rest

Who Loves the Trees Best?

Who loves the trees best?

“I,” said the Spring;

“Their leaves so beautiful,

To them I bring.”

Who loves the trees best?

“I,” Summer said;

“I give them blossoms,

White, yellow, red.”

Who loves trees best?

“I,” said the Fall;

“I give luscious fruits,

Bright tints to all.”

Who loves trees best?

“I love them best,”

Harsh Winter answered

“I give them rest.”

by Alice May Douglas

(quoted in A Joyful Keeper)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Projects vs. love

When Martha bustled about getting dinner ready, she was project oriented.
When Mary sat at the feet of Christ, she was love oriented.

When the woman spilled perfume on Jesus feet, she was love oriented.
When Judas rankled that the money could have gone to better things, he was project oriented.

When the guest looked appalled at the pile of unfolded washing and insisted she fold it all at once, she was project oriented
When the guest poked her head in the kitchen and asked if it would be a help to me if she bought in the washing and folded it, she was love oriented.

When the hosts served us a simple meal and joked around with us as we helped clean up afterward, they were love oriented.
When the hosts spent all day making a fancy meal, then started washing dishes and pushing us out the door as we finished eating, they were project oriented.

When the dinner guests jumped up and cleaned the kitchen from top to toe before rushing out the door, they were project oriented.
When the dinner guests sat with us around the table until 10pm talking, singing, laughing, fellowshipping, they were love oriented.

When I sat down to read an unscheduled story to a tired and emotional child, I was love oriented.
When I forced the child to stay awake for a story because it was STORY TIME not nap time, I was project oriented.

When I chased the children out of the kitchen so I could bake the perfect birthday cake, I was project oriented.
When I let them dip their fingers in the batter, I was love oriented.

Where is your compass set today? Projects, or love?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Never Been Unloved

I'm not a huge Michael W Smith fan, but I heard this song playing on a blog with a music player and the lyric just hit my heart. It could have been written about me.

I have been unfaithful
I have been unworthy
I have been unrighteous
And I have been unmerciful

I have been unreachable
I have been unteachable
I have been unwilling
And I have been undesirable

And sometimes I have unwise
I've been undone by what I'm unsure of
But because of You
And all that You went through
I know that I have never been unloved

I have been unbroken
I have been unmended
I have been uneasy
And I've been unapproachable

I've been unemotional
I've been unexceptional
I've been undecided
And I have been unqualified

I have been unfair
I've been unfit for blessings from above
But even I can see
The sacrifice You made for me
To show that I have never been unloved

It's because of You
And all that You went through
I know that I have never been unloved

It reminds me of the book of Hosea. Just as Hosea would go after his wife, time and time again, to buy her from the slave market where she was selling herself after whoring to the lowest she could go. Just as he took her home, bathed her and dressed her. Just as he anointed her and gave her all she could ever want - knowing she may well do it all again.

This is how my Lord pursues me.

Our tea tonight

Porcupine meatballs
cauliflower, broccoli, peas, corn and carrot done in my steamer
white sauce for the cauliflower


Gift list

#21 a rocking chair to rock my babies

#22 brisk wind, blue skies and fluffy white clouds on washing day

#23 clear direction for the future

#24 money from unexpected sources when we weren't even struggling for the essentials

#25 abundance. We are filled to the top, shaken down and overflowing at the moment

#26 being married to my best friend, lover and joint heir in Christ

#27 A little girl's games

#28 A little boy's adoration of said little girl

#29 a baby sleeping through the night, taking proper naps and being HAPPY during awake times

#30 dirty dishes that say we have had a good meal together.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Deprived of frustration?

I think today's kids are often being deprived of the essential emotion "frustration". Babies are picked up, entertained, placated, as soon as they squeak. Kids are given more toys than they could ever use, put in 'races' where 'everyone is a winner!!' (thought: if winning isn't what is important, why must everyone be a winner??) We don't set them challenges they may not reach, just in case we bruise their self esteem. We place them continually in situations where they will succeed with little effort. They are petted and coddled when disappointed and upset.

What's wrong with this? Do I want my kids to be upset? To cry with frustration?

Not particularly.

But frustration is the catalyst for learning and innovation.

If a guy one day hadn't been frustrated with the difficulty of transporting things from point A to point B we would never have had the wheel. Look at the face of an artist as they create. By far the most common expression is that of frustration. Of pushing themselves to achieve something they don't know how to achieve yet - or even know if they can achieve. A baby learns to crawl because they want to get from point A to point B on their own. So they push themselves, try out new ideas, learn what works and - hey presto - frustrated baby becomes mobile baby!!

Frustration is vital for growth.

No, hang on. Now I think of it, kids now days DO get frustrated.

I hear the howl of frustration when the parent in the supermarket refuses the chocolate. They are crying out because the rules suddenly changed from home where they get anything they want if they yell enough. The rules have changed, their power is gone and they are frustrated and angry that the world has shifted beneath their feet.

The kid who suddenly looses when they have been taught all their life that they are winners simply by virtue of existing and strikes out at school mates and teachers with frustration - earning the label "anger management problem" or "social skills deficiency" or even "aspergers" or "ADD" by lazy diagnosticians.

These kids have not met with frustration before, they don't know how to deal with it. Trapped with their frustration with no method of getting away, of moving on, of making it a catalyst for change and success, they implode. They loose their power, their drive. They become angry or simply apathetic. Their sense of entitlement tells them that they should have - they DESERVE - everything. They have been robbed of an inheritance they were assured would be theirs.

Among their ranks are Art Degree drop outs who collect their social security check and wait for an agent to drop by their house and ask them to be a brilliant actor/painter/writer. They are the check out operators that glower at you (as if YOU were the reason for their 'loss') and pack cans of baked beans on your bread and eggs. They are the strident protester that cries out at the timber industry's destruction of the forests, then goes home to their timber house in their poorly serviced and maintained car (spewing out pollution on their way) and stokes their wood fire to warm them while they prepare another five hundred paper pamphlets to post in people's letter boxes. Angry all they way that SOMEONE doesn't fix the environment.

I could go on.

So frustration alone does not cause learning and innovation.

Frustration + HARD WORK = learning and innovation

Frustration + experimenting = learning and innovation

Frustration + experiencing failure + TRYING AGAIN ANYWAY = learning and innovation.

Life isn't fair, it is cruel to teach your kids that it is. They may be wonderful, but being wonderful doesn't pay the bills or solve world hunger. A smart person who doesn't try hard gets no further than a very, very stupid person. In fact, I've met some very, very stupid people who have degrees because they turned in assignments when the 'smart' people were at the Uni Bar! Some of those stupid people were even professors!!

Failure is not the enemy, quitting trying is. Frustration isn't bad, unless we make it so. Loosing a race can be positive if it makes you want to run faster next time.

So my closing thoughts.

Let your kids get frustrated, then teach them how to work, experiment, deal with failure and try again. Run beside them, encouraging them and shouting out tips and hints rather then picking them up and running the race for them.

Don't let your kids grow up to be the surly check out operator who packs cans on top of my bread.


Friday, May 16, 2008

From the mouth of Erin


Dear Jesus,
Please give us a new baby girl. Or a new baby boy. Or a baby girl AND a baby boy!

Thursday, May 15, 2008


seems to be comming to the end of a phase of great attention seeking. I think because I have been trying to MAKE SURE she has that special time each day, she is needing to be less in my face. A good thing for all of us! She told me yesterday that she loves moving (she's alone on that one I'm afraid!) and wants to help Daddy paint a rainbow on the new house.

has caught my cold and is a bit whingy and grumpy at the moment. He'll get over it though! His newest passion is "Nic-nics" (picnics) and he asks for one daily which I find very cute.

has FINALLY gone back to eight to ten hour nights after I got more strict with his daytime routine. He is also doing a sort-of forward commando crawl.

The house:
has the positive from Jon's weekend vacuum overflowing to other rooms as I have more time to put into them now that I am just maintaining a tidy lounge room rather than trying to clean it up. I have the first few boxes packed too!

This cold has slowed me up. I am out of breath very easily at the moment so I have only hopped on the exercise bike twice this week.


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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

continuing your education

I am a strong believer in lifelong education. I suppose that's one reason why I'm homeschooling. I do believe that one should NEVER stop learning. How do you continue your education when you have little ones under foot? Adult Ed courses seem a bit time consuming, not to mention expensive. Correspondence courses would be a waste of money at the moment too, when am I going to get to do assignments?? Between changing nappies and packing boxes?

So, this is what I have done in the past, am doing now, and/or am planning to do in the future:

* READ. A confirmed bibliophile such as myself ALWAYS finds time to read. Get a recipe book holder and prop open your latest volume to read while doing the dishes. Sit it in the loo (be careful with this one, it could be taught to swim by your latest toilet L-plater or you could get caught in the "one more page" trap and be in there for long enough for chaos to reign!), get an audio book and listen to it while cleaning or hanging out the washing - be inventive. Start with the Bible, then make a list of books you want to read. Collect recommendations, look up book lists on sites that interest you, look back at your old school reading lists and pick some that you never got to read or revisit some old friends. Try not to send yourself bankrupt on books (like me!) by using the library. If you can part with them, you can on-sell read volumes on e-bay or at second hand book shops (lots will have book exchanges)

* Start a file. Pick out a few subjects that interest you and start collecting. Cuttings from newspapers and magazines, print outs from the internet, a notebook with quotes from books you've been reading on the subject.

*Bookmark. Use your book mark function on the internet and collect site addresses on subjects that interest you. Limit your time, just book mark and come back later when you have more time, don't get lost in the cyber web. Also, check out the validity of all facts CAREFULLY. Anyone with a computer can publish on the web. Blogs, discussion groups and web-rings can be great ways to find like-minded people.

*Ask experts. Find people who know stuff that you want to know and ask them. Just one question at a time can build a life-long mentoring relationship. Many people are honoured to pass on their knowledge and skills.

Don't forget to prioritise your learning, it is easy to let it take over sometimes and even easier to let it slip away entirely. A well rounded woman (in mind as well as body!!) is an asset to the home :)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Doing the work you are given

It is easy to think how good it will be when the kids aren't in nappies, when Erin can help out around the house a bit more, when we are moved into our new house with the renovations done and the garden landscaped. It is easy to think how I will be able to do a mighty work for God when the kids are all left home. How easy it is to wish these moments away. I have known people who fervently prayed daily that they may die a martyr, yet failed to be kind to their children. Others who yearned to be over seas missionaries but failed to show love and understanding to their neighbor. Women who spent days and days traveling to encourage other women, yet never encouraged their husbands. Men who pounded the streets preaching yet failed to show compassion and understanding to the fellow in the next pew at church.

We need to live in the now and gain interest on that which we have been entrusted with (Luke 19:11-26). We need to tend the sheep like Moses and David before we are called to the great works in store for us. Time is short, and that is all the more reason to be careful and diligent in our work, not surge forward and wrest more 'exciting' endeavors from the hands of the Holy Spirit.

If we are called to live the quiet life (1 Thessalonians 4:11) we must do that to His glory. If we are called to live a comfortable life in middle class Australia (or wherever) we need to do that TO HIS GLORY! Not pine after distant mission fields that are not ours to tend. If we are at the stage of changing 20 nappies a day and cleaning butter out of the carpet, we need to do that to His glory too.

I challenge you to do a study of the words "content" and "rejoice" in the Bible and see what you find.

Not all circumstances are easy, even in retrospect. I remember my whole wedding day I repeatedly said to myself through gritted teeth "I will laugh about this in ten years". Almost eight years later, I'm still not laughing! But I can rejoice. I can rejoice at the healing that has taken place since, the relationships mended, the beautiful family that had its official beginnings on that day, to name but a few blessings I've been given. Because of His goodness I can rejoice and my children will not hear anger, disgust or hurt in my voice when I speak of that day.

I pray that, like the apostle Paul, I will learn to be content in all things (Philippians 4:11) and if I am called to tend sheep for forty years in the wilderness, as Moses was, I will!

I must now go and do that work which I have been given!!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

My favourite Mother's Day Gift

Beloved moving every piece of furniture in the lounge room and VACUUMING as only he can.

As I said, I'm spoiled!!

Friday, May 09, 2008


Spoiled, adjective, treated with excessive indulgence

I am truly spoiled beyond all wild imaginings.

I have all the basics to the point where I take them for granted. My pantry is full. I am warm and sheltered. I feel safe and know of so many people who are employed to care for me (police, hospital staff etc.) should I become unsafe and many more who would care, help, even pray if they know how, were I to face any real danger or upset (family, friends, church community etc.). I am loved.

The abundance with which I have been blessed is almost ridiculous.

I confessed to Beloved there will be no elaborate dinner tonight to accompany the lighting of our Sabbath candles, and he offered to buy pizza on the way home.

I called my Mum to let her know that the home loan was approved, and she offered to pay for a commercial cleaner to come through and clean this house after we move out.

I shopped for my favourite things, books of course, online the other night, and bought them without having to weigh up survival, or even comfort, against such a luxury. The decision was simply books, or a more comfortable bra. There will be money for underwear another time!

I have talked to two good friends today, and my Mum, and my husband, and my children. I expect to talk to more people who I love and who love me before I go to sleep. I will speak to them, and take it for granted that I will be able to speak to them next week, and the week after, and the week after that. But I will still take time to tell them that I love them.

I picked up my Bible and read to the Children this morning. We discussed theology (Divine Advocacy today) at their level and sang and prayed before plunging into the day - with no fear of danger or retribution.

We had a picnic on the grass just because we can, the dishwasher and the washing machine continuing with our household chores.

If you are as spoiled as I am, please join me in helping those who aren't quite as spoiled at the moment. Avoid becoming badly spoiled (adjective, having the character or disposition harmed by pampering or oversolicitous attention)

ADRA cyclone relief for Burma

Thursday, May 08, 2008


It has been a fairly stressful few weeks trying to sort out the purchase of the house, but we should have things finalised to a point tomorrow (fingers crossed) and then it is just the four week settlement until we are in. I will be reducing my time online for a while because I need to get the house clean and packed to move. We went to Agfest last week (a huge agricultural festival we have here in Tassie every year) and even managed to keep track of all the kids among the tens of thousands who were there with us!! Erin rode in an umbrella stroller for the most part (mostly for speed) and Billy went in the double decker pram with the packages and Christopher rode in the hug-a-bub the whole time (wanted to see everything so wailed when put in the pram!). We covered the whole thing in the day and had a fantastic time.

loved a visit to Agfest. She had her face painted like a tiger, was bought TWO lollipops (the first bit the dust) and saw all sorts of animals and stands and stalls. She has been helping with the cleaning up for the move (I've started washing walls and things) but has to entertain herself sometimes because I am just flat out. She has been coping with this quite well - better than I expected actually. I am almost disappointed to be so easily replaced by imaginary games, puzzles and the obligatory book!

continues to amaze me. Yesterday in the bath he sat with a plastic spoon and bowl. "stir, stir, stir. Sugar. (scoop in some water) eggs (scoop in some more water from another part of the bath) stir, stir - cooking Mummy, you want some?" His mind is just awakening like a bud in the warmth of spring sunshine. He indicated in no uncertain terms that he wants a scripture memory caterpillar like Erin's this morning (we cut out circles of coloured paper about the size of a bread and butter plate and write memory verses on them. We stick them up with a circle made into a face at the front and pipe cleaner legs. Erin's is almost halfway around the kitchen!). We have started with Ephesians 6:1 and we'll do Genisis 1:1 next. I wouldn't have thought he was up to it yet, but he is adamant and I figure we'll give it a go.

is sitting on my lap playing with my buttons after a session of blowing raspberries on my bicep and pressing hs face into my chest while shaking his head from side to side (apparently this is hilarious!). Still only going backwards and sideways. but I think this is just because he likes being original. We've battled constipation, phantom teething (gums have been swollen for weeks now) and just plain overtired grumpiness (he REFUSES to be comforted by Jon, the abuse he screams is quite embarrassing). All in all he's a strong willed boy who melts me with his charm..... not another one!! I am more aware this time around and hope to avoid encouraging some of Billy's less desirable habits.

The house:
has clean walls in the lounge, dining, hallway. Billy's room and in our room. Washing is breeding after a few wet days and I have decided that wet days, I'm just going to have to use the drier. It is worth the few dollars for clean, dry clothes! Especially as in the dead of winter we can get about five hours of proper sunshine a week!

has been difficult.....but I reached the goal! 30 minutes four times - plus walking all day at Agfest. Too scared to get on the scales today though, Jon has bought home soft cheese and ice cream (choc-choc chip!!) this week!!


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Lilypie Baby Ticker

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


I highly recommend a post on "Leading Little Hearts Home" called "Sharing"

May you avoid whacking someone on the head with a pencil today LOL

Monday, May 05, 2008

In gratitude

#12 Little girls and great big lollipops (even with the sticky!)

#13 Little boys and mud (even with the mess!)

#14 Lounge room picnics

#15 Dinner and a movie - with the children sleeping down the hall

#16 Dreaming of a home we will be building (renovating anyway!) soon

#17 Dreaming of a garden that we will be planting soon!

#18 anticipation of something good

#19 Good books in front of the fire

#20 an early night

Fighting learning fatigue

It is easy to get excited about projects, curriculum, timetables and learning goals. As homeschooling parents it is anyway! Kids slowly become hyper-scheduled, churning out artwork to be put on the fridge or sent to grandparents, learning party tricks like how to name all the states and capitals or every prime minister since federation. Parents get obsessed with the academic and giving them the 'best' education, so often at the expense of true learning. When I was teaching, I remember having children in my classes who were so fearful at the idea of making a mistake, they wouldn't even try something new - let alone invent or create something original. Children who knew their timetables at six year old, but had forgotten how to play. Children who had a highly advanced reading age, but had never laughed or cried over a good story.

The most frightening part of this is how close I have come to this trap on occasion!

Erin is a bright kid and she has been champing at the bit to learn to read for months. Jon and I are happy and comfortable in the world of academics, and want our kids to be also, so it makes sense that the way we teach does somewhat resemble the traditional idea of 'school'. Young children, with their desire to please and ability to pick up predictable cues easily (i.e. if I sit here and write what she tells me, I will please her, then she'll let me up!) quickly begin learning in any environment - even if what they learn is how to fake interest until you go away and leave them alone! I do NOT want Erin to learn this. I want her to find 'school work' exciting rather than become programmed to have her eyes glaze over as she picks up the pencil (an all too familiar sight in schools) and to learn what is REALLY important.

So this is how we do it.

We start each day at the breakfast table with the Bible, songs and prayers. In 1956, Elisabeth Elliot's husband, Jim, was martyred by Auca Indians in Ecuador. Later, when an interviewer asked this woman why hymns are an important part of her life, Mrs. Elliot responded:

I came from a home where we not only read the Bible every day, but we sang a hymn every day. I have learned as a result of that [practice]...hundreds of hymns. They are as much a part of my life as the Scriptures, and they have been a tremendous blessing to me in times of distress.

Elizabeth Elliot went on to say that, upon hearing that her husband might be dead, a verse of Scripture (Isaiah 43) and the words of a hymn ("How Firm a Foundation") came to mind and ministered to her soul. (Quoted from The Remarkable Women of the Bible by Elizabeth George)

As well as spiritual and moral training, reading, discussing, and memorising the Bible provides opportunity to expand vocabularies, practice conversation skills, enjoy the sensory pleasure of listening to language used well, and experience thinking logically and philosophically. Great literature grows little minds, and the Bible is the greatest there is!

Singing, as well as providing an opportunity for praise, teaches many spiritual truths and stands the kids in good stead for the future. Miriam, named among the precious prophets gifted by God to Israel (Micah 6:4) sang! (Exodus 15:20-21) Singing was even highly commended in the New Testament church (Ephesians 5:19). If this wasn't enough, singing encourages good, clear speech habits, expands the vocabulary, prepares kids for enjoying and composing poetry, encourages them to use their lungs well, develops their sense of movement and rhythm (especially action songs!), and teaches sequencing and patterning (vital for maths). I am not a great singer, I just throw myself into it with enthusiasm. We sing a mixture of hymns, scripture set to music and kids songs and it is VERY rare for us to have songs and prayers without laughing together. We each choose two songs then finish with our usual song before prayers that sets the mood for quiet reverence.

Praying together as a family, especially with my little ones, is the most important thing I do in a day. We pray for each of us - especially Daddy who is usually at work. They see and hear me modeling prayer, they have a go themselves. They learn how to still themselves internally as well as externally. Often, I gain insight into their hearts as they pray that I would otherwise be ignorant of.

After this we take a break. The kids play inside and outside - sometimes with toys I get out for them, other times games of their own invention. Sometimes they help with jobs - sometimes not. But I expect them to make their own decisions within the parameters I have set - I just set the parameters according for their need for structure and discipline on the given day.

Before lunch we usually do our 'school work' at the kitchen table. Billy has his "Maths Book" (an old colouring book at the moment - it varies according to his mood) and I set the timer for ten minutes. Erin works on either her Signpost Maths text book or her Explode the Code phonics text book for ten minutes. I sit beside her doing my own thing (often feeding Christopher and doing paper work) giving help as she needs it. When the timer goes off she finishes off what she is doing, we check it together and I write the date at the top of the page/s before swapping to the next text book. We repeat for another ten minutes. The main aim of this time is to experience success without boredom! She is always reluctant to put the books away and looks forward to the next time she can get them out. If she is ever disinterested, we just put the books away for another day. Her view of herself is "I am good at school work, this is something that is fun and I can succeed at!". I try to focus my praise on her work habits i.e. "you persisted with that even when you were a bit frustrated, well done!" rather than getting things right and being clever. She is clever, but I have known too many clever people who have crashed and burned once the got into Uni and needed to structure their own work habits or the first time they met a true challenge to their intelligence. Maths and reading is a bonus, but I would not have worried over much if she had not had great interest until she was six or older.

Games is actually where I do most of my 'teaching' (reading skills etc.). I have some books by an American author named Peggy Kaye filled with brilliant learning games. Today we played the body part game at Erin's request. She read the body part name written on the index card, then Billy pointed to that part for us to stick the card on. It is hilarious when we are all covered in cards! We also used a phonics card game I have. We put cards with pictures on them down on the floor and I held up the letter for Erin to match with the picture, or the other picture with a letter superimposed on it for Billy to match with the picture on the floor. I really just involve Billy because he loves being a part of it, with no real academic goals for him. If he develops skills, great, if not, he will later. We also have puzzles, sticker books, card games etc. I try to find time for at least one game a day with the kids, they often get them out and play them without me.

Books are a big part of life for the Guest family. We read before afternoon nap time for the boys. Sometimes the kids pick, sometimes me, sometimes both. If you don't know the benefits of reading to your children, I highly recommend the book "Babies Need Books" By Dorothy Butler.

Sometimes Erin and I do projects and experiments in the afternoon after the boys are in bed. Sometimes they are based on the book we read, sometimes they are just something we do together. It is as much about us spending time together as the academic value. We draw pictures, nature journal, paint, use playdough, make books, family trees..... any number of things.

Wednesdays are different. We break the routine a bit, get out of our comfort zones. Instead of text books, we only play games. We have a special 'tea time' where we picnic outside on a blanket, have special food, eat lunch under the table or on a rug in the lounge room. We each choose a poem or nursery rhyme to be read at the tea party or we put on an audio book. As the children get older we will laugh over Henry Lawson's "Loaded Dog" together, be inspired by Rudyard Kipling's "If...", be spell bound by "Beowulf" and cry over "The Little Match Girl". We will acquaint ourselves with Aesop, Shakespeare, Chaucer and The Brothers Grimm. What is the point of knowing how to read if you can't enjoy a good story?! In the afternoons, we also craft. We make and measure and sew and knit. We use our hands and minds. We problem solve and salvage mistakes. We make gifts and games and Useful Items. We design or follow directions. We learn to love learning on Wednesdays!!

The keys to our home schooling are, little bits often, variety within routine, HOME schooling not school homing (school work happens around relationships, people and life, not the other way around) and knowing What Is Important rather than trying to learn it all.

And so far, no learning fatigue!

Thursday, May 01, 2008


A Poem by Sam Levenson, oft-recited by Audrey Hepburn :

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.

For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.

For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.

For beautiful hair, let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day.

For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.

People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.

Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you'll find one at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure she carries, or the way she combs her hair.

The beauty of a woman must be seen from her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.

The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul.

It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows.

The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years.

~Sam Levenson

It's so good to have him back!

Beloved was away from Thursday morning until Monday night and we missed him like crazy! I have been following him around like a puppy since he got home! It's mutual too, every night since he got home we've been in bed by 11:30 - we even got there by 10:30 a few nights! This is BIG for us as usually we head to bed sometime after midnight.

did a little craft yesterday where she took two felt shapes (the shape of a little dog) and using a plastic needle and some yarn she sewed them together using the pre-punched holes. She did a brilliant job! I wasn't even in the room for most of it and she persisted and only had a few tangles.

is my little "Headstrong victor" (that's what his name means - William Steven) and he decided to try getting a victory at the dinner table. He didn't. As I was changing his nappy and getting him ready for bed afterwards I planted a kiss on his forehead. He looked into my eyes and said "Naughty. Sorry Mummy" He melts me 1000 different ways!

definitely can't eat carrot. I tried him again the other day and we had another night of yelling. Luckily he loves apple and pumpkin and everything else he's tried. Still moving backwards mainly but sideways is becomming more frequent and he swivels himself around on the spot.

The House:
I bought a book called "Speed Cleaning" and read the first chapter last night. I have a feeling it will revolutionise the way I do things! It is well worth a read if you can get your hands on it. While Jon was away I really got stuck in, but I need to tweak the way I do things again. Some old habits and techniques are no longer effective with the demands of three little ones, homeschooling, fitting in prayer, Bible study, exercise, reading, conversation with the husband and sitting down every now and then!

I found every excuse in the world not to do this over the past week. Then yesterday, I got on the exercise bike and felt a million times better for it! When will I learn!!!


preview image
Lilypie Baby Ticker

Lilypie Baby Ticker

In gratitude

#8 quiet winter mornings praying and reading in front of the fire before the house is awake

#9 the total absorption in a story as we lay together on the floor, pointing out this and that

#10 welcoming Beloved home after he has been away for a while