Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Latest To-Do List

The Easter/ March-April Break is upon us and thus, the holiday to-do list is back!  Well, actually, I can’t find the old to-do list.  Well, actually, I can’t be bothered looking for the old to-do list.  I decided that the old list would probably depress and demotivate me as I would realise how very little of the last list has yet to be accomplished.  So, fresh start…

To Do this Easter Break

  • £ Pyjama Day (I had two half pyjama days but they don’t count).
  • ü  Specialist Visit
  • £ Physio visit
  • £ Hair Cut
  • £ Beauty Day (manicure, pedicure and a massage)
  • £ School Work: Unit Planning, visit to school, marking (ick), classroom stuff
  • £ Trip to Edsco (SHOPPING! YAY)
  • ü  Sleep in
  • £ Read: “Around the World in 80 Days”
  • £ Read something else… anything else.
  • £ Catch up with a bunch of people… lunch, dinner, movies,
  • £ Take Kid #1 out for his 13th birthday... a story worthy of it's own post!
  • £ Get Organised (that’s a bit vague, I know)
  • £ Work on the blogs… set up future posts and brainstorm future ideas. 
  • £ “Spring” clean the house and clear out EVERYTHING!

In two weeks time, when school goes back you will see how many ticks there are.  But as you can see, I have already ticked off a few of them... the only way to create a motivating list is to make sure some of the items can be checked off immediately.  


Friday, March 29, 2013

What is so good about Good Friday?

As a life long church go-er I have attended many Good Friday services.  Before each of them I have a feeling of trepidation.  I am a 'worshipper' and the thought of reflection on one of the most confronting part of the gospel does not excite me.  I understand the importance of Good Friday and the reflection that it brings.  But, when I leave a Good Friday service it often feels unresolved.  While I know the end of the story, it is like someone has stolen my book before I had a chance to read the last chapter. 

Today I decided that I would walk into this "Good Friday" service with a different attitude.  My perspective needed a change.  I was also determined to end the story, or at least, resolve the service for myself. The service began with beautiful music and ended with beautiful music and somewhere in the middle there was a poignant drama about how we treat Jesus in our daily lives and a Bible message about the 'ridiculous' occurrences on the day which we remember as Good Friday.  

It reminded me that the very actions of the 'crowd' in Jerusalem are no different from those of people today.  We ask why! Then we tell ourselves that this was part of the plan.  Today (with my changed perspective) I realised that there is so much in our world that we question.  We are always asking why.  Every single day, ridiculous, nonsensical, inhumane decisions are taken by the leaders and the followers in our world.  Every single day, sad things happen.  Every single day the world astounds me and today I realised why Good Friday is so "good". 

The sadness of the day, the true happenings and history of this event and the ridiculous actions of the figures, are not at all why this day is Good.  But, GOOD is the reason that these events happened.  The world has always been a place of sadness and questions.  Today is the only way we go on.  Today we remember that we are not perfect and we are not alone in our imperfection.  Today we remember that there is better than this.  We learn of the Soul Saving, Eternal Love and Forgiving Grace of God.  It is finished.  it is accomplished.  It is done.  

Today is Good Friday because now there is a true resolution to the problem.  All we have to do is realise it.  

For there is one God, and there is one who brings God and human beings together, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself to redeem the whole human race. That was the proof at the right time that God wants everyone to be saved, 1 Timothy 2:5-6 GNT

God Bless

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Well, it's no wonder

We all have people in our lives who irritate us, just a little bit.  Sometimes there is just one person like this.  Sometimes that are quite a few of them.  As a teacher, I find that there is always at least one kid who is my least favourite.  They might be constantly seeking my attention, or trying desperately to withdraw.  Strangely enough, the kids who bug me for attention are the ones I try to ignore... simply because they need to learn to amuse themselves sometimes.  They need learn when to seek attention and when to be independent.  I'm don't ignore them in a nasty way... well not on purpose.  I jest. 

Then there are the kids who are rather obnoxious in the way that they try to avoid doing anything.  They try to avoid work, conversation with other adults or participation of any kind.  When they try to withdraw, I tend to start tugging (metaphorically) on their hand to pull them out of their shell.  I sit beside them.  I ask them questions.  I make jokes and try to catch their eye.  I smile at them.  I help them.  

The end of the term is very near... one day to go.... not that I'm counting.  We have handed out the interim reports and completed assessments and evaluations.  Today is parent/teacher night.  I am unable to attend, but there are a few parents who I really want to see so we can talk about their child's progress.  Not all of these, as you might imagine, are for negative reasons.  There are a few kids who have done well and I want to share that with their parents.  

Regardless of who you are, meeting someone's parents is an adventure into their past, present and sometimes their future.  There is a great deal of emphasis on meeting the parents of your girlfriend or boyfriend for the first time.  Do we want the approval of the parents? Do we want to see what our potential life partner is going to be like in 20 years?  Do we fear finding out more than we really want to know about this person's past? 

Meeting the parents of my students (or even talking to them on the phone) is quite an eye opener for me. Their tone of voice says as much as the words.  There isn't much point to this rant.. I mean... post.  I just wanted to share. 

It is no wonder that kid doesn't think I care... they have never met an adult who did.  It is no wonder that kid wants my undivided attention, they don't get that need met at home.  I finally worked out why my class looks like this... Oh well... it isn't the cause that matters....  it is the solution.  


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Talking to kids about Slavery and Sex.

The Self Denial Appeal is an annual 10 week event on The Salvation Army Calendar.  Basically, Salvo members are encouraged to 'deny themselves' or temporarily 'give up' a small luxury in order to save money.  This money is then given to the Salvation Army for missionary work in other countries.  In the early days of this program, many people would give up dessert, one evening meal a week or chocolate. These days, people give up soft drink, dessert products (such as ice cream), take-away meals, movies, DVD rentals or other leisure activities.  

At Junior Soldiers we encourage the children to think about something they can 'give up' for the duration of Self-Denial, so they can raise money for missionary service.  One of my boys does extra jobs at home and instead of keeping all his pocket money for himself, some of the money goes into our 'Bally- Box' where we save the money for the special 'alter service'.  I have encouraged my other member to save his tuckshop (canteen) money for Self-Denial instead of spending it.  We will see if that happens. 

You are probably wondering what all this has to do with Slavery and Sex.  Each week of the Appeal, we watch a short video clip about places around the world where The Salvation Army is working and requires financial support.  The clip usually introduces a Salvo who tells about personal experiences of  Jesus and the practical assistance The Salvos are providing in their local area.  They also talk about the financial goals of the church in that country and how funds will be spent.  Here is the one we watched about The Salvation Army in Greece.  


Last week the video was about the practical as well as spiritual support Salvos give to the homeless and the sex slaves in Greece.  In the video intended for the 'adult' church service, it is simply stated that these people are working in the sex industry.  The children's video sort of skims over it, simply calling them 'slaves'.  The activities for last week explained the concept of 'trading' and that many parents sell their children into slavery because they are tricked into believing that their child is going to be better off.  The children/ teenagers are usually fed and have a roof over their heads, but these children have no freedom.  So, how do you explain to two 9 year old boys, what a Sex Slave is and why this industry still exists?  

I explained the 'parents selling their kids' thing and then talked more about choices.  As children in a Christian home, they have to be obedient to their parents but,  for the most part they have opportunities to choose what they do with their time, what they eat, where they play and their friends.  Children and adults who are slaves do not have these choices.  They don't get paid for their work and they don't get to make the choices that we do.  

I also talked to the Junior Soldiers about the choice that God has given us.  He does not want His children to be 'slaves' but to have free choice.  He wants us to choose to live according to His will, and  He loves us and cares for us and provides us with all we need and more.  We are really very lucky. 

Some might frown upon the amount of time I spent on this with my boys, but I felt it was important for them to realise how lucky they are and how easily they can help.  If everyone in Australia gave $1 towards an organisation to end poverty, we would have approximately $20 Million.  Imagine what we could do, if we really tried!! 

Next week I will tell you about some other things we are doing as a part of our Self-Denial 'giving' and our preparations for Easter. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Ironing Fairies on Strike!

I have two ironing fairies.  One lives at my house, or more accurately, I live at her house.  You didn’t know I lived in a fairy’s house, did you? That explains a lot doesn’t it?!

The other ironing fairy lives up the road and she is only part time.  You know, like when I haven’t washed yet and the clothes need washing as well as ironing! Unfortunately, on Sunday, both of my ironing fairies were unavailable.  The Mum, was babysitting two of my nephews while my sister moved house.  The Landlady Ironing Fairy (aka the BFF) is house sitting at a family friend’s house.  Thus, I was on my own. 

You will be pleased to know, that the memory kicked in.  I remembered how to turn on the iron and use it, so I did! :D I even remembered to turn the iron off when I was done! 

 I’m so smart. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The kids put on the Armour of God

I mentioned last week that we filmed the Junior Soldiers putting on their 'armour' of God.  When editing, I used a WonderShare free trial which, didn't tell me until I got to the very end, that the video would have a watermark on it if I didn't buy the full version.  So my video has a watermark! The kids are blurred on the film in order to protect their secret identities.  I did change it a little for the video that will be shown at Church next week, but you will get the idea.

I hope you enjoy it!