Thursday, 25 September 2014

Life updatey thingy. (No, really, this will be THE last blog before I leave.)

I got a bit distracted during my gym class today, so I thought I would do some kind of life updatey thingy, mostly because knowing my jetlagged state, I'll forget what I'm supposed to be doing.

1. Gym with Lou.
Lou is my gym buddy and she is awesome. You don't want to mess with her, and she is almost impossible to say no to. (Actually, most good people are.) My gym has started doing Spin classes, though why they were doing 15 minute classes "so everyone could have a turn" is beyond me.

Like most things, stuff only gets good when I'm leaving. Bah!

2. Roller derby with MCRG
I'm in the Raw and Fresh Meat intake for Murder City this year. I'm training on Wednesdays and Sundays from the start of November. This is beyond exciting for me, and makes me feel somewhat accomplished, even though I haven't even started yet.

I don't know what's happening with my derby league here, but it's been tough. We had a lot of support last year when it was beginning, and numbers have dwindled very rapidly. We have had lots of people visit for Come and Try sessions, but usually they don't return after the final free sesh. You know what, that's okay, you want a team who are committed. And if nothing else comes out of our league, I've met some lovely people on the way.

This was my distracting thought at gym - that it's great to have supportive people, but it's really more than words that actually count. When the league was started, there was enough interest from potential skaters and the community to make it viable to be incorporated. A lot of people know about us and want to come to watch a bout, or come and see what it's like, but few people have wanted to stay for the long term. That's okay if derby isn't their thing, I totally get that. It's just hard to see support being withdrawn when it was so freely given in the first place. This is why things struggle to get started in regional areas - everyone loves the idea, few people are willing to actually be actively part of it.

3. Dietician update
A bit over a week later I'm still sticking with my plan pretty well and looking at being proactive, rather than passive, in the process. The biggest thing for me this week has been portion sizes. I've been incredibly sensible, and also feeling actually full after I eat a meal. Most everyone has been supportive, and it is really nice not to look at food as fuel, and be giving myself "cheat days" implying that it's okay to eat bad food. There is science behind cheat days, but I don't think it's necessary as I'm not training for anything and not necessarily clean eating all of the time.

4. The job hunt
I had a group interview on Wednesday with Bonds which went kind of well. They had about 40 people there but only 8 positions going, so I'd say my chances are reasonably slim. But I did have lots of good chats with other people, including someone from Mount Gambier (no, we didn't know each other at all) and I had a lovely lunch with Spring afterwards so everyone is a winner.

I applied for what I would consider a 'dream job' working as a youth officer at a library, but no such luck. I have a few other apps out at the moment and I have my fingers and toes crossed.

Either way, we are moving and we have already started packing and doing the Great Chuckeroo of crap we don't need.

5. Study
I've bailed on my Masters for a bit as I'm not sure it is really what I want at this stage, and would prefer to focus on getting a position in what I'm trained to do.

I'm close to finishing my Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. It's a long and boring slog, but I'm grateful for my five months working for an RTO so I can use all that insider knowledge. To be honest, I have no idea how someone who doesn't work for an RTO completes this course, and also, First Choice Training should not be your first choice.

6. Travel baby!
I head to Rarotonga tomorrow which I'm beyond crazy excited about. I have packed Vegemite, Freddos and Allens Snakes, as well as a whole bunch of swaps and goodies for the other Guides on the trip, and the ones we will meet over there.

I come back the following Sunday (long weekend Sunday), and will spend a few days at Port Eliot and then head to Adelaide to chill with Marie in her swanky motel for the evening. I'm anticipating severe jet lag, and being overtired. For me, overtired means that I decide I can do a whole lot of things at top speed when actually I can't function at all. Hopefully I just sleep for the first few days back.

Other than the hols there are absolutely no travel plans to go anywhere, well, except Mount Gambier, but can you call that travel? Nope.

7. Random crap I have recently purchased.
I'm trying to cut down on the stuff I buy, and doing reasonably well at it. I got the cutest travel pillow from Morning Glory on Wednesday. It is gloriously cute! Stephen thought it was for sitting on, but I explained my pillow envy last time I went away. Morning glory, on Hindley Street, is the most fun show to visit. They have such fun stuff, even if you don't buy anything it's totally worth a look.

Before seeing my dietician I was getting super obsessed with Wizz Fizz sherbet cones. I don't even really like sherbet, but the marshmellow with sprinkles is so unbelievably good. I haven't had one since last week. But I am missing them.

To say thank you to Steve and to Spring, Jon Boy and Russ for being my training guinea pigs, I bought four Domino's pizzas for $22.95. I forgot how epic Cheaper Tuesdays were. These also tasted a lot better than the six pizzas Jon once brought around to my house late one Friday night, which were mostly cold BBQ meatlovers.

Not really a purchase, but I updated my iPad to iOS8, and that was a stupid idea. My battery life is now pretty much non existent and I'm not that keen to take it away with me as a result. Seeing as data roaming charges are crazy stupid overseas, I usually take my iPad to avoid risking using my credit up on my phone. I still have some time to decide though. The tech guy on the ABC suggested backing it up, wiping the iPad completly and starting again. But, ain't nobody got time for that.

8. Can't my shirts iron themselves?
I have to iron a whole heap of stuff for tomorrow, and I really don't want to. Also, the worst thing about going away is having to tidy your house so it looks just as good when you come back.

9. Sunshine
It's a beautiful day here and I need to go and be part of it. I freaking love Fridays.

10. Silly Birchies
Stephen went to Maccas today for breakfast and didn't buy me anything because he thought I wouldn't be home from gym. Which is fine, I only really like their hashies (they changed the hot cake recipe) for breakfast. It strikes me a bit weird that he decided to get them on the way home from his healthy morning walk (a la John Howard), but whatever.I then realised it's the last day of term and for the last few years we have been together, I've usually made him a hot breakfast to celebrate. I think Morchelli's takeaway pizza will make up for it tonight though.

I may also have Stephen's boss a little confused as I announced this morning that "somewhere in the world it is almost Saturday", and he decided to send a text to Bob to tell him that truth and he wouldn't be in today. (All jokes. We aren't allowed to have the last day off school on contracts, otherwise there is no holiday pay.)

Heidi knows I'm going away tomorrow and is following me everywhere. Also, we got the world's swishest wedding invites for Nick and Melissah's wedding which I can't wait for.

11. My goals
My goals for the next month or so are as follows:
- Run some great training for GOLD and have a great time away
- Finish at least one crafty project (probably my Noah's Ark longstitch for my future - and non existent yet - child)
- Finish my Cert IV TAE
- Finally gain some type of employment in Radelaide
- Pass the Raw and Fresh Meat intake tests with MCRG
- Sleep less, play more
- Actually start doing some of my NY resos
- And finally, buy an amazing dress for Rhianna and Craig's wedding, because, well, bestie bridesmaid photos.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

My apologies in advanced for getting emotional about Guiding

I really wanted to express some gratitude to something I love and hold dear to my heart - Guiding.

I remember how I first felt after beginning Speech and Drama lessons. I felt like a whole world had opened up to me, and everything I already did was part of it, without realising it. My love for words and reading and making people laugh translated into something practical; performance. Speech and Drama was my first love, though how I feel about it ebbs and flows a lot these days.

I've talked a lot about being a Guide this year, and if you've read other posts about it, you'll know I've been a Guide since I was 6. Friday nights at Gumnuts, followed by a soft serve at Maccas, chased up with watching Mr Bean with Dad was a common staple in my childhood. As a Gumnut and a Brownie, we had a very active Unit and I was able to be involved in a lot of activities with the Guides and Scouts. So when I came back to Guiding twenty years later, I already understood how it worked. Kind of.

The Guide Promise and Law, and the identify that form with it, I believe, is a life time experience, if you want it to be. We say 'once a Guide, always a Guide', and as an adult, if you're keen to pursue Guiding, that's truth.

I am blessed to be part of the Guiding Sisterhood. I love my Guiding sisters, the camaraderie that comes with solidarity, the courage and strength that comes will challenges and giving absolutely anything a go. But it's more than that. It's about being something bigger than yourself, or your community, or even your country. It's a global Movement.

Guiding has meant that I have friends from all around the world. I have friends from different religions, who don't speak a lot of English, who do Guiding in a very different way than we do back here in Australia. Until I visited Sangam, and indeed India, I didn't realise what multiculturalism means or could look like without all the political correctness surrounding it. I found myself wanting to visit countries I had never really heard of, or thought I'd want to see.

It's more than travel though. And I'll be honest, trying to be a Guide is hard work, a lot. There have been tears, and internal rants and frustration that comes with volunteering for any organisation. But my bad days are very few, and my good days are incredible.

This was something I didn't know I wanted in my life. But, it found me. Again.

I have Guiding friends leaving for Our Chalet today, and Saturday (yes, Grand Final weekend) I leave for my GOLD trip to the Cook Islands. And that's just in my little world. Everywhere else in the world there are girls getting ready for Guide meetings in their schools, halls and churches, Lone Guides working through challenges with help from their Leaders, vollies at our World Centres and groups of Trefoil Guilds supporting and encouraging everyone, young and old, in whatever course Guiding is taking them on.

I'm blessed.

This will be my last entry before my GOLD trip, so in terms of an update, well, we're going great guns with our preparation and can't wait to be going back in time (22 hours behind Australia) to spend some time in the beautiful South Pacific.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

14ish weeks and counting. hashtag: saveme

I had a really infuriating morning, one of those days which usually leads me into a tailspin of getting mad and sad and difficult to live with. I am all about extremes, and I'm hard to pull out of a funk.

One of my favourite people called me when I got home from the most stupidest morning I have ever had in Kadina. It's fortunate that Marie is a Yorkes girl, and also let me rant about how infuriated I was with everyone, including the lady at jeweller who didn't like my outfit (it wasn't anything special, but not tracky dacks and hoodie attire either). I'd even written a long blog about my morning and happily deleted it when I got off the phone. Everything is sorted for tonight, my friends are coming to be trained tomorrow night at Steve's and I have a job interview on Wednesday (not a teaching job, just Chrissy casual, but at this point, I'll happily take what I can get). I have all the reasons in the world to be happy.

We have about 14 weeks until we move. Lots of stuff is happening in between now and then and I can happily cope with that. Stephen is planting gardens, cutting up firewood and keeping a housework log book of things he is doing. I am not contributing to that log, I'm really of the view that you do something, you more on, you do something else.

On the 10th of October I will have been teaching for four years. Wow! It has gone by so quickly, but on the other hand, the time I haven't been teaching my own class, these last two, have been painful in some ways. I'm not being paid to do what I'm trained in. I can cope with that.

The reason we're coming home is really because we want to be with the people we love and who love us. I need support to get through life in general, and I am not happy here. On the other hand, I'm reminded often that Stephen is making a great sacrifice as he loves it here on the YP. Now that it's all really happening, he keeps looking for the good things about leaving, which seems to centre around FRESH FRUIT AND VEGGIES at Woolworths, or at least, the lack thereof.

I guess though, I'm still feeling a bit sulky. I hate feeling this way. My gym here has finally got spin bikes (my fave class in the world), and for some reason they are running a launch on Thursday night (not strange) by starting a class at 7pm and stopping them every 15 minutes so someone else can have a go. 15 minute classes?! Get me out of here! I know it's a once off, but still. That, combined with whatever they have done to our main street (you need to see it to believe it) makes me throw my hands up in the air, and not in a Bass in the Place kind of way.

It hasn't been all bad though, this time here.

I am really struggling with a few things right now, and most of that has to do with the stuff people speak into your life without realising it.

I talked awhile ago about what ifs and if onlys, and it is this, more than anything, that is really getting me down. To be honest, it's not really my job to make anyone feel better about a decision it's taken two years for us to make. I don't have all the answers! I don't need unhelpful solutions either, mostly because I can make it on my own - oh, sorry - we can make it with some help, but it needs to go without an agenda.

I don't know when we stopped caring so much about a career path and woke up to the fact that it isn't a career that makes you happy, but it's made up of little moments. It's that moment that we have often, when we leave something fun, like a party or dinner and think 'Oh, I don't know when I'll see them again'. I once cried most of the way from Glenelg to Semaphore after leaving my friends happily playing pool. Or when someone you love is sick and you can't get on a plane and go home, even though you want to. Everything has to be planned to fly anywhere and nothing ever seems to be easy. We had some tricky news a few months ago, and I found out sitting in a car park in Adelaide in my car, by myself. And this is not how life is meant to be done.

The topic for the sermon at our wedding was about community. Stephen and I are hugely about our communities, if you hadn't guessed that already. It's more than just wanting to be home, it's about wanting to be part of something, to be needed and to be included.

Why save me?

This morning I seriously contemplated going home and rocking backwards and forwards for an hour, or at least, sitting in a corner and not getting up for a long time. I don't think I'll be saved by simply moving my stuff to another house. That's never helped anyone. I just feel saved because I have people that love me and talk me out of my prickly behaviours, or at least listen to me rant on a regular basis. That's not a bad thing.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Since when did food get emotional? (or one of the best things I've ever done in this love/hate relationshp)

Yesterday I went to see a dietician because, as wonderful as all my weight loss plans were earlier this year, I have failed dismally. What happened? Well, I went away, then I got sick, then my gym buddy bailed on me, then it was winter and I am also really good at excuses. After seeing my amazing GP, he sent me off for this appointment I had to wait a month for. So I decided I wanted to talk about it because it was an incredibly positive experience for me in an area which is usually incredibly depressing.

At my appointment, my dietician talked to me about a whole range of things. my goal weight. what I like to eat. healthy eating guidelines. My maximum calorie intake. None of these things were at all new to me, but what was new was the simple fact that none of this discussion was emotional.

I'm a really emotional person. I'm attached to things. I'm brand loyal. I am easy to guilt trip. Yesterday there was no mention of 'bad' or 'naughty' or 'sometimes' foods, just discretionary ones. And then there were guidelines around them. There was talk of veggies and protein and cereals (forget carbs, yesterday I didn't even hear that term). And I also did something scary, I promised to attend my next appointment in a month's time, even if I hadn't seen any results or stuck to my plan.

Some background about my emotional attachment, or lack thereof to food. I wasn't always like this, I never would have grouped foods as 'good' or 'bad' or even thought about carb loading. Fact is, I have had body image issues since I was a preteen, and I've carried them all the way with me until now. It would be really simple to say something like 'well, you should have been more careful about what you ate', which brings me to my next point.

The first thing I did that was my version of being healthy was stopping eating desserts towards the end of Year Nine. This didn't last forever, but coupled with being really active over summer and then being in a physical job and walking everywhere, I lost some weight. Then I put it back on. Then I got a new job and lost weight again. And so on. But I have found that when I have been thinner, I had eaten a lot of fast food, or at least food that is not great for you. This has continued all through my life, but I can't say I really thought about food like I do now until I started back at gym when I was 23.

I loved being 23 and 24 because I was thinner, happier and really active. But I was also cheating a lot. I would lie in my food diary. I would skip meals. I would eat yoghurt and six cookies every day for lunch at Pizza Hut. I once had pizza four nights in a row. But I was also in a really physical job where I didn't even sit down for my breaks most of the time, and I was also at gym at least once a day, five days a week, doing hour long classes and PT. And when I started teaching, I moved somewhere without a gym and didn't want to go walking (I hate walking), and pretty much put on all that extra weight seemingly overnight.

The great thing about losing weight is that everyone tells you how great you look all the time. You're commended for your efforts. But, at this point, I was starting to see food as either good or bad, high carb or low carb, fruit was a no no with one PT, protein shakes were a better option than actual food... whatever. The list went on. Then, when I put weight back on, the compliments stopped and the 'oh, how sad, Lisa's put weight on' comments started. Thanks a lot kids.

Do I feel unhappy or ugly or unable to find love because I'm overweight? Believe it or not, no. But to actually say to someone 'hey, I feel pretty sexy in this dress' can lead to 'well, I don't know if it really suits your size', and it's somehow not okay to think you're pretty if you're also a little bit on the cuddly side. This is, in it's lesser evil form, fat shaming, and it makes me sad. Will I feel happier if I weigh less? You know what, no, and I actually don't care.

The very first goal I came up with was at age five, when my great Nan told me that anyone who lives to be 100 will get a letter from the Queen. So, I decided that this would be my goal. Everyone wants a letter from the Queen (or probably the future King) and who wouldn't want to be 100? So. I've stopped this crappy idea about being happier and I just want to be healthy. And that's why I wrote this blog, to remind myself that sometimes it isn't about what you look like, it's about how you treat your body so you can do cool things like get letters and climb trees and roller skate and have a gazillion grandchildren.

tl;dr: go and see a dietician, it is fun.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Some pretty honest truths about teaching.

I wrote this very short list about teaching during one of my TRT days. Maybe I've posted something similar to this, I can't remember. Anyway.

Some truths about teaching.

1. The majority of teachers just want you to name your children (all of them) something boring, and preferably not mispelt.

Just because you can give your child some new and unique name (or at least a variation in spelling) does not meant you should. Not only will the suffer from having their name mispronounced often, they can never find those stickers with their names on them. Sad. The exception to this rule is naming your child something from a different language. Look, that fine. Really. Because it's spelt right there.

2. Teachers deserve holidays.
I disagree with this. Essentially we work for two and a half months and say 'gee, I need time away from other people's kids!'. Other countries have school terms set up so differently to Australia and it seems to work (other countries don't include Tassie, who are now in line with us re the four term bizzo).

I like to use my holidays for holidays. So I'll work a few days of the break, but most of the time I'll be off on some deserted island somewhere. Okay, maybe that's only once a year, but still. That's why working late is worth it - I don't leave things as 'holiday jobs'. I don't mind that other people do, it's just how I roll. To me school holidays aren't really deserved, but we also have this idea that kids need a break from school too. It is about routine, and this is how I would like to explain the weeks of a ten week term to you from a teacher's point of view:

Weeks 1-2: get kids out of their holiday routines and back into the school routine of sitting in classrooms, eating lunch with a gazillion other kids and whatever. This time is bad for behaviour.

Weeks 3-5: the first sweet spot. everyone is happy here.

Week 6: hump week, hello.

Week 7: the countdown begins and everything is due this week, both assignments and reports.

Week 8-9: the second sweet spot.

Week 10: traditionally a week of watching videos, but schools have stomped that out now. Friday is always a 'celebration' type day with some novelty like a class party to get the kids keen for school in another two weeks.

3. Report writing - I forgot my ABCs.
For some reason, capable adults who have completed at least one degree all seem to forget how to write during what is known as Report Writing Time. No one can explain this phenomenon. There is lots of proof reading, threats of 'I'll writing your report now Sonny Jim' and so on.

4. Stupid rules make sense.
My school used to have a No Running On Pavers Rule. It was the number one rule we had and people even got Time Outs (nice way of saying detention) for such things. It was a fair call really. We had shoddy, uneven paving throughout which still exists today. Some kid falls on that, well, no one will be a happy camper. Blood, gore and more blood and gore. Yuck. All schools have rules such as this and it's mostly to prevent injury. (or in the case of my high school, to prevent kids smoking. Seriously teachers, was there not a better option than limit a social group to ten kids?)

5. Traditions thanks to the Old Boys and Stalwarts 
I had a contract where I was enployed for being an old girl (if there is such a thing) who could also teach. Schools have some pretty trippy traditions, including, but not limited to one school having an annual celebration  for the '20th child' enrolling in the school at the eleventh hour. I kid you not. This is seriously legit. (I may have thought of resigning at this point, but, well, reality set in.)

I don't understand all of the traditions, especially that one, but it's nice to keep some of the old things alive and kicking. My favourite thing about going back to St Martins though is they have kept lots of things the same, like plaques in the old building exactly where they were. Which seems silly (I mean, how are they going to move them)... but you'd be surprised.

As a new teacher, plenty of old scholars will come and relive their days with you. It's nice, and thanks for keeping up the traditions. There isn't enough of that these days.

6. There are two camps of teachers - parents are either a help or a hindrance.
I really really really like parents who come in and volunteer at school. It makes life incredibly easy, especially for fiddly but important jobs like sight words or helping with craft. I'm in the pro camp though.

Those in the hindrance camp have a lot of reasons. Sometimes it's easier not to train parents. Sometimes you spend more time getting parents to follow the instructions more than the kids. Sometimes they just want to poke around your classroom and tell you how you should be doing things. (Some parents don't need license to do that anyway.) I worry that this camp is missing out on a great deal. I've never said no, even when I had some reasonably good reasons to. Don't get offended if you offer help and it isn't accepted, often people in this camp have just had their fingers burnt and haven't moved on. (Or are like me and don't have their own kids.)

7. Those who can teach, will.
It's often said 'those who can't, teach', but often, and especially in high school, you have post graduate teachers coming in who are experts in their field and have the ability to pass this on to students. Would you rather some fresh faced teacher who went from school straight to uni and back to school, or someone who has a trade or a Science degree or was a journalist who now teaches?

Post grad teachers are some of the best ones out there. Let's start giving credit where credit is due.

8. You need to like kids. A lot.
I don't use the word 'children' often, mostly because my mum only used it as a joke (and usually when we were teenagers), but also because, well, that's just semantics.

So, that aside, I love working with kids. Why? Because they make me laugh all day (yes, they really do say the darnest things), because teaching is fun, because I get to be silly and smart all at the same time. And I feel like I'm making a difference.

I couldn't teach if I didn't like children. You spend all day (okay, six hours), with them in a classroom, you watch them eat lunch and play and run and get hurt and all those other fun things that happen during the day time. Sometimes you worry about them (and I have worried about all of my students for different reasons at different times), you get sad when they get sad, you want to hug them (but can't because that's against the law. We do a lot of high fives), you wish other people could see their magic. There is always something special to like about each one.

All that aside, you need to choose what you teach wisely. I am not a junior primary teacher, I am not clucky, I am not good with dobbing and boo-boos. I like middle primary, I like high school, I like getting to know my students and having a laugh with them.

9. Bathroom breaks are timed accordingly.
This seems to be pretty legit, and really gross.
One of my favourite things about working in an office (well, a few now), has been going to use the facilities whenever I please. Quite a few people who aren't teachers have said 'But it's only for a few minutes, you can just leave them'. Um. No, I really can't. If something goes wrong, I am liable and able to be prosecuted for not showing due care. Sometimes I have been able to work in adjoining classrooms when I can leave the class with the other teacher, and they with me, but this is pretty rare.

Once I started teaching I suddenly stopped drinking three litres of water a day, and this is why. Also, staff toilets are pretty gross, but I'm starting to realise that most places really are. Some fave bathroom moments:

- on prac my friend had to use the Ladies because there was no Gentlemen to visit (yes, all the staff in that unit were female, thanks for checking).
-one school had the kids bathrooms on either side of the building, and the unisex staff toilet in the middle. Just, no. And there as almost always some kids standing outside saying hello to you after you'd finished.
-my favourite school had outdoor toilets and I was petrified of finding a snake in there and would always try and send someone in before me.
-and my fave prac teacher would always announce he was off to 'the little boys room' at Recess which creeped me out massively.

10. Yard duty is almost always painful.
Here are some things about yard duty:

- you almost always get rostered on at some terrible time like Thursday Special Morning Tea (this happened every Thursday, so it wasn't actually special) and no one will swap with you. EVER.
- some kid will always through sand or bark chips at someone else. coz it's fun. of course.
- rainy days and windy days are the worst.
- I cannot make someone be your friend.
- being 'that kid who read all through recess' for three years of my school life has taught me a very important thing - don't go up to some student and ask them what book they are reading. Be interested in the topic and the subject matter and the characters and all those things that make up great literacy lessons.
- oval duty is the worst.

Yard duties are not always bad, and being a sun lover, sometimes I can't get enough of sun on my neck and kids not knowing my name so they can't dob on Daniel.

11. It's not really a thankless job.
Finally, teachers always tell each other that they have a thankless job. I want to talk about this for a bit.

I think sometimes people who say that have never actually had another job other than teaching and think that in other 'helper' roles, people get thanked more. No. Yes, people say 'thanks' politely during a customer service interaction, but rarely does anyone give a long letter of singing your praises.

A teacher's job is about teaching. A student's job is to learn. We thank our students for behaving correctly (whatever they may mean), we 'reward' them with grades, do do nice things for them. That is what the role is often about. I have only known a few students who say 'thanks for teaching me' at the end of a lesson or a day, and usually it's wonderful kids with wonderful parents who have encouraged them to do so.

In Grade 1 my teacher, Mrs Weeks (not three 'e's, just two) brought in a massive and empty basket on the last day of school for all her presents. I have done the same in my time too. I have kept every single thank you note I have been given.. My favourite thank you note was one of my students who struggled their way through the year before, was tutored over the summer holidays and really pulled together all his learning during the year I taught him. Another example is a student who had a massive turn around mid year and went from caring very little to caring an awful lot that he possibly wouldn't pass the year level. I was so proud of both of those boys, and that's where my job satisfaction comes from, not just for being thanked for something I've trained in and been paid to do.

If you got to the end of my long rant, congrats. Please remember I'm just one teacher who just really likes her job. My thoughts don't reflect the education community as a whole and are completely my own.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Quick thoughts on serious reflections from the words of preachers

I've seen a bit on Facebook of late about how people have reacted to words spoken (and indeed written) by preachers. Could say pastor or minister or whatever, but let's be really broad. These aren't new topics, people have been disagreeing with one another's theology since... I don't know... the Reformation? (Let's be honest, even way before then).

What I wanted to say about this is that I think it is wonderful that we are given platforms to share words of encouragement and wisdom, and also, that as the collective Christian Church (caps on purpose kids), it's okay to listen or read the words of someone and say 'you know what, I disagree, and here is why'.

I hate conflict, even online (okay, especially online), and sometimes this can seem like conflict. But it isn't. Ways people disagree with a disagreement seem to be:

You're reading it of context!!!!!
I've read statements in and out of context. I've read Bible verses in the same way. Putting something in context doesn't make it right.

Also, Mr or Ms Context, no one needs you gazillion exclamation marks. Just sayin'.

But he/she/they have an awesome ministry
That's great!
Good on them. No, really, I mean that.

I've made stupid mistakes in my ministry too. But, we're not talking about some chick straight of Bible College. We're talking about people who have accountability teams and managers and boards and surely someone who proofreads their sermons.

On the God thing though. I don't want to say 'hey, leave God out of this,' but today I wi1l because the words that we speak aren't always God inspired. Yes, we are called to do a lot of things in the context of ministry. I mean, have you read Paul's letters?! Does he even like those people? Of course he does! On the other hand, he's not waffling on for an hour, ad libbing his way through a themed sermon. He's a very much boom-boom-boom, 'I send you greetings, I suggest you do this that and the other, I send you love.'

That was ages ago.
Who cares how long ago something is? If it's in a printed or digital or tape recorded copy, it exists. I'm not pro-censorship either. I still have sermons from years ago, and I'm not even that old!

 If it was ages ago, here's what I think you should do, oh preacher person.

1. Decide whether you still mean it. If you do, we don't want you whingy 'ooooooh, sorry if I offended you people/women/group of people in general'. We want to know if that's what's on your heart still. No, scratch that. That's Christianese. We want to know if that's what you believe.
2. Assuming it isn't, you still don't need to apologise. What's made you change your mind? That's what I want to know.
3. Make some timely decisions about who your audience is. Every single church I have ever visited has their own take on theology and on life. Theology isn't so much of the problem. The problem is Own Our Agenda. What's God's agenda? Break hearts and mend them. That's about it.

Religion is stupid.
Religion versus Christianity aside, if you disagree with something because it is religious,  why put in your two cents? Disagree if it shows poor values or morals or whacked out theology. So you don't like organised religion?? That's fine. Why do you feel the need to comment on every single article that doesn't (apparently) relate yo you anyway?

That aside, I am so happy to see open and healthy debates about all sorts of current issues with the Christian Church (caps because, well, I explained before). Go us.

I don't often enter into such debates. Most of the time I know what I believe (and really don't), and I don't need to have my opinion swayed either way as that's a waste of everyone's time. Also, I don't always know enough to truly take part in such things. I don't know about certain churches or the history of pastors or whatever, only in a very general sense. I also don't have any emotional ties to such stories or conversations. Should I find myself in that situation, I will put in my two cents, as I do with plenty of other open discussions.

Anyway. That's it from me. I hope I have brought something to your day, even if you did disgaree with me.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Scrapbooking 101

I'm not afraid to admit that I'm a scrapper.

I have been making scrapbooks since I was 17. I'm not great at it, but good enough to appreciate the good, the bad and the ugly pages I have made. A lot of people say things to crafters along the lines of 'But I could never do that!' Most of the time they are wrong. You can do almost anything, even if you don't think you have 'the eye'. I don't know what 'the eye' is really, but most people can tell you colours that really don't go together (we all wear clothes, right?), so if you have been successfully dressing yourself for a number of years, you can probably put together a scrapbook.

You will need:
1. A scrapbook album. 
I buy mine at K-Mart because they are cheap (anywhere between $6-$10) and the paper always fits in the pages. Don't buy from the Reject Shop, Cheap as Chips, etc. I have had no end of headaches trying to use their albums. If you can, try buying a scrap booking kit, it will save you some time, though you'll still want to buy your own stuff.

2. Scrapbooking papers.
These need to be the same size as your album. Scrapbooking shops will see these individually, but I'd hold off on buying these until you have a really big idea you don't mind pouring money into. I buy mine as big slabs from Big W, they cost around $15-$20 and your whole album is coordinated.

3. Stickers
I adore stickers. Cheap shops do good stickers, scrapbooking stores do good stickers... you can get them anywhere.  Make sure these are acid free - most are these days, but if you want to keep your memories safe, it's the only way to do it.

4. Scissors, cutters and corner edgers.
I can't live without a straight slicing tool. You can find mini guillotines, but I find it much nicer to us a sliding rule that doubles as a slicing cutting tool.  My other essential is a photo corner clipper which, as it sounds, rounds off photo corners. It makes a huge difference.

There are a lot of different options you can find for cutting paper and photos into different shapes, I'm a huge fan of the Friskas range, but then again, this was a long term investment and only after I found out I really liked scrapping.

5. Glue and double sided tape.
For glue, Bostik (and preferably the blue glue) is the best and keeps everything stick on forever. When I'm being lazy I will use double sided tape on photos, but these are used best on the backs of stickers, charms and a whole bunch of other things you can't use paper glue on.

I have craft glue and I have rarely used it, except for gluing down shells, very heavy chipboard and gluing things to the front cover of a scrapbook.

Now it is time to build!

I don't have a lot of method in the madness that is scrapping, but here are two options I use.

Option one: The themed photo.
This is my preferred method, usually I put together a pile of photos, stickers and anything else relevant to the page, like a ticket stub (or whatever) and mess around with the layout until I get it right. This is a fun way to do it, and it ensures that you use exactly the photos and paper treasures you want to keep.
This one was themed, I had so many odds and end that it took ages to get the layout right.

Option two: Let the paper speak to you.
This is great for what I happily call 'speed scrapping', where you spend only a few hours on a whole scrapbooking page. Simply. pick up a piece of paper and let the colours be your guide.

Surprisingly, I chose the 'Aussie' coloured paper first. I have a few photos of this day and all of them had to have blue or red pages as their base.

And finally, some thoughts on journalling:
I hate journalling.
But I will be fair about this too. I have tried journalling in my own scrapbooks, and none of my journalling "public"  pages have stayed in there. I think journalling is okay if you are making a scrapbook for someone because it is similar to a letter, but really, it is about your audience.

Somewhere on this page is a little tab to pull out a journal entry. I hid it because I wanted to journal about this time (well, actually just journal about Mark) but I didn't think everyone needed to read it. It's kept me sane and I don't look at it as soon as I look at the page. Journalling is not all bad.

On the other hand, how sentimental do you want to get? Some of the journals I have read in scrapbooks have been very intense and far too personal, especially if you barely know the person who features, and or wrote the journal in the first place. Other journalling which is not about how cute someone looks when they are sleeping, and is more about the events of the day, is a wonderful record and something people will enjoy reading.

 Congrats if you have made it this far, and thanks for listening to my occasional words of wisdom


Saturday, 6 September 2014

Thankfulness: a letter for Dad + Mum on Father's Day.

Dear Dad + Mum,

I'm sure you know this anyway, even if I haven't put it in so many words.  I just really wanted to say thank you for letting us being outdoor kids. There seems to be a bit of a belief now that outdoor kids are are trend, screen time should be monitored and so on. All the same, thanks for making being outside not even a big deal.

Today everyone was freaking out because of bull ants (actually just larger than usual ants) running around on the ground around where I was standing. And though I'm terrified of snakes, my fears of itchy things, bites, ants and general outdoorsiness are non existent.

In case you have forgotten, here are some really cool things you let us do outdoors.
  • Took us to the beach all the time. 'Let's go look for penguins! Let's find shells! Let's take starfish home from Shelly Beach!'  (in fairness, that probably wasn't Mum's idea.)
  • Climb trees. And have a treehouse built around a tree with a secret entrance.
  • Build a garden up the back with Mum. We spent a lot of weekends choosing the right plants, putting down bark chips and making everything look good.

  • Make teepees after cutting back trees.
  • Eating fresh parsley from the garden.
  • Letting Matt and I walk to the milk bar to buy lollies, chips and smokes (for Dad that is).
  • Testing our first aid and fire knowledge on road trips.
  • Poke around in fires.
  • Not stressing about Matt and I building a huge Jurassic Park in the sandpit, except for after we dumped the 20th bucket of water into our 'rivers'.
  • Fishing on the river. Even though I hardly ever caught anything.
  • Trips on the boat, but mostly things going wrong with boat including the time we had to wait an hour for a tow back to the landing.
  • Taking us on a houseboat for Christmas, and also giving me my first mobile which I couldn't even use because there was no reception to speak of. Don't worry, I still find this highly entertaining.
  • Going camping, taking our bikes, teaching us gin rummy and not banishing us to our tents whenever it rained because we always had our own 'lounge room' (and sometimes TV) to sit in
  • Having a pool in the backyard.
  • Mum taking us to the playground after visiting Maxwell's Bakery for some lunch. But, also, taking us to Lake Petrobe at least once a week and letting us roam up to whatever boundary you came up with.
  • Scooping up hail and eating it.
  • Barbeques at May and Ted's house.
  • Not not making a crazy long list of  rules for us to abide, and for being reasonable and being right... well most of the time.
You know, even though we don't always say it, we do have the coolest parents ever.

Love from Lis xx

Thursday, 4 September 2014

GOLD Update: 23 days to go!

What a big week or so this has been for planning for the GOLD Project in the Cook Islands!

Last week I embarked on my first trip to Tasmania for a training and planning weekend. I met the other two ladies coming with me from Australia, Fiona and Amanda. We planned and talked and Skyped with the New Zealand girls who are also doing the project. It was an incredible weekend, and even our Patrol mascots got in on the action.

We are now in the process of booking flights and packing our bags!

Yesterday I spoke with a friend I have known since uni. We are two peas in a pod, but it is really hard trying to explain the project to other people outside of the project. Her question was "Is it as good as Schoolies?" We have both been vollies with the Green Team for a number of years, and that is an incredible mission experience.

Without hesitation I said yes... but it is also really hard to define a project within a movement that many people recognise. Compass did a really good doco about Girl Guides Australia which you can access here. I find it inspirational and learnt a lot from it too.

At this stage we are running training events for four nights. We are all running activities based on WAGGGS initiatives and mine is Stop the Violence. I need to actually download the curriculum and get on with being prepared. I plan to do some kind of trial run with my girls before I leave.

At this stage we are leaving on Saturday 27th September which also happens to be Grand Final Weekend. I'm not sure how this will work seeing as I'm married to a football nut, but it looks like I will be able to see my man (that's Ed Sheeran, not Stephen) perform seeing as the plane leaves about 4pm. We actually cross the dateline to get to Rarotonga, so we have two Saturdays but no Saturday the week after, as I will come home tired after lunch on Sunday.

I am so so so grateful to everyone who has helped me thus far. I'm incredibly moved by the Guiding Spirit, but also the willingess my friends and family have to be part of my adventures. Thank you world.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Let's talk about being gifted stuff you never wanted in the first place.

I have been "gifted" some weird stuff in my time.

And by gifted I don't mean actual presents. I have been given some pretty amazing presents over the years, and usually they are things I have wanted. By gifted I mean being given stuff from someone else I never wanted, needed or asked for in the first place.

There have been a few moments when this has been helpful. I said no to my mum's 'rocking chair' when I first moved out of home, and it still sits  in my craft room today. I've been given a few fold out beds which have been actually helpful seeing as people keep coming to stay. But, for the most part, I have been given some pretty frustrating things.

A friend once gave me eight green bags of books (I love books), but with the premise that I couldn't give them away because she might want them back at some stage. It's been six years and she hasn't. Most of these have found their way to the op shop, or have been given to people who actually need those textbooks.

We have a 'rock collection' in two specially made tables that live in the study. I hate these rock tables, but they were given to Stephen and they are a family heirloom thing or something so we need to keep them. There are a lot of jokes about these tables being accidentally broken, but I don't think they are appreciated.

I have been given a really lovely blankety quilty withing with tiny mirrored glass that falls out, and I'm not sure if it is supposed to be a wallhanging or an actual useful thing, but it seems dangerous to have it around food. It's been at the bottom of the linen press for two years, and I really want to hang it up, but seeing as this isn't our house, we can't have hooks drilled in to support its weight.

We have sentimental bowls, cutlery, and plastic containers that we need to have Admittedly some of this is mine from our wedding, but what I really wanted to be gifted is actual Tupperware (not plastic other people called Tupperware), but who gives that away? Pretty much no one.

We have an incredible amount of stuff that people have entrusted to us to keep special and sacred, but they have decided they cannot be the keeper of such things. Because they didn't want them that much anyway.

And I write this post because we are now at the stage, and have been for ages, of looking at what we have and saying 'you know, I don't actually need a filing cabinet' (which I don't but Stephen does). And the hard thing is that a lot of this gifted stuff really needs to go, but we can't because feelings will be hurt.

Why do we get gifted so much stuff in the first place?
To be honest, it starts when you move out of home, and people are like 'poor you, here have something of mine I don't want anymore'. Which is great, but if they don't want it, why do you need to have it if you don't want it either?

It's all about obligation, and that's what makes life messy.

In fairness, we have done pretty well with getting rid of things like six mismatched chairs that belonged to a friend of a friend, or selling a couch a friend left in our garage for two years and didn't want back. Things that were never ours like a broken futon or leftover bits of antenna were collected by scrappers last year.

But people keep offering us things. We don't need things! Have you been to our house?! We have things coming out of our ears. As we have discovered, silence is the same as saying yes, and no also means maybe.

What makes me actually sad about this is that I worry that my treasures, like my ultra expensive day bed and my much less expensive but favourite piece of furniture (the bakers stand) is going to have to go to make way for a rock collection and another filing cabinet we don't need.

I'm just a bit grumpy and under the weather today, and my statements probably aren't called for, but sometimes, seriously, I would like to crawl under my non-covered-by-mirrors doona and have a really big sulk.