Update – 5th August 2014

world mapSince returning from our mission trip to Cambodia, I have struggled to put pen to paper. Whilst over there, I sent back a prayer letter of several pages each day to our 70 prayer supporters. This chronicled our activities and the cultural aspects we learnt along the way. Thus, I was a bit over writing once I returned. I have also realised that I have limited time for my creative energies and whilst a lot of my creative energies used to go into writing my blog, I really need to finish a children’s book I started several years ago. I only have a few chapters left to write in it before I look at the whole publishing side. Normally I write several more chapters at this time of year whilst we are on our annual holiday. With going to Cambodia, and our ‘friend of a friend’ selling his penthouse apartment which we used every year, there is no holiday in the sun. Also, hubby has been around a lot more late afternoons, and he has been driving the kids to their swimming and dance activities. When I drive them, I would stay and write my blog during the hour training session. With hubby taking care of the ferrying kids to and fro, I have been using the time to clean and get organised, not writing. Thus, I have decided to reduce my blog writing to weekly, occasionally twice weekly. I used to write twice weekly, once my weekly update and once a topical issue. Thus, at this stage, I am planning to write a fortnightly update and a topical issue every other week.

Camping: The weekend after we returned home from Cambodia was the father-son camp in the bush. This is a huge highlight for Matey. This year had an added delight of snowing whilst they were there. Matey has heaps of fun and adventure and Princess and I had a great time with the guys away. We went to see the movie ‘Heaven is for Real’ whilst they were away and loved the movie. Princess had read the book a few years ago and we both enjoyed the movie.

first aidFirst Aid: I have been a big believer in teaching our kids at a young age their phone number and address, essential for emergencies. I had never gone through CPR with them even though this is my area of expertise at work (Coronary Care Nurse). The opportunity came up last week for them to attend a first aid training session with other homeschoolers. It was basically CPR (I had presumed it would be other emergencies as well but it wasn’t). Still it was a great learning time and Matey really got into the practising the external chest compressions and breathing on the mannequins. I now need to go through other medical emergencies and the appropriate responses to them with the kids.

tobogganingSnow: Most years we try to get to the snow as a family for a day trip. Even though Matey & hubby had experienced the snow several weeks ago whilst camping, we went again with Princess. We had a great time tobogganing. We found a great spot with a huge steep slope that was isolated and we had it all to ourselves until some young adults came along just before we needed to leave. They loaned the kids some faster toboggans which were fantastic. The young adults surprised me by thanking me for allowing my kids to have a go on the faster toboggans and by allowing them to do something a bit dangerous. I love the fact that we can let the kids experiment and be adventurous. They need to do some stuff that is not totally safe. I feel this is important, especially for boys. Matey has decided he wants to be a missionary doctor and adventurer like David Livingstone, and we are loving fostering the adventurous side of his life.

Hidden like Anne Frank: Both of our kids loved seeing the movie ‘Anne Frank’ and reading the book. We discovered the book “Hidden like Anne Frank: 14 True Stories of Survival” on scholastic and have loved reading that as well. It is written by Marcel Prins and Peter Henk Steenhuis. Suitable for older children as it describes times when they were nearly caught and what occurred. Most of the children describe how they found it hard to forgive their parents for sending them away and most of the families never ever recovered. Not for the faint hearted. The kids are loving it though and it has created heaps of discussion.

imageReading and buying books: Our family love reading and value books and reading. I had never realised how much until we were in Cambodia and saw the kids reading the books we sent over and the look of absolute delight in discovering new things. In Cambodia, children read in groups. It is a social occasion to look at a book. They would point out things they saw in the pictures to each other. Too often in our world, it is an individual event and I wonder at times what we miss out on by not reading together. A great website I use to find the cheapest price of a book, including postage, is Booko. (www.booko.com.au)

fingerprintsProphetic Acts: We ran a training session at the prophetic team meeting at church on prophetic acts. Our kids needed to come with us that night and they thoroughly loved it as well. One of the practical acts was using ink on our fingertips to leave our mark on a world map. We selected which country we wanted to put our fingerprints over and then prayed for that country. Our kids loved that activity. We also used keys with tags attached to write declarations about visiting future countries. Another activity was to drop wet cotton balls over a plastic world map to prayer bomb different countries (Freedom have a colourful world map on a shower curtain).

Future jobs: Princess was offered a job in the deli department of our local Safeway store the other day. Hubby had asked her to plan the menu for the week and then list all the shopping ingredients. He then took her to the supermarket and she had a lot more items from the deli than I normally get. She had her list and was chatting away to the lady behind the counter about it all. The lady was so impressed with her knowing the various deli items, being able to substitute other items when these other items were cheaper and on special etc, that the lady offered her a job. Unfortunately, Princess is only 11 years old so unable to work until 14. Nice to know though.

Australian History Competition: Princess took part in the year 8 Australian History Competition in May. There is a competition for year 8’s and also one for year 10’s. Princess is only in year 5. I thought it would be great for her to enter this competition purely for what it would show me where she is at in regard to knowing history. Princess recently got the results back and came equal first in Australia and first in Victoria. We really haven’t done any history curriculum. The kids have listened to a lot of audio tapes about people in history and have read a lot of biographies of famous people in history. My next blog post will be on what we have done so far in history.

Rob Coyle’s farewell from Youth Dimension: Our family attended the family friendly event and farewell celebration for Rob Coyle, the founder and director of Youth Dimension. This man has left a huge legacy of sharing his faith to thousands of teenagers in secondary schools throughout Australia and also in training and mentoring thousands of young people in helping them learn how to share their faith with others. Hubby and I have had the privilege of leading various coffee shop teams over the Christmas/New Year holiday period in the past. We have great respect for Rob, and for his son-in-law Michael who is taking over the reigns of this ministry. It was a great night of reminiscing and celebration and great for our kids to see something from our past and to hear of someone who has greatly impacted so many people.

Different Perspectives: Princess had been lamenting that we don’t have family time. Persoanlly I would disagree as we spend a lot of time together as a family but I finally realised what was happening. Her perspective of family time was us playing a board game together. We started doing this several nights in a row as we were finished our evening meal early and didn’t have any sporting commitments those nights. Princess was thrilled. Finally we were haing what she called ‘family time’.

Hope you are enjoying the cold weather of winter in Australia. We are finding that we are reading a lot as we snuggle up together on the couch. What are your favourite activities, as a family, in the cold?