Monday, December 27, 2010


on the edge of the ocean
i swam in the sea
cold salty water
washed over me
i started to hope (again)
that i could be free

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

today in class

me: Corey did you see Harry Potter last nght?
Corey: Nah I don't watch Harry Potter.
Me: Well you should. Harry Potter's awesome.
Corey: Isn't he a wizard thing?
Zivana (from the other side of the room): Who's a lizard?


Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Have just come back from our Remembrance Day assembly. It was really beautifully done, and good to see all of the kids in our school standing quietly and respectfully (despite heat and discomfort). I would have to say that this has been the first time I have seen the whole school body brought together in unity and respect for something, teachers and students, and with hardly any coersion at all.

As the last post played and we entered our minute's silence I thought about the different world that seems to have existed at the time of WWI. A world where young men and women would offer themselves to fight because someone required it of them. A world where the tragedy of millions of lives lost could happen.

Our modern world has grown out of that. Individuals would not be willing to fight and die in those massive numbers nowadays. And that is a good thing isn't it? Our society wouldn't be caught dead on a killing field at the hands of the authorities? No way.

And then the minute's silence ended and the reveille began. And as my heart quickened, I remembered another thing our society has 'grown out of'-

the hope of ressurrection.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

from little things

I am thinking about this song right now. My Year Ten History class have been listening to it as a way of remembering the names and story of the Wave Hill protest and it's making me remember some other stories. Like Jesus' ones about the mustard seed and the yeast. From little things big things grow.

It's the way the world works and it's direct evidence that goodness is much bigger and quieter than noisy, ineffectual evil and destruction. And yet my mind insists on defaulting back to the assumption that I need to see or do this or that RIGHT NOW, witness immediate effects, and if I don't then I'm doing something wrong.

Two minutes ago I saw evidence of that big, quiet goodness residing in and working away through a Year Ten boy whom I have despaired over many times this year. What does it mean God? Are you bigger (and quieter) than the sadness and waste I'm confronted with in these teenagers' lives? Are you still present and working away? Can goodness work away right next to evil?

And am I so lucky, have I become so used to a glut of goodness in the people around me that I am unable to see it quietly working in my kids?

It makes me want to stop. And breathe. And rest in the small acts (very small) towards goodness that I am able to do.

And you can take those small acts, watered with the kind of despair that chooses to trust something bigger than itself anyway. And if we wait...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


My Year 10 girls just informed me that I need to buy a ticket from them to see Harry Potter SEVEN (a) on 17 November to raise money for their prom. ONE TICKET???? I INTEND TO BUY FIVE!!!!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

some thoughts from Chapter 3

I am in love. And I have been reading this book. Being in love threatens to distract me from really thinking through the concepts in this book, but I really want to understand them so it's as though God is using this book to teach me about the stuff in the book, but also about how being in love is very different to loving, leaping, trusting, watching and learning...

So here are some of the really good thoughts from Chapter 3:

"...doubt not only can be seen as an inevitable aspect of our humanity but can also be celebrated as a vital part of faith... the believer who encounters serious doubt does not renounce his or her faith but rather uses it a an opportunity to affirm it... Only a genuine faith can embrace doubt, for such a faith does not act because of self interested reason (such as fear of hell or desire of heaven) but acts simply because it must.... celebrate this dark night of the soul, understanding that this is not a threatening darkness which conceals an enemy but rather is the intimate darkness within which we embrace our faith."

"If we are to guess a motive for Jesus' miracles, then we would have to think that he performed them out of love rather than as a means of compelling belief... Instead of religious discourse being a type of drink designed to satisfy our thirst for answers, Jesus made his teaching salty, evoking thirst. Instead of offering a scientific explanation that would convince, or publicising the miracles so as to compel his listeners, Jesus engaged in a poetic discourse that spoke to the heart of those who would listen..."

"The silence that is part of all God-talk is not the silence of banality, indifference or ignorance but one that stands in awe of God... the Christian faith is extrapolated via a powerless discourse which, at its most evangelical, attempts to create a space in which others can seek for themselves... our approach must be a powerless one which employs words as a way of saying that we have been left utterly breathless by a beauty that surpasses all words... we use words in order to tear through them and glimpse at what lies beneath..."

extracts from How (not) to speak of God by Peter Rollins, SPCK Press, London, 2006

Thursday, October 14, 2010

now i have eveything

Rehearsals for Fiddler on the Roof are going well with sets and costumes falling into place (thanks Katrina the legend) and the opening scene pretty much rehearsed. Yesterday Annabelle and Katelyn and I blocked the scene where Perchik proposes marriage to Hodel. It was so much fun. And we came up with some cool moves for the Sabbath Prayer song. It was a great rehearsal.

And in other news, I have been getting up early to go for walks this week and it is proving a lovely time of day for connecting with the earth and my maker. A great chance to think about and rememebr all the people and needs I have run into in the last few weeks. So I can recommend it - except it means being determined to be asleep before 11PM!!!! Eeek!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

the game

It feels like a game I cannot win. I’m not very good at strategy you see. And I seem to make the wrong move by instinct. Is it fear that causes me to fumble?

But if it’s true that the music playing at the core of my soul could be part of a larger symphony, what I really need to learn is to relax; to trust; to live in the river I am being carried by: to play, to float and not to worry too much about the destination.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

when a retreat comes to visit

The last couple of days have been blissful.

Peace. Quiet. Stories. Joy. Cheese. Guitar.

Most members of our community have gone away for the first week of school holidays. Only David Orozco and I are left to represent Cornerstone (apart from a couple of plants and animals). I do miss the others (because they are the greatest community a girl could ask to be part of). But it doesn't happen very often that I get a couple of days to myself (probably because I know so many wondrful people that I long to see and hang out with). I have really enjoyed the pace the last few days... a few welcome visits from friends occasionally interrupting a leisurely solitude filled with reading, singing, cooking and cleaning, contemplation and conversation with... well the one who has shared it all with me to begin with.

How lucky am I? I didn't plan this retreat, it planned me!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Tell me a story

Today I woke with a story in my mind.

There was a young girl named Ellie whose nose turned up at everything. She didn't realise it, but she didn't enjoy much, and when she laughed the sounds came out in thin shreddy snorts. All of her friends had exactly the same layered hair style and laughed with the same sound and they never differed on anything (if they could help it).

One day at recess a quiet year seven boy named Timmy passed Ellie’s group. As he trotted by, Timmy slipped over and landed smack on his backside. It looked so funny, but it was even more hilarious when Timmy, rising, tripped on his shoelace and fell a second time. Hilarity can be catching and everyone started chortling.

Ellie couldn’t contain herself. Soon she was giggling and hooting. And when Timmy tripped a third time (by this time even he had begun laughing) tears were pouring from Ellie’s eyes. Ellie’s breath was coming in short bursts as she pushed air out in great gobby laughs until she got confused about whether she was breathing in or laughing out and shot a large globule from her nose. It glided through the air, landing splat. Everything went very quiet.

Residual laughter faded from Ellie's wet face. She looked around and saw all of her friends staring at the globule. Embarrassed she watched as it stretched upwards forming a thin pliable strand. A haughty face appeared in the slime at the top of the strand. Small feet poked out of the bottom. With great dignity the slime turned up its nose and tripped penguin-like out of the circle of onlookers, preserving a dignified silence.

A smattering of titters soon caught flame, fast growing to roaring hilarity as everyone, including Ellie, fell about laughing at the silly slime strand tripping across the playground.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Gosh it's fun singin musical songs with kids and seeing them grow in confidence. I really like being part of a show and seeing it gradually come alive with the joy of kids on stage working out their characters and beginning to inhabit them. This week we had a nice mixture of violence, dance and love.

And this show has so much beautiful music in it. Melodies streaked with sadness and hope. And then some of it just downright FUN. To Life, to Life L'chaim!

Favourite moment from this week... Milly singing, "When Moses slew Goliath," Tom's action is supposed to be to wind up a big imaginary sling and send it off into the audience crying out YESSSS. Instead his winding ended in an anti-climactic... "huh?"

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hunger games

A new book I am reading. It is addictive. I'm not sure how good it is yet. But it is definitely addictive.

I have been thinking a lot about a quote from a very good book indeed, LotR. Tolkien thought the image was important enough to include it twice (once in a dream at Tom Bombadil's and then at the Grey Havens). Though I really didn't understand it when I first read the book, it is becoming important to me now.

And the ship went out into the High Sea and passed on into the West, until at last on a night of rain Frodo smelled sweet frangrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise.

I love the image of the grey haven and the rain receding behind the ship, while the shore and the morning sun approach. The atmosphere feels familiar, except I am always in the rain, looking forward... 

I wonder if that is what my life looks like to God. Just as human lives seem to be a passing dream to the elves in LotR, perhaps my grey self is receding quickly under the light of eternity.  It just feels so wretchedly slow to me. 

Maybe I can begin to wake to this kind of life now? Do I dare to hope that my waking is watched over eagerly, by one who longs for my eyes to be opened and filled with light today?

Or must I, like Frodo, wait until my journey is over, my task complete, my quest has been settled? Oh, I am hungry for the light of Aman to be in my eyes.

Friday, August 20, 2010

lilith a

'Life was rather dull for a while; but a comforter was given me, and the name of my comforter is Hope.'

Thursday, July 1, 2010

still holding a trembling hand

the title of this blog is beginning to seem very ironic... did I unknowingly create a sarcastic mission statement for myself when I composed it in two seconds flat in January of this year?

I was looking back through some entries from last year's blog, trying to recapture a sense of the inspiration or purpose I lived with while i was on team, and I found this quote...

"God uses people to perform his work. He does not send angels. Angels weep over it, but God does not use angels to accomplish His purposes. He uses burdened broken-hearted weeping men and women."

David Wilkerson

Monday, June 28, 2010


Upon entering the Walker's kitchen and discovering the intrepid two, Samuel Walker and Lachlan Skinner, hard at work making pikelets for our community dinner dessert last evening...

Me:          Ahh, it's lovely to see you boys cooking for everyone. If you keep going
               at this rate, you boys will be worth marrying someday.
Samuel:   I am already worth marrying... I am practically housewifely!


Sunday, June 27, 2010

what my Year 10 boys told me...

In class this afternoon no girls showed up. Only seven boys. And they smelled bad. They were 'completing their writing tasks'.

"Sorry I've been away, Miss. I was in Japan at a BMX championship. I am now officially the best BMX rider in the world."

"I saw you on Saturday night Miss... did you see someone pop their head out of a car and say 'G'day'? 'Cause that was me."

"I was a janitor at a university and I used to solve maths problems left on the board. Some people call me the Einstein of the world... others like to call me fat."

"I'm the biggest computer hacker in the world, Miss. And if you dob on me I will lay you out because I am a black belt in karate as well... and yes I would hit a woman because I had gender reassignment surgery and now I am a woman."

"Did you know I'm a hobo now miss? I got kicked out of home on the weekend... you don't want to know what happened. I got into a fight with someone and killed the cat."

"Did you know that Aden is straight, Miss?"

"Tell me where you live Miss and I'll drive past and do a burn out. But don't tell the cops my license plate, Miss. If you do, I'll burn your house down. No, I wont. I'm not crazy enough to do that. And if your house burns down don't tell the cops I said that. I'm in enough trouble with them already."

Some of the other things they told me don't bear repeating. They live in a different world to mine. I don't think I'll tell them where I live just yet.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

why old people are afraid of young people in groups

Last night I walked into the local watering hole of a small but select group of ageing Broken Hillians. They sat around a long table, taking up most of the space in the small barroom in the South Australian. As I entered the little pub they all turned towards me. I frantically scoured the space before me looking for my friends. Not seeing them I sat down.

A man with a moustache looked at me slowly, and asked me how I was doing this evening. It was intimidating. My voice cracked as I replied, "Fine thanks." I had to walk through them to search the back of the bar. It turned out to be empty. Then I had to walk back past that intimidating group all sitting around sipping their drinks... Ahhh they all belonged there and I didn't. It was SCARY.

I later found out we were meeting everyone at the Southern Cross, not the South Australian.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Last night we went to our local friendly drain with candles and blankets and sang reverberantly into the darkness and into one another's hearts. Some hearts were tired and hurting, some shy, some joyful and exhuberant. All were lifted by the beautiful noises. And the Heart of our own was there, even though we may not have remembered it completely*.

We went in honour of our new friend and honorary Broken Hillian - Annie - who has been with us for the last week. With her smiling open face and her earnest desire to serve and meet the needs of others she has been a fun companion and contributor, and we all (especially David Rozali!) feel that she fits into our community beautifully.

Annie writes songs like it's a natural part of human life (maybe it is).

Though I am finding it difficult to live up to the sentiment in this one, I do love it and feel inspired...

i wish i was robin hood
fighting the rich for the poor
and doing a bit of good

* incidentally I wish I could remember the fact that the heart of my own is present with me without pause, and get the good of it in all situations... and more importantly GIVE the good of it to others

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

cry... cry to him

Yesterday I prayed, asking God to disturb me in the depths of who I am so that I could be changed, broadened deepened. Why would I pray such a prayer? Certainly not thinking too intelligently about what that might mean in practical terms. I mean, if there is an actual god of the universe who creates, loves and helps, but trusts and waits for me to be ready and willing to move further into the mysteries of my own humanity.... then presumably He is waiting for me to ask him to do such things, and will take me at my word when I do.

So yesterday was surprising. And difficult. I found different things in me that I didn't know were there. Scary things. And I am choosing to trust.

cry, cry to him who is good, for he sees you through all the gloom, and he is with you. Fear not , for he goes before you. The lord is a strong tower, those who run to him are safe. Where will my help come from? My help will come from him, maker of heaven and earth, father and protector. He guards your footsteps...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

generation alphabet

I'm not sure if it is a generational thing or if I am just a little dense. I showed the following graph to my Year Nine students, hoping to baffle them as much as I had been (it took me about ten minutes to figure out what it was all about)....
see my friend Spindleshanks' blog for original and larger version.

Of course they all figured it out in under 2 minutes and handed it back to me, very self satisfied and happy to point out how culturally savvy I was NOT.

In other news, the load of marking and reports due before going to Strath this weekend is making me amazed that I am even writing this post. Is it possible that I am doing it in the two minute gap between periods 3 & 4? Noooooooo.............

Friday, June 4, 2010


i’m walking a tightrope
the ground not far below
holding my  father's hand

(I know I’m unco
but it isn’t far to go
and I know
it wont hurt too bad if I fall)

swiftly, abruptly
the ground falls
away forthwith
in the course of a moment
I’m out…
over a cliff!

grip tighter
heart falter
pale-face, whiter
headspace alter

feet swing
from side to side
The arc is WIDE

(almost forget I’m holding His hand)
(insert deafening roar)


He's holding my hand
I’m in high trouble....

Sure as hope
(and if i'm smart)
I will not let go!

Oil Pastels

make me happy...

This week I have been playing with oil pastels and they are brightening up my life. I have been making some posters for my classroom. In today's class I asked my Year 11 students to join me, creating some colourful posters of poetic techniques. My theory is that, seeing as they don't keep the notes I photocopy or get them to copy off the board (their work is often still lying on the desk or ground after they have left the classroom), maybe if they spend time creating something beautiful they will remember it that way.

Today we moved all the desks together and they played with pastels. One girl said, "It feels like kindergarten, Miss." She was smiling. Kindergarten was possibly the last time she actually enjoyed school :(

In other news I was writing 'onomatopoeia' on the board and I mispelled it. One boy from my class corrected me.

"Miss, isn't it 'p-o-e-i-a'?"
"Ash, how do you know that?"
"You taught us that song the other day, 'Onomato had a farm, p-o-e-i-a'!"
(He didn't sing it - that would have really made my day!)

Well, needless to say I was pretty stoked.

Here is a photo of the wall after we were finished

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wednesday walking

Today we did sport - my sport this term is walking. I like it. It gets you out in the world and moving quickly. And it gives you a chance to chat with kids, which can be fun. Today I almost felt like I was one of the Year Seven boys, gambolling along - challenging them to a races, annoying them and poking them in the back to get them moving a bit faster. Year Seven boys are the most physical of human beings - wrestling, poking and annoying one another incessantly :).

I made the acquaintance of a new Year Nine girl today. Here's how it went.

Me:      Oh hello. What's your name?
Girl:      (snarky) Why do you want to know?
Me:      (a bit shocked) oh, I was just interested to meet you
Girl:      (slightly less snarky, but still a bit snarky) My name's...
Me:      Do you like walking?
Girl:     (full of renewed snarkiness) Miss, you're not telling those other girls off, why are you always picking on me?
Me:     I've never seen you before in my life.

I also had conversation with a boy I didn't know. It went something like this...

Kate: OK boys, move over to the side of the road
Boy:  We are on the side of the road Miss.
Kate: No worries, but can you move over more to the side.
Boy: We are on the side of the road  Miss.
Kate: Well you need to come over closer to the kerb, in case a car comes along.
Boy: No cars ever come along here Miss.
Kate: Well move to the side just in case?
Boy: We are on the side of the road Miss.
Kate: Please stop arguing with me and 'be cooperative'.*
Boy: I'm not arguing with you Miss.
Kate: You are contradicting everything I say.
Boy: No I'm not Miss.
Kate: Have you ever seen the Monty Python argument scene?
Boy: I don't watch Monty Python Miss.
Kate: Well you sound like the fellow in that.
Boy: No I don't Miss. (- he didn't actually say this one but I imagined hm saying it anyway ;)

Well despite the aggro - I did enjoy bing outside and walking fast. It invigorated me and for that I am very grateful.

Man 1     Didn't.
Man 2    Yes I did.
Man 1    Didn't.
Man 2    Yes I did!!
Man 1    Look, this isn't an argument.
Man 2    Yes it is.
Man 1    No it isn't, it's just contradiction.
Man 2    No it isn't.
Man 1    Yes it is.
Man 2    It is not.
Man 1    It is. You just contradicted me.
Man 2    No I didn't.
Man 1    Ooh, you did!
Man 2    No, no, no, no, no.
Man 1    You did, just then.
Man 2    No, nonsense!
Man 1    Oh, look this is futile.
Man 2    No it isn't.
Man 1    I came here for a good argument.
Man 2    No you didn't, you came here for an argument.
Man 1    Well, an argument's not the same as contradiction.
Man 2    It can be.
Man 1    No it can't. An argument is a connected series of statements to establish a definite proposition.
Man 2    No it isn't.
Man 1    Yes it is. It isn't just contradiction.
Man 2    Look, if I argue with you, I must take up a contrary position.
Man 1    But it isn't just saying 'No it isn't'.
Man 2    Yes it is.
Man 1    No it isn't, Argument is an intellectual process ... contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says.
Man 2    No it isn't.
Man 1    Yes it is.
Man 2    Not at all.
Man 1    Now look!
Man 2    (pressing the bell on his desk) That's it. Good morning.
Man 1    But I was just getting interested. 

extract taken from

* 'be cooperative' : Positive Behaviour for Learning. Students are supposed to respond when we ask them to cooperate. It is a better thing to ask for than obedience.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

friday joy

Is it just that it's Friday? Or does the euphoria come from elsewhere?

I know it can't last, but I just feel really happy. I felt so confident about all my classes today - even the ones that were rowdy and required lots of energy in controlling. School relationships are starting to be a bit happier, in that doing battle in the classroom doesn't have the same sting now that we are all understanding each other a bit better. And yesterday I experienced the joy of teaching my Year 9 English class something, and realising they actually learned it - WAHOOOOO!

Well we take it as it comes hey? The best way (I think)...

When it's tough: head down, teeth gritted in tight grin of determined defiance of evil and firm expectation of good. When it's great: arms out, thankful spirit alert with the fire of inspiration, enjoying freedom, flying as strength is stored for dark days ahead.

They say it all comes from the hand of the same God: good times and tough. Is it possible that he also gives us strength to stand up under difficult times and the wisdom to experience the good times well?

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Why should I obey another? Why should I bend my will, my reason, my choice beneath the demands of another? What if they are wrong? What if it is uncomfortable? All these valid questions regularly go through my mind.

But once they didn't.

When I was a child it was simple. I should do as I was told. Even when I didn't actually do as I was told, I sort of knew that I should (mind you I wasn't often asked to do much that was really difficult).

As I have become more used to having my own way - choosing for myself - I haven't been in the habit of obedience. I have been able to do as I liked (and have been fairly lucky that what I liked has generally coincided with what I am 'supposed' to do). With the result that I am out of practise at obeying.

Obedience. It only seems to work when it's habitual. And I have discovered recently that one problem with not being in the habit of obeying outside authority is that it means I am not as good at obeying even my own true desires when I want to do something that is difficult. Grrr.

Oh there's all sorts of other things that I could talk about , like whether you should obey bad authority etc. But that's not the point right now. Right now I know the authority I am under is good and I am finding it hard to obey even my own desire to honour it. Does anyone else struggle with this kind of thing?

Reading George MacDonald's Weighed and Wanting recently has given me an interesting perspective.

The spiritual loss and injury caused to the children by their parents waiting till they fancy them fit to reason with (before teaching obedience), is immense; yet there is nothing in which parents are more stupid and  cowardly and a nursery in which the children are humored and scolded and punished instead of being taught obedience looks like a moral slaughter-house.

The dawn of reason will doubtless help to develop obedience; but obedience is yet more necessary to the development of reason. To require of a child only what he can understand the reason of, is simply to help him to make himself his own God--that is a devil.

Well I was taught obedience as a child, and I can surely remember those old lessons and regain that old habit. The way forward seems to be to practise obedience until it becomes habitual. And get back on that wagon when I fall off. Wish me luck!

Extract from  Weighed and Wanting, by George MacDonald

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


In a desperate attempt to prove myself not to be an incompetent teacher I have just spent FIVE hours creating a website for Vietnam revision for my Year 10 History class. Now I really need to ask myself what audience I'm living for, because I am sure that said Year 10 History class will hardly even read all the information I have so carefully constructed, let alone properly complete the actvities and glean appropriate information from them.

They would probably rather if I just put notes up on the board for them to copy down.

ARRRGH! When will I learn to become a better augur of my students' true needs?

In the meantime my understanding of who I am comes not from hormonal teen wenches, but from one who knows when and how I will become a better follower of the highest, and believes that I CAN do it!

Monday, May 17, 2010

heart with heart, love with love, being with being...

Hester, in George MacDonald's Weighed and Wanting, sits beside the bed of a cold, hungry, sick woman and yearns to help her. This is what the old Scotsman says...

She had yet to learn that the love of God is so deep he can be satisfied with nothing less than getting as near as it is possible for the Father to draw night to his creatures - and that is into absolute contact of heart with heart, love with love, being with being. And as that must be wrought out from the deepest inside, divine law working itself up through our natue into our consciousness and will, and claiming us as divine, who can tell by what slow certainties of approach God is drawing nigh to the most suffering of his creatures?

God Help Me to live with this kind of faith, hope, love...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

talking about graduating

a couple of weekends ago I graduated from my Diploma of Christian Studies and was lucky enough to be able to give a speech way of encouraging the staff of Cornerstone - and saying thankyou. Here's some of it for posterity...

The Twelve Apostles stand off the south coast of Victoria, pillars of rock in a changing landscape, buffeted by wind and wave. Although we call them 'twelve' Apostles, their number changes. As some collapse and wash away others stand tall, wide and strong - perhaps telling us what the collapsed ones may once have looked like.

I visited this natural wonder as I was trying to think of how to express what the gift of the last two years had been like. And as I stood there that day the wind blew around me and I couldn’t tell where it was coming from or where it was going to - but it came to me that the peninsular of limestone that I was standing on was being shaped into a future 'apostle' -that one day there would be no land bridge to where I was standing and a new pillar would have been formed - and I saw that these Apostles were more a monument to a beautiful moment in time than a fixed part of the landscape.

Over the last two millennia other apostles, visionaries of a good and true kingdom, have stood so, representing their point in time, washed by the wind, born of water, living monuments to God's presence in their world.

It all made me acutely aware of God's immanence - how close he was (and is) in each particle of limestone and in each drop of water and circling me as well as a whole bunch of tourists on the wind and blowing through and around us.

Just the same, as I stood before those crumbling apostles I felt assaulted by doubts and fears. Was I worth my salt as a misho in Australia today? Could I listen to God's Spirit and follow the thread? When would I start to feel like a blessing and not just a mediocre muddle?

And then I remembered Sonja's faith in me and her faithful example, and Dave Etty's sensible advice in sticky situations on team, and one morning on Nerida's front porch, and a refuge at the Richards' (and Pete's visits to team where after he left you felt, as Sophie once said, as though Father Christmas had come like he did in Narnia and no matter how great the evil you are confronting or what the consequences might be you are just bursting to cry out "he's been here he's been here!"), and lectures and work and meals and chores and phone calls without number and visits to team and prayer and emails of encouragement - each instance a sacred moment to remember, a monument to the living God's presence in my world.

And I know that each of the graduates here will be able to find such monuments to God's presence in their lives from their own experiences with staff over the last two, three or more years. And in their studies too, because as I looked at those pillars I thought of Mary McKillop and Charles Finney and Count Zinzendorf and Thomas Aquinas too and on back to the time when the Master himself walked the earth and there were these two young blokes who were followers of John the Baptist. And they were there the day that he saw Jesus and cried out. "Look! there goes God's lamb!" So these disciples followed Jesus.

And he turned around he saw them and asked them, "What do you want?"

"Um... Rabbi... where are you staying?"

"Come and see," Jesus replied.

Well I don’t live in Galilee and it's not the year dot, and I can’t touch or feel or follow Jesus around and go and stay at his place in downtown Capernaum. But over the last two years I sort of have been able to anyway. So thanks to all of you Cornerstone Staff men and women who are giving your lives so that people like me can "Come and see."

You have been and continue to be living monuments to God's presence in our world.

Friday, May 7, 2010


My Year Eleven class we nice to me today. Do you want to know why?


because I know David Rozali.

Can you believe it?

My Year Eleven's don't even know David Rozali - to them he's just that cool guy with the awesome dreads in the coffee shop opposite Torpy's or something. But anyway - they were really friendly in class today and I milked it for all it was worth in the desperate attempt to teach them something about repetition and emotive language!

I am pleased. Hopefully they will buy coffee from Davo and some of his cheery style of optimism and goodness will rub off on them and they might even start to wonder whether their own lives could be that happy, peacefull and GOOD?

And then maybe they'll want to do something about it...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

friday arvo

Today is the day that I have three free periods on a Friday. I have only one period to go before I teach my Year Nine class for the last time this week and then... weekend.

Once in it, I am determined to get my life into order, to clear up the battleground that is my loungeroom, to complete a thousand little jobs and figure out why the oven in my place isn't working, to catch up on sleep and to welcome a new guest into my home - Mark King is coming to stay this weekend... a visitor familiar to all English teachers.

BUT I also hope to enjoy an evening at Bell's cafe, drink a coffee by David Rozali - who has awesome dreds according to my Year Eleven English class - and hopefully visit Menindee with a new friend :)

What are you up to this weekend?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010



With some additional nuances of "Sir Jester" with 'suggester' and even 'surgEaster'...

In medieval and early modern europe, the fool played a specific role. His foolishness could shine a light, send a message, speak into the darkness. The fool was allowed license to move beyond the conventions of society, but it was a risky job, and a lonely job. He had no wealth, physical or legal power over other citizens, socially he was at the bottom of the rung. But he could use any other tool at his disposal, and he often relied on humour and storytelling which would help new ideas to germinate in the minds of the audience...

Some hated the fool, as Malvolio hated Feste in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. Some would plot against him. But nothing could stop his message, because it relied not on indoctrination, but on inspiration. Such a message cannot be stopped by force. Only apathy can bring this kind of inspiration to a halt.

To those who are willing to play the fool to spread a message, is given a similar power of germination.

Today in our staffroom one of the teachers made the throw-away comment that she thought April Fool's Day would fall on Good Friday this year. She thought it would be fairly funny if that was the case. I didn't know what to say. Then I remembered Paul Walker sent us the lyric to a song called, 'The April Fool'. And I remembered that Jesus' conscious choice to die on a cross does look very foolish to many. But it seems to have been the kind of foolish act that still has power today. The message of the April Fool continues to germinate and live in the minds and hearts of his followers millenia after the historical event.

I feel excited and scared about the idea of spending eight days living with this concept. Excited about the ideas that could be germinating, and scared to look foolish :/

Sunday, March 28, 2010

who's to say where the wind will take me...

One final week before the end of school, and I feel as though there is too much to fit in. Lessons to plan, marking to get on top of, people to hang with!

A little jester is giggling at me from the end of it all as well, daring me to get cold feet and forget to trust something bigger than myself. In reality the problem (if there is one) is that I haven't been diligent about fitting something fairly important in... space and time with and for the Father to hear his voice.

and I begin to sing

Who's to say where the wind will take you
Who's to say what it is will break you
I don't know which way the wind will blow
Who's to know when the time has come around
Don't want to see you cry
I know that this is not goodbye

In summer you can taste the salty sea
There's a kite blowing out of control on a breeze
you wonder what's gonna happen to me
I wonder what has happened to you...

lyrics found at

Monday, March 22, 2010

walkin in a green desert

Many things aren't as bad as you think they will be when you get there. When I was moving to Broken HIll, everyone I spoke to said that I would die in the summer. And yet it has been a beautiful moderate summer with lots of rain.

Our little community went walking in the desert this afternoon. It was a beautiful trek with lots of little trials and wonders. It was green, not red/brown/orange. When you walk out here you feel that you really are standing on an ancient land.

...and then some things are as bad as you think they are going to be, and sometimes they are even worse. In those times I begin to understand the need of being willing to trust in something bigger than ourselves.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Friday afternoon hope

It's Friday afternoon at the end of my tough week with High School students (I am on a 2 wk cycle and the second week is a LOT more busy than the first)...

... and I still have Hope in my heart- methinks a sign of the goodness at the heart of the Universe.

I just had a Friday last period with my new Year 11s and....


I go home tonight with my heart singing a little song. I am very grateful to be fighting on this side of the battle. Feeling a little bit more ready for the next one now. Thanks God.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

the most remarkable thing I have read (so far today...)

I woke this morning, picked up my little 'how to dismantle an atomic bomb' book and found the following piece of writing. It helped me to understand a little bit more about how to dismantle atomic bombs.

The Himalayas are as high as a human being can get without getting a nose bleed. At about 10 000 feet the mountain becomes unfriendly, the rockface only a goat would trust... The earth doesn't so much punch a hole in the sky with a fist, more a series of elbows arch over its head to protect the peace loving peoples who live in their shade. Etched into this Vertical that has forgotten it started as a Horizontal are paths... the ground on its side more a profile against a cold whisking sky... The paths are sometimes twenty or thirty mile contours that offer the only way around the mountain... if your were 1. mad enough, 2. a parachutist, 3. a goat.

Start down one of these trails and Nature will teach you a lesson about God, or maybe it's God teach a lesson about your nature... to meet another soul on one of those paths without rock climbing equipment is disaster. The goats know this. They stare at each other. They Gristle. Their baby that's just woken cry becomes a grown up growl. To pass each other is impossible. One will have to turn back to give way to the other. Struggle will mean a certain end for one of them, maybe both of them, unless...

One lies down and becomes the path for the other. It's an extraordinary thing to see a goat do what a human cannot. Compromise. As it's legs bend and kneel the comic devil creature lies down with its face pressing into the humbling dirt. The one makes way for the other. The other awkwardly mounts and walks over its potential rival and goes it's way...

It's an extraordinary thing to see a goat do what a human cannot. What is it about our human heart/mind/soul that doesn't see the obvious answer, especially when it is something a little bit humiliating?

Lord help me to see the obvious next thing to do.

extract from U2/HOW TO DISMANTLE AN ATOMIC BOMB Limited Edition 48 page book featuring illustrations, paintings and photography by U2, 2004

Sunday, January 31, 2010

It's dusting... no wait a minute it's raining

Greetings. A new blog for a New Year. I am living in Broken Hill, outback NSW. I haven't yet moved into my new house or found steady work, but we are working towards those things. I do (at least) have a washing machine!

Today Milly came running to get me - there was a massive amazing dust storm coming (my second one in two weeks). My car went from being mildly dusty to very dusty in a matter of seconds! About an hour later it rained! Milly, Sam and I stood in the rain talking to the Lockenspiel (Lochie Skinner). I like this town.