Monday, January 31, 2011

I've changed my mind.

Ok so here is the post I started writing last night at about 10pm...
I've Changed My Mind.

I don't want to go to school.
I never don't want to go to school, so I'm hoping this is just a passing fad on my behalf... a passing fad that has had me in tears for the past hour or so.
I can't do this! Again! What am I thinking? Being responsible for 25 kids, being accountable to 50 parents and 3 levels of bosses. Planning, educating, differentiating, caring...
Of course by the time I got that far I was crying and laughing all at the same time. The hugeness of my job hits me some times. The paper requirements are ridiculous. I do believe I could work 24/7 all year and still not be ready enough. Last night I was completely overwhelmed.  How much had my attitude changed in a matter of hours?! The things I was excited about became the things I was anxious about. I doubted my teaching ability. All I could see were the mistakes I'd made, the flaws in my character, my disorganisation, the things that made me the worst candidate to be a teacher. Fear of failing, of being 'found out', recognised for the fraud I am. Arrrgh! I'm sure the devil was loving the track my mind was taking, which is what made me laugh!

As I went to bed last night the devotion I read (ew ew ew ew ew I just stomped on a cockroach with my bare foot. it was a big one too. ewwww), which had nothing to do with feeling completely overwhelmed at the prospect of going back to school, quotes some really cool scripture:
 Acts 20:24 "However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." 
Wow! Incredibly timely reminder. This job is not my own. It is the task God has given me. AND it's bigger than teaching (eeek teaching is big enough), I mean more important than teaching (and I reeeeeaaaally value education). My role at school is to testify to the gospel of God's grace.
Just down from that verse a bit there was another bit that hit me in the guts...
 Acts 20:28 "Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers."
 I've never really noticed the first bit "Keep watch over yourselves". I think when it comes to school it's so easy to watch over everyone else... but it's so easy to not watch my own mind & guard my own heart. It's so easy to replace time with God with planning for school. hmm... I see where it all started to fall apart! haha.

Anyway... in summary I'm super glad I experienced that freak out last night. It lead to some good perspective finding and was an amazing reminder that I can't do this teaching gig on my own, I seriously need God!

Philippians 1:6 "...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in tou will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ."

Well I'm on school time again these days, so I'm up way too late. Stay tuned for the adventures of week one in my class. Oh it's so much fun! I love my class already!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Back to School!!!!!!!!!!!

Tomorrow it back to school day!  Well technically I've been back for a week - staff week. But tomorrow the real fun begins! Back to thinking for 25 people! Ooooh I can't wait! I love the start of the new year, new books, pencils that haven't been used, the smell of new plastic, new kids! A whole new mix of strengths, personalities and needs completely different to any of the other 7 years I've taught. Although I plan to start the first day back exactly the same as I have the last 4, who knows how it will go!

I have done this long enough now to know that, though my heart is still in love with my kids from last year and I don't feel like I could ever love another group as much, I will. I will love these guys just as much, there will be helpers, comedians, dreamers, story-tellers, OCD tidiers (thank you Jesus for these ones, this is so not my strength), drama-queens, perfectionists, recluses, performers and they will all pull at my heart. I can't wait! I am up to 199 kids that I have called mine for a year (woah! that's alot!). 199 kids that have melted my heart,  frustrated me, inspired me, kept me awake at night, encouraged me, challenged me, taught me & given me enough hilarious anecdotes to write a book (especially my kindergarten days).

I'm excited that I will finally have something fun to write about again!

Anyway, despite all this excitement there is the real-life side of going back to work too - I have 9 programs to write... so I might try and make a bit of a dent in that before the day ends.

Happy Back to School Week!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It has a name!

In my last post I mentioned that my eyes do something weird in photos... you can see the whites under my irises (maybe in real life too... I haven't noticed because I can't see myself).  Well I didn't realise this was a thing until a work colleague picked it up in this photo which is on my classroom door:
And it's the same in almost all of my photos.

So of course I googled it - and wikipedia told me this is called Sanpaku and is usually found in people who over-consume drugs, alcohol or sugar (ok so I've never touched drugs or alcohol...but sugar on the other hand...hmm). It's also seen as an indication of mental imbalance. Oh dear!

A Day of Celebrating the Best Country in the World!

Today is Australia Day! A day to celebrate all things Aussie.
The past few years it has been tradition to hang with Leah. Today we even had matching shirts.
We had grand plans to picnic and swim. But it was too hot and super humid (like 40 degress... apparently that's 104 American degrees) and I'm pretty sure I got sunburnt putting petrol in my car (side-story: petrol is super expensive on Australia day... it cost me at least $15 more than usual!). So we opted to hang in the air con and watch movies and eat yummy chicken and chips.
Of course we wore our cool Australia shirts (how cute are we!)
Leah is amazing!
I also got to hang with my small friend Morgan. He is soooo cute in this picture. Do you like our matching tats? haha. Morgan has learnt so many new tricks this week! He's amazing!
 I love days with Leah, Jase and Morgan. Such great friends! Fun times!

So anyway. Because it's Australia Day... here is a list of things I love about Australia (well the ones I can think of right now)...
  • We're not a country in war or famine or poverty. This is huge! Soooooo blessed!
  • It's beautiful! We have amazing yellow sand beaches, beautiful rainforests, deserts (well i haven't seen them, but they look cool in photos), rivers, mountains (well pretend mountains compared to countries with real mountains), lakes, bush, and even a smattering of snow every now and then...well not at my house (oh I love snow!!). I love the diversity of landscapes we have here! 
  • I love the laid-back attitude, the 'she'll be right' (not that I ever say that). But I also love that we're not as laid-back as some island cultures I've visited... arrgh - that would drive me insane!
  • I love that we can laugh at ourselves - have you seen The Castle? I love Australian movies! 
  • I love the way our Nation responds to disasters - the way everyone pitches in to help each other get back on their feet. Did you see the Salvation Saturday reports?
  • Our crazy history 
  • The people. Australians are fun.
(If you need more reasons watch the Oprah Australia special. ha)

Happy Australia Day, world!

PS I learnt something weird about myself this week... a woman I work with noticed in a photo of me that the whites of my eyes are visible under the irises... apparently this is weird. So i just went through a whole heap of my photos on facebook and realised this is the case in 80% of the photos of me (including the first one in this post)... but I only found 1 other person in a photo in my facebook with the same thing. Who notices such things? I'm a tad paranoid about it now. haha!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The craftiness of me,

Today I went to ikea.
I love ikea.
My dad doesn't.

This afternoon I spent around 4 hours putting together four chairs and two tables. They aren't super exciting ones (yet) so I won't bore you with photos, but just know that I am a pro ikea flat-pack builder.

Also, this evening, while watching The Fugative, I finished the last of the 8 baby girl reversable dresses I've been sewing for the last 2 weeks. They are soooo cute!

Tomorrow our new pastors start. It's a bit exciting! 
It's also only 2 sleeps till I go back to school! Woo hoO!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Child Soldier No More

Tonight I went to the Watoto performance in the Town Hall.

I've seen Watoto several times before, but this was completely different. Usually they perform as a choir, with some testimony thrown in, it's all super happy and leaves you feeling encouraged and enthused about their work in Uganda.

Their Restore tour incorporates dramatic performances and video with a focus on Child Soldiers and the LRA war of Northern Uganda. The teenagers were acting out scenes of  their past. I was crying from the first scene when child soldiers walk in with guns, not because the acting was particularly moving, but because these kids had actually been there. They had been abducted and raped and shot and beaten. They had killed people, including their own friends and family members. It made it so real to think, this is not something that happened to some random nameless people on the other side of the world, but to these kids that were standing before us.

To some degree I felt sickened that these kids had to re-visit the pain of their past in these dramas (but I'm sure it was done with much consultation and thought to the emotions of the people involved... well I hope there was!).

I also hated that they had to perform such a graphic performance to get our attention. Don't get me wrong, I think it was an amazingly powerful performance & I'm so glad I saw it. But why should children have to act out these scenes and tell us of these atrocities?
How do these things happen in our modern society without us even really being aware? We've become so desensitised to the suffering of third world communities, comfortable in our own worlds, distracted by the constant desire for entertainment, overwhelmed by the hugeness of the problem. Wow. Feeling so challenged. What can I do?

I Survived the Sleepover!

All holidays my little friend P has wanted to hang out. 2 years ago she was a member on my Teen Missions Pre-teen team to Vanuatu.. She also goes to my school (and I taught her 4 years ago). The holidays are almost over (back to work on Monday!!!! Woohoo!) so we decided to play games at my house...which then turned into a sleepover. And she decided to bring a friend.
After the many many many many...many texts from this particular 12 year old (about what nail polish she should bring, what we would eat for dinner, and could I invite all my friends with babies to come...[]) I wasn't super excited about it. But it ended up being a fun night!

We ate thai... and cheese naan.
We played Mouse Trap, Break the Safe, Pass the Bomb & Simpsons Monopoly (their attention span was thin by the time we got to that game... they spent the whole game swapping their $100 notes for $1s and $5s...)
We built a gingerbread house (why not)

Haha! It was terrible! But we had fun!

We made mock-tails...

P added the redness & also the sugar... it was a little excessive! So sweet... and also sour! My eyes were watering!

We then spa-ed our feet, ate chocolate and watched a movie (they brought Charlie St Cloud with them... not the best movie for watching with 12 year olds. P spent most of the movie asking "why?: and "what?" and "who?" and "how?" and then just laughing hysterically for no reason).

At 12 I went to bed. Such a party pooper! They apparently watched Suddenly 30 twice after that... but I have serious doubts. They were both asleep at 8:30 when I got up and the movie menu screen was playing over and over.

It was a perfect girly sleepover (next time I'm choosing the movie). Good times!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A lesson in chinese history...

Last Friday, after saying goodbye to my gorgeous Leonard (ooooh I miss him already), Louise and I went to see the Terracotta Warriors display at the NSW Art Gallery.

It was amazing!

Incase you're like the me of early 2010 and haven't actually heard about these warriors let me fill you in. (oh side-story: I first learned about the terracotta warriors from book 8 of my favourite children's series 'the 39 Clues' - I highly recommend this series for kids aged 8-12... and if you happen to be a Yr 3-6 teacher who needs a unit on book 1, I wrote a really good one as one of my post-grad assignments and have used it with my class the past 2 years which I would love to share. Ok back to the Kaye version Chinese history).

In 1974 some Chinese farmers were digging in their field when they came across some pottery. On further investigation it was discovered that there were pottery soldiers buried deep in the earth beneath their field, actually beneath 50 square kms of field.
36 years on and heaps of digging later (not by the farmers, I think some official people have taken over), THOUSANDS (like over 8000) of these terracotta soldiers have been discovered. They were arranged in battle formation and EVERY SINGLE ONE IS UNIQUE! There are horses and generals and archers and officers and musicians and swordsmen and everything. They are full size human height (probably even taller actually) and so detailed (believe me, I've seen some). AND they are still finding new things all the time!

Why are there so many fake soldiers buried under the ground, you ask? Well, don't worry, I can tell you that too! (Oh I get so excited about things like this... and cicadas) Back in the day, like a few hundred years BC, there was a guy called Qin who, from the age of 13, was the King of a state of China, but then he became more and more powerful until he was pretty much in charge of the whole if China... which made him the First Emperor of China. He wasn't a very nice guy, but seemed to know how to get things done. He was super afraid of death, so from the time he was young he had his minions (I mean hundreds of thousands of people) create these one-of-a-kind soldiers to protect him in the afterlife. Wow!

You should probably google it, because there are alot of details I've missed. OH! really cool detail - this guy Qin died while he was on a trip around his country, but his officials with him were afraid there would be some sort of uprising against them, so they kept sending out official proclamations after he died...and ordered a cart of rotting fish to travel with the party so no-one would notice the smell of the decaying Emperor. He was buried 2 MONTHS later. Gross.

Currently there are 8 of these warriors on show in Sydney, along with 120 artefacts from ancient China. Louise and I were amazed, we spent at least 2 hours looking at the things on display in awe! The detail was probably the thing that got me! Everything - cauldrons, kettles, bells, jewellry, roof tiles, axle ornaments.... (I can't believe that they had already invented all these things way back then! I mean seriously what have we done in the last 2000 years?!)...all of it was SO ornately decorated, obviously the product of meticulous craftsmanship. I can't imagine anyone having the patience to craft those kinds of things from bronze (also I don't know where you would pick up some bronze if you were going to have a go... I guess it's probably something I don't really need to know) these days. Our society is so in the moment, if it can't be done in 5 minutes it's almost not worth doing.

The other thing that struck me was how sad this guy's life must have been, he spent so much of his life preparing for and fearing death. I guess when you take over other kingdoms and force your way to the top, there is going to be a slight chance that people may not be feeling kindness towards you... i would probably be fearing death too in that situation (actually I have significant doubts that I will ever find my self in that situation). It mkes me sad to think of the years and lives (people died carrying out the orders of the Emperor) and resources he used preparing for his death. Am I any better? Am I making the most of my time here on Earth? Or just working towards things that won't matter in the end?

Well, blogging-world, thus endeth the history lesson for the night. I hope you learnt something new... I so love learning these days, this world is seriously amazing, must be some incredible mind behind it all.

Stay tuned for more history with kaye... bahahahaha

PS My class is going to start a blog this term. It should be fun/funny.
PPS I miss my small friend Leonard :-(
PPPS My small friend Morgan learnt to crawl today. Oh my boys are amazing!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

This is not my car or my kid.

I haven't blogged in a week! So many things have been happening...

Though nothing as crazy as those floods! I have been watching the news reports just amazed at the devastation that the rain has brought in Queensland. I don't live in Queensland, but I have spent alot of time up there and have many friends and family members in affected areas. It's a weird feeling seeing places and going "Oh I've been there...and now it's 5 metres under water." I've been so emotional watching the reports... that 4 year old that fell out of the rescue boat, the family that were spotted by news cameras stuck in their car in the crazy torrent (the dad is still missing - so amazing that the mum and kid survived). On the other-hand it's in situations like this that Australians shine - Kevin Rudd (our ex-Prime Minister) is even, right this moment, talking about the way people have just jumped in to help strangers to move furniture, rescue people (there were some people who grabbed canoes and just paddled around suburbs rescuing anyone who couldn't get out) and donate time, space, resources & money. Hmm... I don't actually have words for how sad and proud I am right now about these floods.


I sort of want to dwell on that a bit longer, but there's also other things I want to write about...

Right now I am minding my friend's 9 month old son Leonard. He is super cute. And also super exhausting! I think I'll be in bed early tonight. I have been here since 3pm yesterday & am staying until his parents get home tomorrow night.

How cute is this smile! He thought the swing was hilarious.

We did have a minor 'major meltdown' today though, it seems Kaye left the formula powder on the bench when we went shopping... this didn't become evident until the bottle of water was heated and Leonard was screaming (screaming is an understatement). The mother's room quickly emptied out while I tried to stuff all his things back in the nappy bag, mapping out the route to Coles in my head. But then another woman noticed  (how could you not) my predicament & offered me some of her spare formula. So grateful! It was magical, even though it wasn't his normal flavour it worked instantly, ahhh! Good times. 

On Monday I had a fun sewing day with Leah & Karen (the mum's of two of my boys! That's right I get to hang with all 3 this week). It was heaps of fun! My crafts aren't finished yet (cos I was sewing 8 dresses at once), but I'll post them when they are. Leah sewed the cutest blanket and Karen fashioned herself a skirt! Such talent.

Sunday (I seem to be recounting in reverse order... let's go with that) was my pastors' last day at our church. We only had them for 12 months, it's a bit sad that they're leaving, I don't feel like I know them yet. They came over for lunch with their kids. Their kids were petrified of my cat. Poor Ed had to spend most of the afternoon locked in the spare room. As they were leaving 2 year old Zach decided he wanted to stay at my house forever (who wouldn't, it is super fun!). So we told him if he wanted to, he had to pat the cat.

Z: (through tears) "I wan du pad the cad"
His dad: "ok, come with me. Watch daddy pat the cat" At this stage Ed was lying outside on the deck having a nap. She's a pretty placid cat & loved the attention.
Zach got within a metre of Ed, when she decided it was the time to stretch. Zach ran inside screaming and jumped into his mum's arms, but at the same time saying over and over "pad the cad." maww. cute.

Last Saturday  a friend from work had her hen's day. It was a car rally. My team won. We were "gangsters" and had cool costumes... well cool glasses.

Last Friday I had a fun sleepover at my house. I love having people stay over. It was so good to catch up with friends and share my friends from different worlds (church, school (as in where I work), high school & I don't know how to put our friendship in a place)  with each other.
We ate pizza and potato skins (how good are they!), played chocolate trivial pursuit (till we realised the chocolate was gross and the questions were hard)... and we painted Cass.

How cute is her little milkshake belly! (she is due in March).

Ok, that's as far back as I'm going. I need sleep! haha (oh that's right I was going to do work tonight... whoops)

Oh if you're wondering about my title (I know I am), that's the random thought that passed through my head when the person in front of me slammed on their brakes while I was chauffering Leonard in his grandma's car today.

the end.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Song You Must Hear!

I have a semi-formed story of coolness to tell, but I found an even better story to share!

My friend Ann-Marie (who you may remember from such posts as Soooooo Grateful, Cheesecake & Cheesy Jokes, The fun night, the fair, the funeral & the friends) is an amazing singer/songwriter and her inspiring song 'Lost' has been included on a compilation album of Australian/NZ artists like Hillsong, Plagerise & Planetshakers (it's even track 2) - click on the picture to view details.

You can listen to her song here.
& buy it here :)
It's AMAZING (and I'm only slightly biased)! I still get so excited everytime I hear it on the radio!!!!
Stay tuned because there is also a film clip coming soon-ish - which my sister made! Oh, I have such talented people in my life!!

Congratulations beautiful Ann-Marie!!!!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A letter

I just got the most amazing letter in the post. All the way from Washington (the state...well not from the state, but from someone who lives in Washington the state, where I haven't been, as opposed to Washington DC, where I have been... minor sidetrack). This letter was from Tamara Steen. She was my English teacher in Year 11, back in 1998. She and a teacher from my school swapped lives for a year. Mrs Steen was an amazing teacher, she made lessons interesting, challenged our thinking about all sorts of things & brought us yummy chocolate brownies. She was also the only teacher to give me 4/20 for an assignment (which I fully deserved - you should not do English assignments on the train to school).

Anyway, about 3 weeks ago I felt like I really wanted to send a letter to 3 of the teachers who made the biggest impact on my life - my Year 3 teacher, my High School Year Adviser & Mrs Steen. Mrs Steen was the only one I could track down (it seems it's easier to stalk people in America than in my local area - though it still took a few hours), so I sent her a letter expressing how much she had impacted my life & inspired me as a teacher to make my classroom an exciting and challenging place to be.

Today I got a reply from her, which is so exciting in itself, but what makes it more exciting is that it was a God thing! God used my letter at exactly the right time! Here is the first bit of the letter:
Hi, Kaye!

Wow! I just received the most extraordinary letter of my career as an educator - and certainly one of the best Christmas presents I've ever received, too. On the day the letter arrived I was depressed, questioning my career choices, especially as I am 62 and retirement looms in a few years.
How perfect is God's timing! I could have sent that letter anytime in the last 12 years, but it got to her right on the day it needed to! Argh! I've got goosebumps!

Anyway I've got to get ready for the prayer breakfast I'm leading in the morning (at 7:30am! During the holidays?! What was I thinking?).

Oh & if anyone knows the address of Mrs Robinson or Mr Corlette please let me know. Thanks!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

I'm in 2011 already

Yay for living in Australia and being in the new year already. Well it's nearly 2am. Why am I still up? It seems I have become accustomed to 'holiday time' - staying up late, pyjamas till at least noon. hmm, I have 3 weeks to enjoy and break this habit.

Tonight I went to my church's new years eve party. It was typical church event - most people went home by 10. At 9 a bunch of us stood by the lake and watched 4 different firework shows around the lake. It was a pretty spectacular view - expecially since we were watching shows that were 2 hours drive from each other.

I spent the next hour and a half playing 'break the safe' (a very cool game that can get super intense) with some kids. I spent most of the time telling 6 year old Z that he needed to actually count the squares as he moved his piece (not just count, and move the piece to where he wanted to be - it was a brand new concept for him) & telling his big brother L  "no, that's cheating" (pretty much everything he did). We had heaps of fun & we even broke the safe 2 of our 3 times (the first game we were ALL in jail for most of the time)!

For the last part of 2010 we had a time of worship and reflecting on what God has taught us this year. It was pretty cool! I don't think our church is heaps good at sharing the real heart stuff. So it started with real surface level praise points - grandkids, babies etc (not that they're not good things), but then the conversation reached new depths when people shared some real things they had struggled with this (last) year & how God had brought them through it, grown them and proved His faithfulness time and time again. It was awesome to bring in the new year singing "Blessed Be Your Name."

For me the most significant thing I learned in 2010 was that God has called me to my now (even if my now looks different to the now I want and the now that other people have), and I've also grown alot in my understanding of His grace. Yep there is 12 months of heartache, pain, tears, laughter, love, pondering, prayer & conversations summed up in 1 sentence. (please refer to the past several months of blog posts for more detail. haha!) What has been the most significant lesson God has taught you in 2010?

Happy New Year blog-world friends!