Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Happy 'Australia Day' 2016

And a song worth celebrating...

Doodle for Google Winner

Winner for Oz Day 2016

"Stolen Dreamtime"
Ineka Voigt, Canberra High School, ACT
"If I could travel back in time I would... reunite mother and child. A weeping mother sits in an ochre desert, dreaming of her children and a life that never was... all that remains is red sand, tears and the whispers of her stolen dreamtime."

Monday, January 25, 2016

MY Poem from 2011 Happy Australia Day Tomorrow

My Country
The love of field and pruning
Of green tree shaded lanes
Of pommie woods and gardens
Is the backpackers domain
Putting up with grey-blue distance
Brown streams and that low sky
Is nice to sometimes visit
But we could pass it by

I love a sunburnt country
Across the great western plains
Of bushwalkers mountain ranges
Of droughts and flooding rains
I love our far horizons
I love the Bar Beach sea
The beauty and the terror
The wide brown land for me

A stark white ring-barked forest
The loggers lop in tune
The sapphire misted mountains
The midday sun breaks through
Annoying spikey shrubs
Lantana and pesky weeds
A bunch of 40 dollar natives
A protea is all you need

Core of our soul, our country
The levelling blue sky
One minute cattle are dying
But then the grey clouds gather
And we can dance again
That sound on tin roofs clapping
The steady soaking rain

Core of their soul, their country
Land of the Rainbow snake
For flood and fire and famine
The dreaming stories make
Sand through the hand is poured
Lingiari was his name
The greenness will return
When they the land can claim

An opal hearted country
A willful, lavish land
We celebrate Australia
With coasters and board shorts
The flag we hold in hand
Brawls, beer and Hot 100
Disrupt our reflective or family time
We revel in the ANZAC
And sadly 'turn the boats around'

"My Country" Midnight Oil

"My Country" Midnight Oil written by Rob Hirst
Was it just a dream, were you so confused
Was it just a giant leap of logic
Was it the time of year, that makes a state of fear
Methods were the motives for the action

And did I hear you say
My country right or wrong

Did you save your face
Did you breach your faith
Women, there were children at the shelter
Now who can stop the hail
When human senses fail
There was never any warning, no escape

Did I hear you say
My country right or wrong
My country oh so strong
My country going wrong
My country right or wrong

I hear you say the truth must take a beating
The flag a camouflage for your deceiving
I know, yes I know
It's written on your soul
I know, we all make mistakes

This is not a case of blurred vision
It's a case of black holes, pocket holes, soul holes

And did I hear you say...

A song about misplaced patriotism and hiding behind the flag on the part of any country. In relation to Australia, do we have the maturity to become a republic, to make different choices to the US in the Gulf/Middle East and could we do things like 'recognising' indigenous people in our Constitution and moving on then to a conversation and action about soveriegnty. I won't bother to ask if we could open our borders to refugees and asylum seekers, take kids out of detention and find a new solution... that's just crazy talk!!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Ideas and Resources Creating Worship with Children and Families

Seasons of the Spirit here
A Joyful Path here
Spill the Beans here
Godly Play here
Holy Moly here
Re:Form here
Sticky Faith here
‘Deep Blue’ website here
Re:Form here 
Proost UK here
Worship House Kids here

Together to Celebrate here
All Together Series here
Fischy Music here
Seasons of the Spirit [available from Mediacom]
Seasons website here
Beth Barnett Resources here
As One Voice here
Carols in the Sun here

Digital Orthodoxy here
The Children’s Book Review here
Australian Book Review here 
The Book Chook here
The Children’s Book Council of Australia here 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

"Operation Boomerang"

This is the advert that seems to have a few people uptight... don't they remember the Kekovich originals!!
Lee Lin Chin's dry sense of humour and perfect comedic timing have become a real hit on TV with "Have You Been Paying Attention" [especially her deadpan reactions to Sam Pang] and it seems someone noticed and harnessed that for this quite clever bit of comedy. Funny, playful, cringeworthy Australiana... they're all up for some stick here, not just vegans!! I'd normally say racism of ridicule are judged how the effected see it, but comedy does always blur that line. I guess the facts are this is the big time of year for lamb sales and right from the off the attachment to Australia Day is something the marketers have sought to exploit. Between the cameos and the dry humour I find it clever and funny... comedy makes the rest hard to judge and causes it to sound a little sanctimonious I fear... In other year's I've noticed [Samy, Richie Benaud etc] this year I just might BBQ some lamb. I know some people whose livelihood depends on it!!

Sunday, January 03, 2016

"It's Not Rocket Science!"

If I write it here it'll happen won't it? I have decided to start my next writing project this year... Title: "It's Not Rocket Science" Subject: Things I've learnt in my vocation that might be of help to others, written in bites or useable sections so you could start anywhere. BUT what I've learnt from my previous publications is... it'll take me a long time; it'll be too expensive not to plan how you're going to publish And don't expect to make any money [that's OK, not the point] I think though I might try crowd funding to make it real. My continuing Ed this year will be learning how to write it well!!

Friday, January 01, 2016

Happy New Year Friends!!

Provisional Draft Thoughts that may even disappear...

What a huge year... I can scarcely believe how crazy busy it has been in work and family life. This is reflected in few places more fully than in the infrequent blog posts or reflections at least. If memory serves I started 2015 asleep [in bed by 11pm probably] and then spent two days at the Test Cricket with Geoff Smith and Co... new MA Noble came up a treat!! Then came some serious catch ups, communication and planning around the fact "The Making of Midnight Oil" exhibition was coming to Newcastle Museum as a result of my email to all and sundry suggesting this before it had opened in Manly!!

I did the Vollies Intro but was worried about my knees and lots of standing so I simply took the Curator's Tour, copped an Invitation to the Opening [amazing!!] and then visited, took friends, sat, ran through and generally enjoyed having my own "Earthquake Relief Concert" t-shirt as part of the exhibit... which I must get back Julie Baird!! It was a wonderful thing to be able to chat to Rob Hirst and Jim Moginie [songwriting engine room] and thank them for the brilliant music, live experiences and how much it meant and means to me on my journey. Little did I know I'd be in Melbourne for a Conference after it opened there also with so little fanfare I had thought it wasn't going to happen!! Many fine memories and twice I had that experience of looking back and not really wanting to leave the room.

"St Vincent" at Sydney's Openair 19th year was outstanding... I continue to use the scene of Oliver's first class at his new school which bears almost no resemblance to the rest of the story and the value of the film but is a snippet worth bottling in my work...

How did I end up at Asian Cup Soccer matches in Newcastle? Stupid game, entertaining spectacle!! Enjoyed the solidarity with Palestine and the skills of Japan. Could have seen the Socceroos had I been more proactive straight after the first match I went to... ironic really!!

I started into some work straight up as the girls embarked on a busy academic and activity year!! This would also be my final [4th of 3?] year as "Hunter Presbytery Youth Ministry Development Worker" due to the limited funding!! The second Weekend OUT remains a strong highlight of what's possible but some missional promptings and work on fostering 'imagination' were important steps. The Upper Hunter and rest of Hunter mix had many challenges, enjoyments, advances and steps treading water... normal really!! FED workshops, Presbytery presentations, work with congregations and mentoring individuals was fun!! Project Reconnect, 'Curate', Ethical Ministry Training, ULN network, didn't get to Songwrite, Presbytery website, Messy Church, worship workshops, 'Dangerous Conversations' happened, Committees etc abound!!

Transport runs included swimming, dance, music, water polo, and then retreat to Wanderers Rugby to volunteer time as "Player Welfare" person where we ramped up some parts of being available to get alongside people and yet didn't get the 'House System' singing this year. I think the expectation on players from team aspect and personal fitness leaves little genuine time for another framework BUT we'll see in 2016 as we do have a way to organise Houses from the outset if we reboot it... If not rosters are the go... People were helped, support was given, advocacy could have gone better with it taken seriously by the Competitions Organisers and it's always going to be limited by time... I will connect closer to team structures again in 2016 early on to get to know more players...

Burgers, windscreen cracks, a dog running in front of the car, tests proclaiming good health without evidence of cancer!! Good friends have a different diagnosis and that is hard, ever present and to be worked at and they are in my thoughts and prayers [no really] Swimming, not enough, walking a bit, finishing my early year work role exhausted but having a bundle of energy to start the new one!! Fiji holidays are quite remarkable for the hospitality, restfulness and memories [trade winds aside it was a wonderful few days with the girls]. We saw "Matilda" as well and "Tay Tay" oh and got to thank another elusive Oils band member as Peter Garrett launched his memoir in Newcastle on a stormy night...

How could I have forgotten the demise of Prime Minister Tony Abbott in my first draft, a skilful negative Opposition Leader, a terrible Prime Minister... it's not his conservatism I minded, just it's outworking as three word slogans, lack of vision, denial, exclusion, pig headedness and poorly articulated direction. Malcolm Turnbull is by comparison light years from this... People sensed genuine wit and intelligence, cut through and reltability that belie his wealth and the verbosity is just part of the mix. I do think he needs to work out the reading glasses thing as Labor has even already picked up on it... don't know what I mean? Watch Mal's next expansive media conference where he has anything to read as well as speak. Still bound by stupid policy he will need a win and power to really prosper a different agenda... while my politics have shifted way left in the last 30 years you have to say this is better than 'less than one term Tony' in so many ways beyond ideology [because that's where he was stuck]!! It's great to have a Leader who can speak 'off the cuff' and make unscripted remarks that matter, who genuinely likes catching the bus [not just the actual bus, but the connection with people it symbolises so it's not an empty gesture]. Beyond that, yes our refugee policies are cruel and will one day be to our genuine shame having made it a political issue not a humanitarian one...

In the midst of all that I had to try to discern with others, what role might be next and Morisset held a special place in my restlessness [for most of the year funnily]. To my surprise in so many ways [and delight overall] the opportunity has come my way to help a group of people pick themselves up and go again. There's a scope for community connection, new ideas, mission and just doing the simple things as well as possible and it's been outstanding as an opportunity so far just six weeks in... we face some big challenges but will 'have a crack'. In the end it will be God's work to do something with our efforts, our job to respond to call, to listen and discern and act accordingly "it's not rocket science." I think I will start that book this year... self publishing sucks though!! I have enjoyed the welcome, the willingness to go along and see, the rejuvenation and look forward. I made a full of energy start just trying to do simple things well and I think I have achieved that... a full year awaits with a mix of hard work, opportunities and juggling of time!!

As I end the year there are maybe three things giving me the mix of happiness, concern, disappointment and the gentle reminder I haven't gotten everything right!! Focus, determination and communication required... and of course they are the only reason I'm writing this reflection. I'm overjoyed about some things from 2015 but disappointed in myself in equal measure all at the same time.

This against a background of rarely finding much that matters to me about New Year's, other than agreeable temperatures, my fav. seasonal time of year and a chance to watch some cricket. The rest I could happily consign to memory as I trawl through all those years of less than stellar NYE celebrations that fizz out and make me wish I was at home asleep [with a few notable exceptions that nonetheless don't shift my averages much] and to this end tomorrow will be another day requiring one step after the other. There is light but it still feels a little like a damn tunnel. Anyhow, time to get on with it...

I don't make NY resolutions, I set goals often and so that process is continual. I don't write my most important stuff in detail I guess, I think about them all the time. I guess this is part of the story... My trait of being able to hold many complex things, ideas, relationships and happenings together will get some recharge I'm sure... in the meantime, the mix continues.

So 2016, hard work and hopefully the joy of goals met, goals appropriately changed and some good news on all fronts!! I place myself at the ready, slightly crumpled and bent yet hopeful when not beating up on myself for stupidity. Panel beating is required, I hope it goes OK!!