All The Rivers Run

All The Rivers Run

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Speed Limits

The speed limit outside our house is 50 kms / hour. 

Recently, however, there have been roadworks happening on the outskirts of town, so they put up a new sign, right outside our house, changing the limit:

Yep, I'm sure that makes sense to someone!

Have a great day!


A Writing Lesson....

Do any of your writing lessons feel like this one?  I know mine do!


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Easter and Reconciliation

In our church, we are taught that the sacrament of penance is ‘a sacrament instituted by Christ in which forgiveness of sins committed after baptism is granted”.

Three things are required of a penitent in order to receive the sacrament worthily:

  1. He must be contrite—or, in other words, sorry for his sins.
  2. He must confess those sins fully, in kind and in number.
  3. He must be willing to do penance and make amends for his sins.

Lent is a particular time for reflecting on our sins, and to be willing to come to the Lord to confess them, and to make amends.  It is also the time we look deep within ourselves, question ourselves, and a time we are called to make peace with our fellow man.  And just as the above three things are required to make peace with God, we are also called to follow the same formula for achieving peace with each other – including being ready to listen and make reparation for our errors.  For what applies with our Heavenly Father also applies to each other:  ‘Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others who trespass against us’.  It is, therefore, only through us forgiving others that our Father will forgive us.  If we hold grudges and refuse to forgive others, we will be held accountable;  ‘For as you judge, so shall you be judged’. 

This Lent, our family completed a Lenten Study by Ann Voskamp, ‘Trail to the Tree’.  As always, Ann writes with simplicity, and in a style that is so gentle, yet so powerful.  So much of what she has written has resonated with all of us, and as we followed the trail to the tree, we realised that while it is true that out of death comes life, that forgiveness and reconciliation is always possible, no matter what. 

It is at these times that I am so thankful for the sacrament of reconciliation.  We have the opportunity, right now, to go to our priest and ask God for forgiveness.  This Lent, I have spent some wonderful moments with our local priest, both in discussion and in confession.  I know with confidence that God sees all, and offers us all forgiveness, if we are truly contrite and ready to turn our lives around to live as He asks us to.  To have such a wonderful sacrament available is truly a blessing.

This Easter, let us all work on reconciliation; with God of course, but firstly, with each other.  For if we cannot live side by side in this world, what makes us think we can do so in the next?  This Easter, let us try to live as Christ commanded, ‘To love one another’.  The world is so fractured, and there is so, so much suffering and pain.  Let us try, at least, to bring the body of Christ – His family - together, and to walk with each other for the Glory of God.

Have a wonderful, blessed Easter, and may peace be with you.  


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Separating Egg Yolks from the Egg Whites

Today, we decided to make pavlovas to take along to a dinner outing. As always, when I went to separate the eggs, my 'egg separator' had mysteriously disappeared, and I thought that once again, I'd be separating them by hand, using the shells.

Not so! My 16 year old commented she'd seen a video online, using a plastic bottle. With a big grin on her face, she fetched a bottle, broke an egg into a bowl, and with one, short squeeze, sucked the yolk into the bottle, leaving the white behind! Soon, it was the new craze, and I was most glad that we had 12 eggs to separate - it was a hoot! It worked perfectly, only failing once when I accidentally broke a yolk.

Anyways, I though it may be of used to someone else, so here's the link:

Have a great day, and enjoy the rest of your weekend!


For Healing.....

A beautiful video, passed along thanks to my friend, Ann Voskamp:

May God bless your day,


Tutoring - IEW Style

A question we often ask of children is ‘what do you want to do when you grow up’?  It’s one I’ve often pondered myself – and yet, I still haven’t made up my mind.  Actually, I sometimes think my own solution may simply be to not ‘grow up’ at all.  Yet, what to do, and where to focus my time and my energies always remained in question.  Certainly, I always loved to study, and found myself tackling several courses over the years, including a 'Certificate in Writing', and more recently, becoming a Certified Instructor with IEW.

Over the course of the past couple of years, I’ve had different people approach me to check their writing, or to look over their children’s essays.  Having used the IEW programme with all of my children and as a Certified Instructor, I felt I was able to offer advice, critiques and some helpful comments.  Each time, I began the task with some trepidation, however, as I marked each assignment I not only felt my confidence grow, but I discovered that it was something I truly enjoyed – in fact, I loved it! 

Every now and then, I’d experience a little ‘nudge’ somewhere deep in my soul, that ‘feeling’ one gets from time to time, as if to say that when our homeschooling journey is over, tutoring may be an option.  Then, as our new life began in NSW, so did the tutoring.  This year, I am very much enjoying the start of my official ‘tutoring’ role, taking on several students who submit their essays to me, which I mark, critique and then return to them.

Surprisingly, I am finally experiencing what it feels like to truly love your work!  And with ‘only’ four left at home to homeschool, I find that I now have time to commit to this endeavour.  Of course, I still have those moments of doubts, where I wonder if I’m ‘good enough’ to mark someone else’s writing, but when I sit down with the essays, I find that I can see the strong points and the weaker ones, and find I am indeed, well equipped to offer constructive advice.  It’s been a delightful, yet challenging, few months, and it’s been a wonderful privilege to work with our up and coming writers.  Who knows?  Maybe one day, these young people will be well-known authors.  

I still haven’t decided what I want to do when I grow up (if I ever do) – but tutoring, editing and marking essays is certainly an option – for now, I’m loving it.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Random Moment of the Week....

Ahhh.. That moment when you're sitting quietly at the back of the theatre, watching drama practice, and your phone suddenly bellows out, for all to hear.... 'Message from the dark side you have'  (Yep, in Yoda's voice).

Everyone - actors on stage, the director, and all others in the room - stopped what they were doing and turned, with amused smilies on their faces, to look at me.

I simply muttered 'sorry' and sank into my chair....... 

Thanks for that, Helena - Just you wait until I manage to capture a photo of you in your gorgeous costume!


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Friday's Encouraging Expressions

Listen, enjoy - and sing - No matter what life brings, there's always a song to fit - find it!  :)

Have a Good Friday!


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Planning and Record Keeping

One question I'm often asked is 'What do you use for Planning and Record Keeping'? 

For many years I made up my own Record Books, which I would type up, print out, and bind.  The books would contain planning pages, my timetables, a space to record each child's daily work, as well as pages in the back for recording such things as reading logs, field trips, and testing / evaluation.  I developed my own Record Book over the course of about ten years, and was finally satistied that I had created a resource that suited our needs.

Then, Apologia kindly sent me a free sample of a new resource in their catalogue:  'The Ultimate Homeschool Planner".  Being a little stressed and short on time, I decided to try it out for our 2012 year.  The result - I LOVE IT!   It contains, essentially, everything I was putting together myself, along with lovely Bible verses, teaching tips and a place each week to record those 'memorable moments'.  And all wonderfully put together in one, spiral-bound book!  Although each week is meant to be used as 'planning pages', I simply use them to record the work completed, and have our plan for the year tucked into the front pocket.  Each week has space to record the work for six children - while that would not have suited me a few years ago, with two of my children now living away from home, it now suits me perfectly!

Here's the Blurb:

"Designed for the busy homeschooling mother, help bring order---and less frustration---into your life. A user's guide will help you set everything up; a one-year planning grid, student goal setter, pre-planning guide, monthly planners, weekly planner, records, teaching tips, and a high school planning guide are all provided. Yearly planning pages provide room for vision-casting with your family priorities, a review of the previous school year, a goal-setter for character and academics, and timing grids. Weekly plans provide room to write in your Bible plan, battle plan, prayers, hospitality/outreach efforts, memorable moments, achievements, and evidences of grace. Schedule pages may be filled in as you see fit-both the vertical and horizontal axes are blank for you to fill in days and subjects as you prefer. Boxes along the facing page include room for notes, supplies, and appointments. The plastic covers include folder pockets on the inside for handy storage. Spiral bound."

The Ultimate Homeschool Planner, published by Apologia, is available through Christian Book .  

I hope it saves you heaps of time and energy, and you'll find it as worthwhile as I have!

May God bless your day with smiles and happiness,


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sweet Sixteen

Last week, we celebrated as our 4th daughter turned sixteen! 

Margaret is the most beautiful girl to have around;  often while I'm running about to band practice, choir, drama group or wherever, our girl will be home, putting on dinner, making sure the household is running smoothly, putting on a load of washing or whatever else needs to be done.  She does all of this, often, I'm sad to say, with very little thanks, as we rush in from one thing, eat, and then head back out the door once again.  So if I've not said it lately - THANKYOU!

I'll often find Margaret sewing, cooking, or drawing on her tablet. Amazingly, she is a completely self-taught digital artist, and for the past few months, has been selling her artwork to an overseas web-site.  The owner has even email me personally to commend her for her work;  he is so proud and honoured to have her as a part of their team. 

Margaret, we are so proud of you - I cannot even put it into words - you are indeed, a blessing from heaven, and it is an absolute honour to call you my daughter.

Happy Birthday, sweetheart!



Thursday, February 28, 2013

Friday's Encouraging Expressions

 And when the floods came, and the roads were closed once again, we did indeed dance - on the highway!


And by golly gosh, we certainly enjoyed ourselves!

Have a good Friday - smile, and if you can - dance!


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Fun With Family.

You would think that moving 2000 kms away from your lifelong home would also mean leaving all your family behind.  Not so, it seems!

Since moving to NSW, we have managed to have a Family Christmas lunch:

A visit from Granny and Aunty Carmel, complete with the traditional 'mother and son' card game:

The winners, I'm sad to say, were Jean and Bill (next time, next time, Daniel and I will have you!):


And we even had a surprise vist from my nephew, Andrew, and his family, who decided to sell up in SA, and move north as well:

Last Sunday, we took a day trip to Bryon Bay  to once again catch up with Ida, Kylie, Sarah and Zoe for a family lunch.  The visit also invovled some future planning for one serious girls' night out (just you wait for THOSE photos - they should be GOOD!):

Technically, these two lovelies are my 'nieces', however, they are well aware that calling me 'Aunty Linda' will most likely earn them a punch in the nose - given that they are only just younger than I am.  :)

So it seems we are certainly 'not alone' up on the NSW north coast.  Lots more family visits planned, and we look forward to catching up on a few lost years!


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Here We Go Again....

And just when we kept hearing how rare it was to have four floods in four years........

How about two in a month?

The first one show our little tree, which usually sits on the egde of the river bank, about to go under completely.

The second shows our neighbours trees - now completely submerged as well.

The river peaked this morning at 5 metres - 1 metre short of the top of the levee - so, all is good as far as that goes.

Sure is a whole lot of water, though - again!


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Music and Drama - Again! :)

Last week saw our 18 and 17 year olds head off into the 'big wide world' as they began their lives as students at the local TAFE.

Daniel, 18, is completing a Certificate IV in Sound Production, and Helena, 17, will be studying Certificate IV in Music.  We rocked up for the orientation day, handed over the cash, and they were ready to go.

Their first week has been full of wonderful, exciting possibilities, including several people offering to record Helena as she plays the pieces that they have composed.  And Daniel is very much enjoying learning about the physics of sound waves and how to use the sound boards.

We have also started back at the conservatorium, with four of us enrolled for private lessons as well as signing up for several ensembles and bands.  The Con tells us we win the 'Frequent Flyer Points' for attending the highest number of groups - typical - we do tend to do that!

The Conservatorium here is absolutely marvellous.  I can't tell you what a delight it is to walk in, hearing music pouring out of the rooms.  They have the most wonderful, welcoming staff, and fantastic teachers.  We are indeed very blessed to have found them, and look forward to all they have to offer.  

Sing Australia - Our SA Group (We miss you!)
So what else?  We began back with Sing Australia, and each week, attend to belt out lots of our favourite tunes.  They have a most marvellous repertoire, and if there's a group near you, I'd highly recommend that you check them out - you do not have to be a great singer - in fact, you don't have to have any abilities at all - it's all about having fun!

The Grafton group certainly lives up to this reputation, and we're enjoying being a part of the group.  The only 'downside' is that it may clash with rehearsal times in our 'latest' activity, the drama group.  And speaking of drama, the next thing on our 'list' was the audition evening.

The Criterion Theatre held their first auditions for the year - for 'Rockin' Robin' - a musical, and shall we say.....   'entertaining' version of Robin Hood.  Several of us auditioned for speaking parts, while others were keen to help out behind the scenes with sets, costumes, etc.  It was a little nerve-wracking for some, but naturally, others felt right at home on the stage!  I must admit to having one of those 'proud mummy moments' when my children stood up with total confidence and happily rattled off their chosen songs as well as reading through the script with confidence and enthusiasm.  And then, we were done.  We headed off home with the group saying they would let us know.

Fast forward a few days.....   and yep, we have our parts!   Several of us did score a major speaking role, including myself, who, for whatever reason, was given the part of the 'magic mirror'.  Why they thought I'd be good in that role I'm not sure, but I get the honor of sticking my head through a prop to become the mirror, and will be rolled about on stage, rattling off funny lines like, 'Yeh, right', 'Wow!  Check it out', and 'I am not cracked!'.  While dear hubby, who is playing the part of the sorcerer, tells me to 'shut up' - twice! 

Some of the children were also offered speaking parts, and some will have a stack of lines to learn.  And of course, we all will be joining in with the chorus as they rattle off some great old songs like 'Rockin' Robin', 'Johnnie B Goode' and 'Rock Around the Clock'.

Yep, it's going to be a fun, fun, year.......

May God bless your day!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

With Love, Peace, and Chicken Grease!


A Slight Change of Plans – Excellence in Writing

As you may have seen on my previous post, this year I had planned to use IEW’s ‘Ancient History-Based Writing Lessons’ with my three youngest girls.  We’ve had a change of plans.  Last year, the girls completed SWI (Student Writing Intensive) Level A, but unfortunately, with travelling, moving, the fire, and all the other ‘minor’ things we went through, I wasn’t exactly able to supervise as well as I’d like, so a few things were… shall we say….  not exactly completed to their fullest potential. 

So, instead of moving onto a theme-based book, we’ve decided this year to begin with SWI B, which will cover the basics again, but at a higher level.  Another advantage with using SWI B is that the girls will watch Andrew himself on the DVDs, which as many of you will appreciate, is always a hit!  We organised the new folders and pulled our DVDs from  the depths of the yet-to-be-unpacked boxes, and soon we were ready to begin.

Last Wednesday was ‘the day’.  After presenting the girls with their new folders, we settled down in front of the television for their first session.  As always, there were smiles and chuckles as Andrew ‘did his thing’ and taught them all about key word outlines and how to re-write a paragraph.  The source text was a paragraph on ‘Sea Wasps’, which are found in the oceans off the coast of Australia.  I’m always very appreciative of this particular lesson; it’s lovely to begin the year with some Australian content, and to know that Australia has some of the coolest and most deadly creatures in the world! 

As is typically the case, we soon found that we ‘were not alone’.  There’s something special about Andrew Pudewa, and he manages to grab the attention of whoever is about.  Even though our Daniel has finished his homeschooling, once he saw what we were watching, he happily settled himself of the couch to enjoy the lesson as well.  It’s wonderful to have such a programme; one that the older children can simply watch and enjoy, and yet, they are therefore having a review lessons themselves.

Once the DVD reached a certain point, it was time to press ‘stop’ and have the girls re-write their paragraph.  I was pleased to discover that they tackled the task easily, and remembered several things from the lessons of last year.  It was good to know they had retained some information, despite my failings!  The next day involved writing up another paragraph before moving on to the next section of the DVD.  Although the course was originally an intensive, 4-day presentation, IEW now offer lesson plans for 15-30 weeks, meaning we can take our time and allow plenty of opportunities for practicing the various skills learned along the way.

It’s wonderful again to be working through SWI B – I think this is my favourite one of the series.  Next year, we’ll use the Continuation Course, but we will probably use Speech Boot Camp first – another one of my favourites.  For now though, I’m looking forward to using these DVDs again and enjoying the giggles as Andrew takes the girls through their lessons.  We’re off to a good start – just the thing to keep a busy homeschooling mum happy!


Monday, February 11, 2013

Our Lady of Lourdes

So I thought I’d write a post on our homeschooling day – because y’know – that’s what we supposedly ‘do’.

Yesterday was February 11.  As my Catholic friends would know, that means it is the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes.  We really do love the story of St Bernadette, and several times now, we’ve completed an activity from Seton’s ‘Art For Young Catholics’, Grade 1. 

I love this book!  Sure, it’s grade 1, and my girls are a bit beyond that now, however, it offers such lovely art projects that we do them anyway.  And I figure if I can get away with a Grade 1 project rather than a complicated Grade 6 or 7 project with lots of materials and complicated instructions, it’s all good!

We set ourselves up outside on the patio.  It’s such a lovely spot for art projects, and of course, tackling art projects outside certainly saves the carpets and other floor coverings.  I photocopied the necessary pages, and we were ready to go.  It was a lovely afternoon sitting there with my girls as they coloured, cut, and glued.  The project was to make an ‘Our Lady of Lourdes’ picture, complete with tissue roses and vines.  The idea is so simple – the roses look wonderful, and yet, to make them, all you do is cut a small square of red tissue paper, crumple it up, and ta-da!  One rose, ready to be glued onto your picture.

I was so excited that this was all going so well, that I just had to take some pics:


I even called Bill away from his work to witness it!  He just smiled and gave me ‘that look’ as if to say, ‘Wow!  You guys are actually doing schoolwork today – how about that?’  And then wandered happily back to the office.

One thing about working outside is the animals.  During the day, one of our cats turned up with a lizard in her mouth.  We’ve been told that the cats should not eat these particular kind of lizards, as it can do something strange to their eyes, so I stamped my foot, startling her and making her drop it   The lizard took off as fast as it could go – right in the direction of the doghouse.  At this, the dog, spying a free snack, flew into action, and sprinted after it.  The lizard reached the doghouse and scurried straight underneath, but as for the dog….

Well, let’s just say that if it were possible for a dog to have a massive headache, she’s got one!

Anyways, back to the school work…

After a little while, the projects were completed, and the girls proudly displayed their masterpieces:



They then headed inside to watch the CCC video, ‘Bernadette’, to finish off the afternoon.  This is another series I highly recommend for young children:  we’ve had the videos for years, and I think they are the most commonly played videos in our home.  Other titles include St Francis Xavier, The Day the Sun Danced, and even The Odyssey.

Our check list for the day:

Art and Craft – tick!

Religion – tick!

History – tick!

Hands-on activity – tick!

Quick, simple and effective – just the way I like it!


Pope Benedict XVI

Please join us in prayer for Pope Benedict the XVI, who has just announced his retirement due to ill health. 

The news tonight has come as a shock to Catholics across the world;  and closer to home, it is certainly a shock to our family.  You just never know what’s around the corner, do you?

Pope Benedict is an amazing man, and has led the church since 2005.  He is the first Pope to retire in nearly 600 years.

We pray that God’s will be done, and we pray for those now responsible for electing a new Pope.  May the Holy Spirit guide and protect them.

God bless,


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Be Back Soon.....

Spending three nights in a row with family and friends dancing, playing and singing has taken its toll......

Have a great week!


Friday, February 8, 2013

The Criterion Theatre

Friday night saw the opening of the new season for 'The Criterion Theatre', one of Grafton's drama groups.  Their opening consisted of a 60s Dance Night - so, we put on our dancing shoes, and headed into town to join them. 

We arrived early and organised a table. Soon, the conversation and the drinks were flowing, and everyone was hyping up on sugar, ready for a great night on the dance floor:

I must say, we are begiining to feel quite at home in Grafton, and found we already knew several people at the dance:  we knew a band member, some of the audience, and some of the theatre group.  And others were coming up to us and introducing themselves;  they'd seen us around town at church, choir, and other places, and wanted to say hi.

And then, it started.  It began with Daniel's fingers, dancing away on the table:

But all too soon, we were all up and having a ball:

Hanging above our heads was a 'Ned Kelly' pinata, and when the time came for the band to take a break, the children gleefully took a hold of the stick, and beat poor Ned to death:


Of course, he was chock-o-block full of sugary foods, and my girls soon had a wonderful collection to keep them going. 

I was just thinking to myself that it was probably quite enough sugar, when this happened:

During the night, there were door prizes and prizes for costumes, dancing, etc.  The first prize was the door prize.  We all had our lucky tickets at the ready, and ours was the first one called!  Lizzie went up to to receive the prize which was, naturally, a whole bunch of sugar.

The real funny thing about this prize was this:  When we first arrived in Grafton, we attended a celebration at our church.  A part of that day was a raffle draw, and mine was the first ticket drawn - I quickly selected the bottle of red that was on offer.  This time, we won the wine glass!   What DOES that say???

Anyway, back to the dancing.  The live band continued to do their thing, with lots of Rolling Stones, The Doors, and of course, The Beatles. 

There were some very fast songs, and some slow ones, which allowed for a bit of walzting as well.  As one of the slower pieces came on, I commented to my children, 'now watch, as your Mum and Dad show you how we can't waltz'.  And so we did! 

Now, I'm not sure if the organisers truly selected a random couple of if they simply felt sorry for us (we really aren't the best waltzers in the world), but next thing I know, we were presented with this:


Another prize - More sugar, of course!

And then, it was back to more Rolling Stones and Beach Boys, and we were all rocking it on the dance floor once again.  I must say, I was most impressed with my guys;  although we all love to dance, we've not been to many events, but, they know how to move, and what's more, we all knew many of the songs, too.

All too soon, though, the night was over, and it was time to go home.  We took the info sheets on the auditions for the first production of the year, and look forward to meeting up with everyone again soon

And the really good news?  I managed to climb out of bed the next morning without an issue!  I did wonder if I would be literally 'crawling' out in agony, but nope, it's all good! 

We're all looking forward to being a part of the Crieterion Theatre, and attending more dance functions in the future. It's wonderful to be made to feel so welcome and wanted;  and we are beginning to feel right at home in our new town.

Have a great day,