Wednesday, June 30, 2010

HOME EDUDATION 101

This is our third year of home education. It’s not conventional. It’s not mainstream. It’s not what all of our friends do. We prayed about it and believe that at this point in time it is the right thing to do for our family.

I have changed our English/language curriculum each year and I’m still not happy with anything I’ve seen. Everyone has an opinion and many home schoolers are happy with the curriculum they are using. But what is right for one family isn’t always right for another.

I meet regularly with other home educators. We chat about all aspects of what we do. They do things very differently to how we do things. But what is right for one family isn’t always right for another.

I have a lovely toddler who interrupts our days. Other families seem to cope amazingly with all age groups. All families are different.

I love to read aloud to my children but my 8 year old stops listening after 5-10 minutes and quite often my 2 year old is ‘reading’ loudly beside me – so the other children can’t hear what I’m reading. Other families do most of their schooling through mum or dad reading aloud to them. But what works for one family doesn’t always work for all families.

I think about which school we’d put our children into if we decide to go back into the mainstream environment. All schools are different – one school will never be perfect – one school may suit our family but not others.

I book my children into after school activities. They mix with children from all walks of life. That mightn’t work for some families but it works well for ours.

Home education, home schooling, un-schooling, natural schooling – they are all just different ways of helping children learn. A building with bells and teachers may seem completely normal to some people but may simply not be appropriate for others.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Footprints Blog Tour

I was introduced to a great little magazine last year called ‘Footprints’. They have just hit an exciting milestone of 50 issues and to celebrate they are doing a blog tour.

It is such a privilege to host Janet from the Footprints team here at my blog on her tour.

Give-a-way information and further tour dates are at the bottom of this post

Wow congratulations, 50 issues is a great achievement. When you started 12 years ago, did you expect you would still be going?

Thanks Michelle! When I first had the idea for Footprints, I gave it a lot of thought and prayer, and made sure I counted the cost. I knew that if I started this magazine, it would most likely be a lifelong commitment. I was blessed to find half a dozen friends who “caught the vision” and encouraged me to make this dream a reality, and some of them have been working on the magazine with me, ever since!

However to actually get to this milestone and be able to look back upon 50 issues, and all that we have achieved along the way, and the people whose lives have been touched – it’s great!

Who is your target market for ‘Footprints’ magazine?

Australian Christian women who are looking for a positive alternative – a magazine that builds their faith, instead of glorifying the occult, celebrities, promiscuity, and all the other stuff that most magazines have. The majority of our readers seem to be between 30 and 75 years of age, but they come from all different walks of life. (And I’m told the menfolk don’t mind reading Footprints too, which is a bonus! Many is the time I’ve heard a subscriber lament that she hasn’t had a chance to read the latest Footprints because her husband has disappeared into the “reading room” with it!)

What is it that drives you to publish a magazine each quarter?

Just knowing that there are women out there, longing for the next edition, and needing a faith lift, is a huge motivation!

‘Footprints’ is a beautiful Christian magazine, though I think anyone would enjoy the uplifting stories. How do you market the magazine?

Marketing could be a fulltime job on its own! The internet is instrumental to our marketing efforts – it’s cheap, and accessible 24/7. We have a website, a blog, a Facebook fan page, an email chat group, and a free monthly ezine. These help us not just introduce people to Footprints, but also keeps putting us in front of them on a regular basis which I’ve read is the secret to any marketing strategy.

We have tried many things over the years – a couple of the other Footprints members (as well as myself) will sometimes speak at women’s groups or church functions; we have had brochures, and stalls at Christian events such as Easterfest. Marketing has always been a challenge because we have always operated on a shoestring budget. However the most effective method of marketing is FREE – and that’s word of mouth! It is immensely satisfying to hear from a new subscriber that they just had to sign up after hearing their friend rave about Footprints …

Where do you get your inspiration from to keep the magazine new and fresh? What’s your favourite magazine outside of ‘Footprints’?

I find ideas are everywhere! I get inspired by sermons at church, from my own personal Bible reading, from conversations with friends, and issues that I may be facing in my own life, as well as from other magazines. “Readers Digest” is probably my favourite magazine besides Footprints, it’s a good read.

What are your hopes for the future?

How long have you got?! Just kidding. I do have big dreams though, mainly because I believe so strongly in what God is doing through the pages of Footprints. I’d love to see us connect with the widest audience possible, so that they may be blessed!


Thank-you Janet for allowing me to interview you and a huge thank you to the Footprints team. You are all really doing a fabulous job.

To celebrate this fantastic milestone I want to give away a little piece of Footprints.

This beautiful book Decadence is filled with inspiring stories.
To win all you have to do is leave a comment below. (make sure you have your email address linked to your profile or leave some way for me to contact you if you win.)
*Aussies only*
The winner will be announced next Monday, 5th July. I use Random.org.
Also if you'd like a taste of Footprints before you subscribe I have several pre-read copies that I'd be happy to forward to you.... just ask in the comments below.


Follow these links to follow the blog tour...

•Thursday 24/6 - thanks to Wendy from On the Edge of Ordinary (http://mmuser.blogspot.com/) for kicking things off. Although currently in Brisbane , Wendy will be moving back to Japan within the next few weeks!

•Friday 25/6 – we jump over the border for an interview with Julie south of Sydney at http://worksformehomemaking.wordpress.com/

•Saturday 26/6 – Back up to sunny Queensland , where our host today is Kay from the Gold Coast, at http://heartsoulexchange.blogspot.com/

•Sunday 27/6 – That's me! Here on my blog!

•Monday 28/6 – Moving on almost to Melbourne , with Kathie from Victoria at http://proverbs31-woman.com/

•Tuesday 29/6 – Back up to the southside of Brisbane for a chat with Lil from http://motheringmisadventures.blogspot.com/

•Wednesday 30/6 – Head on over to Brisbane’s northern outskirts for Corallie’s feature on Footprints at http://buchanan-beeline.blogspot.com/

•Thursday 1/7 – Joni from the Blue Mountains in NSW plays host to the Footprints blog tour today at http://every1matters.wordpress.com/

•Friday 2/7 – Go west dear reader, as we chat with Narelle from Perth at http://www.momentsformum.com/ (Narelle is also our WA state rep).

•Saturday 3/7 - Back to the Brissie girls, with the popular http://www.squigglemum.com/  for an interview with Cath.

•Sunday 4/7 – Still in Brisbane , with Paula at http://paulassharingspot.blogspot.com/

•Monday 5/7 – Heading west – but not quite so far this time! Stopping in with Kelly in Toowoomba at http://beafunmum.com/

•Tuesday 6/7 – And finally, an interview practically in our own backyard with Tabitha in the Redlands at http://tabithabird.blogspot.com/

Friday, June 25, 2010

Final Conversation

Friday Flash Fiction
WAG prompt... the little things



'Can we just have a normal life?'
 'Why, who in their right mind would want to live as mere mortals?'
 'Me!'
 'Tell, me then,' he spoke through clenched teeth. 'What has brought all this on?'
 'Well, I saw this family while I was having a coffee. It was a mum, dad and their children. They walked passed me talking about what they would have for dinner. They seemed so happy.'

'Is this where you thank me for fine dining, banquets and high rise apartments?'

She ignored his comment and continued talking. 'And as I sat there at the Coffee Club thinking about the lovely family, I watched all the other families with children and I began to think that we've made a huge mistake in not having any children ourselves. It must have been a while that I sat there as the same family that I saw earlier, walked passed me again with a loaded shopping trolley. They talked about the BBQ that the father was about to cook and how the children would help put together a salad. Imagine that! Putting together your own salad.'

'Yeah, who'd want to do that?'

'Me, I would love that. What is the point in this glamorous lifestyle?' she turned to look at him, her eyes demanding an answer.

But, he said nothing. As he stood up from his chair he knocked the coffee table over.

She sat, knowing she had to accept life as it was and expected no change. In front of her was a window reflecting her husband walking towards the sliding door to the balcony behind her. She saw him open the door without closing it behind him. He continued to the railing of the balcony and leant over kicking his legs up in the air. From there he fell head first from the 25th floor.

‘Guess that’s it then,’ she said with a slight smile on her lips.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The same beat that once was doom is now life…

A thought came to me recently while I was at my church. My church plays loud music. I stood there thinking about how much I love the sound of the drum and the bass guitar. I love loud music. To me there is a perfect level of loudness, it’s when you can feel the beat go through your body but not leave a ringing in your ears. I love it.

I stood in a moment with my creator, worshipping His greatness. Feeling the drum solo pound through my body, standing in the wonder and awe of the goodness God brings into my life daily. Then I was taken back to a moment in my youth. I have always loved loud music. In my teenage years when I was filled with dark depression, there were times when I'd turn my music up as loud as it would go and lie with the speakers near my ears, hoping the pounding beat would take away my pain and brokenness.

At one stage of my life I couldn't see past the doom, I thought my time was over and now I hear that pounding beat and feel the joy of life, from God, knowing He is hope in every situation and joy in every day.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I'm Finished!!!!!!

I'm finished, I'm done, it's completed!
Six years ago I enrolled in a four year comprehensive writing course, life happened and I had to apply for a two year extension. Last week I sent in my final assignment and while away on holidays, it landed in my email in box. Final assignment accepted, course completed – certificate to arrive soon.

Have you ever taken longer than the given time to complete a course?

I'm over the moon, thrilled, completely delighted that I've finally finished. It was a fantastic course. Six years ago, I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to write, I just knew I love writing and hoped to write a novel one day. I quickly learnt that my articles and non fiction writing sounded like 'blah blah blah' and my fiction work developed rapidly through what I learnt.

I am now a published writer, with three short stories in paper print and one to be published later this year. I look forward with anticipation for my work to make its way into Australian Book Stores.

So with that, I'm off to write!

ps The story of my writing course journey was published on page 4 in the Lifestyle Learning Direct June newsletter

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

PLAY! My son the DJ

My brother is a DJ, so he has the whole set up. His children get the added bonus at their birthday parties of a resident DJ. Thankfully my brother isn't too precious about his gear as he lets the kids add to the play list.

At my boy’s cousins' birthday party, Mr (nearly) 10 took it upon himself to become the DJ. He was playing some very funky music. In reality – he was playing. And the rest of the kids, including Miss 2 were dancing, jumping and running around.

Music adds to kids play.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Barn

This story was written for the May Pic 1K montly challenge over at Soft Whispers


To the west of our homestead was the old barn, still standing strong. It had been through a fire that swept across the valley, the flood that gushed through at ankle height and the animals that lived there through the cold months.

The pigs snorted as I climbed the ladder to the loft. I could smell the cow’s saliva; the scent was stronger in the heavy wet air. Alone and lonely I hoped someone would find me. The letter I left for my parents was really just to get their attention.

I wrote, “Dear Mum and Dad, Now that you have no time for me I can see I need to find a new home. With George being born and Granny coming to stay for a week you don’t listen to me anymore and I don’t like it. I will come back when I turn 10 but til then, I’m sure I’ll find another family who will love me. Yours sincerely, Judy.”

I emptied my pockets and my back pack. After I snacked on the fruit and crackers I had stolen from home, it was time to breathe. While resting, there were no farm sounds other than the animals. Panic started to creep in, what if they didn’t care, what if they really were happy to just look after George. Maybe I really should start looking for a new family.

Then I cried, I tried to stay silent but in between the silence I gasped for breath then sobbed.

‘Judy, is that you up there?’ It was my Dad.

I didn’t say anything.

‘Judy?’

The ladder shuffled and squeaked with the weight of an adult climbing.

‘Can I join in with your tea party?’ Dad asked.

I stayed silent.

‘Was George too noisy? Did you want to get away from his crying for a while?’

‘Did you see my letter?’ I asked.

‘Letter? No, I haven’t seen any letters today. Is it serious?’

‘I guess not really.’

‘Pass me some crackers please, it’s a couple of hours since I ate.’

I did just as Dad asked and smiled. I guessed that everything would be alright after all.

Friday, June 4, 2010

In the Lie

Friday Flash Fiction
Writing Adventure Group #25: Breakin the Law

June was coming, she had it all sorted. Everyone knew the whole story, no one knew the truth. ‘It’s in the telling,’ she told her bird. ‘But somewhere in the telling, I’m in a muddle as to the story and the truth.’

Her bird whistled.

‘Well, I know you are real. But what else is? June, she must be real. I just spoke to her on the phone. You heard me didn’t you? No? Maybe I was just talking to you, thinking I was talking to June.’

She dusted the bookshelf beside the birdcage.

‘I’m going anyway! I’ve told Jamie and Susan that I’m picking her up. Yes now I’m sure the plane lands at 3:30 and I told her… Did I tell her? I know I told Susan I was picking June up at 3:30. Now what was the number of the flight?’

The bird flapped his wings.

‘Oh stop that, I’ve got it sorted, at least I’m in control now. No one can control me. I’ve got it sorted. I’ve told the story over and over, I know they know that I know, that we all know, that it really is the truth.’

The bird clung to the side of the cage, poking his beak through.

‘At least you know that everything I say is true. Within the story the truth rings out, it’s my story I know what’s right. Woven in and out, life would be dull and boring if we didn’t add a little extra to its lustre. It doesn’t matter if they don’t believe us. We are happy.’

Question.... when does a little fib become a huge lie? when does a lie break the law?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Play! Water Painting

When I don't have time to watch miss 2 with paints, I offer her a small bottle of water, paint brush and paper and off she goes.


She has been asking to paint every day lately... water paint that is!


Our family has always loved water painting the concrete and fence. Great for the not so crafty busy mum.