Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christian's news

Merry Christmas!

Our big news for this year is the expected arrival of a child in May next year!

This year I have continued in pastoral ministry at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Toowoomba with occasional visits to Stanthorpe and Glenarbon.  In April I was elected onto the LCA's Commission on Social and Bioethical Questions at the General Synod, and have continued as President of Lutherans for Life.  On issues moral in the western world and in Australia I survey the future with trepidation and some despair.  Yes, it is an opportunity to speak to the world about God's gift of life to the world, but I have little confidence in the world's ability or willingness to hear God's Word.  But that's OK, nations rise and fall, but God's Word will stand for ever.

My mother visited from Germany this year, a blessing to her and us.  Mondays I enjoy keeping my hand in general practice at the Toowoomba Medical Centre with a great group of receptionists, nurses and doctors.

This year I have enjoyed watching our children grow, and I especially love seeing Enoch and Abigail devouring books!

Sarah Joy and I wish you a blessed Christmas and God's richest blessings for the new year.

… Pleased as man with man to dwell 
Jesus our Immanuel
Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn king.

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell (Colossians 1:19)

The Son of God, the spiritual being who enjoyed becoming a human.  If it was good enough for God, it's good enough for us!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tank Adventures for 2013

Photo by Kirsty Humphrey
I made this computer.
We got to have my birthday cake
and it tasted delicious!
I like races because my bike is strong.
I do schoolwork and I am good at drawing pictures
I am the knight. I like knight and cowboy dress ups. I look
after my queen. I protect the queen's baby.
I like my Opa, I want to see him again.
This tree fell down when it rained. There was big lightning.
We climbed it. The council came and cut it up.
I like my Dadda. I cuddle him all day.
I like my Mama on the trampoline. We can jump!
I like swimming at my swimming lessons.
Captions by Tank

The Man's Adventures in 2013

Photo by Kirsty Humphrey
Climbing trees at Opa's place.
This year we went to Uncle Simon and Aunty Kim's wedding in Sydney. We liked the kids party because we played games with our cousins. After the kids the party we went to the adults party and had a little play there. We then went back to our hotel, and went to the cousins room to have dessert.

The next day we went to Sydney Harbour with the cousins.

I got to see my godfather at General Synod in Adelaide.
I was really excited.
We drove to MacIntyre Caves and had a little explore in the caves. We saw another cave opening up high but there was a kangaroo in front of it. We had lunch there and then we went for a walk to the plunge pool and had a swim there. We couldn't go too far from the edge because it was slippery. After that we drove home.

I enjoy doing my Maths in school. We went to an awards night for school. We got to say our poems. When we got our awards we got gem stones with them.

Written by The Man

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Best News...

Our best news is our little baby who we expect to meet in May 2014.

This little one is growing happily and steadily.

The children are all super excited, particularly The Man, as he has been told that this baby will be his buddy. This means that he will be responsible for helping Mama with the baby (getting nappies and clothes and the like as needed).

Mama's News

Photo by Kirsty Humphrey
This year, as a family, we have been to Inverell (NSW), Adelaide, Church Family camp, 1770, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and finally Inverell, then Sydney. Christian has also travelled to Adelaide by himself twice! It's been a year full of travelling!!

We started the year with our friend Anna still working with our family, but she has since moved to Cambodia to care for missionary kids there. After a long time by ourselves we decided to employ another carer a few days a week, and the kids have all enjoyed the company of Rachel.
Three Beautiful girls together...
Photo by Kirsty Humphrey

Our little school has grown a bit this year, with Thomas beginning to do school work. We have all thoroughly enjoyed The Story Of The World: Middle Ages. History really comes alive in our house, with plays, toys retelling the story, food and working out where we fit in the story. We bought a microscope to encourage us in scientific endeavours, and there has been no end to the things the kids want to look at (and be grossed out by). We love working through the books in the Sonlight Curriculum, which as usual has caused the buying of more books. As we read through "Little House In The Big Wood" the kids were so enthralled they insisted we get the rest of the "Little House" series, which are full of old time stories and ways of doing things.

This year, since the wonderful gift of a sewing machine from Christian, I have been sewing regularly.
Photo by Kirsty Humphrey
I continue to enjoy my garden. Currently I am watching my pomegranate tree as it is producing it's first fruits. Our veggie patch continues to produce well, and we look to be kept with fresh beans, lettuce, spring onions, beetroot and tomatoes over the summer period. We are also hopeful of a harvest of zucchini and cucumber after a bad year last year that saw only two zucchini produced!

I've really been encouraged spiritually by listening to Mark Driscoll sermons. I love his down to earth way of putting things. We've listened to his sermons on Marriage, Ephesians, Acts and also the Ten Commandments. Together, Christian and I have been reading Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldridge. We have both found him to be very encouraging.

We have enjoyed watching the house that Mum and Dad are building called Geebung Flat, down near Inverell. During our last visit the kitchen benches went in and we can't wait to have electricity throughout the house. We are also looking forward to my folks moving from Wagga Wagga to Inverell, where hopefully we will see them more often in the New Year.

We would like to add our thanks to our wonderful photographer Kirsty. For three years she has taken our family photos, she even came to Joybug's baptisms and took photos unannounced. We love her work. She may not yet be a professional, but her ability to get some great shots of our kids is our delight! Thank you SO much!

Joybug's Amazing 2013

Photo by Kirsty Humphrey
She's now 2 and a half...and such a talkative delight!

This year Joybug proved to me that some children really do just potty train themselves! What's more, she's even dry right through the night!

She delights us with her cheeky grins, her imaginary play and her "naughty" laugh. Joybug loves to crawl about the house playing doggy with Tiger or any of the others. She loves playing dress ups, and often, when she's really quiet, I find her in the room she shares with Princess playing with Sylvanians and making up incredible stories.

Joybug loves to sing. Whenever there is music on she is singing. She loves the new liturgical setting, and has many other favourite songs. It is such a delight to hear her singing along!
Under the Lutherans For Life table at General Synod in
Adelaide, playing with the life model of babies in the womb.
Dressed up and ready to go!

Princess Adventures for 2013

At our Physie competition.
Piano is my favourite subject in school. I am learning lots of songs and now I'm learning hard pieces that my teacher gives me. She gave me "Silent Night" to learn. I've really improved my piano over the last year.

I really like Physie. It's a dance sport that's a mix of ballet and gymnastics. I can't wait till the Christmas concert. I do it in a team. My team is red and this year we came 5th in the Queensland competition. I'm looking forward to next year doing Physie and I'm going to be in teams again.

The Rundle Mall balls in Adelaide.
This year we've gone on lots of bike rides and I enjoy them. We also have picnics sometimes when we go on bike rides. We once went to a park and played there and there was a long slide that we played on up and down. Another time we rode down to a different park that had a rolling walker and monkey bars and a slide.

We went to Adelaide for General Synod. I really liked going to the beach and seeing my godsisters. We also saw Opa, and went to his place and climbed the big tree in his backyard and had dinner there. We spent time with the Huckels too.

Photo by Kirsty Humphrey
In November we went to the farm (Geebung Flat) and spent a few days there. The boys pulled a dead kangaroo out of the dam, it was gross and stunk terribly. We went to Copeton Dam, which is three times bigger than Sydney Harbour. After that we went to Sydney and on Saturday we went to Uncle Simon and Aunty Kim's wedding. I enjoyed getting to see my cousins. On the day the after the wedding (Sunday), we walked over the Sydney Harbour Bridge, we got lunch and we saw the Opera House, though we didn't go inside it. We went to the Sydney Botanic Gardens, near Lady Macquarie's Chair and had our lunch. After lunch we had a little church service and then said goodbye and went on our way home.

Written by Princess

Tiger's Adventures 0f 2013

Shipwreck on the Sunshine Coast
Every year since I was eight, I've gone on a camp with my Dad, just the two of us. When we go on the camp Daddy talks to me about growing up to be a man and living in the Faith.

The first time we tried this year was in January when it was flooding. We got as far as Gatton, but the flood waters were over the road so we couldn't go any further, and we had to go home.

Carnival of Flowers parade in the Boys Brigade float.
The next time we tried, in June, we went to the Sunshine Coast and stayed in a tent. We had fish and chips for dinner and went to sleep. When we woke up it was midnight and I had started to throw up. We washed everything and by morning Daddy was sick and it was bucketing rain, so we stayed in a cabin all that day. We didn't eat much and we watched movies. We went to the beach the next day and then went home.

In November we went to Geebung Flat and stayed there for three days. While we were there we found three sheep, we also pulled a dead kangaroo from the dam. Then we went on to Sydney where we went to my uncle's wedding. On our way back home we went back to Geebung Flat and found 13 sheep!
Photo by Kirsty Humphrey

I'm doing very well in my school work and now doing grade 5 work. My favourite parts about school has been: history, sport and technology. In history this year we've been doing the medieval times. So far that has been my favourite era in history because I learnt about the English kings and queens and my ancestors on Mummy's side (William the Conquerer, and the guy who got Queen Elizabeth to sign Mary Queen of Scots' death warrant). In sport I enjoy riding my bike and swimming. Technology for me is all about building and computers. The main thing I build with is Lego and I'm part of the Lego club. On the computer I like to go onto Splash Education, which is an ABC website.

Written by Tiger

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Lego Christmas (Northern Hemisphere)

We made a Lego model of Christmas in the Northern Hemisphere. The scene is set at a frozen lake. There's a fire going in the background to warm them when they get cold. A girl is ice skating on the lake, whilst a man is building a snow man. Two blokes are having a snowball fight.

To make the fire glow, we built the fire out of Lego, and took a few pictures. We edited the main picture colder in temperature (more blues and greens). We then edited and cut down another photo to just the fire. We increased the temperature on the fire photo (more yellows and reds), then we placed the fire in the spot where it was on the main photo. We blurred the outline so that it looked natural.

Created by Tiger and Princess

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Happy New (Church) Year!

Advent feeling rushed? Photo by Tank or Joybug
Ever since we got married, way back in April 2002, I have diligently written a Christmas Newsletter.  Each year since having moved to Toowoomba this has become more and more difficult to do.

Advent, the beginning of the Church year, is a most busy time of the year! We have Christmas concerts, end of year performances, numerous Christmas parties and that's before you consider the extra weekly service, the travel to outlying congregations in Stanthorpe and Glenarbon, and of course the fact that we know we will have extra people at Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services so preparation for these are heightened so that the Gospel can ring out!

Come for a ride through our year!
On the hedge Thomas train at Laurel Bank Park
Photo by the wonderful Kirsty Humphrey
So this year we have written a number of posts on our blog to tell you our news of this year. Each of our beautiful children will give you their news from the year (Tiger was quite disappointed with me that I wasn't going to do a newsletter). We adults share our take on the year too. Look under Family Updates.

We pray that you will find time to slow down this Advent and make the time to appreciate what God has done for us in sending Jesus, His only son, to rescue us from our sin, and the sin of others. Maybe, this Advent, you and your family can make some New Year resolutions regarding your spiritual life.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them" Ephesians 2:10

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Tiger's Ungodly Shoes

Tiger couldn't find his shoes a few Sunday's ago.

I looked in his cupboard and there were a pair that he was given by parishioners.

"What's wrong with these? Wear them." said I

"I can't wear those, Mum!!" He said in shocked reply..."They're Nikes"

I didn't get it. In my day these were pretty fashionable shoes. In fact I think I remember a cousin who nearly had a toe cut off by an auger (farming equipment) and he was more upset that he was wearing his Nikes at the time.

"What's wrong with Nikes??" Thinking of course, that I was just behind the times.

"Nike is a greek god, Mum! It's ungodly!!!" said as if I should have known all along.

This boy knows a lot for a 10.5 year old. We actually refer to him whenever a greek god is mentioned in the New Testament, as he usually knows who it is and what they stood for. Having this information adds a lot to the reading of the New Testament. Those reading it closer to the time would have known all of these gods and understood the background better of what Paul or Luke or any of the other writers were expressing.

Tiger tells me: "Nike is the greek god of Victory, normally you see her with Athena, the greek god of war and wisdom."

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Green Ants

This is a Green Ant that I caught. (The Man)
I can see the shiny green colour, the beaded eyes, his pincers
and the antenna's the latest toy...the digital microscope.

The Man and Tank enjoyed finding out some more about ants today, and really loved being able to see them up close. It's really hard to make them be still!! But The Man managed to do it.

We do not like Green Ant bites, so it was great to see them in a different light.

All captions by The Man

The ant thinks he is fighting with a piece of wire. We could
see his pincers open.
The Green Ant eggs look like rice, or paper coated.

Garlic Harvest

A few weeks ago, we harvested the garlic that The Man planted much earlier in the year. The Man's story on planting garlic.

We knew it was time to get them out because the stems were dying. We dug around to the end of the garlic and then we pulled them up. We washed a few and ate them in cooked in our dinner. Mummy plaited the stems of the garlic together so they can stay together and store well. We store the garlic in the garage. When we want some in our dinner we cut some garlic off from the braid.

I'm planning to plant my best garlic bulbs next year.

The braid was nearly as tall as The Man!
Science Report by The Man

Microscopes are FUN!!!

This is the head of the bug we found. We looked at both ends
and determined that this end had beaded eyes.
I ordered a digital microscope for our homeschool a few weeks back...and when it came this week I decided to put it away, maybe for Christmas, maybe for when we come back from our holiday.

But the kids caught a bug in the was time!

The kids were SO impressed...they ran around finding heaps of things to put under it.

This is Tank's finger...on our screen we could see heaps of
dirt on what looked to the eye to be clean fingers.

We also took video of a garden lizard that The Man found. Finally I was able to show the answer to one of the kids questions regarding how does a lizard hear. We could clearly see the holes on the sides of it's head for hearing...and the claws were very cool!

P.S. If you double click on the photos you can see them bigger and with some of the details we were talking about.

This is the centre of dying rose that Tank picked. You can
still see a piece of yellow pollen in there.

This is a spiderweb we found. The beading is not dew,
we think it is how the web is made...area for further research!

Saturday, October 12, 2013


Tiger is holding Twining (only the best brand of tea!)

We are all enjoying the Weidemann week old kittens. In keeping with the Weidemann tradition, they all have "tea" names (Aunty M and I love to have cups of tea together). The mother of these kittens is called "Chai".

Would we like to have a kitten? Oh the children would love it...but I think Mummy likes the fact that we don't have to worry about the kittens getting squished with love. We can always visit Aunty M...she is the keeper of all pets!

Joybug is holding Earl (short for earl grey)
Tank and his favourite cousin hold up the new kittens

Princess is holding Jeely (Darjeeling) the only girl kitten.
The Man was so stoked to hold Earl

Friday, September 27, 2013

Studying the Reformation

Our children have been studying the Reformation during their history lessons. We all like to supplement our history with some videos (usually on Youtube), and of course their favourite show to watch is "Horrible Histories". It has a little bit on lots of different subjects, although it's often a little bit light on.

Today I found four great short videos on the Reformation that were easy to watch, fairly good on facts and explanations (with no derogatory statements about Christians) and with no "reenactment" scenes (which at this time tend to be rather violent). Under the title: Introduction to the Protestant Reformation, the four videos are: Setting the StageMartin LutherVarieties of Protestantism, and The Counter-Reformation.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

History and Gardens

Tutankhamen, Pharaoh of Egypt
Viking ships and the Parthenon.
Our town holds a fantastic flower festival every spring. We are just a week and a half away from the opening,  but the public parks are all open and nearly ready.

What a joy it was to explore Laurel Bank park today and discover that the theme for this year is: A Long Time Ago...

It was a wonderful combination of two of my favourite things: History and Gardening!

The children raced around deciphering the pictures and telling the story from their memory of their history lessons. It was a delightful joy!!
Anubis, Ancient Egyptian god of the dead  

Solider's helmet...Mummy says Roman, Tiger says Greek.

When the Carnival starts there are little signs with  overhead pictures to tell you what each creation is...but at this stage we had to work it out for ourselves! Good thing our kids have a good grasp on their history.
The Trojan Horse and some happy Fandrich soldiers.