Friday, December 30, 2011

the countdown begins...

                5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1

Well friends, for us here in New Zealand it is a little less than 25 hours away from the New Year.

2012 is around the corner. The sun will set for the last time on 2011 tomorrow evening.

Some people will be celebrating, watching displays of fireworks.
Some will be dancing.
Some will be drinking ... a lot.
Some will celebrate the New Year with friends.
Some will be alone, maybe crying.
Some will be praying.
Some will be working.
Some will be sleeping (don't laugh! I've done that before)

What will you be doing?

Some will be relieved that 2011 is over and smile.
Some people will feel sad, reflecting on a difficult year.
Some might be very excited about welcoming 2012.

Here are two questions ...

~ If you could sum up 2011 in one sentence or even one word what would it be? 

~ At this moment, what would be your greatest desire for 2012?
I'd like to learn to be content in all things.

Let me know your thoughts!

A blessed New Year to you all. May 2012 bring peace and joy.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Reflecting on the last few months - A glass half full

"It's been a hard year"

This has been the 'end of year sentence' for me for the last 3 years. It is of course so much easier to pick out the difficult, the bad, the uncomfortable, the not so nice parts... you get the picture. If you've read some of my previous posts, you might have read my post about my "Now that I'm 40". One of the things I want to change (and yes, I'm working on it) is to be more optimistic / positive about life. Trying to see the glass as half full.

Just for fun - I found this image scouring the internet - thought it was rather funny : )

So here is the glass half empty (and in a nutshell):

We've been struggling with immigration issues and it's an ongoing stress.
Other family stresses including relationship difficulties and financial issues.
Having to give up our foster baby after nearly 7months.
Dynamics at home that is not always easy.
It's been very difficult to be consistent with our lessons every day.

But we want to see the glass as HALF FULL - in fact, as in Psalm 23, we want our glass or cup to RUN OVER not just be half full.

Every time immigration has extended Mum's visa it has been against many, many odds, so this glass is more than half full! Thank you Lord!

Despite financial concerns we have been blessed with friends who have assisted us in paying for lawyers fees [for immigration]. This cup is RUNNING OVER! Thank you Lord!

After wondering if we'd ever see Starfish (our foster baby) again, we have been invited to visit the family on Christmas Eve! This cup is RUNNING OVER! THANK YOU LORD!

Although the dynamics at home are stressful at times we love each other. Even though my girl (11) and boy (8) have to share a room, they adore each other and we have the privilege of having my mum with us. This cup runs over with love and forgiveness. Thank you Lord!

It is such an honour to teach our kids at home and although being consistent with academic lessons has been a challenge our kids have learned so many life lessons. They know how to be flexible, what sacrifice is and in all of this they are still giving and caring for others outside our home. God has blessed us with fantastic children. My cup runs over. Thank you, Thank you Lord!

How is your cup half full or overflowing this Christmas?


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

An agent for change.

Reflecting on the meaning of Christmas ...

He came to earth a vulnerable baby - God becoming flesh.

During His ministry years He challenged many beliefs and ways of living. He sat with the tax collectors and the prostitutes, with the widow and with children. He performed miracles but did not heal everyone. Instead He challenged people to live differently, to live for their neighbours. He wants us to make a difference in the lives of others.

Watch this clip ... not what you might expect.


TOS Review - Fractazmic - fraction fun



Could this statement indeed be true?

It is a well known fact that you can't believe everything you read. So for now the above statement will be treated as suspicious until proven true. And really, WHO will believe a wooden figure anyway?

With any thorough investigation we need to first examine all the evidence. What do we have in front of us?

Exhibit A

Deck of 60 cards - 20 green, 20 blue, 20 red

Green cards appear to be the tenths suit. 
Blue cards appear to be the twelfths suit.
Red cards appear to be the sixteenths suit.

Exhibit A

Although the package states this is for 'Grades 1st-8th and the cards seem to be sturdy, are brightly colored and have interesting pictures on them, there is no conclusive evidence that this is fun. Statement still remains suspicious.

Exhibit B

One Rule sheet

Exhibit B
Having read Exhibit B it suggests that you play the game in the manner you play the well known card game "Rummy". It also offers more options of how to play by referring the investigator to a website:

Exhibit C

No investigation is thorough without a trip to the source (the aforementioned [web] site). There we uncovered another set of rules which is included in a downloadable document [direct link (quite slow)] of 28 pages written by the mastermind behind this suspicious operation, Dr. Ron. The document explains the rules for many different games created by this organization including something called Pyramath™ and Prime Bomb™. You can read an investigation report about Pyramath™ (read previous review) HERE

Having read all these rules it became clear that we can't come to any clear conclusions without doing interviews and engaging in the activity of actually playing at least one hand ourselves. There is thus no conclusive evidence that this statement is either true or false. 

So on to the interviews:

Interview one:

PI: Have you played Fractazmic™ before?
L: No.
A: No.

PI: Did you follow the rules the first time you played it?
L: No

PI: So what did you do instead?
L: We looked at all the cards to get to know how it works first. 
A: Mum explained how to play the games and then we played with one color only.
L: Yes, that was ok, but we wanted to play the real game.

PI: Did it help to look at the cards first?
A: Yes, but it was more fun to play the game.

PI: How easy was it to play the game?
A: It was kind of easy for me, but a little bit hard too.
L: Yes, it was a little tricky at first but now it is lots of fun!

PI: Now, I need you to be very certain about your next answer. Is this a fun game in your opinion?
L: Oh yes!
A: Very!

PI: Would you play it again?
L: YAH! We have! We played different ways too. And Dad played with us. That was fun!
A: Yes, it's even more fun when Dad plays too.

PI: So you think it is fun and easy to play? Do you think you learn anything?
L: Yes, we learn about fractions and how to figure out that 2/5THS are the same as 4/10THS.
A: And 1/4 is the same as 3/12.

PI: Is it a game you'll be able to play all day long?
L: Hmm. I don't think so. It kinda makes me feel a bit tired after a while. And I like Trap better than Rummy.
A: Yes, my brain gets full. I also prefer to play Trap.

Interview two:

PI: You've played the game with your family?
Dad: Yes I have.

PI: What do you think of it?
Dad: It's a good game, but it takes up quite a bit of energy because you need to concentrate and calculate throughout the game. I've noticed that the kids got tired if they played for long periods.

PI: Do you think that this is a fun game despite the concentration it takes?
Dad: Yes, I do. I enjoyed it and the kids certainly did too. 

Based on the above interviews is seems that a reasonable conclusion can be drawn about the statement under question: Statement is most likely true.

Personal experience:

First I stopped by the source again. Here I found an online version of the game called Fractazmic™ Speed where you can win a FREE deck of cards! This was suspicious because why would they give away several decks of cards? (unless they believe that enough people will buy their product @ US$6.96).

I played the online game (DISCLAIMER: no I did not win a free deck, although for the purpose of this investigation I was given a free deck by the company to provide this report) and I played it again and again and again ....

I also played the game with the other investigators on the case (my 11 and 8 year olds). I did enjoy (still do) playing the different versions of the game. The game Fractazmic™ Trap is the easier game to play as all the players build the same hand by taking turns to discard a card from their hand and adding it to the cards on the table. The aim is to add the same suit until the fractions add up to 1. If you add your card and it makes 1 you 'trap' that hand and gain 1 point. If  the card you play takes the total over 1 then you forfeit that 'hand' to the previous player. 

If you are the kind of person who would rather watch a movie than read a book (or in this case rules on paper) you can follow these links HERE (Fratazmic™ Rummy) and HERE (Fractazmic Trap) to see a video clip explaining how the games are played.

Conclusion: Taking all the above mentioned evidence into account I can only come to one conclusion: The Statement "FRACTIONS ARE NOW FUN!" is true and accurate.

As the TOS investigation bureau wants to be thorough in their investigation of this statement several other investigators were asked to investigate and write their reports - you can find these HERE.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Only two weeks to Christmas ...

The Christmas trees have been decorated in the shops for a long time already ... but I don't like shopping so I don't often see it.

I don't have the radio on a lot so I don't hear 'Christmas' songs all the time.

We don't watch much television so I don't see a lot of advertising trying to convince people to spend money they don't have on stuff they don't need during Christmas they don't truly celebrate.

This morning in church we were again reminded to get back to Jesus who was born to us and who wants to connect with every single one of us; Jesus who is available to each on of us. 

Thinking back of the Christmas story Jesus was born to a young ordinary servant girl - a connection to the young and the ordinary. He was born in a manger - another connection to the ordinary, everyday person. After Jesus was born an angel appeared to the shepherds in the field  -a connection to those who did hard work and did not mingle much with others. A star appeared in heaven that alerted the Magi from the East - a connection to the learned and to those from other cultures and other religions. Simeon, an old man at the temple saw Jesus when He was taken to be circumcised. He recognized Jesus as the long awaited Messiah and praised God - a connection with believers and to older people. 

You can read the sermon notes HERE.

How will you spend your Christmas?