Tuesday, March 29, 2005


Today I leave for the U.S. to attend some conferences (and lead workshops at one of them). It will be the longest Millie and I will have been apart, and we will miss each other.

Right now she's having her weetbix for breakfast: which today she asked for. There are some beautiful little routines associated with breakfast. Jan sings 'Thank you for the world so sweet' and Millie sings 'Hum hum!' 'Thank you for the food we eat' and she sings 'Yum yum!' 'Thank you for the birds that sing!' 'Alingaling!' 'Thank you God for everything!' 'Amen'. And she looks coyly/shyly sideways at me!

She has something in each hand to play with while she eats. and she knows she can't have her precious grapes (just a few) until she's had her cereal.

Another routine happens when she's sad or frightened or hurt. She wants her 'Mummyoh' and three dummies for comfort - one for her mouth, and one in each hand! She needed them the other day when her head got stuck in the banisters above the steps from our place.

I'll take her in a few minutes for our little walk, and again as we turn for home she'll mention the main characters from her precious 'Bananas in Pyjamas', beginning with Morgan! She watches that TV show on the ABC each morning, and a couple of others - the ration is 30-40 minutes of TV a day.

She's so beautiful! I'll miss her. I just prayed that the Lord would tell her guardian angel to do a good job while I'm away!



Tuesday, March 22, 2005


Amelia is 19 months, and can say three syllable words ('Toria' for her friend Victoria, at playgroup).

She is also testing the limits of grandparental authority. We have a fireplace (surrounded by a child-proof guard), but kindling-sticks are in a large black bin. She can reach into this bin and get some sticks out of it - dangerous if she pokes one into her eye, or hits baby Bella with it. So her grandma asked her to put it back. She went to the bin, and stood there, testing grandma's authority. This stage of a child's psychological development is cute isn't it!!!

Bella is beautiful, in her own way. She's feeding well, sleeping well most nights, and has just begun to smile at us. Jan has more to do with her than I do, so far, but I try to talk to her and touch her whenever there's an opportunity (and she's awake).

This all has to be done sensitively, as Amelia still resents this little invasion into her privileged world!

Friday, March 11, 2005

Grandpa's Hands

Bella is now almost four weeks old, and I'm sure she smiled at me today as we sat on our back verandah. She's a good baby, healthy, and one of the joys of the past week was to cradle her to sleep, and then I had to write in a book I was reading with my left hand, 'cos I didn't want to wake her up.

Big sister Millie is now 19 months, and saying a lot of two-syllable words. When we walk together (most days) she talks a lot now. We still look for the moon, acknowledge the sound of planes and birds, say the colors of roses in our neighbor's gardens, and laugh at the dog as he chases a soccer ball. When a dog barks she points in that direction and says authoritatively 'Stop!'

And one of her favorite requests - 'Up please!' when she wants to be picked up!

(Have I told you she's gorgeous?)
Here's something posted on to a newsgroup today:

Grandpa's Hands

Grandpa, some ninety plus years, sat feebly on the patio bench. He didn't move, just sat with his head down staring at his hands.

When I sat down beside him he didn't acknowledge my presence and the longer I sat the more I wondered if he was OK. not wanting to disturb him but wanting to check on him at the same time, I asked him if he was OK.

He raised his head and looked at me and smiled. "Yes, I'm fine, thank you for asking," he said in a clear strong voice."I didn't mean to disturb you, grandpa, but you were just sitting here staring at your hands and I wanted to make sure you were OK" I explained to him.

"Have you ever looked at your hands?" he asked.I mean really looked at your hands?"I slowly opened my hands and stared down at them. I turned them over, palms up and then palms down. No, I guess I had never really looked at my hands as I tried to figure out the point he was making.

Grandpa smiled and related this story: "Stop and think for a moment about the hands you have, how they have served you well throughout your years. These hands, though wrinkled, shriveled and weak have been the tools I have used all my life to reach out and grab and embrace life. "

"They braced and caught my fall when as a toddler and I crashed upon the floor. They put food in my mouth and clothes on my back. As a child my mother taught me to fold them in prayer. They tied my shoes and pulled on my boots."

"They dried the tears of my children and caressed the love of my life. They held my rifle and wiped my tears when I went off to war.They have been dirty, scraped and raw, swollen and bent. "

"They were uneasy and clumsy when I tried to hold my newborn son."

"Decorated with my wedding band they showed the world that I was married and loved someone special. They wrote the letters home and trembled and shook when I buried my parents and spouse and walked my daughter down the aisle."

"Yet, they were strong and sure when I dug my buddy out of a foxhole and lifted a plow off of my best friends foot."

"They have held children, consoled neighbors, and shook in fists of anger when I didn't understand."

"They have covered my face, combed my hair, and washed and cleansed the rest of my body. They have been sticky and wet, bent and broken, dried and raw. And to this day when not much of anything else of me works real well these hands hold me up, lay me down, and again continue to fold in prayer."

"These hands are the mark of where I've been and the ruggedness of my life. But more importantly it will be these hands that God will reach out and take when he leads me home. And with my hands He will lift me to His side and there I will use these hands to touch the face of Christ."

I will never look at my hands the same again.But I remember God reached out and took my grandpa's hands and led him home.When my hands are hurt or sore or when I stroke the face of my children and wife I think of grandpa. I know he has been stroked and caressed and held by the hands of God. I, too, want to touch the face of God and feel his hands upon my face.

(Reproduced with the permission of the author - Melinda Clements)