Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Christmas Traditions

I didn't grow up in a house with traditions as such. We were all together and we watched movies and ate good food. No particular food had to be served other than roast potatoes yum yum. 

Now that I have a family of my own I really have been giving thought to what I want my children to have as Christmas traditions. It seems to have manifested in the following ways which I think are actually not bad. I wanted to give my children a taste of the values we hold dear as adults. Faith, love, charity and hope. 

First tradition is buying the kids Christmas presents in the January sales. Throughout the year when we see things the kids and their friends and family would like we buy them and put them down so that we don't have to rush at the end. Also means we don't spend excessive amounts or have to rush at the end and pay over the odds. Plus the kids have to trust their parents to buy what they would like. No lost for me ha ha ha. But the thing is that I am sure will get more difficult as they want more technology but for now it works wonders and if it's not broke I am not fixing it for now lol. 

Charity is the second thing we do. This year we got out all the toys the kids don't really play with and they picked the ones they would take to the charity store. We wanted to give it to a toy drive but couldn't find one anywhere taking second hand toys. Real problem when all they want is new ones. The children then took the toys in themselves and handed them over. Trick was in getting out the shop without then buying anything in the place of those handed in. I want to give the kids a sense of reality in the world. You might not be able to fix everyone's problems but you should help where you can. Even if that is handing in a few little toys. 

Now that I have energetic storms it's important to challenge them in a fun way. So we try each Christmas to play a game together. Lots of people tell me how wonderful this is so I am sticking with it. We never played games in my household. But others tell me it's fun to get together over a board game. While trying to teach my little ones how to lose graciously is challenging I am sure it will be worth it in the end lol. 

The last two years this is the Christmas book. Next year I am gonna find a Christian one to add to the mix. But it's definitely nice to have a story to read with no pressure. They really loved seeing this one again and lifting out all the letters and seeing what was inside. 

Our final tradition is going to church before opening our presents. I love the idea of starting the day with God and keeping that focus throughout. My little way of not being so self absorbed at a time when it's difficult not to be. 

So as you embark on your own Christmas traditions and Christmas celebrations I urge you to think about those who are smaller than you. What will they learn about life at the time of great excess by most of us. 

Have a blessed season 

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

The Crossroads

I feel at a cross roads today. What do I do with my life now. I am listening to God when he speaks? Am I following the path he has cut out for my life? In the end of I make a poor decision now will bite me in the butt for many years to come? What about my family? Shouldn't my family always be at the front of what I am doing? How do you do God first family second and not sacrifice the people on earth that you love? How as a parent can I ensure that I am helping to be the best witness of Gods love so that they can pick salvation while putting Gods work first? These are difficult questions. 

To be honest I am not sure I have the answer to any of them. Everyday one or more of those questions is a burden on my heart. Everyday I worry that the decisions I am making now will permanently damage those that are dearest to me. But what can I do? I can only do my best in the circumstances I am given and hope, pray and trust that it is enough. 

I know that at some point you might have questioned what your doing? Why your doing it? What the real cost is? But no matter what the conclusion of that matter  I know that Hod can, will and does give you strength to make the right decisions. 

God bless

Friday, 5 July 2013

Sunshine Sabbaths

So it's beautiful weather in my part of the UK. I know your shocked and surprised but its true. So I am thinking we don't get outside often what can we do outside on a church day. So here are some of my quick thoughts on sunshine activities. 

Church in the park
Lunch in the park 
Trip to the farm 
Trip to the zoo 
Visit an elderly member and sit with them in the garden
Get the kids together and play games outside 
Go to the beach 
Have a mini tent picnic
Train spotting 
Go for a walk
Fly kites 
Make kites and then fly them 
Bug finding 

Remember the sun is too hot for those more fragile so consider the fact kids and elderly need regular breaks. 
These are just done quick ideas. Stay safe have fun and have a brilliant weekend. 

Monday, 6 May 2013

Musical Fun

As a working pastor our Sabbaths are often on a different day to everyone else's. So today the storms and I had Sabbath rest. What does that look like in our house. Well firstly it is definitely about spending quality time together as a family. Enjoying each others company and having fun.

Today our chosen activity was making musical instruments. It was a lot of fun and very simple to do. If you have young children who like a fair amount of noise making a band is good fun. Here is how we did it.

Clean empty soda bottles
Dry Beans
A variety of colourful stickers.

1. Pour in the required amount of beans to make a good noise
2. Glue the lid onto the bottle just for extra safety
3. Decorate with a variety of stickers.
4. Enjoy the noise!

These are our creations. The noise is amazing and the fun enjoyed by all. 

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Lonely in a crowd

Alone or lonely. I am struck once again that lonely has nothing to do with the amount of people in your life but how close we are to God. No matter how many people we have in our life, if we have no one to confide our deepest thoughts to it can be the loneliest place on earth. Next time you are in a crowd of people look into someones eyes and ask yourself are they lonely. Remember its not only people who live alone who get lonely. Sometimes the loneliest place to be is in a crowd. Be understanding of one another remember when you are a talking to a job title you are talking to a human flawed just like you.

Recently there has been a lot of pain caused to many humans by other humans. It is everywhere we look around and it is painful and hurtful and shocking and just plain old horrible. But inside every story are humans, hurting people expressing their pain and anguish and sometimes loneliness and illness in the most horrific ways. I am reminded that each person has there own story to tell. There is nothing more powerful than that. I think I need to be more understanding of those who lash out and cause me pain because happy fulfilled joyful people do not cause pain. People in pain cause pain. I need to think about this some more.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Look up

In Britain we have been covered by beautiful white fluffy snow hiding hidden dangers that cause our country to slow down.

The last few days I have been at home with the boys looking out the window at my neighbours houses watching the snow melt of their roofs. By contrast I have been listening to the news report that says the snow is still causing chaos. I kept thinking not round here the snow has melted.

Well today I left the house and realised that the snow on the roofs may have melted but the snow and ice in the ground were very real and still there. I was in my home all that time looking up and being happy that the snow was melting when in reality my neighbours have warm houses.

This made me think about our Christian journey. How many of us are spending our time looking down at the dangers and pitfalls of life and not looking up to see that God is radiating love and change is coming. Or even that this life is not our final goal but heaven and if we look up we might see Jesus knocking saying he loves us and wants us to live with him.

So my simple day of looking at the snow melting reminded me that I can always hide under the shadow of the almighty not fall on the ice of life as psalms 97 says

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Snow day continued

On Friday I wrote about what we would do on our snow days and I said I would report in with any extra suggestions. So we called those who might have needed extra help and then we played in the snow with our neighbours. It was a really great way to meet and talk with others.

After that it was lots of warm food a short cartoon and then nap time for the younger. So the older one and I made a paper tiger and then worked through one of his magazines reading stories and doing the activities. It was really good fun.

Later we had their cousins over for playtime and there was plenty of noise in the house as the kids enjoyed playing fire fighters.

Bath time and then bed. A very tiring day for mummy but well worth it to see all the smiling.

For mummy time it was on the phone to a few friends and family. Working on the children's books I am writing and then bed.

Today is a new day and we are off out to church. So lets see what today might hold. Be kind to others watch out for one another and have an awesome day.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Sabbath/Sunday Snow Days activities

I have been thinking since we here in the UK have been snowed in (it doesn't take much) what should we do with our sabbath and Sunday.

First things first. As Christians we are called to look after one another so the first thing you need to do is look out for those more vulnerable than yourself. If you have elderly or disabled on your street check that they have the essentials they need. Take a meal round so they don't have to worry about cooking. Movement in snow may challenge us but if your elderly in a wheelchair it can be dangerous to be out and about in the snow. Another group you might want to check on is those who are alone with young children. They may find getting out challenging or might just find it challenging being trapped inside with their little angels. Either way you could help just by checking in with them.

If you can get to church for your usual service you might want to consider organising a pot luck lunch or a lucky dip lunch as I call it. Call round to your friends and encourage them to call round and everyone bring a dish and share. If there are elderly members then it might be worth packing up some meals from your lucky dip lunch and taking it to them. If there are young families then get together and share the burden of entertaining the kids.

What if you can't get out of your house what then? Snow is awesome and fun and there is plenty to enjoy in the snow from making snow angels to building snow men to snow ball fights and lots of others exciting snow things. But it gets cold after a while so you have to come in out of the cold then what?

I can happily recommend a movie, hot chocolate, and warm food. A good book is always awesome with a nice book and a lovely warm duvet. Baking is always a great winter activity the warmth from the oven adds to the joy if you ask me. I like being home alone in the warmth with an activity I love like knitting, sewing, baking. I don't live alone anymore so what then?

I have very little storms and they are great but have a super duper amount of energy so after going out in the snow what am I gonna do well here are my thoughts.

I am gonna get the glue out and make some snowmen pictures with the cotton wool in the bathroom.

I am thinking of baking cookies or rather getting the storms to make cookies. They will enjoy eating them with hot chocolate later.

I plan to have a dance contest with the storms. Lets see if mummy can actually win something in this house! I think I might even have a chocolate trophy somewhere.

So then there will be movies, colouring books, bricks, toys, indoor penalty shoot out. Am I gonna run out of things to do? Yes! So when I think of something inspiring to do I will definitely share that.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

What has changed?

Today is my birthday. It's not one ending in 0 but 5 so it's semi important. Today my birthday has made me ask what has changed since I turned into an adult at 18?

In some ways I would argue that obviously my life has changed. I am a grown up now with responsibilities husband, kids, pastor friend etc. That is good the circumstances surrounding my life are different. I am not where I was at 18. I have done things and achieved things that I am very proud of. But that doesn't seem enough I am still asking myself what has changed?

I often joke with friends that really I am only 5 and we have these fun times of being a child again and it's great. But really I am proud of being an adult but at the moment I am questioning how much I have grown as a person. I believe that as Christians God wants us to be the best version of ourselves we can be. He wants each day for us to grow to be better than the day before through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. (I am not a perfectionist in a theological sense just believe in improving). But today I ask myself what has changed? Have I grown? Am I becoming the best version of myself I can be?

To be honest today I think not. But here is the amazing thing about this journey as a Christian. That is ok just learn and try fur tomorrow. Today Might feel as though my journey hasn't come far enough but that us my feeling not what Gods word says. God wants us to be the best we can be but he loves us just as we are. The really great thing is what we don't have can't do God says ask him and he will supply it.

So today is my birthday ending in 5. I pray for me and for you that God will help us in each step of our lives to be the best we can be. God bless

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Prayer is Power

Life has dealt me an interesting hand over the past few years. This has lead to me being asked to preach/speak on prayer quite frequently.
This evening after a particularly difficult few moments I was expressing to a friend that it doesn't matter what if we believe God is who he says he is that in the end that is what matters. Her response was to tell me that is my sermon for sabbath which is on prayer.
It now occurs to me that is after all what prayer is. If we believe God is he who says he is then we talk to him in prayer because of that. So I thought I would jot this quick note to say. God is creator, alpha, omega, father, power, and love and so much more. If he is that then talk to him, pray to him he will do what his word says and answer.
God bless goodnight

Monday, 7 January 2013

New Year New Me?

So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. (1 Corinthians 9:26 NLT)

I have been writing this blog for over six weeks and have yet to publish anything but not for lack of trying. First came sickness then came Christmas, birthdays, New Years and much more. It got me to thinking about the intentional way we live our lives each day. I have to be honest that despite being a super organised, neat freak, I fly by the seat of my pants, as the saying goes. Instead of living each day with purpose I take each day as it comes and go with the flow usually taking the laziest option. 

I found this text in Corinthians and while of course the extended text is fascinating and insightful and life changing this sentence caught me by surprise.

So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. (1 Corinthians 9:26 NLT)

Today I want to run with purpose. I want each step I take to not to be just shadowboxing but in the ring for real. I want to actually walk head on into life with Holy Spirit guiding my steps and moving me forward. I am not a fan of New Years resolutions but I am a fan of assessing the year on your birthday and decide to do better next year. So as my birthday approaches I am decided that I must do better and run with purpose in every step!