I tried out a full page today. I was at dinner with family gave them a heart attack by taking out my bible after dinner and having a good colour in my bible. I thought they would faint. But it was a nice icebreaker.
What worked was a pencil and crayons. Good fun. Great conversation starter and made me think about the text.
Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob. (Psalms 114:7 NLT)
Busy box made with bricks. My second attempt at this lovely creation was to escalate a bag I already carry. I have a bag of blocks I picked up at the pound store. Why pound store because if they lost them in church then I wouldn't be upset.
This time I had an actual box with a handle. This would be cute. Must find more.
Of course I had to decorate it to personalise it for the child. Adds a nice touch if you theme it. I tried out the suitcase look.
On the inside I added felt to dampen down the racket of carrying bricks into church.
Then I picked blocks from the pick and mix in the store. I picked five bricks of each colour and of the two main shapes. 2x2 and 2x4.
Then added some wheels and widows for interest. Also a set to build a car.
After this I then took an idea I found on Pinterest. I made a little booklet with patterns in for the child to follow but then left blank pages for the child to make their own patterns.
I made an intro page.
Then the instruction to make more. One could argue planning where the words go could help.
I am excited at making this box and plan to make one for my storms. I will see how they like it.
I have discovered as a church going parent that you can never have enough fun stuff for children to do in church. Sometimes we go to church and the children are fully catered for all eventualities and other times you are expected to keep them quiet. Either way I like to be prepared. Better to be safe than sorry is my motto last thing I want is one of mine melting down in the middle of the service. Therefore I have an array of things I carry. Recently I discovered I am not alone. There are things called busy boxes and busy bags and even busy books. It's Christmas and here is my version as a preset for one of my besties little girls.
Important is labelling. Sharing being optional for small children. If you have an unusual name then it can be impossible to find anything with your name on. If there is an option to put the name on the child's gift then I say go for it. Makes a child smile to know it was made special for them.
My storms love stickers can't get enough. Therefore they loved putting in stickers. Picking out which kinds they wanted.
Colouring pencils. I have opted for chunky ones. The storms picked out some stars to write on.
Gel pens are my passion so sharing them with someone little is fun. Especially in small ones. Cute but can't do as much damage as some giant ones.
Animal snap was a find from the party section in the store. I thought they were fun and can play simple matching games without creating much mess.
More stickers. This time much more girly ones. The storms always concede that she can have something girly providing she gets a car.
In order to get double uses out of the "toys" section I found the eraser section in stationary stores is good fun. Dice erasers. Pull back car erasers. Paintbrush erasers. So much fun to be had with an eraser! A couple of pencils thrown in for good measure just to ensure that the erasers are out to their proper use.
Now all you need is some paper and you are well away!
I cannot contain my excitement. For the first time in a long time I am jumping up and down excited. I feel filled with the Holy Spirits affirming love and guess what. Watch out world I am gonna share it with you.
You may not even at this moment realise but we are going on a journey together. There will be tears of joy and laughter and we will deal with some pain along the way but what we have is hope!!!!
And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been pimpured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
So guess what I am no longer ashamed of having hope. I am no longer ashamed that I always come up with a plan that doesn't work out but it gives me hope. I am no longer ashamed of who God created me to be! Because the Spiot gives us hope!
This year will be the first year I do advent! I have never before done an advent calendar. I have however eaten the chocolate after Christmas because they were on sale. I haven't done advent readings or anything. But this year with the kids I decided it was really important to do this. Don't ask me why but it was.
I am prepared. I bought an advent calendar toys not chocolate...
I wanted to make my own but time escaped me.
I found a great reading to follow from Thriving Families...
One year I might consider writing my own but this perfect takes you from garden to David to jesus.
Problem was I found awesome worksheets. I got my Pinterest board covered with awesome Christmas ideas. However I have no printer so I had to improvise.
I got two notebooks for my two storms. I looked at the reading and came up with the following.
This is designed for the boys to work out how to colour and read.
There is a text and then.
Each colouring page indicates some element of the story.
I have only managed three days so far in each book. But I am pleased with the result.
I think the storms will enjoy covering their book with brightly coloured stickers.
Creating a book at 3.30am might be tiring but it's worth it.
So sometimes I choose hope. On those days I pray for inspiration while I sit silent. Today was that day and here was my passage of hope.
Answer me when I call to you, O God who declares me innocent. Free me from my troubles. Have mercy on me and hear my prayer. How long will you people ruin my reputation? How long will you make groundless accusations? How long will you continue your lies? Interlude You can be sure of this: The LORD set apart the godly for himself. The LORD will answer when I call to him. Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent. Interlude Offer sacrifices in the right spirit, and trust the LORD. Many people say, “Who will show us better times?” Let your face smile on us, LORD. You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine. In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe. (Psalms 4:1-8 NLT)
I am sitting in the library in a great deal of pain. I am here to work on my book. As I look across at the shelve something leaps out at me. The Comprehensive Dramatised Bible edited by Michael Perry. I happen to be sitting in the religion section and there is the biggest blue bible I have ever seen.
I lift it off the shelve to discover it's secrets wondering what could it mean. Surely the bible is dramatic enough as it is. But as per usual my brain is one step behind the words. To my delight it is literally a drama bible.
How exciting to see the bible living in word. Can you imagine the church that uses this bible on a regular basis to do their scripture reading. My brain was alive with imagining the possibilities.
I happened upon the visit of the Queen of Sheba. As I read I imagined the finery and the beauty. I imagined her inquisitiveness and sat in awe as she quizzed Solomon. Never before had that piece of scripture held my attention so. To me it just goes to prove that it is important not to be content with the status quo.
I think hen I read the bible I imagine all that God has in bright colours for us. But it saddens me that when we come together as a group we strip God back to grey. We box him into a corner and believe that our traditions are so important that the God of the universe who imagined everything from the ant to the beluga whale is limited by our tradition. It's sad that we don't lay aside our tradition and inagine for a second that maybe God is not as limited as we are. Maybe God doesn't need repot ion the way we do and maybe just maybe our hearts offerings in all their colours are more than enough for God.
I am going to imagine God in colour and maybe add this bible to my collection. This enhancing my worship experience not for me but for the one I worship!
I am watching Blackfish. I have a little storm who adore Orca and all Dolphins and whales. It's a hard watch because humans take advantage at every opportunity for profit. The other side is all the many people who love these animals and where is the balance.
Part of me thinks back to the original job we had in the bible to look after the animals. Maybe that's why we as people want to have bonds with animals because we were originally created to have that. The truth is we live in a fallen world and we have to look after animals differently than was originally intended.
So what now for all the children who get the opportunity to see animals at zoos and aquariums? Do we close them all down? Or do we find a way of behaving responsibility where profit is not our main motivation.
Maybe it's our motivations that are really the problem. I have visited zoos and aquariums all of the world and something is clear to me when profit and human desire is not first but the animals best interest the zoo or aquarium looks very different. Guess what that is not a bad thing. I prefer to see animals being cared for properly than people exploiting them to make money!
So I reflect on genesis and how we were to look after the animals and I question are we really living that out.
The truth is I love Psalm 91. I discovered it for myself as a teenager. I was in dark places and needed refuge. God became my refuge.
When I went to university and overstretched myself and I was isolated. This text help me to keep God as my resting place.
Later when I was kicked out of home and my isolation from the world grew this text gave me hope.
Recently I have felt greater isolation than I have experienced in my life before. I seem to take this to whole new levels. But I have only just read this text again. I question whether I truly remember what it is to have God as my refuge.
So I found this picture...
My overwhelming feeling is that I need to live this text that I love so much. So I will read and live it again...
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease.
He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished.
If you make the LORD your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.
They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
The LORD says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”
Is there anything better than creating something? How about creating something on sabbath? I love making things it's true. I also love rest. Today I got to combine the two. I had absolutely no company for a day. So I made a scarf.
It got me thinking how could we incorporate knitting and sabbath?
Well I think the best thing would be to do it together. The next thing would be to do it for others. Third thing is talk as you knit. Share jesus as you knit. Seems like that might be a worship session I want to attend.
I am sitting in Holland in a fast food establishment, eating their version of Apple pie, wishing that would come to my home town.
Reading a book that has been my companion the last few months of some very deep pain.
What Good is God? This book has been my inspiration to continue on my journey to helping others. At a time of great pain for myself this book has inspired me to continue to seek ways of helping others. But it hasn't been without tears. The book covers some horrendous chapters in human history and behaviour. It tells us stories that we should feel ashamed of. More than that it tells fat too many stories in which Christians should hang their head in shame. Too many times when instead of seeking the truth from Hod we go with our corrupted own interpretation and cause a lot of pain. One of those chapters touches on the segregation of the South. I must admit as Philip Yancey tells the story my heart is filled with pain and my eyes well up with tears sitting here eating my apple pie.
I arrive at a section which makes my heart bleed more than I care to admit.
In it a christian univeristy has to apologise for their racism as up until the year 2000 they banned interracial dating! Seriously a mere 14 years ago this was still banned. I am ready to throw in the towel a sentiment share by the author himself he meets and so do I Dr Scott Morris. This man is seeking to change the lives of those most vulnerable in his community of Memphis. As I read his story unfolding of how he decided to change the lives of the poor and abused in the community. I saw his deliberate action. So today I want to choose to do better.
This man has chosen to dedicate his life to educating, treating, helping and inspiring others. What about me? I am sitting in a country where I don't speak the language having a genuine timeout from my life. It's not so easy to strike up a conversation with others here in this place. But surely I can use this time to do something.
I know I need to study more because one area I want to use to help others is the creative. I believe that God creating us in his image as creative beings we find great healing and comfort when we create. Isn't that why art, dance and music have such profound effects on those people. So I would like to open a place where creativity is at the heart but more than that people can did healing as they create from the ultimate source of creation. Our God. Now how am I going to do this? There in lies the challenge. Bring it on. My prayer for this weekend is now Lord help me did a way.
I sat trying to write positively about myself for a job application form I had putting off for a few days. My soul hurts and I couldn't find the words.
My husband asked me if I was excited about my upcoming trip with no kids. I tried to talk positively but my soul hurts.
A friend asked me how my day went and I avoided the topic gracefully. My soul hurts and I couldn't answer without breaking down.
Acquaintances ask me how I am doing. I try to respond fine as this is the customarily polite response. But my soul hurts the best I can say is that I am trying not to complain.
I try to enjoy the precious moments I have with my beautiful kids. But my soul hurts and all I feel is guilt for failing them and not being a better mum.
When my soul hurts and I find it difficult to breath I take comfort in my faith. I have to confess that this is the hardest it's ever been to take comfort in faith but nevertheless I know God loves me and so I turned to my bibke.
“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (Matthew 6:34 NLT)
When my soul hurts maybe the best I can do is stay in the moment. Not worry about tomorrow but look at those things I have right now and thank him for his kindness.
My soul might hurt right now. But Gods heart is broken for us when we live so far from him in this sin filled world.
I am a firm believer that creativity sets you free. In my understanding of Genesis 1-3 we are told that a creative loving God made us in His image. I think we were created to be creative and living beings. It is when embrace that creativity and loving nature that we find real joy.
I had the privilege to sit on a panel with a colleague that teaches compassion. What struck me as we spoke was that if we are to experience real compassion, joy, love opening ourselves creatively allows us to reach that like no other way can. Creativity sets you free.
In recent years I have taken up and old favourite colouring. So admist learning to knit, sew, bead and other things I have gone back to colouring because creativity sets you free. Let me tell you three stories to help illustrate.
I once was in a desperate place and needed outside help to find a solution. I had a good friend who recommended a counsellor to me. In those sessions I would draw and colour because the type of personality i have (a little bit in control) could only process this with the help of art. Creativity sets you free.
In recent years life has been more than a little frustrating so I have taken up colouring. Cannot ever say I was good at drawing but an eye for colour that is something I definitely have. But I was told that colouring stifles creativity in children. So I was somewhat put out by this and stood against it. Turns out that psychologists suggest colouring because of its creative nature among other things. (Frustratingly I have an article that discusses this point but my phone is stopping my creativity!)
Recently I have been on a show and my fellow guest is a lecturer in conpassion. If you think you know. You have no idea. Anyway one of the things that I really took away from that conversation is that when God speaks of peace that passes all understanding and real unspeakable joy. We know these things when we mirror the God whose image we were created in. One of the main characteristics is that of love and creativity. When we awaken our love and creativity we become free in a way that even we cannot understand. We did joy and peace in a way that does not make sense to others. Creativity sets you free.
I guess what I am using myself to do more than anything is to get in touch with my creativity and loving nature so that I can share that peace and joy with others. Creativity sets you free.
So the weather has changed here in the UK. It's back to something we all recognise, grey, rainy and cold. We had it good for a while. Summer started back in April/May and come October we were still wearing summer dresses. But the weather man warned us it wouldn't last always. We knew the rain was coming it was only a matter of time. But here we are being rained on 24 hours a day and guess what our memories of summer grow dimmer with every rain drop.
Words have power. I have to be honest and say currently happy is not the way I would describe my current emotional being. But words have power. So one day as the rain drove me into the ground, someone asked me how I was doing. Words have power. I said am choosing not to moan. They nodded and smiled and jumped in their car. As I walked in the rain with the kids they began to feel desperate. Words have power. Come on it's fun lets jump over puddles. Words have power.
On one journey home the rain was so bad I just wanted to give up. So I held each of my children's hands and we sang at the top of our voices every song we could think of till we reached home. We smiled and laughed. Words have power.
On arriving for a small job in a place I didn't want to be when I was asked how am I doing? My response was to say excited. I got home early that day and enjoyed spending time with my child doing their scrapbook. Words have power.
To be honest it feels like some days it's not going to work but I choose to say it louder, sing it more convincingly and say it others more. So that the power my words have will be used to lift me not drag me down. Words have power.
And just in case they don't I can always wear ears.
Since I was a child I have loved dungarees! The ultimate dungaree for me as an adult is the dungaree dress. Mostly because I don't want to take off my clothes to go toilet! But do you know it's difficult to find the ultimate dungaree dress. They are mostly too short! When they are right I am on a budget and cannot afford the three figures they come in. So I had a thought. You remember my denim skirt?
Could I do this with a denim dungarees? The answer is yes!
This is a most satisfying moment. My dungaree or pinafore dress. Love it. Not to be complacent I thought better make it in another shade!
I am still wearing my summer dresses but cannot wait to upload pictures of me in my wonderful creations. Happy day.
I have grand ideas in my head that I am the best dressmaker! In truth I struggle in my relationship with my sewing machine and the ideas stay in my head. But I have recently discovered a love of Pinterest. The idea of learning through pictures. I love it.
I do realise that I am a little behind and everyone else is using YouTube or some other video watching app but I am using Pinterest in a really weird way to make skirts. Particularly my passion is denim.
As a child my mum told me that denim is for work men not for young ladies. So as an adult my pursuit of wearing awesome denim is quite something. I have discovered you can make your own denim skirts! I love denim skirts.
You take a pair of denim shorts.
You add a skirt you love but that is ill fitting. This particular one I try to wear once a year and fail because each wearing makes me feel like a beached whale.
You make a few cuts and spend some time sewing them together and voila you have a fun and flirty denim skirt. My favourite kind. Considering I have spent some money on these skirts in past I am well please with the outcome.
I wore the skirt with a sweater and was so pleased when someone said they loved my skirt! Happy days. I love it and that's all that counts. Plus it's in the purple range!
In our case it rained on our day off. Not just a light drizzle but absolutely poured down. Normally weather won't stop us but after a super active few weeks a day inside seemed like a good idea. What happened.
Is there anything better than watching your children's imagination run wild and fill your home with fanciful stories of triumph.
We finally did it, we created chocolate.
We made box loads of beatiful chocolate shapes. Really easy to do with a mix of dark and milk chocolate is what we used and some fancy moulds. Yummy stuff.
In my home this is always a highlight. I have to say I used many shortcuts this time but nevertheless the children loved the experience of making their own cakes.
This was the surprise activity. I thought there might be love with this one and there was but it turns out they wanted to make baskets! At least they liked their woven animals and surprisingly they were simple to make.
Yes we did all this in one day as well as jumping around, watching a movie and of course eating a meal. To be honest it was a great day. It's days like this that make it all worthwhile. Days when all the skills and creativity are being pushed and it works. Not every craft day is so successfully packed with so much. However this worked.
Can each of these activities be turned into bible lessons? You bet! The baking was the most obvious because the children took them to church and shared them in them at pot luck punch.
Te chocolate is being shared with daddy and there is some discussion about what bible story can go with making things.
As to the weaving well the basket that Moses was in. The animals themselves tell a story. Fish play a central role in story telling in the bible.
Whatever you decide to do enjoy the process. Don't be precise they are children and most of all try and laugh because either way you are building a memory to last them a life time.
In the bible one of things that make me happy is celebration. Whenever something happens to a Israel and they overcome then there is a do this in remember statement. This turns into a yearly celebration. I think that the idea of celebration as a discipline is so important.
If you have the opportunity take a friend out to celebrate their birthday and indulge in your passion. A treat a moment to thank God for another moment of character growth.
This was our moment. Celebrating a God blessed friendship! Thank you awesome God for awesome friend.
I love making things. I might not be brilliant at it but I enjoy it no end. I truly believe that as people when God said we are created in his image he also meant our creative nature. I really enjoy this element.
Recently I have started looking at making clothes again and oh it has changed so much since I first started it. Now with the internet everyone is sharing their wonderful creations inspiring us to do the same.
Since I now feel uncomfortable in my own skin customising clothes seems like a very good option. Well I saw this idea to turn a T-shirt into a draped vest. I thought start small and see how we get on.
Step one. Get a T-shirt your not using. I had my beloved Brazil shirt which now makes me look fat and frumpy. But I dare not give it away because I love my team.
So now I am ready to go into step 2. Cut off the sleeves and cut down the sides.
Now to step three neaten up and make it work.
Now we are ready to go out into the brave world and wear it.
Now this was on a day out with the boys to a play area. We were having a fun time. The vest does it's job works great as a cover up looks cute. It hides your tummy which as a mother is amazingly brilliant! Also when I go into the bathroom and the kids need a towel the front of my t-shirt works amazing.
Most of all I love it and that's the main thing. Everyone else can make their judgements but guess what it's fun it's easy and makes me happy. I am also going to do it again. I can make it any colour and pattern I can find a large T-shirt in. Way hey! If you have a youth group with some girls in it then this is a fun bonding activity. All you need is scissors and t-shirt. You could also get some embellishments. Have fun creative people x