Friday, December 29, 2006

For a friend.....

heh heh, just back from a soiree. I have been introduced to a new sport tonight, went down well with adults and kids alike - check it out here. Man, check those sweatbands OUT!

And here is a
sits vacant for A Friend


Thursday, December 28, 2006

So you work with children....?

You'd be forgiven for thinking this blog is misnamed as I haven't mentioned working with children all that much recently.....or have I?

I have come to realise that what I do isn't my job, it's my life. I so enjoy spending time with kids and their families, it's just part of what I do. I love to meet the other mums for lunch, coffee, play dates and chat to them when I'm not at "work" - people say: are you getting time away from work? Well, this is what I do to relax - be with people being normal and chatting. I don't particularly feel called to iron clothes to perfection during daylight hours; that's what evenings and FilmFour are for!

Last weekend a friend and I organised a 4pm candlelit service for children in the local community and their families and once more the church was pretty full with people who wouldn't otherwise attend a church service - watchnight being too late and Sunday morning being too - well, - busy with other things? It seemed to go well; a friend had handpainted baubles with "Jesus" beautifully to give out as a gift at the end to each family and as always the iced biscuits went down well.

Earlier on Christmas Eve, B. and I jointly presented an all age service, experimenting with a first ever "dual sermon" - well, he did the hard [ theological] bit and I did the application bit. We realised we were striding into territories new; either it would work really well or we would come across as "Ant and Dec"-like!

The last few days has been spent revelling in the enjoyment of my own family; with late nights and long lies, visiting and being visited. Love it.

I do find January hard but have some visitors (friends) bringing some great teaching to the volunteer teams on "passing the baton" onto our children during the first weekend in January, so I can't wait for that.

In the past I have tended to spend the first ten minutes of January mornings "cooried" under the covers asking God to help me face the day; I have never been a big fan of January, in some ways it feels like an anti-climax after Christmas. I am encouraged by Stuart to think about Epiphany. He recommends this website, where I read:
"The term epiphany means "to show" or "to make known" or even "to reveal." In Western churches, it remembers the coming of the wise men bringing gifts to visit the Christ child, who by so doing "reveal" Jesus to the world as Lord and King.

I want that as a prayer for my life: I want to reveal Jesus to the world as Lord and King - even in January where I feel - errrrr - under-par!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Spare a thought....

I'm warm and cosy and enjoying a little Rest and Relaxation this weekend before the mad socialising and gift receiving and giving with friends and rellies over the next few days - which I love. I had one of the most enjoyable evenings for a couple of months last night with a good friend, going to the movies to see the ultimate chick flick "The Holiday" and then on to one of those only-very-loosely planned meet up with friends for chat, some drinks and throwing shapes on the dance floor till the wee small hours. Made more enjoyable for my friend and I in that we didn't really know what would happen before we went out.

The arrival of small children (no matter how much they made you coo in the movie, Ms X!) rather steals spontaneity and it is refreshing to embrace it again!

Tonight I can't help my thoughts turning towards a woman I know; whose appeal to stay in the UK has been overturned and who is now literally facing a knock at the door to be bundled away into a van, taken to a London airport and deported. She described how depressed she feels; how she is burning food when she cooks (because she goes into a shock-like state) and her young child has to shake her to turn the gas off. She was able to say for the first time that she cries all the time. I worry for her this Christmas. All I could do was hold her and cry with her for I don't know what the future holds. I can't make false promises to her; to say that she will surely be able to stay in the UK; all I can promise her is that God is with her and WON'T abandon her. She and not me knows what it is like to take your family and flee from persecution; just like Mary, Jospeh and Jesus did.

Dear God; what a mess we have in this world. Is it too simplistic to long for all the wrongs in this world to be put right and for the hope of the new Jerusalem where people from every nation,tribe and tongue can be together without fear and in safety?

Please pray for her and her child this week if you can. Thank you.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Happy Birthday

Today is my daughter's birthday. In general conversation with some of my pastoral colleagues, I was recalling how amazing that day was, seven years ago. I was reflecting on the passing of time. One of my colleagues asked: what were you doing at this point seven years ago?

Without thinking, after glancing at the clock and remembering that exact time all those years ago, I replied: being stitched up.......

Owch. (literally)

Definitely a case of TMI
(too much information)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Moronic post

Good debate going on here.

I posted a short comment where I mentioned (not seriously of course) an oxymoron - teachable Baptist. (deliberate capital B!)

I have always loved oxymorons. Here the top twenty from
this site. Can anyone make their own up?

20. Government Organization
19. Alone Together
18. Personal Computer
17. Silent Scream
16. Living Dead
15. Same Difference
14. Taped Live
13. Plastic Glasses
12. Tight Slacks
11. Peace Force
10. Pretty Ugly
9. Head Butt
8. Working Vacation
7. Tax Return
6. Virtual Reality
5. Dodge Ram
4. Work Party
3. Jumbo Shrimp
2. Healthy Tan
1. Microsoft Works

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Party weekend and "Torture Chambers"

That's the childrens' Christmas party weekend over for me, feel exhausted but very satisfied. No-one went missing, threw up, fell out with each other or sustained a nasty injury. I love, love, love watching children play together happily.

Both parties were out-of-house, one for P6s and 7s in a cinema (The Nativity) and one in a soft play area. My previous boss [ in education] called soft play areas Torture Chambers. However, today's private hire party allowed those parents who wanted to come to chat and mingle and drink tea and coffee. My favourite kind of party (relaxed atmosphere; kids amused; leaders, kids and parents chatting and enjoying one another's company. An easy way to amuse seventy under 10s.

Do you think I would get away with asking for a soft play area to be part of the plans of any future building redesign? This church did. (but there are no pictures on the web. Think I would like to visit it).

They are such a key place for socialising for men or women with children under 10. I think they are gathering places a bit like the wells of Jesus day. I imagine round the well kids would be running around splashing, chasing each other, pestering their mums while they talked with their friends. The wells would have been a focal point for the women of a community. And of course there are a fair number of men who are the main carer.

Anyway, I can but dream "out of the box" ideas!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Transformatio mundi and holiday clubs!

The transformation of the earth in the new creation promised in Revelation is one theological topic which fascinates my geographical background. I am delighted to have received information on this new Scripture Union resource today. Thought some of you would like to hear about it.

My church has a very active Eco-group. We have undertaken two modules of the Eco-church programme - Guacamole Girl, can you comment here any general thoughts on our progress with this? One thing I was asked to look into was how we could bring environmental principles into our children's programmes. We've managed this a bit, although Guacamole Girl and I can never look at another milk carton top again since we had what seemed like several hundred of them strung together by the children themselves to declare that "The earth is the Lord's and everything in it".....

So I think the Eco-warriors whom I know well will also be chuffed to bits with this:

"Scripture Union is going green in the new holiday club resource! Based on John’s Gospel and Genesis, with the topical theme of conservation, Wastewatchers explores God’s creation and working for transformation in a broken world.
Wastewatchers is accompanied by a DVD with extra training material to help leaders get the most out of their club.

Wastewatchers. Children will discover how Jesus can transform lives, what God made and how we should be looking after it and much more in this flexible holiday club programme…

DVD... Animated, comical illustrations bring to life the Wastewatchers stories. Extra resources on team training with additional printable sheets make this a must have item…

Zany, lively and a great souvenir.

Little Green Pages has Puzzles, Bible Passages and attention grabbing information for children to use after the club has ended…"

For further information, click here.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Dragged, screaming and kicking

Went on my first ever visit to Starbucks today. I really have never been to a coffee "chain". I don't drink coffee and I reckon if I ever need a good cup of tea I shall make it myself.

It had to be explained to me that once you are fleeced, errrr, I mean, pay (thanks Mr X!) with several jangly pound coins, you wait at a little round serving area for the barista (not to be confused with a barrister. There is a very subtle difference) to make your drink.

I'd like to publicly declare that I was swept along in the crowd and found myself in there (it was raining pretty heavily and it was a dry sanctuary) Wisnae ma fault, miss!

(I noticed that Starbucks have 5 statements proving their ethical credentials on the wall, I wondered if they were trying to prove a point??)

Then I found this - check out the December 12th post!!!!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Ten Things I Will Never Do

Ahhh, thanks to Nick for this.
This is something of a blogging pass it on. I have to write 10 things I'll never do and then 'tag' 10 bloggers to do the same.

Here is my list of Ten Things I Will Never Do

1. Be a size 0
2. Volunteer to babysit a Standard Grade PE class (boys section)
3. Have a phone bill for £233
4.. Ask a class if anyone needs to go to the loo
5. Walk on stilts
6. Give birth without drugs
7. Cut my big toenail round at the corners
8. Line the streets to wave at royalty
9. Go to Marks and Spencers on December 24th
10. Another degree course.

And I can't find ten people to tag to reciprocate who aren't already tagged by Coxy or GadgetVicar. I thought about pinching people from one of these guys lists but that wouldn't be fair!

4.Guacamole Girl
5. Henry

Friday, December 08, 2006

Blogging Slowdown

I have noticed a slight slow-down in the number of posts on quite a few of the blogs I visit.
I think it's because we all get so busy at this time of the year. For me - all the things I have to do are compressed into three weeks as I want to be winding down by Dec 21st (my daughter's birthday!) to make way for the end-of-term school events and Christmas weekend activities; I'm also responsible for two services (note slight tone of panic in the voice there) one which is much easier than the other as it's only half an hour long :-) More about that nearer the time.

I love the Christmas holidays. I love remembering how Jesus started his life (baby) and I am always in awe of who he is (King). I love the juxtaposition of those two words - baby and King - and the starkness of his surroundings at the moment of birth, a stable, compared to his heavenly destination, seated at God's right hand. I was baptised at Christmas in 1984 and at this time of year I always recall how different that Christmas felt - it felt like new. I also love the chilling out, late nights, later rises, socialising and being at home. Give me a roaring log fire anyday!

I'd love to wax lyrical some more but I am home alone to write an essay on a minority ethnic group's church plant. I've been researching the topic for a few weeks but now I really have to write it as it has to be submitted on Monday. My mind is going blank; I've done a third and I'm stuck. I've already emptied the dishwasher, run a vacuum around the wooden floors (do they really need vacuumed? - discuss) and folded up some clothes for inspiration.

Think I will pray ......!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Believers' Baptism ????

I took my children to a baptismal service last night. My four year old's first one.
I have just heard them playing a game called "baptise me" in the room next door.

I swear they haven't heard me standing at the door listening to them. Here's the bits of the game I can hear and see:

7 year old: why do you want to be baptised?
4 year old: because I want a new TV
7 year old: no, it's got to be about Jesus
4 year old: because Jesus made the windows and the curtains
7 year old: I baptise you in Jesus name. [ pushes younger child backwards over the arm of the sofa]
Now it's my turn
4 year old: why do you want to be baptised?
7 year old: because Jesus is so powerful
4 year old: I baptise you in Jesus name [ repeats the pushing over the arm of the sofa movement]
7 year old: Your turn again. Why do you want to be baptised?
4 year old: because I love Jesus
7 year old: cross your arms like this [ does the correct action!] I baptise you in Jesus name
4 year old: your turn! My turn to baptise you! Why do you want to be baptised?
7 year old: Because I used to have a broken leg and Jesus made it better
4 year old: I baptise you in Jesus name [ pushes over etc ]

This was hysterically funny to secretly watch, obviously some guidance is needed on how many times one can be baptised! but this goes to show how sponge-like little children are. When you think they aren't listening in a church service, they are taking everything in around my church the person being baptised tells a little of their story leading them to the decision to be baptised as a believer.

I find it interesting that children are also able to issue doctrinal correction to one another (the new TV bit) and there's no big deal about it; no fall outs, church splits, huffs, bitterness. Just a simple adjustment is made!

So its not just cute.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Cry of an orphan

You may have read my post "for the love of Juliet" on 4 or 5 November .
On a similar theme, the AIDS crisis, I have been very moved by this poem.

Cry of an orphan

Our beloved deceased parents
Your absence means a lot
You left our hearts torn apart
You left us so prematurely
Mum and Dad
Where did you come from Mr Aids?
Was it from the hills or the forests?
Who gave you permission to invade our earth?
Mr Aids, you truly are very cruel!
You took Mum and Dad
Life is too hard for me Mum
Sleeping on an empty stomach
Moving naked, without wearing rags
Eating what dogs eat.
Oh! Mum and Dad where are you?
I remember those sweet days of ours
When you used to call me Junior
I used to enjoy life
Now life is hard
If I request something to eat, something to put on, or school fees
Some say "sitinaphe makolo ako ndife" which means "we did not kill your parents"
oh! Mum and Dad I cry
We are now called orphans
I wish you come back one day
To hold me again... ........

Jeremiah Jere, Muselama Primary School, Chitipa, Malawi

Monday, November 27, 2006

Reflections on London

A few people have asked me how I got on in London.
Hotel - OK (cheap and in South Kensington therefore miraculous)
Conference - awesome
Shopping - as expected. Pressies for other people. But then I did get to buy a copy of "Cosmo".

I went to HTB as part of an Alpha EMEA week - European, Middle East and Africa week. I felt right at home. From stepping off at Heathrow to entering the conference venue I was struck by the sheer number of different nationalities represented. To me, it had a heavenly quality. Every nation, tribe and tongue will be represented there!

Had my first ever experience of not being able to get into a church service. Yes, you read that correctly, the 5pm service was full, as was the overflow facility. Bring it on! (that was the fourth service of the day) And so I enjoyed a solitary Costa cup of tea, reading my glossy magazine and marvelling at a sell-out, SORRY, packed church service just across the road. BTW, is Costa OK? I hear from neighbour's blogs that Starbucks isn't.

Enjoyed the 7pm service immensely, particularly the fact that there seemed to be so many other visitors for whom this may have been their first "church worship" experience. I was asked twice where the toilets were. I must have that "in with the bricks" look about me. Oooooooh, Coxy, could I be an Anglican?? :-)

Listening to (now assistant Bishop) Sandy Millar was - as ever - fantastic. I could listen to his wisdom for hours. For the church planters among you - HTB has planted 11 congregations since 1992, sending 200 people each time. Sandy said last year he thought he should take his own advice to the congregation of 3,000 and stepped down as vicar to lead a plant to an empty church in North London with 200 members.

And so to the conference itself. As an Alpha adviser I had some other meetings to attend outwith the main conference but I managed to hear most of the main sessions straight from the man himself, Nicky Gumbel. A most engaging and entertaining speaker yet not afraid to challenge.

Whatever you think of Alpha, I heard and saw the evidence that God is anointing it as an evangelistic tool hugely around the world. I would have questioned its effectiveness in different cultural contexts and yet I heard delegates give reports in the Sunday evening service) on huge numbers of converts to Christianity in France, Spain, Latvia, Ukraine, Soweto, S.A., Sweden, Uganda, Burundi, Russia.......(can't remember all of the representatives who spoke!) For me, most moving was to see the Orthodox priests (beard, robes, huge cross), monks, nuns and loads of Catholic priests in attendance. They had paid money to travel to be there - such was their hunger to learn more about alpha. I felt so THRILLED to see them there. As Nicky Gumbel says: alpha focuses on that which unites us, not that which divides.

Two-thirds of the dioceses in France run the course. It has found its place as one of the most useful tools for a parish to evangelise. Some of the things that I picked up in my summer reading/exams came in handy - being able to remember that Vatican 2 called for re-evangelisation and a call to community and a place for spiritual gifts :-)

So I've come home renewed in the vision to continue to use alpha with the families I come into contact with. All my questions (relating to an upcoming assignment) like: does this work cross culturally? were answered. The emphasis on community (people are invited out of relationships with people inside the church); the sharing of food, the invitation to speak freely and share opinions without (me as leader) butting in and the lack of intensity plus the anointing of God make this course work!

Mammoth post - any comments??

Monday, November 20, 2006

Hello from the Big Smoke

Having a lovely time except for the traffic.
More on the conference when I get back to Scotland. I've popped into an internet cafe to print off my plane boarding pass for the rush hour squash tomorrow.

I saw SIMON COWELL today (X factor fame) ! He nearly knocked me down with his Rolls Royce. Now that would have been a shame.

I am practising saying "yah" lots as I walk through South Kensington every day :)
And it's true, people do really still say it!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Excitement in the air!

I'm off to London Sunday until Tuesday. I love flying by myself; over the years I have been very privileged to fly away with only hand luggage and my thoughts beside me on various occasions - usually to London and Dublin. A few years ago I flew "solo" across the Atlantic to meet my husband who had gone ahead to a conference with our senior pastor in North Carolina, USA. That was slightly more stressful; had to dash from Gatwick to Heathrow in an hour - not to be recommended in London traffic........I was hoping for one of those Tony Campolo moments with a fellow passenger and it didn't happen (I'm sure many readers have heard Tony Campolo speak about his interactions with fellow air passengers! - incredible time of witnessing, leads them weeping to Christ etc etc)

I'm attending speaker training with a small group of people here, and I'm really excited. I will meet up with a few other Alpha folk I know; we're staying in the same hotel, and I am looking forward to socialising for two days with adults without the "he did this/she's annoying me/please can you get/do/pick up/buy/give me" type chat from my (seriously) much loved and cherished offspring.

Also, and I am slightly concerned about putting this private reflection in the public domain, I'm flying on Sunday morning rather than in the afternoon so I can wander around the shops for the afternoon. Does that make me materialistic? Ummm, hope not, I am looking forward to doing something with me, myself and I that I rarely get to do. I am planning on a visit to Hamleys (toy shop) - any other shopping recommendations?

I always, always go to the Natural History Museum, using my teacher's pass to get in legitimately for free (It's SO expensive!) but I don't think I will have time to do that on this trip.

I'm also having my monthly "I'm not suited to studying theology" crisis so I am looking forward to a Sunday off, although still working (:::::she adds hastily::::)reflecting a bit more on what I believe with time to think instead of my usual mad-runaround-Sundays. I simply can't present my thoughts well enough. I'm feeling quite inadequate when debates take place. I can never remember where to find that certain verse which was there in my memory banks a few minutes ago and a brief discussion today on atonement and Steve Chalke's views had me closing my eyes and wishing that the bell would ring (NOW that reminds me of moments in school!)

Monday, November 13, 2006


What do you do when children tell lies? Discuss without becoming red in the face!

No sooner do I get over one hurdle with one of my children than I hit another one, telling tales. Actually, I hate that phrase. Call a spade a spade - it's lying. As one of my colleagues described: it presses the buttons for many parents.

My daughter is digging her heels in and telling lies - there's been one a day for the past week.
Time to go back to the Triple P course and apply it to my family before I lead the parenting group next week!
(it does work - it only doesn't if one is inconsistent)

Is that a behaviour chart I see before my eyes???

Thursday, November 09, 2006

All age

I have been putting together an all age service for this weekend. I have always had a real desire to bring different generations together towards a common goal of worshipping our God. I love being part of it and I think it's important. Too often in our society today we are split down into our separate age groups. The "day care" mentality! (NB I'm not dissing Sunday programmes; most weeks we do this too! 3-5s go to one room, 6-7s, another room, and so on...but I love it when we are all together)

I became a Christian at age 14 with no support or back-up from my family; in fact I faced out-and-out opposition to the life changes I was making. I learned so much from being part of a big church family. I was taught, nurtured, mentored, equipped and held tight by this local congregation, where I still am.(Interestingly - but unsurprisingly! - God worked changes in me; I grew to love my biological family even more some years after I became a Christian when I appreciated all that they had done for me. Man, imagine having to bring me up!)

An older woman in the congregation (who was probably only about 45 at the time, but seemed ancient then!) had a real calling to encourage me, write to me, check I was OK, pray for me through O Grades, Highers and University and still to this day checks how I am doing. A number of the key leaders came to the youth group to teach, pray, mentor (and occasionally discipline!!) my peers and I, under the loving direction of our minister.

I felt so much love and acceptance from those who were older than me.

With all my heart I want this for the children I work with today in this same church family. To love and honour the older generations as the children in turn are loved and nurtured by those more senior in years.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

help I'm hiding

It's my turn to host the 7 year old girls who play at each other's houses after school. I'm hiding while they play at being teachers. Tamagotchis dangle from their mucky dishevelled clothes so they might also provide a distraction [they haven't got to the make up/boots/Bench wearing stage yet (nod to SB!)]

Did you know two Tamagotchis, thanks to infra-red technology, MATE now!?!?!? And have babies??

Sunday, November 05, 2006

For the love of Juliet

Please watch this.


Across the globe, AIDS is responsible for an increasing number of deaths each year. Of the estimated 2.8 million killed in 2005, around half a million were children aged below 15 years. At the end of 2005, an estimated 2.3 million children globally were living with HIV.
2006 Report on the Global Spread of Aids by the World Health Organisation.

I couldn't help myself - I spent an hour on the floor having a loud outburst to God. I was crying, sobbing uncontrollably and feeling anger, confusion. I was full of questions that aren't going away. I think I have managed to bury or put these questions aside before, but I can't seem to tonight.
Why do MILLIONS of children have to die of Aids? Why do I feel the pain of this? Why children? It's not their fault - they are innocents. Why such a slow, agonising death, for some of them? Why do so many of them have to die alone without a mum and a dad to hold them, because they have already passed away?

What does it mean to be an Esther, for such a time as this?

Friday, November 03, 2006

The assault on our children........

No, this post isn't about my parenting reaction to my Boundary Pushing (but oh so gorgeous) little 4 year old at a 2 hour musical Luv Esther tonight. (He was great, watched wide eyed and open mouthed with his big sister at the rapping, dancing, visuals etc)

Hitting hard throughout this musical of the life of Esther is the prophetic call to be one who will approach The King at "such a time as this". The perfprmance weaves together so movingly news footage of the state of the nations, courtesy of ITN news. Luv esther's cast and crew also celebrate the life of a young girl who died of aids aged 10 with a beautiful song "to Juliette".

This broke me completely and I wept and wept at the footage of Juliette herself and other Aids orphans. I did some reading on this topic last year for a research project and it was all coming back. God was moving it from head to heart. Isn't that what he wants for all of my reading, research, thoughts and dreams.......?

It made me think again about the assault on the world's children:-
* There was a persecution against children at the time of Moses birth.
* There was a persecution against children right after Jesus birth.
* It has been stated that one third of all children die before they are born - aborted - a persecution pre-birth?
* And the innocent affected by AIDS - orphaned and/or infected themselves - again, children.
"12 million African children have already lost one or both parents to AIDS, and unless we take serious action now, there will be more than 20 million AIDS orphans by the end of the decade. Millions of children will have lost not only their parents, but their teachers, nurses and friends too. Businesses are losing their workers, governments are losing their civil servants, families are losing their breadwinners. As a result, entire communities are devastated and economies that are already crippled by poverty, debts and unfair trade policies are further compromised. "
(ngm website, from

If you pray, please pray tonight for children in this world - valuable, precious, desired and highly esteemed by God. Each one of them IS known by him. In my sadness tonight I felt the Holy Spirit reinforce that simple (and oft-used) statement to my heart; saying "it is true, Lynn. I know each one".

Oh, that their suffering would end. Hear our cry Lord.

Luv Esther

Am off to see ngm's presentation of the story of Esther with the family tonight. Really looking forward to it and I am hoping that Boundary-Pushing Child will be ok. He had a Big Sleep today in preparation..........

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I must be mad

I've only just sat a sack-load of exams/essays and here I am hitting another deadline. And its an optional one! ::::::::::slaps head::::::::::::
Why am I so last minute (truth be told; had an agony-fest weekend: see last post) plus the admin person at college was hiding all the forms that I needed to submit this appeal for credit.

(actually, like most large institutions: universities, the Health Board, the Home Office, the Dept for Work and Pensions - only One Person can give you the form you need and if that One Person is sick or on holiday or nipped to the 'loo you've had it; you'll need to come back another day to Get The Form)

Thanks for good friends who take sympathy on part-timers and take library books back, pick up forms, hand in paperwork etc etc :-)

Actually I am so busy with kids work with so many things kicking off just now, both positive and errrrr, more challenging, that I almost don't know what to do next. I seem to remember November as being quiet in my schedule....umm, nope, not this year! I've been digging out my Willow Creek leadership stuff to check what I am supposed to do next. Don't think that's the point somehow but don't tell on me!

What are your handy tips for managing time and tasks?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

God made dentists

I want to record here how fantastic my dentist Tracey is.
I have been suffering from niggly on-off pain for a couple of weeks in the lower jaw. It ERUPTED on Friday night to full blown "I'm crying" pain. Nurofen Extra and Brufen calmed it a little - till 3am .......

Phoned my dental surgery's emergency number and got to see Tracey at 10.30am today (a Saturday!). It's been fairly complicated to diagnose but I have acute pulpitis - an inflammation in the pulp of one of my teeth. I have had this before. The scunner is that my filling was taken out to check for this and there was no more decay there..apparently sometimes the nerve shrinks back and gets inflamed in response to a filling, which it senses is a foreign substance in the tooth.

Wow, and there was me thinking teeth were fairly inanimate pieces of ??? hard stuff (don't know what you call it!)

I have had loads of ligacaine (isn't that in an Eels song?) and am feeling sore but better.
Tracey has phoned me twice to check I am OK - God bless her - and also to see if she needed to start yanking the root out tonight in an emergency procedure.

I received some prayer from other members of church on Friday morning; at that point it looked like I wouldn't be able to get an appointment to see my dentist till later in the month; and it was a precious 10 minutes where I felt "safe in God's hands" - that I could trust him with my teeth. Makes sense really - seeing as I am supposed to trust him with my life.

Thank you Father for Tracey!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Things I Read

Thanks to Hippo Critic, who helped me make my blog a nicer place to visit today. All he needs is a cup of coffee and a laptop and he's a happy guy.

I need to explain my "What I'm Reading" list, before you think I'm either a bit-over-the-top on the religious front or a shallow "footballers' wives" fan (and I'm not saying there's anything wrong with either!!!!!)

1. The Bible.
I try to read this every day. I almost manage this but I don't beat myself up if I don't. It is immensely important to me. We didn't mean the picture to come out that huge. Roll on blogspot version 2.

2. The Herald should be no. 2 but I got my html a bit muddled. Because I used to teach politics I feel unprepared for the day if I haven't read a quality broadsheet. I kind of like having the Scottish dimension. The Herald manages this and doesn't skimp on the International section. However, it doesn't feature enough in-depth analysis like, for example, the Guardian/Independent manage. I am also rather fond of a couple of the Herald journalists. I like their campaigning stance. (headnod to Billy Briggs and Damien Henderson - liking your style)

3. Heat magazine. I DO NOT buy this every week. But hey, I like reading it.. I maybe buy one once every six weeks? Does that make me a shallow person? I like to think of it as my homework for my contextualising the gospel class. For the same reason I like some of the glossies like Cosmo. Can't stand OK and Hello though. In my church there is a squad of us who recycle glossies like Heat so loads of people get to read a bundle.

Also beside my bed (and propping up my Things To Do List nicely) are volumes by RT Kendall, Robin Parry and David Crowder.

What's on your bedside table just now?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Down in the dumps...

Down in the jungle yesterday, down in the dumps today. Not like me. I must be incubating something. "Stuff" that wouldn't normally upset me is making me teary. (and it's not PMT!)

I fell asleep on sofa during Spooks.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Down in the jungle...

Work today was like being in the Amazon. Average temperatures of (what felt like) 90 degrees, humidity 98%.

And all because of two thermostat-less radiators - so hot they could hardly be touched- in a small room with twenty 4-5 year olds (my own striptease loving son one of them). Hats off the the group leader who had them dancing, drawing, playing blind man's buff, shooting hoops (is that what it's called?) and doing a "Rolf Harris" to tell a Bible story with a thick marker pen and flipchart paper. What a talented guy. I stand and marvel. Yet again I feel so privileged to be in my job. I miss my old job so much sometimes as I have gone on about before in this blog, and at other times I don't at all. I can't deny that God has called me to be where I am.

A quick shufty-round the other groups found hot toddlers throwing mega bloks in frustration. Owch.
Oooops, time to call maintenance in to deal with the radiators. Why oh why in church buildings is it either freezing or boiling? Answers from the QSs who read this on a postcard, please!

I'm not feeling so well today - very unlike me - so off to sleep now.
(It's probably due to the diurnal temperature range!)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Inverse law of tidying-up

Why is that when you have a day clearing out and tidying up, you actually end up with more mess than you started with? That was one of today's experiences, in these last few days off.

Yesterday I had a (half) day in library, reading about contextualisation of the gospel, which I rather enjoyed, but then I realised that I had a case study to do for the final assignment and I started to panic a little in thinking about where I'd find my cross-cultural case. Pah, why couldn't I just end the day enjoying the feeling that I am actually ahead of reading rather than at the dog's tail of the work needing done?

Today I had a (half) day clearing out and tidying up, ending up with more mess in the process. Why is that? I call it the inverse law of tidying up or sorting out filing. It's the same in my office.

What are your techniques for dealing with troublesome piles of paper/mess/household junk?

Decluttering gives me more clutter to get rid of..............

Thursday, October 19, 2006

One week on.....

Wow, can't believe a week has passed since I last blogged. I had a lovely time in Aviemore and Inverness with the family. The batteries are fully recharged and I am raring to go - just home and the phone is ringing ferociously with questions about the kids work over the coming weekend.

Got loads to post - including "just how many members of your home church can you meet during one trip to the Highlands?" "Hospitality - the continuing drama of life with a 4 year old" and more on "Labour's get-tough policies on asylum and immigration".

But it will have to wait - am off to see Children of Men tonight. I am looking forward to admiring the work of Clive Owen - is it OK to say that? He really is a great actor.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Bob Holman in The Herald, 10 October 2006

Note: this is a straight copy of the words of the column.

Last Wednesday, immigration officials arrived to deport an asylum-seeking family whose application had failed. They smashed open the door on their 20th floor flat. The husband threatened to jump from the balcony.

I live nearby and two asylum seekers asked me to help. Like all citizens, I was powerful. Eventually the man surrendered, his wife collapsed and was treated by medics, the children were taken.

They are not alone. Following Home Secretary John Reid’s “kick-them-all-out” instructions, 70 families in Scotland have lost their benefits and been ordered to leave. Most have disappeared. Homelessness is better than the torture and death they would have faced if they returned to their homes.

At the Labour Party conference in Manchester, I went to hear Immigration Minister Liam Byrne. Unadvertised, an asylum seeker addressed the crowd. His political beliefs in an African state led to imprisonment, a year on the run and an escape to Britain. His applications and appeals have been turned down.

Niall Cooper of Church Action on Poverty accepted that some asylum seekers would be helped to return. But he showed that many suffer unjust decisions and lack effective legal help. He condemned the New Labour policy of using destitution as a tool to make people leave, which in one case affected a woman who, along with her two children, suffers from rickets.

Why is this happening? Cooper read out headlines: “Kick out the scum” (Daily Star), “Britain: the dustbin of the world” (Daily Express), Stop the asylum invasion (Daily Mail). In fact, Britain only takes 3% of the world’s refugees, asylum applications are dropping and asylum seekers are not the same as the more numerous immigrants who come seeking work.

There is little evidence linking asylum seekers with terrorists. But these headlines stir up prejudice that might cost Labour votes if the government appears soft. Expediency requires harshness against asylum seekers. Byrne said he was new to the post and wanted to learn. He feared that immigrants might take jobs and force down wages. His statement was challenged from the floor. He said nothing about the policy of destitution and dawn raids. He did not reveal that he had already pledged himself to “a tougher enforcement of the rules”. I can’t see him standing up to John Reid.

I was cheered by two factors. First, the dignity and courage of asylum seekers in the room. Secondly, the large numbers of Christians who were present. Faith groups are in the thick of the campaign to protect and support asylum seekers. A forthcoming meeting will focus on organising shelters, daycentres, accommodation and food for the destitute. This is subversive Christianity, which believes that obedience to the gospel is more important that submission to repressive legislation. A leading campaigner has been so impressed by the concern of Christians that she has decided to become one.

The task of those who want justice and compassion to prevail will become harder is, as he wants, John Reid becomes Prime Minister.

Situation Vacant?

Am very excited. Six more new children at club tonight (it's only the second week); I was especially pleased to see a boy who I have got to know at the local school's SU group, which has also only just started (it's in its fourth week).

Apart from 5 or 6 of the children, the majority don't attend church. But the great delight for me is that I know them all, either from my work in the school or from their parents attending groups or events I have run before for children and families. Most of them have attended other "church ministries" like the kids' summer club, or the partnership-funded nursery. I love to see what I call "joined up church", where one form of outreach or ministry neatly leads a family onto another and then another and so on.

I am also delighted that I don't run the midweek kids club :-) That a great team has been put together by the co-ordinator. If I'm there, it's a bonus for them, in that it's another pair of hands to do door duty or give out the juice. But if I'm not runs wonderfully :-)

A previous minister of our church said to me that my aim should be to do myself out of a job!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

And my answer was.........

"Picture the scene if you will, last Sunday morning.Father and mother of said child "up front" during opening worship. Congregation singing heartily away, all facing the front.Small child edges further and further to the front holding something in his hand.....with an "I dare you to react" face on. The thing he is holding is used for the discharge of urine from the body...and he's walking this way with it on view.....during the opening 10 minutes of the service.............................................Before I tell you how I reacted......over to you:in this scenario WHAT WOULD YOU DO NEXT?"

I promised I would tell you what I did:
As he edges forward to the front of the church, "body parts" in hand, I snuck up to him, lifted him and cuddled him close, taking him back to my seat where he remained cuddled in over my shoulder while the next part of the service took place (which I wasn't involved in). I whispered very close to his ear "mummy loves you very much" "you're my special boy" and similar sentiments which calmed him, reassured him and obviously settled him. After this short burst of focussed attention he was well behaved.

Should I have taken him out of the service to the front door, because he had deliberately pulled his trousers down? Maybe.
Were my affectionate actions rewarding his bad behaviour? Possibly.
Was this indulging him? I believe not.
Was this costly to me in terms of reputation, standing and the smooth running of the service? After all, the person MCing events this Sunday had a badly behaved child! Not at all.

Small children, especially when they are required to wait while pastoral staff parents busy themselves with service "stuff" for some time before the service actually starts, need to know how special they are; that they have a very unique place in your affections.

Thank you Father, that when I am pretty badly behaved and disappoint you - as can happen - you do the same thing for me!
The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love.....Zephaniah 3:17

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Random Thoughts of John Reid

Things are beginning to kick off again for some of the women and children I love.

Secrets are being kept from the children. Parents disappearing off to be cross-examined without a solicitor present. Benefits about to be withdrawn; education disrupted, friends lost, belongings thrown into black bin bags.

What did these (mainly women) do wrong? They fled war-torn nations for their lives, having witnessed the disappearance and murder of many of their male family members. If they could have stayed, they would - much loved mothers and sisters left behind. Their own siblings scattered - to the Netherlands, to Canada, to Belgium, to the USA......

A group of us who met with our local MP a year ago were disappointed and hurt by the response to our concerns. By his dismissal of Christians as being naive, short sighted and gullible. If only he knew the bigger picture that we see in all the instructions given to us to look after the widow, the alien, the orphan, the strangers in our midst.

Last year I visited four children (all under 10) and their parents who were locked up in Yarl's Wood (Bedford) for 30 days and treated like criminals - I had to be searched/X rayed and go through twelve locked doors myself to see them. I would have treated a dog better!

The tide is rising again: the forced removals have returned after a summer of quiet. I pray that mercy and justice will prevail; for correct decisions to be made on a case-by-case basis rather than the cycle of:
NAS repossess house -----> benefits cut ------> destitution brought about intentionally ------> so that resistance is low -------> family accedes to all demands made of them.

If you have access to it, please read Bob Holman's article in Tuesday's Society section of the Herald. It's late now, tomorrow I will post some of it here.

Lord, have mercy.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Easy like Sunday morning.....

Hmmm, was thinking I don't have anything particularly clever to say on this blog today. However, it was an interesting day.

Slept in (never! with kids! yes indeedy! Think they got up early and snuck Monsters Inc on to the DVD player then decided to go silent so they were undiscovered) - this long lie would have been truly heavenly except that we woke up at 9.20am and at 9.45am I was supposed to be meeting one of my small teams for pre-service prep and prayers.

yet again, unbrushed hair, sleepy eyes, and a stressful mad dash to church. No cup of tea either!

I had spent hours on Saturday night searching for pictures of Ahab and Elijah for my "meant to be as visual" as possible brief teach on the evil Omri dynasty and God's man, Elijah.
I think it went well. In terms of 5-14 learning outcomes, I am confident that I achieved the following:
(a) describe the nature of Omri's reign - (nasty and evil)
(b) state the name of God's man on the ground (Elijah)
(c) name the two kingdoms (dur)
(d) What was not good about Jezebel and Ahab's marriage? (foreign god worship x 100)

You are deemed to have success in teaching if 90% of your listeners achieve the learning outcomes. Hmmmm. Think the kids did; not sure about the adult listeners!

Anyway, I enjoyed my OT studies over the summer holidays and certainly didn't mind digging into 1 Kings again.

Then onto a lovely afternoon having lunch-till-5pm with friends and then I popped out to church tonight as usual so I could get my "input" (what I do is classed as "work" in the mornings. :-) I love doing it - I feel so privileged!). I took 10 minutes to singe my ears xxxxx I mean, straighten my hair - which resulted in lots of people generally being very complimentary....what have you had done to your hair etc etc...what must I have looked like this morning?? (hedge and backwards come to mind)

Ooooh, another highlight; I got to sit in what my friend J calls "the cool zone" in church - where all the students and twenty-somethings sit. Didn't feel too old on account of my new shoes.

Which leads me back to my favourite topic - why I like kids - they don't mind if you haven't brushed your hair (probably because they haven't either); they are just delighted to have you with them.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

I passed it.......

..........not a kidney stone, but my theology exam.
I am officially armed and dangerous. A little Moltmann makes one a dangerous woman!

Heresies - watch out! Have got my Grenz book ready. And it's heavy!

(thanks to the community of God around me who point out when I am in danger of walking into one. A heresy, that is)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

What happened next? (over to you)

I am back on jolly form today, although this is perhaps not something to boast about, since the church administrator and I dissolved into giggles during a rather important meeting with lots of blokey types discussing serious church welcome issues.

I am afraid it was my fault.

Back to the weekend - all age service.
My little chap turned four last week and said to me, in a serious tone, "now, mother, I promise to stop being naughty; never to shame you and always obey you and daddy for you alone know what is best for me and promise always to love me and protect me".

Uh-huh. As if.

Picture the scene if you will, last Sunday morning.
Father and mother of said child "up front" during opening worship.
Congregation singing heartily away, all facing the front.
Small child edges further and further to the front holding something in his hand.....with an "I dare you to react" face on. The thing he is holding is used for the discharge of urine from the body...and he's walking this way with it on view.....during the opening 10 minutes of the service.............................................

Before I tell you how I reacted......over to you:
in this scenario WHAT WOULD YOU DO NEXT?
(remember that within the next ten minutes you are personally back on the platform/stage leading the congregation in worship. Therefore placing the hand of correction firmly upon the seat of learning is not an option in front of hundreds of pairs of eyes who pay your wages. Also, there are none of said child's grannies or aunts around to bail you out. I'd love to be a second generation Christian...)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Known to God

I have had a very emotional few days.
Like many others of us, I too wept for the needless deaths of those young Amish girls in Pensylvania. It brought back memories for me of the Dunblane tragedy.

Today I attended a child's funeral. I felt extremely upset about the loss of that child that I would have got to know and I felt acutely the pain the family felt. I find incredible comfort in that phrase "known to God"; and I pray that the parents know God's comfort tonight as I type this.

I went from that straight to a class at college and didn't quite "tune in" at the right frequency - partly because I felt emotional and partly because the only free seat was all alone at the very front of the class. Norma No-mates!

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart (Jeremiah 1:5).

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

9 to 11 year olds

Spent a little while with an SU group today; all aged between 9 and 11.
I am just getting to know the children.
I thought they would all be regular church attenders - they aren't.
I thought they would know a little about today's topic; prayer - they didn't.
I thought the ones who had Christian parents would know how to find a passage in the Bible - apart from one, they didn't.
I am so glad that we've made a little safe place for them to come at lunchtime.

Look forward to talking with them more about their loving Father.

Just three years ago if you had told me I'd be working with under-12s, I'd have guffawed with laughter. No, I'd have run a mile. I didn't do wee kids!

I like spotty, awkward, gangly teenagers who growl at you and look like they'd rather be anywhere else than in your classroom then end up mellowing when they realise you're (a) pleasant to them (b) pretty fair and consistent with rules and consequences and (c) actually have a life. They start to tell you about their weekends (which, in my scheme-school experience, involved turf battles, creative "menchie-ing"**, blockbooking tanning sessions and the best place for under18s to go if you want to pull)

It's been completely and utterly God at work to call me out of that and into the world of primary children.
I wonder what else the future holds?

** menchies = scrawling your name or symbol. if I were to "menchie" a desk it would say "lynn-o" or "lynn young team" and have wee arrows coming out of the final letter "n"

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Saturday's over but Sunday's coming....

My goodness, I must learn to organise my diary a little better....teatime alpha, big training event and Sunday morning service all being organised by me and all happening between 6pm Friday and 10.30am Sunday. Thank you God for such a huge team of supporters and hard workers who surround me to help in every way possible.........without them I'd a mess, truly!

Really looking forward to tomorrow; the service theme is "Love the one".

The only wee cloud on the horizon is that I have four exam answers to write out and rewrite in shorter paragraphs and then commit to memory and I have only got one done.

Eschatology, anyone?.....anyone? .........anyone?

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Coffee Shop Theology

I KNOW I am not qualified to join the fully formed CST brigade (read more about that here) but I dipped my toes into the world of grown ups when I spent an hour or so being tutored on eschatology by a learned and respected colleague and friend in a local coffee shop today.

I am grudgingly coming round to the point of view that theology can be good for you. I DO need to know how to be more accurate and succinct in my arguments. I would quite happily subscribe to the "So THERE - na-na-na-na-naaah" school of argument but I guess I have come to a time in my life where that's not quite enough. I do want to have a greater body of knowledge to call upon. (<~~~~you don't know how much it pains me to admit that !!!)

I am still not sure that I can master the literary and structural skills necessary to pass my exam on Monday. The only thing in my favour is that I can spell well! I feel more comfortable with some of the terminology now. It annoys me that I have to drop author's names and fancy-pants terms into what I write but I guess I will just have to try!

Oh - I am well into the theology of mission, that which I have learned so far is really bolstering my beliefs in what I do.

Stuart asked me if I had enjoyed what I had done and the answer is "mostly" apart from the "squished feeling" - pressure in reading my way through loads of books to jump First Year. And the pure theology bit; it's hard.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Theologically challenged

Thanks for the kind thoughts expressed during the period of "essay adjustment". I've now passed this, but heard today I had failed a Belief and Thought exam.

Does this mean I believe without any thoughts? (i.e. like a pre-programmed android)
Does this mean I have no beliefs but lots of thoughts? (like I waft around like the breeze)

Hmmm.Have been checking out distance learning courses in theology today (LST, Oxford Brookes and University of Lampeter, would you believe) which would probably suit my work/life balance better.

I'm remembering though that I have covered six First Year topics in two months as a children's worker with a big club to run and workshops and teams to train in August and September so I am not too hard on myself. Two good friends explained that a question on the eschatology of "new creation" would be hard to do.

When I was at University I remember clearly failing my first (and only!) (til now) exam in Social Anthropology. It was good for me to realise that I couldn't do everything - up till that point everything had been a breeze - Highers, First and Second Year of uni - and I got a fright and serious pride issues came to the fore. Sometimes you can't walk in and regurgitate notes held in a good brain - there needs to be evidence of deep thought, understanding and appropriate use of terminology, underpinned by a well structured answer.

I have spent 4 years as a Marker for Higher Geography and it's really weird to be on the other side of the fence :)

Will deep theological knowledge make me a better pastor to children? Ooooh I can't wait to hear what you think - bring it on Wood Street Girl, Brodie, Stuart, Hippocritic, TalkRhubarb, Johnny, and Nick!

Over to you........!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Overtired kids

What are you like when you're REALLY tired? Are you grumpy? Silent? Pleasant to be with?
What are you like when someone close to you gets lots of attention? Pleased for them? Grumpy? Silent? Nasty?
My 6 (nearly 7) year old has been badly behaved and full of whines, shouts and tears for most of this weekend. This, if you know her, is fairly recent behaviour and NOT typical of her at all. Her little brother has had two days of adoring attention and piles of presents for his 4th birthday. I reckon she's feeling tired and a little left out.

I have resisted the urge to lecture her about Joseph (you think you've got it hard!?!?!?) and to merely reassure her of our unconditional love for her. But the tantrums took their toll tonight and it was an early bed with the door firmly closed upon her. This is so much better than letting (my) anger rip.

I read in Stuart Blythe's blog about a mother shouting very rudely at her child. I am not saying I am perfect. I fail and I fall. But I try to remember that the pressures on our children today are immense:
* to go to at least x (insert number) after-school activities a week
* to be culture-current and media-aware
* to have at least four friends with whom you can hold sleepovers
* to achieve level F in Language and Mathematics in the 5-14 curricukum (of course) before you leave P7
* to be able to eat solid food by age 6 months, walk before you're 2, dry pants day and night by age 3, cycle WITHOUT stabilisers by age 5, swim two lengths by age 6, rollerblade and/or skate by age 8, play piano to Grade 6 level by age 10, have had your first boy/girlfriend by age 11............

I want my children to say "yes" to God at all of those ages and stages; yes, I want to know you; yes, I want to serve you; yes, I want to follow you.
There's a track on Powerpack Trust's last CD:
100%, 24/7, I'm an Xtreme Disciple


Saturday, September 23, 2006

Holiday Weekend

Spent the first part of the school holiday weekend rewriting an essay on the history of Christianity up to 260AD.

I found having to rejig parts of this incredibly frustrating. Despite my flippancy (sometimes) about academic work, I do try very hard at it (that was my school report for 12 years: "Lynn tries hard") and I was disappointed about having to do it again. Good for the pride, though!

My poor husband and kids had to content themselves with playing around in the beautiful sunshine while I got "Eusebius" out again. Oh, and RL Fox too :-)

I think I've got it right this time. I painted too broad a sweep around Polycarp's life, historically speaking, instead of setting his martyrdom in its IMMEDIATE historical context. Hope this gets me through. A few days ago I posted that I scraped a pass through New Testament studies. Found out on Friday that I have passed the Old Testament (yaa-hayy!) which I actually found harder......but it was FASCINATING; really got into it.

Despite last week being quite tough in many ways, I've been resting in a sense of immense gratitude for everything God has done for me in my life. I've been feeling this way since about June. A feeling that I am totally and utterly in the palm of his hand and always have been. I have an immense longing for the rest of my family (parents, sister and brother) to know this too :::sigh:::

This blog is meant to be about me working with kids; but it seems to be about everything that affects me in the way I work with kids - I just can't partition my life into little boxes - the parts affect the whole :-)

Tomorrow is part 1 of my son's 4th birthday celebrations - all parents and inlaws and nieces and nephews - draining but fun!

Friday, September 22, 2006


They Know You're The Children's Pastor Because...

The last time you made it to the adult service you tried to do actions to Amazing Grace. You were banned from the produce aisle of Morrisons for singing the theme song to Veggie Tales.
Your summer begins when the Holiday Club ends.
Your version of Jesus’ first miracle has Him turning water into Irn Bru.
You rolled your eyes when the pastor told the congregation how much time the worship team members sacrifice to serve God.
You are starting to have meaningful conversations alone in your office with a puppet.
In the church foyer everyone runs when they see you coming for fear you’re trying to recruit them.
You’re afraid to close your eyes when you pray.
When people ask you how many children you have you tell them between 120 and 170.
You carry Rich Tea biscuits in your pockets.
Your juice and biscuit budget is bigger than your salary.
You buy everything in bulk.
You honesty believe you are only doing this temporarily until the church finds someone else.
You were stunned to learn that some scissors are pointed.
The children’s workers are taking bets on how long you will last.
You plan an event for 200 and 50 show up.
You plan an event for 50 and 200 show up.
You prefer a root canal to meeting with the church leadership team.
You know how to pray for healing for dogs, cats and goldfish.
The Senior Pastor has forgotten your name.
You have forgotten the Senior Pastor’s name.
The church officer won’t speak to you.
You’ve never heard a guest speaker at your church.
You once sat up straight in the middle of the night and yelled at the top of your lungs, “IS THE BIG SERVICE OUT YET?!!!!”

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Found out today that I passed an exam question (doing an exegesis) - in the marker's words "only just".

The lecturer made a very kind offer of teaching me how to do an exegesis properly, instead of my puny self-taught effort.

Now I know a number of learned academic minds read this blog - what do you think?
Do I have it in me to exegetise well?
Am I an exegetiter?
Is exegetisising a very important skill?
(Am I now making up nonsense words?)

Did you know that an anagram of "exegesis is fun" is "seeing fixes us"?

Amen to that!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Having a bad day

Having a REALLY bad day.

1. Son was very badly behaved in nursery: tantrummed, ran away, went to toilet, locked door and would not let member of staff open it, was heard to be giggling behind the door. I was called.
Action point: no TV, biscuits or sweeties for two days and the "I'm very disappointed in you" spiel from several adults.

2. Have to "amend" an assignment for college.
Action point: off to read RL Fox's book "Pagans and Christians" . (Actually rather enjoying it)

3. Burnt the dinner.
Action point: it's in the bin


If you have never, ever listened to "Indescribable" by Chris Tomlin, then you must listen to the version on THIS album (Live from Austin, Texas)

Now that I have an empty house again and no more studying to do I can indulge and turn the volume WAY up loud. Also recommended:

"She Moves In Her Own Way" by The Kooks. Ooooooooh, it's great! Catchy riff, brilliant bass line, sing-a-long brilliance.

Note to talkrhubarb - can you help me with these images? I have tried to put pictures in but I keep getting the Red Cross of Failure ;-)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Blogging and me (dangerous combo) / teacher truths

Have been reflecting on the way home about blogging.
On first glance not many people are visiting my blog. I think I count four people commenting but the thing about blogging - and you four know it - is that many more people are reading your innermost thoughts and tiptooeing away silently!

Blogging could be quite therapeutic for solo workers but you always have to bear in mind that you don't know who is reading it (I sense a Spooks-style conspiracy theory coming....) and you could end up in trouble.

I was offered a day moonlighting in my old job (teaching) today. It's kinda handy to do these torture (ahem) supply days. Money is good for six hours easy labour, unless you get six hours of what is euphemistically called "displaced PE classes". These are a nightmare. Picture a room of twenty teenage boys expecting a game of footie only to be stuck in a lecture theatre copying (yes, you read that correctly) paragraphs on "Sports in Ancient Greece" onto a lined bit of paper that is chucked in the bin as soon as their teacher returns from the sick/inservice course/meeting. This is not fiction; this was what happened last term to me. Now I can win round most kids but not displaced PE pupils.

If I have to "tent-make" nowadays I hold out for a subject specific supply day (i.e. where you actually teach what you are qualified in) Makes sense, don't you think?

And so I turned down the chance to make some cash today.

Philippians 4:19
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

Monday, September 18, 2006


The title of this post is not about etheral beings but about a BBC TV programme.

I adore this programme but I have a difficulty with it - in separating fiction from reality! This weekend's two- parter showed homegrown atrocities being carried out in order to destabilise the government and the public; to remove the Prime Minister from power and to take control of the media and the judical system.

I'm a bit child-like in this regard; my mind and emotions are so fully engaged that I gasp as I watch as I realise that this could be why Tony Blair is going to resign. Oh, no, it's only TV.....

Films that engaged me COMPLETELY (man, I was living them!)
Schindlers List
Cinema Paradiso
Room With A View
The Big Blue
Dead Man Walking
Mississipi Burning

Films that were wasted on me:
Syriana - eh???
The Royal Tenenbaums
Being John Malcovich
Mission Impossible 1,2,3,4,x,y,z

What films draw you in; make you forget reality and during which films would you trim your toenails? :-)

Christians in School

Tomorrow I start a lunch-time club in my local school. Don't know yet how many children will come to "The Krunch Club" but the aim is to make friendships and continue the inputs I've been privileged to have with the school so far.

Best of all, the team of volunteers come from five different churches. Loving that!
We will be "ekklesia" called out to sow into a school!

Will keep you posted dear blog (it's just you and me now at this time of night)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Children's Coup

I love it!!! (thanks to Jamie for this; hope I'm allowed to copy the pic. I'm brand new to blogging so if I have broken a protocol could someone please let me know?)

Absence makes the heart grow fonder???

Apologies for my absence, as all those who know me will be fed up hearing:I had two exams to sit and three assignments to hand in so that I can leap-frog over First Year of Bible college, straight into Second (deep joy).

I know lots of people who had done this very same thing and they all said: "it's not too bad; just get your head down for a few weeks and you'll get all the reading covered and you can just blast through the assignments"....

HA - those guys who said that to me obviously DON'T HAVE CHILDREN (well, one of them does now - welcome to the land of cold coffee, Steve!)

Snatch an hour or two here and there between work, school pick ups, nursery times, general household "stuff" and genuine conversational time with other members of the human race; some of whom live with me; has meant that it's been a long, hard slog and would not have been possible without my sponsors in terms of books and childcare - Scott, Susan, Jurgen, Pete F and Chris R take a bow. Oh and everyone else - bless you for bearing with me and loving me still!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Do Children Make More Smells Than Adults?

If you are of a nervous or sensitive disposition, or get offended by "botty talk", read no further.

My little boy has been making smells all day. Started in the church administrator's office at lunchtime (sorry J) and continued right though the afternoon and evening with no "unloading of solid matter" taking place.

I did the "this is how your digestion system works" talk and then the "get thee to a toilet" command - point blank refusal.

Ran an alpha course tonight for families, went well although punctuated by rank smells.

Drove everyone home in the car, coughing at the fumes.

Got him to bed, removing age 3 dinosaur pants which are sparklingly unmarked but should really be fumigated.

And so this reminds me.........when teaching a classfull in a secular school context; there are always really horrible smells wafting round. I think its Irn Bru and cola bottles for breakfast that does it. As a teacher you can just move away *UNLESS THE CHILD HAS COME TO YOUR DESK to get jotter marked!!! Nightmare scenario!! No escape!

Same with any children's events in a Christian context. We may be cleaned up, washed, forgiven etc but the remnants of the "old" still linger and remind us of the hold they have on us as they leave the natural body.

Think I will halt that analogy there.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

When should a child be baptised?

Serious canvassing of opinions needed here:

On the subject of believers' baptism: at what age should a child be baptised? As soon as they ask? When they're 12? 15?

Theological arguments/personal opinions: all welcomed........

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Reality Check

By the way, just in case you think the last post was getting a little super-spiritual, let me describe some situations from the last few days. My three year old had his worst ever tantrum in front of all my church coworkers which culminated in him escaping down the corridor between our church nursery and the staff offices at full pelt, kicking doors and running away from the nursery manager screaming as he went, like the Gadarene demoniac in long shorts and a "my mom went to Niagara" T shirt.

Oh no. Children's pastor has to remove son from the building for A Walk.

Actually, it gets better (or worse?).

Two days later he pee-ed on the floor of our new Associate Pastor's flat one hour before his housewarming party started, much to his flatmate's horror.

Pete - for cleaning up - I salute you! (and cheers for your blue towel!)

Open Heaven

I have had time to process all the things I was involved in last weekend at the Celebration event for 8 to 11 year olds:-

The kids I saw:

*took God at his word; if he's got something for them, they want it
*wanted to be prayed for as much as possible
*received from God easily and without hangups
*were impatient for the things of God
* loved to worship in abandon. Sure, they could be distracted, but switched from fiddling with their lanyards to high praise in about 2 nanoseconds
* revelled in the praise, kind words and acceptance from adults like us who were their small group leaders. Time and time again in my education job I saw kids destined for "drop out-dom" flourishing under kind words and a little bit of time.

Jesus spoke the truth indeed when he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

I finish with this quote from theologian Judith Gundry-Volf who is in no doubt that children have an inherent knowledge of the Father:
“Children are not mere ignoramuses in terms of spiritual insight in the Gospel tradition. They know Jesus’ true identity. The praise Him as the Son of David (Matthew 21:14-16). They have this knowledge from God and not from themselves and because they do, they are living manifestos to the source of all true knowledge about Christ as from God”.

Loving it!.
Father, thank you for the privilege of seeing this in my job!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Children and teamwork

Back from four days away working as a team on a programme of activities for children at a national celebration.

80+ adults working together to teach children more about God and his Kingdom. Everyone was the same. No-one was "staff" and the others "volunteers". There was loads of talking in person. No emails, phones, or post it notes. No having to phone your boss to make sure you got some important information across, or emailing scores of volunteers who work with you in your home church. Sure there was a boss, and his/her instructions were happily followed, but it was done in the old fashioned way - by face to face talking :-) How people coped before mobiles, computers and paper !?!

We lived together camped (literally) in a circle; chatting, eating and drinking together.

Loved it.

This would be my recommendation for any children's worker - go to one of these events and be one of a team!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Lone Ranger.........

Sometimes when you work with children you can get to feel very lonely.
You long for the return to the days of huddling round cups of coffee and chatting about your weekend, not just talking for 1 minute before you feel guilty as there really is Something Else You Are Supposed To Be Doing (chatting at work - capital offence? Discuss.)

You remember when the staffroom door opened and a hush fell - was it one of the bosses? Stop talking about the hierarchy in school - quick!

When working with children meant you (the employees) were one of Us and not Them.
I'm not knocking working in school; but although you are apart from other adults when you teach; when you're not teaching there is a camraderie that's difficult to find anywhere else.

Even a call to go down to assembly with 30 children in tow means you can cast meaningful looks and nudges to your pals on staff. Ever tried holding a silent conversation with your friend and colleague on the other side of an assembly hall? It's fun. You become most proficient in NVC (non verbal communication).

Teaching has the potential to be lonely - if you let it! - but the staff room banter every day between 10.55 and 11.10 and 12.40pm and 1.30 was exceptionally brilliant fun.

I am off to England this weekend to work as part of a team of 80, providing a mixture of activities to 8 to 11 year olds. Some of it is Bible teaching, I hope all of it is lots of fun, and some of it provide opportunities for children to make different kinds of responses. I can't wait to go!

Although I work in a friendly, happy, busy office, with many, many people supporting me in my job; sometimes I feel on my own. My teams and I are not present for 50% of the services to hear, feel and see what's happening. It feels as if we're not the same as those who work pastorally with adults. Ummmm, yes, you have to think exceedingly quickly on your feet, have excellent organisational skill, be creative, have loads of energy, passion and be aware that there will be no pretending to be nice if what you have just done didn't work!!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Monday Rant

First day back at school today for my 6 year old.

Approach school gate carefully watching out for dog dirt, which sadly is a feature of many streets in this city. We keep our eyes peeled, do a few jumps to avoid several dog-created sausages and then one brand new Hush-Puppied shoe is coated from heel to toe and up the side too in a foul smelling brown dog jobbie..........

Result. Crying 6 year old. Stinking shoe. Social isolation in the classroom. Mother has a dry boak as she (that's me folks) tries to clean it off with a shred of paper tissue (nearby grass wouldn't shift it). Evil smelling.

And so the wee thing goes into a different playground, with a new teacher and new classmates, in tears. I want to go in with her, hold her, tell her its OK, bolster her confidence, but of course I can't.

Don't get me started on irresponsible dog owners.
What do you think the solution is to dog fouling???

Sunday, August 20, 2006

My Sunday with 170 children........ through this Sunday - the "back to school" Sunday for Scottish children who attend church.

Great fun but slightly stressful. Children moving up groups; excited children; children bawling because they were "moving room"; children determined to talk non-stop till called (heh heh; the teacher voice projection never leaves you!!); but definitely pleased to be jumping and dancing in worship. I really must get a "setter-upper" - for me to set up the AV projector, laptop, get a mic working and fiddle with the PA all in 5 mins flat (as the hall is not available beforehand) is making my recently highlighted hair gain a few more grey flecks's all outweighed by the voice of the 5 year old who, when asked what makes God so powerful says "the Holy Spirit" and the 8 year old who recalls God's power in getting the whole family out of a difficult and dangerous situation which threatened them all.

This reminds me why I should listen carefully to children!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Me'n 3 year olds....not so different

This is a monumental weekend for Lynn and New Technology.
I have just listed my first item for selling on ebay.

It took me over an hour to do....harrruummpphh ....and I got more than a little frustrated. As there was a "special" offer on listings of 10p per item, it seems that the Rest of the World are also trying to upload photos of their no-longer-wanted tat. So........just like a wonderfully funny TV advert here of a well known comedian (Gregor Fisher) doing his Frustrated Man act when a download takes ages to do..........I'm banging my head off the table at the Upload speed. I could have been down to the charity shop and back in this time (which is where the unwanted goods usually go).

Or maybe I will try freecycle.......

So what do I and my three year old have in common? When frustrated with things not going our way, we bang our fists, generally go "nnoooooooooooo", get bad tempered and want to rip pieces of paper into shreds.
What, in modern day life, makes you go MAD?