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.