social spark Aisling Beatha: 2012

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Welcome to my blog. I hope you enjoy your stay, however short, and find something that interests and blesses you.

The tabs just below will take you to posts of particular topics. So if you are looking for my posts on food, fitness or creativity, you will find them there. You will also find my posts on thankfulness or other more contemplative posts, as well as a set of posts with traditional blessings from a number of different cultures.

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Monday, December 31, 2012

Theme For The Year?

I know a lot of my online friends, and now more and more of my IRL friends seek God (or choose for themselves) for a theme or a word for the coming year.  This is something I have been doing for a number of years.

2007 was the year for Seeking God for Myself not relying on others
2008 was the year of Rest
2009 was the year of Breakthrough
2010 was the year of Simplicity
2011 was the year of New
2012 was the year of Enjoy the Adventure

So, 2013?  
Honestly, I don't know yet.  There is nothing that is impressing itself upon me and I have a comfortable feeling in my spirit about it.  I am fairly certain that I won't have my theme for 2013 confirmed until the Spring.  It's odd, but I am OK with it.  So check back in with me at the end of march to see if I have come up with something.  See you then?
OK, I promise to blog at least a bit before then!


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Review on the year - 2012

It's been a couple of years since I answered the review on the year questions.  You can find links to the set I did at the end of 2010 here, part 1, part 2, part 3.

I am not going to answer the full set here, so if you want to check out the full set, go follow those links.  Here are my highlights from the review on the year for 2012.


What did you do in 2012 that you'd never done before?
Hmmmmm, I prepared and gave a mini sermon to a group of peers on a leadership training course, I also prepared and gave a talk to 2 school Christmas Carol Concerts, with all staff present as well as many parents.  Normally when I do my talks to the children, it is children and a handful of staff, and goes on for about 15 minutes.  This was far more adults than I am used to and I needed to aim it at both the adults and the children and keep it below 5 minutes.  I think I did an ok job and got asked to repeat it for the church on the Sunday before Christmas.

What countries did you visit? 
I didn't go abroad at all this year.  I don't think we even crossed the border into Wales this year.

What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012? 
This was more to the end of the year, (read my previous post for details), but I would like more peace of mind, to have a more level playing field in which to plan.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Being patient over an opportunity that had been hinted at at the end of 2011, that only came to final fruition at the end of 2012.  I have some forms to fill in and return later this week, and then it shall be all systems go. Normally I would not be good in the waiting, and in other things this year I wasn't, but in this I knew that if it would be it would be, but in God's timing and that I just had to wait.

What was your biggest failure? 
I struggle with consistency.  In many areas of my life, but particularly in eating right, staying healthy, and in regular journaling.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing new.  I still have sleep apnoea and have had the regular minor coughs and colds that we all get, but nothing other than that.

What was the best thing you bought?
hmmmmm, possibly the top I am wearing right now.  I went clothes shopping with some vouchers I received for Christmas.  I found this top in the Sales and it was the last one in my size.  I loved it.  But then, the security tag would not come off.  10 minutes I stood there as one member of staff after another tried to remove this security tag.  I stayed calm, I even completed the transaction on the other items I was buying, but I wasn't giving up without a fight, so I waited some more and EVENTUALLY they managed to remove it.  It left a TINY hole in the fabric, for which they took another 10% off the price. I win all round I think!

What do you wish you'd done more of? 
Journaling, both art journaling and written journaling.  I am a better, more balanced person when I take the time to work through stuff in my journal.

What do you wish you'd done less of?
Visiting hospitals and hospices.  Not for me, but my dad.  Not that I don't want to visit him, just that I wish I didn't need to, I wish all this wasn't happening.

What was your favourite TV program?
NCIS? NCIS LA?  Difficult decision there . . . . .  Your opinion?

What was the best book you read? 





What was your favourite film of this year? 
The HOBBIT, The HOBBIT, the HOBBIT!  Seriously, there was one scene that made me cry so hard I had to remove my 3D glasses.



What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? 
The trouble with answering questions at the end of the year about my birthday is it was way back in January and I honestly don't remember!  Arrrgghhhhhhh!

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?  
A trip to America to meet up with my friends!

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012? 
Comfortable but introducing more colour towards the end of the year.

Who was the best new person you met? 
All the people at the Prayer Spaces in Schools training day.  What a day, what an experience, what enthusiasm, what encouragement, what teaching, what amazing practical ideas.


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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Life As We Know It

Life as we knew it changed for us some time ago.

A few years ago my Father was diagnosed with prostate cancer.  If caught early the prognosis is very good and most men with early prostate cancer won't receive any treatment at all at first, eventually moving through the stages of treatment as necessary.

For my dad we jumped a few stages.  His had already spread to his bones when he was diagnosed.  It was serious.

In the last 2 and a half years we have had a number of CRISIS moments, when we thought we would lose him.

Two days ago they removed treatment for the infection he has been fighting and now we await the end.
It could be just a couple of days, it could be as much as a couple of weeks, we don't know.  Your prayers would be appreciated, THANK YOU.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Day 6 - The Conclusion of The Journey


And so we reach the final stage of our journey.  From thankfulness, through hope and faith to advent, and anticipation.  Mary stayed with Elizabeth for 3 months then went home just before John was born.   But not before singing her song of praise.  
Luke 1:46-55 
And Mary said,
I’m bursting with God-news;
    I’m dancing the song of my Saviour God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened—
    I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
    the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
    on those who are in awe before him.
He bared his arm and showed his strength,
    scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
    pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
    the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
    he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.
It’s exactly what he promised,
    beginning with Abraham and right up to now.

She declared his promises, that the hope of his people had not been in vain, that finally God had come in answer to their prayers, in response to their hope.
So Mary returned home and her waiting continued.  And that’s where we find ourselves today, the beginning of advent and a time of waiting.  Mary waited for the birth of her son, for the birth of her saviour, and in echoing her waiting in the time of advent we wait for his return.
And so I’ll end my days of daily notes with some words from a good friend of mine.

Have you stopped lately? Have you stopped to look awestruck on the fullness of the possibility of that one lonely, dirty, terrifying night in the life of an exhausted, disreputable girl-woman, saviour-mother? In the angry squall of newborn saviour babe, in the rapturous song of stars and heavenly host crying, “Glory!” ? The hard truth is that if you want to find time to ponder the miraculous, you must carve it painstakingly out of too-short hours and too-full calendars because left to itself, the miracle will not force itself upon you. It waits; it yearns for the quiet, softness of a heart that has paused, despite all that may war for its attention, to feel the pull of love. It wants to enter in to eyes wide with innocent wonder once again, to pull back that veil of jaded maturity and caress the unblemished cheek of a child reborn. It whispers soft under commercials, and department store jingles and even under Sunday church music, praying all the while that you will catch it, if only for a moment, and be caught up in its angelic strain. We’re entering into the season of advent, a beautiful, fleeting, pregnant pause in the chaos of a broken world. He’s calling, calling our hearts to quiet, calling our minds to still, calling our joy to awaken. He’s calling.


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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Day 5 of The Journey


Hebrews 11:1 Faith is the confidence that what we HOPE for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

Have you ever hoped for something for years and years and never seen it come to pass?  Have you ever given up hope and walked away?  Even on things you had believed with all your heart were promises from God?
Elizabeth and Zechariah must have felt like giving up hope. 

Luke 1:5 In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.

Being childless back then was a big deal.  Zechariah and Elizabeth had not chosen this path, and yet, here they were, all these years later, now old, and still no child.  I wonder if they still had hope.  I wonder if they had given up hoping.
But God sent an angel with a message and Elizabeth conceived in her old age.  And 6 months later Mary came to visit.  Her much younger relative, and here she was, pregnant as well. 

42 Then in a loud voice Elizabeth said to Mary:
God has blessed you more than any other woman! He has also blessed the child you will have. 43 Why should the mother of my Lord come to me? 44 As soon as I heard your greeting, my baby became happy and moved within me. 45 The Lord has blessed you because you believed that he will keep his promise.

Do you have promises from God you are believing for?  Would circumstances try and tell you those promises are lies?  Do you STILL believe in those promises?  Then take assurance from Elizabeth’s words to Mary: “The Lord has blessed you because you believed that He will keep His promise.” 
I don’t know if you will see your promises fulfilled in this lifetime but I know that the Lord will bless you for believing.  Be blessed!



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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Day 4 of The Journey


Have you ever typed the word Hope into a bible search engine?  Over 2 pages of results in the book of Psalms alone!  I'm going to jump past Psalms a bit though today and onto Isaiah chapter 40.  Parts of this chapter were verses I clung on to for many years as a “life verse”.  Today we’re going to the very end of the chapter,

30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Run and not grow weary?  Walk and not faint?  Hmmmmmm?  Most of you will know that I have a condition called sleep apnoea.  Untreated sleep apnoea results in extreme daytime tiredness.  In the months leading up to my diagnosis and then treatment I was SO tired I was taking 3 or 4 hour naps each afternoon and still could not function normally.  For sleep apnoea sufferers and people with certain other medical conditions, verses like this sometimes seem like a distant dream. 
For people facing tough situations and life experiences I am sure it is the same. 

But God HAS promised.   He knows that we will face situations that bring us to our knees “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;”.  He knows that and he has promised a solution “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.

Are you tired?  Are you weary?  God has promised he WILL renew your strength if you will HOPE in him. 
So, what does it mean to Hope? One dictionary defines it as A wish or desire accompanied by confident expectation of its fulfillment.
Confident Expectation of its fulfilment.  Hmmm, kind of reminds me of Hebrews 11:1 Faith is the confidence that what we HOPE for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.
Faith is the key to seeing our hopes fulfilled, it is what gives us that confident expectation.

Singing in the Night, Dancing in the Dark, Sunbathing in the Rain. 
It's about turning your face to heaven and believing that the drops that fall on it are heavens rain.

It's about standing in the face of circumstances that say otherwise and choosing to believe God's best.

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Day 3 of The Journey


Yesterday I left you with the idea of letting go of things, even possibly good things, being part of thankfulness.  How do we get from there to Advent?  We go via hope.
And we do that by going back to the last supper.

Matthew 26:26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

Jesus knew what was coming.  He had just talked to them about one of them betraying him.  He knew without a doubt how and where that evening’s events would end, what he would have to give up, what he would have to give.  And yet he gave thanks. For what?  When He broke bread, He introduced the idea of the bread representing His body that would be broken that very night.  Knowing what was coming, He gave thanks even for that.
He went on to share the wine with them.

27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.

“When I drink it again WITH YOU IN MY FATHER’S KINGDOM!”  The ultimate HOPE, that one day we will see Jesus face to face!  Because of what He did, because of what He gave thanks for.  Because ahead of time, even knowing it was coming he gave thanks.  He knew he would see them again, he knew they would be with him in heaven and we can have that very same hope.  ONE DAY, one gloriously beautiful day, we will see him face to face.  And nothing else will matter, because being with Him will be everything.

That doesn’t mean the only thing we can hope in and for has to wait until then, but it is the biggy, the ultimate hope, without which our other hopes don’t even get started.  If we accept Jesus, we have the ultimate hope and from that our other hopes come.  More on that tomorrow.


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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Day 2 of The Journey


Yesterday we read from Leviticus 7:11-17

Today I want to glance at verses 12 – 14 in particular,
12 If you offer it to give thanks, you must offer some bread together with it. Use the finest flour to make three kinds of bread without yeast—two in the form of loaves mixed with olive oil and one in the form of thin wafers brushed with oil. 13 You must also make some bread with yeast.14 Give me one loaf or wafer from each of these four kinds of bread, after which they will belong to the priest who splattered the blood against the bronze altar.

Thanksgiving offerings required something extra, something the other freewill offerings did not require.  They required the addition of bread.
Think for a moment about whenever you read of Jesus breaking bread.  Whether it be to feed the 5000, or to share the last supper with his disciples, we see the breaking of the bread coming with thanks. 

Mark 6:41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 

Matthew 26:26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

And yes, there is something to be said for giving thanks at mealtimes, whether you call is saying “grace” or by some other name, but I think there is more to this than that.  I think thankfulness, particularly in the tough times, costs us something.  It can mean letting go of what has been, what might have been, what could be, not trying to continue or replicate that in our own strength and looking for where God is at work in the here and now, today.

While doing some reading online today in preparation for these notes I came across some lyrics from an Avalon song:
The dreams I dream for you, are deeper than the ones you're clinging to. 
More precious than the finest things you do, and truer than the treasure you pursue. 
Let the old dreams die, like stars that fade from view.
Then take the cup I offer, and drink deeply of the dreams I dream for you.  

Sometimes being thankful means letting go, because only then can God move in and begin the next part of our story, only then can we take the next step on the journey. 
I had to do this recently myself as God asked me to step aside from something I love dearly, something I have done for over 15 years and have seen as my calling, even part of my identity.  The words God used were “I have so much I want to give you right now, but I can’t because your hands are full”. 
Is there something that while good and positive and something you give thanks for on a regular basis that he might be asking you to set aside?  It probably won’t be a big huge thing, and I doubt this applies to everyone, but is there something?  As you give thanks today, what needs to be broken, so God can give you more?


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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Journey from Thanksgiving to Advent. From Thankfulness to Hope and Anticipation.


Yes, I know it's been a while.  Life got incredibly chaotic with my Father's illness progressing and just the whole autumn term madness.  Our church leader began writing some very short daily bible notes for the church email list and asked others to take a turn in writing a set.  I jumped in and did so.  It was an interesting process as when I first approached it I ummed and ahhed and procrastinated  "So, do I take a section of bible text and work through it, or do I take a theme and work through that?"  "Oh I don't know, what would you want me to do Lord."  And I got the distinct impression that the Lord clearly said "I am NOT going to hold your hand through this, you make the decision.  Yes, of course I want you to do the work to make sure you get it right, do the study, but I am not going to tell you every step of the way what to do, you are old enough to do this yourself."  OUCH!  But a good ouch, because I needed that.

Anyway, that's the reason you're reading this out of schedule with when it was written for.  I couldn't put them here on my blog until I knew they had been read on the church email list.  I needed to let them read them first.  That finished last week and so here they are, for your reading pleasure.

DAY 1
At the time I am writing this, last week saw the celebration of Thanksgiving in America.  This coming Sunday sees the start of advent.  I've been thinking about how the two are connected and want to share that journey with you this week.  So, although advent will have started and may even be over by the time you read these, please come with me on a journey from Thanksgiving to Advent, from Thankfulness to Hope and Anticipation.

The first time we see giving thanks or being thankful mentioned in the bible is in Leviticus when the instructions for the various sacrifices are being given.

 

Leviticus 7:11-17

Sacrifices To Ask the Lord’s Blessing

The Lord said:
11 Here are the instructions for offering a sacrifice to ask my blessing: 12 If you offer it to give thanks, you must offer some bread together with it. Use the finest flour to make three kinds of bread without yeast—two in the form of loaves mixed with olive oil and one in the form of thin wafers brushed with oil. 13 You must also make some bread with yeast.14 Give me one loaf or wafer from each of these four kinds of bread, after which they will belong to the priest who splattered the blood against the bronze altar.
15 When you offer an animal to ask a blessing from me or to thank me, the meat belongs to you, but it must be eaten the same day. 16 It is different with the sacrifices you offer when you make me a promise or voluntarily give me something. The meat from those sacrifices may be kept and eaten the next day, 

The thing that strikes me most about this is that it has to be eaten that day.  The other sacrifices, the ones to fulfil a promise to God or just giving freely to God can be kept over to a 2nd day.  Offerings of thanks had to be eaten that day!
Thankfulness is meant to be a frequent thing, even a daily thing.

Over the last few years I have been part of a large group of people who have tried to keep a thankfulness list online. In the beginning it started with one woman trying to get up to 1000 gifts and eventually resulted in the book 1000 gifts as she recounts her journey into thankfulness through often difficult circumstances. (Obviously most of my blog readers will know the blog and book of which I speak, but people at church would not)

I have found that the practise of thankfulness draws me to God, draws me to see His hand at work, even when it might not seem to be to human eyes.

I know for a lot of people at the moment things are tough, circumstances and situations would shout to us “What on earth do you have to be thankful for?”  Maybe, just maybe, there is something you can be thankful for today.  I’m not suggesting you be thankful for the tough stuff, although that is OK, just start small.  You don’t have to aim for a big number like 1000, you don’t even have to make a list at all, you can start with just one thing.  What are you thankful for today?



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Saturday, October 20, 2012

How I Choose Assemblies

This is my day eighteen post for the "31 days of blogging in October" challenge.  I am blogging 31 days of Children's Ministry.  To find links to all the other days (as they get posted) go to DAY 1.


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This week where I live and work is the half term break from school.  That means I have no assemblies to do, because the schools are not open.  It doesn't mean I won't be working, however.  During each half term break I choose the assemblies I will use during the following term.  So now I am choosing the assemblies I will do in January, February and March.  I will email these to the schools by the end of this week, so that when they get back at the beginning of the following week they can choose the dates for their assemblies.

I have a number of resources I use when looking for assemblies.

These are the ones I go to most often.




Then there are a few books that I go to to look for ideas:





Initially I will go to those (and other books and websites) for a quick scan through.  I will bear in mind any particular Christian Festival I want to cover plus any themes I am aware of in the school year, such as anti bullying day or walk to school day and so on.  I will bookmark a few assemblies on the sites, or put post it notes on pages in the books, initially marking more than I will actually need.  A couple of days later I will look again at the pages I have marked to narrow the list down.

Some assemblies need props to illustrate the point, others are just me talking.  Some need interactivity from chosen volunteer children, others are just me alone or the interactivity is from the whole school.  For some assemblies I make use of the multimedia equipment available to me in school, but most of the time I try not to, because that always has the opportunity to go wrong out of my control. I try to keep a balance across the term and certainly across the year of a mix up of all those things.

I will then narrow down my list to the 3 or 4 I need for that term with maybe one back up.  Then I look at whether I can use the assembly (or idea because sometimes I pull discussion starter ideas and turn them into assemblies) exactly as it is or whether I will need to do a lot of work on it to make it usable in the schools I work in.  Again I try not to choose 3 or 4 that all need a lot of work for me to use them, I try to keep a balance.

I also try to build the Christian content each term, beginning the term with something that might seem very Christian light to fellow church members, increasing that in the second assembly and going much deeper in the third and possible fourth assembly each term.

If I feel I have that balance right, I will set the list aside for another day and come back to it a third time to look over it again.  If I am still happy with my list, I will write a summary couple of sentences for each assembly that I can include in the email to schools.

Finally I type up or copy and paste for my own use, the details I do have and begin the work on editing them to be as I will use them.  Most time that editing work continues through the term as I LEARN each of the assemblies, because sometimes what looks good on the page will not necessarily come out the same when I start to speak it out and I will edit as I go through that learning process.  Maybe I will come up with a better way of saying something, or think of a different story to illustrate the point, maybe I will be able to add a personal illustration that means something to me, all of those elements might make the assembly more memorable first for me as I learn it and secondly for the children when I deliver it.

Those are not the only websites out there with assembly ideas on but a lot of the others are aimed more at school teachers who are having to lead the assembly, rather than Christians coming in from the outside.  There are plenty of other books out there of assemblies or short talks.  I also sometimes scour the books I use for Sunday School, particularly the books and websites with Object Lessons in them, although most of those assume a much higher level of Christian understanding already, than most of these children have, and assume the talks are being given to a Christian audience so you can say things I would not be able to say in school.  Having said that, sometimes there are some excellent ideas.

So with that I had better finish and get started on this week's process.
Later in the month I will share with you the list I have chosen for the Spring term 2013.


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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Prayer Space Activities

This is my day eighteen post for the "31 days of blogging in October" challenge.  I am blogging 31 days of Children's Ministry.  To find links to all the other days (as they get posted) go to DAY 1.


So what makes a good prayer space activity?  The following explanation is taken from the Prayer Spaces in Schools Website:
Prayer stations are usually flexible and open, and yet they do need some structure so that participants can engage with them easily and confidently.
If you plan to create your own prayer stations, it's a good idea to follow these guidelines. 
a) An introduction/explanation of the station itself - “This is a prayer wall. Prayer can take many forms...”
b) Simple directions/instructions - “Take a piece of cardboard...” “Stop and breathe slowly...” “Look at yourself in the mirror...”
c) Questions that encourage reflection - “How did you feel when...?” “What do you think this might tell you about...?”
d) Some encouragement, quotes from people, words from the Bible and other sources, around the prayer station theme... and in some cases, suggestions for exploring the theme further. 
When gathering ideas together, whatever their source, ask yourself - is this simple? Would someone who has no experience of God or church or faith understand how they can participate in this activity, within 10 seconds of reading or hearing the explanation? And - is this prayerful? Would someone who has no experience of God or church or faith feel welcomed into honest, simple prayer and into personal reflection? If yes, go for it.


Another thing to consider is the age range of participants, particularly in a primary school, where you may have children as young as 4 attending the prayer space, pre readers and pre writers, but maybe I can discuss that further in a future post.  For now, I want to give you a taster of some prayer stations that were set up at the recent training day I attended for Prayer Spaces in Schools.





That is obviously a secondary school activity, but it is one that I really like the idea of.


This activity is along very similar lines to the previous one, and shows how you can adapt an idea to the supplies you have available.




For those who don't like to do too much reading, you can use mp3 players and audio tracks.


Obviously you need to be careful using water in your prayer space, but these are some good ideas:






Those are just a few ideas, but the prayer spaces in schools website has many more ideas for you to look through and choose from if you can't come up with your own and some are very popular.  This one in particular.



People manning prayer spaces will often have to clean the hand off after a few sessions, to make space for more names.  That's why we laminate the photos.
But if you can't get a laminated huge photo of a hand like that, you can always just draw one out like this, and use post it notes which can be removed, or draw a new one each time it gets full.




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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Open the Book Video

This is my day seventeen post for the "31 days of blogging in October" challenge.  I am blogging 31 days of Children's Ministry.  To find links to all the other days (as they get posted) go to DAY 1.


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Normally I would not even dream of videoing an Open the Book session for use on the internet because of us using children from the school to play roles and all the stuff about permissions etc.  But in this case the children's backs are towards us and the only children involved in the action are sat down to shake some cloth, so I think we are safe.  I thought this would help those of you who are interested to get a look at an Open the book story.  I was at the back of the hall so the sound is a bit on the quiet side, and you might want to turn your volume up a bit.



I didn't video the introduction and conclusion, because I was doing those this week and therefore couldn't video them.  But they are important parts of the assembly.

You can check out the sites I link up to over in my sidebar. Before you go, why not check out my recipes index page, or my craft projects index page, I am sure you will find something there to interest you.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tattercoats

This is my day sixteen post for the "31 days of blogging in October" challenge.  I am blogging 31 days of Children's Ministry.  To find links to all the other days (as they get posted) go to DAY 1.


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I don't have too much time to write today, so I have another story for you.  This story doesn't work well with younger children because it's so long, at around half an hour.  But it works well with older children and adults.  I haven't told it in a while, so I would probably have to re learn it if I needed to tell it again.  It's basically the cinderella story but from before it got tweeked to the modern fairy tales happy endings.  There is a version of tattercoats out there, published on the web but I think that was published AFTER the workshop at which I learnt this story.  It was presented to us as a very bare story and we discussed how to flesh it out and develop it.  I'm pretty sure that whoever did publish it did so after that workshop.  So, my version is slightly different than the one you will find out there on the web, which appears to cut off certain parts of the story as I know it.


How would I use this in children's ministry?  There's an element that this story has a purpose of pure entertainment, but I also find it makes people think deeply, it moves people, and can spark all sorts of discussions about why the people in the story behaved the way they did, and how they could have behaved differently, or we discuss how a godly response would be different than the ones in the story.


You can check out the sites I link up to over in my sidebar. Before you go, why not check out my recipes index page, or my craft projects index page, I am sure you will find something there to interest you.

Monday, October 15, 2012

TRACING - The Non Arty Kids Leader's best Friend

This is my day fifteen post for the "31 days of blogging in October" challenge.  I am blogging 31 days of Children's Ministry.  To find links to all the other days (as they get posted) go to DAY 1.


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I don't have the best drawing skills.  I'm not afraid to admit that.  While I am discovering that I do have artistic abilities, drawing is the one area that still lets me down.  This can be a problem when preparing materials for lessons, or more particularly for Open the Book school assemblies.  I am sure I am not the only kids leader who finds myself in this position.

That's where the internet and tracing comes to my rescue.  Over and over again!


Last week in Open the Book we were doing the story of Cornelius and peter and needed a sheet with some of the animals that Peter sees on the sheet.  So, off to the internet I went doing an image search.  Eels, lobsters, lizards, prawns, pigs, snakes and a ham all came my way!  I printed them off at an appropriate size and placed them under the fabric at a spacing I thought looked OK.  I traced over the lines with a black permanent marker, then coloured them in with kids poster paints.  I'm really pleased with them, what do you think?

If you are involved in children's ministry in any way, how have you worked around areas in which you are not particularly strong?


You can check out the sites I link up to over in my sidebar. Before you go, why not check out my recipes index page, or my craft projects index page, I am sure you will find something there to interest you.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Prayer Spaces in Schools Training Day

This is my day fourteen post for the "31 days of blogging in October" challenge.  I am blogging 31 days of Children's Ministry.  To find links to all the other days (as they get posted) go to DAY 1.


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What an incredible day! On Friday I spent a day at the prayer spaces in schools training day. This post is just a first reaction to the day, I'll be back with more thoughts later in the month.

The biggest thing I shall come away from the day with is an understanding that we are part of a bigger picture, that God sees the whole of. When interacting with a child or young person in a prayer space, we can trust the Holy Spirit. Trust Him to take what we are able to say and use it in the way Father determines. Trust Him that if we make the space and the time, with these activities, we can step back and allow the children to discover prayer, and therefore God, for themselves, we don't have to SHOW them, they will find Him for themselves. Trust Him that there is a bigger picture that we might never see.  We do not need to "take Jesus into the schools", He is ALREADY THERE, we're just facilitating that discovery.

Also we might not have all the answers, and that's ok.

So, come back later in the month for more details of the training day.


You can check out the sites I link up to over in my sidebar. Before you go, why not check out my recipes index page, or my craft projects index page, I am sure you will find something there to interest you.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Kids Worship

This is my day twelve post for the "31 days of blogging in October" challenge.  I am blogging 31 days of Children's Ministry.  To find links to all the other days (as they get posted) go to DAY 1.



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Last Sunday I experienced a bit of a blast from the past.  Along with my husband and our youngest son we attended the Christening of a young family member of our extended family. The church the christening was held at was a traditional C of E church.  They have 3 services every week, a full sung service, a said service and a family service.  The Christening was held during the family service.

This vicar was amazing, he did EVERYTHING HIMSELF.  He set up the projector, laptop and screen, as well as the microphone in the few minutes between the two services.  He worked the laptop himself, and he worked the PA himself, having to disappear behind a screen every so often to do so.

So, you can imagine, not having a band, children's worship might be difficult.  NOPE, Duggie Dug Dug to the rescue!  This vicar has every single one of the Duggie Karaoke videos on his laptop.

These are songs we used with the children in our church about 5 years ago, hence the blast from the past, but they are still valid and so much fun, particularly with the very young children.  Heck, I'm over 40 and I still find them fun.  Certain non church going relatives were amused by the fact that I knew all the words and danced around to the songs.  If they thought me bopping around in my seat was amusing I dread to think what they would make of me full on dancing at our church.  Maybe one day we'll have to invite them over.
 
Sadly I can't find any videos of the actual karaoke backgrounds online to share with you, so you will have to make do with these alternatives.  These are two of the songs we sang at the Christening.





And, although we didn't sing it at the Christening of course I have to share a favourite of my American friends, "Is there a plank in your eye?"  Unfortunately I can't find a video version of that song, so you will have to cope with just an audio sample.

With the group of children I teach in Sunday's Cool we tend more towards videos with actions shown rather than the karaoke background ones.  I'll be posting about our kids worship in more detail soon.  But in short, we use a variety of different styles, some stuff from Duggie, some stuff from Ishmael, some stuff from Hillsong Kids, among others.  But hey, this guy was doing everything himself, every week, and I think considering that, he was doing an amazing job.

I'll leave you with a video from Hillsong Kids.



You can check out the sites I link up to over in my sidebar. Before you go, why not check out my recipes index page, or my craft projects index page, I am sure you will find something there to interest you.
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