Monday, 21 December 2009

1 Corinthians 13 - The Christmas Version

We recieved this poem in a card from one of the venerated olds in our church - a revelation!

It's a bit 1950's but I thought it was worth sharing.

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls,

but do not show love to my family

I am just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas Puddings, prepareing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtimes, but do not show love to my family

I am just another cook.

If I work at a soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family

it profits me nothing.

If i trim the spruce wioth shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choirs cantata, but do not focus on Christ

I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking demands to hug a child.

Love sets aside the decorating to kiss her husband

Love is kind, although harried and tired

Love doesn't envy another's home that has co-ordinated Christmas china and table linen

Love doesn't yell at the children to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.

Love doesn;t give only to those that cna give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who can't

Love bears all things, believes all things hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

Computer games will break, cashmere jumpers will wear out and golf cliubs will get lost,

But giving the gift of love will endure.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

'I wonder what would happen if......

....I treated everyone like I was in love with them, whether I like them or not and whether they respond or not and no matter what they say or do to me and even if I see things in them which are ugly, petty, cruel, vain, deceitful, indifferent - just accept all that and turn my attention to some small,weak tender, hidden part and keep my eyes on that until it shines like a beam of light,like a bonfire I can warm my hands by and trust it to burn away all the waste which is not, and never was, my business to meddle with.'

Ivor Smith - Cameron

Monday, 23 November 2009

Children Taking the Lead

Child, though I take your hand
and walk in the snow;
though we follow the track of the mouse together,
though we try to unlock the mystery
of the printed work, and slowly discover
why two and three makes five
always, in an uncertain world -

Child, though I am meant to teach you much,

what is it, in the end,
except that together we are
meant to be children of the same Father

and I must unlearn
all the adult structure
and the cumbering years

and you must teach me
to look at the earth and the heaven
with your fresh wonder.

Jane T Clement - Bruderhof Community

Thursday, 22 October 2009

From Children's - grab a cuppa!

Want to know the BEST way to begin discipling children?


How would you feel if you broke your arm and the emergency room doctor handed you a bottle of aspirin and said, “Take two of these and go home and rest”? And as you pondered this bizarre treatment, you notice that the person on the gurney next to you is having difficulty breathing. You watch, amazed, as the doctor prescribes the very same treatment -- two aspirin and rest. So no matter the health problem, aspirin and rest are the answer in this emergency room.

As patients, we’d be outraged.

Here’s what actually happens during doctor visits. The doctor listens to the patient, assesses the patient’s needs, decides with the patient on a treatment plan, and helps the patient implement that plan. When it comes to practicing medicine, it’s just not possible to assess different patients and decide they’re all alike -- or to treat them as though they’re alike.

What kind of teaching diagnosis do you practice? When we have an “aspirin and rest” approach in Chris­tian education, we miss great teaching opportunities. Are you guilty of assessing a group of children and deciding their emotional, spiritual, and intellectual abilities or interests are the same?

To counter this error, the world of education has developed an educational philosophy called Differentiated Instruction. DI, as it’s usually called, is about meeting kids’ individual needs to help them maximize their learning potential. It’s a method of education that challenges kids to make discoveries through their interests, unique abilities, and varied learning styles.

Know Your Children
It’s common for teachers to view children as a group, but this eliminates tons of opportunities for us to connect personally with kids and discover what their lives are like. Here are simple ways to get to know your kids individually.
Be the door stop. As children arrive, plant yourself at the door and smile. Ask each child a specific question related to life outside your classroom: “What’s something big that happened this week?” “On a scale of one to five, how was your week and why?” Such questions give you a glimpse into the backgrounds of your children and help you plan lessons according to what’s going on in their lives.

Give an interest inventory. An interest inventory is generally just a few simple questions to help you learn what kids like to do. Your inventory can be as formal as a questionnaire or as informal as finding out what kids want for their birthdays.

Test the waters. Before you begin a lesson, ask kids questions about the day’s topic: “What do you think angels do?” “How can you get to heaven?” Never correct a child during this pre-assessment time -- just use these questions to gauge what your kids understand.

Differentiate Three Ways

As you relate to your kids, you’ll form ideas about how you can best design your lessons based on what you know about the kids.
There are three points to remember as you differentiate your lessons. Kids learn and understand more when they’re ready to grasp the topic you’re teaching, when they’re curious and interested in learning, and when the lesson is designed to teach them in the way they learn best.

1. Are they ready?
To maximize kids’ learning, make sure your lesson closely aligns with their skills and understanding of the topic. This can be challenging because of vast differences in children’s spiritual maturity. Some children may be new to the “church thing,” while others have grown up in church. Maximize learning, regardless of kids’ backgrounds, with these strategies.

Observe -- As you teach a lesson, watch for different levels of understanding -- you’ll see it in kids’ faces and hear it in their questions. When you move into the application part of your lesson, remember which kids understood the lesson and which didn’t. Ask kids different questions according to the level of understanding they displayed. Ask foundational questions of kids who didn’t seem to understand to help them grasp concepts better: “Why does God want us to obey him?” Ask more advanced questions of kids with a good grasp of the topic: “What happens to our relationship with God when we don’t obey?”

Ask -- Use open-ended questions with more than one possible answer. These types of questions allow kids to make discoveries on their own based on their personal experiences. They also serve to connect your lesson to kids’ unique backgrounds, and they invite kids into discussion. So instead of asking questions that have a “yes” or “no” answer, use questions such as, “What would you have done if you were in Daniel’s situation?”

Partner -- Pair kids with different backgrounds. If you have a child who’s a new Christian or new attender, ask a more “established” child to partner with him or her. Don’t make a big deal about why you’ve paired kids, just encourage them to work together and get to know one another. They’ll learn from each other as they grow closer to Jesus.

2. Are they interested?
You’ll see a dramatic change in what kids understand and remember when they’re motivated to learn. And kids are motivated to learn when topics and learning processes interest them. Different kids want to learn about different things. Alison, whose parents are divorcing, will likely show more interest in a lesson about God’s presence and comfort. But Jackson, who’s moving, might like a lesson on Jesus’ friendship. The good news is you can reach different kids with different interests in the same lesson. Here’s how:

Be enthusiastic. When you’re enthusiastic about what you’re teaching, kids will mirror your enthusiasm. It’s contagious. Be excited they’re there. Be joyful about God’s work in your kids’ lives. Show kids how exciting it is to learn about Jesus and grow closer to him.

Engage kids. Have you ever walked into a room and thought to yourself, I don’t want to be here, then totally checked out mentally? That’s what happens with kids if their classroom isn’t an exciting place to be. Stock your closets with age-appropriate games and toys. Decorate in a kid-friendly, exciting theme. Use a “kid filter” to examine your room as if you were a child. What’s exciting? What’s boring? How can you fix it so kids want to be there?

Differentiate. Focus on different facets of a lesson or topic to help kids get what they need out of it. Alison and Jackson may have different needs, but you can ensure that they’re both interested in your lesson by addressing their needs. Help Alison see that God will comfort her just as he comforted Joseph. Help Jackson see that God is our best friend because he gave Joseph friends in jail.

3. How do children learn best?

Factors affecting kids’ learning might include the physical environment, their ability to work with others, the types of activities they enjoy, or how they use their senses to learn. Children learn best in a variety of ways and under a variety of conditions.

Variety -- Offer different ways to explore one topic. Set up learning stations kids can choose from, such as a writing station, an art station, a listening station, and a hands-on station. If your curriculum gives two optional activities, use both, and let kids decide which one they’ll do. If you can’t have several activities going on at once, be intentional about varying the types of learning experiences you provide for your children. Learn about kids’ learning styles -- auditory (learn through listening), visual (learn through seeing), and tactile or kinesthetic (learn through doing) -- to create experiences in your classroom that address each style.

Ambience -- Your environment matters. Some kids excel in a quiet room with soft lighting. Others thrive in vibrant colors and music. If possible, create different environments in your room. Provide cushions, soft lighting, and muted colors in one corner. Colorful posters, fun beanbags, and quiet music can go in another area. Offer manipulatives, such as clay, blocks, and puzzles in another area of your room. If it’s not possible to set up each environment at once, simply create different experiences in one lesson. The key here is variety.

Big Picture -- Be a facilitator. It may seem overwhelming to have different activities going on at once. Don’t worry -- you don’t have to be involved in each station or activity. Give directions, then let kids make discoveries on their own. Your role is to make sure kids are on task, to answer questions, and to equip them to make discoveries.
By using DI concepts, you can customize your teaching, reach kids where they are, and create a high-impact learning environment. Your kids are worth it!

An Appointment With God
Here’s a sample of what a Differentiated Instruction lesson looks like in your classroom.
Topic: God is with us.Opening: Play a high-energy game that gets kids interested in the topic.
Bible Exploration Stations:
Music -- Sing key verses to music kids enjoy.
Art -- Use different media to express feelings about the passage.
Drama -- Create a skit based on the passage.
Teacher-Led -- Dig into the passage with kids and apply it to their lives.
Wrap-Up: Kids present projects or do an activity to internalize and respond to what they’ve learned. Teacher checks for understanding.

Differentiated Classroom Management

When children are doing different activities at once, you may initially experience a few challenges. Use these pointers to keep your classroom well-managed and running smoothly.
Use anchor activities. Set up specific activities for kids to work on when they’re finished with other learning experiences, when they arrive early, and before they leave. For example, you might have kids work on a progressive mural of what they’re learning during the quarter or semester.

Provide alternative activities. When you differentiate your classroom, you’ll never hear, “I’m bored!” There are always different activities to do. Help kids select activities that match their interests and keep them engaged.

Create written instructions. Children like to know what they’re supposed to do. Never let that be a question. Writing a quick list of instructions for children will help them stay on task, and it’ll free you up to take care of other issues. Post the instructions in multiple locations for kids to refer to.

Scott Kinner has been equipping and training children's ministry volunteers since 1999. Please keep in mind that phone numbers, addresses, and prices are subject to change.

Friday, 29 May 2009

From Wallowing to Worshipping.

It's been so long since I blogged that I had actually forgotten for a moment, how to write a post!

I am on a bit of a journey, have been for a number of months, and finding myself in a place I don't like and am not used to being in - that of feeling overwhelmed. My closest and best are gently 'telling me so'- not in as many words, apart from my mum who said,' Well, we've been telling you for a long time' and not in a nasty way either, but THEY DID tell me so and have, as my mum rightly says, been telling me so for a long time.

So I have to admit to having had a bit of a wallow from time to time, pulling myself together and getting into a vicious circle, but today, in the midst of a reflective wallow that went a bit like this..:

If I had more time I would be more organised.

If I had more time I would be better prepared.

If I had more time I would be working out of rest.

If I had more time I would be on top of the ironing.

If I had more time I would be the owner of a tidy and well maintained house.

If I had more time I would be a more effective mum.

If I had more time I would be a more loving wife.

If I had more time I would be a better friend.

If I had more time I would be better at building relationships with my neighbours.

If I had more time I would be the maintainer of a vegetable patch.


....I had a bit of an epiphany that went a bit like this:

If I had more time I would be.........thoughts trailed off.... and a question came....the person that God created me to be?

Surely not, surely I don't need more time to be that,because I already am the person that God created me to be.

But at the moment I'm not, because I'm wallowing and I'm not worshipping.

I'm re-reading a few chapters from John Ortberg's book, 'If you Want to Walk On Water You've Got to Get Out of The Boat'. I'm getting a bit of a telling off this time. Last time I read it I was ready to get out of the boat, this time I'm not, mainly because I'm not sure where I should be walking to...other than towards Jesus of course!

So the epiphany was prompted by this found on page 196:

'I need to worship

I need to worship because without it I can forget that I have a Great Big God beside me and I live in fear.

I need to worship because without it I can forget his calling and begin to live in a spirit of self -preoccupation.

I need to worship because without it. I lose a sence of wonder and gratitiude and plod through life with blinders on.

I need to worship because my natural tendancy is towards self reliance and stubborn independance.'

How well John Ortberg seems to know me!

I need to worship because my 'If' list does not start with the important thing, it starts with the Task Related things, the Doing and NOT the Being. Basically,I know that if I had more time, I would just DO more stuff and God knows that too.

I have put myself in this place and it's painful, but I know God will and is using it - nothing is wasted, as I so often tell other people.

So I think I am turning from a Wallower to a Worshipper, which is easy to say on a sunny afternoon in the the garden, and I know I will be tested and soon, but it is a positive move and I am thankful to God for 'passing by' this afternoon and opening my heart and my ears to his still small voice and I had the time to hear it.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Have a look at THIS!

Apologies that all my blogs are cut and paste lately - I have hols soon, so will have headspace for deep and meaningful reflection, but in the meantime, have a little think, if YOU have the time, about this article from the Children and Young People NOW daily mailing I receive.
( Italic comments are mine by the way!)

'Acne lights' used to stop young people gathering.

The lights, put up in two underpasses in the town, are the same kind used by dermatologists to show up pimples and acne blemishes.
The project, championed by Layton Burroughs Residents' Association following consultation with Nottinghamshire Police, is set to be extended to a third site.

A spokesman for The National Youth Agency said the use of pink lights was equivalent to treating young people as the enemy. (I know big groups of young people are intimidating but I kind of feel the same way actually)

"Lighting like this does not offer the prospect of a long-term solution to a community problem," he said. "We should be looking to help young people thrive not hurt or humiliate them." ( I really do agree with this, while knowing that some groups of young people will be really difficult to help)

Tony Gelsthorpe, chair of the association, said the intention of the project was never to show up spots, rather utilise the fact pink is seen as "uncool" by some young men. ( Yeah, right)

A member ( name with held) of the association, said: "We used to have quite a problem with large groups of young people hanging around in the underpasses drinking, which felt quite intimidating, but the pink lights have really made a difference. ( ...and I'll bet it's her favourite colur too)
"The groups aren't there as much and it feels safer walking through there now, particularly at night."

Notwithstanding the fact that the Leyton Burroughs Resident Association might all be middle aged folks with families ( like me...ouch!) I wonder how the would feel if a light that showed up wrinkles, grey hair and age spots was utilised around areas when they meet up and 'tut tut' and how I wish that light was not in my bathroom!

Monday, 23 March 2009

Listen Up People!

Are you overwhelmed? Hmmmm.
Do you feel inadequate? Hmmmm and nodding a bit.
Are you ready to blow at any moment? NO COMMENT!

You can't love others in a godly way when you're at the end of your emotional rope. How many relationships have been ripped apart because the people involved failed to take care of themselves emotionally?

God's Word gives us three habits that can help us recharge emotionally when we have nothing left to give.

1. Solitude. Mark 6:31 says, "So many people were coming and going...[Jesus] said to them [the disciples], 'Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest'" (NIV). Jesus understood that your emotions are like a battery. If you plug one lightbulb into a battery, it will last for a fairly long time. If you plug in 100 lights, the battery will drain very quickly. Many of you have so many lights plugged in, your battery is shot. ( OUCH!) You can't recharge anybody else—you can't give love—if your own battery is drained. You recharge when you get away by yourself.

2. Play. The Bible says, "Jesus came enjoying life" (Matthew 11:19 PH). He was the most people-focused, ministry-intensive person who ever lived, yet he took the time to have fun. Certain activities recharge you emotionally; they literally re-create your energy and enthusiasm for life. We all have different activities that recharge us because we're all made differently. Find out what recharges you emotionally and make time for it.

3. Laughter. Proverbs 17:22 says, "Being cheerful keeps you healthy" (GNT). Studies prove that when you laugh, it increases your number of T-cells, which raises your immunity level. Laughter is good for your health. Humor is God's gift to us. Remember, God has a sense of humor—he made you! To be emotionally balanced, take God very seriously but don't take yourself seriously. Learn to laugh at your limitations. There is plenty of material. If you only laugh and enjoy life when your problems are all solved, you'll never enjoy life.

Friday, 13 March 2009

It only takes a minute.......

Getting ready for school this morning was quite stessful as it's Red Nose Day and there is a list of 'unfair' rules and regs for dressing down that must be adhered to :

  • No Red Noses incase you can't breathe
  • No dyed hair
  • No trainers unless thay have red on them
  • etc

So we had a constant rant of complaints which getting dressed and then the phone rang (8:25am)

Joe - I have left my phone on a bus, the 252 and the reg number is.....can you ring and find out where it is please - see ya!

Internet assists me in finding the phone number and E and T are edgey now as they have a fear of being late for school, so cries of 'Please can you ring as we are walking along' echo through my head!

We are walking along, I ring the number and then E panics and says she has left something at home which she needs, so while explaining to the woman on the phone what the issue is, I give E the house keys so that she can go back and get her 'thing'.

The woman on the phone explains that I need another number - do I have a pen and paper? I am walking along the road so no, but I have good memory, so she gives the number and I file it in my brain, where upon T then tells me that E needs a key to get in the house! Um she has the key.

I run back to find that she has got the key stuck in the door and is quite literally trying to knock the door down to get in. I calm her down and open the door, but she then tells me she has her thing - FINE.

We walk along again and I ring the other number, which amazingly I have remembered and a kind guy tells me that they will 'get on the handsets' and see what they can do and will ring me back on my phone which is now running low on battery!

On the way to school we see lots of kids with Red Hair, Trainers and Red Noses which is very annoying to three already highly strung people.

I now have to go to the office to get change for a £5 so the kids can have their donation for the day and go to the Mothers Day Sale which I know nothing about. Also, there will be a cake sale and other fun things which put a strain on the the £2.50 they both now have.

I try to ring Keith to tell him my woes and what to do about Js phone, but my phone now has no image on the screen - trying to save the battery I guess. He then rings me back, but as Ihave no image on the screen I don;t know where to press, so I try him again....and he rings me back and I stab at the screen - lucky guess and we talk.

I have just got into my house and slid down the wall in the hallway in a surrendering kind of way and then decided that the only way to empty my head of this stuff before going to do my job ( yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is just my life - I don't even get paid for this stuff) is to blog it.

Here's to a good day!

Monday, 9 February 2009

Let your Light Shine!

Not sure about the 'drumming actions' but here it is in all it's original glory - enjoy and share with your kids!

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Confession : Good for the Soul?

Dear Reader

I don't know about you.....which is in fact true. I DON'T know about you at all.
It's another one of those 'Things People Say'
'I don't know about you, but.........'
A device for inviting someone else into your thought process, opening up a way in for them to tell you something about themselves by the response they give to your profound thought.

I have been unexpectedly and quited blessedly tuned in to what people have been saying towards the end of this week,so many inner thoughts expressed in a turn of phrase, and I realise that I have somehow missed listening to what people have been saying. I have become task oriented...a do-er, instead of a be-er.

There are reasons for that, some are rational ones, others are just ( squeezing out the word through gritted teeth) irrational, bordering today, on a kind of psychosis. H- EAVY!

Anyway,on the bright side,an intervention by God; an immediate and undeserved answer to prayer, going to a Fancy Dress/ Joke shop with my children and one of their friends, and a chat on the phone, have helped me see that I do know about ME, and sometimes I project that onto you, dear reader, whoever you are,which is both irresponsible and ( through gritted teeth again)...controlling.

So, if you have experienced the machine that is LIZ HALL lately, I DO apologise and want to reassure you that she is 'in there' somewhere!

Saturday, 17 January 2009

The Things People Say.

I was in a food shop today, just getting some 'bits', which is always dangerous as I end up buying other 'bits' that we don't really need.

One of those 'bits' was a box of Mr Kiplings Mini Victoria Sponges, and as they went over the scanner, the check out person said,' Oh I really like those, they are quite nice!'

I laughed and indicated that they wouldn't last long in our house blah blah.

When I got home and began putting the shopping away, with an audience looking over my shoulder to see what goodies I had bought, there were squeals of delight as the cakes came out of the bag, and I told them what the assistant had said.

The response was, 'Well, if she really likes them, surely she would say they are really nice or very nice, not just quite nice!'

We agreed that she must have been quite confused and didn't really have a clue what she was talking about and then proceeded the eat the cakes which proved that I did know what I was talking about.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

And now...the end is near....and I so reach....

SC - reaming point!

I really need your advice - all of you, so FOCUS!

Got a call from the Mill this morning, which I passed up as I was driving. I then began musing about why they were ringing:

  • Had the original material suddenly arrived?

  • Had the 'Account Manager' decided that I would have to pay the difference after all

  • Had the Mill gone into receivership?

Couldn't ring 'til lunchtime, so shelved that thought.

'Mrs Hall' says Stella, 'you won't believe this!'

' Oh, hold on, I know the answer to this', I think to myself and go on to actually begin quoting my list.

'No, none of the above....your second choice is also discontinued!'

Did any of you see that coming?

So here's where I need your advice.

Do I give up with this knowing that I will loose some fairly serious funds if I go elsewhere ....

....OR do I stick with it and venture into the Mill again for a third choice, where I will sit and wait until she has phoned the sheep that provide the wool part of the mix ( I don't know what the mix is to be honest, or if wool would be a good ingredient in a curtain material) to ensure they have enough fleece to continue with the material.

YOU DECIDE...please!

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

The Final Curtain Call ( thanks D!)

The call came, the original material has vanished ( I am not surprised, in fact my heart has now turned to stone and I feel no emotion on this subject whatsoever - I JUST WANT NICE CURTAINS IN MY BEDROOM) and we are going with the second choice:

Natural colour with a smaller waffle embossing than the original.

Thats all for now :)

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Probability drive indicates we have reached NORMALITY*.

* Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy - I was a fan before it became a film and I too, have a brain the size of a planet!

Indicators of normality after the Festive Season:

  • No tree in the living room!

  • Being able to see the coffee table as the pile of nibbles is consolidated into one container and a Quality Street Tin.

  • Having cereal for breakfast ( as opposed to a brunch style feast, coissants etc)

  • The churning feeling in your stomach as you wake up remembering that there is a purpose to your day, rather than mearly having fun.

  • The sadness in your heart as you realised that mearly having fun does actually take some skill, although is a wonderful way to spend your days and you are going to miss it.

  • The hope in your heart as you resolve to make Having Fun a 'thing to do' on your 'To Do' list.

  • Resolving to do Tesco on line in a much more organised way this year, no more running out of milk or bread!

  • Getting a bit niggly when someone stops you doing the thing you were doing, because you know you are going to run out of time very soon.

  • A desire to transfer appointments into your new diary/ filofax or handheld!
  • ...and many more that you can think of I'm sure

Oh yeah...and going to Dunhelm Mill to be reassured that the material is STILL missing, so would I like to choose another and then to suggest to the assistant that maybe they phone the store it was being sent from ( Crewe) to see if they can track it, which gives them a tracker number so they can phone the distribition depot to check if it is still there.

Then showing her the altenative and being told that it might be more expensive than my original choice and reminding her that I am not paying for them as they are remakes - NO LADY, I AM NOT!!!

They have until Monday evening to track the original stuff or go ahead with the new one and ring me to let me know either way.

Normal or NEW normal... you decide! :)

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