Have you heard of Illustrated Ministry yet? Sign up for free contemplative colouring

Illustrated Ministry have some free download contemplative colouring pages available during the Coronavirus crisis. Sign up with them to be sent a new design each week.

IMG_20200316_193202461

T & I started this week’s today with our morning break.

It asks God calls me…

T replied “lovely”!

faith adventure bags

IMG_20200202_121154033

It’s been too long! I’ve missed being able to write.

We’ve been dealing with active school refusal (wish it could be called something else, it’s not really a choice) since Christmas. It has been a low level, continual rumble since she began school but has reached a crisis point that we don’t want to let unravel any further – so I’ve been rather out of routine myself as we’ve taken all that involves on – all that will be a different post perhaps when its the right time.

In the meantime I feel the need to share a joy-filled thing with you! There has been a new addition to our accessible service, ‘Sense of Space’, adventure bag library.

‘Sense of Space’ happens once a month in church, we’re a small fellowship of families all shaped in some way by disability, either seen or unseen. We meet to explore faith and grow in faith, to pray and worship using all our senses and very much learning together and from each other. Our adventure bags are a take home discipleship & devotional resource. My best description of them? I suppose they are an inter-generational, sensory rich, faith-story sack to dip in and out of during the time between our services to keep on adventuring with God.

This newest one is based on the wise and foolish builders. It’s in a bright yellow, soft touch bag. Thanks to a gifted early years specialist in our church it includes a beautifully made storm cloud with rain, along with a smooth, cold flat stone, a patch of rough sandy ground (made in hessian) and wooden bricks to build a house.

IMG_20200202_125350819

Along with that – as with all the adventure bags, there is a key-ring full of ideas for adventures using the resources in the bag. Also the other collected together resources:

IMG_20200202_125739879

I’ve tried to photograph so you can clearly see the authors and websites these are from. The colouring page drawn by Mandy Grace is from ‘ministry to children’, and the ABC scripture memory verses are from ‘unOrigional Mom’. Other suggestions include playing ‘Simon Says’ (listening and doing of course); a challenge to find out what ‘foundations’ are in the world of building & why they’re important; finding and reading the story in the Bible; using the studies included in ‘Discover how to read the Bible’ by Jeff White; a website to find out about Brother Andrew for children as well as the book for young people and adults; and a pot of play sand to explore and experience what sand is like & why it isn’t a great foundation for building.

All the resources are there to invite playful exploration and discussion that will nurture faith.

When we met last Sunday, a bag was being brought back having been enjoyed so once we’d all gathered we all listened to what had been tried, found out and enjoyed with an encouragement to choose one to take home! Couldn’t have been better if I’d planned it, it was a real encouragement to me.

Book Review: Faith Lists

IMG_20191214_113151582.jpg

I love being sent books to review!

Thank you SPCK for this very beautiful one.

I know you’re not meant to judge a book by its cover – but when this one came out of the envelope I just wanted to dive straight in. To me it seemed full of possibility as a devotional as a very busy Mum of 3, in a complicated-never-dull family trying to make the most of every opportunity to serve. It looked like the kind of devotional that would be ok to be dipped into when needed or dived in wholesale with a bar of choc and coloured pens when the opportunity arose.

Each page spread is a warm and colourful illustration, a journal prompt and a lined page for jotting.

img_20191214_113049427.jpg

So this morning in between getting our youngest dressed by the TV downstairs, working out how to create a star-on-a-stick for a puppet, and prompting our eldest in & out of the shower I grabbed a pen and picked a page that seemed fairly straight forward. ‘List opportunities or possessions you are thankful for in your life’. Today this became a very neat linear list as I was reminded of all that God has placed in and around my life. It moved me to thankfulness without thinking, and there was no sense of guilt when the moment ceased and I was needed for the next thing.

For me, in this season of life (which has been quite long already and who knows how much longer it will last!) most devotionals leave me riddled with guilt. No fault of their own, its that feeling that I can’t keep up with their demand, haven’t time to really do it justice, having to leave it unfinished – or not even started, the dated page glaring at me – I’m left feeling I am a very poor example of a good devoted Christian! So to find I could leave a page having thought, prayed, and feeling no guilt was rather special.

The prompts range across prayer, scripture, worship, church fellowship; challenges, opportunities and hopes and dreams. And I think most of them could be both taken very much at face value or sat with for a while with God depending on the day, and what else is kicking off around you. Which is useful.

IMG_20191214_112838477

The illustrations by Olivia Holden are lovely. Undemanding and inviting. Many contain Bible verses drawn out, dancing alongside you as you write and think. My instinct of course is to want to draw and doodle, and I wonder whether the lined pages might feel restricting on those days but so far that’s not been the case.

The prompts would be good to chat about with others over coffee, or good to spend some time (when you get it) with a Bible or a podcast, or a book you would like to glean from. Its a book to leave out and have to hand, to dip into when there’s an unexpected moment. And I suspect it will be one I will look back into in years to come and will be reminded of God’s faithfulness in the busy years.

You can find ‘Faith Lists, your spiritual life in lists’. Illustrated by Olivia Holden at SPCK.

IMG_20191214_113014995

 

 

Book review: ‘More than words’ Hannah Dunnett

Recently B & I have been using ‘More than words’ by Hannah Dunnett in the evenings to help us hear a verse from the Bible every day. It is a beautiful book, we picked it up in the summer – instantly attracted as we have some of her framed prints up in the house and love them.

IMG_20181105_125036916

Firstly we loved having words of scripture to read presented in such a visual way. Each new painting inspired us to think and chat about verses we knew well in new ways. The colours and contexts that Hannah’s paintings use are full of meaning and for us – both being very visual thinkers – this was a very accessible way to reflect on the Bible together.

Hannah’s own reflections on her paintings are printed alongside each one and form the beginnings of an invitation to reflect for yourself as you trace the words of scripture through, within and around the paintings. They are followed by a small selection of open questions, and space at the end of each grouping of paintings with space for notes. To be honest we didn’t stop and read the questions this time, we had enough to talk about and think about without them. But it’s great that they offer another layer of reflection that we can return to next time we go through the book together.

IMG_20181105_125121583

I wish we had bought two copies, it would have been easier probably to both have a copy to look at closely and it would have meant both of us could more easily pick out the verses we were particularly draw to. But having said that (and lets face it, it’s easily solved!)  we really enjoyed using the book together and would really recommend it as a different focus for Bible study and quiet with God.

IMG_20181105_125023444

Being thankful

IMG_20180823_152747921

Autumn is here! A time for gathering in and taking stock. Plums, apples & whatever soft fruit and veg I have successfully grown. It’s a time of change and a time for re-grouping somehow I always feel. And of course a time of thankfulness. For us crunchy leaves also mean birthday season – so much to give thanks for. But it’s been a tough month to be honest… with so much newness everything seems to have taken a lot more energy than usual. So I’m looking for practical, calming activities to remind myself to give thanks and count all those blessings!

img_20180720_225448_247.jpg

Doodle thanks I can’t help but doodle my way through life, so this one wasn’t hard to find. Simple… paper and a pen, add a few things when you have a moment to sit down each day. Wouldn’t it be great to display a whole family’s set of doodle thanks. Or maybe start a big communal poster that everyone can add to throughout autumn!

IMG_20181010_142555666

Jars of thanks: again, not a new idea. We have collected thanks in jars at other times too. It’s lovely to fill a jar together over a few weeks and then have a celebration get together and read them all out. A prayerful activity that grows gratitude in us. These jars were washed out plastic hot chocolate jars (quite astounding how many of these I accumulate!) decorated with foam stickers. We made them at our church’s monthly accessible service.

 

Contemplative colouring: a new design for our celebration of Harvest at church. Please follow the link to print out a copy and enjoy. The idea came to me as I was thinking about surviving those downpour moments in life, when you feel under a cloud and nothing is easy or going smoothly. As I chatted to God about how tough things felt we imagined this together, going one step further than ‘learning to dance in the rain’ we turned the umbrella over and began collecting the rain. I was reminded of the imagery of God’s blessing being poured out, being like rain on thirsty ground. So much rain that it is more than enough blessing for me and for me to share with others. Abundant blessing in the midst of the storms of life. It helps me to stop with an activity like this and deliberately become more aware of the blessings God pours into my life, it makes thankfulness bubble up again.

Books: There are so many good books out there that help us explore thankfulness, and get us talking about gratitude. ‘The world came to my place today’ by J Readman & L Roberts is great for thinking about how many other people and places have had a part in bringing what we need and want to our homes. The classic ‘Wonderful Earth!’ by N Butterworth & M Inkpen is one I go back to over and over again which helps us think about taking care of the gift of creation. Someone recently reminded me of Pollyanna by E H Porter, and the glad game. It’s not one we have so it’s now ordered and on its way! My own book ‘My Easter egg hunt’ explores all that Jesus has done for us and ends with an emphasis on our thankful response.

IMG_20180622_104132_937

Bible story: Looking at the story of the ten lepers who were healed by Jesus would be interesting. Mina has a lovely way of retelling the story over on Flame Creative Kids  It would be fun to go on and each make a chain of 10 paper people, and challenge ourselves to have said thank you 10 times by the end of the day. Or perhaps make some gingerbread men to help us remember.

Bunting: We have often made decorated paper bunting – I have hooks at the ready on one of the kitchen walls. Paper cut into triangles or flag shapes, newspaper, colourful plastic bags, pressed flowers – you get the idea…almost anything can look great as bunting. For thankfulness, at Harvest or Thanksgiving time how about leaves. Decorate with metallic sharpies or marker pens, writing or drawing some of the things we are thankful for. Then laminate them (may need to go through the laminator more than once) and they will keep their colour and hang really well. A hole punch at the top of each and as simple as that you have autumn thankful bunting.

2016-10-26-08-39-19