Monday, 30 July 2012

Stillness

In all the bustle and business of simply going through a day I often don't stop for long enough to really think. I'm constantly making decisions, planning things and working out what feels like a hundred different things at a time in my head, but today, driving home I had a moment. And that is all it takes sometimes, just a moment to stop and reflect. I was stopped at the traffic lights, and I realised that instead of being upset about the 1 minute delay in my travels, I should take that as enforced reflection. I couldn't go anywhere, I couldn't really do anything, no one was coming and asking me questions, the phone wasn't ringing, there weren't children yelling in my ears....that was my moment where I just had to stop, the law says so! And so I had no choice but to be still.

In my moment of stillness, I was reminded of Reinhold Niebuhr's famous prayer:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference


The reason I share this is to encourage you, whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever your walk in life, to grasp those moments with both hands, embrace them, and be still for just that moment. Regardless of what happened up to that point and regardless of what may come next, live in that moment.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

My latest pursuits and procrastinations

I haven't been very active on here of late, and although the majority of the blame goes to my choice of occupation and the amount of time that takes, there are a few other things that have been distracting me. Here's a bit of what has been occupying me lately:

1. Downton Abbey Season 2


*sigh* it's all I could ever ask for in a period drama TV Series and I have become increasingly attached to the characters and live in anticipation of the next season!

According to this 'Which Downton Abby Character Are You?' quiz (an excellent procrastination tool that can be found here: ), I am either the maid Anna or Lady Sybil, making me either: "the best employee ever. Competent, practical and tough, you can handle anything life throws at you - whether it’s rude colleagues, secretive romantic partners or surprise dead bodies in the workplace. Your kindness and loyalty are to be admired, and that Bates fellow should really recognize what a catch you are."

or: "The youngest daughter of Lord Grantham, you’re compassionate, strong, and really concerned about social justice. You’d also like to be able to vote. The bravest and most idealistic member of your family, you’re the most likely to end up at a political rally, try and help a servant to a better job, or scandalize your sisters by wearing pants to a party."

Hmm....I think either way I'd have a pretty eventful life and I'd get to dress up in costumes and hats!

2. The Piano Guys
*another sigh* I have found the epitome of good music-I don't have the words to describe it, so you'll just have to watch it yourself!



3. Good books
The latest find in a good book is 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society' by mary Ann Schaffer. How can you not be intrigued by a title like that! It really is a fascinating read, albeit somewhat unorthodox in its structure. If you want to know more about it, I would happily give you a full review (however I'm not sure I'd be willing to loan you my copy, which is testament to how highly I regard the book!)




Saturday, 7 July 2012

Play time is over....

As the school holidays draw to a close, the feeling I have is something akin to my memories of being called inside for bathtime as a child. Yes, I grew up without an x-box, wii console, video games, had very limited internet access and watched minimal television and very few films. This left us with the great adventure of using our imaginations and playing outside. The games we would play, the stories we invented and the scenarios we imagined would be worthy of a novel plotline!
Back to my point though...I have very distinct memories of playing outside, climbing the tree house, riding the flying fox and building 'houses' in the dirt underneath our house and hearing mum call out that it was time to come inside for a bath before dinner. We used to delay the 'going-in' process for as long as possible. Of course, we needed to lock up our 'houses', secure the tree house, say goodnight to the dog, find the toys that needed to come inside, we would then have to wash our feet (which were usually filthy from not wearing shoes).....you get the picture! We were expert procrastinators from bathtime!

It is this same philosophy that I am having towards the impending beginning of Term 3. I have to put away my craft things, pack away my face paints, close up the Scrabble game board, attack my rather large ironing pile, organise my bookshelf, clean my fishbowl, finish reading my book...all these 'busy' things in a vain attempt to ward of going back to school. Back to routine, a life ruled by bell times and timetables. Days full of excuses and rhetorical questions:'I left my homework at home.' 'But I did do it Miss!' 'Do I really have to do this Miss?' Do we have to answer ALL the questions?' 'Why do I even have to know any of this Miss?' 'I don't want to sit next to them, why can't I sit over there?' 'When is this due?' And afternoons filled with meetings and evenings overtaken by lesson planning.

Can you hear my sigh? Can you understand why I don't want play time to be over? Why I want to stay outside and play for a while longer?

(Ironically, writing this post is my procrastination from doing some lesson planning for Week 1-I think I'll just keep writing....maybe I'll try out the '3 step planning model' this term (that is, planning a lesson in the 3 steps before you walk into the classroom)!)

Friday, 6 July 2012

The Olympic Rings

Over these school holidays, I was involved in running a children's holiday program and, it being an Olympic year, thought that it was appropriate to use the Olympics as a theme for some of the activities. We did a craft activity for the duration of the week, making a ring toss (quoits) set and made one ring the colour of each of the rings on the Olympic flag and attached an element of the Gospel story to each ring.



Here is how I explained it to the children:

The Blue Ring

Creation: Reminds us that God made the world and everything in it (sea and sky)

The Black Ring

Sin: People made a mess of the world by doing the wrong thing and disobeying God's rules

The Red Ring:

Jesus' Blood: To fix the mess, God sent His perfect Son Jesus into the world to die in our place

The Yellow Ring:

Heaven: If we believe in Jesus and accept His forgiveness, when we die, we will go to Heaven to live with Him forever

The Green Ring:

Growth: God wants us to grow and become more like Jesus and to learn about Him