Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Mudhouse Sabbath: A Book Review


Mudhouse Sabbath  (Girl Meets God)

Lauren F. Winner

Have you ever wondered what some of the old Jewish traditions talked about in the Bible really are, or if they are relevant to our today and living in our Christianity?  I have, in fact I ponder it a lot.  I realise that there is a lot of symbolism and richness to be gained from some of these ancient practices and I love to embrace them into my home. 

 I knew practically nothing of them until I met Stephen when I was 14, but as he and his family had just come back from a 6 month volunteer stint in Israel, the practices and traditions were very much a part of their lives, even as they told stories about Kosher and the Shabbat. 

 
I loved listening to the audio book Mudhouse Sabbath, the musings of a Jewish girl turned Christian as she remembers her past and combines her Christianity with the ancient practices of her people. Not to gain any more favour with God, because Christianity is faith but she just explains the old traditions so beautifully, and how they can bring more richness to our journeys. 

 She explores the ideas of the Sabbath, how she would keep it in the olden days and how she keeps it now, about candle lighting, Jewish weddings, the prayers they say and why, and how by saying the same thing over and over it defines our very being, and it keeps us on track.

 She shares about the way they mourn and how very different it is from us and yet how psychologically it is very healing.  She even explores customs relating to how the Jews think of aging. 

 Yet none of it condemns, rather encourages us to keep pressing forward in our journeys with God and explore the roots of the Jewish tree that we have been grafted into.

 I even contacted Lauren to see if she could do an interview with me about this book and a number of others she has written but she was actually busy rewriting Mudhouse Sabbath for a reprint, so if you find Jewish customs interesting, you will definitely love this book!
 
linking up at Thriving Thursday

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Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Our Crazy Wedding


This month, we have been married 3 years, and mostly it’s been fun.  Someone told us that come day 21 of married life the wheels would fall off and we would both need a strong cup of coffee.   Thankfully that didn’t happen because at the time I didn’t drink coffee. 

I wanted to tell you about our wedding, though because it was quite different as weddings go, and there was a reason for that.    You see, we had invited a lot of workmates, many of whom didn’t understand the whole God thing, so we wanted to share in a fun way about that, so this is how we did it. 

 

Let’s take a look at ancient Jewish wedding for a minute, and I’ll share how it mirrors what Jesus did for us on the cross. 

 

So first, the Father picks out a bride for His son and the go together and bargain with girl’s Dad.  A brideprice is worked out and then she is called in and given a drink of wine.  If she drinks it, preparations begin for a wedding, if not, all the bargaining has been in vain.  The Jewish culture, I think as the only culture where the girl had any say in whether or not she would marry the guy that had come calling for her. 






So if she did accept the cup, the groom would give her gifts and then tell her ‘I’m going to prepare a place for you, and then I will come and take you to be with me.’ 

 

Anyone recognise this in Scripture? 

 

The bride would then begin a process or purification and sanctification getting ready for his return.  She did not know when that would happen, and actually neither did he, only His Father would make the call when He had determined the new home was ready.   

 

However, she had to be prepared at all times and have her lantern, ready and full to go with him at any moment, because more often or not, the groomsman came in the night, blowing his shofar to take her away to be with him. 

 

* **

So after that little explanation, let me share with you how we got married!

 
So to begin with,

 

Stephen blew the shofar, (I'll explain this later) and then I had three of my flower girls dance down the aisle with purple ribbons to the song ‘Wait for Me’ by Rebecca St James, followed by another 3 scattering silk flower petals from baskets, and then two of my sisters, Ria and Raelee, followed by another 5 bridesmaids.  All the bridesmaids carried unlit lanterns, and I carried a bouquet of flowers.

 

Quick pause, to tell you about the dresses; Stephen’s Mum made mine but then it had to be altered by Mum and a group of ladies from our church a month before because it didn’t fit!  Mum made my sister’s dresses and the other four purple dresses, were the bridesmaid dresses for one of my boss'es wedding ten years prior.  I found one of them in the dress up box at her house and recognised it from her wedding pictures on the wall. I then proceeded to ring all her bridesmaids and ask if I could borrow the dresses for our wedding.   They all graciously agreed, fished them out of their dress up boxes all over the country, and sent them to me, and amazingly they fit my bridesmaids perfectly, even though the dresses were sizes, 12, 10, 10 and 6.

 
Okay, unpause and I will continue.  Stephen and his Dad played some worship songs about the Bride of Christ on the piano and ukulele, before we got down to some fun. 

So, set up on each side of the room were little arches to represent our homes, which Stephen had made.  He and his Dad came over to bargain with my Dad about the bride price, while Pastor Alan narrated. 
 
 
“In the Bible days, it was common culture for the Father to seek out a bride for His son.  When he found an elligeble prospect, He would approach the Father of the girl to negotiate  a  bride price.”

 

Stephen and his Dad held up a sign of two camels, at which Dad shook his head, followed by a sign of ten camels, which Dad also shook his head at.  Dad held up his own sign of a John Deere tractor and held up 2 fingers.    After much umming and ahhing, Stephen and his Dad agreed and shook hands with my Dad.  (Don’t worry, there wasn’t really a brideprice, it was all acting to portray God’s story through Jesus to our friends.)

 

“Once the bride price agreed on, the groom to be would offer a cup of wine.  IN accept this cup she would agree to the covenant. 

In the same way, God the Father, sought out a bride for His son.  With His own life the Son paid the brideprice and with His own blood He sealed the covenant.”

 



At this point Stephen offered me a cup of grape juice, which I accepted, and then he said, “ You are now set apart and consecrated to me.  I am going to prepare a place for you.  I will come for you when it is ready.  I will not drink again of this cup, until I drink it with you.”

 

So Stephen and his Dad wandered back over their side, where Stephen nailed up a home sweet home sign to the front of his arch, while Alan continued narrating, and the bridesmaids and I lit our lanterns in preparation 

“The bride began to prepare herself for her wedding day and her husband went away to prepare a place for her.   In the same way, Jesus said this to his followers in John 14:3.  We are living here on earth waiting for His return.

When the groom had finished preparing he would blow his shofar, a ram or goat’s horn to announce his return.   In the same way, the trumpet will sound when Jesus returns for His bride the church.”

So, yeh, Stephen and his merry men blew their shofars and came to find me and my maids, at which point, our crazy wedding ceremony became slightly more normal and Alan married us in the traditional sense of rings, vows and the kiss, our first by the way.   

 
We  then signed the register while my two bosses played the flute and keyboard and we shared communion together, however it was not over yet and there was a further message a friend gave on the Bride of Christ, and the team I had travelled to Papua New Guinea with the previous year, came and prophesied over us. 

Our wedding went for a ridiculously long time, and my word of advice is to not have 5 songs to sing and two messages, though the acting part was great fun.  I knew at the time that our wedding would be different, but it isn’t until I look back now, that I realise how very different our wedding really was, a concept that many people echoed, though they all said they absolutely loved it!    Many of the Christians said it was the first time that they had realised the connection between an ancient Jewish wedding and how we were the Bride of Christ and the non Christians said it really gave them a different perspective on Christianity. 

I hope you've enjoyed hearing about our crazy wedding!






 Linking up at Thriving Thursdays

 

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Friday, 19 September 2014

Random 5: A Wedding Story



This month marks 3 years that we’ve been married, and just for fun I wanted to tell you five random things about our wedding and then next week I’ll tell you about how our wedding was very evangelistic and was representing a Jewish Bride price ceremony which is very prophetic of Jesus and His bride the church.  (And I’ll explain why Stephen, his Dad and my Dad were mock bargaining for camels and tractors during the ceremony . . . trust me, it was a hilariously fun wedding)

 

1. A month before the wedding we discovered that my dress didn’t fit anymore and actually needed a lot of work.  Some of the fabric wasn’t sitting straight and so my whole skirt got redone.  It also had rust stains on it from the bodice where the metal eyelets sat, and the only way to get these out were to use baby wipes.  Worked wonderfully!

 




2. A week before our wedding one of the groomsmen dropped out of our wedding party, and so we rang Stephen’s cousin, Rick and asked him to pop in.  It was quite a simple switch because all the guys were just wearing their own black suits, and it was nice because Stephen had been a groomsman at Rick’s wedding, and his wife, Rachel was one of our photographers.

 

3. The day before our wedding we were madly rearranging our venue because it had flooded and we were supposed to be getting married outdoors at the farm of another of Stephen’s cousins where we had met.  There was no way that was going to work, the ground was like pea soup so I was madly ringing up churches all around town asking for a new venue, and then that afternoon we were rehearsing as people arrived from out of town;3 hour rehearsal right and then decorating the church.  Far out, I was exhausted that night, and then I was ringing everyone and giving them a new address.

 

4. Because our venue got shifted, that meant everything was a bit muddled for getting ready on the morning, and my makeup got done in our future bedroom, and Stephen saw it happening, he also was getting his haircut while all the girls were getting their hair done and then us girls walked three doors down to the neighbours place who were elders in our church and had offered their home for our getting ready use.   

 

5. One more crazy, and like I said, next week I’ll tell you the serious stuff.  Instead of flowers for the bridesmaid, we used lanterns, heaps cheaper, can keep as a memento, symbolic of the Bride of Christ, and then instead of flowers we had little black pots of red fancy lettuce down the aisles.    Our wedding went for so long that by the time it was over, the kids were eating the lettuce out of the pots because they were hungry.    (And yes, Stephen did play the ukulele at our wedding)

Linking up at The Pebble Pond for Random 5 on Friday

 

 
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Friday, 12 September 2014

Ready or Not, Here Comes the Baby


 
First time back in the Five Minute Friday game for a while. 
We all just write fun and serious,
fast and furious for five minutes whatever comes out from the prompt. 
Then we link it up and we go encourage the person in the line behind us. 
Today's prompt is Ready
 
I actually felt ready to become a Mum.  I’d read all the right books, watched all the right shows and documentaries and I was actually excited about labour.  I’d been reading Supernatural Childbirth,  and I had my birth ordered.  It was going to take exactly four hours from start to finish, something I’d read about in one of the books and I wasn’t going to have pain.    I had even done a pregnancy consultancy course.  I was so ready. 

I’d had my bags packed for weeks, and weeks.  I kept thinking my baby was going to come early because I’d given myself contractions at 20 weeks drinking raspberry leaf tea and teaching dance classes.  I had stopped for the ensuing 18 weeks and gone crazy with those two activities in the last two.   

Something else had slipped into my bag too.  It was called pride.  When I watched those tv shows of Mum’s giving birth, I would tell them to ‘suck it up, princess,’  and when anyone else had to have pain relief or a C-Section for goodness sake it was because they hadn’t tried hard enough.  

Finally the day after I was due, my waters broke in my garden when I reached for a weed and I was excited and ready.  Even though the midwife wasn’t particularly keen about me coming into the hospital, we hurried because after all my birth was only going to take 4 hour, and I whispered a hurried prayer about not being prideful. 

13 hours later after excruciating pain and mournful screams ,  I begged for an epidural which turned into a C-section, and I knew I had tried hard enough, but I  now had a little thing called compassion packed in my bag and pride had run out the door.  
  
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Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Quilt Chat: Prayer



Here is another of Robyn's Quilt Chats.  You can find out about these by clicking on Quilt Chat page tab up on the toolbar. 

God wants us to talk to Him, to involve Him in all that is going on in our lives.  

And that really is the basis of prayer.  To know that when we pray we are talking to someone who loves us and is interested in us, and our concerns, and who delights to bless, who has a heart attitude towards us of kindness and grace.  

The short answer is that God listens!  He enjoys our company.  He likes us to talk with Him.  He says, ‘Call to me and I will answer you.  I will tell you great and unsearchable things that you do not know.’  Jeremiah 33:3

You get the picture that if you don’t call to Him in prayer, you won’t see the great and mighty things.  Prayer is important.  We can come boldly because of Jesus, enter right into His throne room and seek His wisdom. 

It seems built into us to pray.  Even people who don’t know God, when they get into a tight spot, they seem to pray. 

Prayer is about a heart to heart relationship.  It is knowing that God loves us and has a plan for our lives that is good, but we discover that plan, and gain wisdom for that plan, when we spend time talking to Him, and learning to hear what He has to say.

Hebrews 4:16 tells us to approach the throne of grace with confidence, knowing that there we will find love and mercy and grace to help us in our time of need.

Matthew 7:11.  “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father give good things to those who ask Him”.

It is a fact – prayer works!  I was interested to read a study a few years ago in Time magazine about a survey undertaken in American hospitals by doctors who conducted tests on the results of prayer.  They had patients with similar problems divided into two groups, without either group knowing which was which, and one group was prayed for and one group was not.  And the doctors were amazed to discover that the ones prayed for recovered much more quickly and with less negative after effects of the surgery, than those who were not prayed for.

Isn’t it interesting that in the world of science the amazing power of prayer is being investigated?  And why not?  It is powerful stuff.

We need to really believe that.  I remember one time I was leading a Bible study on the subject of prayer, and I had carefully prepared all my notes, but as I was about to leave for the meeting, I couldn’t find them.  So I frantically turned the house upside down, searching everywhere for those notes.  And then I remembered what it was I was looking for.  So I stopped searching and prayed for God to reveal where those notes where and within a few minutes I had them in my hand.  Prayer does work.

That is the truth.  But sometimes the reality is not so simple.  Even though prayer is a natural response that God has built into us, sometimes prayer has been a real puzzle to me, and there are lots of facets to it that can make us want to avoid it more than we feel we should.

So why should we pray? If God is God and in charge of everything, why should we bother to ask Him to change His plans for us?  Again it comes back to developing that relationship with God.  Prayer is our way of communicating with Him.  And He wants us to do it. 

1 Timothy 2:1.  I urge you then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving be made for everyone.

What if we don’t know how to pray?  God knows that we sometimes feel like that, and He has the answer.

The Holy Spirit prays through us.  Romans 8:26-28.  He is our Helper, our Teacher, our Guide, our Comforter, our Counsellor.

Sometimes when we pray in church we can be a bit self conscious of needing to sound right and cover all the bases, but prayer is really the Holy Spirit praying through us.  We can just ask the Holy Spirit to help us. 


When we pray we need to expect supernatural intervention.  God is not limited to logic.  Matthew 17:27

This angel is to remind me of the time when four of us went to India.  This was our fourth trip and every trip had been effective and fruitful and we knew that we were to return, but the money for this trip just didn’t come in.  So on the day when we were to leave, once we had paid for our tickets all we had left was $80 between us.  So off we went in great fear and trepidation but believing God had said to trust Him.  When we go to India, we don’t just pay for ourselves, we pay for the hire of the vehicles, usually two, one for us and one for all the guys that come with us, we pay for all the food and give blessings to the churches we go to.  We are considered the rich westerners and we wanted to bless.  Every couple of days we were down at the internet café and ATM looking to see if any of us had any money coming in, and it would and be enough for the next few days. 

Then the day came when there just wasn’t any more left and we didn’t know where it was going to come from. None of us could figure out any avenue for money.  We were staying at a hostel where people who worked in the local steel factory lived.  It was very basic accommodation and every 3 days the man at the reception desk would ring us and say, “You must come and pay for the next three days,” and we would respond, “Oh yes, we’ll come in the morning.” Then we would start praying for money.

On this particular day we were quite desperate crying out to God.  That night I had a dream that was so real.  An angel came and stood beside the bed and he had a clipboard in his hand.  He was very official, marking off his to do list. He said, “the Father knows you have need of these things.”  This great peace came.  The next morning we went to the internet café and there was a message from our church saying that the old generator we had in the shed on sale for years had finally sold and they had deposited $1,000 into our account.  That took care of the rest of the journey. 



Answers to prayer can take a long time or they can be instant.   In my first year of high school I really wanted to go to the social, and Mum said, “I would love you to go, Robyn, but I just don’t have money for the dress.”  And I knew that but I still wanted to go to the dance.  Mum told me to get the Bible and we would see what God said.  I went out and got the big family Bible and I put it down on the ironing board and it fell open and the first thing I looked at was Matthew  6:25-34. “Why do you worry, saying what shall we wear?  Consider the lilies of the valley, they toil not, nor do they spin, yet not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed like one of these, so why do you worry about your clothes?”

Mum and I were amazed.  That very day the postman put a card in the letterbox to say we had a parcel at the post office and I jumped on my bike and treddled down to the post office.  There was a big parcel waiting there for me and I brought it home to Mum who opened it up.  There was this beautiful blue dress, straps over the shoulders, lace underskirt, fitted me perfectly.   

The note that came with the dress said that this lady in England had the dress made for her daughter to wear on the ship as they travelled to Australia, but on the ship the daughter ate too much and got fat and couldn’t fit into the dress.  So when they arrived in Australia this lady enquired if there was anybody who would like this dress, and a friend of Mum’s knew that she had four daughters and sent it to us, and it arrived the very day we prayed, and I went to the social feeling very beautiful. 

That was an instant answer and we all love those, but I have found the majority of answers aren’t instant.


 
This here represents Revelation 5:8 where it talks about in heaven there are golden bowls, full of incense and the incense is the prayers of the saints.   At the end of the age, the angels are going to tip those bowls out.  Now I don’t really understand what this means but I’ve been pondering on it and maybe those prayers are the ones that store up when we’re not getting an answer but we worship and praise and thank and trust God.  It all comes back to our heart to heart relationship, do we trust Him?


Psalm 50:14.  Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High and call upon Me in the day of trouble and I will deliver you, and you will honour Me.

Psalm 50:23.  He who sacrifices thank offerings honours Me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.

1 Thessalonians 5:7-8.  Pray continually.  Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is Gods will for you in Christ Jesus.


Sometimes our prayers take a long, long time to get answered. This is a picture of Elizabeth and Zechariah. When they got married, Elizabeth would have probably been in her mid to late teens and they would have expected that the next stage of the journey was children.  After a little while I imagine, they would have been asking God to send them children.  More years would go by and that prayer would get quite desperate, and perhaps it became a trial.  More and more years went by and Elizabeth would have got to the place of menopause and I guess about then they started to think there was no point praying anymore.  Then she got through menopause and would have been considered an old lady, and they would have given up.  It was then, when they were old, the angel came to Zechariah and said, “Your prayer has been heard, you will have a son.”

I like the tense, your prayer has been heard. No wonder, Zechariah said, “What? I’m old.”  He didn’t respond with faith, and the angel said “Right, you’ll be dumb until this baby is born, because you didn’t believe.”   After all their prayers, their son came, John the Baptist, sometimes we do have to wait a long time.   

This is a question mark because I’ve had prayers that I’ve prayed and believed for in faith and really expected miracles, and they haven’t happened. Again, it comes back to this relationship.  Sometimes we have to be part of the answer.  Paul said he pleaded with God to remove the thorn in his flesh but God said His grace was sufficient for him.

I know I’ve had times when I’ve been angry at God because He hasn’t.  I’ve gotten impatient and disappointed, but it comes back to our relationship. 




Prayer really does need persistence.  When Jesus talked about prayer in Matthew 7:7 He said, “Ask and keep asking, knock and keep knocking, seek and keep seeking.”

The instant answers are wonderful but God wants us to persist because prayer is often warfare.

I was reading Daniel in chapter 9, where he fasted, pleaded and repented and three weeks went by and nothing seemed to be happening but then the angel came and said, “The first day you prayed, your prayer was heard, but I have been battling in the heavenlies with the prince of Persia, and in the end Gabriel had to get the angel Michael to come, and with that reinforcement they were able to get through with the answer.

When we are persisting in prayer, there is warfare happening.  Sometimes our prayers can be declaring the promises, thanksgiving for what God is doing behind the scenes.

Sometimes I believe God is more interested in working in us, than He is in answering our prayer immediately.  The process of waiting and not giving up is an important part of our growth in our relationship with God.  

Luke 18:1 ‘Pray and don’t lose heart.” V.7.  ‘Call to Him night and day’.

Romans 4:18.  Abraham did not waver through unbelief but grew strong in his faith, believing that God had the power to do what He had promised.

Epaphras wrestled in prayer for the church….  Colossians 4:12.

“The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”   James 5:16.

Love is a vital ingredient in empowering our prayers, enabling us to persist, when common sense says we should give up.  Eg David.  “Power in the prayers of a mother”

Jeremiah 24:6 claimed on 4.3.90.  My eyes will watch over them for their good and I will bring them back…..

We have to pray for our children and grandchildren that they will find God’s answers.  I love and frequently use the words that Jesus taught us to pray, ‘Deliver them from evil.  Lead them not into temptation.”  Luke 21:36, 22:40 & 46.  And I was able to tell her that she and her sister would not escape God’s purpose for their lives because I was praying for them both.

We hear so many testimonies of people who came to faith, and always in the background there is someone who prayed for them.  Our praying for people is vital.

 


We need to pray out of  faith, not fear. Matthew 6:6.  “But when you pray, go into your room and when you have shut the door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place, and your Father, who sees in secret will reward you openly.”

I know when David and Lee were first getting their driver’s licences, sometimes it would be late at night and he wasn’t home.  I would be begging God to keep him safe but I’ve learnt to ask myself whether I am praying out of fear or faith. 

A great way to pray is with Scriptures and declare them over situations.

I had an arthritic toe and it was very painful to walk around particularly doing the grocery shopping and I would declare over my toe:  ‘The Sovereign Lord has made my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights.’  2 Sam 22:34

Now it doesn’t trouble me anymore. 

Another way we can pray is with the power of blessing.  To bless someone is to speak God’s purpose and intention into their lives.  Jesus told us to even bless our enemies.   Instead of complaining about a situation we can bless the person causing the trouble to become peaceful if they are angry, joyful if they are sad, etc.

 


This one is about prayer eggs.  I heard a lady talk about how when a hen is broody, it’s sits on eggs that are fertilised, and it just sits there not moving.  It doesn’t take them out and shake them and try and see what is happening because it would kill that chicken.   Sometimes our prayers  need to be like that and we hand them over to God and trust Him with them.

That is a different facet to the Scripture about knock and keep knocking but there are times for both. 

 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything with prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your heats and your minds in Christ Jesus.“  Phil 4:6

Psalm 91:4.  “He will cover you with His feathers and under His wings you will find refuge.”

Psalm 37:7.  Be still in the presence of the Lord and wait for Him to act.

 

Prayers of agreement are powerful.  ‘When two or three are gathered together in my name…..’ Matthew 18:19-20.  

Even when there are only two or three people agreeing together, it can change the world, like when two elderly ladies gathered together to pray diligently for a change in their nation of Wales, and the Welsh revival began.  


In Australia we pray at 12noon the Lord’s Prayer for God’s kingdom to come in our land.  We set our alarms for midday and then wherever we are we pray the Lord’s prayer.  I was thrilled to talk with Lyle Shelton from the Australian Christian Lobby recently who said that there are suddenly many Christian politicians rising up in Australia.   When we all raise up together and start praying it has got to have an effect, and in America sometimes the noon prayer will take over a whole shopping mall as everyone’s alarms go off and people stop to pray. 

Did you know that it is as natural to pray as it is to eat and drink.  We are created to talk with God.  And at times we go through seasons when talking with God is so natural, and just a delight and joy, and we see answers and feel empowered and effective.  

But at other times prayer can seem like an intrusion and a nuisance and we feel guilty that we haven’t spent the time in prayer that we think we should, and at those times prayer can seem like just a burden, and yet the longing for it is still built into us.  

Prayer is not meant to be a burdensome duty.  It is meant to be an ongoing constant talking with a Father who loves us.  Prayer without ceasing.

Tennyson wrote, “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of, therefore let thy prayers rise like a fountain night and day.”

Linking up at:  
 
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Thursday, 4 September 2014

Why It's Not a Waste of Time to Play With Your Children


 
Sometimes all my baby wants is for me to sit down and play with her, and while we often extoll the value of reading aloud to our babies and children, I must admit I can have the tendency to look at those play times as vaguely annoying at best and downright irritating at times. I usually try and escape within 5-10 minutes of pulling all her toys out and hope that she stays amused.

It’s not a waste of time though.  At a young age, it’s helping them discover, shapes, colours, objects and as they grow older, we can help grow character and ideas through play time. 

I loved imagining as a child, especially with little people and role play toys, but I even made up stories using my marble runs, and would build houses for my one hundred marbles out of lego so that they were all lined up and out of the way at night time.  Putting them in a jar was boring. 

Mum would often let us pick out toys to borrow from the toy library which we loved and spent many hours imagining with these toys.  Perhaps it afforded her some peace and quiet when she wasn’t breaking up arguments about who was playing with what. 

My favourites were the Fisher Price, Little Tikes and Duplo house sets, and also the laundry, kitchen and baby change stations.  With the laundry set, I used to set it up like a Laundromat, pretending that my teddies and I were a small struggling family in the 1st world war, my husband had just gone off to war and I’d just had a baby I mean seriously I was still playing with these as a young teenager, and just occasionally I could persuade Mum to come and sit in the room where I was playing and transcribe my little stories.  I still have those pages of blue handwritten notes of stories and one day I’m going to write them into something my baby can read.  

 I hope this helps you to look at your child’s play time differently, especially on those days where they are just begging you to come play too, and you can’t see forest through the trees or the floor through the toys. 

 The picture that I have above is ‘The Railway Station School’ a playtime that I am now developing into a story.  The railway station came from the toy library but I later bought it at one of their sales. 

Linking up at: Thriving Thursdays

Monday, 1 September 2014

The Value of Read Alouds

I found these books at a local op-shop and I was thrilled to see them, like you would be an old friend that you hadn't seen for many years, because that's exactly how I felt about them, and do you know why?
Well, these books were ones that were read-alouds when I was in primary school.  I can't remember which homeschool curriculum they were part of, perhaps LEM, but I do remember them being read aloud to us, and they are certainly ones that I will read to Erin and any future children I have. 
They were faith building, old fashioned and intriguing, and I still remember many, many books that Mum read aloud to us.  In fact most of the history that I actually *remember* is not from the history books, though Mystery of History was a brilliant curriculum and I have kept the timelines that I made whilst using that, but from the many historical fiction books Mum read to us. 
Would you mind homeschooling Mamas if I suggested something to you?
Please read aloud to your children, in the car, at home, around lunch, before bed, whatever, but if you are going to do it in a sit down session like we did (start the morning with Scripture memory, Bible reading, perhaps a game, History reading and then a read aloud on the loungeroom floor) please let your kids do stuff while they listen.  Like fiddle with lego, colour in, illustrate a journal, bead, knit, glue, sew, or even the ironing or folding.  It's so much easier to listen when you're hands are engaged.  Contrary to what you might think it helps keeps the brain engaged on the book.  I'm so glad Mum let us fiddle.  I was still fiddling when I was 16 and these are some of the pages in a journal I illustrated while she read to us:


 
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