Living by the faithfulness of God

For a year now I’ve been working, and the salary from this, together with various other sources of income usually ensures we survive from month to month.  But for 6 years I didn’t have a full time job, while I studied first for a masters and then for a PhD.  When I started the PhD we had enough money for two years, but no idea how three was going to work.  Somehow it did, sometimes by grants for the studies, sometimes by one off donations from friends or family (often we knew that this meant someone else had been generous to them, and we were enjoying the cascading effects of generosity), and sometimes from completely anonymous people.  I vividly remember the time when, after spending £90 on an unexpected car bill, an envelope containing a similar sum appeared in our letterbox.  Sometimes people would say to me: “you must have lots of faith” or talk about how we were “living by faith”.  I know what they mean, but I doubt it is true.  If we lived my faith we’d be a pretty hopeless state.  Whenever our bank balance slides low my faith slides with it.  My worry levels shoot up.  I struggle to see how God will do it this time.  I don’t think we lived by my faith.  We lived and we live by God’s faithfulness.

It is this faithfulness that is the heart of the bible story I read to number 2 tonight.  I’ve loved it ever since I translated it in Hebrew class in my second year at Regent and it vividly hit me: the God I am writing about is the God who lives today.  I know this God – and this God knows me.  Here is the story – from 1 Kings 17:

8 Then the word of the Lord came to him, 9 “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you.” 10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.” 11 And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” 12 And she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. And now I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die.” 13 And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son. 14 For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.’” 15 And she went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days. 16 The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah.

There are a couple of things about this story that stick out.  Firstly, it is a change for Elijah – he has been by a brook, fed by ravens, but that has dried up.  So now God sends him to a widow outside Israel, to a widow who lives close to enemy territory, close to where Jezebel comes from.  God has commanded a widow to feed Elijah, but for the widow Elijah’s request is not easy.  She is preparing the last meal for her, and her son, and after that, she says “we will die”.

Then Elijah speaks: “Do not fear” – the widow has spoken out of fear of death and out of her despair – she knows no other possibility.  But Elijah knows.  Her flour and oil supplies will not run out until the Lord sends rain on the earth.  Until the economy gets moving again her supplies will provide all she needs.  But first she must obey the word of the Lord and feed Elijah.  If she holds on to the fear she will die.  If she trusts the word of God through Elijah she will live.

I remember that speaking vividly to me.  God provides – but one step at a time.  Our part is to listen to his word and do what he says.  We can trust that God will provide all we need – even if it looks like we’ve just spent the last oil we have.  We don’t just have Elijah’s word for it.  We have Jesus’ word for it.  Seek first his kingdom – and everything else will be added to you.  The word of the Lord can be trusted.   God is faithful to his word and his promise.

Life is still hard, and things happen that don’t make sense – read the next story in 1 Kings. But God remains faithful and the word he speaks remains true.  Where do your jars look empty?  Where is it that you cannot believe God will supply what you need?  It may not be money. It might be hopes and dreams for a relationship, or a career that fulfils.  But whatever the thing is that right now will cost you all your fears and hopes for the future can be poured out, and given to his service.  He can be trusted.

The next step may not be what you want.  It may not be your dream life or career.  But it will be a step taken with a God who is good and a God who is faithful.  A God who is true.  A God who is kind.  A God who loves you more than you can dream.  A God whose design for you is that you live out the life you were designed to live by your creator – a life that will at times be hard and full of tears – and yet a life that, in the long run, will be the best for us  and for this broken hurting world. Paul’s prayer in 1 Thessalonians holds true:

23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.


Who can sound the depths of sorrow?

I can’t quite remember a time when politics has depressed me quite so much.  Today I found myself searching for these words of lament over the state of our nation – 30 years old, but still ringing true today:

Who can sound the depths of sorrow
In the Father heart of God
For the children we’ve rejected
For the lives so deeply scarred?
And each light that we’ve extinguished
Has brought darkness to our land
Upon our nation, upon our nation
Have mercy, Lord

We have scorned the truth you gave us
We have bowed to other lords
We have sacrificed the children
On the altars of our gods
O let truth again shine on us
Let your holy fear descend
Upon our nation, upon our nation
Have mercy, Lord

(Men only)
Who can stand before your anger?
Who can face your piercing eyes?
For you love the weak and helpless
And you hear the victims’ cries
Yes, you are a God of justice
And your judgement surely comes
Upon our nation, upon our nation
Have mercy, Lord

(Women only)
Who will stand against the violence?
Who will comfort those who mourn?
In an age of cruel rejection
Who will build for love a home?
Come and shake us into action
Come and melt our hearts of stone
Upon your people, upon your people
Have mercy, Lord

Who can sound the depths of mercy
In the Father heart of God?
For there is a Man of sorrows
Who for sinners shed his blood
He can heal the wounds of nations
He can wash the guilty clean
Because of Jesus, because of Jesus
Have mercy, Lord

Graham Kendrick

I thought of this weeks headlines.  In Britain the contribution of foreigners is being denigrated by our ruling political party (somewhat ironically in the name of attacking ruling elites, but we’ll leave that irony for another day).  Our business secretary wants businesses to have to disclose the number of foreigners they have working for them.  Apparently foreign experts are not welcome to advise the government on the implications of Brexit. There seems to a knee jerk nationalism creeping onto the Conservative platform in a way it hasn’t really shown itself before.  Yes, they’ve always claimed the patriotic mantle – but not usually directly attacking the contribution made by non-british born.  That leaves me sad, and not a little fearful of the direction of travel.  It’s made worse by the fact that the main opposition party is tearing itself apart, so it is left to the remainder of the Liberals to point out what is at stake.

And then I woke up this morning to the latest from the USA.  Words fail me.  This is such a wrong attitude to women – and his actions and words since give little grounds for believing his attitude to women has changed much.  This is why the song is in my head.  It was originally penned about abortion, but it applies to anything that treats people as less than what they are – people made in God’s image – loved by him.

It applies we imagine that the foreigner is automatically under suspicion, simply because of race.  It applies when we think we can treat women as objects to be used and thrown away.  It applies when think that people holding this attitude should hold power over us and that we should value such traits.

This isn’t the place for an in-depth analysis of how we have got to such a place.  But I wonder at the Christian response.  This is where I think the song is especially important and powerful.  We are to come back to the Father heart of God for his creation.  We are to see people as he sees them. If we are Christians we are Christians first and British, US, Irish, Canadian or whatever second.  Christians obey the state (Romans 13) yet profoundly threaten it because they refuse to worship it (Revelation 13).

We are strangers and exiles.  Exiles.  People in a foreign land.  The world is our home – because it is made and will be redeemed by God – and yet the world is not our home, because it is in rebellion against its creator – and yet it is this world in all its badness that is loved by God.  It is loved by God so much that he comes as the man of sorrows who for sinners shed his blood.  He doesn’t come as a bully threatening and boosting his image. He comes as a baby, grows to be a man and dies on a cross – and it is in this death, even death on a cross that he displays his greatest glory.  We are to lament the state of our world, and see God’s heart for his creation in the midst of it all.

So as Christians how do we respond when politics turns so ugly?

First – I think we repent of our part in these attitudes.  When have we been suspicious of difference?  When have we treated women, or men, as less than human, in thought, word or deed?  We search our hearts and repent.

Second we repent of putting our hope in princes – and not in the Prince of Peace.  For those times when we have thought that getting the laws right, or the judges right, or the right person in office would solve things, or advance God’s kingdom.

Third we recognise there are no perfect choices.  Standing in the ballot box we vote for who we can in good conscience support.  We take into account all the different options, and when we shudder at the different possible results we trust God that he is sovereign over the kingdoms of men.

Then we recognise that sometimes the result will look like defeat for truth and righteousness.  Sometimes Nebuchadnezzar will carry off the temple vessels to Babylon.  Sometimes elections mean that a Hitler comes to power.  If that happens we remember our calling.  We remember we are called to be faithful and obedient in our daily choices.  To live lives of justice and mercy one choice at a time.

There are no political parties or philosophies of government here and now that will bring God’s kingdom.  We signpost people to God’s kingdom one choice at a time, looking forward to the day when God will establish his reign of truth and justice.  Until that day we look to do the good we can, in whatever way we can.

Sometimes that means Christians influencing public policy and being involved in government.  Sometimes the doors to that path are shut.  And then we need to shine out all the brighter in a dark world.  It may just be that in the west that politics is about to turn really nasty – after a decade of economic depression that wouldn’t exactly be a surprise (can’t help remember European history in the 1930s here…).  It may be that freedoms we have taken as our rights are about to be taken away – probably always for the best of reasons, and with the most plausible sounding arguments.   If that dark turn happens then we keep trusting.  Keeping obeying God once choice at a time and see what he does.

And if things don’t turn out that badly.  If there is still a door open to hear the Christian perspective then it is still about right decisions one step at a time.  Each of us seeking to obey God’s call on our life – in whichever situation we are placed, to use whatever influence we can to show God’s ways and encourage justice and mercy in public life. We remember the example of biblical characters like Daniel who spoke truth to power (see Daniel 4-5 especially). We must always repent of the triumphalism that says we spread Christianity by the state, whether by violent means or by the ballot box.  Micah 6:8 is always the call:

He has told you O man what is good – and what does the LORD require of you, but that you act justly, and that you love mercy and that you walk humbly with your God.

Do not despair when politics turns dark.  Pray for Christians in places of power and influence.  Influence where you can.  Participate in politics.  But know that our hope is not in politics.  Our hope is in the King.  He is coming.  And until the day when our faith will be sight we are called to walk now in the dark places of the world showing his reign in lives of just action, merciful love and humble walking with our God.

on saying hello

This is not a researched piece, and I realise that there is generalisations as there are those within the faith community who are fully engaging in these areas but I suspect that for many of us who are by all appearances functioning just fine regardless of the mad kicking of legs under the water to stay afloat are not aware of those organisations. Maybe because like myself there is a sense of not wanting to have to ask for help because we know how thin any support/resources are already stretched and we tell ourselves we can manage if we just worked a bit harder on sorting out our lives ourselves in one area or another. But in my heart of hearts what I read in my Bible and allow God to whisper is something that I so seldom see within churches and I know others are asking the same question of disparity.

I have been genuinely challenged by the number of friends who have shared since I my previous post addressing anxiety. More rather than less have said that I have echoed their own struggles and thoughts. And just tonight the first news headline I heard was that young women are the highest risk for mental health problems. While I don’t fit that age category and my friends are spread across the age spectrum, the reality on the ground is that women in all walks of life and ages are wrestling significantly. I am not a researcher, what I share here is by way of anecdotes, of simply being a friend and sharing conversations. I cannot back everything up with facts and figures and to be honest I don’t want to, though I am sure I could do so if I took the time.

What has struck me though in sharing is that while being vulnerable can be hard and unsettling I have actually felt a deep sense of calm and no anxiety in sharing that post which was the very opposite of what I had anticipated I would feel. I did not feel vulnerable afterwards. I felt a weight lifted off me that I no longer had to pretend to be someone else.

And because of my faith my biggest questions come back to what is the church doing in light of such headlines that young women are at the highest risk of mental health? Is the church engaging with mental health practitioners? Is the church a safe place? Mental health is not just an issue for women, anyone can wrestle with it. And the reality is too many times over the church is not a safe place for many different reasons but this seems such a juxtaposition. If we truly believe that the gospel is good news, that Jesus who at the well with the Samaritan woman, offered her living water and at others times speaks of rest and a yoke that is light then why is the church not a safe place and why are we not engaging in the care of those wrestling with mental health issues and why are we seeing so many, including those who have faith, battle?

What are we doing to engage with the culture around us that is pushing us all to the point of breaking our mental health? As I heard recently the answer to the question ‘how are you?’ is no longer the ambivalant ‘fine’ but ‘busy’. We all need to be seen to be busy, to be stretched to the hilt. Everything needs to be done to the edge of breaking point. And it is no different inside the church it seems to me these days. When someone has time someone else can quickly fill it. Just this past week one mum said that as she grieved that season in life when none of her children were home full time as the youngest had started school she already had people wanting to know if she could fill that time now from 9-3 with extra activities and work. There is no space to breath, to stop, to reflect. We simply have to be busy and doing. Yes there are many good things to do within the life of the church but that does not mean God is calling us to do every one of them.

The church needs to not be afraid of mental health, of emotions, of mess, of medication, of therapy, of the gospel, of the power of the Holy Spirit. The church needs to get back to preaching the gospel of life giving water and extending it in overflowing jugs to those who come parched and weary and broken. With no time limits, no limit on the number of jugs a person can drink from. With no expectations of getting a new volunteer for the Sunday school or tea rota in return.  We need simply to hand out jugs of living water and sit awhile with our friends and invite others to join us.



Saying hello to myself

A year ago a pediatrician wrote me off as an over-anxious mum and that any issue my child had was most likely down to me. This hurt. Deep down though I feared that for the first time someone saw inside the mess I was hiding and dared name it. He may well not have done it in the best way or given me any helping hand to step forward but he had named that which I feared about myself. I was not the competent adult I so desperately wanted to be and feel I had to be on so many fronts. Our son did have symptoms that were not my doing and that was later recognised by another pediatrician but the first one did speak a kernel of truth.

Inwardly for the past year I have wrestled with God and myself with this truth. I could not ignore it even when others told me not to listen to the pediatrician. This morning a friend shared a link to high functioning anxiety and I sat there reading it as though I was reading a description of myself for the first time.

Various friends have mentioned their struggles with it over the year and I have cheered them from the sidelines for having the courage I wanted but lacked to say ‘that’s me too’. I have watched from the sidelines as friends have taken action to handle their anxiety, stress, anger and felt another part of me break inside as I watched them step out from chains which I knew were holding me tight. What I am coming to realise is that this is far more normal than the being together that we all try and present to the world around us. This needs a far wider conversation and the church needs to look at how we respond and teach on such passages that speak of life and worry in ways that do not imprison people but allow them to come to the well and receive living water.


A friend and I went to a Care for the Family event, it was a last-minute decision to go, something I do not normally do but went and God whispered to my soul all evening. Afterwards in a moment of courage I did make contact with a counsellor but for various reasons it is has not worked out to meet up. So part of me says it will be fine I have done it once I can do it again, part of me says see you cannot even sort yourself out, how can you even think of going into ministry? Then my head spins because ministry is the very thing my heart longs to be doing, seeing people living life as Jesus calls us to, but my spinning head sees me as failing utterly to do so myself, therefore being ruled out of such a role.  The timing of all this sucks from where I am sitting because we are one of 2 candidates being considered for a post that we would love.

I have put it down to tiredness, 7 1/2 years into this parenting life and sleep has not been something that we have been blessed with for various significant and typical reasons. I have put it down to perimenapausal reasons. I have put it down to not having roots somewhere and a lack of sense of belonging as we have journeyed down the road of graduate studies and wondered where all this is leading if anywhere as God has not shown any open doors. I have put it down to not enough exercise, not a healthy enough diet. And I have tried to fix all of those parts of my life thinking that once those circumstances are sorted it I will come through and find myself calm and steady and doing just fine and able to prove the doctor that he was wrong.  I have prayed, I have journalled, I have tried to take hold of what the Bible has said literally and felt utterly rubbish on this journey of faith. I was 9 or 10 when I read the words about not worrying and realising I did the very opposite and so I must be rubbish and the lie has stayed with me ever since. Not a great way of living for someone who is longing to believe that the Bible is actually life-giving and inside of me I felt anything but life. I came to faith in a church that had little faith and no one to come along side me so I did what I could and took the Bible in its black and white print and saw only failing and yet a voice kept whispering ‘there is so much more to it than this’ so I have kept putting one foot awkwardly in front of the other doing what I thought I should be doing if I was to fulfil the role so many often called me into – a leader, outgoing, confident. I threw myself into outdoor bound weekends dying inside with fear as I went over cliff edges, as I scrambled up rock faces, capsized in the harbour and canoed.  I stepped up and led and helped and sought to please and do the right thing. And inside I dreaded every step I took, every word I uttered because I was going to fail. And on the rare occasion I dared to step out and take a risk it went horribly wrong in my eyes that it only confounded the sense of fear even more and I shut myself away and lived the life I thought people thought I should be living.

I might well be a leader, I might have actually enjoyed abseling and climbing if I had let myself name the fear and take it on, instead I shut down and gritted my teeth and did what  I talked myself into believing I should do and had convinced others I enjoyed to hide the fear.

I long to go out without calculating every step, every moment. I long to just enjoy life. I don’t want to work out where the escape routes are, the toilets are, the time when we can legitimately leave an event without seeming rude or antisocial. Driving would be useful, and I had lots of ethical/exercise reasons I can name not to drive but the truth is I fear that I will have an accident and destroy someone else’s life so it is better not to drive. I don’t want to look back and say to those who encouraged me that I need to drive ‘told you so’ when I end up in prison for dangerous driving and hurting someone else.

I long to parent without panicking over every response, action, symptom, mood swing I am presented with in myself in our children. I want to breathe so my children can breathe too. Parenting in this place is hard when you are also parenting children who have high sensitivity reactions to various stimuli and I have to be proactive at times to be one or two steps ahead of situations to ensure they can get through events, the next hour and so on. And when one child in particular feeds off your anxiety and the two of you go spinning round and round in circles. While parenting can often bring out parts of our character we have not considered or had to give much heed to before hand I really wish I had said to my younger self for both the sake of my husband, our marriage and our children, “go and get come counselling not because there is a crisis happening but to get myself to a healthy place for what lies ahead.”

Religion does not hold the answers for me, the Bible in black and white print does not hold the answer for me. Faith in Christ does though give me the courage to seek help, His word does speak truths that I cannot speak myself yet. He came for the sick, He came to redeem us in fullness and wholeness. Faith in Christ gives me a relationship which while I often don’t get, frustrates me when His response was not the one I had planned, takes me on paths I would rather not walk but gives me life in a way I cannot give myself. And it is that life I want to live. One that is genuine inside and out, that gives life to those around me. One that can say ‘it is well with my soul’.


God’s disorientating ways…

I’ve just started reading Ezekiel, and so I thought I’d put a great quote from Chris Wright’s excellent BST (Bible Speaks Today) up about God’s disorientating ways.  I love the way in which in the introduction to the commentary Chris Wright uses imagination rooted in the text to help us picture Ezekiel’s situation.  If you want to go a bit deeper in your own study of the Bible, but aren’t sure where to start then the BST series by IVP is a good place to start, and Chris Wright’s volume on Ezekiel is a great help to getting a handle on where such a large book is going and what it is saying.

In his introduction he points out that as the son of a priest Ezekiel would most likely have expected to be a priest in turn when he reached 30.  Instead Ezekiel is in exile, with the first group of exiles, in Babylon, hundreds of miles away from the temple he should be serving in.  Chris Wright goes on to explain why it would not necessarily have been much consolation for Ezekiel to become a prophet.

As a priest Ezekiel would have a high view of the temple as the central place of interaction between God and people, the place where God lived and where people could have access to God’s eternal home.  It was a place of order, ritual and sacrifice, through which the regularity of God’s relationship with his people and world could be known and seen.   Prophets like Jeremiah called all that into question.  Looking back with the privilege of seeing the whole story we can see how Jeremiah’s message fitted into all that was going on – but at the time it would have been deeply shocking (indeed priests were among those who tried to have him killed) to the establishment.  So Chris Wright writes:

So while we can value all the positive contributions that Ezekiel’s education and training as a priest brought to his prophetic ministry, we must also appreciate the immense personal, professional and theological shock it must have been to him when, in his thirtieth year, the year he ought to have entered on his ordained priestly career, God broke into his life, wrecked all such career prospects, and constrained him into a role he may himself have viewed with considerable suspicion – the lonely, friendless, unpopular role of being a prophet, the mouthpiece of Yahweh.  No wonder the anger and bitter rage to which he honestly confessed disorientated and overwhelmed him for a full week (3:14-15).  God would use all that he had built into Ezekiel’s life during his years of preparation, but he would use it in radically different ways from anything Ezekiel had ever imagined.  Such is sometimes the way of God with those whom he calls to his service.

Worship, Community and the Triune God of Grace

That is the title of a book by James Torrance.  I’ve heard the name Torrance a lot, and seen the various different Torrance’s quoted a fair number of times – but never actually read anything directly by them.  So I picked up the above book, and I think I’m going to enjoy it.  Something I used to do a fair bit was to write down quotes that impressed me from my reading, and in the absence of any time to write down my own thoughts (its harder to write them while ‘ignoring’ a restless child who really should be asleep by now), I thought this would be a good place to put the quote that impressed me early in the book regarding the work that Jesus came to do:

“Does God leave all nature to be subject to vanity and futility – to be ruthlessly exploited and abused – and forget he has made using his image for a life of communion and shared stewardship.

The good news is that God comes to us in Jesus to stand in for us, and bring to fulfilment his purposes of worship and communion.  Jesus comes to be the priest of creation to do for us, men and women, what we failed to do, to offer the Father the worship and the praise we failed to offer, to glorify God by a life of perfect love and obedience, to be the one true servant of the Lord.  In him and through him we are renewed by the Spirit in the image of God and in the worship of God in a life of shared communion.

Jesus comes as our brother to be our great high priest, to carry on his loving heart the joys, the sorrows, the prayers, the conflicts of all he creatures, to reconcile all things to God and to intercede for all nations as our eternal mediator and advocate.  He comes to stand in for us in the presence of the Father, when in our failure and bewilderment we do not know how to pray as we ought to, or forget to pray all together.  By his Spirit he helps us in our infirmities.” (James Torrance – Worship Community and the Triune God of grace)


Reflections on our home learning journey 44&45/2

(ps – I know ps’ normally come at the end but having just read through this and my last post it seems that my reflections are very similar, but that encourages me that so I am keeping this post in)

Hard to believe another year is now under our belt and 3 weeks of holidays lie stretched out ahead of us between the end of this year and the next. We have now completed 3 years of intentional learning with Bob and now Zog is of age to join in at this level, not that younger siblings are ever excluded and I am sure he will find many lessons familiar as he has joined in and the same is true of Kanga. This evening we will celebrate with pizza and ice-cream and present them with a new book each. Bob is getting an atlas of historical events, Zog a book on anmial habitats with reusable stickers that include a proper African Buffalo and Kanga who loves nature and walks in the woods is getting the complete Brambley Hedge collection – high time she had a few story books that were her own.

Bob having started the year reading confidently has increased that ability and now confidently reads novels and loves to read ahead with bedtime stories. His writing while still needing significant work is coming on and when he is inclined can do a  really good job, it is a matter more of building up the inclination in the first place. One area I have been encouraged in is his maths. Often during lessons it can really feel like we are banging our heads mutually against a brick wall but he loves to go to bed doing maths and has loved the Life of Fred books we have just started. Somehow in the midst of the frustrations of actual lesson time, math concepts are sinking in. There is still lots of just offering up endless numbers for answers in the hope that he will at some point say the right one. I would love to get to the bottom of that issue over the course of the next year and help him slow down and actually think through the possibilities of the answers he offers to see if they really could be the answers. He continues to love history and science and devours books on those topics at a greater rate than I could ever consider to cover. He is going to bed these past few nights with the periodic table in anticpation of chemistry lessons this next year.

Zog is a different child to where he was a year ago. Reflux is improved significantly since we switched his diet and use spelt rather than wheat. This has also improved his sleep which has been good. Also a year without tonsilitis pulling him down has seen him make good strides forward. As for his speech he has come on in leaps and bounds and this has built up his confidence in talking with others and sharing his passions with others. He is really coming into his own. His loves are Buffalos, animals in general, colour and geography. Maps and painting hold his attention for hours on end. He has very different fine motor abilities to Bob and has taught himself to write and is never without pen and paper. The house has stacks of paper with his art work and writing all over the place. He has also started to learn to read having decided himself it was high time he caught up with Bob.

Kanga is soaking the whole world up, hero worships Bob and loves nothing more than getting into mischief with Zog. Just this week a new hair style was in fashion for her thanks to the pair of them. She sees no distinction between their and her abilities and frustration quickly mounts when reality kicks in in regard to what she and they are able to do. Her sense of awareness of others and common sense and practicalites though do put her way ahead of her brothers on that score. Even the other evening when she offered to set the table, in my head I assumed the cutlery of any quantity and form would simply be stacked/strewn across the table, and she had in fact set 5 places properly with knives and folks. She may feel she has alot to learn from her brothers to keep up with them, there is also plenty they have yet to learn from her.

Last week we had alot of fun taking part in a free online art class and the children are all keen for the next one in July 2017. Each day we had a 10 minute video to watch and then had a project to do. There was a FB group where people posted their photos and it was fun to see what others had done and to know that people all around the world were taking part in it. This week has been very gentle, finishing up maths and grammar with plenty of reading, lego and gardening.

Character is an area I felt this year did not get the attention it needed from us. Tiredness, in the moment reactions and letting things go took over in that area. I really do want to be more intentional and thought through on character this coming year. There are many good seeds and much for which we can be thankful for in the character of our children but there are, as with ourselves, weaknesses and traits that need pruning or training and I would like to ensure we give time to that as well as academics.

The coming year holds many new challenges as Zog will be entering into more strucutred learning as well and working out how to keep them both going while also ensuring Kanga is occupied. It will require a step up from Bob in levels of independent work as some of my time will need to be given to teaching Zog. This will stretch him with his writing as I will not always be able to write for him. Our days are going to be longer and fuller and so in areas such as meals and general house blessings I will need to be more creative with my time and organised. This year will also mean a move at some point, be it for a job, another temporary job and knowing that is ahead but not defined is hard.