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Vertical sacrificeSeptember 30, 2016


If we had to list all the things we’ve given up, all the things we’ve laid down, those we’ve been forced into and those that we’ve known our choices would encounter… how long a list we’d have. They come with the territory of life and are very clearly linked with the whole idea of mission. They would cause quite a pile at the foot of the cross, things we’ve loved and valued, dreams we’ve held, comforts we’ve forsaken.

“Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” Matt 9:13

It can seem like the whole world is based on a sacrificial system, you give up one thing to gain another, sacrifice is honoured and outright glorified. This titbit of Jesus’s teaching then seems an odd choice, isn’t scripture full of references about sacrifice, instructions for it and rewards it will merit. Yet here Jesus seems to be actively working against the grain. That ‘I want‘ is also translated as ‘I desire‘ or ‘I require‘ or ‘I will have‘, this is no throwaway statement but a deep yearning of our savour. Debbie Blue’s book (Consider the Birds) goes so far as to suggest that perhaps there’s something distorted and destructive, in the rhetoric of sacrifice and I’m starting to agree.

Because sacrifice is such a vertical thing. We give things UP and lay things DOWN, buying righteousness and fake graces to store as our heavenly treasures by denying ourselves now. God is not the cashier of our souls, perched behind some great till like machine ticking off all we have given up and converting it into excess rooms in our heavenly home where only the most oppressed get swimming pools and walk in closets. Mercy is not vertical it’s horizontal, it’s inward and outward, just like grace it flows and infects and spreads wildly. Jesus stepped down to show us that the vertical view is flawed, that serving our neighbours and being drenched in grace together was more valuable. That our sacrifices are things we don’t offer on an alter but willingly lay aside, abandon to be less encumbered, free our hands of so we can better grip the hands of those we walk with.

“God wants to give us our hearts desire-
  God just needs to work on our hearts a little.”

Debbie Blue – Consider the Birds

In the midst of loss and adjustment it’s easy to count the sacrifices loudly, to burn out trying to justify the pain and heartache and sheer cost our choices have lead us to. But that’s looking inward, not at the mercy we’ve received but the cost we’ve paid. When we adjust our gaze to see that which we have received the loss is instantly dwarfed by grace abundant. Perhaps if we can shift our language from ‘giving up’ or ‘laying down’ to ‘placing aside’, shifting our focus from the loss to the need it’s absence helps fulfil. Loss and sacrifice is part of the system, it’s not going to disappear or cease to sting, but our perspective on it can change, and if we can shift our thinking then we can, as the book of James puts it “consider it all joy” even in the midst of struggling with it!

Linking with velvet ashes for this post on their weekly theme this week of Sacrifice.

Tot-school | Week 1 | Letter A & RedSeptember 25, 2016


This week we started totschool
…and we are loving it!

With Adam’s name beginning with the first letter of the Alphabet we just had to start with the letter A, and teamed it up with the classic apple image and red colour.

Overall we really had a great first week with Adam really taking to the table work and engaging for a decent time most days plus requesting more later in the day. White board markers and the ‘colouring’ was the most requested activity while button placement was probably the one that gripped his attention the most. Making the tactile felt letters was probably my favourite alongside the peg letters, both turned out so bright and inviting.

Originally the term meant structured play with a parent introducing simple educational concepts such as shapes, patterns, letters and vocabulary. For us totschool is table work centred on a single letter and accompanying concept each week. The structured play part comes into most of our play anyway.

In many ways yes and yet no. This is an informal introduction of concepts to make them familiar, if he doesn’t take it in that’s just fine by us. We are also limiting new things to just one or two a day so I suspect the activities will become more varied as the weeks go on.

No. The things we use are freely available online. We’ve bought a pack from a totschool resource site, but mostly to support them. There is no schedule or curriculum as such.

2 or 3 times a week we would get out the ‘teach my toddler’ blue box. It was flashcard based and just didn’t suit us very well.. Now summer travels have ended it’s a good time to introduce new routines. (For other mummies reference Adam hits 23 months this week)

Totschool happens at the big table. Sometimes Adam climbs up to see in the mornings but new activities come after his sleep / quiet time. We carry on for as long as he’s interested and often come back to the activities again later in the day at his request. Presently we plan on doing totschool each weekday.

Week 1 : Letter – A + Concept – Red

(UC – upper case, LC – lower case)

T1 MondayT1 MondayMonday (control skill : white board markers)
Today we kicked off. Adam loved the whiteboard markers and while he identified the objects and letter there was no control to his drawing. We did, however, manage to link one of the the capital and lowercase horizontal lines. We put a real apple on the table to talk about too.
a) Connect apples to form the letter – UC + LC
b) Letter plus image – UC + LC
c) Linking images, horizontal lines.
d) object discussion, apple

Tuesday (control skill : buttons)
Adam was straight for the pens to do ‘colouring’ though he wanted the blank sides of laminate. We found lots of red buttons and tried using the do-a-dot pages to put them on the letter and apple. The buttons were a big hit, especially the one green one for the leaf.
e) General colouring
f) Button placement – – UC + LC plus image
repeat c
T1 TuesdayT1 Tuesday

T1 WednesdayT1 WednesdayWednesday (control skill : paint)
Trying to be more tactile today so we played with our threading apple toy and matched colours on our peg letter ‘a’ paint pallet (not able to open pegs yet), Mummy had even sewn Adam a felt letter a to play with. The best activity was pulling out the paint dabbers, even if Mummy accidentally picked up orange before red!
g) threading
h) pegging letters
i) dot painting – LC plus image
j) felt letters
repeat e + f

Thursday (control skill : image recognition)
Working from the phonics card there were three pictures made into 2 piece puzzles all with things starting with an ‘a’. After Adam requested the buttons, so we introduced a new image of a tree and counted the button apples as they went on.
k) 2 piece puzzles for the letter a
l) button placement tree image (pictured above)
repeat e, h, i and j.
T1 ThursdayT1 Thursday

T1 FridayT1 FridayFriday (control skill : sequencing)
Friday everything fell apart. We started too early and the rhythm of the house was out. Today was less about ‘A’ while we worked on the colour red. The new tasks were about sequencing, but Adam confused it with matching, I think it was just a bit ambitious so we abandoned it. We just let him play with whatever materials from the week he requested and he did return to the table briefly later. The camera also broke so no action shots but here are all the materials we used this week.
m) 123, eating an apple
n) Red and green apple shapes
o) Velcro dot sticks

Next week: We’ve decided to follow the alphabet the first time through so we’ll be playing with bouncing balls and blue balloons!

Linking up with 1+1+1=1 : Lets begin ~ Letter A {23 mos.}

The summer projectSeptember 23, 2016


I have a pinterest board of quiet books. They always look so inviting as sewing projects.
This summer I tried to do my first quiet book specifically designed for my brothers wedding.

I wanted to make a book suitable for Adam’s experience of the event.
I chose to start with a pattern for the airport. Next came the special clothes, the brides bouquet, things to spot during the day, and lastly the bride and groom together.

I deviated and modified the patterns from the get go, finding them beautiful but much too time consuming for my deadline. T-shirt transfer paper saved me a lot of time on the match game. I bound the book in a complete rush without finding any bias binding and making do with ribbon and a blanket stitch. I had hoped for a more professional finish but fell in love with it’s hand-made-ness!

If I try again I’d do single not double pages and be a bit more determined to only use non-fray materials. Perhaps a bible one though patterns are surprisingly thin on the ground beyond Noah… I’d also continue to avoid the patterns that contain a whole wealth of mini loose pieces that will easily get lost.

Links to the inspirations / patterns below.


Patterns and inspirations:
Airport (didn’t use helicopter but followed otherwise)

Wedding clothes (very modified, furniture not included)

Memory game (inspiration only)