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Playing with Bing Bunny- Part 1July 24, 2016

playing with bingplaying with bing

Our little one loves, loves, LOVES Bing Bunny.
Now that may sound odd as Bing is not exported to our part of the world at all, it’s an import we’ve chosen and encouraged him to foster. Like all early obsessions, after watching ad nauseum any parent could be forgiven for shuddering at the title music. So, like the good youth worker I was, I adapted.

Bing Bunny MatchBing Bunny MatchIn the episode ‘Lunchbox’ Bing is seen at Ammar’s creche playing a matching game. The word “match” is echoed again multiple times in the following story line. Matching is a great learning activity and one we’d love to foster in our little Bingster.

As he’s only just starting to to discover matching we began with some pair cards. I made up 8 character cards (Bing Bunny, Flop, Coco, Sula, Charlie, Pando, Arlo the cat and Hoppity Voosh). We played first with just 4 and slowly added in the extra sets over time.

PairsPairsThe game we play varies
1) Mummy holding out the card to be matched.
2) Mummy calling out the name and him finding both cards.
3) All the cards are faced down and matches are found as we turn all of them over.

What we are doing is cementing the concept and word ‘match’. It’s a concept that’s central to much further learning. He loves it. Evident as he proudly runs to show his matching achievements to his daddy on the other side of the room.

We are not quite at the stage to move on yet, but when we do I hope to play the fruit and vegetable game from Bing.

In an effort to be prepared I went on the hunt for graphics. I found these free graphics from vector art box that worked a treat. Unlike the smaller 1/8 of a page pair cards, the fruit ones are a bit chunkier with four on a page, spread over 3 pages. Using the printers poster setting spread the background over 4 pages – luckily it fitted an old picture board we had laying about.

Sharing is caring so feel free to download and use the fruit and vegetable game!. (DOWNLOAD LINK)

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Obviously not sharing the pair cards as I hold no rights to the graphics, but happy to share them privately via e-mail – “Kate ( at ) gfeef . co . uk”, just pop ‘Bing’ in the title.

Appreciate: half a yearJuly 19, 2016

appreciateappreciate

Back in January, prompted by the Velvet Ashes group I chose a word for the year. One word, to continually come back to, to muse over, to mediate on. One word that I would go on to make my backdrop on almost every digital device, would force myself to acknowledge daily before the wind-down of sleep, one word that I hoped would shape me. And the word I chose was appreciate.

Early on it was lovely. Back then I was in the practice of having a weekly desk sheet. This encouraged me to track and thus vary our food intake, to make note of when I’d accomplished what and when appointments would divert our routine. Most of all it forced me to write daily what I’d appreciated. As weeks passed I found this sheet almost entirely devoted to writing out daily positives. After Easter I started skipping written weeks, but still the appreciations flowed. Mostly into prayers of gratitude, sometimes deep prayers that rise up unbidden, others rushed moments of thanks. Rather than scribble out lines I started to read the psalms, resonating with their words of praise, and recognising in their words of anguish a personal faith that had allowed pools of stagnation to form. My faith found itself on a journey, a journey from the crowd to the tent, from the spectator to the friend, from the textbook to the embrace. It was such a short step, but one I had failed to make it for so long.

Now I’m more than half way through my year of appreciate, I recognise I’ve learnt a lot. I’ve not just embraced gratitude over pessimism, which was what I set out to do, but I’ve rediscovered gratitude itself. I’ve discovered how many circumstances have brought me to the place we are, decisions that spans back centuries, years and mere months. I’ve discovered a propensity to leave un-built the true acknowledgement in relationships, and found a earning for a chance to show appreciation. I’ve reconsidered the old promise that ‘God will provide’ or that ‘God can use me to provide’ and seen that far too often we pass the thanks only upwards and not also around. I’ve found appreciation boundless, limitless, curling back through memories and showing already open doors for the future. It’s the art of treasuring, the point of recognition, the mild mannered admiration… in it’s truest form it’s a gentle prompt to show love.

Today, know you are appreciated. You are appreciated for reading my words, put out into the ether, appreciated because you have contributed to this world, you have spun the plates and dared to keep them balanced, appreciated because you are a child of the divine (even if you don’t acknowledge there is one) and your place in this grand tapestry of life can only be played out by you.

If I never get to say it in person, Thank you.

SamaritanJune 5, 2016

samaritansamaritan

The rain arrived in a flurry, huge heavy drops that hid the impending thunder and lightening. We were at Baba’s, within spitting distance of the city but with a 5 minute walk to the bus stop along a footpath-less main road. Swiftly we bundled our belongings and dashed along the track to the road. Umbrellas were more danger than help. Hurrying along, bags knocking, my raindrop smeared glasses showed the already soaked hair of my son as his father carried him a few meters ahead.

We dashed as fast as we were able until a car stopped on the other side of the road and beckoned us come. Puzzled we tried to explain we were walking back to the bus stop, we wanted to go the other way into the city. What we did not realise is that the car had already passed us, turned to collect us, and was now going our way. We knew nothing of the man behind the wheel, he knew nothing more than what he saw, a couple with a young child. I wondered if our damp bodies would mark his clean seats, but the course had been committed to. Not only did he take us the journey, but further, as far as the end of our road, half a minute from our door. It wasn’t until later the significance of this stranger hit me.

When I look back over my twenties I see years of drama, but when I look over my thirties there is a much more mundane air. It’s not that drama doesn’t arrive, only the other weekend we had a misunderstanding that resulted in someone threatening to burn our house to the ground – but that drama is not nurtured, dissected and pondered, it’s come and gone and life returns to it’s usual heartbeat. Our life is not storms and tempest, but swells and squall. Our needs and shortfalls have not been quenched, but out faith in the future’s provision has been solidified. This road less rocky is only found after going over the crags, it’s born of moments of helplessness when divine arms have carried so firmly, it breaths the reassurance of grace abundant and second chances unending.

As a new missionary Samaritan moments are common, we flail and fumble our way through a culture, needing God to provide crutches along the way. We risk doing something dangerously dumb (getting into a strangers car – with a baby + no car seat) because we trust that this ‘seat of our pants’ plan is the way into something more stable. And when we get to something more stable we cut out our risks. We gain our independence, we ponder less and lean into our routines. The Samaritans don’t disappear though, the crutches stand unused, the opportunities to experience grace are wandered past as we look the other way. At worst we can become the Levite, so busy helping God’s people with their work we no longer see the immediate prompting of grace to give as our issues to own.

As another week of routine starts I pray that I’ll be able to see the Samaritans and rise when the title is mine to take. For Jesus said, “Go and do the same.”
(Luke 10:25-37)