Sunday, 31 December 2017

A Way to See in the Dark

Happy New Year!

We don't know what this year (or the rest of our lives) will hold. This song is helpful - for both the big and little things.

Monday, 25 December 2017


Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people:
Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord.
Luke 2v10-11

Thursday, 21 December 2017

More tidying :-)

Actually did the bookcase a few weeks ago, but didn't post it.

Before (couldn't open the door any further)
There is a sort of categorisation underneath this...

Was interested to discover I have a shelf & a half of Christian fiction!

The main problem with this is that it's full - and of course I will add more. But I do have other shelf space. And there are a few books I put back that I may well not keep

You know your room needed tidied when you couldn't find a bag this size for 6 months...

Still needs more, but getting there...

Sunday, 17 December 2017


Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.
Hebrews 2v11
Jesus knows what we're like even better than we do. And yet...

Saturday, 16 December 2017


Sunday School party today. I got to join the big kids' party this year :-) (because I'm teaching an older class)

No Hokey Cokey or musical islands, but we had:
  • A Malteser & spoon race
  • A wheelbarrow game where you had to pick up Oreos with your teeth

  • The Mars bar game

  • Bottle flipping

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Matthew's begats

Our service on Sunday was based on the genealogy in Matthew 1.

Which made me think of this song!

Memory foam

Looks like my memory foam insoles have senile dementia.

Interestingly, the only place I could find new ones was not Timpsons, Boots, or Superdrug, but Poundland!

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Don't buy walking sticks in Pound shops

Fortunately it was bought to be a shepherd 's crook, not a prop for old age.

You don't make the handle of a walking stick by just cutting out a handle shape across the grain :-D

(Wood glue sorted it)

Friday, 1 December 2017


I've read this many times before, but never noticed it:

Then Jesus, knowing everything that was about to happen to him, went out and said to them, “Who is it that you’re seeking?”
John 18v4

He took the initiative, fully knowing the consequences.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Nativity girls

The Nativity play we're doing looks back at the prophecies of a great King to David and Isaiah.

This exacerbates the problem there always is with Nativity plays - lack of female (biblical) main characters (i.e. not just members of crowds).

Male parts: David, Samuel, Nathan, Isaiah, Gabriel, Joseph; also shepherds & wise men
Female parts: Mary

Fortunately we have more boys than girls, and the play will also have some present day characters, who can be girls.

So I was thinking - how could you do a Bible based nativity play with lots of girl parts?

Aha - the women in Jesus' family tree!
  • Bathsheba - tricky, but totally do-able for kids if you're circumspect
  • Ruth - definitely
  • Rahab - yes, just don't mention her profession
  • Tamar - Ah. Maybe not, then :-)

Saturday, 25 November 2017


There's something wrong with a society in which all these perfectly good containers are just rubbish, to be thrown away - or at best, recycled.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Time travel tenses

Writing a nativity play that involves time travel.
Getting terribly mixed up with tenses.

(Though not as much as Douglas Adams in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe)

Friday, 17 November 2017

Simeon & Anna

Well, that was a bit quicker than the last one - done in a week! Here it is.

Doing New Testament always is quicker, because clothes etc. are more boring, and I don't need to research them, as I already know what they're like. Also, I'd already designed baby Jesus, Mary & Joseph for previous PowerPoints. 

My standard temple pic with M&J added :-)

How to draw pigeons: 1) Google photos 2) Trace them

I really like this one

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Daniel & the king's food

Finally available - been working on it since June :-o

I think the Daniel stories are important for kids in the 21st century who, like Daniel, are living in a non-Christian society and need wisdom to know when to fit in and when to stand out.

 Click on picture to go to site.
Not often I get to draw ham in Bible pics!

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Just as well I'm a cheapskate

This ladle is so cute.


How do we see ourselves?
Forgiven, beloved
Hidden in Christ
Made in the image of the Giver of Life
Righteous and holy
Reborn and remade
Accepted and worthy, this is our new name
~Jason Gray

Been listening to this song a lot recently. It's not my favourite of his musically, but what it says is great.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Monday, 6 November 2017

The best source of advice

If we're Christians, we have instant, personal access to the only wise God, the one who brought forth wisdom as the first of his works and who will give wisdom to those who ask.

Why, then, does it so often not even cross our minds to ask, 'what do you think I should do about this?'?

Friday, 3 November 2017

Finished (probably)

Just had to finish this off B4 I went to bed! (It didn't take all that time, I was cleaning in between).

I did tweak some things from the pencil, like make the boys much taller, and sort the capital on the doorway (and add another)

I may have improvements next time I look at it, of course...

Final pencils

Proper finished pencils. Often I don't bother with these, and then really struggle with the inking. But I'm being sensible this time :-)

One or two wee tangents I'll need to sort.


Well, that was less painful than I anticipated. Hopefully a good omen!

Thursday, 2 November 2017


This is the easy bit of illustrating.

It then gets progressively harder.

Until, finally, I reach the colouring - and that's the easiest bit of all!

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Amazing what you can buy on Amazon (2)

A while back, I commented on the confirmation email I got for my " order of Eternal Life"

Now I've got a confirmation email for my " order of Sparrows"

Tuesday, 31 October 2017


When you ask your class of 6-8 year olds what are the scariest things they can think of, you don't expect Burke and Hare to be one of them :-)

Pumpkins did also feature heavily, though.
Serial killers. Vegetables. Yep - same category.

Light in the darkness

We made this on Sunday. Vaguely Hallowe'en related.
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.
Isaiah 9v2
Jesus said: ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’
John 8v12

Sunday, 29 October 2017


Amazing love; how can it be
That thou, my God, shouldst die for me!
~Isaac Watts

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Kids' Christian posters

Did these a few weeks ago - forgot to post!
There's a few more designs than shown here.

Gospel symbols

A new Powerpoint! This one is a little different - it's a mix & match selection of simple symbols which people can use for a gospel overview, or add to other presentations.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017


The Dreamer awakes
The shadow goes by
The tale I have told you,
That tale is a lie.
But listen to me,
Bright maiden, proud youth
The tale is a lie;
What it tells is the truth.
~ Traditional folktale ending
Of course, sometimes it doesn't. Which is why you need discernment. But you need that for non-fiction too.

Friday, 13 October 2017

It's a new new day

One of my customers told me about her brother's new album of kids' Christian songs.

Lots of fun songs for kids, but I liked this one for myself. When tempted to focus on failure, it's good to remember that his mercies are new every morning.

Buy from here.


A random thought I just had:

In Narnia, the sea is on the east, and beyond it, in the 'utter east' is Aslan's country.

In Middle Earth, the sea is on the west, and beyond it* is Valinor, the home of the immortals.

No idea of the significance of this - just interesting.

Anyway, I'd better get back to hoovering...

* technically, since the world was made into a sphere, it is no longer on the surface of the globe. Still, you sail west to get there, should you have a boat capable of escaping the 'circles of the world'

Thursday, 12 October 2017

New stickers!

I've added three more sets of stickers to the collection. More coming in 2018...

Ideal stocking fillers!

The 'Christmas' set has 12 stickers focussing on who Jesus is and why he came. It would be most suitable for older children or children who are familiar with the Bible.

The 'Nativity' set is suitable for everyone, and ideal for making nativity scenes. I've provided two Mary figures for pedants like me, so you can have the wise men coming separately from the shepherds, as they did in real life :-)
And finally, a set of 6 shaped cartoon stickers on the theme of God's word, and how it describes itself. Each has a reference for the Bible passage it represents.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

New testament money (part 2)

You'll need to read part 1 for this to make sense.

Some examples

Judas betrayed Jesus 

for 30 pieces of silver - that's £1,800

Parable of the talents

He gave them 5, 2 and 1 talents - £30,000, £12,000, and £6,000 respectively. Not just a few pounds!

Parable of the two debtors 

One was forgiven a debt of 500 denarii, the other a debt of 50 - that's £30,000 compared to £3,000

Parable of the unmerciful servant

The servant was forgiven a debt of 10,000 talents, yet threw his fellow servant in jail for a debt of 100 denarii. The first debt was £600 million(!), the second was £6,000.

So it's important not to imply that the smaller debt was insignificant. It was a real debt - other people do us real wrongs (for some people - horrendous wrongs. And Jesus is not saying these don't matter). We should forgive, not because it doesn't matter, but because we realise how impossibly large is the debt God has forgiven us (do we?)

Widow's mite

She put in two small copper coins - that's 62p.

It was not 2p, as we sometimes imply. 2p is worthless, so you might as well put it in. 62p could buy something to eat, yet she gave it.

Friday, 6 October 2017

New testament money (part 1)

I find it really helpful, when reading (or teaching) passages that involve sums of money, to translate them into modern money. After all, what does 'silver coin' or 'talent' or 'copper coin' actually mean to the average 21st century person? Was it a lot? A little? How much? How little?

So here's how I do it. It's not foolproof, but it's helpful


(aka silver coin/drachma*)
1 Denarius = a days's wage for a worker.
So take this to be minimum wage.

In the UK the minimum wage is currently £7.50 per hour.
Assuming an average 8 hour workday, that's £60 a day.

So 1 denarius = £60.



A talent was 100 denarii.
That's £60 x 100

So 1 talent = £6,000



(aka copper coin*)

This was the smallest coin at the time.
192 in a denarius (what a weird number!)


So 1 mite = 31p

Of course, different things had different value in those days - clothes were incredibly expensive; rent was cheap. Some food was dearer than for us; I think some was cheaper. Still, it's a help.

Come back for part 2 of this enthralling story tomorrow...

*Same thing, different translations


I know the bits in the middle of daisy-style flowers are seeds...

But I don't think they're supposed to sprout when it's still in the vase!

Sneak preview

Stickers coming soon...

Sunday, 1 October 2017

A good reminder

A good passage to remember when tempted to put too much reliance on clever teaching ideas and fancy lesson plans in Sunday School:
When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
1 Corinthians 2v1-5

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Jemima, Kezia, Keren-Happuch

Very rough sketch - I quite fancy working this up into something more finished.

Jemima, Kezia, Keren-Happuch

Based on the meanings of their names.

No attempt at any kind of historical accuracy here :-)

Monday, 25 September 2017

Optical illusion

Was tidying my bookshelf. Space is a bit tight, so I wondered if stacking books vertically might help.

I looked at my RJ Anderson books. A row of 7 books.

(ignore the shelf labels. They are left over from a youthful attempt to label all my books like they were in a library.)

Since the row is longer than the books are tall, I could save space by rotating them and stacking them vertically.

So I did.

It's shorter.

This is a scientific fact, proven by experimentation.

I still don't believe it.

Beautiful names?

If Job had his daughters today, and called them the same names, but in English, they would be called: Dove, Cinnamon and Mascara-Tube. (That's what Jemima, Kezia and Keren-Happuch translate as).

Now I want to draw a picture of them! [Edit - I did]

Sunday, 24 September 2017


Came across this picture in an antiquities website.

It describes it as a 'stone disc idol'.
Personally, I think it's more likely to be a giant fossilised aspirin.

Saturday, 16 September 2017


I really need to remove my childhood sticker collection from my chest of drawers. Other things are a bit more of a priority, though.

If only I can keep it this way...

Took almost 3 albums worth of time.

Unfortunately, this was one of the easier bits...

Sunday, 10 September 2017

The Return of the King

Reading the Lord of the Rings. Hadn't realised how eschatological bits of the Return of the King are. Probably noticed it because I've been reading Revelation and the prophets recently.

There is peace, reuniting after (presumed) death, joy, healing, feasting, thrones, a coronation, a renewed city, the nations come together, judgement, forgiveness, the ancient tree replanted, no more fear of night, a long-awaited wedding...
"Is everything sad going to come untrue?"

Some of the language is decidedly messianic:
"ancient of days he seemed and yet in the flower of manhood; and wisdom sat upon his brow, and strength and healing were in his hands, and a light was about him."
There's even a psalm:
"Sing now ye people of Minas Anor
for the realm of Sauron is ended for ever
   and the Dark Tower is thrown down.

Sing and rejoice, ye people of the Tower of Guard
for your watch hath not been in vain,
and the Black Gate is broken,
and your King hath passed through,
   and he is victorious.

Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West
for your King shall come again,
and he shall dwell among you,
   all the days of your life.

And the Tree that was withered shall be renewed,
and he shall plant it in the high places,
   and the City shall be blessed.

   Sing all ye people!"

But of course, it falls short. Sauron was the enemy - but not the ultimate Enemy. 

Aragorn may be the king around whom all this centres, but the enemy's downfall was not brought about by him. His bride is marrying way beneath her. And he is just a mortal human, not divine.

The healing is not complete, and it's not forever.

To quote Paul (out of context): 
"These are a shadow of what was to come; the substance is Christ."

Friday, 1 September 2017

Ticking clock

And we just can't get used to being here
Where the ticking clock is loud and clear
Children of eternity
On the run from entropy
~Andrew Peterson

Here's the song:

Thursday, 31 August 2017

A better thing

And when the world is new again
And the children of the King
Are ancient in their youth again
Maybe it's a better thing
To be more than merely innocent
But to be broken, then redeemed by love
~Andrew Peterson
Yes, I think so. If the Fall hadn't happened, everything would be good. 
But what will be will be even better.

Here's the song: 

Monday, 28 August 2017


In Leviticus, the quality of the sacrifice—not the worshipper—was inspected. The same is true today. And ours is flawless.
~Andrew Wilson

Monday, 14 August 2017

That Hideous Strength

Picked up a copy of That Hideous Strength by CS Lewis in a charity shop.

That hideous cover

I first read his Cosmic Trilogy when I was a teenager, and have read the first two (Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra) many times since. But I thought That Hideous Strength was weird. Will be interesting to see what I think this time round.

I remember very little, though I have read some stuff about it since.

This is what I think I remember:

  • Happened on earth, in an English college, not another planet (less interesting, didn't fit with series).
  • Ransom, the main character from the first books, who was a realistic, ordinary man, became this unrealistic, almost symbolic, character with a golden beard (not an improvement).
  • Merlin came alive again and put everything right. There was some stuff about King Arthur coming back to rule England and how that was a good thing (silly and out of place)
  • Although the two main characters were married to each other, it was wrong for them to have sex because they weren't Christians yet (this seemed completely nonsensical - I assume I had misunderstood, because if not I agree with my teenage opinion.)
  • I thought of the books as an 'adult Narnia', and therefore expected to series to finish with the end of the world. Was rather disappointed that the very mild apocalyptic events near the end simply resulted in a return to the status quo.
  • These included a tower of Babel-like incident when all the evil conspirators, who thought they were so wise, lost the power of speech and began to make animal noises. That bit was good).
  • Evil scientists. Was there a head in a jar?
  • One of the good guys was tortured by being put in a room with a pattern of dots on the ceiling, and a pattern of dots on the table which almost, but not quite matched (I really appreciated this - I would say it is my main memory of the book.)

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

If Stargate SG1 were missionaries


OK, that's a bit of a stretch, since none of them are Christians. But in an alternate universe... Actually, there are a lot of similarities - travelling to other places, rescuing people and telling them the 'gods' they worship are not real. So we know how their characters react in those kinds of situations.

The following is based on what I know of them in most of the first seven seasons.

Daniel would immediately start adding their new language to his twenty-four(?) others, and would work on Bible translation.

I can see him also being involved in apologetics. He would be a peacemaker like Mary Slessor - though possibly not knitting while he did so :-)

He would have no problem with the 'all things to all men' thing. He would fit into the new culture in no time, trying their food, adopting their dress and customs. He'd end up marrying a local girl (hopefully on purpose this time!)

He would be fascinated by their culture and beliefs, and not assume 'different' always meant 'wrong'. He would see the best in everyone, even if they were attacking him. I can see him getting on well with Elisabeth Elliot.

However, a certain naivete and lack of discernment could lead to him accepting cultural practices without understanding them, and could even lead to syncretism.

Jack would not have this problem - he would find it hard to see that any way but our way of doing things could be OK. Especially if it involved bringing up children in a way he disapproved of. He'd have no problem stealing children from temples, like Amy Carmichael.

He would be a more in your face proclamation kind of guy. No subtlety or tact - he would call a spade a spade.

Jack on his soapbox while Daniel looks on in exasperation (Red Sky 5:5)
He would be well able to cope in a technologically simpler society and could turn his hand to any practical work, like fishing, or making nails.

He would lead the kids' work, and they would all love him.

Sam solves problems with science, so she'd get involved in well digging or radio broadcasting or whatever was needed. If they used motorbikes at all, she'd keep them running. Her big problem would be not taking time off. 

Although she's a capable lecturer, I can't really see her preaching. Maybe she'd be involved in training.

She would be particularly concerned with oppressed people. Maybe she'd work with young women? She would find it hard to fit into a culture where women were not treated as equals.

She would see the potential in people and be willing to give them a second chance.

Sam & Jack might get married, as there would be no military regulations preventing it - but I'm really not sure how that would work out.

Teal'c already had to adapt to a completely different culture when he came to earth. Therefore he'd probably cope well in this new one. He also would have the advantage of coming from a non-western, pagan culture.

I'm not sure what his main work would be. He could hardly spread the gospel by pointing a weapon and saying "Renounce Apophis [or whoever] as a false god and join us ... and I will spare you." :-) Though in dangerous situations he could be very useful just by looking scary.

If persecution or martyrdom was on the agenda, he'd face it without flinching.

I don't know if he'd remarry, but if he did, he would find the 'leaving wife & children for the sake of the gospel' thing too easy.

Oh - and wouldn't it be cool if he could somehow replace his forehead tattoo with a cross?

Jonas - I'm imagining he joined them again - could use his quick learning skills to help both Sam and Daniel. Perhaps his own focus would be theology - I can see him being particularly interested by prophecy.

Like Daniel, he would be fascinated by the new culture. His friendliness would be helpful, though could lead their opponents to thinking he could be easily manipulated. They would be wrong - no matter how many beautiful women they tried throwing at him.

As his current job is an ambassador, his new role as an ambassador for Christ would be very apt.

So, there you are. I don't know if you're interested, but at least getting this on paper has got it out of my head :-) Because I have nothing else to do with my time... though I have been writing this for quite a while, now, in bits.