29 February 2008

Irish blog awards - tomorrow!!!!!

Tomorrow night is the night all the winners will be revealed for the Irish blog awards 2007. Rob and I will be there, and I'm so excited, I've no idea what to expect but I'm really looking forward to meeting some fellow bloggers. I'm not expecting to win or anything but how cool to be going to an actual award ceremony!

27 February 2008

Resource review: Cecil the Lost Sheep

This morning for an assembly at a Special School I used a book that I had seen all over the place but not read until a few days ago. It is part of a series of books called the "Lost Sheep" series wrote by Andrew McDonough based on stories and ideas Jesus taught us. Cecil the Lost Sheep is the first in the series and is a bargain at £2.99!!! Initially I thought these were just bed time books for little kids, and yes they are aimed at little kids and would be definitely be fantastic bedtime reading, but it made me not worry too much about the book seeing as I don't have any kiddies to read to. Then I spotted a huge version of the book one day when I was visiting the Youth and Children's offices at PCI that is used for telling the story to larger groups to allow them so see the pictures and words, so it lead me to thinking it was an ideal book for an assembly or children's address. When I got my hands on the book (when it was so kindly donated to our new church library), I read through it and loved the way it was written, the illustrations and loved how it told the story of the Lost Sheep in a way that kids will understand and relate to. Even better still, from the point of view of someone who gives talks to children rather often, inside the back cover is a little bubble giving an little intro and conclusion to bookend (no pun intended) telling the story to a group and also gives a simple biblical meaning to the story. 

I can't wait to see the other books in the series! I'm going to have to keep them on hold for an "emergency talk" sometime.

Overnighter music video

I've been a fan of Jake's work since I saw the first music video Filled with the Spirit. Since then he's made a few more: Hotel, Hotel, The day I suddenly knew Kung Fu and Robot Love. On Sunday Josh revealed the newest video, Overnighter:

Too funny and so true in lots of ways!

26 February 2008


On Sunday, I was leading the League of Church Loyalty Service in church where we give prizes out for the children's church attendance and traditionally the youngest Sunday School group (ages 4-7) help to lead it.

I always dread leading services, mostly for the "preaching" part of it. Really I've never had any training or guidance on how to do it, so all I have to go on is what I've learnt by observing others and any time I spoke in university it was a little like this:

Photo found on http://youblog.typepad.com via Google images

Also usually the service I'm given are the family services, which I'm more than happy with I don't think I'd want to preach a "normal" service anytime soon anyways, but this means that I've to try and keep the message understandable for everyone and interactive for the younger children who are used to leaving part way through the service. This worries me sometimes because by trying to keep the message simple and understandable yet applicable for all ages can be quite tricky and I often feel like I'm lousy at speaking because of this. Sunday was one of those times. On Saturday night I was going over my 3 little talks and cringing, it just all sounded rubbish in my head, but I prayed that God would take my rubbishness and use it to his advantage.

So Sunday morning came and the service went well but i felt it could have been better, really though I was just glad it was over. I went to the door with the minister to shake hands with people as they left church and lots of people complimented the service saying how much they'd enjoyed it. It kind of irritated me, I mean it's great that people enjoy church but did they connect with God? Did they grow in their faith? Were they challenged? Was God the centre of what had happened? My interpretation of "I really enjoyed the service" or "That was lovely" was that they had only looked to their own interests and what makes them happy. Did it make God happy? Did he enjoy it and think it was lovely? Is it OK to think of church as just lovely? I also was looking for a little constructive criticism, but it wasn't going to happen.

Sunday morning disappeared and I rushed off to my next thing in the afternoon forgetting all about the service. I hadn't even thought about it really until today at our church lunch group when so many of the folk there were so thankful for the service, for a great message that they felt they needed reminded of, a few who weren't there on Sunday had said how they'd heard all about the service from others and were sorry to not have been there and even someone who said they were glad they understood it straight away. I felt encouraged that people were still thinking about it and talking about it, how often do people talk about the Sunday service after it's over? And the fact that they were telling others about it really encouraged me too.

I'm not just encouraged personally but also that people haven't just enjoyed the service, but got more out of it than a warm fuzzy feeling. God really can use a mess to bring about his purpose!

Preacher cartoon found on http://www.timshen.truepath.com via Google Images

21 February 2008

Change of hair

I've had long hair for the longest time, and despite trying to get it cut a lot shorter last October for our honeymoon:

I finally decided recently to get the chop I originally wanted then and when I told Rob he was all excited cos he's always thought I'd suit short hair.

So this is what it was like yesterday, rather long with bad roots from my blonde highlights I got for the wedding around this time last year):

This morning I coloured it myself (I just refuse to pay extortionate prices for something I can do myself with a £5 bottle of hair dye):

And this afternoon i went to the hairdresser and got it chopped:

What do you think?

A-Z game

I spotted this on the PDYM blog and can't wait to use it. Maybe it'll be useful for you too?

I've been tagged.

I've been tagged for a "meme" by the loverly Goddess herself, Maria. So here goes:

What were you doing 10 years ago?
I was in 4th year at school, wondering why boys didn't like me.... hormones eh?

What were you doing 1 year ago?
This time last year I was single and about to be married 6 weeks later, so I was sending out invites and making table plans and sorting flowers and other weddingy things.

Five snacks you enjoy:at the minute my favourites are
1) Fruit
2) Biscuits
3) Buttered toast
4) Cheese on toast
5) Chocolate

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:
1) Pay off the mortgage.
2) Put some money aside for a little dream of ours - don't want to share the details yet.
3) Buy a new car for me and keep money aside for petrol, tax, insurance etc
4) Buy a new car for Rob and keep money aside for petrol, tax, insurance etc
5) Go on a real nice holiday and re do our honeymoon

Five bad habits:
1) I'm so disorganised and messy - something I really need to work on if I want to stay happily married.
2) I'm so bad at being on time, as much as I try to plan being on time, it never seems to work.
3) I'm real lazy about doing my hair - I usually end up just tying it back instead of styling it.
4) Like Maria, I'm an impulsive shopper too - especially when I'm food shopping, despite making lists of what we need I'll always end up seeing other little things to buy and try.
5) I get a bit of road rage but I'm working on it.

Five things you like doing:
1) Shopping
2) Cooking and Baking
3) Dancing and singing - mostly on my own, but Rob is one of the privileged few who would get to see me dancing like a fool
4) Going on long walks with Rob and Stewie on dry, sunny days.
5) Catching up with friends and hearing what they've been up to.

Five things you would never wear again:
1) Shell suits - It's just not a good look
2) My old McDonalds uniform - wash as much as you like, the grease just isn't coming out!
3) Adidas trousers with "poppers" up the side so they split right up to your hip. It's not a good look and it's just not practical, especially when you have mates who have a right laugh unpopping them all in 0.5seconds.
4) A leotard - for a start there's no way I'll ever be able to do gymnastics again!
5) My wedding dress :-( well maybe I'll wear it for fun someday, but you'll never know!

Five favorite toys:
1) My iBook
2) My iPhone
3) My car - does that count?
4) My Jamie Oliver Flavour Shaker
5) Does a toastie machine count?

Well there ya go.
I'm supposed to tag 5 people to do this, but instead I'll leave it open for anyone to do if you want to. If you do, leave a comment here for me to check it out

19 February 2008

What a week....end

Last week was a bit chaotic and had me stressed and panicked.

Last Monday
My car was in for a service and there were several things found that will need replacing soon that will end up being rather expensive, never mind the fact the service itself wasn't all that cheap either!
While the service was being done I got a call to let me know that the centre we were going to take the youth group to on Friday had some problems with the boiler for the heating and that we couldn't go anymore. so there was a panic about finding somewhere new to go and I spent a good portion of my day off stressing about work stuff again.

A new power cable for the computer still hadn't arrived, so I was starting to panic about the actual teaching and weekend plans that I had already worked on and that I needed to spend a good amount of time on still.
I had found somewhere new - Ballywatt Presbyterian Church - to take the group for the weekend but spent ages phoning round all the parents letting them know the change of plan and what else needed packed etc.

I met up with a friend, but on the way filled the car with petrol, went in to pay and found I'd forgotten my card and had no cash, but it's all sorted now.
The power cable arrived so I could get started on the weekend prep.

Today was full of prep for the weekend. I was so glad to get the power back because this took quite a while with the computer never mind without. It also meant I could find what the readings were that I had decided for a special service in church on the 24th for the kids to be given them for practicing.

A lot more last minute prep for the weekend, including getting all the packing done, food bought, getting everyone into cars and driving off for the weekend with 15 teenagers (eeeek!) and to find somewhere I really didn't know how to get to. Thankfully Mr Tom Tom knew the way!

The rest of the weekend
Was great but i felt a little stressed when everyone decided to ask the same questions a million times that had already been answered at group meetings.... I guess I just need to work on being more patient. Didn't get much sleep either, but enough to get by.

We also had Indian takeaway on the Saturday night which left my tummy a little off (as well as a couple of others).
On the whole I had a great time - and I think the whole group did seeing as they were asking when we were coming back!
Ballywatt Presbyterian was incredible, great facilities, very cosy rooms, well heated, very clean, great kitchen for catering and even showers!!!! If ever you're looking for somewhere to take a youth group to up at the north coast of Ireland you should check it out!

Monday (yesterday)
I actually ended up having a proper day off for the first time in weeks! It was great. I got loads of sleep, took Stewie for a nice long walk, went to see my in laws for a little while, got the groceries, came home made dinner etc. I was so glad to see the end of last week and hope this week ends up being much nicer to me.

Monthly review 6

Here are some of the stats (obtained via Google Analytics) from the last month (13th January-12th February 08) for this blog, with last months numbers in brackets:

1. There have been 640 (459) visits.
a) 316 (229) of those have come via referring sites
b) 159 (171) of those visits are direct traffic
c) 165 (59) of those visits are from search engines

2. Searches that have brought people to this site are:
personal questions - 9 times (11)
christian childrens talks - 5 times
christian children's talks - 4 times
banbridge babes - 3 times (4)
children today - 3 times
children's talks christian - 3 times
banbridge blog - 2 times
chicken race - 2 times
children's christian talks - 2 times
e-babes - 2 times
floating lemons and sinking limes - 2 times (2)
free youth bible - 2 times
free youth bible studies - 2 times
free youth bible study handouts - 2 times
funny graffiti pics - 2 times
god pie - 2 times (1)
menorca honeymoon - 2 times
portadown babes - 2 times (1)
rob and ruth elkin - 2 times
"cross for sale"
"free" "youth bible study" "resources"
"gear" american top gear
"irish blog awards"
102.4fm banbridge
american top gear
babes ruth parents
bebo belfast graffiti
bebo johnston glengormley
bibble verse fireman pictures
bible study of david for youth
bible study of ruth
bible study on ruth
bible study+ruth
catch them while they are young phrase
chicken race 2008
chickens running in a race
children's address images
children's talk christian
children's talk on ruth bible
childrens christian talks
childrens talks free
childrens talks on ruth
christian children talk
christian children talk love
christian children talks northern ireland
christian childrens talk
christian kids talks on friendship
christians children's talks
crane family in northern ireland
crane heron differences
dafter punk
david and bathsheba bible study
david and bathsheba study youth
david bathsheba school assembly
difference between a crane and a heron
difference between crane and heron
difference heron + crane
dog bebo
download free youth bible studies
e babes
e personality
e sainsburys
e-personality test (1)
edun live
fireman bible talk for children
free childrens talks
free christian children talks
free christian kids talk about love
free kids talk christian
free list famous bible characters
free range chicken northern ireland
free youth bible downloads
free youth bible stories
free youth bible study
funny belfast graffiti
funny graffiti (4)
funny graffiti cartoon
god pie video
harry potter follow up (4)
harry potter followup
herons and cranes,difference
history on floating lemons and sinking limes
honeymoon in menorca
honeymoon menorca
how much are free range chicken breasts in sainsburys
how much money has zach hunter raised?
hugh ,jamie and gordon in a race
i am woman hear me roar
jamie's fowl dinner download
know india program for pci youth 2008
lemons floating, limes sinking
lurgan babes
malone lodge wedding photos
mark goody belfast
menorca + honeymoon
netherlands babes
pictures moses parting red sea
religious children's talks
richard avery tearfund
ruth bible study resources
ruth clothing line
ruth e london
ruth elkin banbridge
ruth patience ballymena
ruth romania
ruth's wedding cakes
ruthebabes (3)
sainsbury's "hot food counter" organic
sainsbury's free range chicken northern ireland
talk 2 ruth e babes christian children talks northern ireland
the big food fight sainsbury's response
the great chicken race
turkei bebo
turkey global bebo
wedding funny graffiti
what is rspca monitored chicken
what is the difference between a heron and a crane ??
why do lemons float and limes sink?
will fowl dinners be repeated
woman at well "children's talk"
youth bible characters bible studies
youth bible studies david
youth bible study free download
youth bible study on bible character david
youth bible study, free,
zach hunter (2)
children's christian talks free - 0
floating lemons and sinking limes experiment - 0

How many of these are you responsible for Alan?

3. Number of visits from each country that visited.
402 (305) visits came from the UK
125 (121) visits came from the USA
32 (12) visits came from Canada
15 (4) visits came from Ireland
14 (2) visits came from Australia
5 visits came from Turkey
5 (2) visit came from France
4 visits came from Brazil
3 (2) visits came from Germany
3 visits came from Spain
3 visits came from the Philippines
2 visits came from New Zealand
2 (1) visits came from India
2 visits came from Finland
2 visits came from Italy
2 (1) visits came from Singapore
2 visits came from Argentina
2 visits came from Portugal
1 (1) visit came from Sweden
1 visit came from Romania
1 visit came from Japan
1 visit came from Venezuela
1 visit came from Bulgaria
1 visit came from Switzerland
1 visit came from Belgium
1 visit came from Thailand
1 (1) visit came from Greece
1 visit came from Chile
1 visit came from Czech Republic
1 visit came from Saint Lucia
1 (1) visit came from Mexico
1 visit from South Korea
1 visit from Malaysia

4. Top 10 referring sites
Ruth's Kitchen Experiments
The life of guy
shot in the arm
Debs Erwin
Google Images
Alan in Belfast

5. Top 3 blog posts
Free Christian Children's Talk 1
Free Youth Bible Study 1
Funny Graffiti pics

17 February 2008

The end of the long week...

I'm glad to say that this week is over... it's been rough in all sorts of ways, with being away with 15 teenagers this weekend topping it off. We had a great time and it's been a success in all sorts of ways, but it's totally drained me. I'm so glad I'm off tomorrow and don't have to even think about work.

I'll post something more tomorrow when I'm more awake, and also post the stats for the last month that should have been posted on Thursday.... exciting huh? :-S

13 February 2008

I'm Baaaaack!

Finally!!!! We have a new power cord! (Oh computer I've missed you!!!!!!) So we have regular internet service back and now I can get on with planning all my stuff for taking our young people away this weekend, which should keep me busy now!

In other news: my food blog has made it to the short list in the Irish Blog Award's Food and Drink category. How exciting!

10 February 2008


Sorry I've not been posting here much this week, its been a rather busy week and now the power cable for my iBook has gone and died so I'm posting this short entry from my iPhone.

Yesterday I was at a great conference held by The Good Book company in Portadown. I've been going for 3 years to it now and it just seems to get better every year. Its great biblical teaching and the speakers always give great insight into how to teach biblical truth effectively to children and young people.

This year the theme was based around Moses' Law vs Christ's Law and how grace affects each of them. Unfortunately I could only stay for half the day but got loads out of it. I'll post some of my notes when the new power cable comes in a few days.

Today should be interesting now seeing as all my teaching plans involved things that are on my uncharged and unpowered computer, and also cos I've letters for parents about the trip away next weekend on it that now I can't get printed so I may have to write it all out from memory and photocopy this afternoon. Anyways, say a little prayer that this cable comes by Tuesday so I'll hopefully be back to regular service.

05 February 2008

Bible gateway's daily verse feature

I love using Bible Gateway, it's so handy for planning and preparing for the many talks, Bible Studies and other things I have to do in my job and takes out the extra time having to type it out myself.

Thy're looking to update and develop their daily verse, that features on their homepage and they need your help!!!. They are conducting a one question survey here to help build up their list of verses based on what the staff have put together.

If you have a minute pop over and share some of your favourite verses!

03 February 2008

Free Christian Children's Talk 2

I had seen these images in various places recently and saved them for a children's address idea I had.

These photos are from and art collection called "God's Eye View" depicting biblical stories as seen from above (think Google Earth). The project, God’s Eye View, was produced by Sydney-based creative team The Glue Society, commissioned by Eric Romano of Pulse Art, New York, for its Miami art fair.

The children's address went as follows (again for children aged 3-8/9):

I've a few photos to show you, but before I do I want to explain a wee bit about them. They are pictures taken of earth from satellites, which are big machines that float around earth and help people to talk to each other from different sides of the planet, but they also take photos and gather other information too. The photos I'm going to show you are taken from satellites so it's the earth seen from above, but they have also been changed a little using a computer to look like Bible stories. Let's have a look and see if you can guess which ones.

(Let them have guesses) It's the garden of Eden with Adam and Eve in the picture lying beside each other (if you look carefully). You can see the lovely green trees and the water and even some birds flying!

(Let them have guesses) It's Noah's Ark on Mount Ararat, you can see it in the middle on a little piece of land and the water is all around but it won't be for long, because we know the water went down.

(Let them have guesses) We can see a lot of water and it's split in the middle and if you look carefully we can see lots of people walking through the gap in the middle. It's the story of Moses parting the Red Sea.

(Let them have guesses) This picture shows how Jesus died, on the cross with 2 other men on 2 other crosses. We can also see people standing around the cross, people like his mother Mary, Mary Magdalene and John among others.

This group of pictures are from an art collection called "God's Eye View" and a lot of people think that God is far away and just looks down on us from up in heaven, that he isn't really involved in our lives or the world, but the Bible says differently:
You are all around me, in front and in back, and have put your hand on me.
Where can I go to get away from your Spirit? Where can I run from you?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there. If I lie down in the grave, you are there.
If I rise with the sun in the east and settle in the west beyond the sea, even there you would guide me.
With your right hand you would hold me. (Psalm 139 v 5, 7-10)

God isn't far away, he is everywhere, he's with us at home, at school, in the park, when we're playing with friends, at Church and Sunday School.

And he wants to be involved in our lives too. Remember the passage said God has put his hand on us and is holding us with his right hand? God wants to guide us and be with us, but we have to remember to trust God to guide us and know that he only wants what is right for us.

I got these images from someone's blog but there are bigger versions on Creative Review

If you are using this talk please let me know for curiosity's sake, I'm just interested to know where it's being used.