Thursday, 28 November 2013

Kids Songs - Where are they?

Every so often I would go on google and see if I could find some powerpoints for christian kids songs only to be disappointed at the lack of materials available.

Do churches, Sunday Schools, Kids Clubs not want to have illustrated kids songs for their children to sing?

Do they only want to use lines and lines of text to project for the kids?

Do they only want to use videos clips of kids songs?

In our church we have a kids slot at the start of each Sunday morning Service and no matter whether we have a little illustrative talk or a little puzzle or a recap of what has been going on in Sunday School we practically always have a kids song for the whole congregation to join in.

Sometimes the children will hold up illustrated cards of the song but mostly we project the songs on the screen in church and we (or is it just I) like them to be well illustrated to be attractive for the kids and everyone else to look at.

We prefer not to show video clips as everyone seems to sing better when we have the accompanying music played by the worship leader.

 In any kids work that I have done (over many, many years) I have always tried to have good visual aids but now some are rather outdated and of course technology has taken over and so I'm looking for good powerpoints to use with our songs.

 But I just have bother finding them!

So far I have found a few sites and have been thankful for them but without spending a lot of money it has been difficult.

       Hence the solution was

 I just got in and made them myself 

       and I'm thankful for pictures that I have been able to use without any problems with copyright for projecting in church or printing.

This solution of course means that I can have visuals for older songs and for more modern ones so we can have a wide variety of songs for the kids and always have ones that will go with the theme of the story or point we are making.

Here's an example of one of the songs I have made into a visual.




Here are a list of the sites I had found.

Some have free resources and some are not free but it really looks like there is not much to pick from out there even if you are willing to pay a lot.

Click on the Site Logos below to see what they offer for Christian kids songs.

The best I found was Hebron and they are free.











Please if you know of any others leave a comment to let me know.

What does your church do?  
Do they buy?  use You Tube videos?  create their own slides?

I'm seriously thinking of setting up a site for songs - what do you think?




Sunday, 24 November 2013

A Clown called Dario

We have various friends throughout the world mostly because we have lived in America and Belgium as well as the UK but also because we have been involved in different Christian Outreach Programs where people from various countries have come to stay with us while they do evangelistic work in association with whichever church we have been attending.


This week there was a solitary visitor to our church all the way from Italy to help with our outreach work during this month.  
He is called Dario and he is a professional clown.



He is a friend of our Pastor and came to NI to work with children in Lurgan all week.

Saturday Night we met him as Dario and not "Dario the Clown" while he explained how he came to be a clown and how God was working in his life.




Sunday Morning he came to our morning service at church and centred his actions and words on how God loves us, using imaginary flowers, a multi coloured piece of material, balloons, a suitcase and a young 9 year old boy he picked out of the congregation.




At the end of the service he made balloon animals, swords and hats for the children and they all got their photograph taken with him.



He even made a hat for me especially to match my cardigan.



Then to finish off Fred and I had our photo taken with him too.




Sunday Evening he was with another church who had joined with us to bring Dario over from Italy, while our Pastor continued the Theme of how much God loves us from John 3 v 16 in our church service.




Monday Morning & Afternoon he was doing an an assembly and workshops in one of the primary schools followed by our After School Kids Club in another Primary School. This time he had an object like a feather duster, taught us how to greet a clown sitting down (because it involved lifting your right leg and he didn't want anyone to fall over), juggled with 3 balls and then explained how we should pray to God when we cannot do something because God has promised to help us and God had helped him to learn how to juggle with juggling clubs when he had found this very difficult and of course he enlisted the help of several willing volunteers.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday were also spent in Schools doing assemblies and workshops with the children

Thursday Evening was a special show in the Town Hall open to any of the children in Lurgan, the hall was full of kids and parents and we had a fun-filled hour together with Dario instructing the children in how to greet a clown, how to spin plates, walk a tightrope and to know that with Jesus we can do all things.





Of course the balloons made an appearance so that Dario could make hearts for the the leaders of the churches who had hosted him.




Sunday Morning saw Dario at St John's Parish Church again.

Sunday Evening we were delighted to have Dario with us again in Bridge Community Church, Lurgan where he reminded us all that we are fearfully and wonderfully made by God, using balloons, a wig, a tutu and mime.


Thank you Dario for joining with us and teaching the children more about God.

Thank you God for your love for us, for helping us in all things, for creating us so uniquely and for making Dario such a caring clown.


Have you ever had a clown at your church?

Have you ever met a Christian Clown?

Are you thankful for God's love and for different ways to tell others of His love?






Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Strait of Hormuz - Book Reivew


I received a complimentary copy of "Strait of Hormuz" from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.


Synopsis


Under the guise of investigating money laundering via high-end art purchases in Europe, Royce finds himself in Switzerland with only sketchy information, no backup, and without a single weapon other than his wits.

His appointment with a gallery owner in Geneva is a dead end--the man is on the floor with a bullet through his chest. But it turns out Royce does have backup. The Mossad has sent someone to keep an eye on this undercover op, which is of more than casual interest to the Israelis. And it's someone Royce knows...

An under-the-radar phone call from the U.S. State Department puts Marc Royce once again on assignment—ferreting out rumors of a clandestine operation stretching from Asia to the Mideast. At stake is Iran’s threat to blockade the narrow Strait of Hormuz, cutting off vital shipping routes and escalating global tensions beyond the breaking point.

Well here is the third book in the Mark Royce Series and I have to ask myself was it the right move to go for a third and the answer is a definite YES.

This one drew me in from the very first page, the start was a delight to read and at no time did I stop to think is this similar to the others because I was so interested in this story for itself.

By this one we feel like we know the character of Marc Royce well enough to really imagine the tone of the words he is saying and we have the ease into it by having one of the main characters from the second book appearing right at the start.  However even if you are reading this book without having read the first two, you will have no difficulty in getting right in there with the characters because of the way it is written.

How do we get from Art dealers to a ship in troubled waters, from Switzerland to Israel? Following the hero we are prepared to go anywhere he leads, as are the people who trust him and whom he trusts.  Davis Bunn has again, as in the first of this series, built up good relationships between the characters and this is one of the reasons this is such a good read.

In this book you will get adventure, excitement, romance, loyalty and a strong sense of faith. 
Well worth waiting for! 

Good news -  the kindle version is at a reduced price at the moment on Amazon.co.uk

More good news (for our US friends) is the fact that there is a special sweepstakes to celebrate the launch of this book just click below for details

About the Author:  CLICK HERE


About Strait of Hormuz
ISBN (Trade Paperback): 978-0-7642-1138-6
ISBN (Hardback): 978-0-7642-1145-4
ISBN (eBook): 978-1-4412-6279-0
336 pages

November 5, 2013 from Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group


If you have read all three reviews of this series then you will understand when I say that I'm torn between the first and the third to pick as my favourite.


What about you, have you read the first 2?


Which did you prefer?


Are you enticed to go to Amazon now and get no. 3?


Monday, 11 November 2013

Easy Delicious Ribs

You know how you just accidently make a meal and it is just delicious so you want to make it a regular one in your household?


Well this is one of those!


A few weeks ago my husband and I had bought some ribs and we didn't want to spend lots of time looking after them, you know marinading them, browning them and coating them because we are just a bit lazy about cooking and would rather spend time on other projects.

So we thought why not bung them in the oven with the vegetables and cook them all together and of course when we weren't trying to have a fantastic meal that is exactly what we got.


Then the other day we thought we would try to replicate the meal and this is what we got



This picture was taken on my ipad just after I lifted it out of the oven, just wish you could smell it!


So with another success I decided to put the recipe into my recipe app and you can see it below





I am glad we are not like this about all aspects of our life because you can not just act haphazardly in things like family relationships and friendships.

Some things need time spent on them and care given to them and then we will see successes there too.


But of course not having to spend too much time on making our meals means 
that we have more time for those other things.

Let me know if you try out this recipe.


Or indeed let me know if you agree with less time on preparation and more time on relationships.


For a few more recipes click on through to my Recipes Page




Sunday, 10 November 2013

Rare Earth - Book Review

Having been a great fan of Davis Bunn for many years (see The Presence) I was thrilled to find this novel of his very cheap on Amazon in the kindle store.

Again it will never be able to sit beside the other Davis Bunn books I collected over the years but I am building up quite a collection now in my kindle.


Synopsis:

Davis Bunn Strikes Gold Once Again!

Marc Royce stares down from the helicopter on the Rift Valley slashing across Africa like a scar. Tribal feuds, drought, and dislocation have left their devastation. And he sees a new wound--a once-dormant volcano oozing molten lava across the dry landscape--and clouds of ash obscure his vision. His undercover assignment is similarly obscured. Supposedly dispatched to audit a relief organization's accounts, Marc finds himself amid the squalor and chaos of Kenyan refugee camps caught in a stranglehold of corruption and ruthlessness.

But his true task relates to the area's reserves of once-obscure metals now indispensible to high-tech industry. The value of this rare earth inflames tensions on the world's stage as well as among warring tribes. When an Israeli medical administrator, Kitra, seeks Marc's help with her humanitarian efforts, they forge an unexpected link between impoverished African villages and another Silicon Valley rising in the Israeli desert. Precious metals and inventive minds promise new opportunities for prosperity, secure futures, and protection of valuable commodities from terrorists. As Marc prepares to report back to Washington, he seizes a chance to restore justice to this troubled land. This time, he may have gone too far.



About the Author:  CLICK HERE


Being the second book in a series I am always skeptical that it will be almost a rehash of the first one but in a different setting.  Well this was definitely in a different setting from no.1 but was certainly not a rehash of the same plot.

I had been looking forward to meeting up with some of the other characters from the first book as it seemed to me that we had met characters that Davis Bunn would want to write more about but in this I had been wrong.  I think this led me to be a bit disappointed as I had thoroughly enjoyed certain characters so really did want to see friendships rekindled.  The characters in this story never seemed to become as well known or understood as those of the first in the series and even by the end of the novel I was not thinking how much I would like to see what they would have to contribute to another one.

I think the setting was good and the story was clever and very up-to-date which I presume means it was well researched but I found it harder to actually picture the scenes and to remember where certain people were at different times which had not been a problem in the previous one.

Having lived in various countries and worshipped  with many different nationalities I could understand and appreciate the bond between the Christians in the story and especially see the trust there can be between them.

I am already on to book 3 in the series and looking forward to wherever Marc Royce finds he is needed but hope that it is more of the caliber of the first one with better relationships defined between the main characters.

                                  You can now read my "Strait of Hormuz" Review


Have you read this book?


Would you be inclined to read it after this review?



Thursday, 7 November 2013

Lion of Babylon - Book Review

Having been a great fan of Davis Bunn for many years (see The Presence) I was thrilled to find this novel of his free on Amazon in the kindle store earlier this year.

Sadly it will never be able to sit beside the other Davis Bunn books I collected over the years but what with the ebook age upon us and the ease of having so many books in one object for travelling and of course the fact that we are running out of bookshelf space and not least of all the fact that I can get a lot of ebooks free; well I am now a kindle fan too.

So back to the purpose of this post, the review of this book.

Synopsis:

Marc Royce works for the State Department on special assignments, most of them rather routine, until two CIA operatives go missing in Iraq--kidnapped by Taliban forces bent on generating chaos in the region. Two others also drop out of sight--a high-placed Iraqi civilian and an American woman providing humanitarian aid. Are the disappearances linked? Rumors circulate in a whirl of misinformation.

Marc must unravel the truth in a covert operation requiring utmost secrecy--from both the Americans and the insurgents. But even more secret than the undercover operation is the underground dialogue taking place between sworn enemies. Will the ultimate Reconciler between ancient enemies, current foes, and fanatical religious factions be heard?


About the Author:  CLICK HERE


This book is set in Iraq around a kidnapping and involves an American agent so as expected it is a fast paced adventure novel but I really loved the way Davis Bunn brought in the quieter segments of the story which are so often badly written and almost overlooked.

It is a good read for someone who wants an action story but you must also be prepared for the fact that this book is about relationships on many levels.  Throughout the story there are various characters introduced who would not work together or be brought together in normal circumstances but here there is an example of how serving and helping others is more important than political and religious viewpoints.

At the end of the book we are left with the anticipation that some of the characters will meet again and there are many of them who we would like to have the opportunity to meet again too. So is this what happens in the next Marc Royce story?   Well if you enjoy this one then you can get no. 2 in the series entitled "RARE EARTH"  which is what I did straight away because I thoroughly enjoyed this first one.

Head on over to AMAZON now because the "LION OF BABYLON" ebook is free during November too.


Also I will be reviewing "RARE EARTH" in this blog in a couple of days time 
so click here for that.


Also I will be reviewing the latest release  "Strait of Hormuz" in this blog in a couple of days time 

Have you read this?


Do you agree or disagree with me?


Why not leave a comment and let me know.



Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Let me introduce you....

         ...... to one of my favourite Christian authors, Davis Bunn.



From the day I read his novel "The Presence" I was an avid fan and you can read my review of that book in this earlier blog post.    Book Review 2

Now I am excited to be reading his latest novel just released today "The Strait of Hormuz" (the third book in his Mark Royce Series) and I will be reviewing it here on my blog on Tuesday 12th November, so don't forget to drop in then and see how good the book is.

Before that however I will give you a nice run up to it by reviewing the first two books in this series "Lion of Babylon" and "Rare Earth" and if  you head over to Amazon they are available there at good prices.




Davis Bunn and his wife, Isabella Bunn
About Davis Bunn
Davis Bunn is a four-time Christy Award-winning, best-selling author now serving as writer-in-residence at Regent's Park College, Oxford University in the United Kingdom. Defined by readers and reviewers as a "wise teacher," "gentleman adventurer," "consummate writer," and "Renaissance man," his work in business took him to over 40 countries around the world, and his books have sold more than seven million copies in sixteen languages. 


Strait of Hormuz is the series finale of the popular Marc Royce Adventures. Library Journal named Lion of Babylon (Book 1) a “Best Book of 2011.” Rare Earth (Book 2) won the 2013 Christy Award for best suspense novel and was a CBA top 20 best-seller.




Q & A with Davis Bunn
Q: The first two books in the Marc Royce series have been bestsellers and also won praise from the critics. Lion of Babylon won the Library Journal’s Best Book of 2011 award, and Rare Earth won the 2013 Christy Award for Suspense Fiction. What do you see is behind this success?
Davis Bunn: The stories have certainly resonated with readers. I have tried to develop a strong sense of unfolding drama, combined with a unique spiritual theme. This moral structure plays out both in the story and the characters. My aim is to create an inspirational challenge that remains with the reader long after the book has been set down.
Q: This story includes two special components from your early life. Tell us about them.
DB: My mother worked as an antiques dealer. In truth, ‘work’ was not really the correct term, because this was a passion she inherited from her mother. They bonded while my mom was still a child, going to small eastern Carolina towns and hunting around junk stores for the sort of bargains that don’t exist anymore.
Their first love was early Americana, a type of colonial furniture known as Jacobean that predated America’s nationhood. I never really shared this passion, but in two previous books I came to respect and admire those who do.
And so I knew a great delight in re-entering this world in Strait of Hormuz, only this time at the very highest end. Strait takes place in the rarified world of multi-million dollar art, where the richest of collectors vie with museums and galleries for items that are no longer classed as antiques, but rather as treasures
The second special component was the location. I lived in Switzerland for almost five years, and many of the venues were places where I worked, and walked, and came to discover myself as an author.
Q: In what way is the setting important to this book?
DB: The Strait of Hormuz is one of the world’s most critical waterways. Stretching between Iran and the Gulf States, the strait us home to two US fleets. More than a third of all the oil consumed worldwide pass through these waters. But the story actually begins in Switzerland, before traveling to the Sinai and then into the hotly-contested Strait of Hormuz.
Q: What spiritual theme is the focus of this story?
DB: One growing area of the missionary church movement is with displaced persons. More than five million Iranians have been expelled from their homeland, or been forced to flee the current regime. This includes virtually the entire Christian population. The missionary church movement has made enormous strides in bringing peace to these families and introducing Christ into the world of Muslims fleeing a Muslim government.
Q: What drew you to the missionary church movement as a theme? 
DB: I came to faith in a missionary church. I was working as a consultant based in Germany. The year I accepted Christ, the Southern Baptist Mission Board founded a missionary church in Dusseldorf. I attended the church, I grew in the church, I studied under two amazing pastors, and one of them returned to Europe to marry us.
It was also where I learned to write. Two weeks after coming to faith, I felt called to writing. I wrote for nine years and completed seven books before my first was accepted for publication. The church, its members, and the elders all played a critical role in bringing me to where I am now. I am living testimony to the vital role played by the missionary church.
Q: All three of the books in this series have given significant insight into the Muslim world, something critics have picked up on. What experience do you have with this region?
DB: For the four years prior to moving to Germany, I lived and worked in the Middle East. I was the only non-Muslim in the management structure of a family-owned company. They had three major arms: construction equipment, shipping, and pharmaceuticals. I rose to become Marketing Manager of the pharmaceutical division.
One of the requirements of this job was to take instruction in the Koran and Islamic history from an imam who taught at the local university. I think this experience played a major role in my coming to Christ.
Q: How can readers find you on the Internet?
My website and blog are at www.davisbunn.com
Subscribe to my blog’s feed (to get my latest posts via e-mail or through your feed reader) at http://feeds.feedburner.com/DavisBunn
Sign up for my e-newsletter (for subscriber-only giveaways and advance notice of my upcoming novels): http://www.davisbunn.com/news.htm
Facebook Author Page: facebook.com/davisbunnauthor
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/davisbunn/ -- check out my “Strait of Hormuz” board at http://www.pinterest.com/davisbunn/strait-of-hormuz/
Twitter: @davisbunn - http://twitter.com/davisbunn


If you want to try out a sample of this new book just click here to a previous post of mine with the link to getting the first three chapters FREE.


You can now read my "Lion of Babylon" Review

and "Rare Earth" Review

and the latest release  "Strait of Hormuz" Review


Have you read any books by Davis Bunn?

If so please leave a comment to say which ones and what you thought of them.


Friday, 1 November 2013

#Bigblackwedding

Monday 28th October 2013  was the wedding of our son Daniel.


So what is this #Bigblackwedding all about?



Well our surname is Black and our new daughter-in-law Suzie was so looking forward to becoming Mrs Black that she referred to the wedding as the big black wedding and then they decided to hashtag it and all their friends could use this to post pictures of the event on twitter, facebook, instagram and pinterest.

Suzie also got the cake topping specially made and it was simply the words  

Mr & Mrs Black.


It was obvious to us for quite some time that the two of them were really looking forward to getting married and this was also obvious to everyone throughout the church ceremony and the rest of the day as they were so relaxed and happy together.
(It was also very clear to all of us who had to listen to Daniel when he woke up on Monday morning and came dancing and singing into the kitchen)

It was very special for Fred & I to see our son so happy and to be adding a new daughter to our family.

Our other son Jonathan preached the sermon at the wedding (mostly based on Song of Song 8 v 6),  our daughter Linda read Psalm 121 and our nephew Glen was best man (he and Daniel have been best friends forever - well since Daniel was 7 months old and Glen was born).
Everything else was done by other family & friends with Suzie's brother praying the final prayer of blessing over them, so it was very much a family and friends affair.

Later Linda caught the bouquet but has since returned to South Korea and had to leave it with me so our lounge is well decorated from flowers etc. from the wedding.


Now Mr & Mrs Daniel Black are off on their honeymoon and Mr & Mrs Fred Black are still trying to sort out their house from the whirlwind of recent events but what is a bit of a mess in your home compared to the happiness and joy in your family.

We are very grateful to God who has been at the centre of our marriage for 36 years 
and who we pray will be always at the centre of this new marriage between 
Daniel & Suzie.