Songs for Worship #9

Welcome to the Sunday Series

Last year from January to June I wrote a series on
Why We Worship  where I considered an attribute of God each Sunday.

At different times people mentioned to me about a song that a post reminded them of so I thought that I would now go through those attributes again with a song for each one.

I hope you will follow along with me.

                         Looking today at 

God is Merciful

Not Guilty Anymore

It doesn't matter what you've done;
It doesn't matter where you're coming from
Doesn't matter where you've been
Hear me tell you
I forgive

You're not guilty anymore
You're not filthy anymore
I love you
Mercy is yours
You're not broken anymore
You're not captive anymore
I love you
Mercy is yours

Can you believe that this is true
Grace abundant I am giving you
Cleansing deeper than you know
All was paid for long ago

You're not guilty anymore
You're not filthy anymore
I love you
Mercy is yours
You're not broken anymore
You're not captive anymore
I love you
Mercy is yours

There is now therefore no condemnation
For those who are in Jesus

You're not guilty anymore
You're not filthy anymore
I love you
Mercy is yours
You're not broken anymore
You're not captive anymore
I love you
Mercy is yours

You are spotless
You are Holy
You are faultless
You are whole
You are righteous
You are blameless
You are pardoned
You are mine

You're not guilty anymore
You're not filthy anymore
I love you
Mercy is yours
You're not broken anymore
You're not captive anymore
I love you
Mercy is yours

You're not guilty anymore
Not guilty anymore

If you would like to see the post from last year that this is based on please click on the graphic below


The Secret of Chimneys - Book Review

I am trying to read through the novels of Agatha Christie in the order in which they were written and write a review on each one.


The Secret of Chimneys. 

A Novel involving Inspector Battle.

Shelfari Description

A bit of adventure and quick cash is all that good-natured drifter Anthony Cade is looking for when he accepts a messenger job from an old friend. It sounds so simple: deliver the provocative memoirs of a recently deceased European count to a London publisher. But the parcel holds more than scandalous royal secrets. It contains a stash of letters that suggest blackmail--and lead to the murder of a stranger who's been shadowing Anthony's every move. Discovering the dead man's identity means retracing his steps--to the rambling estate of Chimneys where darker secrets, and deadlier threats, await anyone who dares to enter.

My Thoughts

This is the sixth book by Agatha Christie.

I read this over a period of weeks and not days so I think that this gives you an immediate indication of how this one did not hook me in quickly.

Overall I found that there seemed to be too many characters for me to keep track of, yet in another way there weren't that many but some seemed too similar or well just confusing me so that when some were mentioned I had to think hard about who it actually was.

Normally I almost visualize the characters I am reading about but in this one this was not the case and having immediately got mixed up between the two guys at the start of the book I think I continued to get mixed up the whole way through.  
Perhaps however a good deal of this was due to not reading this book in consecutive ssessions but picking it up every 3/4 days and not reading too much in each sitting.
Then again maybe this was the way I read it because I was not so interested - not sure which way to fall on this.

The story was a bit far fetched for me, too many leaders/politicians and upperclass talk.

I would liken myself to Lord Catheral who is the owner of the grand house the book is named after when he expressed the desire to get away from all these people because they were not interesting to him and were more of an intrusion in his home, but then to each of them he would be the ever congenial host and friendly Lord.  Yes I was quite happy for the book to be finished and not have to read all the conversations.

Question I have to ask myself is:

Did the fact that it did not have Poirot or Miss Marple affect my enjoyment?

 Here is a link to a list of her novels on Shelfari
Books by Agatha Christie


Chatting on the couch - A Dose of Encouragement

So I was sitting beside my husband the other day on our new couch and oh how happy we both are that we changed our suite a couple of months ago (but that's another story).

This is a post about encouragement not one about home decor but we just happened to be sitting on the couch at the time this conversation took place.

Ok where was I?

Yes sitting on the new couch happily chatting away with the TV on in the background because we had just watched an episode of one of our favourite series.  I said something to him and knew immediately from his response that he hadn't heard what I had said.

Instead he had just presumed what I was going to say.

I stopped and turned to look at him because -Yes, as is quite usual we were both on our ipads at the time.

I accused him of not paying attention to what I was saying but he was adamant that he had been paying attention.

No you weren't 

I replied

because I can tell from your comment to me after I said it.

But he said

you were telling me what you had told me before, you know I do remember!

But that was the problem

Yes he remembered what I had said the previous time I had talked about that subject 


 not what I had just said.

I suppose I had started off talking about it in the same way as before but I did want to consider a different idea this time and he had just heard the start and presumed I was repeating my same previous thought so he really did think he had listened to me and heard what I had said.

This is very annoying for anyone and not just me.

We all like to be listened to and listened to in full.

So I was rather annoyed at him.

In a way it seemed to me like he didn't want to bother talking about the subject again or listening to anything else I had to say on it.

So I definitely was annoyed at him.

Later when I was working on the Sunday School Curriculum for our church I was once again at one of those passages we will often refer to as being very familiar.

You know those ones that when we hear or read the start we are so tempted to skim over because we have read it or heard it so many times.

Well as I always tell people

I can learn something new every time I prepare for a Sunday School Class


 I need to be prepared to do so.

If I decide
not to bother reading it because I have read that Bible passage so many times before that I know all about it then I will not learn anything new.

If I decide
to skim over it then again I will not learn anything new.

If I decide
to read it but not keep my full concentration on it then how can I learn anything new?

Notice that word in each of those last 3 sentences?  


It is a decision we make to actually pay attention when we read.

It is a decision we make to actually listen properly when God is trying to speak to us.

Most likely if we decide not to bother reading and listening attentively we will end up having to depend on our memory of before and our memories are not usually perfect.

Let's not be annoying to God.

Let's not depend on our memory of the last time.

Let's not start talking before we have listened.

Let's not presume we know it all already.

Let's not have the attitude that we don't need to hear from God again even if it is the same subject.

Let's make the decision to read and listen and pay attention.


10 Gift Ideas for your Brother-in-law / Brother / Father / Grandfather + TIP - Need Help?

As the years come and go we women are always complaining that the husbands leave us to do all the gift buying and isn't that true ladies?

Even when it comes to buying for men.
So TRUE!!!!!

But it is not just the buying it is the thinking of new gifts to get all the time that causes us the headache.

Yes EVERY Birthday & Christmas us girls are just expected to rack our brains for new ideas for the men.

So what do we do when it comes to those events when we need to celebrate the men in our lives? 

   Birthdays, Christmas, Father's Day etc.

I have no brothers but I have a really great brother-in-law.  

He met my older sister when I was only 6 years old and he's been part of the family ever since.

So from thinking about my brother-in-law, father and my husband all these years I have had to come up with many different ideas for gifts.

Well I thought I would share 10 of the ideas I have had in the past for gifts for my Brother-in-law and of course these can be for any man.

NOTE:  In our family we do not usually spend a lot of money on gifts so none of the things listed below will cost ££££s

10 Gift Ideas for your Brother-in-law 
(or father, brother, husband, grandfather .....)

1.  Groupon Voucher  (or Living Social etc.)

A couple of years ago I got him one for a free lesson with a Golf Pro.
This was for his birthday in February and he decided to use it a month or so later.
So he and my sister came to stay with us for a few days and we dropped him off for the morning for his lesson and picked him up when he was finished and then we all went and did a bit of shopping together.
Keep an eye on the offers and if one of them makes you think of your brother-in-law then it could be his next gift from you.

2.  Dvds of old Western Films or other types of movies.

My brother-in-law is a fan of old westerns but my sister is not  -  so it's a great gift which is just for him.
I have actually used this idea a few times now.

You can view a selection HERE

Or if he's into action & adventure like James Bond etc. he may prefer something from HERE

3.  Amazon Voucher/Gift Card so that he can get books or ebooks.

Yes I know we often say that guys are hard to buy books for so if you have a problem with thinking of suitable books let him choose his own books or ebooks.

My brother-in-law and I and my husband have a somewhat similar taste in detective novels so sometimes when we have found a good one we will then get a copy for him but then there are other times when it would be nice for him to pick his own.

And the lovely thing about Amazon vouchers/gift cards is the fact that you get to choose a design that suits the occasion or the person - you can see a selection HERE

They even have an option for one that comes in a tin like a gift in itself, Just click on the pic below if you want to investigate this idea.

4.  An Interesting Box

Now this is an idea I had a couple of years ago.
I like boxes and at different times I have bought nicely decorated boxes - see Storage Bargains
But  I also found this box one time which I just adore

 it is not a very girlie box so it gave me the idea of looking for a similar type of box and putting in a few small things that my brother-in-law might appreciate and then he could use the box for keeping odds and ends in, which he did.

It still sits in their kitchen being used on almost a daily basis.

5.  Mugs 

My brother-in-law loves tea and we always tease him about drinking it all day long.
In the past I have bought him funny mugs or large mugs  -  so that he doesn't have to keep refilling them too quickly.

A packet of a special tea or coffee would go well inside a big mug oh and a biscuit too.
I love the great pics and phrases we can get on mugs these days and we can even design our own.

Credit to Fotofunia

I think a lot of guys like humorous mugs and we have indeed given my brother-in-law mugs similar to THESE in the past.

6.  A Guy's Night in Selection Package

Didn't I mention how he likes Western Movies?
Well my sister doesn't, in fact she isn't very keen on sitting watching a movie at night so she would go to another room to read and my brother-in-law would settle down and watch a movie himself.
So this is where the selection pack would come in.

A nice drink,
 something savoury to snack on like pringles or popcorn,
 something chocolatey,
 and maybe a bag of wine gums all to enjoy while watching his movies on a few different evenings.

Of course we'll not wrap it up in a basket - guys don't do baskets!

Maybe a nice box like the type in  #4 above instead

7.  Treat him to a night out at the theatre for a comedy.

Now this is the one you definitely have to keep him from seeing because this is one I'm hoping to use soon.  He enjoys a comedy and so do the rest of us so all four of us can go out to this together.

8.  Gift Voucher/Card for his favourite shop

I know that we always think of girls as keen shoppers but men do usually have a favourite shop whether for clothes or gadgets.
My brother-in-law is a keen walker and he is always looking for thermal lined coats or waterproof items.
Just have a little think about which shop your brother-in-law might prefer to go to depending on his interests.

9.  The Takker.

This is something that I discovered on AMAZON by accident a while back and bought for my husband and then later we got it for our son because it was so easy to use and so useful plus NOT expensive.

I even wrote a blog post on it when I was trying to do something about the decor in our home.  Truly I do think this is The Best Thing for Bare Walls

Well I should get on and explain what it is - The Takker is the easiest thing to use to attach something light weight to your walls.  Click on the link above and you will see how easy it is.

There are actually two types of these Takkers and my husband has used both and he had a smile on his face each time.

This first one  THE TAKKER PICTURE HANGING KIT  is for when you would try to hammer in a nail and you don't want to annoy the plaster on the wall.

The second one is The Hard Wall Takker for the occasions when you would normally think of needing to get out the electric drill.

As I said above my husband was very happy using both of these Takkers and not only that but he actually asked if I wanted anything else up on the walls.
That's a win win situation for us girls.

10.  Sweets (preferably something in Chocolate)

Well my brother-in-law and I may not share the same tastes in drinks  -  I am definitely a coffee drinker and NOT a tea drinker but we both DO LIKE Chocolate.
In the past I have got him some form of chocolate and probably will do so again.

Honestly there are not many people who will not appreciate chocolate and it is the ideal thing to enjoy with your mug of Tea/Coffee, while watching a Dvd or reading your ebook.

10 Gift Ideas for your brother-in-law / brother / father or any man in your life.

and the TIP?

Well just DO NOT buy him hankies.

My Brother-in-law and I have a thing about hankies as presents and it goes way back, yes way back to a certain Christmas over 40 years ago.

Some day I just might share that story with you all.

Now don't forget these suggestions when it comes to Father's Day as well.

If you have other gifts to buy why not click on the link to have a look at my Gift Ideas Pinterest Board

Or try these links:
The 5 Best Board Games
10 Gift Ideas for a Baby Girl's first Birthday / Christmas
10 Gift Ideas for a Baby Boy's first Birthday / Christmas
10 Gift Ideas for a Guitar fanatic

Oh and 


because someone is bound to direct him to this blog post

I am not an affiliate for Amazon so if you buy anything after clicking through from this blog post I will not benefit from it.


Songs for Worship #8

Welcome to the Sunday Series

Last year from January to June I wrote a series on
Why We Worship  where I considered an attribute of God each Sunday.

At different times people mentioned to me about a song that a post reminded them of so I thought that I would now go through those attributes again with a song for each one.

So I'm following the weeks of Why We Worship from last year and I hope you will follow along 
with me.

                         Looking today at 

Faithful One

Faithful one, so unchanging
Ageless one, you're my rock of peace
Lord of all I depend on you
I call out to you, again and again
I call out to you, again and again

You are my rock in times of trouble
You lift me up when I fall down
All through the storm
Your love is, the anchor
My hope is in You alone

If you would like to see the post from last year that this is based on please click on the graphic below


Christian Songs for Kids - He's Alive!

Do you find it hard to get visuals and recordings for different kids songs?

I have always found this a problem so I am now sharing songs that I have used with children providing you with

(Powerpoint or Picture or details of how you can make one) 

(chords also available)

(mp3 or video to learn the song) 

Then if you would like to download the visual of the song there will be a link provided to my creation, or I will direct you to where else you can find it.   

This month I am taking the theme of


I want to do an Easter song now in advance to give you time to prepare.

The song I have chosen is 

He's Alive

Although I first learned this song as part of adult worship I love to do this with the kids groups as they always enjoy clapping to the beat and they need to know that 
Jesus is ALIVE!

My husband is a worship leader but also accompanies the children a lot on the guitar and he will go up the keys while playing this with the kids just as he would in church worship time.

My original visual for this was made many years ago and was a large piece of pink card see below.

This original visual was hand written on A1 card and then covered in clear sticky plastic to help protect it and it did a good job because that visual can still be used today if necessary.

Then more recently I redesigned it on Powerpoint to be projected and also to be printed out on A4 cards


Click to download your free visual of this song for projection and printing if you have not already subscribed to Sandra's Ark

It is available in A4  &  Letter size

(your download will be clear of the watermark)

If you have previously subscribed to Sandra's Ark then you will find the link for all my Resources in any of the emails you have received from me.


He's Alive, the stone's been rolled away
He's Alive, He's no longer where He lay
He's Alive, I can hear the angels say
Let all the earth rejoice He's Alive.

To Download my free printable of these words with chords for guitar or piano click on 
He's Alive - Words & Chords  if you have not already subscribed to Sandra's Ark.

If you have previously subscribed to Sandra's Ark then you will find the link for all my Resources in any of the emails you have received from me.


We always clap throughout this one.


My husband and I have created several singalong videos of Kids Songs and this song is included in that playlist.  


Our Kids Song at the Ark playlist can be found at HERE on YouTube 


Special "Thank You" to my husband Fred who looks after the Recordings and Chords

I have found some versions of a song with this as a chorus except the words are very slightly different and we have always sung it to a different tempo as well.
I have also found the chorus part on it's own attributed to

Shawn Craig

1985 Above And Beyond Music

CCLI Song # 98767

I Hope you enjoy the song and this is a help to you.

If you are interested in finding out about more 

Christian Songs for Kids 

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What are You Putting into Your Mind? - A Dose of Encouragement

There is an affiliate link in this blog post.

Are you a book lover?

Have you ever been involved in a Book Club?

When we lived in Belgium I joined a Book Club organised by mothers from the school our daughter was attending.

I really enjoyed meeting up once a month, having snacks and discussing the book we had all read.

In fact several times I was pleased to have been in the club because I was introduced to books I would normally have not particularly thought of reading.

For example

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.


The Time Traveller's Wife.

Both of which I thoroughly enjoyed.

(Click on the book titles or pics above if you would like to know more about these books)

I am also the type of person who seldom leaves a book unfinished even if it does not always keep my attention and takes me months to actually finish it because I will go off and read other books in between spurts at the boring one.

However during my time in that book club there were two books which I did not finish.

The Life of Pi.

This just seemed to me to be rather boring.
My daughter's then boyfriend was also an avid reader and we would talk about the books we were reading when he would be round at our home finding that we enjoyed a lot of the same books but we just could not agree on this one.  He kept telling me that I had to persevere and get to the second half of the novel and then I would enjoy it.
I could not see the point in that because I did not anticipate any more of my interest being grabbed when it was so dull so far, plus I had heard about an imaginary tiger in a boat so no it was not my scene.

I have still never read the book and don't believe I ever will as there are always more books I want to read than there is time to read them.

The Kite Runner

To me this one was just simply disgusting.

I got to a certain point in the story where I knew I would never finish this book and at that precise moment I was in a Tram from Brussels to Tervuren with my daughter (who also adored The Time Traveller's Wife).  I closed the book and told her I was not going to read any more and also told her that I hoped she would never read that book.

Then when I was about to throw it into the bin at the tram station I stopped and took it on home with me.

Had I changed my mind?
No, I decided to take it home to dispose of rather than have the chance of being the person responsible for someone else coming along and picking it up to read.

I have still not read the book and I know I never will.

When I told the others at the Book Club that I had not finished the book and never would because I felt disgusted by what I had already read their attitude was one of complete amazement.
I was immediately told that the purpose of reading this book was to be able to recognise the mentality, attitudes and behaviour of people in Afghanistan at that time.  It was stated that I would not be able to understand the culture and what it is like to live there.  It was even implied that I was burying my head in the sand and did not want to know what was happening in the world.

These women were wrong.
I knew more about the country than they thought as I knew people who were actually working there.

From that Book Club I learnt that I don't have to finish a book.

If that book doesn't really interest me or is poorly written or is about a subject that I do not want to read about then I can just close the book or even destroy it.

It is my decision what I read.

What we put into our minds affects our thoughts and words and actions and emotions.

It is better to put good wholesome things into our minds.

I have a choice as to what I ALLOW to go into my mind.

Yes the word allow is exactly the word I mean here, it is my mind and I need to take responsibility for what enters it.

I want to take good care of my mind 
and I am sure you want to take good care of your mind.

What you allow into your mind affects your thoughts and your words and your actions and your emotions.

I want to take good care of my mind 
and I am sure you want to take good care of your mind.

God has given us the responsibility to take care of every aspect of our lives and our minds are important to Him as well as our bodies.

You have a choice as to what you ALLOW to go into your mind.

Let's be encouraged that we can make a difference in our thoughts, words, actions and emotions by taking the responsibility for what we allow into our minds and seriously consider what we are reading or looking at or listening to or talking about on a daily basis.

In Philippians 4  verses 8-9  we read the words of the Apostle Paul

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.  
The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

Lot's of times we only think of the first of these two verses.

But look at the the second one:

Paul says do the things we have been taught, seen and heard - take heed of God's Word.
The result will be God's Peace.

If I had read the rest of that book The Kite Runner, I would have absorbed imagery and language into my mind that would have stayed with me forever. 

That is how serious it is to be careful of what we put in our minds.

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