Author: Joe (page 2 of 32)

End of Year Shows 

Ever since I started teaching, I’ve always been involved in helping produce end of year shows. They are one of the major highlights of the job for me.

It’s amazing to watch young people you are working with lose their timidity and perform at their absolute maximum to the joy of the watching audience. To ensure this happens, I strive to make sure the show is as polished as possible.

It’s not a prerequisite to be involved though…I just love to get stuck in.

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Outnumbered

I’d done a weekend by myself before with the two children.

But this was different.

This was on location in a log cabin in the middle of nowhere surrounded by fields and hills.

Oh and Harry really wasn’t feeling well.

This oughta be interesting.
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On top of the world

Our Austrian holiday “peaked” at 2600m on top of the Wetterkreutz.
Sophie and Harry’s first mountain was certainly a good ‘un.
I’ve always loved mountain walking but always on the condition we get to scale summits and tick them off on my mental list.
So when Andrew suggested we go on a longer walk I jumped at the chance to notch my first Alpine peak.
It was a real excitement to pull on my boots, pack up a chunky picnic and look up at the imposing rock face that stood ahead of us.
The only slight complication was the addition of two small children into the mix.
And there was no question of them staying at home.
We’d come prepared – my wife had a sling for Harry and I had a backpack to carry Sophie up. We were also to hugely benefit from a ski lift taking us 2000m of the way. From there though it was climbing steeply in the heat of the day with the children in tow.
It was hard work if I’m honest but we invented a guessing game to keep us entertained. It essentially involved me shouting animals and Sophie shouting colours. Plenty of blue penguins and yellow meerkats on offer.
Towards the top, a sheet of snow – more like compacted hail – made life even tougher. Andrew picked a way over it carefully and I followed suit. Sophie was hanging out of the backpack, shifting my centre of gravity really unhelpfully but I was able to navigate it.

Next came my wife with Harry and he’d decided to wake up by this point. As she tested the ground, his sling slumped forward putting pressure on the back of her neck and weighing her down. She did marvellously well though and made it across.
From there we could really see the distinctive cross which marked the top of the mountain. Just a short zigzag round the summit, a zip across some more snow and then we were there.

Views from the top were absolutely glorious and we even managed to get a classic shot of us looking like a Christian missionary family. (There would certainly be worse places to work).

For the way down I took Harry and Andrew carried Sophie. The temperature had sunk as we’d ascended but this swiftly changed and it was hot and uncomfortable by the time we made it back to the ski lift.
(Naturally my inner child kicked in as we approached the finish line and I raced away from the others so Harry and I secured a glorious victory. At least in my head we did anyway.)
We’d done it – first mountain for the littlies conquered. Many more to come I hope.

A death-defying pizza trip

On our recent holiday to Austria, I thought it would be a tremendous idea to nip over the border into Italy and have a pizza.

My wife could have coffee, Sophie could have ice cream, Harry could have…er…bread(?) and everyone would be happy.

After all, it was only about 50km to the border. Simple.

Little did I know what I was letting myself in for…

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Thanks for Harry and Sophie

Three years ago, we were delighted to have the opportunity to publicly thank God for the gift of our little girl.

Today, it’s Harry’s turn and we can’t wait. 

Below are a few thoughts on the matter which are still important today.

We believe he gave us the extraordinary gift of this child and want to acknowledge that.

My wife and I both come from the Anglican tradition of baptising/christening infants, so why is it that we’re not involving any water?

And what exactly is a thanksgiving anyway?

Hopefully these few thoughts will try and answer those questions – although I am a long way from being an expert!

The New Testament plainly states that all those who belong to Christ’s people ought to be baptised. It is a command from Jesus himself that those who follow him are baptised and publicly recognised as one of his, even if that process has already gone on inside long before.

The question is when?

Many people choose to baptise their tiny babies. This ceremony welcomes them into the church even at such a tender age. But where does this come from? In the New Testament, baptisms that take place are of adults who believe, with infants unmentioned, although household baptisms would suggest infants were involved.

baptism

Our current church usually does Thanksgiving services rather than Baptism services because it generally adheres to the idea of “Believer’s Baptism.” In other words, an individual should be able to understand and profess their own faith in Jesus before being baptised. Any earlier would be inappropriate. Therefore, a tiny baby who cannot articulate or understand ought not to be baptised.

Whilst I have crudely summarised it here, this position of Believer’s Baptism with a Thanksgiving for children is hugely popular amongst Christians, because it gives thanks to God for a child’s life but emphasises the individual’s own personal relationship with Him.

However, the grey area surrounds whether a child born to believing Christian parents has been brought into God’s people by association. Are they part of “the covenant”, the family of God receiving the blessings of his promises, or do they have to make that step of profession themselves?

A child baptist would argue that God welcomes children of believers into his covenant. Therefore, just like in the Old Testament when eight day old babies were marked out as his people through circumcision, it is perfectly acceptable, indeed appropriate, to baptise babies.

This shows that they have been included, until such a day that they decide to step out of it. It places the emphasis on what God has done in Jesus to save his people, rather than on the individual’s personal response to God’s grace

Christians have debated this for centuries and for my wife and I, it’s simply not a huge deal. We accept the Bible’s teaching that a member of God’s church should be baptised, but as for when it ought to happen… well, we’re not sure. Both sides of the argument have strong points and flaws.

We’ve decided to go with a Thanksgiving Service because we are certain that it is right to thank God for Harry, but not certain over whether it is right to baptise him. It seems the best thing to do at this juncture with a prayerful option to revisit the decision in coming years.

As long as God is given the glory, the praise and the thanks, nothing else matters.

A thanksgiving declares our faith in God, our dependence on Him for raising our child and our thanks to Him for his life. We have also asked some godparents whom we love and trust to pray for our little boy and help us bring him up to know Jesus for himself.

Let’s just hope Harry can handle the situation and not get too distressed – particularly when our minister Rich takes hold of him. No pressure!

Tales from Airport Border Control…

OK, so we’d survived the night of all of us in one room. Just about.

And we’d had an incredible holiday in Austria (more in future posts).

But we really hit a low point with the security check on the way back. I mean, we’ve only been flying for twenty years…

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The whole family in one room. Worst. Night. Ever.

Coming away on holiday is an absolute treat. Such a privilege to take a step out of daily life and travel away, in our case to visit our very generous relatives who live near Innsbruck, Austria.

The process of leaving home though can be a little bit arduous, a fact that was hammered home to us by our overnight stay at the Premier Inn, Gatwick where the four of us were crammed into a family room of four beds and a cot.

It did not go well.

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Mr and Mrs

Well it actually happened.

Sarah not only turned up at the bottom of the aisle but she sauntered down with a huge smile on her face and tied the knot with Rick.

And I even managed to remember the rings that made it official.

Happy days.

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My Best Mate’s Wedding

Twenty years…

Twenty years!

That’s how long it’s been since I first met my best mate Rick at high school, complete with a cocky look on his face and a rather dodgy hairstyle. (or was that me?)

Now he’s well into his 30s, his hair has improved slightly and he still likes to wind people up – in a push-your-luck kind of way.

Today he’s getting married – how did it come to this??

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“The Dream Feed”

First with Sophie and now with Harry I have signed myself up to the “dream feed” – a late evening bottle to give them a boost and stop them waking my wife up earlier than she needs on the night shift.

It’s always been a special time of bonding with the children, where I can do my bit to help out and look after them in a way they absolutely need.

Six months in though and the parameters have changed and my body is starting to feel the pace…

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