I've been in a right panic and heading into a major depression. PayPal have been telling me all month that the regular donations to my account from my supporters were being cancelled left, right and centre. I assumed I must have upset a lot of people, although, for the life of me, I couldn't work out what I had done. I didn't contact anybody because I think it's a bit crass to go nagging people who are sending me money purely out of the kindness of their hearts.

Fortunately, a couple of days ago, a supporter did get in touch and it became obvious that at least some of these cancellations were cock-ups by PayPal. This gave me a good enough excuse to write to everybody concerned. Unfortunately, quite a few of these people are on vacation at the moment.

Basically, at the end of the day, I'm over a hundred pounds down this month. That's a quarter of what I receive in donations. I am really struggling, having only £10 to get me through to the beginning of next month.

So, I would be extremely grateful if you would consider making a small contribution to my online ministry (the only work I have at the moment), especially if you download my weekly services or just think they are a worthwhile way to reach out to those who, for one reason or another, do not attend a bricks and mortar church regularly.

If you do not do so already and are able to, I would really appreciate you considering a monthly pledge (no matter how small or no matter how large) to my ministry. You can use the following widget for this. Click on the arrows in the option box, choose the amount you would like to donate each month and then follow the online instructions.

Another way to help me financially, and one which costs you nothing, is to buy from Amazon via the widget under the heading MAKE MADPRIEST RICH PLEASE in the righthand sidebar.



"Mortality," a posthumous collection of Christopher Hitchens’s short essays on living with terminal esophageal cancer, is reviewed, very well, by Jeff Sharlet at BOOKFORUM.

Thanks to Tracie for sending the link to me.


But if the government removed the word "insulting" then they would end up outlawing words and behaviour.

Telling the Truth

No one can possibly know what each family's adoption journey will look like - it is a unique experience.  Families prepare in the best way they know how by attending classes, reading books and talking to every adoptive parent they can find.  Adoption Ministry offers what we feel is a truly excellent training that covers most all of the important topics and we emphasize the potential difficulties because we know it's better to be prepared for the worst and be pleasantly surprised if you don't have to deal with those things.  
But God alone knows what will be required of you as an adoptive parent and He alone is able to give you everything you need to do this job.
I want to offer several links to blogs that do a great job of honestly sharing the experience of a few adoptive moms after they've been home with their children adopted from Ethiopia.  I appreciate their transparency and their practical wisdom and I hope you do as well.

We’ve Come A Long Way Baby
@Fun Times With The Reeves Family
No amount of adoption training in the world could've prepared me for the reality of bringing a once-orphaned child into our home… This road you said yes to is hard, and it's a day-to-day battle, but it's so worth it!  Your child is worth every tear… 

The Art of Losing Myself
@Until We Are Six
This has been, and continues to be, without a doubt the most sanctifying experience of my life. I've actually considered filing a petition to rename the process of adoption to ‘sanctification’…

The Truth About Adoption: One Year Later
I get asked all the time: “What is adoption really like?” Well, sit down, my curious friends, because I’m going to walk you through the first year of adoption with absolutely no only a moderate amount of hyperbole...

One Year Home
@My Outside Voice
At times it feels as if E has always been here, giggling and hugging, yelling and running, dancing and singing in our midst. It seems like we must not have really lived before she was a part of us.
There were times, in the last 12 months, that I was convinced we wouldn't make it. Or at least, we all wouldn't make it together. But, God is good, His grace is sufficient, and we have arrived at this point together. Happy, exhausted, inspired, in love, and ready to tackle many years to come…

Feelings and Grace
@We’re All Yours
Some of the feelings I have listed below were short-lived and faded within days of getting home. Others are still part of my daily emotional life. All of them came as a surprise…



1) How to play strip billiards.

2) That the richer you are the more likely it is that women (or men I suppose) of easy virtue will agree to have sex with you.

3) That there's no point learning anything from Harrygate because the vast majority of us are obviously far too old and out of shape to ever get invited to "that" sort of party anyway.


The powerful are very good at choosing their words carefully. Fortunately for those they seek to control, they are rarely as good at choosing their actions so carefully.


Jesus is the Messiah, 
the Holy One and Son of God 
who leads us out of darkness into light,
out of captivity into freedom,
out of sickness into wellbeing,
out of sadness into joy,
out of ignorance into understanding, 
and out of death into eternal life.

(MadPriest from "New Words for Holy Communion)





*Insert witty title here...I'm too tired*

I've been in school for 13 days and I am so flippin' tired. I really thought about just posting a bunch of pictures and asking you to picture read them ;)

I didn't do the link up with pictures from my room because there is still so much I'd like to do. Especially after looking at all of those awesome photos. This was my welcoming bulletin board. I thought it was cute and funny if you get the reference. The tweet birds are from Digital Bakeshop and came in so many cool colors.
I need to preface this with saying I know I am not an artist but I love me some stick figures, lol. We took our first test in first grade this week (a math test for chapter 1) and I wanted to go over my expectations of a good test taker. Testing Timothy was born. We talked about good behaviors and choices we saw and now have an anchor chart to refer to.

Chapter 2 in math is Number Bonds. We learn about two numbers making a larger number. I had the kiddos make number bonds out of colored paper and I broke out the unifix cubes. This year I had magnetic ones for me to use to model composing and decomposing numbers. #PartPartWhole

"Show me two numbers that make a 7."
And when I'd call on the kids they were really using math language. I head "3 and 4 make 7." "1 plus  6 is 7."

A good kinesthetic activity.

Okay, that's all for now. I'm going to finish watching my DVR'ed Big Brother (what a stinkin' flip in the game!!)



In England we pay a heck of a lot for our energy. Electricity, gas and, especially, petrol, it's all very expensive. I believe that we pay more for our energy than most, if not all, other Western European countries, and we certainly pay more than Americans have to fork out. But, whatever the national variations in cost, the basic way that energy bills are calculated are the same, pretty much the world over, I would guess. The more energy you consume, the more you have to pay to the providers of the energy source.

Energy comes out of all sorts of manufacturing processes. In England we have coal fire generators, oil turbine, water turbine, wind farm, nuclear power etc. Some of these processes are a lot more technical and complicated than others. But it doesn't matter how clever the process is, you still pay the same and it is still based on the amount of energy consumed.

And why not? It's a simple, very logical system. We apply it to all sorts of things. The more doughnuts you buy the more money you have to hand over to the doughnut man. The more beer you drink, the emptier your wallet will be at the end of the evening. We all get it. It's not rocket science.

So, I have a suggestion. Let's apply the same principal to wages. Basically, the more energy a worker expends to do his or her job; the more calories they burn, the harder they work, the more money they get. This would seem eminently sensible to me and would get rid of the accidental variables that seem to inform our salary structures at present. It won't matter if your parents were rich, or you went to the same school as the prime minister, or you happened to have the good fortune to be born with a higher IQ than somebody else. At the end of the day wages would be based on one simple factor, the amount of energy expended. Just like everything else.

Now, I do realise that this means my dustman would be driving around in a new BMW every year and that the smarmy git who sat on his arse, picking his nose, all day whilst the bankers further down the chain of command (and salary scale) broke every rule in the book, would be riding to work on a pushbike everyday. But surely this is a small price to pay for a straightforward, logical and, above all, fair, system for rewarding workers whatever their rank.


Posted by Jack on Facebook.



"If this photo were black and white you might think it was from the early 20th Century. Nope it's a picture of Dennis Brent Sawyer of McCall, Idaho this winter, 2012. Dennis posted this on the web, and we figured we would share it with you. Wolves Belong: Stop the Slaughter."

To kill any dog is a betrayal. It is the breaking of a sacred bond that is older than the gods. People who take delight in the killing of a wolf or a fox or any other dog, are not persons as they have no spirit of life within them. Nature screams but they do not hear her for they are not born of her. They are cancer.






The Roman Catholic archbishop-elect of San Francisco, Salvatore Cordileone, controversial for his vigorous support of California's same-sex marriage ban, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and ordered to appear in court, San Diego authorities said Monday. Cordileone was booked into San Diego County jail two hours after being stopped and was released Saturday on a $2,500 bond, sheriff's records show. He was ordered to appear in court Oct. 9.

In a statement released by Cordileone he stated, "I pray that God, in His inscrutable wisdom, will bring some good out of this."

I am sure we are all incredibly shocked by this report. If it is true it would make this papal golden boy a Class A hypocrite and a far greater danger to society than any tinkering with the definition of marriage could ever be. I mean, same gender marriage is not responsible for the maiming and killing of hundreds of thousands of people, many of them just children, every year, whilst drink driving is.

Furthermore, according to the Bible, gay sex is a minor matter, only worthy of two or three mentions in the whole of it's lengthy text. But getting drunk is condemned over and over again in both Testaments and there are numerous stories recorded about the dangers of excessive drinking.

"Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery..."
(Ephesians 5:18)

Basically, Cordileone has been seduced into indulging in the sins of the flesh. As the Roman Catholic Church is primarily concerned with condemning the sins of the flesh, I cannot see how this drunk priest can now head up the San Franciscan branch of the war against gays without showing his church up as a major practitioner of hypocrisy. And that would never do.

Big thanks to Alison for sending me this news report.



All are welcome to join me in taking communion. 

The order of service is posted beneath the audio file so that you can join in with the service. The words in bold type are the ones we say together.

If you want to physically partake of communion you will require a small piece of bread and a small amount of drink (preferably made from grapes and containing alcohol). How you view the nature of this part of the service is completely up to you.

The order of service is posted beneath the audio file so that you can join in with the service. The words in bold type are the ones we say together.

Click on the arrow on the player to stream.
Download via the MP3 icon below the player.
Download podcast via iTUNES.

MP3 File

CLICK HERE for order of service and credits (opens in new window)

D5 Questions

I am trying to implement Daily 5 into my classroom this year. We've worked on Read to Self and Read to Someone and are continuing to build our stamina. I have finished our kindergarten review (the first weeks of school in our reading series are review) and I've finished our Beginning of Year (boy) assessments to get a feel of the the students' varied abilities so I'm going to start Word Work soon.

My questions:
Though I have the ability to teach the subjects in any order that I want I do have to use the textbooks and workbooks provided. Which I'm okay with.

That said
  1. How many minutes do you 'carve' out for D5? (This might be my main question)
  2. In first grade how high do you build your stamina?
  3. Do you (in practical teaching land not I wish I could in an ideal situation land) do all 5 daily?
  4. How often do you switch the books in their book boxes? Do you do it or do you have the kiddos?
  5. I put Ranger Rick magazines in my book boxes...do you think school appropriate magazines are okay?
  6. Do you choose to give them the freedom as suggested? I think I'm going to assign them to a group and let them choose an activity within that station.
  7. Do you sometimes have the whole class doing one of the five things? (ie whole class Work on Writing time or Read to Self time)
  8. When your students are building their stamina and are quiet, still, looking through books, and minding their own buisness but you don't really think they're picture reading or real reading do you think it's okay?
    1. Since it's the beginning of the year is it more about reading or more about learning the procedures/rules?

Tips for Attachment


There are so many great books and resources on attachment.  We have many listed on our website and are always looking for more good ones. 

We thought it might be helpful to post a list of strategies that are targeted by age group.  Not all of these will work with your child’s temperament, developmental age and learning style but these are some proven strategies that promote healthy attachment.  Pay close attention to your child’s comfort level as you choose activities to help them attach.  As we often tell our families, high structure (consistent, repetitive, predictable, boundaries) and high nurture (affection, compassion, loving touch, mercy) are the key elements for children in the first months and years of being home.  Noticing their needs and meeting them immediately, over and over.

  1. Wear your baby (sling, Snuggly, Ergo-type carrier)
  2. Read, sing and talk to your baby
  3. Play games with baby on your lap (peek-a-boo, patty-cake)
  4. Eye contact while feeding (good reason to keep bottles for as long as possible – sippy cup also works), rocking, singing
  5. Skin-to-skin time - kisses, rocking, and holding
  6. Talk to your baby when you are out of sight
  7. Be there when baby wakes up
  8. Cereal or cracker kisses game – put Cheerio between your lips and allow baby to eat it from your lips
  9. Learn your baby’s cues and respond to them quickly
  10. Mimic baby’s vocalizations and expressions

  1. Eye contact games (get at eye level with your child):  rolling ball to him when he looks at you; mirror images of silly faces with each other; games w/stickers on nose or between eyes; blinking games;
  2. Where is Mommy/Daddy? – use those names to describe yourself and reinforce who Mommy and Daddy are
  3. Go fishing – use goldfish crackers, pretzel sticks & peanut butter on three separate dishes.  Child has to dip pretzel in peanut butter and stick a goldfish on it then feed it to Mommy or Daddy while making eye contact and vice versa.
  4. Singing familiar songs and make up lyrics using child’s name and the fact that you are her forever mommy or daddy
  5. Face-to-face games to encourage eye contact
  6. Caterpillar game – pretend you and your child are caterpillars in a cocoon of blankets or a sleeping bag, laying quietly or singing together.  Then break out of the cocoon and become butterflies, flying around the room.
  7. Put lotion on after baths – make this a routine
  8. Give ‘bear’ hugs – baby bear: soft and gentle, mama bear: squeeze tight, daddy bear: with a loud roar
  9. Play ‘mirror’ – take turns who is the person and who is the mirror
  10. Hold them in your arms and feed them 10 M&M’s/raisins/grapes one at a time, telling them 10 reasons you love them

  1. Frequent verbalization of:
    * family rules and norms (ie. In our family we say please)
    * basics of relationships (ie. Mom and Dad will always keep you safe)
    * similarities between adopted child and others in the family
    * yourself by name to reinforce your relationship (ie. “Daddy loves you”)
  2. Encourage but don’t force eye contact and touch - Touch your child on his head, knee, arm, shoulder as you pass them
  3. Go back to developmental stages you missed with them – holding, rocking, lap time, reading to them, singing to them. Children regress during times of stress.
  4. Define what you’re doing as you teach what your family rules and expectations are (ie. A good mother makes sure her child has plenty of sleep)
  5. Be willing to discuss their past and their adoption with them –
    What happened to me?  Did I make it happen?  Who’s going to take care of me?  Will it happen again?
  6. Encourage them to verbalize their feelings instead of acting them out.  Take advantage of meal prep time and time in the car, even if no eye contact happens.  Tally the number of emotional expressions and work to increase them.
  7. Play with them at their level. Build fun and silliness into daily routines – this is especially important even when they’re being difficult and challenging because it communicates unconditional love
  8. Chew bubble gum together and have bubble blowing contests or style each other's hair, using these opportunities for eye contact
  9. Take him or her on a special date somewhere they would love
  10. Minimize extra-curricular activities and strive for consistency in mealtimes, bedtime and schedule.
Please remember:  Don’t hesitate to get professional help when you need it! 

**Coming soon – Signs of Attachment

Sources:  Sally Carmen – Center for Therapeutic Intervention, A4everFamily.org, AdoptiveFamilies.com, Focusonthefamily.com


Freebie Friday

I <3 freebies. I created this little game this week when I noticed several of my firsties were having a difficult time with one more and one less. This is an individual math game and can be used during instruction or math centers. Each student needs one die. They'll roll the die and record the number in the middle column. In the left column they'll write the number that is one less and in the right column they'll write the number that is one more. I also put a number line on the page to help those visual counters. Enjoy, I'm off to download some loot, haha.

Want more freebies?? Check out the blog hop


Oh, this is so very good.
I guarantee satisfaction if you press play.




He was a widower and she a widow. They had known each other for a number of years being high school classmates and having attended class reunions in the past without fail. This 60th anniversary of their class, the widower and the widow made a foursome with two other singles. They had a wonderful evening, their spirits high. The widower throwing admiring glances across the table. The widow smiling coyly back at him. Finally, he picked up courage to ask her, "Will you marry me?"

After about six seconds of careful consideration, she answered, "Yes,..... yes I will!"

The evening ended on a happy note for the widower. But the next morning he was troubled. Did she say Yes? or did she say No?? He couldn't remember. Try as he would, he just could not recall. He went over the conversation of the previous evening, but his mind was blank. He remembered asking the question but for the life of him could not recall her response. With fear and trepidation he picked up the phone and called her. First, he explained that he couldn't remember as well as he used to. Then he reviewed the past evening. As he gained a little more courage he then inquired of her.

"When I asked if you would marry me, did you say Yes or did you say No?"

"Why you silly man, I said, Yes. Yes I will. And I meant it with all my heart."

The widower was delighted. He felt his heart skip a beat.

Then she continued. "And I am so glad you called because I couldn't remember who asked me!"


This is why I strongly recommend that you just shake hands during the sharing of the Peace in a suburban Church of England service.

Any excuse...

Thanks to Ellie for this one.


Oh, shit. I think there was a time in the distant past when I had a haircut very similar to that. Hopefully there is no extant photographic record.


I am suffering from "locked out syndrome."
I am just one of a multitude.



I work the graveyard shift of prayer, the nights that seem empty to some, but to those with a burdened heart, the nights that never end. I stay alert to the midnight call of the soul, the cry of one far away, whose spirit voice reaches out through deserted streets, to find someone, anyone, who can help remove the pain. I do not keep my vigil because I am good, but because, like you, I have been there, to the all night cafe, where you go when you just don't want to be alone. Can you stay awake with me, God asked, and yes, we said, yes, we can, this time, we can.



"If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem."

Silence, diplomatic, "politically correct" or otherwise, is not an option and is, in fact, infinitely worse than ignorance.


The World Council of Churches is to hold a consultation on the plight of religious minorities and the misuse of the blasphemy law in Pakistan from 17 to 19 September to coincide with the 21st Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

“The public hearing aims to heighten discussions at international levels on the deteriorating situation of the human rights of minorities in Pakistan and misuse of blasphemy law, through which the death sentence was made mandatory for blaspheming. We hope to strengthen initiatives that have greater impact on public and governments by involving ecumenical advocacy for minorities in the country," said Dr Mathews George Chunakara, the director of the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs.

About bloody time. It really annoys me how so many Christians, liberals most definitely included, refuse to condemn the persecution of Christians in non-Christian countries. I am not a racist. I am just somebody who sees no intrinsic difference between the persecution of gay people by Christians and the persecution of people of the non-Islamic faiths by muslims. There are no Christians in the world today, not even of the most fundamentalist beliefs who treat people of other faiths so violently. There is no predominantly Christian country where muslims have less rights than everybody else. Both the muslims and the jews need to stop all discrimination towards people of other religions. The practice is both uncivilised and unenlightened. It's a remnant from the Middle Ages and if countries want to be regarded as civilised and democratic they should leave such evil practices in the past, get real and join the modern world.


Thanks to Planettransgender for bringing this advert to the attention of the English speaking world.

Any excuse....



Several religious leaders in Kassel, the western German city that is currently hosting the semi-decadal art exhibition Documenta, have protested against a drawing advertising a show in the city's caricature museum.

"I find it problematic when a caricature disparages the very heart of a faith," Barbara Heinrich, a Protestant official in the city, told German news agency DPA.

The cartoon in question is hanging outside the Kulturbahnhof, a cultural center which houses the caricature museum, known as Caricatura. It depicts Jesus in agony on the cross as a voice calls down from heaven, "Hey, you. I fucked your mother."

The artist behind the caricature, Mario Lars, expressed surprise at the burgeoning debate. "It was not my intention to hurt the feelings of the faithful," Lars said. "I was just making a joke."

The mini-imbroglio recalls a recent scandal involving the German satirical magazine Titanic. The publication recently printed an image of Pope Benedict XVI soiling himself front and back under the headline: "The Leak Has Been Found." The Vatican was not amused and filed a cease and desist order against the magazine.

As the rest of the world discovered when they invaded Poland, Germans do not do subtlety. Fart jokes are about the limit of their humour.

If you are going to take the mick out of the virgin birth then at least make the effort to give the joke some depth and, if possible, a bit of biting social commentary. Like this photoshop from the English humourist, MadPriest, for example: