Tilda Bunny Dolls!!

I recently discovered Tilda dolls on pinterest and I think they are sooooo adorable!! The best part about these dolls is that they are so easy to make from scraps of fabric that you have building up left over from various other sewing projects. Using up excess fabric not only makes these dolls FREE to make, but it adds cuteness factor when your daughters dolly has a dress that matches her, or she has a tunic made out of your favourite old blanket. 

I started to make this cute little bunny for my daughter's christmas present, but my son saw me and asked if he could help me make it. Always encouraging of helpfulness, I asked him to pass me various things I needed from my sewing box and help choose the right coloured threads to complete the task.  As the bunny began to take shape he fell in love and asked me to make him one for christmas too. Obviously, I told him he'll have to wait until christmas to find out - which is mummy code for 'of course I'll make you one, but you have to act surprised when you unwrap it'.

The only pattern I could find for the bunny (which is probably my favourite of all the dolls) was in russian, but I managed to piece it all together and it came out pretty cute. I'm still not sure what all the pieces on the pattern were for and I couldn't find the tunic at all, but luckily it's fairly easy to make up that part.  

If you'd like a copy of the pattern in english, I've done my best to recreate it for you! 
I'll try to answer any questions, but I think it's self explanatory. Let me know if you get stuck - or you could refer to the original if your russian is better than mine!

Bunny Pattern

Crustless Pumpkin Pie!

I know I'm not the first person in history to attempt a GAPS legal thanksgiving meal, but it feels daunting all the same.

There are actually some great paleo recipes out there that can easily be slightly adapted to create a GAPS legal version. My children are slightly obsessed with pumpkin pie, so we've made several of them already this year, testing out various recipes and I've finally put together the one that we will be using for our family celebration in November.

In case anybody else wants to try it (or tweak it and share results!) here is my recipe.

*disclaimer* it's really easy to make a pie crust from butter, date and crispy nuts blended together, but my kids just love the filling, so I don't bother to get my blender dirty twice!

2 cups fresh pumpkin
1/2 cup of raw cream (or extra thick double cream if you can't get raw)
5 eggs
Zest of one lemon
Zest of one orange
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1.5 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 cup of honey

Whip eggs in a blender until super fluffy, then add all the other ingredients and whip some more.

Bake at 170c for 45-50 minutes, or until the centre is set and slightly jiggly. If the edges start to brown before the centre is done, just wrap some foil over it, or turn the heat down slightly.

I know traditionally you should refrigerate and serve chilled with whipped cream, but my family can't wait that long. Especially when it smells so good fresh out of the oven!! We eat it hot, drizzle with a little extra honey or with GAPS legal ice cream melting over the top.

Second servings are chilled, if there is any left!!

Nestle Free

Next week is World Nestle Free Week

Nestle free zoneWe've been boycotting nestle products for years, I assumed everyone knew why, but recently more than one friend has given me a confused look and asked why, so I figure it's time for a post - and with it being Nestle-free week it's perfect timing.

Even if you don't boycott nestle all the time, we'd encourage you to try for one week. See if you can live without those products and manage on other brands.

So why should you boycott nestle? Their KitKat is fair trade, right?

Nestle is not a fair trade company, only 1% of it's cocoa is fairly traded and they have still not delivered on their 2001 promise to end child slavery in their supply chain, since then they have been taken to court in the US over child labour and slavery laws.

Nestle pushes formula instead of breastmilk in developing countries in ways that are in breach of international standards for advertising. They claim that their milk 'protects' infants when they know full well that "Improved breastfeeding practices and reduction of artificial feeding could save an estimated 1.5 million children a year." (UNICEF)

Here are ten facts you should know about Nestle (taken from BabyMilkAction's leaflet):

  1. Nestlé Fairtrade KitKat benefits the 6,000 farmers who are in the scheme, but millions of people outside the scheme are dependent on Nestlé. In 2001 Nestlé agreed to the Harkin-Engel protocol for ending child slavery in its cocoa supply chain within 5 years. It has been taken to court by US campaigners for failing to deliver. Only 1% of Nestlé's cocoa is certified as Fairtrade.
  2. Nestlé launched Fairtrade Partners' Blend coffee in 2005 and, as with KitKat, uses it to pretend it has changed how it treats farmers. Only 0.1% of coffee farmers dependent on Nestlé are involved and Nestlé is accused of driving down prices for the rest.
  3.  Nestlé violates the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes more than any other company.  The Code and other Resolutions were adopted by the World Health Assembly to ensure that mothers are not discouraged from breastfeeding and to ensure breastmilk substitutes are used safely if they are needed.  UNICEF says: "Improved breastfeeding practices and reduction of artificial feeding could save an estimated 1.5 million children a year." (State of the World’s Children 2001). 
  4. Nestlé knows that babies fed on formula are more likely to become sick than breastfed babies and in poor settings they are more likely to die. Yet in April 2009 executives rolled out a new global strategy promoting its formula with logos claiming it 'protects' babies.
  5. Nestlé drives down standards for the baby food industry as a whole. In 2007 its competitors tried to stop it advertising infant formula in supermarkets in South Africa, but Nestlé defended its strategy before the Advertising Standards Authority, which it part funds. Now all companies may start advertising.
  6. The International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) launched its Breaking the Rules monitoring report with documented examples of violations from 67 countries in November 2007. The report contains many examples of Nestlé’s aggressive promotion of formula and inappropriate marketing of baby foods.
  7. A former employee in Pakistan, Syed Aamar Raza, has exposed corrupt practices, including bribing of doctors, implicating staff at the highest level of the company.  Aamar says he was threatened when he raised this with managers.  
  8. At a European Parliament Public Hearing into Nestlé malpractice in Pakistan in November 2000 UNICEF’s Legal Officer commented that Nestlé’s Instructions are weaker than the Code and Resolutions. UNICEF has called on it to change them.
  9. Nestlé refuses to debate in public with Baby Milk Action having lost a series in 2001-2004. Baby Milk Action has invited Nestlé to participate in a public tribunal with an in-depth examination of claim and counter claim and the chance to call expert witnesses. Nestlé has refused. 
  10. Nestlé's Global Public Affairs Manager has admitted Nestlé is 'widely boycotted' - in fact, it is one of the four most boycotted companies on the planet, according to an independent survey. The boycott has stopped some Nestlé malpractice and with your support we can force Nestlé to remove its 'protect' claims from formula labels and accept our four-point plan for saving lives and ending the boycott.

You can find a list of Nestle products to boycott on the BabyMilkAction Boycott List but here are some of the most famous ones:

And finally the one that makes me personally the most disappointed:

I was working for The Body Shop in 2006 when it was taken over by L'oreal. The way it was handled internally was appalling, even hours before the news was announced that the sale had gone ahead stores where getting phone calls assuring us that it would not happen and that the Body Shop would NEVER sell to a company that had anything to do with Nestle, including L'Oreal.

Out of six team members in our small shop, four of us handed in our notice. Sad times.

Next week is halloween, and for those of you celebrating with candy, I'd really urge you to consider boycotting this year. Candy companies take huge profits around halloween, easter and christmas, so if you can join the boycott at these times, even if you can't manage it all year, you can be part of making a significant dent in Nestle's profits, and hopefully encourage them to make some changes regarding how they run their company.

You could also consider handing out candy in nestle free wrappers and putting up a nestle free poster to help spread the word.

Technology Is Neutral #cnmac12

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I've been having a lot of discussions recently with Christian friends who have chosen not to use various forms of technology (mostly Facebook, but even email came up!) because of the negativity that they have seen or experienced with that technology. Cyber-bullying, narcissism and voyeurism have come up, along with inappropriate relationships and affairs.

Listening to Vicky Beeching yesterday on BBC radio 2 she reminded us that all technology is neutral. The printing press was invented neutral and has been used for good (production of wholesome literature and textbooks for education) as well as bad (pornography and propaganda that fuels wars). Even fire as a discovery is neutral, there is no inherent morality in the tool, what we do with it (cook food, or burn down someone's home) is what makes the difference.

I was so refreshing to meet so many like minded people at the Christian new media conference who are using neutral technologies, like twitter, Facebook, wordpress and blogger, in such a positive way. Our pastor this Sunday, talking about something completely different, said this:

The opposite of abuse is not no use; it's right use.
                                                         - Simon Holley

As Christians, we are called to bring God's presence wherever we go. How can God's presence reach people through social media if His people are not present within social media? Our answer to cyber bullying cannot be to turn a blind eye and not get involved, we have to stand up, call out our friends on poor behaviour and encourage those who feel like they are forever ignored or abused.

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As a mum of young children, I can't travel quickly or easily, so sometimes these connections are the only way I get to interact with friends who aren't local. Nowadays, my face to face interactions seem to happen at church or my husbands work. But I still love my friends from college and university, and I still want to communicate God's love for them, even if I only get to do it by taking five minutes and commenting on their status update or sending them a private message of encouragement.

As the church we need to work out what right use of new technologies is and implement it; not abandon it in fear of abuse.

Telling a Story #cnmac12

People are longing for stories to live by, inspirational characters who ignite passion and purpose in their lives, who they can emulate and aspire to live like. Why is it that we love epic dramas like Lord of the Rings and Gladiator? Why was the nation, in fact the world, gripped by Harry Potter?

Today I was at Premier Radios Christian New Media Awards and Conference, hosted by the lovely Vicky Beeching. It was my first time at the conference, although I believe Premier and Codec have been running it for three years.

It was great and I'm so looking forward to sharing some of the things I learned there over the next few weeks (I won't overload you with information from it right now as that would be a ridiculously long blog post!)

One of the things that really captured me from the  first speaker, Sheridan Voysey, was the idea of how people were longing to hear stories.

Being a homeschooling family, with a bit of a Charlotte Mason influence, we love great 'living books' with godly role models that cultivate excellent character in our children, like the lamplighter books.

Sheridan pointed out that since our nation has lost it's desire to be known for it's judeo-christian 'story' people are looking for something else to live by. He suggested that Anne Rice's books 'The Vampire Chronicles' appeal to the gothic community, whilst Eat, Pray, Love speaks to an entirely different group of people. Whatever the genre, people are looking for a guiding narrative to help them through life.

Sheridan claimed that people have four basic longings; meaning, guidance, liberation and love. God can and will meet all of these needs, but if we don't have Him, we try to fill the void with other things - to get those needs met in other ways. We listen to stories about people who have supposedly got these things sorted and try to make changes that will bring us meaning, liberation...love.

With that in mind I want to share more of my story. Not that I'm inspirational or that I have everything figured out and you should try to emulate me, but this blog started out with me wanting to write and share my story. To be a chronicle of what was happening in my life. Somewhere along the way it turned into some kind of GAPS recipe book with the odd post on family.

Whilst I'm still going to share recipes with you, I want to start being more transparent, sharing with you the good, the bad and the ugly. You'll still be able to get recipes here, but if that's all you are coming for then I suggest you follow more GAPS friendly board on pinterest instead.
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I want to share my story with you, because it's not just my story. It's the story of an incredible God, working through an imperfect me and slowly changing me to be more like Him. There's going to slip ups and back slides along the way, but that's part of the adventure and I hope you'll bear with me through it.

I'm going to be vulnerable with you. Please be kind, but most of all please be honest. I'm inviting you into a dialogue with me. The comments section is available with every post. Use it to call me out on poor character. Remind me that I promised you more than just recipes! Discuss conflicting ideas about my theology. I want your input. I'll share my story, His story, but I want you to be part of it with me. 

Elderberry Elixir

I've been feeling wretched the last week or so. I've not been sure whether it was a die-off reaction from GAPS or a nasty bug - but now I'm convinced it's both.

Whilst there is no real cure for die-off except to take plenty of detoxing baths, I can do something about the cold/flu part.

Elderberries are incredibly helpful with cold and flu viruses, in fact according to Prescription for Herbal Healing, “a clinical study of elderberry found that it cured 90 percent of flu infections within seventy-two hours. In the same trial, patients receiving a placebo needed six days.” Source 

I felt better within just an hour of taking a handful of elderberries, but I'm currently whipping up a batch of this elderberry elixir that I found a recipe for in one of my old books from when I studied complementary medicine. It smells amazing and I know I'm going to love it. There's a lot of ginger in it though, which I suspect will make my children cry. Putting that in perspective though, if they get a secondary chest infection (strong possibility for Elisha) then they will have to take antibiotics, which also make them cry and have a whole host of other
nasty side effects, so I'm going to make them take the elixir. 

Here's the recipe if you want to give it a try:

- 1/4 cup dried elderberries (we collected ours for free in the local park and washed and dehydrated them a while back) 
- 2 inches of ginger root, peeled and grated
- 2 cups of distilled water
- a couple of cinnamon sticks
- 1/2 a cup of honey (preferably raw) 
- zest and juice of one lemon

Place the berries, zest, ginger, cinnamon and water in a pan and simmer for about 45 minutes. Do not allow the mixture to boil! 
When it's done you should see that the volume is reduced by half. 
Strain the liquid through a cheesecloth/muslin/coffee filter and allow to cool to room temperature.
Stir in the honey and lemon juice. 

An adult can take 1-2 tbsp up to four times daily. 
Children (over one year old) should take 1-2 tsp three times daily.

***UPDATE*** Both my kids have taken this without complaint and Will even asked for a second spoon! Success!

Lime & Clementine Curd

I recently pinned a great recipe for GAPS legal tangy lemon curd (if you don't follow me on pinterest, you should ;o) ) from the Nourishing Gourmet

Photo from The Nourishing Gourmet
It's a great, frugal, recipe because unlike some lemon curd recipes, she uses whole eggs instead of just the yolks. Sometimes I like to see a recipe that uses just yolks, because we can use the whites to make macaroons, but today I went with the whole egg. 

I did however, adjust the recipe slightly, because I didn't have enough lemon! One measly half lemon in my fridge - but I wasn't going to let that stop me. Let me introduce you to Lime & Clementine Curd:

The recipe goes like this:

4 eggs (you could use 5 egg yolks instead if you wanted to make it richer)
1/2 cup of honey
Zest and juice of a lime
Zest and juice of a Clementine
7 tbsp coconut oil

Step one
Place eggs and zest in the food processor with the honey and blitz until really fluffy.
Whilst that's going on, melt the coconut oil in a pan.

Step two
Pour warm coconut oil into the processor whilst it's still running, and add the juice.

Step three
Return everything to the pan and whisk over a medium heat until thick and creamy - You'll know when it happens, it's really sudden.

Step four
Place in jars to cool and then put in the fridge. 

I want this to be green, because it tastes like it's green, but unfortunately the eggs make it yellow. Anyhow, it's a delicious way to get a bit of extra coconut oil in your life. So enjoy!

From the Archives...

I found this on my old blog, which I had totally forgotten about, but thought it would be fun to share. It's always great to celebrate when God has done something amazing, and it seemed a shame for this post not to have made it over. 

Dated December 15: A healing testimony

Something a bit different today, we had our regular bible study on Friday, and although not many could make it, we were still really blessed.

I asked Christine if she would mind to tell you a bit about her experience of God's healing that night and she was kind enough to share. So, here it is:-

I have had a long term problem with polyps in my sinuses and nasal cavity.  I received prayer at a church we were visiting with friends after somebody had a word of knowledge about sinuses.

 My husband and I had discussed me returning to the ENT [ear, nose and throat] specialist that week because he could hear that I was having trouble breathing. As soon as I heard this word being given, I thought "anything to avoid further surgery!" so I went to the prayer team and asked them if they would pray for me, which they did.  

I didn't get anybody's name, but if it was you at the Burn Church in St Albans - thanks for your obedience!  I felt a strange buzzing sensation in my face and my teeth felt very very sensitive, but I was still very stuffy and couldn't really let them know that I had been healed, although something was definitely happening.

During the week following, I didn't do much to help matters...I have a bureau-style dressing table with a flip-down front.  It has a habit of flipping down without encouragement, and did this whilst my face was under it.  It hit the bridge of my nose and I could feel that it had caused some internal bruising, but the real pain was at my septum, where the bone had been pushed into my face.  Ouch!  

I forgot all about the prayer I had received and focussed on breathing through my mouth and telling people how much my nose hurt.  

About 3 days later, we were worshipping at my sister Kj's house, when I felt that buzzing sensation again, but quite strongly this time.  I reached up to touch it and there was no pain, no matter how much or where I pressed it.  God healed my nose without me asking, just because He can, and He loves to.

 And I can breathe clearly, so I wont be needing to see Dr Brown.  Sorry, Bupa.  

Parenting Fail/Success

I got myself into a bit of a bind this morning. I'd made one of those stupid parenting ultimatums. You know the ones:
'You are not allowed off this chair until...'
'You can't have anything else to eat until you...'
'You'll never be allowed to [insert favourite activity here] again unless...'

Yeah. You know the ugly statements that are ridiculously unenforceable and that you just have to hope your child breaks before you do because in reality you are not going to make them sit on that chair if they need the loo, you won't starve them until they eat that thing they hate (well, not long term anyway. It might go mouldy before they agree to it...) and you secretly enjoy taking them to that activity and it would be such a shame for the whole family to stop it over one silly, stubborn incident.
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Anyway, I got myself into one of these with a child who is a stubborn as I am (he get's it from his dad...? maybe...?) and after nearly an hour and a half of screaming I rang my sister for help.

'What can I do? He won't back down! I know I shouldn't have said it, but now if I let it slide it's like I'm admitting that screaming will get you what you want...'

She had some great advice. It involved losing a little of my pride and just backing down.

The reality is I shouldn't have made the threat in the first place. My anger got the better of me and I said something stupid. I'm human. My kids should know that. I'm not God and I make mistakes, and as we are homeschooling they are probably going to see a whole lot more of my mistakes than most children get to see of their parents. It's good for them. Admitting I'm not perfect helps them to admit that they aren't perfect either.

Anyway, back to the advice. Christine thought I should try to phrase stuff more carefully. Instead of 'you can't do this because...', say something like 'I'm not letting you do this because...' It puts the control squarely back where it belongs, with the parent, reinforcing that you are not in charge, whilst also being something polite enough that you wouldn't mind hearing your child repeat it to someone else ('I'm not letting you snatch my toy' is better than 'don't snatch!')

Christine recommended I take away the thing that was upsetting him and let him leave the situation, but tell him I'm really upset with the way this has turned out.

I did exactly that, and you know what? He turned around and said 'okay then, I'll do it.'

No tears, no tantrums. He. just. did. it.

I'm still slightly in shock, and I'm so glad I have a good christian sister who I can turn to when I do lose control of a situation with my kids.It happens to all of us, but here are some ideas that may help to evaluate when you do:

  • When you lose control because your child because they are being disrespectful or disobedient, whose agenda for your child has become most important? Yours or Gods?
  • Are you concerned that they are disobeying Gods will? or just yours?
  • If there are other people around, are you most concerned for God’s reputation or your own? Are you concerned about your child's character development or your embarrassment?

When your agenda, your will, your desires, and your reputation become more important than God’s, that’s a sign you are trying to be your child’s god. Whether you thought about it or not, you want your child to treat you like God.

It’s easy, as a parent, to confuse your agenda with God’s agenda. God does think that respect, obedience, and gratitude are important. And God does call parents to hold their children accountable and to discipline them. 

But there is a bigger picture. 

Since God tells your child to respect you, isn’t your child really disrespecting God (since he’s ignoring God’s commands) more than he is you? So when you discipline your child, are you thinking about how he is disrespecting God? If not, then the way you treated him was more about how he ignored your demands, than it was about his violation of God’s commands.

Children’s hearts are not won by force, as I learned this morning.  Parenting, as with every area of life, can tempt us to focus on obtaining some good part of creation instead of worshiping the Creator. The apostle Paul explains it this way: “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised” (Romans 1:25). 

When we set our hearts on loving what God has given us more than we love him, we are rejecting God and making ourselves into gods. When we make ourselves the center of the world and look for meaning, purpose, and direction in people instead of in him, we end up with ruined relationships (Romans 1:29–31). 

How does this happen with our children? When you lose control with your children, you are communicating to them that their priority is to wrap themselves around you. They must give you what you want or pay the consequences. You are, in reality, demanding their worship. Instead of teaching them to live according to every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God, you are teaching them to live according to every word that proceeds out of your mouth (Matthew 4:4).

This type of control only works as long as your threat of anger and punishment is big enough to suppress your children’s desire to rebel. They may change their behaviour to avoid the consequences, but not because they desire to love and honor you.
When your children are physically, emotionally, and socially mature, their true nature and attitude toward you will come out. You have taught them that their relationship with you is not built on Christ and his ways, but on you and your rules. When they reject your rules, it is likely they will also reject you, and you will be left without a relationship with your child.
Is there any hope? Yes! 

Jesus came to free you - even from the demands that turn his good gifts into your 'rights'. 

Jesus won’t remove your good desires, instead he will reorganise you on the inside so that your ungodly demands will become godly, righteous desires.

Eating more Coconut (Muffin Recipe)

According to Natasha Campbell-McBride (author of the GAPS diet which we are using to cure William's autism and my own ridiculously long medical history!) we should be eating more coconut and specifically coconut oil. 

Apparently about 50% of coconuts fatty acids are a substance called lauric acid, which are body converts into a potent anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial substance called monolaurin. It's one of the natural ingredients in human breast milk and if consumed in large enough quantities it can be an effective protection against candida, HIV, Measles, herpes, influenza and many other nasty pathogens.

In an attempt to increase the coconut consumption in our family (they seem to be out of season, Abel & Cole haven't sent us one in a while) I'm resorting to baking coconut filled goodies. I managed to get a good discount on bulk buying some organic, non-hydrogenated coconut oil by buying with friends through our local food co-op, although I'm still currently buying coconut flour from amazon as I haven't managed to get a good bulk price anywhere. If anyone knows of one... let me know!

These muffins have been a total hit with my family, and you can change them up to flavour them differently so that they don't become too boring too.

3/4 cup of coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
8 eggs
1/2 cup of coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup of honey 
1/2 homemade yoghurt
1 teaspoon of homemade vanilla essence
Whizz it all together (except the baking soda) in a blender and then allow to sit for 5-10 minutes (this allows the coconut flour to absorb all the liquid and stops it tasting grainy when it's cooked).

Add the baking soda, blend again quickly, then pour into muffin trays (I use sauce pots because they stand up nicely and make for cute little muffin bites which are more portable for my kids). Be sure to only fill the case 1/2 way, as they really rise well!

Bake at 175c until they look golden and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. The time will vary depending on your muffin size, but mine take about 20 minutes. 

Now the fun part, customisation! 

The first batch I made were orange and chocolate. I zested and juiced an orange and threw that in with three heaped spoons of cocoa powder.

Batch two were lemon and lime. Again, zest and juice of both in. I was worried about it being too much liquid, but they turned out just fine.

Then we made pumpkin spiced muffins! I added half a cup of pureed pumpkin, a little fresh grated ginger, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg and a pinch of ground cloves.

Honestly, I don't think you can go wrong with this recipe. My kids have loved every batch so far. 

So enjoy getting a little more coconut into your diet!

Then Sings My Soul...

"I believe the history of the church is encoded in her hymns, and the story of christianity is enfolded in it's songs. If you know the hymns of the ages, you'll know the history of the church."
-Robert J Morgan

I didn't realise until I received my copy of 'Then Sings My Soul The Story of Our Songs: Drawing Strength from the Great Hymns of Our Faith' for review that it is actually the third in a series of books that Robert J Morgan has written on Hymnody. Fortunately it reads wonderfully as a stand alone book too, as I don't have copies of the first two books!!

The book opens with a history of worship in the church, taking you through from Biblical Hymns, Ancient Hymns, Medieval, German, English and Gospel Music through to Contemporary praise. It's brief, fast-paced and fascinating. I could barely put it down. Understanding how worship styles have always been controversial (it's not just about whether you use an electric guitar or an organ) brings perspective to the discussions happening within church today. 

I was overwhelmed with admiration for Benjamin Keach (1640) who underground church voted to allow hymn singing in their services, but decided to keep hymns to the end of the service after sermon and prayers so that those who voted in the opposition were able to 'go freely forth' and remain a part of the congregation without feeling like they had to compromise on their personal convictions. 

Next is a section on lesser known hymns, and how they came to be written with the stories behind them; part three covers the stories behind six of the author's favourite hymns; part four is how and why we should integrate hymns into our personal, and congregational, worship times and finally the epilogue. 

This is genuinely a fantastic book which I highly recommend to anyone with an interest in worship and or song writing. My husband has always enjoyed high church services and regularly attends chapel services at our school voluntarily, just to join in with the hymn singing. I've never understood that, but after reading 'Then Sings My Soul', I think I'm starting to get it. 

Lowering the Limit

This morning I received an email from Christian Concern regarding the recent Times Interview where secretary of state Jeremy Hunt expressed his opinion that there should be a 12 week limit on abortions. Mr Hunt denies that this is simply an expression of his Christian beliefs and says that he has come to this decision after studying the information carefully.

I'm inclined to believe this to be true, as I think most christians (although not all) would take the stance that abortion should not be performed at all, so to come to a 12 week limit seems like it probably didn't come from intense bible study. Although I personally feel that all abortion is unbiblical, I'm pleased to see the issue being discussed and somebody speaking out about lowering the limit.

In fact, culture secretary Maria Miller and Home Secretary Theresa May both expressed the opinion that the limit should be pushed back from 24 to 20 weeks.

Whilst I'm not condoning abortion at any of these stages, I'm grateful to see people standing up and challenging the current limits. Whether a foetus is aborted at 12 weeks, 20 weeks or 24 weeks will have little effect on that child. Dead is dead from my point of view. I do however believe that lowering the limit would be beneficial to women in general and help to reduce the psychological affects of abortion that many women underestimate before they go ahead with the procedure. The limit should be lowered to protect them, particularly teenagers, who tend to feel more pressure from family/partners to make a decision that they don't always fully appreciate the consequences of.
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When I was younger I worked in a pregnancy crisis centre and even did training in post-abortion counciling. Both through that, and through ministry to women in the church, I have come to realise that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and general anxiety and feelings of guilt remain for many years, not for everybody, but for far more than would be willing to admit it in a survey.

I want to publically thank Mr Hunt, Ms Miller and Ms May for speaking up on this issue and hope that they will continue to do so at their party conference in Birmingham.

Please add your words of encouragement to them, and take the time to send an email letting them know that you appreciate their voices on this issue.

Jeremy Hunt - huntj@parliament.uk
Maria Miller - foxlc@parliament.uk
Theresa May - mayt@parliament.uk

Will's Iced Tea

Today we've decided that the herbs we hung around our home have finally dried out enough to be crushed into jar ready for storage.

Will has been so helpful, and desperately interested in what each herb is used for. Sage was rather frustrating to him because he loves the smell, but every time I suggested a recipe to use it in he would reply 'wouldn't that taste better with honey and lime?', of course the answer is yes, because he is obsessed with honey and lime and I couldn't think of anything to match up to it.

His favourite so far has been Sweet Melissa.

If you don't currently grow this in your garden, I suggest you get some next year. It spreads like wildfire, requires little to no care, and smells beautifully lemony when it rains. It also makes great tea.

Personally, my tea recipe would be one part sweet melissa to one part mint. It's refreshing, subtle and sweet. However, this post is not about my recipe, so here is Will's version.

  1. Take a large handful of sweet melissa and place it in a tea pot with some boiling water. Brew for five minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, fill two mugs with ice cubes.
  3. Juice an orange and split between the two mugs.
  4. Top up with tea from the pot.

Delicious. An my baby invented it all by himself!

Proud Mama.

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