One Pink Toothbrush

Welcome to One Pink Toothbrush, where I will be posting moments from my days as a mum and as a wife. Funny moments, messy moments, thoughtful moments, teary moments.... and hopefully using each moment to see what God might be saying.

Monday, 10 June 2019

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

My daughter came home last week, and told me how I am killing all the sea turtles. I think she meant 'universally as people', but it came across as an accusation. For the record, I have never intentionally hurt a turtle. She explained that some turtles eat Jelly Fish, and if they find a carrier bag in the sea, they think it's a Jelly Fish, they eat it and then they get poorly and die! She spoke to me about all the plastic in the sea, and how there will be more plastic than fish soon! She had even learnt a song about it all. 

She had a school trip to the Sea Life Centre and got to see a turtle up close, which just added to her passion and accusation. Incidentally, I instagrammed a photo of the 13 plastic toothbrushes in use in our house, including some pink toothbrushes of course, with a question as to how many people actually lived here, and a friend of mine messaged me to tell me I was a turtle killer too. Mmm.... a recurring theme to the week! 
No one wants the title of turtle killer. I'm not Shredder!

So, I decided to listen to my daughter, not just listen to her, but actively show her that I was listening, that she had a voice, and that she can help to make changes. 
And of course, I used it as a teaching point, like most moments in life. 

I explained to her that in Genesis, Adam and Eve were commissioned to look after the Earth, and that she was fulfilling that commission, by wanting to take care of the sea and the turtles.

"The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it". Genesis 2v15

I ordered some Bamboo toothbrushes on line, and when they came, I explained to the whole family that we were making some changes, starting with toothbrushes, because of something their sister is passionate about. I had another hurdle to get over, because she was concerned that I was taking the Bamboo away from the pandas! But we swerved that one, with an explanation about sustainable growth! 

I spoke to the family about the following verse;

"Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity". 1 Timothy4v12

Now actually this verse is about being an example to other Christians in how you act and speak, even if you're younger than the people you're being an example to. So I made that point, whilst practically using my daughter's new found education, and passion as an example about being an example. She had indeed found her own teaching point to bring to us. She also told me I shouldn't drive my car, I shouldn't buy one-use plastic water bottles, and I should put as much as I can in the black bin. I can only imagine she will find some more things to educate me on this week. Part of me is of course proud of her, and the other part of me wants to hide from her as she finds more teaching points to bring us. 
Maybe I'll build myself a a little house from the contents of the black bin!

Friday, 3 May 2019

Interview with Sally Lloyd-Jones (Jesus StoryBook Bible Author)

Over the years, The Jesus Story Book Bible has been read many times in our house. It has helped my children to have a better grasp of God’s word; understanding that God’s unbreakable, never stopping, never giving up love for them is forever. It has helped them see where they fit into God’s story, rather than where God fits into their story. It has encouraged them, by explaining that Jesus is on a rescue mission to save everyone who will respond to His offer of love, and it has made them see that every story in the Bible points to Jesus. It has also been one of the tools which has helped lead some of my children to have a personal relationship with Jesus.

And as a mother, just for me, The Jesus Storybook has blessed me greatly. The early years of motherhood are just exhausting, and sometimes reading the Bible feels hard. There have been many times, when reading the JSBB to my own kids, that I have been touched by God’s message of love for me. When I haven’t had much in the tank, when I haven’t had anything else to give out, I have felt joy and peace that I am part of God’s story, rather than trying to fit Him into mine.

Recently, I have set myself the challenge of recreating the stories as edible ones. Some have been hilarious, and some have turned out quite nicely, with a couple made by a much more creative friend. I want to keep engaging my children in God’s word, so food seemed the next natural choice.

I recently interviewed Sally Lloyd-Jones the author of The Jesus Storybook Bible, about the book itself. Please have a read….

I'd love to know when and how you became a Christian?
When I was four; my dad shared the story with me.

How did you come to write The Jesus Storybook Bible?
I wanted children to know what I didn’t know as a child - that the Bible isn’t a book of rules I’m supposed to be keeping, in order for God to love me. I knew I wasn’t keeping those rules so I had this idea that God wasn’t very pleased with me. I want children to know that the Bible isn’t mainly about them and what they’re supposed to be doing. It’s about God and what He has done. It’s the story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them.

Did you know it would be such a big hit?
None of us knew it would be the hit that it is. I am so grateful. I’m also very clear who the author of the book’s success is.

How many copies have been sold, and in how many languages?
3 million copies, and in 46 languages.

What’s the newest language?
It’s just out in Arabic and Icelandic—and Khmer is just about to be translated.

Why do you think it has been such a such a success,
(apart from of course, that "all scripture is God-breathed". 2Tim3v16)
I wonder if part of the reason is that it’s written in the lyrical language of a father’s love for His children, and we are all children of God. It breaks through the walls we as adults have up, and ambushes us. Also it captures in one sitting, the entire plot line of the Bible.

How did you get it from Bible to Storybook in such a beautiful way?
You have to do the hard work of understanding the theology so you can make it simple, distil it. Also you have to always write what is true. Another thing, if you have a choice choose what moves you. The story had to move me first before I could write it in a way that would move the reader. “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” (Robert Frost)

Do you have a favourite story from The Jesus Storybook Bible?

When you ask children to choose their favourites, they say they’re all their favourites, so I’m going with that. But when I read to children and ask them if they have any requests, they often choose ‘The day the sun couldn’t shine: the story of the crucifixion’. Children know what they’re talking about. They cut to the chase. They know that’s the crux of the matter; the heart of the whole story. We have so much to learn from children!

And for my own ego, which edible story from my Instagram account did you enjoy the most?
THE CRICKETS! Haha! That was one of your best I have to say!!!

You’re best known for creating The Jesus Storybook Bible, do you ever get fed up of that?
No I’m so grateful. It’s a huge honor and blessing. At the same time, I also want people to know about my other books, because they are filled with His love too. And children need all kinds of stories. Because stories are powerful.

What are you currently working on?
A picture book, a devotional, and a novel for middle graders.

What blessings have come your way, as a result of writing?
Too many to say, but one of the blessings is meeting children. And also adults, as I travel all over the world to speak about the power of story and the dignity of children.

You went to the States for a year, and you’re still there, many tears later. Do you think you'll stay in the States forever?
I don’t know the answer to that question. I’m here as long as God has me here.

Do you miss anything about England?
Lots of things; family, friends, the countryside, London, the tea, the walks, the footpaths, English country gardens, and the National Trust properties. I do get back there a lot.

Do you have any advice for writers?
Three quick things; Write the story that only you can write. Read BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott. And if you’re really serious about writing for children, learn the business and one of the best ways to do that is to join

And any advice for knackered mums?
Show up. Even if it’s for 5 minutes a day. Keep showing up.

Monday, 29 April 2019

Rock And Roll

We had a lovely holiday in Mevagissy, Cornwall over the Easter break. There were six adults and twelve children. We ate lots of nice food; pasties, ice cream, G&Ts. We searched for crabs and Easter eggs. We met new people. We watched Cbeebies and films. We watched the waves splashing up to our house in a storm. We discovered half a porpoise, from said storm. A couple of adventurous lads attempted a cold night in a tent. Some of us went in the sea; paddle boarding, body boarding, and kayaking. We went for hikes and walks. 

One of the walks was to Chapel Point. It was extremely windy, and a little on the cold side. One of those 'good for the soul walks', or at least that's what we kept saying to the kids, who ranged from running freely, walking half-heartedly, to asking for piggy backs, or being fast asleep. I remember as a kid asking what the point of walks were; you just walk to a place, and then walk home again! But as an adult, I see the benefit of the fresh air, the beauty of nature, the breathtaking views, the chats and wonderings, the legwork and the 'just because' element. 

As we left for the return walk, my eldest daughter (6) and my friend's eldest daughter (7) decided they wanted to carry a huge rock back with them the 1.3miles. They took a liking to the rock, because it looked like a massive piece of discarded chewing gum, and that was a good enough reason to carry it home. They took it in turns carrying the rock individually, or attempting to carry it together. At the top of the hill, it was suggested to them that they could indeed leave it at the top, as they had done well to carry it that far. The girls thought about it, but decided that they were up for the challenge, and said they were even enjoying the challenge. So on they carried it, slowly but surely.

I knew it was a blog post waiting to happen, but couldn't decide what angle I'd look at it from. I discussed it with the girls as we walked, and they reminded me about Moses striking a rock and water coming out of it. Good point and not the first one I would have thought of. Eventually the three of us caught up with the others who had waited for us. We were apparently taking a long time. Rocks are heavy after all. 

We had a group discussion on rock based imagery; God is the unchangeable rock, if we were to stand on that rock, we would have a solid support under us. The reason we're not to fear or dismay is because of the supporting, unchanging support empowering us to fulfil that command; God is with us, He is for us, helping us, strengthening us and upholding us. What a rock He is! Building a house on that rock would be a more secure foundation than building a house on the sand. The girls liked that one, a solid Sunday School moment. Jesus carries our burdens for us, that's a good one that we often forget, and we try to take them back, to carry those burdens ourselves.

My friend Yohaan, suggested that the girls carrying the rock was like the time and effort we waste on useless things that hold us back from reaching our destination. A very valid point, and not my usual lighthearted style, but poignant to remember indeed. The time and effort I waste on my phone definitely holds me back, and yesterday I had a realisation that I probably put more time and effort into more sleep, than into praying, so that needs to change.

But I think I liked the girls' sheer determination. They made a decision right at the beginning, and when it was tough, they didn't waver from the decision they had made. They persevered, when the easier option was to give up. When the Bible talks about perseverance, the word hope often follows. As Christians, we persevere in the tough times because we have hope. Whether we feel hopeful or not, does not change the fact and the truth that we do have hope. We have hope because of what Jesus has done for us, and because of what the Holy Spirit is continuing to do in, through and for us. 

God made a decision at the beginning of creation, a decision to rescue this world from sin, a decision which would cause Him His greatest heartache and His greatest Joy at the same time; to give up His beloved son in the place of sinners, in my place. He never wavered from that decision, and I'm grateful for what that means for me, and for my kids, and for anyone who wants to put their trust in Him, who wants to put their trust in the Rock of Ages.

"And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us". Romans 5v2-5

Thursday, 4 April 2019

A Balanced Life

Last night I made an epic meal; turned a chicken into a dove.
I made Spinach trees, flowers too, for that bird to soar above.
I made a beautiful flower, out of vegetables, seed and fruit.
With bits of purple brocolli growing through the grassy roots.

I sat all my children at the table, and opened up God's word.
I made sure the story from Matthew six was taken in and heard.
I asked for answers to my questions. Are they taking it in?
And when they added their own thoughts, I took it as a win.

Tonight I gave them leftovers. All yellow, and no green.
And we ate it in the lounge, infront of a total of 5 screens.
No one talked. No one shared. We watched just on our own.
I was happy for the quiet, and welcomed time on my phone.

There's balance to family life. There's highs and there's lows.
There's friendships formed forever and a fighting pair of foes.
There's moments of awe and wonder, and times of celebration.
There's moments when you desperately seek a personal vacation.

At both meal times, the kids were fed, and that's an achievement.
It's something to be grateful for, tonight as their parent.
Their tummies have been filled, with carbs or with veg.
I know compared to many, that is indeed a privilege. 

Some days us mums are soaring, going above and beyond.
Some days us mums just can't do it, and that's ok, it's not wrong.
Some days us mums give and give, and then we give some more.
Some days we've got nothing left, but yet we still give more.

There are times I really study God's word, and grapple it in my brain.
There are times I just listen to the 23rd Psalm....again.
My kids are seeing it both in action, they're taking it all in.
I hope they know that God's truth dwelt on, is of course, a win.

Maybe tomorrow, I'll make a colourful Bible based meal.
Or maybe I'll say they can just help themselves to a box of cereal.
Maybe I'll trip up tomorrow, or maybe I'll win the race.
There's balance to family life, and even better, there is grace.

Keep Off the Grass

Last night, I made a bird out of a bird! My eldest came in and asked me why I was shaping a chicken on the kitchen table, and shoving carrot tops into it. He followed up quickly with, "actually, never-mind", as he left me to it. It was the next instalment of The Jesus Story Book Bible dinners of course, and it was a fun one to make, because I had pre-planned it in my weekly shop, making sure I had foliage and bright colours.

Page 228 of the JSBB, finds us at 'The Singer', a chapter derived from The Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6. The Sermon on the Mount is probably Jesus' most famous sermon, or preach that He ever gave. Emmanuelthe church I attend, is going through it as a series at the moment, both with the adults and in the kids' & youth work. The whole sermon can be summed up in a sentence; 'how to live a life that is dedicated to, and pleasing to God'. It's a Godly wisdom sermon, looking at our values, our vision and our habits. It was meant to be memorised, recited and and dwelt upon. 

The Jesus StoryBook chapter I read with the kids over dinner, was about the birds and the flowers, which is hopefully clearer from the picture than some previous weeks! Jesus was asking the people who were listening, if the birds have to go shopping for their food, and if the flowers have to store their home-made or shop-bought clothes in a wardrobe?! Of course not, God provides food and shelter for the birds and He provides the beauty the flowers adorn. 

The point Jesus is making, is that God the Father, cares more about us than He does about the flowers and the birds, but look how well He takes care of the flowers and the birds. Surely He will therefore take care of us even more so. Why do we spend so much time worrying therefore, about stuff? Why do we worry about the provision and what we look like? God's got it all in hand. 

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?" Matthew 6v25 "Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" v27

Worry adds nothing to our lives, it actually just steals from us. It's a stealer of peace. It can be a stealer of action, of courage even. It's a stealer of trust from God. And the Bible doesn't just teach us not to worry, but to seek God's kingdom, to seek His righteousness, and see Him provide what we need. 

One of my sons said, that it reminded him of when God provided Manna, (wafer like bread), to the Israelites when they had been set free from Egypt, (Exodus 16) and they were only to take the amount that was provided. day by day. They weren't to take more, for fear there wouldn't be any the next day. An excellent reminder of the last blog post, about God giving us today our daily bread. It brought me real joy that He had linked the two, because the drip, drip, drip effect of teaching them the Bible stories is like them memorising the Sermon on the Mount...

In my own Bible reading this morning, I was reminded of how the flesh in all it's beauty, is like the flowers of the field, it will simply fade away. It's like the grass, which will wither away. No wonder we're not meant to worry about the provision for, and the look of our bodies, or indeed the things of this lifetime, because they will come to nothing. Unlike our souls of course, which will go on to live gloriously with God, with brand new bodies! And what won't ever fade or wither away? The word of God, the Bible will stand forever. I think I shall forever taste Spinach when I read Isaiah 40v6-8 from now on. 

"The grass withers, the flower fades...but the word of our God will stand forever".

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

Last night we managed to read a story in The Jesus Story Book Bible altogether. It's becoming harder for me to pin them all down in one room, but we turned screens off and I set out my expectations. The four year old decided this would be the time to try out her handstands over the back of the sofa, but she was still engaged. 

I presented dinner to them, which was met by literal belly laughing from the teens. You see I had obviously arranged the sausages we were having, into praying hands, because we were about to read "How to Pray". The littlest encouraged me. She was afterall, pleased I had made a  'castle' for dinner. And as we do all day long in this house, we ate some bread too. Apparently man cannot live by bread alone, but my kids really seem to put that theory to the test. 

We read the story, with interuptions galore, and I asked them to close their eyes as I read the Lord's prayer. I wanted them to pray it in their hearts and minds, while I read the words, and I asked them to think of one bit which struck them in some way. 

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil. Matthew 6v9-13

One child was drawn to God's kingdom coming, so we unpacked that a little, talking about God's will and healing. One child commented about how much sugar was in bread. One child was a little confused and said some confusing things, which we had to unpack a little, but also put to one side a little, as I was losing the focus of the room. And then one asked if God would be in control of Hell, and if He'd be there... Love a tangent!

One of the boys mentioned that trespasses (as it read in our version) didn't mean someone coming onto our land, or into our house. But I've just read something this morning, which actually explains that that's exactly what it means. "A trespasser occupies a realm, or exercises a right that rightfully belongs to someone else. A trespasser violates another person....We have not merely borrowed from God an unpayable debt for which we appeal for bankruptcy protection. We have seized a realm and exercised a right that belongs to him. We have violated God". I must follow this up with my boy. He likes words and meanings, and I think this will help him see sin in a new way. 

A couple of the kids commented on the aspect of forgiving others. We discussed how siblings seemed to be the hardest ones to forgive. But we looked at how much God has and continues to forgive us for our stuff, which was helpful. And I pointed out that I'd had to forgive someone who had given into the temptation of rudeness to me during the Bible time itself, but that I can do that freely and quickly because of what God has forgiven me for. (Really had to forgive quickly on that one, rather than sit in the grrr for a while). 

God's provision of Daily Bread was a great point for my kids. I literally handed out bread, and reminded them that God gives it to us, and we had a little think about the good things He provides for us. Someone had bought us a Family Take Away on Monday evening, so they were thankful for God's tasty provision. Earlier in the day, me and one of the girls had dwelt on the good things from God, so it was helpful to link it all up together. 

Quote from Desiring God

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Onesie Wonder

We are often the recipients of hand-me-downs, and with six kids, this is obviously a blessing. It's quite hard now to get any for the nearly 15 year old monster that lives here. We are all tiny minions compared to him, and the only family member who is taller than him, is Grandad who isn't exactly on trend (I'm sure he was at one stage). Even the husband will have a little look through the bag if the trendy 20 year old nephew is getting rid of anything!

For the girls though, we have some regular donations, which is fab. And what I've learnt about girls' clothes, is that even when you think its grown out of, you simply put it with another outfit, and it's back to being in use again; trousers which are too small, suddenly become cool three quarter lengths, with a pair of denim shorts over them. Also, my girls change their outfit numerous times a day. This was all new to me after the four boys!

One of my girls recently got given a black onesie with sparkly stars all over it. She went and put it on straight away, and loved it. My other girl seemed to take offence at this new item of clothing in the house. Well she didn't take offence at the item, but to the fact that she didn't have one. She wasn't interested in the thought of borrowing it, she just wanted one for herself. She expressed herself very clearly, on the kitchen floor, for all to hear. 

I took a breath, and went for the same talk that I've been having since there was more than one child in the house; 'in this house we don't do fair, we do selfless'. (It's not the first time I've blogged about it, and I doubt it will be the last!) If I had £1 for every time this phrase was used in this house, I'd have enough money to clothe everyone on my estate, I'm sure. I reminded her that we don't deserve any of the good things God has done for us, or given us. And that He selflessly gave His son to us. He handed Him down to us. 
He didn't treat us fairly, how our sins deserve, but instead has treated us with lavish love. 

She of course couldn't care less at this point. She was all consumed by the wailing. She wanted the sparkly onesie and that was that. I reminded her of the brand new onesie she got for Christmas from her Auntie, and the brand new, soft pink blanket (which zips into a bag) she got last week. I asked her if she would like to have to share it. She didn't particularly want to. I told her that she was allowed to feel a little disappointed, but that she mustn't live in that place, because then the darkness takes over, and you end up being consumed by your feelings, and both of you are robbed. 

I told my daughter, that we even needed to get to the place where she can say that she is happy for her sister. Quite the battle to pick for a Saturday morning, but some are worth picking. It took a while, and with the quietest of voices, with all her fingers in her mouth, she eventually said she was happy for her sister. (I don't mind too much at this point if it is heart felt, or a habit in the making). 

The husband is currently on the slopes, shoop-shooping down the mountains with a bunch of his friends. He's doing Blue and Black Runs and I'm doing the School and Asda runs. It so similar! (Although his week sounds exhausting). But the same principle has to stand, in our house we don't do fair, we do selfless. I am happy for him, like literally happy for him to be there. What a wonderful week he will have. What a blessing for him. 

I learnt from a friend of mine, that when he goes, he should go guilt-free, other wise it robs something from him. I can well imagine that I will need to remind myself of this this week, when I'm a bit done with the bedtime routine and extremely outnumbered at dinner times. But remembering God's selfless act towards me really does help with that little thing called perspective, as does the fact that his friends made him wear a retro onesie on the slopes!

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Philippians 2v4 (This photo is definitely for the interest of others)