app for loving your community

Can an app help you love your community?

app for loving your community

can an app help you love your community?

I live in Doncaster, and despite it being crowned the “most chilled and least stressful place to live in the UK”, most people’s reaction to this announcement is “oh that’s a shame!”. You see, Doncaster isn’t the nicest place in the world (although I’m sure it’s not the worst!). It is a typical slightly rundown town surrounded by ex-mining communities.

the problem i face in my community…

Sometimes I walk around my town and feel sad. There is litter, broken things that no-one has fixed, buildings that no-one cares about and general signs of poverty all around. It makes my heart sink and my soul feel heavy. I cry out to the God who created and loves this world – why has it become so unloved by those that live in it?

Practically I try to look after my little corner of the world – my house, my garden, my estate. But try as I might, I can never clean up everything. Even when I go out with the community action team at church and litter pick the streets for a couple of hours it isn’t going to change everything. And yet the impact of just simple litter can be HUGE. Health, crime, anti-social behaviour, loss of business are all things that stem from and can be worsened by the presence of litter in a neighbourhood. Once that pride in a community is lost, it is difficult for it to be rebuilt.

a new strategy…

So I decided a new strategy was called for. I could not be a one woman army who tackles the whole of Doncaster’s litter and other problems (there would be little time for looking after my kids if I did that!!).  But I could flag up every problem I saw that made me sad to live here so that someone else could deal with it.

Who might that someone else be? Well they came in the form of an app on my phone, that goes by the name of My Doncaster Council. (Yes the council).

Our local councils are there to help do tasks that no-one would normally do if it was left to us. They provide public goods and services. We pay them through our lovely council taxes to look after our local environments so that we don’t have to. But lately councils have had to cut back on a lot of things, and so they won’t be out patrolling and checking the local area as much. We can be their eyes and ears on the ground. The app I have means that I can report litter, fly tipping, graffiti and a whole host of other things right there and then. I can post photos and videos so that the council can see exactly what the issue is. I am doing their investigating for them.

will my community feel the love?

Why is this loving I hear you ask? Because I want my community to feel good when they step out the door. I want them to have pride in where they live, to be healthy and happy.  We joke that it’s a British pastime to moan.  Well I want to try to report everything that would be the cause of that  moaning (although I can’t change the weather so we’ll always have that to moan about!). I don’t want to just keep walking past the litter and the broken things and expect someone else to do something about it.  I am loving my neighbours by using this app to get them fixed and cleaned up.

Why don’t you see if your local council has an app too…..

quirky christmas gift ideas

Quirky Christmas Gift Ideas for 2017

quirky christmas gift ideas

Whoop Whoop!  It’s Christmas shopping time, and I wanted to share with you all some great shopping ideas you might not have thought of (that are secretly on my own Chritsmas list)…

For the men in your life
James Acaster Classic Scrapes

A few weeks back, me and my husband went to see James Acaster live on his Classic Scrapes book tour and it was a hilarious evening.  If you or the man in your life enjoys funny stories then this is a great present for them.

 

for your mum and best friend

gingerbread tea towelEven if you have a dishwasher you still need to dry some things, and everyone will love this quirky and amusing Christmassy themed tea-towel.  Designed by Frog and Gnome, this would make a great present for your mum or a best friend who has a good sense of humour!

Find it here on the Cheerfully Given website.

 

 

for your bible journalLing bestie

book tab punchSo this really is on my gift list and will make it easy to create my own bible tabs from whatever paper and design I want to.  So if you are in to bible journalling and have a bestie who loves it too, then why not get them one of these (and maybe you can borrow it!!!)

 

To keep in the cupboard “just in case”

creative bea christmas decorationI love this little Christmas decorations which feature bible verses.  I have ordered three as little additions to some of my Christmas presents, but they would be perfect to keep in the cupboard in case someone gives you a gift that you might have forgotten to get one for….

You can find these on Creative Bea’s website, and they come in silver sparkly or plywood and are only £3-4 each

school sign

Being a Christian Mum at the School Gate

school sign

For the last few weeks I have been wondering how best to use the opportunity of being a mum at the school gate to share the love of Jesus.  I don’t want to be a weird mum who stands in the playground and preaches, but I also don’t want people to be completely unaware of my faith either.  It is a very difficult balance, but I am determined not to let this opportunity pass me by.

I asked the lovely Captivated mums their advice and ideas on how to do this, as I know many of them have school age children and have walked this road before me.  The collective advice was to be normal, make friends and let things grow from there.  As you would in any other situation, just being there for people, showing you care and taking an interest in their lives can make a huge difference, and it is how true friendships are formed and trust developed.

This was great advice, and I have already been praying for opportunities and boldness to get to know the other mums and dads a bit better.  This is easy with some and harder with others, but I will persevere!

As well as doing this I am planning to do some other things along the way to show love and demonstrate my faith to the parents and staff at the school.  Here are some of my ideas, and I hope you will share yours with me too!

  • Commit to praying for your child’s teacher and their class and let them know.  It is an amazing blessing to pray for someone, and even those who don’t share your faith will be complemented that you have taken the time to think of them.  As my son goes to a Catholic Primary School this wasn’t such a shock when I emailed his two class teachers to let them know I would be praying for them and the class.  I also asked them to send any prayer points over the year, whether personal or for the class in general, and one of them did!  I might follow this up with a card at each half term to remind them I have been praying.
  • Setting up a parents prayer group.  Someone on Captivated mentioned doing this and I think its a great idea!  Not only can you then reach out and forge relationships with other Christian parents, but you can cover the whole school in prayer.  I have heard of these groups blessing teachers on parents evening with meals and loving on the staff too, so I have enquired about whether there is one or if I can be involved in setting one up.  Again, this is probably a bigger mission opportunity in a non-faith based school.
  • End of Half Term Party. My son has already been inviting every member of his class round to his house for tea, and with us living a bit further from the school than I would like this makes it difficult.  But I came up with the idea of maybe hosting an end of half term party, where he can invite a few friends for tea on the last day of half term.  That way, he gets to play with his new school friends and I get to properly meet some of the mums and dads.
  • Suggest a class whats app group. Some parents in Captivated mentioned that they have a class whats app group where they can share reminders and invitations with other parents.  I am not sure whether to suggest this yet, but it is definitely an option to build community amongst the parents.

What has worked for you at the school gate?

monthly inspiration from rachel ridler mum on a mission

October Inspiration

monthly inspiration from rachel ridler mum on a mission

I am BRIMMING with inspiration for October!!!  So I hope that you will enjoy my collection of links, likes and lovely things that you can find below…..

  • Tiny Treasure Boxes – I love love love the Treasure Box People and me and Sam really enjoy working through the bible stories together every month.  Well now they have launched a box suitable for under 3’s!! Becky shares in this facebook live what is included in the new Tiny Treasures Box.
  • UCB’s Bag of Hope – I mentioned these over on my facebook page, so here is the link to the bags of hope that you can use to share the love of Jesus with trick or treaters on Halloween.
  • Parenting for Faith Course – I am really interested in doing this free course, and the video linked explains why this is might be useful for parents like me who want to help their children grow up in faith.
  • The Man Upstairs – Go Chatter is a really interesting you tube channel creating videos that try to draw out what we think about certain topics.  This video questions where we get our image of God from and its a really good question to ask ourselves sometimes…
daily acts of kindness devotional

Mum on a Mission Reviews Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional

daily acts of kindness devotional

Today an amazing book launches – The Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional.  Now for anyone who has followed my 40 Acts journey over the last few years will know, I love showing kindness to others.  It is something that can really show the love of Jesus and talks louder than words.  The only things limiting me are time, money and inspiration.

If you are in the same boat as me, then why not invest in something that will give you all the inspiration you will need for A WHOLE YEAR!!!  That will mean that everyday you have an idea that you can take out to the streets and put in to action straight away.  No having to think about what to do, no giving lame excuses for not doing it.

And do you want to know the best part?

A lot of the acts of kindness in this book are designed to draw in your family too, to help you instill values of kindness and generosity in your children.  How amazing is that!!

kindness bible verse

The stories of the ladies who wrote it are shared in the devotional sections and linked back to bible passage, bringing a warm approach to this.  They are not judging or forcing you to be kind, but inspiring and nurturing you into it.  They have a real heart to turn from a life looking inward, to our wants and needs, to instead looking outward and meeting the needs of others.  I know that when I have done acts of kindness with my son it has blown me away, so why not give it a try yourself?

autumn reading wishlist

Autumn Reading Wishlist

autumn reading wishlist

After writing my Summer reading wishlist, I have felt really inspired and motivated to buy and read the books I mentioned.  So I want to carry that on every season, starting with my new Autumn reading wishlist.  This time I have included some books for the boys too, I hope you enjoy it!

  • A Christmas Family Godventure by Victoria Beech – I have always been inspired by the christmas godventure bookresources that Victoria from Godventure produces, and I will be lucky enough to go to a workshop she is running down in Nottingham next month.  I also want to make this Christmas really meaningful, now that Sam has started school and will have other voices influencing his opinions of it.  I will be getting a head start by reading through this and thinking about what activities we will do in the lead up to Christmas – why not buy yourself one in advance too?
  • Eric Says Thanks by Dai Hankey – After reviewing the third book in this series, Eric Says Please, I am loving Dai’s style of writing and way of communicating biblical principles through story.  I would like to get this for the boys to read – maybe it will go on the Christmas list!
  • by Jodi Picoult – I am enjoying having a novel on the go at the moment, as I don’t have to think too much whilst I am reading.  I picked up this book from our local Re-Read stand, where you can donate books and take a free one too.  I used to love Jodi’s books which take a legal grey area and challenge your thinking on it.
  • by Francis Chan –  We started reading this book as a lifegroup and following the DVD series, but we got stuck halfway through. It was really eye opening though as to what our relationship with God should truly be like that I want to make sure I finish it this year.

What books are you planning to snuggle up and read now that the nights are drawing in?

autumn reading wishlist

rory henderson

A Cuppa With Rory Henderson

 

rory henderson

I am carrying on my series of “cuppa with” interviews by chatting to the very talented Rory Henderson, who has been working on something very exciting…..

1. Introduce yourself to us in one sentence ….

Hi, my name is Rory and I’m a graphic design student that likes to make nice images.

2. What is it that you create?

boatEverything! That may be a slight exaggeration, but I enjoy a wide range of things. I like to make posters and videos and all sorts of imagery. I mostly use a computer, but I always involve a large range of techniques in what I do, like photography, illustration, CGI and typography. I especially enjoy working with others, as it means I can help them express their ideas in the best way possible. I try to be as flexible as I can as an artist, and that means I usually end up producing a wide range of things for a wide range of ideas. At the moment my interest is primarily in typography, but in the end I could probably be summed up as an image maker. There’s so many different ways out there to make art, the endless possibilities are very exciting. And I’m only really at the beginning of it all!

3. Tell us the story of how it all started.

I never considered doing art seriously until after looking at potential universities, when I found out that you could make a career out of being creative, who knew! I wasn’t even taking art as a subject at the time, so I took some convincing and encouraging from friends and teachers, but I ended up making a portfolio in my free time which showed me how much I enjoyed being creative, and got me into uni. I originally wanted to do a subject called creative advertising – as the emphasis was all on idea generation and being innovative and thinking outside the box – but I am thankful that I ended up doing graphic design, as it offers me such freedom in my creative practice.

4. How do you include your faith into your work and what you make?

Because I make a wide range of things, I often end up working on projects that don’t allow me to express my faith in my art. But I try to always include it, to whatever extent possible. The graphic designer however is almost always serving others, so I can do this to the glory of God! Creating and being creative is a wonderful gift and it always makes me think how much my own creations pale in comparison to His.

I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity of my most recent project, a collaboration with the blog Gospel Centred Parenting, as it allowed me to put the expression of faith as the most important aspect of the project, with the aim of communicating that to families and helping people grow in love for Jesus. The project was a set of Jesse Tree Ornaments, each with a design relating to a story from the Jesus Storybook Bible to help families anticipate Christmas. For this I reimagined old woodcut techniques, and it was incredible being able to follow Jesus through all these stories and make images out of them. I really enjoyed this and hope others enjoy them too, and I look forward to more opportunities to share my love for Jesus through art!

(I spoke to Cathy from Gospel Centred Parenting earlier this year – catch her cuppa with interview here!)

 

 

 

5. Do you have any inspiration or encouragement for us?

When I create things, rarely if ever am I fully pleased with the end result or the way things turn out. I find it incredibly encouraging that our own creator doesn’t feel that way about us! We were made through him and he rejoices and delights in that creation, so much so that he would die for it, for us!

6. Please share a photo of your favourite mug!

This is my tiny minions mug! Sorry, I’m not much of a tea or coffee drinker but it works just fine for hot chocolate.

rory henderson

Thanks so much for having a cuppa with us Rory!  You can browse Rory’s other work on his behance page

hug in a box

September Inspiration

monthly inspiration from rachel ridler mum on a mission

Welcome to the month of “BACK TO SCHOOL” and all that jazz.  If you are a mum like me, facing the school run and all that entails then maybe you need a bit of inspiration in your life right now. Here are some of my fave things for September:

  • Standing in the gap, standing at the gates – I have to admit I’m a little scared about being a mum at the school gates.  So reading this article was really interesting about how one couple used this opportunity to connect with new people and share the gospel.
  • Playtime: Action Songs for Toddlers – Being launched at the playtime conference, this is a CD of fun action songs for your Christian toddler group.  Only £5.99 so well worth the investment!
  • HUG IN A BOX – I think these are amazing – who wouldn’t want to receive a hug in a box???!  From Bitty Button, there a various different ones that anyone would love. hug in a box
  • Free Parenting Ebook – The Good Book Company are offering free ebooks every month, and September’s is called “Gospel Centred Family”.
  • Meal time grace placemat – If you want a visual reminder for your under 5’s as to what to say during grace, then this is a fantastic free printable you can use.
  • ASK ME – UCB Radio have created a new resource for everyone to use to help us in our personal evangelism.
  • Moana: Finding God in Movies – A really interesting video exploring the biblical themes in Moana.

 

cuppa with martha moger

A Cuppa with Gidsy and Jo

gidsy and jo

IT’S BACK!!!  Yes, your favourite tea time interview series is returning, and this time with a creative theme.  I have been speaking to lots of creative Christians to find out what inspires and motivates them.  So snuggle up on the sofa with your favourite mug as we chat with our first cuppa with our first suspect…..

1. Introduce yourself to us in one sentence ….

I’m Martha – I design embroidery and sewing projects for mums to do with and for their kids, then write all about it on my blog ‘Gidsy and Jo’.

2. What is it that you make?handmade dolls

Although I started out making soft toys for my sons and their friends, I realised that so many mums I knew wanted to make and craft for themselves, it might be better to turn the toys into beautiful, high quality kits that mums could afford. Making bespoke soft toys can be a pretty expensive product! At the moment I sell on Etsy and Not on the High Street, but my big passion is writing about creativity and creating projects for the web. I do this on my blog and guest post on some others too. Basically, if I can enable you to make something you’ll be proud of, then that’s what I want to do!

3. Tell us the story of how it all started.

embroidery mermaidI’ve got a degree in textiles and embroidery and worked sourcing shoes for the high street after I finished uni. At that time I was travelling quite a bit and learnt a lot about how products are sourced and developed overseas, then brought back to the UK high street to sell. After I had my first son the place I was working at told me I could go back full time or not at all. Faced with that choice I chose the latter. My boys are quite close in age (18 months apart) and by the time the little one was about eight months old and I was up to my eyes in nappies and sleepless nights, I found I was desperate for a creative outlet. I couldn’t get my head round making anything – I was just too tired! Somehow I stumbled on a blog from a link out of Etsy and thought I’d like to have a go at it. My husband set up my first blog. I had no idea how to use WordPress, take good photos, or what to write about, but over the space of about three years I just kept posting, really for myself, and had also started an Etsy shop. When my youngest son went to school last September, I decided to really concentrate on growing my products and my blog and write for other people, to solve their problems, rather than for myself. Although there are quite a lot of ups and downs, I feel incredibly fortunate to have that opportunity.

4. How do you include your faith into your work and what you make?

I think we’re made to glorify God and enjoy Him and be satisfied and reliant on Him, and I don’t think that having a faith means you have to make creative work specifically about what you believe to do that. God’s nature is as the most wonderful creator there ever was, so making things is in His likeness. When we do that to serve and help other people, and do it as beautifully and excellently as we can in the world, I think that’s an expression of being like Jesus. I talk to Him every day and ask for the wisdom to take my business forward and to hold it lightly and not let it become more important than He is.

5. Do you have anything to encourage us?!

My encouragement would be that nothing, not even doing what you love (because it’s always fraught with uncertainty, doubt, highs and lows!) can give you satisfaction or security like knowing Jesus will. Also, something I’m learning is to trust Him more, so that when my plans don’t come out the way I thought, I know He’s still in charge and it’s still all good.

6. Please share a photo of your favourite mug! 

This is a mug my sister bought for me and I love it. You can’t beat a bit of pattern and colour in my book!Martha Mogers favourite mug

Thank you so much for taking the time to have a cuppa with us Martha!  If you would like to find out more about Martha’s awesome materials, and her free online course to get your making more, then you can find her:

Blog: Gidsy and Jo
Free Course: A short, free email course to help mums make more of what they love.
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gidsyandjo/
Facebook: Gidsy and Jo

August Inspiration

monthly inspiration from rachel ridler mum on a mission

So August will probably be a pretty quiet month from me here, but I still wanted to share some great links and likes that I have found in the middle of summer holiday fun!  Enjoy and do share anything great you have found on the internet…

  • Googly eye bombing – now isn’t this just the most fun thing ever?!!!  I must make a note to invest in some giant googly eyes so I can go out and spread some cheer in my neighbourhood!
  • Bible out and about photo competition – The Bible Society is always thinking of new and imaginative ways to get us reading our bibles, and this competition is no different.  I guess it is designed to make us take our bibles on holiday rather than leaving them at home, so get snapping and sharing…
  • Faith at home in the summer holidays – a great blog post from Victoria at Godventure (one of my favourites) about how to keep faith in out activities over the summer holidays.  Lots of ideas and links in here for you all.