Sunday, 26 June 2022

New Release: The First Story-Teller Project's InterActive Story

The Interactive Story Concept:

"Aww, Mum! I hate having to read! It's BORING!"

Hmm, so we have to make reading more interesting.
Have you ever read a storybook together as a family, or in a class at school? The great thing with that was when Mum/Dad/the Teacher showed you the pictures and helped to explain what was going on, as well as lessons to learn from the story. I loved it when I was a kid, and so do my Grandkids today.

Or maybe you preferred the Comic Books format? This was fun. The dialogue and narration were well illustrated with exciting or appealing characters. The kids actually were motivated to read what the characters said. Well, now that we have video versions of these with cool special effects, we don't need comic books anymore, right?

Video is a cool medium, and the characters come alive. However, it's mainly passive watching and listening, and sometimes the kids can get distracted, no matter how good the story is. You have less control (the spacebar to pause it, maybe) and sometimes the kids may miss what the characters said or did (so you have to rewind it -- "CURSES! I went too far!"). AND the kids don't get the much-needed reading exercise you want for them.

Imagine having an immersive experience in a visual story where you can control the pace, stop and talk it over with your listeners. In an Interactive Story, your listeners can read the dialogue of each character.
A fairly unique concept.

Here is a foretaste of the first Interactive Story piece created for the Bard's Well Story Teller Project, a provider of cheap/free and engaging resources for families and Primary Schools:

To access it, follow this link, then click "Download".



Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. There's always a few bugs to iron out on a new concept like this, so any help at all (not just donations) automatically makes you eligible for an honorary membership. Send a request to dbutlerdunnit@gmail.com .
(Note: If you do not have a recent version of MS PowerPoint on your system, the fonts or animations may do unexpected things. Please let me know and I may be able to send you a packaged version with the necessary features.)

Monday, 30 May 2022

New Release: First Story Teller Project Video!

 Introducing the Bard's Well Creations Ministry's

Story-Teller Project
This is an on-going production project of amateur but high-quality stories, illustrated and semi-animated, with and without narration, mainly for kids. This includes a new concept, which involves Interactive Comic-style versions.

Here's the first story in this series, called
The Gospel According to the Creatures
A semi-animated story, mainly for kids, about two children in Jesus' time, who met and spoke with talking creatures who had witnessed Jesus' work and teaching.
Here is the full version:

Chapter One: "Fig Face" and Vinnie the Vine


This is FREE to share.
 The aim of this project is to create appealing, rather than professional standard productions. However, it takes time, effort and some outlay to get it to a reasonable standard.
If you enjoyed this story, please consider becoming a partner/member of this project.
If you send a donation (of any size) and send us your email address, you can receive any or all of the following benefits:
  • A link to view a High Definition version of the story,
  • Notifications and links to upgrades of previously published stories,
  • Notifications and links to new chapters when available,
  • A link to Interactive versions -- a fun class or family activity. Tell the story yourself!
  • A link to Zoom-based Story Time sessions.
    Details given on request.
  • The Story-Teller Project Newsletter including all the above.
To become a partner/member, please send a request to dbutlerdunnit@gmail.com


Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Essential Maintenance Tips -- A Tradie's Devotional


 An expensive vehicle might have a flashy design and shining duco, with all the latest gadgets, mod-cons, bells & whistles. But if the engine that drives it is poorly maintained, and breaks down, it becomes a useless (but attractive) heap of junk.

Even worse, if the driver is poorly-trained, or undisciplined, or careless or high on drugs or booze, or just out of control, they have a far higher chance of crashing their vehicle than the average, mature and sensible driver. In this case, the driver is the heart of the vehicle.

A successful company that relies on its vehicles for day-to-day operations has good mechanics on hand. These amazing people can, not only diagnose and fix mechanical problems, but also conduct a regular regime of “Preventative Maintenance”. This can drastically reduce the possibility of break-downs and malfunctions that can affect the company’s customer service and reputation.

But what is the heart of any company? The people! And not merely the bosses. The company also keeps reliable and stable staff that use their vehicles and other equipment. They adhere to safety directives and efficiency policies. More and more research shows that the most successful companies (not necessarily the richest) are those that maintain a healthy and caring work environment for their staff – dealing with the “Issues of Life” from within.

Isn’t that what the Holy Spirit is working in us. He does regular maintenance – both remedial and preventative on us – if we let Him. The Driving Engine of our lives could be our world-view, our philosophy of life – but ultimately, it comes down to the motivating forces in our hearts. It needs a regular tune, a grease-and-oil change by the most skilled Engineer and Mechanic in the universe.

Note: He has never refused to get His hands dirty in doing all this! That’s why He came to Earth and got so involved, he even gave His life for us!

Proverbs 4:23 NKJV “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”
It’s more than just keeping out evil desires etc, although that is extremely important. But is our heart merely a citadel, an ivory tower, a cold, clean space with nothing in it?

A city with strong walls and a well-guarded throne may seem okay for a while, but if the king is a tyrant or even merely lazy or indifferent to his people’s needs, then the people will become disenchanted – even rebellious, and the city will eventually fall.
Prov 16:32 NKJV “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.”

History has shown repeatedly that “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” [Proverbs 14:34] But more than that, it is clear that any nation whose people strive to seek the heart of God, not merely conform legalistically to the Ten Commandments, has prospered in so many ways. Even the Ten Commandments at its heart is based on the Two Commandments: Love God and love people.

Look what happened in the Welsh revival. Whole communities were transformed. Crime rates dropped to zero. Broken families were healed. The economy boomed because people paid off their debts. Integrity returned to businesses and private lives. All the national issues were resolved because God fixed the heart of the nation.

It’s the same in the medical field. Our inner hearts need a regular check-up. Yes, we need to keep our whole bodies and minds healthy, but what’s the good of exercise and diet etc if we get heart-failure and die because we didn’t look after the main organ that keeps us alive? We generally function far more efficiently when it’s purring along nicely.
Yes, our parts wear out eventually, because we are in a sin-cursed world. But Doctor Jesus will make sure that our bodies are functioning well enough to get the job done that we have been called to do – if we let Him!
One day He’s coming back to have us fitted with a new model. This is built from the ground up (or is that from heaven down?) It will be one that never wears out or runs inefficiently.

A home is the best illustration. What IS the heart of the home? It’s the family! If the house itself is well-built, spotless and well-maintained, but the family is breaking up, what’s the point? The western world, especially, is full of nice houses inhabited by sad divorcees, bitter ex-partners or have been sold because the heart of the home has been broken.
It’s not all about having a well-run household so much as well-connected relationships among the family members – especially the husband and wife functioning as a loving couple and as a Dad and Mum.

God is primarily concerned with the state of our hearts, especially our relationship with Him. If our relationship with the Lord is not so good, or even just cooling or drifting, sooner or later it will lead to bad “issues” in the other areas of our lives. The enemy will take advantage of our vulnerability and distract us, harass us, oppress us etc. We end up with bad habits and other brokenness etc. We don’t need this! We have enough to worry about in our maturity, the ongoing redemptive work in our minds, and growth in God without adding all this other baggage in our lives.

If we just simply change our behaviour or do all the Christian disciplines without maintaining our relationship with God (and with others as a flow-on from this) we will just have a cold, empty religion.

How do we keep/maintain our hearts?

  •  Self-discipline in thought-life and habits. These interact with our hearts, and either help or hinder our relationship with our God. Due diligence is the word here.

  • Meaningful prayer that fervently seeks His presence – not merely His “presents”.

  • Listening for the Heart as well as the Voice of God when we read/study scripture. Few things can strengthen and protect the heart like getting a revelation of the God Who inspired His Word. We should look at our daily reading/study as a good maintenance session for our hearts as well as an information session for our minds.

  • Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is. [Hebrews 10:25]

  • We should look at ourselves as essential parts of the greatest machine the world will ever see. 1 Peter 2:5 speaks about us as “living stones” for the temple of our God. Not only must those stones be tough enough to take the pressure, but they must also be “alive”, relating well with their "neighbour-stones" and willing to be placed where they are needed.

  • Here’s the hardest one: obedience to His Will. He knows what’s best for us, even when it ain't pleasant. We all have issues with that at some time or other.
    Whole books could be written on this. Yet any city, any nation, any machine, any building, any company will eventually disintegrate if it does not function in the purpose for which it was designed.

Thursday, 3 September 2020

Latest BardSong, winning First Prize in the Writing Challenge. Called: "Not All Will Flock Together."

 (A bird’s-eye view of humanity)



We intellectual birds-of-prey
From dusk to dawn are active,
Eschewing that harsh light of day –
The moon-light’s more attractive.

I’m field reporter Alfred Owl
Sent by “The Evening Hoot”.
For News (by means both fair or fowl)
This is my life’s pursuit.

My boss commands me to report
On other species’ habits:
The subterranean moles’ resort,
The networked homes of rabbits,

The mounds built by th’ industrious ants,
The birds that thrive in trees,
And anything that helps enhance
And build communitees.

Most creatures, winged or bare or furred,
Have learned to dwell together
In flocks or tribes or schools or herd
With others “of their feather.”

The geese they fly in fine formation
So far – seldom weary,
And with their inbuilt navigation,
Never call for SIRI.

The skylarks, swifts and starlings dance
The skies in fine array.
Their grace and artistry enhance
Their disciplined display.

Most earth-bound beasts (beneath us birds)
At least they get along.
Unlike those nerds who shun the herds,
Together they are strong.

The cows, the wolves, the sheep, the goats
Look out for one another.
They share their grass or meat or oats
Or prey with little brother.

Despite their size, let’s not despise
The herds of ele-phants.
Their matrons oft their young advise
And help pull up their pants.

But humans are a curious lot.
They think they’re queens and kings!
I really think they’ve lost the plot.
They do the weirdest things!

Their feathers they have largely shed.
Us owls think it’s a Hoot!
They’ve left a little on their head
Which does look kind of cute.

To compensate, they build machines –
Such clumsy-looking things!
Like huge, fat eagles in their teens,
That can’t yet flap their wings.

They pile their nests up to the clouds.
Their chirping’s never quiet.
And when they gather in their crowds
It soon becomes a riot.

Yes, when these creatures congregate
They can’t refrain from squabbling.
They bite, they scratch, abuse, berate
Worse than a turkey’s gobbling.

They’re such a wild, contentious race.
They give and take much flack.
They’ll smile into their neighbour’s face,
Then stab them in the back.

They hold what they call “parliament”,
Their problems so to fix,
Then blame and squark, their anger vent
And call it “Politics.”

The “Left-Wing” folk despise the “Right”,
The “Right” hate in return.
They flap these “Wings” with all their might,
But fly? They’ll never learn!

All your Fake News does not amuse.
Come, heed your feathered friends!
Don’t twist the facts, your power abuse,
O Homo sapi-ens!

The folly of this human-kind
Rejecting God above!
And blindly they mislead the blind
All in the name of “Love”!

It seems to me that ever since
Into the world men entered,
Their souls were stained the blackest tints
Which makes them quite self-centred.

Yet once I flew into a nest
Where humans congregated,
Where none were treated like a pest,
No pride, no racial hatred.

They walked the talk and did not balk
At showing real compassion.
In nasty talk they put a cork,
Which ain't the current fashion!

They healed the sick and fed the poor,
And gave the hopeless strength.
The homeless saw a welcoming door
And found a home at length.

Where joy and thanks and mercy throve,
Integrity stood tall!
Connecting to their Maker’s love
His life flowed to them all.

As helpless humans strive in vain
So God, He took on flesh.
He lived and died and rose again.
Man can be born a-fresh.

And so, good reader, as I write
This article’s conclusion,
I hope this literary flight
Won’t cause too much confusion.

I’m ending on a note of hope
That man, he will take stock,
And grasp at God’s extended rope
And join His blessed flock.


Copryright © Bardswell Creations 2020

Attribution:
Above image is a conglomerate of various images licensed as below:

This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY

This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA

This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC

Thursday, 30 April 2020

Latest BardSong wins 4th Place: "A Dreamer's Journey."



I am so good at starting things.
I love to dream big dreams,
To launch into dark seas unknown,
To scheme ambitious schemes.
I build great castles in the sky.
I’m sure I’ll stand the test
To reach those distant stars on high,
Like Don Quixote’s quest.

I take on tasks beyond my skill,
Injustice bravely fight.
The fiercest dragon I could kill,
And climb the highest height.
Undaunted by the task ahead,
I counted not the cost.
My rosy-tinted glasses said:
“You hesitate, you’re lost!”

I consequently hit the wall.
I lacked the right resources,
With no experience at all.
So truth said: “Hold your horses!”
At last I see the chips are down.
My resolution wavers.
My friends think I’m a silly clown.
I’m running out of favours.

Enthusiasm starts to cool,
I soon run out of steam.
My friends they say: “Don’t be a fool!
You can’t fulfil that dream!”
My brain around the Prize revolved –
The glamour of the Goal.
Ignoring all the work involved,
I couldn’t see the whole.

Now mired in disillusionment,
Discouragement and pain,
So, to the “too-hard bin” it’s sent
I won’t see that again.
Then suddenly, a bright idea!
A brand-new, shining scheme.
A morn of hope, the skies are clear.
Another dream to dream.

And so my life became a heap
Of failures day by day.
Intent was good, but talk was cheap,
Good prospects thrown away.
Distractions never were addressed,
Good planning was ignored.
Unmotivated, felt depressed,
Sometimes I felt just bored!

But serious failure does the trick.
Of sense it makes you see.
My butt it got a mighty kick,
Which brings maturity.
Then Jesus came and saved my soul,
A new life through new birth.
He healed my heart and made me whole
Yet brought me down to earth!

He placed me in His family,
This dreamy, flighty youth.
‘Mongst many things they’d say to me
I learned a useful truth:
Relationships need perseverance
Even when it’s tough,
With loyalty and firm adherence.
Feelings aren’t enough.

For True Love also has True Grit
While feelings rise and fall.
In hard times I abandoned it
Which didn’t help at all.
The plan the Lord for me has planned
Gives total satisfaction.
All other dreams are built on sand
They’re merely a distraction.

He did not promise lack of pain
Of sorrow or of fear,
But there is endless joy to gain
If I’d just persevere.
So, have I learned the course to stay?
My answer’s “Sometimes, no.”
Although I’ve come a long, long way
I’ve still some way to go.

I pray I’ll strongly end my race
Just like the good Saint Paul,
And look my Saviour in the face,
The strongest One of all.
Though in the darkness of the cross
His glory seemed diminished.
When all His labours seemed but loss,
He cried out “It is finished!”

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Latest BardSong: "Getting Familiar with Reptilia."

Consider awhile the wily rep-tile.
To say they’re all evil, you’d miss by a mile.
The greens all agree that they keep down the pests,
Whereas others may find they are unwelcome guests.
But love them or hate them, they need some explaining,
Or reptiliphobics will soon start complaining.

Lizards are wizards, the way they escape,
Forsaking their tail and their old scaly cape.
So our feathery predator’s so darn surprised!
What he thought was his dinner’s now only snack-sized.
And don’t get confused ‘twixt a skunk and a skink,
For a skink is no skunk, ‘cos a skink doesn’t stink.

A dragon likes braggin’, and he’s a real pest!
He took on St George, but came off second best.
If he’d only give up his destructive desires,
His breath could be used to light warm winter fires.
Their legends abound, and so this makes me pause.
Apart from the fire, could they be dinosaurs?

The adder is badder, and quite calculating.
His multiplication comes only by mating.
By treating them well, they’ll increase exponentially.
Burrowing, they’ll find a square root, eventually.
Dividing a bird’s egg, subtracting the yolk,
He added this comment: “All maths is a joke.”

Don’t get too hyper, when handling a viper.
Make sure he’s not resting on your windscreen-wiper.
Just talk to him nicely, avoid getting bit,
‘Coz sometimes he throws us a bad hissy fit.
If it comes to a fight, beware of the toxin!
But having no hands, he aint good at boxin’.

The bane of the serpent is good ol’ Saint Patrick
He outplayed the pagans and got him a hat-trick:
He caught out the priests, their chieftains were stumped,
He ran out the snakes. In the sea they were dumped.
But it leaves a dilemma for Erinn’s fair isle,
For rabbits and mice have become a great trial.

Keeping house I abhor for a vast dinosaur,
‘Cos that is a creature one cannot ignore.
The grocery bill’s monstrous. You’ll lose your pet rabbits!
(That bully T. rex won’t adopt vegan habits.)
Then all he will leave you is fossils and bones.
At least he’ll abandon your TV and phones.

You need a translator to talk with a ‘gator,
But once understood, he’s a fine educator.
Discussing Gastronomy, enters right in
With his charming, engaging and wide, toothy grin?
But crocs wearing socks, they think outside the box.
But if they’re inside, I’d suggest some good locks.

With a lisp, comes a boast from a sea-faring python:
“I thailed to Alathka and thwallowed a bithon.
My thtomach’th ekthtended tho much,” grumbled he,
“It’th thimply too rithky to thail on the thea.”
So this is the moral this tale brings to you:
Make sure you don’t bite off what you cannot chew.









So what can we say of the old Joseph Blake?
A snake’s just a snake for heaven’s good sake!
More villain than hero they’re often depicted.
With stern disapproval they’re often afflicted.
But why should we all be so quick to condemn?
There’s times in our lives when we’re rather like them.

We serpentine folk have these character flaws
Where falsehoods and slanders proceed from our jaws.
We spit out pure venom, our words often bite.
Examples abound of deception and spite,
Like, when the Lone Ranger by salesmen got stung,
Then Tonto he told him: “Them speak with forked tongue!”

*********

That serpent of serpents our Eve he deceived,
Then Adam’s race fell and all nature is grieved.
And throughout the ages, our serpentine ways
Brings death and destruction, and darkens our days.
The venom of Sin it’s polluting our blood,
It poisons our souls and our minds are as mud.

The Israelites God freed from Pharaoh’s cruel chain.
In spite of His blessings, they loudly complain
Until they were bitten by serpents of fire
And so they repented at God’s righteous ire.
For toxic ingratitude summons the snake
Who destroys them who God’s endless goodness forsake.

But God showed His mercy, His boundless compassion.
He called upon Moses this symbol to fashion:
A great brazen serpent he raised on a pole,
And whoever beheld it at once was made whole.
It speaks of the cross where the Son became Sin,
And that’s how God dealt with my serpent within.




Thursday, 5 March 2020

Latest BardSong wins "Highly Commended" award. It's called "The Dreams of Wannabe Johnnie B"


I wish I was a famous guy 
So’s I can give up school. 
I’d poke that bully in the eye, 
And make him look a fool. 
I’d make a billion bucks and buy 
The coolest motor cyke, 
I’d travel round the world and I 
Would never have to hike. 

But Dad said “Son, if rich you’d be, 
You’ll have to study heaps, 
Then go to university.” 
But that gives me the creeps! 
“Or maybe get a job,” he said 
“You’d have to work real hard. 
Stop dreaming and get out of bed! 
Go out and sweep the yard!” 

******* 

I’d like to be the president 
Of the United States. 
Though King of England’s more my bent. 
I’ll knight all of me mates. 
I’d order all my fav’rite foods. 
It’s Macca’s every night! 
Arrest the crooks and nasty dudes. 
King Johnnie makes it right! 

But Mum said “Johnny, little man, 
Don’t think of such a thing! 
A president’s Ameri-can, 
A king is born a king. 
When things go wrong you’d get the blame 
No matter what you do. 
The press they try to stain your name. 
Assassins target you!” 

******* 

Or how’s about a superstar 
Performing on the stage? 
I’ll knock ‘em dead with my guitar, 
My songs are all the rage. 
Then all the chicks’ll think I’m rad 
And swoon each time I sing. 
Then even family would be glad 
That I’m just like The King. 

But my best friend just laughed and jeered: 
“But you can’t hold a tune! 
The songs you write sound kinda weird, 
Like howling at the moon. 
You just don’t practice every night. 
You don’t tune your guitar. 
With Elvis-curls you look a fright. 
You’ll never be a star. 

******** 

I’d love to be a Jedi Knight, 
Light Sabre in my hand. 
Them big bad Siths I’d bravely fight, 
The Force I could command. 
I’d take my friends to stars beyond. 
Their hero I would be. 
I’d drop fat Billie in the pond 
Just like he done to me. 

But big Bro scoffed “You’re such a nerd! 
Those worlds just don’t exist. 
The dumbest thing I ever heard! 
Your brain’s lost in a mist. 
Some special powers the Jedi had 
But even if they’re true, 
Ol’ master Yoda would be mad 
To train a geek like you!” 

******** 

‘Magine me as Superman 
With muscles like balloons. 
I’d fly in with my garbage can 
And clean up all them hoons. 
Or even just a footy star 
Full forward I would play. 
I’d kick the mostest goals by far 
Upon Grand Final Day. 

But, I dunno. Yeah, what’s the use? 
I’ll never be that great. 
I’ll always be just Johnnie Bruce 
The cool kids love to hate. 
Just silly dreams these are, maybe. 
I’ll always be the same: 
Just full of mediocrity, 
I’ll never get no fame. 

Then, Pastor Dan, he spoke to me: 
“Hey! Listen, Johnnie mate. 
Famous we may never be, 
But we can still be great. 
The most loved folks of history 
Just carried out their call, 
And here’s the greatest mystery: 
To rise, you have to fall. 

“Don’t try to be a wannabe, 
Earning huge amounts. 
God has a plan – your destiny – 
And that’s what really counts. 
The greatest Man Who walked this Earth 
He won, then lost His fame. 
A carpenter of humble birth, 
Yes, Jesus was His Name.”