Monday, December 05, 2016

Friday, December 02, 2016

Spicy Uno

So, my absolute favorite part of Thanksgiving Day was actually Thanksgiving Night.
We'd had a very enjoyable afternoon with a small gathering of family and friends, and I was ready to be joyfully contented with it. But then Elizabeth invited a few more of her friends over and they decided to play Spicy Uno. And she invited Brian and me to play, too.
I love that Elizabeth lets her old parents play with her and her friends!
I'm telling you, for the amount of laughter and raucousness which went into our play-time, I felt completely vindicated for the dessert I'd eaten. Totally worked it off, I'm sure.

OK. Now that I've piqued your interest, let me tell you how to play Spicy Uno.

Everyone begins with seven cards and play proceeds just like regular Uno.
BUT, there are a few additional rules.
*Anytime someone plays a "6," everyone has to slap the discard pile. Last person to put their hand down has to take two additional cards from the draw pile.
*If another person plays a card identical to one in your hand (same color AND face-value) you may play your card (quickly!) regardless of whether it is your turn, or not. But you have to play it before the next person takes their turn - or you sacrifice your move. (Play resumes just as if it had really been your turn. Yes, that means several people may get "skipped." Too bad!)
*Every time it is your turn, you must play a card.
If you don't have a play-able card in your hand, you have two options.
1) You may pick a card from the draw pile. However, if it isn't play-able you have to draw another. And keep drawing until you get a play-able card.
2) You may ask for "help". When you ask for help, other players may offer you a card from their hand - face down - for you to accept, or not, without looking at it. The card they give you may be play-able, or not. (This is where you find out who's on your side, and who isn't. This is also where things get very interesting because you can team up to prevent others from winning!) If the card you accept is not play-able you must pick from the draw pile until you find a play-able card.
*AND, when a "Draw 2" card is played, the person to whom it was given may lay another "Draw 2" down, causing the next person to draw 4 cards. Unless, of course, they also have a "Draw 2" to lay down - which would cause the next player to draw 6 cards. And on it goes, until nobody has a "Draw 2" to play. (This is also a time when you may ask for "Help!" Another player might give you a "Draw 2" to get you out of a mess. But, keep in mind, just because you ask for help and everyone knows you want a "Draw 2" doesn't mean somebody will give you a "Draw 2". You could be accepting a fraudulent card and end up drawing 2 or 4 or 6 or however many cards the total has reached. It's a risk you take!) Additionally, within the line of "Draw 2" build up, you are allowed to up the ante by playing a "Draw 4". At this point additional "Draw 4" cards may be added, but you may not revert to "Draw 2". So, yes, if - for example - Draw 2 + Draw 2 + Draw 2 + Draw 4 + Draw 4 were played before anyone couldn't play another card, some unfortunate soul would be adding 14 cards to his/her hand!
*One more thing. If you get caught not saying "Uno" when you only have one card left to play, you must draw seven cards.

And there you have it. Complete guidelines for spicing up that old deck of Uno cards you may not have touched for a few years. So, grab your kids (Even if they're "older" - actually, this game works better with older kids!) and get ready for a fun time.

Let me know how they like it!


Thursday, December 01, 2016

Be the YOU God Made You to Be

I have profound friends.

That is, I have friends who make profound statements.
Like, "I'm not going to beat myself up over that."

OK. Here's the context:
We were in Precepts Tuesday discussing our final lesson on spiritual gifts, sharing the "big thing" we learned that will stick with us. My friend spoke of realizing what her gift is - and what it ISN'T. She said she has come to understand that when she is in a circumstance which calls for something she cannot do, she's going to recognize God has not gifted her in that way and, "I'm not going to beat myself up over that."
I thought, Wow. That is some wisdom right there!
And we took a short, worth-while rabbit trail talking about our tendency (Especially women!) to compare ourselves with one another and become disappointed with who we are NOT.

Have you been there, too???

That evening, those words of wisdom came to my mind again.
I was with that same profound friend at an Advent Tea where I was speaking. We were walking around before the program began, admiring the tables which ladies had beautifully set-up and decorated. As we marveled at a particularly charming center-piece I said to her, "That right there is something I could NOT do. Not my talent!"
I mean, I can appreciate beauty and creativity with the best of them.
But to think it up, and put it together? Not gonna happen!
Then I turned to her and said, "And I'm not going to beat myself up over that!"
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good...All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines...But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, everyone of them, just as he wanted them to be.

~1 Corinthians 12:7,11,18
You see, the thing is - when God equipped us with natural talents, and when He gave us our spiritual gift(s) at salvation, HE knew what HE was doing. God made you uniquely YOU. And HE only made one ME. (Am I hearing hallelujahs coming from my sons' rooms? *wink*) There is no reason for us to wish we were gifted like - or had the talents of - someone else. Because if God intended for us to be someone else, HE wouldn't have made US.
Are you with me?
God gave us spiritual gifts for the common good - for the edification of the body of Christ. So, let us operate in our gifts (and let us use our natural talents in that operation) to bring glory to God and to advance the kingdom. Let us celebrate and encourage one another in our roles, without envy or resentment. And let the LOVE of Christ flow through us as we do the things HE calls us to do.

Full disclosure: Writing these thoughts is a whole lot easier for me than putting them into practice. (Comparison and feeling "less-than" are snares for me.) But by the grace of God and with the help of the Holy Spirit, I am going to give it my full effort.
Will you join me?


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

I'm Listening

Sometimes there is just no denying that God is trying to get your attention.

Like, when He repeats Himself.

So, yesterday in my video devotion I spoke about love and 1 Corinthians 13 - because that portion of scripture is what I have been studying the past couple weeks in my Precepts class.
(And, honestly, the blog post was part of an "assignment" in my Precepts homework for this week.)
Anyway, it has been heavily on my heart and mind.
But Precepts is over now, and I have been looking forward to a break because a few weeks ago we received a booklet of meditations for the Advent season. While I love Precepts - it takes a lot of time. And I welcome the opportunity I have now to settle in and focus on these Advent meditations.
Yeah. So yesterday I sat down with the Advent booklet to look at this week's reading and - Are you ready for this? - I discovered that every week for the next eight weeks I am going to be meditating on a different aspect of love from 1 Corinthians 13. Apparently two weeks studying it for Precepts isn't enough. God's got me on the extended track.
At first I was wondering if I should be offended. What, God? Am I not good enough? Somethin' You want to say to me???
But I know HE does everything well, and I am eager to be shaped by His Spirit.
I am eager to become who HE wants me to be.

Speak, LORD, for Your servant is listening!

Have you sensed God tugging at your heart regarding anything lately?


Monday, November 28, 2016

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Short Straw

Not sure how I did it, but somehow I came up with the short straw with regards to assigning leaders for our Precepts lessons this term.
That is, we're studying the spiritual gifts - and yesterday I got to lead the discussion for speaking in and interpreting tongues. I mean, who wants to take on that challenge? Leading a discussion on a topic which is so confusing and at the center of much disagreement. But, alas, it was my turn in the rotation.
Kidding aside, we had a fruitful discussion. Tho none of us feels we have a grip in the subject. (But since there are so many scholars who've studied hard and still don't know all the answers, I am choosing to feel vindicated rather than stupid. *wink*)
And although we didn't come to a conclusion and wrap up all loose ends on the subject, we did agree on this:
1) Ephesians 4:12-13 tells us that the spiritual gifts are given "to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ."
It's about building the Body. It's about bringing our Christian character to maturity. It's about unity. So, we will not disparage one another over things we don't fully understand.
And 2) What we do know for sure is that Jesus Christ left the glory of heaven to come to earth. HE became a perfect sacrifice and took our place on the cross - where HE conquered death so we could be forgiven. On the third day HE rose from the grave so we could have new life. Now everyone who confesses their sin, believes in Jesus, and turns to Him will be saved. Of this Truth, we have no doubts or questions. And on this Truth we declare our faith and unity.

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!

~Psalm 133:1
Praying for unity in our nation.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! I'll be enjoying my family - not blogging.
LORD willing, I'll see you back here Monday.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Food for Thought

Saturday I was talking with my mother-in-law about life, and motherhood, and the struggles inherent in both of them. As we continued on in our conversation I laughed and said, "I feel a blog post coming on!"

And, here it is!

In light of the state of our nation over the past couple weeks, in light of our individual needs to be built up and not torn down, and for the love of civility - I have a question.
What would happen if we all started saying kind things to one another?
When we notice someone doing a good thing, what if we went beyond noticing and actually thanked them for doing it?
When we have feelings of gratitude and admiration toward another person, what if we told them? With our voices? Face-to-face?
What if we didn't wait until someone's funeral to talk about how much they mean to us?
How would this world be different if we made a habit of sharing love, and lifting up?

Something to think about as you prepare to get together with family and friends over the holidays!