Friday, April 25, 2008

when all is said and done

I was thinking about Last Child in the Woods this morning and remembered the song that comes from Psalm 96 "the trees of the field will clap their hands!" Verses 11-13 (NIV) actually read:

"Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it;
let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them.

Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy;
they will sing before the LORD, for he comes . . ."

Exciting! but I missed this part that follows:

"he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples in his truth."

Do you recall Romans 8:19-21(NIV)?

"The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God." I wonder if that's what Genesis 1:26-28 (NIV) is all about.

God created a wonderful and amazing place, a place where we almost can't help but worship Him, a place that speaks of Him. He made man and stuck him smack dab in the middle of it all, without our technology. You get creative when you're bored. When you get tired of back breaking work that has to be done you start looking for a better way. Maybe God made us that way. But He was probably hoping to meet us in the garden each night.

Ecclesiastes 2 (NIV) . Verses 4-6 specifically tell us that Solomon created gardens and parks among all his other wonderful accomplishments.

Yet after all of Solomon's accomplishments, in his profound wisdom, he adds ( 2:11 )

"when I surveyed all that my hands had done
and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun."

Every day we live and walk with God. We make choices. We won't all make the same choices because we're each unique. God made us unique with the freedom to make choices within His jurisdiction. We make our choices but there still remains a certain futility about life. Maybe it's a God-shaped space. Maybe it's that walking time at the end of the day.

In Ecclesiastes 12: 9-14 Solomon concludes his thoughts. He says, in the end, the only thing that really matters is to fear God and keep His commandments. Then God, of course, sent Jesus and left His Holy Spirit. Maybe that was His way of helping us reclaim that walking time.

Kids need walking/talking time with God, too.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

LCW: not the end...

Richard Louv's Last Child in the Woods has a surprise ending as all well-written works should - a surprise, but not.

I found all these blog tags in this book: generations, inspiration, justice, kids in community, language, puppies (because they're creatures), questions, random, relational, resources, pondering, roots, stewardship, story, teaching learning, worship

Paul Gorman: (founder, director of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, Amherst, MA) "To the extent that we separate our children from creation is the extent to which we separate them from the creator - from God..." (LCW p. 293)

"Just as many places of worship are going green, environmental organizations are increasingly likely to evoke the spiritual...Faith-based environmentalism can create strange bedfellows and powerful unions. . . Potentially, places of worship could be more important institutions than schools in connecting the young with the natural world. 'More and more people of faith, as they grow in their awareness of the connection between nature and religion, are bringing nature into the discussion,' says Gorman. 'But you have to start with parents. First and above all is for parents to understand this connection itself. The future is not about designing curriculum. It's about awakening to creation. Kids have to feel that this connection is vital and deep in their parents. They see through us all the time . . . as the connection becomes more vivid to us, our commitment to it becomes more authentic, and children respond to that authenticity. The most important thing is the awakening. That joy of awakening and discovery is what it's like to be a child." (LCW p. 295-6)

Do you hear the connection? Mr. Louv sites a lot of
research to support his position, and you can use research to say whatever you like but there are some interesting observations. I'm more impressed with the wisdom. There's a lot of catch 22 - in order to change this, you have to change that. We don't always know what the consequences will be. I also like the fact that Louv is quick to listen to the other voices who join in the discussion, though he may not agree. He's spoken with lots of parents and children and teachers and leaders of organizations.

There are always cross-roads. There are always choices to make. There's always something we take for granted. It's easier than we think to turn around and discover that the thing we took for granted is suddenly gone. It really wasn't sudden. We made choices and no one warned us - or maybe someone warned us but it wasn't a priority at the time. Maybe it wouldn't be gone if we'd been better stewards - if we hadn't taken it for granted.
Maybe whatever we lost wouldn't be gone if only we'd . . .

Monday, April 21, 2008

LCW: Fear and Trust

Ok. I'm about 20 pages from the end of Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv. It takes me a while but I finish them either because of this blog or because I promise the book to someone when I'm done. I mentioned it to a new-friend-also-Mom-to-an-8- year-old (yes, and-a-puppy-mom). They like to spend time outside. I mentioned it when I first starting reading it. Now, every time I see her she asks me if I've brought her the book and every time I see her I'm not done. Next time I'll be done.

Here is an example of the parent wisdom woven through these pages. Again, as he's advocating that we find ways to get our kids outside as individuals, as families, as schools, and through other organizations you'll also discover thin golden threads about parenting in today's world.

I was impressed with this:

"Don't just tell your kids about evil; teach them about good - teach them to seek out adults who can help teach them about good - teach them to seek out adults who can help them when they feel threatened. Teaching appropriate trust is more difficult than teaching fear, but just as important." (LCW p. 181-182) Encouraging healthy social interaction with good-hearted, trustworthy, caring adults will help kids learn to recognize the people they can trust.

He goes on for a couple more pages talking about parent-child relationships. He believes that children who are emotionally vulnerable are the children most at risk. (LCW p. 183-186) He says that although the physical dimensions of parenting and protection are important, the emotional bonds can offer even greater protection. Isolation isn't what will protect them, but socialization and healthy ongoing love, communication, and availability from their grown ups. It will help kids learn to discern good and evil. It will help them have the courage and emotional strength to say "no" when they need to and to know who to trust. A difficult task, indeed.

Don't laugh. The same applies to puppies.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Play is a blessing

Apparently play is a blessing. I understand it's a way to process life and create, a way that young members of a society learn the skills they will need as adults but I didn't know that it's tied to God blessing His people.

I looked for "play" in Bible Gateway. I didn't look up "amuse" or other words like that. Most of the "play" passages have to do with playing musical instruments.

There are only a couple of places that tell of children or young animals playing. What's interesting is that in Zechariah 8:5 (the NIV adds the title "The Lord Promises to Bless Jerusalem") it says, "The city streets will be filled with boys and girls playing there." That may be the only place in scripture where this passage occurs but if you're talking about children, it's significant because it's part of the picture of God blessing His people.

Children playing in the streets is part of the picture of God blessing His people? Off the top of my head it must mean that the land is at peace and all is well. Must be people are secure and there's a measure of trust and trustworthiness in society, in neighborhoods, on city streets. It will be so safe that children will be able to play outside in the streets. Another time in history, another culture you say? I don't know that children were given a whole lot of respect in ancient cultures. And my grandfather's brother got run over by a horse cart watching a parade with his father. It may not have been any safer in the streets hundreds of years ago than it is now.

My own generation and generations before me played in more places than my children did or my grandchildren will. My mother-in-law used to tell us how young moms would bring their children to the parks in NYC on weekdays. The parks were full of moms with kids. My husband and his friends used to play stick ball in the street in the 1950's. By the time we got married and had kids and went to visit the parks and streets were pretty empty. So much so that she noticed and commented about it. And from what my husband says NYC became much safer when Guilliani was mayor. I walked and played in my father's workshop, old barns, pear trees, fields and woods - mostly alone. Two parents working, you say? Maybe. Could be with people employing more nannies that parks are full again, I don't know.

But think about it. Even here, you rarely see groups of children playing outside anyplace besides a school yard or someplace other than an organized kids sports event anymore. Even schools keep their kids inside a lot more than they used to. It's just interesting. Ask your parents and grandparents whether they're from the country or the city or the suburbs. Ask them where they played.

Next Saturday or Sunday afternoon or some weekday between the end of school and sundown. Count how many kids you see outside - don't count play sets, count kids.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

But not during vacations...

Ok. The museum is still worth visiting but very crazy and very loud.

Oh yeah, this week all the kids are out of school!!!

So don't go Spring break unless you don't mind mild chaos or walking a block or two when all the parking spaces are taken. And next time I'll stop and read all the quotes about "play" on the wall so I can share them here!

My friend and I had a really good time trailing her 3 and 6 year olds around. So much to see and do and hear. I'm out of shape keeping track of kids in wild stimulating environments. I haven't visited the museum in a very long time. They've added so many activities and spaces. I haven't been around ALOT of kids having a really good time going in all different directions in a very long time either.

Did I use to have 5 kids 2 years apart give-or-take? Did I use to take all five of them to wildly stimulating places like that on a regular basis by myself without blinking an eye?

And how did I do that? Good question.

Probably at off hours, not at rush hour. Probably in lifeguard mode counting 1-2-3-4-5. My math skills stink but I was really good at counting to five.

And I didn't lose anyone?

Well . . . only a couple of times. It was usually momentary - give or take 30-40 minutes. My daughter will probably never forgive us. Ever. She loves to tell the stories. And do you think there's a reason that it was usually the same child?

We didn't lose anyone - not permanently, anyway. We still have the same five we started with. Ok, they've changed a little.

I may be spending too much time alone with two quiet puppies and I may be enjoying those long periods of quiet aloneness WAY too much!

only in my yard

Ok. I am the emerging kid here . . . the ongoing saga of my city yard . . . apart from the kamakaze squirrels who dare show their squirrelly faces in my yard when the dogs are off-leash . My dogs are quite good, considering. But they are in fact dogs. No more generalizations or observations about my dogs. They inevitably prove me wrong. But I digress

I drive in my driveway and I notice the cat. My neighbor feeds cats so it's not unusual to see a cat in my yard . My husband is so allergic to cats (and my daughter), otherwise I'd probably have a couple of my own . . .

I see the cat. The cat is facing south but looking at me (we'll call that looking west) . Lo and behold not 15 feet from the cat facing north but looking east the woodchuck has emerged from under the shed. First time I've seen him this season. I'd take a picture to prove it but they were a little too far apart to get in close enough, amateur that I am. Besides, they would have run away. They're about the same size, wild and domestic, that close together, staring in opposite directions, oblivious to each other (I think) . . . a good thing, probably . . . but hey, maybe they were playing together before I drove in the driveway and they were just angry. Who would know, right? The stuff of tall tales, I mean tails.

Seriously, somehow I think this could only happen in my yard.

When you read about the lion and the lamb, think of us.

And think of my Lollypop Farm quilt, too. If you look closely you'll see little children here and there. Not all that creative but it was a fun idea. (and The Craft Connection has lots of fun animal fabric.)

passion for children

A Writing Tip from Journalist Peter P. Jacobi that came from the Highlights Foundation. They're gearing up for their annual Chautauqua conference - a wonderful experience for aspiring children's writers. But this isn't just for children's writers. Anyone who works with children does well to remember...

Mr. Jacobi said, "Passion. That's my P word. Boris Novak, in celebrating International Children's Reading Day in 1997, said: 'Adults look at colors, yet do not see them. Adults perceive shapes, yet do not understand their speech. Adults live in light and from light, yet do not notice it at all. Adults cast long shadows, yet do not play with them. Adults take up much (indeed too much) space, yet never just for once marvel at it spaciousness. Adults look at the world with closed eyes. This is why space shrinks, shadows die, light darkens, colors fade, and shapes fall silent. Children are different. Children, with eyes wide open, gaze out at the world and marvel at things. Children play with colors and with shapes. Their play blows away the dust from the faded colors and returns to them the sheen with which they were born. Play brings to life new shapes, unseen and unheard before, fresh in their beauty.' For children particularly, we must have passion."

Isn't it a great quote? Never underestimate the power of play for children - maybe even for adults. Don't we rehearse things or process situations over and over in our minds when we're trying to figure something out?

I'm going to Strong Museum soon The National Museum of Play with some young friends. I haven't been there in a long time. If you're ever in this part of the world it's a very cool place to take your kids. A lot of history and VERY kid - friendly.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Check out Kidology

I strongly encourage you to check out You may have to be a member to participate in on-going discussions but there are some really interesting threads in the sidebar right now - one about kids in house churches and one about family ministry. Things are always changing there. Check it often! It's a wonderful resource and networking site! They even send people here!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Seasons and Sabbaths 3

We find it so amazing that people survived and thrived without the technology we have today. Before we created maps, map quest, or the GPS God provided seasonal skies and natural landmarks to guide us on our journeys. People got around. They traveled long distances without cell phones or GPS.

Today, we use more culturally and technologically relevant imagery because children are more familiar with the cultural/technologically relevant than they are with outdoor imagery with its times and seasons. I understand the reasons for trading outdoor imagery for examples that children are more familiar with. But what if we take the opportunity to use outdoor imagery in scripture to learn about God and rediscover the outdoor life He created with all it's sensory treasures? What if better understanding the outdoor imagery of scripture will help us better understand our Creator through all that He's created and better understand the Word He's spoken? There are things to learn from what our hands create but as Christian Educators can we learn more about God studying what His own hands have made than we can by studying what our hands have made? I don't know. I'd like to think so.

Maybe writing this is hard because the tangle of elements is so interdependent. Seasons, work, rest, life, care, God, Creation, man and man's creative accomplishments . Maybe it's hard because we can't separate all the threads. Maybe they were never intended to be sorted and separated. Maybe it's not unlike ecological systems. You try to isolate an element and you may see effects in places you didn't expect. You may even see major effects from things that you thought we just small and insignificant.

If you lay aside all the traditional understandings of times and seasons what are the seasons in your child's life? How does he/she tell time of day or time of year? Watch or ask them. You might be surprised. Maybe it doesn't matter but maybe it does.

Interesting times we live in.

Seasons and Sabbaths 2

Our livelihoods are dependent on our diligent work no matter what time we live in or what kind of work we do and anyone with any compassion will make exceptions to do the work needed to care for a life. But in most cases, as a culture, our work has become less dependent on seasons and we take no Sabbath. The lines are blurred. Work in our culture is 24/7. Sometimes we experience slow seasons and busy seasons. Sometimes we experience seasons of work and no work. With or without technological conveniences that make labor less tedious, the command to take a Sabbath remains as one of the Ten - the command to rest from all our work. It was Jesus who made a point to remind us that of course you rescue an animal that falls in a pit, even on the Sabbath. I guess my point is that it seems the lines of times and seasons, times for work and times for rest, keep getting more and more blurry - justified or not. The result is that the rhythm of work and rest gets lost in the shuffle even for children. Just yesterday I saw a book by Stanley Coren, Sleep Thieves. Haven't read it yet but I guess a serious lack of sleep is having a profound affect on our culture.

A child's life is divided into day and night, school and summer. Times and seasons. The season is determined by the sport or after school activity. Kids stay up past 8 pm if they haven't seen their parents all day. Kids have activities and commitments in the summer and over the holidays. We work 24/7. We need our kids cared for. We don't want them to be bored so why not maximize the time. We don't want to isolate them. We want them to have enough "socialization". Their lives are scheduled. That schedule isn't dependent on the weather except maybe a rained out game. Kids are going all the time. On one hand the lines of times and seasons, work and rest get blurred. On the other hand our lives and the lives of our children are very regimented and controled.

There are God-given seasons in life - natural life cycles and rhythms. Some of those seasons, life cycles and rhythms we have little control over. Seasons show up in the first chapter of Genesis. God also gives man dominion, though he had very little control over his environment at the time. In some ways we have greater ability to blur the lines of times and seasons, work and rest, than ever before because we're not so dependent on the outdoors. But there are still seasons when everything is going great and seasons when you think everything that matters to you is dying. Some of it we have control over and some we don't.

Seasons and Sabbaths 1

I'm about 1/2 way through Louv's book. I've been trying to write this for a number of weeks but it still seems disjointed. Not sure know why it's so hard. Probably too many threads tangled up together so proceed at your own risk.

I was thinking about seasons. I was thinking that we take seasons for granted except when we hit the extremes and they seriously impede our lifestyles. The liturgical year is an important part of many faith communities. It presents the opportunity to ponder the life of Christ all year long as a community. Knowing and anticipating seasons was an important part of life in Bible times and in any agrarian society. Back in the days before electricity when most work was hard manual labor people had to rest when the sun went down and light disappeared. They had shorter days and different work to do in the winter. There were jobs they couldn't do in a rainy season and the merchants probably didn't travel. Fishermen came and went in season. My kids learned about seasons in kindergarten. But I'm wondering. Will we have the same sense of season that's expressed in the scriptures if our lives aren't affected by them in the same way?

I looked up the word "season" in Merriam-Webster online . Just for the record, it turns out agricultural season isn't the first definition anymore. Change of season as it relates to the weather outdoors isn't a first definition either.

I looked up the word "season" at Bible Gateway. A really interesting word study. The writers of scripture used imagery from the outdoors, from a life not only dependent on the God who created the outdoors but dependent on the outdoors He made with all its sensory and experiential imagery. God uses it to teach us. The scriptures tell of dry seasons and rainy seasons in the Middle East. Job mentions snow and thaw. Ecclesiastes 3 is a whole chapter about seasons. Here in Upstate NY we still have four distinct seasons. But seasons are becoming harder and harder to distinguish even from an environmental perspective.

Here's a really interesting "season" passage from scripture. The seasons of plowing, planting, and harvest are busy and critical seasons in the world of agriculture. Successful plowing and planting largely determine the success of your harvest. Bringing in the harvest when it's ready before rain destroys it was also imperative. If you get a week of rain (bad plowing/harvest weather) but the Sabbath is sunny (good plowing/harvest weather) yet God says, "Rest! Even during plowing and harvest!" what do you do? Your cow needs help calving on the Sabbath. There's a life at stake. It's work you have to do. These are critical times and seasons. This is your food. Food for your livestock - livestock to help you work or provide food for your own family and others. Your life literally depends on the seasons and your timing - getting your crops in on time and harvesting them at their peak, being there when an animal has a hard time delivering young. Jesus also told people that if an animal falls into a pit on the Sabbath, of course you pull it out - Sabbath or no Sabbath. So when was it ok to work on the Sabbath? Or did keeping the Sabbath diligently make the exceptions more special - more legitimate.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Interacting with the Outdoors Home or Church

While it's still early in the season consider this, especially if you have some extra grassy space outside. Think of it this way if you're feeling reluctant. It's 5 ft square you won't have to mow!

A Sunflower Play House! This isn't my idea. Here are more directions from Family

And it doesn't have to be a family project. It can be a project on the lawn outside your church. I don't even want to think about the process for getting board approval but there's probably a lot of potential for creative thinking here.

Grow a vegetable garden at church and give the produce away to someone who needs fresh vegetables.

Grow a flower garden at church and use the cut flowers on Sundays or take flowers to someone who's sick or shut-in.

Take a hike and take photos. Create photo art. God .....or add a scripture for inspiration.
Create a wall of photo inspiration or poetry.

Activities like this can be done at home as families. Families can do the activity at home and bring the fruit of their labors to church and share the giving with someone at church who might know the perfect person to receive the gift.

The possibilities are endless!

Looking back

This book is full of inspiring quotes like that one. He's not ranting and raving. You'll often hear him sharing alternate perspectives. People may think he's over reacting. In the 50's and 60's when I was growing up the state thought nothing of buying flat land by the rivers. Easier to build a road on that going over the hills but it was bound to be some of the best farmland in the area. But that's ok. There are hi-tech farms in the mid-west. Higher producing. More efficient.

Looking around today, you'll see family farms are seriously disappearing. Fifty years ago alot of people thought that would never happen.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

perfect fun

"...many of us must overcome the belief that something isn't worth doing with our kids unless we do it right. If getting our kids out into nature is a search for perfection, or is one more chore, then the belief in perfection and the chore defeats the joy. It's a good thing to learn more about nature in order to share this knowledge with children; it's even better if the adult and child learn about nature together. And it's a lot more fun."

From Richard Louv's Last Child in the Woods p. 162

Friday, April 04, 2008

new resources

Someone recommended Relevant Magazine at Emerging Parents. I haven't looked too closely but it looks interesting.

This is Relevant Youth. This is sort of interesting, too.

This is seriously random but it's probably a good thing. Have you seen the Boot Camp for New Dads in Richmond, VA?

Just have fun with these Pontifications!.

This is Tall Skinny Kiwi 2004 I first started blogging because I wasn't finding anything. Twas true!

Interesting,Emerging Adulthood not unlike the Odessey article mentioned in a previous post. This article is similar from USA Today.

musing on the work of Your hands

from Psalm 143 (NAS)
A Psalm of David

I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all Your doings;
I muse on the work of Your hands.
6 I stretch out my hands to You;
My soul longs for You, as a parched land.
Selah.. .

8 Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning;
For I trust in You;
Teach me the way in which I should walk;
For to You I lift up my soul.
9 Deliver me, O LORD, from my enemies;
I take refuge in You.
10 Teach me to do Your will,
For You are my God;
Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.
11 For the sake of Your name, O LORD, revive me
In Your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble.
12 And in Your lovingkindness, cut off my enemies
And destroy all those who afflict my soul,
For I am Your servant.

Psalm 119:98 (NAS)

"Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies,
For they are ever mine."

I like the phrase, "ever mine."

Thursday, April 03, 2008

a world full of things to praise Him for

Psalm 145 (NAS)
A Psalm of Praise, of David.
1 I will extol You, my God, O King,
And I will bless Your name forever and ever.
2 Every day I will bless You,
And I will praise Your name forever and ever.
3 Great is the LORD, and highly to be praised,
And His greatness is unsearchable.
4 One generation shall praise Your works to another,
And shall declare Your mighty acts.
5 On the glorious splendor of Your majesty
And on Your wonderful works, I will meditate.
6 Men shall speak of the power of Your awesome acts,
And I will tell of Your greatness.
7 They shall eagerly utter the memory of Your abundant goodness
And will shout joyfully of Your righteousness.
8 The LORD is gracious and merciful;
Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness.
9 The LORD is good to all,
And His mercies are over all His works.
10 All Your works shall give thanks to You, O LORD,
And Your godly ones shall bless You.
11They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom
And talk of Your power;
12 To make known to the sons of men Your mighty acts
And the glory of the majesty of Your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.
14 The LORD sustains all who fall
And raises up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to You,
And You give them their food in due time.
16 You open Your hand
And satisfy the desire of every living thing.
17 The LORD is righteous in all His ways
And kind in all His deeds.
18 The LORD is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth.
19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;
He will also hear their cry and will save them.
20 The LORD keeps all who love Him,
But all the wicked He will destroy.
21 My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD,
And all flesh will bless His holy name forever and ever.

I have to say I've seen God answer prayers in unexpected ways, I've seen Him heal and restore, I've seen Him chase demons away, I've actually seen Him do a lot of amazing things over the years - not something every minute or even every year by any means. The thing that's so amazing is that even when you don't see Him doing any "Biblical miracles" or people extravaganzas there are so many little things and so much in the natural world to marvel at - the miracle of life, the miracle of birth, the miracle of 60 years of marriage, the fact that the sun rises every morning .... And He made our world that way - full of life, full of miracles, full of things to marvel at, full of things to praise Him for!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

from Psalm 92

Psalm 92 (NAS)

Praise for the LORD'S Goodness.
A Psalm, a Song for the Sabbath day.
1 It is good to give thanks to the LORD
And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;
2 To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning
And Your faithfulness by night,
3 With the ten-stringed lute and with the harp,
With resounding music upon the lyre.
4 For You, O LORD, have made me glad by what You have done,
I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands.
5 How great are Your works, O LORD!
Your thoughts are very deep.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


So here's the post script ... we also have a toad, sometimes. No fox, coyote, snakes or black bear as of this writing …But there was a black bear sighting about 1 mile away this past year. And I saw a fox about 1 mile from here just off the expressway towards the airport and rumor has it there are coyotes on the east side of town. I don’t know about the snakes. There’s a hawk, heron, bluebirds, and more various and sundry birds in the cemetery across the street. We may be wedged between a park and cemetery but we don't live on the fringes of the city, we live in the city. I don't adopt these critters. They're usually just passing through. Ellie and Nyah will make sure!

You've come here looking for info on children's ministry so you say, "So what? What do half (or too many) of these blog posts have to do with anything related to Children's ministry?"

Good question!Perhaps the better question to ask is what do they have to do with ministering to children? What do they have to do with loving children?

First, there's bound to be some far-reaching spiritual principal that says you probably won't see it if you're not looking - wildlife, for instance. It also applies to the wonderful things God does. There might even be scriptures to support it. Sometimes we don't see because we're not looking. Sometimes we see but we forget to thank Him and praise Him and tell Him how wonderful He is. "Lord, thank you that I could be here in this moment, at this time, to see this. You are amazing!"

The second thing is that those of you under 40 are part of a generation of parents who seem to be trying to integrate all of life instead of trying to keep everything (including your faith) compartmentalized and separate. There are a lot of things I've learned to love. It just took me a long time to stop feeling guilty about enjoying life. At some point in my life I stopped seeing things I enjoy as competing with God. It took me a long time to say, without guilt, God made me for this. Because I love Him, because He made me, this can bring Him praise and glory. No matter how I cut, destroy, or prune those branches they keep popping up. Even if for some reason God takes it away, either it will die or it will keep popping up. Pruned, it will bear more fruit. He wants to take me there. Maybe it's not unlike Jesus and the fishermen, Paul and his tent-making, Nicodemus and his work, David with his sheep, worshiping, pastoring a nation. Whatever my hands find to do can be a place to discover more about Him and discover more reasons to worship Him. Big change of thinking. Maybe it's a rather Celtic perspective but I think that whole person thinking - made in the image of God to worship Him- is Hebrew, too.

Someone else might blog about computers or gadgets or multi-media or health food or books or art or machines or travel and cultures, or urban life, or quilts or historical minutia or insects or parasites or math. Praise you Lord for math but I won't blog about math. You have to find that somewhere else. But think about it. There are soooo many ways to draw children into life and into the life of Christ and to help them see how amazing God is.

I think I've already quoted Psalm 8 on more than one occasion. I love the Psalms. Here's another passage I found yesterday in Psalm 111:

(vs 2-5)
Praise the LORD!
I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart,
In the company of the upright and in the assembly.

Great are the works of the LORD;
They are studied by all who delight in them.

Splendid and majestic is His work,
And His righteousness endures forever.

He has made His wonders to be remembered;
The LORD is gracious and compassionate.

He has given food to those who fear Him;
He will remember His covenant forever.

(vs 10)
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
A good understanding have all those who do His commandments;
His praise endures forever.

Wisdom starts with the fear of the Lord. Learning God's Word is multi-sensory. We learn by doing.

Getting excited about the things you love, learning God's words in the process in the context of life, is somewhere at the heart of the kind of teaching and learning that happens when you rise up, when you sit down, and when you walk along the way.

End of lecture!