Tag Archives: kids

The Picture Says So Much

Mountain tops. Waterfalls. Icy Trails. Colorful trees in the fall. Arches. Cliffs. Canyons. Crevices. Geysers. They all say adventure. They all speak volumes and tug at our outdoor heart. I have mine, and I am sure you have yours.

But each weekend – millions gather around the world to partake of one of the greatest adventures of eternity – spending time with our church family and our Heavenly Father. We sing songs of praise. We list corporate prayer needs. We listen to the pesky announcements (I call ministry opportunities). And of course – God’s Word is shared, expounded, and challenges us.

There are hundreds of types of places to worship. Gothic cathedrals, Hotel ball rooms. old Kroger’s spots, classic wood frame churches, and small brick and steeples to name a few.

But this week – one picture stood out above them all. One picture that said – This is why we are here …

It says to me

  • Parents, bringing your kids to worship is important
  • Don’t just bring them, involve them
  • There is power in prayer – you are talking to the almighty Creator of the Universe
  • Songs and praise are important – but this is too
  • I wish this was what all our worships were about
  • This was taken when we were praying for Ukraine and Russia – WOW!
  • This was taken last Sunday at my church in little ole central VA!

If you had to picture your worship, what would it be?

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 19:14 esv

I Was a Sour Patch Kid

We will leave the argument of “did I ever grew up, or am I still a kid today?” to a later date. I’d probably lose that debate. Let’s get to the story …

Sour Patch Kids is a strange candy. Who would name their candy “kids?” It’s like they are making us to be little cannibals. We are eating kids? Give me another blue boy to bite their head off. Let me down a green gal or two. I just bit off a head and dismembered a kid. Eating them makes me think I’m a Hannibal Lecter in training.

It’s not the same as with Goldfish or animal crackers. Eating them makes us carnivores, not cannibals. Okay, maybe gingerbread men come close.

And their marketing scheme – good and bad. The creator of the commercials for Sour Patch Kids makes me even more confused. It’s like they are little Chucky dolls, but candy. They are alive and they do impish acts of mischief that warrant acts of retribution. But just when you want to rip them apart, they do some act of sweetness that makes you forget the violence you were planning as revenge.

My thoughts are to build little guillotines and chop off every little head. To tie the SP kids to four toy horses that are then pulled in opposite directions to rip the candy apart. To tie the SP kids down, get sharp knives and dissect them. But I digress.

Growing up, I was like a Sour Patch kid. I imagine many of us were. I rebelled, yelled at others, was selfish, and wanted my way. I did little impish acts against my siblings and blamed them when my parents confronted me.

But then I’d act innocent, sweet, and give my best little angelic face and all was forgiven. They would look at me and forget the Sharpie art on the wall, overlook the broken tool dad told me to stay away from, or ignore the empty cookie jar I was warned to stay out of.

First I was sour then I was sweet.

We have a bigger problem. In all of life, we are pretty sour, messed up, and far from being angels. And God isn’t fooled or distracted by my best little angel face.

Last night, we had Bible drill at our church. Our older graded kids shared some scripture they had memorized. They demonstrated Bible knowledge and awareness. They acted so sweet. I was so proud and I know parents and grandparents were too. Little angels quoting scripture.

The truth … I know them better. They are not always so sweet. Angels? Fallen angels maybe. Pouty, selfish, rebellious snots. They’d kick you in the shin just as quick as they’d hug you.The bigger truth though, we still love them.

And the even greater truth is this … yes, God sees each one of us, sour and all, and he still loves you and me and the whole world. He didn’t give up or turn away. He sent his son to take our punishment.

No act of sourness on our part is ever too bad for the sweetness of the grace of our God. For me, for the kids, for you … that’s what I’m really excited about.

I was (am) a sour patch kid … and God still loves me and you.

Wind in My Hair

Years ago, back in the day, a long time ago, in a suburb far, far away … I won a bicycle. It was one of those grocery store – write your name down – giveaways, from Giant Foods. Well, I think I did. My parents told me I did. My brothers claim they did. But since mom loves me most, she told me I did. So I claim the win.

Countless hours spent up and down Nob Hill (our street in northern Virginia). Eventually I upgraded to a ten speed. Then freedom was in my grasp. Hundreds, thousands of miles with pavement under the tires. Many of those miles were at Prince William National Forest Park.

Stock Photo of Prince William NFP

I haven’t been back there since my childhood. But it is amazing the memories we have and the ones we choose the keep. I remember the wind, the trees, the time working the pedals. I remember exhaustion and exhilaration at the same time. I remember my pal Johnny speeding ahead or falling behind. And I remember planning the day to ride back to Nob Hill before sunset. The fun we had together still brings me smiles.

Stock a Photo of a Prince William NFP

Childhood is full of memories. It impacts our adulthood. I don’t do bike trips any more. But I advanced to road trips by car. Which is weird, for growing up, our family did one road trip … Disney World. Four teens in the back seat of an Ford LTD. My father got sick and the car engine caught on fire. Not fun. But starting 2014 … road trips have gotten into my blood. Add that to hiking, life is an adventure. And though I’ve done many solo, the experiences shared impact deeper.

We are in a unique time in our world. And I think it’s the kids that are being hit the hardest. School is in chaos. So many things are closed down. Social skills norms are changing as we watch. And there is such a loss when kids can’t be kids.

We need to be intentional about creating an environment that allows wind in the hair, that permits freedom for fun, and will strengthens relationship skills. I’ve seen good things happen. Let’s not let up.

Yes, we stay proactively safe and socially distant … but we don’t ignore living.

Parents, communities, churches need to do our part. I need to do my part. Will you?

Thankfulness … And A Flash Mob of Monsters

They came from down the street. It was a precursor to the storms that radar was reported headed our way. No House was safe. No person would be left untouched. Scavengers. Seekers of treasures. Like an apocalyptical mob with one thing on their mind … candy. These preteens were out early. And they were not alone … parents followed in their trucks and SUVs. Two dads were also in costume to encourage their little monsters, M&Ms, superheroes, ghostbusters, animals, sports heroes, farmers, and more.

I handed out the sweets (KitKats for the record) and even had a picture taken.

It was great way to close out October. And a great way to usher in November. I will take the challenge and list an item of thankfulness each day and what a great way to start by being thankful for children. These were just some of the Church family minions, and I love hanging out with the kids. I probably am mentally closer to a 12 year old than those of my own age. Childlike, not childish, I like to say.

So, may we all be thankful, may we all keep our hearts focused on God’s blessings, and may praises for Him ever be on our lips.

Please note … it goes without saying that first and foremost we should all be thankful for God’s love, grace, and mercy … His sacrifice on the cross … and the greatness of His faithfulness.