On My Radar – BOXBOY! + BOXGIRL!

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Picked up BOXBOY! + BOXGIRL! over the weekend. Tried the co-op out with Wyatt. Gameplay is tight AND requires a bit of communication (re: patience). 😛

Looking forward to trying out the single-player.

Homecoming: Why are video games so hard to come back to?

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A long time ago (2014), in a living room far far away, I asked Wyatt to help me create my Dragon Age: Inquisition character.

Me on my throne.

We created a:

  • Scrawny Elf
  • With a facial tattoo that covers his entire face
  • Who carries a two-handed sword
  • And has a deep voice

I loved playing as him.

I sunk hours into Dragon Age: Inquisition until I hit the wall and got stuck in the game. At this point, I am sure, a new game entered my orbit, and I blasted away from my elf and the inquisition.

My throne room.

I loaded Dragon Age: Inquisition once more last night. Combat/gameplay rhythms were unfamiliar after being away from the game for so long. My elf had not changed… but I have.

Unlike reading multiple books at the same time, I think video games are harder not to play fully invested in. With big AAA games, I tend to forget about the:

  • Controls (muscle memory does help with skill-based games)
  • Story (I’m thankful for the games that feature a story recap)
  • How much I cared/was invested in characters

So I wanted to ask you:

  1. How long is too long to come back to a game?
  2. At what point do you give up/delete/move on because you simply do not care anymore?

Let me know in the comments below!

Death of a Modern Woman

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A daughter got up to speak at her mother’s funeral recently. She talked about how her mom was a “modern woman”. Her unspoken words silently screaming that her mother resented staying home and raising her and her siblings.

The funeral continued with another daughter stepping up to the lectern to speak. She mentioned that her mom was a life long member of the church they attended. She also talked about current tensions between siblings and made a sideswipe at her brother for his lack of talent.

Photo by Kerri Shaver on Unsplash

Sitting there, I noticed that nothing was said of the deceased woman’s faith but only of her membership. As another daughter’s words were read aloud by the pastor, I felt grossed out by the tension in this family. The bitterness smothering any love that might once have existed between them.

As Tabitha and I walked out of the church, we held hands while walking out to the car. Trying to imagine living in family, having siblings, that were so torn up and hurt by one another. In the privacy of the car, we talked about how we want to be remembered. How we want people to speak of us at our own funerals.

I walked away thinking about what holds our family together. The faith and values that Tabitha and I surround ourselves and fill our home with. I would hope that Wyatt would grow up and look back on his childhood with fondness. I also realize that we can do EVERYTHING we’d consider right and things can still go sideways. I am thankful that God is bigger than any of my own parental missteps.

I want people to remember me for my actions and not my accomplishments. I want to be remembered as more than just a life long member of a church.

From Across the Net – “Five Specific Ways The Current Approach to Church Seems Badly Outdated”

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I have always been impressed by pastors and church worship leaders who allow for God to move. Thankful that my church’s Worship Arts Pastor naturally builds in time to pray during the music worship portion of our service.

One of the best questions you can ask as a church leader is “If people show up on a Sunday, have we left enough room for them to encounter God?” That can be done through music, through prayer, through silence and even through the way you preach. It’s a posture as much as it’s programming.

Too often, people show up at church hoping to find God. Instead, they find us.

You can read more here

From Across the Net – “How Fortnite’s success led to months of intense crunch at Epic Games”

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I’m not saying that this is right… but I think businesses are managed like this far more than we think. This scatterbrained approach to management, constantly shifting to put out the biggest fire, leads to worker frustration as nothing is ever getting done. Good management respects its greatest resource, time.

“If a build went out into the wild and there was a negative reaction, then someone at the top would say, ‘We need to change that,’” one source said, “and everyone would be pulled in from what they were doing, and people were told to cancel their plans, because they were going to crunch until this was done. It was never-ending. It’s great for supporting the community and for the public. But that comes at a cost.”

You can read more of Polygon’s article titled “How Fortnite’s success led to months of intense crunch at Epic Games“.

Stepping Out of the Boat

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Life has become all about stepping out the boat. Go ahead and read Matthew 14:22-36 (NLT) and then join me below.

Jesus Walks on Water

22 Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. 23 After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.

24 Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. 25 About three o’clock in the morning[b] Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!”

27 But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here![c]

28 Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”

29 “Yes, come,” Jesus said.

So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strong[d] wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.

31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”

32 When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.

34 After they had crossed the lake, they landed at Gennesaret. 35 When the people recognized Jesus, the news of his arrival spread quickly throughout the whole area, and soon people were bringing all their sick to be healed. 36 They begged him to let the sick touch at least the fringe of his robe, and all who touched him were healed.

The new adventures of the Hall Family have required action. Stepping away from the comfortable and out into the unknown. In our first few steps on this new adventure, this has meant being exposed to decisions and situations completely foreign to us. Exploring scenarios that we were not raised around but have only vaguely heard of. Overall learning not to be quick to judge due to what might be lurking below the surface.

Our first few steps on this new adventure have made me reflect upon many things. Making me thankful for my parents, for how they raised me and my siblings. I’m also thankful for my siblings, for relationships that haven’t been blown apart with time.

Photo by Ameen Fahmy on Unsplash

Like Peter, we’ve been encountering waves as we step out of the boat. I was telling Tab, over lunch today, that it is interesting what form these waves take. God is definitely preparing us for the future.

Got thinking Sunday morning about how good it feels to be obedient to God’s calling. And maybe “feels” isn’t the best way to express this thought. Praying Sunday morning, I thanked God for my family’s obedience to His calling. I’m thankful that like Jesus in the above story with Peter, He is there walking with us through the waves.

27 But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here![c]

From Across the Net – “A First Look at Stuffed Fables – Tabletop Gaming Weekly”

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I’ve had my eye on Stuffed Fables for quite sometime. Moe, over at Tabletop Bellhop, shares his initial impressions of the game:

The four of us had a great time playing Stuffed Fables this afternoon. While it took a bit of time to convey the rules to the kids, the dice based system in this game is much easier for kids (and adults) to grok than Mice & Mystics or any other adventure style game that I’ve played. Turns are quick which is great for keeping the kids involved. What impressed me even more was the variety of things that we have had to do in the game so far. I expected more of a dungeon crawl with lots of baddies to fight and, except for the initial encounter, that doesn’t seem to be the story that is being told by Stuffed Fables, and that’s awesome.

You can read more here

From Across the Net – “It is well…”

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I did not know this… sometimes we want people and even history to be “real” up until a point.

His own ship, breached by disaster, was sinking. Rather than confess his failures and start repaying his debts, Spafford abandoned his faithful church and embraced the fervent millenarianism and spiritualism of his day. Jesus must be coming soon, and His sinful, broken, yet obedient servant must be on hand to meet Him. With Anna beside him, Spafford gathered a band of followers in their Chicago home, preached a message of purity and self-sacrifice, and launched a pilgrimage to Palestine, where they would celebrate the Lord’s return. No one else would die.

You can read more here

From Across the Net – “Reducing the Stumbling Block before THE Stumbling Block”

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We all put stumbling blocks before unbelievers can get to the stumbling block of the cross. Some of these are beyond our control, but others are within our powers of adjustment. The way we appear, our communication styles, attitudes, actions, and histories affect what others “hear” long before they hear the gospel. The faster we recognize this truth, the better we can prepare for for effective proclamation.

You can read more here

Grasping at Something Tangible

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This is one of those days where I know I need to post because it is New Post Thursday; one of those days where I’m not sure what to share.

matthew-sleeper-124918-unsplash

Have been dealing with the thoughts and emotions of the new adventure my family is on. Trying to grasp what the unknown looks like. Wondering how it impacts my family and what life will be like afterwards. This is one of those deals where I have peace, deep down, over the “adventure”. But I think I’m trying to control all the details, trying to grasp at something tangible.

Little things, such as someone asking me to do something, feels overwhelming. I don’t like that.

I am grinding my teeth at night.

I am dreaming crazy dreams… when I can actually sleep.

 

God is teaching me that I have to push through being overwhelmed by that “one more thing” feeling. That I have to learn to deal with stress differently. He has also been reminding me of who I have been blessed with, my family, and what makes us unique.

 

I am thankful for how God prepares us for things; thankful that this new “adventure” will take time. His time.

How do you deal with stress?

Let me know in the comments below.

From Across the Net – “My Frustrating Journey to Find a Perfect Pair of Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons”

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I was finally progressing through Hollow Knight when one of the Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controllers decided to disconnect. I paused the game and fought with the controller, trying desperately to get back to my game. After a few moments, I succeeded in pairing the controller with the system. Success! Only to have the controller disconnect again minutes later.

Matt Kim, with USgamer, wrote about this last week in an article titled “My Frustrating Journey to Find a Perfect Pair of Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons“.

The Nintendo Switch came out in March 2017, and though the console was a huge hit critically and commercially, the launch wasn’t entirely pristine. Key issues have to do with the Joy-Cons disconnecting from the console, and “drifting,” meaning the reticle would move further away from the center, even if the thumb stick wasn’t being moved.

These two problems are largely separate from one another, but there are several articles from March 2017 from news outlets, YouTube channels, and tech forums about the left Joy-Con disconnecting issue, and how to fix it. Various technical breakdowns showed that the reason the left Joy-Con disconnected so often was because of the way the antenna was designed in the first place.

You can read more here

I am upset to find out that this is still a widespread issue. Nintendo and quality hardware go hand-n-hand in my mind. Nintendo, you need to make this right. I shouldn’t have to worry about controllers not working after owning a console for a year.

From Across the Net – “4 Painful Lies Stay-at-Home Moms Tell Themselves”

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Jasmine Holmes, writing from The Gospel Coalition, has a great article titled “4 Painful Lies Stay-at-Home Moms Tell Themselves“.

I’m a stay-at-home mom because I’m striving to obey God’s calling on my life. He’s given me gifts, talents, and abilities that I steward while devoting most of my time to my family. We prayerfully made these decisions for our family; they’re not a judgment call on yours.

The stay-at-home mom life doesn’t define me any more than my professional life defined me—Christ’s death on the cross does. Staying home isn’t the most important detail about me. My identity as Christ’s daughter is.

You can read more here

I’ve also written on this topic before here

Someone, Please Save Us, Us College Kids

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During my junior college years, I listened to “College Kids”, by Relient K, on repeat:

Someone, please save us, us college kids!
What my parents told me is what I did
They said, “Go to school and be a college kid.”
But, in the end, I questioned why I did

I wasn’t sure what I was doing. I knew I wanted more than the part time restaurant job I was working. Surely there was more to life than general level college courses, commuting, and serving food/busing tables. Add on top of that friends moving away for school, girls/dating, and not being sure of who I was in the church (or the church having a clue of who I was)… this was a huge transitory time for me.

(Oh no!) Not for me, not for me
Call it torture, call it university
(No!) Arts and Crafts is all I need
I’ll take calligraphy and then I’ll make a fake degree

I am thankful for those that God stirred up and called into my life during that time. He is faithful. I just didn’t always see His faithfulness as I clearly do now in retrospect. Little did I know that He was preparing me for bigger things. Bigger things like:

  • Moving away from all that I ever knew (family, friends, etc.).
  • Texas. TEXAS. The shock of Southern/Bible Belt culture.
  • My wife. I met her within a month of moving/going to school.

For those in this period of transition, the church (as a whole) does little to help with the confusion. Once students leave the comfort and safety of the youth group, they are launched into church oblivion. This oblivion is somewhere between graduating high school and marriage. The church, inadvertently, preaches that marriage is the pinnacle; once married, growing a family becomes the next prize to be won. But where does that leave those in college? Forgotten.

Eighty grand later, I found out that all that I had learned
Is that you should show up to take your finals and your mid-terms
The party scene is kind of mean; I think it’s sick and twisted
The Navy showed up at my door and claimed that I enlisted

Some churches see the need and build college, young professional, and singles ministries (all of these are totally different ministries that should not be paired together) to bridge the gap till marriage. I am thankful for churches who see this need.

Photo by Robert Bye on Unsplash

College kids want to be recognized, listened to, and accepted in the church. They do not want to be treated as second-class citizens who serve as babysitters. Nor do they want to be treated as the “forgotten”, in-between singleness and marriage. We, as the Church, have to do more. We need to change the messages we are silently/subtly preaching through our actions. We also need to point to the stable foundation that is Scripture. College students are hungry for truth (scripture), faith that has depth, and delicious food. And maybe even a chance to come over, hang out, and wash their clothes.

We can do better. I’ve learned that Satan speaks into the silent places the church doesn’t. So let us speak and do.

I’m In Love – Star Wars: Episode IX Teaser Trailer

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I can’t wait to see how this wraps up Rey’s story. After The Last Jedi, the table has been swept clean story-wise. Hoping JJ Abrams uses some of his magic like he did in The Force Awakens.

Pulleys, Rope, and Spider-Man

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Wyatt and I played in the backyard yesterday. We built an aerial tram! Funny what two pulleys and a length of rope can spark, imagination-wise.

Spider-Man's other job.

Spider-Man riding like only a spider can.

Backyard aerial tram

I was amazed at how effective the clothes hanger was in acting as a point of attachment for the tram.

That’s what we’ve been up to in our backyard, how about you?

From Across the Net – “5 Most Common Mistakes Dads Make”

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BJ Foster, with All Pro Dad, writes on the “5 Most Common Mistakes Dads Make“. I especially liked this one (bolded emphasis mine):

2. Being Overly Critical

When it comes to teaching our kids we have to choose our spots, especially when pointing out when they have erred. Our kids need to know that we are their best ally, not their worst critic. You don’t need to have a discussion about every mistake they make. They probably are aware already that they messed up. Instead, ask them questions about how they feel, what they think they might have done different, and then give them encouragement. Tell them stories of your own failures at the same age. Listening and empathizing will earn you currency. Also, make sure you get excited and ask a lot of questions when they experience success. That will be their favorite subject.

You can read more here

From Across the Net – “Mentoring that Usually Won’t Work with Christian Millennials”

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This is a fantastic piece by Chuck Lawless titled “Mentoring that Usually Won’t Work with Christian Millennials“. This point got me:

Shallow vulnerability. Mentors have to be careful at times in being vulnerable with this generation (because they sometimes aren’t wise in what they share with others), but they see through false, simple, insincere vulnerability. They’re looking for authenticity in the people who walk with them.

I am super wary of those who feel like they have five walls of defense up… and yes, that is something I need to work on myself. 🙂

You can read more here

From Across the Net – “Jordan Peterson: High Priest for a Secular Age”

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Beyond thumbing through Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life at my brother’s house, my exposure to his work has been limited. Bruce Ashford, writing for The Gospel Coalition, wrote a piece titled “Jordan Peterson: High Priest for a Secular Age“. I found this Peterson quote to be interesting:

The Bible is, for better or worse, the foundational document of Western civilization (of Western values, Western morality, and Western conceptions of good and evil). It’s the product of processes that remain fundamentally beyond our comprehension. The Bible is a library composed of many books, each written and edited by many people. It’s a truly emergent document—a selected, sequenced, and finally coherent story written by no one and everyone over many thousands of years. The Bible has been thrown up, out of the deep, by the collective human imagination, which itself is the product of unimaginable forces operating over unfathomable spans of time. Its careful, respectful study can reveal things to us about what we believe and how we do and should act that can be discovered in almost no other matter. (104)

You can read more here