From Across the Net – “Christian Games Done Right: That Dragon, Cancer”

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Nelson knocks it out of the park with his piece titled “Christian Games Done Right: That Dragon, Cancer“.

…I want to tackle how I feel this title has been tragically misrepresented by the games media. And as a result, those who might have benefited most from playing it were turned away.

That Dragon, Cancer is not the story of Joel’s tragic death. It’s the story of his life. The difference may seem small, but it is extremely important, because it defines the very way you approach the game.

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From Across the Net: “Wrestling with Big Decisions”

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Focus on the Famly’s John Ortberg wrote a great piece titled “Wrestling with Big Decisions“. I found the following perspective helpful:

Indeed, for years after my “What should I do with my life?” conversations with God, I did not realize that what I had been actually looking for wasn’t so much “God’s will for my life.” What I was really looking for was a way to be relieved of the anxiety that comes with taking responsibility for making a difficult decision.

God is a door opener, not a celestial enabler.

I built a backyard gauntlet of doom

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Wyatt celebrated his 7th birthday with a superhero themed party. His party guests designed their own capes and were fitted for masks. All in preparation for the backyard gauntlet of doom.

  • First, they had to cross a balance beam over a pit of lava… or was it sharks? Who knows! The imagination runs wild.
  • Second, they tossed a basketball and hit Spider-Man in the face. Because, why not? Also, did I mention this was a Spider-Man themed party?
  • Third, a quick duck and roll under a camouflage netting. Netting is cool. Rolling, better.
  • Fourth, the boys fired Nerf Guns at a shooting gallery setup at Wyatt’s clubhouse. Pew, pew, pew!
  • Fifth, up and down the awesome slide Wyatt’s Grandpa made him.
  • Sixth, this is where things got sticky. I wove a spider web around the swing set with duct tape. The boys had to navigate their way through the harrowing trap.
  • Seventh, silly string. We loaded the boys up with silly string and had a shootout with Spider-Man villains we tacked up on the wall. Total fun and games until one of the heroes revealed himself to be a villain by spraying one of the other party goers. Good times.

With the obstacle course complete, Wyatt and his friends chased me around the backyard with Nerf Guns. Dad always makes a good bad guy. Muhahaha!

party

Tabitha made an amazing cake that was soon defeated by forks. The frosting so good, you wanted to scrape it ALL off your plate. Mmmm. Trick candles were vanquished with a lot of blowing and spit.

Sugared up, we opened presents. Parents came soon after.

Total whirlwind of a Saturday. Nothing like being a dad.

Something happened on the way to school

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Today Wyatt had a math test. We were running late. Test anxiety, tiredness, and general panic filled the car as we drove to school. It is on mornings like this that I am happy we have a short five minute drive. But still, there is traffic. Other parents rushing their children about. A regular suburban war zone of cars, humanity.

As we got closer to school, Wyatt asked if he could pray. I told him sure. He prayed for the usual things, family safety being key. I navigated us into the parent drop-off lane. Reminding him that there was nothing he could do about the test this morning. All he could do is do his best.

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Driving through the final drop-off area, my grown-up six year old melted before my eyes. He was crying. I reassured him that he was going to have a great day. The door opened, he gave me a hug and got out.

I don’t have these moments too often, moments where I want to swoop in and protect my kid. But this morning, this was a morning where I wanted to do just that. I wanted to protect him, reassure him, let him know that the world is an okay place. It is on mornings like this that I wonder if my wife and I should homeschool. Academically challenge him in ways public school is failing at. Another discussion for another time though.

My heart hurt this morning. It sucked. I had to trust that Wyatt would have a good day. Knowing that he is a super smart kid and would do just fine on his test. I had to let go… and I didn’t want to.

Being a dad can be hard. Understatement of the year.

We can do this.

A Call: Moving Beyond Artificial Relationships

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There comes a point where we are talking past one another. More interested in communicating our points of view versus practicing active listening. Direction, or more so the lack of it, unites us towards the brink of nothing. As a truck stuck in the mud, we are spinning our tires, flapping our collective jaws. We have no power, no authority, no solid foundation. Our relationships are artificial. Welcome to an age lacking any sort of relational depth, welcome to the age of social media.

Social MediaFacebook, Twitter, both are tools that provide instant connection and communication across the globe. We can use these tools to promote change, voice ideas, and escape our everyday lives. Yet, our online interactions lack the tangible, the real. Body language, fluctuations in tone/voice, growing with one another, all lost in translation. We get to where we think we know others based on how much information we have shared about ourselves. As if time and information mean something. And they do. They equal relationships bobbing on the surface of life.

  • Who are you spending time with?
  • Are you even leaving the house?
  • When was the last time you looked away from your screen and made eye contact with another human?

Surface level relationships will never go beyond the surface. Diving equipment, time invested in person, allows us to get to know one another better. Being purposeful in our pursuit, this is key. We have to make time to have time to spend with others; We have to get over ourselves, move beyond technology.

An invitation to go for a walk, time set aside to enjoy nature and listen. Spending the lunch hour eating with a friend. Time invested. Physical time. We need more of this. We need to do this.

Be purposeful. Love people. Seek those around you who need a friend. We are all lonely. We want those around us to see us as we are. Help others get to know you. In the process, you can get to know them. Live life. Move beyond the surface and into the deeper waters.

Realize that this process takes time and that it won’t be easy. Things that matter in life never are.

We can do this.

We Are The Halls

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My wife and I hear it all the time:

“You only have one kid, you have it easy.”

OR

“Just wait until you have more, then you’ll know.”

There is an insinuation that our experience is somehow lesser due to the amount of children we have. That as parents, we are clueless because we have only one child. People are stupid with their words. Including fellow Christians.

9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.- James 3:9-10

I want to implore my brothers and sisters in Christ to watch what they say in passing. To those who do not believe, to be wary of your words. Words have the power to cut like a knife. To rip open wounds that are healing.

Do not dilute my family’s experience based on a trivial number. We are the Hall Family. We are who God has designed us to be.

The Coke Incident

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After a long day at work, a cold glass of Coke sounded good. Really good. So I grabbed a can and walked across the kitchen to get a glass. Somehow, someway, the can dropped from my hand and hit the floor just right. BOOM!

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The Coke can spun around on its side like a firecracker. Coke flying across the floor, onto the cabinets, the stove, etc. All aided by a floor fan that was right behind me when I dropped it (I was set up!). As the can settled down, I looked around and noted that the kitchen was doused in carmel goodness.

Wyatt laughed.

Tabitha laughed. Then she sprang into action and told me to go get cleaned up. She is so sweet!

That’s when I noticed that the Coke had somehow shot up my shorts. Did I mention that I was all ready to walk out the door for Bible study that evening? Figures.

A quick side story: Back when my wife and I lived in a duplex, she somehow managed to explode a bottle of BBQ sauce all over the kitchen. When we went to move a few years later, we were still cleaning up BBQ sauce that we had initially missed. I guess now my wife and I are even. If this was an intentional contest. Which it wasn’t.

Good times. Good syrupy times.