The Game Closet


Our game closet shelves are stacked with games and overflowing with memories.


One of my favorite mental snapshots is from the first fall and winter after April and Michael married. They came over at least two evenings every week, possibly to eat supper; but also to laugh, tell stories and play games.


BLOKUS was our hands-down favorite game that season.


It was a new strategy game where each player placed one color of variously conglomerated squares on a grid board.


It always started with the board wide open and full of great opportunities; but that would quickly change as the other players began moving their pieces into your space.


The printed rules object of the game was to finish using all your pieces first, but some of us played more aggressively and strategized our moves to block out the other players. It took me almost an entire game to realize Michael was deliberately mirror-mimicking my exact moves.


It’s no secret that we love ice cream at our house and I kept the freezer stocked with popsicles that fall and winter; so we’d eat popsicles and wear our coats while we played BLOKUS at the kitchen table.


That always encouraged April to remind us, once more, that I kept the house so cold when she lived here that she had to sleep in her snowsuit to stay warm. Possible truth.  🙂 🙂 🙂


Fast-forward 9 years and now Faith is dragging games out of the game closet. Most of the boxed games are too advanced for her, but we examine and play with their pieces. She took out BLOKUS the other day and we sat on the floor played.


I told her about Mommy, Day, Mama Jan, and Papa Dan sitting at the kitchen table playing BLOKUS and eating popsicles. She doesn’t know her Papa Dan, but she’ll meet him someday; and I’d like her to have a few good stories under her belt when she does.


True stories have purpose and there are many many good reasons to tell them.




Hear this,

you leaders of the people.


all who live in the land.

In all your history,

has anything like this

happened before?

Tell your children about it

in the years to come,

and let your children

tell their children.

Pass the story down

from generation to generation.

Joel 1:2-3

Blessings of Salvation

…I saw a vast crowd too great to count,

from every nation and tribe

and people and language,

standing in front of the throne

and before the Lamb.

They were clothed in white robes

and held palm branches in their hands.

And they were shouting with a great roar,

“Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne

and from the Lamb!”

Revelation 7:9-10


Outsmarting God


God’s war tactics are out-of-this-world. Modern day meta-materials and invisible-cloak technology have nothing on him. Everything about my thinking stretches when I read the inexplicable stories that showcase his otherness.


Now there were four men with leprosy

sitting at the entrance of the city gates.


“Why should we sit here waiting to die?”

they asked each other.


“We will starve if we stay here,

but with the famine in the city,

we will starve if we go back there.


So we might as well go out

and surrender to the Aramean army.

If they let us live,

so much the better.

But if they kill us,

we would have died anyway.” 


So at twilight

they set out for the camp

of the Arameans.

But when they came to the edge of the camp,

no one was there! 


For the Lord had caused the Aramean army

to hear the clatter of speeding chariots

and the galloping of horses

and the sounds of a great army approaching…

2 Kings 7:3-6


Talk about psychological warfare and mass hysteria—there were no visible chariots, horses or great army—just the approaching sounds of a mighty galloping and clattering horde.


Why in the world would I ever act as if I could outsmart God?


Blessings to the Lamb


And then I heard every creature

     in heaven

         and on earth

             and under the earth

                    and in the sea.

They sang:


“Blessing and honor

     and glory and power

         belong to the one

              sitting on the throne

                   and to the Lamb

                        forever and ever.”

Revelation 5:13


How Could I Forget?


I love huge stories told in few words.


Kings of Aram and Israel were at war.


King of Aram privately conferred war maneuvers with his officers.


Elisha, man of God, immediately warned King of Israel about those privately made plans.


Over. And over. Again.


How did he do that???


King of Aram suspected traitors in his ranks


“It’s not us, my lord the king,”

     one of the officers replied.

“Elisha, the prophet in Israel,

     tells the king of Israel

     even the words you speak

     in the privacy of your bedroom!”

2 Kings 6:12


How did they know that???


King of Aram sent soldiers to seize Elisha.


Elisha’s servant was terrified by the great multitude of troops,     horses, and chariots.


“Don’t be afraid!”

     Elisha told him.

“For there are more

     on our side

     than on theirs!”

2 Kings 6:16


How did Elisha know that???


Then Elisha prayed,

     “O Lord, open his eyes

     and let him see!”

The Lord opened the young man’s eyes,

     and when he looked up,

     he saw that the hillside around Elisha

     was filled with horses and chariots of fire.

2 Kings 6:17


How could I forget God does this for me too???


Taste Tests Are Best


I grew up drinking Southern sweet tea…the kind where you didn’t measure how much cane sugar you poured from its brown paper bag into the pitcher. You just poured until you figured you’d reached saturation level—too little and it wasn’t sweet enough…too much and you’d end up with grainy sugar at the bottom. Then you poured boiling hot, strong black tea over the sugar, stirred, and filled the pitcher with cold tap water.


I grimace now to even think about drinking that much sugar.


I love unsweetened tea; and always order mine with lots and lots of extra ice. It’s so frustrating to go through a drive through, pull out of the parking lot, take a long drink and then discover it’s sweet sweet Southern tea. I’ve thought of spitting it out, but I haven’t. Yet.


Sometimes I hold up the cars behind me while I taste my tea before I leave the window. There’s no other way to be sure that my order is correct because I can’t see or smell the sugar; and if I want to know for sure, I have to test it.


Dear friends,

     do not believe everyone

     who claims to speak by the Spirit.

You must test them

     to see if the spirit they have

     comes from God.

For there are many false prophets

     in the world.

1 John 4:1-5




Taste tests are best.


Phone Calls


Our family has a long history of silly exchanges with telemarketers. Dan was the champ; and would nearly always stay on the line until the exasperated caller hung up on him.


Years ago our sister-in-law’s phone company promoted a Friends and Family calls program; and she received a discount by giving them our name and number. They called and within minutes Dan had the lady convinced he believed she was calling to give him bad news about his family in Missouri. He repeatedly refused to understand her assurances to the contrary and nearly drove the poor lady to tears.


Another caller promised him $1500 if he could name the three colors of the American flag. He hum-hawed aloud before finally saying he thought one color was red. The telemarketer encouraged him to continue. Then he agonizingly hmmm hmmm’d for a while before saying he thought maybe the next color was white. The caller, really wanting the sale, excitedly encouraged him to name the final color. Dan said that he’d seen a flag just the other day….and man, oh man, if he could only just remember what color it was….then he finally guessed green. The guy hung up on him.


The calls I receive these days are more along the lines of tele-scammers instead of tele-marketers. I’ve gone the gamut from not saying a word to being sarcastic and rude before hanging up. But I don’t really like to do that even though they are trying to steal my computer passwords, credit cards and identify.


So I decided to take a new approach. I’m polite, but non-committal as I listen to their spiel. Then I turn the tables and ask them if they ever pray. This always catches the caller off guard, but so far, they’ve all said yes.


One caller even volunteered that he’d had dreams about Jesus and that Jesus had told him he should call and help the people with their computer problems.


That made me smile, but I told him that I didn’t think Jesus would really say that, but that maybe Jesus did want him to talk to me.


And then I talked about God and Jesus and faith. And he was still with me after that, so I read him the prayer that Dan prayed at the end of each church service.


He very respectfully ended our call; and I was smiling when I hung up.