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Family valued - 2.22.06 

Games families will play

Families that are far more organized than ours have regular Game Nights. For us, the playing of games is usually sparked by the question, "So you wanna play a game or somethin'?" Remarkably, this happens with some regularity, so we are always on the lookout for a good game that requires a minimum of electricity and provides a maximum of fun. We do not denigrate competition and we like a game that interests everyone in the household, including guests of various ages (and attention spans).

In the interest of sharing, here are some of our better discoveries. The list goes beyond the usual manufacturers, but you ought to be able to order them through any of the local specialty stores or on the Internet (imagine that).

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Fluxx (Looney Labs): "the card game with ever-changing rules"; truly fun for all ages because every turn gives you the opportunity to change the rules on your parents and really annoy them.

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The Settlers of Catan (Mayfair Games): "a game of discovery, settlement, and trade"; wooden blocks make roads and buildings on an island that can change every time you play.

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DinoHunt (Steve Jackson Games): "bring 'em back alive"; a card game with the type of detail and information to make any dino-phile happy.

Family Puzzle (F.X. Schmid): not an individual game, but a product line; 300-500 piece circular puzzles with pieces in three different sizes so each age group can work on a part; well-made and assembly can last just long enough for everyone to chill out while you all listen to some cool music and sip a mellow beverage of your choice.

X-bugs (Steve Jackson Games): "microscopic mayhem"; tiddlywinks with insects and bedlam; not for the tiddly-challenged, but does not require literacy.

--- Craig Brownlie


Surrender to win

At the time of creation, the Lord gave humanity the path of selfless service and said: "Through selfless service you will always be fruitful and find fulfillment of all your desires."

--- BhagavadGita 3.10 (EknathEaswaran translation)

We've been watching a lot of the proceedings in and around Torino at my house. It all started a few weeks ago when the kids and I dissolved in laughter upon reading of an individual who interfered with the torch procession, protesting that the Olympic Games were "elitist." Hmmm.

Here's an important fact of life: we are not all created equal, but we are each created unique.

Human beings are glorious creatures, capable of stunning feats of skill, strength, and grace. What a travesty it would be to confuse focused self-discipline with selfishness, personal achievement with self-aggrandizement. We should aspire to greatness, and nurture in our children that same passion to excel at whatever activity resonates most within.

Excellence as a personal virtue relegates competition to a forgettable byproduct of its healthy pursuit. Do you fear failure or what others will think of you if you fail? Why give them so much power? Surrender yourself completely to the task!

Any rink, slope, classroom, or jobsite provides continual opportunities to do better, feel better, be better than just a moment ago. Teach a child the joy of surrendering time, talent, and energy to a personal conviction or purpose. Teach the world that personal surrender is the first step to personal victory.

--- Rev. Corey Keyes

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