Games that Kids Play

As a child, the game I consistently played with my friends was war. Even just one piece of camouflage clothing could put me into a fantasy world of saving the world — one hiding spot at a time.

My most vivid memory of playing war are the times I would play with my best friend “Murph” & his cousin Ryan (also a best friend). There was a little play house on his grandparents ranch where we would get ready. It was our command center.

On the shelves of this little command center were bullets — you heard that right. There was a gun range on the property, and almost anytime we were up at the ranch we would go scour the mound of earth that folks shot into for stray bullets. We would then match them up with spent casings that we found on the ground. Thank God that a lot of those guys never cleaned up after themselves.

We had our arsenal, yet we never did anything with it other than put the bullets into the casing and put them on the shelf. It made perfect sense at the time.

Then we would put on our uniforms. I remember that I never really had that much camo, “Murph” & Ryan did though — it was awesome. Even just a camo hat was enough to transport us to the battlefield, where our mission began.

Now if you only have 3-4 kids (their cousin Sean was sometimes there too) its tough to have an all out war, so instead of splitting up we would just be on the same team.

Our mission — to spy on the adults.

Now years later we find out that they always knew we were watching, but back then on the rolling hills of the ranch we were invisible! Silent soldiers carrying out a mission of huge importance. We moved like ninja’s and had the speed of cheetahs. I’m smiling even as I type that out, it is such a fun time.

It was fun— pure and simple.

We didn’t have video games, we didn’t even have fake guns most of the time. We just had our imagination, a big ranch to run around on, and a camo hat.

It was glorious.

Kids don’t need a lot to have fun, they just need permission to dream. Kids these days, especially my own, sometimes need a little hint to get going.

I still remember how to really play though, so I get them started and see how it turns out. Today they were pirates, sailing on their ship (my daughter’s bed)

Turn off the TV/Computer/Tablet/Phone and let encourage them to play, even if you have to join them.

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Let’s Change Birthdays

This time of year we as a family have a lot of birthdays. The month of May becomes just one long birthday party.

It got me thinking.

What if we changed how we did birthday presents?

Currently most birthdays consist of everyone who was invited bringing a present for the child. They are usually items that cost $10-$25, more towards the cheaper end.

The child ends up with a lot of presents, but no real quality. The majority of the presents will be forgotten or broken within a few weeks of being opened.

What if we changed that paradigm. What if instead of bringing the $10 present, the guests simply pooled their money together for one really good present.

Maybe its a bike, a playhouse, or any number of more expensive/higher quality gifts. The point being that it would be high quality and last for a long time.

We are left with  1) a child that gets something really cool,  2) over all less spending by all of your guests, and 3) the satisfaction of knowing the present you bought won’t end up in the trash by June.

I’ve suggested this change for children’s birthdays — I think this can be expanded to Christmas and adult birthdays.

In the end we will have less…but more.


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A Journey into Minimalism

Recently my days have been filled with moving around, taking care of, or replacing stuff that I own.

From replacing mower blades to buying a new dryer, I feel like most of my time has been taken up managing stuff. My wife (and sometimes myself…need to work on that) spends huge amounts of time cleaning up and putting back stuff that my kids get out.

I’m sure if I added up all the time I would get sick to my stomach very quickly.

Truth is, the minimalism that I once followed pretty strictly has become pretty slack.

In order to renew this habit and increase the level at which I enact it I want to have someway to be accountable.

That’s what my blog is going to be for.

Things to remember:

1. Minimalism is not a religion, be careful to not treat it like it is.

2. Be patient with the family, it takes time to come along with the whole plan.

3. Always do something, every day, even it is something little.

4. Work 6 days, rest 1. Since I work at a church, my rest day will be Saturday.

5. Don’t talk about it: Just the blog, no one needs to know “how great” your new thing is. Just let them discover it from seeing your life.

6. A big part of minimalism is reducing consumption, don’t get trapped into consumerism again.

7. Look for ways to bless others with your stuff.

Look for a post every Saturday morning. I’ll take that time to reflect on my week and close some loops so I can fully rest on Saturday.

Even if no one reads this, it’ll be worth it.

Grace and peace to you,

- Combsy