Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Risk Legacy: Game 2

Our second game of Risk Legacy was pretty dreary for me.  I was left scratching my head when Kylen and Ryan both targeted me early on and destroyed both my large armies in the same round.  It's hard to recover in this game when you're ganged up on, and it was made worse by Kylen's realization that he might have a chance at opening one of the secret envelopes if he wiped me off the board.  He never left me alone after that, and I had no chance to recover.  Greg came to my assistance a few times, but he started having his own struggles.  Kylen actually came pretty close to eliminating me, but I was able to hold on to a couple territories to the very end.  (Truth be told, I wasn't as upset as I usually would be about doing so poorly.  I was kinda hoping to be wiped out - We're all anxious to find out what's inside one of those secret envelopes!)  The last few rounds, it was clear that Ryan and Kylen were the frontrunners.  Ryan made his move first and claimed his last victory point by taking Kylen's capital, with men to spare.  For his prize, he named South America "Pancake Island" (inside story going way back).  The three losers chose to name minor cities again.  I'm disappointed I didn't have a better shot at victory, but that's the way the die bounces!

Ryan Signing the Board

Monday, March 25, 2013

March Update

We've had an unusually relaxed March, especially so due to our month-long break from co-op.  Not that we haven't had busy days, but they weren't the stressful kind of busy.  Normally I'd be deep into preparations for teaching a class in the spring trimester, but I decided to take on our co-op's yearbook instead.  There's a learning curve, but so far it doesn't seem too bad!

School is going well, and I'm beginning to think about possible summer topics.  Right now, I'm leaning toward an in-depth study of the states.  Kylen hasn't learned much about them beyond light reading about Washington and memorizing capitals and abbreviations.  Such a study would be useful and interesting for us both, I think.

Some of our activities this month have included making a new stop-motion video, having company over, and going on outings with friends: fun stuff!  I finally finished our digital scrapbook for 2008 and ordered it last weekend - can't wait to look through it with Hubby and Sonshine!  Greg taught one of his lego classes at a library, and we attended a couple of birthday parties.  We are also trying out a new church.

Our friend lighting her son's birthday candles.

We're really enjoying our basement.  Lately we've been playing lots of monster tennis, a backyard/indoor version of the sport.  We bought our set around 10 years ago, but we didn't have a good place to use it until now.  It's one of the few ways I've found to get exercise that isn't hard on my joints.  Tennis was one of my favorite sports before arthritis, so I'm having a blast playing again!

Greg doing a round of monster tennis with our friend, Eric.

Friday, March 22, 2013

St. Patrick's Day Tea

One of the ladies who came to my tea in February did indeed host a tea of her own!  Or her daughter, rather.  :-)  Laura did a fabulous job, definitely raising the bar with the addition of games and decorations.  We enjoyed a fine spread with plenty of green, several games, and good company.  I hope this continues!

I wore my favorite hat!
We started with a game, which I won!  The prize was one of Karla's mug cozy's, done in green of course!
Super cute prize, made by Laura: Leprechaun pants!  Also love Karla's green socks.  :-)
Homemade paper shamrocks were scattered here and there for heightened festivity.
Clearly a kindred spirit, judging by her fun hat!
I brought asparagus swiss tarts and pistachio salad.  Oh!  And the coconut m&m's, which were well received!
Laura Handing Out Rainbow Favors

Saturday, March 9, 2013

My New Baby Niece!


Friday, March 8, 2013

Equal Measures

I always enjoy reading the Union Gospel Mission's newsletters, but Phil Altmeyer's introduction in the January edition stood out to me.  I've been meaning to share it on my blog.  Here is a link, but I'll copy and paste below just in case it gets removed at some point:

Equal Measures
 by Phil Altmeyer, Executive Director, Union Gospel Mission
I have an antique brass level sitting in my office where I will see it frequently and be reminded of the importance of balancing two essential components of the gospel: grace and truth.
Jesus Christ is the gospel, the good news, and John 1:14 tells us that he “came full of grace and truth.” We are often tempted to emphasize one over the other or to think of grace as the good bit and truth as the hard pill that must be swallowed with a generous spoonful of grace. But Scripture paints a completely different picture. Jesus himself says that He is the way, the truth and the life and promises that the truth will set us free.
Consider the story of Christ’s encounter with the woman at the well in Samaria. He knows the truth of her life and speaks it: “You have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband.” There’s no need for her to pretend to be something she is not. Christ knows the truth and that makes his grace-full offer of living water all the more meaningful. When the woman shares her experience with the other townspeople, she says: “He told me everything I ever did.” She is fully known (truth) and loved (grace).
Occasionally, I’ll take the level from my office on speaking engagements to make the point that when we get truth and grace out of balance, a distorted picture of the Christian walk results, and we risk building on a skewed foundation. Specifically with regard to rescue and recovery, truth without grace translates into shame and encourages outward compliance without inner transformation. Grace without truth diminishes personal responsibility and makes people dependent. Both errors obscure the beauty of the gospel: God knows you completely (the good, the bad and the ugly) and loves you unconditionally. When you believe and trust in Him, He promises to work in you, change you, make you more like Him.
The good news is the best news when we realize that Jesus Christ is the perfect marriage between grace and truth. “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other,” Psalm 85:10.
Please pray for us here at the Union Gospel Mission that we will keep that level balanced and build on a solid foundation – being honest with each other, holding up the mirror of Scripture, confessing our sins, forgiving one another, and reflecting the love of Christ in grace and truth.
This is how I want to be.  I want to uphold truth while loving people.  I don't want to compromise my values, but I want to show compassion and patience.  I may not agree with my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ on every point of doctrine, but I want to look past our differences at their hearts.  I have been dumbfounded at the number of Christians accepting and overlooking blatant sin in today's society, but I have also been dumbfounded by the Christians who shun and avoid other Christians who are obviously sincere, who have a clear devotion to Jesus, simply because they don't agree to live by all the same rules.  I think many churches emphasize either grace or truth too much.  Too often they are either overlooking destructive sin in the name of love or straying into legalism in the name of holiness.  There is a fine balance that I don't think can be obtained without the Lord's guidance, but it is the balance I look for in a church.  It's the balance I think all of us need to seek if we desire to follow our Lord in all the fullness of Salvation.  Jesus is grace and truth, the perfect solution to humanity's spiritual needs.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Risk Legacy: Game 1

I can't remember the last time I was this pumped about a new game!  My brother Ryan tries to join us for game nights twice a month.  It's awesome, because we all have similar tastes: long games, lots of strategy.  Kylen got this new version of Risk for Christmas, and we finally broke it out Saturday.  Our journey will last 15 games.  We'll play as different factions with different strengths and weaknesses.  We'll shape our world right down to naming the continents and cities.  Whoever wins the most games by the end will get to name the planet.  The box actually has several unopened pockets with contents that remain secret until triggered by a specific event, such as the first time a faction is wiped out.  Is that COOL or WHAT??!

We all signed the board and recorded the date of our first game.  Greg won with a desperate run that came down to a single man, a single die roll.  If he hadn't succeeded, he would have been out of the running.  He had several reward options, but he chose to name the continent he won on.  In traditional Risk, it's known as Australia.  He called it "The Land Dad-Under," which we all thought was quite clever.  The other three of us got to name cities just for not getting obliterated.  Mine: Fairyopolis; Kylen's: Kyro; Ryan: City of Angels.

I can't wait until the next game!

Greg's Last Man and the HQ that Won Him the Game

We also had time for a game of Acquire.  Greg not-so-patiently put up with our hand-talking silliness.  Ryan won this one.  It wasn't such a good night for me or Kylen.  ;-)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Tea Time Again!

I must have tea on the brain lately, because soon after the outing in my previous post, I hosted a tea for friends from Bible study.  There were 8 of us - moms and children. Thankfully, Kylen wasn't the only boy! We had a wonderful time, and it was awesome getting a chance to use a set I purchased for a co-op class a few years back. It's seemed such a waste to have it always in boxes.  The cups are formed such that the liquid inside takes a heart shape, and the bright colors remind me of Alice in Wonderland. Cooking is a challenge for me, so I asked each family to bring something sweet and something savory. My contributions were egg salad finger sandwiches and sugared red grapes. Others brought chicken pillows, plum bread, homemade cookies, quiche, and pigs in a blanket. We're talking about doing it again at someone else's house!