Who Will Play With Me by Randall Goodgame–Book Review

In size, illustration and presentation, Who Will Play with Me? reminds me of the many Dr. Suess books my children loved as preschoolers.  It’s just the right length for a read aloud book for this age group, and the winsome characters (Slug and Bug) will inspire interest and amusement.

Not overtly Christian, the story encourages children to be kind and put others first.  It also points how our diversity as individuals helps us to accomplish more together.  All of our traits are worthy and useful in different situations.   The book ends with a quote from Philippians 2:3:

“In humility, value others above yourselves.”

The author, Randall Goodgame is the well-known creator of Slugs and Bugs music and you can visit SlugsandBugs.com to find more of his products.

VERDICT:  Overall, this looks like a fun, cute book for young children.  My only criticism is the rhyming dialog seemed a bit forced, and lacked bounce.  I give it a 4.

Want to order the book?  Click on the link below:

https://www.lifeway.com/en/product/who-will-play-with-me-P005811096

The Lutheran Ladies received a free copy of this book in return for an honest and fair review – Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR Part 255

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Be Kind at Christmas

I’ve been using a devotional recently called “The One Year Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional” by Julie Fisk, Kendra Roehl, and Kristin Demery.  These women were concerned about the attitude their children displayed about Christmas — begging for the newest toy, complaining about what they couldn’t do or didn’t receive.  They decided to combat this tendency each family would do one kind act each day during the Christmas season and post about it on social media to encourage others.  Their report?  It changed them all much more than they expected.  They saw their relationship with God grow as they put their faith into action with simple acts of kindness.  It evolved into the devotional which gives many good suggestions for intentionally showing kindness.  Here are some of the Advent Acts of Kindness listed at the end of the book:

  1. Write encouraging notes to place in your children’s lunch boxes
  2. Buy or make treats for your coworkers
  3. Send cards and supplies to servicepersons or veterans through organizations like Operation Gratitude or the USO
  4. Babysit for free for a single mom or young couple so they can have a night out
  5. Take cookies or other homemade gifts to your neighbors
  6. Drop off boxes of tissues at a local school to help replenish their supplies
  7. Write a note to a business, recognizing an employee by name and commending them for excellent service
  8. Invite someone who may be lonely to dinner
  9. Donate pet food to the local humane society
  10. Go caroling in your neighborhood or at a local nursing home

See the source image

These are only a few suggestions to be found in the book, and once you start, you will be able to come up with lots of ideas of your own.

Christmas has become a time that is often filled with stress and rudeness.  Shoppers are harried, store employees tired out and irritable, travelers impatient.  Why not go against the flow and spread  kindness instead?

“And the King will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, as you did to one of the least of these, my brethren, you did it to me.”  Matthew 25:40

Graceful Relationships

Sarah’s post on symbiosis told us that relationships are a two way street.  If we want our relationships to survive and thrive, we have to extend a little grace — that’s a word we Lutherans like to use, which basically means getting something you didn’t earn and don’t deserve.  There are times in every relationship when we have to be willing to put aside our own needs and sacrifice for the other.  There’s a great “how to” section in the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians.  You’ve probably heard this many times, but have you really thought about it?

“Love is patient and kind”

Am I patient with my friend, even when she forgets my birthday?  Or goes on and on about her favorite topic (which doesn’t interest me)? Am I kind and willing to listen to her problems, even on the days I’m tired and really don’t want to talk at all?

“love is not jealous or boastful.”

Am I sincerely happy for my brother when he gets a promotion while I am struggling financially?  Can I congratulate him without bringing up my latest success?

“it (love) is not arrogant or rude”

Am I respectful and courteous to the people who serve me at the restaurant, the bank, the grocery store?  Do I ask how their day is going?  Or do I ignore them in my rush to get on with my other errands?

“Love does not insist on its own way”

Do I give my husband and children a say in our family life and daily routines?  Or do I expect them to go along with my preferences?

“it (love) is not irritable or resentful”

Am I understanding when my co-worker needs extra time off?  Or do I feel put upon and angry?

“it (love) does not rejoice in the wrong, but rejoices in the right.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Do I try to put the best interpretation on the behavior of others?  Am I will to forgive them when they’re wrong and keep encouraging and believing in them?  Or do I give up and walk away?

In all our relationships, the greatest asset is love.  Use it daily.

 

How Aunt Lois Spent Her Time

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice and be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”  Ephesians 4:31

A few days ago, I went to my Aunt’s funeral.  When I was thinking about her before the service, the word that came into my mind to describe her was “kind.”  Surprisingly, the Pastor who spoke about her used the same word.  He had known her since her younger child was born. He said he could not remember her ever saying a harsh word about somebody else.  If she was sometimes irritated or angry, she had learned to keep those feelings to herself.  She enjoyed children and taught Sunday School for thirty-five years.  He also said that she enjoyed cooking and baking.  She would often visit the elderly, ill or shut in members of her congregation to take them a meal or a treat.  In fact, he told us that when he entered a home to visit, he was often greeted with the words, “Lois Stover has already been here …would you like one of her brownies?”  I bet most ministers would love to have a member like that!

Aunt Lois had some gifts–teaching and serving.  She invested them in loving others, not only her family but those often ignored or forgotten.  The room was filled with people who remembered her caring and kindness.  I’ve heard that many will  forget what you say, but they will never forget what you do for them.  It seemed true in Aunt Lois’s case.

What words will be spoken at your funeral?  Will the Pastor say you used your gifts wisely to help others?  Or will he struggle to find something worthwhile to commend?  Will others remember you as a person they admired and cared for?  Or will they be there only out of duty?  Will you hear God’s words, “well done, good and faithful servant?”  or will He say, “I never knew you.”

Use your talents like the wise servant.  Spend them on others.

 

Go Ahead, Make My Day

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience, …” Colossians 3:12

Well, the yesterday didn’t start out very well…I overslept (yes, even retired people can do this).  My husband and I had to jump up and rush around so that he could get to his breakfast meeting with another Pastor, and I would be ready to drive our granddaughter to school.  I didn’t have time for breakfast and when Katelyn arrived, she was being a typical Monday morning teenager;  rolling her eyes, shrugging instead of answering my questions, looking generally  bored and unhappy.  When we started out the door, I wasn’t in a good mood.

Then something happened.  We got to her school and pulled up to the drop off area.  It was a gusty day and one of the male teachers on duty came right up to the passenger door.  He opened it saying, “It’s windy, so I want to make sure your door doesn’t get away from you and is closed tightly” and then “Hello Katelyn, have you got everything?”  He gave me a little wave.  I hadn’t said a word, but his kind and helpful manner changed the way I was feeling.  Instead of feeling irritable and grouchy because of my growling stomach, I felt happy and thankful to be noticed and treated helpfully and personally.  It turned my day and my attitude around.

So my question is, why don’t we all do this more often?  Why don’t we take the time to see the people around us as people and realize that our behavior may make or break their day?  It doesn’t really take much  effort to be courteous;  to say thank you;  to be patient when someone is struggling or new on the job; to address someone by their name if we know it or see it on a nametag; to offer help or hold a door or just say “have a blessed day.”

Did someone make your day today?  Thank them and thank God.

Fruitful Gifts

“Love is patient and kind;  love does not envy or boast;  it is not arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on it’s own way;  it is not irritable or resentful;   it does not rejoice at wrong doing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”  1 Corinthians 13:4-7

You’ve probably heard these verses many times before.  1 Corinthians is known as the “love chapter” (my Bible titles it The Way of Love) and it is often read at weddings.  However, placed in its context, Paul is speaking these words to the Christian community and it follows a description of spiritual gifts.

It is certainly good advice about how to behave towards our spouse, but it is much more than that.  These verses tell us how we should behave as part of the church.  Love is the “greatest” gift and the one that will remain when all our works have ceased. Love is not just what we do, it is who we are.  Notice that love also encompasses the fruit of the spirit:  patience, kindness, self-control, joy.

Paul goes on to tell the Corinthians at the end of chapter 13 and in chapter 14 that love is an indication of spiritual maturity.  He advises us to put away childish things (13:11) and be mature in our thinking (14: 20).

So “pursue love” (14:1) and “strive to excel in building up the church.”(14:12).  The fruit of the spirit will follow and will be a blessing to you and to others.

God loves you and so do I!

Thinking Kindly of Others

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.”

 

It seems to me that if we did as Bonhoeffer suggests, we would find it easier to be kind to one another.