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Posts Tagged ‘Comic Families’

I enjoy board games—well, many of them anyway. My sister and I grew up playing endless rounds of Snakes and Ladders, Ludo, Chinese Checkers, Draughts and Monopoly, not to mention Dominos, Pick Up Sticks and a little quiz game called ‘Tell Me’. There were card games too—children’s ones at first such as Donkey, Old Maid, Comic Families and good old Snap, then, later, Coon Can, Euchre and Five Hundred. What fun!

Nowadays, however, children’s games somehow seem to have become trickier—for me at least! Our two younger grandchildren still enjoy their Snakes and Ladders, Monopoly, Dominos and Donkey, but, well … what sort of person would think up such annoying, confusing games as one our ten-year-old grandson introduced me to recently called ‘Exploding Kittens’?! Ugh!

Zain is good at explaining the rules of games and did his best this time around, then patiently continued helping me. Yet it seemed that, whatever card I chose to throw out, something worse happened to me, until our grandson could block my every move. And, of course, I ended up becoming the victim of that dreaded ‘exploding kitten’!

At least this experience was marginally better than the time a few weeks ago when Zain tried to teach me how to play chess. We gave him his chess set for Christmas—and, suddenly, he has taken to it in a big way, strategically plotting his moves ahead of time. Meanwhile, I had to be told over and over the names of the various pieces and what they are allowed and not allowed to do! No wonder I ended up cornered in this game as well, with nowhere to go.  

At times, life can be like that too, can’t it? For whatever reason, sometimes we find ourselves in a real-life board game situation where we can feel quite cornered, even powerless, with very few options available to us. Perhaps we end up stuck in some exhausting job or ongoing argument or draining relationship or debilitating health challenge where there seems to be no way out. And that can be very hard indeed.

I remember a time years ago when I was employed in a demanding teaching job which left me feeling exhausted and trapped. I knew I had to keep going to help pay our mortgage at the time, but each Sunday, my heart sank, as I thought of the week ahead. In the end, God graciously provided a way out for me and into an editing job I loved. Yet it does not always happen like that, does it? Sometimes in life, there is no way of escape provided. Instead, we have to press on, doing our best to remain positive, as we look to God for the strength and courage we need. And God is surely right there beside us and in us, comforting and encouraging us, even as we walk through those deep, dark valleys—and will be forever.

Whatever your situation and however cornered you feel right now, I pray you will sense our strong Shepherd’s hand on your shoulder today and know again his deep love and compassion for you.

Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. Psalm 23:4 NLT

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I wonder if you have ever experienced one of those weird moments in your life when, with one glimpse of something or one whiff of a familiar perfume, you find yourself transported back through the years in an instant. There you are, a child again in a place or situation you had thought was long forgotten.

Recently, in order to entertain a fourteen year old visitor and his ten year old sister, I decided to check through our board games. Some date back to my own childhood—Snakes and Ladders and Ludo and Fairyland and Motor Race on fragile pieces of folded cardboard, held together in spots by yellowing sticky tape. And our ancient Monopoly game, bequeathed to us by an old friend of my parents and complete with currency in English pounds. And yes, the little silver top hat, boot, racing car and ship my sister and I used to fight over are still there too.

P1030981In the end, I put all these aside. This is 2014—no doubt my visitors would prefer a game on their mobile phones or Ipads. But I couldn’t resist showing them two classic old card games from my childhood years, the boxes now held together with rubber bands. I was sure ‘Donkey’ would be beneath them, but, to my surprise, they were intrigued. In fact, they played three games and were quite chuffed when they avoided that dreaded donkey card! And they were even more intrigued when I showed them my old ‘Comic Families’ card game, with cartoon-style drawings of Pa Lather (the barber), Pa Bones (the butcher), Pa Snips (the tailor) and Pa Chalk (the milkman), among others!

As I sat dealing those dog-eared cards, I remembered the hours spent playing with them in my growing up years. How long ago that was! Many years later, our own children had played with these same cards, then later still, our two older grandchildren. And what had happened to me personally since those early, innocent childhood days in Brisbane? So many, many things I would never, ever have envisaged.

God was there for me throughout all those early years, I reflected then, knowing what lay ahead and drawing me close, even when I was unaware of it. God reached out to me when I was fifteen, so that I came to experience Jesus’ love for myself. God watched over me in the ensuing years, not letting me stray too far and always, always calling me back. And God showered me with grace and continued to deepen my faith, even when I thought I knew it all in later years. God loved me so much as that little girl way back then who played those games with her sister and rarely won. And God loves me just as much now, I realised, as I held those same old cards in my hand.

Games come and go. Things change. People change. But God remains the same, so faithful and so loving through all the ups and downs of our lives. How truly blessed we are!

Praise the Lord, all your nations; extol him, all you peoples. For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Psalm 117

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