Search This Blog

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

First Post-Christmas Meal?

Time to let somebody else do the dishes...
By the time Christmas is over and the tryptophan coma has worn off, people tend to come staggering out of their homes in order to shop, return presents, go to a movie or simply to see other people besides their relatives. As a service to America's curious minds, I've got a little survey hear to see where people go after Christmas to chase the taste of pumpkin, cranberry sauce and stuffing from their palate.

This year, Miss Sheila and I went Chinese, because there was a food court near the theater. Her birthday is the day after Christmas and it's a little soon for cake, so that's her birthday dinner. We thought about Olive Garden, but that place is getting more expensive by the day and for the past 8 years it's been an Obama Christmas, gradually turning into the Grinchy Christmas the Who's down in Whoville had. And we did enjoy the carols 'round the tree because we're just that sort of stubborn folk. And "Hacksaw Ridge" was kind of an antidote to all the Christmas movies we watched.

So what did you guys do for the big crawl-out-from-under-the-wrapping-paper trip to eat out because you couldn't handle another turkey sandwich?  This survey will take perhaps 30 seconds and greatly add to our store of useless human knowledge. I will post the results as they become available.

Posterity thanks you....

* Based on a ridiculously small sample it turns out that 31.2% content themselves with Christmas Dinner leftovers, 31.2% go for Mexican as a holiday food chaser with 6.25% each for Italian, Chinese and steak houses.

Create your own user feedback survey
© 2016 by Tom King

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Blood on the Chimes - A Christmas Story

Sheila's Christmas Clock Repair Job

We have this beautiful Howard Miller Mantle Clock that stopped working several years ago. Clock repair guys are expensive, but unsticking the mainspring was an intimidating job. Christmas was tight this year so I decided to fix the clock for Sheila's Christmas present. I researched it online and found more information than there was last time I tried to fix it. Before the web pages I found all said, "Don't do it yourself. The mainspring can get loose and break your finger!" I took it apart and spent an hour contemplating the innards of the thing. Apparently it should be oiled every 2 years. It had been about 14 years, so I was overdue. 

Carefully, I inserted the winding key, held it tight and flipped the safety ratchet. Not so bad so far. I let it down a couple of notches and let the ratchet catch. So I let it down a couple more. So far so good. Then about the third round my ADD kicked in, I got impatient and dropped it a couple of extra notches in one go. There was a loud "brrrrrrrpt" noise and suddenly the mainspring was unwound. My index finger was bleeding in four places and I lost a piece of my thumbnail when the winding key went freewheeling.

So far so good. No kidding. I really did say that. As someone who always manages to shed blood to the gods of mechanical repair every time he fixes something, I expect that sort of thing to happen. At least I still had a finger, however swollen it might be and we still do have some band-aids in the medicine cabinet, so, okay. I figured I might just whip this thing after all. Learned about oiling clocks and what oil not to use (which is, of course, the only kind of oil I had).

But I managed to get the thing back together and reinstalled one of the gears and tried it out. The chimes only rang half the sequence each time, so I had to rotate the minute hand in 15 minute increments and let the chimes ring. Then I adjusted the gear that turned the shaft that operated the chime hammers till I finally got it where it would play the whole chime and ring the hours. It took about 6 hours total. The chimes aren't entirely consistent and I don't know why, but it will chime most of the time and as the oil seeps into the pivots it ought to get better. Not sure where the problem is, but hey. I'll take another run at it after I buy a clock oiling and cleaning kit and do it right.
For now it chimes. I have to jiggle the chime selector every third or fourth circuit of the clockface, but for Christmas I figure I can manage it. Sheila really likes the chimes.

So Merry Christmas. The bread has cooled and is ready to be bagged and put away. Got to go. Have a lovely holiday.

© 2016 by Tom King

Thursday, December 22, 2016

What Charity Really Means

Language changes over time. When you look up the word "charity" you get definitions like aid, welfare, relief, handouts, largess, alms, philanthropy, nonprofit organization and money given to those in need. Sadly we've lost probably the most important meaning of the world. It's listed under "archaic".  It means love of humankind, typically in a Christian context as in this usage from the King James Bible (I Corinthians 13)

"And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. "

Newer translations of the Bible substitute the word "love" for charity. Unfortunately, the old meaning should have stuck with us instead of morphing into something that means something shameful as in "We don't need no charity!"

That's sad. If you go by the archaic meaning of the word, you're basically saying, "We don't need no love!"  People give so-called "charity" for a couple of reasons. One group does give charity in order to feel less guilt and may, in fact, look down on those who accept it. But that group is terribly small. I worked for 40 years in the nonprofit sector raising money for and managing charities that helped pre-schoolers, students, abused and mentally ill children, people with disabilities, seniors, and low-income families. Nine out of ten of those working with me in those "charities" did so because they absolutely loved helping people. Their work was their joy and the people they helped, they loved.

After all that, God then taught me to be on the other end of all that love. I cannot tell you all of the people who have helped us pass through the some really rough patches. When it felt like the forces of evil were arrayed against us, there were suddenly angels when we needed them. Thank you to all of our friends who do angel work on the side and have blessed us.

Learning to accept the love of others is sometimes hard. Our pride so often stands in the way. We want to be self-sufficient. We think we don't need no charity.

But we do. If we are unable to accept gifts given in love, can we truly be the complete and loving people God wants us to be. Christmas is a great time to teach our kids about the joy of giving in love as well as accepting what is lovingly given. 

© 2016 by Tom King

Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas Traditions Have To Start Somewhere

It looks better at night...

Traditions don't seem to last long in my life. About as soon as one is established, something massively traumatic happens to disrupt it. First it was my brother shot to death the day after Christmas that put a damper on the holidays for several years. Ironically, the night before he died we'd talked about continuing some family traditions with our own families when we grew up. Next it was Christmases with my Grandparents after family members asked me not to visit her anymore because it upset the old woman too much. I look a lot like my Dad and he was murdered by my stepmom a few years before and she had a stroke or something and got it into her head that my wife was Dad's wife. Anyway - no more King family holidays after that. It would have been difficult given that my beloved grandmother threatened to stab my beloved wife in the heart if she ever came to her house again.

Then we moved to East Texas on a wing and a prayer after the place I worked was closed down by the state for something we didn't do. We'd been holding Christmas celebrations at our house there in my hometown of Keene, Texas. Everybody came - my mom and stepdad and assorted brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews on both side. When we left Keene, we lost our ability to do that. So, we restored a run down old house and gathered our mostly grown kids around and started a new set of traditions, building upon some of the old ones. We began making a new Christmas ornament every year that memorialized some important thing that happened that year.

They were very nice Christmases for many years after that. Then my son, Micah died and the joy felt like it was sucked out of Christmas. My wife became disabled and life became "interesting" as the Chinese put it when they want to curse someone. But we did our best to bounce back after that first Christmas without Micah. And we did.

So now we're virtual shut-ins and our eldest son is in a very bad situation, his mother grieves for him and for our lost boy. We have no family around anymore and to tell you the truth we didn't even have a Christmas tree anymore. I hung some lights on the porch so the neighbors wouldn't think we were Jehovah's Witnesses or something, but it wasn't much. I bought us a new TV one year, but most years were kind of thin.

Christmas stuff stayed boxed up for a few years. It came out briefly until illness and financial disaster led to another drastic move, leaving our kids far behind. The situation with the family members we moved to help didn't last for long and we found ourselves literally homeless just before Christmas. Meanwhile, my son back in Texas rolled my truck into a house destroying both and taking our Christmas decoration collection with it. We lost all our tangible Christmas memories in that accident and were not able to recover them.

This was just before Christmas 2012 after we became no longer
homeless people and were rescued by two wonderful Christians - the Havrillas

A year after we moved into the carriage house (above), we decided to exorcise the humbug spirit from the place and to begin working up some new traditions of our own - just the two of us. God seems to have the same idea. Some friends from the local church we can't attend because we can't afford to keep a car, have two precious little ones that call us Grammy and Poppy. They come to visit us and give me rides to town to the pharmacy and Walmart. We've adopted their babies as it seems unlikely our own kids are going to reproduce significantly. We have a grandson that doesn't bear our name and whom we've never seen before and our youngest seems determined to not have kids of her own. She already has a houseful of everybody else's kids, so I suppose that's enough. We're very proud of her and her husband's work with young people.

Last Christmas, determined to reestablish some sort of Christmas tradition for us, I bought a little tabletop Christmas tree and some ornaments at Walmart - just the right size to set on top of my desk (see above photo). Last year, my adopted granddaughter, Eliana (I call her Jellybean) went shopping for the tree with me and helped me pick out the decorations. When we got home, she helped me decorate the tree and we set it up on top of the desk in a place of honor. I did not know I was establishing a new tradition.

This year I had delayed putting up the tree for some reason. I still miss Daisy, who sympathized with me on Christmas. It could have been the Christmas cookies, but I like to think Daisy had some empathy going there. Whatever the reason, the time never seemed just right for putting up the tree. Sometimes I think angels whisper in our ears, for one afternoon I felt a strong impulse that I should put up the tree. So I climbed down the stairs of our garage apartment to the garage below and fetched up the tree and the box o' decorations. I'd just laid them out on the kitchen table preparing to trim our little tree when I heard footsteps on the stairs.

It was our friend April and with her she brought Jellybean and her little brother Liam who has just gotten his sea legs under him. Jellybean saw the little Christmas tree on the table when she walked through the door. She made a beeline for a chair and climbed up to help. So for the second year in a row, me and Jellybean trimmed our tree. I kept misting up (I'm a big old tub of mush about stuff like that), but we finally got the decorations properly placed and set the tree on top of my desk.

It's not a big new Christmas tradition, but I will take it. Thank you God for reminding me that traditions have to start somewhere and kids are the best allies when you want to start one. So, merry Christmas to all (even if you don't like Christmas). Christmas is after all a celebration of the hope that came to humankind one cold night in Bethlehem long ago. And God bless us everyone, as a fictional but believably irrepressible Christmas child once said, and, to quote an actual angel, "Peace on Earth good will to all men," (and not just to the ones who voted the way you thought they should in November).

Just thought I should throw that in for those who are still in mourning this Christmas season.

"So, Ho, ho, ho! And Merry Christmas!"  As for the New Year, we'll wait and see how well my beard grows back out. In the meantime, it's still the season of hope.

© 2016 by Tom King

Friday, December 16, 2016


IT WORKS! Our Maytag dryer began to scream at Sheila when she turned it on. I pulled her apart (the dryer, not the wife) and found a jammed dryer belt tension roller. Apparently they pick up bits of dust, lint, oil and some unidentified sticky substance over time and the roller has to be cleaned or replaced. I pulled the sticky roller off the shaft, cleaned the inside of the roller with a Q-tip and quick spritz of WD-40 (God bless NASA for that stuff) and then washed the outside of the shaft and rubbedf oil on it. 

Then I pushed the roller back down onto the shaft. It rotates nice and smoothly now and the dryer no longer screams when you turn it on. (I'm sorry, all you 15 year old males - you may now go take a cold shower). I only had to consult Youtube a couple of times on how to remove the top, and open up the front to get the belt off (seriously guys, go take a cold shower).

You learn a lot about home appliance repair when all your life you pray before you decide what jobs to take. I'm not saying God doesn't pay well, but I think when they talk about God giving you abundance, perhaps it may be an abundance of skills that he gives you in some cases, or maybe an abundance of children or an abundance of work to do. I'm pretty sure He wasn't strictly talking about an abundance of cash necessarily.

Hey, I can fix dryers and sometimes washers if nothing complex is going on. It's a skill that comes in handy a lot and saves a lot of money. It's a skill I learned because God chose not to make me rich.

Thanks, God. I'll take it!

 © 2016 by Tom King

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Vaya Con Dios, Sam Miller

Samuel Marvin Miller
my mentor as I remember him
An old friend and mentor is retiring from the ministry. A pastor friend from my Lone Star Camp staff days told me this morning that Sam Miller was hanging up his gigantic flashlight and riding off into the sunset. I am certain he will be missed.

I haven't seen Sam in a very long time. His wife Carol is a Facebook friend so I know a little bit about what they've been up to. There is an assortment of very fortunate kids and grandkids these two have produced and Sam's popped up in all sorts of places in the West and Southwest in photographs with that easy, lop-sided grin on his face that I remember from when he was my camp director.  I'd been a camper at Lone Star Camp, deep in the piney woods of East Texas for several years during the 60s under Elder Burns, a legendary director, who trained Sam and others and taught a generation of Texas Adventist kids how to refrain from drowning themselves while playing near the lake. So long as one of Elder Burns' waterfront staff remained on the job, we never had so much as a single opportunity to resuscitate a camper. We had a few sneak off and scare us so that we dragged the swimming area, but no one drowned during camp.

In 1971, I became a baptized Adventist and my best friend, Mark Miller, Sam's little brother, helped me get a job at Lone Star. It was late in the season so none of the scholarship positions were left. So, I worked that summer for $10 a week as a trash hauler, wood chopper, hole digger and bathroom scrubber. Sam Miller was our camp director for the summer. He was still in college and just married. Elder Kilgore, the conference youth director was out at camp with his family off and on shuttling between camp and the conference office. Sam had the day to day management and he'd learned his craft well under Elder Burns.

I learned a lot watching Sam's leadership techniques. Years later as a youth leader, I borrowed his style when working with kids. Camp staff were mostly young single people and we operated in a hormone-charged atmosphere. Sam recognized the inevitability of youthful romance and also the dangers. We'd all gather down at the boat dock of an evening to play guitar and smooch in various corners of the dock. About eleven or so, we'd here footsteps on the stairs leading up to the dock. Now Sam didn't always make sounds coming up the stairs. He could sneak up on you like a panther on a rabbit if he wanted to. The footsteps were a warning. Then, Sam's lanky figure would stroll out onto the dock and pause for a moment, looking up at the golden summer moon. The "long moment" gave staff members, coupled up on the dock, time to disentangle de-osculate and get their hands out where he could see them. Then you'd hear a click and it would suddenly become daylignt.

Sam carried around a flashlight that looked like a car headlight attached to the top of a car battery. It turned night into day. The dock would empty like roaches skittering out of the kitchen when you turn the light on at night. Some more enterprising couples moved to other places around the camp to do their canoodling, but they reckoned without the fact that Sam had been a young staffer too and had a thoroughgoing knowledge of where all the best canoodling spots around camp were. Couples would be out on the swimming dock or one of the diving towers or drifting along in a canoe and all of a sudden the night would be turn to day and Sam would be standing there looking up at the moon.

"Time to go in," he'd say in his slow laconic Texas drawl. And that was it. No chewing people out. No recriminations. No discussion of the danger your behavior posed to your soul. Just, "Time to go..." And there were no serious indiscretions that I know of. Sam's little brother and I did get in trouble a couple of times for running around camp at all hours of the night, but Sam just told us to basically cut it out and we sorta did. We at least managed to go places where he didn't have to worry about our hormones getting us into too much trouble. He slowed us down a little and we managed not to damage ourselves or violate any of the local native women.

My first couple of years on staff, I watched how Sam managed groups of kids and staff in his laid back style. I took my first life-saving class with Sam, where we swam laps carrying heavy objects (and once while filled with hornet poison, but that's another story). I was one of those people with significant negative buoyancy (I sink), so Sam used me as a practice dummy because you had to really swim hard to keep afloat while dragging me by the hair.  Ah, good time!

The big thing I learned from Sam was to keep a sense of humor.  Sam always seemed to get the joke that the rest of us had failed to detect. He once wrote me a letter of recommendation that read in part, "Tom marches to the beat of a different drummer."  What a lovely way of saying I was kind of a weird kid. I almost took offense. You know how serious a 19 year old can get about himself. But then I decided Sam was right and embraced my weirditude and it seemed to work for me. I'm still a little weird, but, thanks to Sam, I get the joke and I quit taking things so seriously a long time ago.

I learned these lessons from Sam:
  1. Never take youthful angst too seriously and don't let them suck you into it.
  2. Discipline gently. A soft word works better than a hard stick.
  3. Respect the people who work for you and the kids you work with.
  4. Give kids time to obey. They want to make you happy, they just have that initial instinctive resistance to overcome and if you give them time, they'll come around.
  5. Don't push too hard. Managing kids is like trying to roll a giant blob of Jello around. If you push to hard in one spot, the whole thing will come apart.
  6. Let 'em know you are coming. It preserves the illusion for them that they actually have the ability to govern themselves.
  7. Issue no empty praise. Don't praise the person, praise the deed. Don't say "You are a great canoer!" It doesn't help them learn. Instead say, "Your J-stroke is coming along nicely. I can see how straight the canoe tracks for you now. Very good!"
  8. The best way to get a kid to cooperate with you is to tell them what they are doing that pleases you and then stand back and give them time to do it.
  9. Carry the tools you need with you. Don't use a hatchet when an ax is called for.
  10. If you're going to carry a flashlight, make it a humongous one, but don't turn it on till absolutely necessary. Too much light can damage your night vision.

So, vaya con Dios, my old teacher. I do believe you managed to achieve the goal of every follower of Christ throughout history. You made the world a better place for your having passed through it.

© 2016 by Tom King

Friday, December 09, 2016

Answer to Prayers?

There's a signpost up ahead.

A friend asked, "What was the most remarkable answer to a prayer you've prayed?" I was stumped. There are so many remarkable answers to prayers I've seen I can't really choose. God has answered long nagging prayers, formal prayers, walking prayers, thought prayers and one word cries for help. One of the most memorable ones happened when my wife and I were running an intergenerational day care center in Tyler, Texas.

We'd been working hard that autumn to get the budget under control and to handle some personnel issues we had going at the time. There were three individuals in particular who were giving us a hard time in particular. We'd gotten the budget under control, but in doing so we took a little of the authority away from the folks who had gotten us into trouble in the first place. I'd gotten a grant to cover my own salary so the center wouldn't be on the hook for that. We revised the accounting system with another grant that gave us a consulting CPA. We were on our way to having a healthy cash reserve in order to move the center from the church facility we were then occupying into a new facility we were planning to build or purchase. 

The church was unhappy with us. They were worried about a recent incident at another church center and feared we could be sued if something like that happened with us.  Secondly, they had been carrying the financial overages for the center and couldn't why the books looked good but the center was unable to contribute rent to the church. Finally, one of the staff, a church member was sowing discontent in the congregation because she'd not been given the executive director job and I had.

In the middle of all of this, Sheila and I decided one Saturday afternoon in April to drive out to Caddo Lake where our daughter and son-in-law and my son were camping with friends. On the way, we drove past the day care center and saw three cars in the parking lot. It was our three disgruntled employees.

We though, "Oh, oh, this can't be good." I dropped by and sure enough the two department heads and the bookkeeper where huddled in the office. When we came through the door you never saw a guiltier looking bunch. When I asked them what they were up to, they all looked guilty and made vague excuses for being there. Sheila and I left after a few minutes and headed off across country for the lake. 

As we drove, we talked about the problem. Staff loyalties were divided and trouble was a-comin' to be sure and we both knew it. After an hour of talking about possible solutions, we couldn't find one. Firing the bunch would alienate the church because one of them was a member. The staff, meanwhile not realizing what was going on, would find it arbitrary and there were 26 women working there and me the only male. Just so you know, the alpha dog thing doesn't work among groups of humans. When you have 26 female employees, you're just outnumbered and there's nothing you can do about it. 

So we took it to God. I drove and Sheila prayed because I'm better at the one and she's better at the other. In God's work you learn to stick to the talents he's given you.  After we prayed, we drove along quietly for a time. Finally, my wife turned and asked, "You got anything yet?"

I shrugged. " The only thing that comes to my mind is, 'Be still and know that I am God.'"

"That's funny," Sheila answered. "I had that same thought. I prayed all night about that and that's what I kept getting over and over all night long."

"It's going to be tough to do basically nothing," I shook my head.

We drove on along this tiny two-lane backwoods East Texas road for a few more minutes in silence, me thinking, this is one problem that's going to take some action. If I didn't get ahead of this little revolt, the whole thing could come apart. 

Then suddenly my eyes were drawn to a pretty little white country church along the road up ahead. It had one of those message board signs out front and I kept my eyes on it as the words became readable. In big black letters it said, "Be still and know that I am God."

I did a double-take. "Did you see that?" I asked incredulously. Sheila turned and looked hard at me, then quietly nodded.

"I think we've had as clear an answer as we're going to get," she laughed.

You're always a little quiet when God has spoken to you that clearly. We drove on to the lake and had a lovely day with the kids. On the way back, we thanked God for his answer. Monday, we went back to work and did what we should have done, just like any normal day. Our three revolutionaries didn't say much for the next few days until it became obvious that the wrath of Tom was not going to fall upon them.

Sheila and I remained still and let things work out. Within three months, the childcare director was offered a better paying job, the bookkeeper quit without warning and the titular adult director quit suddenly. I gave her two weeks severance pay.  All were replaced with very nice people who helped us a lot. The center lasted another year, but economic factors forced us to close. When we did, we were a happy group who hated to be going our separate ways. I still have friends from our time there.

As it turned out, God solved our problem for us. All we had to do was be still and know who was God and who was not!

 © 2016 by Tom King

Monday, December 05, 2016

Everybody's a Critic

One of the side effects of the Internet has unfortunately been the provision of a forum for the proverbial "experts who can't do anything." It is said that those who can do, those who can't teach and those who can't teach become critics.  I think I may have been the one who said that.

In any case, with the rise of the "comment" thread it seems everyone or at least most everyone, has taken it upon him or herself to lay into every book, movie, song, restaurant, sports team, or work of art, act of Congress or noble endeavor that goes on. Used to be it was a rare thing to find fault with something artistic much beyond, whether we liked it or didn't like it. Now, with the free and unfettered forum provided by the Internet, we all seem to need to get a lick in at everything in sight.

It's kind of sad because people that never actually make anything beautiful or pleasant or fun, have taken up positions in the digital duck blind and make themselves feel important by taking pot shots at anyone who dares to make the effort to actually do something or make something. We're fast becoming a nation of grouchy old critics - Waldorf and Statler sitting in life's bleachers making smug snide comments at everything.

It's sad really because taking on the job of critic makes you feel like you ought to say something critical about a thing if you review it. I've tried doing reviews on Amazon. I always feel a little guilty because I don't find a lot of fault. I do a lot of first novel reviews for fellow authors and they usually get five stars and an attaboy. I know how it feels to get 3 stars or to have people find fault with what you do and I can't seem to muster the courage to poke holes in what I know was somebody's labor of love. It seems a pretty rotten thing to do. I try to be honest, but I much prefer to focus on what I liked about something.

What brought all this on was I watched a Christmasy movie of Disney's. It was a kids movie and I found the animation and the songs and the story just amazing. Commenters at the space below the movie on the Internet, however, lined up to find fault with the movie. Some were understandably sick of hearing the "Let it Go" song, but the reason they were sick of it was because everybody was singing it and it gets stuck in your head because the song is so well done. Retroactively hammering the movie won't make your kids love the movie or the song any less and you're still going to have to listen to your little princess sing "Let it Go" over and over and over again.

When they went after "Tangled" which is one of my more recent Disney favorites, they done stepped over the line. It was a lovely movie with an upbeat ending. Some dim bulb went on and on about how disappointed she was that it wasn't "darker".  That's all we need in this world - to show our kids sad and depressive movies. The world is plenty dark without post-modernist cartoons putting our kids on Prozac. 

A critic the other day criticized the movie, "Hacksaw Ridge" for not inventing a scene where Desmond Doss had to choose to let someone die because he refused to pick up a gun. Even though the movie is closely based on a true story and that scene never happened this guy was certain it would have been a better "story" if they could have had such a scene. Another critic claimed some of the story was unbelievable even though Doss actually did kick a grenade away from fellow soldiers and was permanently disabled because of it. The critic wanted the actual story fixed to better suit his worldview in essence instead of allowing the story to be told as it was - reality not being good enough for Hollywood and all. It left certain questions unanswered for the critic. So when did life have to answer all your questions, man? Get used to it. Life does what it wants to you. You write your own story from life as it smacks you in the face. And it's never the story you thought it would be in the beginning of it.

I think those of us who are members of the Internet generation should spend a little more time in the real world. We should examine our values and our ethics and decide whether or not we believe the whole Golden Rule thing as a way of life. Despite how much I love Disney movies, I also blame Disney to some degree for our current generation that seems to think everything can be solved by magic. To some extent, Disney's magical fairy tales have contributed to that unrealistic view of life. But Disney is not alone in that responsibility. I really blame parents who don't take the time to talk about movies and TV shows that their kids see. If you raise a child by setting him in front of a TV set all day, you shouldn't be surprised if they develop a somewhat distorted outlook on life. You also have to take them out in the woods, go camping, hiking, take them fishing or canoeing or to visit museums, historical sites and do things together if you want a kid to view life realistically and not as some contrived story.

And perhaps instead of picking and fault-finding with the hard work of others, we should look for what we like about that work and not only encourage authors, artists, and craftsmen to give us more of what we enjoyed about their work, but we should also go out and do a little creating on our own. We are, after all, created in God's image. We are born creative. It is how we are like Him. I really believe God made us because He wanted to see what we would come up with. I think God wanted children who could make Him smile.

So maybe let's lighten up on being critics. It's more fun simply diving into the amazingly creative things God's children have made and simply enjoying it for what it is. It's what our Father would have us do.

© 2016 by Tom King