Twelve-year-old Michael Arroyo and his father dreamed of the Little League World Series. As the playoffs near, Michael’s chances of pitching there just may become reality. Besides having a great arm, however, Michael also has secrets—secrets that could sabotage his Little League World Series debut. Author Mike Lupica serves up a great baseball story to his readers. Step up to the plate and give Mike Lupica’s Heat a swing.
Monthly Archives: January 2012
Squeal with the pigs, bray with the donkeys, and low with the cows in the big red barn where the only quiet things at the farm are the eggs. From dawn to dark, follow the animals until the day finally winds down in Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown. Which animal is your favorite? I think Zuno likes the puppies best. Which noise do you like to make best?
Snow rarely falls in our part of Texas. The sight of even a few wispy flakes sparks currents of excitement through children and adults alike. Eyes widen. Smiles appear. Ooos and aahs echo from classrooms to conference rooms. After summers of triple digit heat and the normal winter fare of rain and sleet, snow treats our weather-beaten senses to delight. Snow refreshes our spirits.
Solomon understood the pleasure of snow. Check out Proverbs 25: 13(NIV):
“Like the coolness of snow at harvest time is a trustworthy messenger to those who send him; he refreshes the spirit of his masters.”
What is the source of refreshment?
The messenger’s trustworthiness.
The master can count on him. One less Excedrin headache for the day because the master knows that his guy will get the job done.
I think it’s the same with parents and kids. Nothing refreshes my heart more than to see my kids:
- Make a good choice
- Follow through on a commitment
- Obey—the first time
- Seek God’s will and do it
- Show kindness to others
- Be responsible
- Help someone less fortunate
Those things refresh my heart. It feels like snow.
Create your own snow flurry today. Do something to refresh the spirits of those who pour into you. Go ahead. Be flakey. Let it snow!
In previous posts, I spotlighted several premiere books of their respective series. Today, I encourage you to follow through on one: Suzanne Collins’s Underland Chronicles. Join Gregor as, one by one, each of his family members find themselves entangled in the conflicts of the Underland. Collins deftly weaves her ever-present themes of war and peace through the series. As different lessons and characters surface in each novel, readers take away practical insights towards becoming modern day peacemakers, Gregor-style.
Larry Burkett’s How Things Work Series: How Our House Works educates kids on home construction and maintenance. Burkett encourages good stewardship as he teaches readers to properly care for their home. Children learn that water and electricity come at a price and how to keep that cost to a minimum. Good spending habits and a fix-it-yourself mentality prepare kids for homes of their own.
The Empty Box of Turkish Delight
“At last the Turkish Delight was all finished and Edmund was looking very hard at the empty box and wishing that she would ask him whether he would like some more. Probably the Queen knew quite well what he was thinking; for she knew, though Edmund did not, that this was enchanted Turkish Delight and that anyone who had tasted it would want more and more of it and would even, if they were allowed, go on eating it till they killed themselves.” (from C. S. Lewis’s Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe)
Like Edmund and his insatiable desire for Turkish Delight, I, too, struggle with contentment. With me, the struggle centers on situations and circumstances rather than stuff, but you know the feeling. It often surfaces on Christmas morning after a mountain of gifts has been leveled. Piles of wrapping and tissue paper, boxes, and bows sit like dirt piles at a construction site and out come the words, “Is that it?”.
Parents turn “The Look” on the selfish child and follow it with “The Talk” in which one receives a lecture on the evils of selfishness and how one should be thankful, etc. Have you been here? Solomon mentions this problem of discontentment in Proverbs 30:15-16:
“A leech has two daughters and both are named Give me! There are four things that are never satisfied:
the world of the dead,
a woman without children,
dry ground that needs rain,
and a fire burning out of control.” (GNT)
Could it be that God purposefully designed an empty spot within us that only He could fill? Filling that hole with electronics, video games, or clothes works about as well as a warm Coke when you’re thirsty. It just doesn’t meet the need. To fill it, you must look to something vastly bigger and better than your new Madden 2012 or your new cell phone: God Himself through His Son, Jesus.
Jerry Spinelli handles the touchy subject of peer pressure in his novel, Wringer. Most boys look forward to their tenth birthday. For Palmer LaRue, just thinking about turning ten makes his stomach hurt. In his town of Waymer, a peculiar rite of passage marks a boy’s tenth birthday and Palmer wants no part of it. Peer pressure silences Palmer, but the calendar keeps turning and his birthday is coming. Join Palmer in his struggle to stand his ground and to follow his heart.