Toys, Tech, and Labyrinths

This post is really brought to you by Abraham Pace!

 I enjoy Facebook.

And Instagram.

And for a bit I even did Snap Chat.

It can all be time wasters and gossip creators. But, you know, so could the television and the telephone.

I love social media for the connections. People are amazing.

And so this post is simply my Facebook find of the day.

There was once a boy who sometimes came to Church of the Apostles in Columbia, SC.

That boy’s name is Danilo.

Miss Melanie hardly knew him.

But she remembers his face – his eyes and his hair. And his behavior easily qualified him as a good kid.

Danilo moved away.

Miss Melanie heard about him from his dad’s Facebook posts.

Together, he and his dad and his younger siblings did this:

This is a Lego labyrinth.

The dad’s corresponding post described labyrinths:

Teaching the kids about “Prayer Labyrinths” a labyrinth is different than a maze in that it only has one entrance and no wrong turns. It was developed as a prayer tool by the Knights Templar and one of the most famous ones is at the Chartres Cathedral in France. The idea is that one walks the path in contemplative prayer. On the way in is the prayer of asking forgiveness or cleansing. Once at the center one prays for enlightenment and as one walks back out the way they came in the prayer is one of doing. The Lutheran Seminary in Columbia, SC has a beautiful one. This lego one my kids and I built last week.


I liked the post. I commented.

I added several friends to the conversation, ones who had spoken of Legos or labyrinths.

I said, “I want that on my blog.”

Notifications popped up.

When the dad replied to someone else, I discovered there was also a mine craft labyrinth.

After we built this one Danilo and I built one in Minecraft. We enhanced it with an elevated sun room at the center with a tree growing on top and instead of being a pattern on the floor we created it with high walls.

Oh, I asked a bunch of questions.

And I got a private message.

I was told it didn’t have to stay private.

So here it is, straight from Danilo’s dad. The story of Legos and Labyrinths.

My oldest boy, Danilo, is 9 now and his sister, Natalia, is 7 and their youngest brother, Elias, is 5. I have been telling them about prayer labyrinths for a while now but I do not think that I had shown them a picture. Last weekend was cold (its always cold in Michigan) and so I was looking for an idea of something to build. We have built spiders, Star Wars toys and the last thing we built was a bridge. That does not include the constant building of the small projects. I did not have a picture of the labyrinth when I built the lego one so I had to do it as best I could from memory. It took us at least two hours and we stopped at some point in the middle to do other things. My kids had to sacrifice a lot of their structures so that we could collect enough square blocks. I designed it on paper before starting. There is only one path in and no wrong turns. In this case I did not consider it praying while I was building it but it definitely was more meaningful than just build a random thing. After we finished the lego version I put my two youngest to bed and then Danilo and I built the one in Minecraft. He did most of the work because he is really good at it and he had a lot ideas. It definitely bonded us and was fun for him to have more time on Minecraft. I may leave the lego one up for another week and then we are starting to think about build the tabernacle. I am tech and minecraft challenged but I just asked Danilo and he said that other people would not be able to access it because it was done on “pocket edition”. In the minecraft version the prayer room in the center is just the ideal place I would love to have to pray. I have been teaching my kids about the “tree of life” and the “giving tree” so it also is a prayer tool. In the warmer days of the year we have been known to find a big tree to sit, look, meditate and pray by. I am trying to teach my kids the art of being quiet and to listen to nature. At the same time to let nature lead them to praying to God.

I’ll be waiting for the tabernacle.

Introducing: PINTEREST

So on a whim I signed up for this and now I am somehow automatically following a lot of people – and, some are following me. One day I’ll learn how to use this,

Seriously. That’s my Pinterest. Oh my gosh! Was I overwhelmed in the beginning. Did I shy away from it or did I? Yes, I did. And then, I don’t know when. But I know it was one night when I was already in bed – I got hooked.

And every once in awhile, when I have insomnia – oh, please – I do not ever have insomnia.

Every once in awhile when I’m waiting for my husband to come to bed, I kind of, well, I kinda overindulge.

And I’d hardly ever admit that to anyone. Especially my best friend. (She hates the WORD.)

But there was this friend who’d moved away. A lot of people move away from me. A lot of people. And it makes me sad. And there was this way that I could connect with her that was different than email and different from facebook. I could connect with her via her Pinterest Boards.

You are laughing now. I know you are.

I am not completely naive. I know that Pinterest Boards are a lot of fantasy. Ok, majority fantasy.

But she had a baby right before she moved and I watched that child become a toddler and I got to see her ideas of what she wanted to do with her daughter. All on Pinterest. The cool thing is, because I do actually have a facebook account also, that sometimes she posted real photographs of those Pinterest ideas on facebook. As in, she actually made some of those “Pinterest crafts.”


She started having these boards called “LENT” and “ADVENT” and all of a sudden, I realized that this was my jackpot.

You have had those kinds of nights propped up on pillows in your bed. I know you have. The ones where you think, “Oh my word. That is AWESOME. I am going to do that!”



You’ll find the good stuff here 

Ok, Ok. Once I get that friend to help me with it …

Why Games? Part I

Do you like games? Don’t say “no.” Everyone likes games of some sort or the other. Maybe you just haven’t found your game of choice yet. Each fall I’d start our new CLUB45 (4th and 5th grade group) year with GAME NIGHT. You can accomplish a lot at GAME NIGHT. Sometimes the kids even realize that. Remember to have a plan. Use a variety of games. Be flexible. Laugh. And recap it all (ok, some) to the parents. They’ll love you for it. And you’ll remember why you did it. Here’s our September 2014 Game Night Summary. And yes, you can copy it completely one evening soon. We met for 90 minutes – although there is generally some outside craziness included in that time, too.


If this quote, attributed to Plato is true

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”

Then I got to know eight children a lot better tonight. We were, um, loud.

Among 8, 3 are homeschooled and the rest go to 5 different schools (——–, ———, ——— , ———, and ——.)

I like to use these nights to figure out where the kids are in their life. They may come home and describe nothing of seeming spiritual substance, but I do try to have a purpose.

I told them that our goal is to create a community. I told them one of our community goals was to know the story of the bible.

We played the card game spoons and  I defined “competitive.” Most individuals were – ahem, competitive spoon players. How to Play Spoons

We split into teams to make the tallest marshmallow/spaghetti structure and I defined “camaraderie” as needed to work as a team.  Fun info on Spaghetti/Marshmallow Tower

We played pictionary with these bible couples: Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, Mary and Joseph, Jesus and the woman at the well. In this game, I wanted to see how many bible characters they knew. They knew all these. Upon guessing each couple, they put the names in chronological order as they appear in the bible. They did this easily. They also could say if these folks had competitive type relationships or worked together well.

I reminded them of Sunday School the past two weeks and how Genesis 1-11 tells the beginnings of all kinds of things. We noticed how people messed up a lot and God kept starting over.

I reminded them that tonight we wanted to see how we can create community with each other and God is pleased when we do. I shared that on Sundays adults , too, come from all different work places, like they come from different schools, and that we are united by our worship and what we believe. I told them that we say the big things we believe when we say the creed.

I shared a song via YouTube called This I Believe from Hillsong. It is based on the Apostles’ Creed. There was a static picture of NYC, I think, on the screen as the words to the song came up. Your children noticed that as a strange picture to have with that song. We stopped and talked about the picture and the things in it that show things that people sometimes put their faith/ belief in rather than God. They impressed me.

Thanks for bringing them!

Mrs. Melanie