Monday, October 22, 2012

Discussing Street Art

"Switched at Birth" a show that comes on Monday nights. Sixteen years ago, one mistake changed two families forever when two newborns were switched at birth. Bay grew up in a wealthy family while Daphne, who lost her hearing as a child, was raised by a single mom in a working class neighborhood. 

My wonderful wife had a great idea we should talk about Bay and Bay's dad relationship in the last episode during our Sunday home conversation meeting which we call Grace Happens. 

Some of the questions we asked:

1.  Is street art wrong? Why do people do street art? Do you think it's creative expression or vandalism?

2. Why does Bay tell her parents that Zara is who she would be if she hadn't been switched?

3.  What do you think will happen to Bay in the end?

4.  The "my way or highway" response Bay's Dad gave Bay is that the best way to handle to situation?  Why didn't mom speak up during the conversation?  Is there another way to handle Bay since they have already tried playing to her good nature?

5.  If your child had a friend you didn't like, how would you handle it?

My wife and I feel that when you watch a show like "Switched at Birth" a family should reflect on its quality and important of what the director is trying to share.  It also makes for good conversation piece with friends. When we get together with our kids with topic or shows like this we really don't have an agenda or parents take ownership.  We believe kids sometimes have better ways of saying things than adults.  It was a good discussion.  I highly recommend the show and you can watch season one on Netflix and Hulu.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Full Monty

Yep!  I wouldn't really call it a moment of grace but embarrassment.  Before I share what happened I want to WARN everyone that in the next following lines it make not be suitable for children under 10 years old (since my daughter just turned 10).

I sleep naked (yes, TMI for some).  I just don't sleep well with clothes on unless it is really cold outside.  I woke up and not knowing my 10 year old daughter was in my room I walked to the bathroom naked not knowing she was there.  I can out of the bathroom "FULL MONTY" and she saw everything.

Please dad's if you are out there please easy my mind that my kid will not be scared for life.

I was so embarrassed and upset with my wife for not saying anything I screamed at my 10 year old for being in my private space.  I was not happy with the fact she is at that age of questioning and a 10 year old should just see a penis in an educational book not a real live man at this age.

I don't have a problem with talking about sex with them and feeling comfortable but there is just somethings to be kept private.

Well, I think she was just as surprised as me, and eventually we talked and life goes on.

Final note: I need a bath towel. 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Lesson To Teach

Grace Happens worship time has in the past few weeks have been wonderful. We went to Los Angeles as a church and spent quality time together, with other family members, friends, and Mickey Mouse.

How in God's name can I say we had worship and vacation at the same time if we didn't go to a Christian place of worship?
Answer: Do you think Jesus had a time management schedule detailing when one should have church and not? I don't think so but correct me if you feel I am wrong. I believe churches need to rethink the whole "WE" need to have service on Sundays. Yes, those who know me know I am Jewish and even Jews worship on Friday night to separate the week from the weekend and remember G-d's goodness. Imagine for a moment if Jesus send a telegram from Heaven saying, "Churches, remember I am your leader, and where you go I am with you whether it is a Sunday, Wednesday, or Tuesday. Oh and by the way I never indicated anywhere you have to set aside a place of worship to worship." I think we get so caught up with needing to be in church on a Sunday or as a Jew on a Friday night/Saturday morning to fulfill our human need and be relieved G-d will "yet again love me for another week".
I am training my children to have church daily. What does that mean? It means you don't have to schedule a date with God to pray, to do an act of kindness, or share the love of God. Church is going to Disneyland, or Santa Monica, or the Napa Valley to drink incredible wines and be in worship with God. How is it working for us - great. I think my kids appreciate life more now not going to a place of worship. I guess you can say it doesn't take a Sunday lesson to learn something. I think it takes being yourself to have communion with God like one does in a traditional church.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Meeting of the Minds

Grace Happens on Sunday we go ourselves together and headed over to Starbucks with notepad, pen, computer, and conversation.  We dedicated out conversation to talking about our vacation trip to Los Angeles, preparing for school, and topics to cover during our time of worship. 

Though it was conversation time I think I was the main person talking maybe because I am gifted in organizing, delegating, and getting stuff done.  Maybe it was a day where the kids saw Dad in action and putting together a family plan.  I do like being the leader but I always checking to make sure everyone agrees and has something to say.

We covered a lot of information in one hour and two cups of BOLD STARBUCKS COFFEE.  We make a list of what we need for kid's schools like supplies, how much money we will need, clothing, and contact teachers telling them how excited our kids are to be coming back to school (ha, ha, ha).  We decided that during our GRACE HAPPENS time we would break up the month and not just stay indoors and not just on Sundays.  This is what we are thinking of covering within a month period:

1.  Volunteer activity - women's shelter, visiting seniors, food bank, etc (something in our Gwinnett area)
2.  Something with Nature or Art - visit a park, museum, or a road trip
3.  Bible Study lesson - nobody was really interested in it but it has to be done
4.  No church day - self reflection and have a time of not gathering together (sounds weird)

Well, there you go.  I think the lesson we learned this last Sunday was once again church is being with those you love and doing something together to deepen your relationships.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Practicing Silence

This weekend my oldest daughter went to a sleepover so we didn't really get a chance to wake up together on Sunday have our usual 11am worship time.  Not a bad idea to mix it up since we are such creatures of habit.  We got all of our chores done on Sunday and got into a circle on the floor and talked about SILENCE.  I knew going into this weekend what topic I wanted to talk about but sometimes I am not sure how the kids will receive it being on a more serious level of committment.  We talked about silence and then we practiced silence.

My oldest daughter had a game where you lay down and you have to sit still while being distracted and if you are distracted you are out.  My youngest daughter didn't last long and of course I WON.  I wanted to give the girls a chance to learn the importance of silence and how it helps your health, taking test, calm you down when you are angry, and prayer.  I have come to a point in my life where I can quickly get into a hypnotic state where I am calm and I can hear my heartbeat.  I had to practice this SILENCE the past week since I am interviewing for a new position.  I think it helped me be focused on listening to others and my thoughts.  The final test was a big one during out time together at GRACE HAPPENS.  I told everyone they can go anywhere (inside the house or outside) but they can not do anything of rest, think, sleep, etc but no talking or noise for 10 minutes.  We finished our 10 minutes gathers together to talk about how some had difficult times with it.  My oldest daughter is a big reader and she says, "Now, I know what it feels like when I read, 'And the house was silent'".  Karen had a difficult time staying awake.  I went upstairs and did the comfortable thing and prayed and thoughts about life.  Abby pouted and didn't like that game stating many times, "this is boring". 

Purpose of silence - to feel what God felt before creating space, time, and people.  I appreciate noise more after being silent for a period of time.  So, your assignment is with your family - set your timer for 10 minutes and be silent. 

Monday, June 21, 2010


Maybe we should change our gathering (a.k.a. church) name to HUGS.  I had the best Sunday Father's  "Grace Happens" Day.  We talked a little bit about fathers and how my father treated me and how I treat my children.  I am very open with my family and they know they can say anything but I require honesty.  I honestly want to know how I can be better and not just hear the "good" things.  I have to say lately I have been doing less talking and more listening regardless what they say - cuss words, sex questions, fears, doubts, funny moments. 

Father's listen - if your kids can't trust you they will find that trust somewhere else.  Don't be shy and quick to talk.  I wish God put another commandment directly to parents since there is already one for children, "SHUT UP and JUST LISTEN to your CHILDREN".

Father's we are not perfect and we have to keep reminding our children that we make mistakes.  You will be amazed how forgiving children are if you repent.

The one thing I learned during our time together on Sunday is they wished I didn't have to work so many nights.  Trust me - I feel the same way.  But they do acknowledge that when I am home I spend time with them even with all the things I have to get done before bedtime each night.

Now to tell you about the cool thing - once we finish our brief conversation my youngest daughter came over to me and we hugged for what seemed like a long time.  Then she says, "GROUP HUG".  Pretty cool.  Do you have group hugs at your church?  I have never seen it done before during a service.  Are there any Pastor's out there wanting to compete for closeness.  TRY THE GOOD OLD HUG THEORY.

Next week: briefly talking about silent prayer and then practicing it.  Anyone is welcomed.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Game Day

What has been going on at Grace Happens on Sunday?

This last Sunday was fun. We put G-d’s principles into practice. We had GAME DAY. Yep, you heard correctly. We had GAME day at church and I did just say G-d’s principles and games in the same sentence. Why do Christians believe you can have fun but you have to mention the word “G-D” in order to make it officially spiritual? I think Christians who attend church have this distorted image of what church is suppose to be and in order for it to be called “church” you have to have three elements:

1. A bulletin

2. 2 upbeat crazy songs and 1 quite non-meditative song

3. 1 Timed 17 minute and 59 second sermon

I am not much into formality and I structure Grace Happens without limitations and the only author of topic is love, learning, and Lord.

I think Jesus is happy with our church activity. He played games. All kids play games. I know he probably didn’t play “Trash” or “Chess” but maybe something else. We do know he loved to party and be part of family activities. The “church” lesson was to practice self-control; not just talk about it. Did we learn? Yes. There was an opportunity where Karen and Abigail (my youngest daughter) got upset with not sure how to play chess and things didn’t end with a smile. But, in the end, the lesson was learned by hugging each other as a sign of making up.

I have come to this conclusion that whether we have a yelling, crying, or smiling church session I don’t care just so we end with knowing we are free and we give each other grace.