30 October 2013

Costume Craziness

I don't really get into the whole Halloween thing, but I must say: these are some funny, cute, clever costumes. Which one is your favorite? Mine is "Post-It Note guy".  Those who know me well, know why. :-)

Happy Hump Day, friends! Hope you have a good day.

--Troy

1. Lego Man. My son would love this one!



2. Fantasy Football. I must say, when I first heard that expression some years ago, I thought, "Huh, strange." This image proves that.



3. Chia Pet. I'd like to try this out with my own dog, but she'd probably just eat the leaves.



4. Legislative Process. "Yes, I'm a bill. Yes, I'm only a bill and I'm sittin' here on Capitol Hill." (It's important to keep these significant cultural references alive for the young 'uns these days, don't you think?)



5. Ewok. Cute, very cute.



6. Philosoraptor. *insert sound of drum going buh-duh-bump here*



7. Green Army Man. I think my brother should dress up like this dude. 



8. I so could not pull this off. Bruce Lee.



9. I think I could pull this off. Animal.



10. Best Costume Ever. Transform a child's wheelchair into an ice cream truck. Yes, PlayFull.



11. Post It Note man. 'nuff said.



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Today's pics come from here and here.

29 October 2013

What A Curious Child Started

Ah, yes...Spaniards. They do know how to play. Enjoy, friends.




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28 October 2013

Beauty and Self-Forgetfulness

“There are many things in life that put us in a state of acute pleasure, a state of being ‘opiated’. And there are many things in life that make us feel marginal or lateral or on the sidelines. But what is deeply and abidingly extraordinary about beautiful things is that they do those two things at once. They put us in a state of bliss at the very moment that they make us feel marginal or secondary, happy to be a supporting rather than a central character. None of us is the center of the world but each of us can get into the mistake of believing that we are the center of our own world. Beauty relieves us of this. It not only puts us on the sidelines but makes us acutely happy to be there on the sidelines.”

Elaine Scarry, Walter M. Cabot Professor of Aesthetics and the General Theory of Value, Harvard University, 2011. The quote comes from a lecture given for a series hosted by Harvard University entitled “Harvard Thinks Big 2”.  Source.

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PlayFull exists to help people and organizations play from the inside-out. To find out more, write Troy at troy@playfull.org or download our vision document. We provide coaching, team building, and developmental events called PlayDates (for example, this). Like us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter to keep up with thought-provoking (and, at times, downright humorous) content. Thank you for reading!









27 October 2013

A Story For All Time

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to test out the first edition of a new story for our PlayFull Faith series.

The first of the series is a story about creation that features, among other images…

…a God who dances
…the color of light
…the light of color
…space and time
…frames and fillers
…rest and work.

I conducted revisions along the way after testing the story out with various groups: children of all ages, adults, and youth. So far, the creation story has been told to seven different groups and each time I’ve been delighted to see it encourage worship-filled conversation.

This new story provides a summary of the Christ-event, the new beginning. It begins in the same place as the creation story: with an image of God dancing.

In the first story, a large black circle is laid out and the storyteller moves his or her fingers in a dancing motion to signify a leaping, joyful God. “Everything that is came from this dance of joy,” the story says.

The Christ-event story begins with a small black circle, almost too small for dancing—but there is still enough room for God there. So…God keeps dancing, leaping for joy.

“The time had come for a new beginning,” the story says. So, this time God leapt right out of himself and into our world in joy. “God became one of us, a baby,” the story says.

From there, images of joy, delight, dance, and a beautiful simplicity are woven together.

Mary is innocent, a child herself. She is given the chance to “dance with God” as he invites her to “follow his lead.” In spite of circumstances (societal pressure, the unknown journey to Bethlehem) she “follows God’s lead” and so she is called “blessed” and “happy.”

Joseph comes from a line of kings. He represents a family that had kings before there were kings. From this line David, the dancing, singing king came. From David there were more kings and then, sadly, they did not rule anymore. Until one day, a man named Jacob had a son named Joseph. Yes, that is right. The story that began with the Jacob and Joseph of Genesis starts again with a new Jacob and Joseph in Christ’s time. So, the dance can continue.

Each of the characters in the new story are presented with little twists, discoveries I hope will engender a fresh sense of wonder and delight in listeners. The central image I hope will stick with people is an image of Jesus as a baby and as an adult, with his arms open as wide as can be. He is inviting us to dance with him.

The figures are based on a pattern I received from David Pritchard, a Godly Play trainer who lives in Spain. The PlayFull Faith version of the story, however, starts with linking creation to the new creation. It presents each character in the story on different colors and textures (see the photo) and it has an entirely different script that can be simplified for very young listeners.  

Yes, there is a dancing God manifest in creation. And Christians believe in a dancing Jesus. It is true he rested for a little while (death) but then he came alive again to continue dancing forever (resurrection). To be sure, he leads but we play a part, too, in the drama. How do you see his dance today?

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The story is great for Christmas, which is right around the corner. Write me (Troy) if you’re interested in it, because we hope to make these story sets available to whomever wants one. Each story contains objects that are hand-made and includes a script that you can adapt to suit the audience and occasion.  

26 October 2013

Playful Families

Today I have the honor of presiding at a baby dedication ceremony for some dear friends. Preparing for the ceremony has given me occasion to reflect on the mysteries of family and faith.

A baby is born. She has no choice in the matter. Who will be her father? Who will be her mother? She has no choice. But she receives what has been given and somehow she learns and grows. Her instinct tells her, “Eat and sleep.” Her body regulates itself—breath, digestion, heartbeat. She is born with taste buds and toes, feelings and fingers.

All this, filled with wonder. And ignited by delight. We snap pictures to capture all those moments of delight. The stories we tell are filled with interest because delight is either threatened or fulfilled.

We are born to play. We do not have to be taught this. We just do it. A mother sings a song while holding her child, just hours old. A father hides behind peekaboo hands, exploding with surprise, eyes wide open, inviting laughter.

There is a focus to all this play. Strangely, we concentrate attention on toys or books or balls as a way of paying attention to each other. We forget ourselves when we are engrossed in the fullest forms of play. We can be different and together at the same time in it all.

We do this to choose relationship that was chosen for us. We know that without this playing together we would be prone to drift away from each other. Delight keeps us together. Who wants to come unglued from joy? No one.

Joy fuels our faith in one another. The healthiest families enjoy one another. They make play a habit.

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24 October 2013

The Number 7 Symbolizes Perfection. So Does Bacon.

I missed posting yesterday for PlayFull's weekly Hump Day Humor. Sorry! To make up for it, we settle for nothing less than perfection: bacon.

Yesterday I was listening to the radio and I heard a story about an upcoming state-wide Bacon Festival in Iowa. The newscaster reported that festival planners were worried they would not sell enough tickets to the event because more and more people are becoming health-conscious these days. Well...that may be true but it didn't stop folks from wanting to celebrate the best food ever! Just 48 hours after tickets went on sale, the event sold out. :-)

My motto in life is "Bacon makes everything extra special" so I've been considering adding a clause in PlayFull's bylaws that all board members and future employees of PlayFull are required to like bacon. Our interview process will include a category entitled "Creative Bacon Inquiry."

Here are seven (note the number of perfection!) bacon-themed images to brighten your day. Which one is your favorite? Or...feel free to add your own fav.












Okay, so 7 isn't enough. Let's make it 9. Pieces of bacon, that is.





Happy One-Day-Late-Hump-Day, friends. Keep playing!

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16 October 2013

What Old People Do For Fun

I know people like this:



And this:



Hump Day is Humor Day at PlayFull. Like if you like. Follow if you're a twit*.

*twit [twit] noun Informal.
an insignificant, silly, or bothersome person.
For example: Pay no attention to that obnoxious little twit!
(Source: dictionary.com)



13 October 2013

See The World From A Different Angle

A good reminder...Happy Sabbath, friends!


Poem by Shel Silverstein. Drawing by Stephen Cartolano.

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12 October 2013

In-Flight Entertainment

Ladies and gentlemen, make sure your seat belt is insecurely fastened and your seat backs and tray tables are in their relaxed and laid back positions. We're ready for take-off. 

Here's a great example of the adage that playfulness is a mindset more than a method. These images come from artist Nina Katchadourian. She serves on the faculty of New York University and her work has been featured in many prominent galleries across the globe. Being a world-traveler, she has plenty of time on her hands when she's in-flight. Since she's an artist, she uses the time to create images of whimsy and poignancy. Here's a sampling...

I. Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style. These photos are part of a larger series entitled "Seat Assignment"--the works of which are created entirely aboard airplane flights. Katchadourian explains:

"Improvising with materials close at hand, Seat Assignment consists of photographs, video, and digital images all made while in flight using only a camera phone. The project began spontaneously on a flight in March 2010 and is ongoing. At present, over 2500 photographs and video, made on more than 70 different flights to date, constitute the raw material of the project.


"While in the lavatory on a domestic flight in March 2010, I spontaneously put a tissue paper toilet cover seat cover over my head and took a picture in the mirror using my cellphone. The image evoked 15th-century Flemish portraiture. I decided to add more images made in this mode and planned to take advantage of a long-haul flight from San Francisco to Auckland, guessing that there were likely to be long periods of time when no one was using the lavatory on the 14-hour flight. I made several forays to the bathroom from my aisle seat, and by the time we landed I had a large group of new photographs entitled Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style. I was wearing a thin black scarf that I sometimes hung up on the wall behind me to create the deep black ground that is typical of these portraits. There is no special illumination in use other than the lavatory's own lights and all the images are shot hand-held with the camera phone. At the Dunedin Public Art gallery, the photos were framed in faux-historical frames and hung on a deep red wall reminiscent of the painting galleries in museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art."







If you've ever had to wait for the lavatory to open up for a long time, it could have been Katchadourian in there! :)  But these aren't the only works of art she's created in-flight. Read on...

II. Disasters. She explains:

"These images are a response to the inherent anxiety of hurtling through space in extremely close quarters in a room full of strangers while encapsulated in a metal container."






III. High-Altitude Spirit Photography. This is a study in perception. I find this little series fascinating! She writes:

"Many of the images in the High-Altitude Spirit Photography series are made by capturing glare as it glances off the page. Whereas a good number of the Seat Assignment images are made by physically placing something on top of an existing image, in these images nothing is added in any material sense. It is a matter of working with the way the camera mechanically enhances what the eye overlooks."








IV. Provisional Shelters. She offers no explanation of this subset (she's probably just super bored, eh?!) but these images made me think: "all shelter we build is provisional." 








You might think, "This woman is off her rocker!" I, for one, think her work is wonderful in its simplicity and creativity. At any rate, she seems to have found a good way to pass the time when she's on those long, long flights! Here's to playful living. 

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