29 March 2014


I am grateful to my wife for introducing me to a fitness program called DoxaSoma. Here’s a description of it from the DoxaSoma website:

DoxaSoma® is a physical practice which incorporates elements of stretching and strength building with prayer, worship and reflection upon the Word of God.

The word DoxaSoma is comprised of 2 Greek words:
Doxa, meaning "praise or honor"
Soma, meaning "body".

Every Monday night during Lent we attend a DoxaSoma session hosted by our church. I must say: I need it incredibly and always feel so refreshed afterwards. I find myself looking for times to practice it at home and have been able to do so at least once more each week so far. Of course, it would be best if I could practice it 3 or 4 times a week, but twice is better than nothing, right?

This morning I had the chance to practice a handful of the stretches for about a half hour and even that short amount of time is worth it.

I love how DoxaSoma truly integrates body, mind, spirit and emotions. Each stretch represents a spiritual posture. For example, among other stretches this morning I practiced the “hill and valley” stretch.

It seems like a very simple stretch at first but it yields great benefit. Here are a couple pictures to give you an idea how it looks.



Simple, right? Anyone can do it. (That’s another thing I like about DoxaSoma. You can adjust how you perform the stretches to suit your own level of fitness).

I think of it as being a kid again, using imagination in tandem with my body. At any rate, as I performed the hill and valley stretch this morning, I slowly breathed in and out, concentrating on taking in as deep a breath as I could on the valley portion of the stretch and breathing out fully on the hill portion of the stretch.

This deep breathing and stretching opened my mind. I found myself reflecting on moments in my own life that were like “mountaintops” or “valleys.” I found myself reflecting that when we feel the most tired and “out of breath” in the valleys of life, God enables us and invites us to “breathe in deeply”. Conversely, I reflected on what it could mean that on the mountaintop God invites us to “breathe out fully”.

And there was more: to make the hill part of the stretch, I realized that in tucking your chin close to your chest, you are making the gesture of being bowed low. I reflected that in my own life, my tendency is to do the opposite: when I am on the mountaintop I typically want to raise my head, lift it high. But that is when I realized that the Bible says those who are bowed low are those who are raised up. And…as we go through the valley, God lifts our head—which is exactly what the valley stretch portrays.

I found myself praying through the different spiritual movements of these stretches, bowed low and raised up, breathing in and breathing out, knowing that God can be found in both places: hill and valley. I offered to God in prayer my tendency to pride on the mountaintop and my various sorrows I encounter in the valley. The movements of stretching freed my mind and spirit to converse with God.

Because play integrates mind, body, spirit and emotion I find DoxaSoma a fine example of what PlayFull hopes to champion.

If you live here in Chicago, I invite you to come to the next session on Monday night at 7. Visit the DoxaSoma website here for more details.


PlayFull is on Facebook and Twitter. We’d be really encouraged if you’d like us or follow us. Thank you for reading.

27 March 2014

Thursday Thought:: "we are most human when we play"

“It can truly be said that we are made for play; after all, humans are among the very few animals that play as adults. What the evidence adds up to is this: we are most human when we play—and just because we play.”

-from “The Power of Play” by Hara Estroff Marano, Psychology Today

26 March 2014

How To Put a Toddler To Bed in 100 Easy Steps

Friend of PlayFull, Betzy Cisneros passed on this hilarious step-by-step guide for anyone taking care of a toddler at bedtime. Guaranteed results!

How To Put a Toddler To Bed in 100 Easy Steps

1. Announce that it's time to go to bed.

2. Wait for your toddler to stop crying.

3. Explain that bedtime is not a punishment.

4. Explain that bedtime is not a new concept.

5. Explain that, yes, bedtime will happen every night.

6. Console your toddler.

7. Announce that it's still bedtime.

8. Let your toddler know that we don't call names in this house.

9. Tell your toddler it's time to go upstairs.

10. Watch your toddler move at a snail's pace.

11. Wait for your toddler to stop crying.

12. Pick up your toddler.

13. Walk your toddler upstairs.

14. Pick out the wrong pair of pajamas for your toddler.

15. Pick out another wrong pair of pajamas for your toddler.

16. Explain that the right pair of pajamas are in the wash.

17. Explain that you will not be doing a load of laundry this evening.

18. Console your toddler while he/she cries.

19 Explain that in this house we don't call names.

20. Watch your toddler struggle to get into his/her pajamas.

21. Ask your toddler if you can help.

22. Continue watching your toddler struggle.

23. Watch your toddler try to wear a pair of pants like a shirt.

24. Console your toddler.

25. Put the wrong pair of pajamas on your toddler.

26. Announce that it's time to brush teeth.

27. Explain the benefits of dental hygiene.

28. Console your toddler.

29. Carry your toddler into the bathroom.

30. Put a microscopic amount of toothpaste (poison) onto the toddler toothbrush.

31. Wet toothbrush.

32. When your toddler opens his/her mouth 1/45th of an inch wide, attempt to clean teeth.

33. Your toddler will attempt to spit in the sink, but will actually spit on the counter. Clean it up.

34. Console your toddler.

35. Ask your toddler to pick out two books.

36. Toddler will pick out the two longest books in your home.

37. Read the first line of every third page of the two books.

38. Field unrelated questions and interruptions.

39. Tell toddler it's time for a good night kiss.

40. Toddler will be suddenly and urgently thirsty, give toddler a small drink of water.

41. Toddler will ask a question. Answer question.

42. Say "good night" and kiss toddler.

43. Toddler will ask for a hug. Hug toddler.

44. Toddler will take up a sudden interest in potty training and ask to use the bathroom. It's poop.

45. Help toddler in the bathroom. Notice that there is no poop.

46. Toddler may become afraid. Assure toddler that there is nothing to be afraid of.

47. Toddler will ask a question about life. Answer question.

48. Toddler will need another hug and kiss. Give hug and kiss.

49. Toddler needs to urinate. Help toddler in the bathroom. Notice that toddler actually urinates.

50. Toddler requires a sticker for urinating successfully.

51. Put a sticker on toddler's potty chart.

52. Toddler may want to tell you a brief 10-minute story. Listen to story while backing out of the room.

53. Turn off the light.

54. Toddler remembers that he/she needs a special stuffed animal.

55. Ask where the stuffed animal is.

56. Toddler tells you it's in the car. Find your keys and look in the car. It's not there.

57. Look in the living room.

58. Look in the kitchen.

59. Look in the backyard.

60. Scout the neighbor's property.

61. Find the toy in your toddler's room, under the bed.

62. Ask toddler if he/she knew the toy was under their bed.

63. Toddler will ask for dinner. Explain to toddler that dinner ended hours ago.

64. Toddler will cry that he/she is hungry. Explain to toddler that he/she should have eaten said dinner.

65. Explain that we do not call people in this house names.

66. Toddler will ask for hug and kiss. Hug and kiss toddler.

67. Toddler will ask you to help arrange his/her pillows and blankets. Arrange pillows and blankets.

68. Toddler will ask you three essay questions. Answer them.

69. Toddler will notice that the tag end of the blanket is next to his/her face and will kick it off. Fix blanket, this time with care and precision.

70. Toddler will ask for the hall light on. Turn on the hall light.

71. Toddler will ask for another story. Explain that there will be no more stories.

72. Toddler will ask what the plan for tomorrow is. Resist the urge to say, "I won't be here. I'm running away tonight."

73. Tell toddler "good night."

74. Toddler will say his/her back, legs or butt is itchy.

75. At your discretion, try to relieve itchiness through lotion or wipes.

76. Put toddler back in bed.

77. Arrange blanket in the proper formation.

78. Say good night.

79. Toddler will say "good night."

80. As you reach the door, toddler will inform you that he/she is not wearing socks.

81. Choose the wrong pair of socks for your toddler.

82. Choose another wrong pair of socks for your toddler.

83. Choose the right pair of socks for your toddler.

84. Put the right pair of socks the wrong way on your toddler's feet.

85. Put the right pair of socks the wrong way on your toddler's feet.

86. Get the right pair of socks the right way on your toddler's feet.

87. Use your last thread of energy to stand.

88. Say "good night."

89. Toddler will say "good night."

90. As you leave the room, toddler will ask for a sip of water with pathetic sad look on face.

91. Give toddler sip of water and beg to be released from this Hades.

92. Toddler will ask for a back rub/tapping.

93. Tap toddler's back until you lose feeling in your arm and your toddler seems tired.

94. Slowly stop tapping. Stand up. Try to float out of the room.

95. Toddler will look at you. Say, "it's time to go to bed."

96. If toddler cries, pretend to be serious this time.

97. Say "good night."

98. Act like you're walking downstairs but just linger by the door, out of sight.

99. Pray.

100. Walk downstairs.

You may now relax for 2-5 minutes before you're called back in. Congrats!

Hump Day is Humor Day at PlayFull. Join the fun: like us on Facebook or follow us onTwitter.

25 March 2014

Guest Post by Meaghan Cady

The other day my daughter Meaghan told me she had an idea for something she'd like to write for PlayFull. I said, "Go for it!"

And...she did it. She's amazing...:-)

I hope you find what she has to say helpful. I know I did.

Thanks for reading,


The Tongue of the Wise
by Meaghan Cady

The words of the reckless pierce like swords,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
(Proverbs 12:18)

Lately I have been finding myself in a hurtful environment made up of simple words. Not all of us may realize it but I’m sure at one point or another these words have made serious impacts in our lives. Sometimes those impacts are negative. Sometimes they’re not. There may even be some moments when we want to escape from all the chatter and noise and submerge ourselves completely in silence. Whenever that’s the case for me after a rough day at school, I just go home and read or lie down for a bit. Even then, I am still vulnerable to anger and doubt where I least expect it.

One situation in which this has happened a lot to me is watching YouTube videos. Mostly I would watch clips from movies or TV shows that I haven’t seen in a while so that I know what’s coming. Then there would be other things that pop up and catch my attention so I go on to see those. Now the new videos are fine but no matter how hard I try I usually catch a glimpse at the comments below. Sure enough, there is a comment that says something completely offensive to the uploader, which in turn offends me as well.

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: It’s not even my business what people say to the uploaders so I shouldn’t take things so personally. But I do. There have been times when I felt compelled to write a comment to the offender and tell them to “shut up and go do something better than view videos they don’t want to watch.” Thankfully though, I always stop myself and I’m not entirely sure why. Either I felt scared that my parents wouldn’t approve of it or I just figured it wouldn’t be worth it anyway. Whatever the reason, I now know that I shouldn’t ever turn to that action. How did I figure this out? I’ll give you a hint: It’s at the top of the page. Recently that verse has shown up and spoke to me in a way that it didn’t when I heard it last time. Let’s take a look at the two different parts of this verse.

First part: The words of the reckless pierce like swords.  As I mentioned before, we live in a world that’s filled with harmful words. As a Christian, I hope to rid my tongue of filthy language and attacking phrases. Sometimes, however, even those who profess Christianity can lose control of themselves. We are human, too. We want to fight back with people who start a quarrel with us. It may seem that we are defending the truth while looking courageous at the same time, but in reality, we have it all wrong. If we fight back with the same weapons used by our offenders, doesn’t that give them a reason to continue fighting us? Not only that, but as we wage our small battles with one another we can find that, slowly but surely, we are giving those who insult us even more satisfaction.

Second part: The tongue of the wise brings healing.  To make things better we need to speak kind words—even to those who may insult us. Our natural response to this might sound something like: “WHAT?!! Are you kidding me? People swear at me or disrespect me all the time, and you want me to be kind even with my mouth?!”

That’s pretty much what I think most of the time when I hear this part of the verse. I’m not very good with controlling my words or actions when my mind is troubled. I try…but then fail by the end of the day. That’s why the second half of the verse is even more important than the first half. If we were to just stand there and accept all the harsh words spoken to us, then we wouldn’t be any better than the people speaking in the first place. But if we stood up and spoke with the truth and life the Bible gives us, then we would be bringing light into this world with every single thing we say. Of course, I’m not saying that just kind words will immediately shut our attackers up. They will definitely want to keep attacking just to get something out of you. But if you keep using your words for good maybe they will see that their words no longer affect you; then, perhaps they will see the same light that you see now.

If you’re still reading this, then hopefully it’s because this article has meant something to you. Just remember that if you're like me and want to scream back at people when they attack you, “The words of the reckless pierce like swords”. Let’s resist the temptation to kill other people with our words and bring darkness into the world. And if you’re one of those bystanders who just lets yourself or others get hurt, “The tongue of the wise brings healing”. You already have your defense against hurtful words. Now all you have to do is turn it into your offensive so that you can speak the life that you have been given by God.

16 March 2014

in the sky above the scarred street

Countless birds
chatter and twistle
this morning
in the city.
While we fill
the swallows and yellow-billed shrikes
swoop and sing.
Their ringing hymns outstrip
the coughing jackhammers.
With wordless pitch 
their voices fill
the dark heart
denser than pressed tar

whose color dulls

beside the warbler’s luminous sheen.

in the sky above the scarred street
a poem by troy cady

14 March 2014

when the season breaks

the ground wept today
when bold winter’s frozen tears
finally fractured with the sun’s lush kiss

the earth melts
the ground softens
and the free flock of craning geese
return home by instinct

as does my soul
that lingered too long
hard-hearted in exile

when the season breaks
a poem by troy cady

13 March 2014

Thursday Thought:: Play and Culture-Making

"Culture arises and 
unfolds in and as 

-Johan Huizinga (1872-1945) 

PlayFull is dedicated to helping people and organizations play from the inside-out. To keep up with thought-provoking content, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. Thank you for reading!

12 March 2014

Mr. Bean and The Judo Master

Mr. Bean needs no introduction. Laugh away, friends. And, while you're at it, we'd love it if you'd like PlayFull on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. Thanks!


Hump Day is Humor Day at PlayFull. Spread the word, spread some cheer.

08 March 2014

"What if my bladder explodes?" and other things not to be afraid of

I love that scene in What About Bob where Bob sleeps over at the Marvin’s vacation home and Sigmund asks him if he’s afraid of anything.  

Yes, Bob is afraid of…everything. “What if my bladder explodes?”

Bob’s fears make me laugh because in some strange way I can identify with him. When I look at my fears from an outside perspective, I see that all of them are silly things to worry about, really.

I find that fear is a tricky foe. He sneaks up on you with a nameless feeling and lingers, whispering lies or twisting some truth to use as a weapon against freedom and joy.

For me, fear preys on…

…worry about the future,
…worry about possible failure, and
…worry about what others might think of me.

It is not worth worrying about the future because the future has no substance yet. The negative scenarios that pop into my head only exist in my imagination. Worry about the future has no basis in reality.

It is also not worth worrying about failure because…I’ve failed before—and life did not come to a screeching halt. Yes, everyone fails from time to time. No one is perfect. But there is grace and “second chances” beyond counting. What’s more, failure can be a wonderful teacher. Finally: “Who says I’ll fail? No one can predict failure. So, I may as well give it my best.”

It is also not worth worrying about what others might think of me. First of all, there really might be people who think I’m off my rocker. What of ‘em? I can’t control what others think or feel about me. So, why worry about it? I need to be true to who I am, not who others think I should be. Besides, popularity is a game you can never win.

So, Bob and Sigmund—and everyone else—here are three more things you don’t have to be afraid of: the future, failure and the opinions of others. Just be true to who you are, right here, right now, with the gifts that have been given to you. That is all that matters. That is all that is real.


PlayFull exists to help people play from the inside-out. We’re on Facebook and Twitter, too! Have a good, worry-free weekend and thank you for reading.

06 March 2014

"Give Up Gloom and Become More Joyful"

A friend shared this thought the other day. It is a saying by St. Jude and it is definitely worth repeating. Take a couple of minutes and use these simple words as a powerful meditative focus. 

"Give up resentment and become more forgiving.
Give up hatred and return good for evil.
Give up complaining and be more grateful.
Give up pessimism and become more hopeful.
Give up worry and become more trusting.
Give up anger and become more patient.
Give up pettiness and become more noble.
Give up gloom and become more joyful.
Give up doubt and turn to God." 

PlayFull exists to help people play from the inside-out. We'd love it if you'd take a peek at our Facebook page and give us a "like" or follow us on Twitter. Thank you for reading.

04 March 2014

A Free Resource For Lent by Troy Cady

If you'd like a resource to observe Lent with intention, here is one Troy wrote some time ago. It is free and it engages readers in short daily meditations whose end-goal is the experience of being loved and loving. Each day features a short prayer that you can chew on throughout the day.

Click here to download your free copy or email Troy and he will be happy to send it to you that way.

Lent begins tomorrow, March 5, with Ash Wednesday.

Be blessed!


PlayFull exists to help people play from the inside-out. If you find our content helpful, uplifting, or inspiring would you be so kind as to like us on our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter? Better still, we'd love it if you'd pass the word along to others you know. We do believe we have a message worth spreading. Thank you for reading.

02 March 2014

You have a voice. Use it.

What can I do to convince you? You have a voice. Use it. You are special and gifted, original beyond what you imagine, beyond what you expect of yourself.  The world needs your passion, your joy. Don’t hide it under a steel bucket. Let loose in a smack of color, a dance no one can copy.

Pick something close by, an object or a dream, a swelling laugh you can neither name nor tame. Tell us about it. Use a line of melody or a paragraph of prose. Use a metaphor, find something and describe it in microscopic truthfulness. Show us your world, all the grit, the smoky fears dissipated, the hard-fought love, the illness overcome, the hope you’ve been tempted to bury, the game won. We are none of us spectators. You are an actor on the grandest stage and there is no failing here, for you are attended by a cheerful company, even though you can’t see them. So, tell your story and make it loud, standing strong. The soul that shrinks alone will not feel so alone anymore. We want to share in your acts of triumph.

You are special and gifted, original beyond what you can imagine, beyond what you expect of yourself. Use your honest voice so we can see that our cracks are by no means fragile. They are our strength, part of the ancient beauty that makes life so precious and valuable. So just start with one small thing, a picture or unfinished carving, a closet with a small box of memories, letters or childhood collections, locks of hair, or medals. These are the stories of mettle that should never be melted. Tell us one story starting tonight and let’s make a week of it. A special vacation. A rest from the ungrace of shoulds and rations, lining up the decimal points. If you would connect the dots, scatter them across the page so we can trace a dragon and color it in together.

Don’t lock yourself up. You are a diamond. Turn around in the light. Our eyes will dazzle with your beauty, every face reflecting. You are red and blue, fire and ice, green and yellow, life and happiness—even your cowardice is a brave thing. There have been moments of wise silence in your life. We want to hear about them now. There have been seasons of strong perseverance. Do share.

What can I do to convince you? You have a voice. Use it. Start now. Pick one small thing to start with and carry on, carry on.


PlayFull exists to help people play from the inside-out. We'd be really encouraged if you'd show your support by doing one simple thing: like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. Better still, if you found this encouraging, pass it on to encourage someone you love. Thank you for reading.