29 May 2019


A little time this morning to be still, to be quiet and listen again. An impression. There’s a word I don’t hear an awful lot in the course of everyday life: faithfulness. And yet, anything that really matters, anything that’s worth pursuing—cherishing—requires faithfulness. Faithfulness is that strong, patient quality that enables you to keep going when the way seems too long, when the body and mind become weary, when your emotional fuel tank is running on fumes and you just feel like giving up. Faithfulness is what gets you through it all.

Faithfulness has an irrational quality to it. The person who remains faithful in the face of so much personal and circumstantial opposition often seems crazy to others, even to oneself. Faithfulness feels risky. Humility makes this possible; the faithful person keeps going despite what others may think. They care not for something so contingent as reputation. To be faithful is to stand on a rock in a world made of sand, to turn your face to the wind that changes direction from day-to-day and would change you with it. Paradoxically, this is how faithfulness changes you.

The greatest things in life come to us by the way of faithfulness: lasting relationships, reconciliation, societal change, personal livelihood, mental innovation and material invention. It is certain that in all these endeavors one will become weary, reach a crisis point, feel it is easier to just turn back. Given that, faithfulness proves to be nothing short of an everyday miracle hiding in plain sight. A tribute this morning, this day…to faithfulness.


by troy cady
*Photo by Ani Kalleshi via Unsplash. Creative Commons license.

Thank you for reading. PlayFull is dedicated to helping people "play from the inside out." We invite you to like PlayFull on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

27 May 2019

Memorial Day

a day to remember
when, in childhood,
guns were made of
thumbs and index fingers
and nothing more
when the neighbor I shot
got back up
when the game was over

a day to remember
how, growing up,
I learned to control
to fight for the upper hand
for something more
how my neighbor became my enemy
how I pushed them down
how love became a word game

a day to remember
why, in the days to come,
hope will have the final say
a world open-handed
and so much more
to savor mysteries like
when love had its last supper
but still nourishes
how love reconciles
why love plays and is playful
why life is more than just a game


memorial day
by troy cady

25 May 2019

love, play and childhood

Photo by Blake Barlow via Unsplash. Creative Commons license

A life of significance is not found in what you accomplish, but in who you love. This is what children teach me. Never have I met a child who wants to have an account of my importance according to my resumé. Sadly, however, I have met some children who have been trained by accomplishment-driven adults to become accomplishment-driven themselves. I can see it in their eyes: the desire to please, to be regarded as special.

Nothing is more welcome to a child than to enjoy the presence of someone who wants to be with them not because of what they can do but just because of who they are. And the same is true for any person of any age. How liberating it is to be loved by someone who asks not “What have you done?” but rather asks in a pure, non-critical way, “How are you doing? Tell me honestly. I’m listening.”

This is really why I am passionate about play. Nothing communicates value quite like it for, in play, one is really saying: “I just want to be with you. I’m not here to get something out of you or to make you prove yourself to me. Let’s just enjoy being together.” Play makes space for love.

And this is how I think of God. Play makes space for God, because God makes space for love. And this is why I see God most clearly in children, and in people of any age who are well-practiced at living as a child-at-heart.


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29 March 2019

when words fail

only so much
a word can do

I cannot take adequate notes
of these musical notes
straining, stretched out,
like Christ on the cross,
resolved to be unresolved

words cannot be wet
like sweat,
cannot run to get help,
cannot dwell with you
like Jesus at the well
when you feel like hell

I find words unequal
to grief,
they fall short
when I need relief,
the peace and quiet
of silent wonder,

an embrace,
a wry smile
and the graze of
her warm fingers
on my cold wrist,
the rising emotion
behind the quickening pulse,
hopscotch and crooked chalk lines
on the sidewalk,
the roar and press of a crowd,
winter’s brittle stalks
slender and snapping,
the old stone bench
across the way,
carved by rain,
backless and crooked,
the soul beloved,
trackless, knocked off-level
by childlike joy and sacred laughter,
the thick presence
of wild reverence

words could never match
the substance of
all life’s worth,
expressed in the fullness of silence
from which these words spring
and to which they gladly return


when words fail
by troy cady

14 March 2019

Living Hospitably

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
Living Hospitably
reflections by Troy Cady

Welcome can be so much more than a one-time, one-way event. It can become a perpetual openness to give and receive. Real welcome does not wait for the other to enter one’s space. A welcoming person moves outward towards another, curious, wanting to know the other. And the best welcomes are progressive. A kind word is a good beginning, but a listening ear, a happiness to waste time in the doorway of another’s space, and a willingness to be vulnerable…these are the postures that lead to fuller welcomes. Whether we realize it or not, every day is an invitation to extend welcome not only to strangers, but also to offer richer, deeper welcomes to those we already know.


PlayFull's mission is "to help people play from the inside out." We believe playfulness is more mindset than method. To tap into more encouraging thoughts like these, we invite you to like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. Thank you for reading!

08 March 2019

i think i should know you

i feel like i should know you.
Remind me.
Was that you i saw
working harder for
a smaller reward?
i might have been there
that morning
after the night-beating;
you were drinking black coffee,
circling job leads
in the paper’s classifieds,
willing to take any job you could get.
Surely a person of such
strength and enduring dignity,
a person such as yourself,
i could not forget.
i think that was you
i saw carry on,
disregarding those lewd words.
Were you put in your place?
How you appear to have risen,
still to rise much more.
i think i heard
your (out)cry once.
i recognize your voice,
but not as well as i would like.
You bring a certain
unmatched intelligence
that has been the subject
of my negligence.

i’m sorry; i think i should know you.
i think i should know you by now.


i think i should know you
by troy cady
on International Women’s Day

20 February 2019


"Good Old School Friends" by Aman Shrivastaya on Unsplash. Creative Commons.

Friendship—what a gift! When you find a true friend, you find someone who will not judge you when you fail. A friend is someone who knows you well, someone who knows your little quirks, your strengths, your weaknesses, those moments you’ve risen to life’s challenges and those other times when you’ve felt so dog-tired you’ve only felt like saying, “Whatever; I don’t really care.”

If you haven’t connected with a friend like that in a while, we invite you today to reach out to them, just to let them know how much they mean to you. Do it today for you never know what tomorrow holds.


PlayFull exists to help people "play from the inside out." We invite you to like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. Thank you for reading! 

14 February 2019

how loved

if you only knew
how loved you are—
there is only one need—
see how the infant
just swallows,
how Mother nourishes
her Child,
such speechless adoration,
care and affection,
safety, protection—

what beauty,
this loving instinct,
how patiently
Mother teaches us her way,
a way that can only
be learned by invitation

love requires no intellect,
just presence—
and Mother is present
to her Child,
no distractions,
just attention,
no questions asked—

if you only knew
how loved you are


how loved
by troy cady

Thank you for reading. We invite you to like PlayFull on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. May you know God's joy in deeper and deeper ways.

15 January 2019

reflections on going nowhere

Sometimes life feels like a series of stumbles as I grasp for reassurance that what I’ve decided to do is (or was) the right thing to do. And what I often decide is typically arranged in a linear fashion: I want to get from point A to point B.


But life doesn’t work that way. It’s very disorienting, I must say. I think it must be very infrequent that one can say, “This is what I want and here is a sure-fire way to get it.” I think that often we change what we want in the midst of the “getting”—or we discover that the way we’ve chosen to get what we want is really not the way to get it. That path leads to something else. So, we stumble.

Sometimes I think life is the art of making peace with the fact that, though we may stumble, yet there is a grace which holds us in our stumbling. Can I live graciously in the midst of such ambiguity? That is the question. If so, how do I do that?

Lord, there is so much I simply

Sometimes I feel like I’m just stumbling my way through life; meanwhile, the culture around me says I need to get my act together and figure out what I want to make of myself. Can you believe I’m in my late forties and I still haven’t decided what I want to do when I grow up? Well, believe it—‘cause that’s me, y’all.

I wonder if you can identify?  

And I can’t help but feel this is precisely what faith is for. Yes, it’s time for this doctor of theology to take his own medicine, methinks. Believe there is a goodness at work even in feeble fits and starts. May the eyes of our hearts see such goodness in a reality that meanders perhaps more than we would like.


reflections on going nowhere
by troy cady
photo: “Info” by Steve Johnson on Unsplash 

11 January 2019

do not despise small beginnings

Do not despise small beginnings. A single seed became a verdant orchard. Every human life gestates and must pass through infancy before it can reach maturity. Relationship is built on simple, intent listening—a generous gesture that often goes unnoticed because it begins with a commitment to silence our own thoughts and words.

Respect small things. Don’t underestimate the potential inherent in hidden faithfulness or the kind word spoken to someone you may never see again. Patience compounds interest. Relatively speaking, a hug is only momentary but to the runaway who returns home and is embraced by her family again, it means eternal welcome. How refreshing it feels when we make a habit of saying to ourselves each day, “What new small thing can I learn today?” How often I forget to just keep learning, to stay open—yet, how good it is to do so! An apology can be short and sweet, but how hard it is for us to do just that small thing sometimes—yet what a difference it makes.

You never know what wondrous music might break forth by just starting with a few notes. Play the notes you can and trust that, when the time comes, you’ll know what to play next as you open yourself…to play—such a small beginning, such a small grace, the soul’s way of smiling.


do not despise small beginnings
by troy cady

*photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem on Unsplash


We hope you found these thoughts encouraging and we'd love the chance to encourage you more--so we invite you to like PlayFull on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. Thank you for reading. 

10 January 2019

my prayer for today

I don’t know what tomorrow holds
but I know your grace is enough
to carry me through today.

So, today I let go of fear
and ask you to strengthen me
with the assurance of
your good intentions for all.

Today, I let go of the hurts
that angered me yesterday;
help me to forgive and
nurse no malice towards anyone.

Today, let no bitter root grow;
let no despair be grounded in doubt.
Instead, let hope, praise,
and gratitude flourish.

By your grace,
I say no to confusion.
Jesus, center me.
Spirit of God, make me simple;
captivate my heart with your singular love;
saturate my mind with wonder for your truth;
direct my words and actions
to reflect your beauty.

Make me happy
to do even a small good today.
Show me how even the most mundane task
is infused with your glorious delight.

This day, I dedicate all my doing,
thinking, and speaking to you,
moment by moment—
let my every breath
be a gift I give back to you.
Help me seek first
not my own way but
your rule in my life—
and, as I do so,
provide just what I need for today
and protect me from harm
both from within and
from without.

Make me strong
in gentleness and humility.
Help me be willing and glad
to be that servant
who goes unnoticed,
who serves not for recognition,
but just for the privilege of serving.

I don’t know what tomorrow holds,
but I pray you grant me these graces
just for today.


my prayer for today
by troy cady

07 January 2019

When You're Loved

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
When you’re loved unconditionally, there’s no reason to fear anymore. Life can fully flourish in you. To love is to help another hope again. Indeed, I wonder if there is any greater hope than the hope to be loved?

The child who is loved is a child who can grow—and our continued maturation through adulthood is tied to our capacity to just love and be loved. Love frees you to be you. Love is secure.

In love, we find strength. Love holds you when you just need to be held. Love gives you rest when you’re just plain dog-tired. Love believes in you when you don’t believe in yourself.

Love stretches you, too, but only because Love loves you. Love’s stretching is never guilt-driven or shame-based. When you’re stretched by love, the soul expands by grace, with grace and in grace. Love’s stretching helps us hold more grace.

There’s no reason to fear being stretched. When you’re loved unconditionally, there’s no reason to fear anymore.

My prayer is that you would know this Love first-hand and make a home in Love.


When You’re Loved
by Troy Cady

Playfulness starts from the inside and works its way out. It's about freedom of spirit. PlayFull exists to cultivate this kind of freedom in others. To stay abreast of more encouraging thoughts, we invite you to like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. Thank you for reading!

05 January 2019

Peter, on the twelfth day of Christmas

On the twelfth day of Christmas
my true love said to me,

“Do you love me?
I know you believe in me—
but do you love me?
That’s all I want,
all I’ve ever wanted.
Listen: I see the many things
you do for me—all that work
borne of good intentions—
but I’m not asking you
to do more for me;
I just want to be with you—
I love you.
If you really need
to do something for me
to show me your love,
just do this:
notice me.
Look for me in others,
and when you see me there,
notice inside yourself
the thrill of recognition—
as if you’ve just found me
playing hide-and-seek
like a childhood friend.
Then, just tell others
how you see me in them—
because when you tell them,
you’re really telling me.
So, I ask again,
‘Do you love me?’”

My true love asked this
three times,
far fewer than the counting
of my countless denials,
but more than the
single measureless life
he gave for me.
Do I love him?
Yes, I do—
but I’m still learning
and I need help, so—
will you love him with me?


Peter, on the twelfth day of Christmas
by troy cady
after John 21:15-19

January 5, 2019

02 January 2019

Social Media: Control + Alt + Delete

Social Media: Control + Alt + Delete
by Troy Cady

Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash
While it is possible to sustain a playful way of relating to social media, it is not always easy. Many people this time of year decide to intentionally limit their social media usage or cut it out altogether for a while (or permanently). Indeed, experts in the fields of mental, emotional, and spiritual health recommend as much.

Social media usage even has effects that can be detrimental to one’s physical health. Consider this list from a recent article by the BBC World Service.[i]

• Dopamine - A pleasure neurochemical linked with instant reward but also addiction. Technology is increasingly being designed to specifically trigger the release of dopamine.

• Adrenaline - Best known for regulating our responses in fight-or-flight situations, but also released by likes and pokes on social media.

• Cortisol - The hallmark of stressed-out, sleep-deprived, too-busy and distracted individuals.

• Oxytocin - Released when we have exchanges in a meaningful connection. It is generally healthy but online predators can tap into its effects to abuse their victim's trust.

• Serotonin - Released when we are creative, connected, and contributing.

• Endorphins - The "painkiller" of the body. Released when we experience mindfulness, meditation, gratitude, and cardiovascular exercise.

Those who limit or abstain from social media discover these alternatives are healthier:

Reading or listening to audiobooks (or podcasts)

Journaling, creative writing or sending hand-written letters

Drawing, painting or taking photographs

Exercising or playing sports; even going for a short 15-minute walk can do wonders

Playing unplugged games

Working with your hands: needlework, gardening, crafts, sculpture

Spending time with a friend

Taking a class to learn a new skill or to learn about a topic of interest to you

Dancing or listening to live music—there are plenty of free options available if you look for them

Practicing prayer, meditation or simple breathing exercises

Participating in a local church or other faith community

Volunteering for a good cause

Trying out some new recipes

Attending a storytelling group that meets weekly or monthly (they are not as threatening as you might imagine!)

As you set goals for healthy living in 2019, what real-life practices feel life-giving to you? Even choosing just one or two things to do regularly can make a world of difference. PlayFull encourages you to live a life beyond the digital world; you’ll thank yourself for it!

And, yes: we’re aware of the irony that we just used social media to post these thoughts! :-)

[i] List by Pablo Uchoa, “Why a ‘tech diet’ should be your New Year’s resolution,” BBC World Service. Source:  http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20181227-why-a-tech-diet-should-be-your-new-years-resolution. Accessed: January 2, 2019.

01 January 2019

The Doorway

PlayFull wishes you a year filled with open doors! Enjoy this poem…


I am standing now
in your doorway,
wondering what will happen next.

These few brief moments of waiting
seem enough to hold
a lifetime’s worth of hope.

And I hope to encounter
just one thing—
your everything:
the sight of your friendly face,
and the signs of your welcome—
which I can hear now
are the sounds
of the forgiven company you keep.
I love your warm music
and bright laughter,
the way you listen with love.
The gentle grace
and understanding in your eyes
captivate me.
You know me already—
my failures and fears,
my doubts, insecurities
and all the tears I’ve shed.
You know every sleepless night
I’ve had—that’s when I
come calling, asking for help,
or just wanting to be held, and—

There you are!
It’s so good to see you!—

But, now that the door is open,
I must confess
I’m a little confused.
did I open it or did you—
and are you coming in to be with me
or am I going out to be with you?


the doorway
by troy cady
on new year’s day 2019