Category Archives: Friends

Settlers of Catan – Realtime Version

Do you like the idea behind the strategy game “Settlers of Catan”, but get a little bored waiting for your turn?  My family came up with a “Realtime Version” that speeds things up a bit:


  • One person is the game master, a full time dice roller and banker.  That person does not actually play the game.
  • Place all terrain tiles and number circles randomly to save time.

Initial Play:

  • As soon as the tiles and circles are placed, the game master says, “Go”.  All players place their settlements and roads at the same time without taking turns.  Whoever places a settlement in a spot first gets it.
  • The game master gives out resource cards for all resources that all players’ settlements touch (not just the “second” round).

Realtime Play:

  • The game master continually rolls the dice and hands out resource cards accordingly.
  • Players buy roads, settlements, cities, and development cards at any time.  The game master pauses briefly to make transactions.  However, as the name implies, all play is realtime.  There are no turns.
  • If the game master rolls a 7 then he moves the robber from wherever it is to the desert.  Players could check and reduce their number of cards per the regular rules (or not).  But, there is no actually robbing because the game master rolled the dice.
  • To maintain some sanity, we also said that the game master pauses after rolling a 7, and that is the only time that players can trade with other players.  We still allowed players to trade with the bank at any time.  However, you could allow players to trade with other players at any time, or you could make players wait until the game master rolls a 7 to trade with the bank.  We need to experiment with that more.

Why I liked (or didn’t like) your post

“Did you see that picture I posted yesterday?  Why didn’t you like it?”  While nobody has asked me that for a while, I overhear other people, students in particular, ask each other that.  So, I occasionally wonder if my friends are curious why I like one post or not another.  After some pondering, I figure they probably don’t care, and I move on.  Then, I read this:

Meet the Algorithm That Can Predict Your Photo’s Popularity Before You Post It

So, I thought, what the heck,  I could give you a tiny peek into my own little mind on this…

Whether it is on Facebook or Instagram, some people like just about everything everyone posts.  They must be fairly happy with life, and like pretty much anything they see.  I admit that I appreciate these people because I know they see what I post and they care enough to acknowledge it.

A lot of people never like anything.  They lurk in the shadows of the social networking world, like the Internet is a spectator sport.  I kind of wish these people would jump in the game and participate already!

As for myself, I prefer to lie somewhere in the middle.  I tend to like a post or picture if, well, I really like it.  However, those that know me also know that I over-analyze everything.  So, there are some rules:

  1. If you post a picture of yourself doing something interesting, and I can see your face, then I am more likely to like it, just as the article above says.  After all, I follow you to see you.  Not your food, not the world around you, but YOU.
  2. However, if you post a picture of yourself in anything less than a T-shirt and shorts, then I won’t “like” your picture.  While I would have the best intentions of letting you know that I think you are beautiful inside and out, not everyone might interpret my like quite the way I meant it.
  3. I really like some general subjects.  If you post anything to do with loving God or camping with Scouts, then I will probably like your post.
  4. I really don’t care for other subjects.  If you post a picture of your pet or anything related to sports, then I will probably just keep on scrolling.  You might have the most adorable cat in the world, but it’s still a cat, and I don’t care.
  5. I will admit that I am a bit biased.  If you are a family member or really close friend, then I will probably like your post no matter what.
  6. If your post has any content that could be considered Rated R, then I won’t “like” your post.  I volunteer with youth, and I don’t need to draw attention to anything questionable.

So, I guess that about covers it.  I can’t help but wonder, do you have rules for liking posts or pictures?  Or, do you just go with what you feel at the time?

What would you say?

WhatWouldYouSayWe discussed something interesting in youth group this morning.  Based on The Listserve, our youth pastor asked, “If you had the chance to speak to one million people, what would you say?”  It could be one word or a entire essay.  It could be funny or serious.  Students provided plenty of variety, including, “Live life to the fullest,” and, “Balance the important things in your life,” and “Take advantage of alternative energy sources.”  As usual, I have my own answer.  For those that don’t care, feel free to move on.  For everyone else, here you go…



  1. You are handcrafted for an amazing purpose.  That is both a great gift and a great responsibility.  You should determine your purpose and fulfill it as awesomely as possible.
  2. You are continually filled with amazing love.  That is both a great gift and a great responsibility.  You should share that love with family, friends, and other people you meet.
  3. You may occasionally find yourself sitting around wondering what you should do.  When that happens, review the previous two points.


Selective Apathy

One key ingredient in relationships is learning to come to an agreement in certain situations.  Of course, caring about the other person and knowing how to compromise go a long way.  However, sometimes a particularly deep-rooted issue feels more important or seems to keep coming up again.  In this case, I found that it can help to go beyond just compromising or even “picking your battles”.  It helps to resort to something I refer to as “selective apathy”.  This may sound less than pleasant at first.  But, if you passionately care about everything, and the other person in the relationship cares equally as much, and you happen to disagree on something, then it will be very difficult to reach any agreement.  On other hand, if you are completely apathetic about everything, then it will be very difficult to find any purpose or enjoyment in life.  However, if you pick some things to be passionate about, but you also select some things to be apathetic about, then you may find a good balance.

Said another way, you might find it helpful to actively pick some things *not* to care about.  Of course, you want to pick the right things.  You want to consider your core values and the issues that are most important to you, as you probably want to keep your passion for those issues.  However, you should also consider the core values and the issues that are most important to the other people in your relationships, as those are potential issues to select to be actively and intentionally apathetic.

Stay Awesome

Some of you may have noticed that I end many of my notes with two simple words: Stay Awesome.  This is kind of my new personal motto, so I suppose it’s worth explaining.

The second word is the easiest and most obvious.  Be AWESOME.  Don’t be normal.  Don’t just do what everyone else is doing.   Rise above all that.  Be extraordinary.

The first word is perhaps more subtle.  STAY awesome.  The fact is that you are already awesome.  God handcrafted you as a glorious work of art and science to carry out some great purpose in this world.  So, your challenge is to continue to be as awesome as you can according to His plan.

Of course, we all have room for improvement.  You can’t stay the most awesome in everything, so you have to determine in which areas you should grow, and in which areas you can let go.  How do we do this?  Through prayer and congregation.  Through prayer, you can listen to what God wants you to do.  Through congregation, you can listen to your family and friends and find out where you can really make a difference.  Spend some time thinking and feeling about all of that, and you can figure out how to stay as awesome as possible based on what God wants and what those around you need.

So, there it is.  Stay awesome!


Influence Versus Control

One approach I find helpful in life is to focus on influence rather than control.

The first step in this approach is realizing that you have a lot less control and a lot more influence than you probably think you have.  On one hand, you can hardly control anything or anyone.  While we might like to line things up to go a certain way, things just don’t always turn how we planned, because we don’t have control.  On the other hand, every time you comfort someone in need or just smile at someone at the street, you are influencing them and potentially having a huge impact on that person and everyone they see.

The second step to this approach is to align your actions accordingly.  If you try to control things or other people, then you will often find yourself disappointed.  If you are expecting too specific of a result, then you are just setting yourself up for failure.  However, if you focus on trying to influence things or other people, then you should find yourself more successful.  If you are just looking for a favorable outcome, then you can nudge things this way or that way until you get things going in the desired direction.