G-H-O-S-T

Lately I’ve been thinking more and more about what games I can play with my kids as they get older.  This one fits the bill.  No screen, no board, no cards; all you need is a few peeps (two or more, actually), their brains, and a good attitude toward having some fun.

This game and post content courtesy of Mr. Seth Godin.  All credit due is to that fine gentleman.

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This is my favorite game.

It doesn’t involve a board, there are no cards and it’s free to play. It works for two to six players.

You can do it in a car or a plane, it works great for two, and if you’re kind, you can play it with someone less skilled than you.

The more you play, the deeper and more fun the strategies go.

I thought I’d share the rules here, because more g-h-o-s-t is good g-h-o-s-t.Summary:

Go around the circle of players and each person adds a letter to a spoken string, striving to not be the person who actually makes the string of letters into a word.Players go one at a time, in order.

Of course, you can sit anywhere you like.

When each player has taken his or her turn, begin again with the first player.To play a round, someone says a letter.

The next person in the order has to add a letter to the first, beginning a word.

For example, the first person might begin by saying, “y” and then, the next person could say, “o”.

The third could say “u” because three letters don’t count as a word.

Beginning with the fourth letter, the goal is to not complete the word. So, if the letters are y-o-u from the first three players, the fourth player shouldn’t say “r” because that would make a word.

But it’s fine to say “t”.

If, on your turn, you are stuck and there’s no choice but to say a letter that completes a word (in this case, “h”), you lose the round.

Every time you lose a round, you get stuck with another letter in the word ‘ghost’, hence the name of the game. If you lose five rounds, you’re out of the game. The last person left, wins.

If you lose a round, it’s your turn to start the next round by picking a new letter.

Okay, three simple complications:

1. The letter you say has to create a possible word. So if the string is, “y-o-u”, you can’t say, “x”. (Unless you’re bluffing, see rule 2).

2. If the person before you says a letter that you believe is impossible, you can challenge their play. If they can respond with a legal word, you lose the round. If they can’t, because they were bluffing or in error, they lose the round.

3. No proper nouns, no contractions, no hyphens, no acronyms, no abbreviations. These words don’t exist in the game.

And the big complication, the one that changes everything and makes this a game for the ages:  Once you get the hang of it, the group can play reverso.

This means that when it’s your turn, you’re allowed to add a letter before the string, if you choose, instead of after.

So now, words can be built in either direction, and game becomes magical. ‘y-o-u’ can now become ‘a-y-o-u’ and then ‘b-a-y-o-u’.’r-d-s-c-r’ for example, isn’t worth challenging, because ‘hardscrabble’ is a word.

If you want to play reverso g-h-o-s-t as a finite game, with thrown elbows and strategy, it makes a terrific two-player game.

If you want to play it as an infinite game, setting up friends and family to do ever better, a game that never ends and has wordcraft and humor to it, you can do that as well.

Have fun.

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And if you want more from Seth Godin?  Well, he’s got a bunch.  Check him out here.

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Grappler

Thinking a lot about the sport of wrestling lately.  It’s a topic that comes to mind often for me, truth be told.  

Though I only wrestled for six years, the sport had a profound and lasting affect on who I am.   Clearly that must be the case, because more than three decades on, my heart still quickens when I think about the time I spent rolling on the mat, near and far.

At the core, I learned a lot about mental toughness while I wrestled.  I learned what it was, I worked to strengthen that trait in myself.  It was personal test every time you hit the mat.  Learning to push yourself further and further, to never give up, to keep going.

Sure I learned a lot of moves, learned and developed my physical conditioning, but most important for me, the thing that stayed with me above everything else, was the concept of and goal to maximize my mental toughness.

Why?

The wrestler learns not to panic under stressful situations – i.e. when your opponent is trying to wrench on one of your limbs, or grinding at your face.  You develop an ability to think and act while in uncomfortable situations.

How does that carry forward?

Throughout life we have times when are down and getting grinder on. Plenty of struggle and failure lurk, waiting to take us down.

The key is in the response: when you go down, GET BACK UP.

My heart quickens now when I think about all those hours of practice and matches and struggles, but not because I’m reliving my wrestling years.  Rather, it’s because I’m still trying to be mentally tough during difficult times.  And more important for me now as a parent, it’s because I want to teach my kids to be strong, to persevere, to never give up but rather, to get back up.

And I know in the end it’s up to each of them to learn these lessons.

GET BACK UP.   Stay after it.

 

My Stove

The stove, metaphor for my life.

Four burners equals four priorities:

Children, wife, work. Wait, that’s only three? The fourth burner is for everything else: my elderly parents, the Lions club I serve community thru, my extended family, my friends.

Sometimes one of the first three get moved off, but I try not to let that happen. When I die I don’t want to regret short-changing those I’m most responsible to.

God and faith are the fuel for that stove, the natural gas that keeps me going.

Take care of your stove.

Half Full, Happy Anniversary, All GOOD.

I started this blog three years ago this month, July. At the time I was looking for a way to share some thoughts, some insights, and further the good in the world.

Not sure how much good I’ve done, but I’ve definitely shared a lot of thoughts. Gotten some positive feedback along the way, which is good for me if nothing else. And I’ve certainly learned a lot.

I plan to continue blogging, sharing, pursuing the GOOD in this manner. I’ve also got another avenues coming down the pike later this yesr.

I’ll have an e-book up in the fall, before the holidays. It will be a sort of coffee table book, a short volume, about being a new dad. It will bring a little humor, and hopefully inspiration, to fathers. 

 I’m also designing a short podcast I’ll produce and share periodically.  Same goal: share a little insight, further the good in the world.

So whether you’re new to this blog,  or have been along these last three years, thanks for reading. Please share it with others. On we go toward the GOOD.

Pause, Pray, Rejoice!

Following is from A Messenger exchange I had with an old classmate from college. Blessed and super grateful to have such people in my life. 

“Hey Lud- your words are always lifting me up. Thanks for sharing your joy, your perspective, your humble view of the world and most importantly, your faith. I came across this guy [Chris Stefanick] in my youth group planning and his outlook mirrors yours and I thought you’d appreciate it.”

I replied, “Hey Friend! Thanks so SO much for the note. Glad to see / hear the GOOD out there – yes indeed, God is love, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior. AMEN! Thanks again, much love!”

Good begets more good. When we share it. Perfect example with my friend’s generous, simple note.

The guy she referred me to, Chris Stefanick, had this to say in that post:  

‘Prayer, worship to God get you out of your own head, connection you to others, humanity, those things eternal, Timeless.'”

 Yes indeed, God is love, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior. AMEN!

Leaving the Grind Behind


It’s time to head out on the highway.  The first family road trip is dialed in and coming soon. Leaving the usual day-to-day behind, packing up, and on the road once again.

Very excited for a bunch of reasons.  I’ve loved road trips as long as I can remember. Going new places, seeing new things. Taking the kids on such an adventure, all the better.

No dishes to speak of?  GOOD.

Change up of schedule?  GOOD.

Living out of a suitcase and van for a few days?  GOOD.

Change up of surroundings and scenery?  GOOD.

Spend time with friends we haven’t seen in a while?  GOOD.

Kids get to hang out with new kids, similar ages?  GOOD.

Going to a new park?  GOOD.

Spending long stretches of time with the kids, drenched in ordinary activities?  GOOD.

Spending long stretches of time without screens on?  GOOD.

Let the soul be refilled.  I’m ready.