Kidologist.com: Karl Bastian's Personal Site and Blog
Archive for Life
We still enjoy sending out a traditional Christmas Card greeting to a select list of family and friends – though it is a challenge every year! But it is a great opportunity to get updated addresses on people you know and love.
But it also forces you to make tough choices too.
Have we heard from them in while?
Do they still live there?
Are they still married?
Have they ever written to us?
Who are they, again? LOL
Often you see a name and such fond memories come back. A smile appears on your face as you remember years of ministry together. Once in awhile you crack up laughing over something that happened. Sometimes sadness sinks in. They’re divorced. You were at their wedding. What went wrong? Other times you wonder, why haven’t we heard from them? What’s changed in their life? You hope they are doing OK. Life happens. Other people’s addresses change and their cards come back. You wonder if you’ll ever reconnect. Then there are those who pass away. Memories are all you’ll ever have. Until heaven, of course!
Relationships and networks have only grown with the Internet, e-mail, and facebook and Twitter! (I suppose I should include circles on Google, though I only dabble there.) It’s hard to manage them all! Life is too short and too busy to keep up with everyone we have ever worked with, played with, laughed with, liked, loved, or been related to!
But at Christmas we try to catch up… even if it’s just a card, or letter or a blog post or a video or even just a quick e-mail.
That’s one comforting thing about being a Christian and belonging to the Family of God. We will have all of eternity to catch up with all the people we feel behind on here on earth. A new heaven and new earth without the pressures of work and deadlines and a calendar that reminds us we are getting older and no hurry that pushes relationships aside because of things we tell ourselves are more pressing. (When they probably really aren’t most of the time.)
We won’t need Christmas to play catch up. We’ll be able to walk and talk and catch up all the time. I’m looking forward to it. But in the mean time… I’ve got to get some Christmas Cards in the mail. If you don’t get one, don’t be offended. I’ll be posting a video and blog post as well soon, but “catch all” strategy. And no worries, I take no offense at those who ‘forget’ or skip me. I’m planning to spend some quality time with all of you Someday. Let’s make a point of it!
Image from Sandy Hook Principal's Twitter account, Yesterday
I am the father of a kindergartner. I can not fathom the feelings and emotions of those who lost their children today. I have cried today. I have struggled to focus. I suppose in one sense I feel sympathy, which by definition is an extension of empathic concern, or the perception, understanding, and reaction to the distress or need of another human being. But at the end of today, I will get to cuddle with my son, while those parents will somehow try to sleep without their child, with Christmas decorations throughout their home and hidden presents that will never be opened. How can I possibly understand their agony? How can I possibly answer why?
Politicians will resume the “gun control” battle, as though any laws could have prevented the events of today. Perhaps there is some merit in addressing guns… but that does little for those families. Others will decry the lack of prayer in schools or the decline of morality in our culture. Still, empty words to address empty beds tonight.
Many have e-mailed me today or messaged me on Facebook asking what to do on Sunday at church. To that end, I started a thread on Kidology.org. I’ve collected links and letters and sources all day and posted them there. Perhaps you will find some help there, and I encourage you to post your own thoughts and resources there as well. Many have shared helpful thoughts. It’s become a great source of collective wisdom.
But still I grieve. But at the same time, I am renewed in my passion to reach children – and families, and to look into the eyes of those around me and look for hurt. Adam Lanza, the alleged murderer, needed help. To do this, he had to be a lost and broken young man. Society or the Church failed to rescue him. While he is responsible for his actions, we share some responsibility for failing to reach people in need. He is a victim as well, a victim of a broken world. I am not making excuses for him, nor excusing his crime. He is guilty. But had someone reached him or realized he was slipping, perhaps 20 children and 6 adults who cared for and loved those children could have been saved.
So our mission remains clear – love the children and reach families. And always be seeking who around us is flailing and struggling. We never know who we may save when we reach out and share God’s love with the lost around us. There are people losing hope and don’t know there is Hope.
Hug your children, but don’t stop there. Spread God’s love to everyone around you. More people need it than we realize. We don’t need more laws in America, we need more of God’s Love in America.
Twitter and Facebook blew up yesterday with the news that George Lucas sold Star Wars and all its rights to Disney. As the YouTube video of George’s explanation spread, fans seemed divided over whether this was a good or bad thing but were hesitantly excited about the simultaneous announcement that there would be new Star Wars movies as a result.
One of the most interesting reads was George Lucas Just Saved Star Wars by Firing George Lucas. Others had fun proposing possible names for the new movies to come from a Disney-owned Star Wars franchise:
Here are a few:
– When You Wish Upon a Death Star.
– Finding Greedo.
– Song of the Sith.
– Snow White and the Seven Droids.
– The Princess Leia Diaries.
– Emperor Palpatine’s New Groove.
– The Wookiee.
– Lilo & Sith.
– Droid Story.
As I trick or treated this year in a Star Wars inspired costume…
After getting a taste of the Power of the Force on Endor, where he was first honored as a god, C3-PO secretly decided to begin to study the ways of the Jedi around him until finally in 2012 he would reveal himself as a true Jedi Knight…never again to be mocked as a mere protocol droid.
And after displaying my Yoda Jedi Master Pumpkin…
People asked me what I thought of George’s sale of Star Wars to Disney. Usually, they wanted a short answer, so I just said, “Hesitantly optimistic, and happy for my son. Hopefully there will be a Star Wars Theme Park in the future in addition to more movies.”
But I have a longer answer.
As a fan of Star Wars (just search this blog), I’ve never jumped on the “hate George” band wagon. Yes, I have been mildly disappointed with the prequels, but I’ve also believed that the fans don’t own Star Wars, they are the recipients of it. We owe gratitude to George Lucas for a lot of joy he brought to our childhood – and even if he didn’t do everything the way we would have liked it, let’s not forget, it’s just a movie people. What he gave me as a boy was something more powerful than a movie or a story; he gave me the gift of IMAGINATION.
That has been something I have carried with me ever since I saw my very first movie in May 1977 at the young age of eight. When I watched that Star Destroyer passing overhead and saw and heard those laser lights blasting away…I was hooked.
I never stopped imagining. That’s why my basement is filled with Star Wars toys and why I never stopped playing with action figures, even creating my own silly action stories for kids via ToyBoxTales.com
Star Wars took me to a galaxy far, far away…where there were two suns, robots as funny as Abbott and Costello, a walking carpet that grunted – but his dashing partner understood every word – and a beautiful princess who needed rescuing. There were spaceships and aliens and so much more… and an evil dark villain, who it turned out in time, still had good in him and could be redeemed because, believe it or not, he still loved his son.
Perhaps, in time, George lost his way and that’s why some of that original magic was lost in the prequels. But the creativity and charm and visual splendor of far off worlds and tightly edited chase scenes only got better, even if the writing grew dull and the dialogue became wooden and forced. That far off galaxy still calls children to imagine and play with light swords and dress up and dream. For that, I still celebrate Star Wars.
I don’t think the problem with Star Wars is so much with George. I think it is with us growing up. I’m not saying I don’t agree with the criticisms of George Lucas and his handling of the prequels. It’s just that when I was eight years old, they wouldn’t have mattered. Like the lights of an oncoming car, it is so much easier to see the faults of another than our own. Could I have done better? I doubt it.
We have all made mistakes and missteps and fallen short of the expectations and hopes and aspirations of others. I’m glad I don’t have millions of fans! That’s far too many people to disappoint and let down for one mere mortal man. So I cut George Lucas a lot of slack. I think that’s called Grace.
I just look forward to what he does next. I’m his fan, unconditionally. We all need fans like that – fans who celebrate us with gratitude, even when we blow it. Those who will let us dust off, learn, and move on, a better man for when we’ve fallen on our face.
And I look forward to what Disney does with the characters and planets and story that he created.
May the Force be with Disney now!
And Jesus said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Children are free from so much.
Unlike adults, their default is play not work, imagination not reality, exploration not explanation, curiosity not cautiousness, and best of all they worry about nothing other than their immediate needs and loved ones.
No thoughts are weighed down by the future or world affairs.
They can swing for an hour with no thought to the things still undone on a task list.
They accept complete dependance on those who care for them without question.
Perhaps these are a few of the reasons Jesus asked us to come to Him as children.
Then we would be free indeed.
No worries, this isn’t some final post as I depart to my final destination… just as I head off to Yosemite Summit for a week of 100% complete and total disconnect from work, e-mail, Twitter, Facebook and anything that distracts me from my relationship with God.
The 5th Annual Summit is Complete:
Meet: Tom, Travis, Alan, Johnny and Tim. The gang has met up in Sacramento and fellowshiped at the Official California #Kidmin Hangout:
The super observant notice my Panda Express, I already had In-N-Out twice as guys arrived, and the Holy Spirit (or my cardiologist) would not allow me to eat it three meals in a row!
Two of them had their FIRST In-N-Out Burger:
We have shopped till we dropped, chilled in the hot tub, and eaten out at the mall, but in the morning, all the tweeting and facebooking and crazy pole pics come to an end. (See more pics on the my Twitpic Page)
Yosemite Summit is not a conference. It is the UNconference for men in ministry because it is a break from ministry. As it’s description says, there is:
No Workshops – Just Worship
No Resources – Just Relationships
No Networking – Just God Working
My inbox is still full. My voice mail is still full. And I have lots of stuff still unchecked on my to-do lists. But Yosemite Summit is my annual time to just walk away from it all, and simply Walk with God. (literally and figuratively.)
It is when I show Him tangibly that He is more important than all the “stuff” I do for Him and I spend time just being with Him. It is when I show that I mean it when I say He is more important than anything or anyone else. It is how I show that I’d walk away from it all for Him – by doing just that once a year, for an entire week. Just dropping it all… as it is. Undone, uncompleted, unneat and untiddy and just let it lie… as it is. My office is just as thought I got up and walked out, because I did. I just go. I’m never ready for the Summit. It just finally comes, and I just go. Just like that. If I waited until I was ready, it would never happen.
If you e-mail me, you’ll get a polite auto-reply. I will DELETE all e-mail accounts from my iPhone and MacBook Air. They won’t even exist here in CA a few minutes after I post this. I only have my Air for downloading pictures each evening. That’s it.
I’m firing myself from my job. I won’t think about it for an entire week. I’ve had people say that must be hard for me. There was a time when it would have been. It’s actually quite easy for me now. Because my identity is no longer my work. There was a time when it was. But I’ve gotten over that. So I can turn it off and on as needed. And as soon as I hit publish on this post… it’s off.
And I’ll just be Karl: Child of God. Sara’s husband and Luke’s dad. Nothing more.
The rest that I am and do will be back in a week. Until then…
CHECK OUT THE GUYS I’VE SHARED THIS EXPERIENCE WITH THE PAST FOUR YEARS AND CLICK ON THE PICTURE FOR A REPORT, HIGHLIGHT PHOTOS AND VIDEO: (I’ll update this post with the sign pic from this year when I return.)
Will you be in the 2013 picture?
I’ve been going through some childhood papers, sorting, filing, (pitching!) and it’s been very special (and funny) to get these glimpses into the “young Karl.” Many things I remember, others come as a surprise to me.
I was very touched to discover a very simple piece of paper that I had written and colored just a year after my little sister, Blessing Faith, was born…and died. I didn’t want to forget her.
She lived only 5 days due to a very rare birth condition where her brain did not finish developing. I got to hold her, and my parents later told me that my strength and trust in the Lord at age 12 helped them through it. It was something amazing for me to grasp at that time, not understanding the simple faith of children and how it can often help us more complicated adults!
Anyway, here is a close-up of what I wrote, and a PDF of the entire sheet is linked below. I wanted to make sure I never forgot that day, and here, 30 years after making this simple piece of paper on Blessing’s birthday, I am getting my wish. I am remembering.
(Click to View Larger)
Some might ask why my parents named her Blessing Faith. Well, the answer is quite simple. Right away when she was born, it was clear her life would be very short. In fact, the doctors predicted only hours at first, and yet she held on for several days.
My dad was the senior pastor of our church, and people would say things like, “How terrible” or “What a tragedy” or “How unfortunate,” etc. I remember my parents explaining to me that her life was a Blessing, and it was their Faith in God that helped them trust Him through difficult times like this. And that we too, as her siblings, should see her as a Blessing to our Faith.
I will always remember holding her and holding back my tears so I could be strong for my dad, and silently thanking God for my Blessing and asking Him to give me Faith like my parents.
Blessing Faith did a work in many people’s lives in our church. In fact, I remember my mom saying that she led more people to Jesus in five days than some Christians do in their entire life. Those words have always stuck with me.
Now, 31 years later, I remember her still. And I look forward to meeting my sister, the Blessing, someday. Because that’s what Faith is.
Here is the PDF of my Remembrace to my Little Sister, Blessing Faith. (900kb)
My son and I have a favorite game that I have owned for years. It’s simply called Chairs. The goal of the game is to to take turns stacking some colorful plastic chairs in fun, random arrangements until the tower finally collapses under the weight of the unbalanced collection of chairs. Of course, part of the strategy is to place your chair in a way that makes it more difficult for the other player(s) to place theirs!
We laugh and laugh as the tower crashes down. At the same time, we want to see how many chairs we can add, hoping we can make it even higher than the previous game. Oh, how nervous we are as we try to add chair after chair to our wobbly tower, wondering if we can somehow defy gravity and fate – always having more chairs than the laws of physics will allow us to stack. We have never been able to stack all the chairs that came with the game. Either we aren’t very good stackers, or the game creators were generous (or cruel) in the amount of chairs they provided with the game. We keep on trying to build a tower with all of them, but it always crashes down before we can make them all somehow fit.
It kind of reminds of of life and ministry.
I am the chair at the bottom, and my life and ministry tell me there is a whole box of things that I can add on top of myself. I keep on trying to stack them – oh so many things – but the reality is, I simply can’t ever get it all done. I’m a failure every single week. The chairs come crashing down, and I hope that maybe next week I’ll do a better job at stacking the chairs of life. Can you relate?
Sooner or later, we have to accept that life came with more chairs than can be stacked! Perhaps it was a cruel joke; more likely, God was being generous with all the opportunities we have each day. Perhaps it’s just that we are attempting too much. Remember, Jesus said HIS yoke is easy, and HIS burden is light (Matthew 11:30). So when it doesn’t seem easy or light, we’re probably attempting more than He is asking.
It might be time to let some chairs fall where they may, sit in the Lazy Boy, and open the Word.
Try it, He’ll like it!
Recently while I was in Canada speaking at a conference my wife posted on facebook that the pressure was on her to be “as fun as daddy” while I was away. Well. She pulled out the stops and took Luke to a Monster Truck Rally! Something even I have never done, and it’s all Luke’s been talking about every ten minutes for days on end! I may have trouble getting back on the “funnest parent pedestal.” Go Mom!
One of the highlights of the Monster Jam was the Mega-Saurus. This mechanical beast that came out breathing fire and literally chewed a car in half! It was almost more than my six year old’s brain could handle!
He came home saying, “Daddy, I wish you had a Mega-Saurus for my toy cars.” So, I answered. “Why, of course I have a Mega-Saurus! Every self-respecting dad has a Mega-Saurus! What kind of father would I be, if I didn’t have a Mega-Saurus in the garage?”
His eyes about popped out of his head! “YOU h-h-h-have a Mega-Saurus?” He stuttered?
“Of course I have a Mega-Saurus. Do you have some cars you would like to cut in half?” (Perhaps I could regain my funnest parent status after all!)
I headed toward the garage with my six year old in tow; he was practically stepping on my heels he was so eager to see my Mega-Saurus! I grabbed my Mega-Saurus, and also the Vice so that we could flatten some cars for his new Monster Trucks to drive and jump over, and headed up to his play room.
Once at this Car Table (Luke has a Car Table instead of a train table) my Mega-Saurus came out from under the table breathing fire and proceeded to chew through two of his older cars. He was beside himself with delight.
We next used the vice to squish six cars (I had to set a limit or he’d have had to flatten ‘em all this week!) so his Monster Trucks could drive over some destroyed cars!
Never once in the entire process did Luke mention that my “Mega-Saurus” was anything less than the real thing. Why? Because I was pretending with him. Of course it was real. His cars are real, the crashes are real, the noises he is making from the engines are real – the dirt he sees flying off the wheels (that isn’t there) is real. Just as real as my “Mega-Saurus.” After all, my Mega-Sauraus did come up from under the table making monstrous noises before it devoured those two poor cars!
When you join your kids in their imaginative play, you enter their world and you create a love bond that is beyond description. They know it is play – but they see that you are joining them, and it is more powerful and effective that a hundred “I love you’s” because it is how they want to be shown love.
I know all too soon Luke will be too old for toy cars… he’ll just want the keys to my car. But by then there will be things I’ll want to share with him, warnings and instructions and I want to have a foundation of Mega-Love. And it starts today with not being too busy to chew some toy cars in half.
What Mega-Saurus can you bring to life? The result will be a some Mega-Love shown to your kid.
How do you know if someone is a fit for marriage?
Sara, Karl and the Cow
If they are willing to be the rear end of a cow with you!
This is Sara and me practicing in my Cow Costume (which I still have 20 years later!) eight months before we were married.
I got it for a Christmas Play where Hark, from the Herald, traveled through time to interview different characters from the Christmas Story (shepherds, wise men, innkeeper, etc.) in order to discover the “True Meaning of Christmas.” However, I thought it was too sacrilegious to have “Hark” interview Mary or Joseph in the Nativity, so I had him interview a cow off to the side instead.
I was very excited when I got my two-man, er, one man – one fiance cow costume, and Sara was happy to help me figure it out and practice with it while were on a Thanksgiving retreat with my family that winter.
Cow or no cow, we’ve made quite a team over the last twenty years!
Next entries »
This is part of a series called 24 Days of Thankfulness. These posts are in RANDOM order, NOT priority order. Each is something I am thankful for leading up to Thanksgiving.
DAY #21: My Customers
Back in 1994 when very few people knew what the “Internet” was, I got an idea for a website: The KidologyWeb:
I was already calling myself “The Kidologist” in my workshops as I sought to equip and encourage children’s workers to approach children’s ministry from the perspective of a child:
By 1996 the first “Kidology Handbook” was published:
VERY FEW people remember when Kidology.org (before I had that domain!) looked like this:
OR when you clicked into it and saw crude pages like this:
Only hundreds were lucky enough to BE on the Internet surfin’ kidmin back then! (And only a few bought the “Life Time Memberships” I offered back then when I needed to raise some money to buy some much needed Microsoft FrontPage software, and yes, they are still members!)
More remember the next version of the site: Kidology 2.0 (which I called it long for “2.0″ was hip)
It had the infamous “frames” that if you navigated just right, would give you frames within frames within frames, which could be kinda fun…
If you were a member then, prove it by putting int he comments the “Secret” entrance you clicked on to enter the Member Area before I had usernames and passwords… it was kinda funny!
Then, due to a huge answer to prayer and grant (told about in my Thankful for Steves post) I was able to hire a real web developer, Ken Kinard, who built me my first real website, with a database driven backstage and got use set up with credit card processing and memberships with usernames and passwords.
Kidology.org finally had a webite platform we could really build on. Our rapid growth soon meant transitioning to a more robust platform and even another complete redesign and before we knew it it was time for yet another complete redesign and platform change… as we went from hundreds to thousands of members and became the leading destination for children’s ministry content on the Internet.
We incorporated as a non-profit ministry in 2000 and by 2006 I had gone full time. That paints a much smoother picture in one sentence that the story is – but anyone who has lived life or founded a ministry knows, no road is smooth, but God is faithful when we continually seek him through the ups and downs on the journey.
Our websites have changed… our logos have changed… staff have come and gone…
A Rejected Kidology Logo!
One thing has remained the same… OUR CUSTOMERS! They come by the hundreds, indeed by the thousands, every day… looking for ideas, for resources, for encouragement, for training, for jobs, for connections, for friendship, for a wide variety of things… things that can’t all be found anywhere else all in one place… and even when they can be found somewhere else, they know they can find it there, but starting here! Because like Miracle on 34th Street… we will direct you to where you need to go.
So far this month, as of this blog post, we’ve have 1,157 new FREE Basic Members sign up on Kidology.org, and that’s just THIS MONTH so far… I’m blown away by how many children’s ministry workers come to Kidology.org. I remember when 1,000 members was the entire ministry of Kidology! (And when we thought we’d never hit that number.)
It is humbling and amazing and such a blessing that this is my employment now. That I have the privilege to get up each day and serve you.
I am thankful for getting to work at home near my family, to get to travel to minister to children, and to get to meet some of my customers when I am out and about serving.
MY LIFE MISSION hasn’t changed since I was nineteen when God gave it to me: To reach and teach as many children as possible with the Good News of God’s Love, and in the process to Enlist, Equip and Encourage others to do the same.
THANK YOU for allowing me to use my God-given talents to bless you and serve you. I stink at a lot of things, but that I get to do what I love, is because of my customers.
There is a saying:
LOVE WHAT YOU DO WHAT YOU LOVE.
My customers make that possible. I am thankful for them today.
(Another Rejected Logo!)