Reunited after 31 Years!

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Thanks to Facebook, I reconnected with two childhood friends over Christmas break while in California. And what better place than Portillo’s – a popular chain I discovered in Chicago that now has a location in Buena Park, California. (Just down the street from Knott’s Berry Farm.) Dennis I’ve known since we were in a 4th and 5th combination class at Gompers Elementary. I don’t remember now which grade it was, but Dennis transfered in mid-year and soon we were best buds. We met Richard a few years later and by junior high (Bancroft Junior High) and during my freshman year at Lakewood High School, we walked to and from school together every day down Coldbrook Avenue. I moved away to Chicagoland that summer and as often happens, I lost track of them. Over the years I often tried to look them up and a few years ago we found each other online. I believe Richard actually found me and then connected me with Dennis, as they had kept in touch. In fact, until just recently, Richard lived in the same house having inherited from his parents. He lived there for like 40 years! I could have just gone and rang …

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Merry Christmas from Kidology

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Merry Christmas from Karl Bastian and Team Kidology! I was only a few months old when I participated in my first nativity re-creation with my big sister. I don’t remember it, of course, but I am so thankful for my mom and dad who made Christmas special every year – and who made Christ the focus of our celebration. There are so many wonderful distractions this month – most of them good things! But the DAY has finally arrived. No more waiting. No more anticipation. No more shopping or lines! No trying to find a parking spot! The day is here. Time to Chill. Eat. Laugh. Relax. Give gifts. (And get some!) Some of you may not even check e-mail. That’s good! But if you peeked, I just want to wish you a Very Merry Christmas from my family, and everyone at Kidology. Isn’t it cool that on Jesus’ Birthday we all give gifts to each other? But the Greatest Gift can never be topped! In the midst of all the activities, be sure to find that quiet moment to simply reflect on that Gift and how much a difference He has made in your life. We can get so …

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Cool Kidmin Idea: The VIP Couch

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This weekend, I got to visit the church of my good friend, Todd McKeever in Des Moines, Iowa. Their children’s ministry is wonderful. I am always on the look out for super creative and original ideas that others may want to learn about. While there were many things I was impressed with, the coolest thing I got to both see and experience was the VIP Couch in their children’s church room. In the front of the room they have a big couch. Guests (as well as the friend who brought them) are invited to sit on the couch for the entire service – but not only that, a child volunteers to serve them yummy snacks throughout the service. They can have as much as they want, with only two rules. They have to eat the snacks while on the couch (no stocking up and taking a bunch home) and they are asked not to eat during worship time. It is a great way to honor guests, to give kids an incentive to invite a friend, and provides a way for another child to serve as they offer snacks throughout the service, any time they notice they are done. I assumed …

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Bring a Familiar Bible Story to Life

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It was my turn to teach this Sunday. (I rotate with other volunteers.) I get my lesson plan mid-week and see that my Bible story is David and Goliath. I immediately can hear in my minds eye, “We know this story!” My Mission: Bring this story to life in a new, fun and interactive way. The Secret: Use the kids! (And lots of props) I have always said that children’s ministry is “stuff-intensive” because children are both highly visual and sensory. Their brain engages when they are holding things. If you aren’t bringing a box of stuff with you any time you teach, you may be undermining your effectiveness! So, as I reviewed the Bible story, I looked for something new. By the way, always review directly from the Bible no matter how well you think you know the story – new insights will always jump from the page, and the familiar will make new things stand out. As I read about David’s father sending him with snacks, I thought of a funny way to communicate that visually. as you will see. I also made a list of props I would need. Since I couldn’t take pictures during my lesson, …

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Happy Birthday Me, Got the new iPhone 7 Today

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So, my wife says, “Hey, honey – got an e-mail from Verizon. They are running some kind of deal today on upgrading your iPhone.” So, over lunch I drop in to see what the deal is. Turns out I can double the memory, get way more data and some extra coolness on the side for no money down and only $3 more a month through some creative clicking by my “Solutions Specialist” Josh. At one point I ask him, “So how long has this new iPhone been out?” Suddenly everyone in the store goes silent and turns and looks at me as he answers, “Um, today.” No kidding. “So that’s why there are balloons and free donuts!” I say. Turns out there were lines this morning, but I was in and out in 20 minutes. So far Iike it. But as with most major upgrades, ot is not without some head scratching. Current issues Videos won’t sync, though I notice it now allows Shared Libraries, so I can see movies on my iMac, but not the ones selected in iTunes to transfer. Music Playlists won’t sync, probably a related issue. Music displays every song you ever bought (while none that …

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