Monday, August 31, 2009
The photo to the left is Sheena Kelso's holiday table that took 2nd place in our contest last year. The winning tables will be featured on our blog, and some will be featured on our website. Good luck, and thank you so much for participating!
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Rather than watch a movie after dinner, or go off to our separate activities, our family has started playing games. Our favorite game is nothing fancy, but it’s an absolute blast and a big hit every time we play. It’s called Happy Family. Fitting name, don’t you think? Here are the rules:
Give everyone at the table a pen and some scraps of paper. Place a bowl in the middle to collect answers. Also select a reader, but we’ll get to later.
Have everyone write down the name of a well-known person on a piece the scrap paper. The person could be anyone—a celebrity, a historical figure, a fictional character, a politician, an artist, an athlete, or even someone well-known only to the players, like a family pet.
Once everyone has anonymously placed his or her slip of paper in the bowl, the reader reads out the list of names through twice. Now here’s the tricky part: you have to try to guess the author behind each submission, but have to remember all of the names without writing anything down!
After the reader has finished, go around the circle and take turns guessing. Let’s say Sally, Sylvia, Mitch, and Alfie are playing Happy Family and the characters for the round are Marie Antoinette, Michael Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, and Mickey Mouse. Sally starts and asks, “Mitch, are you Mickey Mouse?” If she’s right, then Sally and Mitch become a Happy Family. Sally then tells Mitch whom she wrote down, and they get to guess again together as a family. The goal is to accrue as many family members as you can, and NOT to forget any of the submissions! Because even if you’re part of the biggest family but no one can remember the name of the remaining character, all of you lose that last unknown person wins!
Play as many rounds as you like.
Because of all the whispering and close contact Happy Family calls for, everyone invariably ends up giggly and excited. It’s a perfect way to end a dinner party or get everyone feeling close at an extended family gathering. Here's a hint: the more players, the happier the family.
One evening a few weeks ago, one such person literally appeared on our doorstep. Filippo, a young Italian doctor completing his residency at The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center had just recently moved into our area. Earlier that night a neighbor had told Filippo another Italian lived close by, inspiring Filippo to walk over and knock on our door.
Delight is not so hard to come by. One of the easiest ways to cultivate it is to invite new people into your life. Especially in mid-life, when we’ve settled into our families’ routines and rhythms, our circle of friends closes in and shrinks down. However, when we make that extra effort to reach out and include someone new (because it does take a concerted effort to do this), especially if that person is from another culture, the benefits are well worth our while.
Interacting with someone new is such a wonderful opportunity. We're able to see the world from a fresh perspective and mull over issues and ideas that wouldn't occur to us otherwise. Spending time with someone new also inspires us be better and different versions of ourselves. The foreign energy feels invigorating.
So, as the saying goes, make new friends, but keep the old.
…and introduce them to each other!
*Photo courtesy of NextUp