Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss . . . and Thanks for Horton!

As a young child, I loved to read.  One of my favorite authors was – and still is – Dr. Seuss!  His creativity both visually and with words was unique and fun.  I enjoyed reading his stories over and over again.  Today, March 2 – would have been his 111th birthday!  In honor of the man born Theodore Seuss Geisel, I’d like to share this post with you.

The Older I Get, The More I Like Horton


One of my favorite lines from this book is when Horton says,

“A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

He’s talking about the “Who’s” in “Whoville.”  He makes a great point: It doesn’t matter the literal size or the supposed significance of a person, each one has priceless value.

As a follower of Jesus, this character seems to echo the true words that described how God created the first people – and how all of us carry God’s image in us.


“So God created human beings in his own image.  In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”

Genesis 1:27, New Living Translation

And which is reflected later by Paul, as he wrote this description of what God has and does do in us as we choose to follow Jesus:

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

Ephesians 2:10, New Living Translation

 As a Christian, these words encourage me to see the value Jesus has placed on me and on every single other person in the world.  As a husband, these words remind me of the priceless value God has placed on my wife and how I need to honor and care for her.  As a father, these words remind me of the limitless value God has placed on my children, reminding me that even though I can’t comprehend it, God loves them more than me, but has somehow still trusted me to help raise them to know and follow Jesus.  And as a pastor, these words remind me of how much God loves every single person and how much I need to grow in seeing them, not through my human eyes, but through His eyes.

You can read all about the background of this story and its connection with post-World War II Japan here.

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to visit the Marcus Ashley Fine Art Gallery in Lake Tahoe, California.  While there, I enjoyed their wonderful collection of Dr. Seuss art.  I was a little child all over again!  There were lots of things I expected: prints and drawings of various Dr. Seuss books.

And then there were things I didn’t expect but should have, especially the taxidermy collection.  Here are a few of the pieces I really enjoyed and would loved to have purchased to put up around my office.  (Can you imagine the faces of students, parents and anyone else who walked in and saw these on my wall?!)

The gallery reports the following about these creations:

In 1938 Paul Jerman, who had graduated from Dartmouth with Ted, wrote a brief biography of him for the alumni newspaper. Jerman said in part, “Another iron in the fire is what the doctor himself calls The Seuss System of Unorthodox Taxidermy. Not satisfied with drawing strange beasties, Ted modeled the heads of some of his animals and mounted them. Put on display in bookshops around New York to promote And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, many people wanted to buy the weird animal heads.”

Shortly after Ted created this unique collection of artworks, Look Magazine dubbed Dr. Seuss “The World’s Most Eminent Authority on Unheard-Of Animals.” To this day, Ted’s Collection of Unorthodox Taxidermy remains as some of the finest examples of his inventive and multidimensional creativity.

At several thousand dollars a piece, I’d have a hard time justifying the expense to have one of these.  I am surprised that no company has won the rights to produce these at a lower cost for those of us who would enjoy having these creative mounts on our walls without the extravagant price tag.

And then, I spent a good deal of time admiring one piece in particular: a bronze maquette of Horton from Horton Hears a Who.

HORTON HEARS A WHO! – MAQUETTE Inspired by Dr. Seuss’s character and created by artist Leo Rijn.

The last I checked, the price tag was just over $6,000!  An amazing artwork inspired by Dr. Seuss and created by Leo Rijn.

There are similar, cheaper versions out there.  But I like the idea of a valuable piece of art representing a story about the value each person has – and should have.

Whether you are reading this on Dr. Seuss’ birthday or on another random day in the year, may we all remember the value of the people around us.

As I look into the eyes of preteens and middle schoolers, I want them to see and hear someone who believes that they are a person of extraordinary value and potential, no matter how small the world may tell them they are – in size or significance.

As I look into the eyes of my three children, I want them to see a father who looks on them knowing they are created in God’s image, resembling their heavenly Father in so many more ways than they resemble their earthly mother and father.

As I look into my wife’s eyes, I want her to know that I see in her the masterpiece that God has created her to be, and that I will cherish her all the days of my life.

And as I live as a follower of Jesus, this children’s story helps me remember that God has a special place in His heart for those that others see as of little significance.  Jesus encouraged parents to bring their children to him, even when his own followers though they weren’t important enough for his time. (Mark 10:13-15) And I need to see each person as one of limitless value – whether I meet them face to face, come across their postings on social media, or only hear about them.  Because, after all, “a person’s a person, no matter how small.”

Family Game Night App: Heads Up!

(Special thanks to my friend in preteen ministry J.C. Thompson for sharing this resource with me.  You can find his blog at jcisonline.com)

There’s a new 99 cent app out that can make magic happen by allowing your family to actually use their electronic devices to bring them together for a night of family fun!

There is a video that comes on the first time you open the app explaining how to play.

From then on, you simply pick one of the included decks.  If you have young kids at home, I encourage downloading the free “Just for Kids” deck.

When you tap on the deck, it explains how to play that game, and another option to raise the difficulty if that would make it more fun for you.

New decks can be purchased for 99 cents each.

When you click “play”, you hold the iPhone or iPad up to your forehead to others can see the screen.

Everyone else can see the answer they are trying to get you to guess.

They give you clues while you try to guess.

Get it right, flick in down and back up for the next clue to pop up and to give you a point for the correct answer.

Stuck and can’t figure it out?  Flick it up and back down to pass.

A additional feature and fun-factor is that your device records video using the front-facing camera of everyone giving you clues!  So if that turns out to be hilarious, you can save a copy or share it on Facebook!

You can find out more about the app on Apple’s website here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/heads-up!/id623592465?mt=8

I’m looking forward to playing this game with my family this weekend!  And you can be sure we’ll be playing this game at our 56 Game Night and 78 Game Nights this school year!

(for details on those, check out mpcc.info/fiftysix and mpcc.info/seventy8)

Wacky Weekend: 2012 November


Here are a few highlights from this past weekend.

Wacky Countdown & Story of Thanksgiving

We started things off with a wacky countdown that showed a turkey being “hunted” by a pilgrim, with a funny ending at the Thanksgiving meal.

Then, we included a fun, short video that told the story of Thanksgiving . . . basically. http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/11000/The-Story-Of-Thanksgiving-Basically

The Interlude

We’ve done this dance before, but had shelved it for a while.  Sometimes, a fun factor is about bringing something back again.  Not everyone is a huge interlude fan.  However, in an “all-play” activity like a crazy group dance, this one incorporated movement, energy, interaction, and just-plain-fun!  Here’s the backstory article to the dance: http://www.uni.edu/this-is-uni/interlude-dance

You can watch the instructional video to dance along at home here:

(Special thanks to Jay Reynolds, Middle School Team Player at Hope Community Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, for introducing this to me.  And special thanks to  Dave Harris and Steve Stone of digitalstache for putting together these resources to compliment the dance!)

Lions (Slinky)
We introduced the students and leaders to a fun song about how God is greater than anything in this world. It’s called Lions. However, you will probably call it “That Slinky Song”.  After watching this video, you’ll understand.
You can also download the song here on iTunes: Lions
And you can check out more about the band, their ministry, and purchase resources on their website: speedwood
I referenced one of the band members, Michael, battling cancer.  Here’s their “kickstarter” video that tells his story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3gsQtkNAwE&feature=plcp  (The live double cd they talk about is now done and available here: https://www.speedwood.com/store/index.php?sku=lostandfoundcomesalive&cat=cds)
Brain Breaks
On Saturday, we did some games from Brain Breaks, by the good folks at Cranium.  I keep one of these in my office for inspiration and fun.  I recommend having one of these around your house whether it’s a family game night or just 15 minutes you want to fill with interaction instead of passing like ships in the night.  Cranium describes Brain Breaks as: “With more than 200 games that can be played in 60 seconds or less, families race to beat the timer using classic guessing, acting, sketching, sculpting and word-puzzling skills.”  Yeah, that’s about right.  Check it out!

Look Up Look Down

We played a simple game that you could play with your family, maybe even in a vehicle on a long road-trip, although I recommend the driver not play.  Here are the instructions.  We didn’t include the scream option . . . this time.

Make It Rain

Sunday morning, we even made it rain in the Student Ministries Center!  (Don’t worry, no one got wet.)  This may not work so well with just your family, but if you get a chance to do this with a large group it is tons of fun.  Here’s a video I found of it being done “choir style.”  I do have to say, their version of thunder sounds better than ours did.  I first did this when I was in middle school and love leading it with a crowd whenever I have the chance.

There are other things I did that aren’t as easy to share.  Hopefully, you’ve found something fun here for your family, ministry, job, etc.!  As you can see from my links, I collect ideas from lots of different people and places.  Sometimes being creative or wacky is more about finding some great idea than it is trying to develop something on your own.  However, I have found that as I interact with others and process their ideas, that process often leads to some of the best original ideas I have had.  Enjoy and be wacky!

A Note About Images

(A note about the turkey picture.  I found some great pictures looking through Flickr using http://compfight.com.  Every time I used an image, I included a note somewhere on the image with credit to who took the picture or created the image.  On some of our posters, I even contacted the individual if I wasn’t clear what their permissions were for their image.  Everyone was very helpful!  A little help is never far away!  By the way, parents, this can be a great tool to get images for school projects that really stand out in the crowd!  Always remember to credit the source and ask for permission.)

Below are some of the images we used to promote the November Wacky Weekend.