Mindcrap…I mean Minecraft. No, I really mean Mindcrap.

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My children are both obsessed with a game called Mindcrap…I mean Minecraft. If you aren’t familiar with it, lucky you. No seriously, you have no idea what you’re missing. It is a cross between playing with a box of blocks and playing with a box of blocks…just on your laptop, iPod, iPad, Xbox etc.  According to Wikipedia, Minecraft is a sandbox indie game originally created by Swedish programmer Markus “Notch” Persson and later developed and published by Mojang. Wikipedia also goes on to state, “Minecraft is an open world game that has no specific goals for the player to accomplish, allowing players a large amount of freedom in choosing how to play the game.” And herein lies my main problem with this game. It has no specific goals!!! When my children were toddlers I encouraged them to play with a box of blocks for hours on end with no specific goals. They are now seven and ten years old and these new Minecraft blocks and the “box” they come in aren’t cheap.

I’m all for being creative and allowing time for free play. I have purchased many a Skylander (giants included), and spent countless hours with Super Mario and Luigi, both of which send you on a mission, encourage you to strategize or at the very least work toward gaining access to a new world. It seems to me that Minecraft, with its “no specific goals” theme isn’t much of a challenge. I don’t claim to be an expert, and am only basing my experience on the times my children have subjected me to an eternity of walking me through their world of pixellated blocks. Seriously, as far as the video game industry has come I expect more than fuzzy blocks. They have taken me through stacks of brown blocks that are supposed to be a building of sorts, then green blocks that represent grass (genius I know) and then the creativity really kicks in when they show me their light blue blocks representing…you guessed it…water. They have created entire worlds with these fuzzy blocks, furnished homes equipped with beds, entertainment centers, and even bathtubs. Their tours actually make me a bit dizzy, but I guess I’m the only one who doesn’t get this game. An article at Geek.com  reports that as of October of 2012, Minecraft was more popular than Call of Duty on Xbox live and the game actually made a profit within its first hour of release. People are flocking to the game in astounding numbers. PC Gamer reports on the game’s performance. “4,177,843 people bought the game in 2012, accounting for a massive 47.3% of the game’s total PC sales. It’s not just remaining popular, Minecraft’s audience is growing faster than ever before.”

Even if you’re not a huge gamer and just a mom of two mini gamers, you know this is big news. I struggle to find the allure of this box of building blocks, but for the sake of this post not stealing any thunder from Ben’s Bitter Blog or The Word By Mike Ballenger, I will list the few positives I’ve witnessed. You’re welcome guys!

1. It keeps my kids focused and quiet for hours on end. Never a bad thing!

2. I have witnessed first hand my two children sitting side by side, comparing pixellated block creations, and giving each other building tips to improve their world. If they figure out how to clean up the graphics, I’ll let you know! In the meantime, I’ll keep snapping photos and adding a caption about them enjoying their reading time together. That’s really what Kindles are for isn’t it?

3. They have taken their building skills out of the game and into the real world. I’m hoping they can have that deck I’ve been wanting finished in time for summer!

What am I missing? Please enlighten me!

Resolved – Weekly Photo Challenge

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Photo Credit: littlemisswordy

Photo Credit: littlemisswordy

RESOLVED : WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE

I believe in fresh starts, new chapters, and clean slates. I believe January 1st is a great opportunity to once again put things in perspective and make both practical and totally unrealistic goals. Life can be harsh enough without us passing up an invitation to dream. Dream big and dream often because on occasion we surprise ourselves by slowly walking in the direction of those dreams and sometimes unbeknownst to us actually stepping onto the exact path that will make those dreams come true. You see, sometimes when we let ourselves dream, really let ourselves believe we can accomplish that dream, something crazy and unexpected happens. We do it! And the reward is just as sweet as the journey my friends. So don’t frown on your past mistakes or failures. Don’t beat yourself up for the unfinished projects or long forgotten fantasies. Don’t mock those who make their resolutions year after year, because resolutions are hopes, dreams, and goals and who’s to say January 1 isn’t as good as June 6 or September 21 for a resolution. There is no designated date or time to dream. It’s an unscheduled event which requires no invitation or appointment.

My resolve this year is to finally face my fears and hop in one of these kayaks. They’ve been mocking me for years as I walk past them. They pose, show their true colors and allow the light to hit them just so…inviting me to dream, daring me to hope, and strengthening my resolve that I will climb into their bright shells and drift closer to my goal.

P.S. If I haven’t posted in a few weeks, send out a search party.

What do you dare to resolve, hope or dream?

Year Of The Golden Handcuffs

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Have you ever had a time in your life when you knew exactly what you wanted and were totally and completely focused on getting it? What if that something could only be accomplished if something else actually took place first? What if you just kept trekking along on your designated path to your goal, but that goal always seemed a little out of reach? However, with full certainty you wholeheartedly believe the end result will be everything you dreamed so you are immobilized from deviating from your current path.

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2012 was that year for us…the year of the golden handcuffs. For us, it came in the form of a job opportunity for my husband. It required us to make some huge changes in our lives including another move across the ocean and a venture into homeschooling for the kids and I. It also meant once again walking away from our small Texas community, a place which has always provided our family with a great education for our children and fed us spiritually. Our reason for this new chapter in our life was to bring our close-knit  family of four back together after living with an ocean between us for over a year. It seemed the heartache of missing each other was in constant conflict with the warm fuzzy feeling of being surrounded by friends, teachers, and a parish community who showed us endless support. So…we maintain our current path with golden handcuffs securely fastened, in the hopes that the pay off will be worth it, with immense gratitude we have a job in today’s market, and full hearts to be together.

Yet, I can’t help but think of all the other aspects in our lives where we find ourselves in golden handcuffs. The New Year always brings with it the resolve to live a healthier life and so many of us enthusiastically take the path and willingly place our hands in the golden handcuffs of a vision of a thinner, fitter, body. We often welcome the golden handcuffs of all the climb up that corporate ladder promises. And relationships often provide the ultimate golden handcuffs…especially when we are in desperate search of that fairy tale romance and the happily ever after we so often crave.

Golden handcuffs can represent an impetus for a better future, motivation to better ourselves and our situation. Golden handcuffs can also become a restriction, an obstruction of progress, and ultimately the one thing keeping us from our true destiny.

What are your golden handcuffs? Do you see them as a positive or a negative?