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Posts tagged ‘Joy’

A-Mazing Daze of Play



Play: to engage in sport or recreation: FROLIC





Walk past any playground and you will see a choice to be made.

An empty bench says, “Sit here. Observe.” An empty playground says, “Come here. Enjoy.”

The choosers are easily distinguished on such grounds: onlookers and partakers. Onlookers usually consist of adults: parents, grandparents, and babysitters. They watch, sigh, shout warnings, soothe ouchies. Partakers usually consist of children: tall, short, small, big, but always wildly active children, in full swing, joining in the frolic. They wiggle, scoot, sing songs, laughing as they go. On rare occasion, an adult or two crosses the line from onlooker to partaker.


Even before the final spring snow, across the way, the farm-turned-botanic-garden-country-version began creating a playscape for autumn adventure. John Deere green and yellow tractors plow spring white snow, upturning chocolate-dark soil. Upturned soil, furrowed into precise rows, produces tiny lime green seedlings. Abundant summer storms, purpled and silver-streaked, join mile-high sunny days to lengthen seedlings into stalks, knee-high, waist-high then over-my-head-high green sentinels. By September, teeth-chattering nights and apple-crisp days dry the green to golden brown. Tasseled corn stalks rustle in gentle autumn’s breezes.


Through bare spring into lush green summer then into golden fall, from our back deck we sit and observe as the bare dirt becomes a corn maze. Old farm trucks and new tractors, from this distance, remind me of sandbox days. My then-three-littles imagined new worlds there among mounds of sand. With the help of Matchbox cars, Brio trains, sticks that became railroad ties, pitchers of water for creating mudslides, and Fisher-Price figures, stories sprung to life among mingled stones and leaves.

Through our old black bird-watching binoculars, I see farm workers haul in wooden poles and wires, creating small haddocks for pony rides. White tents pop up, covering picnic tables. Bales of hay are stacked like blocks here and there for ambience and crowd control. Trailers unload draft horses, ready to pull hayride flatbeds around the ponds and fields. Out on the roadway, just south of a major Denver interstate perimeter highway, green and gold signs announce Corn Maze dates: Come. Enjoy.


At sunrise, and again at sunset, my husband and I observe the vast brown fields as they change. Behind the newly painted red barn and its sidekick brick silo, a once calm hillside buzzes and sparkles with canary yellow school buses, dust-covered minivans, and family-sized SUVs. Empty paths winding through the forest of old cottonwoods are now thick with children intent on making their way to the start of the corn maze. At night, glow sticks shimmer silver, pink, neon green. We hear laughter wafting across the open space between our back deck and the distant farm.


One Sunday afternoon we can stand it no longer. We leave our comfortable observer post to become partakers. We join the throngs, paying our way into the playscape of corn. Red-faced children run full force, panting parents trot to catch up yelling, “Hold up.” Overhead Canada geese soar from field to pond, moving a bit further south, reminding us that snow is soon to change the landscape again.



Though our deck view is a tiny bit elevated above the farm in the valley, it’s not high enough to see what shape the maze is. You’d need a helicopter to gain such perspective. But, as we enter the corn maze, a printed map captures the farmers’ creation: a giant butterfly…fore and hind wings, abdomen, antenna, swirled among soil and seed into a bushel of choices to be made.


Here in the middle of the corn maze, choices crop up fast. Right, left, or straight? Follow the crowd? Follow my instincts? Follow my husband? Even with a map, we quickly realize that there are no markers, no directional signs to help one orient. Which way is north on this map? Which way is west? Even with a design on the map, we are so far down in the corn maze that we can’t gain any perspective. Are we at the outermost loop of the butterfly wings? Are we walking an inner wing that will send us back around to the start? Are we at the dead end of the antenna?


Ahead of us in the maze, a couple argues over which path to take. Their children don’t wait to see what they decide. Half their kids run one direction while half take off in the other direction. I like the left path; my husband likes the right path. This time, I choose to follow him. The sun’s intensity warms us as the shadows begin to fall. Two ducks fly by overhead. We walk and walk and walk some more. We’ve been going in circles as it turns out. He laughs and shrugs as we hit a dead end. We are dazed in the maze, unsure of which way to go now. Laughter accompanies most of the maze-dazed folks. Joy is always a good companion to have along for the journey.

Children zoom back past us, shouting at their parents to hurry up. Bewildered faces, a family we’d seen going in circles like us, confront us as we come upon another junction with fork after fork that probably leads to loop. “Do you know the way?” the youngest of their brood asks as he points at a forbidden shortcut through the forest of corn. Just a few feet away, we clearly see another path but we can’t get there from here. The temptation is to cut through…yet signs warn us of the dire consequences of shortcuts….and I’m reminded of a few shortcuts that tempt me beyond the corn maze.


A late afternoon breeze rustles huskily in the dried corn. An ear of half-eaten corn, a squirrel’s afternoon snack, sits abandoned under the shadows of stalks. Next to it, an abandoned plastic cup, still full of lemonade. The path, strewn with trash, reminds us that civilization is just steps away from this corn crop puzzle. Bright yellow police tape cordons off the shortcut. A rabbit scurries through the tall rows, right under the tape. He takes any shortcut he desires. He can’t read the signs. We are frustrated that the rabbit can find a way through when we cannot.

On we wander. I go one way, my husband another. We find each other again at another dead end. We laugh and sigh at the same time.  The beauty is literally all around us. Blue skies above, dark soil beneath, golden brown stalks of corn lining our path, merriment among children of all ages stuck in the wonder of a maze.


High above the field, a man oversees the entire maze from his perch in the metal cherry picker. At another fork in the maze, I look up, hoping for guidance. I catch his eye and he nods, a subtle reassurance that we are choosing well. When he nods, he seems like my best ally. Yet, at other times, he won’t even make eye contact and I feel caught in an endless knot of wrong turns. Frustration amid laughter and beauty.

Eventually, after an hour of dead ends, right turns, rabbits and kids hopping across the paths, wrong forks, loops upon loops within loops, my husband and I emerge at the exit, not even sure how we got here. We are, however, most certain we couldn’t easily find our way back through the maze again.


About sunset, we sit again on our deck, observing the corn maze in the distance.

Having partaken of the maze itself, the entire scene looks different.

We’ve engaged playfully among stalks and loops, under a blue October sky. Deep in the maze, we know firsthand about the sound of corn husks in the breeze, dead ends on dusty paths, tempting shortcuts, disorientation from no landmarks or perspective, a sometimes present-sometimes silent overseer, and the pull of the crowd mentality versus going it alone or with just a few others. We also know the frolic of finding our way among corn stalks, which we so long only observed at a distant.



Play: to engage in sport or recreation: FROLIC






Walk past any playground and you will see a choice to be made.

An empty bench says, “Sit here. Observe.” An empty playground says, “Come. Enjoy.”

What choice will you make?


playdates with God

The Why of today’s blog: Today’s blog comes in response to my reading of Laura Boggess’ new book, Playdates with God. Her book  encourages us to engage with God differently through playdates with God. Reading her book prompted me to move from an observer to a partaker in the joy of play.

The corn maze is but one of the adventures I’ve had lately with God. What about you? Have you ever had a playdate with God?

Book Giveaway Alert: Not sure how play and God go together? Well, I’ve got a copy of Laura’s book to give away so you can read more about it. Just leave a comment below by Wednesday, October 29 answering this question:

Where might you move from observing to entering in more fully?
Laura’s book can be ordered from Amazon, Barnes & Noble ,, and Hearts and Minds.


1610078_10152145633998672_1391727738_nLaura Boggess, author of Playdates with God: Having a Childlike Faith in a Grown-up World,  lives in West Virginia with her husband and two sons.  She is a content editor for and blogs at Connect with Laura on Facebook and Twitter.

Sample two recent blogs of Laura’s: one about how God can save a marriage at Ann Voskamp’s A Holy Experience and another about how life with Christ is part of an upside down kingdom as evidenced by the recent experiences of Dr. Kent Brantly and ebola at


The Serious Business of Sampling the World

With utter delight, he gobbles down bananas, avocados, sweet potatoes, a sliver of a grilled cheese sandwich, and slices of chicken. He chews while also smelling then smearing his food on his highchair, his dimpled cheeks, and his tiny chin. Some bits of bites he tosses over the edge of the tray, then looks surprised to see his meal on the floor below. He babbles and waves his arms as he awaits another spoonful of yogurt then runs it ‘round his mouth and grins as bright as sunshine at dawn. Food is a tangible joy to this one-year-old grandson of mine.

He tastes the world, not just at mealtime, but all the time. He is sampling his way around his universe. Pine straw that sits atop the grassy backyard, burnt-orange maple leaves, a wooden brown-and-yellow giraffe held tightly in his fist since he removed it from his birthday puzzle, the bunched cotton material near his mouth that pooches up when I zip him into his footie pajamas, thick cardboard pages of his new book Jamberry, his soft blanket, the strong swing strap that holds him tight as he flies through the air, his precious ten little fingers when nothing else satisfies: they are all worthy of a taste, of a try.

Where we adults are prim and proper, using knife and fork to eat our food, he feels his meals: the textures of squishy squash and firm cheese, of gooey yogurt and crunchy cereal. His fingers are as green as the avocado and as orange as the sweet potato; his face a mishmash of color and flavor. He engages fully with every sense every moment he is awake. He strokes the cat’s fur, sometimes grabbing a handful. Then, if it’s not noticed quickly enough, he aims it straight for his mouth. He scoots across the rug, pulls himself upright around the coffee table. On tippy toes he edge his way over, lunges for the mug left there by one of the houseful of adults gathered to celebrate his first year of life. He slurps the ladder as he’s helped up it so he can then coast down his miniature slide. His fingers, nose, tongue are all on the go as fast as his little legs are, feeling their way through his day.

We think we’ve gathered to help him catch on to this thing called life as we celebrate him, this starter of a new generation. But instead, it is he who is doing the celebrating and we who are beginning to catch on once more to gobbling most anything, tasting our way through the day, sampling our way across our universe, echoing joy with grins as bright as the sunshine.


In the serious business of sampling the world, I had almost forgotten the taste of wonder.






All rights reserved.



Arose She

just after
twinkling bouquets
The summer damask rose
in an
old cut glass
beside her bed.
He always
left one
waiting there.
She thought of
that other day,
fifty-two summers ago,
when her
knelt on one knee,
and asked
what he already
knew the answer to:
Will you?
I will.
Every morning,
The yes of
Whimsy and joy,
wafting among quotidian
Lovers lasting
Outside the
bay window,
roseate puffs
flushing the face
of craggy young Rockies.
Alpenglow blush:
Two beauties
dancing to dawn’s delight,
on the ice-fringed
alpine lake,
mountain roses.
Lane M. Arnold

© May 2012

In Joy!

Sometimes, it’s just time for a change. Spring cleaning, remodeling, renovation, job or life changes. What do all these things have in common? Transitions.

This blog/website is a transition. Moving forward from Invitation Ministry to In Joy. Why, you wonder? Well, why not?

Call it a whim. Call it a wish. Call it Whitsunday.

Today is Whitsunday, also known as Pentecost. It’s a moment Jesus promised us in John 14. Traditionally, this is the Sunday that falls 50 days after Easter. It’s a birthday celebration of sorts, marking the Holy Spirit’s descent in Acts 2 as well as marking the end of the Easter season. For those who celebrate the church seasons, it’s a transition from Easter Season to Ordinary Time.

The Holy Spirit descends and we are companioned anew. Change happens and with change, comes the choice for joy. So today, In Joy starts. A fresh start. A new move of the Spirit. A new way with words for me…to share with you.

I’m celebrating and remembering Pentecost by moving forward In Joy.

What way will you celebrate the wonder of the Holy Spirit this day?