Sunday, December 4, 2016

Party Games For Large Groups

We love cards and board games, but when our crew gets together, there are just too many of us for most board games, which often only allow 6 players. Before the holidays this year, I went on a search for some games we could play when there are 9, 10, or 15 of us.

Partners In Pen

Items Needed: A bag full of random objects, a paper, a pen and a bunch of friends.

Take the tablet and pen out of  the bag.  Add  random objects from around the house to the bag—you’ll want 2-3 items per a team.

Hand one of the partners the tablet  and a pen and hand the bag full of random objects to the other partner.

Now ask the player with the bag to describe 2-3 objects, one at a time,  without naming them or telling what is it used for while the other partner tries to draw the object. 

Then flip to a new page in the tablet, pass the bag and tablet to the next team, and repeat., with them choosing different items from the bag.
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Likes & Dislikes

Items Needed: Index Cards, Pens

Ask everyone to write down 5 of their likes and 5 of their dislikes on index cards. Help the younger ones by writing for them.
At mealtime when everyone is gathered together, read the cards one at a time and have everyone try to guess which relative the information belongs to.

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React and Act

Pass out sheets of paper and pens to the players. Have each person write an event. Tell them to be creative! Examples of events can include:

  • Being surprised by a large, aggressive bear in the woods
  • You just won the lottery
  • You have just been proposed for marriage with an engagement ring
  • You just got fired by an incompetent boss
  • Making the game winning pass to win the Superbowl
  • You just fell in love
Once everyone writes an event, fold the paper once and place it into the bag. Divide the group into two teams.

Ask one person on each team to randomly select an event from the bag. Instruct them to react to this event, without explicitly giving away what the event is. Choose a time limit (usually 30 seconds to a minute works well) and when you say “Go!”, have all five people to simultaneously react to their event using exaggerated gestures, facial expressions, and their voice.

For example, the person who has just won the lottery could raise his or her arms and scream excitedly, jumping up and down. The person who has just confronted a bear might make a terrified look, shake in fear, and call for help. And so on. Each of the five actors can interact with each other, but they must stay “in character” and continue reacting and acting based upon what their sheet said.
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Saran Wrap Candy Ball Game


Items needed - Saran wrap, tape, candy, two dice.

This is one we've played here, and it was a lot of fun!  It's really great for large groups of teens.  I found the game on this site, when looking for an activity for all of the cousins to play one Christmas.  

She specifies not to use plain saran wrap, but that's what I had, so that is what I used, and it worked great.

The game is simple.  Before hand, wrap candy in saran wrap, one piece at a time, making one large ball with layers of candy in saran wrap.

Have everyone sit in a large circle on the floor. give the first person the ball of candy, and the person to their left two dice.  When you say "go", the person with the ball tries to unwrap as much of it as possible, while the person with the dice rolls until they get doubles.  As soon as they get doubles, the ball moves to them, and the dice to their left, and you repeat around the circle.  You must stop unwrapping as soon as doubles are rolled.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Signing Up For Birthday Freebies



With my birthday coming up in December (along with my husband & daughter in laws birthdays) I thought this would be a good time to make a list of places to sign up for birthday coupons and freebies.  I'll update this after my birthday, with the ones I actually received....  


ACE HardwareSign up for ACE Rewards and get a $5 off coupon on your birthday.


This arrived in my account on the first day of my birthday month.  :-)
Free Auntie Anns Pretzel

 Arby’s: Get a free milkshake on your birthday when you register with Arby’s.  PLUS - When you sign up to get deals through email, we'll give you a coupon for a FREE ROAST BEEF CLASSIC with purchase of a drink.

bareMinerals: Join the Friends and Benefits Program, and they’ll send you a gift on your birthday.

Brusters -  "A Special Birthday Gift"

CVS: Join the CVS BEAUTY CLUB &   and get $3 in ExtraCare Bucks every year on your birthday.



Dunkin’ Donuts: Get a free beverage on your birthday by signing up for the DD Perks Rewards Program.

This one costs money to sign up for.  You can add as little as $2. Be sure to google "Dunkin Donuts Perks Code" to make sure there aren't  any extra deals for signing up at the time you join.  You get a free beverage just for joining, another free one for your birthday, and whatever you load on your perks card (as little as $2) you use for any purchase.   You will also receive a free drink every time you earn 200 points.

Friendlys -  As a BFF, you get first dibs on awesome perks in your area plus a ton of tasty sign up benefits (like these). 25% off your next visit and a free scoop, $1 off 2 Friendly’s ice cream cartons, 
Weekly deals and promotions, Free birthday sundaes and cake discounts for you and your children

 Hallmark: Get a free card and a coupon for 20% off one item when you become a Crown Rewards member.  You also receive a coupon for $5 of $10 if you sign up right now.  When I completed the sign up, the screen showed my crown club card, complete with barcode.  I was able to scan the barcode shown on my laptop with the keyring app on my phone, and add it in.  The keyring app is where I store all of my loyalty cards.

Helzberg Diamonds: Request a catalog to receive a birthday surprise.



Jersey Mike’s Subs: Get a free sub and drink when you sign up for the email club.




What is this about a free birthday sub?
Every year on your provided birth date, we will send you a one-time use coupon for a free regular sub and 22oz fountain drink. The offer is valid anytime for the next year. Your Email Club subscription must be confirmed at least 24 hours before your birthday to ensure your receive the offer, otherwise you will receive it the following year.

Moes -  Free Burrito on your birthday.  Want to be in the cooler than cool club? Of course you do, especially since it means you get hooked up with a free cup of queso right out of the gate and a birthday burrito. Plus, you’ll get access to new menu items, crazy contests, sweet deals and inside jokes

Panera - Free pastry on your birthday

Payless - 20%   off  on your birthday

PerkinsJoin and get 20% off. 
Be the first to know about our promotions and get exclusive offers starting with a 20% off coupon just for joining and a special gift for your birthday.  Add your family members ages 12 and under so they can get birthday gifts too! The birthday emails will be sent to your email address. 

Pizza Hut - I'm  unclear what the birthday gift is, but you get free cheese sticks just for signing up .

Qdoba - "The Qdoba Rewards program is getting a facelift. Our rewards site and the in-restaurant program is temporarily under construction from November 21, 2016 through December 4, 2016. But not to worry, we are using this time to move your points and visits over so when you login on December 5th, everything is perfect.

For your troubles, we’ll be adding 100 points to your account for every day we’re offline allowing you to score points without any effort."


Red Robin: Register for the Red Robin Royalty Program, and get a free birthday burger.  (this  arrived on the first day of my birthday month,  and  is good for the entire month)

Redbox - free movie rental 






Ruby Tuesday: Sign up with Ruby Tuesday, and score a free burger on your birthday.

Starbucks - free drink on your birthday.  Like Dunkin Donuts, this requires a purchase. Add a gift card to the app to get started.  (Earn free starbucks giftcards through swagbucks)

Subway: Sign up for the Subway Rewards Program and the sandwich-making company will add 20 points to your account on your birthday. FYI, 20 points will get you a free 21-ounce fountain drink (20 points), a free bag of chips (15 points) or two free cookies (10 points each).

Swagbacks: Get 50 free Swagbucks on your birthday.

Texas Roadhouse: Sign up for the email club, and get a birthday gift.

Ulta - Free gift for your birthday, changes each quarter.   When I entered my ulta membership number into the keyring app, there was a $3.50 off $15 coupon in the keyring app.  (There are often coupons in the keyring app)

Victoria’s Secret: Sign up for an Angel Card, and get a birthday gift worth $10.


Monday, October 31, 2016

Gilmore Girls FanFest 2016

See a facebook album of all of my photos from the festival here:

Right before our only daughter headed off to college, she was sitting here on our couch and suddenly exclaimed "They are having a gilmore girls festival, and tickets are for sale right now".

Normally I do not spend money without a lot of thought.  If she, my only daughter, hadn't been "leaving me" (She's at a college 30 minutes away and visits regularly - but it's been a pretty big year for our family with ALL FOUR of our children planning to be out of the house in the next few months, and our first grandchild being born and living on the other side of the continent.  So allow me a bit of melodrama.) I might not have so quickly purchased $175 tickets to a festival we knew almost nothing about.

Downtown Washington, Ct.  

Because there was literally VERY little information about this festival before hand.  We purchased tickets on blind faith. And then we planned a week-end in Washington Depot CT.  Tickets sold out insanely fast.  Not many were available - I believe they only sold around 1,000 at first, and later were able to offer another 200 for sale. Leading up to the festival, I had several people contact me through my public facebook page (linked to this blog - Fields Of Heather) and ask to purchase the tickets.  Some offered a LOT more than the face value.  One complained that I didn't even live in CT, that they live in CT and should have had first shot at the tickets.  LOL!  There were people at the festival from Los Angeles CA, North Carolina, and Texas.  Many of us were from New York, Pennsylvania & New Jersey, but quite a few people purchased plane tickets, in addition to hotel rooms and the event tickets, to attend this event.

I quickly booked a hotel room, seeing that there were very few options nearby, and assuming if event tickets sold out that fast, that hotels would book quickly too.  They did.  I chose the only nearby option - 20 minutes away at the Red Carpet Inn.  This was a huge mistake.  The room was a nightmare, and if there was ANYTHING I could have found in the area that night, we would have moved to another hotel.  But there was nothing..  We heard from someone else, in another hotel, that they went through 3 rooms before finding an acceptable one. The first room they were given hadn't been cleaned - the bed was unmade, there was trash everywhere.  They asked for another room, and when they entered that one and placed their hand on the window, the entire glass pane fell out.  So it wasn't just our hotel, this is just not a great area for nice hotels.
My daughter with the sign in downtown Washington CT.

FRIDAY

Because my daughter had a late Psych test she could not miss, and we live 4 hours and 19 minutes away from the festival, we did not make it to the cocktail hour, or see the first night panel. We were disappointed, but it just wasn't possible to get there any earlier.  Since we couldn't possibly get there in time, we stopped at the Tri State Marker for a fun geocache and beautiful view, and then at a great little diner in Port Jervis PA.

Spotify has a Complete Gilmore Girls Playlist - every song from every episode of Gilmore Girls. It's 4 hours and 19 minutes long, almost the exact length of our trip.  That was pretty cool.

We drove through winding, curving, hills, with woods on each side, for about an hour (our entire trip was just over 4 hours) before we arrived at the Red Carpet Inn in New Milford CT.  There were not many lights or any other businesses visible in the dark.  We parked under trees, and had branches on the car the next morning. I'm a farm wife in PA - we are used to rural - but we are not really used to such rural hotels!  The clerk showed us to our room - walked in ahead of us with a can of febreeze.  Oh yeah, not a good sign. There was a huge Jacuzzi tub in the front room, with an out of order sign on it.  From the smell of the room, I guessed it leaked all the time. We were told not to use it.  We bought a can of lysol at a nearby convenience store, and kept our luggage in the car so that it would not absorb the odors of the room.  There were cellar doors right to the left of our room door.  It felt a bit like a scene from criminal minds - I texted my husband that if he didn't hear from us in the morning to make sure someone checked the basement. I was mostly joking.  The room above us was not sound proof.  It sounded like elephants were up there when they walked, and we could clearly hear the dialogue on their tv.  Mostly we prayed that their tv and footsteps were ALL we would hear that night, and our prayers were answered.  Our bathroom door didn't fully close, and we ran out of toilet paper and had to go to the office - in another building - to request another roll.

The menu board in my kitchen while we were away...  Dan and Matt had tickets to the Steelers game on Sunday in Pittsburgh, and a group of guys went to the Texas Roadhouse and Jack Reacher movie Saturday - so they managed just fine with us away. 

 This should give you an idea of how badly we wanted to attend this festival - normally I have a rule that we either camp, or stay in hotels with names like Hilton or Marriott. I don't really do in between, since our horrible experience with expedia and hotels in West Virginia. But there were no other options. So we bought our lysol and made the best of it.  The second night here, the room smelled much better.  It had been cleaned while we were out (and our key didn't work when we returned, I had to have it re magnetized - I think they thought we weren't coming back since our luggage was in our car) and it smelled like it had been aired out considerably.  The room had probably not been used for awhile before this festival. Still, this is not a hotel I'd recommend.


This is a photo I took Saturday during Living Pictures.  Friday night during the screening Liz Torres was up in this balcony - at one point in the video the moderator for the evening says "You get one more outburst Liz, use it wisely".  LOL!  You can find all the videos from this event on the Fanfest facebook page here - https://www.facebook.com/gilmoregirlsfanfest/

We watched the live facebook video of the screening from our hotel room.  If we had had a nicer hotel room, I think I would have preferred this to sitting in the tent anyway.  It really was frustrating to pay all of this money to sit in a tent and watch the same video we could watch on facebook from home. Perhaps if the weather had been better, we'd have had more of an opportunity to interact with the cast before they entered town hall, but it was very rainy and cold Saturday night as they entered, and I don't blame them for just wanting to get inside.

SATURDAY


Saturday morning we got up early - happy to escape our hotel room.  We found the late registration at the American Legion, and I breathed easier once we had the wrist bands on our arms.  There were no physical tickets for this event.  Some fake ones had been sold on ticketmaster, but there were no actual tickets.  Our names were merely on a master list - we showed our ID and were given our wrist bands.


Goody Bags.  Our ticket price included a REALLY soft t-shirt not pictured here. 

From there we attended what was listed as a Town Hall meeting.  We expected an actual town meeting, but it was just a welcome to the festival, this is what is happening today, speech.  This is when I realized how much it sucked to not have VIP tickets.  VIP tickets were $250, and sold out before I knew the festival existed.  VIP wrist bands were green, as opposed to our white ones, and granted you access to the actual town hall.  Our white wristbands got us into a tent where we watched what happened in the town hall on a big screen. Almost everything that happened in town hall was videoed and posted on facebook, so if that was all the festival was, it would have been a huge waste of money and time.  Thankfully there was more to it, although I'm still pretty disappointed that we never even got to see the Gilmore guys, or several cast members, except on the screen we could have watched from home.

We were able to purchase a GREAT breakfast, and coffee, in front of the Washington Market - which was an excellent Dooses!  I loved the Washington Market and wish our little local grocery store would go visit and take notes.  It was the absolute perfect small town grocery store.

 It rained all day Saturday, but that didn't really ruin the festival, and it probably helped keep those without tickets away from the town.  I know a lot of people planned to crash the event.  At one point I heard a woman walking from the parking area say "I wish I could find that woman who said we wouldn't be able to get in without tickets so I could tell her she's wrong!".  Although that woman could shop at the outdoor stands and visit some of the buildings, she would not have been able to get into the cast workshops or into the main festival area - I wondered how she felt about that once she walked into town and found out that that wrist band was needed for all the festival areas.
 

My daughter is a huge Sean Gunn fan, so we stayed put in the main tent to see Team Kirk Cat and his cat rescue.  Several cats were adopted that day, and I had to repeatedly remind my daughter that we live on a farm where people regularly drop off cats - we could NOT adopt one.  Not even from Kirk. :-)  If we had all stood in lines to see Sean we would have blocked all the exits, and violated the fire codes.  So they released us to the line one row at a time from the seats in the tents.  It was funny to hear the crowd "police" those who tried to sneak into line without waiting.  There were several volunteers who kept people from line jumping as well. It took us about 2 hours of waiting, but we werre able to chat with Sean and Rini Bell and get autographs and photos.   They showed a few gilmore girls clips, and everyone was chatting, it wasn't a tedious wait at all.

Shadow puppets on the big screen while waiting to see Sean Gunn

Next we went outside and saw Jackson was standing at a pop up right outside the main tent, for autographs and photos.  We didn't know he would be here, so this was a nice surprise!  The line wasn't too long - it was raining pretty steadily and the line had to stand in the rain with umbrellas, so we were able to get through that line pretty quick.




There was a little farmers market in town Saturday too - part of the town, not part of the festival.  It was really nice!

There were more cast workshops, but the lines were sooooooo long, we didn't think we'd have any chance of actually getting through the lines before they were over.  We were disappointed that we couldn't fit them all in, but it just wasn't possible, as far as we could tell.


At noon we were back in the main tent for the Eat Like a Gilmore cooking demonstration. Arvis Alverado, Ceasar, took part in the demo. We couldn't really see the table for the food "demonstration" and it was actually much more interesting to listen to Aris' Q &A.  He shared all sorts of little tidbits about his time on the show, and it ended up being one of our favorite parts of the entire week-end.  We did get to taste the Mocktini's made for the demo, but only a few people got a chance to taste the bruschetta and we were not one of them, even though we were just a few rows from the front.  


After the food demonstration, I ran to the bookstore to buy copies of the book for us.  I wish I had bought them first thing in the morning.  Each book had a number, for the book signing later you lined up by number.  While I picked up our books, my daughter ran to the food trucks for some lunch.  She got us panini's that were quite good.  We ducked back into the main tent to eat our lunch, where they were doing screenings and holding a knit a thon.

Red Heart donated lots of yarn for the knit a thon!
A view of the screening, with a talk by Costume Supervisor Valerie Campbell.  She answered questions, talked about her job, and gave a demonstration on how she made sure outfits were exactly the same for each take.

I'm so glad we decided to have lunch here, at this time, because a few minutes in they asked us all to stand up and walk outside for a surprise....

 

A Hep Alien concert on the town hall steps!!!  This was not in the program, so if you didn't happen to be nearby, or in the main tent, you probably missed it.  I'm so glad we didn't miss it!!

  
After the concert we visited the stand in front of Washington Market (Dooses) for the cake tasting.  The cake was sooooo good, as was all of the food we got from the market this week-end.


My daughter stood in line for almost 2 hours to get our Eat Like A Gilmore books signed.  It was raining pretty hard by then, and it was warm and dry in the book store..  and in our car, which is where I went to recharge our phones and dry off a bit while she stood in line. 

The festival even had a troubadour!  

Girl With A Pearl Earring, Living Pictures

After our books were signed, we headed into town hall for Living Pictures.  This is one of my favorite things, from an episode of Gilmore Girls, and I really enjoyed seeing it done here.  Plus, it was a chance for us non VIPs to get into town hall and see the building, which was gorgeous!


It also gave us an opportunity to stand in front of the photo backdrop that the cast stood in front of for their arrival on the blue carpet, before the screenings. 

The Dance Studio in New Preston
Then we walked back to the parking area at the school to catch a bus over to the Mayflower. When we got there, we heard that Liz Torres hadn't showed up to the early dance recitals, but she had been at one of the later ones and they thought she was still there..  so we caught that bus instead.  My daughter is a HUGE Liz Torres fan, but we just couldn't track her down this week-end.  We missed her in New Preston as well, she wasn't there when we got there. We did a VERY quick look at the town, and hopped back on the bus to go back to the parking lot and catch the bus to the Mayflower Inn.
The Mayflower Grace, originally a boys school but now a very nice hotel and spa, was the inspiration for the Dragonfly Inn.  We were not able to go inside - possibly because a lot of the cast was staying here?  They were giving out tea from the area on the far right, behind the umbrellas, and we could walk through the garden. This only took a few minutes. They were selling scones too, which we purchased, and they were SOOOOOooooo good!
  
Meg, with her tea from the Mayflower, and the garden in the background.  It was pretty wet and cold by this time of day, the tea was really good.  We had taken the very last bus to the Mayflower, so we arrived back at the school with just enough time to walk back to the main tent for the cast screening moderated by the Gilmore Guys.  

It was really pretty disappointing to see this just as a video.  We never even got a glimpse of the Gilmore Guys in person.  If we had had a nicer hotel, I would have preferred to just go back to our hotel and watch the video online.  It was a hysterical screening, LOTS of fun to watch, but being here in person was no better than watching it through a facebook live video feed, since we did not have VIP tickets and were not in the town hall.  Ironically, one of the organizers commented that we could see so much better in the tent than they could in the hall.  They had some trivia and give aways that we could not participate in, because we were out in the tent.  

We had been so rushed all afternoon/evening trying to get to everything that we hadn't had time to eat.  We were cold, tired, and hungry, so we took a chance that everyone else would head straight for the parking lot, and we instead walked to The Washington Pizza House.  We had a greek pizza that was one of the best pizzas I've ever had!  It was warm, the bathrooms were clean, and there were plenty of seats when we arrived.  Best of all, by the time we walked to the parking area it was pretty much empty, so we were not stuck in long lines of traffic leaving town.

SUNDAY

Since our hotel was in New Milford, and the gazebo was also in New Milford, we got up early and stopped to see it on our way to the festival.  It's a nice little gazebo, but we have one much more similar to the one on the show, in the small towns near us. There was a bit of a town green here though, that had a bit more of the feel of the Stars Hollow town layout.

Our plan was to grab breakfast from a food truck, but there was only one truck Sunday morning.  And they didn't have coffee.  We waited half an hour - still no coffee.  While waiting we heard from one of the volunteers (organizers?) that the main cast members wanted to attend the festival but were unable to because Netflix would not allow then to come.  I don't know if that is true or not, it's the only time we heard it.

Finally we gave up on the food truck and walked to Washington Market where we saw people walking out with coffee.  Oh, how I wish we had gone there first! They had awesome breakfast options and great coffee! I bought more scones, which we had the next day at home, and they were just as good if not better than the ones we had at the Mayflower Grace.  I can't say enough about how great the Washington Market is.

At 10am there were a long list of give aways.  Names were chosen off the master list before we all sat down in the tent, if you were not there, they had back up names for each of the prizes.  We were actually glad to NOT win most of the prizes - not because they weren't great, but because getting out of our seats in the middle row and somehow getting to the front to claim our prize would have been so difficult.  We were pretty crammed into the tent, a lot of people were standing.  The highlight was Rose coming in to say goodbye to all of us, and offering a few more donations for the give away.  The organizer decided to raffle off the ornaments Rose's mom had made, and bidding quickly took off to over $100.  The second ornament sold for $150 to a VIP who had stayed at the Mayflower Grace and met Rose in the gift shop of the hotel.

After the give aways they showed one more episode of the show on the big screen, but most people chose to head home at this point.  

The day before Sean Gunn had posted an instagram photo of himself at the Woodbury Diner.  Meg had heard that Woodbury was a cute little town, and it was nearby, so we headed there for lunch.  We stopped at a french bakery, picked up some locally bottled birch beer at a nearby convenience store, and had a really fabulous lunch at the Woodbury diner.  From there we stopped in Danbury to see the mini statue of liberty, and the female Paul Revere statue - because they felt like very Rory Gilmore essential stops -  before heading home.  

We had a few frustrations with the trip - horrible accommodations.  Disappointment at not being able to make it to all of the cast workshops. Disappointment at not meeting Liz Torres or the Gilmore Guys, even though they were in a building right behind us.  But all in all, it was an amazing week-end and I'm so glad we made the trip!

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See a facebook album of all of my photos from the festival here:











Tuesday, September 13, 2016

It's Ok To Not Have An Opinion On Everything.

It's ok to not have an opinion on everything.  And it's REALLY ok to not share every opinion you do have.

I noticed a few years back that although my kids all wanted to be on facebook before they were even of age, they rarely post anything.  And as they, and their friends, got older, they moved more and more to apps like instagram and snapchat, instead of facebook- where photos tell the story, not words.  I knew the buzzword here was "oversharing", and I often thought of it when someone shared something a little too personal about their child, or when a single mom posted photos of men half dressed and not much older than her own child, with comments that made me blush.  (Before anyone gets all outraged, I'm no longer friends with that mom, and it's probably not anyone who will ever read this.  But if you got all upset by my mentioning this incident..  well, give that some thought.)

But recently, I think oversharing is more broad.  I'm a little tired of reading everyone's opinions on absolutely everything, and I think that was overloading the teens too.  The teen years are when you really start to  figure out what you believe, and it's made more complicated by all of us yelling on facebook to "make our point" on both sides of every issue.  But to be clear, we spend our entire lives figuring out what we truly believe. It only begins when we are young, and it's constantly reflected in how we live.

Here are a couple of suggestions, as I taught them to my kids.  I hope they've taken them to heart.

1. Don't feed drama.  (often stated as a reminder - "don't feed it!")
If you don't like something, but it has NO effect on you personally, ignore it.  There's no need to share your dislike of it. There's no need to think about it, or mention it.  Oh, yes, by all means come to the kitchen and vent to me about it, and we'll laugh over the ridiculousness.. I'm your mom and that's what I'm here for.  Then let it go.  

2. The World IS a stage - but you don't have to be a performer.
There are a lot of background people for any stage production.  Often more than there are actual cast members on stage.  It's ok to work in the background.  As a matter of fact, for most of your life, it's a wise decision.  There's no need to stand on the street corner shouting your opinions (or post them as your facebook status).  Those who know you should KNOW your opinions without you having to speak.  And when they want to know how you feel and they aren't sure, they can ask.  Your life should reflect your values strongly enough that your words are unnecessary.

3.  It's ok to not have an opinion
Or to not know your opinion.  We aren't all called to be wise men in this world, even though we all have access to google and  software that allows us to add quotes on graphics.    Somewhere along the way we got the idea that if we don't have a strong opinion than we are somehow less intelligent.  It's been my experience that those who are listening to both sides, with their mouth shut, often have a lot more wisdom than those quoting the latest facebook meme. (And some who are ignoring the issue completely are super wise too - not everything needs our attention.) There are some issues where I know where I stand and I'm firm in my beliefs.  But there are many others where I really just don't know.  And that's ok.  Sometimes, when it's important, I can search out the truth in God's word, which is the foundations for my beliefs.  But on many, many, issues, it's ok to not be sure what is right - if you aren't participating in it, its ok to just not care, even if the rest of the world is shouting about it.   You need to know what matters and what doesn't, then don't waste your time on issues your opinon won't help or change. Worry about your core beliefs, and the rest will work itself out, you don't have to have an opinion on every action of every sports figure or politician or even of every neighbor.  Live your own life to reflect what you believe.

4. Don't do anything to embarrass your grandparents.
And that includes what you say.  It's ok to have opinions that they would not like.  But out of respect for your family, just keep your mouth shut.  Family trumps your opinions.  Too many families argue over things that in the grand scheme of things, do not even effect them, let alone matter.  

5. You Are Unlikely To Change Someone's Opinion In a Facebook Status
So if you are posting something with a strong opinion that is generally divisive, why are you posting it?  Do you really think it will change how someone else see the situation?  Does your life not reflect your stance, so you feel like you need to compensate by making a grand  (or often just loud) statement?  Are you so insecure that you need to post something to try to get a bunch of likes from people who don't know you well enough to already know what you believe?

And here's the catch 22.  Just by writing this, I violated the entire concept.  I'm telling the world what I believe, and why.  I have a strong opinion on everyone constantly sharing their opinions, and I'm telling you my opinion on that.  I'm feeling confident that my life, mostly, reflects what I have said here, and that my children's lives have too.  

So why am I sharing it?  I think I am hoping that it will encourage some who are overwhelmed by the onslaught of opinions we face every day.  It's ok to not respond.  It's ok to not care.  It's ok to be quiet on big issues everyone else is screaming about.  And sometimes, it's ok to speak your mind.  Just please try to do it with respect, and perhaps, sometimes, without  a quote covered graphic.

If more of us lived the values we're screaming about on facebook, we'd have a lot less time to have opinions on everything everyone else does.

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"But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. 10 Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned." Titus 3:9-11


But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine:that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility,[a] sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.[b]" Titus 2:1-8

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal." I Corinthians 13:1

"26 Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.
27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness." Matthew 23:26-28


" Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men." TItus 3 1-8