New York Ave.

Question for you: What color is New York Ave. on a standard Monopoly board?

You probably already saw this picture so you know that the color is orange.

Monopoly Game Board Mixed Media - The Monopoly New York Ave. Card by Jas Stem

Another, slightly more difficult, question: Where is it located on the board? And don’t peek at the picture!

Homeowners find huge handprinted Monopoly board underneath carpet | The  Independent

On our road trip, we took one day to hit Manhattan (that’s the connection to New York Ave.) and see the sites. My wife booked a bus/walk tour which turned out to be awesome. Now we can now check off some of the highlights of the Big Apple.

This picture shows the 5 Burroughs of New York City. Manhattan is an island! The Hudson and East Rivers flow on either side of it.

But the fascinating part is what I learned on the tour. Because there is bedrock underneath the island, tall buildings can be built.

The island has a foundation that can stand strong beneath the weight of all those skyscrapers!

The deeper the bedrock, the taller the building!

If you have read any of my blogs, you probably know that there is a spiritual/biblical connection about to be made. This particular connection is found in Matthew 7.

24“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

My friends, we are like Manhattan. How tall our buildings can go depends on how deep our bedrock goes. The buildings in our life are the things that we do. This includes jobs we work, people we relate to, and even the words we speak.

These are all public things. Just like the buildings of Manhattan, people can see the works of our lives.

Do we live to show off our good deeds?

Even as I write this, I feel convicted.

My private life with God determines the course of my public life.

The deeper that I get with God, the more people will see that fruit in my life.

The more intimacy with God, the more influence with people.

God needs to do something on the inside before we can do something on the outside.

Without Him, we are unable to do anything.

Now, how do I transition to a suitable conclusion?

I’d say this: visit Manhattan, play Monopoly, and seek God earnestly.

School is in session.

Today was all about school.


On Tuesdays and Thursdays, both my wife and I teach.

She is a college professor and I teach high school science.

My children, 9th grade and 6th grade, also had homework.

Our whole family was involved in learning today.

All except our dog, Murray, that is.


Will it ever end?

No, I don’t think so.

Sure, school will end for my kids (someday). Maybe I won’t teach forever.

But there will always be learning taking place.

God is so vast that I could spend many lifetimes learning about Him and His creation.

Whether you are officially a student or not, it does not matter.

Keep learning! You won’t regret it.

P.S. Getting an education from God is free! What a deal!

What’s in the box?

One of my favorite things to do is to open a new board game. Just taking the lid off the box is fun! All the pieces, bits, dice, cards, tiles, etc. are just so cool! This unveiling does not happen a whole lot but when I can, I thoroughly enjoy it.


P.S. That is not my game library! =-(

Dive in with me now as I unbox Divine Transfusion. Click here to read the full post.


In the Old Testament, the high priest could only enter the Holy of Holies once a year. To do so, he had to sacrifice an animal and sprinkle the blood before him. He would die without the blood.

Jesus, as we read in Hebrews, used his own blood and entered the Holy of Holies. He was both high priest and sacrifice. This he did once and never has it been needed to be done again. See Hebrews 4-10.

As I have asked myself and also in my blogs…

So what? What does this mean for me, right now, in 2016?

To answer that all-encompassing question, we need to open the box.

I will begin by citing a verse from Matthew 27. Verse 51 reads,

“At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split.” NIV

The context is that Jesus has been crucified. He is hanging on a cross just outside Jerusalem. It is about 3:00 in the afternoon. After some final words, he finally dies. Matthew records that at that same time, the curtain was torn. I add the King James Version just because I like the language better for this verse.

“And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;” KJV

Behold! The curtain was ripped, torn, rent so we could now see God.

So we could now see God. Yep, the box has been opened.

I don’t really know what it looked like but who cares because now we can see God. Yes, God has opened the way for us. Notice how the veil was rent from top to bottom?

God did it because we could not. All this is possible because of the blood. No, not animal blood but the Blood of Jesus.

We now have access to God. Don’t bother with second best. Go directly to God with your life. All your problems and issues can be covered in the blood. You life won’t instantly turn perfect and peachy but you won’t walk alone. This is a greatly encouraging fact.

One more verse to rock your world. Hebrews again. Hebrews is a fantastic book.

Chapter 4, verses 14-16:

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Underline is mine.

So be bold today and go directly to God. No worries, he will welcome you with open arms.

And that box is better than any board game I will ever play.


Power Grid

Keeping the lights on! This is the main theme for Power Grid. From the opening auction to the end-game scramble, Power Grid is a suspenseful and exciting game for 2-6 players. Players will fight for control of the least expensive routes between cities. In the auction phase, bidding on more productive power plants can be frustrating. In the meantime, one must keep a balance of finances, strong enough power plants, and building the right amount of cities. Although I tend not to win very often, this game is very fulfilling if you can end up winning at the end by… keeping your lights on! =-)

power grid box

Last July was when I posted my first game review. If you are interested, click here to go back and read that post. It might give you better understanding of my rating system. As with Settlers of Catan, I do not want to explain how the game works or get into all of the rules and strategies. You will just get a small sample. =-)

My purpose here is to simply rate and review Power Grid.


Here is my rating system:

There are 10 points distributed in 5 categories.

Learning – Can players teach/learn in a short amount of time? Is the rule book clear and concise?

Components – Are the pieces good quality? Do they make the game better or are they distracting?

Interaction – Do players need to work together? Is there actions that can be spiteful or helpful?

Complexity – How deep is this game? Are there lots of ways to earn points and win?

Replayability – Will this game get boring? Is it the same for every play?

Each category will earn 0, 1, or 2 points.

Score of 0 – game does a poor job or does not display any beneficial or useable substance

Score of 1 – passable quality and fair mechanics but will still lack superior form

Score of 2 – excellent craftsmanship and function, brings enhancement to overall game play

And Power Grid earns…

Rate – 8 out of 10 

Learning – This game can be tough to learn. The gameplay is somewhat confusing because each turn, the order changes. Score of 1

Components – The wooden pieces are typical. The paper money is a hassle so we just use pen/paper to keep track of our money. Score of 1

Interaction – Players must auction every turn. Players can also block other players for better routes. Lots of interaction here. Score of 2

Complexity – The only luck factor is which power plants come out. You must adapt to the game every time to win. Score of 2

Replayability – There are power plants that change every game. With turn order changing constantly, you won’t play the same game twice. Score of 2

power-grid game

If I continue to rate these games, I feel as if I will never get a 10 out of 10. Power Grid is certainly in my top ten list of favorite games. Perhaps even my top 5. I really love playing all kinds of board games but this one just gets me. So don’t let the 8 of 10 score fool you. Playing this game can be electrifying!


One last item. Would you take the poll? I plan on a Rate and Review every 3-4 months. Thanks!