“We’ve been down to the bottom. Stories we got ’em, when we hit rock bottom. If you been there put your hands in the air to let the lost know that someone cares.” ~ Tobymac
These lyrics from “Stories (Down to the bottom)” by Tobymac was our family theme song during a time of great challenge. The first time we heard it was when our son was blasting it; the beat and the lyrics caught our attention. That’s when we went in his room, sat down and listened to the song. Instantly, we fell in love with it because it represented all we were going through as a family!
Hitting rock bottom was one of the best things that ever happened to us. It allowed us to draw closer to God, to each other and discover our gifts and purpose that we were too blinded to see when things seemingly were going well.
One of our newest accomplishments as a family, The Game Ledger, was actually created during the time we experienced financial hardship. If you’ve read our About section of this blog or have read our book, Embracing God’s Priorities, you would know our background of being in the real estate industry and our journey of losing all that we had.
It was during that time of financial hardship when we were looking for free family entertainment. Around this same time, one of our brothers was also unemployed. So needless to say, we kicked it together playing games, and in 2006 we instituted the original family game ledger.
We simply used a composition notebook to keep score of all the games we played. We would write commentary about the games, and this was not limited to the adults; the kids jumped in and participated in commenting on the games as well.
We soon extended the ledger to our entire family, and every time we got together we would play spades, dominoes, scrabble, and much more. You name it, we played it, and recorded it in the ledger!
Since money was tight for everyone, we used one notebook and wrote our family names on the front: The Phillips, The Gray’s, and The Burch’s. As a result of only having one notebook, we made a rule that whoever loses the game, the ledger would go to their home.
Unfortunately, the notebook went home with us a lot. Which meant, whenever we would go to The Philips or The Burch’s house to play a game, the ledger would be left behind at our home. Did we let that hinder our free, family entertainment? Oh NO! We would play on a piece of paper and then tape it to the ledger.
One Christmas, we were seeking God for creative ways to give gifts to family and friends considering we were on a budget. 2 Corinthians 9: 7 in the amplified version, says that God is unwilling to abandon a cheerful giver, so we knew that God would not let us down. During that time of seeking God, He gave us the idea of purchasing composition books, creating labels to stick them on the front with our friends and family’s names on it. We wrapped them up with a deck of cards to make the perfect family Christmas gift. We found monogram decks of cards on clearance for $2, and paid only $.049 each for composition books! So for $2.49 we gave close friends and family Christmas gifts! This was in 2009 and yes, they all still use those same ledgers to this day!
Who knew that such a simple, inexpensive gift would become a family keepsake that would bring unity, fun, laughter, and sometimes tears? To read page after page of the commentary from friends, and family over the years is truly the gift that keeps on giving.
For our readers who have been following us for some time now, you know that the journey we’ve been on, we’ve documented and decided to share pages of our journals on this blog. And it was only through working on this blog that a light bulb went off, and we decided to officially create The Game Ledger!
Now, every family can enjoy and document game nights with friends and family, filled with commentary from sore losers or gloating winners. From our experience, we saw the value in each ledger representing individual families. As a result, we made sure each family could personalize their ledger by writing their family name on the front.
You see, we’ve been down to the bottom, and trust us; we have stories. James 1:2 tells us to count it all joy when fall into various trials. We are so grateful that we didn’t stay down at the bottom; rather we chose to find the joy in our present circumstance.
If we didn’t see the good in a bad situation, the game ledger wouldn’t have been created with a simple notebook. If we hadn’t yielded to the calling of God to move forward and share our journey by creating a blog to inspire others to embrace a lifestyle of living God’s priorities, we would’ve never recognized the opportunity to create The Game Ledger!
On that note, game night anyone? After all, laughter does a body good!
“A cheerful disposition is good for your health.” ~ Proverbs 17:22 (The Message)
PS. We thank all of our readers in advance for your support of Living Our Priorities. It is our pleasure to create a product that would help families prioritize time with those they love. In fact, we are confident that The Game Ledger will become a family keepsake, so much so, that the next time you get ready to play a game, it will be customary for members of your family to say: “get the ledger!”
~ André and Timberley Gray