In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning (John 1:1-2 NIV).

Poetry. The book of John is pure poetry, especially the prologue (John 1:1-18). It's one place I like to go when I need a dose of beauty. In a world of pop-culture, I need those doses regularly.

Over the summer, my twenty-year-old daughter, Maddie, was lamenting all the pop-culture I was responsible for making her miss during her childhood. "Mom," she said, "when people my age talk about 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' or 'Strawberry Shortcake,' I'm lost." This made me laugh. "What was so bad about 'Strawberry Shortcake'?" she asked.

"What's so bad about (fill in the blank)?"

This is a question my children have asked me and I have asked myself hundreds of times over the years. We've asked it about all sorts of books, movies, and activities. It seems to me, we only have so much free time — time set up for no purpose other than enjoyment and we can choose things that are "not bad," or we can choose things of value.

Early in parenting I wanted to give my kids only value. So while other children were reading books about a babysitting club, mine were reading the "Wind in the Willows" and "Misty of Chincoteague." I softened my stance somewhat as the years unfolded, so by the time my son was old enough, he saw all the "Star Wars" movies (I only liked the original three). Maddie laments this, too — how Spencer had it better. I try not to laugh.

One of my favorite verses of the Bible was written by Paul in a very intimate portion of his letter to the Philippians as he seeks to instruct them how to live:

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things (Philippians 4:8 NIV).

I'm glad she couldn't see me smiling!
I'm not immune to pop-culture and I admit to watching things that are "not bad" and sometimes, even things I know veer straight into "bad." These things don't edify me in any way; in fact, if I'm not careful, they erode my convictions. But sometimes I watch them. That's when I need a dose of "pure" or "lovely" or "admirable." That's when my husband and I trek to some beautiful part of God's world, or I listen to "Pachebelle's Cannon" or I read the poetry of the book of John.

The other day, Maddie called to say she was tired of seeing little girls who dress too old for their age — that when she has children, she is going to pick "nice, age-appropriate clothes." I was glad we were on the phone and she couldn't see me smiling.

Maybe I'll surprise her the next time she comes home. I'll put together a "Strawberry Shortcake Fest" complete with videos, shortcake, and balloons. Time spent with her laughing — that's worthwhile.