The board game

Melissa Ann Howell Schier
7 min readSep 29, 2023


Herbert H. Howell and Heidi Ann Howell

I have a photo of my dad playing a game with my older sister. It was “the civil war” game and I remember playing it with my dad. There were lots of little soldiers, cannons, and horses to strategically place on the board. It was a complicated game but my dad and my sister loved strategy.

My older sister was so smart, and got her undergrad degree from William and Mary, after graduating as valedictorian of her senior high school class, and then went on to get her M.B.A., and a law degree at U.T. Austin, as well as her private pilots license, and completed all these in almost half the time it takes most people to complete. She did this also while working as a cocktail waitress at the Magic Time machine restaurant.

I have two sons who went to U.T. Austin as well, but the oldest told me that college was not teaching him anything useful and was in fact trying to dilute his Christian beliefs. He took himself out of college and moved out of Austin and started his own business. That was twenty years ago… and he could see the writing on the wall about the manipulation of public education, even then. Like my sister, my kids all are also brilliant and express this innate intelligence in either financial, social, political, physical or spiritual interactions. Whatever their chosen field, they shine.

I was thinking about my sister and dad and mom and strategy, and recently, when I saw this photo, I marveled at how smart my dad was to teach games that gave us a strong sense of family and strategy, while supporting the strong role my mom played teaching us about God and church and Christianity. I played that war game with my dad as well, and I also learned how to play chess with my dad.

Cleta Friedmann Howell and her five daughters at the birthplace of the first Christian child in the USA.

I know a lot of people play video games but what I love about the games I played growing up, was that in order to be in the game you had to be on board. (sorry could not resist).

But all humor aside, there are a lot of analogies we can get from playing games and in chess for example, if the queen has been taken, at that point, the amount of strategy she knows has no meaning any more, does it? In the game of chess, the people or players do not just remain static…they have to move on the board. And in moving, they either gain “the promised land” or they lose it. We all start out with everything we need right there in front of us…just like on the board. And the only power we have is the good that we do. Allowing ourselves to be kind or be taken by evil is not a positive movement in any board game…or in life. Remember Jesus and his example to evil suggestions…he said BEGONE SATAN. He was not kind, did not embrace evil and did not listen to its suggestions.

The bible tells us about how the people wandered forty years in the desert because they were afraid to go take the land of milk and honey that they were promised.

Painting my dad did of his five little girls praying

As a believer in God, and a believer in the bible, I understand that the kingdom of heaven is here now. We are living in the kingdom and we are “on board” in the game of life, and when we see someone else taking what has been gifted to us by God, we must not surrender it. Remember the Alamo? Remember the war for independence? Remember the civil war? My dad has a plaque that reads, “the only way for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing”.

I recently watched a show called Deputy, where the “driver” was a person named Bishop, who was confused about her gender. But this man who was NOT confused about who he was or what he stood for, LET her drive him. In chess, if my bishop started making moves that allowed my opponent to capture my pawns, or rooks or my queen, it is my problem for letting him “drive” is it not? My dad always drove himself.

In life, we each have one king (God) and we have our protection (the pawns, or people we surround ourselves with who do not have much power but who believe the truth of the bible, like our king). The person we are married to, is the most influential person on our “board” but even when that piece has crossed over to the dark side, we still do not lose when we have our king. I love this analogy.

Who in government are we putting with all the power as queen? Is it someone honest, whom we trust to not betray is, to not position our pieces to be lost or taken by the enemy?

In the game of chess, the players are not “kind” to the opponent. They are in fact doing everything they can to hold on to their religion, their God, their king. And that is the right thing to do. Standing up for good, is not being unkind to the enemy lol and those words are like a snake in the grass. But we can pick up that snake (metaphorically) and make it a staff for us…The way Moses did in the bible. And he took it by the tail…in other words, Moses waited to grab ALL of evil, because he waited until he could see the tail.

A mans home is his castle. In chess, the castle move is one where there is a transfer of positions. The king slides over, and the rook moves into a targeted position while the king is protected. The king as the target is out of reach and the takeover is thwarted…and with God as our king, our success is guaranteed.

Sun Tzu wrote “the art of war” but God as the king, is Spiritual and his ways transcend human ways…and God’s ways are not limited or finite. God has already told us that we will indeed take the promised land easily because our home is our castle and is already ours.

my daughter in red currently doing the Camino pilgrimage in Spain

Today’s bible verse, randomly chosen…Ezekiel 28 26
They will live there in safety and will build houses and plant vineyards; they will live in safety when I inflict punishment on all their neighbors who maligned them. Then they will know that I am the LORD their God.’”

I think God is pretty clear and though it might seem that our country and even this state of Texas is without a king and that the queen has sold out to the other side, the game is not over. Remember when it seemed like there was no food to feed the masses because there were only two loaves and five fishes? The supply of good seemed limited and finite? Well Jesus showed us that with faith and gratitude, good transcends all limitations.

Jesus, who understood principle, blessed what he had, and then, what was needed, multiplied. In the same way, we can “bless” and show gratitude for whatever seemingly limited but Godly leadership we have in Texas and in our capitol, and watch it multiply. The multitudes are not at the mercy of darkness and each of us can fearlessly “handle” the snake of evil doers. We can also block any progress of evil by picking up that snake by the tail. God is on our side.

When we rest in our promised land, it is important to keep about us, bishops who recognize that “Truth” is not relative, and knights who react quickly to stop the progress of evil. We need rooks that move effortlessly to ensure protection and pawns that hold places of strategic advantage.

When we recognize that everything being done against us, is about taking over our “king” we will NOT HESITATE, and will be clear and purposeful, and we will know how to be steadfast and strong and fearless. And we do all that we do for God, in Jesus name, amen.



Melissa Ann Howell Schier

HoustonWorkout on YouTube, mom of five, journalist and artist and conservative who values life.