Thursday, February 28, 2013

A New App

My son Michael has a character flaw that comes from being half me.  Though brilliant, loving, and awesome in so many ways...he really struggles with letting his attitude be blown by the wind of circumstances.  All it takes sometimes is not being able to play a video game or perhaps playing one and performing poorly and his attitude is in the gutter.  We've done our best to teach him age appropriate responses to his feelings of disappointment and anger.  But he still tends to make a production out of things that most seven year old's have put behind them.  His two biggest outbursts being baby-like whining and full blown toddler-type tantrums.

This past weekend I appealed to two parts of his personality in attempt to curb this behavior; his very logical mind, and his adventurous love for games and points systems.  I took out my iPhone and told him I had this new app.  It was actually the factory installed calculator that comes with the phone, so by new I actually meant we were going to use it in a new way.  I put "100" on the screen and explained that he would start every day with one hundred points.  Every time he did his chores, homework, and daily tasks with a good attitude, he would get ten points added to the total.  When he had slip ups, he would lose ten points.

He was so excited about earning points that he not only kept a good attitude with very minimal slips but he started seeking out opportunities to do things for his mom, his sister, and was volunteering to do all this extra stuff.  He was conversely so horrified at the idea of losing ten points that all it took was me briefly warning him that might happen for him to snap back into shape.  Now every night before bed, he wants me to tell him what his score for the day was and we proudly mark it on his calendar so he can keep track of his best days and highest records.  Who'd a thunk?  It just goes to show, once you figure out how a particular person is motivated and implement or adapt your style to fit into their paradigm just how much they can thrive.  So my new, most favorite app right now is the calculator.

I highly recommend you give it a shot, especially if you have a little boy that loves to earn video game points!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The End Is Near - 14.0


The idea of this series is to share five links to various sites that show evidence that we are living in the End Times. You will quickly see that for every link that may lead you to a serious article or news coverage that looks to be straight out of Revelation, there will be several more that are just tongue-in-cheek and meant to be funny.

I am not a date setter. Scripture says we will know the "season" of the end but not the time or day. And since a day is to God as a 1000 years is to us...there is really no telling how long a season might be. Here are just a few reasons I think we are in the season of The End...

Weather & Natural Disasters - Revelation and just about any good Armageddon movie never lack earthquakes, tidal waves, or just about any kind of mass destruction scenario.  Current weather patterns and seismic activity these days seems to warrant further study.  Check out this week's offering:

1. Weatherman Goes Nutty Over Approaching Storms

Social/Political Unrest - The End Times set up tragic scenarios so that the Antichrist can come on the scene playing the role of hero and savior.  As movements toward economic disaster and one world government become more and more obvious, we submit the following link for consideration:

2. Is Rex84 Going to Happen?

Sci-Fi Becomes Reality - When what we once thought possible ONLY on the silver screen or in SciFi novels starts to become a reality, its worth taking note.  Check out this week's example:

3. Telekenesis, Telepathy, and Tattoos...Oh my!

Prophecy Becomes Reality There are no shortage of Christian and pagan prophesies about the End Times.   We know the Mayans and Harold Camping are wrong but what about this?

4. Is this the LAST Pope?

The Truly Bizarre- Kind of a catch all category for the unexplained phenomena like thousands of dead birds just falling out of the sky.  What do you think about this crazy example?

5. Sky full of spiders

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Heroes & Hope 10



We live in trifling and uncertain times. I tend to highlight the more concerning topics fairly often. So in effort to be fair and balanced, it seems appropriate for me to present another series that highlights people, events, accomplishments, and the rays of light God gives us for encouragement sake.

This week I have eighty-two year old Terry Miracle who managed to tackle a burglary suspect 1/3 his age.  It seems police were chasing a suspect through Terry's neighborhood while he was out weeding his garden.  As the chase approached his home, Mr. Miracle remembered his high school tackling drills and assumed a stance ready for the approaching crook.

Right on cue, Terry lunged with a cross-body-block and tripped up the suspect allowing for police to catch up and detain the man.  When asked by reporters how he was feeling, he admitted to being a little bit sore but otherwise fine.  True to his last name this man did the miraculous and has earned his spot on our highlight reel.

Full story and video news coverage HERE.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Immediate Consequences

My son Michael enters the house crying.  It was the kind of cry that informed us he was hurt but not seriously.  Upon asking what happened, he anxiously tattled on his sister, hoping to get her in trouble.

"Mackenzie threw a ball at me and hit me in the head!"

They had been playing basketball in the driveway so our first assumption was, it was an accident and we offered this explanation to Michael.

"No, she did it on purpose."  When asked how he knew that he said, "because I told her she couldn't get me, so she threw the ball at me to prove she could."

I was already fighting a huge grin, thinking "That-a-girl." but I contained myself and asked him how wise he thought it was to taunt someone, now that it got him hurt?  He continued to plead a case intent on his sister being punished and claiming hitting him in the head was not a fair response to his taunts, so we finally asked for her side of the story.  Turns out his taunting was a bit more specific.  He actually said, "Bet you can't hit me in the head with that ball!"

Again, doing my best to not bust out laughing, I turned to Michael and sent him to his room for lying.  Several minutes later I sat in his room explaining the reason for his punishment and why we don't lie.  He is often harder on himself than we are, and this was no exception.  He insisted that he stay in his room until dinner time.  So we talked about forgiveness of others and of ourselves before I left the room encouraging him to not stay in there for much longer.

I know I shouldn't be amused at these kinds of events but I was.  I couldn't help re-imagining the scene as he taunted his sister to try and hit him in the head, only for her to bean him something good.  He learned three very tough but immediate lessons.

1. Don't ask for it unless you want it.
2. Lying will not be tolerated.
3. His sister has deadly aim...better not mess with her!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Photo Friday Frenzy - 101


Category: How Ironic

Vote closed. Winner: Poorly placed sign.

Instructions: Vote on your favorite two photos. You have from Friday (today) until Monday morning to make your selection. Mobile phone users must scroll down and click on View Web Version to vote.

Click on images to enlarge them.


Rusty Revenge


Poorly placed sign


Which is it?


You're Welcome?


Outsmarted


Except for this!


Conquering Fears


Croc VS Croc

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Weird About Waste

The recent cruise ship catastrophe has taught me at least two things.  (1) Carnival Cruise Lines is officially never going to get one dollar of my travelling budget as this most recent catastrophe is just ONE of their many incidents throughout the years.  (2) People are very strange about their poop.  The most horrifying fact that came out of this vacation-gone-bad besides being trapped on a floating, non-functional city in the middle of the ocean is that people were pooping in plastic bags and storing it on the boat.

I understand that the plumbing wasn't working.  I also understand that the cruise line probably told people to take care of business in this way.  But may I remind everyone, loyalty to Carnival ended when the plumbing broke down AND your in the middle of THE OCEAN!!  If our saline seas can handle whale excrement,  I do believe a stranded boat and its passengers can safely make a few deposits until better options present themselves.  What is so toxic about human waste compared to the millions of marine animals currently underwater making the ocean their toilet?

And this phenomenon isn't relegated to just our aquatic adventures.  Apparently we now have a culture of campers and hikers that keep their deposits in plastic bags to take out with them.  "Pack out what you pack in" is no longer just a mantra reminding you not to leave trash behind.  The aforementioned reminders about all other creatures big and small still applies here but may I also point out that we are talking about a biodegradable substance that is quite commonly used to fertilize the ground?  Suddenly human waste is somehow toxic but the cow manure we spread to help produce a bumper crop is good for the environment.

We are a crazy bunch, aren't we?

Monday, February 18, 2013

So Connected We're Disconnected

My wife and I talked about what we might want to give up for Lent.  Several ideas came to mind and I even had the audacity to suggest television.  But we landed on compromise with a decision that was almost as crazy...our phones.  To be more specific we decided that from the time we get home (her from picking up the twins from school and me from work) our iPhones are off limits.  If someone calls, we can answer but that is all.  No checking email, no getting on Facebook, no glimpses at tomorrows weather report.

If your family is anything like mine you immediately understand the reasoning behind this.  We tend to go overboard with how connected we are that we end up ignoring one another and even fail to be engaged with the kids at times.  Thankfully we're not so bad that we text each other during a dinner date but that seems the most logical next step.  In a great twist of irony, this technology which is meant to keep us connected with others, can actually cause a disconnect with those you are closest too.  It's amazing to think about what we did during commercials before smart phones existed!

It's also amazing how second nature it becomes to just grab the phone and start opening applications.  A few times now both of us have had to remind the other of our goal.  My hope is by the end of this experiment we will have created a new habit such that when the deadline allows for a return to normal...we won't fully return to that particular normal.  Like many things, this technology can be used in good ways as its a blessing from God to be able to be such big parts of so many peoples lives.  But as usual, good can be perverted and  a foothold leads to extremes and failure to properly categorize priorities.

Can you relate?  Is this a problem in your home?  Leave some comments with your personal experiences on this topic!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Photo Friday Frenzy - 100

Category: Mini Vans

Vote closed. Winner: Buzzkill to Emo Rep!

Instructions: Vote on your favorite two photos. You have from Friday (today) until Monday morning to make your selection. Mobile phone users must scroll down and click on View Web Version to vote.

Click on images to enlarge them.


Expanding Family


Sargent Mommy


A buzz kill to his Emo rep!


Taking it off-road


I pity the tailgater!


Just a few modifications


Never anger a Soccer Mom!


Yar! Swab to poop deck matey.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Problem with WWJD

Maybe I should just say the problem is with those of us using the methodology and leave it at that.  I highly doubt I would raise an eyebrow or offend in the least.  But, perhaps against my better judgement, I expound on the limitations of this pop culture, albeit Christian, methodology that has swept through our culture and is even well known by the unbelieving public.

Watch today's video blog on the matter and let me know your thoughts.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Heroes & Hope 9.0


We live in trifling and uncertain times. I tend to highlight the more concerning topics fairly often. So in effort to be fair and balanced, it seems appropriate for me to present another series that highlights people, events, accomplishments, and the rays of light God gives us for encouragement sake.

This week I have fifteen year old, Jack Andraka who has revolutionized early cancer detection. Yes even before being able to legally operate a motor vehicle this young man has developed a simple dip stick sensor that tests for mesothelin which is a component found in the blood and urine with patients who have the early stages of pancreatic cancer.

Jacks motivation came from frustrations over losing a family friend to the disease.  As he sat in science class, admittedly not paying attention to the lecture, the idea hit him.  His prize-winning invention is not only revolutionary due to his age and brilliant methods but also due to its affordability and effectiveness.  Current methods of testing are very expensive and sadly very ineffective unless the patient has already progressed to stage four.  And the statistics for survival at such a stage for even one year is 20%.  Surviving for five years drops down to 4%.

We need more heroic fifteen year old's like this, wouldn't you say?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

One Less God?

There exists an atheist explanation of their world view that makes us "not-so-different" when you boil things down.  I've made a similar claim with THIS video but on a completely different basis.  In this presentation, the atheist invites you to analyze your views of deity.  You don't believe in Allah, you don't believe in Vishnu, and you don't believe in Zeus, right?  Well, we just take it one step further and also fail to believe in Yahweh.  We believe in one less god than you.

I must admit, even as I type those words it appears to make some sense.  It appears to truly capture the difference between us and render it a thin veil.  But is that what we actually believe?  Not at all.  Or at least that isn't what I believe.  When taking a look at other world religions, I don't take so haughty a stance as to say they have NO good reason to believe god X exists.  Some have personal encounters with these beings just like many Christians claim to have with their Father in heaven.  So are they justified in following their object of worship?  Is their object of worship truly nothing or is it perhaps a competitor of our God?

Let's look to Scripture for an answer.  And it seems we have two potential possibilities as both the Old and New testaments contain explanations of what "idols" actually are.

1. Case One - they are nothing.  In this scenario, the atheist's one less god argument gains a bit of steam and merit.  One of the funniest verses in the Bible describes this humorous scene: Isaiah 44:14-17  Here we have a man that cuts down a tree.  He uses half of it fuel a fire, keeping himself warm and allowing him to cook some meat.  The other half he carves into an idol that he falls down to worship.  So apparently this god of his  doesn't mind being chopped and burnt, so long as a portion of him is reserved for proper adoration.  It's safe to say this kind of idol is, indeed, a man-made object with nothing of substance behind it.

2.  Case Two - they are actual entities.  Notice I didn't say actual gods. It's true there is only One God.  But Lucifer's great sin was to desire that title, counting himself more worthy and deserving of it.  He took a 1/3 of the angels in heaven and got them to follow him and support the idea before being kicked out.  Where did they fall?  Indeed, the earth.  And do you think these demons or Satan have stopped desiring to set themselves up as gods? Of course not.  Consider these verses as support for my point that many idols are indeed real entities posing as gods: 1 Cor 10:20,28 | 1 Cor 8:4-6 | Acts 17:16-18 | Psalms 106:36-39 | Deut 32:16-24.

One less god is partly true, like just about every good lie.  There is only One that has the title and no others that can rightly claim it.  There are cases of people worshiping objects that have no entity associated with it.  But as you can see, that's not the entire story.  And if End Times narratives soon come to pass, we are headed for a time when the demonic activity only gets more interesting.  Movies and many modern cultural references seem to be preparing us for a time when the gods of the ancient days return.  Revelation boldly predicts that if God didn't cut the time short, that even the elect (His people) might be deceived.  Perhaps some of the prevailing predictions that they will "pretend to be extra terrestrials" bringing us new knowledge and technologies isn't as far fetched as it once seemed.  Something on that level of spectacular would need to happen if even the elect could be deceived.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Date With A Princess

Last Friday I took my beautiful daughter to her first dance.  Thankfully God gave me at least one other member of this family that enjoys cutting a rug.  She and I are the types that cannot hear a song without bobbing our heads to the beat or just belting out the words at the top of our lungs.  But for me this Daddy/Daughter event was an opportunity for more than just grooving to the beat.  It was my first of many opportunities (I hope) to show her what we boys should be doing for the ladies in our lives.

Opening doors, driving them to the event, offering our jacket or helping them with the sweater when its cold, giving them our arm or hand and we walk into the dance hall, again opening doors, fetching the punch and cookies, and of course making them feel special the entire time.  Mackenzie had a blast and I certainly got a workout.  She didn't quite understand the concept of taking a break from the dance floor.  Like a younger version of me, when there is a beat in the air and other people still on the dance floor, that is where she must be.  So my tired bones gladly sacrificed as energy levels were put to the test by continually dancing for most of the hour and a half long event.

Slow dances were my only real break.  We took turns between letting her stand on my feet and just holding her and letting her head rest on my shoulder.  The latter method is how we ended the evening to the song Butterfly Kisses. It was all I could do to keep tears from streaming down my cheeks, holding her and knowing these days will be short.  Tomorrow she will be sixteen and the day after that she will be married with kids all her own.  Boys that aren't her daddy will take her to dances and movies.  And there will come a day where her head rests on my shoulder without having to hold her up.  So in addition to hopefully setting the bar for any future suitors  I took in the moment and mentally froze time.  I let the seven year old version of Mackenzie in my arms really soak in and etch an eternal memory.

A memory I won't soon forget!

Friday, February 08, 2013

Photo Friday Frenzy - 99


Category: OCD Test

Vote closed. Winner: Fig Newtons


Instructions: Vote on your favorite two photos. You have from Friday (today) until Monday morning to make your selection. Mobile phone users must scroll down and click on View Web Version to vote.

Click on images to enlarge them.


Office Supplies


Fig Newtons


Hired an OCD Valet


Phone cords.


Broken Arrow


Gas Pump


Tile Placement


Wacky Window

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Razor Blade Madness

Men still pay around $15 for a haircut and that is only up a few dollars from my childhood.  I speculate that inflation alone accounts for the few extra bucks in 2013.  The reason?  We won't pay more than that.  If you even try to charge us more (YES, I'm looking at you SportsClips) we move on.  I have almost zero loyalty to who shaves my head with a number two guard and trims a little off the top.  I must be in relative good company or else our prices would be closer to what the ladies pay.

So with such facts in mind, I must ask companies like Gillette and Shick what in the WORLD they are thinking with their replacement blade prices?  I get it.  Get them hooked with our triple razor comfort shave.  Give them a free razor when they turn 18 and hope they're customers for life.  And it might have worked if not for the severe increases in the last decade to the lowly four pack.  I used to think $5.99 was about as high as I felt comfortable with but now you're lucky to find them on sale for $11.95.

But I was stuck. Unlike the hair salon market where there is competition on every corner helping me shove it to the man, keeping prices low...the razor market has very poor alternatives.  Gillette, Shick, Braun, Norelco...they all have similar prices.  So unless you want to tear up your face with disposable razors, you pay the piper.  That was until recently when the Dollar Shave Club came to my rescue.  And though I cannot give the Youtube ad rave reviews due to the use of an explicative, the ad was funny and made a good point. Why pay for razors with three blades and vibration tech when all you need is a simple, no fuss, cost effective tool to get the job done?

I now pay $1 per month for FIVE blades to be sent directly to my house.  Well $3.00 with shipping included.  Darn you FedEx!  But still an annual budget of $36.00 for monthly delivery of 5 blades is a wonderful, wonderful new reality.  If these were Gillette blades the same service WITHOUT delivery charges would be $178.80 since their 5 blade pack costs around $14.90.  Factor in taxes plus shipping and you'd easily pay over $200.  I hope Dollar Shave Club becomes the Netflix thorn in the proverbial "Block Buster-Gillette-Goliath's" side.  They will either be forced to compete or go out swinging.

Click HERE if you want to join in the rebellion!

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Set Apart: Lust & Pornography

Driving home a few days ago I meditated on the idea of being "set apart" in the way Scripture describes it.  Two distinct thought streams hit me as this process took place.  (1) I questioned just how different I am from the unbelieving average Joe's of this world.  Am I set apart or am I fading into a background of worldliness making it impossible for others to know the difference?  (2) In Jeff Foxworthy fashion, I began thinking about all the ways "You Might Be a Worldly Person if" and came up with several issues that face us as Christians.

I concluded that I am still a work in progress although I do have several issues God has brought me through. I became encouraged as I reflected on old patterns and habits put aside and reinvigorated about the current issues He's bringing me through now.  Scripture makes us a promise.  That God will finish the good work He began in us.  So while we still have to practice dying to self daily and though we still have certain sin struggles that we've yet to conquer...we can take this promise to heart with the confidence that these difficulties are temporary.

Today I created an uploaded part one in what will probably be a series of Set Apart videos on Youtube.  And why not start with a big splash and go straight for a rather taboo and hot button issue like Lust and Pornography?  This issue is rampant in our culture and even in our churches.  And though men and women experience sexual sin often in different ways, both sexes have struggles in this area.  God calls us to stop conforming to the pattern of this world.  Ready for that challenge?


Monday, February 04, 2013

The End Is Near 13.0


The idea of this series is to share five links to various sites that show evidence that we are living in the End Times. You will quickly see that for every link that may lead you to a serious article or news coverage that looks to be straight out of Revelation, there will be several more that are just tongue-in-cheek and meant to be funny.

I am not a date setter. Scripture says we will know the "season" of the end but not the time or day. And since a day is to God as a 1000 years is to us...there is really no telling how long a season might be. Here are just a few reasons I think we are in the season of The End...

Machines on the Rise - In the vein of movies like Terminator, one of the categories that is growing quite common in this series is how advanced our robotics technology is becoming. This week, we have two such example:

1. Woman Controls Robotic Arm with Mind

2. Robot Toddler Named Diego

Sci-Fi Becomes Reality - When what we once thought possible ONLY on the silver screen or in SciFi novels starts to become a reality, its worth taking note.  Check out this week's example:

3. Dogs Can Drive

Medical Advances- This area of human advancement is moving rapidly.  From DNA manipulation to growing organs, our understanding of medicine is truly peaking to an all time high.  The question is...is that always a good thing?

4. Medically Assisted Bulimia?

The Truly Bizarre- 1 Corinthians 1:20-27 tells is that wisdom and foolishness will be flipped and appear to be backwards.  Our first headline to qualify for this category sure seems to prove this passage true:

5. Satanists FOR Prayer in School

Friday, February 01, 2013

Photo Friday Frenzy - 98


Category: Superbowl Sunday

Vote closed.  Winner: Epic Snack Bowl


Instructions: Vote on your favorite two photos. You have from Friday (today) until Monday morning to make your selection. Mobile phone users must scroll down and click on View Web Version to vote.

Click on images to enlarge them.


Epic Snack Bowl

Sounds Accurate


Ref's Nightmare


Watching in denial...


Wing-Cakes


Who will Mom cheer for?


Football Slices


Shhh...a commercial is coming on!