March 18, 2011

New Toys, New Looks

Well.  This year has been a year of new things for me.  I had some ipad envy when Apple introduced them a year or so ago, but resisted the urge to run out and get one simply because I didn't know how functional it would be for me.  I didn't really dig into it much because I knew I would really, really want one and I would have trouble holding back.  To my surprise, I received an ipad as an anniversary gift from the people of South Lansing Christian Church in January.  Its an awesome piece of hardware that is both functional for my ministry and very fun to play with.

The other new toy I got this year was a 24 inch imac computer.  When my friend, Mark, bought it a few years ago, I had a bit of computer envy.  It is simply big and beautiful.  Lucky for me, he wanted to revert back to a windows system.  He made me a great deal on it, and so now it has a new home on the corner of my desk in my office.  It is beautiful!

With the ipad and the new/used imac, though, I got a new perspective of the look of pages on the internet.  Back in the day the standard was a standard aspect ratio--800 by 600 or 1024 by 768--just like my current 27 inch tube tv.  Now everything is in a widescreen or HD format.  Since my ipad is intuitive and wants everything to look perfect, it resizes and shifts everything to where it needs to be. My imac, on the other hand, shows everything like it is, especially when the web browser is set to full screen.  That made my last blog layout look horrible since it only filled half the screen and was justified to the left.  That called for a new look.

As with my last rework of this blog, this one was just as painless.  I searched for a little bit, downloaded a few templates, and did some experimentation.  What you see is the result.  Thank you nerdy people who build templates for nerdy/yet incapable people like me.

Now if my imac and my ipad could help me to be more cool . . . I know, I'm already cool enough! 

March 14, 2011

Stuff and Things

Its been awhile since I've blogged. I've had some stuff on my mind and wanted to write a few things down, but haven't had the chance or taken the time to do that. I'm trying to do some of that tonight, though I don't know how profitable it will be for me or for you. We will see what spills out of my brain.

My mind tonight is torn between joy and thanksgiving and utter sorrow. I'll start with the joy and thanksgiving first. This past Sunday, the church that I work for celebrated the 10 year anniversary of our Childrens minister, Betty Allen. To thank her, they are sending her on a two week vacation. She and her hubby will first spend a week at a time share in the hills of one of the Carolinas. Then, they will head to the coast and take a cruise to somewhere beautiful and warm. Not too shabby, eh? I received similar blessings a few months earlier when I celebrated my 10 year anniversary. Its a joy to work at a place that loves on you like that. It makes you work harder and love them more. Its a beautiful thing.

This past weekend I got to participate in Statewide, a yearly teen conference put together by some of the area ministers. I've been involved for 10 years. Its always great to watch the yearly planning come to fruition in a great weekend. This year's convention was even better than expected in my opinion for several reasons. One reason is that my friend, Jason Miller, was the main speaker. I've known Jason since the mid 90s. Back then he was a preppy high school kid at Michiana Christian Service Camp. He's grown into an amazing worship leader and teacher. Its been cool to watch him grow up and have at least a small influence on his life. God has done some amazing things in his life and will continue to do so!

The second reason the weekend was stellar is a man named Merl Judy. Merl is a retired guy who lives in Buchanan, Michigan. He has served alongside the people responsible for planning and facilitating Statewide. For the last 11 years he has handled all the registration details of our conference--interfacing with the hotel each year to make sure we have all the rooms we need, dealing with all the paperwork that the churches send in to register, and so on and so on. He has been an amazing blessing to us. unfortunately, his health is getting in the way of him continuing on with us. This was his last year to work with us. Its awesome to work beside faithful people who love something with passion and tenacity. Merl is an example of servanthood!

Yet, in all of this good, there is such sorrow. In the midst of all my joy and thanksgiving, the current events of the world pull at my heart. As I sit here tonight in my dining room and revel in the life going on around me, people on the other side of the globe are awakening to their fourth day of hell as they cope and come to grips with the destruction and death that happened during the earthquake and tsunami on Friday. Before blogging, I came across another video of the water coming on shore and destroying a city. I sat here for six minutes and watched the power of the water and the destruction that happened. Just before that I looked at the various pictures posted on Boston Globe's Big Picture website. Its hard to fathom the amount of destruction and loss of life.

I feel so helpless right here, right now. I've been praying for Japan and those affected since I saw the first images on the tv Friday morning. We took a little time Saturday morning at Statewide to pray. But, embarrassingly, life has continued on. I've prayed when I thought about it and when I visit my Yahoo page, but it hasn't been a constant. When I see the images my heart hurts for those there. But, as I continue on, life goes on around me . . . it feels like it distracts me. It makes me feel like there is something more that I need to do. Feel is to easy and soft. It makes me know there is something more that I need to do. The question is, what do I need to do and how am I going to do it.

Lord, give me direction to what actions you want me do.