Thursday, May 27, 2010

Kids just aren't safe anymore

The latest menace is Silly Bandz.  Those shaped rubber bands -- the ones that look like animals or rockets or waves -- could be dangerous to your children.  Sound the alarm. 

As it turns out, these rubber bands could actually constrict the flow of blood to the hands.  It's the tourniquet effect.  Some kids like to wear hundreds of these bands, all up and down their arms.  Having lots of Silly Bandz indicates high status on the playground.  

Maybe the government will require the manufacturer to have a warning label.  Maybe they will tell you how many you can safely wear on your arm.  Maybe they will put these behind the counter at Wal-Mart, so only responsible adults can purchase them.  There could be public service announcements. 

"Parents, do you really know how many Silly Bandz your child has on his arm?  Oh it looks like fun, but wearing these bands could result in gangrene.  Is it really worth it?"

Or parents could instruct their children not to cut off their blood flow.  Is it too much to expect parents to teach common sense to their kids?

Of course, you can cut off your circulation with ordinary rubber bands, too.  When I did that as a kid, my mom told me not to.  "It can cut off your circulation," she told me.  Wow, apparently she's smarter than a lot of parents today.  And I still remember the lesson.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Paper or electrons

I'm considering getting an old-fashioned paper calendar again.  For years I carried a pocket Day-Timer everywhere I went.  Then, in 2003 I got a Palm Pilot PDA.  I could justify spending the money because I would no longer have to buy those expensive Day-Timers every year.

Well, the PDA was not everything I had hoped for.  It did a fair job keeping me organized, but I never enjoyed entering "graffiti" with a stylus.  When I got my first laptop in 2006, I could carry my computer with my Outlook calendar.  Who needs a PDA?  I used Outlook's calendar fairly well for a few years.  This year I had to get a new laptop, and I planned to purchase the Microsoft Office suite, including Outlook.  The clerk told me that MS is moving away from Outlook.  They have something newer and better.  Fine.  I got Office without Outlook, and went looking for a new calendar system.

For now I'm using Google Calendar.  It's OK for an electronic calendar.

But here is my problem with electronic calendars:  There is no real permanent record.  I suppose I could dredge up my Palm PDA software and try to find the files on my old desktop.  But I think that all those files have now been deleted.  I can turn on my old laptop and pull up my Outlook data from the archives.

Eventually I'll donate these old computers to Good Will or something.  Before I do, I'll reformat the hard drives and get rid of all that information.  I suppose I could copy the files onto some storage device, and hope that I could pull out the info later if needed.  Nah.  It's too much trouble.

But with my old paper calendars, I've got all that history right at my fingertips.  I know right where they are (more or less).  When I pull them out, there are no compatibility issues, no archives to dig through.

Popular formats of electronic calendars will probably change every few months from now on.  Whatever I choose will be obsolete in a matter of mere months.  But paper is always there.  Yeah, I could print out my electronic calendar every month, but that's too much trouble.  I'm not even sure how to do it.

So, why do I want a permanent record anyway?  Hey, I've looked back through those old Day Timers many times.  I nearly always find exactly what I'm looking for.  But rarely have I looked through my Outlook or Palm files.  I'm not sure that old info is even there.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Getting Connected at Connection Point

We had our first fellowship meal at Connection Point yesterday!  Of course we ate pizza and sat on boxes on the last Sunday in March, but this was our first real meal.  Our hospitality team did a great job planning, coordinating and serving the meal. 

We also had  special prayer time in our worship celebration, asking God to provide for our financial needs.  We are "this close" to having all our work paid for, but the home stretch of paying our last subcontractor bills has been a real challenge.  It is really hard for a church hit hard by unemployment to go to the well again.

In the spirit of Hezekiah's prayer in 2 Kings 19, we took the bills and laid them out before the Lord in worship.  We asked him to provide, not knowing how he would choose to do so.  As it turned out, we received enough special offerings to pay the most urgent bills.  We also received a challenge from an anonymous donor.  The donor promises to match all our gifts received next Sunday!  I never saw that coming.  But then, that's how God works -- with surprises.  He also always provides for the the things he calls for. 

We are getting connected at Connection Point, but we are not there yet.  While we were enjoying fellowship after worship, my daughter (who had left earlier) was trying to reach me and Lisa on the cell phone.  Unfortunately, still no cell signal in the building.  We are working on that!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Why are you alone?

Sometimes we face situations by ourselves.  When David was fleeing from Saul in 1Sam. 21, he runs to the priest at Nob.  The priest asks, "Why are you alone?  Why is no one with you?"  The priest knew David, and knew that he never traveled alone.  The priest was obviously -- and rightfully -- concerned about David's situation.

We may need to ask that question more these days.  Might need to ask ourselves the question.  Why am I facing this situation all alone?  Am I shutting people out?  Am I avoiding meaningful conversations?  Or is this situation just one of things you have to do alone?  I think that only a very few situations are really that isolating.  We just choose to go it alone.  And it only makes it worse.

David's response to the question is interesting.  Like any normal person, he lies.  "Oh...uh...I'm on a secret mission for the king.  Yeah, that's it."  Sure you are.  I get the feeling that the priest doesn't buy it, but he agrees to help David anyway.  He gives him bread and a sword.

Does anyone ever ask you why you are living life alone?  Do you respond truthfully to that?  If you are a loner, you may be cutting yourself off from the best things in life.  After all, the best things in life are relationships, not achievements. 

We work so hard to achieve something in life.  If we succeed, then we may become proud and self-centered.  If we fail, we may feel dejected and worthless.  But "success" in the world's eyes is really not the point.

What we really long for is relationship.  That is the substance of fulfillment in life.  God gives us a relationship with him through Jesus Christ.  He then empowers every other relationship we have.

We don't have to do life alone.  Reach out to someone.