Wanna Be A Better Dad and/or Person? Two Tips

by admin

In my journey towards being a better Dad and a better person, one battle I have fought is figuring out how to squeeze in time for personal development.  When I look hard at how I spend my day, I recognize that huge swaths of it are wasted, from a lack of self-discipline.  But then the question is, how do I become more self-disciplined, so I can achieve those two goals?

PS.  If you’re new here and you like what you read, you can subscribe to the blog with an RSS reader, or for even more fun, go like our Facebook page!  I drop little tidbits and tips on there more regularly than even here (but I save my long form goodness for this page!)

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Product Review: Skydog Parental Controls

by admin

When I used to work in IT I had the chance to marvel at some state-of-the-art server based monitoring and blocking software for coporations.  I was impressed with the level of control offered and the way the service was constantly updated with classifications relevant to the control of inappropriate content at the office or jobsite.

At the time, family was still in my imagination.  But I thought to myself, “Is there anything like this out there for home use?”  At the time, I was disappointed.

Since then, I have been watching and waiting for a solution to come out that is not PC based.  We have always had multiple computers in our home, from the day we got married.  Those computers have always shared an internet connection through some kind of hub.  But I had never been able to filter internet content upstream of everyone until I finally discovered Skydog.

Image Courtesy of Skydog

Here is the short form of this review: Skydog is nothing less than a must-have for every family which seeks to keep their children from inappropriate and/or dangerous content on any platform from iPads and tablets to PCs to laptops to any other internet-connected device.  It is ridiculously easy to set up, and affords unheard of control to parents over the use of the internet on all devices connected to the network.  FURTHER: it enables you to completely stymie unauthorized connections to your home network unless you SPECIFICALLY approve of them.  This control can even be operated remotely via your smartphone or any internet-connected device, anywhere in the world.  Read the rest of this entry »

The iPhone Mom and Over-Reaction – Godly Grief vs. Worldly Grief

by admin

A few days ago a Facebook note was being shared around the people I am friends with.  It was entitled, “Dear Mom on the iPhone” and it originated, as far as I can tell, with this blog post by a Mom blogging at 4 Little Fergusons.  I was impressed with the thoughtful and timely comment, as there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t see people around town with their kids, but their heads are down, not watching anything but the latest text or Facebook post, or pinterest picture scroll across their smartphone’s screen.  I considered it a very timely message as I myself am often that Dad, even though the letter was written to Moms.On the iPhone

Turns out many people actually found the letter offensive.  Many moms read it and took away from it guilt.  One friend I know read it and then swore not to use her iPhone all day Saturday.  I considered that to be a good thing, and I will explain in a moment what I am talking about it.  But many other moms found their guilt twist into anger.  How dare that woman write such a judgemental article!  How dare she judge me!  She doesn’t know what I go through every day!  Maybe I was using my phone to pay bills, or write a grocery list, or check on a doctor’s appointment location!  How can she sit at her desk and write such hateful things!  I am a good mom!

One of those moms decided to write a defense of iPhone moms.  I read that piece over and was struck by this perspective that judgement was being brought on all iPhone moms everywhere.  One response to her on Facebook went even so far as to suggest that the original piece was meant to encourage people to judge moms on iPhones.  I re-read the original and I don’t see that at all.  I see a woman, a mom, providing a timely reminder to other moms and dads of the perils of allowing ourselves to be distracted by the culture of instant gratification and constant entertainment to the point where we miss our childhood. I didn’t and still don’t see any calls or demands for parents to be 100% focused (dare I say obsessed) with their children constantly.  Only a call for balance.

Because of who I am, I read this whole debate in light of God’s wisdom.  The verse that came flying out at me in reading this argument was this: Read the rest of this entry »

Tech Victory: Sermonizing with Tablets and Kindles

by admin

For over a year I have been enamoured with the idea of preaching from a tablet.  I bought a tablet – an ASUS Transformer Prime, and proceeded to attempt to set it up to be a preaching tool.  Unfortunately I could not get it to do what I wanted, too much of my work still needed to be done on a PC so I retired my tablet, and resold it.  I had bought the same tablet for Cheryl but it stayed around.  I became convinced that tablets weren’t strong enough platforms yet for what I wanted to do – to basically be a replacement for my laptop.

Not that kind of tablet.

However, I still really loved the experience of reading ebooks on tablets.  I became convinced that a Kindle was the better option for me.   Just this week, I managed to convince my wife of this, but I had a problem.  I planned to do my Sunday message from the top of a ladder, and I couldn’t have my laptop up there.  It was either memorize my message, or figure out how to make a tablet work for a preaching platform.

Now, before I get any further, I will say this: I am a bit of a rebel pastor.  I refuse to jump on the Apple bandwagon.  So before you start telling me how much simpler my life would be if only I bought an iMac, Macbook Pro and an iPad (which, by the way, they don’t sell as a discounted set for pastors – I’d be looking at shelling out in the neighbourhood of $3000 for such a package, to say nothing of the purchase of a new version of MS Office for Mac, Logos for Mac, and so on and so on…) needless to say, as a church planter of a yearling church, I don’t draw the salary to be able to afford such extravagances, and am not convinced that they will do what the many Mac evangelists in my life claim they will do.

What I have done takes a PC desktop or laptop, MS Office, and a 10″ tablet of any variety. And I mean any.  You can use an iPad even, if you want (I promise I will try not to judge you.)  The end result is you will take your document prepared in the word processor of your choice, and convert it into a perfect Kindle book, where you can repaginate based on your font sizes, and adjust the margins, font sizes and all other Kindle-tweakable settings you want, allowing you to read, at a glance, your notes while holding your tablet or reading it off a table.  

Here’s how.

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