2 iPad or not 2 iPad?

I am not a techie.  Not by any stretch of the imagination.  I’m not even a Mac disciple, though I am getting there–slowly getting there.

Recently I gave into temptation.  I purchased an iPad for myself to give my writing productivity a shot in the proverbial arm.  I own an old Lenovo Thinkpad laptop (bought in 2004) that is quite a dinosaur.  Hubbie gave it to me for Mother’s Day, and I was thrilled when I got it!  I have tap-tapped out my stories and novels on it in the past quite happily.

However, all good things must come to an end.  I have no idea how much memory the Thinkpad came equipped with or how much usable space I have left on it.  All I know is that it’s old.  And slow.  And terribly frustrating.

Why the jump to an iPad?  I belong to a couple of writers’ loops and follow the trends people discuss there.  There has been a recurring thread about what items folks are bringing to the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in September, and an iPad is an oft-mentioned one.  Since I am also attending and wanted a device to keep up with things at home and at the conference, my ears perked up.  The reasons they cited for packing an iPad and not a laptop?  Its size, ease of use in a lecture setting, and all those darned cool apps that one can get to navigate iPadom.

At the Apple store I bought the least expensive one (to thy own self be true!), a WiFi unit with only 16KB memory.  It’s aluminum with black trim.  It’s sleek and thin.  Incredibly thin and light.  Just a little bulkier than my Kindle e-reader. After test-driving a Brookstone case/external keyboard for the iPad that exported some keys to weird positions, I’m going to return the case to the store.  In its place I’ve ordered a Logitec aluminum case/external keyboard off the internet that has the regular Qwerty keyboard which should enable me to type at close to my normal pace.

How am I faring in MacLand?  So far, pretty good.  Supposedly you must be an intuitive thinker to navigate Apple products.  Being used to a PC, I found some things very nonintuitive, at least for me.  Yesterday during the yucky weather of the hurricane’s aftermath, I played with it for hours.  (Did I mention it has a very cool 10-HOUR battery?)  Of course I hit a few snags along the way, while  synching everything up or trying to navigate my way to a certain place.  Hubby, who is fluent in Mac, was able to slide screens and punch up a few invisible keys for me in order to send me contentedly on my way.

I know, I know, this was a big expense to be sucked into.  I thought I might feel that way, but 48 hours out from the purchase I’m pleasantly surprised.  The iPad’s size and accessibility factor sold me.  I want to be able to slip it into my purse. . whip it out to write on when I have a few minutes. . check my email or FB while lounging in a hot spot. . .listen to my iPod tunes. . . jot sermon and meeting notes on it.

So far, so good. . .now I just have to figure how to password-proof myself out of Spy Mouse so I can get some real work done. . . .

Lookin’ up,

Sislyn

On ‘Quakes and ‘Canes

I did a quick topical study of verses that included “earthquake” and other words for natural disasters in the Bible.  Here’s some of what I found:

Before sending judgement, God sometimes visited Israel and their embittered enemies  with disasters:

Isaiah 29:6

6 the LORD Almighty will come with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with windstorm and tempest and flames of a devouring fire.

And who could forget the famous passage where Elijah encounters God in the cave on Mount Horeb?

I Kings 19: 9-18

9 The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his faceand went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” 15 The LORD said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel–all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.

And in a similar account in Matthew and Mark, Jesus recounts disasters to come before the end times:

Mark 13:3-8

3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?” 5 Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 6 Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many. 7 When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 8 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.

In the hours since, I have watched news accounts of the “Great Eastern US Quake of 2011.”   I saw frightened faces fleeing large buildings, especially on the heels of the upcoming anniversary of September 11th.  Panicked calls flooded 9-1-1 stations.  Buildings did topple in some instances, and property was destroyed.  Our mainframe of peace and tranquility was rattled a bit.

In the next news bite, Hurricane Irene was shown to be picking up steam and predicted to hit North Carolina’s coast in a few days.  Even the central portion of a state like North Carolina can be devastated by a strong hurricane.  Ask those in the Triangle with a memory of Fran from ’96–we know to pay attention to the warnings and take action.

Not that I am predicting that Jesus is coming anytime soon, but we do need to be aware that God uses natural disasters to get our attention.  All through the Bible He has sent fires, windstorms, earthquakes, famines, floods, you name it–to engage us in a “come to Jesus meeting.”   And it’s not just for the folks whom we think have turned their back on God; no, it’s meant for those of us who know Christ too.  Sometimes He sends it especially just for us–look how many times God used disasters to address the wandering hearts of Israel.

I think Jesus’ words above should strike a chord of awareness in us but should also comfort us.  The wars worldwide, the natural disasters on our doorstep, are all under his His control, His dominion.  Whatever He sends to get our attention also firmly fastens in our minds and hearts that yes, HE IS GOD.  He won’t spare us suffering, perhaps, but His power and presence will be enough for us to endure any calamities ahead.  We can count on His Word and count on His providence.

Remember the prophet Elijah’s encounter?  After the powerful wind, after the earthquake, after the fire–God Himself passed by.  God’s might was seen in His masterful control of those events, but His presence came in the form of a gentle whisper.  Sometimes He just needs to get our attention before the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit can speak to our hearts–

Question is, are we listening?

Lookin’ up,

Sislyn

So What’s Your Story?

We who count ourselves as believers have a special story to tell–one that is individual as we are, as countless as the snowflakes that cascade out of a winter sky.  Sometimes this personal account is called “a testimony.”  Whatever you call it, it’s a story with three definite parts:  1) how/when you came to realize Who Jesus is and what He’s done for you; 2)  how you asked Him for His forgiveness of all the bad you’d done;  and 3) how far He’s taken you from that beginning place.

Face it.  Your testimony–let’s just call it your “story”–is a precious bit of who you are as a child of God.  And I LOVE TO HEAR PEOPLE’S STORIES, don’t you?   Others’ stories build your personal faith in a limitless God like nothing else.  They remind us of how God can suddenly scoop us up into His grace.  Or of how He patiently over a long, long time works all things, good, bad, and especially the rotten things to HIS GOOD!   The Lord picks the who/when/where/why of our stories, and the details can be downright fascinating.

My husband Al has used this illustration, and I think it’s very apropos.  Think of yourself as God’s trophy–all shiny and bright.  Shouting to the world, “Hey, world, I belong to the Lord Jesus!   I’m valuable to Him.  He had to sacrifice an awful lot to get me–His very life!  I’m here to remind you of His ultimate victory–over sin, death, and the grave.  He is the undefeated Champion, and I’m so glad I belong to Him!”

You get the idea.  Okay, guest participation time!  I want you to send me your “story,” written in the three parts listed above, in 200 words or less.   If you can send me your story this way, I would like to post it in my blog in the future post.   If you can’t write your story in 200 words or less, I am pretty good at cutting the fat out of anyone’s prose (just ask my crit partners–LOL).

The Israelites were famous of their remembrances of what God had done for them.  Look how many verses in Scripture are devoted to that!  We as Christians ought to even more eager to proclaim our stories.  Be the trophy that God created you to be and be willing to share your story with others.  I guarantee it’ll bless you in the telling and bless the ones who read it.  Start now sending them to me, and I”ll post two or three at at time.  I may even let you readers take a guess at some of the more surprising ones!

May He receive all the glory and honor and praise!

Lookin’ up,

Sislyn