Wednesday, November 28, 2012

E-reader Questions

A quick post here for Writing Wednesday. I've got a question for any of you that use some sort of e-reader (Kindle, Nook, iPad, or other).

Have you found many formatting problems? If so, do they affect your enjoyment in reading?

I'm reading a book originally published in 2006 on my Nook. There are a lot of little formatting errors that have started to really distract me. Some of the goofs affect the gap that comes up when the author changes POV characters. It has left me going back on occasion to see which character is speaking, because I missed the change.

I'm wondering if the problem stems from a book from this author's catalog being quickly converted to be purchased on an e-reader. I haven't noticed such a problem on recently released books.

Any Kindle readers out there - have you noticed a similar problem?

Just trying to get a handle on whether this is a common issue or not, and people's feelings on it. If this were a frequent problem, I wouldn't keep buying e-books. So far this book is the worst I've experienced, but I've seen other problems before.

Any other thoughts on e-readers? Please share. We can complain together.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Things Work Out

Oh. Hello again.

Seems to be an annual thing - a monkey wrench in the blogging plans for posting every week. Well, at least this time I'm pretty sure I have a good reason. There's a little story involved so pull up a chair if you're so inclined. Otherwise, we'll be back to regularly scheduled mayhem next week.

It's supposed to be Writing Wednesday here. To tie it in, I'll say now that I'm glad I didn't try to do NaNoWriMo. But the story starts before this decision.

It has been a year for strange occurrences. From meeting in a traditional church setting to spending Sunday nights in a park, to my first writer's conference, 2012 has been a different beast.

The good news is, the Lord is in control and He guides His people.

We'll pick up in the summer when my wife and I are trying to plan for a trip to Disneyland we've been wanting to do for a while. As a homeschooling family, we have freedom to do it at alternate times when the crowds aren't as big. We considered the second week of September, after Labor Day and the final big push for the summer crowd. I sat at the computer to look for places and crunch numbers, but nothing ever seemed right. In Christian circles we'd say I didn't have peace about it.

We decided to postpone Disney until the spring. It would probably be too much since I was going to Dallas later in the month for the conference anyway.

It didn't hurt that we hadn't spent that money when our sewer backed up in the basement while I was gone.

That was fun to come home to, a dug up front lawn and displaced basement. My wife was a real trooper dealing with it while I was hanging out with writers. Not fun, but it would have been much worse if we'd spent a few thousand dollars a couple of weeks prior. It worked out.

Now we're heading toward November. One of our family's favorite artists is TobyMac. Even my four year old loves him. And the Winter Jam tour was bringing him and several other acts to Boise. Sounds like a good time for a weekend road trip. I got the time off from work and everything.

Then my wife and I talked about the details. It was going to conflict with some other events. We could do it, but it would be tough. The concert didn't require tickets purchased ahead of time, so we scrapped the plans. Again, it wasn't only the schedule - we didn't have peace about it. It wasn't what we were supposed to do.

I also thought about participating in NaNo this year. I haven't had good luck with it before, but on October 30th I wondered if it would be a good idea to get something out there. I did a trial on Halloween, writing 600 words of gutter trash and realizing (hopefully for good) that NaNo just doesn't work for me. Anyway - I decided against that too.

Both of these lost opportunities turned out to be a good thing.

You know how there are always contests where people win trips and crazy things. Do you ever hear of anyone winning those? Not me...

Until November 1st.

When I got a call at lunch while at work, I didn't expect the following:

"Do you remember the Facebook contest you entered to win tickets to the Boise State/Hawaii game on Oahu? Because you won. You and a guest will be going to Honolulu next week. What do you have to say?"

My response: I guess I need a babysitter!

We actually won a trip to Hawaii! It does happen. (Now everyone is flocking to Facebook to like every contest they can find. Who knows, it could happen to you?)

These are little things in the scheme of life - not going to a concert or postponing a vacation. Why would God be speaking to us about such things?

He cares about His people. He cares about the little things. He speaks to His children today. He knows the future.

I'm thankful that we didn't go to Disneyland. I want the experience with my family, but September would have been a disaster. It was bad enough as it was, but we had the money cushion to deal with it.

I'm thankful we didn't go to Winter Jam. A bunch of our friends went and had a blast. I'm sorry my kids missed out. But...I think I'll take a once in a lifetime trip to Hawaii over that.

I know there are people out there still recovering from Superstorm Sandy or going through other horrible things in life. Why is God doing these little things for me when others have such huge issues in front of them?

I don't fully know. We all have our storms in life. I've had mine. So has my wife. There are seasons to everything. I know Jesus weeps with those who have lost much and wants them to turn to Him. He brings blessings to the believer and the non-believer. Storms can hit the righteous and the wicked.

As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday, I'm thankful that my God is holy, wise, and loves me enough to give me a nudge in the right direction when I can't see the pothole or pot of gold just around the bend.

Mahalo Lord.

Monday, November 05, 2012

The Spirit And Sloppy Joes

Sloppy joes bring people together
There's something we've missed out on in modern church culture.

We don't eat together very often.

I've always gone to small churches. It is easy to eat together. For a long time it was a once a month ritual. Then some people got tired of it and we backed off, but then I realized it made a difference in our fellowship. I don't know how a mega-church could consider doing it - probably isn't feasible.

Which is too bad, considering the Bible assumes food and fellowship as part of the regular meeting of the saints, if you read Acts, Galatians, and 1st Corinthians. I'll come back to this point in a minute.

Having said that, we had another interesting night for our Church in the Park (that is now indoors for the season).

I was responsible for sharing and I was having trouble. I couldn't zero in on anything in particular to talk about. I've wanted to talk about what it means to be a disciple, but that didn't stick. I looked at some other verses to discuss and couldn't really get a sense of what I should share. Finally I went ready to talk about three different passages of Scripture. And if all else failed, we'd pray for the election.

Well, one of our regulars asked if there was something in the Bible that could help him with some conflict in relationships.

Okay then. Scrap my other three plans. I guess we're talking about turning the other cheek and walking in the opposite spirit!

We had a good discussion. I shared a couple of pertinent passages out of Matthew 5 and Romans 12. The group shared their thoughts and from their experiences. There was no clear answer but we were able to address a need and pray for it among each other. I was very blessed that my lack of direction helped me stay open to what the Spirit needed to do. That isn't easy to do in a regular church service. Thankfully, our situation allows for a more organic response. It was special to see our little group be the body to each other.

Oh, so back to the sloppy joes. One of the guys mentioned as a joke that a lot of conflict can be resolved if there were only sloppy joes involved. I couldn't help but laugh at that. I think there's truth though. I wonder if eating together drops our defenses a little bit. It is one thing to mingle in the foyer and make small talk. When we dine and share our food together, it is more inviting to open up to your brother or sister.

Let's be open to what the Spirit wants us to do. Having sloppy joes couldn't hurt.