What I’m Listening To This Week

I’ve been listening to The Chemical Brothers for a long time. Ever since they were The Dust Brothers, actually. This song was an instant favorite and was released in 1999 on their album, Surrender. On a side note, I would listen to their album Exit Planet Dust while trying to fall asleep. At the tipping point, right between consciousness and slumber, some of their songs just fit that moment.

Adventures In Charity: The God Factor

As things start to pick up and progress is being made, there is one very important factor that stays at the forefront of The Eastside Vineyard Computer Pantry; God. As much as I want to see people progress, this isn’t just about computers. It’s not just about equipping people with basic technology. It isn’t just about helping a student learn computer skills or enhance their homework. This is about blessing others in the name of Jesus Christ.

The point is to bless people the way we feel blessed by the Lord. In turn, it’s also a blessing to see the joy of those we bless. We had a late start in 2013, but I am very excited to see where things go in 2014. So far, we have given out 3 computers, donated computers are trickling in and plenty of people are interested in volunteering to help out. As the word spreads, I don’t doubt that many people will be blessed by TEVC Computer Pantry. The God factor doesn’t stop there.

It’s also about what we do with technology. I hope to inspire people to use technology responsibly. I want to encourage others to use their resources to further God’s kingdom. A computer is not only an access point to social media. It is not just a way to view celebrity gossip. It is a tool. The God factor is not just about blessing people with technology, but also about how to use it as a blessing. As this project grows, I want to educate people about proper computer use. Many computer users don’t use (or even realize) the full potential of the equipment they are using.

I have to end it there. I could write so much more about this, but then I would be giving away too many details about future plans for the Pantry. Please pray for this project and all who are involved.

The Lunch Hour Revolution #7

These posts are intended for people who claim they are “too busy” to pursue things that we think should be done in our spare time. Spare time just doesn’t fall in your lap. You have to make time. These posts will focus on things that can be done in the little time set aside for lunch.

I’ve been having trouble with WiFi at work and have been busy in general lately. So, here’s what I’ve been up to: designing a deck and building a bed extender. The bed extender project has been going slowly so I will blog about that later.

My father-in-law has been wanting a deck for a while. He moved into his house a couple years ago and has been slowly getting things repaired, moved around and set up to his general liking. He lives on a fixed income and has had many surgeries over the years, so affording and actually building a deck are two things that made him think it would be impossible.

With a little help from a website and some of my father-in-law’s friends, we made the deck happen. My wife wanted me to completely design the deck using AutoCad. I wasn’t looking forward to putting that much effort in. So, I turned to the internet and found http://www.deckplans.com.  Nearly complete deck plans for whatever size deck you may want. A little tweaking is required.

Now, when using this website, there are certain things you will need to take into consideration. First, they are trying to get you to use their products to complete your deck.  They would like you to use their floating deck system instead of cementing posts in the ground. You don’t have to and for any deck that isn’t on near level ground, I wouldn’t use a floating system. Second, you will need to come up with a hand rail on your own. Plans for a deck rail and stairs are not included. These plans and the floating deck system is for low-to-the-ground decks.

Using their plans for a 12′ X 12′ deck and modifications for a handrail system and stairs, we were able to knock this deck out in a few days (we did cement in all posts used to support the handrail). Using deckplans.com to aid in the design process was a great help. They even help you calculate your material cost. A straight up 12′ X 12′ deck was about $540.00. After our modifications, the total cost was around $800. Very reasonable for a good sized deck. Most contractors were telling us anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 for the same deck. I think we did pretty good.

There you have it. You can design a deck in a single lunch break. I did it. What can you accomplish in that time?

Here is the finished product:

2013-07-23 20.41.02

I Sometimes Wonder About Heaven

Information is my ultimate craving. I like to know how things work. I love to know the reasons behind situations, why and how things work. To learn about how something works, I usually take it apart. This helps me to see and touch the the why and how.The things I can’t touch though, keep me wondering.

Sometimes, I find myself wondering about heaven. There are many accounts about heaven. People claim to have been there and back, but there is only one person I know who has for sure been there and back; Jesus Christ. His description of heaven doesn’t give me all the details I crave. I truly believe heaven is the wonderful place the Bible says it is, but I love to know how things work. How does heaven work? And, it’s not so much about how heaven works but more specifically, how will work in heaven? How much of this worldly man will still exist in heaven?

The most specific thing about heaven I wonder about can be summed up like this: I have so many questions about the world, the universe, existence, myself, the devil, humanity, history, etc. Will those questions be answered in heaven? If so, how? Will there be a Heaven 101 class? Do I get to have Peter as a teacher and sit at a desk to learn all the basics? After that do I take a class where all my specific questions are answered? Is it like adding songs to an iPod? When you get to heaven, all the rules, regulations, and secrets of the universe are uploaded to your brain? Or, do you become so enlightened and content that all your worldly desires completely vanish and you don’t even care about those questions anymore?

I know I have to wait for the answer. Waiting may actually be the best part. It builds up my anticipation and I bet the real thing will be better than I could ever imagine.

The Lunch Hour Revolution #4

These posts are intended for people who claim they are “too busy” to pursue things that we think should be done in our spare time. Spare time just doesn’t fall in your lap. You have to make time. These posts will focus on things that can be done in the little time set aside for lunch.

Yahoo! puts useful lists together usually about once a week. These lists are intended to inform and empower readers. This list featured at the link below is right up my alley. It features degrees you can earn on your lunch break. I am currently doing this as well. I studied graphic design in the late 90’s on a beige MacIntosh with Mac OS8 or 9. I still remember how to do quite a bit, but a lot has changed since those days, so I’m taking an online class during my lunch break. In 14 hours of lessons (and the accompanying homework) I will be officially Photoshop certified. Take a look at the list Yahoo! put together and see if an education is in your future.


The Lunch Hour Revolution #2

These posts are intended for people who claim they are “too busy” to pursue things that we think should be done in our spare time. Spare time just doesn’t fall in your lap. You have to make time. These posts will focus on things that can be done in the little time set aside for lunch.

Last time around you made a list. This week I want to help you refine that list. My suggestions may cause you to cross things off or even add some things. Here they are in no particular order.

1) Movies

If you can remember things fairly well, catch up on your movies over a couple lunch breaks. This requires something to play the video back, so a portable DVD player, laptop, or digital video on an iPod or smartphone and some headphones would be necessary.

2) Books

Just like the first item on this list, if you can remember where you left off in a book, try reading at lunch. It’s still relaxing too!

3) Magazines

If you don’t have the patience to read a book, magazines are a great alternative and they can be a great source of information. At one point I was subscribing to over 10 magazines at the same time! I love to read and many of the magazines I like are very educational.

4) Blog

If you like to share your opinion or even the things you discover, then blogging is a great thing to do. Most likely you already are a blogger if you found this post, but if you found this post another way, then give blogging a try. There are more services than WordPress. I also have a Tumblr blog and there is Blogger and other services too.

5) Walk

Going on a walk at lunch time helps break up the day, keeps you active, and can be refreshing. If you have some good scenery near your place of work, take a camera with you.

These five suggestions will hopefully help you get some ideas going. I will have more ideas in the coming weeks and each one will be more detailed than these. Enjoy and do something useful at lunch time!