Death in the family

For those of you who know my family, you know there were four members: myself, Natalie, Lenny and the recently deceased, Sheila.  Sheila was my Windows Mobile Pocket PC Navman PiN 100 GPS device.  She got us from place to place without fail and frequently was a source of entertainment to my wife and myself.  As Natalie puts it, “Sheila saved our marriage.”  No longer do we fight over directions and argue over which way to turn.  My sense of direction is awful, but with Sheila, I had the confidence to get anywhere…
Yesterday, on Thanksgiving, I discovered a huge crack across her lovely touch-screen.  Somehow, even in her protective leather case, she received a crack that now renders her unusable.  I can’t even tap in the security code to perform a memory card backup.

Frequently, I feel like it’s a good thing when electronics die because it gives me an excuse to buy new ones… but not Sheila.  She was special.  I bought her on an anline clearance… She got me from place to place, played some of my favorite movies and songs, played special proprietary programs that I had developed for her and even knew the sound of my voice-commands…
I figured that with all the “Black Friday” sales this morning, I’d force myself to go out and fight the crowds to get a new GPS device since Meijer had them on sale for $99.  I now have a new Magellan device on my dash and intend to go to a Verizon store to get a smartphone to replace my Pocket PC, now that our contract is done with Alltel.  …but it won’t be the same.  Nothing can replace Sheila.

Super Heroes

I’ve noticed that super heroes tend to be single most of the time.  It’s not often you see them hangin out with members of the opposite sex.  I figure this has got to be due to one of two things:

1.)  They’re afraid their enemies will kill all their friends and loved ones

2.)  Table manners.

I mean, think about it.  Have you ever seen a super hero with good table manners?  I haven’t.

Two peas

The other day, nephew Matthew and wife Natalie were eating lunch together when Matthew piped up with, “do I look like Uncle Paul?”

They say imitation is the highest form of flattery.  The little guy’s got glasses, wears a black ribbed turtle-neck sweater with jeans on the weekends (the Yuen-iform) with the rest of us and loves just about everything I do.

That being said, I constantly have to be careful of my attitudes and the words I speak because he is always right there to be a facsimile of me.  I’ve been increasingly conscious of this so I’ve been praying with him more regularly, telling him truths about who he is in God’s eyes and how proud of him I am.

Sure, his eight-ness grinds on me from time to time… walking around the house, leaving his Matthew-trails around everywhere he’s been: toys, trading cards, clothes, fingerprints, paper, messes, etc.  It’s a constant.  So I’m always in the spot of deciding whether to try to help him learn to take care of his things himself or just pick up after him for my own sanity.
…then there’s that fine line of hypocracy.   The moment I tell him that he’s going to start losing things he leaves out, he’ll point to my hat that’s been lying on the floor in the corner for three weeks, reminding me that I am more like an eight-year-old than I’d like to sometimes admit.

That being said, we ARE a lot alike, he and I.  So, to hear him ask my wife if he looks like me was both flattering and endearing.  Her response to him was something like, “well, you both wear glasses, have dark hair, enjoy similar things (80’s GI Joe figures, Tom & Jerry, drawing, robot video games, etc)…”

To which he responded with, “no, I mean like this…”

From there, he proceeded to get out of his chair and do the most ridiculous walk you’ve ever seen through the kitchen.  It put John Clease’s “Ministry of Silly Walks” to shame.

Essentially, he was asking, “does this ridiculous action remind you of anyone we both know?”

Shh.  Did you hear that?  That’s the sound of me getting ripped on by someone so young, he still has to pee in the short urinal.

Getting connected

Lately, my spirit has felt out of sync… like I’m not hitting on all cylinders.  Upon more reflection, I’ve come to the realization that my problem lies in that time spent in prayer is woefully inadequate.

Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians to “be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Pray continually?  Without ceasing?  Ok, so I’ve heard that before… but what’s it look like in real practical living?

I couldn’t really put my finger on it until I was thinking about networking the other day and it struck me:  I’m on still on dial-up when it comes to the discipline of prayer.  I connect when I feel like it, give and get a minimum requirement, jump back off-line and go on my merry way.

What are the arguments for transferring someone from dial-up Internet to broadband?

1.)  Faster connection for the purpose of a more effective experience.

2.)  Maintaining an always-on connection to receive updates and security/protection as needed.

3.)  Enabled connectivity and correspondence to peers and others within the network.

Online capability is somewhat like the life’s-blood to a computer.  The fatter the pipe (bandwidth), the better the experience for the user and the more that individual is enabled to function.
If my prayer-life is still on dial-up, what effect has that got on my spirit?  How well-connected am I?  What is my effectiveness?

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be praying through the Psalms in an effort to “upgrade to broadband.”  If this post has resonated with anyone, I encourage you to join me in an effort to get connected.