Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Google Likes Breakfast!

When teaching students how to use Google products, we find ourselves needing to refer to these images:

 (This one's in the top-right of most Google products.)

(This one's on the Chrome browser's Bookmarks Bar.)

So what should we call them?
  • App Launcher? (the official name)
  • 3x3 grid? (what I've been calling them)
  • 9 squares? (fairly straightforward)
  • Rubik's cube? (pretty cute, I must say...)
Or, the emerging favorite...
  • Waffle!

The same situation exists with the 3 horizontal lines that are at the top-left of many Google products.
Going with the breakfast theme, it seems logical to call them...

  • Pancakes! (some call them a hamburger)

Therefore, I hereby declare that when I teach about, or talk about, these images, I will refer to them as "waffle", "colored waffle", and "pancakes".

Or at least I will try to. If others don't know what I'm talking about...well, some of the other options above work, too.
Waffles and pancakes make me smile, though.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Physical Touch - #Reset2020

Touch: We don't know what we have 'till it's gone

Perhaps you are the type that loves to hug, shake hands, and such. Perhaps you're a bit more stand-off-ish. During this time of "social distancing" and a dramatic decrease of physical touch, I'm willing to bet that we all beginning to long to touch someone without anxiety of spreading sickness.
There are several reasons that touch is important to our mental health, our relational health, and even our spiritual health.

A. Touch is one of the "Five Love Languages"
Check out the link above for more details, but here's a summary of the concept.
We all feel love most significantly through one or more of these "languages":

This is a classic book about marriage and relationships. It's one of my most-recommended books. 
Order the book on Amazon (and thank God for all those helping to deliver everything that we all are ordering online, like those that work for the US Postal Service, UPS, Amazon, etc.)

B. Touch is part of "The Blessing"

  • Meaningful and appropriate touch (here's the section about touch)
  • A spoken message of love and acceptance
  • Attaching “high value” to the person being blessed
  • Picturing a special future for that person
  • An active commitment to fulfill the blessing

The main context that the authors of this book discuss "The Blessing" is from parent to child, but they describe many other contexts in which The Blessing applies.

Order the book on Amazon (and thank God for whoever delivers it to you)

C. Jesus used physical touch to heal people, which He could have just spoken words to heal them.

  • A woman knew that just touching His robe would heal her. Jesus felt power go out of Him when the touch occurred. Jesus did not scold her for the touch... Luke 8:43-46, and parallel passages
  • He he brought a dead girl back to life, and "took her by the hand" to help her stand up. Luke 8:53-55
  • He healed blind men by touching them. Matthew 20:32-34
  • He healed a man whose "skin was covered with leprosy" Luke 5:12-13  

Even for those that aren't usually very "touchy", I'll bet that you are starting to really miss being able to shake someone's hand, or hug someone (that you aren't quarantined with).

Like many things, we tend to not really know what we've got 'till it's gone. We don't appreciate the blessings that we've been given until we have to live without them. Today, I'm thinking about physical touch, prompted by a sermon by PJ Lewis at The Well-Kingsburg.

I predict that we as a society will explicitly value things that we are prevented from doing during this time of quarantine...including, or maybe especially...

physical touch.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

God's Promises Bring us Peace and Stability

I recently went through an incredibly difficult time in my life. Anyone that I tell the story to is kind of amazed about how painful it must have been... What might be more surprising is that when the storm kind of died down, I was actually glad that it happened. Here are the main reasons that I'm glad.

I was already questioning and searching for promises from Scripture that I could really grab on to, and have a deeper confidence in than ever before. Trials make us dig deeper to find resources that we don't focus on very much otherwise, and this was where I knew I needed to dig.

When I was at nearly my darkest days, God gave me 3 promises that I could really cling to in the storm. Then, a bit later, He gave me a 4th. Here are the 4 promises that are now tremendously meaningful to me:

My 4 favorite promises for times of suffering

1. God loves me and cares about me“For God so loved the world…” John 3:16
“For I am convinced...” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:38-39‬
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter‬ ‭5:7‬

2. God will never leave meAnd be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  Matthew‬ ‭28:20‬
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you.”
‭‭John‬ ‭14:16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

3. In this world, I will have trouble, but true peace comes from Him“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” ‭‭John‬ ‭16:33‬

4. Jesus understands, even when no one else understands“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭4:15-16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Now that we are in this historic period of the Coronavirus, with everything shutting down, and all the medical, economic, emotional, familial, and faith applications of that, here are some elaborations on what each of these promises mean during this time, at least to me.

1. God loves me and cares about me
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither social distancing, neither the Coronavirus, nor COVID-19, nor fear, nor isolation, nor sickness, nor the media, nor politics, nor uncertainty, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

2. God will never leave me
To be wise and safe, we are all needing to "leave" each other, at least physically. God has promised that His Holy Spirit to be with us no matter what we are walking through.

3. In this world, I will have trouble, but true peace comes from Him
There is definitely plenty of trouble going on today, on many levels. Trouble is normal, even if this particular kind of trouble, and at this scale, is not normal.
Most of our fear comes from the fear of death. Jesus has conquered death itself!

4. Jesus understands, even when no one else understands
You might be struggling with anxiety or fear. You might have some of the medical symptoms that we are hearing so much about in the news. You might be separated from loved ones by the quarantine requirements. It might feel like no one understands how hard this is.
Jesus understands what it feels like to be alone. He knows what it is like to be tempted to be fearful. He knows what it is like to have physical affliction. He demonstrated compassion for many, many sick people when he walked this earth.
He understands.

I hope this brings a degree of peace and comfort to this very stressful time.

Rubik's Cube Instructions in JavaScript

Can Rubik's Cubes fit in Computer Science or Math?  I say YES! Read on to find out why. This past summer, I learned how to solve several...