Getting Out Of Your Comfort Zone

People are creatures of habit.  Some are just creatures. Lol.  People like to stick to what they know.  I’m no different, I guess.  For instance, every time I go to a new restaurant, more often then not, I order the club sandwich.  Most restaurants have one and I figure it’s pretty hard to mess up a club sandwich.  That reminds me of something T.F.Tenney once said, “I’ve never heard a sermon that I didn’t get something out of, but I’ve had a few close calls.” I feel the same about my clubhouse sandwich experiences.

No place are people more creatures of habit than at church.  They tend to arrive at the same time almost every service.  For most, that is usually five minutes after service starts, where they can slip into the back seats unnoticed.  Recently, while in Nicaragua on a missions trip, I was surprised to see what they do down there to curb this trend.

Before the service, they put out about 2 rows of chairs for the early comers.  As service starts and people start arriving, they each take a chair from the stacks at the back of the church and start a new row until it’s full.  It is a neat concept that keeps people from all congregating in the back of the church.  It also, almost certainly will guarantee that everybody sits in different seats every service.  Obviously, it only works with stackable chairs and not with pews.  Imagine if you had to pick up your pew and carry it?  It would be hilarious, but it would probably ruin the atmosphere.

In North America, we have a weird tradition of our church people always sitting in the same pew/chair each service.  I’m not sure why.  Maybe it’s sort of like wearing lucky socks or your favorite tie to a big job interview.  Maybe it’s because that seat has a window view.   Hopefully it’s not because you want to have a quick exit during the altar call.  I’ll let that one simmer…

In our local church, we had the same problem, so one day we asked everybody to sit on the opposite side of the church for a month.  We received some weird looks but everybody did it.  We definitely noticed a difference as people started kicking their habits and exited their comfort zone.

God is everywhere and can move anywhere, but there definitely seems to be a principle in the Bible that God likes to move when people step outside their comfort zone.  Think David, Elijah, Peter, Paul, etc.  We often wonder why missionaries see these great miracles, yet we in North America don’t see them that often.  Maybe it’s because of these men and women who have left their comfort zone behind and are completely trusting in God.

When are you going to start kicking your habits?  Step out of your comfort zone and into God’s presence!  Just another friendly teachable moment.

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Otterbox Defender Review

Today we will talk about the world’s greatest accessory for the cellphone.  No, we are not talking about the twitter.  We also aren’t talking about the interweb, although I would like to thank Al Gore for his invention.

I remember the days when a cellphone was the size of a shoebox and had enough shock absorbers to survive a nuclear holocaust.  In fact, the only thing left after the bombs land would be cockroaches and those jumbo cellphones.  Nowadays, cellphones are so tiny and made with the lightest materials possible.  If they could make a cellphone with a sheet of paper, I’m sure they would try.  Because of this, cellphones are prone to dropping, chips, cracks, scratches, water damage, and general wear and tear.

As cellphones progressed, for a while there were no good methods to keep them safe from harm.  That’s why today you can go on
Kijiji.ca and see lots of cracked phones for sale.

Then, thanks to Curt Richardson, came the rightly named accessory that would change the cellphone world forever.  No more cracks, dents, or scratches.  No more buying a replacement phone because your $700 phone has been damaged beyond repair.  I give you the Otterbox Defender!

It comes with 4 pieces that fit together to protect your cellphone:

1. Screen protector – fits over the screen to prevent scratches and cracks.

2.Inner layer – covers the back and sides of the phone to protect it.

3. Outer layer – fits over the first 2 pieces to provide shock absorption in case of drops or impacts.

4. Belt holster – keeps the phone attached to you belt if you wish.

Kendra, our product tester, has been hard at work.  She’s been putting her purple Otterbox Defender for IPhone 5S to the most extreme tests known to man.  Among them, she has tested the Defender in extremely cold temperatures, down to minus 40° Celsius and below.  It passed with flying colors.  She has also tested it out at extremely hot temperatures of over 200° Celsius.  Granted, during that test, the Defender melted a bit, due to a small fire, but it hung on and passed.  Her IPhone survived to live another day.  In hindsight, testing a phone case using a stove was probably not a good idea. Here is the aftermath:

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I have dropped my Iphone several times but I have never had any damage at all.  I have heard that you can even drive over an Otterbox Defender without any issues, but I haven’t found anybody willing to test it out.

The one test that the Defender failed is when I left it on the side of a deserted road in Nicaragua.  It forget to tell me where it was so I could get my Iphone again.  As a side note, I discovered Find My IPhone about 2 weeks too late.  Some Nicaraguan must have been pumped to find a phone worth $10,000 cordobas on the side of the road.

So if you want a case that lives up to its name and defends your cellphone to the end, try the Otterbox Defender link above.  If you want it custom melted by Kendra, just leave us a comment and I’m sure we can hook you up.

The Lights Are On, But Is Anybody Home?

Today’s teachable moment, well actually it was yesterday’s teachable moment but we didn’t have time to post it on here, is/was brought to you by a national pizza chain.  I won’t tell you which one, to protect the guilty, I mean innocent, but they have a 2 digit number in their name.

So last night, my beautiful and amazing wife (2 brownie points for me. Wink) decided to treat us all with a pizza party.  Well actually, I believe she was treating me for being such a sensitive, loving, and caring husband.  The kids just mooched, as any normal kid would.

After much debate, research for the latest deals, and deep soul-searching, we, I mean she, decided on Pizza 74-1.  (Hint, hint)  Now our family usually gets basically the same thing every time, no matter what place we order from.  We usually take a BBQ chicken pizza, a donair pizza, and 2 pepperoni pizzas for the K-Krew.

Before we go any farther, maybe I should explain what a donair pizza is for all of you wondering.  It’s a Maritimes tradition from the Atlantic coast of Canada.  If you haven’t had a donair or donair pizza, you’re not really a Maritimer, eh?  Instead of pizza sauce, they use a sweet white sauce called donair sauce.  Next, they put shaved donair meat which is some type of processed beef.  Is it healthy you ask?  Um….not sure, but it’s good.  Then on top they put diced tomatoes and onions.  I skip the onions because they ruin it.  My mother would always tell me that onions don’t even taste like anything, to which I would answer that if you don’t taste them then why bother to add them.

OK, now that we have laid the foundation, we can discuss our crazy teachable moment.  So my wife (did I mention how great she is? Wink) ordered at the counter.  Apparently, the order taker guy was pretty spaced out.  You will see why I say that in a second.  20 minutes later, the pizza was ready.  Yum.  My wife is super vigilant about order accuracy, so she checked out the pizza before driving away, just in case.  She discovered that the BBQ chicken pizza didn’t have BBQ sauce. Duh?  So she had to go back in and get it replaced.  The funny thing is, they did the same mistake last time.

In the meantime, she brought the other 3 pizzas home so we didn’t have to wait to eat.  I waited though.  When she got back with the BBQ chicken pizza, we started to eat.  As I went to get a slice of donair pizza I realized something was amiss.  The donair pizza had pizza sauce instead of donair sauce.  Man, what a bunch of wing nuts…  Anyone that has had a donair pizza knows it is absolute sacrilege to not have donair sauce on it.  It’s like a Tim Horton’s without donuts and a double double.

My wife decided to go back and get a proper donair pizza instead of the mess they gave us.  When she got there, the counter guy didn’t even see what was wrong.  The boss was there and seemed confused why it was made wrong.  So after another 12 minutes, she had our donair pizza, complete with donair sauce.  The whole ordeal took about an hour.

The lights were on, but clearly nobody was home.  Have you ever had a customer service experience like that where no matter how many times you explain or ask for something they look at you like your speaking gibberish.  It kind of reminds me of a hilarious song by KJ 52 called “Coke, Fry, and Cheeseburger” that describes him trying to place an order at a drive-through fast-food restaurant.  You have to check that out for a good laugh!

It seems that customer service and listening are both lost arts in today’s world.  Sure the lights are on, but is anybody home?  I can imagine that you all have similar stories.  Why not leave a comment telling us your story of a crazy teachable moment?

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An Introduction to Nicaragua

Nicaragua is one of the least well-known countries in Central America. On the contrary, everybody has heard of Mexico, Panama, and Costa Rica. The few people that vaguely recognize Nicaragua seem to think it is still full of militant rebels from the Iran-Contra affair. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Nicaragua is the largest of the Central American countries with a land area of just under 50,000 square miles. That is just slightly larger than the State of Mississippi in the US. It is divided into three zones, known as the Pacific Lowlands, the Caribbean Lowlands, and the Central Highlands. While the coastal areas are mostly flat, it doesn’t take much distance before you reach the highlands.

Most of Nicaragua’s land area would be considered highlands. Of that, some are mountains and foothills, while volcanoes make up the rest. Some volcanoes, like Mumbacho are considered non active. In fact, you can walk all around its two craters with no fear of an eruption, although it does continue to release steam through holes in the ground. Other volcanoes are still active and can be seen smoking from a hundred miles away or more.

In the highlands, it is great farming land for coffee and cacao, as they require fertile soil and some shelter from the sun. Various other types of fruit are grown as well, including: watermelons, mangoes, plantains(bananas), and coconuts. Southern Nicaragua also has a thriving group of cattle ranchers, although the beef there is not the same as back in North America.

Nicaragua is also home to Central America’s biggest freshwater lake, named Lake Nicaragua. Lake Nicaragua also has the distinction of being the only freshwater lake in the world with sharks in it. In the news lately, there has been talk of China potentially funding the construction of a rival to the Panama Canal using Lake Nicaragua and it’s tributary, the Rio San Juan, which empties into the Caribbean Sea. Until now, the lake’s ecosystem has been protected, so hopefully that will not change.

Nicaragua has a population of just under 6 million, which is approximately the same as the State of Maryland in the US. Most of the population speaks Spanish as their native language, although in the Caribbean Lowlands, some speak Creole or English, due to the strong Jamaican influence on this relatively remote area. In the capital, Managua, you will hear some English, especially in the areas more frequented by English speaking tourists.

For more info check out TeachableMoments.ca

Hot tubs

Hot Tubs. To have or not to have, that is the question. At least, that’s what Shakespeare would have said. Of course, back in his days, nobody was worried about hot tubs, seeing as they didn’t even wash on a regular basis. I remember hearing a story about a French king who didn’t bath for 2 years. He used powder and perfume instead. Yuck! He must have been similar to a chain smoker that uses a ton of cologne to try to cover up the ashtray smell that follows them everywhere. For the record, that doesn’t work.

Hot tubs seem to be the new big thing. They used to be a guilty pleasure reserved only for the rich or well-off, but now you see them in more and more backyards and decks. Btw, if you live in a double-wide and have a hot tub, you probably should have spent your money on getting a house actually attached to the ground. That’s sort or like seeing an old beat up car with spinners on them, or with 1 singular racing stripe on top. You know, I’ve always wondered if it has some special meaning… but I digress.

Now, hot tub stores are popping up everywhere like zits on a teenagers face. You just can’t keep up. How do they all survive? Good question. It seems every little town has at least one of them.

As people move up in life, they tend to want to buy toys instead of maybe upgrading their house or starting to save for retirement. The new big thing is a hot tub. If you get a hot tub apparently you have arrived. Where? I’m not sure. It’s a sign that you now have some expendable cash or lots of plastic. I hope you are in the first category.

We once did an extremely stupid thing and bought a pool on our visa. The pool seemed like a great deal for $3500. How could we pass it up? But once you calculate the interest over the next 5 years that it took to pay it off, the great deal turned into a great deal more. If you buy something on credit, a good rule of thumb is to add 2 zeros on the end and that will give you the actual price after interest.

The difference between a hot tub, and other status items around your house, is the expense doesn’t stop with the installation. It only begins there. Now you need to buy enough chemicals to neutralize a small ocean. You need bromine, chlorine, shock, alkalinity up, pH up and down, cleaner, foam away, yada, yada, yada… The wallet just keeps getting lighter and lighter as the store owners laugh their way to the bank.

But the big elephant in the room that most people don’t see coming is the electricity bill. Imagine the shock and awe of a $500 monthly power bill. Ouch! You’d almost think there was a factory running on your back deck somewhere. When you get a personalized Christmas card from the power company, you know that you may be in trouble. At $250-300 extra per month, I want to at least see my neighbour’s lights flicker when I turn the beast on. At $250-300 per month, you’ll be paying for the hot tub in no time… twice.

So if you are thinking of getting a new toy, I would suggest passing on the hot tub. For the same price, you could buy a new car. At least it would have some benefits to outweigh the costs. Don’t worry, your neighbor will get a hot tub, and when they go on vacation, just sneak over and use theirs instead.

Teachable Moments

What’s a teachable moment?

What is a teachable moment?

A teachable moment is when an event or circumstance occurs that brings enlightenment or learning.

We try to look at teachable moments from a Christian perspective to see if God may be using the day’s events to show us something.

 

 

 

 

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