Owned My 4th Kindle

Those of you who know me well, know the experience that I have had since purchasing my first Kindle last year.

It was an early birthday present, and literally, one day before my 24th birthday, the Kindle ended up on the floor and was (by accident) stepped on by myself. My heart sank in my chest when I heart a faint snap, and realized that the screen was cracked.

Begging and crying to Amazon tech’s later, led to an offer of purchasing a refurbished Kindle Keyboard for $80.00. Husband, sweet and patient, actually allowed me to purchase a secondary one.

I’ve used this one for a year, and I still love this thing! Recently, I’ve discovered an awesome site called netgalley.com which allowed bloggers “professional readers” to apply to read books and then publishers can decide to let us read them or not (often before they are released!).

Also, many libraries now partner with Overdrive, and you have an option to check out e-books with your local library subscription.

Using my Kindle Keyboard is awesome, especially when it comes to making notes or highlighting passages that I want to share later during a review.

However, a few weeks ago whenever I was highlighting passages in the book I was reading, the e-ink would highlight and darken 3/4 of the screen. The problem was spontaneous, but continued to happen. I called their support, and we reset the Kindle (Kindle #2) to factory settings, to see if that would fix was the tech believed to be a software issue. I hated this, because it meant losing the “my clippings” file,  which is the only way I can access highlights from books I’ve loaned from the library after I’ve returned them.

The next day, the Kindle still had the same issue.  I called them to report it, and they said they’d ship me a new (refurbished one). While out at dinner with friends, I received an email saying that this new Kindle (Kindle #3) had shipped and would arrive the next day! I was duly impressed by Amazon’s customer service! Also, since it was still within the first year of the purchase of Kindle #2 they said that the extended warranty that I paid for could be transferred to this new Kindle!

Kindle #3 arrived. I unboxed it, then tried turning it on. It was slow to show any response actions. I tried turning it on a few times, and it showed the updating screen with a loading bar…this became stuck. I attempted a reset, and the loading bar progressed a little further, but not much. Waiting for it to fully charge, it was still frozen. We contacted support, and when I heard my husband confirming my address on the phone to them, I figured I’d be receiving another one.

Due to ordering the 4th Kindle on a Friday night, I did not receive the next Kindle till late Tuesday night. I was worried about not receiving it before we left for vacation. It finally did arrive, and while it was slow to respond, it eventually did update, and so far everything has been okay.

Mailing the Broken Kindles Back to Amazon

This meant on my 8/9 hour drive to visit my in laws for Thanksgiving, I was downloading and reorganizing my collections, many of which I’ve transferred via USB, so I could not download them from the archive. User tip what you should do is install the PC or MAC version of Kindle, and copy your collections to your computer. Then, when re-downloading books from your archive there is the option to download a collection from another Kindle/Kindle computer program. If you purchase a new Kindle before resetting your old one, you could copy it’s collection, but usually to show that it’s nonoperational  you’ll need to do a factory reset.

Honestly, I’m a little nervous to use this kindle now. I can’t believe that I’ve personally owned 4 Kindles in a year! (Sending back all of the broken ones to Amazon to keep the free replacement). I will definitely continue with Amazon Kindles, their customer service is awesome! Though, if/when this one has software issues again maybe I’ll be able to upgrade to a newer more reliable model.

Hopefully,  you’ll save a lot of time managing your Kindle collections the next time you upgrade your Kindle!

Wrestled with “Christian” America

Ever since the election on Tuesday I’ve been wrestling with several questions in my heart. I read an article last night that helps to solidify this discussion. The article tweeted by Huffington Post Religion (@Huffpostrelig, follow at your own discretion as many of their promoted articles can have liberal themes; in my opinion even those can be interesting to read to know more about other perspectives, but as a Christian you should ALWAYS search the word of God for validation of truth).

This article titled, “Goodbye Christian America; Hello true Christianity” by Rich Stearns (who is the president of World Vision) was VERY interesting. Riding out the end of a very difficult and mudslinging election season many people are depressed and disappointed.

The article writes about many of those same ideas and feelings. Stearns reflects upon the Republican Christians who try to fight for and restore morality by fighting for symbols like the ten commandments in courtrooms, etc. He contrasts those works, and the fact that largely those efforts are failing as portrayed by this recent election, by a pastor’s  visit to a small country Lesotho which was ravaged by AIDS and HIV. This pastor’s heart broke knowing that his church could not meet the needs of this village, but he still felt compelled that something needed to be done. He felt God mobilizing him to mobilize his city to care of these people and founded “the Good Neighbor Project” this allowed them to work with various groups in the city to help this small village very quickly. This pastor’s church became known as the one who takes care of aids orphans, instead of simply being the one with the giant Christmas pageant. Stearns reflects that this is an example of how we should affect change in our society.

I’m not intending to discredit the importance of being involved in politics in this country, I think that our government is uniquely designed in such a way that we do have the opportunity to affect change, unlike any of the disciples really at any time in the Bible (besides a few like King David and Queen Esther). Most of them lived as slaves only being able to affect the world around them by their individual actions. However, I am questioning how we as Christians should be involved in politics.

Where in the Bible does it say that Christians should protect the ideals of traditional marriage by outlawing gay marriage? Is marriage a governmental ceremony, or something that God designed? Should non believers be allowed to be married since their marriage will not honor God’s standards? There are passages that clearly reflect God’s judgment for evil nations (read Jer. 18-19 to hear God’s ability to judge a nation that is disobedient, to smash it like a pot at a potter’s wheel and start over with it). I think right now Christians have been fooled by the idea that we can make our nation into a Christian Nation based by what we outlaw or permit legally. As a Christian my conviction for wrong doing should stem from the Bible, not from what the law permits.

Christians have tried loudly to affect change in culture by doing many of the following things: fighting against gay marriage laws, ordering a “Christian Chicken sandwich”, protesting their right to use the name of Jesus when they pray, fighting for the right to display religious symbols in court houses, and avoiding stores that do not allow their employees to wish customers a “Merry Christmas.” While I believe that all of those actions are done out of an intention to honor God, I wonder if all of them do, at least to the extent that there are done. Through those actions has a single person EVER been converted and come to know Christ?

I wonder if we would be more effective about changing the HEARTS of our fellow Americans for Christ by other actions like: focusing on making sure our own marriage is strong to showcase God’s principles by not complaining about or disrespecting our spouses, bringing gift cards or snacks to employees at large department stores who work harder in December with some of the grouchiest customers? John 13:34-35 states that the world will know that we are Christ’s disciples by the love that we display.

I’m not talking about the type of guilty love that permits anything and everything. We can clearly see that a parent who disciplines and corrects their child cares about them. Would a loving parent gladly watch their child stick their hand on a heated coil on top of the stove? Would a loving parent instead prohibit anyone even adults from using a stove top because a child could be burnt? No, a loving parent would firmly tell, yell, and even smack the child’s hand away to prevent their soft skin from burning. Anyone who has read the Bible can tell that God has standards, for HIS PEOPLE. Christians can show what we believe by how we live our lives, instead of trying to force our beliefs at GUN POINT (which is what a law or prohibition will do) on others who do not share these same beliefs.

God punishes nations that do not follow His will, but He also sees our hearts. If we pass moral laws and follow those because they are the law, or at least when people can see, He knows what we do when we think no one else can see. God doesn’t want a country that follows “Biblical principles” and yet their hearts are the furthest thing from Him. He wants the complete package. I believe that God would rather allow His Christian populations to live in a country that is against all of our Biblical principles and have to display them of our own accord. The Bible does say that we would be persecuted, and our light is brighter when we realize the true darkness that is around us.

Personally, when I’m freed from the idea that I should try to legislate morality around me I understand that there are people who are trapped in evil and broken. It provides more pressure on me to control my own sinning problems like having a bad attitude and being selfish so that maybe I can share the truth of God that exists in my own heart. If we Christians lived like we were supposed to we wouldn’t need to have laws against the immoral things, we could affect culture and they would see why drugs were harmful to the body, why divorce is destructive, etc.

I believe that if American people could stop making the government enforce all of our religious beliefs, then Christians will not be subject to the democratic mob rule that would make it illegal to pray in Christ’s name, or the home school our children.

Its a difficult concept and I’m still wrestling though many aspects of it. Feel free to posts comments either for or against these ideas, and we can explore together.

Voted In My 2nd National Election

I posted about the upcoming election, who I planned to vote for and why on a previous post.

Excitedly, I have been looking forward to Nov.6th, 2012 for awhile. I’m sick of the ads on hulu, the radio stations, and the attacking posts between all sides on facebook. Much like this poor little girl showcased on youtube I am sick of hearing about “Bronco Bama and Mitt Romney” Seriously, she is like the cutest this ever!

Even though this is not my first time voting at all, its a first in many ways, one of which being that it is the first time that I voted for someone not from the two dominant parties. Each election I become more and more excited and involved within the political process.

This morning husband randomly decided that we were going to vote before he went to work. Oh, okay, thanks for the head’s up buddy! I quickly dressed and headed out the door with him only to stand and wait to for an hour. We were inside a church’s gymnasium and the line was snaked around 4 times! I felt frustrated realizing how slowly the line was moving and knowing that I’d left all of my electronic devices in the car. I figured you’d get in trouble if your phone when off when you were voting or something.

I’m pretty sure most of my negative experience this morning was due to my bad attitude, but allow me to digress into a rant. We were sandwiched between two couples who were good friends with each other and I felt awkwardly in their way. One of the gentleman, who made us aware of who he was voting for as soon as we got in line behind him, was in the words of one friend “disgustingly extroverted” and kept incessantly talking. I’ve decided that this proves that I’m not as extroverted as I would have previously believed because unlike my husband I would much rather stare at my electronic device, than engage in long conversations with people that I don’t know.

In this case though, I think I also did not want to engage in political discussions in this already tense arena. That seemed like a bad idea to me. At one point the couple behind us shared about how their niece had recently gotten in trouble for having a small knife in her purse at school, not realizing it was still in her purse. They described the incident in agreement with the “no tolerance” policy that awarded her with 6 weeks at an alternative school! The whole time during this conversation I kept biting my tongue to refrain from a snarky comment. Later, husband and I did interject a few comments, mine being the reminder that “gun free zones don’t work.” The people around us were very nice, and husband enjoyed their political/governmental dialogue. I just felt awkward and uncomfortable with no way to escape :-/ The nice gentleman even thanked husband for being nice enough to listen to him, making me feel more like a jerk.

Soon enough it was our turns at the electronic booths, I would have loved to posed in front of it, however my blogger nature resisted due to the fussing at that I would likely receive from the booth attendants.

As soon as we were done voting we grabbed a quick lunch and husband returned me home as he drove off to work.

Now, I’m just sitting on facebook seeing pictures of my friends proudly posed with their “i voted” stickers, watching comments stream by on twitter. I’m excited for this season of hatred to end, I’m sick of the awfulness on all sides. You can debate people, even laugh at their ideas, and still respect them as people as this was demonstrated in the Gary Johnson 3rd party debate last night. As a third party voter I have constantly have my Christian character questioned based on my decisions, and been told that I was just “wasting my vote.” Husband has even lost a few facebook friends due to his regular political postings (which he does even when there isn’t a National Election).

Because of all of this I think I have a better understanding and acceptance for all ways that people can vote, or even not vote if that is what they feel led to do. I truly do believe that there can be Christian Democrats, Christian Republicans, and Christian Libertarians. I really want to encourage all of you that if you are passionate about this election, please don’t let it stop there. You need to be active and attend city council meetings, and participate by voting in local elections. Often, more legislation is written by our local representatives in the first place. Don’t let your “i voted” sticker mug shots stop today!