Sunday, August 1, 2010

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Kentucky Trip Update- Day 5

Hello everyone!

We are having a fantastic time here in Kentucky! So far we have been to the Creation Museum, the Louisville Zoo, the Churchill Downs where the Kentucky Derby is held, and of course many other places in Louisville including relative's homes. It's a strange feeling to be in places where my dad grew up and to hear him talk about memories from his younger years.

We've also been doing tons of swimming. It's pretty hot and humid here. The swimming place that dad would go to every day during summer is still here in Louisville, and that's where we've been going. It's just down the street from his childhood home.

Right now, Alexa and Dad are still in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for Alexa's Right To Life oratory contest. Caleb and I are here at Grandma Dixie's house.

We haven't been able to upload videos or photos for y'all due to internet issues. But now we've got internet so I can at least blog.

We miss all of you already.... ( well, I do... I'm not sure about the others. :P ). I'm having a blast but I still miss home.

Until next time, God bless!


Monday, June 21, 2010

Prologue: Kentucky Trip

Good evening, ladies and gents!

The Sleadd family is journeying to Kentucky beginning VERY early tomorrow mornin'. We're going to see Dad's family who all live in Louisville, Kentucky. The vacation will last until July 8 so we'll be gone for 2 and 1/2 weeks.

It's going to be very exciting to see relatives that I haven't seen since I was 6 as well as others that have been out here more recently.

Louisville is my father's home town so it will be great to see where he grew up. Pray that we'll be a Godly witness to our relatives while we're with them.

Also packed into our trip is a visit to the renowned Creation Museum, the Mammoth Caves, and the monuments and attractions at Washington D.C. Alexa and Dad are also going to be flying out to Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania from Kentucky so Alexa can give her speech at the National Right To Life Speech Competition.

We are very EXCITED and we'll try to keep ya'll updated on a daily basis; we've got our video cameras to take daily video updates.

Things to pray for:
  • Safe Travels
  • That we'll be able to spread the gospel where ever we are
  • And that Alexa's speech will do well and that she'll be instrumental in the cause for the unborn
God bless!

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Greatest Burden...

"The greatest burden we have to carry in life is self; the most difficult thing we have to manage is self. Our own daily living, our frames and feelings, our especial weaknesses and temptations, our peculiar temperaments, our inward affairs of every kind, --these are the things that perplex and worry us more than anything else, and that bring us most frequently into bondage and darkness.

In laying off your burdens, therefore, the first one you must get rid of is yourself.

You must hand yourself, with your temptations, your temperament, your frames and feelings, and all your inward and outward experiences, over into the care and keeping of your God, and leave it all there...
...And here you must rest, trusting yourself thus to Him, continually and absolutely."

-Hannah Whitall Smith

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Myth of Multi-tasking

I just finished a great book called, "Pragmatic Thinking and Learning". It's written mainly for programmers but for most part it, anyone can read it and get a lot out of it. It's loaded with insightful observations about how the human brain works and so forth.

One of the things that the book encourages is note taking and writing down thoughts. So, you may see more of my random thoughts on this here blog.
One of the most impacting things I learned from this book was on the topic of 'Multi-tasking'.

The author points out that multi-tasking is a myth. Our brains are simply not capable of multi-tasking (more specifically, multi-thinking). Yes, we can walk and talk at the same time, or listen to music while doing math, but when it comes to focusing on multiple things at once, our brains simply can't do it. I can't listen to the lyrics of a great song and simultaneously solve a math problem. The best I can do is switch back and forth from each task at a fast rate.

And that's essentially what multi-tasking is; switching focus from task to task at a quick rate. So, is multi-tasking good? Well, if we could switch from task to task seamlessly without losing memory, then multi-tasking might be productive and good. But unfortunately our brains don't work that way.

Imagine you're working at a desk and you're recording all your financial records for the past month. So, you've got all your receipts out, a calculator, a pencil and paper for notes, your check book is out along with your credit card bills etc, and you're recording it all on your computer. And then, you decide to take a 'quick' break to play solitaire(with real cards). Your desk is small so you have to put away most of your financial stuff to make room for the cards. But then after a few minutes you decide to go back to doing finances.... so you put the cards away and get your financial stuff back out. And then you do a little of the finances and decide you want to play solitaire again. You put away the finances and start another game. And so on.... you get the idea.

Well, that's what multi-tasking is like for our brains.

Yes, the analogy breaks down. You ask, 'Why don't I just use another desk to play solitaire?' or 'Why can't I just move some things aside to play solitaire?' In reality you could. But our brains do not have multiple 'desks' or endless amounts of desktop space.

The point is that it takes extra time (and mental energy) to switch between tasks. That explains why, if I'm trying to read a book and check my email and listen to music and watch a YouTube video at the same time, after several hours of doing so, my brain feels fried.

Our brains are limited and we can't be doing everything at once. The reason why teens are good at multi-tasking is because they generally have really sharp short-term memory, so switching tasks doesn't take as much mental energy. Nevertheless, studies have proven that multi-tasking actually decreases your mental productivity by 20%-40% and even increases your chances for error by 50%.


So, if multi-tasking is so horrible, why do we do it? Well, sometimes we have to. A dad has to stop studying or reading to hold his crying baby. Some interruptions simply can't be ignored. But how 'bout when it isn't necessary?

I'll bet that 90% of our multi-tasking is unnecessary. Is that email really that important to respond to? Is that movie trailer really worth watching right now? Do I really need to be listening to music?

Usually, when I'm 'multi-tasking', it's because I'd like to do something fun or urgent when I'm supposed to be focusing on something more important. So I pretend like I can do both at the same time.

So, what's the antidote to unhealthy multi-tasking? Well, first, you gotta set your priorities straight. "Hmm... perhaps, doing my homework is more important than watching 'Chainsaw Massacre.'" :P

And secondly, as Dad says (almost every morning. :) ), "Make the plan, work the plan." Decide to finish that homework and stick to it till it's done. Plan on finishing your chores before checking Facebook. Schedule out your day and even make time for those fun things. There's nothing wrong with music, email, movies, Facebook, etc. as long as they're not interrupting us from the more important things. See if you can schedule just one - two hours in a day for 'entertainment'. Then leave it alone for the rest of the day.

If we have no plan to begin with then a whole day can go by filled with 'multi-tasking' because every distraction was embraced. Our brains try to keep up with our crazy lives, flitting from task to task, yet they can't. Which is why we fall into bed mentally exhausted, having been so 'busy', yet, in reality, having accomplished so little.

Perhaps the increased trends of 'multi-tasking' haven't been caused by an increase in electronic distractions like Facebook, Youtube, email, name it. Perhaps, the issue really lies in a culture that has lost any purpose and self-control.

Ephesians 5:15-17 says- "Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is."

We are called to be good stewards of the time that God has gifted us with. May we not be foolish and squander our time and our mental energy on frivolous things that do not build the Kingdom of God.

Thanks for reading! :)


Saturday, May 22, 2010

An amazing drawing... worth a thousand words.

Study this drawing for a couple of minutes-

What is so captivating about this drawing?

I found this photo online a few weeks ago and decided to save it. I spent at least 10 minutes just looking at it... captivated by the drawing and trying to figure out why it was so captivating.

These are some of the thoughts I had while studying it.

Again, why is this drawing so captivating?

Perhaps it’s the ferocity of this mythical creature. It’s built like a powerful man, yet with the features of a lizard or dragon and with a mouth like one of those deep underwater fish creatures. The paws of this creature look powerful enough to kill a bull with one swing. How much more a man? Can you imagine this creature’s movements as it stalks and captures its prey? If the lion is the King of the Jungle, then this creature would certainly be King of the Forest. Nothing about it is weak or pathetic. Every feature declares its awesome power and might. Covered in scales so thick hardly a weapon can pierce it. Yet somehow, its right leg has been severed. (It’s difficult to see but its right foot is missing leaving a bloody stub) Here it is standing victorious over its first opponent, yet wounded terribly from the battle. What does this creature have to lose? It is visibly enraged by the loss of its foot and has turned its attention (or its wrath) to the other soldier. Though captivating, the creature doesn’t seem to be the focal point that held my attention in this drawing.

Perhaps it’s the fallen soldier on the ground. We’re left wondering if he is dead or just wounded. Was it he who cut off the creature’s foot? How did he manage to do that? How old is this man? From what you can see of his face he looks middle-aged, perhaps a bit younger. Does he have a family that depends on him? Is his wife waiting for him to come home? Many of these questions don’t have answers. And though the story behind this main was thought-provoking, this man isn’t the main focal point that held my attention.

Perhaps it’s the surroundings of this scene. It looks like it is mid-morning with the fog still waiting for the afternoon sun to drive it away. The characters are in a mountainess forest with evergreens shooting up around them; Out in the middle of the wilderness. Why are these soldiers out here? Were they searching for this creature to destroy it? If so, what has he done? Has he been killing off cattle, livestock, or been a menace to nearby villagers and travelers? Has he captured the princess of the kingdom and held her ransom? If these soldiers weren’t out to get him, were they attacked unaware of his presence? Does he rule this forest? Again, we don’t know; and again, there is something more to this drawing that captures my attention.

I thought about it longer and longer, and I came to this conclusion. What was so captivating about this drawing was the remaining soldier. Particularly his face. Yes, his uniform is exquisite. Yes, his weapons make him look well-prepared for battle. But, what caught and kept my attention about this soldier was his face.

Here he is, looking into the eyes of this ferocious creature which has just killed or wounded his comrade and has now turned all of its evil passion and rage towards him. This man’s strength pales in comparison to this creature’s might. How on earth is he going to survive an attack from such a creature? Suppose he was able to kill it; if he was wounded he would likely die from loss of blood on the trek back home. All these things are probably going through his mind.

He might return home as a hero but the odds are against him. He’ll be lucky to return home at all. Will his parents and siblings miss him? Perhaps he has sweetheart at home waiting for his return. How will she deal with his death?

Again, his face. There’s hardly a trace of fear yet you know that it is coursing through his veins. He stands ready, looking apprehensively yet unblinkingly in the face of death. Is he ready to die?

All I’ve got is this spear and my sword. Will either one even cut through his skin? Watch out for those claws and go for his neck.

He looks younger than the other man. Was that his mentor, an older brother, best friend?

O God, is Frederick dead? Or wounded? It doesn’t matter now. This battle is for him and if I live I promise to carry him home, dead or alive.

He does look young. Probably late teens or early twenties.

I’ve never killed even a bear before. Much less a creature like this. O God, please help me. Give me the courage to fight. Guide my spear and be my shield.

Something about his face draws you to him. You want to encourage him. You want him to win. You want him to survive. But you can only look and hope. What will happen next? You can only speculate.

You also long for the courage this young man has. Would I really stand there and face such an evil foe? Or would I buckle and run? I trust that God will give me the courage to stay steadfast when I am faced with so much fear and evil.

That's all for now! Leave a comment if you have any further thoughts on the drawing.

God bless!


P.S. Thanks to Dillon for telling me to post this. I tried describing the picture to him and he said I should post it. :) Thanks Dillon. :D

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Kingdom of God

I preached my second sermon at church last week (April 18). It was so much fun! There were so many things I learned that God directed me to study in my preparation. God is so gracious and His Kingdom is the most exciting thing I could ever to be apart of!

The morning preceding my sermon was such a relaxing time to wait for the time to speak. For some reason I wasn't shaking with nervousness like I normally am... and I can't take any credit for that. The Lord was responsible for that.

The sermon was from John 18:28-38 where Jesus is standing before Pilate and he says, "My Kingdom is not of this world." So, naturally, I studied the Kingdom of God and preached on it. It was such an amazing experience!! When you are looking to the God's kingdom it puts everything on this earth into perspective.

Anyhow, for those of you who were interested in hearing my sermon, we did get it recorded and posted at

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fret Not Yourself

Fret not yourself because of evil-doers;
be not envious of wrongdoers!
For they will soon fade like the grass
and wither like the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices!

Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
For the evildoers shall be cut off,
but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.

-Psalm 37:1-9

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sermon From December

I finally uploaded the last batch of sermons from 'Household of Faith', so if you're interested, you can listen to my sermon here.

Have a Fantastic week and God bless!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Thoughts and Questions

Dear Lord,
Lately I've been fearful. And I don't know exactly why. You know better than I do. You understand the little quirks in my personality and why I fall into these little pits of seeming hopelessness and fear.

Lord, why am I feeling fearful or hopeless? Perhaps it's the constant feeling that maybe I'm not living right. That I'm missing something incredibly important and I don't even know it. Is that 'fear of the unknown'? What if everything I've been doing or living for isn't good enough?

You know my many goals and ambitions, Lord. You know I want to live righteously but is that just a selfish desire to look good to all of those around me? I try hard to look important to others. I want to please you, Lord, but is that just a selfish way to get more things from you, Lord? I want to be genuine but I hardly know when I'm not putting on a show. I want to be friendly to others but is that just a selfish desire to make other people like me?

So many questions. So many things to worry about. So many things to fix.

I was recently reading a book called "Amusing Ourselves To Death". It explained how so much of our culture is now television based and nearly everything in our culture; politics, sports, media, business, is all centered on entertainment. Only the most entertaining movies sell. Only the most entertaining politicians make it to office. Nearly everything we do is for amusement or so it seems. We work hard, to get more money, to buy a better iPod, or car, or snowboard, or vacation lodge; for amusement. We don't pray very much because we're too busy amusing ourselves with music, movies, blogs, Facebook, toys, cars, etc. It's as though we're all searching for satisfaction and we keep looking in all the wrong places; even as Christians. But perhaps I'm overreacting in response to this book, as I tend to do, Lord.

What's wrong with enjoying good things? What's wrong with being amused by good food or good entertainment? Perhaps it's the amount of entertainment that really matters. Or maybe it's the way which we are seeking to be entertained? Are we seeking to be satisfied in material things? Or are we satisfied in You, Lord, and simply enjoying the material things that You have given us here on earth?

Please give me wisdom in this area.

There are other things that trouble me. As I learn about the industrialization of American Food, Medicine, Education, Business, Church Ministry and how that has effected our culture in very negative ways, I start to feel hopeless, and helpless to do anything about it. Our culture just seems to be so wrapped up in entertainment, selfishness, greed, money, debt and the list goes on. And I'm not able to fix it. I can't. I'm a sinner just like everyone else. Only You, O Lord, can save the world.

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,"says the LORD, who has compassion on you.

Lord, why am I fearful? You are sovereign, perfect, and holy. These questions, worries, and fears are all in Your hand. I surrender them to you and I trust that you will do what's best. Thank you for the grace you have already showered on me by saving me and bringing me into a relationship with You. Help me to trust you better.