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Google It: Learn by Asking More Challenging Questions

Google It:  Learn by Asking More Challenging Questions

I have always considered myself fairly tech savvy, but over the last year, I have had to learn more technological skills than ever before.  I had to teach myself advanced Microsoft Word skills in order to prepare a near-perfect dissertation.  And most recently, I taught myself how to setup a website, to blog and podcast, and to embark on a self-publishing adventure.  What made all of that possible?  It came down to asking enough of the right kind of questions and becoming a better googler!  If I can do it, you can too 🙂

learnFreeImages.com/ Chris Baker

Getting Burnt by What You Don’t Know that You Don’t Know!

Throughout my life, I have continually been caught making mistakes because I didn’t know what I didn’t know.  My first classic memory of doing this is writing an entire paper in high school on “Dorthy Day” not realizing that Dorthy is actually spelled Dorothy.  How was I supposed to know that?  I didn’t have any friends with that name and the even though I had watched the Wizard of Oz numerous times, I only heard that name, I didn’t read it.  As you can imagine, my teacher indicated that I should have known. I should have looked that up.  Why would I look up something that I didn’t know what wrong?

Doctoral Student Template Woes

Some things continue to plaque us throughout life.  Over the past five years, I have been a doctoral student and my university graciously provided me with a 67-page template to follow for my dissertation.  Sounds great right!  I thought so too until I had my first real formatting review.  I thought I was good to go, followed all the rules, and would surely get a glowing report.  That’s not exactly what happened.  In fact, I received a response informing me that there was a template and that I should use before submitting any further work.  WHAT?  Are you kidding?  I have spent months trying to perfect my work with this template and it looks like I didn’t even use it?  What was going on here?  I needed to get to the bottom of my template woes and fast!

Word Document Section Breaks

I must say, I have had the honor of working with awesome IT staff over the last several years.  One of them (Cheryl) introduced me to the concept of section breaks in Word documents.  This means that you can divide a Word document into parts and the different parts can follow different rules.  I needed to learn about this when I was working with APA (American Psychological Association) style formatting and teaching students how to set up their papers correctly.

The problem I ran into with my dissertation template was that I did not realize that there were numerous section breaks set up that followed different rules.  I had accidentally removed one of the sections in the beginning of the document.  This caused all the sections to bump forward and created a huge mess.  Section four was now using section three rules and section five was using the section four rules etc.  Once again, I was making mistakes because I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

4 Tips for How You Can Learn New Things Too

I am certain that I am not done learning things the hard way.  However, I have started to change the way I think and am now teaching myself privately before showing the world my faults.  Here are 4 tips that will help you learn new things too.

  1. Finding the Easier Way.  So many times we start to tackle a new project and think to ourselves, “This is way too hard, way too much work.  There has to be an easier way.”  You’re most likely right, so start Googling and see if you can find a better solution.
  2. Asking the Right Questions.  Sometimes the question is so complicated in your mind, you feel overwhelmed and don’t know what to type into a search engine.  When this happens, go for short simple sentences.  I encourage you to try something like, “Microsoft Word section break help.”
  3. Using your Learning Style.  We do not all learn the same way.  Personally, I prefer visual demonstrations and hands on learning opportunities.  Therefore, YouTube video tutorials are my friend.  Check out this tutorial on “How to use Section Breaks in Microsoft Word 2010.”  If you learn a different way, look for resources that meet your need.
  4. Accept NO Excuses.  Most of us have much more potential than we give ourselves credit.  I am a nurse and a teacher, not a technology expert.  Nevertheless, using primarily free online resources, I now have a website, a blog, a podcast, multiple social media connections, and am writing a book that I intend to self-publish.  If you have always wanted to learn something – it’s time- DO IT!

Reflection Questions:

  1.  What are you struggling with right now, that you need help learning?
  2.  Which of the 4 Tips are you going to try this week as you work on learning something new?




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Prayer: Does it Have Any Real Power?

Prayer:  Does it Have Any Real Power?

Every one of us has struggled with issues that seem beyond our ability to fix.  If you mention them out loud, you’re likely to get one or more offers for prayer.  Most of us are polite enough to say thank you.  Perhaps we even feel a warm sense of caring from the person offering to pray for us.  But the real question is, does prayer have any real power, any real value?  Or is it just something people say who don’t know what else to do?

kneelingUnsplash.com/ Ben White

Prayer as a Response to Need

Sometimes the best way to understand something complicated is to think about it in terms of something simple.  We all know what it’s like to need or want something.  Honestly, I have lost count of how many times my family members and friends have asked me for something. You may recognize some of these favorites.  “Mom, can I have 20 bucks?”  “Hon, can you sew this button on my shirt?”  “Can you give me a ride to the mall?”  No matter how many requests come in though, I never stop listening or trying to meet the needs of those who matter to me.

When human beings reach out in prayer to the Creator of the Universe, something similar happens.  God ALWAYS listens to our prayers and He ALWAYS wants what is best for us too.  But, as human beings we have limitations and we can’t always see the full picture.  We don’t always understand what God is doing behind the scenes.  So, there may be times when things don’t seem to work out the way we wanted.  Too often, we figure that either God is not real, or that He just doesn’t care about us.

What Happens When People Pray for Us?

When people say they will pray for us, they are not saying that they are going to the boss to demand you get a raise.  They’re not going to go convince someone to take you out on a date.   And they are not going to figure out a way to make all your problems go away.  So what are they doing?  There are many ways to describe what happens during prayer time.  Young (2011) does a great job of discussing five common prayer models that can be used in times of prayer. I encourage you to check them out.   All of the models include a section where we bring requests to God.  It’s important to realize what goes on during the request time because it’s much more involved than reading a list.  I like to call it the ABCD model of Presenting a Prayer Request.”

ABCD Model of Presenting a Prayer Request

  1. Acknowledge Inadequacy.  In this stage, we admit that the situation is beyond our ability to take care of on our own.  We are admitting our humanness, our limitations, and humbly coming to the Lord God, who has the power that we lack.
  2. Bring Burdens.  Next, we talk to God and share what we know about the situation we want help.  Although He already knows all the details, this part is really about deepening our relationship with each other, not presenting a fact list.  We speak to God and God speaks to us.
  3. Consistency Check.  In order for God to act on our behalf, our requests need to be in line with His character.  The Holy Scriptures are our best resource for getting to know God’s character.  For example, in 1 Peter 3:11 (New International Version) we read, “They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.”  Prayers related to peace line up perfectly with God’s character.  Prayers about causing chaos and division would not meet the consistency check.  We can’t pray for better bank-robbing skills and think we’re going to get them!
  4. Desire Drop-off.  We all have desires, whether we hide them or speak about them freely.  However, even things that are good and pass the consistency check are not always in our best interest or the interest of others.  We have to get to a place where we are honest about our hopes and dreams, but also willing to accept that God’s best is better than anything we could think up.  “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD.  “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine” (Isaiah 55:11, New Living Translation).

Power-Packed or Powerless?

Let’s circle round and head back to our original question.  Does prayer really have any power?  Absolutely!  I can’t guarantee you won’t encounter a “fake pray-er” once in a while.  But if you encounter someone who regularly speaks to and hears from the Lord God Almighty (the one who hung the stars in the sky, turned the sea into dry land, and makes a way where there seems to be no way) you better EXPECT power in the answers!

Prayer Requests Submissions

I invite you to share your prayer requests with me personally or to post them in the comment section on the website.  Other people do care and many of us would be glad to bring your burdens to God’s throne.

To contact me personally, use the Contact Us form.  To use the comment section, Click Here and scroll to the bottom of this post.


Young, Bob (2011). Five Prayer Models: ACTS, PARTS, Five-Finger, TRIP, Divine Reading. Retrieved at http://www.bobyoungresources.com/articles/prayer-models.htm



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