Saturday, May 31, 2008

Family Reunions

Today was the family reunion for my dad's dad's (yes that is two dad's there, on purpose) side of the family.

My grandfather left Cocke County, TN when he was 14 years old and walked up the Pigeon River to Maggie Valley where he was hoping to find work. Long story short (partly for lack of space, and partly because I don't know the whole story), he ended up marrying my grandmother, having my dad and his brothers and sister, then moving back to TN about 5 years before his death (almost 40 years ago).

I had never met most of these people until the "first" reunion about 10 or 11 years ago. It is kinda weird to look at someone and think, "We are related, closely (even for mountain folk), and I have no idea about anything about you."

Not that it is any better now. :(

My grandmother went to the first one (maybe two) and it was really sweet how they all "welcomed" her. She had not seen many of them since the "divorce," (I never really found out if they actually divorced or not), or had seen them only very, very rarely. She died in 1999, just before reunion would be held.

It was on May 30th, that year. I remember because Daddy had asked specifically that we (the kids and family) go, and I went because he asked (and truth be told, that was the ONLY reason).

Two days later, he had a massive heart attack and went into a chronic-vegetative/semi-comatose state.

He died 2 and a 1/2 years later.

The reunion was the last thing I did with my daddy.

I've been a couple of times, but I try to avoid it.

I went today because my older cousin Dale, who has been battling cancer, told my brother he really wanted us there.

I can't say that I particularly enjoyed it -- this year or any other, but they are my family, and despite our differences (and boy, there are some -- maybe I should blog about some of my aunts and uncles!), I do love them, and they are part of the heritage that makes me, me.

So, to all the Tennessee (and NC) Valentines -- heres a SHOUT OUT to you!




(Guess which one is me!)

Friday, May 30, 2008

When the Paradigm Shifts

If I had taken This Quiz in college, my answers/profile would look like this:






What's your theological worldview?
created with QuizFarm.com
You scored as Fundamentalist

You are a fundamentalist. You take the Bible as the foundation of your faith and read it very literally, and it shapes your worldview. Non-fundamentalist Christians have watered-down the Gospel in your view, and academic study of the Bible stops us from 'taking God at his word.' Science is opposed to faith, as it contradicts basic biblical truths.


Fundamentalist


100%

Reformed Evangelical


82%

Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan


75%

Charismatic/Pentecostal


54%

Neo orthodox


43%

Emergent/Postmodern


29%

Classical Liberal


21%

Modern Liberal


18%

Roman Catholic


0%




This held true, to a large extent until about 2 years ago.

Now, however, I am more like this:






What's your theological worldview?
created with QuizFarm.com
You scored as Emergent/Postmodern

You are Emergent/Postmodern in your theology. You feel alienated from older forms of church, you don't think they connect to modern culture very well. No one knows the whole truth about God, and we have much to learn from each other, and so learning takes place in dialogue. Evangelism should take place in relationships rather than through crusades and altar-calls. People are interested in spirituality and want to ask questions, so the church should help them to do this.


Emergent/Postmodern


82%

Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan


64%

Reformed Evangelical


57%

Classical Liberal


57%

Fundamentalist


43%

Charismatic/Pentecostal


43%

Neo orthodox


36%

Modern Liberal


32%

Roman Catholic


0%




The bulk of the "shift," at least the part I noticed, has happened in just the past few weeks -- it has been that fast.

I guess this kinda bothers me because I was so certain that I was right in college (and even a bit obnoxious about it). So, now I ask, "Was I right then, or am I right, NOW?" Obviously, I think I'm right now, or I would go "back" to believing like I did then.

Also, I know what "fundamentalists" think about "post-modernists" (and it ain't pretty. I know; I "were" one), and though it probably shouldn't, it does bother me. I love Jesus. I am learning to love the people around me, and those I deal with everyday. I want them to see Jesus for what He IS, and I get annoyed/bothered/agitated/aggravated when someone who I used to be like tells me I have "sold out," "watered the message down," and "cheapened the Gospel," even though I can see more results and stronger relationships now.

And finally, it is rather "uncomfortable," because the church I attend (that I do love dearly), and am considered a "leader" in would be more fundamental, as are almost all of the churches in my area.

So, yes, it is "scary" to me when I can actually *see* the paradigm shifting

Monday, May 26, 2008

Dear Subway

As I am sure you know, the homeschooling blog world is virtually aflame right now because of your exclusion of homeschoolers in the recent writing contest.

While I do not hold the opinion that all homeschoolers should ban together and boycott Subway, I do feel it is unfortunate that this large contingency of students is being excluded from this opportunity.

I, for one, am simply interested in knowing "WHY?" Much speculation has been given that perhaps it is because of the large grand prize and the potential of a homeschooler to win it? If that is the case, then perhaps in the future, similar contests could simply state that the winner may choose a non-profit educational or community group to receive the prize.

If it was for any other reason than logistics, I would definitely be interested in hearing it. And, I do hope, in the future, consideration and opportunity will be given to all students, not just those in a "traditional" school setting.

Thank you,
Karma Shuford
Homeschool mother of 2


++++++++++++++
(So, I went to read up on this issue, to find the "other side" if you will, and all I can find is blog after blog bemoaning the state of Subway. What is sad, though, is that each site is almost verbatim to the one before it. Come on people. If you are blogging about it, at least use your own words!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

6" Ham and Cheese on Wheat, Please

So, Doc makes a comment on my blog yesterday. Since I had never heard of her, I went to her blog and checked it out. There, I read about the boycott of Subway. Then, today, I got an email about it from a local homeschooler.

Without getting too wordy, or verbose, I will simply say this -- We are continually exhorted to live so that we are different from the world. In my opinion, (and this is my blog, so I can have those, you know), boycotts, protests, placards, and what not, are very much how the world deals with things.

So, how can I, as a Christian, deal with this "travesty?"

Hmmm, how about writing a letter to Subway and letting them know that it wasn't a necessity to exclude homeschools. Instead, they could simply make a provision that the "prize" could only be awarded to a non-profit organization of the winners choice.

I think claiming that Subway "hates" homeschoolers and is anti-homeschooling is a bit over the top. I think someone in their contest development department made a mistake.

Those happen, you know?

Now, about that sandwich.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Whoa. . .

Sometimes, things like this just kinda make me stop and go, "whoa."

One Man's Trash

When Parenting Hurts

There is a very, very thin line between anger and pain. Very thin.

Today, we decided to take the kids to a local park to play. Things were going well. (In the past, Travis and Kristi just "start playing" with whatever kids are there, and everyone seems to have a good time. As matter of fact, just yesterday, Nard was talking about how easy it was for Trav to make friends and play with people he did not know.) Then, for no perceivable reason, this little girl tells Travis to stay away, he was "bothering her."

Now, for those who might be reading and wondering, when we go out like this, we watch our kids like a hawk. Obviously, for safety reasons, but also to make sure they are playing fair, etc. We saw the interaction. We could hear what she was saying.

My first inclination was to say, "Hold on there, missy. Not so fast." But, I figure an adult reprimanding a strange child would not be so good -- I wouldn't want someone talking to my son like that. Also, I realize that it is important that Travis learn to deal with this junk, so I sat quietly, and watched.

A few minutes more pass, and he walks by them again (her and her little friends were playing underneath the slide structure) and she tells him to go away, again. He asks her why, or something, and she goes running to her mother, who is not watching what is going on.

As she comes back, she looks at Travis and says, "Come with me." So, he does. They get back to the slide, and she looks at him and says, "Stop bothering us. Go away."

At this point, I am ready to unleash on this chick (who was all of 8, maybe 9 years old). But, I stayed calm (on the outside).

A few minutes later, her mother and her friends (there were four of them) meandered over and continued their conversation closer to the 'action,' which has now spread to include the other 4 or 5 kids playing. Travis comes over to us and we advise that he keep playing but not look at them at all. So, he does.

He told us later, everytime he went within earshot, she, and one of the little boys, told him to go away. He would slide, she would run to her mother and tell on him again. This went on for several minutes. Back and forth. Now, I was ready to come unglued on the mom -- a person I've "known of" for several years (she was a few years behind me in school, and I think we went to the same church at one point). Sadly, the *only* thing keeping me from it was that I had on my Crossroads Baptist Church shirt. Sad, eh?

When it became obvious that the mother wasn't necessarily believing her, but not doing anything to stop it (My son and daughter would have gotten the, "Dudes, it is a public place; you can't tell people to go away" lecture), we packed up to leave, amidst many Kristi tears.

At this point, Bernard and I were faced with the "what do we do now" issue. I don't want Travis to believe that everyone who rejects him or is mean to him is useless and not worth the time, but I don't want him to be "dragged down" either. So, I told him that we (daddy and me) didn't know exactly what to do either, and that is why we left. We also tried to make him understand why it was important to be nice to everyone.

(And for those out there wondering, we did interrogate Travis to make sure he wasn't taunting, even though we were pretty sure we saw all that was being said and done. He did admit to kicking sand towards them right before we left -- go Travis. I mean, son, don't do that).

So, in my heart of hearts, I feel like we did the right thing by just leaving the situation and letting Travis know that sometimes people are not very nice, and we really can't do anything about it. However, we can always take the high road and make sure that we are behaving as a gentleman.

But, here it is two or three hours later, and I am still wishing I had left a piece of my mind in the Canton Rec Park (even though, I don't have a lot to spare).

The only compromise (and yes, it is probably immature) is this:

Rebecca/Rachel (whichever one you were), your little girl is not a very nice person. That is unfortunate, because nice people are more fun to be around,and are generally happier in life. I hope that you saw what was happening, and will use it to teach her how to treat people, but if not, rest assured that at the very least, you bolstered my confidence in homeschooling another year. If that is what public school socialization does for people -- none for my family, thank you just the same.

Good day.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Ironing Boards -- The Saga Continues

So, this morning, my dear daughter and I were having a conversation about my trip to Washington.

She asked if I stayed in a motel.

I told her yes.

She asked if it had an ironing board. (check out the post on May 9th about her fear of ironing boards).

I told her yes.

She told me she didn't like ironing boards. When I asked her why, she said, "They have horns. The horns scare me. Daddy's ironing board doesn't have horns like the ones in the motels."

Did you catch the line about "Daddy's ironing board?" :) Logical assumption, I suppose since I don't think she has ever seen me ironing -- only her dad.

Muahahahahhahahahahhhahaha

Saturday, Sweet Saturday

So, my training at the Holocaust Museum is completed and I am back home. I've always been thankful for my children, but after learning and seeing some of the things that happened in Germany, Poland and other places in Eastern Europe between WWI and WWII and during WWII, I'm overwhelmed at how good God is to us in the US, and to me in particular.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

DC

Got some "real" shots today of the *stuff* DC is symbolized by. No, not slimy, corrupt, selfish politicians. The monuments. I probably have 25 of the Jefferson Memorial, because we kept driving around it.

We had our day at the Holocaust Museum (more on that later), then did a drive by tour of DC. We did get out at the Jefferson and FDR memorials. We saw the back of the Lincoln Memorial, got a glimpse of the White House and saw the Capital, and passed the WWII Memorial.

WWII Memorial (Taken through a bus window; the bus was moving)


This is probably my favorite picture -- The Jefferson Memorial


Again, through a bus window (dirty) and the bus was moving -- Capital Hill


Have you ever met a Holocaust survivor? Until today, my answer was "no." This is Regina, a lovely lady with a quick wit and wonderful sense of humor. Her story, though desperate and sad, left you with hope simply because she made it through.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Mad Fairy



I shot a wedding last Saturday. I knew the bride some, and knew her grandmother and great-grandmother very well. It was quite possibly one of the sweetest weddings I have ever shot, though I didn't feel really good, physically.

Here is quite possibly my favorite shot from the day --

We were trying to get the flower girls to kiss the groom at the same time. This little gal got a bit upset. I'm not sure if she was jealous that the other girl kissed him first, or if she was mad at all of us laughing.

She was an absolute beauty, though, and was absolutely FULL of character.

I'm in DC


So, here I post in DC.

There is something special about this place. Yea, it is probably the highest concentration of corruption in any one place on Earth, but still.. . .

Flying in, I could see the Washington Memorial from the plane. In front of that the Jefferson Memorial. I caught a glimpse of the Capital Building.

And we drove by what I suspect was the pentagon. THAT was a bit overwhelming.

Despite what your personal political feelings or leanings may be, it just awes me to be in the presence of history.

The top picture is the sunset out my motel window. This one is across the road out of my motel window. :)

Monday, May 19, 2008

God Works even IF UPS doesn't

Late last week, I decided that I needed to take my laptop AND my dslr to DC this week. So, since I had a B&H Photo gift card, I ordered a backpack and paid a significant chunk for next day air with UPS.

Today, I check the tracking, expecting to see "Out for Delivery." Instead, it says, "RESCHEDULED FOR DELIVERY ON MAY 20th." Ummmmm, no, not acceptable. Truly not good. My blood pressure went up, I got upset, grouchy, cantankerous, crabbed, cranky, cross, irascible, nasty, peevish, petulant, querulous, snappish, surly, testy, ugly, waspish, and grouchy . You get the point. (Isn't irascible the coolest looking word).

I called UPS and complained. I emailed B&H.

I prayed -- not that God would get my bag to me, but that I would accept this and deal with it a bit more gracefully than I was.

I then resigned myself to packing my camera and/or laptop in my checked luggage (cringe).

At 10:15, I heard a vehicle in the driveway. At 10:16, the doorbell rang.

It was my local, friendly UPS man. WooooHOOOooooooo!

6 hours earlier than he would normally deliver.

Delivering something that, supposedly, he was not to get until tomorrow.

You can give UPS credit if you want. To me, God delivered again.

Go God!

Picture coming soon

Humor Break


Nothing spiritual about this post.

This is my latest entry at www.dpchallenge.com.

The challenge this week was "Camera Portrait." This is Bernard's camera, by the way. :)

I titled it "Cross-Dressing" (and no, Bernard doesn't cross dress like his camera -- I promise).

Friday, May 16, 2008

When Too Far is Too Far

As Christians we are called to be salt and light to the world. We are also commanded to go into the world and teach, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

It is a tough job under the best of circumstances. Let's face it, there are a lot of people that really don't care about "the message," the "good news," or my testimony. In all honesty, there are a lot of people out there than don't even believe God exists, so why should they give a rat's hair what I say, or more importantly, what He says.

So, when do we "preach" and when do we keep our mouth shut?

Perhaps it is an inherent character flaw, or perhaps it is the easy way out, but I tend to "scope" a new situation, get to know the person/people/group well, and then offer my faith story. Sometimes people ask for more, sometimes they say, "No thanks, not now." and sometimes they flat out reject me. BUT, in the end, I usually have a friend, I've earned their respect and when a trying time comes in their life, guess who they ask to pray for them. Now, my "rate of conversions" are very low. I witness a lot, but I don't see a lot of harvest. This bothers me some because for 30+ years, I been taught that the number is important -- and the proof of my "spirituality."

Now, let me introduce you to my friend "Jon" (not his name). He takes an entirely different approach. He enters a room, loudly proclaims that he is here in Jesus' name, he knows the right way, and he is there to tell you exactly where it is. When people respond that they don't want to know, he proceeds to barrage them with Bible verses that explain why they don't want to know. When people make fun of him and poke holes in his logic, he responds with trite, cliched answers. And then, he thanks them for persecuting him because that means he is doing what he is supposed to be doing. When people tell him they are in the room for something other than religious indoctrination, he responds that nothing they could be doing is as important as working for the Kingdom.

In a way, I admire Jon. He is bold. He is proud. He is not afraid to say what he thinks.

I guess I'm just not sure he is really effective.

If he continues his "ways," he will effectively be asked to leave the room. Then, all that is left is a rather sour (for many) reminder of his testimony. People will definitely remember him, but now he is not around for further "developments."

So, is it better for me to be a "polite witness" but potentially not make my stance completely known, or is it better for me to be bold and possibly rude, but everyone knows exactly what I think?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Why I Like to Mow

1. Snakes are scared of lawnmowers
2. I'm not allergic to poison ivy/oak/sumac.
3. It is good exercise.
4. I get to sweat.
5. I don't have to do it - it is a volunteer job.
6. I can see progress from where I've been
7. It lasts longer than one day (UNLIKE LAUNDRY OR DISHES)
8. It reminds me of my Daddy.
9. It smells good.

Tagged

I have been tagged by The Rambling Prophet. Link ---------->

It goes like this:
1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about himself or herself.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

Ten Years Ago, I was. . ..
Just celebrating 1 year of marriage, teaching full time at an Alternative High School and training for a triathlon.

Five Things on today's to do list
1. Eat lunch with the srs at Canton Sr. Citizen Center
2. Mail test results to a school in Rutherfordton
3. Do my attendance at HCC
4. Get with the assistant treasurer from church
5. Go to church

Three bad habits I have
1. Procrastination (look how long it took me to respond)
2. Eating too much sweet stuff
3. Ignoring people around me

Five places I've lived
1. "home" in Waynesville
2. dorm in Boone, NC
3. apartment in Boone, NC
4. trailor at 656 Hannah Cove
5. house at 656 Hannah Cove

Five jobs I've held
1. Sales Associate Cokesbury Bookstore
2. Music Teacher for Madison County Schools
3. Special Ed Teacher for Macon/Haywood County Schools
4. Instructor at HCC
5. Mommy

I don't know five other people to tag, but I'll work on it. :) (later)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Cool. . . .

AND he was a homeschooler.

Tim Tebow

Happy Anniversary, NARD!!!!

Today, Bernard and I celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary.

I can honestly and sincerely say that I am married to the most awesome, considerate, compassionate, sexy man in the world. All the other women? Well, too bad. I got the winner.

Where does time go????


Conversation with Kristi this morning:

K: I wanna go to the green river (translation = swimming pool)

Me: Okay, but you will need to take a shower afterwards.

K: Otay. Why?

Me: To rinse your hair out and stuff.

K: (with a slightly panicky voice) But, then I won't have any more hair.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Ironing Boards

Everyone is afraid of something.

Me?

Snakes rank high on the list; so do heights. I have serious issues with those two things. Other things I can deal with, rationalize away, or just ignore. But, put me in a high room with a snake, and I become prime heart attack candidate.

Tonight, we checked into our motel for our family/Mother'sDay/Anniversary mini vacation. We had been in the room, oh, I don't know, one and a half minutes and Princess Kristiana starts bawling and saying, "Let's leave now. I'm scared. Leave NOW!"

I looked around the room and knew immediately what was causing this lapse of bravado. The ironing board. Kristi is terrified of ironing boards in motel rooms. Don't ask me why, or how, she just is. We discovered this particular fear when she was 20 months old and we were spending a week at Myrtle Beach.

So, now, the ironing board is safely out of sight -- in the shower.

Go figure.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Mozilla

I am using my new laptop. THAT is cool. I've never had a new one before -- always used, though it did the job it needed to do.

What is not cool is that I don't have any of my bookmarks, yet, nor can I open my "google reader" for some reason -- we're still finessing all the finer points of my settings.

But, I'm really missing my Mozilla.

And my spellcheckur. :)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Aaarrrggghhhhh

The other day I saw a cartoon on the Internet. It was a man sitting at his computer, typing furiously and his wife (obviously ready for bed) was standing behind him with a "oh good grief" expression, and he was saying, "Not right now, Honey, I can't. Someone is WRONG on the Internet."

It would be funny if it weren't true, and hit a bit close to home.

Truth is, I can't seem to walk (or click) away from someone I see as "wrong." It used to be the atheist, the agnostic, the homosexual that I got "engaged" with. That is no longer true. It's not that I agree with them. Actually, we decided to agree to disagree and are "friends."

No, it seems to be Christians that I 'engage' with now.

On one forum it is a self-appointed fire and brimstone preacher. Now, I believe in a literal, burning, eternal hell. He, though, seems to have a mantra of "scare them out of hell" and "preaches on this one forum regularly.

Once, I made the statement that I would rather love them into heaven, and that I felt scare-based conversions often lead to false conversions because they never really accepted Christ as their Savior and Lord. He told me that my "love them into hell" philosophy was, well, "weak," but to be accepted from Christians who have essentially sold out to the world.

I have come to realize, though, WHY, I find him so obnoxious and wrong.

He is now, where I used to be in college.

I was a terribly obnoxious Christian. When I look back, all I can do is pray fervently that God will work despite the things I did, and that He will forgive me.

Hard at Work

I'm posting this from my workplace (HCC).

That is only significant for two reasons.

1. It means I am not working on my attendance records, and other things I *should* be working on.
2. It means I can now access blogspot. (At least until they get "my" computers hooked up).

At least this one is short! :)

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Technology

Technology can be annoying. Just ask my husband who seems to be IT for everyone in the family AND at his work. Heck, I've even called him to troubleshoot problems at my work at Haywood Community. :)

(Before I go any further, I think it is important to note that we do NOT have a TV. Why that is important, I don't know, but it just feels relevant).

At the beginning of this week, our household had two desktop computers and a laptop.

Then, we were given a computer from the department I work in. We are moving buildings, and to keep from trashing it, they let me bring it home (with no less than 3 boxes of software) to use with Travis. Wanna see it?????





Ain't it a beauty? It works very well, and has some cool math and spelling programs with it. Travis asked me where mouse was, and where you put the CDs to watch videos. When I told it that it didn't have a mouse and that it didn't play videos, I got that "raised eyebrow" "What are you, insane?" look he gives so well.

The fact that it is almost as old as me did not escape him.

Now, you can say you know someone who actually owns and uses an Apple IIe.

Then, tonight, Bernard brought in my mother's day/anniversary present. :) So, you can see that we aren't totally out of date.



So, a quick tally of the Shuford home shows 3 desktops and two laptops. (That doesn't include the kids "V-tech" laptops, btw) for a four person household.

And no TV.

:)

Election Day




Today is the NC primary. Normally by now, the candidates are decided and our votes are just a formality. This election, though, Clinton and Obama are battling for the NC vote. Every Clinton but the dog has made an appearance in Asheville in the past few weeks. ..

I know I am registered. But, I don't know as what. When I first registered, it was as a democrat, because most of the primaries in Haywood County are democratic primaries, or something like that. Then, I changed it to Independent. Then Republican. Or maybe those latter two were switched.

My political views are kinda the same. I've generally put myself pretty far right, politically. However, as I investigate the "topics" more, I'm probably pretty much somewhere in the middle -- one of those evil "moderates" I guess.

Something I am becoming curious about, though, is why certain issues become Christian vs. non-Christian instead of R/D or conservative vs. liberal. And why must a Christian be conservative to be a "good Christian?"

I've talked to Christians in the past few weeks who honestly feel if you vote for ANY candidate other than a Republican one, you must be in a backslidden condition. That is, IF you are truly a Christian.

Do we not have a responsibility to actually study the issues and know what they are? Should we not make an informed vote based on what is said, promised, etc?

Yes, there are some issues that have become moral decisions/directives. Abortion comes to mind. On this one issue, I am probably as far right as any one can be. On all the others though, I've dispersed myself throughout the spectrum. Some are actually more on the left than right.

The good thing is that it helps me see the "good" in a lot of different candidates.

The bad thing is that NONE of them "fit" me.

Oh MY. . . .


Yes, I'm biased.

But, here is a picture I took of my little fireball.

Isn't she a doll (check out the broken front tooth). :)

Saturday, May 03, 2008

More From Yesterday

I want to clarify something I wrote yesterday, simply because it *could* be misconstrued.

At the end of my post, I ask several questions beginning with, "How do we reach them. . . ."

Upon reflection, I realize that it sounds like my one and only goal is to "convert them to Christ."

Many Christians would say, "Yes, sister, that is exactly what our goal is."


Ummmmmm, no.

My goal is not to "convert" them. Why? Because I can't. You see, that is the Holy Spirit's job. If my goal is to have "converts" then to measure that goal, I have to keep track and count. Ever been a notch on someone's belt? It ain't a lotta fun. :(

This approach is kinda like Preparation H on a toothbrush. The toothbrush is useful. The P-H is useful (ask any pregnant or recently delivered mom). Together, though, well, it is a nasty combination. When we combine our true purpose (ministering to people so they can be introduced with Jesus) with a faulty method (seeking only to "save them"), it is like combining a toothbrush (the purpose) with Preparation H (faulty method).



And, what if they don't accept Christ. That happens sometimes, you know. Do I just drop them and move no to my next "project?" That used to be my MO. I give you the gospel, you reject, I wash my hands of you and move on.

Next.

So, when I speak of "reaching them," I am talking about truly reaching them. Forming a relationship over time. Loving them. Helping them through the hard spots. Crying with them. Laughing with them. Rejoicing with them.

Sorry, folks, but that can't happen on a Thursday night visitation or standing in the parking lot at Wal-Mart handing out tracts. Yea, some people get saved that way. But, you know what? Most of them that receive the tracts or get visited (which is usually just an offensive way to invite them to church, because that is usually the goal) feel like a notch in my belt.

But, my detractors would argue (if any of them actually read this), they aren't just going to come to church. And my detractors are correct. Do not think that I am one of those "they-know-where-we-are-if-they-want-us-they-will-come-to-us" people. No, we definitely have to go to them.

Where they are.

You know. Truly minister to them. Find out what their needs are and meet them. Make sure your method and purpose match. It works out so much better.


And your breath will smell so much nicer!!!!!


(Confession -- the analogy was forced. I just wanted to use the p-H shot today!!! But, it fit nicely, I think.

Friday, May 02, 2008

May 2

Today is the first day of the "Skinny Up, DPC Weight Loss Challenge." I started it because I know I need to be healthier, and I figured others did too.

DPC Skinny UP challenge

I am "competing" with over 30 other dpc'ers to see who can lose the most by August 2, 2008.

The winner choses a charity, and everyone else contributes to it.

When I do this, I will be very close to my overall target weight in time for Christmas. Oh yea, cool new clothes from mom!!!

Not to mention that I will stop feeling like a lard whale.

I Think I May be a Heretic



Okay, maybe not in the sense that I am rejecting everything about Christianity or Christ. Actually, I'm not rejecting ANYTHING about it.

What I am finding, though, is that there are a lot of "teaching" and doctrine issues out there that make absolutely no sense to me. It would seem that sometime "back then" someone decided something was wrong, and through the years it becomes "sinful." Or, because most "religious" people are conservative (politically), anything "liberal" is a sin.

Since when does political position equate to sincerity or genuine-ness of spirituality?????

Homosexuality. I believe homosexuality is a sin. I also believe that extra and pre-marital sex, and pornography is a sin. So far, my Baptist friends are saying "Amen." The difference is, though, if a man or woman in the church, even if it were, heaven forbid, the preacher, came forward, confessed having an affair or being addicted to porn, repented and asked for forgiveness, they would almost be lauded a hero for being brave and turning their back on that. If they lapsed, we would come beside them and help them back up.

However, if that same person expressed homosexual tendencies, the reaction is quite a bit different. Why is that? Why do we not reach out to the homosexuals? Why do we not love them? We say we do, but absolutely everyfreakingthing we do shows differently.

Recently, there was a photographer in NM sued for refusing to shoot a gay "union." At first, I thought, "Good for her for taking a stand." Then, God got to dealing with me on the issue. I am a photographer. This could happen to me. I've always found it is easier to deal with situations before they happen, then I have an answer.

What would I do if a same sex couple asked me to shoot their union?
1. I could say no based on the fact that I believe their lifestyle is wrong and face possible litigation which would hurt me and my family. Now, I'm willing to suffer for my faith, but what would the result be? The homosexual couple now has a few extra of my dollars and justification to hate Christians and anything about us (including, I might point out, Jesus).

2. I could lie to get out of the wedding and save myself the court case. But, ummm, does anyone besides me see the inherent problem here? The result? Possibly, nothing of consequence. Possibly, though, my deception is discovered and my integrity is shot. As a result, "they" will not listen to the rest of my testimony, because I am now deemed dishonest, so anything I say about anything might be suspect (including, I might point out, Jesus).

3. I could shoot the wedding, observe something I don't think is right, and make a few bucks. The result? I have money to buy stuff, or give to the church (that makes it okay, doesn't it?). My fellow Christians think I'm selling out, watering down what Jesus says, and being less than a spiritually strong person for not "taking a stand." The gay couple, however, now knows one Christian who wasn't ready to throw them out on their ear, and could possibly develop a friendship with them. Who knows, they may even listen to what I have to say about my views (including, I might point out, Jesus). But, if they don't, that is between them and God. My friendship with them is not dependent on them accepting Christ. My job, as a Christian, is to show them the joy, peace and love of Christ. Their decision about what to do with that is up to them.

(Insert opinion here -- hit and run witnessing bothers me. More later, maybe).


Why are Christians so quick to take a stand? One time (at least that's all I've found), count them, ONCE, Jesus took a public stand (in the form of a boycott/picket) against something that was happening -- the moneychangers in the temple. We take that ONE incident and use it as a basis to grandstand on a number of issues. Actually, we use that ONE incident to justify all kinds of protests.

It seems convenient to me that we ignore the other things Jesus did. The woman caught in adultery. The woman at the well. Zaccheus (people HATED this man. he was like the scum of scum. Jesus ate with him).

I don't know all the correct answers. It just seems to me that Christians are distancing themselves from the very world we are supposed to be witnessing to at an alarmingly fast rate. Then, when the world "persecutes" us, we consider it "good" because it was for "righteousness sake." No, honey, it is because you stood up and made yourself look like a complete and total, uninformed, idiot. (Side issue -- the other day I happened upon a forum. I had never been to this site before, nor did I know ANY of the participants. Yet, within the first few posts, I could tell who the religious people were. Wanna know how? They were the ones doing the name calling and trashing of everything that they disagreed with. How sad is that. Maybe I should write a book called "how to be a christian on the internet.")

Maybe someday, I'll have all the answers. Until then. . . .(because this is supposed to be a photo-type blog), here is one of my all time favorite photos to ponder (I might add that NO ONE else seems to like this picture. Their (your)loss. hahahahahahah)_



How can we reach them*, if we see them as lepers and unworthy?
How can we reach them if they think we hate them?
How can we reach them if we don't try to get to know them?
How can we reach them if we appear uneducated on the issues and unable to rationally think through our decisions?
How can we reach them if our views and opinions are "given" to us and we continue to blindly follow because that is how it is always done?


(*"Them" being everyone, not just the homosexual.)

Thursday, May 01, 2008

May 1, 2008

Um, could someone please tell me where April went????

April 11 marked the one year anniversary of Bernard's heart surgery. Wow. It seems like just a day or so ago. Of course, he is doing well -- he works 14 and 15 hour days now, so he obviously has more stamina.

Two pics -- from April 07 to Easter Sunday, March 08 --




(Also of note, just after the 1 year mark, nards celebrated the big 4 - 0!! Happy belated birthday, babe!) <---- I can talk to him in my blog because he is the only one that reads it. hahahahahha

April was also the month that Trav read his first book, solo, for pleasure. We were going to Asheville, or just running errands, and he read "The Foot Book" by Dr. Suess. He was soooooooo proud of himself (and I was proud of him, too. and thrilled that he is enjoying reading). The logical thing would be to post a picture of him reading. But, I'm not logical, and I have a picture that encapsulates his overall general attitude so much better. . . .



And then there's Kristi. She didn't break anything this month (on her body), but she is a general ball of fire. The other night, she and her daddy were arguing. (Yes, arguing. She is three. He will be a nervous wreck by the time she turns 16.) He simply looks at her and asks, "But, can you drive the golf cart?" Undaunted by this seemingly non sequitur line of questioning, she looked at him like he was an idiot and said, "YES."

(Story behind the question. When my little sister, Kasey (whom Kristi is A LOT like) was three, she was "golfing" with our father and me. Across the course, Daddy had been letting her drive the golf cart, but as we came into sight of the clubhouse, decided he had better take over. When he tried, she asserted, "I can drive this d@%^ golfcart." She now says she learned those words from Stevie and Kelly, who *don't* read this blog and I can say that about them. hahahahah)

She also likes to wash things that may have germs on them. That is good and acceptable, and I even like to encourage that particular behavior. However, she does not seem to understand why bread and cookies shouldn't be washed as well. . . There's a spiritual lesson in that, but I've not completely worked out what it is.