Sunday, June 29, 2008

Shuford 2009 (I mean 2008) Vacation

We're back.

We're tired.

I'm sunburned where I forgot (or missed) to put sunscreen.

First stop -- Space Museum

Then, to the Botanical Gardens

Coming up, the Huntsville Airshow

Friday, June 27, 2008

Practice Makes Perfect

We were coming out of the Huntsville Botanical Garden and heard a familiar roar. A quick trip towards the airport, and I was able to shoot this --

Looking forward to tomorrow, even though it is HOT down here!

Oh Yea, Karma is Happy

This is my favorite fast food place. Unfortunately, the nearest one in NC is in Burlington (like 4 hours or more away), and the closest one to home is in Greenville, SC (just over 2 hours).

However, there is one less than a mile from where my family is staying in Alabama. I did promise them I would only require that we eat there once. I was a really happy camper tonight.

(And I also realized how ridiculous I probably looked standing outside of it taking pictures.)

Wonder if I can convince them we need one more milkshake before we leave on Sunday?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

For You? For Me?

There is a local business that puts little sayings on their sign. More often than not, they are those little 7 or 8 word punny Christian sayings.

They don't *bother* me, but I did start to wonder about their purpose.

Seriously, how many people do you know that have a testimony that goes something like this --

Man, I was driving along one day, and I passes this church sign that said, "Heavenly Forecast -- Jesus Reigns Forever," and I got to thinking about forever. Then, I passed another that said, "Stop Drop and Roll does not work in Hell." That got me thinking about hell. Then, I passed a business sign that said, "What is missing in ch_ _ ch? UR." Then, another sign that said, "THREE STRIKES __ YOU'RE SAVED!" At that moment, I recognized my need for a Savior, so I pulled over and repented of my sins and accepted Christ.

OK, maybe it does happen, but I don't know anyone.

So, WHY do we keep posting these things for the world to read?

For the same reason I wore Christian T-shirts (and ONLY christian shirts) in college.

For the same reason many of us have a fish on our car.

For the same reason we wear Christian jewelry.

For the same reason there has to be a "As for me and my house" banner, sign, or picture in our living room.

For the same reason Christians advertise in a Christian only business guide.

For the same reason we equivocate handing out tracts to evangelism.

The reason is usually to "witness." But, who are we witnessing to? By doing all of these things, I am simply making the statement that I am a Christian, or that I claim to be a Christian.

Right now, as I type this, I have on a shirt I received when I did a triathlon (allows times for snickers to subside). Does wearing this shirt make me a triathlete? Ummmmmm, the answer is a resounding, NO.

In reality, by doing these things, I am asserting who I am, what side I am on, and quite typically, what some of my fundamental beliefs are.

Look at that last sentence.

MY Beliefs

There is a problem there. Isn't witnessing supposed to be letting people know that Jesus died for them/you? Isn't it supposed to be for letting those around me know that I love, care for, and respect them/you as Jesus does? Isn't witnessing supposed to be about them/you, not me?

Why, then, are all of these ways of "witnessing" dependent on ME and what I do?

How can I truly witness for Christ and share His love, His compassion, and His mercy with a world that does not want Him or think they need Him?

How can I decrease, so that HE can increase?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The good news -- I finished all the laundry.

The bad news -- There was a red crayon in the dryer.

The good news -- It was only in there for one load.

The bad news -- It was a load of light clothes.

The good news -- The whole family has matching red specks on their clothes.

In other Karma News.

I finally got my haircut. It's only been a year since the last one. I've only been needing to do this for, oh, 9 months. :)

(oh yea, I got my eyebrows waxed. just the eyebrows. ;) Travis and Kristi were watching, and Travis made the astute observation of, "That looks like it hurts." Then, he chuckled.)


The aftershot:

(both shots by Travis Shuford, age 6)

More Wedding Pics

Monday, June 23, 2008

Dirty Laundry

I can assure you this post may not be what you think. ..

Last night, I was tossing and turning in bed (for like third night in a row -- I hate not being able to go to sleep). At three o'clock am, I can have some mighty strange ideas. This post is one of them.

Play this video,

and sing these words --

Here I am now and I'm drowning
In my sea of dirty dress
The socks of yesterday surround me
I yearn for clean and fresh
I don't want to end up getting laundry
Out of the hamper just to wear
Re-wearing my underwear

I know I’ve got a plan to follow
Darks, lights, to dry and fold
And I look at the pile in front of me
Feeling I’ve not washed enough
I feel like I'm just one load away
Of keeping it at bay

Mr. Clean can you help me
Take care of this job right now
Cause I can’t bear to see pile grow
And swallow me up again
In the last load of laundry I find rest
Cause you know cleanliness is always best
From one clean sock to the other

I start the day the war begins
Socks, jeans, underwear, and the rest
Time and time again
My clean clothes are drowned out by the pile they’re in
Today I feel like I'm just one small load away
From giving up again today

Mr. Clean can you help me
Take care of this job right now
Cause I can’t bear to see pile grow up
And swallow me up again
In this last load of laundry I find rest
Cause you know cleanliness is always best
From one clean sock to the other

I know I’ve washed the darks
Turned the dingy into light
I need a dryer to get me through
To get me through this pile
I wash clothes around me
But with this load the truth reveals
I'm slowly making progress
The floor I now can see
The floor I now can see

Mr. Clean can you help me
Take care of this job right now
Cause I can’t bear to see pile grow
And swallow me up again
In the last load of laundry I find rest
Cause you know cleanliness is always best
From one clean sock to the other

I feel almost like a heretic, but since it is a Casting Crowns song, I might be able to get by with it. Now, if it was a Gaither song, I would probably be excommunicated from the Baptist church.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

With This Ring. . .

I do not advertise myself as a wedding photographer.

For that matter, I do not advertise myself as any kind of photographer.

I simply do not advertise.

Still, I manage to do a couple of weddings a year. Enough to make small steps towards improvement, but not enough to really claim to be a wedding photographer. And I don't want to be, really.

Give me some kids, playing ball, and I will get you some good shots. Let me shoot a wedding, and I will get some good shots.

The difference is on the ball field, I KNOW what I am going to do to get the shot. At the wedding chapel, I still rely on lucky timing more than anything. (and post processing)

These are some shots from the most recent wedding that I did, that I like.

And my favorite so far --

Friday, June 20, 2008

Stop Going to Church

(My six year old was reading over my shoulder as I started this. He read this and said, "Stop going to church? Are you crazy, woman. You should write, 'KEEP going to church,' so they can learn about God." Assuming you may be wondering the same thing, keep reading)

Stop Going To Church

The essence of the article is that we need to stop going to church, and start BEING the church. Wow. Simple, yet it escapes many, many churchgoers.

{oh wow, deja vu moment there. those are always freaky}

Another thing I read today also made me stop and think. Am I a Joy to My Pastor

I wonder. AM I a joy to my pastor? or am I a pain in his neck?

Odd Things You See

Tonight, the Shuford clan took a quick trip to Waynesville, and on the way home, made the obligatory stop at the grocery store for milk and batteries (for my flash; I have to shoot a wedding tomorrow). Sitting in the car over from us was a man with his dogs, and a squirrel. No lie. The man had a squirrel with a little chest harness and leash on it.

Then, as we turned into our neighborhood, we ended up behind three guys riding lawnmowers. They weren't mowing anything, and it was dark, so I think they were racing or just goofing off.

Nights like tonight make me think my life is entirely too normal.

And of course, no camera with me. :(

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Name Change

My daughter, who is a all of 3, just told me she wanted to change her name to Kristine.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Odd Things That Go Bump in the Night

1. Looking for seashells, finding a tennis shoe with the foot still in it!
My sisters and I have this game we play when we get to go to the beach together (like once every 25 years or so). We call it beach bingo and you basically play by going walking on the beach at night and you get points for things you find. 1 point for sunglasses or flipflops, 2 points for towels, 5 points for clothes, 10 points for underwear, etc. (My SIL thought she had found the mother lode one night when she found a pile of clothes next to a set of steps. Only when she went over to "count" did she realize their owners were umm, well, very nearby. . .)
We've found shoes, but they were always empty.
Update -- they've found a 6th.

2. Found this site today while "working" today

It's pretty cool, in a lame, has-n0-purpose-but-to-eat-up-bandwidth-kinda-way.


Well. . .
Backwards, it is Amrak Drofuhs...(Does that look a lot like "Doofus" to you?

In Pig Latin, it is Armakay Ufordshay.

Your personal power animal is the Vampire Squid Ha! It is a real animal.

Your 'Numerology' number is 9. If it wasn't bulls**t, it would mean that you are multi-talented, compassionate, and impartial. A humanitarian, you seek opportunities to help others.

According to the US Census Bureau°, 0.002% of US residents have the first name 'Karma' and 0.0012% have the surname 'Shuford'. The US has around 300 million residents, so we guesstimate there are 0 Americans who go by the name 'Karma Shuford'..

My mama always said I was special, but of course, according to this guesstimate, I don't even exist.

and 3. I leave you with this thought tonight. I heard/read it the other day and have no idea who said it originally, but wish I did so I could credit him/her.

When you have a son, you worry about one boy in this world.

When you have a daughter, you worry about every boy in this world.

The Parable of the Lost Keys

My keys were lost, but now they are found.

Yeah, me!!!!!

I had given them up for lost, BUT when I went to get some things for my morning class, there they were! I have no earthly idea how they got there and really don't care.

I have my keyless entry remote back.

Life is good.

A Sad Day

Another State Trooper was killed last night.

David Blanton, from Cherokee, was shot after he pulled some guy over.

He was only 24.

Things like this always saddens me. So young, just doing his job. My prayers are with his family and friends.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Big God

PreacherDude has posted something Interesting that should be addressed, I think.

IMO, there are a lot of things happening in the "war on Christianity," that are, if not completely imagined, a bit out of proportion. The Christmas example is just one.

We scream freedom of religion, and never stop to consider what that entails. To me, that means that I, as a Christian, have a right to worship and believe as I want. It also means, though, that my boss, a Buddhist, also has that right. It could mean the extreme Muslim (or Mormon, or SDA, or JW, or atheist, or Hindu, or spaghetti noodle worshipper) also has that right.

It means that as a teacher, I am a representative of the state. As such, I am still free to believe what I believe, but I am not free to indoctrinate/teach my students on said beliefs, or force them to participate.

I think that is a good thing.

First off, if I am sharing Christ with someone, I want it to be because the Holy Spirit is drawing them, and not because they are held captive in my classroom with no recourse of leaving, or feeling like they have to "appease my beliefs" to do well in the class.

Secondly, if I can't do it, neither can my Buddhist boss and neither can the Muslim (or any other group).

But, but, but, but. . .

No buts, my friend.

I think a lot of the posturing that goes on within issues like these are made from Christians who are afraid their Jesus wouldn't be able to survive if they don't have the security of being a majority. How little their God must be.

Remember the story of Elijah on the mountain with the prophets of Baal? That is probably my favorite story of all time. Elijah gave the Baal-worshippers first chance to show what Baal could do. They tried and tried and failed miserably.

Then, Elijah's chance came. Not only did he wait to go second, he stacked the odds against his God by wetting the altar.

*POOF* God still prevailed.

You know what? It is okay if we can't pray in schools (and I still contend that is a good thing), it is okay if the world wants to say Merry Xmas,* and the postal employees can't wish me a "Merry Christmas" and have to say "Happy Holidays," instead. Jesus is bigger and stronger than all of that.

Perhaps, just perhaps, if Christians were not so obnoxious is fighting for their "rights" (often to the detriment of other peoples rights), "society" wouldn't be so quick to try to remove anything remotely "Christian" from their life.

(*Xmas seriously does not bother me. "X" is the Greek letter Chi, as in the first "initial" of Christ. I do not use it, but I don't get my panties all in a wad when someone else does. It really does not mean they are going to hell. I promise.)


A rather profound thought occurred to me today.

In most situations, my success comes at someone else's failure.

If I "get" a family portrait shoot, that means that another photographer didn't.

If I win an award for a picture, that means someone else lost.

How awesome, I realize, that I finally have a reason to be mediocre. By not succeeding, I can help other people arrive at their dreams. I really do not want to be the reason for someone's failure. There's probably something in the Bible about that.

To further illustrate my point, picture.

Which boy was successful? A missed pass is often considered a "failure." BUT, by missing the pass, Travis (on the left), allowed Chase (on the right) to successfully block it.

Monday, June 16, 2008


I've lost my keys. That, in and of itself, is not that unusual. I misplace them no less than 4 times a week. (And that is with "a place" that I put them).

But, they are gone.

We have looked everywhere, and then some places. Well, everywhere except where they are. . .

I'm going to find something that I can attach to my keys, push a button and an alarm sounds that tells me where they are. (I will probably lose the button to push)

So, ugh.

I had a couple of spares for my van made today from Bernard's, but only the original will start it. :) (I learned a new word tonight -- transponder chip).

It had the keyless entry remote on it. THAT, I miss terribly.

I no longer have my Food Lion mvp card, so I had to pay full price today for everything at the grocery store.

It is hot outside.

I am grouchy.


Have a good day, one of us needs to.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

Today was a bit difficult for me, but I did better than I thought. Well, except when Bernard sang a song he wrote about a little girl wondering if her daddy prayed. That ripped me up pretty good. He did really well on it, considering he wrote it during Sunday School. >/

Anyway, I hope all the Father's had a good one. And, if you didn't hug your dad, or at the very least call and tell him you love him and thanked him for putting up with you, do it now. Better late than never. :)

Trust me, I would love to be able to talk to my daddy one more time. . . .

But, it is okay because I will get to see him again sometime, and in the bigger picture, that is what matters.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Water Parking

So, the Shufords ventured to Pigeon Forge today to enjoy Dolly's Splash Country. (Joke warning -- What is at Dollywood, anyway? Answer in comments, maybe).

It rained on the way there, was thundering when we got to my sister's camper at the lake, but we decided to try it anyway. It was cloudy, but not storming. There were a lot of people, but it was not unbearable.

Significant highlights --

Travis got in the water, easily, and had fun. He also put his face in the water, went down a little slide by himself, and one of the bigger little slides by himself. That is HUGE because he is absolutely terrified of water. (That was NOT in my genes by the way. I contribute it to the Wheeler/Shuford genes. grin).

I almost let my daughter drown. Well, didn't "let" her, but put her in a potentially dangerous situation. She wanted to go down one of larger kiddy slides. Her daddy was waiting for her at the bottom, but the lifeguard was the one who actually had to fish her out. She got a bit sideways and out of control and when she landed in the over 3 feet of water, well, suffice it to say, she got "baptized." Unfortunately, it was not in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. She was cool with it, and even though she didn't want to do "that" one again, she was all for the smaller ones in another area.

They have these waterslides that four and five people can go down together in a big inner tube.

"It's not fast," my sister says.

"It's not scary," my niece says. (For the benefit of my son).

So up the 99 flights of steps (have I ever mentioned how out of shape I am?), and to the top. Bernard, Travis, Kristi and I get in this big, oversized thing. The lifeguard tells us to hang on tight, and to remain seated (oh yea, Karma's thinking of surfing down this baby! NOT). After the first curve, my mother mind kicks in and says, "We are going rather fast. We are going high on the edges. Kristi is a small child. She is going to flip out of this thing." (Bernard tells me later that is basically impossible, from an engineering point of view -- tell the mommy mind that, thank you very much) So, I did what any self-respecting mother would do -- I draped my leg over my daughter, who gave me a look like, "What ARE you doing?????" :)

We made it down together. Kristi laughed the whole way. Travis grinned and said, "Wow, this is like the rides at Disney." (No, he's never been to Disney -- but he has seen promotional dvds -- they send them to you for free, and my kids will watch them for hours. Well, they would if I let them watch dvds for hours -- whistles innocently). Bernard was laughing at me. I was about to pee on myself. That was the scariest thing I have done in a long time.

I lost my shorts in the wave pool.
I had on a pair of shorts on over my swimsuit (it is my service to all of humanity; people really do NOT want to see me in a bathing suit). I'm in a tube (literally -- it was around my waist, like a big floaty) floating around in the wave pool. No problem.

The waves start.

Still no problem. I'm bouncing and swimming and floating and bouncing.

Small problem. I feel my shorts start to slip. Not far, but a bit. With the next wave, they slip a bit further. Have you ever noticed that when your pants are falling down, there is a point of no return. It's like they slip, slip, slip, a little at a time, and then, whoosh, there ain't no stopping them? No? Well, welcome to my world.

After about 5 waves, I figured I needed to do something. I obviously couldn't reach over the outside of my oversized blue cheerio, so I did the next best thing. I reached down the middle. Yea. Smart one. Now, I am pinned and look like some kind of bobber.

Next idea. Free my arms and get to the shallow end so I can get them back up.

The only problem is that with each wave, they are going further and further down, and I can't do a blasted thing to stop it. My niece saw the bobber imitation, and was too busy laughing at that to offer any real assistance.

As I floated by my sister -- unwilling to stand up because then they would come off, she laughed and said "It looks like you have a skirt on." hahahahah. thanks.

At this point, I am laughing so hard, I can't do squat. I'm finally in shallow enough water to sit down, but I'm still being barraged by waves, and my sister is making the not so astute observation that my shorts are around my ankles. I finally get the cheerio off of me, get the shorts up and try to regain what little dignity is left. I look to my right and see my son standing there, chuckling and shaking his head. Bless his heart, in another 6 or 7 years, I'm going to be *that* mom.

Shuford Saturday

Today we have a big plan. We are meeting my sister and her family and going "water-parking."

The kids are thrilled.

I'm slightly amused.

Bernard is dreading it like the plague.

I hope it doesn't rain. :(

Friday, June 13, 2008

Happy Birthday

Today is the birthday of one of my favoritest people in the world.

My dad, older sister and I were horseback riding/camping in Harmon Den (out in the middle of nowhere). I woke up on the morning of June 12th, 1980 and Daddy was gone. His friend "Blink," (what a nickname, huh?) was sitting with Kelly and me, and told us that mom had gone into labor in the middle of the night and he had come to tell Daddy and stay with us.

I remember thinking that he was joking with us. Kasey, who I was convinced was my much dreamed about little BROTHER, was not due for 6 more weeks -- this was 1980. Premature birth is serious now, but really serious then. I also remember thinking how cool it would be that her (his) birthday was June 12, because mine is October 12 and Kelly's is November 12.

That day came and went.

FINALLY, on Friday, June 13th at 3:11 PM, Kasey was born -- butt first and breach. She weighed 5 pounds 10 ounces and the doctors always told us she would always be little because of being a preemie. (She's like 5'8"ish now, and could probably wrestle about any man to the ground -- the docs were WRONG!)

Since I am 10 years older than her, we didn't have that typical fighting sister thing going on all the time. We were more like friends. I just remember her being a source of constant amusement as she grew up. She still is, for that matter.

In a display of His sense of humour, God gave me a daughter that is a smaller version of my little sister.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Some of My Favorite Things

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad

For Your Viewing Pleasure

I stuck a daisy in a fence post in my driveway.. . .

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Father's Day

This Sunday is Father's Day. I am dreading it more this year than I have in the past 6 or so. I told my mom yesterday, I think it is because I am just now dealing with Daddy's heart attack, subsequent coma, and death.

These pictures are ones that just remind me of my dad, for whatever reason.

I think of my Daddy when I see. . .

boston baked beans
junior mints
Douglas Lake
false teeth
"Little Champion"
marching band competitions
little league sports dads
Wrangler jeans
"daddy" shirts
Old Spice
Grandfather Mountain
Myrtle Beach
Disney World
"out west"
rest stops in the rear view window
conversion vans
crossword puzzles
Louis L'Amour books
Jeep Commandos
huntin' dogs
fishing poles
Large Mouth Bass
bass boats
black bears
Friday night football
autumn colors
rattle snakes
trout fishing
hand tied flies
golf clubs
mimosa trees
mountain laurel
Maggie Valley
Ammons Drive-In
soft serve ice cream
banana splits

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

More Paradigm Shifting

You do not have to be a Republican to be a Patriot. (and I'm not talking football)

If you are a Democrat, that does not mean you are not a Christian.

In reality, why the heck does a person's Christianity indicate their internal political barometer, or perhaps more ironically, and more importantly, why does a person's political leaning indicate their spirituality?

And, finally, what does this picture have to do with any of that?

Monday, June 09, 2008

Bored Photographer

When a photographer gets bored, what does she do? She goes out to the front porch and takes a series of photos and combines them into one. (It was harder, for me, than it sounds).

The view from my front porch: