June 30, 2008

Stupid criminals

You just gotta wonder about people sometimes. What a piece of work this guy is:

Here's the newspaper report.

By the way - our gas was stolen a couple of weeks ago. We had to purchase a locking gas cap. Fortunately our car is such a rag and has so many miles, no one would ever think of stealing it. But the gas is another thing entirely.


Our church had our annual Vacation Bible School this past week. It brought some interesting practical applications of theoretic things to mind for me. But first - this year's VBS went very well and there were some great successes.

The classes seemed to run smoothly. Folks who had volunteered to take on various portions of the Vacation Bible School did their jobs and did them well. The church was decorated nicely. Tons of kids came out and seemed to really have a great time. And my wife came home exhausted but excited each night.

The practical application that really jumped out at me was by way of comparison to last year's VBS. To put it in context, I believe that we all need to get out of the way and let God lead his Church as he has told us he will. Church growth strategies may have some good ideas on how to do church in a way that is more pleasant or more comfortable, but trying to find ways to make non-believers comfortable in church is not part of what the Church has been told to do.

We are told to go out into the world and preach the gospel. We are told that the gates of hell will not prevail (indicating that we are to storm the gates of hell). But we tend to sit inside our comfortable church buildings rather than going out and reaching people on their turf. I think this is the wrong way to do it. If we are out in our communities, telling people about Jesus, God will bring some of them through the doors of our church (maybe in response to an invitation given after we have presented the gospel). God will bring the right people through the doors and will impact and grow the church as he sees fit.

In years past our church has canvassed the local neighborhoods with flyers advertising the upcoming VBS week. We have tried to make those flyers as attractive as possible and as winning as possible in order to bring more kids out.

This year the flyer distribution kind of fell through the cracks and we didn't manage to advertise VBS much at all. But God is responsible for bringing people through the doors and, wow! did he ever provide in a big way. We had more than double the expected number of children. My wife had to go out twice during the week to get more craft supplies because they were running out.

The missions project this year was a contest to collect supplies for victims of devestation (hurricanes, floods, earthquakes). The initial goal was to collect at least 200 items. Our pastor agreed to be pelted with water balloons by all the children if we collected 200 items. As the 200-item mark approached, our pastoral assistant agreed that if more than 250 items were raised his head would be shaved. Suffice it to say that the pastor (and his assistant) were very wet Friday afternoon and ths assistant was bald.

The total number of items collected for disaster relief was 777. An interesting number in itself and evidence of God's tremendous grace.

Eph 3:20-21
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

June 28, 2008

Blog Header - June 29, 2008

Walking out of the library one fine fall day last year, I noticed this flag flying proudly against the deep blue sky. I had my camera with me (of course), so I took this photograph.

Because this week contains the celebration of the Independence of the United States of America, I thought it fitting that I post this header photo at this time.

May God bless America. Land that I love.

Obfuscation from the gates of hell

Phil Johnson so eloquently and consistently states the obvious that I always enjoy reading the Pyromaniacs blog, especially when the posts are his.

This post was particularly meaningful to me and I have recently run into a seemingly endless stream of people who use the postmodern arguments that we can't possibly know what the text means. Follow the link and read Phil's post.

The Bible or Dumas?

In the multitude of counselors there is wisdom. But you still have to discern which counselor is giving the right advice.

My personality tends toward confrontation. I don't know why this is and I don't like it. But try as I may, I can't seem to maintain my control and composure when disagreements arise. This has caused me no end of trouble during my lifetime.

I picked up a favorite old book to force some leisure time and read the following advice given by a father to his son. His advice seems to describe my personality well. So I'm going to try to reject this advice as much as possible in the future:

"My son," said the old Gascon gentleman, in that pure Béarn patois of which Henry IV could never get rid—"my son ... you are young. You ought to be brave for two reasons—the first is that you are a Gascon, and the second is that you are my son. Never fear quarrels, but seek hazardous adventures. I have taught you how to handle a sword; you have thews of iron, a wrist of steel: fight on all occasions; fight the more for duels being forbidden, since, consequently, there is twice as much courage in fighting.

Alexandre Dumas, The Three Musketeers

I have always fought. I have always sought hazardous adventures. I wonder sometimes if the path more traveled might not be a better road.

Another reason to love Lynchburg

My wife looked out our kitchen window a few days ago and noticed some visitors in our back yard. She ran to get her camera and took these photos.

We see deer in the yard quite often, but usually not nearly this close. And these deer just stood and watched my wife as she took their picture. Of course, she's a portrait photographer so maybe they just knew that that's what they were supposed to do. I imagine the momma deer telling the baby, "Stand up straight and look directly into the camera. We don't want Aunt Matilda to complain again this year that we didn't send her a photo."

In the big city where I work there are very few animals and most of them are rabid. Every once in a while I see someone walking 15 or so dogs, so I know there are pets out there somewhere that are keeping these professional dog-walkers employed. But you just don't tend to see animals out and about.

We love the fact that even though we technically live in the City of Lynchburg, this city is apparently animal friendly enough or has not destroyed enough of the natural habitat to cause the animals to seek another geographic location to settle down and raise their fawns.

June 26, 2008

Just like twins

I took this photo at Joe & Abigail's wedding. My wife wanted a new dress to wear to the wedding and found this unique black and white dress. Imagine her surprise when she noticed this cute little girl wearing the same dress at the wedding. Well - it's not the same dress, but it's the same print.

We're so happy that Joe and Abigail have moved back to Lynchburg and we get to see them regularly now. They are such a great couple.

Suspension of noogie

I finally found a few minutes to do a little internet surfing and a lot less thinking. Unfortunately, my thinking had to be engaged again when I came across Why adults are terrified of kids. Although written very tongue-in-cheek, I agree completely with this guy's assessment of the state of things in contemporary society.

Here's a short taste of his writing style:

My feeling is, if we can't touch kids then the kids can't touch us. It's a two-way street people, one dotted with suspicion and future appearances on "Oprah."

Now go read the whole post.

June 24, 2008

Lazy days of summer

My son is loving summertime. Two summers ago he was in a residential treatment center. Last year he had just been discharged from the center and was getting his feet under himself regarding living at home with his family. So this seems like a very new experience to him and he is eating it up. He's sleeping late into the day. He's riding his bike, and his wagon, and his scooter. He's chasing the wild animals in the yard. He's playing video games. He's bugging his parents. And he's just about the happiest teenager ever. It's a great thing to see.

In this photo he's playing on his tire swing, which used to hang on a tree at the back of our yard—a good hundred yards or so from our back door. That's the tee in this photo. He wanted me to move the swing closer to the house so he could be near us when he uses it. So it now hangs about 25 feet from our back door and right next to our outdoor patio. He loves it there, even though we usually aren't around when he is swinging.

Isn't summer great?

Barack Obama for president?

This is a video you should watch and consider. Once again, it looks like the upcoming election is going to be very important for the future of our nation.

The Jihad Candidate

HT: The Pineapple Pundit

June 23, 2008

So much candy, so little time

Here's another photo that I just love. I took this at a candy store at Disneyworld's Magic Kingdom. This is by far the best candy store ever. There's candy everywhere. Candy of all types. Candy of myriad colors. Candy of every flavor. It's a sweets-lover's paradise.

But the thing I loved most about this store was the presentation. The whole store was beautiful. This photo is just a small portion of the entire store. But imagine what the whole store must look like when the jelly beans look this good.

And the Mickey Mouse shaped lolly pops were delicious. (Don't tell my nutritionist!)

A hard day's night

Voice-over translation for the non-Gentiles.

The pride of life

1 John 2:15-17
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

When you are raised in church and hear the Word of God preached expositionally at least 3 times a week (as I was), at some point you become very familiar with the words of scripture. At least I thought I was very familiar with scripture.

Last night, our pastor preached from 1 John 2:15-17, written out in the callout box to the right. Of course, I have read and heard this passage many times including verse 16, which says, "For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world."

I don't claim to be the brightest bulb in the utility closet, but I probably should have understood this verse. But I did really get at least one point until last night when I took my NIV translation to church with me. The NIV renders verse 16 with the phrase: "the boasting of what he has and does" instead of the more common "the pride of life." Now I should have recognized what that meant—but somehow I missed it.

When I boast of my accomplishments or of how "good" I am at something, that boasting is coming from the world—not from the Father. It is coming from my sinful flesh.

Out of concern for the often mentioned upcoming economic downturn, I have found myself "blowing my own horn" recently—especially to my supervisors at work. This is not something I should be doing. As Christians, we should live in such a way "that they may see [our] good works and glorify [our] Father in heaven" (Matt 5:16).

May God grant me the wisdom and patience to do the right thing in this regard and to rest in Him, knowing that He will take care of my family—whatever may come.

Joyfully Growing in Grace

I don't really have enough time to do a whole lot of blog hopping, so when I come across a really good blog, I like to bookmark it and visit it regularly. This evening, following a link from my site statistic software, I found Joyfully Growing in Grace, a very thought-provoking and well-written blog. What really drew my attention to this blog was the fact that it has a statement of faith. What an excellent idea for a personal blog. I think I need to develop a personal statement of faith to include on my blog also.

So visit Joyfully Growing in Grace. I think it will be time well spent.

June 21, 2008

Blog Header - June 21, 2008

This week's blog header photo was taken at the Disneyworld's Caribbean Beach Resort. I just can't express what a great time we had staying right at Disney with quick access to all the parks (including the two water parks) and every kind of dining imaginable.

The resort itself would make a great vacation even if you never went to any of the parks. It's beautiful, serene, and it has everything you need right there—without ever having to leave the confines of the resort.

This photo was one of the first I took upon entering the resort. We were just getting out of our car after arriving and checking in. This was one of the buildings next to the parking lot. When I took this picture, we had not even seen our room yet and really had no idea how wonderful this place would be.

The car stayed right where we left it for the next week. I think we went to the car only once to get a pool toy out of the trunk so David could play with it in the pool that was about 50 feet from our door.

June 20, 2008

Heresy avoidance technique

After my gales of laughter died down, I just had to share this with you.

Lemon Lime

My wife was going through her photos (she has more than 10,000 photographs on her laptop—all taken by either her or me over the past few years). She came across a few photos I took in the past year that we both really like and I thought I'd share a few of them with you.

I'll post some others later, but for now... Here's a photograph of some lemons and limes hanging from the front of a street side lemonade vendor's cart in Roanoke, Virginia. I just thought these looked classic.

I've had a very busy week and haven't been able to think enough to post anything thought-provoking. Well, maybe that lack of thought provocation isn't all that unusual. Anyway... I'll try to get back on top of things soon.

June 19, 2008

Biblical success manual

2 Chron. 31:20-21
Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah, and he did what was good and right and faithful before the Lord his God. And every work that he undertook in the service of the house of God and in accordance with the law and the commandments, seeking his God, he did with all his heart, and prospered.

We all want to be successful—it's built deep into our inner workings. But sin has corrupted our view of success and our ability to achieve it.

Scripture deals with both how we define success and our ability to achieve success. Personally, I have recently focused mainly on bringing my own definition and understanding of success into line with biblical representations of success. But recently I came across an interesting treatment of what we should do to achieve success. It comes from the life of King Hezekiah as found in 2 Chronicles 31 (in the callout to the right).

He did what was good and right and faithful before the Lord his God ... and prospered.

May we all strive to do the same.

June 18, 2008

Thinking instead of following blindly

My mother is an intelligent woman. She is a thinker, a learner, a fantastic teacher and public speaker, and a pastor's wife. My sister is very much the same. I grew up around people who thought deeply, pressed situations against the straight-edge of scripture and reasoned through the results of that comparison. I was taught to take everything to the absolute standard of scripture and to reject anything that did not conform, no matter who was promoting the concept in question.

Sitting under the ministry of my father's pastorate for the first 20+ years of my life, I often heard him encourage the congregation to carefully weigh his words against scripture to and reject anything he said that did not conform to scripture. He encouraged the people of the church to confront him immediately should they ever find him straying from scripture.

This upbringing made me think that this was simply the way of the world. The concepts of thought control and subjugation were never even part of my world, other than in studying history and seeing the terrible inhumanity of man.

For this reason, I was amazed about the time I got married to begin to meet folks who willingly placed themselves under the boot of authoritarian religious dictators. I understood that such people existed, but I had trouble even conceiving of the fact that some folks would willingly place themselves under such an abusive system.

The worst extreme of this phenomenon that I have seen amongst Evangelicals and Catholics is to be found in the Patriarchy movement. This movement places in men a centrality that I believe should be given to Christ alone. There are theological issues surrounding this group that are troublesome also.

But I do not have the time to delve into these issues or even into the Patriarchy movement in the way that others are attempting. So I will point you to a few friends I have met along the way.

I discovered the Patriarchy movement through a female friend who was willingly putting herself under the abusive teachings of these people. Because the movement struck me as cultish in nature and abusive in practice, I began to research it out of concern for my friend. This research introduced me to a handful of intelligent thinking women—much like my wife—who are sold out to God, very serious about their religion, and who are trying to follow scripture. These very characteristics cause them to question much of what is happening in the Patriarchy movement.

I created the graphics in this post for some of these new-found sisters in Christ for use on their blogs. If you are interested in hearing more about the Patriarchy movement and its dangers, check out these blogs:

Comedy relief

It's Wednesday. Time for some comedy relief

Blog Header - June 18, 2008

The header photo today is of some wonderful strawberries from the wonderful open air Lynchburg Market. Did I mention how much I love Lynchburg?

June 17, 2008

Relying on God alone

We hear with increasing frequency that our economy is slipping. Many national companies are preparing for inevitable layoffs. Even some of the larger firms are bracing for the potential hard times.

I have always been particularly susceptible to the fear during such times. I worry about my job, I worry about inflation, I worry that my car will continue to run. I worry ... which means I'm not really trusting that God will supply all my needs.

I received a gentle reminder of this need to rely on God alone today:

You will quickly be deceived if you look only to the outward appearance of men, and you will often be disappointed if you seek comfort and gain in them. If, however, you seek Jesus in all things, you will surely find Him. Likewise, if you seek yourself, you will find yourself—to your own ruin. For the man who does not seek Jesus does himself much greater harm than the whole world and all his enemies could ever do.

Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ

Look, Ma - no sideburns

Okay, it looks bad—but at least I shaved

Sunday afternoon we went to Cold Stone Creamery to get some ice cream to help push the heat away. Okay, we also did it because it just tastes so good, but the high heat was a small part of the reason that we wanted ice cream.

As we sat eating our ice cream, my wife noticed the very strange looking sideburns on the sides of our son's head. He has been trying to shave for about two years now, thinking that this is the true sign of being man. Mom would argue that picking up his clothes and taking out the trash would be a better indicator, but that's a topic for one of her blog posts. Apparently, Sunday morning David decided to trim his non-existent sideburns and ended up with perfectly symmetrical racing stripes on either side of his head. At least the boy is consistent.

And, yes, I do carry my camera everywhere. ... No, really, I do.

Roger rabbit - getting comfy

For those of you who have been keeping track of our pet bunny, Roger Rabbit, I wanted to show you his comfy pose. Now that the weather has gotten warmer, he has begun to stretch his body out in what appears to be a very comfortable position. So Kim recently went to the pet store and got this bed for Roger. It's actually a ferret bed, but it seemed suitable for Roger, so Roger's it is.

He really seems to enjoy it and often sits in the bed with his head leaning on the side. It's very cute—and I think it is much more comfortable than a bunny is supposed to ever be.

June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day, Dad

My father is a pastor. He is retired now, but to be a pastor is a calling from God—one that I don't believe ever ends "so long as life shall last."

My father is an outstanding pastor. When you ask folks who have sat under my father's ministry, they will overwhelmingly say that my father was the best pastor ever. My father's assessment of his own ministry would not be nearly so favorable. But perhaps that's one of the reasons that he has been such a fantastic pastor.

This aspect of my father's character and ministry are what drew my attention to Don Carson's Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor: The Life and Reflections of Tom Carson. I read some reviews and heard a few folks talking about this book and realized that I needed to read it for myself. This book is Don Carson's tribute to his father's ministry as a pastor who was not one of the "big name" pastors like Rick Warren, John McArthur, Joel Osteen, or John Piper. He was a man who followed God's call to pastor the flock of Jesus Christ faithfully. This is a good description of my father.

From the preface of this book:

Some pastors, mightily endowed by God, are remarkable gifts to the church. They love their people, they handle Scripture well, they see many conversions, their ministries span generations, they understand their culture yet refuse to be domesticated by it, they are theologically robust and personally disciplined. I do not need to provide you with a list of names: you know some of these people, and you have been encouraged and challenged by them, as I have. Some of them, of course, carry enormous burdens that watching Christians do not readily see. Nevertheless, when we ourselves are not being tempted by the green-eyed monster, we thank God for such Christian leaders from the past and pray for the current ones.

Most of us, however, serve in more modest patches. Most pastors will not regularly preach to thousands, let alone tens of thousands. They will not write influential books, they will not supervise large staffs, and they will never see more than modest growth. They will plug away at their care for the aged, at their visitation, at their counseling, at their Bible studies and preaching. Some will work with so little support that they will prepare their own bulletins. They cannot possibly discern whether the constraints of their own sphere of service owe more to the specific challenges of the local situation or to their own shortcomings. Once in a while they will cast a wistful eye on "successful" ministries. Many of them will attend the conferences sponsored by the revered masters and come away with a slightly discordant combination of, on the one hand, gratitude and encouragement and, on the other, jealousy, feelings of inadequacy, and guilt.

Most of us—let us be frank—are ordinary pastors.

Dick Gelina
My father, Dick Gelina

I have considered for two and a half decades why it is that my father still stands head and shoulders above all the pastors whose ministries I have sat under since I got married and left my father's church. I have been a burr under the saddle to men who could not live up to what I thought was the standard for all pastors. I have wondered if the pastorate has slipped and our seminaries are to blame for putting out an inferior product. I have rejected all these possibilities but not been able to determine what the reasons are for my father's seemingly superior pastorate.

This continuing portion of the preface to Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor I think points to the answer to this long-considered question:

At the risk of saying too much prematurely, I end this Preface with two observations. The first is that Dad's "glass half-empty" awareness of his failures and inadequacies rarely aligns with the view of him taken by his contemporaries. I've given this discrepancy a lot of thought and will reflect on it from time to time in this book. The discrepancy may say something important to other ordinary pastors who are feeling discouraged. Second, few assessments of Dad's journals are likely to prove more penetrating than that of Michael Thate, my administrative assistant. Michael cheerfully transcribed the English parts of the journals. When he sent me the last digital files, he accompanied them with an e-mail that said in part, "I used to aspire to be the next Henry Martyn [heroic British Bible translator and missionary to the Muslim peoples of India and Persia]. However, after reading your dad's diaries, the Lord has given my heart a far loftier goal: simply to be faithful. I know we men are but dust, but what dust the man I read about in these diaries was!" And after proofing the manuscript he sent me a note telling me he was reminded of Tolkien's lines about Strider:

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.

All true. And yet Tom was a most ordinary pastor.

May your Father's Day be the best yet, Dad. I could never have had a better example to model than you. Thank you for being my father.

Visit my father's blog: Navigators

Blog Header - June 15, 2008

Today's blog header photo is of one of the 7 fantastic pools at the Disneyland Caribbean Beach Resort. I am normally up by 4:00 am and my body just woke me up at this time even while we were on vacation. So I grabbed my camera and tripod and headed out to get some coffee and ended up taking this photo well before the sun rose.

Almost exactly a year ago, our family went to Florida to visit my parents and then on to Disneyland where we spent a week at the Caribbean Beach Resort. Although we had been to Disneyland many times, it was our first time actually staying at one of their resorts. And it was amazing.

The Caribbean Beach Resort is themed in a tropical island/pirate theme with palm trees and tropical vegetation lining the paths, four beaches with playgrounds and hammocks, and seven swimming pools scattered throughout the expansive resort. The different areas of the resort are named for famous South Seas island cities and towns, with Port Royal being the central area housing a large restaurant complex and gift shop with a huge outdoor dining area that extended into the lake in the center of the resort.

Port Royal also boasts the amazing swimming pool pictured in this photo. The pool is styled after a South Seas castle, similar to the old sugar cane castles that dot the Caribbean landscape. It has cannons (that shoot water if you press a button on them) and a slide built into one of the towers. On the far end of the pool is a waterfall and a hot tub/spa built into the side of the pool. Our son loved it. He even wore his plastic pirate sword on the side of his bathing suit a couple times when we swam in this pool.

The resort also provided the opportunity to meet other people and we met some wonderful people while we were there. It's a whole new dimension to a Disneyland vacation. We all highly recommend it. In fact, we're planning to do it again near Christmastime this year.

June 13, 2008

What this world needs

I was poking around on an online music store and found the most recent Casting Crowns album, "The Altar and the Door." It's not a particularly new album, but I had not heard most of the songs on it. I listened to the samples of the songs to see if I wanted to download any of them and found the song "What This World Needs." Our current Evangelical culture is in such need of the truth of this song.

What This World Needs

What this world needs is not another one hit wonder with an axe to grind
Another two bit politician peddling lies
Another three ring circus society
What this world needs is not another sign waving super saint that's better than you
Another ear pleasing candy man afraid of the truth
Another prophet in an Armani suit

What this world needs is a Savior who will rescue
A Spirit who will lead
A Father who will love them in their time of need
A Savior who will rescue
A Spirit who will lead
A Father who will love
That's what this world needs

What this world needs is for us to care more about the inside than the outside
Have we become so blind that we can't see
God's gotta change her heart before He changes her shirt
What this world needs is for us to stop hiding behind our relevance
Blending in so well that people can't see the difference
And it's the difference that sets the world free


People aren't confused by the gospel; they're confused by us. Jesus is the only way to God, but we are not the only way to Jesus. This world doesn't need my tie, my hoodie, my denomination, or my translation of the Bible. They just need Jesus

We can be passionate about what we believe, but we can't strap ourselves to the gospel because we're slowing it down. Jesus is going to save the world, but maybe the best thing we can do ... is just get out of the way.

What this world needs is a Savior who will rescue
A Spirit who will lead
A Father who will love them in their time of need
A Savior who will rescue
A Spirit who will lead
A Father who will love
That's what this world needs

Jesus is our Savior, that's what this world needs
Father's arms around you, that's what this world needs
That's what this world needs

Casting Crowns

A righteous boast - forgive me, Lord

Galatians 6:13
God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

How can I leave here, and think of the cross
The thorns, and the whip, and the nails, and the spear
   the infinite cost—
To purchase my pardon to bury my shame
And think I have anything worth boasting in
   except for Your name

'Cause I am a sinner ... and You are the Savior!

And I wanna make much of You, Jesus
I wanna make much of You, Lord
I wanna live today to give you the praise
You alone are so worthy of
I wanna make much of Your mercy
I wanna make much of Your cross
I give You my life; take it and let it be used
To make much of You

Steven Curtis Chapman

June 12, 2008

Make me!

As a church musician I have often heard conversations centered around how the musicians can bring the people into a spirit of worship. Fortunately, I have served with many musicians who are biblically astute enough to point out that the Holy Spirit brings people into a spirit of worship—not the musicians.

Nehemiah 12:43
And they offered great sacrifices that day and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and children also rejoiced. And the joy of Jerusalem was heard far away.

I recently read the passage of scripture in the callout box to the left. And it sheds some very important light on the concept of "bringing the people into a spirit of worship."

Why did they rejoice?—Because "God had made them rejoice with great joy." The spirit of praise and worship among the congregation was not because the worship team was playing well or because the songs were fun or even because the songs were inspiring. The spirit of praise and worship was because God moved in the hearts of the congregation to praise Him. It's humbling and awesome to realize that God's sovereignty stretches even to whether or not we are able to praise Him.

So ... we must regularly ask God to grant us a spirit of praise and worship so that we will be able to do what is expected of us, even commanded in scripture.

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow.

June 11, 2008

Blog Header - June 11, 2008

This header photo was taken at the delightful Lynchburg open air market. Local farmers and artisans bring their produce and wares every Saturday to sell at the market.

The flowers pictured above were in a hanging basket.

Actions speak louder than words

1 John 3:4-10
Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

Ouch! We must continually check ourselves and make sure that we are following God's precepts and commands. It is so easy to begin to simply coast along. God is merciful and does not always spank us the instant we do something wrong, but we must not allow that mercy to become for us a reason to sin. God hates sin and sin will be punished.

But this passage also tells us that Christians can perceive whether or not someone else is a Christian somewhat accurately. "By this it is evident who are the children of God." Our actions are so very important.

In the context of this passage of scripture, we demonstrate our bond with Christ by our deeds of love toward the brethren. This is something we all must commit ourselves to daily.

May God grant all of us the love shown in deeds to each other.

June 10, 2008

Fun with photography

Diffuse glow, tinting

Once upon a time (not so long ago) I was deadset against digital photography. I had worked in film and "wet" processing for quite a while and as digital photography was first rolled out I thought the digital product was far inferior. I made the mistake of writing off digital photography before giving it a chance to mature.

It has now matured.

About six years ago my wife was working as a professional portrait photographer when her company switched from medium format film cameras to Nikon D70 digital SLRs. I could not believe that a professional portraiture company would decide to go digital—especially when their previous cameras were medium format cameras worth multiple thousands of dollars each.

Oversaturated colors, increased contrast, sepia

And then I got to use one of my wife's work cameras on a family outing. Wow! The quality of the photos was outstanding. There was no shutter delay. It worked just like my 35mm film SLR. I was sold

The next step on my journey into digital photography came when I was required to learn Photoshop for work. This software is absolutely amazing and allows the photographer or designer to do things that were once possible only through extensive darkroom manipulation—air brushing, dodging and burning, dust spotting, etc. All of this darkroom manipulation took quite a bit of time and often meant that the resultant print would not be ready for more than a month.

Black & white, high contrast, increased grain

Those days are gone. I am now able to take a photograph, manipulate it in Photoshop, and have a paper print from the instant photography printing at Wal-mart within an hour or so. This has given me a new hobby. I love to play with photos to see if I can change the way photographs look in a pleasing way but in a way that hides the original atmosphere of the photograph. The photos in this post are from the picnic at our church this past Sunday (that's the day before yesterday). It is apparent from some of these photos that they were taken at a picnic, but others do not reveal that at all.

B&W, mild grain, heavy contrast
heavy vignetting, spotlight effect

I have always been a big fan of black & white photography and I love the moody, low-key look. Two of these photos have been manipulated in that way. I don't think anyone would ever know that these low-key photos had been taken at a picnic in the bright sunlight.

A few years ago I purchased a Canon 30D digital SLR. That is the camera that captures the vast majority of the photos on this blog. It's a fantastic camera and a joy to use.

If you have not yet made the move to digital photography, I strongly encourage you to make that switch. Photography is much easier today than it was a mere five or so years ago and is a completely different thing than what my wife and I knew as children. Remember the Brownie camera? It's great to be alive today.

June 09, 2008

Fetus survives abortion attempt

Although the pro-abortion crowd such as NARAL and Planned Parenthood are still trying to make us believe "it's just a tissue blob, not a baby," this story says something very different.

When will our society stop trying to kill its most innocent and most vulnerable members?

What is the goal of missions?

Seeker Sensitive or Fire & Brimstone?

outreach.jpgMy sister and I have had a minor disagreement about how we should present the gospel to the lost. She is fully immersed in the "seeker sensitive" movement. She talks about meeting the "felt needs" of the people. She recommends books that discuss how to evangelize without using words such as "sin" or "repentance." I have argued for the straight presentation of the biblical gospel in the same manner that the apostles proclaimed Christ—shining a spotlight on sin and calling the sinners to repentance.

But our motivations are the same—we both want to see people won for Christ. The question is: What is God's motivation for evangelistic/missionary outreach?

John 4:23
But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.

God is seeking people "to worship him." This is his goal and should be ours as well. It should not be to "reach people at their felt needs," because their "felt needs" are not their true need—the need for the washing of Christ's blood to restore them to fellowship with God. But it should also not be to grow the church, to fulfill my obligation as a Christian, or to mark another notch on my evangelistic belt, which quite often are my personal motivations for evangelistic outreach. After all, it should not be about meeting my needs anymore than it should be about reaching the lost at their felt needs.

In Let the Nations Be Glad, John Piper writes:

If the pursuit of God's glory is not ordered above the pursuit of man's good in the affections of the heart and the priorities of the church, man will not be served and God will not be honored.

Ouch! ... He's right. And his statement stings both my sister and me. Missions is not about man (not about the felt needs of the nonbeliever or about my own percieved needs); missions is about gathering people to worship the Sovereign Lord of the universe.

Pizza dough - in painstaking detail

My good friend Simplegifts3 [Indelible Grace] commented on today's post about Pizza Night:

Would . . . you . . . PLEASE, pretty, pretty please post, in painstaking detail, how to make a crust? I already have a stone from Pampered Chef.

Ask and you shall receive

1. Proofing the yeast

Basic Pizza Dough
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
3.4 cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1/2 cup for working
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

In a small mixing bowl, stir together dry yeast and lukewarm water until the yeast granules dissolve. Leave at room temperature until yeast foams slightly and looks creamy (about 10 minutes)

2. Mixing dough in a processor

The dough in the Kitchenaid mixing bowl

We mix our dough with a Cuisinart food processor or in our Kitchenaid mixer. If you have one of these, fit the processor with the metal blade and add the flour and any other dry ingredients to the work bowl. With the machine running, slowly pour the yeast mixture through the feed tube and continue processing just until the mixture forms a ball of dough that rides around on the blade. —Skip to step four unless you're handing mixing the dough.

3. Mixing dough by hand

If mixing the dough by hand, combine the flour and any other dry ingredients and heap in a mound or put in a large bowl. Make a well in the center, add the yeast mixture and stir with a fork in a circular motion, gradually incorporating the water until the dough forms.

4. Kneading the dough

If the dough was mixed by hand, transfer it to a lightly floured work surface and knead lightly with the heel of your hand—pushing the dough forward and turning it slightly, then folding it back over and repeating—until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. If the dough was mixed in a processor, knead for only 1–2 minutes.

5. Letting the dough rise

Lightly coat a large bowl with oil. Gather the dough into a ball, place it in the bowl and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Leave at room temperature to rise until doubled in bulk (about 1–2 hours).

6. Punching down the dough

Dough on the paddle waiting for toppings

Before shaping the pizza, transfer the risen dough to a lightly floured work surface and, using the heel of your hand, gently punch it down to deflate it slightly. Roll the dough out with a rolling pin to shape it into the form you prefer.

7. Preparing the dough for toppings

The end result—a happy family

Sprinkle a small amount of corn meal on a pizza paddle (to allow the dough to easily slide from the paddle into the oven). Pinch the sides of the dough all around the circumference to form a raised edge. This will help keep the sauce inside the edges of the dough.

Add your favorite toppings and slide the prepared pizza onto your preheated pizza stone to cook.

At least that's how we do it. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. It's one of our favorite family traditions.

June 08, 2008

Pizza night - homemade pizza

Shortly after Kim and I got married we began to get interested in proper cooking tools. It's amazing how much better meals can taste when you have the right tools to prepare them.

Freshly-made pizza on the heated stone

One of our early discoveries was the pizza stone. A pizza stone is a simple flat porous plate (ours is square, they are also available round) that you put in your oven during preheat. When you have prepared your homemade pizza (fresh, homemade dough being an important part of this) you place the pizza on this heated stone to cook. The stone draws excess water from the dough and allows the dough to cook with just the right amount of crispness on the outside of the dough with the rest of the crust being cooked to perfection as well. It makes all the difference in the world.

We have had pizza nights for almost 20 years now—quite often including guests. The guests seem to really enjoy making the pizza. Everyone gets to choose their own fresh ingredients and throw it on their own pizza. But the best part is after the pizza comes out of the oven. There is no other pizza like it. These homemade pizzas, which cost significantly less than a pizza at a restaurant, taste better than any restaurant pizza. They are fantastic.

Finished pizza - ready to eat

I don't normally write blog posts about cooking items, but when they are this unique and have become such an integral part of our family tradition I think its worthy of a blogpost.

So go out to Williams Sonoma or your local specialty cookware store and get one of these stones. You'll love it.

Blog Header - June 8, 2008

This photo was taken in front of one of my favorite Washington, D.C., buildings—the Library of Congress. There are a a few statues and fountains in front of the Library. The statue in this photograph is of the ancient Roman god, Neptune.

The Library of Congress is America's library. As American citizens, every one of us pays for the library through our taxes. So it is yours to be enjoyed. There is a sign in front of the doors to the reading room, which is the area where the books are located, that says, "Closed to tourist traffic." Thinking that this means that no one is allowed to enter except special dignitaries, the crowds of tourists gather around those doors and peek through the small windows to catch a glimpse of the reading room—the most glorious room I have ever seen. Of course, anyone can enter the reading room. They just don't want groups wandering the reading room, talking loudly, pointing at the statues and snapping photos. When I excuse myself and pass through the doors into the reading room, I often hear the tourists whispering to one another, "Who is he? I bet he's somebody important." If only they knew.

June 07, 2008

Reformed Baptist apologist James White commented on the Pope's insistence that he respects the religion of Islam. James points out that to treat all religions as equal is to actively reject the claims of Christianity. This is unacceptable.

I would not join the Pope in saying "I respect Islam." That is a far cry from saying I do not respect certain Muslims, and, equally far from saying I cannot or will not treat a Muslim with respect. Sadly, people muddle these categories. Modern shallow thinkers assume that if you wish to show respect for a Muslim you must respect Islam. That is untrue. A Muslim is made in the image of God, and though he follows a false religion, he is still due respect due to the fact that he bears the image of God.

Read the entire post at www.aomin.org.

June 06, 2008

The miraculous garden

Isaiah 45:8
Shower, O heavens, from above,
and let the clouds rain down righteousness;
let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit;
let the earth cause them both to sprout;
I the Lord have created it.

I found the metaphor in Isaiah 45:8 to be absolutely wonderful! That is no surprise since God is the one who spoke it.

God, the engine that powers nature and plant growth, is also the engine that powers salvation and righteousness. He uses the metaphor of plant growth to help us understand that salvation and righteousness come from him—not from our own efforts.

God plants the seed of faith, God rains down righteousness and salvation from the heavens, and God causes the earth (us) to open allowing righteousness and salvation to sprout. I love the imagery of this, I love the grace of it, I love the truth of it.

What a wonderful and gracious God we serve!

Comforted so that we may comfort others

2 Corinthians 1:3–4
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

It is so easy for me to feel sorry for myself when I go through tough times. I often presume to ask God why He is allowing something I don't like to happen to me. This response is not consistent with what I know of God (that He didn't just allow it to happen but rather ordained that it would happen) and it ignores the clear teaching of scripture about one of the reasons why we go through tough times.

Our suffering allows us to commiserate with others who are enduring tough times. And the comfort we gain from Christ, oftentimes through the actions of fellow believers, allows us to comfort others who are enduring tough times.

John Piper
Not grace to bar what is not bliss,
Nor flight from all distress, but this:
The grace that orders our trouble and pain,
And then, in the darkness, is there to sustain.

So the answer to the question, "Why, God?" is "that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."

God, please show me the opportunities to share the comfort you have provided to me with others who are in need.

June 05, 2008

Words mean things, at least they should

John 18:37–38
Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?”

I am continually amazed at how sloppy and squishy our language is. I have at times chalked it up to a lack of verbal skills, a lack of intelligence, or simple laziness. But I think that the depth of our cultural/societal problem goes much deeper than those excuses. I think our society has developed an appreciation of inexact language because it makes it so much easier to defend our inappropriate actions at a later date. "Well, I didn't really mean that" and "what I meant to say was...." These are much easier defensive stances when our original language was so squishy that it could have meant many different things.

Perhaps the postmodern mindset with its rejection of definitions has contributed to the problem. But even those who strongly reject the postmodern paradigm use this same squishy language.

I recently ran across a quote that speaks to this situation very well:

The English language ... becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.

George Orwell, Politics and the English Language

Sad, but true.

Blog Header - June 5, 2008

I took this header photo from the outdoor dining deck of the Sequoia Restaurant in Washington, D.C. If the photo extended to the left you would see the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Watergate Condominiums.

I photograph the Technology Fast 50 event at this restaurant every year and always enjoy the beauty there.

June 04, 2008

Wizard's First Rule

"Wizard's First Rule: people are stupid." Richard and Kahlan frowned even more. "People are stupid; given proper motivation, almost anyone will believe almost anything. Because people are stupid, they will believe a lie because they want to believe it's true, or because they are afraid it might be true. People's heads are full of knowledge, facts, and beliefs, and most of it is false, yet they think it all true. People are stupid; they can only rarely tell the difference between a lie and the truth, and yet they are confident they can, and so are all the easier to fool."

Not much more needs be said. Sometimes you find truth from the strangest sources. I found this quote to be tremendously truth-laden.

About the book:   I don't read many books in the fiction genre, but was attracted to this book at the bookstore for some reason. I read the back cover and decided to purchase it. I was hooked by the story almost immediately.

It is very well-written and Terry Goodkind weaves an amazing tale as he creates a believable fantasy world that sucks you in and holds you spellbound. There are no profanities and for the first half of the book there were no objectionable situations, so I began reading this book to my son at bedtime.

I soon stopped that bedtime reading—not because the story turned foul but because it turned dark and continued to get darker and darker as I developed more and more empathy or antipathy with and for the various characters. I'm glad I stopped reading this book to my son because by the final few chapters the situations became so severe that I would not want my son to read them.

Which leaves me with a dilemma of sorts. This is one of the best books I have ever read. The story is captivating, the characters are solid and well-developed, and the fantasy world is so well described that I feel that if I could visit it I would know my way around. But it has moments darker than anything I've ever read. And I'm a Stephen King fan, so that's saying something.

I guess I'd have to highly recommend this book—with the caveat that the reader must be able to withstand the onslaught that is coming his or her way. This book is a rollercoaster ride that will leave you elated at times, petrified at times, frightened at times, feeling dirty and in need of a bath at times ... and you will love it all the way.

You've been warned.

Friends, fun, and food

The one and only "Dunkum Funeral Home"

Traveling through small towns can be fun. This past Sunday we had the opportunity to do that.

Some good friends from Northern Virginia were going to be traveling to a dog breeder in the direction of where we live so we all agreed to get together for dinner. It was great to see them again and to spend some time with them. We miss them.

On our way to meeting them, we traveled through some very interesting small Virginia towns. Some of them were obviously not doing well and had a depressed look about them. There were buildings boarded up, parking lots with weeds growing out of them, and other indications that times are tough in the town.

The town of Dillwyn was our favorite though. We had to stop twice in this town to enjoy it. Our first stop was at the aptly named "Dunkum Funeral Home," which we thought really should also be the name of a Baptist Church.

David enjoying the trains

Our next stop was not much further down the road. It was at the old Dillwyn Train Station. They have a wonderful collection of old trains including box cars, cabooses, and other rail cars—all in mint condition. David, who absolutely loves trains, had a blast climbing onto them and pretending he was a train engineer.

The Starkstons and the Gelinas

But the best part of the trip was seeing our good friends again. This is a family from our previous church, when we lived in Northern Virginia. They are a unique and outstanding family and have always shown us committed love and friendship. This is a part of our current culture that is almost completely missing—to our society's shame and detriment. And we cherish this friendship.

June 03, 2008

What will the neighbors think?

My friend Cindy Kunsman is reading Unchristian: What A New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity ... And Why It Matters by Dave Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons. According to her recent post Born again or born against?, the research explored in this book includes discussions of "the most common points of skepticism and objections raised by outsiders" (those outside Christianity). Those six themes are as follows:

  1. Hypocritical. ...morally superior attitudes... pretend to be something unreal... polished image that is not accurate... the church is only a place for virtuous and morally pure people...
  2. Too focused on getting converts. Outsiders wonder if we genuinely care about them. They feel like targets rather than people.They question our motives... Antihomosexual. ...bigoted and show disdain... fixated on curing homosexuals... political solutions...
  3. Sheltered. ...old fashioned, boring and out of touch with reality... preferring simplistic solutions and answers... not willing to deal with the grit and grime of people's lives...
  4. Too political ....motivated by a political agenda...
  5. Judgmental. ...quick to judge... not honest about our attitudes and perspectives... They doubt that we really love people as we say we do...

Apparently the research that formed the foundation for the observations in this book are from the Barna Group. I am very uncomfortable with George Barna and his ways of influencing the church. But if we hold a firm grasp on scriptural mandates, the results of his surveys can provide us with some good insight and may, perhaps, give us some direction that will help us to recognize where we are doing things improperly and to make adjustments within the confines of our true authority, which is scripture.

Moral superiority — I think the world has pegged us here. And this one fits hand-in-glove with number 5, Judgmental. We Christians are prone to thinking that we have earned God's favor through our actions. Even those of us who fully understand that it is "not of works of righteousness which I have done" and that it is "not of works, lest any man should boast" still seem to have trouble getting the concept that "there, but for the grace of God, go I." This we need to change. And although it is easy to see the sanctimonious and self-righteous attitudes of folks in the Patriarchy movement and other staunchly legalistic groups, we are all prone to looking down our noses at others and must take stock of how we are presenting ourselves to the watching world. We are sinners saved by grace—nothing more. And we are certainly not morally superior to those in need of evangelism.

Too focused on getting converts — I would have to disagree with this one as I think we are way too underfocused on this. However, I understand the reason that those outside the church walls would think this of us. Again, our theology should affect our behavior toward others. If we truly believe that salvation is of God and not of man, we will not try to "close the sale," as I heard one evangelism teacher put it. It is not up to us to close the sale. That is the job of the Holy Spirit. We cannot pressure folks into belief in Christ. We are called to present the good news to all people. The good news is that although they have put themselves under the penalty of eternal death by sinning against God, Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay the penalty of death for all those who believe in him. If we show that we care enough about others to truly want them to turn in faith to Christ, we will not be pushy—we will be penitent and patient and will call them to Christ with tears and with love, not condemnation or with a superior and self-righteous attitude.

Antihomosexual. ...bigoted and show disdain — We Christians should be antihomosexuality and not antihomosexual. This is a hard line to walk properly as we strive to protect our children from seeing blatant sin practiced in front of their eyes. I need to remind myself that I should be just as concerned about my son seeing me drive over the speed limit or hearing me gossip as I would be about having a homosexual couple over to dinner.

Sheltered. ...old fashioned, boring and out of touch with reality — I probably need to give this one extensive thought. On the surface I would say that it's probably a good thing for us to be sheltered. But we should also undersand enough of the world around us to be able to present the gospel in the terms of those we are talking to as Paul did when he presented "the unknown god" to the philosophers of his day. Had Paul not known his culture, he would not have been able to so deftly handle that situation with such a tough audience.

Too political — Amen! amen! When we realize that it is our duty to present the gospel—to call our neighbors to faith in Christ through our loving presentation of the gospel message and through our lives lived out under their watchful eye—rather than to force them to our way of thinking by judicial and legislative fiat we will be much more winning than when we think our primary goal is to pull America back from the brink of destruction. Christ's message was never a message of establishing a Christian government. At least not while we still live in this world.

Interesting thoughts. It would behoove Christians to remember the old adage, you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

June 02, 2008

Another reason to love Lynchburg

This past Saturday we had another enjoyable day in downtown Lynchburg. My wife and I found ourselves with four unclaimed hours on a Saturday morning and took full advantage of the unusual situation.

Bluegrass band playing at the Market

We headed first to the Lynchburg open air Market. During the summer, this market is usually full of people and full of wonderful foods, flowers, plants, and crafts. There are usually quite a few people sitting on the edge of the fountain in the center of the market or on the picnic tables in the nearby grassy area. But this past Saturday there was a band playing near the fountain. We stopped for a while to listen.

It was a bluegrass band that played a variety of fun instruments that were eclectic and interesting and antique and sounded great. The banjo player had an old banjo and a tambourine that looked like it might have begun its musical career in the hippie days. The lone girl in the group played a washboard—quite well, in fact. The guitarist had a very old Dobro guitar and a hand-tooled guitar strap. But the most amazing musician in the group was the drummer, who had the most interesting drum kit I've ever seen.

A closeup of the drum kit

The drum kit was a collection of odds and ends cobbled together to make a solid drum kit sound. The cymbal was mounted on a standard cymbal stand. But attached to the crook in the arm of the stand was a pan, held onto the stand by a pair of Vise grips. The snare drum was an antique drummer-boy type snare—the sort of snare drum you might see in a picture of a drummer marching with a Civil War detachment.

The bass drum was not a drum at all, but rather a smallish suitcase. The top of the leather suitcase was opened toward the audience and a velvet cloth had been draped inside, presumably to alter the tone of the suitcase when the foot pedal hit it. I heard the drummer explaining to one of the people in the audience that the suitcase had belonged to his grandfather many years ago. His grandfather had been a traveling shoe salesman and had kept his sample shoes in this case when he traveled.

The audience beginning to gather at the fountain

Even the drummer's seat was unusual—a stack of guitar cases piled to the correct height. He also had a wonderful assortment of other antique percussion instruments that he pulled out from time to time depending on the needed sound. It was great fun watching him. And the band was fantastic. Their voices were great. Their blend and harmony were perfect. It was great fun watching and listening to them.

After listening to the band for a bit, we strolled through the market. We purchased some fresh fruits and vegetables, some goat cheese, and other items. I just can't explain how great this market is. You'll simply have to visit it for yourself. It's open every Saturday.

Even the kids stopped playing to listen to the music

We also visited one of our favorite spots downtown—The White Stag coffee house. This delightful café has the best coffee around and includes a bookstore with a fantastic selection of classics and unusual books. I got a cup of coffee and we began to browse the bookshelves—always a way to ensure that we will end up going home with more books than we intended to purchase.

My wife pointed out a book called Solomon Among the Postmoderns. From the back cover: Solomon's words from a famous passage of Ecclesiastes have been translated, "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity." In Solomon Among the Postmoderns, Peter Leithart says those words are better translated "Vapor of vapors, all is vapor," emphasizing that human life is fleeting. He uses this theme, as well as the entire book of Ecclesiastes, to indicate how Solomon resonated with the themes of today's postmodernism. I read that and just had to take the book home with me. I've just begun reading it last night and am finding it a very well-written and enjoyable book.

Vegetables at the market

After our trip to the market and the coffee house, we strolled around Lynchburg for a while, enjoying the sights and the people—the friendliest and warmest people you'll find in any city. All in all, a great day.

I wish I could bottle Essence of Lynchburg and have it sprinkled over every city in our nation. The quality of life for everyone would improve beyond belief. Having lived in the shadow of Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia, Pa.; New York City; Richmond, Va.; and Scranton, Pa.; I can say that there is no city quite like Lynchburg (at least of the cities I've been to), and no city nearly as wonderful!

June 01, 2008

Blog Header - June 1, 2008

This blog header photo was taken during our family vacation this past summer in Disneyworld. This was in Epcot as we were riding the ferry around the center of the international section.

We love Disneyworld and try to go there every time we visit my parents, who live in St. Petersburg, Florida. The next month or so will feature a few photos from our last vacation there and I'll comment on some of the things we love about Disneyworld along the way.