Friday, June 28, 2013

Photo Friday Frenzy - 114

Category: Christian Humor

Vote closed. Winner: For The Win

Instructions: Vote on your favorite two photos. You have from Friday (today) until Monday morning to make your selection. Mobile phone users must scroll down and click on View Web Version to vote.



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In case there's any confusion...


Who let Woody out of his cage!?


Better than Christian bail. 


Yikes.


For The Win!


Let's pray about that.


Maybe we SHOULD eat more chicken!


He may have a point!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Is It Gossip?

Today my men's discipleship group met and discussed judging others and gossip.  The first I am guilty of as most of us are.  The second is usually associated with women so I was interested to see what the guys thought in regard to that issue.  Ultimately we all admitted that at least with our wives and possibly elsewhere we do end up talking about people that are not present in negative ways.  That is not to say we don't also talk about people that are not present in positive ways too but you get my point.

As I read the chapter in the book that goes with this topic, I kept wanting to see the author give an exception clause for marriage.  I mean, are my wife and I gossiping when we discuss our siblings, parents, home group members, and mutual friends in both positive and not-so-positive ways?  The line is hard to distinguish sometimes because you are not spreading rumors and you are not seeking other parties to share these opinions with.  But you are judging those in your life and conversationally injecting these thoughts into conversation with your spouse.

If that qualifies as gossip, I am very guilty.  And to be even more transparent, I have felt guilty many times in the midst of doing it.  I suddenly become aware of the elite and hypocritical stance I am taking and then begin wondering if the person I am discussing is also discussing me right now?  I also let thoughts like, "would I want God to show this person this particular conversation in heaven one day?"  If the answer is No, then I think re-framing the conversation might be warranted.  One solution this author offers and I've seen it work for me personally is to pray for the person you are gossiping about.  Soon your heart for them, their situation, and their struggles will soften and you will become an ally instead of judge and jury.

Where is the gossip line drawn and do you think husband and wife are guilty of it when discussing the people in their lives?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Doing Nothing

There is a magical bliss in doing nothing.  One can certainly master it beyond a point of healthy balance and instead embrace an extreme laziness that borders on the absurd.  But more often than not, our society supports an over active lifestyle.  The whole reason people "need a vacation from their vacations" is because they jam pack these week-long excursions with activities.  A certain amount of touring the new locale is warranted.  It would be a shame to sit in your hotel room the entire time when there is exploration to be had and you could have sat in a hotel room much closer to home.

But over-activity is a problem.  Yesterday my wife and I took our three kids to the neighborhood pool with no other plans what-so-ever.  We lounged, we chatted, we swam, we took snack breaks but otherwise we did nothing.  We talked about how much fun it was going to be to go to Galveston this summer and do more of the same...nothing.  Just enjoying the scenery, the water, the good weather, and the company is all that is on our agenda.  We may find a restaurant, we may take just ONE day to venture out for a tour.  But ultimately this vacation will not be one that we need a break from when its over.

I am not sure if we fear boredom for ourselves or our children. I am not sure if adventure around every corner has been overly marketed to us.  But for some strange reason, doing nothing has earned a negative connotation and I believe undeservedly so.  What are your thoughts and feelings about doing nothing?  Are you good at it or is it a struggle?  How will you and your family take time this summer to do a whole-lotta-nada?


Friday, June 21, 2013

Photo Friday Frenzy - 113

Category: Bumper Stickers

Vote closed.  Winner: Crazy times!

Instructions: Vote on your favorite two photos. You have from Friday (today) until Monday morning to make your selection. Mobile phone users must scroll down and click on View Web Version to vote.



Click on images to enlarge them.



So that's what we call it.

Crazy times!

Probably true.

But loves irony

Sounds reasonable.

Acronym explained

Pood Goint!

Ha, ha, made you squint!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Today's Mailbag - 22

Woman Stops Grizzly Attack With 25 Caliber Pistol!


This is a story of self-control and marksmanship with a small firearm by a woman facing a fierce predator.  A reminder to all of us to be prepared to protect yourself.

Here is her story:

"While out hiking in Alberta, Canada, with my husband, we were surprised by a huge grizzly bear charging at us from out of nowhere.  She must have been protecting her cubs because she was extremely aggressive.

If I had not had my littler Beretta Jetfire with me, I would not be here today!  Just one shot to my husband's knee cap was all it took.  The bear got him, and I was able to escape by just walking away at a brisk pace.

It's one of the best pistols in my collection."

If you have something to contribute to Today's Mailbag, contact me through Facebook or email to capturedimage@hotmail.com!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Multiple Choice

I am involved in several things I like to call ministry.  Everything from this blog, to my YouTube channel, and my Home Group at church.  In more than one category lately I have been suffering from a great deal of discouragement.  The main source of those feelings stems from the number (or lack-thereof) of people in the audience.  I have one video on YouTube that has over ten thousand htis.  But the average video is lucky to get fifty.  This blog usually gets 15 to 40 hits per day but an average of 0.045 comments.  It's impossible to know if those hits are from people searching Google images for my funny photo posts or if they are actually stopping in, reading, and benefiting from my offerings.

On Sunday, I was asked to lead our home group.  I prepared a lesson from the sermon series of Isaiah where he is commissioned as a prophet to Israel.  One couple showed up and I am pretty sure they came because I ran into them downstairs and asked if they were coming.  I ditched my lesson and took the time to get to know them better.  It was time well spent and arguably a divine appointment.  But that did not stop me from reflecting on the low attendance level and the effort wasted on preparing my lesson.  It didn't stop me from getting discouraged and wondering what God is up to.

He hasn't left His throne and I haven't questioned for a moment that He is in charge.  I just wonder if I am serving in the area of ministry that I should be.  I don't think I'm making much impact.  And I keep coming back to one of two scenarios that could be in play here...a sort of multiple choice that I am praying through.  Either God wants me to (a) learn and be alright with playing to an audience of one with the understanding that He (if no one else) is watching, reading, and enjoying how I share my faith.  Or perhaps (b) the lack of interest is my sign to hang up these hats and move on.  Find a place and a method where I am more effective.  I can honestly say that I do not know the right answer.  At least not yet.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Photo Friday Frenzy - 112

Category: Photo Bombs

Vote closed.  Winner: Dad-bomb

Instructions: Vote on your favorite two photos. You have from Friday (today) until Monday morning to make your selection. Mobile phone users must scroll down and click on View Web Version to vote.



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Derp-bomb
Hippo-bomb

Creepy-bomb

Shark-bomb

Ray-bomb

Kitty-bomb

Dad-bomb

Fish-bomb

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Learning A Tough Lesson

Before having kids, I would have been the first one to gripe about the reward-rich society we've become.  Children get trophies and blue ribbons for just participating in a sport or activity.  They have no idea what it was like when I was a kid to actually have to be first place winners to earn such things.  They have no idea what it was like to NOT win and NOT be recognized.  I was almost too passionate about the topic and had this unspoken vow in mind that my kids would be taught how real life really works!

Tough words, for such a softy dad, eh?  Turns out as I have watched the twins develop and participate, I really enjoy every little trinket they get...even if its a participation reward.  In watching this occur I feel torn about my former stance and how in some ways I've betrayed those standards by willingly and happily witnessing that mentality benefit my family.  But then I remind myself that building self esteem is good and that they will have plenty of time to learn of the harsh realities of real life.

Well one such reality hit my daughter square in the face yesterday as she left soccer camp in tears.  This camp hands out first, second, and third place ribbons at the end of each day to the three top teams.  She was not on those teams and it pained her to see all the kids that had awards whilst her hands were left empty.  Again, those mixed feelings of mine came rushing back.  Part of me was grateful that she was getting a life lesson, tough though it may be.  But I did not delight in her pain.  Instead I put my arm around her and explained what was going on in the best seven-year-old logic I could muster.  I even refused a generous offer from one of Michael's friends as he tried to hand Mackenzie his ribbon.  Because even though I am no longer so emphatic about the topic, I still want and need her to learn how life really does work.

And soon the tears dried up and her biggest concern was what movie we'd watch that evening.  So I think we can afford to take the two extremes and meet in the middle. Let's build self esteem and not create an overly competitive environment for our kids.  But let's also reward according to accomplishment instead of entitlement.

Thoughts?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Moderation

Most think of this word in association with alcohol.  Rightly so especially as Christians since we are to practice it and keep ourselves sober minded.  But in this culture of excess I believe the word can and should apply to just about every area of our lives.  We rarely, if ever, deny ourselves a particular pleasure if we can help it.

My family is in a cut-back mode right now.  I am trying to cut weight.  Rachael and I both are trying to cut expenses and frivolous spending.  When we make a list of our spending habits it becomes clear quickly what needs to go.  The areas of excess.  Not that we are overly wild but we certainly have our impulse purchases and the one too many times of eating out.  We also don't tend to deny ourselves every gadget or the service it brings us.  In some ways we are a reflection of the country at large.  Paying for things without much thought to whether its really needed or if we can afford it.

But that is about to change, at least for us.  We are going to pray, discuss, and plan how to best moderate the areas of our life that contain excess.  One might ask, why would God want us to deny ourselves in the first place? Doesn't He wants us to have abundance of blessing?  Well yes, to some degree.  But not at the expense of failing to depend on Him.  Not at the expense of making the excesses into idols.  Not at the expense of learning proper stewardship.

What excess is God calling you to deal with right now?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Twenty Years!

I'm a guy.  So I don't really let age or the process of aging freak me out too much.  I am happy to have hair at this point although its quickly turning grey.  I could do without the spare tire and the lack of energy but otherwise I have no complaints and technically I could do something about those problems.  But as I stare at 40 just a year and a half away and as I just purchased tickets to my 20th High School Reunion today, I cannot help but be a little baffled.

Perhaps the strangest realization is that we have now been out of school longer than it took for us to graduate in the first place.  The only comfort I take in that knowledge is that everyone else in attendance is just as old and just as baffled by the rapid passing of time as I am.  We can laugh at our age scars together and continue asking ourselves why we ever thought the mullet was cool?  I just posted some photos on my Facebook page with the senior yearbook pics.  Of all things the guys were in bow-ties and the girls were sporting feather boas.

If you ask me, the guys got the luckier end of that dated stick but both are pretty hilarious.  I know for some, High School was absolute torture and nothing about remembering the experience is pleasant...other than it's over.  For others it was the best part of their lives and it becomes a game of "remember when".  For me, it was somewhere in the middle.  I had friends.  People seemed to care about me.  I was involved in athletics and journalism.  I enjoyed the four years of getting to know MOST of the 600 or so classmates of 1993.  So while I am not ecstatic about commemorating twenty years of time passed, I do hope to see as many of them next month as possible.

How do you feel about reunions?

Monday, June 10, 2013

I Hate Unresolved Issues

Why is closure such a therapeutic result?  I understand when positive results occur that bring about closure but that isn't always the case.  Many times closure is just two parties putting an issue to bed and the way it occurs is quite negative and ugly.  But the same therapeutic sensation occurs because there is no longer this heaviness of an issue hanging in the balance.  Granted it would be most soothing if you can somehow achieve both but that isn't always how it happens.

I think I must have either learned this at a very early age or have perhaps been born with the innate discomfort of the unresolved and the extreme desire to get closure.  I would much rather have a heated argument than sit silently hoping it will all just go away.  Much to my wife's dismay at times, I tend to push conversations past the point in which she cares to take them all because I want everything to be solved so we can move on.  Even if my point of view isn't the one that we conclude is best, I push until something is determined.

I admit that isn't everyone style and my way isn't the best or only way.  I wish I knew why unresolved conflict stresses me out so much.  To me, it echo's the state of man and his fallen condition.  We are less than resolved and striving toward that end when Christ returns and set all things right, wipes away every tear, and restores the pre-fall perfection He intended.  In the meantime, I need to get a handle on how to best react when conditions are in flux.  I would love some advice from those of you that are similar as well as from those of you that take a different approach.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Photo Friday Frenzy - 111

Category: Mirror Portraits

Vote closed.  Winner: Going Old School

Instructions: Vote on your favorite two photos. You have from Friday (today) until Monday morning to make your selection. Mobile phone users must scroll down and click on View Web Version to vote.



Click on images to enlarge them.


Great duck-face!


Pop's keeps you humble.

Sounds like a good cause.

That's why the call it a vanity!

Going Old School

Looks totally legit.

Mona

Swiss Army Smart Phone

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

"God Doesn't Answer"

The title is in quotes for a reason.  This is a claim being made by a pretty popular Youtuber that goes by the handle TheeGameDude.  He is claiming this personally not as a declaration over everybody.  He even admits that others around him seem to have this supernatural connection to God and blessings that come from that. But as for him, he has knocked and no one has answered.

I might postulate that God has answered and that TheeGameDude is guilty of something most of us at times practice.  Putting God in a box or having a very specific expectation of how it is God should or would reveal Himself when we ask Him to.  For years I longed for a Saul to Paul, roadside experience.  That is the kind of visit you just cannot argue with.  Instead He spoke to me through my friends, family, billboards on the side of the road, pastors, and even in my own thoughts during prayer.  I wasn't fully giving Him credit for these instances because I was too busy looking for the experience I had made up in my head.

There's an old joke about a man that faithfully decides to wait out a flood, that boldly claims every time someone offers him rescue that he will not go with them, that God will save him.  In the course of several hours two boats offer help as does a helicopter near the end as the flood waters are at neck level.  Upon drowning and entering into heaven the man inquires, "God what gives?  I faithfully waited on you and boldly proclaimed to everyone that you would save me and you didn't."

God answered, "I sent you two boats and a helicopter, what more did you want?"


Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Stop Trying to Fix It

Ever heard that demand from your wife or girlfriend?  Or are you the wife that has to constantly remind your husband that you just need him to listen?  Either way, I bet that you have had a discussion and have been on one side or the other shaking your head at the confusion generated by our gender differences on this topic.  Men want to solve problems.  And its not that women don't like solutions.  My theory is that (a) they prefer to first chat with you and strike some empathy for what they are going through and (b) they already know the solution and getting you to fix their problem is laughable at best.

So we have this disconnect.  The female is using an issue as a vehicle to converse and test your listening skills.  The male sees a rubix cube and wants to put all the red squares on one side for you.  This somehow equates to not listening, which as a member of the male side of this equation, I must admit to being all the more confusing.  If I were not listening I would sit with a blank stare on my face, not only failing to offer you a solution to your problem but desperately hoping you have not noticed my complete lack of concentration.  But I do get it.  There are times you ONLY want to be heard, not heard and "solved".

And I think that is partly where the ladies take offense.  We think we are helping to solve one of their problems but they percieve that we are trying to solve them.  And who are we to achieve such a feat when its rare we can remember to put the toilet seat down or keep a true aim?  I have been married long enough to figure this out but I still have one piece of kryptonite left when it comes to this issue.  I don't always recognize that the conversation we are having qualifies for the "just listen" strategy.  Once I do, I know how to fall in line.

And unlike the hilarious video below lampooning this situation to the man's benefit, I am alright with leaving the nail alone.


Monday, June 03, 2013

A New Chapter

I am in one of those rare times when lots of things are coming to an end all at once.  The kids are just about done with school, the soccer season just ended, many of my work responsibilities have changed due to some major transitions that have occurred, and now my role in the church (as it currently stands) is coming to an end.  Like most ends, all of these things present new beginnings.

School being out just launches summer time activities, vacationing, and preparing for next year.  Soccer being over just launches opportunities for my daughter to take gymnastics and my son to start karate.  My job changes just free me up to focus on the pure recruitment of personnel for my clients which is what I love about this business anyway.  So that leaves my role in the church.  I can tell you without having taken the reigns of my new position, that it also is launching me into new opportunities.  Like a kid going into the next grade level, I am both excited and terrified.

New chapters in life hold so much promise with a healthy dose of the unknown.  We can in some ways hit the restart button and rewrite our part a bit.  We can reinvent ourselves and take full advantage of putting our old roles and chapters behind us.  I for one, gladly sail into uncharted waters with a bit of trepidation of the unknown for the promise of all the potential good things that come from a new experience.  I look forward to both how I will be impacted by the adventure as well as how I might impact those who are on the journey with me.

How do new chapters in life strike you?