12 Witnesses

Let these stones be a witness to what we have done here this day.

Fall Block Party 2011

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“This is our gift to our community,” I said as our neighbors looked around at all that our church was offering.  The list of possibilities was long:

Free food that included hot dogs, brats, grilled corn on a stick, BBQ sandwiches, popcorn, cotton candy, lemonade, mini-muffins in ice cream cones and, to top it all off, funnel cake.

Along with the food outside, there were a row of inflatables that ranged from obstacle courses, jousting, basketball long shots and a giant slide in the shape of the shoe home in the nursery rhyme.

Inside there were games all over the gym and two more inflatables, including one that was two stories, stretching toward the roof.  All of these games paid off with candy, whether you win or lose.

And all of it was free to our guests.

A few years ago, we charged money for the food (which was much smaller) and the Fall Family Fun Festival (as it had come to be known) was a big event for us.  It became the biggest single emphasis in our church when we decided to expand the food and make it all free.  After that, the inflatables, games and everything else grew as well.

Attendance blew up with all that we were offering, coupled with our relationship with the community through our partnership with Skelly Elementary nearby.

And it all happens because we determined to give and not trade.  We give to Skelly Elementary, and now to Skelly Primary.  After several years, we have begun to receive trust and dependence.  When they have a need, they call us and we have the honor of helping the families of our community at our local school.

We give to the neighborhood, free food, games and a safe place for a family.  In return, we get trust, appreciation and an open door to share the Gospel.

This year our follow up will be a packet of information about our church sent to everyone that registered followed by a phone call from one of our church members making sure they got the information and welcoming any questions.

What do you do?

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Phriday foto: 11-12-10 The Rogers Family

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A few pictures I took of my family about a month ago.

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If you like these, you might like to browse my flickr or photoblog.  (Same pics, different layout)

Phriday Foto 10-29-10 :: XC

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Little Photography for ya today.  My son’s Cross Country team.

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If you like these, my flickr account is here and my photoblog is here.  (Same pics at both places.)

Race for the Cure, Tulsa – 2009

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The first thing that you should know about running a 5k… check that… about me running a 5k, is that cycling doesn’t translate to running.  They are based on a different set of muscle groups.  When a runner or a cyclist crosses over to the other discipline they will find a jump in their heart rate and a demand for oxygen from those muscles that haven’t been being used.

Which is a great argument for cross training, if training is your thing.

To date my thing has been just trying to drop some weight and cycling offered me an aerobic exercise option with no impact.  Which was huge.  Because I was huge.

If you want to understand this better, try running with a couple of 20 lb. sledge hammers, one in each hand.  Get the idea?  Now add another 15 lbs and you’ll understand how much weight I’ve lost.

So I biked because I couldn’t run.

Until last week.  My son was running in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.  I then found that several of our church family were also running.  It’s a great cause and personal as well.  My Mom, Annette, both of her sisters (my aunts Suz and Sandy) and, as of couple of weeks ago, my Mother in Law, Lynda, have all had breast cancer.

So I guess I was feeling froggy or just stupid and, when signing Jimmy up for the race, I signed myself up, too.

Keep in mind that I haven’t run in FOREVER.  I tried to run in the Spring and couldn’t, so I bought a bike.  I tried to run a few weeks ago and was moderately more successful, but honestly I only ran about a mile.

Pride? Foolishness? Arrogance? Whatever…

I have no idea what caused me to think I could run a 5k (3.2 miles), but I showed up with one goal.  Don’t walk.  Run the whole time. Even if you have to shuffle.

And I did.  Official Race time results:  33:41.85.

And now I hurt all over.  I can’t get on my bike because my ankle hurts. I feel worse than I ever have.  Well, maybe not EVER… but bad.

I hear the swine flu is making its way through our congregation.  Maybe I can catch it and feel even worse.

But then again, I don’t know that I have ever in my life run that far consecutively. And it was for breast cancer research.  And I didn’t walk.

So maybe I feel pretty good after all.

Ok, here are some pics (Click on the thumbnail for the full size pic):

Phriday foto: 01-23-09

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Haven’t been out lately, but here are a few of Cain’s Ballroom.  I’ve posted them before, but it has been a while.

Still, if you like these and want to see more, you can check out my photoblog or my flickr page.

Click a thumbnail for a larger picture.

Phriday foto: 01-16-09

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Sorry for the long wait on Phriday Fotos.  I’ve been negligent with my camera, much to my own chagrine.  Nevertheless, here are some pictures from our Ski Trip with Bonnie’s family over the Christmas break.

You can see these and more at my photoblog or my flickr.

All pictures taken with my camera phone, click on a thumbnail to enlarge.

Why are Christians always pictured in a moment of ecstatic worship?

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Just curious, but why is it, especially among media writing negatively about Christians, but even among those writing more “neutral” stories, are pictures shown of a group at a point of ecstatic worship (speaking in tongues optional)?

For an example, check out this picture, entitled “evangelicals.jpg” used in an article slanted harshly against Christians in general and evangelicals in particular:

evangelicals

You can find the article here:

Evangelists: Cashing in on Hard Economic Times

Most of the Evangelicals I know NEVER look like this, and those that do, only for a couple of moments per week.  Do people think we really walk around like this all day long?

Creating a Color through Black and White Picture

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christmas-parade-08-25I featured some pictures last week during Phriday Foto that had everything Black and White except the only important person in the picture, my daughter.  Turns out this is pretty easy and can be done with a free program, so I thought you might be interested in learning how to do it.

First, you need GimpGimp is a FREE graphics program like Photoshop, which is expensive.  Gimp is not quite Photoshop, but for free, it rocks.  Also, it works on either Mac or Windows.  I first learned about it from Frank Turk who has a Gimp University blog with loads of tutorials.

Simple directions are first, followed by detailed directions and screenshots.

Simple Directions

  1. Create a duplicate layer:  Layer->Duplicate Layer
  2. Desaturate the top layer:  Color->Desaturate (pop up window->desaturate)
  3. Erase the top layer where you want color to shine through:  Tool->Eraser
  4. Save As your picture in the format of your choice.

Detailed Directions

I’m going to post pictures of the progress as we go through.  Click on the pictures you see in the article for a full sized picture.

For this process, I picked a Christmas Parade picture in which a very colorful lady presented a profile, but she blended somewhat with the other spectators in the original picture.

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For well done graphic work, everything is done in layers, so get used to adding multiple layers to an image.  To create a duplicate layer, you need to select the layers menu and then duplicate layer from that menu.

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This is going to give you two layers in the layer menu toolbar.

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Next, you want to take all the color out of the top layer, which is called desaturatization.  The easiest way to do that is to drop down the color menu and choose “desaturate.”

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You’ll get a pop up with several options.  Just click the big desaturate button.

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This will give you a Black and White layer over the color layer.

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Then select the eraser tool from the tool tray, select the brush size you want and erase where you want the color to bleed through.  (The more precise way to do this is to create a mask that will create a selection around the place you want to erase, but this is the quick, easy and dirty way to do it.)

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When you are done, from the file menu, click “Save As” and save the image.  I created this by naming it “color through BW.jpg” and it automatically took me through the process of exporting it as a jpeg image.

(Click for Larger Pic)

Phriday foto: 12-12-08

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If you enjoy these, then be sure to check out my other pictures at my Photoblog or at Flickr.

These are of my daughter marching in the Christmas Parade.  Can you guess which is mine?  Next week, I’ll show you how to do this with a free program like Photoshop (not free, very expensive) called Gimp.  Feel free to download and start playing, if ya want.  Available for Mac or Windows.

Click on a thumbnail to see a bigger picture.

Phriday foto: 11-07-08

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If you enjoy these pictures, you can check out more at my photoblog or flickr.

These are of a spider I found suspended on a bridge of his (or her?) own making above the floor of the woods whilst hiking the other day.  Though I think I disconcerted him (or her?) somewhat at first, he (or she?) seemed to get used to me pretty quickly.

Click on a thumbnail to enlarge the picture.

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