April 01, 2007

Moving Day

And... it's a wrap. Importing nearly 3 years of blogging into the new address is just too much work, so this is now the Reflections Archive from 6/2004 through 3/2007.

[FOR THOSE STILL COMING IN FROM MATT SLICK'S "MISREPRESENTATION" POST, THREE YEARS AFTER THE FACT, WHAT YOU'RE LOOKING FOR IS RIGHT HERE. THIS WAS MY RESPONSE TO HIS POST, WRITTEN IN DECEMBER OF 2005.]

The new site url is easy to find, it's nearly identical to this one: carlarolfe.blogspot.com

I'd be most delighted if you'd update your bloglines, blogrolls, and all that good stuff. I'm pretty much done fiddling with the layout & add-ons, so what you'll now see is pretty much it.

I look forward to seeing you all over at the new place.



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March 31, 2007

Cha-cha-cha-cha-changes...

UPDATED BELOW

Okay now Rebecca's gone and done it too! Every time I turn around, someone else is either moving their blog or redesigning the layout. I wish I had time to redesign mine, I'm tired of the way it looks and want something cleaner. Grrr.

I may just have to find the time. Somewhere.

Okay, I had a few minutes to mess around with some things. Go here, and tell me what you think. Be kind, I cry easily these days. (You can leave a comment there or leave your comment here, or email me, send smoke signals, whatever.



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Just Like Mom Used To Make more or less

These are pretty easy to make, and I assure you, there will be no leftovers to clog up the fridge. Perfect for Sunday dinner, or even a holiday - like Easter! :-)

Sunday Scalloped Potatoes

½ c. chopped, sweet onions
4 T. butter
4 T. flour
2 ½ c. milk
salt & pepper
8 potatoes, peeled & thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 350. Fry the onion in the butter until soft, then stir in flour & whisk for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the milk and cook until thick and bubbly, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Layer half the potatoes in a baking dish and sprinkle with salt & pepper, and half of the creamed onion sauce. Place the remaining potatoes on top of that, season with salt & pepper and the remaining sauce.

Cover and bake for 50 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Convenient do-aheads & add-ins:

1. Peel & slice the potatoes when you have a few free minutes. Rinse them in cold water then cover with water & stick in the fridge. When you're ready to create your masterpiece, the taters are ready to go!

2. chop your onions ahead of time & drop into a ziplock sandwich bag.

3. For a cheesy version, mix 2 c. grated cheddar into the sauce before you pour it over the taters. mmm... cheese!

ENJOY!



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March 30, 2007

LETS GIVE 'EM SOMETHIN' TO TALK ABOUT!

Friday BlogFodder will return next Friday. Until then, I hope someone finds this useful, in it's place:

Internet language, text messaging shorthand, 'net lingo, etc. so on and so forth. No two ways about it, the Internet has in fact changed the way we communicate. For some it's been a huge change, and for others not so significant, but if you've been online longer than a day, no doubt you've seen some pretty strange looking language and you have no idea what it all means.

Many of us who have been online for a while (and especially in chat & forum communities) tend to take it for granted that everyone knows what we mean when say "bbiaf" or "ttyl". Well, there are still some folks out there that might not know what it means, and don't particularly want to feel like a baby-geek for asking. I have a baby-geek friend and they suggested posting such a cheat sheet like this might be a good idea, so this is for all the baby-geeks out there. :-)

There's a HUGE (and I do mean huge) list of this lingo here, and you can go take a peek at it if you like. Standard language disclaimers & all that apply.

I thought it might be helpful to list here, just the ones I use (although some I use less often than others, and some are pretty obvious, this is my own list, all the same):

^5 - High Five
AFK - Away From Keyboard
BBFN - Bye Bye For Now
BBIAB - Be Back In A Bit
BBIAF - Be Back In A Few
BBL - Be Back Later
BBS - Be Back Soon
BRB - Be Right Back
BTW - By The Way
DL or D/L - Download
FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
FWIW - For What It's Worth
FYI - For Your Information
GMTA - Great Minds Think Alike
IIRC - If I Remember Correctly
IM - Instant Message
IMHO - In My Humble Opinion
IOW - In Other Words
IRC - Internet Relay Chat
ISP - Internet Service Provider
J/K - Just Kidding
LOL - Laughing Out Loud
LTNS - Long Time No See
NM - Never Mind
NP - No Problem
OIC - Oh, I see
OTOH - On The Other Hand
PC - Politically Correct
PM - Private Message
REHI - Hello Again
ROFL - Rolling On Floor Laughing
ROTF - Rolling On The Floor
ROTFL - Rolling On The Floor Laughing
ROTFLOL - Rolling on the floor laughing out loud
TTFN - Ta Ta For Now
TTYL - Talk To You Later
TTYS - Talk To You Soon
TX - Thanks
TYVM - Thank You Very Much
WB - Welcome Back
WTG - Way To Go!
YVW - You're Very Welcome
YW - You're Welcome

In addition, in situations where you're communicating with someone and they need one, there's the common (((( hug )))) where you generally insert that person's name. Mine usually look like this {{{{you}}}}.

One I made up years ago that I've seen from time to time used by others is:

ASMCOMN - Almost Shot My Coffee Out My Nose (for those times you've read something at your screen that was so funny, you almost... well, you get the idea).

There's also UGH, PFFT, ACK & GACK. They all mean the same thing, more or less. Expressions of dislike, disappointment and/or surprised frustration. (Some of us even say these things in real life, believe it or not!)

I was a little surprised to go through that list at the link above, and copy all the shorties I really do use. I didn't realize I was so modern, relevant and all that sort of dopey stuff. Oh well, there you have it, I hope this helps someone figure out what in the world I'm talking about, when I tend to slip into lingo-mode.

:-)






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March 29, 2007

Humble Pie

"If I believed 10% of what I can read about myself on the Internet, I would have nothing to do with me!" - James White

I read that the other day and couldn't help but smile and nod in agreement. If you're someone who regularly speaks out against something wrong, you're going to be under fire by those who are willing to defend the wrong. It's just the way it is.

Case in point: "You favor detached information.The emergents favor personal encounter.You are boring and your boring movement of Greco-Roman ideology is going extinct.The Emerging Church is much more biblical, as it is a much more Hebrew approach and the Bible was written by Hebrews to be experience by Hebrews. Greek it up all you want, but you are unbiblical in doing so. - signed "disinterested bystander" - a comment left at ENo in response to this post.

This is quite tame in comparison to other things that have been said about me in critique, yet according to disinterested bystander (who clearly isn't, or the comment would have never been posted) I'm boring, going extinct and Greeking it up (whatever that means) rendering me unbiblical. Honestly, I had to laugh about the boring and going extinct part, although I'm sure it wasn't intended to induce a humorous response.

I wanted to take a pause and look at what happens sometimes when we're under fire, either from a fair & honest point of view or from a false accusation point of view. In many ways, it doesn't matter which kind of fire it is, the result can be the same. How we handle ourselves in these situations is important, not only for our own peace of mind but if our goal is to glorify the Lord in all that we say and do, then we'll want to give such responses plenty of room for prayer for guidance and wisdom.

Self Exam & Second Guessing

Where one is certainly a biblical practice we should be busy with anyway, the other is nothing but an anxiety inducing rollercoaster of thoughts and emotions that can cause an unbalanced amount of self-focus. As believers we should be seeking the Lord daily for direction and clarity in all sorts of matters. When we're under fire for something we've stood for, it's even more important to walk carefully and remain teachable through the process.

It might be more common among women, since we're wired to be prone to emotional reaction, but a very real result of being accused or critiqued about something, is that we find ourselves second guessing almost everything. Our choices, our words, our friends and our alliances - nothing is really off limits because when you're deeply shaken up, you're sometimes not so sure about much of anything anymore. Part of that is letting our imagination get away from us, and another part of that is reacting with emotion rather than reason. It can be very easy sometimes to lose focus and react this way but the warning is there for us that we need to remain focused on the bigger picture and not give in to this kind of second guessing & doubt. When our minds are so busy second guessing all sorts of things we're not really focused on remaining teachable, we're focused on self-suspicion, often brought on by harsh words from another. It's a tricky place to be in, to be sure.

Taking Criticism

I've written about this before on this blog but because it's such an important part of remaining teachable, I'm going to repeat myself. Some years back I was in one of those sticky, tricky, difficult situations where the criticism and accusation was flying fast & loose. While my first inclination was to respond in anger (always a bad plan!) I knew that wasn't right and I wanted some good advice. I spoke with a pastor friend about it and what he said to me was the best advice I've ever heard on the subject. Essentially his advice was to really listen carefully to every word of critique, and own what's true, and dismiss the rest.

In dismissing what's not true, and I mean literally not giving it any room for thought whatsoever, we free oursleves up for learning from critique that we may not like to hear, but is something we needed to hear all the same. We don't really like to do that, as we'd much rather focus on the part that wasn't true and make ourselves feel better by defending ourselves against a false charge. It's a handy little dodge & weave thing that we're all guilty of at times, but all it really does is delay the inevitable. Sooner or later you're going to have to deal with the accuracy of the critique and it's better to humble your heart and do it sooner, rather than later.

That's not an easy thing to do, since we all battle pride and want to think we've arrived & need no further instruction. Horsefeathers, I say. None of us have arrived and each of us have something to learn about responding in a Godly way to an accusation or criticism.

By owning what is true in critique or accusation, it's then a matter of confessing to ourselves that "yes, that's true of me" and then making it a matter of diligent prayer that the Lord might be pleased to give you wisdom and strength to grow in that area. Sometimes that even involves a verbal acknowledgment to someone that you were indeed wrong, and that you're truly sorry. That can be even harder to do, especially if that person is someone you don't get along with too well. This also is part of our ongoing sanctification - humbling ourselves and confessing an apology when we're wrong. The flesh cries out against doing this, but you know it's the right thing to do.

Finding the Balance

For me personally, it has been and will continue to be I'm sure, a difficult thing to find the balance between owning what's true and dismissing the rest. Sometimes I can do it successfully on the first try, but other times I'm so prone to dismissing the whole thing and find myself desperately wanting to expend time and energy defending myself against what was false. I want to react with emotion, I want to defend my name, and I want to always be right & never be wrong about anything. Ever! Does that sound familiar in any way? I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who feels like this.

Being truly humble is not a natural desire for fallen men. Some people may possess a meek or mild personality, but as for spiritual matters, our natural desire is to look out for #1 and let the chips fall where they may. Our natural inclination is to speak out loud and clear to make sure we know everyone knows just how right we are! While there are certainly times that responding and correcting the false charge or critique is the wise thing to do (if done in a gracious and factual manner), there are also times where the old saying "I will not dignify that with a response" is the best option.

How do you know when to do that, and when to respond? That's not always easy either, but Biblical guidance shines much light on this in that there is wisdom in a multitude of counsellors. Find Godly, mature, gracious believers that you know and trust, and appeal to them for advice. Go to your husband or wife, go to your pastor and elders, go to your friends. Sometimes we can't see the answer when we're so close to the situation, but it's often much easier for a third party to see it clearly, give you perspective that you hadn't thought of, and give you wise counsel. If you've gone to 3 or 4 Godly people that you trust and they all say the same thing, listen to them. Do not disregard what they have to say, especially if they've all said the same thing! The reason you went to them in the first place was for guidance, so take it and learn from it. You'll be better for it.

By writing this today I hope that no one assumes I think myself any kind of expert in this subject. While I certainly do have a lot of experience in it, I'm still growing and learning myself, and very recently found myself in the very situation I described of going to mature believers for Godly advice. I knew how I wanted to respond but I wasn't convinced that my idea was the best way. I wanted input, and I wanted to learn from those who know what they're talking about. I cannot express just how glad I am, that I did that. It made all the difference in the world. For the record, my first inclination in my own situation in how to respond, was not the collective advice on how to respond, from the folks I went to. Be assured I still have a lot to learn, myself.

Someone might be reading this and think to themselves how uncanny it is to define a situation in their own life that might be going on right this very moment. Please know that it's not at all uncanny, it happens to every one of us in a variety of ways over a wide variety of issues. I quoted James White at the top of the post, then gave an example of my own criticism. Right this moment I know at least 5 or 6 people that are going through very similar situations and feel that they have been wronged somehow, and want very much to defend their name & reputation. It's a condition that is common to man because it's a heart issue that is common to man. The circumstances might vary from person to person, but the core issue is always the same. Learning how to Biblically deal with it is something we all need.

If this does address a situation you're currently dealing with, I hope it's helped in some way. In addition, if you've noticed something I've missed that you find would be an additional help, please feel welcome to post it in the comments - as I'm sure it would go a long in way in blessing someone.




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Stop the presses, blogger goes beserko!

Well here we go. Conservative blogger gets on the last nerve of some guy with propriety (and other, apparently) issues and he pays her back by being a creep. Gee, there's a shocker: bad internet conduct. You can read the full article here if you really want to get the meat behind this one.

I read this last night as I was about to shut down for the night and thought to myself, "1994, anyone?"

The more things change (online communication) the more things stay the same. Back in '94 when Senator Exon got the idea to draft the Communications Decency Act and put laws into place to give law enforcement the teeth of the law they needed to nail 'net perverts & lunatics for the crimes they were committing, I'll give you ONE guess who the loudest voices were that opposed the legislation.

Give up? Okay, it was the perverts and lunatics that had themselves in a perfect tizzy over the idea of such laws. How DARE the US government put laws into place to restrict perverted, demented, depraved and sociopathic conduct online!!

Fast forward to 2007. Some folks are now bantering around the idea to regulate blogging, or put in place some kind of a code of conduct for bloggers. My question is, why re-invent the wheel? In case no one noticed, thanks to the initial efforts of Senator Exon in 1994 (and numerous others) we do now have laws in place to address numerous kinds of criminal conduct online, and it does apply to bloggers as well. You probably didn't know that, did you?

Sure there are loopholes that the creepiest of the creeps will find the backdoor for, but that applies in every situation with law & order, doesn't it?

As a Christian blogger, I can't help but wonder how (if, and a big if) someone were to draft legislation how this might affect what we say and how we say it. I can't help but wonder also if the Holy Spirit actively working in our lives is so easily ignored that we don't already have blogging guidelines in place? I'm not even sure that question made sense, but I knew what I meant, lol.

I wonder...

If anyone really sits around and thinks about how online communication in 2007 has drastically changed the way we communicate globally for the cause of Christ, and how THAT should really be our primary focus as Christian bloggers.

I'm going to guess yes, they do. I'm also going to guess that for those that do this, the idea of regulating or legislating blogging wouldn't negatively impact most of us anyway. It might for some, who routinely take on such things as Islam, but truly... cannot God make a way when their seems to be no way? Can He not thoroughly equip those He has called, to do the very thing He's called them to do? Indeed He can, and does.

I guess I'm idealistic, but I really don't see an issue here. I might though, if I was a pervert, lunatic or some other kind of whacko that felt restricted by laws that forced me into being responsible and a good internet neighbor.

Funny thing that, I don't feel forced to conduct myself that way at all. I prefer it.




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March 28, 2007

I AM NOT CANADIAN!

You know, I have some seriously smart alec friends & aquaintances. No really, I do. There are a few of them that know I'm not Canadian, but think they're very clever and drop it in our conversations from time to time, just to get a rise out of me. The thing is, it works every time! I'm such a predictable American.

One such friend did this to me tonight and it made me think. It's sorta strange, but the whole Canadian/American tension-thing has been going on, online, for as long as I've been online. I'm not sure what it is about Americans bashing Canadians & vice versa, but it seems to be worthy of Olympic sport, sometimes. What I'm referring to however, is not the malicious type of stuff that goes on but the poking fun, all in fun, between Canoodles & Yankees.

So in that spirit, I'd like to offer up just a little bit of proof, on why I couldn't possibly be a Canadian.

1. I hate hockey. Okay hate is a strong word, I'll give you that. Let me be more accurate and simply say hockey is just dumb and boring to me. Maybe it's because I can't ice skate, and maybe it's because I like teeth? Either way, I don't like hockey and don't care about who's playing or why, or where. Hockey Night in Canada? Please, give me a large break. Saturday night is for getting the laundry done & making sure everyone's church clothes are ironed. Or, walking your Moose, or something like that.

2. I can't ice skate. It's a rule that if you're Canadian you can ice skate, even if you never actually do it. This is true I checked with Stats Canada (or, made it up, I can't remember which).

3. I can't speak French. Okay that's only partly true. I can fake it, but I have no idea what I'm saying, for the most part. I can also speak French in a simply delightful Jeff Foxworthy redneck accent that would truly annoy every French-Canadian alive. I do it often, it's a hoot.

4. I don't like poutine. This is an evil dish of some type of simulated, liquid-cheese product mixed with nasty gravy and poured over limp, luke-cold french fries. I think I read once it was invented by a mad scientist hired by the Canadian military to feed to enemies in an effort to overtake them while they slept it off. Judging by historical stats of Canadian led military battles, you can see how well it worked. Ahem. "I'm just sayin..." (*snort)

5. I love baseball and I don't care that basketball was invented by a Canadian. Baseball is it for me and a New Yorker named Cartwright invented the baseball diamond and fellow New Yorker named Adams wrote the first official rules for the All American game of Baseball in 1845. My logic says therefore, I'm a New Yorker... er... American. Besides, Cartwright was the family name of the folks on Bonanza. Did they look Canadian to you? Do you ever recall Little Joe asking Hoss "fetch me that saddle, eh"??? I didn't think so. Wild American West.

6. I like wearing my birks ALL year round, even in the rain. You cannot do that in Canada, unless you're insane and like hypothermia and black toes.

7. I do not live for the next trip to Tim Hortons. Sure, they make a great mocha and sure, the honey cruellers are the best, but come ON already. Besides, I rolled up the rim to win and it said (in French) ("you're a loser and a sucker, please try again"). In French it looks even worse to be told what a goon you really are for thinking you're actually going to win something better than a free donut.

8. You cannot buy Jiffy Corn Muffin mix or Malt-o-meal in Canada. I grew up on Jiffy, and Malt-o-meal is the best hot cereal in the universe. For a real shocker (get ready, this is REALLY bad)... Captain Crunch in Canada does NOT come with Crunchberries. I know, it's unthinkable. Canadians don't even know what a Crunchberry is. No wonder they eat poutine.

9. I didn't know what a Newfie or a Butter Tart were until I moved here. If were a real Canadian, I would have been eating butter tarts in the cradle, and as soon as I could speak, I'd be mocking the Newfie accent. It's what Canadians do. That's also at Stats Canada, I think.

10. I still don't know the socially acceptable protocol for observing Boxing Day. Where I come from (America!) it's just called "the day after Christmas" and that's the day you lay around in your baggy pants & eat fudge, cookies and cold turkey sandwiches. Some people go shopping but most people opt for the baggy pant look, on the couch with leftovers.

So there you have it, the first 10 reasons I could think of that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that I cannot possibly be Canadian. If any Canadians respond and say stuff like "well, I am Canadian and I don't like hockey either" please just ignore them, it's all a grand conspiracy to confuse everyone. They're probably typing that while they tape up their sticks or whatever it is that you do with hockey tape, and getting ready to ice skate through the Tim Horton's drive through to order a Double Double for their pet Moose.



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