Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Just For Fun

This is MY CRAYON COLOR:

You are most like:

You are Green


The feeling of spring follows you. Newness, surprise, beginnings and growth. Your fresh perspective gives others much to consider.

Take this quiz: Which Crayola Box of 8 Color Are You?


GREEN: The feeling of spring follows you. Newness, surprise, beginnings and growth. Your fresh perspective gives others much to consider.


My daughter, Amy, had this fun little quiz on her blog - to find out what color of crayon you are. Since the kindergarten starts back next week, I thought this would be a FUN reminder of that big event in our ministry.

As next Monday approaches, pray for these children (there are 40 new students this year - like every other year). Pray that we will be able to make a difference in their lives. Thank you for all you do to make this a reality for them.

Shelia

Monday, August 25, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO A VERY SPECIAL MAN


Today is Arville's birthday. What can I say about this man that folks do not already know??? I could say how very kindhearted he is, how patient he is, how receptive of new ideas (yes, even at his age. HA!), how everyone who knows him -- benefits by the experience, how much he is loved by his family and friends, etc., etc.

But like I said, "What can I say that folks don't already know?" So this is just to wish you a VERY Happy Birthday, Arville. I love you so much and am so lucky that we found each other all those years ago.

I am reminded of a greeting card I saw once that said:

FUNNY THING ABOUT JOY --- IS THAT YOU ONLY REALLY FIND IT WHEN YOU ARE TOO BUSY HAVING FUN TO GO LOOKING FOR IT.

I think that is what all these years I have known and loved you has been like. We have been busy -- but in all that time we have had so much fun that we never really had to go looking for JOY.

Happy "Joyous" Birthday,

Shelia

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Must-Read Posting From Our Daughter, Amy


Amy and her dad - June 2008

Since Amy's Blogpage is private now I could not just direct you to her blog site to read this posting that she wrote, but it is so good that I could not just let it go unrecognized by a lot of folks. So I got her permission to post her writing on our blog page.

Again, please know that this is not to offend anyone, BUT simply to inform. You make your own decision. I, personally, had not been convinced - even though Amy had made the decision not to go to Wal-Mart five months ago - until I read this posting and watched the videos she included. This is for your information ONLY - it is not a political issue BUT a moral, ethical one that is being discussed - it is posted so that you can be informed of what is going on in our world.

At the end of her posting, I have also copied our comments that were posted as responses on her blogpage.

Amy's Post

Where do I begin? I am going on 5 months Wal-Mart free. All I can say is that it feels good, friends. REALLY good. I have been thinking for months now on how to write this, because I have felt an internal pressure to put my thoughts into words. I just haven't been sure how to say what I think. So, now I am just sitting here writing everything and hoping that it comes out coherent.


Wal-Mart is not all they would have people to believe. There are some serious ethical issues surrounding this company. After taking Business Ethics in my Master's program, I can say that there are some VERY big problems with Wal-Mart's ethics. I know that most companies have some ethical issues to some degree. You can find cases or problems almost anywhere. But, Wal-Mart's issues are on a whole other level.


Peter Jeffery of the Wall Street Journal covered a story surrounding Wal-Mart's push for political influence. Wal-Mart has been conducting mandatory political meetings. These meetings are designed to influence Wal-Mart employees on how they should vote and what the consequences could be should they choose to vote differently. The idea behind the meetings is to tell employees that if the democrats should win in November then most likely Wal-Mart would be unionized. If they are unionized, then there would be job cuts. Who thinks it is just a tad bit unethical to suggest that unless an employee votes a certain way, then their job is on the line? Me!!! Following the Wall Street Journal article, the New York Times also picked up the unethical (possibly illegal) Wal-Mart activities. You can read the New York Times article HERE.

Then, there is the story of Mrs. Shanks. She was a Wal-Mart employee and on Wal-Mart's health care plan. She suffered a debilitating accident with a truck that left her with very little short term memory ability. She also had to be placed in a care facility because of her permanent injuries. Wal-Mart, through the health plan, had paid for some of her health care. Following a settlement from the trucking company that was involved in the Shank's accident, Wal-Mart sued the Shanks for the money they had paid for her medical care. There was a small clause that was on the health insurance policy when Shanks signed up for the medical plan that stated that Wal-Mart could get their money back. Now, the question is not whether Wal-Mart was within their legal rights to do this. They were. The question is much more serious. Are they conducting themselves ethically? Absolutely not. To make matters worse, the Shanks lost their youngest son in Iraq within weeks of Wal-Mart's law suit...and yet Wal-Mart continued their pursuit of this family. Mr. Shanks even divorced his wife last year simply to allow her extra medical coverage through Medicare. This family is hurting.

You can see the full story below. An update from this story is that the "U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Debbie Shank’s case, leaving her family no choice but to pay Wal-Mart $470,000." (Wal-Mart Watch)

Do we not have better things to do in life than to make it our point to kick people when they are already down? Is this really the best way to use our time, energy, and enormous fortune? Well, Wal-Mart? Something tells me that Sam might be a little disheartened by all of this.








It is not difficult to find dirt on Wal-Mart. The two scandals that I mentioned are only a drop in the bucket...just the most recent. But, there are also issues with lay offs and store closures simply because Wal-Mart would rather close and take away peoples' jobs than work with unions. There are issues with international labor laws. Then, of course, environmental issues too. All sorts of things...

There is a film that covers many of the concerns surrounding Wal-Mart. It is called The High Cost of Low Prices. During these hard economical times, let me say that it is a temptation for me to take advantage of the low cost...but I just can't do it. The price really is just too high. Here is a preview of the film:





The film can also be viewed in sections on YouTube. Here are the links:
Part 1 :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GINui9LdIQ
Part 2:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOSWESxpYkA
Part 3:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EyEmMht3yQ
Part 4:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJIUc7w5aYE
Part 5:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L05Jc1mPkJw
Part 6:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0kCex3r5wM
Part 7:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vjSA9dGA6w
Part 8:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCuWo4Vch2k
Part 9:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIkIyw-VkMc
Part 10:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ki4w8gC_bb0
Part 11:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrcT-mht7Fo

This post is not intended to offend anyone...simply to inform.

Amy

Our comments to Amy's posting:

Shelia at Earl Family News said...
Okay, Amy. You win my vote!! to not ever shop at Wal-Mart again. You know how I have tried to rationalize going to Wal-Mart (1. because I live overseas and don't have the opportunity to shop at a BIG store - and they are in every town - unlike Target -- which I love better anyway, 2. I can find things there that I can't get other places, 3. even meeting some Albanian, Bosnian ladies who are employed by Wal-Mart and couldn't find work other places, etc.).

BUT this is going TOO far to influence personal decisions in voting or whether or not to belong to a union. It is too close to home -- with what our region of the world has been through for a long time now. This cannot be tolerated by anyone who believes in "personal freedom" and that the state (government) should not influence one's political or religious beliefs!!!So I am finished with Wal-Mart. You have made a believer out of me. I am probably the one you wrote this for anyway, right?

Well you did a great job!!
Thank you for opening my eyes to injustice.
I am SO proud of you,

Mom

Arville at Earl Family News said...
I'm really glad that you have enough fortitude to make an ethical decision rather than just a decision of convenience. It seems to me, that in our day, we are in need of more peoplewith this kind of character.

And by the way, I never did like those those eyeglasses that I bought at Wal-mart. They always made things appear a different shape than they actually were. Maybe that should have been a clue way back when.

Dad

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Our 39th Wedding Anniversary



This isn't the best of pictures since it was made with the camera on a tripod, on a tiny balcony, and the self-timer set, but it is the only one I could find of us the whole weekend. That is what happens when you are the photographer. HA! You don't get in any of the photos.

We went to STRUGA & OHRID this past weekend. While we were in Struga, Habibe took us over to a nearby village where she had gone on her first and only field trip as a student. The hotel was closed but the village and new hotel were fantastic. What a beautiful spot!

I made family photos while we were there.














Sara


Jehona



Agim and Habibe



Family Photos (they consider us part of the family)





Pictures of the Orthodox Church and Gardens in this village





















STRUGA is a lakeside town in the southwestern part of Macedonia. It is just minutes from the Albania border. We stayed at this hotel - right on the river that flows through the middle of town.




Pictures of Struga:














I liked the color of this little Eastern European car.



The first night we were there was a full moon and the next night there was a lunar eclipse. Here are some tries at taking pictures at night.







The Lunar Eclipse



Then here are some photos of the lakeside (taken early in the morning).
























THEN WE WENT TO THE BEAUTIFUL (AND NEIGHBORING TOWN TO STRUGA)


OHRID




AND THERE WAS A WEDDING PHOTO SESSION IN PROGRESS (I GOT IN ON IT). ALL WEEKEND EVERYONE THOUGHT THAT I WAS PART OF THE "PRESS" BECAUSE I HAD MY TRIPOD WITH ME??!!??



The car is already for the bride.








Most people spent the day relaxing and visiting.



There is a McDonald's in Ohrid (right on the beach)



Boats in Ohrid




HANDMADE SHOES FOR SALE



This building won't be standing much longer



People are out and about on this beautiful afternoon:






This lady loved having her picture made (and she appreciated the money I gave her too). She told me that people in Ohrid were very generous because they had so many foreigners to visit in the summer.





Brightly Colored Bikes and Motorcyles




Can sit at a sidewalk cafe for a cool drink or a coffee


Old Interesting Building Is Now a Pizza Parlor



Jehona and Sara Visiting in Ohrid


Bicycles are everywhere




Beautiful Buildings



Modern Clothing Stores and ---


Traditional Dress for sale

August 16, 2008