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J. Daniel Ashton

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Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, —Ecclesiastes 9:10a NIV
The LORD God has told us what is right and what he demands:
"See that justice is done,
let mercy be your first concern,
and humbly obey your God." —Micah 6:8, CEV
With all your heart you must trust the LORD and not your own judgment.
Always let Him lead you, and He will clear the road for you to follow. —Proverbs 3:5,6 CEV

see also — My Homepage

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Name: Daniel Ashton
Location: Germantown, Maryland, United States

Any links with a dashed underscore probably point to Amazon.com

Monday, November 26, 2007

Postcards for a One-Room School

I've been sitting on this for a couple of months, but we finally found and purchased a postcard, and that made me think about sharing this with you.

A friend of mine is the schoolteacher in a one-room, eight-grade church school in Camden, South Carolina. US Geography is one of the major subjects (apparently across several or all grades), and they are pinning postcards to a map as a means of helping to make our nation a little more concrete in the students' minds.

Notice: If you're reading this after the 2007-2008 school year, please disregard it. I don't want to start any new articles on Snopes here.

However, if you're reading this during the '07-'08 school year, please consider buying a postcard from your area, and from any place you visit, and mailing it to
Camden SDA School
612 Boykin Road
Camden, SC 29020

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

She Did It Again!

When Daniel Mosquin mentioned yesterday that he is starting a series on African native plants, Vicki dug out her photos of an African milkweed and submitted them to the Botany Photo of the Day pool. We were delighted to find, today, that her photos were selected for today's post!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Why Your Ear Is Bent

You may have noticed a recent fascination on my part with Flickr. What's up with that? Why can't I stop prompting you to take a look at it?

Over the last 200 years, the nature of our family and community relationships has been drastically altered, perhaps even damaged. Motorized vehicles and telecommunications have made it likely that our families will disperse after college, if not before, that we will work at a distance from our home and neighborhood, and that we will even worship at some distance from our neighbors and colleagues. We talk with our colleagues about work, with our fellow church members about church matters, and with our family about family emergencies.

But chitchat is crucial to the strength of relationships in our support network. When we don't eat together, walk together, drive together, we fail to know each other. When we fail to know each other, we become incapable of supporting each other.

For many Americans, and to the delight of the long-distance telcos, the telephone helps to fill in that gap. Many people spend hours every week engaging in chitchat with their support network. But some of us either don't have that skill, or see the telephone as a conveyor of serious information. After all, those minutes are costing money! And calling takes coordination: you want to find a time when your callee is not eating, working, or busy at an evening event such as rehearsal. Oh yeah, and preferably not driving, too.

The Internet provides several ways to mitigate this problem, this lack of connection to our support network. E-mail, weblogs and social networks give us a chance to connect on a variety of topics, and on our own schedules. E-mail, like a phone call, feels focused: it implies a more-or-less important reason for communicating. Instant messaging lets us connect much more casually, although we realize that we may be interrupting each other. But weblogs and photo community sites give us something specific to chat about, and let us do that chatting on our own time.

When I write my thoughts in a weblog post, it's an invitation to all readers to respond. That response might be simple affirmation. It might be questions, perhaps leading or rhetorical questions. Or the response might be a contrary point of view, or conflicting evidence. Whatever it may be (excluding spam), it is interaction, and it strengthens our connection. I may even reply in the same forum, and a conversation is born.

When I commit myself to posting a new photo on Flickr every day, I'm giving us something to chat about. When you fave that photo, or comment on it, I know that we have connected on some level. And your comment may evoke a reply from me, and we find ourselves chatting and strengthening our knowledge of each other.

That's why I have such a hard time not begging for you to interact with me on Flickr and on my weblog. I'm trying to connect with you in ways that fit our schedules and abilities. Unless you reply, I'll never know if I succeeded.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Vicki on BPotD again!

I was delighted to find that today's Botany Photo of the Day features a pair of pictures that Vicki uploaded to Flickr just yesterday. Way to go!