The World According to Tiff Sniff

Meandering ponderings and wonderings on the state of things.

Team England

I thought I'd lay out, in a little more detail, what our trip to England is going to be all about.

One of my closest friends from Harding, Michelle, lives and works with a church in Loughborough, England. This is, coincidentally enough, a church I went to on campaign in the summer of 2000. Michelle was in the States for Christmas, and spent a few days with me here in Nashville. We went to a meeting of our Singles lifegroup, she and my friend Lesley hit it off and began talking about missions. Pretty soon, they put together the idea for this trip. They asked me what I thought, and I loved it. We talked to the leaders of the singles group, as well as leaders of the congregation at large, and before we knew it, we were making plans!

We will be travelling October 14-23. We'll leave Nashville on a Friday night, and arrive in London Saturday morning. Most of Saturday will involve getting to Loughborough, but we're hoping to have some sort of social event that night, once we get there and have some time to relax.

Sunday we'll be leading worship and preparing for the rest of the week. Monday through Wednesday, we will be holding a Holiday Bible Club (or VBS). The schools there operate on a year-round schedule, and we'll actually be there during the fall break. In the afternoons we will have time to get ready for the next day, and some down time. Each evening we will have a different event - Bible studies, young adult activities, etc. Thursday we will do some community work, but we're not sure exactly what that will be, yet. We're also hoping to do some local sightseeing that day. Friday we will board a train, along with a few of the young adults from the church, and head to London. We'll do a short tour of the highlights, and probably go to a show that night. Then Saturday will be a free day for people to explore the city, shop, or even take a day trip to a nearby town if they want. Sunday we'll fly home.

The first question people have is, "Why England?" After all, it is a prosperous country, a Western country, and it in fact has a state church. Why would a congregation there need us to come help them? The first and most pragmatic answer is numbers. The congregation is small, compared to what most of us are used to, and they don't have the numbers they need to do things like HBC. They depend on groups like ours to help out that way. The other, deeper, more important answer, was laid out really well by Michelle, in a letter to our group.

England is steadily turning into a pagan nation. Less than 3% of the population attend a church service of any kind on a regular basis. More than half the population claim to be atheists. The Church of England preaches tolerance; practically any lifestyle is acceptable to them. It is definitely not cool to be a Christian in England. In fact, it’s barely even tolerated.

A main facet of the work Angie and I do is with young adults and children. Although adults tend to be very unreceptive to the Gospel, or even religion in general, we find they will happily send their children to our Sunday School, youth events and Holiday Bible Clubs.

We would also love for you to be involved in other activities aimed at the teens and young adults. We have a very social group here and we love to get together and have fun! We would definitely want you to be a part of that. Campaigners are very special people to the young folk here; you will be remembered forever. In the years to come, your names will be mentioned with fondness. A week is a short amount of time, but your influence will continue after you leave.

The theme of our trip is "Relationship". I believe with all my heart that God works primarily in our connections with each other. That's not to say that He doesn't perform miracles; my younger sister is a miracle, without doubt. But I think people don't believe in Him just because of miracles. If that were true, no one who saw Christ would have doubted Him. Our faith comes from our encounters with Him, and the first way most of us encounter Him is through His children. So we have a responsibility to reach out to each other in love, and to then spread that love beyond the church and into the world. It starts with one person, one relationship, one connection. We are going to England to form connections with each other, with our brothers and sisters there, and with the not-yet-believers there.

Michelle has a new blog with stories about the work she and her coworker Angie are doing. She also puts out a monthly newsletter of her experiences and efforts, and if you would like to get her emails, let me know and I'll see you're added to the list.

I know this is an unusually long post, and I apologize for how long it's taking you to read it! I hope you'll be in prayer for our team, the Loughborough congregation, and our time over there. I hope you have a beautiful day!


Okay, so even though I grew up just a few hours away, I have never been to Chicago. I've never even flown through O'Hare! But - that all changes now.

The Retail Bakers' Association of America is having its national conference in the Windy City in two weeks, and I and a co-worker from the Donut Den are headed up to learn how to sell more pastries.

We'll also have a little bit of time to sightsee. I know I want to go to the Art Institute, and Lush. Won't have time to go to Oprah. Other than that, I'd love to know what any of you would recommend. Email me or leave a comment - what are the must-sees of Chicago, in your opinion?

Celebrity Dreams II

Okay, this is the one I had last night:

When I was growing up, every year our church had our Easter Egg Hunt at the house of a member family. This place was amazing. Actually, I don't think I ever even went inside the house. But the yard is probably 4 acres, split into thirds by two landscaped streams full of koi (Japanese goldfish), and always perfectly green and manicured. Anyway, last night in my dream, we were all at the house for the hunt, but this year, somehow, Dennis Rodman had bought part of the property, and was helping out at the event. But he kept getting upset at people taking plates of food out into the yard. Seems he thought that food spilled on the grass was the worst thing that could happen to his new yard. Since it was a kiddie event, it kept him very busy.

Have a great day!

Previous Dreams


Weird how some things change so quickly, while others drag on. This winter, for example. It's SNOWING! Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day, and it's snowing. After being 76 degrees Saturday. It's just ridiculous.

On the changing side of life, mine was altered forever today. Well, yesterday. My friends Matt and Kristin welcomed Elliott into the world Tuesday afternoon. This if the first of my immediate circle of friends to have a baby. I stopped by today to see them and got to hold him. He is the most amazing baby ever. No, really, he is. He's already moving his head around, and can put his hand in his mouth, and kicks his legs. Wow.

It reminds me of just how fast things change, though. A year ago we didn't know he was coming. A year from now, he'll be walking and talking. Starting anyway. But he's so smart, I bet he'll have all that down. Sometimes I feel left behind. I mean, most of my friends are married, and are now beginning their families. Nights with Matt and Kristin now have a baby factored in. No late-night runs for ice cream, all-night movie marathons, etc. It's going to be wonderful to watch them be such fantastic parents, and to get to watch this little miracle discover life, but it will be different. Part of me feels like I'm missing my chance. At the same time, I love my life. I'm not ready to give up my independence for anyone else yet, no matter how perfect he is. (Guess that's why I haven't met The One yet.) And I've done amazing things that most of my married friends never did, and won't have a chance to do for a while - graduate school, living in Europe, living completely on my own, etc.

Tonight I'm mostly just thankful. For Elliott, for living in a place that has distinctive seasons, for the chance to be my own person, for a long future still ahead of me. I hope you have something to be grateful for today, too.


What is it about sin that we humans cling to so much? Why do we miss the chafing and bondage, and return to it so willingly?

I'm having a hard week; one of the worst I've had in a while. This is too public a forum to go into detail, but I would ask for your prayers for me and for everyone else involved. Trying to pry myself out of dangerous and addictive behavior is immeasurably hard. No wonder Paul was so emphatic that none of us can do it alone. Already I miss those old habits and ways of being. A part of me knows that what I'm doing is the right and healthy thing. But a part of me wants to hang on, to try one more time to make things work with those habits still in my life. I'm leaning hard on my friends and family to keep reminding me that I'm doing the right thing, that this is what needs to happen next for me. But I miss the way those old shackles rubbed against my wrist bones so much.

God leads us down odd paths. This is one that I for sure don't understand, and am struggling with. I'm not sure I'll ever have an answer for why this has happened in my life, and the lives of those around me. For a lawyer, that's misery. I recently was at a service where we sang the old hymn, "Farther along, we'll know all about it; farther along, we'll understand why." I appreciate the idea, but I'm not sure I believe it. I'm not sure there will ever be a satisfactory answer to the questions I'm asking right now. All I can do is follow along (which is what I thought the words were for a long time as a child).

Thanks for reading, and again, please be praying. I'm in a very messy situation, and I know it's only beginning. It's going to get worse before it gets better, but I do believe it will get better. I hope you are all blessed by someone in your lives today. Have a good weekend!

One More Thing

For the last hour there have been two women and a baby at the next table. (Hey, wasn't that a sequel to something?) The little girl is probably 4 or 5 months old. She keeps looking over at me and watching me. When I look up and smile at her, she grins and laughs back.

It just struck me - is there any more basic and understandable human communication? It's so instinctual. She isn't old enough to know what it means when someone smiles at her, but she knows it's positive and loving. And she knows how to do it back.

What a great message from our Creator that along with breathing, pooping, and crying, one of the things we do without learning is smiling at someone who likes us!


Although Mother Nature has been taunting us the last several weeks with weather that changes rapidly from gorgeous to frigid and back again, the plants and animals seem to know it's time for spring. Here are the signs I've seen this week:

1. A red cardinal sitting on a still-bare tree branch outside the window at lifegroup.
2. A robin redbreast perched on the grass by the side of the road as I drove into Green Hills.
3. Birds are singing EVERYWHERE!
4. My favorite tree, tulip magnolias, are blooming into gorgeous fat pink flowers.
5. Daffodils, spring beauties, clover, violets, and more are also blooming everywhere!
6. From the park across the street from my apartment, I hear the sounds of kids laughing and aluminum bats hitting baseballs in the twilight.

Now, if only the sun would stick around long enough to warm this place up a little! I hope you're all somewhere you can enjoy the miracle of this season.

Take Action

Amnesty International's website has a "Take Action" section where you can register and send pre-written emails to people like Condoleeza Rice and Kofi Annan about things like the Sudan genocide, the treatment of Iraqi POWs, and more. You have a chance to insert your own thoughts, but the bulk of the work is done for you. It is the EASIEST way to do something, and it's FREE, which is great for those of us with limited means.

Please, Please, Please take the time to send just one letter. It really does make a difference. Don't let our generation be remembered as one that stood idly by in the face of these crimes.

Fighting for Humanity

This may offend some of my more conservative friends and family, but this fires me up. The proposed amendment to the Tennessee Constitution banning gay marriage passed the Senate yesterday with almost no opposition.

We as Christians seem to love to crusade (thanks Beth!) against things that work EXACTLY against our mission as Christians. Christ's example was one of love and outreach. When we are outspoken about how dirty and unworthy one part of our population is compared to us, what message are we sending? It is one of hatred, bigotry, and self-righteousness. It tells a significant group of people that they are not as good as we "Christians", and that they have no hope of fellowship with us, and therefore our Lord. This leads people to God.... how, exactly?

What if, instead, we supported equal rights for all humans, regardless of what sins they may or may not have in their lives? What if we reached out in love to spread what Christ has given us, and left it up to Scripture and the Spirit to guide each person's morality, instead of trying to force people to comply with rules?

What if we took all of this energy, passion, and political power and turned it to the Sudan? Are you aware of what is going on there? What if we, as Christians, insisted our government stop the rape, torture, mutilation, and genocide taking place in plain sight? What if we held President Bush to his promise America would not let the Rwandan atrocities be repeated?

Which, in the long run, will further our purpose as Christ's followers? Which, if allowed to continue, in the long run will degrade further what it means to be a creation of God?

Sorry for the political post today, but I can't get it off of my heart. I encourage each of you to think long and hard about writing a letter to your representatives regarding the Sudan genocide. The UN has documented it, the US has promised not to stand by, and yet the Bush administration continues to do nothing proactive about it. Until we stand up and demand action, nothing will change. Don't let our generation be like the people who knew of the Holocaust, yet stood by.

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