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Monday, June 11, 2018

Weekend to Remember

Many years ago I heard a minister say in a sermon, "What is more beautiful than a young couple on their wedding day? An old couple who has weathered the storms of life together and is still happily married." We had the privilege of witnessing both this weekend.
My niece, Karen, married Phil on Friday afternoon June 8. They are both 35 and it was a match worth waiting for.

We were invited to a 50th anniversary party on Sunday evening for a couple who has been our friends for more than 50 years. Their children asked us to meet them at the church where they were married and take them to the party in the 1967 Chevelle that used to be our family car. Our son owns it now. We secured his permission and were happy to oblige. The look on their faces when they saw us pull in was priceless! Curvin drove a car like this when they were married and they were thrilled to ride in one again.

In between these two events, from Friday night until Sunday evening, we were at the cabin for our annual family weekend with our children and grandchildren. Oh yes! And our first great-grandchild.

We took a little time off Saturday morning to go over to the Home where Leroy's mother lives to introduce her to her first great-great-grandchild and take a 5-generation picture. Avery was born in January. She is the first child of her parents, first grandchild for both sets of grandparents, our first great-grandchild, and Mom's first great-great-grandchild.

Sarah Stauffer (great-great grandma), Leroy Stauffer (great-grandpa), Cheryl Stauffer Miller (grandma), Josh Miller (father), Avery Miller (5 months old)

On Saturday evening we crammed in one more thing, a 50th birthday party for Daryl about a month early. Some clues that you're getting old are to have your children turn 50 or become grandparents.

This weekend was a reminder that time moves relentlessly along and we're being swept downstream with it. We collected some more good memories this weekend to add to our stash. Lots to remember and more to come. "Roll, Jordan, roll."

Monday, June 4, 2018

Earnestly Contend For the Faith

In a 7 - 2 ruling today, the Supreme Court sided with the Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for two gay men. I applaud this ruling but at the same time know it will not end the clamor of the LGBT community for the "right" for their lifestyle to be recognized as normal behavior. How has our nation and world gotten to this place?
I think some of the answer can be found in a presentation given by Lamar Martin at the Conservative Mennonite Teacher's Institute on September 15, 2017. He said:
"The Protestant work ethic has made democracy work in North America. Someone asked Ben Franklin what kind of government the Constitutional Convention had produced. He replied, "A republic, if you can keep it." Both George Washington and Ben Franklin said in effect that democracy will work as long as there is virtue in the people. Thus, the decline of Protestantism (or Christianity) in America as a whole is requiring the U. S. government to decide moral issues and provide social programs. As Americans exhibit less virtue and self-control, they will need government control." 
In the past, homosexuality was shameful and kept under cover because the general public knew it was sin. If Americans had maintained Christian beliefs and principles, the wedding cake would never have been an issue. That it reached the Supreme Court is simply an indication of the breakdown of society. Protestant churches failed to uphold Biblical standards on the issue and things rapidly spiraled downward. 
Lamar Martin goes on to say:
"From the beginning, the Anabaptists have held to the belief that the civil government has no authority to determine matters of Christian doctrine or practice. They have believed that the New Testament teaches a clear distinction between the kingdoms [of church and state]. . . . Are we willing to unashamedly bear the suffering of being identified with the kingdom of Christ or will we accept the cultural norms around us?"
I am sure the LGBT community will continue to pressure for acceptance. How long will it be until our government bows to the pressure? Will their "rights" take precedence over the religious freedom guaranteed in the Constitution? How can the government justify granting the wishes of one group of people at the expense of canceling religious freedom? 
The more important question is, are we willing to stand for Christ and not compromise His truth? If it comes down to it, are we willing to suffer persecution to maintain our faith like our ancestors did 500 years ago? It's a spiritual battle. "Earnestly contend for the faith." 

Friday, May 25, 2018

Dream Come True

Sometimes wishes and dreams do come true. After years of wishing and waiting, my outdated pink and black bathroom is gone and the remodel job is completed. The new window topper that arrived in today's mail is the finishing touch. I am very happy with it. Here are the before and after pictures.

Flooring is gray vinyl planks run the long way with the idea of a boardwalk in mind. 

Lighthouse theme started with the shower curtain

This mirror always was too high for a shorty like me. I could only see the top of my head.

 Now I think I see a little too much! (Pardon the bottle of pink soap. Someone gave it for my birthday and I was too tight to throw it out half used just because it's pink.)

Gene made the shelf for me from aged pallet lumber. It's supposed to simulate driftwood. All the things in it I already had. Some of the seashells in the jar were collected in Florida in 1972 and the  bottom layer of sand we got in California on our honeymoon. The wall plaque and fishnet are two extravagances I allowed myself.

The toothbrush holder and soap dish went with the tile so I improvised with blue glass pint jars. Leroy cut the pump from an empty bottle and fitted it into the lid. Life savers are available in case anyone starts floundering in the tub. The wooden cheese box was something I already had. I lined it with the Spanish moss (call it seaweed) I picked up in Florida in March. 

It's amazing what it is possible to come up with for decorating without buying things. I had fun doing it and can enjoy it the rest of my life. The remodeled bathroom should last as long as I do.

A Rose by Any Other Name . . .

Do you recognize the quote in the title? It's from Romeo and Juliet and the full quote is:
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."
Basically, what it means is that what matters is what something is, not what it is called.
The labels on a lot of things have changed in today's world. Instead of tramps we have homeless people. Homosexuality is an "alternate lifestyle." Abortion is a "right to choose." Another one we're hearing a lot about these days is "human trafficking" which is just another label for slavery.
Slavery is almost as old as the hills. We find slaves and slave owners in Genesis. Joseph was a slave in Egypt, and there were slaves long before that. Slavery has been practiced ever since ancient Bible times and never stopped. In colonial days, black people were brought from Africa to America (and other countries) to be sold as slaves. White slaves were Europeans who sold themselves as "indentured servants." Someone paid their passage on the ship and in return they served a specified number of years as an unpaid servant. 
Slavery was one of the main issues in the Civil War which finally emancipated the slaves in the United States. But slavery is alive and well in this country and many others. It's just called human trafficking. 
The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking around the world—and a $150 billion industry worldwide. An International Labor Organization study indicated that girls are more likely to be trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation and domestic services, and boys tend to be trafficked for forced labor in commercial farming, petty crimes, and the drug trade.
While many people think of human trafficking as a third-world problem, the numbers paint a very different picture, with 2,105 of the 7,621 human trafficking cases recorded in 2016 involving U.S. citizens. Modern slavery touches each of our lives through the clothing we wear, the electronics we use, and the prevalence of the practice in communities across the country. 
I am not involved in sex trafficking, but how can I know if I am contributing to the problem in the things I buy? Our world today has a global economy. When I am making a purchase I usually look at the price, not where the item was made. My comfortable lifestyle may be possible because of slave labor on the other side of the globe. It's a problem I don't know how to handle, much less solve. As a Christian, how should I feel about or respond to this?

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Work in Progress

The bathroom is not finished but we made good progress this week.

Day 1--Pink tile was removed from the walls

Day 2--Drywall was  installed and taped. 

Day 3--Rotted corner at the tub was repaired and new subfloor installed. Drywall was spackled.

Day 4--Tub surround and hardware were installed.

Day 5--Drywall was finished and prepped for painting.

Day 6--New vinyl flooring was installed and painting began.

The last bit of pink that still lingered inside the closet disappeared.

Painting is the only thing we're doing ourselves. When you are remodeling a necessary room you don't want to drag it out long. The contractor will be back Monday to replace the vanity, toilet, and mirror and finish up. Check back later for the before and after photos.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Babylonian Math

A 3,700-year-old Babylonian tablet was translated last August and might rewrite the history of math, suggesting that trigonometry may have been developed before the ancient Greeks.
The researchers said the tablet proves that the Babylonians developed trigonometry some 1,500 years prior to the Greeks.
“Our research reveals that Plimpton 322 describes the shapes of right-angle triangles using a novel kind of trigonometry based on ratios, not angles and circles,” Dr. Daniel Mansfield of the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of New South Wales Faculty of Science, said in a university news release. “It is a fascinating mathematical work that demonstrates undoubted genius. The tablet not only contains the world’s oldest trigonometric table; it is also the only completely accurate trigonometric table, because of the very different Babylonian approach to arithmetic and geometry.”

You can see more here:
(Copy the link and paste on your browser)

What does this tell us about the idea that man has evolved and become more intelligent? 

Saturday, May 12, 2018

In The Pink

Some people are constantly moving, remodeling, changing jobs, cars, and even churches. They like adventure and new things. That is not us! We have lived in the same house for 50 years, gone to the same church 45 years and Leroy worked for the same company for 45 years. In 50 years of marriage we have had 5 cars. We stick with what we have and wear it out. And some things just don't wear out. We're still not tired of each other or our church. We still like our house but we have made some changes once in awhile when needed.
Take it from me, one thing that takes a long long time to wear out is ceramic tile in a bathroom. If you're putting ceramic tile on the walls, make sure it is a neutral color that will go with anything. If you don't, you will probably live to regret it. 
When we built our house in 1968, pink was the popular color for bathrooms. It looked right when it was put on but it was a mistake. Pink bathrooms were soon out of style and we were too poor to change it. I was stuck with pink. After our children were married and buying their own food instead of eating us out of house and home, I looked into remodeling the bathroom but the price scared me so nothing happened. I tried to tone it down with gray but the pink was there to stay.
This spring I decided to squeeze my eyes shut at the price and go ahead. Fifty years of a pink bathroom is long enough. I have served my time! I am not very good at decorating so I asked my daughter and sister-in-law for advice. Then we chose the materials and got our name on the list. The work is scheduled to begin Monday morning.
Here is how it looks right now. I'll post after pictures when it is finished.

In self-defense I will add that I did not ask for the black trim and was not happy with that design on the shower wall. But like I said, we were too poor to change it. After 50 years, it is on the way out!