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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Procrastinating

I normally pop out of bed in the morning like bread from a toaster and tear into the day. And then I wind down by 2 p.m. and go to bed again at a decent hour. I'm not a night owl by any means. But boy can I procrastinate when it's time to do certain jobs! For example, cleaning cupboards. I can find all kinds of things to do instead, even if I tell myself this is the day. I must get meat out of the freezer first, wash my hair, pay a bill. . . Finally, the dread of doing the job is too heavy to carry anymore and I get ready to tackle it just to get rid of it.
I function best when I operate on a schedule. Certain jobs are done on certain days of the week or month of the year. I even cook on a schedule. You can pretty well tell what day of the week it is by the meat we have for supper. Monday-beef; Tuesday-pork; Wednesday-hamburger; Thursday-chicken; Friday-soup and sandwiches; Saturday-pizza.
Since there's only two of us rattling around in this place now, it doesn't get as dirty as it once did and I don't have to houseclean twice a year anymore. Getting over the whole house once a year is enough. I spread it out by doing one room or portion each month from the end of August through December. Then I take a break the beginning of the year when it's cold and start again in March. I finish in May and take another break over summer.
My office is the room to clean in March. But this year the weather in March was so much like February I just couldn't find the ambition to do it. Who feels like housecleaning when it's blowing snow around or just plain cold. So I kept procrastinating all month until today. I have something else on my schedule for tomorrow. Today was my last chance to get the job done in March and avoid a black mark on my jobs chart. And the weather was no excuse. Funny how far a little sunshine will go to pump ambition through my veins. Once I got started it really wasn't that bad. As usual, dreading it was worse than doing it. My desktop is now free of all piles of paper and the windows are sparkling clean. And I won't have to do it again for another year. 
On to the living room in April.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Hiccups

Overall, this winter was mild and dry. We got an inch or two of snow at a time but nothing that caused a problem. The last half of February was especially mild and we began to believe the groundhog was wrong and we would have an early spring.
And then winter got the hiccups and we got blasted with winter last week. A nor'easter dropped 16.5 inches of snow on a Tuesday with a stiff wind that kept drifting the snow across the road every time they tried to open it. I was snowed in for three days. Leroy got out with his 4 x 4 truck but there was no way I was going to try getting out in the car. Those who tried to go through and got stuck were sufficient warning for me to stay home. 
I reverted to winter activities and started crocheting another afghan just for something to do. At least the power stayed on so I did some extra baking too. Finally, on Friday, the wind stopped blowing and they opened the road again. This time it stayed open and I was freed from house arrest. 
March snows don't last long and it is disappearing rapidly although there will be piles around for some time. My spring bulb flowers are out in the sunshine again but they look rather sick. The leave were shredded by hail soon after they came up and then just as the daffodils were starting to bloom they were covered with snow drifts. There won't be many flowers this year. 
I was not among those who were thrilled with the snow and didn't take any pictures. But we really can't complain as this was the only snow storm of the season. It came at the very end of the winter and I encouraged myself knowing it will soon be over. We don't have two more months of this stuff ahead of us. This week we reached the first day of spring and things are looking up.

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Exodus

Last evening we watched a documentary video on the archaeological evidence for the Exodus of Israel from Egypt and the crossing of the Red Sea. Archaeologists have uncovered ruins and artifacts in Egypt and ancient writings that verify the presence of Hebrews in Egypt during the time of Joseph. By comparing what the Bible says about their flight from Egypt to the Red Sea with ancient maps and other sources, researchers were led to what is now called the Gulf of Aqaba. This is a large gulf at the northern tip of the Red Sea, east of the Sinai peninsula and west of the Arabian mainland. 
When God called Moses at Mount Horeb (or Sinai) in Exodus 3, He said that Moses would bring the people back to the same place in Midian (Arabia). Exodus 13:17-18 says God told Moses to lead the Israelites through the wilderness instead of the shortest route which would have taken them through the land of the Philistines who would have fought to keep them from passing through. So Moses led the people down the same trade route he would have taken from Midian to Egypt and back again forty years later. The road, which was familiar to him, went from Egypt down the east side of the Gulf of Suez and across the Sinai peninsula to the Gulf of Aqaba. (The Suez Canal did not exist then.)
In Exodus 14:1-2, God told Moses to turn before Pihahiroth and camp between there and the sea. This route took them down a winding 18-mile wadi, hemmed in with mountains on both sides. By this time, Pharaoh regretted having let them go and sent his army after them. A small army of 600 horses and chariots could quickly overtake the millions traveling on foot. And when Pharaoh knew they had gone into this wadi he was sure he had them. The Israelites knew they were trapped with the Egyptian army behind them, mountains on both sides, and the impassable sea ahead of them. 
I'm sure you know the story in the rest of chapter 14 and how they were delivered by God parting the waters so they could go through on dry ground. This is where the archaeological exploration comes in. 
The place where the 18-mile wadi ends is a large sandy beach on each side of the Gulf of Aqaba and the spot believed to be where the crossing occurred. The Israelites would have spilled out of the wadi onto this sandy beach with no way to go backward or forward. The water lies in a gorge as deep as a mile in some places. How could have they walk down into this rocky gorge and up again on dry land to get to the other side? Robotic underwater cameras show there is a wide flat plateau of sand across the rocky ridge. So when God rolled back the water and made it stand in walls on both sides, the Israelites had a smooth sandy highway across the sea. Isaiah alluded to this in Isaiah 11:16 (emphasis mine). "And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.
Exodus 14 says Pharoah's army foolishly followed and were drowned when the water closed in over them. Further underwater exploration of this area showed the floor of the sea is littered with coral growths that resemble wheels, axles, and other shapes that could be pieces of Egyptian chariots. It is illegal to remove them but they have been photographed. 
I have never doubted the story of the Exodus. If God says it, I believe it. But it is exciting to me to see science and archaeology supporting what the Bible says. While the evidence supports the story, there is nothing to prove the water actually divided. The wind is gone and the water is back in place. It still takes faith to believe what the Bible says is what literally happened. Those who don't WANT to believe will scoff regardless of the amount of evidence.
Why did God tell Moses to lead His people into such an impossible situation? Wouldn't it have been easier for them to win a war with the Philistines than to get out of this desperate trap? Either way, God was going to deliver His people and dividing the Red Sea wasn't any harder for Him than to help them win a war. God wanted to make it clear that HE had delivered them and forever remove the threat of recapture by the Egyptians. He knew where that sandy road lay across the water and the way to get to it was through the wadi. 
The spiritual application is too big to miss. Sometimes God takes us through the wilderness and puts us in a position where He is our only hope. And when He takes us through our Red Sea, we can sing the song of Moses, "The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation."


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Adoption

We have six adopted grandchildren. Three more adoptions are scheduled for March 23. We have more adopted than natural grandchildren. But they're all ours, no matter how they joined the family.
Adoption is a wonderful way to prevent abortions, provide good homes for needy children, and fill a house with love.
We are empty nesters and just adopted a child. At our age? Yes! Granted, we're too old to take children into our home and raise them but there's more than one way to adopt children. We just adopted a Syrian refugee girl through Christian Aid Ministries.
Aisha was born April 5, 2006. She and her family are originally from Idlib. They came to Lebanon in 2012. The family is made up of ten individuals. One child, Aisha's brother, has Downs Syndrome, and Aisha has diabetes. They all reside in a two-room house. They have nothing to protect them from the outside but a broken wooden door. The family does not have any furniture but only mattresses and blankets. Aisha is the fifth eldest among her siblings. She attends Hope Center school with three of her siblings and is in first grade. She wants to be a teacher when she grows up.
We can't fix everything in Aisha's life but we can make it possible for her to go to school and have a chance in life.  Lots of children are still available. If you would like to adopt a Syrian refugee child you can begin here

https://christianaidministries.org/program/sponsor-a-refugee-child/

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Mennonite History Day

Every year the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society sponsors Mennonite History Day. A speaker is scheduled and invitations are extended to Mennonite schools to participate. They register with the society and the secretary gives the speaker the schedule. 
I was the speaker eleven years ago and spoke in 32 schools. When they asked me to do it again this year I hesitated. It is a lot of work and I am eleven years older. They said there is a whole new crop of students now and I could just repeat what I did the first time. That took half the work out of it if I didn't need to make new talks. So I agreed but limited it to two schools per week. 
Eighteen schools registered and I began the tour on February 1. Now I'm at the end of the month and am half way through the list. Nine schools finished and nine more to go.
I have three topics and each one is modified so I can do it on three age levels: K-4, 5-8, and 9-12. The titles are Is Bigger Always Better?, What Can I Trust? and Who Is In Control? They are based on the life of my grandmother as told in my book Annie's Day of Light. I try to teach a spiritual lesson in each one, using things that happened in Annie's life and the world she lived in: World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II. The answers to those questions in the titles are that bigger is not always better, God is the only One we can trust completely, and He is in control. I hope the children learn something that will steer them in the right direction in life.
I had a two-hour drive to the school where I spoke today. I went that far one other time but most of the schools are an hour or less. I meet a lot of people I would probably never meet otherwise. It's interesting work but I will be glad when I'm finished. It's really keeping this old lady stepping.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Sausage, Noodles and Apples

I got this recipe from one of my daughters-in-law. It sounded like a strange combination but we only had to taste it once to know it's a winner. We're having it for supper tonight so I thought I'd share the recipe.

1/2 package wide noodles
4 apples
4 tbs. butter
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 lb. sweet Italian sausage (you can use regular sausage but it won't taste as good)

Cut sausage into small pieces and fry. Meanwhile, boil noodles until finished. Pare and cut apples into thin slices.
Melt 2 tbs. butter and place in 9x13 dish. Place half of the cooked, drained noodles in the dish, half of the sausage pieces, and half of the apple slices. Mix the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle half of this mixture on the apples. Repeat layers. Dot with remaining butter.
Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes or until apples are soft.
Enjoy!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Love Is a Verb

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day and a day to express love. Stores are pushing us to do that with cards, flowers and chocolate. Somehow we have gotten the notion that romantic love is the epitome of love. It's not. That's one aspect of love but there's a whole lot more to  love than that. 
Love is a quality not limited to romantic relationships. It is needed every day of the year and by everyone, child, teenager, adult, single, or married. A person who is not loved by anyone or does not love anyone is severely handicapped and will suffer emotionally. We all need to love and be loved.
I grew up in a family that did not say "I love you" to each other. The only time I remember my mother saying those words to me was when she was on her deathbed. But I knew she loved me long before she said it. My family expressed love in actions rather than words. I knew my family cared and I could count on them to be there when I needed help. 
I don't need flowers and chocolate on Valentine's Day to know my husband loves me. It's what he does all year that conveys the message. Without that, getting flowers and chocolate on that one day of the year would have no meaning. 
Young people who are looking for a life partner can mistake infatuation for love. True love does not come in a blinding flash that sets your heart racing and makes you tingle. It grows softly until one day you realize he/she has become part of your life and you will function more efficiently together than separately. This does not mean that there will be no heart-skipping moments, but that the relationship did not begin with and is not built on those emotions.
On their wedding day, a young couple typically is blind to the bumps and curves life will throw at them. They start out full of hope and happiness. But before long, life becomes reality as they pick up the responsibilities of maintaining a home. And if children are added to the mix it becomes more challenging. Unless love is the foundation of the marriage, it will begin to crack and crumble.
We had our share of bumps and curves in life but our love and commitment to each other carried us through. The hardest times made us cling together more tightly instead of breaking apart. The longer you live with a person the better you understand them. You learn how they will respond in a certain situation and what they are likely to say before the words are out of their mouth. You don't need the romantic dinners and flowers because you are comfortable and secure in your relationship. 


Love is a verb, not a noun. It's something you do, not what you say. And that is true whether you're married or single. Every person you know or meet is an opportunity to put love into action. Go ahead and show love on Valentine's Day, but don't miss the opportunities you have the other 364 days of the year. "To love and be loved is the greatest joy on earth."