Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Friday, May 27, 2011
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Monday, May 23, 2011
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
It was my regular day to work at the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society. A group of Jr. High students was scheduled to come for a field day. I showed four groups of students through the museum. After the first set I shortened my opening schpeel and spent the time showing them objects to try keep their attention. A few of the students were interested and listened but most of them could have cared less about what I was saying. Give me senior citizens any day! At least they stand in one spot and listen.
After the tour we guides stayed in the room to answer questions while the students had a scavenger hunt. They were supposed to find the objects in the museum that were listed on their paper and write down something they learned about it. One of the boys asked me what the kerosene lamp was. After he was told how it worked he asked, "But what was it used for?" I told him, "For light!" He said, "Oh, for light" and scribbled the answer on his paper.
The next part of the field trip was a tour of the facilities. When they were shown what the computers in the library were used for they sat right down and tried them out. After the students left, one of the researchers who was in the library exclaimed about how much those young people knew. He said, "They didn't have to be told how to use the computers. They just sat down and did it. I don't know how to use those things." I just smiled to myself and thought, Maybe so, but they have no clue what a kerosene lamp is or even what it is for! I'm sure that man would have known (without asking) exactly what a kerosene lamp was and how it worked.
The speeches were not as long and boring as they were at Gerald's graduation last year and it only took an hour and a half instead of three hours. Another great difference I noticed was that it was completely secular. There was no mention of God at any time and no prayer of any kind. Gerald's Alma mater is a Catholic university and there was a religious tone throughout his graduation. At this one the idea seemed to be you are your own master and the world is your oyster. I'm sorry, but human wisdom and efforts are not strong enough to be a solid foundation for life.
Observation: I'm glad Kelly has a solid foundation on which to build her life. We congratulate her for finishing her course and graduating with the highest honors. On July 30 she will add three more letters to her name (MRS) and change it to Stauffer.
Monday, May 16, 2011
On Saturday we went to a 10,000-acre nature and wildlife preserve at Cumberland, Ohio, called "The Wilds." They have a lot more animals now than they did when we were there in 1998. It was too cool for the giraffes to be out but we saw two kinds of Rhinos, Cheetahs, Bison, Zebras, African Wild Dogs, Oryx, Sable Antelopes, Takin (from China), Trumpeter Swans, Camels, and other rare or endangered species. My favorite was the baby White Rhino just born this year. Unfortunately, my photo is fuzzy. This is the Asian Rhino.
We took the two and a-half hour tour in an open bus so we could get better pictures but had to switch to a closed bus when rain moved in. Since the animals are on open range we were not able to get as close to some of them as in a zoo where they are in pens but it was great to see them in munching on the grass in natural surroundings.
If you ever are in that area, it is a worthwhile tour. In the meantime, you can learn more about it at http://www.thewilds.org/.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
The most exciting thing this Mother's Day was the announcement Gene made just before we ate. He and Amy are expecting their first child in December. It was not a total shock as we knew they were ready to start a family but they saved the announcement for Mother's Day.
Friday, May 6, 2011
I guess Leroy got tired of hearing about it and finally was motivated to help. We did not have a Saturday available so we started working on it evenings last week. One thing that was in our favor is that our attic is limited to crawl space behind the walls of the upstairs bedrooms. I can't imagine how it would have looked if we had a full attic.
Last night we finished cleaning that half of the attic. The things that were left have more sentimental value and there wasn't as much to throw out. I brought two boxes down to go through and clean up. We had a lot of fun just looking through the stuff last night. I found my old diary from 1964, some of Leroy's pay stubs from the early 60s when he worked for $1.25 hr., the letters and cards we sent each other when we were dating, and lots of other interesting things. I brought the letters down to read and see if we should leave them for our posterity or let our secrets die with us. :-)
The most pleasant surprise I had was opening an old fruitcake tin and finding a pair of glass perfume bottles that always set on my mother's dresser. We did not find them when we emptied Mom's house for estate sale and I always wondered what had become of them. They were in my attic all these years? When did they leave Mom's dresser and get mixed into my things? I have no idea but it probably happened before I was married.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Mom loved to read and passed that love of books on to her children by reading to us every day. When one of us started school she took time to read a few verses from the Bible and pray with that child every morning before the school bus came. At the end of second grade she told us that we can read well enough now to have our own devotions. In this way she helped us learn to read and to have a daily devotional time.
Mom taught the ladies Sunday School class every Sunday for many years. I never realized how much time that took to study every week until I started teaching twice each month. She is still remembered as one of the best teachers we had in Sunday school. When she was in her sixties she chose a title and theme verse for each chapter in the Bible and memorized the list. She reviewed the list constantly so she would not forget. If I wanted to know where to find something in the Bible I just asked Mom and she could tell me without looking it up in a concordance.
Mom's Bible knowledge was the basis of her wisdom but some of it was just common sense with a down-to-earth (and touch of humor) approach.
Mom taught me
* proper self-esteem: "Get to work. You're not just here for pretty."
* to overcome fear of the dark: "Don't worry, nothing will get you. And if it does, in the morning when it sees what it got it will bring you back."
* work ethics: "The quickest way to do a job is to do it right the first time."
* nonresistance: "It takes two to fight."
* respect for authority: "Because I said so, that's why."
* logic: "If you fall and break your neck, don't come crying to me."
* medical science: "Carrots are good for your eyes. You'll never see a rabbit wearing glasses.
* compassion: "If you were as near dead as you make it sound you couldn't cry that loud."