Easter 2013

Yesterday was a pretty nice day weather wise, but things have cooled down quite a bit today.

President and Sister Christianson were our speakers in church today. I’m sure going to miss them. Their mission ends in June.

We now have 3 pairs of sister missionaries in our ward, and 1 pair of elders. Sisters Davis (new) and Jones came to dinner tonight. I had taken the rest of the chicken zafrani sauce and made a chicken zafrani stew with it. It had a very nice mellow flavor and the richness was cut by diced potatoes.

We had purchased a cheese cake at Lyons National Bank (they were having a bake sale in the lobby for the diabetes foundation). We had it for dessert. In all, it was a nice Easter dinner.

The History Channel has been running a series called The Bible. Talk about some scriptural inaccuracies. They also left quite a bit of important events out.

Here’s an example of inaccuracies…

Sampson was black. Anyone with any knowledge of the Hebrews would know that he was a Hebrew. Ancient Hebrews had very strict marriage laws, and Sampson was one of the judges. It is highly unlikely he was anything but a pure Hebrew.

When they came to the tomb, there were no angels. Mathew records an angel coming and rolling back the stone. Mark records they found the stone rolled away, and an angel nearby addressed them. Luke records “two men in shining garments” asked them, “Why seek ye the living among the dead?” And, John writes that two angels, one at the head and the other at the feet of where Jesus laid, stood by. This TV series had none of that.

It really made me appreciate the work that the LDS Church puts in to their biblical films and movies. If you want to watch some well produced Bible videos you can at http://www.lds.org/bible-videos/?lang=eng

Here is one that is especially applicable on this Easter day.

http://www.lds.org/bible-videos/videos/he-is-risen?lang=eng

Flyer Layout

This repertory ailment is finally letting up. I managed to get a lot done today on some flyer layouts. I knocked out three designs. (These flyers are for my photography studio. A couple for brides-to-be, and one for portrait clients. I give portrait clients a “style guide” that tells them what to wear to make the best of their portrait session. You can visit my studio web page at www.dbwalton.com to see samples of my work.)

By about dinner time, I decided I better call it quits. Well, as things would have it, as soon as I slowed down the congestion came back with a vengeance.

Tomorrow is Easter. Fortunately, after church there isn’t a lot going on. The rest will be welcome.

D. Brent Walton is a professional photograph. His studio specializes in weddings, beauty and glamor portraits. His studio is featured in the March 2013 Professional Photographer Magazine, and you can see his work in The Friend Magazine (issues January – April 2013).

The Cheap Date

I wouldn’t call Cici’s Pizza a great restaurant, but it definitely is a cheap date spot. Elizabethe and I went there for lunch. Two all-you-can-eat lunches cost us under $6 (we had a 2-for-1 coupon, and this month it is only $5). At that price, I couldn’t make pizza from scratch at home.

What I do like about Cici’s is how they treat the customers. I’ve been to three different Cici’s: One in North Carolina, one in Dallas, Texas, and the one recently opened in Henrietta, New York. When you walk through the door, the employees yell, “Welcome to Cici’s!” When you are serving yourself from the pizza buffet, you are told, “If you don’t see what you want, let us know and we’ll make it for you.” And, you might have the manager come to your table and ask if everything is to your satisfaction.

I enjoy businesses that teach their employees to be mindful of the customer and show that they care. One of my favorite restaurants back in California is Zio Fredo’s. The owner often makes his way around the tables to check on his customers. That’s good business sense.

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Today it is starting to feel like spring, but my lungs are still telling me to take it easy. It was one of those days that I wish I wasn’t so congested so I could grab my camera and go for a walk.

flowers at Beckwith Mansion
Flowers Coming Up at the Beckwith Mansion

We also received a few guests today. A family from Star Valley, Wyoming, is vacationing in Palmyra the right way. They are staying until next Wednesday. None of this rush-the-sites-in-one-day stuff for them. (And, if you ever come to Palmyra, spend some time here. There’s a LOT to do in this area.)

Before they got here, I went to turn the boiler on and it wouldn’t start. The sticker on the outside said, “Electronic Ignition”. So, I looked in the manual, and the electronic ignition picture looked different than what I have. I looked at the picture of the pilot light style ignition, and it looked identical to mine. Sure enough, my pilot light was out and I had to re-light it.

What a pain.

The pilot light couldn’t have been more inconveniently placed. Not only did I have to get down on the cold concrete floor to get to it, I had to remove some screws and a plate in order to light it. There is a tiny access hole where someone could, if you knew exactly where it was, shove a thin splint through the hole to light it, but you would not be able to see if you got it lit or not.

I managed to bleed the gas line and get the pilot light lit. It took three attempts, but it finally stayed on after the third.

Since When Did They Expire?

Since when did the 10 Commandments expire?

As a teenager I remember the malls, stores, gas stations, etc., largely being closed on Sundays. There were some restaurants open on Sundays, but for the most part, they were the only businesses open on Sunday. And, I’m told by friends my age and older, some states had “blue laws”, that required businesses to be closed on Sunday. (http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Blue+Laws) Although, I don’t agree with the concept behind laws that restrict behavior based on religious beliefs, I do think many business would close on Sunday if good Christians honored the Sabbath day…. but that’s a little off topic.

It seems that the Sabbath-day observance seemed to sneakily disappear except in Jewish quarters. (Many Jewish owned businesses are closed on holy days and the Sabbath. I very much respect them for this.) Jews and Christians both are supposed to keep the Ten Commandments.

Bit by bit, corruption has set in to society to the point where they are treated more like the Ten Suggestions than the Ten Commandments. So, I thought I’d list them as they are found in Exodus Chapter 20:3-17:

I. 3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

II. 4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6 And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

III. 7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

IV. 8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

V. 12 Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

VI. 13 Thou shalt not kill.

VII. 14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.

VIII. 15 Thou shalt not steal.

IX. 16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

X. 17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s.

Like the Sabbath day observance, many Christians have thrown aside the 7th Commandment – Thou shalt not commit adultery (or anything like unto it). It wasn’t long ago when a couple were living together, but not married, people would say, “They are living in sin.” Homosexual acts were called sins against nature, and those acts, along with adultery were considered criminal.

In many ways, as a society, we have advanced in our civility towards each other. Racial bigotry has waned greatly since in the last generation. Yet, in other ways, be have become less civil. Television, movies and entertainment contain graphic images (both violent and sexual) that would not have been tolerated 30 years ago. As soon as someone speaks out against indecency, they are called bigots, haters (a word I loath), and are shunned on social media.

Entertainment also tries to justify the sin as a means to an end.  For example, a popular T.V. show, White Collar, is based on a con man and his criminal friends, helping the F.B.I. solve cases through breaking the law.  I’m sure many in their audience see it as entertainment and like the story of Robin Hood, when the day is over, they know Robin Hood was a criminal.  However, there are those who think the crime is an entitlement because someone was wronged.

Another show is Leverage.  High-tech modern Robin Hoods set out to right the wronged.  Laws are broken and the Leverage team gets away with things that should place them in prison.  In real life, anyone who believes in the Ten Commandments would agree both sides should be arrested and tried for their crimes.  (Thou shalt not steal.  Thou shalt not bear false witness.  Thou shalt not covet.)

One wrong doing never justifies another wrong doing.

Entertainment also bombards us with a false sense of love and security.  I would challenge anyone to watch a T.V. drama (including the two I have already mentioned), and find someone who epitomizes a good Christian.  We used to have a few of them on T.V., but that was back in the 60s.  Well, I take that back, Touched by an Angel, was a pretty decent show, and Blue Bloods shows a good Catholic family that prays together and holds to their beliefs.

Today, it seems that every show has to have someone who is outwardly gay, or a gay couple.  Two couples meeting for the first time end up having sex before the sunrises on the next morning, and people in the workplace are referred to as family and depicted as being more important that the character’s own family. (Thou shalt not commit adultery.  Honor thy father and thy mother.  Thou shalt not covet.)

There are also shows that justify murder.  The one that comes to mind is Burn Notice.  A burned CIA agent, his buddy Sam Axe, girlfriend and mom are out to find out who burned him as they leave a wake of dead bodies.  These are the heroes of the show?  (Thou shalt not kill.)

I believe intelligent adults can sift through this stuff and understand that much of what goes on in entertainment is wrong.  On the other side, there are young, impressionable children watching this stuff whose parents don’t care, whose parents do not teach them the commandments.  I worry about the kids who were raised that way, who are being raised that way, and who are raising their children that way.

The Ten Commandments are divided in to “do” and “don’t” commandments.  I do not believe that laws should be made to force the “do” commandments.  On the other hand, we have to have some governance over the “don’t” commandments.  Imagine how bad this world would get if it suddenly became legal to kill?

I think it is going to become harder and harder to be a good Christian.  Perhaps the best thing we can do is renew ourselves and vow to keep the commandments.

They Get It

Two banks really get it. One is Wells Fargo, and the other M&T. Both, realizing the economy and the low interest rates, found it in their best interest to contact customers with good payment histories, and offered to drop their interest rates. How cool is that? They get it.

A while back, we contacted another bank, and they wouldn’t have anything to do with re-financing us because our equity was upside-down. I tried to explain that it was in their best interest to do it. (It almost seems like a no-brainer in cases like this.) Thank goodness they sold the loan to M&T.

I’m still fighting this respiratory crud. I think today has been the worst of them all. And, a good measure of how bad it is, I have no interest of picking up a camera and taking pictures. So, you know I feel like trash.

As a result of being slowed down by this stuff, I’ve got work piling up. I’m hoping in the next few days, I’ll at least have the energy to get caught up on e-mails and some of my desk work.

Still Fighting It

I’m still fighting my respiratory congestion caused by the allergy attack the other day. Nothing can slow you down as fast as shortness of breath. I laid down for a nap and ended up sleeping 4 hours. That’s unusual for me.

It also meant I missed the open house at the E.B. Grandin Building. I was looking forward to it, but just not feeling up to it.

Other than that, it has been a quiet day.

Spring Sick

No sooner as spring hits, my allergies attack. The itchy eyes, itchy inner-ears, and runny nose eventually caused problems in my lungs. Today I felt awful. So, I decided to pretty much rest it out and hope things get better.

Between readings, I watched a few episodes of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. If I could go in with my camera, I’d want Guy Fieri’s job. Of course, I’d have to have a protective case around my camera as he eats some pretty messy foods.

It’s not often I watch the news. I find watching the news just brings to the surface how degenerate our society has become. The very fact that the U.S. Supreme Court is going to decide what constitutes marriage is evidence of how low we have stooped.

I’ve made my views on the matter clear from the very start. The government has no business deciding on the matter. Marriage, in and of itself, is a religious sacrament – a rite, not a right. Thus, my fear has nothing to do with what two adults consent to do, but it has everything to do with the government deciding what we can and cannot teach our children, and what we can and cannot choose to support. My beliefs are in what God defines as marriage, and not what man (i.e. the courts) defines as marriage. And, if man ends up defining marriage differently than what God does, then man’s definition must not trample my rights (not rites) to believe and honor God’s laws.

I hope the men and women of the Supreme Court make the right decision.

Chicken Zafrani

About the only middle-eastern food that Elizabethe has liked is Chicken Zafrani. I decided to make some for dinner. I found some recipes on the Internet. Talk about involved!

Well, I managed to make it, but the sauce was enough for a dozen servings. So, we ate all the chicken (with the help of the sister missionaries), and had lots of sauce left over. It was also very rich.

Dim Sum and the Eastman House

Window in Eastman House
Window in Eastman House

Paul and I took a little tour of some of the Asian markets in the Rochester area. We bought some dim sum at the Canton Market, but some how, our shopping carts got swapped. It was kind of funny. I thought I was losing my mind when the lady was rining things up, and when Paul got to the check out, it all came more clear.

We then went to the Eastman House. Paul had never been there and so we took the tour and browsed the galleries.