Third Year

Third Year

We are about to start our third year of using our food storage for 3 months. That means… no grocery shopping!  YEAH!

While this may sound crazy, it makes sound sense.  First, it allows us to rotate what we’ve stored.  Second, it allows us to figure out what we might not need.  Third, it allows us to figure out what we items we should store more of.  It also means less driving during the winter time.

While I felt like a squirrel storing nuts for the winter, Elizabethe asked me to pick up a few items at the store.  There is no way they are going to last for 3 months, but at least we can ease into our three month experiment.

A good website for being prepared in all aspects of life is Provident Living.  I don’t consider us “preppers” by any means.  I do want to be self-reliant – temporally, mentally and spiritually.

Windows 10

Windows 10 has given me grief again.  For a while, it had been running fine on my laptop.  (If you recall, I had to completely remove it from my desktop.  I had to re-format my desktop’s hard drive because Windows 10 just would not work on it.)

This time it appeared to be a fight between Windows 10 and my virus software.  Windows 10 said I didn’t have any virus software, and the virus software said it needed to do an update.  Long story short, it appears Windows 10 did something to DHCP’s service and DHCP had to be repaired before it would allow the virus software to update.

Ninty-seven (97) updates later, Windows 10 appeared to be working until I attempted to connect using WiFi.  Yup… DHCP services on the the WiFi connection weren’t working either.  After repairing that, I took my laptop home and tried it and it seems to be working now.

After all of this, Microsoft sends me a survey asking about my Windows 10 Experience.  They asked me to rate it.  I gave it a “1”.  They asked what they could do to improve the score.  I answered, “Keep Windows 7.”

Piano Solo

Piano Solo

At church a young lady who lives across the street played a piano solo.  She’s earned a piano scholarship and after hearing her solo, I can understand why.

Music is a powerful thing.  I recall years ago when faced with a possibility of my hearing loss being permanent, the saddest part was not being able to hear music.   It is only by the power of God that I can hear.  I’m very thankful to have music in my life.

Here’s a little music to start this season.  (click here)

Sunday School

Sunday School was great.  Brother Wright taught a lesson from James chapter 1.  I love his enthusiasm.  He based the entire lesson of the word “pure”.  Very uplifting and motivating.

Third Hour

The third hour was a joint Priesthood/Relief Society Meeting.  The topic was missionary work.  Two fairly new members of the church shared their conversion stories and then Brother Amsden talked.  (He’s our ward mission leader.)

After Church

After church we headed home and Elizabethe was feeling very tired, so we took a nap.

After that I threw together some cashew chicken for the missionaries.  It is the one thing Elizabethe says I can recreate faithfully.  It’s not that I can’t recreate other dishes, I just don’t like to.  I enjoy experimenting with flavors.

Finally

You’ve got to watch this…  (click here).

The Day After That

The Day After That

I guess Saturday after Thanksgiving can be called the day after that.  (That being that two word title for the Friday after Thanksgiving that I despise so much.)

I decided to do some more experimentation with smoke.  I woke last night and thought… I know… I’ll move the incense around!

copyright 2015 db walton
A Full Moon Night

I thought this one looked like a full moon at night.

Then I got brave and started playing with different layers and color overlays.

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The Dragon

I’ve had a few people tell me it reminds them of a Chinese Dragon.   So, I’ll call it the dragon.

This has been a learning experience.

—–

I was disappointed that someone posted a meme that showed the nativity of Jesus Christ with comment about it being an “unplanned pregnancy”.  So, I posted back, “Oh, but it was planned. It was planned before the foundation of the earth.”  It surprises me that Christians would entertain such thoughts, especially if they read Isaiah!

People are funny…  You’ll see people posting that the most important thing is to be kind to one another.  While it is important, Jesus said the first commandment is to love God will all our heart, might, mind and strength, and the SECOND is like unto it.  So, no, the second most important thing is to be kind to one another.

I’ll take it a step further….  Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”  One can guarantee if they truly love God, they will be kind to one another because that is what the commandments are based upon.

We’ve been reading the New Testament this year and it seems obvious to me that what is done in secret has an impact on others.  In fact, the scriptures teach that our actions grow out of our thoughts.  So, yes, it does matter what someone does in the privacy of their own homes.

Does this mean we (as a society) should police people’s private actions.  No, that would be wrong too.  What it means is we shouldn’t delude ourselves in thinking that we can break a commandment in secret and it be of no consequence.  Think about it, will you?

Friday After

Friday After

The Friday after Thanksgiving is not “black friday” in my book.  The title is linked to too many bad events in history.  To call a shopping day “black friday” is in poor taste.

I suggested this morning that we go catch a movie and Elizabethe reminded me what it was like the last time we attempted to go somewhere the Friday after Thanksgiving.  Okay.  Nix that idea.

I came out to my office to catch up on my blogging and then thought… I need to take some pictures.

Wandering in to the house I saw something that reminded me of clay.  That reminded me of incense, which reminded me of smoke and THAT gave me a great idea. Take pictures of smoke!

copyright 2015 db walton
Smoke

And this one…. tell me what you see?

copyright 2015 db walton
Ghostly!

Do you see a figure wearing a hood with arms extended?

I had fun playing with incense and taking pictures of it.  In fact, I’d like to figure out how to control the smoke better.  It’s kind of fun.

copyright 2015 db walton
Angel of Resurrection

I’m getting hungry so I think I’ll call it a day.  Visit www.FineArtbyDB.com and you can see some of these for sale.

—–

With all the talk about Syrian refugees, I thought I would do some research for myself.  First off, being Syrian doesn’t equate to being Muslim.  And, practice of Islam varies from country to country and from individual to individual.  Thus, to equate a Syrian Muslim to being a terrorist would be like saying all blacks are thugs.  It is racist and prejudicial.

I did learn something interesting in all of this, and it is this… Islam is more of an ideology based on the teachings of Muhammad found in the Quran than it is an organized religion.  In fact, it is not organized at all.  (By that, in comparison to Western religions, you cannot point to any one governing body for Islam, whereas you can point to the First Presidency for Latter-day Saints, the Pope for Catholics, etc.  You cannot do that for Islam.)

I found several sources which point to the Quran as the source of governance for Islam.  This is much like fundamentalist Christians who point to the Bible for governance with no form or hierarchy to guide them here on earth.  Both methodologies deny revelation and claim all that is going to be said, has been said, and contained in a single book.

Islam  is not a race, but an ideology based on the teachings Mohammad Ibn Abdallah.  He lived during the 7th Century (A.D.) and to many was thought to be the returned Messiah, and by others a prophet.  The Jews rejected him as either.  What soon followed was Jihad on in that region forcing others to accept Islam as their religion and Mohammed as their prophet.

While history tells us Mohammad died after a short illness in 632 AD, modern Islam preaches a tradition that he ascended to heaven in Jerusalem.  They also claim Mt. Moriah in Jerusalem is where Abraham was told to offer Ishmael as a sacrifice.  Both have parallels in Christianity — Jesus ascending to heaven after his death and resurrection, and Isaac being offered by Abraham as a sacrifice.  Yet, the stories recorded of Mohammad’s ascension are marred by the fact that the Temple of Solomon was destroyed nearly 600 years before Mohammad could have made an ascension from the temple.

My personal conclusion about Islam is this…   It is an ideology of confusion with no governance. In countries where it is strong, governments have given way to permit Islam to function under their own shariah law.  While in civilized countries, shariah law has taken a backseat to constitutional laws of those countries, in uncivilized regions of the world, it has been allowed to festers by allowing sharia courts that treat men and women unequally, and Muslims and non-Muslims unequally.  (Example:  A woman’s life is worth 1/2 a man’s life.)    Punishments in these countries include stonings, lynchings,  floggings, amputations, and beheadings under sharia law.   Islam, on the surface, is an all-or-nothing religion (but more of an ideology as they have no structure) for its members.  In countries where sharia law is permitted, the “nothing” part of it can be a death sentence.

Now, a little about Israel, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and Islam…

Islam sets Ishmael up as being the chosen son of Abraham to receive the birthright.  Christians and Jews believe it was Isaac.  In either case, that makes us all Sons of Abraham and born under the Abrahamic covenant.

Orson Hyde in his dedicatory prayer on the Mount of Olives said, “O Thou, Who didst covenant with Abraham, Thy friend, and who didst renew that covenant with Isaac, and confirm the same with Jacob with an oath, that Thou wouldst not only give them this land for an everlasting inheritance, but that Thou wouldst also remember their seed forever. …  Let that nation or that people who shall take an active part in behalf of Abraham’s children, and in the raising up of Jerusalem, find favor in Thy sight. Let not their enemies prevail against them, neither let pestilence or famine overcome them, but let the glory of Israel overshadow them, and the power of the Highest protect them; while that nation or kingdom that will not serve Thee in this glorious work must perish, according to Thy word — Yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.”

The 11th Article of Faith states, “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”

While there are Islamic practices that trample God-given rights of people living in other countries, I personally see the hysteria in our own nation being a smoke screen for freedom threatening issues we face here.  (i.e. Removing the 10 Commandments from court houses, not allowing students to say prayers at school functions, not allowing the Pledge of Allegiance to be said because if its reference to “one nation, under God”, etc.)  It is also a smoke screen for graft, sin and corruption all around us.  So, as long as Muslims can live peacefully, respectfully among us, without forcing their ideology upon us, I’m okay with that.

Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

It is Thanksgiving 2015 and I have a lot to be thankful for.  While my gratitude extends beyond this list, first and foremost, I’m thankful for a Heavenly Father who loves me, my wife who is my best friend and eternal companion, my children and grandchildren who bring me joy beyond measure and all the bounty God has blessed me with.

Elizabethe and I have great plans for the day.  Today we are going to do absolutely nothing.  Yup, you heard me.  We are just going to lay around and be lazy.  No fancy meal.  No going anywhere.  We’re just going to enjoy each other’s company all day.

I did pick up my phone and noticed I had nearly 100 new e-mails.

Seriously?

Am I getting that many e-mails of gratitude on this day of Thanksgiving?

I looked and sure enough, they were all Black Friday invitations.  I saw them as invitations to “opt out” of their e-mail campaign.  I despise the entire “Black Friday” sales thing.  I dislike getting all of these emails too.

We bing-watched one of Elizabethe’s favorite TV shows that had recorded on the DVR.  After a couple of episodes we both commented on how unrealistic the entire show is.  I think the highlight of the TV watching was BYU TV’s Joan of Arc.  What a wonderful documentary.  I highly recommend it.

After a while, I got bored and picked up my phone and looked at Facebook.  Big mistake.

What is it about people that makes them turn to stupidity when they get on social media?

For example, one person was posting about how Christopher Columbus started Thanksgiving… huh?  Another posted an absurd list of companies that with a little research (i.e. typing the claim into Google)  would show them the list is making erroneous claims.  And those two examples don’t even begin to touch on some of the political claims.

At one point in the day I started to laugh.  Elizabethe asked what was so funny.  I looked at the clock and said, “It’s after 5pm and it is getting dark and we’ve done absolutely nothing today.  We haven’t got a single thing accomplished.”

In her sweet and loving way, she assured me that she’s enjoyed just spending the day together talking and … doing nothing.

So, I put my phone away and realized I was bored with doing nothing and suggested to Elizabethe we call it a day.

Duty at the Hill

Duty at the Hill

We pulled duty at the Hill Cumorah tonight.  When all of the missionaries have a big meeting to attend, they call upon some of the local members to be at the Visitors’ Center.  Elizabethe and I did our duty tonight.

The night before Thanksgiving was pretty quiet at the Hill.  We didn’t have a single visitor while we were there.  I got up a few times just to take a picture or two of some of the displays while Elizabethe worked on her sudoku puzzles.

copyright 2015 db walton
Nativity Set on Display
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Christus Statue at Hill Cumorah

Aside from an appointment earlier in the day, I spent the day working in my office.  Nothing exciting, just catching up with administrative work.

I did stop and pick up a milkshake after making the bank deposit today.  I tried out the Patty Shack’s (Rt. 31 Macedon) shakes.  While the flavor was good, it wasn’t cold enough.  It was more like cold flavored milk.  While I had heard this same complaint from someone else, I thought I’d give it a try.  Yup, they were right.  Cold flavored milk.

Our plan for tomorrow is to do absolutely nothing.  That’s right… nothing.  We each picked out some simple food to prepare.  Elizabethe picked out shrimp and I picked out some beef wellington puff pastries.  That, and some carrot and celery sticks and we’re all set for tomorrow.

Hanlon

Hanlon

A while back a friend introduced me to Hanlon’s Razor (or Heinlein’s Razor).  It states, “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity, but don’t rule out malice.”

Recently I came across a two good examples.  First, some background.  Obama Care (as we call it, but also known as ACA or Affordable Care Act) was passed with only one vote from the Republicans (Anh Cao of Louisiana), and zero votes from Republicans in the Senate.  Okay, remember that, because that sets the stage for what I’m about to say.

First

The first example comes from an acquaintance who said something to the effect, “We can thank the Republicans for the way Obamacare turned out.”

Using Hanlon’s Razor… stupidity or malice?

Second

The second example is from a Democratic Presidential Candidate, Bernie Sanders.  Sanders called Obamacare, “A good Republican program.”

Using Hanlon’s Razor… stupidity or malice?

Conclusion

I believe my first example is one of an individual being misinformed.  The Democrats had control and power to pass the bill with or without the Republicans.  This was demonstrated by their vote.  In fact, they even had democrats who voted against it, but it still passed.  And, while I don’t like calling people stupid, I will say my first example was someone speaking out of ignorance.

My second example, on the other hand, cannot be attributed to not knowing, or being stupid.  Sanders was there during the vote and he darn well knows it was a partisan, 100% Democrat, bill.  (Okay, he was an independent at the time of the vote, but make no mistake he’s running as Democrat for president.)

So, the first one was simply repeating something they had heard without checking out the facts, but the second one knows full well Republicans had nothing to do with the ACA.  In my book, the second one falls into the category of deception to get the vote of the ignorant.

As things ramp up for the election of 2016 I will be applying Hanlon’s Razor to much of what candidates say (and do).

—–

I had a cancelled meeting today.  But, that’s okay.  That gave me 2 hours I didn’t have before today.

Twice Now

Twice Now

Twice now I have visited the KFC/Taco Bell in Geneva, New York, to find a sign in the window at lunch time saying they were closed because their computer is down.  Keep in mind this is the same Taco Bell that took 30 minutes to serve me a crunchy taco last summer.

I really like Taco Bell and KFC food, but lately I’ve been quite disappointed in service at either place.  You would think a place like Taco Bell could operate without their computer.  And, this industry wants $15/hour for their employees?  I think not.

We must have made stops at every store between here and Geneva in preparation for the winter.  Elizabethe had a list of food items we need in the pantry.  The list had stuff like 8 cans of refried beans.  Those must be to go with all of that hot sauce we canned last summer.

I happened to have two $25 gift cards in my wallet.  One went towards Elizabethe’s Christmas present, and the other went towards re-stocking the pantry.

Okay, this is funny…

One of the most vital sauces in Chinese cooking is oyster sauce.  I’m standing in the Asian section of Top’s and I see at least 3 different brands of General Tzo’s Sauce.  (And this is funny too…. you won’t find that sauce at an Asian grocery store… at least not the ones we shop at.)  So, they have 3 brands of General Tzo’s, but NO OYSTER SAUCE.  NONE!  ZIP!

At least it is better stocked than their Mexican food section.

Stake Conference Music

Stake Conference Music

Our Stake Conference music was awesome today.  The missionaries started by singing Called to Serve as they entered the chapel and took their seats in the choir section.  They then sung Hark All Ye Nations.  After the announcements they sung a medley of Sisters in Zion and We’ll Bring the World His Truth.  (That was the song I was having a hard time playing on the piano but Sister Stoddard rescued me and played it.)

The speakers were equally as awesome.  It was great hearing President Francis and President Clark speak especially.  We also heard from President Miner of the Temple Presidency too.  The entire conference (including last night) was great.

Immediately after the meetings I met with my new Home Teaching companion, Greg Amsden, and D.D. Harris about our new families. Both Greg and I are keeping one family each from our current routes and then the other families are new to both of us.

After conference we came home and rested.  I had some pork in the crock pot and figured we’d feed the missionaries pulled pork (Mexican style) along with mexican rice and beans.

We have a new sister in our ward.  It was nice getting to meet her and learn a little about her.  Elizabethe gave the sisters a partial tour of the house with a promise to give them the grand tour on another visit.

 

 

Ram in the Thicket

Ram in the Thicket

There was a ram in the thicket today.  If you don’t know what that means, read on, but I was rescued by a ram in the thicket.

The bible tell us that Abraham was commanded to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice.  Abraham obeyed and headed up Mount Moriah where he would faithfully do as commanded.  Here’s the account from the Bible… (Genesis Chapter 22)

9 And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.

10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.

11 And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.

12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.

13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.

This scripture has come to light this week.  At the start of the week I was given some music to practice so I could accompany the missionaries on a song at Stake Conference.  I worked hard, but it just wasn’t coming together.

Tonight, as we went through to rehearse it, I was struggling when it changed from the key of C to 5 flats.  A missionary, hearing my struggles announced that she knows how to play this song quite well and asked if she would like me to play it.

“Yes!”  there was a ram in the thicket.

The story of Isaac and Abraham hit home hard.  While I would have loved to have been able to play this beautiful song, it wasn’t going to happen with a week of practice.  I knew that, but I trusted the Lord would provide.  I hoped that some miracle would occur and my fingers would just hit the correct notes.  Instead, God provided a way out of doing something that was painful and difficult.