Sauders Sandwiches

Sauders Sandwiches

It is a tradition with us now.  We take friends and family to Sauder’s, then to the Peter Whitmer farm for a picnic and tour, and then to Watkins Glen.  Today was Becky’s turn.

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Becky and Bethe at Sauder’s

We visited at the Whitmer farm with a family from Sandy, Utah.  Dad was originally from New Zealand, and mom from Australia.  They were fun to visit with.

Watkins Glen

As we drove through the Village of Watkins Glen, I nearly missed the park.  They are doing construction and the entrance doesn’t look the same.  Parking was too far from the entrance so Elizabethe didn’t have an enjoyable time.  It was also hot today.

Becky and I walked about 1.5 miles into the canyon to see the falls.  She kept saying, “Glen is going to be so jealous.”

I must admit, Watkins Glen is a beautiful place.  It was also crowded today.  Lots of people crammed the trails

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Becky Cooling Off

Because of the heat, Becky decided to drench her hair in one of the falls.  I decided to keep my camera dry, so I passed.

Drive Home

The drive home was uneventful.  Everyone was tired.  We stopped at the Burger King drive-thru and picked up ICEEs and drove straight home.

SEO Working

SEO Working

The other day my sister-in-law, Becky, was telling me about their business’ website and how it wasn’t coming up on Google.  Understanding SEO I offered to show her a few things.  The changes we made have the SEO working today!  Her husband did a search and was excited to see their business showing up.

I know enough about SEO that I can do this…

Church Today

The Rush family, a family we knew in California, was at church today with their 6 children – 3 boys and 3 girls.  They came over for lunch after church and we had a wonderful time visiting.

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Discovering Faerie Houses

Elizabethe got the children working on looking for faerie houses.

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The Rush Family

I wanted to get a picture of their entire family.  Amy, the mom, grew up in Garden City, Kansas, which was my favorite area of my mission.  While Amy would have been just a baby back then, I don’t have any recollection of her parents.  Which is too bad.  It would be fun to say, “I knew here when she was a baby in arms.”

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Amy and Mike Rush, Me and Elizabethe

And, It was fun to get a picture with them.

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The Oldest Two Children Whom I Photographed When They Were Toddlers

Now, the oldest two children I photographed when they were toddlers.  Now, their son is getting ready to go on a mission.

It was absolutely fun seeing them again.

Garage Sales

Garage Sales

Elizabethe and Becky went looking for garage sales today.  I stayed home and worked on photography stuff.  Most of the morning they garage sale hunted and in to the afternoon.  I wonder if we’re going to have to add on to the house to store all the bargains they return with.

Everything right now is about faerie houses.  Yup.  My wife looks at something and says, “That would make a nice door knocker for a faerie house.”

As a result, it is my duty to photograph them.  I don’t mind, but I may just end up painting a picture of one with beautiful little faeries of my own creating.  I’m sure my idea of what a faerie looks like and my wife’s idea are two different things.

Chill-n-Grill

We took Becky to Chill-n-Grill where I ordered a sundae.  It was too much ice cream.  Blah.  I can’t handle large amounts of food any more.  Add sugar to that food, and I just feel yucky.

I am not 17 any more.

Church Tomorrow

I haven’t even seen the hymns for church tomorrow.  I hope they are ones I know.  If there was an email, I don’t remember seeing it.  As a result, I’m a little stressed.  I am also too tired to go look in case I missed the email.

 

Rain Gutters

Rain Gutters

We were woke early this morning of the sound of ladders against the house.  They are working on the roof again.  In fact, they are putting up rain gutters.

Seamless rain gutters are the coolest things since sliced bread.  The idea of rolling a long gutter out to the exact length is better than soldering pieces together.

I watched as they rolled sections out.  Pretty amazing!

Website Re-Work

My Fine Art by DB website needs a re-work.  I spent much time re-working the temples page.  It is almost done.  I hope to have it complete some time early next week.  When it is, it will be much NICER looking.

Instead of small 1.5″ thumbnails, I’m using bigger framed versions of each photo.  Like this…

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San Diego Temple

These images will show the quality better.  They also show how the image looks framed.  (Customers can change the fame and mat to match their decor.)

For now, I’m changing the temple site.  I will do the others one at a time until they are all converted to the new format.

When it is done and ready to be seen, I will post an update here.  I will also post updates on Facebook.  This is a big deal if you ask me.

Filling the Void

Filling the Void

I read a great blog post regarding filling the void.  Because I read it on my phone while I was battling insomnia, I am hard pressed to find it again.  Either way, I’ll share the essence of it.

The writer, in speaking about people who leave the church, pointed out that when they leave, they don’t fill that void with anything.  In fact, they become “unbelievers”.   And, in many cases, they go so far as to become antiChrists (my words, not the bloggers).  They used an example from the Book of Mormon.  Sherem , Nehor and Korihor are classic examples.

Excuses vs Divine Knowledge

My definition of divine knowledge is that knowledge that comes as a result of temperance, perseverance, faith and keeping the commandments. It’s knowledge that apostates seldom achieve, and if they did, they are as the Book of Mormon says, it will better for them to have never experienced that knowledge.  I personally don’t know if that qualifies them as Sons of Perdition, but dang close.

Excuses are those things that hid what is really going on.  The popular excuses these days are gays and the church, women and the priesthood and historical findings about early church leaders.  All three things can be overcome through study, prayer and patience.  I will be the first to admit I had to overcome all three.  In fact, before that it was blacks and the priesthood, for which I have an unalterable testimony of the divinity of everything surrounding the blacks and the priesthood.

Perhaps I could say I didn’t give up, and at the risk of sounding pretentious, that’s all it takes.  All it takes is to hang in there and not stop waiting for that answer from God.

Excommunications

A few excommunications have been put in the public light.  I can think of one regarding the women and the priesthood, and another about historical findings.  I’ve read the arguments of the excommunicated persons, and all I can say is… they sound more like excuses, because as arguments, they don’t hold water.  I genuinely feel bad for them.  Okay, let me rephrase that, if they truly believe what they are saying, then they truly haven’t learned and for that, I feel bad for them, and I’m sure the Lord will have mercy on them at judgement day.  But, if they are using this as an excuse to hide something else, I feel bad for them because they are in for a rude awakening.

A recent firing of a BYU-I instructor was followed by her excuse making.  I’m sorry, if you’re an instructor at a church-run university, and you preach false doctrine in your spare time, yeah, they should fire you, and as a result they should convene a church court.

Simply Put

Simply put, there are some easy ways to look at some of these controversies.

  1.  Nobody on this earth has the authority to allow gay marriages in the temple.  Not even the prophet or twelve apostles has that authority.  The authority belongs to God.  End of discussion.
  2. Women aren’t required to hold the priesthood for exaltation.  They can receive exaltation without holding it.   Nobody on earth has the authority to extend the priesthood to women.  The authority belongs to God.  End of discussion.
  3. Early, and present, church leaders are not perfect.  Joseph Smith, Junior’s, imperfections don’t change the authenticity and divine nature of the Book of Mormon and subsequent latter-day revelations.  While many negative findings about Joseph Smith fall in the category of hearsay, we still don’t know the facts of the matter.  All that aside, even if many of them were discovered to be true, it cannot negate the spiritual witness I have regarding the Book of Mormon.  For that reason, it is easy for me to ‘doubt my doubts’, but I realize it might be more difficult for those who have not received a spiritual witness of the divinity of the Book of Mormon.  For me, my witness is an end of the discussion for me.

Pray About It

Now, one could say the prophets and apostles could pray about gay marriage and women and the priesthood.  What gives them the impression that they haven’t???  I can assuredly guarantee they HAVE prayed about it — individually and collectively.  As a result we have the Family – a Proclamation to the World.  As a result, we have the Relief Society, temple sealings, endowments, and more.  Recently Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve was asked if there could be a time when the LDS Church would change its position on gay marriage?

He was unequivocal.  “Nope”, he said.

Hypocrites

Going back to the blog I read…

There are many apostates who leave the church, angry at the church and its leaders, and thus believe they have found a better path… yet, they stop living the commandments.  They stop going to church on Sundays, they stop keeping the sabbath day holy, some stop living the word of wisdom, a few whom I’ve had personal knowledge have stopped living the law of chastity.  The void doesn’t get filled.  The don’t replace what they believed once to be good.  One would think they would replace it with something better (in their opinion), but they don’t even do that.  They become unbelievers.  Hypocrites in their own rite.

 

Cataracts

Cataracts

I learned today that I have cataracts in both eyes.  That’s the no-so-good news.  The good news is the doctor says they probably won’t need surgery in my lifetime.  Still, though, for a photographer, that’s not the news you want to hear.

My eye doctor is really in to photography.  He pumped my brain about how I sell my images and how I obtain business.

Lawn

My day started with a bank run.  I had lots of deposits to make.  I got them deposited, grabbed a quick bite at McDonalds, and came home to mow the lawn.

The lawn mowing took me hours. It took 4 hours without the grass catcher this time.

I cooked a late lunch/early dinner.  I grilled eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers and chicken marinated in balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Except for the chicken, it was all out of our garden.  (And, if the village would allow chickens, that could have been from our yard too.)

The lawn always looks nice after it is cut.  I also trimmed some bushes back and whacked some weeds.

Republic Wireless

Republic Wireless is onboard as our Route 66 official voice and data provider.  It is fun seeing the list of advertisers grow.

Recommend Desk

Recommend Desk

Working at the recommend desk in the temple is always a delight.  Meeting people as they come to the House of the Lord is an awesome responsibility when you think about it.  It is your job to assure people have the correct documents to enter the temple.

Being a “destination temple”, you meet people from all over the world too.  People come from around the world to visit the Palmyra Temple.  Many ask to look out the window to see the Sacred Grove from the temple — something no other temple has.

As one person put it, it is the only temple you can look out a window and see one of the Lord’s outdoor temples.

Sacred Grove

Becky took the car after dropping us at the temple so she can visit the Sacred Grove.  She returned later to go to the 7:30pm session.

In spite of Hill Cumorah Pageant being over, we had several guests.  They had enough for a sealing session that it wasn’t necessary to augment it with ordinance workers.  I wish every night was like that.

Rain

Rain is slowing the progress on the roof.  They are 90% complete.  They have a few pieces to attach and rain gutters and then they are done.

Harmony with Becky

Harmony with Becky

We’re in Harmony with Becky… literally, we’re in Harmony, Pennsylvania.  It’s now the Oakland Township and is located across the river from Susquehanna, Pennsylvania.  It is a 2.5 hour drive from here via I-90 and I-81.

The drive down was through a heavy rainstorm.  We saw the everything we wanted to see outdoors and it remained dry.  When it came time to leave, it started to rain again.  And, again, it came down heavily.

Returning to the Site

Returning to the site is exciting since I played a role in the pre-dedication.  It was fun to see the homes now that the vegetation is starting to fill in.  It looks finished, whereas before it looked like it was under construction.

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Blackeyed Susans Growing at the Site
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Elizabethe and Becky and Sister Stackman in the Restoration Grove
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Harmony Chapel

They loaned an electric scooter to Elizabethe.  She really enjoyed being able to use it.  Too much walking takes the joy out of travel for her.

Drive Home

The drive home was very rainy.  At one point it came down so hard I could hardly see out of the windshield.  My phone sounded an alert for a flash flood warning as we were between Binghamton and Syracuse.

We stopped at Friendly’s and I got a shake, and Elizabethe and Becky got a frosty from Wendy’s (across the street).  Hmmm… I’d have a hand scooped shake any day over soft-serve ice cream.

Another Angelic Performance

Another Angelic Performance

As I mentioned last Sunday, angels attend the Palmyra Ward.  Today was another angelic performance as the congregation and choir sang The Spirit of God.

Palmyra is a special place, but during Hill Cumorah Pageant, it becomes more special.  Every night at Hill Cumorah Pageant is an angelic performance too.  The rest of the year, we’re special too.

After church we were going to go for a walk in the Sacred Grove, but Becky was feeling tired and we’ll have other opportunities.  We came home and everyone rested.  (We had a very busy day yesterday too.)

Zucchini Lasagna

For dinner I made zucchini lasagna.  Basically, I slice the zucchini very thin and layer it like you would lasagna pasta.  It’s quite good and not as heavy feeling as pasta.

Elders Falter and Astle came to dinner.  They really liked the lasagna.  We also had mango pudding with fruit on top for dessert.  It was a pretty healthy dinner.  Oh, and we had a tossed salad too.

Movie

After the missionaries left we watched a movie about a boy who was born on Mars and when he was a teenager, came to earth.  It was cute, but like many movies like that, farfetched.

Guests

We have a couple staying who are from San Francisco, California.  They are riding their bikes from Buffalo to Albany.  I think they were surprised when I knew the area around Twin Peaks.  I asked, “Oh, do you live in Pacific Heights?”  Their eyes got big as if to say, “Oh, you do know the area.”

Sam Patch with Becky

Sam Patch with Becky

We went on the Sam Patch with Becky today.  We took the noon cruise.  When we got to Lock 32, we had to wait for a while.  We sat for a long time waiting for the lock doors to open, but once they did, we entered the lock, rose to the next section, exited it, turned around, and went back.

We stopped at Wegman’s on the way home and got some cheese and bread to snack on during pageant tonight.  We took Becky to the cheese counter so she could sample some of the cheeses.

Pageant – Last Night

It is the last night of Hill Cumorah Pageant 2017.  We got there early and bought dinner from the Lion’s and Rotary Clubs.

I wandered around and took photos of missionaries and cast members.  My goal was to photograph every full-time missionary there.  I think I got all of them, but it was like finding a needle in a haystack.

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Sister Missionaries with a Guest

I especially like this next picture.  I managed to catch Elder Bradford’s expression just right…

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Elder Bradford Meets Lehi

I also ran in to Sister Crofts.  She served in our ward last year around Christmas time.  She has been home for a while and returned to see pageant.  (She’s also playing her viola in Sacrament meeting tomorrow!)

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President and Sister Evans and return missionary Sister Crofts
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Sister Missionaries