Month: November 2012


    I like mysteries.  I usually don’t guess the villain ahead of time, no matter how many clues are strewn in my path.  It’s always a minor character who shows up early on and doesn’t appear again until the final bloodbath, and then I slap my forehead and say, “Of course!  How could I have been so stupid! He showed up for a page and a half back at the beginning!  Of course he’s the bad guy!” 

    Anyway, I’ve found that women mystery writers usually have to put in a dumb romance to clutter up the storyline.  And it’s always the same romance:  fantastically beautiful and stunningly shapely woman meets world-class handsome and amazingly well-built man.  They have a reason not to like each other from the start and yet are strangely drawn to each other.  After a hundred pages of fighting off their feelings, they draw close.  But then one of them does something which the other misinterprets and the feud is on again.  Then there’s another hundred pages of hurt feelings, arguments and misunderstandings.  You know darn well it’s going to have a happy ending (for them), but in the meantime it takes attention away from finding out who this particular serial killer is.

    Men authors tend to stick to the blood and gore at hand and make women minor distractions.  I like that in an author.


    Marsha tells us about a fascinating tour of Jerusalem.  Be sure to check the beautiful pictures at the end. 

    Dear Lois,

    We’ve been home for almost a month after our U.S.A.-Canada trip. Cadillac Mountain was enveloped in fog, but we enjoyed the hike in Acadia, even in the rain. The cruise included Halifax, Saint John, Bar Harbor, Boston, and Newport. We  loved the week in Philadelphia, and enjoyed our time in the Poconos and in Hershey.

    Somehow I forgot to continue our Jerusalem narrative. The first day having been devoted to old neighborhoods outside the Old City walls, the 2nd and 3rd were spent in the Old City. On the 2nd day we entered through the Zion Gate. When I lived in a divided Jerusalem in 1961, this gate was the closest Jews could get to the Old City. One could ascend to the roof of the Church for a peek before the Jordanian soldier atop the opposite building would threaten with his rifle.

    Our first stop in the Jewish Quarter was a cluster of four rebuilt Sephardic synagogues which were blown up by the Jordanians after the War of Independence in 1948. (They were not destroyed during the battles, but by deliberate explosions set by Jordanian soldiers afterwards.) The most famous is the Hurva. Originally designed by a Viennese architect, it has been beautifully restored after the  plans were found in the office in Vienna.

    From there we saw an exhibit of photos taken on the day the Jewish Quarter surrendered in 1948. (Surviving defenders were taken prisoner and held in  Jordan for 18 months until the signing of the Armistice Agreements in 1949.)  From there we walked to the Western Wall to go through the Western Wall Tunnels … long, and not for the claustrophobic. (These tunnels are not under the Western Wall itself; they are a continuation of the Wall, but underground.) After these hours of walking some took taxis to the hotel. Due to a lack of public seating in this area, some (including us) had to stand around while a few sat in the tiny cafes. Then we walked  along the Southern Wall of the Temple Mount  to hear the history and see the beautiful view of the Mount of  Olives from there. We had signed up to continue on to tour the Israel Museum and eat there, but all but  8 went back to the hotel.  We exited the Old City through the Dung Gate. After a rest Fridel and I decided to take a walk after all, where we saw others from our group refreshed and strolling about. We ate in a neighborhood café and “people watched.”

    On the 3rd day we entered the Old City through the Jaffa Gate to tour the Christian Quarter and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Church is divided, with prayer times and areas allotted to different groups, (Coptic, Ethiopian, Greek Orthodox, Greek Catholic, Roman Catholic, Russian Orthodox, Marronite, etc.) The groups are always quarreling among themselves. Sometimes blows are exchanged, and  the Israel police are called  in to calm things down. In a church!! From there we walked to the Roman Cardo in the Jewish Quarter to meet our bus at the Zion Gate and continue on to Yad Veshem, the Holocaust Memorial Site and Museum. A visit there is always sobering, now more so than ever because of the growth of anti-Semitism in the world and the attempts to de-legitimize Israel. After lunch we drove to Mt. Hertzl for an interactive exhibit on the life of Theodore Hertzl, the Viennese journalist who was the founder of modern Zionism. (Jews had returned, both as individuals and in organized groups, during the entire period since the expulsion by the Romans, but the movement was neither named nor organized internationally.) From there we went to Ammunition Hill, the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Six Days War of 1967. There was also a model of Jerusalem and a lighted explanation of the battle for the city, much like the model we saw at Gettysburg. After a rest at the hotel we had a festive dinner at a restaurant and then headed for the Sound & Light Show at the Citadel, also erroneously known as the Tower of David. This show depicts the history of Jerusalem against the background of the ancient stone of the site. There is no narrative – only music and lights – spectacular and impressive.

    On the last day we were in the “new” city again. We visited Mamilla, a neighborhood rebuilt in the area that was known as “nomansland”, demilitarized between May, 1948 and June, 1967. In 1961 it was all rubble and giant rolls of barbed wire. Then we walked to the Russian Compound, used by the British as a prison for political prisoners, and also saw the beautiful Russian Church. A walk down the Street of the Prophets  and Ethiopia Street brought us near the hotel and the end of the study vacation.



    Inside Hurva Synagogue

    View from top of Hurva

    View from Dormition, other churches, and a mosque

    Street in rebuilt Jewish Quarter

    New fresco showing the Cardo as it was in Roman times

    Place where the 1948 battle of Jerusalem ended and Jewish defenders surrendered.  Note the damaged building with the arches.

    The building today, restored, an elementary school

    Inside the tunnel

    Corner of the southern wall of the Temple Mount

    Cemetery on the Mount of Olives as seen from the southern wall

  • As you long-timers know, we have had an annual family reunion almost every year since the first grandchildren were born.  We’ve missed two years in the last twenty.  Over the past few months, I made an album of pictures of every year’s reunion and had copies made.  Saturday when we had our Christmas with Ken and family, we gave them out – one to each grandchild and couple. 

    They were a big hit with the older grandchildren, and they spent a lot of time looking through the book and laughing.  Sam and I had a ball watching their reactions as they paged through the books and remembered the good times they’ve had together.

    I have some great videos of the young people looking at the albums, but I can’t figure out how to upload them.  It used to be so easy but Xanga has changed things.  Do any of you Xanga people know how to do it?


    Everyone has gone home and we’re back to our too-quiet lifestyle once again. It was another wonderful Thanksgiving with all the family together for three days. The biggest joy for Sam and me is to see how well the cousins, who are within three years of each other, get along and enjoy each other’s company. The laughs were many. There was excellent food, fun parlor games, football (both college and the annual family and friends pick-up touch footgame game), shopping and just general hanging-out-together fun.

    Guys enjoying a Saturday afternoon football fest.

    We have our Christmas with Ken and family at Thanksgiving because we don’t see them at Christmas.

    I don’t know what Richard was saying, but people were hanging on his every word.

    One of Catherine’s college friends came with her for the Thanksgiving break, and we enjoyed meeting her.  She’s from China.  She thought she was just going to watch us open gifts, but we surprised her with some of her own.

    Five of our grandchildren have birthdays around the holidays. David’s is the closest to Thanksgiving (he’ll be 21 next Friday), so he got the cake and the traditional singing of several birthday songs.  And yes, there were other desserts for the rest of us.

    Since we didn’t have a full family reunion this year, we had the annual taking of the family pictures this weekend.  You’ll see the whole family in all its splendor on Christmas Day, but to whet your appetite, here is one of the grandkids with the family patriarch and matriarch.

    TOMORROW:  A surprise gift that was very well received.


    Everywhere David goes, he’s surrounded by girls.

    Sometimes they even fight over him.

    “We’re not hungry or anything, but can you speed it up a little?”

    “That’s better.”

    The Brothers Shull

    See?  Young people can too be useful.  The older four grandchildren took on the job of clean-up without even being asked. Their parents trained them well.  Thanks, guys!  (I’ve always thought Thanksgiving dinner is THE hardest meal to clean up from.  Many’s the time I’ve just wanted to set off a bomb in the kitchen and start over.)

    The bold and the beautiful deciding where to go shopping.  The plan at the time we left the house to come home was for them to go out at midnight.  I don’t know what time they got back, but as of 11 a.m. today they were still asleep.  Oh to be young!

    As usual, Barb did a sensational job of spearheading Thanksgiving dinner.  She makes it look easy, but we women know how much work is involved in getting a holiday dinner together for 16 people.  Everything was delicious.  It was a great family time with lots of laughs and no fistfights broke out. 

  • I’ve always liked Twinkies, although I haven’t eaten many lately, which may be the reason the company went bankrupt.  I read of one person who bought a “lifetime supply” when she heard the sad news.  I know a Twinkie lasts a long time, but a lifetime?  How many preservatives are in those things anyway?

    My all-time favorite boxed evil is Butterscotch Krimpets by Tastykake, a Philadelphia company. I grew up on them, which explains a lot, doesn’t it?  The Philistines here in Michigan don’t seem to carry them, which is what I get for moving to Michigan.

  • It’s great having David and Catherine home from college.  We had dinner at Ruby Tuesdays with the family after church, and then the ladies went to an upscale crafts show at our local Center for the Arts.  Lovely things, but not much that I need or want now that we’re in the era of downsizing.  I do believe a nap is calling my name.  What?  Yes, I hear you.  I’m coming.   ZZZZ.

  • An elderly man was stopped by the police at 2 a.m and was asked where he was going at that time of night.  The man replied, “I’m on my way to a lecture about alcohol abuse and the effects it has on the human body, as well as smoking and staying out late.”

    The officer then asked, “Really? Who’s giving that lecture at this time of night?”

    The man replied, “That would be my wife.”


    I’m a Bible-believing Christian.  This blog was started as a way to communicate what’s going on in our lives for our family and friends, most of whom are also Bible-believing Christians.  Over time others have found the site and visit it regularly, and I’m very happy about that.  Welcome! But please keep in mind the target audience I had in mind from the beginning.  If you read something here that you mildly or even violently disagree with, that’s the risk you take when you come in here and go to the various sites I recommend.  All of them are filtered through my Christian worldview.

    With that in mind, here is a site I STRONGLY urge the target audience to visit.  It’s an 11-minute audio tape by John MacArthur.  Many of you are familiar with him.  It’s the best exposition of the current state of things in America and our future that I’ve come across so far.  Christian family and friends, PLEASE listen to it.  Click on “Launch Player” to start it.

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