Sunday, September 30, 2018

Another day at the Virginia State Fair

We went back to the State Fair on Sunday - there were a few things going on at the Dairy barn, but we headed across the street to see what was going on on the North side of the fairgrounds.
Dwayne and I decided, "Eat more cherries!"
We got to the "Best in Show" tent in time to see a few of the 4-H'ers and their Dog Agility Show.

They did well, but we didn't see any that would make it onto "Amazing Animals"...

A "Silkie" chicken...

And the Poultry Grand Champion!

Niece-by-love Kendra won first with her vegetable assortment basket. There may have been other awards too... that was the only one I noticed.

"It's the GREAT PUMPKIN, Charlie Brown!!!"

Pumpkins and gourds and watermelons, oh my!

Huge pumpkins!

And a new record holder for the giant watermelon at the VA State Fair - 254 pounds!!!

FFA groups had decorated hay bales...

 Then to the creative arts area...
A cow quilt! The quilts were displayed up high which was nice because you could see them, but they weren't very handy for taking pictures...

The optical illusion on the one on the right was neat!

An interesting carved bat and ball...

This is more of a close-up on that optical illusion quilt - taken from underneath where it was hanging.

Beautiful quilts, creative people!

A doggie quilt!

Back at the Dairy barn - I wanted to capture the way that the spots on this red-and-while Holstein were outlined...

One of her spots is a nice heart! As I understand it, when they are clipped down for the show, this shadowing pigmentation in their skin is exposed.
Lots to see, lots of walking - no problem achieving daily step goals at the State Fair!

Saturday, September 29, 2018

State Fair of Virginia Dairy Show

On Saturday, September 29, we headed to the State Fair of Virginia to be able to watch the Dairy Show. Regina, Kendra, Ricky, and friend Ashby were showing their Jersey and Brown Swiss cows in the show.

The camera on my phone was acting oddly and I didn't know it so earlier pictures that I took didn't seem to get stored... but here are some:

We walked through some of the other animal areas - here were some of the goats - they had odd ears that were kind of cropped close to their heads. I am guessing that they were Lamancha goats ( ,

Regina and Ricky won Champion and Reserve Champion in the Jersey show!

Young Joseph was a great help in pulling the cart around, at least when Uncle Dwayne would move his foot so the wheel could roll!
We enjoyed our day at the State Fair of Virginia Dairy Show!

Friday, September 28, 2018

Alexander Jannaeus

On our last day (Wednesday) at the Museum of the Bible, we visited the 3rd floor, where the exhibits are quite a bit different from other floors - more experiential than viewing and reading.
One of the few viewing/reading items showed various rulers over the area of Israel...

... and this one particularly caught my attention.
This story goes back to our first visit to Israel, in 1994. We were on a trip with Discovery Worldwide Ministries and there were two buses of folks from our church, First Baptist Dallas. Many times there would be folks trying to sell us things when we were walking around, and many vendors would try to get onto our bus, but our tour guide would rebuff most of them. One, however, he allowed to come on board... he said that this man had coins that had been dug up around Jerusalem which were from the era of Jesus -- that they were the smallest of the coinage of that day, the coin known as the "widow's mite" from scripture. The coins were in a plastic sandwich bag, and if we wanted one, we were to put $20 into the bag and take out the coin we wanted. By the time the baggie got back to us (we were near the back of the bus) there were several $20 bills in the baggie, but there were still coins left in the baggie too. We decided that it was worth a $20 "investment" - we were in Jerusalem, the coins looked irregular and old, and it would be a good story, whether they were authentic or not. We wrapped the coin in a tissue and stored it away in a jewelry box in my closet.

Fast forward a few years... IBM sent me to London to teach and Dwayne went with me. We arrived from the US early in the morning London time... our hotel room was not ready, but we could leave our bags there for the day. We headed out to go to the British Museum - when I was in middle/high school, my Latin teacher would take a group of students on a trip each summer - one year to Rome, another to Greece, and another to London -- where they saw the treasures that were taken from the Acropolis and other items. All during the school year, we would learn about the things that the students who would go on the trips would be seeing - so they would be ready to appreciate what they would see, and we would be aware also. So... I had wanted to see the British Museum for 15-20 years before I made it to the museum in person! Regardless of the jet-lag that we were dealing with, we enjoyed seeing the museum while we were there...

But! One of the things we saw there was a "coin authentication" center within the British Museum. "I wish I had brought that coin that we got in Jerusalem!" - but we had not...

A few months (or maybe years) later, I got sent to London again - this time we were prepared and brought the coin with us. I didn't have any daytime hours available to be able to go to the British Museum, but Dwayne took it over there and had them examine it. They authenticated it as a coin  minted during the reign of Alexander Jannaeus - who ruled in Jerusalem 103-76BC. Wow!

The story of the "widow's mite" is recorded in Mark 12:41-44, and Luke 21:1-4:
As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” (Luke 21:1-4)
In the King James Version of the Bible, the coins are called "mites".
Since Jannaeus was the last Jewish ruler in Jerusalem prior to the time of Jesus, coinage made during his rule would have been the coinage that would have been expected to be used in the temple offerings (not Roman coinage). Money changers were available in the temple area to change money into acceptable coinage if the giver did not have the appropriate Jewish coinage.

Now, in case you're thinking, "Wow, that must be really valuable!" -- just a few weeks after we returned from the second trip to London, we were shopping at Sam's Club and saw a very similar coin all packaged up in fancy plastic packaging with the coin and the story of the Widow's Mite printed in the packaging -- for sale for $19.95. So, we decided that $20 must be the appropriate current price for Widow's Mites!

After all this, and having the background story, we decided to get it mounted as a piece of jewelry that I could wear --
This was the picture that the appraiser took of the coin in the mounting that Dwayne had made for me -- back in June when I had a number of jewelry pieces appraised.
The appraiser and the folks in the shop were quite impressed with the story behind this coin, but the story that I think is even more important is within the Biblical account, read it again:
As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” (Luke 21:1-4)
Note that she put in *two* very small copper coins, and that Jesus said "she ... put in all she had to live on." If you had only a dime, then maybe you would put that dime into the offering plate, but if you only had two nickels, would you have the faith, if God called you to do so, to put both of them into the offering plate? I pray that I might have that kind of faith!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

When we went in to DC on Wednesday, we decided to get off the Metro a couple of stops earlier than the one that was closest to the Museum of the Bible and walk over to visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Many years ago, we had visited Yad Vashem when we were in Jerusalem. We knew that it would be a heart rending visit, but also that we wanted to see it.

When we entered the museum, we were directed to an elevator lobby where we each collected an identification card booklet. These gave us an identity of a person impacted by the Holocaust to carry with us and think about as we journeyed through history. The elevator took us to the 4th floor and started our journey through the history - starting with The Nazi Assault, 1933-1939, on the 4th floor, continuing with The Final Solution, 1940-1945, on the 3rd floor, and ending with The Last Chapter, on the 2nd floor. In our identification card booklets, we could read a paragraph about what our person dealt with in each of those times. It happened that each of our people survived the war and eventually emigrated to the US (my lady was from Germany and lost her mother and sister in labor camps, and Dwayne's man was from Ukraine, fought as part of the Red Army but was captured and held in Auschwitz, eventually liberated and returned to Odessa after being questioned by the Soviets to determine if he were a traitor).

I don't think that pictures from this museum would give you a sense of the place. For me, the biggest impact was the overwhelming responsibility that each of us holds to ensure that this never happens again. I was praying that God would open my eyes to where these types of things are happening today. In the 1930s and 1940s, many did see what was happening and did resist, either openly or covertly, and many of them paid with their lives as well.

This quote which was presented near the end of the permanent exhibition was the only picture I took at the museum... it is a well known quote, I think, but is a reminder to me that I need to be ready and willing to speak out.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Museum of the Bible

One of the major reasons that we wanted to come to the Washington, DC area was so we could see the Museum of the Bible (MotB). We had first heard of it when we visited the Ark Encounter last summer, and then we've known other friends who have visited the MotB in the past year. It opened in November, 2017. When I was looking for a campground near DC, I found a county park near Reston, VA, checked to see if they could accommodate big rigs (they could) and made reservations.
A change since I lived in Northern Virginia, the Metro has expanded so now there is a "Silver Line" that goes out to Reston. Just a couple of miles to drive from the campground, park in a parking garage, and then head for the Metro train. The one that we caught to take us in to the city on Monday morning was a newer train that showed us exactly what the next stops would be and how far away our stop (Fed Center SW) was (18th stop at the point when I took the picture). We found that all of the trains did not have this functionality, but it was nice that the first one that we used did as it helped our trip.
We happened to get to the parking garage at about 10am, which was fortuitous, as there are a number of parking places that are marked as "Reserved Parking from 2am to 10am". They were places right near the elevators on level G4. I had checked beforehand, and determined that the parking fee was $4.95/day, and the fare to the stop we needed in DC was $6 peak fare (5-9:30am, 3-7pm) and $3.85 off peak. We could have gotten a Senior card for Dwayne, but we had to go to a specific Metro stop in DC to get that and it seemed more trouble than it was worth to do that (I think Senior might get him off-peak fares all the time). We also had to pay $2 per card for the SmarTrip cards that we put value on for our journey. These can be re-used over and over... unfortunately, not very useful for folks who will only be here infrequently. It was pouring rain when we went in on Monday, and for much of the trip we could see the heavy traffic on the roadways as we zipped along on the train, so we were VERY glad not to have to drive into the city!

We got to the Metro stop in DC, came up to the surface, got our bearings before we left the protection of the overhang (from the rain), and just had a short block to walk from the Metro station to the entrance of the Museum of the Bible. We got into the museum and purchased a membership for a year, planning to come back at least a couple of times during the week.

The Museum of the Bible has 7 floors of information about the Bible.

We started on the 2nd floor, "Impact of the Bible." The first area was "Bible in America" and...

... included this quote from the Mayflower Compact.
There was SO much to see and do... I have just picked out a few items that particularly impressed me...
Have you thought about how often the Bible is quoted in advertising, news, everyday conversations?
I thought this was an interesting take off on cell phone advertising done by the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn!

Do you think that folks who use these phrases know that they are quoting from the Bible?

Do these universities remember their beginnings?

One of the new exhibits is on Billy Graham... a few pictures from it:
I love the part that they highlighted, "Graham simply assumed the Bible's authority and, as a preacher, focused on its real-life application."

I thought it was also interesting that he used different Bible translations... more on this later...

My brother mentioned to me a few months ago (I think at the time that Billy Graham died, and they were showing some clips of his past crusades) that he didn't vary his message - he just wanted to bring people into relationship with Jesus.

This reminded me of our participation in the crusade that he held in Texas Stadium - with our friends Bud and Celesta. What precious memories!

We went for lunch at the Manna Restaurant on the top floor. It felt good to sit down and relax for a few minutes! And the food was good too!

Then we headed to the 4th floor and "History of the Bible"...

I thought this fragment was interesting due to the description associated with it (see below) - that they could tell that it was written by two different scribes because the second scribe's handwriting is slightly larger than that of the first!

Can you see the difference in text size? also, the way that they made the "E" (epsilon) is different, with the top scribe having a more squared off letter and the bottom one more circular.

Why did I find that interesting? I don't know... but I did!!!

Finally, the part of the museum where I found a call to action... it was called "Illuminations" (actually, "illumiNations") - I thought it was going to be Illuminated Manuscripts, but instead I found....

...lots of books with covers that said "Not Yet Started" and a language name...

... shelves and shelves of books...

...with this explanation...

There were 4 racks + one additional shelf of Bibles in languages that have the whole Bible available in their language - this includes English that has not only the whole Bible in English, but many many translations (as was noted in the exhibit on Billy Graham's use of different translations).

Serbian also has the full Bible in their language.
But over half the room were yellow - "Not Started Yet" or darker yellow - "In Progress" (but not indicating at least 25 chapters completed yet).

For more information, go to

Here's one I know something about - Russian Sign Language - I have friends who have worked on that - it is showing "In Progress".

There were some that have the New Testament in their language.

New Testaments

Some others have at least 25 "chapters" in their language.

It just reminded me again how richly blessed we are, and how God blesses us in order to be a blessing!
The museum had a digital guide that we could use for free. I thought it would provide an audio tour that would take us through the museum, and it kind of did that, but it seemed to provide information beyond what was provided in the museum displays... so, for me, became a bit of an information overload. The best part about it though, was, since our two units were programmed together, I could find out where Dwayne was when we got separated - which proved very helpful a couple of times! Yes, we have cell phones, but my phone's battery doesn't last very long, so I was trying to use other devices when I could!

Note: the Reston station is the last one on the Silver Line, which was a good thing since we were tired on our trip out... and everyone had to get off at our stop, so we didn't miss it!

We were at the museum for about 5 hours on Monday, and returned for a few more hours on Wednesday. We might have done more time there but... I'm fighting off a cold and trying to get better before seeing family later this week!