Sunday, January 10, 2016

It is 47 degrees outside and all the snow has melted.  Crazy!  It is supposed to get cold next week.  I can’t believe that the weather has been this nice this long. 

This guy made a neat skating rink out of closet doors he collected from people throwing them away at the curb.  He would stop and pick them up and ended up with enough to make this pond.  They haven't been able to use it yet this year.

This skating rink is a little more professional.  They have leveled the dirt underneath and made the rink with pond liner.  We are wondering is the nets on the end are for playing hockey.

January 9 and there is a tractor in the field--(not sure why) It is a little muddy yet though.

We are happy and healthy.  We had a great week and are enjoying a few minutes at home on Sunday afternoon.  We had our weekly meeting on Monday and it was great!  Things at the office have slowed up a little without the packages arriving for Christmas. 
We went to Batavia after work on Wednesday night to a Book of Mormon class given by Brother Brockenshire.  (he is the one that has written the books regarding the ancient Nephite civilization being here in New York, Ohio, etc.)  It was interesting.  He told us about a young missionary trying to preach about the Book of Mormon to an older Jewish man and how the man told him it couldn’t be true because it didn’t have chiasm’s in it.
Definition of Chiasm:
A chiasm (or chiasmus if you rather) is a writing style that uses a unique repetition pattern for clarification and/or emphasis. Chiasm is pronounced ky′-az-um. Often called the chiastic (ky′-az-tic) approach or the chiastic structure, this repetition form appears throughout the Bible yet it is not well known. The way you approach the Scriptures should be dramatically enhanced as you learn what a chiasm is, how to recognize chiasms, and how to glean a fresh application from these New or Old Testament passages.
Simply put, a chiasm is a repetition of similar ideas in the reverse sequence. The importance of the chiastic structure is found in its hidden emphasis. And it is not insignificant – I suspect there are more than two thousand examples in the Bible!
A chiasm organizes themes much like a sandwich: A) a piece of bread on top, B) mustard, C) a delightful piece of meat, C′) another savory piece of meat, B′) more mustard, and finally A′) another piece of bread on the bottom. Chiasms generally focus on the flavorful meat, but the bread and mustard are necessary for a complete sandwich. Some chiasms do not have a mustard layer, other chiasms have lettuce on both sides of the meat, and some have just one piece of delicious meat.
When God inspired the Hebrew and Greek writers to inscribe their portions of the Scriptures, the chiastic structure was often used to add emphasis. He could not use techniques such as bold, italics, underline, indentation, bullets, or 
font size to help the reader understand what is important because these were not part of the ancient languages at the time. Instead He often used the structural arrangement of repeated thoughts or phrases to accomplish this emphasis.

I thought that was very interesting!  However, the young missionary went home discouraged and began studying the Book of Mormon and found many examples of chiasmic writing in it also.  While we were reading we found several.  It reminds me of how we are taught to teach a lesson with an overview at the end of the lesson to secure retention of the message.
We have been reading the New Testament lately and have really enjoyed it this time.  The scriptures are to help us build our relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  They helps us to know where we need to improve so we can become more righteous. 
Sister Spencer told us more about her dad.  She said that he was nuts about visiting cemeteries and taking pictures and notes.  He felt pushed to go everywhere he could and do this.  He wasn’t a member of the church at the time.  One day he came to her house and begged her to start doing genealogy/temple work for their ancestors.  She thought that was odd as he wasn’t a member of the church.  She asked him why he would want that and he said, “so I can get some sleep, these people won’t leave me alone.” (I guess the other side isn’t that far away, right?)
We went to Henrietta yesterday with the Spencer’s and went to a restaurant supply.  She found a few things that she wanted and I tried to find a scraper like Chris uses.  I had brought one with me, but lost it at the Christmas party.  I don’t know what happened to it.  We got the ingredients at Sam's Club to make 3 lasagnas; one for us and 1 for each set of missionaries in Batavia.  They had looked at the sign up list for meals for them and there were about 3 for the entire month.  They slyly mentioned—“I don’t see your name here on the list Sister Merrill.”  I told them I would bring them some the next Sunday. (today)  They were pretty tickled.  I made ‘the’ chocolate cake on a sheet pan and gave them shares of it.  I think they should like that.
We are excited to see the Aldrich’s here next Friday.  They are on their way now and are going to take some time visiting with some family members across the United States.  I think that they will be a great addition to the missionary effort here in New York.
We officially passed our 1 year mark this week!  Jan. 5---we went to Tom Wahl's and had a burger! Yahoo!  I guess we should have burned a tie or something, but we like them all.  We shall see when another 6 months have gone by.


  1. One year has gone by so fast... kinda.... It has been nice to have been able to see you a few times so it doesn't feel like you have been away so long. It has been such a great year and I can't wait to see what the next one brings. Love you both so much.

  2. The Year sure flew by so fast didn't it? It's funny those starving missionaries all probably secretly wish they could just bunk upstairs at your house so they could eat there every day, you are such a good cook, and a warm, loving mother. We went and visited at Grandma Mueller's tonight and grandma is the same way, her roast and potatoes and her you.