Saturday, October 26, 2013

Beautiful Backroads

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It's autumn again, and the colors are absolutely beautiful!  Here in Kansas, at least in the little rural area we live in, this means even the yard itself is turning different shades.  Yes, some parts of our yard are turning shades of light reds and yellow, similar to the trees!

Here in South East Kansas, the sugar maples are blazing in crimson, orange, fiery yellows, and still hints of greens.  Smaller bushes are deep in reds, and leaves are starting to fill the yards.

Lately I've been travelling from the SE part of Kansas to Topeka to handle home visits with my son while he is at a psychiatric residential treatment facility (PRTF) for a short while.  We're talking approximately 180 miles one way, through the flat prairies and the edges of the Flint Hills.  This drive has been beautiful as the seasons change and colors turn from greens to a whole variety.

The photo above, from, shows a typical scene I see on the drive north on Hwy 75 between Yates Center and Topeka.  The land is still covered in fescue and other grasses, some baled for hay, some left standing, and lots of rolling hills.  This is what I imagine when I read the Little House books, where Laura describes her time in Kansas.  We live not too far from the area the Ingalls family travelled through and lived back in the late 1860's or early 1870's, so it is fun to imagine what it looked like back then.  There are many old Victorian houses and towns built along the trails from the early days of the territory and then state, and honestly some of the scenery and buildings I see along the more rural route to Topeka looks as though it hadn't moved along with time.  Old barns and sheds, outhouses, big beautiful unpainted Victorians, old smaller farm houses stand lonely and open in the fields along the way.

Bourbon County, KS (my own picture)

Log cabin in Lyndon, KS  city park on Hwy 75, courtesy of Capitol Journal of Topeka

Piqua, KS, St. Michael's Catholic Church (my own pictures)

What impresses me the most are the old buildings still in use.  One town I drive through a lot lately, named Iola, has kept their old buildings in working order, some as museums, some as commercial businesses, and many beautiful homes standing proud along the main streets of town.

Iola, KS, my own picture

Iola, KS, my own picture

  Another little town, Ottawa, has a gorgeous train depot museum complete with "incoming" train that never moves, as well as stunning old Victorians.

Old Burlington Flour Mill, Burlington KS

When you get a chance, take the rural route to your destination!  While these pictures were linked to sites, these are what I see driving each time I travel to Topeka.  I didn't have shoulder room on the highway to safely pull over and get pictures of everything I'd love to share.  There's so much beauty in the rural areas, little things you miss taking the interstates.  God created a lot of beauty, in the changing trees, in the fields of fescue and beans and other grains, the rolling hills, flat plains, and it's a shame to miss what He has created!

While it takes a little longer travelling the back ways, you'd be glad you did!

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What Is Craftsy? Your Questions Answered!

What is Craftsy?
Craftsy is a worldwide craft community offering online classes. It also has a patterns marketplace where independent designers can sell their patterns; a supplies shop with great deals on yarn, fabric, and class kits; and a projects section where members share pictures of their latest craft successes. With over two million members and counting, Craftsy has something for just about everyone, in categories ranging from quilting, sewing, knitting, painting, photography, cooking, and more. 

Why should I take a class online?
Online education isn’t just for schools and universities anymore. Craftsy courses provide you the convenience of a world-class instructor in your home, whenever you want to learn. Online education, no matter what subject, is a great alternative to in-person classes for a number of reasons. 

With many online learning opportunities being on-demand, you are able to learn at your own pace, anytime. Online learning is a fantastic alternative to in-store craft classes for people with busy schedules or who have difficulty leaving the house. It also allows you to watch a troubling section over-and-over again, so you can see exactly how a technique is carried out, or refer back to your class for relevant concepts before beginning any new projects.

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Learning to Quilt--Hand Stitched Quilt Top

I finally did it.  I began working on a quilt.

This is something I've been wanting to do for years, using fabrics that I've held on to for a good 10 years.  I wanted to make something to hand down to the kids, but never thought I could do it.

Then I stumbled on to this little beauty--English Paper Piecing.

I really don't like using rotary cutters, and I have not learned how to make exact seams, even though I can make dresses, skirts, pants, you name it, with ease.  The exactness of quilting befuddled me.

With paper piecing, it is much different.  There's no machine.  No rotary cutter.  Just a hand needle, thread, scissors, and pieces of paper cut to the template you choose.

And fabric.  Lots and lots of fabric.

I dug around out in the shed and found the stash of clothes I'd saved from mom's possessions.  She had left behind clothing still with tags, and some that had cigarette burns and such (yes, she was a smoker).  She had an array of prints that reflected a 1930's to 1950's era, and although these were reproductions, they worked.  So, I added these to the stash to make a quilt to hand down.

I found a site that talked about Grandma's Flower Garden, and how it worked to make it, and the site had many links to other areas that discussed this as well.  So I made a hexagon template and went to work making the little pieces that go into this "block".

Actually, I cheated and traced this pattern to cover a sheet of regular paper, and copied the page multiple times onto card stock and basic paper, to get a few hundred of these babies.  It sure beats tracing it over and over and over and over and over and over again.  If you *do* want to trace over and over and over again, you can use up note cards, scrap paper, etc.

Basically you take this template, pin it to a piece of fabric slightly larger than it is, fold the fabric over the template, and baste the fabric to the paper.  All the instructions I've seen have the seam allowance at 1/4 inches, but as I mentioned before, I can't do exact seam allowances...not even in the ball park on this one...but the extra folds over just as nicely and leaves plenty of room for the stitching to come.

When you get some of these together, put them right sides together (pretty fabric sides together), and whip stitch them at the edges, catching fabric and preferably not the paper/cardstock.  If the sides don't match up perfectly, you can ease the longer side to the shorter side using the hand stitching, making the pieces work.  Isn't that a great thing of working by hand--you can fix errors with little to no effort beyond what you're already doing!

When you have your pieces stitched together, remove the papers from the "block".  Remove the tacking stitches that you put in the papers to hold the fabric in place before you pieced them together, and then slip the papers out.  Then, you can reuse these papers for more piecing.

Folks in the older days used papers from letters and such to make these, and sometimes left the papers in for extra insulation.  If you want to do this, by all means go for it.  I will pass this time around.

I have yet to go around mine in a solid color, like white or beige, to create the "walking path" that goes around the colored "garden" blocks.  i haven't decided which color I'd like to do for that at this point.

My plan for this quilt is to put the solid color "walking path" around the blocks, then put them together.  For the edges, rather than leave them as hexagons, I plan to make more of the templates, and cut them in half, so that when they are put in place on the edges, it creates a solid line, which will make it simpler to quilt layers of the top/batting/back and then bind it.  I'd like to make matching shams to go with this as well, using up pieces from loved ones, scraps from my scrap bag, well loved and worn clothing, reusing what is here already.  I'd like to make one for each child and pass them down through them to their kids.

So, if you like to work by hand on crafts, this is a good one to try!

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Axiom At Home: Mint Extract

Mint has taken over my little herb garden, and I've been seeking ways to use it besides the traditional tea.  I stumbled across this today, and thought I'd share!

Axiom At Home: Mint Extract:

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Fresh Baked Apple Cider Sourdough Bread

It is that time of the year, fresh apples, apple cider mills running full steam, pumpkin patches, pretty fall leaves, and fresh hearty breads baking.  (insert Tim "the Toolman" Taylor grunts here)

Hubby brought home a gallon of cider from the Louisburg Cider Mill, which is around 60 or so miles away but sells their cider here at a locally owned grocery store.  It's wonderful!  He requested some hearty bread made with this cider, and so I obliged.

Now, this is a recipe I threw together on the fly.  I have no real recipe or name for this.  But, if you're used to a "pinch" of this and a "bit" of that, you'll do just fine.

This recipe calls for sourdough.  Why?  I have half of a stock pot brewing in the fridge that needs used, so I threw some in.  It's a rye/white brew I started a year and a half ago, froze gallons of it, made hundreds of biscuits, breads, cakes, cookies, you name it out of it.  I poured in 1 full cup of the sourdough brew in a big mixing bowl attached to the Sunbeam Mix Master.

I let that warm up, as it's been refrigamarated for a long while and had a cold.  While it was warming up I added in 3 tablespoons of bulk yeast, 1/4 cup honey, and a cup of warm water.  It made the sourdough burp and pass gass, and the bulk yeast was pretty happy too.  I used the dough hooks to kinda mix it up a little and spread things around, and let it set a few minutes so it can burp and fart proudly in the bowl.

Then add in 3 cups of flour.  I put in some whole wheat first, and then worked that in to the liquid.  From there I put in a cup and a half of apple cider, and worked that in with the hooks.  Let me tell you, the yeast in the sourdough and the bulk yeast love apple cider and all that sweetness as much as it does honey.  I drizzled in some olive oil for grins, just a smidge, and then put in 2 to 3 cups of white flour.  Basically use as much as you need so that when it is all mixed it will make a ball on the hooks.  You'll have to use your judgement on that one.  I put in flour in 1/2 cup intervals just to test and make sure, and usually end up around a total of 5 to 6 cups of all flour combined.

Once your hooks have mixed this up and made a nice ball of dough, put the dough in a bowl that is well oiled.  Again, I used olive oil--it's a staple in our house, but use whatever you want.  I'm not picky, if we don't have olive on hand, I'll use vegetable, no biggie.  Cover with a towel, plastic, whatever, and let this baby rise til at least double.  Depending on the heat/humidity in your house, could be a half hour, an hour, somewhere in between, who knows.

When it grows to at least double, punch it down and pop it into a greased pan or two.  I like the long French bread pan hubby gave me for my birthday, and one batch makes one long loaf.  It will also make 2 regular sized ones nicely.  Or a dozen or two rolls.

Let this rise again, and then put into a preheated 350 degree oven.

Tip:  put some water, like maybe 1/4 cup or less, over the top of your loaf/loaves.  It will make a crispy crust as it bakes.  Or, put in a pan of water in the oven alongside the pans of bread.  Bake for 20 or 30 minutes or until it's golden brown on top.  YUM!

This makes a loaf perfect for slicing!  I was able to make slices the same size or slightly thinner than store bought bread, and make toasted sandwiches for supper with plenty left over.


Shared with:  Jam Hands, Make Ahead Meals For Moms, Keeping It Simple Crafts, Skip to My Lou, Flour Me With Love, The Better Mom, The Modest Mom, Creating My Way to Success, Say Not Sweet Anne, Growing Home, Time Warp Wife, Sugar Bee, Lady Bug Blessings, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Deep Roots At Home, Raising Homemakers, Walking Redeemed, Buns in My Oven, Someday Crafts, Ducks'n a Row

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Friday, October 18, 2013

Does the Bible Condone Polygamy--Part 4: New Testament Marriage

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In the previous portions of this series, we've examined various marriages in the Old Testament and how God dealt with them.

Today we take a look at what God says about marriage in the New Testament.

Husbands and wives are a large topic in the New Testament.  Both have their own commandments, and are a topic in multiple books within the New Testament.

First we look at Matthew 19:4-6

(4) And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read , that he which made them at the beginning
made them male and female,
(5 )And said , For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
(6)  Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together , let not man put asunder .

Our leadership within the church has some pretty strict guidelines for marriage.  You'll see that there is no sign of more than one spouse in these verses that give requirements.....  

This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.14 These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
Our pastors and deacons are held to a high standard, in marriage, home life, public life.  They are husbands to one wife, not many wives.  We are also called to be ministers of the gospel, each individually under the leadership of a pastor in a local church, it is our job to go out and get the gospel out to as many as we can...are we not to hold to a high standard as those who are put in leadership over us?  Why would God give such a standard to those He chooses to preach His Word in the church, but not expect those of us in the pew to do the same?  That would be hypocritical of our Lord, and that isn't in His nature.  

The New Testament shows where our marriages are one man and one woman.  It's spelled out directly in I Timothy.  Titus, I Corinthians, and other books give husbands and wives commands on how to treat one another, how to work with one another, but never is there mention of how to treat multiple wives.  

What are your thoughts as we pause here at I Timothy?  Do you believe the Bible condones polygamy?

Day 4:  Old Testament Examples
Day 3:  The First Polygamous Marriage
Day 2:  The First Marriage
Day 1:  Introduction

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Homemaking on the Homestead: Frugal Grocery Budget Tips

Need ideas on how to make a grocery budget stretch?  Stop by Homemaking on the Homestead for a frugal grocery budget tip list!!  You won't be sorry!  These are great ideas, and we do many of them already--they are very effective in making budgets stretch.

Homemaking on the Homestead: Frugal Grocery Budget Tips:     How do you save money on the grocery budget and still eat as healthy as possible, especially in this day of rising grocery costs...

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Does the Bible Condone Polygamy--Part 3: Examples of Polygamous Marriages and Their Outcomes

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We've looked at the first God made marriage and the first man made marriage so far.  In this portion, we will look at the marriages with multiple wives, and see what God has to say about them.

The Answers in Genesis website shares a wonderful bit about polygamy in the Scriptures:

Consider the consequences revealed in Scripture in each of the following cases: Abraham—led to bitterness between Sarah and her maid, Hagar, and the eventual dismissal of Hagar and Ishmael; Jacob—led to Rachel’s jealousy of Leah and to Joseph being betrayed and sold by his half-brothers; David—led to the rape of one of his daughters (Tamar) by one of his sons (Tamar’s half-brother Amnon) and Amnon’s subsequent murder by Tamar’s brother Absalom; Solomon—his many wives “turned away his heart” from the Lord and to the worship of false gods (1 Kings 11:1–8). Just because the Bible records polygamous relationships does not mean that God approves of such things.

The only direct command against polygamy is given to the kings that were to rule Israel, as they are told not to “multiply wives” to themselves (Deuteronomy 17:17). It is also interesting to note that polygamous relationships seem to be regulated in the commands Moses gave to the nation of Israel. Leviticus 18:18 instructs that a man should not marry sisters, and Deuteronomy 21:15 talks of assigning an heir to a man with two wives. Many commentators suggest that the passages do not endorse polygamy but rather prohibit it. Deuteronomy 21:15 may also be translated as “has had two wives” in succession rather than at the same time. The sisters in Leviticus 18:18 are understood by some to be any Israelite women. Regardless of the interpretation of these passages, the taking of multiple wives is not in accord with God’s design from the beginning.

Were any of these men condemned for taking on multiple wives??  They sure weren't blessed by it!!

God never condoned polygamy.  He allowed it, like He allowed divorces, and people didn't get an immediate consequence.  But as with divorce, there *are* consequences to living outside God's will, whether it be by divorcing, having more than one spouse, have a same gender "spouse", or living together without marriage...there *are* consequences for sin!

Deut. 17:14-17: “I will set a king over me like all the nations that are around me,' “you shall surely set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses; one from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not set a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the LORD has said to you, 'You shall not return that way again.' “Neither shall he multiply wives for himselflest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself.” This is the command of God, and he has never changed it.  (from Let Us Reason's ministry site)

1 Kings 11:3 says Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines violating the principle of monogamy that he was given through the law of Moses. Consider that Solomon at one time was the wisest man in the world. In I Kings 11:4: “For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.” Notice Solomon became a polytheist because he was influenced in polygamy. In his case many wives, became many gods. Scripture has always commanded monogamy (Ps.128:3; Prov. 5:18; 18:22; 19:14; 31:10-29; Eccl. 9:9).
Does this sound like something God wanted--for the king that He put on the throne to turn away from Him and worship pagan gods?  Would Solomon have paganism in his life if he'd not had all those wives and concubines?

We have seen a brief look at some polygamous marriages in the Old Testament.  You are welcome to look them up and read the full Scripture about them.  You'll find that none of them were happy and joyous, blessed by the Lord, and condoned.  Instead, you'll see misery, pain, heartache, sorrow--the opposite of what God has in store for marriage!

In the next installment we look at the New Testament and what Paul says about marriage and expectations!

View Part 2:  The First Polygamous Marriage
View Part 1:  The First Marriage
View Introduction:  Does The Bible Condone Polygamous Marriage?

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Does the Bible Condone Polygamy: Part 2--The First Polygamous "Marriage"

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In yesterday's installment of this series, we examined Genesis 2 and found the first marriage.  It was created by God Himself, between one man and one woman.

Today, we look at the first marriage containing multiple wives to one husband.  We will find this in Genesis 4.

16 And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.
17 And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.
18 And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech.
19 And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.

Notice how verse 16 starts:  Cain went out from the presence of the Lord.  He turned his back on God.  He wanted nothing to do with God.  He wanted to do things his own way, rather than the way God intended.  He was his own man, he was going to rule his own world and didn't want God involved.  He did what was right in his own eyes.  Cain built his own city and named it after his son, and the generations declined from there.

Look at the 5th generation from Cain, at Lamech.  Lamech took 2 wives, Adah and Zillah.

We are looking at 5 generations away from God, where Cain left and led his descendants to a life away from God's presence.  What happens when we are not in the presence of God?

We decline.  We degenerate.  We become immoral, debased, sinful.

Now, we've established that the "law of first mention" takes the spot where an idea if first brought up in Scripture and uses that context throughout the entire Scripture.  If something is positive at first mention, it's the same all the way through, if something's negative, it is that way all the way through (ok, I'm simplifying this idea, if you'd like to learn more, see yesterday's post).

This is the first mention of multiple wives in Scripture.

It is not in a positive light.

Rather, this is in a man 5 generations away from God, in a lineage who'd forsook God, and went to do his own thing.  Lamech's kids were the first musicians, metal workers, and so on.  They were the most self sufficient folks out in the world, they had entertainment, contractors, builders, farmers, you name it.  They had no need for God, nor His design.  They are what we would think of as the "world", away from God the Creator, who chooses not to follow what He has designed, but rather seek to do on their own by their own methods.

Lamech did what was right in his own eyes, and took 2 wives.

That was not what God designed just a few chapters back in Genesis 2.

As we keep reading about Lamech, we see that he wasn't exactly the most upright man himself.  Besides marrying more than one woman, he also killed another person.  Reminiscent of his grandpa (with a few greats) Cain, isn't it?

Lamech simply kept in with the family who'd delineated from God, doing more debased things each generation.

So, now we've seen both the first marriage created by God, and the first polygamous marriage created by man.

Next, we'll move on to what the bible shows about the polygamous marriages in the Old Testament.  Stay tuned!

Sources:  Bible Gateway,

View Part 1 "The First Marriage"

Introduction to the Polygamy series

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Does the Bible Condone Polygamy: Part 1--The First Marriage

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In our first look into the idea of polygamy and the Bible, we get to look at the first marriage.  This is THE best marriage ever, even with it's issues, because God Himself created it back in the Garden of Eden.  How cool is that?

Now, those of us who are "non-scholars", may not be overly familiar with the thought of the "law of first mention".  Basically this idea is that where ever an idea is mentioned first in the Bible, that thought carries the same meaning throughout the Scripture.  Basically like in Deuteronomy, where murder is a sin there, it is the same throughout the rest of the Bible.  If an idea is in a positive light in its first mention, it is in the same light all the way through, if it is in a negative light at first mention, it is negative all the way through.  Make sense?  By the way, more information on the "law of first mention" can be found here.

Now, keep that thought in mind as we look at the first marriage.  This can be found in Genesis 2: 18-25.

18 And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
19 And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
22 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

You will notice in this passage that God didn't create 2 women, 3 women, or even 4 women to help Adam.  Instead, He created 1, and made her from a part of him, and were to be one flesh.  This is the first mention of marriage in the Scriptures, and it was created by God Himself.  Had God wanted Adam to have more than one helper, one wife, He most certainly could have provided Adam with one.  But--He didn't.  It was not His plan.

Now, we know what happened with Adam and Eve, how they sinned and were made to leave the garden.  Even so, no where is there mention of another wife for Adam after they sinned and left Eden, no mention of children from another wife besides Eve.  Why?  Because there was no second or third or fourth wife.

Throughout Genesis 3, we see mention of God speaking to Adam or attending to Adam and his wife...not wives.

The first mention of multiple wives comes a little later on in Genesis, but it is not with the first marriage.  We can go through Genesis, including after Cain slew Abel, and we see no mention of another wife for Adam, but we do see where Eve bore more children after Abel's death.  By the time we get to Genesis 5:5, where Adam passes at 930 years old, there is never mention of multiple wives, just multiple generations after Adam and Eve.

Thus, we see the first marriage, one man and one woman.

Just the way God created it!

Sources:  Bible Gateway, Answers in Genesis

If you missed it, the Introduction to this series is:  Does the Bible Condone Polygamy?

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