Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Fascinating Family Discovery

In sorting old family pictures, my parents discovered a previously unknown relationship between two items that Seth inherited from Grandma and Grandpa.

This axe head....

...belonged to this man, our great-great-great-great-grandfather.

His name was Rasmus Brogaard and he used the axe to build his first house in America.  Also he was a gold miner in the 1849 California gold rush.

We found the axe head at Grandma and Grandpa's house, but we had no idea where it came from.  It was painted a gaudy gold.  Seth took a liking to it and we brought it home for him.  He also received the framed picture (which is not a photograph, but likely an ambrotype or daguerreotype).  Then last week we found a photo of the axe and the picture together with a note on the back explaining it.  So, that gold axe that we thought was just a hunk of junk has actually been in the family for six generations!

Seth boiled it in soapy water and scrubbed it with a wire brush to get the paint off.

It's incredibly heavy!  Can you imagine swinging it all day chopping down trees?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

June Newsletter

From Laura, 15 … For a while my piano teacher, Anna, was “warning” me that there wasn’t much more she could teach me.  I did wish to go farther, though.  We finally decided to start lessons with a new teacher from our church several weeks ago.  He is probably the best pianist we know.  I hope to take my ability to the level of a professional wedding pianist, and he has more than enough expertise to bring me to that.  I am excited to see where this will lead me!

From Becca, 17 … These are some interesting things that I did in April and May:  On our campout I took the opportunity to try to find some stars that I had been reading about in a star book we got.  A few days later some of us woke up in the middle of the night to watch the lunar eclipse.  I had my wisdom teeth taken out and I looked like there were balloons in my mouth.  I ate lots of smoothies (vegetable banana mish-mash).  Anna, Laura, and I got to go to a free performance of the Houston Symphony and eat gelato with the principal trombonist.  But the best thing that happened this spring was when our little niece was born.  I had fun helping them out and being one of the nannies while Katie was recovering.

From Seth, 21 … A couple weeks ago my bus was going through downtown, and an older gentleman boarded.  Because the bus was getting full, he walked toward the rear and sat in the aisle seat next to me.  I thought he looked familiar, so I asked him, "Do you sing Sacred Harp?"  He said he did (I had seen him at the annual Sacred Harp singings in the Heights), so we spent the bus trip talking about singing, hymns, and music.  He even sang me a song a friend of his wrote.  The most interesting part to me was when he said he had trouble singing some of those more modern songs.  At first, I thought he would say the tempo or syncopation were hard to follow, but then he gave the example of the song, "I Will Glory in my Redeemer," and said, with mist in his eyes, that some of the lyrics were so profound and convicting--"Mine was the sin that drove the bitter nails / And hung him on that judgment tree"--that they could hardly be sung.

From Anna, 24 … I recently received my first jury summons.  I was not selected, but I did get put on a panel of 65 for voir dire.  The trial was a murder case with an automatic life sentence if the defendant was found guilty, so there was a strong sense of weightiness throughout the process.  The moment that surprised me the most was when the defense attorney asked if any of us had lost a close friend or family member to murder and six or seven people raised their hands.  I would not have expected ten percent of a randomly selected pool of people to have had a murder in their immediate circle.

I had mixed feelings about not being chosen.  It would have been inconvenient to serve, but after hearing about the case, I was curious about what sort of evidence would be presented and what the verdict would be.  It was certainly interesting to get a glimpse into what a court case actually looks like.  I know I don’t think much about the juries when I hear about trials, so I’m glad for the reminder of the ordinary people who play such an important part in our justice system.

From John, Megan, James, and Ezra … (by Megan) John has finished the large kitchen remodel that he was working on during the last time the newsletter went out.  It turned out great and the customer is very happy with the product!  People continue to contact him for work and want him to do their projects.  The hardest thing to keep up with is quotes, but having hired help is a blessing so that, when needed, John can work on quotes or other pressing office-related things while Paul (John's helper) is working on the current project.

James is very busy and is constantly learning.  He is doing very well with his colors (red, green, yellow, blue, white, brown, pink), and is especially good at knowing the number two!  It really is the only number he counts: "two, two, two!" for “one, two, three” :-).  We are working on the rest of the numbers. 

Ezra is now 6 1/2 months old and is MOBILE!!  He pulls himself across the floor in the form of a modified combat crawl.  He is getting fast and really good at it!  John says he looks like a seal, the way his body moves!

I stay on my toes with the housework and with two mobile boys.  It is crazy-busy and hard, but sanctifying, which is a good thing!  My deepest desire is to be more like Christ.

One thing we were able to get done on our house lately is removing the fireplace!  John just recently got the drywall hung and taped where the fireplace used to be.

From Ray, Katie, Peter, Samuel,  Andrew, and Grace … (by Katie) Grace is here!  We are praising the Lord for her safe arrival.  She weighed 8 lb. 14 oz.  We are all thrilled to have her out where we can see her and hold her.  She’s a very calm, peaceful baby so far, and plump and cuddly.  The boys are all excited to have her, and eager to talk to her, hold her, give her kisses, and bring her blanket to her.  We do have to watch carefully to make sure their exuberant affection doesn’t hurt her!  I was very thankful to have my family’s abundant help for the first week, which allowed me to rest and heal, and Ray to keep his business afloat.  We’re all starting to ease back into our normal routine, but with a delightful little bundle along now!

From Judith … bits and pieces from my world these past two months: Check out a new local grocery store and get lots of great deals.  Plan and prepare for the spring campout.  Visit John’s family’s church one Sunday.  (We had visited the Wades’ church in February.)  Take Becca to get her wisdom teeth removed (five children down, one to go).  Attend the symphony with Gerald using free tickets.  Celebrate our Lord’s resurrection with our extended family.  Take the Impala in for body work after someone backed into it while it was parked.  Go to jury duty but get passed over just like Anna did.  (I share her sentiments about the experience.  My case was cocaine possession.)  Get items that passed through our church sharing table ready for The Salvation Army to pick up.  Make arrangements for Laura’s piano lessons with a new teacher.  Prepare a large vegetable tray and help with set up for a friend’s wedding, then attend the wedding.  Celebrate our grandson’s birthday with his family.  Attend with the family a 9-hour pistol safety course.  Visit the dentist and learn a tooth has cracks caused by a very old filling and needs work soon.  Babysit 6-month-old Ezra for the first time, along with James, while John and Megan celebrate three years of marriage.  It has been, as usual, quite a potpourri!

From Gerald … Things have really been wet recently in Houston.  At our house, we received 12.4 inches of rain in the month of May.  On May 26, Grace’s birthday, we had 4.83 inches.  We were really grateful for the maintenance work that the county does on our road ditches.  It makes a huge difference in getting storm water moved away.  Our ditches were full and water was flowing over the bridge that the county built for Becca, but the water did not come up into our yard.  The property of our neighbors across the street is a bit lower than ours and they actually have a berm around the house.  They depend on sump pumps to keep the water outside the berm.  Unfortunately one of the pumps failed to operate, and they had water in their house again. 

This is not the first time we have had a grandchild born during a storm.  But storm or no storm, we are thrilled about Grace’s arrival; she is a precious doll – “a fine baby.” 

With love from the Pedersen clan

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

It's a Girl!

Grace Elizabeth is here!  She is a perfect baby and everyone loves her.

This picture was taken right after she was born.

Grace meets her three big brothers.

Andrew was very excited to hold his little sister.

Hair bows are a novelty for us all.

Peter helping clean the bathrooms while Mommy rests.

Grace is six days old in this picture.

First picture as a family of six!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Looking for a Hero

I’ve always found 1 Kings 13 to be a mixed-up sort of chapter.  It has such an odd assortment of characters, none of whom behave quite as one would expect.

The first character we meet is a man of God who faithfully delivered to Jeroboam the message of judgment that God gave him, refused the king’s attempt to flatter him, was gullibly led astray by the first person who claimed to have a contrary word from the Lord, and was finally killed by a lion as punishment for his disobedience.

Then we have Jeroboam himself, the wicked king who turned down God’s promise to make him a lasting dynasty and sought to build up an alternative religious system.  Despite his wholesale rejection of the true worship of God, however, he had no qualms about asking God to heal the hand that withered upon his attempt to seize God’s messenger.

But the strangest character to me is the old prophet of Bethel, who deceives the man of God with a false word from the Lord, and then delivers a true word from the Lord pronouncing judgment on the man of God for the disobedience to which he himself had tempted him.  When the judgment falls, he then goes after him, brings him back, mourns over him, and has him buried in his own tomb, apparently for no other reason than the hope that it will protect his own bones from being desecrated when the man of God’s prophecies come true.

This chapter is decidedly lacking in heroes.

At the same time, however, this chapter is a vivid picture of why we need a hero.  The deception of the man of God at the hands of the old prophet and his subsequent violent death were a picture of what was going on with the people as a whole.  His disobedience brought about swift, sure judgment.  The doom that had been pronounced on the false worship of Bethel may have been less swift, but it would be no less sure.  The chapter ends with Jeroboam continuing in his wicked idolatry, ignoring the example that God had just provided of what happens to those who rebel against His commands.  

We get a hint of a hero in the prophecy delivered by the man of God concerning a future son of David, “Josiah by name,” who would execute God’s judgment on Bethel.  But even Josiah was not the hero that the people of God needed.  His reign marked the last stand for righteousness in the kingdom of Judah before the rapid downward spiral that led to the Babylonian captivity.

Israel was living in disobedience and rebellion.  Kings, priests, and prophets all alike failed to bring about any lasting change, and God’s judgment was well deserved.  God’s people throughout all of history need a hero who can not only issue an external call to repentance, but who can atone for our sins and change our hearts from the inside out.

We need a Hero who is also a Savior.

And God provided.

In Christ, those of us who, like Jeroboam, have sought God when convenient and rejected Him when inconvenient are given the ability to offer true worship.

In Christ, those of us who, like the man of God, have been led astray by the lies of those who falsely claim to speak the word of God are taught to know and live the truth.

In Christ, those of us who, like the old prophet, live for our own selfish ends are enabled to die to self and live for Christ.

God’s judgment is sure, but the escape that He has made for His children in Christ is just as sure.

He is the only Hero we’ll ever need.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Samuel's Birthday Party

Samuel is three years old today!  Here are some pictures from his party:

Katie made a fire truck cake for him.  He wants to drive a fire truck when he grows up.

His favorite part of the party was opening his presents.

Yay! A fire truck!

There are many fun things to do in the Wades' yard.

Andrew likes to hold his cousin.  We know because he tries to grab him out of our hands.

A terrifying ride with Uncle Seth!

We played a game where you have to race with a balloon between your legs.

Samuel decided to just carry the balloon.

John won by hopping like a kangaroo.

Even Andrew and James did it!

James' balloon popped!