Friday, February 29, 2008

Virtual Haircut

This is an amazing bit of entertaining science. It demonstrates your brain's ability to determine locations of sounds. Here's the link. You'll need to listen with stereo headphones, and for the full effect, try closing your eyes. You'll almost be able to feel the clippers!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Thirty Years Ago Today

It is a tremendous blessing to be the child of parents who have remained committed to God and to each other for so many years. They have consistently sought to lead this family according to God's ways, and have given us all a legacy of faith and commitment which we will always carry with us.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

February Newsletter

From Laura, 9 … I turned nine on February 2. For my requested activity we went bowling. The bowling alley, that we have usually used, is about 10 minutes away, and had certain smoking and non-smoking hours. The first time we tried it, all the lanes were full. We would have had to wait about 45 minutes to an hour for a lane to be available. By the time we would have gotten a lane and played as long as we had planned, it would already have been in the smoking hours. So we left. On our second try all the lanes were full of leagues. So we tried a bowling alley that was about 20 minutes away. It was non-smoking all the time, and you could reserve a lane ahead of time. It was definitely worth taking the longer drive to get to this bowling alley instead of the other one.

From Becca, 11 … A few days ago Anna taught me how to cross stitch. There are 2 kinds of cross stitching. One is where all the crosses, that you have to stitch to make a picture, are printed onto normal cloth. The other is where you have special cloth that is stiff and has little holes to poke the needle through. Then you have a diagram, showing where to sew and with what colors. You count the squares between the holes to get to the right place, so it’s called counted-cross stitch and it’s the kind I’m doing. The kit I am doing is very small, only about three-inches tall. It will say “What’s Cook’n”, and it will have a few little pictures of food. It comes with a little plastic hanger, so we can hang it in our kitchen.

From Seth, 14 … Recently I started playing the guitar again. I’ve picked it up several times in the last two years, but I have always dropped it. I’m using books to learn, and I know quite a few chords already. The main challenge is practicing regularly.

From Anna, 17 … Katie, John, and I are currently attending a New Testament survey class through our church. It has involved quite a bit of reading, but I’m enjoying it. It’s been really neat to see the big picture of the New Testament, and to look at the overall messages and goals, both of each individual book and also of the whole. Taking in large portions of Scripture isn’t something I usually make time for, but being in this class is forcing me to make time for it. I’m appreciating the opportunity to just dive into the Bible in a way I haven’t before.

From John, 23 … I was on site this week at a house where the frame is nearing completion. The framers were there doing some punch-out work, and I was checking the house for bowed studs, blocking, drywall nailers, etc. An older couple that was walking by decided to take a look in the house, so they approached me as I was near the front doorway. I nearly laughed aloud when their first question was not “May we look at the house?” or “Who is the builder?” but it was “Do you speak English?” For those who have not met me, my skin is white and my hair is brown. The only thing that could make someone think that I might not speak English was the fact that I was on a construction site holding a six-foot level. It was a reminder to me of how much a visit to a construction site in Houston can feel like a trip across the border.

From Katie, 26 … I am house sitting and pet sitting this weekend. I do it once in a while, and it's a fun way to "play house" for a few days without having to deal with things like mortgage payments, utility bills, home repairs, and loneliness. This house sitting job has been a little crazy because the dog went on a hunger strike. Why the dog thought refusing to eat would get rid of me and bring her owner back, I'm not sure. Dogs aren't very smart, at least not this one. I'm happy to say that she has given up, though. All of a sudden, she ate everything in sight and started begging for more. I think she needs to see a shrink.

From Judith … When I considered the other day how to come up with snacks for two different occasions with one baking session, it was noted by other family members how I tend to try to minimize our need for food prep. That is absolutely true about me. So why is it that I don’t care for cooking? Simply stated, it just doesn’t last long enough! What I produce when I cook is gone in lightning speed. I prefer cleaning over cooking because it lasts longer. But what I really enjoy is sewing, crafts, drawing, and the like. It is quite satisfying to me to produce items that have utility and/or beauty. A close second is when I have the opportunity to help someone else (Becca most recently) produce and create something that will last a while. Though not as excited as Becca, I did really enjoy making her dress with her recently.

Becca and I also just finished a tiered denim skirt for her out of a woman’s tiered denim skirt. Little girls’ skirts are easily made this way. There is enough material left from the scrap skirt to make one for Laura also.

From Gerald … Judith and I were able to get away for a special time together earlier this month. I took a Friday off from work and we spent Friday and Saturday together, just the two of us. We went to a bed-and-breakfast cabin near the Big Thicket National Preserve (north of Beaumont) and our children stayed at home. As it turned out, no one else was there that weekend, so we had a great time alone together. We were able to do some hiking and sightseeing as well as having time to talk and just enjoy each other’s company.

We will celebrate our thirtieth wedding anniversary next week, and both of us agree that we shouldn’t wait thirty years to do something like this again.

Our Love, Gerald, Judith, Katie, John, Anna, Seth, Becca, and Laura

Saturday, February 23, 2008

POP!!!

For my birthday I had balloons. I have been popping one every few days. This is Becca popping one of them.
The pop was so loud I think the neighbors could probably hear it.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Context, Context, Context!!!

I always get excited whenever I come across a familiar verse in my personal Bible reading. I love to see it in context, with all the richness and depth that you miss or forget when seeing it all by itself.

So, I was reading Isaiah 40 the other day, which talks about the might and power of God. It's full of phrases like these:

"the glory of the Lord will be revealed... the word of our God stands forever... 'Here is your God!' Behold, the Lord God will come with might, with His arm ruling for Him... Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand... Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, or as His counselor has informed Him?... Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket... All the nations are as nothing before Him, they are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless... what likeness will you compare with Him?... It is He who sits above the vault of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers... 'To whom then will you liken Me that I should be his equal?' says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, the One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power not one of them is missing... The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable."

And then I came to the end and found, to my delight, this well-known promise that I had forgotten was to be found in Isaiah 40, verse 31:

"Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strenth; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary."

So, at the end of a chapter full of God's might and glory, we are given the assurance that, because He is almighty and all-powerful, we can cast ourselves on Him, and He will lift and sustain us.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

This is My Parents Talking to Each Other

They were IMing each other from just across the room. All right, truth be told, they were getting IM set up so we'll have an easy way of communicating while Papa's in Scotland for a two-week business trip. It was still funny, though.

Monday, February 4, 2008

One Benefit to Homeschooling

A beautiful day out, but there's bookwork to do? No problem!

A precipate retreat was made when the meter reader was espied in the neighboring yard, but it was only temporary.

Faith in God or Faith in Our Faith?

"Jesus wants us to pray with faith. 'Whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith' (Matt. 21:22). Some have taken verses like this and turned them into the power of positive thinking. They believe that if we can be confident that something will happen, it will indeed happen. But that would be faith in our faith. When Jesus teaches us how to 'move mountains' by faith, he says explicitly, 'Have faith in God' (Mark 11:22). There seem to be times when God makes clear to us that his will is to do a particular thing. In that case we may be perfectly confident that very thing will be done. In that sense Jesus says to us, 'whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours' (Mark 11:24). It is God who does it, and our belief rests on him and his revealed will. Otherwise, we would be God, and he would run the universe according to our will, not his."

--John Piper