Thursday, February 26, 2009

To Gerald with Love

Dear Gerald,

When we recently read I Timothy 3 during family worship, it occurred to me that it described you on every point. You are above reproach, a husband of one wife, soberminded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money, well thought of by outsiders, and you manage our household well.

I am blessed among women to have been married to you for 31 years!

Happy Anniversary! I love you!

Judith

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Operation House-to-Home: Texturing Ceilings

We almost finished texturing the downstairs ceilings yesterday. We also worked on finishing up the floating and patching on the walls, so hopefully we will be able to begin painting ceilings and texturing walls next time.

Putting it on.
Spikes galore!
After scraping.

In other news, the upstairs is ready for carpet! The carpet company came and measured for it yesterday. Once that's in, the upstairs will be done except for the bathrooms! We will mostly wait to work on the bathrooms until after we move in, but there are a few things we need to do to get them functional.

We discovered two plum trees on the property. That brings our count up to at least eight fruit trees, not counting the grapevines!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Thoughts on the Civil War

Today I read a very interesting article about the Civil War.

I learned that in the South, people tried to justify slavery using the Bible. They said Leviticus 25 meant that it was okay to have slaves, because God was telling the Israelites that they could buy slaves. But that doesn’t make sense, because at that time God was punishing the nations and he also told them to completely exterminate some peoples. They were twisting the passage to make it say what they wanted it to say.

Back then slaves were very useful for large plantation owners. They got cheap labor. Now we have machines to do work that the slaves did and people don’t “need” slaves. Today people don’t interpret that passage that way. But now people interpret other passages to mean what they want them to mean. It seems that different interpretations of different passages are based on people’s wants.

I learned that the war was not all about slavery. There were people in the North called the Transcendentalists who were atheists, humanists, socialists, communists… and abolitionists. Not only did they want to get rid of slavery, but also the checks and balances of the constitution. Their goal was to have man be God.

After the war ended Abraham Lincoln called the recovery of the nation “restoration.” He wanted to restore the country to what it was. The Transcendentalists called it “reconstruction.” They wanted to change the whole country to have a bigger more powerful government without the limits of Christianity and the Constitution. That’s pretty much what we have today, because they succeeded.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Must We Be Distinct?

Many people today who say they are Christians live lives that are indistinguishable from those of the unbelievers around them. Is it really all right for Christians to look just like everybody else, or must we be recognizably distinct?

There are at least three reasons why Christians must be distinct from the world.

We Belong to Christ

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 6:19b-20a, “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.” Again, in 2 Corinthians 5:17 we read, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

If we have been purchased by the blood of Christ, we belong entirely to him. We are duty bound to follow his will rather than the dictates of those around us. If the believer is a new creation, why would he continue to live in his old ways?

The World is Passing Away

In 1 John 2:15-17 we are told: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

If the world is temporary, but those who follow God will abide forever, then it is plain that it is far better to follow God than to chase after what the world desires. Not only that, but these verses tell us that if we do not turn away from the things of the world, we are not really saved.

We Must Be Distinct from the World if We Are to Impact It

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

These words, spoken by Jesus in Matthew 5:13-16, make it clear that if we are to have any influence on the world around us, we must be distinct from it. What good would salt do if it tasted just like the food we were attempting to season? What good would light do if it was just as dark as the darkness which we wanted to illuminate?

If we look just like the world, we are as useless as tasteless salt. Let us instead turn our backs on the vain and temporary pleasures of the world, to follow him who redeemed us and to embrace the distinctness to which God has called us, in order that those around us might see and give God the glory due him.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Letter to the President

This is a letter I wrote recently to the president for three purposes. The first purpose was to recap a conversation I had with some family members the night before about the economy, the recession, government intervention, and the steadfastness of God. The second was to express to the president my concerns about his economic policies. The third was to practice writing business letters. Mama asked me to put the letter on the blog, so here, for your enjoyment, is "A Letter to the President".


February 13, 2009

The President
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I am a young American citizen who is concerned about your economic policies. In this letter I would like to share a few things I learned recently about the way an economy works and why tax cuts are wiser than stimulus packages.

A strong economy is one where all the participants have sound financial situations and produce as much as they consume. A weak economy is one where people consume more than they produce, and then go into debt. This type of economy is like a house of cards; it is very fragile.

In this recession people should be getting their finances under control, saving, and beginning to produce as much as they consume. The U.S. government can help American citizens do this by reducing taxes. With less taxes Americans will be able to save more money and have their budgets less strained.

One thing you, Mr. President, and all our legislators must remember is where the U.S. government gets its funding. It comes from the people. Stimulus packages may very well create jobs, but where will the 700 billion dollars that will pay the salaries for these new jobs come from? They will come from the people. Why not cut taxes, eliminate the middleman of government interference, and let the people use their money to strengthen their finances, pay off their debts, and start producing as much as they consume? Stimulus packages will just send our money in a loop: from the people to the government and from the government back to the people. This is very unproductive and wasteful.

Lastly, throughout this recession we must trust God and his promises, for, though economies and nations may fail, they alone will stand.

Sincerely,

Seth Pedersen

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Have You Seen God's Providence Today?

John, Seth, and I were at a homeschool group meeting at church on Thursday, and, when Seth went to take some things out to the car afterward, he heard a hissing coming from the tire.

Not good.

He got John, and they found a piece of metal imbedded in the tire. (Everyone else has decided that it must be my fault, since I happened to be driving when we picked it up.) We decided that the leak was slow enough that we would try to make it home before it went flat, but we would check it every now and then.

We did end up having to change the tire after driving for a little bit, and John commented on how he was glad that he had worn his jeans that night, instead of the nice khakis that he had considered wearing. One of us said that it must have been providential.

Later, once we were on our way, we realized other aspects of the event that were providential: Seth had gone out early and found it, and he was sitting in the seat right next to the wheel, whereas he might not have heard the hissing had he been sitting somewhere else.

Then we got to thinking. Why is it that we tend to only say that something is providential when we see something bad that could have happened and it didn't?

We should be more aware of God's providence in our lives every day. The fact that I just took a breath is evidence of God's providence and kind sustaining hand. Our ability to persevere in the face of difficulty, our continuance in life and health, and every other blessing we enjoy, should constantly bring to our attention God's active mercy and grace in our lives.

God's providence is so much bigger than we tend to think.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Truth Is Better

We found these quotes somewhere a long time ago, and thought they were so good we wrote them out and had them stuck on our wall.

"Better to be divided by truth than united by error."

"Better to speak the truth that hurts and then heals than falsehood that comforts and then kills."

"Better to be hated for telling the truth than loved for telling a lie."

"Better to stand alone with the truth than to be wrong with the multitude."

"Better to ultimately succeed with the truth than to temporarily succeed with a lie."

Friday, February 6, 2009

Operation House-to-Home: Hanging Drywall

Our main activity lately has been working on drywall. It's exciting to finally be closing things up!

The kitchen ceiling. Kitchen walls.

Dining room walls.

Here's a picture of our wall paper removers. We got them a new wall paper removing solution, which had all sorts of warnings on the bottle, so they wanted to make sure they were well-prepared.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I Joined the Double Digit Club!!

On Saturday, January 31, we celebrated my birthday. I invited Ray and Katie to come over for dinner. Afterward we watched movies of when I was a baby and played spoons and telephone (sometimes called "gossip").

In the picture you can't see it, but I wrote "10" in the frosting.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Start a Journal

This is a persuasive essay that I wrote for an English assignment. Enjoy!

Have you ever wished you could experience life as your grandparents experienced it? Have you ever read historical journals and wondered what your ancestors were experiencing at the same time?

Reading a journal gives a much more intimate view into history than can ever be gained from history books. If it’s a family member, then it is all the more personal, because you can not only see their view of history, but you can also see how God worked in previous generations to bring you to the place you are. Your grandparents may not have left you journals, but you can leave them for your grandchildren.

Journaling allows you to preserve your thoughts, feelings, and experiences for yourself as you grow older, and for others after you are gone.

Not only does it preserve your thoughts, but it also helps clarify your thoughts. When you actually sit down and write about something, it forces you to take vague, undefined thoughts and impressions and crystallize them into concrete words.

Very few activities can leave as significant a legacy with as little effort on your part as journaling. Won’t you start your journal today?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Becca's Apron

Becca had fun decorating this apron the other day. She's a very happy apron-wearer now!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Operation House-to-Home: Moving Our Fig Tree

We decided that we wanted to keep our fig tree whenever we move, so we transplanted it over to the new house this week.

Digging it up.
Transporting it.



Putting it in its new hole.


All settled!

We also found these lovely flowers on a tree that's already there. We're not sure what kind it is, but we're at least enjoying the blooms!