Sunday, June 28, 2009

June Newsletter

From Laura, 10 … The things I have been doing at the old house are vacuuming, filling jugs with filtered water there, and bringing them back to Berea (because filtered water tastes better than the well water here), picking weeds, watering, cleaning light fixtures, and playing “gofer” (“GO FOR” things). As far as work here, I’ve been able to help sort some stuff, like magazines, stuffed animals, games, building sets, and puzzles. It feels very good to be able to be a help!

From Becca, 12 … I have been knitting a lot lately. For a while Anna, Laura, and I were knitting scarves to give to our friends whose relatives were collecting them for poor orphans in Columbia. Anna told me how to purl and when you know how to purl, you can do all kinds of interesting things. She also taught me how to do the cable stitch, which requires three needles and looks really hard, but isn’t. I learned how to increase and decrease too, which is how you make it bumpy on the edges. I tried pretty much everything I could think of on those scarves. Now I am making a pink and white striped baby blanket. It is not for the Wades, because Laura is making one for them and also they might have a boy. Maybe I will use it when I grow up.

From Seth, 16 … Recently I learned how to frame a wall. My favorite parts were probably seeing the pieces come together and using the nail gun. The room I helped frame was just a rectangle, so it went up quickly, but it definitely gave me a new appreciation for the coordination and skill needed to frame a complex, million-dollar house!

From Anna, 19 … I am very happy to have moved into our new house. After just working on it for so many months, it has been so much fun to be able to just enjoy it! I like the way my room is set up, and I really enjoyed unpacking and arranging everything. The layout of the living space is working well for us, although the kitchen situation is makeshift. We’ve been sorting and organizing everything as we unpack, which makes it take longer, but is more satisfying because it means that we’re actually improving things, not just replicating what we had before.

I’ve been helping with painting the kitchen cabinets at our old house. This is my first experience with oil-based paint. It’s more difficult than the latex I’ve been using, but I think I more or less have the hang of it.

From John, 24 … Seth and I had the opportunity last week to help a family in our church build an addition on their house. They are adopting their nieces, but had to increase the square footage of their house to meet CPS requirements. Many men and boys from church came out to help over the course of a week and a half. It was a great blessing to see the church family come together in support of its members.

About Ray and Katie … (by Laura) There is always a project going on at the Wades’ house. Right now they’re in the middle of sanding and painting their garage. Katie is feeling much better than she was in the early part of her pregnancy. She is at 20 weeks. Since she was feeling better, the two of them went on a “vacation” downtown to stay in a luxurious hotel for two nights last weekend.

From Judith … We’re on the home stretch with getting the old house ready to put on the market. It looks like we’ll be able to get it listed before we head out next week for our annual trek up north.

There are many things I’m enjoying about this house, but I’ll just mention two here. I love my laundry room! It’s just off the kitchen and has the second fridge, the chest freezer, the washer, the dryer, the hot-water heater, a drying rack, a laundry tub, a spot for slip-on shoes (one pair allowed per person), and a wall of upper cabinets. Our laundry baskets are upstairs near our bedrooms. When a basket is full, I bring that load down to be washed. The feature that has been particularly delightful is the laundry tub! I’ve never had one before. It served me quite well the other day when I needed to wash out a large trash can. It will be great for the really dirty clean-ups and oversized items.

I’m also very glad to have a covered porch. The front and back porches of our old house weren’t covered, but the front porch here at the new house is covered. It was fun to be able to stand outside during bit of rain we had one day this week and not get wet! This will also mean much less rush when we need to come or go in rain – no more dashing and leaping through the doorway!

From Gerald … If you have looked at our blog, you know that John has been burning most of our construction debris. It has made a huge difference in the appearance of our yard to get rid of that pile.

The big news in Houston these days is the hot, dry weather. We have been having record-breaking temperatures with little or no rain and no end in sight. Earlier this week, a county-wide burn ban was enacted, forbidding open fires. Good thing we got most of our debris burned before now.

I want to recognize Judith for the great job she is doing with getting us settled into the new house. She has been quite diligent about unpacking, sorting, cleaning, arranging and decorating, along with helping with tasks at the old house preparing it for sale, and the normal day-to-day requirements for maintaining our household.

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

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Trash-Burning Fire

One of the perks of our new neighborhood is that we're allowed to burn. That means that instead of paying for a dumpster or trips to the dump, we can just burn our construction debris. We cleared out a space in the woods that didn't have any big trees and built a five-foot fire ring. We've been burning off and on for a couple of weeks now.

The fire, as seen through the trees at night.
It was rather interesting watching this door burn. It was the kind that has two very thin sheets of plywood fastened on each side of the frame. When we first put it on the fire, the bottom caught almost immediately. After a bit, the top started smoking and the paint started bubbling, and then, eventually, the flames came through and the whole thing went up in flame.

Bubbling paint.

Everyone watching.

We've now disposed of all our flammable construction trash, except for the boards from the old deck, which we're still working on.

Monday, June 22, 2009


A small portion of the home-grown tomatoes we've been enjoying lately!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Why You Should Knit

“Creak, creak!” goes the old woman’s rocking chair as she rocks back and forth beside the crackling fire. “Clack, clack!” go her needles. What is she doing? On one side of her, a basket with a ball of yarn sits on the floor. She rapidly moves two long pointed sticks back and forth. A beautiful cloth cascades down from her needles. A close look reveals that the cloth is made of hundreds and hundreds of loops locked together like the Olympic symbol. Is knitting an activity reserved for grandmas, or should everyone do it? Knitting is a practical, character-building skill that can leave a multigenerational legacy.

Knitting is a practical skill. Knitted items are marvelous gifts. A hand knit scarf or baby blanket can be meaningful to the receiver. It is a simple activity as well, and can be done while talking, listening, waiting, or riding in the car. Knowing how to knit is useful. What if you were lost in the woods and needed a fish net? If you knew how to knit you could make it using sticks for needles and reeds for yarn.

Knitting builds valuable character traits. Creativity is encouraged when the knitter designs his own pattern using many different stitches. In addition, learning, practicing, and improving builds perseverance. Knitting is also a way to keep busy and avoid idleness. Proverbs 31 says that the woman who fears the Lord “works with her hands in delight,” “makes linen garments,” “and does not eat the bread of idleness.”

Knitting can leave a multigenerational legacy. Knitted items are wonderful heirlooms. A knitted doily passed from mother to daughter could be very special indeed. The skill itself is also like an heirloom, but it will not wear out. The art of knitting will always be beautiful when one knitter gives it to another.

Now go learn to knit! If you already know how, teach someone else. As one knitting book says, “It takes a little study, and a little patience, and then suddenly it happens—you can knit, and once you learn to knit, you will never forget how!”

Monday, June 15, 2009

Tree Trimming

Back in September, we cleared a lot of the overgrown bushes in front of our house. Last week, we continued the general project by taking down three small trees, with the kind help of Ray and his chain saw.

Down it goes!

Tree trimming is a spectator sport.

The current view of the house from the front.

Monday, June 8, 2009


Upon coming home one evening, we encountered this pair of stick bugs on our front porch! The larger one was at least four inches long!

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Last night, we had a wonderful time celebrating Papa's 55th birthday. In honor of the occasion, here are 55 reasons I thank God for the father he's given me.
1. is committed to following God.
2. makes personal Bible reading a priority.
3. leads us in family worship.
4. is a hard worker.
5. is a problem solver.
6. isn't afraid to admit that he doesn't know something.
7. can sing.
8. is a reader.
9. is willing to say he's wrong.
10. is patient.
11. doesn't panic.
12. is a good teacher.
13. loves and cares for Mama.
14. is a good steward of money.
15. is committed to giving.
16. sees saving money as a means, not an end, and so doesn't mind splurging when the occasion warrants it.
17. has a sense of humor.
18. has a vision for hospitality.
19. is the same man before others as he is before his family.
20. is always willing to listen or give advice, even when he's in the middle of something else.
21. is willing to learn new things.
22. doesn't take himself too seriously.
23. loves children.
24. makes us think for ourselves.
25. has actively participated in homeschooling.
26. pursues excellence in all of his work.
27. is committed to doing all he can to see his children marry well.
28. doesn't belittle others.
29. is slow to anger.
30. doesn't complain.
31. is safety conscious...
32. but isn't paranoid.
33. doesn't always have to prove himself right.
34. ensures the maintenance of family dignity.
35. lovingly confronts our errors.
36. appreciates beauty.
37. is willing to take time to research things he doesn't know or understand.
38. takes interest in our interests.
39. is not consumed by his paid job.
40. has a good understanding of what is going on in the world around us-- government, politics, business, the economy, etc.
41. can explain complex ideas in an understandable way.
42. honors his parents.
43. is courteous to everyone.
44. interacts well with people of all ages.
45. would be the first to say that he hasn't "arrived" yet, and that he is what he is by the grace of God.
46. is secure in his manhood, without feeling the need to be "macho."
47. doesn't mind being counter-cultural.
48. recognizes the value of routines...
49. but is willing to make changes as necessary.
50. follows through on his commitments.
51. won't allow obstacles to swerve him from the course that he knows to be right.
52. recognizes faulty logic and argumentation.
53. checks his facts.
54. holds us accountable to learn from the Bible, rather than just reading it.
55. is willing to let his children try their wings.
Happy birthday Papa! I love you!