Saturday, August 29, 2009

August Newsletter

From Laura, 10 … For the past few weeks, Anna, Seth, Becca, and I have been working on the yard. At first we were just picking up sticks and trash. But now we’re doing more things like trimming bushes, cutting vines, gathering brush and long grass, moving gravel, weed-eating, and more.

Papa and Mama’s bathroom had been going well until a toilet leak was found. It leaked through the floor and into the dining room. The drywall on the ceiling downstairs is yellow, and we found some water spots on the floor downstairs. We still need to fix that.

In the sink area of the bathroom, the others have hung drywall, taped, floated, sanded, textured, primed, and painted the walls. We’ve also been working on the half bath downstairs. They’ve done some touch-up patching, texturing, and painting.

From Becca, 12 … One day I conducted a survey of what people’s favorite colors were. I asked 121 people. I asked so many people that I got sick of asking people. Their favorite colors varied a lot depending on whether they were boys or girls and how old they were. For example, out of 11 adult men, blue was the most popular, followed by green, and then black. None of them said any other colors. Blue was a very popular color among the adult women also. The most popular color among girls ages 6-10 was pink. Out of 35 adults, none said orange or yellow. I also discovered that orange was a very unpopular color, as only one person said it was his favorite color. I cannot say what the favorite colors were in general, because I surveyed more girls than boys. Through doing this survey, I learned that if one wants an accurate statistic, one must survey an equal amount of every kind of person.

From Seth, 16 … Recently I started reading a book called Art and the Bible. It is actually not really a book, but a compilation of two long essays by Francis Schaeffer. I have finished the first of the essays, which is called “Art in the Bible”. It talked about the Lordship of Christ over all of life, including the arts, and then it talked about various examples of art in the Bible, such as that in the temple and the tabernacle. I read two things that were especially interesting. The first was that God commanded Moses to fashion a bronze serpent when the Israelites were being plagued by poisonous snakes, and then many years later King Hezekiah, with God’s approval, smashed the bronze serpent because the Israelites were worshipping it. Even though God had originally commanded the serpent to be made, when the Israelites started using that work of art as an idol, it became necessary to destroy it. The second interesting thing I read was that a piece of art doesn’t need to be seen by man to be worthwhile. God will see our art, and if we are making it as an act of worship to Him, it is not absolutely necessary for anyone else to take notice of it. It is a good thing for people to see beautiful art, but even if they don’t, it is still worthwhile.

From Anna, 19 … I recently read a book written by Terri Schiavo’s family telling the story of Terri’s injury and death. It was very sobering to see how this family was left powerless as the life of a beloved daughter and sister was brutally taken by order of the courts. On the one hand, it is inspiring to read about how people rallied to support her—Terri’s Bill, for example—but on the other hand, it’s disturbing to see how many people cooperated in her death, including the judge, Michael Schiavo’s legal help, law enforcement, and the people working in Terri’s hospice.

One thing I noticed was that tragedy was in the making even when Terri married Michael. Her parents had misgivings about her relationship with him, but she was in love and did her best to allay those concerns. Wanting her to be happy, they buried their concerns and hoped for the best. There was evidence that Michael was abusive, and Terri told a friend before her injury that she wanted a divorce. The family speculates that the injury which disabled her was caused by Michael, and he was the one who relentlessly pursued her court-ordered murder. If Mr. and Mrs. Schindler had been more emphatic with their disapproval, and if Terri would have listened, this might never have happened.

From John, 25 … I bought a house this week! It's 1,415 square feet with four bedrooms and two bathrooms. It needs some repair, but its problems are mostly cosmetic. The foundation is solid, the roof is sound, and there hasn't been any significant shifting of the walls. I'm planning to remodel the kitchen/living room area and both bathrooms. All the flooring in the house will be replaced, and I will probably end up painting most of the house before I'm finished. Eventually I'll rent the house out unless I need it for myself.

About Ray and Katie … (by Judith) The Wades are delighted to have finished painting their garage. It is greatly improved! Their attention now is on their fall garden and on preparing for childbirth. Katie and the baby are doing well. Right now the baby is feet-first; hopefully he or she will turn before the birth.

From Judith … Here lately, we’ve been utilizing the “turtle” principle: slow and steady wins the race. In an effort to not take any more time than necessary from home schooling, we are having the four younger ones (Anna and down) spend 30 minutes each day working outside to improve the property (see Laura’s entry). It has been very satisfying to see how much can be accomplished by such a simple and moderate commitment. I’m also using the “turtle” principle. Due to Anna’s tremendous help with the household, mostly in the area of food preparation, I’m finding time each day to get to my other work around the house. That feels very nice.

From Gerald … What about chocolate? It is certainly not all the same. Katie had a bag of mixed chocolates, some of which were 70% cocoa. She likes dark chocolate, but those were even too dark for her. So, she passed them along to us. As it turns out, Laura, John, and I are the only ones in the family that really like dark chocolate. I actually like any kind of chocolate even the so-called white chocolate. So, if I come to visit, you should hide your chocolates.

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

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Tatting

I started tatting this spring when my grandmother gave me the supplies, and I've been working on a piece off and on since then. I finally made it long enough (40 inches!) to edge this handkerchief, so here is my first major tatting project, fully completed!

A House!


This morning I became the happy owner of this house. I can't wait to see what kind of adventures it brings into my life. May it be a place that brings glory to God, blessings to believers, and light to the lost.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Our Papaya Tree

I love our papaya tree because it is like a healthy Christian. It has fruit and mature leaves, but at the top there are always new little leaves growing.

Monday, August 24, 2009

How do Microwaved Beans Grow?

I planted these beans at the same time. The two on the left were microwaved first and the four on the right were not.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Another Fruit Tree

There is a bush in our front yard that had some odd-looking, fleshy red flowers on it this spring, but we didn't know what kind of plant it was. The mystery was solved this afternoon when Becca went out and found pomegranates growing on it!

On the bush. Cut open.
Being enjoyed!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Pressure-Washing

We have started pressure-washing our back wall. It's amazing how bad it was before!We didn't realize just how green the wall was!

Here are before and after shots taken of the same spot:



There was so much stuff growing on it that we actually had to pull off the weeds.
Everything's looking much better now!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Is It Good to Be Stylish?

One of my children asked this question the other day.

So, what about style? For us Christians, once standards of modesty and moderation are met, why not just dress however suits us and our lifestyles?

For modesty, let’s go ask our husbands, fathers, or brothers about those marginal garments. These close male relatives should also be encouraged to discreetly come to us anytime they think our outfit may be a stumbling block to men.

For moderation, let’s not go out in clothes that make us appear strange, like we’re from another planet or on our way to a costume party. Modesty isn’t just about covering up certain parts; it’s also about not drawing undue attention to ourselves.

Beyond these considerations, let’s just each wear whatever we like! If it’s not the current style, why should we care? Who are we trying to please, after all, – the world, our husbands, God? What’s the point of being fashionable for its own sake? This is not to say, however, that we shouldn’t look for clothing that is attractive. Attractive may or may not be the same as stylish! We can look beautifully feminine without necessarily wearing the latest fads in clothing.

I realize that when I occasionally don denim skirts and jumpers, I’m often times identified with some sort of conservative religious group, but I LIKE DENIM SKIRTS AND JUMPERS AND AM VERY COMFORTABLE IN THEM!! I honestly believe denim skirts and jumpers are not synonymous with frumpy!

If you like the current styles, that’s okay; go ahead and look for God-honoring versions of them. But if you DON’T care for the current styles, set yourself free from the peer-pressure bondage and wear what you really like!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Why Were the Reformers Burned?

I just read a fascinating article over on Creation.com. It was discussing the fact that many of the reformers who were burned by "Bloody Mary" were burned specifically for their refusal to accept the doctrine of transubstantiation.

To our modern ears, a point of doctrine like this hardly seems worthy of giving one's life in defense of it. The reformers, however, recognized that if studied in all its implications, this one doctrine undermined key elements of the Gospel, and they were ready to die to maintain the purity of the Gospel.

The article then draws a parallel to the creation/evolution controversy today. Just as transubstantiation undermines the gospel, so does evolution, even so-called theistic evolution.

Are we so committed to the authority of God's Word and the purity of His Gospel that we would die rather than deny the Biblical creation account?

Read the whole article here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Family Integrated Church Conference 2009

Registration for the 2009 Family Integrated Church Conference is now open! This conference has been a time of encouragement and blessing in the past two years, and I anticipate that this year will be so as well. Sign up soon to get the early bird discount!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Happy Birthday, John!

John turned 25 last week, so we can now tease him about being a quarter of a century old! After a birthday dinner, we pulled back the couch and did some dancing in our living room. We had great fun! Then...

...and now!

John's been such a great older brother in so many ways. He is truly a godly young man, desiring to serve God in every area of life. He is willing to work hard for others as well as himself, and he cares about doing his work well. He thinks and reasons clearly, and has helped teach me to do the same. I'm thankful for the blessing he is to me! Happy birthday, John!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Surprising Response!

I usually give a gospel tract to cashiers and clerks that I encounter along my way. I was delightfully surprised the other day when a young woman responded by reaching all the way across the counter and her register to give me a warm, loving hug! It made my day and reminded me that I never know when a tract may be deeply appreciated.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Spirtual Disciplines

Recently I read Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney. The book discusses spiritual disciplines like prayer, worship, Bible reading, meditation, evangelism, serving, silence, and fasting. One thing that was particularly enlightening to me regarded the very purpose for practicing the spiritual disciplines. I understand that my salvation—not only redemption, but sanctification as well—is a work of God. Why then is it so important to live a spiritually disciplined life? The answer is that Bible reading, prayer, meditation, and the others are precisely the means by which God performs his sanctifying work in our lives. Rejecting them and expecting to grow spiritually is like trying to take a road trip without putting gas in your car.

We can be like a girl in a wheelchair who dreams of being a graceful ballerina, but is prevented by her handicap. One day she is miraculously made well; overnight, the once-crippled legs are full of potential. However, if she truly wants to become a great ballerina, she must still devote herself to disciplined exercise and training. If we want to experience the thrills of an intimate relationship with God, we need to diligently and consistently pursue it through the means he has prescribed in his Word.

Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 1 Timothy 4:7-8 (ESV)