Saturday, January 30, 2010

Divine Diet?

Please note: I have not read The Maker's Diet, so I do not intend this as a review of the book, but rather as a response to a specific element.

Seth recently picked up a copy of The Maker's Diet, by Jordan S. Rubin, and found this striking statement at the conclusion of the author's introduction:

"While I make no claims to offer you a 'cure-all,' I believe this book was inspired by God and that the practical protocol it contains can greatly improve your health. The Maker has given me a program for vibrant health based on His Word and the best available science, in that order. The health principles on which this program is based are essentially the same-- yesterday, today, and forever. (See Hebrews 13:8)" (Emphasis mine)

Hebrews 13:8, cited here by Mr. Rubin, reads: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." For him to use this verse to support his previous statement is essentially saying that the program in his book is on par with Christ Himself. By claiming to have received these principles directly from God and claiming divine inspiration, Mr. Rubin elevates his book to the level of Scripture. God sternly warns against adding to His Word. (Rev. 22:18)

When Seth was telling me about this statement, he asked me what Hebrews 13:8 said, so I pulled my Bible out to look it up. As I read it, the next verse caught my eye, and I was amazed at how apropos it was.

"Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them." Hebrews 13:9.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

January Newsletter

From Laura, 10 … On Monday Mama started helping me make my dress!! We’ve washed the material, ironed it, and talked about how the pattern pieces will be pinned to the material. I want to finish it in time to be able to wear it on February 2 when I will turn 11 and we’ll be celebrating my birthday! The material is a beautiful yellow cotton with little yellow flecks. I can’t wait to learn more about sewing!

From Becca, 13 … I have been reading about the colonial period in America. I read about the Massachusetts Bay Colony and how they ruled strictly, enforcing a high standard of moral conduct among the saved and the unsaved. They required all to go to church and only church members were allowed to vote. I wondered whether this was right, or not, so I talked about it with Papa. Now I think that the government should enforce a certain standard of conduct, but not try to make unbelievers act like believers when they’re not. For example, they should not punish people for not going to church, but should punish murder and stealing. Even if they could force unbelievers to do what’s right on the outside, the unbelievers would still go to Hell. The Puritans who set the rules for the Massachusetts Bay Colony should have first brought the gospel to the unsaved.

From Seth, 16 … Recently I finished a book about the pharaohs, artifacts, and history of ancient Egypt. The many conjunctions of Egyptian history with Biblical history that the book told about were particularly interesting to read. For example, there is a rock in Egypt carved with an account of a seven-year famine. The time and story would correlate with the famine recorded in Genesis 41, involving Joseph. There is actually archaeological evidence from that time for a powerful Egyptian vizier who may in fact be Joseph. The links between the Bible and Egypt were probably the highlight of the book, but it was also interesting to learn about the incredible pyramids and the many pharaohs.

From Anna, 19 … I have my own computer now! There tends to be a lot of competition for our main family computer, so I’ve been thinking about getting my own for a while. Then the Wades decided to upgrade Katie’s laptop, so they sold me her old one. I’ve been enjoying the flexibility of being able to use the computer whenever and wherever I want to.

From John, 25 … Recently I’ve been listening to the CDs of the Sufficiency of Scripture Conference, which was put on last month by the National Center for Family Integrated Churches. All too often family integrated churches are plagued by the perception—and sometimes the fact—that it’s all about the family. The reality is that we do what we do not because of an idolatrous view of the family but because we believe that Scripture speaks authoritatively to every area of life, from the way our families and churches interrelate, to politics, to child training, to art, to evangelism, and the list goes on. I’ve been reminded of how vitally important it is to read, memorize, and meditate on the Scripture so that we’re ready to apply it to any issue that arises.

About Ray and Katie … (by Judith) Peter made his first appearance at our monthly folk dancing last Saturday. It was fun to dance with him! I think he enjoyed the music and the bouncing, although I’m guessing his favorite part was when Katie sat down to nurse him.

From Judith …
With a bit of sleuthing via the Internet, I have recently made contact with some relatives I haven’t been in touch with in decades. Over the past year or so, I have had nearly all of our old family slides, prints, and negatives (50 years worth) put into digital format. Then I did the same with many of my dad’s pictures. Now I want to offer the digital pictures (the ones of interest) to my relatives, particularly my cousins. It’s intriguing to be corresponding with people I know and share memories with (scant though they be), and who have the same grandparents, but with whom I haven’t been connected for so long!

From Gerald … At long last, I am finally working on the kitchen cabinets. Like every other project it is taking longer than I would like. The biggest challenge so far has been working out the details of building a lazy susan. I enjoy the work, and we are all looking forward to having a functioning kitchen again.

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

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

It Looks Like He’ll be Tall

The mothers were chatting about the relative sizes of one of the mother’s small boys.

“It looks like Willy may end up being tall.”

“I hope so.”

This very brief exchange stirred my thoughts.

I have a twin brother who is 6’5” and a son, Seth, who is 6”4”. I have other tall male relatives also, but not all are that tall. My older son, John, grew to 5’8”. When Seth was a toddler, it became evident to us that he would likely grow considerably taller than John.

Though we had purposed early in our parenting to not ever make comments to our children that would indicate that any one physical characteristic was better than another, we began to particularly prepare John for the reality that his “little” brother, eight years younger than him, would probably end up much taller than him. We kept emphasizing that it doesn’t matter how tall a person is. We also worked hard to make sure Seth didn’t consider himself somehow better because of his height.

Regarding my brother, I saw the pressure he was under, at school especially, as he grew taller and taller. As a child, more was expected of him because he looked older than he was. Later it was assumed that, because of being tall, he must have strong leadership skills and be great at basketball. I’m grateful that Seth hasn’t been subject to that. (He’s taught at home.)

We live in a culture that favors tallness in men and beauty in women. We need to think carefully about the message we send when we say we hope for this or that particular physical characteristic in our children. It’s one thing to marvel at how tall or how beautiful some people grow to be, but to convey any sense that they are better because of it flies in the face of regarding each person as equally valued.

Friday, January 15, 2010

January, 2010 Gerald Pedersen Family Letter


Greetings to you from the Pedersen household! It has been almost three years since we have sent out a family letter and current photo. Now, having gained a son-in-law, a grandson, and a new house, we really must do it.

Family Size … Our household has dropped to seven but our family now numbers ten with Katie having married and born a child.

Church … We have been regularly attending Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring (20 minutes away) for three years. We became members in April of 2007. We love it there! It’s a good match for us in practice and beliefs. One aspect we particularly resonate with is its family-integration. Rather than dividing up the family unit for worship, discipling, fellowship, and ministry, the family stays together, experiencing the corporate Christian life together. Outside of our extended time together on Sundays, hospitality is the primary venue for all of that to happen. The Lord has nurtured, inspired, and challenged us mightily through the life of this church!

Nursing Home Ministry … We visit a nursing home once a month on Sunday afternoons. We sing and lead a devotional message in the dining room and visit a few people in their rooms. We occasionally pray with people and share God’s word. It’s rewarding to see how much these visits mean to the residents.

Folk dancing … We still enjoy leading a monthly group at a nearby church. In recent times some of our regulars have dropped off, but more people from our church are coming. It’s fun to see new people stepping out of their comfort zone and giving it a try. Everyone seems to have a good time!

Camping and Traveling … We continue to go on a group campout down here twice a year (spring and fall). The family always eagerly looks forward to the campouts. Each summer we also travel north to see family. We try to include other interesting sites and activities in the trips.

House … In September, 2008, we bought an old fixer-upper. It was a week after Katie became engaged and a few days after Hurricane Ike. What a wild time! It took months, with only Saturdays and vacation days to work on it, to get it ready to move into. We worked on the plumbing and electrical, remodeled here and there, replaced some windows and a door, painted walls and ceilings, and put in carpet and wood floors. Then we worked to get our old house ready to sell while we were still living in it. (It hasn’t sold yet, by the way, so we are considering renting it out.) Finally at the end of May, 2009, eight months after the purchase, we moved in. It’s makeshift to be sure, but we’re making progress. The biggest inconvenience is not having sinks in our kitchen. The kitchen has a fridge, stove, and pantry, but no sinks. Therefore, for washing dishes and preparing food, we are using the tiny sink area in the kitchenette of the built-in apartment at the OPPOSITE end of the house. At this writing, though, Gerald is building the base cabinets where the new kitchen sinks will go! I can hardly wait!

Well, here’s the more personal rundown. (Instead of having Mama write the whole letter as we have done in the past, or have everyone write about themselves, as we do in our monthly newsletters, we decided it would be fun to have each one write about one other):

Laura, 10 … (by Judith) Laura is eager to learn new skills and is a good helper with what she already knows. Currently she is very much looking forward to learning to sew. She and I will soon begin making a dress for her out of material she chose. The most satisfying cleaning tasks for her are the ones that make an obvious difference. She wants to see results. Favorites for Laura are history, baking, crafts, riding a bike, and running games. Laura is a cheerful, pleasant, and caring companion whom we all quite enjoy.

Becca, 13 … (by John) Becca is very much like a butterfly. She has a bright, colorful personality, and she flits lightly from one activity to the next. Another way she resembles a butterfly is the transformation she is going through. In the last few months I have been amazed by the speed at which she is turning into a young woman. Her thoughts are deepening and her maturity in the way she approaches life and interacts with other people is increasing. Two months ago she took a major step in her maturity as a Christian as she was baptized at church. Becca enjoys knitting, sewing, music, and playing outside, and she continues to develop academically and to learn practical home skills. Becca is quite a social creature, and enjoys talking with all sorts of people.

Seth, 16 … (by Laura) He loves to try new things and see if they work. He likes fire and forged a crude sword from a mower blade. The other day he attempted to make torches with sticks, rags, and tar. He has tried his hand at making escargot (snails) and donuts. He also took apart a computer to see how it worked. One highlight of camping for him is cooking different foods over fires he has built. He has many other things that fill his time. Right now Seth’s favorite academic subject is economics. He practices voice, piano, guitar, and recorder. Mama is training him in the kitchen; he favors sautéing and frying. He likes to read and enjoys occasionally helping John with his work. He has been busy helping Papa work on our house, so he has learned much about construction. Other things about Seth are that he runs through the “jungle” (heavy brush) on our property and doesn’t care if he gets scratched and bitten. Also, he rides his bike almost every day and is really looking forward to learning how to drive.

Anna, 19 … (by Gerald) Anna has graduated from high school, but continues to learn. She loves to read and enjoys various crafts and handwork. She is a huge help at home, with cooking and other chores and projects. She is a great organizer; she is currently bringing order to my garage. She also sorts through the donations each week for our church’s sharing table ministry. Anna is a licensed driver and we usually give her practice driving whenever we go anywhere as a family. She has gained many useful skills as a result of our remodeling project. She did much of the drywall texture, helped with laying the wood flooring, did electrical work, and painted, painted, painted. She and the younger children do most of the yard maintenance (this time of year, that means lots of leaf raking).

John, 25 … (by Seth) In July of 2008 John left the home builder he was working for and now spends most of his time operating his own company, Anthony Renard Custom Home Building and Remodeling, L.L.C. Now that he has an L.L.C., he has more freedom to hire subcontractors and take larger jobs. For a hobby John dances with a local folk dance group and sometimes performs publicly with the same group. Also, this year John purchased a house. He bought it partly as an investment, partly as a place to put his savings, and partly as a future home. John has chosen to continue living at home for this stage of his life, and we are all very happy for these arrangements. He brings a unique blend of seriousness, quirkiness, depth, and humor to our household. In God’s timing John desires to marry and raise a family for the glory of God.

Ray, Katie, and Peter Wade … (by Judith) Among us the most dramatic changes have occurred in Katie’s life, being that she is now a wife and a mother. She met Ray Wade at church in early 2008 and they were married in November of that year. A year later Peter was born. He is now two months old. In early 2009 the Wades purchased a home a mere four blocks away from our new house! It is truly delightful to be so close. It has been deeply satisfying to see this new family emerge, be established in the Lord, and be built on the foundation of his Word, the Bible.

Judith, 52 … (by Anna) Mama continues to ably fill the role of full-time wife, mother, household manager, and now grandmother! Our move this year was a major project for her, since she did the vast majority of the packing. She has done an excellent job of turning our new house into a comfortable, inviting home. She was honored to be present for the birth of Peter, and she has greatly enjoyed becoming Grandmama! In addition to making sure the household runs smoothly, overseeing the education of the younger ones, and handling correspondence, she still finds time to help us with projects. At church she is looked up to as a mentor by many of the younger moms.

Gerald, 55 … (by Becca) Papa is a busy man. He spends his time working for Weatherford, fixing up our house, and taking care of us. He is good at all of those things. Last winter he spent lots of vacation time repairing our house. He taught Anna, Seth, Laura, and me lots of stuff about house fixing. He teaches Seth, Laura, and me math and science. His hair is silver and he seldom wears jeans and never wears shorts. He got his braces off a year ago and Mama says it’s not the same mouth she married but that it is lovely. Last year he did something he had never done before—he gave away a daughter. This year he became a grandpapa. He is as good of a grandpapa as he is a papa.

With love and blessings and by God’s grace,

Gerald, Judith, John, Anna, Seth, Becca, Laura

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Cabinets and Shelves

Papa has started cutting out kitchen cabinets! We're very excited to see progress being made.
Boards awaiting installation.

The first boards to go up!

Over New Year's weekend, Papa took a break from cabinets to help Seth build shelves to transform our guest room from this...

...to this!
It's amazing how much difference shelves can make!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Saturday, January 2, 2010