Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Harvesting Tomatoes

Large and small... Of many colors...

including purple!

This is our largest so far, weighing one pound!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

May Newsletter

From Laura, 11 … There is a family at church who began an adoption process a while back to adopt a little girl from China. Finally, after three years, they went to China. We found out just a few days ago that they now have her! It was very exciting news!

Lately I have been knitting a lot. I am in the middle of knitting a blanket, a baby hat, coasters, and a hot pad! The hat is my first non-flat object.

From Becca, 13 … Since it is my job to get the mail, and I have to hop over the ditch to do that and sometimes I have to walk around on the street because there is too much water in it, I decided to put together a bridge using some scrap wood. I was very pleased with it. Well, the county, who has been digging our ditches deeper to improve drainage, was not pleased with my bridge. They were afraid that the boards would wash away and plug up a culvert. So they brought a big scoop truck and dump trucks and built me a nice little dirt walkway with a culvert underneath.

From Seth, 17 … It’s dusty news, but we went camping at the end of March. It was a great time. I enjoyed spending time with friends, beholding a magnificent waterfall, sleeping under the stars, biking down hills, singing around a campfire, igniting fires, and walking through the woods and along the river amid the beauty and solitude of God’s creation.

Recently I met with a surveyor whose office is near our home. I will be trying to learn a bit about surveying from him. I am not at all sure if that is something I want to do long term, but it is an interest worth investigating.

From Anna, 20 … Recently, a group that we’re familiar with put together a study tour of Europe, covering Rome, Pompeii, Geneva, and several sites in France, England, and Scotland. Going on the trip would have been an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience, but it also wouldn’t have been doable for us. Fortunately, they made on online virtual tour available at the same time, which has been very interesting and educational. Throughout the two-week tour, the group posted video clips online from where they went each day. The videos allowed us to both see the historic sites and to hear some of the lectures that were given.

I’ve really enjoyed learning more about specific people and events and also about how various events and ideas were connected. For example, we saw both Rome and Versailles. I had never realized how the court of Louis IV intentionally tried to imitate the Roman Empire. There are paintings in Versailles depicting Louis IV as different Roman gods. It has also been interesting to see the contrasts. We saw both the lavish cathedrals of the Catholics, and the simple stone church where the Pilgrims met. In all of it, I’ve been struck anew by how, in all the complexity of history, God has worked all things together for his will, and how in every age he has preserved his people and his church.

From John, 25 … I spend most of my time at work alone, or at least working independently, but recently I had an exception to the norm. Last week I replaced a Jacuzzi for one of my customers, and I hired a plumber to do the installation. It was a delicate job with a fragile tub deck, expensive paint finishes, and a curved grand staircase to go up and down, so I was on the spot the whole time. Sometimes it’s difficult to simultaneously think as a laborer, a quality control person, and a businessman, so it was nice to take one of those three hats off for a while.

Earlier this week I replaced a piece of sidewalk for a family we know. Their seven-year-old son followed me around almost the entire day, talking about everything under the sun. Now, I am not shy, but neither am I quite verbose. I think I had more conversation that day at work than I had had in the previous month.

About Ray, Katie, and Peter … The big news at their house is that today, May 21, was Ray’s last day at his job. Several months ago he became quite interested in real estate. Eventually he got his license and found a broker to work under. Since then he has been developing a client base. Meanwhile his work situation was becoming more and more difficult. He now stands at a bit of a crossroads as he considers either pursuing another purchasing job or going full-time with real estate. (He still enjoys purchasing; it was for other reasons he left his job.)

From Judith … We are absolutely thrilled to announce that our old house is under contract and scheduled to close on May 28! The house sat on the market for nearly ten months (July, 2009, to April, 2010). In late April we finally had a contract. We’re past the option period, the appraisal, a lender-requested hot water heater upgrade, and other assorted details. Seth and I were very happy earlier today (May 21) to pack up our few remaining possessions and be done with our last mowing/cleaning trip over there. We had purchased that house on Memorial weekend, 1999, moved out of it on Memorial weekend, 2009, and will now sell it on Memorial weekend, 2010.

From Gerald … For the last month or so, our family has been part of a small group of families meeting together for an overview study of the Reformation. Each week has focused on one or more individual reformers and their contributions to that turbulent period. It has given us a renewed appreciation for the courageous stands they took in response to the truths they saw in Scripture. Truly, we are reaping the benefits today from the seeds they sowed.

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

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Becca Writes

Becca did this hilarious piece of writing for English. It was a complete-the-paragraph assignment.

The textbook's beginning:

The campers woke to a strange clanging and banging outside the tent. They sat for a moment in their sleeping bags and listened. Suddenly, at the same time, they all threw off the sleeping bags and sprang to the tent opening.

Her ending:

Outside they saw a large, dark monster of a bear vigorously tearing into their so-called, bear-proof box of all their delicious provisions. All the campers jumped back into their sleeping bags fearfully, except for one. He was the boy who had spent almost a whole day carefully and lovingly preparing the victuals that were now being ruthlessly inhaled by a despicable larcenist! The boy charged out of the tent, taking up a cast iron skillet and bringing it down upon the sorry noggin of the hapless transgressor with the force of an avalanche and the sound of a gong. The unfortunate bear staggered off, never to be seen again.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Energy Not Our Own

I came across this passage recently, and was struck by the example of how we as Christians should be striving to do God's will and further His kingdom, and yet we can do nothing in our own strength or by our own effort.

"To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me."
~Colossians 1:27-29

Here Paul says that he himself toils to proclaim Christ, and warn and teach those around him, but that toil is all done with the energy that Christ works in him. This is not his own energy or power, but Christ's, and Christ's alone. It is only through that power in us that we can do anything good.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Tea Party

One day Becca invited Laura to a tea party. It was fun for Becca planning it, and fun for Laura to dress up and come.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Trip to Colorado in Pictures

(I know this is ancient history for a blog, but I thought you all still might be interested in these pictures from the trip we took to Colorado when our grandpa passed away last month.)

The day after the memorial service, we were delighted to find snow on the ground!
We all scrambled out of bed upon hearing the news, threw on some clothes, and headed out.
There wasn't really enough snow to properly roll snowballs, but we were determined to have a snowman, so we made it work.

Grandma and Grandpa's dog was terrified of Mr. Snowman. Every time he went out in the yard, he barked and barked at it!

The blessings and curses of having a work laptop!
Seth had fun trying out some of Grandpa's old surveying equipment.
During the rest of our week there, we were able to get some projects done for Grandma to help her be more functional at home alone.
This picture of Peter was just too cute not to share!