From Laura, 12 … Lately I have been working on quite a few stitching projects. The skirt and vest set that Mama and I were working on for me is finished. Besides that I am working on knitting a blanket, crocheting a purse and a set of teacups, and sometime soon I am hoping to start sewing a doll like the one Becca did. I’ve already thought up some ideas for clothes that I can make for it. One idea is a skirt or dress that would use the same material as for my skirt and vest. Then we would match.
From Becca, 14 … A few weeks ago it was very cold here and we got to see a lot of fascinating ice. There were sheets of ice on some leaves, so we peeled the leaves out from under them to get beautiful ice leaves. We put them in the freezer so that we can get them out on a very special occasion to use for a decoration. The big ditch down the street had ice on it. We brought a big piece home for the others to see. There were small icicles on the roof too.
From Seth, 17 … This month I’ve been rather busy. We’ve been working hard to increase my driving skills; we have a DPS driving test scheduled for next month. We’ve also worked this month on making preparations and jumping through the necessary hoops to attend college. Lord willing, I will begin studying for a surveying technology degree this August. Since the university is local, I will be able to continue living with my family. Also, this weekend, I have been given the opportunity to do some street evangelism with some other men from church at the Mardi Gras orgies in Galveston. The experience has been both a blessing and a revulsion. I don’t think I have ever been surrounded by so much blatant carnality, but God did allow us to have some very good conversations with people on the street.
From Anna, 20 … This week I had the new experience of judging at a homeschool speech and debate tournament. I judged two segments—one was a one-on-one debate regarding popular sovereignty, individual rights, and what makes a legitimate government, and the other was a set of seven dramatic presentations performed by pairs of students. I was impressed with the overall excellence displayed by the students. The debate was really hard to judge because the judge is supposed to decide the winner of the debate based on who had the best argument, not who had the best position. I loved watching the dramatic presentations. There was a lot of variety, and they were all done well. It was hard to choose the best ones! I think maybe I think too hard for something like this. It would be easier if I could just critique each one individually and not have to rank them against each other.
From John, 26 … I have never really experienced any slowness in my work around the holidays in past years, but this year I found myself with not quite enough to do. It was a convenient time to be slow because I had a trip to Orlando and I replaced some siding on my parents’ house. Fortunately, work has now picked up dramatically and I am scheduling several weeks in advance. My occupation certainly keeps life interesting.
About Ray, Katie, and Peter … (by Becca) The Wades were in Washington for eleven days visiting family. The trip went well, but we missed them. Ray is busy, Katie is pregnant, and Peter is charming. Peter can’t talk, but he points at things and grunts. Usually that means he wants it. Today he saw a bird in the sky and was pointing at that.
From Judith … Even though it isn’t finished yet, I simply must write about my beautiful and delightful new kitchen island. Gerald is doing a wonderful job and it’s coming out just as we designed it to. It has quickly become a place where family members and friends frequently gather while either helping with food preparation or visiting with others. Along the two outer sides there are six stools and an overhang supported by three legs giving the island a table look. On the two kitchen sides there are built-in spaces for the trash can and for a column of small shelves. Also there are the beginnings of six drawers. All of the island base will be a dark red. Topping off this cabinetry is a 3 ½- by 7-foot, light-brown speckled, engineered-stone countertop. (It has no cut-outs since our stove and sinks are against the walls.) In 33 years of marriage (today!), this is the nicest counter we’ve ever worked at because of both the ample size (four can work at once!) and the stone surface. I’m one happy customer!!
From Gerald … John, with some help from Seth, has recently finished replacing the siding on the front of our house. The old siding was fiberboard that was badly rotted. It has now been replaced with Hardi-Plank siding. We still need to do a little bit of finish work at the soffits, and do the painting, but the appearance is much improved already. As part of this project, we also added rigid foam insulation behind the siding and replaced the upstairs windows on that wall. These changes should increase our comfort and reduce our utility bills in hot and cold weather. We have received approval from our subdivision to replace all of our brick with Hardi-Plank, so we will begin to move along on that project. The next step is to finalize the design for what we want to do with the mostly blank, two-story brick wall that faces the side street. We hope to be able to add more interest to the appearance of the house, making it look a bit less like a penal institution. At the same time we will remedy the problems we have with water leakage and the deteriorating brick and mortar, and will also replace the rest of the windows. Bit-by-bit, as we have time, we are making progress with this house.
Our Love, Gerald, Judith, John, Anna, Seth, Becca, and Laura