Trip summary … (by Judith) Our recent trip was wonderful but it’s always great to be home again! We traveled about 4000 miles over 17 days. After the biennial Pedersen reunion in Nebraska we headed north to South Dakota to take in the Badlands, the Black Hills, Mt. Rushmore, and Wind Cave. Also in that area we toured an old gold mine and rode an 1880 train. From there we stopped by Devil’s Tower on our way to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. We saw breathtaking views of God’s creation throughout our trip. It came in many forms – wildlife, wildflowers, forests, mountains, snowy peaks, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, springs, geysers, sunsets, sunrises, a cave, and rock formations. After our sightseeing we headed east, still in Wyoming, to visit old friends and then south to Colorado to visit family.
Woven into the trip were several stops related to family history. In Lexington, Nebraska, we saw where both sets of Gerald’s grandparents farmed and raised their families and where Gerald visited as a boy. In Casper, Wyoming, we saw the house where Becca and Laura were born. In Glenrock, Wyoming, we saw the house where Anna and Seth were born. In Ft. Collins, Colorado, we saw the house where Katie and John were born. We also drove by the curb where Gerald proposed marriage to me, but that’s a whole other story!
Stay tuned for pictures here on the blog.
From Laura, 12 … Probably my favorite part of Yellowstone was the waterfalls. They were huge, roaring, and awe-inspiring. It is amazing to see more water than you can easily calculate pouring down every second with mist and rainbows rising way above the surface of the water. It was so beautiful. It’s also neat to think that that same amount of water has been pouring over every second since we were there as well.
From Becca, 14 … I knew there were geysers in Yellowstone but I didn’t know about the enchanted pools and boiling mud. I didn’t even know God made such strange things. I was amazed to see steaming pools of deep, clear, brilliantly blue water. Some of them had delicate thin edges extending out along the surface of the glass-like water. I was also impressed with the mud pots, although they certainly do not have the serene beauty of the pools. They were holes in the ground with mud “blurping” up and dispelling clouds of foul-smelling steam into our faces.
We made lists of different things we saw on our trip. We saw all the state license plates except for Rhode Island and Hawaii. We also saw license plates from six different Canadian provinces and Switzerland. We spotted over twenty hats—baseball caps and cowboy hats—blown onto and left on the thermal features of Yellowstone due to the rule against walking off the path. As for wild animals we saw bison, elk, bears, donkeys, wolves, deer, pronghorns, goats, turkeys, geese, pelicans, ducks, an osprey, a marmot, rabbits, prairie dogs, squirrels, chipmunks, a mouse, fireflies, and some more birds.
From Anna, 21 … As I think back on all the sights we saw on our trip, I’m struck with a sense of awe at the wonder and variety of that which God has made. From the desolate beauty of the Badlands, full of contrasting brilliance and shadow at sunset or washed out by the brightness of the midday sun, to the stunning and rugged splendor of the Grand Tetons, to the tenacious elegance of the flower growing out of the rock, to the sometimes strange, sometimes lovely thermal features of Yellowstone, to the object of powerful grandeur or quiet beauty that can be made simply by water flowing off a cliff, to the variety seen in the animals, from the largest bison to the smallest ground squirrel, all things declare the glory and creativity of our God.
It was interesting, in the midst of these works of God, to also see works of man such as Mt. Rushmore—and yet, the ingenuity, intelligence, and artistry required to conceive and carry out such a project demonstrate the way that man is created in God’s image. The works of man, therefore, for those who have eyes to see, also point back to the glory and creativity of God.
From Judith … Our trip was certainly filled with the many different wonders of God’s creation! The thermal features at Yellowstone and the assorted craggy and stark formations in the Badlands and the Black Hills were indeed fascinating, but my delight was in the waterfalls, the wildflowers, the wildlife, and the snow-capped mountains. Due to the heavy snowfall in the Rocky Mountains this past winter, there was still quite a bit of snow above timberline and the spring runoff resulted in particularly beautiful waterfalls. They were tremendously swollen!
Having been to Yellowstone the year before the 1988 fire, and again ten years after the fire, we took special notice of the changes in the forest, now 13 years later. Amidst the young forest are the many towering poles that have shed their charred bark yet remain standing. Many others have already fallen and are littering the forest floor necessitating the clearing of trails with chainsaws. We were indeed witnessing the life cycle of a forest.
From Gerald … We are back from our vacation trip. I really enjoyed the time spent with Judith and our children and the other folks we visited along the way. We also saw and did lots of fun and interesting things. We had many reminders of how great our God is. Yet it feels really good to be back home again. We really missed Katie and John and their families (Ray, Megan, Peter, Samuel). We missed our church family and the familiar worship setting. It is also good to be engaged in productive activity. It is easy to allow leisure or recreational activities to get out of balance. We must pay attention to that even when we are at home.
Now for some other news …
From Seth, 18 … This week our church started a small group Bible study called “Getting to the Heart of Parenting,” by Paul Tripp. Last night was the first meeting of our group, and so far the study has been excellent. In the first session Mr. Tripp talked about how the family is God’s primary learning community. He fleshed out that idea by explaining how the family should be a theological, sociological, and redemptive community. Because the glory of God is all around us, in the design of fingertips, in the chemistry of boiling water, in the growth of a flower…, we should constantly be filled with awe of God and pointing our children to see how truly awesome our God is; thus the family is a theological community. The family is a sociological community in the sense that God calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves and to have a self-sacrificing love for one another. The family is finally a redemptive community because as we hold up these high standards of worship and love, our children see that they do not measure up; in and of themselves they cannot please God. Then the good news of the gospel comes in: though we fall so far short of the standards God requires, Christ came as our redeemer, and through Him alone we can have hope for reconciliation to God and growth in godliness.
From John and Megan … (by Megan) Earlier this month we were able to attend the Pedersen family reunion. It was nice for John to see family members again, and for me to be able to meet most of the extended Pedersen clan.
Sunday evening that weekend we were in Denver and I ended up in the ER for a kidney stone. We went in because I was having severe cramping and we didn’t know what was causing it. We postponed our return home from Monday morning to Tuesday morning so we could both rest after the long night at the hospital. I spent the next several days recovering and taking it easy.
God is so good to give us all the blessings He gives. John’s work has been going well. God continues to bring him jobs both from new and old clients. I love taking care of our home and family, being a wife, and now being a mother! John and I are expecting our first child! The baby is due around March 15. We are very excited about being parents! We will post periodic updates on our family blog – A Blessed Life: http://www.bountifully-blessed.blogspot.com/
From Ray, Katie, Peter, and Samuel … (by Katie) Peter has been learning quite a few new words, although he usually only says one syllable of the word. He’s also a keen observer, and often copies what we are doing. It has been fun, and a little scary, to see him learning so much so quickly. Samuel just keeps growing! He’s 2 ½ months old and only six pounds lighter than Peter. Samuel is also getting more interactive, smiling often, and “talking” to people when they talk to him. Several times lately, we’ve had strangers comment that we seem to have a very happy family. We can’t take credit for it, so it makes us grateful for the Lord’s work in our lives and for the testimony to His grace that we can be to others. You never know about comments from strangers, though: one day, a lady asked if Samuel was my baby brother!
Texas weather report … The drought continues. Please pray for rain for Texas.
With love from the Pedersen clan