From Laura, 13 … We had a birthday celebration for me recently. For me, most of the day was consumed by cooking. I frosted the scrumptious banana cake and made eight small pizzas. It was fun for me to pick what I wanted on each pizza. I suppose the strangest one could be called macaroni-and-cheese pizza because I put cheddar cheese and pasta on it. After an enjoyable supper with all the descendants of Papa, we played games and did some singing. We sang Seek Ye First and the sevenfold Amen. It is such a pleasure to have a growing family in that the singing gets so much more full and beautiful.
From Becca, 15 … Seth needed to watch Food, Inc. for a school assignment and we all decided to watch it. We did not agree with everything in the movie, but it did contain some convincing information. The moviemakers were trying to show that the food industry in America is abusing animals, workers, and farmers and providing people with unhealthy food. Their solutions to the problem were government regulation and consumers who buy healthy food. The government should punish wrongdoers, but regulating the economy is not its duty. Consumers creating a demand for healthier food would be helpful, but ultimately the solution to unethical business practices is the gospel.
From Seth, 18 … I read an encouraging passage in Hebrews recently. The writer spoke about running the “race” of Christianity with endurance. Our strength and motivation for the race flow from gazing toward Christ, who “endured the cross” and who now “is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Moreover, Christ is the very “author and perfecter of our faith”; we run with all our might, but unless Christ sets us in motion and breathes strength into our weak limbs, we are like dead runners, collapsed at the starting line.
From Anna, 21 … I read something recently that compared the way people view church membership to the way they view a gym membership. For many people, their approach to the two is essentially the same: they join because they think it will do them good and provide them with camaraderie, but as soon as it gets too hard, or takes too much time, or forces them into association with people they don’t like, they drift away. Eventually they may try a new place, only to quickly arrive at the same result.
This is not the way it ought to be in the church. The church is Christ’s body and the family of God. The members of a church should be serving and discipling one another. They should be the first to rejoice with one another and mourn with one another. They should invest in one another’s lives and hold each other accountable. They ought to love one another as Christ has loved us, and by so doing demonstrate the love of Christ to the watching world in a tangible way. This is a far cry from the self-centered, consumerist approach of so many today.
From John, Megan, and baby-on-the-way … (by Megan) Life has been a wonderful journey, and we are looking forward to what lies ahead! We are working on getting things prepared for the birth now that I am 34 weeks along. The midwife visits have been very good, and James has been head down since 28 weeks. This last visit I measured smaller than at the visit two weeks ago, so he has dropped some. We are eagerly looking forward to holding our precious little boy in our arms! Prayers for a safe birth and that James will be in the correct position are much appreciated.
The bathroom has been coming along very nicely! (See our blog for an update with pictures!) We are hoping to get the texture done sometime soon so other things can get in place. This is all hopefully before the birth.
John's work has been going very well. God continues to bring work his way, and we are very grateful. These past few weeks John has had a large, free-standing entertainment center to build for a customer. It has been very nice since he has been working on it at home! We're liking the whole work-at-home thing! ;-)
From Ray, Katie, Peter, Samuel, and baby-on-the-way … (by Katie) Our big news is that we are expecting Baby #3 in August! We are thankful for another little blessing. I had my first midwife visit last week, and we got to hear the baby’s heartbeat. I always enjoy that, because it’s a good confirmation that I don’t just have indigestion or something!
I left my twenties behind this month. Ray organized a surprise birthday party for me, which was lots of fun. I was really surprised, and it was a special time with family and friends.
From Judith … I helped Laura make a dress last month. She had chosen and purchased the fabric and zipper with her gift money, then picked out a pattern from some that we already had. I had her do as much of it as possible, while I guided and helped when needed. It was my first time to make sleeves with sleeve bands. We’ll put some pictures of the dress on the blog soon. Now that Laura’s dress is done, my next sewing project will be ivory lace curtains for the windows in the girls’ room.
Recently I have been helping with some demolition work. Some of it wasn’t urgent work, but it was work I could and wanted to do. I removed the kitchenette sink with its counter and cabinet in the apartment and the wall between the kitchenette and the adjacent room. The wall wasn’t load-bearing and only had a little electrical to move, which Anna removed. We were all amazed at how much more open, spacious, and welcoming the apartment immediately became, in spite of its current “warehouse” status! Seeing a sudden dramatic change like that is one of the really fun parts of remodeling work.
From Gerald … Bricks – are they good or bad? That depends on how they are used and whether or not they are functioning as they were intended. I have written previously about our current project to remove the brick from the exterior of our house. We knew that this would allow us to correct the problems they had caused which have led to water damage in the lower part of our walls.
We made the decision to also remove the brick fireplace and chimney from the west wall. Initially, that decision was made because we thought it would be easier to redo with a framed chase and siding than to repair the brick. As the removal progressed, we became more convinced that it was the right decision. We had already noticed a separation between the firebox and the brick on the inside wall of the house. We have also needed to have the foundation company come re-level the slab on that side of the house several times. John estimated that the chimney weighed between 10 and 12 tons. Seth discovered as he was removing it that it was added to the house sometime after the house was built. So, we strongly suspect that the foundation was not designed properly to support that weight.
So, are bricks good or bad? Properly constructed and maintained, they can be used as a strong, durable building material. Used in the wrong way, they can cause problems that lead to damage. This is also true of many things in our lives that can be used for good or for bad; it becomes a question of how those things are used and whether they are in proper balance in our lives. This truth can be applied to such things as work, recreation, relationships, food, and possessions.
With love from the Pedersen clan