I've been reading in 1 John lately, and have been struck by the interrelatedness of love and Christian living.
"We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death." (1 John 3:14) We see here that loving the brothers is a validation of having received the true, spiritual life that comes from Christ. Those who live, love. Those who do not love abide in death.
John goes on to define this love that characterizes the Christian:
"By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers."(1 John 3:16)
This is not sentimental emotionalism. This is a deliberate attitude that leads to sweat, tears, and possibly blood.
removing the wall between the apartment kitchenette and the little sitting area
wasn’t a priority, I really wanted to see the difference it would make.Also, there isn’t much of the remodeling work
I can do, but this bit of demolition was doable for me.
Gerald had a somewhat urgent need for full access to the wall behind the
kitchenette soffit and sink/cabinet/counter in order to reconfigure the
plumbing.I did most of that removal, so
I was fairly confident of this next project.
The upper cabinets and floor had been removed during our initial house remodeling. Everything else was taken out during this recent phase. Before:
On day one I took off the drywall on one side, on day two I did the same on the other side, and on day three I took out the studs.I was glad I was able to get the studs out intact so they will be more useful for Gerald to reuse.Anna helped me by removing the wiring in the wall before I removed the studs.
Down to the studs.
No more wall!
Looking straight toward the kitchenette.
From the other side:
Standing in the kitchenette looking out.
Further work in that area, which will require the expertise of others, is a long way down on the list, but this was enormously helpful for getting a “feel” for the new open space created. We do plan to rebuild the kitchenette someday. Even in its very rough condition, the apartment seems more inviting to me.
We celebrated Laura's birthday earlier this month. (For some of her thoughts, see her last newsletter entry.) It's hard to believe that our youngest is 13 already! Our family is certainly in a different season of life than we were ten, or even five, years ago.
The cake decorator at work.
...which sometimes makes a good group activity!
The birthday girl with her handiwork-- the cake she decorated and the dress she made.
The whole family, minus the cameraman.
One of Laura's birthday requests was to play games at a park with some friends. It was quite chilly that morning, but at least it wasn't raining like it had been the day before! Almost everyone we invited was able to come, so we had a good group.
Lining up for running rock-paper-scissors.
The front person from each line runs across the field and around the pine tree.
When they meet, they stop and do rock-paper-scissors. The winner runs on while the loser goes to the back of his line and the next person on his team runs to meet the other runner.
It is recommended that when you are approaching the other runner, you slow down slightly, run past the other runner, and then back up to wherever you were when you actually passed. When you maintain your speed with reckless abandon and run straight toward the other person, you run the risk of colliding with violent force, which may result in two headaches and a black eye. If you happen to have a timely photographer handy, however, it may also result in a neat picture like this!
Since kitchen cabinet faces, drawers, and doors may not rise on the work priority list for a long while yet, I finally decided to cover the worst eyesores with cloth drapes, namely the plumbing and the garbage bucket.
These feet belong to a dad, a friend of ours, who allowed his young daughter to paint his toenails at a moment when she was overflowing with girlishness and he was the only one available.There must be a prize for this!Who needs tea parties when you’ve got a dad like this?
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.
Grandpa John was our father's father's father. He immigrated here from Denmark when he was 17 and spent the rest of his life farming in Nebraska.
One time his son, who lived in Colorado, took him to see the Rocky Mountains. They took him up high in the mountains and showed him all the beauty and grandeaur of the Rockies. They asked him what he thought of it all and he said, "You couldn't grow much corn up here."