Wednesday, April 25, 2012


As mentioned in our last newsletter, we have been having a fair bit of tree work done here lately.  We had eleven dead trees to be taken out, but one of them didn't wait for us to cut it down and fell on our power line instead. 

The power line conduit pulled away from the wall:

The power line pinned under the branches:

The main part of the tree, which went through the top of an old shed at the back corner of our property:

The shed, after we'd had all the branches cleared away:

A cluster of four dead pine trees to be taken out:

After the largest of the four was mostly stripped of its branches:

Topping the second-to-last one (This one was a particular challenge for the friends we hired to do the work because it had a rotten crack running up the side of it.  They belted it to help prevent it from splitting and tied everything off to the tree next to it.):

Nearly done:

Firewood, anyone?:

A piece from the tree with the crack:

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Beauty of Worship

I came across this paragraph in an article I was reading, and found it a good reminder of the beauty and glory of worship.

"What is worship, after all? It's the act of acknowledging and praising God as God; indeed, as our God. It is the adoring response of grateful creatures to their Maker. In worship we come before God with awe and reverence, focusing on him in loving contemplation, celebrating him for who he is and what he has done. We willingly bow before him in surrender, delighting in the privilege of extolling his worthiness. In worship we join our small voices with the celestial choirs in a grand chorus magnifying the Creator and declaring his excellencies: his purity, his power, his beauty, his grace, his mercy, his love."

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Lake Texana Campout

We went camping with friends earlier this month. 

This was the view from our campsite.  There was a little marshy area in the foreground in which was a whole symphony of frogs who croaked very loudly during the night.

Seth roasted a grub over the fire.  He didn't eat it.

The children had fun swinging on a rope hanging from this big lying-down tree.

We went on walks.

We saw a huge live oak.

We played chess.

Some of us roasted bread over the fire after we ran out of pancakes.  (We were hungrier than Mama expected.)

We enjoyed a time of worship on Sunday morning.

John and Megan came for Saturday afternoon.  

They forgot to bring more diaper covers, so they rinsed it out and John dried it over the fire.

This was Papa's first time to hold James as he was getting over a cold when James was born.

We saw a big turtle sitting on a log in the lake.

That green muck on the water was really tiny seeds, which you can see in this picture.

This alligator looks closer in the picture than it did in real life.

This flower was blooming from the plants in the water.

We found a turtle but it shut itself up.

Anna and I saw this sunrise one morning.

Also, the moon was full and very beautiful, but we don't have any good pictures of it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Bayou Bend Gardens

Several of us recently went to the Bayou Bend Gardens.  We were too late for the azaleas this year, but it was still pretty and we enjoyed our time there.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

April Newsletter

From Laura, 13… Over the past several days, some friends of ours who own a tree business have been cutting down dead trees on our property.  Four of our pine trees died because of the drought.  Another tree was dead and had weird mold growing on it.  Yet another tree was dead, but we didn’t have it sawed down quickly enough, so the wind broke the trunk and the whole top fell on our shed and power line (see Papa’s entry).  Some of our pine trees were extremely tall.  When our friend climbed one, he said that as far as he could see, nothing was taller than him.  It was neat watching them top and fell huge trees.  We are certainly well supplied with firewood for a long time to come!  Anyone want some wood?

From Becca, 15 … Here are some random things.  Last week we went on a free port tour.  We don’t get to ride on boats very often, so that was fun.  We got to see many huge ships and they gave us free soft drinks too.  Today a horse got loose in our neighborhood and a man with a rope had to chase him back.  Also we have been enjoying watching our friends cut down our huge dead pine trees.

From Seth, 19 … I have been quite busy this week because of rapidly approaching tests and assignment due-dates.  Right now I’m working on a paper about abuse and enslavement of those who harvest the produce we eat.

From Anna, 22 … I have now worked several days with Seth, the little special-needs boy that I mentioned last month.  It has definitely been a learning experience!  There has been a significant learning curve for everyone involved, and we’re still figuring things out.  I do feel like I’m better able to understand his moods and what he wants, and therefore better able to know how to respond to him.

The position has its challenges; I never know exactly what to expect and every day looks different.  I’m grateful to God, though, for this opportunity to serve and for the ways that I can already see God using this experience in my life.

From John, Megan,and James … (by Megan) James is here!  Labor and delivery went smoothly and very quickly!  Labor was 4 hours and I pushed for 20 minutes!  The midwife got there at 2:05 p.m. and James arrived 20 minutes later!  I am healing well and James is growing; at two weeks old he now weighs 8 lbs.!  John and I are loving being parents, even with the usual difficulties like lack of sleep.  We are very blessed to have James.  John has been able to be home quite a bit since James was born.  We have enjoyed having him home as we get used to life with a new little one and get back to a form of normalcy.

From Ray, Katie, Peter, Samuel, and baby-on-the-way (by Katie) All of our children have been busy growing.  The yet-to-be-born new baby is big enough that I can feel him or her moving around.  I also gained nine pounds in one month, much to my midwife's dismay!  Samuel is starting to pull himself up to standing and trying to climb on things.  He's also turning into a little character, getting excited about things and playing ornery games with people, like when he furrows his brow in a deep frown at someone, then grins and giggles.  Peter had to move up to the next size of clothes, and his language continues to develop rapidly.  He is becoming a good little helper around the house, doing things like emptying the dryer, loading the dishwasher, and setting the table.  Occasionally he's actually helpful!  I enjoy his company in any case though.

From Judith … Well, it happened!  I now have my visual on the reality of my son as a father!  John and his little family ventured out to help us celebrate Anna’s birthday last week.  It was sweet to see John and Megan walk through the door with their little bundle tucked in the carrier.  I so look forward to getting to know this new grandson.  It is a great privilege and joy to have our married children and our grandchildren living near us.  I hope that I never take it for granted and that if any of them ever move far away, I will accept it with grace and contentment.  For now, though, I intend to thoroughly enjoy the nearness.

From Gerald … What adventures we have had recently!  The most unpleasant surprise for me this past month was when Seth called me at work to tell me that the wind had blown down our power line.  He gave me a brief description of what he could see; I told him to stay away from everything and that I would be right home.  When I pulled into the driveway, I was met by Seth, Becca, and Laura with the exciting news, “Oh, it’s worse than we thought...”  It turns out that a tree had broken off in the wind and had fallen onto the line that connects between the distribution line and our house.  So, we were without power from Monday afternoon until Wednesday mid-day.  We borrowed a portable generator from the Wades to power our refrigerators, a couple of lights, and our computers.  However, we were not hooked up to power our well pump, so we did not have running water. 

The really odd thing about this is that a few hours after our power was restored, James was born to John and Megan.  A similar situation had occurred when Peter was born to Ray and Katie.  The power had been out for several hours at our house, due to a severe rainstorm, just before he was born.  The power came back on and soon after that we had a new grandson.  I wonder if there is some sort of meaning to this.

With love from the Pedersen clan