Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dressing Up My Windows

The house-rescue work priorities here are always shifting.  Regarding window replacements, once a new window is put in and sealed up on the outside, our main attention moves to more needed projects.  That has meant the finish work on the windows being done more gradually.  (Part of that is because it requires multiple phases, some of which require drying time.)  Five upstairs windows have been bare of coverings while waiting for that finish work.  Happily, though, they are now fully dressed and I’m very pleased with the results!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Adopted for Life

As I mentioned in our last newsletter, I've been reading Adopted for Life, by Russell Moore.  Having now finished the book, I would highly recommend it for anyone.  Adoption is not just about providing an alternative for couples unable to bear children biologically, or even just about providing homes to needy, helpless children.  As Moore says, it's spiritual warfare.  Whenever a Christian family takes a child into their home and makes him one of their own, they are proclaiming glorious truths about the nature of God's fatherhood, His adoption of His children, the true unity that believers have in Christ, and the security and assurance that believers have as God's children.

God's children.  We're so used to hearing the terms of God's fatherhood that we don't think half enough about the wonder of the reality behind them.  We are no longer enemies of God.  We're not even slaves or servants.  We are His sons.  Would you like to regain some perspective on what this really means?  Then read this book.

That's why this book is for anyone.  Every believer has been adopted, and we all need to be reminded of what that means and why it matters.  And when we are, we'll see earthly adoption for the vital mission that it is-- a mission that everyone in the church should care about, even those who are not being called to adopt themselves.

Here are a couple of quotes from the chapter addressing issues that parents and children sometimes face after an adoption:

"The questions of the past remind us that adoption is always part of a sad story.  The flowers framed on my wall remind me of ugliness, abandonment, death.  They also, though, remind me of beauty, family, life.  To an infinitely greater degree, every Christian knows something of this already.  We're the people who sing of being lost and now found.  We're people who proclaim Christ crucified.  We glory, after all, in a Roman torture device that saved the world.  All of our pasts include mystery and agony.  It's not that we don't weep.  It's that we weep knowing those tears will be wiped away by hands scabbed over with nail-prints."

"Some unique challenges go along with adoption...Count these as all joy.  They point all of us--not just kids who were adopted--to the gospel.  The gospel welcomes us and receives us as loved children.  The gospel disciplines us and prepares us for eternity as heirs.  The gospel speaks truth to us and shows us our misery in Adam and our glory in Christ.  The gospel shows us that we were born into death and then shows us, by free grace, that we're adopted for life."

Speaking of adoption, some friends of ours made an documentary about adoption last fall, and it is now available for free streaming during the month of July!  They did an excellent job, in both content and production, so go watch it!  It will be well worth your time.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Summer Pictures

Garden tomatoes...

...and yellow zuchini

The Wades went on their first bike ride as a family when they bought Katie a bike.

 Seth got his first paycheck.

For Papa's birthday we had a potato bar.  We cooked this big one especially for him.

Greeting James

Peter likes to do what Seth does.

We were trying to take a picture of Papa with his grandchildren for his birthday. :)

 James sitting on his cousin

It doesn't take much to become a cowboy--a hat, a gun, and a horse.

We have some lilies blooming right now.

Papa took vacation days last week to work on the west wall.  He mostly worked alone, but John and Seth were able to help for a few hours on one day.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

July Newsletter

From Laura, 13 … The time has come.  I, the last member of the family, am now getting braces.  It always seemed like something a long way off.  That is, until now.  In 11 days, yes, 264 hours, I will be confined to “non-caramel-ly” foods for two years (or 17,520 hours).  I can’t say I’m extremely excited about it, but it will probably be a novelty once the pain wears off.  The disadvantages in my mind are (1) any inconvenience involved in receiving them, (2) having soreness because of the spacers and braces, (3) being restricted from popcorn and caramel, and (4) having to brush my teeth three times a day.  The advantage is that I will get to choose what colors of bands to have every six weeks.  And, actually, I will even get straight teeth!

From Becca, 15 … We had some neighbors over recently and found out that their nine-year-old daughter really likes to draw but has no one to teach her.  So we offered to have me teach her.  I will give her some lessons from The Drawing Textbook.  Mama took us through that book and we finished this spring.  I have never taught anyone before and I am excited about this opportunity.

From Seth, 19 … Several times during the past weeks I have spent time helping a Mexican friend and coworker remodel my boss’s house.  Working and talking together has been an excellent opportunity to improve my Spanish.  For example, I’ve learned the difference between an abogado and an avocado (a lawyer and a squishy green fruit, respectively).

On my way to Kinko’s yesterday, I was listening to an audio in which the preacher was talking about loving people even when for some reason you don’t want to.  Specifically talking about love for one’s wife, he said, “Blood was shed at Calvary for her.”  When we think about Christ shedding his blood to redeem sinners for God, all the reasons we come up with for not loving someone seem so hollow and insignificant.

From Anna, 22 … I'm currently reading a book called Adopted for Life, by Russell Moore.  It beautifully draws the connection between earthly, physical adoption and the spiritual adoption of believers, by which they are made sons of God.  Earthly adoption gives us a picture of what God has done for us in taking helpless, sinful rebels and making them sons, with all the privileges and rights of sons.  On the other hand, the more we understand what God has done for us, the greater will be our desire to mirror God's love and grace in the adoption of the weak and unwanted children in this world.

One interesting side point concerned the use of the term "sons" in Biblical references to adoption.  The author pointed out that in the culture in which the Bible was written, only sons could inherit.  When the Bible says that we have all been adopted as sons, it is making it clear that all of us--Jew or Gentile, male or female--are equally heirs of God.

From John, Megan,and James … (by Megan) John and I celebrated our first anniversary!  We are very thankful to God for our first year of marriage and to be starting our second.  God has blessed us so much this past year and it's humbling and amazing to look back and see it all!

James is three and a half months old now and is grasping at toys (if held in front of him) and putting them to his mouth to chew on.  He is taking some more interest in his surroundings and is always there to put a smile on our faces! :)

John has been busy with work.  His current project is a kitchen remodel.  It will be a several-week job and he has some other jobs scheduled after that.  We are grateful for this busy time.

John never ceases to amaze me!  Just the other day he installed our guest bathroom countertop -- by himself!  It's a slab of soap stone!!  Yeah, he's super strong! :-D  I plan to get some pictures of the progress on our blog soon, so check our blog often.

From Ray, Katie, Peter, Samuel, and baby-on-the-way (by Katie) We have many things to be thankful for this summer.  It’s a busy time in our lives, and we sometimes feel overwhelmed, but we are counting our blessings along the way.  Ray has had lots of business, including some particularly rewarding transactions, and some great clients that have become friends too.  My pregnancy has continued to be pretty much perfect.  The Lord has given me the stamina to keep up with our two little monkeys, I mean boys, without becoming exhausted.  I only have about five weeks left, and haven’t become as bulky as I did with Samuel, I don’t think, so maybe this baby won’t be another nine-pounder!  Peter did very well with potty training recently, much to our relief.  He sometimes pats my tummy and says, “New baby in there?”  Samuel’s current passion in life seems to be eating, which might explain why he weighs only three pounds less than Peter now.  He’s also developing quite the sense of humor.

From Judith … We actually took both Laura and Becca in to be evaluated for braces.  Our suspicion proved true that Laura needs them and Becca does not.  It looks like we’re being spared one child for this process!  Yea!  We’re hoping Becca’s bite remains acceptable.

We’re beginning to anticipate the Wades’ birth more and more.  We’ll be helping out more than usual for a time when the new baby comes.  He/she is due August 11.  Peter was born 12 days early and Samuel was 6 days late, so it’s anyone’s guess when this one will come!

This house has less closet/cabinet space than our last house, so a fair bit of stuff has remained in boxes in the unfinished apartment which I sometimes call “the warehouse.”  As time marches on, the priorities for the house remodeling/rescuing work sometimes shift.  We’d really like to have the full bath and bedroom spaces in the apartment done enough for guests to use, but we must finish the west wall first (see Gerald’s entry).  As much as I’d like to have the kitchen cabinets done, this other work is more pressing.  To that end I’ve been going through the “warehouse” boxes (mostly books) to see what we might pass along.

From Gerald … I took this week as vacation to work on our house.  It has been rewarding to see a bit more progress.  Having several days in a row helps to provide more continuity.  It still is slow work because it is mostly just me and there always seem to be obstacles to overcome.  I got the new window framed for the living room, but it required moving a drain from the upstairs bathroom.  The drain came down in the wall right in the middle of where the new window is going to be.  I also needed to replace some rotted studs.  It’s no wonder we have had issues with walls moving and cracking.  But, bit-by-bit, things are coming together as we rescue this house.

With love from the Pedersen clan