From Becca, 16 … I spent this week with some friends taking care of five children whose parents were out of the country adopting a child. We had a good time playing with the children, cooking, cleaning, and talking. I was grateful for the opportunity to help this family and to learn about how they run their home. I gained a greater appreciation for mothers with a bunch of young children; I think I understand their joys and frustrations a little better now.
From Seth, 19 … I have been very busy with classes and homework lately. I'm enjoying my statics class (the study of forces on stationary objects) the most.
A couple weeks ago, I finished up the book of Luke and began reading Acts, which is about the growth of the church after Christ's resurrection. The other day I read the account of Ananias and Sapphira. They tried to fool the church into thinking they were generous, but God struck them dead for their deceit. It is a sobering warning for me about the tragedy of hypocrisy and seeking to please man rather than God.
From Anna, 22 … We (Mama, Becca, and I), along with a few friends, are currently going through a parenting book called Give Them Grace, by Elyse Fitzpatrick. We are only a couple of chapters into it but it has been excellent so far. The main message is the importance of consistently pointing our children to Christ, the work He has done, and the grace He provides as their only hope. This is what defines true Christian parenting. Much of what passes for Christian parenting could just as easily be Mormon or Muslim parenting, and, as the author points out, if a Mormon can parent in exactly the way you do, your parenting isn’t Christian.
One point that stood out to me was the contrast between human standards of obedience and the perfect law of God. We often settle for standards that are too low; as long as children say “please” and “thank-you,” eat neatly, and play nicely with their siblings, we are satisfied. We teach them (implicitly or explicitly) that they are good people, that they have it all together, and that they don’t need God’s help. The problem with low standards is that they are attainable. Instead, we need to present our children with the law of God—perfect love of God and perfect love of man—a standard which no one, save Christ, has ever attained. This is the standard which will enable all of us to see our own sinfulness, the hopelessness of earning God’s favor through our own efforts, and our desperate need for the grace offered by God.
From John, Megan, and James … (by Megan) In mid-January we took a 15-day road trip to the west coast. The main destination was Las Vegas, Nevada, to go to the International Builders Show. On the way, we stopped in Chandler, Arizona, to visit my grandfather, and San Diego, California, to visit a friend of mine and John's grandfather. On the way home, we stopped in Taos, New Mexico, to visit some friends of ours. The show was huge (50,000 in attendance) and there were some pretty neat products. John went to some of the classes they held and found them informative and good reminders.
We made sure to see some sights on our trip - the Alamo, Hoover Dam, and the Grand Canyon. All great places to visit! James did well on the drive. Some times were tough for him to have to be strapped in his car seat all day for several days, but he did well. John said that the length of the trip is a twentieth of James' life which is equivalent to a year in mine. That really made the trip feel long!
We made it home safely and are very glad to be home after being on the road for so long!
From Ray, Katie, Peter, Samuel, and Andrew … (by Katie) We have been busy working on selling our old house. We had a new roof put on, and a new kitchen floor installed. Our handyman friend did lots of odds and ends to make the house look better, like touching up paint, straightening the porch, and putting in a new door. Ray got it listed early last week and we received an excellent offer three days later. It's an unusual property (small house on a large lot), and we weren't sure if that would mean little interest or a lot of interest. We are thankful and excited that it looks like the house will sell quickly.
From Judith … Our local family gatherings are getting more interesting as time goes on. The three little Wade boys need to be watched pretty carefully anyway, but when James is added to the mix, even more attentiveness is called for. Andrew (the youngest Wade), though only five months old, has taken to crawling and is very intent on getting in on the action. James (John and Megan’s son) will be walking soon which will give him added protection. Fortunately, there are plenty of arms to hold little ones when things get too lively. I really enjoy the uniqueness of each grandson -- no two alike! Becoming more and more tuned in to each of their personalities is a particular pleasure to me. I sometimes wonder what they’ll each be like as adults.
From Gerald … It was a great joy to have all of our children and grandchildren with us to celebrate Christmas. We worshiped, ate, went caroling, played games, and sang together. We didn’t nap together, but we took time out to do that also.
In January Judith and I drove to Nebraska to attend a memorial service for my aunt, my Dad’s sister. Of the five siblings and their spouses, there are only one brother and three spouses remaining. This creates an increased awareness of the passing of time and of generations moving on. It is a reminder to me to use my time on this earth in ways that are pleasing to God and that are in line with his purposes.
With love from the Pedersen clan