From Laura, 15 … Earlier this week we had a bit of a family reunion down at Galveston. We were sad that Seth couldn’t join us because of classes, but everyone else made it. We spent the afternoon out by the water. Some of us spent the time “wave-jumping” and others burying themselves in the sand. It was fun just being there with all six little ones (although Grace just lay on a blanket and sucked her thumb). It never grows old watching young children be fascinated with the experience of the outdoors. I think once you get to a certain age, it’s easy to forget the “amazingness” of the simple things in creation!
From Becca, 18 … On our trip in August, I read the final book in a series called The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson. I had already read the first three books and I saved the fourth book as a special treat for the trip. We also started reading them as a family, which is really fun. These books are some of my favorite books. They are so rich and beautiful. They make your heart hurt. They make you cry, but in a good way. The story has characters whom you come to know and love, characters who struggle in many ways. You find that names and identity are important, that there is love that loves even monsters, and that there can be beauty and hope even in utter darkness. There is a lot more too—I can’t really explain it.
From Anna, 24 … I just passed the six-month mark at my job with our church. It continues to be a good fit for me, and I really enjoy most aspects of it. Our annual fall conference is coming up in a few weeks, so I will be busier than usual with projects related to that.
I’ve been reading in Galatians lately, and I’ve been struck with how deeply altered one’s identity is at conversion. Our old selves are put to death and it is now Christ who lives in us; we are no longer slaves, but sons. We try to define ourselves in so many different ways, but nothing can define us more fundamentally than our identity in Christ. I’m grateful that, first and foremost, I am a child of the risen King. Everything else that I am pales in significance when compared with that glorious, soul-satisfying truth.
From John, Megan, James, and Ezra … (by Megan) About mid-September my great memérè (my dad's grandmother) passed away at age 88. The four of us flew down to Florida for the burial. It was a bittersweet time of remembering Great Memérè and seeing family members I hadn't seen in 7+ years. John was able to meet most of that side of my family for the first time.
On our way home while waiting in the Orlando airport, Ezra took his first step!!
From Ray, Katie, Peter, Samuel, Andrew, and Grace … (by Katie) We went on a road trip in August that covered nine states, almost three weeks, and over 6,000 miles. We were sure ready to get home by the end, but had a wonderful trip. We were able to visit 23 family members in California, Washington, and Colorado. We spent a little over a week with Ray’s parents, whom we hadn’t seen in over a year. They got to meet Grace and catch up with the boys. We did lots of fun activities with many special memories, including riding a train, driving a tractor, eating blue ice cream, riding the Monorail and going up the Space Needle, going up a mountain, having a birthday party, going to the zoo, and playing with the Wade cousins. We also stopped at Great Sequoia National Forest on our trip and saw a fallen tree that “we could walk through like a tunnel!” as the boys would say. We were glad to be able to make the trip, and thankful for safe travels and no sickness along the way.
From Judith … Blessedly cool weather has finally arrived here in Houston! It’s fun that it comes right around my birthday each year! I remember when I lived in Colorado; the early snows sometimes came at this time.
I really love fall and spring with its gentle changes in the trees and shrubs. It makes me think of how special it is to watch growth and change in people too, especially little people, but also, though more subtle, in big people. Each of the grandchildren becomes more and more aware of the world around him or her and wonders about it all -- which is followed by interesting questions and comments that require careful and thoughtful responses. I’m also thinking of the constant maturing and refining of our young, unmarried adults as God uses their life experiences to mold and shape them. Whether it’s the changes in the seasons or the changes in my children and grandchildren, it’s delightful to observe God’s handiwork!
From Gerald … Great progress has been made on the family room. The building shell and the covered breezeway between the house and family room are complete – framing, roofing, doors, windows, siding, and exterior painting. Once that was done, we moved all of the contents of our garage to the new building.
Stage two of the project will include a patio in the space between the house and the family room, and renovation (rescue) of our garage. Due to deteriorating siding and a floor slab that is low enough to allow periodic flooding of the garage, the bottom plate and many of the studs have significant water damage. Our plan is to brace the existing walls and remove the interior drywall to allow us to assess the extent of the damage to determine how to proceed. The roof and its supporting structure are in good condition, so we hope to be able to save it and not need to completely rebuild the entire building.
After the garage work is completed, then the “stuff” goes back into the garage and we can complete the interior of the family room.
Meanwhile the bathroom remodel is progressing well. This much is done: demolition, new dividing wall between the two bathrooms, plumbing, installation of tub and shower, subfloor, and drywall. The painting is almost completed. The main tasks remaining are exhaust fans, flooring, and installation of lights, vanities, and toilets. A word of explanation about the plumbing is in order. The previous locations of the toilets were both too close to the side walls of the room so that it was quite crowded. So, we took advantage of this project to relocate them. The old drains were four-inch cast iron, so it was no small task to replace them. The section where the two drains joined together with wye and elbows weighed over eighty pounds. We were on vacation when John and Paul (John’s helper) removed the drains, but we were home to see the new pipes go in. If any of you ever have occasion to install a rubber donut to join PCV to cast iron, let me know. I have a trick worth knowing.
We are grateful for the progress that has been made and are looking forward to completion of these projects.
With love from the Pedersen clan