Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Wonder of Photographs

Photos of our family and friends are so easy to come by that we often don't appreciate them.  But listen to what Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote about daguerreotypes, the precursor to photographs:

"My dearest Miss Mitford do you know anything about that wonderful invention of the day, called the Daguerrotype? [sic]...Think of a man sitting down in the sun and leaving his facsimile in all its full completion of outline and shadow, stedfast on a plate at the end of a minute and a half!...The fact of the very shadow of the person lying there fixed for ever!...I would rather have such a memorial of one I dearly loved, than the noblest Artist's work ever produced."

My grandpa with his mother, the same one as the girl above

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spring Campout

We had a lovely time this past weekend camping at Brazos Bend State Park with friends.  The weather was nice for the whole weekend, and we enjoyed lots of interesting wildlife, beautiful flowers, and time spent with family and friends.

An egret in the campground.

Little boys enjoying the playground.

Splitting wood.


Flowers next to the marsh.

Water plants.

The marsh was full of all different kinds of birds.

The view from the observation tower.

Blowing bubbles with Grandma.

Eating s'mores.

Petting a baby alligator.

There were several of these swallows in nests outside the nature center.

Finding wildflowers.

Hiking through the woods.

Monday, April 7, 2014

April Newsletter

From Laura, 15 … As a finish to the conference mentioned by Anna below, there was a musical group brought in for a concert.  It was the group started by Keith and Kristyn Getty, composers of the well-loved hymn “In Christ Alone”.  I enjoyed hearing their music, both the hymns they wrote and also the arrangements with Irish songs.  They played a wide variety; some were rollicking Irish tunes, another was a serious medley including “When I Survey”, others were songs written by the Gettys.  It’s neat to be able to see and speak to the writers of such good hymns!  Most of the hymns we sing were written by people two centuries ago.  It is encouraging to know that there are modern songwriters composing really worthwhile worship songs!

From Becca, 17 … In March I started learning to drive!  I studied for the written test and passed, so now Papa has been teaching me in a parking lot and I have been doing driver’s ed.  It’s been fun and exciting; I just hope I don’t crash.  In other news, I knitted a dress for the new baby and tried it on Ezra for size.  Also, I have been enjoying this spring—everything is lush and green and growing voraciously, including the seeds we planted.

From Seth, 21 … We watched a video recently about the Mandelbrot set.  The Mandelbrot set is composed of all the numbers that satisfy a specific equation, and when they are plotted on a coordinate axis, they form an amazingly complicated pattern, as shown in the first image.  It is basically an infinite pattern because as you zoom in, it just gets more intricate and beautiful, as seen in the second image.  Within each white dot in the second image, there is actually a tiny duplicate of the overall pattern.  As Anna points out below, science should lead to the worship of God.  So should math!

From Anna, 24 … This past weekend we went to a conference put on by the Institute for Creation Research.  There were a variety of interesting topics discussed, but the biggest takeaway for me was a sense of wonder at the power and creativity of God.  As one speaker aptly put it, science done properly will always lead us to worship.

I just started a new part-time job working for our church in which I will carry out a variety of clerical and secretarial tasks.  It’s a good fit for me, and I’m enjoying it so far!

From John, Megan,James, and Ezra … (by Judith) Construction is booming in Houston and John’s phone just keeps ringing.  He has a helper but is on the lookout for another.  We’re grateful for God’s steady provision for their family.  Specifically John has been working on an extensive kitchen remodeling job which he is close to finishing.  John also works for us since we still have quite a bit to do on this property and Gerald doesn’t have time.  With John’s involvement there is hope of us enjoying the completed work before we die.  Megan is busy taking care of the household and the children.  James turned two and is gradually gaining more language.  It’s always a great delight when the little ones begin to talk to us!  Ezra, 4 months old, is just as cute and cuddly as he can be!  He just started rolling from back to front.

From Ray, Katie, Peter, Samuel,  Andrew, and Grace … (by Katie) We are getting excited about our new daughter/sister arriving, Lord willing, in about seven weeks.  Peter mentioned the other day “our sister is Grace.”  It was sweet to see him already thinking of her as part of the family.

We’ve been enjoying beautiful weather lately, and had a fun family outing to an outdoor activity park on one of the lovely days.  There were farm animals, a tractor, a puppet stage, little cars to drive, a pirate boat, a mini golf course, a playground, a zip line, a giant sandbox, and juice boxes.  The boys loved it.

Ray’s business is busy and growing.  He has two agents working with him now.  He has a 400-acre ranch listed for sale (, which is an interesting, and in some ways challenging, step outside of the norm.

I’ve been reading and learning about natural remedies through essential oils lately.  It’s very fascinating, and I had the opportunity to try some things out when several members of the family came down with colds.  Ray’s not sure yet if he’s being cured or poisoned.  :-)  Peter said, after finding himself still having a runny nose the next morning, “Maybe the special oils will cure me tomorrow!”

Here’s one more cute quote from a little guy.  Ray asked Samuel if he’d like to be a broker and take over the real estate business, and Samuel replied, “No, I want to drive a trash truck.”

From Judith … We recently decided to add a building to our property which completes our master site plan.  This has been in mind for quite some time, but has now officially been included.  The building will sit in the northwest part of our property and function as a large family room for activities such as extended-family gatherings and church home-group meetings.  It will have a small half bathroom in one corner.  There will be a concrete walkway connecting the house, the family room, and the garage.  We’ve removed the trees that were in the way and had the grading done.  Next will be the foundation and plumbing work.  We’re waiting for the overhead electrical wires to be rerouted.

From Gerald … I don’t travel often for my job, but I had only been home from Germany a couple of weeks when I was asked to go to England for two weeks.  So off I went to Tewkesbury, which is 2-3 hours west of London.  I enjoyed my time there; it was a bit of an adventure for me.  On the weekend I visited a couple of cathedrals and a museum dedicated to the British waterways (canals).  The museum was located in Gloucester, which I learned is pronounced with only two syllables (Glaw-ster).  Similarly, the nearby county named Worcestershire (known for a certain sauce) only has three syllables (Woo-ster-sure).  I also enjoyed an afternoon drive in the country.  I seemed to adjust to driving on the other side of the road (don’t try to tell them it’s the “wrong” side), but I continued to be challenged by the seemingly limitless variations of round-about configurations.  I attended a reformed Baptist church in nearby Cheltenham.  Their pastor is a man who emigrated from Iran twenty-some years ago and has been pastor of this church for about eleven years.  He was familiar with one of the pastors at my church in Houston, having read some of his books.  It was refreshing to be able to worship with them. 

With love from the Pedersen clan

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Rocket Park

A few of us had the chance to go to Rocket Park at NASA last weekend.  It features a display of the Saturn V, which is the rocket that was used in the Apollo missions to the moon.  It's an incredible piece of equipment.  Even standing right next to it it's hard to grasp the size of it-- and most of the size was to accommodate the fuel to get out of earth's orbit!

It's a testimony to the creativity and ingenuity of man, but even more so to the greatness of God's creation.  He is the one who gave man that creativity, which man exercised just to get a closer look at what God has made.