Monday, August 4, 2014

August Newsletter

From Laura, 15 … For Independence Day, we four children went to a party at a friend’s house on Lake Livingstone.  On our way there I read the Declaration of Independence aloud.  I laughed aloud when I came to two spots where the writer had made a mistake and had to put the correction up above with a caret (^)! Those mistakes have lasted over two hundred years. 

Once we were at the party, each of us got a chance to ride a jet ski for the first time!  I rode with Anna driving and it was really scary.  She could barely breathe because I was holding on so tightly!  The jet ski could reach 60 miles an hour, but we barely reached 40.  Even then, the bumps were making us fly into the air!  It was excitingly terrifying.

From Becca, 17 … A few weeks ago I had the privilege of taking a class on accents and dialects.  It was an intensive one-week class—from 9:00-6:00 for five days, with practicing in the evenings and a presentation at the end.  We learned five stage dialects: British, Cockney, German, Southern, and Brooklyn.  I had a great time learning the accents and doing the acting.  Now I get all excited whenever I hear an accent.  Also, I’m very interested in acting and reading aloud.

From Seth, 21 … I recently read an excellent article on journaling by David Mathis.  He described how journaling helps clarify our thoughts and experiences and inspire us to action.  Journaling also assists us in remembering what God has done and in articulating praise and thankfulness for his mercies.  In the past, my journaling goals have been too lofty, and my journals have usually fallen to the wayside.  After reading this article, I got a small memo pad and have started writing a sentence or two whenever something comes to mind.  It's manageable, and so far has been very helpful.  Here is one of the best quotes from the article: "The goal is not to leave an impressive catalogue of your stunning accomplishments and brilliant insights for future generations to read and admire.  Die to that before picking up your pen.  The goal is the glory of Christ..."

 From Anna, 24 … I had the opportunity to audit a class at a local seminary this summer.  It was a one-week intensive on the history of Christianity, from the beginning of the Reformation up to the modern time.  I learned so much!  The professor did an excellent job of drawing out discussion and helping us engage with the ideas we were learning about, which made it especially meaningful.  One recurring theme was the mixed nature of any work of man.  Even godly men who were mightily used by God made great errors in belief or practice.  Movements that were largely opposed to biblical Christianity sometimes had valid points or made a positive impact.  Truly, the grass withers and the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever.

From John, Megan, James, and Ezra … (by Megan) We seem to have a lot going on with the boys learning new skills in this season of life.  They are growing up so fast!

Ezra has started solid foods and prefers chunks over puréed foods.  Applesauce is the only puréed food I can spoon feed him.  Lately he has been practicing crawling normally, pulling up and walking along furniture, and learning that he can't touch everything in arm's reach.

James is now potty trained!  He has done very well with keeping his pants dry.  He also has learned to open door knobs.

This past weekend we went to the Texas Home School Coalition conference.  It was fun to see what kinds of curriculum are out there.  There is so much to choose from, but we did narrow it down to a couple that we like.  Thankfully we still have a couple years left before we have to decide.  We are looking forward to that season of life when formal schooling starts.

From Ray, Katie, Peter, Samuel,  Andrew, and Grace … (by Katie) We are loving having a new little lady in our family.  Grace is a delightful baby.  She's starting to smile and coo, and loves having people talk to her.

We've had to have some extensive work done on our house this summer.  We had foundation repair that included making holes in the floor and tunneling under the house.  At one point the living room looked a little like a prairie dog town, with workmen peeking out of holes in the ground.

After the foundation repair, we had four days worth of plumbing work, and we're also taking this opportunity to replace the living room tile with wood floors.  John will do it while we're out of town, and Peter, after hearing that we'd have a new floor when we get back, said, "It will be like fairies did it!"

From Judith … Woven into my remaining tasks related to Gerald’s mother’s estate work has been the tasks of designing and purchasing for two major house projects going on here.  Gerald and I have done the designing together and I have done most of the work of shopping and purchasing on my own.

Currently, we have a full bath and a half bath connected to each other by a door between the girls’ room and Seth’s room.  (It’s an odd arrangement that requires that Seth give the girls clear notice when he needs to shower and then lock their door so no mistake is made.)  We’re converting the space that includes the in-between door to a shower stall, which will result in two completely separate full bathrooms.  Having those large bedrooms, each with its own full bathroom, will be very nice for visiting families.  John’s company will do the work, but we’re providing nearly all of the materials.

The foundation is now in for the family room we’re adding.  We’re awaiting the framing stage.  The windows and doors were delivered this morning and put in the garage.

From Gerald … In June we celebrated my 60th birthday.  I don’t actually turn 60 until August, but for a number of years (I don’t remember how many) we have celebrated my birthday in June because I got tired of sharing a birthday with John.  (Editor’s note: Becca just checked our old calendars, and we have been doing this since 1996).  I used to think 60 was really old, but now it does not seem old at all.  “Old” people have a certain appearance and manner (e.g. wrinkled face and stooped, shuffling walk) which I do not notice in myself.  I wonder if one just wakes up one day and realizes he is old, or if he never really understands that other people have considered him to be old for many years.  At any rate, I recently had two dental implants installed to replace missing teeth.  I am hoping to live long enough to get value from being able to chew on both sides of my mouth again.

We have a friend who is a piano and voice instructor.  We recently asked him to come to our house for a group voice lesson for all six of us.  It was lots of fun and after only one evening we have seen much improvement.  We never expect to be performance-quality singers, but we do enjoy singing together and his instruction has added to our enjoyment because we sound better than we did before.  We sing together each morning and evening as part of family worship, so we have been able to practice what we have learned.

With love from the Pedersen clan