Tuesday, December 8, 2015

December Newsletter

December 5, 2015 -- Pedersen Family Newsletter

From Laura, 16 … Lately, I have been contemplating the beauty and power of music.  A movie depicting epic pictures of nature is lovely to watch, but, when stirring music is combined with it, the images are transformed into scenes that are powerfully alive.  In addition, the many different types of music provide for any situation.  After a long and stressful day, a peaceful song can do wonders to enable relaxing and unwinding.  Then, when your heart is full of joy, sometimes music that just makes you want to dance is best!  

From Becca, 19 … This month I learned how to make turkey and fudge.  Here’s my philosophy of cooking: to have friends, you must have fellowship.  To have fellowship you must have food.  To have food you have to cook.  And cooking is an adventure!  Well, sometimes it is; other times it’s just … blah.  But even blah cooking is for a good cause.  Anyway, I had fun this week making ten loaves of cranberry bread and ten packages of fudge for a customer, all in the space of two crazy days.  I’m so glad I get to do these things.  I love making food and it’s good for me to be really busy with deadlines to meet because it keeps me from being lazy.

From Seth, 22 … Over the past couple of months our church has been going through a book together about counseling.  I appreciated what the author said about getting to know people (namely that we should do it).  Too often it's easier to keep our interactions with people casual, non-invasive, and "safe", and to never go beneath the surface and learn what makes them tick.

From Anna, 25 … Our church held its annual fall conference at the end of October.  I've been helping with registration for our last several conferences, but this year I was responsible for co-organizing the entire conference.  It was different being involved with multiple aspects of the conference, instead of focusing on only one, but I enjoyed it.

Our topic this year was a critique of the Word of Faith movement.  It was a much more relevant and intriguing topic than I expected beforehand.  I had never thought much about the actual beliefs and theology behind the outward manifestations of this movement, and looking at it in that way made me realize that these ideas are much more prevalent than I tend to think.

From John, Megan, James (3), Ezra (2), and Joy (4 months) … Life with three children 3 and under has been very busy to say the least.  The boys love their sister, and Joy loves her brothers.  She will be 4 months old next week.  A few weeks ago Ezra turned 2!  His vocabulary continues to grow and he is starting to speak in sentences!

We have moved on to a living room/kitchen remodel for our house while putting the master bathroom on hold.  This past month we have gotten the new pantry built and it's nearly finished!  After we get things moved from the old to the new, we can remove the wall that separates the living room and kitchen.  It will be very nice to no longer have a wall between rooms so I can keep an eye on children more easily, and when company is over so people are less separated while visiting.

From Ray, Katie, Peter (6), Samuel (4),  Andrew (3), Grace (1), and baby (due April) … Peter finished kindergarten in early November.  He is an eager learner, and it’s so much fun to see new things unfolding for him.  It’s also impressive how much the other boys pick up along the way.  We’re taking a break for the holidays now, and are enjoying some extra projects and activities related to that, along with reading books from the library.

Our baby on the way is doing well.  We’re halfway now!  I enjoyed seeing him or her moving around during the ultrasound this week.  We’re waiting until the birth to find out the gender.  It will be a fun surprise.

We had a special time with the Pedersen clan on Thanksgiving.  Although we see each other often, it’s always extra special to be together on a holiday.  This time, I found myself reflecting on how much we have to be thankful for through the ups and downs and changing seasons of life.  What a blessing to be led by our unchanging, faithful heavenly Father.

From Judith … For our annual international study/celebration this year we chose Sweden.  We learned about the country over a period of weeks, then prepared for a special Swedish meal with decorations, music, and costumes.  These are always fun and interesting.

We will do one more of these international studies next year.  We’re down to our last child to formally educate.  After Laura graduates in a few years, we’ll be done with homeschooling our children.  It will have been thirty years since we started with Katie in 1987.  That sounds like a giant change, but really it has been gradual.  The balance of how our time is used shifts a little bit more as each one graduates and even as each one has become a more independent learner.

From Gerald … I recently taught a class to members of our church.  It was an all-day session on God’s principles of finances.  It has been a long time since I have done this, and it took some time to put it together, but it was very rewarding.  My prayer is that the participants in the class will have an increased awareness of what it means to be stewards of what God has entrusted to us and that they would be able to use the tools and guidelines provided to carry out that responsibility.  We hope to do this class twice a year.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

2015 Fall Campout

For the second time this year we went camping in the rain.  We had a great time, despite torrential rain, gusty wind, a tornado warning, a flash flood warning, and multiple falling-in-the-creek incidents.  

This was our first time back to Bastrop State Park since the 2011 wildfires.  We were pleasantly surprised to see that the campground itself is much the same, although the surrounding land is full of burned trees.  

We got to be in a movie!  Click the link to see:

We are getting to be pretty expert tarp-setter-uppers.  Our 1200-square-foot tarp kept us cozy and dry.  And there were no places where the water pooled, like last time.

This was Grace's first campout as a walking baby.  See her little boots?

Michael was showing off to her.

We had a nice fire with hymn-singing, Bible-reading, and marshmallow-roasting at the old shelter built by the CCC.

The rain didn't last the whole time -- we got to go on walks and play volleyball.  Here is Seth in a bush, trying to get our volleyball out of the creek.

He ended up being the fourth person that day to fall in the creek.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Four Babies

These are the four firstborn children of some of our dear friends (and John and Megan).  They were all born in the spring of 2012.  I just counted and there are now eleven children collectively in these four families!

Here are the older pictures of them, in the same order.  They just keep getting cuter!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

August-September Newsletter

October 3, 2015 -- Pedersen Family Newsletter 

From Laura, 16 … Recently we were able to attend a conference near Fort Worth.  It was entitled “The Distinctives of Baptist Covenant Theology”.  I am glad to have learned so much regarding these important truths.  Now I understand so much better what is meant, for example, by the old and new covenants and especially how instrumental is a proper view of them.  What mercy God has extended in both covenants, for, in the old covenant, His people looked forward to the work of Christ on the cross, and, in the covenant of grace, His people look back on the redemption purchased for us.  Glory!

From Becca, 19 … I graduated at the beginning of August, so I have been trying to figure out how to prioritize and manage my time now that I’m not in school.  I like being able to say, “Yes!” to so many things, instead of, “No, I have to do school.”  These are some of the activities I’ve been doing since I graduated: working on a few school things that I never finished, taking on more household chores, journaling, writing letters, reading books, doing yard work, helping with adorable nephews/nieces, practicing piano, dancing and singing in the new building, going to the beach, going on dates with sisters and friends, having a birthday, going to shows (a Shakespeare play, a symphony, a couple of movies, and another play), going to a conference about theology, learning how to swim, and attending a class about philosophy.

From Seth, 22 … During the last two months, I graduated from college and went on a trip to Africa.  It's pretty nice having finished the undergrad chapter of my life, and I'm looking forward to going to grad school in the spring and getting a job in one of the labs there (right now I’m still working as an intern for an engineering company).  My trip to Africa was amazing.  I met so many new friends, experienced different cultures, and was really encouraged and inspired by the Zambian Reformed Conference I attended in Lusaka, Zambia.

 From Anna, 25 … This semester, I am auditing a class at a local seminary on the history of philosophy and Christian thought.  We have spent most of our time so far discussing the ancient Greek philosophers, including Plato and Aristotle.  It has been fascinating to learn more about their teachings and beliefs, and to evaluate how they compare with biblical Christian thought.  The most striking insight for me has been seeing how the philosophies that attempt to begin from human reason alone, apart from God and his revelation, ultimately end in meaninglessness and irrationality.  I have also been struck by the contrast between the personal God of the Scriptures and the impersonal forces that other philosophies propose as the ultimate explanation for all things.

From John, Megan, James (3), Ezra (1), and Joy (newborn) …  In August we welcomed our sweet little girl, Joy Constancy, to the world!  Joy was born at 6:55 p.m. and weighed 5 lb., 11 oz., and was 18 3/4" long.  She was 5 days early!  Labor was just shy of 6 hours and went well with no complications.  She is now almost 8 weeks old and is growing fast, now weighing 9 lb., 4 oz.  The boys adore her and are both learning to be gentle.  Every now and then James exclaims, "Look!  She's moving!"  Or "Look!  She's breathing!"  She is a very happy baby!

From Ray, Katie, Peter (5), Samuel (4),  Andrew (3), Grace (1), and baby … We've had quite a bit of excitement in the last month or two.  We sold our minivan and bought a large SUV for the family.  The van was getting pretty old and worn out, and we're getting close to outgrowing it, since we have baby #5 coming next April.  Yay!

We went camping a few weeks ago at a place not far from Houston that had lots of fun activities, including a water park.  We almost had the place to ourselves, and it was great fun.

Peter had minor out-patient surgery recently.  He was very brave, and very cute, asking questions during pre-op, and overall just enjoying being the center of attention, I think.  One nurse asked about kindergarten, and if he liked his teacher.  I was glad he said yes!

From Judith … We have recently been involved with a family that has gone through a crisis.  The mother contracted a serious illness in the hospital just after childbirth (baby #7).  The baby was healthy and sent home while the mother languished in the hospital for weeks with this life-threatening infection.  Thankfully the mother is home now and recovering.

I marveled at the small army of helpers that has been needed to fill in for this one missing-in-action mama.  It was made up mostly of church friends and family members.  One woman coordinated meals while another coordinated having an adult woman helper in the home each day while the mother was in the hospital and during her ensuing convalescence at home.  Dozens of people have contributed in countless ways through making/delivering meals, caring for the home/children, and praying for the family.  It has been a joy to see the body of Christ at work in this way.  When I think of time like money, II Cor. 8:14 comes to mind: “... your abundance at the present time should supply their need ... ”  The Lord brings needs into our lives so that both those who give and those who receive are blessed.

From Gerald … Even though we still have a list of items to be completed in our new family room, it has been rewarding to begin putting it to use.  In addition to family gatherings, we have hosted Becca’s graduation party, a hymn sing, folk dancing, and a bi-weekly fellowship group.  We are grateful to have a space in which to gather in these ways.  It has also been fun to watch movies on a big screen.

With love from the Pedersen clan

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Graduation, Birthdays, etc.

In August I graduated!  

These are my schoolbooks.

I picked out of some of my favorite books to use for decorations.

Andrew turned THREE!  His birthday requests were "cake" and "hats."  

Brother fun.

Seth went on a jaunt around Africa for three weeks and this is all he took with him.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

2015 Summer Trip

In July we drove up to Colorado and Nebraska to visit family.  We met up with the Wades in Colorado.  They stayed with us for two nights at our friends' house.  Seven of us slept on the floor in the living room!

We had a picnic at City Park in Fort Collins where three generations of children in our family have played.

We also went to the Bi-Annual Pedersen Family Reunion in Nebraska.  A bunch of us went for a ride in the hay wagon.

Samuel was beside himself with joy.

It was a very nice evening, but just a little later a terrific storm began and we all had to head back to our lodgings in the middle of torrential rain, thunder, and lightning.  That's what makes for good memories.

Skeet shooting the next day.

Laura playing a card trick on Uncle Larry.

The boys enjoyed playing with their (very pretty) third cousins.

This is what happens when you try to take pictures of children when there are rifles being shot nearby.  (But Grace is unfazed!)

The cousins.

The second cousins.

More pure joy for Samuel.

Ray volunteered to get roped!

We went to the rodeo to watch our cousins.  They had their own cheering squad!

Ty bareback-riding.

Cody calf-roping.

Andrew was enormously impressed with everything.  He kept exclaiming, "OFF! HEAD!"  with dramatic gestures of his hands.  That was the only way he could communicate his extreme alarm that the rider had fallen off his horse (or bull) and hit his head.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Baby Joy!

Baby Joy was born a week-and-a-half ago!  We were expecting her to be late like her brothers, but she was early.  She was tiny, too, only 5 lbs, 11 oz.  These are some pictures we took when James and Ezra and the rest of us got to meet her for the first time, about 15 hours after the birth.

 At six days old Joy had already gained nine ounces--a 10% weight gain!

I had to hurry and finish up her blanket when I heard that Megan was in labor.  Here she is trying it out.