Wednesday, February 11, 2015

December-January newsletter

From Laura, 16 … This week I turned sixteen.  I had been looking forward to this birthday for a long time, even since I was little.  I’ve always thought of sixteen as the age when a girl becomes a young lady.  I do feel older, and not just because I have lived another year -- it’s more because I think of myself as being in a new phase of life.

My birthday celebration was wonderful.  It was so special to have my whole family here, and doing one of my favorite things: playing bluegrass music!  We got to play all of our old favorites.  John brought his banjo, Katie her guitar, and we had so much fun.  Afterward we were comparing blisters because it had been too long since we last played together!

From Becca, 18 … I just finished reading Shakespeare’s Macbeth.  It was a tragedy because the hero became the villain and in the process lost his happiness, his soul, and his life.  He started out as a normal person.  In fact he was loved and admired as a hero.  But when he was tempted by his pride and ambition, he was too weak to withstand it.  He felt remorse right after he killed the king, but he felt that he could never be cleansed from his deed.  So he covered up his first murder with more murders.  He gave himself over to evil.

From Seth, 21 … I recently started a new job working in one of the labs at school.  This particular lab studies membrane filtration for water treatment.  I'm really enjoying learning about that process.  My coworkers have also taught me how to make water quality measurements and have shown me some pretty cool instruments, like scanning electron microscopes and "x-ray photoelectron spectrometers".

 From Anna, 24 …We recently finished reading through the book The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield.  She was a radical lesbian professor who came face-to-face with Christianity and was converted in a process that she describes as a “train wreck.”  It’s an incredible story of God’s grace and the way that He chooses people and transforms their lives for His glory.  It was also a powerful reminder of the importance of listening to the people around us, opening our lives to them in meaningful ways, and truly caring about them as individual people and not as faceless ideologies.

From John, Megan, James (2), Ezra (1), and baby (due August) … (by Megan) Since we last wrote we found out that we are expecting baby #3!  This little one is due August 16.  So far the pregnancy is going well.  I had a fair bit more morning sickness with this one than the last two pregnancies, but I'm grateful it didn't last more than a few weeks.  Lord willing, we plan to do another home birth with the same midwife we used the last two times.  We went to our first appointment a couple of weeks ago and got to hear Baby's heartbeat!  It's always wonderful to hear that little heart beating and know that all is well.  We plan to find out if this one is a boy or a girl and will be able to about mid-March.  James is at an age now where he can start to grasp the idea that a new baby is coming.  He asks me every day, "Mama, is the baby in your tummy?"  It’s fun to see him gain at least a little bit of an idea about the baby -- definitely more so than last time!  Ezra and this baby will be about 21 months apart.

John recently bought a work van.  He likes how much more cargo space he has than in his truck.  It seems to be serving him well, and it runs well.  He is now a company with fleet vehicles!

From Ray, Katie, Peter (5), Samuel (3),  Andrew (2), and Grace (8 mo.) … (by Katie) We started officially homeschooling last week with about 45 minutes a day of kindergarten lessons and activities.  Peter is doing some beginning phonics lessons, along with learning about the days of creation.  All the boys participate in crafts to go along with the topics.  We’re all enjoying it so far, and I appreciate Peter’s eagerness to learn.  Yesterday, I said, “Okay, that’s enough for today.” and he said, “Let me do it again by myself!”  It’s a strange feeling for me to start homeschooling my children.  It doesn’t seem like that long ago that I was a student myself.  I guess you can tell I’m an unconventional former homeschooler when I think February is a good time to start school!

From Judith … Laura’s birthday requests included having a jam session with her siblings.  As I watched them play the instruments and sing together, I found myself quite emotionally moved.  I’m not quite sure why.  In the course of time, we all adjusted when Katie, and then John, married.  I’ve long-since become used to having some of them out of the home and it’s a joy to see them walking with the Lord in marriage and parenting.  Maybe it was the full, melodious blending of their adult voices that struck me.  I don’t know.  Perhaps it was that, in spite of the many life changes, their hearts are still knit together as brothers and sisters.  All I know is that it was an incredibly sweet and tender moment for me, one which I treasure.

From Gerald … We have completed the structural work on our garage walls.  Here is a summary of the process: 1) build temporary walls to support the roof structure, 2) remove the rotted bottom plates and the bottom 10 inches of the studs, 3) insert cinder blocks with a new bottom plate on top of them under the cut off studs, 4) mix and pour concrete in the block cavities to retain the rebar and anchors (holding the blocks to each other, to the slab, and to the bottom plate), 5) remove the temporary walls, and 6) remove the old siding and replace it with new sheathing, insulation, and siding. 

All of this is done now except for the insulation and siding, which we are going to pay someone else to do.  We have started moving things from storage in the new family room back to the garage so that the electrician can get into the family room to do his work.  We are excited to see things moving ahead on this project and look forward to its completion. 

With love from the Pedersen clan

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