Wednesday, December 14, 2016

December Newsletter

December 10, 2016 -- Pedersen Family Newsletter

From Laura, 17 … We had a fabulous time camping last month!  A terrific rainstorm blew through right after we arrived at the campground on Thursday, but the rest of the weekend was pretty much free of rain.

That one storm sure was epic while it lasted, though.  We could see the clouds gathering as we began to set up our tent and canopy, but before we had either staked down, one of the strongest winds I’ve ever experienced blew in bringing buckets of rain that just drenched us to the skin.  The tent began to roll away and the canopy started collapsing in on itself.  We captured the tent and dragged it over to the canopy where Papa held one hand on the tent and the other on one of the canopy legs.  Mama was underneath, trying to keep our lunch things from blowing away.  Becca and I were on either side of the canopy where the wind was putting on tremendous pressure, bracing ourselves as much as we could to hold it up and keep it (and us) from being destroyed/blown away.  There was nothing to do but stay where we were until the wind died down, which was about 20 minutes later.  The rain drifted off a while later.  Later in the afternoon, although everything was soggy, there wasn’t a breath of wind.  We couldn’t believe just a couple of hours before there had been what seemed like a hurricane.

From Becca, 20 … At the beginning of November, I started volunteering for the pregnancy care center that just opened up in the building in front of our church.  I have been going on Tuesdays to be their receptionist.  I do various tasks like making phone calls, sorting clothes, typing up data, making flyers, and labeling pamphlets.  I like working with the other ladies there and I am excited about helping the clients and getting to know them better.

Laura and I finally finished rearranging our bedroom, so now we have a very cozy sitting area set up where Anna’s furniture was.  Also, we started going contra dancing and have had SO MUCH FUN.  I am still teaching ESL at the library with three students.  This week we had a wonderful time hosting a Christmas potluck for them and their families.

From Seth, 23 … Classes just finished at Rice, so now I just have a few final projects to finish up, and then I'll spend the rest of the month working in the lab. 

We spent a weekend camping in central Texas in November ... camping is always a blast.

I've read a few good books recently.  One was a biography of Sam Houston ... if you think politics today are messy, try time-traveling to the early 1800's!  Another was a book on prayer by the Beeke brothers.  I appreciated the point they made about loving other people by praying for them to grow spiritually and seek God and fight sin, just like you would pray those things for yourself.  Right now I'm reading The Reason for God by Tim Keller.

From Michael, Anna, and baby … Our big news this month is that baby Cheng is expected in June, 2017!  We had our first midwife appointment last week.  Everything looks good and we were able to hear the heartbeat and see the baby waving at us on the ultrasound.  We’re thrilled with this sweet blessing of new life, and humbled by the privilege and responsibility of becoming parents.

We spent the week of Thanksgiving in Illinois with Michael’s family.  We were also able to do a bit of sightseeing in the Chicago area and visit Michael’s old church.

From John, Megan, James (4), Ezra (3), Joy (1), and baby … We learned recently that we are expecting to welcome another baby into our family at the end of May next year!  So far the pregnancy has been free of any serious concerns, for which we are grateful.  Megan has experienced varying levels of exhaustion and nausea.  We have heard the heartbeat, and Megan has started feeling some movement.

In other news, I recently began the process of changing careers.  I have decided that running a remodeling company is not what I want to do for the rest of my life. Therefore, I'm now in the process of closing down my company to pursue training and experience in locksmithing and physical building security, my chosen new profession.  Currently, I'm working on finishing up some last projects while working part-time for a local locksmith company.  I'm expecting a full-time offer from them when I finish my other projects.  I'm really enjoying the profession so far, and I think it will be a much better match for my interests, abilities, and personality.

From Ray, Katie, Peter (7), Samuel (5), Andrew (4), Grace (2), and Benjamin (8 months) … We took a trip to the Smoky Mountains in October.  We saw beautiful fall colors, and enjoyed our time seeing another part of the country.  We did some “touristy” activities like riding a Ferris wheel, and also took in the sights of Smoky Mountain National Park.  We did lots of climbing over rocks and nearly falling into the shallow creek.  We saw historic buildings, and a mill wheel.  We also navigated a traffic jam, complete with motor home and Prius drivers yelling at each other, to get to a lookout on the highest mountain in the park.  The views were worth it!  We also spent a day at the Biltmore, where the highlights were the blacksmith, the kids’ sandbox, and the display of old farm equipment where Samuel told us how the brake on a historic wagon worked.  He’s mechanically minded, that’s for sure!

From Judith … On Dec. 6 I reached my 12-week mark since my surgery.  I had my last visit with my surgeon this week.  (Along the way she became my friend, so I invited her to dinner.)  Thank you to those of you who have prayed for me during this time.  I have healed well.  I’m allowed to lift more than 10 pounds now, but I should never try to lift excessive weight, such as 50-pound bags of oats.  I’m gradually working back up to my pre-surgery exercise routine.  My pelvic exercises, which the physical therapist gave me to do before the surgery, will be a part of that ongoing.

It has been a very full year.  Many of life’s changes have visited us – some with sadness, some with joy.  The year began with mourning the loss of my dad – a death.  Then in April, Benjamin Wade joined us – a birth.  Anna got married and moved out in August – resident family reduced to five.  I had surgery in September – a time of recovery.  Two pregnancies were announced – births coming.  John is changing careers – a new direction.  In the midst of life’s changes, though, the Lord never changes.  “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

From Gerald … I have had a chance recently to get back to doing a bit of remodeling.  I am building cabinets for our guest suite kitchenette.  Because it is a small space and we want to maximize the storage, it has been a bit of a challenge to design.  Early on we realized that stock cabinets would not do what we want, so I am building them from scratch.  John has agreed to build doors and drawer fronts.  The overhead cabinets are ready for him; I still need to complete the base cabinets. 

With love from the Pedersen clan

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