Monday, October 3, 2016

October Newsletter

October 1, 2016 -- Pedersen Family Newsletter

From Laura, 17 … Though everyday life has changed with Anna's departure, our routines have in general stayed the same. I have my driving permit right now, allowing me to drive the family around. It's gone pretty well, and I enjoy it a lot. (I think the family is pretty used to this by now, me being the sixth child.)  I'm also pushing really hard with my schoolwork. I'd like to graduate at the end of summer, 2017, which means I need to continue getting through vast amounts of material up until it's done (about 50 work pages and over 100 pages of reading per week).  Because part of what I'd like to do after I graduate is be a piano teacher, I am also trying to fit in enough piano practice to keep my skill level up.

From Becca, 20 … These last two months have been fun and busy.  In August Anna, Michael, Seth, Laura, and I drove three hours to attend the 162nd Annual East Texas Sacred Harp Singing Convention.  We got to sing our hearts out with a few hundred talented singers for about five hours.  The week after that we did a lot of projects around the house to get ready for the wedding.  We also spent a lot of time feeling sad and saying, "This is the last time to do such-and-such with Anna."  Then came the flurry of activity around the wedding.  We had such a nice time with our relatives who came and the wedding went off beautifully!

In September I had the opportunity to sell bread at a large artisan market and a small craft fair.  I baked more bread in one day then I ever have before -- about 30 loaves.  I enjoyed talking to people at the market and giving out samples.  It was so satisfying to come home with completely empty bread baskets at the end of the day!

Laura and I kinda-sorta held the household together while Mama recovered from surgery.  There were so many things to think about and keep track of!  And the grocery shopping was very traumatic.

From Seth, 23 … Our small groups at church have been going through a study of 1 John for the past several weeks, and it has been really great.  It's very good to be reminded each week to "abide in Christ" or to "walk in the light as He is in the light".  As we contemplate Christ and the gospel, how can we continue walking in sin?  If we abide in Christ, we will turn from sin.

From Michael and Anna … Today marks five weeks since we got married!  In some ways, it’s hard to believe it has already been that long, but in other ways it feels like we’ve been married forever.  Marriage is a lot of fun so far!  When we think about how much our relationship has deepened just in these first few weeks, we can’t wait to see what it will be like to look back 10 years from now.

We went to Kauai (Hawaii) for our honeymoon.  It was a beautiful island, with a little bit of everything—beaches, waterfalls, mountains, canyons, caves.  We really enjoyed having some time away, with no to-do lists or projects to worry about.  Some of the highlights included a zip line course, a sunset boat tour along a dramatic, mountainous stretch of coastline, and a hike that took us behind a giant waterfall.

From John, Megan, James (4), Ezra (2), and Joy (1) … Life continues to hum along.  Joy is becoming more of a toddler and less of a baby, although James and Ezra still very much consider her a baby.  She is trying to talk.  James is learning to read.  He and Ezra greatly enjoy "doing school".  We’ve made trips to the museum of natural science, the zoo, and the aquarium.

Megan recently became an independent sales consultant for a company called Norwex, which manufactures and sells chemical-free cleaning products designed to clean better and healthier than conventional products and techniques.  Not only has she been able to make extra money, but having the products ourselves has made several housework tasks faster, easier, and more child-friendly, which is a great boon in our stage of life.

From Ray, Katie, Peter (6), Samuel (5), Andrew (4), Grace (2), and Benjamin (6 months) … We went on a fun vacation for a couple of days to an indoor waterpark.  There was a toddler pool with little water slides, and some of us enjoyed the big water slides too.  We liked the wave pool, which simulated being at the beach.  There were also fountains, obstacle courses, a hot tub, pizza, ice cream, a kids show, and a fun cabin-like hotel room.  We all had a great time except Grace, who doesn’t like water.  She preferred pushing the stroller everywhere!

Benjamin got a clean bill of health from our family doctor, who confirmed that he is a normal, healthy baby other than his crossed eyes. We’re doing patching for now, per the eye doctor’s instructions, and it’s nice to be observing that Benjamin does see.  He smiles at people now, and is starting to reach for toys that are in front of him.

From Judith … Earlier this year I began to suspect that things had gone amiss in my pelvic region.  In May I saw doctors about it, which revealed that I needed to have pelvic reconstruction surgery.  It would include several procedures including removal of my uterus.  Fortunately the surgery could wait until after the wedding in August.  On Sept. 13 I had the surgery.  It was all successful and none of my recovery challenges are surprising to my doctor.  I’m managing and trying hard to be a good patient.  I’m able to do most of my usual activities, but I’m to not lift more than 10 pounds for at least another month.

This experience has been good for me beyond just the physical repair.  I have found myself marveling at the wonder of God’s handiwork in his creation of the human body.  Of course, I have been taking it largely for granted all my life – all the systems have just continued running on their own 24/7 for decades!  Also, this has given me a little view into the world of the infirm.  Albeit on a small and temporary scale, I have been dealing with pain, limitations, and self-care, in-home, medical procedures.  My mostly healthy, natural, simple world has been invaded by medications, medical supplies, and complicated insurance matters.  In all of this the hardest part is having to ask others to help me.  Time is a precious commodity and it means I’m asking for that person’s time to be given to me.  But I have to remind myself that in this communal family life here, we are serving each other daily, as unto the Lord, which is of mutual blessing.  It’s incumbent on me to graciously and humbly receive this service of others.

From Gerald … About once every month and a half, on a Sunday evening, we have a hymn sing in our family room.  We gather with friends and we sing hymns by request.  We sit with others singing the same part (soprano, alto, tenor, or bass) so it is easier to learn our part if we do not already know it.  The room is acoustically live, so it is lots of fun to sing in there.  Everyone sounds better when they sing in the shower.  Our family room is a bit like that but without the water.  If you live in the Houston area and think you might want to join us sometime, just let us know and we will add you to the e-mail group for the announcements we send out.