Dear family:

It is a perfectly lovely day outside, but since I have been bitten by a mild intestinal virus, I am not up to doing anything ambitious out there, so it seems like a good time to write a letter. The house is perfectly quiet. David is preaching morning and evening services at a church in Philadelphia, Daniel is visiting a Hopkins friend in New Jersey, Ben is playing at Amyís house next door, and the other boys are at the home of church friends. This kind of quiet is just what the doctor ordered!

For months I have forgotten to mention that there was an article in the February edition of Readerís Digest taking about the joys of living in a small town Ė and the writer is from Bethlehem. What you may not have noticed is that the accompanying photograph (the street where they live) is Lorain Ave.(where our Feaver home was), and the tree is the tree in front of Mrs. Dunlapís house!

There has been a lot of coming and going in the past weeks, as all of the boys except Ben have spent at least a week at French Creek camp, though not all at the same time. They all enjoy having a chance to get away, and the very rustic nature of the camp makes them equally happy to come home to modern luxuries. In addition to camp, Christopher completed two weeks at the vo-tech school, and Stephen went to a week of vacation Bible school. Although these kinds of activities free up some hours of supervision from me, they involve so much driving around and watching the clock that Iím not exactly on vacation. In that vein, the KFC manager has been annoying in scheduling Peter just an hour or two off from Daniel in this last month, so that we have all those extra trips dropping him off and picking him up. The nice thing about living in an area with distinct seasons is that the next one comes along just in time to change the challenges.

One sad event that happened while Chris was at camp was that his two female guinea pigs died after having been given a cold bath by Stephen, who was concerned that they were too hot one sticky, muggy day. (We had some days that were so humid the ink ran off my kitchen calendar.) The guinea pigs have delicate constitutions, and the extreme temperature change was too much for them. We now have just the one male, though Chris has plans to remedy that soon.

I always start the summer with a list of projects, things that I donít have time for in the school year that I imagine will be easy to get done in the summer. I never make it all the way through the list, but so far I have made and canned about 30 jars of barbeque sauce, which was one of them. I am also working on going through drawers or closets and clearing things out. Stephen and Chris worked very hard going through the basement playroom and weeding out old or broken toys. This kind of "clearing the decks" of clutter would make my mother very happy, though there is much more to be done.

As I mentioned in my last letter, it seems that a lot of our days have included supporting the medical profession. All the boys had annual physicals; poor Ben had FIVE shots at his four year visit. They even wanted to give him a sixth one (a new vaccine) but I decided that was over the top. Weíve had a number of dental appointments Ė the most major one was two adult teeth extracted from Christopher because his mouth didnít have room for them. They had the most extraordinary long roots, and Chris has suggested stringing them on a necklace to ward off dentists from getting any ideas about extracting others.

Another activity that always takes longer than seems reasonable is paperwork. With Ben going to nursery school, and Peter going to high school, there is a surprising amount of paperwork I have to fill out. Then I have the various affidavits and course objectives to write up for homeschooling, and further papers for MAFA (actually a double dose because I am a parent and a teacher) and all of the above mentioned summer programs have their requirements, too. I need a full time secretary! Somehow I thought the computer revolution was supposed to reduce paperwork.

Speaking of computers... all of the hoopla about the DSL line was premature, as David alone has had the benefit of it. Daniel and Peterís computers have been on and off, and no one has been able to hook mine up, so my Internet access still goes through the phone line. I guess we need to send Dan back to Hopkins for a little more training. In addition, the man who installed the line accidentally cut my doorbell, so now I donít have a doorbell, either, and I canít even access Davidís printer through the network anymore. You can tell where I fall in the pecking order here. Nevertheless, some of Peterís free time is spent working on the web site for David, so there is one step forward to offset the two steps backward.

But in truth Peter doesnít have much free time anymore. Soccer tryouts began last week and it was two hours each morning and two each afternoon, although the coach was more inclined to go for a half hour longer each session. Peter made it on to the team, thankfully, and will have his first scrimmage this week. Stephenís team has begun its three times a week practice, so we are back into the soccer season with a vengeance. The Lehigh freshmen arrive at the end of the week; for us that event is always the official end of summer Ė and Peter starts school the following Wednesday, so it will be an early start for everyone.

I gave Daniel the choice of a birthday party or a family outing to a nice restaurant to celebrate his birthday, and he chose going to a local steakhouse, which we finally got around to doing on Friday. Ben wanted to help make his own birthday cake, and has thoroughly enjoyed being the birthday boy for a week or more. Their birthdays usually coincide with Musikfest, and this year we went down about three times (after several years of not going at all). Iíll confess that we didnít hear much music Ė we were looking for some of the good food. Personal favorites include the crab soup served in a sourdough bead bowl, the fresh hot soft cinnamon pretzels, and bratwurst with sauerkraut -- finished off with funnel cake, of course. We did listen to the German bands and watched the waltz and polka competitions. I liked one grey-haired man who did tricks with a yo-yo while dancing.

David has been commuting to Philadelphia about three times a week, meeting with pastors and trying to involve a larger number of churches in our presbytery in the ministry. He also spends a lot of time corresponding with students via email, and is preparing his fall Bible studies. He is a big help to me in preparing my weekly studies for our summer womenís group. I have one last study to go, and I am simultaneously sad and relieved!

Iíve had some nice evenings out, too. David and I went to see The Patriot, and another night Judy and I watched Topsy-Turvy (a rather bleak look at Gilbert & Sullivan behind the scenes). I went to Lancaster to attend the birthday party of old ministry friends. It is most unusual for me to have four hours alone in a car, and I used the time to listen to the memorial service for Dr. Boice and two other sermons by Eric Alexander. Very rich and meaningful indeed.



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