Dear family:

The rest of the family is at evening church, but David suggested I stay home and relax. I have been fighting a sore throat for a couple of days and am feeling a little punk. He had similar symptoms for a few days so now it is my turn. I thought Iíd make use of this time and get a letter off to you.

This has been the period when Peter has dominated the family scene. I spent an afternoon with him at Lehigh, attending an orientation for the High School Scholarís program. Peter is one of two students from his high school selected to take a free course at Lehigh; there are about 50 students in the program from across the Lehigh Valley. The biggest difficulty has been trying to coordinate with his regular school schedule. Peter intended to take Engineering 1, and signed up for the late afternoon section before he realized that doing so would conflict with soccer practice and games. We tried to switch to the 8 oíclock section, but that was full. Figuring all this out, including watching the web site for students dropping that section took quite a bit of time over several days. It ended up that he instead registered for IR 10, a world politics course, and will hopefully take Engineering 1 in the Spring. Of course, he has to survive this course, and much to my chagrin every student we have spoken to who has taken this course has made comments like, "Ooohhh, thatís a killer course" or "Thatís the hardest course Iíve taken at Lehigh" and so on. Already we have had deal with a $160 textbook bill (no textbook for Engineering 1) and trying to figure out a way to get the New York Times on a daily basis when Peter only has class twice a week and no place within walking distance gets it. Uncle Peter has requested that his relationship to Peter not be made known to the professor until it is clear that Peter is passing the course, since he serves on an advisory board to the department!

In the midst of this Peter has gone "male bonding hiking" with his teammates on the Appalachian Trail, and is looking forward to high school classes beginning next week. He still has not finished, Les Miserables, one of his summer reading requirements, though. The local paper had a front page article recently, saying that procrastinating summer reading assignments has been directly linked to delayed frontal lobe development in teenagers.

Peter really has had a lot of good news/ bad news scenarios. He received a phone message that he had won a gift certificate, and we immediately jumped to the conclusion that it was the $100 certificate that the High School Scholars program was awarding. Instead it was $7 to a local video store (for which, since he doesnít own a credit card, he would have to pay $10 to use.) Another example: the orthodontist has decided his braces can come off in six weeks. Thatís two weeks after senior pictures. His ankle has come along well and he was back to playing, but now his coach wants him tested for exercise-induced asthma, which means more of the doctor visits he hates. But the coup de grace took place this weekend, at the opening tournament of the high school season. Peterís team was down one when Peter scored a goal! His team went on to trounce the other team 5-1, but in the process Peter collided with an opposing player and fractured his clavicle. Of course, being a holiday weekend, we had no alternative but to go to the ER. We will have to check in with an orthopedic surgeon on Tuesday, but obviously he wonít be able to play for awhile. A wretched by-product of this excitement was that I completely forgot that Ben was supposed to go to a birthday party that afternoon, and I had to call and profusely apologize to the birthday boy. Another irony was that David and I had planned to go out to lunch so we could get organized and coordinated Ė ha!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Christopher has been furiously working away at his Bible memory program, due today. He amazed the Christian Ed. Committee by accomplishing what seemed like an impossible task, memorizing the yearís work (Bible verses, hymns, and catechism questions) in about a month. He is also tooling away at Algebra and spelling to wrap up his eighth grade work. The pace is not relentless, since there are many allowable distractions. One of course, is his twice weekly babysitting job at the Kricks. Another is taking care of Belle. Belle is the chocolate Labrador dog of the Fletchers. They went on a 12 day trip to take their daughter to college in New England and have a family vacation. Since Belle is advanced in years, they couldnít bring themselves to put her in a kennel, and hit upon the idea of hiring Chris to take care of her. They assiduously assured us that she was well-trained. Naturally, she pooped in the house three times in the first day. But truthfully, since then she has been a model dog and the boys are enjoying having her here.

Christopher had a follow-up echo with the cardiologist and he has decided to double Chrisí medication since the Atenolol did not appear to have an effect on slowing his rate of aortic root growth. Chris hasnít had any trouble tolerating the medication but it does seem like a trial to him to have to remember now to take it twice each day.

Stephen is delighting in the last days of summer Ė twisting my arm to rent movies, reading the Redwall series over again, playing with his bow and arrow, getting invited to do things with friends, and practicing with his soccer team. They went to a tournament last weekend, were soundly beaten, and salved their egos by challenging the girlsí team (two years older) to a scrimmage and tying them.

Ben canít wait for his soccer team to begin. I found some old turf shoes in the basement and he loves to put them on and practice.

I have been busy with responsibilities as an officer in the soccer club. I have been trying to set up some procedure and policy manuals which will hopefully make things simpler and easier in the future, but in the short run this project consumes a good bit of time. Similarly, I have had to get things set up for MAFA. Then in addition there have been an unusual amount of household projects, mostly connected with cleaning up after our contractor. David has handled the brunt of those. We wish all of that could have been finished before Lehigh started up, but thatís the way it goes. We have been pretty frazzled, I must admit.

I think the only big topic I havenít covered is Lehigh/RUF. David and I spent our ususal freshman orientation day getting sunburned and greeting all the freshman. We had help from some of the upperclassmen this year, which was very nice. Then we had two símores parties at the freshmen dorms ( a símore is a roasted marshmallow and chocolate put between graham crackers), the club fair (where we handed out leftover Hershey bars), and a praise jam night with all the Christian groups on campus. On Friday we had our first official social event, miniature golfing. We had twenty six show up for that, in spite of the fact that the area was under a severe thunderstorm watch. Sure enough, it rained but fervent prayer kept it to slightly less than drenching rain and we all finished the round and ended up with ice cream or hot chocolate. Today we took six students to church. David sent out an email inviting students to church and then to our house for lunch afterwards. In addition to the six who came to church, three others asked if they could just come for lunch! And Jim Femister figured he was invited for lunch, too. It really was the grace of God that we managed to pull that off. As mentioned, I wasnít feeling very well and hadnít done much more than make a cherry pie on Saturday to get ready. We had barely enough food but it was great to make contact with so many new students. This Tuesday we have a first large group meeting of the semester. Unfortunately, Tuesday night will be a conflict for me with Stephenís soccer practice. Iím not sure how we will resolve that; I really like to attend the meeting.

David is going full-steam to keep up with all these contacts. David here. So far we have 46 new contacts - about twice last year. At this point it looks like he will have enough students for a Bible study in two freshman dorms, as well as a possible graduate student study, in addition to the large group meeting and the leadership team meetings. The girls have talked to me about being involved in a study with them, but I just donít have the time.

One major event, and I hope Iím not stealing Mom and Dadís thunder by saying this, is that on Monday my brother and I attended the settlement of the property next door. I wrote out the biggest check of my life and, as agent, purchased 629 Fourth Avenue for my parents (with their money, of course). The Lawrences are staying there until tomorrow, after which we will begin to move some of Mom and Dadís stored things in there. The boys keep asking when Nana and Poppa are arriving.

The only sad thing about the purchase is that it means that Amy (and her babysitter, Joan) are moving away. Amy has been an exceptional friend to both Stephen and Ben, and Joan is Mrs. Santa Claus personified. Chris, Steve, Ben, and I decided to memorialize this event by taking Amy, Joan, and Adam out to lunch at Nickís on her last day here and then we went for two rounds of bowling. Ben even had two strikes! I managed my top score ever (139?) Ė all due to having bumpers in the gutters. We delivered Amy to her new neighborhood and took a tour of their home. The setting is lovely but it is not a neighborhood with children unfortunately. We will miss her, though we expect the kids will still get together from time to time. Adam suggested we make the bowling outing a monthly ritual, since the children enjoyed it so much.

We have been praying for Gailís father, who has just been put in hospice care, and is apparently in a lot of pain. Also, Davidís father is undergoing tests for possible blocked arteries.



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