August 30th, 2014 | Author:

One of the best parts of The Cabin is its remoteness.  Oh, we’re only about 8 miles from a grocery store, a gas station, and a nice sized $1.59 dish of Moose Tracks Ice Cream, but the cabin itself is situated on about 100 acres with no close neighbors to speak off. (The owls last night were having quite a discussion, but since I’ve never actually met (or even seen) them, they hardly count!) Back in the day (as the days before cell phones) there was no way to contact anyone short of driving those 8 miles into town.  Today it’s a different story.  Sort of. The good news is the cell phone works – if you find just the right spot, stand in just the right angle and hold your mouth in a certain way – so you can call someone to remind them to bring paper plates. The bad news is there is the possibility that the phone will ring and interrupt your solidude. And then of course you have to quickly find that right spot, position yourself at that perfect angle and hold your mouth in that magic position while saying hello. And before it goes to voice mail. The same goes for my little wifi card.  Which, sadly I suppose, is just a part of my life these days and my desire to “stay connected.” The device doesn’t move, but the signal that it emits is quite intermittent.  Sometimes it zips right along (as in the page I am trying to load will eventually appear) but mostly it just plods along with barely enough umph to retrieve email and I consistently get the dreaded “cannot load data” message when I try to navigate the web.  All this is to say that uploading pictures has been pretty much impossible (though one occasionally sneaks up), and even posting this no-graphics entry might present a challenge.  So tonight I thought I’d do a bit of a retread of a Gratitude Challenge that I recently completed on Facebook. The challenge was to post 5 things you were grateful for for 5 days.   I tried to chose things that I was specifically thankful for that particular day – well, until the last day anyway.  So here goes -

Day One -

  1. Fresh Blueberries. (Been munchin’ all day.)
  2. Dinner that is being cooked by someone else. (Mmmm…Mac and Cheese!)
  3. A wonderful prayer walk this morning with my good friend Cheryl.  (Amen and Amen.)
  4. A husband who puts up with my sewing stuff periodically taking up a good part of our 300 sq. feet home. (Project’s almost done!)
  5. That Jesus loves me regardless. (Regardless.)

Day Two

  1. Paint rollers and painters tape.  (Only two days left to finish those rooms.)
  2. Good friends to work with. (I’m such a party worker.)
  3. Pictures of the grands on Facebook. (5 out of 6 today!)
  4. Dinner with precious friends.  (And their charming children!)
  5. Amazing Grace. (That saved a wretch like me)

Day Three

  1. Fresh brewed coffee every morning.  (Made with fresh ground beans =) )
  2. Grapes in my chicken salad. (And walnuts too!)
  3. A husband that is happy to throw in a load of wash, do the dishes and make that fresh brewed coffee every morning.  (He grinds those beans, too!)
  4. An hour long phone conversation with a dear friend we don’t talk to often enough. (But we still know we care. )
  5. A Sovereign God who is never surprised. (Even when it doesn’t make any sense to us.)

Day Four

  1. Project jobs that wrap up perfectly at the end of the project (location). (Doncha love it when a plan comes together?)
  2. Expiration dates on dry goods. (Oh. My. Goodness. – I’ve had that HOW long?)
  3. Friends that pray with me. (So much these days to lift to the Cross.)
  4. Our Cabin vacation is just a day away. (So ready. So ready.)
  5. A God who answers prayers. (With a “yes” or a “I have something better”.)

Days of Gratitude, # Five – a whole week late! My earlier gratitude lists were mostly of items I was grateful for that particular day (like grapes in my chicken salad).  For my last list I thought I’d do a list of some of the big over-riding things that I’m grateful for. I’m grateful for them every day, and they are so much more important than expiration dates on those cake mixes (Helpful though they may be!).

  1. I wake up every morning and dress myself.  Oh, there may be some creaks and groans, but my general good health is not a thing that I take for granted.  Too many of my contemporaries are struggling with major health issues for me not to be grateful that my 60-something body is still in (relatively) good working order.  I’m especially thankful for good genes (all my grandparents lived until at least their mid 80’s and Gramma Wood made it to 99), and that I love almost all veggies.
  2. My kids are amazing. I’m thankful daily that despite our flawed parenting, our children made it to adulthood.  And quite nicely, might I add.  They are kind and compassionate, loving to their mates and children, provide well for their families and even like each other.  Heck, they even like US! I could also say they are beautiful and brilliant, but then you might think I was just bragging. (But they are. Just sayin’. And don’t get me started on the grands!)
  3. Where God has Gary and me right now. Not in the wildest stretch of my imagination could I have envisioned in my 40’s where God would have us in our 60’s.  Our marriage is stronger, our faith is deeper, and our vision clearer. All because we got rid of most everything that we owned, quit our jobs, moved into a 300 sq. ft. tin can with wheels, and followed HIS lead into full-time service ministry. It amazes me every day.
  4. The Cabin. My week-long delay in this final list of” Gratitudes” is largely due to our arrival at our beloved Vermont Cabin.  There is so much gratitude wrapped up in this little cabin – from the faint echo of our children’s giggles in the loft to God’s masterful creation all around it to sweet reminders of the generations that preceded us and promises of those who will follow us. The Cabin – where my heart sings and my soul rests.
  5. And overreaching it all (from the fresh brewed coffee to the family I have been blessed with) is the giant umbrella of the God of the Universe’s love for me.  For when I could have cared less He reached down and, because of his great love for me, He rescued me.  And He continues to reach into my life each and every day, regardless of what kind of job I am doing at loving Him.  Great is Your Faithfulness, Oh God my Father.  Great is Your Faithfulness, Lord, unto me.

So much to be thankful for, today and everyday. How about you?

Oh, before I see if the internet is feeling peppy tonight, here’s one more thought from the great Reformation Theologian Martin Luther - Blessings at times come to us through our labors and at times without our labors, but never because of our labors, for God always gives them because of His undeserved mercy.

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August 26th, 2014 | Author:

We are here.
Where my heart sings and soul rests.
Where Gary’s list includes rebuilding things, repiping things and digging up giant rocks.
And mine includes…oh wait – he’s in the truck, ready to head to Lowes to pick up supplies.
And I’m OK with that, too.

August 17th, 2014 | Author:

But that could also be interpreted as – Oh. My. Goodness. We only have a week to wrap up this project!
Motel walkway
Gary’s been putting in extra time with the end-of-the-project deadline looming large but with the help of a local excavator who took out the remaining sections of concrete (yippee!!!!),
he’s made some great progress!
Oh, there’s still plenty to do this week – the stairs need to be finished up, and there are some fans that need to be installed under the stairs to vent the crawlspace. (Pretty glad I won’t be helping with that little project.  Or at least I don’t think I’ll be helping….Gulp.)
We’ve really enjoyed having two other SOWER couples here, too.
The guys have been mostly working on a nearby house that has been donated to the conference center (except when Gary needs them on the walkway), and we ladies have been painting the remaining motel rooms (on this side) along with some painting down where the guys are working. With four working days left we have two rooms remaining. We’re so very hopeful that by the end of the week that side of the motel will be all done and ready for business over the winter.
So the week behind us was busy indeed. And the week ahead promises to be be just as full. But lest you think that life last week was all work and no play -
Bucket #4. What a great afternoon.
Oh, yeah, baby. Plenty of goodness to go around!


August 11th, 2014 | Author:

Have you ever had one of those weeks that when you get to the end of it you are amazed with how filled with extra blessings it was? That’s how last week was for me. :)

1. Weston
Even though the start of my week was the end of our Very Weston Weekend, it was still a blessing. It was such a treasure to have him for the weekend – though I confess that the nap I had that afternoon also felt pretty good!
2. Prayer Campfire
My walking buddy asked if we SOWERS could host a Prayer Campfire one evening with the purpose of praying for the folks who were currently at the conference center – InterVarsity.  We weren’t quite sure what that would look like, but we were certain we could put together a campfire!
After a bit of sharing, we broke into small groups and prayed for specific needs – oh my, what a blessed evening!
The fact that it ended with S’Mores was also pretty sweet!
3. Work
Once again, it was a nicely diversified week!


Some kitchen time

Some painting time

and some great progress on the walkways. (Full disclosure = I held a board for him, so I can officially say I “worked” on it, but let’s be real. This is Gary all the way!)
4. Play
Saturday Gary and I joined friends at nearby Elk Lake. Ahhhhhh……
The food was great (have you ever tried blueberry/peach pie? It’s a magnificent combination! And with a scoop of vanilla ice cream? Be still my heart.), the fellowship sweet, and the water play was great fun to watch!
I’m hoping to make one more trip to the lake to try out those kayaks. Cheryl tells me a “paddle around the lake” is good for the soul, and that sounds good to me!
5. Worship
We finished up the week with “Church on the Green” – an annual outdoor worship service right in the heart of town. Lots of people, lots of worship and lots of the Gospel. Right there on the green! Loved it!

Yes, it was a “blessing upon blessing” week. Thank you, Lord, for your kindness to me in orchestrating such a time as this.

August 05th, 2014 | Author:

This past weekend we had the joy of taking care of our little 3 year old grandson, Weston.  His mom and dad had a very-busy-away-from-home activity with the youth from their church and asked if we could help them out by taking care of the kiddo.  Of course, we said.  We’d be delighted.

Since we’d never kept Weston for any length of time (and certainly not without Mom & Dad hanging around), my delight in keeping him was tainted with – What if he misses Mommy and I can’t distract him? Where will he sleep in the RV?  What will we do with a very busy toddler (are they still toddlers when they’re three?) in our little house.  What will he eat? What if he doesn’t like us???????? Oh, yeah, there were just a few insecurities going on at my house.  But God was good – and they all came to nothing!

We had so much fun – taking in the Montrose Blueberry Festival on Friday, over-the-top fun at the Discovery Center in Binghamton, NY and then a relatively quiet day on Sunday, just hanging around the campground.  There’s a whole batch of pictures HERE, but here are some of my favorites for our Very Weston Weekend!
He will stay awake till we get home! #oursfortheweekend.
Doing our best to keep him awake on the 2 hr. ride home. We were pretty sure that an 8PM nap was not a good way to start the weekend!
Wait for me, Pops! The Bluberry Festival was a bit overwhelming for him, but he loved all those firetrucks parked on the road!
Bedtime was a bit of a challenge. Or maybe I should say bed space was a bit of a challenge. We didn’t have room for a porta-crib and Mom had said he was terrible to sleep with (as in sharing the bed with me and putting Pops on the sofa), so we made him a little nest at the foot of the bed.
The new sleeping bag and Thomas the Train pillow helped, and while it wasn’t perfect, the plan worked pretty well.
Saturday was a blast! The Discovery Center was one fun activity after another -
“Here I am, Grams!”
Computer play
Weston Discovery Center
Picking up a few things at the grocery store.
and of course, trains!
He had such a blast! Outside was a beautiful story garden -
Discovery Story Garden
Golfing with Pops. I love this!
And crossing the Foot Bridge. (giggle)
It was a long day – and a very quiet ride home!

Sunday was quiet – Worship, no-fuss Sunday School, and then another nap attempt. Oh, well, at least it made bed-time easy!
Before we knew it, it was Monday morning and time to head back down the road to be reunited with Mom!

So the verdict is in. He didn’t miss Mommy too much, he slept great in his little nest at the foot of the bed, there’s plenty to do if you look around a bit (and there’s always Cars to put into the DVD player), and he eats just about anything. Oh, and he seems to like us OK!
Family Portrait

Thanks, Mom and Dad, for letting us love on this little guy this weekend. So very, very special!