Category Archives: The Cabin

The Time Has Come….

…to get this blog back on track!

The Cabin Vacation has drawn to a close, and following one day of vacation recovery (that’s a thing, right?), it’s time to get back to real life. The bank statement has been reconciled, the credits cards are on auto-pay, and the oh-so-dry dashboard plants have been watered. And watered again!
But before we get TOO involved in real life (I still haven’t been able to watch more than 10 minutes of network news), let’s do a bit of Cabin Recap!
Ah….Cabin time!
Since I was also vacationing from blogging during our Cabin Time, it’s really hard to consolidate all the goodness into a single post. So let’s just say that Gary was quite productive –
Finishing up the dock
Cabin dock
Rebuilt the outdoor sink using leftover dock decking
sink work 3
Put together new benches
Completed benches
and got the firepit burned!
burning the pit
I’m also happy to report that he got three books read and took any number of naps. Here is a rare shot of him actually sitting down….
Rare sighting of Gary Sitting
I, on the other hand, managed to keep the hummingbird feeder filled (gotta keep those little guys happy) and generally stayed on top of the dishes and planning trips to get ice cream. Hey, don’t judge me!
We had time with friends and family and to finish off the vacation in grand style, we were able to overlap with our Texas kiddos for a couple of days! Whooohooo!
All of us

We don’t often get to the cabin in July so it was fun to experience it during the height of summer. Sadly, we won’t be able to get back again this year, but we’re delighted to know that the rest of the season is well booked by other family members (some for the first time!). I may have others “Cabin Things” to share as the days go by, but for now, here’s a little slide show (in no particular order it seems) of some of my favorite pictures from our cabin time.

Thanks for stopping by – and for your patience during my little blogging break!

Sabbath Rest – What Grace is Mine

We went to church this morning. Let me say that again – we went INTO a church this morning! For the first time since mid-March. With masks and every other pew and toothpicks in the communion bread – it was soul feeding, heart refreshing, jubilation! While we have been thankful to be able to worship at McLean Bible Church in Washington, DC thanks to the miracle of live streaming, being able to lift our voices with other believers (whom we are also blessed to call friends) and partake in communion (even with paper cups and toothpicks) was a huge blessing.  Huge.  May we never take for granted the gathering together of the faithful.

We sang this song this morning. Not quite like Kristyn Getty does, but it still stirred my soul! May you be blessed also!

What grace is mine
That He who dwells in endless light
Called through the night
To find my distant soul
And from His scars
Poured mercy that would plead for me
That I might live, and in His name be known
So I will go wherever He is calling me
I lose my life to find my life in Him
I give my all to gain the hope that never dies
I bow my heart, take up my cross and follow Him

What grace is mine
To know His breath alive in me
Beneath His wings
My waking soul may soar
All fear can flee for death’s dark night is overcome
My Savior lives and reigns forever more
So I will go wherever He is calling me
I lose my life to find my life in Him
I give my all to gain a hope that never dies
I bow my heart, take up my cross and follow Him
I bow my heart, take up my cross and follow Him

Cabin Weekend

We left for our first Cabin weekend of the summer at Zero Dark Thirty on Friday morning
because there was much to be accomplished once we got there! In fact, we drove past the Cabin and went directly to Lowes to pick up supplies for the ongoing dock project.

Even with the Lowes detour we still arrived in the early afternoon and were able to enjoy the day!

Our to-do list was pretty long, but mostly my heart was just ready for some long overdue (or so it seemed to me) Family and Cabin time. Gary had plans to raise the dock about a foot from where he had left it last fall (thankfully it had wintered well!) and then get the decking at least laid (if not secured). We also had our annual Dwinell Cabin Association (DCA) meeting scheduled for early afternoon Saturday which involved  four other families joining us. Here’s how the weekend went –
Friday – on the road by 4AM,
arriving at the cabin a bit after 1. Gary began cutting the decking for the dock and I began sitting around visiting with my sister! (We were essentially crashing Joie & Fitz’s time at the cabin, but they seemed OK with it!). Elna & Henry joined us later in the afternoon, and we had a sweet evening of catching up before what promised to be a Very Full Saturday.
Saturday – Although Friday was sunny and in the 70’s, Saturday dawned with cloud cover and a promised high of about 56. Brrrrrr
It didn’t seem like a very good day to be IN the pond working on raising the dock, but we (OK, Gary) was not to be deterred! He had thought ahead and brought his fishing waders so he was in good shape.
The rest of us – not so much!
Along with the help of our sweet niece and her hubby (and a couple of cute kids and a young golden retriever who were not quite as helpful, but pretty darn cute) that first part of the Dock Project was accomplished before lunch.
(Although Bethany and I are not in the photos, trust me, we were there in the thick of things doing our part. I just couldn’t handle being a help AND being a document-er!)
We were ALL very thankful for that crackling fire when we returned from our dock raising exercise!
After lunch we all gathered for our Annual “Board of Directors” meeting for the DCA. What made this year’s meeting much more interesting and fun was that thanks to ZOOM, some tech smart kiddos and just enough WiFi from my phone, we enjoyed input from several other family members from OH, PA, MD, NY and NC!
cabin meeting
Here we are, in the midst of some discussion, with the computer attendees joining in!
It was a good meeting – especially with all the input from the next (and next after that!) generation!
After the meeting Gary and some willing helpers finished up the dock decking.

Despite the not-very-accommodating-weather, it was a lovely, lovely day indeed!
Here’s our attempt of a Family Selfie! Sure went a lot quicker than if I’d tried to get everyone organized! Gary just held up his phone, and said – “Make sure you can see yourself!”
I pretty much love this picture!
Sunday was a bit quieter. We cabin dwellers did some Church streaming and afterwards Gary cleaned up any remaining mess down at the pond. Of course it was a beautiful morning –
but still, we had to be on our way early in the afternoon!
This sweet Cabin visit just whet our appetite for MORE Cabin (and family) time – which hopefully will happen in July! After all, that dock still needs some work!

We’ll be Baaaaaccckkkk………

Mondays are for Memories – I wonder if they knew?

Since we’ve just returned from a sweet weekend in Vermont, I thought it only appropriate that this week’s memory gives a bit of some background to this place we spell with capital letters – The Cabin. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll have more info about the weekend’s adventures!

9/1/2014 – I wonder if they knew?
Do you think they knew?
It was in October of 1937, in the midst of the Great Depression, when my grandparents purchased 190 acres (+/- as the deed states) about 8 miles outside of town along the road to Wright’s Mountain. My grandfather was the town doctor with a young family and I’ve often wondered just how they were able scrape together the funds to not only purchase the land but then build this modest one room cabin during a time when his bills were as apt to be paid with live chickens and black raspberry jam as cold hard cash.
cabin 1938
But regardless of how it all happened,  I wonder if they knew the impact this little get-away would have on their descendants.
I’m pretty sure the cabin was not built as a vacation destination. Since I doubt that in the years preceding World War II there were many vacation days built into a country doctor’s life, I think the cabin, in its earliest years, was more a spot for an afternoon of quiet, or maybe even that safe place where my grandmother could take the kids for a break in the routine. Knowing my grandmother, she probably used it for parties too!
Fast forward to the 1950’s. Although as a family we ALWAYS came to Bradford for our vacation (last week in July/first week in August = Plant shutdown = two weeks in Bradford), we stayed at our grandparent’s house – the Big House in the middle of town (complete with the Doctor’s office and Nurse Cora) and later a small house just outside of town affectionately called The Little House. I think that four young children coupled with no electric, water that needed to be pumped by hand from the not-very-close-by well and the random cow plops that dotted our meadow and path to the pond made “cabin time” a bit more challenging during those years. (My grandparents leased out their property to a nearby farmer for his dry cows to roam. The cows did a great job of keeping down the undergrowth and added a bit of whimsy to the cabin ambiance, but you never knew when you might come across one of their deposits.) We were more apt to pile in the jeepster for an afternoon cabin excursion or maybe, as a special treat, an overnight camping adventure.
While it wasn’t the ultimate destination for our family vacation, it was still the highlight. It was the spot where I learned to swim, bait a hook, row a boat, enjoy fresh caught trout for breakfast and how to read by candlelight. Precious memories all. By the late 1960’s electricity had arrived and we began to stay at the cabin for longer stretches of time. Or maybe it was that my grandparents were getting older and the happy mayhem of our family (now full of teenagers) was best enjoyed by them visiting us at the cabin rather than us staying with them and just visiting the cabin. It’s hard to say. But by the early 70’s, as our generation was getting married and starting our families, the Cabin became the destination. We could hardly wait to introduce our little ones to the joys of the Cabin. (Difficulty of children napping in a one room cabin notwithstanding. At least there were no cow plops!)

Pond1981 PondLara1981

Along with being the vacation destination, over the years our little slice of Vermont heaven has also served as a honeymoon cabin, a retreat from the world cabin and a family gathering cabin.

1998 – The last summer my Dad (center) made it to the cabin.


2012 – the Cabin’s 75th Anniversary

This summer, along with the four of us “senior siblings”, six of the thirteen cousins and their families spent time at the cabin. Several others longed to be here but couldn’t make the logistics work. Hooks were baited, inner tubes were inflated, frogs were caught and books were read. Naps were taken and favorite spots were explored. Maybe even a party or two was enjoyed. And important moments like these were shared.

Grampy Doc and Lizzie > Dad and Mom > four siblings > 13 cousins > 29 (and counting) second cousins
I wonder if they knew…….

Learning to hold it loosely

I believe we are all learning the fine art of holding things loosely. In the pre-COVID-19 world we would have been leaving over the weekend to go visit our kids and grands in Ohio.  The goal was to help out our son finish off a new bedroom and bathroom in their basement for their oldest daughters in anticipation of the arrival of a new baby due in early June.

We were really looking forward to not only being able to help, but to just spend some time with those kiddos.
“Stay at Home” orders meant we had to let go of those plans.

After that we’d planned to head off to our May SOWER project in the mountains of eastern Tennessee, where we were looking forward to working with SOWER friends that we hadn’t seen in a while.
But using an ‘abundance of caution’ our ministry has cancelled all of our May projects and asked us to shelter in place if possible. We’ve had to let the pleasant thought of working with friends go.

So far our June project is still on, but like so many  small businesses, our ministry partners are struggling too.  All retreats and activities have been cancelled through April, and many through May. Even Summer Camping Programs are in question. No one can really say what June will look like, so whether or not they will want us to come is still to be determined. We don’t know what June will bring.

And then there’s July. Last summer we scheduled a big family reunion at The Cabin for the middle of July. Everyone was on board, and plans were in the works. Way back in early March one of our sons asked if I thought this coronavirus thing was going to impact The Reunion. Of course not, was my firm reply. It’s way off in July! And yet, here we are in mid-April and July is looking just a little bit iffy. Oh, it’s too early to tell, and we are certainly moving forward with plans…..

but we are holding those plans loosely.

Perhaps these are lessons we need to apply regardless of a Global Pandemic.  I’ve come to be believe that holding our plans loosely is what we are called to do –

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
James 4:13-15

Yes, that.