Saturday, August 13, 2016

Comfort One Another With These Words

 How often do you hear someone express doubts or fears or tears? The need for comfort is real. And it is a need that should be met. Especially in others. But I've been noticing that it is far easier to know when I need comfort than to sense when someone else needs a little cosseting.Why?
    It's the most aggravating cycle. When I need a few warm fuzzies is exactly the moment when I have the hardest time providing it for someone else. And when someone in my family is the hardest to love, they're suffering a little Affirmation Deficit Disorder themselves. It's hard to love a sour person.
    This morning at four I received a little comfort from the Comforter Himself. Paul said, "Comfort one another with these words." I haven't even gone over to the verse to see what those words are, yet. But I'm confident that they're good words full of affirmation and hope.
    So today, let me not miss my cues.
~ Let me bless today. Someone's sourness is a cue.
~ Let me learn how to say, "Good job." And mean it.
~ Let me trust today. Let it be the kind of trust that begets trust.
~ Let me learn to pry my mouth open and say the yeses that need to be said that gives others the hope they're needing.
~ Let me LIVE the yeses that turns the lights on and warms the rooms of other hearts, too.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Two Worlds of A Logger and His Wife

When I can, I like to go ride with him on his machine. The other day I started to see what is right in Elv's line of vision all day, every day.
     Wouldn't this be boring? Piles of logs. Pile after pile after pile. Seven sorts right now. A flat tire today on this new machine. The second one in as many weeks. Odd. So he isn't bored. But I would be. I can't see the sorts like he can. He keeps a measuring device in the cab and hands himself the end of the log swinging in the bucket right up to where he can reach it through the door. I think it is a bolt question. Is that ten inches?

 Here's the home part of my world. On the days that I work, it isn't that much different: organizing, restocking, decorating, and cleaning. And its all about home and making it pretty. I never tire of that. The orange cosmos were planted with plenty of space this spring and now the orange flowers have lots of air and space to dance freely. And they do. So I brought in only a few to spread out among the row of white pitchers on the windowsill to get about the same effect. This morning they're dropping petals on the burlap runner, too. One of the little awesome joys of making a house a home. Doesn't take much to keep me happy, I guess. Go figure.

And a "new" set of dishes at the used shop.  Well, Amy was with me and thought it was a good idea, too.  We brought it home and raked everything off the bottom two shelves and packed some of that into the same boxes that we brought these home in, to be returned to the used shop. Don't ask what all it was, because I won't tell you. Important thing is, when you buy something pretty and inexpensive to bring home to use and to redecorate with, while you're at it, it is a good idea to take something back, too. The logistics of that should be obvious. Especially when things are only things and life is short and I don't have any closets to store those things in as it is. (Please try to not notice those misplaced prepositions and lost verbs, ok? I vote we make a new grammar rule that says we may write in peace with, and stop having to add in the "in which's" and "with which's" just to be correct.)
 His world and my world seem too far apart and lonely sometimes in the summer. The saving grace is that we share one goal and one set of bills and one bed and one house and one Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. So, whereas he spends many hours a day hauling and sorting those boring logs and I do those same repetitious things of homemaking, the day and the week have endings and beginnings for landing and launching and we share that, too. 
We've had arguments about which is most important: the work part of life or the together part of our lives. He would argue that if you don't work and earn money you can't expect to have a place to spend time together period, or pay those mutual bills, for that matter. That's a good point, but I will still say that if you had nobody to look after and no home to live together in, there would be zero point to life at all. I guess we need both to make the world go round. 
And since we are still earth bound we need the dignity of industry. I have a few thoughts about that hatching in my mind to scribble about sometime.  

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Cheney Lake

 We ran off to Cheney Lake the other evening, looking for some "downtime" and rest. Cheney Lake is an hour away, hidden in the old barrens of Douglas county among jackpine and pin oak scrub and plantation pine. A few popple trees. It's a little blue bowl in the sand owned by the county. No residences. A few stray soda cans and the black remains of warming fires give evidence of small, infrequent local gatherings. We happen to know where to find it because Elv logged up there many years ago.

 It's at full pool these days with a lovely sandy beach. Benny was so relieved that there was no aftermath of swimmers itch to contend with after they swam.
Our family has played here for many years in the summer. We missed a few years when the county put a berm up so we couldn't drive to it anymore. But now that obstacle has been nicely overcome ... there's not even a sign there anymore, we can take the grandchildren now. We are richly blessed to have a two generation tradition. God has been so good to us.

 Elv created and gave to me my own personal stash of fishing tackle. I am so pleased. I can't believe I forgot to bring a pole and tackle along. There were fish out there, too, as we could tell both by seeing them and hearing them jump as it was getting dark.

 After the sun slid far enough down the horizon, the boys got out of the water and happily snuggled into dry clothes and their jackets.
I scrounged for fuel and my stashed lighter and we had an immediate warming fire. Elv followed that little ritual up with his own scrounging and we soon had a lovely flame.

We're  glad we stayed for complete sun-down and the song of the whippoorwill. What better way to end a good couple of hours of family play and visiting.
God's in His heaven's all's right with the World. Good night.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Keeping a Record

I'm keeping a journal in a leather bound book of lined pages. I have been doing this for several years and I enjoy it. It has our own unique collection of facts and "what I think" thoughts written out. Most of it is just the mundane stuff of the unimportant ordinary of us and our lives. You'd be bored. But I keep doing it anyway.
    I dug out the journal of two years ago. Now that one is not boring. I went looking for a happy time that I know that I had with a friend about two years ago. It's not there. I searched and searched. I finally found a few pictures taken that day, here on this blog instead.
   I have concluded that the happy stuff landed here. The boatload of problems and sorrows landed in the hand written journal. That's good. But both are part of our story. So I'll keep all of it. Someone suggested that someday a grandchild might read and learn from that poignant, rich, ugly, taut time in my life.
   So just for today, I'd like to make a list of a few happy things in our lives right now. Because life is full of a kind of pleasant, comfort one feels after a long hard day's work. Oh there's the work and the regular ebb and flow of real life. But at the end of the day it's just good to be able to lay down the load and wash off the sticky sweat and find the cool, smooth sheets of reading and pleasant memories. It's not quite so uphill right now. I think I have caught a glimpse of Rest at last.

~ It's summer. That brief time of green grass and flowers and leaves on the trees. Bugs and campfires and happy, dirty babies.
~ Smells of rain and leaf mold and mowed grass and drying laundry on the line. And fish cleanings. A Saturday cleaned house. The basswood tree full of possibly the sweetest fragrance ever. Sun-soaked, ripening, wild berries.
~ Sounds: Of loons flying overhead morning and evening. The first whoosh of wind and rain of our summer storms lately. The continuous rumble of the thunder. We've had a lot of that this summer.
~ New Vehicles: Brad bought a pickup. His very first vehicle is a pickup after all. After all he said, too. Amy bought a car. This time we saw it in daylight before purchasing. It's old, but nice. After all she said, as well. It's funny what life teaches us about how we don't really know how it's going to turn out. Only God knows. He planned it all along. Makes you wonder at any of our "plannings".
~ Good Jobs: All of our good jobs. Elv logging his logs for the last 35 years or so. It's been a way of life for him. Will he miss it later when he retires? How many million logs? How many machines? how many different land owners? And funny experiences? And those wintertime bogs that never freeze, even in forty below zero weather!
I love the privilege of working with people and for people all day. And the fun of creating vision for homemakers who shop where I work. Amy's job too, is mostly serving. I guess that's what we're made for and where we are the most fulfilled. Only God would know how to throw in life time friends for her, to boot, while serving. And Brad is working far from home, still among family. That's God's gracious kindness, too. Still, I miss him. I hope he comes home soon. (Anybody have a good job for Brad? He is looking for full time work in Hayward, Wisconsin. Preferably, something to do with logging.)
~ Fishing. I really need to go back and try for that lunker that took off with my hook and line and sinker the other evening.
~ Raising flowers.Reminding me of other summers of flower raising: my Mom's yearly sidewalk edgings of red petunia and white alyssum plantings. Eva's long wide rows of marigold and dahlia, Jenny's summer of cut flowers for her winter wedding, and Carolina's rose garden in Mexico.
    It's just been nice for a change to sense the quiet, pleasantness of a summer evening after a well-lived day.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

This Could Be a Long Posting: Pictures and Pontification

 The furrowing wake of The Tub "loaded for bear", that is, for fishing, with fishermen large and small. That old boat can actually put a small breeze in your face these days. The little people loved it. We swung away from the dock and headed straight for our same old fishing hole from long ago. As soon as we settled in, it began to pour down rain. We didn't feel skunked. Instead we felt triumphant because we got a small ride and we proved that you can equip and launch four small children and five adults in a very short time.  So the next afternoon when the sun was actually shining we re-enacted the whole thing even faster. We added a boat and three more children and three more adults. We caught fish this time, too. More on that later.

 Our canoe was quite worm and fish and moss and mold infested, so Jenny and Karynn and I gave it a bath one day in the sunshine. Now it is clean and usable again. This is the canoe that we bought new for our camping trip for our 25th anniversary. I am still a little sappy about this boat. We can either paddle it or use the motor. I like that I am very close to the water for fishing or photography. Elv gets nervous when the water is choppy with this canoe, but we've never tipped it and we've been out in it in all kinds of weather. It always brings us home safe and sound. Right now, I'm in the market for a trailer for it, so that we can stop having to heave it on and off the roof of the Jeep and the motor can stay put instead of having to steady the canoe while Elv tries not to fall in or drop the motor in the wrong place with the canoe wobbling from the moving weight of man and motor until it lands in the correct slot. (Nice long run-on there for you.) But wow, that's about the way it is. Try that after dark sometime. It adds to one's repertoire of life's experiences.

 The raspberries have berries! Amazing. Gwen pretty well kept up to them while she was here. We noticed that there are more to pick now.

 And the holly hocks are holly hocking quite nicely now. No rust and lots of pink and maroon. Great drama for my little acre.

 Grandpa Elv and Jimmy enjoying the ride on our way to the fishing hole.

 Fishing for sunnies and bass. There's nothing like a boat load of Graber people arranged in a row up one side of The Tub, and off the ends too, for that matter, with lines cast. Bobbers on green water. Don't think for a minute that all six bobbers are sitting in a quiet silent row bobbing peacefully. We get bites, we get our lines caught in the tree branches (catching a perch), there are hidden dead snags under the surface too, but that's where the best fish are, three bobbers duck out of sight, then the singing of the line coming in with the bobbers darting in all directions and the triumphant catching of a keeper. It's a busy time. Never mind the idea of quiet fishing. Elv has long since debunked the whole theory that you have to be quiet to catch fish; the opposite is true. There's a lot of yelling for more worms when you're sharing two tubs of them with eight different people trying to fish up and down the boat.
    Bass have to be 14 inches long to keep and who has a ruler, anyhow? So we make pretty sure about those before keeping them. They're fun to catch too. I discovered to my sorrow last night that I need new line in my pole. "The big one" made off with everything but the bobber. Makes you feel sick compared to the fun of hauling it in two seconds ago.

 A beautiful little sail boat was out there on the lake, too. It's hard to operate a fishing rod and a camera at the same time, but I keep trying to do it. At least I get the event recorded pretty well. And now and then I get a big fish and a pretty picture on the same event.

 Jenny always lands "the big one". Elv and Gabe look on enviously and proudly at the same time. See how she releases her catch like a pro? Elv eyeballed it for size and they decided that it was borderline enough to release.

Gabe and Jenny decided to spend their summer vacation at our house. What a happy time we had together. They visited around to the others, too, of course, but we got a lot of coffee times, fishing, riding on Grandpa Elv's machine, sewing and visiting, and family times with everyone in.

 Clark's do super on the boat.  The boys had  new poles. By the time Clark got them all strung and ready, he didn't get much fishing in this time, but by next time he will. And when you have effectively four lines out there, one for each child and you and your wife, you ramp up the chances of catching a few by quite a way. It just takes some patience and what my mom calls "stick-to-it-ive-ness".

                                                    Happy little boy faces. Myles and Asher.
                                            Happy big boy faces. Grandpa Elv and Clark.

 Then we played croquet on Sunday afternoon. What a funny blast this family is by now. Most of us hadn't a clue how to play and others of us have to read the directions for ourselves to make sure being poison is "even a thing". The children played next to us in the park after they figured out that we weren't going to share our game with them. And the babies tumbled among and between as they wished until picked up and moved to safer spots at times.

 I love this man with a croquet mallet in his hand and smile on his face. He works hard for us: on the job, in the church, at home, and on his knees.
We decided to share everything almost 34 years ago. And it's been quite a ride: raising seven children, cabin living, and praying together in the morning. Morning coffee, evening walks, patio suppers, outsmarting rodent bears, canoeing, fishing, riding in the machine with him, and talking. And talking. Elv says it takes so much talking to keep me happy! That makes me smile. He defaults to hermit-isms if I let him. So I get him to talk. All that bunk about letting a man have cave time? Not good! It would ALL be cave time. But then, I can talk too much, Anyway, it's part of our story.
What's being threaded into your story? It happens so quickly. There are patterns already in your tapestry. Gotta watch those patterns. I read back one day in the journal and discovered that I wasn't so proud of a couple of the patterns I found there. I needed to change to being more grateful and happy. I needed to give some of those old griping, poor-me attitudes some push-back. Me-ism looks terrible on the tapestry of life. Just terrible.

 These are the same guys that take their jobs and Jesus and family and home seriously. Bill caps and bald heads and faded jeans notwithstanding. Sons. God Bless 'em! I'm proud of them.
We pray for all of our children understanding that the world they'll be raising their families in is even crazier than the one in which we raised ours. They have the same Bible and the same God we did, though, so it's going to be alright. Prayer and diligence and vigilance.
Get after it, guys. We're behind you.

 Chicken fajitas for Sunday supper on the patio. There's a nice line-up of what keeps life ticking in our family these days. Wow! Elv and I had forgotten the decibels. The married children assure us that when they're happy noises, it's a fine thing. So we're not debating it. There was mostly happy noises and it was mostly done outside, so it's all good.

 Now that's a clean canoe all ready to putter away from dock. Elv and I and Amy tested it out last night. Now it was too quiet. I can't be pleased. But fishing was really nice. We caught a meal in no time flat including a big-enough bass. The panfish are nice this year, too.

And there's my usual bobber picture.

The only thing I did to this photo was to add the little black hazy border. Otherwise, it's raw and untouched. And the accidental silhouette above makes me feel quite pleased. Wisconsin, Elv's missing fingered hand, the fish, the pole, yes, it's perfect. Memories that are distinctly our own.