Treasures from the Woodshed

Daddy and Mama bought the big yellow house when I was 13 months old. Surrounded by red barns, white board fences, chicken coops, and corn cribs, the house sat on 80 acres of fields, pastures, and woods, bordering a creek. They paid $10,000 for it. Grandpa Nutt said they’d never live to see it paid! But my Grandpa was wrong.

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Whispers of Comfort ~ Seeking Peace Within This Pain

Death was not in God’s original plan, nor was it a part of the life He had planned for us in that beautiful garden. But Adam and Eve chose sin, and death followed. Consequently we all know the grief suffered by every human being since. He didn’t want it for us, but

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A “Kathi” Space Instead of a “Jo” Space

   I usually rode the school bus home, but when I needed to stay for 7th grade cheerleading practice, Mom picked me up after work at 3:30. The inside  of the old car had soaked up the warm sun of the fall afternoon, and I immediately relaxed as I slid onto the fabric seat. Although far more exhausted than I, having worked all day in the shop , Mom greeted me with a hug and a smile. As she drove, I pulled out my book, Little Women, read all the way home,

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The Road Home

The road home led to security, safety, and comfort – a place of acceptance and of unconditional love.

In the cold winters of Michigan, the road led to  warmth.

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#9 A Day in the Park

“How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains!” ~ John Muir

The sun gave us a glorious greeting the morning we drove into Glacier National Park. I had cried when I first saw the mountains from the distance yesterday; I cried when we drove Highway 2 around the south side of the huge park; and I cried when we entered the park this morning. All cries of delight.

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#2 Where you go, I will go . . .

My postings throughout this month of July and early August will vary from the typical, as Ron and I take a lengthy adventure. The northwest has called us, and I invite you to come along!

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”

~ Rachel Carson

June 30 – We drove north about 6 hours today, crossing our favorite bridge in the fog.

Spent the night at the little Welcome Center – first right over the bridge. I’ve written about driving north in a recent post. Click here to read it.

July 1 

 This was our true first day: July 1. Day 1. 

We woke to sunny skies; had pancakes on the gas stove and French Press coffee. No electricity needed! Left St. Ignace and drove west on Highway 2 – our main road for the next ten days! Oh how we love the U.P. It was Thursday before the big weekend, and people were pulling campers and boats, yet the roads were not crowded. There’s room for all in the Upper Peninsula, and we relish in it! The birch, whiter than white with deep black veins, catch my eyes as we travel. We are blessed to call Michigan home. I can never get enough of it.

Across this stretch of road in Michigan, a Biden/Harris sign still remains in front of someone’s cute little red ranch home  Dozens of faded Trump 2020 signs and flags, are still posted in yards, and on barns, posts, and vehicles throughout this westward trek. On one wayside saloon, an owner had printed “My _______ governor is a wit wit.” Today, I reached the conclusion that Yoopers in this area are not at all timid!

We paused two times today – first for lunch and rest at a wayside park. Quiet contemplation at that shaded picnic table was my favorite time today. It has become a rarity. Seems I must force myself – think I always need to be accomplishing something. I’m slowly learning that resting and listening to God “is” accomplishing something – something He wants to accomplish!

We paused again late in the day, briefly leaving Highway 2, traveling 20 miles north to see Agate Falls, one we had missed in our 2020 trip north. I wanted to recreate my 3-year-old photo at the base of that falls (I missed it last year – click here to read the post). We walked a viewing boardwalk (was unrewarding) and attempted to hike the deep gorge to the actual base of the falls, but my shoes didn’t quite meet the criteria for such a venture today. Seems a lot has changed in the area in the last 66 years. A placard conveyed that the original 125 steps to the bottom of the falls, on which my daddy obviously carried me at the time, burned in the early 1970’s, along with a motel on the property. Only a treacherous hike could get one to that location today. It’s a hike we’ll once again have to save for the future!

We stayed at an RV site at Northern Waters Casino tonight, a first for us and we were very pleased with this first come, first served opportunity. For only $16, we had electricity, water, and internet connection! Was peaceful, and very likely the quietest night we’ll have on this lengthy trip!

It’s odd – sleeping in this trailer the middle of nowhere, but it doesn’t take long to relax in the quiet darkness of this wooded north, a cool breeze tickling my face with scents of pine and cedar, and the man beside me who inspired the theme of our little “home away from home.”

Click here to read the next post, #3 My Pink Earplugs

I admit it. I wonder . . .

Do you pray – and pray – and pray – and wonder if the Lord is hearing your prayer? And if He is, why He isn’t answering?  

You’ve grown in your faith. You trust in His Word. You believe His promises. But you’re still praying. And wondering. I admit. I am.

You’re not alone.

I’m right there with you.

And David, the Psalmist, whom God loved tremendously, is with us also. He knows grief. He knows distress. He knows waiting.

He comes right out and asks God. I’m asking right along with David:

How long, Lord, before you answer me? It seems like you’re turning your face from me. How long must I struggle with this agony, anxiety, and sorrow in my soul? It seems that the enemy is winning this battle . . . Oh, Lord, turn and look at me and answer me. Give light to my eyes – restore the sparkle I once had. Don’t let my enemy think he has won.

Then, as David does, we too need to recognize God. This is where we must go. This is what we must do. We must respond to our own distress by recognizing who God is. David’s example of recognition is perfect for us, as well:

But, I trust in your unfailing love, Lord God. My heart rejoices in the salvation you have given me and continue to give me. You have been good to me. 

You have been good to me. Oh how this causes me to remember God’s goodness. Over and over. A lifetime of it. He has been good to me.

Now I’m trusting more. He knows me. More than I know my own soul. Now I must strengthen myself in the Word.

I read more about God, learning more about myself, as I do:

 

Lord, You know everything about me. Everything. You know where I am, what I’m doing. You know my thoughts and my words – before I even speak them. You place Your hand of blessing on my head. You are always with me. Always. You’re in front of me and behind me. You hem me in as my Grandmother hemmed each piece of clothing. Securely. Snugly. Safely. If I choose to go up toward the heavens, You are there. If I go down into the depths of the Earth, You are there. If I fly toward the dawn of the morning or toward the farthest oceans, Your hand is there to guide and support me. It’s impossible for me to hide in the darkness. You still see me – because You bring light into my darkness.

There it is my friend – He brings light into my darkness. He brings light into your darkness. Just as He brought light into David’s darkness.

And so I close my eyes and I see His hand of blessing reaching toward me, guiding and supporting me. He places His hand upon my head.

And I am blessed in the waiting. And in His presence.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

From Psalm 13 and Psalm 139

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More than I can ever imagine!

I must admit, I had some anxiety about it – our lengthy trip planned across the northwest states. I’ve struggled others times, such as the first few days when we arrive in Florida for the winter. It’s an uneasiness about being so far away from the kids for a length of time.  (For those of you who don’t know – our three kids are grown up, happily married, unbelievably responsible and self-sufficient, blessing us with eleven grandchildren and one great-grandchild due, as I write this. But, once again, although my anxiety might be unwarranted, I’m just being truthful!)  This trip – planned for the month of July – is farther yet. About twice as far. Anyway, it’s an admission. Don’t judge. You have anxiety over certain things, too!

I had tried  various Trip Planners (five to be exact), but after hours of using the mouse to move the route to the roads we wanted to take (which do not include expressways) and “losing” the entire plan, I opened the Atlas and started the tedious job of my own “Trip Planning.” Days of effort. Pleasant effort. But time consuming, nonetheless. Finally, the route was finished. Our 31 allotted days of travel, including five National Parks, over 4000 miles, numerous state parks and RV Parks, and a few Walmart parking lots!

Then I started doing some research. I wanted to be prepared to see all that we could within the locations we would travel.

Oh my word! That research changed everything!

The first discovery was Multnomah Falls. I’ve seen pics of it for a few years now – pics taken in each of the four seasons. I’ve always thought it must be the most beautiful waterfall in the country. Little did I know it was on the Columbia River Gorge, in Oregon, just a “hop, skip, and a jump” from Viento State Park, where I had booked two nights camping. (I love how the Lord works all that out!) I just can’t express what this knowledge did to – and for – me. I literally “choked up.” I thought, I am going to see the most beautiful waterfall in the country! Thank you, Father God.

And that’s when things suddenly changed. All my anxiety about the trip was gone. God gave me peace and joy and tremendous appreciation and thankfulness for what Ron and I were about to see and experience.

And with my continued research, I began to wish we had planned two months instead of one!

Thor’s Well – don’t you know, we’ll drive right past it on the Oregon Coast.

 



  Seals! I didn’t realize there were seals on  the coast, as well, did you?   

One photo after another – of prairies and streams, of mountains and glaciers, of wildflowers and waterfalls, of mountain goats and grizzly bears – filled me with excitement. It is so much more than I ever expected! And I’m going to see it and live it for a while!

And so it is with heaven. I can’t begin to realize how great it will be. For you, it might be a quiet setting you desire. Or a mountain top.  Or a home beside the world’s best shopping center! Jesus said He’s preparing places just for us! We can’t begin to realize how amazing it will be.  Unlike our trip out west, which is for just a short time, heaven will be for eternity! And instead of anxiety about it, we can have peace – total peace! He alone gives that peace. It comes with trusting Jesus Christ as Savior. Only then can we look forward to His plans for us! Click here to learn more about becoming a Christ follower.  

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Memories renewed by a simple “Honk”

Walking through the house this morning, I heard a car “honk.” I didn’t know if it was on TV or a car going by. But it brought back some memories. Perhaps you can relate.

Growing up, we lived in the country – a gravel road. Few cars went by during the day. When a car came down the road, one of us would often say, “There’s a car coming.” We stared as it went by. It was notable!

If the passerby knew us, sometimes even if he didn’t, he or she would most often “honk.” It was a “hello.” Of course, my dad and mom did the same thing as they drove. Travel was much slower in those days. Rarely did Daddy ever drive 50 mph and that was only on a big road, a “highway” like US 27 or US 12. No, he drove slowly, commenting along the way on wildlife, farmers in their fields, discussing various changes in the scenery with my mother. I learned much during those drives. Landmarks, not addresses, marked our travel. “Culps Hill”; Clarendon Pond . . .

Travel was limited. Of course, Daddy drove to work every day. He worked at Federal Mogul, and he left the house shortly before 7:30 am. The office opened at 8. He arrived home at 5:19 pm every day. Mama drove, too, when she worked. Those were the rare times we had two cars. We didn’t often make trips to town. Errands were written on paper, along with grocery lists (usually on reused, back sides of envelopes), and our rare trips to town included buying groceries, going to the laundromat (during the times Mom didn’t have an automatic washer), sometimes a trip to J.C. Penney, and occasionally a fun trip to Otto & Sons where Daddy shopped the hunting gear and we kids browsed the massive toy department.

We jumped in the car every Sunday – after church and a quick Sunday dinner – and took the long drive from our home on Quincy Grange Road in Butler Township to Grandpa and Grandma Nutt’s house on Grass Lake Road, northwest of Kinderhook. Daddy occasionally honked the horn when we arrived. There, we spent the afternoon – oh, the stories I could tell would fill a small book. But for now, I’ll only share the memories of the long drive. After hours of visiting and investigating the old barns, sheds, empty silo, and garden areas with my brother and cousins, we once again hopped in the car and drove the long route back to Butler Township, to the even narrower graveled Bidwell Road to Grandpa and Grandma Locke’s house, where Daddy “tooted” the horn a bit louder, drawing our Locke cousins out from their places of play around the yard and out buildings. We spent the remainder of daylight with our Locke cousins, playing outside until the familiar whistle of the theme song of “Lassie” drew us into the living room.

My childhood travels to and from our graveled Quincy Grange Road residence centered around a vehicle, filled with a family of five, a bushel of love, and touting a horn that spoke a friendly “hello” to all. Occasionally today, I hear it – if only in my memories.

Photo is taken Summer of 1959. Mom at the wheel. Becky, my little sister and I in the back of our new yellow and white Ford Fairlane.

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