What’s Next?


September opened with us still logging near St Croix Falls. Our swans floated on the algae clogged pond below the cabin as if winter was nowhere in sight. Perhaps they have flown south by now with this snowy cold weather. The brown colored ducks were rafting though, and eating off the muddy bottom. I sat with binoculars watching them several times the last week that we were there.

Travel trailer living and my long commute to work, plus keeping home at the StoneHouse was busy, but not as complicated as is today. “What’s next, Lord?” is our current question. Day by day we are working on the short term answers while getting glimpses of the future in the changing light.

How could we know that the bright busy days of working in the St Croix Valley was the womb for  changes in our immediate future? But I am getting ahead of my scribblings.

We had a week to settle in at home before going up to the cabin for Elv’s vacation week. I told you about our cookie baking escapades. Along with cookstove cooking we stayed quite busy with household maintenance and in making firewood to stack on the back porch for winter. Every day but Sundays were filled with projects and chores. I made a list, actually, of thirty different accomplishments for our nine day stay. Of course, it included our hikes up the mountain and our day of driving up the shore to see the sights. We ate out that day at the Angry Trout enjoying fresh-caught whitefish in our sandwiches. 20180927_155620

20180927_152602One of accomplishments was to clear more brush and tree trash away from our two beautiful, baby maple trees growing in the back of the cabin. A dream come true for me was being able to enjoy them from the dining room through the bank of windows behind the table.  Lisl dubbed them “Marmee’s two ladies”. And lovely they are.






Our view from the top of Buck Mt. this visit was excellent. It’s always fun to climb up through the blazing maples mixed in with the pines to the top. 20180929_122310


Whenever we get home from a vacation or a week long trip, I feel inspired to clean and rearrange our house. So it was time for some kitchen schemes.


20181002_142329We are thinking about our old stonehouse in a little different way this fall.  We love the uniqueness of our house after all these years of renovations. And we are not done. Even so, the question is up again about putting it on the market soon.

This is part of our “What’s next” discussion. Elv is experiencing a lot of pain typical to heavy equipment operators over time. This week has been a learning experience for both of us. Evidently showing a high reading with a blood pressure cuff is a great way to see nurses kick into action in a hurry.  We are learning that pain causes high blood pressure. They say that hyper tension is dangerous. We are also learning that pain causes emotional fragility that we were not prepared for. Sleeplessness does the same thing. What if we were old and all these drugs were a part of the rest of our lives? I cannot believe how hard it is for the two of us to keep track of what pill happens when! And we are not yet old. So we pray that Elv’s neck muscles heal and that we can walk toward whatever it is that God has in mind for us about work and place.

20181002_14260020181002_180101   Our anniversary was right after we came home from vacation. But we still made it special. Brad filled our goblets and ceremoniously handed them to us after supper in the living room. We have had a lot of quiet, cozy evenings by the fire … just the three of us.

Thanks to our children for the evening living room session at Lance’s. We came away feeling loved and blessed by you all. We also came away with direction. Thank you for your honesty.  Laughter and tears are balm in any situation. It was good to listen to you all courageously face the issue and help us with your ideas and care.

This posting is a confession of sorts. We feel a little like putty right now in His hands and not a bit sure of our future. I remember being a teenager and feeling strongly about something and then watching that opinion change again and again as I formed my fundamental beliefs about life. I hated the wishy-washy feelings of those years. That’s a little how it feels again to me. I am so glad Jesus never changes.

My God, I thank Thee, who hast made
The earth so bright,
So full of splendor and of joy,
Beauty and light;
So many glorious things are here,
Noble and right.

I thank Thee, too, that Thou hast made
Joy to abound;
So many gentle thoughts and deeds
Circling us round,
That in the darkest spot of earth
Some love is found.

I thank Thee more that all our joy
Is touched with pain,
That shadows fall on brightest hours,
That thorns remain;
So that earth’s bliss may be our guide,
And not our chain.

A.A. Proctor

2 thoughts on “What’s Next?”

  1. I enjoyed your heartfelt writing, Arla. Lessons of life we learn and relearn in a new way. Jesus said, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” I feel and relate to how fragile our lives are.


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