Old Year, New Year

With snow falling, again, I scribble here for you. Last year at this time we were both sick. We couldn’t know then how much of our year, our energy and money and time would be taken up as repercussions thereof. Why even reflect on it?

Why indeed! Except that we came through to this new year better in health and attitude. As Elv’s cardiologist predicted, “Your heart will heal, we don’t know how long it will take, but it will heal.” It took eight months, actually. Honestly we are still counting how many free months. Those words, “you will heal” kept us in hope and courage.

We burned wood for heat last winter, emptying this area. So this summer Elv ordered in a new load and our family and our church helped us to process it into the same area for this winter. This, so commonplace, yet integral.

This winter while war and famine are reality in lands far away, we can’t take our ordinary fuel and groceries for granted. Nor should we complain about the prices. The war news those first few weeks in February and March felt horrific and frustrating. I had just read a book about the Holocaust and concluded that we have already forgotten. I’m still in disbelief. Maybe we’ve already been forgetting to pray for those people shivering, hungry and suffering huge losses again. Please, let’s not forget.

My journal is thick and full – it was so much easier to write there in private last year. The weather, our ER visits, Elv’s work, his trips for testing in Duluth, our dog Lacey, my constant endeavor to do paperwork and phone calls to communicate with financial services and Christian Healthcare Ministries and our struggle to navigate The Virus in January and again in July, cheerfully, are all in it.

I joined the Brighter Winter Reading program last winter and signed up again this year. I found refreshing breaks from real life within my books again. I also took a three month break from work at Northwood Outdoor and almost didn’t go back. I am glad I went back for my most enjoyable year at work yet.

The nicest thing in our year was that Brad found a lovely girlfriend early in the year. Things progressed famously so that he married her in October. Elv and I took the train to the wedding of Brad and Sierra in October. The wedding came off with all the right starry-eyed wonder and loveliness that it truly was. Our whole family was there. If you add up the travel miles and parenting in small spaces miles it means a lot to all of us.

Our number comes to 35 now. We’re grateful that it’s their turn to parent. We get to be grandparents to 19 of the nicest grandchildren in the world. Which tells you that we think they’re doing a good job of it.

Elv turned sixty in February. We celebrated that for real later in the spring when all his brothers came for the weekend. We know we’re all getting older by what we chose to do for the weekend: we planned nothing but visiting and meals at home. And by what we talked about: retirement, physical ailments, and what are children are doing in their grownup lives, also whatistheworldcomingto, and our mutual gratefulness in the facts of Jesus and our salvation. Good times for us. Sunday afternoon those of our children who could joined us here in the great room for more visiting. I think this was a first since Mom Graber passed away.

This is not nearly all there would be to share about the year. But enough to let you know that we’re alive and well. It was the ending of a twenty year part of our lives and the beginning of a new twenty years, we hope. We’re now officially just the two of us. We had our fortieth anniversary this fall. We celebrated by driving up the Gunflint Trail to the border and staying the weekend at our cabin near Silver Bay.

We plan to move to the Stone House again by spring since Lance’s, our renters, have bought a property and will be moving there as soon as the remodel is done.That’s the tid-bit you were all looking for, right? Thanks to God and all our family and friends for the blessing of life and love for last year and next. God Bless You, Arla and Elv Graber

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