The Very Long View
Holiday Weekend

The Front Porch, & More

Today we awoke to a lovely and much needed rain.  It is surprising how much this has cooled off the air, rather than creating summer humidity (at least so far).  I've spent almost the entire morning on the front porch--drinking coffee, reading the news, reading books, and now some writing.

May be an image of furniture and outdoors

This week of the sabbatical has been very focused on the front porch.  Between trips I have a few weeks of being in town and have been using those to get some home projects accomplished.  Nothing too big and involved, but there are a bunch of little things that have needed attention, and I finally have the time to get to them.  All part of one of my spiritual commitments for this season of my life to make my home even more beautiful and comfortable.

So, this week I have done touch-up work on the porch.  First I scraped, sanded, and painted the tops of the porch railings.  I had done this very thoroughly about five years ago, but it was needed again.  This time it wasn't as involved because I had done such a thorough job last time.  Then, I decided to paint the porch floor, which I also hadn't done in years.  Doing so made me wonder why I had waited so long?  Then I decided to spray paint the porch swing and a small table and did it in black to match the shutters.  Next up was the front steps.  I used to refresh those every year and not sure when I got out of the habit.  And getting the pain out also gives me a chance to do some touch up painting around the exterior where it's needed (and I can reach).  And because it has been a few years since I've done that, there's a lot needing touch up.  I hadn't planned to do that much painting on Monday when I began, but it's been good to do.  The porch in particular looks great and makes me feel even better sitting out here.  Today's rain is preventing me from finishing the touch-up painting today, but I'll take the rain and the chance to have a more restful day of reading and writing.  And I've got more days to do the painting anyway.

The latest news from Yellowstone is exciting--the northern loop will reopen next week. So I think I'll cancel my backup reservations and plan to spend as long in the park as we had originally.  Still won't be able to do everything we'd planned, but a lot of it.  I'm really getting excited.  

May be an image of outdoors

And last weekend Sebastian and I got out all of our camping equipment and set it up in the backyard to see that it was all okay and what we needed to refresh.  On Sunday night, which dipped into the fifties, we slept outside and it was a wonderful night to do so.  The only adventure in the night was when the neighborhood raccoon family came to eat the birdseed in one of my feeders just a few feet from where my head was laying inside the tent!  Two evenings ago I watch this family of six--mom and five babies--playing in the tall tree east of my property.  The little ones were wrestling and trying to best each other in climbing higher in the tree.

Yesterday met with Katie Miller and Stephen Bouma to plan more for our August trip to Glacier National Park.  And Robyn Reynolds and I have done some of the planning for our August trip to the Boundary Waters.  The second half of my sabbatical is going to go by quickly.  I'll probably be tired afterwards and need a rest!  Ha ha!

I have also gotten some writing done this last week, working on pulling together a collection of memoiristic essays, largely drawing from things I've written over the years.  And my publisher said he thought that was a good follow-up to the last book and timely given the state of our politics and people wanting to better understand the Heartland.

Looking back at my writing it was fun to reminisce being a newspaper columnist--I sure miss doing that.  Also I realized I have a lot more writing saved that's never been published.  I had forgotten that I had two books I'd submitted to publishers early in my ministry that never got published.  I'm thinking about self-publishing those and some other collections I have, just to get them out there.  So, another spiritual goal I've set for this season of my life is to get more of my writing done and out.


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