Monday, August 24, 2015

Manic Monday #12 - Building of home and friendships

I have to tell you that I have been so blessed this summer it completely boggles my mind.  God has taken a time that very easily could've been a stress-filled three months and turned it into a day after day showing of His love, provision and Christian family.  Alaska is called the Last Frontier, and constantly this summer I've been pondering the early frontiersmen and how we relate.  I knew that building a house from tree up would be a reflection of how things used to be done.  Its been exciting to see trees from our property turned into 2x4s for trusses.  We have definitely had a lot of lessons in hard work.

However, the aspect of building that caught me off guard and has dropped me to my knees in praise and thanksgiving is the people who've come to help, who without we would not be having a house anywhere near ready for winter!  This, by no means, is a conclusive list of everyone, but just a taste of the sweetness that is the family of God.

Crane family sawing logs
Crane's moving a log with sheer muscle (or wench)
Spray foam, spray foam and more spray foam
There is a family called the Crane's.  They belong to the Paul & Nancy Kelley Clan and are related to the family that we housesitted for.  In the almost four years we have lived in Tok we have heard great stories of but had never met the elusive and greatly loved Crane's.  Well, they were up here for one of their many kid's wedding for a week or so.  On the Monday they were here, all the Crane men came over to help build.  They cut logs.  They stacked logs.  They spray foamed.  It started raining, and they just came into our storage tent to chat and wait it out.  Once the rain passed, they were back at it.   In one day, the many hands were able to finish stacking all the remaining logs but one (they ran out of spray foam.)  This full day of hard labor all from people we'd never met!
Gary helping set the steel beam.

Oh how we are missing this guy!
Then there is Mr. Gary Miller.  Gary and Cindy have been coming up here from Michigan for I don't know how many years to help out with our church's summer camp Shen.  They use the bulk of their summer vacation from teaching doing ministry to the kids of this area.  After the grueling weeks of camp were done and the weeks planning and executing VBS were in motion, Gary would come over, almost every evening to help.  He didn't care if he was cleaning up wood scraps or placing heavy steel beams.  It didn't matter that his psoriatic arthritis had his joints so swollen and sore it made me hurt!  He came every chance he could and did whatever was asked or he saw needed done.  I can't wait for this couple to be here full-time and help them with their cabin!
Michael and Treston helping with trusses.
Taking a much needed s'more break.

Our good friends over at took a long weekend and came to help.  The men helped Stretch build trusses.  The young ladies wouldn't let me do any dishes.  The kids ran wild all weekend.  Jeannie and I got so much time to talk, nursing and cuddling our babies.  God's timing for their visit was perfect.  I needed that shot of fellowship much more than I realized.  We came out of the weekend rejuvenated and optimistic about the progress of the cabin.  Not to mention that over half of the trusses got built!

The incredible Paul has somehow evaded my picture taking!  Must remedy that!
Finally, but definitely not the end of the list of amazing people who've come to help, there is Paul Milnowski, Jr.  This man is a machine.  He was raised here in good ole Tok (well, actually 30 miles outside of Tok).  He now spends his winters outside and summers up here working wherever he can.  One Sunday at the beginning of the summer, he asked Stretch if he could come by and help.  Now, again, we knew Paul, but we didn't KNOW Paul.  We talked here and there after church when he was in town, but had never really spent time getting to know him.  Well, when he said "come by and help", what he meant to say was "spend almost all of my evenings and weekends working like a maniac after I put in a 40-hour week at the airport!"  He's here so much that seeing his little phone booth Honda car (seriously have no idea how that little thing gets him up here every summer) is no longer a surprise.  I'm telling you, every time I think of this amazing man, I'm brought to tears by his incredibly amazing generosity.  When we started building, we had a game plan to get things done.  Well...I'm reminded of Proverbs 19:21 "Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand."  I'm pretty sure God was just smiling down at us as we got ready for the summer thinking, "Just you may have your thoughts and plans, but I'm sending you something even better!"  Because that is what Paul has been, something even better than we could've ever imagined or hoped for.  There is absolutely no way that we would even be close to finishing without Paul's never-ending help.  It has truly, truly been a blessing and joy getting to know him over the summer.

This summer, I think, the glimpse into frontier living I'm most loving is that sense of pitching in and helping.  When you are away from family, your friends become your family.  You share your struggles and triumphs.  You build homes and families together.  I am so incredibly thankful for all of my "family" that has come by to pitch in.

Until next time, have a manic one!

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