Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sunday Thoughts on Jonas the Storm and the Nest News

The blizzard is over in the East. In Washington, DC, Matt made a few forays out from his apartment to photograph and film Jonas, the big storm, mostly for my sake, I think.

I've been clicking through friends' posts full of snowdrifts and buried cars, and instead of feeling grateful for the fact that I can go outside and drive away any time I want, without sliding or shoveling, I am filled with jealousy.

Two years ago we had a (relatively) big snow and the girls and I went on a walk and it was too wonderful for words.  And Amy said, "Snow just makes you happy, doesn't it?"

Yes.  Yes, it does.

So this evening I asked Paul if he thinks this is God's way of calling me back to mission work in Canada.  He said feeling called because of weather somewhere isn't really valid, he doesn't think. Otherwise we'd all feel "called" to mission work in Hawaii every winter.

He also didn't remind me that I used to get so sick and tired of snow and cold that I would just about despair by March.

However.  If I went to Canada now, I could go out the door without starting half an hour ahead of time by making piles on the floor of everyone's gear, taking everyone potty, and then pulling on sweaters, ski pants, extra socks, coats, hats, scarves, mitts, and boots before we ventured forth.

It would just be me.

I'm not even sure they need us in Canada.  Siberia, maybe?  Or maybe Mongolia.  A missions recruiter once spoke at my folks' church in Minnesota and said they need Minnesotans in Mongolia because people from everywhere else are too freaked out by the Mongolian winters.  But Minnesotans would feel right at home.

*     *     *

Here is an update on the Sparrow Nest, my future writing cabin by the creek.

Paul had gotten permission from the county land-use department, was making good progress with building, and had started constructing a walkway when someone from the county road department saw it and stopped in.

He was not happy.  He was also someone who delighted in saying "No!"  No, he said, taking me across the road to point at things and emphasize his emphatic No's--  No! This isn't safe!  What if a car would slide off the road and hit that concrete pad?  No!  It's not safe for me to cross the road here, with those curves, and what if our grandchildren want to go to and from the cabin? It's certainly not safe for them!  [I wondered what grandchildren he saw hiding in the bushes, as I sure haven't met any yet.]

I said But! Everything will be built on the other side of the fence, so what is it to you?

Oh my!  It was very much to him.  The road has a right-of-way!  For 30 feet from the center of the road!  The fence was put there before the laws were in place! [This bothered him, I could tell. Also that the trees had the audacity to grow that close to the road.]  But now? No! No walkway! No cabin! No anything!

You know, in the halls of government and bureaucracy, where permits are issued and permissions granted or not, and licenses renewed, and taxes paid, there are many people whose job it is to say No, but they divide into two categories.

1. The kind who say No! Nuh-uh! No how!  And who take a nasty delight in doing so.
2. The kind who say No, but let's see how we can work it out so your goals are met and our requirements are met as well.

Mr. Road Guy was of the first category.

He also wrote a letter to the land use people saying, essentially, You can't let this happen!!!

By this time I was recalling the story of Nehemiah rebuilding the wall, and then those two nasty dudes, Sanballat and Tobiah, came by and shrieked NO! and did all they could to intimidate everyone and stop the project.

So I recruited a handful of friends and asked them to pray.

And Paul went back to talk to the county land-use people.

They were of the let's-work-it-out sort.  Which meant that they thought it would be do-able but they cranked up the requirements.

First we had to apply for a variance, which involved them writing to the neighbors and asking if this was ok with them.

We have nice neighbors who said it was ok.  Mr. Coffey from next door told Aunt Susie that it's ok with him as long as we let him sit in the back door and fish.

Any time, Max.

They gave us the variance.  I was grateful and happy.  But there's one more hoop to jump through, that I know of, and that's the engineering study.  They want to make sure the cabin is designed not to fall into the creek during a windstorm, or something.

Now Paul is drawing up careful blueprints because he wants to save the fee an engineer would charge.

So if you want to feel invested in this project, you can pray for all the proper permissions to be granted.

I'm told there are places in America where you can just build stuff.  You own the property, you put whatever buildings you want on it. In fact, Chris the niece's husband from Holmes County, Ohio, said he could build a skyscraper in the middle of Berlin, Ohio, and there would not be any regulations in place to stop him.

In contrast, I'd say Oregon is a weensy bit over-regulated.

What with waiting for all the permissions to be granted, and with cold, wet weather, Paul hasn't made much real progress on the Nest.

But Nehemiah's wall got built, and I have faith the Nest will be built as well.

Quote of the Day:
"Do you ever get that feeling that no matter what situation you're in, you're the most dramatic person there?"
"Yes.  All the time." [sigh]


  1. Don't even get my dad started on Oregon's land-use regulations....but seriously, if you ever needed advice on that topic, he's an expert.

  2. You must watch the lovely movie "Still Mine". It is on Netflix.

  3. Your answer to Jenny on 'Quote of the Day' is, I'm afraid, all too much like mine would be. What to do...

  4. We've lived in Oregon for over 30 years, but we're originally from the Chicago area. Snow is a disaster around here---since there are no rules/equipment/procedures designed to control it or remove it. But in the Midwest, it was part of our lives. You could enjoy it without it threatening your life. Every time I see a picture of a the day after a beautiful snowfall, with the snow dazzling beneath a blue sky, I feel homesick for the Midwest. Around here, snow rarely gets the opportunity to dazzle. It generally immediately turns to slop under drizzly grey skies when the weather inevitably reverts to rain...

  5. I would say come visit Alaska for your fill of gorgeous snowy weather, but this winter has been the biggest disappointment! The East Coast must be stealing all the snow.
    And Oregon's regulations . . . oy. My brother and sister-in-law couldn't even remove a diseased tree from their yard without proper inspection, certifications, and ridiculous fees. I hope Linn County isn't THAT strict, but perhaps it is. May God pave the way for you and the nest, working out all the details in the way he so wonderfully does!

  6. Yes, we do need people in Mongolia! Then again, we get so little snow, so maybe that wouldn't satisfy the desire to see snow. If nothing else, maybe you should at least consider a visit!

  7. "He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge." Psalm 91:4 Louise