Fort Wilkins: Incognito

Cottage in Bunratty Folk ParkI’ve written on America’s charming Greenfield Village, Bunratty Folk Park in Ireland, Seoul’s Korean Folk Village, and Denmark’s Den Gamle By, Discussing Cannon at Fort Wilkins but I’ve never mentioned Fort Wilkins, which is a delightful, "Baking" at Fort Wilkins user-friendly, free historical park in Copper Harbor, Michigan.Map of Michigan (Copper Harbor is at the very tip of the “finger” pointing into Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula; *Map by Alexrk2 from Wiki Media.)Map of Fort Wilkins Fort Wilkins is minuscule compared to internationally acclaimed living history museums, but it is on the National Register of Historic Places in America, Setting the Table at Fort Wilkinsand its well worth a visit!  Soldier at Fort WilkinsBack in 1844 the U.S. Army built a full-support fort with 27 buildings, Loaves of Bread in the bakery at at Fort Wilkins including a bakery, Carpenter's Shop at Fort Wilkins blacksmith shop, carpenter’s shop, mess halls, stores, Storage Room at Fort Wilkinsstorehouse, hospital, stables, Using an Old-fashioned scrub board at Fort Wilkins laundry, barracks, Officer's Home at Fort Wilkins and officer’s quarters, etc. Rifle hanging on antlers at Fort WilkinsIt was built to preserve peace
between the copper miners and the Native Americans, Cannon at Fort Wilkins but they all got along so well that a military presence was really never needed Lake Fanny Hooeand very quickly the soldiers were shipped off to more problematic areas! Log cabins at Fort Wilkins So, Fort Wilkins was abandoned just 25 years later…in rather pristine condition. Recipe for army bread at Fort WilkinsDuring our generation, many of the fort structures were restored and outfittedTable setting at Fort Wilkins as wonderful examples of military (and civilian) life from 160+ years ago. History Comes Alive For 10 weeks during the summers (June-August), “history comes alive” Chopping Wood at Fort Wilkins as young men and women in period dress carry on with life as it would have occurred back on the army base during its last summer of occupation. Period Costumes at Fort Wilkins The student “life interpreters” did an excellent job of staying in role…in fact, such a good job that I never realized (until I posted about Copper Harbor yesterday and got a response) that a friend I’d known from childhood Sunday school days actually had a daughter who had worked there! Officer's Quarters Small world! If she’d been there that day,
I would so loved to have known that and been able to greet her! Copper Harbor, MI It made me consider that there are probably people I see on the streetsFort Wilkinswho are related to people I’ve known…
or maybe are people I’ve known, but I simply don’t recognize them! Officer in costume at Fort Wilkins Although we can’t always identify one another physically,
on a spiritual level, I hope we never go incognito…
dressing and acting like someone other than who we are. Yes, they ARE Christians! Fort Wilkins If we are Christians, may our lives shine with the radiance of God’s love. (Actually, that happened with this girl, and we could tell she’s a believer!)The Good Shepher at Fort WilkinsBy this shall all men know that ye are my disciples,
if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35).

“We are one in the Spirit
We are one in the Lord
We are one in the Spirit
We are one in the Lord

“And we pray that all unity may one day be restored
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love

“We will work with each other
We will work side by side
We will work with each other
We will work side by side

“And we’ll guard each man’s dignity and save each man’s pride,
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love,
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love.” (—Peter Scholtes)

(I took the first picture at Bunratty Folk Park in Ireland, but the rest were taken on our trip to Fort Wilkins a few weeks ago.)


Simple Pleasures: Celebrating Holidays with Loved Ones

Grandma with BabyDid you have a happy Fourth of July?  I sure did! Red Sunrise The day dawned with a vibrant glow and just got better from there! Dan's Family Not only did we have the privilege of enjoying Dan’s family, Brothers talking Stephen, Joel with Amelie on tractor and Joel, who are living here in GR (at least S+J through the summer), Jon and Gerlinde but we also enjoyed the company of Jon’s family (visiting from Washington), Gene and Andrea's family and my sister’s kids (Andrea and Kegan) plus Andrea’s family!!
Andrea and her husband, Gene, were super close to our kids growing up. Gene and Andrea's family In fact, Andrea met Gene at our house, and it’s been such a delight to have watched their friendship blossom into romance and grow into a beautiful marriage, now blessed with seven children. Family walking down a lane They remind me of Alan and myself from about 30 years ago with our seven! SophieSigh. Where did the time go? (This is Jon and Linda’s youngest, Sophie.) Reading At any rate, there are few “simple pleasures” any more wonderful than getting together with family to share holidays and play with cousins, Eating black raspberries and this Fourth of July was no exception! Jon and LindaWe enjoyed lots of chances to bond over meals and conversations…Reading a book to a childlots of story times High Five!and “High Five” moments. Samuel sound asleep at family reunion copyBy the end of the day, everybody was full, happy, content…and very sleepy! Birthday WishesThank you, Father, for family!

“Blessed is every one who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways. When you eat the labor of your hands, you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, your children like olive plants all around your table.” (Psalm 128:1-3)

 Bless Your Baby (Ideas for Baby’s Fourteenth Week)

Fourth Month

  1. Taste Testing4 Months Old!“He made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock.” Deuteronomy 32:13

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, who is our Rock of ages and whose words are sweeter than honey, please bless our baby with a sense of peace and security. May we know and live out an utter confidence in you—the rock of our salvation—that results in an unruffled calmness in our souls and a peace that passes understanding throughout our home. Thank you for all the good things we enjoy eating! Please give us wisdom as we introduce various tastes of food to Baby. Help us to be wise in choosing a generous variety of nutritious foods that have excellent flavor and texture, and, as Baby grows up, may she always “suck out” (by meditation) all the honey and butter in your wondrously varied and nutritious Word!

THOUGHT: I was advised to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months and then introduce new foods one at a time to make sure Baby wasn’t allergic to anything, avoiding any citrus (including tomatoes), wheat, dairy products, honey (to avoid Clostridium botulinum), or eggs for the entire first year. Whatever the current theory, let your pediatrician’s best advice be your standard.

ACTIVITY: If your pediatrician approves, consider letting Baby suck on a spoon smeared with a tiny lick of mashed banana, rice cereal, mashed potato, or a drop of salty water. A few new, harmless taste experiences may help Baby be more willing to accept medication the next time she’s sick!

  1. Games for Rough Toddlers Who Want to Play with Baby

“Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.”

Proverbs 17:9 (ESV)


PRAYER: Dear Father, thank you for being the LORD God of Israel, the God alone of all the kingdoms of the earth. You made heaven and earth, and yet you’re willing to “bow down your ear” and listen to us…and “open your eyes” to see us. Thank you that your eyes are “upon the ways of man” and you see everything. Please oversee all of Baby’s interactions with other children to keep them all from harm and injury. May you always save Baby out of the hand of any who would harm her, and may her hands daily be extended to others in love and friendship!

THOUGHT: Active toddlers who are interested in Baby can be a challenge if they haven’t had much experience with infants. Games where you give the toddler some channeling and lots of approval usually make the youngster feel less jealous and occupy both children in a positive way, especially if Baby is allowed to watch from a safe perch (usually Mom’s lap).

ACTIVITY: Rolling a ball back and forth between Mom and toddler can be really fun, but only if the child never throws the ball. If the toddler is truly hyperactive, jealous, or rough, then it helps to find activities where you and Baby are mostly observers. You could ask the child to show Baby how to do tricks such as hop like a frog, jump like a bunny, creep like a cat hunting a mouse, or slither like a snake. Or, you could ask the child if he can make sounds like a cat, dog, chicken, duck, horse, cow, etc.

  1. After Returning Home from Travel

“And when we had taken our leave one of another, we took ship; and they returned home again.”

Acts 21:6


PRAYER: Dear heavenly Father, Thank you for keeping us safe when we travel. In all our travels, may we share your amazing love with those we meet, and may the warmth of that love draw others to your light. For as long as we live, may we be busy telling others about all your compassion and the great things you have done for us. Also, thank you for our wonderful home! Thank you for every wall and every window. May we daily delight in your good provisions for us, and may our home be a haven of rest for those who enter. May your presence—your love, joy, and peace—abide here with us.

THOUGHT: When we’re gone from home for a while, we often realize more than ever how much we appreciate what we have! After returning from visiting family, Aaron lit up when he saw his crib. The mattress on our bed in those days came from our grandmother’s abandoned farmhouse…but it was our mattress. Our furniture was “early American Salvation Army,” but it was our very own! There are lots of places in the world where people sleep on mats on a dirt floor, or sadly, have no home at all. Our family has helped build tiny one-room homes in Mexico where a real glass window is a treasure…yes, here in the twenty-first century!

ACTIVITY: Why not take time the have a “Praise Service” with Baby, walking around your home, rejoicing together in all the good things you do have. Praise God for food, secure walls, safe cribs, warm blankets, your comfy bed, etc. Count your blessings!

  1. Ticklish Knees

“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Ephesians 3:14

PRAYER: Dear Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, we bow our knees to you today, asking as the Apostle Paul prayed in Ephesians, that you would strengthen us with might by your Spirit in our inner man. May Christ dwell in our hearts by faith, so that we, being rooted and grounded in love, will be able to comprehend the breadth, and length, and depth, and height of the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, and be filled with all the fullness of God. Thank you for being able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to your power that works in us. May glory be unto you in the church throughout all ages!

THOUGHT: If Baby hasn’t discovered her knees yet, she will soon. Help her explore!

ACTIVITY: If the weather’s not too cold, how about some exercises with just a diaper on Baby’s bottom half? Gently tickle Baby’s knees and see if you can get her to smile or kick. Put on some booties that have bells (securely) attached so she can hear them ring when she moves her feet. This bell game can be done repeatedly when Baby is awake, but it should always be done with your close attention so there’s no danger of her choking on the bells. Take Baby’s hands and let her feel her knees. Tell her they are “knees” while you touch them, and then tell her everything you know about knees while you pat them. Gently massage her legs and feet with your hands and carefully do “bicycle” motions with her while she’s lying on her back on a soft surface. Let her legs extend out and kick a little, and give her a little resistance, so she’s actually pushing against the palms of your hands (but not enough to stop her, just a bit of strengthening exercise).

  1. “Making Strange”

“And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.”

Luke 10:27


PRAYER: Dear God, who is our refuge and in whom we put our trust, please teach us as parents how to love Baby enough to protect her from every harm, even the emotional distress caused by demanding people. Help both Baby and me to love others but only trust those who are good. May we learn to abide always under the shadow of your wings and love those who walk uprightly, work righteousness, and speak the truth in their hearts. May we be able to be kind to all men yet remain unaffected by those who may try to demand what is not be best for Baby. Help us to be discerning, loving, gentle, and kind, and give us a wise and thoughtful answer for every request.

THOUGHT: Once Baby understands the concept of “other” versus “mother” and knows that she prefers mother to other, she will begin to appear shy or “make strange.” ACTIVITY: Today’s “activity” is for you to practice saying “Not now!” Protect Baby from people who want to hold Baby or play with her against her will. There are times when your infant must be entrusted to another caregiver (church nursery, babysitter, or whatever), but during times when there’s no necessity for leaving mother’s arms, don’t feel obliged to please anyone else at Baby’s expense. If a friend can sweet talk her into coming to her, so much the better, and a little coaxing for out-of-town relatives or friends could be a good thing, but in the long run babies warm up faster and are more secure and confident if they are allowed to choose their own timing in developing friendships.

  1. Learning Balance: A Lifelong ChallengeSitting up?!“Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers.”
    Psalm 1:1 (ESV)

PRAYER: Dear King of the Universe who is decked with majesty and excellency and arrayed with glory and beauty, thank you that you never walk in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of the scornful. Bless Baby, dear Father. As she learns how to balance so she can sit alone, may she learn to sit at your feet. As she learns to stand, may she always stand for you. As she learns to walk, may her heart sing, “I have decided to follow Jesus.” Help us all to be godly and well balanced.

THOUGHT: One of these days, Baby will slump forward and be “sitting” up for a few seconds. Work with Baby at balance; it’s one of the most fundamental abilities in life!

ACTIVITY: Although most babies are six months or older before they sit up on their own, you can help Baby learn to sit by helping her practice balancing. Hold her under her arms and let her little feet dance for you. Make a circle with your hands just barely bigger than her chest so that as soon as she starts to tip over you balance her on her feet again. Do the same with her in the sitting position (as long as her neck is strong enough to support her head now). Let her sit with your hands encircling but not completely supporting her. As soon as she starts to tip, rebalance her and let her have a go at trying to balance herself again. If you smile and encourage her while you practice, she will enjoy playing the “game” and be as pleased as you are. Most of athletic agility, social awareness, and mental prowess are inborn gifts. The child can’t change who she is, but she can be encouraged to grow and improve as fast as she can by enthusiastic approval.

  1. R’n’R for Baby: Rest (at Night) and Relaxation (in the Tub)

“It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.”

Psalm 127:2

PRAYER: Oh, Father, thank you for giving your beloved sleep! A day without sleep, and I’m exhausted! Please bless our family with the ability to sleep soundly at night, and please help us to recognize when we are being crabby simply because we are overtired. Help us to make wise choices so that we are not getting up too early or staying up too late unnecessarily. And then, dear Lord, we pray that you will help us to be secure and joyful about receiving a daily washing with your precious Word. Help Baby to enjoy her bath and learn to revel in the freedom of clean, warm water washing away all the sourness and grim. Thank you for your provision to save us by your mercy, wash us by regeneration, and renew us by your Holy Spirit. Thank you for your wondrous, cleansing power.

THOUGHT: The warmth and freedom of a daily play in the tub is especially important for development during the long winter months when the weight of booties and blankets hamper exercise and exploration. It’s one of the happiest ways you can bless your baby!

ACTIVITY: If you haven’t developed a daily bath routine, please consider starting one today. Just five or ten minutes of water play is plenty of time. Those precious baths are very prime minutes of sheer freedom and pleasure in a baby’s life, and they wash away every trace of sour milk and urine, even from the tiniest crevice and cranny. If Baby’s skin seems dry or chapped afterward, try a little baby lotion. It’s a great fifteen-minute investment in health, and she’ll feel so fresh all snugged up again: soft, clean, dewy, and smelling sweet!

Joel’s Golden Birthday and Fathers’ Day

June 19th was Joel’s 19th birthday…his “golden birthday!”

I can’t tell you what a joy Joel is to Alan and me! He’s truly, truly awesome!

In truth, Alan and I have been blessed “above all we could ask or think” with our kids…natural born and in-laws!

We spent a very happy day…mostly around home just enjoying the MI family who could come to help celebrate.

Our lilies are in full bloom now! It’s so pretty.

On Sunday, after church, we gathered again for Alan’s Father’s Day party. Carl arrived (after a celebration with his own dad and family), and Brianna and Daniel left to go honor her dad.

Those of us who could took a trip with Alan over to enjoy the boardwalks and beaches of Grand Haven.

We had a very happy father on our hands!

Thank you, heavenly Father, for allowing us the joy of having earthly families. May our love for our own children only make our love for you deeper as we ponder your unfathomable love for us!

Aren’t you glad that even if we don’t have earthly fathers living, or any earthly children, we can still have God for our father and be a part of the family of God?! I sure am!

Brain Cancer and Brain Aneurysm

I meant to post on Weight Watchers Thursday. In fact,  I lost a pound and heard a good pep talk on “Get Moving!!”  Exercise. With my handy Yaktrax, it’s possible to walk the lane even while it’s a skating rink, and that’s exactly what it’s been this past week. This is good…but…

The small pleasures and events of life have been dwarfed the last few days by the mammoth events occurring in the lives of dear friends. Friday morning I took Cheryl in to the hospital to have a “face mask” made before she begins three weeks of radiation treatment, hoping to reduce the size of the multiple metastatic tumors in her brain before she begins chemotherapy for her newly diagnosed metastatic lung cancer. Since Cheryl is one of my closest friends in GR, this has really had a huge impact on me. I’ve asked her for permission to tell you more about her, which she’s granted, so next week, I will definitely be sharing more of her story.

The picture on my fridge of Steve and Lois from last summer…

As soon as I returned from the hospital, Alan and I took off for Salem Bible Church for the funeral of Lois R., a vivacious 53-year-old friend who died suddenly of a brain aneurysm. On February 16th she had been at her daughter’s side while her first grand child came into this world. She spent a very happy day on Sunday playing with Aveena and basking in the joy of her new role as “Grandma.” Around 7 pm. that night, she developed a headache. By 10 pm her husband was rushing her to the hospital, where they airlifted her to U. M., although she was already in a coma, arrested four times, and could never be recovered. One of the last things she did was stamp “SR+LR” in the snow outside their home. They’d been happily married for 31 years.

Since Lois had lived and died in Salem and always attended the same church (the little country church we also attended when we lived in Plymouth), everyone knew her. Also, she was a beloved school teacher. The total surprise and shock of her unexpected death so rocked the community that although we arrived 20 minutes early, we were ushered by the fire department to a parking spot several blocks away and joined the long line of 150+ mourners who sat in the gym because there was no room in the little 200-seat auditorium. The funeral was an extremely touching mix of sorrow and joy: sorrow because of the loss of someone so vital, wonderful, and seemingly healthy, and joy because we all knew she was in the presence of the Lord she’s loved so well! One of the last things she ever wrote was recorded in a little book called “Grandma Remembers” and presented to her new grand daughter the day before: “My wish for the future is that as I grow older and enter heaven, all of my family will trust, know, and follow Jesus as their Savior and Lord of their life. Trust me…there is no other life full of peace, joy, and contentment.” My heart aches for her family but rejoices in her life and echoes her heart’s desire!

State of the Union

Well, we’ re just about ready for bed. Some of our closest friends came over tonight to pray with us. Alan and I have to be at the hospital at 5:30 am for the surgery, which will be about 5 hours, from 7:30 am-12:30pm. Since my computer was stolen, I won’t have internet access, and I plan to stay right at the hospital with Alan until he comes home on Saturday or Sunday, so it may be awhile before I post again, but I’ll try to let you know how things went as soon as I can. Thank you in advance for praying for us, and take it that “no news is good news!” In all things, may God be glorified and Jesus Christ be praised. Billy Graham said that the greatest thing in his whole life has been his fellowship with God. Isn’t it wonderful to know that we don’t have to miss out on the best? We don’t have to be rich and famous to have “the best!” The best is knowing and loving God…belonging to Him and experiencing His great love for us!

Just So You Know

While Alan and I were on vacation last week, all of our belongings were stolen, including my computer with my blog account information on it. I will try to update you soon on what’s happening, but in the meantime, if I “post” anything crazy, know that it’s not coming from me!