Father’s Day

Father's Day 2016We observe or celebrate a lot of holidays – Patriotic days, like the Fourth of July and Veterans Day and Memorial Day, religious holidays like Christmas and Easter and Good Friday, national days of observance like Thanksgiving, and dozens of other lesser-known holidays. But I have to say that one of the best holidays, after those that celebrate Christ, has to be Father’s Day. We live in a society where the father’s role has been undermined, partly because of a society set against manhood, and partly because of self-sabotage. And I don’t get the impression that our culture as a whole really cares. The disappearance of the leader-father is overlooked in the shadow of other epidemics and controversies that ignite zeal and spend energy. How amazing, then, that we still have one day out of the year where we as a nation celebrate our fathers!

Father's Day 2016We celebrated today with a spur-of-the-moment jaunt to Lakota Lake for a little kayaking and enjoying of the fresh air and sunshine, and got ice cream on the way home at Rushmore Cave. Dad is handy with a grill and with a gun, so he grilled us up some venison from his hunting this past fall. Nothing quite like good venison steak and fresh corn on the cob, especially for a family who almost exclusively eats chicken. It’s a running joke. Watermelon up at Grandma’s, and an episode of the TV series Christie topped off our evening.

Father's Day 2016God’s design for the father is that he serve as leader in the home. He is to be the spiritual leader, and lead his children in the fear of the Lord. He is to love God first and foremost, and love his wife and cherish her, and teach his children to love and cherish her as well. He is to be a man of character and integrity, lovingly and gently leading his children, disciplining when necessary, and not provoking his children to anger or discouragement. That’s a tall order. And one, I believe, that truly requires God’s grace.

Father's Day 2016I’ve been so blessed to have a father who not only loves his family, but who has led his family consistently and courageously in Godliness. He sets an example of humility, of faith, and of trusting God in all things. He has a testimony of faith that is awe-inspiring, a testimony that proves that God can save anyone, no matter how wrong their life trajectory is, no matter how many bad life decisions a person has made, or how much they have rebelled against God. My dad’s testimony proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that a relationship with God truly is transforming.

UntitledDad’s life since he was saved has been characterized by a submission to God’s will, in the face of extreme odds, in the face of skepticism and criticism and lack of support. We wouldn’t be out here in South Dakota if it hadn’t been for Dad’s determination to submit to God’s will and to make his decisions based not off of practicality or the world’s model of success, but to make his decisions based on what would be best for his family, from a spiritual standpoint. Dad wouldn’t be in seminary right now at the age of 57 and pursuing full time ministry if it wasn’t for his determination to submit to God’s will, no matter how crazy it might appear to onlookers.

Father's Day 2016He has modeled love and faithfulness in marriage, he has modeled humility and gentleness in parenting, he is the man I love most in the world, the person I go to for advice and help and counsel, and as I get older he has become a friend as well. He isn’t perfect. He is a sinner just like I am, saved by the grace of God. But he loves the Lord with all of his heart, soul, and mind.

And I am so glad he is my dad.

Laura Elizabeth



Daily mysteries

IMG_8486Sometimes it takes a country song and moonlight to rattle me out of my own self-centeredness and back into a state of gratitude before God. Last night, I was tired and grouchy and feeling a little sorry for myself when Montgomery Gentry’s song “Lucky Man” came on the radio. I felt rather sheepish. Then light from the almost-full moon peered over my shoulder and brushed my cheek. I looked back and there was the moon, rising above the rugged hills on the road a few miles from home. What in the world do I have to not be thankful for? Thankfulness in all circumstances should be the state of the Christian heart, but it took a country song and moonlight to remind me just how good my circumstances are, and how petty and pathetic and wrong my complaints are. And how good God really is – how incomprehensible!

This morning I restocked our wood supply for the Miner’s Cabin. Up the hill at Grandma’s house, there is a whole woodshed of old dry pine that probably hasn’t been touched in years. Squirrels have used the shed as home-base for probably a decade, so there is a decade’s worth of pine cones and pine cone pieces piled all over the woodshed, which make great fire starter. I brought down enough wood and “fire starter” to last awhile, and spent a good chunk of the afternoon sorting and organizing and straightening.

IMG_8796.1It is so pleasant to sit and listen to the crackle of the fire, to hear the metallic rush of sound as a log collapses, to feel the heat slowly warm the room. Wood heat is exquisite. It is simple and sweet and fierce. I love to watch the glow of the embers beneath the logs, in the place where the very air seems to burn and blaze. I love the dance of the heat along the edges of logs, the blossoming of flame, the crackle and release of sparks. I could sit before a fire for hours.

Moonlight and flame, and the God who created both – Three beautiful mysteries.

Laura Elizabeth



January | In Hindsight

IMG_7012.1The new year has already been flying by! We’re 17 days into February and I haven’t even taken the time to write a review of the month of January. Time flies too quickly. The month of January was a quiet month. That really is nice sometimes. The quiet and the mundane are appreciated after the hurry and bustle of the Christmas holidays.

IMG_6515The Christmas bustle was just sifting away, like a breath of snow, when Jess and her fiance Nick came to visit. For a week, I enjoyed some time off spent with them and the rest of the family. We enjoyed the typical tourist activities, like Mt. Rushmore and the Wildlife Loop in Custer State Park, as well as some less-frequented gems, like Spokane. We were also able to take a day to drive down to our property in Pringle. Since it is an hour and a half south of us and it isn’t even remotely “on our way” anywhere, we don’t get down there very often. When we do, it is a joy! Such beautiful country it is down there. So remote and wild and untouched.

IMG_7294.1When I was able, I spent time working in the Miner’s Cabin to get it closer to being livable – Dad and Sarah got a lot done, working on the wiring, getting the wood stove usable, and sorting through years of keepsakes and books and artifacts. With the wood stove going, the Miner’s Cabin is now a wonderful haven even in the coldest weather. The stove is rather too big for the cabin, but it sure heats it up quickly! I spent hours out there in January enjoying the quiet, sewing some new skirts, listening to “Adventures in Odyssey” and Zane Grey, and enjoying feeling the warmth slowly take over the little house. I am really looking forward to being able to move out there.

IMG_6776.1lrJanuary was sprinkled throughout with ideal weather – Anything from 50 degrees and sunny to 15 degrees and snowing. A beautiful snow storm or two afforded some lovely hiking – One hike in particular through the heavily falling snow was like walking through a fairyland. Time after time, I wished I had my camera, but I’m sure I would have dropped it multiple times as we all slipped and slid through ravines and creek beds.

IMG_7427So January rolled by quietly and unobtrusively, punctuated at last with the romp of rodeo at the Black Hills Stock Show. Great times. It is always encouraging to see such a crowd come together for some good, clean fun, for a sport that is so steeped in hard work, sweat, and Western dust and dirt.

The months keep breezing by – Each with their own flavor and their own set of memories. The first month of the year is past. And there are 11 more months to go in 2016!

Laura Elizabeth


Findings | Lovely lady

We spent the morning working on the Miner’s Cabin, and as I was taking a few things down to the crawlspace of our log cabin, I nearly ran into this spider’s web! She was building her web in the corner of the crawlspace door, near the light switch (so I almost put my hand right into her web), and the web stretched to the middle of the door (so I almost put my head right into her web). Definitely startled me.


Once I got her on a stick and called the family out to see our first black widow, Sarah grabbed her camera and snapped a few pictures of her. What an amazing creature – Black as ebony, with the startling red hourglass on her abdomen, just like in the science books.

We might just need to fumigate the crawlspace after this.

Laura Elizabeth