Woods, Water and Waiting

October 8, 2022 | My Jottings

Hello friends. Lloyd and I just returned from a four-day trip up the north shore of Lake Superior to celebrate our third wedding anniversary. How three years has whooshed by I don’t know, but that is the thought every aging person I talk to is marveling about. The passage of this next year will really feel like three months. And soon, if I live longer than I have long had a premonition for, I will be 85 years old and more than ready for my time on this earth to end.

I know someone who dearly wants to keep living and living and living, and he doesn’t feel quite comfortable talking about death or making plans for his death, but I’m the opposite. If I even have a chance of making it to Heaven, I’d like to go before I reach 70, and that’s not martyrish or fatalistic, it’s just me. I have my health care directive done and filed with my doctor and hospital and family. My will is completed, with a friend as the executor. My finances are in order, and I give thanks to God for that, because He has kept His grace and lavishness ever before my eyes, and I will always thank Him for caring for me in that way.

A couple of weeks ago the four SAGs were at Pat’s house and we touched on the subject of funerals. They didn’t know that you can purchase a casket online and save thousands of dollars, but I know that from personal experience when Michael died. Even in the midst of the sorrow and relief during the week of his death, I knew he would not want me to spend triple for a wooden box that would be seen once and then lowered into the ground. Most states have laws so that a grieving family can purchase a lovely casket online and it will be delivered the next day to the funeral home, and the funeral home is required to use it. The SAGs wanted the link to the casket site and I texted it to them right then… such are the evening conversations of older women when they gather for soup and bread, music and laughter.

Lloyd and I stayed in a lovely condo that was so close to the Lake we could have almost jumped into the frigid water from the deck. This was our third time there, and as wonderful as it was, we decided that next October we will stay someplace in the woods. We both agree that woods or water are needed for our restful place, but it was the drive deep into the Superior National Forest on Tuesday that helped us decide we needed a change. We drove through one almost empty campground set in an old-growth forest and the feeling of wonder and quiet overcame us. You need to spend time here, my brain nudged insistently. Or was it my soul?

So yesterday I spent some time perusing the websites of every single resort on Minnesota’s Gunflint Trail, one of my favorite places on earth. Michael and I have stayed with friends at Golden Eagle Lodge on the Trail, Lloyd and I have stayed twice at Bearskin Lodge, and we’ve driven the trail numerous times. I am past the time in my life where I could stay in a super rustic cabin. I don’t mind old, but I want clean, I want a toilet that can’t earn the nickname Hobbit Hole, I don’t want spider webs, and it should have a comfy bed. And of course it has to be close to one of the zillions of lakes surrounding the Gunflint, and should be so deep in the woods only the moose and wolves come close.

I narrowed the resorts down to two, and then chatted with Lloyd and shared photos last night. We have settled on a resort far up the Trail and are still deciding on which cabin. Here are a couple of pictures of what we’re considering for next fall:

Now for an exciting segue. Here’s a wonderful little boy who knows nothing about buying caskets online and health care directives. He’s my grandson Levi with some big news:

Yes, Levi and his family are expecting a beautiful little girl to brighten up their lives in early April. This will be my daughter Carolyn and her husband Jeremy’s eighth child, with Hannah already gone ahead to Heaven in 2017. We are all so thrilled and can’t wait to meet her.

I have finally put away my cane and am now walking normally after my tibial fracture. I see the orthopedic doctor next week for a final X-ray to make sure new bone growth is still occurring. I’m walking slower than usual because that knee will still occasionally feel unstable, but I guess that’s normal.

You know I like to talk about books here, and I just read a phenomenal one. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles was beautifully written and so unique. I’ve now picked up the same author’s The Lincoln Highway because two friends have said it’s the best book they’ve read all year. What are you reading?

I’ve been thinking about prayer in light of all the images that are coming back from the James Webb telescope. If you haven’t seen any of the photos, you might be astounded if you look them up. Galaxies and star nurseries so many light years away the human mind can’t grasp it. I so want God to answer my prayers regarding my grandchildren and children. I’ve experienced His grace and miraculous intervention in my life, but I mostly experience what it’s like to wait on Him and trust. It’s heart-wrenching to pray for someone fervently for years and not see the relief you beg Him for. But then I’m reminded that He is outside of time and space, and to describe His doings as “glacial” doesn’t even come close to being accurate. He is not in a hurry, and I am. I am in a desperate hurry to see the people I love whole and free and suffused with the peace and joy of Jesus. I want that for myself as well.

I know the Lord has things well in hand, but I would sort of like Him to come and personally assure me He has things well in hand, and that He will answer and all will be well. Julian of Norwich promised, “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” I wish I could ask her, did Jesus talk to you about my grandchild? Did he mention my daughter’s name? Are you certain about this? Did He really say all?

I think I might be able to lay hold of this more firmly if I were more often in the deep woods or very near the water.

Well I think that’s enough rambling for today. Sometimes I consider letting this little spot on the internet go silent. Who cares what my thoughts are when myriad others out there share and even shout theirs? My quiet life isn’t notable enough to put words to anymore, as if it ever was. But then I remember that everyone has a story. And how much I love to read other peoples’ stories.

So here I am. My story in a nutshell is that when I was three years old, Jesus helped me believe in Him and want Him. And He has helped me continue to believe Him and want Him until this, my 65th year.


  1. Helen in Switzerland says:

    Hi Julie
    I will be very interested to hear what you think of the Lincoln Highway. I’m currently listening to it on Audible and I have to say I absolutely hate it. It can’t finish too quickly for me. I had heard a lot of people saying it was great too. Nope, don’t get it….
    I’m glad to hear that you are up and running around again and your trip to the cabin sounds great! The endless forests….I’m sure there are very few places in Europe that you could find something so remote!
    Sending much love from Switzerland, Helen

  2. Just Julie says:

    That makes me even more curious about The Lincoln Highway, Helen! I’m not far into enough to be “grabbed,” but will let you know how it goes. Our forests in Minnesota are beautiful yes, but I would head to the Schwartzwald in a minute! xoxo

  3. Susan Raimo says:

    Dear Julie,
    Please keep sharing your story. I love how you draw your readers in as you experience the holy ordinary.

  4. Just Julie says:

    You are one of the dearest encouragers I know, Sue. Thank you. xoxo

  5. Judy Dahl says:

    Hi Julie, First – I would really miss your blog – you always lift my spirits and make me think. second I loved the book A Gentleman in Moscow. Next I read his book Rules of Civility which was good but not as good. I read The Lincoln Highway this summer and loved it- at least most of it- probably 99%. I would love to talk with you about it when you are finished.
    Please keep sharing your thoughts and sweet humor.

  6. Just Julie says:

    Judy, thank you. I so appreciate your words. Well, I have finished The Lincoln Highway. I don’t know what to say. I loved it in the sense that it was compelling, unique, and Emmett and Billy were fantastic characters. But like Helen who commented earlier there were things to hate, and I hated Duchess. I hated being inside his head when he was narrating. It felt horrible. Also, why dangle the Ulysses and Macie carrot and not let us know anything about that? So you loved it 99%, but because of Duchess I would say my percentage was 70. It did not compare with the depth and joy and beauty of A Gentleman in Moscow, in my opinion, but it was worth reading. It would be nice to get together and have coffee or tea, Judy. xoxo

  7. Nancy A Roney says:

    Julie, congratulations all around on your recovery and the upcoming birth of your grandchild. The photo of big brother to be is so charming. I also would miss your blog so please don’t even think of quitting. You are natural writer and what you write is very inspiring. Your next fall vacation sounds great too. I’m sure you will have fun planning it. Enjoy the fall. My daughter is visiting me from Hawaii and we had a great short trip to Vermont. Another lovely part of the world. God bless you abundantly.

  8. Just Julie says:

    Nancy, how wonderful your daughter is there with you. I’ll bet the colors in Vermont were breathtaking. Thank you for your kind words, as always. God bless you, friend. xo

  9. Ember says:

    Levi. Such a sweetheart!

  10. Just Julie says:

    He is, Ember. He has a sweet and funny personality too. Of course a grandma would say that about her own. How are Michael and Iceni? xo

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