Monday, August 12, 2013

Friendly family and friendly fire

Roadside beauty
Family reunions can be heaven or hell. "There's continual drama when my family meets," someone told me this week. "We could never be together for nearly a week."

In contrast, we Dahers (my dad's family) like each other - and we have peacemakers in every family group. Our clan is outspoken, opinionated, and flexible. We don't care much what others think of our ideas if we think they're good ones.

"I know what I'm doing, but feel free to convince me otherwise," my dad used to say. "I'm open."

Coming or going
in the cabin?
Even the Jefferson
staircase is non-traditional
That's true - if you have a better idea, let a Daher know; it's not done until it's over. I can't count how many times over the years that I've heard a family member say, "I don't care what s/he thinks. I'm doing it this way." And off they go to plan, prep, or accomplish what needs to be done ... in their own way.

So when my dear sis-in-law asked, a week ago, "What are we doing when we get there?" I just laughed.

"We'll see. You know the Dahers. They hate being micromanaged!" I replied. "We'll set a loose schedule, assign meal cooking and cleanup, and figure it out as we go." I had a very rough count of who was coming.

It helps that each household is hospitable and accustomed to hosting big groups. There's a warm welcome at anyone's doorstep, so this was business as usual. Everyone pitched in to serve fantastic meals and left the kitchen spotless afterwards.

Boys' bunkroom, ready for occupancy
We're cool with the assumption that each will "do our own thinking." We grow up that way from childhood: every member of the tribe is creative and active, eccentric and smart in his/her own field. From aunts and uncles to young cousins, we become accomplished at a lot of stuff by trying new things. Few of us follow traditional careers to traditional success. So when plans change, we adapt and no one gets a bee in their bonnet. (Or the bee has a short buzz.)

To accommodate that flex, we:
  • posted a 2-hour breakfast window for early and late risers. For lunch, we enjoyed the fantastic surroundings (Kallispell, Bigfork, Whitefish, and - 9 miles away - Glacier National Park). At supper, we met again to feast and tell stories
  • thought up evening programs on the spot
    • Thursday, we celebrated my parents' 60th anniversary
    • Friday, we played "Truth or Daher" (best family memories or bucket list)
    • Saturday, we shared what each has recently done and what we're going to be doing
    • Sunday was Dad's 81st birthday
  • came and went, tried things we hadn't done before, hiked the park, swam the lakes, shopped the tourist towns, and went to the gun range
  • spent hours and hours visiting
  • got the clan together after one breakfast for our 19th "Historic Point" photo at the side of the highway. We've never had such a huge group for our annual tradition. We got lots of astonished honks and waves from passing motorists and motorcyclists. (There's a historic point nearby: we take a picture of us lined up next to the road sign, pointing in whatever direction suits us.)
  • had more (and in 2 cases, less) guests and dogs than planned. We felt privileged and happy to hug every one who showed up
  • saved money by cancelling a few hotel rooms for cabin-sharing
  • enjoyed the most incredible huckleberry pies and ice cream on a night with enough dessert. (Is there ever enough dessert). Thanks, Rita.
  • etc. My guestbook is full of new memories, recorded by young and old and those between

Kids' hangout, the family room's chaos
gets tidied at night
This first-ever family reunion (outside of well-attended weddings and funerals) was in Hungry Horse, MT. My friends at home prayed that it would be peaceful, fun, and glorifying to God. It was.

I wasn't sure how we would accommodate the extended family. Our cabin sleeps 20 (8 bunks, 5 queen beds/futons, and 2 spare camping cots.) A friend rented us their 4 bdrm cabin for a "steal-of-a-deal," honoring years of friendship and W's computer help. A few families stayed in nearby hotels.

There was plenty of room upstairs and down. God blessed us with great weather, so the 12-person picnic table outside - plus the neighbor's donated round table - complemented the table and sofas inside.

Cabin, sweet cabin, we'll miss you
"Bye! See you again!" the family waves as their car begins the trek to Edmonton. Another group heads for Winnipeg. Our Seattlites get stuck in hours of grid-lock traffic on Snoqualmie Pass. Daughter Kirsten and poodle Zoe fly to home to Austin.

W and I are left with the quiet that follows a lively storm of conversation, good food, and shared memories.

Sunday evening, we invite about 20 friends from the campground over. We share the thrill of this new adventure facing us - living in Indonesia after next June. They pray over us and promise to continue to continue praying. Several commit to support us with finances. Above all, in that devout company, the friendly Holy Spirit ignites our hearts with His fire.

By tonight, the cabin will be cleaned up and packed up for the winter. We may not be back, after this year when we finished building. Perhaps the whole purpose of this long building process has been the weekend reunion, sharing our calling, and years of making friends who are mature in the faith.

Whatever, we thank God for his provisions of people and resources. Thanks, girlfriends, for your prayers.

Read more:
*The Lord answered Job, "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? and said to the sea, 'Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stopped'?" Job 38:4,11 NLT 

*It shall be one day which is known to the Lord -- neither day nor night. But at evening time it shall happen that it will be light. Zechariah 14:7 NKJV

*(Jesus said,) “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

*In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. John 1:1, 3 NLT

*The night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Romans 13:12 NLT

Moravian Prayer: O Holy Spirit, you are our light during the day and at night. We thank you for this day. Help us to make the most of it. Help us to let our light shine so that others see you through us in work and at play.

Everlasting God, you extend your righteous hand. Let us feel your touch. You inspire and encourage us in the face of our troubles. Help us to know all strength comes through you. We worship and adore you. Amen.

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