Fall

Things to Do With Your Husband #12: Yard Work

Whether it is landscape planting in the spring, mowing and weed-pulling in the summer, or leaf-raking in the fall and winter, yards require a lot of maintenance. This is work that can be fun if you have a little company. We have two very large oak trees in our front yard (and something like five in the back) that color beautifully in the fall.

Living among the gorgeous oranges, yellows, and reds is truly amazing. I am reminded each time I look or step outside that God is the greatest Artist.

Those painted leaves turn brown and crunchy, and a chill north wind blows through…

… and then I am reminded why we call this season

FALL.

before

before

The leaves have begun to fall. And when these two huge white oaks drop leaves… they really, really drop them!

Nate and I decided to tag-team this job. One of us raked and piled leaves while the other trekked to and from the burn pile in the backyard with the wheel-barrow. We swapped roles as my back started to hurt from raking, and then my feet tired of wheeling.

during

during

We raked and hauled fire fuel for about 6 hours that day… and only cleared the front yard of leaves!

after!

after!

The work was tiring, but enjoyable. We whittled away the time chatting and laughing as we plowed our way through the blanket of fallen leaves. There is something about hard work that does a body good.

And there is something about working together towards a common goal that does a relationship good.

The front yard looks again as if we never spent those 6 hours out there. Guess we need to do some more good, tiring work.

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Down Memory Lane

Things to Do With Your Husband #11: See it Again

It is great fun to return to a previously enjoyed place, especially at a different time of year. This weekend, we took a one-night camping trip back to our honeymoon location, Petit Jean Mountain. Our honeymoon was in August, and we stayed in a house. The mountain looked quite different this time around.

The mountains were brushed with burnt oranges, deep reds, and cheerful yellows. The weather was crisp and chilly, but a welcome change from the burning heat of the August sun.

We stopped at an overlook we’d seen previously–the one that gives a nice view of the Arkansas River.

We  visited another overlook that we’d seen before–the Palisades Overlook.

In this comparison, you can see the difference in the foliage. Also, the sky looks bluer because when we visited in August, it was rainy most of the time.

On Sunday, we had a couple of hours to spend before heading out, so we drove out to an overlook we didn’t see last time–the Mary Ann Richter Memorial Overlook.

Richter Memorial Overlook

It allowed some beautiful views over the Arkansas River Valley. Petit Jean River also flows through here.

AR River Valley

more fall foliage

After taking in the sights here, we headed home. On our way, we made a quick detour to visit my best friend and meet her new little bundle of joy. It was a great weekend. I highly encourage you to take a trip somewhere you’ve been before, perhaps at a different time of year. Being in a familiar place brings back those happy memories while you create new ones.

Hike to the Falls

Things to Do With Your Husband #10: Take a Hike

Over the weekend, we took a one-night camping trip to Petit Jean State Park. Since our honeymoon there over two years ago, I wanted to return and hike the Cedar Falls Trail that is rated “moderate” for its steep, rocky steps and path that leads to the bottom of Cedar Falls. After checking into our campsite and having a quick lunch, we drove to the trail head which begins behind Mather Lodge.

Mather Lodge overlook

Cedar Falls Trail head

We began the descent on steps cut from the rocky mountain face more than 50 years ago by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The first 1/2 mile is a winding path that ends 200 feet below in the canyon of Cedar Creek. We passed huge stacks of rocks…

looking up

… and came to a rickety metal bridge spanning Cedar Creek.

one-lane bridge

The creek wasn’t flowing very much, but we would occasionally spot small pools of green-blue water littered with orange, red, and yellow leaves.

leaves

Finally, the pay-off for the walk: beautiful Cedar Falls. The water falls more than 90 feet into the canyon with high rock walls, like a bowl holding a stunning, deep pool of green below.

waterfall

pretty pool below

There were many people around, but we took a rest on a large rock, taking in our surroundings. Then, we began the hike back up, which was noticeably more difficult, but totally worth it. I was so proud of myself for making the hike. We enjoyed the sights and sounds; we oohed and aahed over the fall foliage, trickling creek, and huge boulders performing balancing acts on the path’s edge.

Bonus photo: we spotted some tiny carpet rocks on the way back!

size comparison: toe of a boot

I am so glad we were able to hike this trail after two years of regretting we didn’t before. It was difficult, but completely worth it. If there is something you are regretting not doing, I encourage you to speak with your husband about it–see if it would be possible to try again. For a long time, I didn’t tell Nate because I worried about his reaction. I worried he would think me silly for regretting something like that. He didn’t, though. He understood and was eager to give me an opportunity to try.

Working Hard, Kind Of

Things to Do With Your Husband #8: Go to Work

If your husband has the kind of job that allows you to tag along (and if you have the opportunity to), then I highly suggest you make a day (or several) of being with him while he works. Two weeks ago, I spent 5 days with Nate as he worked.

Well, kind of worked. He wasn’t doing the vigorous timber cruising he usually does when he travels out of town, but it was still an exhausting week.

Gas Pipeline

We talked and laughed. We sat in complete silence, just enjoying the blue sky, brilliant white clouds, and green, green trees. I clutched the passenger door as we rumbled over erroded “roads” in the backwoods of the back country of Texas. He laughed at me. 🙂

This is a heavenly road, compared to some!

We spent every day all day in his truck together and every evening all evening together in the hotel and every supper at a restaurant together. We were basically together for 5 consecutive days, non-stop. It was kind of fun.

Funny Road Name: Bullyvard Rd.

I smiled when he brought flowers into the truck for me to see when he got out to unlock a gate.

 

Pretty Wildflower

I wouldn’t re-do that week any differently.

Young Pines

This time together also showed me proof of my husband’s dedication and diligence in his work. He goes above and beyond what his company/co-workers expect of him. He doesn’t take shortcuts. He works hard to support me and witnessing that for myself (even though I’ve believed it all along) only heightens my respect, appreciation, and love for him.

Wives, even if you can’t take time to be with your husband at work, be sure and tell him how much you appreciate that he works hard for your family. While showing your appreciation with a clean house, home-cooked meals, and happy kids is definitely encouraged, speaking it is important too.

Also, show interest in his work. Ask your husband about his job, workplace, and relationship with his coworkers. Be his kind place to share his anxieties about his job (upcoming promotion opportunies, boss/co-worker disagreements, task overload, big presentation, assessment interviews). Be his little party-er to help him celebrate his conquests (promotion, new responsibility, raises, positive reinforcement from a boss/co-worker). He wants to know that you care about his career/job/business. He needs to know that you appreciate his hard work! So tell him!

Another Sneak Peek

Things to Do With Your Husband #7: Baste a Quilt

I’m letting the cat out of the bag–the secret sewing project I’ve been working on is a quilt for a friend of our’s who is getting married in one week. Yes, I said one week. Today, Nate helped me iron the backing and baste the quilt “sandwich” with big safety pins. (Sorry for the poor quality of this photo.)

My Beloved Helpmate

He was such a dear doing all that kneeling and stretching. Sadly because of my weight, I can’t kneel directly on my knees for very long (especially on those hard floors!) and bending at the waist gives me a head rush that doesn’t feel very good when I straighten up. I ironed portions of the backing, but he did most of it, the darling. It needed ironing because it was pieced and much too large for my ironing board. You’ll learn more about that in a week or so!

He also helped me pin-baste the quilt with large safety pins–5 in each of 30 blocks makes 150 pins, plus some in the border. We ended up using small safety pins I had in the house because we ran out of the giant ones while pinning the border. He is a quick pinner! Here’s a sneak peek of a couple pins…

Pins in the Quilt

I found some very nice corners to photograph. 😉

That’s all the sneak peek you get today. The full reveal will be posted by July 4th, I hope. But what I really wanted to talk about was how unselfishly my husband gave some of his time to my hobby in order to save me back-breaking trouble, aches and pains, and at least an hour of work. I was going to ask him to help me lay out the quilt pieces (that batting sticks to fabric like peanut butter to the roof of your mouth!), and he offered to help me pin the whole thing. When we realized the backing needed ironing, he graciously stepped in to help without a word from me.

Self-less lover of mine. It brought a tear to my eye to watch him kneeling, actually kind of enjoying ironing (shooting steam is kind of fun, you know), but I think mostly enjoying helping me.

It is the self-less love given him by my Savior showing through, really. My husband is to love me as Christ loves the church. He is to give himself to me fully, following the example of Christ. And tonight (as is often the case), my Savior really shined through him. He turned this chore I’d been dreading into a rather happy time of service to me.

And I couldn’t thank him enough.

Wives, you don’t have direct control over your husband helping you with your hobbies or chores. BUT, you can and should give yourself to him in this way. Help him when he needs you. Keep a watchful eye so that you may assist him without him having to ask for it. You can serve him by helping him with his chores/duties/hobbies sometimes, not just by keeping up with your own. Serve him in all that you do, just as you serve the Lord in all that you do. Bring your concerns about your husband’s behavior or attitude to your Heavenly Father in prayer while you continue to serve your husband.

I have seen first-hand that serving my husband with a joyful heart and attitude (though not always easy and sometimes with much prayer required for the happy part) is the best thing I can do as his wife. It fulfills him, cheers him. And when he reciprocates, I thank God for leading me in diligence and patience and for a soft-hearted husband who loves me so.

I ask you: what  have you helped your husband with recently that is normally his job/chore/duty around the home or his hobby? If you can’t remember, maybe you should start thinking of a way to help him soon.