“Being a Good Samaritan” Today #162

Two weeks ago in IPWG I wrote “If we believe we know the right thing to do – let’s do it.”  Well, I did it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

During the last two weeks I have had hours to think about what I am doing.

Costs: Days of work, hundreds of dollars, and relationship capital. Support continues to be needed.  And I have decided this is OK.

Thoughts: The Good Samaritan would not have been needed if the rescued person was not in great need – unable to help himself.  And the Good Samaritan would have been cruel if he had bandaged the man and left him where he was.  Not only did he transport him to a safe place, but then continued caring for him through hiring someone else to do so.   Luke 10:30-36

The Good Samaritan was on a rocky, hot, isolated road.  I know, I have walked a short section of it.  He was likely going somewhere for some specific purpose.  He had other things to accomplish; probably involving other people.  There is no hint the Samaritan was traveling with others – which means that when he stopped, he too was a prime target to be beaten and robbed.  The fact is, the Samaritan had money, though we do not know how much.  We do know that the Samaritan could not call 911 on his cell phone, or call to say why he would be a day late.

Reality:  In a small town, on a side street between a dollar store and deli/pizza place – just down from the laundromat and across the street from the car wash is a bakery, with a small, black and gold, almost unreadable sign above its door.  It is quiet inside: black carpet, slightly textured walls painted a deep rose color.  There are three large display units, one refrigerated.  The pastry chef comes in at 3:00 AM to prepare everything he sells, and he works the counter when a customer comes in.  At 2:00 PM the part time help arrives.  On Sunday he works 4 hours, and is closed Mondays.  60 hr per wk, 52 weeks a year.

The pastries he makes are beautiful and delicious! Exactly what we order for dessert in top quality restaurants – Napoleons, chocolate covered cheese cake, apple/raspberry strudel, an incredible dark chocolate mousse …. His pastries are so good, several people drive 45 minutes down the mountain from Windham, where he previously worked, to buy his pastries.  He creates and decorates cakes: roses or chains of flowers or large chocolate shavings.  He makes typical 8” cakes or very large, multi-tiered wedding cakes.   He has been mastering his craft for about 30 years, dreaming of opening his own shop for a long, long time.

My wife, Sally Jo, is an excellent baker, so I have only been a customer when I wanted to bring a surprise – like when visiting the man who was recovering from his 5th hip operation, or our grandsons when we visit them in “The Woods”.  It is fun to arrive with several different pastries, nicely boxed.   When I have stopped by, I have noticed the bakery is never busy, and we talk.

Recently I asked “….., how are you doing?”  After a long pause, with tears in his eyes he said “Not good”.  His eyes sank to the floor.  As I asked a few questions, his situation spilled out.  He had learned that he owned money to the IRS for worker’s comp he did not know he should have been paying.  With interest and penalties, thousands of dollars.  He was 3 months behind on his rent. The phone and electric companies were threatening to disconnect him.  For three months a retired business man has been coming in every morning at 5:00 to learn to make pastries.  Recently, the pastry chef had opened up to the business man.  He was not surprised, and volunteered to take over the business side.

“Chuck, things are tense at home – my wife does not have enough money to pay the bills, and our home is tied to the loan I used to open the business.  I just don’t have enough customers!!!”   Can I get you a new sign?  “Sure, but I have no money!”  Can a mailing be prepared and sent to each of the 1956 addresses in the town?  “Sure Chuck, but I have NO money.”   Is it OK to fill a notebook with pictures of your cakes?  How about a table and chairs so you can sell coffee and tea, and provide a place for “walk in” people to enjoy their fresh pastries?  Could the name be changed from _______’s Bakery    to   ______’s Pastry Shop?  “It would probably be a good idea.”

Result:  Others agreed to help: the lumber yard, a sign painter, and a photographer.  Color copies were made at cost, and a lift truck with two men was provided to replace the old sign with a 4’ X 16’ bright, beautiful sign. A very nice table and chairs are on semi-permanent loan.   The notebook of cake pictures is on the table.  The mailer goes out tomorrow.  The work is done!!!!!

I told the owner/chef  “This is a cup of cold water given to you in Jesus name.” Mt 10:42  Tears flow – and I have joy in my heart.

Will what has been done be enough to save the dream, the business, and the house, or have limited resources been wasted?

Who knows?  I do know that what has been done is pleasing to the Lord.   He got me into this.  We are in partnership.

Building Relationships #161

Picture and listen to 16 chain saws at full throttle in an area 30’ X 40’, cutting on maple logs 12’ X 24’ long.  The walls go up 9’ above the floor, which is 2’ above the ground.  Picture an old crane that leaks a lot of hydraulic fluid onto black plastic below, lifting and placing 150 to 500 pounds logs to within a couple inches of where they will stay….and then gently guided into place.  Noise. Danger.  Sixteen volunteers worked eight days in October, when it gets dark early in the Adirondacks.  We worked well into dusk, and frost was waiting for us the next morning.

We were a tired crew as we walked to the dining hall, but we knew that my wife, Sally Jo, and Judy Reitz would have a hearty, delicious hot meal ready, including fresh vegetables, meats, freshly baked bread, and wonderful pies and cakes.  Sally Jo and I were very good friends with Judy and her husband, George, who was also building the cabin.  George was a consulting pastor to ethnic congregations in NYC.  Their sons, Scott and Jason are Deerfooters.  We hiked, canoed, and spent a week together in a “canal boat” on the Hudson River.  George has since died of cancer.  They asked Sally Jo and me to take them on their last canoe trip.  George’s death was for us, the loss of a very close relationship.

Each meal was enjoyed as the 16 volunteers plus Allen Mackey sat at two tables.  Much can be talked about during 24 meals.  During the first several evenings, Allan, the instructor we had flown in from British Columbia, showed us videos on how to best make the difficult cuts.  As the days passed, early to bed looked better and better, but there was still time for significant conversations when the joys and struggles of our lives were shared.

One day Allan’s daughter and son-in-law came from Toronto to see how we were doing.  Both professional bassoon players, they gave us a wonderful concert – 21 of us packed into the Lookout living room.  Those sitting in the back of the room were only 10’ away.   We all enjoyed the wonderful interaction – two very special hours.

Out of these 8 days of 24/7 came continuing relationships.  Charlie and Brent Karner, Paul Davidson, and Ken Bonn continue to come to almost every work weekend to work, laugh, eat and worship together. We continue to encourage each other: very important for Ken Bonn, a Delta pilot, when Delta reorganized, and he thought it wise to resign, and for Brent Karner whose custom furniture building company was struggling during the economic slow down.  And these men have given me many hugs as I have transitioned from being Director of Deerfoot Lodge to “normal life”.

On work weekends these men pass on what they learned to many others, the result of which is a camp built of logs, straight from the forest.  The log buildings built at DL are similar in structure to those built by settlers. The big difference is the tools now available.

Every year Deerfoot’s summer staff begins its 3 weeks of training unloading the heavy docks and boats from Founders Lodge.  The slope is often slippery.  During the training the 60+ guys study, work, eat and worship together. They have cabin devotions and pray together.  The more experienced staff teach the less experienced staff camping skills they have learned.  Staff training includes 2 Breaking of Bread services, a 3 day hike, one day solo, camp fire, banquet night, awards ceremony, and candle light service.  There is time for laughter, and for very significant conversation.   Many of the staff relationships began 6, 8, 10 years before, when campers together.  Most summer staff are in college, with similar experiences.  Facebook, texting, e-mails and phone calls make communication through the school year easy, but this sharing does not compare to the face to face sharing.   Jesus is with us where ever we go, and so are DL relationships.

Our relationship with God is built and maintained in much the same way human relationships are built and maintained: over time, through shared experiences.  There are no short cuts.

Chucker, can you use some pine #160

The budget for building the Lane cabin was $35,000.  After adding up all of the foreseeable costs, I was almost sure it would take more than $35,000.  DL did have money in operating cash reserve, should it be needed, but no one likes to be over budget on any project.

At the end of the first week of construction, I double checked the cost on remaining items: windows, sky lights, metal roofing, plumbing, septic field and gas lights – $35,000.  This total did not include the dimensional lumber (i.e. 2X4) needed for the roof decking, ceiling, closets, and trim.

Then came the phone call.  “Chucker, can you use some pine?”   It had to be Coates Coleman, for he was the only person who had ever called me “Chucker”.  I did not know Coates well.  His son, Tom, had been a counselor my first summer, and Tom prepared the first instructional area manuals.  I had spent one night on a DL recruiting trip with the Coleman’s…but that was it.

My response: Coates, of course we can use some pine.   “Good – what do you want?”  I proceeded to tell him what was needed to complete the Lane Cabin.   “How soon do you need it?”   In about two weeks.  “OK, I’ll have it there.  What else do you need? There is no sense sending up a partial load.”  We talked a bit.  “I will see what I can do.”   Right on schedule came the 18 wheeler flat bed, with 44,000 pounds of lumber on it!

God supplied, without my asking.   A miracle.   God supplied because God, through His Spirit did the asking – and Coates was open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Coates Coleman was living In Partnership With God.  I thanked God and Coates for the lumber.

In future years Coates called a few more times and sent more truck loads of “Coleman Pine” – sometimes in the form of plywood or treated lumber.  Every truck would be loaded to the legal load limit – 44,000 pounds.  When Coates retired, his son Tom continued to send truck loads of “Coleman Pine”.

When we believe we know the right thing to do – let’s do it!!!  What we do may be an answer to someone’s prayer, perhaps a quiet prayer from a tired mom, or a frustrated dad, or a bewildered child.

Make the phone call, offer to baby sit, loan a car, give a car, repair the plumbing, weed the garden, take someone out to lunch or to a movie or to a concert, take them shopping, mail $500, offer a job at your house or at your company, teach a new skill, coach a team, offer a ride, take the plate of cookies, give some tomatoes, just sit and listen, take a child on your family’s trip, take someone hiking, give a hug!

Jesus answered: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”    And who is my neighbor?”   Luke 10

We can make such a difference!!!!

Read this and smile….

I receive many e-mails from you…this one is choice!  Especially the first line…your deep billowing voice

It clearly shows how our memories can play tricks on us!!

Anyway….30 years is a long time to have kept these memories

DL has enriched so many of our lives.

chief chuck.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Eddie Conners
Date: Wed, Apr 11, 2012 at 2:19 PM
Subject: DL
To: Chief Chuck
Chief Chuck,
It’s difficult for me to imagine you without your deep, bellowing pipes.  I pray God has a remedy for them quickly.  I caught up with Chief Ron about a month ago and what a blessing it is to know that the DL Legacy marches on.  The Lodge and my experience there have never been far from my mind since I was a camper some 30 years ago.  I can’t explain why I feel compelled to write to you now, but I do.  I want to share my memories of Deerfoot with you.  My first year as a camper was 1982 as a Pioneer.  Here goes—-

I remember my first foot blister.

I remember throwing a log on a raging bonfire and talking briefly about Jesus.

I remember my favorite hike being Blu Mtn./Terrell Pond.

I remember Chief Andy Brown being patient with me and teaching me how to fish.

I remember Chief Ron Duttweiler always sitting straight up.  I still try to emulate that posture today.

I remember Chief Craig Fortin always cracking wise.

I remember my first time on top of the Duggs and looking back down at Lake Whitaker and seeing the ‘perfect W’.

I remember Sticky Buns on Sunday morning.

I remember Pizza on Friday night.

I remember struggling physically on most of the hikes I was a part of.  I remember the encouragement I received when I wanted to quit.

I remember being absolutely petrified in the caves (don’t remember what hike this was) and needing help and encouragement to get out.

I remember getting up early, walking from the point and fishing from the dock.

I remember the story of ‘The Beast’ which was circulating when I was a camper.  My counselors were great storytellers.

I remember hating push-ups.  I still hate push ups.  I was never a candidate for 3000-12.

I remember Chief Chuck showing us how to do the perfect push-up.

I remember ‘Now Let Us Sing’ as my favorite song.

I remember bird watching with Chief Lance (don’t remember his last name, but I remember he was Roman Catholic) on my way to getting my Wildlife Master.

I remember how difficult it was for me to achieve my Canoe Basic.  That ‘J Stroke’ to the point and back wasn’t easy for me.

I remember the planes flying overhead and the boom they would make when the sound barrier was broken.

I remember things shaking around me from those same planes.

I remember tetherball.

I remember being scolded for touching a tetherball on Sunday morning on our way to service.

I remember Quiet Time.

I remember Flex Time being the highlight of my day.

I remember the Guides coming in from their 10 mile run.  I specifically remember Pascual.

I remember a cold, clear night where Chief Lance got the big telescope out and introduced me and other campers to Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto (I think).

I remember taking a Larry Leaf bomb to the back of the neck to be eliminated in Naval Battle.

I remember how proud I was to achieve my Wildlife Master and Fishing Advanced.

I remember not wanting to go home.

I remember.

Praise God.

Eddie Conners
DL Camper – early 80’s

Date: Mon, 9 Apr 2012 17:51:25 -0400
Subject: Eddie
From: Chief Chuck
To: Eddie Connors


incredible to hear from you….

and I know when you say you will pray…you will.

It really is a shock to have my voice go…when it has been strong for so many years!


Report on voice – doctor visit

You are an incredible group.  Many of you have said you would pray, and I have no doubt that if you said you would pray specifically for me and my voice situation, you did.
It was fun, for lack of a better word, to learn who else is on the list….I have never seen the list – don’t want to – so people can get on and off freely.
I went to ENT today – highly recommended person by choral conductor who had been head of music department at Concordia College.
He sprayed a pain killer in my nose….then stuck his long tube down through my nose.to my vocal cords.
He said there had been hemorrhaging – caused by some type of abuse. Hemorrhaging had stopped and there was no evidence of polyps, or what should be long term damage.
He set up appointment with speech therapist for Monday morning.  He would suggest what I should or should not do….that was the job of the therapist.
So can we know when hemorrhaging stopped?  No, but Sally Jo has noticed marked improvement in my voice over the last couple days, and I found myself taking with Sally Jo without thinking about it…   this was a big change from a week ago when, after I talked, I could feel an uncomfortableness in my vocal cord area.
Yesterday we decided I would talk quietly with her vs. writing notes –  For about the past week we have been keeping my notebook computer on the kitchen table.  I can type faster than I can print…and my typing is always legible.
Provable miracle?  No.  Very thankful heart – absolutely!
I will e-mail you after meeting with speech therapist.

Jim Gardner- struggling camper – competent craftsman #159

With one exception, when I write an IPWG focused on one person, I ask for permission and for specific information.  In this next IPWG I planned to tell the story of the flooring and cabinets in the Lane cabin.  The key person was Jim Gardner.  I knew much of Jim’s story, and asked him to put the basics into an e-mail.  I was fascinated with his response, and so I send it on to you..   

The source of the flooring is GNH lumber here in Greenville   The Walt Ingalls’s grandson had been a DL camper.  For many years Walt had unloaded  and stored the maple flooring for a man who installed gym floors.  The installer retired without telling Walt, and several years later Walt found wood still stored in a back shed.  After checking with the retired installer, DL was called.  Could DL use the wood?  Thousands of dollars worth of maple gym flooring delivered on time at no charge.  

Jim Gardner’s DL story and journey:

I was born in Cairo, Egypt in 1953 to older aged, nominally Christian, mid 40’s parents, who took a Sociology Professorship at Alfred University, Alfred, NY in 1962.

After an absolutely awful first school year stateside [failed 4th grade], I arrived at DL for the first time as a physically soft, little bit chubby, spiritually dead, introverted, emotionally closed and guarded, sexually abused, 9 year old boy; whose grandmother strongly felt all children should be out from underfoot during the summer vacation season.  She heard about Deerfoot from then music director Ted Deibler and decided to give my parents that gift by financing my time at Deerfoot for 8 to 10 weeks [pre and post camp one year] from 1962 – 1966 [Woodsman – Pioneer].  DL ended for me in 1967.  I went home after two very devastating Indian Island sessions in 1967 – I left spiritually deconstructed and shattered though I did have a couple of victories – I finally climbed the ropes coarse initial climbing rope and I ran my first mile run, then subsequently two mile run.  This is the first year that the run to the pig and back began.

My greatest joys as a Woodsman were Handcrafts, BB gun riflery, and swimming, and the singing [hymns and camp songs]; the rest was really, really very hard [physically, relationally, activity skill sets, emotionally].  My first Doug Mountain hike was a 5 mile, body aching, tantrum.  Looking back I was an unholy mess that God began to clean up and reshape over the next four summers.  That first summer, Mrs. Deibler introduced me to Jesus Christ, as a “Friend and Savior,” during in Old Hardwood Bible Classes.  On through the following seasons, the Deiblers, Chief Jim Fenton [a military man who instituted calling all staff “Chief” and using “boss” and “beak” instead of swearing], Jay Barns, the Gill brothers and Barnett brothers, Dave Naysmith, and others, all believed in me, guided me, and laid the attitude and spiritual foundation for my life today – which is I am afraid a consistently inconsistent love for God’s words, for His people, and for those who need to know Him.  I excelled to Masters Level in swimming and advanced well in a number of other areas.  I found over time that as I follow Jesus, there are not always answers but there is always His assurance that He is “with me where ever I go”… “Jesus is with me I know”.

After 1967 until 1985 I returned to DL only twice for a few hours- in 1971 for an alumni weekend and again on my honeymoon in June of 1978.  I did not recognize the DL I once knew and was very uncomfortable with what I saw and felt.

[Funny on me — at the alumni competition in 1971, Jay Barns and I faced off for fastest fire build, boil of water, and burn through rope on back to back fire pits.  Having first choice, I chose the “wind to my back” fire pit; built first fire and it was very hot.  Wind carried my fire over to Jay’s water pot and his rope.  He won.  Lesson learned: the wind to one’s back is not always the best situation!  ~!~]

My wife and I settled in Greensboro, NC, joined and loved Westover Church – a family of believers and followers of Jesus Christ that attempted to live 24/7 what I only saw those first 4 summers at Deerfoot.  My mother died 6 months later, after seeing her youngest married and “settled down.”  All through the years I received the DL Tracks and was aware of a new director that coming to Deerfoot in 1982.  DL was making sense again; I liked what I read and began to care about what was going on there once more.  One item, in the 1985 spring DL Tracks, caught my eye – Needed: axe handles for campcraft axes.  Holy Spirit nudged, I called and introduced myself to Chief Chuck – I knew a David Petty [DL camper in 1930 -1932], an elder at Westover Church, and owner of a hardwoods manufacturing facility that made hardwood tool handles, bats, and ladder rungs.  Mr. Petty was delighted to connect with DL again and every year after that until he died in 2003, he supplied axe handles to DL.

During that conversation Chief Chuck probed and asked about me and my connections with DL.  It came out that DL was in need of a temporary Maintenance Director because Brent Karner would be tied up with Tucker Lownes building the Gazebo.  With my 7 years as hardware sales, 2 years as a remodeler’s helper, 1 year of automotive training at a local community collage, and a deep and once again awakening love for Deerfoot – I seemed to fit the bill.  I was scared to death!  Never been there or done this before!

After a diesel mechanic maintenance class funded by Deerfoot, I arrived as Chief of Maintenance for the 1985 season with my family: Charlotte and my two children Carolyn [5] and Michael [3], moved into Owl for the summer, and were never found during staff hunt.  Steve Trampe was Guide Leader and Andy Brown Woodsmen Section Chief.  It was a very intense time for me and I don’t know how well I really did.  Somehow I was to be responsible for DL physical plant, cajole the maintenance staff to step up to the plate, begin the process of thinking about preventive maintenance, assessing the life expectancy of existing structures, the possible need for additional structures, be a good father, be a good husband, be concerned about spiritual welfare of myself, my family, and my crew, and I consciously chose to take on way more than I should have.  I felt I was on display and I felt I needed to be perfect instead of letting Christ be perfect through me.  Chief Chuck graciously coached and mentored me a great deal that summer and since then.  I really appreciate him more and more through the years since then for his Christ centered love for me and my family and his striving for excellence in partnership with God.

[Another funny aside on me, one day off my family and I hiked the Dug Mountain trail up for a picnic, a look around, and back down for supper over at Tapawingo.  Carolyn [5] and Michael [3] had a ball, no complaints, and carried their own supplies.  What a contrast to my fitful one way first assent!  I was ashamed and I grieved for my Woodsman counselors 23 years before.  What a joy to see them having fun and taking the trail as it was.  At least I could see that God was doing something right by Charlotte and me.]

The Maintenance Dept. came of age that summer — even to the point of buying an engine for a broken down Voyager Canoe Trip van near Algonquin Provincial Park in Canada.  Brent Karner and a couple others of maintenance staff drove up there, and did an engine replacement by the side of the road, becoming DL Boss heroes.    DL Maintenance Dept has matured well since then under Brent Karner’s andKen Hoffman’s able leadership.  Woohah God!

That summer gave me the tools and confidence to go into business for my self as a handyman the following summer and to continue to believe in the mission of DL.  God made funds and skills available since then to regularly support DL operations though contributions of money, tools, and time.  Since 1985 I return often for DL projects and work weekends.  If I lived closer I would have loved to be at every work weekend.  I have sorely missed some of those projects.  As it is, I get to those I can; it is a 1550 miles road trip and gas has not gotten any cheaper, I drive my truck 13-15 hours at 9 to 10 mpg with all my tools so I won’t have to borrow DL’s tools that someone else needs to use and to have available for use some specialized tool that DL does not yet possess.  Some times I leave a tool behind at DL just because it will be more useful there than on my truck.  Handcrafts program’s tools are also a hot spot on my radar.

Work week ends and projects I participated in:

  • 1985 July 4th the first time for Class A fireworks at DL.  While retrieving a passenger van from the Adirondack Garage in Indian Lake, I found out that huge building out back was a fireworks factory and warehouse.  Chief gave me $200 to return there to sweet talk and buy all the culls and sale items I could from the Indian Lake Fireworks Co.  The proxy Insurance coverage and maintenance staff’s covert installation of the fireworks, set up the shock and awe from the campers.  BOSS, again Chief Chuck made maintenance staff into heroes.  Good time had by all.

    Telephones came to DL.  Helped in hook up of Old Hardwood, Tripping, Health Center, and Lookout and made “natural wood” boxes to hide phone connections.

    [Special note:  Bill Gardner was a gem of a man to my wife Charlotte.  He was the only one of the male staff other than Chief Chuck that summer that always made a point to say hello and acknowledge her presence on camp.  This really blessed her a lot.]

  • 1987 Health Center 2nd floor dormer bump-up as one of the many hands taking instruction from Charlie Karner.

    One of those days Chief and I had one of his famous walkabouts exploring the purchase of new vans instead of fixing up the old vans.  Someone was offering 2 new vans.  My opinion at the time was to, instead of buying the new vans; give maintenance staff tools like the kitchen staff had to do a responsible and an excellent job.  Build a separate fully stocked mechanical shop and make it the maintenance staffs responsibility to have the older vehicles up and running safely and on time.  Why farm out the responsibility… give the boys the maintenance equipment, tools, and supplies to work with, help them become needed responsible men and heroes in their own right.

    [Special note One day Chief Chuck traveled through Greensboro and supped with us and told wonderful stories to Carolyn and Michael at our home.  He saw the twin to the DL cross stitch on our living room wall and commissioned Charlotte to make one for the dining hall.  He made Charlotte a hero and a part of Deerfoot.]

  • 1988 Hutch Cabin log kit and roof:  This time I flew into Albany, I met and fell in love with John Foley, and so many others.  I see the faces but the names elude me.  What a crew!  Just a worker bee but I will never forget it.  Got in trouble with Chief – I wouldn’t get off the roof to go catch the plane back to Greensboro.  They had to just about tie me up and carry me off the roof.  Chief was not a happy camper!
  • 1990 Canoe Paddle Rack.  My daughter Carolyn [10] attended Tapawingo for the first time and my son Michael [8] and I came to help out at DL that same week.  Chief Chuck and I had a “discussion” about the felt need for a canoe paddle rack.  I insisted that it be a sturdy permanent structure that would house at least twice or more times the number of paddles on hand.  22 years later it is still there and the rack is full and fits in with real quality of the whole physical plant at Deerfoot these days.
  • 1995 Lane Cabin Finish:  I was in awe when I arrived that spring after it had been built!  Another quality, quality DL volunteer job!  Wow!  (cabin completed in October ’94) My son Michael [12] and I came when Chief had called us to come and shepherd the installation and finish of flooring in Lane Cabin.  We were joined by a really enthusiastic crew.  Brent Karner could not be there till first session started because of his work schedule.

    The donated 5/4” Rock Hard Maple gym floor materials were mixture good boards, water damaged rotten fungus impregnated wood, and foul smelling mouse pee and feces laced through out.  What a mess!

    We, and the Lane Cabin floor crew, picked through the bundles of flooring culling out the really crappy stuff and installing the sound good wood starting down stairs.  We ran out just at the end of the 1st floor.  We did not have any for the upstairs!  The culled wood was black, all colors and sizes of fungus, mold, and mouse pee.  Useless!  Or so I thought.  As a plan “B” we pulled those boards back inside, scraped each board, and pulled the thickness planer from the well stocked maintenance shed to plane 1/16th of an inch off each side of each board.  At least it looked clean but it still was not “perfect” in my eyes.  It was variegated blue, pink, black, yellow, white, and a normal maple color with most of the true maple grain of the wood obscured or gone.  It was the best of a less than ideal situation: it was hard enough to use as flooring and I was glad that the imperfect wood would be upstairs out of sight.  Ken Hoffman found an ultra fast cure water based urethane gym floor finish that allowed us to re-coat every few hours after the floors had been sanded smooth, and as we came down to the wire for camp to start and Brent to arrive with his family.  I think we got 8 or 9 coats of finish on [screened and dusted between each coat].

    Brent Karner arrived and he and I inspected his new digs.  The whole team received kudos for a good job.  Whew.  Then he went up stairs…  Shame and dread and sorrow were my emotions when he saw that upper floor.  I do not know if Brent was nudged by the Holy Spirit or not; but he shocked me by falling down on his knees and literally inspecting and caressed that ugly floor as though it was a piece of fine furniture!   He turned to me and said “Spalted Maple! Spalted Maple!  Do you realize I pay an arm and a leg for Spalted Maple for my furniture?  I have Spalted Maple for my bedroom floor!”  I was stunned; the guys on the team were heroes! Lesson learned:  I am spalted and ugly to me, God sees me otherwise, redeemed me, and takes pleasure in me.  Wow!

  • 1996 Kitchen Cabinets – Lane Cabin — The next spring Dave Reese (head of Maintenance at Houghton Academy) and I made and set the kitchen cabinets for Lane Cabin.  Brent Karner is a furniture maker.  How could I build anything that would meet his level of craftsmanship for him to use?  Never built a set of cabinets from scratch before, usually I just installed store-bought cabinets for customers.  We constructed the cabinets out of MDO plywood [good 2 sides], purchased from Curtis Lumber, which would made the cabinets largely water resistant and stable even if they never got a coat of finish on them.  It was a nerve wracking challenge; but isn’t that way life at Deerfoot is – always putting one a little out of one’s comfort zone to make one grow in dependence on God?  God is awesome and we did it!  Brent liked them too.

My dad passed way in 1993 with many personal issues unresolved.  I felt it unfair and I went into depression and by the end of 1995 I needed to let my business go fallow and go back to work as a hardware salesman for the next 5 years.  I took up the reins again in 2000 installing window blinds commercially by the 1000’s for a few years.  My old clients also began calling me again and by 2005 I was again in full swing with my own business.

  • 2003 Finishing touches to Kitchen Remodel and addition of new walk in cooler. I made shelves for kitchen and storage.
  • 2005 Owl construction / reconstruction – Built and installed the “L” shaped kitchen cabinets for Owl out of 7 ply knotty pine plywood — the second set and last set of cabinets I have ever built from scratch.  Also formed and installed the solid hardwood counter top made from the amazing haul of wood from the town of Speculator.  Crazy Paul Scott [mason and roof sealing at chimneys on many buildings] came up with me.
  • 2006 Spring Work Weekend Guide Lodge garage – Built 3 each screen doors for Guide Lodge garage.  This was the 1st time making doors from scratch.
  • 2007 With Char while Peter [10] and John [12] were at 1st session.  Built kitchen “chess” table from scrap hardwood and built latex glove dispenser holders for kitchen.
  • 2010 Quiet Place refurbishment with Chief Chuck and Bart Schenkel
  • 2011 Porch posts on Founders and Old Hardwood. Carolyn [31] and Michael [29] and me – just worker bees and extra hands for kitchen and for porch posts.

A Personal Request


For almost four weeks I have not had much voice, even to the place where I have communicated with notes to try and give my voice a complete rest.  I could not sing any of the hymns or 12 choir anthems during our Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday morning services.  It has been tough….  I had apt. with Primary Care Physician…two meds – keep quiet….essentially no change.  This Thursday I have appointment with a specialist.

I do not ask for prayer lightly, nor do I agree to pray for someone casually.  Prayer is serious business.

God gave me a voice….and I am now realizing what a gift it has been.
I ask that you pray God will heal me….   And if that healing is through the provision of a doctor, wonderful.
Once again, I can only place myself in God’s hands.

Adam Hopkins – Gift from God that Keeps Giving #158

Adam Hopkins learned about DL through his high school friend Marcus Haulenbeek.  In April, 1989 he sent an application to be on the maintenance staff.  I explained that all needed maintenance staff were hired.  We talked.  Although he had a landscaping job for the summer, he made it clear: if there was a no-show, give him a call and he would be at DL within a week.   During the first week of staff training a maintenance staff called to say he was unable to come.  A quick call to Adam. Yes, he would be at DL within a week…and he was – June 15.  Neither of us could have anticipated that Adam would work 4 summers – plus do much more!

Adam arrived in an old car he and his dad had put together.  He worked well with Brent Karner who was in his 9th year as head of maintenance (He now has his own custom furniture company – clearlakefurniture.com), with Steve Polloni (who today works with diesel engines), and Dave Bennett, who headed maintenance the first summer Brent was not there (now a Presbyterian Minister).

When Adam returned for the summer of 1992, he learned DL would be building a large log cabin for a staff family.  He asked if he could submit a plan.  That summer he asked a 100 questions and studied books on building with logs.  The Mortimer B. Lane cabin was designed by Adam Hopkins during his 2nd year of architectural school.  This is where Chief Ron’s family live in the summer.

The cabin is incredible!!!   B. Allen Mackey was hired to work with us – he had written 4 books on the subject.  The cabin was built by 16 volunteers during 8 day October weeks in 2004 and 2005.  (Adam and I were in the 16 – we celebrated Adam’s 21st birthday that week).  The interior and exterior walls are made of 10″ – 16″ maple logs cut from the DL property.  Unstained maple is an off white color – bright and beautiful.  The 1st floor has a 16’ vaulted ceiling over the large living room/kitchen area, and under the loft, a bathroom, and two large bed rooms.

Adam has become a lead design architect of Progressiveae.com (check it out!!)– a firm that works nationally out of Michigan.  He designs large educational and church buildings.  When the firm is hired, Adam goes to the location, makes a careful study of the site, the needs and the desires of those involved.  He may suggest several design alternatives.

When Adam became an architect, he joined the many who give monthly contributions to DL.  For 13 years, with every gift I received a note…and my receipt included a note.  When I had a building design question, I would give Adam a call.  In 2000 we planned to build a new Waldorf.  The Waldorf Adam remembered was small, dark, damp, closed in….I do not know how to make it sound bad enough.   Four sinks…and six toilets that, to put it bluntly, the Section Chief or I plunged almost every day.

I told Adam that Ken Hoffman, facility manager, had carefully selected 4 composting units that needed to go below the building – each for 2 toilets and 2 urinals – cost for the 4 composting units: $27,000.  “Adam, would you be willing to design the building?” A few months later Adam’s plan arrived:  total log construction, 4 times the size, and with a high, vaulted ceiling, the ends of which were all screen.  Adam designed a central stainless sink with 8 faucets for washing hands.  Easy to use…and clean!!!!

On the construction design, Adam said we had a choice to make for the floor.  We could build it out of wood, as was common, or we could have it built off site in sections of pre-stressed concrete.  The floor would have a slight arch, and have a drain trench inside wall so we could pressure spray the floor.  Trucks would bring in the sections, and they would be lifted into place with a large crane…much like a bridge is built.   Cost?  $12,000 – “but if you do, you will never have a problem with the floor”.  We swallowed hard….and Adam ordered the floor.  Built by volunteers trained building the Mortimer B. Lane cabin, the facility is beautiful.

God had a plan for Adam Hopkins involvement at Deerfoot Lodge.  Adam lives In Partnership With God!   He was a gift…that keeps giving.  “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  Ephesians 2:10

Each of us, who seeks to live In Partnership With God, can know God has prepared work for us to do.  People who do not live IPWG may do work that looks to be the same. The only difference might be why we do the work – and in time, motivations show!  Does your God prepared work include being a husband? Father? Wife? School teacher? Coach of little league team? An usher or elder at church?  Giving generously?  Administrating wisely?  Providing encouragement?  Wonderful hospitality?  Faithful Prayer? Scrubbing toilets?

Let us do all of our work well – and celebrate that God equips us to do so.