We have been gathering wood for the winter. We are really late this year as we hadn’t even started until last week. We have been extremely busy this summer and just hadn’t been able to fit it in yet. Because we are getting such a late start some of the kids have been at school for part of the day. It has also been raining a lot and cutting wood in the rain is not fun, plus the wood is then all wet and once it gets stacked in our woodshed it doesn’t tend to dry very fast as there isn’t a lot of circulation when we get it stacked in tight. So, between school starting and the rain, we have only had a few afternoons to work on it this past week.

Because we only heat with wood, we don’t have any other source of backup, we have to gather a lot of wood. We heat several buildings with our wood and need about 20 cords. We have a boiler that we can put 4-foot-long pieces of wood into, so that helps as there’s no splitting involved, and we don’t have to cut the pieces down to the 18 inches or so that you normally need for a woodstove. But it’s still a lot of work and usually takes about 10 days of work to get it all cut, whether 10 days consecutive, or spaced throughout the summer.

We have spent the last several years, and probably the next several as well, cutting down the dead spruce trees on our property. We have had the spruce bark beetle in our area for several years, so there are a lot of dead trees. They are a huge fire danger in the summer and with the risk of forest fire ever present the last few years, we decided we needed to make sure we were doing our part to keep our home and my mother in laws home safe. Because all of our children are older my husband has been teaching each one of us how to run the chainsaw so that we can speed up the process. Usually, my husband and sons run the chainsaws, but with my younger son being gone all last week I ran his chainsaw. My husband taught me several years ago how to run one before our boys were old enough to do so.

This year I was excited to get going so we could get done, and I enjoy running the chainsaw, so I was more excited still. But because of my shoulder injury this winter I was slightly worried about starting the chainsaw myself. As we went along, I was confident my shoulder was going to be okay, but for some reason I could only get my chainsaw started on my own every other time or so. I kept asking my son to start it. He finally looked at me one time, surprisingly patiently, and said, “Mom you just gotta believe in yourself. You know you can start it.” Wow, these kids. Sometimes I am amazed at their thoughtfulness and patience with me, and their wisdom in my struggles. That bit of encouragement was all that I needed. There still was the occasional need for help, usually after filling it up with gas, but I was able to start it pretty much all the time by myself after that, just because I believed I could.

It is amazing what a little bit of belief in oneself can do. We all face challenges in life, and it is those individuals who believe that they can overcome, who do. We see and read inspiring stories of people overcoming huge obstacles, and it is because they believed that they could, and they persisted in that belief and the work needed so that they could overcome. It is interesting, I usually don’t have any issue in believing in myself, I plow forward, knowing that with a little (or a lot) of work, I can do just about anything. I have accomplished far more so far in my life than my younger self would have ever imagined, but there are still areas that I need to work on. I am grateful for my son’s patience with me the whole week, and especially grateful for the wisdom and encouragement that he shared with me in a time of need. We each have the opportunity to believe in ourselves, and we each have the opportunity to help others believe in themselves as well.