4 things I learned while mending a fence

In addition to playing outdoors, my fiancé Dan and I have spent these past several weeks getting some things done around his place. Thank you, COVID-19.

One of the tasks checked off our to-do list was mending a pole fence. Fifty new poles. And that’s just the front yard.


All photos: Marlys

It was a fun project. And honestly, I felt like part frontier woman and part operating room nurse — hefting heavy poles, handing appropriate tools to the surgeon chief fence-mender.

Tape measure. Check.

Level. Power screw driver. Check. Check.

Here are 4 secrets to consider before we begin mending fences:

1. Fixing fences will take time and effort.

There was the removing of old posts—some stubbornly held in place by multiple screws and bent nails;

… the uploading of fifty new poles into the back of Dan’s truck. And then the downloading;

… the measuring, sawing, hauling, and holding in place while the chief fence-mender attached each new pole. Time and effort.

2. Repairing fences could get costly.

Fifty poles don’t come free.

3. It can be painful.

There is a rather angry bruise on my right side from hefting nine- and ten-foot shafts of wood off the saw table to the next section of fence.

And a stiff back from collecting scrap wood and stacking it into an artistic arrangement.



4. Mending fences is always, always worth the effort.

Not only is there a gorgeous collection of wood for the outdoor fire pit, but there’s also a solid, new fence framing Dan’s front yard.



The phrase, mending fences, shows up in Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary. It means, “to improve or repair a relationship that has been damaged by an argument or disagreement.”

Life is made up of hard and holy moments. And some of the holiest of moments occur when good communication and harmony run freely between us and the people in our lives.

Some of the most painful moments are a result of misunderstandings and hurtful things flung at each other, when the fragile fabric that makes up our most important relationships gets soiled, frayed, shredded to pieces.

Back in A.D. 55 or 56, the Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the believers in Rome. In it, he included these directions:

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. — Romans 12:18

It’s nearly impossible to live at peace with everyone.

But Paul isn’t saying that. He’s saying, Do your part.

And our part is to choose fence-mending. Even if it’s not reciprocated.

What if?

What if we took the first step to fix the broken-down fences between us and the most important people in our lives?

We can.

Could there be some pain and inconvenience involved? Might our efforts not be received?

There could be. They might not be.

Could it get costly?

It could.

But would it be worth the time and effort?

It would.


What if the hard road contains beauty?


Difference Maker: When small adds up to big


  1. Stutheit Tom F

    Thanks for your article today on Fence Mending. I am one who gets great pleasure out of the material fitting of wood together. On the other hand I’m not so good at Mending my own fences. Good for me to contemplate and work on my unseen or forgotten fencing that needs some mending.

    • Good food for thought, Tom: “… to contemplate and work on my unseen or forgotten fencing that needs some mending.” Thank you.

  2. Gary

    Good job you guys, looks very nice, hard work pay off. ?I think you guys are a great couple.

  3. Chris

    What a great article in this time in our world ?

  4. Lori

    Isn’t it interesting Marlys how sometimes it takes a lot of hard work to result in a great object lesson. Love reading your blogs.

  5. Barbara Winterfeld

    I am reminded of last summer when my youngest child, Stefanie, decided the broken fence in our family that had gone on long enough! She arranged a family gathering at her brother’s home, inviting the sister who had been behind the broken fence for over ten years. We all arrived at Greg’s home, had a wonderful barbeque and more wonderful hugs. The secret was not to bring along all the old garbage, but to make new inclusive fences where we all reside now. Jenny has been in constant touch with us all. We are so blessed. Praise God, He is so good!

    • I love this story, Barbara. So much wisdom here: “The secret was not to bring along all the old garbage, but to make new inclusive fences where we all reside now.” Thank you!

  6. Nasus

    Beautiful job and very UP-lifting, much appreciated commentary! Love and prayers for you two!

  7. Mending fences in relationships can bless many people. 🙂

  8. Nancy Darst

    Great story, Marlys. So much can be learned when working together! You and Dan are a great team.

  9. Peter

    You were very brave… the two of you to engage in such an ‘unknown equation/task’, bearing in mind your new relationship of togetherness, BUT you saw it through.. giving and taking, always learning. I can picture the task, remembering ‘failing to prepare, is preparing to fail’.. with all your preparation in place.. I keep hearing, ‘you gotta do what you gotta do’ & ‘gotta keep on keeping on’… these are phrases an Oregon friend would keep repeating, because he wanted to show his encouragement. I believe many of us are respectfully impressed, especially seeing the finished product. Good on you two friends. Laterally.. I was thinking, what next?. God Bless, Bx P & family.

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