homesteading

You Never Know…

You never know what an impact you will have on someone’s life. We have had several guests at the cabin lately. It’s been a little crazy and we never know what a day will look like.

Last night I sat down with one of our guests and as the day turned into night I started lighting candles, then the kerosene lantern. The conversation was rich. We talked about life, simplicity of daily living at the cabin, and most important our relationship with God which spills out on those around us.

As we were talking her daughter sat down in the wicker rocking chair and started to express her joy and thankfulness that she was able to come for a visit. She said, “It’s so peaceful here and I feel like I’m living like Laura Ingalls in Little House on the Prairie.” She then said, “I also love how I can talk to your family about anything.” (My heart leapt at that moment.)

What she didn’t know was that I was a little nervous about her family coming because we live a rustic lifestyle. Outhouses, hauling water, heating water on a stove for showers, hand watering a large garden, etc. Although they read my book Beautiful Dependence, reading and experiencing off-grid living are two different things. We can easily romanticize something we read about or see on YouTube.

This family came and got to experience Cherith Brook. They were so grateful for so many things at our little hide away. Why? Because they had just been on a camping/backpacking trip. They were eating MRE packs (Meals Ready to Eat), they had no access to showers, and had to use an outside bathroom with no walls.

By the time they arrived at our place, we had a hot meal for them with ‘real’ food, a warm bed, hot showers, fresh drinking water from our spring, and an outdoor bathroom with walls!

Thankfulness is the key to contentment in life. Here, I was concerned that our property would be too rustic. It ended up being a luxurious get away and a place to refresh as they continued their ‘outdoor’ adventures for the next few days.

Again, you just never know what’s going to happen or what an impact you will have on a person’s life. I think of Jesus and how one conversation changed so many lives…the blind man, the woman at the well, the lame man, etc. One conversation. One small moment in time can change a person’s life for all eternity.

Eph 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

homesteading

In the Off-Grid Groove

We’ve been back in the states for about 8 months and honestly I wasn’t sure how easily I would transition into our off-grid lifestyle. But, it has been pretty amazing being back on the property.

The winter was a mild one compared to other winters we have experienced here. It was great having snow again and having a crackling fire to warm up by. Spring is now upon us and we have many projects going on – finishing our guest cabin, log peeling, remodeling the 5th wheel, starting a garden (25 feet by 15 feet), and firewood splitting to name a few. Also, Our discipleship program is in full swing.

We just purchased some meat rabbits-a breeding pair and three baby bunnies. We had to do some repair to our old turkey coop to accommodate the rabbits, but after a day of repairs and keeping a watchful eye on the bunnies, they are doing great!

With the threat of the COVID virus among us our plans had to change as far as being at my parents house more often. They are at the age where the risk is higher so we have stayed at the property longer.

There is always something to do at Cherith Brook and our good friend pruned our apple tree so I had lots of applewood to make a craft project with. I decided to make an outdoor side table. I am happy with how it turned out!

Needless to say, I am loving the peace of the land and the simplicity of life. Things are a little more difficult to do off-grid and they definitely have to be planned out. But in the end, I am home and living in the place where I was set free!

“Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

homesteading

Threshing Floor

Are you being threshed?

When we first moved to our property the Lord was showing me the threshing floor. I began to study what the threshing floor was and how it applied to my life.

The threshing floor was a smooth flat surface that was used in the process of harvesting grain. It’s where the farmers would separate the grain from the chaff, through the process of beating the sheaves, called winnowing. The wind would then blow the chaff away, leaving only the good, edible grain.

The threshing floor was usually at the top of a mountain (go figure). Spiritually speaking, it was where good and evil were separated. The Bible shows the chaff as evil and the grain as good. In Matthew 3:12, John the Baptist refers to Jesus as the one who would separate the good grain from the chaff with a winnowing fan. It says, “Jesus will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

God showed me that the beating of the wheat represents trials in our life; and as a result of the threshing we are then able to enjoy a bountiful harvest.

God was changing me. The process had already started. He was changing me more and more into His image and burning away the chaff in my life. Trials are hard. Life is hard. But, if we can hold on tight to Christ we will get rid of the dead unproductive fruit so we can have a beautiful harvest.

(An excerpt from my book Beautiful Dependence)

homesteading

In the Waiting

We have had a few guests recently at our little cabin in the woods. Christmas was spent with a young family who came to get away from it all and see our small place on this earth. We had a wonderful time with great conversation, deep fellowship, and of course terrific food and fun.

They got to see how our day is spent with all the chores that need to be done – hauling water from the spring, filtering the water for drinking, getting firewood, sweeping (lots of sweeping due to wood chips), and general household chores that are common among most homes. They even had the chance to take a shower with our new real shower head that works with an aquarium pump that pushes the water through in a giant 5 gallon cooking pot!

It’s been great to be back on our property and as the chores are many and some are very hard and difficult to do in the snow, I am so glad to be here. As I once said a long time ago, “I feel like I’m home.”

Everything takes a little more time on the mountain. I think that’s what we are missing in our ‘rushed’ society. We are used to having things whenever and wherever we want. Internet is no longer just in businesses or schools, it’s in our homes, and at our finger tips on our phones – taking up our time.I’m not saying online access is a bad thing, but I am saying imagine if we didn’t have 24/7 access to it? We actually use the internet for a number of reasons and although we don’t have access to it at our cabin, we are able to get it (very slowly) at what we call the phone booth – the stump that we have to take a hike to.

Our life has slowed down drastically since arriving at our property. Patience is something that you just learn up here. One of our guests who came for New Year’s commented on how next time she is going to bring her Keurig coffee machine with her. I laughed and said, “Yep! Even making a cup of coffee teaches you patience up here.”

It’s been in the slowing down that I have appreciated all those things I thought I would miss and yet, come to think of it…I don’t think I have missed some of the modern conveniences I was able to partake in even in Mexico!

Yes, things take time. But, in the waiting that’s where the deep conversations begin. That’s where patience is taught. That’s where you appreciate the simple things and know that when your husband brings you a cup of coffee it was well thought out and planned.

Life is harder on the mountain, but it’s the simplicity that I have fallen in love with. And guess what? The coffee tastes better!

“I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.” Psalm 130:5

homesteading

Life As We Know It

It’s been a little over a month since we left Mexico and moved back to Washington. Many things have happened in this time.

I have had to work through and process quite a bit. Some things I expected, others I had no idea I would be experiencing.

Recently the small town we moved from in Mexico was ravaged by fire. When I heard the news I couldn’t believe the damage that was happening. I had received a text from my mom saying that our daughter, Sarah and her husband were safe from the fire and were in the states. My mind started whirling. What was she talking about? Fire? What fire?

You must understand that we don’t get texts at our cabin easily. We have to hike out to a place on the property that we call our “phone booth” which is an old stump about 1/4 of a mile from our house. This particular day we were headed to town and we hadn’t checked any of our phone messages because we knew we would soon have cell service. Once we arrived in town we started receiving more and more texts. Then I received a message saying that one of the homes we lived in, in Mexico was completely gone due to the fire.

I couldn’t believe it. What was going on? I immediately tried to get a hold of our daughter to get more information and to make sure she was, in fact, alright. After several tries we finally got a hold of her. She and her husband were definitely safe and weren’t planning on going back to Mexico for a few days. My mama heart was trying to reign in my emotions and trying not to freak out. I had to give it to God and remind myself that He is in control. There was nothing I could do. I had to pray.

Pretty soon we started seeing photos of the devastation. We saw a photo that showed our daughter, Storm’s little casa was still standing, which is amazing because it was constructed out of wood. We heard reports of homes being burned and others completely unharmed. We continued our prayers for the next several days as the winds picked up and we were getting reports of other fires happening within the area. I thought of all of our friends there, my students, my family.

Then I thought, “God, we were just there. Why now?” I don’t have the answer to this, but I know that God’s timing is perfect and that He uses all things for His glory.

Needless to say, We are loving being back at our cabin and the rest has been very good for us. We have done ministry in some form or another for 20 years – the last 15 have been more intense ministry. Now that we are at the property it’s been great to just take in the fresh air, sunshine, and each other. We have had God divine appointments there and have had several opportunities to minister and pray with those in the area. Ministry doesn’t always look the same, which I believe is a good thing. We are still loving the one in front of us which is what we are all about.

We do travel to my parents home once a month and our church that is close by has hired my husband to do maintenance whenever he is available, which is fantastic.

We were recently blessed with some more solar panels. We are excited to install them especially as winter approaches and our small unit that we have been using doesn’t charge the batteries enough this time of year.

It’s been fairly easy getting back into the groove of living off-grid. I love the simpler lifestyle and the fact that we don’t have access to the internet or technology to waste our time. Things are very intentional on the mountain. Conversations are deep and sometimes silly.

I’m sure I will be processing what we have experienced in Mexico for awhile and I don’t know what that will look like. I have had many moments of tears, but I know that God sees each one and I take comfort in each day that I get to breathe a breath.

“The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.

Habbakuk 3:19

Photo taken by Love Story Foundation