homesteading

Reliving the Oregon Trail?

Broken down, sifting through boxes that had been packed, making decisions on what to keep and what to donate, headed to an off-grid cabin I begin to think to myself, “Did I just step back in time?”

Years ago, when we first moved to our little cabin in the woods I found myself relating to the pioneers as a result of no electricity, having to haul water, and just the simpler lifestyle. Today, I was having a whole different understanding – one that I didn’t particularly want or ask to understand. We were on a journey to move from Mexico back to our home state of Washington.  After a month of planning and packing, and goodbyes had been said, we were finally on the road.

It was late at night, and we made a stop north of Los Angeles to stretch our legs and use the restroom. We had taken all three of our vehicles and a utility trailer with us. Mark and I were in one car, Storm and her dog, Koda, were in the big truck, and our daughter, Sarah, and her husband were in our little Nissan truck. After our restroom break we were all set. “Head ’em up, move ’em out!” My husband called out. We began to pull forward when we noticed the Nissan not moving. We had walkie talkies in each vehicle as a way of communicating. Suddenly we heard Cole over the speaker say the truck wasn’t starting. No big deal. We have had that happen in the past and even had a few mechanics look at the problem and thought the last mechanic had fixed it. After a few more tries – still nothing. We even tried to push start it as its a manual transmission. Still no luck. We were definitely stuck. After trying to push start the truck it ended up at the far end of the Walmart parking lot where we parked it and we all gathered around going over our options.

We finally decided to go to an auto parts store and buy an inexpensive part that we thought may fix the problem. Mark and I left to search out this store, in an unknown area, at 10:00 at night. What parts store is open that late at night? Thank goodness we found one. (Is this the city that never sleeps?) Our other travelers were left behind to watch over the vehicles and our belongings. When we arrived back at the broken down truck, we were all hopeful that this $18.99 part would fix our problem and we would be on our way north. We all prayed before we put the new part in. My husband easily took out the old relay switch and put the new one in (in the past this had fixed the problem). We all kept our fingers crossed. Cole jumped into the driver’s seat to try and start the little truck…nothing. The engine didn’t turn over. Nada.

With deflated hopes we gathered around again and began to discuss more options. This truck was full of our things. Even if we had the truck towed to a junk yard, what would we do with all of our belongings? We thought maybe getting a U Haul trailer would be the best option, so we sought out the cost of renting one. Whoa, too much money! Another option was getting a motel room, finding a mechanic in the morning, and seeing how much it would cost to fix the Nissan. If they had the part and could fix it that would put us a day or two behind our schedule. More ideas were discussed. When finally my husband said, “I’m going to call our Pastor in Mexico and see if he wants the truck.” We all agreed that was a viable option. We knew it was probably an easy fix and it could be a blessing to anyone if they could just get it started. The phone call was made and things were talked about. It was all set. Some men would be by in the morning to come pick it up.

Now we had a truckload of things deal with. What should we keep and what should be donated? Our other two vehicles and our utility trailer were packed pretty tight, so we didn’t have much room to add more things inside of them. By then it was about midnight and we were sifting through boxes, bags, and vehicles to try to decide what to keep or toss. I was exhausted. Moving is never fun and I just wanted to rest. Rest wasn’t an option right now, so we pressed on. Looking inside boxes I had tea cups, curriculum that I had used to teach not only my own children, but the students in Mexico, shoes, clothes, pots and pans, etc. One by one deciding to get rid of what was not a necessity, I began to think to myself, “Is this a taste of what it was like for those families traveling on the prairie?” We hear stories of how things were left behind – boxes of books, sewing machines, pianos, family heirlooms that had to be tossed to the side because it was too much weight for the rocky hills.

I began to cry silently to myself, thinking its dark, no one will see me. When a moment later my daughter, Sarah, put her arms around me and just stood next to me. No words were spoken. She just rested her arm around me with her hand on my shoulder and everything stopped at that moment. I knew it would be okay. Its just stuff. It can be replaced. How many times have I started over in my life leaving behind everything to start something new? For me, many times. I looked around and saw my family – all willing to help, willing to get rid of their things as well. It wasn’t just my stuff that had to be left behind. Storm left things. Mark left things. They were so willing to make the sacrifice with a joyful heart. God. My family. I love them and they are what’s truly important to me.

Realizing all of these “things” will one day burn made the decision making process much easier. I began willingly getting rid of the things that I thought meant so much to me. Cole and Mark worked hard that night and unpacked and repacked the cars and when it was all finished we were able to fit what we “needed” into the two vehicles and trailer. When it was all said and done, I thought, “Wow. We could have saved ourselves a whole lot of packing if we would have donated this stuff in Mexico.”

My heart has always loved stories about the Oregon Trail. After living in the mountains in a hunter’s cabin I feel even more drawn to the pioneers that settled in the West. Now, more than ever, I have a heart for those men and women who made sacrifices in hopes of making a better life for their family. Many suffered and died along the way. I have no doubt the survivors learned lessons that stuck with them their whole life. My hope is that I will not forget those hard lessons that I have had to learn in life. Today my lesson is not taking for granted each day that I have with my family. I want to keep loving on them, keeping the relationships growing and maturing into something beautiful because soon some of our family members won’t be around. Cole and Sarah will be flying back to Mexico and I don’t know when I will see them again. Our parents are getting older and I need to spend as much time as I can with them. They have wisdom and insight that I want to glean from them. What is truly important? Time. You can’t get one second back. Make it count. Love the one in front of you! 

A verse that kept coming back to me is Matthew 6:19-24 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” 

Father, thank you for your goodness. Please forgive me when I doubt and things don’t go the way I had planned. I know that all things work together for good for those that are in you. When things get difficult and trials come, I know that you are working toward something greater than I could ever imagine. I pray that I will always trust and rest in you. Amen. 

Below is a link to a song that I love called Pioneer by Nancy Honeytree. I came across it years ago just before we moved to our cabin. It helped me when loneliness and doubt crept in our first year of living off-grid. I thought it was fitting for this blog post.

Nancy Honeytree song Pioneer

christianity, Uncategorized

Looking Ahead

Our house is full of boxes once again, things are in disarray, not in their normal places. But one thing is consistent…I have peace.

As I stare out the window facing the ocean, I am reflecting about our time in Mexico. I have shed many tears here. Some happy, some sad, and some full of anger. Anger at the suffering we see, anger that it’s an unjust and unfair world.

I know when Eve offered the fruit to Adam and he ate (Genesis 3:6) that was not the road God had wanted them to travel down. But thanks be to God he is bigger than our mistakes. He had a plan. A plan that would cost His son’s life. But, an awesome plan that would wipe away every spot and blemish, every sinful thought, every tear from our eyes. Yes, it would be thousands of years later, but it would happen just as he promised.

Moving back to Washington was not on the radar three months ago. In fact, we were talking about making Mexico our long-term plan. We have been asked many times over the past two years what our plan was. “How long will you be here?” is a common question. Our response has always been, “As long as God calls us here.” We held Mexico with an open hand.

Our ministry is called Cherith Brook based out of 1 King’s 17, where Elijah went to hide and the crows fed him because there was a famine. As I was staring out our window, I felt like I should revisit this story in scripture, but continue to read further down the chapter.

Eventually the Brook dries up. Cherith Brook, where he would get his thirst quenched no longer produced the nourishment his body needed. So what next? What was he to do?

1 Kings 17:8 says, “Then the LORD said to Elijah, Go and live in the village of Zarephath, near the city of Sidon. I have instructed a widow there to feed you.”

I love this because God continues to direct Elijah. He doesn’t leave him hanging. He gives instructions and tells him exactly where to go. Elijah listens and obeys. He doesn’t know all the details. He just goes.

As the story continues we see some miracles, which is awesome! But, for me, I felt like God saying, “I got this Christine. I am calling you back to Washington. I have a plan. Do you trust me?”

This past month we have seen God open so many doors for us, making it clear that He is definitely calling us to Washington. I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know the entire plan. We are taking it one step at a time as He directs us.

Two years ago, as we were pulling away from our cabin (the original Cherith Brook) to move down to Mexico, I had a choice. Do I look back longingly like Lot’s wife did? Or, do I look ahead at the adventure before us. I had a huge choice to make.

Quite a bit happened at that cabin. It was where God met me and I had to face some hard truths about myself that I didn’t want to see. I became FREE there. When we were in the truck pulling away from our beloved place on earth, I decided not to look back. I knew God wanted us in Mexico and I didn’t want to be disobedient in my heart. I had to push forward with the thought that I may never live on the mountain again. I gave it up.

Here we are, returning to a home, that I love. It’s not pretty. It needs a lot of work. But, I can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store. I’m sure there will be trials-there always are in life. However, I am excited to experience the next chapter, so I can learn and continue to grow.

Sometimes the future just doesn’t make sense. Many good things are happening in Mexico. Why would God have us move now? I don’t have the answer to this. But, a verse comes to mind and it is this:

“I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow.” 1 Corinthians 3:6

Thank you, Lord for always directing our footsteps. We may not like the direction you are leading us, but it always works out to our benefit. I pray that wherever we are, your light will always shine through us and that you will continue to enable us to love the one in front of us. Amen.

christianity

A Godly Woman: Anger & Profanity

I was recently talking with someone and they were saying how difficult it is to let go of anger. I agree. Sometimes, I believe we allow anger because in reality, it can feel good to let off a little steam. It can be the trickle down affect…I was yelled at, so I will raise my voice to those in lower positions.

Another reason we get angry (mom’s are prone to this) our expectations aren’t being met. The house is a mess, the dishes aren’t done, the kids are too loud, etc. I was guilty of this when my kids were younger.

Maybe you have a coworker who is difficult to get along with. Or, someone in your life who just rubs you the wrong way, and your hackles get up every time they walk in the room.

So what should our attitude be? I love going to scripture and seeing what the Bible says. I did this a few days ago because I am dealing with someone right now who hasn’t been very pleasant. I had anger growing inside of me and I didn’t like where those feelings were headed.

Ephesians 4:22 & 24

“Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God – truly righteous and holy.”

These verses are great for reminding us that we have been made new in Christ. I love verse 24 where it says “Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.” We need to go to God daily to be refreshed and renewed.

Let’s look at more verses:

Ephesians 4:26

“And don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.”

What happens when we get angry at someone? We start to “vent” or so we say. Which, can easily turn into gossip. If we let the anger take control it leads to all kinds of bad things. In verse 27 it tells us not to go to bed angry. We need to talk to the person we are angry with before the next day comes. This can be difficult to do. It requires getting rid of our pride and talking through the situation and even possibly having to hear things about ourself that we aren’t going to like.

With anger we can let our tongue get away from us, which we talked about last time. James 3 explains taming our tongue. But, I want to look further in Ephesians.

Ephesians 4:29

“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

It seems like in this day and age cursing has become the norm. I didn’t grow up in a house that cussed. So, every time I hear profanity, it sets me off. Unfortunately, I hear it more often than I’d like. Movies, television, adults, kids, it’s everywhere. I have heard people say, “It’s just a word.” True. But, what is the meaning of that word? And do you really need to say it every five seconds?

The Greek word for profanity or corrupt is Sapros, which means rotten, worthless, bad, corrupt. I had to do a fruit inspection in my own life and realized I don’t always say the nicest things, especially when I am angry. Anger and unwholesome talk go hand in hand.

I pray I will be like the above verse and have things that are good and helpful, and encouraging come out of my mouth.

Our next two verses sum everything up really well.

Ephesians 4:31 & 32

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tender hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”

So, to review what we have looked at so far: A Godly Woman is…

  • Pure
  • Respectful
  • Diligent
  • Controls her tongue
  • Controls her thoughts and emotions
  • Is not angry
  • Doesn’t let profanity or unwholesome talk come out of her mouth

Dear God, thank you for these biblical truths that you revealed to me. I pray that you will enable me to go to you daily and hear what you have to say. May I become the Godly woman you desire and may my speech be fragrant to all those around me.

christianity

A Godly Woman Part 2

Here is the second part to being a Godly woman. We are looking at what the Bible says about how we are to act and behave; what characteristics a woman that claims Christ should implement in her everyday life.

So far we learned a godly woman is:

  • pure
  • respectful
  • diligent
  • controls her tongue

Today we will add:

  • controls her thoughts and emotions

2 Corinthians 10:5

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

Sometimes we can let our thoughts and emotions runaway from us. It may be when we are laying in bed and a thought comes to mind, which triggers other thoughts that aren’t good. They can range from the “if only” thought, to thinking about the wants and desires of others and their things, to hateful thoughts about being wronged in some way, and then to desiring someone other than our spouse.

We see in this verse we are to take every thought captive. We need to bring each thought before the Lord and ask Him to enable us to stop the emotions that are tied to those thoughts.

Philippians 4:8 says “…whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

I love this verse! I learned it when I was a little girl and it has been one that I go to often, especially now that I am older and my thoughts can get away from me. The Bible is so fantastic because it not only tells what we aren’t to do, with a big list of no-no’s, it tells what we are to do and how to do it.

Jesus went to the Father daily. He had a relationship with God. That is our example:

Matthew 14:23 “After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.”

Mark 1:35 “Very early in the morning , while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”

When we have ungodly thoughts we need to get on our knees and pray. When anxieties overtake our thoughts and emotions, pray. When we have thoughts about wanting things that don’t belong to us, pray. When we think about getting back at someone who has said or done something detestable to us, pray. When images from movies, internet, or billboards enter our minds, pray.

I guarantee if we just take a moment to stop and pray, our worldly thoughts and emotions will turn to things that build up, not tear down.

Dear Heavenly Father, let my desires be your desires. Help me to see others as you see them so I can treat them in absolute purity. Help me to not let my emotions get in the way of the work that you have for me. Please take away my anxiety and fear and think on things that are pure, lovely, honest, and just. Amen.

christianity

A Godly Woman Part 1

I have been asked on multiple occasions to be a mentor to young women. I am always excited when asked to do so because it shows that these women are seeking something different than what this world wants to offer. They are usually looking for someone to come along side them and to speak up; to show them what being a Godly woman looks like, because face it, we all know what we see on T.V. And instagram is not what our soul desires to strive for.

Where is the best place to start? The Bible. I plan on sharing what I have learned over the years with you. I don’t claim to be an expert. I just want to share what is on my heart.

Titus 2 verses 3 to 5 is a great place to start.

3. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good,

4. and so train the young women to love their husbands and children,

5. to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

As I am now considered an older woman, I feel I am called to teach the younger women to do just what these verses say.

We are to be pure, respectful, and diligent. We are called to love our husbands and children; to be kind, self-controlled. Do we need to say everything that comes to mind? No. When I want to speak out and I know it may be hurtful, or not have the other persons best interest at heart, I try to stop myself. I seek God and see if there is a different way to say it, if at all. In doing this one act of stepping back from the situation, I have seen my own life change in not needing to feel like I have to speak all the time. Are there times when I do speak up? Absolutely. Sometimes I have had to be very truthful with people, but I try to do it in love.

This leads me to the next point. A Godly woman controls her tongue.

James 1:19-27

James 3

Specifically James 1:19 and 26 say James 1:19  Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; James 1:26  If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.

We are to keep our tongue in check. James 3 is a whole chapter on the tongue and how it can give blessing and praise to God one moment and in the other moment curse and reject people who were created by Him. (James 3:9)

Controlling our tongue doesn’t mean we stay silent and hold a grudge, giving our offender the silent treatment. Having spirit-led self control, means we give control of ourself to the Spirit, so we no longer feel like we have to say something. It’s controlling our actions as well, knowing that our waiting in silence will affect our physical actions, so we can still show love as we wait patiently to see when and/if we should speak up.

James is one of my favorite books in the Bible. There are some meaty words of declaration and ways to live a godly life in this book. It’s a small book with a powerful punch. I recommend reading it this coming week and see how you can take its truths to heart and watch as it transforms your mind and soul.

Reminder: a Godly woman is pure, respectful, diligent, and controls her tongue.

There are many more aspects of a Godly woman and I plan on taking the next few weeks to write about them.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the examples that you have given us in your word of Godly women and what being a righteous woman is all about. May we seek these truths out and show us where we are lacking.

marriage

The Two Shall Become One

Our daughter is married!!! Thank you to all who helped to make this day happen, we couldn’t have done it without you!

God seems to bring us full circle to places that we have lived before. This time, he took us back to Julian, CA where we truly learned the message of grace in the Bible.

It was so great to be there among old friends and memories. Setting up for the wedding, I had many emotions that surfaced. I looked across and saw the pool where our son was baptized. I saw the place where my husband taught his first sermon about the dead lifeless moon reflecting the sun and as a result, shines for all to see. Lastly, I remembered our daughter, Sarah asking Jesus into her heart when she was only three years old, by Lake Cuyamaca.

It was a wonderful wedding and it was such a joy to see friends and family participate. Most exciting was to watch Cole and Sarah be united as one and take the first steps of their new life together.

A few days before the wedding, I read a verse that I found fitting. It is Psalm 45:13,14:

13The bride, a princess, looks glorious in her golden gown.

14In her beautiful robes, she is led to the king, accompanied by her bridesmaids.

15What a joyful and enthusiastic procession as they enter the king’s palace! (NLT)

How awesome that Jesus is waiting for us, like a groom waits for his bride!

marriage

Refreshing Springs Through the Valley of Weeping

With our daughter’s wedding upon us and friends and family are beginning to arrive, our house is quickly being filled with chatter, laughter, and a little chaos.

Although I am extremely blessed and excited for this marriage to happen, I can remember a time when going to weddings was extremely painful for me. I was going through my separation and divorce and even the thought of going to a wedding made my stomach turn.

I tried to be happy for the couple, who were so in love that nothing could hold them back. But, I wasn’t feeling it. I struggled. A lot. I remember being at a small bridal shower and crashing to the floor because I had a grand-mal seizure. I was rushed to the hospital, where my friends stayed with me for hours to make sure everything was okay. Well, I wasn’t okay-mentally or physically. I just ruined a fun party and I felt horrible for the bride-to-be as her special day ended up in the ER as a result of me.

Now, many of my friends have experienced the loss of their spouse. I feel for them. Even though I haven’t been through the pain of becoming a widow, I do remember feeling alone and seeing joyful couples all around me and wondering if I would ever be happy again. Through all of the pain, I had to hold on to biblical truths. I love Psalm 84:2 “I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the LORD.”

This is not our home! This sin-filled, selfish world is not our resting place. Oh, how I so look forward to the day when I get to see my Savior face to face. No more sorrow. No more suffering. Peace and love will fill me every moment.

It’s through the difficult times that we get our focus off of us and turn to the one who brings joy unspeakable and we experience Christ in a way that we couldn’t fathom.

In a few days I will stand with my daughter and watch her marry the man of her dreams. This is a time of rejoicing! I am no longer sad at weddings. I am joyful that God created a union between a man and a woman that would cause us to no longer be alone and to walk out the trials and joys of life together. I am especially thankful that God gave me my current husband, who is my soul-mate. We would not be having this wedding without God, who healed my epilepsy, gave me new life in the way of three children, and has given me streams of living water through the trials.

“What joy comes for those whose strength comes from the LORD…when they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs.” Psalm 84:5,6