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

homesteading

Got Salve?

I had the joy of doing something that I enjoy very much! I was able to make some Healing Honey Balm.

We all have passions in life and mine has become making salves, lotions, lip balm, and soap. Before we moved to Mexico, I had a small business selling my creations. However, after we moved it was difficult to get the supplies and my time has been taken up with teaching and planning for school. Now that summer is fast approaching, I hope to set more time aside and continue this hobby.

I love reading scripture that talk about different oils and herbs. Gleaning the knowledge that the Bible has, I have learned much about olive oil, frankincense, myrrh, milk, and many other natural things with healing properties.

My salve consists of unrefined beeswax, olive oil infused with lavender and calendula, almond oil, jojoba oil, and vitamin E oil. We use it to moisturize, stop itching from mosquito bites, rashes, and some people use it on psoriasis with great results.

Thank you Lord for giving us an abundance of things in your creation to help our body, mind, and soul.

“After she (Esther) had been purified twelve months, according to the law of the women (for so the days of their anointing were done, six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odors, and with the perfumes of the women).

family, marriage

Day 7 Prayer: Dependence on God

I want to bring up the importance of dependence. It’s a topic I have learned quite a bit about living off-grid. I even wrote a book on it called Beautiful Dependence.  I am not talking about being dependent on vices in our life, such as alcohol, drugs, or food. The dependence I am speaking of is true dependence on God for everything that we need.

When we become too comfortable in life, we often forget about our need to go to God daily. We become complacent. We think Life is good – until it’s not. Then we have a trial that comes our way and we quickly realize how weak we truly are. Jesus is our example. He woke up early every morning and prayed before He did anything else. He went to the Father for direction, guidance, and companionship.

In my own life I fought for independence. I wanted to be the strong girl who could conquer anything set before me. In many cases I succeeded. However, after living on a snow-covered mountain, with a vehicle that wouldn’t get us up the hill any longer, I suddenly realized how important my neighbor was to me. Or, seeing how wonderful my husband was to get up every morning and start the fire, so my kids and I didn’t have to wake up to a cold cabin. Trials became something to expect on the mountain. I knew in order to make it through those trials I had to cry out and depend on God to get me through them.

I have never liked trials. At one point in my life, I was willing to be a lukewarm Christian because I noticed the more I grew in the Lord, the more tribulations came my way. I wanted nothing to do with hardship. I wanted things nice and cozy. Until I realized you can’t stop bad things from happening. We are in a fallen world and its a promise. Jesus says it in John 16:33 “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” 

Now, I am not afraid of trials. I know I will be refined and grow into the person God wants me to be as a result. I will also have compassion for others going through similar circumstances.

Day 7 Prayer: Dependence

  1. Pray your family would become more dependent on God and less dependent on the things of this world.
  2. Pray for a humble heart for you, your spouse, and kids. When you see someone struggle to ask for help on a task, pray that they would be able to get rid of pride and ask for the help they need.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

christianity

Things Above…

My husband, daughter, and I just got back from La Mision, Mexico. We were spying out the land God has prepared for us. What a week it has been! We were joined by a group of people from our church to do a short-term missions trip and to see the different needs in the community and surrounding areas of La Mision.

Riding up the long bumpy dirt road I realized why God had us live in eastern Washington for six years off-grid. The dirt road was similar to the one that we had to drive on to get to our little cabin in the woods. Rocks, sticks, and bushes line the driveway. I may not have understood it at the time of living off-grid, but I see now why our family went through some of the trials and triumphs we faced at our cabin. God was preparing us for the future; moving to a different country to share the good news of Jesus Christ!

On our trip we met several missionaries and got to see a small glimpse of the kinds of things they face. We now have a tiny understanding and can pray for specific needs. We saw many orphans, some with special needs. My heart broke when I realized they were orphans and would not get to experience a typical family. Then as I thought about it, I began to rejoice. Rejoicing in the fact that they are part of a much bigger family with love that abounds without expectation. As I held little Sammy in my arms, I prayed over him and prayed a prayer of blessing on him. Realizing that he was touching my heart probably more than I touched his. That a deep love that goes beyond borders, or race, or social status means more than anything this world could buy.

Needless to say, we are definitely moving to Mexico; dropping our nets and going to do a work far beyond our reach and resources. I know God will provide. It may not look exactly as I have pictured in my mind, but I know that God is directing us and I can rest and find comfort in the promises He has shown us. It won’t be easy, but I know this one fact…God is who He says He is. He is “I Am.” The same yesterday, today, and forever!

“Set your mind on things above, not on the things on the earth.” Colossians 3:2

homesteading

Hiding Place

Here is the story of how we ended up at our 20 acres of land…

Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordon. And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” 1 Kings 17:3, 4

I had been in a car accident two years before the Lord showed my husband this verse. I had received a settlement from the accident and we were trying to decide what to do with the money. We prayed about it and felt like God was telling us to buy some land. We weren’t sure where or, how we were going to do this. We kept praying. We knew the Lord would show us what to do in His time.

We had just moved from California to Washington state and had a peace about looking in Eastern Washington for land. I had grown up in Washington and I was not looking forward to being in the rainy state once again. However, I knew that the eastern part of Washington state was much sunnier than other parts and it is known for its fruit orchards. We started to do our real estate search and found a few pieces of property that intrigued us. We took some time to look at the different properties but nothing looked promising.

The last day that we were on our mini vacation looking for real estate my husband, Mark explained that he had two more properties he wanted to see. I wasn’t hopeful as the last few properties were not what we wanted and we didn’t have a peace about any of them. We finally headed out from our motel room and went for a drive up a long, winding road up into the mountains. We drove for what seemed like a lifetime and finally came to a dirt road. As we drove up the last part of three long, rock infested hills, we came to a tiny, cute hunter’s cabin. We all got out of our small car, turned around and saw one of the most breathtaking views I have ever seen. At that moment we knew this was the property for us.

Eventually we bought the property and we were now on a journey that would forever change my life. Little did I know how much the above verse would play in our everyday life. We had a natural spring that ran on the property. This is where we would get our daily water. We learned to hide in God’s presence here. We called our land Cherith Brook because it was so full of peace and provision.

Is God asking you to do something that seems impossible in your own eyes? Cry out to the Lord and seek His face. Ask Him to direct and lead you.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your provisions and for taking me on a lifelong journey of trusting you. I ask forgiveness for my doubts that seem to creep in. Help me to abide in you at all times. Remind me that You are continually working in my life to make me more Christ-like. Thank you for your love. In Jesus name…Amen.