Saturday, September 27, 2014

Turn, turn, turn...

To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven.
(taken from the song, "Turn!Turn! Turn!" written by Pete Seeger, as sung by the Byrds)




Many of you grew up in my decade and surely are familiar with that popular song made famous by the Byrds back in the 60's. The majority of those lyrics were taken right from the third chapter of the Book of Ecclesiastes. There's a time for everything—a time for beginnings and a time for endings. Endings. Sometimes they bring sadness. Sometimes they bring relief. Sometimes they bring both. This week we said goodbye to our beloved cabin in the mountains...you know the one...that little piece of heaven, as I lovingly referred to it, in Fancy Gap, Virginia. I will warn you now that this is post may get a little long so if you choose not to stick with me, I understand. I am writing this for myself but if you choose to join me, I'd love your company. Just so you know :)
It was twelve years ago this very month that we moved all of our flea market and yard sale finds into this cozy little 980 square foot log cabin with the wrap-around porch, perched high atop the mountain at the dead end of Walton Branscome Road. It's kind of a long, drawn out story (just like that last sentence) and I don't mean to bore you with the details surrounding how we came to acquire it. Here's the short version...I'm doing my best! I'll just say that after looking to move our permanent home to a more rural area here in NC, things didn't work out according to our plan. Between putting in an offer on a country place and listing our own home, it just wasn't in the plan to work out. There's that word again—plan. P-L-A-N. Don't we just love to have one? Well, we had ours and evidently, God had His. I guess I don't need to tell you who won...as if it was a contest. After much heartache and confusion, He heard the prayers and the desires of our hearts and pretty much led us to this place.
~
We had fallen in love with the Blue Ridge Mountains when we spent our 25th wedding anniversary there. On a whim, we began looking at some online listings for mountain properties with a small dwelling of some sort...a place where could retreat to on weekends, not too far from home...a place where the guys could hunt, etc. We set up an appointment, met with a realtor and he showed us a few places in our price range. Most of them were run-down trailers on a few acres...and we were fine with that. But I will never forget the day when the realtor took us up a steep gravel road that his pick-up truck could barely muster. When we reached the top (we thought we might not make it!), this is what we saw. 


All that could be heard was the wind rushing through the trees and the sound of the fast moving creek below. We pretty much knew that we had found what we were looking for. The price was right and everything else just seemed right about it too. We had been praying that if we were to acquire another property, it had to be of God's leading. It had to be right....not just something that we wanted.
~
It was June of 2002 and construction was due to be completed by September. We kind of created this little ritual during the weeks of construction. Just about every Friday afternoon when the work week was over, we'd head to Mt. Airy (right at the NC/VA border) which was about 15 miles or so from the cabin. There, we would get a room for the night and if there was still enough daylight to see, we'd head on up the mountain to see what all had been accomplished that week.


We spent our Saturdays making the rounds to every yard sale and flea market we could find. We rented a storage unit and added to it weekly. This continued for a couple of months until our little unit was filled to the brim!


I remember so well the day we moved in...the power had yet to be turned on. I washed all of those yard sale dishes and pots and pans from water heated on the gas grill! Thank goodness the power was turned on the next day. Over the next few weeks, I had so much fun turning it in to our cozy little retreat.


I have a special memory of sitting on the porch swing for the very first time, listening to the gentle wind rustling through the trees, looking out over the mountain view and thanking God for all of it—still in disbelief that He would bless us like this. I mean, who did we think we were anyway? We certainly were not wealthy folks...some people didn't even have one home...why would He allow us to have two? It was then that we committed the cabin to Him. We wanted it to be used as a sanctuary of sorts—for those needing a place to just get away from the world for a little while—a place to draw close to God. Over the next twelve years, Ray's Roost would fulfill it's purpose.


It became the scene of countless get-togethers with family and friends. 


It became a place of quiet, personal retreats. 
It became a honeymoon hide-away and an anniversary get-away.  
It became a  bed & breakfast...where YOU make both! :)


Our older grandsons practically grew up there. Below is one of my favorite photos of them cooling off in the creek. It's hard to believe they are nearly sixteen and fourteen now.

 

This checkerboard which had been on the front porch right from the very beginning is where Dacey, our oldest grandson learned to play when he was about six, taught by his Uncle Adam. Over the last several years, he has beaten the pants off of nearly everyone. It would take those years and many lessons in good sportsmanship before he was actually able to beat his uncle Adam...one time. This is the only thing he said he wanted when he learned the cabin had sold. He is now the proud owner :)



Fall was most definitely everyone's favorite season there, bringing with it glorious color and crisp, cool mountain breezes—perfect for hunting, campfires and s'mores.



Every season had something special to offer though. Even the steep driveway didn't deter us (although it tried) from enjoying many weekends making memories in the snow. Many times we had to park at the bottom of the driveway and walk up, which was quite a workout!


It was the perfect place to be "snowed in".



So many wonderful memories...


Now, back to that so-called plan. Fast forward several years. Some things in life are so easy to take for granted, don't you think? Our "plan" was that we would retire there and sell our home in NC when the that time rolled around. My, how things can change...just when you think you've got it all figured out. Long-time employment can abruptly come to an end, as it has for so many folks in recent years due to the economy. After thirty-six years of working for the same company, it moved all production to Mexico and China. Um, thanks but no thanks. So....making a very long story still long, Jim was laid off with a severance that lasted about 18 months...miraculously the amount of time it took him to find employment. Although the pay was much less from what he was used to, he was doing something he loved—managing a group home and caring for men with special needs. He has always had a desire and a calling to work with these special individuals. His job, is in essence, his ministry. Sometimes it's just not all about the money, is it? But the reality was that we had two homes to pay for on a greatly reduced salary. The math just didn't work any more.


Seeing this sign for the first time was very hard for me to accept and I was an emotional mess off and on for nearly three weeks. Although I knew that selling it was the bitter reality, I still cried out to God, asking for another way...silly, I know. So I prayed for peace and acceptance. I don't know exactly how or when I sensed the Lord speaking to me but He helped me to make the decision that I was just going to put on my big girl panties and enjoy it as long as He allowed us to....whether it was for a month or a year...or more. Finally, after being on the market for almost a year (very slow market in rural VA) we got two offers in one day...one on the low end and the other, the full asking price...cash! That was about three weeks ago and needless to say, it has been a whirlwind, to say the least! 


A week ago today we loaded up and this past Tuesday, we sealed the deal and said our final goodbyes to our cozy little cabin on the mountain. My head tells me that it's only a wooden structure but in my heart, it was like saying goodbye to a member of the family for the last time. But God just kept on blessing, right up to the end. As He would have it, we had the opportunity to get to know the precious new owners who were beyond thrilled. 

LG and Phyllis
I will never forget how sweet Phyllis put her hand on my shoulder and looked at me with the most compassionate eyes and said, "I can only imagine how much you will miss this place and want you to know that we will take such good care of it."  This is really hard to put into words but it almost felt as though they had just adopted one of our children, promising to love them forever.


But, life does go on, even when our plan doesn't line up with The plan. As I was going through the photos I wanted to use in this post, I came across this one from several years ago. Even though it doesn't do any justice to the actual sunset, in the twelve years we had the cabin, I don't think I ever saw one quite as magnificent as this. I remember standing on the deck on that cold winter evening and thanking God for this wonderful gift and for His goodness. And although these moments are now just memories, they are gifts that keep on giving...until we can remember them no more. (And if you're still with me, I appreciate it :)

"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened." 
~Dr. Seuss

To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven . . .
—Ecclesiastes 3:1


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44 comments:

  1. A beautiful post, Debby. It was a lovely cabin in a very scenic area. I love all the photos of the special times you and your family and friends shared there. So thankful that you received a cash offer and that the new owners cherish the cabin too.

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  2. what a marvelous place filled with love and memories and family growth. and by the looks of those 2 new owners, it will continue to be so. i am glad it went to a couple who are old enough to appreciate all it has and young enough to appreciate all its gifts. it looks to be in good hands and hearts.

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  3. Golly, now you've done it. I was doing so good today, not shedding the first tear. (That's a pretty good feat these days.) And now I am balling about this story. Oh, the memories! It was a beautiful gift and the memories will always be yours. And I know all too well about how our plans don't necessarily coincide with The Plan. It's painful, but one has to have faith that it will all turn out OK.

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  4. Wow Debby. I'm sure you will miss the cabin you lovingly built and enjoyed for a 'season' of life but will have so many amazing memories of your times there with family and friends. I enjoyed reading about your journey and seeing the photos of the good times over the years. God has been good to you and your husband. We never know where He will lead us and what He'll take us through. Pam

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  5. It's such a beautiful place and I know you loved every minute you spent there. You've got some great memories and lots of photos to remember it all, too. It sure is hard to know how to 'plan' for the future. I lived in a cabin in a rural part of NC near the TN border and loved my time there. But it's been sold now. I'm so glad I had all of that special time but we decided not to retire there. For now we are happy with where we are. In the future....that could change. I'm wishing you the very best my friend. When God is in control we can be sure of good times ahead! Blessings and Sweet hugs, Diane

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  6. Big bear (((((hugs))))) to you dear friend. beautiful post.

    When God closes one door He opens another. Keep encouraged.

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  7. Debbie Ray! I enjoyed this post so much! I agree with Dr. Suess! Smile because it happened. What great memories. I understand why you needed to write this. And God does have a plan in all this ... we just have to trust Him. How wonderful that the new owners are like minded. Sounds like a happy ending to a beautiful story :-)

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  8. Aww Debby... You brought tears to my eyes as I read this wonderful heart felt post. It really wasn't long enough! You could have shared more for my enjoyment.
    The Lord blessed you and many others whom you so generously shared your cabin with. You and your family certainly allowed the Lord to have and use that beautiful place for the "season" He allowed.
    God's plan many times throws us, but yet, we know and trust that His ways are best.
    May your heart be encouraged as you go through the days ahead.
    Sweet blessings to you and your family.
    Joy! Debbie

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  9. Beautifully told, Debby. You will never know how many you touched with this story for, as you say, it's a story being repeated and echoed around the country. All the best to you and who knows what the next adventure might be! One thing is certain, The Lord has wonderful plans for you and your family.

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  10. I loved hearing the story of this beautiful log cabin, His gift to you! I loved seeing the pictures and thinking about the memories that you have made in this special spot. I know it must be hard to say good-bye to such a gift, even as you say hello to a new time and a season...also His gifts. I love how you call it "The Plan." Beautiful!

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  11. Like the four seasons, sooner or later, our beloved homes give others a turn to enjoy their appeal, and your little cabin in the mountains will do just that. I so enjoyed reading about YOUR turn, seeing the happy faces of all those who got their turn, and finally, the sweet couple who is next in line. Lovely, lovely, post!!

    Have a wonderful week ahead!

    Poppy

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  12. Time marches it, doesn't it? A well written post about this time in your lives.

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  13. What lovely memories, in such a beautiful cabin and setting. I was crying at the end of this post. We did this same thing 10 years ago selling our cabin, so I very much know what you are feeling, but I'm sure there will be many more memories to come, with your awesome family. Hugs from WI

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  14. Such love-filled memories you made at your cabin and what a blessing to pass it on to ones who will care for it well. The job situation here has many folks in the same boat but you are an inspiration to others facing hardships. Blessings to you and your family as you continue the love-filled memory making in other locations.

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    1. Thank you so much Mindy...have a good week :)

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  15. What a beautiful story Debby. You have such a store of wonderful memories, and so do your children. Your grandchildren will never forget their childhood times spent there in the warmth of family. Blessings to you.

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    1. Thank you...we certainly do have our memories. Have a blessed week :)

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  16. Hi Debby! Oh my gosh, I'd be in a puddle of tears right next to you. You had that place before it was a place, and what beautiful memories. I know how life changes things, believe me. My husband has been unemployed for two years now, and what we thought our lives would look like...well, it won't.
    But like you, I cry a little and then realize it's all part of the plan.

    May God bless you both on to your next 'big thing'. I'm so glad that you had it for such a long time, and that your children/grands could enjoy it so much. Not to mention you too!
    Blessings,
    Ceil

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    1. Thanks Ceil...our "next big thing" will hopefully be getting some much needed improvements done to our house now we will have the $$. I wasn't aware that your hubby was unemployed...we just never know do we?? We will always be thankful for the time we had and the memories we shared. Blessings, friend!

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  17. What a lovely place, full of memories, a beautiful send-off, and someone else to love it.

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  18. I was fine until Phyllis made me cry!

    So glad that the next owners will love it as much as you do but so sad as well. :(

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  19. My heart goes out to you...I am glad you are finding peace about it all. It is funny how a place can hold so much of our heart...it is the memories that hold us there. And I often say it is the feel of the place.

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  20. I am a baby boomer, born in 1956 and grew up in the 60's, so I definitely remember that song. Your photos are just lovely! Warm greetings from Montreal, Canada.

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  21. So now I'm bawling like a baby! Reminded me of how I felt when I sold my house in Dallas and moved away. I cried all the way to Tennessee! The Dr. Seuss quote says it all.

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  22. Debby, I just don't know what to say...let alone what to feel. There is a huge part of me that is crying along with you. That precious home, those precious moments and memories - it must be heart-wrenching to let go. And yet, how I love that you are trusting that God is *there* in these circumstances - working a new purpose. LG and Phyllis look like the sweetest people. It occurs to me that maybe God has work to do in their lives through the lovely home that you are leaving behind.

    Life on this earth is often a series of goodbyes - and they are so very difficult. But each goodbye reminds me that we aren't home yet. We have a *mansion* awaiting!

    So, as I mourn with you over the loss of this quaint and cozy abode, I know that God will fill your hearts with comfort. And may you also be reminded that every good and wonderful thing that ever occurred in that little cabin up the road was just a foretaste of the glory awaiting us!!

    Love you...and GOD BLESS!

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    1. Sharon, thank you so much for these precious words! Looking forward to that "mansion" one day...I can't wait to meet you there! Love you, Friend :)

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  23. oh this is such a beautiful post...i'm sitting here with tears in my eyes...i know how hard this must be but what a blessing to get such wonderful buyers...hugs...

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  25. What a touching post, Debby. I'm a bit misty-eyed myself, seeing all the memories you made with family at this cozy little hideaway. Although the cabin is no longer yours, the memories will remain. I'm glad you took lots of pictures, and the sunset was simply magnificent! Thanks for sharing your story with us.

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    1. And thank you, friend, for reading...have a blessed Tuesday :)

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  26. Dr. Seuss is so right. I'm sorry you had to give up your cabin and I won't say "but." We have been through this experience and now quite a few years have passed. Still missing it but so thankful for all the memories our family/extended family and friends share because of our years there. Your husband's new job sounds wonderful. How he will bless those he works with.

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    1. Then you know exactly what it's like, don't you? I'm so glad to have these memories that I shared... and so many more. Have a great week!

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  27. Okay, you made me cry! This precious cabin is not only beautiful, but it's filled to the brim with special memories - what a wonderful place you were able to enjoy with your sweet family. You may have said goodbye to the building, but in your heart you will always hold those memories and precious moments and they will continue to live on through you :)

    Love and hugs!

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  28. Oh, Debby, I have tears in my eyes. What a heartfelt post! I feel your joy and your pain but you're so right - our God loves us and He always has a plan. I loved your sweet little cabin and I wish you the best for your future!
    Blessings,
    Shelia ;)

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  29. Oh Debby, this was hard for even ME, and I didn't own or love the property. But I certainly can imagine how you felt, because I love the land we own. I am so grateful that someone nice purchased the cabin and promised to take care of it for you. God will open up new avenues of blessing. He always does. I am so glad you shared this wonderful cabin and your story with us. It is a testimony to the fact that we are His, we delight in Him and in His goodness. He brings joy. Hugs to you, friend. I am still sad about the cabin, but I know great things await you.

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  30. A beautiful and yet "bittersweet" post. Your love for this place was so evident. The wonderful thing is that you have all those special memories (and photos) to cherish now that it's changed hands. I think it's wonderful that you got to meet the new owners and they were so understanding of what it meant to you.

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  31. Debby, what a great story of life. I feel sadness, but I am so glad to hear that you were able to experience such happiness. It does seem that you have the right attitude to move on and keep the great memories. And I agree " . . . smile because it happened. . ."

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    1. Amy, everytime I look through the pictures, I smile because it happened. I'm so glad that I found that quote!

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  32. I'm sorry you had to give up your quaint cabin home Debby but knowing that the new owners love it as much as you and will care for it must help in your departure. When one door closes in life another opens and I wish you much anticipation for what lies in store for your journey ahead.
    Hugs,

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  33. What a mix of emotions as I read this and viewed the images. I'm so grateful that the new owners will love it well. Prayers that you and your husband will be blessed in your new endeavors.

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  34. Wow...such a moving and emotional post. So bittersweet. I'm sending you a farmhouse hug now because I think you need one.

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    1. Aww...feeling that "hug" right now...thank you :)

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Thank you for stopping by today! Your sweet comments are such an encouragement to me.

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