To everything - turn, turn, turn
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! :)
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!
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. That was almost two years ago and after 600 days of being listed (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!
|LG and Phyllis|
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."
To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven . . .