Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Great Pearl: Lessons told from a beautiful perspective...

I suppose along this journey of cabin blogging, there will be times such as this when my heart is so full of "Life," that I must pour it out to you...

A heart full of Life...
"Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth & dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit..." John 12:24

It is absolutely amazing to me, how death brings life... That is truth. In order for there to be new life, there must be death... We can see this in nature all around us. Leaves falling now, new life to come in Spring.

How can it possibly be, that the very death of the one I held more dear than any other, my husband, is bringing forth MUCH life in me??? How can it be? That is truth...

It is only by the grace & power of the one true God that I can be thriving, growing, blossoming, learning, loving during a time of such tremendous loss, pain, suffering, & affliction... It is God's grace that is sustaining me. But not just sustaining me, Strengthening me. Making me stronger than I was before. Empowering me with boldness & understanding that I did not know before. It really has nothing to do with me at all. It is His power flowing through this vessel that is filling me with LIFE... What a powerful pearl.....

This is the message of this season of my life.
This season...
Seasons change, always. But there are always seasons. If there were not seasons, there would be no new life. Each season has it's purpose, & with it comes new life...

There are many stories about the man I loved & the relationship we shared that need to be told, but the one the Spirit of God has laid heavy upon my heart is this....

Stewart & I had a crazy love adventure. One that after 2 years of friendship & secretly in love with eachother, but never saying a word about it or acting upon, only praying for God's guidance, Stewart decided it was time to make a move.

It was our first "date." We spent a day at the lake, waterskiing of course, & it was amazing... Our first time really "alone" together on a planned outing. I was thinking, "he must really like me."

I had gotten back in the boat after an endurance slalom run & Stewart asked me to drive the boat. I sat in the driver's seat happy to do it. He put a blindfold over my eyes & said, "I want to see how much you trust me..."
I never flinched. I let him blindfold me, & I drove that boat down the lake, 40 mph, completely blindfolded, trusting him, listening for his guidance, for his every word telling me which way to turn, to steer... I trusted him 100%...
I never asked him why he did that. I wish I had. I would love to know what compelled Stewart to do such a thing. Then again, I know why he did it...

He told me we were going to eat at a friend's house for lunch. When we got to our destination, (by me blindly driving us), he helped me out of the boat & led me up to a beautiful waterfall.
When we got up to the top, Stewart removed the blindfold from my eyes, & with a dozen roses in 1 hand & my hand upon his wildly beating heart, with tears in his eyes, he told me for the first time that he was in love with me, & that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me...
He then asked me to join him in a period of courtship. A time of dating & getting to know eachother much better with the intention that we were getting married. Of course, I said heck yes...

This event is so vivid in my mind right now, because the Spirit of God is showing me that this is exactly where I am at right now with the Lord. I am at a place of blindly trusting God with my life, my future. It's a scary place to be. I feel as if the Lord has a blindfold on me & is leading me as I am driving the course of my life. He is wanting to court me, to whisper in my ear, "turn this way, turn that way," as I blindly trust Him... All the while He is wanting to be my husband.
What that truly means is not understandable to me at this point. But then, that is the blind journey of discovery I am on...

The blind journey of trust with Stewart to our destination led to the beautiful climax of love unfolding, love revealed & manifested fully.

I am on the blind journey now & the Lord has placed himself as head over me, leading me to the destination. What that will look like no one knows. But God is the God of HOPE, & the God of RESTORATION, so I know & fully expect there to be a beautiful climax that unfolds...

"These light & momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes on what is UNSEEN & not on what is seen. For what is seen is temporary, & what is UNSEEN is ETERNAL..." 2 Cor 4:17-18 NIV

Psalm 34...

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Stairs are in! Floor is on its way...

And, here we go...
It's been a while since I posted a blog entry, so this one is heavy laden with pictures. I hope you enjoy!

A few weeks after Stewart was killed, my dad & I went out and painted the windows. It was actually my first time out since that day. I realized then that this cabin is more a piece of my heart than I realized. I feel such a peace out there, a quiet peace that is reviving & healing....

A special story I would like to share with you... 2 days before Stewart passed, we were out there together having a great day putting those windows in. It's amazing to me how fragile life really is, & how we just never know what tomorrow holds. My perspective on life & what I really need to value has shifted so dramatically; but what a blessing that is...
Just like any day, we were cutting up, flirting with eachother, laughing, sharing life, as we were putting the windows in the cabin. We were also tossing back & forth which color we wanted to paint the windows, a maple red or an olive green.
When we left that day, we were in Stewart's truck driving away. All of a sudden, Stewart quickly stopped the truck, & said, "I just have to see that cabin one more time..." He put the truck in park, & got out & turned around to stand & stare at the beautiful cabin we had created. I got out as well & walked over to Stewart, putting my arm around him as together we stared at our creation. I made the comment that I was leaning towards maple red for the windows. He said as well, "yeah, I'm definately leaning towards the red..." It was a sweet moment...

Even sweeter, is thinking back to that & the fact that something in him told him to get out & look at the beautiful cabin he had created. We didn't know it would be the last time he would ever see it... At least on this side...

That's why I went with red windows. Because of that last conversation we had about it, I knew Stewart was leaning towards the red...
I have been so blessed to have some awesome guys that have been willing to come out & help me along on the garage & get it finished. I'm so thankful for them!! Will (LHBA member), brought out some friends, & they did a fantastic job putting the stairs together. Thanks guys!
Once the stairs were built, my friends John & Kennon came out & helped me put the stairs into place. Those stairs are heavy, as you can imagine! We used a chain hoist & hooked the stairs up using straps, then hoisted the stairs into place. It took 4 hours!
We used left over cypress logs for the stairs, & I had some fir cut for the risers. I'm pretty happy with they way they've turned out.


Will had some left over wooden pegs from the timber frame home he built, so we used them on the stairs.
John & Kennon have been so awesome to come out & help me to finish this garage. Thanks guys!! We have been working to get the floors finished. Almost there as you can see. Just a little bit more.

Charles, cutting some tongue & groove flooring to pass up. Below is the underside of the flooring. We also got the first portion of electrical done, getting ready for the garage doors to be put in.

Another picture of the open living space flooring almost complete. Below, a picture looking down the stairwell.
We also got the loft floor almost finished. Below is a few pictures of the loft, flooring, & just the architecture. I'm loving the colors.
What a cool ceiling!! The acoustics in here are great!

View from the loft. It's pretty cozy up there. Check out the job John did cutting the T&G around that ridge pole support log (RPSL).

Next up, we'll get the framing finished, then we'll be ready to finish the electrical & put some doors on this thing. Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Tribute to the Man I Love, Stewart Bieber...

As most of you know, my best friend & husband, Stewart Bieber was killed April 17th...

I am so full of so many emotions as I walk through this journey of healing, and I wanted to write a tribute in honor of the Man I Love....

Stewart deserves every bit of honor that I could ever show him. He is one of a kind, & we certainly had a love that was one of a kind. We loved eachother fiercely & had formed a beautiful bond that was strong, & growing stronger everyday... We are dreamers, & had many plans and hopes for the future. One being our log home adventure!





But life changed in an instant for me that day....




An instant that has forever set me on what looks to be a new course, a new journey, in a new life. It is one of the most painful experiences one can endure. And it must be fully embraced and accepted. There is no way out... But in the midst of this great loss & pain, I am discovering that there is also a peace, & even a beauty to be found in the suffering....
Stewart knew what his purpose was on this earth. Stewart also knew that even though he lived every day with such vibrancy & passion, he knew that what happens on the other side is where true life begins... This life on earth is a mere breath & shadow compared to the eternity that is to come, & what we do in this life is preparing us for our eternal destiny.

What we do in this life echoes for eternity...

There is great peace in knowing that Stewart lived his life with purpose, & an even greater peace that I will see him again soon...

The beauty is in the simplicity of God's love for each of us. For some reason, in the midst of tragedy & pain, when we are at our weakest, is when we can see God best, if we will open up and let Him in. His love for us is amazing... He created us all uniquely, with individual gifts & talents. And if we recognize that & receive His love, there is a beautiful connection that is made between Heaven & Earth, between the God of the universe & each of us. A divine connection that allows us to be infused with love, joy, hope, peace, strength, power, & wisdom; not only so we can experience God on this earth & commune with Him & know Him, but also so we can pour every bit of that out to others...

We live in a world where bad things happen; horrible things happen! None of us our immune to pain, suffering, & loss. If you haven't experienced pain in life, get ready; because you probably will. But it's not really a matter of WHY bad things happen...

It's a matter of WHAT are we going to do with it? How are we going to let it change & grow us? How can we use it for good, not only in our own lives but in the lives of those around us? Even though we live in a messed up world and there is such tragedy & loss that affects us all, God has made provision through His Son, Jesus Christ...
Not only can we experience Life after death, we can also experience abundant life here on earth.

God has made provision for us, so that even in the midst of the most horrific pain, there is a joy, a hope, a peace, & a strength that is not of this world that can carry us through. Rather than being destroyed by affliction, it can make us stronger; because in our weakness, He is strong. It opens us up to grow in ways we couldn't otherwise, to experience God in ways we couldn't otherwise.
There is great beauty in that....

I will tell you that Stewart died that day doing something he loved; backwards barefoot waterskiing... He was yelling "Yeeeeee Haw!!!!!!" at the top of his lungs with such passion & joy! It was instant, & he never saw it coming. For that I am truly grateful...
















What a glorious death for a man such as he. A man so full of passion, life, & adventure that it seeped out of his veins & his smile, infecting everyone in his midst.










The impact he has made on so many in this world is remarkable. Stewart will truly be missed by many. In the 8 years we were married, I thanked God every day for Stewart, because I was totally aware of what a blessing it was to be his wife.












I thank God now for the impact Stewart made on my life & the imprint he has forever left upon my heart...
Stewart's life made such an impact on everyone who knew him not only for his passion & adventure, but also his faith!

He was a rock! He stood on what he believed & never wavered, & was also so wild & free!

Free to be who God created Him to be...

There is much peace in knowing our individual purpose in this life... Stewart faced all of life's challenges with such courage & boldness. I am so thankful for his strength...

As I continue to walk out this journey, moving forward & exploring my new life, I will be remaining true to our dream of building the log cabin. It is something that I want to do, not only because I want to honor Stewart & make him proud, but also because I feel it is something I need to do!





As I think of Stewart, I am always reminded of our favorite movie "Braveheart." A quote that rings true in my spirit is this:

"Your heart is free... Have the courage to follow it..."
Building this cabin without Stewart here is a daunting task to say the least, yet I know that I now have Stewart's strength in me, as well as an inner strength not of this world that is made perfect in my weakness. Of the many things I learned from Stewart, I also learned that "can't" is not in our vocabulary. And "if you have a dream to do something, then quit talking about it and do it!"
And so it begins... The beginning of the log cabin blog journey from here on out... A story of a wild dream, an amazing love, great tragedy, and the dream that lives on... A blog that is now physically missing one very important piece. Yet Stewart's life, his passion, & his spirit are totally immeshed throughout it all.











I am so thankful for all who have been walking alongside me on my journey. I would love for each of you to walk through this adventure with me. I don't know exactly what it will look like, but I am expecting great things & excited about the outcome!
I know Stewart would love that the dream lives on. He would love that the blog continues. He would be thrilled that I let God be my Rock and His strength be my guide, to move forward in this life with courage and boldness. So stay tuned!! We are about to get started. Many of you have offered to help in any way that you can. Know that I thank you for that, and could use it.
Someone recently asked me the question,
"How do you eat an elephant???"

Well, the answer is

"One bite at a time..."

That is my approach to this log cabin adventure...
And so it begins......

video

To Stewart,
You are the man I love. Thank you for always bringing out the best in me, always encouraging me to be a better person, to always have the highest character & integrity & to follow my heart...

Knowing you & being loved by you helped me to blossom & grow...
Thank you for protecting me, praying for me, & encouraging me. Thank you for keeping me safe, for loving me, & cherishing me. Thank you for making me feel beautiful, wanted, needed, & valued. Thank you for encouraging me to be me. Thank you for your life, your character, your freedom, your wild heart, & for sharing all of that with me. Thank you also for helping me to find all those things in myself.

I love you. You will always hold a very special place in my heart....
As I continue on my journey in this life, I will think of you and smile. I will remember the good times. I will live life to the fullest, passionate & free! I will love people. I will be bold. I will be fearless. I will live life with joy & peace. And I will always remember the amazing beauty of you.....
Your lover & best friend,
Raquel

Friday, April 9, 2010

Chinking Party a Huge Success!




It was an absolutely beautiful weekend for our chinking party. Brilliant sunshine with a nice cool breeze. We had quite a turnout on Saturday, and then on Sunday too.
A warm & special thanks to all who came out to contribute: Jim, Deborah, Brett & Ashley, Bob, Rusty, Luke, John & Amanda, Sherry, Bim & Janet, Bobby & Analise. Thank you so much!
We greatly exceeded our expectations because of you guys.

We were just hoping to get all the exterior insulation stuffed in, & most of the nails put in over the course of the whole weekend. Instead, we had all the exterior insulation & all the nails finished by 2:30pm Saturday! SNAP!
We had quite the assembly line going. The jobs were cutting insulation, stuffing insulation, putting in nails, bending nails back, mixing mortar, putting mortar up, carrying mortar to those who needed more mortar.

(Fellow LHBA member, Rusty putting in nails to hold in the chinking)













(Luke using the bostitch nail gun to put in nails)














(All the insulation & nails complete)














(Side view of insulation & nails)















(Close-up view of insulation & nails)

We used 3" clipped head nails with a bostitch nail gun, which made the nails go really fast. They were all nailed except for the corners & other places in about 4 hours!










(Saturday work crew: Bob, Brett, Ashley, Rusty
Bim, Janet, Luke, John, Deborah, Jim
Stewart, Rachel w/ Sherry taking picture)

Sorry Sunday work crew, I forgot to take a picture!

(Sunday work crew: Jim, Deborah, John, Amanda, Bobby, Analise, Stewart, Rachel)







(Lunch Time)















(Sherry putting up mortar)




The mortar was quite an experience. We started on the north wall because it has the biggest gaps and it will be seen the least, so we thought we'd experiment with it first. Bim & Jim did a fantastic job making mortar on Saturday & Sunday, with a consistency of delicious mud mousse! We all worked with the mortar all day Saturday, with several people getting the hang of it rather quickly. Sunday I finally felt like I was getting the hang of it, & we kind of figured out that we could pretty much just get it up there, then come back a little later & fill the crack that would form at the top. Then we would come back about an hour later with a small paint brush & some water & wet brush it. That smoothed all the bumps and made it look more even , and gave it a more matte appearance, which we found we liked, rather than more shiny.



(Still figuring out the mortar)

















(LHBA member, John Simpson's mortar invention, created for putting the mortar between the logs. It needs a few tweaks, but you never know, it may be awesome!!)















(Mortar invention in action)
















(Bim & Janet in the groove with the mortar...)










By the way, we decided to go with a tinted type N mortar mixture by Lafarge with the color "Buff." We were going for a tan color, & I think the Buff is going to be perfect. It's a little dark in the picture b/c it is still wet. We also bought a mortar mixer at Harbor Freight for cheap, which worked great! I wish I took a picture of the mortar mixer, it is really cool...



(Deborah working away with the mortar)




















(Close-up of the mortar after it is up, before we wet brushed it)



















(Mortar finished before we wiped down the logs)


















(Exterior chinking finished!! The mortar is up, the logs have been wiped down, & we are finally finished with the exterior chinking)













(Back wall view of chinking finished)








Over the course of the 2 day chinking party, we got 3 walls almost completely chinked. It took us 2 more days to touch up some places on those 3 walls, finish the last wall, then wipe the logs down... We are very thankful for the friends that came out!
Next up, we are painting the windows & putting them in. Then we'll be moving to the inside for a while. It's about time to finish the electrical & plumbing, finish putting in the second floor, then we can chink the inside!! Stay tuned!