Monday, September 30, 2013


An overview of all 31 days can be found here.

When I originally named my 31-days series and spent way too much time on attempting to make a button that would inspire people to actually read what I had to write about, I thought I “had” it.  And then I visited the mountaintop this weekend and saw the glory of our God, and my story changed a wee bit. 

Instead of writing about living small and why 31 items made the cut—you know you can’t bring everything you want into a space the size of a garage—I realized that what I needed to write about is 31 reasons I smile while at the Little Cabin on the Trail. 

This weekend I had the best day since the accident last summer that claimed the lives of my grandson, Nate, and his friend, Noah.  This weekend I breathed differently and something happened deep inside that confirmed God’s hand in the purchase of our little cabin.  I thought it was in His plan; I hoped it was in His plan.  Now I know that I know that it was in His plan. 

And on September 28, 2013—day 452—I still cried because I missed Nate; but my heart sung a song for the first time. 

And that song was the song of a life still longing to be lived and of memories still longing to be made.
You can read the story of the Little Cabin on the Trail here.
Day 1:  The transformation makes me smile. 
Two pictures are worth a thousand words.
Is there a transformation that you could share that you are extremely pleased with?  I know the vision, work, and sheer determination that it takes to see a project like this through.  Sometimes the true transformation is not necessarily visible because it is a work that takes place in your heart along the way. 

I sure hope you will come back and visit.  We will look closely at the things at the cabin that truly make my heart skip a beat, and I hope it will challenge you to take a look around your life to notice the same. 

An overview of all 31 days can be found here.
Like the Little Cabin on the Trail on Facebook.

Thank you Nester for hosting this event!

Sunday, September 29, 2013


Welcome to 31 days of writing about the reasons I smile while at the Little Cabin on the Trail.   A personal tragedy landed me at the cabin, and God has used it to minister to my broken heart.  I invite you to take a look around at my space and yours to notice what makes your heart skip a beat--what brings a smile to your face. 

Day 1:  The transformation makes me smile.
Day 2:  The sign makes me smile.
Day 3:  Gifts from friends make me smile.
Day 4:  The glider makes me smile.
Day 5:  Doilies make me smile.
Day 6:  The opportunity to help others makes me smile.
Day 7:  Cool bike helmets make me smile.
Day 8:  The lockers make me smile.
Day 9:  The knobs from Hobby Lobby make me smile.
Day 10:  The spoons from Anthropologie make me smile.
Day 11:  A pop of color makes me smile.
Day 12:  Words make me smile.
Day 13:  Looking for treasures makes me smile.
Day 14:  Old toys make me smile.
Day 15:  Elijah makes me smile.
Day 16:  Original art makes me smile.
Day 17:  The chippy, rusty awning makes me smile.
Day 18:  Thrift store finds make me smile.
Day 19:  The colorful rugs make me smile.
Day 20:  The vintage camper in the backyard makes me smile.
Day 21:  The white curtains make me smile.
Day 22:  Campfires make me smile.
Day 23:  Plates make me smile.
Day 24:  The clever screen makes me smile.
Day 25:  The stained-glass window makes me smile.
Day 26:  The lighting makes me smile.
Day 27:  The well-stocked kitchen makes me smile.
Day 28:  Our favorite games make me smile.
Day 29:  The many hooks make me smile.
Day 30:  Books and crocheted afghans make me smile.
Day 31:  Hope makes me smile.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


I have not blogged in a very long time.  I am blogging again.
I have a lot of catching up to do.  Life has changed drastically, but I am still trying to live it creatively.  I am including the original story of the Little Cabin on the Trail here so that the story can continue.
The following was written in June of 2013 and originally published on the website Little Cabin on the Trail.

In October of 2011, four crazy families camped in Beartree, Virginia, and started a tradition. Camping at Beartree is real camping.  There are no hook-ups.  There is no cell phone service.  There are bears and raccoons and other critters.  It is wonderful.

We played games and built fires and rode bikes and engaged with one another. In other words, we made memories.  Good memories.  Memories that will truly last a lifetime. 

Some rode the Virginia Creeper Trail for the first time and were hooked!  You could say that our love affair with the trail and the area started that weekend.  For me, personally, it was to be the start of something big.  A small seed was planted that was destined to grow a journey that has only just begun.
Just nine months later, my very world would be shaken so violently that hope would have to be hunted down with an  intensity of new dimension for my survival.  The sudden accidental deaths of my eleven-year-old grandson, Nate, and his friend, Noah, on July 4, 2012 cemented the nagging need I had to discern the purpose of God for what remained of my life.

The tables had been turned on me and my family that day like they had been for so many others.  Gone-at least for a season-were the carefree days of laughter and whimsy.  Profound grief was now my constant companion, and he was an uninvited and unwelcomed guest. 

But there were other children and other memories to be made. There were other broken hearts to be mended.  There was hope yet to be found.
And I prayed.  And when I couldn't pray, others prayed for me and with me.  And my family held on for dear life as we navigated waters uncharted and unfamiliar.  The loss was so very great and the trauma of the accident so very haunting. 

And slowly glimmers of hope did begin to emerge as we allowed ourselves the luxury of enjoying momentary feelings of peace and even pleasure amidst the pain.  Laughter crept in without us noticing from time to time to do her work on our souls. Hard decisions were made by each individual affected by Nate's and Noah's deaths.  They were personal, very personal.

Some would seek times of solitude.  Some would surround themselves with friends and family.  Some would cry a lot.  Some would hold it in.  Some would want to do new things.  Some would want to keep old traditions. 
The family and friends decided.  We would return to Beartree in October 2012.  We would ride the trail.  For Nate.  For all of us. 
The same four families set up camp, but things were not the same.  How could they be?  Nate was missing, and the cold, wet weather added no cheer.  Our intentions toward healing were thwarted with discouragement and doubt. Perhaps this was a tradition that should have been released.
There is, however, something  magical about the spirit of a child and its ability to distract from what should be or could be.  If allowed, it will embrace the wonder of the moment, releasing a contagious hope that is a force to be reckoned with, giving the weak in spirit a reason to at least try what once came effortlessly--mere living.

So we set out for the top of the mountain with what I think were  unrealistic expectations totally based on the assurances of the eternal optimist of the group who discounted the cloudy skies.

He somehow convinced us that the rain would await our arrival at the bottom and greet us then, and only then, with some level of enthusiasm of a wet nature. Unfortunately, as sometimes happens, in its excitement, the rain got confused and showed up several hours early and decided to accompany instead of greet.  How nice.

And lest you think this story has no point related to the Little Cabin on the Trail, I assure you that I am about to arrive at it.  If someone would have asked me what I was passionate about prior to that fateful day, I would have said, "I am passionate about making memories with my family." 
So many of our memories were tied to summers on the lake-- the site of the accident--with friends.  And in October, I was  still very raw, mourning not only the loss of two dear boys, but the loss of our "place" on the water where we had spent years making great memories. 

 I so wanted another place to do that.  I needed another place to do that.  Even if the others could return to the water, and I prayed that they would, I knew that for me, the pain was too great to keep that tradition alive. I did not have the benefit of youthful resilience.

So I began dreaming of a new place of escape from the pressures of our lives.  I wanted to have faith to believe that God would restore a portion of what was taken from my family that day.


And as I came down that trail, on that cold, rainy day in October, I saw her, the Little Cabin on the Trail.  Of course, that was not her name then.  I do believe that my heart skipped a beat--and it was not from the 11-mile exhilarating ride in the rain that it took to get there.


CABIN FOR SALE BY OWNER wasn't just a sign about a piece of real estate for sale.  It was a sign from God.  My merciful God heard my cry for hope, and He sent it to me that day.  That little cabin was "it" and I knew it.
One month later, we were the owners of the Little Cabin on the Trail, and the process of making her our place began.  My husband and I had to compromise on the renovations.  He wanted to go big and add a second story.  I wanted to be able to use the cabin by the summer--of this year.  I loved the cozy charm of its 600 square feet--at least from the outside.  We both agreed that nothing on the inside would remain. 
So as I write this, we are just two weeks away from the year anniversary of the accident that changed our lives.  It has been a tough one with so many firsts without Nate.  He would have loved the Little Cabin on the Trail.  So when we go there, we will try to notice things that would have caught his artist's eye, and we will try to remember the sound of his laughter.

Our crazy group plans on spending the 4th of July there, and we pray that it truly will be a place where memories are made and hearts are healed.

All cabin posts can be found by clicking on the cabin tab at the top of the page or by clicking here.