We are a Christ following family building an off grid log home and homesteading our 6.6 acres in northern Maine, while adopting two more special needs children, all without debt. "With man this is impossible but with God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

"We Aren't That Good..."

  In Nov 2011 Goose and I had been attending a large local church for a year when we started the process to adopt Genie and GiGi. We shared about the process to adopt two special needs children and the overwhelming number of special needs children waiting to be adopted with the membership. People at the church began trying to tell us how good we were..
Our answer was always the same...
"We aren't that good.. You just don't know us well enough yet." 

In November 2012, a year into our adoption process we left that church after learning that is was a "purpose driven" church, meaning they follow the teachings and marketing plan of Rick Warren.  And also due to finding out how much debt they were accumulating in order to build a new building. We also learned later that the church was/is connected to  United Way, well aware of its support of Planned Parenthood.

...Many of the people who just one year prior were calling us good and sharing our story in order to promote their church were now calling us evil for openly discussing our opposition to their kind of "church". 

See when we could be used to promote their church we were "good" to them, when we were speaking truth about things they preferred to be left in the dark they called us "evil".

But see here's the Truth...

This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came to save sinners; of whom I am chief.  1 Timothy 1:5

We really aren't that good. As a matter of fact "we" aren't good at all. We are sinners saved by grace. A work in progress. Only He is good. Any fruit you see that lines up with His Word is all Him and His work in our lives. If you see us at one of those moments when we are falling on our faces that's all us.
Goose and I are far from good... Spend one day with us and you will see us for who we truly are...  Although I firmly believe in submission sometimes the last thing I want to do is submit and daily I fall short of who I want to be as a wife and mother. Occasionally we cuss. Sometimes we drink wine. We listen to 80s hair band love songs and Lynyrd Skynyrd. I have a large beautiful tattoo across my back. We sometimes forget to give it all to Him to try to do it all ourselves.  We can still get into arguments that will sometimes be loud before we ask forgiveness and repent. We can get angry and frustrated. We can know what the Lord wants us to do and resist Him. 

We have no doubts about who we are but we also know who we used to be. Even with all our current shortcomings, we have come so far. We truly aren't where we want to be but He will get us there. We are Blessed though to see just how far we have come.
With those who once called us good then called us evil we didn't receive their accolades and we don't receive their censure.

We know who we are in Christ and we know who we can be without Him. We have a very clear picture of who we currently are and of where He is taking us.

As we look at Scripture we see that truly He is the only one who is good and we are just thankful for every day that we get to read His Word and worship Him.

In Christ Jesus,

Goose and Gillian

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Homemade Quilts for Our Homestead

Its been years since anyone in our family has gotten new bedding. Since we started getting out of debt in 2008 its been one of those things that just wasn't a necessity.
But now that we are getting ready to move out onto our homestead I wanted everyone to have new bedding and preferably homemade quilts. I learned to sew when I was young and Ive made clothes for myself and our kids and occasionally curtains. Recently I started sewing my own head coverings too but I've never made a quilt.
I grabbed some cloth left over from my last head covering and tried to make a quilt square without a pattern.
My first quilt square :)
It was fairly simple to make my first ever quilt square with scraps I had laying around. The idea of everyone getting tucked in at night under a blanket that I made for them warms my heart so I decided that I would make homemade quilts for the family to have on the homestead. I'll start sewing now in hopes of having 7 quilts made by the time we move out onto our homestead (5 months or so). That's one for each of the kids and one for Goose and I.
With so many to sew in just a short amount of time I'm looking at simple patterns. Strip quilts seem to be the easiest to make so that's where I will start and Gessa is our youngest and Im going to make hers first.
Our oldest daughter and I picked out Gessas quilt colors this past week. We decided that each of our three little girls will have a color theme.. Gessa's will be pink and blue.
The cloth for Gessa's quilt
 Meadow's will be pink and purple and GiGi will be pink and dark pink. McKenna's quilt will carry on the pink theme but she wants pink and brown.  Mikey is just like his Daddy so he wants camo and hunter orange and little Genie will likely have denim and dark red. Goose and I will go with our cabin colors: dark greens, browns and reds.
We have two sewing machines but neither have gotten much use lately. I dug out the Singer 338 model that belongs to Goose's cousin. I was her mothers and she has let us keep in here for a few years now. Its a beautiful machine although sitting so long it needs a good scrubbing but I got it threaded and played a bit with the tension and it worked like a top!! They really don't make machines like this anymore!
The singer 338 from the early 60s
Im excited to start making my first quilt and thankful have a new hobby to keep my hands busy during the long northern Maine winters.
 Hope to share Gessa's quilt with you all soon and we plan to share each one as they are finished.

We intend to fill our home with home made and meaningful furniture and d├ęcor instead of new store bought items that can leave a home feeling cold.  Looking forward to creating a home for our family that will daily surround our children with symbols of our love.
In Christ Jesus,
Goose and Gillian

Monday, January 19, 2015

2015 Homestead Plans and Goals

Once we learned that our agency recommended we not move during process if at all possible we decided to get our new home water tight for the winter and then focus on funding our adoptions until spring. 
As we look forward to this coming spring we have been working on a list of our goals for the homestead in 2015. We have them in order of when they will likely be accomplished but with anything we leave it in the Lords hands and trust it will all be done in His perfect timing.
So, in order, here are our goals for the homestead in 2015
Windows- We had hoped to get them in this fall but decided instead to use those funds on our adoptions and added plastic to the windows for the winter. The southern side of our home is all cathedral over the kitchen, dining and living room. That end is full of windows with a large sliding glass door.  All that sunlight will be a Blessing where we wont have electric lights and in the winter the extra sunlight is wonderful during those long cold months in Northern Maine.
 The southern end of our log home. Above you can see how much sunlight will pour in through those windows. Below even on a cloudy over cast day we will have lots of natural light. This pic was taken looking out from the loft, across to the cathedral over the kitchen/dining/living room.
Cook Stove- We will be heating our home and cooking with wood. We found a cook stove we liked sold through the local Amish store just 2 miles from our homestead. It will serve two purposes, both the cooking and heating. Down the road we hope to add another small wood stove to the living room area but for now the cook stove will provide all the heat we need.
The cookstove we are considering. It can be used with coal or wood.
Outdoor Solar Composting Toilet- We have looked at different composting toilets and for us we really prefer the solar composting toilet that is similar to an outhouse in appearance but will be based on a design by Mother Earth News. It is the only homemade composting toilet approved by the State of Maine.
The solar composting toilet from Mother Earth News.

Hand Pump System/Primitive Grey Water- We will be using hand pumps inside the house for water. Our well is a flowing artesian well (all except one month out of the year the water flows over the well casing). We have plenty of water and pressure to mount the well pump over our kitchen sink. We will dig the line from the well to the house. We have already had the soil scientist come out and stake out our primitive grey water system. It will be a small field just off the back of the house for our grey water. Where we will not have a pressurized system we can go with a much smaller grey water which will save us a lot in costs. 
The well pump we purchased at the Amish store. It will be mounted over our kitchen sink.
Privacy Fence- Our homestead has two entrances. One that gives us a long winding driveway and the other is right next to the house. Our home is just 100 feet off the main road but set down in a small  valley of sorts. We will be fencing off the enterance to the driveway that is closest to the house, giving us some privacy from the road. Where the fence stops we will be adding trees along the length of the road for further privacy.
 Goose is standing just off the main road in this pic and almost exactly where our privacy fence will block off this end of the driveway. Below is a pic taken early last summer from what will be the only driveway entrance to our homestead once the fence is completed. You can see that our driveway runs parallel with the road. We will be adding lots of trees to the left of our property for added privacy.
Porch- We will be adding a front entry porch onto the house. We have been looking at designs and ideas and honestly haven't settled on one yet but we do know it will be a fairly deep porch 8-10 feet and likely as long as the house 32ft.
One porch design that we love.
Roofing- Once the front porch is added we will be roofing the house. We are still debating on shingles or metal. We have used both in our houses and each has their benefits. We will also be doing the fascia and soffit at this time.
Staining- Once the roof is done we will stain the outside of our home. We have found a color that we love but we are still open to others so we continue to search and enjoy looking at stain options.
Garage Slab- Before winter 2015 we are going to do the ground work and prepare our lot for a garage. On our side of the privacy fence we will be digging into the driveway and placing the garage where the driveway will end. The back of the garage will face the road/privacy fence and the front will face our view. The house and garage will make a 90 degree angle and it will add some privacy and give us a sound barrier from the road. We wont likely start building the garage right away but we want the slab in and ready before next winter.
 The fence will be were Goose is standing and the garage will be on the house side of the fence with the back and longest part of the garage facing and running parallel with road. In the below picture the garage will be to the left of the house and make a 90 degree angel so the driveway ends directly at the garage door openings.
Inside finish work and trim-Once winter sets in for 2015 we will be moved into our home and ready to spend our time working on the inside. We are keeping our home very simple so other than a few kitchen cabinets the kitchen/dining and living room area will just need trim work. We will need to vmatch the bedrooms and work on enclosing the loft.
All this should keep us busy for 2015. As we look towards 2016 we will start focusing on our addition, sun porch, outbuildings, animals, gardens and pastures..
We are truly loving every step in our process. From planning and dreaming to building and working. We are excited to see what 2015 holds and even though we have our plan we give it all to our Heavenly Father and trust in His will.
Blessed by the prayer and support of our Brothers and Sisters and thankful for journey He has given us.
In Christ Jesus,
Goose and Gillian

Friday, January 16, 2015

Submission, Skirts, Head Covering and Makeup

2 Timothy 3:16  "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:"  
As a Christian lady I am thankful for the verses that I have spent years wresting with, praying over and applying to my life, failing at and trying again (verses on woman teaching, modest dress, head covering and true Biblical submission).  I would never push a Sister towards these scriptures (although I have been Blessed by the woman who have encouraged me in my walk) as its a personal journey with Christ.
 I was the furthest thing from a dress wearing, head covering submissive woman but the Lord did a work in my life. Each time I apply scripture to my life He Blesses it in ways I could never have imagined.
When the Lord first put submission on my heart I was sure there was no way he meant that for me.. After all He made me. He knew that Gillian was not the submissive type so He couldn't really have meant those scriptures were to apply to me.. But after praying and reading about true Biblical submission (not the worlds twisted view) I decided to try to apply Biblical submission to my marriage.  I had serious doubts but I gave it a try..
The changes in my marriage were amazing and dramatic!! I still fail occasionally but I would never go back! My husband cherishes me and I respect him and his role. I give my counsel (opinion) and then rest in knowing he will make the best decision for our family. The weight of it all will be on his strong shoulders. I get to rest in his strength. Its amazing and freeing and wonderful and nothing like I expected submission to be.
When the Lord put it on my heart to look at verses related to how woman should dress again I knew He couldn't have meant those verses applied to me.. I wore Carhartt jeans and mens Tshirts. I spent years working in a gym where daily I wore nothing but work out clothes and head rags (bandanas). When Goose met me I had two inches of platinum spiked hair on the top of my head and the rest of my hair was cut down to half and inch around the sides and back. Feminine just wasn't me.
But again I decided to give it a try.. I read the verses and for me to dress like a woman meant skirts and dresses.. Thing is I didn't own any. Not one. So I went to Salvation Army and bought 5 skirts and 5 sweaters. At first it was just weird but I loved the fact that when I bent over I didn't have to worry about my pants sliding down. :) Then I started to notice changes.. When we were out in public men were gentler in their looks and interaction towards me. At home Goose who was already kind started treating me more like a lady. His looks were gentler and he was stronger. And I started to feel more feminine. More like a lady than a woman (there is a difference that I had never considered before). I cant pretend to understand all the whys but I do know I was once again in awe of how just changing my clothing could cause such changes.
The verses on woman teaching were a hard one for me to swallow.. I love to teach, speak and write. God couldn't really have gifted me in these areas and asked me to not carry them out as it applies to scripture.. Reading the verses I know that I am to teach the younger woman as it says in Titus but as for teaching scripture to the gathered church it is not what He is calling me to do as a woman.  This allows me to focus my gifts and talents on the areas that He has called me to..
Then the Lord worked on with me is head covering.. Honestly where I spent years wearing head rags (bandanas tied over the top of my head) this didn't really seem to be as hard as some of the other areas He put on my heart. Head covering was practiced by woman in church gatherings (and outside church gatherings) up until about 50 years ago.  When we lived down south we still saw many women wearing their beautiful hats to their gatherings. Men today still uncover their heads at gatherings and when they pray but head covering for woman has been brushed under the rug or taught as irrelevant. Sad..
I started off wearing head coverings on occasion. I usually wore a bandana but my oldest daughter (who loves dresses and head coverings) and I have recently started sewing our own head coverings. We like the size and shape of the bandanas but we find pretty material and make our own. She has started adding lace to hers and they are just beautiful. So sad that such a pretty and modest way for a woman to show her faith and belief in Bibilcal roles and submission has been discouraged.

We read a story of a woman who started wearing a head covering (scarf) to her local church building and the pastor pulled her aside saying her head covering would scare away people who may be visiting the church. Rather than encourage a woman in her desire to follow the Lords leading a man was more concerned  with the coveted "numbers" being added to "his" membership. Not to mention this man should NEVER have confronted this woman and any concerns should have been taken to her husband.  

If you want to know the Truth behind head covering pray for wisdom, ask you husband for his leading, read the scriptures, all in context.. And watch this teaching by a bishop who is not purpose driven.  He goes verse by verse through these scriptures on head covering.  

(The wife of the Bishop from the above video shares her head covering testimony here and it was such a beautiful Blessing to me.)


 Most recently the Lord has been convicting me on my use of makeup, mostly painting my eyes. I think I resisted this one most of all. I started wearing mascara and eye liner when I was maybe 12-13 and have rarely gone a day without it since. Seeing myself without it I didn't like how I looked. But finally a month or so ago I gave up my mascara and my eyeliner. Reading scripture about who painted their eyes solidified it for me. There is no mention of the woman I admire in scripture wearing makeup, rather it was worn by those in the Bible that I dont want to emulate. 

*I still use cover up on blemishes, red areas and scars and if He convicts me on that I hope to let it go with more grace than I did my mascara. ...I am a work in progress.. I  also use homemade lotions on my face and peppermint clear chap stick on my lips.

My first photo without painting my eyes was taken this Christmas. Once I really looked at this photo and saw that this was who he intended me to be I promised not to paint my eyes again.

Just like with wearing modest dresses/skirts and head covering not painting my eyes has humbled me and Blessed me at the same time. I want to be seen as the woman He wants me to be. I don't want to be a stumbling block for my Brothers and I don't want to dishonor my husband.

There have been some other wonderful and unexpected Blessing with all these changes too.. I never have to worry about bad hair days, my morning routine takes no time at all, never again will I be concerned about what I would look like in a bathing suit as I have yet to find a modest one  and never again will I have to try on jeans!!

Really its been truly freeing!!

Its not that I am not concern with looking healthy, feminine and pretty. I make sure to dress modestly and feminine and take care of myself. I still work out from home. Still lifting weights, a hobby I started and fell in love with in college, but now I do it so I can care for my special needs children, which requires a lot of physical strength. (And the proverbs 31 woman strengthened her arms.) But I no longer work out with the goal of obtaining an ever allusive "beach body". Its ok to look pretty and healthy.. which is possible without styled hair and a lot of makeup. 

The vanity is slowly dissipating in me and I find myself hoping people see Him when they look at me. I'm not where I want to be in any area but I can see myself heading in the right direction. I wasted so much time wanting others to find me attractive by the worlds standards. That's why Id do my hair, put on makeup and find the best fitting pair of jeans.. to impress others. Thankful He has given me new desires so my outward appearance is just a reflection of my heart.

Again I don't hold any woman to my journey and I don't hold myself to another womans walk with the Lord. Daily I fail, stumble and fall. Sometimes all I can do is hang my head and ask Him to forgive me and show me the way.  I share my journey for those who are on a similar path so they can know they are not alone.

Thankful to be able to share my testimony and Blessed by His Word, His Truth and His Grace.
In Christ Jesus~

Goose and Gillian   


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Starting Our Homestead From Scratch

 When we originally started planing for our homestead and looking for land we had to decide if we wanted to start our homestead from scratch or look for land that had some improvements in place.

We decided that our ideal land would be 5+ acres, have some established fruit trees and raspberry bushes. We hoped for a clearing and maybe even a driveway in place and prayed for a view.. Knowing our budget was around $10,000 we knew only through His grace could we find anything close to what we were dreaming..

There were many farms listed but we wanted to build our home and outbuildings ourselves not just to save money but for the experience and memories. We wanted to start our homestead from scratch.. with Lord willing a few improvements in place. ;)

The land we ended up buying had all we had prayed for and more.. 6+acres, driveway in, clearing, true artisan flowing well, apple trees, raspberry bushes, fiddlehead patch and a beautiful meadow enclosed with trees just behind the clearing not to mention an amazing view. 

Heres a quick tour of our land:
 Goose and the big kids getting back from bird hunting fall 2015. Looking from the front of the house down the driveway. With two entrances to the driveway this is the one that will remain open.

 Our oldest picking apples. Our lot is peppered with old apples trees along side cleared paths.

In front of the hill you see in the back ground is a beautiful lake. In the winter when the leaves are gone you can see the water through the trees..  The slab you see on the other side of the van was once an old potatoe house and to the side many years ago there was a train station. Just behind that slab are the railroad tracks that nowadays bring the rail cars into the mill for Goose to load.  ..Goose is standing just off the main road in the pic. Our driveway currently has two entrances. We will be using the entrance furthest from the house (see first pic) and adding an 8 foot fence here, closing off this end of the driveway and giving us privacy from the main road.

 Deer track not even 50 ft from our front door.

 Breaking ground summer 2015. Behind the kids is an open meadow surrounded by trees which is now the back yard of our home. Its beautiful in there and thats where most of our homesteading activity will take place. 

Friends bought us a plum tree for our homestead. In addition to the many apple trees around we will be planting our own orchard for plums, pears and a variety of apples. 

With the clearing and a driveway already completed we could go right into building our home. Had we chosen a wooded lot with no improvements we would have spent a lot of time and money preparing our site to build. 

Even with the improvements to the land there is still plenty for us to do.  In addition to building our home and adding our indoor hand pump system and primitive grey water we still  are looking at adding:

Chicken Shed
Bunny Building 
Dog Run
Small Barn
Kids Play Yard
Rain Water Collection
Compost Piles
Outdoor Solar Composting Toilet 
Outdoor Kitchen
Garage/Work shop

Course this wont all be completed this year but we hope to have it all completed within the next couple of years. 

Part of the beauty of homesteading for us is building our home and improving our land. For each homesteader they have to decide what their goals and dreams are and choose their land accordingly. Either start from scratch or for some that means purchasing an established farm.  For others it can even mean buying a wooded lot and cutting their own trees to build their home with. 

There no "correct" way to homestead..

 Pray for His direction and they follow the dreams He puts on your heart. 


In Christ Jesus,
Goose and Gillian

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Building Our Log Home And Homesteading Without Debt

This time last year our two little ones had just arrived home after a 26 month adoption process. When we had time to sit and dream we were wondering were to go next with our journey out of debt. We were debt free except for $46,000 left on our current mortgage..

For as long as I have known him Goose has wanted to build us a log home out in the country in northern Maine, where he grew up. Mainers refer to this part of the state as simply "the county." Its beautiful and rural. Truly is like stepping back in time in many ways. Much different from the southern part of the state..

Back in 2006 Goose built us a large beautiful rustic log cabin on 14 acres down state. We split off 7 acres and started a spec log home. We only lived there a year before it became clear that the area wasn't where we were meant to be.  A year later we ended up moving back to his hometown and I hoped he would get to live out his dream.

So as we talked about what we were going to do next to get rid of our mortgage we looked at two options:

Pay off our current mortgage
Pay cash to purchase land and build a log home in the country debt free. Move in and sell our current home to get rid of the mortgage.  (And with the addition we cash flowed a few years ago our current home has some good equity).

Knowing his dream it was an easy decision. For me I love the idea of homesteading out in the country. The only stipulation I had was just how far into the country. Knowing we would have at least six children, 4 with special needs, I wanted to be able to at least see a main road and be within reasonable distance to grocery stores and hospitals (20 min or so would be ok).

But I loved the idea of a secluded little cabin getaway tucked in the woods where we could go as a family. We decided to buy land within 20 minutes of town on a main road out in the country for our homestead. Once we moved in and sold our current home we would use the equity to buy a remote wood lot, preferably a higher elevation with a view of nothing but trees and hills. We would use the wood lot to harvest trees  for our heat but also for a small secluded cabin getaway.

 We started looking for our homestead. It wasn't long before we found it.
 Only with God is this possible..  

Our Homestead: 6.6 acres 2 acres cleared, driveway in, artesian well, apple trees, fiddle head patch, wild raspberries and a beautiful view. Originally listed for close to 20K and we bought it for $11000 cash!!

As soon as we closed on the land we started building our log home ourselves. Knowing we were going to build on footings we chose a spot just off the driveway where the gravel was packed. Behind the house is an open meadow and to the south a beautiful view.

Our Log Home: 24X32 with loft on footings. Open kitchen/dining/living room with cathedral ceiling. Three bedrooms, one bath.

We started building in June and our goal was to get the house watertight before winter.  We added plastic over the window openings just before the first snow fall. We are spending the winter funding our current adoptions for two more little ones with the Lords provisions. Once our current adoptions are funded this coming spring will start working on our homestead again and Lord willing move in this summer.
Once we move out onto our homestead we will sell our current home and buy our wood lot. Then we will start constructing our little cottage getaway...
Only with God could we have even dreamed any of this would be possible. To be living it  seems like a dream especially considering where we were just 7 short years ago. We are forever thankful to our Heavenly Father from whom all Blessings flow..
He provided the funds for our land and our home.. When we were ready to move onto to the next step in building we had either the funds or the materials we needed. Its always awesome to see Him work in our lives.
Here is a breakdown of the costs so far: 

 Land $11560Closing costs $560
Total for land: $11560

Soil test/Grey water design $300
Building permit $120
Ground work $250  (rented a Terramite tractor)
Footing forms FREE (borrowed)
Cement $645
Rebar $80
Floor Framing FREE (Goose obtained sign offs to bring home waste lumber from the mill)
Floor Sheathing $166 (Purchased e grade boards from the mill)
Generator $350
Lumber for corner posts and door bucks FREE (waste lumber from the mill)
First bundle logs $350
Caulking, foam strips, OlyLog screws for one bundle $341
Second bundle of logs with caulking, foam strips and screws $521
Third bundle of logs with caulking, strips and screws $530
Exterior doors 3 FREE (given to us by  kind friends)
1/2 bundle of logs and accessories to finish walls $235
Loft framing FREE (waste lumber from the mill)
Loft sheathing $12 (from the mill)
1 more bundle and accessories $477
Roof framing $520
Roof Sheathing $277
Weather guard $100

Total in Building so far (not including land): $5334!!!

We have seen His hands in the whole process and we cant wait to see how He works as we finish our home, homestead our land and build our getaway cottage..  All good things come from the Lord. Out of love we try to honor and obey Him in our lives and with all we do..

Thankful and Blessed to be on this journey~


In Christ Jesus,

Goose and Gillian

Monday, August 25, 2014

Building Our Debt Free Off Grid Log Home

 For those who haven't been following our homestead progress we will give you a quick update! We broke ground two months ago and we are building it ourselves on the weekends without debt and as the Lord provides.. Its been an amazing process and we look forward to each weekend we can spend on our homestead!!
We will keep our page on the top of our blog updated with progress pictures! Each little step forward brings us one step closer to water tight (our goal before snowfall!)
Bless you all for your continued prayers and hope you enjoy these pics!!!!

We broke ground June 21, 2014

Leveling ground for footings


Boxes and braces

  Footings poured

Taking down forms

Floor system framing

Floor system sheathed and painted

Floor system blocked in, second coat of paint and corner posts

Door bucks are up

One month from when we broke ground we and we are ready for logs!! God is so very good and we are thankful, humbled and Blessed!!

Logs stacked four high all around! 7/27/14

 Window bucks!! 8/2/2014
Almost at the halfway mark with the logs!!! 8/10/2014
Halfway up with the logs!! 8/16/2014
 The front wall of logs finished!! 8/24/2014