Tuesday, October 04, 2016

An Update: My Writing Cabin, the Interfering Verses, and Not Giving Up

Today Paul came home with a long, narrow plastic bag.

It's been a year and a half since we started making plans for a writing cabin, a little over a year since the pillars were poured, and about a year since it had a name--the Sparrow Nest.

Paul had obtained a variance from the county planning division.  Relatively easily, in fact.  It was to be 200 square feet and off-grid and not for a dwelling.  Ta-da.

I was very excited.

Then Sanballat and Tobiah came along in the guise of a man from the county road department who came storming to the house and fetched me and took me out to the road and gestured and exclaimed and fussed and claimed county sovereignty over every rock and tree and fence and inch of land all the way to the creek.

No, no and NO.

So he went back to the county and caused them to retract their approval.  Now we had to apply for permits, submit blueprints, get permissions, and much more that I don't understand.

It was a very long, complicated, and expensive process.

And it was all because of that road guy.  In fact, I referred to him as That-Road-Guy-May-A-Hundred-Chickens-Peck-His-Ankles, which was a very satisfying thing to call him, especially when Ben nearly spit out his popcorn, laughing.

But then a little flame of conscience reminded me of that little offhand thing Jesus might have mentioned once or twice about loving and blessing your enemies.

Honestly, sometimes hating is more fun than the alternative.

But didn't King David pray for all kinds of nasty things to happen to his enemies?  I looked it up.  Imprecatory prayers are certainly part of the Old Testament.  In the New, however, the closest you get is the widow coming to the judge and saying, "Avenge me of mine adversary," and Romans 12--"Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord," and also Paul writing in II Timothy--"Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:"

So.  It's not that justice won't ever be done to the road guy, but if a hundred chickens are ever to peck his ankles, it will have to be the Lord's doing, and not mine.

I am over here working on "bless, and curse not."

Moving on.

I knew going into it that the cabin would be built in whatever spare minutes Paul could find in between pastoring, teaching, seed cleaning, and everything else he does.

You would not believe how many extra things came up this past year--crises, projects, distractions and derailments of carefully laid plans.

And we needed a new storage building at the warehouse, having makeshifted things ever since Steve's fire.

Note the person at the upper left, just for perspective.

This storage building was huge, and it had to be finished by harvest, and of course it took on a life of its own, as these things do.  I walked over one day and there was my little Sparrow Nest, bare and unfinished, and there was that big building, all big and bullying and self-important.

Do you see that little cabin-frame sitting in the shed on the right? 107 times smaller and less significant than the building beyond.
I went home and drew sketches and asked Paul for numbers, and I figured out that the storage building had 107 times the cubic volume of my cabin.


But of course there was a Scripture for this as well, since I am never allowed to have my natural selfish thought processes go unchallenged. Proverbs 24:27--"Put your outdoor work in order and get your fields ready; after that, build your house."

I'm pretty sure that applied here.

Harvest ended, school began, I had surgery and recovered, and Paul went back to negotiating with the county.  He spent hours at the kitchen table with graph paper scattered about, carefully drawing blueprints and outlines of the cabin.

That is a dedicated and determined man, right there.
They said it looks hopeful to get approval for the building, at last, but with one caveat: they couldn't approve the pillars.  They could approve a normal foundation but didn't have the means to assess the viability of the concrete pillars Paul and his nephew Keith had already poured.

He would have to get the design engineered.

I said, "This is our idea, our property, our insignificant little cabin!  If it washes away down the creek with me in it, it is our problem!"

Well.  This is Oregon.

So it had to be engineered.  Paul was ok with doing what he needed to do, which I appreciated, but I told him not to tell me how much it cost, because it was a lot.

Paul contacted the engineering firm in Arkansas that had worked on his storage building, and they tapped their calculators and said tsk tsk, you put only four rebars in each pillar, and they should have six apiece.

I kid you not.

However!!  If he would put in crossbars here and guy wires there, they would be strong enough.

They emailed the details.  Paul went to Staples and printed it all off and took it to the county office.

They said this looks hopeful as well, and Paul brought a copy home for me in a long plastic bag.

The official document, with eggs for size comparison.

I like those words on this paper.

Final final FINAL approval has yet to be given, but we are cautiously hopeful.  And I am thinking that God has some really really big plans for that Sparrow Nest.


  1. Some say "You can't beat City Hall"; but I'm glad your "dedicated and determined" husband is keeping at it for as long as it takes and for whatever it takes. I have wondered about your writing cabin a number of times but decided not to ask, given everything else you have faced over the past year and a half! I'm glad I didn't. But I'm not surprised that regulatory red tape caused additional expense and time-consuming headaches in delaying construction of The Sparrow Nest. Thank you for bringing us up to date. I am so looking forward to the day that you post pictures of your finished, furnished, and decorated cabin!

  2. The best things in life are worth waiting for, "fighting for," believing in, and just never letting go of! from ILikeToQuote.com

    The punctuation marks around, "fighting for" were my addition. Being non-resistant, "fighting for" takes on a different meaning, which you alluded to.

  3. "really big plans?" Well, I hope so...because you're having to walk quite the gauntlet to get this thing built! Good luck and blessings be yours for the rest of the project!

  4. It is so wonderful to wake up and find a surprise in my facebook with a beautiful story by you!! You bring joy and love to all who are in contact with you whether by reading or in person!! I miss the days in Harrisburg running the store where I first met you!! Thank you so very much!!

  5. I wish you patience...bureaucracy some days!!!

  6. If the chickens don't work, let the geese loose! Louise