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“11 I speak not because of want: for I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

12 And I can be abased, and I can abound: everywhere in all things I am instructed, both to be full, and to be hungry, and to abound, and to have want.

13 I am able to do all things through the help of Christ, which strengtheneth me.”

Philippians 4: 11-13 (1599 Geneva Bible)

Though we lack many a temporal thing,

such as beds to the children,

cabinets, coat hooks,

and hot water from the tap . . .

we have so very much to be thankful for.

We have been given strength

during the hardest of times,

through Christ.

We are still far from living the sustainable life

we so desire,

but we are so much closer than we used to be.

And we know that He was, is, and will be with us

leading us,

changing us,

loving us . . .

so for that we can be forever thankful,

and content.

We are so thankful for our cook stove . . . our source of heat, hot water, and home cooked meals.

We are so thankful for our cook stove . . . our source of heat, hot water, and home cooked meals (and pot storage).

This "girly" craigslist find has been so helpful since we have no kitchen cabinets yet, except for . . . .

This “girly” craigslist find has been so helpful since we have no kitchen cabinets yet, except for . . . .

 . . . this kitchen island with a cabinet has been a life safer.  Thank you Finestones!

. . . this kitchen island with a cabinet has been a life safer. Thank you Finestones!

The children don't seem to mind not having beds . . . they think "bin" beds are great!  (We're using storage bins as beds until we get bunk beds built).

The children don’t seem to mind not having beds . . . they think “bin” beds are great! (We’re using storage bins as beds until we get bunk beds built).

My hope years ago was that our oldest, Caleb, would get to experience homestead life by the time he was 10 years old . . . he will soon be 12 and his experience of homestead life so far has been mostly hard work and toil (as he hauls block to our root cellar hole to stack along the side that's eroding).  But, when asked if he would choose this way of life over the way we used to live, he said he would choose this way . . . that makes me feel so blessed!

My hope years ago was that our oldest, Caleb, would get to experience homestead life by the time he was 10 years old . . . he will soon be 12 and his experience of homestead life so far (beginning when he was 10) has been mostly hard work and toil (as above, where he was hauling block to our root cellar hole to stack along the side that’s eroding). But, when asked if he would choose this way of life over the way we used to live, he said he would choose this way . . . that makes me feel so blessed!

May your 2015 be blessed with many opportunities to make much of Creator God as you love Him and love others!

Blessings,

Carrie and family   ><>

We’re in!  Praise God from Whom all blessings flow . . . the blessing of being in our cabin is beyond words!  Thank you again and again to all who helped us and prayed with us in this huge step forward.  For a brief update on where we are at with fundraising, please visit the DONATION page.  A more detailed post with pictures should be coming in the next few days.  Until then, blessings to you all!

Joyful in Jesus,

The Smyth family    ><>

 

I think I can, I think I can . . . . I think I can.  No, I know I CAN’T!.  The only way to make it through the final push at the end of a race is to somehow get past yourself . . . your weary, tuckered, pooped out (sorry, I deal with it multiple times daily) self and trust in the strength of another, namely Your Creator.  That is how we desire to make it through the next couple of weeks.

There has been some progress on the cabin over the past week.  Some days I think we might make it in there by our anticipated December 25 date, and other days, I just don’t see it happening.  In any case, we have so much to be thankful for, everyday . . . we are loved by God and we are loving each other (though it may not always look that way).

Here are some pictures to show the latest projects . . .

The black plate? thing is up around the stove pipe.

The black stove pipe collar is on.

The pantry is almost walled in.

The pantry is almost walled in.

 

We found this old ice box on Craigslist.  It just needs a new paint job.

We found this old ice box (our refrigerator) on Craigslist. It just needs a new paint job.

 

The laundry sink is plumbed!

The laundry sink is plumbed!

We have two books shelves and this one is already almost full.

We have two books shelves up and this one is already almost full.

The kitchen sink is plumbed . . . and water comes out!  Our tank is only about 1/4 of the way full and we even get water out of the shower head (just dribbles, but just a bit more rain and we should be good to go.

The kitchen sink is plumbed . . . and water comes out! Our tank is only about 1/4 of the way full and we even get water out of the shower head (just dribbles, but with a bit more rain we should be good to go).

We still need to set up the grey water drain system, build a few more shelves, set up our beds, sand/seal the bottom wood floors, and get our water tank filled up.  It would also be best to get the root cellar far enough along to stop the erosion, but we will probably move in before that happens.  We are so close and yet so far away with how tired we feel.

We couldn’t have made it this far without the help of so many caring people. Thank you so much Home Depot crew for all your support and help!  And, thank you Jackson family for sacrificing endlessly over the past few months to help us . . . words just can’t express how grateful we are for you guys!

For more details on our fund raising, please check out our DONATION page.  Thank you to all who have been praying for us and supporting us!

Blessings,

Kip, Carrie, and family     ><>

 

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What a blessing it was to have Papa Keena with us for two whole weeks!  He worked so hard.  We are deeply thankful for all that you did to help us get closer to moving into our cabin, Papa.  And, we are thankful to Mom Keena, who gave up her desire to come out with Papa in order to give more provision for supplies.  Thank you Mom!  The following pictures are just a bit of Papa’s handiwork.

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The new loo!  All it needs is a white bucket for the sawdust (sorry Home Depot, but I'm not excited about orange in the bathroom) . . . beautiful.

The new loo! All it needs is a white bucket for the sawdust (sorry Home Depot, but I’m not excited about orange in the bathroom) . . . beautiful.

The first of four drawers that will allow us to utilize the area under the bottom stairs for storage.

The first of four drawers that will allow us to utilize the area under the bottom stairs for storage.

My own personal planning area under the middle/upper stairs (currently holding tools and such).  What a blessing it will be to have the space to plan and organize again!

My own personal planning area under the middle/upper stairs (currently holding tools and such). What a blessing it will be to have the space to plan and organize again!

The tile turned out beautifully!

The tile turned out beautifully!

We also want to give a big thank you to Ellie and Jo Burton, from Southern CA, who blessed us with super encouraging letters and pictures, as well as financial support.  You guys are awesome!  Thank you for caring so much!!

And I (Carrie) have to say thank you to my love (Kip) for loving our family so much.  He worked incredibly hard the past two weeks wearing so many “hats” . . . husband, father of 5, Home Depot worker, almost daily supply gatherer, work crew coordinator, etc. not to mention all the work he did on the cabin.  I praise God for you my love . . . hang in there.  We’re almost in.

This week we hope to get the kitchen and laundry sinks plumbed, the water catchment system working (it has been a challenge to get it set at just the right level so that the rain water actually gets into the tank), and get some more wall boards up.  We are getting so close now!  We deeply appreciate your continued prayer and support.

Blessings,

Carrie and family    ><>

 

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The tank is up!  The tank is up!  Just three strong, inventive men and it was up in less than an hour.  We are so looking forward to gravity fed water coming into our cabin.  We hope to have the gutters up by the end of this week so that we can begin catching water if the predicted storm rolls in.

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The bathroom is coming together.  The tub shower is in place and partially plumbed and the tile is purchased and ready to go down on the floor.  We are so thankful to have Papa Keena here.  Thank you Papa for all your hard work!  We love you!!

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The interior walls are almost all framed up.  We just ordered some more wall boards today, hopefully enough to get all the lower areas covered.  We were also able to purchase more sealer for the wood floors once they go down.

The laundry area ready to put tile down.

The laundry area is ready for the tile to go down.

We still need funds for misc. water catchment/plumbing supplies, for all our cold storage needs (freezer chest, ice box, and root cellar), for some organizers (kitchen hutch, pantry selves, etc.), and for materials to make custom small bunk beds for our children.  We are so blessed to have gotten this far due to the prayers and support of so many. Thank you again and again!  Please continue to share our story . . . we are hopeful.

Blessings,

Kip, Carrie, and children    ><>

IMG_0492 Fall is fleeting, winter is coming, and we are so excited at the thought of getting into our cabin!  Thank you to all who have given so generously to help make that possible!!  We are looking forward to having Papa Keena with us to help out for two whole weeks and are busy gathering supplies that we will need for while he is here.  With that said, we still have 4 days left to reach our 1st goal of raising $3000!  We still need about $1,777 by this Saturday, November 8th. Please spread the word!

The water tank tower is done!

The water tank tower is done!

Along with completing our water tank tower (I know, it’s not very pretty), Kip and a friend were able to get most of the insulation under our cabin put in (the rest will go in after the plumbing it complete).  Now to figure out a way to get a 1500 gallon tank up on top of the tower . . . any ideas?

Morning sunrise . . . breathtaking!

Morning sunrise . . . breathtaking!

If interested, please check back at your convenience for more updates on our DONATION page.  Thanks again to all who have prayed for us, given to us, and shared our story with others!  God is giving us our dream . . . to Him be the glory! Blessings, Kip, Carrie, and children    ><>

 

Soon to be home sweet home.

We left Alaska just over a year ago, a family of six in a big red truck, towing a 27 foot travel trailer.  We left with many hopes and dreams of building a debt free agrarian community somewhere in Missouri.  Now we’re a family of seven, still debt free, still living in our trailer as we work on building our 20 x 20 cabin/home on our 20 acres in rural southern Missouri.  We have the same hopes and dreams we left Alaska with, but the journey has been far more difficult than we could have imagined.  If you would like, you can get a glimpse of what our journey over the past year has been like through pictures in previous posts.

One of the biggest challenges we face every day as we build this homestead is the craziness of trailer living . . . no place for anything, no organization, having to haul water, dirt everywhere, back and forth to the cabin, mess, mess, mess . . . it’s time to get our cabin done!  That is our priority.  With seemingly hundreds of other priorities before us (how to keep the chickens out the garden, the geese from pooping on our building materials, and the wood cut for winter heating to name a few) and with the funds run dry, it will take a miracle to get into our cabin by winter, but that is our hope.  And that is why we are reaching out to others to help make our dream a reality.

We’re hoping to raise $10,000 to cover the cost of supplies, labor, and the start of our root cellar, so that we can get into our cabin by December 25, 2014.  We plan on posting weekly updates on our progress for all those interested. Donations can be made quickly and easily through the donation page at the top of this blog.  It is humbly to even be asking, but our brother in Christ, Sean Barber, implored us to ask because he believes as we do that God can provide.  And He can use loving and generous people just like you to spread the word, pray, and/or give financially.  Our sincere hope is to someday be able to help many others in a similar situation as ours.

Here are some pictures that show how far we’ve come and how far we have yet to go to be able to move into our home.  Will you hope along with us?  If you have faith the One True God, will you join us in prayer for a miracle?  With God, all things are possible!

Digging holes for our cabin pillars in January of this year.

Digging holes for our foundation (concrete posts) in January of this year.

Our cabin being framed up.  One day of work with the help of many volunteers and it was dried in.

Our cabin being framed up.

The roof going on.

The roof going on.

Screwing in the soffit.

Screwing in the soffit.

With the long,cold winter over we were finally able to move onto our land and get back to work on our cabin in March.

With the long cold winter over, we were finally able to move onto our land in March (we were living about an hour away driving back and forth all winter).  Being on our land made the building process so much easier.

The solar system is up and running and 2/3 of patio roof complete.

By the end of the summer, the solar system was up and running and 2/3 of the patio roof complete.  You can see our current shelter (the trailer) to the left.

The front patio pallet fence is just temporary to help keep animals out.  The plan is to enclose the front for a green house and add the third side patio roof (to the right of the cabin) to be enclosed for a milking area/summer kitchen, with the root cellar below that.

One 1500 gallon water catchment tank is in place.

One 1500 gallon water catchment tank is in place.

This tank is for garden and animal watering.  It still needs to be painted and have a clean out and overflow installed.

Just behind the front water tank is a huge hole for the future root cellar.

Just behind the front water tank is a huge hole for the future root cellar.

The root cellar will be our main cold food storage as we don’t plan on having a “normal” refrigerator.  The sooner we get it completed, the better.  The ground is eroding toward the foundation of the cabin.

The back of the cabin and the start of our cabin water tank tower.

The back of the cabin and the start of our cabin water tank tower.

The tower needs to be about 7 feet high so that it can hold another 1500 gallon water tank that will gravity feed into our cabin.  Since this picture was taken we were able to put up a few more rows of block.  We still need the gutters and plumbing to get the water into the tank.  You can also see that we still need to complete the metal siding on these two sides of the cabin.  The random black pipe going into the back wall of the cabin is the first of four that still need to be installed for a passive geothermal cooling system.

Our wood cook stove!

Our wood cook stove!

We just cleared our cook stove off a couple of weeks ago and fired her up for the first time!  We were able to make dinner on the cook top!!  We need to install two more feet of piping for correct height above the roof so the chimney will draft properly.

This is the front left side of the cabin opposite the cook stove.

This is the front left side of the cabin, opposite the cook stove.

We need to finish installing insulation (which we have), but we ran out of wall boards and don’t want to put in insulation down where our one year old can get at it until we have the wall boards to cover it.  We also need to install our finish flooring that is currently sitting out in our old barn.

This is the front door.

This is the front door, south facing.

The pole hanging down in the above picture is to operate our opening skylight, part of our passive cooling system.  The electrical is all in but we still need a few more fixtures and light bulbs.  As you can see we need a lot of wall boards.

This is the left rear of the cabin.

This is the left rear of the cabin . . .  mess, mess, mess!

The back corner is where we are planning to build the bathroom.  We do have most of the supplies for the bathroom, we just need:  tub surround, lumber, plumbing, and door.  All of the “stuff” you see is storage and construction materials because, did we mention that we (a family of 7) are living in a 27′ travel trailer?  We definitely need some shelves and cabinets to get organized!

This is the right rear of the cabin.

This is the right rear of the cabin . . . more mess!

Under the back window is where our triple bowl laundry sink will go and in the far back corner will be a pantry.  We still need our hot water pump and some misc. plumbing parts to complete our water system.

The view from the top of the stairway.

The view from the top of the stairway.

We still need to seal the stairs and put up railing.  The custom made pocket gate door has been a huge help (thanks Papa!).

Our side of the loft, mostly finished.

Our side of the loft, mostly finished.

Our “bedroom” just needs lighting and a few more wall boards.

The children's side of the loft.

The children’s side of the loft.

We need to make custom bunk beds to be able to fit 5 children into an 8 x 11 area with a divider in the middle.  They will be nice and cozy.

Progress on the cabin has been slow over the past month since Kip had to take on part time work an hour away in Springfield just to provide for our most basic needs.  His hope is to only have to work there for a short season as his heart is to minister to the body of Christ.  He would like to go to Bruce Wilkerson’s Walk Through The Bible training next spring and minister by teaching the local church body.  We also hope and pray that we can get this homestead up and running to where we can produce much of our own food using “beyond organic” methods.

Thank you to all who are hoping and praying along with us and to all who have already given of your time and resources to help us.  Again, this post has been inspired by Sean Barber, a dear brother in the Lord, who asked us to put this information together for him to be a help in raising funds for our cabin.  We love you Sean and Mitzi!

Blessings,

Kip, Carrie, Caleb, Joshua, Nathan, Esther, and Joseph     ><>

 

Please click here if you would like to make a donation. Thank you!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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