Thursday, November 14, 2013

The House That Love Built - Part 11

Gazing at this photo of Blue Eyes and me as newlyweds, I see hopeful innocence in our faces. 
The world was at our feet and we were ready to take it on - together. 
Already, we had planned our future. 
We wanted a home in the mountains. 
A large family. 
A home filled with love. 

We never imagined we would have to build that home, board by board, piece by piece with our own two hands and that our dreams would take us far from our childhood in New England. 
We had no idea that within one year we would be moving west to begin that journey with only a hope and a prayer and a dream that would not die. 
A dream of wide open spaces, of mountains that reached the sky, of a place far from the madding crowd to raise a family.
Influenced by the 'Back To The Land' movement of the early environmental movement, we moved west. 

But after losing our first home in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon, and with two little ones and one on the way, we found ourselves facing homelessness. 
With our funds running low and time running out, we took a gamble on a piece of property in the wilds of Washington State. 

Blue Eyes had no carpentry experience, but he had a willing spirit and with the help of my Father, who as a young man built homes with his brother, we had faith we could succeed. 

With my parent's building their own home within walking distance, we were not alone. 

Starting small, we built a play house for our growing family. 

This miniature house represented a symbol of our hopes and dreams and stands to this day, 30 years later. 

We saved and planned that first year, nightly unfurling our future house plans, dreaming and praying.

Whenever our spirits would waver at the hardships we endured, we would step outside to hear the wind through the forest, see the majesty of the mountains, the wildlife all around us, and faith would be restored. 

Little by little we cleared the land,

 had electrical lines laid, and put in a septic system designed by a hired engineer. 

All required for permits. 

Setting the forms

With the site cleared, foundation forms were put in place. Oh, the travails we had trying to get them level and square. For if you don't have a strong and perfect foundation, the whole house will be off-kilter. 

The day the cement truck came and filled the forms required many friendly hands to spread and level the concrete. Even the little ones helped out. 

My tired, hardworking Blue Eyes takes a break with a bite of sandwich. I was responsible for keeping everyone well fueled. 

It would be another year before we were able to continue. 

Bringing in electricity, hiring an engineer, putting in the septic system and pouring the foundation took all of our funds. 

Not only that, but we would be blessed with another little surprise....

Our little wilderness family would soon grow to be a family of 6. 

Our family was now complete.

And so we settled in with 4 children under the age of 6, five acres of wilderness, and faith in the Lord that everything would turn out right. 

Next time: 

We get a lucky break. 

Do not go where the path may lead,

Go instead where there is no path

And leave a trail.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson -


  1. Here I am back again and have loved reading all about your House that Love built. What an amazing story to tell. Good old Mr Blue Eyes - you picked well there and it looks like his carpentry skills were quite a hidden talent! Your house is amazing, of course I had to check back for Part 1..., all that beautiful wooden panels, gorgeous having the kids helping you build. A year without electricity!!!! Can't wait for the next part.
    Wren x

  2. Hi Karen! I'm shocked by your story. Your life is like a tale or like the history of pioneers. Amazing!!!


  3. Oh Karen I have read your House that love built 1 and 2 and I know your children would love this in book form, actually many would love it in book form it is wonderful. Showing the struggles, the love and the tremendous belief and the strength it took. I am impressed and I understand but I do not have a beautiful view of the mountains Mr Blue eyes was a dreamer and he made your dream come true. Oh I love this so much Karen. Hug B

  4. Again this put big smile on my face and inspiring and encouraging me. I always want to have house in the mountain :)
    Step by step God has led you and your husband toward the land of Gold full of love and family.
    Thanks for sharing. I love the first picture. You stay beautiful since before.
    Blessing to you and family.

  5. Those pictures of yours look like the ones of my young family! (And the long hair:) Can't wait to see the next installment!

  6. Aww I loved seeing the early pics of you, blue eyes and your sweet family. I also loved your earlier post on The House That Love Built. What a beautiful story of love, prayer, faith and honest hard work. xo

  7. i am glad buttons is reading along as she posted her own story of their very, very rough start on their farm. i am so glad to know this story, too, has a happy ending. :)

  8. What a wonderful story, Karen! You were modern day pioneers! What a beautiful home and family you have built with your faith and perseverance! Love the photo of the 4 little ones.
    Looking forward to the next chapter.

  9. Gorgeous post...Love seeing your earlier photos... such a beautiful family you both have....Looking forward to the next chapter... Hugs May x x x

  10. I can imagine reading this as a lovely book, cosied up by the fire and enjoying reading every last word of your amazing story. You have such a beautiful way with words and telling this, I am hooked! Have you ever thought of publishing? xx

    1. Thank you, Chel - what a sweet thing to say. Maybe someday, huh? We all have a book inside of us somewhere, I think! Hugs to you, xoxo

  11. This is so exciting! You leave me really wanting to hear the rest of your story. I can't imagine how stressful it must have been with your kids and things moving slowly. But I know it has a happy ending at least :)

  12. I am enjoying your story- thanks so much for sharing!

  13. Oh I love the old photos - such memories. You were all so brave to keep going.

  14. Again! AMAZING! I have learned so much about you from these last 2 posts! To think that you both headed out around the time of the environmental movement to live away from crowds among nature just completely rocks! Those shots of your house being built and those little peanuts are priceless! And Karen...oh my are so beautiful in that shot with the mountains behind you! You have given me that itch again about moving to a place where we too have more land. Jon and I have spurts of wanting to be away from the city and actually drove to the country to look at some land.....but like you in this story have no way to fund it...but like you maybe it is possible!?!?! Such an inspiration!!! I can not wait for more! I can so relate to your story friend!!!

  15. That is quite the story, thank you for sharing.

  16. Dearest Karen,
    Again, a great part II of your LOVE nest! Incredible for having four children under the age of 6 and starting off like that. But for sure it did bond your love even more through all the hardship. Great idea for writing this down for your children to cherish and for passing it along... You are a very natural writer; from the heart!

  17. Hello lovely Karen! What a precious story! I was reading the previous post and was so touched by your words. You and your husband share such a sweet, wonderful love - thank you for sharing with us :) Happy weekend, friend! Hugs

  18. Hello Karen - a very beautiful story of your lives. Thank you for sharing it with us. Wishing you and your loved ones a good day / good weekend :) Hugs Hanne Bente ♥

  19. Oh this is so wonderful!! I am loving this story and pictures.

  20. You are beautiful standing there next to your handsome sweetheart.. And look at the skills that was formed -- what a blessing! Glad you have photos of your building your home - that is wonderful.. If your married children get a kick out of looking through the old photos now days of the building of your home like mine -- it was all worth even more! Don't you just love the fashion back then - wink! Beautiful area then and even more so today -

  21. Oh I love those old photos. You guys had such determination and love! My favourite part of this chapter is the trouble it took to get the foundation level. But you didn't cut corners on what was critically important.

  22. I love that picture of you as newlyweds, so charming! Thank you for sharing your inspiring story & dream come true :)

  23. I agree with Chel about publishing.
    You write so effortlessly and we're enchanted as we read this wonderful love story and it doesn't matter that we already know the beautiful ending!

  24. Hi Karen,
    I have been enjoying your story! So brave, a true labor of love! Your kids must have had an amazing childhood full of adventure.. you too newlyweds, bright eyed and full of dreams are adorable:-)

  25. Lovely memories... and you two did it! Love the quote at the end of your post...

  26. Hi Karen, thanks so much for taking the time to visit my blog and the sweet comment welcome. I am now following you and hope to become blog friends, thanks! Wow what a story and how you and your husband built a house together. Take care, Julie at

  27. What an adventure y'all had building not only your house, but your family, and your future together! So many should follow your example instead of giving up too soon. <3

  28. How sweet of you to let us be companion in your personal history. It was a joy to read Karen! :-)

    All the best from the Netherlands,

  29. What a beautiful and touching story. Thanks for sharing that. You guys were pioneers! :D Eager to hear some more and love the pics.


Thank you for stopping by! Your comments are important to me and are very much appreciated. xx Karen

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