Benedicts Winter 2011 update, tims musings

Published Date Author: , December 13th, 2011

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Dear Friends and Family,

Here it is, almost Christmas time again, and we are wondering where the time has gone. Is it not amazing how much can change in less than 6 months?

1. Family happenings. 2. Book status 3. Musings

Life looks very different to us than it did 6 months ago. Six months ago, we lived in Lowman and I had been elected to the Garden Valley School Board (and that took a LOT of my time). I was also working very part time at the fire shop in Idaho City and doing sporadic internet work. We were sinking financially, and I constantly felt sick all the time.

Then trouble with the Lowman neighbors erupted into legal complaints, threats, and mayhem because we had not been able to secure covering for a lot of our stuff, including construction supplies, that was stacked at the far end of the property. Part of it was the landlords not giving us access to onsite sheds for storage or allowing us to build a garage, part of it was moving in the middle of the winter, part of it was how sick I constantly felt. But I could not blame the neighbors either, because it did not look good, and I agreed. But I just could not seem to pull out of a funk I had fallen into (both mentally and physically), and do anything about it.

Then the pieces finally started to fall into place.

First, we were able to get Vika placed with a Christian youth ranch in California where she is now thriving.

Then Karen and Ruthie both got a part time job working at the Sourdough Lodge in upper Lowman.

Then I finally went to the doctor because I just was not getting over what I kept thinking was the flu and-or prostatitis or something. The doctor figured out that I had a chronic case of diverticulitis going on. I had been fighting diverticulitis the ENTIRE time I lived in Lowman! (Like more than 9 months at that point). It is an infection of the large intestine, and trust me, it makes you just plain feel like crap (no pun intended). But apparently, untreated, it also has a tendency to kill people. No wonder I just was not on top of my game! With antibiotics, that started to get better, but it took time, and an easy diet, to get over.

Did knowing this appease all the Lowman neighbors who were complaining about my stuff that I had not dealt with yet? Nope! In fact, a bunch of them have now hired a lawyer and summoned me to show in court for various civil charges on December 19th. But the story gets even funnier. Keep reading.

Meanwhile, I was also beginning to get involved with the new Garden Valley community radio station where I was asked to be on the board there too. And it fell to me to set up the technical side of the station, from the computers and sound equipment, to the transmitters and servers. I was loving it. See it at As part of that deal, I will eventually be hosting and producing my own talk show as well about living off the grid, on Thursday evenings, done it conjunction with an off grid store that we (Me, Karen, and some friends) want to open this coming spring and summer (the one we wanted to open up last summer but could not make happen, being sick and all).

Through all this, the pull to move to Garden Valley began to get very strong in our hearts and minds, and we prayed a lot about it, and asked God to either throw the doors wide open, or slam them shut hard. It felt like He was saying GO, but we wanted to be VERY sure, and not hesitant over anything.

Then Karen suddenly got a new job as the Youth Services Director of the Garden Valley Library and began commuting to work almost every day (about an hour each way). Then we were both interviewed at Project Patch (a residential wounded youth treatment ranch like the places Vera and Vika are at) in Garden Valley and were offered jobs there as well, fulltime while training, and then just as backup relief after that for anyone getting sick or needing a vacation. So we both were working between 50 and 60 hours a week each between our different jobs while we were training. We have both finished training now…

But suddenly we were faced with a do-or-die, sink or swim dilemma. The doors in Garden Valley were obviously wide open and we were being invited in and included and thanked and everything. And various people in Lowman could not seem to get rid of us fast enough. And after spending almost a thousand dollars in gas for commuting from Lowman the previous month, we decided we HAD to move to Garden Valley, in spite of the fact that we had already made plans to winter in Lowman. So before all the pieces were even completely in place for it, we started moving in faith several weeks ago into a small temporary condo in Garden Valley, just so we would not have to commute up the mountain late every night after work.

And the Lowman people that are so hung up over my stuff are still pushing ahead with their court case, if you can believe that, even though they have seen us up there weekly packing and moving stuff OUT with the 16ft trailer that someone very unexpectedly gifted to us right when we were asking God if we should move Garden Valley. God said, Go, and then He provided the way to do it. That is VERY God.

Somewhere in there I also went to the chiropractor for like only the 4th time in my life to get relief from what I thought was a bad sciatic nerve problem that had also been plaguing me for months and months, in conjunction with the diverticulitis. The chiropractor took one look at my back and asked about my logging accident three summers ago. Apparently, he thinks it is very likely that I actually broke my back in that accident (a compression fracture), and it has healed slightly crooked – it is either that or I suddenly have Scoliosis that I never used to have. He could not verify it at the time because his x-ray machine was on the fritz, but that was his diagnosis.

It might help explain some of my body aches though. And here I thought I was just getting old or something, so I had not complained about anything until it got too bad to ignore.. All I can say is -Thanks God, for watching out for me. And the chiropractor was also able to help the sciatic problem too, so there is thankfulness for that as well.

But no wonder I was having an off spring and summer in Lowman!

And the whirlwind has not let up! My web consulting and development business is starting to go, and I have several months of work lined up, to focus on hard as soon as I can finish the move process.

The school board stuff is going much more smoothly now, but there is still a lot of work to be done there as well.

We also signed a lease (with option to buy) earlier this week for a little cabin on the edge of Garden Valley (yes, still in the Lowman school district), and I will be moving in there immediately so I can keep my school board seat. The family will still be in the condo (which is not in the Lowman district), and I will stay with them on weekends, but the cabin (with internet access) will be my new official home and office. Then as soon as we can pull the money together, we will buy the lot and start building a big family home there so we can all move back in together.

Do you remember me mentioning in our last newsletter that it felt like we were standing on the edge of a cliff about to take a plunge into something big, huge and fast moving?

A new chapter of our lives is beginning here in Garden Valley. The Lowman chapter is fast closing as we finish moving our stuff down the mountain -hopefully before winter hits full force and buries the roads and everything in snow and ice (and todays project is to find a place to store it). Karen has a lot of hours already lined up at Project Patch for December. I do not have many hours there lined up yet, but I just landed a huge web job that will keep my very busy through at least the end of January. I still have to finish up some detail work on the house in Lowman as well. (Anyone know of any decent used carpet that I could pick up for cheap? – I told the owners I would try to put some new carpet in it to replace what we ripped out when we moved in – which stunk like pet urine, cigarette smoke, and lots of filthy grime). Through the winter, I will be living in the cabin in Garden Valley, while the family stays in the condo. Come spring time, as soon as the snow melts, we are planning to buy the cabin and start building a home for all of us, with lots of bedrooms, including some for Vera and Vika (tentatively) coming home sometime after school lets out.

Sometime also before summertime, the radio station will be going on the air, and I will be hosting the new off-grid radio show, so the store should be opening up sometime soon thereafter as well. It makes me think about a prophecy God gave me clear back in the early days at Thorn Creek, that the world would hear my voice someday. It is a small voice, granted, but it is there :-) .

And we are working with wounded kids at Project Patch as well, a place I actually toured back when I was trying to start Thorn Creek Youth Ranch over 6 years ago. Is that not funny? Karen is still working at the GV library too, and I also just picked up a snow plowing job for the winter. I think things are looking up finally! It is just crazy busy though. Karen and I have not had a good chance to relax together in over a month, and prolly will not for another couple of weeks at least. We are not looking forward to the demands of this winter, but at least we will be close together, close to our jobs, and working towards our dreams.

And of course, the first day I worked at Project Patch, I rolled/twisted my left ankle playing one-on-one basketball with one of the Patch boys, and here it is over a month later, still swollen and painful. I had it checked out finally yesterday, and it appears that I actually tore a ligament or tendon in it, and can expect to be nursing it back to health for another 4 to 6 months. It is just another thing to constantly remind me I am human, in the middle of everything else going on. It hurts, sometimes constantly, but I am trying to be careful with it, and just keep doing what I have to do.

As a favorite movie of mine says, -Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming..

2. Now that we have a clear break in our lives between old and new, and some time coming up to work on it, I will finally be compiling my/our life story from early Thorn Creek days, all the way through the Lowman chapter. It will have all the newsletters, personal thought bites from along the way thrown in, and a framework to tie it all together into something of an actual plot format. I will be setting up a crowdfunding/pre-order site for it too, soon, so you can pre-order your copy right away, and sending out an email about that too as soon as I have all the pieces in place.

3. Musings.

I hate driving in the snow. It bugs me. The one time in my life that I simply FROZE up in fear, was while driving on steep, high mountain roads on ice and snow. Not even freeclimbing on Colorado or Arkansas cliffs back in college froze me up this bad. It makes me nervous, gives me sweats, and just plain bugs me. Give me an internet connection to do my internet work, a stockpile of firewood, and a warm bed, and I am a happy little camper in a snowed in cabin. But driving in it? NOT! That is a whole nuther story.

And here I just picked up a job snowplowing in Garden Valley for the winter. What am I thinking?!

I think God is stretching me. Sometimes in my darker moments, I even think He gets a little sadistic with His humor. We need the job and the money. And I cannot very well say no in face of that. It is kinda like my old logging job, where running the log skidder scared me so badly, even though I was starting to get the hang of it, sorta. Driving on snow and ice on hills feels the same way to me. I know I can do it, I know I have done it, and it still scares me to death. It is a fear that has blown itself way out of proportion in my mind, but it is still there. I just plain hate it.

Maybe it is the memories of sliding downhill backwards on ice next to a cliff. Maybe it is the wrecks I have had on it. Maybe it is the countless other close calls I have had on it. Whatever it is, it is strong. In fact, it is terrifying to me. And yet, I said yes to the job, because I knew I had to.

And in it, I will be depending on Gods help every time I take the plow out this winter. And I will do what I have been hired to do. And I will live to tell about it, unless God has plans for me to come home early. God knows what He is doing, and even though I do not like it, I know this will be good for me and my character, facing my fears and walking through them, in HIS strength.

But life is like that sometimes, facing fears both real and imagined, and walking through them, with Gods help. And the assumption is that I will get over this fear eventually too, but who knows? You would think after living in the mountains through lots of winters already would have cured me already, but it has not completely yet.

So what fear is it that you face today, that seems so overpowering that it literally paralyzes you? Have you given it to God yet, and asked Jesus for help? Have you squared your shoulders, taken a deep breath, and faced that fear head on yet, in Gods strength? Have you put your belief in God to the test yet, trusting that He will take care of you as you walk through your fear, and that He will not call you home until He is good and ready for you to come home? That is called faith, when you trust Him in that, and step out in spite of your fear, because you KNOW that God is still in control, no matter how slick the ice is. Yes, plan for it, yes, prepare for it, but in the end, you just plain have to draw strength from the knowledge that in God rests the final outcome.

Stay tuned for the next installment! :-) Meanwhile, pray for us. We need it. And if you need pray, we can pray for you too if you tell us.


Tim, Karen, and the Benedict family


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