Friday, November 20, 2015

The Cozy Cabin ~ By Nikita

Our landing place since moving 2,500 miles north is a {small} cabin nestled in the Mat-Su valley, and surrounded by mountains, trees, and rivers. Welcome to the new world of the Turners. That beautiful, rednecky, weird, crazy, eventful, surprising, and lively 'tribe' as some call it.  Yes, we are the new homeschooling family with 6 kids in the neighborhood . No, we don't have a dog, sno-machine, or sleds; but yes, we do in fact live at the end of a cul de sac. With the temperature hitting the negative double digits on these November nights, and having no running water due to the pressure switch going bad, results in having to use the outhouse in one degree weather during the day, which, to say the least, is a great accomplishment for some members of this clan! Indeed the water pipe froze, and then the hot water heater went out.  Not even mentioning the melting-of-snow to provide pure drinking water for this family of eight. Because of the water shortage being in the early morning, there is now a stack [and I mean a stack] of dishes on the counter awaiting their cleanliness. We are staying [mostly] warm under the conditions though. (edit: the pressure switch is replaced and a new water heater installed.  So we have not had to use the outhouse recently)

 This is the cozy paradise

The outhouse... anything else to be said??

Ahh yes, a moose in our backyard.

 BTW, all these pictures were taken in the late fall right after we got here, not early winter. There is a difference, one being that now there is 6+ inches of snow on the ground and it's below freezing.

Majestic~by Nikita

"Hardships often prepare ordinary people for extraordinary destinations." -C.S.Lewis 

"Don't cry over the past, it's gone. Don't worry about the future, it's not here yet. 
Live in the now and make it beautiful!" -Unknown

"You must make the choice, 
to take the chance,
if you want anything in life to change." -Unknown

"Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day." -Unknown

"What God knows about me is more important than what other people think about me." -Unknown

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Turner Family Newsletter

This is the unedited version.  We have an email mailing list for our newsletter updates, and this was just too long for that, we felt like.  So I cut and pasted till I had an overview with few details for the email.  If you are on the email list and  you start reading this and think, Oh I've already read all that, I have highlighted the text that is the same on both documents.  Hope this helps!

October 2015
Now unto him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.  Amen.  Ephesians 3:20-21
     So many things running through my head. Where to start? What to write? Words, sentences, paragraphs escape me. With that in mind, I will start piecing thoughts together.
     In September of 2013, our family moved to Bethel Ridge Retreat nestled at the foot of the Cascade Mountains in the Nile Valley located near Naches, Washington. Through a series of events, we knew God wanted us to be there. Maybe someday I'll write down the story. The staff position we filled was a volunteer position. Talk about a faith builder. Stepping out in faith, we prayed God would provide financially if we were to be at Bethel Ridge. More abundantly than we could ever think, God provided for all our needs. Not only financially, which was mostly anonymous funds, but also for so many other needs; clothes, food, jobs for Hank close by & Nikita a job and horseback riding lessons, grandparent figures that poured love & life into our children, neighbors & friends locally, spiritual growth of our family, meeting lots of couples & families at the retreat events, access to lots of resources on mentoring, marriages, & intimacy, a place for Shane to develop an event called Outdoor Education Experience which is his passion of teaching and sharing Jesus using outdoor survival skills in God's creation, and so much more in my heart that I could ever put on paper. Two years. A lot of memories made at the “Mountain Cottage” and with Gregg & Glenna Hires and fellow staff, Dennis & Barb Elder. Change. What does that word even mean? To make or become different. To give a different position, course, or direction to. To replace with another. Yes, change.
     We moved. Were you unhappy where you were at? NO! Did something happen? Well, no and yes. Nothing “happened” to make us want to move, but what did happen was we took a trip 3 years ago. Three years ago, we went to Alaska in Gus the Bus (our RV) and parked outside our friends house (David & Holly Long & their 6 children) and lived there for 2 months. Shane has always wanted to live in Alaska since he was a boy. On that trip, he kept telling me that usually people move to Alaska because “they went for a visit and never left, just had their belongings shipped up”. We enjoyed it very much, and prayed about moving there. It wasn't in the plans God had for us right then. But that didn't keep Shane from talking about it. We learned so much while serving at Bethel Ridge, and looking back, know that we were being prepared for God's timing. How it really happened is a culmination of prayers for direction and several different things happening in our life at around the same time that the Holy Spirit used to lead. I wonder if I can even put in a way that makes sense? We had been talking to Gregg & Glenna about traveling this winter, back East to see our families, maybe doing an Outdoor Education Experience or two along the way with some friends in the East, traveling in the south half of the USA and being gone for a couple months. First it was going to be a year, then it got narrowed down to a couple months. We had Gus the Bus, our RV. We had been discussing being gone with our family. A 'small group' from the church we had been attending a lot, Selah Calvary Chapel, started up and we were a part of that group. We met once a week and did a small group bible study using Andy Stanley's DVD, “Five Things God Uses To Grow Your Faith”. Wow. I would recommend that for anyone. It was amazing. Not only the study, but it didn't take long to connect on a deeper level with our small group. They became dear to us! God always has a way of bringing people into your life right when you need them! I attended a Women's Retreat with ladies from 4 different Calvary Chapel's. Shane had taken classes this year and got his certification to be a Life Coach. He had a few people he was mentoring & coaching. Shane's sister and family from Ohio, Sam, Alisha, Zoe, Jude, Max & Vivian Via, came for a visit and lived life with us for a week. In the midst of all these things and more of God's working in our life, came this direction to Alaska. God's timing for the move was now. Do I have to understand? No. Trust and obey. Oh, sounds easy, so simple. It's actually harder than it sounds. But we are ever learning. We decided in June that we would move to Alaska. Our plans were to move to the Wasilla, Alaska area at the end of September. When we told Gregg & Glenna we were moving, they blessed us to go where God leads and continued pouring out their love on our family.
     Now we had a date to move, but didn't have a house to move into. We did have a friend that offered for us to live with her till we found a place, which was an option. Around the middle of August, David & Holly Long (our friends that we parked our RV outside of their house in Alaska 3 yrs ago) sent an email to us saying they had bought a house, and would be moving out the end of September. The landlords wondered if they new anyone who'd be interested in renting? Yes, we were! What a blessing to already know what the house and the layout of the land looked like! The cabin is small, but cozy and there is a guest room outside in a separate building. An answered prayer. The timing of their move was perfect with ours.
     The packing began. I had lots of help from friends and my children did such a good job helping as well. On Sunday, August 16th , Shane's Grandma Alberta Saver passed away suddenly. It was unexpected. Not only did each of us get a birthday card in the mail from Grandma & Grandpa Sarver, but at various other times of the year. One that stands out to me is every Valentine's Day, our children would each get a card in the mail addresses to them. Sometimes one would be a day later than the others, and that child would anxiously wait for the mail. We left on Tuesday, August 18 and drove back to Ohio for the funeral. We were gone 10 days. Glad to spend some time with Grandpa Sarver, Dad & Mom Turner, Micah, Josie, Henri, Islande, & William Turner and Sam, Alisha, Zoe, Jude, Max & Vivian Via. The time there went fast. Shane's other Grandma Dorothy Turner was in the hospital, so we were able to go visit her and see Grandpa Harold as well. Dad & Mom Bowman came out from Virginia to the viewing and funeral, so we also got to see them. My brother that lives in Ohio, Belden, Lori, Brandon, Regan & Josie, and Kristen met us on Sunday up near where we were staying for a short visit. We left Ohio and spent the first evening & night in Indiana with friends. They had a potluck and several people came to hear more information about the Outdoor Education Experience that Shane has been teaching. We hope to be able to go there sometime and do one.
     Home to a flurry of activities. Camping with friends, packing, selling Gus the Bus, selling things on craigslist, donating lots of items to the mission, getting trailers to haul our belongings, last times with friends.  Dad & Mom Turner came out for around 2 weeks and was such a blessing helping with whatever was needed.  Dad helped carry boxes and load the trailer and more.  Mom helped with meals and such.  Our children made lots of memories with their grandparents. 
     We were blessed to have a few different groups of people pray over us. Thank you to Dave & Carla Kuns for hosting an “Evening of Blessing” for us just a few days before we left. Carla talked to me right after we decided to move about having a special evening. It was just right for a campfire and we had a wonderful time of eating, fellowship and blessing. Several friends helped with the evening, a big thank you to all! We were sent off with a big basket of goodies and a money tree. We will miss all the people in Washington that we have gotten to know, love, and share life with.
     Shane's Grandma Dorothy Turner passed away a few days before we left Washington. We made the decision to not go back to Ohio this time, and were so glad for the chance we had to tell her “bye” when we went to see her in the hospital. She knew all of us then and talked for a bit. Was sad not being able to be there. The funeral was the day after we departed Washington.
     We left the Mountain Cottage on Tuesday, September 29th. A friend of ours, Compound, said he would drive a load up for us. Pastor Tom from Selah Calvary Chapel is Compound's son. Three vehicles in our Caravan. All of our vehicles have names. Shane, Nikita, Brandy and Hunter in our White Ford F 350 crew cab (named Immanual, Manual for short because it is a manual shift) pulling an enclosed trailer, Compound's White Ford F250 Extra cab (we named it Bow-like Compound Bow!) pulling a flat bed trailer with wooden sides fully loaded with Hank riding with him, and me in our White GMC Sierra Crew cab (named Lady-because it is “my” truck) with Aspen and Lacy. We camped Tuesday & Wednesday night, sleeping in the trucks and in the canopy of the two Ford's. Thursday in Canada, right outside of Clinton, British Columbia, a deer jumped in front of me and I didn't even have time to brake before impact. It was a large doe and hit on the grill, breaking the radiator support and pushing it into the motor. I was able to let the Shane know because we had walkie-talkies. The man in the truck behind me left black marks to avoid hitting my truck and after talking to us he called his friend who happened to be a tow truck driver. Then he offered his phone for us to call our insurance. Shane was still on the phone with the insurance when the tow truck arrived. We had the Ins agent call the tow truck driver 's phone so we could let the nice man go on his way. The tow truck driver stayed with us till everything was taken care of and we had to clean out the truck front and back. We ended up giving the man some of our things that didn't fit in the other trailers. We traveled from then on with 5 people in our truck and 4 people in Compound's. Guess there's more than one way to get to ride with Shane! We camped again Thursday night. The next morning Shane had to pull me out of the canopy of the truck because my back seized up and was having spasms. Yikes, after the adrenaline had wore off from the wreck, I was in an extreme amount of pain in my back. We continued on our journey, ended up stopping at a store to get some muscle relaxers and started taking them with ibuprofen continually till we got to our new home. This stopped our camping and we got a motel or cabins the rest of the trip. The next day after the wreck, we came around a curve and Shane realized he didn't have power steering anymore. Found a place to pull off and looked under the hood to find that the power steering hose had simply wore out. He stayed with the truck while the rest of us went on in Compound's truck. Just a few miles later, we were in a good sized town. When the towns are so far apart, what a blessing to be so close to one! The Ford dealer was right on the way in and they couldn't have the part till Monday, but the lady called another store called “Bumper to Bumper” and they had the exact part we needed! We went and got that part, more steering fluid and walked out of the store 10 minutes before closing time on a Friday evening. Compound dropped all of us off at the local motel and went back to Shane. It had just been one hour from the time we left till he got back with the part. Shane didn't have any idea the town was so close. We didn't use our phones in Canada either, so lots of patience waiting for both of us. The next day, Saturday, when we stopped at a rest area, noticed that something had shattered a window of a trailer we had on the flatbed trailer. Shane had some Tyvek and Tyvek tape handy and fixed it right up. Day after that on Sunday, a tire blew on the flatbed trailer which has dual axles. Shane had bought a spare for it before we left. This was a new trailer and all new tires. It is no coincidence that the tire blew at a spot where we could get over easily! On Monday, we were back in the USA, arriving in Alaska! When we stopped at Tok for the night, Compound had just had a truck kick some gravel up on his windshield and one cracked it pretty good about the size of a silver dollar. Didn't make a hole all the way through, but they did have to put clear tape on the inside to keep the shards of glass from falling in. It was right in front of the driver. So Tuesday morning we anticipated being able to get to our new house! We are going down the road and Hank (in Compund's truck) noticed that the trailer behind Shane was a little lower to the ground in the front. We were stopping to fuel up right then, and when they investigated the trailer, here the trailer tongue was bent. The frost heaves in the road had made the truck go up and the trailer go down and pretty much rammed the tongue. Took it very slow the rest of the way. We traveled on some of the best roads and was only going 40 mph! When we started out, the distance from the ground to trailer was 16 inches and when we got 'home' it was only 7 inches! Whew! We made it at last!
     Holly had came over that day and started a fire in the stove. The little cabin was very cozy when we arrived. The house was all clean, a pot of soup on the stove , groceries in the fridge and on the counter. What a warm welcome from our friends here in Alaska! One of our friends works across the road from a chiropractor's office where they are also patients and got me an appointment the day after we arrived here. I have been going twice a week and am so so much better! I don't expect to have to continue going much longer except occasionally for an adjustment. He is doing a good job, but I just have to say we really, really miss Dr Thornock at Foder Chiropractic in Sunnyside. If you need a chiropractor, tell him I sent you!
     Compound stayed in the guest cabin and helped us for 2 weeks. We are so thankful for all that he did for us. Unpack everything, cut & split wood, and numerous other things. He helped Hank get 2 three wheeler's running that were sitting in the shed. A 110 and a 70 and the children have been having a blast riding down the lane. Tom flew up here Thursday, October 22nd and drove home with his dad. Glad we got to see Tom and that he got to visualize where we live. Compound can tell him about it, but it sure helps to see it yourself! 
     We are getting settled in. Shane has been getting a supply of firewood and doing a great job of honey do this and honey do that. We have gotten a 4 wheeler with a snow plow for the anticipated snow this winter. It came with a winch and a trailer. The children have been using the trailer to haul the wood. Our GMC Seirra truck (Lady) was a total loss the insurance decided. We found a 97' Ford Expedition, 8 passenger, red, 4wd, snow tires, with regular tires on craigslist here locally and got it. And we named her “Ladybug”.
     What will Shane do in Alaska? He has a passion for the outdoors and teaching people survival skills while pointing to God and His wonderful creation, and helping people. Until he has that going here, there are a few options he is exploring. He brought all his contracting tools with him and he has made a few calls recently.
Thank you
* Thank you for your prayers for our family
*Thank you to those who financially supported us the past 2 years while we served at Bethel Ridge
*Thank you Jesus for providing for our every need
*Thank you to those who participated in an Outdoor Education Experience
Prayer Request
*Pray that we would pursue what God wants us to do
*Pray for our children during this transitional time
*Pray my back would totally heal
*Pray for us as we connect with local believers

There you have it, folks!  The pictures will be the next few posts.  It is difficult when the pictures are in different files from my phone, Shane's phone, Hank's phone, Compound's phone, and Brandy's camera!  

Monday, January 19, 2015

Horses -by Nikita

Who's says it has to be real? I mean, right? 

Horse: "Excuse me, just who are you taking a picture of?" 

A Trip To Winthrop, WA by Nikita

In May, we went to a town called Winthrop, about 5 hours away, located in the Methow Valley (pronounced Met-how).   Winthrop is a western town. It has wooden sidewalks and old storefronts.  The weekend we went there was an Outfitter's Rendezvous.  (An outfitter is someone who is a guide for hunting parties or individual hunters.) We camped in a local campground Friday & Saturday night. In the park about 8 different outfitters had booths advertising their business, and some had picture books from their travels.

This is the campground office.

Boys tent.  

Girls tent plus Dad & Mom. 

Our campfire and kitchen. 

Cowboy coffee brewing over open fire. 

And when we didn't have a fire going, we used a propane one burner stove. 

Brandy & Hunter 'riding'. Yee-Haw!  

Lacy & Aspen horsin' around.  

Watching the parade.  

The Parade:  

Leavenworth, WA

In April we explored Leavenworth, a Swiss town. About 2 1/2 hours from where we live. We spent the day there one weekend. The houses look like they came right out of Heidi, gingerbread trim, and the snow-covered "Alps" (mountains) in the background. 

This is the gazebo where we cooked our lunch.  

Hunter cuddled up to this bear and said "It's my mommy." 

Cooking the hotdogs over our propane one-burner stove.  

 Getting some energy ran off. 

Outside the pretzel shop, enjoying our buy. Yumm!