What Do Vegas and Logs Have In Common?

This upcoming year will be quite an interesting one for my family and me, and we are inviting all of you to join us for the ride.

If you’ve been reading this whole blog site so far, you’d know all about the guest house (Bed & Breakfast) called “The McGuire House” that we’ve been building so far, after tearing down a 130-year old family home of a friend of ours and transferring it to our land.  We didn’t build a replica of it; we just re-used all the wood and metal from it…and many of their family belongings, including their dining table, etc.

This is a chronological blog, like a book; so, if you haven’t read the previous posts, I encourage you to start from the beginning before you continue on.  The first post is called “Welcome to Cottonwood Creek“; just click on the link.

After tremendous amounts of prayer, discussion, and planning, we have come to the final conclusion that we are going to sell our home and move out to our 11-acres of land (that we’ve named Cottonwood Creek), and build our home out there. But this won’t be just any home.  It will be a log home.

This photograph isn’t it….but ours will look very very similar to it.  Almost identical.  But, the lower porch will be wrap-around, all the way around, with a roof over the whole thing (not just one side as in this picture).  Steve and I are building it (with help from anyone who is interested in the process).  What are we thinking??

When we last left you, September 22, 2012, we had just made the Bed and Breakfast livable, and the guest pastor came to stay in it for the local revival…literally ONE HOUR after we finished it.

In the previous posts, I shared with you how we had been praying about help with finances, and the first 2-3 posts of this blog tells step by step what God’s first ideas and instructions to both Steve and me seemed to be, in response to those prayers.  They were bizarre, unlogical ideas…at first…naturally causing both of us to need further evidence along the way from God, to prove that “He”, indeed, was guiding and telling us what to do.  All of those “God-winks” (my term for God’s proofs) are written in all of the posts before this one.

I’ve been receiving these “God-winks” all along the building journey, showing me that we had indeed heard God correctly.  Amazing, actually.

The final God-wink with the McGuire House was when the guest pastor came to stay in it.   He loved it, and told us that he felt right at home because his grandmother’s name was McGuire.  Isn’t that cool??  I mean really…. that’s not just a “coincidence.” Of all the names??   He didn’t know the name of the b&b before he got here.

The revival took a week.  When it was done, my family and I packed up and headed to our family cabin in New Mexico for a couple weeks (gotta love homeschool…it’s portable).  It was time to rest a while.


During our McGuire House building process, we had visitors all the time.  I didn’t get pictures of them all, but we had guests come out just about daily.   During those visitations, we kept being told, “You should live out here,” “You should build a house out here and live here.”

Steve and I built the home we currently live in.  We love it. [UPDATE:  you can see pictures of our old house on the post called “Butterfly, fly away”].  Moving has never been a thought or desire.

However,one way God communicates His next plan for our lives is often times through people’s words to us.  IF those words don’t oppose the Bible, and if many people tell us the same thing…then it’s quite possible that it’s a message God is trying to convey.

Every time another person told us we should live at Cottonwood Creek, I’d tell Steve.  He always pushed it away.   But, after many people told us that, I had to wonder if it was God’s instruction to us.   So, I started praying about it.  Steve said that the ONLY way we’d even THINK about moving is if we could build a house and be mortgage free.  Otherwise, he would prefer driving the 15 minutes between our house and land.  That made sense.

We had been praying for a couple of years about our finances.  With him hoping to retire from the fire department and our daughter heading to college in a few years, we needed to figure something out financially.

We had been asking God what we needed to do??  If you recall, the first ideas were buying land and building a Bed and Breakfast, which made NO sense at all.  (If you haven’t read “Welcome to Cottonwood Creek,” go read that first.)

To us, that was SPENDING money we didn’t have.   How could we have possibly guessed that His mode of helping us financially would be to do things that “should have” cost TONS of money…but ended up not costing us hardly anything, because He’d GIVE it all to us as we needed it??

We started researching our building options, to see how much building a new home would cost.

This research for a new home started taking place while we were still building the McGuire House.  In our evenings at home, we were talking and researching.

We preferred log homes, but couldn’t afford them.   We loved Post and Beam houses.  Couldn’t afford that, either, but then found one that could work.  We thought it was all set.

Then, we completed the McGuire House, attended the revival at our church, and off to New Mexico we went for a much needed vacation after 6 solid months of building the B&B.


While in New Mexico, we saw all the log homes everywhere.  We looked online at them, again.  SOO much money to have one built!  EASILY over $200,000…and way way more.

But then, we stumbled across http://www.LogHomeBuildersAssociation.com   We had seen this website years before, but ignored it, thinking it was a crock.  But, this time, we paid attention a little closer….

It promised that it would teach us how to build our own log home…with whatever design and style we wanted….and it would be so affordable, we could end up mortgage free.   Hm….??

[UPDATE:  In the end of the our log home build, after taking that class, we ended up spending $150,000 total for a 2000 sq ft house made of 18-24” diameter pine logs, with an extra 2000 sq ft of wraparound porch…outdoor living space, which the 4 of us built with our own hands. That money was the EQUITY from our other home. This doesn’t count the coop, veg garden, or landscaping…which we funded along the way with the old mortgage payment we were able to save, instead. Keep reading all the posts, and you’ll see pictures of the entire journey!  Over 100 countries are reading now!]

I convinced Steve to take their class.   He signed us both up.  It was October 2012 when we saw the website in New Mexico.  We were in NM for 2 weeks.  Upon getting home, we prepared for the trip, and off we went to Las Vegas in November 2012.

It was a 2-day class that taught us everything we need to know about building a log home…believe it or not.

Did you ever see the show “Northern Exposure” 20 years ago, in the ’80’s?   (One of my FAVORITE shows, even today.)  If so, maybe you know Maurice, the pilot, who lived in the huge log mansion.  That log home was built by a man named Skip Ellsworth back in the 1960’s, and it was his personal design (called “butt and pass”).

It’s unlike the typical log homes where the logs directly stack on top of each other.  Skip has been approached by people from all over the world to teach his method.   His log houses don’t settle, and they don’t rot or get bug infested.  (I’m in!). He’s passed away now, so Skip’s son taught our class.

It’s going to be quite the construction project…one unlike anything we’ve ever experienced before….but we’re ready.  The Lord has guided the whole thing, and we’re trusting, and excited.   When it’s all said and done, we’ll be mortgage free.  That’s the purpose and overall goal, or else we wouldn’t be doing it.   That would be the most ideal way to resolve our financial strains.   (Not a bad goal!)

Step 1 was going to the class, to see if we could actually do this gig.  Off to Las Vegas we went….(that’s Steve getting coffee)….IMG_0726 We sat in this room for 2 solid 12-hour days (from 9am til 9pm).  Fortunately for me (sarcasm), I pulled a muscle in my lower back just 2 days before leaving for Vegas…so sitting in a hard chair for 12 hour per day was TORTURE!!!!   But, I did it.  I lived to tell the story.  Got the t-shirt and bumper sticker.  (smile)

The class was fantastic.  LOADED in valuable information.  We got to sightsee when we got out.

After class (which ended at 9pm) we headed to each hotel (or as many as we could) to see the sights.  The Bellagio has the Dancing Water Fountain set to music and a gorgeous blown glass flower ceiling. The Cosmopolitan has a crystal chandelier that seems bigger than any house I’ve seen (seriously) draped and hanging from one story to another and sparkling all over (stunning.  The Venetian has a real canal running through it with boat rides, as though you’re in Venice. I couldn’t take enough pictures of everything. (We avoided all the seedy places.)

What was the best place we went to?   Dinner at STEAK, Gordon Ramsay’s newest restaurant.


This was incredible.  My sister is the architect that designed it (and all of Wolfgang Puck’s restaurants, and Erik Rupert…etc).  I’m so proud of her.  Isn’t the entrance awesome??   She called ahead, got us a reservation, and the Manager told her that he wanted to treat us!!! Or should I say that Gordon Ramsay basically bought Steve and I dinner!!   So so so cool.

As if the meal wasn’t enough, I was deeply blessed with another surprise.  I watch Hell’s Kitchen (I just really love all cooking shows, and love Ramsay). One year, the winner was Christina.   Working at STEAK was her reward.   She came out to meet Steve and me, and sat and hung out with us a while!  

I had so much fun hearing the behind the scenes of the show, and what Gordon is really like.  She (and the rest of the staff we spoke with) said that he is the kindest, most awesome man. All in all, it was an incredible night, and I’ll never forget it.

The restaurant was beautiful.  I am so proud of my sister and her highly creative artistic vision. IMG_0745

Our trip was loads of fun, and highly educational.   More importantly, we came home equipped and prepared to build an actual log home.  (Did I just write that?  Is this happening????)

If you want to start from the beginning of the blog (just about 9 previous posts), click here: “Welcome to Cottonwood Creek

Or, go to “Loggers and Quick Sales” to continue with our story.  See you there!

Again, if you just stumbled upon this post, this is a chronological blog that reads like a chapter book. I suggest you start from the beginning, or read the post called “What is Cottonwood Creek?”

Or read “Camping in a pearl necklace” for a more detailed summary of this whole blog, full circle. Here’s the direct link: https://www.ourcottonwoodcreek.com/2016/10/04/camping-in-a-pearl-necklace/amp/?client=safari

Our other blog is http://www.GrettysGrapesAndGrains.com which is full of my personal stories.

We’re also on Instagram.  OurCottonwoodCreek

We just want to encourage you!

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