Posts tagged Oregon

The Book & Bean

  • Summer 1997 – I worked as a barista.
  • July 1999 – Joe gets a job selling music to bookstores across the country.
  • September 2000 – I had a vision of a coffee shop where people could come and feel loved and welcome.
  • November 2001 – Joe began (and eventually completed) writing a business plan for our own coffee shop and bookstore.
  • December 2001 – Joe buys a ton of books and music for us to sell online.
  • March 2002 – Joe becomes a national sales rep, selling even more music to more bookstores.
  • June 2005 – Joe graduates from Bible college and starts the process of planting a church with a coffee house atmosphere.
  • August 2010 – After several years of failure, heartache and frustration, JoKars Wild moves to Central Oregon and falls in love with Prineville.
  • November 18th, 2010 – While looking for a job in the local classifieds, Joe spots an ad for a coffee shop and bookstore looking to sell the business.
  • December 15th, 2010 – JoKars Wild becomes the proud owner of Book & Bean.

While there is far more to this story…like how we once left a church because of their failure to pursue the vision they had of a church with a coffee house atmosphere, or all the businesses we started that never took off, or all the bookseller conventions Joe attended over the years…I think that would have to be for a book…

Again, I am amazed and humbled by how great God is. God does not forget. God knows our hearts. God has a plan.

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Tree Hunting

“Hey, it’s snowing outside!” said Azariah who has been concerned about snow levels for his 8th birthday next month.

“Where have you been?” Papa Joe asks him sarcastically.

It has been snowing steadily for the last half hour of our drive up into the Ochoco National Forest to get our Christmas tree. I am feeling quite comfortable in the passenger seat as Joe navigates through the snow with our 4 wheel-drive “Sir Bourbon“, which is what one of the kids dubbed our vehicle. The scenery is beautiful. The evergreen trees look as if they have been slathered with white frosting. The flakes coming down are huge. It is a beautiful sight, and I am thrilled to be able to travel in such a wonderful place. Although I have been blessed that most of my life I have been able to go to a u-cut Christmas tree farm, this is my first experience getting a tree from the forest.

In Oregon, for $5, you can buy a permit to go and harvest your own Christmas tree from the national forest. As long as you stick to a few simple rules, the forest is at your disposal. What a deal! The best Christmas tree lot in America and hundreds of trees to choose from…for only $5 and the price of gas!

As we wandered up the forestry road, it was quickly becoming clear that we shouldn’t drive too far up the hill. With each increase in elevation, the snow became deeper and deeper. We saw a wide clearing and decided to back in and park.

Side note: I am a very nervous passenger. I don’t like sliding, cars too close, trees too close, being towed, towing something, etc. If I can, I drop my head into my hands till it is over.

As Joe backed into the spot, the wheels started to spin. I ducked my head down. I didn’t think anything was wrong, but I didn’t want to look either. Next thing I knew though we were sliding a little downhill. I got out of the vehicle to “help direct” Joe, but really I just didn’t want to be in the sliding vehicle.

Another note: Don’t make comments on me being a bad mom and leaving the kids to go sliding down a hill. It was only a little ditch and a tree was blocking our sliding…poor tree. I really am a wimp.

Well, I am of little help in directing and sure enough, we slide into the tree. Thankfully, we have “rescuers” that live about 20 minutes away. Joe tells us we should all go out and explore and find our tree while he waits for his dad and uncle to come pull us out of the ditch.

Michaela offers to stay behind with Nehemiah while the rest of us head for the hills. We had forgotten to bring our camera, but here are a few shots I took with my phone.

Notice the small trees are few and far between.

The beginnings of a giant snowball…

The kids and I were having a wonderful time in the snow, but we still hadn’t found the right tree. The snow was starting to come down heavily, so we decided to head back to the Sir Bourbon. The tree might have to wait for another time.

Our rescuers soon showed up while Josiah was in search for the perfect tree. As the towing/pulling took place, I meandered around the clearing diverting my eyes from the vehicles. The little kids and Michaela had taken to the warmth of the vehicle. Josiah came and showed me a picture of a tree he found and told me to come and see.  Together with Kira and Elijah, we walked down a long hill and saw Josiah’s tree. It was beautiful, but I was unsure how we would get it up the hill and whether we would even be able to get a tree today. So off we trudged back to the Sir Bourbon. I was huffing and puffing by the time we got up there. I thought to myself, “Once up that hill is enough!”

They just about had the Sir Bourbon free after snapping a cable and the use of chains on both 4 wheel-drive vehicles. Joe’s uncle asked if we had found a tree. I told them how Josiah had found one but it was down a hill. He said how it would be a shame to come all the way out here and not get a tree. And, of course, I had to go back down the hill!

Thankfully I live with some strong men and children! With the help of Uncle Rick, Papa Joe, and Josiah, the kids got that eleven-foot tree back up the hill! I am still sore three days later from our little tree hunting experience. But it was worth it. This is the most beautiful Christmas tree ever!

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Open Mike Night

Well, I did it! I sang in public!

The Madison Coffee House and Laundry in Madras, Oregon was having an Open Mike Night, so my daughter Michaela and I joined forces and prepared 3 songs to sing together. I on the guitar and her on the keyboard. During our preparation for the event, we discovered that we could blend our voices pretty well and make for a fuller sound. So we took our individual songs and worked them into songs from our new “band”…Broken Stream. (Can you call yourself a band when there is only two of you?)

As I prepared for the evening, I was as nervous as if I had never sang in public before. I have, but, well, it has just been a while… Here I didn’t have a worship team to hide behind. Here I didn’t have a choir to blend into. And not only that, it was with complete strangers…not a safe church setting. (Although I do sometimes find it harder to sing for those close to me.)

So my nerves were running high. I decided I wanted to feel really good about myself, so I bought a new top and put my hair in rollers to give some curls. (I think God may have goofed by not giving me curly hair…jk) I applied more make-up than I normally wear in my hectic daily life. Although still less than a lot of other women (and some men).

Michaela and I practiced and practiced some more. We prayed. We prayed for God to use us. We prayed for God to bless our abilities to more than we were capable of. We prayed that the music would encourage and inspire those listening. We gave our music up to Him.

The time finally came for us to go to the Open Mike Night.

My 12 year old, Kira, graciously offered to babysit the little kids as Papa Joe and Josiah were out of town. The kids had movies and snacks planned out for a fun evening.

The coffee shop had a guitar and keyboard for us to use, so we left ours at home. We got there just as things were starting up and were told where we would fit in the line up. We tinkered with the keyboard, which was kind of inadequate, but thankfully another musician brought in his keyboard. Then we settled in to listen to some great and some not so great music.

As we waited, some new friends and their kids joined us. They, like us, homeschool and have a large family…soon to be 7 kids! (Yeah, I know…they’re slacking.) They also like music.

It wasn’t long before we were up. After juggling mikes and guitars and such we got underway.

We started with a song by Francseca Battistelli called “I’m Letting Go.” I chose this song because 1) it challenged me vocally and 2) it fit with what I was doing…”letting go” and “taking a giant leap of faith”. I lead this song with Michaela chiming in on harmony. Next Michaela lead “If I Die Young” by the Band Perry. Then we took our seats and listened to some other groups.

After all the musicians played 2-3 songs, the round started again. We had rehearsed only 3 songs, but Michaela was feeling strongly she should do a song she wrote called, “There is Hope”.  So Michaela started our second set doing her song a capella. Then we finished with Michaela’s song, “Smiley Music”.

After we finished our last song, our friends’ kids were getting restless so they decided to head on home. Because I feel so strongly that relationships are one of the most important things in life, I invited them to come to our house for a little bit. This wasn’t an easy decision. There was a part of me that wanted to stay and get some feedback…i.e. praise. I know it was the right decision though. My kids really enjoyed getting to see their new friends, and we had a great time talking with each other.

So that concluded the debut of Broken Stream. I have no idea if there will be more performances. We are leaving it all up to God. Michaela and I did separately audition for a holiday talent show this past week. We don’t know whether we got in yet though.

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My Mountain

The beautiful and majestic Mt. Hood looms not too far from my house. I see it quite often as I drive about Central Oregon. Seeing it gives me a sense of peace and strength. I like knowing that some of my family has climbed to the top of that mountain: my grandparents, my mom, my brother. I think it’s an amazing accomplishment. Someday I hope to join them in being able to say, “I climbed that mountain.”

Yet, there is another mountain begging me to climb it. This mountain stands before me looming, enticing, and threatening my very existence. I ask myself, “Do I have what it takes? Am I good enough? Would God see me through? Where would God lead me?”

Even as I write this, I am having an incredibly hard time telling you about my mountain, but I don’t think I can hide behind my fear anymore. No…I don’t think I should hide behind my fear anymore.

We all have our mountains. For one it might be starting a business, for another it might be writing a novel, and for another it might be leaving all the comforts she knows to go somewhere new. For me, it is singing and putting myself out there as a vocalist, putting myself out there for criticism, being vulnerable as a performer.

Writing a blog is easy. If I don’t like your comment, I can delete it. I don’t have to respond. I can live within my own little shell. I can tell you my opinions and then put my fingers in my ears…”La, La, La…I can’t hear you.” I don’t have to actually interact with you if I don’t want to.

This past week a theme kept recurring with our children. If you have an opportunity, seize it. Don’t make excuses. Give it everything you’ve got. First with one child, then another. Then it came and bit me in the butt as I was also asked that same question. “Why didn’t you respond to the opportunity? Why are you making excuses? Why are you hiding behind your children?” 

I have no answers but to say, I am wrong. I am sinning. I am not doing what God wants me to do. I’m the one sitting at the base of the mountain training others on how to climb while I sit in my chair doing nothing. I’m saying, “I’m not fit enough. I’m not strong enough. I have too much else to do.”

It is time I get off of my fat ass, and put one foot in front of the other and see just how far God wants me to go. Maybe I will only make it to the timberline, but at least I will be able to say, I tried my very best.

How about you? What is your mountain?

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Where was I…? Oh, yeah, relationships…

If there is one thing that I can convey to you, it is the importance of relationships…a relationship with your spouse, a relationship with your children, a relationship with Jesus, and relationships with friends.

As a mom, I find it very hard to keep in close relationship with friends. As other moms can relate, it is often difficult to finish a conversation. As I have written these few sentences, I have been interrupted at least 12 times. (“Hanna put away the vacuum. It’s not a toy.”) One of the reasons I write this blog is to stay in relationship with other people. Also, I want to encourage, I want to share my heart with you. Taking care of 8 kids has made that difficult, but this blog allows that to happen. (“Kids, turn down the TV!”)

The other day I was given an opportunity to see a friend in person…I know, what a weird concept! My husband took our boys for the day, and I headed to Lincoln City, OR with Kira, Petra, Hanna, and Nehemiah. It was a 4 hour drive one way, but well worth it.

Along the way, I stopped and snapped a photo with my cell phone.

My friend and I and the kids had lunch together. We were able to talk about old times and also find out some new things. We encouraged each other. We lifted each other up.

Some might think that 8 hours of driving was not worth the few hours of time we had together. But this is what we were created for…to be in relationship with one another and God. We are supposed to be in relationship. (“Kira, can you come and get Nehemiah?”)

It isn’t always convenient. It isn’t always easy. It isn’t always even pleasurable. But I guarantee that in the end it is worth it. (“Be there in a sec to finish dinner!…”)

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Madison Coffee House and Laundry

I have been fortunate enough to go and do laundry about once a week. This is a major time saver since I can do all our laundry in two hours. I had found a small laundromat that wasn’t too expensive, but it didn’t have any chairs or air conditioning. So it wasn’t the most pleasant experience. I usually sat in the car and read a book or worked on my laptop.

This week, though, my neighbor told me of a laundromat just down our street. She said it was nice, and I should check it out.

So I headed to Madison Coffee House and Laundry. Once there, the laundry was on one side, and the coffee house on the other. So in I headed with Kira, Petra, Hanna, and Nehemiah to the laundry. The machines were cheaper than the other facility, so we stayed. Also, it had air conditioning, tables, and chairs. After starting our laundry we headed over to the coffee house side. We were given a free quarter for each load of laundry we were doing. Thank goodness, because I wasn’t sure I would have enough to dry the laundry.

On the coffee house side were couches, computers, and free WiFi. Oh, if only I had thought to bring my laptop. They had gourmet coffees, teas, food, and fresh produce.

Also, there was a long table that sat 8. Around that table were tons of books, games, and homeschool curriculum. We made ourselves at home and had a fun time playing games and reading books.

I was truly blown away and blessed by the hospitality of this little coffee shop. It made me think of the gift of generosity. Shouldn’t we as Christians put our best foot forward and be as generous as can? Giving all we can? This place definitely gave its first fruits to those in need. Those in need of laundry, rest, and a cup of joe.

So if you are ever in Madras, Oregon, please stop by the Madison Coffee House and Laundry.

In the end I was able to get the laundry dry with the help of those free quarters, my daughter Kira, and a couple of ones I had in my purse. I actually had 2 quarters to spare.

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Showers of Blessings

Most people when they think of Oregon think of rain, rain, rain. They also think of lush-ness and greenery. Well, there is another part of Oregon that most people don’t even realize exists. And it is actually larger than the more popular rainy, lush area otherwise known as “The Valley”.

This other area is Eastern and Central Oregon. Since I am more familiar with Central Oregon, I am going to share a few tidbits maybe you didn’t know. Central Oregon is a high desert. It is rugged and dry. There are flat plateaus, canyons, and rocky outcroppings.

 The annual rainfall is only around 12 inches a year. This makes for a very dry climate. Since we arrived on August 1st, it has only rained 2 times.

Instead of receiving rain of the liquid variety, we have been receiving showers of blessings. At our first visit to our church, we said a prayer. I don’t really remember all the words, but it basically was a prayer for provisions. We prayed for job opportunities, checks in the mail, rebates, inheritances, etc. While I was hopeful for some of the things listed, others, I thought, weren’t even a possibility.

Over the next 3 weeks, we received one rebate, 8 checks in the mail, and one job opportunity. All of the checks were completely unexpected like a refund for overpayment on our property taxes on our old property. The money always came when we most needed it.

With the job opportunity, Joe had an interview for a coaching position, and then had to wait a week to find out if he got the position. They called and told him that he did not get the job. We were very disappointed but held on to faith that God would provide.

Yesterday, Joe got a call that they had too many kids on the team and were forming two and asked if Joe would coach the second team. And…he would get the same pay as previously told.

I have also been worrying about clothes for this winter for the kids. So I decided that I should pray about it. We have since then received two bags of boys’ clothes and one bag of girls’ clothes. I also prayed for food. We received a ton of food that someone didn’t have need for and we also have received some surplus garden bounty. I could go on about the gifts we have been given. Daily I am amazed. It still boggles my mind as to how good God is. I don’t think I will ever grasp how great God is.

So we might not have had a lot of rain here, but we have definitely been showered with blessings.

Now, I don’t write this to boast. No, I write this to remind myself. If I had been with the Israelites on the exodus from Egypt, I am sure that I would be of the golden calf making crowd. I, all too quickly, forget of God’s provisions. I, all too quickly, become filled with worry and doubt. I, all too quickly, complain.

I wrote this to encourage you in your own life as well as to be a reminder to myself of God’s provisions and blessings. Put your trust in Him and he will provide all you need.

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