When You Long for a Cabin in the Woods


She’s all long legs and long hair as she shows me her front flip in the backyard, this child who had surgery for her broken neck. This child who isn’t suppose to do crazy things like flips. I smile on the outside but sigh on the inside, feeling akin to the nuns who ask of Maria in The Sound of Music,

How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?

I have no idea.

An answer rides the summer breeze: Make do with what I have. God saw fit for me to mother a girl who flips and flies and prefers upside down to right side up, and He knows I have only so much energy – so much ability – to bring her down to earth. Where this girl is concerned, I’m learning to let trust in God and responsible safety dance together. Believe me, this is no small thing for a mama who errs on the side of a chinook helicopter. With my girl’s health realities whispering fear in my ear, it would be easier to tell her no to everything.

And speaking of easier.

We just returned from a three day weekend trip in the mountains, from where my Colorado happy place lives. Three days is just long enough to escape reality and fantasize about the quintessential cabin in the woods and idyllic writing time that stretches forward like cool streams.

How easy I think creating could happen there.

But I’m not there. I’m here in my beautiful but chaotic home and when it comes to creating, I have to make do with what I have. My heart and home are chock-full of children and life and hard stuff and fun stuff. Without a cabin in the woods and with kids home and all our playing and hiking and gardening and reading and camping and jammy-wearing ’til noon, it’s just easier to give in to the lazy days of summer and say no to writing.

But amidst the laughing and fighting, backyard sprinklers and front flips, I hear Him urge me on: Make do with what you have.


So I get up while it’s dark and let the Word and the chai nudge out the words on a brand new project. Progress is slow, but you know what? I don’t mind. Summer is freedom and slow progress is still progress. It also means I’m indeed making do with what I have, and what I have are three babes I’ve been handpicked to mother, a husband who handpicked me to love.

What I long for is magnificent scenery and creative inspiration.

What I have is exactly that.

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  1. says

    Beautiful. Several women have encouraged me to set aside writing during the summer months and to focus only on my children. But I don’t sense God telling me to do that. Writing is how I find perspective about this chaotic household, even if I can only muster a few quiet minutes in the evenings after the kids are in bed. I like your idea about how slow progress is still progress. This is the kind of encouragement I need, Kristen! Blessings to you and your front-flipping clan.

  2. says

    Oh my! This is such a beautiful reminder to “make do with what we have.” And I love that at the end you come around to grateful realization of the good things you have. Thank you!

  3. says

    Yes! God has been talking to me about relaxing and doing one thing at a time through so many friendships, projects, mothering moments and ordinary days this summer. This line especially resonated with me: “Summer is freedom and slow progress is still progress.” Good words, friend!

  4. says

    I’m getting ready to go to our family cottage tucked in the woods, packing a suitcase of happiness. Can’t wait. I think you are making do here quite well.

  5. iamhere says

    What awesome beautiful creation your family that outdoor space.It is hard to believe these places of woods untouched exiat ont USA.Beautiful family and strong parents.It is ok to give it rest your site swaing for PJ days or away.It is ok you do not need to feel you must do it all ok?Amen …I am a grand parent but feeling not much help as one.I just Thinking what should I do!

  6. Patricia says

    How very interesting and beautiful. we tend to miss the point many times- Use what is right in front of us!

    Thank you Kristen for this wonderful reminder and wishing you all the best as you begin a new project.

  7. says

    Oh some days I long for my cabin in the woods, especially as I survey the clutter and chaos around me! Thank you for your reminder that slow progress is still progress…and that I can make do with what I have…I needed to hear that! So glad you make time for your writing because you inspire me!
    With love and thanks,

  8. Trudi Stigge says

    Kristen, God has certainly given you “one” fantastic talent in writing besides the blessed gift of being a blessed mother and wife, it sounds like. Even though my motherhood days are long gone (and my kids no longer need me….sigh and teardrops–they’ve always been fiercely independent), I can “feel” where YOU are in your writing. God continue to bless you with this gift of inspiration to others!

  9. says

    These words are so beautiful and ring so true! I too am longing for a space such as the one you are writing about. Thank you for encouragement through your words.

  10. says

    A writing retreat in a mountain cabin does sound wonderful and certain to spark all kinds of creativity and inspiration, but I also love it when God surprises me with unexpected inspiration while I’m doing something like brushing my teeth, putting on makeup, doing dishes and suddenly I am dropping everything and running for my laptop or the closest piece of paper to hurry up and write something down before I forget!

    This was a beautiful post, you are blessed with all that you have, enjoy this life and this season God has given you!

  11. says

    Slow progress IS progress still. This is beautiful, and encouraging. I also fight my helicopter tendencies, so thank you for this–truly.

  12. says

    I have a five year old, two year old and 6 month old. More often than not, my writing consists of finger taps on my iPhone’s notepad app. When I’m laying down with the baby, the thoughts tumble out and my heart swells and I have to express it. So I type it out, thumb to each individual letter on my phone’s little keypad. Sometimes the writings get fine tuned and then uploaded to the blog, and other times they don’t. But all the time, it is the way I wrestle through emotions, give space for my soul to breathe. This was beautiful. Thanks for sharing! I needed it, and I understand!