No. 304

Several weeks ago I watched a wonderful television program on the Home & Garden channel called Getaways. This program featured a number of prominent people who lived a very fast-paced and often hectic lifestyle in the inner city. After many years of this kind of existence and because they had the resources, they sought refuge in a remote area where they could just get away from it all, at least for a brief period of time.
What these highly successful and creative people did, and many others would like to do, was to find a beautiful parcel of land with a spectacular view and build the home or ‘getaway’ of their dreams. In many cases, after they were built these ‘getaways’ became a meaningful spiritual experience because the feeling of peace and solace brought them closer to nature as they saw the handiwork of God and felt His presence all around them. We all need those places and times when we can be alone to sort things out and to be reminded of just how precious in the eyes of God that we really are.
One thing the program did for me was to give me a greater appreciation for our own home. You may recall several years ago I wrote a column about our landscape timber home here in Conway. In case you don’t know, a landscape timber is just a small log, actually it’s the heart or what’s left of a log after all the boards have been sawed off. At this time I made the offer that if anyone wanted a set of basic instructions on how to build a landscape timber home along with a photograph, to send me a self-addressed stamped envelope.
My wife and I had some fun as a result of this column. When I made this offer she said I would hear from about a dozen people. Well, I quit counting soon afterwards when the number reached 500, so there was a lot more interest than either one of us thought. What makes our home special to us is because being here is almost like being in a lodge all the time. We are all different but our taste seems to run toward homes and furnishings that are rustic. I guess it’s a yearning to go back to earlier times when life was much simpler.
When I think of a lodge I visualize a large structure made out of logs, high vaulted ceilings and a big fire place with a roaring fire on a cold winter day. The setting would be somewhere in the Rocky mountains of Montana or Colorado or maybe in other beautiful parts of the country like North Carolina, West Virginia, Tennessee or up in New England, which is my favorite. It would be great to live in one of these areas if I could just take all my family and friends with me.
But back to what I was saying about our landscape timber home. We built this home about seven years ago and at the time could not afford financially to do all the things we wanted to do. It’s worked out better this way because we have been able, a little at a time, to create a very special feeling about it. One of the first things we did was to build a fence around a small spot for a garden. We then were able to pave the driveway along with planting some shrubs, a special tree here and there and some beautiful flowers. The word is “create” and any of us can create something that is really and truly unique.
Our latest project was to install new carpet and completely glass in our front porch to create a sun room which I use to write many of these columns. When I look out and see the beautiful trees, the birds in the bird feeder, the squirrels running everywhere and all the other creatures that come along from time to time I feel a sense of God’s presence. Really I see how small I am and how big He is. We still have the basic instructions on how to build a home of this type and have made some “new” pictures. Send me a self-addressed stamped envelope and I will be happy to send these to you. (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)