Be In A Tree

Tree House Point. Also known as “the best place ever”!  Mr. Yell and I spent part of our honeymoon a few weeks ago at this amazing bed and breakfast, and already cannot wait to go back to visit!
Located 30-45 minutes outside of Seattle, Washington, Tree House Point feels like a wilderness fairyland… It was so restful and relaxing!

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THP has a creek that runs through the property that is crystal clear and perfectly round pebbles make up the beautiful creek bed.

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There are six tree houses at THP and can room two people in each, making a dozen people the maximum amount that can be there at a time. Which honestly, makes things so much more magical.

There were ferns all over the grounds with small trails winding to different houses and down to the creek. This place looks as untouched as possible, making it easy to get in touch with nature or just enjoy being away from the craziness of life.

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The view of some of the other tree houses from our own looked so peaceful and still. Little lights glow along the narrow pathways that navigate around to restrooms, the lodge, and the creek. (Above: the view of two tree houses from the Bonbibi tree house, in which we had the honor of staying.)

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Rock totems (like those in the picture) line the creek bed along the property. Visitors can create a new one or add to a half-created totem. While this seemed somewhat strange at first, it actually became a fun and wonderful activity!

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We not only loved the tree houses, but we were also only 20 minutes from Snoqualmie Falls. The view was gorgeous and even had a short (but STEEP) walking trail downstream of the falls.

Overall, we loved the experience of Tree House Point as well as what the towns surrounding had to offer. Mr. Yell and I can’t wait to make the trek back someday.

So if you have the time: Stop, take a breath, and “Be in a Tree”.

Much love. Much Grace.

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Feel free to follow THP on Instagram by searching the tag name @treehousepoint for lovely pictures and updates about the property!

Life In An Airstream

I was beyond excited when Alyssa agreed to write a blog post for the “Perspectives” series. We met a while back when we were both campers at a church camp, the summer after our Senior year of high school. Her life is full of such riches, and she has graciously shared some of them in this post. I hope you enjoy her writing as much as I do. Enjoy!

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As I sit here trying to come up with a semi-accurate depiction of my true feelings towards my last year and a half living in a 1976 airstream, I am realizing that there is a reason why the backspace key is getting the most contact at the moment. There is no clear answer when someone walks up to you and says, “so how is it living in a camper?” Do I respond by baring my little hippie heart in how adventurous and wild and freeing it has been, or do I make a passive-aggressive comment to the fact that I broke my husband’s drawer yesterday simply by putting clothes away? Because, truthfully, both responses would be completely accurate. And it really depends less on how the camper is functioning at that particular moment and more on what kind of day I am having.

I would be lying if I told you that the new hasn’t worn off and we are just as enamored with this unconventional little life we have created for ourselves since the day we laid eyes on Juniper (our name for the airstream). But I would also be lying if I told you we had any regrets with our decision. As young, start-up artists, my husband and I made a vow to not be swayed by large salaries and material possessions, and instead do what it took to pursue our passions and invest in our marriage. For us, that meant simplifying as much as possible. It meant sacrificing certain luxuries like walk-in showers, big screen TVs, dish washers and full sized appliances (yes, I said luxuries).

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Some days, I sit on the steps of the airstream, overlooking endless fields kissing the horizon and don’t think it would be possible to be any more content with my life and the season I am in. Other days, I sit at the kitchen table, watching the a.c unit drip like clockwork, clanking off the corning ware placed strategically on the floor and dream of what it would be like to live in a house with privacy and a large kitchen and a claw tub. But then I am reminded of how much Juniper has taught me…has taught us…and I cannot help but be immensely grateful for this precious season of life that so few will ever experience. I’m learning how little material is really required to satisfy the human soul— that the fabrics of our safety blankets are not stitched by the threads of status and location but by laughter and tears and a love that sustains many years of hardship and drought.

If you look closely, beyond the broken parts and peeling wall paper, you will begin to see the things that have made this place a home. On the round kitchen table sits a mason jar with fresh flowers Matt picks out for me every time we go to Trader Joe’s. An old, heirloom quilt wraps the bed, replacing the winter comforter—the same bed Matt and I have had many ice cream and movie dates and breakfast dinners on. And above that bed sits a window that faces the sunset, so I never have to miss it.

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So, I’ll take the funny smells, tiny appliances, annoying drips, broken drawers, and all the quirks that come with living this life I live, because when weighed against the memories made in this place and the lessons learned, those little quirks don’t hold a candle.

I suppose this post isn’t really about living in an airstream. Rather, it’s about coming to the realization that when it comes down to it, and the measuring cup of materialism reads nearly empty, joy can still exist. Contentment, satisfaction and beauty can all be found in a mansion or even a 24 foot travel trailer. And perhaps this long, tireless search for adventure and wonder and future horizons is right here, right now in this very moment.

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“One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.”-Dale Carnegie

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Alyssa Bell is a wife, friend, and artist who lives her life in an Airstream trailer named Juniper. She is a wiz at photography and videography as seen on her blog . (Check it out!). Her and her husband Matt, along with their friend Jarod, are the creators of a documentary of their life on wheels called, The Unified Revival Tour. Alyssa is a true adventurer and lover of people in so many unimaginable ways!

Breathe a Little

You guys, nature is just so fascinating to me. The sky, the air, the trees, the grass… all of it.

When I was little, and my parents can definitely attest to this, I HATED to be outside. I think that is mostly because I was scared of two things: BUGS and SWEAT. Two things that are synonomous with being outdoors pretty much anywhere. However, now that I am older I have really learned how to love being away from the man-made and treating myself to the peaceful outdoors. I mostly just learned how to ignore the bugs and get used to sweating…. but still, peace is what I try to focus on while being outdoors.

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For our honeymoon, Mr. Yell and I went to the lovely city of Seattle, Washington… and it was just pure bliss. I had been craving a cooler climate for months, and he surprised me with the honeymoon that he planned (all by himself!) to the Pacific Northwest.

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Living in Louisiana for the past seven (already SEVEN??) years, I had almost forgotten how other climates feel. And while I have traveled during those  seven years, there is just something refreshing about visiting a cool place in the middle of a hot, southern summer.

Not only were we refreshed after all the wedding craziness, but we also experienced so many of the beautiful things that the PNW has to offer.

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Ruby Beach, Washington, USA

We experienced the salty, misty air of the Pacific ocean, and all of the tiny ecosystems it had to offer. There were tide pools and small little islands of trees and birds. This picture does not do it justice!

 

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Mr. Yell hugging one of the giant trees at the rainforest.

 

We went to the HOH rainforest and saw such deep green, old trees. They towered over us… some were about 300 feet tall. This one that Mr. Yell is trying to embrace was one of the medium sized ones.

 

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Mt. Rainer 1 mile hike

 

Mr. Yell and I even ventured to Mt. Rainer and hiked a short trail to a lookout of Mt. Rainer herself. In this picture, her summit is hidden by the clouds, but the air was the most pure I had experienced in quite a while. We even saw some hairy marmots playing!

Such beauty surrounded us at almost every turn. To say I was amazed is an understatement, but I was. Every single tiny detail in nature was completely thought out. From the food for the animals, the life cycle of the gigantic trees, even to the tiny tide pools by the ocean. Each ecosystem was beautifully and carefully taken care of.

Our God just cares so much. He planned all of these little details for the various natural habitats; yet he loves us more than all of these beautiful things combined. It is so hard to remember in times of need and stress, but it is so true. God cares for the animals and the plants, so why would He not care for us?

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
Matthew 6: 26

Honestly.

We can even take this  a step further. Friends (men and women, alike) God created beautiful sunsets and flowers. He created beautiful, strong animals; and He gave them instincts the need to survive. He loves us more than these. He thinks we are more beautiful, stronger, and worth the sacrifice of His only son, Jesus. His love is not just about food and shelter, but confidence in who we are as His creations. We don’t bash glorious beaches or delicate wildflowers. We find wonder in them. So should we also find love and wonder in who God created us to be as well?

To hate on our bodies or our abilities is to throw impurities in the face of the creator who made it.

While there is a stigma, or an uneasiness in looking to nature for beauty and meaning, I don’t think we should forget about it entirely. God can use whatever and whoever He wants to teach us lessons. We just have to be open to seeing what that lesson may be.

So be encouraged, you are loved and beautiful and cared for.

Much love. Much grace.

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“I am Wrong”

Three words that are so simple, and yet so hard to say. The ability to admit that I am wrong about anything is such a struggle. This can happen when discussing academia, movies, and even scripture. It’s like I can’t seem to get it into my prideful self that I could possibly have said something that was incorrect.

This even happens when I know for a fact that I am wrong. Even when I know the other person is right by way of facts or feelings, I still get more and more entrenched in my own opinions and ideals. I can’t seem to let it go, look it up, or agree with the other person; instead I feel that they MUST eventually take my side. Some of us may agrue that this is just “the American-way”, or that culture has made me this way, but I can only think one thing.

“Can I be more prideful?”

People not only have his or her own insights to life, but believe it or not, other people just KNOW more than I do. I have become so pretentious and elitist that I could not admit the faults in myself.

And for that: I AM WRONG.

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Being prideful about my knowledge or attitude is hurtful to so many people. Friends become annoyed and hurt; family can become fed-up, and I am sure that it is extremely unattractive to my husband. However, it is also extremely hurtful to the LORD. He not only calls us to be humble with others, but with Him as well. He desires us to know Him more, and He cares enough to listen to all of our little worries. But if I claim to know all about Him, claiming to interpret Him perfectly or without room for others opinions, I cannot be the second part to a two person friendship.

My command is this: love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:12-13 (NIV)

Since Jesus gave his life, not only for His friends, but also His enemies; He is also a friend of mine.

And I have been a horrible friend to Him.

Being pretentious kills love, honesty, and openness; especially between friends. So the I must do the opposite. I must be willing to not only notice when I am wrong, but also admit it aloud to encourage the growth of relationships between others and to encourage forgiveness.

How else can people feel loved if we don’t show them we are willing to let them be right?

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Ps. The rest of John 15 is just so wonderful to read and so encouraging! I recommend it. 😉