A Pictorial Journey with excerpts from my book Water Walkers
An Invitation to More
“When Troy came home with the news that he had lost his job, I was in shock. I had thought Troy would eventually become the senior pastor and we would retire there (New Jersey). That was the logical progression of things. We immediately prayed and asked God what we were to do. I heard, “I want you to camp across country.” What? Come again? This is not the time for camping. I was thinking I must still be in shock. My dad and step-mom offered for us to come stay with them in Oregon.
As we prayed, we couldn’t get the idea of camping out of our heads. How would we camp? What did that look like? We wanted to understand everything. We were still very much operating in our logical brain. You see, the journey we were about to take was a journey that would teach us many things, one of which was the importance of saying yes without understanding. We were not to have an opinion, at least not until our opinions were sanctified. We would need to learn to live from the Spirit, and not the flesh, if we were going to live the life we were asking for. Our answer was an absolute “yes” …
We knew through praying, that we were to buy a van and camper and take time to cross the country. The logical thing to do would be to send out resumes for positions as a senior pastor, but God was calling us to healing, family cohesion, and rest. He would also reveal to us what we needed to know one step at a time. Like Abraham, we were to go until God showed us where and when to stop.” (excerpt from Water Walkers pg.33)
Order A Ticket
“As he was finishing up the last few weeks of his position, Troy’s daily commute took him past a Catholic church advertising a raffle sale with a brand-new Cadillac out front. He heard God say, “order a ticket.” He fought the voice for two weeks; reasoning God was not into gambling and that couldn’t be from Him. I suggested to him it was probably God and he needed to listen. Then he had this brilliant idea that God must want us to buy a ticket so we would win the Cadillac and then sell it and buy the van and camper we needed. He “knew” what God was going to do. God was packaged nicely in a box with a big red bow. How much could a raffle ticket cost anyway, 20 bucks?
So, he called to buy a ticket and they said it would be $100. He thanked them very much, hung up the phone, and totally wrote it off as his flesh talking. God immediately came back with, “So you will trust me for 20 bucks, but not $100?” Convicted, he went and bought a ticket, then proceeded to tell me I was to wait by the phone on the day they were going to call the winners. When the day arrived, there was no phone call. We did not win. Troy was angry. He was trusting God and felt He had led him to waste $100. He also questioned if he was hearing from God.
It was a critical time and he had a family to support. He couldn’t afford to be hearing God wrong. I asked him, “Did God tell you to buy a ticket or did God tell you that you would win the raffle?” The point was to obey even when we did not understand or things didn’t turn out the way we thought they should. The point, I believe, was to step out and take a risk, buy a ticket, and trust God.” (excerpt from Water Walkers pg.34)
“Order the Van, I’ll Take Care of You”
“We had some money from the sale of our house, so we went looking for a van and camper. The camper we found cost about $27,000. It was big enough to live in with a family of six. I had just had Abby (#4). She was three months old when we left. Springing money for a van was a bit more difficult. There were no used vans for what we needed…anywhere. We had to look at brand new vans and they cost a pretty penny…$42,000 worth of pennies, actually. We told the dealer we would go home and pray about it. As we drove off the lot Troy heard God say, “Order the van, I’ll take care of you.” He turned to me and said, “You remember the voice that told me to buy the $100 raffle ticket? Well, now it is saying to order the $42,000 van.” So, I answered, “Then we order the $42,000 van.” It made no sense. The van and camper would drain all of our savings for the trip out West. But we ordered both the van and camper anyway.
A few weeks later, Troy came home from work and said, “I think we have our confirmation that we are supposed to camp across country in a van and camper.” He continued to relay the story that had transpired earlier that day. After Sunday school, a man approached him and confessed that he and his wife had been praying individually and heard God tell them that we would be camping across country and needed transportation as well as a camper. The man asked if we were planning on camping. Troy hesitated because he thought the guy would think we were nuts. Troy confirmed that we were (camping, not nuts), but that is all in the eyes of the beholder. The man responded so confidently that he and his wife needed to take a step of faith and buy us the van and camper.
We would later find out that their own journey of faith led them to this point. They were broken and so desperate for God. His answer to them was to step out in faith and sacrifice and bless us. Their lives have never been the same. God has opened up the storehouses over them, trusting His stewards to invest His money wisely. In doing so, they proved they did not have a love of money, nor a fear of losing it. Money served them, and not the other way around.” (an excerpt from Water Walkers pgs. 37-38)
The Sheik Dream
We had a choice to stay and start our own church with our little basement church group or go on the adventure:
“That night I had a dream. God would actually present an invitation for me to trust my own heart to decide which direction to pursue. I didn’t know it then, but it was a dream that would become the starting point for the future vision God would be unpacking on our journey. He knew I needed to know what my heart truly wanted to do. In my dream, a sheik was coming to town. He was looking for a bride amongst the people. I was to journey home to my parents’ house to prepare. They counseled me that I needed to stand out from among the rest and catch his gaze.
Preparations had been made, beauty treatments administered, and the day came for the sheik to arrive. Thousands lined the streets of the city as his entourage broke through the crowd. Arms waved madly from the sidelines and the screams and cheers were deafening. As he made his way around the bend, I stepped out from the crowd into his path. I cupped his face in my hands and kissed him on the lips. He turned his gaze toward me and our eyes locked.
Then a woman stepped out from behind me and began to tell me that now it was time for me to prepare my gown. I would need to travel to different places and gather six or seven different materials, one from each place. Then I would need to prepare my gown…or I could buy one already made for $19.99. Somehow, I knew that I was making a wedding dress, because the sheik had chosen his bride. Then she disappeared and I woke up.
Troy and I started our ministry in 1999. We could stay and start a ready-made church, but I knew my heart wanted the adventure. I knew that in the searching for materials, my gown would be much more precious and my love for the sheik would grow much deeper. I would be building a love between us that would answer the cry of my heart to know and be known. I also was aware that there was so much more to learn and grow in that we would eventually be able to pour into others. I chose the adventure. I chose the “more.” Now we were both in and the adventure would begin.” (excerpt from Water Walkers pgs. 42-43)
Mapping Out the Journey
39 States in 2 Years
The Incredible Journey
“What child gets to celebrate their first birthday in the Seattle Space Needle eating a Royal Orbitor (hot fudge sundae) served on a bed of dry ice? Hot fudge sundaes are my favorite dessert and to be served one completely engulfed in an icy fog was out of this world. What a journey we were on, getting the chance to see the country together as a family. It was a homeschool dream. I remember feeling guilty that my children didn’t have a normal life with piano lessons and baseball games, until I realized that not many children get to study Laura Ingles Wilder books, and then not only visit the prairie where the Little House books took place, but have the whole homestead to themselves for an entire day and night.
We had enjoyed a show at Sight and Sound Theatre in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, almost drowned at the Titanic Museum in Branson, Missouri, delighted in the spirit of excellence at the Creation Museum in Kentucky, and went back in time at Lincoln’s New Salem, and the Presidential Museum in Springfield, Illinois. We witnessed grizzly bears and buffalo up close in Yellowstone, basked in the falls in Yosemite, panned for gold and had our stagecoach robbed by masked bandits in Columbia, California, conversed with a real mountain man in the Smokey Mountains, watched the sun set on Mount Rushmore, played the washboard at a cowboy dinner show, and so many more memories that fill our Shutterfly albums. The children are always pouring through the albums and reminiscing together. It was an incredible journey.” (pgs. 70-71 excerpt from Water Walkers)
Freedom Tour: Rest in the West and Back Again
Leaving New Jersey
“That afternoon, as we were pulling out, all our tribe was there to see us off. Ralph stopped by to say one last goodbye. It was short and sweet. He cupped my face with his trembling hands and kissed me and said, “This isn’t goodbye. I’ll be seeing you,” and he walked away without looking back, flinging his arm over his head in a goodbye gesture, as he walked toward his truck. People deal with grief in many ways. His was a grief of selling out and counting the cost. He had entered the game and played hard and came out on the other side, all the stronger because of it. We all had, and that is why the pain hurt so deeply. What would we encounter along the journey? What did our yes mean and what would be the consequences of signing that blank document? There is a cost and sometimes the doubt is real and the adventure hurts. But even the pain brings with it a collateral beauty.” (excerpt from Water Walkers pg.46)
West Virginia, Is the Camper Still On the Road?
“We called this our “Freedom Tour,” but in reality, it felt like anything but. We jokingly referred to our little home on wheels as our sanctification incubator. There were six of us crammed into a tiny space. The children ranged in ages from 0-8. There was nowhere to go, so if there were problems, and there were, they had to be dealt with immediately. I wrote a blog as we traveled across country. It was my way of processing and recording our memories, as well as staying connected to those traveling with us vicariously.
One afternoon, the title for the day’s blog, Is the Camper Still on the Road? came pouring out of Troy’s lips as he was white knuckling the steering wheel down a steep canyon with no guard rails and nowhere to turn around. While on Hwy 219 in Maryland heading into West Virginia, the GPS directed us to make a turn. Because it was getting late, we chose the “shortest route.” Before taking off, Troy had never towed anything besides a lawn cart before and only had a one-hour practice session from Papa Jac, a former truck driver and dear friend. We had fifty-three feet of vehicle we needed to navigate and once we turned, we were committed. The gravel road seemed to narrow and the guardrails soon disappeared and then there it was: the most amazing view I had ever seen, since the Grand Canyon when I was just a kid.
You haven’t lived until you’ve seen the Appalachian Mountains in the fall, while hanging over the edge of a cliff. Troy could have lived without it, but then again, I wasn’t the one white knuckling it. I have never heard him pray so much, or be so grateful as he thanked God after every hairpin turn, of which there were many. We could watch on the GPS the turns in the road that were ahead. With each turn, Troy would take a deep breath and often exclaim out loud, “you have got to be kidding!” The road just wound down deeper and deeper, into the mountains where the real mountain people live. I’m talking outhouses and the whole shebang. It was beautiful and creepy at the same time.
“Is the camper still on the road?” pretty much summed up how we felt during most of our journey because we were pioneering a trail for which there was no visible path before us. We were unclear of the destination, but we were shedding many mindsets on this journey of healing, rest, and family cohesion.
So, there we were wandering in “Outhouseville” in the pitch dark with cliffs all around, no cell service, a nearly empty gas tank, and now, bonus…the camper’s lights were mysteriously not working. All we could see were the headlights in front and hear the “creak, creak, creak” of the camper following close behind us. It’s such a picture of the walk of faith. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Sometimes He illuminates the whole path. Many times, we are only given enough light to see what is directly in front of us. But we can rest in the fact that He sees it all even if we can only see one step at a time.
Remember Peter shouted out, “Lord, if it’s really you, then have me join you on the water!” Jesus replies: “Come and join me.” The only thing we knew is that we were not called out onto the water to just wander and sink. We were called out to walk toward Him, and eventually with Him. Faith is simply seeing things from God’s perspective and coming into agreement with Him. And as long as our eyes remain on Him, we walk on the water and join Him in the depths. We walk toward Him and cling to His promises, but it may feel like we are lost in the dark with cliffs on either side, and the only thing we know to do is put one foot in front of the other and keep our eyes on Him.” (excerpt from Water Walkers pgs. 48-50)
The Creation Museum, Kentucky
Smoky Mountains- Gatlinburg, Tennessee
You have to understand the emotions we were going through of having just left a life we loved, entering a journey we had no idea where we were going or when it would end. I just kept asking Father to please watch over the children and their hearts. Help this be a grand adventure.
The afternoon that we visited the little cabin, the kids were running in and out exploring in the mountains. There was no light in the cabin and I wasn’t looking into the sun. I was taking a picture of the entrance to a dark cabin. I snapped the picture of the three kids in the doorway. That evening, while praying, Father told me to go back and look through the pictures. He said, “I’ve got your children. I am watching over them.” If you look, there is a light presence behind the two older children. There was no light when I snapped the picture. My daughter Shanna, my Seer, is looking between Ashley and Caleb. She sees the angel watching over them, and I believe I caught it on camera.
Nashville/ Franklin/ Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee
Franklin, TN captured our hearts when we came through and we thought to ourselves, “We could live here.” Eleven years later, God called us to Franklin, TN, our Sweet Spot in the South.
Branson, Missouri and The Laura Ingles Wilder House
We purchased the Little House on the Prairie book series at the location Laura Ingles Wilder wrote them, and we read them aloud all across the country.
The Titanic Museum in Branson, MO was a highlight of the trip. Upon entering, you are given a character. As you go through the museum you learn all about the Titanic, the people (including your character), the movie (and it’s many bloopers), and the time period. At the end, you find out if your character made it or if they perished at sea. History Immersion at its finest.
Phoenix, Arizona & the Painted Desert
When we got to Arizona, we had the choice of going straight up to California, or taking a detour to Phoenix. We didn’t feel ready to be with our extended family in California, because our “sanctification incubator” was bringing up some real issues in our family. Issues we needed to deal with. A friend of ours, back in New Jersey, sent us a message he said God wanted him to tell us. “Have fun with the oranges” was all it said. It made no sense to us.
That is until we decided to look into campgrounds in Phoenix. When I looked online, the campground that popped up said, “Come have fun with the oranges.” Guess there was something for us in Phoenix. We booked our site for a week and had some amazing family breakthrough. You see, in a camper, when issues come up, you have to deal with them. There is nowhere else to go. We also enjoyed the orange tree on our site, and thanked God for His very clear leading.
Klamath (Trees of Mystery), Trinidad & Sonoma County, California
Grants Pass, Oregon
“It was a beautiful, sunny morning on Mother’s Day. We were in Oregon at the time, and my dad decided to take us to one of their favorite breakfast spots along the Rogue River for Mother’s Day brunch. It was a perfect spot along the river. The pine tree air wafted in the cool breeze and the sun shone as the river carved its way along the bottom of the steep canyon walls with its gorgeous tall pines stretching to the heavens. I love Oregon. It is mostly blue and green. Sky and trees, and all the fresh air one needs to fill the lungs. It was a perfect day. We all gathered out on the back deck getting ourselves organized. The waitress brought out plates, silverware, and napkins and took our drink orders then invited us in to fill our plates at the buffet inside.
I grabbed my plate and headed in, stomach leading the way. When I opened the door, in front of me was a large buffet table laden with steaming hot pancakes, sausages, bacon and eggs, fresh fruit, yogurt and granola. It was piled high and ready for the taking. The only problem was the giant line on the other side of the room leading to a buffet table that ran along the side of the kitchen. The line ran out the front door. I had come in the side door because we were sitting out on the back patio. Why was the line so long for the other buffet and yet this buffet was loaded with the same foods, and yet no partakers? I sat there for a moment, sizing up the situation and then decided to step out of the boat and lead the way around to this other buffet table.
What happened next was amazing. All the people in the other line began to talk amongst themselves as if saying, “Look, that food over there is the same food in this line. Why are we waiting in this other line when there is food to be had over there?” Like herded livestock, led by a sheepdog, the line broke off and people slowly made their way behind me. They began dishing out their food with big smiles as they confessed being afraid to come to this line because nobody was here. They were used to following and nobody was leading the way. By stepping out and thinking for myself, I had invited them to a feast in half the time, and they were no longer following the cattle in front of them. They left the herd, and enjoyed a terrific Mother’s Day brunch.” (pgs. 207-208 excerpt from Water Walkers)
“My family, including my parents and siblings and their families, journeyed to the beautiful Oregon coast for a camping trip to celebrate Abby’s first birthday when we were living in Oregon. While combing the rocks on the coastline, my brother made a discovery. He found rounded glass stones up on a rock. It was an odd thing to find at the beach, although Oregon is known for their beach glass. This wasn’t beach glass though; it was those little glass pieces you find in the bottom of flower vases.
In colors of blue, green and white, we discovered them in such odd places, like tucked away on the tops of massive boulders out in the ocean. These boulders were usually surrounded by water, except at low tide. We all started scavenging for them. We found nine in total, and then no more. It was a finding frenzy at first and then nothing. It was almost as if God wanted us to find nine and that was it. They were treasures from heaven and had some prophetic meaning, I was sure…
The last stone we found in New Jersey. There are fifteen in total. We started finding them in Oregon with all nine at once, ending in New Jersey with fifteen. We started this journey in 2009 and arrived in New Jersey for the last leg of the preparation in 2015. It is no coincidence. It was like He was leaving love notes all over for us to find. The message was that we were not alone on this journey. We knew we had angels watching over us and leading us to things Papa would put together in the end. There was no need to fear.” (pgs. 67&69 excerpt from Water Walkers)
“Feeling all alone and wandering, we were both discouraged. We decided to cheer ourselves up one weekend and shoot up to two of my bucket list destinations of Seattle and Leavenworth, Washington. Anyone else dream of ordering a fish from Pike Place Fish Market for the sole (get it? I’m so “punny”) purpose of watching the fishmongers “throw” your purchase as part of their theatrical display for the tourists? Well I did. My dream was crushed when I found out one fish cost over a hundred bucks. Needless to say, we enjoyed the show anyway. I had wanted to visit Seattle ever since watching the movie Sleepless in Seattle. I had also heard Leavenworth was beautiful, like a Little Switzerland. Anyway, we had one of those RV state sticker decals on our camper and we couldn’t come this far and skip Washington.
Leavenworth was a town out of a storybook. It truly was one of my most favorite destinations in the whole country. We had the most amazing ice cream, walked the streets, perused quaint shops, visited the cutest little bookstore, toured flower gardens, and spent time with the locals at their farmers’ market. This amazing little piece of heaven was surrounded by the tallest, snowcapped mountains, as if we had been transported to Switzerland itself.
Our campsite rested alongside a roaring waterfall with spiked mountain cliffs. I would move there in a second. The food alone is amazing. You can’t beat the Pacific Northwest for food and cultural pride, not to mention BEAUTY. We saw so many beautiful places on our journey, but in our “intentional” minds it wasn’t supposed to be a giant vacation. It felt like we were wasting time, even if we were wasting it in the most beautiful places imaginable. God is in the journey. He is all about living from rest and He knew that is what we needed.
Back at camp, we both lay on the bed wallowing in the fact that we still had no answers, when there was a knock at the door. Nobody knocks on the door when you are camping. Usually people keep to themselves. The campground was empty, except the manager and a few people scattered throughout looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Outside the door was an older gentleman, maybe in his late seventies, who told us he heard we were a pastor’s family and he came to hear our story. We were out the door in seconds, sipping on ice tea with our new visitor as he unraveled the most amazing story of who he was. He was the former president of The National Association of Evangelicals and prayer counsel to one of the president’s wives, while they were in office. He said he had been in and out of the White House hundreds of times.
Now, Troy’s passions are his faith, his family, and politics, so why on earth did God bring this man, who embodied all of his passions, to our door? What are the chances of us being here at the same time and why was he even here to begin with? Chance or divine appointment? It didn’t matter. He was here and we were so encouraged by his visit, his wisdom, and his journey. God had sent someone to our door to encourage us and raise our arms when we were too tired to lift them.
Next, we unraveled our story before him. He placed his shaky hands in ours, and with tears in his eyes, began to pray. There was such a spirit of unity and connection. We all felt it. After he prayed, he simply smiled, bid us goodbye, and shuffled off slowly up the hill. Then he turned around and declared so casually, but so matter-of-factly, “Oh, and by the way, you are on the right path.” With that, our batteries were instantly recharged. It was as if God Himself was encouraging us to keep going. It’s a good thing too, because Troy was getting ready to apply at Wal-Mart, because he thought he had heard God wrong and missed the boat. After that divine encounter, we had renewed strength to keep going…walking with just one foot in front of the other.” (pgs. 52-54 excerpt from Water Walkers)
Lost Creek, Oregon
Bethel Church in Redding, California
“It was the most amazing experience to camp across the country and move our house on wheels wherever we felt led. One particular week we pulled into Redding, California to visit Bethel Church and attend their Supernatural School of Worship for children. I stayed with our three-year-old Shanna in her class. This one afternoon, one of the youth leaders performed a dance with swords. He was a strong and muscular young man, so full of innocence. He stood there with the lights dimmed and two swords, one in each hand. Before he began, he blessed us to see what God wanted us to see. I was so new to the prophetic world. I felt as if I was amongst giants at Bethel; I was there to learn and observe. The music began. He picked a song titled “Holy,” by Matt Gilman. He stood poised with the swords folded across his chest when the music began.
Immediately I was taken to a different place. I was having an open vision. The young man, whose name is Joseph, immediately grew giant-sized and he rose above the earth until it was a small speck below him. His entire performance took place in the heavens, as he warred and wielded his swords. I saw a Scripture passage run through my mind: Daniel 10, describing the heavenly battle between Michael the archangel of heaven and the principality over Persia. Daniel had been interceding, but his answer was delayed twenty-one days due to the battle in the heavenlies. As I watched Joseph swing his swords in this choreographed dance, I somehow knew that when he danced, he was interceding in the heavenlies.
God was giving me His perspective of our worship. When we prayed, danced, or worshipped it wasn’t just bouncing off the ceiling. Our worship is powerful. We are more spirit than flesh and the spirit realm is real. This vision blew my religious background right out of the water. I had no idea what was going on when I worshipped or prayed. Now, I don’t wield a physical sword in a dance, but my declarations and worship shifts atmospheres, releases angels, and moves the heart of God. Truthfully, we carry the Holy Spirit, so we can’t help but shift atmospheres wherever we tread.
When the song ended, I sat there stunned thinking everyone must have observed the same open vision. The lights came on and people clapped and continued on to the next activity planned. I couldn’t move. I stared at Joseph wondering if he knew what had just happened. Immediately God spoke to me and told me to tell him. I argued that this was Bethel, so of course he knew. He wasn’t going to hear it from me; a housewife from New Jersey.
This was nothing more than the fear of man. Fear of man robs you of encounters with God and robs others of the answers to their prayers. I had decided I would let someone more “spiritual” tell him. This argument went on for 3 days. I felt so inexperienced and inadequate, that I must have made it up. He would probably look at me and say, “Thanks lady. Have a nice day. You have quite an imagination.”
Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore and I timidly approached this well-seasoned spiritual warrior and said, “Excuse me. I have been in an argument with God the past three days and I just need to settle this so I can sleep.” I began to relay the vision I had before him. His body resonated with the words I was speaking. He teared up and couldn’t believe what I was saying. Excited, he exclaimed, “I have been asking God for months to please tell me what happens when I dance. My middle name is Daniel so your Scripture resonates with me. I feel so compelled to dance, but never knew why or what was going on. Now I do. Thank you.”
The interchange between us was so powerful. I felt the presence of God and was so amazed that He had used this housewife from New Jersey to answer this young man’s prayer. My eyes had been opened to the spiritual realities of warfare and I had stepped out of the boat and took a risk to speak a vision over a stranger and it changed both our lives. We don’t always get it right, but there is no greater feeling when we do and we touch a life. It takes practice. Your gift makes room for you. All those “practice” times, when we may be off in our prophetic words, we get to touch God. He loves to see His children take risks, step out in faith, and live life from His vantage point.” (pgs. 73-75 excerpt from Water Walkers)
Yosemite Falls & Columbia, California
“This reminds me of when we were camping at Yosemite National Park. We were all wading in the water near the falls where the raft tours ended. The children enjoyed watching as boat after boat arrived and the tourists unloaded. All except one boat. This was the last stop before the rough waters and another waterfall. As the boat approached, the tour guide called them in. They just smiled and waved enthusiastically, and continued talking as they floated downstream. The tour guide yelled again, waving her hands for them to come in. They waved back. It became apparent they did not understand English, and just thought the funny lady was being extra friendly.
They continued to float downstream heading for the falls. Now the tour guide was adamant and ran into the water, while throwing a rope toward their boat. It landed within a few feet of them. They all continued to speak louder and point to the rope, but nobody grabbed it. She threw the rope again and this time it went over the raft. There was still no response. It was obvious there was a huge gap in communication. They just smiled and continued on their joy ride, laughing at the funny lady throwing the rope. I am sure they thought our American hospitality quite odd.
With the third throw, the tour guide was up to her waist in the water, and now all of us on shore were doing our best to wave them in. At long last, they did finally catch on right before entering the rough water, however, not knowing the language could have cost them dearly. What efforts could have been spared had they known how to communicate with the one who could direct them and keep them safe. God wants to communicate with us. Learning to listen and distinguish the voice of God from the enemy, and from the voice in our head, our flesh, is vital.” (pgs.172-173 excerpt from Water Walkers)
While out in Oregon, God had given us a download for what would be our future vision that He was preparing us for. It involved a great deal of land. One afternoon in our travels, I asked, “How will we know where the land is? It’s not like there will be a big banner advertising that this is the land for the Bramblets.” I guess God thought that was funny, because that same day, while driving around Columbia, California, we came around a bend in the road and ran smack dab into this banner advertising 127 acres for sale.
In our family, we call our morning gatherings our Bramblet 127 time, based on the 127th Psalm. Now granted, 127 acres wasn’t big enough for the vision He gave us, but we tucked it away in the back of our hearts that if God wants to put a banner over a property to reveal to us which property is ours, He is God and He can do whatever He wants. We had a great laugh. He was always stretching us to believe Him for more.
P.S. If you are ever in the Columbia, California area for the 4th of July, it was a top 5 highlight of the trip. Gold panning, stage coach ride, old fashioned games, homemade birch beer, a 4th of July parade, and a cave swim hole…you can’t get much better than that when you are camping.
Virginia City, Nevada
Cool and creepy cowboy fun.
Grand Tetons Nat’l Park- Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Jackson Hole was the most adorable Western town. Surrounded by the Teton mountain range, the beauty was breathtaking. We also saw our first moose ever, running along side the car…as big as our van. What the what? They are huge…and that was just a female.
Yellowstone Nat’l Park, Wyoming/ Montanna
“One such encounter happened on a morning in Yellowstone; a day I would gain a proper understanding of the fear of the Lord versus the obstacle of fear. We had been in Yellowstone for three days and today was the day we were going to see the Sulphur pits, specifically the Grand Prismatic Spring. It is so large and colorful it can be seen from space. We awoke to rain, which meant the pits would not be as visible or their colors at their peak. I was disappointed at first until I realized this was what I was looking forward to and the enemy was not going to steal it from me.
In my Spirit I felt like God whispered that I was to take authority over the weather. He gives us the desires of our heart, doesn’t He? I declared and released an open heaven over the geyser area. Hey, He said in Genesis we were to take dominion. I think He likes His children to take Him at His word. I wasn’t ordering God around; I was only speaking out loud what His Word already declared. I was speaking what I heard Him say, just like Jesus did. I had never done this myself, but had heard stories. In the Bible, Jesus calmed the storms and the waves. He said we would do even greater things…so why not?
Driving through the rain to the geyser area, we arrived at our destination, only to find an oval of blue sky, a literal open heaven where once the area was engulfed in rain. I snapped a picture to document my miracle (see picture below). An open heaven… God is so amazing!
We walked along the boardwalk in such delight and witnessed the beautiful colors. These pits were enormous. Troy took the children on ahead, while I lingered at the Grand Prismatic Spring. It was so enormous that it literally made me afraid. All my insides felt like Jell-O. Kind of like that feeling you get while standing on the edge of a cliff and you get this strange urge to jump. Is that just me? I felt in awe of its great size and power. It was like looking into the eye of God. I couldn’t see all of it because of the fog, which added to its mystery, but knowing what was out there, gripped me with such reverential fear I can only explain it as a fraction of what it must feel like to encounter God face to face.
I felt like I was looking at His face and part of me felt I would disintegrate in His presence. Then all of a sudden, I was engulfed in the fog and I could feel the breath of God all around me whispering my name on each cheek, above me and behind me. Although it was not the name Rebecca, it was a name that I somehow knew was mine, a name I must be called in heaven. My knees were weak and I started to cry. I was being engulfed in His presence. Fear of God is the only fear that is permissible. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 9:10 that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
I can tell you that in that moment I felt fear, but not the kind of runaway fear that puts distance between you and God, but rather the kind of fear that makes you feel so small and yet engulfed in such big hands. The fear of the Lord is about having the right perspective of who you are compared to Who He is.” (pgs. 71-72 excerpt from Water Walkers)
The morning we left Yellowstone, we drove through the park early, as the sun was coming up. A grizzly bear ran alongside our van and camper, looking for breakfast. We pulled off on the side of the road to have breakfast of our own. While Troy opened up the camper, I prepared the meal (one of the great perks of traveling with your house in tow). Outside, an elk was calling to its mate, and she was answering from inside the thicket. The sun peeked up and turned the snow capped mountains pink.
Devil’s Tower, Wyoming
Mount Rushmore, South Dakota
Little House on the Prairie- De Smet, South Dakota
We had the whole homestead of over 100 acres all to ourselves.
Lincoln’s Presidential Library- Springfield,Illinois
Lincoln’s Presidential Library was one of our favorite museums. From the hologram introduction in the library, to the walk through Lincoln’s life exhibit, I fell in love with President Lincoln. Taking a step back through time, it’s as if you are walking through his timeline in history. There was a room that did a mock campaign, as if it were today, exhibiting the four candidates during Lincoln’s presidential campaign and the politics they stood for. As much as Lincoln was one of my favorite presidents, I realized, having listened to all the arguments of each candidate, I wouldn’t have voted for his politics. You can’t see that in a history text book.
Walking through his White House years: losing a child, his wife going mad, and then finally entering the stage and watching him be shot, was one of the most emotional experiences ever. It ends with his funeral. I walked out crying, having fully engaged in his life and death. So powerful!
Lincoln’s New Salem, Illinois
Conner Prairie, Indiana
Outerbanks, North Carolina
Ever wonder where the Smithfield ham comes from? Smithfield has the most wonderful small town American feel to it. Of course, we had to stop for ice cream too.
Longwood Gardens, New Jersey
“From NJ we ended up in Texas at a Jellystone Camping Resort. Troy was working for our campsite to live, making $7 an hour checking in campers, general maintenance of the campsites, and shoveling petting zoo poop, all while enduring people walking past telling their children, “See, that is why it is important for you to get an education, so you don’t end up like that poor man.” Troy has his Masters of Divinity degree, but that did nothing for him in our wilderness time. God was working. On the flip side, Troy had hours to sit and read and prepare for the vision that God had given us back in Oregon, while he was waiting to check the campers in. God uses everything.
Texas was a difficult time for me mentally and emotionally. I remember walking the campground every night struggling to declare all the things I was grateful for because I had just found out I was pregnant. Surprise! I was living in a trailer, in the dead of summer, in Texas, and my husband was driving Yogi Bear around in a golf cart for a living. When the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness, He removed His presence from Him experientially, not literally. Jesus was accustomed to talking to His Father and in the wilderness, He had to keep declaring, “it is written…” If Jesus could do it, so could I. So, I kept confessing His promises and His truth, even though I could not hear His voice and I did not understand. We give up the right to understand when we step out of the boat. You will need to get used to that.” (pgs. 95-96 excerpt from Water Walkers)
Our Time in the Carolinas
Lazy 5 Farm- Drive Through Zoo, North Carolina
Charlotte, North Carolina
Waxhaw, NC, right outside of Charlotte, was our favorite small town in America. They had the best 4th of July parade every year as well as the cutest general store, ice cream shop, and used bookstore. Waxhaw was our favorite date night destination. Complete with a train track down the center of town and bridge that you could stand and watch the train run underfoot; it was a Friday evening highlight. You haven’t lived until you have had a steam train whistle literally blow your skirt up. I gave Marilyn Monroe a run for her money (it wasn’t on purpose).
The Billy Graham Library in Charlotte is also a must-see if you are in the area. On Troy’s days off, he would spend his afternoons fasting and praying, seeking God for wisdom while rocking on the side porch Adirondack chairs. Billy and Ruth are both buried on the property now. The anointing is so thick as you walk through the museum and landscaped garden. What an amazing life and legacy the Grahams have left behind.
Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville is a favorite destination. With its artsy, organic vibe, it draws in tourist year-round and for good reason. From seeing cotton for the first time (September /October), walking through the Biltmore estate (the largest single residence in the country), apple cider donuts in the fall, and a Christmas visit on the Polar Express, we have memories to last us a lifetime and hopefully revisit.
Andrew Jackson State Park, South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina
The most romantic city I have ever been to!
Curve Ball in New Jersey
“In South Carolina, we were in the depths of our wilderness time. Finding a job was more difficult than we expected. Troy had been asked for his resume numerous times while he was an associate pastor, so we assumed it would be easy to find a job as a senior pastor when we were done “resting.” WRONG! Troy practically had a full-time job searching for positions, writing resumes, and interviewing. The market was flooded with pastors and churches were closing left and right. The one-year gap on Troy’s resume did not look good. It was almost as if God was blinding people to his resume or phone calls. Troy took whatever job he could get. He cleaned carpets, worked at a grocery store, and even helped a friend of ours, who was on a similar journey, do some masonry work up north. This kept him away for weeks at a time. After several years of this, we finally had a lead for a pastoring job in Connecticut. The process took an unheard of eight months. Troy was back and forth on the phone with the group of elders. We really loved them and desired to finally lead our own church, but the process was taking so long. All other doors seemed to shut before us, so all our eggs were in this one basket.
In my quiet time, God had told me to prepare for a curveball. That was a funny phrase that I never use, so it stuck out to me. In the middle of this candidating process, a pastor friend of ours, Chris Hussey from Abundant Life Community Church, called and invited Troy to come candidate at his church back in New Jersey, twenty-five minutes from our previous 10-year position. He was looking to hire a youth pastor. In our previous position, Troy was the pastor of adult ministries and had hoped to eventually become the senior pastor. Going back to New Jersey felt like it would be taking a step back, and yet, I longed to be with my friends back home in a life I loved. We were desperate and God knew we needed to be desperate to be teachable.
Troy told Pastor Chris that we were in the process with another church, so Pastor Chris says out of the blue, “Well, if the Lord should send you a curveball, give me a call.” There was our curveball. With that, we knew we were going back to New Jersey even though it didn’t make sense. The candidate weekend with the Connecticut church came and went, along with the idea of pastoring our own church. God had been preparing us for a big vision. We weren’t sure how that vision was going to play out, but it certainly didn’t make sense that it would come about as a youth pastor. Here we believed God was preparing us in a different direction, but He was sending us back into ministry into a position that Troy was not even shaped for. God was up to something and I couldn’t wait to see what He was going to do.” (pgs. 97-99 excerpt from Water Walkers)
Our Sanctification Incubator
Water Walkers, The Book
For those of you who did not enter through www.iamawaterwalker.com: you have seen the pictures, now read the story. Read the full account, as the images display above, of how the Bramblet family stepped out in faith and the lessons they learned along the journey.
What is a Water Walker?
Water Walkers embrace impossibilities. They walk in wisdom, by faith, not certainty. They taste the freedom available through the Cross and live from inheritance by walking in the fullness of their identity. They live the adventure and have answered that gnawing question in the back of their mind, “Is there more to this life than what I am believing for?”
Through the pages of this book, you will discover how to position yourself for your breakthrough by identifying the 5 most common obstacles standing in the way of you stepping into your destiny. You will acquire the secrets to navigating the wilderness times in your life which will lead to your acceleration. Why spend 40 years in the wilderness wandering, when, like Jesus, you can conquer it in 40 days and step out in the power of the Holy Spirit?
You hold in your hands the secrets to sustaining a supernatural life of walking on water. Come along with us on our journey as this family of 8 stepped out of the boat of mediocrity into the waters of Kingdom destiny. Are you a Water Walker?
In everything you do -eat, play, and, love- may it always be Seasoned with Joy!