Sparrow’s Rest

Join us today as Mark shares a little about a shared vision for Sparrow’s Rest – a homestead retreat center focused on strengthening marriages. Hear how he and his wife Chris are turning this dream into a reality by renovating a farmhouse, adding acreage, and prayerfully evolving the vision over time. Discover how their partnership and God’s provision are making this unique ministry progress toward reality.


Let me know if you need to clap or if you need to laugh at yourself or anything like that along that line.

The three part clap.

That’s right.

What’s that?



That was much better.


That’s much better.

You need to hit the mic on that one.

That’s right.

Less clumsy.


No, that’s fair enough.

How are you?

I’m good.


It’s good to see you.

It’s good to see you.

It’s very good to see you, Mark.

~ Well, I thank you.

~ Your beard’s looking lovely, as always.

~ Well, thank you.

It’s right about at the point where I almost just want it to be.

~ Gotcha.

~ Maybe, you know how sometimes you get a haircut.

~ Yeah.

~ And it’s like, oh, shocks.

It’s a little shorter than I want it to be.

But you say, oh, two weeks will be good.

~ Yeah.

~ You know, that kind of thing.

Or, oh, wow, they really took too much off.

~ Yeah.

~ I’m gonna be at five months before it grows back.

I didn’t think it would be that short.

~ Yeah, well you got it cut left.

~ Exactly, yeah.

I’m about to the point where I wanna be.

~ Yeah, it was interesting because, to me, I wouldn’t say it was that short, but.

~ Oh, in comparison, yeah.

~ In comparison.

And also, I recognize previous Mark’s face.

~ Yeah.

~ When you got that trim, I was like, oh yeah, I remember what Mark’s cheeks look like and kind of that lower.

I was like, I see that version of Mark again.

~ Yeah.

~ That’s very interesting, like you’re a different Mark now.

~ Yeah, yeah.

~ And it was funny ’cause the barber when he did it, you know, ’cause it’s like, okay, I’m gonna have this professionally down, I’m gonna go to a guy.

~ Yeah.

~ So a guy would understand.

~ Yeah.

~ And it’s like, you know, so I trusted him, it’s like, I’m not going back to that barber again, I don’t trust him.

He says, I’ll, I took the Wolfie off for you.

It’s like, well, I kinda wanted a little Wolfie.

~ Get him back.

~ Glue back on.

~ But it’s good now.

Yeah, I’m flying with it.

~ I’m just gonna turn you up a little bit.

~ Okay, so you’re right.

~ Yeah, of course.

You do whatever you need to do.

That’s my, that’s what comes in my ears.

~ Okay, okay, that’s why I did it wrong before.

~ Okay, that makes sense.

~ Yeah, that sounds, keep tighter.

~ Yeah, I’m still here.

~ Are you still there?

~ I’m still here.

~ As far as I’m still there.

~ As far as I’m still there.

~ We’ll be still here.

~ Now I got to turn this back up.

Yeah, we’re good.

Does that work for you?

~ Yes.

~ Yeah.

~ You also are in a relaxed state.

~ I was, I was, I mean, I thought my– – You could totally be relaxed.

~ Yeah, I thought my mic was still in the same spot, but yeah.

~ Yeah, yeah.

~ I remember relaxed state.

~ When I do How I See It, that’s the beauty of this podcast.

~ That’s right.

~ We don’t take ourselves too seriously.

~ That’s right.

~ In this process of how I see it.

So yeah.

~ Sometimes we laugh at ourselves, which, you know, let’s call back to, I guess, last week’s episode.

Sometimes we laugh at each other even, which is even more fun.

~ Especially when you do something really dumb.

~ Yes.

~ Then we just, no, it’s okay.

~ I try.

(laughs) – I can’t say I remember you doing something really dumb work, so.

~ Well, not necessarily on mic, you know?

And you’re limited, you know, it’s only audio.

You can only make audio mistakes, really.

You know, you could make a lot of visual mistakes and nobody would ever even know it on the podcast.

~ I can’t remember you doing that either, some.

I’ll just say that’s well fair enough.

But I’m glad you’re relaxed.

That’s the point.


And speaking of relaxed.


I’d like to ask you some questions.

Fire away.

About this vision that you and Chris have.

And before we get too deep, I definitely want to speak to you were sort of mentioning this is something you wouldn’t want to speak on without Chris.

~ I gotcha.

~ There’s this desire that it’s a shared vision.

So I’m gonna just kind of put that out there.

~ Sure.

~ And say to the listener like, “Hey, just so you know, Mark would like, you know, Chris, do you involve this discussion?

” And we will.

~ Yeah, yeah.

~ We’ll get her in here and we’ll continue to have a part two about it, but.

~ Yeah, and I think at that point, what I’m, is like, at this moment, I am speaking for us to the best of my ability in that process and granted, yeah.

~ This is the legal disclaimer, red tape.

~ At that point, we can have another discussion and Chris can definitely correct it.

~ Well, it would be even more fun, yeah.

It would be like, for you to say some things wrong, not take yourself too seriously and then get Chris in here and do it.

Well, here’s how we really think about that.

~ Or this, that’s not quite what I had in mind.

would be how that would discussion.

I didn’t think about it quite like that.

So yeah, by well means, ask away.

~ Yeah, so what is this project, this vision you guys have for this?

I don’t even know what to call it.

So you tell me what to call it, first of all.

~ That’s okay, it’s a vision.

~ It’s a vision.

~ And like you four, that’s I’m still developing the vision.

Don’t rush me.

(laughing) – It’s okay, you’re relaxed, you got your arms up.

~ But yeah, I’m gonna pull back back, I’m sorry to lose blood flow, but it is a vision and we have basically purchase property.

It’s been a process and those that know us will know we’ve been renovating an old farmhouse and there is some fields in acreage and this is where the visual part comes in because once I start going there, our audience may not necessarily see the tears but they’re they’re kind of part of this part of that vision.

Being able to recognize that there is a desire for me early on, I just kind of had a desire for, you know, like a recreational property, a place to go.

‘Cause for me– – For yourself?

~ No, for us as a family.

~ Yeah, gotcha.

~ You know, having kids and, you know, and ultimately grandkids, you know, being able to have a place, you know, that you can kind of come and retreat.

And I think we’ve probably talked about it before.

I feel very passionately that our routine Sunday morning church isn’t designed necessarily for men.

I think the worship songs and grand, there would be some that you, I think when we’re in the creation, I think we can experience God in a way that we can’t when we’re in the church building, if you will.

And that’s always been kind of the way I was wired.

~ Yeah.

~ To be able to, I think it’s part of the Wild at Heart, if you will, John Eldridge stuff, to where I think Adam was created outside the garden.

So there is this desire for a wildness, or whereas Eve was created in the garden.

And I think that therein lies specific differences between the male, female dynamic.

So that outside dynamic has always appealed to me.

~ Oh, women don’t like to be outside.

~ That’s not necessarily true.

~ I’m gonna be that.

The Chris Angel on your shoulder.

~ That’s okay, that’s okay.

I would dare say women tend to be more comfortable in church.

As far as worshiping, singing worship songs, that kind of thing.

That may not necessarily be every guy’s– right?



Like it’s not a universal rule.

No, I’m not making anything, you know, but it’s just an observation on my part, you know, as I talk with people and that kind of thing.

So that began that process for, but then it developed more into the ability to almost, if you will, create more of a homestead style life.

And I, you know, and we’ve had part of, you know, you know, Mary Beth and you know, Mary Ellen and you know, there’s been this, this journey for us in this process of being able to say, okay, let’s get back a little more to more of a localized type food, you know, chain, because it, you know, granted, right now, fuel and everything is, you know, in a fairly inexpensive, you know, to where we ship things from here to there.

But you know, in the process of things, it’s unnatural at times to have certain things all year round that weren’t canned or prepared.

You know what I mean?

So it’s basically being shipped here, even eggs, in that process.

Chickens don’t necessarily lay eggs at the same rate all year round, that kind of thing.

But you know, so we take a chicken and we put it in a factory, if you will, a chicken factory and we give them 16 plus hours of light a day every day and go till they can’t lay eggs anymore.

So it’s just… Then they go to the Tyson factory.

Along that line.

But yeah, just being more aware of where our food comes from, being able to come back to…and even very much like you were sharing that on the planting things.

desire to be able to kind of come back in some ways, not that everybody has to do it all for themselves.

That’s the part that I’ll wrestle with.

But out of that, as a marriage and family therapist, that it came this ability to kind of have this homestead, but yet still be able to bring other people in to provide an environment for families and couples, couples and marriages, couples and families to be able to kind of step away, not necessarily in a way that says, you know, this is the way you do it, because that’s not my desire.

But to be able to have a place to be able to step aside and just see that there are other options out there and to find the ability to have a place where I can come and rest and, you know, and hopefully our desire would be long-term.

to be like a marriage retreat, family retreat opportunity, that’s our long-term goal, is to be able to do that.

And that out of that has become kind of the vision of what we call, what Chris and I are currently call Sparrows Rest.

~ Yeah.

~ So yeah, that’s– – So this is the nonprofit you can send your donations to.

(laughing) Eventually, we’re in the process of being able to work towards setting up those kind of dynamics.

So essentially, you know, Mark and Chris, both they have these unique passions as he described.

Homesteading is one of those.

And that if you’re not familiar with homesteading, what’s interesting is we could zero in on homesteading.

And that could be our podcast.

~ Sure.

~ And we’d probably be more successful.

(laughs) Like, there’s a pretty unique and specific niche there that serves a lot of people that are very interested in that.

I didn’t really know that till you started how my, till Kelly and Jackson started talking about my brother and sister-in-law.

Just, there’s different pockets of people where they’re really interested in this lifestyle.

And I’ve definitely gotten more interested in it as a result, though I’m not sure I’ll ever be a homesteader.

I definitely support the concept and those who are about it.

So that’s one of the unique passions that you and Chris share and to the degree where you’ll go to conferences.

And that’s some of the knowledge you’re sharing about how we get our food and stuff.

You’ve learned through some books you guys have been reading, some conferences you’ve been attending and that’s really cool.

So that’s like one half of the equation, right?

~ Yeah.

based on what you said so far, maybe there’s more parts.

~ Oh no, there’s definitely more, but yeah.

~ And then the other side is, you know, you increase this passion towards marriages and helping marriages restore and become strong and healthy.

You mentioned family a bunch of times, but I’ve always heard it as more of a marriage retreat.

That doesn’t, I’m not saying you guys have changed it, but I’m just, I’m reiterating what I remember of it.

But yeah, both of you have a strong passion towards marriages and the family, as it pours out of a marriage, I would say.

~ Yes, exactly.

~ So it’s not that family’s not important but like that marriage is a really most key component to families being healthy, right?

So let’s go right.

~ I would say that is foundational.

~ Foundational, yeah.

So when I hear you say marriage and a family retreat or whatever, I’d be curious to hear more about that.

If that’s a shift or not, but before– – It’s not a shift necessarily.

Initially, as part of the vision was even to create, with Chris’s influence as a tutor, that kind of thing.

Early on, we were even, as we were thinking about a nonprofit, we were thinking about, okay, is this, ’cause you have different headings, if you will, under you, so we could be educational or religious or that kind of thing.

So initially early on in the tutoring dynamic, we had thought about a learning center.

Even that parents and homeschoolers could come.

And I’m not sure we’re necessarily, that’s not to say that certain dynamics of our future vision couldn’t be used in that way.

But initially, we’re not gonna necessarily have a big building that people can necessarily come to and spend the day learning about one particular thing.

But that is a part of that evolving, if you will, vision as we talk with God.

~ So that could be a potential.


~ No, that’s okay.

~ That could be a potential other leg, is this educational piece?

~ Yes.

And I think ideally, as you shared, based on who Chris and I are, our desire is to focus on healthy marriages because that creates healthy families.

So as we think about it, you know, it’s not that, you know, and I think there’s something to be said for.

It’s not just about going away as a couple, you know, and being able to get along, you know, when we’re away from all the pressures of life, you know, ’cause we have to learn how to deal with that in that setting.

~ That’s where the educational component comes in a little bit too, right?

~ Even for, you know, especially for couples, you know, to be able to say, okay, yeah, it’s nice to be able to get away, But what do we notice, what do we notice other than our kids aren’t around us, you know, when we’re away and then how do we take some of this, you know, back and you know, or even how do we at times, certain times of the year have our kids with us in such a way that says, yeah, we enjoy being a family.

~ Yeah.

~ And we’re not just, because I think so often it can be about, you know, the male goes to work and the wife may take care of the kids.

And I think in so many cases, that’s what leads to that empty nest type dynamic of separation where we’ve just both kind of lived our own lives.

We’ve been shared childcare, if you will.

And suddenly, there’s so many limiting factors when the kids go away that there’s less connectivity.

like switch from a couple to like you said shared childcare and that gets removed from you and that’s all you had.


After so many years, we lost the relationship.

Yeah, like identity shifted to that and then once that’s removed your identity, yeah, for a bit.



So yeah, just again, summarizing a little bit.

So bringing those kind of passions together into a single entity called Sparrows Rest where it involves some homesteading, some educational aspects, maybe about that.

I think education would be sprinkled throughout the idea, whether it’s helping couples learn how to.



I like what you’re saying, it’s not just a place for couples to come honeymoon or whatever, it’s a place for couples to come and basically grow a little bit healthy and safe and inviting place.

And yeah, so sprinkling all these different passions together into this magical potion called the air as a rest.

There’s homesteading, there’s outdoor stuff, kind of that wild at heart opportunities there for men and women to kind of get out into nature and do some stuff.

~ Sure.

And if I’m even as I’m hearing myself and you and I talking so forth.

Ultimately, I think Sparrow’s rest comes out of, well, it came out of a couple different things.

Definitely some discussions with our kids and each other, but in the first continental Congress type thing, they were having a difficult time getting things to, to find agreement.

~ Yeah.

~ And Benjamin Franklin basically has this point where he comes to, and he basically says, gentlemen, basically, can an empire rise or fall, but what God doesn’t know about it for, he cares about the sparrow.

And if this is what we’re doing, does he not care about this in such a way that we should come before him in prayer?

should we not, you know, if this is what we’re looking to do, should we not come before God and really seek what he has for us through prayer?

And that actually began the process of opening, you know, government proceedings or Congress with prayer.

And you know, that process of, you know, in God we trust, if you will, you know, but yet that was a part where the sparrow came to mind, you know, from a scriptural dynamic, you know, because God does care for the sparrow and how much more does he care for us in that process?

So, and then being able to recognize that God cares about us, he cares about having rest for us.

He sees the fact that we’re not, he doesn’t want us to be hurried and stressed.

Not that we can’t carry some load deal with some stress, don’t get me wrong there.

But, you know, he doesn’t want that from my perspective to be our lifestyle.


That we’re just continually running from here to there to here to there, you know, to this to soccer practice to work to, you know, that kind of thing, not that there’s anything wrong with those things.

But I think for the here again, kind of coming back from from a hierarchical standpoint.

For me, and I think Chris even as well, creation is part of what helps us reflect on who God is.

That process of each day has a new beginning and his grace and mercies are new every day, that kind of thing.

So that’s kind of the hierarchy.

And then where Chris and I are concerned, Our passion is definitely for marriages and families.

That’s what created, I think I’ve shared that before, that early vision at a leadership conference that we went to.

That’s what really created our early vision for what we desire and how we desire to be impacting people.

That’s what’s continued in this process of our ability to work with marriages at generations even to the point of, you know, marriage on the rock, just that passion.

So that would be the secondary point.

And I think, you know, the homesteading is more about who God has created us to be, you know, not in a comparative way, not that everybody has to do this, but it’s just kind of our way to walk with God in what I would define as, you know, just our obedience to being who He would have us to be.

You know, it was funny because last, yeah, I guess it’s been two weeks now, you know.

I admit that my beard, so many people, as it was funny you bring up, ’cause so many people from back where I grew up in Windfall didn’t recognize.

~ Yeah.

~ And you know, if I heard what is this, you know, as people are pulling on their chin, you know, visually what’s this, either pulling on my chin or kind of pulling on, if I’ve heard that once, I heard it, you know, a hundred times, you know, just based on that.

And for me, you know– – In a beard and windfall or what?

~ Well, I didn’t have a beard, so therefore I wasn’t who, you know, in it, but for me, if you will, if I’m just in my calm frame of mind, you know, I’m not looking to be sarcastic.

I’m not looking to say, you know, I haven’t heard that before.

You know, or I’ll say, I’m just celebrating my God given uniqueness.

you know, because for me, that’s what it’s about.

It’s just being able to say, okay, yeah, I happen to be a guy that can grow a beard and it’s part of who God created me to be.

So I’m celebrating that.

And I think that’s what, you know, Sparrow’s rest is, is our ability, Chris, is in my ability to celebrate, to walk in, to live in that celebrated, uniqueness that he’s called us to be.

And so that’s, that’s kind of where it comes from, from my perspective, as far as the homesteading and granted, we’ve learned a lot.

And by all means, you know, it’s not that I’m, you know, I suppose depending on that continuum as we talk about it, you know, I’m not a conspiracy theorist, you know, that kind of thing.

But I’ve been more aware of how circumstances have changed, you know, in the process of history, you know, how, you know, as as as government has become more involved in food and those kind of things.

And there is this, you know, scarcity, if you will, or even even what germs, you know, how because early on, we have pasture.

And here again, I’m going to make this short.

But you know, there was two different.

Louis Pasteur.


You know, in that in that process of pasteurization for milk.

Okay, there was two, I forget the other guy’s name, but there was two, you know, theories, if you will, that basically saw either germs and bacteria as part of a healthy balance to where bacteria is good.

We have digestive enzymes, that kind of thing, you know, in our bodies to where when I take an antibiotic, it’s good for me to, you know, have yogurt or something to rebuild that so that my body can have these digestive enzymes that are working, ’cause if all of those bugs that are in my body are dead, my body doesn’t work properly.

You follow me, that kind of thing.

So there were two schools and pastures school won out that basically said, hey, we’re gonna kill all these germs ’cause germs are the bad thing.

Whether there was a whole other school that basically says no germs aren’t the bad thing, germs out of balance is the bad thing.

So we can keep this homeostasis, this balance, if you will, it’s actually healthy.

And even like milk, for example, it has in its whole sense, it has enzymes that help break down fats, break down different things that help us to wear some people who actually drink whole milk, find themselves being who once were lactose intolerant, they drink whole milk and they recognize that their lactose intolerance goes away because those enzymes are in milk that help break those fat particles down that get killed in the pasteurization process.

Interesting, yeah.

So you know, there’s just– Yeah, all these little pockets of information to learn, right?

~ Yeah, and historically, there’s a reason why it makes sense, but we’ve lost that awareness over time of where it comes from.

And so we’re continuing to do something that may not be as beneficial as we think of it when we’re recognizing how many dietary issues and food allergies there are, you know, in our, you think about it that way.

~ So yeah.

~ Well, it makes me think of the two Mary Ellen’s.

~ Mary Beth and Mary Beth.

~ Mary Beth, sorry Mary Beth and Mary Ellen.

~ Sure.

~ The two Mary episodes I should say.

(laughing) But yeah, they both kind of touched on almost the same ideas in different directions where Mary Ellen talked a lot about food and meat and that kind of thing.

Kind of, and then Mary Beth talked a lot about the offenses that you put in your body.

And so like what different lotions, for example, was one thing she talked about.

But yeah, just like there’s, there’s so much that we don’t think about on a regular basis because we just go with the status quo.

~ Sure.

~ We use the shampoo at Walmart and we, you know, eat what McDonald’s and, you know, it’s just our life.

So it’s kind of cool to kind of hear these different perspectives that basically are saying like, hey, this kind of status quo is messed up in a lot of ways.

And it’s like, well, of course, it makes sense.

Obesity is at all time high, I think worldwide.

~ Sure.

~ Depression is as well.

~ Yeah.

~ Like, it makes sense that you can go, well, I guess, yeah, the system might be broken in some ways because some things are worse than they were.

You can also say some things are better.

I think one of the things we talked about in I think Mary Ellen’s episode maybe, was just the fact that worldwide hunger is at all time low, right?

So there’s trade off to this, we’re not meant to be shipping crates of food across the planet.

And yet, the worldwide hunger is at all time low as a result of this mechanization.

And sure, so there’s some trade offs.

But anyway, I think it’s very interesting to hear about some of those pockets of information, like what you’re just describing with milk, and allow me to rethink some things, open my brain again to go, “Huh, interesting, whole milk,” on some specialized, like, “I wonder if I can get that somewhere around here,” that kind of thing, and kind of thinking through that.

I always think that’s always a good thing, to kind of rethink some of the status quo, and not just accept it as being, well, this is the way it’s supposed to be.

~ Yeah, so there’s probably some elements of that in Sparrows’ rest of kind of education, but.

~ Yeah, and I think that here again just influenced personally.

~ Yeah, I think that I see that and you’re here again, this may be an area where Chris and I differ.

It’s not that someone who would come, you know, would be indoctrinated into this, you know, homesteads not our desire.

~ Well, the way you would set it up though, you could probably have two different kinds of events, right?

~ Are you fair?

~ Yeah, and I’m here again.

For me personally, that’s not necessarily my passion.

I mean, I’m happy to have the conversations kind of like you are now, if somebody’s saying, well, why do you do this or what’s that for?

Or, you know, I have no issues kind of being able to, you know, have those conversations in a way that is, you know, educational.

But it’s not that I think everybody has to do what we’re doing, and I don’t see us in any ways as a model of what other people have to do.

I just don’t, I think like I shared, it’s about us doing what we feel were led to do based on our God given desires and so forth.

~ Yeah, it makes sense.

So this, yeah, this Sparrows Res gives you an opportunity to practice those things on a bigger scale in some degrees, but not necessarily as it’s part of the creed or whatever.

~ Exactly.

~ That’s kind of what you would say.

~ Yeah.

~ ‘Cause ultimately it is about creating more help for marriages and family.

~ And you wouldn’t want that to get in the way of that.

~ Yeah.

~ Essentially is that what I mean.

~ Yeah, that’s what you’re hearing and you know.

~ That makes sense.

And I would dare say, okay, healthy marriages, healthy, healthy physically, healthy emotionally, healthy spiritually, healthy mentally.

Those, okay, so then some of these other aspects come into play is how I would see that.

What does it take to create healthy spirituality, first and foremost?

you know, I think, and here again, you know, I think culturally, you know, in a lot of cases, we do marry less because marriage has become, you know, more of a civil state, you know, when we think about license, you know, a marriage license, while we think about it as just being that, you know, but when we really stop and think about it, God ordained or designed marriage.

So, you know, these other things are just ways that we have redefined God’s marriage.

In fact, you know, you need a license or, you know, that kind of thing.

But ultimately, you know, God is the one who designed marriage to be what it is, you know, in that process of, you know, a man and a woman, you know, and so therefore, you know, if it’s something different than that, then where God’s concerned from my perspective, it’s not necessarily a marriage.

You can call it a whatever you want to call it.

But that’s kind of how I see it from that fundamental standpoint.


And then being able to build that recognizing that’s a spiritual dynamic, you know, as well as it is, you know, having, you know, healthy physical relationship, the emotional relationship and just being able to grow those kind of things.

Much like we talked about, sometimes, well, we talked about last week’s episode, sometimes I take myself too seriously, sometimes it’s a pride issue and marriage in itself, as you’ve shared before in your relationship to Meghan, marriage is a pride challenging entity.

So yeah, if you’re doing it right.




If you’re doing it God’s way.


But if marriage is designed, if you think marriage is something that’s designed to get you your way, you know, you’re gravely mistaken.

And so, yeah.


And so right now, can you briefly describe the state it’s in and like, yeah, sure.

Right now, we have officially, rebuilt the farmhouse and put it in.

~ The farmhouse was very small and very old.

~ Part of it, yes.

~ So this, when you got this property, I mean, it was instantly, you know, work.

It fixed her up for kind of the situation, right?

So let’s just start there and say.

~ What drew us to this property was its setting.

It was previously, you know, a farm that time.

And the interesting part, another, you know, not tipping our hat to the name, is part of the property was owned by a person, by the name of, Chris would correct me if I was wrong, but Mary Sparrow Lane.

So, you know, it was, they owned a part of this property.

So, you know, that Sparrow’s rest kind of comes into play again.

but being able to recognize that as we were talking, we just felt a sense about when we went to look at this property and we recognized at that time, to purchase a certain amount of acreage in North Carolina, a lot of acreages, timber or pine trees, you have to, and this property just seemed to be, you know, saying, okay, yeah, I’m already developed to a certain degree.

And that was, that was neat to us.

You know, it’s like, okay.

And so there was a farmhouse.

There is a, there is a horse barn.

The horse barn, unfortunately, is kind of, you know, seeing it’s better day.

So that will probably be going its own way.

But the parts of the house had seen it’s better day as well.

~ Yeah.

~ So we did take the part that was built in the 1970s when they put water and, you know, septic in.

We took that part off.

But then there was the part that was– Ironically, the part that saw better days was the part that was newer.

Yes, that’s true.

That’s true.

I thought that was very interesting.

The older part had a solid beam around it.

We were able to– at the foundation, it was put up on piers.

And those piers had– the termites had gotten to them and so forth.

So we ended up just picking up that older section of house and putting a new foundation underneath that, and then building on a new– – A new new part.

~ A new part for– – Put back the old new part and put a new new part.

~ That’s exactly right.

So all of that, well, most all of that is actually complete at this point.

I still got a few trims to put in place and so forth, but this is the most finished house has ever been that Chris and I have moved into together.

I’ll just say that.

So yeah, it is.

It is nice in comparison.

So yeah, that’s where we’re at.

We have a certificate of occupancy, to be able to reside there.

And we’ve been able to move the chickens out, then our desire is to go.

~ Oh cool.

~ Yeah, so out there now.

~ Yep, they’re out there now.

So we’re running back and forth to be in chickens in Southport, F3 mornings and that kind of thing.

So everything’s out there.

And so now, our next phase is gonna be kind of building on the storage sheds and so forth to be able to have a garage, if you will, to work out of.

And then continuing this process, our desire would be to, and we’re currently praying about it, talking with a guy about digging a pond for us on the property.

So the pond would provide a opportunity to have smaller, like tiny home-type dynamics, mobile tiny homes around this pond, to be able to create an environment where couples can come, some of them from families, that kind of thing.

And the pond can be a source of recreation from fishing to kayaking, that kind of thing in this process that’s on the property is we’re doing life the way we see it, that kind of thing.

So that’s where it goes.

And then ultimately being able to, probably our goal would be able to be able to do a bigger venue where we can have marriage retreats.

Because right now, if we were to do a marriage retreat, it’d be pretty well limited to around a bonfire.

That kind of thing.

But ultimately, to be able to have places where couples can stay and granted, we have a couple of bedrooms in the part remodel to where it may just be individual type stuff at the beginning.

I guess my prayer is basically that, you know, God would bring the people and the resources that we need because I recognize this whole vision is bigger than we are.

And you know, that God would bring the people and the resources at the times that we need them to be able to help us fulfill his vision that he that he offers the provision for the vision.


As we’re trying to walk it through from an obedient standpoint.

And so far it’s been pretty cool provision wise.

I mean, I know when you got the property, it was a certain thing.

And then there was an opportunity to come to kind of make that a different thing by purchasing some more property.


Isn’t that where the pond would be now?

Yes, that would be where the pond would be.

There was a parcel that was landlocked.

Initially, there was a right of way that went through our property, which was concerning because it would come right through our front yard.

But by God’s grace, the individual that owned that piece of property came to us and said, hey, I’m looking to sell this.

Would you be interested?

And through definitely some discussions between Chris and I, we agreed to purchase that piece of property in such a way that says, OK, yeah, this is where the pond can go.

And it did away with the right away.

Now we just have to get away back to that, which we’re talking with an individual about to be able to get access back to that area.

But part of building that pond would be clearing that, the brush and everything else and selling dirt and those kind of things.

~ Yeah.

Yeah, it’s just cool to, I mean, just thinking about this kind of retreat center that’s kind of off almost in the middle of nowhere and you can have nature and all that.

and then someone decides to purchase that property that had the right away and put a road right through your property.

And then a hundred home little sub community back there.

It’s kind of a hamper the vision of it.

~ No, no doubt.

~ Who changed the flavor.

So that was really cool that you guys were able to work that out and kind of solidify the vision in future a little bit more.

So I just, I like looking at it from my perspective, kind of cool to see the progressions that it’s taken even, you know, it’s like watching you, you know, kind of tear down that first part and the process there.

~ You even helping.

~ Yeah, absolutely.

~ You were just watching, you were helping.

~ Right, yeah.

~ But kind of seeing that, the tear down part went pretty quick and then, you know, you build them back up and fixing that foundation, just all the things you had to do is like, man, this seems like it’s gonna take forever.

And now it’s that, you know, and that’s kind of how time works.

So it’s kind of cool to see what’s been accomplished so far towards that vision.

And again, this extra acreage really, I feel like solidify some of that vision that you guys had even more, wouldn’t you say in the sense that?

Yeah, it’s been neat to see how God’s provided all along the way, you know, in that process for us.

Cause like you say, we’re, you know, we’re just normal people like everybody else, you know, but yeah, God cares about those things.

I think, you know, Mark Baderson, I believe it is.

He probably didn’t originate saying, but you know, it’s about, I lost it for a moment, but the bold prayers honor God and God honors bold prayers, you know, and that’s kind of what this whole process has been about, you know, that ability to recognize, okay, yeah, this is far bigger than us, and I’m okay with that, you know, because, you know, God has that ability, and even the pond guy, that was kind of a friend of a friend, a guy I contacted, and it’s just God’s kind of going before us, he’s a Christian individual, that kind of thing.

And so we’ve had that conversation, are you a Christian?

It’s like, yeah, I’m a Christian.

So I can tell, it’s like, okay, so this, So yeah, that’s just kind of God’s going before us as I see it as Christ sees it, and just trying to walk in obedience.

And it’s not something, I guess, you know, it’s another one of those things that basically somebody spoke with me at the beginning.

It’s like we tend to overestimate what we can do in a year, but we underestimate what can be done in five years.

And as we’re coming into year three, maybe four, I think it’s year three, to actually be there.

It’s kind of cool.

Granted, it’s taken three years to get there.

But at the same time, it’s becoming home to us, that kind of thing and just be able to– Yeah, and be able to do that in three years while you’re still doing counseling and construction on the side.

You guys got a lot going on.

You and Chris do marriage and family, marriage on the rock, which is church ministry that you guys are pretty involved with.

And you guys both are involved a lot with us at Celebricar.

You know, so that three years is significant to me looking at it based on just all the things that you also were accomplishing in that time.

So it’s kind of cool to see that.

but it’s nice to have people on the outside looking in.

‘Cause they’ll come in and they’ll say, “Oh my goodness, look at what all you’ve done.

” ‘Cause they just haven’t seen it.

And it really does offer encouragement to Chris and I in that process.

It’s like, is this ever gonna get done?

That kind of thing when you’re just grinding away at it.

But yeah, so it’s so often, it’s so neat and refreshing to have other people that come in and say, “Oh, when I was here last, this was just blah, blah, blah.

” you know, and now to be able to see.

~ But now you’re anchored in in the sense that you’re living there.

And that’s a huge milestone.

Of course, I totally empathize with what you’re saying about the next step is now I gotta have some place to work out of to even build these things.

And so that’s kind of the next step is being able to work out of something and a horse-b iron is more likely to fall on you than anything.

~ Yeah.

~ Can’t be that.

~ Exactly.

~ Yeah, and I’m like a big, I’m, I don’t know what the word is.

I would say selfishly motivating, not selfishly.

I’m just excited about you guys.

I want to talk about it because I think it’s a cool endeavor and I’m 100% on board.

And what, Roy, I can get in.

I want everyone to be aware of it.

And eventually that’s gonna be a key component to this thing being successful is, publicity and communication and marketing and all that kind of stuff.

But we’re a bit out from that.

There’s no place to go yet.

there’s nothing, yeah, it’s not built yet.

It’s, but I think it’s cool to kind of talk about that vision.

~ And I appreciate that, like you say, in that process, ’cause it’s not something I will routinely talk about with people, you know, and it’s good to be able, when Chris and I, you know, talk about it, or we talk about with other people, it is fun to be able to do that in such a way that helps us solidify, you know, that process or even, you know, amend, you know, certain ideas, but you know, so each conversation is definitely beneficial.


But it’s just neat to see how okay, you know.

Well, it’s cool too, because you guys have this vision, this idea, but you’re also holding it pretty loosely in a sense of saying like, let’s figure out what it’s gonna be while determining what it’s gonna be, kind of like, have this flexibility.

So some of the vision and desire, like even the communication piece, like that may or may not be a big component.

I think it’s kind of cool to hear that at some point.

Obviously, the focus will have to be very specific and you’ll know exactly what’s, what the marriage you’re retreat is probably the highest thing to be able to have little, use of tiny homes.

But me and Megan, we’ve gone to these little tiny home like, I don’t know, village down in Drong, but it’s like this kind of circle around little pond is like all these little tiny homes.

~ Sure.

~ And that’s just such a unique, fun little thing to do.

It’s, we enjoy that way better than going to a hotel or something just to get away.

And so just like that, having something like that, even the beginnings of one, maybe there’s just one tiny home that you can start to.

~ It might even be a part of our tiny home.

~ Yeah.

(laughs) That’s right, that’s right.

~ Yeah.

~ Yeah, it’s really cool to see that and I’m excited about seeing that.

But ultimately, that vision will have to get tighter tighter the more the closer you get to execution on it.

~ And I think we’re seeing that as we’re praying on it, that kind of thing and doors are opening.

But I think so often, and I think it’s more intentional, probably even on Chris’s part, is the aspect of, it’s not about doing something someday.

It’s about continuing in the little things that God’s given us right now, to the point of, you know, ’cause desire is to routinely be connecting with one or more couple every week, in some way that’s basically connecting in some way to share or invite people out or intentionally connecting.

And I’m all about that as well.

But just building those relationships, ’cause there’s something about, you know, sitting around a circle as we talked about before, but you know, especially if there can be a bonfire in the middle of that circle.

~ That’s the perfect circle.

(both laughing) – Yeah, so that’s kind of what we’re doing in our desire.

So yeah.

~ I imagine some of the earliest circles were around a bonfire.

~ There you go, there you go.

Well, we even, we know that Jesus built that little charcoal fire and they ate breakfast over it, you know, when he restored Peter, that kind of thing.

So yeah, it was just, so yeah, appreciate the opportunity to kind of share.

And yeah.

~ Yeah, it’s cool.

You mentioned Chris and she’s kind of actively thinking about today where I think part of that balance is your job is notes of the grind sound like every day.

like this building this house, it’s gonna be three years.

And so that’s what I’m about.

And I’m gonna let you take care of the visioning while I take care of the, you know, put in that nail in or whatever.

Kind of seeing that combination of you too.

And it’s really cool.

~ Yeah, there’s no way I could do this without Chris.

I mean, it’s just time.

We are that different.

~ Yeah.

~ But yeah, each part is so valuable And just like you say, we can laugh one another, you know, Ed wire differences to a certain degree.

When you know, it’s like, well, what about this?

And what about this?

And it’s like, yeah, we’ll get to that.

We’re just going to do this.

But I appreciate you bringing these other things up too.

Because I hadn’t maybe thought about that part.


But yeah, you know, I appreciate you bringing that up.


How important that partnership is in the sense of her forcing your head up once in a while to look at where you’re walking or heading, is it heading where we’re heading?


And if not, let’s adjust course and you to go, I don’t want to pick my head up.

I got to get this nail put in, but going, oh, you’re right.

I do need to shift a little bit and seeing that.

That’s really cool.


And it’s been fun, you know, because even– and I’m excited in the process of actually being out there, you know, because it is a fulfillment.


In a lot of ways.

And yeah, you know– Well, I don’t– Yeah.

And I remember, you know, like last year, we did more with the garden, but we just not being there, it’s just so tough to maintain a garden.

~ Well, the scale of a garden you guys chose to build too, I was like, yeah, I could imagine not being there to kind of babysit it would be quite a challenge.

I mean, it’d be one thing if you had this little corner.

~ Yeah.

~ Yeah, no, I hear you there.

So yeah, that’s where we’re at.

~ That’s exciting.

~ In that process.

So yeah, once again, thank you.

~ So we’ll definitely do a part two.

~ Yeah, we got to bring Chris in.

~ And get Chris out, yeah.

~ ‘Cause I would love her to correct all the things we said wrong.

~ Yep, I would too.

~ And get her vision in her heart and into it.

‘Cause again, to me, I guess why I said selfishly motivates, I really want you guys, I want the vision to continue to grow and be heard by more people.

And eventually for people to have an opportunity to partner into it, you know.

~ I hear you.

~ Yeah.

~ Obviously there’s not, there’s opportunity right now in the sense that you can go hang out with Mark and Christian on a bonfire and/or help them tear down a horse barn or, you know, a guy who knows a guy who can help with a pond or whatever, you know, there’s definitely ways to contribute.

So I think even that’s a win, but– – Just even in the relationship.

~ Yeah.

~ But even kind of setting up potential future opportunities for partnering, I think is cool.

~ And that’s where you come into play, just in general.

~ You’re one of those people that can, you know– – Well, I’m trying to do my part.

~ I know, I see it.

~ Yeah, I see it.

That’s part of who you are.

And yeah, to where, like you say, at this point, I probably wouldn’t even necessarily have had the conversation.

~ That’s right.

I forced an idea.

Well, so just to tip our hand a little bit, part of that is we have some potential guests, right?

That kind of fall into this homesteading side of things.

And I thought, you know, it’d be really interesting to kind of set up.

~ Yeah, that’s a great point.

~ You know, why some of these things are matter to us.

Even Mary Beth and Mary Ellen, like some of those conversations, You can see how it kind of connects now and can kind of start connecting the dots.

And I think that’s cool.

And I wouldn’t mind if how I see it becomes Sparrow’s Red Focus at some point like that.

That would be cool, whatever that looks like.

But– And it was just an FYI.

One of the conferences you mentioned, we did attend with Jeff and Mary Beth.


To where they have since moved from this area.

and they have their own little farm at out there.

Where’s your, Kelly?

And it’s a two part name and has a college named after.

~ Yep, correct.

And there’s a hospital, Wake Forest.

~ Wake Forest, yes.

They live outside Wake Forest.

It’s, they live in a little town called Walnut Cove.

Not Walnut Grove, but it makes me think a little house on a prairie type thing.

Yeah, so they’re doing well there.

We attended a conference with them and yeah, she’s doing well and yeah.



It’s fun to be.

Well, thank you so much, Mark, for, I know again, this isn’t naturally what you would at the state, this stage, that something that you would want to present, but I appreciate your.


And I agree with you in that process of, yeah, there’s probably going to be some conversations that won’t necessarily seem or some topics that won’t necessarily seems so far out there.


If you understand a little bit of the context.

So yeah.

Thank you for the opportunity, Justin, as always.

Thank you.


That’s how we see it.