What Does It Really Mean To Live Off-Grid

What Does It Really Mean To Live Off-Grid

There is a lot of confusion as to what it really means to live Off The Grid. So many people I spoke to in the beginning of our journey would apologize to me when I said that I lived off-grid.

Honestly, that really surprised me and it took me a little to figure out how they were thinking. In their eyes, I was living a lesser life with NO power or modern conveniences. I believe many think that if you live off grid, you live in a shack, are dirty and unable to take regular baths and are deprived in some way, but they could not have been more wrong.

Living off the grid means that you are choosing to severe your connection and ties to the modern grid and either live with no power at all or power your home with either batteries, a generator or a form of alternative energy. It could also be a combination of the above.  It also means in ways seeking a freedom from today’s modern society and being able to create your own lifestyle of sorts.  It also means a much lesser dependency on society and government as a result of or that may actually be the initial intention, but either way I believe it slowly occurs regardless!

We aspire to eventually live a life with no power, but for right now we are utilizing a 48-volt solar system with 16 panels and 16 batteries along with a generator backup.

We embarked on this journey in 2010 and to date, we have NEVER been without power. The local power grid has been down so much over those years that we lost count and often times didn’t even know the rest of the world was without. One time we had a breaker blow on the system which kept us from pulling power from the sun, but our batteries were full and our generator kept us powered up while we waited three days for our new breakerS to arrive.

On our off-grid homestead, we make it a practice to have 3 backups of our most important necessities and that breaker has been added to our list.

Living an off-grid lifestyle is something I could never turn my back on. I passionately love living this life of freedom not to mention the health benefits of not having power lines even remotely near our home.

Our lifestyle creates a simplistic mindset that just keeps digging its roots deeper and deeper into our souls.

We really haven’t had to give up anything that was of any value to us and living in a conservative fashion helps keep us from feeling like the rest of the world that is trying desperately to keep up with the Joneses only to continue going deeper and deeper into debt and unhappiness.

Joy is found in the still quiet moments, in contentment and joy produces happiness. I have found my joy in this lifestyle and will never turn back.

For more on our lifestyle and an in-depth at off-grid living, check out my book How To Embrace An Off-Grid Lifestyle.

Faith Through The Storm

Faith Through The Storm

What does that look like exactly and really how is that possible?

I will say, it does take practice to have complete and total faith through the storm. It is a process I believe that we mature and grow into – if we allow ourselves to be CHANGED!

I have been through a LOT of challenging things in my life and today, I look forward to the next challenge. Not that I look for the uncomfortable places in life, but because I know that through the uncomfortable circumstances that we travel, amazing things happen and amazing growth is experienced! I would not be the warrior I am today if I did not believe that!

I too used to say “WHY ME LORD, WHY ME?”, but today I say “SHOW ME LORD, GROW ME LORD!”

The saying ”God will not give us more than we can handle” is actually not in the bible directly, but I have been guilty of hanging on to those words and thinking to myself, “WOW, God sure must think I can handle a LOT”. Those words have helped me more than a time or two to grab those boot straps and put on my big girl panties!! But the truth is God loves us and will protect us.

“Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you.” ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭4:12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Peter shares with us above that as Christians we should not be surprised when fiery trials come our way, but I love best how James puts it…

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” ‭‭James‬ ‭1:2–4‬ ‭NLT

I don’t know about you, but James words greatly empower me. The Bible is loaded with amazing guidance and I LOVE pouring myself into it. I used to greatly struggle to try to read and understand the Bible, but while I was sick I purchase the NLT Inspire Bible that just speaks to me! I encourage you to make it a practice to read the word – it is SO powerful and comforting!

Sure, we all want God’s will to line up with our ideals, BUT that is not always the case so rather than worrying about an outcome, I have just learned to trust that the outcome will eventually be bigger, better and more amazing than anything I could have possibly imagined!

In my opinion, worry is a waste of life, time and a good mind. Don’t get me wrong, I used to worry about EVERYTHING, but I have found such a peace with the close walk I have with Jesus and I have found a better use for my time.

“Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:27‬ ‭NLT

Do you know what to do when you feel worry and stress setting in? My suggestion is that you pull closer to God – pause and take time to give your worries to him. I also dive into his word and if I struggle to absorb his word at that time, I turn to a devotional that I have used for years, Jesus Calling (they also have a child and teen version of this devotional) which is written so well and just seems to be pertinent ALL the time. Then you are no longer carrying those weights – he will carry them for you!

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The storms we go through in life have the ability to change us. We can grow positively or we can grow negatively, but that my friends are a choice.

The truth is, without change there is no growth. When we have the right attitude every experience-positive and negative- becomes an opportunity for progress.

“So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.”
‭‭[2 Corinthians‬ ‭3:18‬ ‭NLT]‬‬ (http://bible.com/116/2co.3.18.nlt)

I’d like to encourage you to view your storms and valleys in a positive light. I know that sounds crazy, but I promise you, through the storm, good things will be gained, progress will be made and transformation will take place. In order to be the full persons/warriors that we need to be and become, we need to walk out our walk in faith. I look at the storms and valleys as my challenge in life to improvise, adapt, overcome and TRUST.

I know I have referenced James above, but he just puts it so well… Can you tell this is a favorite verse?

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” ‭‭James‬ ‭1:2–4‬ ‭NLT‬

There is also something I believe that many Christians overlook and that is the power we have been given in Christ Jesus. We have the power to send the enemy packing and not to listen to his lies which is 99.9% why our storms and valleys are so tough. We allow him to cause us to worry! I have learned to view it very differently, you see, I see him for what he is and I laugh at him! When you start to do that – it is quite amazing to see how sad and lame his attempts become. He knows that he can no longer get you, trust me, he will continue to try, but once you see the spiritual attacks for what they are, they no longer have any power over you! It is an AMAZING thing!

As a friend shared with me the other day and I believe this 100%, ”Life is 10% circumstance and 90% perspective”! Think about that a bit… (Thanks Brent!) Our perspective on life can be a Game Changer!

So, please remember that the negative things you experience in life are NOT from God, but from the enemy trying to trip you up.

“Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew‬ ‭28:18–20‬ ‭NLT

So stop worrying and stop trying to figure God out and just simply TRUST him!

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭55:8–9‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”  2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:16–18‬ ‭NLT

As you go through varying storms and valleys in life, keep your feet firmly planted and keep your eyes focused upward!

Gandhi said, “You may never know what results come from your actions, but if you do nothing there will be no results.”

In other words, stay persistent and keep moving forward rather than staying stagnant in the storm. Put your faith in HIM, push forward, never ask why and NEVER GIVE UP!

Mark Twain said, ”Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.”

What are some ways you cope through your storms?

Taking On The Impossible And…

Taking On The Impossible And…

Sometimes in life, we need to “Take On The Impossible”, or at least that is how it feels, but remember in EVERY situation we have choices and we are CHOOSING to be #UNSTOPPABLE!

We’ve decided this year we are going to be totally transparent in our situation in an effort to help others. We are on a slippery slope that is not kind nor pleasant, but we have been working extremely hard to move things in a positive direction with no prevail.

In 2016, we traveled from Idaho to GA for my life-saving surgery, stayed in GA for 17 days, returned home to embark on a healing journey that I am still traveling today and went 6 1/2 months without an income during that time. Our medical bills were adding up and we were behind on EVERYTHING.

In 2017, we had the illusion that we were catching up. Going into winter we had 4 nice construction jobs lined up for December that would carry us into the new year, but in November of 2017 those jobs fell apart due to the homeowner’s finances. SOOO we ended up going 4 months without work and an income despite our best effort while seeking, searching and being resourceful.

Fast forward to today, June 13, we went too long without an income and catching up is no longer an option without a miracle.

Over the weekend our family made a very radical decision to spend the next month and a half getting rid of all the unnecessary things on our homestead by selling things on an online yard sale and having a physical yard sale in July. The best time in my life was spent in the canvas wall tent while building this homestead. The simplicity is what I crave and that is what we are heading toward not that we don’t live simply, but we want to live simpler.

Additionally, we are pushing to finish the cosmetic work in the interior of our home, organize the outside and prepare our home for sale by the end of August, all while still doing our normal day to day of working construction jobs, writing and maintaining our online businesses and keeping the homestead running.

We can not make any concrete decisions on our future until this house sells so we are putting all our energy into making this happen and trusting that God will meet us halfway. I know that Trayer Wilderness, Trayer Wilderness Academy, and our family will remain in the wilderness of Idaho, we just don’t know where and how!

When you take extreme leaps of faith we enable God to open the doors – our parachute may not open right away, but I fully trust that it will open and God will guide and be with us on this whole journey. He has been with us all this time – “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT .

These were the two choices we had:
1. Sit, mope and watch the ship sink or file bankruptcy.
2. Take the leap of faith that we have and decide to put a positive and very aggressive plan in place.

What is the worst that will happen? Well, we will fail, but we will fail knowing that we did EVERYTHING in our power to change our circumstance and make a difference not only in our lives but the lives of others through our steadfast trust and faith in God.

He has a plan for us that is bigger and better than we could ever imagine or envision so regardless of the outcome I know we will be ok and well cared for and loved!

One important aspect for us during this journey is to be sure we are listening to that still, small voice so that we are not steering this ship in the wrong direction and that we are following his plan and not ours!

Something else I would like to point out is the importance of strong family bonds!  We are one very STRONG family and we will conquer this new journey together.  It is also important for you to truly realize what is most important in your life.  Materials things will never hold value in our home compared to the relationships we have, our love for one another and our love for Christ.  We are blessed beyond measure even in our circumstances and our LIFESTYLE has enabled us to be comfortable in a very uncomfortable place.   We have not gone without food or shelter.  We live a life of preparedness and are able to feed our family, give to those that are in need and still have some left over.  This is all because we live daily preparing for tomorrow!  You never know what will come your way and being prepared is SO extremely important!

So join us on this journey as we step into yet another adventure in the lives of the Trayer Family!

You can follow the step by step video journey (behind the scenes) here.

If you are walking a similar journey right now, remember to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus versus allowing depression to set in or seeking a quick fix or an end all avenue!   This is not the end of the world, it may actually be the start of something very exciting and new!  God is good!

If you missed me on Facebook Live sharing our story, you can watch below:

If you would rather listen to the podcast – you can do so here on our website or on iTunes or Stitcher.

Off-Grid Solar Homestead For Sale

 

Don’t Just Take Coffee Breaks… Take Praise Breaks Too…

Don’t Just Take Coffee Breaks… Take Praise Breaks Too…

 I woke up the morning of February 14th, 2018 and I prepared breakfast for my wife who leaves early to work at around 5:45 am. It was also Valentine’s day and I’m thinking to myself “what is the best way to express love to my family while financially I am broke?” So my wife leaves to work but in the back of my head, I have an idea of preparing a nice meal for my family.

Remember, I’m a work at home dad and so for me, everything is possible. At 2 pm, hell breaks loose and my son starts to convulse and I panicked a little bit but then started to administer some first aid as I prepare to rush him into the hospital. In the background I hear the song by Michael W. Smith singing, “this is how we fight our battles, it might look like we’re surrounded [by sickness, hardship, poverty, war,] but we’re surrounded by You [God]”. So as I undress my son because his temperatures were now at 38.9˚C, I felt peace in my heart and I started singing along, took my insurance card and I rushed him to the hospital. As I write this, my son is healed after spending three days in the hospital.

It was terrible for me when I saw my son convulsing and I was feeling like it was finished. But when I started praising God, everything changed, I got peace in my heart and I had the assurance in my heart that if my redeemer lives, then my son will live and he will be healed; the power of praise.

Praise works like a magnifying glass. It causes what you’re focusing on to get bigger, to be ‘magnified.’ David said, ‘Magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears’.

It’s a mistake to wait until you’ve no problems, fewer problems, or your problems are solved before you praise the Lord. Praise is one of the great Scriptural keys to problem-solving because it gets your focus on God, the problem solver.

Charles Spurgeon said: ‘My happiest moments are when I am worshipping God, really adoring the Lord Jesus Christ…In that worship, I forget the cares of the church and everything else. To me, it is the nearest approach to what it will be in Heaven.’

God has promised you ‘the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.’ It works like this. When you begin to praise him with a heavy heart, you experience a new sense of hope and joy. Through worship you are reminded that God is bigger than the situation you face; that he’s not only capable of managing your concerns but willing, wanting and waiting to. The Psalmist wrote: ‘Seven times a day I praise you’ (Psalm 119:164).

“Don’t just take coffee and tea breaks; take ‘Praise Breaks’! David Kedode”

Fill your day with praise. Don’t just take coffee breaks and tea breaks; take ‘praise breaks.’ Begin to praise God for two things:
(1) His attributes. His power, love, grace, favor, guidance, etc.
(2) His acts. Recall his goodness to you. Go ahead; take off the spirit of heaviness and put on the garment of praise.

Do you take “PRAISE” breaks?

Waiting On God To Answer Prayers

Waiting On God To Answer Prayers

Growing up, I often asked myself impatiently, “How can I keep faith while waiting on God to answer prayers?” I still sometimes reach that point even today-human nature. I thank God even when things become hard and I cannot believe God anymore, He [God] has continually shown me through His word how to wait on His timing.

Only God can see the big picture. He has planned out everything to intertwine perfectly in the end. Part of His plan includes working through our prayers. We pray, yet we doubt He hears us. He has promised, however, to hear His children. Although He hears us, He doesn’t always give the response we expect or the answer on our timetable. Just the end of last week, I got an invitation to attend a job interview which I really needed. When I got the invite, I started praying and prophesying to myself in my mind, remembering Hebrews 11:1 which says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” I even asked my sister Tammy to pray for me as I prepared for the interview. On Monday 29th, I went for the interview and there were only three of us. God showed me favor as I was answering the questions from the panel. As I am still waiting for the response, I still believe God is going to answer my prayers. The Lord reminds me in the book of 2 Peter 3:8 the bible says, “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” His time is not our time.

When waiting on God to answer prayers, we must believe God will answer. Unbelief is the biggest obstacle to overcome in praying and waiting. “But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. People like that should not expect to receive anything from the Lord” James 1:6–7.

While waiting on God to answer prayers, take stock of your blessings. Are you breathing? Then, rejoice in life! Do you see the blue sky or even a cloudy one? Thank God for the ability to see. Can you hear the sound of the wind blowing through the trees or a child laughing? Praise God for hearing! Turn the wait into a treasure hunt for the blessings that we often take for granted. For remembrance, keep a prayer journal, listing all your prayers with the date of the request. Frequently lift up the requests to God, and record the date you received an answer.

Never forget that answers come in God’s time, not ours. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” God has promised His own a hopeful future. Rest in God’s faithfulness, He will answer you.

Going Through The Challenges With Grace

Going Through The Challenges With Grace

When you are faced with challenging situations, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by everything that is happening around you. Surprisingly, all of us experience major and minor life challenges. How we handle these struggles on a daily basis determines our physical, as well as our mental well-being. It takes only a single event to convince us we have no control over our circumstances. Sometimes these challenges consume us with guilt, panic attacks, or chronic fatigue. Our problems pressure us from every side, threatening to crush or break us.

Our challenges have a direct relationship in defining our purpose in life. If only we could find assurance that there was a plan or reason for the difficulties we face. We search for meaning in tragedy, questioning our reason for hope or a future. “Why me God? How can I ever forgive? I hate my life! How do I stop the pain?”

Life challenges enable us to see ourselves at our best and our worst. We may attempt to temporarily escape our circumstances, falling into alcohol addiction or drug addiction. Others find themselves overwhelmed, careening out of control — even contemplating how to commit suicide.

My drug addict brother abandoned schooling while pursuing a medicine course. I remember my late mother who was a widow, the stress she went through with her last born son becoming a drug addict and at the same time attempting to end his life. I thank God for his grace because he gave us the strength and wisdom to guard our hearts and minds. Personally, I discovered Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Prayer is how we communicate; and he always hears us when we speak. As you pray, pray as if the prayer has already been answered-that is faith. As you do so you will find a peace that cannot be shaken by any trial or circumstance. That peace will keep you sound and sure through many challenges, and you will be able to be at rest.

When we develop a personal relationship with the One who created us, we discover how God wants us to respond in any given situation. If you are facing difficult decision, trust Him to provide the comfort, strength, and wisdom you need in order to continue toward your goal Isaiah 43:1–2, the bible says, “But now, this is what the Lord says-he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; his flames will not set you ablaze.”

By placing our faith in God, we take our hands off our problems. Psalm 18:1–2, the scripture says, “I love you, Lord; you are my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the strength of my salvation, and my stronghold”. God gave us His Son, Jesus Christ, to reach beyond time, life’s challenges, and even death to save us.