2019 Year in Review

2019 Year in Review

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We’ve had quite the year here at the Plemel cabin! Over the past few days I’ve looked through our 2019 pictures (see the gallery of photos at end of post!) and calendar and I’m amazed at all the twists and turns our life has taken. I could’ve never predicted any of it much less the experience of it all and this, ladies and gentlemen, is why we’re told to walk by faith day by day, moment by moment.

Since this is our cabin blog, here are some home highlights from the past year:

Jan 2017 – We moved to our cabin in the woods
Sept 2017 – We got electricity
June 2018 – Had a well drilled
Nov 2018 – We got functional indoor plumbing
—- 2019—-
Jan – Mark built an awning over the front door
April – Mark plastered our cabin bathroom
May – Mark planted bushes, trees, and a garden
June/July – We painted our cabin and sauna red
Sept – We updated our driveway with nearly 20 dump truck loads of gravel and Mark fixed the kitchen sink drain (it hadn’t been draining since Dec 2018 and Bailey had been washing dishes in bins and dumping out the water outside or in the tub all that time)
Oct – Mark planted 700 flower bulbs on our property and started building a second woodshed
Nov – Mark nearly finished the second woodshed (still needs a roof)
Dec – Serious snow removal efforts and car troubles (quarter-mile driveway guys!)

Cabin aside, we’ve also had some unique adventures in our careers this year:


Let’s back it up a bit for some context: in November 2018, Mark accepted a job located in Wilmington, Delaware with a non-profit called Y Innovations. He was to be a construction manager building strawbale houses for low-income families and so we made plans to move to Utah for training. We spent December going to all the family gatherings and holiday events in attempt to soak up as much of home as we could. Before we knew it, it was the end of January 2019 and we were packed up and driving to Utah.

We lived in a strawbale home in Moab, Utah for two months. During that time, Mark worked construction while I hung out with the cats and tried my hand at addressing wedding envelopes with pen and nib calligraphy for the first time. In the evenings and on the weekends we played the tourist by hiking, sight-seeing, and hiking. I am not gung-ho about travel and I’ve never lived away from home so it was quite an experience for the eyes (and my out-of-shape leg muscles) and an adventure for the heart. The best souvenirs we brought home are the pictures.

Mark and I enjoy blogging so while we were there and Mark was working with Community Rebuilds, learning to build strawbale homes, he launched a blog aimed at teaching others about natural building methods (check out that blog here) while I wrote and published 10 reviews on my book blog –the most I’ve ever done in one month since I started it in 2016 (check out that blog here).

In April, we left Utah to return home and the plan was to be home one week—long enough to pack up the rest of our stuff and move to Delaware. Plot twist: Mark got laid off from his job with Y Innovations, we didn’t move to Delaware and instead, Mark started applying for jobs in Duluth area and I tentatively began putting my roots down. I love home.

In searching for his own job, Mark found one for me instead! In June, I took a part-time administrative assistant position with APEX (Area Partnership for Economic Expansion) in downtown Duluth. I really enjoy my office job because the team is friendly and professional and I get to do all the detail work that I love: organizing, filing, research, planning, coordinating calendars, sorting the mail, and just generally helping the team. It’s like being a professional wife!

In July, after over 3 months of being unemployed, Mark started working in residential construction for Lakeside Advanced Builders. Mark continued to keep his eye on the job market and we fell into a rhythm and enjoyed summer at home. We went strawberry and blueberry picking for the first time together, Mark planted trees, bushes, and maintained a garden, we attended weddings, I swam each week at the enjoyed summer at home. We went strawberry and blueberry picking for the first time together, Mark planted trees, bushes, and maintained a garden, we attended weddings, I swam each week at the YMCA, we did some fun family things like Leveille Reunion weekend.

In October, Mark took a second job working for Duluth Schools as a teacher’s aide for a Construction Tech class. In the morning he goes to a construction site to build a house and in the afternoon he goes to another construction site to teach high schoolers how to build a house. And for a short time he also refereed Youth Flag Football for City of Duluth. Mark enjoys the variety but not the lack of health insurance! We’re currently working three part-time jobs between us and Mark is still applying and interviewing.

The 2019 holidays have come and gone and we are home in Minnesota with no plans to move away any time soon. 2020 has arrived and I have no idea what to expect this year—maybe I should expect plot twists!? I’m very thankful that our swiftly changing circumstances, though they change us, they do not change our Savior. We’ve seen the character of our God remain the same: He’s faithful, He’s good, He walks with us through life and cares for us in big ways and small. I have a confident expectation for much of the same in 2020!

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

“You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)


Hover over the photos to see the descriptions!

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