Many of you have asked if Elderberry Croft is a real place.
In a way, it is. So today I thought I’d give you a teeny-tiny bit of story-behind-the-story on Willow Goodhope’s story.
Most of you know that Kevin and I just celebrated 25 years of marriage on June 25th, 2013. But those of you who know us personally, might secretly wonder about “that one year….”
Several years ago now, our marriage imploded on itself, and I cut and run. Yes, I abandoned my husband and three children to go “find myself,” and during that year or more, I did some horrific, and sometimes very dangerous things, including studying and practicing witchcraft. [UPDATE: If you want to read more about my journey through the shadowed places, you can read about it HERE.] It was a treacherous time, in so many ways. Our children suffered terribly because of our decisions, and by the time I walked out of the marriage, we both believed a future together was impossible.
During my frantic search to find a place where I could live, I stumbled upon a “For Rent” sign on a side road while out riding my motorcycle (yes, another indulgence I invested my time and money in – my motorcycle was aptly called a “Rebel”), at the front of a trailer park. I figured beggars couldn’t be choosers, and if a rented trailer was all I could get at such short notice, then I’d make it work.
But God had other plans for me (and ultimately for our marriage), mainly because He wasn’t ready to let me ride off into the sunset without Him, or Kevin, for that matter. The park manager led me around to the back of the property, across a little bridge with a creek flowing beneath it, and pointed at a tiny cottage on a river rock patio. “That’s it,” he said, as though it was nothing special.
Maybe he saw nothing special about the place, considering the poor little house was all but naked, but, like Willow Goodhope when she first arrived at The Coach House Trailer Park in Episode 1: January Breeze, I envisioned vines and pots and pretty garden things, my herbs and twinkle lights and wind chimes everywhere.
I now wish I’d taken pictures of the place before I moved in, but here it is all dressed up in my things.
Behind that gigantic eucalyptus tree is a fire-pit built right into the patio. This is where Patti and Richard Davis celebrated Valentine’s Day in Elderberry Croft: February Embers.
To the left of the fire pit, just past the green chair and the pole, is where the little stream ran right along the edge of the patio. This is just about where Myra sits with her foot propped up during the 4th of July celebrations in Elderberry Croft: July Madness.
Yes, I actually lived here.
The tiny covered porch that led to the front door, looking at it from behind the eucalyptus tree. You can see into that large plate glass window that conveniently, and oh, so deliciously, looked out over the patio and stream. That’s the kitchen window to the right, the one Donny kept yelling through in July Madness, too.
And here’s a peek at the inside. Oh, how my love of all things medieval had free reign in here, because there was no one’s taste to consider but my own. (if you look closely, that’s me in the mirror with my camera – ha!)
But there’s so much more to this story than just these few (and disappointingly fuzzy) pictures. Perhaps one day I’ll share with you how God met me here, in this sanctuary, in the only place He knew I’d hear Him, and how He used these two little guys, Pip and Squeak – they played an amazing role in the story of mine and Kevin’s restoration! [UPDATE: Click here to read the rest of the story, SHE GOES HOME]
Yes, Elderberry Croft is a real place. And yes, as you’ve likely guessed by now, there are bits and pieces of Willow Goodhope in me, just as there are bits and pieces of every character who lives at The Coach House Trailer Park in me, too. But the main thing we have in common is that we both found profound healing and restoration in this little cottage by the stream.
I’m honored and humbled to be able to share our stories with you, and I hope you’ll come away from Elderberry Croft with hope and healing, too!
Grace and peace to you!