Be Careful What You Wish For- It might just happen

Jan 1, 2020

“It’s 2 am, on the first night of this new year, I am already writing in this new journal. I’m been kept awake because of the serendipitous act of Sierra requesting a Christmas slide show and so I told her I would show some log home building slides, which they never saw.

There were three carousels of transparencies with many missing slots that shown brilliant white empty space on the screen. The advance button froze on the ancient Kodak projector so I had to advance each slide individually, but the kids managed to be wowed. Even though they spent twenty years of their lives in our log home, they never fully understood what went into creating it.

I told Sierra about my manuscript, “The Building Years- Building a Marriage while Building a Home,” and then showed her the 60 original ink drawings I created to illustrate the story. This was done almost 30 years ago. She asked for a copy of the manuscript and drawings for her 30th birthday (in a month) as well as a way to celebrate her and Eben’s 5th year wedding anniversary.

I had to clean up my studio in order to even find the box that held the 250 pages. I had meagerly attempted to sell the manuscript many years ago, but got side-tracked when I received two contracts to write two other books. It remained on a shelf all these decades and no, I wasn’t going to self-publish. It could sit there forever before I went that route.

Since I located the manuscript, I thought I may as well read it and was surprised that except for two slow parts, I couldn’t put it down. This surprised me because I thought I would have done some serious advancing in my writing skills in 30 years, but I was soon to learn that this book was some of my best writing ever. I gave the manuscript to Todd- the best litmus test. He also couldn’t put it down. Woah, maybe we were on to something.”

About this time, my editor from Skyhorse, Jon Arlan, who worked with me on, “The World is Our Classroom,” asked if I had any books I was working on that I might want to share with him. The publisher wanted my upcoming book, Walking Toward Peace but I was not happy with their meager marketing efforts as well as their pathetic offer so they didn’t get to publish that important book. (The Mountaineers Books in Seattle is the publisher. This is the 4th of my 9 books that they will publish.)

I gave my Jon two chapters and to my delight, he absolutely loved it. He shared it with the publisher. They definitely wanted it and moved quickly forward with an offer. They had published another cabin type book 10 years ago and it had done very well and they were looking for another. Jon said that the word “cabin” had to be in the title to cater to the simple living, tiny house, sustainability movement and even though I said our 2500 sq ft home was really not a cabin (denotes small), I could live with that compromise. I edited the slow parts of the manuscript out and with Sierra’s excellent editing capabilities, she helped me bring the book up to date, addressing things like gender etc., which I never gave a thought to or even a name to decades ago. She made the book shine. I also added a section on how the log home gave back over the years- as a fabulous place to raise and educate our kids, host hikers and veterans in our non-profit, River House PA, who see our property as a safe and peaceful haven.

I wasn’t sure about two published books coming out so close together (Jan and April 2021) and my contract with The Mountaineers states that their book, Walking Toward Peace, had to be the next book I had published, so I asked their advice. They said if I had the opportunity to get another book published, to definitely go with it, as long as I did not neglect marketing their book.  

The 2020 Covid year was a good year for hunkering down and working as an author. I never have been able to accomplish the release of two books had I been following my normal break-neck speed of travel.

January 1, 2021.   

“Looking back in my last journal entry, it has been a solid year since I wrote. I am now days away from my new book, The Log Cabin Years- One Couple Builds a Home from Scratch and Creates a Life becoming a reality.The printed book is in the warehouse and cases will be shipped soon. One year ago, this was only an idea. Only one year to make it happen. Crazy. Thought turned into reality.

Now I am thinking of my next book, and the next book. (Bryce said I should work in tandem, multi-task. I probably work better that way!). Sierra asked why this surge to get books completed. Did I think I was going to die soon? I thought about that. No. I want to free myself up to be the best grandmother I can be when the time arrives, I told her. She rolled her eyes. Soon, but not now, she said. That’s OK. I have books to write. And after awhile, I will do a remake of Kids in the Wild- A Family Guide to Outdoor Adventure. Only it will have a new title, Kids in the Wild… Round Two- A Grandparent’s Guide to Outdoor Adventure!

I will attach my two favorite reviews so you can see what people are saying about The Log Cabin Years. We are having a Book Release- Open House (outside) Party, Sunday, 18 April, all day at 85 Red Mountain Lane, New Ringgold, PA. You are welcome as well as friends. Todd will have carvings available too. If you can’t wait for The Log Cabin Years, send me a check for $25 + $4 postage or paypal me at

And with that I leave you…dream big and write it down- the first step in making it become a reality.

“Creating a life as a married couple entails more than building a house together, or a log cabin in this case. But it’s a good place to start as there might be no better way to get to know who you’re planning to spend the rest of your life with than dealing with your partner’s cranky exhaustion or annoyingly can-do optimism as you figure out how to get honest-to-god five-ton trees up the slope to the building site. While working a full-time job. And pregnant. Taking breaks only to do 2,000-mile hikes to remind yourself you can start big projects and see them through to the end. If this sounds daunting, it is. But the result—a magnificent, magical 2,500-square-foot home which is sturdy enough to withstand an earthquake and contain and nurture four creative lives—is worth it. I have a confession: the story made me cry. Not because Todd and Cindy occasionally brawled—I knew they would figure things out—but because it’s a heroic story of a young couple taking a chance on a life that would be worth living for them, not a life that others proscribed. Cindy provides notes and tips at the end of each chapter, which are useful if you’re inspired to build a log cabin yourself, but the real tips are in the story of how they found the will and the courage to be electrically alive on this planet.”—Bathsheba Monk, author of Nude Walker

“Many dream of adventure. Some plan for and set out on adventures. A few even occasionally manage to have one. Then there’s Cindy Ross—who is adventure. In her latest book—a housebuilding, marriage-making, child-rearing, life-living how-to—Ross shares the adventure in exquisite and revelatory detail. With high energy and deep spirit, she grabs our hands and invites us along. She insists we all hang out and hew a log or two (or twenty) before having a sweat in the sauna and hatching a new escapade: long-distance wilderness trekking with toddlers, anyone?”—Maryalice Yakutchik, author and editor

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12 thoughts on “Be Careful What You Wish For- It might just happen Leave a comment

  1. Hi Cindy, yours was the first PCT book I ever read (PCT 2014 with my son), thank you
    We would like to invite you on our Hiker-Environmental-Awareness Skype call Sundays 1100am PST
    If you have any environmental-nature type stories or shares please join us

    Sincerely, Val Vitols

  2. Hi Cindy,

    Won’t be able to be at your openhouse….and you know, I would just to see you in living color in natural abode—I am leaving for Mexico to look after a house there for 3 months. But I want to read your book—of course I do. I assume that 85 Red Mt. Lane is your address, but just double checking. You are always such a super storyteller—although on your most recent, I had my own pig once, and that was enough. Excited to Log Cabin it…I will be asking you to send to a friend in my building since I won’t be here; she can get the first read and I’ll be along. …maybe one day as far as Red Mountain. Hoping and knowing you all are safe, healthy and sane—as well as all so talented on the project of living well. Big hug,


    1. you bet- ANY TIME you are welcome. Great to hear from you. Mexico sounds like a sweet place right now! address is good- New Ringgold 17960- just include $4 for postage- have fun and thank you!

  3. Hi Cindy,

    I just wanted to thank you for your stories! My husband and I recently got vaccinated, so I’m currently re-reading The World Is Our Classroom to prepare to make up for what feels like a year of lost travel opportunities due to COVID. As a mother of a toddler and an aspiring children’s author, your life of adventure and creativity is a huge source of inspiration to me!

    Thank you!!

    1. thank you for sharing Jamie- I know how good it feels to travel again- got in my first plane the other week to travel to the Pacific Northwest and just being above and in the clouds was a supreme joy

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