What is BrightHaven?

Here I am…over three years after initially writing this introduction to BrightHaven.  We’re still making a true haven of our little home…gradually making it a veritable oasis!

As to who we are: we’re still James and Becca…and Shondai the Cat…Hyacinth Bunny…with Dodi, Samuel and Ariel the dogs…and the very newest addition being roughly 60,000 honeybees.  We all share a little more than a quarter of an acre along the Gulf Coast of Florida.

BrightHaven truly looks very different these days.  Almost every inch of property has been given over to growing something beautiful.  We have a fish pond, a greenhouse, woodshed, garage, bunny hutch, beehive, herb gardens, row gardens and look forward to installing an orchard this autumn.  We’re truly in a time of growth and fruitfulness and are very thankful for our many blessings!

BrightHaven 2011

My husband and I bought our first home almost two years ago. The winds and rain of hurricane Ivan had left the lot devoid of trees and full of Florida sunshine. I ran a little contest on Flickr, asking for helping naming our new home: preferably something reminiscent of Lord of the Rings or Anne of Green Gables.

BrightHaven was the winner.

Greening of BrightHaven

After closing, we walked into our new home and proceeded to strip wallpaper from the walls and pull out every vestige of carpet to be found.  I sincerely dislike carpet: especially since I knew in my heart that hardwood floors lived beneath these carpets.  Perhaps we weren’t prepared for the state in which we found these floors.  They had been painted with multiple coats of green, red and yellow paints, gouged and mildewed from doggie potty breaks.  We worked on the floors for a month before moving into our new Haven and have been working on the gardens ever since.  Join us as we make our little home a true BrightHaven!

The BrightHaven Mission

We aim to live a life of simplicity that glorifies God.

How does this mission evolve into our everyday lives?

For the home, we are resolved to de-clutter and streamline our activities and possessions into things that benefit and make our lives and home more beautiful and enjoyable. For our spiritual lives: getting rid of the junk that hinders communication and interaction with one another, with family, community and our world.

We want to be active partakers in the life of our community: with the spirit of cloistered living (spiritual preparation and discipline) and the activity of fully involved persons. In family, we want our actions to be honest and loving.


What does God’s word say about simple living?
The prophets, priests, evangelists and Jesus are pretty clear:

  • God is a God of abundance, not scarcity. (John 10:10)
  • You don’t save yourself by the way you live, by what you have or keep, by how big you build your barn or how tall you stack your CD’s. (Luke 9:25)
  • God isn’t exactly all that pleased with hoarding, selfishness or fear about dying. (Luke 12:32-34)
  • Be satisfied with what God gives you. (1 Timothy 6:5b-10)
  • The only question about “giving your life away” is “How will I do it?” (Matthew 16:24-25)
  • The reason you have anything is to get God’s work done, not to make yourself into God. (1 Timothy 6: 17-19)
  • The blessings around you? They’re given to you for redistribution. (Proverbs 19:17)
  • Most of the important things in life are simple at their core. If you’ve been following along in the Bible, you already know what they are. (Philippians 4:8-9)
  • For answers to questions, pray. (Isaiah 65:24)
  • For courage, bind yourself to the community of believers around you. (Isaiah 43:1-3; John 17:15-19)

6 thoughts on “What is BrightHaven?”

  1. Just wanted to let you know that I enjoyed you website. I may have to name our little house….. Anne

  2. Wow, it is amazing what you and James have done to the house & yard !! Nothing like I remember when David was helping you move it….. I love it !

  3. What a sweet home, and the name is perfect! I love the story behind that, and I share your aversion to carpeting.

  4. Charming house! Looks like many happy memories will be made there.

  5. So great – love that you’re striving for the simple life, something way too many Christians overlook. We often get caught up with everyone else in stuff. If only we lived more simply in order to give more generously to those with nothing around the world – which I believe is really the best witness we can have. More people will take notice of this quiet authentic witness than if we’re shouting about Jesus from our rooftops!

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