Friday, June 29, 2012

The not so great day

The bare and empty garage, everything is moved out.

One last look at the homestead before leaving.

Yesterday we began our trek out west.  I received the word from my employer to head to Colorado for a job.  We left later in the morning due to waiting for a flat tire on the trailer to be repaired and remounted, but we got on the road bright eyed and raring to go.  Most of the day went great.  We headed out of Indianapolis smoothly and even made it to Illinois before needing to stop for lunch.  The kids were well behaved, stayed busy, and napped for part of the time.  So, a grand time was being had by all, giving me reassurance that we will be all right for this initial trek out west.

And then we went to stop for fuel.  This is what happened as we were getting off of the interstate and pulling into the station.
Tire? What tire? We don't need no stinking tire!
Umm, actually we do.
So I had the pleasure of pulling off this piece of work and putting on a spare in 110 degree heat.  Thankfully I parked the RV so that this was the shady side, but the pavement was still at egg frying temperature.  Soon enough I was at this point...

...which got us back on the road and on our way.

Too bad that wasn't the last of our issues.  As we were crossing I-270 over the Mississippi river, we heard a loud noise, and in our paranoid state thought that it was another tire blowing.  Thankfully, all tires were intact.  The downside was that I could no longer get the truck to shift past third, and it was hurting pretty bad.  We have come to find out that it is the intercooler next to the turbo that blew a cap.  yay.

I immediately pulled off at the next exit and parked at the first spot I could find, which turned out to be a post office.  We called in for our tows (needing the RV towed to a campground and the truck to a dealer) and decided to camp out in the post office to wait.  The lobby was 24 hour, so we knew we had a cool place to sit and wait.
The tow trucks picking us up.
Being a hot and busy day, the tows took almost 2 hours to get to us, which we spent the time on the phone calling campgrounds, dealerships, membership services, car rentals, and taxi services, trying to get ourselves set for the night.  Stephanie and the kids accompanied the RV to the campground in a taxi while I rode with the truck to the dealer to leave it there, then caught my own taxi to the campground.  I showed up just after the RV was setup; thank you to several kind 'neighbors' for helping make that happen.

We were able to bed down for the night and get some rest.  Lord knows we needed it.  We awoke this morning to my phone ringing.  The Ford dealer was calling with information about the truck.  So, now that the dust has settled, it appears that we are in St. Louis for the weekend.  Parts won't be available for them to work on the truck until Monday.  Time to get a rental and do some sightseeing!

While it is easy to get really cheesed off with all of these things happening, to ask why is this happening, things were going so well, I do just have to sit back and laugh.  We are making memories.  We are building character.  We are flexible.  No, we won't make it to Colorado for my start time on Monday.  But I am not in control.  I would love to think that I am, but I am not.

It is in these situations that we are reminded that God is in control, and while we may get caught up in the big things that are going wrong, I have to keep my eyes open to see God in the little things.

  • We are in a big city where resources are plentiful and repairs can happen quickly.
  • We didn't break down in the middle of nowhere.
  • The gentleman who brought our kids snacks while we waited in the post office, just because.
  • The two tow drivers who were so flexible and helpful, waiting for us and letting me sit in the truck to wait for my cab.
  • The guys who helped Stephanie set up the RV quickly, since it was dark when they pulled in.
  • The KOA who, despite being booked solid, held a site for us (for 5 days!), with full hookups and in the shade.
  • The 'neighbor' who, seeing that we were scrambling and struggling, gave us a pack of hotdogs, buns, and chips so that we had dinner last night.
  • Another 'neighbor' who loaned us their car so that we can run to the store and get some groceries and such.
  • We had the truck towed to a dealership, which after calling around, is the only one who can get to it ANYTIME next week, and for the best estimate around.
  • And the myriad of others who have had some hand in getting us to where we are at.
I will also take the opportunity to plug travel and roadside insurance.  Between AAA, Good Sam, and others, the only costs that we will have to pay are the truck repairs.

I have to say that we are not in what we consider to be an optimal situation, but this is what you have to be ready for when you head out on an adventure.  Expect the unexpected, stay flexible, and make lemonade.  A lot of lemonade.  Thank you for your prayers and support, we will now commence some unplanned sight seeing in St. Louis.

Any one up for meeting me? (gotta end on a joke).

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A 'see ya later' weekend

I say 'see ya later' because who really wants to say goodbye.  Goodbye seems too permanent, like you are not planning on seeing someone again.  We spent the weekend in Ohio to visit with friends and family and say see ya later.  We got everyone together for a picnic at my parents house and to show off our new house.  It was a gorgeous day for a cookout and to give tours around and through the RV.  I was in my element, describing all of the functions and features of the RV, plus all of the modifications and customizing that we have done to it.

Sitting in the garage enjoying a meal together. Beautiful wife to the right.
The night before we left for Ohio, as we were heading to our RV after picking up a load from the house, we spotted a rainbow close to our campground.  I jumped out of the truck when I got to the RV and snapped a few photos of it, but I missed the conversation that happened in the van between Stephanie and the kids.

Caroline: It's a sign, Mom!
Lydia: It's a reminder that God keeps His promises, Mom!
Stephanie: Yes. You are absolutely right, girls. Yes, He does.

I must admit, we have seen God keep his promises a lot during this process.  It is fun to see how everything is working out.
See the rainbow above the tailgate of the truck?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Never Again. (Or, Enough is Enough)

As I sit in my mostly empty house, surrounded only by what remains of the contents of my kitchen, a half dozen boxes of photographs and albums, and a hodgepodge of about 3 or 4 boxes of random items that still need to make their way to our new home--our house-on-wheels--my heart resonates with only one thought:

Never again.

Never again will I allow myself to mindlessly acquire "stuff".
Never again will I allow my mental capacities to be taxed with the task of maintaining and caring for said unnecessary "stuff".
Never again will I allow my time and energy to be taken up by things at the detriment of spending time with people.

Maybe this is all a little overdramatic (I'm good for that, just ask my husband--or any member of my immediate family for that matter!), but realistically not by much.

Our family has spent a solid 6 months of ruthlessly purging our lives of all of the extraneous "stuff" surrounding us, in order to be in a position to move into our 400 (or so) glorious square feet of indoor living space and make our home travel with us wherever we go. That doesn't allow room for much, if any, excess. If we don't need it with us on the road, for the most part we don't need it at all in our lives.

A few exceptions include the lawn and garden items and some larger tools that we used regularly in our house-on-dirt, but I'm not even talking about that. I'm talking about the 5 sets of dinnerware, each serving between 4-12 people. I'm talking about the equivalent of a full van load with all seats down full of books that were essentially donated to Half-Price Books. I'm talking about the 12 tubs of outgrown children's clothing that we were storing for who knows what reason, since we are pretty much 100% positive that our family is complete with the six of us. I'm talking about the several large boxes of teaching supplies that were at least 10 years old and had not been used in at least 5 years. These things were all taking up space in my brain--somewhere, because I knew that they all existed! These things were all items that I had to inventory and decide how to re-home, and put forth the effort to find those new homes for the items.

All of this brain-power, time and energy could be much better spent with my family, my friends, or even with being more available with my time to just "be" with acquaintances and strangers. I never want to trade away my time and energy for "stuff" in this way ever again.

Now, I recognize that we could have just hauled in a dumpster and thrown everything unnecessary away and been done with it, but adding another irresponsible act onto our negligence in the acquisition of the "stuff" would only make matters worse. We strive to do the right thing in all that we do, and a big part of this is with stewardship. Just because I don't need 6 sets of glassware doesn't mean that someone, somewhere does not need them. So, instead of pitching the extra sets of glasses, we sold or donated them to either an individual or organization who could use them. And we have done the same with approximately 2/3 of our belongings since January 1, 2012.

Of what remains, we've stored about 1/3 of our belongings (including the furniture which are heirloom pieces) and the remainder is what we are moving into the RV with us.

The jury is still out on if all of the time and energy spent selling those items that we sold before sending to the donate pile was worth it. The total is in the $1000s of dollars--that we've in turn spent on items that we've needed to transition into our new home. So I'm inclined to say that it has been worth our while. I also know that we have been able to sell most of these things at a really great price to people who needed them and we have walked away with some really rich stories and experiences in the process.

We've been able to donate extensively, not just in our thrice monthly van loads to Goodwill, but also to many organizations and individuals who could specifically use our unneeded items. Many items that were otherwise destined for the landfill or Goodwill found new homes as beds in transitional housing projects, restocking the clothing bank of a Community Pregnancy Center which was destroyed by a flood earlier this year, shoes that will provide both jobs and footwear for a community on the African continent, cloth diapers for the next 2-3 years for a friend's new baby (who is due to be born any day now!), and seed items for a yard sale to help fund our dear friends' adoption.

Through it all, we've kept with our family standard of only sending 2-3 kitchen bags of trash to the landfill each week. I say this not to boast, because I know that all households are different and that not all communities offer the same recycling opportunities that ours does, but to demonstrate that downsizing and purging does not always involve sending large amounts to the landfill. If done in a responsible manner, your excess can lend itself toward someone else obtaining their "enough".

And really, that's what it's all about.
Learning when enough is enough, so that everyone can have enough.

That's what I desire to be about, and what Jason and I desire for our family to be about. In order to make this more than simply words, but put action to it, we've walked a long road as a family over the past 6 months to get to this point. However, I'll venture to say that we've not yet arrived, and I hope that I never feel as though we have.

Until everyone has "enough", I hope that I can always find space in my life to contribute to that, however that may look like.

But again I say, never again. Never again will I let that which is most important be buried beneath the weight of all that simply appears to be of value.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

It is a busy silence

I apologize for the silence recently.  We are in the last week before we head out onto the road and are busily finishing customizing and moving into the RV.  I have posted some photos on the Rig Page as projects are completed.  I would like to tease you that we will be finished moving into the RV at the end of this week, so we should have several photos of the (mostly) completed product.  I will say that The Container Store has been our friend this week as we have sought out various storage solutions for the RV.

We currently are parked at Glo Wood Campground in the Lapel/Pendleton Indiana area.  It is a quaint campground tucked just off of the interstate.  The kids have had  some fun exploring the area while Stephanie and I have been busy moving our things into the RV.

We appreciate everyone's encouragement and help as we finish transitioning into our house on wheels.  Don't forget to visit our For Sale page for the last few items that we are selling.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Home Clearance Sale!!!

"We're-Going-On-The-Road" Home Clearance/Yard Sale!!!

This Friday only (6/15) 8am-2pm!

Our family is in the final stages of our move into an RV to travel the country full-time for a few years. This Friday only we are hosting a final sale of all housewares/lawn and garden/children's items and more that we're neither storing nor bringing with us! 

If you are local to Indianapolis and need directions, please contact either Jason ( or Stephanie (

You won't want to miss this sale!

If you thought our first sale was big, we have at least as much to sell this time--only it's either the things that we thought we were going to keep or things that have been insanely useful in our house-on-dirt, that we're only now ready to part with (or the things that we didn't realize until only recently that we actually own, upon opening seldom-used closets and cabinets!). This is definitely a sale to tell your friends about!

Friday, June 1, 2012


As we've been talking with friends and strangers about our family's plans over the past couple of months, we hear many common statements.

"Wow! You're brave!"
This is a nice way of saying "Wow! You're crazy!", which might not be untrue.

"If anyone I know could do that, it's you guys."
That's encouraging to hear, since we pretty much feel the same way.

"That's my dream! I would love to do that someday!"
This one is hardest to know how to respond to. I want to encourage these folks that they CAN do it, but that it's not easy. And I never know if they are the kind of person to put legs to their dreams or if they are content where they are and enjoy simply dreaming.

There's nothing wrong with that at all, if you are truly content, but Jason and I are not that kind of people. We put legs (or in this case, wheels!) under our dreams and make them happen.

I have always claimed that I desire to live a life with no regrets. 3 years ago today, I made a seemingly innocuous choice that has led to the single regret of my life, but one that I'm choosing to learn from. Beginning 2 years and 364 days ago, I decided to never put off the important until tomorrow. Tomorrow might be too late.

3 years ago tomorrow morning, my dad was suddenly and tragically killed in a freak car accident. To make a very long story short (and not at all in the manner that my dad would tell it, if he was still living), it was a perfect accident in the sense that if even one small variable had been different, my father might still be here today. 3 years ago tonight, I nearly picked up the phone to call him, just to talk--because that's what he liked best (good gracious, could that man talk!). However, it was after 10pm and I thought it might be too late to call, or that by the time we got off the phone it would be pushing midnight, so I would call him the next day. Before 8am the next morning, my dad had passed through the veil between "Here" and "There" and I would never have the opportunity to make that phone call.

All that being said, when we felt a stirring last summer to move forward with our long-term dream of taking this show on the road, I was reminded of the urgency to act, because we never know when it will be too late. Now, hopefully that doesn't mean the loss of someone dear to us, but even as quickly as kids grow, we may soon lose the window of opportunity to travel while they are young and portable. Health is not a guarantee, and while we are all in perfect health, we should take this opportunity to do what wouldn't be possible otherwise.

So, while living a life with no regrets is a valiant goal to strive toward, I now believe that having a single regret might lead to a better life. Once you know the impact of that regret on your life, if you can learn to never again go down that road, it is worthwhile. My dad gave me many gifts and taught me many lessons in his lifetime. I am blessed that his final lesson was equally valuable--even if he'll never know that he taught it to me.

One more set of statements that we have heard many times over about the adventure we are embarking on:
"Your dad would have loved this!"
"You are your father's daughter."
"This sounds just like something your dad would have done."

And as someone who modeled living life fully, I wholeheartedly agree. I don't know if he lived a life with no regrets, but I suspect that if he had any, he chose to learn from them and make a better life from them. I'm choosing to do the same.