Salvage, Stitches, Storage, and Sadness

Salvage, Stitches, Storage, and Sadness

April 22, while driving in Michigan at 11pm (about to call it a night), we came to an intersection with a blinking yellow light. We had the right of way. A car on the intersecting road decided to go. I slammed on the SUV brakes, Caleb slammed on the truck brakes, and the RV brakes didn’t work right (and they worked fine up until this point). The RV kept going, ripped the hitch in the truck bed almost completely out, slammed into the cab and back tail light area, and the truck slammed into our SUV.

We were able to coast into a local grocery store in White Lake, about an hour east of Lansing. Everyone was fine. The truck and RV were totalled by the insurance companies. The SUV probably would have been but we only had liability on it. It is still drivable. We also ended up getting another truck already (although now it needs an EGR delete). We couldn’t finance another RV until the insurance paid for the other one. They wouldn’t pay until we moved out. I had took pictures and videos on my smart phone but then the screen broke and I am back to a flip phone.

We visited the local Baptist Church the day after the wreck and have fell in love with the people. Everyone has been so helpful and welcoming. A loving family has welcomed us into their home while we wait on the bank to finance us. All our stuff was in a 5×10 ft storage unit until a few days ago when we moved it to the pastor’s garage. We have enjoyed helping out at the church when we can and now call it home.

Caleb has had a job since April 25th but got injured on the job after two weeks of working​ there. While cutting down a tree with a chainsaw, the tree fell quicker than planned (his boss didn’t have the trunk held tight), branches hit the chainsaw which swung back and hit Caleb’s knee. He got 12 stitches. He was still working but was overdoing it a lot so missed about 10 days of work (spread out, not all in a row). It was at a bad spot and kept splitting open. It looks way better now.

When he first got the stitches

Also at the end of May, my family had another gut wrenching blow. My younger brother overdosed (not Herion) and was in the hospital for four days before he passed. He was my step dad’s only child. My stepdad had passed in January from esophagal cancer. My family is all deeply grieved and will never​ be the same. We are still very much in shock because no one expected my always-smiling, 22 year old brother to die. The day before he spent making future plans with his girlfriend. It still just feels like a dream that we wish we could wake up from!

We miss you two so much!

As far as my family (the four of us) goes, we plan to get a new RV soon, Lord willing. Also my husband is probably switching jobs soon to something more permanent. I will update more as the Lord reveals His plans for our lives. He has done tons of pruning on us and we keep our faith and hope on His future plans for us. We are loving where He is leading us and just need to give things time to fall into place!
Rest in Peace 

Dakota (Cody)

December 30, 1994 -May 30, 2017

Always smiling!
My little brother will be missed so much!
I could always depend on him to be a great Uncle “Cookie” to m boys. Lucas gave him the nick name when he was younger.
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Grief, My Current Companion

Grief, My Current Companion
My boys and I went to the beach in memory of my stepdad who passed on January 21st.

Grief is so hard to understand. One day, everything seems fine. The next you are depressed and do things in memory of the one passed. The next you are too busy to cry. The following you are walking in a fog. The next day you are angry at God for letting them die so young and crying your eyes out! 

My stepdad was an amazing Pap-Pap!

My stepdad lost his year and a half long fight against Esophageal Cancer. I underestimated how hard his passing would hit me. It doesn’t help when sick kids, depression, financial struggle, and a strained marriage are thrown into the mix. But since he passed, my emotions are everywhere! I really don’t know what kind of support I need during this season of my life. If you are trying to comfort those grieving, be ready for the many different “days”. They may want to cry, scream, reminisce, laugh, talk, or ignore people altogether. Meals, hugs, and offering help with kids, housework, or errands is appreciated!

The words slipped away into the ocean. Such symbolism of his life’s passing.

So in this grieving time, I am not sure how often I will write. My life feels on hold. My weight loss journey is currently non-existent. My minimalism has came to a halt. I want to celebrate life but I don’t know how through all this pain. I want life to make sense. I want to be surrounded by family and I feel lost in the wilderness, states away. The loss of a loved one while on the road is hard. You can’t always move back home while you grieve. Life just keeps going even though you feel like you are sitting still.

14 Pounds Gone!

14 Pounds Gone!

Tonight I was able to alter my favorite shirt. I have been needing to do it for a while. After taking this picture this morning, I knew it was time.

I was able to take it in quite a bit! I am so excited to have my favorite shirt fit me again. I am looking forward to the next 14 lbs coming off!

Don’t forget to follow my blog to keep up with my journey!

When Life Throws You Curves…

When Life Throws You Curves…

I have been putting off writing this post for a long time now. You see, I am a dreamer. I try to look for the good in everything. When life gets tough, I hold on thinking it will get easier soon. But sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it gets really dark before the dawn. It’s in those moments that reality smacks me in the face over and over until I admit my dreams are shattered!

This is one of those moments. My husband left his Walmart job in September to pursue a life on the road with a workcamping job based on commission. First, our original RV’s engine blew on day one. We were able to coast into a rest area and were stuck there for 10 days while we searched for a new “home”. We settled on a fifth wheel and truck.

Then, our workamping job was a big flop! I’ll spare the details but the man we were working for was basically a big liar and not who he said he was. (Yes Mama, heeding your advice would have been wise.) Along the way, we did visit some great churches and meet some wonderful people though!

So with our finances shot and not much else we could do, our family traveled to Dothan, Alabama for my husband to take a 3 1/2 week course in Heavy Equipment Operations to get certified on the Backhoe and Excavator. This would lead us to job openings in Texas or Florida that we could pursue. There is just one major problem-there is not enough money left to travel there!

So here we are stick in Dothan, Alabama. My husband has found a job at a steel company working to get us caught up on bills. Praise the Lord for this job! But I feel like reality has smacked me in the face with a stinky fish! I know I am still blessed beyond measure but I am still overwhelmed with our current financial state. We have been hard off before but this seems like one of the darkest finacial valleys we have been through. 

During our struggle, I am trying to stretch everything we have. I am trying to make food last and still fill us up. Lots of beans are in our diet. I am scrubbing our laundry by hand and hanging it out to dry. We have one big problem with that today-another rain storm has came in. I just want to cry and pray that life starts looking up! I’m starting to really hate life in Alabama. No offense to those that call it home.

Our “clothes line” is an extension cord that my husband tied around our awning.

Have you had seasons in life that just kept getting worse? I’d love to hear your stories. It is encouraging to know in these dark moments that we are not alone in this.

Stripping Away the Excess to Reveal Me

Stripping Away the Excess to Reveal Me

This past year my family has been making some major changes in our lives. We reduced our house size from 950 square foot home in town to 300 square foot RV. We moved from Ohio, with a poor economy and rushed mindset, to following a job on the road, generally down south. My husband left a 9-5 job so we could try our hand at other things. Recently we have started improving our health through nature walks and healthy eating.

With all these changes, we have been stripping away the excess in our lives: excess household items, excess work stress, excess relational pressures, and even excess weight. What this stripping away has left has been mind changing. I have stripped away so much excess in my life that I can now see me. Raw, exposed, honest ME. I am no longer buried in my housework, the constant de-cluttering and organizing. I am no longer suppressed by the economy in Ohio or the opinions and judgement of others. I can no longer run to comfort foods when I feel sadness, overwhelmed, or frustated. I have to face ME.

It is hard to face up to life’s trials and tribulations without things, people, or food to lean on, yet it is so beneficial to conquer weaknesses head-on! I have been feeling an array of emotions but I am actually thankful to be experiencing them now. All of them. 

I am realizing I don’t need food anymore for emotional security. Food is for health and vitality, and appreciated when shared with others. I don’t need to deny or brush aside sadness, grief, or depression. I need to make time to get to the heart of the emotion and work through it.

This new stripped down life is revealing who I really am: my strengths, my passions, my desires, but also my weaknesses and character flaws. I used to run from me, I used to hate my feelings of overwhelm, grief, and depression. Yet now I am realizing that God has given us these emotions so we can appreciate our blessings and the joys of life. 

Life is not balanced when we are only focused on happiness and success. When we turn a blind eye to pain, grief, depression, and other “negative” emotions, we prevent ourselves from being REAL, GENUINE, and HONEST about ourselves. This life of minimalism, travel, and health hasn’t just helped my physical health but  mental and spiritual health too. This life is revealing who I really am and I am actually starting to love that person in the mirror!

How about you? Has minimalism or rv living revealed your true identity? Are you improving who you are now that you have less excess? Don’t forget to follow my blog to keep up with our journey.

Minimalism in an RV: Discovering YOU

Why?

Why would you reduce the things in your life? And why uproot from a home with a foundation to a life on the road? The answer is complex, varies between everyone, but is also so simple: to pursue you!

Travel 

When you don’t feel completely at home where you currently live, travel gives you the option of “test-driving” different cities, states, or even countries. Or maybe your passions, goals, and desires are best fulfilled through the journey itself. 

Seperation

Also travel pulls you out of everything you know and shows you what’s left. Who are you when family and close friends are not there to view all your decisions under a microscope? In this social media world, it is near impossible to truly get away from it all. But disconnecting for awhile and only updating bits of your life gives people less to critique.

Thankfulness 

Living in a small home with all your items you own, unless you have some stored elsewhere, makes you thankful for what you do own. You take better care of what you have. What you hold valuable in your life becomes truly precious and admired.

Learning 

When you disconnect from what you currently know and throw yourself into different situations, you learn more about yourself, people, and the world around you. You meet new people with unique personalities. You can have interesting discussions.You learn more about what the world really has to offer. 

Reflection 

I think the most rewarding benefit of being on the road is being able to reflect on what you want in your present and future life. Do you need to get more schooling for a more fullfilling career? Do you need to make new friends and weed out negative ones? Are you looking to settle down and know where you want to? These are just a few questions you can ask yourself when you give yourself time to slow down and reflect on life.

The rest of the “Minimalism in an RV” series can be found here. How has minimalsim and/or rving helped you figure out what you want in your life? I would love to hear your stories. 🙂

Some Drawbacks & Downfalls to RVing 

Some Drawbacks & Downfalls to RVing 
Our 2006 Fifth Wheel and Truck we bought in September.

RVing is amazing! I love this lifestyle but there are some things that make homes with foundations sound amazing some days! We are not on a permanent vacation like I mentioned in my last post but we did choose this lifestyle for it’s many high points-travel, more time as a family, minimalism and other things.But today’s post is about some of the drawbacks and downfalls to rving.

1.) Tax, Title, Registration, and Insurance

We started out our rving journey with HaRVey, a 38 ft class A. We bought Harvey in Ohio and had all the paperwork and plates done. We also owned a car and all that was done too. But Harvey’s engine blew while in route to our first workamping job in northeast Indiana. We ended up buying a fifth wheel in Michigan and a truck in Indiana. Getting all the paperwork for these figured out has been crazy. We had moved to Florida for our job and tried to register there. Turns out insurance in Florida is one of the highest. So we ended up driving back to Ohio so we could register our truck. Our fifth wheel already has Florida plates that we did a couple weeks ago. But turns out our current insurance doesn’t cover it now. Back to the drawing board for insurance companies!

2.) Mailing Address

There are mailing services that you can use while fulltiming but we haven’t set it up yet. So we personally use our home address as my husband’s parent’s house. We have lived there off and on over the years so our license has that address and all our mail goes there. My husband travels back once a month for National Guard and picks up our mail then.

3.) Voting

Since we are not currently in Ohio to vote and we waited too long to ask for an absentee ballot, we won’t be voting this year. We could have planned better for this but we had a lot happen that kept us distracted from figuring out how to get our absentee ballots. Planning ahead for “normal” things can be time consuming.

4.) Workamping

A workamping job might be exactly what you need to travel. Although from personal experience, the job might not go as planned! Having to change jobs while on the road can be challenging on the budget but with Craigslist and other sites, you might be able to find gigs that get you by till the new job kicks in. 

5.) Shopping and Services

If your travels have you moving a lot, you will be navigating ALL THE TIME to everything. Groceries, gas stations, banks, church, cell phone companies, post office, etc. You make every town you move to as a new temporary hometown. You have to figure out everything! And sometimes it just gets tiring!

So before you plan to go fulltime, make sure you have a plan for most these things mentioned. This lifestyle is amazing but ordinary tasks can take a lot more planning time than anticipated. If you are already on the road, what tips do you have to simpilfy the decisions and planning?