Reflecting on Our First Year of RV Living

Reflecting on Our First Year of RV Living

A Year…

A lot happens in 365 days. Babies are born, people pass away, and life keeps changing. Nothing stays the same. Some changes might seem insignificant but everything is always changing.

April last year we bought our first RV: Harvey. We downsized from a 2 bedroom rental house with a basement and back yard to an RV and the world as our backyard. A lot has changed. Some changes were huge like changing to a newer RV, moving to different states, and what we did for income. Other minor changes impacted us significantly and caused lots of personal growth in our lives.

1. Our Faith has Grown

Living life on the road, as believers, we have changed from traditional church goers to more Christ followers. We used to help out at the local Baptist church every now and again but mostly were pew sitters. Since going fulltime, we have helped many churches in different capacities. In Elkhart, Indiana we gave advice on how to reach our generation. A church in Bushnell, Florida we helped with repairing their bus and with demolition on a room and hallway they transformed into a beautiful lobby. In Lake Wales, Florida we helped with an outreach ministry, some visitation, and song leading (my husband). In Dothan, Alabama we helped a pastor with repairing his trucks and work on his farm. We just help our fellow man in any way we feel God lead us.

2. The Type of People We Know has Grown

With all our moving, we have met people from many walks of life. We have met many types of Christians, other RVers, and a variety of others. We enjoyed conversations with many. We shared meals with fellow RVers, friends, and family. My son and I signed with a deaf couple at an RV park and I translated for a deaf man attending our Alabama church. We recently shared our truck and RV with a man named Jake and his sweet puppy Sage, who were looking for a ride from Florida to Michigan. People are amazing and should all be loved and respected for who God made them, regardless if they are different.

3. Our Hope in Humanity has Grown

We have not always been on the giving end this year, we have had many people bless us! Family and friends have opened their homes, couches, and driveways up to us. Two different churches have let us hook up for free in their parking lot. We have been blessed with gifts of money, food, clothes, or even toys for our boys. Other RVers have gave us free advice and helped us with our vehicles and/or rigs. We shared Thanksgiving with a sweet pastor and his wife. We had an RV park manager let us stay a few weeks for free when we had no work. RVers of two seperate parks gave us Christmas cards filled with money when we couldn’t find work. People really do still look out for their fellow man!

4. Our Relationships with Family and Friends have Grown

It seems almost against logic but we feel closer to others when we can travel. We are able to uproot easily, to visit people we miss, or help others in need. I was able to be with my family when my stepdad died. I also stayed with my mom for 8 days to help her pack up some of her house and just keep her  company. We stayed with friends when traveling through Knoxville, TN and traveled to PA last year to visit cousins. We parked the RV at an Aunt and Uncle’s farm in Pensacola, Florida. This year has been filled with many growing relationships.

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How has a life of RVing and/or minimalism impacted your social life?

The Man in Overalls

There is a man I know that wears overalls everywhere he goes. I have never seen him in regular pants, just overalls. He goes to church, is even in the choir, and still wears his blue jean overalls with a black suit jacket over top. I don’t know if he can’t afford dress pants or if he just chooses to wear clean overalls but I wanted to tell you about this man today.

You see, this man has a heart of gold. He is a great friend. He will be there for you when you need him. He is the kind of person that will take you out to lunch and not tell anyone because he doesn’t need to brag on himself. His prayers are genuine and his spoken devotions are deep. He might be a simple man but his love for God and others is complex.

We can all learn a lot from the simple man in the overalls. We can all learn that we should love each other and help a neighbor out when they need a boost. By helping others, we help ourselves. We might be the next one that is down and out and needing a helping hand. 

I remember when we first moved to Alabama, I struggled with being here. Even for a country girl, they were too “backwoods” for me. I was not comfortable with their relaxed church services. I loved their bluegrass sounding music, love for God, country, and neighbor but I was not ready for the lack of strict rules.

It is sad to say but too many Independent Baptist churches, especially in the northern states, have became too legalistic. The members focus too much on the outward appearance, the ministries they can have, and even how well their choir can sing. Even though I am not legalistic, having been in such strict churches have caused me to judge my fellow believers based on things like getting to church on time, believing churches should have a door knocking ministry (which I still believe they should but more focus should be on people daily talking about Jesus with whoever they meet), and sadly even believing Godly men wore dressy pants to church.

You see, the man in the overalls, along with all the people at my current church, are teaching me that Christianity is not about following rules to follow God. It is about living out what Jesus did. It is about presenting ourselves a living sacrifice so Jesus can work through us. I am learning I still have a lot of spiritual growing up to do. I hope I can continue to learn the love of Jesus from those currently in my life, especially from the man who only wears overalls.

Who in your life as been an amazing Godly example? I’d love to hear about them. Don’t forget to follow my blog to keep up with my journey.

The Holiday Season as an Adult

The Holiday Season as an Adult

The holiday season is supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year” but honestly, as an adult, sometimes it just seems overwhelming and stressful, splashed with a touch of sadness. Money can be slim around the holidays. Making family traditions with young children can be messy and loud. Reflecting on the year can have us thinking on those we have lost throughout the years.

Every year, I tell myself that I will financially plan better for Christmas. Every year something comes up that causes our finances to be tight. This year happens to be no job and my husband currently in school. We are getting by living on a prayer and odd and end jobs. We kept the gifts simple for our boys this year and try to invest our time with them. 

We are trying to establish fun and meaningful family traditions. We enjoy the Christmas lights around town and watch our favorite Christmas DVDs. We attend church and enjoy singing the Christmas songs about our Saviour. We also make sugar cookies every year. This year our toddler was old enough to help out. It was a great bonding moment, and we shared cookies with neighbors, but it surely left the RV kitchen a MESS! 

Baggies of Christmas cookies we gave to the neighbors.

As the end of the year approaches, I am reflecting more on the people that have came and went in our lives. I yearn for my miscarried babies, especially the first that would have turned four this month. I think of lost loved ones, family and dear friends, that have passed away. I think of my stepdad who is battling stage four cancer and how my family is states away this year and can’t afford to visit. 
Yet despite all the emotions, we try to keep the joy and excitement for our boys sake. We decorated the RV and are looking forward to the church’s Christmas party fellowship. We enjoy Christmas music and keep watching those movies. We play games together and spend time exploring our local town together. Even with all the excitement, Christmas as an adult is just not quite as joyful as we expected it to be.

Do you have a family member or friend you miss this time of year? Tell me about it in the comments below.

An RVer’s Perspective on Today’s Independent Baptist Churches

An RVer’s Perspective on Today’s Independent Baptist Churches

I have been stewing on this post for awhile now. I feel I need to say something but I had decided to wait until I could say something in a loving and wise way. You see we have been traveling fulltime since May and have faithfully attended four churches in that time frame. This post is about churches in general but my only perspective is from the Independent Baptist churches we have researched and attended.

Finding doctrinally sound, hymnal singing, “Sunday best” dressing, friendly, and active churches are actually really hard to find. Some areas had a few more options than others. Yet the search for good churches can sometimes be time consuming and spiritually disheartening. 

More Churches are leaning towards Contemporary Christian Music over Hymnals.

My family prefers a bit more “old fashioned” style churches, without drums and that sing hymnals. This is just our personal preference and I am not against others worshipping this way. I am just saddened that through our travels it has been hard to find church that still sing from hymnals. I listen to CCM now and again on the radio but there is something about hymnals that stir my soul to humbly worship my Lord.

More Churches are becoming slack on what attire members and even pastors wear.

I understand that churches should be “come as you are” but it saddens me to see people take entering the House of God so casually. We have attended some Florida churches that the pastor looks like he just came from a cook out. I understand that some men don’t like ties and many women don’t like dresses but I see this casual attire as a lack of reverence for the Lord. As a society, we are showing less respect for the Lord than generations before us.

More Churches are dying out instead of being ON FIRE for the Lord.

This is probably the hardest realization I have had! We have attended churches that have sound doctrine, sing hymnals, dress modest, and are friendly but the congregation has lost their zeal for the Lord. They lack a nursery and children’s miniatries since they are not reaching out to the next generation – young families. Many stopped doing visitation since only a handful of people will participate. Even some are lacking pastors since their congregation is too small to support the full income of a pastor’s salary.

So what can we, as individuals and familes, do to help our local churches grow spiritually and also congregations to grow physically?

  1. Attend weekly services at a local church of your choice that you are parked near. 
  2. Ask how you can serve within the church, even if you are only passing through. Many pastors are excited to have people offer to help!
  3. Attend the fellowships, prayer meetings and participate in their community outreach programs if you can. Does the church have a food drive or give gifts to children with parents in jail? Contribute if you finacially can. 
  4. Participate in their visitation times. As long as your doctrinal beliefs match, many pastors are excited for the extra “hands and feet of Jesus”.
  5. Make sure you are keeping up with your personal devotions and prayer life. Do you have spiritual matters to attend to? Take care of your spiritual walk so you can better worship God and serve others.
  6. If you are a parent, instill in your children the importance of attending and serving in the local church. Teaching starts at home, not at the church. 

*Do you have any thoughts on today’s local churches? How do you and your family stay active spiritually while on the road?