Third Time’s a Charm

I know that you are supposed to grow through adversity but personally I think it’s overrated.  I’ve even had people tell me to my face that they wouldn’t trade their cancer for anything.  (My mom was one of those.)  I can’t decide if I’m totally selfish or more honest than most but I can already tell you if I get cancer I would give it back if I could.

The last few weeks are a case in point.  Plan A was to go out west and be all the way to Wyoming by the eclipse.  (Brent ended up watching it in Orlando and I was in Nashville.) After Plan A imploded, Plan B was to go out east and support our daughter Marta who is going through a rough time.  (She ended up moving to Nashville and living with us for the last week at our house.)  Plan C was to go to Houston to help the hurricane victims.  While we still hope to do plan C, it’s almost too early in the process to provide support.  We have contacted the Red Cross and are getting some training but it’s our understanding that we need to wait until the waters recede before we could be much help.  And, I know, how much good can two people in an RV do, but people could charge their cell phones and maybe we could pass out food and water?  I kind of have the starfish mentality when it comes to helping out.

You know that story, right?  A boy and his dad are walking on the beach and they come upon a ton of stranded starfish and the little boy starts throwing them back into the water one by one and the dad says, “Son, why are you doing this?  You can’t help them all.”  And the little boy picks up another one and says, “I know but what I’m doing matters to that one.”

Well, I’m probably not telling the story perfectly but you get what I’m saying.  If we can bless one or two families, wouldn’t that be enough?  No, we can’t change their lives but we can show them that we care.

I’ve been selling most of our stuff for the past few weeks and every once in a while, I give something away for free.  I gave a lady 7 nice patio chairs and she spontaneously hugged me and that was more satisfying than all the money we got from the things we sold.

Because I’m a “doer” by nature, I’m always wanting to do “big” things, but recently with all the changes in plans and my kids being redirected here and there, I’m seeing that sometimes it’s more important to just be available. The doing will come eventually.

By the way, plan D is to leave tomorrow, and head to Bloomington for the IU/Buckeyes game (O-H anybody?), then head to Columbus to visit Brent’s mom and then we will see what happens next.  I can’t decide if living this way is exciting or terrifying and I guess the truth is a little bit of both.

God has just impressed on me this past week that this year is a gift and I need to be ready (and willing) to give back.


Failure to Launch

Since I’m on a roll of giving credit where credit is due I will admit that this blog title was my husband’s idea.  Yes, we are exactly 16 days into our big, new adventurous life and we are in the exciting town of (drumroll, please!) NASHVILLE!

Now, if we didn’t live in Nashville, it is a great city to visit but we were hoping to be halfway to Wyoming by now.  It’s a long story and I don’t want to implicate any of our children (um, Jon!) but let’s just say that we are unexpectedly ending our lease, selling almost everything and putting what we can’t possibly live without into a 5×10 storage unit.  We aren’t sure how long this will take but hope to be on the road again before the end of the month.

At first, I was not happy about this turn of events, but after only a few hours realized that this is better in the long run.  So, I’m trying to make the best of it and there certainly is a lot to do.  And… as I just sold our t.v. and recliner this morning, we are pretty much at the point of no return anyway!

There’s probably a lesson tucked into this about patience and giving up control and a half-dozen other things I suck at but for now I’m calling it a win that I haven’t overdosed on Hershey bars and wine coolers. 😊 Baby steps…

Winning Isn’t Everything…It’s the Only Thing

You know how there are things about yourself that you know deep down but that you really don’t want to admit?  If any of my children were asked “Is your mom competitve?” the answer would be a resounding “Yes” but yet I try not to see myself that way.

I don’t know exactly when this became an issue for me but I know when I started playing tennis at age 40 that didn’t help.  I wasn’t competitive as a kid but then as the oldest child I pretty much set the standard so maybe I have been this way since birth!  My tennis friends would certainly call me competitive … possibly bordering on psychotic!  But that’s another story…

Since we are talking about challenges I will get a few more off my chest.  When we first told our children our plans, everyone was at least passably encouraging except Marta, who I had to tell by phone because she lives in Providence, R.I.

“Oh my gosh…you and dad are going to kill each other,” were her exact words.  While I vigorously denied this, I must admit that a tiny part of me (like 65%) was afraid she might be right.  Not that we lived in a huge house before but going from 1,200 square feet to 300 is quite the plunge.

I will say this…we are 13 days in and neither of us has any stab wounds yet!  I’m not going to pretend though that it isn’t an adjustment.  I still walk 3-4 miles per day so we have that hour apart but basically, we are together the rest of the time.  We seem to have a system worked out where one of us will be outside for awhile reading or working on our computer and then the other will go out so we aren’t together 24/7 but it’s still way more than normal.

The second (related) adjustment is that we had a king-sized bed in Nashville and now have what is known in RV language as a “short queen.”  As Brent is tall he could tell you better than I how cramped we are but the adjustment for me is that we are touching all night long.  Ewwwwww! I say this tongue in cheek but when you are used to having lots of room it’s new territory for us both.

Another obvious challenge was paring down our stuff but that conversation deserves its own post. I will admit though that, just like with my organizing clients, there were certain collections that were hard to “edit.”  (For example, I still ended up bringing four tennis skirts because I couldn’t pick a favorite.  What can I say?  I’m a work in progress.)  Even worse, although it pains me to admit it, Brent “won” this battle (competition?) as he was very logical about what he brought.  His belongings probably totaled 50 pounds while mine were more in the 150 range.

I must go now because I need to spend the rest of the day looking for an area where I’m “winning.” Don’t hold your breath…


Hello… I Must Be Going

I mentioned in my last post that we have six children.  While there have definitely been some difficult moments in parenting over the past 27 years, by far the hardest part has been having them leave the nest one by one.  It’s not that I wasn’t mentally ready because I had watched them become adults and was so proud of them, but my heart was not prepared for the good-byes.

Two of our girls were on the east coast and a son was in Knoxville so the only times we have been able to be together recently were for my youngest son Jordan’s wedding at the end of March and my dad’s funeral at the end of December.  That means because of distance and schedules I get together with all our kids maybe two or three times a year and I just wasn’t ready for that kind of separation.

So saying good-bye this week to the three kids who live in the Nashville area was brutal. We had established a habit of weekly Sunday dinners and I will miss those so much.  I was also blessed to have some close friends and they (my peeps from Bible study and tennis) are crucial to my wellbeing!

That said, I was still excited about the possibility of new friendships on the road and God didn’t disappoint.  Only two days into the journey we met some wonderful people at our campground in Kentucky.  (Yes, we decided several hours before we left on Tuesday that we would head to KY for a week to figure out how to make this RV thing work before visiting my daughter who just moved to IN from MA.  But we aren’t near Lexington so Secretariat is on hold for now!) 😊

Unfortunately, we met Susan and Joe and Karen and Scott (the women are sisters) on their last night in the campground but even as outgoing as I am I was totally amazed at the bond that can form over a campfire.  It’s just fun to hear peoples’ stories and get a glimpse into their lives.

Our first camper friends! Scott and Karen and Susan and Joe. Thanks guys for giving us a great start to our week!

I had heard that campers are friendly people and this has already proved to be true. But on a deeper level there is something in me that just wants…well, I’m not sure how to phrase it or even if I know what it is yet.   I just know that this morning, when both campers pulled out, I felt a loss that I can only guess I will continue to feel all year as we meet new people and then go our separate ways.  On the one hand, it makes me sad but on the other it just feels like I’m on the path I’m supposed to be on right now.

I found this quote by Mandy Hale that I think will be especially appropriate for this coming year.

“Some people pass through our lives for a season, to teach us lessons that never could have been learned if they had stayed.”


I Don’t Live Here Anymore

We leave tomorrow and even though I’m 95% excited I will admit that the other 5% is pure terror! But then as I was on my walk this morning I realized that I had the same feeling after each of our children was born and that has gone pretty well so far! And by the 5% terror with kids I mean wondering how I ever thought I would have the endurance to do this mothering thing over the long haul. But our twins are 27 and our “baby” is 21 and I have no regrets about parenting six, so I’m hoping that the RV adventure will fall right in line. LOL

People keep asking us where we are headed first and can I just be honest and tell you here that none of the planning has been easy. All we know for sure is that we don’t want to drive more than four hours a day until we get the hang of this. Brent’s first idea was to drive to Kentucky and stop at Secretariat’s grave.

Huh? Have we ever watched a horse race in person? Nope. Do we raise or ride horses or was either of us born on a farm? Nope. So, I’m honestly not sure why this is a priority other than Brent is fascinated by this horse but since he has been pretty amazing to go along with this idea in the first place if that’s our first stop, then I’m good with that. But as of right this second, we really don’t know where we are spending the night tomorrow. I just know we are headed “north.”

More from the road!