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See you later, Illinois.

I’m sitting here at the Gail Borden Library in Elgin, IL. This desk is in front of the window that overlooks the Fox River. So serene. This will probably be my last trip at a library/coffee place for use of the WiFi for another week or so.

Life is good. And challenging. As always.

More RV Repairs & Prep.

Repair discoveries are never-ending! One of the side walls on our slide-out separated from the floor. It’s not as scary as it sounds (nothing fell through the floor), but it was something that needed to be fixed right away. We found more rotting wood where the floor + wall meet, which explains why it came apart. Brackets were put in place for reinforcement. More caulking was done around the RV and on the roof. Three tires are also dry rotting, so we’ve been replacing them one at a time (and giving them a little bath). After the tires are finished, we’re done with repairs…. for now. The previous owners didn’t take care of the RV well (so much water damage leading to so much rotting wood), or they knew about the problems and didn’t tell us. Either way, we’re dealing with it as it happens and still in love with our home.

The Storm.

One day, we had two large storms come through the campground. The first one was windy, but fine. The second one was expected to have 70-100mph winds with “potential damage to mobile homes” (according to the Weather Channel app). The others in the park didn’t seem too bothered (“just hunker down and say your prayers to the man upstairs!”), but we were nervous and didn’t want to stick around, even though there was a bathroom building nearby that could be used for protection. We grabbed all four pets, got in the car, and drove off in search of underground parking or something — just to be safe. We ended up at Kyle’s parents’ house, hung out for a few hours, and headed back to the RV park when the storm calmed down a bit. The park looked…. fine. There was no evidence of a storm. Our home was fine. Whew. (Tornadoes did touch down about 30 miles south of us.)

Fourth of July.

Kyle was on-call over the weekend, so we planned to have a low-key Fourth of July holiday. Fortunately, he was never called in and we were able to enjoy a classic car show, some porch-sitting, a baseball game with dear friends, and fireworks on the 4th. What could be more American than that!? The rest of the week, we had more dinners and gatherings with friends (including a sweet celebration for Kyle’s birthday!). Kyle’s last day of work is today. Tonight, we’re having dinner with both families. We’re relaxing tomorrow (if you’re local, swing by the park for a full moon bonfire just before dark!) and leaving Illinois on Sunday morning! We plan to stop somewhere near Indianapolis for the night and arrive in Kentucky on Monday. Eeeeek!

Love.

I often sit in our home and marvel at all the love that surrounds us. Handmade curtains from Sara, art from my sister, a windchime from Michelle, the stainless steel straws from Kelly, beads in my hair from Kristine, a tapestry from Ryan, candles from several friends, a quilt from our aunt, a photo from Ashley, the plant from Tom, the rug from Salome, wallpaper scraped by Amy & Rachel, so many things fixed by my father-in-law, windows caulked by Davy, floors finished by Bob & Josiah, a notebook filled with sweet well-wishes & cards from friends, and more. I think about all the people who have stepped through our RV doors, the conversations we’ve had inside, dinners around the picnic table, and moments near the bonfire. Tears well up as I think about how blessed I am to have a life so full of love through friends and family. And here we are, leaving in a couple days. I know I’ve been strong and full of smiles, but it is hard. Bittersweet. And oh, how my heart swells with love and gratitude for every beautiful, kind soul that has passed through my life. Some will remain in touch, others will fade away — still cherished.

[I have plenty of stationary and stamps! Expect mail to be flying around.]

Are We Ready?

On a visit to Kentucky last year, my husband and I were sitting on Jordan’s porch swing when he asked me: “Are you ready for this?”

Hearing this from him was kind of unexpected, as he’s not usually the kind of person to ask such a question. Yet, it really hit me. Whoa. Our mini vacations this past year have shown us how much we thrive in a country setting. We’re happier. Lighter. Outdoors more. Stress less. Full of hope and ideas. Free.

Yet… we are leaving a lot of people behind. A community that has slowly been built.

It will be hard. But it’s OK. We are never really leaving…. It’s just “see you later.”

There is so much ahead of us, obstacles to go through and experiences to have. A dream that is happening, unfolding one day at a time. I’m incredibly excited.

Yes. I’m ready. Ready for new challenges and adventures. Ready to see where God takes us.

See you later, Chicagoland.

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