So much changes in a year.
So much changes in a week.
When I think about 2014: I think “RV.” The entire year was basically dedicated to our RV. We purchased it in January, spent the next five to six months tearing out the inside and re-doing many parts of it (with the fantastic help of our amazing family & friends), we moved in June 1st, and six weeks later, were off to a new adventure in Kentucky. Not only that, but we purchased a truck specifically for the trailer, had the hitch installed, and spent countless hours repairing walls, ceilings, pipes, etc., you name it, within the RV. Nearly all of our savings were poured into this dream. After we arrived in Kentucky, our plans to get settled on our land kept being delayed because of tight finances and unexpected expenses, but we dealt with it. Meanwhile, so much support overflowed to us from many people in our lives — family, friends, online faces, and complete strangers. We took a huge risk and chased a dream. Nine months we’ve been in the RV. Nine crazy months that have given us new experiences, new lessons, new abilities, and brought us closer together as a couple.
We stayed married (ha!). We adjusted. We got used to a different way of doing things, like living without hot running water when the hot water heater stopped working and putting our clothes on the heating vents so they weren’t as cold when getting dressed on a winter morning. We even made it through a rough, record-breaking Kentucky winter and learned that we are more capable of handling cold weather than we thought. (Our bodies adjusted, seriously — going into a 70 degree house is way too warm now.) Also, buying propane constantly is expensive! Yet, we accomplished something. I feel good about that.
That said, fulltiming in the RV wasn’t a forever thing. Our original plan was to stay in the trailer until our next step, which was to build a small house on a gift of an acre of land in Kentucky. Visions of goat barns and muddy boots and huge bonfires filled our heads. This particular promise of the gift is the main reason we choose Kentucky. We purchased the RV and prepped it & our lives because we knew we had a spot of land waiting for us. If the land wasn’t there, I don’t think we could have done the RV unless we somehow found a year-round park near Chicago or something (don’t think there are any). Maybe we would have gone ahead with the tiny house we originally aimed for. Or maybe we would have purchased some land somewhere. Or maybe we would be doing something completely different. All we knew was that we wanted to to live simply.
Yet…. as much as we loved our little trailer home and wanted to start building our own small farm this year, we just haven’t been ourselves. As I mentioned earlier, the RV consumed all our thoughts, energy, and sanity (in one way or another). We could handle that. We couldn’t handle the other unexpected circumstance thrown our way — our relationship with our ‘aunt’ (whom, if you recall, gifted us the land) quickly changed from a welcoming relationship to a strained one. We needed to leave quickly for everyone’s sake. [I really want to say a lot more about this, but we are still dealing with some aspects of it. When all is said and done, I’ll share the bizarre story someday. I believe there are valuable lessons we learned through this experience.]
We prayed. We talked. We decided to move out of our beloved RV into a studio apartment in town.
Which is where I am at this moment.
I thought we’d be on our land today, putting up fences, preparing for baby goats, and planning a summer garden. We never thought we’d be in an apartment again, but here we are (and for those of you who are wondering, we are breaking even financially with this apartment vs. RV costs & bills on that farm).
I know many people who live in RVs just pack up their RV and move to another location. As much as I wanted to stay in our RV, there wasn’t a good option that fit us right now. We had to leave quick and that RV isn’t moving any time soon. It doesn’t help that it’s still sitting in a pile of snow, mud, and hay.
We are growing roots in this community and do not have plans to go anywhere else (sincerest apologies to those of you back in Chicago!). Both of us feel called to stay. Within me is a growing sense of purpose in this humble Kentucky town. Instead of building a house on the land we thought we were going to have, we will be looking at other options within the next year. Our beloved RV will probably be sold (hopefully to someone who plans to travel often or full-time), but our decision with that has yet to be determined. As soon as this weather stops (we got another snow storm today!) and disappears, we’ll be moving the trailer to another farm for temporary storage.
We’ve been in this apartment for two weeks and I do miss the farm. Oh, those chickens, ducks, and horses. But in this moment, I am grateful for our own shower & hot running water, warm toes & fingers, the ability to cook more at home now that we have water to use & wash dishes with, plenty of room for the cats to run back and forth across the floor, and the chance to walk nearly anywhere in town. Most of all, I am also grateful to be free from toxic people in a toxic environment. It was bringing me down in a way I haven’t been in years. Not good. As hard as it was to leave behind the ‘gift’ of the land and the intended generosity of the person who let us stay on her farm, we know this was the best choice for us. Are we disappointed? Of course. Do I feel like I’ve disappointed everyone that supported us? Very much so. It breaks my heart. But it’s time to dream again of another future (I still see a farm in it). I am oddly excited, which is a good thing, right??
I feel better than I have in months. I am rested. Nourished. Free.
This recharge is giving us the energy we ned to be able to focus on other people again.
And to give. I want to give. Oh, so much — I just want to share and give what God has given us. We have been unable to give much lately and it’s been hard because we love to give. Giving is just natural to us — whether it be time, money, or a helping hand. We want to give more. But to recieve? That’s hard. It’s hard to let other people take care of our needs. It’s hard to not feel an obligation. It’s hard to be unable to reciprocate. But all that we’ve been receiving? We are so, so blessed to know a God that takes care of our needs, one way or another. Someone told me this is a season of our life where we have to be good recievers. With that in mind, I have been trying to be a gracious reciever.
THANK YOU. Thank you for the kind words of encouragement, the coffee gift cards, the handmade hats, the unexpected funds, the video messages, the shared meals, the nerf gun wars, the letters, for simply being in my life. I am overflowing with gratitude towards family, old friends, new friends, the kindess of strangers, and our new church here in Kentucky. Our church has been one of the biggest supports here as we are away from family & friends, and I don’t know what we would have done without them. I don’t know how often I can say it to everyone. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thanks. Love you.