Posted in faith, Oregon, Travel, Uncategorized

“Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.” Mother Teresa.

It was a day.

One of those days.

It was April 2011.

I was lying sick on the couch. Watching a movie about a guy rock climbing and he had to cut off his limbs to stay alive. My stomach.  It was really icky. I had a turning in my stomach which was a common occurrence when I was in the same room with him, or maybe it was telling me something bad going to happen that day. It sounds bad, but it was true. He was sitting there in his recliner playing video games with headphones on. I was watching the movie, but wasn’t really wathing it either. Neither one of us was present any longer.

My dad was sick. Every time when I left dad, I always said my goodbyes.  You never leave things unsaid to people when they are sick and you know eventually they are going to die. So, I always said “Love you, dad” and those types of things that loving daughters say to their sick father when they are around them. You’ve probably been there. You drive off thinking and wondering if that was the last  time you might see them.

At this point, my dad had been sick off and on for over 15 years. Not a lot goes unsaid unless you are one of those people who stifle, who sweep things under the rug. Which, at the time…I didn’t think I did. But I did. I might have to write about that later.

The day before. It was a Friday. I had just started guitar lessons. I was thinking about going out to tell my dad that I had started them so I could finally play guitar with him. He only had been asking me to play guitar forever. I had been putting it off, I don’t know, forever. Until yesterday. I was thinking of running out to my parents’ house to tell him I started guitar lessons, but my stomach was icky and it was a little cold outside. I decided I was going to wait until after the movie.

It was April 2, 2011. My husband at the time (ex-husband now) was sitting there. I asked him if he wanted to go to parents house to tell dad about guitar lessons.  “Shhh” followed by a hand in front of his face.  He had his headphones on and was in his own little virtual world. He didn’t hear anything I had said. He often did that when he was in the middle of a game in World of Warcraft.

I laid there a little longer on the couch, blinking back tears. I was no-doubt feeling sorry for myself.  I craved his attention and no longer got it. As a mental health therapist, I get to listen to people every day. But at home — at home, I just craved to be listened to. Arg, I was becoming a victim again. Or should I say letting myself become one.

 

My phone rang, it was my brother asking me if I had seen dad lately. I told him I was thinking about coming out to talk to him. He said that I should come out, that he wasn’t feeling very well. I told him that I was feeling under the weather but was planning on coming out. As I was speaking this I got up and started to get ready to head out. It was a good 20-minute drive and knew if my brother was calling that I should probably take it seriously. It took me awhile to get ready as I was starting to feel worse. While I was driving there I received another phone call that dad had passed away. I was just up the road, so I only missed his passing by a few minutes. Gravel was already getting kicked up from the wheels on the tires going down their road. I drove faster. But did it matter now? I started to swerve a bit on the loose rocks and my car was fishtailing. Normally this would have been a fun event. But I was going pretty fast. I recuperated the steering through the tears and got my car back into a straight path although, not sure how.

While I was driving there I received another phone call that dad had passed away. I was just up the road, so I only missed his passing by a few minutes. Gravel was already getting kicked up from the wheels on the tires going down their road. I drove faster. But did it matter now? I started to swerve a bit on the loose rocks and my car was fishtailing. Normally this would have been a fun event. But I was going pretty fast. I recuperated the steering through the tears and got my car back into a straight path although, not sure how.

Hearing of my dad’s death hit me and I lost my breath. But not like you’d think. A memory came to me as tears came to my eyes while driving down the gravel road towards mom and dad’s house.

Mom didn’t drive; her parents wouldn’t let her since she had a sleeping condition. It was never diagnosed but she fell asleep often and her parents never allowed her to get her license. This type of mentality continued when my parents married at 17. She depended on my dad and when I was 16 years old my dad was a glutton for punishment and decided to teach both my mom and I to drive at the same time. It was kind of funny that we were both learning to drive at the same time.

However, my dad worked a lot of overtime. If we needed any additional things from the store or needed to go anywhere we relied on the kindness of our neighbors in our teeny tiny town of a population of maybe 80 on a good day. Going to church was one of those things. We would go with the neighbors up the street most of the time, and so we would be whatever religion they were…just so we could go to church. So, most of the time we were Lutheran and Methodist.

The process of getting ready for the church was a process done on Saturday night. Mom would put my blonde hair in curlers, wind my hair so tight I couldn’t blink. I would try to sleep on those silly spongy things and wake up with springy curls. Sunday morning someone would pull up in their car and we would run out and go to whatever church they would go. Dad would be stay sitting in his chair watching some western on tv.  It was weird. I hated it. Hated it.

However, mom found it to be important enough for us to go to church she would ask for rides, put God in front of her pride…and walked away from dad sitting in that chair. If you knew my mom, that is huge. To date, I think that is the only time I ever saw my mom put anyone or anything before my dad. Any question any one of kids would ask would be “ask your dad”, and dad would always be working.  So for her to be bold and leave the house, and leave dad at home…was a big deal. She couldn’t make a decision on her own even if her life depended on it.

One day something got into me. I was probably getting irritated that other people were taking us in their car, or the kids in the car asking for an explanation why we need a ride to church when they pull up and see a car sitting in the driveway. I don’t know what prompted it. I just spoke up. Something little girl Tammy didn’t do very often. I was super shy, even to mom and dad. I typically only talked to my neice and the pets.

I walked over to dad, probably having weird curly hair all janky from those pink foam curlers. He was probably watching John Wayne and sipping on a . I was 8 years old so my memory is a little vague.  I do remember that I climbed on his lap, he sat down his ice water, which was always in an amber color glass. glass. I asked him why he let other families take us to church when he could take us to church. We were his family, and I reminded him of that. Those other people weren’t our family. He looked at me. He put me down off his lap. He took us to church. ‘Nuff said.

Game changer.

From that day on my dad changed. My dad was home more, he worked less. Mom was happier. Other families no longer took us to church. My dad did. Mom was so thrilled she didn’t have to ask other people for rides anymore. I still had to wear those stupid curlers to bed on Saturday night though, that didn’t change.

But my dad, with nerves of steel…taught my mom and I how to drive at the same time. I remember our first time driving on gravel and my dad had to take the wheel from me when I screamed when I saw another car coming.

The gravel under my tires stopped as I pulled into my brothers house. My memory shifted as I pulled into the driveway. The day happened. It was today. This day. Even though you know it’s going to happen you aren’t really prepared.

As I ran into the house dad was in his leather chair, where he always was. He was sitting there with his foot propped up. It looked like he was napping. He looked peaceful. His chest wasn’t struggling for air like it used to. My mom, sister and brother by his side, they were all gently crying and I was greeted with hugs.

My dad had just got done reading the book Heaven is for Real. The one they eventually made the movie after. I regret I hadn’t gotten there sooner. I didn’t see him pass., but I was there to witness the rest thereafter.

Regret. What an awful feeling. If I only had put my stomach ache aside and drove out when my gut instinct was telling me to! I was so mad at myself.

They all saw dad was suffering and my brother and sister told dad that they were going to take care of mom, that if he wanted to go ~ that he could. They then asked him if he was ready to go and he shook his head yes. They all kissed him goodbye and he closed his eyes and he was gone. It was that peaceful and beautiful.

Death can be as beautiful as birth if you look at it like that. We come in the world with our eyes closed and we slowly open them to see the world. We leave the world slowly and close our eyes peacefully into the next one. He was ready to leave.

It was just the day before I started guitar lessons;  I was going to drive out the same day to surprise him and show him the little song I learned, Smoke on the Water. Dad was a country music guy and would have preferred a song by George Jones or Johnny Cash. I wanted my dad to know that. But he never knew. I needed him to know.

I procrastinated too long.

I waited too long.

I have that regret.

I couldn’t play him anything now.

He was gone.

WOW. Depressing much? Sorry.

 

I was left with loads of strange feelings. I felt as if I had a choice and a type of freedom. So, when I’m faced with difficult choices I did what I typically do, I visit the dock and my tree and kite. With my journal in hand, I sat in my car and cried and journaled to God and recalled a conversation I had with a friend of mine. She stated that I’ve been standing in the doorway of my marriage and I’ve been standing one foot in and one foot out and now with my dad being gone I have the chance to finally go into a room.

I thought about that conversation and she was right. I knew if I was going to get a divorce, it needed to be now because I had already been walking the tightrope, I’d been standing at the crossroads, I’ve been standing one foot in/one foot out. I’ve been making a decision by not making a decision. Besides, I can no longer blame my decisions on my dad any longer. Take responsibility for yourself kind of sucks, huh?

Another life changer moment. Another day that I thought was kind of like any other day. But not-so-much.

I sat down and I talked to my mom about what my marriage was like, and the pressure I’d been under with dad’s wishes. That I tried 2 other times to divorce him, but I even failed at that. Timing was off and I wasnt supposed to then. I know that now.

Mom listened. She was good at that. Really good honestly.  I really needed that at that time. Considering she just lost her husband I was shocked she was so present with all my verbal vomit at the time. I’m not sure I ever really made that connection until this very moment. She told me that she believed that dad was giving me his “blessing” to divorce him. She doesn’t “believe’ in divorce, but gave me her blessing to do so. Not that I needed it, but I kind of did. The conversation was a blur after that. But ya know, timing is everything. I believe I wasn’t supposed to divorse until then. Because if I had, I wouldn’t have met my husband that I have now. God’s timing is never too early never too late. It’s just perfect. I needed a reminder, cause at times I rush things when I want things to go my way. My way is never good unless it’s followed up with what God wants for me.

It was a conversation with mom. I guess this day was a HUGE day in the beginning of a new day in next phase of my life. Going back to that quote from “Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.” Mother Teresa. When I look back now, I’m not sure what would have happened if that conversation would have gone differently. I mean it could have. She could have had the same experience as my dad and ask me to stay married. But she didn’t. Honestly. What would I have done if she did? What would my life look like if she did? What if?

That was the start of a tough year. That was the start of my faith getting tossled around like a bottle tossed at sea.

Dad died. Got a divorce from a 22-year marriage. Lost a great home. Children dispersed. Worked at a stressful job 15 hours a day and got off around 2-3 am in the morning to start a with 2nd job at 9 am to make ends meet. Mom got real sick with a strange illness. Mom recovered slowly, but fully. Then later she a brain aneurysm. We were told she probably wouldn’t make it. She is one tough cookie, she did and is still doing very well.  After she healed went to live with a brother. Brother died in a tragic car accident.

Everything was different. I was different. Never dated before and didn’t know how to be single, kind of got lost in that mess. But during that mess met the love of my life by accident while journaling and being mad at God.

I moved 2 times that year and got rid of almost everything I had. My nice house was in foreclosure, I was having idiotic text messaging arguments with my ex, working 2 very stressful jobs in the mental health field. I lost a lot, but I had a lot. I was mad at God when my brother got into his car accident. Many of us in the family felt like it was a breaking point that year. But it wasn’t. We are still here.

Small bits of faith got us through.

Sometimes that is all it takes.

We are still here.

I constantly think back to that time of my life when everything was completely like a title wave.

I tried to go to my next guitar lesson. I sat there with the Gibson Guitar on my lap with tears dropping down my face as the instructor at Reiman Music in Des Moines, Iowa just stared at me. Ironic, the guitar was my dads, he gave it to my son years befoe he passed. I was holding onto it as if I was holding onto him, the last bit of my dad I had left.

The one main thing that got me through – faith.

It was small at times, but when we have just a small glimmer of faith we can get through anything. Like I’ve said many blogs before, we need to appreciate what we have. Others have it way worse than us and we can be one moment away from having it all taken away.

“Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.” Mother Teresa

This photo was taken in Florida. This bottle actually came in from the ocean on a wave.  It was like a scene from a movie.

The bottle I found was floating on the water and was crashing on the waves in the vast ocean. The ocean is like life. The ocean is so vast. Tides come in and out and we can feel so small. But if we have faith we can stay afloat and ride the waves and let God take control. There is a lot of freedom and beauty in that.

My faith can be like glass.

It’s been shattered at times.

My life has been a wreck at times.

I’ve been a hot mess at times.

Most of my faith has grown because I’ve been under fire, under pressure, tossed, turned and felt like my world has been torn apart at times. Other times, it’s small stuff…either way I know it’s all in how I look at things.

 

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Posted in Uncategorized

Sometimes You Are the Head. Sometimes You Are the Tail; 30 Lessons learned from Living in an RV for 30 days.

In a small space

What do you actually need?

It was on the day of the beards birthday.

We just got back from driving a grueling, painstaking pelting drive to Portland and back to get his truck, trailer, and Harley. A good friend of ours from church drove it here from Iowa with her girls to she could visit her family since she was originally from this area. It was a true God thing. We needed it here, she wanted to see her family I couldn’t sit with him in the RV and drive it here. It all worked.

Anyway.

It just got here from Iowa. We drove and we aren’t quite used to it yet.

I guess you can say, we are into this RV living about a month. Including traveling time here.

I was resting my eyes from squinting from the angry Oregon rain. Happy Iowa rain is different. Much different. So, the Doritos bag (don’t judge) and a small glass of wine and I was settling in with my 3 dogs piled in the bed to watch a little tv when my birthday boy walked in and asked if I had been happy with our decision to live like this.

At that moment, I had a big comfy blanket my Velcro dog Jax under my chin waiting for a Dorito and my other 2 white ankle biters next to me.

Hmm. How do I answer that? At that moment; I am warm. I am dry. I have people love. I people to love me. I have things to eat. Shelter. Earlier I saw about handful street people that day walking in the horrible rain with probably all that they own in garbage bags looking for a dry place to live or stay. So, I have more than most.

Yet earlier I had a song that came on my iPod that triggered me and made me cry because it made me think of my daughter, a song that we use to sing to the top of our lungs in the car every time when we use to hear it. I text my kid and miss them and blink back tears. I call my mom and have to clear my voice so she doesn’t hear the shakiness’ in my voice when she says she is sad and misses me. But it’s a good thing to have those feelings you know? I think about some people, and for some…they have no one to have those feelings for.

But I have people that I love. I have people that love me. I have people to miss. I have people to text. I have people to call. I am super grateful for what I have.

I have an amazing boss and my team is great and everyone works well as a team. I was very nervous since I came from a fantastic team in Iowa. I didn’t think I could I could ever find a place I would like back-to-back. Although I’m not technically doing therapy, I am using my therapy skills.

Rob’s been hitting the pavement really hard lately to find a job, and it’s been difficult or him because he’s never had experienced a feeling like this. He’s always been employed. However, once again…it’s been good for him. Humbling. It builds faith.

That’s been our theme. Faith. Adventure. Living outside the box, and paving our own way on the “road beyond”.17d271aa2e26905641dd0915764e2078

  1. Taking care of 3 dogs in an RV is a lot of work. Pee. Poop. Pick up poop. Put in bag. Depose bag. Repeat. X4 times a day X3 dogs X= 30 days I don’t know. I’m terrible at math. Lesson learned; get your dog poop bags ready immediately when you walk into the park. Don’t wait. Those things tear easily and sometimes they are hard to get open. Sometimes all 3 dogs poop at the same time like they are making music and on tune. It’s funny and yet sad. You are struggling to open the bag, it rips, it tears, it fights with you. Get it open IMMEDIATELY. Trust me. You’ll thank me later. Bonus Lesson Learned: take the Poop Bag out of your pocket before you go to the laundry. Good news they wash and dry very well. Now I’m thinking I should line my boots with them. It rains so much I should make my non-rainproof shoes rainproof!  When I was younger my mother used to make me wear bread bags on my shoes. Maybe I should save my bread bags for poop bags. Hmm. That’s a thought. 
  2. Taking care of 3 dogs in an RV in rain is not fun. Period. Lesson learned; ain’t no smell like wet dog smell unless it’s 3 wet dog smell, oh ya. 
  3. It rains here a lot. Like I said, we have 3 dogs. If you can read, and I’m assuming you can…wet dog smell. Not the best. Last time I checked, most candle places don’t sell that smell. It’s not too pleasant. Not sure how to conquer that yet when it rains every day. So we’ve put those nice car vent fresheners in our vent things. It’s been helping. Lesson learned; get some nice air freshner to counteract the dog smell. No brainer.
  4. Hugs and kisses from the dogs though. Priceless. I don’t know if I have a lesson learned here. I guess if you don’t have a dog, these are immediately null and void. So, hey…how are ya? Hug and kisses from your cat? We would have a cat if we didn’t have a dog. We would have a chicken if we could. We are thinking about it. For real. Lessons learned; get a chicken. We USED to have one. It was great. Sad story…no longer have one. jaxxandtam
  5. Missing flat lands and getting places quickly. Miss that a little. My drive to work would be 10 minutes, but since it’s kind of through the mountains, it takes about 30. Around here we have to have hands free headset for our cell phones. So, I got rid of a bad habit of texting and driving. The only way I will talk on the phone now even around the house…haha I said the house and I live in an RV, see how easy that transition took me, like 30 days. Wow. Anyway, a hands-free headset has been awesome to talk on the phone. Lesson learned; get a hand free heads set. Life changer. It’s way safer, and when I’m walking around the I can get so much more done while talking and doing things. You’ll thank me later! The flash light doesn’t come with it. Sorry. That was used when I was looking for the HDMI cord on the back of our TV. Ya, that couldn’t be easy either. tammytechnology
  6. Speaking of the mountains. I guess some may call them foothills, but I call them mountains. Did I say the scenery here is amazing?  Everywhere is an eyegasm. I can’t believe how beautiful it is here. I mean it’s unbelievable how beautiful it is. I can’t even capture it in photos, no matter how hard I try. Lesson learned; beauty is everywhere all you have to do is look. The biggest beauty for me is trees, moss and rocks. The moss here is so green. It’s like the greenest green I’ve ever seen. I’m so excited to go to heaven because I know that heaven is going to be so much more beautiful than the best scene I’ve even imagined and ever seen. I can’t even wrap my mind around that! I can’t even catch my breath around here at some of the scenes I’ve seen. We are close to the coast, mountains, the Red Woods and so much more. I feel so little now that I’ve been exploring more. It’s easier to feel small next to these trees at the Red Wood Forest. One of my Bucket List Book items. Yes I have book dedicated to such things.  
  7. Missing our family has been hard. I don’t have a more simple way to put it. Lesson learned; I know I’ve taken moments and taken people for granted we all do. time zone
  8. Communication has been a little difficult, I think about calling them around 10 pm right before bed, then it’s like – crap – it’s midnight their time. Lessons learned; sometimes it is hard staying in touch with people when everyone is so far away. However, I don’t want to lose touch with everyone. We moved away, but we think of everyone so often. This is hard. We wish more people would text and call us since we have so many people to keep in contact. We are only a text or phone call away! 
  9. Meeting new people is always interesting. We miss our crew, we want friends, but it’s like putting a circle peg in a square hole. We live in an environment where everyone here is a little transient or has a gypsy soul so no one here ever really gets to know anyone. It’s hard to really trust people, or is it? It kind of depends, I’ve seen it both ways. I continue to use my gut instinct. It leads me astray sometimes, but I always try to do my best. I think most people are good people but my overall Lessons learned; we are social creatures and need each other. other people
  10. When we are outside and do the whole “where are you from” conversation, you realize how small of a world it really is. No matter where I go; when we say we are from Iowa we run into people from the Midwest and from the Iowa area. Our neighbors at the campground are from Winterset Iowa and the people across from us are related to people from Newton Iowa. We went to the shore at a farmers market and I talked to a lady about Essential Oils and she was originally from Altoona. It’s so strange. I work with someone whose wife is also from Altoona. Lesson learned; You are never too far from home.  SMALL_WORLD-1                                                                                                                   
  11. We were surprised how many people live in RV’s. When we moved here we thought we were strange and living on the edge by living in an RV, and most of you probably still think that.  In fact, almost everyone in every RV park around here is living in the RV park. It’s super common around here. People live out of their RV. Our neighbors have lived in their RV for over 10, some over 15 years. If I could ever get decent internet, I would get a video interview and get some of them to talk about their experience of living out of their RV. That’s a goal anyway. Lesson learned; Rob and I aren’t the only people who lost our marbles! People are living in their RV everywhere!!! We are in good company! 
  12. Everyone here is super nice; in a strange way. Part of me wonders if everyone is smoking pot and that’s why they are nice. That or if it’s the beauty of everything. It’s hard not to be in a good mood when everything around you is so beautiful. But it’s strange. It’s like…everyone is family here. In the grocery store, at the gas station, walking down the street…everyone seems so nice. Lots of people need to talk. Lots of conversations are being had around leashes while admiring and talking about dogs. It’s a good icebreaker. Lesson learned; nice people are everywhere and no, they aren’t all high.
  13. Laundry can be a task in a house. It’s a necessary evil. When you live in an RV full time, it’s doubly icky. Have to think about the whole process. I hate thinking ahead and I don’t do it well. Yeah, it’s a task. Having quarters. Getting the soap. Getting your stuff. It’s a task like I mentioned before. Well, now I have to think about it ahead of time, not just the day of. I used to laundry every day. NOT NOW. And when you live in an RV, you downsize…get what I am saying…so I have to think ahead. It kind of stinks for people like me who wings it often.  I don’t rather care for hauling my dirty laundry-laundry mat. They call it “don’t air your dirty laundry” for a reason. No one wants to see that, or smell Once I got there just as it was closing. Yeah me.  Did you know people have been doing this their whole life? So, I’m just now complaining about it. Those people are my heroes. This is hard work. Well, I wasn’t smart when I packed. I was saving space and didn’t pack extra blankets or sheets.  I am trying to be I didn’t plan on anything happening. But something happened. Jax was mad one night, but we didn’t realize how mad – until bedtime. He PEED on our bed. Not just on our bed but MY SIDE. I think I wouldn’t have been as mad if it was on the beard’s side, and let’s be honest, I think the beard – aka Rob probably would have been fine too. Ok, not really…but I wasn’t a happy camper. I was not a happy camper in my camper. We didn’t realize it until 10:30 pm, the laundry mat was closed, we didn’t have any extra blankets. My favorite part was that I had bought this really nice mattress memory pad too. The one with all the little nooks and crannies, so it kept the pee all nice and collected. So, yeah that happened.  So everything was thrown out. Rob and I shivered the whole night. It was terrible. Just terrible. Lesson learned. Always be prepared. We have a couple of sets of blankets now.
  14. We miss our church, church friends. They have become our family. We’ve been watching them online (plug for Christian Life Now, Des Moines. Christian Life Assembly…woot! ) Although our church has it online and can watch it live it’s not the same. So, we looked up churches online. We researched a lot when we had the internet. Now, Sunday has typically been us playing around, gallivanting, hiking and playing on the coast. But, we couldn’t go any longer without going to church. Rob had spent the whole morning doing paperwork and getting irritated. I decided to go take the dogs for a walk, but he wanted to go. Guess he needed to be next to his wife, hold my hand and sing happy love songs to fulfill his morning. OR? He just needed air. You decide. He was feeling rushed to make it to church at 10, it was already 9:15 we live 20 minutes away and we thought we would never make it on time. So Rob hurried to get ready. So we rushed to the dog park to take the dogs to poo. This is always a great time. While Rob was rushing around in the shower I hurried and looked to see the address one more time, to get it ready for the GPS. When I did, I saw the great news! “they have one at 10 and 12”, I bellowed to Rob as he was still in the shower. Which gave us time to eat lunch before church. How lovely!  We got ready and didn’t have to rush. Lesson learned; It’s the little things in life that are great…like extra time you didn’t know you had.
  15. (Continued) As we got ready for church the beard comes out with a grin – or grimace (read and you can decide later) “Did you break the shower and not tell me? I wanted to give him a smart a$$ remark because he looked a little silly in his towel with his squishy dripping bearded red face. I haven’t decided yet if it was from a sunburn, burnt flesh from the steam shower he was about to blow a gasket and the color in his face was a warning…I wasn’t about to find out – or was I? I had a nice shower a few hours prior and it was just fine, and I told him so. “The shower is busted and the knob came off while I was in it and was spraying water all over,” he paused I replied, “Isn’t that what a shower is supposed to do, spray water?”. He wasn’t happy with that answer “No, not like that”. I laughed. It was a little funny and accurate. He wasn’t having it. He walked away and we left for church right after and didn’t talk for the next 15-20 minutes.  Lesson learned; don’t poke the bear when the bear is already steamed…literally.wrong side of bed
  16. (Continued, yes…this day gets better) After we went to buy a new replacement for the shower, ate lunch we got to the new church and people are leaving as we are coming in. We come into the book store, introduce ourselves to the nice lady and sign up as a guest, strutted into the empty sanctuary as crickets were chirping and Rob asks me what time it was “noon”, the place is pretty empty. It’s spring break maybe people are on vacation. We proceed to look for a place to sit, um…it’s empty and we could sit anywhere. People are mingling a little, but hardly anyone is there. By “people” I mean 4. We meet a nice couple and they kindly tell us that we missed church by 2 hours. Then it hits us, only after they tell us “no, there isn’t another service”. That’s weird…I proceed to tell them their website told me it stated noon. I was very confident of this, although by the look on their faces I realized I’m an idiot. I got to the car later and told Rob as I pulled up the website on my new ihavenocluewhatimdoing iphone that I was on hours ago. I pulled up the website I was on and sure as the day is long..there is was… “10am – 12:00 pm” I didn’t have my glasses or contacts in. I didn’t see the little dash. Oops. My bad. Lesson learned; wear corrective vision when looking up new service times on website when going to a new church. Or how about wear corrective lenses when looking up things all the time. That’s a novel idea.  Bonus Lesson learned; take a little time navigating your iphone to learn how to use it.
  17. We probably should have bought a used a RV, not a brand new one. That was dumb on our part. That’s all we are going to say about that. We knew we shouldn’t have, because we never buy brand new cars for goodness sake. We bought extended coverage on everything. But here is the thing. No one wants to work on your RV. When you drive your house down the road, lots of things crack, break, leak and it needs fixed. We don’t have a lot of things wrong with it, but many people do. So, even though we have extended warranty the problem we are going to have is taking it somewhere and having anyone to fix it in a timely manner. Rob talked working on them himself and going RV-park-to-RV-park and doing it himself. I think he should. He would make a killing and we could always work “out-of-the-home”. People here always need something done on their RV. One of the first “friends” we met was by him needing his leaky sink fixed. It was going to take weeks for someone to come here and fix it. Rob knew how to fix it and he just went over and did it. How awesome is that? I have a great man that I’m married to that just knows how to fix things like that. That man would have not known how to fix it, would have traveled for 3 more weeks then what? The fact is, his RV is under warranty and still couldn’t get seen for that long. What a pain. So, I’m encouraging him to do that. He has the personality and knowledge and the trailer and tools to be able to do it. While he did it, I chatted with the wife, we talked about her travels and had a great time. It was wonderful.  What’s that Red Green quote “ If the women don’t find you handsome they should at least find you handy” , well my man is both handsome and handy. Lesson learned; Get yourself a handsome and handy man if you live in an RV! (read a map, look tough, blow bubbles, devilishly handsome in a beard – you know it’s all important).  Know where your faith is, cause according to the beard “it’s gets rocked”. The beard had initially had a rough time initially getting a job, and even though he had faith, it was hard for him. He had a harder time getting hired than he thought. Although it was super nice having dinner made, the dogs taken care of, did I say dinner made? He’s working now…but be careful when you say you have faith in things. Cause God will shake it. I love the word faith. My daughter’s middle name is faith and she just tattooed a cross with the word faith in the cross, yet we know so little about it. What I’ve learned is if you ask God to give you faith, expect to be tested. But growth is good. Being stretched is good. Living out of your comfort zone can be good yet uncomfortable.
  18. A good view calms the nerves. We changed our parking spot on the campground – about 3 parking spaces over. Rob and I have been complaining about the claustrophobic feeling we’ve been having in our little space. We asked if we can change spots and one opened up! We moved and it was amazing how different we felt after. Amazing how a few hundred feet can make a person feel totally different. I guess this can be true no matter it is. A change of perspective is also can be a change in view. Funny with Rob and I just in driving. He drives a semi and when he gets in the car he is like “you really can’t see anything from a car window”, he is so used to seeing things from a semi-window. The same was true when we drove the RV here; the windshield view with the bigger window and a higher wheelbase made the view seem better. Lesson learned; don’t like your view change it, change your perspective and your view will also change.IMG_6763
  19. A supportive person, even one person, makes all the difference. Some people don’t have one person to support them. We are fortunate to have each other. Lesson learned; “Quality of life is what you make it” is what the the beard says, and it’s not things, its memories. I was having a small little conversation with someone on my picnic table just a few days ago. We live in the poorest county in Oregon. Not sure why, but he’s lived here his whole life and he chooses to live in his RV. He stated that people in this town especially decides not to make their life better. They like to live below their means an have no desire to make their life financially better. They like living a decollate life because that means they get to live more simply. He was sipping a beer and looking over my shoulder as I was looking at my computer and actually working on this list. Ironic. He is a logger, living in his 5th wheel RV next to us. Most people living here work as a logger. Sounds like a rough life, but he states it is a simple life and he loves it. He went onto to say that most people don’t want to excel financially and if you give them the option to take a job with more money, they won’t take it. They like their “quality of life.” Which is exactly what Rob is always saying. It was like I was in the Twilight Zonetwilightzone.14283729_std
  20. Memories. Experiences. Adventures. Almost every weekend we go out and explore this beautiful place. I think I already said that I have an eyegasm everywhere I go. I want to take photos of everything, but that’s impossible. One thing I want to note is the number of rainbows we have here. I think I see one about every week. If I wasn’t driving on a twisty winding road I would be able to take more roadside photos. Poor me. I was out taking a photo on one of those roads and probably shouldn’t have been. Someone stopped to check on me. I told them I was just taking a photo. They smiled and went on. I thanked them. That is what it is about. It’s about each other being kind, extending out a hand when another person needs it, and talking to someone when they need it, listening when someone needs to talk, supporting and encouraging when another needs it. I can think of many times when I’ve seen people along side the road. I’ve not stopped, but this person did. I wonder why they did. Lesson learned; stop more often when people are along side of the road. Offer help more. Judge less
  21. A thing I noticed is that there are a lot of protein diets, paleo, vegetarian and everything in between here. I’m the girl hanging onto her sweet tea holding onto her bag of Doritos apologizing for her bad eating habits. “don’t mind me” as crumbs of orange remnants drizzle on my shirt. Occasionally you might catch me with Sour Bright Crawlers. I know, it’s the worst for me. Pure sugar. During training at work, they are all deciding on places to go out to eat and it was a common curiosity to ask if anyone as dietary needs, so typically we go to very healthy places and everyone orders super healthy items from the menu. I’m like, “cheeseburger, fries”, or “chicken wings”…I was super healthy the other day and got a veggie wrap…with Doritos. J Lesson learned; veggie wrap was alright, I mean...veggies are ok and I didn’t die or anything.  Maybe I should eat less Doritos. What am I thinking? That’s crazy talk!
  22. Dog people are the best people. I think everyone knows that. That isn’t going to be my lesson learned. However, everyone stops us when they see our Jax, who is a Hungarian Vizsla.  I mean almost everyone. So, if we ever wanted to go somewhere and be in a hurry or disappear or go and not be noticed we would not be able to take this dog with us. Everyone asks us about him. It’s a strange phenomenon. However, he will leave us in heartbeat. He would hug you, jump in your lap, your car, get in your house and act like we are nothing to him. Well, that’s almost true. He’s a strange dog, and everyone is curious about him. If you are ever interested in a somewhat loyal dog to you and everyone else. He’s orange/red with orange/brown eyes with the softest shortest hair. He’s supposed to be a hunting dog but to us he only captured our heart and everyone else around us. He is the best traveler. He rides on motorcycles, boats, semis and everything in between. He loves frolicking in water and his newest adventure was his trip to the coast. His best skill is cuddling and hugging.  He has been known to scale privacy fence before he was fixed but now he stays right by us. However, he will get mad and tear up your best pillows and pees on your bed if he doesn’t get his running in time at the dog park. He is a jealous dog. Likes the other dogs locked up so he gets more attention. Lesson learned; take your dog to the dog park often or this will happen. No, he won’t take up kayaking, although that would be super cool…but he will tear up your stuff. 11659414_10152867168160563_6142342608339376179_nlove in the kitchenjaxbeingbad
  23. We eat a lot on the grill. Like a lot. This is planned because this means the cooking is done outside and I don’t have to cook in my small kitchen. Rob’s kitchen is the big outdoors and my kitchen in the small indoors. You can see the difference. Lesson learned; meat tastes better when cooked outside…this is universally known. I learned this trick when I lived in Iowa so I didn’t have to use my kitchen as much. robcooking24 Back in the “olden days”, people knew their neighbors. People used to get out of their homes and go outside. People use to wave at each other and knew what was going on with their neighbors. When I was in Des Moines, I think I talked to my neighbors a few times, and that was due to our dogs or chickens getting loose. It was never to get to know them. Here people are always walking around our “RV campground/neighborhood” and chatting with each other and getting to know each other. Our neighbor to the left of us walks laps; a mile in the morning and a mile at night. She knows everyone and now calls the beard “buttercup” because she heard me say “Suck it up, Buttercup” to Rob once. Another neighbor was getting ready to go in for a carpel tunnel surgery and didn’t have a ride to Eugene and Rob wasn’t working yet. So, Rob offered to take them to the doctor. That wouldn’t happen if people weren’t out getting to know each other. Another time we were taking Jax to a dog park and a couple came to talk to us. They just lost their Vizsla 3 years ago and they couldn’t believe they found someone else who had one. They are so rare. They came out and asked us where we got ours (again, small world) we gave them our brother-in-law’s name who has them and breeds them. He ended up calling him and is going to get a Vizsla puppy as soon as its ready. Rob got his new job by just talking to people next door. I normally throw my pop cans away, but a lady next to us usually recycles them and I gave them to her to get the money from. Another neighbor made such connection to Rob he texts us when we were day tripping and wasn’t home in a timely manner. They were worried something happened to us since we didn’t know the area. They are the sweetest people. Now that Rob is over the road trucking, they ask how Rob is if he got to his destination ok. It’s like we stepped back 30 years and everyone is a community and watches over each other. It’s so strange. Lesson learned; several things…if you don’t want people knowing your business stay inside or don’t go camping or live in an RV park. If you want to believe in humanity and society again…live in RV park or go camping. It’s a positive experience.84d72cca35938e62d708384d5692d20a
  24.  If you want to get connected, have the internet, upload photos, get YouTube, stream videos, watch Netflix you are out of luck. I am a little irritated, no a lot irritated. I have so many photos I would love to upload. I have you tube videos that we’ve made that I would love to upload. I would LOVE to watch my Netflix…but I cannot. Our cell phone coverage is just as bad. I have maybe 2 strong bars maybe 3 if I’m lucky when I get home from work. We changed cell phone plans since we were told that was going to be better. I bought an internet extender which is plugged into the RV, but that only increases the existing internet strength I already have. So, if I only have crappy internet – it only increases the same strength I have. Which I don’t understand. However, we are sitting at the bottom of a valley with mountains all around us so I can understand why we don’t have the best internet. Most people coming to camp aren’t looking for best internet. However when you live here, kinda want the internet. I’m also trying to get my teamed started at night, so THIS isn’t happening until I can get the internet strength better. Sigh. If anyone who is reading this has a solution, I am looking for solutions. Our TV/Cable is also an issue. So, ya.

     

    Lesson learned; “Patience is a virtue and my patience is as weak as the wifi.” Original quote from yours truely. I might be famous one day

    25. Wear the right shoes. It rains a lot here. It’s important to wear the right shoes for rain. It’s important to wear the right shoes for the shore. It’s important to wear the right shoes to keep your feet warm. It’s important to wear the right shoes to work. I’ve struggled in ALL these areas and I am a shoe person. Doesn’t help that Jax ate a lot of my shoes before I came here. I went out and bought some rubber boots for the shore. I have rubber boots to slip on for the rain and I have slip-on’s for taking the dogs for a walk. I need hiking boots yet. That will come, I wore nice little cute shoes the first time I hiked. Not smart. I had blisters and my feet slipped on the mossy rocks. Lesson learned; get the right shoes for the job. Duh, no brainer. 26. The toilet in an RV is similar to a toilet in a Kaybo. The first time we had the “what’s that smell” I could hardly stand it. I mean, Rob tried to have ongoing conversations with me, and I’m one of the best multi-taskers in the world. But I could not focus on anything he was talking about because my nose was not having it. It smelled, and it was not wet dog smell this time. It was “what died in here, grew mold on it, baked in the sun with liver and onions with the contents of raw sewage”. This isn’t saying much because it was coming from our bathroom. The bathroom toilets in an RV have a black water tank and a gray water tank. They were both barely full, but something was rank.  I could not figure it out and I couldn’t focus. I begged Rob to go figure it out. I felt like I was going to vomit. He said we were basically living in a rolling toilet. So, we found some drop toilet lemon things to put in the things. Immediately it was all better. I’m not sure what that was all about, but you better get some if you have an RV, and have them HANDY! Lesson learned; we are living in a rolling poo thing. Get the dropping lemon things for your poo tank. You’ll thank me later. 🙂 They are little septic pods.  Life changer when you live in this RV. 

  25. 27 Walls are thinner than you think. Our neighbor came over one day and basically gave Rob a play by play of a scenario of what happened in our RV. Whether it’s your tv, radio, phone conversation, how much your dogs bark when you are gone or something else…Lesson learned; tight quarters and thin walls make for interesting conversations. This little guy barks a lot when I’m gone. He’s protective of our place I guess he has a lot to tell people when they walk by. IMG_287428. Speaking of tight quarters. You would think tiny spaces would make us get a little squirrely like our little friends here

They say absence make the heart grow fonder. That I think is true, but they don’t say that when you live in tight spaces. So you would think that tight spaces would be the opposite effect. Actually, this hasn’t been true for the most part. Which is weird. IT’S WEIRD. How can that be? How can I miss someone when I’ve been trapped in a tight space with them for days on end? But it’s true. When the beard and I traveled from Iowa to Oregon we were all up in each other’s business. Like. All. Up. In. Each. Others. Business. You can’t take a phone call without hearing the entire conversation on the other end from the other person (so watch what your saying about me when you’re talking about the beard on the phone), you can’t really have privacy in the bathroom, you can’t cook, watch TV, read a book or anything without the other person being totally right there. However, we are lucky that we have a large RV. Then we are still all up in there. But we still get along for the most part, and I’m kind of surprised we haven’t lost it yet. Not that we don’t argue and get on each other’s nerves – cause we totally do. Like we really do. But we celebrate daily our adventures. Our losses. Our frustrations. Our reasons finding our mission. We pray together, we laugh together, we cry together and we miss our kids together. I hold him up on days when he really misses his kids and does the same for me on days when I’m down. When we have a really bad day we play our wedding song and dance. We look at the photos of our family, pray, hope and cross our fingers that we aren’t totally messing up our lives by leaving our Iowa life behind. But overall our Lesson learned is living and learning. We hope that we are paving the way for others by going out of our comfort zone and doing things which we never thought was possible and inspiring others to do the same. Find your dream; get out of your comfort zone on the road beyond.

 

So, to answer the original question. Some days are really good here, and I’m glad we made the decision to do it. Some days are quite a challenge and I question what we are doing and want to throw in the towel. Somedays you are the head – and some days you are the tail. If you look at the feature photo of my dog Ziggy and Piper, you’ll see the irony in the quote and the photos.

 

Find your dream on your road or on your own beyond!

Posted in Uncategorized

Living in a Postcard

Middle Fork Smith River

IMG_6717

I could not believe this view.

This water. This mountain air.

I’m used to rivers being murky. Muddy. Dark.

I’ve never seen anything like it.IMG_6719

It exists.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man. ”    Heraclitus

Posted in Uncategorized

School of Hard Knocks, We All Got Em

I’m a therapist and being a therapist has a few advantages and disadvantages, just like any career. In my opinion, a major advantage would be that at any given point I feel as if I’m pretty humbled. I have a hard time ever feeling sorry for myself anymore. If I do, its pretty short lived.

No matter how bad it is for you, someone always has it worse off. Unfortunately, that is how it is. The bad news is everywhere. If you watch the news… or hear it you know it’s depressing. You know what I mean. You don’t even need to watch the news to know this. People around you are suffering and have their own crappy things going on and chances are it’s worse than what you are going through. Life kind of sucks at times. I don’t need to tell you though.

News flash! I actually stopped watching the news around 6 years ago after my divorce and it was one of the best I’ve done for myself. Ok, I admit, I occasionally catch glimpse of it in waiting rooms of the doctors office or read about it on my news feed, hear awt work, but I don’t seek it out.

The term “ignorance is bliss”, hmmm is there something to that? Perhaps.

Last night I accidentally listened to a news bit about what Richard Simmons has been up to while I was making dinner.

r simmons

WHAT?

All of sudden I was interested in what Richard Simmons was up to. I caught myself stirring dinner while I was staring at the photos of Richard while the sensationalism reporting of him was horrible. It was a miracle didn’t burn dinner like usual. Well, this time I had a good excuse. It was Richard’s fault.Which is funny. My brothers name is Richard. Blaming my brothers is something I’ve never done, I’m sure.

I caught myself and changed the channel.

I was like…does this make my life better knowing what he has been up to? I got sucked into the drama of it all. It almost got me. Whew. That was a close one.

I was curious, though!

I remember my mom doing some of those “Sweating to the Oldies”, now I’m an oldie.

Crap. When did that happen?

Even though I turned stations; it made me think.

How do they plant that little itty bitty seed and make me wonder about something I hadn’t seen since the 80’s or early 90’s? How to people do that? How does that itty bitty though get burrowed in my head?

I’m a child of the 70’s. I guess that’s half-true. Wait. Is that a true statement? Blah. Let me explain. I was BORN in the 70’s. There. That’s better. People who burned their bra’s in the 70’s, went to Woodstock,  had strong opinions about the war and legitimately braided their hair and put flowers in them and sang “Give Peace a Chance”. I think of them as genuine people from the 70’s. Hippies I think we call them.

(I really hope I’m not offending anyone from the 70’s) but technically I was born in the 70’s so I guess we are all cut from the same cloth, right? (do you hate me yet?).

I really wasn’t making any point at all, other than my age honestly, and giving you a point of reference. I was clueless during that whole time frame so it really doesn’t and shouldn’t matter.

Right? Right? ☺

Anyway.

I’m not a cool person from the 70’s. I wasn’t even a cool person from the 80’s or 90’s or even now. However, the 80’s was cool. We can all agree to that!

I digress.

I was the youngest out of 8 children in rural Iowa. My dad worked very hard for his money and mom took care of us hungry kids. I mean I know I ate a lot anyway.

If you ever get a chance to come to any of our family get togethers – you would never go away hungry. So, I can only imagine feeding us growing up in our younger years.

My mom went to a grocery store called Aldi’s, she canned garden food and occasionally made some of my clothes from her sewing machine. She mended the clothes that had holes in it with patches and once I was old enough my mom and I shared some of our clothes, which is something I NEVER admitted until now. Occasionally an older neighbor would give me a sack of clothes.  I wouldn’t care, wouldn’t turn them away  because they were typically nice.

The only store we bought our clothes was a store on the corner called Pamida, Woolworths or Kmart at the time. My dad would occasionally drive by a garage sale on the way to and from the store on “grocery store day”, which was always on Friday. Now, he would never go out of his way to go garage sale shopping for mom, per say. However, if there happened to be a garage sale that happened to be on the same street we happened to to be driving on and if my mom seemed interested – my dad might stop. I loved it. I begged to stop because this was my chance to actually find something different than what we would normally get.

Now, if dad was in a shopping mood, which was hardly was ever, he would take mom, grandma and me to the Goodwill or some other thrift store. Of course, he would sit in the car and wait as listen to the radio while we would make a mad rush to the store looking for treasures.

It was fun dashing through the store. I equate it to the scene simular to  Forest Gump when he was running across the United States in his new sneakers. Except, I didn’t have a cult following, except I didn’t grow my hair out, except not across or back-forth the United States. Except, well….it was nothing like that but we had to dash real fast. Since we were on a very limited time frame, clothes were never tried on. I would have to grab things that I thought would fit and throw them in the cart and hope for the best. Typically dad would give us around 30 minutes or less to shop. I was a power shopper before I knew what a power shopper was. If I was extremely lucky I would find a cool poster or toy as a treasure.

I remember one time finding a unicorn jewelry box that I adored and a Bon Jovi poster.

Bon Jovi was dreamy. Sigh.l

Lets just take a moment to remember the early 80’s for a moment.

bonjovi

I’m not sure why someone would ever feel the need to donate him to the Goodwill! Man! I hit the jackpot.

And unicorns are still cool, I don’t care who you are!

Going to the Goodwill was something I treasured. It was a good memory for my mom, grandma, dad, and I.

Yet, that was my life. I didn’t know any different. I didn’t care, and I looked forward to those days with my mom and dad. It was great!

But, do you remember being younger and not having a clue of how you looked and remember how happy you were – just being you? Who cared?

When does that change?

Do you remember not every looking in the mirror? Not ever caring what your hair looked like? Not caring if your outfit matched?

I remember being proud of my second-hand clothes until the day I was challenged not to.

So, going back to Richard Simmons…(you didn’t think I would ever get back to the main point did you?! ) I know this is a stretch from Mr. Simmons, but hear me out…I didn’t think about Richard until that thought was put there…then I was curious and it took up mind space.

I also didn’t think I was poor until I was told.

So, when did you start seeing yourself as others saw you?

When did you come to realize that you don’t have the name brand clothes other kids had?

When do you realize that you don’t have the cool gadgets or toys that other kids have? Or maybe you were the kid who pointed it out that others didn’t have it as good as you.

When did you start noticing you were different (if you felt that way)?

Maybe you started noticing differences when your best friend’s parents got a divorce.

Maybe when you experienced your first death.

Maybe you were abused and that changed you and you started seeing the world differently.

Perhaps it was multiple moves or different schools.

Getting beat up and having people in your face. Yelled at. Not feeling accepted.

Bad grades and feeling stupid.

Maybe it was when you realized that not everyone gets first place in the sports you played and you can identify what mediocre feels like.

Maybe you noticed yourself change when you sang in the choir and you searched to find a friendly face out in the crowd in the sea of faces but you were left feeling alone.

Maybe your story is much more twisty and darker…most people’s stories are darker. Most people stories are way worse.

My story is silly, honestly. I remember when I started not feeling good enough and not fitting in with my peers. Or at least that is what I thought.

As a therapist, I have to do a lot of self-reflections.

It’s kind of horrible honestly. I am always looking pretty deep into everything and over thinking everything.

It’s totally overrated. However, it allows me to have insight. Sigh. UGGG. Insight is overrated.

I was asked where I got my clothes.

I wasn’t ashamed. Why would I be? I had fun with my parents and my grandma. I found fun treasures. I had a freakingly awesome poster of Bon Jovi people! He knew how to rock that hair!

Oh, but back to the outfit….

Whew, I can loose a thought. You should knudge me once in awhile. You dropped the ball on that one. Ok, Bon Jovi..Richard Simmons, clothes. Oh yes.

I couldn’t remember if it was a thrift store if it was a garage sale if it was from my neighbor…?

So that’s what I said. I actually said it with pride. I was feeling good.

That was when honesty wasn’t the best policy. I hadn’t learned how to really lie yet. I didn’t need to, why would I? That was my first lesson that apparently money buys happiness because I was told I was poor. I was taught that poor was bad.

The person pointed, laughed and said ‘Tammy is poor, she can’t afford to buy clothes”.  it was really loud in front of a bunch of people. I wanted to run. All eyes were on me and I felt my life changing.  For some reason I let that stupid moment change me.

For crying out loud. I mean it changed me for YEARS.

So, as a young impressionable little girl, I started being sad. I started seeing myself different. I was devastated and I no longer saw myself the same anymore and I no longer saw my family the same anymore. All because of someone’s statements.

Why did I let that one person change my whole outlook?

Why did I let that comercial let me think I needed to know about Richard Simmons all night?

I was taught I was poor, when before I was totally happy living the life I knew. Why do we let the opinions and thoughts of others interrupt our own happiness?

For years I held myself as if I was lower than others, and I believed as if I was. I had no courage; I felt like I couldn’t speak for myself let alone to others. I was pretty shy. I was afraid of others, mostly afraid of myself I guess. At that point school really sucked for me, yet I had a decent childhood. I just let the comment of another person burrow in my heart and change me.

Like I said, it changed me for years. That comment hung into me and made me feel inferior to others and my self esteem was shot. I could give you example after example of crappy thing I’ve allowed into my life because I let others opinions impact me.

However, school of hard knocks – we all got em.

I’m sure you have a great story to tell, we all do. God gave us situations to go through, to preservere through.  We each have a reason why we are here, a reason we are here and lessons to learn along the way. You are here for a reason. God has a purpose for you no matter what your story is. 

I get to spend time with people who have a lot of trauma, sorrow, grief, torment, sickness, disease, years of substance abuse, plauged with mentall illness…just overall dark and twisty stories they have been through. Some of them are so bad, I’m not sure how they emotionally survived – let alone physically survived. Many of them want to die and they need hope.

Yet many of them have stories of hope, survival and strength of how they have not allowed themselves become a victim of their circumstances. Those are my favorite people, inspirations and my biggest teachers in life. Advertisities happen to all of us, but what we do with it is the key.

So, I’m better now in my older age. I care less what people think because I know who I am and I’m more comfortable in my own skin. I try not to judge others because I think “I never know what my life could have been like if I was born in their family” or what “would my life been like if I was in their situation”.  I try to literally put myself in their shoes.

As far as being poor, go out of the country. We are not poor. And thank you to my parents for giving me the simple life that I maybe didn’t appreciate back then, but do so now.

Because I’d rather hang out with someone down on their luck, or in a camper or talk to the homeless than someone who is a millionaire or someone who lives in a multi million dollar house. Oh wait, that’s what we do every day. 

I love my simple life.

 I still shop at thrift stores, garage sales and I still take hand-me-downs. I would rather shop that way than at stores and pay full price. Which, is a proud trait I handed down to my childen and hopefully my future grandchildren. My husband appreciates this too as I don’t spend time shopping. 

 

Live life to the fullest! Be kind to one another.

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I’m not leaving everyone behind or quitting ~ I just don’t want the world leaving me behind.

I see the quotes “not all who wander are lost”. I love that quote. That speaks to me.

I ran across another one while I was shopping for t-shirts. It says something like this;

I’m not leaving everyone behind or quitting ~ I just don’t want the world leaving me behind.

My parents made one big trip in their life, that I knew of. Well, I should say my dad only has.

My parents lived in a rural Iowa town and my dad drove him and my mother through Minneapolis to the college where I was I living to see my little family. I had just gotten pregnant; I was only a month along and had a 2-year-old at the time.

My parents trekked the 4-hour drive and stayed around 30 minutes. Which is exactly long enough to give hugs and drink a glass of ice water and leave…if you are my parents. They parked their little behinds right on that chipped painted picnic table outside of our apartment and chatted about the traffic they endured in Minneapolis. They didn’t even step inside the apartment to see how I was living or to go pee. A woman not coming in to go pee? Unbelievable!!

Later I found out my dad had just been diagnosed with cancer. Perhaps the drive was to come up to talk to me about it, or because he thought he might be dying.  Fast forward to the end of my dad’s life, he had never (as far as I have known) taken my mom anywhere else that far.

When my dad retired from Maytag, he stayed really close to home. When they had to go to the grocery store – it was on Friday. They went to church on Sunday. They were pretty predictable people. If they had to do something out of the norm, they made sure all their appointments were made in the morning so their afternoons were spent at home.

So, I’m now on this journey. Perhaps due to my parents.Some may wonder where this journey is taking me us. Me too.

My husband and I are traveling off to Oregon in our motorhome. Many friends and family don’t understand why we are on this adventure, quest, move. Heck, at times we don’t quite understand it ourselves. However, we both have so many reasons on both sides. Reasons to stay where we are and keep things the way they are. Reasons to change and see where things are going.

We’ve left family and friends.

We’ve left great jobs and stability.

We’ve left our home and exchanged it for a home with a motor and has 6 wheels.

Everything has changed.

My sister made a comment one day about dad after he died. She said, “I wonder if it took dad awhile to get to heaven”, she paused and I quested her why she said that. She explained that it must have taken him awhile to get there because God probably took him to all the places where dad wanted to see but didn’t because of his tendency to stay home.

I don’t want live like that. I don’t want to live closed in and not see or experience things, or people.

_MG_2784

We have so many reasons to stay where we are and to be as we are. However, we have so many reasons to step out and take a giant leap of faith and try something totally new.

We might “fail” miserably. We might be back and report all the things that went wrong. We might come back and tell you that “you’re right”, to those of you who don’t believe that this isn’t going to work. You might have the mindset of “I told you so” and you know what, that’s going to be ok. Cause we tried…and that isn’t failing.

IMG_2744

While we are on this trip I’ve already expanded my mind to think of things I’ve never really thought of before. My brain is thinking of things which would have never thought, it’s seeing things which would have never seen, my brain freaks out at times (which doesn’t take much-just ask my husband).

While we were traveling to Oregon, it took us 4 days to get here because we took our time. We have some really great experiences; almost running out of gas, needing chains on our tires, peeing in the coldest outhouse ever where my butt almost got stuck. getting scared out of our minds on the snowy and mountain passes…but it was all worth it. IMG_2879

We have both left our jobs for this lifestyle.

We have left our friends and family for this lifestyle for a life unknown.

I can’t end up like my parents. I can’t be like my dad and drive only out of the state for a glass of ice water and not experience life and possibly have those regrets.

So, dad and mom…here’s to you.

Kids here’s to you – hoping that you understand why we felt we had to do this and I hope you find that someday you think that we are somewhat inspiring.

Here’s to new experiences, seeing new things, failing but picking ourselves up and learning from them.

We are not ready to let the world to leave us behind, so driving this Coach has allowed us to have that mentality. We are living out of our comfort zone, having adventures being an adventurer._MG_2761

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Do You Want Fries with That?

 

There is nothing like deep fat fried French fries in a fryer. It has to be crinkle cut too.

So yummy.

French fries is the best food. You can eat it when your happy. When you are sad. When you are confused. When you are happy. When you need no excuse. It is the best.

When we travel to new places to eat I often ask them if they have crinkle cut fries. It’s the best.  But they have to be slightly crunchy yet soft in the middle, a little salty and plenty hot. When you cook it yourself you can get it perfect.

Back in the day when we had chickens, we were trying to figure out what had been killing them. We didn’t think it was Jax our Vizsla because he had too much fun playing with them. Wait. Maybe it was Jax.

We started off with several chickens and it quickly dwindled down to only a few then down to 1.

I heard a commotion out in the chicken coop one day.

Raccoon was eating our chickens!

Rob yelled “get the gun”!

He was outside and I ran inside and grabbed 2 guns. I didn’t know what he wanted. I came out jogging with 2 loaded guns in my hand. Me. “Running” with 2 loaded guns in my hand. I’m not the most coordinated person. Not a good idea.

So, there I am with 2 guns. Rob looks at me, almost laughs and then grabs one.  Cricket our beagle/terrier mix had the raccoon cornered. The raccoon dropped to the floor and blood flew everywhere. The dog then attacked the raccoon and she had to be pulled off. It looked like a massacre.

We started swabbing up the mess and realized the fryer got shot in the line of fire.

NOT THE FRYER!

The fryer ended up being in the line of fire. Fryer fire.

I don’t even know how that happened.

So, they all died.

The poor fryer, the poor chicken and the raccoon all died that night.

chicken-in-group

I ate my feelings with French fries that night. They had to be baked, not fried.

(Thanks for the feature photo from the Nerdy Farm Wife Blog)

 

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Am I Normal?

 

You know in the movie Forrest Gump when Forrest decides to run and he took off ran for no real reason at all and ended on the pier and felt complete? He didn’t need to run any longer? I bet he just needed to shampoo that beard. And in the movie when he is holding a box of chocolates, “Life is like a box of chocolates” I guess life is a little like that, huh?

That scene in Ferris Bueller Day off…how Ferris Bueller was supposed to in his seat and he was out having the time of his life in the parade and his teacher called out “Bueller”, “Bueller”… He was living in the moment. I’ve really enjoyed a parade that much, but it’s better than being in school (public service announcement stay in school kids).

Then the inspiring tear-jerker moment  in Dumb and Dumber when they had Mary’s briefcase and they left everything behind just to return it to her? They climbed into the shaggy sheepdog and rode across the United States just to give it to her. Dumb and Dumber, by the way, is one of my most favorite movies. I know it’s not known for being inspiring, and it won’t make it on any list.

Do you have inspiring moments like that? Where you just gotta throw caution to the wind and say “GO FOR IT”?

If those movies aren’t inspiring, check out Lifehack’s list of 35 Inspirational Movies That Will Change Your Life http://www.lifehack.org. (Spoiler Alert…Dumb and Dumber is not on the list. Sad. I know) 

Well, in a nutshell…that’s what the beard and I are doing. We are going for it by selling off our things, giving it way, taking off, relocating and doing something totally different for us.

Some people might think that this has been an impulsive move for us, but we have been thinking about this for about 2 years – 6 months seriously.

Honestly several things came into place and it wasn’t just one thing.

We are crazy. Ha. Well, kind of.

I’m fully aware that people typically don’t think about living in an RV.

Some people have told us “it’s not normal”.

For them I say

normal-what-is-that

Yes, that’s right. Normal is only a setting on the dryer and washing machine.

We are not normal.

We live in a small house now, so it’s not too hard to give it all up to move into a small space on wheels with a steering wheel.

However, here are a few reasons why we decided to do what we ae doing.

Reasons Why We Decided to Live in an RV

  • We first had the idea. Then it was a dream. Honestly, the beard and I are both flighty people, which helps. We are both “lets do it”, then plan later. Kind of. I think our brains are wired different than most. We don’t think of the “what if’s” in relation to all the bad things that could happen. That’s probably not a good thing. If you are a Type A person, this type of lifestyle might need a little more planning. But we are just whimsical about it for the most part…and we have a lot of faith.

  •  However, with that being said, we watched a lot of other people do it. Other Youtubers, Instagramers, Bloggers and such. We realized that other people not only dreamed of this life, but actually make this life happen! Once we saw other people doing it, we realized that we didn’t need to wait until retirement to make this happen. Seeing others do it made us realize the things we needed to plan for, the things we really need to think about to not be too dumb about this whole adventure.

 

  • We looked at resources around us and brainstormed and this took us awhile. This kept happening and our plan kept tweaking with every Youtuber we watched, every blog we read.

  • We became more and more curious, which, helped us to become less flighty in this planful adventure. Crap. We had to plan???

  • So, we continued to dream and we kept plugging along.

  • At that time we had bought used 5th The beard does construction work on the side and found someone that had one for sale. We negotiated some drywall work in trade for a “down payment” for the 5th Wheel. Then we made payments on the rest. We couldn’t even afford the whole thing at once. So, we were fortunate to find someone to work with us.

  • I loved it, but was only able to use it once, due to the vehicle we had was very unreliable. So, we couldn’t haul it or pull it anywhere. It was then we decided that we wanted something that we could drive it, not have to worry about unhooking it, hooking it and not have to worry about towing. That was just our preference. You will have your own preference.

  • We started watching more and more Youtube videos on the difference between all the different styles of campers, RV’s, 5th wheels, Coach and that entire lingo because I was clueless!

  • Now, my biggest question was – how do we live and have money while having this lifestyle? This is where I cheated a bit. Most people who are the typical “RVers” are retired people, or so I thought. When I watched the Youtube videos there is a ton of people living this lifestyle who are super young 40, 30 and 20 something living out of their campers and Rv’s! It’s amazing!!

  • While researching I found a term called workcamper. What the heck is that? I never knew that term until I was in this world of research. Well, working while you camp basically. Makes sense, huh? Well, the idea is to not work at all and play the whole time…but most of us can’t do that. So, the idea of workcamping is you work at a camping location and you get to camp there for free or some other accommodations depending on what the campsite agrees on. Some places pay you a stipend, offer you free water or gas hook up or something else depending of the location. It’s a pretty cool gig! It’s kind of like helping other campers, but volunteering and living there for free. This whole world of people working at camping was so new to me.

  • So, although this wasn’t going to work for us and our situation, I did tailor this situation for us. I found a job in a location while finding a workcamper position. I found a full time job in a specific location – in a beautiful location while living at a campground. My husband is going to be working at the campground while I work full time in my career in town. So, we get the best of both worlds.

  • So, once I knew I had a job, a place to go, we had a place to live for (almost free) we window shopped to kill some time on a cold winter afternoon and found ourselves at Des Moines RV. We really had no idea of buying a camper. I was happy with my 5th But we went at the end of December when dealerships are wanting to move merchandise and wanting to make quota at the end of the year. So, we got a great deal – almost unreal the type of deal we received.

  • We added up the cost and savings of not having a house payment, not having a water/sewage, electric bill and household bills that come with owning a home. It was going to save us money to get the Coach, which was strange to say…because the Coach was nicer than our home (the one without wheels).

  • We kind of modeled the “if not now, when?” motto. With that in mind, the only limitation is resources.

  • A thing I learned when doing research on Youtube is, there are SO many people living this dream. We’re not alone. So if you are thinking about this, you will not be alone. There is someone out there who has paved the way for you. Isn’t that great?

  • I am a believer of living out a dream and not putting dreams off.

  • Last but not least, have faith. Without it we have nothing.

 

One thing to note here…we haven’t hit the road yet. The Coach is still sitting in our driveway. We are hitting the road in 2 weeks. So, stay posted on the Beard a Blonde & the Road Beyond to get more of an update on this life

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“Rivers are roads which move, and which carry us whither we desire to go.” Blaise Pascal

 

Happiness is a frame of mind, and money can’t buy you happiness. “but it can buy you a boat, and a truck to pull it…” That’s lyrics to a song by Chris Janson. Just in case you want to catch it, here is a pretty cute video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQPjKSVe1tQ
I live a simple life.

I don’t have a lot of things.

I have less than a lot of people.

But I have more than a lot of people.

I don’t have a boat, just to clarify.

AND SPOILER ALERT.

My life is about to get more simple. If you have been reading my blogs, looking at the Youtube video you know that we are going to soon be living out of our Coach. We are leaving our house behind for a simpler life.

I will eventually explain how we got to that decision.

But I think I have a lot to explain until get there, this is my story…so I can do that!

ANYWAY, I used to have a really nice house in the Suburbs.

I was married to someone else then. So, when my life was drastically changing. I found myself a place to go. A place which helped me clear my mind. That place is the Des Moines River.

I imagined and pondered the path the rituals, the stories it had to get where it has been to be where it flows today. I imagine how many shores it molded and think relate it to my own life at the time.

I wondered how many people and lives we’ve actually molded or how many people lives I’ve actually mucked up by the decisions I’ve made. In doing so I would sit by the river and watch as it would pass me by. The current is typically pretty strong. Occasionally I could see random unknown objects floating on top, a duck, geese landing. For the most part the river was a place of peace and comfort and it brought answers when I needed it most.

The river takes rocks and sticks it tossed around with its rapid current, the waves, rapids and how it flows downhill to finally make it to its destination.

What is my destination?

“Life is a journey, not a destination” by Ralph Waldo Emerson

A river is about the journey in the end I guess.

The river itself is pretty murky, but the function and the different paths are pretty incredible. On a bright sunny day it looks as though a million diamonds are skimming the top of the surface.

Isn’t that a lot of us? At times we seem steady and calm on the surface.

“How are you”? people ask. We smile and hope no one sees through the facade we built so long to hide from others. We sparkle our diamond surface, but underneath no one can see that undercurrent that can whisk you away when you least expect it.

On the surface, we seem great, but underneath we don’t have it all together. We are even shiny with our sparkly faces with fake smiles but maybe we have ugly alternatives and motives underneath at times. Or we have sadness that we can’t share with others or secrets. You know it is. It’s life.

We are a lot like a river.

This river to me is a place of comfort. A place of miracles. A place of wonder. A place where significant events happened.

 

I was sitting by the river one day, just like any other day. I had my police radio on listening for dispatch to call out my call numbers to next crisis call like it was the next power ball numbers. Well, not really. You would understand the adrenaline if you worked in that field, I would assume it’s similar to the type of adrenaline you feel in your body. Minus millions of dollars, fame, fortune, yacht, getting out of debt, do donate money to a church, paying off student loans, getting the hubby bass boat and buying kids dream homes and that African safari…wait. Ok. not the same.

I digress.Where was I? River. Dispatch. Oh ya. Adrenaline.

You never know when your days are going to be life changers.

You wake up just like any other day, probably do same similar patterns of same ol habits, then BAM.

A game changer happens.

Life happens when you least expect it.

You probably have many days in your life like that.

Here’s the thing.

When you write down things in your life, you’ll start to uncover things that you’ve never known about yourself.  It’s really rather simple. Just don’t judge yourself and allow yourself to just be.

When I sat down by the river, I would have the river beside me a journal and my thoughts.

But here is why I write.

Back to the river…I was having a really hard day. I was at work and it was a slow day in the crisis field. I was working and by the dock.

I took out my yellow legal pad with red ink pen and was having a hard time with many changes in my life. My dad died a few months prior, I was losing my house to foreclosure, I was going through a divorce, I was preparing another move, transitions with my kids and being a single mom, working 2 jobs, my mom was in the hospital and her prognosis wasn’t good. I was pretty stressed.

I wrote a letter to God. I told God that I literally couldn’t take anymore. The reason I thought about writing to God was I needed to get rid of my worries. You know when we pray we are supposed to give it to God and not carry it with us any longer. So, much like a letter to a friend…you write a letter and tell that person what is going on. What do you do? You send it. So, I was at the river. I had the idea to send it. The coolest thing happened, though!

I put the letter in the river and while my hand was holding the letter under the water and waiting for the water to pull the letter away – the water pulled red ink to the top of the water!!! It was so amazing. So I could see the paper under the water, with my hand holding it under the water, then I could see the red ink…still seeing all the writing floating there on the surface.  “Dear God”….the red ink all there with the rest of the red ink floating on top of the water…without it resting on the paper. Then as I sat there in amazement the red ink eventually floated away.

So, this encouraged not only my habit of writing and prayers to God…but it encouraged writing in general. As a prayer journal it’s nice to have things written down in a letter form, then you can look back and see what you have been struggling with or what you have prayed for or who you have prayed for. It can be a laundry list of thing depending on the day or season in your life. I know I’ve had days like that. But at times, I just needed to be like “take this”, and write to him as a friend and believe that he is going to take care of it. Cause, you know, he is. He works like that.

As a therapist I encourage my patients to write, it is very therapeutic. It helps gain insight, gets your thoughts straight, allows you vent, lower depression and anxiety, boredom.m

Heck, if nothing else.. it might even help you have a conversation with the only sane person you know!

To clarify, I don’t go to the river and dump letters in it. That was a one time deal.

“Rivers are roads which move, and which carry us whither we desire to go.”

My river has carried me, held me up and pointed me to several of my heart’s desire. All I’ve had to do was open myself up to see what was around me. By journaling, I’ve been able to have both at my side and it has allowed me to gain so much insight.

So, my nuggets of wisdom today. Journal and find your heart’s desire.

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I Can See Clearly Now

I’ve always told people “I have a blind eye” which technically I do. Although, to your naked eye, you would never be able to tell. However, at times…it is two different colors. It’s like I have 2 different mood rings on my face.

When I was around 1st or 2nd grade I went in for those lovely eye tests at school and it was discovered I was lazy. Errr, I mean that I had a lazy eye.

It was then I found out I could barely see the big E on the screen.

YIKES!

I went had a bunch of tests done and it was then I was diagnosed with a condition called Toxoplasmosis. I guess it happened when my mother was pregnant with me. I was the youngest out of 8 children and by then my mother was (and still is) one very tough woman. She was a farming wife and mother and she probably caught the flu and didn’t take care of herself and the virus attacked my eye. No fault of her own, she never knew. The parasite is often found in meat, goats milk and cat feces. We had goats milk, so that was probably the cause.

By the way, have you ever had goats milk? GROSS! My mom used to try to hide it in an old regular milk container and pretend it was regular milk. UM, like I was supposed to not realize it was cows milk. BIG difference.

I hated it.

And I hated my eye.

I thought my bad eye looked like one of those Muppet puppet eye that moved all over uncontrolled, like a google eye. I had Google on my face before Google was hit.

I avoided looking people in the eye a lot when I was younger. I was a young girl with lots of issues with my image, and knowing that I had a lazy eye, which was blind only made me more self-aware.

Anyway, so I remember at a young age thinking that I was going to get healed of my blind eye.  I was exposed to “faith healers” one day while my mom was watching Oral Roberts on TV. I would sit right in front of the TV and he would ask if anyone had any prayer requests, and if anyone needed any healing. He would walk people through how to ask for healing and I would totally believe that God would heal my eye. I would place my little 1st or little 2nd grader little hand on my eye, pray that little prayer and believe God would heal my eye.

As soon as that prayer was done I ran into the bathroom, covered up by good eye and test my faith to see if I could see out of my blind eye.

Nope. Couldn’t see out of it.

Apparently God had bigger fish to fry and bigger issues to work on than mine. So I would bounce out of the bathroom and go on my merry little way until I would hear Oral Roberts again on the TV the following week, and I would go through the motions all over again.

Faith like a Child. That’s what God wants us to do. I had it, but I wasn’t mad when God didn’t give me my sight, or when he didn’t straighten my eye, I just ran off to play.

For years I would tell people “I have a blind eye” and then people would playfully make fun of my blind eye. It was kind of my thing.  I would run into walls on the right side, I couldn’t play sports in school because the DR. wouldn’t let me due to my eye. No one would want me to play on their team in PE due to that, I have very little coordination too. I can’t catch a ball if my life depended on it. When I drive, I hug the center lane since I have very little depth perception. So, it was my thing…it has been a running joke. But that little girl inside always believed I would get healed.

Recently one day I was in church and I heard this small still voice inside me say “You did this”.

Now stay with me.

You might think I’m a little strange for saying this…but that’s what I heard.

I continued to feel and hear “words are powerful” and then I stated to feel as if I was the one that made my eye worse.  I felt as if God was telling me that all the joking around, all the speaking about my eye, making fun of the eye and accepting of the bad eye was making it worse. All I kept hearing was “words are powerful”.

I sat down right where I was at church and starting thinking. I didn’t know if it was me or God. I get that a lot.

I had a DR appointment coming up for my eye since it was getting worse. At that time I had started seeing more of a black spot when I was walking and my blind eye was getting worse, which I thought was never possible. I was thinking about what I heard, and what I believed.  Words are powerful.

How many times do I tell people that? When people are in my office I tell them to build each other up, to not focus on the negative, but the positive. To “catch” their child doing good things and not focus on the bad.Or to focus on what our spouse is doing right, not to focus on all the bad things. I’m guilty of that too.

Why would my eye be any different?

“I’m ugly”, “I’m fat”, “I’ll never be out of debt”, “I’ll never achieve my dreams”, “My blind eye”

…in the meantime my blind eye was becoming blinder. I am feeling uglier. I am becoming more in debt. I am not achieving my dreams. See where I am going? Words are powerful. I’m getting out of the world what I’m putting into the world.Are their things you are putting out there that is keeping you stuck?

About a week later I went to the specialist and I knew I had something bad going on in my eye. It was confirmed with lots of tests and months later they took out a massive cataract. Initially they didn’t want to take out. I had to talk them into taking it out. They stated it was going to destroy my eye, that it was not going to help my eye and that surgery would not do anything for it. They didn’t want to do the surgery due to my birth defect.I literally had to almost beg them to take it out. This was a year long process of asking them to take it out, all the while my eye was getting worse. I almost got to the point I couldn’t hardly drive.

I knew what God had told me, and I knew that if I started talking positively about it, believing in the best that I would be ok. I knew it would be. I insisted they take it out, they did and the results were amazing. I’m not saying that you should do that if you are in the same situation, I’m just saying that was my experience.

Words are powerful and it is in your control.

If you are in a negative situation, please start looking at how you speaking about it, how you looking at it and how others are talking about it. Change.  If you need help, there are several great books, blogs and people out there who can help you change the way you think. I get stuck thinking negatively often.

Heck if you don’t believe it, fake it until you make it. I know it sounds a little kooky. But what do you have to lose? I still think negative, talk negative and I need help ALL THE TIME.

After my epiphany, I went and looked up Joyce Meyer book Mind Connection https://www.joycemeyer.org/ProductDetail.aspx?id=008867       and that has helped with trying to keep my mind in control.

As for my eye, I can see out of it now. I truly can. It is a miracle.

What’s better than that is the lesson I learned from it.