Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Simple but Special

I love reasons to do special things. Valentine's used to be a hallmark holiday for me, that is before Que. It's his birthday, so as a couple it has always been special. This year I was prepared to make special things happen (and unlike previous years) on a strict budget. Previously, we celebrated the day as proud and hungry consumers. Proving our love with store bought tokens. Though lovely and yummy, we just aren't those kind of people anymore. Don't misunderstand, we still give presents and buy things, just not like before.

In the past, our consumption would include all sorts of stuff like a new dress that I'd never wear again with accessories to match, flowers with chocolates, dinner out, plus gifts. Don't get me wrong, those memories make me happy. It's just not us anymore and that's okay. These days its being together that makes something special.

Valentines breakfastArmed with Pinterest, I planned the menu for the day and ordered his secret present from Amazon.  For breakfast I made heart shaped pancakes, heart shaped turkey bacon and heart shaped cinnamon rolls. Yes, I know that pancakes and cinnamon rolls are redundant but they are his favorite breakfast items. I didn't reinvent the wheel, pancakes were from a mix and rolls from the tube. I cut fresh strawberries instead of syrup for the pancakes to ease the massive sugar load. 

Dad was too full but Kaeden had a puppy love lunch. It was a pb and j. I made a heart shaped with the same cookie cutter from breakfast. I used some oreos as the puppy's ears with raisins for eyes and nose. He spent about 30 seconds looking at the puppy face before devouring it. I didn't get a chance to snap a pic, so here is the inspiration.

Dinner was Que's favorite, a baked ziti. It's a recipe that I learned as a child. Ziti is one of my most requested dishes. So to express my appreciation for you, my readers, I am going to share this recipe below. Thank you for sharing this journey with us!

 For desert we made variation of lemon pound cake. We used our favorite recipe and topped with strawberries, a simple strawberry syrup and the lemon icing that is in the original recipe. It was a moist, light, fluffy cake with just the right balance of sweet and sour. It was like strawberry lemonade in a cake. YUM! 

Que waited patiently until after dinner for his gift. I ordered a good starter telescope on Amazon. We love star gazing. He especially loves to just sit and watch the sky for hours on end with his naked eyes, but Kaeden gets bored.  Kaeden likes meteor showers and eclipses because he can see something other than twinkling little lights. Enter telescope. Now, regardless of the (lack of) celestial activity, star gazing is a definite boy (bonding) activity. Mom will wait until spring/summer. 

The day turned out to be a success. A lot of people are thinking, "Is that all?'. Yes, it is all. We ate well, enjoyed each other's company and every one was happy. That's the point of days like this. Special can be simple. Hopefully this simple but happy memory will linger in our thoughts for a long time.

Stay posted for our lives as the golden gypsies!

Baked Ziti
1 package of mild Italian style turkey sausage*
1/2 lb to 1 lb ground beef
1 lb ziti noodles
2 jars of pasta(tomato) sauce 
large container of Ricotta cheese*
4 -5 cups of shredded cheese*
Italian seasoning ( basil, oregano, thyme)
mince garlic
1 cup diced onion
large lasagna pan/roaster tin*

*Notes: First, I am not a measuring cook. I eyeball everything. I have been making this particular recipe for 18 or so years from memory. I am going to try my best to give measurements so you can duplicate what I make, but feel free to lessen quantities as this is very meaty and cheesy. (It's a two meat and five cheese pasta!) I have even tried this with gluten free pasta and it adapts well. 
Pork sausage works well, we just don't eat it. Most turkey sausages are in swine casings so I use the insides only, but sliced link sausage is good too.  For the Ricotta, I use about 2/3s of a 32 oz container but I love cheese, a 24 oz package is plenty. When you mix the ricotta with the sauce, it will be an orange color with a thick consistency. If it is really light orange too much ricotta, too red not enough. I usually buy large 4 cups mozzarella and 2 cups small Italian cheese blend and use nearly all but a cup or so. A 9x11 would be too shallow for this recipe. It will yield 8-10 man adult sized servings so needs a lasagna worthy pan or roaster. 

Brown sausage and beef with onions and garlic. Season meat with salt, pepper, and Italian herbs. Once the meats are cooked through with no pink, drain. 

Boil pasta al dente, drain. It's crucial that the pasta is not fully cooked, it will finish in the oven. 

Combine ziti, meat mixture, sauce and half the ricotta in roaster pan. Once ingredients are mixed well, begin to add ricotta in small quantities until sauce is thick and orange. 

Mix in a cup (or two) of shredded cheese. Mix together until ziti, meat, sauce and cheese are throughout. Cover top with remainder of cheese. 

Bake @ 325 until cheese is melted and slightly browning on edges. It looks much like a done lasagna. Cut a square and enjoy with a salad. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Thanks Kelloggs!

The Kelloggs
Did you watch the national coverage of a nomadic fulltime RV family? I loved the things the Kelloggs had to say, the dynamic between the kids, the parents... the whole segment was refreshing. The problem? The responses I read (both in the article comments and  on boards with other Fulltime Rvers). It was awful to read the venomous reactions of the public! Watch the Today Show segment here before you decide.

What is our society's obsession with forcing a specific set of values, beliefs or way of life upon everyone else? The belief that if one doesn't follow the blue print for traditional success, the only alternative is desperation andestitution. As if deviating from traditional societal structure is a sure recipe for failure and unhappiness. If you are reading this blog, you know I believe and live differently and don't won't apologize.
“You have a right to experiment with your life. You will make mistakes. And they are right too. No, I think there was too rigid a pattern. You came out of an education and are supposed to know your vocation. Your vocation is fixed, and maybe ten years later you find you are not a teacher anymore or you're not a painter anymore. It may happen. It has happened. I mean Gauguin decided at a certain point he wasn't a banker anymore; he was a painter. And so he walked away from banking. I think we have a right to change course. But society is the one that keeps demanding that we fit in and not disturb things. ” ― Ana├»s Nin

I am not saying abandon what works for you because my life is better. I am saying that we all know traditional society has flaws. Instead of criticizing people who are attempting something new or different, applaud the effort, courage and sacrifice it takes to choose an alternative route. With all the turmoil we have been through, it would have been easier to just go back to our old way of life. To take our bad experience and apply it to the world of Rvers and fulltimers. We were advised to abandon the unknown for the known. I can't say I didn't have any temptation or desire to take the easy route, the familiar route. I can't say preschools, soccer, and on demand hot water aren't tempting. But how long before the temporary happiness of comfort and familiarity wears off? How long before I become lost in appearances and begin putting all my energy into people pleasing again? Is the trade off worth it?

It made me think of a documentary I have recently viewed, Happy.<spoiler alert> People are so quick to judge others with different life choices without examining their own quality of life. "The American dream", "The rat race", whatever you call our society's way of life, America and countries that live an "American" lifestyle are among the unhappiest people in the world, despite having majority of the world's wealth. In fact, once basic needs are met(food, shelter) there is absolutely no correlation between money and happiness. The things our society values such as status and appearance have all been linked to depression. Yet, we don't put enough value on things that do contribute to happiness like human relationships, community, charity and kindness.

Society needs more people brave enough to be authentically happy, authentically themselves. Thank you Kelloggs for showing the world this lifestyle can be done, that nomadic children are healthy and intelligent and that your family is better because of (not despite) the lifestyle and small living space. You can find more on the Kelloggs in the links below.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Picking Up the Pieces

So much has happened since I last posted. I promised the last time that I'd update you on our misfit Thanksgiving and Kaeden's Birthday. I wrote the post but craziness kept me from being able to publish it. In short after enduring repeated verbal and emotional turmoil due to being brown our ethnicity, the situation escalated and a member of our family was physically attacked. After all we have been through, you (especially if you are family) would think us defeated or at least reconsidering our nomadic lifestyle.  WRONG!!!! Instead, we are stronger, wiser and more determined to live our dream!

When you dare to live a dream everything doesn't just fall into place.Your dream gets bent, bruised and even broken. The most important thing to remember is regardless of how many pieces your dream has shattered into, defeat is a choice...You can choose whether to sweep the pieces away or pick them back up again. We choose this life, this dream and right now it is time to pick up the pieces, regardless of how hard it may be.

The highlight of our final Georgia days was that we purchased a new (to us) travel trailer! This purchase doubled our living space. We still need to update the decor but the bones are spacious and her working parts are in good condition. Our plan was to sell the Winnie to help fund the purchase of a truck capable of towing the new trailer cross country. Unfortunately, crazy intervened and instead the sale funded our escape from the twilight zone of 1962.

Since our exodus we''ve moved near family and are working on saving for a truck so we can hit the road again. I find it slightly humorous that we fled racial violence by moving to Alabama. I guess the Heart of Dixie has come a long way, at least near Birmingham. Take that Bull Connor! We spent a broke humble Christmas with Gma and New Years at home with cocoa. Hopefully, February will bring me a budget to paint the trailer, celebrate Que's birthday(he REALLY deserves it) and repair/replace my laptop so I can get back to sharing with you.

There are those of you who know what an ordeal this has been. Thank you for all your support and sticking with us especially through the recent disappearances  Stay posted as we gather the pieces, put them back together and return to the journey of our lives.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Holiday Season Begins

I wish I had a better reason for the long absence other than the death of my laptop. There has been so much to blog about but typing a post on my phone is just not an option. So when the opportunity to use another computer presented itself, a post was born.

 Since we last posted so much has changed. We have faced struggles in our work camping position, but have duked  worked it out. There is something to be said about working with your neighbors. In many cases it is great to know your coworkers so well, but sometimes helpful gestures are really just nosy intrusive and a bit… aggravating annoying.

With the end of the summer, we prepared for our holiday season. In our family we look forward to Halloween because it begins the holidays for us. A few weeks after Halloween we celebrate Kaeden’s birthday, followed by Thanksgiving, many family members’ birthdays in early December followed by Christmas and New Years. So, we I look forward to an event almost every week. It is a festive and busy fun time.

I began preparing for Halloween thinking I would make Kaeden’s costume again. I also wanted to make a coordinating costume for his bestie, Colton. Last year, Kaeden was the Cat in the Hat, and his father and I were Thing 1 &2, all homemade. I saw some really cute costume ideas on pinterest. I wanted to make Cookie Monster for Kaeden and Elmo for Colton. However, the fabric stores in rural Bremen did not cooperate. They did not have the colors I needed to make Elmo and Cookie Monster costumes. The fabric they did have would have needed to be dyed, without a true color guarantee (meaning Elmo could turn out maroon and Cookie Monster navy), plus a price tag of over $14 a yard. Well that defeats the purpose of sewing a costume when you require at least two yards per costume and factor in the price of dye and trims!

We settled on a Yo Gabba Gabba themed costume from *sigh* Party City.  Kaeden wore the Brobee costume which he loved. It also went with his Birthday theme, a Yo Gabba Gabba Dancey Dance Birthday.  At the camp there were many Halloween activities that he participated in. He rode the hay ride and painted a pumpkin. He went on a candy hunt and even won third place for the boy’s costume contest. While it may have only been third place, Kaeden felt that he won and told Grandma so. After the costume contest they held a dance party. Kaeden danced from the first song until the last. The events were held on the Saturday prior to Halloween. So when Halloween actually came we went to a local Church’s trunk or treat and had even more fun. They had little games set up for the kids to play like ring toss to earn their candy treats.

While things haven’t been perfect, we had a wonderful start to our holiday season. I enjoy creating these memories with my family.  Because you don’t grow up and remember how much or little money your family had growing up. However, you DO remember the special things you did and the time you spent together.  Next post will fill you in on Thanksgiving in a motorhome. I promise. Thanks again for sharing this journey!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Day in the life

Birds chirping, rays of gentle sunshine warming my face, the smell of gourmet coffee filling the air, gentle breeze blowing through the trees and flowers... drool oozing down my cheek.... wait drool...what?    "SLAP... Momma wake up, you're sleeping, wake up!"

I awake to a demanding toddler, dreams of drinking a cup of coffee while lounging in the morning sun and listening to birds sing... quickly vanish. Back to reality, to my REAL life. Sounds much like your life you say? Maybe, especially if you are a mom or dad. I've received feedback on Facebook that wanted to know more about what life my life is like on a typical day. I don't have typical days, but I am more than happy to try and oblige.

Day in the Life:        I am a Fulltime RV Road Schooling Gypsy Mom

830am: Alarm goes off. One eye opens with raised eyebrow. Snooze button hit.

835am: Snooze expires, Alarm goes off again. I place pillow over my head. Snooze hit again.

845am: Alarm sounds...again. This time, before eyebrow raising, Que is up. He does his morning routine in what many would consider record time.

858am: Que leaves for his morning commute. Wait is a walk across the park a commute? What about just com since it's so short...?...Mute better? No, oh well, I tried.

900am Que is at work. I lay in the bed, wide awake.

930am Lay in the bed and beg sleep to return. Wait for it. Wait for it.

935am A little head pops up. A dialogue ensues:
Kaeden: "Momma. Momma. Momma. Ma. Ma."
Me:        "What?"
 Kaeden: "I gotta go potty"

9:36am: Potty; This is the last potty break on the timeline, WAY too many to post.

9:40am: Breakfast. I'd like to say that every day we eat some awesome culinary creation, but mostly its just eggs, turkey bacon, cereal, oatmeal, fruit, bagels/toast, or something similarly simple on rotation. Today it is Pancake and Sausage muffins( but only bc I found the idea on pinterest, made a bunch and froze them for homemade convenience food).

10:00am Clean up both breakfast and bodies. Pretty typical brushing teeth, washing hands and dishes.

10:17am School is in session. But not really. I grab my basket and we head outside. First, I let Kaeden get some energy out and free play with outside toys. There is no point in trying to force a toddler to sit when they are so full of kinetic energy.

10:42am School is in session, for real this time. I run inside quickly, grab a juice box and raisins, put water on low setting stove for experiment, then I get my book for the morning, Today we are reading Listen to the Rain by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault. Usually it doesn't take much to get his attention. I open the book and begin to "read" to myself and laugh out loud. OR it could be the allure of juice and fruit. Either way, I got the spark I needed, he notices and comes over curious. I introduce the book and ask if he'd like to sit down and read it. He agrees. Score! We read the book, taking time to play with the language of the rain sounds.{Sometimes he plays another 10, 15, 20, 30 mins. At some point he gets thirsty, hungry, tired...whatever, but I wait until he is ready to abandon his toys and sit. Once he wants to sit, I can keep his attention way better than had I ended his play time myself.}
Book time ends with my question, "Where does rain come from?" Answer: "Oh, rain? Ummm, rain in the sky." Well at least I have direction. We do a quick nod to the scientific method that I prepared. The sheet is a picture representation of the question posed. I pre-selected three pictures(to glue) as possible answers, a cloud, a bird and a house. He says no to all three. Perhaps because the picture of the cloud is not in the sky? But this is still an acceptable hypothesis. I ask him if he wants to draw a sky he says yes. I give him crayons and he scribbles draws something, that we call and label "sky".

11:08am Science time! Our wonderful book inspired Kaeden and I to find out exactly where rain comes from. Ok, really I just manipulated  guided it by having the experiment ready and cool looking. Had I fumbled around for more than a minute with just the promise of something cool, I would have lost him again to toys, running and/or mud. So I dash in for the boiling water, grab some ice from the freezer and carefully bring it out. We do the rain in a bottle experiment. { Note: I wrapped the inside of the bottle(where the ice goes) with white paper to make visual "clouds".}  I explain how the water gets hot, becomes water vapor aka clouds, cools then turns into rain. I throw out the word condensation and precipitation and he repeats both. Score! I pull the our hypothesis out and ask if we were right. Yes, rain comes from clouds in the sky. Should you be curious where this unit takes a two yo next, here is the link for tomorrow's science. Feel free to email a request for the lesson plan, book lists or other resources used for the water and wind unit(or any other) I am always happy to share;)

11:29 Extension play time/Math! I give Kaeden a magic bottle and tell him that he can make it rain. I provide him with a wagon full of water(to refill his bottle) and some measuring cups, funnels and bowls. He looks at me as if I just made him king of the world and goes at it begins work. Off for more play experimentation. I observe while I check my fb and blog do important things on my computer.

12:23 Oops, lunch prep time is a little late! Darn  fb  work. We leave the water outside and head back in our RV to begin lunch prep. Kaeden was not ready to leave the play, but when I mentioned food, food won. Simple chicken salad sandwiches for today. Kaeden enjoys helping so we mix the ingredients together so he helps there, but loses interest when sandwich assembly begins. Luckily, starting at 12 Calliou is on for an hour on Sprout. I turn it on and hide my face in shame. I also finish my lunch prep, wash dishes used, and cut some watermelon and wrap some portions for snacks. Kaeden? Still glued to Calliou. *hangs head

1:05 Dad is home from work and joins the family for lunch. Silence, save the occasional crunch of a chip.

1:20 Dad and Kaeden lay down to watch tv take a nap. Dad chooses the science channel. Kaeden falls into sleep within minutes. I explain to dad that he must take notes today, including times, when I go to work. He agrees. I go through my notes and add little details(before I forget).

2:13 Kaeden pops up. I ask Dad if he wants to take on a lesson or two. He agrees. They go outside to work shape sorting puzzles. I watch some tv.

2:26 Dad peeks back in. Dad: "What's next?" Me: "Wanna do art?" Dad: "Sure. What's art?" Me: "Oh, um it's mud painting." Dad: "-_-"

2:30 Dad and Kaeden made a bowl of mud. Dad gets out the paper. 10 big sheets wasn't enough. Fail. So Dad puts remaining mud into the wagon. Kaeden likes Dads idea and engages.

3:40 Dad and I look at our son and shake our heads. We give each other the look, you know the silent long pause look that confirms "MY BAD".

4:00 Impromptu midday shower. After Kaeden's mud bath painting I helped him shower off.

4:34 We finish showering just in time to see the reptile show. Kaeden feeds Iggy the iguana, Stinky the moniker, Scooby Doo the blue tongue skink. He also plays with Lucy the boa constrictor, King Caesar the giant tortoise and his tortoise buddies.

4:55 While Kaeden is still with Dad and the reptiles, I run home to put away our shower things.

5:00 Time for me to go to work. I remind Dad about notes, he nods.Dad and Kaeden ride the train.

6:00ish Dad and Kaeden go for a nature walk. They see 2 rabbits, 1 grasshopper, and lots of birds, butterflies and other flying insects.

6:45ish Dad allows Kaeden to play with his bestie, Colton(who is also two).

7:00 ish The boys share snacks and waters...quickly,

8:02 I return home from work. Kaeden and Colton are still playing outside. Hugs and kisses from the two best two year olds.

8:05 Dinner is working. We are having meatballs and rice. I cooked the meatballs in advance and froze, so really only the rice is cooking. We sit outside and share another book, this time Rain Drop Splash by Alvin Tresselt. Dads turn to read!

8:25 Dinner begins. Followed by our nite time routine. It's nothing uber fancy like a song and dance that magically takes kiddos away to dream land, just typical bed time stuff: brush your teeth, use the potty, make sure you got all the worms, all of them, that one yes, read a book, fall asleep. You know, the usual.

9:45 Kaeden sound asleep. PARTY TIME!

9:46 Grown up bed time routine. Clean up, mess with my hair groom, watch tv, read.

11:45 Power down.

4:49 Rudely awakened by uber bright lights and a crash.

6:55 "I didn't do it"

9:13 Slap! "Momma, wake up!"

I hope this glance into our day gives you some perspective of what it is like being a fulltime RV road schooling mom. I have found that when I share this detail of my lifestyle in conversation most people have very different (and sometimes absurd) images that come to mind. While this lifestyle is not for every one, I hope that somewhere, someone is inspired.  I feel very fortunate that our family can share this life and experience with eachother and moreso to share our ins and outs with you.

If you have questions regarding our day that you find still unanswered PLEASE feel free to comment below. Thanks!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Another year, A Fresh Start

Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.
—Hal Borland

One year ago I was much like any other typical American. I was getting my a** handed to me beaten down by the economy. I had downsized from a 3 bedroom 2.5 bath house to a two bedroom apartment to compensate for the financial strain. Savings were on life support, prices were rising and disasters, the costly kind, lurked around every corner. Then life decided that we were dealing with our hard times too gracefully and threw a wrench in our well planned coping strategies. We were successfully handling living with one income instead of two, why not no income at all? Yes, in the middle of the largest unemployment season in our lifetime we found our household without any income at all. Trying to make a budget of $0 work is impossible and savings can only stretch so far. In addition, Atlanta was far from the best city to live in unemployed with a hiring environment of at least 1000 applicants to one position, at best.We found ourselves in an impossible situation and we lost big. Being homeless is a situation that many of us never believe will happen, at least not to us. We are careful, educated, hard working and homelessness is something that doesn't happen as a result of being "that kind of person". It happens to unfocused, uneducated druggie winos not hard working, intelligent people. Luckily, we were offered a way to turn things around. We secured employment elsewhere and family helped us move from Atlanta, GA to Birmingham, AL. There we settled into two new jobs, a modest rental house and after a couple of months, life seemed to normalize again. The problem is that this "fresh start" didn't seem fresh at all. It reeked of familiar frustrations and a haunting doom lurking over our shoulders.

I found myself unhappy as I had been in Atlanta. I felt stifled and trapped. It was as if life was a never ending loop of meaningless tasks that accomplished an invisible, unrewarding goal. Depression overtook my bubbly persona and I became a social recluse. To make matters more complicated, towards the end of the year, my maternal grandmother suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm. Luckily, she survived but not before many long weeks of not knowing whether she'd make it through the surgeries, the stress of the surgeries on her aging body and immune system, not to mention the complications. When I returned to Alabama, I saw my tired excuse of an existence and felt ashamed. I felt as if I were wasting my life away. I had (and still have) an awesome partner, a wonderful child, yet life didn't seem meaningful.

For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin — real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.
— Alfred D. Souza
It took some time to figure out how to bring meaning and happiness to my life. It took abandoning my comfort zone and seeking a new way of living life, a real fresh start. That meant taking an idea off the back-burner, for when enough money was saved and putting it in the forefront of our plans. It meant stripping all the expectations given to me by others and creating my own. Armed with courage, support and a new dream we abandoned the American dream for our own.

It is hard to let old beliefs go. They are familiar. We are comfortable with them and have spent years building systems and developing habits that depend on them. Like a man who has worn eyeglasses so long that he forgets he has them on, we forget that the world looks to us the way it does because we have become used to seeing it that way through a particular set of lenses. Today, however, we need new lenses. And we need to throw the old ones away.
— Kenich Ohmae

We began our journey of living our dream in a motorhome and seeing the United States in February on 2012. Since then, six months have passed. In those six months alone, I have lived a life full of more passion and meaning than the last 10 years combined. I've embraced the magic in sunrises, evening walks and smiles. I released the attachment of wanting more stuff, keeping up appearances and worrying about what others think of me. In the last year alone my family has gone from rock bottom to living a dream. Don't be disillusioned to think it was easy, that there weren't sacrifices or that we are finished with our transformation. Instead, feel inspired, be challenged and examine what is keeping you from living your own dream.
Even though you may want to move forward in your life, you may have one foot on the brakes. In order to be free, we must learn how to let go. Release the hurt. Release the fear. Refuse to entertain your old pain. The energy it takes to hang onto the past is holding you back from a new life. What is it you would let go of today?— Mary Manin Morrissey

Life doesn't have to be the plan that you wrote when you were 21 or the one given to you by your parents and teachers when you were 18. Instead it is an ever changing, ever evolving journey. Be open to new experiences, overcoming challenges and bringing about change. What could you accomplish in one year? If you are open to hard work, overcoming challenges and stripping away all that is unnecessary, the possibilities are as endless as your potential and as unique as you.
We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is awaiting us.... The old skin has to be shed before the new one is to come.
— Joseph Campbell

Good luck on your journey.  Thank you for sharing in our journey!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Life IS Change

“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” –Jim Rohn

Change is life. Life is change. There is little no sense in fighting to remain stagnant. Yet, making the transition from caterpillar to butterfly isn't easy either. Change requires tasks that are seen(and known), i.e. feasting on leaves, making the cocoon but also has its components that can't be witnessed( and many don't even know take place), i.e. phases of transformation, actual metamorphosis. Change takes courage, endurance, perseverance and patience. All of this has been true for our own life changes. Despite the thoughtful planning, strategic plotting, and careful consideration we gave our transition, we still encountered chaotic instances of chance that made us want to curl up in a ball and cry for mommy hardships and challenges. This was the price we had to pay to achieve great change.

“All great changes are preceded by chaos.” -Deepak Chopra

It began when researching a possible work camp opening in Georgia. The position appeared out of the blue when life canceled our plans of going far West to Utah. The first thing I did after we spoke with the owners was consult my many Rver groups on the web. The community of fulltime RVers is a close knit and supportive one, so who best to give us information on this particular business than those who have worked and/or visited? While the groups have been a valuable resource in many other instances, this was not one of them. The feedback I received was very negative. Some said they had a lot of turn over in staffing, others said the park wasn't a nice place, and others said that they had been warned not to work at the park by many other RVers. We discussed the opportunity and feedback, deciding to pursue our own experience(hoping not to regret it).

“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment.” 
― Eckhart Tolle

Oh boy! What an experience life had for us on moving day. Despite my checklists, handy research or any other part of our preparation, moving day was a complete nightmare full of challenges and opportunity for significant growth. To give you a quick glimpse without tramatizing boring you, according to mileage the trip should take two hours or so being generous to allow for my speed racer traveling speed of 60 mph in the camper. The trip was planned to launch at 10 am, it launched at 4 pm. Based on these figures we should have arrived at out destination at 6 pm Central or 7 pm Eastern. We arrived at 4 am. I am proud to say that despite our many reasons to give up, we worked together (with eachother, family and even complete strangers) until we reached our destination.

When we arrived, I immediately put Kaeden in his bed. (He'd been sleeping/traveling in his car seat) Que and I began the process of setting the camper up. As we finally got the camper ready to greet us to a long awaited and deserved night's sleep the sun came up. Instead of rushing to sleep, Que and I watched the glorious sun rise. It's light radiated across the sky and the warmth kissed our face. At that moment the fatigue of the previous day's trials faded away and a new feeling emerged. Happiness? Fulfillment? Freedom? Triumph?  I couldn't narrow it down to just one. It was a feeling of triumph for the challenges we'd overcome, a feeling of happiness and fulfillment for having chased our dreams and a feeling of peace for seeing them realized. There was also the flutter of butterflies in my stomach, reminding me that this was only the beginning.

How are you realizing your dreams? What will you turn to when you face those tough challenges that will try to discourage you? How can you grow from these challenges? Here is some inspiration for you while you begin or continue your own journey. Best of luck to you!

"Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it." 
— Mother Teresa

"She had just realized there were two things that prevent us from achieving our dreams: believing them to be impossible or seeing those dreams made possible by some sudden turn of the wheel of fortune, when you least expected it. For at that moment, all our fears suddenly surface: the fear of setting off along a road heading who knows where, the fear of a life full of new challenges, the fear of losing forever everything that is familiar." 
— Paulo Coelho (The Devil and Miss Prym)