Do you need PEACE in your life?

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Do you need more peace in your life?  I always feel peaceful when I am surrounded by nature.  I love being by the water watching it move with the wind or being surrounded by trees and listening to all the birds chirping – away from all the noises of daily life.  Unfortunately, the reality is that we can’t escape every day life all the time and we do have to face some difficult circumstances and challenging situations.  How then, do we hang on to that PEACE all the time?

The truth is – there is only one way to true, lasting peace – JESUS.  It’s not automatic, but everyone has the same opportunity to experience it.  It’s not just a matter of believing in God – most people do.  It’s not even just believing that Jesus was a man who really existed.  The way to that deep down, in your gut, everlasting, constant peace is by choosing to believe that Jesus is God’s son, he lived a perfect, sinless life and then chose to die on the cross to take the punishment for all our sins – every one.  For you.  For me.  Why?  Because he loves you that much and wants to spend eternity with you.  He could have called on 10,000 angels to save him from the cross, but he chose to sacrifice himself for each of us.  And that’s not even the best part – the best part is that he rose from the dead 3 days later and He LIVES today!

2 main things separate Christianity (followers of CHRIST) from other “religions”.  One is that we worship a LIVING Lord!  Every other religion worships someone who is dead or a statue that was never alive in the first place.  The second thing is that most religions say you have to work for your salvation.  They say you have to earn it.  Make sure your good deeds outnumber your bad ones.  Some even say you have to hate or hurt people.  That’s NOT right!!  There is nothing you can do to earn salvation – an eternal perfect life in Heaven – because it’s a free gift being offered to you. All you have to do is choose to believe, on faith, and accept it.

“Faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see.”  (Hebrews 11:1)

You believe that wind exists right?  Yet, you don’t see it – you simply see the effects of it on other things.  Well, without any doubt in my mind, I see evidence of Jesus and God every single day.

Accepting these truths, will bring you PEACE.  Not a perfect or painless life, but a peaceful one.  My life hasn’t been perfect or painless – in fact, there have been many, many heartaches, physical sufferings, trials and hard times.  But through it all – I’ve found peace, because I trust in the One who is in control.  The one who created the universe, knows the number of hairs on your head, controls the sea, gave the birds their songs, made the bumblebee able to fly, makes a tiny acorn grow into a magnificent oak tree – He is in control and he loves you!

“Therefore, since we have been justified through FAITH, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  (Romans 5:1)

We are justified (saved from eternal damnation in Hell) by our FAITH – not our works.  That is what bring us an everlasting peace.    You don’t have to have all the facts to have faith.  You don’t have to have all your questions answered to have faith.  Thank goodness, because we never will!  I don’t have to understand everything about how something works to believe it’s true.  Take the step of faith, and open your heart to letting Jesus into your life.  It’s so worth it!  YOU are worth it! 

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

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RV Mod–Dinette Drawer Storage

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We are now 2 weeks into full-time RV living, and we absolutely love it! Waking up to the view of the water, the birds chirping, & the ducks waddling is fantastic! Living the simple life with less stuff surrounding us is so relaxing. So far we haven’t even felt crowded – in fact, we are really enjoying our smaller space and the closeness it brings. We are also getting our own alone time when we need it. Emily loves to hang out in her bunk reading with the curtain closed.  After Rob gets home from work in the afternoon, we get lots of time to sit and chat while she’s outside playing with friends. It’s like we are getting date time! Then we all come together for dinner and family time – board games, a Bible study or a movie.  Once Emily goes to bed, Rob and I get time in our bunk at night where we read or watch a show on Netflix together with headphones so as not to disturb Emily.

Now all we need is for Rob to retire so we can be together and travel all the time! Still have a while to wait on that, though.

I want to share some of the changes that we’ve made to our RV to make it fit us better. I already shared how we made our fridge magnetic, so today I’ll share another one of my very favorite changes that was made possible thanks to my handy Hubby!

Our camper came with a booth style dinette and under each seat is some available storage. The downside was that in order to access the storage, you had to lift up the seat cushion and lift up a piece of wood – which means if someone was sitting at the table, they had to move first.

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(Don’t mind the mattress hanging over the cushion….we also replaced that “bunk” style mattress with a super comfy memory foam one!)

 

My clever and very handsome Hubby had a solution to this storage problem – DRAWERS!

He cut out the hole for the drawers

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Then he installed the drawer tracks (purchased from Home Depot) and also secured them with some extra pieces of wood for stability and proper sizing. Our drawers only go about half of the length of the dinette because the water heater is on one side and the water pump is on the other. If your pump and heater are elsewhere, you could make these drawers even longer.

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He built the drawers from scratch

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He even built the drawer fronts, routed the edges, and stained them to make them match our other cabinet doors.  The angle of this picture makes it look like the drawer fronts are 2 different colors, but they are the same!

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I absolutely LOVE these drawers!!!  Not only are they beautiful – they are so handy!  At first, I thought I was going to put our homeschool supplies or some kitchen appliances in them but those plans changed.  I ended up putting our homeschool supplies in the “pantry” because the size of the shelf just worked better for our binders.  The appliances all fit under the kitchen sink & stove, so that opened up these drawers for our pantry storage!  I have all our canned goods in one and our bread/tortillas/chips in the other.  It’s perfect!!  I can grab things from the drawers even if someone is sitting at the table, and Emily loves being able to reach down and grab her snacks while she’s doing schoolwork at the table.

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Live simply, love abundantly!

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RV living–1 week down!

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We’ve now been living the RV lifestyle for one full week, and things are going great! We are staying at a local RV campground located right on a bay and I am loving waking up to a view of the water. We had no trouble getting set up & hooked up on our campsite, and there is plenty of room to park both of our vehicles. We have a concrete area right outside our door and a picnic table that I look forward to using as the temperatures warm up.

One of the things I was a little concerned about was how we would sleep with Hubby getting up for work each day. He gets up at 4:45 each morning and that is just way too early for Emily and I to be up. It turns out, I had no reason for concern. Even though the bathroom and front door are right near Emily’s bunk, she hasn’t woken up once with him getting up, getting dressed, shaving, getting his coffee & lunch, and getting out the door. I only wake up to his alarm, but then I go right back to sleep just like I did before. Even once I get up, Emily is still sound asleep in her “cave” (her bunk area). She absolutely loves it in there. She’s always loved spaces where she can get in and hideaway, so she loves getting in her space and closing the curtain to have some privacy.

The first 2 days, the coffee maker woke me up with all its sputtering and noise making, but after that I have slept right through it. Guess military life has taught us to adapt pretty easily after all! In fact, I am sleeping much better now than I was in the house. I’m sure the main reason is the mattress that we upgraded to in the RV – it is memory foam and super comfy! We ordered it on Amazon and got it delivered in 2 days with free shipping (love Amazon Prime!) I also think the peaceful camping atmosphere helps a lot. I absolutely love getting out in nature and life just feels calmer and less stressful here.

We’ve done a little more organizing and rearranging a little since we moved in.  I’ve got a great cabinet that I’m using for our homeschool curriculum, and we have plenty of room for our food.  Emily has a great shelf by her bed for her stuffed animals, books, art supplies & clock.  I’m sure there will be more organizing to come as we figure out what works best in this space, but so far we’re happy with our choices.

So far, I’d say our pre-move purge was a huge success! Our only real “oops” so far was getting rid of all our clothes hangers! We got rid of a huge box of them when we moved out of the house because we have all our clothes stored in cabinets and boxes here in the camper so we didn’t need them – or so we thought. Then laundry day came and we remembered we hang most of our clothes to dry and we hadn’t kept hangers to do that! Oops!! So we had to buy a set of hangers. Thankfully that was an inexpensive purchase. We ended up choosing some extra thin hangers that take up less space so it ended up being a win!

I’ll post more pictures soon and share some of the other modifications we’ve made to make this place a home, but for now I’ll leave you with a picture of our daughter’s favorite daily activity – feeding the local ducks! 

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The camp store here sells bags of duck food for 50 cents and she loves getting to go spend her money on food for her new friends!  They love her already and come running when they see her. These ducks are going to get spoiled quickly.

Loving the abundant life!

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Launch Day & Our Final Purge!

 

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Today is “Launch Day” – a term in the RV community that refers to the day you start living full time in your RV. Today is the day we will be moving our RV out of our driveway and into the local RV campground where we will be living. We’re only going about 10 miles away, but it’s the beginning of a huge change in our lifestyle. We leased a storage unit for the things we weren’t ready to part with or things we would absolutely need if for some reason this doesn’t work out and we end up back in an apartment or house. For everything else – we have purged, donated, sold, given away and even trashed so much stuff. It’s a little sad how much stuff we had to go through – not sad because of what we were getting rid of, but rather because there was so much stuff that we’ve been holding on to – and moving from place to place – that we don’t even use, want or enjoy.

I have to say when it comes to getting rid of things, the military community is the way to go! There is a Facebook page for the local military wives here and several times I was able to just post a picture of something we were getting rid of, and within minutes I would have another wife contacting me to arrange a time to come get it. People love getting stuff for free!! We’ve been so very blessed and have been on the receiving end of free stuff so many times, so we were happy to pay it forward. And it couldn’t be easier than posting a picture and then having someone show up to haul away whatever we were getting rid of.

The little stuff that wasn’t worth the time to post online, things that didn’t make it in our multiple runs to charity, or things we decided against keeping at the last minute ended up out at the curb for Bulk Pick Up Day.  Living on post, one of the great benefits is that every single week a large truck comes around and picks up all the bulk items that you are getting rid of. Furniture, household items, etc – things that don’t go in the regular trash or recycling. It’s wonderful! Just set it out by the curb and the next day it’s hauled off for you!

We set a bunch of stuff out late last night and even before we went to bed, people were going through it finding goodies. First thing this morning, there were ladies out there digging through boxes and pulling out all sorts of odds and ends before the bulk truck showed up. It’s like a free yard sale!! I do love a good yard sale, so I can appreciate the excitement. It was also fun to see some of the things going to a new home. I hope they enjoy it all!

After the Pile O’ Stuff had been picked up, I looked out and instantly felt relief. Like a huge weight had just been lifted from my shoulders. I no longer want to feel owned by my stuff. We say we own our stuff, but really it ends up owning us. The more we have, the more we have to clean, to organize, to find a place for. It’s a never ending cycle that takes up so much time. Time we could be spending traveling, exploring, creating family memories, or being creative. It’s very freeing to let it go!

We’ve moved several times and it’s always a lot of work, but never as much as this. Before, there were always boxes of things we kept “just in case” or things that got stuck in a drawer or closet just because there was room. It didn’t matter if we had 15 coats and jackets for 3 people even though we lived in Texas – we’d just move them from one closet in one house to another closet in the new house. Moving into the RV has forced us to really look at every single thing we own and examine whether or not it is necessary or truly gives us joy. There is only so much room to put things, so we have to make sure we bring the right things.

Hubby and I have had several conversations about various items as we’ve been trying to decide what to take. We got really tickled at ourselves when we were going through one of our kitchen drawers. He would hold up a utensil and I would say “yes” or “no” to keeping it, or we’d talk about what we used it for.

It went something like this:

Ice cream scoop? Of course, we love ice cream!

Cookie dough scoop? I use that every time I make cookies or muffins

Small spatula? I use that to get the last bit of the mayo out of the jar

Wait! Couldn’t we just use a SPOON for all of those things?  How ever will we survive without a cookie dough or ice cream scoop??  Just kidding!  Of course, let’s do it!

We do not need a ton of gadgets and utensils that only serve one purpose when we can have a multi-purpose spoon that takes up less space! 

This past week during homeschool, we talked about refugees and people in other countries. We looked at pictures of “tent cities” where families (often multiple families) so often live. We talked about how fortunate we are to have shelter, clean running water, and an abundance of food. As we were planning this adventure, there might have been moments that we wondered if we could really be happy going from our 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath house into less than 300 square foot with 1 bath, but the reality is – so many people around the world would love to live like we are about to live. It’s all about perspective.

That perspective is something that I hope remains in the front of our minds for the next couple of years as we choose to live life more simply. I hope that every time we feel a surge of discontentment…as we get impatient having to wait for the bathroom…as we feel annoyed at the lack of counter space – I hope those moments will be reminders to PRAY. I want those moments to be reminders to thank God for all that we have been given, and to pray for all those people around the world who are living with so much less.

I pray that we will truly find that having an abundant life has nothing to do with how much stuff we have. Instead, I hope we will experience that abundance through LIVING our life – enjoying family time, meeting new friends, serving others, seeing God’s creation and exploring this amazing world and all it has to offer.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

~ Matthew 6:19-21

Here we go!

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18 Days till Launch Day & Our 1st Mod!

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We are just 18 days away from the beginning of our Full Time RV living!  I am definitely ready to get started.  Right now we have lots of boxes around our house as we organize what we are taking with us and what is going into storage.  We’re still purging quite a bit too, so we have piles everywhere.  Piles to be donated and other piles that will go out with the trash on trash day.  I really dislike clutter, so having all these piles and boxes just make me all the more eager to get moved into the RV. I’m longing for the simplicity of it all – less to clean, less to put away, just less stuff.  More quality time, more adventure, more focusing on what is truly important.

 

Anyway – I wanted to share the first major modification (mod) we made to the RV.   We took our boring brown fridge and made it magnetic & colorful!

One thing we’ve noticed about RV designers – they must love the color brown.  Everything is brown.  Even when you buy a rig brand new and get to choose the fabrics you want, they all seem to just be different patterns of brown. 

 

BEFORE – this is the way it came

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Boring, right?  We thought so.  Our first order of business is getting some color into this new home of ours to liven it up a bit!  I’m making curtains for our bunk area and for our daughter’s area, and we’ll be bringing in some floor mats and putting décor on the walls as we go, but this fridge mod was an easy one to tackle first.   Besides, it serves 2 purposes – to add color and to make the fridge magnetic.

 

How we did it

After measuring the faces of our fridge/freezer, we went to Home Depot and bought a sheet of galvanized steel and some spray paint.

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Hubby then cut the steel into 2 pieces – one for the fridge and one for the freezer.  He lightly sanded each piece so the paint would adhere better and then gave each piece a couple coats of Rustoleum spray paint that was made for painting metal.  We figured if we were going to add color, we might as well make it count, so we went for BRIGHT colors – lime green and turquoise!

At first, we weren’t too sure how we could get the door apart since there were no visible screws to be found and we sure didn’t want to break our new fridge.  After a little investigative work, we realized that the plastic strip opposite the hinges pulled off and went back on easily.  You can see what I mean in the pictures I took as I took apart the freezer.

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It turns out we didn’t even need to take out the original front pieces because the new metal ones slide in right in front of them.  But in case you are wondering what your fridge looks like underneath those wood pieces, here you go.

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We put the wood pieces back in, then slid the new metal front pieces into place right in front of the original ones, and popped the plastic edging strip back on.  Now we have a fun place to display the magnets we collect on our adventures!

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Until next time, that’s all folks!

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2015-2016 Homeschool Curriculum

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Multitasking – eating a snack and working on Science!

This year our daughter is in 6th grade – MIDDLE SCHOOL!  Some days I just can’t believe how fast time has gone by.   Here is the curriculum that we’ve been using this year:

 

BIBLE

Mother – Daughter Devotional” by Secret Keeper Girl (with me),  “The Complete Girls of Grace: Devotional & Bible Study” (her personal quiet time), plus family devotional time, Bible studies at church, and various topical studies we discuss as a family.

SPELLING

The Phonetic Zoo by Institute for Excellence in Writing – We really love this program!  It’s a phonics based, auditory learning program.  Each lesson gives a rule, jingle or hint about how to spell certain types of words.  I go over the rule with her, give a little extra information from the teacher’s guide and then it’s 99% independent.  She uses a spelling notebook (just a plain spiral notebook) and each day she numbers her paper from 1-15 and then listens to the track on the CD that corresponds to the lesson she is working on.  The words are read to her, along with a context sentence and she spells the word the best she can.  The next track on the CD gives the corrections and she grades her own paper.  She continues with a lesson until she gets 100% correct 2 days in a row, and then we move to the next lesson.  Some lessons might only take 2 days, others might take a week.  Either way is ok, as long as they learn the words.  She’s already asked if we can use this program again next year.  Yes, we can! I just have to buy the CDs for the next level and we’ll be all set.  I’ll be able to reuse all the other materials from this year.

 

READING

Emily is an avid reader and reads many books each week.  We easily check out 20-30 books every couple weeks from the library.  We try to incorporate something related to our current studies, some other non-fiction and some just-for-fun fiction. 

MATH

We are using Math-U-See Pre-Algebra.  We’ve used Math-U-See for years and we really like their program, however we are seriously considering Teaching Textbooks for next year.   I love that MUS is DVD based – she watches the lesson and then does the practice worksheets.  At the end of the week, she takes a test.  The reason I’m considering switching to TT next year though, is because their lessons go into a lot more detail both for the lecture and the explanation of the problems.  I feel that as she advances in math, this will better suit her needs.

 

HISTORY

We are using Mystery of History Volume 1 this year.  Volume 1 is the time period from Creation to Christ. I really like that it is Christ centered and from a Christian world view.  Each lesson offers activities for younger, middle, and older students so you can customize them to your child or family’s needs. They also create a timeline and work with maps, so those help put events into perspective. MOH has 4 volumes that each cover a specific time period leading up to modern times.

 

SCIENCE

We are using Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Physics and Chemistry right now.  We absolutely love Apologia’s science curriculum! We did Astronomy a couple years ago, and then we did part of the Swimming Creatures curriculum before switching to Physics & Chemistry.  We did swimming creatures while we were waiting for Hubby to return from a deployment because he wanted to teach the Chemistry and Physics.  I make sure Emily does the reading and book work during the day, and then on Tue/Thu nights she gets science class with Daddy!  We plan to continue to Apologia in the future.

 

ELECTIVES

Art – drawing, working with polymer clay

Typing – Typing Web online program

Home Ec – learning cooking, sewing and other household chores

 

OTHER

Lots of trips to the local library for all sorts of books!

Written reports on places we go or topics we choose.  Next year we will include a formal writing program.

Tons of field trips – the zoo, historical sites, Washington DC, museums

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From Public School Back to Homeschooling

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So many posts to write, so little time! I wanted to give a very belated update on our daughter’s school situation. A year and a half ago, I wrote about our decision to switch her from homeschool to public school. It was my intent to update throughout the year, but time got away from me and here we are much, much later and now we’re back to homeschooling.

Let me explain…

Emily had an amazing year in public school for 5th grade. I could not have asked for better teachers than the ones she had. Absolutely amazing and top notch in every way. She grew in so many ways, especially socially and emotionally. She definitely learned more about patience – because when you are 1 of 28 students in a classroom you don’t get to talk whenever you want. Much different from being homeschooled as an only child!

She excelled as a leader and a student, made straight A’s all year, was inducted into the National Beta Club, and even stepped out of her comfort zone to enter – and win – the school speech contest!  She learned to deal with new frustrations such as working in teams or groups on projects when the other members of the group don’t want to do the work.  Like I said, she experienced a great deal of emotional and social growth. 

However, she missed out on some things too.  I truly feel that what she missed out on was no fault of the teachers’, but rather the school system. Her history and science were almost non-existent compared to the curriculum we follow at home.  Recess was a joke, if they even got to have it.  They played structured games, or stayed inside the majority of the time instead of getting the free play that kids so desperately need.  Overall throughout the day, she spent more time sitting and waiting, or standing in line waiting than she did actually learning.

In the end, after what we considered a very successful year overall due to the emotional and social growth, we made the decision to resume homeschooling.  A few main reasons factored into our decision to bring her back home for 6th grade.

1) We wanted control over her curriculum again

2) We were going to be moving to another state halfway through the school year. Middle school is a huge adjustment in the first place, so we really didn’t want her to have to start all over again halfway through the year in a new school.

3) Her Daddy would be coming home in December from a year long Army assignment in Korea and we wanted her to be able to have more time off for family time. Homeschooling gave us the flexibility to do extra school before so that we could take the month of December off for family time and grandparents coming to visit.

Emily is super excited to be learning at home again. She’s really enjoying the curriculum we are using this year.  She also likes getting to chew gum and have snacks during school, going on lots of field trips, and having more time to play outside since school doesn’t take as long. I can’t lie – we both really like not getting up early to catch the bus every morning too!

I’ll list the curriculum that we are using this year in another post. 

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Preparing for full time RV life

We are now about 6 weeks away from moving into our RV full time!

How does someone prepare to move from a 1600 square foot house (with a garage) into an approximately 250 square foot RV? For starters, we have been purging like crazy around our house! We are selling, donating, & consolidating a LOT of stuff, and then storing the rest.

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It’s truly amazing (and not really in a good way) how much stuff we tend to collect and how little of it we actually use or love. So this is a perfect time for us to “pass it on” and bless someone else!  The 3 of us had a closet full of clothes, but we all tend to wear our favorites over and over. We pulled out all the items that we will likely never wear again and ended up with 4 trash bags full of clothes and shoes to give away.

Next, we tackled the kitchen! I am a lover of coffee and have been collecting coffee cups for years – usually from places we go on vacation or other fun places. I keep telling myself it’s good to have lots of cups for when we have company, but honestly, I couldn’t fit that many people in my house anyway. Hubby and I both tend to go back and forth between a couple of our favorite coffee mugs and the rest just sit in the cabinet taking up space. So out they went!! We kept our favorites – some with a special meaning to us and my Fiesta cups because I love the fun colors and they go with my small collection of Fiesta plates (that will also get stored for a little while) that have been gifts from my Mom. We purged a lot of randomness & gadgets from our kitchen that were taking up space but not getting used, and were able to give many, many things away to other military families. It’s actually fun to get to bless someone else like that, and WAY better than spending all day holding a yard sale just to make $20.

We made a big difference by consolidating our CDs and DVDs by putting all the discs into a large capacity zippered CD holder and throwing away all the cases. Those plastic cases take up a lot of room!! I filled up an entire plastic tote with just the cases, but all the CDs/DVDs fit into a case that will easily fit in a closet or on a shelf.

We also purged our “memory boxes”.  15 years of marriage and 11 years of having a child means LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of cards – birthday cards, anniversary cards, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc.  Rob and I came to an agreement that we were both ok getting rid of 90% of them without getting offended.  We know we love each other, and the chances of us going back to re-read most of them isn’t likely.  So we each picked a small stack of the really special ones – a few notes from family members, extra special notes we wrote to each other, or a few super sweet homemade cards from our daughter – and we let the rest go.  No guilt!

I have big plans to work the same magic on our photos. What prints we have in boxes have already been purged, but oh the many photos I have on my computer!! Yes, they are all backed up (I’ve learned that lesson the hard way!). The problem is, we aren’t enjoying them as much as we should because they are all digital. So my plan is to get some photo books printed of our favorites, highlights from each year, etc. In the process, many need to be deleted. The problem with digital photos is it’s too easy to take 10 shots of the same thing trying to get the best photo, but then the extra 9 never get deleted. That will be a project to tackle after the move.

We do have a small list of items that we have sold or will be selling before we move. Things that will give us a little pocket money to get some needed items for the RV. But mostly, we decided to give stuff away. We’ve always been extra blessed when we needed things and in the spirit of being thankful, we wanted to do the same for others.

 

After all the donating, consolidating and selling – we will be putting the rest our stuff in storage.

What are we storing?

* Sentimental things that we know for sure we want to keep – A tote of memory items for each of us

* Things that we will need if/when we move back into a house or into a bigger RV and that would be hard/expensive to replace

* Things that won’t it in the RV but that we will want access to. For example, we’ll store our off-season clothes in the storage unit and swap them out as the seasons change. We’ll also keep a box or 2 of holiday/seasonal items and decorations and see what we actually use this first year. I’m sure those will get purged again as we see what we end up using in our new home. We’ll also store some of our daughter’s toys & books that she’s not bringing so that she can rotate them if she wants. For the most part, her main books will come from our weekly trips to the library anyway since she reads so much, but we are storing a few boxes worth of her favorites or ones she wants to keep for her kids one day.

What other preparations are going on?

We’ve made reservations at the RV park where we will be living. We’re actually really excited about this place. Hubby will be closer to work, and we’ll be closer to our favorite library and grocery store. It’s the little things, sometimes! It’s got a beautiful water view, lots of ducks for Emily to feed, and a little store where she can have fun spending her money on snacks. She’s even asked if she can earn bags of duck food for doing well in school!

We’re also preparing the RV for us to live in it full time by making a few modifications. I’ll go into more detail in another post, but so far we’ve painted part of Emily’s area, replaced the master mattress, knocked out some false walls to increase storage, and we’re giving our fridge colorful, magnetic front panels! I’ll also be making curtains to replace the brown ones for Emily’s bunk area and for ours to brighten up the place.

Next, I need to work on purging my sewing supplies and deciding what I’m taking with me. I’ll be taking my sewing/embroidery machine with me so I can continue to do my crafty projects, but with limited space, I’ll have to be very organized and try to only have supplies on hand for the projects I’m currently working on!

We’re making progress! Stay tuned!

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We are going to be full time campers!

Yep, we bought an RV and are planning to move into it full time soon!  We’re going to be full time RVers and get to go camping every day!  Our family has always enjoyed camping together.  Rob and I used to camp 1-2 times a month before Emily was born, and after she came along we introduced her to the great outdoors.  If you know anything about Emily, you know she is truly a nature girl!  When we first took her camping, she was still a baby so we took the Pack-N-Play and set it up inside our tent for her to sleep in.   As she grew, she eventually graduated to her own air mattress – first a toddler size and then a twin size.  Through it all, she has always loved being outside in God’s creation.  She loves the dirt, water, mud, birds, creatures, hiking, sticks, rocks – all of it!

The only downside to camping in a tent is the weather.  For a while in the summer, it just got unbearably hot and too uncomfortable to sleep well.  Then there are also the lightening storms.  You do not want to be in a tent with metal poles in a lightening storm.  In the winter, the opposite problem creeps up and it was sometimes way too cold for the camping gear we owned.  We’d go camping as often as we could, but sometimes the weather would force us to cancel some trips.  For many years we’ve looked forward to getting an RV with heat & A/C so we could go camping year-round.  We finally did it! 

We ended up getting a Jayco x213 model.  It has a rear slide for the master bed at one end and bunk beds at the opposite end.  When the slide is out, it really opens up the space and gives us plenty of room.  It’s really a great layout for our little family!  We will use the top bunk area for storage, while Emily gets her own bottom bunk.  She can even fold up her bed and have a good size play area.  She and Hubby are in the process of painting her space now to make it more her style.

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We have a dinette area and a comfy sofa for hanging out

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We did replace the master mattress with a better memory foam one – it is OH SO COMFY!  The space for the mattress is for a King, but we bought a Queen size for our replacement since that’s what we are used to at home anyway, and this gives us room to add more storage.  I love the windows by our bed, too!

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Emily has a twin size bunk bed with a big shelf for her belongings.  She even has her own door to the outside! We’ll be hanging up some more storage for her and she’ll also keep some boxes of toys & books under her bed.  She’s being silly in this picture and it makes it look like she’s crowded up there, but she really has plenty of room – her bed is the same size as the one in our house that she sleeps on.

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When she wants more space inside she can fold up the bed and spread out her toys or crafts.  She’ll even have a folding chair and we’ll have a folding table she can use under there too.  We will be lining the floor with foam mats to make it more comfy and colorful under there.  Right now, she and her Daddy are in the process of painting the underside fun Hello Kitty colors!  I’ll show more pictures when everything is done.

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So why live in it full time? 

Well, why not?  People do this all the time.  There are especially many homeschooling families that travel around living in an RV.  Many with WAY more kids than we have.  I’ve even read about a family with 12 kids living in an RV!  Wow!  Of course, their RV is much bigger than ours, but then again we only have one child.

We did some thinking and realized that we can live in the camper full time at a local RV campground and actually save a lot of money monthly compared to rent or living on post!  We have an old student loan debt that we are determined to get rid of and this will make it happen really soon!  We know it will be an adventure and we’ll have some challenges, but we are used to taking on crazy challenges in this family so we are looking forward to it.  We love family time and getting outside together so that will be easy.  We’ll also be able to just load up our home on the weekends and go visit places that we want to see while we are living in this area.  We have a big list of places we want to visit while we live in the Maryland/DC area!  The next time we move with the Army (which might be later this year), it will be so easy!

We’re planning to sell/donate a lot of stuff that we don’t really need.  Turns out, there’s a lot of stuff we don’t need around here.  Then, we’ll put the rest of it in storage for later.  Hubby will be giving up his woodworking for a while, but he’s spending his extra time on school anyway so he says he’s ok with it.  I’ll have to simplify my sewing hobby a bit, but I am taking it with me and will be like the many ladies out there that sew while living in an RV full time!  Emily will have homeschool and her favorite things – Beanie Babies, arts & crafts, and reading.  Right now she’s really into making things with polymer clay so she’ll be able to do that easily in the RV.

And a BONUS – it will shorten Rob’s commute to work, and we’ll be closer to our favorite grocery store and library! Yay!

 

Will it be hard?

Honestly, we think it will be way more fun than it will be challenging.  We are all really looking forward to living simply for a while and cutting back on the “stuff”.  Rob and I have a goal of hiking the Appalachian Trail together once he retires, so we figure if we can spend 6 months in the woods with only a backpack full for each of us, surely this will be a piece of cake!

Privacy will be the biggest challenge because our bedrooms have curtains and not doors, but we are all committed to making it work and we’ll get creative.  Our plan is to work hard to save money and once we knock the debt out, we will upgrade to a 5th wheel model with more room and a separate bedroom (with a door!) for Emily.

 

I hope you’ll follow along on our latest adventure with us.  I’ll give a more complete tour of the RV once we have it all set up and ready to go.  We look forward to seeing how God grows and uses our family through this. 

Jesus says, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

The word “abundant” means plentiful, generous, ample, even rich and lavish.  Christ wants us to have an abundant life, but that doesn’t mean more stuff.  That means finding the real JOY in life – in Jesus Christ and in each other.  It’s going to be a great journey!

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You are more valuable than the birds

As I sit here this morning having my quiet time, I keep looking out our large front window.  My view is filled with white as we have snow still covering most of the area after the blizzard this past weekend, but in front of the white background I keep seeing little brown birds fluttering around as they search for food.  We have a few patches of grass starting to show through and the birds keep congregating there as they hop around looking for a meal.  As I watch these little birds land on the tree in front of our window and pick at the little berries, I am in awe at how the Lord takes care of us.  If he will provide food and shelter for these little birds, then we can trust him to provide what we need as well. 

 

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Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:26-27, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable that they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

 

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We must put our trust in the One who can provide for our needs.  So often we collect or hold on to “stuff” in an effort to feel secure.  We buy or hold on to way more than we need “just in case” we need it.   Instead, our security should be found in Christ alone.   He loves you dearly, and will provide for your every need, just as he provides for each little bird.   Even in the middle of a storm, he is holding on to you and if you seek him, you will see his great love for you.

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