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Sunday

29

January 2017

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New Moccasins

Written by , Posted in Thoughts, Travel

Moccasins

I got some new moccasins. I love them. Or at least the idea of them. But, I don’t like them… yet.

They’re made from this beautiful, soft, moose leather. I tried them on when we were in Ontario in September. I’d been thinking about them ever since. I finally bought them at the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market on New Years Eve.

I didn’t hate 2016. It had its highs and lows like any year will. At the end it got comfortable, like anything does. I got used to writing 2016. Now we’re in a new year. I have to get used to writing a 7 instead of a 6. That’s the least of my concerns though.

I don’t like my moccasins because they’re a size too small. Done on purpose because their maker told me to. As I wear them the leather will stretch. It will conform to my feet. I will get used to them, and they me. But, right now it’s uncomfortable. My toes are a bit pinched. I want to wear my old slippers. The ones that are so stretched out that my feet fall out if I don’t wear thick socks. The bottoms so worn they no longer retain any warmth. Yet, I long for their comfort and familiarity. I’d rather wear them than the too tight moccasins. They’re easier. But, instead, I’m wearing the moccasins. And with every hour worn they pinch less. My toes stretching the leather gently. Little by little they are becoming mine.

Moccasins2The new year turns the page on a lot of things for us. We’re getting ready to step out of some old slippers, into uncomfortable tight new ones. It would be easier to just make do with the old ones (in this case, Burbank and its ridiculous cost of living). It’s comfortable, our community is here, and we like it. But, it’s not supporting us anymore. Its soles retain no heat. The new year closed the door on our trip too. We’d been gone for so long that life on the road began to feel normal. Ending the trip meant saying goodbye to a season of adventure and wandering. We knew it couldn’t go on forever.

So we came home. We’re packing up, ready to move on. We will cherish the memories of our time in Burbank and our four month adventure, and take on the new uncomfortable road ahead.

Tuesday

17

January 2017

1

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Breaking Up With Burbank

Written by , Posted in Thoughts, Travel

We have decided to move. We could have come back home, gotten jobs, and made Burbank work. But, it feels a bit like when you’re in a decent relationship, but there’s no long-term potential. You love them, but don’t want to marry them. We love Burbank. But, we want more. We want more than living ten feet from our neighbors, no matter how wonderful they are (and if you know our neighbors, you know what it means to say this). We want land and a hobby farm and chickens. We want more than a nine to five that brings in the big bucks. We want meaning and purpose and intentionality.

We have lived in Burbank for six years. Our community is here. We’re going to be leaving behind an enormous piece of our heart. But, it is something we need to do. We can’t get ahead in Burbank. For our lifestyle, it’s too expensive. We will never be able to save money for our hobby farm and used bookstore dreams if we’re spending ninety percent of our income on rent. Someone has to put their foot down and say they’ve had enough. We’ve had enough. We won’t rent for years only to never be able to afford to buy a home. For us, that wouldn’t make sense. It won’t make a difference in the grand scheme of things. The housing market won’t realize that we’re on to something, that the cost of living here is in fact ridiculous. No one will notice. But, it will matter to us. We will be putting our collective foot down. We’ve had enough. We will give you, our dear community, up, because we feel like we have no other choice.

If you’ve met us, we’ve probably bragged about these people. These dear friends of ours. They’ve become family away from family. They’ve walked alongside us, holding us up through job struggles, infertility, and life’s ups and downs. We’ve eaten countless In-n-Out burgers, shared dinners and laughter on our lawn, and pondered life, faith, books and movies for hours on end. Wherever we end up, there are some big shoes to fill.

Anyone want to come with us? It would make it so much easier… I’m not sure we can leave you behind.

Wednesday

23

November 2016

1

COMMENTS

Finding Our Place

Written by , Posted in Thoughts, Travel

nebraskasunset2

On Sunday we packed up the car to head out again. I simultaneously like and dislike it. Tim pointed out that there’s something comforting about getting back in the car after a stay. And he’s right. It’s our home base right now. It holds all of our possessions, it carries us from place to place, it provides warmth to our toes on cold days. But, packing up again means one more place that we’re not going to settle in to and make home. One more place that someone else has successfully tamed that we won’t. One more place that’s not our final destination.

We didn’t expect anyone to take us in permanently. Some have offered that we can come back, that we could stay as long as we want to. We haven’t wanted to overstay our welcome (although we’ve tried – sorry parents). We’re looking for permanence in the midst of constant change. That’s tough for me.

I’m a homebody and an introvert. I like my routine and my schedule. I like to know what’s coming. This trip has freed me from a lot of that. It’s shaken things up. But, still, I long for home. Maybe it’s the home we left. I’m anxious to get back, to purge, rearrange, and reacquaint. Or maybe it’s just a home, any home, where Tim and I can settle. I want to find a place for Brando’s bed. I want to set up the kitchen, then move everything again when I realize the silverware is in a wonky place. I want to arrange and rearrange the living room until the couch is in just the right spot.

brandokansas

I find myself dreaming about houses we’ve stayed in as I’m trying to fall asleep. Where I’d put our furniture, whether or not I’d have a cellar, what room I’d choose to be the library – all these occupy my mind as I’m drifting off. We’ve moved many times in the ten years that we’ve been married. Each time I find so much joy in setting up our home. This time feels different though. We’ve never searched this long for the right place before. And I start to wonder if we will know it when we see it, or if we should just settle on something, anything, so long as we can afford it.

Sunday

20

November 2016

1

COMMENTS

So, This Year Has Been Tough

Written by , Posted in Thoughts, Travel

mnmaple

A few weeks ago we watched the Cubs win the World Series. One thing that stuck in my mind was at the end of game two they showed some of the guys from the Cubs front office and I couldn’t help but be amazed that they looked to be about my age. I look at the writing staff on some of our favorite shows. They’re my age too. Many of the speakers at this year’s Yellow Conference were my age or younger.

And I have to admit that I feel like a bit like a failure.

I’ve never been super career driven. I always wanted my job to be mom. That didn’t happen. A career didn’t happen. Am I just wasting my time?

Is this a mid(ish) life crisis?

A successful career doesn’t define who I am. For that matter, neither does whether or not I’m ever a mom.

Doesn’t… Shouldn’t… Still kinda does.

One thing that Tim and I have figured out over the years is that we want more than a high paying job. We want life… we want to be together, we want to take a vacation without getting the stink eye from the employer, we want to breathe. Life’s not supposed to be just about work. Is it?

Is it?

Can watching Fixer Upper be a career?

We’re dreaming of a farmhouse on a bazillion acres with a cow and chickens and a horse named Cowboy. Tim’s dreaming of writing a book. I want to preserve food from my huge garden and learn to make cheese. But that’s all we know.

I have a new addiction to the Land and Farm website.

We know that our identity isn’t in what we do. We don’t want to be slaves to a paycheck or what our culture says we should value. So we’re gonna keep searching, trying to figure out what this looks like for us.

Friday

18

November 2016

0

COMMENTS

Just Go

Written by , Posted in Thoughts, Travel

nebraskasunsetI got pulled over the other day. I was going five over the speed limit and with the flow of traffic. I also had California plates in Wyoming. I think I was profiled. Now it’s back to my grandma-like style of driving. I had to sit in the cop car while the cop ran my license. He asked me questions while another officer talked to Tim. I was told that I didn’t have to answer if I didn’t want to. I like to talk about myself. I told our whole story. The officer was kinda jealous of our four month road trip. Most people seem to be. Why do people think they can’t do something like this? There are always a million reasons not to do something.

uncleelmer

Because of this trip, we’re getting to experience things we’d never dream of. I’m not talking big things. Just little things like helping Uncle Elmer bring the herd of cows in from the pasture. There was no fence between us and these huge animals. They were scared of us, not realizing they could squish us if they’d wanted to. After that Uncle Elmer told us we could climb the grain holder building thing and look at the view. I didn’t want to, but I did. Really fast. Without looking down or thinking about how well the stairs were bolted on.

trbcar

If we’d said that we’d love to take a trip like this but came up with a million reason why not to, I wouldn’t have the memory of that one time I was brave. I wouldn’t remember the fear of being asked to sit in a cop car, and then realize later that what hadn’t crossed my mind was that I would be ok because of my skin color. I wouldn’t remember the sunset, or my dog with his bad hip jumping off the porch because it was the quickest way to us. And you know, there are a million reasons why we shouldn’t have gone on this trip. It costs money we don’t have (borrow). The dog might not travel well (he does). We might put too many miles on the car (we’re somewhere around 10,000). We might miss our bed (sometimes). We might get tired of being together (nope, opposite). We might discover how awesome life is somewhere other than Burbank (it could happen).

rachfeedscow

I’m a pessimistic realist who looks at the glass as half empty. Even the idea of this trip is a stretch for me. What started out as a search for direction has turned into even more of a gift as I’m finding me in little bits and pieces here and there. Little cracks of unexpected joy. In the black and white faced three day old cow that let me bottle feed her. My dog sticking his nose in cow poop because he’s never smelled it before. Giggling with Tim over something stupid (usually one of us quoting Gilmore Girls or The Office, or him laughing at how weird I’m acting because he’s recording me for one of our videos). Pieces are falling into place. They’re tiny, insignificant even. But when put together they are beginning to create a masterpiece.