One Hell of a Summer

What an adventure it has been so far. We started this adventure back in May when Dave came home and said we are taking the bus to Muskegon in a week. Mind you, we weren't ready then, and to be honest not really ready now either, but we are doing it!
He came home and said we are taking the bus to Muskegon in a week, and we didn't even having running water yet. We had been hoping to live in the bus someday, but wanted to take a couple years to maybe get it a little more in the finished state. So we went to work scurrying around with the help of our brother-in-law, a plumbing and heating guy (Thanks Dave Haley), to run drains and pipes here and there. I got out the paint brush to start painting the skeleton of the kitchen cabinets and bathroom. And on Monday morning May 13th 2013 we headed for Muskegon. Ready or not here we come!!!
We arrived at Lake Fran, this little run-down campground that we would call home for a unknown time. It was in need of some TLC because of the long grass, pine cones and needles galore that had probably been there since Moses. (Did Moses have pine cones?) So with many hours spent raking, shoveling, hauling, mowing and trimming (even with scissors when no weed eater was yet present) I went to work and made this little campground a place we and others called home for several months.
It seemed to rain for days and weeks when we first arrived (I thought we'd be hearing the message soon to build a second ark, oh ya He promised no need for that again so we were good), then after the rain came the mosquitoes. And man did they grow them big there. They seemed to call in all their friends and say hey check this out-fresh blood from up north! So we were off to such a great start (with many challenges that would soon follow) we seemed to settle in as best we could.
Dave went off to work and I continued to stay and work the campground to try and stay busy.
This time was very trying for both of us. Feeling very unsettled, lonely and struggling with lack of purpose and identity. After spending many years just doing our best to give our whole hearts and lives to those we cared dearly about only to now have to learn to detach ourselves was very painful. Who were we now? After spending our time together 24/7 for many years through business and life, Dave and I were once again separated because of work. We had tried so hard to live in freedom the best we could and be available for others and never wanted to settle for a 9 to 5 again, and here we were. That took some getting used to and I'm not sure we ever got used to it honestly. So many feelings passed through our minds and hearts at this time. We had been very involved in our church up north and we're struggling with leaving. We were feeling like God was maybe moving us on, but also feeling so torn with where do we go? Muskegon was not our idea of a good time and the place to move on too, by any stretch. It seemed to be the only thing presented in front of us when work up north was no more. So we took that step.
The time that we spent in Muskegon (5 months to the day-another story) was not the most enjoyable. Being from northern Michigan, were not used to the city way of life. People aren't the same in the city with the friendly jesters. We found its an 'all about me' world down there.
As I mentioned earlier, I did my best to stay busy and make our little campground that we lived in while we were there feel like home and Dave went off to work. Dave worked in a filthy factory and warehouse setting with concrete everywhere and no windows, in a little dirty cubicle that was called his office space. The pay was poor and not much for what we gave up and left behind. We were trying to maintain living in two locations and leaving all we once knew.
Trying to "find a church" was difficult, It just wasn't the same. We never really did find a place to totally be ourselves (whoever we truly are).
We had our fun issues (I say this tongue and cheek) with being thrust into the bus life before we were ready. Little things that are just life's little inconveniences and frustrations that began taking their tole as we felt as though they were like meteor showers hitting us almost constantly. We would go from one thing to the next thing pretty quickly with almost no breath. We had the issue of our shower wanting to just run all over the floor because of the slope; the driving rain soaking our kitchen and counter where the air conditioner was placed; trying to wash dishes in a 10x20 bathroom sink for three months (no kitchen sink yet); the black poo tank overflowing in the bay; the dance of the extension cords and popping breakers; rusty water turning everything brown; stinky tanks, and the smell was unbearable in the bus at times; all our major bills coming due all at once; our business account was attacked and drained; the list goes on.
We were financially broke and with everything breaking left and right and trying to get out to Vermont for the birth of our first grandson and the tension of feeling like we 'can't afford to go' left me at the very bottom; feeling like I just hated life. I was done, over it! This was suppose to be the happiest time of our lives, we were living in the bus as we were hoping to someday do and meeting our first grandchild. I drove out to Vermont (a 16 hour trip) alone to spend a couple weeks. It was the hardest time of my life. My husband wasn't with me, and his job kept him from being there. We finally worked it out, with the kids help, to have him fly out for a few days (a story all it's own). We drove back together only to discover the bearings went out on the car. It's interesting, as I tell this story, there are so many other stories that branch off from the main story, like Dave's plane ride out to Vermont and many other things that happened, too many to now recount- We should right a book....
We had been paying for an empty house in Cheboygan while we lived in Muskegon all summer. So, we decided to put the house on the market to see it it would sell. We always felt Muskegon was a stepping stone, but to where we didn't know (and still don't).
After making a few visits back north with our church family, and realizing how much we missed them and they missed us, we decided that maybe we would try and cut our time short in Muskegon and plan to move back up north Labor Day weekend. We would spend the winter back in Cheboygan, try to find work for the winter and maybe head out in the spring with the bus. This way it would give us a little more time to get the bus a little more finished for the long haul. So we sat in Pastor Gary's office and shared our plans with him to come back early.
Upon returning to the bus, we sat down the next morning with tears streaming down our faces; I was so clammed up I couldn't speak so Dave did his best to pray and ask God once again for direction. He said “our hearts are torn and You know them better than we do ourselves. We need your help”. (Mind you we had been asking for direction for about 3 years). Well about lunch time that day, Dave called and said “I have something for you to think about. We have an offer on the house.” By the time he got home that evening, he said "we not only have one offer, but we now have three offers on the house". Now get this, Cheboygan is a place where the economy stinks and nothing is selling, and after we decided to move back north, we get three offers in one day! We know God is up to something. One of the offers, I later discovered after looking over the paperwork a second time, was a cash offer. So the next morning we countered and they accepted $1000.00 less than our asking price.
I returned up north to start going through everything in our home, and I mean everything, we weren't moving it into another home so we had to shed a lot. After being there alone for two weeks, I started feeling very overwhelmed with the sorting and pricing that needed to be done for our quick deadline so I called Dave home to help. This process took a little over three weeks from offer to closing and move out. We literally sold everything right down to the broom and dustpan (again another story going through that process). Getting rid of everything wasn't the hard part. I actually had a great amount of peace in that process surprisingly, it was just the pressure of a lot of work needed to be done in such a short time. I'd get one thing accomplished and then they'd dump a whole attic in my path (twice). I had no idea how to price tools....Anyhow if it didn't fit into the bus or a 10x10 storage it went. Actually we have used less than half of that storage as of today and are continuing to purge.
This had been one of the most difficult years of our lives, with being at the bottom financially, living in a place we hated to live, things breaking left and right, being separated as a couple and leaving everyone we love and care about to name a few reasons, and this happening all at once, but we know this is what God has for us and so we are doing our best to hang on for the ride!

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