Aug 31 2012

Day 1238: Technically, Officially Stranded (but it’s OK)

by andrew

Sitting here sipping a beer and thinking how funny it is that I used to day dream about one potential outcome of our throw everything to the road (and YHWH’s loving care) life on the edge, traveling with minimal resources… and I used to wonder if we’d ever break down in a tiny little community that Father had a purpose for us invading, with no money to fix the truck and get stuck indefinitely. Well, things aren’t quite that desperate, but it’s kind of starting to take on some of that flavor. And although I’m confident our stay here will be temporary (well, at least exactly as long as YHWH desires), it certainly is starting to stretch on longer than I had hoped.

My diagnosis and efforts to swap the crankshaft position sensor this morning (though the procedure itself was a success) turned out to be quite┬áineffective. But like every good story, the replacement sensor itself – as the next piece in my attempt to solve the puzzle – led to the next piece of the plot. It turns out that the parts place I bought it from – 10 miles back west along I-70 in Flagler, CO – also has a full-blown shop and a couple diesel mechanics. They also have their own wrecker, and Shane came out to pick up our truck. I turned it on for him and let him see what it was doing. He just shook his head and smiled. I could tell he shared my appreciation for the magnitude of the puzzle. Here it is getting loaded up:

So, I guess at this point our plans are on hold and we’re having Sabbath here. We always say that our Father’s plans are far better than ours, and I guess we’re getting to walk that out in this tangible way. With labor day approaching I’m hoping they figure it out quickly and that it’s something simple / easy and they can get it done before the holiday. But no guarantees. And it would be really nice if they could even tackle the leak in the steering system (hopefully it’s not the gearbox) as well as the alignment + 4 tires that we’ve been overdue procrastinating on with such limited resources available. Shane was looking at our front passenger tire (you can kind of see it in the pic) and thinking it’s a blowout waiting to happen. I’m pretty sure it would get us at least to PA, but maybe better safe than sorry.

I feel completely tacky doing this, but I’m just going to throw myself out there and slap a donation button on this post. If you know me at all you know how self-reliant I like to be and how hard it is for me to ask anyone for help. I’d much rather be on the giving end than the receiving end, and so maybe Father is also using this situation to kill more of my pride. Oh yay ­čÖé I still want to figure out a way to ask without asking ­čÖé but I will say it this way: if our heavenly Father puts it on your heart, any tiny amount towards our truck repair fund would be a massive blessing. We still have other repairs sitting on our credit card from before. But please do not feel obligated in any respect. Father will provide, and your prayers are even more valuable.





Even in the midst of all this I’ve been realizing how much we have to be thankful for. We have electric and A/C keeping the inside of the trailer about 79 F (26 C) while it reads 102 F (39 C) outside – YIKES! So – shelter: check. We have water. We have food. We have internet so I can post this and work and stay connected to find out about things like crazy Hurricane Isaac hitting seven years to the exact day that Katrina struck (if that isn’t a wake up call I don’t know what is, but how many will notice?). There’s a playground close by. Jim (the Shady Grove Campground owner) has been super helpful: he gave me a ride to Flagler this morning to pick up the sensor, provided a tour of the town, said he’d just open up a tab and we could settle before leaving when the time comes, and told me to ask if we needed anything). And the kids finished school today in really good moods. Even though it’s hard work, homeschooling our children is a bigger blessing than we normally pay attention to.

For example: I was talking with Shane and Jim after Shane had the truck all loaded up on the wrecker. They were briefly comparing notes about changes that have been happening in the school system here. I’m not sure if this is Colorado-wide or maybe even the whole country, but among other things the government has capped calorie consumption for children at school and it is a fixed number for all kids regardless of build, metabolism, athletics, etc. This is enforced primarily through the lunch portions, which are now very small. Shane and Jim said their kids always come home really hungry. Of course, some parents don’t do enough to manage healthy amounts of the right kind of calories for their kids. But government stepping in and regulating it is an entirely different thing. And the more sinister aspects of this that come immediately to mind:

  • How closely is this related to the current food shortages and famine in this country (which you probably won’t hear about on mainstream news nor get an impression of by walking into a grocery store)?
  • What are the impacts of caloric shortages on a child’s learning capacity? This will
  • What about other implications like a child’s energy level, vulnerability to suggestion, etc. when they aren’t getting enough / proper nutrition throughout the day?

There’s probably more thoughts that should be probed there, but this is really just another area where we see the┬áerosion of all things as we used to know them. I shudder to consider what my children’s generation is facing, but I also get excited to think about and anticipate what their Creator will do in their days!

Well, here’s to the adventure! Looking forward to continuing the exploration of WHY we are here and posting updates about what we discover as well as (hopefully shortly) recording our epic departure.


Jul 15 2011

The last 3 months in Winnipegosis

by renee

I started writing this about a month ago. It takes me a while to finish anything lately. I have many projects waiting to be completed and goals to accomplish. One of the biggest goals I had this spring, was to have a garden. We planted 3 gardens this year. Or, I should say, we are sharing 3 gaardens. My grandparents just recently moved into an assisted living complex so I was offered the use of their garden. I planted some things for myself, but I started it mostly for my aunt and her family who live in Churchill, Manitoba but spend the summer in Winnipegosis. They have since mostly taken over the job of weeding and watering. They leave end of August and while they can enjoy some things while they’re here, I really hope they have at least some squash to take back with them. Another of my aunts, a veteran gardener is graciously sharing her enormous and delicious garden with us. We are also sharing Leon & Jen’s wonderful garden as well. The kids have worked very hard this year planting and now weeding. It has been rewarding for me to share in their excitement at seeing the corn growing almost as tall as them already, the little carrot tops finally poking up through the soil and being able to nibble the lettuce and beet leaves while they work. This year we planted herbs, carrots, lettuce, spinach, kale, beets, tomatoes, potatoes, a few varieties of squash, cucumbers, beans, peas and onions. Between the three gardens, we are hoping for an abundance of food to store, share and save for seeds. We spent a couple of weeks in Winnipeg, at the end of June, visiting with my family. We wanted to stay longer, but I wanted to get back to the gardens. Two weeks is a long time for weeds to grow! I ended up having to replant the lettuce, spinach and carrots in my aunt’s garden, but everything else survived.

We’ve had many adventures already in the three months we’ve been here. Since we arrived in April, we’ve experienced a blizzard, cool spring weather, thunderstorms, flooding, ticks, mosquitos, and now the heat of the summer. The hot temperatures have killed off most of the mosquitos (yay!) and persuaded the kids to cool off in the pool pretty much every day. The evenings are almost always cool and pleasant.

Last month we had friends come and visit and just enjoy the day, fellowshipping┬á together. The women went on a quad ride led by Jen, the veteran quad-er. Knowing all the paths and deep water holes to take us through, she led us in and around their property and across the highway along the river. I wasn’t sure how I was going to like it, but ending up really enjoying it, even though I did run right into a barbed wire fence. The shiny new quad got a scratch and I was a little embarrassed but got over it. It’s such a different way to enjoy the wide open country, and darned if I’m not turning into a bit of a red-neck!

We love our family and friends that are here have really started to enjoy the “Village on the Lake”, even though the lake has almost taken over the poor village this spring. Bible camp was cancelled this year on account of flooding, which was a big disappointment for the kids but with the almost limitless possibilities for them here already, they got over it. We (or mostly they) swim in the pool, go for walks in the pasture, explore the junkyard, build forts, go for quad rides, jump on the trampoline, drive to town for treats and visit family and friends.

We are still doing school nearly every day but only one subject a day, math or writing, just to keep their mind from turning to mush over the summer. We have taken the summer off in the past only to discover that they have forgotten almost everything they have learned in the previous year and I’ve had to teach them some things over again, or it takes them way too long to adjust to school schedule again. If we continue through the summer, it’s not so difficult to start again in the fall.

Well, I have now finally, after 3 months, accomplished another goal tonight: finishing a blog! My next goal will be to not wait so long before I write the next one.

 


Jan 15 2010

Day 279: Journey to Florida

by renee

We’ve arrived in Florida! Now, this isn’t the Orlando and Disney World part of Florida. This is wild boy country Florida. Where wild boars, rattlesnakes, coyotes, alligators and fire ants are all part of daily life. First day here and the kids are exhausted but happy after a very full day of playing golf, running, climbing, digging holes, swinging, petting a new horse and much more! We are parked for a couple weeks at an old friend’ s property. He and his lovely wife have three marvelous children who share the same excitement of life and hunger for adventure. Their home is in the country. The nearest town is just over 1,000 people. There is lots of room to run around and endless things to explore. We’re looking forward to many adventures and just time to chill and catch up.

Our trip here was easy and restful. The kids were amazing travelers and didn’t complain about wanting a break to run around. We took 8 days and drove through 5 states to get here (New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Missippi, and Alabama). Our first day traveling was 11 hours altogether! The consecutive days were 7 and 8 hours in the truck. The kids were pretty much content to hang out in the truck. We did school, watched movies and enjoyed the ever changing views and discoveries out our windows.

Most of the drive through Texas was acres and acres of cotton fields, wind turbines and oil rigs. I have never seen so many wind turbines in one place in my life. Hundreds of them. The cotton fields turned into a great school lesson. We pulled over and Andrew got out and grabbed a big handful of cotton from the side of the road that had blown around during the harvest. The kids each got a piece to play with while they watched some really awesome cotton harvesting videos on YouTube! I love the internet! After we saw how they made cotton bales, we started to see real cotton bales covered with tarps, waiting to be loaded on trucks. The kids were pretty amazed and I was very satisfied with a productive homeschool day.

On day 3 (Saturday), we stopped in San Antonio for three nights. We met up with an old friend there who showed us the famous Alamo, and other sites in San Antonio. The next day Andrew and I worked most of day while the kids played and enjoyed the campground and the break from traveling. We left the campground tuesday morning (day 6) and then met up in Louisiana with some good friends of ours who are nomads like us. After spending a night camping side by side in a Walmart parking lot, we went to visit an alligator house together and all the kids had a chance to hold baby alligators. Later on that day, we stopped for gas and saw a live tiger exhibit set up by the gas station!

We stopped for the night on day 7 at a campground in Marianna, Fl to clean out our tanks and get cleaned up ourselves. We arrived the next day around 3:30 pm with plenty of time to play and visit.

It’s Shabbat now and we are resting! It’s supposed to rain all day tomorrow so it might be a nice down day after all the excitement today.


May 22 2009

Day 41: Schooling on the road

by renee

This morning, while Andrew got some work done at the coffee shop, I took the kids down to the river bank to play in the sand. We had finished scripture study and had a really great time of discussion. The kids were so interested and eager to learn. While we were outside immediately after, they still had that eagerness so decided to take advantage. “Okay, everyone! Time for math! Everyone grab ten stones and line them up!” I spent time with each child individually, using the rocks to do some math problems, while the others were content playing the sand. I used the Ray’s arithmetic with Reayah, using the rocks to practice addition, subtraction and the beginning understandings of multiplication and division. Bennah is a visual person and using rocks to represent groups, he was able to practice his multiplication very easily. He has learned to count by 2s,3s,4, and 5s and is now learning to count by 6s and 7s. Zach and Jaiden did simple counting and threw the rocks into the river when they were done. As I taught them, I was rejoicing at how easy this was, and prayed that I would have many more days like these :).

After lunch, the kids had some play time and then came in to do journal writing. The kids had been making up their own worship song and so I asked them to write it down as a poem. Reayah loves to write and had no trouble concentrating and filling up 3 pages in half an hour. Bennah on the hand struggles when there are many distractions around him. While we started to write, a short thunder storm started so we were all in the trailer! Including a baby who wanted attention, a tired toddler and a provocative 4 year old, who drove his truck over Bennah’s journal.┬á So, Bennah had a rough time and after some frustration on both our parts, he completed his assignment. I want to accommodate him so he can concentrate and do school joyously, without frustration, but I also need him to practice concentrating with distractions. He won’t always be do his work alone, away from everything. I think it’s a good skill to learn. I do want him to see that I am supportive of his struggle though, and encourage him to overcome. Writing is the hardest subject for Bennah. Not because he’s not good at it, but because it requires a different form of concentration. And sitting still!

It was a good day. We did school, we did our chores and got the trailer clean and prepared for Shabbat (Sabbath). We love Shabbat. The one day we Andrew and I can sleep in while the kids fend for themselves and run amuck!