My husband and I sometimes wonder what it would be like to buy a house, move in, and spend the next 20 years raising our family in one place. Of course part of us thinks this sounds idyllic. It’s the American dream, right? It’s human instinct to want to provide comfort, stability, and structure for our families.
There is just something about this scenario that doesn’t quite suit us though. Sure, stability sounds nice and all, but where is the excitement? Where is the sense of adventure and a desire to see the world? Where is the need to give back to the greater good? As masochistic as it sounds, where are the opportunities to be stretched so that we can grow from our trials? Did I lose you there, or are you still with me?
We all know the cliche… The only constant is change. Well, yes, that’s about right. The last 6 months are a small example of the transition and change that are so normal in our lives and the lives of our military friends. While to some it seems crazy that we move every 1-3 years, to us, the thrill of adventure is like a drug, and we keep coming back for more.
The latest adventure begins where the last one left off. The spouses in our squadron had been holding down the homefront as our loved ones were deployed for half a year. Luckily Spring ended with reunions and hugs from our loved ones. We all felt blessed beyond measure that every member of our squadron returned safely home from serving their country. WE DID IT!
Over the next two months we tied-up all of the loose ends with the assignment. We attended lovely farewells and gave tear-filled goodbyes to people that we love so dearly. While this transition was much harder than I could have imagined, the Air Force said it was time to move on, and move on we did.
With my husband by my side again, we tackled my hoarded-treasures in the garage, greeted the movers, and passed the military housing inspection by the skin of our teeth (with the movers still there loading our boxes-btw). Then we loaded our two cars and let the adventure begin.
In addition to seeing family and friends in Utah, we crossed some major items off our family bucket list. Nauvoo, Illinois; Kirtland, Ohio; Niagara Falls; and Acadia, Maine! Check, check, and double check. We were all struck by the beauty of our country…with the possible exception of southern Wyoming…no offense 🙂
It was somewhere in the middle of this cross-country trek, however, that we had the realization that our short-term housing for the summer had fallen through. Yep, we were homeless with four kids and 1,000 pounds of personal items. While not financially impossible, it would certainly have been a major strain on our budget to stay at expensive resort-town hotels for the next month. I have never known the anxiety associated with not knowing where my family would be sleeping the rest of the summer, but this gave me an appreciation for the stress and uncertainty of this trial. We spent a couple of weeks bouncing from hotel to hotel, and, thanks to my diligent bed checking routine, narrowly escaped a stay with a family of bed bugs on the 19th of 20 hotel rooms!
It was in the midst of the stress of this dilemma that a loving couple from church offered a solution. We could use their 100 year old fishing cabin. The catch? It was SMALL! By small I mean under 200 square feet. Old-school tiny homes were not meant for a family of six.
However, seeing no other viable option, we took them up on their offer and crammed into this micro-home. The cons: No beds. Well, no real beds that is. We had four air mattresses for the six of us, and they barely fit lined-up together. I certainly had a hard time sleeping. I awoke anytime anyone rolled on their air mattress or got up to use the bathroom. No TV or internet. The TV was not an issue, but it is hard to blog without internet. Let’s just say we spent many long hours taking advantage of the free wi-fi at the local library.
We chose to focus on the blessings that we were enjoying, vs the inconveniences we were not (there will be plenty of time to sleep later.)
While we lacked some modern conveniences in our urban camping, we had a lot of pros- There was running, warm water, the kitchen was stocked with pots, pans, and utensils. We found that we had everything we actually NEEDED. In fact, we were a little sad to leave this lovely situation. As a lovely bonus, the property included a pier whose underwater treasures fascinated my children. The owners of the little cabin quickly became dear friends and even offered us the use of their kayaks for family night. What a treat!
In fact, eight weeks of transition proved to have some unexpected and wonderful results.
While my children had to say goodbye to some of the most incredible of friends, their time cramped in the car and smooshed on air mattresses taught them to play with EACH OTHER again. For lack of anyone else adolescent, they giggled together in the back seat and shared stories snuggled under their sleeping bags.
Additionally, we began to sluff off the effects of a six month deployment. Not only was Daddy home, he was there all of the time as we drove the 3000 miles. We were blessed to splash in hotel swimming pools, enjoy long walkie talkie conversations, and smile knowingly at family inside-jokes. Sure, the kids did a fair amount of bickering, but overall, behavioral issues that had arisen during the deployment seemed to dissipate. We saw each of our children rise to the challenge of the situation as the tough, resilient spirits that they are.
So yeah, a deployment, packing up everything we own, driving through 15 states, and living in a crooked little tiny house for a summer was NOT EASY. I think I aged three years in three months, but I wouldn’t trade the experience. It’s these little trials life (and in our case, the Air Force) gives us that help us stretch ourselves beyond our comfort zones. It is here, on the other end of the move that I reflect on the blessings that come as a result of a trial. It is here that I am thankful to know that with the right mindset, and help from the Lord, we can do hard things.
So nine more months here in New England, and then we do it all over again! Until then, life is GOOD!
UPDATES FOR JEWELED INTERIORS
I am so stoked that October is almost here!!! Why you ask? Because this will bring on my first hack as a ONE ROOM CHALLENGE guest participant. This design showcase has me doing some major design soul-searching. If I have an actual budget (though meager for the size of the room), what direction do I want to go with this blog? Who will actually read it? How many design risks can I take in my new space to keep it intriguing, yet relateable? Basically, what kind of designer do I want to be when I “grow-up”? This will be a major investment of time and resources, and I honestly feel the pressure. This could be a defining moment for my style, my career choices, and at the very least…my home furnishings (If I’m blowing all my cash on one room I need to love it!). YIKES! Breathe Jewel, breathe!
So long story short, over the next seven weeks I will be letting you venture a little further into my life than I have previously. You will get to see a more human (and oh, I’m very human) side of me. I’m going to show you rooms unstaged, projects sprawled across the entire space, and maybe pictures of me in my paintin’ pants (and wow, what a sight they are :). It may take the magic out of it for some of you, but I want you friends to see how I tackle this beast. I want you to feel empowered and realize that you too can take an empty room, give it six weeks and make it look like a magazine. It isn’t rocket science folks. I have a degree in History, not Nuclear Physics, or Interior Design for that matter. I just have a passion, a fairly well-tuned eye, and the guts to take some risks. Follow me on Facebook and I will show you how you can easily have these three things as well.