Coming Home

Home is a funny word. It can mean so many different things and can invoke so many feelings depending on experience.

For me, it’s something I’ve spent most of my life looking for. Home, and a family to go with it.

I’ve always been the outcast, the black sheep. The one who defied convention and what little raising they had and went their own way. I have to admit, it hasn’t made “family” very easy for me. It’s made it that elusive feeling I sought my whole life.

I think I finally figured out where home was and how it feels to be there.

I’ve not said a whole lot on this blog about life prior to the last 6 months. I’ve talked about our hopes for finding a place to homestead in the future but I didn’t say much about where we were before.

In truth, part of me was trying to forget because I so desperately wanted the life we were trying to live to work. Not for me, or for us even really, but because I let myself become convinced by someone else that my life was lacking something somehow.

In March of this year (2014), I bought a run-down camper that sat in my best friend’s front yard. It’s around 30 years old and hasn’t really been cared for since it was being used for storage. We cleaned it up, began the extensive repairs and remodeling it needed and moved in.

I won’t lie, it needed a lot of work. It still does.

The county we live in is pretty rural. When I was growing up, it was referred to as “Kudzu County” because it’s everywhere here. Most people that live here hunt and fish. Country music is often blasted from mud-crusted pick-up trucks with gun racks in the windows and blue jeans and cowboy boots (or work boots) are the universal dress code. Again, it’s pretty rural.

My best friend’s (we’ll call her CB) property sits in a place that seems to be at top and bottom of hills at the same time. The view from the front door of the camper is often amazing if you like to watch the weather because you can see it rolling in from the mountains (I live in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains).

When we left, there was a garden growing practically in our front yard. I hand-washed most of our clothes and hung them on the line to dry. I’d planned to plant an herb garden (CB’s hubby planted the main garden) but I let a lot of things get to me, including the temptation of trying my hand at people-pleasing yet again, and planting season got away from me.

We left the life we’d been trying to build these last six months, and headed back home a few weeks ago.

We weren’t really certain what we wanted to do, so we stayed with the kids a few days and then decided to come look at the camper and try to sort out the mess if nothing else (it’s been storage again the last six months) and see what was what.

There were some things that were damaged and lost due to a top vent that was left open that we didn’t catch, but that’s ok since we’d decided to get rid of a lot of stuff anyway.

Somewhere along the way, we finalized our tentative decision about coming home to the camper and we’ve been here since the Sunday night following our move back.

We’ve worked our butts off for weeks now and we’re still not done (the first week we were both still recovering from the tail-end of the flu, so things have gone a little slower than we’d have liked), but that first Monday evening reminded us both why we chose this life to start with. Here are a few pictures from how we ended the day:

image

Dinner cooking on the fire on a cast iron griddle

image

Enjoying the fire

After we came inside, we sat at the table and played cards for a while. No TV (we don’t have cable or a converter box), no internet (I write at home now but have to go out to get wi-fi to post them so when I talk about days and they don’t match up to the time things are posted, that’s why). We were totally unplugged. I didn’t even look at the clock to check the time till the sun went down and we got hungry.

As anyone who’s tried their hand at living this way, or with less (we have water on a hose right outside the door but the indoor plumbing needs work and power is off of a drop cord in CB’s window), you know it’s not an easy life. Six months ago, I wasn’t even sure I wanted it myself, but three months of living with family and three months of living in a hotel room later, and I was actually glad to come back.

We accept that to some, the life we’ve chosen seems wrong, or less than, the life we might could have had.

Some might feel that we’re even avoiding the responsibilities of being adults or simply just not understand at all. That’s ok, and again, we accept that.

What everyone else needs to accept is that for better or worse, and regardless of their opinions, this is the life we’ve chosen. Come live one day the way we do and you’ll find that while our responsibilities to the outside world are less, our responsibilities to our home, our lifestyle and each other, is considerably more than average.

This life is far from the “easy way out” of anything.

Regardless of how much extra work it may be some days, we’ve found it to be extremely satisfying in a way that living the average “hustle and bustle, keeping up with Joneses” life never was and never would be for us.

Our home is tiny compared to the average, 25 feet total in length.

Right now, it looks a little run down, especially on the outside, but we have big plans for taxes as well as for the spring and it won’t look run down long.

We spend a lot of time outside now, which drove my sinuses crazy for a few days, but they’re starting to settle down finally.

At the end of the day, when I lay my head on my pillow, I know I’ve done things that matter. I have a sense of accomplishment and a peace I’d forgotten even existed. I’m not so overcome with stress that I’m wracked with constant anxiety attacks like before.

This isn’t just the life I’ve chosen, the is the life that has chosen me as well, and I’m happy to be living it.

When I left, I thought home and family was somewhere out there in the world waiting for me to come find it but in coming back, I realize I am home and my family and the acceptance I thought I was searching for was right here all along.

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Coming Home

Home is a funny word. It can mean so many different things and can invoke so many feelings depending on experience.

For me, it’s something I’ve spent most of my life looking for. Home, and a family to go with it.

I’ve always been the outcast, the black sheep. The one who defied convention and what little raising they had and went their own way. I have to admit, it hasn’t made “family” very easy for me. It’s made it that elusive feeling I sought my whole life.

I think I finally figured out where home was and how it feels to be there.

I’ve not said a whole lot on this blog about life prior to the last 6 months. I’ve talked about our hopes for finding a place to homestead in the future but I didn’t say much about where we were before.

In truth, part of me was trying to forget because I so desperately wanted the life we were trying to live to work. Not for me, or for us even really, but because I let myself become convinced by someone else that my life was lacking something somehow.

In March of this year (2014), I bought a run-down camper that sat in my best friend’s front yard. It’s around 30 years old and hasn’t really been cared for since it was being used for storage. We cleaned it up, began the extensive repairs and remodeling it needed and moved in.

I won’t lie, it needed a lot of work. It still does.

The county we live in is pretty rural. When I was growing up, it was referred to as “Kudzu County” because it’s everywhere here. Most people that live here hunt and fish. Country music is often blasted from mud-crusted pick-up trucks with gun racks in the windows and blue jeans and cowboy boots (or work boots) are the universal dress code. Again, it’s pretty rural.

My best friend’s (we’ll call her CB) property sits in a place that seems to be at top and bottom of hills at the same time. The view from the front door of the camper is often amazing if you like to watch the weather because you can see it rolling in from the mountains (I live in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains).

When we left, there was a garden growing practically in our front yard. I hand-washed most of our clothes and hung them on the line to dry. I’d planned to plant an herb garden (CB’s hubby planted the main garden) but I let a lot of things get to me, including the temptation of trying my hand at people-pleasing yet again, and planting season got away from me.

We left the life we’d been trying to build these last six months, and headed back home a few weeks ago.

We weren’t really certain what we wanted to do, so we stayed with the kids a few days and then decided to come look at the camper and try to sort out the mess if nothing else (it’s been storage again the last six months) and see what was what.

There were some things that were damaged and lost due to a top vent that was left open that we didn’t catch, but that’s ok since we’d decided to get rid of a lot of stuff anyway.

Somewhere along the way, we finalized our tentative decision about coming home to the camper and we’ve been here since the Sunday night following our move back.

We’ve worked our butts off for weeks now and we’re still not done (the first week we were both still recovering from the tail-end of the flu, so things have gone a little slower than we’d have liked), but that first Monday evening reminded us both why we chose this life to start with. Here are a few pictures from how we ended the day:

image

Dinner cooking on the fire on a cast iron griddle

image

Enjoying the fire

After we came inside, we sat at the table and played cards for a while. No TV (we don’t have cable or a converter box), no internet (I write at home now but have to go out to get wi-fi to post them so when I talk about days and they don’t match up to the time things are posted, that’s why). We were totally unplugged. I didn’t even look at the clock to check the time till the sun went down and we got hungry.

As anyone who’s tried their hand at living this way, or with less (we have water on a hose right outside the door but the indoor plumbing needs work and power is off of a drop cord in CB’s window), you know it’s not an easy life. Six months ago, I wasn’t even sure I wanted it myself, but three months of living with family and three months of living in a hotel room later, and I was actually glad to come back.

We accept that to some, the life we’ve chosen seems wrong, or less than, the life we might could have had.

Some might feel that we’re even avoiding the responsibilities of being adults or simply just not understand at all. That’s ok, and again, we accept that.

What everyone else needs to accept is that for better or worse, and regardless of their opinions, this is the life we’ve chosen. Come live one day the way we do and you’ll find that while our responsibilities to the outside world are less, our responsibilities to our home, our lifestyle and each other, is considerably more than average.

This life is far from the “easy way out” of anything.

Regardless of how much extra work it may be some days, we’ve found it to be extremely satisfying in a way that living the average “hustle and bustle, keeping up with Joneses” life never was and never would be for us.

Our home is tiny compared to the average, 25 feet total in length.

Right now, it looks a little run down, especially on the outside, but we have big plans for taxes as well as for the spring and it won’t look run down long.

We spend a lot of time outside now, which drove my sinuses crazy for a few days, but they’re starting to settle down finally.

At the end of the day, when I lay my head on my pillow, I know I’ve done things that matter. I have a sense of accomplishment and a peace I’d forgotten even existed. I’m not so overcome with stress that I’m wracked with constant anxiety attacks like before.

This isn’t just the life I’ve chosen, the is the life that has chosen me as well, and I’m happy to be living it.

When I left, I thought home and family was somewhere out there in the world waiting for me to come find it but in coming back, I realize I am home and my family and the acceptance I thought I was searching for was right here all along.

The Roundtrip

Sometimes I wish I had a crystal ball that I could look into and see what the future holds. How would it change my life?

Would it make me wiser? Bolder? More hesitant? Would it prevent me from making mistakes or would I still fly into the future with my arms open and my eyes closed, as is my nature?

The truth is, I’ve made my share of mistakes and bad calls, but some of those mistakes have given me wisdom I couldn’t have gained any other way. It’s also given me a kind of strength that only comes from scrapped knees. From picking myself up, dusting myself off and trying again.

There is a kind of knowledge, wisdom and strength that can only be found in in weakness, mistakes and lessons learned the hard way.

I find myself standing at the end of a road that, at first glance, seems to have lead nowhere except back where I started. Some would call it a mistake and a lesson learned.

Maybe it was, but it was an experience that left me with a deeper knowledge of myself. A greater sense of what my needs really are and exactly where some of my boundaries lie. I’ve learned a lot about priorities, what they were, what they are and what they should be.

I’ve learned what I want for my life and what really matters to me at the end of the day.

I’ve learned that sometimes, things just can’t be what you wish it was and no amount of force or wishing will make something be what it isn’t. I’ve learned that sometimes, taking things to the next level can mess things up in ways you didn’t expect.

In this winding circle I’ve made in the last 6 months, I’ve learned to acknowledge my own needs and to not be ashamed to ask for what I want.

I’ve learned that the life I’ve chosen for myself is complicated and that not everyone is going to understand.

I’ve lost a lot but I’ve gained a lot as well.

What I lost brings me pain, especially in these wee hours of the night when sleep won’t come, but I can’t change it.

There will always be those that can’t, or won’t, accept me. It’s why I bothered to create my own extended family in the first place. Rejection, even from those I loved, is something I’ve been familiar with most of my life.

For some reason, people always end up either expecting me to be things I’m not or they try to turn me into the person they think I could or should be instead of being able to accept who and what I am.

Sometimes, when I love someone too much, I try to be that person for them. I try to fit in, I try to blend, but at the end of the day, I guess I’m too much of a free spirit for it to stick.

Even though I lost things along the way, I have few regrets in how things turned out.

Everyone, including myself, showed their true colors and it was a lesson learned, even if it was a painful one. The important ones that change your life usually are.

I learned that I can only be who I am, even if that seems like a disappointment to some. My life hasn’t been easy and I doubt it ever will be, but it’s been one hell of a ride and at the end of the day, I know it’s lead me to the people and places I have now and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

It reminded me why I choose to have so few people in my life and why it’s better that way. It reminded me that relationships that are meant to be shouldn’t be hard or come at the price of anyone loosing their independence or individuality.

Another lesson learned the hard way.

As I face 2015, I realize that the landscape of my vision is quite different than I thought it would be but that I’m ok with that. That I’m actually ok with how things turned out.

I’m ready to embrace the New Year and whatever it holds.

Why bother eating healthy?

Most of you are probably not aware of it, but I’m supposed to be on a number of medications to treat various health problems. The problem is, I don’t like to take prescription medications. Never have.

Part of the move from packaged and processed to made from scratch was because of spending some time considering the fact that although illness and sickness happened when I was a kid, for the most part, people seemed healthy.

Now days, if we see an article about someone living beyond their 80’s, we’re almost in awe. Again, true old age wasn’t that uncommon when I was growing up. Most people did live to their late 80’s at least, most well near to 100.

So what’s changed? Well, a lot actually, but one of the big factors in my opinion is how and what people eat.

Fast food was just starting to gain it’s death-grip when I was a kid. Sure, I got the occasional Happy Meal, but it was just that. Occasional.

I grew up in a world where people still cooked. Sunday dinners were common but they weren’t courtesy of KFC, they came from a woman that usually ran straight home from church to start the huge undertaking of putting it on the table.

We ate real food. Green beans that were snapped by hand. Corn that the kids spent half a Saturday cleaning. Fried chicken, potato salad…I could go on and on.

Now, families head for drive thrus and take out menus. Refrigerators and cabinets are usually bare and the microwave is the only appliance that sees regular use. We’ve become such a culture of instant gratification that we even get restless in line in the drive thru but complain if it isn’t “fresh”. I’ve got news for you, almost nothing that can be gotten in a drive thru is “fresh”. Go home and make the same meal fresh in your kitchen and tell me if you could mass produce them that way in less than 5 minutes. You can’t. And that’s where they get you.

But ask yourself how health has changed in the last 30 years or so. Compare life expectancy then to now.

Of course, there are other factors, such as pollution, but even the fresh vegetables you can buy in the grocery store could come with more than you think. Chemicals from pesticides, growth hormones, genetically altered to resist insect infestation, drought and all other manner of things. Do you really know what you’re eating?

I guess I’m old-school, and getting worse as I age, but when I was a kid, people knew what was in and on their foods. Is it a coincidence that people lived longer then?