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A Day in the Life

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I was talking with a good friend of mine yesterday, and she asked me a funny question. She asked me what I liked the most about being here. I had been consumed by all of the things that I DIDN’T like about camping in a field with two kids. I never really just sat down and thought about all of the things that I did like. So today as we went through our day, I began to reflect on everything that we were doing and not only did the day seem much easier, but I enjoyed myself so much more. In order to fully appreciate our life, I thought it might be helpful to lay out our typical day for you, and then maybe you can better appreciate the things that are wonderful about our life.

5:30am- the baby wakes for an early morning snack. We snuggle in bed and fall back asleep.
7:00am- big brother wakes up and we all snuggle in bed together. He gets back up and plays quietly with his cars for about 30 minutes.
8:00am- we all get dressed and head out to the kitchen for pancakes and cocoa.
9:00am- the baby has a nap and big brother and I take the dog for a walk around the field.
9:45am- big brother and I fill up the water jug and play together.
10:30am- everyone has a snack and we shoot the bow and arrow for a while
11:30am- the baby wakes up and we all eat lunch together.
12:00pm- Papa takes a shower while the boys and I ‘hang out’ and play
1:00pm- we all go to the coffee shop for ice cream
2:15pm- everyone takes a nap together. Papa plays his ukelele.
4:15pm- everyone is up from naps and we head to the lake to play
7:00pm- dinner together and dishes. While I do dishes, Papa and big brother go for a walk together.
8:00pm- bedtime for the boys and we have some quiet time together.

It may not seem that exciting to you, but here is what I love about our time here. I love that we do everything together, as a family. I love watching my husband teach our son and go for walks with him. I love that he wants to go for a walk with us more than he wants to watch TV. I love that we all snuggle in bed together every morning. I love that I get to lay on the floor and watch the baby roll around and eat his toes. I love the routine of camp life. I love doing laundry by hand and hanging it up to dry- and doing it as a family chore. I love the sunsets that we see every evening. I love looking at the stars when I get up in the night. I love that we have somehow adapted to living in one room together and we all still love each other! I love laying in bed at night and listening to the sounds of the night and hearing the deep, sleeping breathing of my boys.

There are so many, many things that I do not like about camping in a field while we wait to even begin building our house. But the things that I DO like– these are the reasons we came here in the first place. These are the reasons we wanted a simpler life. These are the things that make our hearts happy and full. This is why we are doing what we are doing. This is the Good Life!

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Braving the Storm……in a Tent

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imageI did not check the time when the storm started, but I know that it came in hard and fast. It was the lightning that woke me up first. It was not like any lightning that I had ever seen before. It reminded me of a fluorescent light bulb that is going bad- it was a constant strobe of light, flashing continuously. Initially, there was a light sprinkle and some distant thunder. The wind was whipping the trees around, but it was far above us and there wasn’t much wind blowing the tent. Within about 15 minutes, we knew we were in trouble. Konrad woke up and sat on our bed, eyes wide with a mixture of awe and fear. The baby had managed to get himself into a sitting position in his crib and was staring up at the top of the tent with wide, wild eyes. The wind started to sound like a freight train coming and the West side of the tent blew in to what seemed like a 45 degree angle. For the next 20 minutes or so, Dave and I braced against the tent poles with all of our weight, while the wind and rain pummeled the tent. I remember looking around and it all seemed so surreal. Konrad lay on our bed watching us, silent, as if he sensed the gravity of the situation enough to be still. Jacob sat in his bed and stared at the lightning strobe in the sky. Dave and I looked at each other during the flashes and seriously questioned whether we were going to make it or not. I had begun to pray when the lightning woke me, and continued my prayer incessantly while the storm raged around us. Several times it struck me that it was not the best idea to be in a field during an insane storm, holding a metal tent pole, but the alternative was much, much worse. Being in the middle of a field with two small kids and no tent would not have been a viable option over the possibility of being struck by lightning. The freight train wind slowly subsided and the rain pelted us in sheets.

We lay in bed after, the four of us, and my heart raced with the surge of adrenaline. The next challenge arose when we heard the cracking. Trees to the South and East were cracking in the forest and there was no way to tell how far off they were. We lay on the bed and listened to the cracks and I held my breath every time one fell, sighing with relief when it fell in the forest instead of in camp. The lightning began to fade and the thunder rolled off. We could still hear the freight train sound in the distance, but the worst had passed. I got the kids back to bed and finally stopped praying. Dave told me later that it made him feel like God was throwing us into some crazy team-building, family strengthening madness to see how we would fare. Our teamwork, communication, and ability to act quickly had saved the tent poles, the tent, and us, from certain disaster. We read the next morning that the wind gusts had been anywhere from 60 to 80 miles per hour. I silently laughed to myself at the irony. A day earlier, my brother and sister-in-law had assured us that we were well out of tornado territory this far North. It was no tornado, but I imagine that is as close as we will get, and it was close enough! The next mornings survey revealed that our cheap Walmart sun canopy was shredded, but the huge 8×20 tent, and 10×10 screen tent had survived intact. I saw pictures of the devastation from the wind across the state, and knew that we were so fortunate to have made it through with so little damage, especially being in a tent! We definitely felt a renewed sense of purpose today for getting a move on the house building project! It is amazing what security comes with four walls and a roof.

Two Trucks, Two Trailers, Two Kids, and a Dog

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We started our adventure to Minnesota on July 11th, after closing on our house. It was a mad three-day drive with me in one truck with the two kids and a trailer, and my husband in another truck with the dog and a trailer. We did not have any major mishaps although at times I thought that I might lose my mind while I plopped pacifiers in the baby’s mouth, got games ready for the three-year old to play, handed out massive amounts of snacks to both children, talked on the radio with my husband, and tried to drive at the same time. I listened to a large amount of music at a rather high volume and pretended that I did not feel like some sort of fish stuck in a fish bowl. We arrived on our property and were welcomed to Minnesota with some serious rain and some more serious mosquitos. It has been four days now, and we have retreated to the ‘city’ for a little break from camping. I am feeling tired, discouraged, and uncertain how to proceed. We are working on getting our building permit, but are running into difficulties. The kids are not adjusting well to camp life. It feels fairly overwhelming. On a positive note, I have done many things for the first time, and have enjoyed some really sweet sunsets looking across our field. I saw my first moon bows two nights ago when I woke in the night. I drove a motorcycle for the first time, tooling around the field at a Grandma speed. I went for a walk in the field and heard our boys laughing and playing together when they should have been sleeping. I watch our oldest son run around outside all day and see the joy on his face at being able to run free.

I am trying not to worry. I am trying not to think about all of the unknowns that I cannot prepare for or prevent. I am trying to believe that we are following our dream instead of feeling that we are completely insane. I am trying to believe that our boys will not somehow be traumatized by living in a tent for the summer. I wish that I could say that this is some dream come true. I wish I could say that it is easy and fun and full of adventure, but it is hard, really hard. Maybe the hardest thing I have ever done. I am trying to pray every day, all day, and wait. I am trying to learn to listen, and be patient, and be still. I am thankful for our solar shower. I am thankful for our neighbor, who has already had us over for coffee. I am thankful for my brother, who has provided us a rest stop in the city. I am very, very thankful for mosquito repellant and anti-itch cream. I am thankful that I have a healthy family. I am thankful that I have this wonderful piece of land and hope that we can endure this period of trial to see it become our home.

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