When we lived in Nome, we bought stuff…..lots of stuff. If we thought we needed something, we bought it. Despite our accumulating tendencies, when we left Nome to drive across the country to West Virginia, we fit everything we owned into half of a 16 foot utility trailer and slept in the other half while we were on the road. Somehow, while we were in West Virginia, we slowly let ‘stuff’ creep back in. When the time came to pack it all up and move, we felt consumed by it. We knew that we didn’t want so many possessions in our lives, but we felt compelled to keep it all anyway. Day after day we sorted, while the pile of stuff that we were keeping kept getting bigger and bigger. We found ourselves saying, “I don’t NEED this, but I might someday”, or “I do not want this, but it is worth something, so I don’t want to just get rid of it”. When we finally pulled out of West Virginia, we had grown from that half a trailer, to two full trailers, another trailers worth of stuff at my parent’s house, and a storage unit full of machines that we were temporarily leaving behind in West Virginia.

I still chuckle at the absurdity of driving through our field of 2 foot tall grass with our two trucks and trailers to set up a tent at the back edge of the field. We took one trailer worth of stuff to yet another storage unit and proceeded to live for the next ten weeks in a tent with the barest of essentials. Once we moved into the ‘house’ we were basically still camping, with no electricity or running water. We lived in the house for about a month, hauling water, using oil lamps for electricity, and playing cards for fun. Our life was simple, but meaningful. We spent time talking to each other, playing games, and being outside. Then we temporarily moved into a rental in town and slowly got our stuff out of storage.
Once we had most of our belongings, we started to look around at the mountain of stuff and realized that somehow, this stuff was overtaking our lives. Don’t get me wrong- I like conveniences like blenders and coffee makers and things like that- but especially as Americans, we all have SO MUCH STUFF. So we have begun the process of sorting that really should have happened before we moved. We are getting rid of things rarely used, barely used, and things that have no purpose at all. There is freedom in lightness. There is a definite need for simplicity that allows distraction to slip away and be replaced by things more meaningful. I want my life to be full of experiences, full of memories, and full of God, and less full with the mountain of stuff that threatens to consume us all. Sometimes I wonder if this is one of the many lessons God wanted us to learn by bringing us here the way that he did. By removing us from our possessions, we have begun to learn the value of a simple, uncluttered life. So we will continue purging and sorting through the winter and hopefully Spring will find us back on our property with less stuff and more soul!