Finally!

Hello dear friend!

I’m so excited to FINALLY be able to announce that we have fixed our internet connection problem and will be back this week to bring you up to speed on where we are and what we’ve been up to!

I have so much to share and I’m just itching’ to get back!!

Talk to you later this week ❀️

Much Love,

Brandy

Simple Devotion: How I simplified my faith

I can’t go in depth about my philosophy on living simple, or our choice as a family to transform our life into one of intention, without sharing some of my convictions in faith.

‘Some thing’s dramatic end is another some thing’s dramatic beginning’

In our case, everything was falling apart. Every single aspect of our lives was tossed in the air all at once. Some were completely destroyed while others just needed some rearranging and repair. My health, our income sources, our bills and assets, homeschooling…everything turned upside down.

We were so overwhelmed by everything! But isn’t that where the Lord Jesus gets us to anyway?- the absolute end of yourself!?

I laid in my bed for four months, bedridden for most of the time, in intense pain. I got to a point I had trouble even picking up my phone that all I could do was cry. So I started listening to the Book of Psalms audio through YouVersion.

Over and over, for weeks I heard David and other writers lament, worship, rejoice, repent, cry out for justice, and give glory to God. It was so simple, so pure. It started a flickering inside of something ready to catch fire at any time.

The end of myself was the beginning of Him

Transforming our life wasn’t as simple as binge watching the KonMari method or mass-pinning minimalistic motivational posters on Pinterest. In fact, we’ve talked about this life for many years. The dreams of homesteading, herb gardens at my fingertips, crocheting all my own washcloths and dish towels, getting debt free, and living a simple life… these dreams didn’t come over night. It’s been a slow creeping vine, entangling us and weaving into the very fiber of who we are.

It may have always been on our minds…But it took a mighty big shove to get going!

I guess, in a very deep sense, it first came to us from reading the Word of God. Through that time of great affliction, I had a chance to really hear the Word. Reading what it says, and believing what it says, is quite a completely different thing than actually living and loving what it says.

Family Devotion Time

Having a family devotion time on a regular basis has been transformative in our lives.

We’ve done it a bunch of different ways: Reading the cute little kid Bible stories in it. You know, filled with absolutely adorable cartoon character art work and explained in an easy-to-understand, age appropriate language. I actually love those little books. We’ve done so many of the popular Bible studies available at any Christian book store.

But after hearing the Bible for months in my bed, I had heard some things I’d never heard before. I shared a lot of those things with Kris and we began discussing these things with the kids . You see, a few years before this point we had started a journey to find out the truth about church. What was the first church like? How does God want church to be? What was it meant to be according to the Bible? So now we started intensively digging to find the truth.

We decided to do our devotion time differently. Instead of using Bible studies or apps, or other products that were just man’s opinion… we decided to use the Word.

We took everything we knew about church and what being a disciple is and threw it all out the window. Instead of the pick-a-verse style devotionals that are so popular, we would either read entire books or letters, or look at all the scriptures on one subject with everyone, even Elijah. We would take turns reading each night together. This wasn’t a five minute check-the-box Bible study.

It changed our life!

Just simple. Easy. No special formula. Just read it, discuss what it means and how you can apply it to your own life with your whole family unit.

There is something different about reading the New Testament in such a simple way. Read it as it was meant to be read. The first four books are first hand accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus. Everything about our faith, from the New Covenant with Christ, is covered in those first four books. The greatest sermons ever preached are there. The outlines for how we should live our lives are there. Then take what Jesus taught and use that to filter everything else after. So just read it together and choose to DO it!

Whatever Jesus says or does, simply choose to live it!

Then we moved on to the letters to the churches. Read these whole, as one thought, just as they were meant to be read. They are letters written to the new church and explain the basic tenets of faith and how the church is supposed to be. Isn’t that you and I? Aren’t we the church? Don’t we want to know how it’s supposed to be? So read it like that-a letter written to answer your questions. You wouldn’t get a letter from someone important and just pick out one sentence to read and study. You would read the whole thing at once! You might even read it more than once if it was really important!

I must warn you now, that if you do this you will never be the same. It’s devotion so simple, but it will change everything.

We didn’t necessarily go in order, we started with some of the smaller letters at first. Reading them, listening to them over and over and then discussing them. Believe me, there’s a whole lot to discuss as you realize that there’s no possible way that your lives can stay the same after truly understanding what it’s supposed to be.

This is what began our great adventure. So to understand how we got here, you’d have to read what we read. You’d have to decide to begin with simplicity: just read the Bible as it was meant to be read, not cherrypicked verses with 5 minute self-help devotions. Whole letters, whole topics.

When someone asks how we got here, it’s not easy to explain. It was a journey. This is how the journey began. Are you ready to dig in deep? Are you ready to dare to radically be the church, no matter what that looks like?

Until next time!

Much Love,

Brandy

The Ugly- RV Living

First, let me just say that I feel like the good far outweighs the bad at this point, however, we can’t just gloss over the negative things because that would paint a false picture of how life is really going. I told you from the start that I would be brutally honest. In my last post I talked about the things that I love about living in a small space. So here it is-

The Ugly: What I Hate About RV Life

1. We’re always right on top of each other. I know that I had this, in a sense, as a positive note in my last post, but the fact remains that being together ALL THE TIME can sometimes be a little….. Well…. annoying.

The “master bedroom” is only about four to five steps away from the couch. (The picture above was taken from me laying in my bed looking out of our bedroom door into the kitchen/living room area.) And yes, that’s a great thing for me when I’m not feeling well so that I can still be a part of everything going on (you can read more about my health issues here and here)… but sometimes it’s not such a good thing. Sometimes we just need our own space and time to be alone. It’s hard to get any privacy when you’re a mere three feet away from the zoo that is happening outside of your “bedroom door”! There’s no escaping chaos living in a tiny house. You are forced to deal with it head on (which is both a positive and a negative).

Sometimes you’re grouchy.

Sometimes you just want to be left alone.

Sometimes you just need 10 minutes by yourself.

In rv life with kids that’s not always the easiest thing to deal with! And there’s no dressing that up and making it pretty.

2. Getting a small space cleaned up is easy. It takes just a few minutes. (Which was also one of my good points). BUT, keeping it clean is a whole different beast!

The problem with tiny spaces is how fast it turns into a train wreck! Dishes in the sink and a few items on the counter makes the whole kitchen a total mess! If just a couple of items aren’t put back into their rightful places, the whole thing looks like trash. There’s no way to get around that. And that brings me to-

3. Finding a home for everything can be pretty difficult! Our travel trailer is small. It doesn’t have enough storage space for all of us. Before we moved in here we culled MAJOR, but even after moving in we’ve had to go back through a few times and continue to pare down. Finding a specific home for each item is absolutely necessary- but difficult!

4. THE SHAKING!!! It’s probably not something you’ve thought about unless you have gone camping in one of these things… but if you’re laying in bed and someone gets up to go to the bathroom- you feel it! And I don’t mean like a little- you feel the whole house bounce with each step! It’s kind of a good thing when you’re trying to get the kids to sleep to be able to immediately know if someone is playing around, but feeling like you’re on a waterbed all the time can get on your nerves!

5. The thing you’re always curious about, but too afraid to ask about

Parental Alone Time

That’s probably the biggest thing we don’t like.

It’s very difficult to be alone together and have some privacy when needed. Without being inappropriate or over-sharing, I’ll just say that you have to be a little creative to work this out and it can be frustrating (pun intended). But it’s a fact of life, and so there’s always a way!

Well, friend, I hope this gave you a look into the ugly side.

Stay in touch and keep up with us by subscribing to this blog and following us on Instagram (#krisandbrandy).

Much Love,

Brandy

Click the link to read my last post about the good things that I love about rv living “First Month In The RV- living in a tiny house with chronic illness

And here is a follow up video of the kids and Kris giving their opinion on life in the rv

First Month In The RV- living in a tiny house with chronic illness

The month of April has come and gone. We’ve survived! We finished the house remodel, moved into the rv, celebrated Elijah’s birthday, and finally got settled in where we’re staying (a sweet friend is allowing us to park on their beautiful property that is in the city, but feels like the country. It even has a private pond and lots of running space!)

The Lord has been faithful and we have been able to rest and relax a bit. (You can see more about how everything went by clicking this link.)

April was very busy, and a little stressful, but has rounded out quite well. We are so grateful for how everything came together!

How Are We Doing In The Rv?

Well, let me explain first by letting you know that it is NOT a big luxury rv… no, it’s a modest 26 ft pull-behind travel trailer , but it serves us well!

I’m sure that not all of us feel the same way I do, but honestly, I LOVE IT!

Yes we’re cramped.

Yes, our bunkhouse got messed up (read about that here) and we had to adapt and overcome.

Yes, the “kitchen” is the tiniest thing ever, lol.

And Yes, the “living room” is also a bedroom at the moment.

So why am I enjoying myself so much??

  1. We spend a lot more time together! Living in a small space forces us to interact with each other more. There’s not enough space for kids to hide out in their individual bedrooms with their noses stuck in their devices. (That goes for us adults as well 😊). Plain old boredom has been a useful tool in helping us connect, and I’m loving it!

Who wouldn’t be happy spending time with the best kids ever?!

2. In the “old house” I would walk out of my room, past two of the kids’ rooms, down the hallway, past the guest bathroom, and through the living room-just to get to the kitchen. On really bad days that walk was impossible. I would be trapped in my room while life went on without me in the rest of the house. Not only that, but on bad days that I could manage to get to get to the kitchen I would be so overwhelmed by all the things I would see that needed to be done… and the negative self-talk would begin. There wasn’t much I could do to make it better and the rest of the family already had to pull most of my weight on house duties whenever I would have a flare up, so I would eventually get so frustrated with myself that I would just try to ignore the mess and do what I could, which wasn’t always much.

Here in the travel trailer no matter how bad I’m feeling I can at least make it the four steps from my bed to the couch everyday! (I haven’t had a severe flare up yet, PRAISE GOD).

But the thing I love the most…..

I Can Keep It Clean! It only takes about 30 minutes to deep clean this baby! (I’m doing a little dance every time I say that). But seriously, I feel like I got a new chance to feel accomplished about something….

Living with chronic illness can really get you frustrated with your life and truthfully a little judgmental against yourself. Again, in the old house I would get overwhelmed by the sheer size of it. It had nine rooms all together (you can see the house here if you’re interested)

In the smaller (much smaller) space of the travel trailer I can get everything cleaned (well cleaned!) in a short amount of time.

Each morning, after breakfast, I send the kids outside for about a half hour to get out their energy before school and so I can tidy up. I do the dishes, clean the counters, stove and sink. I am able to straighten up the bathroom and couch and sweep the floors! Granted, it is only like 300 sq ft, I think (don’t quote me on that). In just a few minutes I can get the house looking amazing, whereas after thirty minutes in the “regular house” you wouldn’t be able to tell I had done anything!

This has really helped my self esteem and sense of accomplishment!

I am so grateful for this little house on wheels. I have so much more peace here. Last week I told Kris that when we plan the cabin build that I 100% DO NOT want it to be big! A tiny house is exactly what we needed…. maybe not this tiny… a few more square feet on each side would be just enough!

And for the last reason I’m loving this trailer…

3. It forces all of us to get outside. No more bumps on a log watching the big screen all day!

In such a small space, we are forced to have the world as our front yard.

And that makes this momma’s heart oh so happy!

-Life is good-

I pray that you too can fill your day with less stress, more family time, and a stop to smell the roses!

Much Love,

Brandy

Ps- this has been about what I personally love about the tiny home lifestyle, but stay tuned to hear about some of the not so pretty things that come from living small. Comment below if you’re interested in hearing the kids’ opinions as well!

update: Check out the not so good things that I dislike about rv life in my post The Ugly- RV Living

We’re back

Hey everyone! It’s been a few weeks, and I know that some of y’all have been wondering what happened to us……

We Finally Finished The House!

We moved the travel trailer to a friends property to wait on the house to sell…

We had to take out part of our fence in order to get the trailer out, which was a lot of hard work!!

And then had to build it back. Uggghhh!

We finally got it out and moved!

I want to say a special thank you to all of those that helped us with the move, you know who you are.

It definitely was NOT an easy day! That night, after breaking fences, loading the trailer, moving the trailer, and getting the trailer parked to its new place, we had to set everything up to be able to get to beds and move around… but it started pouring rain… and the bunkhouse sprung a leak. I guess we needed something to make it a little more interesting!

We had to rip off the paneling to get rid of the wet stuff…..

The whole month of April we FINALLY got settled in and took some time to just relax and spend with the kids and family.

What’s Next?

Tomorrow we have an open house for the old house…. we are praying that the perfect buyer will be there.

Kris and Mike will be headed to the future property in a couple of weeks to start clearing some land.

And the kids and I will be taking some more staycation time.

Subscribe to stay updated with this adventure ❀️

Much Love,

Kris and Brandy

I Disappeared

Hey friends!! I hope you are all doing well! I just wanted to make a post letting everyone know that I haven’t forgotten about the blog. We are deeply in the thick of it getting prepared to leave Florida. So much is going on that I haven’t had the time or energy necessary to keep the blog updated……

But don’t worry πŸ˜‰

I have been taking lots of pictures and videos as we go so that once we get stabilized I can get everyone caught up to speed.

I have been able to make small updates on our Instagram page as well as our Facebook page, so if you want to check that out there is a link to that on the right side bar (if you are using a table top computer) or on the bottom of page (if you are using a smaller device such as a phone or tablet). Hit “like” to be updated on what we post.

We are so excited! Every day we get closer and closer to the Great Florida Exodus. Things are getting so real!

Our house will hit the market this coming week. Please join us in prayer that everything will go smoothly and that we get the profit we need to get settled in Virginia.

A huge thank you and a hug to all of you who are supporting us with love, prayers and encouragement. We appreciate each one of you.

Much Love,

Brandy and Kris

“Easy Dinner Series For Large Families”- Easy Street Tacos with Refried Beans/ (Cooking with Fibromyalgia)

As I sit in bed this morning, I can feel the effects of Saturday’s work seeping down into my muscles. It’s as if I just picked myself up after being beat with a baseball bat. My head is foggy, each arm and leg feels like it weighs 10 times it’s normal weight. My muscles are aching and tender. My feet are tingling and burning, and the big joints in my feet and legs (and now my fingers) feel like they are full of peanut butter.

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Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

One of the big lessons I’ve learned through this trial living with chronic illnesses, is that we all just need to SLOW.DOWN. Maybe you are like I used to be: 100 miles an hour, all day, every day.

Taking kids here and there, always in a rush.

“What’s for dinner?”

“Did I remember to send that paper in for the rehearsal?”

“Oh shoot! I knew I would forget Bambi’s bag next to the front door! Ugggggh. It’s been sitting there all week for me to bring today!”

I know I can’t be the only one out there that was running myself ragged just trying to be a mythological hero named ‘SuperMom’.

No one is worse than ourselves when it comes to criticism. Sometimes I have to tell myself to shut up!

Living with autoimmune and fibromyalgia has taught me a valuable lesson in resting and not being so hard on myself . And believe me, it’s not a pretty sight to get dragged, kicking and screaming, down that path by the Good Lord! Learning how to rest has been the hardest test of my life.

Rest is so important….. so why do I feel like I don’t need it?

I think deep down it’s about pride and trust.

Do I trust that it’s ok for me to take a break?

Can my family handle things without me?

Can my husband take care of the kids without me micromanaging?

I got to the point that I relied too much in my own strength. An empty cup can’t pour out for others something that it doesn’t have. We have to get ourselves filled up.

So, today, I urge you fellow SAHMs, Moms of multiple, and all of you struggling with perfectionism-find some rest today. Get somewhere quiet and private for a little while. Do some things to take care of yourself: take a bath, read some uplifting articles, spend time in prayer… whatever you feel like you should do to rest your mind and body, today.

In going along with taking it easy, here is another meal in my “Easy Dinner Series For Large Families”.

Easy Street-Tacos and Refried Beans

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In preparing for the health repercussions of the painting party, I wanted to be real with you all so that you can see into how I think and deal with fibromyalgia from day-to-day.

Living with chronic illness can be tricky that’s for sure, but it doesn’t have to derail your life.

It just takes a little pre-planning! The day of the painting party I slow cooked a big batch of pinto beans in the crock pot. That night I stored the beans in the refrigerator. I knew from past experiences that anytime I have a large physical output (or deal with a stressful situation) that the next couple of days after will be the roughest on me. In preparation I try to make a few easy meal plans ahead of time. This is one of our favorites! It’s easy, cheap, and delicious!

You Will Need

A large family pack of boneless skinless chicken breasts (6-7 breasts)

Olive oil

Cumin seeds and cumin powder

Chili powder

1 lb of dry pinto beans *(precooked, see explanation below)*

hot sauce

cilantro

radishes

Avocado (3-4)

salt and pepper

tortilla shells (bought or homemade work well- here’s a link to the recipe I use for homemade flour tortilla shells. This will make the recipe more labor intensive, so either make ahead or skip it and pick up a pack at the grocery)

 

 

What To Do

First I get the pan heated well on medium-high, then add the oil. While the pan is heating up I cut the chicken breasts into long thin slices.

I used a large family pack of boneless skinless breasts for this, but you could also use a bag or two of the Tyson fajita chicken that is precooked and just skip the chicken parts of this recipe (I like to use fresh instead of precooked as much as possible to avoid all the extra preservatives and fillers)

* BEAN NOTE: Once the chicken is going I got my beans from the fridge that I had cooked the day before. I froze half of the portion for another quick meal later and used half for this recipe. (making more than necessary and freezing half for later is a big secret I use for cooking for a big family)*

Add the beans into a pot, coating the bottom well with olive oil, and set the heat to medium.

Next, I added the seasonings cumin seeds, cumin powder, chili powder, and salt and pepper to taste to the chicken.

Cumin powder and chili powder, plus salt and pepper to taste in the beans.

Keep stirring both dishes until everything is well combined, stirring frequently during the cooking process, until the beans are well heated and mushy and the chicken has cooked out most of the liquid..

While everything is cooking, I prepare the toppings. Wash cilantro and radishes well. Chop up the cilantro and slice the radishes. I usually serve this meal with sliced avocado as well, but didn’t have any this time…..so add avocado to yours πŸ™‚

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At this point I tasted everything and decided to add more cumin and chili powder to both dishes, and I stirred in hot sauce to the beans.

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And that’s it!

A 30 minute meal, made from fresh whole ingredients for a large family.

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