The First Week In Virginia

Well guys, we finally made it! The rv got moved, and the younger kids and I made the two day trip to Virginia!

It has been a whirlwind of emotions over the past two weeks, to say the least! Packing and leaving Florida was not only physically draining, but was also emotionally rough as well! We said our goodbyes to our family and friends, loading everything up and began the first leg of the trip, which was from central Florida to Cartersville, Georgia (which is in the Northwestern part of the state).

Our “adopted” family (longtime close family friends) The Langford’s (Bill and Renee) hosted us, as well as “Nana” (Renee’s mom).

We stayed the night there to recharge and reboot for the second half of the trip.

BUT… we couldn’t leave on Sunday before having some of Bill’s famous BBQ at his new restaurant “Fire It Up BBQ and Grill” in Cartersville. If you ever find yourself in this area of the state, you have to visit Bill’s new family-friendly, down-home, southern-cafeteria-style restaurant. It is absolutely the best BBQ in the state! Not to even mention the mouth-watering peach cobbler or the heavenly macaroni and cheese!

I was so happy that my little brother,Mike, was able to drive over to visit with us. The kids and I were so happy to see him!

After lunch and fellowship we began the last half of our trek to Virginia. This second leg was much more exciting than the first since we’ve made the trip through my home state of Georgia many times, but we’ve only visited Virginia once (about five years ago).

Our excitement grew and grew as the roads began to twist and turn and we went higher and higher in elevation.

We finally arrived late in the evening, just as the sun was going down over the horizon. Since the rv was delivered the night before our arrival, Kris and Mike had already set up and unpacked it for us! We don’t have a vehicle able to pull our travel trailer just yet, but our sweet friends at Sonshine RV Rentals (in Deland FL) offered to haul it from central Florida all the way to its new home in Virginia. Speaking of home, it is such a great feeling to move to a whole new state, open the door, and already be “home”. It makes moving such a breeze! As many times as I’ve moved I really wish I would’ve gotten hip to RV life much sooner! It really cuts down on the hassle and stress of relocating multiple times.

This week has been so enjoyable! The first full day of our arrival we visited our property, which will be the land we are clearing and preparing over the next few months.

This place is pure heaven on earth! It is so beautiful and robust with life. The peace felt here is indescribable. And my imagination runs wild and free with everything it could be.

Over the last half of this week we explored one of the nearby town, Farmville. It is so cute and country!

The people are very friendly and polite, a refreshing change from the hustle and bustle city-flow of central Florida. We have enjoyed long slow drives through the rolling hills and beautiful scenery of country homes and farms in place of stop lights and honking traffic. I feel like I can finally breathe again!

Sitting on the front porch, listening to the birds and frogs chirping and croaking, I realized how much I have truly missed this slow life. I spent most of my teen and young adult life running as far from the country life as possible, but I’ve had such a deep desire the past few years to return here and take it slow! In some sort of sixth sense, or Devine revelation, I have felt the call back to the earth- to get close with nature again, and to SLOW DOWN! I honestly feel like there is something healing in this place that my intelligence can’t explain, but I can feel that truth deep inside myself.

On the other hand, there has been one bump in the road: we don’t have any cellular reception. Of course, this has many positive repercussions that we have enjoyed, but when it comes to this blog and our YouTube channel, we are struggling to figure out a work around. Please give us some grace in this area as we come up with a working plan to remain consistent.

Today, we are driving to the nearest town library to use the WiFi to download our photos and videos and uploading some content. God willing, you will be reading this post sometime Thursday evening! – And even more hopefully, we will have our newest video uploaded to YouTube by Sunday.

We are so excited to share this new journey with you! I hope that you will come along with us as we navigate this new life! (to read more about what we are doing, please click here)

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

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

How To Treat Allergies Naturally

It’s that time of year again!

landscape nature flowers summer

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

As I look around I see the suffering in puffy eyes, runny noses and the long list of other ailments that accompany seasonal allergies. NOT FUN!

I reach out at every chance I get to offer options to people who even mention allergies around me. And the reason why I am so passionate, to the point of getting on your nerves about it, is that I used to suffer just like the rest of those watery-eyed uncomfortable folks walking around in their misery.

BUT THERE IS AN ANSWER!!

One day while reading an article, which I can not remember for the life of me where to find, I had an epiphany that was LIFE CHANGING!

My first thought was “Why isn’t this the prescription for everyday allergies??”

1. Take local raw honey everyday!

          I take a TBSP every morning, either in my coffee or right off the spoon, delicious nectar of God…….

close up photography of honey

Photo by Three-shots on Pexels.com

 

My son, eat honey, for it is good,Yes, the honey from the comb is sweet to your taste;Know that wisdom is thus for your soul;If you find it, then there will be a future,And your hope will not be cut off.–Proverbs 24:13-14, NASB

                                                                                                 

but seriously, taking raw local honey everyday is like taking a natural immunization for pollens! You are inoculating yourself with all the pollens in your local area so that your body can get accustomed to the small amounts over time, which will better help the immune system handle the bombardment during allergy season.

2. Take a shower every night before bed.

bathroom bathtub ceramic clean

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

             During the day you are bombarded with allergens. If you leave your home to go to work or school, think about all the junk that is floating around in the air. You hair, skin and clothes catch little hitchhikers all day long, including pollen, mold spores, dust, animal danger, and ever colds and viruses. If you don’t rinse off you each night then you are then sleeping with all these trigger causing allergens…………rolling around and cuddling the very things that are making you sick.

Some of us have sensitive that get dry and flaky if we wash everyday…For those people, you can just rinse with water! At least get in the shower, rinse from top to bottom and wash those pesky hitchhikers right down the drain!

3. Use a new wash cloth and new towel every night.

towels bath towels bathroom

Photo by Dom J on Pexels.com

             Yes, you may be one of those penny savers that use the same towel a few times after getting a shower (psss, you’re not alone, I did it too), and for some in the population that are blessed with never having to live with chronic allergies it is totally fine to do it that way if you wish….but for chronic allergy sufferers, this is not an option!

Mold and Mildew breed in bathroom towels and clothes.

           No matter if you hand dry them or not, for allergy sufferers, mold and mildew spores are a major trigger, so why risk the chance of contaminating your already clean (You just showered) body with the very things you just rinsed off???

         Even more so: THROW AWAY YOUR LOUFFA!

Every night use a fresh towel and a fresh wash cloth to wash and dry yourself.

baskets clean color cotton

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

4. Wear new pajamas every night

                     Getting in the habit of this will greatly help your situation if you do have a day where it wasn’t feasible to get a shower for whatever reasons (don’t make a trend of it though). Every night while we are sleeping, dead skin cells, and other things on our skin, come off. We also fluctuate in body temperature during the night which can cause sweating. These dead skin cells, moisture, and warmth are a bacteria breeding ground. Changing your clothes every night will keep that to a minimum instead of once again rolling around in allergens all night.

5. Wear new clothes every day when you get up

Listen, I’m a stay at home mom, I KNOW WHAT YOU ARE THINKING RIGHT NOW, but this is a vital key to getting rid of your allergies!!!! So you’ve followed everything up to this point. You washed all the allergens off. You’ve worn new pj’s to bed. You used a fresh towel, a new wash cloth and even threw away your favorite pink fluffy louffa….but you get up and put on yesterday’s clothes because “eh, I didn’t really go anywhere yesterday so I’m fine”….. UM NO. You have just undone everything you’ve worked so hard for!

photo of clothes hanging on rope

Photo by Daniel Spase on Pexels.com

                Just suck it up and put on a fresh t-shirt lady!

(I’m seriously yelling this at myself right now, as I sit in my comfy pjs and don’t really see a reason to put on fresh clothes………we’re so hard headed aren’t we?! SMH)

Every person I have ever told this to has the same look across their face as I did when I read the article! Pure shock as to  how simple and logical this is.

I mean, I was slapped int he face with the question “Why didn’t I think of this before??” It makes so much sense! And why isn’t this like the go-to advice for allergy sufferers???

I have been allergy free for over a year! Go ahead and try it and see if it works for you.

If you would like to learn a little more about how to deal with those stupid allergies, take a look at this short clip by Dr. Axe as he discusses the topic in an interesting way. This video is how I got started taking care of my own health instead of running to the M.D all the time.