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

Transition Update for May and June

Hello sweet friends!
This week has been a long one, with lots of ups and downs, for both the guys in Virginia as well as here in Florida with me and the kids. 
We received an offer (a very low offer) from an investor on our house that is for sale. We decided not to take the offer.

God is so GOOD!

At the very last minute (seriously, the day we took the house off the market and realized we were going to lose it through foreclosure) we received an offer to rent instead of sell.

The amazing part is that the renters were looking for temporary accommodations because of construction happening at their own house, so the insurance paid 3 months UPFRONT including deposits! So we are able to pay the past due balance on the mortgage as well as fund our travel to Virginia and get set up there.

This past week in Virginia…

Kris (my husband ) and Mike (my oldest son) have started placing some important pieces on the puzzle of the property. 

1. They have continued to clean up the cabin and the land and prepare for us to come. They have widened and cut paths, clearing out tall grass and cutting back the encroachment of the forest.
2. They built a small bridge over a very mucky area that was in the path down to the cabin. They dug out a small bed to let the water flow under the bridge. This is just a small step in making the area safer.
3. A contractor came to look at the layout of the land to help Kris understand what is possible for laying a pad for the rv to park. This guy, Mike, was very helpful! He let us know how we can lower the cost by doing some of the work ourselves and what would be necessary for Kris to do before Mike can start the work.
4. They got all the lanterns working properly so they can have light once the sun goes down. This is a huge morale booster for them!
5. They got a temporary shower installed so they can stop bathing in the pond, which they are very grateful for.
6. They have begun planning on where to set up a proper bathroom system and getting the list of supplies necessary to build it this coming week.
7. They scheduled a well company to come out this coming week to search the property for well placement and to test the ground. This is a HUGE step in preparing for us to join them!

Here in Florida

We have continued our life as normal.

1. We went on a field trip to the Daytona Museum of Arts and Sciences and had a great week at homeschool 
2. We had fun at the park getting out some energy and getting our Physical Education Outing for the week 
3. Trayce and Daelynn visited with their friends to prepare to say goodbye 
4. Elijah spent the night with Gran E., Kris’ mom. They went out to eat and enjoyed the pool!
5. We all went swimming and enjoyed the company of our dear hosts (where we are parked currently)
6. Trayce and Daelynn volunteered with a local theater. They helped run concessions, took tickets and helped with seating, and helped in cleanup afterwards.
7. I started working on sewing a new dress from some extra fabric. The neckline didn’t come out correctly and I have to rework that today
8. Elijah officially learned to swim, culminating in 2 swimming trips without his floaty. He is so overjoyed about this and we are very proud of him!

And last, but not least…

we just uploaded a new VLOG on YouTube! Make sure to check it out! (Link below) I give a  short tour of our travel trailer, discussing how to think differently about organization in a tiny space. And Trayce gives a mini-tutorial on making a sourdough starter. (If you want specific directions on the starter just pop me an email or message and I can get more info for ya). 

I am working to finish my blog post for the week. In continuing my “Simple Devotion Series” I discuss how I simplified parenting. Keep you eyes peeled for that. Hopefully it will be finished this weekend!
We pray that  you have an amazing week this coming week and that you will be blessed!
Much Love,
Kris and Brandy
Here’s a link to the VLOG
You can also access it easily from our website. 

Reality Check- the struggle of faith and fear plus The Big Announcement

Let me be real with you for a moment. Is that ok? I don’t want you to get the idea that everything is all rainbows and butterflies. It’s not. This is a very difficult path we’re stepping on. For the most part, we’re trying to walk in faith and continue on into what we feel the Lord is asking of us, while at the same time going against everything that our society tells us is “normal”. We are under no false pretenses thinking this will be easy.

But sometimes, fear strikes.

Tonight as I’m laying in bed, finally resting for a while after one crazy day, it hit me…

Pure terror.

“What are we doing!?!”

“What if this is the biggest mistake of my whole life!?!”

“We’ve already sold everything, so it’s pretty much too late….. We’ll, maybe not. We could just move back in our house… but we won’t be able to pay our bills if we go back, that won’t work.”

“Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!”

I question everything as the warnings of others ring in my ears.

This has to be one of the hardest steps, or leaps, of faith that I’ve ever taken. For most of the time I’m totally convinced that this is what we’re supposed to be doing… But moments come when all that changes and I am overwhelmed by thoughts and emotions.

“What if we fail? What if we come crawling back on our hands and knees!?! I’d be humiliated. Utterly devastated. Completely confused.”

Then I feel a peace. Peace so familiar.

“Everything is ok. I’m in control. My grace is sufficient.”

Sometimes it’s so hard to keep ahold of that!

Everything was a whirlwind! I was giddy inside as I awaited Kris’ call letting me know that he and our oldest son, Mike, made it safely to the “city” we are soon moving to. I knew if I could just write it all out, the ugly truth of deep fear, that I would feel much better!

Soon after hearing from them my mind went on to all the other moving pieces in this puzzle. I thought about how much will change in our lives from now to June 1st. Even though physically I am not well; I’ve been in a flare up for a couple of weeks and the last couple of days have gotten worse- (you can read more about that by clicking here)

But I have been encouraged by what has drastically changed in the lives of Kris and Mike!

Yesterday they drove all the way to our family property in Virginia.

Today they cleaned up some of the property by weed-eating, cleaning up around the cabin

Kris and Mike have some major work cut out for them. This month they are planning to get some big projects started before the whole family arrives at the beginning of June.

The To-Do List

1. Make a driveway to where we are going to build

2. Clean up the property by mowing, cutting and trimming

3. Clean out the cabin and take out all of the drywall damage and leaks and mold from the hurricane that seems to have created a big mess!

4. Get a bunch of firewood started for curing.

5. Find out the best place to install the the well so that we can get that in as soon as possible!

How exciting!?! I can barely contain myself.

How beautiful!?

How peaceful!?

I am beside myself, daydreaming of what next month will be like when we pull onto the property, with everyone back together again, in a new place and the beginning of a new adventure.

I can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for us!

Keep us in your prayers, that (God willing), our house will sell SOON! We will be moving to Virginia with or without the sale. It is what it is at this point. My momma used to always say, “you can’t squeeze blood from a turnip”. If you have no idea what that means, it means I cannot pay with what I don’t have in the first place. So please join us in faith that no matter what happens, He is always good to us.

Big Announcement:

I am so excited to finally get to tell you guys:

We have a YouTube Channel and a new website!

Click here to go to the website

Click here to to go to the YouTube Channel

The website will make it easier to stay updated because it has everything connected between the blog and the YouTube channel. So if you’d like to subscribe to the website it will streamline everything for you!

Until next time…

Much Love,

Brandy and Kris

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 😉

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

Moving update #3

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of crazy! Last weekend we had our painting party. We were able to get about half of our home painted on the inside as well as prepared the kids’ bedrooms for new floors. (Check out The Painting Party Here) There is still so much to do!

A Break in Progress

Taking it day by day is difficult for me sometimes. I’m such a dreamer and can get lost in the clouds as I live in the future. Following the painting party I was hit with reality. Pretty much this whole week I’ve been stuck in bed recovering from the physical excursion from the weekend. It can be hard for people with fibromyalgia to accept that we aren’t normal anymore and to become frustrated with our situation. (Read more about my struggle with this here) This week was one of those weeks. Every day I woke up feeling like I was ran over with a Mack Truck, as I looked around at everything still to be done. How to rest has truly become the hardest lesson for me to learn! If you are a praying person please keep us in your prayers through this transition.

Culling……. AGAIN

Yesterday and today we culled our belongings once again. This is the third time we have purged, and still I was able to get a van FULL of stuff to take to Goodwill!

We are getting down to the nitty-gritty now!

This coming week I will be slowly cleaning the rv and preparing it to begin moving stuff in and getting it organized.

Next weekend we will be having another painting party to try to get the rest of the house finished and Kris will begin putting in the new floors in the last two bedrooms. If you’d like to come help PLEASE reach out to us so we can give you info!

The Good News

On Wednesday our realtors came to look at the progress and to assess where we are and what still remains. We signed all the agreements and did a walk-through.

They (realtors) gave us information on houses near us that are similar in size and date that have recently sold as a way to gauge our selling point. I’m happy to announce that their assessment will give us enough out of the equity (after all fees and commissions!) to start our new life. PRAISE GOD!!!!

Breakdown:

$35,000

-$6000 for the well to be dug

-$15,000 for the yurt kit

-$12,000 to pay off the rv

The remaining will go towards the septic and the driveway and clearing the land to put the rv/yurt.

Our tax refund will cover the gap from house selling.

I’m so excited. Everything is coming together! Everyday it becomes more and more real- THIS IS HAPPENING!

God’s Perfect Timing

I also want to share with you some hard truth. Please don’t get the idea that we are wealthy and that’s how we are able to do this. No, it’s quite the opposite. We are on a time crunch because of our financial situation. Every month since December we are getting further and further into trouble. I am at the point now that each month I can only pay certain bills, while others go unpaid. For example, last month I couldn’t pay our vehicles because I was behind on the mortgage. This month I couldn’t pay the mortgage because I had to make double payments to the vans. Right now I have less than $50 to make it the rest of February for gas and groceries.

BUT…… not to worry. The Lord is faithful and has always and will always take care of us!

That’s what makes this move so much more exciting. We are trusting God and walking in faith, making a huge leap into the vast unknown! The day we pull into our new life we will free up almost $1500 in our budget each month and can begin paying off the vans and getting our self-sustaining life set up.

It’s getting there that is the adventure.

Much Love,

Brandy