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2016 Christmas Reflections: Our Year In Review

Dear Friends & Family,

Whew! 2016 has flown by so quickly we are happy to take this pause to write to you and catch our breath! It feels like the new year has just just come and gone, but now here we are, coming to the close of yet another year. I think it is true that the older we get, time seems to speed up. But as the hours and minutes have flown by us all too quickly, we hope that in the midst of every day life, this year has been filled with more wonderful moments than you can count.

Every year seems to bring with it new types of seasons and change for us all, and this was truly a year of a new season of change for our family. As many of you know, our family lived/traveled full-time in an RV for the past few years with Anthony as his  job moved him around. However, this year he settled into a bit of a more permanent position with his work, which keeps him stationary for most of the year. With that, our family has settled back down as well, only not at our previous home of Wilmington, NC where we both grew up, but in a quant little South Carolina town just outside of Charlotte, NC.

When we moved away from “home” and everything we had ever known three years ago, we could never have imagined where that leap of faith would take us. We just knew we were just along for the journey…wherever that may lead us!

In the early part of this year we stumbled upon an 1873 victorian farmhouse on Main Street in a little town most people have never heard of; and after a lengthy process to acquire it, by July of this year this fixer-up was ours!

This old house is a jewel, we are grateful and in love, but like anything that is old and worth keeping, it is work…lots and lots of work. But we are up for the task and excited to see what she will become with time, a whole lotta’ hard work, and a little love! {Feel free to scroll below in our blog to read all about that journey!}

Olivia is almost 12 and is in the 6th grade. She is true pre-teen, southern girl in every sense of the word and is full of spunk and energy and keeps mom on her toes! Her best/favorite subjects are math & animal science, which is helpful as she has wanted to be veterinarian for as long we can remember and she hasn’t changed her mind yet! She loves to write, is involved in equestrian 4-H, choir, and is always singing. She enjoys sewing, is obsessed with animals and Carrie Underwood, and is currently working to save up enough money to have her very own horse. The picture below was taken on the day her daddy surprised her with a date to her very first Carrie Underwood concert back in October. She said this was the highlight of her entire year…right next to getting her own room again and not having to share space with Jackson. 😉

 

Jackson is 10 and is in the 4th grade. He loves Minecraft, building Star Wars Lego anything, and reading…that boy devours books, which makes mom oh so happy! He enjoys rip-sticking, singing, choir, and is currently asking to take drum & piano lessons…we’ll see how that goes. 😉 His favorite subjects are reading comprehension, history, and geography.  He asked to fix up his room in an American history theme, so we’re working on that! Unlike his big sis, Jackson isn’t exactly the country kid type, but she roped him into this outfit on Halloween by telling him no one would give him candy if he didn’t have a costume. And that was the end of that.  😉

We are halfway through our 5th year homeschooling and though it is hard work, and we certainly have our challenging days, we are loving it and it continues to serve us well. I am still dabbling in a bit of writing here and there for various online publications and personally as well, and am currently in school working on a psychology degree with plans to continue on for a Master’s degree in a mental health counseling field. There is always a lot of learning of some kind going on in our home, which we are so grateful and fortunate to have.

There has been a few bumps in the road, but mostly it’s been a sweet year for our family, which was a welcomed reprieve after a challenging 2015. But life is just that way isn’t it? We never know from year to year what life will throw our way. But for now, we are just savoring life together, and the smallest moments as they all too quickly turn into years and change comes for us again.

If you are reading this now, that means that you are a part of or have touched our lives in a tangible way at some point in time and are the reason we feel blessed far beyond words. Our wish for us all this Christmas season and the new year is that we will find the very best of life in relationships and experiences more than in accomplishments and monetary gain, that we will find great joy in the simplest moments, and experience the richness of life in the love that we have to give away to one another, and in the warmth of Jesus Christ who is love and from whom every good and wonderful thing comes.

Christmas blessings to your and yours, and well wishes for your 2017, from our family to yours.

With Love,

The Rowell Family

2016

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Truth On The Struggle Of Restoration & The Beauty Of The Process

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Hey ya’ll!

If you thought this was gonna be one of those dreamy, Pinterest “viola! everything’s amazing in a week” farmhouse blogs…you’re probably going to be pretty disappointed here. But if you like real life, then come have a sit down next to us because we’ve got more than enough of that to go around!

Newsflash! As much as we all love them, life isn’t mostly a Southern Living magazine and this definitely isn’t a not reality HGTV series.

Also, those things, lovely and amazing as they are, aren’t our reality, and portraying that it is wouldn’t accurately reflect our vision for documenting and writing about our journey!

We wanted to document our lives in a way that shows the truth, the REAL days, the work, the struggle, and the true reality behind the few and far more picturesque moments that happen here and there.

To bring you up to speed, things have been both a mixture of crazy busy remodeling days, and slower days of just enjoying settling into our new place, sitting out on the front porch in our missed-matched rockers and paint chippy wicker furniture we bought an auction for $35, and school days still in our pj’s together.

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I have to admit, remodeling an old house isn’t for the faint of heart. The work is never done. Nor is it anything like what you see on HGTV. I keep asking my husband Anthony, “WHEN is the crew gonna show up?!” Alas, they never do because well, we ARE the crew!

img_6365To be completely honest, farmhouse renovations are coming along even more slowly than I had imagined they would for several reasons.

Mostly because in the midst of it all, we still have to live life! Still, I can’t help but think that endless days just to focus on remodeling would be amazing and we would have come so far already.

Alas, full-time work, school for both the kids and I, activities, and LIFE happens in between the few days a week we have just to dedicate to the house that seem to fly by far too quickly, and come around again far less than we would like.

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In it all, like most seasons in life if we stop to take note, the process is teaching us important lessons that we probably wouldn’t learn if we had unlimited amounts of resources and time…or Chip & Joanna Gaines to just come in do the work for us!

Once again, life is giving us the ever important lessons found in patience, hard work, and learning to let ourselves enjoy the process of the present journey rather than hanging our happiness on some imagined future destination!

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img_5606.jpgAnd so, in between the juggling act of the house work, job work, school, family, and all of life’s other priorities, are the small accomplishments and sweet moments that make life all that it is; all that it should be like Sunday lunch around our unfinished table with faces we love, sweet welcomes from new neighbors, birthday wishes come true, and tiny corners of rooms transformed!

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img_6743I’m starting to understand that the work won’t be finished anytime soon, and since the house is over 100 years old, it’ll likely never end. But that’s okay! The character that is built into our old 1873 farmhouse from long ago, is building lessons of character in us that will last.

Sometimes in my most impatient, frustrated, and impatient moments, I find myself laying on the one couch we have in the one functional living space we have put together at present, wondering if it isn’t really us that’s re-building this old house, but this old house that is building us.

As much as we might have been a gift of restoration to this old place, the lessons we are learning here could very well the new gifts it is offering right back to us.

The deep gifts aren’t really in the end result, they are found in the process.

Because everything beautiful and rich and full of deep character in life, took years and years of slow and steady time to forge.

There is so much beauty to be discovered in the process of restoration.

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Sometimes Life Gives You A Big Ole’ “Welcome Home”

round logoHey ya’ll!

Welcome to the “new” Light Life Blog! We promised we weren’t going anywhere, just getting off at the station to board a different train that will take us in a new direction.  😉

Although we are no longer living our full-time RV life journey, we felt that our name was still equally as fitting and so, we kept it!

So why The Light Life?

Because we believe that regardless of who we are, what we do, or what we live in, we live our lives as lights that shine brightly into a dark world. That has become our family’s mission statement – LIVE the light.

And so, we will stay The Light Life Blog!

I realize that some of you may be disappointed that we won’t be sharing our RV life posts these days. However, we’re willing to bet that you might find sticking around for this leg of our journey to be well worth your time too – at least we sure hope so!

13654255_878327102311846_5489519023965512515_nAs of this past Friday, we moved out of our sweet little camper home to settle into an old 1873 farmhouse in a quaint little southern town in South Carolina just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina!

While the house itself has been lived in and updated here and there through the years, it needs quit a bit of TLC to bring it back to life. As you know, old houses need constant care and are always a work in progress. But we will be sharing more of the history as we go!

13775889_880227538788469_1907651864583726424_nLike much in life, we know that this will be a marathon, not a sprint. It is a journey we have chosen to take knowing that it will take time, which will teach us patience…because we are just regular folks who definitely aren’t Chip & Joanna Gains, we aren’t financially independent (so somebody still has to go to work everyday) and we don’t have an entire crew helping us knock out our long punch-list.

We don’t have unlimited funds and will be remodeling this house on a pretty tight budget, so part of the story will be how to live well without being born with a silver spoon, winning the lottery…or robbing a bank. 😉

For the most part, it will be the four of us working hard together to make this sweet old southern house, our forever home.

I’m not gonna lie, it would nice to hire a crew to just come in and do it all for us and then move in, but part of the reward in it in the end will be that we did it together, we made a house our home – together; just as we made our little camper home together for the past three years… only now we have an 3,000 additional square feet of work and space.

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This is only the beginning, and we have so much to do and so much to share! A tour of the inside will come soon!

Mostly, we want our readers to know that we just adore and appreciate you, and the last thing we desire is for this blog to just be a place to document our farmhouse journey; that’s not what we’re going for at all. We want to connect with you, to share our lives with you, to encourage and inspire you to LIVE the light in your own lives, wherever you may find yourself.

There is a long road ahead and so much more to come. We hope you’ll discover the beauty there to be found in your life, as we share ours.

Welcome again friends old and new to The Light Life Blog! As we begin this new chapter, we’re so blessed you’re a part of our story too.

It is our hope that this place of sharing our story will be like a big ole’ southern front porch where life quiets for just a while and you sit a spell with us until your soul is encouraged and your weary heart is lifted with a warm and gentle embrace that says,”Welcome home. You are so loved.”

Here we go!

Much Love,

Anthony & Rachel

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We invite you to connect with us on Facebook & Instagram!

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