Archive | Family RSS feed for this section

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Comments { 1 }

10 Reasons A Simpler Life Can Equal A Fuller Life

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

When I started this blog back in 2013 for the purpose of documenting our journey with full time RV life, I made the decision right then that I never wanted sharing our lives with others to get in the way of living our lives with each other. There have been seasons in which it was more practical to write regularly, and post articles that many of you have found helpful and informational. But over the course of this past year, the momentum of our lives changed quite a bit and it just hasn’t lent itself to writing much. And so needless to say, I haven’t posted on The Light Life Blog lately and I really can’t apologize because we’ve been, well…LIVING the light life!

Our 2014/2015 school year is coming to a close and I’ve been looking back over the last 10 months or so of our lives realizing just how fast it’s gone by and just how full our lives have been! We’ve been busy roadschooling, taking trips, enjoying the outdoors, hiking, running 1/2 marathons, participating in a homeschool co-op, spending LOTS of time with family as we are currently just 5 hours from our hometown of Wilmington, NC, and I started back to school full-time as well…which is where a great chunk of my time and brain space has disappeared to.   😉

Looking back is always a treat. It reminds me again why we made the decision to scale back our lives two years ago. And how much that decision to live this lighter, simpler life has not detracted from the fullness of our lives one tiny bit. In fact, quite the opposite.

So what have these past two years of full-time RV life taught us? Here’s just 10 things for starters.

  1. Things can be bought with money, time cannot.
  2. Life doesn’t have to be complex or expensive to be full and good.
  3. Quality trumps quantity. Every. single. time.
  4. Kids would rather have your time than your things.
  5. Education means a whole lot more than textbooks and the 3 Rs.
  6. Freeing up your time allows you to educate the WHOLE child. Mind, body, and spirit.
  7. We should spend less time building retirement accounts and more time building relationships. Because in the end, we don’t get to keep the stuff anyways.
  8. That whole American dream thing? Doesn’t necessarily have to rule our lives, or be our dream at all.
  9. And when you don’t love the direction your life is taking, it’s okay to reinvent yourself and re-write your story.
  10. Not everyone will understand your journey, and that’s OK. It’s YOUR journey, not theirs.

IMG_4899.JPG

 

 

Comments { 7 }

How To Travel Often With Children & Navigate New Cities

License-Plate-Map

Since I last posted a personal type post we have packed up and left Front Royal, Virginia and headed to Charlotte, NC! Pictured below is what we left and we arrived at!

To put it in perspective, this makes our 4th move & new state in a nine months of being on the road which gives us an average so far of a little over two months at each new place.

If you read my past post entitled, “How we Make A Living On The Road” you not only know HOW we make a living while traveling, but it’s also important to note that my husband’s work is one of the major reasons we decided to hit the road together in the first place.

And with that being said, we do get asked two particular questions pretty often that I’d love to address for anyone who might be wondering the same! Here they are:

  1. What is it like to move around so often?

One word, GPS. I literally don’t know how we would live without our trusty GPS systems. We each have one that sticks on the windshield of each vehicle as well as on our iphones. For about the first month or so we use them to go almost anywhere, and then just about the time we start to learn where everything is enough to not need them anymore,

WE MOVE AGAIN!

Our most favorite “new city apps” for smartphones –

  • Around Me
  • Google Maps
  • Gas Buddy
  • Urban Spoon
  • Any local city apps
  • Parkmobile
  • Starbucks
  • (please comment below any apps you’ve found that you would add to our list!)

Traveling and moving around often does have it’s pros and cons just as everything in life does. First off, when we signed up for this lifestyle, we also re-adjusted our mindset to know that this is just the way it would be! And although no one place is “home” and yet in another sense, no matter where we are in the world, we are always home because we are together and our house just goes where we go!

Personally, I am truly enjoying the new way of life for so many reasons. But being a girl who had barely ever left her home town just under a year ago, this has already been a pretty freeing and amazing journey in many ways.

   2. Do you, and if so, HOW do you establish a local routine with the kids not knowing how long you’ll be in one place?

This is a really, really great question. And honestly, before we started doing this it’s something that I would have literally have had NO idea how to answer.

Now, keeping in mind that we are a family of four who homeschool, we do establish some sort of local routine and we also have our own unique set of priorities upon arriving in a new area, as every person/family will have their own based on their life/family situation.

Here is our top ten local must finds!

  1. Starbucks (yes, this is literally one of the first things I look for! 😉
  2. Campground/RV Park (I’ll be writing a post on “How To Find A Campground” next week.)
  3. Decent grocery Stores
  4. Laundry Mat
  5. Library
  6. Nearby local attractions (which we always try to take advantage of)
  7. Parks/Nature trails
  8. Fitness Center or YMCA
  9. Farmer’s Markets
  10. Music teachers/Homeschool groups/ Sports leagues

Even though we don’t always know how long we’ll be in any given area (sometimes we do have a general idea) we have found that it is still extremely important for the momentum of our family to toss over-analyzing to the wind and just go ahead and dive into whatever local activities, sports and groups we would be interested in if we were in a permanent city living a more “regular” kind of life!

Especially with having kids it is important to us and them that we not forgo the opportunities to experience outside extra-curriculars even though we are a mobile family.

We do try and stay away from signing up for anything with yearly contracts unless of course we know for sure we’d be in an area for that long. However, we have found that most fitness centers, ect. are happy to work with us when we explain our situation!

  •  Joining local groups

can be extremely helpful to a family with children. Even if there is a small yearly membership fee such as is the case with some homeschool groups, because it gives us access to their email groups – which is how we get to know people and find out about meetups, co-ops and many local events that would be of interest to our family.

Sure, there are days that I miss the stability of “life in one place.” as it does make some things easier and more predictable. But would I trade this adventure and this season in for what we had before? Not even a chance.

Everyone’s journey is different! And your journey is what you make it.

We’ve chosen to make ours an adventure that we will look back on one day and say, “You know what? Those were some of the BEST days of our lives!” They will surely be the most memorable of all.

Comments { 7 }

A New Light Life Addition! {So Begins The Story Of A Tiny Road-dog}

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So maybe it appears I’ve been MIA for past few weeks. Well, there’s been a couple of big changes in our lives that have been keeping me from doing everything and anything…. beside blogging.

And I have to be honest, I have resisted just a little in writing this post for a few weeks knowing that I what I should do is write on something important, informational or just a bit more relevant in keeping with the topic of a Light Life blog to share with you all. You know, the stuff you really come here to read!

But alas, as I was going through the images in my camera roll I literally couldn’t let myself not tell you about our new little addition to our own Light Life family. And after all, this blog is also about our own journey as well. And Little Daisy has become a huge or rather –  tiny part of it!

And so without further ado, meet little Daisy May!

20140519-140039-50439560.jpgShe is a Chiweenie which is a Dachshund/Chihuahua mix. She is seven months old and is pretty much at her full-grown size of about 5 pounds.

We saw her and immediately fell in love with her!

Olivia has always been an animal lover and is OBSESSED with animals of all kinds. She had a large dog who had passed away shortly before we left for life on the road. But the thought of squeezing another body in a small space was admittedly a challenge Anthony and I weren’t sure if we were up for.

But Olivia has begged and begged for months.

Maybe she had worn us down just a bit, or maybe we had a momentary lapse in good common sense! But the moment we laid eyes on little Daisy, I just knew she was ours! And so I text Anthony at work and asked him could we get her (all while I was already rushing home to get the cash to pay and send a campground neighbor after her for us.) \

I had never told the kids we would get her. And we waited to surprise Olivia until after her soccer game that afternoon. And when she was done, she came home to little Daisy sitting there in the back seat of her daddy’s truck, just waiting for her.

20140519-140048-50448206.jpgThis was the first time she held her. Two sweet little girls, never so lucky (and happy) to have found each other.

Daisy has changed our lives so much already. In every good way. Yes, she is a lot of work as any new puppy would be. I keep telling people it feels like I got the third child I never had. I know that because I catch myself snapping pictures of her just as much as I do my kids….which is a lot.

She is the sweetest natured dog who’s main goal in life is simply to be near us and crawl up into our lap for snuggles.

20140519-140041-50441829.jpg

Yes, she is extra work. She has lots and lots of little puppy accidents, but the joy she has brought into our lives far exceeds any of the little aggravations that come along with her.

20140519-140049-50449515.jpgDaisy was the runt of her little and was a bit underweight and sick when we got her. In fact, we are still working with the vet to help her get totally well – a process which will take a few months at least.

And I guess some would say she is lucky to have found us, but I would say, we are lucky to have found her.

She is our new little joy in our journey and we just could not neglect to share her with you too!

We’d love to know – Do/have you had animals living with you on the road or in a small living space? If so, what kind? Please leave us any comments or tips on traveling or just living small (light) with four legged ones!

Comments { 9 }

The Light Life {Unplugged}

6a00d83452d45869e20133f4f5db4a970b

Once upon a time there was a girl who awoke each day to the feel of sunbeams all warm on her face, or the calming sounds of raindrops on her roof. She lay there, still and quiet as the sweet chirping of birds outside of her bedroom window made her smile with delight. She lay there as thoughts meandered aimlessly through her mind. Not rushing to pick up a phone to check email or read up on the latest news or Facebook headlines. Simply, she breathed in deeply and then out again, her mind quieted and her body still. And there was nothingness, and quiet and stillness. Peace. And it was there in the empty space, she felt more fully alive than she’d ever felt in all of her days filled with hurried distraction that flashed by in a blink.

She spent her days choosing to embrace the empty spaces of life over the noise.

And she lived.

——–

Most of us would have to admit this sounds must like a far-fetched dream, anything but reality.

I am not this girl, I am however working to become her. I catch myself reaching for my phone as my eyes awake each morning. It’s one thing about myself I wish to change. Such creatures of habit we are.

I may not know everything that makes a life full and good, lives worth being written of in books – but I do know that a life lived with each day beginning with an endless stream of news, media and Facebook statuses don’t create lives worth writing of.

Our world is loud. Too loud. Still, it is only as loud as we have let it become.

I don’t care who you are, not being consumed by all the shouting and noise takes real intentionality. Real effort. A plan.

So this is where we are.

20140319-181152.jpg

20140319-181206.jpg

20140319-181350.jpg

One day last week I had this moment of sobering realization that our family lives far too much of our lives in front of screens. I’m not sure one can truly call the moments adding up to the years of our lives we give away to a screen, true living.

I mean, when was the last time I lived a day? I mean really experienced an entire day? Honestly, I can barely recall. I’m not proud of this, but it is honest truth.

In order to quiet our minds and create an empty space in our lives, our family is trying out a new thing in which we unplug our children from all forms of technology Monday through Friday of every week with limited use on weekends.

For us this means no TV, video games, movies or internet use (except for school purposes.) I know it’s a bit extreme, but we are all a bit addicted so at least for now this is what we need to do. We may change things up as time goes on but we are already noticing a MUCH sweeter, calmer atmosphere in our tiny home on wheels.

I’m trying to figure out the best way to join the kids on this journey despite the fact that I do write and manage two blogs, still I know their little lives aren’t the only ones in need of a good quieting.

—————

I want to change how this story is being written.

Can I?

Can we?

I believe we can.

While it is true we would never want to go back in time and erase all of the good that technology has added to lives, it’s just that I’m wondering if the exchange of all that it has also subtracted is leaving our lives in the negative.

I’m not the smartest girl in the world but I do know that I desperately want to quiet the noise so I can hear. And to stop the rushing so there is more time for this. This quiet, calm, full living of life.

20140319-181431.jpg

20140319-181408.jpg

20140304-113506.jpg

20140304-113523.jpg

What if, just what if we spent less of our priceless days observing the busy, hurried, noisy lives of the rest of the world and more time living our very own?

This is the question I’m asking myself.

I want our children to be free to run and play. To be loud and crazy and wild. There is a time for that.

I also want them to have time to embrace the silence, to learn to be still in the quiet and discover opportunities of imagination and thought within the empty spaces of their own minds. 

We spend far too much effort and money filling up our families’ lives with distractions – good things. Forgetting that sometimes we find that the life we are striving so desperately is held within the quiet places, discovered in the simple.

Despite what our culture is always shouting we should do, this is our little family whispering for you to join us on this journey to empty our lives a bit….so that we may find it. 

Let’s just slow down together, stop the rushing – and take a little time to clear away the clutter and let the silence rush in.

Unplug.

Tiny home, big life.

How have you found ways to balance all the noise in your own family life? Please share with us in comments!

Comments { 7 }

Sex On Wheels

20140226-141354.jpg

{Disclaimer: This post is intended to be a humorous, light post written tastefully on the challenges of RV married life. Enjoy!}

When we first decided we were really going to ditch the house {along with our wonderfully large master bedroom attached to a large bathroom with a jacuzzi tub and closet bigger than our entire RV!!!!} I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I had a small panic attack the first time it occurred to me that we would have to learn how to manage {ahem!} married life activities within the confines of less than 300 sq. feet with two young kids sleeping just footsteps away at the other end of the RV.

 I began imagining random nights of silent lovemaking involving violent shaking of our entire home, things falling off of walls and out of shelves! Something resembling a scene from a silent love horror movie! Or worst! The END of our love life as we knew it!

Maybe this isn’t even an issue for everyone. And if you don’t have children, I can’t think of any reasons why this would be much of an issue at all even for RV life. But for my husband and I, RV life or not, all we knew was this was a part of our marriage in which we were NOT willing to negotiate possibilities of it slowly dwindling away into oblivion for lack of a good plan.

But for those who might also be facing this issue like we were, I can assure you that after six months of full-time RV life on the road with two young children in tow, my husband and I have yet to become forced into living the celibate lives of nuns & monks.

No, our bedroom is not soundproofed and no we do NOT wait for weekend getaways without the kids to have a love life! But there have been a few necessary adjustments we’ve made to continue to make our love life a priority, to keep it alive and well all while ensuring that our children are not scarred for life!

Number One. Stability – STABILIZERS. Yes, yes and amen.  Although most campers have their own stabilizers, my husband bought additional stabilizers to, um, well….keep the trailer from rocking’.

Two. Privacy – Real doors. Many if not most RVs don’t have real doors with real locks on them. We were not interested in those for the most obvious of reasons. I am quite sure you could make it work with less, this was simply a personal safety preference issue for our family.

Three. I guess this one could also fall under “privacy.” Having a bathroom directly off the master bedroom. In our search for an RV we toured one that we absolutely loved. We did not however buy that one based solely on the fact that the bathroom was at the other end of the camper next to the bunk house. (kids’ room) And since naked midnight streaks through the camper with children in tow are NOT on our list of things to do for fun, we opted for one with a bathroom right off the master bedroom.

Four. Boundaries –  Just because we live in an RV doesn’t mean we are irresponsible, nudist hippies who have no value for decency and modesty. Since we do live in a small space together, setting clear boundaries between the two of us and the two of them is something we’ve made important. The kids know that after we’ve spent time together as a family at night and they are put to bed, when mom and dad retreat to their room that is our space and our time. Alone. Therefore at that time they know it becomes our, “no kids aloud zone/ mommy & daddy time.” 

Now that doesn’t mean things can’t get a bit tricky at times. Such as when the little taps at the locked bathroom door that connects to our room and a “But I’ve got to go to the bathroom REAL bad” happens. And when it does, we adjust.

Five. Bedroom Noise. Well, um…. let’s see there’s always turning the tv up real loud and duct tape! {kidding about the last one} Other than that, this is the one part that we do happen to reserve for our weekends away. So if any of you other RVers have discovered or created the solution to this one, for the love of Pete please let us know!!!!!

Six. Space limitations – Well, that’s a whole other post for a whole other day. Let’s just say, I’ve had my share of head trauma for a lifetime.  😉

In all seriousness, we have discovered that this topic, as with most other things in life, is exactly what you make of it. I can think of plenty of marriages that have crappy love lives that have nothing to do with living in under 300 sq. feet of space. I can also think of some really great marriages with healthy love lives that are not dependent upon the circumstances around them.

I always think back to how it was in the beginning. You know, when love was fresh and new and exciting and no person or difficult circumstance could have kept us from each other. Why should the quality or intensity of a love life have to change just because we’ve been married for twelve years, have two children and live in a tiny home on wheels?

I can’t think of one single reason it should.

Two thumbs up for rockin’ the fine art of “sex on wheels!”

Tiny home, big life. Live light!

Please feel free to leave me your own funny or serious stories, thoughts & experiences on this topic below!

Comments { 41 }

Falling In Love With A Simple Life

20140219-102151.jpg

Coffee cup filled with light dark sips of goodness in hand, early this morning as the sun arose I just sat and thought and admired the beauty right outside of my RV window, dwelling on the beauty of everything on the inside. Here inside our tiny little home on wheels, listening to the soft pitter patter of raindrops on our roof I closed my eyes and breathed in deeply. There are few things quite as lovely and refreshing as the sound of rain falling on roofs. I find something about gloomy, rainy days to be comforting.

I find beauty in the oddest of things actually.

I thought….

My whole life is so different than just six months ago. I find myself enjoying life so immensely that I am sad to see each day come to an end. As if I’m clinging tightly to the remnants of a wonderful experience.  I go to bed each night with anticipation for the morning to come, for a new day to begin all over again.

Far from the normalcy of my old life of neatly laid out schedules, grand houses, white picket fences, the manicuring of lawns….. and reputations – all the rushing about. There isn’t anything wrong with that life, it is what it is we are searching for there that can all to easily become the noose around our neck.

It feels a bit like we’ve untied the knot and slipped the noose off.

For a while I’ve felt almost as if I was living someone else’s life. But lately, this new life is beginning to feel like my very own. And I chuckle a bit inside as I re-read my own words because from the sound of it one would start to think I live some kind of grand life of perfection and ease, spending my days in the lap of luxury and fanfare.

That couldn’t be further from truth.

My life isn’t perfect and it could better be described as slow and steady, plain and simple. Not complex and anything but glamorous. Maybe enough to drive others mad. But me, I find such deep peace in unhurried days, so much fulfillment in the steady stream of days filled with deep purpose and accomplishment.

Nothing about my life is perfect, and yet – somehow it seems to be abundantly enough. I find myself stopping to admire the smallest of things, seeing the ordinary as gifts. The sweet chirping of birds, the sound of raindrops falling, the way the wind feels as it softly brushes my hair against my face, sunbeams warming my skin on a cold day, the solemn stillness and quiet of a winter snowfall.

All the fluff of my old life has been removed and only what is real remains. It’s amazing what one discovers about themselves when all the “fluff” gets removed. All the substitutes that tend make up who we and others believe us to be.

Most days I don’t bother to put on makeup or wear trendy clothes. Oh I love to feel beautiful just as any woman would, but I’m learning what defines me. It is not a pretty face, or the clothes on my back. I’m losing my desire to be known for the what I possess, what I can do or the way I look at my very best. And still, for the first time in my life, I feel beautiful and strong, even after the make-up is washed away and the curls have fallen flat.

I find myself falling in love with being known for the truth of who I really am.

The same life that the ones who live with me know, that is the most beautiful one. The one whose nose is dotted with tiny freckles and uneven skin tone, messy hair thrown up making time for morning snuggles under the covers. The one who gives grace over spilled juice on a freshly mopped floor, little boy mistakes – even grown men ones. The one who has traded in the need to be somebody in this world, to be somebody to the three hearts I’ve been given to love first. 

Grace for my own soul. Removing the demands I had placed on myself to be, learning to fully embrace who I am becoming.

This confident, bold little girl who has become a woman, wife and mother – yet still such a work in progress. But I see it all happening. I feel myself becoming that which I had never even known I wanted to become. It is wonderful and beautiful, the becoming. 

The same grace like rain that poured lavishly over my life a few short years ago has wrecked me for life. Even still, remaining a steady stream of love and forgiveness and life. A life that could have looked very different than the one of now.

But grace.

Grace is the presence that knows you’re a work in progress and is simply delighting in your becoming. And its delight is what gives us the space and strength to enter into our own humanity—all of our immaturity and messiness—to claim our mistakes, and to confess them without fear. Grace is the quiet voice within, always whispering, “I’m quite fond of you, even in your messy becoming.” – Kelly Flanging

I’m becoming quite fond of this girl who stands on mountainsides drawing fresh air into her lungs and whispers audible “thank yous” for things so small as this. This mother who watches her little ones as they sleep and holds her face tightly to their pink cheeks, in awe of every rise and the fall of their small chest. This wife who lays her head on her husbands strong chest as he sleeps at night, listening to every beat of his heart, reveling at how wonderful it is to hear the very heart that was created to love someone like her – and grateful that it chooses to still.

When I was a girl I always had a sense that I would grow up to be somebody. Someone who did great things and possessed much.

I spent so much of my twenties fighting my way to that somewhere.

And then one day I threw up my white flag. I let it all go. I well remember that day.

I surrendered my heart to a plan, a vision for my life so much greater than my own.

It is then that I learned that I already possessed all that I had been fighting for. 

It has been in the letting go that I began to discover that life isn’t about what we are, but who we are constantly becoming. 

The journey

The messiness

The mistakes

The ordinary

The becoming

The simple life.

Yes, I’m becoming quite fond of you.

Comments { 5 }

Re-Writing The Story Of The American Family

American Family

The other day I stumbled upon a song that played as I was cleaning up and organizing my kid’s room. It played once and the lyrics grabbed my attention. I knew it was a song about the state of today’s American Family and what it has become.  And sadly enough, it was shockingly accurate – word for word.

I played the song over and over on repeat for the entire afternoon. Tears flowed at the sad realization that right along with million of other normal American families, we too were quickly becoming the family the song writer sang about.

Isolated lives, addictions, moral failure, chasing possessions and apathy were the things that were quickly defining us as a typical American family of four.

Our lives had subtly become so noisy, over-busy and scattered that by default we found ourselves living in the same house, but going our own separate ways. 

But what I love most about the song and the story is that it didn’t end there.

As much as I found much comfort as I related our own story to the one of the song, my heart welled up with hope for the millions of other American  families who don’t have to continue down the same road so many are on.

——-

These days, our family finds ourselves getting back to the basics of life. I keep telling people that if they were to spend a week with us they would feel just like they had gone back in time.

While the rest of the world is submersing themselves in the screaming, over-sexed, foul mouthed language of American culture, we have chosen to shut it all out and quiet our lives.

For us, living the way we have chosen to isn’t at all about a way of life, it is about living out a philosophy for life and family. 

Chess matches, lots of reading, sewing & cooking together, prayer and quiet family dinners together every night are just some of the activities you might find in our tiny home these days. Laugh if you want, but the deadly attention placed on super-bowls, Disney Channel, Victoria’s Secret fashion shows, raunchy sitcoms, over-sexualized UNreality TV shows, skewed versions of marriages, disrespect towards men and overloads of American media are numbing our hearts and ripping the fabric of America apart….one little family at a time.

I decided to take the past 6 months or so of our families’ reclaimed life together through music video to “re-write” the saddest parts of the American Family, just as we know that so many of the sad parts of own our life together have been redeemed and a closely knit family life, re-claimed. {link for video at end of post}

American family, let us have the boldness to step out of the pattern that our lives together have become and re-write the story of our family for our own sake and for the future generations to come.

The truth is, we can’t keep blaming media and government for the mess we’re in. Only one institution has the power to reclaim the great nation that America once was, and that is usthe American family.

Until then, our little family will be turning off the TV and the loud, boisterous voice of American culture, and actually creating our very own American dream together……a lot more counter-culturally.

Maybe it is possible to re-write the story of a country and the American Family.

We volunteer to go first. Who’s with us?

Click link below to view our families’ “re-written” story:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYos_qOp1MU

 

Comments { 8 }

January Light Life Adventures!

Well, we’ve been in northern VA for just about a month now. While it was super strange to go from Florida weather to “the frozen tundra” we are in now, we have been making the very best of the change. Being from a beach town on the coast of NC, our little family isn’t used to 9 degree temps and snow, and so we are enjoying the new experience of it all.

After all, that’s a huge part of what makes life on the road the fun and unique it is – experiencing different places, climates and ways of life!

I thought it would be fun to give you a small picture recap of our January.

Cold! Lots of fun snow days with daddy and cozy nights in, cooking dinner together, school days at the coffee shop, library trips, exercise classes, a family project of sewing our first quilt together, trip to explore underground Caverns (not pictured) first metro ride, Washington, DC trip, Olivia began guitar lessons and turned 9!

all images in order of actual events

Whew! What a month! But it has been wonderful. We’ve weathered the absolute coldest it should get here and no frozen water pipes! So thumbs up for that. Honestly, it was hands down the best month since we hit the road five months ago. Can hardly believe it’s almost been half a year on the road!

The homesickness of leaving our old home is beginning to subside and we are truly settling into our new life. We are careful to ask the kids frequently how they are feeling about life on the road and they both say they miss a few friends and family back home as is to be expected, but they wouldn’t trade life on the road for our old one.

Their number one reason as of yesterday: “We get to spend A LOT more time with you and daddy and we get to do a lot of things.”

I wouldn’t trade this time in our lives and these experiences for a million houses on a hill.

Be courageous, live fully, travel light.

p.s. If you enjoy this website, please connect with us via The Light Life Blog Facebook page stop by and say hi!                                                                       Also, we have a private group for the sole purpose of “connecting” individuals and families together who travel. Here you are free to share your own adventures, tips, questions, blogs, ect. with everyone! Click here.

Comments { 3 }

Roadschooling Q&A

roadschooling, homeschool, rving with kids

I have to be honest and admit that I find it a bit hilarious that I’m writing a post on roadschooling after the past few days we’ve had in our own schooling endeavors after getting started back from a month long Christmas break. It has been, shall we say, a bit turbulent getting back going again….like as in, I actually texted my husband that I was quitting today. Haha!

While it is totally true that it isn’t all fun and games and lovely, smooth days of peaceful learning. There are also so many other days past and many more sure to come that prove to remind us why we roadschool, why we are grateful for the opportunity and why it is a beautiful and fun way to get an education! ….But I’m pretty sure it’s okay that every day just isn’t that day.

We are in our second year of homeschooling (3rd & 1st grades) and our first year of roadschooling, living full time in our RV. So needless to say, we are far from having things figured out and are always changing things around, getting rid of what doesn’t work and holding on to what does!

I thought maybe it would be helpful to put a post together of a few frequently asked questions we’ve been getting in our inbox from others living on the road, or with hopes of getting on the road and road schooling one day soon.

So here goes!

Q: What method/teaching approach do you use?

A: It would be completely fair to say that I don’t adhere to any one approach straightforwardly. I’m not a very rigid or scheduled person, or even a great rule follower myself. So it stands to reason that I don’t and can’t teach that way. I would say that we are a mix of traditional, Charlotte Mason & student interest lead in our homeschooling style.

20140114-202719.jpg

Q: What curriculum do you use?

A: We have chosen not to use a full “boxed set” curriculum. Although I’ve found that I do need a certain amount of structure, I don’t want or need to be “boxed in” to a set way of learning and doing things. That was just one of the many reasons we pulled out of traditional education. So our goal is not to replicate a classroom with intense seat work/chair time at home.

Below I’ve pulled together sort of a hodgepodge collection of subjects from publishers I like for a particular subject.        For example: I love Abeka & Bob Jones math because of how they teach subject matter and the kids learn well from them (sometimes I use them together & double up on Math because they teach two different approaches to learning math) But I do not care for their History, Science, Ect. so it stands to reason that it wouldn’t make sense for me to simply order each full grade level material in any one curriculum.

Here’s a grade by grade breakdown of the more traditional approach to the core subjects & curriculum publisher we currently use for each:

MATH

Gr. 3 – Abeka / Gr. 1 – Abeka

ENGLISH

Gr. 3 –Bob Jones

READING

Gr. 3 – Bob Jones / Gr. 1- Abeka

LANGUAGE

 Gr. 1 – Abeka

SPELLING

Gr. 3 – spellingcity.com / Gr. 1 – Abeka & spellingcity.com

SCIENCE

Both grades – Apologia Science (Creation based)

*We do Science & History together. For History we do not use a set curriculum but instead choose a time period & person to study in detail for a while before moving on.

*I also use a curriculum book from Flashkids for some supplementary work for each grade of the core subjects as needed. It can be purchased at Barnes & Noble for just $19.99

LIVING BOOKS

No matter what state/city we find ourselves in, we always make frequent library trips. (Just show the library your RV park lot fee receipt for proof of residency for a library card) Some days we just scrap all the seat work curriculum and lay around reading real, living books.  I don’t anything can ever replace the wealth of information and education to be found in simply reading a book. Life on the road lends itself to lots of extra time to visit the library and to learn the love of reading!

20140114-202732.jpgTime4learning.com has been an invaluable learning tool for our boy 1st grader. It’s internet based so it goes with us wherever we are! He does not love seat work and loves to be on the computer, so it works beautifully to supplement when he needs a breather from his seat work or to help him understand a concept he’s having a hard time grasping. It’s free for 14 days (no catches) and then $19.99 a month thereafter and worth every single penny!

20140114-202744.jpg

For our 1st grader we try to limit the amount of seat work/chair time he has each day. Especially since he is a kinesthetic/tactile learner and has trouble sitting still in one spot for more than 2 minutes. We take advantage of many other avenues to learn such as technology, laptop, iPad, games, manipulatives & dice games (for math) libraries, museums & documentaries.

20140114-202758.jpgHere is a list of some of our favorite educational apps. & websites we LOVE to use on a weekly basis. Many are free, only a few aren’t.

IPAD APPS

  • Math Blaster
  • Math Board
  • Math Fact
  • Marble Mat
  • Jetpack
  • Spelling BEE
  • Spelling City
  • Capitals
  • Stack The States
  • US Presidents
  • Brain Fit
  • Google Earth
  • Whiteboard

BEST EDUCATIONAL WEBSITES

Q: How do you know what state homeschool laws to abide by?

A: When you are on the road, as long as you have a permanent address somewhere in the US, you continue to remain and be considered a resident of that state. So you follow your home state’s laws. You do not re-register your school in every state you reside in while on the road, nor are you required to follow their homeschool laws. So for us, no matter what state we are in, we continue to know and abide by the North Carolina state laws since that is where our homeschool is registered. Just KNOW and abide by the laws in the home state you are a current registered resident of and you will be fine.

Q: How do you deal with cabin fever and doing school every day together in such a small space?

A: Well, simply put, we don’t! We like and need to mix things up. So as I mentioned earlier, frequent library trips, local museums or landmarks, extra-curricular appointments and one of our most favorite places to spend a good day of school…. Starbucks…or a local coffee shop if the stars aren’t aligned and there is no Starbucks nearby.

starbucks, homeschooling, school, education, coffee, kids, family

Roadschooling has it’s ups and downs just like anything else. We have our rough patches and hard days that aren’t so picturesque shall we say. But we sure can’t think of a better or more diverse way to get our education in.

We aren’t sure how long the road we are on will lead us in this direction, but no matter where or when we land again, I am sure that we will all look back on this time as the adventure we are so very grateful we were brave enough to take!

Happy travels from our family to yours!

Own less, live fully, travel light. 

*Please feel free to comment any questions or additions you might have below in the comment section!

 

Comments { 10 }
%d bloggers like this: