Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Live in an RV?? Maybe...

Over the last couple of days, Dustin and I have been toying around with this idea of buying an RV of some sort and living in it for the next couple years.  We aren’t ready to buy a house right away, but I hate the idea of paying so much for rent each month for something that we can’t even call ours.  I feel like I’m just throwing money away.  Having to leave so suddenly after the investment we made in our little house in here in Louisiana is tough.  I’m ready to just have something that I can call mine! 

So we’re having these grand visions of buying an RV and redecorating on the inside to make it our home.  I originally got this idea from my friend Kim whose dream is to get a 1970’s era Airstream and travel across the country selling her cute crafty things at festivals and markets.  She is queen when it comes to vintage/thrifty decorating, so of course, she has tons of cute ideas of how to utilize and decorate such a small space.  We can either rent or buy some land in North Carolina.  Heck, we could even just park it at one of those RV camps that have swimming pools and nice showers.  We care more about the surroundings of our home than the interiors.  I want to be able to walk out my door and be surrounded in the peace of nature.  

So much that I would be willing to live in less than 200 square feet. 

We’re at that the beginning of an adventure in our lives once again, and it is time for us to get creative and think about the kind of life we want to be living.  I’m starting to wade in student loan debt, and I want to find a creative solution to keep from being swallowed.  That’s why I’m starting to write more.  That’s why we’re gardening and going vegetarian (quality meat is expensive! ).  I think a lot of our generation is starting to do the same.  We’re at our creative peaks in life, and it’s our turn to see what we can do with that energy.

So I’m going to start crunching some numbers.  How I see it, is that if the expenses of getting a loan to buy an RV (hopefully with at least a little down payment since we’ll end up selling a lot of our things) and getting land (be it renting, buying, or at an RV park) is less than what it would cost to rent a house or apartment, then it just kind of makes sense.  Sure, it would be a really small space and a complete lifestyle change, but I try to look at how exciting it can be.  Just a change of pace.  It could help save a lot of money, and I think it would help bring out my creative side.  (I could turn it into a really cool blog! Something about how to live small and simple.)

Long story short, I know that I will be happy no matter where I am.  I’ve never been more at peace in my life than right now.  I try to view everything as an opportunity to get creative and express myself.  What do I want to do?  What do I want to do?

Another opportunity before us we’re thinking about is living on an organic farm.  We’ll be meeting with a man who owns Goodlove’s Friendly Farm and has two homes that he rents out on the property.  We would help take care of chickens and have a set plot of land that we can garden on.  It’s about 40 minutes outside of Asheville, but we think the distance might be worth it.  Dustin’s already mentioned it to Rebecca, and she was supportive.  It’s absolutely beautiful out there.  Beyond words.  And it would be a great opportunity to get experience living a sustainable lifestyle.  Our dream is to be able to grow most of our own food and become less reliable on all the junk that’s out there.  We just want to be healthy, happy, and good to the earth.

It’s exciting to examine all these new possibilities before us to find the one that make us feel fulfilled, a way for us to make our life our own and just be happy. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

I just love it when things work out :)

So remember how I was talking yesterday about needing to find a furnished place for the month of July within the next two days?  Well, guess what happened just a couple hours after I posted that yesterday?! :)

The lady who owns this little cottage in the mountains saw this ad that I posted on Craigslist for me and Dustin about how we needed a place to stay for July.  So she is renting it to us for the same amount we would pay for rent at the apartment we lined up. :) YAY!!!!

And this was definitely one of those things that are just meant to be and perfect.  First off, the lady who called me was amazing and super sweet!  She is from Wisconsin and lives in the cottage with her daughter.  They are leaving for the month to go visit her family in WI, so she wants to rent her cottage out to someone she can trust to respect her things.  She said she saw my ad and could just tell from reading it that we were good people and she wanted to help us out!  She said that she normally likes to meet the people before she rents out her cottage, but she said that she could just tell over the phone that I was really sweet and that she just felt good about the situation!  How awesome is that?!

So here's the amazingness of this cottage.  First off, it's in the mountains, so that makes it a winner right there.  But it's also close enough to town and doesn't require driving on crazy steep, curvy mountain roads.  (Which we drove on last time we were in NC looking at houses...It's a little unsettling to look out your window when driving and just see about five feet of road to the side of you and then just a cliff and tall trees everywhere.  I think I get that tiny fear of heights from my momma...)  The cottage is all artsy with pretty bright colors and pieces of art decorating the walls.  She's musical, too, so she said there's a couple of guitars laying around.  It has a garden and fire pit, and close to TONS of hiking trails.  She said she has tons of hiking gear and packs that we are welcome to use.  She also has an arts and craft station in her kitchen, and she said to help ourselves to any of it and get creative!  She said she was going to take all the family pictures down so that we would just feel like it's our place and feel at home.  She also said she'd clear out a closet for us and a couple of drawers in her dresser.  (How sweet is that?!)

Last, but certainly not least, there is a Migun Therapeutic Massage bed in the cottage.  (Don't worry, I had never heard of it. either.)  Here's a commercial for one:

So yeah, we're going to have a fabulous month.  All of this stress is wreaking havoc on our backs and necks, so it will be fantastic to have something like this to use everyday.  Absolute.Heaven.

I'm just blown away with how awesome and accommodating the owner is.  She seems like a super awesome, down-to-earth lady, so this arrangement could lead to us making some new friends. :)

We both feel very good today now that we have some plans set and something to look forward to.  We're looking forward to enjoying our last week in Monroe, and then starting this new adventure!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

One More Week!

We're getting ready for our last week in Louisiana!  Which is pretty freaking ridiculous to think about, haha.  We're trying to get things squared away and ready for the move, but we're still taking things a day at a time.

We got approved for an apartment, but it comes with a 14 month lease (14?!) which makes me a little nervous.  I already don't like the idea of an apartment to begin with (it's hard with two dogs who are used to having a fenced in backyard...), so I definitely don't want to get stuck there for 14 months.

So we're looking into just throwing our stuff in storage for a month and finding a furnished place to stay throughout July.  That would give us the month to get to know the area better and hopefully find a house we'll be happy in.  We are very ready to settle down for a bit, so we would rather take this month to find something more permanent than just getting an apartment and taking it from there.  I just want to feel settled after this whirlwind of a year.  I want to be able to decorate and garden without knowing that I'm just going to leave it in a matter months.  Now we just need to find a furnished place for July in the next two days...

We're trying not to stress and worry because we know that does us no good.  (And we know, worst case scenario, we do the apartment thing and just deal with it.)  But it's gets a little stressful at times and led to some tension this week.  I just hate that it (the stress of trying to find a place to live) consumes so much of my thinking.  I spend hours scouring the internet for prospective homes, sending emails, making phone calls, etc.  It's exhausting.  I know it's come to the point where I just have to  make a decision and go with it, but I know I'll still end up waiting until the very last second before that decision is made.  You never know what can happen.  So what if we'll be in Asheville a week from today and we still don't know where we're going to live?  No biggie.  We got this.  It will all work out.  It always does, right?

The past two weeks have been a roller coaster of emotions.  We are beyond excited to get to Asheville.  To the point where we almost feel as if we're in purgatory right now, just waiting.  We've done all we can from afar in regards to job searches, so we're just waiting to get there so that we can actually go into places, drop off resumes, etc.  We miss the boys like crazy, and they are SO excited for us to get there.  I feel like a kid who found all the hidden Christmas presents a month before Christmas.  We know what amazing, fun things await, but we can't have it just yet.

To help with our patience (and, admittedly, our sanity) we've been doing a lot of soul searching and feeding the past two weeks.  Since I'm on summer break, my schedule is wide open, so I've been spending a lot of time meditating, praying, and journaling.  So has Dustin.  We realize how important this time in our lives is and that we have the freedom and ability to basically go wherever we want to go with it.  We're going to have countless opportunities before us, so we've spent a lot of quiet time focusing on what it is we truly want.  Then we just examine the opportunities before us.  (For example, I'm seriously considering apply for this job managing a used furniture warehouse.  I'd basically get to go through discarded household items, find things that are salvageable, and then get creative with it and resell it.  How awesome would that be!  I'd get to redo old furniture all day long!)  We know we need to stay realistic, and school is basically number one for both of us right now, so we're just looking into things that could maybe be a welcomed change of pace.

Dustin and I realize the challenges that we are up against, but we also realize that we are in control of making this situation whatever we want it to be.  We've been reading a lot about blessing unfavorable situations/people, so we have our list of blessings that we read through every day.  We bless our move to Asheville, our job searches, our house hunting, etc.  instead of letting fear take control causing thoughts of worry and anxiety, we focus on the inner peace we have knowing that we will be taken care of and that good things will come from this move.  We truly believe that we are meant to be in Asheville and that living there will enhance basically every area of our lives. We believe that our thoughts create our reality and that if we focus our minds on nothing but thoughts of prosperity, love, and joy, then nothing but that will ensue in our lives.

So keep us in your thoughts and prayers over the next week as we finalize our plans for North Carolina.  Pray for things to fall into place and for the move to go smoothly.

Due to all the meditating and writing I've been doing lately, I finally decided to get a spiritual blog going that I've been thinking about for a long time.  Those of you who know me well know that I'm a deeply spiritual person who strives to do nothing but good in life.  So travel over to Soliloquy of the Soul as we discover together how to be happy and do good things in the world.  I'm still working on getting some articles up, so be patient with me! :)

I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Things I Will Miss About Louisiana - Part II

Our Sweet Little Neighbor Puppy

Onto the next thing that will make me cry when I say goodbye – our sweet little neighbor puppy, Sadie.

She won our hearts quickly because she’s a love bug and sadly neglected.  She used to belong to the man that lived next door.  But when the man left his wife, he couldn’t take his dogs with him, so he had to leave Sadie and her sister (a golden retriever) behind.  The golden retriever died from a heartworm infection right before we moved in.  So Sadie was abandoned with the woman who rarely feeds her and never gives her any attention.  So we sneak food out to her pretty much regularly (along with our other neighbor who shares a fence with her). 

She has a problem of digging under the fences and getting into our backyards.  One night, we opened up the back door and found Sadie on our back porch, sniffing around.  We decided to just let her in and give her some love for the night.  We gave her some food and water, brushed her, and even gave her a bath and clipped her nails.  Then we all cuddled on the couch for a bit before Murphy started getting all territorial, and he and Sadie started to fight.  (There was a previous time where we let Sadie into the backyard to play one night, and it ended Sadie biting Murphy's butt.  Not vicious, mean biting, but just "leave me the hell alone" biting.  So we wanted to avoid any further confrontations.)  

She really is a sweetheart.  Whenever I go outside, she comes running to the fence and runs back and forth (hoping I'm bringing her food) like this: 

And even when I don't have food for her, she's still all adorable like this: (pardon my baby talk - I'm one of "those" people when it comes to animals...)

Side-note, I find it awesome that her coat matches Izzy and Murphy.  I guess I just attract orange and white dogs. J

It just breaks my heart to see her outside and alone 24/7. :(  If we could handle three dogs, I would totally puppynap her and take her with us to North Carolina.  She can be a mountain puppy.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Things I Will Miss About Louisiana - Part I


Though it may sound trite, one reason I'm a little sad to be leaving Louisiana so soon is because I’ll have to leave our garden.

I’ve never gardened before in my life, but I just dove right in this spring.  It gave me something to fill my time and enjoy our summer down here.  I have to admit, I am pretty proud with what we were able to do.  Before the garden area, was there, it was just and open space of pretty compacted dirt.  I guess a large storage shed used to sit there.  But we were able to turn it into this:

After a lot of trial and error, we finally got some good plants going.  My favorites are my cucumber plants.  I just love the giant green leaves and bright yellow flowers. 


And we have baby cukes!

Here’s the rest of the crop:

Yellow Squash

Garden Beans




Broccoli, Cilantro, Spinach (barely), Parsley

We’ve got carrots in there, too, but I didn’t get a good picture of them. 

It will make my heart sad to leave this garden.  A lot of blood, sweat, and tears (literally, all of the above) went into it.  But I am thankful for the solace it provided while down here and for the experience we gained by working hard on it.

I just hope our landlord at least comes by and helps herself to its harvest! J

Saturday, June 16, 2012

What's next?!

I was journaling last night about needing to surrender to this move to NC.  To "let go and let god" and trust that everything is going to work out perfectly.  (My mind/anxiety has been jam-packed with house and job hunting...)  Looking back through my journal, I had the same feelings about the move to LA.  I had faith and trusted that we were meant to go in order for us to become the people we want to be.  It was all part of the "grand plan", if you will.

And what happened while I was in Louisiana?

I was given the opportunity to teach in a situation I never would have had otherwise.  There's always been this part of me that wanted to work with inner-city youth, and there I was, in the midst of it.  Making change and progress within the four walls of my classroom.  I got to experience that which I've always wanted and always known I could do!

And it's an experience I will never forget.  It didn't just help me become a better teacher, it helped me become a better person.  My students taught me more about patience and compassion than I ever could have expected.  I thought I knew a lot about positive living and always showing love.  But it was an entirely different ballgame at Carroll Junior High.  It was a life lesson that I am proud to say I passed.  It was very bittersweet leaving there.  Though it was difficult and challenging, I really think I would have done some good things if I stayed there another year.

But I guess I'm meant to be elsewhere. :)

So bring it on, NC!  What amazing thing that I've always wanted to experience is waiting for me??!  You know me, I'm always up for a challenge.

I actually see lots of amazing things that I've always wanted to experience happening. :)

Game of Thrones

This show has completely consumed all my free time over the past 8 days.  We finished the first season in less than a week and then episodes of the second season magically appeared on Dustin's computer.  (Thank you, internet gods...)

If this is what being a Lord of the Rings geek feels like, then I guess I've been missing out.

Not only is this show wonderfully done cinematically speaking, the storytelling is spectacular.  I'm in love with the vernacular and rhetoric and the way the characters tell each other off so subtly.  I find myself prancing around speaking in accents and calling Dustin "My Lord" after watching the series for a few hours. ;)

Of course, now I want to read all of the books.  I'm sure I'll love them even more, as I normally favor the original novels over the film or TV adaptations.  (Hunger Games was quite a disappointment...)  Have any of you read the books?  What is your opinion?  From what I can tell from the reviews I've read, the show seems to do the books justice.

Oh, and one last thing.  I'm not a modest person by any means.  I've very comfortable with the human body and sexuality.  But my goodness.  I've never blushed in front of my husband so much...

Quote from author of the novels, George R.R. Martin, on the above-mentioned topic: "I get letters about that fairly regularly.  It's a uniquely American prudishness.  You can write the most detailed, vivid description of an ax entering a skull, and nobody will say a word in protest.  But if you write a similarly detailed description of a penis entering a vagina, you get letters from people saying they'll never read you again.  What the hell?  Penises entering vaginas bring a lot more joy into the world than axes entering skulls."

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Allen Update

I feel I have an amazing story to tell, but I don’t even know where to begin.  I think Dustin put it best the other night when he said, “Baby, we’re fine.  The fact that neither of us have had a panic attack or mental breakdown at this point is really quite miraculous.  We’re up against some incredible odds.”

And he’s right.  We’ve gone through a lot of shit together in our short first year of marriage.  When I count the amount of challenging situations or problems we’ve had since getting married, it blows my mind that they all have happened within the past 14 months. 

When we decided to move down to Louisiana, we knew we were leaving a lot behind.  The boys.  School of Rock.  Our friends.  Our family.  Our music.  Our home.  We thought long and hard about what we wanted to do.  We knew we had to make some sacrifices, but we truly believed that by taking the step to leave all of that for a while to pursue the opportunity we saw in Louisiana, we would be able to help make all of the things listed above better.  We know that some of our decisions may seem hasty or insensible to some people, but we rely on ourselves and what our hearts are saying.  We follow that inner voice, trusting that we are working for divine good.  We have faith that if this is really what we are meant to be doing, then things will work out.  We’re going to be fine.  Nothing can keep our good from us.  Nothing can separate us from that divine good that is rightfully ours.  It’s like the bible verse: “Nothing can separate us from the love of God.”

So we took a chance.  We said goodbye to all that we had established in Terre Haute in the hopes that the move to Louisiana would bring a better and brighter future for all.  Well, it didn’t quite work out that way…

Being away from the boys is hard.  Really really really hard.  A lot harder than we expected.  And we expected it to be hard.  The first few months were manageable, but after that, we started to notice it negatively effecting parts of our lives.  We’d both get really down and homesick, especially Dustin.  He could go a week or two, but come week three or four, he was really missing his boys.  It started to affect his mood and attitude on things, noticeably.  Even Phil had mentioned how he can tell when Dustin’s gotten to the point where he needs to see his boys.  He said he can see a noticeable difference afterwards.  Like the boys “heal” him, he used to say. 

So things were already getting pretty rough, and then we found out that Rebecca had accepted a job in Asheville, NC and that she and the boys were planning to move there June 1st.  Now, we can’t get mad at her decision to move because we were the ones to move first, after all.  Rebecca had asked if we’d be willing to move out of Indiana a few times in the past, but we were always hesitant.  Our families were in Indiana.  My career and schooling, School of Rock, etc.  No, we didn’t want to leave.  But then Dustin was presented with the Louisiana opportunity and we had to severely reconsider it all.  So, feeling like a hypocrite, I knew that when we moved down there, it was only a matter of time before Rebecca decided to move, too.  Which she has every right to do.  So we weren’t really mad when we found out.  We were more just like, “Ok, so how do we make this work?”

At first, we were planning on still staying in Louisiana for another year or so with OPS, and then Phil was potentially going to open up an office in NC so we could be with the boys.  So we were fine with that, but then another month or so goes by and we realize that we just really can’t take it anymore.  It’s too hard being away from them.  We’re starting to see it affect the boys, which breaks our hearts.  They talk about how much they miss him and then they can’t really grasp the idea of how long it will be before they see Daddy again and whether we’re going to be in Louisiana, Indiana, or North Carolina.  Dustin finally got a chance to talk with Phil about how he can’t stay another year, and we agreed that we’d stay for the summer and started making plans to move to Asheville in August. 

Well, then we had to say goodbye to the boys as they left for Asheville on Sunday.  Everyone was an emotional wreck, including the boys.  This move is going to be rough for them at first.  So we realized that if we’re going to move to North Carolina, we need to go ahead and do it now because we need to be by the boys.

When we said goodbye to them, Matisse asked Dustin, “When will I see you again, Daddy.” 

Dustin frowned, “Well, I don’t really know, buddy.  Probably a few weeks or a month.”

“So in a couple of mornings??” Matisse asked.

It’s heartbreaking to not really know how long it will be before we see them again and then try to explain that concept of time to a child.  

As we were loading the car, Julien kept going around the house telling everyone how much he was going to miss them.  Rebecca’s mom and grandma were teary messes, and so were Dustin and I.  So much to the point that we realized we need to get to North Carolina as soon as we can.  As in like, now.  They need us there.  And we need to be there.  For them and for us.  We’re all going to be a lot happier once we’re all together.  Now it’s just getting there…

I’ve spent the last eight days scouring the internets and media for a place to live in Asheville, and we are making plans to be there by July 1st.  That’s less than three weeks. (holy.crap)  It’s exciting yet terrifying all at the same time.  We should have our housing situation settled by the end of the week, and then the packing begins.

I thought if I said goodbye to Louisiana, it would be to go home to Indiana.  Now I’m letting the idea settle that I may very well live the rest of my life in Asheville, NC…  I really do feel like it’s the perfect place for us, and I can’t wait to see what good is going to come from moving there.  Though, I’ll admit, things are a little frightening at times (moving there with no jobs lined up, for one…), but that fear helps open my mind to creative ideas and solutions.  We get to choose whether our life situation is good or bad.  It’s all about attitude.  And I am deciding that my life situation is going to freaking rock. :)

Love and Blessings,