Happenings at the Hollow

March is here and we are nearly into month 5 of this RV living thing. Our little shop home is coming along, you can follow the progress on our Instagram account: @rustlinghollow, and we are slowly making this new place more “ours”.

Most recently, we have tackled the overwhelming job of clearing brush and junk left over from the previous owner. We are trying to get as much cleared before the real warm-up begins, which will inevitably bring about all kinds of nasty little bugs and slithery creatures. Also, clearing the brush and debris of the land will: 1.)Most importantly, keep my poor husband from contracting “the rash” again and again…he has had a perpetual poison ivy rash since we moved out here. 2.) Most, most importantly – I get my space for my chicken coop/run. Ya’ll knew it wouldn’t be that long before I would find a way to get at least a few chickens. Even the kids are missing them.

Here is a “before” picture of one of the area we worked on…


Here is the “after” picture of the same area…

Life in every other sense of the word is moving along, as life tends to do with or without said permission.  I was watching the kids play a few days ago and I couldn’t help but feel that little tug that sometimes grabs my heart and pulls until I feel a little lump in my throat. The growth, I see it unfolding before me – They are growing up and they are growing to be such great friends. While the growing up piece of it is something I sometimes struggle feeling happy about, the growth in the relationship I see happening amongst them absolutely warms this mother’s heart.

Just as their little selves are growing, so also are the minds. I have one who wants to read everything his little eyes can take in, another who loves to sit and study the pictures of book after book, and one who enjoys sitting all cuddled up by someone while enjoying being read to…especially if it happens to be a dinosaur book. The weather has been particularly lovely, which has been perfect for my little nature explorers/scientists. They can spend hours and hours outside studying, discovering, and constructing various experiments and projects.

Of course, all the outside playing/working has resulted in an extra trip to the laundromat every week. So a once a week chore, has now become a twice a week chore. However, with the weather warming up, I find myself hopeful. There is talk happening between my husband (you know, the guy who is trying to renovate a metal shop into livable space for his family) and myself —- I do believe I have convinced him to build me a clothesline. The washer is an easy hook-up; so having a clothesline available and the weather being nice, my bi-weekly trips to the laundromat with three kids may soon be a thing of the past.

Well, that is all the happenings I have time for sharing this go around… my little crew is starting to getting the tummy grumbles, which means dinner time is right around the corner. So, off I go to figure out what I will be making…since it is 5:00 and all. I need to get back to my weekly menu planning…


A Place To Call Home

It is hard to believe that it has been a little over two months. If someone would have told me 6 months ago that we would sell our house and that we would be living in a 36 foot travel trailer…I would have laughed (and then taken measures to ensure that such a situation would NEVER happen). This new life of ours is not one I ever could have seen coming…even just a short time ago.

But here we are.

We have learned a lot in a short amount of time. RV life is certainly one that takes some getting used to, not impossible, but definitely an adjustment. A lot of people have questions and comments for us because of our newly acquired lifestyle. Honestly, I have a few questions and comments for us, too. I mean, after all, we are a family of five living in an RV, for goodness’ sake.

Here is the thing. Some days, we are just surviving. The waters rise and we can seem to barely keep our heads above the waves. It seems as if once one problem is fixed, 300 more arise in its place. There are also days when living in such a small space proves to be no longer bearable. The children’s voices permeate every place and space and the words ‘peace’, ‘quiet’, and ‘privacy’ mean nothing. These days, are hard. Sometimes, in these hard times, I doubt every and all decisions we have made. Were we crazy? What made us think we could do this? Are we doing the right thing? The latter one, is the one that sticks to your gut and keeps you up at night. It plays on all your worst doubts and fears. I would be lying if I said there were never times where a tear broke through here or there.

Then, somewhere in the bleak of night, the rays of sunlight come beaming through and it is like breathing in a fresh breath of hope. For the days where it seems as if survival is the only way of living, there also come the days were you can see that you will not only survive, but there is the hope to thrive.

These days are appearing more and more often. I would love to tell you that it is because of me and the things I have done…but, that would be nowhere near the truth. The only part I have in all of this turning out alright is in the surrender, the obedience and in trusting the One who holds every single moment in His hands. But, even then, I can only accomplish any of those things by and through His grace.

Since living here, we have had the opportunity to experience the lovely of His creation. We have enjoyed nature hikes, poem readings in seemingly secret thickets, we have watched the leaves perform their beautiful autumn dance, and have enjoyed listening to the calls of various birds flittering and fluttering all around us. We have enjoyed long nights under the moon and a few oak trees while listening to the crackling of a fire. Often, the tightness of our new home doesn’t phase me. We go about our day to day task with a smattering of ease. In fact, our family time has been richer and sweeter since moving out here. The close quarters is almost cozy in nature and I welcome its warmth.  These days, my heart swells and it is easy to see how everything will work out just fine; it is easy to enjoy the beauty of simple living; it all makes sense on these days. During these times, my heart finds its song again and it dances with joy.

But, there is a joy to be found in all times and in all seasons.

The hard days, they are getting fewer. I have seen where I needed to be stretched and where I needed to grow. Friends and family have certainly stepped in and encouraged us and often themselves lending a helping hand.  In the quiet moments, I have found myself giving thanks for the hard times…for the times where waves nearly drowned. I am learning there is a process – there is often a pain accompanied with growth, and not all pain is bad. I have learned that I can be shaped by hard times and grow from them or I can let them defeat me. In keeping my focus on Him, I am doing my best to let difficult times grow me. I am learning that in the growth, my walk with Him is closer and truer than I could have imagined it being.

So, the best answer I can give to people asking how life is going for us?

Well, it would be that we are learning to appreciate every moment of the journey. We are blessed with a sustaining grace that will bring moments beautiful and bring us through moments raw and rough. We are, every day, more and more confident and content in the place of life we are walking through and in the place where we call home.

Walking the ‘Thy Will’ Way

I walk along the soft leaf laden path. The wonder of autumn has fallen and the ground now bears evidence of its presence. Each step I take, lands on a padded surface. I lose myself in thought.

Thy Will Be Done.

It is familiar. It is desperate. It is soothing. It is unknown. It is, above all else – perfect. I recall when Jesus teaches us how to pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”. In the same way Jesus knew this to be the only way to live and breathe, He also knew the weight of its meaning. For a prayer of Thy will, means stepping into a space where self is abandoned…crucified and the will of God is surely being done. Jesus’ heart beat the same as His Father. In the very place where He cried out to Him in a plea of asking His father to have this cup pass from Him, He also was already One with Him in perfect obedience.

 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, “O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done”.  (Matthew 26:42)

A prayer of Thy will is not a prayer that is without sacrifice. It is not a prayer that is free from experiencing and walking through broken. A prayer of Thy will, is not a prayer that refuses to die to self and refuses to take up one’s own cross.

A prayer of Thy Will is walking with the One who is worth every sacrifice. It is a prayer that experiences and walks through broken. A prayer of Thy will, must die to self and take up one’s own cross.

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16:24-26)

Walking in a Thy will way.

This kind of walk makes me think. As I find my way through the trees, I am reminded. I watch the leaf as it dances through the air. It floats and falls with absolute certainty of its role – dying and letting go. The tree does not hold on. The tree lets go so it can experience the fulfillment of new growth at the right time and the right season.

If we could only see the beauty of releasing our own dead leaves. It is only through our accepting and walking through the Thy will moments that we will experience the forsaking of self; it is also where we will be able to one day experience true living.

To walk in the aching joy of Thy will begins with the heart and the thoughts that are produced from it. It asks for a revelation of any thing harmful, offensive, grievous, dishonest, or wicked way that is within…so that it can be surrendered to the cross. Dying to self…this will allow us to be lead in the everlasting way.

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24)

The wind rushes by and the sun beams down — it refreshes and it rejuvenates.

I don’t have to know or understand every circumstance, but I do need to surrender them all to His will and walk in obedience to where He is calling me in these circumstances. I am reminded that where I am weak, is exactly where He is strong. I don’t have to worry about my perfect obedience, for there is One who has (and only could) obeyed perfectly; I lean into that obedience, His obedience. I invite it to envelop me. I raise my eyes and my hands lift in surrendering praise.

My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:2)

I am reminded of His goodness, His faithfulness, His mercy, His grace and His steadfast love that endures forever. I can trust in His perfect ways. I can trust that He is working all things for our good and His glory. I can trust in Him

So I think…

Could we all, the body of Christ, come together and die to the self we so desperately hold on to? Could we all embrace the sacrificial life of Thy Will? Could His beloved come together and walk in His everlasting way…even if it means braving through the messes and brokenness of life? Could we love each other and encourage each other as we walk the hard road of Thy Will together?

By His grace, I think we can.