Finding Your Place

The place you feel at peace.  The place that makes you happy.  The place you can call home.

I’ve blogged about this some in the past.  Or maybe I’ve blogged about it a lot in the past.  Hubby and I have many things we have wanted to do and many things we hope to do.  Life is too short and adventure awaits!!

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Our biggest dream was to buy some land and build a homestead where we could raise our own animals and food.  That dream didn’t produce anything though because of physical problems that seemed to be getting worse.   Instead of moving forward with our plan, we threw it away (although there is still a part of me that wants my chickens, ducks, guinea fowl and goats).

We pushed aside our fears and doubts and began the process of becoming licensed foster parents in Illinois.  We had four foster children and after having the last two for 15 months, hubby was offered a new job opportunity in Texas.  With tremendous heartbreak, we moved our two foster sons to a new foster home, packed up our belongings and left Illinois after almost 20 year of being back in the Land of Lincoln.

It’s been about 2 1/2 years since we moved to Texas and while things haven’t gone exactly as we envisioned them, there have been some definite highs.

Hubby’s job has gone well and it was absolutely the right move for him to make.

After buying our house here, we got our foster license again and have fostered a total of 8 children in the last year.   While it has been very hard in many ways, I’m having trouble imagining life without any of the children that came into our care.  While the goal is to give these children all that we can, the truth is, we have gained much from having them be part of our lives.

We’ve made new friends and reconnected with family.

At the same time, we miss those we left behind in Illinois and haven’t been able to get back as often as we had hoped.

Over the years, I’ve heard many people talk about their wishes and dreams.  How they would like to pursue a new hobby or a new job.

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How they wish they lived in the mountains or on a lake or near the ocean.

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How they wish they were living in a different town, state or country.  Yet, very few of them make those changes or moves.

Our homestead didn’t happen because we knew the physical limitations would prevent us from being able to properly care for the homestead.  We didn’t know for sure when we made that decision, although we do know that for a fact now.  At the same time, there was fear involved in moving ahead with homesteading.

When we decided to make the move to Texas, there was fear involved.   There was sadness involved.  At the same time, there was excitement about the possibilities.

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The common theme through all of this though has been fear.  The fear of the unknown.  The fear of failure.  The fear of change.

Finding your place in this world isn’t always easy.

Fear will keep us from pursuing things that may truly make us happy.  Staying in the present is safe, but it’s not always joyful.  Keeping with the status quo may be easier, but it’s not always fun.

Then there is the person who knows they want to make a change.  They may even need to make a change.  However, they have no idea what change they want or need to make.  Instead, they live their life in limbo hoping that something will simply fall in their lap so they don’t have to take risks.

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Finding your place means taking risks though.

Maybe it’s not the best time to look for a new job, pack up your family and leave for a new adventure, but maybe the risk is worth it.

Maybe it seems stupid to move half way around the world to find a better life for yourself, but maybe the risk is worth it.

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Of course the big one always seems to be the “M” word . . . money!

– I can’t afford it.

– It’s too expensive.

– I don’t want to take the financial risk.

But here is the real question . . .

Is it worth putting your fears aside?  Is it worth the expense?  Is it worth the possibilities?  Is it worth the risk?

The answer to those questions will be different for everyone.  For me though, taking risks in life is part of what makes life exciting.  It’s how we discover new things and make memories.  It’s how we find our place in this world.  The place we feel truly at peace.  The place we can finally call home.

Have you found that place?  The place that makes you happy and content?  That place you can easily call home?

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Needed Update

As you can see, I gave my blog a long needed update.  It is still a work in progress, but I feel like I’m finding a new rhythm with my blog.

Our new house (new to us) is also in need of updates.

So far, I’ve painted the kitchen and living room.  We’ve also begun hanging things on the wall in the living room, which is very much making this house feel like our home.


We hope to get some great pictures from our cruise to include on our Family Photo wall.  Especially in the frame that still has the photos of the models in it 🙂

This is what the wall looked like before.

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It’s hard to tell from this photo, but the walls were kind of peachy brown color.  Almost pink depending on the light.  You can see it better in the photo below.

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Now the walls are a nice subdued yellow.


I’m adding color to the room with colorful picture frames, decor and artwork.  Like the artwork created by Lili in her Mixed Media art class.


She will continue to provide us more art and the walls this hangs on will most certainly be full of her artwork.

Updates are not only needed, but they are a good thing.


Perfect for Full-Time Living

We have two more nights in Georgette. In preparation for our upcoming move from RV to RV, I’m packing yet again. I’ve been packing and repacking for the last 3 months and quite honestly, I’m a little tired of packing. I’m ready to feel settled, so the excitement of this move is growing rapidly.

(This cartoon is so true)

Settled has become a bit foreign to us and some might question how we could possibly feel settled living in an RV.

RV living has become quite popular and it’s not just popular with the retirees. It has become very popular with families. So popular in fact, RV parks have waiting lists and some have waiting lists that require you to get on the list months and months in advance.

The RV park we’re in had a waiting list and we were fortunate to get in a couple weeks earlier than first anticipated. For a matter-of-fact, we’re on a waiting list for another RV park and went on that waiting list the same time we were put on the waiting list here. We still haven’t gotten a call. I should add that after driving thru the other RV park, we have decided to stay put. While the other park would be a little closer to the office for hubby, we’re in a much nicer RV park now and quite happy being here. I suppose I should call the other park and have them remove our name.

But I digress. I believe we can and will feel very settled in the new RV. It may take some time as we get things put away and organized, but we will get settled.

Earlier this evening we were discussing our upcoming move and hubby hit the nail on the head.

Georgette makes us feel like we’re camping.

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It is little things that I really liked about Georgette when we got her, that are driving me a bit crazy now.

Like the storage under the dinette seats. It’s great to have that storage space, but to get anything out we have to remove the back seat cushion, hold up the seat, pull out what we want and then put everything back together again. Repeat for putting things away. Perfect for camping, not so perfect for full-time living.

To get into our bed, we climb in from the end of the bed. There is maybe 5-6 inches on either side of the bed. It’s just enough that I can shimmy alongside the bed to make it, but there isn’t enough room that we can get into the bed from the side. Getting into bed requires crawling from the end of the bed. Perfect for camping, not so perfect for full-time living.

Lack of counter space has become a big issue as well. I’ve seen some RV’s with a terrific amount of counter space, but for the most part, RV’s aren’t known for having ample counter space. At least not the RV’s we can afford. After all, when you’re camping, you don’t necessarily need a ton of counter space. You’re spending a lot of time outdoors and the RV is that convenient place for sleeping, taking a shower or having somewhere dry to go on those rainy days. When camping, most of our cooking is being done outside. Perfect for camping, not so perfect for full-time living.

I realize that for some full-timers, what we have would be more than enough. We each have those things that are important to us and had I been looking at RV’s thru the lens of full-timing when we bought Georgette, we wouldn’t have Georgette. Maybe I should expound on this a bit.

If we were traveling full-time, Georgette would probably fit the bill just fine. We have discovered that what we want/need while traveling is very different from what we want/need staying stationary. We have been trying to set up home in an RV that is meant for travel. A year ago, when we ordered Georgette, we had no idea we would one day be trying to make her our home. For our family, she is the perfect travel companion. Unfortunately for our family, she’s not the perfect home.

Lili told me yesterday that she’s going to miss Georgette. I will too! In the short time we’ve had her, we’ve made some wonderful memories and we will carry those memories with us forever.

Now it’s time for some new memories to be made. For now, those memories won’t include camping trips, but we do look forward to getting settled in our new RV home. Perfect for full-time living.

News and More News

It has been requested that I blog more often and I really have had the best intentions when it comes to blogging. In this world of social media, blogging has remained my favorite venue for sharing information. It’s become very easy to open FB to see what’s going on, but it’s just not the same for me. Knowing that I have friends in blogland who make an effort to visit my little corner of the world really does brighten my day. I feel a connection to my readers and that connection just isn’t the same in FB Land. So I am going to try very hard to blog much more often. After all, our life is full of new experiences right now and you might just find some of those experiences interesting and amusing.

Like my trip into Dallas yesterday evening to join hubby and some of his co-workers for dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant. It was the first time some of his co-workers had tried Ethiopian food and I’m happy to report that they really enjoyed it. However, the trip to the restaurant was an adventure.

Because I now have my vehicle registered in the State of Texas, I wanted to avoid the tolls. I see no reason to incur unnecessary expenses, so I changed the settings on my GPS, put in the address and headed out. After a stop at CVS to pick up some notebooks for the girl’s school work, and another stop for gas and a Powerball ticket (non-winning ticket of course), we were on our way.

Let me just say that I’ve had some serious direction challenges since relocating to the Dallas area. Specifically, I feel like I’m traveling north when I’m actually travelling south and then I begin to question the GPS.

Yesterday I questioned it to the point I was resetting it. Not once, but twice folks!!!! Finally, I decided to look at the dash and realized I was in fact travelling south and since we’re living in North Dallas and I needed to be in Dallas, I needed to be heading south. So I continued on my way in hopes that the girls and I would make it to the restaurant.

Then I realized we left way too early. Ha, ha, ha!!!! NOT!!!!

Rush hour traffic + avoiding tolls = Long Commute to Restaurant

It was approximately 1 ½ hours from the time we left home until we arrived to our destination. Yes, we made two stops along the way, but it was only about 20 miles from where we live. Toto, we aren’t in Central Illinois anymore.

The commute was worth it though. We had a wonderful dinner

and part of getting established in a new area is making friends. Hubby’s co-workers are very nice and we had met one of the families during our trip to Dallas this past October. They have son who is the same age as Lili and the kids reconnected beautifully and had a fabulous time together. A bonus is that this little boy’s mom is an awesome Ethiopian woman who has invited me to come over for some Ethiopian cooking classes in her home. I will be taking her up on that offer in the not too distant future and I’m sure the girls will enjoy spending more time with their friend as well.

The other big news from the World of Weeks – Dallas, is that Lili will be taking an art class. My art loving girl will be so happy to get back into art classes and there are two girls from the local homeschool group in the class. Setting up opportunities for the girls to make new friends is really important and this is a great opportunity to do just that. Now, to find a class that Naomi will enjoy.

The biggest news though is that we have an offer on our house in Illinois! It was officially listed on Monday and by Wednesday we had an offer. A decent offer too!

Now to answer the most popular question asked since getting the offer.

Does this mean we’ll be buying a house here sooner than we thought?

The answer is, probably not and there is a list of reasons why.

  • The sale of our house will require money out of our pocket. Prior to our adoptions, we refinanced our home. The money from the refinance provided us the majority of funds to complete our adoptions, but then the housing market crashed. There won’t be money from the sale of the house to roll over to a new house, so we’ll be saving money toward a new house. That’s going to take time.
  • The upside is that we really do enjoy RV living and aren’t in a rush to move anytime soon.
  • We haven’t done any real exploring around the DFW area. We don’t know exactly where we would like to end up and we want to narrow down location(s) before we begin looking for a home. The last thing we want to do is buy a house in a neighborhood we won’t be happy living in long-term. So for the time being, we’re staying put and will continue to enjoy our RV lifestyle for the next 1+ years as we had originally planned.
  • We have some other things on our plates right now, like our upcoming cruise and like I said before, we’re really not in a big rush to get moved right now. After all, we just moved and will be moving again next week when we switch over from Georgette to the Oakmont (Who the girls now think we should call Hogwarts. We’re big Harry Potter fans.)

As is typical of our life, there is never a dull moment and we prefer it that way.

Searching for Home

Hubby and I are in search of our homestead and recently found several acres of land.  For a matter-of-fact, we have looked at the property 3 different times now.  It is overgrown with new trees, berry bushes and grass, so is in need of clearing.  There is power along the road that could easily be run onto the property, but doesn’t have a well or septic system, so we would be spending a fair amount of money preparing the land for building our home.  Most of all, the view from the property is breath-taking.  It over looks the Ozark hills and I could easily envision our home there.  Deer and wild turkey roam the property and it is very peaceful and quiet.  It fulfills much of what we’ve been looking for in our homestead.

As we were driving home from our little family vacation a few days ago, I had time to do a lot of thinking about the property.  In so many ways it seemed perfect, yet somehow it just didn’t feel right.  I also couldn’t shake the feeling that there might be a more perfect property out there for us.  So after discussing my concerns with hubby, we agreed to keep looking.

Now we’re back from our trip and scouring various websites looking for property that could one day become our homestead.  A piece of property that gives us enough room for our goats, sheep, chickens, ducks and turkeys (yes, hubby has added turkeys to the list of animals we’ll raise on our little farm) and any other farm animals we may choose to raise.  Land that provides us with a sunny space for our garden and orchard.  We are searching for a piece of land that we can call home.

The Perfect House

Nelson Mandela

Many years ago, when we decided to make our move across country to return home to friends and family, we also decided that we were going to build our next house. In my mind, building a house meant we could choose the perfect house for our family. At times it seemed like an impossible task, but we found the determination to make it happen.

Since we were moving back to my old stomping grounds, we knew what the town was like.  I found out about a piece of vacant property that was for sale, got pictures and in short order put money down on the property. All of this was done before we even sold the house we were living in and a few months before we were making our big move.

For months prior to moving, we looked at 100’s of different house plans. We would find plans that we really liked and study those plans for days only to discover something we just didn’t like about them.  Finally, we found the perfect plans and about 1 year later we were moving into our newly built home.

Funny thing about perfection – nothing is perfect. Within a few months after moving in to our perfect house, we discovered it wasn’t so perfect after all. Things we thought we would like about the house we didn’t like and other things we wished we would have done differently. Until you’ve lived in a house, you just don’t know what you will like or won’t like about it.  But it was also a great learning experience.

As we take steps toward our country home – hobby farm,  homestead – I have been looking thru house plans. This time I look at those plans with a different set of eyes and dream of my cabin amongst the trees. Somehow, it helps to keep me motivated. It helps me keep my eyes more focused on the finish line. In a strange way, I feel like I’m making preparations for our future.

Of couse if Santa would just leave the winning lottery ticket in my stocking this year, I could quit dreaming and start doing 🙂   Until then, I must keep the dream alive always realizing that what seems impossible now, will one day be done.

Christmas on the Homestead

Over the last couple of days, the girls and I have been putting up Christmas decorations. The big tree is the living room sparkles with little white lights and ornaments of gold, green and red. My Santa collection graces the coffee table as well as the fireplace mantle and hearth. Snow globes sit on the ends tables and the stockings are hung and ready to be filled Christmas Eve.

In the family room sits a smaller tree that is adorned with tiny blue and white lights along with an assortment of whimsical and homemade ornaments that I’ve collected over the years.

The decorations are fewer this year as I’ve packed many things away in anticipation of us selling this house and moving to our home in the country.  Our country home only exists in my dreams for now, but Christmas on the homestead is part of those dreams.

A log home, nothing fancy, but definitely warm and cozy. The kitchen, dining room and living room all sharing the same space. Our large Christmas tree sitting in the corner near the fireplace, looking much like it does today. My Santa collection and snow globes taking up residence around room and our stockings fitting in beautifully above the beautiful stone fireplace. The smaller Christmas tree in the loft and easily viewed from below. Smells of evergreen and cinnamon fill the air as we snuggle on the sofa reading Christmas stories and sipping hot chocolate, while being warmed by the fire burning brightly in the fireplace. Beautiful, warm quilts on our beds just waiting for us to climb under them for a peaceful night’s sleep in our country home.

I don’t know what our Christmas on the homestead reality will become. What I do know is that the beauty and anticipation of the holiday will follow us no matter where we go and it’s wonderful simply because we’re together.

Project 1

I had hoped to get the first project on my long to-do list completed yesterday with before and after pictures posted, but obviously that didn’t happen. The room I started working on was taking longer than expected, so I decided to switch gears at the end of the week and tackled the master bath closet.  After all, it’s a small closet and shouldn’t take long to clean.


Ah, but the joke was on me.

After cleaning off the first shelf, this is what my bathroom counter looked like.


Seriously, this was only one shelf and there were four more shelves to go!!!

How did I manage to accumulate so much stuff?  Various bottles of shampoo, conditioner, lotions, and body sprays.   An old set of hot rollers (does anyone still use hot rollers in their hair?).  I found bottles of stuff that were 6 years past their expiration date.  Really?  It’s been 6 years since I cleaned this closet?  My how time flies when you out buying more stuff for your little bathroom closet.  Guess we’ve done our part to support the economy 🙂

One of the big  goals on my to-do list is to rid our lives of excess and that certainly happened with Project 1.   Three garbage bags full of excess has been tossed from our lives and it feels really good.

After emptying the entire closet, which filled two large Rubbermaid containers and took up half my bathroom floor, I pulled out all the shelves, lightly sanded and painted them.  Another to-do item crossed of my list and it only took me 17 years 🙂

Then it was time to paint the closet, which was in desperate need of a fresh coat of paint and the closet really does look better.


Finally time to put things away and re-claim my bathroom.  No more stacking stuff on top of stuff.  No more clutter and unused shelf space.  Amazing!!


For a matter-of-fact, all my cleaning products are lined up along the front of the shelf.  There is absolutely nothing else but empty shelf space behind those bottles and that feels good.

Project 1 completed!!!!

Now onto to Project 2 . . . .

Home Sweet Home, Where Art Thou?

Home is where you hang your hat.
Home is where the heart is.
Home’s where I belong.

For several months now, hubby and I have had a plan in place which includes selling our house and finding property in Missouri to start our little homestead. Part of that plan is still in place, but the part that is up-in-the-air now is location.

There are so many beautiful places here in the U.S. that will allow us to complete our vision – A few acres of land in the country. A home with a porch where we can sit in the evenings sipping a cold drink while the girls and dogs run around the yard. A creek that runs thru the property where we can splash in the water on a hot day or just spend time exploring. A pond for fishing. A large garden and a small orchard. Chickens ridding our property of bugs and providing us eggs and some fresh meat from time-to-time. Goats for milk and entertainment. A couple of horses for riding (if Lili has her way). Fresh air and a beautiful view that includes hills and trees.

I love the vision of our little homestead, but since very few people are able to live their lives without some source of income, we will ultimately need to go where the job leads us. So the question is, where is home? Where will we hang our hat? Where is our heart? Where do we belong?

And one last question . . .

If you could live anywhere in the U.S. where would it be and why?

Gypsy Baskets US map