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The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
­Robert Frost

Anyone who knows our story knows that simple living has always been a part of our life style.  Long ago we adopted an affinity for simplicity because it fit with the life that God has given us.  If you have faced loss as we have, then you may understand that there are more important things than having a big home and filling it with stuff. 

So back in 2010, we sold everything we owned at 16 year sales and took a leap of faith with our family.  God did the most amazing things for us and through it we learned to trust him more completely.  It was not a season without challenges or obstacles, but rather a season of our lives where great things happened because we dared greatly. 

5 years ago, we closed the doors of our RV and settled down into apartment living.  Then 2 years ago, we found a lovely home to live in and it became a refuge and place of healing in our lives.  But as the days wore along, our nest emptied and having a 4 bedroom home is certainly not what we feel we need. 

These past 5 years we have prayed about what to do with that sweet 32.5' fifth wheel and we could never arrive at a consensus.  We felt deeply attached to it for our lives were changed greatly because of it.  Call us sentimental and sappy, we loved that little home on wheels and it has carved a special place into our souls. So we have decided to make it our home, again and for however long we feel we need it. (It's not permanent)  No need to freak out!!!!! Life is too short to appease everyone's living standards.  We've faced a hard year this year...things few people know about and it doesn't matter if they did know.  This decision came with years of conversation and prayer about us and what we need to do or what we feel God is saying to us.

Being strapped with a large home is not my idea of an American dream.  In fact, the idea that I could ease our financial stress sounds more like a dream to me than anything.  And Glen and I will never have a retirement if we don't do something drastic NOW!  I'm 54 and he is almost 58.  Time is marching on at a rapid rate.  Doing this while we can makes so much sense.  No one can say for us why we should do this.  We have enough sense and intelligence to rightly decide what we need to do for our wellbeing and future. 

As I shared this publicly, it seems I have tipped over the apple cart and a couple of my friends think we are nuts and completely off our rockers.  UGH! Perhaps, I can define why I think we are treated like this.  It has often been thought that people with mental illness don't manage their lives very well.  And one can look at examples that make it into the news and think that's a spot on opinion.  But I beg to differ.  Glen and I have made it our mission to live our lives in such a way as to break the mold, banish stigma and stereotypes and to ultimately prove people wrong. There will always be someone who thinks we are anything but smart or responsible.

I can't worry about you or them...if you are one of them, then I feel sorry for you that you don't see our hearts and you can't trust our history. The truth is, we don't answer to anyone but to God and ourselves.  If you could see my life on a timeline and you could see all that we have survived, and if you could witness how we have been treated, and understand how loss still affects the decisions we make today, then you might understand that if we are to ever have anything of this worlds good or a place to call our own, then we will have to take drastic measures NOW!  But then again, my life should speak to the fact that we are not foolish but that we are of sound hearts and minds and when we say we will do something, then there is good reason for it!

It seems that my daughter's generation cheers each other on so much better.  Mine seems to find fault and criticize what we don't understand.  I should be used to this response by now but I still find I cringe when I read that people still mistrust me. The issues here are deep seated and can't be solved in this blog.  It's just truth that my generation mistrusts people with mental illness.  They just don't think we could possibly make sound decisions and that's what hurts about this.  Somehow in their minds, mental illness covers their sight with black clouded vision.  Maybe they think we don't live in the real truth we don't.  Everything that Glen and I do is clouded by mental illness.  It is the deciding factor in who our friends are, where we live, why we chose the vocation that we did, why we have faced years of loss and are still playing catch up, why we need to live simpler so we can one day have something...why we don't go some places, why we choose our friends very carefully, why we sometimes say no and keep to ourselves....the list could go on and on....and on, why we have different needs than most people and why we need to share our story with the world because our story has made such a difference already...just maybe it hasn't touched you yet. 

I don't know why people like to shoot from the hip and knock us down but they do.  Since I married Glen, I've faced mountains of mistreatment by people who thought we just could not possibly know what we were doing.  I guess we are just one of those couples who people think are stupid and just plain foolish adults.  Whatever!  I can't let your attitude steal my joy. 

The truth is, once again, that we don't answer to you.  If you are reading this and you think, wow, she sounds angry...well I am!  I had a "friend" totally knock me off my feet with words that came off as mistrusting my sense of judgment.  I was blown away!!! Another friend said she felt hurt for me! What? Why? I don't get people.  It seems condescending. It feels like a slap in the trust me as long as I do what everyone else does?  Is that it?  When I make a decision for myself, to do what I need.. something that is a little "off course" for you, then you doubt my integrity as an adult?!  WOW!  My mother did this to me for years and it still bugs me.  I got married before I finished my student teaching...she doubted I'd get it done...I was 24!  And surely I'd get pregnant and screw up my whole life plan...instead I waited 3 years.  It has gone like this my whole life with her.  She just doesn't trust Glen...and that's because he can't do what most men do. 

Instead, I have taken the attitude that I should bless my husband and honor him by taking his idea and making it a reality. Only, the truth is, God made it a reality.  Had I never left that little house in TN...left in an RV and traveled, I don't think the business would have blossomed as it did.  I choose to honor his creative spark and I have gladly done this for almost 10 years.

I have a business that is mobile and I have to go and travel where I can make money.  It's an unconventional life and we know that but it has been such a huge blessing to us.  And so, we leave this big 4 bedroom empty house and we are exchanging it for a mobile life.  And who is to say this is permanent.  Do I actually have to tell you my whole life plan? No, I choose not to.  This is my plan for now and in the back of our minds we know why we are doing it.  All that matters is that we thought it through long and hard and with God's help, we will be blessed because of it.  That is all!  If you love me and support me, then you will love and support our decision and you won't second guess me ever again.  Plain and simple! I end my rant.


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