I feel like I should spend a little time delving into what and how we are prearing for this project. The real planning actually started about 2 years ago. It had been in the “dream” stage prior to that. I’m not really sure when we made the conscious decision to move forward, but our vacations tended to have a more educational feel for how to live aboard and cruise. Any trip we have taken, since the inception of our relationship, we have tried to get on a boat. For the day, several days, or a week.

Our first order of business would be to determine a financial plan. Mike is a much more financially responsible person than I am. I’m not extravagant by any stretch of the imagination. However, if I want a good cup of coffee or new hiking boots, I buy them. So, awhile back we started focusing on what we were purchasing and whether it was “boat friendly”. Then we started curbing our spending. This included gift buying for birthdays and Christmas. We are crafty and appreciate homemade gifts more than store bought, so that’s what we tried to do. We bought used sporting equipment and drive older (1970’s-1986, etc) vehicles. My VW Jetta TDI is a 2013 but is part of a lawsuit withVW due to emissions. We have chosen to sell the vehicle back to them as part of the settlement and I most likely will not replace it. Our houses are being sold and we are keeping a small part of our property where we will build an apartment. Eating out has become a treat we don’t have often. Mike also does 99% of any repair work that needs done, whether cars, household or whatever.

Besides making plans for selling our houses, horses, ranch equipment, belongings that we have excess of, there are the more personal aspects of preparation. Our family, our children,our business are top priorities. We have the houses taken care of. Our son, Sean is buying our Sturgis house, which is our primary residence. The Blunt house, bought in 2011 when Mike had been working at the Pierre Emergency Department for a year, has been such a huge project for us, and has so much character (found under layers of wallpaper and plaster and grime) that it was literally a blood, sweat and tears project. We have prayed the new owners would appreciate the quirks and personality of the house like we have. I had had it on my heart that a certain family in Blunt and or their church should be the owners. I’ve held this conviction for about a year, not seeing how it could come to pass. Well, the Lord works out all things. If what we think is happening plays out, they will in fact be the new owners this summer, when we have with wrapped up the last few projects. Praise the Lord!

After a lot of conversations and interviews and soul searching, we were sent a Certified Nurse Practitioner who is ready to get back to family practice. She has worked in a solo practice for 17 years and a couple other areas since, with 30 years total health care experience. Ann understands that our clinic is built on close rapport with our patients and if one is looking to make a lot of money, they should keep looking. We do a good business and are protective of our patient population and especially of our staff. Toni has been with Mike from the beginning. The beginning being 2001. Mike had been an employee of the hospital owned clinic when that was closed. He decided to stay in Sturgis and open his own office after looking at a few clinics out of state. Without retaining Toni as the front desk, office manager and fill in all the blanks employee, the place will sink. Ann appreciates this as well, thank God! There is already some severe separation anxiety on all our parts and having Toni remain the constant has been a huge relief for patients and us.

Our kids. Right. We have our two adult children. They are actually from Erins first marriage, but are blessed to be claimed by Mike, as well. Megan is married to Jon and they have our only grandchild, Lucian (aka Luc). They live in Sturgis and will be taking care of Cookie, my dog, among a few other responsibilities. Sean also lives in Sturgis and will be selling his home in order to buy ours. He has 2 dogs who we claim as our grand dogs. Bubba and Bonnie for future reference. Matthew is our youngest at 9. When we adopted Matthew we also honorarily adopted his birth sister, Rachel. Rachel, if she were born to our family would fall chronologically between Megan and Sean. She is married to Brad and they have 1 daughter, Elisia. She is our honorary granddaughter. Besides Matthew who will be with us, these are all people that we will miss desperately for the 6 months we are away. Of course, our expectations are that they will visit.

My parents. Where else would I get this ridiculous sense of wanderlust and adventure?? My dad is checking his passport dates to make sure he is legal to travel with us. My mom, although supportive maintains a little less enthusiasm. I’m hoping they will both be able to visit at least once, wherever we are anchored. They currently live 1 1/2 hours from us. This will be a big change that we will all have to adjust to.

My brother Jamie and his family. Jamie, his wife, Bree and children Danny, Nick, Helena and Pearl live in Lead. They also have daughter Litcelle and her husband James who live in Montana. Lead is just up the hill 10 miles to the west of us. These people share our travel gene and are completely understanding of our plans. Jamie and Bree have both travelled internationally and otherwise and don’t have the anxiety a few others have as a result.

My brother John and his family. John, Melissa, Ben, Hannah and husband Austin and Dominc reside in Oklahoma. Because we are only able to see them once or twice a year, this relationship won’t change much. We maintain almost daily contact and as long as we have data or phone service I don’t anticipate many changes. Hannah and Austin are expecting their first child in November. I’m hoping we can meet the newest family member before we set sail.

Unfortunately, Mike’s parents have both passed away. I’m sure his dad especially would love our little expedition. Mike’s brother Nick and his wife Emi live in Oak Park,Illinois in the house Mike and Nick grew up in. They have two daughters, Natasia and Sophia. Hopefully, they will also find time to visit or perhaps follow our little adventure blog.

I’m going to leave this here for now. I think the next entry will relate to our “side job” as foster parents and how this affects them. I will also mention the sweet friend who is stepping up to help us.

Also- Matthew won first place in the Duck Stamp competition so I’ve shared that photo. Pretty proud of this kid who claims to be a terrible artist. 😁

Jeremiah 29:11 NIV says

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, . Plans to give you hope and a future. “

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