WARNING: LONG POST – PROCEED AT OWN RISK 🙂
Oh my….. where to begin.
The last 6 weeks or so have just flown by. If you are reading this, thank you. I had intended to write weekly as a kind of diary for our adventure. As it turns out things have just been too hectic to actually do so. I am all the time thinking, “this is a piece of information or feeling or occurrence that I should be recording.” As I was driving to Blunt late last Sunday night this phrase from a Frost poem popped into my head, “miles to go before I sleep” (Stopping By Woods). It had occurred to me that we had not observed a day of rest in months. Yes, I am serious. MONTHS. I’m guessing there might have been a day in April that we took a rest day. So, the point I’m making is that our trip to Brunswick this week needed to have a little lower key or less ambitious milieu. My back has been killing me as well as my knee. These aren’t new injuries, just an ache and pain that I wasn’t having enough time between activities to let settle.
Right, so just what have we been doing that has brought me to this point? So many things. We had to get moved out of our house, so our son Sean could take it over. We moved into our camper, but had to move out almost immediately because we had it rented out for a week. I have helped Sean with his vacation renters and house cleaning. Mike has not worked since May 30 at the clinic, but has continued to work in the ER in Pierre. Besides that, we have worked on the hay barn that will eventually have 2 apartments. Mike has been insulating, then we prepped and poured concrete in half the building (the shop side). The Blunt house has had some major changes that are finally visible as well. We have completed the 2nd floor bathroom and made major headway on the first floor bathroom. The walls in the living and dining room are finally up and mudded, primed and partly painted. I have broken 2 mowers and Mike has been able to fix one. This next week in Sturgis is the Rally and we have again moved out of the camper for rally renters. This seems like it should be a small project, but actually isn’t. We live there, so the “things” being moved are our daily used items, mostly. I’m ashamed to say how long it takes to do this and how inadequately I get it done.
I stopped working at the clinic much earlier than planned, but am now grateful it happened that way. I don’t know how I could have managed otherwise. We have continued to have Lucian on Sundays and when Megan gets called in. We have also been able to keep the K’s a couple of times and are so grateful we can do that. Pearl, our 10 month old niece has visited a few times and we were able to help Jamie and Bree with her.
Vacation Bible School is something I have helped with for the last several years. The last 3 or so, I have headed up the craft class. Our theme this year was “Game On” and our verse was 2 Peter 1:3 which says, “His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.” It was during this week that I began to feel a sense of what the Lord was calling us to do on our sailing away project. GEAR UP, GET READY, GAME ON!
Matthew and I took a trip to Branson for a week, as well. This is a trip that although restful, was very busy. Helena, our 10 year old niece was able to go with us. Megan, Lucian and Mom also went. We had just turned in our VW jetta for the TDI lawsuit and bought a Conestoga wagon (I refuse to admit to owning a minivan, therefore it shall be known as Connie the Conestoga Wagon). We filled her up and headed south. My Mamaw is the reason we travel to Branson, but the town sure does offer a lot for the kids and us to do. We took in Silver Dollar City and White Water, Samson at the Sight and Sound theater and shopped for school clothes. Yeti shaved ice is conveniently located across from Holiday Hills where we stay, so I always stop there for my favorite treat. I never feel like we have enough time there and miss my Mamaw more every time we leave. Below is a picture of us celebrating her 89th birthday while we were there.
Just as we were arriving back in South Dakota we learned of the tragic sinking of the Duck in Branson. This was so unfortunate and shocking! It sounds like a triad of mistakes were made and 17 people died as a result, 9 in one family! We have ridden the Ducks countless times and have pictures of all the kids at the wheel. It just felt to unbelievable. There is probably a name for the grief we felt, but it just left a hollow, sad feeling.
Here’s Matthew driving the Duck Aug 5th, 2013.
Link to one of many stories about the tragedy:
Since deciding we were undertaking this huge life change, I have struggled with the reason God is allowing me such a wonderful adventure. I have for years thought this would be such a great thing to do, but felt it was a selfish ambition. I mean, who doesn’t from time to time, just feel like walking away from life and doing just whatever is in your heart to do?? I had been asking God why I had this strong desire (along with Mike) if it was selfish. And if He has a plan for us, to show us. As pieces of our “normal life” were falling away and it became more clear that this really was what we were meant to do, I was becoming more convinced and yet more anxious. Mike was able to see it a little more clearly, “Erin, these are signs we are on the right path”. I couldn’t get past the “what are we supposed to DO?” Thinking my sole motive would be living a life of leisure and not having a purpose was driving me crazy!” There has to be a calling, a plan, SOMETHING!
Right. When we were looking at boats, the owners of the HR had mentioned something from their cruising years that stuck with me. She said that they kept little “gifts” on board to offer to people when they visited. For children, they might have little stuffed animals or for women, a perfume sample. So, while teaching VBS that week in July the Holy Spirit began to move me in a direction of simple clarity. Why can’t I have a few VBS type materials on board? Why can’t I have a couple totes devoted to small but thoughtful gifts that can be given to people we come across that just need to be shown that Jesus loves them? These are simple ways that I feel can make a difference. Just throwing these ideas out to a few friends, our church family and family members has taken that burdon of “what am I supposed to be doing” questioning off my shoulders. Pastor Bob brought it to the attention of the congregation last week and now there are several people being thoughtful in what we can do for others we meet as we sail. That they are calling us unofficial missionaries is a little overwhelming, but we will try to live up to that expectation!
Back to the Sabbath. Our first day on board Voyager was pretty restful. Mike, however, struggles with a full day of not working. He replaced a headroom faucet and organized a few areas. I slept, read and M and I took a bike ride to the pool. We have trouble adjusting to the time difference, so our nights are pretty late as are our mornings. Strange that 2 hours can make much difference.
We brought Katniss and Falcon this trip. I admit I have been pretty apprehensive about these 2 living on the boat with us. They are territorial, quirky dogs. So far, they have proved me wrong in every aspect. They have behaved on leash, there have been no accidents and haven’t shown any hostility to those docked around us.
We are now finding our refrigeration system has a glitch and is short cycling. This means it’s kicking on and off and not working/cooling efficiently. It’s also not cycling water and will burn up the motor if not addressed. we have tried a few recommended fixes, but to no avail. We are also cleaning our water tanks and Mike will be polishing the diesel tanks. We still have a few items to organize and stow, as well. I’m taking this moment to write in hopes I can get into the groove. We really are doing the blog as a record of events for personal revisiting, but hope others find it useful, entertaining or something of the kind.
So- while all this is going on, I am determined to keep our family reminded that we need to set limits on how much and how long we are working. I also am determined to remind us all that we need to rest. God intended us to take a day each week, from what I understand. We need to be faithful and obey.
I’m adding this last picture for two reasons. 1. The boat is gorgeous. 2. I’m fascinated with all things Scottish. (Yes, it’s Inverness Canada, but still…..)