Life as We Know It


I have come to realize that although I am not an opponent of change, I am not a proponent of going through the transition.   My current wish would be to jump to January and be living on the boat full-time or go back to, say, March and be living full time in our (Sean’s) house, with kids running all over the place.  Overall I haven’t minded the 35 foot 5th wheel camper.  I have loved what time we have had on the boat so far.   As we get closer to our move time, and the weather is turning colder and the holidays approach, I find myself getting more apprehensive about everything.  There are a few challenges of living in a camper when it’s cold.  Frozen pipes and drains to name the most obvious.  Homeschooling takes up more room that I was prepared for.  It’s also more time-consuming and requires more organization and steadfastness than I thought.  I truly believe this will become easier as we endure the initial growing pains.

Last week, we were on Voyager and Matthew was in his second week of being sick.  Matthew has not been sick before, beyond a couple of fevers that lasted maybe 24 hours.  He had never been on an antibiotic before.  Strep throat was diagnosed the week before, by Mike.  He had picked up some antibiotics for Matthew and M had been taking them.  His fever had come down, he seemed to be feeling mostly better by the time we got to Brunswick, other than extreme fatigue.  Then Monday night he began itching.  There were “no seeums” thick around the boat and we thought he was just scratching do to them.  By Tuesday morning it was apparent that this was not due to insects.  He was covered head to toe in a hivey, red, blanching rash that itched like crazy.  His face was also swollen, eyes, cheeks and most alarmingly, his lips and mouth.  We kept a very close eye on him, dosed him with Benedryl and stopped the amoxicillin.  Because of the fatigue that continued and his raspy voice we questioned whether he might also have a virus; mono maybe.  Mike explained, when a body is so amped up fighting a virus, then an antibiotic is introduced, the body can sometimes fight the medication as well and you get the rash and allergy type symptoms.  Regardless, he will not be taking Amoxicillin again.  So, now, into our 3rd week, Matthew still has a light rash and is still spending an inordinate amount of time sleeping.  Yesterday, before we got through with school, he begged for a nap and slept 3 hours.  This meant we were wrapping up math and science at supper time.

Right.  Last week on Voyager we were attempting to get several projects knocked off the list.  Our “project time” was somewhat compromised due to interrupted attempts at school and checking on Matthew.  We did get quite a bit accomplished, but Mike opted to fly back to her yesterday and get some more done.  So, we were up at 0330 getting him to his flight.

The ever being edited to-do list….

Matthew and I are spending time in Sean’s house for school, so we can spread out and have access to water.  I used to go to the gym in the mornings when I took him to school.  I’m at a loss now as to when I should go.  CrossFit Kids is on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, so that seems like a good time for me, but what about the rest of the week? Why is this such a hard thing to  accomplish?  Since I am not coordinating trips to town, I seem to be at a loss as when to go.  This is so strange to me.

Since “retiring” (this still doesn’t seem like a word that should apply to me) I have been trying to make a conscious effort to see my friends and make them a priority.  I’ve succeeded with some friends more than others.  As farewell time gets closer I’m getting more emotional about it.  Mike and I have set ourselves apart, isolated ourselves, even.  We have spent so much time together, working, travelling, etc that we haven’t left a lot of room for others for quite a while.  I recently completed a Bible Study on friendship (We Saved You a Seat by Lisa Jo Baker) that opened my eyes to several aspects of friendship I hadn’t thought of.  I’m trying to implement what I learned and be a better friend.  I also know that “time” is my love language and what I value from others.  This is ironic as it’s also what I have withheld to those closest to me, I believe.

I can’t really think about the upcoming 6 months without my family nearby.  My dad will leave with us, so that will help.  We have had a friends family say they will be near Brunswick when we are just getting there and we may be able to meet up with them.  This will make me so incredibly happy if it works out.  I hope that our kids and other family are able to visit, also.  I have visions of us reserving our condo at Harborside in the early spring and our guests staying there if they aren’t comfortable on the boat.  Since we are mobile, we could meet almost anywhere within reason.  Think about it- is a trip to the Caribbean in your future??

We are 5 months into retirement and although we have been exceedingly busy, I still haven’t found my “purpose”.  I guess homeschooling is the major purpose, now.  I’m hoping that once on the boat, it all comes together.  I have enjoyed having my quiet time, although interrupted, most days.  I’ve been creative and completed a few artsy projects.  I have been able to take a girl trip (Mom and Lynn and I visiting Scottsdale and seeing writer Diana Gabaldon) which was so much fun.  Last week alone I read 5 books!  3 of them on Audible.  Audible is amazing, it’s definitely one of my all time favorite things.

Diana Gabaldon, mentioned above, wrote the book Voyager for which our boat is named.  This is the 3rd of the “big books” in the Outlander series.  At the end of the book, the main characters are shipwrecked and wash up on a beach in Georgia.  This year is also the 25th anniversary of the release of Voyager.  Since we found our Voyager in Georgia and it is an apt name for a boat, we went with it.

Well, this has been a scattering of thoughts for a blog post…. if you’ve stuck with it, thank you.  As we mentioned from the beginning our blog is a journal of events for us to reflect on as much as anything.  If anyone is entertained by it or interested in any way, we are appreciative.  We realize this is an alternate life and not everyone understands why we are doing it.  Sometimes I don’t know why we are doing it.  That’s ok.  The world needs us all, different lifestyles, loves and passions.

Megan and Lucian- because they are adorable. Luc had just trick or treated at a house blasting scary noises. He remained like this the rest of the evening.


Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.

Proverbs 4:25

Homeschool….. game on!

Homeschool day 1

Dad is in charge of science and math

The last few days have been a bit of a whirlwind.  On Saturday Matthew had his last soccer game of the season.  His team played against the parents and siblings of the team.  It was a really fun time, despite Matthew being kicked in the calf by a dad….ouch.   He is fine, but was out for several minutes of the game.  He had a swimming party that afternoon to celebrate the conclusion of the season.

Sunday morning found us on the road to Midland for Kyuss’ baptism.  He is one of the children who has lived in our home.  Last Wednesday was his “gotcha day” and we were able to celebrate his baptism with his family.  We were named his godparents, which was an amazing privilege for us.  We picked up Lynn, Kadrian and Kyrihn and all travelled together.  It was like old times, having them all together, again.  We are so incredibly blessed by these boys and their families!

Homeschooling began yesterday.   So far Matthew is excited and ready for this.  We are having trouble understanding the new ebooks we got for teachers manual, however. We will be getting 2 hardcover books from BJU so that will be nice.  I’ve spent some time on the phone with tech support and some of our issue may be our wifi, which is our mobile hot spot as we don’t have good, reliable internet where we are.  So, maybe I’ll go into Megan’s house later and try it there.  I’m sure once we have all this under control, we will all feel better about it.

We have also been working (mostly Mike with Jon’s help when he can be here as well as Sean on his days off) tirelessly on the future house.  It’s looking less like a hay barn everyday!

I had some special time with my grandson, Lucian on Saturday.  We don’t get time, just the 2 of us, very often.  While Matthew was at his soccer party, Luc and I went to the DC Booth Historical Fish Hatchery.  We spent an hour exploring and looking at the fish and various pieces of history on display there.  This is a treasure to be enjoyed if you are in Spearfish.  Granted, it is off  season, now.  The museum, rail car, and house are all closed, but the ponds and wildlife are still on display.  The bright colors are in their glory.  If you find yourself in Spearfish, this is a beautiful, FREE activity that is family friendly.

That’s the news for now.  We are pressing on.  Upcoming plans include a master provisioning list for the boat and a trip to see her November 1!  SQUEE!!  Our friends in the marina report that she is pretty dirty and in need of a good bath.  I will be happy to oblige!

Slainte’ Mhath

Winter Weather

I’m afraid I don’t have a ton of information worth sharing at present, but am feeling compelled to write something.

We have been living in the camper for 4 full months, with 2 1/2 to go.  Mostly I don’t mind.  However, when the 3 of us are here, plus the 3 big dogs, I find I feel a little short of breathing space.  Megan’s family comes on Tuesdays generally as they are both off work that day, that makes 6 of us for supper plus the dogs.  I can’t complain about our self imposed tiny living, but sometimes I’m tempted.  I take my time doing laundry at Sean’s, folding the clothes and enjoying what feels like wide open rooms.  He wouldn’t mind if we were up there more, but it’s his house now and I don’t want to take advantage.  When I have had big things to cook, I’ve used his kitchen, besides laundry that’s the extent of my coveting our old house.  He stops in after work several times a week and I can’t pretend that I don’t love seeing more of him.

We have been working on the apartment to some extent.  The work really goes easier when Jon and Sean are able to help.  My back has been giving me grief, so I haven’t been on hand as much.  When I’m feeling short on patience with our living situation, I look at Pintrest for kitchen ideas, that seems to keep me focused.

The last few weeks have been wet, snowy and cold.   Today is October 16th.  I look at the temperatures in Brunswick, then Nassau almost daily.  We watch our favorite sailing YouTube channels and anticipate our travels coming up in just a few months.   We haven’t set a course as of yet, but I’m looking forward to getting on the boat and making those plans.  I’m missing the warm weather, already.  I envision it being cool in Georgia when we get there in December and then the trek down the ICW being gradually warmer each day.  I don’t know if that is, in fact, how it will go, but in my mind it is.

We will start homeschooling Matthew next week.  We decided to start at the beginning of the 2nd quarter rather than wait until the big move.  We are a little apprehensive.  Matthew seems to have an overly romantic view of how wonderful it will be.  I pray my patience level is adequate.   Mike and Matthew have already decided that Mike will teach math and science and I’ll do the rest.  I like this idea, being fully aware that if it is observed, or voiced that Mike is a better teacher, he will take over.    It may save headaches if he would just do it, haha!

As far as curriculum, we plan for now, to keep using the resources from his current school, Black Hills Christian Academy.  BJU (Bob Jones University) is used for most subjects, with Purposeful Design and Words Their Way.  We will see how we like it for the rest of the school year, then decide how to proceed for 5th grade.  We have talked to a few homeschooling families and watched several reviews and tutorials on You Tube trying to decide what to do.  It seemed this is the most straight forward and he’s already used to it to some degree.  We can always make adjustments as needed.  If anyone has pointers feel free to share in the comments.  We really are open to suggestions or to learn from your experience.  We will hopefully have a handle on routine before we get on the boat.

Since we will be starting the homeschooling process sooner, we plan to take a short trip to the boat in early November.  One friend who is keeping an eye on her says she needs a good washing.  So far Hurricanes Florence and Michael have both bypassed the Brunswick Marina.  We are super grateful for this, of course, but are itching to go see her and make sure all is well.

I have been brainstorming ideas with a friend, Jennifer,  from church on small gifts we can keep on the boat to share as we go along.  Again, if anyone has ideas, share them, please!  We are thinking some tea bags with a scripture, or some sample oils, etc.  Mike and another friend, Larry,  talked fishing tackle, which Larry graciously donated.  I’m, also, trying to come up with a [business/boat] card design.  I need to find a program that I like to design it, then print.  Mike is repairing our bimini cockpit cover that we brought home and is customizing it for solar panels.  We have lists for provisions that we are always adding to,  but I think this is a never ending project.

I’ll write more as the Spirit moves.  I’ve included just a few pictures from the last few weeks.  Just life, messy and uncensored.

Slainte Mhath~

FYI~ YouTube sailing channels we love:

Sailing LaVagabond


*Sailing Zatara

*Sailboat Story

*Sailing Britican

**Sailing Doodles

Distant Shores

S/V Ruby Rose

*Children onboard

**dogs on board (at least in the beginning)


On being “homeless” and a gazillion pictures

We did it!!  we closed on both houses this month and are officially “homeless”.  This seems like an odd thing to have aspired to, but we have, at least temporarily.  We are still in our little 5th wheel camper and still own 10 acres of land.  There will now be a slow progression to building a small apartment for ourselves after finishing one for our daughter’s family to live in while keeping an eye on our “home front”.

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As per our usual, we had signed papers with the Savery’s for the Blunt house, spent a day packing up and when we went to leave, the battery was dead in Mike’s trailblazer.  While it was connected to the charger, we went to the grill and had a steak, thinking this would be ample time to let the car charge….wrong.  Right.  Joe and Bethany were gracious enough to let us hang out during their supper, while further charging of the battery happened.  I’m telling you, this is a sweet family.  We finally were able to embark on the journey home at 7:30pm.  Two hours later, with a loaded to the ceiling car and a flatbed trailer also loaded, Mike struck a fairly good-sized deer.  We had already joked that there were signs we weren’t supposed to leave Blunt, but this was toooo much.  I had been following in the Conestoga (aka mini van).  I hadn’t seen the deer right away, but quickly figured out what had happened when I drove past it and Mike was stopping on the shoulder.  Thank God the radiator and other mechanical parts weren’t harmed!!  As it was, the passenger side headlight, fender and inner wheel well, and door were damaged.  The frame where they attach was also bent.  So, in true Mike Preys fashion, he pulls out a few straps and a rope, pry’s the fender off the tire, ties it all up and we went on our way.  By midnight, after arriving home, he had located and messaged someone with a trailblazer they were parting out. Then he had all the necessary replacement parts by 5pm Saturday. He also has a few extra parts, in true Mike Preys fashion…..  Sunday, between church, taking care of grandson, Lucian and an event at church, he managed to get all the broken pieces off the car.  Today, Monday he has just about everything replaced.  He is finishing up the bumper and will be done.  Don’t anyone say the cobwebs have time to collect on this man!


In other news…. Matthew is adjusting at his new school.  It’s been slow going.  His grades have not been what we are used to seeing, but are improving.  There have been a few other issues that I won’t dwell on, but suffice it to say, things are looking better.  He is playing soccer in Spearfish for the first time this season.  His team, while not showing any inclination to win, yet, seems to get along pretty well and his coaches are also very nice.  He plays mostly defense and is good at it.  On Saturday, he ran 4 miles for a jog-a- thon that benefits his school (if interested in donating/supporting get ahold of me) then had a game immediately after.  His Birthmom, Kristi came and ran with him.  What a blessing she is for him!! We picked up Luc and headed to Kyrihns birthday party in Rapid City in the afternoon.  He was able to spend the night with Lynn and the boys.  Everyone was exhausted and I was in bed by 8:30~ unheard of!

We had a chuck wagon supper last night at church.  Our Pastors wife, Cindi had been planning this for eons and it came together amazingly!  There was so much love and time and seat put into it, such a blessing and honor to be able to help the little bit that I did.  It was a free community event and I believe we had around 70 guests.

Chuck Wagon Event

Voyager has weathered the weather (;-)) well, so far.  We have a few friends keeping an eye on her.  It’s a little harder that we expected to be here and not knowing how things stand with her.   Mike is still toying with the idea of him just flying down sometime to check in and get a few more projects cranked out.  I guess we will see how this pans out.

Things are tight in the camper ( I feel like it should have a name, as well…. masculine maybe; Angus?  Malcolm?).  What we NEED to survive seem to grow…. mostly in shoes.  My  shoes.  I think as long as all our “stuff” is stored in a nearby barn, it’s likely to keep accumulating.  I’ve been trying to keep order to it, but now that Mike and Katniss are home as are our belongings from Blunt, I feel a little overwhelmed.  It’ll come together and I’ll get a system worked out, probably about the time we head south to Georgia.

Anyhoo…. it looks like we might get some September winter weather next week.  We wouldn’t want to get off without that kind of memory to sustain us while sailing.  South Dakota fall storms are notoriously bad.  Mike wants to plant us in the barn (camper and all) before then,  but I can’t stand the idea of being holed up in there for 3 months.  I might be sorry next week.

Stay tuned~

Slainte Mhath




So, what’s happening?  We have been frantically working to get the house in Blunt ready to sell.  Our buyers (THANK YOU Joe and Bethany) have been uber patient with us getting things done.  In some future post, I’ll show several before and after pictures.  Mostly, suffice it to say this has been our biggest project to date, and we have had A LOT of projects.  Closing will hopefully happen later this week.  Here’s a teaser of 1 room that we have completed:


So-that’s a sample of what our life looks like right now.  Mike is also working at the ER in Pierre, up to five 24 hour shifts per month.  Since Matthew has started school, I’ve been home (in the 5th wheel in Sturgis) during the week and traveling on weekends to help and bring home belongings.  Fall soccer has also begun, so that hampers my travel plans, somewhat.  Of course,  I have had a few small assignments at home.  I’ve loaded dirt from the future apartment ground floor into the tractor bucket.  I’ve also dug a trench for the drain tile.  There’s been a few other small chores, but nothing worth mentioning.  Mostly I’m running errands and taking care of the home front.  When I go to Blunt, I’ve focused on taping and mudding drywall and painting.  I’m ok with a break from the drywall work for awhile, especially ceilings…..

Yesterday we closed on our Sturgis house.  It’s now officially Sean’s.  I miss the house daily, but I am soooo glad it’s staying in the family.  He gets to host the big family get-togethers now!!  I have visions (probably due to my preference for historical literature) of this being a family estate that is passed through the generations.  I really do hope that’s the case.  Sean is single, ladies, with 5 acres and a nice 4 bedroom house and 2 dogs…. see me if interested 😉

A trip to Brunswick to see Voyager was planned for the end of September.  We thought we would take my dad and get further prepared for the “big trip”.  However, with hurricane Florence taking shape, others behind her and the multitude of happenings on the home front, we have decided to wait.  The next trip may not happen until after Christmas, now.  This makes me nervous as that will be when we take the rest of our gear and we had  hoped for the last drive down to be a light one.  I think what will need to happen is we pull a small trailer.  Dad will be with us and maybe he will fly back.  These are things that will need sorted out.

I’m hoping that life will be settling down somewhat now that the 2 houses are sold.  Mike will still need to travel to Pierre for work, but we should be able to put a dent in the projects at home, I hope.  Matthew has some school events, soccer games and piano lessons to attend to.  That keeps us running, besides all the other.

I’m thinking I need to do an entry on books and what everyone is reading.  I’m not really sure how to do this without giving bland book reviews.  I’ve been trying to broaden what I read, so maybe that’s a starting point.  What are YOU reading?

Also, I need a catchy signing off phrase….. whatcha got?

Until next time……..  Fair winds







Sailing and Catching Up


Tracy, Mike, Barefoot Pete and Tommy headed out of the marina.
Chart plotter
Showing our boat headed to the open water.


To Neptune!



Still The One
Trying out an antique telescope Barefoot Pete has.
Sailing into the sunset
Sailing west towards the Jeckyl Island bridge.
Mike and his groovy pink bike
The bike Mike used to ride around Brunswick. He made it look cool.

I seem to have gone the rest of our trip without documenting anything…..and the best part was that we actually got out there and raised sails and sailed back to the marina at sunset!  This was something so exciting and I didn’t record it…. But I am now.

So, our attempted and aborted sail was on Saturday, I believe.  Mike spent the next 2 days replacing all the fuel lines (25 feet) and fuel filters (6)  and becoming intimately acquainted with Voyagers nether regions.  He also polished the fuel tanks to remove all the water and debris.  When there is water in a diesel tank nasty bacteria will grow making a black slime which plugs fuel filters.    I had spent a few hours cleaning out the inside of the small diesel tank.  This was no small feat, as I had to maneuver through a 10 inch wide locker and through a 6 inch hole into the tank.  My upper arm was very colorful with bruising by the time I was done.  Mike also fixed the tach and replaced the engine shut off switch which

was no longer working.    I spent one entire day swabbing (happy John?) the deck and drying out deck lockers.  I dropped one of these lids on my foot and bruised my right big toe.  After that, I had managed to add purple color to each of my 4 limbs.  :-/ The windlass still wasn’t working, nor the tachometer, but we headed out again on Tuesday the 7th to sail.

We motored out past the bridge, turned her into the wind and pulled up the main sail.  There is nothing like the feeling when you feel the lift as the wind grabs the canvas!  It’s something like when an elevator makes it’s ascent, the sensation of weightlessness that is so brief, but tickles your insides.  We had about 6 knots wind at the time, but as we navigated the channel, were up to 16 knots, at times.  We wound through the channel markers and got as far as the opening to the North Atlantic (SQUEEEE!).  We decided to turn around as we were afraid of making our way back after darkness fell.  This also meant we were headed west as the sun set.  These conditions made for a beautiful return into the marina.

On Monday I had met a woman, Tracy, hanging signs on the bathroom doors for a Bible study to be held on Tuesday evenings at 630pm.  We didn’t make it to the study as we were late coming back from our sail.  However, we had agreed to sail with Barefoot Pete the next day, Wednesday and were surprised to see that Tracy and her husband Tommy were also aboard Pete’s boat.  He has a 37′ Hunter that is beautiful and soo different in appearance to Voyager.  We were given our safety tutorial and set out.  We hadn’t been on a boat with an” in mast” furling, so it was fun to see how that worked.  The sail actually took us out into the ocean and we were able to swim off his sugar scoop swim platform for awhile.  Pete had thrown a rope and flotation pillow out, but it was pulled under the rudder as the boat drifted.  I had no visibility when I looked and am NOT a diver.  Fortunately Tommy is.  He was able to free the rope and we continued swimming for 30 minutes or so.  There were a few jellyfish that would float by and with Matthew’s experience our last trip, he was hesitant to go in.  He finally did for a few seconds and was pretty pleased he got that far.  As we headed back, the main clew came unbound from the furling in the mast.  Tommy was able to rig it back so it could be furled in and we motored back.   Overall this was a most enjoyable day.

We decided to have sushi for supper when we got back and went to Basils.  Several people had recommended it and they didn’t disappoint.  We asked Peter (former Voyager owner, not Barefoot) to join us and he did for take out and some conversation.  We enjoy his company immensely and were glad he joined us for awhile.

The dingy was something we finally got to on Thursday.  She had some old gas and we got that sorted and she ran like a champ.  Her name had been Dove, we renamed her Meg.  I was able to get the old decals off the boat and her new name is now Voyager and the decals are on.  We had a brief, private christening ceremony for both the boat and dingy that Thursday night after all the decals were up as we want to keep Neptune happy 😉

Wednesday and Thursday were full of hurricane prep.  We pulled down, dried and folded sails.  Lashed halyards, cleaned and stowed the dingy.  It seems like so little to write it out, but it was time consuming.  We brought home the bimini top so Mike can make the flaps to hold the flexible solar panels.  We will be adding more solar, but this is a start.  He also has 2 sheets of ising glass panels to repair that are part of the enclosed cockpit.

In other news, Mike and I went to see The Spy Who Dumped Me.  Sam Heughen is in it and as a fan, I had to go.  It was such a funny movie!  We don’t get out just the 2 of us often, so it was a special treat!  Matthew and I also got Mike to use one of the marina bikes and ride with us to the pool one day.  He chose a light pink road bike and made it look macho and manly!  HAHA!

Our plan now is to head back the end of September and take a few more items.  I had taken our sails to a sail maker in Jacksonville to be repaired and inspected.  We will pick those up on our next trip as well.  The question will be whether we put them up or not, depending on how the remainder of hurricane season is looking.  It would be disappointing to go and not be able to sail.  I’m hoping my dad is able to join us then, as well.  He would enjoy the sail and I would hate to disappoint him.

I think I need address provisioning and what we are taking on board in our next post.  This is something that weighs on my mind several times daily.  If anyone has suggestions, or can offer expert advice, we would welcome it!

Observing the Sabbath and finding clarity



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.

Mamaw's bday

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.

M driving the duck

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.

getting settled

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…..)