Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Why Bother?

When we gradually settled upon the idea of RVing full time, my wife was quick to suggest that I should return to blogging to chronicle our journey.  My past experiences blogging were met with positive feedback from family, so I was initially encouraged.  But as I thought more about blogging, doubt quickly set in.  First of all, what exactly would I blog about?  It seemed pretty clear that a written account of our RV lifestyle, from conception until final exhaustion (whether that be from going broke or from broken spirits), would be expected.  Yet so many questions arise, at least for me, when I think about the what, why and how of RV living.  It's an odd choice of lifestyle, after all.  Selling all my worldly possessions aside from a truck, trailer and what I can fit into a small (5x10?) storage unit at this point in my life still feels weird to me.  But many others have done the same.  A quick search online will uncover numerous full time RV families, some with many times more children than I.  Resources abound through these blogs, answering many of the questions that come up with such a lifestyle.  Outside of a written record of the adventure for reflecting upon years later, what's the point in blogging?  Of the millions of blogs to choose from as a reader, surely I add no unique material or fresh perspective.  After all, "There is nothing new under the sun." [Maybe I should blog in Seattle.  With no sun there, that must mean there is something new?]  In order to combat the overwhelming feelings of doubt, I decided to list some reasons why I should blog, and should be proud to do so.  I'm sure each of these are obvious to many of you, but it took some effort for me to swing the pendulum from "Why bother?" to "Blogger."

1) CHRONICLE THE JOURNEY - As previously mentioned, a written record of what will sure to be a unique time period in our lives will be a cool thing to have down the road (if you will).  Pictures are one thing, videos another, but only the written word can capture the emotions and perspective in the moment.

2) PERSONAL DIARY - It seems a little on the strange side for me to write in a diary at all, let alone a public one.  Surely I'll have to taper back some of the more intimate subject matters.  But even so, I hope this "public diary" will provide some time for reflection on my life as it is happening, allowing me to ensure I am focusing each week on pursuing my dreams in the present, instead of wondering where the time went as I look back in regret.  Many of us have dreams for the future, but if we don't continually assess where we are in the present, it will sure be tough to get to where we want to go.  It would be like driving around in a car, knowing exactly where you are trying to go, but having no clue where you are at that moment - you're lost, kid!  

3) SHARE THE EXPERIENCE - This is primarily intended for the extended family that seems to enjoy following along in our lives, even the most mundane of days.  If anyone outside of the family has some strange desire to read about us, we welcome that too!

4) I'M UNIQUE! - I don't mean I'm overly special or anything, but each of us is uniquely created and wonderfully made in God's image.  So even if my blog content isn't anything new, my presentation, perspective, and even tone or style of writing may resonate more with certain individuals than another blog would.  So long as I come up with my own posts, I need not care if the topic has already been covered hundreds of times before by other bloggers.  What I say is my own, and that's enough for me.

5) FINANCIAL INCENTIVE - Not so much.  I have no intention of this becoming something that even brings in a few cents here and there.  I just want to be proud about what I write, and if I can impact a few people, that'd be pretty cool too.

This was a long and boring post, I know.  But you've been warned.  You're basically reading my diary, which really isn't relevant to anyone but me.  If you have ever considered blogging, perhaps these few reasons could push you in that direction.  Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Hitting the Jackpot

Jackpot slot machine 
The "big win" is a popular concept in our country.  People collectively spend hundreds of millions of dollars for a (slimmest of) chance at winning the lottery.  Fantasy football leagues with "big payouts" entertain even more people with a chance of winning it big.  After all, what could be better than instantly winning millions of dollars?  It's every person's dream.  With all that money, problems will instantly dissolve and endless happiness awaits.

Of course that is far from the truth.  In reality,  a big lotto payout is just as likely to cause more problems in your life, and happiness is most certainly not achieved through money.  This isn't some revelation I've recently had.  My opinion of the dangers often associated with wealth... more accurately with the love of money and wealth, is nothing new.  What is new, however, is my realization that I hit the jackpot.  A true jackpot, and it's more valuable than any amount of money*.

I've always known how lucky I am to have met and married my dream girl.  She continues to be an amazing wife and mother, and my amazement at what she does day in and day out is rarely expressed to the level she deserves.  And while "Mama" is everything I could dream of in a wife, I like to think that many marriages are built upon similar feelings for one's spouse.  So while I'm incredibly lucky to have her, I don't imagine I'm the only one in the world being blessed in such a way.
But it wasn't until last week that I truly discovered how lucky I am to have her a spouse.  Because along with marrying Mama, I married into her family.  Her parents and siblings are now a part of my extended family.  And they have welcomed me from early on as a part of their family, and I am very grateful.  But Mama's family also includes her uncles, aunts, cousins, and those married into her side of the family too.  I recently had the chance to spend a full week with many of Mama's family in New York.  We stayed and her aunt and uncle's house, packed full with family visiting from all over.  And while I've spend time with each of them here and there in years past, it's rare that we have a full week to spend with relatives, especially so many at once.  The week was everything we could hope for, especially for AJ who continues to talk about how much he liked it there.  It wasn't until I was leaving at the end of the week that I realized that I truly hit the jackpot.  It is one thing to have an amazing wife.  Better yet to have wonderful kids with that wife.  But how rare is it to have an extended family that graciously welcomes us into their homes without question.  We are made to feel right at home, and my children are treated by everyone with the love evident in a grandparent for their little ones.  There isn't a single person, on Mama's side of the family or my own, that isn't a true joy to be around.  There is no amount of money that can match the value of a loving family.  I've been so lucky to have been raised in such a family, and married into another.  Jackpot!

*After reviewing what I wrote, I realized the glaringly obvious. The true jackpot, more valuable that all of the world's wealth, is redemption and salvation.  But this doesn't minimize the value of a loving family.