Welcome 2018: Looking back and moving forward

2017 was full of changes for us. We are looking forward to whatever 2018 will bring.

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We are four days into the New Year. It’s time to do some reflecting on where we have been and where we are going.

Last year was not our typical year. It was the beginning of retirement from my employer of over 20 years. I had worked from home the last 5 years and our home was my office. After sending their equipment back and doing some reorganizing, I stopped associating my desk with ‘being at work’.

We were both ready for this new chapter in our lives. We felt blessed to have more time to spend with family and friends. We continued to work on our remodeling projects. In February, we started this blog.

In the spring, I volunteered in our youngest granddaughter’s classroom. Andy worked in the yard as much as possible, getting his ‘yard therapy’ after a stressful week of work.

We went on short trips in our 5th wheel when we could, but it wasn’t as much as we really wanted. We talked about wanting to travel more and farther. To see parts of the country we had never seen. After prayers and discussions, Andy quit his job and accepted a position as a traveling nurse. (See The Only Constant is Change for more details on this decision). Since October 20, we have been in El Paso, Texas, living in our RV while Andy works at a local hospital.

Living in our RV for over 2 months has not been without compromise and tears. Perhaps starting this adventure in October was not our best decision. We have always celebrated Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas with family. In addition, we have missed a couple birthdays while here.

Christmas was the hardest. While looking at Christmas decorations, sadness filled me and I began crying. Unfortunately, we were in Wal-Mart. I told Andy it was time to check out and get back to the RV. He thought it was his fault, but it wasn’t. It was just harder than I thought it would be. I wasn’t prepared for these feelings.

We didn’t put up a tree. We got a poinsettia and put out a few decorations we had brought from home. On Christmas Eve, we visited with family using video chat. We watched our grandkids open the presents we had sent. We made phone calls to other family and wished all a Merry Christmas. Then, on Christmas morning, Andy went to the hospital for a 12-hour shift. We texted back and forth during the day.

Not long after arriving in El Paso, we found a local church that welcomed us in and treated us as family. When we were in tears about a family crisis, we received hugs and prayers. On Christmas Eve morning, I attended service and stayed for a tamale luncheon. Andy had to work that morning and wasn’t able to attend. Going alone was outside of my comfort zone, but I knew I would be able to find a seat and have people to talk with while eating. There was good food and good company.

We love exploring the area, but still look at our home in Kansas City on our security cameras at least once a day. We have one of our kids go by and check on the house every week or so. The extreme cold weather the Midwest is currently experiencing has us worried about our pipes freezing if the power goes out. Our neighbors know we are gone and will contact us if needed.

We have struggled with mail. Our plan to temporarily forward our mail to the Post Office nearest the RV park didn’t work as well as we hoped. We have talked with full-timers to see how they are handling it and will be changing to a mail service soon.

We are learning a lot about ourselves. We are also learning about living in an RV for an extended time. Our dogs adjusted to full-time RV living faster than we did. We are looking forward to the end of Andy’s contract and we are ready to move on to the next location and town.

We will be heading out of El Paso around the 20th of this month. We plan to stop at Guadalupe Mountains and Carlsbad Caverns on our way to the next job, just north of Albuquerque, New Mexico. We will share those adventures and pictures later this month.

We realize that we could not do this without each other. We also realize that life would be harder without our faith, family, and the connections we make along the way.

We are looking forward to 2018 and all the changes it will bring. We would love you to continue to follow us on this journey. We would also love to hear from you regarding your reflections on 2017 and your goals and hopes for 2018.




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