wrestling toward the wonderful

The trick is to enjoy life. Don’t wish away your days, waiting for better ones ahead. The grand and the simple. They are equally wonderful. ~Marjorie Pay Hinckley

For some, this idea of perpetual travel brings about mental hives. For others, perhaps the thought encourages wistful wonder. Regardless of which camp you find yourself in, there is a possibility that the images conveyed by my Instagram account shout, “amazing fairytale life”. In the interest of reality, I’d like to bring a little balance to the table. I will be the first to agree that we live amazingly blessed lives. We consistently make efforts to remain mindfully grateful of the opportunities we have been given.

That said, this fulltime traveling gig is not for the faint of heart. There are downsides. There are difficult days. Currently the change/consistent ratio is super skewed in the direction of change. We can hardly keep all 6 of us accurately knowing which state we are in before the answer changes. We don’t always know in the morning where we will be sleeping that evening. When we think we know where we will be sleeping, there’s always a chance we could be wrong. Today is a great example.


As we pulled out of Trail’s End campground ((silent moment of thankfulness)) we confidently continued on our way, happy to have a short 2-hour drive before us. The thought of a short drive day with lots of downtime afterward seemed just the ticket to decompress from our busy week. However, upon arrival, we realized that because we had previously decided to stay an extra day in New Salem and an extra day in St. Louis, our schedule had shifted forward and what previously was a weeknight arrival was now a weekend arrival, and a holiday weekend to boot. Surprise! People like to camp on holiday weekends. The one available site was at an awkward angle that was too tricky to back into. Lesson: don’t assume you will have room to stay on a weekend just because summer is over. Pay a little more attention to the holiday calendar. Call ahead to check or make a reservation.

We abandoned plan A and carried on down the road. Because plan B involved boondocking in a Wal-Mart parking lot and decompression at Wal-Mart is an oxymoron, the vote was to keep driving until we were ready for bed. However, not all Wal-Marts allow boondocking. When we were ready to call it quits for the day, the one we first stopped at was not interested in hosting us for the evening. Lesson: Call first before pulling into the parking lot. Some parking lots are tight and tricky to navigate through.

Wal-Mart #2 was a go however and thankfully it was only another 15 minutes down the road. Because I’m learning as I go, thankfully I had a quick and easy “plan B” dinner option to fall back on when at 8PM we finally opened up the house and were ready to call it a day. After the kids were tucked in bed, Trent and I had a little “date night” activity. The lights hanging above our kitchen island had come loose during the drive and together we dismantled and repaired the problem.

World’s Largest Mailbox

As I reflect on the day, I can also remember a period of 10 solid minutes of reckless crying in the backseat when Quinten’s apple fell onto the floor and more than one emergency potty stop on the side of the road. However, that one quirky town in Casey, IL where we parked the RV, everyone piled into the van, got ice cream cones at McDonald’s and took a side trip to see a handful of “world’s largest” items comes to mind as well. There was also that moment when Tanner confidently declared from the back seat that when he grows up he is going to own a campground and charge $1/night (actually at first he said he wanted to “be” a campground but we soon figured out his full intent). In addition, the seemingly endless fields of corn finally gave way to forests of trees tempted to turn the corner into brilliant color. And now, as I lay in bed with the bustling city’s sounds and sirens around me, I can hear the soft, silent breathing of my favorite person, asleep in bed next to me. This life isn’t glamorous or easy. Neither is marriage or parenting or homeschooling or any other number of things that add value and meaning to life. I’d rather wrestle through a challenging day, than surrender to a defeated life.

What about you? What challenges in your day bring you down? What do you do to refocus yourself?

2 thoughts on “wrestling toward the wonderful”

  1. If there was complaining, it was sandwiched between thankfulness, so I’m not sure it qualifies. 😉 Physical or emotional pain and receiving disrespect repeatedly are some challenges that bring me down. Last night I gave myself a solid 15-20 minute time out because I was so grumpy and couldn’t explain it. Today, Charlie suggested our dinner conversation be about everyone’s “good, bad, thankful and/or service” (a family tradition loosely followed when we remember and have time). It was an excellent re-focus. In general, practicing gratitude and being outside are good re-focusers. 🙂

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