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Mason Jar Lunches | The Big Blue Bus Tour

Jake and Josh just walked out the door. It’s early still and Miss B and Sam are still sleeping. I’m sitting on the couch eating a bowl of greek yogurt, granola, and strawberries. Delish. And I’m thinking about my boys.

A couple weeks ago I was in Alaska and had the chance to visit with my very best friends (who include my sisters). We were talking about our lives and I expressed that while I wasn’t unhappy, I wasn’t particularly happy either. Our plan wasn’t turning out the way I thought it would (or should). I was feeling particularly grumpy about life at the Country Home.

I’m a little (a lot) embarrassed to even be sharing this with you. Because it makes me sound like a spoiled child. Which at some level, I suppose I am. I had an idea of what I wanted life to look like and it doesn’t look anything like that. So I was grumpy.

When we started The Big Blue Bus Tour I didn’t understand why people thought we were crazy. After all, it was a brilliant adventure! Who wouldn’t want to do what we were doing? The first 6 months were fantastic and pretty much what we had planned. But then came mid January and everything came to a screeching halt. The bus (in a particular Herbie-esque fashion) refused to leave the Country Home. I wish that were a joke, but honestly, every time we attempted to start out on a new journey, the bus would throw a wrench in the plan. As if it knew something we didn’t and we were supposed to stay put. And then Jake’s follow-on job got delayed – by an additional 6 months.

The thing is, even with all that happening, I can see clearly the hand of The Lord in our life. C L E A R L Y. Without a doubt. It’s not like I needed time to pass so I could look back and see His mercies. No. I could see them all along. The way was made and we had an incredible place to stay and Jake was given work that more than covers our needs. And yet, I was complaining. Because it didn’t look like I wanted it to look. See what I mean about being a spoiled child?

So there I was in Alaska, pouting about this and that, working myself into a bit of a dither. When I arrived back in Texas I was quick to share with Jake what I had been feeling. The “not unhappy, but not happy” routine. Here’s where Jake becomes the hero in the story (although honestly, he’s always been the hero). He held me tight, told me he loved me, and told me he would do whatever he could to make me happy. Did that mean getting back on the bus and heading out on more adventures? Then that is what we would do.

I was a little surprised by his answer. I knew how much being here at the Country Home means to him. He has great satisfaction in providing for his family and has an incredible relationship with his friend and he loves our life here. But he’d leave it all behind for my happiness. Looking back, I don’t know why I was surprised. That’s just how Jake is. Selfless.

The next day was Easter and I had a very impressive prompting while sitting in church. Heavenly Father told me that I needed to be happy where I was. Plain as day I knew that we needed to stay here and that happiness was up to me. I was sufficiently humbled and that was that. I wish you could have seen Jake’s face when I told him. Shock was written all over it, followed by a great big smile.

After church we went back to the Country Home and did some organizing and rearranging with the intent of settling in and staying for a bit. Until then (in my mind) it had been solely a vacant home, a place we could rest our heads while we waited. We were simply squatting for a bit waiting for the next course of action. I’d been stuck in a holding pattern for months. Waiting. Not allowing myself to settle or get comfortable. That day the Country Home became my home. Our home.

What a difference a slight change of attitude made. My countenance was immediately different and I felt… lighter. Finally after months of anxiety, stress and worry – peace and contentment and joy surrounded me. Nothing had changed. There was no new news. We still had no idea what was going to happen in our future. But finally I allowed myself to do more than acknowledge the tender mercies being showered by my Heavenly Father. I allowed myself enjoy them. Sure, I still wondered what was going to happen, but I quit sitting on the fence. I quit telling the Lord what I needed to make me happy. My prayers instead became filled with “if it be thy will”. And I got down to business of feeling joy in what I had right before me rather than waiting for what I thought I deserved. (Seriously shames me to admit that.)

Which brings me back to this morning. Sitting on the couch with my yogurt and granola, thinking about my boys. Part of settling into our life here meant purchasing supplies for the kitchen. I don’t know about you, but around here the kitchen is the heart of our home. We had only what we had brought on the bus and a few things we found in the kitchen when we got here. We’ve mostly been living off tacos from the local taquerias and it was time to take responsibility for feeding my family. With a sufficiently stocked kitchen I began making menus and meals and now this Country Home truly feels like home.

The last couple months we’ve discovered that Jake’s body prefers a gluten free diet. My good friend Michele (from Houston) has been a stellar example of how to feed my family healthy delicious meals. She’s a genius in the kitchen and knows so much about how to heal the body and keep it healthy through proper diet. My goal is to get her to write a book or at least a cookbook. Because of her, I’m finding a ridiculous amount of satisfaction in preparing food this way.

Yesterday I was on Pinterest looking for lunch ideas (that weren’t sandwiches) and decided to try these mason jar salads that I’ve been seeing for so long. One word – Brilliant! Plus I feel like a rockstar wife and mother sending them out the door with these. Though really, it’s humbling. Jake does so much for our family and the least I can do is try to make his life a little easier.

So that’s it for today. Miss B and Sam are up and it’s time for me to get busy. I’ll write more soon. Probably.

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*Salad layers in case you were wondering (from bottom up)

Vinaigrette dressing
baby carrots
sliced baby bell peppers – orange and yellow
sliced beef – leftover from fajitas last night
(in the other jar is chopped turkey breast)
black beans
lettuce
chopped tomatoes
cucumbers

I meant to sprinkle chia seeds over the salad but forgot. I’ll try that next time. I sent some plates and forks and when it’s lunch time they’ll just dump the salad on to the plate and presto! I also sent a small container of ranch dip in case they want it for the cucumbers and carrots. Because Josh is a growing 6’4″ 13 year old he also took some cheese sticks and couple Cliff Bars. Jake is going to try gluten free Lara Bars. We’ll see how he likes those.

May 2, 2014 - 4:42 pm

Rachael Palasti - Thank you for sharing! We all have been in a place where we’re looking to the world instead of the Lord for contentment. Great reminder! :-)

May 2, 2014 - 11:45 pm

Kimberly - I’m having issues typing on the fb thing for some reason. My comment should say. You’re awesome and your salads look really good. I’m glad you finally have a place to feel like home.

May 3, 2014 - 7:42 am

Kimberly Tippets Lowry - You’re awesome.

May 3, 2014 - 7:42 am

Kimberly Tippets Lowry - Those and your salads look really good.

May 8, 2014 - 10:06 pm

user's Blog! » Flashback Thursday | Gatlinburg Ramblings Part 1 - […] as we were coming up on this “deadline” to move on, I came across an article posted by The Big Blue Bus Tour.  Our lives seemed so parallel.  We were traveling and then we stopped. […]

May 17, 2014 - 9:21 am

Flashback Thursday | Gatlinburg Ramblings Part 1 | user's Blog! - […] as we were coming up on this “deadline” to move on, I came across an article posted by The Big Blue Bus Tour.  Our lives seemed so parallel.  We were traveling and then we stopped. […]

May 17, 2014 - 10:30 pm

Tania Schultz Murphy - Thank you for sharing your testimony. Miss your family!

March 14, 2015 - 12:58 pm

Flashback Thursday | Gatlinburg Ramblings Part 1 | - […] as we were coming up on this “deadline” to move on, I came across an article posted by The Big Blue Bus Tour.  Our lives seemed so parallel.  We were traveling and then we stopped. […]

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