Simply b Photos » The Big Blue Bus Tour

This Is My Life | Adventure Permitted

I’m ridiculously happy and content. So much so that there’s a part of me that is wondering what bad stuff is waiting in the wings to surprise us. Brene Brown calls that ‘foreboding joy’ and I’m not going to fall into that trap. Rather I’m determined to stay present and grateful in this moment. Because it is amazing and it deserves my full attention.

Jake is back to work for the Air National Guard and we’re in New Mexico for the next few months while he attends training. We rented a small(ish) ranch style home and furnished it with dorm quality furniture. We have an updated kitchen, 3 bedrooms, an office, and two bathrooms. Our beds are all on the floor. The boys are using their foam mattresses from the bus and Jake and I got an inexpensive queen mattress off Amazon. Nothing is fancy, but we love it here! It’s absolutely perfect.

We had an entire year between the time we sold our house in Florida and bought a bus to live in full-time to when Jake finally started his training here. It was six months more than we had planned – which seemed like an eternity. It was a year filled with adventures and travel. We visited dozens of states, a couple countries and a territory (twice). The memories are something we will treasure forever.

But the year was also filled with uncertainty and stress and unemployment. The majority of the year we had worries about whether everything was going to work out the way we had hoped. Whether Jake would be able to get back into the Air National Guard or if we’d be looking for something else. We worried about finances and health insurance. As much as we tried to enjoy each moment, there was always a lingering stress over what the future held.

Even so, I wouldn’t trade the last year for anything. The time on The Big Blue Bus and the time at the Country Home were both incredibly rewarding and challenging. Without that year, I don’t think we would be so full of gratitude for our situation now. The last year taught us to live simply. We don’t need much. It taught us to be grateful for things like bathtubs and private toilets and bedroom doors.

I’m so grateful for this little home to call ours for the next 100 days! I’m grateful for a steady paycheck. I’m grateful for a ward (our local church congregation) with a wonderful youth program. I’m grateful for a husband who always, always did whatever it took to take care of us – including work ridiculously hard physical labor in the scorching Texas sun – to put food on the table. I’m grateful for a healthy body and the desire to exercise and get outside and move! I’m grateful for wonderful books that bring me face to face with greatness. I’m grateful for the opportunity to teach a leadership course to my son along with his cousins and my friends’ children. I’m grateful for shopping at a commissary for groceries again! I’m grateful for dinners together as a family every night. I’m grateful for health insurance. I’m grateful for my amazing children and the relationship we have. I’m grateful for my Heavenly Father and for my Savior, Jesus Christ. I’m grateful to know there is a plan and that I can trust them.

The last year has given me perspective in a way I’m not sure anything else could. I learned that I don’t have time for pretenses and status. I don’t want to live a complicated life surrounded by material possessions. I don’t want a big house full of shiny objects. I don’t want to be terribly busy with things that don’t really matter. I don’t want to compare myself to others. I don’t want to live my life caring about what anyone else thinks I should do or be or have.

This is my life. In fact, it’s the only one I have. I want it to have Value. Purpose. Meaning. Mission. I want it to be Simple and full of Service and Love. I want it to be Focused and Worthwhile.

The joy I feel is because I’m here, now. I’m surrounded by blessings big and small. And I’m incredibly grateful.


Today Sam, Betsy and I made pumpkin pie. Pumpkin is my favorite. I adore pumpkin. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies… you name it. This time last year we were living on a bus. We missed the whole pumpkin baking season. And let me tell you – store bought pumpkin treats are just not the same as homemade. So while I usually wait until after Labor Day to pull out the pumpkin recipes, I figured this year we’d be excused for jumping the gun.



August 29, 2014 - 6:26 pm

Dave N Marilee Cottrell - Dont forget your pumpkin pecan pancakes with pear slices!! DE-LISH

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