Thursday, February 16, 2012

WHY TRY

I was talking on the phone to young lady who told me that she was "stuck in life". One of her questions during the very long conversation about some fairly deep subject was then "WHY TRY?" Well WHY NOT TRY? I mean really it is better than sitting around feeling sorry for yourself because all the things that you want in your life are not landing in your lap.... gently.... oh yes not only do we want life on silver plater we want it set down gently.

How did it get to be this way? Where is the adventure in that? Where is the steady push forward that makes your body ache and your mind tired? I think people don't like to feel stupid. I mean really to try something new, to change we are going to feel stupid.

I know I feel stupid in my latest adventure of learning to roller derby at 49 years old. I also feel alive, bruised and tired... a lot. Things have not yet started to click yet and I am guessing it will take some more time yet. I have to ask women half my age stupid questions that I should know the answers to.

The truth is I have found a lot of answers in life for many things and if I let my ego get in the way that might be the end of being able to learn anything more. That is like getting "stuck in your own head". This is what I think she meant when she said she was "stuck in life". I mean to me stuck in life is not having the ability to die yay!! Stick me in life anytime. I want to be stuck rooted and growing there. Life is where it is happening even when I am learning new things and feeling really stupid.

WHY TRY:  because that is what you do when your not dying you are trying to do something in life. So do something that you have always wanted to try that would push you to your limits and make you go somewhere where you know little to nothing so you can keep staying teachable and learn something new. Maybe you'll learn from someone half your age or may just maybe the one that is twice yours!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Road Dogs

After a little more than a year of not being mobile most of the time I am beginning to feel settled. It is a strange thing to know where I am going to wake up and which direction that my head is pointed in.

I was settled in my bus life too. It was good to know that it was time to leave a place and wonder where would be the next place that we would end up. I know now that we rarely really know where we will end up in life. It will be alright if we are in the right company. The ones that love and care about us.

I have met so many people that I will never forget. People have shared their lives, hopes, dreams and sadness with me. The fact that we were going to move on sometime soon often let people be  themselves and share what they needed to without fear. I have seen the best in people.

I have seen this country from coast to coast and top to bottom. It is vast and each part is different. There are beautiful parts that have taken my breath away and places so terrible that I hope never to return. I have been surprised by what I have found. Many of the places that we have visited we heard the words " if we can't find anywhere else to be this place could be our home".

Fear and faith cannot exist together. One drives out the other. Fear can start as a feeling which is not dangerous at first but it grows into a lack of action that snuffs out our light . Fear causes inaction on the things that mean the most to us. Faith starts as an idea and becomes action as we believe the possibility that our lives hold.

If I learned one thing on this journey it is that I think too small.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

9/11 remembered on the road.

In one of my recent posts I made revisions because a person close to me told me that people would not want to read the blog if it was depressing. I didn't see it as depressing but on the re-read I understood what she meant and I did some subtle changes. It has been hard to write ever since and I have been wondering why.

I find that I might still have some PTSD associated with some of things that happened to me (us) out there on the road. Recovery of any kind has always led me to having to speak of the pain before I can get to the joy. Many of the things that I have experienced I haven't told or discussed outside of those people who went through it with me.

All this to say that this has turned out well. As I walk you through the adventures, even the really hard ones that there wasn't much to laugh about in, the laugh is that life is good and I know it. God is real I tested that. Hope is tangible, I have lived it. The stories are the journey. So if you want the ride you'll have to go to the depths. And maybe the writing is for me anyway.

9/11. We were parked in the backyard of some friends and had been there a couple months helping them with there business and reaching out to friends that needed a hand or a word of encouragement. We got a call that the twin towers had been bombed. We pulled our small tv out of our bus and set it up and watched and listened in amazement to the chaos. We watched as the towers fell  we mourned with the rest of the country and world and wondered at what would happen.

I lost some dear friends that day.

You see I guess that in a way I am considered a radical because I (we) stepped out in faith in Jesus Christ to live on the road. We trusted that we would be led where we could help and we would help. We trusted that if we were led that there would always be another place to go and help. There always has been. We wanted to put action to our faith because it had pulled us out of the dredges. We knew that is we wanted to be hands or feet or anything else we would have to be available to do that. We were and we always found the next place.

My friends were not in the twin towers but had family and deep connections to New York. I called to find out how they were and was surprised to find that my friendship was not wanted. The blame for the towers was out on the religious of the world. I can never understand the depths of what my friend felt. I am not from New York. I let it lie hoping that time would heal the wounds. I have found my friends. I sought them out. I haven't yet talked to them. I am afraid and I have cried much since I have located them.

I have not allowed myself to be very angry. In my line of work it isn't wanted or even helpful very often. At least it wasn't.

I was and am angry though when some pastor decided that he would burn the holy book of another religion on the date of 9/11 because I could not understand why someone would be so blind to the pain that he would cause. The utter confusion of those that are not of the Christian faith and to those of us who are and are angry at what he tried to do. I hope that my protests and facebooks were a part of what made him stop. Damage is done though and I am almost sure to lose a friend because of this. I know that everyone has the right of free speech  in our country and I am glad of it, but he DOES NOT SPEAK FOR ME.


People cause wars, people cause pain, people hurt other people, people lie. People love, people care, people trust, people listen. People do all of these things and much more. It isn't because of religion , it isn't because of affiliations with groups, or peer pressure it isn't restricted to those with a god or those without. It is personal decisions and there is no way that a person can be responsible for what another person or people do. I cannot stop it. I am too small.

I have chosen my path to follow in the way in which Jesus walked to the best of what I can. I hope to bring hope. I hope to make peace. I hope that my life will stand for love in the very strongest of ways. I am to share my experience , hope , and love being the hand that reaches out when someone is in the darkest of places to see that there may be a way out, as was done for me.

We rolled on down the road shortly after this happened. Our country was changed. We felt it. People were more afraid and less trusting. I was changed.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Breakdowns

Our time on the road was mostly about breakdowns. We had the engine blown twice, tires blown, brakes go out, hit by a semi-truck in Mexico and a number of other electric problems and such. There was nothing easy about the incredible adventure that we were on. There was nothing boring about it either.

We stopped by our friends in Santa Monica to repaint the kitchen that we pulled behind our bus after it caught fire and was put out by a fire truck (another story). We hung out with writers and actors while we were parked on the posh street. Reality TV was just at it's start at the time and we considered calling the travel channel to talk about our crazy adventures. We were counseled against it by our Hollywood friends and warned about the negative consequences it might have on our family. Within a few years there was some show about people that were doing nice things traveling in a bus. I never watched the show but I pretty curious to see who wrote it . I think we have been had! Somebody made money somewhere. I never saw it. Guess we are stars after all.

On that note, talk about helping. When people find out that you are serious about just wanting to help and don't need anything but meals and a plug in. Oh and you are entertaining to boot they love it. That is they love it until you are ready to move on.  There were even threats of letting air out of our tires.

Back to breakdowns. I don't think I would go so far as to say that a breakdown is ever a good thing. It certainly has the potential to make you or break you. First the frustration hits. The level of frustration is usually determined by where are you and how hot is it. If you remember or were able to pay the towing insurance often helped or hurt the frustration level as well. In the beginning days we had no cell phone. One time we sat on the side of the interstate with a big sign asking someone to call the HP, six hours, 90 degrees before anyone stopped to help us. Another time we were to get towed and the man said no one could ride in the bus while being towed in that state and he didn't have enough room for all of us. He wanted to leave a few of us by the side of the road, in the dark, in the middle of nowhere... so I said well something, one of my few times of a breakdown, and we ended up all crammed into his pickup. I am sure that it was much safer that way. Can you imagine 7 of us crammed into the front of a pickup. I wonder what he would have said to the officer that pulled us over,

Breakdowns bring about unexpected friendships.  Wallmart has been awesome to us over these many years as we have often made their parking lots our garage, dinning room , kitchen and living room for days at a time. We have never been asked to leave and we have used their bathroom as our lots of times. Ok so I am not a friend with Wallmart that was off track. One time we met a man that invited us to attend his church. We are all white and he was black. We showed up  several days later. His was a black church and I am sure that they had never had a group of whities like us show up. His name was D. The church family started calling us D's peeps. We have been peeps ever since. They fed us we played music for them and had a great time. I hope someday to see D again and I am forever a peep of his.

Character building. Doesn't that sound just upright or something. Not really when you think of it as characters. We now are characters. Every last one of us that lived on the road are not normal we are forever changed. Our character has been built and now we are characters. We are quirky and not easily shaken. There is nothing left that is like say white rice about us. We don't go down easy meaning we provoke like or dislike just by being . So breakdowns make you into characters. One has to choose whether to a bitter or joyful character.  Now I know what you are thinking. Joyful sounds good but if you choose joyful you are thought to be on a perpetual vacation no matter how hard you work and serve. Bitter works better because you are seen as serious. Joyful feels a whole heck of a lot better. I know I have tried both. So joyful character it is. So what if I am seen as a reckless, hippy, happy, helper character. I chose that over a bitter, hardened, mean spirited, grouchy woman.

Character
We almost died on the road where the semi hit us in the mountains of Jalisco MX. We had our whole family and our friends with us. We were on the outside of a sheer drop off when he plowed into us pushing us to the edge. My husband never panics he simply said get ready  "hang on we are going over."  He tried saying it is Spanish too but the ladies riding with us didn't understand what he was saying. Later they taught him the words and every once in awhile someone would yell them out.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

How Life Functions in a Bus

Motherload Sports Utility Bus :)
You can well imagine that one has to be very creative to live in a small, mobile space with lots of people together in that space. One of the quotes that we liked and lived by was "If it isn't useful, you don't need it. If it doesn't fit in the bus, you can't have it." I don't know the author of the quote but it is true.

When we first loaded the bus we had to pare down our belonging to a fraction of what we had had. There were a few things that we put in storage. (cheated) We came back a year later and I found I didn't even know what was there let alone did I need it any more. So we got rid of an extra bill and got rid of what we hadn't missed.

Another interesting action that we had to do was de-package before we brought anything into the bus. If we went shopping we had to take all the packaging off because we found that it over doubled the bulk of what we were bringing into our living space. Space was too valuable to have it filled with trash.

Families need their  space even when their job is helping other people. We kept our space by not letting people come into our bus. We set up an outside kitchen and living room and gave anyone that was living in the bus room to get away. We had people constantly with us in our  outside living space so the bus was the refuge.

We had not intended on living on the road for more than 6 months  (not 10 years) and then relocating. What we found out there was an opportunity to express, challenge and grow in our faith in a way that that was so mysteriously drawing that we just had to keep going as long as there was another opportunity to go placed in our path.

We broke down constantly. Breakdown were adventures to see what was going to be brought our way next and a challenge to be joyful and trusting in all situations. Breakdowns are where we met many friends that we never would have found. Breakdowns are where we learned to play music from the gut.

Breakdowns on the side of freeways were my personal nightmare. I didn't like it then, well hate used here is not too strong of a word, I don't like them now.

We respected each other's ability to know when they had had enough. So anytime there was a break needed, no matter how important the job was, we stopped and took a breath and decided what was next together. At least this is the goal that we attempted. There are times when the best planning does not take into consideration being broke and broke down in another country with no way to get home.

One time driving out of Mexico in the bus we had not known that the tolls were going to be so expensive and we ran out of money in a town in Mexico. We were sent some money to get home but we could only draw what amounted to $20 a day out of the ATM. That amount is exactly what it was taking for us to stay where we were. So we were stuck slowly draining the money unable to get anywhere. Three days of this. Tony was able to walk the whole town and try every machine until one kicked out an extra 200 pesos and we were off. Town was 6 miles away and at least that long so there was lots of walking everyday to make this happen.

A dream is worth living and the cost is always high. It may cost more than you can even imagine. The priceless worth of living it is beyond measure.

We once were given a business card that said on the back of it "If you will do for two years what most people won't, you will be able to do for a lifetime what most people can't" We have believed and acted upon these words and know them to be true .... though I would add that most people will never want to do what you have done or will do!

An added note: a week ago the dear friend that gave us the "Rolling Homes" book that gave us the idea to crazy dream about living in a converted bus to start with was killed in a motorcycle accident. His inspiration remains in our lives and we will truly miss him.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Motherload & Tapestry

10 years on the road with my family that changed my life so much that I am not the same person that I was before. The road made me old in way that I am not sure I can describe. The stories are somehow sacred and I am not sure I can put them up here.

Here is a picture of our cabin on wheels, that we lived in for the time on the road, with my sister and me in Sturgis SD at the motorcycle rally.  This is the second paint job on the bus. I will have to take photos of photos for older pics.

Above is a picture of the band Tapestry though I can't remember if we had our name then. We played music everywhere we went. This is the first stage we ever played at LifeLight Music Festival SD.

My family was so young and even then had seen and done so much. It made them old too.

The name for the bus Motherload came from the fact that we had a "load" of children and it was a big bus "mother" and that it was full of gold as well.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Dreams and Failures

Dreams and failures seem to come to us together. No dream ever is more than a dream until action is taken. When action is taken failure will happen. Failure refers to the state or condition of not meeting a desirable or intended objective, and may be viewed as the opposite of  success. Failing isn't easy and it isn't fun either. Do you notice how people hate to talk about failing? I have had friends say things like that wasn't a failure it was just ________. I know when I have not reached my desired end and though my life continues and I become stronger I certainly have failed much along the way.

The bus was a dream. As we cut off the top of the old 1970 Bluebird and made it a cabin inside it was a hope that there was something more in Life for us. It begins with a failure. A very deep personal failure. I find it funny that often it is failure that drives us forward to seek even harder than before.

We sold everything that wouldn't fit into our newly converted bus and tent camper and off we went on an adventure of a life time. Into dreams and failures that we couldn't even imagine were possible.

Breakdowns, hardships, good time, new friends, faith, sadness, hunger and plenty have come our way and more... Join me in remembering this journey.