Sometimes we look at sights in nature but don't really see. While hiking in the woods the other day, it became a realization that we need to open our heart and eyes to see the beauty of the simple things in nature with each season. There is so much order and purpose in His creation. God has given us awesome beauty in this world to see and enjoy... if we would but stop to see and feel it. Join us as this blog is about stopping to see the real beauty around us...to touch and feel it... "Through the Lens".

Our Friends

Friday, January 21, 2011

Best Made Plans…Sometimes Change

                                               DSC_4323

The best made plans sometimes just don’t happen. Gerri and I began our full-timing with the intentions of traveling and seeing so many of the awesome places in this country. We waited for what seemed like an eternity to sell our house and “hit the road” and one day there we were. We had figured our budget many many times and had it all figured out. That is when LIFE happened. Maybe I should say the ECONOMY and LIFE happened.

Full-timing is no different than any other lifestyle…..things happen. The economy attacks full-timers, health attacks full-timers and you get the picture. This past year I have had several health opportunities to work through and we are doing just that….. but those opportunities have cost us some extra money. We pulled the “extra” expenses from our savings which was set up for such emergencies. About the same time our health insurance went up a bit….well actually it didn’t go up but the deductible changed and Gerri’s medications went up. Time to tweak the budget again. Did I mention that fuel went up? Clothing, food etc. went up? Oh, did I mention that our pension income didn’t go up quite as much as the economy?? Yes, time to tweak the budget. No matter how I tweaked I could not make the numbers stretch over the added expenses and keep the diesel, campground monies the same. With the decreased diesel and campground money which were added to other expense categories, we were not going to be traveling much. Our original goal was to travel…..not sit. I was frustrated!!

Then enters family! We always wanted to be able to share special times with Stephen and then my family in Tennessee suddenly developed health issues. My brother’s grandson, six years old, was diagnosed with leukemia in August. This put a big stress on the family in Tennessee. My brother could no longer do as much for my mother because his attention was directed toward his grandson. We would have to be nearby for them. For us, family is so very important and they always come first.

During our year and half full-timing we found that we really missed the church connection. We weren’t as honest with this as we should have been….so we didn’t attend as we could have. But more than just attending we missed the belonging to a fellowship of people. For Gerri and I our spiritual life is THE most important thing and we had let it slip badly.

So armed with all these opportunities Gerri and I took a long look at what our goals were and what we wanted for our lives. We still want to travel and experience many of the wonderful places in this country. We didn’t want to continually subtract from our savings….especially since we are retired and not putting as much into it as we once were. We didn’t want to workamp ALL the time. We didn’t want to just sit and live in our MH.

We did want to be a part of Stephen’s life and help out with the needs of the family in Tennessee. If you subtract the time spent “sitting” and volunteering, that leaves the amount of time we would be actually traveling that might equal more of a part-time traveler. So while we still had our equity and savings we decided to purchase a small house, downsize and do the part-time thing. We have found the perfect house, the perfect size and, in one of the best neighborhoods in LaGrange, old historic area. We have a wonderful sunroom looking out to our wooded backyard…..yes, yes, we have birds!! Lots of them and hope that once we get out feeders going we will have many more. It is a perfect yard for birding with lots of hardwoods, azaleas and more. Just beautiful!!

                                                                                     DSC_4325           

                                                                                     DSC_4326                                

The best part of full-timing or maybe I should say Rving is the wonderful people you meet. We have met the very best folks ever in this experience and hope that we will continue to meet up with you guys “down the road” as we travel. When we are not traveling we will be enjoying our new to us home, getting re-connected to our church and working on getting my health back like it should be. We are happy…life is still good and we hope to still see you guys “down the road.”

34 comments:

The Gypsy G-Mas said...

Thanks for the update. We were missing you! Most importantly, I hope you get your health issues under control. I'm glad you found a balance that works for you. Your house sounds wonderful. I look at "full-timer" as just a label. You are still an RVer and still part of this wonderful community. I think we all agree that it doesn't matter if you only travel part-time or travel full-time. We all share the passion. In some respects, I feel like we don't fit the full-timer label since we stay put for longer lengths of time and do less traveling. The bottom line is that we each define what works for us. There is no one right or best way. I hope you will continue to blog to let us know how you are doing. Take care of yourselves!

Connie and Rod said...

Who was it that said "God laughs at man's plans"?

It looks like you have settled in a beautiful place and although you won't be traveling as much you will be near friends and family much more. Life is a balancing act and it appears you have found the right balance for you. Congratulations and good luck in your new life.

We too have re-thought our full timing plans and will become part timers this year. Our decision was also based on family. We are going to sell our current home and cut our living exspenses by buying another little place in the country.
--Rod

Kimberly and Jerry Peterson said...

We all need to do what we need to do for ourselves and it sounds like you have found the perfect place for you both.

We do hope to see you down the road as we continue to travel.

Sam&Donna Weibel said...

Boy we missed you, but you will still be partiming and that is what we are doing, We still have to cope with Donna's medical expenses and where to get medical coverage after she retires, so our fulltime plans are on hold also but we will be part timing until then if ever. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna.

squawmama said...

You know you have to do what's best for you... I am sure the economy is going to slow down a lot of the travelers too... We understand and you will always be part of our Fulltiming community. I am glad your at peace with your decisions.
Have fun and enjoy life
Donna

Cindy said...

Mike and Gerri...I have so been missing you guys!!
What difficult decisions you have ben working on.
Praise God for the little house with the adorable backyard.I can't wait to see all the pictures of your new bird friends!!
I know life has sent you on a new adventure..I am sure you will be honoring God in your decisions.
I have been proud to call you my friends...and someday I hope to get to fellowship with you two!!
I know I will miss my church family if we ever travel...but yet I get a peace in knowing how He always manages to head me to Christian friends no matter what we are doing.
I hope you will still blog...if not you better keep up with me privately and on my blog...lol

Hugs Cindy and Walker

Merikay said...

looks like a good choice. you have had the full time experience, now you can be any-timers. hope you check in with the blogs from time to time.

good luck in this new chapter.

Donna aka Froggi said...

That's a beautiful little home...I'm assuming in LaGrange, GA?

Many RVers are having to re-evaluate, you aren't the first and won't be the last. You have to do what is right for you.

I told Stu the other day that as much as I love traveling, I'd be lying if I didn't admit that at times I miss having a stick house.

Dennis and Donna said...

Sometimes life throws you a curve ball you just cannot hit...You followed your hearts, and your family IS very important...As they say, the only thing we can be sure of in this life is that things WILL change..for all of us. And, HEY...we aren't full timers either, but we seem to have found a little nitch in the RV community that we love!! Your house looks lovely...and you now have a "home base" to travel from when you want! Best of luck...and keep on bloggin'!

Rick and Paulette said...

As avid RV Anytimers I've never worried about this 'fulltimer' label. With our own home in a beautiful part of the world that we love, I've always felt we have the best of both worlds - a home and the ability to RV whenever we want to.

You're right too about the difference between full timing and just sitting in one place living in an RV. A lot of anytimers actually travel a lot more than those calling themselves full timers.

Enjoy your new home and community, it sounds great.

Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

You are so right, life happens without regard to our plans. Sounds like you have studied it closely and made new plans to adjust to life as it is.

Enjoy your new home and time to spend with family and your church. When you get to travel, I am sure that will still be great also.

Jessica said...

Good to hear from you again!! I was just thinking about you and Gerri this morning. :) I hope that you are planning on keeping up your blog - I'm sure I speak for others when I say that we still want to hear all about your adventures. :)

Judy and Emma said...

I'm one who will be looking forward to seeing your great pics of the birds at your feeders. We all do what we think is best for us. I'm fulltime, but spend three months at a time at different refuges. That's what works for me, and I hope you have found what will work for you. Hope you won't disappear from blogland. :)

Carol K said...

Mike and Gerri, I am happy to hear that you made a decision that is best for the two of you. As part-time RVers, Dave and I feel like we have the best of both worlds. Congratulations on the purchase of your house in LaGrange! I hope you will keep blogging!

nwlambear said...

Glad you were able to re-evaluate and come out with a decision that you work for you at this time in your life. That's what matters. Being near family when you can help is important. I'll look forward to reading your Blog and seeing pictures of home, birds, flowers.

Gail Durham said...

That's a beautiful little home. We are thinking the same thing. We might settle down here in Maryland for a few years, I need to be close to my family for a while. Life is so very interesting. Blessings, Gail

Wayne and Maureen said...

As long as the heart is open to new discoveries you both will be filled with blessings far greater than any imagined or pursued. You are needed....and it seems you both will be busy "Fulltime"
God bless

Phyllis said...

What a great backyard! Congrats! We do hope you will continue here with your blogs. Curious minds need to know! (what you are up to).

Ali said...

Mike & Gerri

You have shared a few of the things we realized when we were working/traveling with the carnival...our church family is important to us and our spiritual health. That is sort of what led us to take a different route with our lives as well. With our move to Hondo we feel we will have the best for us at this time ~ we can find a fellowship we can be involved in (though nothing will ever take the place of our Northwood family), we will have a job that will pay our bills, allow us to put some $$ in savings, see a new part of the country we have never been before, working/living in the campground we get to have great neighbors and do the things we love to do. God is so good and we are thankful that he has opened doors for us to continue living in our motor home, allow us to do some traveling and seeing new country and be in fellowship on a regular basis with other believers.

I echo what others have shared...sure hope you keep up your blog. Love your new place and who knows, maybe one day we will stop on by. Take care and God bless!!!

Connie and Rod said...

What a SWEET piece of property. Rod and I understand completely. I have to have a place to hang my hat so to speak. We will travel as much as we can but family, health, finances will always be part of that decision.

Let me extend a HUGE CONGRATS to you both!

Connie

KarenInTheWoods and Steveio said...

You gotta do what you gotta do! And the health is more important than careers, travels or getting ahead of the Jones. Reconnecting with your church family will help in so many ways too.

Your new place looks lovely, and great to have your *escape plan* work out to leave fulltiming and have a good place to land!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Karen and Steve
(Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard
http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com/

Randy and Terry said...

The house is adorable! Can we see pics of the inside, too?

So very happy for both of you. Gotta go where God leads 'cause that's where you'll be most at peace.

Love you two!

Paul and Mary said...

Congratulations! It sounds like you've found the perfect spot to call home.

Yeah for you!

Margie and Roger said...

What a surprise! Life is full of changes and we all must find a way to adjust. I can fully understand about costs being higher than anticipated. Fulltime is definitely not an inexpensive lifestyle. Your new home looks lovely. I'm hoping you will have happiness there and you will continue to update your blog. I've always enjoyed your photos.

Darrell and Judy said...

Congratulations Guys,

The house looks great and we are truly happy for you. We're looking forward to seeing more pictures as you transform it into your home.

~~Mike~~ said...

Mike and Gerri, I have always loved your blog and will follow it as long as you write it, weather you are in a house, RV or living out of a backpack! I love the new place, it looks really nice and comfortable! I believe the right balance in life will work out for you including just the right amount of travel :) Will keep you both and your family in my prayers for better health.

-Mike
97 Roadtrek 170P "Taj Ma Trek"
HTTP://WWW.VanTramps.Com

Wayne and Roberta said...

Family is first along with your own health. What a beautiful home you have purchased, enjoy it. Travel when you can.

Sue and Doug said...

I have been behind in my blog reading and read yours on my phone on our way out this weekend..just wanted to say congrats on the new house!..you both need to do what makes you happy!..and that is all that matters!..we hope one day our roads will cross but until then you will be one of our original 'blogging buddies'..we hope you will continue to post on here and let us know what your daily life is all about!!..take care of each other..hope good health and happiness stays with you both!!!
hugs from us..

Weldon and Sandy said...

Sounds to us you have the best of both life styles.

Bob said...

Great to hear from you again. It sure sounds like you now have the balance that you needed. Congratulations, and best wishes!

Me and My Dog said...

What a great couple you are! You know what your priorities are right now, and you're willing to make the changes to do the things you need. Your house is lovely, and it all sounds like a perfect plan.

John and Judy said...

Sounds like you can now have the best of both worlds. We wish you all the best as you become any-timers. We hope you keep blogging! Safe travels down the road.

BamaGurl said...

Ur new home is gorgeous, serene and very comfortable looking. Family is important as is ur health, praying for both for y'all. I've been see-sawing on the fulltime issue myself since I have a terminal illness. Sometimes it seems like a better idea to sell and get on the road, that way we could see many different things and have a much smaller home base to care and provide upkeep for. But then there's the fact that we have a stick built and should we decide later to exit the fulltime life, with my condition I would not be able to paint, etc. So, many choices, no one right for everyone. It's wonderful that u both were able to have experiences on both sides of the equasion. God is very good to us, allows us so many ways to experience happiness and contentment. Y'all have found ur's, and what beautiful surroundings. Hope u r able to continue ur blogs, they r so uplifting, the words and the pictures. Praying for a complete return to good heath and continued happiness.

Sue Malone said...

I am so delighted to find this wonderful post about you choice to return to a life with family and church and all the things that are meaningful to you. Your archives were a delight and I found the history I was searching for fairly quickly after seeing lots of your lovely home and family in the process. Again, glad to add you to my blog friend "family"