As we are getting ready to go into the new year of 2019, I find myself being even more reflective on the past year(s) than usual. I can honestly say that I’ve experienced a broader spectrum of emotions in this time period than I ever have before in my life.
A New Year- A New Life For Our Family
At the beginning of this year, we chose the word Hope. We truly had a strong hope for the year to change our lives in a positive direction. It has but it definitely came about in a way we never expected. Sometimes, you have to be brought to the bottom of the valley in order to be lifted out.
If I told you that the last 3 years have been anything less than extremely difficult for our family, I’d just be fooling you. We’ve experienced much change and much heartbreak in the recent past. We’ve have also experienced much blessing as we’ve added 2 new precious children to our family in that time frame.
The difficulties started when Derek injured his leg and resulted in multiple blood clots. He had a scan recently that showed he is down to one clot and it is dissolving. This is wonderful and he should be able to ditch the compression stocking once that clot is gone.
Not long after that, we moved to Florida. Within 2 months of our move, my daddy had a massive heart attack and stroke. While he’s a huge miracle to be alive and functioning, his healing is ongoing and has been a slow process. He also had to have a triple bypass this past summer. We are grateful to still have him here with us and look forward to the day he is fully restored to his prior cognitive health.
On top of these health issues, we experienced major vehicle problems (like Derek having to replace the intercooler, turbo, injectors, and entire engine on his truck and the van had major problems that had to be taken care of by a Ford dealer), financial difficulties, loss of animals, non productive gardens, you get the idea just a lot of not fun things happened.
I really could just go on as we’ve encountered a lot of difficulties in recent times but I won’t. That’s not what this post is about. I’m definitely not a doom and gloom type person. I actually try to be positive and upbeat. I like to look at the bright side or find the silver lining. I’d found that to be increasingly more difficult as time went on.
Back in the spring, Derek started working for himself full time. He has always mowed yards, done landscaping, cleared brush, worked on small engines, and odds and ends on the side. God really blessed his business and it took off. He was maintaining yards for a lot of beach rental properties. For the first time since we moved to Florida, we were financially stable. It was such a good feeling and relief.
We recently expressed in our Youtube videos that we really missed the mountains in SW Virginia and our end goal was to move back home where our roots are. Since Derek’s business was doing well, we planned to pay off some bills and save money to buy our forever homestead in the mountains. We didn’t have a time frame for it but this was our ultimate goal. We had a plan! We had a good plan!
Then Hurricane Michael changed everything. I still find myself at a loss for words to try to describe the emotional roller coaster that has followed this event. The properties that Derek maintained were virtually wiped off the map in a matter of hours. The catastrophic damage was unimaginable.
The home we were renting also had significant roof damage, the porch was 1/2 ripped off, the ac unit was destroyed, and power wouldn’t be restored for weeks. We found ourselves having to take a hard look at life and make some tough decisions without much time to ponder them.
It was apparent that Derek’s income was no longer viable in Florida. He would have to start over and rebuild his business. We also wouldn’t be able to live in the house until power was restored and repairs could be made. This would be a lengthy process. There was no way we could afford to live in our little camper run by a gas powered generator for any length of time. Not to mention that gas was not readily available and was being rationed.
We knew it was time to go home to Virginia. For us to rebuild Derek’s business again in Florida (aside from all of the other inhibiting factors listed above), just didn’t make sense when we really wanted to move back to Virginia and would have to rebuild his business again once that happened.
Many of you asked how you could help us in this time. We were just blown away and overwhelmed by the love, prayers, and financial support we received from so many people. I truly don’t know what we would have done if we didn’t have this support.
We had wonderful friends that came and helped us move as well as offer a spot in their driveway for us to park and hook up our camper. We also had some other wonderful friends offer to keep our livestock on their farm while we figured life out.
Not long after we moved back, we had another friend approach us about renting their farm and single wide trailer. This has been a great blessing and relief to us. While our future is still uncertain, we know it will be good.
Moving Forward in Life
I’m not foolish enough to think that life will somehow not have any more difficulties but I do have faith enough to hope and believe for a full life that we can flourish and thrive in.
We still have a dream of buying our forever homestead and know that it will come to fruition at some point. For now, we rebuild and work towards that goal.
The long term isn’t clear but we are happy and peaceful to be back in our mountains. We feel grounded here and know this is where we want to raise our family.
This chain of events has brought about so much change in our lives. It’s been an emotional roller coaster and we find ourselves emotionally, mentally, and physically drained. We feel that we are entering a much needed season of solace, rest, and restoration.
As we go forward into 2019, we are declaring it our year of restoration. Our vision is clear for what we want out of life and we have many goals. How we will reach these goals, we don’t really know but we are sure that God will open the doors that need to be opened. He always does.
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