Category Archives: FAQ

Mondays are for Memories – FAQ #4 – Do you miss your house?

All this talk of #Stayhome and Shelter In Place, reminded me of the time when I answered the question “Do you miss your house?”. Although this question was answered almost 7 years ago, I think the answer is still pretty much the same. No. Maybe. Sometimes. Here’s what I said about it back then:

FAQ #4
Do you miss your house? I KNOW you don’t miss insuring, maintaining, and cleaning it, not to mention paying property taxes on it. But do you miss the whole notion of h-o-u-s-e and h-o-m-e. Not having a place of my own is a daunting thought. I love my husband of 36 years. But I also like curling up in one room with a book at night while he is watching the game in another room.

Ah yes, the house thing. When I would tell my friends about the 5 Year Plan (when the kids are out of college, he said,  let’s sell the house, buy an RV, take a year off and travel around the country) they wouldn’t say – wow, you’re going to take a year off and travel? They would say – you have to sell your HOUSE?????
house
With a big gulp I would shake my head and say, yep, that’s the plan. This is the house that we lived in for almost 25 years, having moved there when our youngest son was just 6 weeks old. I remember standing in the yard with my mom, looking at that diamond in the rough (and it was very rough, trust me!) and saying that this would be our final house. It would become The Homestead, and my grandbabies would come here to frolic in the big back yard.
Yet, when you ask me today if I miss my house, I would have to say – No.
Maybe.
Sometimes.
As we set off on our adventure (which began as a 1-2 year adventure and is now in its 10th year) I was surprised how easily we both adjusted to less space. Yes, at first we would bump into each other (sometimes intentionally, I confess), but we soon mastered the yin and yang of life in 300 sq. feet. Over the years we’ve settled into our own favorite spaces (mine – here at the computer or stretched out for a nap on the sofa, Gary’s – up in the front at his computer or back in the bedroom reading (and falling asleep!))and I can honestly say that I have rarely felt crowded. As the vacation feeling wore off and we added some little pieces of our “previous life,”

UntitledUntitled

we realized that we did indeed have a house and a h-o-m-e.  It was little, but it was definitely a place to call our own.
So when does the “Maybe and Sometimes” come in? Well, probably the hardest time (emotionally) for me NOT to have that big ol’ house in Pennsylvania is this time of year. The Holidays. Oh, how I would love for my kids and grands to go over the river and through the woods to come to My House. How fun would it be to say to the little ones that ‘this is the room where your Daddy slept” as I tucked them into bed. To pull that big turkey out of the oven and tell the dear DIL’s to go and sit down – I’ve got it covered! But then, as the scent of fresh balsam fades into my memory, I remember the cleaning and the laundry and the fact that probably Mommy and Daddy will be doing any tucking in (since it will be a strange bed and everything!). So the Norman Rockwell holiday begins to fade, and I become content once again with being the holiday guest instead of the holiday host. I still like to tell the DIL’s to go and sit down (bossy MIL that I am!), but I try to respect that these are my children’s homes and their traditions, and now is the time for us to be the (helpful, I hope) guests. “To everything there is a season….”

One more reason that I don’t miss the house –
Tomorrow morning I am going to get up bright and early and thoroughly clean the living room, dining room, kitchen, computer room, TV room, bathroom, and bedroom. And be done by 10AM.
And you gotta love that!

(If you’re interested in the previous FAQ’s, I’ve put them together in a category over on the right column. Just so you know!)

*******************

Random header picture is from Lancaster, PA in April 2015.

FAQ #12 – What about going to the Doctor??

I have to be honest here – “doctoring” is one of the more challenging parts of our mobile life. We do have a primary care physician/family practice in PA, and we do our best to get there once a year for annual check-ups, mammograms, and blood work. Thankfully, those visits are delightfully routine. “Everything looks good, see you in a year!” So we keep up to date on screening tests, shots, and those wonderful Medicare questions – “Are you happy?” “Do your stairs have railings?” etc. We have that end of our healthcare covered. (Plus we get to combine those doctor visits with a visit with my nephew (one of the doctors in the practice 🙂 )and his sweet family. It’s all good.

If we’re just plain sick and feel like we need to see a doctor, then it’s off to the Urgent Care we go. The down side of that is that we’re always a New Patient, so we’re starting from scratch with all our medical and family history. Generally speaking, we have to be REALLY sick to chose to go that route. Like kidney stone sick.

The biggest problem comes when a routine medical visit requires some type of specialist follow-up. This past November Gary and I went to the Optometrist at Costco (near Atlanta, GA) for our regular eye exams. Not unexpectedly, our prescription had changed and new glasses were in order.
Untitled
But then she threw me a loop when she said she wanted me to see an ophthalmologist because she felt that I had “narrow angles” which could lead to glaucoma and even blindness. Yikes!! I called the recommended eye care practice, and they said they could fit me in in February. Nope. That wasn’t going to work.
When we got to our January location I ran into the same problem. The light bulb finally went off and I called in early February to get an appointment at an eye center near our March project. With that lined up, the only glitch was going to be if something needed to happen (like a laser treatment of some kind) AFTER that initial exam.

I had my exam on Monday and thankfully, the good doctor thought my angles (whatever they are!) looked just fine! Phew! He gave me a thorough exam, said no follow-up treatment was needed and that he would see me next year. I let him know that he probably wouldn’t see me in a year (who knows where we’ll be next March), but thanked him heartily for the good report. It feels good to have that little optical concern behind us.

Gary and I have been blessed with relatively good health for two almost 70 year old folks. We don’t take that for granted.  But we know all of that could change in a flash. Thankfully, even though we generally move every 3-4 weeks, if some type of specialty care is required we can rearrange our lives to accommodate that.  We also are often in contact with local folks who can make recommendations.  But still…..dealing with medical issues while traveling around the country isn’t our favorite thing!

Just trying to keep it real, friends!

FAQ – So, where are you from?

FAQ – So, where are you from?
Perhaps it was our time in central Mississippi where we only had to greet the check-out person for them to know we weren’t from “‘round here”. Maybe it was the SOWER Rally in March where we met so many new folks. Or maybe it was just being greeted at church by someone who recognized us as a visitor.

“So, where are you from?”

That is a pretty simple question for most folks. And in the early part of our journey, it was pretty simple for us too. Pennsylvania. But after almost 14 years as full-time travelers, it’s getting harder and harder to answer. First we changed our domicile to Florida, but having never actually lived there (or even visited the town where our address was) we certainly never considered ourselves Floridians in any way, shape or form. Recently, we became Texans. Now, while we actually own property in Texas, vote in Texas, have our vehicles registered in Texas, and generally love Texas (well, except the summers maybe), we don’t really consider ourselves From Texas. (Besides, we have yet to purchase our first pair of cowboy boots.) But still the question is asked.

“So, where are you from?”

Do they mean where we’ve just come from? (Currently that would be Ohio, and before that Mississippi.) Where do we call home? (A 40 ft. motorhome parked up on the hill.) Or are they just being polite? (Always a possibility (if not a probability!))

Here’s our current standard reply –
“We raised our family outside of Philadelphia, but we’ve been living in our motorhome for the last 13+ years, so right now we’re from [insert where we are parked].

Home Sweet Home April 14 Florida Baptist Parking March parking
Prescott Parking islamorado parking-6 Parking majesty
February Parking RV parking Kings Domain "home"

Depending on their response, either a glassed over look of “are you homeless or what?”, or a delighted “Man, I’ve always wanted to do that”, we’ll elaborate (or not!) a bit more on what exactly we do and why we love it.
Which actually brings up another question we’ve been asked recently –
“Do you love it?”
Well, five thousand and thirty five days later the answer is an unequivocal – YES!!

The Rest of the Story….

Several of you have asked why we made the ‘move’ to Texas. How come? Why now? So before I get into the full explanation, let’s talk for a moment about “Domicile”.
For those of you living in a house or an apartment, domicile is easy. It’s simply where you live. For those of us who move every three weeks or so, it’s a bit more complicated. Not only is there the ‘where do you get mail?’ problem, but the state and federal governments really, really, really want to know where you ‘domicile’. There’s this thing called Taxes that they seem pretty particular about.
The tricky part is that most states want you to actually LIVE there before they will give you a driver’s license and tags for your vehicles. When we first left home (outside of Philadelphia), the house was still on the market, so we just got a PO Box and asked good friends to pick up the mail and send it to us periodically. Continue reading The Rest of the Story….

FAQ – Just what is it that you do?

What is it exactly that you do?

Lots of folks that we meet along the way are curious about the work we do as SOWERs, so I thought I’d do a couple of FAQs about SOWERS.

In a nutshell, just what is SOWERS?
SOWERs– an acronym for Servants on Wheels Ever Ready – is a 501c3 ministry made up of born-again CBaptist Park-20hristians with RV’s who travel to a variety of Christian ministries, i.e. churches, camps, conferences centers, orphanages, schools, missionary retreat and training centers, homes for abused children, and recovery homes for adults in the US and Canada, and provide volunteer help for three weeks at a time.  These partner ministries provide an RV hook-up for the duration of the project, and allow volunteers to stay for an additional week if they so choose.

What are the requirements for becoming a SOWER?
The most important requirements are a love for Jesus and a heart for service. There is an application process, of course, which involves a form (to be filled out by both husband and wife) that includes your testimony, a letter of recommendation from your pastor, and an FBI fingerprint background check.  Once you have submitted all of those items, that information will be sent to a Trustee (we are governed by a 9 member Board of Trustees), and he/she will set up a phone interview. Once all those step have been completed satisfactorily,  you’ll be eligible to sign up to serve at our ministry partners.
Baptist Park-12

How do you find out about different ministry needs, and do you get to chose where you go or are you assigned?
SOWERs has an online listing that is updated weekly, which details all the openings at our partner ministries throughout the US and Canada (about 170 total). It also gives a brief description of the type of work they are hoping to accomplish. Each SOWER couple is self-directed. Once we determine the ministry where we’d like to serve, we sign up through the SOWER office (via email), and the office confirms our placement and lets the ministry know that we are coming.
MoreFencing-6

It seems like you guys work at a lot of different locations and most every month. Are SOWERs required to work a certain number of months a year?
No. You can work one month or you can work twelve! Most SOWERS still have a home, so they work 3-4 projects a year and then return to home base to take care of home-type business. We no longer have a home, so we tend to work more. But we are never obligated to sign up to work.  For us, being a SOWER and serving at many different ministries has enabled us to not only see this beautiful country but to also see God at work all around the country. (Besides, Gary’s only good for about 3 days at a campground before he feels the need to fix something! It’s a ‘win-win’!)

What kind of work do you do?
Well, if you’ve read any of my SOWER related posts, you know we do whatever we are asked to do! We rarely work ‘in’ the ministry, but instead take care of the physical20150720_084918/maintenance things that get in the way of the ministry being able to do what God has called them to do. The men do a lot of construction and building maintenance, and the women seem to concentrate on painting, housekeeping, kitchen help, sewing and tutoring. I’ve occasionally worked alongside Gary as his helper, but that most likely happens when we are at a ministry alone.  Every ministry has different needs, and we try to help out to the best of our abilities in whatever we are asked to do!

Do you get paid for your work?
Another No. All SOWERs are self-supporting, and receive no compensation for their service. We get ourselves there, provide for ourselves while serving at the ministry, aUntitlednd get ourselves to our next location (or home!).  Our payment is immense, but intangible. We get to bless ministries by standing in the (maintenance) gap for them, and in return we are blessed by seeing God at work in these ministries. Like I said – it’s huge!

Do you have a question about the SOWER Ministry or our life on the road? Check out their webpage for some detailed info, and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have. Just leave them in the comment section! 🙂