As I was looking at images, in hopes of adding one here in this blog post, I had SO many thoughts of how hard it truly would be to be homeless. Living out in public, on the streets. I am SO super thankful that I'm not, nor have I ever actually been (& Hope never to be) homeless...
Imagine your bed under a bridge?
However, we have come so close to homelessness on several occasions beyond our control...
When we moved up here from Florida, in the spring of 1984, we came knowing we'd have a roof over our heads. We may not have had jobs yet when we got here, but we had each other & we did have a dry space to call home. A place to stay warm & sleep comfortably. We had a refrigerator to keep our foods from spoiling & running water, for hot showers whenever we wanted. We also had a wood stove for heat. We were cozy. Blessed.
After a bit of time, we got jobs & even got ourselves a new bed to sleep on. We were comfortable in our tiny shack where we were renting. Many years of hard work went by. We felt at home & were settled in... Deep down we had the desire for a place of our own, so we spent several years & saved up as much as possible & took the plunge into land ownership... We searched & searched the neighboring towns, until we felt our hearts pound for a 5+ acre plot of land, with a tiny clearing on it. We used our chain saw, weed eater & loppers & hacked, sawed & cleared away the blackberries, brush & trees, to make way for our future home. We hand picked the floor plan & ordered a brand new manufactured home the way we wanted it... I wanted toilets that had never been peed in before & a nice big kitchen with double ovens. Room for entertaining, an office & a spare room for guests. There was a laundry room & we could actually wash our clothes in our own home. No more laundromats!... We had rooms & closets & doors. It was a palace!
My hubby built himself a huge beautiful work shed where he loved to spend time puttering on things.
We put in a huge hen house
& raised us a nice flock of very friendly chickens, who came when we called them by name...
We dug out a huge pond with an island,
where the ducks nested, laid eggs
& raised their fluffy babies every spring.
There is nothing more fun than
watching the wild animals raise their young
& mama teaching their babies
to fly around your yard.
The Bald Eagles bathed in our pond & taught their young how to bathe there as well. It was awesome!
The big Blue Heron skulked around for polliwogs
& baby frogs for his breakfast, lunch & dinner.
Porcupines & raccoons stood on the shore
& drank pond water. Mama deer gave birth to spotted twins every single year while we lived there.
All the while, we sat on our bed, inside
& watched out the window at God's amazing wildlife creations, savoring our land...
It truly was such a special place.
We savored our land as well,
enjoying many, many fires in the fire pit
& all around where we cleared.
Not a weekend went by that we
didn't burn something up...
We barbecued & had friends
& family over. It was fabulous!
On my first birthday at our place, I got the
Costco swimming pool & we set that baby up
& cranked up the hose. When it was full enough with water, I threw off my clothes,
jumped in & swam to my heart's content.
We gardened & grew the freshest foods possible.
I grew THE most amazing flowers
& drew in butterflies & hummingbirds...
It was pure paradise.
We were so, SO blessed!
We lived at the end of the earth (on an Island) & we were in seventh heaven. Our hard work was very visible. We put our hearts into our place & made it exactly the way we wanted it, by the sweat of our brows. It truly was fabulous.
We had lived there for eight years, when the economy took a dive. Our lawn care work took a dive as well. It was now a luxury to have us, that most could no longer afford, or they had a family member who'd lost their job that they needed to give our jobs to. We couldn't crawl out fast enough. We tried hard to get other jobs, but it wasn't easy or quick. I did manage to get hired on for a seasonal position at a local plant nursery, but it was minimum wage & not enough to shake a stick at... We were losing our beloved home & there was no way to fix it.
The biggest problem we now faced, aside from losing our home was that nobody will rent to you when you're losing a home. It's a huge red flag on your credit report for rentals... I will never forget that feeling of having to move, but not knowing where we would be going. It was Thursday & we had to be out by Sunday... My hubby had packed up our entire household by himself while I was at work. I have NO idea how he did it all by himself, even loading our huge, HEAVY oak dining table down off the porch & into the moving truck alone. It was a miracle. Our house was nearly empty, aside from our bed, which we were still sleeping in.
One of my big brothers was dying of pancreatic cancer at the time too, so my woes were many... I remember coming home to our empty house that Thursday evening, not knowing what was next for us & getting down on the carpet of our hollow family room, lying next to my hubby on the floor. We lay there in our grief, together, clinging to each other, rocking back & forth, sobbing a duet. Together, we were mourning the upcoming loss of my much cherished big brother & the loss of our wonderful home & ALL the sweat that we had put into it. It was hard to know what to say, but I knew I had to come up with something to soothe my giant crying man. I promised him that wherever we were going & whatever we were doing, we'd be doing it together & then I said, "You know, it doesn't matter where we lay our heads at night, as long as we're together & if we have to make up a bed in the back of our truck & sleep in the parking lot, then that's what we'll do"
The very next day when I called my hubby during my lunch, he said, "Some lady from church called & said they have an apartment above their shop & they'd love to have us" Hallelujah! We didn't have to be homeless after all.
As I'm writing, sharing the story of losing our beautiful home, knowing since then, we have been in that same predicament of near homelessness two more times after that & right now, once again, a fourth time, going through the hunt of "where will we go now?". I'm also remembering how great everything turned out for us. It was better & better each & every time. I've NO doubts that this time it will be better as well... You see, when we are looking for a place to live, we usually concentrate on things like how many bedrooms & having a dishwasher or washer & dryer, but God knows our heart's desire & He leads us to places with fenced in yards for our beloved dog, hot air balloons overhead & skydivers to watch daily & places with sunsets & garden spots. Things we might not even be thinking of, but He knows that we will truly enjoy...
Our girl LOVED her private yard!
& Then there was this, where we are right now.
We dread leaving such an awesome space,
with this glorious view, but God has a plan
& I can't wait until He leads us into it.
We absolutely LOVED putting in this garden.
It was the BEST garden we've
EVER had in all of our thirty five years.
Our last Christmas here was super special. We got out most all of our old decorations & really did it up beautifully... I wanted to make it super nice, since I knew it was our last one here.
When you think about it, it's not where you live that makes a home, but who lives inside of it. As sad as it was to lose our home (which my hubby still mourns eight years later), at least we still had each other & that is the most important... I know in my heart that God has a perfect place in His mind for us & that He will lead us there... & I know we will not be homeless.
I am SO thankful for all of the blessings we have been given & for the ability to make our own way, in spite of the many hardships we have been dealt... My goal is to learn from life's obstacles & share what I've learned to help others who may be going through tough times as well... I am committed to keeping a smile on my face during tough times & not worrying. Everything ALWAYS works out in the end.
Love isn't what you feel, it's what you do consistently over time. True love is when you stand together even in difficult times... It's all I know.
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Here are some seeds of my favorite things to grow.
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