The Great Global Gratitude Tour

We came up with the informal name, The Great Global Gratitude Tour, last year. We were thinking of it in different terms than we do now. Why? Our perspective and goals changed…drastically!
Our focus was on ourselves and how we could visit all of the places we wanted to visit and learn how to be grateful (a real struggle for my kids who experienced neglect and abandonment, as well as foster care, but that’s another post coming soon), all the while homeschooling/unschooling, all in a rather la-di-da fashion. Our goal was to cram the experiences into our lives while we could to have something to write about, talk about, and thinking that we would really be living the life!

Reporting for duty...

Reporting for duty…

Now, everything has shifted. While we studied and prepared to meet our goals in various ways, some things became apparent. The more we studied our Bibles and prayed together as a family and individually, the more we felt a longing to really serve, not ourselves, but God. That may sound a little hokey, but it’s real! We could envision doing many of the same things, but our intentions changed.
I think (hope, have faith!) that instead of trying to teach my children (especially the ones who were labeled as “broken”) how to feel gratitude, love, mercy, gratitude, gentleness, attachment (all of those emotions that are supposed to just magically appear to those raised in conventional families), I can let them experience how to just be those things. By allowing them to be present, by seeing that they can touch lives in a very real way through joyfully giving of themselves, they will experience so much more than I can ever teach them.
Well, can’t we just do all that without without travelling the world? Yes, but we can also experience our world, educate along the way and open our lives to so many more opportunities and experiences this way.
Also, I have considered that as a single parent of a large bunch, I didn’t want my life with my kids to be limited to just one location, or the usual daily grind! We are an unconventional family just by our very existence, so we may as well go forth and challenge all of the usual conventions!
I have some posts in the works about some of the challenges that my kids have overcome, single parenthood, finances, and more, so look for them soon!

The next steps…

We will be saying goodbye to Alamos, Sonora, Mexico on February 5, 2016! We have enjoyed so many things about our stay here, particularly the peaceful atmosphere that has allowed to us to grow, learn and prepare for the next steps of our adventure.
Which leads me to…we have decided, as a family, to make our travels a full time service mission for the next year. Everywhere we go, we commit to an act, or acts, of service. If that means feeding people, painting buildings, or just providing support for someone in need, then that’s what we will do.
Are we missionaries? Yes, but not necessarily in a traditional sense. Our calling is to serve others in whatever capacity we are needed and live/travel simply. We will carefully follow God’s directions and set aside our wants in favor of His plans.
Are we going to proselytize? Not really! Our calling is to let our lives preach, to share the love of Christ through our actions and share the Word, verbally, when it will be most appropriate and accepted. In other words, we aren’t setting out to convert the world, but rather to bring hope, compassion, love and our abilities to those in need. Ultimately, I believe God plans to accomplish a greater work in us rather than us accomplishing anything great!
We plan to live very simply, travel by land (in the Beast, our big van) for now, with planes, trains, buses and boats when needed, find accommodations by camping, couchsurfing, housesitting, and the occasional hotel/motel/cabin, while leaving as small an eco-footprint as possible. Clearly, we haven’t given up on fossil fuels, as you can see by our choices in transportation, but we are going to endeavor to keep it “clean & green” whenever possible, and post about our successes and failures.
We are currently continuing to downsize and reorganize, so that we have only what we can carry in our backpacks, our camping gear and immediate necessities. Some innovative (I hope!) organizational/travel items and compact electronics are being shipped to us, so be on the lookout for reviews. We will review our accommodations, food, travel gear, electronics, transportation, and anything else that comes up.
From here, we travel to Tucson, Arizona and on to San Diego, CA to visit, gather up some much needed supplies (these kids are growing out of their clothes!) and reconnoiter for a few days. Then, we will re-enter Mexico at Tijuana and continue down the Baja Peninsula, camping much of the way. We expect to have a few weeks of semi-R&R this way, while still serving all the while. After that, we will be spending some time, possibly a few months, travelling the southern states in the US. When the details are worked out for the next leg of the journey, I will post about our longer term time/travel line.
If you have any suggestions or questions, feel free to ask!

Surprises on the horizon…

As I write this, I am over tired and not feeling very well, but can hardly contain my joy! We have wanted so much to tell you all that we have been preparing to move on to the next leg of our journey, BUT…
We aren’t quite ready to give away all of the details of our next destination, or the longer term plans. There aren’t any big secrets, but we want to make sure all of the details are finalized, the “i’s” are dotted, and such. Also, it is very dear to us and we want to hold on to the sweetness of this preparation for the next step for just a little while longer.
We have prayerfully considered this new phase of life we are entering and have been called into and in making the biggest leap of our lives together, we will hope for your prayers in asking that we are held closely in the embrace of our Heavenly Father, that our needs are met, for our safety, and that in all that we do, we glorify HIM.
With all of that said, we will be leaving Alamos, Sonora, Mexico in mid February to go forth in the service of our Lord. We have dedicated our lives to a new purpose and look forward to sharing every step of the way with you! Check back soon for and update with more details…