Today as I look back at things throughout the year, I’m especially mindful of certain things. I’m thankful for the many opportunities that we have had, and the willingness that both my husband and I have been willing to step outside of our comfort zones and experience those new things. It has brought many fun times and adventures, some scary and frustrating times, but overall a renewed sense of hope and encouragement. I especially think of those folks who emigrated leaving everything back in their home countries to seek out the slim possibility of hope in America.
So many of them sacrificed so much, not just personal belongings, but many lost loved ones in the crossings, or due to disease, or famine. Yet each time you ask them if they thought it was worth it, or if they would do it again, they all have said yes. You see many times when everything feels hopeless you seek that much harder to find any sliver of hope to cling to. My family was just like that. They immigrated from the Azore Islands in Portugal all except 1 cousin came over on a whaling ship. Then they had to cross the entire country to get to California, where they settled in north and central California. Because this was such a large group 9 brothers and sisters in one family 8 in another, they all settled together. So pretty much almost every true Portuguese person, not Brazilian, in that part of California is related to me.
But once again they had to build out the life they wanted. Many of them came with good skills, but what use is that if there are no jobs because it was just raw land. So they started figuring out who would go into farming, who would go into construction, who would go into medicine, and they all started working together to create a community that they could all be happy and proud of. Many of them took risks, some paid off and others did not. Some like my Uncle Clarence, had to overcome great adversity when they were injured so severely in a farming accident. They didn’t have great hospitals or advancement in medicine like physical therapy clinics etc. So the doctor pretty much explained the situation to Uncle Clarence and while he was recuperating, he had to design a plan to help himself get better. He did just that. He basically built his own physical therapy system in the barn. Now granted it was the grace of God that continued to heal his body, but Uncle Clarence had to get up and keep trying when all the odds were stacked against him, when his body wanted to quit, and many of his family had given up hope. No one had done what he did in that area, but no one had the results he did as well. There was no manual, or instructions, no way of really knowing with out a lot of trial and error.
So when I look at these pictures of us in St Augustine, Florida, I’m reminded of the many who have gone before us, seemingly broken the rules, remember they were all convinced the world was flat and Columbus was going to die, and stepped out of their comfort zones. God designs us all with different gifts and talents, some of which are adventurous spirits, or risk takers, or structure and order, or implementors, to name just a few. So when I see my youngest doing exactly what I would do, climb onto the cannons where it says not to, I don’t scold him, because we are designed that way for a reason. I’ve had to overcome a great many adversities in my life 3 time cancer survivor, 6 hip surgeries, with 2 left to go, 11 loved ones dying in a 2 year span, 2 of which were my brothers, etc etc etc. There will always be someone who says you can’t do that because it doesn’t seem to follow the rules they have laid out for their life, take a lesson from Kurt and I, instead of wasting your time answering their question ask them why not, and walk away. Life is hard, parenting is hard, relationships are hard, but anything worth doing, will always be hard, that is why we appreciate it. I know I didn’t make 100% the right choice in all of my life, or as a parent, or in my relationships, but as long as I’m improving daily, there’s still hope it will get better. We’ve been blessed with 2 amazing kids that were only by the grace of God due to my cancers and now that we get to see them, well at least one of them, as adults making their paths ahead seeing them make their mistakes and seeing them grow. I’m thankful for those hard times, that I didn’t quit, even when I wanted to, that I didn’t listen to doctors and choose to abort, and I grabbed more caffeine when I’ve had 0 sleep in 3 days to be there for whatever their needs were. Just like my ancestors who did the same, I’m part of a community of family, and friends who are making the best life they can for all involved.
That’s what this RV adventure is all about, our community coming together to help in whatever way we can to bring more joy, hope and happiness to all involved.