Once upon a time, when Hayden and I were not yet married, we passed by a trailer park. Struck with a thought, Hayden proceeded to ask me a question:
“What if we had to live in a trailer park?”
“What if…” I replied. There was just about zero chance of that ever happening. The question seemed pointless.
“Like what if that was our only option? Would you still want to marry me?”
“Would you be happy with me even if we lived in a trailer?”
At no point in this conversation did I think Hayden was actually suggesting that we live in a trailer one day. It was a purely hypothetical question. We were playing that little game that all couples do and asking “what if” questions to be cute. Thus, appropriate for the circumstances, I responded to him with enthusiasm, and I conjured up images of how sweet our humble life would be. I probably said something along the lines of “I’d be happy anywhere with you, Hayden. I love you regardless of the circumstances.” I played along because that was the cute thing to do. In the moment, it was easy to laugh at what the day-to-day routines and/or struggles might be of living in a trailer. When you are dating, everything seems romantic. Even trailer parks.
In all honesty, I was confident I would never live in a trailer. Ever. In my whole life. Perhaps roadtrip in an RV…but live in a trailer? No. We would start in an apartment or rental and move on to a house … like all the other normal couples. We would follow the same pattern as everyone else in our shoes: graduate, get married, work a few years, buy first house together…the whole shebang. No part of the timeline included living in a trailer. It wasn’t going to happen. I had never even given it a second thought.
Except God, in His infinite love and sense of humor, often shakes things up in my life. Truthfully, He does this to everyone. It’s part of the Christian walk. I shouldn’t be surprised because if you open your Bible at all, you realize the entire thing is filled with stories of people whose lives constantly take a different direction than what they had intended. However, I seem to always forget this fact and become shocked every single time my life takes a detour. Sometimes I really do believe God smiles and chuckles inside when he hears me use the words always and never and this is absolutely my plan. I find when I use these words, often times the exact opposite takes place. So once again, after determining my plans…the joke was on me.
Which brings us to the reason I am writing this blog post today. Drumroll, please.
(insert sound of drums)
Ladies and gentlemen, it is with great excitement and a little bit of nervous laughter that I tell you Hayden and I are officially moving into a trailer. Yes, a trailer. Also known as a camper. The kind that connects to a vehicle. In fact, 1 week from today, we will officially be moved out of our current residence and “moved-in” to our new trailer home. And by moved-in, I mean 90% of our belongings will be packed into a storage unit while the two of us and our two dogs will be living like true minimalists/gypsies in a Recreational Vehicle in the middle of Oklahoma. Real talk.
If you’ve made it this far in the post, you are probably one of our close friends or family who was personally told to read it. Therefore, it would probably be redundant to catch you up on all that has led to this moment. For anyone reading this that may not be one of our obligated friends/family members, there is a chance you know very little about our lives aside from pictures on social media. Or maybe you don’t know us at all. Whatever the case may be, I feel that painting the whole picture for you is necessary for this blog to make any sense. Before I go any further, I want to cover some background, specifically the last 8 months, because keeping up with our trailer adventures won’t make much sense without an understanding of our lives before. So, in as much of a nutshell as I can fit it into, here is what life for us has looked like since we got married:
Hayden and I were married January 31st and immediately moved to Rockport, Texas. This was the first not normal direction our life took. While the majority of people graduate and get jobs in places like Houston, Dallas, or Austin, we ended up moving to little, bitty Rockport. When I showed up the day after our honeymoon, the only person I knew within a 100 mile radius was my husband. Needless to say, our time in Rockport was full of adjustments. I had considered grad school as an option but put that on hold to work. Except the job market in Rockport isn’t as full of opportunity as I expected. So I spent the first 6 months of marriage working in retail. Though thankful to have a job and excited to do life as a newlywed, I have to admit I often struggled with discontentment. Working in a boutique in a small town on the coast of Texas was not what I had in mind for our first year of marriage. I hate to admit this, but I let myself see the glass half empty much more than I chose to see it as half full. I was frustrated with God for making us live here. I was frustrated that we struggled to find a church. I was frustrated that making friends wasn’t easy. I was frustrated that our apartment only had 2 drawers total in the kitchen and couldn’t even fit our silverware. I was frustrated that I wasn’t using my degree or pursuing a career. I was frustrated that I didn’t have a Target, Chick-Fil-A, or an Apple Store nearby. I was frustrated that Hayden had the weirdest and worst schedule ever and I was often sleeping alone and we never had weekends free together. And then I was frustrated that I was turning into a negative, complaining person.
On a daily basis, the Lord had to convict me of my prideful, entitled, dissatisfied and selfish heart. When they say marriage is about sanctification, I never really understood what that meant. I thought in some vague way the Lord would use my marriage and my husband to make me more like Him? Well now I see how He does it! If there’s one thing every person should know, its that marriage is a mirror. Who you are on the inside, the TRUE you, complete with all the mess and junk and bad habits and baggage and flaws, gets reflected and put on display when you unite yourself with another. This is one of the most beautiful and most painful ways that the Lord sanctifies us as husband and wife. My weaknesses and flaws were given a magnifying glass and I was stunned and ashamed of what I saw. I’m sure I will talk much more about this later, but for now, I’ll give it to you in a nutshell. God did not give me anything I thought I wanted.
For a short amount of time through the summer, Hayden and I thought we may be moving to Houston. Eager to get out, I quit my job and decided to get my teaching certification because I just knew we were supposed to move to Houston and I would teach and life would start going how I wanted. Wrong. No doors opened there. I actually have multiple stories of paths we tried to run down where the Lord slammed the door shut. If I’ve had a conversation with you in the last 3 months, you probably heard me inform you of “our plan” and already know that the plan seemed to change on a weekly basis. Also during this time, the Army popped back into our lives. (It never really left, but I sort of forgot that Hayden had commissioned as an officer because he was temporarily without a unit and wasn’t going anywhere or discussing it with me. Out of sight, out of mind, right?) We were just doing our civilian-life thing, and in all our plan making, we often left out military duties. However, the amount of time Hayden was allowed between commissioning in May and the required BOLC training was running out. Though flight school was the original plan, the next selection board won’t occur until after his BOLC deadline, forcing him to turn to his other option – Field Artillery school. Looking back, I’m not sure why we put so much effort into making other plans because, at the end of the day, the military would make our plans for us.
So as June turned into July and then to August, and all our efforts to leave Rockport seemed to fail, and I was going on almost 2 months of unemployment, and suddenly we realized Hayden would have to go to field artillery training, something changed inside. For the first time in a long time, I actually felt at peace because I trusted the Lord. I trusted that He knew better than we did. I trusted that He was for our good and that His plan was perfect. No, unemployment and being in limbo wasn’t easy. Many a day it got the best of me. Some days I was overwhelmed with anxiety trying to find a job. Some days I took on big projects to be productive. Some days I binge-watched Netflix. Some days I cried. But then, I trusted God. We trusted God.We embraced not having a clue what our future would hold or where we would be a few months from now. We prayed and we waited and we trusted. And we randomly invested in some screenprinting equipment and I took up a new hobby. I designed and created tees and tanks and baby clothes, and just about 10 days ago, I opened an Etsy store. I had finally reached a place where I was content with all our circumstances and excited to just stay put and make the most of it.
And then BAM! God opened a door. He opened a door for FA school beginning October 29th in Fort Sill, Oklahoma. So to make a long story short, we suddenly had to scramble to make plans to move. Which brings us to right now.
I have decided that for the sake of time, I will expand on this in a later post. There are many reasons why we have made the decision to borrow Hayden’s parents’ camper and make it our home for the next 6 months in Oklahoma. There are logistical reasons and practical reasons. The amount of money we will be able to save is incredible! But for now I’ll just leave it at the fact that after weighing our options, we have decided to turn a trailer into our home. Going from absolutely never to “lets make a whole blog about our time living in a camper” took about 2 weeks, and now it is October 8th and we are will be driving to Oklahoma in one week and 3 days from now.
Essentially, we have 7 days to pack up our whole lives into storage and figure out what exactly it means to live in a trailer and what that looks like. How do I sort through all of our possessions and choose the absolute necessities? How do I wean myself off of all the stuff I’ve grown attached to? How do I step away from the mainstream and typical path and head down uncharted territory that ISN’T the norm and ISN’T something everyone else is bragging about (or posting pictures of on social media). The prideful, materialistic side of me wants to keep it all hush-hush and act as if I’m above living in a trailer. I want to look like we have it all together and live a Pinterest-worthy life. (Don’t laugh. It’s a real thing when you’ve spent years of your life collecting tidbits and ideas of what your life and house and wedding and marriage is supposed to look like)
But that’s part of the reason I feel a need to blog about this chapter we are about to begin. There is a huge part of me dying to embrace this adventure and actually escape the rat race of life. I want to share this experience with you and share what Hayden and I learn through it (because Lord knows there are some big life lessons I’m about to learn…and probably in the hardest and most humorous ways). I want to begin this journey full of expectation and be intentional about gleaning from each experience. I want to blog about that time Hayden and I moved into a trailer in the middle of Oklahoma with 2 dogs, because when you think about it, this is all very humorous. If anyone is least qualified to do this, it would probably be me. Hayden, on the other hand, seems to thrive in any environment…so stick us in this tiny home-on-wheels together out in the country and we are bound to have many laughs and stories to tell.
In conclusion, Hayden and I are excited for this adventure coming up. We are excited for all that we will experience and learn. We are excited to do something out of the ordinary and meet people we otherwise wouldn’t meet. We are excited to learn more about ourselves and each other through this process. And we are excited to share this trailerblazing chapter in our lives with you. Love you all. And stay tuned for all the stories to come!