Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I have been making a conscious attempt recently to be present and to connect with people/strangers more often. We met a few interesting folks on in our quest to retrieve our bus home. The first opportunity came when we stopped in traffic next to a gentleman on a bike. He had a rather large bed roll on the back, and I wondered what his deal was; Homeless? A vagabond? Taking a trip? Or some other possibility that I hadn’t come up with? I remembered that we had bottled water in the car and asked Joshua to quickly pass one up. We stopped as soon as we could and Noah jumped out to hand it to him. The gentleman made room next to his jar of peanut butter and thanked Noah profusely.

After taking possession of the bus, we made an impromptu stop at one of those dollar stores (General? Family?) that are so predominant in rural areas because I thought I would be able to get the bus in and out. Once stopped it became a full on “break” and we ended up spending about 45 minutes to an hour. There was a couple, and as hard as I tried to make them fit a type, I just couldn’t. I was curious about them, but I had nothing to ask them about. Finally the man approached us to ask about our Maine plates. (YAY!) Am I the only one with an overwhelming curiosity about everyone?!?!

This couple was out enjoying life, vagabonding around, although they didn’t use that term. In fact, they were really skilled about not labeling anything. They had been down in the Keys, then sailed back to Miami, and were on their way to New Orleans. They were very excited for us as we step into our new adventure, and I made a disparaging comment about how we had set out to travel and only seen from Maine to Florida. “So just this entire side of the country, this whole coast?” she asked, totally putting it into perspective for me. I have already seen more of this country than a great many people ever get to see, and I’m grateful for every minute of my travels! Chatting with that couple was a really neat experience. I would have gladly taken them with us but they were headed in the opposite direction.

Later in the evening, with a raging headache, we stopped for gas. I went in to buy some pain killers, but when I went to pay I noticed a surcharge for using a credit card. I just couldn’t pay 50% more, so I put it back and walked out. I went into the bus to close my eyes for 5 minutes while Gary finished pumping the gas. What seemed like a long time passed, so I got up and went to investigate. Gary and the children were just coming out of the store with BAGS full. The manager of the store had given them several packages of donuts that were short dated, free, then handed Gary the painkillers that I had wanted and told them they were for his wife!!! Katherine was sure that our good fortune was directly related to handing the biker a bottle of water.

We then stopped yet again at a truck stop and met a very nice man who was that night making his final run before retiring from the trucking industry. He was wanting a soda but the change machine was down. We looked and looked and couldn’t find any small bills to offer him, which was disappointing, but we did enjoy chatting.

The bus ride back was good. I’m impressed with how well she maneuvers, and with how well she stops! She rides really smooth, and my biggest issue was attempting to maintain the speed limit as we drove though the county famous for ticketing drivers who go as much as 1 mph over the posted speed. The posted speed changes every quarter mile, and there is an officer about every mile to enforce that policy! We made it safe and sound, Ms. Bus is home with us, and we are loading up, and getting ready to roll!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Powerful Stuff

I’m excited to share with you that we are the proud owners of a 1988 Silver Eagle Bus! 

The way in which the bus came to us is actually an incredible story. We decided that we would start to travel again, but this time do things a little differently We agreed that a bus (think Greyhound or Trailways) was the only vehicle that really made sense for us for a myriad of reasons and we began our search. We figured out how much money we had to spend, which was at the very bottom range of what was available, and not even with much converting done. 

There was one bus that kept popping up in ads, but I ignored it as it was fully converted, had a custom paint job, as well as solar panels and an awning. Gary finally convinced me just to get a price on it, and I was blown away that it was only slightly above our top dollar amount. The seller and I talked all week, he understood that we were a little short and were working on getting the extra money, and also working out how we would travel to see/purchase the bus (it was a solid 16-18 hours from where we are). After talking all week we got to the point that we needed to wait on Monday to hear about several things. The bus sold on Sunday. 

I had faith that it must not be our bus, and that our bus was out there somewhere, but losing that bus still stung. The next day I found a bus, not quite so amazing, but still really great and completely out of our price range. The seller did say that he was open to a partial trade and was willing to talk, so I decided to call him and explain about the super special bus and how we only had x amount of dollars. He told me what his bottom line was, how much he had into the bus, and asked if we were a missionary family. I told him that we were not, and for some reason that really bothered me, having to say no. I thanked him for his time and said goodbye.

Later that day the seller called me back to tell me that he had been praying about it and the Lord laid it upon his heart that he should sell me the bus for the money we had!!! I was thrilled, but for whatever reason, I hesitated. A very good friend who knew about the loss of the super special bus had sent me a video by Sean Hayes entitled Powerful Stuff to remind me that the Universe is so incredibly powerful and that if we stayed faithful our bus would come to us. She was one of the friends that I shared the pictures and the advertising with and she immediately noticed the musical staff on the side of the bus. Powerful Stuff. The other friend read me back the ad and berated me for not going to get the bus that minute, because it was clearly valued for far more than he was willing to sell it to us for. I took a deep breath, called the seller and told him we were coming to see the bus.

The morning of our trip, I called him to let him know that we were on our way. He shared with me that there was a gentleman from Texas who wanted the bus badly and planned to fly in the next morning if we didn’t take it, and another who hoped to beat us there that day. He told them both that I had first dibs on the bus, and that he had been doing more praying and if we liked the bus we could talk more about what he could do when we arrived.

I went right into panic mode. In my mind he was going to up his price, he clearly had more interest in the bus and people who could probably pay him closer to what it is worth. (side note: I know a woman was needing a home for one of her children and after working with a family for some time they told her that they had been praying and God told them to charge her three times what they had originally agreed would be fair.)

As I drove I contemplated calling  him back and reminding him that we had limited funds, and zero ability to take on debt, but instead I took deep breaths and believed that everything was exactly as it was supposed to be.

When we arrived at our meeting place, Gary jumped into the bus to ride back to the sellers home, and I rode behind checking out the lights and lack of smoke (and incredible horsepower!).

When I got into the bus I found that it wasn’t as nice inside as I had imagined. It needed a lot cosmetically, but the layout was very workable. I was trying to get a feel from Gary, and I was feeling very positive vibes. Then, out of the blue the seller tells me that the Lord told him to give the bus to us for even LESS than we agreed upon! I found out later that he had already told this to Gary on the ride, which must be why he was looking past the cosmetic stuff!

Wow. Wow. Wow. Powerful Stuff, Indeed! The seller and his family are just genuine super nice people, and once they found out that we wanted the bus started throwing in all kinds of extra pieces and parts for us. He even said he was going to replace the batteries before we took it home because he’d had to jump start it that morning and he didn’t want us to have any trouble, and INSISTED that I call him the minute we arrived safely at home so they didn’t need to worry about us, even if it was 2 am!

Needless to say we are incredibly excited to make this bus home. I love it already and feel incredibly grateful not only that it came to us, but that it came to us in such an amazing, incredibly powerful way. ☼

Sunday, April 8, 2012

In Service

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A few days ago Joshua and I rode to the store to purchase some birthday gifts for a friend of ours. The first two stores that we planned to shop at were closed. We pulled into our third choice store and parked next to a car that looked to be disabled. The hood was up and there was a woman and what appeared to be her teenaged son inside. Joshua was first to suggest that he’d like to help. Joshua was able to tinker for a minute or two but lacked the appropriate tools to do anything productive, so we asked if we could drive them someplace.

The woman explained where she lived, and I said that I had no idea where that was but that I was willing to take her wherever she needed within reason. I also warned her that I had six children and my van was perpetually a disaster.

The woman climbed in, and as she handed me her business card said, “With six kids, I’m sure you could use a massage. I’m a therapist and I would like to give you a free massage!”

I seriously had to fight tears. That was such a HUGE gift to me. I can’t state that strongly enough. We had a lovely conversation as we drove, and when we stopped she encouraged me to call for an appointment. I told her, “this is so huge for me, a massage is something that I always feel that I need and never get. I can’t thank you enough.”

She responded, “You have no idea how huge this is for me! We had just been grocery shopping and before you pulled up were planning to start walking. We would have walked several miles, I’m not even sure how I would have made it with my medical issues, and I would have lost all the perishable groceries that we just purchased. I can’t thank you enough!”

Wow. Wow. Wow. Something so simple for me to offer that it barely made a dent in my day, yet profoundly affected another, and her offer, simple for her and yet to me means so very much.