Do you ever auto-recall certain thoughts that crossed your mind at some point during your life, even if they were a lifetime ago? I do. When I was 26 years young, I recall saying to myself, “Self, I wonder what it would be like to be homeless.” Well, maybe I should have somehow done everything in my power to erase that particular thought from the ‘ol memory bank because I now know what it is like. Well, to an extent. Yes, we were homeless for the first time in our lives… for 217 nights!
We spent a total of a little over seven (7) months in a hotel in Shipshewana, IN due to a frame break on our Evergreen Lifestyle 38RS fifth wheel. She was not an old rig. After all, we had her built to our specifications, purchased her on September 10, 2014, hit the road on September 11, 2014 (an easy date to remember), and were only living in her ten (10) months before returning her to the repair center in Middlebury, IN for minor repairs. Two (2) months later we learned that our Baby Girl was doomed. She would be no more.
The year 2015 ended and we welcomed the New Year in with a bang. We attended a party hosted by the Farmstead Inn, at the Farmstead Inn. It was a lot of fun and, as usual, we helped do whatever we could to assist the staff. The next day we even helped clean up.
After ringing in the New Year, a few more weeks rolled by and we eventually celebrated Craig’s birthday. Well, the hotel did! We woke up to this note on our door…
… and a birthday surprise!
I’m telling you… the employees at and the owners of the Farmstead Inn really stepped up to the plate. They all treated us like family (royalty, really) and we fell in love with them all. It is difficult to put into words how much they went out of their way for us, showed how much they cared, and how much they mean to us!
Just a few short days later, on Thursday, January 28, 2016, we closed on our new Evergreen Lifestyle 39FB. (The transaction was what is known as a “substitution of collateral”. This means we did not have to pay sales tax on the new rig, thank goodness!) Long story, but it was the only fifth wheel available at the factory that would even come close to resembling Baby Girl. They fixed her all up for us with upgrades and minor modifications. They even had our entire solar system removed from Baby Girl and installed on the new rig. They pretty much did whatever we wanted. Yes, that was nice of Lifestyle, but was it worth being homeless for 217 nights? I don’t think so!
Most full-time RVers name their rig… something. We have named our new rig “Gracie”… for two reasons. One, she is mostly grey and, two, it is only by the ‘grace’ of God we made it through to the end. One might imagine that being cooped up with your husband/wife in a hotel room for months on end might make some days, well… longer than others; that things might get a little tense at times. That was not really the case for us. We had our moments (albeit very few), but we also knew we were in for a long ride so we might as well hold on tight to each other and face each and every new day as a blessing. And that’s exactly what we did! It not only strengthened us individually, but as a couple. I have long had issues with patience. I was like my Grandma Hazel. As a child I remember her saying, “Patience, hell! I’m going to kill someone!” I take after my grandmother in that regard. Actually, I should say I took after my grandmother. You see, I prayed and prayed and prayed some more that the Good Lord would teach me patience throughout our very long ordeal, and I believe He has pretty much accomplished His goal and answered my prayers, too! And maybe, just maybe that is why we were stuck in a hotel room for so long… He had a LOT of work to do! I no longer resemble my former self, for I am now so much mellower. Many of our friends have questioned how we could not be upset by what we have been through. I answer them in one simple word… G-R-A-C-E!
A final word…
I read these words on a poster in one of the little shops in Shipshewana and wanted to share them with you:
If you don’t like Him…
… The Devil will always take you back!
Life is short,
Death is sure,
Sin is the cause,
Christ is the cure.