The Boy

His name is Charles L A Smith. He’s my son. He came to visit for just a day and I realized all over again something that I’ve known since I let him go to kindergarten that first day. He carries a big piece of my heart with him.

When he’s back in my world, even for just a little while, that piece of my heart that was missing heals.  All the jagged edges are repaired and my heart is whole and filled with joy and fun and nonsense. 

Then when he leaves.  Every single time he leaves, that special part of my heart that only belongs to him gets torn out all over again.  I smile and tease. I tell him I love him. I encourage him and I wave good bye. I hold back the tears until he is out of sight.  Then I cry bitter tears of pain and heartache, all the while thanking the good Lord that I have such an amazing young man for a son.

He is twenty-six now and I don’t know how it happened.  For you see, I am quite certain that last year he was only twenty-one. The year before that he had just turned seventeen.  The year before that he was ten and the year before that he was barely four years old and that was only one year after he was born!  So how he made it to twenty-six in five short years I will never know.

I have pictures that were taken at school. I carry them in my wallet as proof that he really did grow up.  

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Those two front teeth were missing here.

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The cowboy boots were much smaller here.

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That special grin that always makes me smile.

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Each year it gets better, still filled with fun.

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Little league. Charles was great and did so well. I loved it. I was even voted Most Valuable Player by the other team one year.  Best cheerleader they ever had. That’s what they said. 🙂

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Karate classes, yes I went too! A yellow belt for me, Charles did much better. 

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Growing too fast, how do they do that!

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Glasses? Yes hard at first, but he could see so much better. 

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Tennis, High School, his world at home fell apart.  But he stepped up to the plate, squared off at the net, and continued to grow into the young man I know so well today. 

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Still willing to help mom with special projects.

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Still silly

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Still fun

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and Still loving.

We will have long talks on the phone when he has questions about life. Sometimes his and sometimes mine.  He will text me to see how I am, but there is something about having him here, where I can get a good squishing and see his smile and watch as he does silly things to make me laugh. There’s just something about actually having him here that is so precious and so priceless.

But please, you must understand he is not the one that tears out that piece of my heart.  I am the one who tears it out.  I give it to him freely. So he will always have with him, the very best part of me.

The Epitome

Originally posted elsewhere on 12/07/2013

The moon was rising. It was a clear night. The air so clean and crisp it felt good to breathe it in. I had been playing and singing as we sat outside enjoying the night air. Just three of us. People who had only known each other a few days, but already had such camaraderie. There is something about moonlight and music that can bring people together in special ways.

I had just finished a song when Doug said, “Excuse me for a minute Rachel, but I just wanted you to see something. If you look behind you, the moon has risen right above your van and is reflecting off the roof like silver and with the doors open like that, with the hint of blue light inside the van, it seems to me to epitomize what this life of ours is all about or at least one great aspect of it.”

I turned around and wished once more that I had the talent to paint, or that my big camera was up and ready to go at that moment.  Swankie Wheels too, wished she could capture that vision. The picture was incredible. My white van against the dark sky. The moon shining down on my van made it look like it was outlined in silver white.

There is a tiny blue light on my cell phone charger and it was on the floor of the van where you could not see the light itself, just the soft blue gleam it was casting up inside the van.

My beautiful Jehosheba, her whites all lit up with silver and blue. Her doors open, patiently waiting for me to come home, against one of Natures most incredible backdrops…the night sky.

The big dipper low on the horizon, the little dipper yet make an entrance. Venus, with her stately waltz around the moon. A plethora of stars glowing in the sky, incredible meteorite streaks of fire shooting through that velvet black canopy, trying so desperately to reach the earth, a soft gentle breeze to caress your face…. It simply does not get any better than this…or at least, as Swankie says, until tomorrow!  🙂

Thank you Doug for seeing that beauty and drawing our attention to it.

To live this life on the road has its trials and difficulties, just as any other lifestyle does. But this life in my van has incredible beauty. Beauty I too often missed when living in a house or an apartment..

An unfortunate aspect of this life is that many of my house bound friends have stopped talking to me. I think because they do not know what to say to someone who is so far outside “The Box”. If they do still speak to me it is only to warn me of the dangers in this life I am leading or to ask me what I have done that has caused God to punish me, (in their eyes) so severely.

I say there is danger everywhere and that this life has opened new doors for me and I absolutely refuse to believe that my Lord and their God are the same being.  We live in a fallen world which means tough things happen.  However, as always, the Lord has been using this new life to bless me in extraordinary ways. I am getting a life back. Not perhaps the one I had, but a life.

Indeed, I have come to realize over these past months in my car and now especially in my van, that I do not want to go back to that old way of living. Constantly busy. Driven to succeed at whatever I was doing. Being successful at “it” was not enough. Never quite satisfied. Absolutely determined to be striving …well I think you get the picture.

I have a new life, perhaps it would be more accurate to say, I am getting life. Quite possibly for the first time in my life I am truly living my life.

I have my tough days, my tears, my lonely times. Those times when you are in the desert, by yourself. No one but your dog for company, wondering what on earth the good Lord has in mind for you. I call it the aloneness, which can be hard to bear, recognizing that you are living in your van, in the middle of the desert, literally hundreds of miles from any one you know.

But I have also met and parked next to some amazing and truly wonderful people in this new life. Swankie has inspired me with her travels and her consistent can do attitude.  Doug is such a gentle, soft spoken man, with so much intelligence, yet well tempered with humor, it is a pleasure to talk with him. Scot and Liz who are also dealing with some of the same health issues I have which are, in some ways, much more extreme and challenging. Yet they too, still manage to find joy in their lives! All of them truly wonderful people who the Lord has brought into my path on this great journey we call life. My new life!

For those of you who are sceptical or simple cannot understand how I can live this way, I challenge you. Step outside your comfort zone. Talk to people who do not fit in your box.  You just need to open your eyes and step outside your door to truly see the magnificent world we live in. Perhaps then you can understand why, despite the difficulties, I am loving this life.

Remember, the next time you meet someone who is living in their car, van, motor home, travel trailer, or even just a tent, you might actually be speaking with someone who is truly Living!

Lord bless you!  🙂  Rachel

Sunrise, Sunset, with an occasional Moonscape!

My life on the road, with just Macha and I, began a year ago on the 16th of July.

I have been collecting pictures of glorious sunrises,  sunsets and even occasionally a moonscape all year. One of the best pictures of the moon that I have was taken by another camper.  Trust me, you will know it when you see it.  The rest of these are the best of those taken this year by yours truly.

I just wanted to share them with you. 🙂

Arizona is indeed known for the incredible skies in the morning and especially at night.

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There has been so many. Some gentle, with just little wisps of color in the sky.

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Some bold and bright.

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At the right time you can even capture the moon during a sunset.

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Or the last rays of the sun from under the clouds of a storm.

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Peeking through the trees as another day closes.

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Then at times enveloping the horizon with shades of gold and red.

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This sunset started and looked for a moment like it might fade away as they often quickly do.

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You can see here below it looks like it’s fading.

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But this sunset went on and on!

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With each passing moment it became more glorious and brilliant.

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Until the entire western sky was covered in extraordinary color

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At this point I simply stood in awe and watched as the colors gently faded from the sky.

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The extraordinary thing to me is that no two sunsets are ever alike. 

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When you add a body of water to a sunset… oh my!

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But what about a sunrise?

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That first gleem of gold on the horizon

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That’s slowly becomes brighter

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Then becomes so brilliant, that though you cannot bear to look at it, you can feel it’s warmth on your face.

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Clouds tattered in the sky become rainbows of light.

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Like the Sun is reaching out for one last moment of glory

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But the Sun finally sets and the colors in the sky fade

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Then it time for the moon to shine

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Reflecting in the water

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A brilliant orb in the night sky

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Or perhaps just a sliver of light, in that dark night sky. With Venus as she dances her stately waltz around the moon, hovering close by.

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So ends another incredible day on this journey we call life.  For me this has indeed become a great adventure! Thank you for allowing me to share it with you.