“Never think that God’s delays are God’s denials.
Hold on; hold fast; hold out. Patience is genius.” ~Comte de Buffon
“Have you sold your Cruise-a-home yet?” someone with a cheerful disposition asks me. “Not yet,” I sigh, “we’re still waiting.”
Truly we could not have chosen a better boat than our Cruise-a-home to transition from foundational home to hull home. Now, at the end of 2019, our children are ages 13, 11, 9 and 6. They have grown at least twelve inches since we began our nautical lifestyle three years ago. Proud mama moment, my children are amazing. Their “bedrooms”, if you could call it that, are 29″x68″. Their bed takes up 27 1/2″x63″, leaving 5″ for knickknacks, treasures, stuffed animals and books. Like when Alice grew too big in the Wonderland home, the six of us have most literally reached capacity of our Cruise-a-home.
Keeping the dream to cruise alive, Ryan and I have looked at hundreds of sailboats online. May 2019, a dear friend of ours excitedly found the most probable sailboat candidate to be our next home. We walked aboard as a family, and felt the “yes, this seems right!” feeling in the pits of our hearts. Tripling our current living space with three state rooms, two heads (bathrooms) and a walk-in engine room for Ryan to store his tools and me to have a washing machine, how could this not happen quickly for us? We came back to our cruise-a-home and taped up a “For Sale” sign. I just knew all the puzzle pieces would click into place quickly for us.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s many times about the person he calls – not about the calling itself. He’ll take anyone with an obedient spirit, no matter how green, messy or ignorant they may be. But once you sign on, he’s got to put you through basic training to get you in shape to operate with his high standards, methods and ways. Perhaps you don’t have the mental knowledge, the spiritual maturity, or the emotional depth needed to accomplish what he has in mind. Maybe you want to call the shots in how things proceed – and God knows you’ll fall flat on your face unless he’s the one in charge. He’s got to test your commitment, your endurance – to see what kind of stuff you’re made of for the long haul. Perhaps it is for you to see what you’re made of…for God already knows. This basic training always, always grows you in maturity, self-confidence, and ultimately, dependence on God.
So while we’re waiting and getting upset at God for not doing anything, could it be that we are the hold up? Is it us that he’s waiting on? To show we trust him – so he can trust us with what he’s about to do? To prepare us mentally, having thoroughly thought things through? To prepare us emotionally, with a solid resolve and conviction to move ahead? To just grow up a little? Or a lot? Spring showers can pop up in an afternoon. Hurricanes take days. I think God makes us wait because he’s got bigger ideas in mind. Plus, his timing is always perfect – he can see what’s coming down the pike in eternity, and he knows the right moment in time to get you moving.” ~ Jenny L. Cote (Now I Sea p. 29)
I wept when I read this. Waiting IS SO HARD!! But in the months of waiting, I have succumbed to the conclusion: I would rather patiently wait for God’s timing, than try to manipulate something premature and make a chaos of decisions. That being said, our life continued.
This last summer we cruised 10 days in our 27′ sailboat. It was our first long sail, overnight, cooking…anything longer than a sunset sail. Amazingly enough…our kids are crazy. It was unanimously agreed by our four (not of this world children) that they actually preferred the cramped close cockpit quarters of our 27′ sailboat to our spacious 40′ cruise-a-home (at least when cruising). They enjoyed snuggling and reading in the cockpit, taking naps in the V-birth, and never once complained.
Our kids are resilient and adaptable. We spent our first night rocking and rolling (not exceptionally pleasant), moored at Blake Island. The view of Mt Rainer to the south and Seattle to the east, were beautiful. The following morning, we walked the island and found treasure while geocaching.
Later, we met up with our friends and cruising companions from our yacht club…and then one boat was not like the others. I’ll admit, jealousy is hard to combat when I feel I’m lacking…and forced to wait. But if I remained unsatisfied with what I do have, and stubbornly put my foot down that a 27′ sailboat is just too small for me to even give it a try, how many wonderful memories my family would have missed out on. So, I put forth my best “I got this, let’s figure this out” attitude. Pleasantly, I’m amazed how well we’ve all adapted to such tiny spaces. And I thought 238 sq ft for a family of six was tiny! The memories we’re making, the experiences we’re having, and the bonding and growing we’re doing…strengthens our resolve to keep waiting for the right timing for our one-day bigger sailboat.
A few months after our summer cruise; we felt Ryan had reached all he could learn working on the ferry. Before his transition to his new job, we decided to seize the opportunity and take a road trip halfway across the United States to visit family. In typical Taisey fashion, we made this decision with two days planning. Packed into our 2007 Toyota Highlander, we realized the joy is in the journey, not just zipping to the destination. Contentedly we passed the hours and miles by listening to Focus on the Family’s radio drama of all seven Chronicles of Narnia series. Watching the changing landscape as we climbed the Rockies and drove across the Great Plains, I couldn’t help but think of the courageous pioneers, wagon trains and families traversing this ruggedly beautiful terrain so slowly. Such courageous people of long ago, willing to take the risk in search of a better life and adventure.
On our way to Illinois and Indiana, we drove I-90 and had 3 twelve-hour days to get to our final destination, Elgin, Illinois. We visited with three sets of great grandparents, made yummy cookies with my favorite Auntie and Uncle, and reconnected with a beloved cousin and her family. When our time was up, our hearts were filled to the brim with love after reconnecting with loved ones we haven’t seen in years.
On our way back west, we decided to take the meandering two lane country roads. One stop was in Arthur, Illinois where we happened to meet a very nice Amish family who kindly answered all our enthusiastic questions. They shared how they make buggies (the family business), how they function off the grid, and their fascinating way of life. We delighted spending a whole afternoon with them, ending with Arianna becoming pen pals with their youngest daughter!! Now, how cool is that!! I connected most with their love for family, enjoying the slower pace of life, and putting their whole heart into their craftsmanship and homemaking. We left with hearts full, and strangers who quickly became friends.
Another interesting stop was at Vandalia, IL. This city was Illinois’s second state capital from 1819-1839. This particular building was capital from 1836-1839, before the capital was ultimately moved to Springfield. Abraham Lincoln was a delegate here. The wood beams and floors upstairs are still original to 1836. I get so excited touching and walking where history happened!
Behind the old Vandalia Capital building was an old church turned into a historic museum with 1800 era artifacts. One reason I love homeschooling, my children naturally exhibit an intellectual curiosity to learn. In times like these, my heart swells with pride and thankfulness for the museum lady delighted in allowing our responsible children to respectfully hold and handle historical artifacts from this time period. Textbook history became multi-dimensional with weight, time and place. Experiences like this is what excite and draws us to continue to work hard toward our future voyage.
“Treading alongside the men folk, were women with dainty calloused hands who, after giving birth, would tote water from a brook, never seeking sympathy or aid; but, boldly under bonnet brim her beaming eyes looking far into the future, she’d thrust her dainty feet into sturdy books, never dreaming of the History she made…” (Written by Deloris Lynch in honor of the Madonna of the Old National Trail) Madonna of the Trail is a series of 12 identical monuments dedicated to the spirit of pioneer women in the United States. The monuments were commissioned by the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR). They were installed in each of the 12 states along the National Old Trails Road, which extend from Cumberland, Maryland, to Upland, California. (Wikipedia) Wives and mothers of such high character inspire me to be a bold and courageous helpmate to my husband and example to my children.
An unseasonable blizzard hit the Dakotas, so we headed south through Missouri. We visited the Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis. Ryan delighted in bringing our children to a place he went when he was a child. The mighty Mississippi was close to flood stage.
“The Compromise of 1850 and the Fugitive Slave Act, and the Dread Scott Decision proceeded the succession of the southern states.” We memorized this history statement from Classical Conversations. The Dread Scott case and decision was conducted at this St. Louis Courthouse. One of my favorite book series I read as a youth, which has become a favorite of my children, has its plot line about the Underground Railroad and its setting along the mighty Mississippi and the St. Louis Courthouse. I feel so privileged to be walking along the trail of our nation’s history with my children.
“We met the advance company of Oregon emigration…It is remarkable how anxious these people are to hear from the Pacific country and strange that so many…should sell out comfortable homes…pack up and start across such an immense, barren waste to settle in some new place of which they have at most so uncertain information, but this is the character of my countrymen.” James Clyman (June 24, 1846) At one museum in Independence, Missouri, we learned about one gentleman, Ezra Meeker, who traveled the Oregon trail via ox-driven wagon as a child, again along the trail via automobile as an adult, and flew over it a third time before he died. My mind was blown as I thought through the timeline in my head of all the things that transpired throughout his lifetime from 1830-1928. Incredible!
We celebrated Felicity’s 9th birthday visiting Bear Country, and Mt Rushmore. It was a bucket list item for Ryan and I. Our kids enjoy being Jr. Rangers, filling out different informational pamphlets regarding different national parks. The girls outlined our road trip route, marking our different stops along the way.
A very sobering Memorial, we visited a piece of the Berlin Wall and read its history to our children. I know this quote is regarding a different battle, but it touched my heart, and made me ponder. “The price of Liberty. Let me ask you something. Did the men of D-Day sacrifice themselves because you and I had earned it and deserved it? No. Many of us weren’t even born yet. Even so, those men realized how precious and valuable we were. Liberation is not dependent on the action of the imprisioned – it is dependent on the Value of the imprisoned in the eyes of the Liberator…” (Jenny L. Cote Now I Sea! pg 132)
Soldiers, First responders, Men and Women of Valor…my family and I, Thank You.
Continuing west, we visited Kansas’ Capital building. One of two capital buildings where you can take a free guided tour and walk up all 239 steps to the top and outside of the rotunda. This capital building held significance for our history memory sentence regarding the court case, Brown vs. Board of Education where segregation by race in public schools was deemed unconstitutional. Until the 1960s, this building was completely open to the public. Unchaperoned youth would climb throughout the highest heights of the dome and write their names and dates on the brick and steel supports. It is illegal to do so now, but has been preserved as part of the building’s history. Amazingly, there are no reports of injuries for such escapades.
The last major place we visited was the Badlands of South Dakota. What an amazing landscape!! Buffalo blocked our road. Prairie dogs played hide and seek with our kids as they ran from hole to hole as if playing Whack-a-Mole. Taking a break from listening to Chronicles of Narnia, we listened to Jenny L. Cote’s audio book, The Ark, the Reed and the Fire Cloud. This story is about Noah’s Ark. It is amazing to see the strata of the rock and read of the fossils they have uncovered in the Badlands ranging from fish and birds to rhinoceros and saber tooth tiger…all fossilized together in the Badlands.
Our spontaneous two and a half week road trip took us across eleven states, from Washington State to Indiana and back again. We indeed have a beautiful country, and we’d spontaneously do it all over again in a heartbeat!!!
“So while we’re waiting and getting upset at God for not doing anything, could it be that…he’s waiting for us to trust him – so he can trust us with what he’s about to do? To prepare us mentally, having thoroughly thought things through? To prepare us emotionally, with a solid resolve and conviction to move ahead?” ~Jenny L. Cote
The weeks have turned into months of waiting. Our living quarters are as cramped as ever. My emotions have tumbled from wanting to just give up and quit this adventure, to resolved determination that another stubbed toe will not break me and to just hang on…this waiting cannot last forever. Ryan began his new job late in October and absolutely loves it!! In November, we switched docking places with another member from our yacht club, so we could be right next door to our best friends who are another live-aboard family. What a blessing it has been to do this live-aboard life with another family with kids!!! Lastly, with the dawn of 2020 right around the corner, we have saved enough to make an offer on the sailboat we walked aboard in May 2019!! This season of waiting has been a hard season, but it has left me with a solid resolve and conviction that God’s delays are not God’s denials, and His timing will always be perfect. The future adventure is worth the pain of waiting.