It’s officially been over a month since we set off for Joyward! Now, a quarter of the way through, we have already seen so many incredible sights and spent time with some wonderful people. When we last updated you guys, we were in Colorado and preparing to head to Gillette, WY. Now, sitting a a charming coffee shop in Cannon Beach, Oregon, we will fill you guys in on what road trip life has been thus far!
We both agree that the first month of road life has been….a month of trial and error, and navigating what tiny living actually and practically means for our everyday life. 84sq feet (that’s Joy) looks really cute with a wide angle lens on my camera, and it does look cute in person, but it’s only a brief second before you need to get something out of the fridge, under the bed, or under the booth. I (Ceci) told Kyle that I feel like we’re constantly dancing when we’re in the trailer because of the lack of actual floor space, and it’s comical at times… (at times). Somedays we literally throw the cats out of our way, of course its on a safe landing like the bed or booth cushions. But, through all the challenges we are learning…
We now can set up camp in a flash (even in the dark and the rain), we have become pretty good at getting around without Siri’s help (to save data), we have learned to give an receive directions while driving, and we have made some very tasty meals in our tiny oven. Most of all, we’re learning to tackle all of it as a team.
Have we gotten fed up with each other yet? We understood going into this new lifestyle that in a tiny space with two people, alone time would be rare or look different. Week 3, we’d both agree that’s when it hit. In the middle of Yellowstone, while snowing outside, and with hardly anyone around we had our first big argument of the trip. For the first time in an argument, no one could leave the situation. If one of us did, it wouldn’t last long because to was 15 degrees outside! We were forced to face the misunderstandings and hurt words right then and there or it would be a miserable night in an aluminum can. But these are the moments that the trip was created for. To healthily, and intentionally jump into our differences and learn to resolve over and over again. Praise the Lord…We did…
Even with our trips biggest argument in Yellowstone, our time as a whole there turned out to be a highest point and our lowest. All in the same place! We saw beautiful landscapes, met some intriguing folks, stumbled across majestic wildlife, and felt our marriage growing. God provided us with the kind of moments that you just can’t plan for yourself. Our last night after a full day of adventuring, we stumbled upon an empty, outdoor ice skating rink. There were classy lights strung around it, and a bon fire already burning. If you want to know the way to Ceci’s heart it’s ice skating and cute light bulbs. I (Ceci) melted at the sight of my childhood dream coming true in the middle of Yellowstone with my husband. We grabbed some skates from an unlocked shack, and skated away (while my damp hair literally turned to icicles). What could have easily become a miserable time in Yellowstone is now going to be one of the most memorable times (for good reasons) on this trip.
Favorite camping spot thus far:
Ceci: Olympic National Park..and Yellowstone
Books finished this past month:
Kyle: The Hobbit, Uprooting Anger by Robert D. Jones
Ceci: Love & Respect by Emerson Eggerichs
Together: The Making of a Marriage by Brent and Janis Sharpe, The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller
Where we’ve been:
This already feels like a long time ago! We stayed with our fabulous friends Regan and Cassandra, and also saw our friend Joshua Fezio. Regan, Joshua, and I graduated Life Pacific College together and Regan was in our wedding. I was able to share my book Healing, Hope & Wholeness at the church they pastor at! We had a very sweet time catching up with this couple who are expecting a baby soon! It was fun to get a glimpse of their Gillette life. Regan is a pastor and Cassandra works for an elementary school. We also visited Sheridan, where Regan’s parents have a ranch. It was so beautiful! Regan and Cass tried to woo us into staying in Gillette, and they did a good job. But who knows where we will land after the trip! We love you Pickerels!
Billings was a quick trip but we were so blessed by our friends at Word of Life. They let us stay in the church parking lot for a couple nights and took us out to lunch. Thank you for your generosity!
We had been looking forward to this stop for awhile. The majority of Yellowstone was closed because it’s winter, but there was still so much to see! The breath taking sights were endless, as well as the wild life. We can’t wait to post Yellowstone pictures!
Andy and Hannah! We stayed with this creative couple, and had a great time catching up and getting to know each other. Hannah and I were in IGNITE together in Fall 2009 and hadn’t seen each other in about 6 years! I was able to share my book with a women’s group from their church. Hannah is a talented photographer/barista and Andy has his own beard oil business/barista. They are a hard working couple, and were so generous. They also make their own chai, and it’s bomb. Miss you guys!
Check out Hannah’s photography: facebook.com/HannahSophiaPhotographer
Andy’s beard oil: facebook.com/HandyCo.BeardOil
Not to far of a drive after Spokane, we went to visit the Edlers in Yakima! We stayed with Jake and Chantal and their sweet little girl Emery. Jake, Chantal and I went to Life Pacific College together, and Jake and I went to Ireland together about 6 years ago for a mission trip. They were totally generous hosts and showed us their town! We had an early celebration there for Kyle’s birthday and we all saw the new Star Wars! Which was great, and now I want to watch them all! Jake and Chantal both work at Yakima Foursquare Church, and invited me to share my book. Their church was incredibly supportive!
Olympic National Park, WA
Picture Twilight mixed with some forest shots from Lord of the Rings….Olympic National Park felt unreal! It literally felt like we were in a post card or something! This is where we celebrated Kyle’s 26th birthday! When we reached Olympic, it finally felt like we were entering different terrain because there wasn’t snow everywhere. You couldn’t take a horrible picture in the PNW, it’s all stunning. Right next to Olympic is a town called Port Angeles. Which is adorable, and I could possibly stay there for awhile. It’s a different kind of beach life from SoCal. It’s a cold and cloudy beach life vs. tanning, snacking, and reading 24/7.
February 13th in Seattle has been our only planned, must be there type of event because that is the day of Kyle’s best friend, Nathan’s wedding! We were excited for Seattle but mostly the wedding! Seattle is a huge city filled with unique neighborhoods that you could explore endlessly. We particularly like two areas the most: Fremont and Queen Anne. Fremont is home to the large troll that is under a bridge. Queen Anne is home to Kerry Park (classic view of Seattle) AND Meredith Grey (Grey’s Anatomy Fans, holler). We did get some quality time in with Nathan before his big day which included ice cream and hanging out at Kerry Park. I ate a lot of vegan pastries in Seattle, and I don’t regret it. Thankfully since Nathan and his new wife Katherine are living in the Seattle area, we’ll have another excuse to visit.
Lake Stevens, WA
Just a tad north of Seattle is a beautiful area where the city life calms down, called Lake Stevens. We stayed with Marc and Sondra! I met them in Masters Commission when I was only 17 years old! We hadn’t seen each other in probably 8 years, and a lot has happened between now and then obviously. We laughed a good chunk while hanging with these two exploring the surrounding areas. They took us to Deception Pass on Whidbey Island. The cool thing about this couple is they work and live at a camp! Fun fact they also have two cats, so we shared a lot of cat stories. We’ll be back! (Don’t you love Kyle’s haircut?)
Where we’re headed:
We’re so thankful for everyone who has allowed us into their homes, toured us around their cities, and let us use their showers (PTL)! You all….are making JOYWARD possible, we’re so grateful!
Kyle, Ceci, Malibu, and Tully