It’s been a little over a week since Joyward has officially ended. But the lifestyle of moving forward in joy will continue. (I’m getting emotional just writing this).
Joyward has accomplished what we set out for it to be. Writing that sentence makes my heart flutter with thankfulness for what we’ve had the opportunity to do and for what the Lord has done in our lives. Individually and jointly, Kyle and I have had some refining moments.
When we set out for life on the road, we did it for our marriage. Our goal: to acknowledge the wrong and the wounds, heal, and create shared memories.
The first three years of “I Do” were not the honeymoon phase. We’ve had great moments, don’t get me wrong, but we also had experienced our ugly, prideful, and sinful selves. During our second year of marriage we professionally reached out for guidance, which was like a humble and convicting mirror to hold. After some months of that, and gaining some stable ground we decided Joyward was a lifestyle change and adventure we wanted to embark on. Not everyone needs to quit their jobs, sell most of their belongings, and road-trip around the country to reach what we desired to reach, but it was necessary for our personalities and stage of life.
Think of it like a full year of marriage lessons crammed into 4 ½ months, because it’s your 24/7 life: yourself, the other person, and the road. In such tiny living quarters there’s no room for unnecessary things, physically and emotionally. Just like there was no room for our lovely mug collection, there was no room for selfishness, bad attitudes, and un-forgiveness. Instead of gradually growing, or confronting something at a more convenient time, we had all the time in the world to dish things out. When those moments of differences happened, we made it a learning moment.
Right when Joyward was wrapping up, it felt like we were just getting started. We were beginning to feel like we knew the road and each other like the back our hand. Home literally was “wherever I’m with you.” There was more grace, more forgiveness, more maturity, and more selflessness.
When you take your eyes off of the other person and focus on how you can serve them, make their day better, or try to understand them more, your perspective changes but it takes intentional work. There is nothing more character testing and strengthening than change, which can bring people together like nothing else can.
As we sat in our trailer the last few days of the trip debriefing and reflecting, we were stumped by “time”. Time is so weird and crazy. How? How is what we pictured, planned, and saved for OVER?? We had no idea how things would change when we bought our trailer off of Craigslist. Innocent Craigslist scrolling led to living on the road, making memories, and ultimately moving.
We miss it already, the road that is, so incredibly much! Trust us, we did not want it to be over. But, when the budget says done, we’re done.
Beautiful seasons are painful to say goodbye to, but life is full of that right? Like Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven..” When you’re in a season, it’s your world, it’s everything to you. They can drastically change and sometimes they naturally change, and you don’t even realize a shift in the moment. It’s easy to compare where you’re at in life with someone else’s. It was absolutely eye opening to have had the privilege of getting a glimpse of multiple seasons throughout JOYWARD. Like putting on different shoes, seeing the way our friends around the country live, we got to be a part of a wide variety of people’s seasons. We visited friends who had received their first ultra-sound pictures and are expecting a baby girl, friends who had recently moved so everything was new, friends who were just starting businesses, and friends in work transition. Some were experiencing an immense amount of bliss and joy on their wedding day and some were in pain while grieving the loss of their loved one. All of it reminds us that we can’t put our hope in time. Nothing is guaranteed, and so you just have to live.
What’s next for the Frosties? June 7th we will be making one more long drive, 21 hours, to Southern California with both of our vehicles, our trailer, and our cats! Oklahoma is all we’ve known as a married couple because this state was our start. It was our bridge from long distance relationship to establishing a home together. The past three years were crucial developing and building years for both of us. Kyle graduated college and worked at his first engineering job. I experienced living on my own before marriage, and released my book Healing, Hope & Wholeness. Together we became debt free and then did JOYWARD! Oklahoma will always hold special memories for us!
We are nervous, pumped, nervous, excited, and nervous to let you guys know that after the move to California we will be working toward opening a coffee shop! We are in the very very beginning stages, the we-have-no-idea-where-to-start stage! We have a lot of money to save and a lot of research to do, but feel free to pray for that dream and our transition!
To our friends and family, you supported the Joyward dream when we just bought our dumpy trailer and thought “What did you just do?” Thank you for encouraging us to live, explore, and be young. Thank you for helping us work on the trailer, thank you for the gift cards, letters, and sweet farewell party! We felt very loved as we drove away from Oklahoma and into the unpredictable.
To our friends and family who let us park our lovely remodeled trailer in their driveway and let us use their electricity…thank you for letting us use your bathroom! It was such a nice break from my dear friend “Luggable Lu” (don’t ask.) Thank you for all the meals, laughs, and stories. You all live such beautiful lives and we admire the way you raise your kids, work hard, run a house, love Jesus, and love people. You guys made our trip so refreshing, interesting, and memorable!
You’ll still being seeing bits and pieces of the trip on our blog. We’ll posting photos from all the National Parks and big cities we stopped in.
Well……4 1/2 months, 24 states, 15,509.3 miles, 4 Wal-Mart Parking Lots, 2 Cracker Barrel Parking lots, 1 casino parking lot, 1 Church parking lot, and 12 campgrounds later we say farewell to JOYWARD!
Kyle, Ceci, Malibu and Tully
*Our trip is open for questions! If you want to know where our favorite place to camp was, our favorite hiking spot, favorite coffee shop, or favorite national park is, please ask away!
(Photo Credit: Ben Winters)