The Sights Unseen

Sensenig Family RV Adventures


February 03, 2013

Disney in January

Disney World has been on Hannah’s list of most asked places to go for several months now. We went 2 years ago and she loved it and wanted to return when she found out we were going to be in Florida. We made plans to stay at Fort Wilderness on the Disney grounds and couldn’t wait to enjoy all the fun!

When we arrived, we were amazed at how beautiful the campground was…just amazing. Lovely site, great places to walk and enjoy being outside, walking distance to transportation to the parks and to the pools (Hannah’s favorite) and nighttime campfire and movie. It was a way we had not experienced Disney before and are hoping to make it an annual visit…but next time, a longer stay!

On our first day, we enjoyed the pool, campfire and a movie. Hannah immediately made a new friend at the pool and we enjoyed watching Winnie the Pooh together that evening.

The next day, we made plans to go to Magic Kingdom for the day. We met our friend, Jessica ( who is from Boone, but now works at Disney) and she spent a few hours with us showing us around. It was a lot of fun, Jess—even though we did get stuck on Ariel’s ride—but it all worked out in the end 😉 A picture with Ariel and a mug of LeFou’s Brew seemed to do the trick!!

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Thank you, Disney! And Fort Wilderness! We hope to see you next year 🙂

Beauty and Blessing Awaits,

Christy

January 01, 2013

Closing in on the New Year

As my dad would say as I triple bogey a par 5 hole on the golf course…”Well…I think you’re closing in on it!” And if you are not a golfer, that was his way of encouraging me to keep going even though it looked pretty bad from my viewpoint. He’s awesome like that…always cheering me on and in my corner.

We’re closing in on the year 2013 and beginning anew. It feels good to look at the upcoming year with fresh eyes. So many wonderful things happened in 2012 that make me smile when I think of them. Meeting new people, solidifying friendships that are true to the core, dreaming wildly and seeing those dreams come true and going places that we have always wanted to go. And I can see so clearly that good things are just around the corner for us.

This doesn’t mean that there haven’t been challenges. Managing to live on the road and still enjoy the journey is taking some creativity on our part. But it is really amazing to see the opportunities that present themselves to us. We’re just praying that we will have the wisdom to know which ones to take part in and which ones to pass up.  And unfortunately right now we have a challenge of battling a sickness that just won’t go away! I have tried to stay away from friends and family as much as possible until we feel much better. I think I am feeling better, then….BAM! It comes back with a vengeance! But we are all trying to keep a positive outlook and get better soon!

Even through the sickness, we managed to take part in some fun outings to end 2012 with lots of love and connection. And may I say, as someone who used to take part in ringing in the New Year with lots of NYE parties and staying up later than the midnight countdown, I cannot think of anywhere I would rather be than beginning this new year with my family and making sure that they know I am connected to them. I love my family and get excited every time we have unlimited time together. It’s the BEST place for me to be.

So yes, 2013 is going to be a great year….and I can’t wait see more of it in just a few hours! Here are a few highlights from the last few days of 2012:

Hannah’s new Christmas present from Nana and Papa.

Sesame Street Live! Hannah has been talking about seeing Elmo ever since we watched the documentary about the puppeteer behind Elmo, which was about 3 months ago. So,  a  HUGE thank you to our friend Paula for helping us make it happen!!

Pretzels we made from an Auntie Anne’s kit that was given to us by family in PA. Thank you, Hutts and Clarks!!!

It gave me a chance to use my new bowls from my Mom and Dad. They work like a charm!

And they collapse for great storage in the RV….LOVE them!!!

Speedway in Lights at the Bristol Motor Speedway

One of Hannah’s favorite things to do….roast those marshmallows!

A view from our current campsite

We hope you all have a very HAPPY 2013!!!

Beauty and Blessing Awaits.

Christy

December 18, 2012

Forever Friends

In the adoption world, there is a certain language that you begin to take on, certain phrases that pertain to the journey you are about to embark upon. As your child is approaching the moment when they will be coming into your home for good, you become their ‘forever family’. How great a phrase this is….it gives your child the verbal affirmation that they belong to your family and will never again have to worry about moving to another family. They are part of your family, forever.

I am finding this to be true of certain friends, our ‘forever friends’. Those friends that are there for you no matter the distance or time apart. Complete acceptance and love. We are fortunate enough to have many friends such as these!!

As we returned to East Tennessee from our 2 week road trip, we had the opportunity to meet up with our friends, The Greenes. Always the gracious hosts…a fun time was had by all!

Here we are parked in front of their house. We look kinda big parked on their little street!

Ali and Hannah….Forever Friends 🙂

Yummy cake and coffee

A new bear for Hannah (that she has now affectionately called ‘Minty’) and a really cool guitar pick that I am dying to put some beads around!

My guys

Climbing trees in the backyard

Amy and me…Forever Friends

Thank you, Greene Family….we love you!!

About 2 years ago, as we were dreaming of purchasing an RV and living on the road full-time, we were also thinking that if we were to achieve that dream while Steve was still working at Barter, we had a location in mind that we would like stay for awhile, until we were free to travel. We placed, alongside our RV, a picture of Lakeview RV Park in Bristol, TN. We were able to finally stay there….even though it was a shorter stay than we thought it would be 2 years ago (we stayed for 2 nights), it was nice to see that part of the dream a reality as well.

Roasting marshmallows by the campfire

Our little tree that has yet to be decorated, but fits quite nicely in our home

The next day was spent gathering things from the storage unit and realizing that there will be many things that we will just not be able to take with us in the RV….so I see even more purging in our future!

Then, off to Mountain City, TN for Steve’s concert at Heritage Hall….life on the road!

Beauty and Blessing Awaits,

Christy

Arizona Bound

Leaving California was a little sad, as we loved it so much, but we were really looking forward to visiting Arizona again. About 15 years ago, we visited there and I have been longing to go back ever since. It’s beauty is something you just have to see for yourself, but I still like to *try* to capture a glimpse of what we are seeing!

Here are a few of those glimpses:

Hannah helping her daddy wash the windshield of the RV

You can see so much out of these big windows!

Casinos that popped out of nowhere! Bullhead City, AZ

The view from our site in Golden Valley, AZ

The sun setting on one side of our site

And the resulting color on the other side

And one last view

Beautiful doesn’t even describe this view. The colors were truly awe inspiring and really cause you to reflect on the important things in life.

Beauty and Blessing Awaits,

Christy

Leaving the Old and Starting Anew

Such excitement with leaving the VA/TN area and entering Oregon to start our journey in our new home!

We left bright and early Thursday morning from Knoxville, TN and knew our journey would be long. 3 plane flights ahead of us in one day, but we were ready! Ready to start our journey.

This is where the post gets very interesting…

A little back story… when we looked at the coach that we are buying, there were SO many things that just felt right and fell into place. You know that feeling that you get when all is coming together for one specific purpose? Yep, that is the feeling we were having. From seeing the same coach after a year (thinking that it had been sold) to having the finances completely come together to everything we needed being provided for us…it just all worked together for this purpose.

So, when we arrived we were a bit surprised about the obstacle that was in front of us. The coach, which had been set up for us and was operating fine a few hours prior to our arrival, now had some electrical issues. The power was out, fridge was out, no heat and smoke came out of the TV when it was turned on. Yikes! So…there we were, on the complete opposite side of the country, knowing no one except for the family that was selling us their RV. We couldn’t stay in it that night, had to get a hotel room and were left not knowing whether we would be there for one night or several weeks….and we didn’t have several weeks.

But I kept remembering EVERYTHING that happened prior to leaving. I knew that God was completely in this move and I just knew it was going to be okay. I kept picturing us in the RV with everything completely operational and us traveling down the road for the first time in our new home. I kept trusting and seeing the picture of what God had  provided for us, not the picture we were seeing at the moment.

The next morning, Steve went to check on everything at the site. Bottom line, the electrical problem was a simple fix, but he said it could have been much, much worse….especially if it had happened to us on down the road. The next issue though was getting a circuit board for the fridge. This part just really displays the goodness of God in our lives….The technician had this circuit board sitting in his truck for 3 months and thought he was going to have to take a loss. He had gotten it for another person’s repair that was not there when he arrived. So, here we come, 3 months later needing  it for our journey. He put it in and we are in business….went grocery shopping and filled that fridge! And let me say, the west coast has amazing choices for organic foods….oh my, we felt like the hillbillies coming to Beverly Hills! 🙂

This is the beautiful lady that made so much happen for us, making it possible to buy her RV and filling it and making it a beautiful new home for us.

Here we are in our beautiful new home!

The campground we stayed at in Canyonville, OR was absolutely amazing. Seven Feathers RV Resort is definitely a place that we want to come back to when we visit Oregon again. Beautiful scenery, amazing facilities and warm, friendly people. It was a great way to start our new life!

Hannah took this pic of us on our walk near our site. She actually wanted a pic of the tree and asked us to stand beside it. So, note the tree beside us 🙂

Complete joy!!

A view from our walk around the resort.

And another gorgeous view….I love seeing remnants of the fall colors!

And here is our new home on wheels !

Moving Out Day

So, today was the day. The day we moved out of our apartment. The day I realized just how well we work together as a family.

When we awoke this morning, the task seemed so large. We had gotten so much into storage, but there was much left to do. But task after task, we crossed the items off the list until we we looked around and saw that it was complete. Boxes gone, an apartment clean. I am SO proud of us.

Our list had many more items from the previous week, but this was our list from the last few days! Can’t believe the day has finally come!!

I have to admit, I am super thankful that I have vacuumed this flight of stairs, for the very last time!!

And I will miss this view from our bedroom window. I think we were one of the lucky ones in this development to have this view. Yes, that is I-81, but still a great view, in my book!

Our clean apartment….all ready to go!!

And all of our belongings that are going on the RV when we pick it up (except for the blankets—couldn’t take those on the plane with ease)

Hannah and I waiting for  Steve to return fro the last trip to storage so we could finish running a few errands, then off to our friend’s house to drop off our car . Then on to Knoxville to prepare for our flight in the morning.

Bye-bye, Bristol Apartment. Another flight of steps, I’m kinda glad I don’t have to climb.

Beautiful colors the sky gave us tonight on our drive to Knoxville.

My entertainment while Steve and Jerry chatted and Dylan and Hannah watched a movie.

We arrived at the hotel and Hannah immediately spotted an indoor pool, so we had to go there right away! No pictures of this, but I can tell you, the time there was short because 1) the water was freezing!! and 2) we were super hungry. So now we are settled in our hotel room until our EARLY flight. Hopefully, our next post will include pictures of us in our new home!

Beauty and Blessing Awaits….

Christy

Reflection

So, I’m sitting here on the floor of our apartment embracing the last moments of our last night living in our apartment.

It has been enjoyable, this time in Southwest VA. We have endured some disappointments, sorrows and heartbreaks, but thankfully there have been many more accomplishments and joys to outweigh anything negative of our time here. We have made some friendships that I know will not be separated by distance, those friendships that remain no matter what the circumstances. I am so thankful for those friends. Without really knowing it, they have renewed my faith in authenticity and love…no judgments or rejection to be found here and for that I can’t thank them enough.

I have been able to take place in opportunities and connections that enabled me to help others in their journey, whether it through parenting or learning or a little of both. This makes me happy…to help someone else find a bit of joy hidden in them and discover and embrace that joy in their children.

My husband and my children have been able to pursue the things that they love. Music, Art, Dance, Play….these have all been part of our days and evenings. Who  wouldn’t love to experience these elements each and every day? We are so blessed to be surrounded by the opportunities that we have…So, so blessed.

But it’s time to move on and experience something different. Or, at least in a different place. It has been calling us for quite some time. Ever since we took that trip in 2010 to PA and back in a week, in an RV, we were so hooked. And we weren’t sure when it would come to pass, but we knew it would.

And when situation after situation kept pointing us closer and closer to our goal, we still didn’t know how in the world this was going to come together. But together it has come!

Each time the obstacles come, we trust. Trust in the One that loves us and wants to give us the things that we desire.

So, here we are, about to embark on the biggest journey and challenge we have had to face together. By this time tomorrow night, we will be awaiting our flight to pick up our RV, our new home.

We welcome you to join us on this journey. And remember you have a journey of your own. Whatever your passion, desire, love is calling you to do….Trust and it will come.

Beauty and Blessing Awaits…

Christy

November 04, 2012

26 Days

I suppose an update is in order. To be honest, we have been so consumed by planning, organizing, selling, giving away and planning some more that I haven’t realized just how much time has passed since our last post. Plus, we have been super involved in many Halloween activities and now that part of the month is in order, we can stop, take a breath and focus on the next thing.

But first, how about a fun Hannah Halloween pic?  She’s such a beautiful skeleton, don’t ‘cha think?

Halloween was super fun this year with SO many parties and activities to attend and wonderful friends to spend time with…it’s hard to believe it has come to an end, but we are busily planning our next adventure and our next celebration.

So, about this adventure. We leave in 26 DAYS!! Wow…so amazing that everything is coming together so well. Every thing we need has been available and our path is laid out so clear. To say that we are excited is an understatement. Major understatement. So many dreams are being realized.

Right now, we are in the stage of clearing out our things. Selling, giving away and placing in storage our belongings. It’s very time consuming, but also extremely freeing. To know that we are going to be living on the things that we basically need and then adding in the things that also bring us joy—which means bringing in more creativity into our lives–I cannot state how much I am looking forward to this change.

We leave at the end of the month to catch a plane (or three) to Oregon to pick up our RV and then start the process of driving across the country over 2 weeks in December (and have the joy of catching up with some friends along the way!). Hopefully, we will be taking the time to enjoy some sights as well and I’m sure we’ll be posting more about what we see on our journey….after all, that is why we started this blog 😉

So, there you have it….a very brief update on where we are in our planning in this next phase of our lives. We hope you will continue to join us as we travel and learn together. It’s a happy time, for sure!!

 

Lemonade Anyone?

It’s 4pm and I hear a voice coming from the bathroom saying, “I have the best idea, ever!”, ’cause we all know, that’s where all the best ideas come to us! Out walks my daughter and she proceeds to tell me her plan…

“Let’s make a lemonade stand, Mommy!”

“Right now, honey?”

“Yes Mommy, right now!”

So, I’m thinking of all the things that would need to take place before a lemonade stand could happen. I managed to help her get a table in front of our townhouse with some instant lemonade, some cups and a cup for money. But we really don’t have that much traffic come by our place, so her customers ended up being me, her dad and her brother.

She didn’t seem satisfied with this, so I asked why she wanted a lemonade stand and she said,

“I want to make some money so I can help pay for the RV.”

Wow…our little entrepreneur.

In my conditioned brain, I am thinking of the many ways that this is NOT going to work. Weather conditions, limited amount of people around, etc., etc., etc… But I pushed that voice aside and decided to support her in this passion and do whatever I needed to do to help her make this goal happen.

So, I talked her into planning in the evening and actually having the lemonade stand the next morning (after the mailman comes and the residents are going to check their mail). We made the poster ( I just happened to have some extra poster board), made the freshly juiced lemonade, some Halloween themed muffins and prepared everything for the following morning.

She awoke with plans to immediately have the lemonade sale. We set out the table with everything that we prepared and she was ready to go. It was a bit chilly, but very soon warmed up, so the weather was not even an issue.

She started doubting herself.

“What if people don’t come?”

“What if they don’t like my lemonade?”

“I believe in you, honey. You planned this well and they will come.”

And they did. She had 2 customers after about 10 minutes of waiting and was just ecstatic.

” I can’t believe I had 2 customers!”

A few minutes later, another came and then another.

“Wow, this is so awesome, Mommy! I want to have at least 2 more customers, because that’s how old I am. 6.”

And she had 2 more customers.

When it came apparent that we had saturated the market there in our parking lot, I suggested we pack up and head back inside. She looked at the money she made and counted it. The total was $6.75. She looked at me and said,

“Will this help buy the RV, Mommy?”

“Absolutely, sweetheart. But why don’t you hold onto that money for the next time you want to do a lemonade stand? Okay?”

“Okay Mommy. Mommy? Thank you for helping me. You are the best Mommy I ever had.”

“And there is no place I’d rather be than helping you, sweetheart.”

My lesson for the day. Always listen to my children’s desires and passions and treat them as I would treat my own.

There were so many lessons in  today’s activity. Yes, we learned math, we counted, we learned about marketing a product, we learned communication skills and taking on a plan to run a business. We read, we used our creative abilities to create an atmosphere that would encourage a product to be sold.

But there was so much more….we met people that we had never met before. A man that came to buy some lemonade and muffins invited us over to his porch to see his Halloween tree. My daughter suddenly proclaimed, as she is speaking to strangers that are asking her questions, “I think my shyness just left me!” And most of all, she was so proud of herself for accomplishing this goal and was so happy that I was a part of her passion.

No job, no career, no other pursuit I can ever have, will replace what I felt today. Completely and totally content being Hannah’s mommy. There is nothing on earth more rewarding than being there for my children, watching them succeed at accomplishing an idea and seeing their joy overflow.

Nothing.

 

New Sights Just Around the Bend

For several years, our family has had a dream.  We have heard of families (and gotten to know some) who have taken to a nomadic, mobile lifestyle. People living in campers or 5th-wheel trailers or motorhomes and enjoying the freedom of being able to travel and see sights previously unseen by them.  The ability to give one’s children an education that goes way beyond workbooks and tests.  The thrill of exploring interests and passions while meeting and building relationships with others on the same journey.

The RV we rented parked at Pocahontas State Park in eastern Virginia

In August 2010, we took a week’s vacation and rented a motorhome, traveling up through Virginia on the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive, on to Pennsylvania (to visit my family and for Christy to attend BeadFest–a large convention for beaders where she also got to take a class in photographing jewelry), and then down the eastern side of Virginia to spend a couple of nights at beautiful Pocahontas State Park before having to (very reluctantly) return the RV to Asheville, NC where we had rented it.

The trip was heaven in so many ways, and we found ourselves falling in love with that style of living.  The beauty of nature, the fun of making s’mores over a campfire, the convenience of traveling in a vehicle that was a self-contained living space so that the only rest stops we needed were truly to rest and explore.

That started us on an intense amount of research, attending RV shows when possible to check out all the different options available, many many late-night conversations about what we wanted our life to be like, pictures of RVs posted on our vision board, and lots and lots of dreaming.  There were times when it seemed a mountain too big to climb.  There were other times when it seemed like it was actually coming together, only to have the plans fall through and for us to find ourselves seemingly right back at square one.

But finally, and almost when we least expected it, the pieces began to fit.  Things started to quickly fall into place, and suddenly we find ourselves now in the process of purchasing a motorhome and getting ready to embark on our new adventure in just 55 days!!  The motorhome we are purchasing is a 2005 Damon Intruder, and it is located in Oregon.  So, on November 29 (if all goes as planned at this point), the four of us are flying out to Oregon to pick up our new home and drive it back cross-country, taking about two weeks to make the trip!

Our new home-to-be

A year ago, we downsized from the 3BR/2.5BA home we were renting in Abingdon, VA to a much smaller townhouse in Bristol, VA.  But there is still more downsizing and purging to do, and so we are now in the process of selling or giving away a lot of our “stuff” that we can’t take with us in the RV (some will go in storage, but a lot of it is being sold or given away).  The next couple of months are bound to be an exciting adventure, and we are looking forward to seeing some new sights as a family on our cross-country drive. (Due to the time of year, we will be heading south through California and coming across the southern US to avoid increased chances of winter weather that could impede our travel.)  And then, we have who-knows-how-long to look forward to even more adventures.

We already have a few destinations picked out, but for the most part, it is an open road before us, and we’ll be heading where our hearts and desires (and occasionally some geographically-specific work!) take us.  We hope you’ll join us as we share our adventures here.

steve 🙂