Goodbye 2018, Hello 2019..

I never planned on writing this out- not on purpose, but mainly because this year quite literally flew by. But as December 31 rolled around it was just on my heart to stop my day to day tasks and reflect on what all this year has brought. Not really with intentions of sharing it with others, but more to just sit and reflect on what all God has done in our life. To start, let me just say I couldn’t wait for 2018 to get here. I was so ready to kiss 2017 goodbye. The only positive thing I have to say about 2017 is we received one of our biggest blessings, Harvey- other than that it sucked. My marriage completely crumbled to dust and I didn’t see how I could pick up all the pieces to move forward. I watched an interview from my favorite author, Lysa Terkerust, and she was talking about how our dust is the perfect recipe for the Creator’s hands to form into clay to make something new. At the end of 2017 God laid the word “Restoration” on my heart. I was expectant for restoration in our marriage, family, and finances. Why I’m sharing this on the blog, is because 1. I have sucked with keeping up with this.. I know, so sorry guys. I actually wrote a post about why I broke up with blogging & then never got around to posting it. Yes, life is that busy around here. 2. I hope that the one person who needs to read this will read it and see there is hope on the other side of heart ache if you give your dust to God, along with control, and let Him do His thing! Hope you enjoy.

-End of 2017, God whispers “what if you move into the Airstream full time?”

-End of January 2018, Zach quits his temporary job, takes a leap of faith and starts to work full time on finishing our Airstream to live in. We then come to the conclusion Zach is going to go back to school for Aircraft Mechanic out of state, so we would live in our Airstream to cut costs. We found a school, a place to stay, etc. All we needed was a finished Airstream & a tow vehicle since my 4Runner wouldn’t cut it.

We started to look for a bigger car & settled on a Ford Expedition because we thought we outgrew my 4Runner since we had two car seats and a double stroller in the back. We went to a dealership and found the perfect used one, which by the time we traded in my car we would walk away note free. It seemed like the perfect idea. Zach and I were blinded by new car love, so we asked my dad to come along and look for anything we were missing. Luckily he did and the deal didn’t seem so grand anymore. Luckily we walked away and didn’t let our flesh take over, because God obviously had other plans.

-Beginning of February, we decided to list my car online and if it sells we would then find a new car. My car sat and sat with no bites.

-March rolls around and at this point we are second guessing Zach going to Aircraft school. We would take on a lot of student debt, which is something we aren’t comfortable with and along with full time school Zach would have to get a job so we could live, LOL and that would mean we’d have zero family time, which we were NOT okay with. And my car is still for sale.

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-Beginning of May, God whispered to me, “What if you sold your car to fund a new project”?! Around lunchtime that afternoon I told Zach, “hey, what if we sell my car and use that money to fund a new airstream project. We’ll just both use your truck and not have two vehicles.” Zach said-“Absoustley not, I’m not making you give up your car.” And guess what?! Right after that conversation- 9 minutes to be exact, I checked my phone and we had an email from a couple 1.5 hours away offering us exactly what we wanted for our car. We said “Well, this must be exactly what God wants”. We wanted to continue to live a debt free life so this meant we could reinvest this money and not take out any loans. They came to pick it up two days later, on our wedding anniversary that we didn’t think wed make it to.




A week later we found our next project, Magdalene. Zach and my dad drove to Quitman, TX to pick it up. Then we also acquired a second Airstream project from someone in Little Rock that we couldn’t pass up.

-June, We officially get rid of all our stuff & become a member of the tiny living club. All Zach’s hard work pays off and we get to move into our new (tiny) home. We don’t get any down time after that because now the clock is ticking on our new project to flip.

We work, well, Zach worked his booty off on restoring Magdalene.

We started a Youtube channel to keep up with progress and post videos of hikes or well, anything really.

Our living set up had us hooked up to the hanger/shop with our airstream. Which was super nice because Zach could wake up before us and get an hour or two of work in before the boys and I woke. We’d eat breakfast together then he would get back to work until the sun went down. It was a very busy season.

BUT, Fall rolled around and I reminded Zach while on a walk that we couldn’t keep the water on in the Airstream because the hanger wasn’t insulated, so on cold nights we had to cut the water off, which in turn would cut our water to the Airstream off. We started brainstorming on what to do. We’ve always wanted to travel, but 1. We don’t have a tow vehicle. 2. We don’t have a way for us to “make money” on the road.

Celebrated HJ’s 1st bday

Then in July we celebrated Ezra’s third birthday!

End of September/Beginning of October I heard God whisper, “What if you sold the Airstream you’re living in”

I told Zach what I heard and he said what?! No way we worked too hard on this and we just moved in. A week later we came to terms with what I heard and said “Well, if its really God’s plan lets list it for what we want and if it doesn’t sell then we’ll know it wasn’t meant to be”. We listed it on craigslist, airstream classified, and eBay. We didn’t really have any bites so I decided to list it on our IG page. Two days later someone from Houston, TX contacted us asking if they could come look at it. We were so nervous. We didn’t really think it would happen and we didn’t have the next plan for IF it sold. She came to look that weekend, and when she walked in she said I want it, I just wanted to make sure it was real and looked like your pictures. haha. We knew from the second she walked in that she was the new owner. We told her that we didn’t name the Airstream yet, because we couldn’t come up with one we liked. She said don’t worry I already have one, “DeeDee” it was my grandmother’s name. As soon as she said it Zach and I looked at each other and knew, “wow, she’s the one!” She came and picked it up the next week. I won’t lie, we both cried tears of bittersweet. That airstream taught us so much about life, each other, etc. It was apart of us. Before they took it home, they spent the night in it one night to get a feel of how everything worked and when we walked in the next morning to see them and they had all their belongings in it now, instead of ours, I just felt supernatural peace. I wasn’t sad anymore it felt like this is exactly how it was suppose to be. Watch the video if you want to see our last day in the Airstream & what our kids thought about it. Ezra still asks daily for “his airstream”.

-So now, it’s the end of October and we don’t have a “home” and we are at a loss of what to do. Zach was almost done with Magdalene, so we debated about moving into it, but we’d run into the same problem with the cold temps and water at the hanger. So through this all we both have the most amazing supportive parents anyone could ask for. We moved into my parents rent house until we finished our next project.

-Beginning of November, Zach finishes Magdalene and we tossed back and forth two ideas. Buy a tow vehicle and travel around in Magdalene OR buy a cargo van and sell Magdalene to travel. We prayed and prayed about which was right and at the end we both got that those were both good options, it just depended what we wanted.

God also put on my heart to turn this website into just my blog (which I haven’t done yet) and start a new website that featured all our projects, travels, and a blog to showcase other tiny living people and their story. -> steadystreamincashios.com

-So we’ve always wanted to do #vanlife and figured it was now or never since our kids bodies are still semi small! Zach flew to Chicago & picked up our VAN! -> Link to video

Most of November and all of December have been full work on van mode.

-And here we are the last day of the year, wow. When I look back so much has happened, but yet it flew by and I’m thankful I decided to write this all down so I can look back in the years to come. I encourage you to journal what all 2018 brought you, good or bad. Its part of your journey and it’ll be nice to look back in the future.


Biggest lesson in 2018:

Colleen- Trust God in the big and little things and everything in between. I know that sounds so easy to say, but if you trust Him on the every day small disappointments, it’s a lot easier when the big disappointments come around.

Zach-  If you’re considering a lifestyle change and are nervous, take a weekend or week to adjust and once the time period is done reflect on how you felt. Did you miss any of the items/activities/etc. that you cut out? Minimalism is very refreshing and you will notice a significant attitude change with yourself by not having to stress about so much. 

Best thing I let go in 2018:

Colleen- unrealistic expectations in motherhood, being a wife, in life.

Zach- So, this one is kind of a funny/weird let go than most people would expect to see here, but it’s what came to mind when Colleen asked me this question. Hats... yes, me the hat-hoarder is fine with letting go hats. Turns out, that when I let go of like 20 hats and downsized to about 5 I noticed I didn’t wear them as much. It could also have been that I was working much more and had no need to wear a nice hat when you’re covered in dirt, sweat, and aluminum polish! Now, that still doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t mind new hats. I eye some hats here and there, but I know I have no room for them at the moment. My hat game is on a temporary leave at the moment. 

What we are hopeful in 2019:

I can’t fully share all of our details yet, because we are currently letting God have the final edit, but I’m so excited and can’t wait to share. I will say a portion of our year will include travel in our van. Then we’d like to find somewhere to place roots in and continue our journey of renovating vintage trailers. We can’t thank you enough for loving us through this transition of life and for all the support. 2018 was hustle hustle hustle and we hope 2019 has a little bit more rest in-between the hustle. Zach and I haven’t written blogs like we wanted to, but we feel like 2018 was our year to heal and recover. We can’t wait to take time during our travels to sit still and write and share more with y’all.

How to keep up with us:

Obviously this website is where we hope to write more content to share about our journey and what all we’ve learned walking through our hard season. Sovereigndesigns.net

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/steadystreamincashios 

IG: https://www.instagram.com/steadystreamincashios/

Facebook:https://m.facebook.com/steadystreamincashios/

Other Website: https://www.steadystreamincashios.com



2018 Travels:

Branson, MO: https://youtu.be/E3kCUCmnvHs

Natchez, MS: https://youtu.be/UO8XPP0FvvQ

Mountain Home, AR: https://youtu.be/84nJKj_Zsmw

Gulf Shores, AL: https://youtu.be/4ttn9qpjeRA

Memphis, TN: https://youtu.be/4bxpDZZpyVo

Mountain View, AR: https://youtu.be/QDVraONu2-o


















Begin the Search

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Do you crave adventure or do you seek thrill? Ever wanted to hop in the car and take a drive to places you’ve never been before or places not listed on a map? Towns that are still stuck in the “slow-times” era? {think back to the movie Cars} Finding hip coffee shops, craft beer breweries, or some quirky, off the wall shop? Places where the road is less traveled? Dirt roads that look like they lead to nowhere? I cant wait to share with you this book I found from Roger W. Thompson, “We Stood Upon The Stars.” 

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Because “You have to take the dirt road when you can. Someday it will be a multilane highway”. (pg 22) Where peace and serenity will swallow you up among the freshness of the outdoors.. I crave that adventure in myself. I want to be able to take my family on trips like that badly. Find a nice spot to park the Airstream and unplug from reality. With only the sights and sounds of the wilderness. And probably kids crying and screaming and maybe Colleen saying there’s too many mosquitoes or bugs…lol. But doesn’t that sound like a fairy tale?! Well it doesn’t have to be! We weren’t created for working our butts off to spend our money paying bills and accumulating crap that sits in our garage or storage buildings that we rent. Stop saying “Well when we have enough money saved up my family and I will take that trip” or “buy that RV we have talked about”. YOU WILL NEVER HAVE “ENOUGH” MONEY!! “Work always wants more of your time. It always demands more attention”. (pg149) Quit making excuses as to why you cannot take a trip now. “There’s a long list of justifications. We’re trying to get ahead”. (pg149) Every time you choose an excuse over an adventure you are losing precious family memories. We were created to explore and have adventure. I’m talking about true adventure. Loading up the car/RV/van/bus whatever you have and go searching for a spot to unwind. Those are the places where you can soak up all the beauty that God created for us to enjoy. “We are not meant to be tourists in this life. We are all travelers, like those before and those after… We know we’ve been somewhere special because we are forever different as a result of it”. (pg142) “This land and time are gifts. If we stop long enough, we might hear in the wind the voice of the Creator. We don’t have to search for it…We just have to listen long enough to remember the language”. (pg 143) These National forests and desserts and streams were not made to be labeled on a map. They were made for you to use them. For you to hike them. To fish. To camp. To explore. To make memories. There are so many places that I want to visit. And I hope one day soon my family and I can experience them. These places are where I think we could best get to know, sense, and hear our Creator. After all, He did CREATE them. And He created you, to enjoy them. The sun wasn’t created for just giving us light to work during the day, nor the moon to make it dark so we can sleep. The sun was made so we can venture and explore and see things we have never seen before. The moon- made for seeing constellations and shooting stars and hearing strange animal noises that make you get uncomfy(then realizing it’s your stomach because you forgot to pack extra food while you’re “off the grid”). I have always had these cravings of adventure. I have always wanted to visit every state and see what each has to offer. And of course, I have always wanted to visit every MLB stadium (especially now that I have 2 boys). But just recently I came across a Bible plan on my YouVersion app that caught my attention. It was titled “We Stood Upon Stars”. The photo with a VW van in a remote scenic highway caught my eye. And I am glad I started the plan. Because that eventually led me to buy the book “We Stood Upon Stars: Finding God in Lost Places”. This book hit home with me. I couldn’t put it down. Roger W. Thompson hits the nail on the head when it comes to adventure. He knows how to have a good time. And I can’t help but agree when he says “A campfire is like truth serum”. I can remember telling stories to friends that I would have never told to anyone else, and it was because something about that fire makes you want to open up. It might have dealt with one too many cold ones also, but don’t get off topic. It’s also where I met my wife. Men are made for thrills. Roger has obviously been through one or two in his lifetime. From white-water rafting in a Costco special canoe to the ole Vanagon breaking down here and there. But he also knows how to be close to our Father. I can only imagine what it feels like to be that close with God in a setting as vast as snow-capped mountains overlooking a steady flowing stream. “The Wild is God’s scent. The deeper we travel into it, the more we’ll smell his presence”. (pg211) I know that just being in nature here in Arkansas takes my breath away and I can experience God. My family and I are searching (and hoping) on where our first big adventure will be. “We are all searching for something.. Some searches are only about the search. They reveal something about who we are or who we are meant to be.. We are not made for the cages we’ve erected around ourselves. We are meant for freedom. Where trees and mountaintops point to the stars and where the canyons echo and waters cool and where wind is scrubbed clean by prairie grass. Those are the lost places where we go to find God”. (pg220-221)

Are you searching in the right places?

1 Corinthians 7:23-  “You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.”

Of course while reading this book I continued to be hard on myself for living in the town of Heber Springs, AR where we have some of the finest fly-fishing around, on the Little Red River, and not learning how to fly-fish in my 5 years being here. But Roger has ignited a new fire inside me to learn the art and teach my boys. This blog could have gone so many different ways. I could have easily focused on parenting and raising boys, or what men need to feel like they’ve “made it in life”, or how your past shames only makeup who you are right now. Roger goes into detail on many of topics. I encourage each of you to get your hands on the book soon. You won’t regret it!

Cheers,

Zach

Walking in Faith

I am so excited to share this new chapter in our lives. My name is Colleen, I am a wife + mother to two precious little boys. As I write this I have heaviness on my chest, because this is so out of my comfort zone. I am a very reserved person who only opens up to friends + family. Starting this website is something that has been on my heart, but scares the crap out of me. Which is why I know God is pushing me to this season. Pushing me to the edge of a cliff called the unknown. Those who know me know that I am a 110% control freak. My life, day, and minutes are all planned out and I am a list writer. If you walk around our house you will probably see lists all over the house. A checklist, some get accomplished and some do not. But as all moms know, if you don't write it down, it will be forgotten between diaper changes. This drives my husband nuts; he is a go with the flow kind of guy. We are opposites and that’s what makes us work best together. Let me start at the beginning. I graduated high school a year early and jump-started my life by going to hair school in Baton Rouge, LA.  I am originally from Louisiana, but moved around a lot as a child. No, my dad wasn't in the military. I just guess they always liked change, and maybe they rubbed off on me some. I met Zach (my husband) through a friend that I was with in hair school. Come to find out though our families semi knew of each other. When I brought Zach home to Arkansas for the first time to meet my parents is when they realized that my mom actually might have been around Zach when he was younger. Long story short, I graduated school and realized Baton Rouge was not for me, so I returned back to Arkansas to be closer to my family. Zach and I had been dating for 6 months and he moved with me to Arkansas. We were here for 2 months before we packed up and moved to London, England for me to do a graduate program for hair. That was a make or break for our relationship, which I plan to share in another post. Once my schooling was done we came back to Arkansas and got plugged into a church and continued renovating a 100-year-old house that would soon be my salon.

Shortly after we returned from London Zach started experiencing pain in his shoulder. I finally got sick of him complaining and made an appointment to see a specialist. The day of his appointment was like any other day. We woke, Zach let Luna (Australian Shepherd), our first child outside to potty + started the coffee pot. I was still lying in bed drinking coffee while Zach hopped into the shower. The next thing I heard from Zach was "ohh...no" and a coffee cup hit the floor... "I said Zach?" Then ran into the bathroom. To my surprise he was lying on the ground in a weird position convulsing. To someone who has no idea what a Grand-mal seizure looks like, I was terrified. I thought an exorcism was happening on my bathroom floor. I am not being dramatic. It was that scary! I immediately used my phone to call 911. After I gave the dispatcher all the info she needed, I used Zach's phone to call my parents. Thankfully they lived 3 minutes down the road. I was on the ground trying to stick my fingers in Zach's mouth to help him breath.. Or so I thought. FYI when someone is having a seizure, you just let it happen. You clear the area where they are and make sure they can't hurt themselves. You monitor it until it is finished. Zach's was only 90 seconds, but it felt like a decade. And sticking your hand in their mouth is the worst thing you can do. They can bite off your finger. Whoops! My body had gone into “protector” mode and I couldn’t figure out what to do. Luckily my parents and the paramedics were at our house in no time. Zach had come back to, but now we were in an ambulance heading to the hospital. Zach had no memory of what just happened. Once we arrived at the hospital Zach had another seizure. They transferred us to Big Baptist in Little Rock, AR. After we arrived there they did multiple tests and scans. We were finally able to talk to a neurosurgeon for him to be diagnosed with a 'cavernous malformation'. After a hospital stay he was able to come home for a week before his big surgery. They did brain surgery to remove a large mass, which was the size of a golf ball. That was another long hospital stay and now he has a pretty wicked scar to show. We were very blessed to be plugged into a life giving church. It was a make it or break it for us in our spiritual walk with God. Thankfully we chose to dive straight in + trust that He would bring Zach through this. Since he had seizures and a pretty intense surgery the doctor advised him not to drive or work for a year. While he healed we opened Salon Rouge and our life began. Zach proposed in our living room during Christmas pictures November 2013. We wed May 5, 2014 at my parent’s house on the lake. It was small + perfect. I hate being center of attention and so does Zach so a big wedding is not what we wanted.

After we got married we decided to let God be in control of when we would start having kids. It was easy for me to give that control away, because I thought it was going to be hard having children. According to my OBGYN I have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), for me personally it meant I had painful cysts on my ovaries, couldn’t lose weight no matter how hard I tried, + I was always short on energy. The doctor also told me things would get tricky in the getting pregnant department. Well 5 months after being married we found out I was pregnant. Let me just say I have always wanted to be a mom, so I was thrilled! I will say it is still a weird feeling knowing you are growing someone inside your tummy. I was working 5-6 days a week at the salon at this point and I was worried how I would juggle work & motherhood. The birth of our first son, Ezra, was not pleasant at all. I mean what birth is fun? But I was induced because I was borderline preeclampsia and Ezra was a week past due date. So healing, work, and being a new mom was the hardest thing I've ever done. Ezra had colic + silent reflux for the first four months of his life. Hallelujah for friends who have been there, a supportive hubby, + wine. Lots of wine! AND coffee(remind me to tell you how crazy I am...I just gave up coffee not to long ago)! Life finally started to level out and we found our groove of parenthood. I also found the perfect split between working + mommy-ing. Notice I said working + being a mom, I neglected the wife part. But that’s another post in itself. Life was perfect. When people asked when we'd add another cutie to our family we laughed. Seriously, we laughed out loud and said no thank you. Ezra was perfect but we did not want to go through the newborn stage again. Well, a couple months after Ezra's first birthday we found out I was pregnant again. Again, a whole post could be dedicated to the emotions and mental struggle we went through after finding this news out. But sweet little Harvey was born, our second son. I did not think my heart could grow anymore until I had him. He was the missing piece to our puzzle that we didn't even know was missing. 

When I became pregnant with Harvey God started to put on my heart staying home full time. I was so torn. My kids are my world, but we put so much into the business and house. The voice just kept getting louder + louder. I decided to walk by faith and not by sight. Following Gods next step was very scary. Our only source of income has been me working. God had blessed us by me getting to work 2-3 days a week and Zach was able to watch Ezra. On my off days he worked on renovating our 1972 Airstream. I can’t wait to write down all the details of how / when we decided to let the salon chapter come to a close. God’s hand was on every step and He literally paved the way, which is really cool to me. Hello, I'm still a control freak, but giving that to Him and watching Him do His thing was very amazing. So, why am I starting this website? Many reasons. Like I said God is using this transition season to grow and stretch me more than He ever has in my life before. I felt Him leading me here, so here again I'm giving up control + following His lead. I want this to showcase our life and what we're doing right now the good, the bad, and all in between. My prayer is that some of our struggles + good times might help reach others.  Thanks for sticking with me on this long post. XO, Colleen Cashio