The Spaces We Occupy


Castle sweet castle

Anyone who knows our family’s story knows we have spent the majority of our time unsettled and between spaces. It makes some people who hear about our lifestyle incredibly uncomfortable. So uncomfortable, in fact, that some people hesitate deepening their friendships with us because we are generally planning an exit of some sort.

I hear things like:

“You choose to live like that?”

“You are crazy!”

“I could never do that. It would feel too chaotic.”

I admit, there are parts of what we do for our family of 5.25 (yes, Dickens completely counts!) that are not comfortable. This year, as we camp out in a 45-foot bus I expect we’ll be stretched more than most summers. What I have learned over the years of chaos and disruption is that routine is something man has created to help himself to feel more secure in the world. My habit is to crave and create routines to make my space more comfortable. The reality is that LIFE REALLY HAPPENS when my routines are broken and God tends to lean more toward the disruption of routine to allow growth to happen.

About a week ago, I was living in our beautiful home where the kids each sleep in their own rooms and on their own beds. There are three bathrooms for the five of us and plenty of space to spread out. This morning I drank coffee with my husband on our bed in the back room of the bus, quietly used the bathroom that divides the two living spaces, and then tiptoed through the girls’ beds at the front of the bus to get the dog out for his morning walk. I trekked a few miles on the site grounds and meandered my way past our son’s new single-person apartment that is situated on the top of one of our booths. He spends his nights in his new mancave that is about 1/4 mile away from us. It is a new and temporary routine.

There has been a learning curve to our arrival this summer. It is not unlike other times we have traveled here for my husband’s job, but I am making a point this summer to document the things I learn along the way.

Some things I’ve learned this week:

I learned I need birds to watch out my window and hummingbirds eat a lot of food…once they find the source.

bird 1 bird 3 bird 5

I learned to cook pizza in a convection oven and how to cut a Papa Murphy’s pizza in half to fit. I learned how to anticipate the slow cooking of a hotplate and some new recipes for the grill. I discovered that with our current ampage I cannot run the A/C, dishwasher and a hairdryer at the same time. I learned that our bus camping is one of the nicest living arrangements on site and there really are people who live in tents…all year…and sometimes not because they choose to do it. I learned that the basic necessities of food, water, shelter, and clothing are enough. The luxuries are running water, a space to do laundry, a private toilet,  a shower, and mattresses up off the ground.

I reconfirmed that exercise in the natural surroundings of Colorado space is among my most favorite things to do in the world.


I learned that it is not the space that someone occupies that makes my connection with them any less important. A friend of mine, who happens to be just as transient as I am, was in Colorado this past week to visit her family. She will occupy her mother’s space while she visits and we annually connect there or in any myriad of spaces in and around this part of Colorado. It is not the space, but the connection that matters. I confirmed that lesson when I crowded into a room (with more family members than were supposed to be permitted)  to visit my grandmother whose space is currently a hospital bed.

We can choose to spend an inordinate amount of time obsessing over the spaces we occupy and the routines we can create there, or we can invest in how we connect and interact with the people who share our spaces.

***If you want to see some of the other pics from the week, I have a posted a slideshow on my website.***

Copyright 2015  Meagan Frank          Choosing to Grow                                             

Where’d You Grow Wednesday?

February 8, 2012

I’ve grown angry there is NO SNOW!!!


It’s true.

I have spent the last few days cursing the brown lawns in Minnesota. I shoot evil glances at the pathetic piles that claim to be snow, and then kick big blocks of ice in frustration. (not an activity I would recommend)

I know…I know….I should be glad there has only been one day with below-zero temperatures.

(small pom-pom wave…yay)

I lie and tell people I’m thrilled I didn’t have to shovel the driveway one time after my husband had ACL reconstruction December 7th.  NOT ONE TIME!!


The deal was sealed for me when I got all adventurous last week and I took my friend (a new transplant from Raleigh) to the St. Paul Winter Carnival.  I had hoped to show her some cool ice and snow sculptures, while we froze our butts off (like true Minnesotans!)

It was in the mid-thirties and this is what we saw:

A melting polar bear with piles of snow penguins

Thinning ice blocks (these plexi-glass photos were barely staying in)

To make the scene even more pathetic, the lone lunchtime musician  had one fan (his mom)…and we quickly walked by in embarassment. The trees, that are donated each year to add some color to the normally white landscape, were leaning haphazardly against the fences because there was no snow to put them in.

I didn’t want my St. Paul Winter Carnival experience to be like that!

Winter is almost done, and we haven’t even really had winter. That stinks!

It stinks because part of why we love calling Minnesota home is because we can claim we endure great hardship. It is a badge of honor to say that we managed to walk from building to car in below 50 degrees. Now, how the heck am I going to seek consolation from those people I convince to feel sorry for me, if it is consistently 35?

I haven’t gone cross-country skiing yet (and they have lights on the trails this year!) The kids have been on the outdoor rinks only a couple times (and the warming house has new heaters!) I don’t want the outdoor rinks to close… IN FEBRUARY…but how can anyone justify trying to get them going again when March is just around the corner?

Then to add insult to injury. COLORADO GOT DUMPED ON!!

All my little Colorado friends couldn’t post quite enough about the big snowstorm coming…the lines of people in the grocery store stocking up for the snowpocolypse…the crazy ways cars were stuck and spinning and then just staying home because everything was cancelled and no one could get out.


I am using this blogspace as therapy for me this week. I am going to do an exercise right now to help me to move to a better place…and out of this tense frustration. Thanks for humoring me 🙂

I am going to post a couple beautiful pictures of the snow in Colorado. Courtesy of my friend, Kathy Newcomb.

I will attempt to write through this ugliness with a poem:

Camp Elim in Woodland Park, Colorado

Winter is beautiful…

or so I’ve heard.

Snow lays like blankets…

now that’s absurd.

The white echoes silence.

I sortof recollect.

Potential for happiness,

Not if I disconnect



Okay, so it didn’t totally work. If there is anything that saves my sanity right now, it is the fact that I can see what winter looks like through the lenses of my friends.

Hopefully next week I’ll grow more than thorns!!

Happy Growing, everyone!

Where’d You Grow Wednesday posts each week, and if you do something, write something, take a picture of something that grows you in some way, I’d love to hear about it.  Send your links, pictures and stories to

Copyright 2012 Choosing to Grow                                     Meagan Frank