Before the first day of March we had already played 30 shows in 2015, with a third of them half way across the country. By the time we are finished with our winter season, over 50 performances will have gone by between the months of December through March.
It's a mixed blessing. Our lifestyle is feast or famine, and we do enjoy having a little extra money for the occasional indulgence, repairing a broken air conditioner, and getting the boy-child a new pair of pants for the week, which he's sure to grow out of the following week.
Though we definitely prefer the perks of the busy season, by the time last November hit we were already worn out and weren't sure how we'd manage such a schedule, let alone another year or two of full time travel. The bus has gotten smaller as the kids get bigger and their need for space increases, and a lack of privacy has all but made creativity and artistic growth stall.
We needed some strong renewal of our spirits, and it was during my usual morning quiet time, (in which I grab coffee, a bible, and lock myself in the minivan to find a moment of peace and sanity), where I realized that we didn't need a major overhaul in our situation. Sometimes it's in the little things where you find renewal.
One of my resolutions for this winter season was to grab those little moments whenever life allowed. There were certainly times when it was impossible, or pretty haphazardly accomplished, but every small effort has mattered. The goal has been to create an atmosphere that stimulates the five senses, with at least some small effort daily towards one or more.
I thought I'd share some of the changes I've been making to bless the home-on-wheels in hopes it will inspire others to think in terms of sensory related blessings, which are such little things that make a big difference.
|The cat claims her spot on our new quilt.|
With this first step I chose my birthday present, a bright, colorful quit. (I always pick my own birthday present, which saves Michael a lot of stress!) Michael and I sleep at the front of the bus so it's a primary location where everyone hangs out and was perfect for a bit of cheering up. In an effort to add color to our lives, last year we added a red coffee maker and containers in a coffee station, and someday, if we stay in the bus and if there is ever time, I hope to paint the cabinets fun colors. The challenge in a bus is then keeping the clutter down to actually see the color, but we're not going for perfection, just that little blessing!
| It was a big surprise to me how much the |
scent in a room can effect the mood,
with blends for relaxing, focus, and to uplift raw
I have previously never liked strong odors, but after smelling some quality essential oils, I found it was only the artificial scents I did not care for. I have truly loved mixing my own "potions" to diffuse, choosing ones to go with the need or mood of the bus. Additionally, I am coming out with a line of diffuser necklaces, already available at our CD tables. Eventually, Alex will get an etsy shop and we'll offer them on her store site.
|Mozart is one of my favorites, when I can wrestle our small |
speaker away from Alex and Katie and their Indy Rock!
Though free evenings are a luxury this time of the year, we have also brought back family read a-louds, so our evening sounds have fewer beep-beeps of texts and video games, and more of Michael's voice reading the latest adventure.
|My kitchen has a single burner that only plugs|
in directly in front of the oven. Using more than
one appliance to fix a meal is quite a challenge.
I have succeeded in this goal only a few times since deciding upon it, but sooner or later the kids will start expecting it, like pizza on Friday, and you can bet that they will help me remember to fix something special now and then.
|Handcrafted dessert necklaces by Mary.|
|Mixed in a roller bottle with coconut |
oil, a therapeutic blend for relaxing
Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I even found some pressure point massage that, when combined with frankincense, has done wonders for Mary's reoccurring stomach problems due to her food intolerances.
Sometimes it's the littlest touches in life that heal the weariness. We'd love to have a fancier rig with more space for travel and more time off to work on other projects, but creating an improved atmosphere right here has been surprisingly easy. It takes very little time and effort to focus on one little blessing a day, or even just one every few days when things get really busy. One turns into two, which turns into three, and soon there is always something new and fresh to look forward to. I love the routine of engaging the senses and hope to make a habit of it in the future.