Tag Archives: #choosetogrow

I’m Going on a Bear Hunt

bearFor a few weeks now, I’ve woken to the evidence of bears who have torn apart our trash cans just yards away from the bus. A part of me has hoped I would see one so I could take a picture. That is…until I actually did. Looking at that beast up close, I realize I have too much in common with that damn bear.

It may not be the best picture, but he surprised me when I was resting near the joust arena at the end of this past weekend. Fumbling with my shaking hands could only yield this semi-intelligible photo. I promise…he was closer than he appears.

I’d like to say I have nothing analogous in common with the lumbering bear, but if I’m honest with myself I see a lot of myself in him. I am carrying around something quite dark and heavy these days and it is slowing me down.

I’m certainly not myself. In fact, my normal self would definitely be sleeping right now, at 3:30 in the morning, instead of trying to tap out some of the words swimming around in my head. My normal self might not be struggling with outrageous bouts of moodiness and unpredictability. My normal self wouldn’t be so anxious or consumed with the idea of sweets.

Okay, so the infatuation with sweets isn’t necessarily a symptom. There really are fried ice cream balls to produce after all. (I’ll get to that in a second)

The more I think about it though, the more I think I am probably carrying around all of these things not through any fault of my own. Much the way a bear is simply a bear and does bear things…an almost 40-year-old just HAS to naturally do some of the crazy stuff I’ve been doing lately. So, maybe my crazy is NOT my fault. Let me Google it.

Ok, I think I’m on to something.

Diagnosis: I have symptoms of perimenopause.

A logical causal effect…the BUS. (now don’t you DARE try to tell me that my estrogen is clouding my judgment and making that crazy assumption) I have to believe the bus is causing perimenopause. If the bus is the cause, that way, as soon as I set foot back in my house in Wisconsin I will no longer have these symptoms of night sweats, irregular heartbeat, insomnia, irritability, uncontrolled moodiness and downright cantankerous attitude. There is NO WAY I’m taking this crazy with me when I leave this bus! In fact, I would love to eradicate it much sooner than that.

I suppose I could try to eat my way out of this funk…or drown myself in a vat of our ice cream frying oil.

Fried ice cream could be an option now that the Frank Family clan has gone into the business. Our supplier gave us the last of what had been produced and we were forced to employ child labor last week to start filling the order we had placed  to get us through the show. Here’s a peek at our first taste test:

ice creamWe made 360 ready-to-go balls of ice cream in about 1.5 hours last week. Only about 1500 more to go!! Word on the festival street…delicious!

I want to survive this adventure of a summer. Strike that…I want to thrive in this adventure of a summer. I just wish I was behaving more like sugar and spice and everything nice right now.

Is there a prayer for that? (or any suggestions of other animals I should be emulating?)

Copyright 2015  Meagan Frank                           Choosing to Grow


Roughing it is Relative


We’ve had our first meltdown in the bus.

It happened at midnight two nights ago when Little Sprout couldn’t sleep.

Maybe it was the late-night ice cream she had eaten or the visuals running through her mind of the Jurassic Park movies we had been watching in marathon to prepare for Jurassic World. (no…I am not in the running for mother of the year.) Whatever the case, she was awake and ornery.  In her attempts to get comfortable she disrupted Middle Sprout with her feet, Big Sprout with her whining, and then eventually Pappa and Mamma Sprout had no choice but to intervene. The end result was a run to deliver Big Sprout to his man cave up the hill. Once everyone had their own sleeping space…quiet happened.

Our bus experience is bringing back memories of times when my kids were just babies. Sleeplessness was a regular reality. It’s also a bit reminiscent of living in a house packed for moving.

People struggle when they are tired and cramped and bus living has the potential to provide both sleeplessness and tight quarters…a lethal combination. What I need to remember is that the circumstance is what it is, but if there is going to be a better perspective about the uncomfortable situation, it happens with an attempt to change the energy.

It’s not the space of a place that makes life uncomfortable. It’s not the breaking down of something that usually works, nor the inconvenience of plumbing that is only pretending to be indoor. It’s not the struggles to maintain order when stuff piles in an unorganized way nor the frustrations that come with unpredictable electricity. All of those things are irritating, but what makes something rough more often has to do with reaction and, most specifically in this case, my reaction to my relatives.

I’d love to blame my nine-year-old for being difficult and inflexible, but in truth, I have not reacted well to her emotional expressions. She is simply reflecting most honestly what we are all experiencing. I hope she never loses that raw expression, but I hope I can be a better model for her about how to rise above the circumstances.

What I really need to do is sweeten the water.

At the beginning of our stay here, I was so happy to have attracted hummingbirds to the feeder just outside my bus window. They loved the nectar so much they drained the feeder completely in four days. In my second batch, I must have had too much water to the sugary powder and the hummingbirds barely visited this past week. (another thing I grumbled about under my breath)

This morning, I sweetened the pot. I added more powder and I have enjoyed watching the hummingbirds trill and eat all morning.

After the novelty of our first week in the bus wore off, I let the circumstances and the natural tendencies of my kids discourage me. This morning, I made a decision to keep the pot sweet.

I spent time ruminating over Paul’s reminder about circumstances.

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.

I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation,

whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Phil 4:12-13)


This experience will only be as rough as I let it become. There is certainly beauty in difficulty, but there needs to be intention to find it. My goal in the next week is to relate better in all circumstances.

***Photos for this week can be found on my website and they include visits with relatives and ways we are staying busy…outside the bus.*****

Copyright 2015  Meagan Frank          Choosing to Grow


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


Leaving Home to Go Home

house front door

Probably the last thing I should be doing right now is writing a blogpost, but I’m really supposed to still be asleep. Therefore, all is justified, right?

We leave today for our annual adventure. I am of course thrilled that what splinters my heart in separation from my husband will soon be healed with our reunion, but I have to admit it is quite hard for me to leave this year.

I have fallen in love with our home.

The rooms have only begun to transform into lovely spaces of comfort and I have so much more work I would like to be doing in them.

I will miss the phrases I’ve put up on the walls and the art that records the year of growth for Little Sprout’s artistic expression. I’ll miss my paint projects, photographs, and experiments with candles. I’ll miss my office and the battles I’ve been waging with the bird-feed-stealing raccoon. I’ll miss the blanket of leaves outside each window and the surprising colors of flowers and bushes that push through this time of year. I’ll miss the dappled sunlight that subtly bounces off leaves just outside my morning window and the thrumming of big rainstorms at night.

It’s these elements of home that are impossible to bring with me.

I will miss people as well, but they are allowed to accompany me in the form of texts, emails, Facetime, Facebook updates, etc. And I guess I could actually call them too…

The space of a home is the space of a home… and there is no way to digitize that.

Maybe I’m more reflective this year because the space of our home is about to transform so completely in the next two days. The five of us are preparing to snuggle in tightly in our bus accommodations for the two months of summer. I want to remain mindful and grateful for what will surely be a memorable opportunity.

A good friend of mine (who happens to be RV living with her family of five right now too) told me the two things I need to pack for the lifestyle are patience and a sense of humor. Duly noted.

I also want to pack away a little bit of home too, so I took pictures of my yard this morning so that I can have a digital bouquet when I need it. Appropriately, a deer ran across our cul de sac while I was taking photos.


flowers from home


deer in cul de sac IMG_1483[1]

home flowers

Undoubtedly there will be plenty of beauty and natural experiences as we camp this summer. I too, of course, intend to make our space as homey and comfortable as possible. I plan to catalog (blog) as we go.

I expect I’ll find home there too. It is in fact where my heart has been since April anyway.

Copyright 2015  Meagan Frank          Choosing to Grow


Where’d You Grow Wednesday?

Powers Lake Woodbury, MN

Back in August, I had a brilliant idea. I wanted to start a weekly blog conversation about the ways people purposefully put themselves into new places. I had a bad title (Walkin’ on Sunshine Wednesdays)…. and….. I forgot to write any other posts. Even more inconsistent was the fact that I didn’t even walk!

So here I go again. The first Wednesday of the year, and my intention remains. I want Wednesdays to be the days I challenge myself to “go and grow” somewhere. It doesn’t have to be somewhere entirely new, but I want to take a photo,  and then write a quick blurb about how I’ve been inspired.

Today I went to the frozen version of Powers Lake. It’s the lake I walk all the time, but to watch its subtle changes through the seasons…I’m reminded how small I am, how little control I have over everything, and how I am meant to appreciate beautiful changes…both big and small. Plus, I just had to venture there today. It is 35 degrees and I saw four ice-fishing people.

(Note to self: explore most what you don’t understand)

Maybe next week I’ll venture INTO one of the ice fishing tents. If not, I will still make the point of going to and documenting how I grow next Wednesday.

I invite any and all people who would like to come along with me. Email me at: choosingtogrow@meaganfrank.com

If you send me photos, or a link to a blogpost, or  a tweet with the #choosetogrow hashtag (see…even I can speak twitterese!) or a Facebook link.  I will start to include other people’s Wednesday growth here too.

Happy Growing!!

Learn more about Meagan Frank at her website: www.meaganfrank.com