I was the 4th of 5 children in a stable, loving family. My parents were committed to each other, their children, the church and Christian education. I remember often watching little jaynie from My eagle eye perspective as she moved through her days down there in the concrete jungle of this thing called life. I remember sitting in any little piece of nature I could find as little jaynie, and hearing the echoey inner voice asking “So… what are you going to do with this life?”
Knowing I needed to make my own life, I moved to Northwest Washington when I was 21. I didn’t have a plan. Like the Lorax, I tend to fly by the seat of my pants. All I came with was a structured upbringing, my car, and a sincere desire to learn and grow and be a blessing. I roomed here and there, took some classes and training and eked my way with various jobs. I fell in love, got married, and helped build my first home through the ‘self-help’ program while pregnant with my first daughter. After she was born, my husband was gone for months at a time, cooking on fishing trawlers in Alaska. I became an expert do-it-yourself-er, building, painting, papering, tiling, landscaping, building fences, growing food. My husband left for good when our second daughter was born, and due to his shenanigans, I had to sell our home, all proceeds going to pay off his debts.
My pragmatic choice at that time was to quickly remarry. My new husband was a good provider and devoted father. I helped him to renovated our home overlooking Bellingham Bay. You’d think I’d be content, but I dreamed of a ‘sweet haven’ in the country, so we bought land and built first a barn with an apartment and then a large home, which I stained, painted, tiled, stained-glassed, even built a real river rock hearth! There was love, but not enough of the kind we needed. At great price to many relationships, after 9 years I was compelled to walk away. Feeling horrible about the pain I caused, I asked for very little in the settlement. I got enough for a down payment on an old house, and minimal support to help feed and house the daughter who still lived with me.
I loved my old house on ‘D’ Street. Built in 1894, the early, coal-mining years of Bellingham, it was a 2 story box house with old growth fir beams and floorboards. Through the years it had gotten some pretty funky ‘upgrades’, and by the time I arrived it had devolved into a college party house, beer caps and cans exposed around scanty bushes outside, dark paneled walls and filthy indoor-outdoor carpet over asbestos tiles inside. I had already been through a few projects, so I confidently rolled up my sleeves and transformed that house into a warm and inviting home. When I was working outside, neighbors would roll down their window to tell me how they appreciated it looking better than it had for many years.
Well, I bought it in 2006, just before the stock market and housing bubble crashed. My mortgage payments ate up nearly all of my income each month. I worked for a painting company, raised poodles, started my own specialty painting business, picked up whatever work I could, built a basement apartment and rented that out, but eventually had to move my daughter and self into the basement and rent out the main house. Then my renters ran into a crisis of their own, and couldn’t make their payment. I fell behind and the late fees stacked up. I went through the piles of paperwork to re-finance 3 times, and each time was rejected. My daughter was now a teenager, and once more my house became a bit of a party house. I turned my old garage into a studio apartment for myself, to find some peace. Renters by the room came and went from the house, and I turned my studio into a B&B rental and moved in with my sweetheart, so for a while the financial pressures eased.
Knowing that the Federal Reserve and the big banks are corrupt, I was hopeful that the rumors of NASARA, jubilee, a financial reset or something would save me from loosing the house I had put over $100k and so much labor and love into. But 2 years after I went into default it was bought up in a ‘short sale’. This little nester was set adrift. If I marketed myself more, or became someone’s employee, working 9 to 5 every day, I suppose i could afford a nice apartment… but would I be happy? I don’t think so. I’m happy now. I’m finding my own balance within my own knowing. I have embraced the adventure of being a nomad, and the rich relational challenges and rewards that have come about from my choices. I have no debts. My assets are my beautiful heart, mind and spirit, my 20 year old car and now my 20 year old BUS!!! Making my home on a bus will allow me to create a beautiful, orderly nest, stay free of bills and debts, have the flexibility to move about at will, and the time and space to paint, explore other art forms, travel, facilitate, teach and inspire!