guest post

Homeless, Not Hopeless: One Family’s Story

Psst.  I am so excited my friend Brooke Sailer is guest posting today.  Brooke is a creative thinker, writer, teacher,gift-giver, and also…a diaper-changer, shoelace-tier, and lunch-packer. She lived a real-life fairy tale when she married a handsome bachelor after dating for only one month and ten days. (Sorry for the heart attack, Mom.).  I know her story will encourage your heart. xoxo Erin
I loaded the kids into the minivan and buckled them as quickly as I could. I didn’t want to get caught in the rain. It was an unusually cloudy day in early January, and I sensed a storm coming. North Texas is mostly sunny with a side of watch-out-there’s-a-crazy-hail-storm-or-tornado-on-its-way. Unpredictable weather is just part of being a Texan.

 

I walked around to the driver’s seat and jumped in. But before I pulled out of the parking lot, I checked the weather. No hail. It seemed it would just be cloudy all day. I determined that I was being too analytical and decided to stick with my original plan. We were going to the grocery store. 

 

I grabbed a small, hand-held cart. 

 

“But, what about the big cart, mama?” 

 

My middle daughter, Bella, looked up at me with hopeful eyes. “Not this time, babe. The hotel has a small fridge, so we’ll just pick up a few things. Besides, I don’t know how long we’ll be there. 

 

I hid my uncertainty from the kids as much as I could, but I couldn’t hide the truth from myself. I didn’t know how long we’d be in the hotel. That thought terrified me. I filled my small grocery cart as the kids roamed through the aisles alongside me. 

 

My intention was to grab fruit (everyone loves fruit), some lunch meat for sandwiches (another go-to with little clean up), and a few snacks. Our favorites are popcorn, pretzels, and trail mix. I landed on carrots and hummus, too, because, you know, veggies are important.

 

As we checked out, the cashier made small talk with my kids.

 

“I’ve never seen you here before. Do you live around here?”

 

We’re homeless.” My oldest daughter didn’t even skip a beat.

 

I smiled and nodded. But I died inside.

 

We returned to the hotel, where we had been living for just two days, carried our five grocery bags across the lobby to the elevator, rode up to the 4th floor, and walked down the hall to our room. I settled the kids with a bowl of popcorn, a coloring book, and crayons. 

 

I locked myself in the bathroom and sobbed.

 

My daughter was right. We were, essentially, homeless.

 

The problem wasn’t financial, it was circumstantial. We found ourselves in the midst of a major life change. We had some life-changing decisions to make. This season of transition was wildly uncomfortable for my nature, which is typically, ahem, put together. Coupled with a slew of undetermined details and potential opportunities that didn’t manifest quickly enough, this transition deemed us residents of a local hotel. With our belongings in a storage unit, we waited for life to return to normal. 

 

Months before, we intentionally deviated from our suburban life and took an extended vacation that we affectionately called “the sabbatical.” Our life encountered a natural invitation to adventure when my husband sold his company and we simultaneously wanted to take advantage of the profitable real estate market and sell our home. Rather than move across town, we opted to use this in-between time for an extended trip. 

 

As our sabbatical came to a close, we scoured real estate websites for a new home. My husband perused new job opportunities, none of which had solidified. We grew increasingly uncomfortable in our decision as to where we should purchase another home and which job opportunity would be the next best thing. Stepping out of the sabbatical and returning to a more established home life was the place we got stuck. 

The In-Between 

Just as my daughter had said, the most accurate description was: homeless. Stuck. A total in-between riddled with uncertainty. The sadness was there. I still remember sitting on that bathroom floor as my tears hit the ground. 

 

Even in that small hotel room, I knew deeply that God was right there. And as my sorrow gently lifted, this thought came to mind…this wasn’t a punishment, it was a promotion. The Lord knew exactly what my heart needed so that I could go to the next level in a relationship with Him. This struggle was more evidence of His love than anything else. 
 

Trust in the Middle

If I could find a way to fully trust Him right in the middle of the uncertainty.  If I could find a way to confidently declare I belonged to Him.  If I could find a way to trust that He would direct our next steps.  If I could do all of that…I knew hope could break through.
And, that’s simply what happened. With clarity, we saw opportunities God was placing in front of us. We didn’t have it all figured out, but we made small, simple decisions and took the next step in the right direction. We moved into a small apartment, and now, a dream home. Over time, we saw the faithfulness of God as we remade home and let’s be real- He remade us. Hope wasn’t a feeling we mustered up, it was a person. The God of Hope himself wrote our story.
 

A Happy Delivery

Early October, something big happened. I opened my front porch to see two big cardboard boxes nestled in between my mums and pumpkins. Cue the tears because I ripped open that box to see inside my new book (We’re) Homeless: Making Home Wherever We Go. I fell to my knees sobbing, but this time…there was no sadness, all tears of joy, and no hotel bathroom (only an oversized dream home porch) to catch my tears. 
 

Purpose In Your Pain

Have you heard people say, “Your pain has a purpose.” And it sounds so cliché and definitely not what you want to hear when life is crumbling. But, to be totally honest, I couldn’t deny it. The fact that our pain has a purpose was literally right there in front of me. I was holding a tangible expression of it. A hundred and fifty pages of my own story in my hands…and *spoiler alert* it’s not a story of a homeless family, it’s a book of hope. 

 

Remember This

Whatever you’re facing today, remember this: God’s writing your story. And if there’s anyway right in the middle of the struggle, you can invite Him in…I think He’ll come and meet you there. And while it might not make sense for a while, what if He is completely preparing you for good things ahead? What if the circumstance that seems terrible now, was just the path to Him in the first place?

The Lesson I learned

Here’s the lesson I learned. Home, after all, wasn’t a place. It was a heartbeat.
When there was no home at all, we had everything we needed. Here we were, an imperfect family squished into a hotel room, but we had one another.
Walt Whitman says, “we were together, I forget the rest.” And I feel like, in so many ways, the togetherness saved us from caring about the things that just don’t matter. Where did we belong? To each other.
As I move on from this season, I hope to carry that heartbeat everywhere I go.

More About Our Guest Writer

Brooke is the very proud wife of Scott Sailer and mom to their four kids. She went from watching HGTV nearly eight hours a day to being a committed, driven, super-mom and leader in her community. Besides having a million thoughts that accidentally became two books, Brooke makes some pretty amazing skillet tacos. The Sailers live in Argyle, Texas. For all the everyday stuff, you can find Brooke on Instagram @brooke_sailer.

Until next time, keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life.
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5 Fall Wardrobe Essentials

Today, I am so excited to have my friend Sarah, The Haute Homemaker, share with us 5 fall wardrobe essentials.  Sarah is a wardrobe consultant and fashion stylist.  She and I met while I was speaking at a MOPS group she attended.  She encourages me in our journey as bloggers and entrepreneurs!  She is an expert I turn to for fashion wisdom and advice because she is so stylish but more importantly she helps women embrace their style, make purposeful clothing decisions including shopping your closet, and she makes fashion simple and approachable.

 

The fall season is upon us. This is the time to bring out the pieces that were stored away for the spring/summer, to take note of what you loved from last season, what you didn’t, what should stay in your closet and what should go. But, are you having a hard time trying to figure out where you should start? Have no fear, let me help you. I am sharing the top five pieces every woman should have in your fall wardrobe.

These 5 fall wardrobe essentials will mix and match with just about everything in your current closet and are the foundation of a versatile, wearable wardrobe.

1. Great Pair of Jeans.

I prefer a medium to dark wash. High waist skinnies are the most versatile and flattering on every body type. Non-distressed looks the most polished. But you have to decide which style fits your lifestyle and personality best! Straight leg, skinny, boyfriend, boot cut, or distressed….you decide?!

The key to a great pair of denim is that you feel amazing in them! The proper fit is crucial to how they make you feel. You need a pair that fit your current body….not the one you wish you have after you lose those last ten pounds! They need to fit you right now. I promise you will feel your best because you have taken the time to invest in a pair for the body.

Check out Sarah’s pick here

2. A White Top.

Whether it is a classic tee, long sleeve, button-up, or blouse…a white top is must-have basic to build a functional wardrobe and effortless outfits. Going into the fall season make sure to have a white tee and white long sleeve tee to layer with cardigans, jackets, sweaters, and scarves. Never underestimate the power of a great basic. A crisp white tee looks effortless and chic paired with your favorite jeans, boots, and your personalized accessories.

Knot your white tee to add a feminine touch & elevate this basic! Accessories can also dress up this casual, yet effortless jeans & a white tee, outfit.

MThe materialis everything when picking out a white tee. Make sure it is cotton or a cotton blend. This will ensure it washes are wears well over time. And that your tee won’t be see through. The same thing goes for a button up white shirt or blouse, opt for natural fabrics like cotton, linen, or silk, as these will feel the best next to your skin and will last several seasons instead of just a few months!

Check out Sarah’s white top pick here.

3. A cardigan

The best layering piece going into the cooler months. Complete a simple outfit like a white tee and jeans with a great cardigan. I love that they are can be worn so many different ways, and dressed up or down.

Transition into Fall with a lightweight cardigan paired with shorts and booties.

*A cozy cardigan can easily be dressed up with a great pair of mules or flats. Of lounge around at home with a tee & joggers.

Check out Sarah’s cardigan pick here.

4. A pair of brown boots.

The most versatile shoe in your wardrobe. They are can be dressed up or down. And paired with just about everything in your closet!  I love pairing brown booties with a pair of skinny jeans, a white tee, and cardigan for a simple, yet totally chic everyday outfit for fall.

Check out Sarah’s boot pick here.

5. A statement jacket…(i.e. military, denim, moto, blazer)

A military jacket is a great layer for fall. The olive color goes well with literally everything. Pair it with a tee and jeans, leggings, or joggers.  A suede or leather moto jacket is also a great investment piece. It automatically elevates any outfit, whether you’re wearing jeans and a t-shirt, or a dress. This style jacket will give you so many outfit possibilities for your year-round wardrobe!

There are so many great jacket options that you can add to your fall wardrobe. All of these options are classic, never go out of style, and can be worn dozens of different ways!

Check out Sarah’s jacket pick here.

 

I hope these five fall wardrobe essentials help to inspire you as your putting together your fall wardrobe. For everyday outfitting ideas, style tips, and shopping hacks, I would love for you to follow me on Instagram where I share daily tips to style your wardrobe and simplify your life!

If you need some help de-cluttering, organizing and refreshing your closet, then make sure to subscribe to my style blog The Haute Homemaker to do the 5-day Closet Clean Out Challenge.  It will help you cultivate a wardrobe you truly love!


Join Sarah and me on Friday FUN Live at 12 pm CST.  Find us at Simple Purposeful Living on Instagram or Facebook! You can connect with Sarah on Instagram and her blog.

 

Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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Linking up with Andrea and Becky – check out their blogs for more fun!

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