A trip down memory lane…
Warning/note... I was feeling pretty nostalgic when writing this. If you are feeling it, click through to see the old blogs with the old pictures. If not, skip through to the bottom for a more current update. ~Michelle
Remember when we had the idea for the Airstream?
Read the Airstream Manifesto. Oh my goodness, that seems like such a long time ago! We had no idea what we were doing, but things came together so quickly that we were sure God was just clearing a path for us. We went on tour with Michael playing an acoustic guitar. We scraped by with a few work camps, some school concerts, and those acoustic shows.
People would look at my five kids and comment on how good they are. I’d look at them and say, “I thought the baby & toddler years were going to last forever! Now, we’re in a sweet spot. No toddlers. No teenagers. I just looked at my husband and said, ‘I feel like we should REALLY be enjoying this’ and that’s when we started traveling.”
Then we added Matt. I’m not sure what we were thinking. We didn’t really have Airstream life figured out, but Matt was all-in. He loved the music and loved the kids and joined in our family for 5 months. The show got bigger and the music got louder. I got pregnant. The Airstream got crowded. We got bus fever.
All we could think about was how great life would be when we got the bus. We knew it was romanticized and ridiculous. I remember Matt telling us how he would customize his bunk. When our dreaming got way out of hand, we would tease, “When we get the bus, there WILL be peace on earth.”
In those 5 months that Matt was with us, he gave Michael confidence to break away from the acoustic style. We started to include tracks and video in the show. I started sharing testimony.
Truman was born. We got the bus! We were so excited! It did not bring about world peace, but it totally changed the way that we toured! It allowed us to be at summer camp. It allowed us to expand the show. We had a lot of great memories in the bus. And a lot of headaches. The bunks never got customized. Every single time that we made it to IL, we took it to the shop. The past year of our life has been a bit crazy, to say the least. It has been marked with bus break downs, unfulfilled promises of repairs, missed timelines, scrambling for host families, and packing and unpacking into hotel rooms, and another pregnancy!
We have tried to embrace those moments for opportunities for growth. We doubled down on prayer. We spent time together as a family. We practiced instruments. There has been more than one moment where we put all the cards on the table to rethink our life choices. All those things in the Airstream Manifesto have come and gone. We now have BOTH babies and teenagers.
Our pastor reminds us, “We discern the call, not the logistics.” We take away the logistics and look at the mission. Michael says, “Finally in my life, I feel like I’m doing what God has created me to do. This side of heaven there are always going to be bad days.” We make the logistics work.
We have had fruits. The girls have joined the show. We’ve met awesome people through staying in host families. We’ve grown as a family. We’ve grown in holiness. We see small things as small things. We see big things as opportunities for growth.
We are definitely in a time of transition now. We have sold the bus, we’ve added another baby, we’ve taken more time off the road this year than any other year. We’re exploring new models to help with the logistics.
1 - The Condo Model - this would be a style of regional touring. The idea is to get a monthly rental in an area and play regionally for 1 month. Move to a new region, repeat. This has the advantages of giving us a place of peace during our “off” days. It allows us to spread out and get our schoolwork and paperwork done. It cuts down on the packing and unpacking. We are in the process of applying for 501c3 status. This may open up doors for people to make a tax-deductible donation of temporary housing.
2 - The “band members” tour. Michael, Gabby, Trinity, and Charity can do short stretches alone. With just the 4 of them they can more easily stay in hotels and host families. They can drive longer and play more concerts in a row. They can do this for a short amount of time. Then we need to reunite, regroup, and refresh.
3 - A home base. We have been so very grateful to use our extended family as our home base. In 2016, we were only “home” 55 days out of the entire year. In 2017, that was not the case. We have never had peace about a home base… until now. I think Fidelity’s genetic condition will inevitably lead to us having a place of our own that we can base out of. We are not in a hurry to do this, but selling our St. Louis house will enable us to take this step when we find something appropriate.
Ultimately, I see us landing in a pattern of all 3 of these models. It will be nice to have a home base for the months that we naturally don’t play many concerts. These months like May and December are busy in and of themselves. We use those times for writing, recording, booking, accounting, and other projects. There are certain times that are naturally busy, like the end of September after school starts, and March during Lent. I think Michael and the girls may play “hard and fast” during those times. Other months, we can settle into a nice routine of weekend Masses, Sunday night concerts, and concerts for religious ed programs on Wednesday nights. These months we may stay together as a family and play regionally, using condo’s as our home away from home.