A Daughter and A Dream

The story

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”
-JK Rowling


Harry Potter.  Yes, the above quotation is from Harry Potter, but it rings true with our family.  TJ and I have had the dream of living in the Caribbean since before we were married.  Granted, we have only been married *almost* four years now but our dream has not been forgotten.  Instead we have put plans in action to make this BIG (read: expensive) dream a reality.  The dream has shifted, taken on a new form (and a new member of the family), but we are now making preparations to see our dream become a reality.  We are closing our eyes and taking a leap of faith by jumping in with both feet.  So, here it goes!

Originally, we planned to pick up and move to the US Virgin Islands after I graduated from graduate school at the University of South Carolina in May 2013.  God often smiles when we make plans because He has something much better in store for us and, sure enough, He did!  In October 2012 we learned I was pregnant.  While we were excited (and terrified) we knew moving to the USVI was not going to happen at our “planned” time because we did not know what to do with an infant!  (Help, Mom and Dad!)  Then, in January 2013 my father passed away unexpectedly and God revealed more of His plan for our lives: we were going to move to Ohio to be near my family.   I know, you’re probably thinking, “Wait, isn’t that in the exact opposite direction you wanted to go?”  The answer is yes, yes it is, BUT we knew we were being called to Ohio and everything from buying a home to actually moving our household items worked out perfectly. Once settled into our nice, spacious country home in the middle of Amish country nowhere, we actually survived our first winter.  {Okay, okay, I grew up in Amish country nowhere but had not lived there for eight years, so give me a break.}   I was convinced this was the *new* dream for the McKelvey family and moving to the USVI was never going to happen now because I was too comfortable living back home with easy access to my mom when I needed help with Vivienne.  However, TJ held on to the Caribbean dream and waited patiently (so sweet) for me to come around….and I did! (Cold winters and chilly rainy summers are not my thing.)

God truly is amazing because He gave me a way to regain my life, and eventually our dream.  I struggled with an eating disorder for nearly sixteen years when God showed me a way out: being admitted to the Intensive Outpatient Program at The Center for Balanced Living in Columbus, Ohio.  Ahhhhh, it all made sense!  THIS was God’s purpose for bringing us to Ohio.  I needed intensive treatment to help me win this battle and, while I am still working toward the place where I can say I am “recovered,” I am leaps and bounds from where I once was.  Over the last several months I have gained more confidence than I have ever had in my life and even run another blog all about body acceptance! (Shameless plug for my Beautiful Body Acceptance blog site here.)  In February 2015 *the* dream started coming back to me and, while I was still wavering, I talked about it more.  Now that I am in a better place both mentally and physically I am 100 percent on board with getting onboard.  Wait, what?

Becoming a liveaboard (someone who lives on his/her boat).  That is how our dream has taken on a new shape.  Our daughter just turned two and we plan to sell our spacious country home next spring, along with most of our interior belongings, to move aboard a catamaran sailboat and set sail for the Caribbean.  “That is crazy!”  “How will you do it with dogs, a cat, and a toddler?”  “Do you know how to sail?”  “Do you realize how long it takes to sail down there?”  If you are asking these questions right now, know they have already been asked…to us.  We might be a little crazy, a little adventurous, or both.  Thankfully, TJ does know how to sail (I know absolutely nothing).  And, yes, we know approximately how long it takes to sail from Charleston, South Carolina to the USVI by way of island hopping on the way down.  We know living in the country in the middle of a landlocked (minus Lake Erie) state is not for us.   We love the sun, sand, and ocean adventures.  We want Vivienne to grow up sharing these loves, as she already loves the water.  As one excellent blogger wrote, I want to ruin my daughter’s life. (Before you judge, give it a quick read.)

This is our dream. Our big, expensive dream.  While obtaining such a large vessel will be costly and we realize sailing is just fixing your boat in exotic places, the other experiences will be invaluable.  Vivienne will learn to grow up surrounded by other cultures, swimming with sea life, and sailing.  She will learn “less is more” because instead of having the big house filled with things we will have the big life filled with experiences.  Will we miss being near our families?  ABSOLUTELY.  However, we get one life and, as JK so eloquently put it, we want to live it.  Besides, our families are gaining great vacation destinations.

We give glory to God, for it is by faith our dream will become a reality.  It is already in the process!  He is the provider for our family on land and sea.  It is by faith we will one day be able to witness to others by showing faith in action when we are on our boat and sailing.

Par La Foi,
The McKelveys

~~~All things are possible for those who believe.–Mark 9:23~~~



4 thoughts on “A Daughter and A Dream

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