Stories that Stretch

Stories.

The shape us, they stretch us, they essentially tell the tale of our lives.

I love them. The way they weave and wave and they give us pages to go back to, to remember.

They give us memories that are so good you want to store it away in a drawer and stumble upon it when you piddle instead of clean.

Stories take my heart places that nothing else can.

Stories bring an emotion every time they’re told. But the ones that grab us are the ones that are unexpected, the kind that inspire and light a match under your fanny to choose the path that seems crazy only to find yourself living in the craziest blessing.

This story today, the story of a friend I met on Instagram, is one that I am daily blessed by.

I never thought that I could meet a complete stranger over my phone screen and feel completely inspired and blessed.

Meet Ashley Petrone.

Or on Instagram, Arrowsandbow

A California girl.

A believer, wife to her sweet hubby, and mama to three awesome kiddos!

I stumbled upon her IG page when we finishing renovations on our duplex, looking for inspiration for decorating in small spaces and found this adorable family that decided to renovate an RV and live in it while building their home!

It seriously may be the #worldscutestRV.

What made you decide to get an RV and renovate it? 

“Before the RV, we lived in a 5 bedroom house in SoCal. We bought land at the beginning of the year and plan on building a house. While building, we had so many options on where to live. We could move into an apartment, but we would be paying more than our old mortgage for 1/4 of the space. We thought about a Tiny House, but they were also a bigger investment. We decided to go shopping for an RV and when we saw ours, we were sold. It had 3 bunks in the back and was perfectly old inside. I knew I was gonna rip it apart so it was a done deal! We figured while were building we can save money and travel and just experience life in a different way.”

Ashley has an eye for design and turned this place into an absolute dream space.

In my own personal experience renovating and moving into a smaller space, I knew that a lot was going to have to change and I was going to have to figure out a new way of doing things.  Watching Ashley’s instagram stories on life with a spouse and three kiddos in such a small space was helpful and so inspiring!

Tell me about your renovations.  How long did it take? Did you do it yourself? What design/space efficient hacks can you share?

The design of the RV took 3 weeks, Dino and I are kinda nuts like that… when we go, we go hard! I designed it all and we did most of the work ourselves. I designed it with the intention to make it feel like home. I knew we were going to be misplaced for a while and I didn’t want us to feel misplaced. So while its designed and styled while, I shopped with a major budget and everything in there was a bargain. I’d say when living tiny the best advice I have is less is more. Such a cliche but so so true. More just stresses you out. So every time I bring something in, I get rid of something. 

How have you seen the Lord work through this opportunity to live in an RV with your family?

“Gosh the Lord has used us and this experience in so many different ways. Just the simple fact of living tiny with a family of 5 is a struggle in itself. But through struggles, we grow. I have already seen how much He has shaped, molded, softened, and used us in amazing ways. My husband and I were just talking the other night. We were sitting by our fire pit outside, looking at the stars and just kinda laughing at how awesome this experience is. Like how random that were doing this. But its not random at all. When I look back at the last year of our lives, God has carefully guided me and I have fervently sought after Him for wisdom. He has led me to create a blog and a page where I thought I was just gonna share design tips, little did I know He had other plans.”

Ashley continued to explain how amazed she was that her instagram and blog has led her to share with other women about living minimally, contentment, being vulnerable, and being a joyful mom! Her words: God’s like.. nah kid… I got more for you.

What is life in an RV with 3 kids like? Do you feel like this is such an awesome space for them to play outside more? 

 

“Life in the RV with 3 kids is crazy. The boys try to wrestle in here and the whole thing shakes! lol! So we really try and spend a lot of time outside. And living in here has really shifted how we spend our time. While before we were more homebodies, now we are kinda forced to explore and get out. All in all, we would not change a thing about our living situation. I am so thankful for this time and what it is teaching my family.”
The fact that I am sitting in my home in Montgomery, AL and getting to glean from the kindness and wisdom from this beautiful soul ALLLL the way in California is beyond my understanding.
But man, I sure do love that we are in a time where our stories can reach across a nation.
That they can touch us, move us, and ignite us, into trusting God with all of ourselves.
That it is indeed possible to live out of your comfort zone to live in the center of where God needs you to be. No matter the town or the place.
Alabama or California, a big city or small towna duplex or an RV.
Ashley, your story, though still being told, is stretching across the nation to touch more people than you know. It is an honor to know you and learn from your God given wisdom. Thank you for letting us dive into the pages of your story.

One thought on “Stories that Stretch

  1. I can’t believe that’s an RV!!!!!!! I’m heading over to IG to see more! With our move to ‘bama we are looking to live smaller so this is perfect inspiration ♡♡

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