Stories that Stretch
They 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 were finishing renovations on our duplex over a year ago, 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 have been #worldscutestRV.
Ashley has such a fun style that she expresses so confidently. It’s contagious.
Her page is one that will fill you with the inspiration to be yourself through and through, no exceptions!
For 17 months Ashley and her husband, Dino, lived in this RV with their three kids.
It was living there that they learned the art of living with less stuff and much more adventure in life.
Recently Ashley and her whole family uprooted and moved from SoCal to Northern Cali.
Every plan they had to build on new land in Southern California changed when a new job offer came up that they knew was God’s next step for them.
Here’s Ashley’s perspective on it all:
1) How long did you live in the RV total?
We lived in the Rv for 17 months.
2) What did you feel like the RV taught you personally, taught your marriage, and taught your family as a whole?
Living in the RV taught us so much. It really changed us, individually and as a family. What it taught me was to find joy in the journey. To stop wishing for the next thing and living and enjoying right where I was. It taught me to be content with little, and for that, I will forever be grateful for and I never want to forget. It also changed our marriage and how Dino and I live life. We live more freely now. Ready for adventure and whatever opportunity comes our way. We stopped gripping onto what we thought we wanted and realized Gods way is the best way.
3) How was the transition from SoCal to NorCal? Has it been as smooth as it could possibly be ?
When we got the job offer to move to Northern cali, it was all so chaotic. Which is kinda where Dino and I thrive, in the organized chaos. We had to sell both trailers figure out where we were moving and get us moved within 30 days. It was crazy, but I loved it, Sometimes you make a move like that and its uncomfortable and hard, this wasn't one of those times. This was so right, we both had and still have such a peace about being here. I grew up in southern cali with all of my family there. And while I do miss everyone back home, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else than where we are right now.
4) what has it been like living in a house again?
Being in a house again feels like Christmas everyday. We laugh all the time when we do simple things like use our trash bin that has its own drawer, something we would take for granted back then, but is such a big deal now. The little things in life that are now huge luxury to us. Like having a laundry machine and washing machine. We never want to forget how beautiful living simply is. We want to continue living that way!
5) What do you feel like the Lord has taught your family as a whole about trust and obedience through living in an RV and then moving away?
Im so thankful for the opportunities to see Him using us. Dino and I just want to be in His will. Its not always the most comfortable or beautiful. But we can live confidently and fearlessly knowing we are being obedient to Him, and thats where we want to be. And how awesome that along the way we've been able to just share our journey and He has used it to change other peoples lives.
6) what design tips or renovating advice would you give or recommend?
I always say design intention. Buy with intention and save with intention. Splurge where it counts, save for special things, and only buy what you love! I love to put an emphasis on the design or detail in a room rather than adding a bunch of stuff. For me, less stuff equals less stress and makes for a calmer, peaceful space.
There’s something so powerful about the thought of learning and gleaning from someone in their day to day moments of life.
Social media is weird in that way. Sometimes maybe it takes over our “moments” but it also allows us to learn from one another daily instead of hearing about it years later.
We get to glean in the process.
I love that I can still learn so many things from The Petrones. RV or house. Their joy and contentment in where they are in life is SO encouraging and contagious.
I loved how Ashley put it “ …stop wishing for the next thing and living and enjoying right where I was…”
Yes, we all could stand to learn a thing or two about leaning into our present instead of obsessing over what might be coming.
Our stories take time to develop. Like an author writing an entire page and ripping it out for a new ending, I think the Father leans into the transition and the torn pages with us.
Guiding and teaching us with every word written and every step taken.
I think when we choose to live in our present, we actually engage in our process and learn a much greater lesson.
Ashley, thanks for giving us another glimpse into your world, your heart, your design, your family, and your process.
You’ve allowed us to stretch miles across our country to learn from you and your family. Your story stretches miles and it stretches our hearts to lean into the promises laid out before us all.