Dana Mize& the big m ranch
Well. now that we secured the property and "It's Ours!"
we better get to start building & selling, moving & groovin'
So we spent a few hours talking and praying to figure out what God had in store of us next...
and would you know that just so happened to be a
1983 Fleetwood Prowler travel trailer?
Yea.. Me neither!
after we decided we were ready to make this move happen we spent countless hours on craigslist searching for the right Twinkie...
(as my best friend Alicia calls campers & trailers)
We searched in the tri-state area and to be honest campers are expensive little toys, 40,000 here 60,000 there...
We are apparently in the wrong line of work because
I can go ahead and tell you that Gearhead & I are not anywhere close to that tax bracket... ha ha ha
Okay... So we made a plan and I decided I would take on some extra photography work so that we could get our hands on a older nice model camper that would be comfortable to live in.
Yup Live in!
Houston and I are very like minded in the fact that we want to live our lives NOW... to the fullest extent.
I don't want to wait until I am at retirement age to have our dream home.
We are doing it now!
With a lot patience, a lot of help from our parents, modest money management and perseverance we will be self building our own home.
Not to fool anyone to thinking this will be a nightmare.
Brian is a General Contractor and will be guiding and building our house with us!
The Camper comes in on the modest money management side.
We are planning on moving into the camper and living out of it until we are able to complete our home. That may be 1 year, maybe 3 years.. who knows...
We just know we have a goal in mind, we are content with what opportunities we have and we aren't giving up.
This will definitely be an adventure!
So we saved what we had and whatever we could get our hand on.
However I have a bad tendency to dip back into savings if it is accessible... so we ended up cashing out our savings and placing it into a glass jar with a very small bottle neck and of course..
NO WAY to get the funds out unless you break the jar.....
Though this seems very elementary... it worked for us!
We were able to watch our saving grow through the glass and found the nights where we rolled up the bills and shoved them in & wrote the new total on the bottle to be a pretty fun and goofy experience....
Plus you can't argue with results!
Here is our camper jar hanging out waiting for more moolah! and us cramming in more money!
Anyway.. after a short 1 1/2 hour drive to Forest City, North Carolina,
we bought our new Metal Mansion and are starting to call it home while we are shaping the property and getting ready to build.
This is also going to make it easier for Brian to go in and fix anything on the current house and show it to people since our stuff won't be clogging up the place!
Brian and Houston had to fiddle with the ball on the hitch a little.... but we got it...
I still wonder to this day is Papa Mize put Locktite on the threads just to play with us.... because seriously..
Either way.. it was pretty funny to watch.
Well, we got the right ball on the hitch and loaded her up to take her home!
Here are some photos of the inside. the front door leads into the living room that the previous owners were using as extra space to have a bed when friends came over. There are two bedrooms through the back door. A full kitchen, dining area and a bathroom.
She is 33ft long :)
Now to take down all that sexy wood paneling and
MAKE IT HOME! :)
Since we already covered family, I wanted to introduce you guys to the friends that will most likely be down on the ranch besides,
who can best describe who we are better
than the people that we surround ourselves with?
I can remember as a kid my mom and dad always saying,
"You are who you hang out with, Dana! So choose wisely"
and Boy... were they right. Friends seem to come and go but it is that group or possibly even one or two people that just seem to stick
with you your entire life
just to experience it with you.
These people listed below are family, they are the people we call on for help, guidance, friendship, fellowship, and everything in between.
Sometimes these people are our saving graces and sometimes they are our enemies.. but they will always be family... no matter what.
We love you guys!
This trio is when we decided to take a road trip, earlier this year, to pick up my 1978 VW Bus (Caroline) in High Springs, Florida.
Boy, that is a story for another post...
Anyway, This fine looking gentleman to the left is
Robert J. Wetzel III
Houston and Robert have been best friends for God Knows how long and
have gotten into all kinds of trouble together ;)
Houston and I actually met through Robert.
My best friend Alicia and Robert were friends and then low and behold, I met Robert and then he introduced me to Houston.
Over the past few years
I feel like Robert has became the brother I never had, I love him to pieces
and I have to say...
life would be pretty boring without him!
He is always the life of the party and the goofball when Friday & Saturday nights roll around.
He is definitely a friend that would give you his Brooks Brothers shirt off his back if you needed it..........Okay maybe not the Brooks Brothers.....but possibly the Southern Tide undershirt.. just joking...
He would be there under any circumstance :)
We sure do love Robert.
Robert completes our 3 Amigos...
I love his shenanigans and how much life he has in him!
Love you Robert!
Next would be my best friend..
There are really no words that would best describe our relationship over the past 10 years.
We became friends because my 6th grade boyfriend
broke up with me to be with her HA HA HA...
odd connection... We know
We went through NJROTC together in highschool,
and got arrested together..... (another story.. another time)
We have fought like cats and dogs,
went on spells where we wouldn't talk to each other,
Grew up together, Made each other laugh during mealtime prayers..
spent months where you wouldn't see one of us without the other,
we have experienced life in rare forms together,
went through exciting times in life,
experienced some not so awesome times,
almost went in the military together...
and the list goes on and on....
Needless to say we have had a pretty awesome relationship.. and though we might be apart or at odds there has never been a time where I couldn't call on her or vice versa.
We live completely different lives going in two different directions yet we still make time to keep our relationship the same.
We support each other, rant, rave, go out and act like teenagers and make sure we are having fun in life!
I wouldn't trade her for the world and can't explain how proud I am of the person she has become (since we are growing up I felt the need to throw in that grown up statement... lol)
I Love you LEESHER!
This precious couple is Alan & LeAnne Douglas :)
Houston met Alan when he was working at Bi-Lo before he headed off Nascar Technical Institute for college.
I shortly met Alan after they became friends and decided that he was pretty a pretty amazing friend and that we should probably keep him around. :)
A short time after that Miss. LeAnne came into the picture and they ended up loving each other soooo much... that they got married!
And now we get to keep her forever! :)
We treasure Alan and LeAnne as solid friends that will be there no matter what!
We value their advice and their opinions as our very couple friends
They are genuine people that are as like minded
as Houston and I are, on most things, as you can get.
We Love you guys!
Alan got a killer job offer up in NC and couldn't turn it down!
So, They had to move and we miss them like nobody's business...
BUT we believe we have almost talked them into
coming home as soon as they are able
.....RIGHT guys? ;)
So ready for ya'll to make your way back Home!!!
Love you guys to pieces
This next set I am going to try to do together since I rarely ever see them apart :)
Carlin, Jacob & Stevie
Robert , Houston, Carlin and Jacob have all been friends since high school, I believe, I remember meeting Jacob and Carlin for the first time at Rainbow Billiards to shoot pool and the rest is history.
Carlin and Jacob are identical to Robert and Houston...
It is actually quite weird.. ha ha ha
They are a blast to hang out with and we love every single minute we get to spend with this trio...
NEVER any dull moments with these guys around!
As you can see in the photos
Then Stevie made her grand appearance and the group would not be the same without her. She is so genuinely sweet and has a goofy sense of humor.. so we all fit pretty well together.
Stevie and Jacob are just adorable anyways...
Sorry guys... Swiped some photos off of Facebook :)
We cannot wait until everyone can come down to the ranch together and hang out like we always do! :) I can only imagine the fun times waiting to be had! :)
Next are our friends
Andrew "Trotter" & Jenny Trotter
Trotter and the rest of the guys have been friends since high school and have just kept up with each other since then.
We are blessed with an amazing group of friends to share our lives with!
Trotter and Jenny are a blast to hang out with. Trotter is a laid back southern gentleman and Jenny is hell on wheels, outgoing, confident and fun! They compliment each other so well and are able to have a great time anywhere!
We were able to go on a cruise this year with them and had a GREAT time! We can't wait to cruise again, especially with friends.
They are a darling couple that brings happiness where ever they go.
Can't wait to vacation with ya'll again.
We love the Trotters
This Stunning Lady is
I met Faith through a mutual friend and our friendship has became a very special one. Faith and her hubby Andrew have always been great friends.
Though we probably won't see Ms. Faith much on the ranch itself, she is one of my very best friends, even from the other side of the globe.
Andrew serves our country in the United States Air Force and has been stationed in England for the next few years. So, this April they packed up and hopped on board a plane for their exciting new adventure over seas!
I will say that I miss Faith like crazy but I know that she is doing what is making her happy in life and I am so proud of the couple that have become by embracing what the armed forces had planned for them. They are taking a journey and experiencing things that most people will never get to experience.
Come to think of it, I'm a little jelly.... lol
I had the pleasure of shooting the photos for their wedding last year and am happy to share them with you guys.
It was definitely a bittersweet event for me.
I was so excited for one of my best friends to be marrying the man of her dreams but on the other hand it was a mile marker for how close they were to setting out on their journey.
Though I cannot wait for the Davis' to make their way back to South Carolina, I am so proud of them for adapting to a very different life. Also for grabbing life by the horns and truly getting to experience it.
Remember you always have a home in Pickens County!
Love you guys to pieces!
Surround yourself with
people who make you happy.
People who make you laugh,
who help you when you are in need.
People who would never take advantage of you.
People who genuinely care.
They are the ones worth keeping in your life.
Everyone else is just passing through. :)
I am proud of every single one of my friends and the goals they are reaching. I love them for the support they give us and the time we get to spend together. I find it beautiful that we are all stretched in so many directions, heading down opposite streets and yet we find the time to stay friends, even if we have to pick up where we left off 3 months ago. We have so many more friends to add as they join us on the ranch we simply wanted to cover the people you will probably see the most.
See you on Big M.
You guys are so special to us!
Once of our very best family friends, Meredith Hill & Bart Parson, tied the knot a few weekends ago.
I ended up doing the photography for the wedding and little miss Kindall was the flower girl.
We were so excited to see Meredith and Bart start their lives together and couldn't wait to get down to see them!
They just so happen to live about 20 minutes away from our new property and it was fun to get to explore the area and take in the beautiful scenery on the drive down.
Kindall and I had to be there early, for obvious reasons, and the rest of the Mize Clan followed later on.
Kindall and I spent the hour drive with the radio off and enjoying pointing out the stunning fall trees and the wide open pastures.
After a stupid moment of thought we actually started taking pictures to put up on the blog and the photos below are what came from the beautiful, breezy, sunny, fall afternoon!
Aaannndddd... We just so happen to see this little guy while we were on our way down! I just love VW buses....
Obsession talk will be in later posts, I'm sure!
Kindall snapped a few photos for me.. reminds me of my old blue Blue!
We took the time to enjoy our new area and to imagine and dream about how excited we were that a drive like this everyday was going to be ours!
All of the trees dotted the sides of the road with the stunning fall colors.
Kindall made me aware that there were a good many places where the road was lined and covered with huge, beautiful trees and made it seem like we were going through a tunnel.
We would get all excited when we saw a spot like that coming and we of course had the sunroof open to enjoy all the views...
Finally we got out of the car when we reached Meredith's and were able to enjoy their farm and land for the wedding!
Needless to say
The quaint backyard wedding had their names all over it! From the hay bales that their guests sat on, to the old Ford truck that their cake sat on. It was simply the cutest backyard wedding! Big M is very excited for Meredith and Bart and can't wait to be their neighbors (kinda) in the next few years! We are so proud of you two and can't wait to see what exciting things the good man upstairs has for you two!
Congratulations you two!
Mr. & Mrs. Bart Parson
November 2nd, 2013
Our families have been on the hunt for the right track of property for the past 2 years, trying our hardest and busting our butts to prepare ourselves to take the leap of faith, sell what we can, keep what we want, manage our budgets and own our own, as Tammy would put it, "Compound" ha ha ha
We have searched through an endless amount of tracks that were close but no cigar. We have had several deals with property fall through and of course we would all get disappointed, sad and upset.
The loss of what we thought was the perfect property over and over again had us questioning ourselves and left us confused about how we could make our situation better.
At this point we were left with a bitter taste about moving and we didn't want to have to explore unplanned avenues for starting a new chapter in our lives... no one really does when you have a plan in mind.
Let me explain.
We all live together, yes, in one house.
Each of us taking care of the others, financial problems, emotional issues, career advice, accomplishments, disappointments, tears and laughter we are all able to tackle life together, which I have come to realize is a pretty darn genius way to go through life.
Yes, there are times in our family, just like in any other family, where we could strangle each other, but for the most part we keep life on the light and happy side and focus on our goals together
and in the end, it all seems to work itself out.
With Houston and I being a young couple getting prepared to get married and start our lives as one, we knew the we would want a home of our own, a family our own, but to keep our close knit family, well, Close!
So we kept our eyes on the big picture, patiently waited, and prayed about our situation.
In the mean time of searching for property to live on, we were also searching for Hunting property. We are all avid hunters and love when Deer season hits the upstate!
At that point we were a few weeks away from the season open date.
Brian ended up calling an old business client to see if she would mind if we hunted her property.
And would you know....
During their conversation she offered the property to us to BUY. We couldn't believe it! When we weren't expecting or looking, the opportunity presented itself.
Brian told everyone when we got home that night and you could immediately feel that excitement rush over the room, hopes were brought higher than ever before and our minds got rolling on the
"What if this is it!?!?" question.
After talking ourselves down from the udder surprise and excitement, we had a talk about it, we prayed over it, had another discussion, broke open the books to see if this would financially work for us, prayed some more, had another discussion and on
October 18th, 2013
God made his entrance, placed his hand on our family and showed us the way.
This was it! It was really happening!
Below are the photos of all of us the night we signed the contract!
This was our first step to reaching our dream of owning our "Homestead" :)
So,what to do now that we have secured our new property?
Sell our current house.
Harder than it sounds, right?
Kinda scary? Yep.
But Brian has this genius phrase, not complex at all, but it makes so much sense it will definitely create the "Face-in-palm" effect. Here it is...
"Either you want it, or you don't"
simple as that
We are doing everything in our financial, faith, and determined power to make this happen. Because we want it!
So here we go. Selling our house, moving to a new town, new schools, a new area, more land, and the Good man Upstairs by our side.
With a little bit of faith, and a whole lotta' love, everything is possible!
March 7th, 1964
Paul & Patsy Mize
Started their lives together and on
March 16, 1967
I probably need to insert a photo of Papa Mize and Patsy together here. But I don't have one yet, so just use your imagination :)
Brian Mize was brought into this world: (Patsy on Right)
Mutual friends introduced Brian to Tammy Starkey in 1983.
And it was not long after that these
Highschool Sweethearts got married
August 9th, 1986
Look how precious. :)
They learn to love each other more and more everyday.
The picture below explains it all.
They are Straight Shooters that act a little crazy sometimes and don't take life to seriously.
They don't let tough times defeat them and ruin what they have built.
They are go-getters and fight for what they want, no matter how unreachable it seems
They are honest and give great advice.
They are teachers, guiders, and defenders.
After all, that is what makes them excellent role models and in-laws.
I just love that picture of Brian... ha ha ha hahhaaahahahahahahaaa
cough...cough...ahem.... moving on...
February 20th, 1991
Houston Warren Mize
Made his grand entrance into the Automotive World
11 years later on
March 6th, 2002
Kindall Marie Mize
graced us with her presence
I am the baby in my family and I believe little Miss. Kindall is the reason God didn't want me to a big sister in my own family.
He had this sweet gem waiting for me to be a big sister to. I love her like my own sisters and can remember when she was younger and often called me her "Step-Sister", which was a little difficult to explain to people when she followed that with, "You know, she dates my brother!" ha ha ha
She is strong, beautiful, brave, bright, classy, her character lights up any room, she has a great sense of humor, is goofy and is definitely a clown as times. She has a heart of gold and is my sister. I am so proud of the young lady she is becoming.
Geez, goosebumps surf over me as I am typing.
I am enthralled and blessed to watch this girl grow up.
If there is one piece of advice that I can pass along to you is:
" Promise me that you will always be braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."
-Christopher Robin (Winnie the Pooh)
Love you K!
"Look around at who God has placed in your life...
They are not there by accident..."
I believe life begins at the end of your comfort zone and that is exactly what we are doing.
We are dream chasers.
Our mission in life is to:
Be So Busy LOVING our lives that
we have no time for hate, regret or fear
We make up Big "M" ranch.
This is my extended family that aren't really in laws at all.
I like to think of them as my "in-loves"
I love each one of them for different reasons and so blessed with an amazing "extended family" that God has blessed me with.
45 acres, 1 homestead, 2 families, lots of love and a hell of a lot of fun.
No matter how white trash it sounds...
in July 2009
in a Walmart parking lot in South Carolina
I met this guy.
Like Prince Charming he rode up in his lifted
1987 Chevy Suburban aptly named "The Tank".
I mean take a gander at that thing!!! :)
He opened up his warm, goofy personality, let me sit in the driver's seat and the rest is history. To this day, I am consumed in his honor he carries for family, his drive to be successful and his genuinely compassionate character.
Almost 5 years later, I find myself writing this post with a smile from ear to ear and my soul warmed with his presence. I couldn't imagine a day not spent with HouMan.
Love you to the Moon and Back, LumberJack.
This is my GearHead (Houston Mize):
My senior prom picture below: We ended up skipping the fancy affair and went to dinner, then came home and watched Transformers :)
Best Night Ever
We are constantly on the pursuit of accomplishing things that are larger than life and giving God the glory for it all. We are so privileged to have so many amazing role models and such a large support system.
For all of those that are dying to ask the question,
"When are you guys getting married?"
We are letting God handle the perfect time. He has been pulling at our heart strings and we are just waiting for him to make the way for us to tie the knot!
Until then, we will be submerged in his plan of life for us, Love each other deeply and be thankful for the opportunities he is opening up for us.
For my very first post I figured I could introduce all of the WONDERFUL people in my life that you will hear about most often in the Big M blog.
So let's get our feet wet my Family Tree
God had a wonderful plan designed for these two sets of couples to create 2 of the best parents this girl could ever ask for. God made the way and held them to standards far greater than themselves to churn out my mom and dad. They are the root to our family, our lives and our values.
These are my grandparents.
So back in rockin' 80s this handsome gentleman (Brian Stone):
Met this Stunning woman (Sissy Stone on the left):
Sparks Flew, they hit it off and ended up tying the knot on
December 1st, 1984.
My mom and oldest sister (Natasha) were brought into the Stone clan and created the first trio of Stones :)
Look how dashing they were. Two little love doves...
2 years later they decided that 3 just wasn't enough and
Holly Merrelle Stone was born on April 10, 1986. (she might possibly kill me for using her middle name, which was provided by my oldest sister's cabbage patch doll, right on Natasha) ........
okay moving on!
From left to right: My Cousin (Kimberly) , Natasha, and the little blond is Holly Stone
My parents must liked pina coladas and getting caught in the rain because I made my grand entrance to the world 5 years later on
November 26, 1991
After many years of ups and downs, ins and outs,
we are all humble, happy and healthy
and that is more than I could
ever be blessed with for my family .
Needless to say we all look a little different now
And my sisters have added beautiful nieces and nephews and my brother-in-laws to the bunch.
Below are my sisters and brother-in-laws:
Sammy and Natasha Griffith Corey & Holly McMullen
I love these kiddos with all my heart :)
As of right now I have not had the blessing to have a child of my own but HouMan and I have some fish to fry before we tackle raising a family..
So having all these little munckins to worry about
are more than enough right now :)
There is truly nothing like family.
As I always say,
" We may not have it all together, But together we have it all."
There will forever be the ups and downs of family dynamic, but in the end, when you are taking your last breath of life, your clothes, fancy cars, brand new houses and material things won't be there to comfort you and sing,
"Amazing Grace" as you greet the good lord above, your family will. I love every single one of them for very different reasons, I love their characters, and personalities. I love the person they have enabled me to become and how they effortlessly support me to the person I have yet to be.
They are my family.
They are my rocks.
They are my support system.
They are a stunning gift from God
That I am nothing less than Thankful for.
25. Married to my High School sweet pea, Houston. We have lived in a 216 sq ft camper working on 3 years now to become as financially free as possible while building our first home ourselves on 25 Acres in the Upstate of South Carolina.