The Covered Wagon

When I was a little girl, I dreamed a dream. That one day, I would be a pioneer. Adventure, blazing new trails, taking risks. Pioneering to new frontiers. Going where no one had gone before.

Never in my dreams, did I ever think it would take me to this moment in my life. And here we are. About to pioneer out west.

My childhood hero Laura Ingalls Wilder, author and pioneer of a life once lived in the pioneering days has inspired me my whole life. Never did I think my childhood obsession  would inspire me at this moment in time.

Truth is, I’m deprived by sleep, exhausted, and the emotional war going on in my head over the details of what is yet to come consumes me.

It was evident  a few weeks ago, that as soon as we got back to Wisconsin from California with a strong solid diagnosis of a rare disease called SSCD, that the Midwest medical system and our health insurance were not willing to accept this.

I have never considered myself a quitter. But there are times in life when you are fighting the same losing battle, and a decision has to be made. With only a few weeks to plan everything, spending time fighting an exhausting battle that was getting us no where, I knew it was time. To abandon ship.

And that’s exactly what we did. We abandoned ship.

There was no way we were going to get insurance to cross the state lines or the country for that matter. The doctors within network refused to own up to their misdiagnosis, helping us with insurance. What shouldn’t be complicated became a greater web of sticky details draining the life right out of us.

We have no choice. If Derek is going to have these surgeries to attempt restoration of his life, we have to move to California to get insurance.

The surgeons confidence in Derek’s diagnosis and the beautiful miraculous way we have been led to them, draws us towards them.

In the past two weeks, we prayed, wracked our brains what was the best scenario to go about this. With very little time and decisions needed to be made quickly, this was what we came up with.

The best solution seemed to purchase a fifth wheel that we could live full time out of. We sold our older camper, as it didn’t equip our needs for Derek. Bought a new one. I have an office, school, and hospital now all in one mobile trailer.

A 21st century version of the covered wagon.


We will call this…. our Miracle Machine.

Thank you Freedom RV out of Slinger Wisconsin. Kevin who worked hard to make this happen so quickly became another piece to this unfolding miracle. He was amazing to work with and his kindness will always be remembered, along with the amazing way we were treated at Freedom RV.

We moved out of where we lived for the past four months. Rich and Ann, there are no words to express our love and thanks to you for opening your hearts and home to us. It was emotional to leave. For it was the night we moved into their home, Dec. 7th, this very miracle began to unfold. Thank you for taking the leap of faith and allowing us to live with you. It gave us the freedom to dive into this journey and find answers. Forever grateful for the two of you. You humbled us to want to pay it forward one day.

When I was little, I always wanted to grow up, to be just like Rich and Ann.

Growing up next to these two amazing individuals, I was always inspired by them. Funny how somethings never change.

Rich and Ann, YOU inspire us.



We moved into a small one bedroom apartment by Alex, so that Whitney will have a place to live when she is home from college and the girls can be by each other.

Then there were all the details that come along with a huge move. The difference for us was these details are senseless. Derek is sick.  We should not have to do all this. Our lives are completely centered around getting Derek’s health insurance.

Closing bank accounts, dealing with car insurance. Switching our cell phones over to a new a plan because our service won’t work in California.  This task alone was a nightmare.  Digging out of storage, to sort what comes with and what is left behind. Only to discover mice got into what we had left. The list goes on and on. These were the moments, our heads were spinning.

Our things were in several locations. There were days where I would drive to  one place to get the wrong thing and forget where I was even driving back too.

Our truck needed repair work. Pretty important as I don’t want to be stranded with a sick husband, son and dog with the only home we have on the side of the interstate. Thousands of dollars felt like they were sifting out of our hands. Left and right. When we picked up the truck, it was fixed incorrectly. Third time is a charm  right?  We pray the third auto shop repair finally fixed what was wrong.

These were those moments. The hair pulling, nail biting, pure frustration moments. Anger surfaced. Rage. Which leads to feeling sorry for yourself. And that darn ‘f’ word appeared.   F E A R.

Gavin should be getting confirmed in a few weeks, playing soccer and hanging out with friends. Attending 8th grade graduation.  Instead, he’s missing out on all this.

Whitney will be coming home from college. A time that would normally be exciting as our time is so limited with her. Spending time with our growing family, watching our granddaughter learn new things every day will be sorely missed. For she is the joy of our life.  Now  we will be states away, the very thought breaks our hearts.

There has been no time to process the big surgeries that lay before Derek. What to expect for recovery. Being so far away from our daughters. Our heads began to spin out of control.

The approaching  FUN events that are about to happen began to fast forward in my mind. Weddings, graduations, birthday parties, back yard parties.   Our beautiful life has been ripped out from us.  All this seemed unfair as we moved into a small apartment, and a camper.  We haven’t even had time to process any of this. The details were overwhelming.

I wanted to stop writing. Isolate myself. Drown in my own pity pool.

And then, as the details that seemed harsh, draining, and consuming,  something else happened.

The season of Easter.scarletteaster

The season of renewed hope.

And that’s when it hit me.

The spirit of fear had tried to creep back into our lives. Clouding our judgement. Consuming our thoughts. Covering up truth.

You see, Easter exposed the truth. There IS life after death. The greatest miracle was Jesus rising from the grave. Conquering all sin.

Just for me. Just for you.

Like a brick hitting me between the eyes, I knew that when we keep our eyes on Jesus, none of the details even matter.

Fear cannot coexist with FAITH.  You cannot let fear forecast your future.

Not mice getting into my possessions. Not all the time wasting details. Not all the loss and suffering. Not all the unfair and injustice that is happening in our society. Not even a rare disease that leaves holes in your skull.

Watching our granddaughter dance on Easter Sunday, renewed me with the greatest joy and peace there is.  The promise, of the greatest gift  that has already been given to us.

The  ultimate life.

The kind of life that awaits us all. And I was about to become so clouded in fear that I almost missed the real treasure right before us.


My blinded eyes, could see once again.

The spirit of fear, just got a boot kicked up his hinder.

At our church, Abiding Shepherd in Cottage Grove, Wisconsin, we attended a support group for families with chronic illness. Listening to other families suffering, the reassurance that we weren’t alone was beautiful. These wonderful people have become our dear friends. The strength of faith these families had, poured into us.

They inspired us.

When our pastor asked me the question at the support group, why I began to write a few years ago, that question submerged a deep reflection that I instantly knew the answer to.

I began to write publically, for our children.

To encourage them when adversity strikes, you rise up. Reflection made me review how I wanted to be an example to them, that hardships are not to be ashamed of. Instead, they are meant to be handed over to our Savior. To free us for once and for all. Breaking the bondage of chains that hold us back.

Even when life didn’t make sense, to TRUST in Him.

That’s why I started to write.


Our son Gavin, instead of focusing on what he has given up, is thrilled to live out of camper and cross the country with his best friend, Snickerdoodle. To chase after his Dad’s miracle. His enthusiasm and spirit are pouring into Derek and I.

Whitney and Alex, have grown into such independent beautiful young women. At young ages, they have taken ownership to their lives. Strong. Bold. Standing up for their values. When I’m around them, they empower me. You know when it is time to pass on the torch when you have given all you have, and they are now stronger than you.

Our children and family INSPIRE us.

Our team we work with, are brilliant, educated, humbled and gifted individuals. They are amazing at what they do, and do it all on there own. To work with such talent is a dream come true for Derek and I. They are our normal. To talk with this dedicated team is an honor and privilege and I will continue to coach, mentor, work along their side and learn from them. They humble us.

They INSPIRE us.

To our prayer warriors. You never stopped praying with me. Thank you. Even when so many thought we were crazy to travel around the country seeking answers, you never stopped believing with us. We are humbled by your example of faith.

You inspire us.

Then there is the great examples of amazing people that are warriors themselves. Fighting there own battles. Aunt Gail, you have poured your brave warrior mindset into Derek. You have taught us all to fight the good fight, and never lose sight of faith. To find joy even in the eye of the storm.

Aunt Gail, YOU INSPIRE us.

The message of Easter, renewed us, for the next great journey that lies ahead of us.

The covered wagon is packed. We plan to travel across the country slow and steady the next several days. It’s too hard on Derek to drive long distances. Instead we plan on stopping and seeing loved ones along the way, and taking each day as it comes. Enjoying every moment.

This entire journey has pushed us to face so many fears. Just about every dark boogie man type of fear that were hidden deep within have been faced head on. Didn’t realize this at the time, but looking hindsight that is just another miracle that has come out of this ordeal.

Squashing fear.

I’m ready to take the next big leap of faith and drive this beast of a trailer on the road.  All I can say is, “Jesus, take the wheel!”

I don’t think anyone is ever  fully prepared for an adventure like this. Instead of drowning in the details, we are fueled and ready as we will ever be from all the words of encouragement, love and support from all of you. You all make us better.

You inspired us.

We WILL see you all again.

When our own children ask, “How long will you be gone?”

Our only answer is, “We will be gone as long as it takes. But we will be back.”

Our time has come. To journey towards the light of this miracle. The very miracle we have all prayed for so long. To share and witness this unfolding miracle, pouring hope, love and faith into all those around us.

And to be the pioneers we have always been destined to be.

There is no doubt anymore, my entire childhood prepared me for this moment.

Join us on this venture as we will continue to blog and write the adventures that wait.

For the journey continues.


Sarah Hein the Pioneer






2 thoughts on “The Covered Wagon”

  1. Sarah,

    You are welcome to stay in Topeka KS at our home as you travel west if needed. We have 3 bedrooms in our basement to house you with a living area. Let me know if you are traveling on I-70

    Regina Brown

    Automation Controls, Inc.


  2. Sarah & Derek-Your family’s story of love, faith & courage inspire me. You are an amazing writer, Sarah, and are so much more insightful than anyone else I know. Thank you for the chance to be a small part of your “unfolding miracle”. Prayers for strength & improved health will follow you on your journey. We love you all! ❤️


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