Housefire and Insurance info… Since you all ask.

Because you all love us soooo much, we get lots of questions about what is happening regarding our housefire(s) and the insurance. So here is a post to give you all the info. That way you’ll all be up to date when we post about developments.

We own a 120 acre farm in southern Missouri. It doesn’t generate any money, just gives us something to do with our time and provides opportunities for learning for us and the kiddos.

Over the summer, sometime in June I think, we had a new wood-burning stove professionally installed in our living room. We knew that new stoves stink terribly for the first several fires that are in them and so sometime during the previous week Julie and I had decided that since the weather had been so nice (mid -70’s, we hadn’t closed a window in weeks) that on Sunday, Oct 23, we would build our first fire before church. That way the smell could dissipate while we were away and hopefully be gone by the time we returned.

So that morning we did just that, we started a fire in the fireplace and tended to it a bit, and left for church. When we got home we found a house full of smoke and that the chair and piano which were near the stove had burned up. We called 911 and a great group of volunteers showed up and put out hotspots remaining in the walls, ceiling, and kitchen cabinets.

For the next two weeks the entire family lived in three Quality Inn hotel rooms in West Plains, MO while we met with insurance persons, talked to fire investigators, looked for a decent rental, and just tried to keep ourselves alive. Living in a hotel with a family our size, and for that period of time, wasn’t easy on any of us. Because we couldn’t find any rentals in WP or anywhere nearby that had more than 3 bedrooms we decided we’d move across the country to stay with family in Utah until the insurance was settled and we knew what we were doing. So Julie took the kids and left while I stayed behind to meet with several contractors to get bids for repairs.

On the day I was going to leave, Nov 11, their was a second fire that consumed the rest of the house. After meeting with the fire crews and being assured there was nothing else I could do, I left for Utah late that night.

We were told by insurance that they wanted to investigate this second fire before making a decision about anything. We’ve been waiting in limbo since then. They’ve hired somebody here in Utah to come ask us questions  and we’ve turned over the few records they’ve asked for. But it’s basically been a waiting game since December. At some point we think they’ll want to talk to us again or make some other statement, which we’re ready to do at any time. But until they are ready to make some sort of decision, we just wait.

The frustrating part is just the not being able to plan the future. We thought we’d be in Utah until school was out (which would give us time to rebuild) but now we don’t know if the insurance is going to cover the house at all. So we don’t know if we should be planning a life in Missouri or if we’ll be stuck here in Utah for a lack of housing in MO. We don’t know where the kids will be for school next year, or where they should be planning summer camps, or what to do with the animals that others are so generously taking care of for us. We can’t even tell those who are helping us out when their help might no longer be required.

We’re just frustrated.

So if you are one of those helping us out, please know we love and appreciate you! We’re doing our best, and are trying to be a light burden! Trust us, as soon as we know what is happening, so will you. And now, when we do let you know of any changes that have taken place, you’ll be up to date.

Just keep running, just keep running, running running

Couch High School back in Missouri didn’t have a running track.  That is one of the features we are taking advantage of during our stay here in Utah.   We’ve also gotten us a family pass to the Rec Center.

As a family we’ve been using either the High School track or the indoor track at the Rec Center on a fairly consistent basis.  We’ve tried to get to one or the other twice a week for “training” and then again on Saturday for “evaluation”.

For “training” we’ve done a number of different things.  One of those was 15-30’s.   After stretching everyone (except me – I can’t run anymore) alternates between 15 seconds of an all-out sprint, and 30 seconds of a light jog.   About 10 minutes of this is about a much as any of them can handle.  It is meant to help build stamina for high speeds (If alone a reasonably close alternative is to sprint the straight away’s and jog the curves).

Another one that everyone seems to like is Catepillar.   We let Julie (our weakest runner) set a nice easy jogging pace.  They continue at this pace for a stretch to let everyone get the feel for it and get into a comfortable stride.   When Julie thinks that has happened she passes a baton that she is carrying to the person behind her.  That person passes it back, and so forth, until it reaches the last person.   When the last person gets it they then sprint to the front of the line, assume the jogging pace, and pass the baton back.

The pace tends to be a little slow for Joshua (our strongest runner) but it keeps everyone together as a group.  Because of the group it becomes easy (fun even?) to run farther than any individual would do on their own.   So this one we run for 2 full miles and even Nikki (6) can go that long.   The group encouragement is always there, and the negative self talk is eliminated telling her (and everyone else!) that they need to stop.  This might be our favorite training game.

For our “evaluation” we use the indoor track at the Rec Center.  Rather than time how fast they can run a certain distance, we track how far they can run in a 12 minute timespan.    I choose this because that we some don’t finish and then sit around waiting for the rest, but everyone finishes at the same time.  We’ve only been doing this for about 4 weeks, but it is amazing how much everyone has improved in that short time.  They have all gotten better at pacing, breathing, and have inceased stamina.  I think they’ve all found greater confidence in seeing how they can do hard things and by seeing the improvement they’ve made.

For our running on Monday evening we went to the track at the high school.  The track has some good sized bleachers on each side (home and visitor).  Each set of bleachers has 4 sets of stairs with handrails.  Today’s running was perhaps everyone’s least favorite.  4 times around the track and going up each set of stairs and then down the same set.   Each lap had 8 sets of stairs.

This wasn’t timed, and everyone was told to stop if they felt their legs were too tired to safely come down a set of stairs.  Joshua found this exercise quite easy.  He basically ran the entire 4 laps with stairs.  Kristie and Charlee were little machines who just never stopped even though they were much slower than their brother.  Julie finished 4 laps too.  Caitlin and Nikki did 3 full laps and Andrew did 2.  I was very impressed with every one of them.  They just kept going, and even though it was hard, they knew they could do more… they didn’t quit just because it was hard to do.

I wish I could do the same.

All I can say, is that my family is awesome and I love every one of them!


Hi, I’m Josh. I love to play sports. I cant remember a time when I was not playing sports. I used to be a big baseball fan until the season ended and I started basketball. Since then, I have been a die hard fan. I love to go to the Rec Center and play with my dad. I am a fairly good player, I would say. My favorite NBA team is the Golden State Warriors. it would be the thunder if they did not foul so much. I LOVE to watch basketball with my dad. We will go to the movie room and watch each game we have recorded. My shot is pretty good and my ball handling is kind of good (it is improving a lot). I am 5’6 so I’m pretty tall for twelve. That helps my game a lot. I am a very good defender and a great laugh. I am thankful my dad for all the ways he helps my game improve. He has a great effect on that. SPORTS ARE THE BEST!!!

Learning to Blog

As with all adventures, I find myself facing a whole lot of things that I know nothing about.  I’m sure that doesn’t surprise most of you.

As fantastic as I think it might be to document all the goings-on we have, such as the research I’m doing or the plans we make, I’m not sure I’m necessarily eager to share to much personal info.  While I doubt many strangers will follow along, there are a great many things that I am just not comfortable sharing about myself (especially regarding my health).   So we’ll play this by ear and see how it goes.

Today’s step toward boating was learning how to set up this blog site.  I have never done a blog before, nor has Julie, and so this has been quite educational.  I don’t know where to put the credit for the inspiration for starting this.  Perhaps it was divinely inspired (though I doubt HE cares), perhaps a memory prompted it, or maybe some subconscious vanity required me to seek the attention (let’s just agree to not acknowledge this one though, okay?).

I have no aspirations for this blog other than to keep people informed of where we are and what we are doing.   Even if we just end up back on the farm in MO, life there was filled with adventure and learning.   And while Facebook is a fine format, I thought something a little nicer (more formal ?) for sharing those adventures might be nice.

Julie and I talked over the idea and last night concluded (after not much consideration to be honest) that we liked the idea.  So today I jumped right in.   Just about all the credit goes for helping me get this up and running belongs to Amy Lynn Andrews from  She gave very easy to follow steps, including screen grabs, of how to make this happen.

On the off chance that we find a fantastic life full of adventure on the high-seas AND that we can capture that excitement on our blog, it is possible to make a little money by blogging.  And not wanting to waste the (very slight) chance we decided against a free blog that offers hosting but they keep all the profits from ads and such.  So we had to find a good hosting site.

It didn’t take too many web article to find out that BlueHost is the place to go for that.  If you are willing to make a 3 year commitment BlueHost will host your blog for $70 per year.   That is not pocket change for me, but seemed to be just about right to 1) not have me abandon the project, and 2) not bankrupt me either.  It felt like it was a happy medium between the two.  If it was free (or near to it) it would be easy to just stop.   Much more though and it would have felt prohibitive.

So after establishing an account at BlueHost (about a 10 minute process) we were next establishing one with  By all accounts WordPress is the premier blog creation software/site.  It was very easy to set up and finding advice for how to manage the blog is easy to find (I’m yet to determine if that advice is good).  I took much of my advice from the aforementioned Amy Lynn Andrews.

I’m know that there are things I don’t know.  I’m sure there are many things that I don’t know that I don’t know.  Hopefully that will come with time.

I’d say the process to get to this point (a blogsite that I can make posts on) was fairly easy.  If you’ve got a passion that you want to talk to the world about, but are hesitant about your computer skills, I say GO FOR IT!  It is simple to learn, and surprisingly exciting.




“I’m Going On An Adventure!”

Most people I know have seen the movie The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.   I smile ear to ear watching Bilbo Baggins run from his hobbit hole, coat tails flapping behind him, and a look of exuberance on his face as he runs to catch up to his dwarf companions.  A bystander asks him where he is going, to which he joyfully replies, “I’m going on an adventure!” as he gallops headfirst into the unknown.

That scene encapsulates what we’re going through now.  The Jensen family is contemplating ‘going on an adventure’ of our own.  Because of our current homelessness we’ve been discussing all sorts of potential housing options.  Most of these include the ordinary home with bedrooms, bathrooms, and a yard.  Others don’t.  The one that is striking us with the most electric-like excitement right now is living on a boat.

None of us are seafarers.  None of us have ever sailed before.   I’m pretty sure we’re all susceptible to seasickness.  So maybe we’re enjoyably “suffering” from delusions of grandeur, but we’re seriously thinking of this; of finding a boat/ship large enough for a family of 10 and spending a year or more living on it, sailing/motoring around the seas, and experiencing new things that this big beautiful world has to offer.

Would we like it to happen?  Absolutely!  Will it happen?  No idea!

We may do our research, look at our resources, listen to advice, and then land back on our 120 acre farm in Missouri.  Or maybe someplace else.   But we thought it would be nice for family, friends, and others, if we were to document what we are doing and learning, share with you our obstacles and decision making, and (if this dream is realized) give you a way to track where we are and what adventures we are on.

But whether we end up on a boat or not, the journey to learn what we would need to learn and decide what needs deciding WILL be an adventure.

And we invite you to come along with us!