Thursday, July 17, 2014

One from the road

The stories from the last year. Some fill my journal.  Some simply fill my heart. Some have taught us more love and compassion while others have simply made it pretty clear that this is our journey. Just the word hospital grips my heart these days. Not in some kind of fear ...maybe it's more of a why have you led us this far if....and then I focus on what God has called us to do. Back in the spring when my mom was admitted the 1st time ( we are at 4 now...admits and releases to and from the hospital) Frank called from Florida and the conversation went like this...

Frank "I think I was offered a job in Alabama today"

Me "what!?" Pause. "Where? "

Frank " somewhere in Alabama. This gentleman offered me a 1/2 million dollar house"

Me "seriously?"

Frank "yes. Seriously"

Me "what's the catch?"

Frank " he wants me to be the youth pastor at his church, but I don't think that's a catch"

We prayed about it for several days and God told both of us the same thing....

Yes. We could have had an eternal impact on the lives of the people in that church. But honestly, we can impact many more traveling.  This has not been the easier path in so many ways, but it is the right one... maybe not for you...but for us.

When you homeschool people feel the need to tell you their (sometimes limited by the media) view of homeschooling. 
When you have 7 children they tend to feel the need to ask if we own a tv ( and many other crude ways to say you have too many children)
We have been told straight out that we are ruining our children's lives ( feel free to ask them if they like our lifestyle)
When you tell people you sold your home .... ( yeah... more interesting comments)
When people learn that my husband was not only a skilled Marine but has a degree people feel the need to tell him what kind of job he should get ( honestly,  I think they are jealous because they didn't retire at 38 like he did)

Or when you tell people your mom bought an RV and will be traveling with you.... guess what? More (maybe even,  well intended) advice.

We are doing what God is calling us to do. And maybe it seems crazy (to you) that we have 7 kids... that we enjoy roadschooling....that we would turn down higher paying jobs so we can have the freedom to be missionaries. ..yes. in America's campgrounds.... even if it seems strange ( to you) that we are enjoying this nomadic life...and that we choose this life....and that we have considered ( in vivid detail) the blessings, hurdles and challenges that adding my mom to the mix could bring (and that, fyi, we invited my father-in-law along last August after Frank's mom died...he turned us down)

Please know we trust that God will guide our steps and prepare our hearts for what lies ahead.

We simply pray that we stay out of God's way and continually put His will above our own. But you know the craziest thing? We love our life...look forward to meeting new people and reconnecting with treasured friends. As long as our family is on the adventure of a lifetime ... we will try and enjoy the steps ( ok miles) of the journey. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

1 year Nomadiversary

It's hard to believe we have been on the road a year already. Time has blown by it seems. There were moments..hard moments..when it felt like it was standing still...but in reality... it has gone by too quickly. There was SO much more we thought we would do.. more to see... more people to reach a
and yet there are some VERY BIG changes underway for Narrow Road Schoolers

Here are just a few of the highlights from the last year

Sequoia. This part of the trip was hard because we were such newbies but we loved seeing God's incredible majesty  and loved all the amazing swimming holes. we got to see the world's largest tree

Yosemite . wow. just wow. I definitely want to go back here again and again. Yosemite really taught us how to "camp"  It stretched us and drew us closer as a family... and it was incredible being able to hike and play in such an incredible place. Hiking to the top of sentinnel truly feel like you are ON top of the world.

Salt Lake City... The locals don't swim in the great salt lake... or ..well.. float... but we did. Also our time at the capitol building and down at Temple Square was fantastic. Learning diversity and what others believe is very important for our faith.

Rochester NY ... while the reason we headed to Rochester is bittersweet with the death of Frank's mom .we had not been able to visit in 8 years. It was a blessing to be able to stay 6 weeks and catch up with his dad and sisters, my Aunt and many friends. While we don't really know when another trip anywhere is in our future (God directs our steps) we really did enjoy some much needed family time

Niagara Falls ... we snuck away for a chance to visit Niagara Falls on the American side. It's another one of those places that takes your breath away.... and even though it was chilly & drizzly it was a good day.

Letchworth State Park ... as we headed south from Rochester we stopped to catch up with a facebook friend... and do some hiking in this beautiful place.

 Hershey PA.... what's not to love about a place where the air you breathe smells like chocolate? The oldest 2 boys got to design their custom candy bar and we toured the Hershey factory.

Lancaster PA ..the heart of Amish country and a place to see old friends. We got to visit with a special family that probably sparked this journey long before we even knew it. They were traveling RV missionaries as they travelled the US almost 6 years earlier. They have 7 kids .. one of which is so special to us that our 6th child bears his name. Ironically enough he is their 6th child too. We got to spend time with him and his family and even take them to Harvest America in Philadelphia.

Cape May... and NJ were super special stops. some of my kids saw the Atlantic Ocean for the very 1st time. Judah screamed with delight as we walked toward the water. I also got to see a high school friend that I love! Our girls hit it off and we got to visit the Cape May zoo with them. She has been an instrumental part in our jamberry business as she is the one that introduced us to jamberrys. I am thrilled to be a part of her team and blessed to call her my friend... on top of that her family is pretty amazing too!

Washington DC as we travelled south we stopped at our nations Capitol for a week. Fortunate to be retired military we had an affordable military campground on Andrews Joint base. our 4 days in the Capitol were a whirlwind and we look forward to going back sometime and seeing more that we simply did not have time to see

Williamsburg  wasn't even planned. We went to Chesapeake VA for several weeks and handed out over 60 gospel bracelets to trick or treaters on a campground. a week later Hezekiah was bit by a dog and that changed many of what we thought were our plans... Williamsburg was considerably closer to Norfolk where the children's hospital was. There we met our very first of many full time families. We loved getting to know them and cherish the new friendships we have formed. Williamsburg was fun... we were able to tour downtown Williamsburg and historic Jamestowne. One of the many things I love about living on the road full time is how history comes alive on the road.

Florida. We spent over 4 months in Florida ... and met a BUNCH of AMAZING people. Honestly too many to list individually...but SO many of which have impacted us and become dear friends. We also got to see the best and worst in RV'ers as we met quite a few that didn't love children in their campgrounds... yet so many LOVED our family and took them in. We met people in every walk of life. From snowbirds to people that stayed in local parks once their full time days had come to an end. We ate tacos for Christmas and didn't bake.. and strangely that was ok. This Florida family adopted my husband and children when I had to go back to California for 2 months to care for my mom who became very ill very fast. I am thankful for the time with my mom this year. Near the end of our visit we decided she would be joining us on the road when we were able to head back to California to get her. Many of you rallied and helped us get back here and for that we are forever grateful. We look forward to a time when we will see many of our Florida friends again. We did not get to see so much we hoped to see in Florida to include friends we couldn't make it to see... this time.

Tuscon & Sedona.... the world's best roadschool convention. A whirlwind week filled with ideas, good friends and job opportunities. We also were able to visit Tombstone, Saguaro National Forest and I got to see an old friend..who now has a family of her own. Sedona was incredible... and we loved the many bonfires and time with some of our FTF friends .. we were also able to go to slide rock and ride an amazing natural water slide with some of the most exhilarating water yet!

Joshua Tree National Park... on a full moon. with my daughter and my mom. our family back together. a few nights that I will forever cherish even though so much has already changed since that weekend in June.

Honestly ... I don't really know what this year holds yet. Only God does. Our daughter is on the fence about coming now. and while that equation hangs in the balance. My mom However will be joining our journey. A few months ago we bought her a small older motorhome (a 1979 Itasca) and she will be joining us in late July.... right now we are preparing her home ...which thankfully is a rental.. and getting her ready to go..and we even have a green light from doctors. I am excited for her. I know she has NEVER camped a day in her life.. well until July when we took her to JTNP. But I do believe it is a great way for her to come and LIVE. And since she is still young I think coming on the road will keep her active and maybe even healthier.... not to mention she can enjoy her family because she will hopefully be located in whatever park where we she can love on and spoil her grand kids with cookies AND send them back home to me.