June 5, 2016-June 12, 2016
Winston-Salem, North Carolina-Richmond, Virginia
Range of miles: 17,360-18,714
Sing with me!
“This is the way we wash our clothes,
We wash our clothes, we wash our clothes.
This is the way we wash our clothes,
So early Monday morning.” stanza from Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush
Yup! It was Laundry Day again for Team HTHL and Oil Changing Day for the HTHL van. We completed both chores in a tiny town in North Carolina.
In the afternoon, we visited one our vendors, The Homeschool Gathering Place. Owner Julia Harris and her team of eleven eager-to-help homeschool moms have hearts for homeschoolers! Their expert advice encourages and leads the next generation of homeschoolers. Julia’s store serves thousands of families in North Carolina.
We didn’t know it, but we arrived on a very special day! Thirty-five years ago, Julia and her husband opened The Homeschool Gathering Place! What a testimony to their dedication as business owners and God’s faithfulness. Sometimes Julia is asked for advice regarding how to start a homeschool supply store. Her answer? “First, make sure God is calling you!” That’s wise advice for all of us!
The next leg of our journey seemed like a hop, skip, and a jump compared to most of our travels. We eased down the road a mere 250 miles, and we arrived in Virginia Beach. We parked at a Walmart, and snuggled into our sleeping bags. Our nighttime slumber was interrupted by seven, yes count them, seven fire engine sirens. Apparently, Team HTHL completely missed the fact that behind the Walmart parking structure resides the home of Virginia Beach’s Fire Department. To those of you who live in Virginia Beach, if you didn’t already know it….your fire department relentlessly serves you…. all. night. long!
Virginia Beach is also the home of Moore Expressions. We met the owner, Cherrie Moore, and she showed us around her 4,000 square foot homeschool supply store that carries both new and used homeschool resources.
In 1987, Cherrie, as a single-parent homeschooler opened Moore Expressions with a just few used math books, God’s direction, and His blessing. Today, 29 years later, her team, lovingly named the Curriculum Doctors, are ready to listen and prescribe a curriculum for whatever learning challenge your child presents.
We said goodbye to Cherrie and got back in the HTHL van. The doors of the van barely slid shut, and we could visibly see BusyGirl trembling with excitement. Our next stop? Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.
My colonial loving BusyGirl has patiently waited for this part of the trip since we began. We stepped back in time before America was born.
The sounds of fife and drum, the smell of horse-drawn carriages, and the taste of Shepherd’s Pie heightened our time travel experience.
On the streets of Williamsburg, actors and actresses replayed history before our eyes offering us as spectators many points of view of the time.
Through their thespian skills and knowledge of history, the tension of America’s birth pains rhythmically unfolded throughout the day. In the final moments of travail, George Washington gave a rousing speech before the commencement of the Battle of Yorktown. He outlined the reasons why each citizen should join the fray and summed it all up with his closing sentence, “We aim to stop the tyranny of England.”
I loved walking through the tidy gardens and couldn’t help but compare my America to Colonial America. We, Americans haven’t changed much. We want a pleasant place to grow our families and the freedom to worship and serve in peace. We want our leaders to possess enough strength of character that will enable them to lead with fairness and justice.
My thoughts went to our 2016 choices for president. I wondered what kind of input our founding fathers would give to the candidates and us.
We listened to Patrick Henry (an actor on stage) deliver an amazing monologue about the events that led to the Revolutionary War. His passion for a free America led him to declare, “Give me liberty or give me death.” I wondered what he would say to the presidential candidates.
My musings lead me to picture our forefathers sitting across the table with the present day American teenager named “We the People”. I’m not sure who would speak first, Washington, Franklin, Adams, or Jefferson. I’m not sure how they would approach the emerging young adult who sees little value for ancient things like character, morals, duty, and faith in God.
The unfurling portrait in my mind faded and left me with anticipation. Will “We the People” listen to the wisdom learned from the past or will “We the People” persist in the ways of foolish nations and become nothing more than a name in a history book.
I began to pray.
The next morning, BusyGirl could not resist donning her colonial outfit. I love watching BusyGirl’s passion for history. Together, we munched blueberry muffins on the Governor’s Green.
BusyGirl was delighted that George Washington interrupted our morning meal!
As we walked through the exhibits and trade shops, BusyGirl cited the details of colonial life and gleaned new information from the craftsmen as they demonstrated long forgotten vocations.
BusyGirl also was on another mission. Her distant dream is to work at Colonial Williamsburg, and she knows dreams require planning. She asked tradesmen and employees for advice about types of college degrees and practical experience she should need to include on her resume.
Nothing blesses my heart as a mom like watching my daughter’s passions turn into her career as she allows the Master Potter to shape her. I see her stretch, struggle, and trust as she morphs into adulthood. I’m so proud of her!
Later that evening, we enjoyed the company of Forrest’s cousins, Joe and Sheila. Forrest hadn’t seen his cousins for years, and we loved renewing family ties with both of them. I love how miles and gaps of time quickly shorten even with just one meal.
Meanwhile back in California, Eagle’s Nest Homeschool Supply, one of HTHL’s west coast vendors, was at the Sacramento Christian Organization of Parent Educators (SCOPE Conference) selling HTHL’s Writing Program. The Eschen Brothers and their wives love HTHL and use it to deliver local classes to homeschoolers. They sent me this pic to post!
On the east coast, Team HTHL set up for the Home Educators Association of Virginia (HEAV). The doors opened at 5:00 pm and thousands of homeschoolers filled the halls.
This lovely lady (pictured below) brought her whole HTHL Writing Notebook and portfolio! What a joy to see this young girl blossom in her writing. Her mom told the ladies at our booth who were considering HTHL’s Writing Program, “We tried them all! Here to Help Learning‘s Writing Program is like no other. Look at my daughter’s writing projects!”
The HEAV Leadership really take care of their vendors! They provided man-power for set-up and tear- down, a pizza dinner for the first night, breakfast and lunch on Friday and Saturday. And Team HTHL appreciated all of their kindness!
This young man (pictured below) is also a HTHL student and budding author. He started with HTHL last year and can’t wait for next year’s writing projects.
The HEAV convention came to a close at 5:30 pm. We packed up our booth and said goodbye to our east coast vendor friends. We ate a Chick-fil-A sandwich with our vendor friend Brenda from Artistic Pursuits. After we dropped had her off at her hotel, we set our GPS for Ontario, California. This would be the longest leg of our journey!
Our stops had to be quick if we were going to make it to the west coast for the Great Homeschool Convention. We listened to the Brinkman Adventures Audio Drama about a missionary couple who had to learn to trust God with their finances. It was very inspiring and especially applicable for us!
Just before lunch, we heard the news of the Orlando Shooting. We watched the details unfold on the TV at McDonald’s. The horror moved us to pray for all those involved all day.
I pondered. We all respond the same to tragedy. After a time of shock, denial, and blame, we cry from a child-like place in our souls that we need a Savior, someone to put a stop to evil. Some may put their hope in a new law, or new ideology, or new leader. It’s an empty hope. History proves it. My only hope is Jesus. I can count on His love, His grace, and His truth and allow him to forge His character in me.
Our constitution counts on people doing the right thing.
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people”. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”– John Adams
My prayer: Lord, may we lead by example. May others see our tears and bended knee before a God who loves us all and offers His forgiveness in the face of a fallen world. May we honor you as we grow up to be like you.
“so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,” Ephesians 4:14-15
I’m doing a lot more praying these days. I have a lot more growing up to do. We all do.
From Our Home (On the Road) to Yours,
Thanks for joining us! Next stop? Great Homeschool Convention, Ontario California June 16-18, 2016
Beth’s Speaking Schedule:
Thursday, June 16: Treating 3:30-4:30 Treating Allergies to Writing
Friday, June 17 11:30-12:30 Finding Pieces to the Puzzle (Focus: Special Needs)
Follow our journey on HTHL’s Google Map (Click: HERE)