March 28-April 3, 2016
Missouri to Cincinnati, Ohio
Range of miles: 6,465-7,255
Monday: The Piper girls got right to their homeschooling day and requested to do Here To Help Learning‘s Writing Program. The Piper family began using the program back in 2014, but sadly their internet connections couldn’t play the HD films. Now with the DVD option, the Pipers are enjoying writing instruction once more. I loved seeing the girls giggle and beg for more when the lesson was done.
Later in the afternoon, the girls went to co-op. Karin arranged for me to set up a table to display HTHL products for the co-op moms. I had a few minutes to listen in on one of the classes rehearsing a musical about the story of Noah. Oh the memories it brought back. I loved our HTHL co-op days.
We kept on seeing signs all over the south advertising frozen custard. My mom raised me to never pass up a frozen treat. I just had to try it. After co-op, Karin assured me that Andy’s is the best place for frozen custard. Of course, I have nothing to compare the wonderful smooth rich flavors that I was tasting, but I had to admit, Andy’s was pretty amazing.
When our family spots a Bass Pro Shops on the road, we join in an angelic heavenly chorus that progressively gets louder. It goes something like this…..aaaah, aaAAHH, AAAAAHHH. We do it to pay respect to all things rugged that require harden muscles and outdoor toys such as bows and arrows, camping equipment, and all the other fun stuff. We entered the original Springfield, Missouri Bass Pro Shops and offered our humble song to the 500,000 square feet of rustic equipment and displays.
Not only is this sportsman/woman mecca filled with the standard Bass Pro Shops items, it also has two museums, the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum and the Archery Hall of Fame Museum. They also have a huge aquarium fish tank with an underwater diver who teaches from the tank. Let me hear all the outdoorsy homeschool moms say, “Win-win!”
One highlight for me was seeing a Girandoni air rifle like the one that was carried by Lewis and Clark. Lewis and Clark completed the three year journey from sea to shining sea without losing one man in their brigade. They did it by offering tribal leaders a special coin of peace from America’s “great chief”, President Jefferson and by demonstrating the fire power of this air rifle.
BusyGirl has just started getting into archery. She was jazzed to see so many woman making history with bows and arrows.
After our little field trip to Bass Pro Shops, we drove back to the Piper’s house and finished up the last loads of laundry and did our final packing. It was hard to leave the comfort of friendships and hospitality. Karin gave us a parting gift to keep us company. Meet Paisley, the adorable mascot of Pink Zebra home fragrance. Karin tucked a vanilla lavender scented soaked card into Paisley to help our van smell a little more like home.
We packed up the HTHL van and together with the Piper family we had one more adventure, the midweek service at Finley River Cowboy Church. We happen to hit the fifth Tuesday of the month for their all- worship and “covered dish” (pot luck) night.
We started with prayer and then dove into the array of home-cooked beans. I’m sure each legume dish was made with some cherished recipe from grandma. Crockpots were filled with various types meat and cupfuls of gravy that had been simmering all day. And of course, country fried chicken topped our plates. This was a stick-to-your-ribs kind of dinner that was sure to fuel us all the way to Cincinnati. The satisfaction of every mouthful added to the ambiance of the church decor namely, spurs, rope, trophy deer heads, and an ol’rugged cross that adorned the walls.
The dessert table was crammed with homemade treasures like lemon meringue pie, chocolate cake piled high with frosting, and fruit lost in a sea of Cool Whip. But there was one dessert that captured my southern man’s attention, the Banana Pudding with vanilla wafers. “This is how to make Banana Pudding! The vanilla wafers are perfectly saturated with the mixture,” Forrest said as he popped another spoonful in his mouth.
At that moment, I thought my marriage was in jeopardy because I’m sure if Forrest had found the lady who made it, I would be a single woman before the night was over. Good news! He chose me over the Banana Pudding! I guess I need to learn to cook with more of a southern flare. Maybe I should get one of those Pioneer Woman‘s Cookbook. She has a Basset Hound too; maybe we could be friends.
And then the music began. We rocked, tapped our toes, and clapped to old gospel songs and hymns. Johnny Cash would be proud of their style. In between the notes, my heart filled with gratitude and spilled over through my tear ducts. I love God’s people. I love the opportunities He gives us all to serve. I’m grateful for our friends the Pipers who gave refreshment to us weary travelers. I’m thankful I serve a big God who is taking care of my family. The littlest Piper asked me why I was crying. The only words I was able to form on my lips was, “I love God.”
Karin and I shared a few tears and longer-than-usual hugs in the parking lot as we said goodbye to all the Pipers. Forrest revved the HTHL engine. We rolled out of the parking lot and made a right. Cincinnati here we come! The Lord has more for us to do!
We slept peacefully that night at a truck stop in Sullivan, Missouri. Our hearts were full.
Wednesday: Sun rays penetrated the cracks in our fold-out car window shades and the sound of jake brakes on the big rigs pierced our quiet sleep. It was time to hit the road! Coffee in hand, I was ready to take on the day, and Forrest with Breakfast Essentials in hand was ready to drive to the Duke Energy Center in Cincinnati. BusyGirl buckled down with her school work. For me, the day unraveled into a vortex of looming deadlines. Being out of internet access was nice, but I paid dearly.
We crossed over the Ohio River, which is the state line between Kentucky and Ohio. Cincinnati is a beautiful city. We arrived at the convention hall about 5:00pm and set up the HTHL booth. An early set up meant we could sleep in a little on Thursday. We ate dinner and went hotel hunting. Forrest negotiated a great deal for our room. We checked in and plopped in our beds at 11:00pm.
Thursday: Head on a pillow is a wonderful way to wake up! In the morning, Forrest and I were scrambling to get additional HTHL business done before we left.
The Midwest Great Homeschool Convention opened doors at 6:00pm. We started off the evening by meeting this HTHL mom! She came by to thank us for making writing fun for her kids. Together, we did the HTHL “Pencils Up!” shout out and snapped a picture for her kids!
We arrived back to the hotel at 10:00 pm, Forrest and I were still in HTHL business scramble mode. Speaker contracts needed to be signed and scanned, notes revised and emailed to state conventions, writer contracts signed and sent, and business banking managed. The simplest business task just seems to take longer when you’re not in an office.
An opportunity has emerged for Forrest and myself. We’ve been asked by our state homeschool organization, AKA, CHEA (California) to host two workshops at their pre-conference leadership event. We are honored to be able to serve and add it to our HTHL speaking tour. We had to finalize some of the details and communicate with the event organizers.
Our head finally hit the pillow at…..1:30 am.
Friday: We were up bright and early. No time for breakfast. (Sleep trumped breakfast) However, I didn’t skip my coffee. (wink-wink!). We arrived at 8:00 am; I spoke at 8:30am. My passion for writing kicked in faster than the caffeine. So much fun! Love what I do!
One of the questions I’m often asked is, what book titles do you suggest for young readers? I have a list of titles on our website that I recommend for literature, but I don’t have a list of books for reading enjoyment.
Since we are traveling from convention to convention AND we have a camera, I decided to meet with authors, interview them, and compile the interviews into helpful video. The finished film will premiere at the end of HTHL’s tour.
At this convention, we caught up with author Shawn Lamb and her exciting story adventures. The King’s Children series is for ages 8-10, her Allon YA Fantasy series is for ages 12 and up, and don’t miss her swashbuckling historical fiction adventures for high school and adults. You can find her books at Allon Books.
Saturday: We met so many wonderful homeschool families! Homeschooling is alive and well in the midwest. Homeschoolers are some of the most passionate and dedicated people I know, and they were excited about what HTHL has to offer. This new HTHL family gave their very first “Pencils Up!” shout out right in our booth! Their little boy has the cutest smile! I’m a sucker for little kid smiles!
All good things come to an end. We packed up the HTHL booth and were ready to load. During the loading, a gust of wind (Forrest said it was about a 40-50 mph wind) whipped the back door of the van and slammed right into my left side. Ouch and OUCH! You missed your opportunity to see Mrs. Mora cry on the side of the street. My left hand went completely numb, and I felt like someone had punched me in the arm. Thankfully the numbness and pain subsided. Forrest and BusyGirl finished most of the loading. I was grateful I didn’t break any bones. Dinner at 10:00 pm and bed by 11:30 pm.
Sunday: We met Eric and Susan Knudten and their girls at the convention. Susan, a special ed teacher, attended my Finding the Pieces to the Puzzle workshop. She sat near the front row, and her smile and fabulous sense of humor caught my attention immediately. Later the whole family came by HTHL’s booth, and it wasn’t long before we were all laughing at the antics we as homeschooling families could only understand.
We joined them at First Baptist Church of Milford Ohio and worshipped with them. Oh, did I love the hymns, filled with statements of faith and inspiration! The Knudten family invited us to their home where we had a lovely home cooked meal and great fellowship. BusyGirl received two new Pinterest friends.
The rest of the day was dedicated to the usual; laundry, blogging, and vlogging. (BusyGirl is doing a wonderful job on HTHL’s vlog. Don’t forget to leave her a comment!)
This week we have the honor of being a part of the Teaching Parent Association (TPA) in Wichita, Kansas. If you are attending the TPA convention, please come by our booth. We love meeting HTHL families!
Thanks for traveling with us! It’s a pleasure sharing the journey with you!
From Our Home (On the Road) to Yours,
Follow our journey on HTHL’s Google Map (Click: HERE)
Don’t forget to keep up with the latest On the Road with HTHL YouTube Vlog: Click HERE!