April 24- May 1, 2016
Duluth, Minnesota- Indianapolis, Indiana
Range of miles: 9,982-11,724
Green Indiana farmlands were quickly turning into industry and commerce. As we approached the city of Indianapolis, the thought of staying in another hotel room was less than appealing. Team HTHL longed for some outside time. We found a KOA (Campground of America) 12 miles from where the IAHE Homeschool Convention was to take place and rented one of their camping cabins.
This cute little 12’x12′ log cabin became home. Forrest whistled as he rummaged through the outlying brush for firewood. BusyGirl happily exchanged her HTHL T-shirt for her colonial dress and hoop skirt. I unpacked our camping supplies and set up a little camping kitchen while humming. Team HTHL’s disposition had quickly shifted.
The campground was pretty empty. In fact, we were the only cabin-dwellers for most of our stay which kept the public bathrooms and showers available to us without having to wait our turn. The manager even allowed us to set up HTHL’s office and BusyGirl’s school in the recreational hall. It sure made it much easier to get things crossed off of the never ending HTHL task list.
It was simply nice to breathe fresh air, awaken to the sounds of birds chirping in the morning, and to be lulled to sleep by the sound of croaking frogs. Meals became cheaper and more satisfying.
Nightly, Busygirl rode her bike and Forrest and I strolled through the campground. It’s strange; even though Forrest and I have been traveling together, we hadn’t had one of those heart-to-heart talks for some time. We made our way down the road, over the bridge, through the RV section, over another bridge, and then past the barn to our cabin. We would look at each other, and nod in agreement to do another lap, and then another. I’m so blessed to be married to my best friend.
BusyGirl made two new friends, Rain and Fred, the friendliest horses I’ve ever met. Rain has beautiful black hair, and Fred has chestnut colored hair. They were more like puppies than horses and commanded attention with a snort or whinny every time we came close to their stable.
In the morning, we finished up some last minute HTHL business. After lunch, we made our way to the Indiana State Fairgrounds to set up for the IAHE Homeschool Convention.
When we arrived, the convention was already buzzing with vendors and leaders attending to the final details before the guests arrived. State conventions have very few paid staff members; they are volunteer driven. Volunteers donate countless hours to planning and implementing the plan. Vendors pack their products and travel from near and far to give homeschool families the opportunity to evaluate curriculum and ask questions. Both are partners in encouraging and helping each homeschool family succeed.
With eight conventions under our belts, our booth set-up has a smooth easy-going rhythm. We had plenty of time to spare to meet convention leaders and talk to vendor friends.
6:00 am is darker and colder when you have to venture from a warm sleeping bag in a cabin to a public restroom about 100 feet away. We braved the morning dampness and got ready for day one of the convention. While we were in the restroom, BusyGirl and I spied used paper towels being thrown up and out of the wastepaper basket. When we realized a little critter was the culprit, we squealed and ran to our cabin. We didn’t stay to identify the species.
Convention doors opened promptly at 8:00 am. We handed out smiles and encouragement to the homeschool families of Indiana, and welcomed the excitement about HTHL and our products!
I talked to a lot of first-time homeschooling moms. One mom was so overwhelmed with prices, she had tears in her eyes. My heart broke; I was that mom 20 years ago. I spent time listening to her concerns and offering cost-effective alternatives. I actually left our booth to show her low cost options for reading, spelling, grammar, and penmanship. She, and many like her, are the reason why HTHL remains firm in our core values. Our goal? To offer quality Christian education at a low price.
The convention ended at 6:30 pm. By the time we packed up and said our goodbyes, it was about 8:30 pm. We had a post-convention dinner date with the Bultman family: dad, mom, and eight of their ten kids. Dad is the writer and producer for Brinkman Adventures, a new radio drama that offers action-packed stories about missionaries who stand strong in the face of opposition.
Forrest and I loved listening to story-after-story about God’s faithfulness in their business. BusyGirl and the Bultman’s teenage daughter had a blast chatting, swapping convention stories, and sharing their favorite Pinterest pins. Our conversation drifted from large family antics, to life on the road, and finished with hopes and dreams for the future. Before we realized it, the restaurant had closed for the night! We quickly cleared our post dinner debris from our table. Both families apologized to the manager, and we said our goodbyes in the parking lot. They gave us a CD of their very first episode. Can’t wait to listen to it!
Our vendor neighbors at the convention, Nathan and Dory Ogden invited us to their church, Colonial Hills Baptist Church. Of course, we gladly accepted. What a welcoming church! We received smiles, hugs, and handshakes from everyone.
We also met a missionary wife, who with her husband, pastors a small church that’s tucked away in the Appalachian Mountains. She counted herself and her family blessed with ample support which included a regular tithe offering of eight dozen eggs per week from one of the families of their church.
During the service, God’s Word drenched and revived our tired souls.
After church, we went out to lunch with the Ogdens. Their little girls are soooo cute! The five-year-old told me that one of her favorite colors is “dark white”. After we had ordered and sat down at a table to wait for our food, the middle little-one looked at us adults with bewilderment. She brought to our attention a serious problem in her world, no food to eat. She informed us, “We’re not eating.” We cracked up! The smallest Ogden girl gave me the most beautiful gift; she slept in my arms. It was so nice seeing a young family thriving! We cherished the little girl’s hugs before we parted.
We spent the afternoon shopping to replace my well-worn (falling apart) shoes, and Forrest bought me a new spring dress for Mother’s Day. (I promise to show it off next week.)
For the record, I’m not a fan of shopping. Forrest even has to drag me into my favorite shops! He is a patient man. In fact, his name is on the Dress Barn Rewards Account and not mine. He has a knack for matching colors, and he knows what looks good on me. Without fail, he gets teased by the ladies of the shop every time we buy there, but he always manages to charm them into giving us a discount. This time was no exception-an additional 30% off of a dress that was already on sale. (Forrest’s mom just smiled when she read the last sentence.)
Back at our KOA home, BusyGirl talked to her sister on the phone, fed the horses, rode her bike, and watched movies. Forrest and I did some more laps around the campground and talked by the campfire until we ran out of firewood.
Long chats by the fire.
A storm had been brewing all evening. We could feel the shifts in wind and temperatures as the thunderheads crept closer. Finally, the dark smokey clouds let loose showers followed by a spectacular display of thunderbolts. We oooohed and ahhhed while Forrest caught it all on film. (The pic is at the bottom of this post)
We bedded down for the night. I had a vivid dream. Now please note, in the past, my family has labeled my night time dreams as pathetic. When I was in the thick of raising kids, I often dreamed about doing laundry or some other routine household task. I never had exciting dreams like flying through the sky over mountain tops. My new dream wasn’t any different. I dreamed that I was standing, just standing, at the HTHL booth. When I woke up, I had to laugh at myself.
Then I realized, we live out big dreams in the routines and duties of life.
My “laundry” dream is my BIG dream come true.
- BIG DREAM: My deepest desire is to be a wife and stay at home mom who homeschooled.
- I am a wife, and I am the mother of eight beautiful children. I got to stay home with them and be there for them. Therefore, I have the honor of doing laundry.
My “HTHL booth” dream is also my BIG dream come true.
- BIG DREAM: My deepest desire is to serve homeschool moms and children.
- I get to serve homeschool families with my husband. I get to speak and encourage other homeschool moms and dads. I get to pass on what we have learned to the next generation of homeschoolers. Therefore, I have the honor to set up and stand in the HTHL booth.
Perhaps my night time dreams aren’t pathetic after all.
Big dreams unfold while attending to the routines and duty of life, and doing it in a way that honors God.
Thanks for sharing the road with us! There are no conventions scheduled for us this week. It’s Mother’s Day weekend! Get ready to be pampered moms! Team HTHL is looking forward to a weekend off. We are headed to my hometown, Long Island, New York. Since BusyGirl was only three years old when we last visited, I’m excited to show you and her where I grew up.
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!
Next Convention? CHAP Pennsylvania Homeschool Convention-May 13-14
- Beth’s Speaking Schedule:
- Friday: Finding the Pieces to the Puzzle (Special Needs) 1:30 pm
- Saturday: Keeping Your “Smart Cookies” Challenged 1:30 pm
- Saturday: Best Curriculum Choice: Your Marriage 3:30 pm