June 20, 2016-July 10, 2016
Ontario, California to Placerville CA to Pasadena, CA
Range of miles: 21,002-21,835
We left our home February 21, 2016, and on June 20 at 9:30 pm, the first and largest part of our 2016 homeschool convention tour came to a close. We pulled up our steep windy driveway, and Team HTHL leaned forward to take in all that is familiar. Our farm showed the neglect of four months, but we didn’t care. It was beautiful to us. We were ready for two weeks of living in our own home.
Knucklehead and our other dog, Cash (Cash was named after famed Johnny Cash) were both lovingly taken care of by our college boy while we were gone. Despite the excellent care, when the two doggies saw us, they ran in circles around our legs and wagged their tails in excitement. Knucklehead simply could not contain his joy and displayed his inner emotions with his inability to hold his pee. Welcome home.
It felt so good to hug our college boy. I really missed him.
The following morning, my dreams came true, and I experienced that moment…that beautiful moment I had imagined for months. I enjoyed freshly ground Columbian-dark-roast-goodness-in-every-sip at my own kitchen table. It was a beautiful moment that lasted three hours. Sometimes, dreams do come true.
Knucklehead’s excitement about our arrival had already waned, and he was back into his normal fifty million naps per day routine. Such is the life of the HTHL mascot.
Housework coupled with farm work awaited us. Forrest and our college boy finished weed whacking five acres while enduring the Sacramento 100 degree heat. BusyGirl and I wrestled a multitude of rogue dust bunnies in our home and won. What else was on our “to-do” list? I spent additional time preparing for two leadership workshops for the upcoming CHEA convention and taking care of HTHL business. BusyGirl buried her head in her studies. (We do year-round homeschool.) My Landscaper/Construction hardworking man, Forrest and our college boy cracked and hauled about 14,000 pounds of concrete for a customer. Yeah, we have some awesome men in our family!
Such a nice surprise! I was thrilled to find my article had been published in Molly Green Magazine. It’s one of my favorite family stories, and I was honored to share it with Molly Green readers. (Click: HERE to read)
The holiday weekend was upon us, and we couldn’t wait to see friends and family to catch up on news and life. Facebook or FaceTime doesn’t come close to laughing and swapping stories over chips and salsa. I relished the simple pleasure of shopping for Fourth of July food items.
Our BIG news came early Sunday morning when our daughter officially announced her engagement to her boyfriend, now fiance. We are so excited! The date is set for November 12, 2016. Our daughter’s husband-to-be serves our country in the Armed Forces and is due to receive his shipping orders mid-December, which is the reason for the November date. It’s also the reason HTHL won’t be at the Valley Home Educators Conference in Modesto, CA. We have a wedding to plan and celebrate!
Returning to our home church was surreal. After worshipping with so may families across the United States, it was hard to believe we were back in our home church. We stood in our familiar row with our college boy, our granddaughter, and her other grandmother. Worshipping with the ones you love is priceless. My heart filled with joy watching my six-year-old granddaughter take notes during the sermon. Her faith is blossoming. As a church family, we listened to testimonies of God’s faithfulness from those who have traveled the road to recovery through Celebrate Recovery. Life is truly a journey, and God is the hero of all our stories!
We live in a serious forest fire zone area of Northern California. The fire department MUST be onsite when fireworks commence, and they can’t be EVERYWHERE on Fourth of July. So consequently, we Nor Cal peeps are accustomed to scattered dates to celebrate our nation’s birth. This year, we celebrated on July 3 with music, picnic foods, fireworks and good friends. Brian and Lori are the kind of friends that you just love to hang and do life with. These two have been HTHL’s cheerleaders even when HTHL was just an idea on a piece of paper.
Since I was a little kid, firework displays have been emotional for me. Patriotism runs thick in our family. Thanks to my mom, I know the words to most patriotic songs. Over the last couple of years, pride-in- country has been swapped for prayers for our nation, and they rise with each rocket of light in the sky that finally bursts and fades. This year my as my granddaughter ooohed and ahhhhed with each shimmering ray, I prayed for her and her generation and asked the Lord to help my generation to leave a legacy that will bring glory to our Creator.
Monday (July 4)
We officially declared the Fourth of July, the opening day of the Mora Family 2106 Kayak Season! I think every family needs an unwinding activity and kayaking is definitely ours. It felt good to be out on the water and to dig our toes in the sand on the shore. Of course, much of our talk swirled around wedding plans.
We took two days to complete HTHL’s logistics list for the last part of our convention season. We unpacked the trailer, packed the trailer, evaluated and loaded inventory, bundled up supplies, folded and tucked our clothes into our suitcases and of course, loaded up on the sunscreen because you can’t do Southern Cal and Phoenix without it! Wednesday morning, we made tracks down Highway 5. We added one more to HTHL’s Team, BusyGirl’s bestie, “CountryGirl”.
We arrived at my brother’s house just in time for dinner. But rather than dinner, we encountered a feast! Nieces, nephews, siblings, my mom and dad, and friends filled the chairs that surrounded the twelve-foot table. The noise level climbed from “pleasurable mockery” and finished off at “enjoyable reflections”.
Thursday (July 7)
Forrest and I had the privilege of hosting two workshops for CHEA’s Leadership Conference. There is something energizing about being around other leaders! We held one workshop in the morning entitled, Embracing Marketing Shifts in the Homeschool Community and one workshop in the afternoon entitled, Recruiting and Retaining Volunteers. We also were blessed to meet and hear Davis Carmen from Apologia speak about managing conflict as a leader.
Because CHEA is our state organization, we met fellow homeschoolers that we haven’t seen for years.
My icing-on-the-cake moment was meeting Susan Beatty, founder of CHEA, which started 34 years ago. Back in the day when I was a homeschool mom, the CHEA magazine would arrive chocked full of encouraging articles. Remember, this was before the dawn of Facebook and the wonderful bloggers we have today that dispense encouragement 24/7. As soon as the mailman popped it into my mailbox, I would announce it was “recess time”, and I would devour the words of encouragement like a starved puppy. Many of the articles were written by Susan. I couldn’t find the words to communicate to her how her words helped me to move forward in our family’s homeschool journey.
Friday-Saturday (July 8-9)
Wow! From start to finish, the CHEA convention buzzed with homeschool parents and kids up and down the isles. In fact each night, when they announced the closing of the vendor hall, Forrest and I would look at each other and question, “Already?”
I hosted four workshops throughout the weekend including a new one on Homeschool Co-ops. I’m so blessed to spend time with such wonderful people!
One of our favorite vendors, Eagle’s Nest Homeschool Supply was also at CHEA! Twin brothers, Brian and Jeff Eschen own and operate the store with their lovely wives and energetic kids. They not only use HTHL’s Writing Program, but they also stock it on their shelves and offer it as part of their class listings. We love hanging with them! We always share lots of laughs!
Two words were buzzing around CHEA…. “homeschool co-op”! I spoke to more co-op leaders than any other conference, and they were loving HTHL’s co-op friendly format! This lovely co-op teacher (pictured below) did her very first HTHL “Pencils Up” shout out right in our booth.
Sunday (July 10)
BusyGirl and CountryGirl were treated to a Hollywood tour led by BusyGirl’s cousins who really showed the girls the town. My niece even provided background music for each tourist spot to help them “feel” old Hollywood. Glen Miller’s Band blared with that iconic swing beat as they pulled up to relive famous moments at Grauman’s Chinese Theater. The pack of cousins came back talking a mile a minute and with a lot of new memories in their pockets!
I, on the other hand, had been to Hollywood about thirty years ago and had no desire to go back.
Instead, Forrest and I joined my sister for worship at The Church at Rocky Peak. What a blessed time worshipping with my sister. It was also baptism Sunday and the place was filled with stories of change and commitments to follow Jesus.
The afternoon leisurely slipped away while we chatted, sipped ice tea, and ate yummy tacos. My sister is an excellent cook.
Home is so much more than the shelter where we reside. It’s the cup of coffee, the fireworks through the eyes of a granddaughter, and the time spent shopping for holiday foods. Home is the sparkle of love in the eyes of two young people who can’t wait to be married, and the laughs around a dinner table. Home is worshipping with the ones you love, the memories made with cousins, and the hands that clasp at the end of the day despite the bumps in the road life offers.
Thanks for joining us on the road again! Next week, we have new people to meet, reunite with some old friends, and meet the homeschool families in Phoenix!
From Our Home (On the Road) to Yours,
Thanks for joining us! Next homeschool convention? Arizona Homeschool Convention July 15-16
Speaking Schedule: Friday, July 15- 4:30 pm Room 105 Keeping Your Smart Cookie Challenged (Focus: Gifted Student)
Follow our journey on HTHL’s Google Map (Click: HERE)