May 23, 2016-May 29, 2016
Lansing, Michigan-West Palm Beach, Florida
Range of miles: 15,379-16,217
The sunshine and “Son”shine was bright at the Knoxville, Tennessee Petro Truck Stop, where we spent the night. Sun rays glistened on the Tennessee mountains and “Son” shine was burning bright through Truckstop Ministry Inc. Pastor Steve (pictured below) was ready and waiting in the truck trailer chapel.
Truckstop Ministry takes God at His Word when He says in Luke 14:23,
“And the master said to the slave, “Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled.”
Pastor Steve was more than willing to pray for us. He prayed for our safety, our effectiveness, and that we may boldly be a light for God’s kingdom. We in turn, asked the Lord to bless Pastor Steve and Truck Stop Ministry.
What a beautiful way to continue our journey south. We spent the morning rolling out miles, school work, and HTHL business tasks.
We knew we hit Georgia when we started seeing boiled peanut displays at the gas stations! I’m really not sure what the draw is to hot wet legumes. Feel free to educate me by posting in the comment section. I’m willing to learn!
For lunch, we met up with Jen and Martie, vendor friends we met back in 2014. It was wonderful catching up with these beautiful ladies who have a heart to serve homeschool families. They are experts in telling laugh-to-your-toes stories.
We said goodbye to our dear friends with hugs and blessings and ventured deeper into Georgia. For the next two days we visited with my Uncle John and Aunt Donna in their beautiful home in Macon, Georgia.
We welcomed a chance to put life on slow-mode and enjoy southern hospitality. We relaxed on their deck that overlooked a quiet lake. Neighborhood cardinals, wrens, and orioles took turns at the generously stocked feeder. Hummingbirds speedily sipped the provided sugar water. The only family of birds not welcomed was the geese family, who pecked and rooted their backyard lawn. Iced ginger-ale satiated our thirst and conversations of faith refreshed our souls. Together, we all longed for heaven and the chance to glow more with the love, grace, and truth of God’s promises.
My aunt and uncle’s home is open to serve. They host many events and Bible studies in their home. My Aunt Donna is quite the decorator, and she has masterfully captured an Early American Decor style that resembles a bed and breakfast inn. Her style is in stark contrast to my own Early American Eclectic Thrift Store style. (Eight kids and a Basset hound kind of changes one style over the years.) In the afternoon, Forrest, BusyGirl, and I took a bike ride around the lake. It felt good to move our large muscles and take in the Georgia sunshine.
After a lovely dinner with my aunt and uncle, Forrest and I visited with Mike AKA: “Redneck Cousin” a term of endearment that Forrest ascribes to my cousin and my cousin ascribes to Forrest.
Redneck Cousin is a hardworking welder and owns his own business. He was finishing up some work when we arrived. We all stepped outside his workshop and perched ourselves on well-worn stools. Trace amounts of carbon and sulfur lingered in the air from his last fabrication. Forrest and Redneck Cousin wasted no time and immediately began to exchange male banter. I joined in the best I could, but I’m no match for the rapid fire and perfect blend of wit and putdowns that somehow build men up. We all enjoyed the laughs and spent our time exchanging news of our heart and home.
I loved seeing my cousin again. Mike’s kindness and encouragement meant a lot to us. Just before we left, he asked, “Do you need any parts for your trailer? If you do, place an order with Redneck Trailer Supplies and use my account. Here’s the catalog.” Miles may separate us but family is family. We’re here for each other.
Breakfast, prayers, hugs, kisses, and last minute pics with Aunt Donna and Uncle John wrapped up our time together. We set our GPS for Orlando, Florida. Down Highway 95, we kept seeing billboards for Goo Goo Clusters. We just had to find one of these southern treats! Finally, we found them at Cracker Barrel.
We bought a sample pack and discovered they are yummy! The Goo Goo cluster dates back to 1912 and for a long time you could only purchase the famous cluster made with real milk chocolate, caramel, peanuts, and marshmallow nougat in Nashville, Tennessee, but thanks to the internet, you can have them delivered anywhere.
Florida’s Welcome Center offers their iconic sunny beverage, orange juice, to all who cross the border. Springtime temperatures rose to 90 degrees with a fair amount of humidity. The orange juice and weather are both called “liquid sunshine” a Floridian informed us.
We checked-in to the Kissimmee, Florida KOA just before dark. Forrest made a run to the supermarket and brought back dinner. Team HTHL hungrily munched raw vegetables and ate rotisserie chicken. Muggy warm air persisted late into the night. BusyGirl made use of the “open-24-hours-to-serve-your cooling-needs” pool. Forrest and I chatted, ate popcorn, and sipped ice tea poolside.
Team HTHL was ready for FPEA Homeschool Convention 2016!
This is one BIG state convention!
Thousands of homeschool families came to “Shine Bright“, (The theme of the FPEA convention). It was especially nice to meet HTHL students and their families! We welcomed many new HTHL families too!
Our vendor friend Dan from Artistic Pursuits stopped by HTHL’s booth for a visit and took the challenge of sketching Forrest with HTHL’s HUGE pencil!
For Team HTHL, attending the FPEA also means Krispy Kreme Donuts in the morning. It’s conveniently located on the way to the convention. <happy dance> Mmmmm, fresh hot donuts!
I never tire of kids who are happy while learning to write!
Meet our printing broker, Mike McCoy. After doing business with him via phone, we were honored that he came to visit HTHL’s booth. Mike has been such an encouragement to us!
So blessed to meet so many happy HTHL moms!
We left Orlando about 8:30 pm. and arrived at midnight at the home of my cousins, Nancy and Mike (another Mike, we have a lot of “Mikes” in our family) in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
Nancy and I are more like sisters than cousins. When we were both in college, Nancy lived with my family, and Nancy, my sister Sue, and I shared a room. We spent many nights studying for our classes fueled only by Nacho Doritos and Tab (Google “Pre-Diet Coke Era”). But more importantly, Nancy discipled me as a new Christian. She taught me about devoting time to God’s Word and prayer. By her example, she has taught me about tenacity in faith and walking in the Spirit. She has taught me to face sin and stop making excuses. When you ask Nancy to pray for you, you can count on her. She will pray for you. I’m not sure where my walk with the Lord would be without her in my life.
We attended, Nancy’s home church Christ Fellowship Church. What a joy it was to hear how the Lord was using this church to be a light on a hill to their community! Inspiring! The sister of fallen hero, Aaron Vaughn sang a Memorial Day tribute to her brother and all who gave their all for our freedom. It was one of the most moving tributes I’ve ever seen.
After church, we made a quick stop to Walmart to buy t-shirts and shorts. I think we can finally put away our winter clothes! In the evening, Nancy and Mike hosted a neighborhood birthday party for a lovely spunky lady, who was celebrating her 74 and birthday! #goodtimes #letitshine
Kind words, good deeds, just being there, encouraging words, smiles, giggles, serving, celebrating, handshake, or hug, there so many ways to let the “Son” shine in the sunny south.
From Our Home (On the Road) to Yours,
Thanks for joining us! Next stop? North Carolinians for Home Education (NCHE), June 2-4
Beth’s Speaking Schedule:
June 2: Thursday 5:20-6:20 pm Finding Pieces to the Puzzle (Special Needs)
June 3: Friday 2:00-3:00 pm Keeping “Your Smart” Cookie Challenged (Academically Gifted)
Follow our journey on HTHL’s Google Map (Click: HERE)