Thinking of Homeschooling?

Lately I have been getting a lot of questions about homeschooling. Some families are still waiting to see what their school is planning for the fall, others would rather not have their child wearing a mask all day, some schools have already announced virtual schooling for next year, and then there are families that like the idea of flexible schedules and more control of the content of the education. Whatever the reason, homeschooling is trending, in fact, the state of South Carolina’s school website crashed recently because so many parents were filling out the letter with the notice of intent to homeschool!

We have been homeschooling for 10 years now, our oldest daughter just graduated, and we have 4 kids to go. I would like to share with you some homeschooling basics. I will also be listing some great resources at the end of the blog for more information. The thing about homeschooling is that because it is so individualized, what works for us may not work for you, and vice versa. But that is also the beauty of homeschooling – an education tailored to your family’s needs and your child’s individual strengths and weaknesses. I hope these tips are helpful to your family as you find your particular homeschooling style.

Tip#1. Relax, perfection is not required

Try your best, of course. Be perfect, no, because you can’t. I always try to remember that we all have strengths and weaknesses. One child may excel at Math and hate English, and that’s ok. They still have to learn to multiply and use correct grammar, but they don’t have to be perfect.

This goes for the parents too. Somedays I will get up, have prayer/Bible reading time and drink my coffee before anyone is awake and I feel like supermom. On other days, my five-year old is tapping my face and telling me she is starving, so I roll out of bed mumbling while I pour her a bowl of cereal.

This goes for curriculum too. They all will have things that you love and things you don’t love. None are perfect in my opinion. I will talk more about curriculum in a bit.

This goes for your “classroom” as well. If you have the space designated for classroom use, awesome! If not, it will be ok. You would be surprised at the environments in which a person can learn.

If you deal with being a perfectionist, as I sometimes do, practice telling yourself to relax. Be diligent – yes, perfect – no. I know that I’m not doing anybody any favors by being a psycho.

Tip#2. Homeschooling can build relationships and character

If you take this homeschool journey, you will find new ways to work through problems with your kiddos. This can be awesome and it can be really hard. Let’s just talk about Math, for example. Math is a challenge, and it is supposed to teach us how to figure out things we don’t at first understand – important critical thinking skills. While working through this process, the child can also learn how to deal with frustration without freaking out – that’s an important life skill. The parent, in turn, can learn patience and practice kindness – an important life skill. (Our society could use a lesson in these virtues)

When you work through difficult things with your children, you grow closer because you have worked together towards a common goal. Even when I have lost my patience and turned to anger in response to my child’s frustration, I have found that I can turn it into a moment of reconciliation if I humble myself and admit my mistake. None of this is easy, but in the end, I am so glad for the priviledge of teaching my own children, a big part of that is the relationship we have with each other.

Try to remember that you are their parent and their teacher, what they need most from you is love and reassurance, your skills for diagramming sentences and solving math problems are secondary. They will remember how you taught them far more than what you taught them.

Tip#3. You don’t have to know everything.

I have heard from many moms that feel unqualified to teach their own child. I understand this, it can be intimidating. There is the thought that you have to know everything about every subject, but you don’t. In this information age, if you don’t know something, chances are, you can find someone who does. Let’s talk resources.

  • Local homeschool groups – homeschool families working together for support, some offer music opportunities like choir and band, some offer sports or p.e., some do co-ops where a specific topic is taught by someone that specializes in that area(like algebra, home ec, or biology), often field trips are planned
  • Video lessons – some curriculums offer full class-like videos and can be a good option for a subject you don’t feel qualified to teach or if your child just learns better through listening.
  • Online classes – from online tutoring like Kahn Academy to full class options

I have found that if you can teach your child the basics, like reading, and then point them in the right direction, you will be amazed at what they teach themselves and their individual giftings and talents will shine through. I have one child that absolutely loves to read, and she will soak up new information like a sponge, she is an avid studier of the Bible and History. I have another child that hates to read, and does the bare minimum, only when forced, but this child has the habit of picking up new instruments and teaching themselves to play. I have another child that really dislikes Math, but is extremely gifted in organizational skills and loves art.

These individual skills that they have learned have nothing to do with any area of expertise that I have. They have just developed in an environment that encourages learning and a freedom to fail and try again. I have required the basics, and the curriculum we use teaches that, but the rest is up to them.

Tip#4. Routine is important.

Flexibility and fun are a big part of homeschooling, and sometimes it is difficult to maintain a routine. This is not exciting, but when you put in the hours, day in and day out, they learn. When you work through those math problems, listen to your first grader painfully sound out each word while they learn to read, review those history facts over and over again, drill those prepositions and adjectives, and diligently work at the boring monotonous side of school, they learn. It is sometimes exhausting, and sometimes boring, this homeschooling life, but I have found that learning takes time, and that’s ok.

Tip#5. Fieldtrips and fun, yay!

To offset the everyday, sometimes monotonous routine of homeschooling, go exploring with your kids! There is so much to see and do! Go to the park, go to the library, go to a museum, take a factory tour, take a hike, go places you’ve never been before, return to places you loved as a kid, the opportunities are endless!

If you and your kids need a fun day, put aside your normal work and do art projects together. I am convinced that art is for everyone, and the more you draw or paint, the better you will get. Or spend the day trying new science experiments.

Sometimes we will have a fun/lazy day and watch history documentaries and “how it’s made” shows. This is rare, but a nice break.

Tip#6. Rewards and Consequences

Give your kids something to work towards. For some kids, that good grade is enough, they are driven to succeed and enjoy that sense of accomplishment. For other kids, the last thing on their mind is grades, they could care less about their school accomplishments and all they want to do is play and maybe watch t.v. I can’t make my kids love their school work, but I can give them incentives to finish it and give them consequences if they don’t.

Here are some ideas:

  • Develop a “merit system” using play money that they can spend on prizes monthly or quarterly
  • Reward speedy, quality work
  • Reward good attitudes
  • Develop a consequence system for unfinished work or bad behavior(for example, no t.v. until work is completed, no phone for bad behavior, etc.)

Tip#7. Teach what is important

What is the most important thing to you? Teach that to your kids. Teaching my kids about Jesus is the most important thing I can do. The Bible is the most important truth I can teach my kids. This reflects in the curriculum we use, how we choose to spend our time, and (through God’s grace) how we treat each other. Make Jesus the most important, and everything else will fall into place.

Thank you for reading along in this blog about homeschooling basics, I hope it has been helpful to you. I pray that you enjoy your new homeschooling journey!

If you would like to find out more about our ministry, Kingdom Pursuit Ministries, go to www.kpministry.org

Here are some links to super helpful info about homeschooling:

Indiana Association of Home Educators (This website is super helpful for Indiana folks!)

Curriculum we use: Accelerated Christian Education

Other Curriculum options and other homeschool info: Great Homeschool Conventions

Homeschool legal defense association ( I recommend joining, it’s affordable and will help you to be aware of any requirements in your state, etc.)

Homeschool laws by state

Fearless

We are living in uncertain times indeed. It is unsettling to watch the news or scroll through social media. The world seems to be in chaos, is it possible to not feel the fear that surrounds us? How should we respond? How should we cope?

Can we live fearlessly? Yes! (Don’t worry, I’m not calling for recklessness, I understand that there are real dangers in the world and it is good to be prepared and take precautions if needed.) I can truly say that I know that I am free of fear because I know what it is to live with fear.

When our family is on the road, ministering at churches across America, I often have the opportunity to pray with women at the churches. I have noticed that fear is a common theme/prayer request. Fear can present itself as worry, stress, anxiety, and actual physical terror among other things. These requests for prayer stick out to me more than others because I used to have a terrible problem with fear.

My fears centered around social anxiety and other crazy, irrational fears. I do not want to pretend to be an expert on the fears that people face. I do understand that people have all sorts of life experiences that would impact the particular fears in their minds. Fear itself, though is the same and always deals with the possibility of something happening, something in the future and not in the present.

FEAR – an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger

Merriam – Webster

Backstory stuff

When I was a girl I was painfully shy. I was afraid of too much attention. I was afraid of having to respond to a question. I was afraid of being embarrassed. I was afraid of messing up. I was afraid of dissapointing people. I remember hiding behind my very outgoing mom often.

Another fear I dealt with was irrational fear. It would especially plague me at night as I tried to go to sleep. I couldn’t quite put my finger on the specific thing that scared me, but I remember feeling paralyzed with fear until I would finally yell out “DAD!” until he came and then he would pray with me.

Jump ahead a few years…

As a young, newly married youth pastor’s wife, I remember saying, with hurt feelings, to my very outgoing husband “why do you walk around and talk to everyone on Sunday mornings, leaving me by myself?” He replied kindly that I should go around and be friendly too, welcome people to church, and meet new people. This seemed like a logical thing to do, and I could not be offended by his response, even though I wanted to be.

The next Sunday, I decided to try to push myself out of my comfort zone and I introduced myself to someone I didn’t know.

“Hello, I’m Nadine, what’s your name?”

(Woman replies with her name)

Are you new to (name of town)? Is this your first Sunday?

Woman replies, (greatly annoyed at my not recognizing her): “Well, I’ve been going here for 3 years now!”

“Oh, I’m sorry” I replied and then very awkwardly end the failed conversation.

After my failed attempt at being a friendly youth pastor’s wife I realized something: the thing that scared me (being embarrassed, messing up, failing at conversation) wasn’t really the worst thing in the world. After I failed, it actually helped me to try again, and again, and again. I found out that the worst that could happen by being friendly was being rejected, but that was still better than not trying at all.

This fear, like others that I have worked through, has been conquered by facing it. I had practiced the avoiding people technique for about 20 years and it did nothing to relieve my fears of talking to people. I have now been practicing making conversation, in my often awkward way, for about twenty years and I can say that it has been much more effective. I rarely find myself feeling social anxiety anymore.

Scarier fears

When I was about 23, I found out that I was pregnant. My husband and I already had our first beautiful daughter, Jessica, and we were excited for her baby sibling. We told everyone! Then I started bleeding. Then they couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat. 4 weeks later, I miscarried the baby. My heart broke. I was in a deep depression for a year where I was determined to blame myself.

In the midst of that pain I was baptized in the Holy Spirit and I prayed in other tongues for the first time. (Check out the book of Acts in the Bible if you want to know more about this.) My new-found prayer language was a great comfort to me during this time. Eventually, gradually, I remember not being depressed anymore.

When I became pregnant again after the miscarriage I was terrified. Fears of losing this baby kept me from telling my friends and family I was pregnant. My fears were relieved when the doctor used the heart beat monitor and I heard the thumping of our rainbow baby, Olivia’s heartbeat.

It occurred to me then, and still rings true that hope is a great road block to fear. Hope is similar to fear in that it involves what will happen in the future.

Hope – to cherish a desire with anticipation

Merriam-Webster

I can decide to hope in positive things or be afraid of negative things. Sometimes people will make fun of hopeful people and call them naive. It’s different though. We have someone to hope in. His name is Jesus. As Christians, we should be the most hopeful people around. If you haven’t given your life to Christ and found the ultimate source of hope, you can, you won’t regret it. Start your journey today!

Irrational Fears

This seems a little funny to say, “Irrational fear” because really, all fear is irrational. I found this great quote in an unlikely place ( a Will Smith futuristic sci-fi movie that I won’t recommend on account of the violence). Anyway, in the movie, the dad character is giving a pep talk to his son about fear and he says: “Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity.” That’s good, right?

Some fears may be in our minds because of a past trauma, and I am not belittling that pain; they are fears, nonetheless, about it happening again, in the future. But other fears are completely irrational, they come out of nowhere, they don’t make any sense. These fears, I have found, are just as paralyzing as the ones that come from past experiences or current threats.

I have found irrational fears to be demonic. These fears of death and terror magnify problems and paralyze the victim. They make people do things they wouldn’t normally do. These types of fears would wake me up at night or keep me from sleeping even as a grown woman. These fears do not have to be tolerated.

I have found prayer to be the best killer of fear. When you pray the scriptures, you will find your mind renewed with the truth and you will see fear for the lie that it is. When you pray in the Spirit, you will find an authority that only comes from God, fear is no match for it. When you pray with others, you will not only find relief that you’ve shared your problem, you will also receive emotional and spiritual support.

This is my favorite scripture verse on fear, because it tells me what God has and hasn’t given us. It tells me that fear is the opposite of power, the opposite of love, and the opposite of a sound mind.

Thank you for reading along with this blog post about living a fearless life. It’s the best way to live.

If you would like to find out more about our ministry, Kingdom Pursuit Ministries, go to www.kpministry.org My husband preached a great message about fear a few years back, you can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acp-o38SI5M&feature=youtu.be

Exploring Wyoming

So, the world still seems crazy, and our life has not changed much since my last post, there isn’t much more I can say about the current circumstances. Instead of talking about social isolation and pandemics and all of that, I decided to make a post about the week we spent in Wyoming last July.

What a cool state! Wide open spaces have a way of making me feel small and at peace all at the same time. They make me feel a sense of wonder, the beauty of landscapes revealing a magnificent Creator. Here are some of my favorite views from around Wyoming:

We spent most of our time near the city of Green River, Wyoming. It was a cool city with amazing views of Castle Rock. It is also home to some great friends and the Assembly of God church where Matt preached. While in Green River our friends Nate and Tina were very hospitable and gracious “tour guides”.

On Saturday we had a full day of driving and exploring, the first stop was an old “ghost town”. With Wyoming’s population density of 6 people per square mile, you could imagine there are lots of areas that feel like a ghost town. I found myself wondering, as we drove around the scenic, wide open spaces of Wyoming, “Where are the people? and How long does it take someone who lives in the country to get to the store?”

This ghost town had been abandoned long ago, and unfortunately any remaining stone structures had been covered with graffiti and bullet holes. I did find myself saying “don’t read that” several times to the kids. In spite of the profanity spelled out on the old walls, it was fun to let the kids explore and imagine what the town used to be.

After that little bit of exploration, some refreshment was in order. So we stopped over at Farson Mercantile, “Home of the Big Cone”. Yum. The slogan was fitting, they didn’t skimp on portion size. It was a popular pit stop, out in the middle of nowhere, there were families and a large group of bikers all sharing the space together.

After our snack, we drove to our friends’ family cabin. It was built by their grandparents and now serves as a getaway spot for the whole family. It was such a cool spot, and further encouraged us to find a home base of our own in Indiana – a place that our kids and grandkids can enjoy long after we are gone if they so choose. I’m so glad they took the time to show it to us.

After exploring the homestead, we took some other interesting drives and came across a festival at an old mining camp/town. It was cool to look around but unfortunatley we arrived a little late and most of the food stands were sold out.

On Sunday Matt preached at the First Assembly of God church. The church was friendly and receptive and hungry for God. We enjoyed lunch with the pastor and his wife after service.

On Monday Matt did an extensive repair job on the RV. The hydrolic jack hose sprung a leak somewhere back in Northern California and here in Green River, Wyoming there was a shop that sold just the hoses we needed. Matt has discovered that he can learn how to do almost anything by watching a youtube video, and I was quite impressed at his ability to fix this leak.

The kids and I visited the welcome center in Green River with the pastor and his wife, and then had some ice cream while Matt was fixing the RV. Then they took all of us on a long and beautiful road trip down to the Red Canyon. It borders Wyoming and Utah and is like a minature Grand Canyon, without the crowds. It was great to make new friends that enjoy a good road trip as much as we do!

Thanks for reading about our week in Wyoming, it really is a great state and we enjoyed it very much. I hope you are all enjoying life’s adventures . . . at home. Well, I hope we can all have great adventures again soon!

If you would like to find out more about our ministry, Kingdom Pursuit Ministries, go to www.kpministry.org

What to do when the World seems Crazy

The world seems crazy right now. We are in the midst of the coronovirus pandemic and it all feels very surreal. I think it is scary for a lot of people and we don’t know exactly how this is going to turn out. There is this sense that we are all in this together and I do feel hopeful in spite of it all. So, I am writing this post just to sort out how I feel about it all and where my source of peace is in the midst of the crazy.

It hit me like a ton of bricks, we were just making a weekly Walmart run, and surely people weren’t being as crazy as all the rumors I had heard. They were. You could feel the sense of panic and fear just driving through the parking lot. It only got worse inside. After we split up our large family to divide and conquer the list, I hear the words “There’s no hamburger” from my husband after he was unable to get all the items on his list. The fresh meat section was not the only victim to the mass hoarding. The freezer section looked like frozen pizzas were about to be discontinued forever. The soap was nearly gone and thankfully not everybody had found out where the RV toilet paper was hidden. When we finally got to the checkout (there was only one cashier in the entire store, but I’m guessing the rest of the employees had to help restock the shelves). The lines were moving at a snail’s pace and the stressful situation came to its boiling point when my five year old put the cart seat belt towards her mouth. “AHH, STOP!” I yelled out of sheer panic, to which she started crying. I felt like a jerk and also hoped and prayed that she miraculously hadn’t touched any other gross things in the store. 2 unpleasant hours in the Walmart welcomed us into this crazy time.

This was Thursday, and in some ways, things have only gotten more bizarre. Feelings of frustration and disbelief for the reaction of this virus had gotten to me and honestly, I have found myself not feeling very peaceful. After getting on my soapbox for a day or two (to the pure enjoyment of my family) about all that was wrong with the world and how everyone was handling the pandemic the wrong way – yesterday (Monday) I found myself coming to a place of reluctant acceptance. I have decided to get over it and concentrate on my own personal responsibilities, things that I can control.

I can’t control the media, I can’t control the government, and I certainly can’t control how many people are going to get the corona virus. I can’t control how my friends react, how many people in my community hoard toilet paper, or whether or not the church services will be cancelled where we plan on ministering.

I can decide to cooperate with local, and federal governments and health organizations and trust that they have our best interest in mind. Obviously I can wash my hands (gross, wash your hands people). I can decide not to worry, complain, panic, or be afraid. I can decide to make my home pleasant in the midst of these crazy times. I can pray for health and healing and a miracle. I can decide to be at peace by trusting in God.

This is from last year at the salt flats, but I thought it looked a little bit like end of the world type stuff.

It’s not that a period of “social distancing” is all that terrible. We homeschool already, maybe the rest of the world will discover how cool it is? I’m kind of a homebody and our home can be wherever we want it to be. I’ve learned to live with uncertainty in our own life as we sometimes don’t know where we are going. A couple of weeks ago my biggest challenge was my new health and fitness goals and trying to take some weight off before summer. Maybe I should try to get back to that idea again instead of eating up our snack stockpile.

Sometimes the world feels crazy, and sometimes I feel helpless, and sometimes I feel frustrated when things feel out of control. Recently I had an experience where a person had let me down, and I found myself very frustrated with the disappointment. In the moment , I found myself getting in the car, and Lauren Diegel’s lovely voice from “Turn your eyes upon Jesus” started playing when I started the engine and reminded me why I was frustrated and disappointed – I had lost my focus. People can be disappointing sometimes, the world can be crazy and chaotic, but Jesus is perfect, never disappoints, and always amazes me. I read a post that quoted Corrie Ten Boom (one of my heroes) recently. She said:

” If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God you’ll be at rest. “

– Corrie Ten Boom

So, what to do when the world seems crazy? “

“Turn your eyes on Jesus, look full in His wonderful face,

and the things on earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”

Thanks for reading along, hopefully the next post will be about some fun exciting adventure, for now this seemed more realistic.

If you would like to find out more about our ministry, Kingdom Pursuit Ministry, go to www.kpministry.org

Hello 2020!

I just love Januarys, the idea of a fresh new start fills me with hope and excitement each new year. I often find myself over-indulging during the holidays, and then acting like a bear getting ready for hybernation, eating everything in sight. At some point, every January, I find myself setting personal health and fitness goals, relationship goals, spiritual goals, and travel goals. I feel very excited about 2020 and I also find myself feeling reflective about life. This post is an update on our January and looking ahead into 2020.

This month we have been enjoying the lakehouse and also preparing for our travels to the southern States. Although Indiana has had a mild winter, we are still looking forward to the perfect 60-70 degree temps that are beckoning us south. The whole family has been looking forward to getting back on the road. The excitement has helped to keep us motivated for the many days of sorting, packing, and sorting some more. We aren’t exactly minimalists, but have found that we have to be pretty particular about the things we take in the RV with us, the things we store for later, and the things we donate.

For years now, our kids have been asking for a dog. Matt and I are not exactly dog-people and we are already at full capacity in the RV. But, just last week, we relented to the many requests of our kids and added Oliver the Traveling Dog to our family. He is a Cockapoo and he is totes adorbs. Right now we are in the midst of potty training and hoping that one day he will sleep through the night. We all love him and the girls have even made him his own Instagram account – he was pretty excited about it.

Change, it is a comin in 2020. I have found myself reflecting often about life and how we are no longer a family with a bunch of little kids. That stage just seems to last forever and also it seems like a blur. One day you’re carrying a carseat and a toddler and spending countless hours in the church nursery and the next thing you know, most of your kids are taller than you and you’re talking about college and future spouses and your kids are helping plan kid’s ministry! I am not saying that one stage is better than the other, both are wonderful and come with their own set of challenges. I just have been noticing it more lately and warning my dear husband that I might turn into an emotional wreck, longing for her babies.

So, this year we will have three teenagers in our family! Our oldest will be graduating. One of the challenges we have noticed this past year is the actual, physical size change in our kids and how that impacts our tiny living space. They have grown so much since the day we moved into the RV back in 2016. Along with the physical growth is the familiarity of this nomadic life, the kids are used to being on the move, and tend to prefer it. I love to see them curious about the world and grow in their sense of adventure. I can imagine that if we had waited and tried to move into an RV when we had 3 teenagers used to a stationary life and a regular house it would have been very difficult. I am thankful for God’s timing and that we made the move when we did.

So where will we travel in 2020? We plan on revisiting some familiar churches in 2020 and also visiting new places. The start of the year is taking us to Mississippi, Alabama, Texas, and Oklahoma. We hope to make a special senior trip to Washington D.C. and historic Jamestown for our history-loving oldest child in the spring. We will spend more time this summer in Indiana, our home state. This year we are also planning a trip to Hawaii for a month of ministry – yay! We are pretty excited about it (even though we will have to leave our beloved RV behind) and will be posting more details as we take that adventure.

Thank you for reading along as I rambled a bit about our life and travels. I hope your 2020 is filled with joy and adventure!

If you would like to find out more about our ministry, Kingdom Pursuit Ministries, go to www.kpministry.org

2019 – Year End Review

Our family of seven has been traveling in a 36 ft RV since April of 2016, but this blog is a new thing we have tried this year, so this will be the first time to do a year end review. I enjoy looking back to see where we have been and reflecting about the places we have experienced and the friends we have made along the way. This blog has been a fun way to share about our travels, and I think it will be fun to put together a list of all the places we have been this year.

Sometimes I am surprised at the places we have seen in such a short time. Sometimes I get mixed up with the timeline of things. So, I have put this together month by month, listing the places we stayed, the churches where we ministered, and some Highlights and Crazy Moments that happened.

January – Elwood, Indiana to Memphis, Indiana to St. Louis, Missouri to Claremore, Oklahoma to Norman, Oklahoma to Waxahachie, Texas

Churches where we ministered:

  • Open Door – Converse, Indiana (Sat-Sun)
  • First Assembly of God – Norman, Oklahoma (Sun-Thur)
  • Revelation Church – Duncanville, Texas (Sunday)
  • The River Center – Tool, Texas (Sunday)

Highlights:

  • Starting out the year at Open Door (the church where Matt got saved as an 8year old boy) has become a special tradition for our family. Not only for sentimental reasons, but because the services are always powerful and, in a way, seem to set the tone for the year.
  • Our old car bit the dust on Christmas Day, someone generously gave us $5,000 for a new car!!
  • Visiting the Blue Whale on Route 66 along the way.
  • Extended services in Norman Oklahoma, there was an excitement present and people were committing their lives to the Lord!
  • Staying for a couple weeks with our dear friends, Randy and Joanna Herndon!
  • Eating super yummo tacos at Taco Suave in Waxahachie!
  • Returning to Revelation Church and visiting with Matt’s old college professor Randy Jones and his cool family.
  • Our kids especially enjoyed playing with the Herndon kids while in Texas.

Crazy moments:

  • Losing our windshield wiper and then burning up our windshield wiper motor while driving through a snowstorm southwest of St. Louis.

February – Cayuga, Texas to Waco, Texas to Dulac, Louisiana

Churches where we ministered:

New Beginnings Assembly of God – Cayuga, Texas (Sun-Thur)

Lord’s House of Refuge – Dulac, Louisiana (Sun-Sun)

Highlights:

  • We were at two new churches this month, both of which were very hospitable and friendly. They both welcomed our family and we truly felt loved.
  • We made our second visit to Waco, Texas, this time staying over for a few nights in a beautiful campground outside the city. Mammoth bones, shopping downtown, and of course, the Silos. This time we even drove by some of the houses featured on Fixer Upper.
  • So much food!!! Southern hospitality is really a thing, these churches loved us with food, we ate so much! In Louisiana, we tried so many new foods, their spices are unique and delicious.
  • Salvations, Healings, People getting more excited about God!
  • We loved listening to the accents of our new friends in Texas and Louisiana.
  • The landscape in Dulac, Louisiana on the bayou was so different and unique, we feel blessed that we were able to explore the area for nearly two weeks.

March – Dulac, Louisiana to Mobile, Alabama to Clanton, Alabama to Prestonville, Kentucky to Brown County, Indiana to Elwood, Indiana to Clay City, Indiana

Churches where we ministered:

  • Temple Asssembly of God – Clanton, Alabama (Sun-Thur)
  • Calvary Full Gospel – Prestonville, Kentucky (Sunday)
  • Holy Chapel of God – Shepherdsville, Kentucky (Sunday)
  • Discover Church – Indianapolis, Indiana (Sunday)
  • Clay City Assembly of God – Clay City, Indiana (Fri-Tue)

Highlights:

  • 2 revivals in one month is alot, but it was awesome!
  • The pastor in Clanton gave us a tour of his beautiful property – he has an impressive collection of horses and cows, and a cute basset hound.(the cows were my favorite)
  • We enjoyed a short return visit to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.
  • Catching up with pals at return churches is always a blessing
  • Particularly powerful altar ministry time in Shepherdsville Kentucky
  • Celebrated my mom’s 60th birthday party at Brown County State Park, it was a fun family camp out time, complete with an old-fashioned group photo.
  • Matt was healed from his painful diverticulitus that he had been diagnosed with back in Nov.(2018)!

Crazy moments:

  • This was the month where I decided it would be a great idea to start 7nomads, an online t-shirt shop. I didn’t discover until a couple weeks in that there was a blog option included with my online store package. As you can see, the store didn’t make it, but the blog took on a life of it’s own!
  • We discovered, on the way to church in our tow vehicle in the most unpleasant way, that our youngest gets car sick on winding roads…
  • Poor Caleb broke his wrist during the family-campout at Brown County in an unfortunate scooter accident.
  • Speaking of camping – Indiana State Parks do not turn on the water hookups until late-April/May. We should have known that…

April – Elwood, Indiana to Memphis, Indiana to Elwood, Indiana to Argos, Indiana to Edgerton, Ohio to Elwood, Indiana to Jasonville, Indiana

Churches where we ministered:

  • Grace Tabernacle – Laconia, Indiana (Sunday)
  • Restoration Church – Sellersburg, Indiana (Sunday)
  • Trinity Assembly of God – Lakeville, Indiana (Sunday)
  • Cornerstone Assembly of God – Elwood, Indiana (Wednesday)
  • Jasonville Assembly of God – Jasonville, Indiana (Sun-Wed)

Highlights:

  • This was a month of preparation for our Alaska trip, it was full of excitement and anticipation, as well as a month of soaking up the love of friends and family. We had a wonderful Resurrection Sunday with family up in northern Indiana and Ohio.
  • A dear friend from Edinburgh set up a get-together, it was wonderful to see some old friends.
  • Powerful worship service at Grace Tabernacle in Laconia!
  • We really felt the love and support of the churches this month as we prepared for Alaska.

Crazy moments:

  • It seemed like a rush to get all the kids’ dentist and eye doctor appointments in this month and last month, plus the extra appointments for Caleb’s broken wrist.

May – Jasonville, Indiana to Urbana, Illinois to Clinton, Iowa to Storm Lake, Iowa to Plankinton, South Dakota to Rapid City, South Dakota to Miles City, Montana to Conrad, Montana to Balzac, Alberta, Canada to Rochford, Alberta, Canada to Grand Prairie, Alberta, Canada to Pink Mountain, BC, Canada to Muncho Lake, BC, Canada to Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada to Fairbanks, Alaska to Denali National Park to Houston, Alaska

Churches where we ministered:

  • The Church of New Beginnings – Storm Lake, Iowa (Sunday)
  • The Oasis Group – Grand Prairie, Alberta, Canada (Sunday)
  • Harvest Church – Fairbanks, Alaska (Fri-Sun)
  • South Fairbanks Assembly of God – Fairbanks, Alaska(Sunday)

Highlights:

  • The Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, crossing into Canada, making it to Alaska!
  • There is really too much to share about this month, it was amazing!
  • I did a whole blog series for this trip if you want to read more about it: Epic Road Trip to Alaska

Crazy Moments:

  • So.Much.Driving.

June – Houston, Alaska to Anchorage, Alaska to Nikiski, Alaska to Whittier, Alaska to Chickaloon, Alaska to Tok, Alaska to Destruction Bay, Yukon, Canada to Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada to Iskut, British Columbia, Canada to Hope, BC, Canada to Seattle, Washington to McMinnville, Oregon to Waldport, Oregon to Crescent City, California to The Redwoods in California to Boonville, California to San Francisco, California

Churches where we ministered:

  • Hilltop Assembly of God – Houston, Alaska (Sunday)
  • Aurora Heights Assembly of God – Nikiski, Alaska (Sunday)
  • Bethany Church – Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada (Sunday)
  • Hope Pentecostal Assembly of God – Hope, BC, Canada (Sunday)
  • Family Life Christian Center – Boonville, California (Sunday)

Highlights:

  • Like the month of May, this month was filled with unforgettable experiences, most of which are documented in the blog series “Epic Road Trip to Alaska”, feel free to check it out.
  • Hope, British Columbia was amazing in so many ways – what a beautiful place! Several movies were filmed in this location, and it was easy to see why. The church services were powerful here as well, with the small Canadian congregation and pastor’s family being especially kind and welcoming to us.
  • In this month, we drove through Washington and Oregon, skirting the Pacific Ocean for a couple days. It was beautiful, and we were even able to land an ocean view campsite on my birthday!
  • Seeing (and also smelling, unfortunately) wild seals along the Oregon Coast.
  • The Giant Redwoods in northern California!
  • The Golden Gate Bridge, and other random interesting sites in San Fransisco. I know this sounds overdramatic, but when we pulled out of the tunnel just north of the Golden Gate Bridge and I first caught a glimpse of it, it literally took my breath away. It was spectacular.

Crazy Moments:

  • The drive to Boonville, California. It was beautiful, but also extremely curvy.
  • Driving around Portland, Oregon, unable to find a campground (all booked up and no boondocking allowed around the city)

July – Somewhere northwest of San Fransisco to Fernley, Nevada to Salt Flats, Utah to Brigham City, Utah to Green River, Wyoming to Cheyenne, Wyoming to Loveland, Colorado to Pueblo, Colorado to Ordway, Colorado to Colby, Kansas to Kansas City, Kansas to Edina, Missouri

Churches where we ministered:

  • Green River Assembly of God – Green River, Wyoming (Sunday)
  • Edina First Assembly – Edina, Missouri (Sun-Wed)

Highlights:

  • The Salt Flats in Nevada! We didn’t even realize when we were planning this trip that we would be going through the salt flats, so it made for a very cool surprise!
  • We made a small detour up into Idaho so that we could put the sticker on our USA map, AND visit the home of Napoleon Dynamite and friends.
  • Wyoming is a very scenic state, and we quite enjoyed the change to wide open spaces after being in the more densely populated areas in Washington, Oregon, and California.
  • The pastor at Green River took us for a drive into the Flaming Gorge in Utah. It’s almost like the Grand Canyon, but a bit smaller and less crowded.
  • We reconnected with one of Matt’s college buddies and his wife and kids while in Wyoming and they showed us around their lovely state.
  • My parents came out to Colorado while we were there, enjoying a week vacation around scenic Colorado.
  • We also visited with some old friends who live and minister in Colorado. They took us on a trip to Bishop’s Castle near Pueblo, it was quite an interesting place, it deserves it’s own blog posts one of these days…

Crazy Moments:

  • The RV sprung a leak in one of the hydrolic hoses, but it happened when we pulled over checking on the generator that had stopped working. If we had been driving, it could have been very bad, causing a fire or even an explosion. God was watching out for us, as soon as the leak was discovered in a parking lot, the generator started working again. Matt was able to replace the hoses in Wyoming because he’s a stud.
  • Just East of California, we stumbled across a historical marker that told the tale of the Donner Party. If you, like me, forgot this story from your history books don’t look it up and then read it out loud to your children before reading it yourself first. Chilling.

August – Edina, Missouri to Elwood, Indiana to Union City, Indiana to Argos, Indiana to Edgerton, Ohio to Columbia City, Indiana to Elwood, Indiana to Vevay, Indiana

Churches where we ministered:

  • Calvary Assembly of God – Union City, Indiana (Sun-Wed)
  • Victory Barn – Edgerton, Ohio (Sunday)
  • Power Surge Tent Revival – Edgerton, Ohio (Sun-Wed)
  • Victory Christian Fellowship – Columbia City, Indiana (Fri-Sun)
  • Vevay Assembly – Vevay, Indiana (Sat-Sun)

Highlights:

  • Powerful altar times in Edina, Missouri.
  • Family wedding in Kokomo, it was great to see everyone in one place for such a joyous occasion after being gone for 3 months.
  • Our first Tent Revival to plan ourselves. We had great support from family and friends, as well as the Victory Barn Church.
  • Great services at the Outpouring Conference in Columbia City with some old friends.
  • We looked at, in person, the lake house that we had been looking at online for some months now, and then we made an offer!
  • Powerful services in Vevay Indiana.

September – Vevay, Indiana to Elwood, Indiana to Akron, Indiana to Delphi, Indiana to Akron, Indiana to Columbus, Indiana to Memphis, Indiana to Akron, Indiana

Churches where we ministered:

  • Cornerstone Assembly of God – Elwood, Indiana (Sun-Wed)
  • Delphi First Assembly of God – Delphi, Indiana (Sunday)
  • Northview Assembly of God – Columbus, Indiana (Sunday)
  • Free Gospel Fellowship – Pekin, Indiana (Wed)
  • Faith Harvest – Greenville, Indiana (Friday)
  • Hardinsburg Assembly of God – Hardinsburg, Indiana (Sunday)

Highlights:

  • We bought a house this month! It’s on a lake! We love it!
  • We really enjoyed ministry this month, there were moves of God, and we saw old friends rededicate their lives to the Lord.
  • My parents selflessly helped us move all of our stuff from the parsonage in Elwood to our new home base in Akron!
  • We had a nice time in southern Indiana, exploring Corydon and Louisville, and visiting with Matt’s Aunt and Uncle.

Crazy Moments:

  • Extensive dental work the day before we closed on our house. Ouch.
  • We bought a house! I’m still in shock.

October – Akron, Indiana to Blanford, Indiana to Kingman, Indiana to Akron, Indiana to Prestonville, Kentucky to Akron, Indiana

Churches where we ministered:

  • Grace Tabernacle – Blanford, Indiana (Sun-Tues)
  • Spirit of Life Ministries – Kingman, Indiana (Sunday)
  • Calvary Full Gospel Church – Prestonville, Kentucky (Sunday)
  • Lakeville Trinity Church – Lakeville, Indiana (Sunday)

Highlights:

  • We invited all our family over for a birthday party at the lake house! It was still warm enough to enjoy the outdoors.
  • We enjoyed returning to familiar churches this month, they are open to revival, and are very loving towards our family.
  • We attended two very sweet weddings this month.
  • We were able to visit the Covered Bridge Festival while in the area holding services.
  • Matt preached at his dad’s church this month and we also celebrated his dad’s birthday.
  • Our oldest daughter got her driver’s license this month! We are still trying to convince her that she can drive the RV.

Crazy Moments:

  • Nothing too crazy, just enjoying life, getting used to having our own home base. We did alot of the boring stuff required of grownups: finding local doctors, putting up a mailbox, switching our address.

November – Akron, Indiana to Memphis, Indiana, to Akron, Indiana to Petersburg, Indiana to Akron, Indiana to Greensburg, Indiana to Akron, Indiana to Columbus, Indiana to Akron, Indiana

Churches where we ministered:

  • Agape Community Church – Cannelton, Indiana (Sunday)
  • Living Waters Assembly of God – French Lick, Indiana (Sunday)
  • Love Never Fails United Christian Church – West Baden Springs, Indiana (Sunday)
  • River of Life Assembly of God – Petersburg, Indiana (Sunday)
  • New Beginnings Assembly of God – Greensburg, Indiana (Sunday)
  • Come As You Are Ministries – Columbus, Indiana (Sunday)

Highlights:

  • We enjoyed returning to these churches this month, some of these pastors are among the first that had us come in and minister at their churches.
  • We celebrated Thanksgiving with Matt’s family and then hosted Thanksgiving with my famiy at our little home.

Crazy Moments:

  • We did quite a bit of driving this month, traveling on the weekends and staying at our lake house throughout the week. Although it did require more planning and packing, it is starting to get cold, and makes it a little more comfortable to be in the house this time of year.
  • Some crazy guy tried to intimidate and threaten the congregation during one the services this month. The church was prepared, though, and quickly diffused the situation.
Photo credits: Monica Middleton and Celia Fitzcharles (Thanks)

December – Akron, Indiana to Batesville, Indiana to Akron, Indiana to Edgerton, Ohio, to Akron, Indiana

Churches where we ministered:

  • Church on the Rock – Batesville, Indiana
  • The Reformation Faith Ministries – Kokomo, Indiana
  • Safe Harbor Church -Rochester, Indiana

Highlights:

  • It’s Christmastime! It has been fun to decorate our little lake house this year, and we are currently enjoying celebrating the season of our Savior’s birth!

In closing, it seems like this year could be described as “Going, Going, Going, and rest.” Thank you for reading along, I hope you all had a year of your own adventures!

If you would like to find out more about our ministry, Kingdom Pursuit Ministries, go to www.kpministry.org