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

Campground Review – COE Campgrounds

On one of our winter trips to Texas, while visiting in Waco with our pals the Gaines’ (just kidding, I only pretend we are friends, they don’t know us:)) we stumbled across a COE campground. I found the Speegleville COE campground using my handy RV Parky app. I had never heard of COE campgrounds before, but we quickly learned that although the campground was a bit off the beaten path, the extra 10 minutes added to our drive was well worth it for the oasis that we discovered.

Let me tell you why we have fallen in love with the no-frills, all-views, COE Campgrounds! COE is short for Core of Engineers, (technically, the name is United States Army Core of Engineers, but that is a mouthful!) According to their website :

The Army Corps of Engineers is the steward of the lands and waters at Corps water resources projects. It’s Natural Resources Management mission is to manage and conserve those natural resources, consistent with the ecosystem management principles, while providing quality public outdoor recreation experiences to serve the needs of present and future generations. https://corpslakes.erdc.dren.mil/visitors/visitors.cfm

High Quality H2O

So the COE campgrounds are centered around water recreation in some form. This is reason #1 why I love them. Hello beautiful sunrise/sunset! There is just something peaceful and wonderful about looking out over the water. There have always been wonderful water views whenever we have stayed at one of the COE parks. Fishing, swimming, boating, or just hanging out on the shore and skipping rocks with your kids, there is plenty to do along the water.

Wide Open Spaces

Sometimes you roll into an RV park because it is convenient, right along the highway, or maybe you like extra ammenities like cable and free wifi, typically (not always) these convienient types of RV parks are a bit on the crowded side. I don’t know about you, but I don’t particulary love being about 10 feet away from my neighbor’s sewer hose. Reason #2 that I love the COE campgrounds – Very Spacious campsites! These sites are, by far, the largest, most spread out RV sites of any that we have stayed in over the past 4 years.

Bargain Hunters Unite!

You would think that with all this bragging on the great features of my favorite campsites, that I would be trying to justify an expensive price tag. But, I don’t have to because these guys are totally affordable. Reason #3 that I love the COE campgrounds – affordability for families! Like 20s-30s, and if you are a senior citizen, you can buy some sort of lifetime pass and get 50% off! We travel as a party of 7, and sometimes campsites like to charge an extra $2-$5 per person over 2 people, per night. The COE campgrounds we have stayed in allow 8-10 people per site! As a disclaimer, I wil mention that these campgrounds do not offer long term stays – two weeks is maximum in one site. This does not bother us as we are on the move often.

Is there anything not to love?

I feel like I should give full disclosure that as a nomadic family, we really keep on the move. Most of that is due to the fact that my husband is preaching in a different church every week. Sometimes we will be able to stay in one spot for a couple weeks at a time if the churches are close together. Because of this constant moving, we are able to see alot of campgrounds and compare them. Typically if a campground is level and not overly expensive, we are good to go.

We do not tend to look for campgrounds that have lots of activities and amenities just because we are not there long enough to enjoy them. Honestly, we rarely go into the shower/bathroom facilities because we have our own. So, if you are looking for a long-term type of stay with plenty of entertainment, this might not satisfy your desires. If you are looking for a peaceful, no frills getaway check out the COE campgrounds!

Bonus – an adorable visitor

This post would not be complete without mentioning the little visitor who came by during our stay at the Airport Park COE near Waco. According to another camper, this little guy was rescued by a couple older ladies when they saw his mother die after being hit by a car. They were raising him when they were reported for not having the proper license to care for a wild animal. It was decided to drop off the young deer at this local park because it was known that a group of deer lived here. When dropped off however, the fawn went directly to the campsite to be with people, with whom he had an attachment.

He would come by often and visit with us, he was very friendly. We did get to pet him and he had the most beautiful big eyes. Unfortunately he did not love the jumping and nipping from our puppy Oliver and eventually started to attack him with his hooves.

Thank you for reading along as I talked about the COE campgrounds, so far we have stayed at Speegleville Park and Airport Park both in Waco Texas and Millers Ferry Campground in Camden Alabama.

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

I hope you all are enjoying your adventures!

Maintaining Routine in the Midst of Change

Good morning to me

The other day, I got up, smelled the coffee and poured myself a cup, I found one of my favorite Pandora worship music stations and hooked it up to our sterio via bluetooth. In that moment, with my foggy morning brain, I realized how content, and peaceful, and at home those two actions made me feel. I didn’t matter if I was in a Walmart parking lot, camp ground, church parking lot, or at our sweet little lake house. I could do these simple things and feel at home.

I might be writing this post just for myself, to remind myself of the importance of a good routine in the midst of change. It seems that constant change can quickly turn into constant chaos if we are not intentional about maintaining our routines. Don’t get me wrong, the constant change in scenery and possibility of new adventures is something I love about RV life.

Roadschooling is crazy sometimes

It is sometimes difficult to maintain a homeschooling routine, but because our curriculum has goal setting as a clear priority, it helps us to stay on track. One day we may only get a few subjects studied – because we drove alot, or we had a really late night revival service and needed to rest, or we are at a beautiful destination that begs to be explored. When days like that happen, we can make up for it by working a little later the next day.

It seems natural to come up with a schooling routine, I do take the education of our kids seriously, and it weighs on me sometimes if I feel like I have slacked off and have indirectly encouraged the kids to slack off. That issue is always in front of my face, there is always school work to be done. I suppose it is the rest of life, the non-schooling part of life, that I have noticed small routines and everyday patterns developing.

What am I doing everyday?

Then it also occured to me that it is important that my routine is built out of good habits and not bad ones. I have found that too often, I have fallen into the habit of becoming a phone zombie and wasting precious minutes, and even hours mindlessly scrolling because it was convenient, familiar, and honestly, addicting. While it might be comfortable for me to do this same thing every day because it was familiar, it was becoming a part of my routine that was, in many ways, doing more harm than good.

I don’t think that social media is in itself bad. (I feel the irony while I am typing on a blog that I will then share on Facebook and Instagram.) I really enjoy seeing what is happening in the lives of my friends and family. We are traveling and making new friends often, and it is nice to be able to see what everyone is doing. At the same time, I don’t need to be able to see what everyone is doing every day, and honestly, every hour. So, I decided I need to make a much more conscious effort to put my phone away.

A new quietness/more free time

I have noticed something while I have put my phone away more often. I have noticed the quietness. The stillness has seemed at first uncomfortable, and it has helped me to realize how often I grab for my phone and that I have such a short attention span. It has also helped me to engage more with the people around me. I may have missed a few opportunities to post some exciting things on instagram, but I also feel like I have enjoyed those exciting moments a little more fully.

In this stillness, I have also noticed that I have more time to do the things that I do feel are really important. I have felt a greater stirring within myself to go and pray, and it is painful to admit that I haven’t noticed this stirring because I was distracted. I honestly feel like God will stir us to pray, but it is a quiet, gentle stirring. I have also been able to enjoy a bedtime routine of reading to my little girls when I had often found myself soooo ready for them to be in bed already. This distractedness had become a part of my daily pattern, and it is something that I can minimize.

Routine improvement

So, right now I am trying to improve my daily routine. I still have times for mindless phone scrolling and catching up with the world, it is just less, and I am liking that. I think noticing and examining my routines was a good first step for me. Some of my routine was good and some needed improvement. Even though our life is full of the change that comes with travel, I have found that there are things that stay the same. What I do with my free time is still up to me.

Thank you for reading along while I talk about my daily routines and struggles. I hope you all are having great adventures and also having some time of quietness.

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

So, We Bought a Lake House!

sunset on lake

We bought a house, and it’s on a lake! I have had so many emotions about this decision, even though we knew it was the right decision and the right time.

Backstory stuff

Here is a little backstory of our nomadic lifestyle (does anybody else hear the little lego guy imagining the “Wildstyle” lego girl say “backstory stuff” when you hear the word backstory? Maybe it’s just me) Anyway, my husband Matt and I, along with our 5 kids, moved into a 35 foot RV back in April of 2016. My husband resigned as pastor of our church and we embarked on the adventure of full-time evangelism as Kingdom Pursuit Ministries. We wanted to do it as a family, traveling together and so it seemed like getting an RV was the best way to do this. Not only has living in an RV been the most cost-effective way for us to travel, it has been, and still is, a great adventure!

We travel most of the time, and so far we have driven through 43 states and 4 Canadian provinces. Indiana is our home and we minister in Indiana churches about half of the year. My parent’s driveway, Matt’s brother’s giant propery, and other relatives have been very generous and gracious hosts to us over the past few years. No one ever complained, but we never wanted to wear out our welcome, we knew we wanted to eventually have our own homebase, to park the RV when in Indiana. We have always been looking, and pricing out properties, trying to decide what our homebase would be. It has been weird, because we didn’t really need a house, our house is on wheels, and is everything we need.

Last year a wonderful Pastor couple asked us if we could use a home base. They didn’t know that we had been looking for something. They had bought a home and the church parsonage was empty if we would like to use it. We accepted this generous offer and we were able to use the parsonage as our home base for a year. Looking back now it really prepared us to know how to manage two separate homes, and to pack up in a timely and efficient manner.

Why a lakehouse?

While we were traveling up to Alaska, we were also searching for properties online. We first looked at land, but found out that a large downpayment was necessary and expenses like a well, septic, added driveway, etc. kept adding up. It made more sense to look for a little, low-maintenance home that also had a large enough driveway for our beloved RV. We looked at duplexes that we could rent out one side and live in the other, but nothing worked out, and that is probably for the best, because we are too busy traveling to be good landlords. That led us to the idea of finding a property that we could rent out when we are gone(which is every weekend and for up to three months at a time). That idea led us to look at lake properties.

We were pleasantly surprised to find lake properties that were super affordable and not too far from our family(we do understand that distance is a relative term, an hour or two drive is not a big deal to us). When we first found our future house, Matt’s parents looked at it for us and took lots of pictures. We feel in love, just looking at the photos and hearing their descriptions. We probably would’ve made an offer over the phone, but we had to make sure the RV would fit in the driveway.

With a little manuevering, and some excellent backing up skills by my husband, the RV fits snuggly in the driveway, with room for up to two cars next to her. Yay!

Excitement, mixed with guilt filled our hearts as Matt and I took the leap and bought this sweet little lake house. Excitement, because, of course! Guilt, because in a way we felt like we were cheating – on the RV, on the nomadic lifestyle, on filling this traveling evangelist family role that we had given to ourselves. Can we do both? Can we be a traveling family and still own a home? Is it selfish to want both? It brought me to do some serious soul-searching and see that this ministry lifestyle isn’t centered around an RV, but that the RV is just a tool, a wonderful tool that keeps us traveling together and sharing in adventures.

I still feel in shock most days, waking up and looking at the peaceful views of the little lake. I didn’t think we needed another home that we loved, but I feel like it is such a refreshing place, it has brought a much needed settling to my heart that I didn’t even know I needed. Will we use airbnb for our lake house? I am not sure, but I do think it will eventually be a place that we can offer for others to use as a getaway of sorts.

Does the lakehouse mean that we are stopping the travels? No. We are still traveling together, now we just have a place to come back to that is just ours. And what a lovely place it is.

Here is a bit of a photo tour of our little place:

Thank you for reading along, if you have been following this 7nomads blog, you will notice that we no longer have the 7nomads t-shirt shop. We have decided to lose the t-shirt idea, it didn’t quite turn out to be all that I wanted it to be. But, I discovered along the way that I really enjoy blogging, so we have kept the blog.

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

Corydon, Indiana Field Trip

We have been back in our lovely home state of Indiana since the beginning of August.  It has been a great couple of months visiting with family and friends, being in familiar areas, and finding new things to explore.  A couple weeks ago we took a field trip to the town of Corydon, Indiana. Even though we are often traveling and exploring new areas, we do have a curriculum that we are going through with the kids’ homeschooling so we do have to carve out special days every now and then where we take a full day and do a field trip.   

     Corydon, Indiana was the first state capital of Indiana and is not only chock-full of historical sites, it is a very charming town to visit. Our first stop on this adventure was the Constitution Elm, where the first constitution for Indiana was created by 43 delegates.  Why were they all hanging out under this tree? Because it was really hot in June and in 1816 the shade of this ginormous tree was better than the inside of the stone capital building. Thank you, Lord, for air conditioning!  Anyway, the tree is dead now, but the very large stump is still there, with a large stone enclosure around it to protect it from the elements, unwelcome climbers, and graffiti. There are many things to learn about the early days of Corydon, Indiana. This website was super informative:  https://townofcorydon.com/town-history/ 

Constitution Elm Corydon, IN

     In fifth grade, we give a special emphasis on Indiana History, and even though we were all visiting Corydon together, extra attention was given to our little 5th grader to make sure she was getting the full Indiana History experience. 

    After visiting the Elm, we walked around the city square checking out the old stone state capitol building, reading the various historical markers, and taking opportunities for photo opps along the way including an interesting chat with Governor Frank O’Bannon (hehehe). Just off the square is the old Governor’s home and The Old Capitol herb garden. We did not pay for a tour of the buildings, but the herb garden was free to walk through, and (bonus!) there were some very informative gardeners tending to the garden. They patiently answered all of my questions about the plants and told us about the common uses for each one.  Apparently, there is a rumor that Lamb’s Ear was used as toilet paper back in the day! (Well, if you have to use a leaf, pick a soft one).

Corydon Town Square

     After all that learning we took a lunch break and then drove out to the site of a civil war battle. This battlefield was just outside of the town of Corydon, we read all the information about the battle, and walked around a bit.  It wasn’t a big battle, but lives were lost and towns were overrun if even for just a little while.  War is scary and I always find myself thankful for the service men and women that are willing to risk their lives for love of country and freedom. 

Battle of Corydon

     We drove back into town to check out the White House Candy Company because we had heard so many great things about it from some of Matt’s relatives who live in the area. They were right, not only was the White House Candy Company totally adorable and stylish, the chocolates were super yummy. Although we didn’t get any ice cream, I am sure we will be back to give it a try. 

White House Candy Co

 We took a short walk down the block and across the street to Zimmerman’s blown glass. This family-owned business is now located in an old Sinclair station. This place was extemely cool. They were not blowing glass when we were there, but they were making batches of glass in their ovens.  A friendly employee/artist was very informative and gave us a quick tour/science/history lesson. 

Zimmerman Art Glass

     We thoroughly enjoyed exploring the town of Corydon – history, science, art, and candy!  Something else brings us back to this area periodically. Matt’s family, the Eckarts, are from this part of the state, and many of his relatives, including Matt’s mom who died of cancer in 2005, are buried in a cemetary close to Corydon. After exploring the town, we drove out to the cemetary and remembered.  Matt was blessed with a Godly heritage and it is a good thing when we can pause and remember these special people. 

   The surrounding countryside of Corydon is beautiful, and if you enjoy hilly, windy roads, it makes for some fun adventures. Just past the cemetary is a really cool road that drives right through a creek. We always try to make a point to go this way and stop the car right in the middle so we can all get out and walk around. It was a fun way to end our field trip.

Fun times in the creek

Thank you for reading along.  I hope you are all having great adventures! 

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

The Value of Community

My childhood pastor (and now father-in-law) used to often say “The only thing you can take to heaven is your relationship with God and your relationship with others.”  I’m paraphasing, but the idea is solid.  You aren’t going to heaven without a relationship with God and if possible we should live peaceably with others, our relationships will last for eternity.

   I follow other traveling families on social media and I have noticed a common theme – community. I think when you travel a lot, you notice the human need for community and for friendship, or fellowship as it is often called in church life. Before we traveled around the country, we lived like everybody else and in one sense you could say that I took for granted the built-in community that you get by going to the same church several times a week, seeing the same neighbors every day, and having a routine that is consistent. In another sense I can see that even back then, in what sometimes seems like a lifetime ago, I had to make the choice to participate in community, to be friendly when, for me, it was sometimes easier to keep to myself. 

     Now that we are living this nomadic lifestyle, it takes even more effort to maintain friendships and build community.  We are always meeting new people, and I find myself frequently pleasantly surprised at the connections we are able to make with people whom we have just met.  I like how C.S. Lewis puts it; “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'”

kids in hammock

   So the making of new friends isn’t really the difficult part. It seems that I could get along with just about anybody for a short time, finding common ground in one place or another. Disclaimer: this has not always been easy for me, I find myself naturally awkward and shy. After years of being pushed by my parents to make friends, or at least conversations, or at the very least, eye contact, and then 20 years of marriage to a very outgoing husband, I have found myself not only able to be friendly, but actually enjoying the process of meeting new people! Do not fear, fellow introverts of the world, friendliness can be learned!

     Maintaining friendships is harder. If you live a regular, stationary life the difficulty might be that after being with someone for a while, you find things they do that get on your nerves, or find out that they might happen to have different political views, or whatever.  

     In this nomadic lifestyle, it is difficult to maintain community because of obvious reasons. The distance is the main obstacle. It takes effort, I can’t rely on the fact that I will see the same lovely faces three times a week at church. I have to make that phone call or send that message and set a date and time and then we can sit together and eat and talk and laugh. 

     I remember fondly a time this past spring when a friend reached out and made that connection a reality for me. I had posted something on facebook about being with family for easter and how it was such a blessing.  A friend of mine commented “When are you coming down to visit?” and I didn’t know for sure so I just said that I missed them and hoped to see them soon. That answer didn’t satisfy and she called me up. I am so thankful for persistent friends! She set the whole thing up and we visited with her and several other friends the next day. It was just what I needed.  

fun times

   I think I am guilty of using social media to fill the void of community  sometimes. I feel like it isn’t just me, too many of us are sucked into a virtual world and missing out on the real one. The irony is not lost on me while I sit here typing on my blog that I will post online. Looking at pictures and commenting about loved ones’ lives is great and I love to be able to see their lives and keep up. But it is a weak replacement for the real thing. Not only that, too often I miss out on my own little community – my husband and 5 kids!

     We had breakfast with an older gentleman a short while ago and he showed us his flip cell phone. He said if he wants to talk to someone, he will call them because calling is better than texting. He demonstrated by acting like he was talking to a friend “It’s so good to hear your voice! I have missed talking to you! How are you today?”  He’s right. But I don’t see myself going back to a flip phone.

    I still see the value of these online tools, and I regularly use texting. I think they have their place. But they also have their limits. Texting is great for short bits of information, but not so much for a meaningful conversation. Social media is great for friends and family gossip, I mean updates, (hehehe) but it is a weak substitute for actual community. 

    Can we also just talk about how spending time with friends AND food is a great idea? This isn’t a new thought, it is even in the Bible: “So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,praising God and having favor with all the people…” Acts 2:46-47  We have found that when you spend time over a meal with people, your relationship deepens. This is true with new friends, old friends, family, and especially within our immediate family.  

friends and food

     Something pretty cool has happened on the road as we have been traveling, we find ourselves returning to places we have been before, and reconnecting with people. It is pretty cool because it seems that with friendship, you can pick up right where you left off. The kids have made friends along the way, and it is cool to see them excited to go back and visit. 

Buddies

     I’ve also noticed that I value my time with my friends and family more. I don’t get to see them as often so I have realized how precious that time is. I think traveling has affected all 7 of us in this way. I have really been working on being intentional with my time and appreciating the people I happen to be with.

     Thank you for reading this post as I talk about community. I hope that you are all enjoying that sense of community and friendship in your own lives!

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

Dear Kansas, I’m Sorry For What I Said About You

Dear Kansas, 

     I’m sorry for what I said about you in the past.  On roadtrips across the great USA it is often necessary to drive through Kansas. So, I have been through Kansas quite a few times. With the destination in mind, it seems that it has always been a rush, with no time to stop and explore. I have been guilty of complaining about the seemingly endless farm fields, flat lands, and wide open spaces.

     But something happened this week, this week we are driving through Kansas with time to spare. Our journey is taking us from southeastern Colorado to North Central Missouri. The trip is about 800 miles and we have almost a whole week to do it.  

     Upon entering Kansas from Colorado, we stopped at the welcome center to enjoy some free coffee, stretch our legs, get a photo with Dorothy and the rest of the Wizard of Oz cast, and pick up a couple of travel brochures. I am a sucker for welcome centers and travel brochures/magazines. Even with my handy smart phone, I find these old-fashioned paper sources of information much more informative and I like the tactile feeling of flipping pages as opposed to staring at a screen.  Anyway, we were able to find some great information about some places that we would stop at later. 

kansas

     We drove a little further into the state and stopped along a rest stop. I had read on my RVParky app that Kansas rest stops offer free dump stations and overnight parking was allowed. The rest stop had a large circle drive past the dump station. There was adequate space for us to park and have a picnic and run around in the yard. It really was a park-like setting and we decided to stay for the night. Thankfully the extreme heat from last week had passed and we stayed cool with our windows open.  

     The next day we made a pitstop at Walmart and then drove on to the town of Oakley.  We stopped at the Buffalo Bill Cultural Center. I didn’t know much about Buffalo Bill apart from his famed wild west show.  Apparently it was near the city of Oakley that William F. Cody earned his nickname after winning a Buffalo hunting competition against William Comstock where he killed 69 buffalo in one day! Poor Buffalo, but there was a purpose for all that hunting – the meat was used to feed the railroad workers.  

Buffalo Bill Oakley Kansas

     We enjoyed taking a few photo opps with the giant sculptures and face-cut-outs of famous western figures outside of the center. Inside the center we talked to the friendly, helpful workers and did some shopping at the gift shop. I found an interesting book about Annie Oakley (but no, the town was not named after her) 

     Also in the town of Oakley is the Fink Fossil Museum, housed in the same building as the public library. This museum has a very impressive collection of fossilized shark teeth and various sea creatures. These sea creatures’ bones and teeth were found right in the middle of Kansas!  I am often amazed that there is no mention of a world wide flood in museums around the USA, as the evidence seems to point to that possibility, but there is only one accepted viewpoint on the history of things and I wish alternative theories were mentioned. Nevertheless, the fossils were very interesting to look at, even if I disagree with the timelines that were given.  

Fink Fossil Museum Oakley Kansas

     In this museum there were also several displays about the local history of that area, including a sod house, a replica of a train station, local shops, an old firetruck, and a nice collection of artwork by local artists. Before we left we bought a few pieces of candy and the nice lady at the counter gave each of the kids a fossilized shark tooth.  

     The area where all these fossils were found is near Oakley and is called Monument Rock. It is kind of like a minature version of the Badlands. Is it terrible that we didn’t actually go and explore it? The kids were much more excited about the playground next to the library, and I figured I had given them enough learning opportunities for one day. Maybe next time we come through.

     We made the trip into Kansas City for some famous bbq. It was difficult to choose where to go, there are so many choices and they all had great reviews.  We decided on Arthur Bryants for pure historical/nostalgic value. Technically they are in Missouri, oh well, close enough. Arthur Bryant’s did not dissappoint. Yum! Everything was messy and delicious.  

     After our bbq adventure of yummyness we spent the night in the Cabella’s parking lot just west of Kansas City (we actually left our RV there while we drove into the city for dinner). This particular Cabella had a wildlife museum and the world’s largest collection of mule deer. It was interesting to see all of the varieties of animals and the large aquarium. It is funny to me that sometimes we seem to enjoy boondocking in store parking lots just as much as a campground.

Cabela Kansas City

     An amazing perk of full-time travel is there is plenty of time to explore small towns all across the globe. Even if you don’t travel full-time, there is always something new to experience and explore if you look hard enough. It is worth the effort, who knows what kind of adventure you will have!

     The lesson I learned in Kansas could apply to other areas of life.  Complaining about boredom is never a good idea. I don’t let my kids do it, so maybe I should take my own advice. I remember reading somewhere the words of one wise mother who would reply to the classic “I’m bored” complaint from her kids “There’s no such thing as boredom, only a lack of creativity.” True.

Thank you for reading along, I hope you are all having wonderful adventures! 

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

Family Fun in Colorado

So we spent some time in Colorado recently. As a wonderful perk, my parents drove out from Indiana to meet us and explore for a week. Apparently we were not the only ones who thought of Colorado as a great summer destination, it was a bit more crowded than I remembered. We have visited this beautiful state three times now, once in the winter, to ski with family and friends, once in mid-August and this last time it was in the middle of July. I was very surprised to see the difference in crowd size from July to August! 

     As a traveling homeschool familiy we have fully taken advantage of the perks of visiting places in the off season. I should have planned out this trip a little better, and booked some campsites in advance, it was very difficult to find a last minute campsite for two RV’s and Colorado is not a dry-camping friendly state. 

     In spite of my poor forsight, we had a lovely time in Colorado. There is a reason it is so crowded, it is beautiful!  

Colorado

    We started our visit with my parents at the Cheyenne welcome center in Wyoming.  It was a great spot to meet and plan the week ahead.  Wyoming is super relaxed about boondocking, we drycamped with my parents in this parking lot and picked up some supplies at the Walmart in town.

Cheyenne Welcome Center

     We knew that we wanted my parents to experience Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park so we were able to find a campground somewhat close to that area. We stayed at Eagle Campground at Carter Lake. We found the sites to be spacious with just enough shade to help keep us cool. 

     As soon as we got checked into our sites we made the trek to Estes Park.  Going down Hwy 34 proved to be much more scenic and curvy than we thought it would be. Big Thompson River winds through the rocky canyon right along the highway. There were lots of people fly fishing and lots of things to see along the way We were happy to get out and stretch our legs in the scenic and somewhat touristy town of Estes Park.  

      Back in 2016, we had made the trek to The Rocky Mountain National Park, once there we drove on Old Fall River Road through the park. It is a crazy, hairpin, unpaved road that leads to the Alpine Visitor Center. My parents have been hearing about this exciting road ever since. My dad was so excited to drive it for himself, I think my mom was second-guessing her decision to come out and visit the mountains with us!

     Unfortunately (or fortunately if you ask my mom), the Old Fall River Road was still closed for the season. We took the still-scary-but-paved Trail Ridge Road to the top. We found out that altitude changes are no joke, some of us were feeling bad up there at 11,000+ feet. Matt and my dad took two of our kids up the 120+ steps to the peak.  

the rockies

     We drove around a bit more, enjoying the scenery and anticipating to see wildlife when the sun began to set. We were not dissappointed. On our way back down Trail Ridge Road, we saw a herd of over 100 elk! They were pretty used to tourists, people were approaching them and everyone was taking pictures. It was a magical moment with these beautiful creatures at the top of the mountains. 

herd of elk

     We got back to our campsite pretty late, and we decided it would be nice to spend the next day at the camp with no driving. We spent a few hours on a rented pontoon boat on Carter Lake, it seemed to be a perfect solution to the extreme heat.  

     The next few days we stayed in Loveland at the fairgrounds. We explored a few places by car from that location, including a nice church on Sunday; Focus on the Family, Garden of the Gods, and Cave of the Winds in Colorado Springs.  

colorado springs

     We decided to head even further south in Colorado and stayed at Lake Pueblo State Park. Special shout out to my mom for persevering and calling many campsites and finding one that had available space! Thanks mom for letting me revert to my childhood and rely on you to do all the grown up stuff. Did I mention that Colorado Springs is exceptionally crowded in July and it was impossible to find a campsite there?

    Lake Pueblo State Park is very nice. Most of the sites have lake views and all of them are spacious and have lovely views. We were sad to hear from the camphost that someone had drowned in the lake the same day we arrived and were warned not to swim in the lake. This information along with the 100 degree weather helped us to decide to do indoor, air conditioned activities.    

   Matt found some interesting things to do nearby so the next morning we set out for the Royal Gorge. We stopped at some antique shops along the way in the cute town of Florence. The Royal Gorge is a pretty spectacular sight! There is a fantastic suspension bridge over the gorge, apparently the Empire State building could be placed in the gorge and there would still be 10 feet between it and the bottom of the bridge!  We drove up to see the gorge, and walked along some of the trails at the top, but we didn’t actually go out on the bridge. Several in our group are a bit terrified of heights, and that, coupled with the fact that they were charging $28 a person, made it easy for us to say no thanks. 

skyline drive

    On our way back to the campground we decided to take Skyline Drive. It is a short drive with steep dropoffs on both sides. There are some cool dinosaur fossils along one portion of the road.  

     We had such a great visit with my parents, we have been driving so much this summer, so it was nice to be in one state and to take the time to explore, and to be with family.

great week in colorado

Thanks for stopping by and reading along about our adventures in Colorado!

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

Epic Road Trip to Alaska – Week 7!

  This will be the 7th and last week of the series “Epic Road Trip to Alaska”. It was difficult for me to find a stopping point on this series because our life is a road trip, we travel most of the year, and there are always new things to discover and talk about. But, this week we left Alaska, so it seemed a good point to end this road trip series. Honestly, I was a little sad about leaving. Alaska is such a beautiful place, and I have enjoyed documenting this adventure. I did find comfort in the fact that we are going home the long way, going down the Pacific Northwest, an area we have never seen before. I won’t be documenting these travels week by week, but I will probably give some highlights once it is all said and done. If you are just joining us on this epic road trip, be sure to check out Weeks 1-6!

Wednesday, June 12th – Chickaloon to Tok 

     Today before checking out of our RV site at Pinnacle Mountain RV Park near Chickaloon Alaska, I bought some homemade fudge from the RV park cafe and then Matt filled up at their propane station. After talking to the owner, Matt grabs a couple of the kids and walks over with the owner to where she is keeping some baby ducklings that she rescued. There were also a few alpacas on the property, the owner weaves with alpaca wool in the winter season – she was quite the industrious lady!

pinnacle mountain rv park

     We stopped in a little IGA on our route north and discovered why people say groceries are expensive up here in Alaska. I don’t blame the grocery store, I’m sure it is expensive for them to get supplies shipped this far out.

     After our quick grocery stop we drive for a while along yet another beautiful scenic highway. I can’t think of one time on this road trip where I would have been bored with the scenery. I am not exaggerating when I say that around every turn, there was something new and amazing to see!

Rainy mountain view

     We stopped at a rest stop so that I could cook dinner in the RV.  While we were parked, we noticed a man with his two boys, changing a tire on his trailer. It seemed to be taking him some time, so Matt went out to see if he needed any tools we might have on board. Come to find out, the man was removing one of the axles on his trailer.  He was coming from the opposite direction and he warned us that the road up ahead was really bad – it bent his axle.  Matt was able to find some extra-long bolts to help the man attach his leaf-springs back onto his trailer.  

     As we got back onto the highway, we were able to see, first-hand, how that man’s trailer was damaged. There were parts of the highway under construction where the gravel had completely washed out and only mud was left. Thankfully, Matt is an excellent driver and we did not get stuck or damage our RV. It was by far the worst road conditions we had seen on this road trip! 

     After we made it through the road construction, we found a spot just south of Tok, Alaska to park and sleep for the night.  

Thursday, June 13th – Tok, Alaska to Destruction Bay, Yukon Canada

     We have made the loop around Alaska! I remember planning out this voyage and thinking that the triangular-shaped route from Tok, to Fairbanks, to Anchorage, and back seemed so small in comparison to the large state of Alaska. That is only because the state of Alaska is Huge!  As one man at a church we visited told us when we were asking what we should try to see, “If you want to see all Alaska has to offer, it will only take you about 50 years.”  He’s right, there is so much to see and explore, we will have to come back.

     Tok is a small town, but has some great souvenier shops, we stop back in at one of them and pick up some small gifts for family back home. There is also a large gas station with a dump station and RV wash facilities that we make good use of.

      Before crossing the border, we stop at the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge visitor center. We had stopped here on the way in, but it was evening and they close at 4:30. It is open this time, and the kids enjoyed exploring the various educational displays inside the center and chatting with the friendly volunteers who work there. We also went out back and took in the views from the deck.

Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge

     We make the trek back across the border and say goodbye to the USA for now. The drive back through that stretch of road that had made us all feel a bit sea sick on the way in doesn’t seem so bad now. We have either gotten used to the wavy roads, or they have done a good job repairing this portion of highway in the last month.  

     As we were driving through this beautiful scenery, I was reflecting on our time in Alaska and the wonderful ministry opportunities we had while there. Up ahead, in the sky is this most unusual and beautiful cloud streaking down across the sky.  It seemed like we watched it for the longest time, creeping closer to it, and then under it. As we passed under it, we noticed a full rainbow arching over us, it was like we drove through it. It was such a beautiful moment.

clouds and rainbows

     We spent the night in the Destruction Bay area. The name sounds like it would be an unpleasant area, but it is a really beautiful area, with the large Kluane lake and huge mountains all around. 

kluane

Friday, June 14th – Destruction Bay to Whitehorse, Yukon Canada

     We have arrived in Whitehorse, capital of the Yukon Territory, Canada. It is a nice city in the midst of the wilderness. Matt will be preaching here at Bethany Church on Sunday. 

     We get settled in and then make a run to the Canadian Superstore to pick up some groceries. This store reminded me of a mix between Aldi and Sam’s Club back home. I have missed those two stores, so I really liked this one – I will talk about it more at the end of this post.

     We went back to the RV hungry and looking forward to homemade pizzas and family movie night. I was busy cooking with our convection microwave and I forgot to turn off the air conditioning when the power went out. Some things about being in an RV full time are inconvient, one of those things is having to think about what sort of power source we have. Matt had just made a comment about not being able to run both things at the same time or we would pop a breaker…

     We were able to use the generator as a backup source of power to finish cooking, but we didn’t want to run it for hours to watch movies. We changed family movie night to family game night. We had a blast, and our son Caleb discovered a new love for the game of Yahtzee. 

     I forgot to mention – today was also our last day of school for the summer!  We homeschool/roadschool so I guess you could say we are learning year-round. But today, we finished up our curriculum for the year(for the most part) so we are looking forward to some relaxing, less-structured days.

Saturday, June 15th – Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada

     Today we decided to explore the city of Whitehorse. It is the hub of activity for the Yukon Territory, and people drive in from all over the Yukon to stock up on supplies. There are plenty of things to occupy your time in this city. Our first stop of the day was the S.S. Klondike National Historic Site. This old stern-wheeler was built in 1929 and used to carry silver lead ore and other cargo as well as passengers up and down the Yukon River. There has been an excellent restoration on this boat and it is now open to tours. It was fun and free.

S.S. Klondike

     We picked up some drinks at Tim Horton’s and then prepared for a scenic drive to Miles Canyon. We saw some great little planes docked in the water and enjoyed our drive. Miles Canyon is such a cool spot. As we got closer to the spot where you can get out and walk to the awesome bridge that crosses the canyon, we kept seeing teenagers in prom outfits. Apparently this is a popular photo opp. 

     I am glad they were there as we are all a bit scared of being eaten by a bear. The more people, the less likely we will startle some wild animal. We crossed the bridge and walked the trail a little bit. It is such a beautiful area, the water is a vibrant blue and it looks like the perfect setting for a fairy tale.

Miles Canyon

Sunday, June 16th – Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada

    Today Matt preached at Bethany Church in Whitehorse. This church is very diverse and we enjoyed ministering to all the different people here. The people were all very friendly and made our family feel very welcome.  

bethany church

     After church, the pastor and his family took us to BP’s(Boston Pizza). It was super yummy.  We had a great time visiting, laughing, and talking about Canadian and American culture and politics.  

     After lunch we went back to the RV to have a little nap time. I am not sure why the kids don’t enjoy Sunday afternoon naps, I always think it is a great idea.

     After our nap we decide to go to A&W’s for a little Father’s Day treat. A&W’s are surprisingly common in Canada, almost like Burger King in America. We had some excellent onion rings and Root Beer floats. Don’t ask me about how the Keto diet is going…

Monday, June 17th – Whitehorse to Junction 37

     Today Matt and Caleb took the laundry to the laundromat and apparently I need to be worried because some older lady offered to marry him if he ever got a divorce! She was very impressed with his awesome clothes-folding-skills. Back off ladies, he’s mine.

     Before we leave Whitehorse we decide to stock up on groceries for the week at the Canadian Superstore. We all decide that it would be best if I go in by myself and shop while everyone hangs out in the RV in the parking lot. It is rare that I get to go grocery shopping by myself, so I had a lovely time.  

     The Canadian Superstore was super indeed! I told you already that it reminded me of a mix of Aldi and Sam’s Club, my go-to grocery stores back home. Feeding 7 people is expensive, I am all about saving money, and coupon clipping just doesn’t work for me on the road. 

     I bought so much food, and other stuff we needed, and maybe some other stuff we didn’t need. The only thing I couldn’t find were paper plates. But don’t worry, as a bonus for buying sooo much stuff at this store, the cashier told me at the checkout that I qualified for a free gift – a cute paper plate party set! What!?!?! So cool. I was apparently having too much fun at the Canadian Superstore to stop and get a picture of it, but here is a picture of my deluxe paper plate gift set.

paper plates

     Even though we left quite a bit later than planned because someone spent too much time in the epic grocery store, we were still able to drive for about 260 miles. We found a spot to stay just before Junction 37 for the Cassiar Highway.

Tuesday, June 18th – Junction 37 to Iskut, British Columbia, Canada

     Today we are excited to drive on new uncharted territory for us – we had been backtracking from Tok to this point.  The Cassiar Highway is a much smaller highway than the Alaska Highway and is a bit more narrow, with most of it feeling more like an Indiana County Road than a highway. It is a beautiful drive none-the-less and we spot several more black bear along the highway today. 

     In my limited experience, I would say that British Columbia is the place to see bear. We saw 18 in British Columbia on our way up to Alaska and we saw 5 more today!  

black bears

     We stop at Jade City (it isn’t really a city, but it is the center of the Jade industry for this region). According to the Milepost, about 1 million pounds of Jade is produced each year from the Cassiar Mountains, and about half of that is exported. Jade City was a fun stop to stretch and look at all the large pieces of jade in rock form. We also enjoyed the gift shop and bought some little jade pieces.  

jade city

    Tonight we stay at Mountain Shadow RV park.  If you are going through this area, I would rate this RV park as a must stay! I picked it because they advertised wifi in the Milepost magazine and we hadn’t had any signal since we had left Whitehorse. We were pleasantly surprised that they had fantastic views and our site had nothing between us and those fantastic views! We had a very pleasant overnight stay, enjoying the majestic surroundings.

     I feel like this picture is a great conclusion to this road trip series. It represents what this trip has been for us: an amazing, majestic, and wonderful adventure from the comfort of our motorhome. 

window mountain view

Thanks for reading along with us!

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