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Road Trip: Day 4 & 5

All day I thought it was Friday. I have no calendar to remind me how fast (or slow) time is passing. Just the sun rising and setting each day to create a rhythm to my days. I haven’t fallen into a routine, or burdened myself with feeling like I must be here or there. For today, I just experience what is right in front of me. There is honestly such sweetness in living life that way. My over planned life in no way sets me up for a “rich” life. There is something so special about taking a slow walk and meeting people along the way, or forgetting to make lunch for our road trip but instead finding an incredible seafood restaurant that we only stopped at because all the kids needed to go the bathroom. I am learning (slowly) to not have a plan.

Yesterday we hiked several trails at Florida State Caverns and found several more caves amongst the granite rocks. The terrain in this park was really different and we loved seeing all the moss and blue “pools.” Today we left that park early and headed to Fort Pickens State Park which is part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore situated on Santa Rosa Island (just south of Pensacola). Gress was most excited that there was a fort near our campground. The kids were able to run free and explore miles and miles of forts and artillery. Somehow our satellite imaging of the campground and the direction from an uninformed park ranger didn’t get us the best spot at the campsite so we were able to switch once we got there. Lesson learned…don’t have a set plan!

Our sweet farmer friends created a box of questions for Rad and I that we are to ask each other along the journey. Today we opened the box and chatted about our first question. Nothing like getting straight to the heart. We both love great conversation. What a gift these questions will be!

Excited for what tomorrow will bring!

 

Road Trip: Day 3

“The glory of nature awaits you, hid in the depth of the earth, take care of God’s awesome handiwork and preserve for others its worth. -G.W. Hoover, SR

This was the saying on the path to the underground caverns today. We really didn’t know what to expect. It was AMAZING! These caverns were found after a tree fell over in the woods and pulled up limestone with it. We were the only people on the tour and that in itself made it so much more special. Florida Caverns State Park also has tons of hiking trails so we headed out on an early morning hike, and have plans to hike for the next few days before hitting the open road again. We had plans to leave tomorrow however where we are headed didn’t have the most ideal spots available yet (thanks to helpful park rangers and satellite imaging). So our plan is to head to Fort Pickens National Sea Shore west of Pensacola, Florida Saturday through Monday.

Something struck Rad and I on our walk today. We have the option to fill our days with everything we can possibly see around us or we can experience life where we are and enjoy the richness right in front of us. We are choosing the second.

 

 

 

Road Trip: Day 1

The best made plans. You know that saying right? If you remember, we are only planning a day at a time. That whole “sanctification, live in the moment” thing. Yes. I am already feeling stretched. Everything in me wants this planned out. And not having it so is breaking me of all control. Its a good but hard thing for me. We left Savannah on Tuesday, ready to head to Florida Caverns State Park which was about a 5 hour drive. But we still had packing and cramming, and closing down the house, to do. Those last minute things take WAY longer than you think. A couple hours into the trip, we decided to book the location, only to find out you can’t book online the day of and you have to be in the gates before 5:00pm if you want a walk up (aka, First Come, First Serve) campsite. Considering we were only getting 8 miles per gallon (and top speed of 62!) there was NO way we were going to make it. I was quite irritated (at Rad) that this wasn’t planned. But maybe this was part of God’s plan. To strip me of all control day one of the trip. It worked. We picked a closer location which ended up being an amazing diversion. We stayed the night at Stephen C. Foster State Park in the Okefenokee Swamp. We were pretty much there by ourselves. We walked some beautiful swamp land, were awoken in the middle of the night by the loudest Barred Owl we have ever heard, found owl pellets on a hike, saw tons of deer, and explored every inch of swamp land. It was perfect.

The Next 45 Days

How did we get to the place where we felt like it was a good idea to run away from our life. See, the funny thing is, some people see our escape as rebellious and frivolous in the face of responsibility for what we “should” be doing. We aren’t running away rather running to the life we want. Something went missing in us over the years of taking life too seriously. We lost the fun sides of us. And we just started living life without purpose to why or what we were doing. A few weeks ago, Rad said, lets go on a road trip and I am always up for his fun adventures. They never disappoint. Little did I know how saying yes would be the start of something so much more than we were expecting.

This will be our home for the next 45 days. We will celebrate Christmas here, open our memory jar full of this year’s memories as we enter a new year, we will see different landscapes, learn how to live with less, remember how to be thankful for everything and etch  very sweet moments into our hearts. I don’t know what to expect, but I know it’s going to be great (and exciting, and stretching, and crazy).

HERE WE GO. First destination (picked an hour before launch this morning): Florida Caverns State Park in Marianna, Florida.

Dream BIG

If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing big. All too often, we take the long season to dream and plan for what is next. Usually for us, we never get to the living part of those dreams. The monotony of the every day takes over the joy of what could be. So we are planting our flag, and we are hitting the open road to remember, renew, and reclaim what we love. We leave in a few days. If you know us, you know we usually have a plan, perfectly laid out with every detail. Not this time. For the next 45 days we will be wanderers headed toward the southwest. We have no idea where each day will take us, and we are trying to embrace the discomfort that causes us. We want to be undone. Unhindered. Unscheduled. We want to be reminded what it feels like to say yes to spontaneity and be fully engaged with the experience. We want to live with only the daily bread God gives us and to have more dependance on Him. We aren’t looking at this as a vacation but as an awesome opportunity to be set free.

(I am most excited about all the windshield time and great conversations I get to have with Rad!)

Birthday Getaway

Mcree really wanted to go camping for his birthday. One of his favorite places to go camping is at his friends cabin in Augusta. So that is what we did. Usually it is a boys trip only. But lucky for us, the girls got invited along and we were so excited that our friends that own the property were going to be there too. This family heaps on the generosity and the boys get taught so many great things while they are there. The boys frolicked on the mule and hunted, and explored, and ran wild and free on the acres and acres of land. It was so renewing for the whole family. Our Savannah friends will soon be moving to Augusta full time so it was a fun time to connect with them. We will surely miss seeing them here but we are already planning many adventures to the woods! When we asked the boys their favorite parts, their answer was the WHOLE weekend. I loved the hike we did together as families, and even the little cattle dog was able to keep up the several miles we trekked.

Happy seventh birthday Mcree!

Puppy Mayhem

It’s a good thing she is cute. Puppy poop on my carpet does not make this mama happy. We literally had a race down the hallway the other night while I tried to scoop her up to take her out. She knew I was mad and that squatty bundle of hair raced under and over things so I couldn’t get her. One day she will get this whole “parents go outside and freeze while I wander around…oh and go the bathroom OUTSIDE.” Just another reason I don’t have nice things. One day.

Hallmark Headquarters

This little girl loves to draw and make cards for people. She used to make me draw flowers for her. Now she does it all on her own. She could sit at the table and draw and write and do school for hours. I didn’t even have to teach her how to hold her pencil.Girls are SO different than boys!

New Friends

The older Gress has gotten, the more he has wanted to be around his friends. And when you homeschool, you really have to make an effort to see other people on a regular basis and not just stay home and learn. We have made a few new friends lately and it has been sweet to see their relationships grow. Lucky for me I got new friendships out of it too!

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