Today has been a great first full day of our trip of blessings. That is what we know this trip will be for our family – blessings all the way around. Surely there will be difficulties, but we feel so blessed to have this opportunity to travel the country with our entire family. Even the difficulties will bring us blessings by giving us opportunities to draw closer to our Lord through our sufferings.
One thing I just have to mention from yesterday was our attempt to leave. As soon we got to the end of the driveway, I remembered to double check that everyone had a pair of shoes in the van with us. (I can’t tell you the number of times that we have made it all the way to a destination and discovered that someone didn’t have shoes.) The plan had been that we would all wear our waterproof sandals on the way out because we had already packed our sturdy tennis shoes in the camper. So, of course, we discovered that Damien (aged 2 1/2) had no shoes on his feet or in the van. Back to the house I went. A very typical experience in our family. God was so good to remind me to check! One pair of shoes would have been soaking wet very quickly with that little boy.
One of our first priorities is to make this trip educational, which is why you will see posts from Ryon – aka Cpt. America (as day 1 post was) and probably some of the other children too. We also have children keeping track of our mileage, gas, miles/gallon, and other expenditures. Journaling is also a goal on this trip, for all of us.
We camped at a WalMart last night in Knoxville, TN. We got going well this morning but decided we will definitely have to modify our routine so that we can get up and out much more quickly. We drove a couple hours and stopped at The Hermitage in Nashville. This is Andrew Jackson’s famous home, and because we have been studying American History and have spent time on General Jackson, we thought this would be a good mid-day stop. We had a great audio tour, movie, tour of the mansion, and walk around the garden. I decided that audio tours are definitely not very easy for older children and adults with younger children around. Even Dominic at 4 years old wanted an audio tour controller (of course he does – it has buttons to push), so I spent lots of time helping littles with their audio tours. And when they tired of those, I got to carry them in the hopes that we wouldn’t lose them along the way. Anyway, we had a great time and learned something too.
One of the things I really enjoyed about The Hermitage was seeing the wide variety of trees planted there. Many of them were labeled, which thrilled me because I love learning to identify trees that are new to me. One such tree that amazed me was the Empress Tree. It was HUGE. I spoke with a tour guide about it, and she told me that it was only 80 years old. I also learned that it is a tree species from China and that it has beautiful flowers. This is definitely a tree I will have to look into growing myself. Nathanael was also enthralled with it because we could see at the bottom of the tree that it was mostly hollow on the inside.
What a wonderful time we are having. Hopefully, I’m going to get this blogging thing down so that I can stare out the window a little more. Thank you for all your prayers!