Days 10-15

So I totally had myself convinced that I would have tons of down time on this roadtrip. I brought a bucket of books, devo's, and bible studies to do in all my free time. Hah! I was not prepared for the amount of work it would be to take all the little ones half way across thr country. I have loved the work, every single second of it, just sayin I thought I might even get bored.  NOT the case in Texas! So that's my sorry excuse for not blogging more. Sorry!

Back when we first started the planning of this trip, we decided we would let our older two have some input. We gave them some ideas of things we could explore along the way and they each got to pick out a few places on their own. Mackenzi picked Sea World! The girls spent hours watching the live feed of the animals in their tanks on the Sea World website before we left home. So when we finally pulled up to the real Sea World, you can imagine the look on Kenzi's face!! It was greater than I had imagined and the opportunities to teach our children were everywhere. I am so glad that she chose Sea World.

The last few days have been spent in Dallas with our friend Joe and his community group. They are amazing men that have been so helpful and kind. They even gave us a surprise date night! They made delicious homemade pizza then sent us to the Shane and Shane concert at Watermark. I was a little worried that they didn't know what they were getting themselves into as we walked out the door, but I felt a little peace knowing there were more guys than kids. Just a little peace :)

The concert was amazing, emotional, and powerful. One of their songs is about the story of the 3 men that were asked to walk into a fire for their faith (the same story I referenced last week). Everytime I hear that story I ask myself how far I'd be willing to go for God. Would I be bold? Would I do something that would go against what everyone else is doing? Even those in my christian circle? Would I be willing to take the narrow road? The answer better be yes. And to be certain that my answer will always be yes I must spend time getting to know my God and His promises. I'd be willing to do most anything for my closest girlfriends, and I'm guessing if God was in my inner circle along with the girls I'd be more confident in saying I'd do anything for him too.

Texas has been such a blessing for our family. We have been able to spend time with each other in ways that wouldn't otherwise be possible. Kenny and I have had moments at Watermark that will forever change our marriage. We have an action plan, and we have a faithful God! As our final days in Dallas are spent at the nature preserve and Watermark, we look forward to finishing the journey we started 2 weeks ago. Our next stop will be in Missouri where we will have an opportunity to meet with a special family that has touched my heart and caught my attention. We leave Dallas tomorrow knowing that we would be perfectly content living in Texas. There are a few job opportunities here that Kenny is pursuing, but no decision has been made yet. Just the decision that as a submissive wife, I am perfectly at peace with whatever the head of our household decides! I have come a long way :)

Part 1...they had no idea what was comin!

Part 2...OH NO!



The Alamo

Shane and Shane

Watermark Church

Our favorite place in Texas!

We passed 2000 miles!

Gattitown...wish we would have discovered this sooner!

Just too cute


Day 9

Lots of drivin today as we went south to San Antonio! Stopped by the capitol in Austin for a quick homeschool lesson then just had to find the Stevie Ray Vaughan statue for my obsessed husband. We got directions from someone on the street, it was kind of like we were on Amazing Race!

We pulled into San Antonio and ventured around the city until we found the River Walk. Wow. Was that amazing! Kenny and I have added it to our bucket list as a place to visit again...without children :) Anyone wanna come with us?!

Kenny worked his "salesman magic" and got the whole family into the Timberwolves game for $20. He is so good at that. We haven't paid full price for anything on this trip. Gotta love Dave Ramsey's "Financial Peace"!

I LOVE Texas :)


Days 5-8

The last few days have been filled with unexpected adventure! We have had some amazing conversations with people in Dallas and are falling in love with the city. One of the greatest places here is Watermark Community Church. Watermark Site We have been able to experience a new class every day, all of them filled with incredible and inspiring messages.
Sunday’s message was given by a pastor clearly gifted in speaking and communicating.

He started in Galatians and asked us if we served men or God? Do we serve ourselves and fall claim to pride? Do we serve idols like alcohol or money? Or do we choose to serve God and ignore the earthly ways of those around us? He challenged us to live by this statement:

“I’m going to live according to the faith I say I have.”

If faith is such a good thing, then why are so many afraid to use it? Why do we hide it away for another day? I find that I often try to organize my life in a way so that I don’t need to use my faith. That’s silly. It’s illegal to worship in 52 countries. I live in a place where I can worship any time I want. So why don’t I do it more often?
He finished the message with the story in Daniel. Three men were being challenged in their faith and were thrown into a fire. Do you know these three men? They leaned into God, trusting that they would walk away untouched by the flames. And they did. Their faith was real. And they used it.
Monday we got to attend a ministry called regeneration- "re:generation recovery puts Christ at the center of all healing and relies solely on God’s word as its authority and counsel. We are an authentic community of Christ-followers, relentless in helping each other experience intimacy with the LORD, and are committed to glorifying our LORD through regenerated lives. At some level, we all experience brokenness. At re:generation, we believe that people can experience growth and new life by working through the healing path God has given us in the Bible. The mission of this biblically-based 12-step program is to call all people to be fully devoted followers of Christ. Our experience and prayer is that you will find healing."

There were many in the room that were suffering from circumstances far greater than my own, it was encouraging to worship together. The message was focused on #11 of the Believer’s 12 Steps. They spoke of how so many want to really feel God, and one of the best ways to do that is to suffer for Him. Not to choose to suffer, but in suffering, glorify Him. One of my favorite parts of the message was this:
God doesn’t save us from trouble. He sees us through it and uses it.
The next evening we went to The Porch, a young adults ministry led by Pastor JP, the same man who gave the message on Sunday. I was so excited to spend another night learning from him! He shared a story of a member wanting to start a ministry. The pastor asked him if he was currently living with his girlfriend, and when he responded yes, the pastor asked him to spend some more time in his Word before asking to start a ministry. I was blown away by his boldness, and I loved it. I want a pastor like that. A pastor that isn’t afraid to enforce guidelines given to us in the Bible. His story opened my eyes to my own circumstance. I am overflowing with ideas of how to serve the people around me. Kenny and I have recently been talking about some major life changes that would allow us to start a few ministries in our own home. But just because it is the desire of our hearts to do these things (adoption, foster care, missions) doesn’t mean that God is going to open those doors right now. He may need us to work on some things first. And that is a very difficult thing to admit! So…we turn our timing over to Him and commit to these 3 things while we wait:
1) Spend time in his Word- daily quiet time is great but the most important thing is learning the stories in the Bible. There is an amazing year long camp that helps you do this that we are praying about. What an incredible experience that would be!

2) Start your day in prayer and end your day in prayer- A dear friend gave us the book "How to Develop a Powerful Prayer Life" by Dr. Gregory Frizzell before leaving on this trip. It has been a wonderful resource and I highly recommend it.

3) Form close relationships with other believers- We are both going to seek out specific accountability partners as well as a mentor to help us grow and start dealing with the sin in our lives.

The last few days have been exactly what we needed. Tough conversations with each other, honesty and teachable moments with our children, and intentional time with godly people who have been willing to walk in this journey with us. My heart is heavy with desire for the life God has planned for our family, and I am so excited to see all of the dots connecting here in Texas. It’s going to take some difficult and humbling work, but we will get there, and we will have unspeakable joy!


Day 4

We made it! It was a huge sense of accomplishment to see the "Welcome to Texas" sign! We managed to arrive safely, under budget, with all of our children(that's not that easy when you have 4), and nearly no meltdowns. Hello Texas!

We stopped at an Outlet Mall just inside the border. Apparently outlet mall's are popluar here, there are at least 7 in the city of Dallas. The kids got out to play and stretch their legs which we have found is the key to long distance roadtrips. We tried to stop every 2-3 hours at a playground and that seemed to be just what they needed.

The outlet we had stopped at was mostly empty and pretty run down. As we were leaving, Kenzi announced "Mom, I don't think Texas is that great." Oh my child, Texas is much larger than this little outlet, I assure you!

We loaded into the car one last time before arriving at our friend's house not too far away. Tori fell asleep (they ALWAYS fall asleep right before you get to your destination, what's up with that??) and Selah was bored. Until she disovered Toria's hair lying dangerously within reach of her sticky little fingers. And that is why we found clumps of hair all over Selah's car seat when we got out.

We made it Texas. We followed your calling. Now what, God?
Eyes wide open...


Day 3

Today was a great day. A fantastic day. I loved today! We packed up early and went to a local museum in Wichita called “Old Cowtown.” One of the reasons we love homeschooling is that our kids can do more hands-on experiences like this one. Check it out  Old Cowtown Museum

We toured the town for hours, of course having to go into EVERY building. The kids got to check out the old schoolhouse, run through the rooms of 200 year old houses, see where they stored their animals, and probably Kenzi’s favorite, dance in the saloon. It was so wonderful to watch them soak in all the information as we read the plaques outside each building. It’s important to Kenny and I to teach our kids about how other people have lived, and even still live today. We want them to know a different way of life so that they can truly value theirs.

We knew it was time to hop back in the car when we found Graham takin a nap on the post office porch! We stopped in the store for a few Honey Sticks (remember those?!) and continued the drive South towards Oklahoma City. Once there, we went straight to the Oklahoma Memorial for another homeschool lesson!

The kids found the platform where you can leave chalk notes about the people who died in this terrible tragedy. Selah mostly ate the chalk, Graham mostly threw the chalk, but the girls left sweet messages about Jesus. And Mackenzi’s American Girl doll, Rebecca…I didn’t ask.

We found the chair that represented the little girl I learned about in school shortly after the bombing. Her name was Baylee, and I was given her name by my teacher to pray for. I don’t remember my teacher being a believer, nor did I go to a school that was very supportive of Christian faith. So strange to have this memory. But I remember thinking about Baylee often, and I never forgot her picture. The girls had a lot of questions about what had happened, and it was a priceless teachable moment.


Everyone was hungry, so we decided to stop for dinner somewhere with a playland. We are really trying to avoid McDonalds and Wendy’s on this trip, so when we found Chic Fil A, Kenny was thrilled. I, however, was not. I don’t like chicken. Did you know that Chic Fil A only serves chicken??? Seriously. I enjoyed an old granola bar I found smashed in the bottom of the diaper bag while the rest of the family ate their chicken.

Hotel Homeschool!

We found a cheap hotel (we quickly learned why) and settled in for the night. The girls worked on their homeschool lessons with dad while I sat down to read a book a friend had lent me before leaving. I had never heard of it, but she said I HAD to read it. And I totally trust her, she is a very dear Christian friend who keeps me accountable in so many ways. So I started reading, and didn’t stop til I had finished it. Yes, it was one of those books! The Cross and the Switchblade…about a man who felt God telling him to go to NYC, but he didn’t know why. Sound familiar?!?! Haha! Kenny and I laughed as I read some of the story to him. What an awesome motivator for this crazy trip of ours. The man who went to NYC was the man who started Teen Challenge. Ever heard of it? Quite amazing.

Thank you Lord for this day! It was exactly what I needed.