This past week we visited Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York! We only spent a few hours in most states - just enough time to see the state capital and learn a little of the history.
We were blessed to spend Easter weekend in Pennsylvania with friends of a friend. We have not had to spend one holiday in a hotel room or alone. :) God is taking care of us every step of the way.
While in Pennsylvania, we traveled around Hershey, PA with a family we connected with when we were in Florida. We toured the Hershey Factory, enjoyed two dinners at their place, and visited an Amish community- which has the MOST AMAZING pretzels EVER!
We stayed a night in Philadelphia and took in as much sights as possible in one day. The Liberty Bell was a must, as well as Independence Hall, Ben Franklin's grave and a few other historical sites.
That afternoon we asked a local police officer what place had the best Philly Cheesesteaks. It was the perfect meal to eat on a park bench on a chilly but sunny day.
New York City!!
It was a high of 44 the day we toured The Big Apple, but we warmed up half way through the day with a true NYC style pizza...we ate it folded so we didn't look like tourist. ;)
We spent equal time traveling the subway as we did on the streets, but we did manage to visit the M n M factory, Lego store, Central Park and Times Square - where my girls laughed at us calling it, "The land of consumerism"
On our last day in New York state (0n our way to Boston) we toured the state capital.
Oh, how I wish all of downtown was done in this style, it would be spectacular! The simplicity of the sandstone with the elegance of the carvings is absolute perfection.
As some of you may know, my 12 year old and I flew to California from Boston on Friday. We are here to celebrate my Grandpa Petey's life. I received the phone call on Tuesday morning that he was passing and was fortunate enough to say goodbye. That will be a moment I will never forget.
He was an example of selfless love and a hero to us all. I will post photos and share stories of my visit and of my Grandpa in next weeks blog. For now I will say that heaven got one heck of a blessing this week!
We have completed a full 27 weeks of our cross-country adventure! (That's 6 months if you are counting.) My mother- and father-in-law, along with my 17 year old niece and 19 year old nephew, flew out from Seattle to spend last week with us. And what a week it was!
We visited a few sites each day, but never felt stretched thin due to places of interest being so close and fairly easy parking thanks to my handicap placard. I’m in a wheelchair for any outings, so I don’t get as fatigued as others, so maybe I’m only speaking for myself! ;)
Vacations are always as frugal as possible for us, but this week we were blessed with some money from my husband’s grandfather to help with meals at our condo, a couple meals out, and the gift of a ferry trip to George Washington’s home. He also pitched in so that we could rent a place very near the capital. Our needs were met once again.
I’m a relational person, so as much as I loved seeing the sites, my favorite moments were with my niece and nephew. When they told me about school or their hobbies and how they are understanding more of who they are as people and adults. I also loved watching my own kids discover and explore. This is what I cherish.
I will post a few photos of each place for those curious what Washington DC has to offer, and for those who have been, to reminisce through these images.
Day 1 was the Air and Space Museum where we saw the original Wrights Brothers Airplane.
Day 2 was the Nations Capital followed by a carousel ride and ending with a trip to Washington's Memorial.
Day 3. The Library of Congress
Day 4. We took the Metro (Practice for the crazy Subway when we get to New York with 2 kids!). We ended the day with a crab dinner at the condo. YUM!
Day 5 was the Zoo. What a blessing to have so many free things available! We also snuck in time to visit the Native American Museum and the Lincoln Memorial.
Day 6 was the Natural History Museum where they hold one of the worlds largest blue diamonds, the hope diamond. Later we visited the History Museum where we saw the carriage that Abraham Lincoln used on his way to Ford Theater, where he was assassinated.
Day 7 was a ferry ride to Mt. Vernon- George Washington's home, where he spent his life and his final days, as well as his grave site.
I had to put 2 weeks into one blog post because we toured DC from a Wednesday to a Wednesday, and with being so busy, it just made sense...and I have a need to keep things clean and tidy. ;)
Next week could be a post full with adventures in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York.
Till next week! Marilyn
This past week we visited 2 state capitals, drove through 4 states, made new friends, and visited one of the most historic places in the USA - Jamestown Settlement and Historic Jamestown, Virginia.
We got a wonderful surprise when we went to pay our entry fee - not only did we get the homeschool discount, we also just happened to be visiting on the only weekend of the year that "The Military through the Ages" was being hosted! They have well over 100 volunteers dress up in time period costumes and set up their spots in that time period - Real food cooking in the outdoors and all! (Beginning at the Roman Empire and ending with the Vietnam War).
I couldn't have asked for a better experience. The kids were able to see history come alive and learn so much from the volunteers who studied their time period AND remained in character while telling tales from the past!
Afterward we headed over to the Historic part of Jamestown. WOW!
There are still some items in place from 1607 when the settlers landed and made camp - like the well, that when dried up, was used as a garbage dumping place, which of course served the archeologists very well in order to understand their history and collect items to preserve in the museum (we were not allowed to photograph those items, but it was impressive what was left behind - soles from shoes of both young and old, jewelry, belt buckles, weapons, cooking utensils and much more).
The two state capitals we visited were West Virginia and Virginia. At the West Virginia Capital we learned the history of Mothers Day and the woman who inspired it. What a story! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ann_Jarvis.
They also have a bust of Booker T Washington who was born a slave in 1866, and in 1881 started the first school for African Americans - Tuskegee University (which we had the privilege to visit on this trip).
At the Virginia Capital we saw a statue of George Washington that is not only detailed to exactly his height and frame, but is the original statue that he modeled for and allowed his face to be cast for. Which means, the face was made from a mold that was placed on his face - talk about life like accuracy!
A story is told of General Lafayette, who knew and admired him, that when he took one look at it, he fell on his knees in tears, exclaiming he would swear it was as if standing next to him!
We were blessed earlier this week to stay with 2 Candle in the Window families who have lots of property and animals. Our girls made new friends and got lots of outdoor time - Brings such joy to this mommies heart. We are currently at a YWAM base and will be leaving early Tuesday morning.
Tomorrow is a full day visiting Yorktown. I think that will need it's own blog post!
We have very much enjoyed having our own home for 2 weeks at the Aqueduct Conference Center in Chapel Hill. The kids loved having their own room to dump all their Legos on the floor and play pretend for hours, and we love having the space to have conversation with some privacy. It's amazing how much that can do for a relationship!
It is Godsend to have the space to empty out the van and re-organize our belongings. We have been blessed along the way to have a few occasions where we can do this and when you are living out of a van, it is needed as things get moved around with all the weather changes and searching for the right items!
One morning the girls were able to get out as the sun was rising and run in the field of fog... Can you see them? ;)
On Wednesday we headed back into South Carolina, so Josh could do a couple of TV interviews, and stopped at the Billy Graham Library on the way. I know Billy Graham has had an impact on many but I didn't feel the need to see his life work - but I am so glad we did!
It was so encouraging to know this man served God no matter where or what was happening. He had a large platform and spoke against segregation in the church and communities when times were filled with tension and he was allowed into communist countries when no one else was - to preached the hope of Jesus to the hurting, broken and lost. What an opportunity to speak such life in such darkness!
We have visited 16 state capitals in the last 5 months and, in doing so, have learned each state's history. While in the south, it has been interesting to see how some states will find ways to delicately pass over the slavery and discrimination in their history, but others, like the South Carolina capital, place a large statue or mural on the front lawns of the capital to recognize what was and what has become.
As hard and heart wrenching as it is to see, it's a part of America and the sinful choices of many. Yet, we have much more respect for those who acknowledge it and celebrate the hard work of those who have had to overcome something so destructive to the human spirit, instead of ignoring it.
Yesterday we wrapped up our time in North Carolina with a visit to the Natural History Museum in Raleigh. It's 4 stories with 2 connecting buildings of amazing things from animals, to gems to space and natural sciences - all free! We saw a ton of schools with field trips taking advantage of this. Made me smile to know kids can have this opportunity to learn so much about their state and the world around them.
This next week Josh is taking me to visit Mount Airy- The town where Andy Griffith grew up and the town he based the show off of. It's as close as I'll get to Mayberry, and I'll take it! :D
Till next week!
We left S. Carolina last Sunday and headed to N. Carolina. When we arrived to our destination, there was just enough snow on the ground to make it fun for kids, but safe to drive (which I was very happy about!). As soon as we stepped out of the car, my youngest said, "God answered my prayer for snow on this trip!" How precious is that!
We have enjoyed our visit in North Carolina this week. We have had our own house and much needed down time ,thanks to Aqueduct Conference Center. http://aqueductcc.com/
It poured buckets for a solid 2 days the day after we arrived. We celebrated my oldest birthday this week and her sister said, "Well, I know you can't be home, but at least it feels like home with all this rain". We all agreed and laughed.
Yesterday, we toured the gardens on the Duke University Campus. Even though nothing was in bloom, it was a beautiful crisp winter day and we all appreciated getting outside in the sunshine. Here are some of my favorites.
(I've noticed how much I'm able to capture photos without people in them. This is the perk of traveling in the winter. We have to bundle up whenever we go out, but there are very few tourists when we go places - and I wouldn't change that for warmer weather.)
I'm so amazed and blessed at what we find to do in each town, and how much I can actually do with the amount of pain I am in with my hip. I had really hoped and believed my 2nd hip surgery would work, but that doesn't seem to be the case. The pain is in the same area, which makes me believe the tear is still there, but only tests will show what is really going on. For now I rest and stretch often, I eat well to treat my body kindly and don't take for granted the little I can do!
Good news is I see the surgeon the day I get back home, AND I will have a wheelchair by the time we hit Washington D.C. - so I won't miss out on any sightseeing!
This is our 16th state in 5 months of our 8 month tour. In the next 2 weeks, we plan to hit 2 more states.
Till next week! Marilyn
This week was just the right amount of relaxation and fun time.
We made an overnight stop in Savannah Georgia on our way to South Carolina last Sunday. We didn't cover much ground, but what we did see was worth it!
If you can read the tiny print, there is a photo of the plaque that states where the first herbal pharmacy in America was built - Amazing piece of history!
We splurged on a treat and ate lunch at The Pirates House a few blocks from the waterfront. It's been open since 1753 and once served members of ships that would come into town. We chose the buffet of southern food items. I really must learn how to make the flat green beans with pepper. I can't get enough of them!
Our main purpose to visiting South Carolina was to see our old friends, Liz and Patrick Whitehouse. They have 4 kids (ages 15-4), 4 dogs and 4 cats. You'd might be surprised to know the house is always clean and smells good. Liz is one organized and determined woman! It's always great to know when animals have good homes.
We had an amazing week. Sushi and pedicures for the mama's, a shopping trip for new clothes for my girls and a date night with the 4 adults at the golf club. - all gifts given to us from the Whitehouse's. A true blessing and delight. We are so humbled and thankful for how God uses others to meet our needs and bless us.
On Tuesday we ventured out to Fort Moultrie. I think the most fascinating thing about the history of this place is how it was active in every war from the Revolution to World War II, AND it's relatively small compared to the battles fought. This is mostly because of the types and amounts of cannons they had as well as building Fort Sumter on an Island and another fort on the opposite side of the island so that they could surround the enemy - Brilliant plan and fascinating part of history.
On Saturday Josh and I left the kids at the house with their friends and headed into Charleston. It was a VERY cold day but we endured and were able to capture a few memories. ;)
My favorite spot was the oldest cemetery in South Carolina. All the graveyards downtown are on various church grounds, which means the churches are very old as well. I love this idea of history being placed promentley in view, showing respect to many who came before us.
There is also a plaque that tells us of a man (Josiah Flagg) who was the first native born American to make dentistry his life's work - AND the first to carry American dental work to a foreign land!
I was very blessed this week. Blessed to reconnect with a friend I didn't know when, of if, I would ever see again. And blessed because she chose to spoil me this week with lots of love and generosity. I'm thankful to God for the many gifts and blessings He gives us on this trip. Friendships, experiences and needs met.
Till next week,
Check out my hubby's blog to see our itinerary and view his writings and info about our trip around the country. http://www.radicallynormal.com/
I'm going out of the norm and starting this post with Sunday (yesterday) instead of going in order of the this weeks' events.
As we have mentioned before, we have been using a ministry called Candle in the Window to find people to host us around the US as we travel. This weekend we stayed with the founders and had the most incredible hospitality experience...and the girls made instant friends with their sweet kids. \http://www.acandleinthewindow.com/
Josh was given the opportunity to speak at their church in Middleburg, Florida yesterday. He loves being able to share God's truth and thoughts from his book, so it was a big blessing for him and us.
One of their church members brought several of his farm animals in a trailer to church because he has a traveling petting zoo and was on his way to a birthday party after service. It's a special treat to go to church and end up petting a horse!
At the beginning of this week Josh was given the opportunity to speak at ECHO global farms in North Fort Meyer, FL. (Check out this amazing place) http://echonet.org/
Our family stayed in one of the homes they have on campus and the girls experienced their first encounter with a lizard indoors! After they were tucked in, we heard Grace say, "Daddy, we can't sleep because there is a lizard on our wall". As you can see from the photo, daddy caught it and set it free outside. (poor thing!) ;)
There is so much vegetation that we don't see on our coast - papaya, star fruit, coconuts, oranges, bananas and more. I'm now looking forward to making jam and ice cream with our famous blackberries when we return!
For now I enjoy the beauty and vegetation Florida has to offer - not to mention, eating it!
We spent a couple days in Lakeland, Florida with my friend Joy from college. So far on this trip we have stayed w many friends from our past in California, Oregon, Texas, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida! What blessings to reconnect with so many people from our past.
These photos are of our day spent at Mirror Lake in Lakeland, Florida.
We traveled out the other day to see the manatee's...and forgot the camera!! Thanks to cell phones, I did get one decent one. They don't do much, nor come to the surface, except to get air, so this was as good as it got!
We head to South Carolina today to spend a week with our old neighbors and friends, Patrick and Liz Whitehouse. I've been told they have cats and a new puppy - it might be a real test of how disciplined my girls can be to do their school work with their favorite distractions!
Enjoy your week and find things to appreciate and be thankful for. ...And try to show hospitality to someone- it will probably bless both of you!
There have been many moments on this trip that have felt like a vacation, but we still had the daily school work and responsibilities before we ventured out each day. This week was a VACATION! Our friends, Nate and Heather Baker flew down with their 2 sons and our daughters' best friend to spend a week with us in Key Largo.
We had another surprise waiting for the kids as well... Other friends from home (the Kaplans) happened to be in Florida this week and drove down to Key Largo to spend a few days with us - and boy was it a fun filled week!
Day 1 was getting settled in and shopping for the weeks worth of food and relaxing by the pool.
Day 2 we fed the tarpins.
Check out the picture with the pelicans to give you perspective of how big these fish are!
Day 3 we went on a boat tour to see alligators.
Day 4 was a trip on a glass bottom boat to Molasses Reef (Amazing!).
Day 5 we went to Lion Country Safari!
As you can see, the ostrich REALLY wanted Josh's finger!
Feeding the birds.
The adults got some play time too!
It was an awesome day filled with a safari ride, a ferris wheel, miniature golf, paddle boats, bright colored birds, large slides, and giraffes. Whew!
Day 6 we visited a facility that uses dolphin's for therapy.
We met the founder's son who had a stroke as an infant and was told he may never walk or talk again. She placed him in therapy with dolphins at an early age and now he works for the company and was our tour guide!
It was amazing week. We were beyond blessed to do all that we did, either through amazing discounts or through the gifts of friends. This week was what any kid could ever want on a vacation and I got to see my girls enjoying all of it. Many thanks to God for His provision and these opportunities and for the friends we got to spend time with this week.
An update: We confirmed an arrival date for back home and to mark the end of our journey. June 5th. That will be exactly 8 months, to the day, that we left Washington state and set out on this crazy adventure.
We'll be in Florida for this next week and then it's off to the Carolinas for a few weeks.
Don't forget to check out Josh's website for new blog posts too! http://www.radicallynormal.com/
We're finishing up our first week in Florida and, aside from the daily school work and Josh's work, we've been pretty mellow. So I thought I'd use this opportunity to catch you up with HOW we are doing and not just WHAT we are doing...along with some beach photos! ;)
I didn't really have expectations for this trip - maybe that is why I'm doing so well with living this nomadic lifestyle. But Josh as "the provider" did. He hoped he would have speaking engagements and opportunities to sell his book, but with being a fairly unknown author and speaker, things have been unfruitful.
However, we have a peace about this journey and continue to travel on!
The other day, Josh told me he realized that God may be using this trip to give us a "break" after all the struggles and trials of the last few years of ministry. A sabbatical of sorts.
We've been blessed by staying with people lately. People who have never met us invite us with open arms into their homes (friends of friends). We are not only cared for but we form new relationships we wouldn't have had we stayed in a hotel.
Our first full day in West Palm Beach was the warmest so we set out for the beach! We had cloud cover which cooled down the 80 degrees and we were able to enjoy the outdoors for a solid 2 hours.
The following day we went to a marine rescue habitat run by mostly volunteers. I'm not sure why, but they also have a butterfly garden on the premises. Can anyone tell me what this green bug is? A type of fly? (#11)
A lot of women will tell me, "I don't know how you do it - moving from place to place, not knowing what your future holds".
Not knowing our day-to-day or future plans does look a little different than most Americans, but we've had to trust God to provide for our daily needs and have gone with little but also been blessed with much, and because he brought us through before, we know He will bring us through again!
We wrapped up this week going to a nature center in Boynton Beach yesterday. The only alligators we saw were in cages, and that was A. O.K by me!
I may not know my birds, but I loved viewing them and capturing these photos!
This next week we have friends from home visiting us in Key Largo. We are looking forward to a week of vacation (especially for the girls since this will be considered their mid winter break with no school work!). ;)
Last week we spent most of our time with our friends, Blake and Candace, from Washington who are now living in Georgia to complete their doctorates.
What a week it was! God blessed us in huge ways - a home to stay in, wonderful hosts/company to spend our free hours with, great meals, and conversation. ...AND the girls got a BIG surprise! ...
Blake and Candace took them to Lego Land Discovery Center in Atlanta, Georgia! We, on the other hand, enjoyed being kid-free for a few hours!
The World of Coco Cola.
Josh had gone to The World of Coco Cola when he was 20 years old, so he HAD to show the girls how cool it was...he was the most excited out of all of us - we were all laughing because he RAN to the ticket counter...as if it would be sold out!
Did you know Coke was invented by a gentleman who worked in a pharmacy?! I tell my kids it has chemicals...now I have backing! ;)
Next stop was the Georgia State Capital. A good portion of the halls are set up like a museum with glass cases holding multiple artifacts and information. You can visually see history right before your eyes. Most people say their favorite piece is the 2 headed calf. My girls would strongly disagree. What do you think?
While on the elevator we struck up conversation with a gentlemen and he told us to come to his office (room #...) in 15 min. Turns out he is the Secretary of the Senate AND gave us a personal tour of the Senate and let the girls get on the podium and hit the gavel - Grace was ecstatic...Sarah wasn't so sure what to do with permission to hit something!
We ended our week in Georgia with a visit to Stone Mountain. We were given a money gift by friends before we left and we used most of it this week with so many opportunities in this state. Part of the funds went to taking the tram to the top of the mountain. We are SO thankful that we took it to the top. Worth E V E R Y penny.
There is something about being in nature that brings peace to the soul. No clutter or distractions - just the ground, open air, and beauty of creation. We spent almost 2 hours on top with nothing but rock and a few small plants, just appreciating the beauty and simplicity of this place.
We made it to FLORIDA!!! This state marks our half way point, with the hope of being home by June. Oh, did I mention it's the sunshine state?! SUNSHINE!
Our first stop was the State Capital. It's awful to say, but the Capital is not only the ugliest we have seen as far as capitals go, but in my opinion, even as large buildings go. Plain, tall, ..yuk! However, the view from the top is spectacular and made up for the dull/business looking building.
We toured the Old Capital across the street and that fit more of the look we expected to see. I didn't get a photo, but found one on line so you can see the difference between the old and newer one (It's quite noticeable).
The old building is designed as a museum. Several state capitals seem to do this. We have really enjoyed it because we get to tour the capitals and spend hours learning the history of the state done in ways that keep kids interested.
If you go to state capitals, make sure you ask if there are any free kid museums in the area (or call ahead). They are often built within walking distance and are a great way to learn about the culture as well as the history.
I'm still in shock of how much we are able to do on this trip on such a limited budget. Traveling definitely exposes you to more opportunities than staying in the same town you live and work in and we are thankful for that.
We have been blessed to find housing with friends and people we make a connection with but often stay at hotels as well. Josh is really good at finding deals online ($50 a night) some are pretty meager, while others are quite nice. This weekends location topped the cake.
The Flamingo Resort in Orlando FL is where we stayed this past weekend. It has a miniature waterslide park on the premises for only $8 a person. It was the first time the girls experienced waterslides and they loved it! I enjoyed the "Lazy River", which wraps around the slides with a current of water pushing you in circles, as well as lying in the sun with a good book!
Currently we are staying with a couple in West Palm Beach FL and will go to another home later this week (Wed-Sat). It's awesome to see people's generosity and hospitality. They invite the 4 of us into their homes, welcoming us in and providing a cozy environment, meals, and new friendships. It's times like these we are so thankful we did not get an RV. We would have missed out on these unique people connections that bring us so much comfort while being on the road away from family and friends.
Someday I hope to see all these families again, but next time in my home where I can host and pamper them in return!