We decided to leave the lively state park and head for the city today. We lived in Raleigh from 2010-2012, so it is a familiar spot for us. We had a great day! We had a quick visit with friends, lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, visited our usual used bookstore stops, and shopped at Whole Foods.
Steven’s Bookstore usually has a decent selection of used textbooks. I was hoping to find George a good science book and U.S. geography for both kids. I found the perfect science book (hooray!). I didn’t find the right geography text, but I found a fantastic history book. I also picked up two Agatha Christie paperbacks for myself. Oh, how I loved used books!
I was happy to finally get to Whole Foods. I have been back on a probiotics kick and wanted to try some different sources of good bacteria to supplement the bacteria I am taking in pill form. Probiotics are good for everyone, but they are extra important for those of us with digestive diseases. I never seem to be able stick with it for long (Which is mostly because they make me feel worse rather than better. Supposedly, eventually that passes, but I have yet to find out because I give up too quickly.), but here I go again. My friends in Virginia introduced me to kefir. I did not like the taste, but I drank it from time to time for my health. Today I tried kombucha for the first time. It isn’t my favorite, but I did like the taste better than kefir. The aftertaste, however, was pretty similar – ick! Maybe it will grow on me. Maybe.
What a day we had yesterday! Shortly after I wrote yesterday’s blog post the crazy holiday weekenders began arriving. I am sure there will be a steady stream of RVs and boats pulling in today as well. So, there went the peace and quiet. But, it is still a lovely spot and I am enjoying it nonetheless!
In the afternoon, Betsy and I headed off to town to do laundry. I’d been to the outskirts of Henderson several times to visit the wonderful Raleigh Road Drive-In, but I’d never gone into town (I actually didn’t even realize there was a town). Let’s just say that poor Henderson has seen better days (I hope!). My gps took us into a questionable part of town and left us at a dirty laundromat beside a boarded up house, in front of an abandoned grocery store, and across the street from a man hollering up a storm about who-knows-what. So, that turned out to be the second scariest laundromat of our three month trip! Thankfully, we arrived home safe and sound.
In the evening, we decided we had better drain our tanks before the roads got any busier with holiday traffic. This is the first time we have not had sewer hookups at our camp site. We conserved our water usage and managed to go from Saturday afternoon until Thursday evening before filling up! Of course, that required showering at the park bathroom, using paper plates, and such, which isn’t as convenient but not too terrible. I will, however, be glad to have sewer hookups at the next park! The minute George and Nick pulled away to go drain the tanks it started pouring. Betsy, Pierre, and I were soaked through. And for whatever reason, it felt like camping. Real camping. To my surprise, most of the time RV living feels just like that… living. So, it is fun once in a while to feel like a camper. Haha!
Elemental? Yes, elemental. I have been struggling with a UC flare for a few weeks now. I decided to go briefly on an elemental diet in an attempt to halt the bleeding without having to take extra drugs. An elemental diet is a “pre-digested” liquid that is easily absorbed by the body and therefore gives the digestive system a rest. I have used this diet in the past and I have had success when the bleeding isn’t too bad and I manage to stay on it long enough (#1 It is hard not to eat food. Really hard. If you don’t believe me, try it! and #2 The stuff tastes horrible! Really awful.). In good news, the bleeding seems to have stopped. It is my prayer that I am healing.
I am thankful for this beautiful, quiet spot to rest and (hopefully) recuperate. I am sure this park is going to fill up and be crazy over the holiday weekend, but for now I am making the most of the tranquility. I don’t always understand God’s plan, but I know He is always good and I can rest assured by that fact.
Yesterday was our “first day of school”. I had a vague plan for this school year and tried to pack accordingly when we loaded up for this trip back in May. But, as with most moves, it got a bit chaotic at the end. I was apprehensive last week when I pulled out the books and supplies I had brought along for the upcoming year. To my surprise, I had managed to plan fairly well and brought along just about everything we needed (minus middle school science curriculum and a few other minor things). Ta-da!
Betsy is now officially an 11th grader and George is a 7th grader. Our first day went well and we are off to a great start. I can’t wait to see what this school year will hold for us. “Roadschooling” is going to be a bit different than “homeschooling”. I am keeping our schedules looser than usual so that we can take full advantage of all of the awesome opportunities that schooling on the road provides. We have already been amazed by the experiences our children had over the summer with hands on learning in science, history, and geography!
I love North Carolina. I love its coastline, mountains, rivers, and countryside. Truly sublime! It is a beautiful land with wonderful character. North Carolina is my adopted home and I am so happy to be back.
So, here we are in rural North Carolina. We are camping beside Kerr Lake. I’m loving it.
We have had an absolutely lovely time in Virginia! It has been fun to return to the place our adventure started and reconnect with dear friends. And, wow, we really have the most amazing friends here! It has been such a blessing to spend time with so many of them. We’d missed them all and today we say goodbye and we’ll be missing them again.
Yesterday, I had a wonderful lunch with Caleb to say one last goodbye before leaving town. I sure am going to miss that kid! But, I am finding (some) comfort in the fact that he is happy and he is doing very well. Thank you to everyone that has kept him in their prayers.
Wednesday we visited our dear friend Mollie and her awesome girls. They have been taking care of our two giant puppies while we have been away on our rv adventure (Now that is an AMAZING friend!!!). Nick and George were so excited to spend some time with our dogs Ellie and Jeb.
Though we are sad to leave Virginia, we are excited to be heading back to North Carolina. We spent six years there (4 years in Wilmington and 2 years in Raleigh) and it still feels like home. We will be spending a week just north of Raleigh and then we head for the coast.
Caleb is off to college! He moved into his dorm on Friday. He is happy with his room and he likes his roommate. He shares a bedroom and bathroom with one guy and a common area (livingroom/kitchen/laundry) with another 5 guys. They all seems to get along well, which is great. So far, so good!
All that said, there was a moment. George and I drove up to the dormitory on Friday to see his room and meet his roommate. The sidewalk was crowded with college kids acting like… well… college kids. And I began to feel panic (I know it is a strong word, but there it is – p.a.n.i.c). I mean really, whose idea was it to have a bunch of 18, 19, and 20 year olds living together and making their own decisions?!? I’m leaving my child here, with them?! I am not so old that I can’t remember what it’s like to be young. Ahem… anyway…. George reassured me that Caleb would be fine. And I told George he wasn’t going to college. Ever. I called my dad, because he too remembers what it’s like to be young. I didn’t really want to be reassured (I know Caleb is a good kid and he’ll be fine. Really.), I just wanted someone I could laugh with. And laugh we did.
Today is Caleb’s first day of class. His sophomore year has officially begun. Please pray for him as he starts this new and exciting chapter in his life.
As for me, I’m missing these two kids! But, I am feeling blessed. Blessed to have mothered them. Blessed by the amazing grace of God that covers all of my shortcomings. Blessed to watch them learn and grow and step into adulthood. Blessed by the time we had and the times yet to come.
“There is no ongoing spiritual life without this process of letting go. At the precise point where we refuse, growth stops. If we hold tightly to anything given to us, unwilling to let it go when the time comes to let it go or unwilling to allow it to be used as the Giver means it to be used, we stunt the growth of the soul. It is easy to make a mistake here, “If God gave it to me,” we say, “its mine. I can do what I want with it.” No. The truth is that it is ours to thank Him for and ours to offer back to Him, ours to relinquish, ours to lose, ours to let go of – if we want to find our true selves, if we want real life, if our hearts are set on glory.” ― Elisabeth Elliot
I haven’t blogged much lately. First, I have been in a bit of a blogging slump. Some days I just don’t feel like writing. Second, we have been busy having fun with friends and family, which hasn’t left a lot of time for blogging (Keeping up with a blog takes a lot more time than I had imagined!). Third, I have been struggling with my health for a couple of weeks. Ulcerative Colitis flares make me tired.
We are enjoying the last of our summer with dear friends in Virginia. Sunday we arrived back in Lynch Station, VA, where our journey began, on the 3 month anniversary of the start of our travels. What a wonderful three months it has been for our family! I can’t believe how much we were able to pack into our summer!
Our official summer will soon be coming to a close. We’ll be starting school and slowing the pace of our travels. Summer was a lot of fun, but traveling at that speed isn’t sustainable for too long. We are looking forward to traveling at a slightly more leisurely pace and getting back to a bit more of a normal routine.
Speaking of summer coming to an end, our son Caleb is moving into his dorm today. We are excited for him. He is a great kid and we know he’ll do well, but we sure are going to miss him! I know that it is normal and natural and good for kids to grow up. I get it. I do. But, this kind of chapter is painful to close. I know the next chapter in our relationship will be wonderful in its own way, but I will miss this one… the one where I get to see him every day! And oh-how-thankful-I-am for the time we got to spend with him this summer! It was truly a blessing!
I will never stop loving and letting you go. A mother and child live the first great love story and there is no love story without loss, and this is always gain. -Ann Voskamp
An excellent blog post from Ann Voskamp for all of you parents… bring a tissue!
New places and people help us to grow and change. Family helps us to remain the same. Both are important in their own way. Family relationships are so often the simplest and the most complicated in life. And home is a word heavy with meaning. So, I’m feeling a bit reflective.
The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together. ~Erma Bombeck
We left Pennsylvania today, but we had a great week and a half with my family. It was such a blessing to have time with some of the people I love best in the world! I miss them already!
Here are some more pictures from our visit…