Raleigh, NC: Back Again!

Our first time through Raleigh, we had a wonderful dinner with Jen, Patrick, Luke, and Lauren…but we were short on time and were only able to spend a few hours with them! We knew we wanted to spend a little more time getting to know this great family when we came back through.

Jen graciously offered to pick us up from the airport when we flew in from Minneapolis. We landed safely, found Jen, arrived at their house and enjoyed a wonderful meal. We spent the night in their guest room…which is something we haven’t done for awhile on the road (we’re always in our RV!). We had a great time making green smoothies (and talking about raw food eatin’!) together the next day before we headed off to Florence.

Jen dropped us off at our car (parked at Bart’s work)…and we found that the battery was deader than dead. After quite some time, we got it running and we were off! It was a quick but GREAT visit with Jen and her family.

Photo album here. Both visits included in this set.

Reflections From The Road: Months 3-6

Transitioning back to our Traveling Lifestyle
In a few days, we will set out on the second leg of our tour! We’ve been “off the road” for almost 3 months now, and we are anxious to get moving again. On Feb. 18, we flew back into Raleigh, NC from Minneapolis, MN…staying overnight at Patrick and Jen’s house and then continuing on to Florence, SC (Becky and Rocky’s) where the RV has been parked.

When we arrived at Becky and Rocky’s house…we were excited to move back into our home. We had really missed having our own space and our own king sized bed! It was a pretty easy transition, although when you haven’t been living in that small of a space for awhile, it takes some re-adjusting! We discovered that that fridge door had closed inadvertently, and it was full of mold. Yuck! It took many hours of cleaning and soaking and scrubbing to get it ready to fill with food again. I had stopped at Whole Foods in Raleigh to stock up, so I had to load everything into Becky’s fridge first and then back into our own later.

Another fun thing was that our kitchen faucet was leaking water everywhere when we turned it on. Matt needed to do some work on the counter top before re-installing a new faucet, so we ended up being without running water for several days. Of course, we were able to take showers and wash dishes inside the house, but carrying them back and forth was a nuisance. I am TRULY thankful for running water. You don’t even realize how much you love it and need it until it’s gone! I am so humbled to think of all the women around the world who have to walk miles and miles to a well to carry water back to their homes every day. Isn’t God good to teach us thankfulness in such an unexpected way?

We found that we had accumulated quite a lot of “stuff” in our travels and consequently, the RV was busting at the seams. We filled several boxes with clothes, shoes, and toys and made trips to the Salvation Army so we could actually move around the RV. Bella grew so much while we were gone…she outgrew many of her clothes too! I always have to remind myself that we really don’t have much stuff…we just have a really small living space! It always feels sooooo good to make space and to give away things we aren’t using anymore.

Physical and Spiritual Renewal
When we left the RV on Dec. 12, we didn’t know that we would be spending 6 weeks longer than we had planned away from it. As we were flying out, we got a call from Matt’s parents…asking if we would be able to stay longer and help out while Matt’s dad had back surgery. Of course, we said yes! We had only purchased a one way ticket to get home, so God had all of this perfectly worked out and planned long ahead of our knowing it.

We had a wonderful time at Christmas and New Years’ with my family in Iowa and then headed up to Minnesota to be with Matt’s family for the next 6 weeks. The time we spent there was such a blessed time…but it was a big change from what we were used to. Every day was virtually the same…with a few variances here and there. When you are used to something new happening every day on the road, we had to adjust a bit! Once we got into the swing of things, it was clear that God intended that time to be one of physical and spiritual renewal for all of us.

We were able to make some much needed changes to our diet, and we started working out again regularly. The routine of each day made it so easy to have a consistent daily time in God’s word and in prayer. Matt was also able to play on the worship team at church and lead worship for a father/son retreat at Camp Shamineau. We had lots of hot tub time and Bella learned to ice skate. The wonderful, quality time she was able to spend with Grandpa and Grandma was so precious. By the time we were leaving, we were completely rejuvenated and refreshed…ready to hit the road again. All of the changes we made in our life have been easily continued now that we are back in the RV.

About a week before we were to fly out, we received word that my Papa (my mom’s dad) was experiencing complications from Parkinson’s Disease. He passed away a few days later. The funeral was the weekend before we had booked tickets to fly back to Raleigh…again, we saw God’s hand in the timing. We had booked that return flight quite randomly based on a “guess” of when we would want to return…but it was exactly the timing needed to attend the funeral across the state, and get back to Minneapolis to fly out.

After the funeral, my family joined us in Minneapolis and we had a great time there celebrating Matt’s 30th birthday and enjoying each other’s company. It was so hard to say goodbye, but we have plans to meet up with my parents in Phoenix, AZ in late April….and will hopefully see my 4 other siblings around the country somewhere as well.

We were definitely looking forward to leaving the cold temperatures of the Midwest and getting back to warm weather! However, we had no such luck! North and South Carlolina have been unseasonably cold while we’ve been back…it was actually the same temperature here in Florence as it was in Bozeman, MT yesterday! 50 degrees! Brrrrrrr! It was 25 degrees overnight…and our heater just died too. Luckily, we have other heaters we can use…but boy! How far south do we have to go to find some warmth!!?

I’ve added many photos to our Minnesota sets. Click here, here and here for those albums. I will be posting more of Florence soon.

We have just a few more days here…we head to Lexington, SC on Monday to “officially” re-start the tour. We have so many fun families to see and events planned…we’re really looking forward to meeting everyone. Check the Route page for updates on our locations!

Off we go!

Holly Springs, NC: Old Friends Reunited

When Matt was 16, he applied to work on the High Ropes Course at Camp Shamineau near his home in Brainerd, MN. Normally, they didn’t hire anyone under 18, but the ropes course director, Bart, took a chance and hired him anyway. Bart and Matt’s friendship quickly blossomed and Bart has remained a mentor throughout Matt’s life. The last time we saw him was when he stood up as a groomsman in our wedding. We were so excited to reunite in North Carolina after not seeing him in 7.5 years! Bart has recently proposed to Diane, a news anchor in Raleigh. We had a fun time getting to know her better and hanging out with them for the weekend.

Photo album here.

Raleigh, NC: Patrick and Jen

What a blessing it was to spend time with Patrick, Jen, and two of their children (Luke and Lauren) in Raleigh. Jen is a self-professed “former vegan hippie” who is now finding her way back to her roots :) . She’s a homeschooling mama of four who has a kind, generous spirit. I’ve enjoyed getting to know her through Walk Slowly and was excited to meet her in person. We were welcomed with open arms into their warm home and fed amazing, delicious vegan food (check out the photos!). The next morning, Jen made MORE yummy food … and we sipped tea and coffee while looking out the windows to their backyard. They live in a really pretty wooded area…complete with a HUGE (and I mean huge) tree swing that lofts you out into the trees (and tree with colorful leaves STILL on them!). Fun! We are planning on getting together with them again when we fly back into Raleigh after the holidays.

Photo album here.

Moncure, NC: Piedmont Biofuels

Piedmont Biofuels, located near Raleigh, NC is one of the pioneers in backyard biodiesel production…and they are only the second coop we’ve seen that offers B100 (100% biodiesel). We stopped there on our way through and chatted with them for the afternoon. They have a great facility with gardens, a cob house, a straw bale house, biodiesel production house (of course!), intern housing, and a great tree swing (weeeeee!). We had fun talking with everyone and enjoyed the beautifully sunny day. We were delighted when they generously offered to donate 20 gallons of veggie oil to us…as well as a big bag of organic bell peppers from their gardens. Yay!

Photo album here.

Charlotte, NC: Ben and Jenny

When we were in Greenville, I got an email from Jenny asking if we could stop by their house on our way through Charlotte and show them the RV. The timing worked out perfectly, and we were able to spend a night visiting with them. Jenny’s husband, Ben, is a member of the band “Scotty Don’t” and they spend a lot of time touring around the country with their two children. They have an RV already, but they are looking for a more environmentally friendly way to do it. We had a great time hanging out with them…meeting their friends…eating good food…and of course, playing princess.

Photo album here.

Asheville, NC: More Fun with Friends

I had been looking forward to our visit to Asheville for a LONG time! Everyone had been saying for months how much we would love it there…how fun it was, etc. It didn’t disappoint. We met Charlie and Angela (from Johnson City) there for a Saturday of fun. It was quite chilly out…but we bundled up and enjoyed the brisk autumn breezes. The first stop was The Laughing Seed. Oh…the deliciousness abounds. All vegetarian…all yummy. I ordered the hemp seed burger…and it was great! The restaurant was SUPER busy (they said it was their busiest weekend of the year!)…but that just added to the experience. There were more dreadlocked people in there than I have ever seen in one place, ever. :)

After lunch, we just walked around the downtown area and checked out all of the little shops. My favorite store was Terra Nova Decor…with decor, clothing, and other goodies from all around the world. I completely fell in love with an amazing Mongolian bed and platform couch. Oh…the love. We saw many other cool things…from art to incense…before stopping for some coffee and pastries at World Coffee Cafe.

We had so much fun running around town with Angela and Charlie…it’s always more fun to do things with friends!

Photo album here.

Clyde, NC: Kris and Natalia

As we headed to Asheville from Nashville, I emailed my friend Becky in SC and asked her what we should do while we were there. She immediately told me that we HAD to stop and see her friends Kris and Natalia!! Natalia was a “friend” of mine on MySpace and a real-life friend of Becky’s. And boy am I GLAD that we made plans to stop and see them…it was such a blessed time.

We arrived in the dark…we should know better, but it just happened that way. The dark made it a little hard to locate their house…but we kept driving and talking to Natalia on the phone until we saw her waving at us in the middle of the barely lit street. I jumped out and helped Matt get the RV all situated…and then we all headed inside where a delicious dinner was being prepared. My first impression of Kris and Natalia’s home was “I want this house!”. It’s so cute, warm, and homey. The colors are so rich and wonderful…you just want to stay forever. They have a beautiful property…with the perfect spot for our RV. We really COULD have stayed forever :) Bella made friends with the girls quickly and they were soon exchanging shoes and clothes and hugs. They have a great playroom in the basement…it made me want to be a little girl again!

Natalia is Portuguese, but grew up in France…she and Kris met when she was back visiting a friend. They have a great story and have two beautiful children, Carla and Maya. We so enjoyed our time there…we ate, drank tea, ate more, drank tea again…and talked and talked. I went to a “mama’s night out” with Natalia…which was a nice getaway for me. We attended their church on Sunday and spent the weekend relaxing. It was another stop that God had planned long in advance for us…knowing exactly what we would need at that point in our travels. It was a spiritual, mental, and physical “recharging” time for us. I hope our paths will cross again…

Photo album here.