Our trip to Tennessee was so full and wonderful, I am not sure how all of this will tumble out. But how about that blog title?!! Worth the price of admission.
We got home last Sunday night and as we pulled into our lane Rory said, “I feel like we just lived a month of life in one week.” And that sums it up. (I think you’ll feel the same if you ever get to the bottom of this blog post!)
First, I LOVE a good road trip and our new-to-us van is a dream. It is just so fun. My main role on this trip was snacks and bathroom support. Keeping tabs on everyone’s basic needs was a full-time gig. I brought food from home to get us there, but when that ran out, we got to eat out. Which is very special for our family. We introduced the kids to Cracker Barrel, and everyone loved it except for Alden’s lament that no crackers actually ever showed up.
The days were packed full, and so were our hotel rooms! We had three kids on the floor with thermarests and sleeping bags and one in a pack-n-play. It totally worked… you just had to watch your step.
Every single day was full of new friends. That was the part that made this trip so special. Reflecting on it now, I feel like the Lord was like, “I’m going to take you on a tour of community. Just take it in, we’ll talk later…” And that has been what we have been pondering ever since we got home.
One place where God brought us was Rory Feek’s home, Hardison Mill Farm. Rory is a singer and a homesteader and what I realized on this trip: a true community-builder. I told him at the end of our stay, “what you are doing here isn’t normal. But it feels so natural.” And it is true. He has created a community of family and friends, many employed through his farm and fairs and events and school. Honestly it’s a whole lot to take in, but go look around on their website for a feel: hardisonmill.com (And then if you can make it, go to their Homestead Festival! I want to get there so badly!)
We had been watching youtube videos from his farm for a few weeks before we got there, so to have the generous and gracious gift of getting to enter in felt like magic. Like how my kids got to join Ms. Rebecca for a day at Homestead School.
This is a one room school house with a big emphasis on homesteading while holding many lessons outside or in the kitchen of the school house. Above are the kid’s gardens and the barn for the animals they care for. It is the closest thing we have found to what we do in our own homeschool and felt totally normal to us.
Rory’s daughter Indy was legendary by the time we got to their farm, so then to get to play kick ball and hang out made for a super special playdate.
In the afternoon we held a gathering of newsletter readers. Both Rory’s spoke and we broke bread together over pie and coffee. What I can say of these get-togethers is that the Lord is moving. He is literally moving people, moving hearts, moving many toward community and learning new life-skills. For all the crazy things out there, there are many cool and remarkable things happening all the while.
That night Rory spoke in Homestead Hall to a larger group on AI and the future of work and need for Durable Trades.
The very next day we drove into Nashville where Rory spoke at QIdeas. This is my only picture from the whole two days we spent there. There were over 700 people in attendance and six of them where children. Can you guess whose kids they were? But the talks were fascinating (like Ted Talks…each only 9 or 18 minutes long) and we all learned a lot. Interesting to note, one week later, the talks that still stand out and that I remember were mostly life stories. Story speaks so loudly- especially a life story, standing right there in front of you.
On Friday afternoon we drove to Kentucky for the Hope in the Home Family Retreat. This was quite the opposite event as I’d guess the kids outnumbered the adults 3:1. I told Rory while everyone was singing that someone needed to tell this group that family looked good on them. The moms were mothers and the dads were fathers. It was a real joy to be there and made fast friends with the event organizers.
After this event we got back in the van and drove to St. Louis to spend the night with my Uncle Mark and Aunt Jane. This was a special treat to get to see them and have a morning to process our whole trip aloud. They have been supportive of Rory and I from the start, a great place to land after such a full week.
And then we got in the van and made our way back home. We were all in our own beds by nighttime (some carried there) and woke in the morning groggy and discombobulated. It was such a great trip. God showed us many things through His people and now we will continue to reflect and remember and dream bigger dreams based on all we saw. What a joy.