Five Civilized Tribes Museum

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Here in Muskogee, Oklahoma, there is a little museum tucked in between the VA hospital and Honor Heights Park, dedicated to remembering five of the tribes that were forced to relocate to what became Oklahoma when the United States was being settled. There were artifacts and displays from the Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw and Seminole Tribes, such as a rocking chair, bureau, branding irons, and even a stove with irons all around that had been in the girls’ boarding school. We arrived at the same time as another group that had scheduled a guided tour of the museum, so we were able to overhear much of the stories she told. Upstairs, there was an art show, with pieces made by local seventh through twelfth graders. There are some very talented teens there! This was a great place to explore these tribes that have kept their culture through the forced relocation and attempts at integration into American culture. Each tribe stands today as its own unique Nation.

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Settling In

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After a few days vacation in Nashville, mostly relaxing, we started the trek to Oklahoma. We planned on it being a two day trip, so as not to arrive exhausted and in the dark. That required an overnight stay. Now I know there are plenty of people out there who routinely overnight at a WalMart, Cracker Barrel or any other place that will let them, but I have never slept in a parking lot before, and the feeling was a little strange. On the bright side, I am getting better at sleeping in unusual surroundings, so I did actually sleep that night in the Cracker Barrel parking lot. We didn’t get started as early as we would have liked the next morning, but made it to Oklahoma in the mid afternoon, with plenty of time to get settled before making dinner. Did you know that the slides go in excruciatingly slowly when the house battery is practically dead?

The campground here in Oklahoma is a quiet, peaceful place, with a very friendly and helpful owner. It doesn’t have the full amenities, but enough of the basics to suit us, almost. The only thing missing that we would really like is a swing set or some kind of playground equipment for the younger ones. On Sunday and Wednesday, we were privileged to worship with Muskogee First Church of the Nazarene. Great people with a heart for serving God and their community.

We have been on the road for two weeks now, and the newness is wearing off. And the adjustments have begun. There have been plenty of instances of sudden bad moods, general grouchiness, and unexplainable tears around here this week as we all try to adjust to this new lifestyle. This is definitely not for the faint of heart! But God keeps giving us His strength and compassion just when we need it. (Those who know me know the compassion must come from God!)

He has also provided little joys, like the expected thunderstorms that never materialized here. And who knew Space Bags could provide so much entertainment?

My children often make me laugh. Several days ago, we had hot dogs left over from a meal, so Bob bought some buns. When telling the children that someone was going to have to eat a hot dog without a bun, Owen wasn’t completely paying attention, so when Bob said, rhetorically, “13 hot dogs, 12 buns. You do the math.” Owen responded quickly with, “Who, me?”

Just last night, I had to laugh as I was cooking dinner and overheard Adam saying to Olivia, who had just hurt herself and was crying, “Do you want a bag of frozen vegetables?” You see, at the sticks and bricks, he would have offered her ice for her potential bruise, but we haven’t made any ice here, so all he could offer her was a bag of frozen vegetables. How long before they start requesting a specific vegetable. “Oh, that’s a head wound. Better get the corn.”

And the adventure continues.

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Ride #1

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So we started locking up the outside compartments, and making sure that everything was out of the way of the slides so that we could close them, and bring down things that were too high to ride where they were. Then we loaded up into the truck and van; me, Abigail, Ian, Adam, and dad in the truck pulling the RV (our house), and Erica, Eli, Olivia, and mom in the van pulling the cargo trailer (the garage). Off we went leaving 25 degrees and ice on the ground (Oh how we loved that weather! hint hint). Mom is doing pretty good getting used to pulling a trailer, however, our dad has pulled trailers before but none of them were 42 feet long. He’s also doing pretty good too. Probably 3 hours later a tanish car with a lot of snow and ice on the back window shed a piece of ice and it slammed into the truck’s windshield right in front of Adam’s face, but thankfully the glass didn’t break. There wasn’t even a scratch! There are three possibilities for why the glass didn’t break:
1 – God was watching over us
2 – Ford makes really good windshields
3 – Both.
Then later a semi with wood on its trailer drove by the truck and it didn’t seem like the wood was tied down to the trailer in any way. Well maybe 10 seconds after the semi passed the truck, a piece of wood flew off the trailer and hit the truck’s bumper, didn’t even ding it a bit. Then we went into the Central Time Zone, which means if it’s, say, 5:00pm in OH, then it would be 4:00pm in Nashville, TN.
But after that long day we made it to Nashville KOA safely, just not in the light like we wanted to. In the end we were safe, and we praise the LORD.

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This is the Life

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Saturday was beautiful! This made the past couple of days’ challenges almost fade into memory. Almost. The sun was shining. The temperature was in the high 60s. The children spent much of the day riding bikes and playing outside. We ate lunch with our friends outside. I couldn’t have asked for a better day!

During one of the children’s passes around the campground, one of the staff said they would be having S’mores in about an hour. Thanks to the branches the storm knocked down and the trees the staff was cutting down, there were two bonfires going for most of the day. While we played with marshmallows and chocolate, one of the staff members showed off his skill with juggling flaming toys. The boys were enthralled! How long before one of my boys says they want to do that?

Lunch with the Goza’s was nice. Ok, so lunch was just sandwiches for us, but the visiting was great. I love being able to visit without constantly having to look at the clock because I have 100 things left to do before bed! Of course, it helps that they were a joy to be with and the stories flowed back and forth with ease. This is a couple that we have followed for a while who also full time. Being able to meet them face to face was a great way to start this adventure!

What a great time we had meeting our cousins this weekend. They are wonderful, fun loving, down to earth, fellow Christians. We fit right in, and felt like – well, family! We are going to have to come back and spend a longer time in Nashville if for no other reason than to spend some more time with them.

Worshiping this morning at Grace Church of the Nazarene was wonderful. There was some missing of our West Broad family, but God was present and working. One song that we sang that really hit home was “Great is thy Faithfulness.” Every line of the chorus was so appropriate for what God has done for us over the past week. We have seen His provisions day by day. May we never let go of His hand.

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Getting started

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After a long several months getting ready for this, we are finally on the road. We decided early on that a key to making this work was going to be flexibility and we put that into action right away! Our plan to leave on Tuesday morning began looking more and more unattainable as Monday wore on. By the end of the day Monday, we still had much to move into the RV. Although we had been moving all day, it felt like we accomplished very little. Ian and Owen agreed, but pointed out all that we had done, making me feel somewhat better. Monday night, the wintery mix weather started. By Tuesday morning, we were glad we had already decided to push our departure back a day, since everything was covered with a layer of ice, to the point that I couldn’t even get the front screen door open when I tried to leave the RV at 4:20am. Trying very hard not to wake anyone up, I stumbled through the RV to the back door to make it out. I was full of energy, so worked on packing and gathering, anxious for the others to wake up so I could move stuff to the RV. Tuesday was an exhausting day, but by about 11pm, we were finally moving the last of the food in.

Wednesday morning dawned with all of us excited to get moving. Of course, all of the last minute details kept us busy, like meeting with the auctioneer, and saying one more goodbye to some dear friends and another goodbye to my cousin and her husband, who had come to pick up some items and were gracious enough to store some items we forgot to take to the storage unit. At 10:45 am, we were finally moving! The first hour seemed to pass fairly quickly. As the day wore on, with only a few bathroom, gas, and mechanical stops, the time didn’t pass so quickly. In fact, the last hour seemed to wear on and on. The bathroom and gas stops went well. It was the “Hey, I have no trailer brakes” and “I just got hit by a piece of wood flying off a semi” stops that were disconcerting! The two way radios are now a must have item for all of our trips!

We arrived in Nashville just after sunset. So we got the joy of trying to set up in the dark. We did have lights around the campground to help, but that didn’t help the fact that we had a stuck bar on the fifth wheel hitch and had never set up the water before. We had been sleeping and playing in the RV for a couple of weeks in Ohio, but it was too cold to justify dealing with water when we could easily go into the sticks and bricks for water related stuff. Here, we don’t have that option, so we had to get it working. It worked on the first try!

While some were working on setting up outside, some of us were inside checking on what moved during the trip, trying to make sure the slides would open without crushing anything. Adam had to shimmy down the trap door in the back room to pick up a book and a pad of paper that had slipped off of the shelf and were blocking the slide. Getting down was the easy part. Getting back up required all of his strength. I was concerned for a while, but he made it. After getting pretty much set up, we fed everyone McDonald’s at 9:30 pm Central Time and made it to bed in time to get a few hours of sleep before the storms hit. Although several of the children woke up for the heavy rain hitting the RV, only Abigail ended up climbing in bed with us. Even after a close lightning strike, Owen braved it out and stayed on the living room bed. In the morning, we gradually woke up, then spent a wonderful relaxing day doing as little as possible. The children spent a lot of time playing on the computers, DSs and the Wii, since they have not had much playtime at all the past couple of days. We have survived our first day without any major breakdowns! If we make it through the severe weather forecast for tonight, we plan to visit some of Bob’s cousins tomorrow and another full-timing family on Saturday. I have seen and felt God’s presence protecting us physically and giving us His peace when we desperately needed it. It is an amazing feeling to be completely in the center of His will and to be relying on Him completely. I highly recommend it for everyone – the relying on God that is, not the full-time RVing!

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