Our first week in Dallas…

First, I must apologize for the lack of pictures.  Jacin is our photographer, and now that he is working 11-hour days, I don’t have a lot to show for our adventures.  I will do my best about getting better at this, but unfortunately this post is pretty naked. 

Day 111 – Tues, Aug 13 – We drove all day to Dallas, arriving at Sandy Lake RV Park late in the afternoon.  It is a bit cramped, but it seems like a good place.  We made a quick run to NAPA for some hardware to fix the generator, then to Goodwill in search of some good used books.  We attempted to hit the pool, but it was closed due to heavy rains earlier.  So, we had a dinner of meat that needed to be used up (not quite to the green stage yet), and watched some Chuck.

Day 112 – We had a quiet start.  Jacin secured the generator (the one that had attempted to escape a few days earlier) and then took Nation to the pool.  I worked for a few hours, and then we met our first neighbor, Caroline, who is also a full-timer with her teenage son and husband.  We had a nice visit discussing the many blogs her family heads up.  We then headed to Grapvine Mills Mall, grabbed a bite to eat, and window shopped a bit.  Nation drooled over the Lego Discovery center.  Perhaps after a while we will feel the ability to splurge on a trip there.  We tried to find an RV store , and ended up at a very high end RV lot.  They directed us to a different store (because as it turns out, Winnebago is not THAT high end 🙂  ), but we failed to actually find it.  So, we headed back to enjoy the pool.  We were surprised later to have UPS deliver a part for our water heater straight to our door!  It will take some getting used to, being in one spot for a while!  Jacin worked on a few license applications after dinner, then we called it a night.

Day 113, Thurs, Aug 15 – Jacin’s first day of work!  It was a long day – 11 hours of orientation – but he had a great day, met a lot of people, enjoyed the professional atmosphere, and is excited to get through the training and get started.  The kids and I were without wheels, so ventured around the RV park a bit, and somehow blew 11 hours without much to show for it.  But honestly, we didn’t mind that at all.  🙂

Day 114 – Day two of training for Jacin.  Another good day with more excitement for what is to come.  I took Jacin to work so we could have wheels, and I stopped by a fitness center on the way home to check out the facilities.  (It is my intention to fully enjoy being in one location for a while and get plugged into as much as possible.)  I had a short meeting with the manager, and once he found out I was a personal trainer, he tried to talk me into a job.  Maybe later, as for now I have plenty to keep me busy with work and upcoming homeschooling.  I was told they were running a crazy cheap special deal starting tomorrow, so I will check it out sometime this weekend.  Just looking for a few classes and access to free weights.  After I got back to the RV, I took Nation over to the office for free coffee and donuts (boy does that kid love his coffee).  We later headed back to Goodwill for another perusal through the book section, and also checked out the local neighborhood.  After picking Jacin up from work, we had a quiet evening in.

 

Day 115 – Jacin got to work when he was told to, but found it mostly barren.  He finally rounded someone up to help him locate his workstation, which had yet to be assigned.  He ended up with a corner cubicle next to windows – BONUS!  He had no supervisor all day, so he was just self-directed all day, but did fairly well with that.  Since we will be here for a while, I began checking into all of the various fitness programs and finding the best deals, and taking advantage of having someone kick my butt for a while.  Working out on the road has been difficult – lack of motivation and a schedule has made me fluffy, and I am DONE with that!!  There is truly any and every form of exercise here.  I attended a free CrossFit class, and while they scaled it down a bit for the newbies, it was not as hard as I expected, but it was a good workout.  The program is pretty pricey, though, and the drive was a bit too far, so I’ll, be trying to find something a bit closer and see if other locations have better prices.  On the way home, I stopped by a garage sale which lit a deal-finding fire under my butt.  So, after getting cleaned up, the kids and I attempted to hit a few more.  We don’t really need much, aside from clothes for the ever-growing kids, but it is still fun to shop.  While driving around, we started following signs for a Fellowship Church.  When we found it, we were amazed at the enormous size of the parking lot, not to mention the many buildings.  I googled it on my phone and found that there was an evening class within the hour.  So, we headed back to the RV to dress for church, then back to the mega-church.  It was 20,000 attendees and the Pastor is Ed Young, who is a Christian author.  Everything was well organized and people were friendly, but it was so big!  Justice made the comment that it felt like we were walking through an airport while going from the kids area to the worship center, and the closer we got, the louder the crowd was.  The worship itself was great, but crazy – it felt more like being at a Jeremy Camp concert than worshiping God, but the team was certainly talented.  They played a short video with Pastor Young interviewing the devil.  The crowd (I mean congregation) was truly enjoying themselves, but we felt a bit out-of-place.  The sermon was good, but by the end of the experience, we decided it was just too big for us.  We do not need to have church “sold” to us, and are looking for something a bit more intimate.  We’ll try another church tomorrow, one that has a few homeschool families.  After church, we picked Jacin up and ate out – Indian food (yum).  Then home to watch a movie and hit the hay.

Day 116 – We dropped Jacin off to another day of the same thing, being self-directed and trying to find his way around everything, and headed to North Church.  We arrived at roughly 9:45 for the 10:00 service, and there was literally no more than 4 people there.  But, we were there, so thought we’d give it a go.  The worship was great, and the people were friendly, but there only ended up being maybe 100 people in a building that was meant to house at least 600.  It just didn’t feel like the right fit either, which was actually quite discouraging.  I was hoping to get plugged into a good church as soon as possible, and didn’t want to “waste” several weeks trying to do so.  So, when we got home, I checked out a church Jacin had driven past on his way to lunch one day, and I found that they had an evening service.  So, after researching it a bit more, then working for a few hours, I packed the kids up and headed to yet another church.  The worship was genuine, and the message was good.  It truly felt like home, even to the kids.  They served a dinner meal after the service, so we enjoyed a nice, cheap meal then checked out all the different programs they have available.  We are excited to check out their youth and adult programs, and we signed up for a “newcomers” meeting to learn more about the church.  After we picked Jacin up, we headed home for a quiet evening.

Day 117 – Monday, Aug 19 – Took Jacin to work at 8:00, and arranged to take yet another CrossFit class at 9:00, at a closer location.  It was smaller, but more intimate, and it truly kicked my butt.  I was sore directly afterward (and for DAYS following).  The owner also offers a kids program, so I will have the kids give it a try this week.  We started school, taking it slow and trying to wrap our heads around a new school year.  Jacin worked phones all day, and found out his schedule will be 9-8 every day, which isn’t the best schedule for a morning person, but we will not complain!  I took the kids swimming before picking Jacin up, and we had yet another quiet night in.

Day 118 – Took Jacin to work again.  Even though he is learning something new each day and has roughly 9 software programs to figure out and weed through, his days get easier and easier.  The kids and I went through another day of school, and while I worked for several hours, Justice read a book (for a very long time, which makes her momma happy), and Nation worked on creating an App for his iPod.   I quickly hit a yoga class right before picking Jacin up, wanting to TRY to work out some of the soreness from the CrossFit class.  When Jacin and I got home, Justice had dinner prepared – pasta alfredo with “cute” peppers.  It was a good day.

Day 119 – Jacin had yet another “better” day.  We had the regular school day with another few hours of work, and then I took the kids to CrossFit.  After the warmup, they both looked at me with the “are you trying to kill us” eyes, but they pushed through it and ended up having a good time.  And I was blessed to be able to work out while they were busy.  Right afterwards, we headed to an oil change, which took 1.5 hours.  Then we rushed over grab groceries before picking Jacin up.  We had a quick dinner of roasted chicken and potato salad (thank you Walmart), then started watching the Cape.  The off to bed to prepare for another day.

Day 120 – Thurs, Aug 22 – Jacin had another great day, working a lot of claims and feeling like he was truly getting the hang of everything.  The kids and I had school, and I worked while they read and worked on the computer.  The kids and I headed to Irving Bible Church to attend a newcomers meeting, and left feeling even more at home.  It is great to have found such a wonderful, welcoming church so quickly.  We picked up Jacin and headed home.  His schedule makes it difficult to plan dinners.  We are not big fans of eating late, but perhaps we will figure out a workable solution.  Jacin mentioned that his supervisor told him how impressed she was with his performance, since we was so new to this.  Go Jacin!

Day 121 – Jacin’s praise yesterday ended up tripping him up, and he got knocked down a bit by having to fix a mistake.  Thankfully his supervisor was great about it.  The kids had a small school load due to it being Friday, and we hit a Nature Preserve for a hike.  It is still unnerving to be hiking, then hear a very quick scramble right at your feet, only to find a lizard shooting out of the way.  They are everywhere!  After the hike, we hit the animal shelter to enjoy the animals for a bit, then headed to the library to get a temporary card.  The kids have found a few series they are enjoying, and I am going to take advantage of that!  We headed back home to get out of the heat, and spent the afternoon reading, working, and app-ing.  I headed off in the afternoon to try out a free TRX (suspension training) class, which I want to experience so I can incorporate more of it in my boot camps back home.  It was more than the suspension training – it was a full-fledged boot camp that incorporated weighted ropes, medicine balls, and the TRX rip stick.  It absolutely kicked my butt!  I felt great afterwards, though, and the trainer encouraged me to come back in the morning and try it again.  I will have to see if I can fit it into my schedule.  I picked up Jacin from work, and when we got home, we found Justice wide-eyed, and she said, “You will never guess what I just caught!”  She had spotted a VERY large toad and coaxed him into a bowl to share with the rest of us.  Jacin took him out of the bowl so we could get a picture, and the poor toad “let a lot of water loose” all over the place.  We snapped a few pics and let the timid guy go, then watched yet another episode of Cape with the kids.

Day 122 – Jacin headed out early to check out a topper for sale that would fit his truck.  He’s been tossing around the idea of replacing his current TracRac with a topper so that our belongings will be more secure.  It was a good fit, but he is still toying around with the idea.  After I dropped him off at work, I headed back to the TRX class for round 2.  It was another great workout!  I headed home to clean up, then the kids and I headed to a farmer’s market.  We got there too late to buy anything, but we will definitely make a point to go back next week and get some fresh food!  We walked through a fancy house next door that was having an open house.  It was beautiful, but after making due with such small space, it just seemed wasteful.  This entire area, actually, is filled with very expensive homes, and it is truly strange to drive through it all everyday.  We definitely don’t fit into the affluent community.  🙂  The kids and I had ice cream for lunch (yeah, I know), then realized it was Jacin’s lunch break, so took him to Chick-Fil-A.  Then the kids and I did some quick shopping and headed back to the RV to get out of the heat. It’s over 100 degrees today, which makes it pretty easy to just hide out indoors.  We are now headed out to the pool before we need to pick up Jacin.  The kids and I are looking forward to church tomorrow!

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Headed back to Texas

Day 109 – Sunday, August 11 – We woke and took our time getting ready to leave and head toward Texas.  We drove through some of the hardest rain we’d seen in months.  Jacin planned a quick sidetrip to Avery Island, home of Tabasco Hot Sauce.  We watched a short informative film and had a short tour of the facilities, then enjoyed some time in the country store, where we got to sample jalapeno ice cream and browse through all things Tabasco.  We even got free mini bottles of 4 different flavors of Tabasco each, free with the tour.  Upon leaving, we stopped for fuel, and Jacin noticed that the generator was literally hanging out from under the RV.  Praise God it had not fallen out completely and done major damage to the RV and the pickup!  Being the ingenious handyman he is, he used a few of his ratchet straps to get it back into place until we can get the right parts to fix it correctly.  We stopped at the visitors center at the TX border hoping to see gators in their viewing area, but no luck.  We had decided to stay in Martin Dies Jr State Park near Jasper, TX, in order to gague whether we could live there as camp hosts.  It is a gorgeous park with thickly pine-forested areas interspersed with swamps.  We fed the kiddos and headed to bed.

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Day 110 – I worked for a few hours while Jacin worked on an insurance fraud class in preparation for his upcoming work.  We took a quick driving tour of the park (so very pretty, and really big – it’s no wonder they need more help), then headed into Jasper to get groceries and hit a few places to find various parts for various repair projects.  (Jasper, TX, has a story that made the news in the recent past – Google it if you are not aware of the tragedy).  It took 4 different stores for Jacin to round up everything he needed, then a long (crowded) trip to Wal-mart to wrap things up.  It was 3:00 before we ate lunch!  Jacin then worked on repairing what he could (unfortunately the generator problem will require something different), and he and Nation rented a canoe for the evening.  We all went out in search of gators, but I must confess that thinking about doing so and ACTUALLY doing so result in two very different sets of emotions.  While we’d like to see them in the wild, thinking about coming across one in the water was a bit unsettling for me and the kids.  It turned out to be a short canoe ride.  We made a camp fire and had our first s’mores of the year.  It is very strange being near a campfire in 85 degree, humid weather.  It just doesn’t cool off at night like we are used to in Custer State Park.  But we tried to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible before bedtime.  Because, here it is, Monday night, and we are headed to Dallas tomorrow, where we will be city-locked for several months.  It will be very strange not being a complete family 24/7 as we have for nearly the last year.  But, we are looking forward to consistency and a schedule, as well as getting plugged in to a church and a homeschool community, at least for a while.  Thanks again to everyone for keeping us lifted up.  This amazing journey would not be possible without the support of family and friends, and we are so thankful to God for allowing us this adventure, even through all the ups and downs.  Blessings on your night, and we’ll be posting again soon.

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Detour to the Gulf of Mexico

Day 105, Wednesday, August 7 – After several calls yesterday, we knew we needed to head toward Texas. Jacin talked with two state parks in particular, Martin Dies and Inks Lake, which were ready to have additional help in their parks now. We were told that our background checks could be pushed through as quickly as Friday, so we thought we’d head to Martin Dies (the closer of the two) for the weekend to scope it out and see if it would be a good place to call home for a while. We took our time packing up and eventually headed west. About an hour into our long day, we passed the turn off to Grand Isle, which is a small island off the coast of Louisiana. Jacin absently stated, “This will be our last chance to see the ocean for a while,” and that settled it. We headed south and grabbed a spot in Grand Isle State Park, which is right on the Gulf of Mexico, separated only by a sand levee. While we were still in the humid Louisiana heat, the proximity to the ocean offers a constant breeze which cools things down a bit (aka it blows on the sweat that is constantly flowing from your body, thereby decreasing your body temperature slightly :)). We walked the beach for a while, then stopped at a neighboring camp to see what was in the buckets next to their camper. Lo and behold, they were full of crabs. We must’ve made an impression with our questions and curiosity, because roughly an hour later they invited us over to share in their feast. They schooled us in the art of de-shelling, and we were off! I have no idea how many crabs we ate, but we were stuffed full by the end of it (except for Justice, who couldn’t even stand the smell let alone attempt to put any of it in her mouth, so didn’t even hang around for the great conversation). We learned so much about the Grand Isle area, which is one of their annual vacation spots, as well as New Orleans, which is their home. Some time after dinner, we headed back down to the beach to catch the sunset, but we got down there a bit too late to see it. That didn’t prevent us from enjoying some more time in the water, and we also bumped into our crabbing neighbors, who gave us a quick tour of their crabbing pots, which were already starting to fill up after only a short time in the water.  What a wonderful day!

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Day 106 – Jacin and I got up early to see the sunrise of the Gulf of Mexico, only to get down to the beach and find quite a build up of clouds.  We enjoyed our quiet time together, listening to the waves and watching the sand crabs work on cleaning their homes.  It was quite entertaining, really.  Jacin headed back to camp to work on some apps and I ran a few sprint drills on the beach, finding treasures along the way.  I went back to the RV and grabbed Nation to come along with me.  On the way to the beach, we found our smallest frog yet, smaller than Nation’s pinky nail.  Next we found a large fish spine with the “ribs”, which looked like spikes from a sea monster.  Then we found several beached jellyfish and set one out on a picnic table to see what would happen (we found that all that was left the next day was a little bit of shiny film on the table).  Jacin and Justice joined us shortly, and we took a long walk along the beach, picking up shells as we went and finding several still inhabited by hermit crabs.  We had a late breakfast, then later took our bikes down to the beach.  Justice road along the coast through the incoming waves, then came to a crossing and decided to go for it.  She found out the hard way that it was much deeper than it looked, and ended up waist-deep in the water.  She was quite surprised, but pushed through it and came out laughing.  Later, after changing into dry clothes, we took the kids into town and checked out a souvenir shop, as well as taking a self-guided tour of the historic houses in the town, all of which were built in the mid- to late-1800s.  The island was settled by pirates, and most of the people living there can trace their roots back to a pillaging past.  We also explored a local cemetery, with the above-ground tombs, and marveled at the houses on stilts – even the school was built up off the ground!  After dinner, Justice was experiencing major discomfort, so I worked on her a bit then sent her to bed with a heating pad.  We all prayed over her complete recovery.

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Day 107, Friday, August 9 – Jacin and I were up early again to attempt to see the sunrise, but were met by another cloudy morning.  So, we again just took in the sights and enjoyed some alone time together.  Once back at the RV, Jacin cleaned himself up and headed into town to find work.  We have all fallen in love with Grand Isle, and it is the first place that feels like home.  Justice headed out for a walk on the beach while I worked a bit, and Nation and I joined her later.  We met Jacin back at the RV, and he informed us that he had spoken with a local construction company that could offer him work, as well as had found an RV park that would let us stay for free in exchange for some handyman help.  We were all very excited!  So, Justice and I headed to the showers to get ready to check out the RV park and make the move.  When we got back, Jacin was on the phone, and we could tell our plans were quickly changing.  When he hung up, he said, “Well, I got the call.”  THE call, the one he has been waiting for since last October, finally came when we were ready to settle down for a while.  God works in mysterious ways.  We decided to celebrate with a meal out, and found a quaint little diner called The Starfish, where Jacin and I were treated to a seafood-stuffed baked potato, Nation had a shrimp patty, and Justice had the best hamburger ever.  After lunch, we decided that rather than head to Dalls right away, since we didn’t need to be there for almost a week, we would enjoy a couple more nights in paradise.  But, we had to switch campsites because our spot was reserved for the weekend.  We found our new neighbors to be just as incredible as the last ones.  We took a quick ride along the beach, and got fairly wet from a quick rainstorm.  When we returned, Bob and his brother John (our neighbors) got their shrimp out that purchased from a dock in town and showed us how to prepare them for cooking.  They cooked up red fish and shrimp, and we supplied the veggies, and we all shared a meal and stories together.  We even enjoyed a treat off an ice cream truck that came through the campground right after dinner.  It was another great day.  Thank you, Lord!

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Day 108 – Jacin woke me around 5:30 to see if I was up to heading down to the beach again.  I just couldn’t do it, and it was not too hard to convince him to sleep in with me.  It sounded windy and not too promising.  After breakfast, Jacin went for groceries while I worked and the kids kept busy reading and walking along the beach.  We had another nice dinner of fish and shrimp again with Bob and John, then headed down to the beach for the last time, until we return again.  Truly, besides Morro Bay, CA, this is the first place we’ve truly fallen in love with.  We are all grieving somewhat about leaving, but hopeful that God will allow us to winter here.

 

 

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On to Lousiana…

Day 95 – On the eve of day 95, Jacin and I felt the pull to find a church to attend in the morning.  So, we googled churches in the area (truly, what on earth would we do without internet?), and we picked one that sounded like home.  So, we got up early enough to get the family ready and headed to Parkway Life church in Lumberton, TX.  Everyone was so welcoming, knew that we were new visitors, and we even got a Parkway Life mug as a gift.  The music and the service were great, very charismatic.  The sermon was somehow extremely appropriate to our current situation (how is it that a Pastor, no matter where you are, knows exactly what you need to hear?), entitled “You’ve Got What it Takes,”, addressing how God only gives us as much as we can handle.  After church, we headed back to camp to get packed up and head out.  Louisiana offered a lovely rain storm, followed by an amazing 18-mile-long bridge over the swamps.  At one point, Jacin “felt” something strange, so he pulled over to check the tires, which had been nothing but problems the last few days.  He checked everything over, but didn’t notice anything wrong, so we headed down the road again.  Maybe two miles later, we blew tire #3 on the front driver’s side.  We called roadside assistance (even though they hadn’t been able to provide assistance on the previous two blowouts), and after making several calls, waited 2 hours for help to never show up.  So, Jacin and Nation walked back to the closest exit to a truck stop we had called when we first blew the tire, to see if they happened to have someone who could help (even though they weren’t helpful with the phone call effort). The truck stop is called Tiger Truck Stop, so you won’t be surprised to know they have Tigers on display….  Within 30 minutes, we had assistance swapping out the spare and were on the road again.  During our wait, we discussed whether it was a good idea to try to continue on to the state park where we had made reservations for that night, and we decided that rather than pressing our luck, we would stay in the nearest RV park and hit a Baton Rouge tire shop the next morning to replace the rest of the tires.  So, we stopped just 10 short miles down the road in Port Allen and called it a night.

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Day 96 – We were up early to hit the tire shop.  Jacin got a quote of $3000 to replace the remaining 4 tires, which made me throw up.  That was more than twice as much as the two tires we had replaced on the side of the road in TX!!!  So, I went in with Jacin and had the guy recheck his math, which ended up shaving $1000 off the quote.  Phew!  So, we unhooked the truck to let them do their magic and journeyed off to find an alternator repair shop in hopes that they might be able to fix the slide pump motor that Jacin was able to slip off easily that morning.  The repairman first looked into ordering a replacement, which would cost $100-$200, plus we’d have to wait on shipping time.  But, he was willing to take a peak inside and see if there was anything he could do.  So, we left the motor with him and headed to a local mall to ill some time.  We checked out our first Big Lots, then went to a thrift store where we picked up a few new books.  The repairman called and had worked his magic – he was able to get the motor running with a minor clean up job!  Praise God!  So, we picked up the motor and headed to the tire shop to check on their progress.  Not good news.  They had switched out the front two tires, but the rear driver’s side wheels were completely bound up and could not be removed.  They worked on them for several hours to no avail, so we just loaded up the last two tires and headed to New Orleans, praying that we would not have any additional blow outs during the 80-mile venture.  We made it safe and sound to Bayou Segnette State Park, a nice large campground with a pool and free laundry!  Jacin spoke with the campground host and got a number for an on-site repairman to contact tomorrow.  He also installed the pump motor, and praise God, the slides worked!  On a very sad note, we found out that Roxie, Jacin’s aunt, has Stage 4 malignant brain tumors, so we will be keeping her family in our prayers.  It certainly made us realize just how small and petty our problems have been, even though they’ve seemed insurmountable at times.  Perspective…

Day 97, Tuesday, July 30 – Jacin left early to head to a State Farm certification class in New Orleans.  He was able to walk down Bourbon Street and the French Quarter a bit during lunch.  I worked most of the day, and Justice caught up on laundry that had not been done in a while because it had been trapped in a closet behind the slide.  The kids and I did go swimming and toured around the state park a bit.   It was a long class day for Jacin, but he felt good about being there and what he had learned.   He was home by 6:00, and we had a quiet night.

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Day 98 – Jacin was up early and headed to the city for another day of class.  He had a good day learning the estimating process of State Farm, and surprisingly, he ran into a familiar Rapid City face over his lunch hour, the daughter of one of his mom’s friends.  What a small world!  I worked again for quite a bit of the day, even taking a bike ride to the nearest post office to mail out a couple of tax returns.  I can’t even describe what it feels like to exercise in such heat and humidity.  I sweat more in 5 minutes outside in Louisiana than during an hour of Insanity!!!  Once back, the kids and I went swimming again.  They worked on a bit of school work to keep themselves busy and gear their brains up for the real deal, which is soon coming!  In bed Jacin and I discussed our next step.  We are both feeling anxious regarding what will happen after his training, not really knowing whether work will result quickly, and if not, where we are supposed to go.  The financial pressure after the whole tire fiasco is a bit overwhelming at times, but we are trying to stay strong in our belief that God brought us here for a reason.  We will see what the next several days of training bring.

Day 99 – Yet another day into the city for Jacin.  He had a very positive morning as the company presented itself and their work opportunities.  Jacin was in touch with a tire company, and they came out to the RV to attempt to whack the rear tires off.  The poor young man gave it his all for almost 2 hours, then let me know that his boss would come out that evening to try himself.  The kids and I swam again and also worked on schoolwork.  Jacin got home early, so Justice and I headed to the grocery store while Jacin and Nation waited on the bossman.  When Justice and I got back, we were so pleased to see that the old tires were laying next to the work truck!  The boss and his brother didn’t have it easy, but they were able to break them loose without applying heat.  Praise God!!!

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Day 100 – It really feels crazy typing 100.  Hard to believe it’s been so long, really.  Jacin headed to New Orleans to take his State Farm Cert tests.  He called around 10:00 to say that he had completed his first test, the estimating portion, in 20 minutes.  He passed with a 100%!  He had several hours until the next test began, so he headed out to tourist around in the French Quarter again.  He called again at 2:00 to let us know that he passed the policy portion of the test with an 84%.  We were so proud of him, and he was relieved to have the tests done.  Rather than come home right away, he did yet another bit of touring so he could participate in a Q&A session that afternoon.  I worked quite a bit of the day, but found time to go swimming with the kids again.

Day 101, Saturday, Aug 3 – Jacin headed back to the city yet again to participate in the Louisiana Citizens certification.  The class was pretty dull, as it was just a refresher of most of what he’d learned in previous classes he’d taken, but he signed up for a level 2 class to be held on Monday in the company’s Hammond office, with the hopes that he’d get a chance to make more contacts and see the work environment.  The kids and I rode our bikes to a Farmer’s Market that was advertised on the city’s website, but there was nothing there when we arrived.  So, we headed back to camp so Justice could catch a phone call with her best buddy in Rapid City, time much needed to ease her homesickness.  We of course went swimming.  Jacin was home early, so we decided to drive around a bit and see what there was to see.  We checked out a church he had been eyeballing on his various trips to town.  He also gave us some short tours of areas he’d been able to visit, including pointing out a lot filled with movie trucks (we assume for a Costner movie being filmed in the area), and we even got to take our truck on a ferry from Algiers to New Orleans.

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Day 102 – We made it to the 9:00 service at Celebration Church and enjoyed the worship service singing familiar songs.  The church, including the entire service (announcements, ordering, and all), was very similar to Open Bible.  They had a bookstore, where we picked up a few clearance fiction books for evening enjoyment.  After church, we headed to the French Quarter to experience the Satchmo Summerfest music festival and all the vendors.  It was SOOO hot and humid, but we had a good time.  The kids and I decorated coconuts, and we had some local cuisine off the vendor carts (a crepe with Nutella and bananas for Nation, red rice and beans for me, and fried fish for Jacin – nothing for Justice as she was too hot to eat).  We headed back to camp to cool off in the pool.  Then Jacin and I found the nearest RedBox and picked up a couple of movies for the evening.  We watched Rise of the Guardians and had Frosties for dinner (making memories, let me tell you!).

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Day 103 – Jacin had to leave very early to get to Hammond by 8:00, and he got to see a beautiful sunrise over Lake Pontchartrain.  I worked for a few hours, then the kids helped me go through all of our treasures and belongings to determine what could be given away (I know, right, can you believe we have a “Goodwill” pile while on the road?), and what we could at least send home and not keep with us in the RV.  We also did roughly 300 loads of laundry :), then attempted to go swimming, but the gate was locked.  So, I let the kids watch National Treasure while I read for a little while, then started on dinner.  Jacin got home pretty late and was discouraged.  We were hoping and believing that today would be a future-determining day, but there is simply no work right now due to no storms.  So, we really have no idea where we are going or what we are doing next.  That is a first on this trip.  We tried to keep our mind off of it by playing games with the kids, then really didn’t talk much about it at bed time.  Just needing everything to sink in, needing to pray, hoping that sleeping on it will help…

Day 104 – Tuesday, August 6 – Well, we are hunting for our next move today.  Jacin and I have spent the morning scoping out state parks in Texas, and calling on camp host openings in several of them.  The first few calls were discouraging, as they had no openings, but then Jacin talked to a couple of parks who are in need of help now.  We have submitted applications and are praying that this will result in something.  It is just after lunch time, and since we don’t really have a solid plan yet, we are going to stay here at Bayou Segnette at least one more night while we wait for things to come together.  Our family in San Marcos has been encouraging to come back and stay with/near them, so we are looking at parks in that area.  God knows, and we are doing what we can to move with his direction.  We are hoping to know more very soon.  Thank you to each person who is lifting us up in prayer and supporting our adventure with positive thoughts.  While I’d like to report that we have been nothing but strong and peaceful about all of the ups and downs, it would be a lie.  We trust God, absolutely, but that doesn’t always prevent us from being confused about where we are right now.  We have no doubt he is using this adventure to mold us, but we should know that won’t be easy, right?  We are grateful for our adventures up to this point, and that we are able to spend this time with our kids and see country that we never seen before.  And so we try to keep on a good face and take each minute as it comes.  Those of you who know us well know that that is not an easy task for this bunch, but it is good.  We will keep you posted…