Good Morning, Day 30!

Sweet Emma still puffy from the sting but not wanting to miss capturing a memory

Well, this is it—the end of an epic family journey that took us to so many places in this magnificent country. In the middle of a pandemic and when the heart of our country seemed to be breaking, we can report experiencing nothing but love, generosity, hospitality and graciousness from everyone we encountered.

This trip has been impactful and life affirming on so many levels for our children. We constantly remind them that complaining doesn’t make change—hard work and determination do. We’ve reminded them that all of the beauty we’ve seen and explored is theirs—it’s every American’s. But with the great gift of our beautiful country comes tremendous responsibility to be good stewards of this gift—of the land and of her people.

We refuse to believe anything other than that this—our America—is the most spectacular place to call home and we are grateful for every person who helped make her beautiful. Every aspect of life is marred with darkness because we flawed human beings are at the helm. But we know that there is far more goodness, self sacrifice and unconditional love that blankets the history of our country than ugliness. Heroes far outnumber the villains.

While we could’ve made it home last night, it was important to Steve and me to find a nice campsite and to have one last “fancy” supper so that we could reflect and express gratitude for this beautiful journey.

We had every intention of rising early, having breakfast and heading home, but other plans were written for us. A huge and unpredicted storm rolled through early this morning. There was a crack of thunder that made me seek shelter under my wimpy covers. I truly felt vulnerable because I knew that lightening struck frighteningly close. But the storm was welcome. We love storms and actually didn’t experience any this whole trip. So it was fitting to finish our trip with a bang (literally).

Driving out we saw how close was that lightening strike! The tree was shredded and we’ve seen many a downed tree on our drive home.
Our beautiful campsite

Because of the rain, we couldn’t put the bug tent away and the other things outside. We had to wait. That waiting gave Steve the time to find a church nearby that actually had Mass we could attend.

We knew there was no better way to end our journey than to attend our first Mass since Covid. Receiving the Holy Eucharist gave me chills and the children were so happy.

Fr. Hill back in his happiest place

We are a few hours from home and can’t wait to see family, our pups and our friends. We can’t wait to give a BIG birthday greeting to our “8th” child, Tyler, whom we love so much. It will be so hard not to run in to my parents’ house and hug them, but since we’ve been traveling, we must stay outside and greet them from afar until we’re Covid clear and quarantined.

My last morning coffee buddy
Major detox, diet and rigorous exercise are in order right when we get home. I’ve literally been rolled from one place to another and have eaten my way to every stop.

Thank you for joining in our journey. We hope you’ve enjoyed a peek in to our excursions. We’ve enjoyed sharing them with you.

Last night was so sweet to hear the expressions of gratitude, to see the extra long hugs and to hear the “Goodnight, Mom and Dad. Thank you for everything.” You are welcome, our beautiful children. There’s no better way we could’ve spent our time than on this journey with you.