Tennessee Family Conference

Remember I told you we were busily preparing for an exciting week? After much packing, cleaning, baking, weeding, watering, harvesting, car-scrubbing, mailing, and other necessary preparations, we set off early Sunday morning {May 24th} for the Nashville Tennessee Family Homeschool Conference!

This is a conference our family has been attending for 24 years {um yes, that’s longer than I’ve been alive 😉 …} and wow has it changed our lives! We love the refreshment, encouragement, and inspiration we receive with each new year – continually coming away with fresh motivation for living our lives wholeheartedly for Christ.

On the way up we stopped near the North Carolina/Tennessee border to eat a picnic lunch at a rest area.

Monday {Memorial Day} we usually find a park to hang out at and grill hotdogs/hamburgers. This year it rained most of the day, so we set off to visit Edgar Evins State Park, a little over 1 hour away from our hotel. There we visited the information center and climbed a tall lookout tower to see a pretty view of the mountains.

Back in the information center, we ate lollipops… 🙂

We drove around the park for a while looking at the campground, boat docks, etc. and then went in search of the picnic shelters where we grilled hamburgers and chicken, and us girls practiced our songs for the conference {just for the record, sound carries very nicely in a picnic shelter}.

Here we are in the van, heading back to the hotel toward late afternoon/early evening… shortly after this some friends invited us over to their hotel where we joined up with several conference-attending families to eat pizza and ice-cream, and swim.

On Wednesday {conference started Tuesday evening}, we all wore pink to match our dear friends, the S sisters.

Wednesday was also Naomi’s birthday, so we brought along some gifts and sang happy birthday to her over the lunch break.

Later on that evening the 3 of us sisters sang the first of 2 songs that we had prepared. O The Deep Deep Love of Jesus. Hannah posted a video here.

Friday was the day we all wore navy or black and white, to sing in the choir … this is us waiting outside the conference building {across the street from the training center} for the doors to open.

I have this wonderful sweet friend named Kate … she and I met through my family’s blog … and long story short, we reunited at the conference for the first time in several years {since we first attended a girls’ retreat together in 2011}! Kate’s mom also attended, so we were able to chat with both of them between sessions.

Bethany and our friend Abigail…

Naomi and Abigail sharing an umbrella between sessions {crossing the street from sessions to lunch break}.

And then on Friday evening {last night of the conference} they were desperate to get rid of leftovers … so Nathan was helpful. 😉

We said goodbye after dinner and fellowship … and off we went to our friends’ {the Staddons} hotel for more late night conversation, games, ice cream, and laughter. Sarah Brown was also staying with them {another sweet girl that I love dearly and who surprised me by showing up at registration the first day!} and I was more than happy to catch up with her and Esther {Staddon} while the others played a rousing game of spoons nearby. 😉

With Rachel {“Ree”}at Conference …

With Nathan and Rachel at conference …

“Sisters” matching in pink on Wednesday.

On the way home from Tennessee we stopped for a short visit with a young man I met at Jill Duggar’s wedding last year. Earl lives a couple of hours from where we attended the conference,  so we had a late pizza lunch with him over fellowship.

Later on toward evening we stopped at a grocery store just a few hours from home and bought some ice cream to share {a family tradition on long trips}.And thus ended a beautiful, productive week – wherein we were greatly encouraged, blessed, and refreshed! We were challenged by speakers such as Tom Harmon, David & Jason Benham, Chris Hogan, Jobe Martin, Gabe Cleator, and others … to live our lives fully for Christ.

And that’s just the beginning of another busy month… we came away with an open door of opportunity {for several of us to minister to some younger children this Summer}, and a much anticipated visit {Wednesday!!!} from the sweet family we visited with all week at conference {in the pictures above}! You may remember the S family from this visit, last Christmas. Also this weekend a dear younger sister is celebrating a special milestone in her life, and another sweet girl from NY is coming down for the week. Later this month we look forward to helping out at the wedding of two very good friends…

It’s another busy week! Much to do … so very much! Oh the joys of returning home to an abundant garden harvest after 7 long days away + many many task awaiting my attention in the office + baking and cooking for a crowd + preparing for out of town guests + making up new products + teaching classes on essential oils for several mothers/families in our area … and the list goes on.

Enjoy this lovely day! 🙂


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