I’ve been trying to put into words our weekend in Nashville at Teach Them Diligently for a few days now. At first, I was just so physically exhausted I couldn’t even get my fingers to type. And then, my mind was just filled with so many things, I knew I needed to wait and sort it all out. So today, I am attempting to do just that. Bear with me…it’s just so much to tell you!
We began our trip on Wednesday at 4am. Well, actually 2:45 am when I woke up. Some of you night owls had probably just gone to bed, and here I was preparing to hit the road! Initially, when I woke up I said to my husband,
“Let’s call it off. Let’s not go.”
In his usual supportive and much more logical than me fashion, he responded,
“No. Get up.”
He always knows how to handle me in these situations. 😉
Anyway, I as I lay there at 2:45 am, every reason of why we shouldn’t go crossed my mind.
I have no business speaking to people….who cares what I have to say?
We have had to get friends to come and check on the chickens…again, guilt for asking for help…and just more to plan…
I am taking my family on a very long road trip…this is just too much work…the packing, the planning…what if something goes wrong?
Well, what if something goes right?…
And in the end, everything went right. Everything was smooth, and it was far beyond my expectations.
The ride was basically uneventful.
Probably the biggest mishap was spilling coffee all over myself and my new Simply Living for Him t-shirt!
But, hey makes for a fun Instagram
post, so carry on..
Can’t take me anywhere. Already spilled my coffee all over my new shirt! #road trip #ttd2016#ttdnashville #keepinitreal
We finally arrived at the gorgeous Gaylord Opryland Hotel at about 4:15 pm central time. (Did I mention when we left, it was Eastern time? And we had, just a few days before changed our clocks ahead an hour, then crossed that time zone to move it back again…it was all so confusing! Ha!)
Gaylord Opryland Hotel- the view from our balcony!
We had arrived the day before the conference so we could unwind and relax before I had to speak at 3:30 the next day. We enjoyed a fabulous dinner at Chuys, a Mexican restaurant right next to the hotel at the Opry Mills Mall. I still wasn’t very tired considering the time change, the early wake-up and the whole trip…I was running on adrenaline, I suppose.
The next day was spent relaxing in the morning. I woke at 4 am, not really by choice, but if God woke me at that hour, I better use it. I spent time in prayer, mostly praying for the upcoming presentation and the attendees that He would bring.
The kids went exploring with Daddy at the beautiful hotel while I went over my presentation and spent time in the Word.
Afternoon came and I finally had my first presentation- the one I had been waiting for! I spoke on my latest book, Real Homeschool: Letting Go of the Pinterest-Perfect and Instagram-Ideal Homeschool. I enjoyed it so much and the feedback was encouraging. There are so many of us out there looking to live for God’s ideal and are tired of what the world says is ideal!
After my session, we scooted down quickly to the Keynote session with Kirk Cameron. The room was packed and held 4,000 people. He was very inspiring, but most of all I posted this 😉
That little blurry guy is Kirk Cameron! I don’t think when I had a poster of him on my wall in 7th grade I ever would have thought I’d be speaking at the same homeschool convention as him! 😂😱😜
Seriously, how CRAZY is that?
Anyway, we were going to head down to the (enormous) exhibit hall afterward, but since I hadn’t eaten before my session (nerves) I HAD to eat. We ordered Pizza Hut (hurray for Gluten free!) and had to wait in the lobby for delivery.
Meanwhile, all these pictures were being posted on social media with Kirk Cameron, because lo and behold, he went to the exhibit hall and was walking around mingling with everyone. The teenage girl inside me thought we should go down, but the adult (knowing he’s JUST a person like you and me) and the very hungry me won out. I decided to stay put and wait for my pizza 😉 I’ll be happy with my blurry picture from his session. 🙂
The next day began bright and early, as again I woke at 4am. I spent time praying for the full day ahead, as I had three sessions coming up.
I presented Bible Based Homeschooling: How Our Family Used the Bible as Our Main Textbook for one year, Called Home: Finding Joy in Letting God Lead Your Homeschool, and Don’t Run New Homeschooler: You CAN DO This!”
All of the sessions were packed full. My husband even posted this at one point.
I just love him 😉
This was my husbands post– he cracks me up! “Karen asked me to take a few pictures during her session…. Got there and could not get in the room.Standing room only. So I did the best I could. I took a picture through the peephole on the door. Thinking outside the box.” @simplylivingforhim #ttdnashville#simplylivingforhim
The rooms may have been full, but my heart was fuller. I mean who am I that God would use me to speak to the hearts of these moms? Yet, He does. And I will go forth continuing to do so wherever He leads. If I think about it logically, it makes no sense, but if I let God lead me, then that is all that matters.
I do know that many resonated with my story of how I started homeschooling, and the opposition from my parents early on. So many tears as I told the story of their transformation and my own. To God be the glory!
My favorite part of the convention was meeting face to face real life people. Not likes or comments on my blog post, but real hugs, real prayers while holding hands, and real talk! It was just a God-ordained time and I am so grateful.
The last day of the convention, I presented my heart: Simply Homeschool: Have Less Clutter and More Joy. Again, the attendees came pouring in and the room was overflowing. So many of us want to live more simply. I talked about how I truly believe the remedy to a cluttered life is JESUS. When we want more of Him, we will naturally desire less of the world.
I spent time afterward with some attendees and listening to their stories was just a blessing. I loved connecting with these moms! I was shocked that wherever we went, people would stop me to tell me how the messages I gave resonated with them. What a blessing! I can’t get over it. Thank you Lord for using me in this way.
We headed home on Sunday morning…ironically it was Palm Sunday, and also the first Day of Spring. A Day of REBIRTH truly. It was also the 19th anniversary of the day I met my husband. That was a time of real rebirth for me. SO much to take in as we drove home the 14 hours back to NJ. Again, it was uneventful. The kids basically watched Brady Bunch DVDs for the most part, and I just relished in the work God is doing. To Him BE all the GLORY.
What I truly took away from this time was that God is in control of every detail and He can abundantly MORE than we ever dream of, if we truly submit to Him. Not just say we trust, but walk in that trust even when it is hard.
I also saw so many women who are thirsting for Jesus. They want what He offers and not what this world offers. This world leaves us discontent and tired and overwhelmed. Yet, Jesus provides all we need.
I say I ran the whole weekend on adrenaline because really I had little sleep and tons of energy– but I realize now that was “Holy Spirit energy.” He provides what we need and when we need it.
When I came home I DID crash, but that’s ok, because it was time for rest then.
Teach Them Diligently is so much more than a homeschool convention. Homeschool is a very small part of what we are all doing- discipling our children. Teach Them Diligently equips families to live fo Christ Alone- with Him, and for Him, and above all else, to GLORIFY Him all that we do.
And HE was glorified at TTD Nashville!
Here are some more highlights from our trip. I do hope you will join me if you can next month in Atlanta or in May at the Kalahari Resorts in Sandusky, OH.
Hurray for meeting friends in REAL LIFE!
My daughter and Blimey Cow!
Who is the real kid here? Ha!
Crazy family. Love them!
A piece of my heart was in every room at TTD.
Thankful for this man and all he does to support me.