"Oops, I was supposed to turn the other way," I admitted.
"Don't worry I get lost all the time," my friend, Maria reassured me. "But, it is a bit frightening that you are my navigator."
We both laughed.
During the last weekend in February, I headed west on I-4 with my friend, Maria and our daughters. We traveled to Sarasota for a ladies retreat offered by Heart2Homeschool for homeschooling moms. Was it refreshing!
Hearts2HomeSchool is a brand new statewide homeschooling organization in Florida for Christian families founded by Maria Gerber and Lorri Murphy. They offer Christ-centered support, networking, resources, information, inspiration, curriculum guidance, and educational opportunities. What a blessing these lovely ladies are, with a vision to impart truth and encouragement to homeschooling families in their state. Their enthusiasm and creativity made this conference life-changing for me.
"Look how beautiful everything is!" Christina gushed. "Everything is pink!"
"There are hearts everywhere and look at all the chocolate." (That was me!)
Even Maria and Lorri were dressed in pink. Everything was feminine and lovely and they welcomed us with warm smiles and kind words. We could feel the Presence of the Lord through their actions.
Oil For Your Lantern Retreat was a 2-day combination retreat and mini-homeschooling conference. They treated us like queens with lovely decorations, delicious food, welcome gifts, and door prizes. There were several vendors with lots of neat homeschool materials to look at and enjoy. The best parts for me were the speakers who spoke right to our hearts; imparting wisdom to homeschool without compromise.
Debbie Strayer , one of my personal heroes in the homeschool movement, reminded us that we are called by God to homeschool and gave us keys to avoid homeschool burnout. I appreciated her honest, funny, and practical approach to homeschooling. A homeschool veteran, Debbie has created curriculum and resources for homeschooling families that work. She kept reminding us to enjoy our children -- I needed to hear that!
Coach Rick Andreassen spoke to us about the hearts of our children. He is the founder of CHAA Saints , a homeschool physical education program serving families in Florida. Coach Rick, who carried the torch in the 2002 Olympics to represent homeschooling families around the world, reminded us to say "I love you, I'm proud of you, and I believe in you." He also did something that so many homeschooling moms need to hear: he told us that we were doing a great job, we have great kids, and there is good fruit in our ministry. He even passed out medals!
Denise Mira loves Jesus! She was refreshingly honest about our need to put Christ first and seek Him with all of our hearts. With insights from the Word of God and examples from her own life, Denise challenged us to make an impact on the world by making an impact on our children.
Doreen Morgan is always hilarious. She used her talk of hormones, hot flashes, and the change of a woman's journey as a comical side note with her words of wisdom about this season of life. I even had the privilege of sharing too. What a joy to speak to such lovely ladies with hearts that yearn to grow in Christ and serve their families.
Maria and I needed this time away to be encouraged and refreshed. We acted silly, and took great joy in embarrassing our daughters. We enjoyed the time to laugh, chat, and share and the four of us even prayed together and shared what God was showing us through the retreat. It was fun to take a road trip together. And especially nice to be reminded that God has called us to this ministry for Him, our husbands, and our children.
I encourage you to look for opportunities to be refreshed along the way in your homeschooling journey!