Have Heart, Will Travel

Having Heart at Home

Nancy Powell1 Comment

Hello, friends!  It has been a while.  Since last I wrote here, we completed our year-long RV journey and have resettled at home.  Well, at least we're resettling. Slowly but surely.

There are still many favorite stories to tell and pictures to share of some of our craziest family adventures on the road, but what has me writing a bit here now is the reality of being at home when you have a heart made to wander.


We have been back four months now, and for at least the first two months or so, I was happy to be home, catching up with friends and family, taking long showers, plenty of baths, and washing clothes without counting quarters.  Sometime after the two month mark, though, I was ready to go again. I am thinking of places to which I want to return, places we didn't get to see yet, and the excitement of life on the move.  But there are no plans for travel in the near future.

Fortunately, the turn toward the holidays has brought a new contentment to being home. I was happy to host a big, festive crew for Thanksgiving and have enjoyed getting our house ready for Christmas.


Petunia has sailed right into middle school with more joy and success than I would have imagined, even for her.  Mark had a great job secured two months before we even returned home and we are grateful for such a blessing.  I have more time to be available both to my family and to teach others proactive wellness with essential oils, which has provided both a job and ministry opportunities for me.

In some ways it is shocking how very little has changed in our lives.  Back at the same house, going to the same church, so many of the same dear friends and it's almost like we were gone for two weeks instead of a year.  I know that the biggest changes took place inside us, though. And they are good changes--new perspectives, broadened horizons, increased confidence, treasured memories and a refined sense of what truly matters.

There are some outward physical changes, too. I am cooking a lot more, given both my time flexibility and the amazing invention that is the Instant Pot. (If you have one, please leave me a comment with your favorite recipes. If you have not gotten one, what in the world are you waiting for?) Petunia spends more time on school-related activities and with friends, but the three of us still make time for special moments together. I work mostly at home now, so that brings a couple challenges, but mostly blessings.

One of our very favorite things of all has been connecting with people about our journey, especially the people who are inspired to consider what their bold move in life is supposed to be.  I had no idea when we started how many people we would talk to about our adventure who said, "I've always wanted to do that!" Really, no idea that so many people long for open-ended adventure and freedom.  I hope in some small way we have been an encouragement to at least a few folks to "Go for it!" whatever their IT is. 

We still love hearing from you, so keep in touch and I will plan on sharing more. We haven't even scratched the surface....

Finally learning the Lesson of Margin

Life lessonsNancy Powell3 Comments

Our current RV park was supposed to be a quick overnight stay. Yesterday, as we were leaving the mountains of the recently visited national parks and headed back toward the California coast, the wind really picked up and we decided to get off the road even though we had only traveled a couple hours toward our destination.

Our spot is right across from a small playground, and Petunia spent hours there yesterday evening playing with other kids and making new friends. Late last night she asked if we could stay another night so she could play with them today.

So, even though we are somewhere we never intended to go, and certainly never planned to stay, we are indeed staying here an extra night. And Petunia is happily playing with her new group. This is the beauty of margin in your life and schedule.

Margin is a funny word and concept at first. It's that part of the paper that is supposed to stay blank, in case a word runs long or so your eyes can rest on white space and make reading the rest easier.  In a life, margin is supposed to be that extra space we have between what we have scheduled that we have to do and what we ultimately have the capacity to do. 

That space is supposed to stay blank most of the time in case something important runs over or comes up unexpectedly. That margin also makes the rest of life run more smoothly. However, in our hyper-drive society we have filled up our schedules to our ultimate limits--right up to the boundaries that are only supposed to be touched in times of rare crisis or opportunity.

Even at the beginning of the Grand Adventure, we noticed we were moving quickly from one thing to the next and keeping to a tight schedule. I am grateful that this experience has been the time for learning all sorts of things like we hoped it would be.  As Petunia spends the day playing with a bunch of new friends, one of those things I am happy we are finally learning to embrace is margin.

If this is a concept that interests you, here are some good resources from those who can better speak about margin:

http://www.sean-johnson.com/why-you-need-more-margin-in-your-life/ (Really good insights into scheduling margin into your everyday life)

http://michaelhyatt.com/more-margin.html (Great tips for scheduling margin into your work life, as well as other areas)

Reagan: the Library and Legacy

CaliforniaNancy Powell1 Comment

Go back with me for just a minute...

Between August and December 1991, the fifteen individual republics of the Soviet Union seceded from the Union. On December 25th, Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as the eighth and final leader of the Soviet Union and declared his office extinct. He turned over his powers to Russian president Boris Yeltsin, formally ending not only the Soviet Union, but also the Cold War.

A few thousand miles away, in Fort Worth, Texas, Nancy was majoring in international politics at TCU. As it happened, her political science course in the fall semester of 1991 was Soviet politics. It was hard to tell who was more excited for class several times a week, the students or the engaging, brilliant professor, Dr. Ralph Carter, as the class had to throw the text book aside and discuss the current events in the constantly breaking news cycles.  Dr. Carter filled in the backstory and tied them to the headlines.  Things were changing week by week, and the excitement about living out history while getting to study it step by step was an opportunity not taken for granted by those in that classroom.  The air felt alive. Some days were breathtaking. In that pre-internet world it was not often you got to witness something that you knew, even in real time, was changing the world. But that was one of those times.

While many factors, people, and events led to those historic months, there is no denying the influence of President Ronald Reagan and his personal diplomacy with Gorbachev, even while boldly standing in front of the Berlin Wall a few short years before and famously demanding, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"  These two men and what they did to change the world are forever linked not only in the history books, but also in my memories. (Actually, I have three men linked for that time because I owe so much of how I love my major to Dr. Carter's handling of those days.)

So, as our Grand Adventure today took us to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, and we saw several wonderful exhibits, perhaps you'll understand if I have a favorite.

They had courage to change the world.

They had courage to change the world.

The Berlin wall had been constructed in 1961 to stop the flow of people to the "West."  This true, physical barrier symbolized the intangible, but also very real, divide between the two major political philosophies that dominated the geopolitical landscape for three decades.

The Berlin wall had been constructed in 1961 to stop the flow of people to the "West."  This true, physical barrier symbolized the intangible, but also very real, divide between the two major political philosophies that dominated the geopolitical landscape for three decades.

"General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization... Come here.  To this gate.

Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate.

Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."

And down it came.

What a different setting for the pieces of gate that remain today!

What a different setting for the pieces of gate that remain today!

Of course there are many other interesting and historical items to see at the Library.

We so enjoyed teaching Petunia many things from the Reagan years.

We so enjoyed teaching Petunia many things from the Reagan years.

Leadership that called out our better selves.

Petunia particularly enjoyed a few moments.

One of them was speaking to her constituents (and seeing how a teleprompter works.)

Another favorite was getting to "ride" with the President, as she shares his love of horses.

Here is the reproduction of what Reagan's Oval Office looked like, particulary in his second term as it was updated some. When Petunia saw it, she said, "I thought the Oval Office was blue and gold!" because that is how she had seen it at President George W. Bush's Library.  She thought it was cool to learn they all got to decorate it how they wanted.

For a large percentage of the population, isn't Reagan's handling of the Challenger tragedy etched in our minds?  How he said just the right words and comforted a mourning nation endeared him further to many.

One of the most amazing highlights of the Library is the chance to board and walk through Air Force One!  This is the plane that served seven presidents as Air Force One from Nixon to 'W'.

Not only Air Force One, but also Marine One. We could walk through that one, too, but it didn't take as long. 

The state of the art, custom-designed limo for the President. Times have changed, however, and it doesn't look nearly as impressive as today's cooler cars. Petunia even said, "That's a limo?"  Ha!!


All the historical exhibits, the films, the pictures...the whole Library was a nostalgic remembering of a true statesman.

"And whatever else history says about me when I'm gone, I hope that it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears; to your confidence rather than your doubts."

Made of jellybeans, of course.

Made of jellybeans, of course.

Mark and Nancy joined thousands and thousands of others in Washington, DC in 2004 to pay our respects when the riderless horse and the rest of Reagan's funeral procession made it's way across the city. A visit to the Library twelve years later came close to recapturing those feelings of gratitude and admiration.  

As you step outside toward the memorial that now honors the life of Ronald and Nancy Reagan, it strikes you that this is a most fitting place, indeed.

We were blessed to have you lead us, Mr. President.

New adventures with old friends: the Surfing edition

Beach, California, New AdventuresNancy PowellComment

This Grand Adventure has taken us to the West Coast and into our 30th state--California!  California is a state we love to visit as there is so much natural beauty and so many fun things to do and learn.

After a few days making our way across to the coast, we arrived at the home of Hilary and Chris and their four precious kiddos.  Hilary and Nancy were roommates for a year back in the early Washington DC days, so our friendship is coming up on its 20th anniversary. I can hardly believe I just typed that number. Someone hold me.

Back in the "olden days", Hilary, Nancy and Mark all spent a lot of time together constantly exploring and going out to find new things to do in and around our nation's capital.

So it wasn't too surprising that HIlary suggested that Petunia might like to try something new during our current visit.

They took us to this state beach near their house. We had to drink in the scene.

They took us to this state beach near their house. We had to drink in the scene.

A gorgeous beach is a good place to start in my book. Any day.

Surfboard-toting, beach-going minivans are cool.

Surfboard-toting, beach-going minivans are cool.

Hilary's oldest two kiddos have been surfing for a while and Hilary thought Petunia might like to try it. At first, she stuck to the boogie board, which was definitely an upgrade from any boogie board she'd used before.  The weather was nice and warm for those of us sitting and watching, but the kids donned wetsuits so that they could stay and play in the water a longer time.

Making their way down to the beach was the first obstacle of the day.

Making their way down to the beach was the first obstacle of the day.

This sweet girl loves the beach, sun, sand and water activities--all of it!  She was excited for getting out to play in those waves!

There were big enough waves for the best boogie boarding she had ever gotten to do. Look at that enjoyment!

This face!

This face!

After a while, Petunia decided she was ready to give real surfing a try. Her sweet friend  gave Petunia a pre-water lesson.

Love these sweet girls!

Love these sweet girls!

Walking her through the steps.

Walking her through the steps.

Eventually, you just have to get out there and try!

Get a look at her facial expressions in these next couple pics!

Surfing is hard. She wiped out and had to try over and over.

And then, for one very brief moment, there was this...



Her time standing up on the board didn't last long, but I am so proud that she stuck with it until she got to see how it felt.  Earlier in the day, she thought she might keep to the boogie board because she knew she could do it and it would be fun.  Surfing would be challenging and risky.  

But she did it...and she loved it.  When she saw that pic of her standing on the board, her jaw dropped open.  I wish we could all see pictures of ourselves succeeding where we have been sure of failure before. There is no failure until you quit trying.

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."  -Thomas A. Edison

Way to go, girls!

I think it's okay if this girl was just a little proud of her accomplishment! She had all the key elements for trying something new and difficult: 1. A willingness to try  2. A friend to show her the way  3. A determination to not give up

One of the reasons for our Grand Adventure was education through travel, and I tend to believe these kind of life lessons count.  Maybe double.

Top 10 Disney World moments of the RV Year! #10: Festival of Fantasy Parade!

Nancy Powell1 Comment

Because we had the luxury of time and the budget booster of an RV to live in, we stayed at Disney's Ft. Wilderness Campground for two magical weeks!  We loved it and STILL were not ready to leave when our wonderful vacation came to an end.

There has to be such a thing as too much Disney, but we haven't gotten there yet.

It is almost overwhelming to think of blogging about all we saw and did there.  And, while I want to remember the highlights in detail, I am sure that is all anyone else wants to read--the highlights!  So, I have attempted to narrow down the amazing time into 10 of our favorite experiences and will count them down.  

Although, to be honest, we loved all of these and they are not necessarily from 10th favorite up to 1st, strictly speaking. On any given day a few might be interchangeable depending on the nostalgia. 


Yes, all of the Disney parades are fantastic, but the costumes in this one put it OVER THE TOP!

Here is a picture from Disney of one of the sea creatures that accompanies Ariel.

Here is a picture from Disney of one of the sea creatures that accompanies Ariel.

We had a great place for viewing from the Railroad Station at the entrance! Absolutely wonderful spot!

We loved our front row seats!

We loved our front row seats!

Of course there are all the favorite characters you would expect to see. Anna! Elsa!

We really love The Little Mermaid. Petunia and Ariel go way back.  

Some of the most stunning costumes were part of her undersea crew!

An addition to the parade that we appreciated seeing was an expanded role for Peter Pan!  That is the other favorite story in our household.  Petunia is a huge fan of Tinkerbell (and all fairies) and Peter Pan himself.  

I've never seen The Lost Boys at Disney World before, but they are in this parade!

And look at Captain Hook's ship!

Mark captured this quick, special moment!

Mark captured this quick, special moment!

There were also some amazing costumes associated with Tangled. i could easily share 50 pictures of this parade!

There were also some amazing costumes associated with Tangled. i could easily share 50 pictures of this parade!

One of the neatest things in this parade had to do with Sleeping Beauty and her dragon-slaying Prince Philip.  First, her fairies...

...and then the dragon!  Oh no! Thank goodness the prince was there to battle it!

This picture from Disney shows just how fierce that creature is!

This picture from Disney shows just how fierce that creature is!

Snow White bestows a kiss to a shoulder-riding Dwarf.

The floats were whimsical, colorful, and elaborate.  Watching this we were transported to a fantasy world!


Hope you enjoyed an introduction to this parade with us! We'll be back with another favorite memory soon!