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Ray and I took to the road yesterday morning, heading north to our first homeschool convention of 2014 and, more importantly, to our beloved John, Audra, and Henry. The house sitters got lined up; the laundry got done; the clothes got packed (for three weeks, no less!); and all the stuff we need for three conventions (except what is being shipped) got loaded into the van. At least we hope we got all the stuff; we’ll know for sure when we unload at the Greater St. Louis Home Educators Expo in a St. Louis suburb later this morning. I got to bed at . . . well, I’m not going to tell you. It was late, or, er, I guess you would say early.

We love the drive from home to here, mainly because John, Audra, and Henry are at the other end, but secondarily because we turn off the Interstate and enjoy the countryside and small towns of southern Illinois. I especially like the part of this trip that is on the Great River Road.

 

Minne and Wis Trip 2011 564
I took these photos on our first trip on the Great River Road
as we headed south from the Minnesota Association
of Christian Home Educators Conference in the spring of 2011.

I don’t remember hearing of this national scenic byway before writing the lesson, “God Created the Mississippi River,” for America the Beautiful. The two-lane byway begins in Minnesota near the headwaters of the Mississippi, runs through ten states, and ends in Louisiana 3,000 miles from where it starts.

Minne and Wis Trip 2011 508

The parts we have traveled have been a picturesque ribbon paralleling the Mississippi with another ribbon of train track in between. Yesterday we traveled north while a long, long train of identical coal cars passed us heading south.

Minne and Wis Trip 2011 480

Farther north I was thrilled to see barges on the mighty “Father of Waters.” Barges are nostalgic for me. Growing up as I did in a little town along the Cumberland River in Tennessee, barges were a special but not unfamiliar sight. Daddy always made us feel that we were seeing something special. At school I learned “Barges.” Its chorus has continually popped into my head through these many years.

Barges

Out of my window looking in the night,
I can see the barges’ flickering light.
Silently flows the river to the sea,
And the barges, too, go silently.

Refrain
Barges, I would like to go with you.
I would like to sail the ocean blue.
Barges, are there treasures in your hold?
Do you fight with pirates brave and bold?

Out of my window looking in the night,
I can see the barges’ flickering light.
Starboard shines green and port is glowing red.
You can see them flickering far ahead.

Refrain
Barges, I would like to go with you.
I would like to sail the ocean blue.
Barges, are there treasures in your hold?
Do you fight with pirates brave and bold?

The first time we turned onto the Great River Road, it was a new and exciting experience. Now it is comfortingly familiar.

Providing a healthy mixture of new and exciting experiences and comfortingly familiar ones make our children feel loved and secure. Doing so says, “I love you enough to provide a stable home where you can expect consistency and I love you enough to make the effort to do things that are special.”

And Jesus said to them,
“Therefore every scribe who has become
a disciple of the kingdom of heaven
is like a head of a household,
who brings out of his treasure
things new and old.”
Matthew 13:52

 

 

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