One of the many lessons I learned from my parents was simply to keep on keeping on. They worked very hard while rearing my brother and me. Daddy passed away at age 72, but Mother kept working until she was 79. Even after that, she continued to do sewing alterations.
Teaching perseverance to our children is one of our important opportunities. It is good to demonstrate perseverance, too. I am so grateful that Mother and Daddy did that for me. However, they not only demonstrated perseverance. Mother was particularly good at figuring out a way to do something she had never done before. Both of my parents made sure we had many fun times, too. Through all the years of watching Notgrass History grow, I remembered the lessons of my childhood—the perseverance, the figuring out how to do something we had never done before, and the fun.
One of our joys in working in our company has been traveling to homeschooling conventions, literally from coast to coast.
It has been especially sweet to travel with members of our family. This is our oldest granddaughter’s first conference. Her mama made her a kimono with a hand embroidered Notgrass Company logo.
We enjoyed working with our children in St. Louis, . . .
. . . in North Carolina, . . .
. . . and Virginia and Pennsylvania, California and more.
Long before our booths looked like those above, they looked like this with lots of stuff to do before the first homeschooling family stopped by.
In the early days, we loaded up racks with Dover coloring books and paper dolls.
There was plenty to do after the conventions were over, too.
We tried a wide variety of signs and tablecloths and giveaways in our booths through the years. At first I used the skills my mother had taught me on the sewing machine to make fabric signs.
. . . and tablecloths, when I found a good deal on blue fabric.
We tried a variety of sign holders, sometimes not getting a sign inserted exactly right.
For some time, we snapped together PVC pipe to make our signs taller.
We finally graduated to what we not-so-affectionately called “the tall signs.” I assure you that Ray is very glad to be past the years when he helped to put those up. It’s harder than it looks.
Here he works with our son-in-law Nate with our first tall sign.
Here he works with our friends Garth and Terry with a later version.
By the time we got to version three, Phil and Donna Ellenburg had joined our team as our main convention travelers. Here is Donna in our old warehouse beside our convention supplies.
Ray was glad she and Phil were were along at this convention to put up the third version of our tall signs.
As you can see, our vehicle was often loaded, as we say, “to the gills.”
. . . and beyond its gills in the early days when we stuffed everything inside and on top of our minivan.
And sometimes our vehicles refused to travel one more mile.
Here Mother, Ray, and I wait at our favorite car repair shop in Cookeville . . .
. . . before we can pick up our friends Garth and Terry, drop Mother off for a few days at an assisted living facility, again packed to the gills, and head out to yet another convention.
Twice thieves decided they were interested in what was inside our vehicle.
The next morning after our first break-in, we spent some time at a Texas Glass Doctor.
It would have been really fun to see the guy who stole suitcases out of our rented vehicle in California. I watched him break the window and reach inside on the hotel video camera while the police were there to investigate. Don’t you know that thief was surprised when he found history books instead of cash and jewelry in those suitcases?
As you train your children day after day, they are watching as you keep on keeping on and as you figure out how to do new things you haven’t tried before. Relish the opportunity to have lots of fun along the way.
Therefore, having been justified by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we also have obtained
our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand;
and we celebrate in hope of the glory of God.
And not only this, but we also celebrate in our tribulations,
knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;
and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;
and hope does not disappoint,
because the love of God
has been poured out within our hearts
through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.