Keep Moving Forward, A Homeschool Conference

By Holly Giles | homeschooling

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 Stepping out in faith can be hard to do, especially when you travel
the road alone.  This past weekend I was an exhibitor at a homeschool
special needs/struggling learners conference.  My expectations
 were high because of the investment my family made. What really
happened was not what I had planned.

  Four days before the conference I began to have serious doubts about the

journey I am on.  Blogging, my book, and the direction I want to go
in home education.  Yep, the devil was nipping at my toes and I was
letting him!  I had worked for months on preparing for my move into
a bigger venue with my homeschool book, and I was ready to throw 
it all away and cry in the bathroom.
My husband Curtis rolled his eyes at me and said there was no time for
that, we had to get packed up! I decided that I would do this conference,
then put it aside until next year, or the year after that. 
 On Friday and Saturday, I was able to talk one on one with several 
families and hear their stories and struggles. I shared with them
my passion for the outdoors, the similarities in our own journey
 and how I used it to change the way I educate my children. 

Their excitement for my ideas was overwhelming and my
 spirit began to be renewed.
Then I met the Homegrown Preschool Ladies.  They were from Atlanta.
Their booth was awesome.  My boys played in it most of the day!

They are about a year ahead of me in the journey with their book.  There
were three of them, Kathy, Lesli, and Lee. We took to each other like seeds
in a watermelon and became fast friends.  Our ideals, goals, and visions for
our products are the same.  They were balls of fire of encouragement for me
and said that the homeschool community is hungry for what I had to 
offer and that I better buck up and keep moving forward.
Keep moving forward.
I met several other wonderful vendors who shared advice and experiences 
with me. Then I began to realize the real reason I showed up was to meet 
the messengers God sent to give me a nudge of courage.  He has been 
leading me this whole time, but I got a little lost on the trail.  
At the end of the night after we had all packed up and were heading out, 
The Atlanta girls invited me to dinner.  I sent my hubby and boys home
and along the way, we picked up Stephanie, from the Step Up for Kids program, 
Cheryl Swope of Memoria Press and her friend Kathy Rottmann. Each one lived 
in different parts of the country.

We hit the hotel buffet at 10 pm dog tired but excited about new friendships.
As we ate and told our family stories, I realized this grouping of women
was no accident.  Each one of us had struggled and triumphed with special
needs children of some kind. Each one of us was sitting there as women
who took that energy and wrote about it to help other families in our
own unique way. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up. 
 God was not nudging me this time. 
 He all out pushed me off the cliff.
He is not going to let me get away with hiding in my bathroom when
He has other plans.  That night the organization, FPEA who put on
this smaller conference, invited me to exhibit at their large convention
in May. 10,000 attendees.  I’m just gonna get up off the ground now,
brush myself off and keep moving forward.
The homegrown ladies key piece of advice was to stop going it alone.
Now, my husband and boys are encouraging, they are why I do this, but
they meant a gal pal, cohort, travel friend who is invested in this
dream of mine.  Someone I can invest in too.  Ya’ll know I have that
problem of trying to do it all by myself.  It isn’t working for me. Besides,
those ladies were having fun, they sure could giggle.  I need to giggle.
Again, the nudge.  
My question to you is, are you trying to hide in the bathroom too?
Is the trail you are on hard, lonely, uncertain? I know some days it
is hard to keep moving forward. But I know God has a specific 
trail he wants you on. You are right where he wants you to be if you are
listening to the people, places, and events he puts in your path.
I am scared, nervous and excited all at the same time.  So, I know
how you feel.  Let’s do this together! We have a job to do, no matter
how big or small, it matters to Him. Let me know how you are doing
on your journey, I would love to hear from you, give you a nudge
of encouragement and remind you to keep moving forward! 
Maybe we can help each other giggle.


About the Author

Holly Giles is a wife, mother, and storyteller. As an author and Florida Master Naturalist, she writes about heritage homemaking skills, motherhood, and why Florida offers the best hidden natural gems to explore as a family.