Usually, our rest stops are busy. This one was no different, but yet it was!
We spend devoted time with our cousins, our dear friends, for two full days. We talked, laughed, played, enjoyed the kids, went to see the horses, went out to eat, and talked some more. I even got to take Savannah, just me and her, out to the horses to just spend time grooming them and combing their mains and tails. I’m not sure the last time I did that just for fun and not to get ready for the next few miles. It was really nice to spend some time with Savannah and the horses. I also got to go to part of a high school basketball game with Jason and our host Chris. It was close so it was nice to get out and go for a short walk.
We did, however, insert a few items of business. Alison is quite a networker. The first night, she invited a whole army of friends over for dinner and a Hearts Up Ranch presentation. It was really nice to share about the dream as well as fun stories from the ride across America with such a large group. She also arranged a paper interview, several other friends to drop by to get the scoop, and even had us introduced before the auction at their livestock sale barn. Jason and Jen and the kids came with us for that one and we all sat quite enthralled for a while. All but Richard had never been to a sale barn before. I must admit, some of us thought for a few minutes that they were selling cows for a dollar- not one dollar a pound! We also met a friend of the Lockes who spent a bit of time visiting with us, helping find connections for us, and sharing about his new wife. I was very touched when he handed me a picture of him and his wife and asked us to carry it along with us on our journey. He felt it would make him a part of the adventure as well as give us a reminder to pray for them and for others we have met along the way.
We have met many, many people who have invited us into their home with open arms and asked us to “make ourselves at home” and meant it. But there are few who truly have a gift of making you feel comfortable in their home as if it were your own. The Bible calls it the “gift of hospitality.” Alison has that gift in a special way and it was evident how Richard and I, as well as my cousins, felt very welcomed and at home in their house. The kids took to Alison like their new best friend, and she was perfectly happy with them being underfoot. Now Chris- he was good at making people laugh!
All in all, it was such a wonderful time. Our hosts were wonderful, the home was lovely, my cousins- well we didn’t get enough of them- but it was awesome. Thank you so much Chris and Alison for your generosity, grace, and impeccable hospitality. You really make a difference in people’s lives. And Jason, Jen, Savannah, Nathanael, and Gabriel… we miss you so much, love you, and feel so special that you came to visit us. Thank you…. for everything…. you are not just family but very special friends.