Though friends generally fall into one of several categories: childhood friends, high school friends, college friends, work friends (from one of several careers), church friends, mommy friends, friends-of-friends, and road friends, the easiest divide these days might be: those who sometimes live on the road, and those who don’t. For those who don’t, this is for you :)

RECIPE: Bus Burgers

Introduction: Cooking on the bus is not gourmet but it can be creative. I have two burners to work with, a microwave, toaster oven, and small crock pot. So over the last year and a half, while I have tried a few new things here and there, the same standards remain family favorites: eggs, pancakes, and bacon, tacos, and bus!burgers.

A bus burger is no different than one we’d make at home, really, except that perhaps it’s a bit simpler. The ‘ingredients’ are as follows:

Frozen patties, cheese, garlic powder (Spray oil for the pan, a bit of salt to taste)


– serve interesting snacks, such as tortilla chips and cheese, to keep small fries occupied while you cook

– prepare to look the other way regarding the grease

– have easy alternatives on hand, just in case some of your subjects had burgers for lunch

– serve with whatever condiments your remembered or that your husband walked to the Food For Less to get, plus strategic leftovers brought from home, fruit cups, or instant noodles

Fry to perfection, serve to smiling faces:


Our weekend has gone pretty smoothly so far. I never know what to expect when we travel Paige-less.  The ride on Thursday wasn’t too bad, although Miranda and Kaity’s high maintenance-ness was in full swing. Every five minutes came requests (/demands) for a snack, drink, toy, movie, song, book, diaper change, potty break, change in seating. Whew. They wear me out.

We reached Richmond, Kentucky where Rod has several aunts and his closest cousin (who is pregnant and just found out she’s having a girl.. YAY Mindy & Woody!). Aunt Sue was happy to ‘whip up’ dinner for us – breakfast for dinner, to be more specific, and it was sausage, country ham, scrambled eggs, homemade biscuits and gravy, and fried potatoes, to be exact. Heaven. One of the greatest perks of Rod’s calling to the road is that we get to see his Kentucky relatives (and the one in Tennessee, Lance), a lot more than we otherwise would.

The only downside to Thursday night was missing The Shows. We are avid watchers of Grey’s Anatomy and now Private Practice, and usually make nights of new eps a bit of an event. It was nice, though, to get the girls to sleep in our bed together in the back of the bus while we settled in for a movie in the front (Family Stone, one of our new Christmas-y favorites).

Friday morning we got on the road bright and early for a less-than-three-hour trip to Harlan. (This is my second trip of the year, and ever. Details of Rod’s Harlan legacy are here and here). That ride went pretty smoothly, as did our big trek to Wendy’s for lunch. I took a bit-too-long of a nap with the kids, which I really never do at home, which is one of the other perks of this calling J Though our ministry trips include a lot of work, they also take us away from some of the cares of home that we simply cannot handle when we are away (laundry, for example).

Anyway, I had to get hopping once I woke up. I was pulling multiple duties of ticket sales at the door, handling Rod’s product table, and, you know, keeping the kids corralled. Luckily Rod’s mom and sister in law were around to help with that some, but when it comes to administering the smackdown on our little darlings, Mommy has to take over.

The concert was the second one in our new ‘Give the Gospel’ series. (The first was last weekend in Branson, which we obviously missed). This one included Out of Ashes, a sweet and talented family group from the area, and The Roarks, who are amazing people in their talent, the hearts, and all the different things they do. Paul Roark, the patriarch, is from Harlan as well. His wife Jetta and he sing with their son Shane, who has one of the most incredible country voices you will ever here and is a terrific writer (he wrote a very popular song called “There is a God” .. I know His name… You’d know it if you heard it). Their other son Travis runs sound and all sorts of other things. They handled the sounds, lights, and staging for us in Branson, and we just love them.

Anyway, the concert went really well. While the crowd was not as big as we hoped, it was good and it was supportive. We were collecting food for the local pantries and people were very generous with what they gave. There was a great altar call at the end, and we had good product sales.

The hardest part, seriously, of anything I do is containing the girls during a concert. Venues like the one Rod sang at last night (The Harlan Center) are a little easier, because there is usually somewhere for them to run around, it’s noisier, and there is more bustle and less formality. The whole thing is a hard balance for me to figure out.. Obviously, I am not going to let my kids run around and be distractions or brats. But.. they do take joy in hearing their daddy sing and often want to dance or sing along (loudly). I try to maintain the leash to a length that works for everybody, the unfortunate side effect being that I often am able to give very little support to Rod and certainly not, you know, get anything out of the concert or service. I know it’s a season. I know it will pass.

My favorite part of nights like those is the aftermath. Last night I took the girls back out and fed them snacks and let them decompress, so when it was decided we were going to go to Pizza Hut (not many options in Harlan!) with some of the other singers and friends, they were nice and mellow. They enjoyed sitting around the table and talking with their Mamaw and the other people with us, and Paul Roark filled our ears with wonderful testimonies of his family and their ministry through the years.

The bambinas were sleeping in our arms as we carried them out, so it seemed like it would be an easy night. Kaity, bless my baby, had other plans. She could not sleep. We still don’t know what the deal was, though it seems to possibly be an allergy. She was completely restless and itchy her eyes and nose. She wasn’t happy no matter what.. if we held her, if she was in her bed (travel crib), or if she was in our bed. She would fall asleep and wake up two minutes later. I could not believe it was after SIX AM when she finally settled down. I knew Miranda would not sleep very late, and she didn’t.

It was okay though.. Randa snuggled with me in the early part of her morning and finished Under the Tuscan Sun with me. Then we got up and had a coffee/milk date, a little breakfast, and read some books. By then it was after 11 and we got up Daddy and Kaity to meet the relatives for lunch before they headed home.

Then we hit Walmart, of course. This is a must on any trip. Yes, most Walmart locations (and there is a directory) allow buses and RVs to park in their lots overnight. And of course, the people who park there end up spending money inside the store. Today we needed milk, water, diapers, a carseat (Kaity has now learned to get out of the booster we keep on here), and other necessities like salt and vinegar chips and a gingerbread candle. Walmart gets their money’s worth out of us. No problems.

We took a big long nap before dinner and have enjoyed an amazingly mellow night. We just don’t do this at home. Rod and I are about to start our fourth movie together of the weekend (and, ahem, eat some Little Debbie Christmas trees). We are both doing some work, but we’re not stressed out and crazy. Lovely change.

Tomorrow we have an early start for service and then a nine hour drive home. He and I leave at something like 4am Tuesday morning for Branson, so the turnaround for clean clothes and errands at home will be QUICK. Mom and Dad are staying at the house this time, Peapod is delivering groceries, and Paige and Josh, as I hope I continually mention, are fantastic as getting mail and caring for the dog and all those things a lot of our traveling friends can’t take for granted when they go.

In my moments of chaos and feelings of, “I cannot do this (this being washing Kaity’s hands after she stuck them in the public toilet while Miranda is charging the stage, or something of that caliber), I will remember in the back of my mind how Miranda sang Jesus Love Me at the TOP of her lungs all through the store today, how Kaity knows every word when Rod sings “I’ll See You in the Rapture,” how everything Paul told us about his own family last night seemed to affirm the dreams we have for our own, and how, at the end of each day, I get to spend these adventure – bus burgers and all – with my best friend, and I am still his #1 fan.