You may have heard us speak at a homeschool conference or church. You might have read one of our books, like Raising Real Men (about parenting boys) or No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope. Or, perhaps you've heard our podcast, Making Biblical Family Life Practical. Maybe you follow us on Facebook or Instagram. Regardless, we're grateful you are here, reading about what's going on in our lives right now.
Wow! What a week. I know some of you saw our son's quick prayer request in our Raising Real Men Community on Facebook. and have already been praying and we're grateful. Let me tell the rest of you the ridiculous story...
Last week, we headed out late Wednesday evening on a conference speaking trip. We thought we'd be okay since we only had a little over three hours to drive that night. HOWEVER, we discovered I-95 was shut down for almost one third of our drive to clear a big accident, and no simple detour to take. We didn't arrive at our destination until around 2am, exhausted.
At a little after 3am, we got a call from Melanie's mom. She was sick with the stomach flu and had gotten so weak that when she fell, she couldn't get back up. It took her two hours to reach a phone! We had to rush to wake up our adult son Caleb back home to drive over there and break in (since OF COURSE her spare keys were with us). He helped her and came back and repaired everything later. Anyway, by the time we knew she was okay, there wasn't much time left to sleep since we had to get up and get on the road so we'd arrive in time to set up - it takes a while now that our booth is so big!
Presto, chango! (Not really, it usually takes us HOURS!)
To make a long story short, the van broke down when we were still an hour short of the conference. Our old friend Gary Bloom of the wonderful Books Bloom left his own setting up, drove an hour back, and got Melanie, the boys, and the trailer and brought them to the conference, but with only 30 minutes left to get started setting up. Our great friends Paul and Gena Suarez of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine took Melanie to the airport to rent a car for the weekend while the boys started unloading. MEANWHILE Hal sat in the sweltering heat (thankfully the girls had stayed home with family) for FIVE HOURS waiting on the tow truck. By the time Good Sam's Club had towed Hal to the conference city and we picked him up at the mechanic, it was after 11 and close to midnight when we got back to our AirBnB, utterly exhausted.
The weekend continued in that vein, with another emergency with Melanie's mom in the two hours we had to set up early Friday morning, followed by news that the van couldn't possibly be fixed that weekend. Thankfully, our friends and heroes the Trautmans back home were able to loan us their van, so Caleb drove 550 miles on Saturday so we and the trailer could get home on Sunday.
Then, we got the awful news that the van needs a new engine. Second problem - rebuilt engines won't be available for several weeks from now, and Ford Motor Company can't even estimate a delivery date for new engines at all because they are waiting on pistons! Not to mention that the van already has 244,244 miles on it and has been driven HARD since the Lord gave it to us in 2015. If you haven't heard that story, you ought to go listen; it was really amazing what the Lord did!
So, here we are again. We have one vehicle, an elderly Saturn SUV that won't pull our trailer. We've already had to drop the idea of exhibiting at a conference in August, but we have to have something that can pull the trailer before we start traveling to speak again - and we were already hoping to replace the trailer as it's just too small to hold all our resources anymore!
As you might expect, we weren't planning to spend thousands of dollars this week. We were hoping for another two years of service from this van! And of course, it's a low-sales time of year and a lot of funds are already tied up in inventory for Christmas -- deliveries have been unpredictable recently. And we have absolutely tapped out our family funds paying off debts dating back to when Hal had cancer and our little girl had a heart condition. Those debts are gone, but we haven't had time to build savings yet!
But we need a vehicle and trailer to do what we do, traveling to speak at conferences, churches, and family camps, helping people make Biblical family life practical. We write and teach about raising boys, parenting preteens and teens, discipleship and relationship, homeschooling, marriage and family life, and entrepreneurship. Here are some things people are saying about what we do:
[No Longer Little] is a must read! Move it to the top of your reading list!! I have been sharing tidbits from it with my friends because we all have tweens and we all so need this information! I have been encouraged, validated, and equipped as I deal with these everyday issues. My husband and I are reading the book together, and I just got online to order a case of these books to give out to others because it is such a worthwhile investment! I agree with the Youngs that reaching our children at this stage is essential to keeping their hearts as they move out of this stage. - April
[Raising Real Men] should be distributed by the hospital/midwife/birthing center each time a boy is born. It’a a great resource for all parents, but especially for single mom’s trying to fill a double role. The knowledge gained from this book improved our homeschooling as I implemented changes to our son’s day. Our son has graduated and I miss going to homeschool conferences. Hal and Melanie Young were always at the top of my list of speakers. I love to tell people about their resources! - Tracy Teague
Biblically sound, encouraging, on my level, full of love - I love to hear Hal and Melanie talk!! They are playful and we have laughed around our home how they finish each others sentences. Their topics are usually just what I needed to hear. One thing that I love is what you hear on their podcasts, is exactly what you will find when you meet them!! Love them and so thankful for them sharing their hearts. - The Criders
We need a big vehicle! We still have teens at home, and we've always traveled together to keep our family strong while we're talking with other folks about theirs. We need to be able to drive rather than fly to speaking events. And we need to have resources on hand to help and encourage the people we meet, right there when we're with them.
So here's the bottom line:
A new Ford engine will be $6369, plus travel costs back to Chattanooga and any storage fees. No prediction how soon that will be available.
A rebuilt engine would be $7500 plus travel and storage, available sometime around Labor Day. We didn't have a great experience with our last rebuilt.
Someone asked why not go for a newer vehicle? After all, our van is nine years old and has nearly a quarter million miles on the body and transmission. We've looked, but the used car market is strained right now and we have to have a vehicle with a towing package and sufficient capacity. Big vans and SUVs are at a premium right now, and low mileage options seem to run $35,000 and up.
While we're dreaming, an RV, which would give us a lot more options when we travel, could be $100K or more.
An upgraded trailer (once we have some way to pull it!) would be around $5000 more.
So, here we are. If the Lord lays it on your heart to help keep us on the road, we'd be so grateful. It would be a personal gift, since our van and trailer are owned by our family, not our organization.
Hal & Melanie