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Trips Are Not Always As They Appear on Facebook…


So if I shared you the following pictures on my Facebook page, you might think, “Wow. What a fun camping trip. Look at those boys always getting along. That’s just lovely.”

what-to-do-camping-family camping-with-boys-camper  lake-hueston-woods-state-park-ohio hueston-woods-state-park-fishing

And that’s how it was {MOST} of the time.  There were hotdogs around the fire, fun games of ladder ball, fishing, and playing in the sand. But what didn’t I take pictures of?

My meltdown after not sleeping, feeling dirty, tired of peeing with scary bugs and used feminine products, and just wanting my own bed. 

The boys having a rough night staying in the camper for bedtime and not being able to comply. 

A most likely rash decision to pack up when we were frustrated with camping at 10:30 at night in the dark. 

Boys both crying and cheering that we were going home.

A broken wheel well that we didn’t realize until we went to move the camper.

Brad pulling off the tire in the middle of the camp sight driveway at 11:30, and all of us praying in the van that he would be able to fix it.

Rolling in at 1:30 in the morning and crawling into our beds exhausted and wondering if we’re really cut out for camping. 


Oh Friends, vacations, trips, and lives are not always as it appears on your Facebook feed for any of us. Trust me, you didn’t want to see pictures of the bathhouse on your screens. We often don’t see the mess and the meltdowns, only the highlights. Let’s not forget that there’s a behind the scenes that we arenotl intimately involved in day in and day out. We all struggle, we forget, we clean up messes, we fall down, we get hurt, we mess up – and then we get up and do it all over again. Hopefully at the end of the day the good outweighs the bad and we wake up with amnesia of yesterday’s imperfections.

The problem lies when we start comparing our low-light reels to everyone else’s highlight reels. 

Let’s embrace the goodness of this life we’ve been given and how 4tunate we truly are today.  Let’s be good with our highlights and be able to chuckle at some of unphotoshopped moments. There are gifts to be found even in the not so picturesque moments – don’t let comparison steal the joys of what you’ve been entrusted. 

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Prioritizing the Priorities


What’s that sound?  Listen – do you hear it?  {QUIET} 

It’s a rare sound around these parts, but this week the boys are spending time with Brad’s parents at Bible school (Bless You, Grandparents and VBS volunteers!), and we are getting a nice dose of quiet.

We’re taking this time to work uninterrupted, catch up on a few house things, purge some toys (shhhhhhh!!), eat some grown-up food, and REST, but we also wanted to have some time to chat about how we can make our home run even better.

I have been super inspired by Crystal Paine’s book, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode. And it’s challenged us to re-evaluate our priorities.

How can we manage our time better?  What things are taking our energy?  What isn’t getting done?  Where are we failing miserably? What are we getting right? 

Yesterday, wrote out all of the things on our plates and our weekly commitments by category.  I had a page, Brad had a page, and then we had a together page.

It was so nice to see everything in written form, listed out, and organized.  Was it a tad overwhelming to see it all and wonder how to make it all work?  Sure, but much better seen than thrown together without a plan.

I don’t want to look back on our lives and just see BUSY. 


I want our lives to be intentional, meaningful, and with purpose. 

After we listed and categorized our commitments, we took a good look at what we could possibly cut out, what was being neglected, and committing time specifically to each task.

Next we set goals we need to accomplish from our re-prioritizing.


  • Schedule a monthly date night.  (We know this is something that’s not only good for our sanity, it’s needed for our marriage, but we’ve neglected it in the busyness lately.)
  • Exercise 3x a week. (We have to plan to exercise or it’s not going to happen.)
  • Have a quiet time daily and hold each other accountable. 
  • Meal plan and grocery shop on Wednesdays. (I find myself stressed out most when our fridge is bare and I don’t have a plan for dinner.) 
  • Set a time each week to pay bills, budget and go over finances.


I cannot tell you how great it feels to prioritize the priorities again, and reevaluate how we are running our home. I think it will make a huge impact on our productivity, self-discipline, and peacefulness in our home.

Now back to some housework catch up and maybe even a couple of chapters of my book before the munchkins return!

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On Summer So Far…


I cannot believe we are weeks into summer already. I just want it to slow down and linger forever, especially after the roughest winter of our lives. Summer has had too much busy so far, and I’m hoping the next few weeks have more slow days of less.

I feel like I’m having to find my feet in blogging again, and I apologize for my hit-and-missness, and sometimes vagueness. Creativity is harder for me when I’m not in a rhythm, but things are smoothing out. Actually, things are really really good, even when some things are really really hard.

There’s a lot of transition going on outside of our home with our families, but we are trusting in God’s faithfulness and timing in the hard.

Meanwhile, we are really enjoying our boys these days. Their crazy. Their sweetness. Their growth.


We haven’t found a routine yet in our summer days, but so far here’s a little of what we’ve been up to…

~ We are 2 games away from concluding our first baseball season.  I’m relieved for the break in schedule, but it sure has been fun cheering them on each game. I’ve loved how far they’ve come these past weeks, the way they’ve been teachable, and the friendships they’ve made.

~ I’m reading two books I love so far, and have been so good when thinking about our home and family life. 

1. The Nesting Place, by Myquillyn Smith

I love every single page of this book so far – the pictures, the creativity, the permission to not have a perfect home. 

2. Say Goodbye to Survival Mode, by Crystal Paine

This is full of practical advice and solutions for managing home, family, finances, and time. I’m underlining and trying to implement several         takeaways each chunk I read.  

~ Our new love for essential oils is keeping me busy sharing them with others. I had the privilege of facilitating two Introduction to Essential Oils classes last week, and it’s been so rewarding to see others been blown away by the awesomeness of these oils for anything from infections, arthritis, pain management, headaches, allergies, anxiety, and so many everyday needs. There’s so much interest that I’m trying to figure out how to meet others needs and stay on top of things around here too, but it’s such a blessing.

~ We are making good use of our neighborhood pool key that came with this house. I even get a few pages read on my Kindle poolside every few visits, which is much different than the juggling babies in the wading pool days.

~ Our loss is taking a new form of grief as we approach the due date. I’ve accepted it and life has continued, but questions remain, and it still hurts at times.  It’s a different kind of pain, but there’s still a heaviness I can’t completely shake.  (And every time I think I’ve unsubscibed to every “Baby” email possible, a new one pops up in my inbox almost daily. “Your in the Home Stretch”, “Time to Start Your Baby Registry” , etc.)

~ The boys have an even deeper love for fishing this summer.  In fact, Clark is borderline obsessed.  It might have been sparked by his 9 pound catfish catch, or a fishing night with cousins that resulted in 29 fish reeled in. Nevertheless, they beg to go down to the pond nightly.

~ I’m working on getting back on a workout routine. Running is so stinkin’ mental. I did some Pilates yesterday just to switch it up a little.

~ We caught the end of the USA winning their first World Cup game this week.  And since Brooks was player responsible for scoring the last goal and blocking another, Brooks’ brothers immediately lifted him up and cheered.

~ Our little garden is doing well so far.  We’ve enjoyed a nice crop of strawberries – our best year yet, and the cucumbers, green beans, squash, and tomatoes are growing well so far. One of my favorite times of the day is watering the garden and watching the boys eat strawberries right off the plant.

~ I could listen to this song on repeat all day long. 


What about YOU?  How’s your summer going? What are you into? Have you found a routine or are you soaking up the laid back days?  Let’s chat about it in the comments. 


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