3 Things You May Not Know About Me

What I’ve learned during my attempt to write 31 days in a row.

#1. I am a perfectionist
Granted, I had come to that forgone conclusion a number of years ago. However, I am reminded daily during this October challenge that if the post isn’t my best work, it is still ok to click publish. The difficulty of writing
means that a few of the blog post may be really good and some may be ok but many might fall quite short of perfect. So I’m slowly accepting that perfectionism is overrated!

#2. I love taking & sharing photos of my families life
Real life is messy, it’s chaotic, and I feel most free to be me when I am with my family. So whether it’s making mudpies, wading through the marsh to find a creek brimming with blue crabs, or playing on abandoned catamarans…being outside in nature is where I am happiest. And I hope that by viewing the photographs I share of my family, you are encouraged to spend more time with your children, family, and friends in this great big world we’ve been blessed to inhabit. {It also doesn’t hurt that when I’m feeling less than thrilled to write, my readers {you amazing person that you are for reading my blog} still seem to enjoy my photos. So thank you!}

#3. My best writing is completed in the morning
We all have a time of day when our productivity peaks and then quickly descends into “let’s just put that off for a few more hours because I really need to do something else drastically important…like call someone??” If I don’t click publish prior to 10 o’clock in the morning, you will find me on the wheel of procrastinating by calling a sister, a friend, really anyone who will pick up the phone and just let me talk about absolutely nothing so I can escape from the task at hand.

So here we are…it’s 9:42pm, I have yet to write anything about a servant’s heart, but I do have some photos I could share!!! And I have laryngitis so unfortunately I can’t call anyone to help me in my procrastination.

Enjoy the photos! And thank you so much for taking time to read my blog.


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Day 18 of the #write31days challenge. I’m supposed to be writing about a Servant’s Heart…but sharing photographs is so much easier!


How to Become the Parent You Want to Be

After not so quietly emphasizing “please just go get dressed”, my son responds with an astute observation…

“Mom, your patience seems to be running low today.”

I smile back and quietly whisper…”Yes, I think you’ve got that right.”

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On the days when my patience seems lowest.
On the days when the words from my mouth are more likely to be sour rather than sweet.
On the days when I don’t think there is time to slow down & savor, time to breathe, or time to relax.

Those are my hardest parenting days. And I’ve come to realize that, more often than not,
my children’s behavior is not what leads to my frustrations and lack of patience.

More often than not, the problem is found in me.

It’s found in me not taking care of myself.
It’s found in me not bothering to set an alarm – hence we are running late for school and yet another tardy will send us to the principal’s office.
It’s found in me being frustrated at something in my own life that has nothing to do with the kids.

Whether it’s exhaustion after a night of poor rest,
feeling crappy because I haven’t taken time to exercise,
or a disagreement with my husband.

All of these things, and more, can easily result in me not being the parent I want to be.
So I really have to question where my frustrations are stemming from.

Am I upset with what my child is doing or am I simply not happy in my own circumstances?

I am certainly not saying that children shouldn’t be disciplined or that our children’s behavior never leads to frustration and less than best parenting.

But for me, I’ve found that the better I take care of myself, the better parent I can be.

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So if my goal is to yell less, have more patience, for the words from my mouth to overflow with grace…

Then I need to remind myself that they are only children. I’m the adult here. And I make a choice every day, every single moment, how to respond when their actions and choices are not what I would desire.

And the best way for me to make a parenting choice I am proud of is directly linked to how well I am taking care of myself.

Whether it’s waking up 30 minutes early {even if that means 5:30am} so I can have my quiet time with Christ in solitude, getting out with girlfriends one evening, or going to bed before I normally do so I can be well rested.

All these things help me parent with grace and kindness.

And if you think you just don’t have any extra time in your day to do something for yourself…
I promise that you do!
Even just setting aside a 15 minute walk can do wonders for anyone’s outlook.

It’s never too late to take care of ourselves so we can be the parents we seek to be.

{Insight into this concept was from The Orange Rhino blog. Years ago, I read this particular post of hers and #8 really hit home with me. I realized that way too often the problem with my parenting was found in me rather than what my children’s behavior was. I’ve come to realize that they will probably always walk a little slower than I think acceptable, be a bit more clingy than I’d prefer, etc. And when I choose to take care of myself first then I am able to make smarter, kinder, more grace filled parenting choices.}

Day 13 of the #write31days challenge!


A True Servant is Focused on Giving rather than Getting

Unfortunately, I sometimes {more times than I’d like to admit} utter up phrases that sound something like this…
“If I do this whatever it is, then will you do this other thing for me?”

What better description of a non servant’s heart is there,
than a servant who only serves so that they in turn will be served?

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If my service to others is about what I’m going to get in return, then it is all for naught.

As Tim Keller writes, “When you say, “I’ll serve, as long as I’m getting benefits from it,” that’s not actually serving people; it’s serving yourself through them. That’s not circling them, orbiting around them; it’s using them, getting them to orbit around you.”

Part of putting other people before yourself means that we aren’t looking for what we will receive on the flip side. Instead, we care more about the needs of other’s than caring about what they can do for us.

One of the best examples I’ve ever read on this topic, especially with it related to marriage, was written in a viral blog post by Seth Adams Smith. He writes “You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy… a true marriage (and true love) is never about you. It’s about the person you love—their wants, their needs, their hopes, and their dreams. Selfishness demands, “What’s in it for me?”, while Love asks, “What can I give?”

So when I’m stuck in my rut of keeping track of whose done more or what can I ask for in return,
I have to remind myself to pray.

Asking God to keep my heart focused on giving rather than focusing on what I am receiving.



{Day 12 of the #write31days challenge. Every day I get more & more excited as I inch ever more closely to October 31! Click here to see a listing of all the posts written in this series. Or click on the right sidebar link to receive these posts in your inbox.}


Thoughts on being subservient in marriage…yes, I’m going there!

Today is Day 10 of my writing for 31 days in a row and in many ways it is thrilling to try a challenge. But I find that on the weekends I have little motivation to write. If the post is not going to be read by many {which might happen on the weekend} then I don’t feel like writing.

So I am having to remind myself of my motivation to participate in this challenge. It wasn’t to grow blog traffic or the quantity of people signed up for post in their inbox. Those are nice bonuses, but the real reason was to improve my writing and become more consistent in how often I blog.

So even though I feel like time is running out on me getting a blog completed today, I am reminding myself it doesn’t have to be perfect. Just Do It will be my mantra for this post.

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I often hear people say that the Bible is antiquated in its view of a woman being subservient to a man. And to some extent, I get it, because when I google Subservient, the definition is blaring and I would never want those synonyms to describe me.

 prepared to obey others unquestioningly.
  1. synonyms: submissive, downtrodden, obedient, biddable, passive, unassertive, docile, subdued

But what if preachers {and readers of the Word} focused on the Bible as a whole?

Looked at the Bible as THE SUM OF IT’S PARTS.

Not just pulling out this verse or that single word and basing whole platforms on them.

What if instead of only preaching on women being subservient, they also preached on the importance of men serving their wives as Christ served the church?

Which means being willing to lose their life for their spouse.
Giving up your life sounds all glorious but isn’t the majority of serving found in the mundane, in the everyday?

So perhaps men should lose themselves every day for their wives?

….Tell your wife to get out with her friends for the evening after your extremely long day at work. Even though that means you’ve got to handle all three kids by yourself, along with making dinner, giving baths, and wrangling kids to that thing called bedtime. Sure, it isn’t fun, it isn’t easy…but it’s putting your wife above yourself first.

…Or what if it’s truly listening and engaging with your wife when she talks about her not interesting day…we get that diapers and breastfeeding aren’t exciting. But when a husband takes the time and effort to listen, then us women, want to do the same for our husbands.

I think we need to look at husbands as being just as much of a servant to their wives, as their wives are to them.

I get that this is a controversial topic and there is so much more I could say on the topic.. For example, I consider myself extremely blessed to have a husband who highly respects me…so for me, it’s not hard to think about serving my spouse because he serves me so well.

But for way too many women, their husband’s are abusive, controlling, demanding…everything Christ commands a man NOT to be to his wife. So where does the subservient relationship fit into those roles? I’m not sure.

I just wanted to share my thoughts on the topic because I don’t think you can discuss how to serve your spouse without also considering the meaning of being subservient.



Photojournal of A Flooded Lowcountry Experience

The governor calls it a once in a thousand year rain deluge.

We call this whole thing deranged, us with our restless kids, antsy to do something other than endure another day long marathon of PBS Kids.

So this morning again, rather than stick to the Servant’s Heart topic for #write31days, I thought I’d share photos of all the flooding we’ve been wading through over the last 5 days.

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What is a Servant’s Heart?

{Day 3 of the 31 Days to a Servant’s Heart series. Click here to see all series posts.}

Whispered worriedly in my ear are the words of a precocious little one “Mama, I’m sorry I used up all your dental floss, but I just had to make the Orb’s golden silk spider web”.

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The cords of floss thread in and out of every crevice in his room, making a spider web for this animal loving boy of mine.

It doesn’t matter how simple the task of navigating the spider web seems, I can’t do it without getting tripped up in the floss. And I’m reminded of just how often I get tripped up in this whole serving others thing.

I set out to serve with a gracious heart but instead I get so caught up in keeping track of all ‘my good’ that any love I started out with is gone before I’ve done more than just think about serving someone else.

So what is a servant’s heart and why in the world does it even matter?

A servant’s heart is bent towards gratitude that they are able to serve instead of resentment that they have to serve.

It’s all about perspective, isn’t it?

So easy to grumble that my kids are legions beyond stir crazy as another 24 hours of flooding rain continues here. But when my perspective changes, I find myself thankful I have a roof over our head, no floodwaters are entering the safety of our home, and my kids are healthy & thriving based on the high decimal level echoing through the house.

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Perspective changes my heart from…

…I HAVE to make dinner yet again to I GET to provide a healthy nutritious meal for my family

…I HAVE to fold the never ending pile of laundry to I GET to provide a clean house for us to find rest in

…I HAVE to wash those dishes, bathe those kids, the list could go on & on….

But there is always time to take a step back and retrain my thought process to focus instead on the positive and the blessings I DO have in my life.

So that’s what I’m working towards this month.

Working to change the whispers in my heart from
I have to
I get to.



{Written as part of the #write31days challenge. My entire series 31 Days to a Servant’s Heart can be found here.}


10 Fun Filled Activities for Rainy Days at Home

Despite all my best plans, today’s #write31days has not gone according to plan. So we are deviating away from A Servant’s Heart and I’m simply writing with the time I have available.

That is what happens when your school district decides to close school because there is a rain storm on the way.

Yep, you heard that right.

We had no school today because of potential flooding.

As of 3:43pm this afternoon, it’s rained a total of .0000001 inches. I’m just not sure how those kids in the Pacific Northwest ever get any schooling since I’ve heard it rains all the time there. {I’m sure you couldn’t hear the sarcasm in my voice there, could you??}

In reality, I get that downtown Charleston is quite flooded. But the suburbs…not so much.

And the funny part is people think the rain has something to do with the hurricane. It doesn’t. Not one inch.
The hurricane is 556 miles away battering the poor people in the Bahamas. But us in Charleston, it’s doing nothing. I’ve even heard that Florida weather looks pretty great today!

So on to something meaningful…here are 10 ideas on how to spend a rainy day with stir crazy kids at home. Most include stuff you already have at home, proving that for kids {and adults} fun is not dependent upon dollars spent.

1. Shaving Cream Fights
Put your kids in the shower {or tub} and let them go to town with some bottles of shaving cream. The cheaper the stuff, the better.

2. Build a super duper fort {with an air mattress for even more fun}

3. Splash in puddles {i know, not very original, but a childhood classic}

4. Have a mud flinging contest {we are a bit of a messy family, if you can’t tell!}

5. Make yummy desserts {I hope to post recipe next week!}

6. Make lego creations solely to be entered into the Lego Club Magazine

7. Make a shaving cream {snow} village on your kitchen table

8. Build spider webs with dental floss or twine. Then try to walk/crawl through without falling. I’ve never
made it through one without getting twisted up.

9. Make really weird stuff with modeling clay
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10. Bring out the science experiments




63 Places off the Beaten Path in Charleston, SC

Finding and exploring hidden gems in nature is one of my favorite past times. Here are our personal favs along with undiscovered places we hope to check out soon. So load the kids up and get up close & personal with the great outdoors. {listed in no particular order}

1. Daniel Island Waterfront Park, Daniel Island
Situated on the shores of the Wando River and replicated to resemble the Charleston harbor, this park’s best feature  is the proximity to the waterfront trails. When facing the water, take the left hand trails and you will come to a small bit of shoreline where the trees are eroding into the river. If you aren’t able to boat out to Capers & Dewey’s, this is your next best way to experience an eroding shoreline.

2. Trails at Wannamaker Park
There are 2 miles of paved trails, as well as the 8 mile Wannamaker North Trail for bicyclist and nature explorers.

3. Charles Towne Landing
Great for bike riding but make sure to go when it is NOT hot. There is very little shade here.

4. Old Santee Canal Park

5. Charleston Library Society story time, Downtown
This is a completely different organization than the county’s library system. This non profit was founded to expound one’s natural curiosity through art, speakers, and ultimately – books. They have a summer reading time for kids.

6. Historic Charleston Foundation kid programs, Downtown
Who knew that the organization responsible for ensuring our city’s awe-inspiring architecture is protected, also has numerous after school & during the summer educational programs for children?

7. Trolley Rides, Downtown Charleston
Park at the Visitors Center and ride the FREE trolley around downtown.

8. Waterfront Park, Downtown Charleston
A great way to beat the heat and enjoy downtown all in one swoop. Even better, take advantage of the FREE trolleys (see #7) to get there and your kids will think you are the best mom ever.

9. Sunrise Park, James Island

10. Charles Pickney National Historic Site, Mount Pleasant
My favorite place in Charleston for family photos and kids being kids.

11. Marsh View Trail, Mount Pleasant
An easy paved trail for kids that takes you out to the marsh. Wear flip flops/crocs and you can explore the marsh. We recently found mussels here!

12. Seewee Shell Ring Trail

13. Awendaw Creek Landing
The trails are great for exploring and the dock is fun for crabbing.

14. Hampton Plantation
Explore nature trails and let the kids run wild.

15. The Custom Building, downtown Charleston
It may look formal & imposing, but there is nothing wrong with having your youngsters run up these steps to burn off some energy.

16. Crabbing
Catching crabs on a line of twine with chicken necks is one of my favorite past times, so no, I won’t be sharing my favorite crabbing hole. However, try your hand at these great locations – Shem Creek Park, Awendaw Creek Landing and Pitt Street Bridge. Stop by Haddrell’s for your crabbing and fishing needs.

17. Farmer’s Markets
Give your children a few dollars and let them pick out a new vegetable to try. Kids are much more likely to try food that they had a hand in picking out and cooking.
Luckily in Charleston, we have farmer’s markets almost every single day of the week.
Monday ~ Seabrook & Kiawah Islands
Tuesday ~ Mt. Pleasant
Thursday ~ Daniel Island and North Charleston
Saturday ~ Downtown Charleston, Goose Creek, John’s Island, & Summerville
Sunday ~ James Island

18. Shem Creek Park

19. SEWEE Educational Center
My kids love learning about all the ‘stuffed’ animals they are able to see here. Plus, they have a boardwalk trail you can explore.

20. Center for Birds of Prey

21. Caw Caw Interpretive Center
Your best chance to see an alligator is here. Perfect for older kids or at least have enough adults to corral youngsters that like to run.

22. Hazel Parker Playground, Downtown Charleston
Nestled behind a City of Charleston recreation department building, this little gem stays tucked out of view from all the tourists walking by. It has something for everyone…different sets of climbing equipment perfect for young & old, tennis, baseball, AND basketball courts. And if that wasn’t enough….THEY HAVE BATHROOMS!! Located inside the recreation department building, you will find restrooms and a water fountain. And if you are lucky enough, the inside doors will be open and your kids can play inside the building with plenty of toys while you get a break from the heat with some air conditioning!

23. Park Circle Butterfly Garden

24. Magnolia Gardens
Out of the 4 major plantations in Charleston, this one is my favorite. The gardens are romantic, beautiful, and splendid.

25. Tennis Courts (Whipple Road)
When my son was a rambunctious 2 year old that loved to run as far away as possible I would load him up and take him to the tennis courts. He could run & run and never run away from me. I would just hit tennis balls and he’d have to run and pick them up for me. I’m all about free & easy child entertainment!

26. Dunleavy’s Popcorn & Wings
When you need a cheap date with your husband and hiring a sitter isn’t possible, this is the next best thing. Kids eat unlimited popcorn and you take advantage of wings and the salty beach air. !

27. Belgium Gelato
Want to become #momofthedecade? Park at the Visitors Center, ride the FREE trolley, cool off at Waterfront Park, then head 2 doors down for this delicious gelato.

28. Charleston Park Conservancy
Find parks {think nice classical parks, not necessarily with playground equipment} all over town.

29. West Ashley Greenway

30. North Charleston Waterfront Park
Not only is there a beautiful meadow and large pavilion, but there are also sprinklers/spray fountains to cool kids off.

31. Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon, downtown Charleston

32. Hampton Park, Downtown

33. Jason’s Lake & Botnay Bay, Edisto Island

34. Edisto Beach State Park

35. Governor’s Park, Daniel Island
Zipline, playground, shade!, and access to trails perfect for exploring the marsh and estuaries habitats.

36. Smythe Park, Daniel Island
A pirate themed playground with a large lake for kid anglers’.

37. Library Programs, Charleston County
From Picolo Spoleto events to Magic Treehouse Clubs, the library has great programs all summer long.

38. $1 Movies at Regal Cinemas

39. Morris Island Lighthouse
Although you can’t ‘see & touch’ the lighthouse you can find a great view by going to the far end of the east side of Folly. Morris Island is a great lesson for your kids to learn about how the tides continually alter the landscape of our islands.

40. Bert’s Market, Folly Beach
One of my absolute most favorite places in Charleston! Complete beach dive…where else can you find cold pressed juices, organic hotdogs, and nightcrawlers for bait all in the same place? Seriously, I adore this place and my secret dream is to open one in Mt. Pleasant. I’ve already got the perfect corner spot picked out…think of superman gorillas and you’ll know where I’m talking about.

41. Pick Berries
Whether you pick in town or find an organic farm within an hour drive of Charleston, your kids will love running around dirt fields and eating berries to their hearts content.

42. Charleston Tea Plantation, Wadmalaw Island
Take your girls for ‘tea’ with their favorite babydolls. Or a perfect place to visit sans kids.

43. York Towne/Patriots Point, Mount Pleasant

44. Chapel Park
A favorite hidden gem with a gorgeous water fountain.

45. Charleston County Park & Recreation docks and trails
CCPRC has fishing docks and trails for exploring at almost every single park they maintain. My kids love the Palmetto Island County Park for its abundance of fiddler crabs found on the creek banks.

46. Bee City, Cottageville

47. Cypress Gardens, Monck’s Corner

48. Bamboo Forest, Sullivan’s Island
Next to the SI fire station, this bamboo forest is so neat and hidden away.

49. A Very Little Book Store, Summerville
The perfect place for a cozy story time.

50. Trophy Lakes, John’s Island
The perfect place to learn to water ski or wake board.

51. Graveyards {self-guided Gateway Walk}, Downtown Charleston
There are lots of graveyards throughout the Holy City but you may not know that there is a walkway that connects quite a few of the churches and graveyards. This would obviously be better for teenagers or sans kids.

52. Gates of Charleston
Here is another idea when you find yourself without children. The peninsula has so many homes with gorgeous gates containing intricate iron art.

53. The Angel Oak
A pretty neat way for kids to see a very old oak tree.

54. Mace Brown Museum of Natural History, Downtown Charleston
Who knew that College of Charleston had a history museum?? We have yet to check it out but have on our short list.

55. Awendaw Green, Awendaw

56. The Hunley Museum, North Charleston

57. Firefly Distillery, Wadmalaw
Part of Irvin House Vineyards and very close to Charleston Tea Plantation (see #42)

58. College of Charleston campus, Downtown
I am all about impromptu picnics in beautiful locations and the College of Charleston’s Cistern Yard and Porter’s Lodge are too beautiful not to visit.

59. Freshfields Village {Music on the Green}, Kiawah & Seabrook Island

60. Hunting Island, Beaufort
A climbable lighthouse PLUS a gorgeous eroding shoreline.

61.Pitt Street Bridge, Mount Pleasant

62. Seewee Outpost, Awendaw
You know a gas station must be pretty amazing to make it onto a list of the best things to do in Charleston, and this general store definitely delivers! It’s a destination in and of itself. We try not to let our kids out of the car when we stop here to get gas because there is no way you leave without buying some cool classic childhood toy.  You’ll find everything from Cabella’s clothing to the perfect BB gun for your son to that pink fishing pole your daughter just has to have. I’ve never been disappointed when we stop here.

63. The Pickled Palate, Mt. Pleasant
My favorite lunch spot! This funky eclectic panini shop serves up great food along with a one of a kind atmosphere.


Getting through the dog days of summer

I call a friend, knowing she’ll understand the desperation in my voice.
The words teetering between a whine and a beg.
“Remind me again, how many more days before school starts?”

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Loads of laundry piled up high, dishes accumulating far too quickly, and I’m not really sure the last time my bathroom was cleaned. And if I can be brutally honest…there is mold & scum clearly visible on the shower door.

It reminds me of a bachelor’s house but no, it’s just what summertime accomplishes in this house of mine. Summer will wreck havoc on the most organized of women. So consider what home looks like for me, one of the least organized women!

There is chaos and mayhem in piles of dirty dishes, produce that all needs canned at once, kids insisting they have to help make dinner which translates into even more messes. And don’t get me started on the Legos scattered endlessly over surfaces that are still sticky from yesterdays glued on art project.

On June 1st those messes looked SO cute.
By August 1st that same mess sends me into tirades, screams, and frustrated sighs.

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So how do we make it through this chaotic mess that intrudes so unapologetically into our lives?

Perhaps I need to change my perspective so I can find beauty in this mess.
Find joy in the most unexpected places.

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For along with the chaos and mayhem, there IS beauty that abounds if I stop myself from yelling and choose gratitude instead of frustration.

Beauty is everywhere, if I simply change my attitude.

Beauty can be found… in pajama laden breakfast of homemade Belgium waffles …as the exciting urge to can tomatoes kicks into high gear …in the joy found as my daughter insists to spend time with me, helping peel shrimp for dinner.

And those Legos, that art project that leaves sticky residue all over the kitchen table…doesn’t God want me to see the beauty in the creativity that my children create?


Perhaps we need to lower our expectations of what we think life should look like and remind ourselves of what really matters.

Summertime {and life for that matter} isn’t supposed to be neat and pretty and organized.

Your house shouldn’t look perfect.
It should look like children live there.

And living means making messes with markers, stickers, and popsicles.

Don’t we have the most fun when there is dirt under our nails, berry juice running down our faces {and ending on our shirts}, and sand stuck to our heels?

So close out of pinterest, with its’ unattainable ethereal perfection, and bring on these last days of summer.

Let’s find beauty in spontaneous trips to the park, even though that means leaving the house a mess.

Let’s experience joy running through a field of clovers, not worrying about the grass stains on our knees as we search for that exclusive four leaf clover.

Let’s laugh our hearts out in a water balloon fight, allowing ourselves to live life as a child, free of care & concern.

Eventually, I will have a plethora of hours and will while away the time by creating a pristine house.
But that season is not now.
And all the grandma’s in my life tell me that when that day comes, I’ll wish I had these begrudged hours back.

So embrace the moment you are in.

Embrace the messy. Embrace the sticky. Embrace the chaos.

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Real living, real memory making is found in the messy, in the sticky, in the chaos.


{Hopefully coming later this week, The Dog Days of Summer 2: Experiencing joy in the midst of whining kids and emotional breakdowns}


Living Life…Enjoying The Simple Moments

As I’ve often said, I don’t want to miss out on the joy of living presently in the moment and miss precious moments that are all to quickly fleeting.

So sometimes months go by before I feel the need to write a blog post.

And sometimes, instead of writing words, I really just want to share photos of how we have been spending our time…

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Being outdoors, enjoying nature, is probably our family’s most enjoyed past time.
I hope you are able to get outside this weekend and soak up some sunshine!