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Family Life

An Evening Experience At Big Cedar… Top Of The Rock

Since I was a young girl I’ve always been influenced by my Ozark heritage.  Living in the hills through the changing seasons is something I treasure deeply.  I’ve traveled many places, but the beauty of this place is described simply, “like coming home.”  It’s warmth and comfort is unmatched.  The pine designs and rough cedar smells are nestled in my heart forever.  It’s hard to put to words the impression it has left on me.  The closest I can come is the feeling I get when I drive through the grand wooded entrance of Big Cedar Lodge.  It’s as if everything I have stored in my memory of life here in the Ozarks is tucked away in this secret special spot.

I fell in love with Big Cedar years ago and I come back as often as I can to embrace my background and remember where my roots lie.  Everything about my inner self has stemmed from the simplicity of these parts and when I get lost in this big wide world I can always count on nature’s beauty and the Big Cedar experience to ground my core.  It’s a gem, a true privilege to encounter.  I’m honored to share a little piece of my favorite place with you.  Welcome to the Ozark Mountains!!

I’ve included some photos taken from Top of the Rock which is a signature Big Cedar Experience.  It’s one of the highest elevations in the Ozark Mountains and offers majestic views of Table Rock Lake and the rolling country hills.  Top of the Rock sets a world class sunset scene, which many would come for alone, but it hosts a variety of other amazing activities as well.

You can take a cave and waterfall nature hike or adventure to the top via excursion.  At the top is a natural history museum with ancient ozark artifacts (one of our favorite parts).  There are three fine dining restaurants with unreal views and mouthwatering food, also a wine cellar for the after dinner palate.  At sunset, a bag piper plays and a historic canon is fired by civil war soldiers (another of our favorites).  If your getting married soon, they have the most beautiful chapel in the midwest perfectly placed on Top of the Rock.  You can even stay in the honeymooner’s cabin which is also complete perfection.  Top of the Rock is famous as well for it’s pro golf course if that’s more your thing.

Have you ever experienced Top of the Rock?  What was your favorite part?  If not, I hope you’re inspired to start planning a trip to visit soon.  Click here for guest details!

I hope you enjoy this visual and just pretend your tagging along for an evening experience at Top of the Rock;)

Live For The Most, 

KC

 

The Best Family Play Day… Fun Mountain At Big Cedar!

Big Cedar Lodge has always been our favorite place to stay in the Ozarks.  It’s America’s premier wilderness resort for a reason!  It’s nestled in the Ozark Mountains with views that take your breath away and adventures that leave you with lasting memories.  

The atmosphere at Big Cedar is the most family friendly and we are always beyond impressed with the impeccable service, culture, and hospitality offered.  They are the Disney World of the outdoors!  It is owned by Bass Pro Shops’ founder Johnny Morris, who’s passion for sharing the great outdoors and family enrichment spreads all over this magnificent place.  They are always adding exciting places to play and we recently went over to explore some of their new grounds.

We typically stay at the lodge, but Big Cedar invites guests to come on day excursions as well!  They have so many amazing family activities.  The new Fun Mountain makes a great play day.   With rock climbing, a ropes course, laser tag, a flip zone, a spin zone, bowling, golfing, an arcade, a playground, a restaurant, and seasonal excursions with themes like camping and archery… We spent a day enjoying all it’s goodness and then finished our time at Big Cedar with an evening at Top of the Rock!  I will be sharing another post of evening fun which includes sunset festivities at Top of the Rock.  

There are many varieties of quality family time at Big Cedar, we can’t even begin to squeeze it all into one trip!  We make it an annual getaway and try to focus on exploring one or two things each time we go.  This year we adventured at the new Fun Mountain, which was a blast, but I wanted to share some things we’ve loved in the past as well…  

  • Kid’s Adventure Club which offers interactive activities and learning experiences in archery, native americans, bb guns, camping, painting, history exploration, pond fishing, canoeing, kayaking, bonfires, lazy rivers, the list truly goes on and on and on… 

I’ve included some photos from our most recent getaway below.  Have you ever been to Big Cedar?  If so, leave a comment sharing your favorite activity?  If not,  get started planning your adventure here!  

 

 

Discipline = Freedom

Doesn’t it surprise you?  In all my days I never considered using discipline and freedom in the same sentence.  However, life is about learning.  When the pain or lack of freedom becomes so great that it motivates discipline, it inspires change.  Changing negative behavior to positive behavior leads to betterment and a more free lifestyle.  Hence, discipline = freedom!

Consider these examples:

The discipline of rising early allows you to have more time and get more done

The discipline of eating healthy and exercising allows you to be in shape and feel good

The discipline of saving money allows you to give or spend more freely

The discpine of doing what you need to get done like chores, allows you to do what you want to get done like fun experiences, or projects

The discipline of reading allows you to be smarter

The discipline of practice makes perfection… you get the idea now right?

Once this realization is reached it actually feels good to have the discipline to make changes and work towards freedom.  There is even freedom in the discipline because you start to feel confidence in what you’re doing and where you’re going as you build momentum.  Another key thing that goes hand in hand with this is something called delayed gratification.  It’s the best, and ironically, fastest way to smart discipline and freedom.

I first heard of delayed gratification when I was beginning to teach my children and self about money.  It’s funny how trying to raise smart kids can really slap you in the face and wizen you up!  Often my expectations for my children make me take a hard look in the mirror.

As adults sometimes we don’t hold ourselves as accountable as we do our kids and that’s not fair.  We apparently expect them to know right from wrong and toe the line while we get to behave badly.  One day they’ll see my mistakes and I want them to remember me as humbly trying to be my best as I taught them to.  I want them to see me striving for behavior that leads to positivity, goodness, and success.  I don’t want them to see a parent who trained them to do one thing because it was in their best interest but didn’t have the courage, discipline, or self worth to make it happen for myself.

Think about a successful person you know.  In order to become good and especially great at whatever it was they desired… they had to fail first.  An important thing is their determination to push past the shortcomings.  They had a goal that really mattered to them and they really really wanted to reach it.  They had to get over the pain of not having what they wanted and make a decision and plan for how to get there.  Did you catch that word… PLAN.  Planning takes discipline.  It also takes time.  You have to make hard decisions and sacrifices to make time to plan your path.

Once you’re on this path by the way, don’t expect the resistance and delayed gratification to go away… no, no, no… it still hangs around.  The good thing is, you are developing some side effects from discipline.  They are called good attributes like character, perseverance, and drive among many.

Take a look at those who always get what they want.  Have they ever had a chance to build up enough grit to endure inevitable trials that will come?  I’m saying we should actually go as far as to be thankful for discipline because you have the opportunity to become better.  Look at trials and sufferings as good things, and chances to grow and learn.  Humans often need to learn through experience and the reality is that some of our experiences won’t be pleasurable.  They will teach us a tough lesson.  They will leave us with a choice for what type of attitude or behavior we will choose to implicate in our future.  Hopefully we will choose integrity.

I say all these things to share how I’ve seen what it has done in my own life.  There have been many things Jared and I have accomplished personally, and in our partnership with having discipline to gain freedom, but the best thing yet is to be debt free.  We are at the end of the race as I type this.  Our plan has been to never have a debt again besides our mortgage and we hope to also pay for that early.  I know it’s boring to talk about, but it’s so important.  Our society makes it sound so horrible to wait for things and be happy with what you have.  It’s not common to see people do these things because they are hard.   

It seems the world has been against us from day 1.  It’s not right to blame everyone else though.  The reality was we had to get used to saying no.  To standing up for what our goal was.  To staying focused and pushing through.  To taking ownership of our problem and fixing it.  Making excuses and blaming others or giving in just didn’t get us there, we had to face reality and walk the line.  

 I share this to inspire others to take heart and achieve your dreams.  This method can be applied to whatever is crippling you.  We have and will continue to face many challenges and resistance in life, but we hope to encourage and inspire how discipline truly does equal freedom.  It’s something no one can take away from you.  It’s something that can help you as well as those around you.  Fortunately,we live in America which is a big advantage and we pay respects to that each and every day.   

We have the freedom to chase dreams and the choice and opportunity to win in life.  Therefore we believe in not wasting that.  We believe in working towards your goals and living for the most in life.  This of course doesn’t gaurantee us the perfect life but it does gauantee us a rich life in freedom.

Wishing you the all the freedom that your heart desires too!

Live For The Most, 

KC

Make Everyday Easier… A Simple Clothing Collection For Your Kids

 

Once I had three children I realized quickly that I needed to find out how to make things as simple as possible and I’m always on a journey to make our everyday easier!  Over the last year I’ve really lessened our load a lot by creating a small clothing collection for each individual in my household.  My mission was to have a set of clothes for each person that was comfortable, well loved, and suited for our lifestyle.  Another main goal was to allow the kiddos to dress themselves and learn to mix and match their pieces.   The kids are on the verge of self sufficiency and I’m all about encouraging that!  When all these needs are met it really makes a difference in our days.  Amen?

I’ve also come to love a simpler collection because it makes laundry a ton easier too!  (Note… we also wear our clothes until we see dirt or stains on them- ha!) 

A great place to start is to focus on 7 different pieces they could wear 7 different ways for up to 7 different days.  You likely need a few more pieces than that but it’s a good place to start building your collection.  I recommend sticking to clothes that are label or screen print free as well as things that go together.

 For example my boys have a couple jean shorts light and dark, and then a few other nuetral colored pants… gray, green, and tan.  I add some color or pattern with shirts.  I also keep their shoes pretty neutral so everything can be worn with basically everything and I don’t have to spend time helping them piece it all together.  

Here are some examples of the best basics for your babes…  these are some fav brands that I like to get a piece or two from and build around.  I wanted to share them with you and give you a good visual idea of what a good curated collection would look like.  You can piece your own together of course from a variety of brands and stores but keep a similar style and scheme in mind.

 

 Girl

2 tops

halter in coral

edith blouse in cream

2 bottoms

beach skirt big blue check

track short in deep blue

2 dresses

ruffle sleeve in clover

nona dress in citron

1 cardigan

cora blouse in cream

Boy

3 tops

stripe ringer tee

woven pocket tee

raglan henley

3 bottoms

flat front short in blue

destructed short

flat front short in khaki

1 hoodie

dyed zip hoodie

1 hat

denim cap

 

Are you ready to start simplifying your kids clothes?  Does this idea pull at your heartstrings?  It’s not as hard as you think?  Your babes can get by with very little.  I’ve made the mistake since starting this journey of purchasing more than I needed a few times, but with persistence I keep getting better at crafting our collection.  I also try to keep their shoe life laid back  too!  

happy days ahead friends!

kc- xx

 

How To Encourage Men

 

Since I was a young woman I have been attracted to men.  They are fascinating creatures made to appeal to us.  Why?  Because we need them.  Let’s get to the deeper point though… WHY DO WE NEED THEM?

We need them to be our partner, lead us in wise ways, and grow us into something more beautiful than we were before.  If you think about it, as women we long for a “soul mate.”  One who can romance us and tell us sweet nothings.  One who will protect and provide for us, never to leave us.  One who listens and offers us better advice than we can find anywhere else, helping us to discover and develop our best self.

Unfortunately,  We don’t always feel that we get all these things out of our men.  Likely, this is why so many marriages are no longer working out and women are trying to “take care of themselves.”  Too often it seems the better choice.  I believe it’s not too late though.  I believe in good men still.  I also believe that men are human.  Just like us women, we all make mistakes and are learning as we go.

Most men I know are hungry to be a man and provide a woman’s needs.  It’s simply in their nature.  As women we too often discourage their efforts though.  We need to recognize that most men are working on themselves just as we are and they don’t need those nagging reminders about all the ways they are not enough.  Encouraging our men is where our focus should be.  Building them up into all they were made to be!

As a wife and mother one of my highest priorities is to encourage the males in my life to be their best.  I’m always looking for ways to support them in their journey.  Here are a few ways that I believe help make a man feel like a man, as well as  grow into a great man.

  • Notice and encourage his courage… Is there a way your man or boys are being brave?  Tell them you admire them for it, and really admire them for it.

  • Give him praise for the things he does well or works hard at.  Also, say it out loud in front of others…  note: (admit how often we mention the ways he doesn’t do well then don’t find yourself there anymore;)

  • Ask him for his discernment or answers to deep questions or concerns you have… Be direct and let him have a chance to reflect with you and lead you to a smart decision.   (a good example is to ask questions about the bible.  continue this for some amount of days and it will bring about good conversation and challenge both partners together to seek wise council and sources.)

 

A couple of great resources for you and your man can be found here and here

live for the most,

kc  xx

 

Full Swing

The babes are playing ball again!  This time of year is busy busy but in a good way.  They are active and engaged in learning some valuable skills during this full swing season.  

Jared and I are both pretty athletic and competed in many sports activities throughout our school age days so it’s no surprise that our children enjoy that too!  We coach all of their teams which is a bit of a task on top of the norm, but that’s just where we’re at with that and we wouldn’t have it any other way 😉  

When I said it’s a busy season, I really meant it…  Jared loves it so much he goes as far as mowing a “field of dreams”  baseball diamond on our property… he’s such a boy 😛  

Every night they’re outside at the field.  I can hear them playing through the kitchen windows as I cook supper and I watch them run through the fresh cut grass with their little bare feet.  These really are the days, and I try to remind myself in those moments.  

Baseball and bare feet – xx 

Why mornings and evenings matter in your marriage…

When we were young and first married we never even thought about being intentional with our time together.  I actually remember a specific time when we were visiting with some experienced married people in our community at an event and they were all discussing and kind of complaining actually about never having time to spend alone together.  

They talked on and on about how once they had kids they slowly stopped spending time with each other because their kids along with the demands of life simply took up all of their time and energy.  

I remember looking at each other thinking these people are sad.  We will never loose hope like this, how awful and depressing are they?  Ha ha!  We thought something was wrong with them that wasn’t wrong with us!  We soon learned however, that we just hadn’t experienced that stage of life yet.  Once we got there, we began to relate.  

We recognized we better take control of the situation fast or we’d be in the same boat as they had been (which we remembered we never wanted to be in).  We quickly saw that they were right!  Children and life demand a lot of your time and attention, but what matter’s is that you don’t let it get that painful.  When you feel the pain,  you find a better way and fast!

We saw that if we wanted to have more time to collect our thoughts or relax our minds we had to make it.  We needed to take ownership of our time.  The options were slim, but not out of reach.  We looked at a lot of successful people and how they made time for themselves and each other and the key was a morning and nightly rhythm.  A time to just be present together, no agenda other than that.  No expectations even.  Dedicating to just being together and letting natural things flow from that matter.  Small amounts of consistantly over time make a difference.  

We don’t always get our way and hit the target, our time together takes shape in new and different ways all the time, but when we keep this important in the forefront of our mind we are pleasantly reminded of how valuable it is.  We have actually been striving to spend evenings together unwinding after we put the kids down, but we haven’t found our rhythm with that quiet yet still.  To our surprise, as neither of us are morning people, we have discovered a nice little morning routine that we didn’t really put much effort into.  That’s the thing… as long as your continuing to work towards your goal the right thing will find it’s fit.  Be patient and notice what your natural patterns are, then play to that.  

Keep living for the most and make the important things matter!

Spring Surprises!

We are surprising our littles with some new live hens that will lay EGGS for Easter!  We brought home some chicks from school last year,  then got a rooster and guess what?  Nothing happened!  Our chickens don’t lay eggs!! I know, I know laugh all you want… make fun of me for taking care of chickens for a whole year without ever getting one egg out of the deal.  This is the year guys!  We’re getting some EGG layers!

This time of year is one of my favs… the celebration of new life and all it’s glories!  Here’s some inspiration for gifting the littles this Easter with some spring surprises …

storybook bible

leather bible cover

jesus calling devotional

babla kids

calico critters

mailegg

Growing + Grace

When it comes to relationship advice, I don’t think there is a perfect answer.  I heard someone ask another last week, “What do you hope and pray for about who your child will marry?”  The answer was good, the guy said he simply hopes and prays that whoever his daughter marry’s will be open and willing to learn and grow.  I think that sure is all we can ask for.  None of us are good enough for each other but if we’re willing to grow together that is what matters.  It matters a lot.  In fact, I’d say as a daughter to a happily married couple, a wife of ten years myself, and a mother to children who will go out in search of a partner one day, my best advice is this… The willingness to grow and learn is very important for relationships to be successful.

My husband and I have not always had the best relationship, and if I’m being honest, we still don’t.  I will always say that because I think there is always more… Always more to learn, more to give, and more to become.  If both people involved in the relationship can say they are giving 100%  then it would be the BEST relationship, but until then (which is likely never ;), we should have grace and humility for ourselves and each other as we STRIVE for that 100%.

Through observation and experience I believe our relationships feel happy and successful during the striving part.  Essentially that is what relationships are built upon… experiencing life together ( the good and the bad ) and learning from each other.  The difference between the ones that last and the ones that don’t, is when one of the people or both people are not willing to grow.  period.

I know it is a harsh truth but it is truth.  I believe the best thing to think about when seeking and building relationships with others is to look closely at their willingness to grow.  If they are a person who seeks to know and do right, and who humbles themselves when they are wrong, then it’s a pretty safe bet that it will be a positive relationship with lots of goodness involved.

My husband and I have been doing some deep talking lately on a variety of very important things… We’ve committed to a bible study together, as well as consumed some other deep information lately so there has been lots of chatting and talking our thoughts out loud… More often than not we see eye to eye, but for those differences between us, we give each other grace and we hold ourselves accountable to growth.

For those of you who are still “children” or for those of you who have children.  I heard a great example this week about how to educate your children on relationships.  Pay attention to how they treat others.  How do they treat their parents?  Are they kind and gentle.  Don’t you think they will treat you the same way they treat their closest loved ones?  Also, let this be a caution for you to look at your own attitudes and actions.

Adventures in the Ozarks…

If you’ve ever been to the Ozarks, then you know that Spring and Fall are gorgeous here.  They are the seasons we live for in these parts.  One of our favorite adventures to look forward to in the Spring is mushroom hunting.  It’s a big deal where we come from.  Everyone waits for the first big rain and the first big sunshine and then it’s on!  A race to see who can find the most!  It’s hard tellin with us cause we cook em up almost before we can count em ;P  They’re delicious!!

Sometimes we share our collection, but we never share our secret spot 😉  Oh no, nobody tells where they find their mushrooms, every family has to venture out and find a spot of their own.  That’s what’s so fun about keeping it secret because each year you have to get to your spot before anyone else finds it!!  It’s a fun tradition to get outdoors and explore together.  It warms the heart and the belly.

What’s an adventure your planning this spring?