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Family Life

Braving The W I L D… Why Camping With Kids Is Worth It

It all started when we went camping on a whim this past summer.  We loaded up last minute and headed for the W I L D.  We were craving some unexpected and that’s just what we got!  

We were surprised to discover that camping really isn’t that hard.  In fact, it’s pretty free and easy.  We realized that it’s actually the perfect entertainment for young families.  Our kids were amazingly happy and well behaved… their little senses took it all in and they stayed busier than anything we could have possibly planned.  Pure heaven for us too!  Something about a breath of fresh air and a place to be W I L D + F R E E.  

A few things to remember are bikes, books, and a big ice cooler!  If you stay at a state park, they have amenities as well as fun seasonal activities to do.  We have camped at parks, private sites, and even in the wilderness of our own property at home.  

We have a list going of supplies we want to purchase including a bigger tent (we need some growing room.)  We believe that braving the wild is the best way we can travel with our kids during this season so we plan to explore much more!  We’d love to know tips and advice from family campers.  Where are your favorite places to visit?  What are your favorite ideas to do?

The photos below are from Devil’s Den in Arkansas.  The park had some fun and engaging activities that we really enjoyed.  I didn’t include many photos of them because we were so in the moment, but we played a community ball game with all the other families in the site.  We observed and listened to bats over the lake at night by sonar, and  we learned about reptiles in the park and got to watch them eat their prey!  The boys loved this one of course…

Here’s to new adventures and braving the W I L D!

Live For The Most,

KC  

3 Ways To Fight Resistance In Your Marriage…

Mostly it’s the man’s job right?  To fight for things and be the leader, to take charge…  Well this may be a surprise, but I don’t exactly agree with that!  Sometimes a man is not always going to be able to lead you in the best direction.  Remember, he’s a human, not a hero.  Sometimes he may need help in the fight.

In walks woman, the helper!  If you’ve ever been in need of help, then you’ve likely learned the value of help.  Never underestimate or undervalue it.  Help can impact and influence a situation greatly, and for good.

I say these things to lead into the concept that you have the ability to be a beacon for better.  You should be a part of the direction of your marriage and life.  If you are experiencing some sort of challenge in this direction, which all of us do, then you might want to consider these things that can help fight that resistance…

Fight Resistance With Ownership

When in a marriage or family, you are a part of a team working for the good of the team.  This being said you don’t always wait for the leader to tell you what to do.  Here’s the key – YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE for knowing what the leader’s priorities and goals are for the team.  Don’t wait for them to tell you, and don’t make excuses for why you don’t know?  With the knowledge of the priorities and goals, you should be able to make good judgement calls for what best suits the team.  There should be no excuses if you have taken responsibility for what the expectations are.  If you choose to go against those priorities then have a highly persuasive reason to back your decision.  Take ownership of what’s good for the team.

Example:

We personally experienced a learning opportunity in regard to this principle recently… We have been working on making decisions together and being in agreement on things before we commit to them.  I made the mistake of committing to a family trip before checking with my husband.  Although I knew his overall stance on the type of situation because as noted before I had taken ownership of knowing his priorities and goals,  I still made a poor choice.  I was misguided by some things I thought were good exceptions to the rules.  Let’s just say he wasn’t thrilled with my decision making.  It caused resistance in our marriage and we were forced to talk it through and figure out where we went wrong and what we could do better next time.  Working to understand your teams priorities are essential to making good decisions and keeping resistance at bay.

Fight Resistance With Help

Prayer is good. Pray and cover things with prayer.  Something I’ve felt lead to pray about more in my marriage is how I can draw my spouse closer to God.  I used to pray that God would help him and that he would respond.  Those are great prayers that are needed and appreciated, but I realized that sometimes I could do a better job at lending to that rather than interrupting it.  – Do you feel me?  Often I found myself expecting him to handle things better.  I would get disappointed and angry when he didn’t.  Then, I would make matters worse by blaming him and putting pressure and expectations on him that I could have actually helped with instead.  It didn’t end in goodness.  Now, I’m learning to pray for HOW I CAN HELP.  I’m inspired by the bible’s teachings, and this aligns with woman’s created purpose perfectly.  It also takes the blame and pressure off the man as the leader.  God made women to help man.  He even said in genesis it’s not good for man to be alone.  Start asking how you can help?  God designed men to appreciate help and I’ve discovered that they are extremely open to our attempts at helping.

Fight Resistance With Belief and Humility

If you’ve read this far then you’ve likely felt and believe that resistance is real.  That means you likely have felt and believe that triumph and victory are real as well.  So this is a good time to remind yourself that there is good and evil.  As we walk through our lives we are going to face both.  It’s inevitable.  Therefore, it’s best to be able to step back sometimes and remind yourself of this truth.  It helps to give perspective on what your going through and give yourself vision and a correct mindset to approach the issue your facing.  If your feeling paralyzed, remind yourself of what you believe, and why you believe it, then it becomes much clearer for how to start fighting for it.  Also, use humility.  No good fighter has ever been too proud.  Stay humble.  We can always, always, grow and do better.  Look at each resistance battle you face as an opportunity to learn and develop.

I know this is a deep and difficult facet of life and I wish each of you reading this victory in fighting resistance.  I have prayed for you in this regard as I’ve prepared this post.  Fight the good fight friends.  

live for the most!

xx kc

 

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