Yes, Constance

In total, our time at the cabin was just 23 hours, but we feel like we were able to do so much and really enjoyed the short getaway. We were so thankful to our friend Melissa for suggesting Petra Field Camps to us and we’re sure to return.

It was sweet to celebrate our love and these last 17 years together with our children. When you are a freelance artist and have five children, it’s tough to get away alone (or at all), but we truly enjoyed having our complete family there (we did miss  having our dogs, but Petra doesn’t allow them in the cabin, though they do have a smaller house that is pet-friendly).

Wanted to close out this little series with the hilarious reality of having a feisty toddler.

No, Constance, you can’t color on the cabin floors:


No, Constance, you can’t have marshmallows and chocolate for breakfast:


No, Constance, you don’t play miniature golf by picking up each person’s ball and placing it into the hole:


No, Constance, we can’t stay forever:


Yes, Constance, you are loved and adored a gift to our family.



The hike, the cave, and the brave (independent) girl

After lunch we ventured out on a hike. Constance had the privilege of riding on my back in the Ergo. It was supposed to be a simple hike with waterfalls and a cave amongst the glorious autumn colors.

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But somewhere along the way we got a bit, er, sidetracked. Lost in the woods with a baby on my back is not my idea of fun and relaxation, but nevertheless, grumbling under my breath, I pressed on. Down the steep, leaf-covered trails.

There was a moment when I was too afraid and wanted to turn back (balancing with a baby on my back isn’t the easiest and I’m not the most fit I’ve ever been), but what happened in that moment was so beautiful. I’m still stunned by it.

The tiny one on my back began cheering me on. “You can do it, mama. You can be brave. It’s okay.” Then she yelled out to the waiting others, “Mama’s coming, guys. She can do it.” I just don’t know. Sometimes we need each other.



The guys found the cave and though we missed the waterfall, this was well worth the effort.


I had to let Charlotte go on her own during the hike, my inclination to hold onto her surpassing my ability. Wings spread, she soared.

Mothers and children both grow in the letting go, taking flight.


We loved the river so much we had to return one last time before leaving. So we ventured off a little farther down the way.



This is Emma asking if it’s okay to let Charlotte climb up:


This is Emma telling Charlotte that it’s a big fall and she should let her help her down, and Charlotte refusing that help:


This is Charlotte sitting her independent self down in protest:


Emma climbs down after I tell her to let go. Big sisters have to do this sometimes, too. Charlotte told me later, “I was a little scared when Emma got down and left me up there alone.”


She climbs down. Safely. Stronger.

Because though she is small, she is fierce.




All of life is aflame.


We watch it burn. It warms us. Heals.


He loves to stoke the fire. Drawing out the rushing, burning moments. Wild.


Morning light through the pines. Fresh breath. Life. We breathe it in. All this holiness.


Share a meal and laughter. This is love. This nourishes.


A game of miniature golf among the flaming wild trees.


Reminders of Uganda…dangerously made play-sets,

barefoot babies,


tire swings,


freedom beyond fences.


All this love, this life that surrounds. A gift.


Surprise! A story in pictures.

Saturday was our seventeenth wedding anniversary and we decided to celebrate in style with our five kids at a log cabin in the foothills of the ozark mountains. We surprised the kids with the news this week and they were all like…


But seriously it was awe inspiring and beautiful. We drove to the cabin after lunch and just the views on the drive alone would have been enough. But then this. We arrived just in time for the sun to begin setting on the bluff. So to the bluff we headed.

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Then we hopped, skipped and jumped, errr,  I mean drove to the water. Oh my stars it was gorgeous.

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It is always divine to touch beauty. To be still and know. More from our little get away tomorrow….stay tuned. Or just click the tiny link to follow this blog for updates. Thanks, friends.