I'm a redeemed child of God and the momma to four vivacious daughters. I'm passionate about finding hidden blessings in the trials of life, living it out in an honest and open way, while encouraging those around me to believe in better.


2010 summer in review

As summer comes to a close and the girls prepare to start school this week, I thought I’d share some of the things we’ve been up to the past few weeks.  And please … if you think you lucked out of seeing my thousand-some photos of Ireland … think again my friends!  I will be boring you with those later this week.


We were supposed to go on a camping trip last week, but I begged asked CJ to let us just stay home and chill.  He agreed.

And although we’ve had some activities in these few weeks … we mostly have been pretty chill.  And peaceful.  Exactly the feeling I wanted to get out of this summer.

I’ll start off with mention of a fun afternoon with this sweet friend and her kiddos coming up to visit and swim with us for the day.  And would you believe we didn’t take a single photo!?

And … remember these little guys?  This summer, we turned our garden into a turkey-growing-pen … and then had a turkey-release-party to let them go into the wild.  We live on a lot of acreage and actually have other wild turkeys {naturally} on the property.  Anyway.  That was 3 weeks ago and they still won’t leave.  They sit right outside our windows and doors … I’m certain if we invited them to, they’d gobble strut right in!

Do you remember this post?  Well … we had this event a few weeks ago and it was nothing less than amazing!  I feel truly honored and blessed to have been a part of it.  A Friend in Need is an organization raising money to help an AIDS stricken area in Africa.  There are 63,000 orphans living on a mountain in the Swaziland area.  63,000!

The founders of AFIN used some of their images from Africa showing the poverty and desperation … and next to it was one of my images, contrasting the image from Africa.  It really helped tell the story.  We had an incredible turnout, raised amazing awareness, and were blessed by the funds received.

I can’t wait to see how God uses me next in this ministry … which just may include a photo session in Africa! ;)

Next up … a lemonade stand!  The girls woke up one morning asking if they could have a lemonade stand.  I gotta admit … I was so not in the mood, but agreed anyway!  And as per usual, I’m so glad I did.  The girls “designed” the stand by themselves, complete with a bowl of lemons and flowers.

We live on a pretty busy state road/highway, and it was nearly impossible to get people to stop.  Can I make a plea to y’all?  If you ever see a lemonade stand … please stop!  The girls were waving, hollering, holding up lemons … it broke my heart to see car after car just drive by.  Some would honk, some would wave, but most drove by.

We had maybe 5 people stop … we charged .50/cup … and the girls made 19ish dollars.  Math doesn’t quite compute?  I let them use my change jar to make change … so someone would give them a 5, they’d put it in their profit jar, but take the 4.50 change out of my jar.  Yeah … I’m sweet like that!

But the best part?  The girls donated their profits to this worthy cause!  So proud of them …

We didn’t end up doing too much crafting this summer … but something we did do and are in love with, are these little prayer books.  We had a linkup at MODsquad recently asking our readers how they teach their daughters to pray.  One particular linkup caught my eye and I couldn’t wait to do it with the girls.

I also really liked this post in using the letters of PRAY to help guide the girls as they’re praying.

We still have lots of pages to fill and I think this prayer calendar is the perfect next step for us!  But for now, they filled in some pages with people they want to pray for or requests they have for themselves {ahem … daddy, looks like one of your girls wants a horse!}.  You can download our printout here {sorry, girl colors only}.

I’m also excited to put together my own prayer calendar … I think it’ll really help me combat the weariness I talked about here.

I think one of my highlights of the summer was this s’more fest and outdoor movie night.  Have y’all seen these giant roasting marshmallows?  They’re almost as big as the candy bar!

We were all cuddled in pj’s and blankets, watching the movie … as it got dark and the 4 year old fell asleep in my arms … I couldn’t help but thank God for blessing me.  The smell of Off and smoke in her hair as I gently kissed her head.  The Big Dipper above us … the kindling embers behind us … if that’s not a feeling of peace, I’m not sure what is.

One sad end of our summer, was the loss of our beloved Ariel.  We got her as a fluffy {Newfoundland} pup … Taylor was just 4 year old.  Her breed is known as the “gentle giant” … and that described our Ariel to a tee.

Ariel was the sweetest girl … she loved water, she loved our girls, and she loved her sibling dogs {we have four others}.

She’s been sick the past couple of years and extremely thin.  We just couldn’t keep any weight on her.  We found out this past summer that she had had some kind of parasite in her system, but we never knew about it.  It ended up being something we couldn’t get rid of.  That wasn’t necessarily the cause of her death, but I think it certainly was a factor.  The last couple of weeks Ariel had gotten weaker and weaker.  And the last few days, she could get up anymore or move.  We talked to Taylor and decided it was the best thing to let her go.  It all seemed to happen so quickly.  We decided around 4:00 Friday night and by 5:00, it was done.  We were able to have a vet come to the house … God forbid, but if you ever find yourself in that place, I wouldn’t recommend it any other way.

We fed the girls dinner and turned on TV.  They were occupied, so had no idea what was going on.  We went around to the other side of the house and had Ariel outside.  We prayed over her {at CJ’s urging} and held her as they administered the injection.  Ariel was terrified of storms, and just as she was passing, thunder clapped in the distance {honest}.

We told the girls the next morning and planned to bury her in the yard.  They didn’t want to see it happen, but we all went out and said a prayer at her burial site.

Yesterday morning, I brought the girls into church with me {they’re usually in their own classes} and when a call was made to come up for prayer, the girls wanted to go up and pray for Ariel.  And last night at prayer time, Hunter informed me that we’re going to pray for Ariel every night from now on.

Just another sweet reminder of the power of prayer and faith.  I couldn’t be happier that my girls have that foundation to stand on.

Sweet Ariel … we’ll miss you girl …

{Taylor & Ariel decorating the Christmas tree. Ariel’s wearing a santa hat :: 2008}

{Wynter & Ariel at the swimming pool :: 2007}

{Piper & Ariel at our lake house :: 2007}

I pray you all had a blessed summer … were able to feel some peace … spend some chill time … enjoy family, friends and sun!

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15 Responses to “2010 summer in review”

  1. terry says:

    So sorry to hear about Ariel but the girls have great memories! Glad that you guys had a relaxing summer….seriously where did it go?

  2. Dawn says:

    what a beautiful summer… full of little moments that held you all together :) i’m so sorry about ariel… but if you have to say goodbye, you found a beautiful way to say it. i hope the girls are feeling the peace of it, and not so much of the sorrow.
    you might get to go to africa?! have you been? if not, just know that you will fall in love… and if you have been, well, going back must be a dream come true (at least it will be for me!)
    keep smiling- the week might get crazy!

    ps… i’ll be looking for those marshmallows!

    pps… so sad that your girls had so few customers at their gorgeous lemonade stand! i have heard that lemonade stand advice before, so i always stop. even though the girls at the end of the street are set up monthly!

  3. Granny/Mom says:

    That was a beautiful post and a wonderful tribute to Ariel. You know I am not fond of dogs, but this brought tears to my eyes. She had a wonderful home and will be missed by all.On a brighter note, sounds like your summer was just what the doctor ordered!!!

  4. Amy says:

    Looks like you had an amazing summer. It is always hard to see it end, but now we can move onto making more memories in the fall. Have a great week!

  5. I’m cold hearted and don’t dress up our dog and hope he runs away. But this post made me cry.
    so glad you made such wonderful summer memories!! =) I’m totally inviting myself to the next marshmellow roast! ok – I just want the chocolate!! LOVE!

  6. Did I read that right – you might have a photoshoot opportunity in Africa??!?!?! WOW!! So excited for you :)

    And isn’t it just the sweetest thing to see children pray? So sorry about your dog :(

  7. Marta says:

    So glad you guys had a fantastic summer. It went by so quickly. So cool to see my two friends join to do such good with A Friend In Need. So sorry about Ariel – I still remember when you guys got her. Remember her first birthday party with the dogs ; ) I went from smiles to tears! Ariel was a sweet dog that will be missed!

  8. heather says:

    i don’t know…for a relaxing summer, you sure seemed busy!! :-) love the photos, love that the turkeys won’t leave and love all the wonderful ideas for helping kids with prayer too! praying for peace for the entire family as you say goodbye to an amazing friend.

  9. Abbie says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about Ariel. I got a little teary myself just reading about it!

  10. Jen says:

    ah..what a great summer post! I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of Ariel though :(

    You amaze me and inspire me with all of the awesome and creative (and inspiring) things that you do. Truly!

    p.s. i will never tire of seeing your ireland photos, so bring em’ on! :)

  11. What an amazing-memorable-fantastic-prayerful-wonderous SUMMER!!!!!!!

  12. what a great post. you’ve had a full & wondrous summer. sorry to hear about ariel. ::hugs::

  13. adriana says:

    Great summer! Thanks for sharing the “little prayer book”. What a neat way to help kids learn to pray. My 7 yr old always says she just doesn’t know what to say, so I always end up doing the prayer. Now this will really come handy! ;-)

  14. Emily says:

    Sounds like quite a fun summer! I’m so sorry to hear about your pup.

  15. […] in August, Tracie talked about creating prayer books with her girls. In her post she linked to Jessica at Our Family For His Glory. Jessica has a great […]

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