Posts in Our Story
An Afternoon Together

I've written about it a few times, so it's probably no surprise to you that our family enjoys a little adventure.  It's not all that uncommon for us to tell our four children to load up in the car, "we're going on an adventure." 

The best thing about an adventure is that sometimes it's a road trip up north, sometimes a weekend at an outdoor music festival, and sometimes it's an afternoon spent not that far from home.  This is one of those.

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Last week, our kiddos had a half day of school their first day, which means we had time for a half day of adventure!  You can't travel super far in a half day, but fortunately, there's plenty of great places around here to explore and create memories with our little people (which is really what it's all about).  The best part is - as you can see - all we packed were their personalities!

We decided to head over to the campus of Michigan State University, and start with some of the best ice cream you've ever had at the MSU Dairy Store!

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MSU also happens to have some of the best places to explore, including the Michigan 4-H Children's Garden.  You could spend an entire afternoon here.  Trust me, we did!

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There are a lot of ways to create memories and share an adventure, and most of them don't require a lot of money, planning, or travel.  In fact, the most important ingredient in a family adventure is time.  Together.  

We know very well that there'll be day that will come far too soon, and these four little people will be off on their own adventures.  We'll be thrilled for them, of course, but for now, we're so thankful to get to share as many adventures as we can!

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The memories we make
with our families is everything
— CANDACE CAMERON BURE

Family Adventure

We are all about adventure in our family.  Why else would anyone take 4 children to a park with 16,000 of their friends, in 85+ degree weather, to sit in the sun for 4 days and listen to loud music?  As our kiddos get older, and especially as the summer winds down to an end, there are less and less opportunities to make memories together, so we definitely take advantage of every chance we get.  So, we took one last summer trip last week to the Unity Music Festival in Muskegon, MI, and had a blast.  I'll just let a few photos from our weekend tell the story!

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We're blessed that our kiddos are always up for an adventure, whether it's a road trip up north, a camping trip near the Mackinaw Bridge, or a 4 day outdoor Christian music festival.  The best part is, nothing creates family memories like a little family adventure.  And it's memories that we pray our kiddos will take with them as they grow become young adults in the next few years. 

How about you - what does your family do for adventure?  We'd love to hear about it!

 

 

 
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A Family is a group of
people bound together by love
and a little bit of adventure

Our Happy Place: Up North // Northern Michigan

One of the things we love about living in Michigan is that it is home to this magical place known to us Michiganders as “up north.” It’s home to what Country Living calls “the most beautiful island in America,”Mackinac Island, and what Good Morning America called “the Most Beautiful Place in America,” Sleeping Bear Dunes.  We’ve been blessed to travel to a lot of pretty amazing places, but honestly, there’s really no place like up north.  

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I get that if you’re not from Michigan you probably doubt that there’s anything all that more special about this mythical place than anywhere else, but I promise - there is something about the combination of the water, beaches, beautiful small towns, and the outdoors that just recharges your soul.

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There are a lot of beautiful places to visit up north - a few of our favorites are Mackinac Island, Traverse City/Leland, and Petoskey.  In fact, we just returned from a week in Mackinaw City (yes, they are spelled differently), and are headed back “up north” to Petoskey in a few days.  We’ll be camping, and I’m already looking forward to the fresh air, and of course - Lake Michigan. 

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Our kids absolutely love camping (or RV-ing technically), and I have to admit, it doesn't get much better than sitting around a fire together, making s'mores and watching the sunset!  If you've never been "Up North," put it on your bucket list.  It's one of those places that doesn't disappoint, and I promise it's worth it!

Have you been Up North lately?  What’s your favorite Up North place? 

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See all that, talk about the beauty of
the Bay of Naples! I’ve seen them both,
and no place is more beautiful than
Little Traverse in its autumn colors.
— Ernest Hemingway, at Little Traverse Bay

We Love The Fourth Of July!
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The 4th of July has always been a big deal around here.  There are a lot of reasons why - we love a good barbecue, we love having family & friends over, and we love the fireworks. The 4th is always a celebration and a lot of fun, but the biggest reason is that it’s the day we got engaged.  July 4, 2007 was a pretty big deal in our family.  

That day was the day that we became “us.”  

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In fact, that’s the spot. 

It was eleven years ago - and Beth and I had driven down to Monterey, CA to have a picnic and watch the fireworks.  Every few minutes, I'd stick my hand in my pocket and make sure it was still there.

The ring.

I had been carrying it around in my pocket all day, and never before had I been more nervous about losing anything.  After lunch, we went for a walk along the boardwalk, and I was so scared I couldn't even hold her hand.  I needed to be able to continuously check my pocket.  I needed to be sure that it was still there.  Afterall, it had arrived just the day before - a few hours before Beth arrived from Michigan.  It had been flown in just for this occasion, and there was no way I was going to lose it.

I wanted to give it to Beth more than I've wanted anything... ever.  But I needed the perfect setting - the perfect moment.  Of course, the longer I waited for the perfect moment, and the longer I looked for the perfect spot, the more I worried about checking my pocket. 

Then we found this bench.

I probably made up something lame like - let's just sit here for a few minutes.  I had this whole "speech" planned, and as soon as we sat down, I forgot every word.  Instead, I reached in my pocket, and pulled out Beth's ring.  

I don't remember much of what happened next.  I don’t even remember what I said. Something happens to a boy sitting on a bench with a beautiful girl and a ring in his pocket. He loses all sense of composure and the world around begins to spin just a little faster as he realizes his life is about to change - exponentially for the better 

I don’t remember much except I'm pretty sure I asked my best friend to marry me.

"Yes, of course yes, YES!"  Those were her exact words.  Sitting there on that bench, she said yes.  Sitting there on that bench, eleven years ago, I asked my best friend to be my best friend forever, and she said yes.  

Just another reason I love the 4th of July.

- Jason

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In the truest sense,
freedom cannot be bestowed;
it must be achieved.
— President Franklin Delano Roosevelt