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Glamping at Lake Lanier

They brought baked beans.
They remembered worms.
They didn’t forget fishing poles.
The crammed all the condiments.
They filled the truck with fire wood.


And what my parents didn’t bring was supplied by the gorgeous glamping site they reserved on Lake Lanier!

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Blakely’s Baptism

The world teaches kids to celebrate sports, grades, trendy dances and every other fleeting distraction.

So, needless to say, I was THRILLED to be invited to document one of the ONLY decisions that will actually last!

Blakely was joined with friends and family as she made a public declaration that she devoted her life to Christ! Is anything more praise-worthy than THAT milestone?!?! There certainly isn’t!

Congratulations, Blakely! I share your mom’s prayer for you:

“Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is.”

Romans 12:2


“Don’t be conformed to the patternsof this world, but be transformed bythe renewing of your minds so thatyou can figure out what God’s will is.“
Romans 12:2




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Hailey

When my family walked into Calvary Chapel, the Smiths were the first ones who surrounded us with love.

When doubts and fears were flooding my mind about unenrolling the kids from public school, the Smiths helped us to see the joy, beauty, simplicity and GIFT of HOMESCHOOLING!

Whether through Contra, homeschool groups or (my PERSONAL FAVORITE) lessons with Epic First Dance, DANCING has been another amazing gift the Smiths have extended to my family!

All of these wonderful things would have been enough, but the girls and I also had the gift of shadowing Hailey on a beautiful, spring, GARDEN DAY! Hailey is not only an incredibly talented and gifted HARPIST, she is also very passionate about gardening, planting and sustainability.

We picked Spiderwort flowers to bring home, found African Violets for our tea, enjoyed delicious grilled cheese sandwiches, dried (and learned the health benefits of) red raspberry leaves and planted lots of green beans! It was definitely one of my FAVORITE homeschooling days!

Most of the day was spent working the land in old clothes, but, just for icing-on-the-cake, Hailey wore her mid-1800’s working dress for a few memories!

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Homeschooling Fun

Looking back, I wasted so much of my summer worrying about my upcoming plan to homeschool. Top on my ‘Unnecessary Worry List’ was the curriculum. Thankfully, in addition to having a wonderful family guide and supply me with the perfect (engaging and Biblical worldview) books, they encouraged me to allow each child to follow his/her own interests. What a concept, right?

When we began our study on animals, I challenged Ruthie to learn all about an animal of HER choice and TEACH US! She spent the next two weeks researching horses, jotting down notes and practicing her presentation. She invited the family over to my friend’s farm and did an EXCELLENT job presenting lots interesting facts on Zaida, the sweetest horse model!

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MEMORIES/gifts 7.0

Back in 2015, Matthew had an idea. Instead of FILLING UP OUR HOUSE EVEN MORE WITH ITEMS NONE OF US TRULY NEEDED ‘buying gifts,’ we should take a TRIP and create family MEMORIES instead!

Since we’ve never taught the kids to believe in Santa, we were able to simply explain this idea to them. Although they were only 9, 7 and 2 years old, they all, surprisingly, were on board!

Over the years, we’ve done a wide-variety of trips. Some have been short and sweet (and cheap). While some years, we’ve spent a little extra money and time. Drive or fly, land or sea, they have ALL combined to equal our FAVORITE-FAMILY-TRADITION!

Wanna’ know what inspired THIS year’s trip?!?

Discovering the people, food and culture of an exotic location?
Checking another National Park off our list?
Wild pigs swimming in turquoise water?

NOPE!

Matthew got a call from Hilton wanting us to sit through a timeshare presentation in exchange for 4-nights in Orlando at one of their nice resorts. Sooo, that made this year’s decision pretty easy!

The kids & Matthew loved Universal’s Islands of Adventure!


Personally, my favorite part was Ruthie and I SNEAKING INTO ‘allowing ourselves unapproved access’ into a national championship DOG SHOW!

Across the street from our hotel, were HUNDREDS (if not in the THOUSANDS) of the best dogs in the United States! Although the preliminary competitions were not open to the public, if you know me and Ruthie, you already KNOW what happened when we drove by and saw dogs leaving and entering a side-door for potty breaks.

Without thinking through it, we got Matthew to just let us out of the car. We ran; but, quickly decided we’d better act cool and just act like we knew what we were doing.

My family and I love to reminise with photo books and videos. So, I try to put together our favorite memories from each Christmas trip. Plus, focusing on the highlights helps you remember the BEST parts (perhaps, forgetting the fact that Ruthie had to sleep on the hotel floor using couch cushions as her bed)!

Here’s our latest video from Orlando:

If you think you’d like to try a TRIPS over GIFTS too, my best advice is:

* Make sure everyone’s on board… especially the kids!

* Stick to the plan (to avoid bankrupt and confusion) by actually NOT buying gifts. If you can’t fathom the idea, just STOCKINGS (with cheaper items) are a great option.

* Lastly, unless you all delight in buying things, consider cutting-back or giving experiences to other’s as well!

Here’s our other years!
2015: Pagosa Springs, CO (video: HERE)
2016: Cruise
2017: New Mexico
2018: Cruise
2019: Cruise
2020: Surprise Arkansas Visit + Short Time in Colorado (aka: SO.MUCH.TIME in the car!)
2021: Orlando, FL





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Nathan & Charity

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights”
-James 1:17

Praise the Lord for…
Godly couples,
chasing sunsets,
chocolate turtles in downtown Helen,
garlic bread and pizza with wonderful friends,
learning Contra dancing as a family,

and, mostly, NATHAN & CHARITY’s ENGAGEMENT!

What a GREAT night celebrating all the wonderful gifts from God!

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Sean, Christine, Cianna & Anjolie

It’s been so fun taking pictures for the Tangs over the years! Whether it’s beautiful birthday parties or Lifestyle Sessions in jammies, it’s always great to see their girls growing-up! Here’s a few from my last session of the season…

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