I have the pleasure of having a front row seat to the building of this beautiful love story.  The kind of love a girl daydreams about in it’s purest, gentlest, and most tender form.
I was wrapping up a game of beach-ball volleyball with my youngest son.  We were having a blast because beach balls can be purposefully served into each others’ face without hurting.  When you’re playing with my particular breed of seven year old boy, the more loud, aggressive and physical, the better.

Little sis was half laughing with us, half reading her book when her Daddy came outside and collapsed on the grass.  Even though he was wiped out at the end of the day from 4:30am wake-up calls and a long day at work, he chose to be present rather then retreat to a quieter, less daddy-hungry place.

My game was ending so I tucked myself out of the way and quietly admired my husband writing a deep love story on the heart of his daughter.  She had enlisted his legs as the perfect chair for her and her book – and their playfulness unfolded from there.

Below is the Daddy + Daughter Eye Candy that I witnessed this day .  .  .  the simplest things and their importance cannot be underestimated . . . like reading, smooching, being silly, laughing and flying with your dad.

Those activities were what could be seen from the outside.  But on the inside, a profound trust and intense love story is being written that can only develop by being present and willing.

Parenting is much more than just preparing your child for their future job.  It’s about teaching them how to love and be loved.

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  • August 26, 2014 - 7:20 pm

    Jenni - Tears!! Beautifully written and beautifully lived!! XxxoooReplyCancel

    • August 27, 2014 - 2:44 pm

      LovelyDuet - Thanks Jenni!!ReplyCancel

  • August 26, 2014 - 7:49 pm

    Bryan - Awesome!!!!!!!’nn n

    Love itReplyCancel

  • September 26, 2014 - 11:58 am

    Christy Hovey - I am beyond in love with all of your photos. You capture life SO WELL!ReplyCancel

 

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Staycations are a mainstay of our summer adventure – part tradition, part necessity.

With several children at different stages of life, a family vacation seemed daunting.  What part of traveling with a one year old, three, seven and nine year old seemed appealing?  The next year isn’t any better.  They’re all one year older and vacationing is none less daunting.  If we wait till the babes grow up to venture out, we miss out on the adventures in the “in between”.

If we minus the wee ones and leave them at home, you’ve got potential for lots of fun but realistically that can’t happen every year or maybe any year at all –  add in mandatory naps, snacks and early bed times and you’ve got the recipe for the vacation from hell if you ask me.

Welcome the Staycation – A budget and kid friendly alternative to the Vacation.  What I love about staying local is the planning is minimal & the load is light.  For thorough planners like myself, the tendency to check and recheck and recheck lists is eliminated because the possibility of forgetting a necessity is eliminated.  No bag packing (except for day trips), no airport delays or packing toys for 5 days, no forgetting favorite blankies & naps are close by when experiencing the crankies.

It’s quite light on the stress register and I LOVE that!!

These are some of the elements we include in our adventures:

1.  I make a schedule, shop for food and collect discounted attraction coupons/deals ahead of time so the ship runs smoothly throughout our time together.  I plan all of our meals and snacks and write them on a 5-day grid along with our activities for the day so I don’t have to think about anything.

2. We play for 5 days, Wednesday thru Sun during the last week in July.  We always use the same week for ease of planning ahead.  Mike takes off of work and puts strict boundaries up about no work interference.

3.  Because we want it to feel special and set-apart, we clear the living room floor and blow up air beds and all sleep in the same room (just like a hotel with terrible mattresses).  If you are use to having younger kids going to bed earlier than the rest of the family, this totally screws that up.

4.  We rarely go out to eat but during staycation, we do the fun things and eat out at the places that are reserved for once a year.  Also, rather than dine in the establishment, we get the food to go so that we are not only in the comfort of our own home, but we aren’t wasting money on restaurant soda & dessert prices when your pantry/fridge is much more economical.

5.  We guard our time together during that 5 days like we are far away.  This is a bonding time for our family and we keep it tight.

6.  This IS a VACATION!!  Ideally, a break from phones, social media and other distractions are encouraged.

7.  Allow for plenty of down time.  We try to sleep in most mornings to account for the late movie nights that tend to occur every evening.

8.  I used to decorate the space we slept in but found that I didn’t want to waste $$ at the dollar store for crepe paper, beads and such.  If you have decorations already, it is a detail the kids LOVE!

9.  I leave mints on pillows every night for the tradition factor.  Little things like this are easy and cheap and something my kids talk about every year.

10.  I take pictures for the memories, but am sure to put that lens away and share in the moments too.

Remember to be flexible.  Sleep schedules will get messed up, every one will probably get cranky eventually and not every one will enjoy every activity.  If you get stressed out, don’t show it – let the children be obliviously unaware and ignore the “less than enthused” teenagers while you’re making those irreplaceable memories together!!  Soon this season of having kids under your roof will end and there will be no memories to look back on if you don’t make them.

 

These two jumped off the top rung of the rope swing together – some of the adults wouldn’t even do it.

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This is the point in every adventure where I tell my husband, “I don’t think our marriage will survive if my children die because of this.”   I have a

high need for safety, he has a high need for adventure.  Meeting in the middle means the kids are having a blast and mom isn’t the fun killer.

 It is definitely easier said then done but life is death without adventure & adventure only comes to those who are willing to be daring & take chances.

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Are you a staycationer or considering going on one?  I’d love to hear about your plans and adventures!

 

Let your life sing!

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  • July 31, 2014 - 7:51 am

    Bryan Byrd - StayCations. How disruptive to most people’s normal American definition of vacation. I love the challenge of being content in this idea.

    Most people travel to Idaho to vacation. Why do we ever have to leave with all this state offers?

    I also enjoy the focus you shared of hunkering down and focusing on the family, creating memories now at home before the time is gone.

    Well done. – BReplyCancel

    • August 27, 2014 - 2:41 pm

      LovelyDuet - Thanks Bryan. Being content is definitely something I think about with Staycations. The American way is to have whatever we want when we want and put it on credit if the budget isn’t available. I don’t want to live like that. Thanks for your perspective!ReplyCancel

I can only speak for myself, but I sure as heck am surprised to be here, celebrating my 20 year anniversary yesterday.

Before ever walking down the aisle, I wanted to make it to forever, but watching the culture of commitment disintegrate so often, I wasn’t sure if we would.

At every super frustrating, I don’t like you anymore, I want to run away from you forever moment (and there have been several in 20 years), the only thing I could ask myself is this: If I throw this all away, then what?  What is the price I’ll have to pay?

Do I want to separate my family, break the hearts of my children, divide all of our collected treasures, see my man with someone else, etc or is it less work and more future reward to work it out?   What does getting through this dark, bitter, sometimes angry & sometimes numb place represent?  It feels like I’ve been here too many times, can this even be solved?

For me, the consequences of leaving were always more costly then the struggle of figuring out our mess. But the reward to digging in and digging deep – and I mean deep – Is the security and intimacy we battled for and won and have today!  We had a 15 ish year issue with the time commitment required by coaching that festered and caused scar tissue around my heart.  I knew my husband was a good-willed man and loved me dearly, and I loved him for all of the reasons that were right in front of my eyes, but each of us having not dealt with this problem was destroying our connection to the point where I felt disconnected and ignored for several years.

When scar tissue gets thick enough, it’s impossible to heal without surgery.  Good things can be happening in your love life, but if scar tissue is too deep, you won’t be able to feel them and growth is impossible.

That’s the thing about pain, it demands to be felt.  Covering it up will only poison your relationship.

I had to learn to feel my painful feelings and deal with them – My marriage and family were worth fighting for.  It was freaking HARD, but the pay-off was immensely greater than the investment!

A friend opened our eyes to this Big Idea:  “We weren’t each others problem, the problem was the problem”.  That little statement slapped us in the face and allowed us to get back on each others’ side and face the problem together, head on.  While in the past, we were face to face battling each other, now we were on the same team – We either both win or both lose.

So, if I could offer you some encouragement today – Fight for each other!  If you are two good willed people, commit to figuring out your junk.  The consequences to giving up are much more painful that the work to find your way back to each others’ hearts.  And if you don’t figure it out, you’ll likely repeat it in the next relationship.

Also, discover what is at the root of your disconnect.  Here were the two major ones for me.  #1 My “Love Language” is Quality Time.  Coaching was a year round thing.  After a 40 hour work week, Mike would be coaching nights and weekends with matches and tournaments throughout.  Summer included wrestling camps, clinics and Freestyle wrestling to dominate his time and attention.  Which lead to the other major root issue I discovered  – #2 The fear of rejection.  The fear of rejection ran deep and was sometimes real, sometimes perceived.  Either way, this discovery was one of the biggest break throughs in my life.

I am thrilled to report that the once thick scar tissue that caused my heart to go numb, is completely gone and we are stronger than we’ve ever been.  All thanks be to our Inspiration, Motivation & Friend, Jesus.

 

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  • June 19, 2014 - 8:14 pm

    Tabitha - That is very deep and very encouraging! Thank you for sharing something so personal, as it resonates with so many, myself included.ReplyCancel

    • June 26, 2014 - 8:09 am

      LovelyDuet - Thank you Tabitha for taking the time to stop by and sharing your thoughts. Marriage is worth the work! LynnReplyCancel

  • June 20, 2014 - 8:35 am

    Bryan - Great depth. Thanks for sharing your personal story and journey. We appreciate it. Articulates feelings only some can express. Encourages others to go there. To go to the pain and invite Christ into the middle of it.ReplyCancel

    • June 26, 2014 - 8:10 am

      LovelyDuet - Thanks Bryan! You and Jenni are such a great support!ReplyCancel

These are magical, frustrating, busy, delightful years – The parenting of Littles that is.

This season is so very short. It feels like they go from eight years old to fourteen years old in a matter of minutes.

I think one of the reasons I’m compelled to capture so many seemingly unimportant moments is because it’s these little details that make up my life.  I don’t want to remember just the big events, I want to remember our every day life.  When time has stolen the details from my memory, the images will bring back the emotions.

Isn’t it said that “Life Is In the Details”?

Some day when Mike and I are old, plopped in front of the tube with our TV trays and microwave meals {I’m retiring from cooking when the kids move out}, he’ll be re-watching wrestling videos and I will be reminiscing, slobbering, laughing and re-living all of these seemingly unimportant, important moments.

Little things like children climbing on our beds each morning for a good, strong . . .

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Then, trying to act tough as she proclaims in her most confident voice, “I’m not going to school today.”  Quickly she sees our B.S. meter is rapidly beeping and the tough-face cracks into a  . . .

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Then, the inevitable parting of ways comes when Daddy has to leave for work.  We give and get kisses until evening time comes when the garage door opens and we run to collect more!

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Some day, I will be incredibly grateful for these seemingly normal, routine occurrences.  Take my word for it, you will be too.  Collect your little moments now so that later, you can celebrate them all over again.  Maybe we can share porches and swoon over our memories together.

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Here are some photo ideas you may not have thought to add to your collection:

  • Your daily routines {breakfast, dinner, bathing the children, bedtime, book reading, doing the kids’ hair, etc}.
  • Driving kids to activities
  • Piles of books, shoes, laundry
  • How your house is currently styled
  • Your house exterior and yard
  • Toys
  • Relationships, pet relationships, friendships
  • Places you frequent
  • How you organize or disorganize:)
  • Silly personalities and quirks
  • Favorite spaces
  • Kids’ room {they will LOVE to see it 20 years from now}

** Make sure to hand the camera off or set up the timer so that you are in lots of photos too!

 

Let Your Life Sing!

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  • May 30, 2014 - 2:43 pm

    Jenni - This might be my most favorite post yet!! Thanks for the get snappin’ ideas.
    XoReplyCancel

    • May 30, 2014 - 6:47 pm

      LovelyDuet - Can’t wait to see what you capture Jenni!ReplyCancel

  • May 30, 2014 - 6:08 pm

    Mike Briggs - This post blessed my heart! I Love and Adore you Lynn!ReplyCancel

    • May 30, 2014 - 6:48 pm

      LovelyDuet - The kissy pic is my fav – She will love that pic when she’s older!ReplyCancel

  • June 12, 2014 - 8:35 pm

    Bryan Byrd - LOVE this Blog!!!!

    Gotch your priorities in the right order! Love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!ReplyCancel

    • June 18, 2014 - 10:38 am

      LovelyDuet - Thanks Mr. Byrd! Come by anytime.ReplyCancel

We celebrated Mike’s 43rd birthday with a trip over the river and through the woods to the beautiful mountains.

We fished, hiked, made smores, skinned up our knees, got dirty and enjoyed the gorgeous weather! And Bob Marley is always requested on the way up – he’s our soundtrack of choice for road trips.

Our puppy was just 10 weeks old on this adventure – her nose couldn’t sniff fast enough to take in all of the new scents.

Even though it is a lot of work to plan, prepare and pack for a long weekend out of town, the experience and the memories are priceless.

Happy Birthday Honey, you are a Diamond in the rough!

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