About the Author

Arianne is a mom of three boys and a baby girl. She lives in Phoenix, AZ, and sifts through the Legos and fluffy cloth diapers hoping to one day catch up on sleep. Her heart is healing and thriving from living life as a mom of kids with autism and...

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  1. Arianne,
    First I love the line, “Some moments are meant to be completely experienced, and not captured.” Put down the smart phone camera and just “be” in the moment! I tell myself that I am taking a “mental snapshot”.

    My children are grown, but some of our favorite family memories took place at my parents’ lake house in WV. We got to experience God’s glorious, relatively untouched beauty at a gorgeous mountain lake that not many had discovered. There was no cell phone reception and no tv and it was glorious. We boated, swam, tubed, fished, wake-boarded during the day and then relaxed with games, puzzles, badminton or croquet and reading in the evenings. We went to sleep to the sound of the crickets and frogs and ate like farmhands.

    These vacations left me thirsting for more. It is interesting that when we get back to basics, it tends to put us more in touch with God and thus leaving us thirsting for more of Him. Thanks for sharing Arianne!
    Blessings,
    Bev

  2. I love how you describe your preteen son as being passionate again on your trip. I get it. Thank you for the hope. Now it’s my job to get my son out there experiencing new things in between the busyness. Always experiencing. Always learning. Thank you.

    • It really amazed me – I had decided to just leave it in God’s hands, but we had become pretty bummed about my son’s over all lackluster attitude about life in general. I thought it was a teen thing – braced myself to endure. But seeing something make him come alive again gave me such hope. Thanks Christan!

  3. I love your family adventure! Our family takes long summer car trips that give lots of together time, laughter and getting to know one another deeply. Memories that I would not trade for the world! My kids are 16 and 13 and have been to 32 and 22 states so far! They are each picking up 4 more in a few weeks while I am picking up 3 new ones. (That will leave me with only 3 more to go before visiting to all 50!)

    • Kim, that’s incredible! What a legacy to leave, and I’m imagining your teens will pass on the same love of adventure to their kiddos too. So fun! Have a great summer. xoxo

  4. Travel is a means of bonding for our family. My husband is a worship pastor and we have services on both Saturday nights and Sundays so getting away is hard for us. So instead of taking small weekend trips, we take one or two vacations a year that allow us to really get away for an entire week. We made a list of places we want to go as a family over the next ten or so years. And we’re checking them off one by one.

    • I love that you guys have made that list – that may seem like a small step, but it’s such a leap of faith to even dream like that. I love hearing how you have worked to carve out space in your lives for that priceless bonding. Thank you for sharing Sara!

    • It has been on our dream list too until we finally were able to get the big family tent a couple months ago (tax refund – hello!). You can do it, don’t give up!

  5. I love this post! Sometimes our family can feel very fractured, everyone going their own way, doing their own thing, running hither and yon (as my mom used to say!). The way you describe your experience is so real and vibrant, as if your family is my own! Thank you for the reminder that families love each other and that there are times when the heartbeat of love is remembered. πŸ™‚

    • That’s exactly it – feeling fractured. And I noticed that the fractured feeling was starting to feel the norm, you know? As if we had forgotten how much better things could be. It is more than just having a great vacation – we had intentional alone time together in the wilderness and saw that we actually like each other and want more of that time. I call it a miracle! Ha!

  6. We go camping too, but in a trailer! πŸ™‚ Our last few tent camping experiences were nothing short of nightmarish. So, the trailer it is.

    We have two little boys who are ALL boy, and it’s the classic stuff that brings out our family heartbeat. Being outside, going to the zoo, taking them to McDonald’s, eating ice cream together, snuggles on the couch, wrestling and tickling on the floor, going to Bass Pro Shops to look at the fish, all of it. I love my crazy little boys.

  7. When our children were small, we went camping every year. It started when we planned to leave our six year stay in Illinois where we had come to go to school. We now had two children, ages 3 and 1(almost), and couldn’t afford hotels, so we camped and pulled our possessions in a trailer. One night in Yellowstone at below thirty weather with a child in each of our sleeping bags let us know we couldn’t manage really cold weather, but we loved it and that set a pattern of family camping for the next 20 years until the kids were all gone to their own families and my husband and I graduated to a trailer. Great times and memories that they still recall at ages 50, 52, and 55!

    • Virginia, your story gave me chills because I can only dream that my children will be in their 50’s remembering the sweet and crazy times we are having right now. And I love that your below 30 weather prompted you to love family camping just like us! Thanks so much for sharing. xoxo

  8. I loved your post today. Our 4 babies are all grown up now, but we have such fond memories of our camping trips when they were young. We had taken a few other vacations (Disneyland) but what they remember are those cray camping trips.

  9. We used to fly all over the world but now we love to cruise and look out into the sea and talk and look into each other’s eyes and smile and love each other. The romantic thing. Life reversing to young teenagers again.

    There is a bonding when you talk and eat and just look out into the sea.

    Family is so important. Marriage is first. Then the kids.

    Of course JESUS is first and foremost. Then the husband.

    πŸ™‚

  10. Princess, that’s a wonderful post. I’m so reminded of our great trips, camping and others, when you were that tween! Such great memories.

  11. Great post. I never camped and it seems that I have an incompleted life story. However, right now, I wish I could pack somethings and my scrapbook and go to the mountains to my friends’ bed and breakfast place, The Lodge in the Pinewoods. Delicious your experience and I envy you. Msybe someday.

  12. This is just so perfect! Thank you for this reminder to live in the moment. I have never been camping before, but it is something I think we need to put on our bucket list! Love you, lady! xo

    • I would love to see how you would do camping – only because I know you’d have the best ideas! love you! xo

  13. Hi,
    14 years ago my husband and were married – second marriage for us both, and 8 months after the wedding we took our new blended family on vacation for two weeks. We drove 1700 miles from Illinois and camped for a week in the mountains of Northern Arizona. Everyone I knew thought we were nuts, but it turned out to be a great way to learn to work together as a family. We’ve gone somewhere out west every year since then and camped in amazing remote places, with whoever was available to go. That first time the children were 7, 9, 13 and 15. Now the oldest two have their own children to tell stories of our adventures in the wilderness. Two years ago our youngest (at 19) asked us to plan our camping vacation to include him! We camped in Colorado, Arizona and Utah National Parks. Last fall our third child (recently married) went with us to the original Arizona mountain spot and was thrilled to be able to share it with her husband, in their wedding-present tent. And the tradition goes on!

    • Patty, that is completely amazing! I especially love your story because I grew up in AZ and camped and still camp in Northern AZ! Soaking in your wonderful story tonight. xoxo

  14. I didn’t enjoy family vacations much growing up. We have taken our four boys backpacking six of the last seven years, and I pray that the memories of the solitude and the presence of God in His creation will be forever positive for them!

    • We plan to start backpacking later this year (with just my husband and I at first) — I can imagine such beauty out there on the trail!

  15. Loved this! My husband and I tease about the picture taking. We are having too much fun in the moments to capture them.

    And isn’t there something special about being in a space largely untouched by human hands?

    There is something spiritual about being in nature. A walk always does me good, but a walk in the woods does me a world of good!

    And we have a hiker princess too. We went for a nature walk yesterday and I couldn’t get her three year old self to trade her sparkly gold party shoes for something more sensible!

    I pray you and your family find this precious time you crave.

  16. Love the pictures you showed us. Your line about β€œSome moments are meant to be completely experienced, and not captured.” Put down the smart phone camera and just β€œbe” in the moment how very true that is!

    My hubby and I rented a cabin at a nearby state park. We enjoyed ourselves. It was just us no TV, cell phones or distractions from the stupid busyness of the world. I long nay yearn for more much more time in the wilderness. I wouldn’t care to be surrounded by just nature and mountains.

    I want to live far out in the country away from city suburbs and all the noise! We crave quiet serenity! Plus being out there makes it easy to sense and feel God. One can easily visualize God and all the beauty He created for us to enjoy!

    Blessings πŸ™‚

  17. I Love your story . When my sons were young we went on a lot of nature walks in Brown County park in Nashville, I nd. We went to other parks in I nd. It was really good being out on the nature walks being close to God and breathing in everything he made and see all the beautiful things God made. We have went on several vacation s. As a family we went to West Virginia, Ky, Canada. PA. Arkansas. We went to Ky and walk through a cave. I got alot of stories to write about.