Last week I kissed my cherished grandpa’s cheek goodbye one last time. On the eve of the election, my grandpa was welcomed into heaven. I spent last week surrounded by family and reeling from a loss that we all so deeply feel.

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grandpaunderthesycamore11-16-16Over the years, you have loved my grandpa too. With each post about him you have shared stories of your grandparents and you have complimented mine. We celebrated my grandpa’s life formally with others on Friday. My sister and I wrote a letter that Corbett (my oldest) read to those in attendance. I wanted to share it here today – a chance to brag a little more on my grandpa. He was always bragging on me.

flourish

“P.S. She is still beautiful.” Those are the words Grandpa ended his written life story with – the one we asked him to write because we wanted a record of all the stories he shared with us over the years. It is fitting that he would end with words about the love of his life – our amazing grandma. As we look back at pictures over the years, goodness did those two love to kiss!

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Grandpa could never understand why we would want him to write down his life story. It just didn’t make any sense to him and in the process he often told us he didn’t have anything noteworthy to write about. He would tell you that Ashley bossed him into writing it, but that he felt honored just the same. grandpaunderthesycamore11-16-09

He could never see what the rest of us saw – an incredible man whose life touched each person he came in contact with. Grandpa taught us what humility, gentleness, kindness and honor look like. He was a great teacher and an even better listener. There was a never a story too boring or uninteresting enough to gain his full attention.

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When Grandpa looked at us – it always felt like he saw us the way Jesus does. He would always smile, rest his hand on our shoulders and make the biggest celebration of the smallest things we did. We grew up with a living example of unconditional love – it came covered in sawdust and wearing overalls.

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grandpaunderthesycamore11-16-14grandpaunderthesycamore11-16-15In June, Ashley asked grandpa if he would give her 3 boys woodworking lessons. He agreed, but being a humble man, he added that he didn’t have that much he could teach. When the boys showed up for the first lesson, Grandpa had building kits for each of them and a lesson plan written out. He told Ashley he probably only had enough information to teach 2 or 3 lessons. Those 2 or 3 lessons turned into several months and only ended when Grandpa could no longer be in his workshop. His final days covered in sawdust were spent with his great grandsons passing down lessons that go far beyond wood and hammers.

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A couple weeks ago Grandpa shared with us some frustrations he was feeling and said he needed to calm down about it because he didn’t want to lose control. We might have laughed a little as we told him in all our years we had never seen him lose control. In that moment he began sharing how his mom never expressed anger, even when disciplining him. Her life made a profound impact on him and we told him that he must be a lot like his mom. His life has always made a profound impact on ours and the lessons he taught us we think about daily. Just last week, he talked with us about trusting Jesus more and more each day.

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grandpaunderthesycamore11-16-18A picture of humility, he couldn’t imagine that he had much of teaching value to share with us, our cousins or his many great grandkids. When we would tell him things we learned from him, he would respond in shock, “You learned that from me?!” He lived a quiet life, worked with his hands and consistently sought to know and trust God. And goodness was he smitten with grandma. He might have been our biggest fan, but his whole heart belonged to his Joyce. You rarely saw one without the other….like the coffee and donuts they shared, Grandpa and Grandma just go together.

grandpaunderthesycamore11-16-17grandpaunderthesycamore11-16-07Grandpa finished writing his life story with these words, “This may be the end of reviewing facts about my life to date but not the end of life – there is eternity. P.S. She is still beautiful.”grandpaunderthesycamore11-16-19Goodness will he be missed this side of heaven. For those interested, here are a few older posts about my sweet grandpa:

 

 

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  • Heather - I’m so sorry for your loss Ashley. May God bring your family peace and comfort knowing you will be reunited one day in Heaven. What a special man!

  • Southern Gal - As I sit and read your words about your sweet Grandpa, I am fighting back tears and that makes my throat hurt. Whew. What a beautiful example he lived for his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. But that legacy of a lifelong love has got to be the best. Thank you for sharing your Grandpa with us through the years. I feel as if I know him in a tiny way. And even that little bit has me missing him, too. Still praying and thinking of you and your whole family. There is hope in Jesus and eternity. Hugs.

  • Oceana | Maps + Mandalas - These are beautiful words Ashley, they make me think about my own grandparents and how lucky I was to know some of them as our lifetimes crossed each other. I’m glad to hear that you were able to convince your grandpa to write some of his story down. My family were able to encourage my Opa (grandpa) to do the same thing before he passed several years ago. We still get together and read those words. They reach down generations.
    Sending strength to you and your family.

  • AmyK - My heart is so sad for you.
    What a special man– thank you for sharing him with us over the years.

  • Dani M. - I’m all choked up – thank you, Ashley, for sharing your family with the internet world. I feel blessed to have just read about your grandpa. I’m so sorry that you’ll be without him, but what sweetness that we have the hope of heaven!

  • Kristin - What a lovely tribute to a wonderful man. I am sorry for your loss, and am so glad that you and your children spent so much good time with him. Prayers especially for your grandma.

  • Dawn Ritchie - I was so sorry to read the posts on IG last week about his passing. It’s so obvious he was a good man and very loved. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  • Melanie - Ashley… such beautiful words about your grandpa. I’m crying while reading this. He must have been a very special man. Through your many blogposts I feel like I know him. I’m so sorry for your loss, but also that you had such a awesome grandpa. I hope your grandma is well.

  • Avenlea Bixby - I am so sorry for your loss, Ashley! I will be praying for you and your family.

  • Kathy - I am so sorry for your loss. There is nothing like a grandfather’s love for his grandchildren. His legacy lives on in your life and the lives of your children; what a gift you gave your children, all the hours spent with their loving great-grandparents! May the love of family and friends, and all of your cherished memories sustain you through your grief.

  • Kristin S - Oh, Ashley! This post alone needs to be a memory book.

    I love how he kissed his love. I mean, whew!

    That picture of you guys as littles…. it’s crazy that it’s so clear who you and Lesley are with no doubt. You both have little doppelgänger daughters. How fun to look at photos!

    My last biological grandparent passed away over 20 years ago (I’m 45). I can’t imagine the gift of having grandparents as adults and the memories your children will have.

    I love this post so much.

    Don’t ever stop Friday donuts.

  • Cathy - Ashley,
    I am so sorry for your loss. You have captured so many beautiful memories in your photos, they tell the story of a kind and gentle man.
    Thank you for sharing his story.
    Cathy

  • Beth - I’m so very sorry for your loss. I have loved reading about your grandfather over the years. This post make me cry big tears. Your stories about your grandparents have always reminded me of mine. Those of us that get to have our grandparents in our lives so much are truly blessed. Love and hugs to you and your family.

  • Alicia - I am so sorry for your loss. I’ve been reading your blog for years now and it was always plain to see that he was something special. I stopped on my way home Friday and had a donut in his honor. Thank you for sharing him with us!

  • P Koziol - Amazing tribute to your grandfather—and entire family as all of you seem to honor the legacy he passed on to you.
    P.S. I see Corbett in that first picture.

  • Callie - So sorry for your loss. What an incredibly beautiful life and legacy. Those photos are such a treasure.

  • Caitlin E - What a beautiful tribute. Thank you for sharing his life and legacy with us. Also #marriagoals !!

  • Karen - So sorry for your loss … I’m a long-time reader but rarely post; I will certainly miss your Grandpa stories.

  • Tracy R. - What a beautiful man! It is an honor to get to know him thru your posts. Prayers to your family. I have to say, when I scrolled and saw the pics of your grandpa as a younger man, I instantly saw your oldest son! What a beautiful legacy he has left!

  • MrsB - My God, he was soooo handsome.

  • Debbie C - I’m so sorry to hear about your grandfather. What an amazing man! Grandpas like him are rare, and I’m so glad your kids got to spend precious time learning from him in his last months. The fact that he and his mother did not get angry with their children just humbles me and blows me away. Thank you for sharing his life with us.

  • Miranda - I have been reading your blog for around 5 years. The posts of your Grandpa have always warmed my heart. I am so sorry to hear of your loss, but I know that he is so happy looking down on you all. Your words were so beautiful. Your post made me cry. I am so happy that your children were able to share their life with such an amazing man. I’m sending love and prayers to you all!

  • MC - So sorry for your loss. I never met my grandfathers, you are all so lucky to have had him.
    I think your oldest looks like him a lot.

  • Arlene - Ashley, thanks so much for sharing about your kind, amazing and role-model grandpa. “Every good and perfect gift is from above,” says James, and your grandpa certainly proved that to be true to your family, and to those of us who have gotten a glimpse of him via your blog. I am praying for you all as you continue to celebrate his life, his Home-going, and grieve your loss.

  • Linda - This is so sweet! Thanks for sharing your grandpa with us!

  • Dena - Praying for God’s comfort to envelope you like a hug at this sad time. How luck you were to have your grandpa for so long and what a wonderful legacy he has left in you and your children!

  • Tammy - I’m so sorry for the loss of this wonderful man….. I feel like I knew him, too. His goodness and love just jumped right off the page and into my heart. His memory will be a blessing.

  • windie d - a lovely tribute to an amazing man. thank you for sharing this! thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

  • Rae - The most beautiful post and tribute to a wonderful man. I always admired how close your family was, especially with their grandparents/great-grandparents, and how loving they were to their grandchildren.
    It truly is a blessing to have grandparents. God bless him and may he rest in peace. xoxo

  • Lacey - Ashley, my heart breaks for you and your family … literally, I’m sitting here in tears because over the years of your shares including your grandfather, he has had SUCH an impact. Your images capture such a pure, clear essence of the man he was and the love he had for all of you. I praise the Lord, though, for the celebration that was when he entered the gates of Heaven. What a joyful moment that must have been! I am sure he heard, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” and what could be better? <3 Blessings to your family and to your dear grandmother. <3

  • Cassandra Heck - Goodness, I just love this! Both of my grandpa’s are still living, in their 90s, and I cherish the time I can spend with them. As you talked about writing your grandpa’s story I can picture both of my grandfathers saying/doing the same thing. Great men!!

  • Elizabeth - So sorry for the loss of your precious Grandpa. We’ve loved getting to “meet” him through your blog!

  • Sadie - Goodness. I am sitting here at work trying my best to keep these tears from falling. I don’t know your Grandpa personally, but I can tell from your precious words what an amazing man he was. Those photos are so precious.
    I didn’t have a good grandfather. Mine never really cared to develop a relationship with me. However, once I married my husband, I found out what a true grandpa is like. My husband’s Grandad is a one of a kind, just like yours. This post really made me think about in the 13 short years I have known him, how much of an impact he has made on me and how hard it will be to watch him go. But just like your Grandpa, he will be in heaven with his beautiful wife. God bless you and your family Ashley. Grandpa’s make such a huge impact in people’s lives and they should never be taken for granted. Your kids will carry his memories forever and share them with their kids and it will inspire them to be just like him. (((HUGS)))

  • Aubrey - I’m so sorry for your loss. I so enjoyed reading the posts about your Grandpa; he was so much like mine. Can’t wait to see them in Heaven someday!

  • jenn - I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. Thinking of you all.

  • Carrie - This is such a special tribute, and I am so sorry for your loss Ashley. This world needs kind, humble men of honor. What a gift he was to you and your family.

  • Angie Webb - Tears are streaming down my face. What an amazing man and incredible testament to love and faith. You were blessed to have him as he was blessed to be loved by so many. Revelation 21:4

  • Sara S. - What a beautiful post – it brought tears to my eyes. So sorry for your loss, Ashley.

  • Kaylee Coles - I cried reading this. Your grandpa sounds like such an amazing man! Both of my grandfathers had passed by the time I was 24 and I so wish I’d had them write their life stories like your grandpa did. Isn’t it wonderful that death isn’t the end?

  • Diana - I loved this, what beautiful and lovely words for your beloved Grandpa. I could relate to this so much, my own Grandpa died last spring, at the age of 90. His retirement hobby was woodworking and every time I visited he’d show me what he was working on in his shop. When my Grandma died 2 1/2 years before him, I was at her viewing talking with him when he took me to the casket and said “She’s still as beautiful as the day I met her.”. What a wonderful blessing to grow up with that example of love. Keeping your family in my prayers.

  • Kari - I don’t have fancy words, but man am I sorry you lost your grandpa. My prayers are with you and your family right now.

  • Stephanie - I’m so sorry for your loss. Prayers for your family from afar.

  • amber - Rejoicing for your grandpa! But my heart is sad for al of you left behind. I lost the last of my precious grandparents one year ago. A day rarely goes by that I don’t think about them. There’s just nothing like grandparents who love well. Prayers for all of you. Thank you, thank you for sharing him with us. What a tremendous man!

  • Maggie McKenney - This was beautifully said:) tears…. happy ones. thx

  • Cindy Brown - I am so sincerely sorry for the loss of this wonderful man. I know that all of these memories will grow more precious with each passing day.

  • Lynn - Thank you for sharing your Grandpa and your beautiful stories of him with all of your readers. You could see the love he had for his family through the pictures you have shared.
    Take care.

  • Bea - Beautiful words of thanks for a beautiful person. Reading this inspired me to think about how I am with my own kids, and how I might be more patient. His wonderful and generous gifts will continue to pass down through each generation in your family. My thoughts are with you, and especially your grandma as you process him not being with you any more. Much love to you all.

  • Lauren - I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m tearing up reading this. What a special person he was. I have a lot to learn from him (and you!).

  • Rebekah - What a wonderful Godly-man you had as an example, a friend, and a supporter in your life. So wonderful that your kids got to know him too.
    It brought tears to my eyes. Made me miss my grandpa. Made me sad that my kids never got the chance to meet him.
    I hope you treasure the memories, celebrate his life, and his love for Jesus.
    Give your grandma some extra hugs. I’m sure 68 years were not enough with her love. (Crying again.)

  • Jenny B. - What a wonderful tribute to such a wonderful man. I don’t know how you managed to put all these photos together and to write so clearly about him. I am a mess after reading it, and I never even met him. I am often amazed at your family and the legacy they have left you, and that you are passing on to your kids. You are so blessed.

    Thinking about you and your grandparents this week has helped me encourage my husband to take us all to visit his grandparents next week for Thanksgiving. They always have a huge gathering of their kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids, and we all cram into their small East Texas farmhouse. It’s nice to see them all, but it can also feel overwhelming. It’s a long drive. It’s hot. It’s crowded. It’s loud. Both of us are introverts, and we honestly never really WANT to go. There have been several years when we haven’t gone. This year, though, it feels more important to go. Like, if we don’t go, we may not get another chance. I don’t know what the future holds, but I know I don’t want to miss seeing them. Your posts this past week have helped me realize that. Thank you.

  • Sue - Beautiful, beautiful photos and heartfelt words..?? From the first picture I see your grandpa in your son Corbett. ?

  • Sue - Sorry, don’t know why it posted with ‘?’ ??

  • Carrie Rowe - Totally crying. What a special man and amazing legacy. Praying for your sweet family.

  • Byron - God bless you and your family! He will hold your grandfather in His hands until you see him again. Blessings, my friends!

  • Byron - Perhaps someone else has already pointed this out (I didn’t read every comment), but is that a little Ashley in the middle of the fourth photo down? That face is unmistakable, I think!

  • Momma Bug - Ashley, I sorrow with you in your loss. Your post was a tear-jerker for me today. Heaven feels just a little too far away, but oh so much dearer for the joy of spending all the rest of the days of forever with our precious Grampas (and each beloved one we miss from life here)!

    I am inspired by his testimony, and touched by all the beautiful moments you’ve captured with your camera lense.

    Love,
    Analene

  • Marcella Ouzts - Prayers to you and your family on the loss of your special man, your grandpa. You were so blessed to have him in your life for such a long time, I know the void will be hard to manage now that he is gone. You have such treasured memories with him.
    Thanks for sharing him with us, the people of the internet, who care for you and knew him through you.

  • Natasha - I am so sorry for your loss. What a wonderful grandpa! I sit here crying, as I lost both my grandparents last month. They were the most wonderful grandma and grandpa ever. They passed just 2 weeks apart. They were deeply in love, just like your grandparents. May God comfort you and fill you with peace & hope!?

  • AshleyAnn - Jenny – thank you for sharing that with me…it means a great deal to me 🙂

  • Emily Betzler - Ashley (and family) – I’m so sorry for your loss, what a treasure he appears to be! It is so clear that all the love he poured into you, you’ve poured back into your family and social media world – what a gift for all of us!!

  • Erin - Ashley this is such a beautiful, loving tribute to your grandfather! I loved seeing the donut date and wood working photos of him and your kids! What incredible memories you all have. He sounds like the best grandfather one could hope for! While I know you’re all hurting I know you must feel incredibly blessed to have known and loved such a loving man! My sincere condolences to your sweet family! ??

  • Alicia - Over the years your little stories about your grandfather reminded me so much of my own. Unfortunately, we lost him 12 years ago when I was just 20 years old but my memories of him haven’t faded. It has been a joy to read about your grandfather and see not only the love he obviously had for his family but how much he was cherished.

    Many condolences for your loss. I know how great a void a loss like this leave behind but there is still so much to remember and cherish.

  • Renata - Beautiful tribute. Tears from California. <3

  • Jennifer - Ashley I’m so sorry for your loss but soooo thankful for the Joy ahead of you being able to see both grandparents!!! (((hugs)))

  • Tiffany Nelson - 90 years is quite the feat. You’ve shared with your readers some great memories, I can’t even imagine how many more you have inside. Take pleasure in them, I sure hope they get you through this difficult time. So sorry for your loss.

  • Lynn - So very sorry for your families loss.

  • Nori - I am so sorry for your loss. I’m in the middle of an airport catching up on your blog and shedding tears. God bless you and your family, especially your grandma. My 94 year old grandma lost her beloved over 10 years ago and she misses him deeply. She still talks about road trips and how much he made her laugh. What a blessing it is to have that example of lasting, enduring, beautiful love. You are all in my prayers.

    Your post makes this hymn run through my head… “when we all get to heaven what a day of rejoicing it will be!”

  • Alisa - Thank you for sharing this with us. I’ve always loved these posts about your grandparents. What special people they are! Praying for your grandmother especially as she has to adjust to a new and unwanted normal.

  • julie quirke - What a wonderful post about your beautiful grandfather.

  • Elizabeth R. - It’s been a joy to get to know more about your amazing grandfather. What a godly man he was and what a great example for your family. May the Lord comfort and uphold you, your kids, and your beautiful grandma in the days to come. I’ll be praying for y’all – that His sustaining love would make itself very real to you in the struggle of just living day-to-day. I lost a 19-year-old friend of mine this summer, and it was so hard at first to remember that God knew that his days were full, and that he was not lost at all – in fact, he’d been promoted. Your grandpa, too, is in perfect joy in Heaven now, and it is a great blessing that he left behind such a wonderful legacy. Keep praying. Keep trusting. Healing will come in spite of the brokenness of this world. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Seamingly Sarah - I’m so sorry for you loss. What a wonderful way to honor him though, by bragging on him. He was a winner in life and it seems all he touched were winners too. =)

  • Brenda - My heart goes our to you and your family. He was an amazing man and I know he’s leaving behind a big hole.

    I also want to thank you for sharing him with us, your readers. It’s always wonderful to see amazing, loving people and their impact on the world. I am grateful to have been welcomed in and shared in his joy.

  • Elise - I am so so so very sorry for your loss! I loved seeing pictures of him, and seeing his love come through the pictures. God bless you and your family!!!

  • Tracie M. - Thank you for sharing such beautiful stories of this man and his legacy. It’s amazing the things that are passed on, even when we don’t believe we have that much to share. Your children were incredibly blessed to be able to know him. What a precious gift.

  • Kate - I’m so sorry for your loss. I’ve loved getting to know your Grandparents through your photos and writing. I hope happy memories are helping you through tough days.

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Dearest Ashley, You’ve been on my mind and my heart as this past week has passed. I’m praying for you and your family. I’m so thankful for Heaven. What a blessing that we will shout with joy, our victory over death.

  • Mary Osborne - Oh Ashley, I am so sorry for your loss …. as I sit here reading about your grandfather, I have tears rolling down my cheeks and my heart hurts for you and your family! Although it’s been 20+ years since my ‘maternal’ grandfather passed away, this post reminded me of that loss. What a precious man your grandfather was….I didn’t know him, but I became acquainted with him through you. Thank you for sharing your grandfather with me. Praying that God wraps you and your loved ones in His tender care.

  • Joyce Farnsworth - I am so sorry for your loss! Although I’ve never met you or your grandfather, your amazing photos and have allowed him to touch my family’s life, too. He is so worthy of your praise! Thank you for sharing him so eloquently.

  • Cynthia - One of your most profound posts though you have many! My prayers go out to you and your family as you reflect on his beautiful life.

  • Elizabeth Stewart - I am so sorry for your loss. What an amazing man he was.

  • Miriam - Thank you for sharing this beautiful post. Your grandpa sounds like such a special person, and reminds me of my father a lot. He also reminds me of what matters in life. Thank you and him for these reminders.

  • Carrie - I’m so sorry for your loss, Ashley. Through these words and all of the stories you’ve shared about him over the years it was clear that he was a wonderful, loved man. Sending you and your family so much love <3

  • Elizabeth H - I’m truly sorry for your loss Ashley!
    I pray that you feel the Father holding you close during this time.
    As i read this post, I was struck at how many photo’s and posts that involved your grandfather. What a special treasure you and your extended family have shared; possibly without even realizing the treasure it will be now that he is in Heaven.
    You’ve personally been a huge inspiration to be that photography and moments they capture, leave a memory that is an overwhelming gift.
    Blessings to you and your extended family during this time!

  • Samone - sending love x.

  • ellen patton - Beautiful. Just beautiful.

  • Tiffany Gardner - This post touches my soul. What a beautiful life. Thank you for sharing.

  • Rose - You are one lucky girl to have been loved by such a man. In every photo my eye was drawn to his hands, so much tenderness and warmth in his touch.

  • Amy Rendziak - I am so sorry for your families loss and my prayers are with you and your grandmother. If only the world had more men that lived their lives as he did.

  • Sarah Kinnard - Oh, Ashley. I’m all tears here. What an incredible man to have had the privilege of being loved by all these years. And what an incredible loss to your family. My heart goes out to you as you wait to see him again.

    (Also, I am so deeply touched by what he said about his mother never expressing anger, even in discipline. Oh, how I wish I had been a mother like that…oh, how I hope I can change to be more like that.)

    May you have space to process and grieve and hold your family close. Thank you for sharing.

  • J - Oh sweetie. My heart is hurting for you. I just lost my grandpa too.

    Huge hugs.

  • Emily Bartnikowski - Oh goodness, I am just now reading this and I am again struck by what a wonderful man he was and how lucky the world is to have had him in it. I’m keeping your whole family in my heart. Thank you for sharing.

  • Melissa - Thank you for sharing his life here. My deepest condolences on such an immeasurable loss to you and your family.

  • Bek Ryder - aw i’m so sorry to read this! tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat when i read your beautiful words about your Grandpa. He may be gone, but never forgotten! hugs

  • Danielle - How blessed that you were able to have such an amazing man in your and your children’s lives! I always loved reading these posts and am so sorry to hear of your loss. I am sure he has left behind a profound influence on your children and all those he touched through his kindness.

  • Sarah - I’ve followed your blog for years, took one of your photography courses and randomly ran into you at the Tulsa zoo when we were home visiting my husband’s family. I feel like I know your family, even though I’ve never met them. Gosh, what an amazing man your grandpa was. Thank you for sharing slices of him with us. I am so incredibly sorry for your loss and rejoice in the beautiful eternity he has arrived at. xoxo

Fall break fell the week of Be Crafty, so we postponed our break for the following week. Honestly, we would have postponed anyway. I figure if we homeschool we might as well take our breaks when everyone else is in school! I also knew I would be ready for lots of time away from my computer and outside. The fact that the weather here was amazingly and unseasonably warm made camping an obvious choice.

We’ve spent a lot of time in Branson with Chris’ family, but have never camped there. We changed things up a bit and took our trailer to Table Rock Lake State Park (Branson, MO). A quick look at the map before we booked our campsite let us get a pretty great spot – in my opinion (#183, there was a little trail to the water nearby).

We arrived in the afternoon and the kids immediately wanted hot chocolate. This guy likes to poke fun at me, “Look! I’m mom drinking my coffee with two hands.” Stinker.

11-16camp-1I took leftover decorations from Be Crafty. The boys didn’t notice, which Chris pointed out that is because they think decorating a campsite is normal. 11-16camp-211-16camp-4Fog over the lake every morning!
11-16camp-511-16camp-611-16camp-8We did have a little school we needed to keep up with, so we brought it along. I don’t always take pictures during our school days, but I want to get better. I think shots like this will be a fun reminder one day of this season.11-16camp-911-16camp-1011-16camp-11Our trailer is kind of like a glorified tent…except it comes with a full size refrigerator and we can bring our espresso machine and waffle maker. Those perks make up for the tetris style sleeping arrangements.11-16camp-1211-16camp-1311-16camp-1411-16camp-1511-16camp-1611-16camp-17We made a stop at the Dewey Short Visitor Center (dam on Table Rock Lake). We learned so much about how the dam was built. It is a great stop with kids with several interactive parts perfect for busy bodies.11-16camp-1811-16camp-19You can see the dam in the background of the next photo. There is tons of fishing below the dam. We forgot our fishing poles. Don’t forget yours if you visit!
11-16camp-2111-16camp-2211-16camp-2411-16camp-2511-16camp-2611-16camp-2711-16camp-28There is plenty to do around the lake if you want to fill your days – all kinds of water options. Of course, there is plenty to do around Branson. We got to Branson at least once a year with Chris’ family and usually spend time in town. This trip we wanted to just be outside and be together. We spent most of the time walking down to lake and entertaining ourselves with the rocks on the shore. We did spend one day in Silver Dollar City – part of why we chose to camp in Branson this round.

When researching where to camp in Branson, I found numerous beautiful sites all over the state. If you have a favorite Missouri destination…please share it with the rest of us! I’ll be planning our next trip soon…

CLICKHEREtravel

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  • JenW - Aside from the interesting glimpse into your family, I really like these explore posts! We’re thinking of the Branson area for our next big trip (with the camper). It’s hard to find places to camp away from home (Indiana) with any level of certainty that they are good. Thanks for the recommendation!

  • Jessica - We live in the St. Louis area. There are a lot of free and fun things to do for families. Although it’s not one of the free things, your kids would love the City Museum! I could also give a lot of other recommendations if you decide to come to this area 🙂

  • Ashley - I grew up in Missouri and we always camped at Pomme de Terre State Park. BEAUTIFUL lake with a fun swimming beach, beautiful campground and clean bathrooms!

  • Monique - Another St Louisan here, and I’ll second the recommendation for City Museum for your crew. I took my preschoolers and nearly had a panic attack, but your kiddos are the perfect age!

  • Melinda - We camp every summer at Noel, MO at the Eagle’s Nest campground on the Elk River. Great set up and they have a great rock beach on the river. We canoe and float and play all day!! My husband’s family has been camping there for decades 🙂

  • Louise - Loved seeing your pictures of your family and beautiful Table Rock Lake. My husband and I grew up at ‘the other end of the lake’ near the small town of Cassville and Roaring River State Park. It was wonderful to grow up with Roaring River and Table Rock Lake as our playground. One of my uncles drove heavy equipment and helped build the dam. I’m an Okie (Claremore) now and I thank you for stirring such wonderful memories of my childhood area.

  • ashley jensen - Last time we tried to camp there a freak snow storm blew through and we had to cancel 48 hours before and didn’t get half of our money back. We keep talking about going back though!

  • Suzanne Murray - So I love that one of yours noticed about you using 2 hands to drink your coffee. One time I read an article about how important it is(if you are are a coffee or hot tea drinker) to take time out to sit and truly enjoy that cup. By wrapping 2 hands around it, you are unable to occupy your hands otherwise but are able to just “be” and pray, relax, just enjoy that little bit of you time.

    So here’s to all the 2 handed coffee drinkers – enjoy!

  • kris saia - I grew up going to Roaring River State Park in Missouri, not too far from Branson, actually. It’s gorgeous — clear running trout streams, hills for hiking, gravel bars for sitting and reading. The park is quiet and safe and amazingly clean, and they have a number of beautiful campgrounds and a very nice lodge. Loved it as a child, and love it as an adult — my favorite place on Planet Earth!

  • Kathleen - One of my favorite Missouri spots in Johnson Shut-ins! Check it out. People call it the Hawaii of the Midwest ??

  • Anne Eicher - My Instagram isn’t working so I had to comment on here… Just wanted to say my heart is hurting for your family as you adjust to the loss of such a wonderful grandfather. I’ve always enjoyed your posts about him. His love shone through and warmed me even though I don’t “know” you all! Hugs to you and your family!

  • Ethel White - Love the pics, especially the sunsets.
    Your kiddos are so fortunate for the memories you and Chris are helping them make.

  • Renee - Could you share a bit about the process of buying your camper? When did you get it? Was it used? Are they as terribly expensive as they say? I’ve also heard they break down all the time. True?

  • Kristi Rediske - Beautiful place, I love branson and table rock lake. I am signed up for all your classes and love them. Could you tell me which lens you used for these pictures?

  • AshleyAnn - Kristi – I used my 50mm lens and my 85mm lens

  • AshleyAnn - Renee – that is a GREAT question! To be honest, Chris handled all of that. I’ll ask him if he would write a guest post sometime on the process

  • AshleyAnn - Thank you Anne. Thank you.

jessieleighphotography-becrafty2016-13

The Be Crafty swag and SnapShop giveaway winner is:

Elizabeth R. (you should have an email waiting from me!)

Congratulations Elizabeth!

As a surprise, Amanda and I decided to pick 2 winners. So…you might have still won. Check Amanda’s blog to find out who the other winner is!

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  • Elizabeth R. - I’m thrilled! Wow! I’m excited to get the awesome swag! (few times have I typed such a sentence, haha) Congratulations to the other winner, whoever they may be!

  • Kevin - Congratulation to the winners, all the very best

  • Ariel - I must have missed it.. Who was the second winner?!

  • Susan - I cannot find where Amanda posted her winner.