Shillito Family in Ohio



“After all,” Anne had said to Marilla once, “I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea


Behold, a beautiful summer evening of simple little pleasures in Dayton, Ohio with the Shillito family…


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Beachy Family Kansas Homestead

I visited Rachel Beachy and her family last month on their breathtaking homestead along the Arkansas River in Central Kansas.

Her garden was the closest thing to heaven I’ve ever stepped into, reminiscent of what I imagine Ma Ingalls must have surely cultivated herself back on the Prairie. I was so taken by Rachel’s humility and soft spoken grace and wanted to just sit on that porch a good week straight just soaking in all the wisdom spilling from her soul. I asked her to share about her passion for the soil beneath her feet and all the bounty bursting forth from her homestead.

You’ll find her words below…






“I told my husband recently that he makes all my dreams come true. I’ve never dreamt of being a princess and having fancy clothes and a mansion with all the amenities. Rather, my dreams were always to have an old farmhouse with some barns, and a little land to garden and raise some animals.  Two and a half years ago, we left a lovely home and community in Pennsylvania, and my dream became our reality here in Kansas.






Gardening is a sacred work to me. it’s a hard, sometimes ugly, painful and can be devastating work. But, it is also the most rewarding, hopeful, fulfilling and breathtakingly beautiful of works. In my garden I find so many life lessons and pictures of God’s work of redemption and grace for my life.

I see over and again how no matter how hard I work, how ‘right’ I do the job, or how perfect a condition I create, God alone gives the increase. God created time and life in a garden and someday I look forward to being in eternity’s gardens and learning from the Master of all Gardeners. But, until that day comes, I want to be a good steward of the earth God has entrusted to me.



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I want to instill in my children the privilege and responsibility that comes with being given grace we don’t deserve. I want to show them that there is so much pleasure and simple joy that can come from hard work and being willing to exercise our God-given gifts. I want them to learn that God gave us the ability to create beauty and share that with others.

I want them to know that life is a continual changing season and that no matter what season a person is in, God can still use them to bring glory to his name if we are living with purpose.

Purpose is not just a thing you do.

Purpose is something you are, something you give, something to live with meaning.

Purpose takes perseverance.


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In Tim McGraw’s song “Humble and Kind”, part of the bridge says this: ‘when those dreams you’re dreaming come to you, when the work you put in is realized… let yourself feel the pride, but always stay humble and kind.’ While I don’t use country songs as my guidebook for my life, those words sum up so well how I feel. It’s okay to enjoy the dream, to live the dream, to take pride in the work. But, in midst of those great and good things, to be willing to show humility and kindness.

Humility and kindness never grow old and are always worth pursuing and extending.”



Thank you, Rachel, for sharing your heart. What a gift it was so savor your space alongside you that day. – Joy

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Posted in * Family Sessions | 6 Comments

wildflower. mother. wife. believer. artist. writer. dreamer.



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