Family Vacation Photos

Last week Art and I had the opportunity to take our two youngest kids to one of our favorite places in the world, CAMP-of-the-WOODS in upstate New York.

Getting there was so completely chaotic, I was starting to wonder why we do vacations. If you can relate, raise your hand. See? That’s why I love you so!

Seriously, packing and trying to get a family to the airport on time will just about stress a girl out. Maybe some people know the secret. Obviously, I don’t.

We are “that family” when we travel.

We got to the airport skidding in on two wheels. The kids and I jumped out of the car determined to get the luggage checked in just in the nick of time while Art parked the car. The problem is, we had a lot of luggage and this crazy long tube for my husband’s fishing poles.

I wish I could tell you we handled it all with calm grace. But in reality people were snickering. And maybe pointing.

But then this sweet soul from heaven stepped in to carry the fishing poles tube. I love that woman. If that was you, thank you from the bottom of my tired little heart.

Then there was the whole smoking engine on the plane situation that delayed and delayed and delayed our plane. It was one of those board the plane, get off the plane, board the plane again and wait deals.

But finally, we got to this glorious place called CAMP-of-the-WOODS. It was worth all the stress of getting there.

You know it’s going to be a lovely escape from the southern heat when you start seeing these kinds of street signs:

And you know my man cub was in his element when you see this kind of smile. I call this picture “2 Great Catches.”

There were LOTS of games being played last week. But my favorite by far was this game called “Acquire.” It’s a strategy game where you accumulate stocks and build hotel chains. I know it sounds boring but it’s anything but. I think I get a cardio workout every time I play-it’s just that intense!

I won’t tell you who was the grand champion of the Acquire Game last week because I don’t want to brag or anything. But her initials are L.T. Smiles.

It’s a simple place with simple cabins, chapel services every morning, and campfires every night. There’s no TV and very limited internet. And we love that.

Every night the sun sets like this. And I feel my soul exhale and smile.

The winners from last week’s contest are: Sandi Taylor, Janice Webb, Barbara Wolfe, Karen Waldron, Raquel Waters, Stephanie Cooper, Debbie Mass, Pam Jigett, Retta Fulmer, Teresa Jarvis, and Tammy Minnick. Email jennie@proverbs31.org to claim your book.

And if you didn’t win, don’t fret. There’s another pre-release contest going on over at my friend Sharon’s blog. Click here to see.


  1. says

    Dear Lysa,
    I love your blog posts. I love the way you write just like you are talking to me. Some day, when I grow up I want to write like that!!!
    Secondly, we are in vacation in Colorado with 4 teenagers. I can totally relate to the stress of getting to the airport (1.5 hours away) and getting on the plane (having to swap seats so the girls can sit together while annoying the person in the aisle seat). Finally arrive and the sound of rushing water soothes me.

  2. Sweet Tea Friend says

    Lysa, Great pics of your family. Sounds like a wonderful place to spend some relaxing and praises Him for everything in life. Could you help me I am looking for a Bible verse that relates to us helping those in need. Dan & I would like to start a ministry at our detail & repair shop to help those in need of mechanical work. I am looking for a verse….would love your thoughts if you have a minute or two. Thanks! Hugs! Linda

    • Krista says

      I love COTW! I did the LIFT program and worked there for a few summers. Glad you and your family had a great time. : )

  3. Raquel Waters says

    This place looks heavenly and quiet! Our family is about to go on a vacation to the beach – my girls looked at the map and said “that looks a little secluded” while my husband said “yes, peace and quiet, a perfect place to spend with my family.” LOL Gotta love everyone’s perspective with this 🙂
    Thank you for sharing and being real with us.
    God’s Peace

  4. DeLane says

    I loved your Acquire comment! I think you are the first woman I’ve heard of that enjoys it! 🙂 My husband and anywhere from 10-15 other men get together for an entire weekend once a year for a “Men’s Retreat” and have an Acquire tournament! They schedule it over the first weekend of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament and do nothing but play Acquire (into the wee hours of the night), watch basketball and eat!

  5. says

    I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for how you brought the word last week at Camp-of-the-Woods. I was super excited to hear you in person as I enjoy reading your blog daily(and over at Proverbs 31 at times). I can’t tell you what a special time and blessing that was for me. At moments I felt as if you were talking straight at me so I knew I was in the right place. It was an encouragement and a new perspective that I needed to hear.
    Thank you for being yourself and sharing from your heart and allowing God to use you tremendously.
    My husband and I love that place too and it is where we met, we worked on staff during our high school years and then later on reconnected and got engaged on the beautiful beach. Camp holds a very special place in our hearts and it is great to hear that you enjoyed the time with you family (After the chaos of getting there, that is always us too!)
    Thanks for posting some pics always love those sunsets.

  6. Renda says

    Your post made my soul exhale and smile. I’ve never heard of the game Acquire. Sounds like my family needs to “acquire” it.

  7. Misty says

    Somehow reading your blog today led me to last years devotional and it so hit home! Praise God he never gives up on me. I am dealing with a soul tie that has been going on for 11 years and goes back to the time of an abortion. I have prayed to be delivered from this and still battle to this day. I recently talked to that man even though I am happily married to a Godly Christian man. I need prayer. I dont want to fall. I dont want to throw everything away for this man, but I also dont want to live with feelings any longer for him. I dont know what you believe about soul ties but I believe I have one and I need prayer that God will finally deliver me from it.

    • Kay says

      Praying for you, Misty. I know how hard it is to forget a sin, I’ve been there. Keep reminding yourself that God forgave you as soon as you confessed.

  8. says

    Ah…I know exactly where this is, my contemporary romance is based in that village. I love the speakers at Camp of the Woods, all around a beautiful, soul recharging experience. Thank you for sharing my favorite place in the world, made my day. I don’t live in Upstate NY anymore, and I miss the area so much.

  9. Terri Clum says

    You vacationed up in our neck of the woods. Glad you had a great trip. I am blessed to live here all year round.

  10. Lynnette Mathisen says

    I LOVE Acquire! It is the only game I can win. Maybe someday we can compete.
    Love your posts. I am past most of the raising kid stage as my son is 22 and engaged, but we never get past being a mom. Thanks for always being real.

  11. Jen says

    Glad to read you had a nice get away! Just had to comment about the Acquire game. I laughed out loud when I read and saw the picture. My husband LOVES that game and he can hardly get anyone to play it with him. He’ll be glad to know he’s in good company!

  12. Annette says

    Thanks for sharing your vacation with us… it sounds like an amazing place!! I think you may know my friend that go there as well… Starla. We love to go to Lake Okoboji every year in Iowa and the kids love it!!! Blessings to you and your family!

  13. Brenda says

    You look and sound completely relaxed…I’m happy for you. Reminds me of when I was little and our family (I was the youngest of three girls) went to a church camp in Canada every year for three weeks with our neighbors and their whole extended family. That’s really where I learned all my Bible verses and how to fish! We had Bible school every morning and Vespers every evening. In between we fished, swam, water-skied, hiked, played a ton of games. And at night, all the adults went fishing ALL NIGHT (from dusk to dawn) and the kids played games with the counselors in the evening and then we all slept in one cabin, with the older ones taking care of the younger ones. The parents came home at dawn with a TON of fish…38-41″ muskies, bass, and tons of bluegill and sunfish and lake perch, and we had big fish frys. We always went over the 4th of July, so we had one night where the men all got together and set off a bunch of fireworks…and they were really good! No laws against them back then. Those were the best of times! I’m sure my mom was stressed to no end, but at least we drove…so not quite as much pressure. LOL!!

  14. Marcie Joy Brown says

    What a handsome couple and beautiful family you are!

    You made my heart smile this am Lysa.


    And oh heck yeah, we will be looking for that game…

  15. Lisa says

    I loved this post, will be going out and buying Acquire for our family vacation. My favorite part of your post is that you spent time away from TV and Internet. I am struggling with trying to raise my child in this world full of technology and just want to get back to the basics …. I feel sorry for today’s youth in that most have no idea how magical it can be to be free from TV and technology ! It inspires me to take a vacation like yours !
    Thanks for sharing …..

  16. says

    Good stuff 🙂 Thanks for always bringing a smile to my face, an “amen sister” from my mouth and joy to my heart! Blessings to ya!!

  17. says

    I just looked up that game and I’m excited to get it in the future for my husband. We LOVE board games, and when I because I saw it bundled with our favorite Settlers of Catan on Amazon, I figure it must be good. Thanks for the recommendation!

  18. Lina says

    Great pictures Lysa! so glad you and the family go to have some R&R…
    and I really like your caption for the fish picture. How sweet!

    Be Well,

  19. Gina says

    I just want to say that if you liked that game Aquire, which sounds similar to monopoly, you would like another game called PIT.
    It’s a very fast paced game, but oh my is it fun. I played it for the first time at a ladies retreat.

  20. Leah Shepherd says

    Ohhh… I love reading your posts!! I’m a single mum with one child – so it’s just the two of us, but we are also THAT family!! We left for our holiday (or vacation.. we’re Australian so it’s holiday to us) two days ago, and after all the dramas that we went through just to get on the plane (and then having to ask an air hostess to get off the plane and go back to the security screening point where I’d left my phone..), I just feel so encouraged when I read your stories, to know that I’m not the only one, and that no matter what happens we always come out the other side with great stories to laugh about, and awesome stories of God’s provision and grace!
    Thank you so so much for the blessing that your posts bring!!!

  21. joni says

    Girl, you look relaxed and VERY FIT!!!! Good job on keeping up the workouts while your ear/vertigo is bothering you.

  22. says

    Oh yes…I have often wondered is it worth it to gather all our stuff and our kids and pack up (way too much) and rush out the door for vacation? It’s downright exhausting just to get wherever we’re going. But, it is worth it! I went to Camp-of-the-Woods for the first time this fall for a Moms In Prayer Come to Me Retreat. This was the perfect place for retreating. Of course it was off season, but I can only imagine what a glorious summer family vacation spot this would be. Peaceful and beautiful! Glad you enjoyed it…praying the ahhhhhh of vacation stays with you. And btw, loving your Made to Crave study we’re doing at a local church. I’ve even been inspired to post related blogs.

  23. Jadn says

    Bullet pt: know with confidence how to resolve conflict in your important relationships. The phrase “know with confidence” stands out.

  24. Kathy says

    Dear Lysa, Can I pick two? *Respond with no regrets by managing your tendencies to stuff, explode or react somewhere in between. * Gain a deep sense of calm by responding to situations out of your control without acting out of control.. My desire is to learn the first one in my personal relationships, and the 2nd one in my professional relationships. I really can become so unglued. Thank you for using your gifts, time, and talents to bring balance and understanding to what seems often to be an emotional roller coaster that I just want the ride operator to let me off. Looking forward to learning a better way!

  25. Blair says

    * Find peace in your most difficult relationships as you learn to be honest but kind when offended.

    I feel although all the bullets pertain to me, this one really stands out. When offended I usually always play it off cool. I pretend like nothing is wrong when inside I am exploding with emotions. I do one of two things: I take it out on the people I love the most such as my husband or parents who have nothing to do with the situation, but they are easy targets because I feel that I can be open with them. OR, I let the emotions fester and fester with this person until one day they say something and I just unleash my fury on them all at once.
    I do not have peace at all with my emotions, nor do I know who to process them. Instead of dealing with my emotions in a postive healthy way upfront, I confront them when I am at my emotioanl breaking point. Which ultimatley makes me look bad, and creates even more anger, tension, and bad blood.
    My desire is to be able to confront an issue at the time it arrises in a calm, godly, healthy way (I just dont know how).

  26. Rhonda says

    Your blog posts are so uplifting and encouraging. I feel as though you are actually talking to me in person. I have been blessed by your internet ministry, blogs, resources and now I have begun the Made to Crave Bible Study which is an awesome series and so me!. I look forward to your devotionals everyday. They truly speak to a woman’s heart. Thank you for the way you are allowing God to bless you to bless others.

  27. Ana says

    Wonderful pictures. seems like a very interesting book as well would love to read so change my perspective on how to deal with angre, stress the correct way.

  28. Kathy says

    The bullet point from your new book that best describes me is, ‘find peace in your most difficult relationships as you learn to be honest but kind when offended’. I find it very hard to let someone know they have offended me. I tend to want to smooth over the problem in hopes that the person who offended me will realize what they’ve done and apologize (guess how often that has happened)!

  29. Diana says

    I relate to several but since it says to leave one this is the one I’ve chosen: Gain a deep sense of calm by responding to situations out of your control without acting out of control.

  30. says

    I was there last week! A friend’s family was there for the week – and they invited us up for the day. What a lovely, peaceful place! Our kids had a blast and we’re planning on going up next summer for an entire week. Cool beans!

  31. Nanci says

    That looks like a wonderful place and what a great summer get away! No TV or Internet is such a treat for us mom’s who can’t seem to control that in our everyday lives with our husbands or kids! Beautiful sunsets and quiet times! Great for you and your family! Don’t you just love summer?

  32. Alison Jordan says

    Can’t wait for the Unglued book to come out – would love to win gift certificate! I love your blog posts and devotional section -so inspiring as well as the car key tag (what a great idea!) I will have to check out the Acquire game as well!

  33. says

    My favorite part of the new site is the Freebies key tags, I would definitely like those!
    I’d love to have a free devotional because your devotion really spoke to me. I subscribe to Bible Gateway and get the daily encouragement. I’ve always noticed that I worry about what I say and fret afterwards if I said the right thing. So, this really hits home for me! Thanks for the fun you generated in my lunch hour today!

  34. Robn says

    My favorite part of the website was the pictures with the sayings.. it is like your book was made just for me..I can’t wait till it is available

  35. Pat E. says

    I just showed my daughter some of my family pics when we’d spend summer Upstate New York!! I am originally from Long Island and my grandparents used to take us to their place in the Catskill mountains each summer. This brought back wonderful memories. So glad your family had a good time. I may need to take my hubby there someday. 😀

  36. says

    Lysa, I got up this morning trying to catch up on my devotions and read Tuesday’s, which happened to be yours on coming ‘Unglued’. I SO should have read this one ON Tuesday. My husband and I JUST moved into a new home we bought and he was trying out our garden tub for the first time when he used the side wall to push himself up and cracked it! Water came pouring down from upstairs all over me, the loveseat and my laptop-needless to say I came unglued when I found out he had cracked the awesome tub I had only gotten to use twice. Of course, I felt like a total jerk afterward because I knew he would have never reacted that way to an obvious accident had it been me. I have already pre-ordered your book. My fave part of ur website is that you outline what the book addresses and already seem so transparent in your examples and instruction on how we are to respond in Christ. Thank you for writing this book!

  37. Lynn Harbour says

* Gain a deep sense of calm by responding to situations out of your control without acting out of control.

  38. Darrelyn Kelley says

    I….so…..need…..this…..book! I’m looking forward to reading it. I’ve already pre-ordered it. I love the pictures of your family. Looks like y’all are having fun! I also like the video using the roller coaster. That describes me right now. Good luck on your new book! Blessings to you & your family!

  39. Barb says

    I TOTALLY stuff my feelings when I am hurt because I just don’t know how to respond honestly without offending. My husband does not like to see me cry, so I stuff it. Hope I get to read your book. I’ve been asking God to help me learn the art of communication better and your book sounds ideal! Thank you for being candid and sharing with us.

  40. Kimberly Neal says

    * Know with confidence how to resolve conflict in your important relationships.

    This one spoke to me the most. You see, after 25 yrs. of marriage my husband filed for divorce. One of our biggest issues has always been communication and resolving conflicts with each other as well as our three daughters, 21, 19 & 16. For these reasons and more, I’m looking forward to your new book “Unglued” because at this point, that’s how I feel my life is becoming.

  41. Keri Pascoe says

    My favorite part of the website is being able to sign up for the Unglued Challenge. I struggle with holding my tongue so very much! God is certainly speaking to me now and I can’t wait to read this book. Thank you for sharing your heart. When I read the teaser “The one who holds the tongue holds the power”, I think my heart just completely stopped for a minute. That completely changes my perspective.

  42. says

    Lysa, I LOVED hearing you speak at CAMP, and I share your love for that special place. I always feel so spiritually renewed by the end of the week (however, I’m usually tired, as we stay up way too late and get up early!) And, getting the family ready for vacation? Yikes. I raise my hand!!! As my friend said yesterday (she’s a mother of four, like me), “The vacation has GOT to be good to make up for the week before and the week after.” Keep up your good work. I have been less of an exploder with my kids this week because of you! 🙂 I’ve got the book preordered!!!

  43. Debbie Owens says

    I can’t wait for this book. Our Women’s Ministry just finished Esther by Beth Moore, which covers alot of women emotions. This will be an enhancement, reinforment, of what I learned and how it takes 2 or 3 times to get it thru my head.
    The part I’m looking forward to is not just one but all four:
    * Find peace in your most difficult relationships as you learn to be honest but kind when offended.
    * Identify what type of reactor you are and how to significantly improve your communication.
    * Respond with no regrets by managing your tendencies to stuff, explode or react somewhere in between.
    * Gain a deep sense of calm by responding to situations out of your control without acting out of control.
    Thank You for writing and leading! God Bless!

  44. says

    Lysa, I am a huge fan of Made to Crave and with the help of this book and other tools including trying to be obedient to God, I have lost over 70 pounds.
    In your new book I am most looking forward to getting a sense of calm by responding to situations out of my control withour acting out of control.
    Thank you for sharing your God given talents with us.
    God bless,

  45. Pam says

    Thanks for opening up and being the voice of many who experience some of the same things you talk about. Those that might not have to courage to share, those who think that “things” only happen to them. How could anyone experience the same things, they would say, “it’s just me, so just me”. God Bless you Lysa.