My husband, Todd, and I enjoy camping and spending time with our extended family. Our “camping” is quite a bit different from what most people associate with the word: nylon tents, cooking on a Coleman stove, roasting hot dogs over a fire and s’mores.

We enjoy Primitive Rendezvous and pre-1840 living history style camping. Our tents are white canvas, cooking over an open fire in cast iron, dressing in period clothing, shooting black powder guns, and throwing tomahawk and knives. My father introduced us to this incredible group of people almost 12 years ago and we were hooked.

Our “family” camp together monthly (if possible) and enjoy disconnecting from the world of technology. It is refreshing to be outdoors, actually having conversations with people, playing card or dice games, listening to live music, and truly enjoying each other’s company.

I tell you this so you can better understand the picture of me and Jameson from our camp last weekend. All dressed in period clothing, canvas tent in the background, I enjoyed sitting down with Jameson and sharing my first children’s book, I Love and Like You!, with him. As I look at the picture, it is such a dream come true to have this book in print. But it is a larger blessing to see children enjoying the book, the pictures and the message.

What I truly loved was watching Jameson’s mother read my story to him and his cousin. I sat in the chair listening as she added excitement and energy to the words I had written. The children were engaged in the story and the best compliment I could receive was hearing “more” at the end of the book. So she read the story again to them. Over the course of the weekend, I watched their mother’s and grandmother read my book to the children several times. It warmed my heart to see them share this life lesson that I was teaching my son, Jarod.

I want to encourage everyone to disconnect occasionally from your phones, television, computers, and video games. Grab a book and read it to a child. Pack a picnic lunch for your family and head out to a park for the afternoon. We should remember that life is best lived with experiences and personal interactions with others. Not through texting, Facebook or other forms of social media. Now I like texting, social media and games on my cell phone like most of you. But balance – yes, that’s the word I like. I try to find balance in my life and sometimes that is turning off the phone, enjoying nature and good friends!

I wish you all a wonderful, fun-filled holiday weekend. I’ll be at the lake, surrounded by family and friends, enjoying their company and limiting my access to my phone and social media and making memories!