Over the last two years, I’ve shared a little of our lake cottage with you. Today I am excited to share a little of the story behind it and why we felt so compelled to purchase a second home.

Growing up, we spent our weekends on the water. From morning to night, we swam, tubed, skied, enjoyed picnics on the boat, and most importantly, spent quality time together as a family without distractions.

Our love for being on water was a large part of who we were.  My mom planned to purchase a lake home when she retired, something we all looked forward to. At 54, she was diagnosed with a rare form of Stage 4 breast cancer.

If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that after a few short months, she passed. She never had the opportunity to retire or purchase her dream home to spend her days as she loved them most – water skiing.

outdoor entertaining

At 25, Chris was in his first year of medical school and I was working in Columbia, Missouri, operating my wedding and event planning business on the side. On occasion we’d find a day or two to escape to the lake and boat with friends, but without a boat and with very little money, they were few and far between.

Our love for the lake however did not subside. We lived with hope and intent that one day, we would own a boat and if at all possible, a lake house of our own where we could raise our family and make memories much like those joyous moments I fondly recall.

We didn’t want to wait until retirement, knowing all too well how short life can be, we vowed to make the most of each day we have.

modern bathroom with pedestal sink

After years of not only not earning an income as we {proudly} watched friends climb the ladder while we accrued debt, we had faith. I continued to work while building a successful business and eventually with the help of Chris earning a modest salary working a max of 100/week in residency was able to quit my day job!

We strived, we struggled and we renovated 2 homes investing a lot of sweat equity. I worked diligently to grow my business on evenings after the girls went to bed, in the morning before they woke and during the all important nap time which saved me for 6 years!

Through all of our joys and struggles, we felt more compelled than ever to have a lake home – a place to escape, unwind, unplug and spend uninterrupted time together as a family.

lake decor

It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t overnight and it’s not perfect, but I’m so proud of our little lake cottage. It’s a place of reprieve where the girls wake up and choreograph dance performances in lieu of cartoons, I hide the phone from myself and live in the moment and see my childhood in the joy and excitement of the girls’ faces as they get up on skis or feel a splash of water in their face for the first time of the season.

It’s the place where we entertain close friends and family to connect with them beyond a quick dinner. Large enough to comfortably sleep 10, but small enough we can see one another across the home.

champagne on boat

Dreams do come true. I wish my mom had the opportunity to make her dream a reality, but have loved making it our reality and sharing her passion with our family and hosting my sister’s as well.

I look forward to sharing before and after photos with you as well as upcoming projects we have planned next week!



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  1. Your story has really touched me. Last July, at 53 years old, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I am thankful to God that it is cureable, but it certainly changes my prirorities and perspective. We also have a vacation home on the water, and while there, enjoy a slower pace and spending extended time together with family and close friends. I’m happy for you to be able to have this beautiful lake house to create memories with your children and a space for quiet reflections to remember and honor your mother.

    1. Hi Bonnie, I am SO sorry I missed your comment. I’m sorry for what you have gone through but glad you’re choosing to live and enjoy life to the fullest! Thank you. Best wishes, I’ll be thinking about you!

  2. Julie, I loved learning more about your lake home and the fulfillment of a dream. Life really is too short. I know your mom is smiling down on you, your husband and the girls as you enjoy the lake house. xx

  3. Where is your lake cottage? Life is short and we are looking for a lake home after my dad passing away from cancer last year in July.

    1. I’m sorry to hear that, Karen. It’s on Table Rock in southwest Missouri. Do you live in the Midwest as well?