our story

I remember around two years ago boxing up and labeling old journals to appease my type A organizational habits. I was scanning through this very hippy looking journal in particular. It was reminiscent of my adolescence and how I saw the world and all my emotions that were “sooo me” at the time. It is made out of some sort of organic hemp and brightly dyed in blues and greens. I can recall thumbing through some of the pages during this very satisfying task when Derek’s name caught my eye on one of the pages. I was 14 years old and I was talking about my husband, years before he and I became we.

It read: “Derek Tillotson and me hung out a lot. He will be the perfect husband someday. He is a catch” 6.16.2002

I don’t know if you believe in the power of thought and intention. I do. I’ve seen things manifest over and over in my life that I have intentionally put out into the world. My husband has a great raccoon story to tell thanks to my belief in this principle. I’ll save that for a later date, because now I am going to share with you how Five Take Flight came to be. It is due to the fact that I put it out into the world as 14-year-old teenager, just filling the pages of her journal.

I was just a girl. Around age 10. With long lashes, big dark eyes, and a small frame.

He was a boy a few years older than me. With a freckled nose, a bull cut hairdo, and green eyes.

He moved into the neighborhood and a casual friendship started. Our eyes would occasionally meet across the pews at our local church. Followed by infrequent conversation and shoulder shrugs here and there.

Fast forward to our college years when he decided to ask me out, not once but twice. The first time he asked I said no. Great things take work and lucky for me my love is very tenacious. That first no he took as a challenge instead of defeat.

After our first date we fell into the rhythm that would be the rest of our lives. We dated through four seasons and several road trips. Then wed on July 19th with a carnival themed wedding- 70 ft Ferris wheel and all.

Three years later we started our family. Porter gave us our first magical introduction into parenthood. Two and a half years later Beckett brought belly aching laughter into our home. Three years more and Wren flew into our hearts.

With our nest complete and the feat of parenthood now in full swing. We are given the call of stability, togetherness, and love. We have teamed up and said yes to any situation that has come our way. We have been in some doozies. Our relationship is just as fragile as anyone’s. However, I’ve discovered if you lose yourself in a worthy cause you’ll find yourself in the process. Derek and my children is my worthy cause. Selflessness by both partners is what it takes; selfishness is what leads to failure. As you grow close with someone you come to know very specific things about him or her. With that knowledge you learn what hurts them the most and how to make them the happiest. I know that I have hurt Derek more than anyone ever could but I also know that I have made him the happiest that he has ever been. We bear grave responsibility for the purity of our motives when someone has offered their heart to us. Anyone who stands on that amount of trust stands on holy ground. How you choose to protect that heart should be with a vengeance.

Five Take Flight Faves

  • Rachel
    Posted at 14:39h, 17 January Reply

    Beautiful story, M’Kenzie! I love your phrasing: “We bear grave responsibility for the purity of our motives when someone has offered their heart to us.” Totally teared up. Keep writing!

    • Alexandra K
      Posted at 23:59h, 17 January Reply

      Absolutely agree; beautifully written in every way! ?

    • Vadivelu
      Posted at 13:06h, 18 January Reply

      I love nice experience

  • Donna s Wagman
    Posted at 14:42h, 17 January Reply

    thank you for sharing this with us.

  • Lydia La Paglia
    Posted at 14:48h, 17 January Reply

    What a beautiful message ! Even if I’m not chosen to be your nanny, I wish you to continue to be happy and make us dream with your travels and with your way to build you lovely family.

  • Danielle Cavender
    Posted at 14:51h, 17 January Reply

    I fully believe in the idea of floating ideas in to the world and then seeing them miraculously take root. Not really believing in wishes, but fulfilling the family tradition of making a wish as you stirred the Christmas cake, one year I ardently wished with all my soul to fall in love and have an incredible relationship. (And although I didn’t think of my partners name, since he was not available at the time, nevertheless I had had a crush on him for around two and a half years by this point!) fast forward a matter of weeks, and we were a couple! Today is our 2 year anniversary 😀

  • Lauren Buckley
    Posted at 14:51h, 17 January Reply

    You guys have a relationship most people dream of!

  • Kamryn Smith
    Posted at 14:54h, 17 January Reply

    I love your story! You are very well spoken and inspiring❤

  • Candice O'Bar
    Posted at 14:54h, 17 January Reply

    Thank you for sharing! I love the carnival themed wedding! Very beautiful!

  • Vhel
    Posted at 14:58h, 17 January Reply

    Very nice sweet lovely fun love story…

  • Nechama Wenger
    Posted at 15:09h, 17 January Reply

    Absolutely beautifully written and raw!

    I see very much the same in how a relationship my relationship with my husband has evolved as well! It is the most complicated and yet most beautiful thing we’ve ever been though!

    Thank you for sharing!!

  • Carol
    Posted at 15:21h, 17 January Reply

    This was such a great wedding! Fun memories ❤

  • Channing B
    Posted at 15:33h, 17 January Reply

    I LOVE this. What a powerful testimony of love. I recently posted on my instagram about turning 30 and now my life so far has been full of good intentions and trying to be thoughtful but I would rather put my thoughts into action and live with Intention from here on out. I love that your purpose includes protecting your marriage and your children and knowing you have a responsibility to care for their hearts and grow their minds. Thanks for sharing. A carnival themed wedding?! Nothing short of epic! So you guys from what I know so far 🙂

  • Alisha Sands
    Posted at 15:35h, 17 January Reply

    Such beautiful and real words. Our generation often times does not grasp the concept of “selflessness” and its importance in relationships. I hope through this journey and sharing it with the world you are able to help people realize it takes work to get where you two are. Thanks for sharing these parts of yourself and your journey.

  • Alyssa Reichel
    Posted at 15:38h, 17 January Reply

    You two are such a testament of true love, and such an inspiration!

  • Zachariah John Handran
    Posted at 15:46h, 17 January Reply

    THis is truly a beautiful read, thank you.

  • Laura Barclay
    Posted at 15:57h, 17 January Reply

    What a wonderful story, especially the ferris wheel! It’s such a cute representation of your relationship, fun, colorful, strong, and creative.
    Your energy and positivity is an inspiration!
    Thank you for sharing!

  • Carmella Adell Camacho
    Posted at 16:15h, 17 January Reply

    Beautifully written.

  • Angelie
    Posted at 16:42h, 17 January Reply

    Wow! I was amazed of your story and how it begun! Its really beautiful and you have an amazing family with your three Kids. God bless you and your families journey together.

  • Channing
    Posted at 17:48h, 17 January Reply

    Ps I love that you are/we’re a journaler! I hav so many I can look back on and either laugh cry or shake my head at my previous thoughts

  • Mary Maris
    Posted at 18:36h, 17 January Reply

    I love your story. Your love story is with people dream of including me.

  • Mary Maris
    Posted at 18:37h, 17 January Reply

    I love your story. This is a love story most people dream about including me!

  • Kathleen HERRGOTT
    Posted at 18:47h, 17 January Reply

    M’Kenzie, thank you… thank you for sharing your story but above all your heart!
    “With that knowledge you learn how to hurt them the most and how to make them the happiest.” And this is clearly the point of the whole thing. Knowing that love is not about our selfish needs but love is about sacrifice. Knowing that we do have the power to learn how to love better. Giving all of yourself in order to make your relationship work no matter what and for the happiness of your amazing kids, this is it; this is what God calls us all to do actually: choosing the sacrificial love. I am so happy to see that it does exist. I am so happy to see that you, as Derek, are people who fight the right fight!! Be richly blessed, Kathleen.

    • m'kenzie tillotson
      Posted at 21:46h, 17 January Reply

      You are much more articulate than I am! After I read your comment I thought, “That’s exactly what I was trying to say!” Thank you for your words.

      • Kathleen HERRGOTT
        Posted at 13:39h, 22 January Reply

        Haha thank you for your encouragement. We are definitely both on the same page when talking about “sacrificial love”. You clearly chose sacrificial love everyday. We see it in your videos and the way you take care of your whole family! Both of you guys actually are great in each role: a respectful wife, a loving husband and both loving and caring parents. This rejoice my heart because it is so important to stick to this in this actual world. Much blessing and wishing you an awesome day!! Kathleen.

  • Duray Yasin
    Posted at 18:55h, 17 January Reply

    This was an absolutely beautiful blog! I could feel the flash of memories you and your husband shared through your writing. Reflection truly is a beautiful exercise. I think it’s when we are reflecting that we truly gain a better understanding of ourself. You guys’ love story is reminds me of my boyfriend and I. We started off similarly with Leonard persistent to get me to say yes. lol And now we live with passion and purpose to make each other happy. The way you wrote about the sensitivity of relationships and how we can be both each other’s strength and weakness can’t be closer to the truth. Gaining that level of trust with a partner is definitely sacred ground, a ground that must be carefully maintained and cared for to keep the relationship blossoming and full of adventure and passion! You guys are truly inspirational!!

  • Hailey
    Posted at 19:02h, 17 January Reply

    The magic is beautiful!
    Love your story <3

  • Claudia Pons
    Posted at 19:04h, 17 January Reply

    This is a real love story, everyone had his or her own story and all are beautiful. Thank you to share with us this magical text. That was awesome ?



  • Renee Campbell
    Posted at 19:06h, 17 January Reply

    Just had a chance to go through your whole website…how cool! I pray for the best for your family and I hope that whoever gets the opportunity to travel with you guys does a wonderful job! This is so exciting and the memories you are creating for your family will never be forgotten!

    Happy 2017, Good Luck! ♥

  • Samantha Lavin
    Posted at 19:15h, 17 January Reply

    Beautiful story ❤️ Keep flying high!

  • Liz Sinclair
    Posted at 19:57h, 17 January Reply

    I love reading your story. My husband and I are about to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. When you find that person, you know they are the right one. And agree, it takes work. Not all the time is rosy. We have done a lot of travels and we laugh because there are some cities in the world where we can name them as our biggest arguments. We hardly ever fight but in Moscow, was one where we disagreed on something and we had a doozy. But we also know about forgiveness and I couldn’t imagine doing life without him. Your adventure sounds wonderful and wish I could be part of it but we will live through it with you eagerly by your posts.m

  • Emily Blackburn
    Posted at 20:18h, 17 January Reply

    Wow, this is a great testimony of making your dreams come true by patiently manifesting them. I have done the same with my life and kept the journals documenting it since I was 10 years old. I have boxes of writing that tell the stories of the places I’ve traveled and people I’ve met. I’m getting close to being ready to write my novel using the most original, humorous, and life-changing memories.
    I become more excited to know you guys better everyday! It’s refreshing to meet others like me that stand apart from the masses, that aren’t afraid to do what truly inspires them, and even do it with a unique and creative style. You have reminded me of so many of the things that I am, inspired me to make videos and slideshows reminding me of my accomplishments thus far, and have even brought me back into recent contact with so many of the families that I have touched in my past! Thank you for being you- it’s helped me to keep being enthusiastic about being me!

    • m'kenzie tillotson
      Posted at 20:43h, 17 January Reply

      The world needs the artists, the lovers, and the dreamers! Stick around

  • Shelley Broome
    Posted at 20:37h, 17 January Reply

    Everything you put out into the universe will manifest itself into reality. Such a lovely story and amazing people!

  • Anne-Charlotte Labonde
    Posted at 21:02h, 17 January Reply

    So inspiring… May you be blessed for having found that balance in your family life. May we all find such peace in ourselves!!

  • Callie Hollander
    Posted at 21:30h, 17 January Reply

    “We bear grave responsibility for the purity of our motives when someone has offered their heart to us. Anyone who stands on that amount of trust stands on holy ground. How you choose to protect that heart should be with a vengeance.”

    What a beautiful reminder of what it looks like to love well deeply. Thank you for sharing your story and reminding us all about the power of love and intention.

  • Rachel lowe
    Posted at 00:49h, 18 January Reply

    What beautiful writing Kenzie!!! And story!

  • Debbie Nanney
    Posted at 01:05h, 18 January Reply

    What a fun, faith filled, family oriented celebration! Many moons ago, we tried to create that same spirit for our sacred union. We are both babies of large families and invited all the children. We had the kids swinging at piñatas. Last year my husband encountered a family who was at our wedding. His daughter loved it so much that she had piñatas at her weddIng. We felt so blest to hear this memorable moment from her. As we attended a funeral this weekend in the same church basement we were married, I witnessed my husband playing hide and seek with my great nieces. It brought such joy to my heart to know that I chose wisely so long ago, someone who values faith, family, and a fun loving spirit!

  • Mary Mildred T. Raboy
    Posted at 05:51h, 18 January Reply

    Yes a very nice Love story you have. Love is a short word, but it contains everything. So it is said that LOVE never Fails. I believed it. Great story.

  • Brianne Baty
    Posted at 09:43h, 18 January Reply

    “Anyone who stands on that amount of trust stands on holy ground.” Such a powerful line! Thank you for sharing your story. Beautiful, just beautiful.

  • Jenny Vazquez
    Posted at 01:13h, 19 January Reply

    This is beautiful. Thank you.

  • Christina Tower
    Posted at 05:37h, 19 January Reply

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and being a voice for the privilege and vulnerabilities of marriage and motherhood.

    Your words remind me of this bit of Lisa Gungor’s song, “From the Ground.”

    “. . .love can happen easily
    but lasts when it’s done purposefully
    it can make a heart feel free
    or captive by it’s boundaries. . .”

    I’m glad you are both working toward making each other’s hearts feel free.

    • Christina Tower
      Posted at 05:40h, 19 January Reply

      I’m such a fan of editing. Bummer this format doesn’t allow for it. I didn’t catch the error in the lyrics. Bless you for ignoring that apostrophe.

  • Grace Boulongne
    Posted at 08:31h, 19 January Reply

    My name is Grace and I’m from France.
    I’ve heard about your story. Actually I’m in a communication school but i’m I am really interested about the job proposition . I have traveled several times in host families in USA and Australia with children, I myself have a small sister of 7 years and cousins ​​of 9, and 6 years, that why i want to try that kind of experience. I love children and I am very autonomous. I do not really know or contact you … so here is my mail: grace.boulongne@gmail.com

  • Elizabeth Cevallos
    Posted at 15:13h, 19 January Reply

    I’m so sad to hear that you are no longer taking applications for your journey. I think I would be a great candidate. A friend told me about your story last night. I am a special education teacher/behavior teacher. I am a divorced 53 years old female. If you ask anyone that knows me, they will tell me that I am a very patient person and just go with the flow. I have a love for children and life. I have never traveled anywhere because I was always committed to my 4 sons, who are now adults. I will never have enough money to be able to travel. I do not have any grandchildren…yet. I speak, read and write Spanish. I also do healing massage. I am an excellent cook and love, love, love cooking. PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU WILL ACCEPT MY RESUME AND APPLICATION…PLEASE!! I know that I am the one for your children.

  • Linda
    Posted at 15:26h, 19 January Reply

    Magical. I am impressed. …

  • Allain arianna
    Posted at 06:36h, 20 January Reply

    My name is Arianna I am 19 years old and soon 20 years in October. I am French, I live in lagny on marne next to Paris. I am in high school because I did not have my exam last year but I would like later to make hotess of the air. My parents are divorced and I live with my mother. I speak a little English. I went two years ago in a family in the United States, I found this family on the internet, writing at school and the family of Los angeles contacted me, my dream is realized, My parents were afraid to let me go but in the end I experienced something unforgettable. I took care of the children, the meal etc … and I am by the same occassion became godmother of the little boy who has just been born. This adventure made me grow.
    I am a caring person, I do not smoke, do not drink, do not go in the evening, I am respectful, attentive, hardworking, funny, warm … My favorite color is pink. I have been playing the piano for 13 years and I love photography. My favorite dish is fish and chips but I also love the pasta. I love cakes and especially sweets.My favorite serie on the TV is Charmed but I also love enormously the animated drawings! I also love making hot chocolates with marshmallows.
    To live this adventure would allow me to meet you, and to meet the whole world, I would like you to trust me to your children, I will know how to bring them love and joy.You could make me grow and I would have to take responsibility. I am probably not perfect and you may have much better candidates than me but I may be something that differentiates me from others I am UNIQUE. I hope to be the one who will have the chance to meet you and love you. It is up to you to make your choice but my heart beats very quickly to the idea of hearing my name as happy elected. Thank you ❤️

  • Grace Boulongne
    Posted at 10:01h, 20 January Reply

    My name is Grace and I’m from France.
    I’ve heard about your story. Actually I’m in a communication school but i’m I am really interested about the job proposition . I have traveled several times in host families in USA and Australia with children, I myself have a small sister of 7 years and cousins ​​of 9, and 6 years, that why i want to try that kind of experience. I love children and I am very autonomous. I do not really know or contact you … so here is my mail: grace.boulongne@gmail.com

  • Grace Boulongne
    Posted at 10:04h, 20 January Reply

    My name is Grace and I’m from France. I’m 18 and and i’ve heard about your story !
    I really want to meet you !
    I want to share your dream !
    Hope to have some messages from you !
    Grace from France

  • Anna Grace Fulmer
    Posted at 04:50h, 22 January Reply

    Thank you for sharing a snapshot of your story! I love how intentional you two seem to be in loving life and each other!

  • kimberly
    Posted at 07:39h, 22 January Reply

    Your love story was amazing and cute to hear. I think its amazing that you had a carnival themed wedding and had a huge Ferris wheel that’s so much fun.
    Such live and faith in each other and God us awesome to see

  • Elisa
    Posted at 07:02h, 26 January Reply

    One of the most beautiful, honest and hopeful definitions of love and relationship I have read!
    Thank you for letting us be part of your beautiful family and the love you share!

  • Astrid
    Posted at 17:42h, 29 January Reply

    Hi family Tillotson !

    My name is Astrid, I’am a French girl, I live in Paris and I am 20 years old.

    I saw your announcement on your blog and I am very interested for taking care of Porter, Beckett and Wren !

    I am in a middle class family, I have one brother who is 21 years old and one sister who is 17 years old.

    In life, I am studying law, economics, management and English to work later in fashion industry.

    My hobbies; I love travelling with my family and with my friends, I love photography, I take a lot of pictures, I like sport; I play tennis and I like running. I love listening music (like One republic, Ed Sheeran, Maroon).

    According to me, travelling is an incredible opportunity!

    I have been looking after children for 6 years old and I have already done babysitting for one week in England in Bath.
    I am very careful with children, I am dynamic, I love playing with them and I love cooking.
    It would be a dream to travel with you and a very great experience for me!

    I speak a little English and my native language is French, Going with you will also allow me to enrich my English.

    I am very serious, I am a trustworthy person and I am very positive person.

    I am looking forwad meeting Porter, Beckett and Wren!

    Thank you for taking your time to read my message. 

  • Kristi June Sagario aka Christy Daniels in Facebook ;)
    Posted at 00:01h, 31 January Reply

    “We bear grave responsibility for the purity of our motives when someone has offered their heart to us. Anyone who stands on that amount of trust stands on holy ground. How you choose to protect that heart should be with a vengeance”
    that was very powerful, love is both a sacred thing and a sacrifice…love means being accountable and faithful, more like a covenant to me 🙂 i am glad that there are relationships that still exists such as this…it inspires me to believe again. God bless your hearts and lifelong journey.

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