Our daily nature walks bring renewal, peace and a deep love of nature.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

There is nothing like a cool breeze, an early dampness in the air, and feet on dew-wet gravel.  We are so blessed to live in a small country 'town' (can't even be considered a town, really) that happens to be nestled along a large stream that flows from a breath-taking waterfall.  The stream is full of dips, turns, spattered rocks and a lush green landscape lines every side.  Toads, frogs, fish and all kinds of wonderful little creatures are always waiting to be discovered. 

The sun beams off the crystal waters and when we take our daily walks along this paradise I wonder what I did to deserve this?


Join us...

A river runs through it...

Muddy Puppy.

Trying and trying to choose the narrow path...


Just follow the root-lined road...

The morning view - peace, serenity.



Little "Huck" as my Mom calls him...

Wet bums and mucky feet - dress code for our family. :)


Nature has a way of calming children and adults alike.  The flowing waters, the chirping birds, the croak of a fat toad, the melancholy song of the Mourning Doves across the water - all God's perfects gifts for the easy, sweet surrender of the soul.   It is God's music, the natural world, and it has an unexplainable power to call to us, reach out to us, and beg us to stay, basking in His creation - the way it was meant to be.

I encourage you, if you don't already, commit to getting your family deeply in nature DAILY.  Every.  single.  day.  We choose to spend at least an hour by the water every day we can.  If we're not at the water, we're out at the park or biking on trails or simply enjoying our backyard.  I'd say I watch the clock and ensure a good healthy 3-5 hours of outdoor time during the day, but I don't have to.  I have to chase our children inside the house!   Children thrive in the great outdoors.  It calms them, opens their hearts to God's creation and does wonders for the pace and peace of family life.  And yes, we follow Charlotte Mason's teachings on this topic.

I've also found our time in nature to have an overwhelmingly positive affect on my parenting and ability to cope with stress.  When I'm looking up at blue skies and breathing in misty air beside rushing waters, I am renewed.  Completely renewed.  I whisper thanks for all I have - for the serenity and safety of my days and for the gift of creation, our children, our love for each other.  I walk away a new person MANY days.


Some wonderful quotes about nature that inspire me to instill this love of the outdoors in our children:

I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.  
~John Muir, 1913

God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars.  ~Author unknown, commonly attributed to Martin Luther
 
Adopt the pace of nature:  her secret is patience.  
~Ralph Waldo Emerson 

I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.  
~George Washington Carver

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.  ~Kahlil Gibran

I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.  
~E.E. Cummings 

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.  ~John Muir

To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug.  ~Helen Keller

  


 

 

Our daily nature walks bring renewal, peace and a deep love of nature.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

There is nothing like a cool breeze, an early dampness in the air, and feet on dew-wet gravel.  We are so blessed to live in a small country 'town' (can't even be considered a town, really) that happens to be nestled along a large stream that flows from a breath-taking waterfall.  The stream is full of dips, turns, spattered rocks and a lush green landscape lines every side.  Toads, frogs, fish and all kinds of wonderful little creatures are always waiting to be discovered. 

The sun beams off the crystal waters and when we take our daily walks along this paradise I wonder what I did to deserve this?


Join us...

A river runs through it...

Muddy Puppy.

Trying and trying to choose the narrow path...


Just follow the root-lined road...

The morning view - peace, serenity.



Little "Huck" as my Mom calls him...

Wet bums and mucky feet - dress code for our family. :)


Nature has a way of calming children and adults alike.  The flowing waters, the chirping birds, the croak of a fat toad, the melancholy song of the Mourning Doves across the water - all God's perfects gifts for the easy, sweet surrender of the soul.   It is God's music, the natural world, and it has an unexplainable power to call to us, reach out to us, and beg us to stay, basking in His creation - the way it was meant to be.

I encourage you, if you don't already, commit to getting your family deeply in nature DAILY.  Every.  single.  day.  We choose to spend at least an hour by the water every day we can.  If we're not at the water, we're out at the park or biking on trails or simply enjoying our backyard.  I'd say I watch the clock and ensure a good healthy 3-5 hours of outdoor time during the day, but I don't have to.  I have to chase our children inside the house!   Children thrive in the great outdoors.  It calms them, opens their hearts to God's creation and does wonders for the pace and peace of family life.  And yes, we follow Charlotte Mason's teachings on this topic.

I've also found our time in nature to have an overwhelmingly positive affect on my parenting and ability to cope with stress.  When I'm looking up at blue skies and breathing in misty air beside rushing waters, I am renewed.  Completely renewed.  I whisper thanks for all I have - for the serenity and safety of my days and for the gift of creation, our children, our love for each other.  I walk away a new person MANY days.


Some wonderful quotes about nature that inspire me to instill this love of the outdoors in our children:

I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.  
~John Muir, 1913

God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars.  ~Author unknown, commonly attributed to Martin Luther
 
Adopt the pace of nature:  her secret is patience.  
~Ralph Waldo Emerson 

I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.  
~George Washington Carver

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.  ~Kahlil Gibran

I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.  
~E.E. Cummings 

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.  ~John Muir

To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug.  ~Helen Keller

  


 

 

Age.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

(This post was written for Five Minute Friday over at The Gypsy Mom with the inspiration word "older")

When I think of getting older, I think 'aging'.  The word makes it sound more graceful, more welcome.  Age is inevitable.  It is one of the true God-ordained constants.  I age, my husband ages, my children age, the earth ages - everything grows older, everything dies.  It just is.

The Pop-culture world would have us believe age is ugly, unatractive, something to be avoided at all costs.  We shop for new faces, hair colors, and identities.  We replace all things old with shiny new ones.  We place less and less value on the ancient, the wise, the weathered.  Wrinkles are imperfections.  Years behind us mean nothing if not accompanied by a lingering desirability far beyond our natural timeline.


We desperately strive to look younger and younger, flawlessness marketed as attainable.  Botox treatments, plastic surgery, age-defying creams and lasers, the beauty industry... all more popular now than they've ever been.  Billions of dollars are spent on the attempt to defy age.  We're willing to cut open our faces - and stretch our very skin - to simply look younger.  Because to be younger is to be more valuable.  The world has turned.  There's been an unhealthy switch.  The lust for the flawless, ageless face is a deep, dangerous one that goes against the truth that age should be wisdom and highly respected.  

And in this anti-aging quest, do we not discredit our growth?  Our journey?  The coming of us?  When we erase age, in essence, we erase the truth of our past days.

I'm 28.  A baby to many, but "OH, my goodness, ALMOST 30!!!" to me.  Well, I've changed my mind.  I won't fear aging.  I say, bring it on.  Every laugh line on my face is a sign of the deep joy I've soaked up in this life.  The days of sunshine bliss and belly laughs.  The days of seeing first steps and hearing first words.  The days of warm fires and hallow woods.

Stretch marks from babies grown in my womb are love scars woven deeply into my physical skin but deeper still into the frabric of who I am.  Those scars changed everything.  Those scars saved me.  I would never will them gone.

Every frown line, every single one, reminds me of the struggles I've faught through.  The tears cried; broken heart aching over hard times or loved ones lost.  Over things I cannot change and things I had to change about myself.  The stress and the hard days when I could do nothing else but call desperately to God for help.  For a life line.  And the creases on my face - reminders He is always there.  Though life remains imperfect, He remains Truth and always present.  Always.  Through the lines, the scars, the births, and the growth. 




Grandma with our first baby...




My Grandpa with two of our children - 88 years old, how I love and cherish him.

In my life, I'm embracing age.  Not rejecting it.  Not trying to reverse it or resist it.  I want to cherish age - respect those who've walked this earth longer than I - and teaching our children to do the same.  Loving age in myself and accepting aging as a God-ordained progression through this crazy ride called life.  Knowing, hoping, praying, I'm heading towards something even more amazing than what I've been gifted with here.








Books and your family's Spiritual Health

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I’ve often heard it said, “I don’t care what he’s reading, as long as HE’S READING.”   I couldn’t disagree more.    

Better your child not read at all than read books boiling over with destructive messages poured right into the mind and heart.

Whether it’s books, television, video games, movies – every medium delivers a strong message either subliminal or direct. If we believe the Bible is Truth, than we must agree, we “do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” ( Eph.6:10)

Join me at The Better Mom to read more...



Finding my Center in the Middle of It All

Monday, August 15, 2011

I was featured over at Joyful Mothering today with a post about finding peace in the middle of the daily craziness which is often the life of a stay-at-home or Homeschooling Mom. 

Click HERE for the Post!






Fostering a Love of Reading: Our Little Library...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I'm in love with books.  We have hundreds - no, possibly thousands.  I love them so much I've worked at Bookstores and sell books and promote literacy with Usborne.

I desperately want to foster a love of reading in our children.  Already, all three adore books of all kinds - and would sit for hours listening to tales, were it possible.  But I've heard so many stories from parents of children who have a great start and then somewhere along the line (usually about age 7-8, especially for boys) their kids just stopped having an interest in reading of any kind.  I think a lot of this has to do with Media exposure (which is a WHOLE other post), but much can also have to do with the wrong reading materials being presented, a lack of books in the home, a lack of example shown by parents and role models, struggles reading, or bad experiences in school or elsewhere, among others.

So, I'm doing everything I can to nurture their love of reading.  Lately, I've been very out of "love" with our upstairs hallway (even after renovating it).  So, after reading a post by a good friend, highlighting a gorgeous home library on a stairwell landing, I was inspired!

Now, mind you, our humble "library" boasts far fewer books and we're kind of missing the leather chairs and rolling ladder 'feel' - but, our kids ADORE it, and I'm loving the great use of space in our tiny country home.  This is nowhere near all our titles, but it is a nice selection of both fiction and non-fiction that I thought suited 'bed time' reading and didn't fall into our Curriculum categories for this coming year (they've been shelved separately downstairs).  Sometimes, it's great to offer choice, but not completely overwhelm, which is what I think they were before, looking at almost 800 books on one big book case.



PICS:


BEFORE -




AFTER -  
(Sorry the pictures seem blurry, not sure why, 
I took them late tonight and couldn't get them perfect, but, you get the idea!)






Now, right at the top of our landing (where the kids' rooms are are to the left, our room and the upstairs bathroom sit on the right) there's this lovely use of space that intrigues our children to browse books and pick out a favourite every time they pass by.  Also, it shows them the value we place on reading and books in our home and that it's fun and encouraged to "heart" books!  They are ecstatic to have their own "Library" and I feel fuzzy inside that they love this so much.

 Do any of you have your own home "Library"?  I'd love to see pictures and hear your stories!


Blessings and Love,

Cassandra
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