Did you know that children exposed to the natural world showed increases in self-esteem? It also unleashes their creativity. (Be still my beating heart!) (The Nature Fix)
Adults also experience wonderful benefits from being exposed to nature. Studies have found that invisible chemicals called phytoncides in some trees can reduce stress hormones, lower anxiety, and improve blood pressure and immunity. (Who doesn’t need more of that? In know that I do!) Or get this – many – many studies show that we heal faster in hospitals, or have more energy and better cognitive abilities at work, when we have a view of nature instead of urban settings like a/c units and other buildings. (The Nature Fix)
I know that I talk and write about my love of nature almost as much as I do of my love of Jesus. I am quite aware that I can be pretty evangelical about both! (I can’t help it – Jesus and nature are huge passions for me.)
As often as possible I try to practice what I preach. I want/hope Jack and William will eat lots of fruit and vegetables – so I eat lots of fruit and vegetables. I don’t want my sons to drink (much) soda – so I quit drinking soda. (And breaking that particular addiction was hard – so very – very HARD!) I wish that my neighbors would recycle – so I recycle. I wish that everyone would just wear a mask to protect others – so I wear a mask when I venture forth into the world. I think that getting out into nature is good for your soul – so I try to get out into nature a lot.
Sometimes nature means a wander through our garden or around my flower beds at home. Other times nature time might mean sitting on our back step delighting in the beauty of our oak tree and my wild sons on their trampoline. But – my favorite times are when Jason and I pack a backpack or two and gather the McFarland sons for a nature adventure. I do like to really immerse myself in nature.
This Monday evening after everyone got off work the family voted unanimously to head back to Broadrun Park to the Floyds Fork River. We had so much fun there last week that a repeat trip was called for as soon as all of the working McFarlands’ schedules could be alligned.
Once again – it was absolutely – positively gorgeous. I find this particular spot of our fair city truly enchanting – probably because it doesn’t look anything at all like it is anywhere near a city. I am not really a big fan of cities (not a big surprise there I am guessing).
We didn’t have a plan for our evening. We all just felt the call of the wild. All four of us simply knew deep in our hearts that we needed to be really and truly outside. More outside than our backyard and garden could provide.
One of the best parts of heading into nature for me is that if I pack a well provisioned backpack (plenty of snacks are always a must with two boys who are growing at the speed of light) then we can just roll with it and usually for hours on end.
And roll with it we did on Monday evening. We simply took the time to delight in a beautiful August evening.
We delighted in our God’s creation.
We watched the sun sparkle and shine through the trees. If you haven’t ever done this – you really should give it a try. It is fascinating!
Will played in the river again. And Jack kept him company.
Jack and I collected river glass (as one does).
Jason thought about reading his book – but I don’t think it ever came out of the backpack.
We wandered and meandered.
We saw an actual water snake in the river and watched it for a very long time = so fascinating!
Jack and Will caught crawdads.
I looked at the clouds and the sky and butterflies.
Jack skipped more stones.
I talked Jason’s ear off – because that’s what I do best!
We enjoyed summer and nature and one another. (The enjoying each other bit is something I never take for granted. Peaceful relationships are a blessing I never – ever – ever take lightly or for granted! We are a “real” family with “real” children after all! There are days when we annoy the heck out of each other!!!)
These were some of our God’s sightings this week. Where have you seen God’s presence in your life this week?
This is our family’s way of seeking God’s presence. How does YOUR family seek God’s presence?
You are all in my heart, thoughts, and prayers.
In Christ and with Love –