Take a hike.
Metaphorically speaking, I've wrangled up a few things in life lately and told them "Take a hike"….instead, focusing on letting my pile of good things grow. After realizing I was once again feeling so wounded, left out and less than…the lightbulb went off. God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. I can change my world and that of the people around me, simply by what I'm letting myself dwell on. The cold, hard facts are that we will get left out by others, our dreams might not play out like we thought, and however tiny they may be, life will hand us disappointments. But it doesn't mean we have to gather all those things up and wallow in them!
When I clothe myself with joy and guard my thoughts with the good things of the Lord (and there are always good things of God), I'm a happier mama, wife, friend, and minister. So the last few weeks I've told my unhappy triggers to take a hike. Facebook news feeds, the scale, IG accounts (other peoples, not mine-lol)…anything that was triggering a lesser version of myself I just quit. Even fear. I've been so afraid lately to type anything from the heart for fear it will be taken the wrong way. But I'll start with these paragraphs today.
Literally speaking, we took ourselves for a hike today! I am very much enjoying having a few days a week to stay at home all day long. Is this a thing of the past? Not for us. We love to have days that stretch for miles where we are free to bake, read, and roam.
Anna Ruth very excitedly paired these clothes together for her outfit. I don't think it could have been any more adorable if she had tried.
"Are the woods scary?" she apprehensively asked me. "Oh no!" I quickly responded and then went on to explain the woods are a place full of hidden treasures. Things you don't find elsewhere.
And off we went. There's a big holler behind our house that I used to walk up and down and then back again to build the barbed-wire fence when I was pregnant with Anna Ruth. I haven't taken the girls down to the holler by myself yet because they've been too little. Today was the day for trying new, brave things. Anna Ruth walked and held my hand and I held Betsy Grace on my hip. (God bless my hips…I finally have a huge appreciation for them!)
(this looks like a city skyline to me…makes me want to write a children's story about it)
I like to teach the little girls things that might seem silly or meaningless but are actually some of the big things in life. Like how to walk in the woods! After all, your feet are a bit topsy-turvy, turning this way and that. There might be thorn bushes you could catch yourself on, and rushing is usually not a good idea.
On the flip side, there are fantastic fossils, colorful berries, crunchy leaves, brightly colored patches of moss, twigs and sticks, patterns galore, and adventure waiting to be be found in the woods. I taught Anna Ruth to hold tightly to my hand and walk slowly. Every so often we would stop walking and look around to find the best path to continue on. I gave her constant reminders and encouragement like "Step over that branch, and "You are doing great!" if her feet started to wobble. Most importantly I never, ever let go of her hand, reminding her that I was right there and she was ok.
Of course we had to bring a bag along because you just never know what you might find.
I carried Betsy Grace and she did okay as long as she was being held. She didn't care for being set down in the woods which made things a bit tricky. Let's just say I got a very good workout trying to lug her around.
When we came to the last uphill climb I knew there was no way I could hold Betsy Grace and Anna Ruth's hand the entire way so I left Anna Ruth sitting in the woods on this fallen tree. I took turns getting one girl back up to the yard at a time. I thought Anna Ruth just looked precious, simply precious sitting here.
This is her proud, big smile when you ask "Anna, can you smile?"
Adventure, bravery, being in the outdoors, laughing, discovering, questioning…
we're letting our pile of good things grow.