photo credit: Danielle Morales (injoy photography)
I can’t remember the first time I visited but the place has left an impression on me. Deer Path is the name of a plot of land owned by my husband’s family 10 miles from our home. It is scenic and peaceful. Full of old oak trees, Deer Path is the perfect place for a picnic or a quiet nature walk. Included in the 100+ acres is a small, old fashioned cabin with power run by generator. The bathroom is an outhouse. We have had Survivor campouts, bonfires, and family photos on this land. The kids love it when my husband takes us on Kubota rides through the low branches. (The memories are not all rosy–our dog, Samson, came back from a romp at Deer Path full of ticks and we recently got scared by a close sighting of a coyote.)
Since learning more about the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling I have been excited about nature walks. Charlotte Mason recommended that children spend a good amount of time outdoors every day–we’re talking 4-5 hours! I have recently started her first volume on the philosophy of education, Home Education. This is what she says about nature knowledge,
“Let [young children] once get touch with Nature, and a habit is formed which will be a source of delight through life. We were all meant to be naturalists, each in his degree, and it is inexcusable to live in a world so full of the marvels of plant and animal life and to care for none of these things.”
(Home Education, pg 61)
I am looking forward to many nature walks in the spirit of Charlotte Mason this year. We will be able to take walks with my husband’s grandparents who have owned the property for years. We may even see some deer walking in their paths. I only regret that my Grandpa Mitchell can’t join us. He passed away nearly 25 years ago but was a big part of my childhood. I have fond memories of his plentiful garden, backyard creek (he pronounced it ‘crick’) and all the names for trees and plants that he knew. I would love to be a practical naturalist like him someday and pass on that wisdom to my children. May this year’s nature walks be “a source of delight” through their life and mine!
I have always been one to think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. I can remember as a high school student thinking that life would be so much easier, better, etc. once I was in college. Then, of course, once I was in college I thought life would be better once I graduated and got married. Each stage I have been in I have longed for the next stage. This bad habit even continued to when I had children. Nora was the sweetest, happiest little baby! She slept through the night early, ate like a champ, and made me so happy to be a mommy. But I was worried because she wasn’t walking at 15 months. Or 16 months. I couldn’t just relax and enjoy the stage she was in. Instead I worried that something was wrong. And I compared her to the other babies I knew her age and younger who had been walking and running for months. I’m pretty sure God put me through that experience in preparation for having Charlie. I have been forced to slow down and enjoy each stage and celebrate each worked for milestone. I know things won’t come as easy for him as other babies. Thankfully he has a mom and three sisters who make great cheerleaders for him! Charlie has been crawling for a few months now. He actually beat one of his sisters in how quickly he learned to crawl. And I see standing, surfing, and walking in the near horizon. But really I just want to sit back and relax and not worry about the milestones and ages that he does each thing. If I am anxious about each stage I will once again be thinking the grass is greener on the other side instead of focusing on my little boy today.
30-33 “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.” (Matthew 6:30-33 MSG)
It may be different to start my first blog post this way but it’s something that was on my mind today. Have any of you read Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Anne Hoberman? It is a book I had recommended to me by Sarah Mackenzie of The Read Aloud Revival. At first I was turned off by the title but after I got a copy from our library, my girls and I fell in love with it! The story is about a growing family and the single food item that each child insists on having. Trying to please everyone the mother goes to great effort to make each child just what they want. Some of these requests are very specific! Well, you will have to read the book for yourself to see how it ends but this is the page in particular that brought tears to my eyes. At the beginning of the book, the mother was seen playing the cello for her husband and first baby. Throughout the book she is so busy pleasing all of her children and their unique food requests that she has not time to play the cello anymore. As you can see all of the children are working together to make food together. At first glance I couldn’t spot their mother. Do you see her? She’s at the edge of the page playing her cello! She’s doing what she loves for the people she loves and it looks to me like she’s really getting into the music. I just love that she’s in the same room as them but doing something she loves.
So often as moms we let other things get in the way of doing what we love. We think we have to do everything for our kids. We think we have to be all things to all people. But we don’t! (I’m totally speaking to myself here too). We need to do things that we love for our sanity. I’ve been trying to do this myself lately with finding more time for my favorite hobby: reading.
What is one of your hobbies? Have you let it get put on the back burner lately?