I hike through the woods on a crisp morning, listening through my fluffy white ear muffs to the birds singing, the gentle flow of the spring-fed creek below, and the odd squishy crunch of my winter boots on the muddy leaves of the path. This is my alone time with God. The time for me to walk and pray and listen. The time for me to find my peace for the day. It’s an absolutely vital part of the day.
One of my favorite childhood memories is of exploring the woods in the rain. It changes the entire landscape simply by coating it with water. Everything seems brighter, shinier; and there’s a Heaven-like scent in the air. It’s the smell of wet cedars, oaks, pines, maples. It’s therapy of the best kind to be surrounded by the lofty patriarchs who were given to us for our pleasure and use by the hand of God.
I grew up a nature-lover, something I can thank my parents for instilling in me from a young age. Although I went to church school, I spent a lot of time outdoors after school, on weekends, and all summer.
Being outside was just a way of life, a way to relax and refresh, and a place where many childhood adventures were born.
It’s something I want my own children to cherish, not just because I love it, but because our Creator has given us such a gift to be able to know Him and hear His voice through His beautiful works of nature.
Over the past few months we have been striving to focus on God in nature by spending more time outdoors, due to the convictions I shared in this post. It has taken some thought, planning, and much prayer as to how to develop a “curriculum” based on nature from a Biblical standpoint. The main thing we have been striving for is to instill a love for nature, and inherently, nature’s God. I believe the more we understand something, the more we can appreciate its beauty and character. Therefore, we try to make nature a big part of our learning in a living way. While not an all-inclusive list, these are a few ideas that have helped us connect with nature, have more compassion for all things living, pay closer attention to God in nature, and relish our time outdoors.
This past week, I sent out a challenge to the A Living Education Facebook group and Instagram followers…who would join me in remembering God’s faithfulness in keeping His promises by sharing nature pics in the colors of the rainbow each day? The response was fantastic! Not only are there beautiful nature pictures from around the world, but families had a goal and purpose for getting outside in nature with their children to seek out God’s treasures.
Each day, a different color was given along with the Biblical significance of the color…the colors of nature, the colors of God.
Last week we started studying Responsibility. It went along with my son's chosen topic- astronauts- since astronauts have to be carry a lot of responsibilities to be able to fly in space. Of course, my daughter wasn't interested at all in astronauts, so she decided to look into cooking...which tied in nicely with our responsibility theme in learning how to cook healthfully.
A couple of months ago, a few things happened sort of all at once: the washing machine quit working, our van broke down, and my husband's computer went kaput. Ouch!
So, what do you do when a lot of big expenses need your attention? Start with the one thing you need the most and make do with the rest. In other words, since we are a one-car family, and my husband makes a living doing computer work, a new washing machine had to wait.
I've struggled for a couple of years now to get into a good morning devotional routine. I'd set my alarm, get up early, then wouldn't really be sure what to study. A devotional book wasn't enough, though very inspirational...I just really craved a deep personal Bible study. Yet though I was raised a Christian, I wasn't sure how to dive in again...
This week we studied orderliness along with the stars, planets, and seasons.Noah was our inspirational Bible character who demonstrated orderliness in building the ark according to God's specifications.
My daughter wasn't too interested in studying astronomy, so she looked for books about how to take care of babies. Something that also requires orderliness (in theory-ha!).
Over the past three weeks we have been studying compassion for our character trait and have explored several different aspects of it including Jonah and God's compassion toward Ninevah, Tabitha (Dorcas) and sewing for others, and Joseph's compassion toward his brothers in Egypt. We also studied compassion toward animals and how animals have compassion toward humans with many great animal hero stories to go along with it.
We continued with Character First's studies on compassion, which can be found here. We also have been working on learning the hymn, "Take My Life", from Hymns for a Kid's Heart. We do one stanza per week.