Hiking

Yesterday, my husband, all five kids and I went hiking. A “rugged” trail of 2.3 miles. Overlooking the Ohio River with amazing views (making me upset that I didn’t bring the camera) and really steep climbs and lots of fun. All three little ones had a really good nap and we had tacos before we headed out.  So, while we were hiking the kids were amazing. They chattered, ran, played, explored and there was not one peep of complaint- unless it was in the form of asking for a break. They only really needed that because of all the running back and forth that they did.

It was a beautiful day too, never reaching higher than 82* and a slight breeze and not a cloud in the sky. I hiked 2.3 miles and never broke a sweat. I guess you could say that I didn’t push it enough, but I was… and I am feeling it this morning to prove it. It was just one of those days that begs for you to be outdoors, and do something.

I don’t know about you but we are finding it incredibly interesting that the kids just don’t want to do anything, that we have to beg them to go outside. That our energy and fun that we had outside as kids is completely lost on our kids. Philip says that when he was a kid he was always outside and always begging to go places and do things, now we beg our kids to go outside and do something. What’s wrong with this picture?

I won’t divulge into what I believe the reasons are… and they are many, but I just want to find a way to cure it- other than smashing the t.v.’s, gaming systems, and computers in the house!

Technically all that talk of the kids is a bunny trail to what I really wanted to post about. Oh well.

While hiking with the kids I was given a beautiful and complete vision of my walk with Christ. I know that there are plenty of examples and that this might not be original, but it was so vivid in my hike that I just can’t help but share it with you.

When hiking there are places that fully represent a human life.

Steep portions that are hard on the body and mind as you try not to give up because you don’t know if you are going to make it. You climb, placing one foot in front of the other and try to remember to breathe.  Breathe, step, repeat. This is the process until you get to the easier parts. As I was climbing I kept thinking of the trials and losses, pain and destruction in our hearts and minds that take our breath away and make us wonder if we are going to make it. One time I looked up and there was my husband, in all of his goodness, reaching down and waiting to help me. What a beautiful representation of what our Lord does for us. Hand extended, kind eyes, filled with patience and expecting to help us through these incredibly hard times.

This hike was then followed by cliff like trail that forced us to look where we were walking, tree roots sticking up waiting to trip us, rocks forming steps, and many other simple but easy trip-ups. If you don’t look, you fall. During this portion I was always holding a child’s hand. I didn’t carry them, I just held their hand. So that if they should trip, there would be no major fall… a scrape maybe, but not a painful and dangerous fall. Can you see the beauty of that? In my life I don’t always need to be carried, but I do need a hand, a security line, a savior to keep me from major and dangerous falls. I need to pay attention to the path, not look around and be distracted, but if I hold that hand, and keep a lookout, I’ll be just fine.

There were rocky paths downhill that hurt my feet even with shoes on. Slippery too, if it were wet- we would have been in trouble. One wrong step and you wouldn’t be walking down the path, you would be sliding down it. I hate going downhill. I have bad memories of doing just that and having crowds of people laughing at me when I did it. I made it down, i just had to go slow. Much to the annoyance of my kids. Their only speed is fast and don’t understand slow- or careful.

This description makes it sound so incredibly tough, and you might be wondering why we took five kids on it. But in truth, it wasn’t that bad… I just don’t have that much agility. But it does make for an awesome analogy. At least my clumsiness is good for something.

There were other portions too… an easy end to the trail that allowed us to stroll, play and enjoy the beauty… and there were portions up in the trail that allowed me to see such beauty as to capture words like: incredible, amazing and pure gorgeousness. We watched the sun fall behind the trees, saw a waterfall and bridge set deep into the woods and watched the boats, ski-dos and fishermen on the river. The beauty was astounding and so incredible that it is so close to where we live.

But that’s just it. There is beauty all around us. I’m sure during the steep climbs, and narrow, dangerous path there was beauty- I was just too focused on what was at my feet to see it. During the pain there is beauty, during life there is beauty… it just depends on what we are looking at.

I should end it on that note… a challenge to find the beauty. But, I was just so proud of myself for not only making it through the trail, but resting only minimally. I made it through all the obstacles, I walked with extra energy at the end. I was literally dancing with pride when I made it back to the van. (I say I, because the kids called it quits about .3 miles away from the van- so I went and got it) Life isn’t as easily laid out as this hiking picture describes, but it does follow some of it. Mixed in with laughter, monotony, responsibility, joys, giddiness, and so much more.

I am so thankful for a husband that loves the outdoors and wants me along for the fun. It pushes me. Challenges me. And in the end might even change how I look at things. I have discovered many things thanks to him- I love hiking, tennis, and my love of football is even greater!

I love it when I get a lesson in life- through an ordinary, family activity.

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Everyday

Everyday life… doldrums, monotony, routine, same ole’ same ole… there really isn’t much excitement in the everyday life. Or is there?

I’ve been thinking about a lot of things lately. Having 5 kids has made my life much more stressful… just the noise levels are enough to do that. But the amount of food, laundry, time (how do you give every kid the amount of time they all desire?) as a result, I’ve been looking for ways to take the stress levels out.

The routine of life helps, get up, get AJ off to school, get breakfast, dress and get going with the day. But the best thing to combat stress? Sleep. I know it sounds so obvious… but it’s true. I’ve been having a lot of trouble sleeping- bad dreams, and just a rough time sleeping. BUT last night I slept. Like really slept. For the first time in a long time… it was wonderful.

Second best thing… looking for the joys in life. First things- Cam’s first time washing her hair by “herself” and watching the joy of accomplishment. Anders first time cleaning a whole room by himself- seeing delight in his face in the praise. Both of them “helping” me before and after dinner- we all loved that. And Levi’s first words- NO, Stop, baby, daddy, mommy, bubby, and a few others. AJ’s first days of school coming home with big grins on his face. And Tyler enjoying some much needed/ desired time with Philip.

I find things funny, like teasing the kids and watching them respond… and then tease me. I like watching the wrestling and play with all 7 of us piled on. I like hearing laughter as the kids play. I like watching them cheer for each other when we play games. I like holding and loving the pictures they draw… and I like watching them do the chore list and feeling so proud of themselves.

Everyday can be boring, but it can also be full of blessings and simple joys. Depends on your perspective 🙂

What does yours look like?Image