Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

Thankfully, I pulled an old volume of Miss Mason’s from my bookshelf just in time for her to impart much needed snippets of wisdom into my days…

People who live in the country know the value of fresh air very well,

and their children live out of doors,

with intervals within for sleeping and eating.

~Charlotte Mason, Home Education, Vol 1, p.42

We have enjoyed an especially Spring-like winter here in the South. It was quite a joy for us to avoid the usual lull of being cooped up indoors during cold temps. I realize that all of the seasons have something special to offer and that many people enjoy the cozy-ness of winter. However, in our house, it only takes a couple of rainy days or a week or two of winter weather to leave us feeling quite cooped up! I love it when things allow for ‘living out of doors’ again…

Charlotte goes on to say…

In the first place, do not send them;

if it is any way possible, take them…

Despite the delightful, sunny days, I had found myself in a rut.

A pattern had developed of the children heading outside after our lessons were over to play for hours…most days until supper time (or until a passionate, brotherly disagreement disrupted things!). I found myself inside working on this or that. I would do some laundry or dust or look over bills or other paperwork. Our doors and windows were wide open so I could keep a close eye on the boys while I toiled away. They are 9 and 10 now, and they are not at a loss to find things to do together whether I am out or not. Still, I quickly found myself struggling between longing to be out with them and needing to tend to things indoors. While certain things do require my attention and are necessary to be done, I had forgotten about how necessary the habit of being out of doors was to my well-being and to my relationship with my boys.

Leave it to Charlotte to gently remind me…

In recent days, you can find me out with them for half hour increments or so pushing them on the tire swing…slipping away for an hour to walk down to the creek and hide in the woods…simply sitting at the picnic table with a book or notebook…or maybe just digging leaves out of flower beds…some of my most beloved things with two of my favorite people!

With the help of Miss Mason’s timely reminders, I’m back to not just ‘sending’ my sweet boys out, but ‘taking’ them out. It’s important. It has always been a priority…when they were babies, toddlers, preschoolers, as well as now…and really, it always will be for us.


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As soon as he is able to keep it himself, a nature-diary is a source of delight to a child.

~Charlotte Mason (Vol 1, II,  p.54 )

My nature journal has actually become much more of a delight to me in the past 9 months.

After I read through “Keeping A Nature Journal” by Clare Walker Leslie, I found (without sounding too dramatic) a new “freedom” regarding my nature journaling. I am also becoming a better observer and lingering longer over the things that capture my interest. My pages are now adorned with a rudimentary sketch, questions, observations, and even some personal thoughts or “poetic” words. All in all, I think the most profound thing, is that my nature journal has actually become my own.

For some time, I had trouble defining the purpose of nature journaling. I sort of crave the need to identify and/or know the purpose behind many of the things I’m doing or pursuing (don’t judge me :)). One day while reading, this set off the tuning fork within in me as it put into words what I hadn’t been able to do for myself….

Simply put, nature journaling is the regular recording of observations, perceptions, and feelings about the natural world (God’s vast creation) around you.

~CWL, parenthesis mine

Another thing I had to overcome was my negativity toward my own inability to sketch or draw things well. Really, it’s quite the deficit I have! However, now I have this written in my journal to keep me from being discouraged on the topic….

Don’t judge your drawing. You are not an artist. You are a scientist, simply recording what you see, in this moment in time.


Ahhh, sweet liberty! I can’t read those words often enough.

One last thing that has really brought about the a fore mentioned “freedom” is in regard to how to record in a nature journal I have come to realize…

…the recording can be done in a wide variety of ways…some people prefer to record in written prose or poetry…some do it through drawing or painting, others with photographs or tape recordings, and still others through musical notation…


Charlotte Mason suggests that we are all “born naturalists” (Vol 1, II,  p.58). I am inclined to heartily agree. I hope the naturalist in you finds delight in keeping a nature journal of your very own!

Oh! To be a child again

With wonder in my eyes,

To pick the golden buttercups

And chase the butterflies.

Oh! To be a child again

Climbing a gently sloping hill,

To watch the world awaken

And hear the whipporwill.

Oh! To be a child again

Running in the sun-warm breeze,

To kiss alive the blossoms

And watch unfolding leaves.

~Nora Norton

Check here for a chance to win your own copy of the wonderful, practical,

and all-around-amazing-book “Keeping  A Nature Journal” by Clare Walker Leslie

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Bird-Lovin’ Bug


I have an absolute adulation for birds.

I love to sit outside and watch them.

I love to capture them with my camera.

I love to put seed near the window so that I can observe them more closely.

I love to hear them.

I love to *try* and draw them.

I love reading about them.

I love their personalities.



I’m often up to somethin’ related to birds

(thankfully my family enjoys them too!)

…so, I was excited to see my grandparents had the

most recent issue of

(I “borrowed” it from them:)

I found some great ideas on types of flowers

to plant this Spring in order to provide seed in a more natural way.

Yes, I’ve already bought my seed packets!

Birds+Flowers=Giddy Momma!



The ‘bird thing’ all started for me about 2 and half years ago.

Birds was a topic one week in an old homeschool curriculum we had used.

My oldest son and I got hooked.

I’ve never been the same.

I’ve become the biggest bird-nerd of all in our house.


I notice them everywhere I go.

I stop everything (even when it’s not the most convenient time in the world) to catch a glimpse of one of these babies!

I mean, for goodness sake…LOOK at em’!

Birds are just one of countless exhibitions in nature that feature the artistry of The Creator.

When I read this today, I thought of birds:

“God adds distinct and beautiful touches to each thing He makes.

His energy and creativity are without measure.”

~Bob Schultz


Go ahead…catch the Bird-Lovin’-Bug! I dare ya!



High From the Earth I Heard A Bird

by: Emily Dickinson


High from the earth I heard a bird;
He trod upon the trees
As he esteemed them trifles,
And then he spied a breeze,
And situated softly
Upon a pile of wind
Which in a perturbation
Nature had left behind.
A joyous-going fellow
I gathered from his talk,
Which both of benediction
And badinage partook,
Without apparent burden,
I learned, in leafy wood
He was the faithful father
Of a dependent brood;
And this untoward transport
His remedy for care, —
A contrast to our respites.
How different we are!


What’s your favorite outdoor treasure????


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Pink Snowshoes

Each morning, as I strap on my snowshoes, I am  reminded.  Reminded of my nephew at twelve years of age — the same brink-of-manhood-age as Jesus when he sat among the teachers of the temple in Jerusalem, astounding them with his understanding.   One snowy day two years ago,  with the phone drawing us close despite the 1,200 miles that stretched achingly between us, my nephew listened to his aunt tell a story of how she had longed for snowshoes since childhood.

Some days later a box arrived with pink snowshoes and a card saying simply: Love, Santa.  Pink!  I ecstatically called my sister, asking if they were from her.  Receiving a negative response,  I turned to my mother and then my husband but got the same reply.   Befuddled, I called my sister again and pressed.  Choking back tears, she told me how her son — her twelve.year.old.son — had so carefully pondered each selection in the outdoor catalog then, taking his own money, set out to fulfill his aunt’s dream of long ago.

I strap on these pink snowshoes and they take me places.  They take me past the woodshed…

and I am led to the place where fox tracks meet up with a rabbit’s.  Following until sure of an escape, I contemplate the time when the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat

and I come to a cathedral under the pine branches – heavy with snow and weighed to the ground.  A place of silence where I can be still and know that He is God.

Each morning, as I strap on my snowshoes, I am reminded.  Reminded of my nephew who, foregoing any thought of thanksgiving due him, had determined a secret giver would only add to the excitement awaiting me.  With that one fell swoop, he unwittingly proved that Jim and Della from O. Henry’s The Gift of the Magi have nothing in the generosity department on him.

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Photo Credit

The wonder of it all.

Why is it as a mother that I find it so easy to skip over the wonder and live in the mundane?  I mean, the world around us is truly amazing. God’s creation is truly. amazing. It is right in front of us for the seeing, for the taking in.  It doesn’t matter where you live, there is never an absence of wonder to be had.  But it takes stopping, slowing, and seeing.

This last weekend, my family and I spent the weekend in a village here in Indonesia.  I love being surrounded by jungle and I have never in my life seen butterflies as big as the ones in the village.  Quite literally they are the size of my head!

One morning as I was reading my Bible in the early morning fog, my son brought me a gift.  A beautiful butterfly that he had found, dead, but perfectly preserved.  It was a splendid array of turquoise, black, and orange.

And then, right then, I started reading in Habbakuk, “Look among the nations! Observe! Be astonished!  Wonder!”  Now, granted, the verses are a little out of context, but still!  The words resonated deep in my soul!  That’s what I want to do, to observe, be astonished and yes, wonder!

I preserved the butterfly right in my Bible directly above those verses, to remind me to be a wonder-seeker.  And that is what I am going to be.  In the midst of the mundane, I will choose to see the wonder.  I will see the nature singing and dancing all around me.  I won’t let it pass me by.  I am on an adventure from here forward to seek the wonder.  Want to join me?

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