One thing that my husband and I recently started doing more (with the little one) is exploring the great outdoors here in Minnesota which we coined our "Nature Church." We try to push ourselves out of our home in either an unfamiliar place or situation and believe me, there are plenty of options and it's not hard not to get overwhelmed with possibilities at times. However, this weekly exercise is giving us the chance to actually discover not just places but even ourselves by not having or making any concrete plans.

Last weekend, we picked to hike the Barn Bluff in Red Wing -- my husband just looked at the map and said, "Let's go here." In fifteen minutes, we managed to scrounge a decent packed lunch, loaded the car and off we go. We didn't even get the chance to look at the weather radar to see what was in store for us. πŸ˜‰

It was raining when we got there but of course after driving for over an hour, we couldn't really turn around anymore. We were, at first, uncomfortable but we waited and made the best out of the situation that was thrown at us. The sky cleared up long enough to give us enough time to see the beauty this new environment has to offer...

The plaque says it all

Good hiker...

Spectacular view (sorry for the quality as I was just using my lowly point and shoot)

And this one, too. Can you imagine this in the peak of autumn? πŸ™‚

RAIN...

It started raining hard so it was time for us to head home. My initial thought was to move faster so that we can get to the car quicker. But what actually surprised me was how ourΒ little son reacted to this situation. He didn't cry or complain at all -- instead, he started singing "We're hiking in the rain" to the tune of "The Farmer in the Dell." It made us slow down and enjoy the precipitation on our skins and then joined him in singing... πŸ™‚

joycedz-2015-Labor-Day-1-14

So if you will ask me, why am I telling you all these things? Personally, it is a very fruitful exercise for us as we pull ourselves out of the "norms"; do something that's less certain and unplanned which in turn enable us to explore and learn more for growth. However, this is actually also an invitation to most of you: ditch going to the mall as your adventure but instead get out there and see what nature has to offer. You will be surprised and amazed at the intangible things it will bring into your lives in a much more meaningful way. πŸ™‚

Much love,
Joyce

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