Posted by: mmstanger | April 27, 2010

Gratituesday and Time Out Tuesday: Refocusing Nature-ally

Luke and Will Navigate a Thicket

Luke and Will lead our adventure...

Wow!  I have really been neglecting this blog for the past few months.  It began with my Lenten promise to stay offline for everything save quick email checks, household business and planning and work-related stuff, unless all my other tasks for a day were completed, including dedicating more time to fulfilling each part of my life’s call.  Well, needless to say, that meant I was rarely online  blogging! 

 By the time Lent ended, I had realized that being online is an addictive “want”, not a “need” and that too many other things still “needed” more time and attention.  Thus, my bligging break continued… 

So, there you have it.  While I miss blogging regularly as a way to communicate, reflect and share, I also am grateful today for the fact that God used my Lenten promises to remind me of a simple want vs. need balance in my life.  Focus is something I often pray for and recognizing concrete answers to those prayers is such a blessing!gratituesday

Today, I am also grateful for changes in focus, pace and place. 

 I haven’t written a Time Out Tuesday post in ages, even though we have managed some good Time Outs – continuing to recognize the importance of spending a few hours, an afternoon or an entire day just enjoying and appreciating blessings.  Well, today, I want to mention an adventure the kids, our friends Elizabeth and Will and I went on recently:

Luke and Will carsh through the branches...

Luke and Will break through dead branches back to the trail...

One day, I was feeling rather grumpy and overwhelmed, but I had previously made plans with our friends Elizabeth and Will for a long overdue (and canceled multiple times due to appointments, sickness and schedules on everyone’s parts) playdate.  So, I bucked up, got the kids in the car and drove to Pratt Farm, a local park and “wilderness” are we like to walk in. 

Will was eager for us to arrive and, as soon as we got there, took off down the trails, with Luke chasing after him, Elizabeth calling out for them to slow down and pregnant me trying to keep up with Nina in tow.  Luckily, the trails were dry and clear despite loads of recent rain.  But not for long…

Soon enough we came to a stream crossing, that was more like a small river.  Knowing this is usually the most challenging part of the trails to navigate with the kids, Elizabeth and I simply decided we would take the kids shoes off and roll their pants up – in case anyone lost a bit of balance – crossing the “river” and moving on.  So, she straddled the slippery rocks as I passed the kids to her.  Giggle, challenge, laughter and fun!  And, best of all for me, a complete change in focus from the “work” and “home” challenges,  to simply enjoying – and tackling – the natural obstacle on our path.

time out tuesdayStill dry and now very excited from the “dangerous” river crossing, the kids ran ahead again and into the thickets around us.  Then – oh no!  Unexpected marsh land.  The usually dry, wide trails suddenly turned into marshes and mudpits.  Will was still in his “school sneakers” and I was not looking forward to losing anyone’s shoes in the mud, nor to chipping caked off marshy goo from some later in the day.  So, I suggested pulling some fallen trees and logs from the trailside to make “bridges” over the marshy mud.  The kids thought this was a great adventure and had a hard time staying patient and not “helpping” too much as Elizabeth and I untangled each log and placed them over the bog-like trails.  But, we managed and, soon enough, they were concetrated on balancing across the logs with Elizabth at one end and me at the other, only to try to place more logs end to end until we got across the entire portion of muck. 

Elizabeth places a log over the path at the tail end of a marshy bit.

 Once across the logs, the boys scampered back into the woods, and just as we were about to call them out, since I could hardly navigate after them, twisting and bending through branches with my pregnant belly, we noticed another very marshy area – deeper than the last – just ahead on the trail.  So, we decided to let the boys take the lead, planning to skirt the wet path through the dry wooded areas on its side. 

That was all good in theory, but, the brush got thicker, the path more obscure and belly-space harder to come by,  So, Elizabeth acted the bear and thrashed through some dead branches and trees to get us back to the path for one last fallen tree crossing, which the kids did not all make so successfully – especially, Luke whose foot landed in the wet mud, and who must have liked the sensation as he, then, decided to plunge his entire foot into the ooze with a yucky suck that, thankfully, did not steal his sneaker!

Squishy feet and all, we finally we hit upon drier trails and a,bled through the rest of our walk, noting recent tree breaks, spotting a snake slithering into the woods, witnessing the beautiful way trees and flowers burst into blossom after a long winter…  (All with silly me forgetting to take my camera out again!)

By the time we got back to the field near the parking lot, we were all happily tired and ready for a snack and I was smiling with peaceful gratitude, so thankful for our Time Out that day!

 Such an adventure for the kids and what a fantastic change of pace for we moms.  Sometimes positive challenge and blissful re-focused peace is but a step outside the door!

For more inspiration to be thankful, see the Gratitueday posts at Heavenly Homemakers. Also, I would love to hear about your own Time Out Tuesday moments — a reflection on something you did this past week (or month!) that brought you peace, joy, gratitude and a change of pace from daily life.  Please, leave a comment.

And, as always, remember that clicking on the links below may not take you to related posts in this blog.  Use the Categories in the right column instead.  Thanks and have a blessed day! 🙂


  1. You are right; refocusing is so necessary. It sounds like your outing was quite an adventure. I enjoyed your gratituesday post. Have a great day.

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