An Honest Journey
We’re The Crazy Ones: 2019, A Year of Wonder

We’re The Crazy Ones: 2019, A Year of Wonder

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. -Psalm 118:24

Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are the best. -Laura Ingalls Wilder

The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hands of man. -Anonymous

Beyond the highs and lows that came with 2018, my sense of adventure and wonder were awakened in this last year.

We live in such a marvelous world with so many different species of plants and animals. There are so many people with diverse stories and backgrounds to learn from. And we live on such a gorgeous planet with so much to see and so much to marvel in God’s glorious creation.

I’m not sure where my love of the outdoors began, but as a child we were often forced to stay outside most of the day in the summer (thanks, Mom). I still remember trying to sneak inside to see what was on television during the day because we weren’t allowed to watch T.V. when it was sunny and nice outside. Maybe a little extreme, but now as a parent, I understand the benefit of getting my own kids outside. Plus, we had a great backyard, so I don’t blame my mom for wanting us to hang out outside. She loved being outside too.

My brother and I unloading some cut grass after my dad had mowed the lawn. I’m guessing this was taken in the mid-to-late 90s.
A grainy photo of me helping my mom garden in our family’s backyard.

My parents always made a point to take a vacation with us once a year and we had lots of small trips that often related to my dad’s work. More often than not, we’d end up doing something outside. Looking back on my childhood, I’m thankful for those opportunities we had to travel through the Appalachian Mountains, spend time on the beaches in Florida, go out to California and travel along the Pacific Highway, and drive down to our favorite state park in Southern Indiana. There were so many adventures that were created by my parents that started with just going outside.

As I’ve created more space for myself at the end of this year, I’ve taken the time to go outside and enjoy God’s green (or wet and white) earth. It’s amazing what fresh air and time outside can do to one’s spirit and health. As strange as it seems, I’ve actually made myself go outside to pick up dog poop in the yard just to get some fresh air, haha. If you’re a mom of little ones, you know how difficult it can be to get time to yourself. Poop is a normal part of your day, so no, this doesn’t bother me at all. It only takes five minutes, and it has helped me to leave behind some of the indoor stressors and put things in perspective.

With my three-year-old getting stir crazy and feeling cooped up indoors, I have made the effort to go outside and enjoy it either by myself or with my family. I feel so renewed and refreshed just leaving behind what lies inside, taking some deep breaths of fresh air, and embracing the great vastness of all that lies outdoors.  I often feel that it reminds me of God’s presence in my day.

Back in April of 2018, I stumbled across the “Go Adventure Mom” podcast. I was absolutely thrilled to find this podcast where guests, who are often moms, have taken the initiative to keep the adventure alive while having a family. I love the idea of cultivating a love and appreciation of the outdoors with my own family.

Since we live in the Midwest, the weather is often unpredictable. One week it’s cold, rainy, and 40 degrees, and the next week it can be sunny and 70 degrees. Winters can also get pretty brutal. It’s not uncommon to see several weeks where temperatures are in the 20s and 30s, or even get into the negatives on certain days of the year (let’s hope that it’s not several weeks of the year).

A specific podcast episode that had me tuned in to the idea of “going outside every day” helped me to understand that “There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather”. What? Really? Well, for the most part, yes. Linda Akeson McGurk currently lives in my home state of Indiana, but she is originally from Sweden where she was taught to go outside every day, or Friluftsliv. Friluftsliv…yes, I’m still working on pronouncing that one. You can read more about McGurk’s family, the benefits of being outside, and her lifestyle here, or listen to the podcast episode here.

Through McGurk and “The Go Adventure Mom” podcast, I’ve learned the importance of owning proper clothing and preparing for being outside year-round. It’s a work in progress getting all the proper clothing needed to go outside, especially when there are little people in the home that outgrow clothes quickly. It has helped me to purchase clothing a size or two too large, that way my son and daughter will grow into them and use them for longer periods of time. I don’t consider myself an expert outdoorswoman, so I’m still learning what I need and don’t need in order to venture outdoors in different seasons. Obviously, my family does take certain precautions when temperatures are extreme or there is severe weather. And if it is severe enough, we do wait until it is safe to venture outdoors.

My daughter was probably about a month old in this photo. We bundled up to go on a walk in mid-April 2018 as it was starting to warm up.
This was my daughter’s first trip to a Florida beach in May of 2018. Unfortunately, this trip was due to my dad passing away. We were grateful for the sunshine and for the shade as we needed some time to decompress.

Since I have cut back my obligations and schedule a great deal, I only have a few commitments outside of my home that still remain. One of those commitments is to taking care of myself through exercise and training for a half-marathon this spring. Running is something that I can viably do while taking care of my young kids in this season of life. With that said, I enjoy running outside when I can, and when I can’t, I take advantage of the YMCA and move my runs indoors. Child watch helps so that I can get my runs in.

On one of my indoor runs, I began listening to an episode from the “Go Adventure Mom” podcast on the 365-Mile Challenge. Before I even listened to this podcast, I had no idea what this challenge was about, but I knew that I didn’t want to “add” one more commitment or thing to my schedule at this point in my life, as I’m trying to stay committed in cutting back. I really need to keep myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy for my sake and for my family’s sake.

As I was listening to this podcast episode, it seemed to already fit in exactly with my priorities moving into the new year. I want to keep myself healthy, maintain my training for my half-marathon, not add another “scheduled” event to my daily schedule, and embrace the wonder of God’s creation.

The 365-Mile Challenge was started by moms who wanted to keep their sanity by stepping into the outdoors to stay active. The challenge is to do a mile outside each day. An outdoor mile can include any activity that allows you to get outside and get moving. The type of moving is up to you: running, skiing, walking, hiking, biking, paddle boarding, kayaking, etc.

Even though the challenge was started by a group of moms, it’s a challenge for all people of different physical abilities, ages, and locations to create healthy habits by getting outside and moving. After listening to the podcast episode, the creators of this challenge emphasized that they want it to be flexible since so much can happen in a year. If you’re unable to get outside due to severe weather, sickness, traveling, physical injury, etc, you can make up the time outside and miles on another day or even get the miles done inside if possible.

With my family’s schedule, I will most likely still be doing my running indoors at the YMCA most days, but I do want to get outside each day for at least 20 minutes and enjoy the outdoors in each season. That time outside can include playing with my kids, going on a walk, exploring, taking a hike, going to the park, or playing a game. Just this week (before the new year), I’ve enjoyed bundling up and taking a morning walk with my kids, exploring, and making our way to the neighborhood park. My son has requested to go outside more often since we started doing this, and it’s been wearing him out. Which is great because he’s so full of energy at this age!

This is us bundled up on our walk together.

When I can run outside, I will fully take advantage of the opportunity, but I don’t want to put pressure on myself to schedule something into my day that isn’t feasible for myself or my family. I can get my miles in at the Y while still taking the time to enjoy the outdoors at some point in my day, which is why I love how flexible this challenge is for all people.

Another aspect of this challenge that I appreciate, is that it is community focused. Once registered, you’re sent a Facebook link to join the online community of others who have joined the 365-Mile Challenge.  You can connect with people in your area or just check out stories of others and what they’re doing in this challenge.

Without taking out certain things in my schedule in 2018, I wouldn’t have had this opportunity to participate in something that I know will make a difference for myself and my family. It will invigorate my heart, soul, and body to move into a new year with marvel and awe at what surrounds me just outside my door.

In 2019, we will be the crazy ones. We’ll be the ones choosing to say, “There’s no such thing as a bad weather day”. You’ll see us bundled, swaddled, wrapped, and prepared for whatever lies outside as we choose to experience wonder and get moving.

Cheers to 2019, and Happy New Year!

Will you join us in this challenge? I’d love to hear about it.

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Photo by Jason Blackeye on Unsplash

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