Tree-hugging Hippie Mom

They say it takes 21 days to make a habit.  Well, it probably took less than that for me to make a habit of not writing on this blog!  And while I probably won't be writing daily for the next 21 days, I will be making an effort to update more.  So many family and friends are connected to us through facebook, watching Annika grow up through photo albums and videos, but its important for me to share the heart of whats going on with us too. 

All the things that can't be put in a status update.

First off, we just celebrated Annika's 2nd birthday.  I think she definitely understood that something special was going on, and that she was the center of it.  She would sing the happy birthday song to herself, and knew to show us the "two" sign with her fingers when we asked how old she was. The scary part is, I can already see how 2 is so different than 1.  I love watching her personality emerge, but along with it is coming little sparks of independence and determination.  They often show themselves in defiance, which calls for swift discipline and that can be tough on us all, but sometimes they show themselves in rare little moments of thoughtfulness and confidence. 

I've loved taking her to the little field by our house and watching her explore.  As a 1 year old, when we did things like this, she would sit in my lap while i showed her new things but played mostly with old, familiar things that we would pack and take along.  But as a 2 year old, the world is her playground. She is interested in everything but the familiar.  I lay out an old blanket near the gravel road, and she runs off to collect the rocks and brings them back to me one at a time.  Sometimes she'll line them up in the grass, sometimes she'll try and stack them, sometimes they go in piles on the blanket.  If I start doing it differently than she intends, she loves to say, "no, like dis." (My husband and I sometimes tease her by doing anything at all and asking, "like this?" and, no matter what is, she will correct, "no, like dis."  Sometimes she even repeats exactly what it was that we did, but the correction is always necessary.)

Our time outdoors is always good, because it seems like opportunities for teaching are so much more available when we're out in nature.  I definitely think God designed it that way, and even though I don't quite understand my own theory, I want to teach her about God this way.  I feel like the most important thing is not to teach her big truths about Christ yet, but to lay a foundation that will prepare the way for the bigger things.  So when we sit under a tree and feel things (the smooth leaves, the rough bark, the hard roots, the small little red berries, the soft moss on the trunk) and talk about how a "tree" has very different parts that make up the whole tree, just like her body has a head and fingers and belly.... she gets that, and I feel she has had a spiritual lesson.  And it is this new thoughtfulness and understanding in her that is making these little lessons possible these days.

It's opening up a whole new world for me as a mother.

I'm reading Helen Keller's autobiography right now and her wisdom is crazy wonderful.  She said about children:

A child's mind is like a shallow brook which ripples and dances merrily over the stony course of its education, and reflects here a flower, there a bush, yonder a fleecy cloud; and (the teacher) guides the mind along its way, knowing that like a brook it should be fed my mountain streams and hidden springs, until it broadens out into a deeper river, capable of reflecting in its placid surface, billowy hills, the luminous shadows of trees and the blue heavens, as well as the sweet face of the little flower.


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