I am happy to be here on Laura’s blog today to share with you, her dear readers, more about me. I just want to say before I start that Laura is the real deal, y’all. She is authentic in her passion and a real, accessible human being with a heart that can be felt across the interwebs. It is a real honor for me to have a space here.
I’ve been blogging now for about seven or eight months. I started blogging because I thought it might be – as it is for many – “an outlet”, be it creative, expressive… whatever. And I won’t lie – in the midst of our financial hell I began exploring the double whammy of blogging as not only this medium of communicating with the world whatever I felt inclined to share, but also a means of generating income at some point. Simultaneously I opened my vintage shop with items from my own personal collection. Since then both have grown some, which is fine, but the overwhelming value of blogging has been in the connecting with others. I have developed some friendships through this medium that are genuine, life-giving and inspiring. So, what I want out of this opportunity presented to me here is to connect with readers that will join me for the long haul... I want you to know more about who I am and what rattles around in my brain… where I’ve been, where I might be going… so, come along, if you will.
It took me a little while to think about just one thing to share. I am not a very fancy or crafty gal (I am, but I’m not). “Red Clay Halo” is my anthem. My mom refers to me as an earth mother, but I don’t find my identity in that. I’d like to say that I am a simple gal who needs to stay close to nature to maintain my sanity, not because it’s cool to grow your own food, swim in rivers or eat organic. It’s just a lesson that I learned about myself as a child … that I am wired in such a way that if I don’t maintain the perspective that being in the vast quiet of nature brings me, I will shortly fall apart, spin out and start to lose my proverbial sh*t.
Getting into the woods… onto the beach… into the mountains… into the dirt… just getting close to nature brings perspective that is backed by science as good for my overall wellbeing. As far as I am concerned, I don’t need science to tell me what I already know.
As a child, my mother fostered my love for the outdoors through camping trips, picnics and kite flying in wide open meadows, biking, rafting and hiking, long beach trips digging in the sand and swimming for hours and the like. The outdoors became a sanctuary, a place for us to connect outside of the chaos of the reality of our day to day lives. The endorphin uplift obtained after a five or six mile hike… the sensation of still floating on the waves while lying in the bed at night after a long day at the beach… the perception of smallness obtained walking beneath the canopy of an old growth forest, looking out across the vast expanse of the Appalachians from an outcropping on a Blue Ridge mountain trail… there is something about these experiences that brings the finite and tangible into its correct and rightful place in my mind, and brings to the forefront of my consciousness those things that matter; that make life worth living; that making going forward another day worth it.
For me this is spiritual. The connection to creation and my Creator through experiencing the work of his hands just cleanses me of all the garbage that pollutes my mind and brings me back to a place of simplicity. For me, as a Christ-follower, I am perpetually wrecked by how simple Jesus’ message and example were, and yet how we continue to complicate it and over-engineer it. Not only do I feel so treasured and honored to have been made a steward of such beauty, but the feeling of smallness that I come away with reminds me that he loves me, that there is a plan for all of this that is much greater than I could ever imagine. It challenges me to rest in God’s hands, trusting and taking it one day at a time. This brings me a deeper sense of peace that lasts, but soon after I find myself longing to go back to that place. When I find myself unraveling, I realize that it’s time to get away.
The good news is that although I feel that I’ve been spinning out of control in the last several days, culminating with a major meltdown today, I am leaving for the mountains in two days, to swim in the river and go on long walks with my family. We all need it so badly right now.
And if you feel that you’re unraveling too, may I suggest you find a mountain vista to gaze upon, a lush green forest to walk in or a field to lie in… and I suppose you might feel just a little more sane, a little more centered and a whole lot more alive when you’re through.
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