Greet the day in person

My personal habit-training project right now is My Morning Routine.

As I look back over the past week of my habit training, I've re-discovered  that starting the day with a walk outdoors is the best way to start the day. Even a few minutes outdoors does wonders for my soul and puts life in perspective.

no time
The irony is that whenever I start watching the clock and feeling the day is too short - whenever I feel like I don't have time for an outdoor jaunt - that's exactly the time I need it the most.

like the present
Friday is our Nature Study day and I felt "behind" before I even got out of bed Friday morning. I stumbled in my morning habit training that day: I woke up later than I wanted to and got caught up in busywork in the morning rather than following my plan to get outside right away. Luckily I had told the kids we would go to Swindler Cove and I invited my husband to meet us there for lunch. Without these commitments, I might have struggled more than I did to get out the door.

I really wasn't into the trek until we saw a blooming tree  - the first pink of the season that I've seen. Up until seeing that tree, my mind was reprimanding myself for the tasks I meant to accomplish in the morning and didn't. My mind was calculating the time we would spend in the park and my mind was thinking about how to fit everything into the remaining hours of the day. But once I saw the pink blooms in the tree, my mind shifted to being "in the moment." Oh, that shift always feels good.

here and now
The kids and I take turns picking our Friday Nature Study locations, and this week it was my turn. I picked Swindler Cove because I wanted to check out the cat tails this time of year. I have made a few drawings of cat tails before, and I wanted to add another to my nature journal.

When we got to the park, we saw the cat tails have been cut down around the little pond. Disappointing, but we found other things to draw.

The kids both drew the pair of mallard ducks in the pond. My daughter noticed that only the female fed from the bottom of the pond while the male stayed close to her side. We decided he is quite a gentleman.

I sat on top of a picnic table for a closer look at a magnolia in bloom. Just as I finished the sketch and noticed that my hands were getting cold, my husband arrived at the park. I was surprised to see him - if felt like it was too early for him to be there. The time spent wandering the park, making observations with the kids, and drawing in our notebooks went by so quickly, and yet when I looked back to my morning struggles at home, it seemed ages ago.

time changes
Time changes speed when I'm outside - it goes by quickly and slowly at the same time - I'm convinced of that. And I change, too, when I'm outside.

My husband looked at our artwork and then spent some time in the park with us. Our family had a late dinner that night, and most of our conversation was about what we saw at Swindler Cove earlier that day.

Top: Drawing of a cat tail I made in a previous spring at a different park. Middle: Swindler Cove this spring, with cat tails and other plants cut down. As I look at the photo, I'm thinking that I didn't even check out the ground around the pond. I might have seen some sprouts, but I didn't even look. Now I want to go back and see what's happening in the places I overlooked. Bottom: My nature journal drawing this week, made while sitting on a picnic table in chilly weather.


  1. Wow! Wonderful drawings! I'm not very good at drawing, but I like to capture images on my camera!


  2. Thanks for the nice words about the drawing. I wish I knew more about photography. Thank goodness for digital photography because deleting all my dud photos is much better than paying for duds on film.

  3. I am curious about the Nature Journals. Do you just draw nature that appeals to you and label it so you know what it is for future reference? You said you each get to pick a spot for your journal logging, do you then record different plants, etc for the diffferent seasons and etc? I really struggle with the creative side with homeschooling my children. I really want/need to nuture the science/creativity in them and am curious how you go about this with your journals.

  4. Rachel: Yes, generally we each draw whatever appeals to us and then label it. I often write more in my journal to reference the day, and I notice my 12yo is starting to do more of that as well. My 9yo usually just draws (and labels only when I remind him). That's about as formal as we get. I'll post more about our nature journals since I really love keeping one. The main thing is to just start and don't think too much about how to do it. Just look and draw.