Going Outside… On Purpose

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The chapter “The Discipline of Simplicity” from the book Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster has been one that has made me think in a purposeful, intentional way, such as learning to enjoy things without owning them.

Another lesson from this chapter was to develop a deeper appreciation for creation- a hard one for me to follow through on sometimes.

Okay, so let’s just lay it out here.

I don’t have a green thumb.

I don’t like to get hot and sweaty.

I can’t stand the feel of dirt on me.

I (and my hair) do not fair well in the Florida humidity.


So now that that is out in the open, I am also willing to admit that

  • I do love hanging my laundry on the line
  • I love watching my kids discover the beauty of uninhibited running outside
  • I love the idea of growing beautiful flowers in my front yard
  • I dream of growing a vegetable garden in our backyard
  • I love going to a nearby beach and letting my children play in the surf and sand to their hearts content

Every year in the spring, I get this feeling. The one that reminds you that the earth is a beautiful place. The one that causes you to take deep breaths of air and fill up your lungs with fresh oxygen… not the recycled stuff from inside.

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The feeling that I need to appreciate God’s creation more than I do.

Why am I so afraid of my children getting dirty? (Let’s be honest, laundry and extra cleaning.)

Why do I not want to get in the dirt myself? (The time it takes for an extra shower and then washing the hair and blow drying the hair…. you get it, right?)

Yet, there are so many wonders to be discovered in God’s creation.

In childhood, what is the ultimate simplicity?

Going outside and playing with whatever you can find.

When kept inside, my children find themselves in need of something to do for entertainment. That is when the crayons, coloring books, toys, and even my furniture and pots and pans come out. This in turn gives us the added chore of having to clean everything up.

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When my children are outdoors, God has provided everything they need for entertainment

  • plants (weeds count) to look at, pick, and to learn the art of gardening
  • large open areas for running without worry that anyone will run into a sharp corner
  • insects and bugs to catch (and because bugs do not stay still, the entertainment lasts quite a while)

Addie is definitely an outdoor girl.

Ian is totally an outside boy.

Mommy tends to be a let’s-find-something-safe-to-do-inside kind of girl.

Yet I am learning that there is definitely something freeing, calming, and peaceful about just being outside.

When I hang my laundry, it is then that God puts dreams and aspirations in my heart.

When I am outside, I find myself praying and praising more.

When I am outside, I smile more.

When my children are outside, there is a refreshment that comes over them that they cannot get from being inside.

When my children have a good play outside, they rest much more easily at night.

I am trying to develop a deeper appreciation for God’s creation.

Because developing a deeper appreciation for God’s creation is a step towards simplicity.

I originally posted this article at The Joy of Homemaking.

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I'm a former teacher turned stay at home homeschooling mom. My husband Brian and I have been married for 12 wonderful years. I enjoy reading, organizing/planning, and creating memorable moments for my family.