Julia Peterson writes:

“Our family is ready to say goodbye to many Covid related worries and pandemic routines. But one silver lining our family plans to hold on as we transition to the “new normal” is connecting to God through nature, no matter the weather!

When it was clear that we would be entering a long Chicago winter with Covid restrictions in place I knew our family needed a plan. Our newly acquired pandemic dog and two small boys needed a way to burn off all that energy and find joy in something new. We started exploring.

Local forest preserves that we once passed in our car without even putting a second thought to it suddenly became an adventure into an enchanted forest. Beaches that we only visited during the summer became a wealth of fresh air, sea glass, and other natural treasures. We looked at beach rocks, pine trees, frozen streams and lakes in new ways. We found ourselves practicing mindfulness, reflecting, finding joy and connecting with God through nature (and burning off the energy too!).

Our family came to realize that being in nature is vital for our wellbeing and it does not need to be a fair weather activity. As we enter into the post-pandemic new normal we look forward to the upcoming summer and the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. But I am confident that as the seasons change and it turns cold again, our family will pull out the winter jackets, strap on the boots, and enjoy nature no matter what the weather brings.”

Rev. Christine V. Hides
Thank you, Julia, for illustrating the connections between physical and spiritual health. A “better normal” for Children and Family Ministry means supporting families’ spiritual journeys as a part of our overall well-being.  This is why we are sharing weekly excerpts from the Parent Wellness Compass book focused on spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health. This week’s article is titled “Physical Education.

For those of you exploring forest preserves this summer, my yard borders the Middle Fork Savannah preserve which connects with Elawa Farm. If your family is visiting there this summer, send me a message. I’ll be delighted to join you for a leg of your hike and invite you to explore the wildflowers and woods behind my home.