Why You Should Take A Family Vacation To A National Park This Summer

Teaching Children Through the Beauty of National Parks

When my boys were 3 and 6 we moved from Austin to Portland, OR. We took 2 months to get here. Part of the time was spent in Arizona visiting family and the rest was spent exploring our National Parks from Arizona, Nevada, California and Oregon.

This year we took 1 month and drove over 8000 miles seeing National Parks, Preserves, Historic Sites through more than 10 states on this trip.

The experience at each individual park or historic site stands alone. Some brought awe and reverence, some brought disgust and sadness. The living experience is what it is all about.

It’s not enough to read about it or see photos on the internet. To actually feel the sand of the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve or to hear the eagles call as it soars overhead while you watch your children watch the buffalo roam freely through Yellowstone National Park; to touch the snow and feel the coolness of the breeze just before Old Faithful explodes with it’s nearly boiling geyser. These experiences are embedded deep in the soul and they are more valuable than any Nintendo DS.

The active participation in the Junior Ranger Program with the children is not only wonderful for them, it allows the children to recommit to a higher value each time they complete a program through the National Park. As a parent, to participate with the children, allowed me to see the parks through their eyes as well as the lens of my camera, as a result I am more knowledgeable and aware. I am also more committed to my beliefs of sustainable living so that we have a planet along with these parks for generations to come.

While President Obama was in office he instated the Every Kid In a Park Program. That means 4th Graders get a pass to all the parks as well as access to several other branches like the Army Corps of Engineers. You can find out more here: https://www.nps.gov/kids/features/2015/everyKid.cfm

Our memories, these experiences will last forever.

Exploration of the deep Mammoth Cave gives us the reality that there is more than what we see on the surface. Visiting the Badlands and seeing Jupiter with the other star gazers reminded us we are more than what we think we are. When we stand at Mount Rushmore and see the process of the artist John Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum, we appreciate more. When we observe the buffalo freely roam throughout land free of threat, we can hope for more. When we stand on the battle field of Little Big Horn, we are compassionate of more.

There is nothing like traveling to the National Parks, camping, exploring and leaving no trace. Instead taking the memories, the moments, unique, life changing, life affirming. These are what will last forever. This beauty is what will live in our children as they climb into adulthood.

Make it a priority, whether for your children or just for yourself, get out to a National Park and become a supporter.

May you never be the same again.

How Creating a Sacred Space Healed My Life and Helps Me Heal Others Too

A few years ago my husband had a heart attack and subsequent cardiac arrest. He arrived to the hospital unresponsive after being unsuccessfully defibrillated 3 times in the ambulance. By the time I arrived to the ER it seemed the hospital had assumed he would not make it. They had intubated him and established life support when I first saw him. But that’s not the end of the story…

Rewind a few months prior… I would like to share with you my  Sacred Space, a connection to the earth and Spirit that moves in all things and how it saves lives. How it supported me so I could do and be what I needed to during this time with my husband.

I hope you will be inspired to cultivate a Sacred Space and utilize it’s GRACE in your daily life then teach those whom you are here to teach how to do the same.

Homeschooling my boys has been a gift to myself and to my sons I am honored to experience. As such, nature, and being connected to the earth with our feet, hands and bodies is a necessity on a daily basis. I began this practice as much for our own well being as that of a facilitation of learning.

The prior fall my two sons and I each chose our favorite tree and a location in a large open park near our home to begin our own Sacred Space or “Peace Time”.

We walked to this park daily, rain or shine. We sat with our trees. We smelled them and hugged them and felt them and they restored us. Building within us a store of strength and fortitude that no other nourishment could satiate.

One day in March of 2015 I felt so utterly depleted. Like I was trying to move through a very heavy, sad, painful energy block. Not something I recall experiencing before that time. It was as if I was pulled toward this park that day, toward my tree.  I remember it was all I could do to get up to the park with my boys and lay my body on the earth. It felt as if it would be the only thing I could do again. I fell into a deep sleep on the earth and woke again – freed up some but still aware there was something off – not understanding at all what it could be. (I learned long ago not to make assumptions about anything or make it mean something)

Later, my dear neighbor would comment to me, that after she had seen us on our way up to the park that day, how I had looked “off” and that she knew something must be wrong as I just didn’t look like myself.

That afternoon we returned home and I prepared and cooked our dinner, preparing for Daddy to return from work across the river in Portland. I had a coaching presentation to do so I had set up the boys to play and I sat down to the live, virtual presentation with a colleague. Focused and doing my job but aware of something off.

At 6:42pm across the river and over 17 miles away my husband had experienced a heart attack followed by a cardiac arrest and the subsequent emergency procedures.  (The specific details are in other posts/videos.)

When the logistical components were complete and I was in the car with our boys to the hospital my husband had been taken to, I knew I was connected by Divine and supported by the Spirit that moves in all things. I felt the trees, the air, the earth guiding us and supporting us all the way there. The only words my sons and I would speak were “Daddy Happy, Healthy and at Home”.

At Legacy Emmanuel in Portland there is a beautiful garden – the Children’s garden with trees, strong trees, but some held a strangeness – not quite sad, it was almost a bit of confusion. But they connected with me and embraced me and I felt all of their collective communication. More so, I felt every bit of essence from my Sacred Space enfold me. I felt the wind, the air, the stars, the clouds, I felt Granna – Kelly’s mother and Grandear, his grandmother walk in the garden and hold Sacred Space with me. Blessing Kelly’s heart and body, holding his doctors hands and minds and mouths to be only actions of healing. It was profound and life changing. Four Days later after – Daddy was Happy, Health and at Home.

He doesn’t remember it. But I do. Our boys do. The trees do. The Sacred Space knows and is one of my favorite spots on earth. But you know, it’s connected to everything in nature. This one space – it knows, as the wind knows and carries messages.

This is a story that does not need to happen again and I hope wouldn’t happen to you or your loved ones. But if you create and cultivate your own Sacred Space near wherever you are – it could be in your own back yard, your front yard, a park or other. Be open. Allow it to draw you in. Allow for the connections to occur naturally. You might be surprised at what great peace, power and healing it will give you.

If you get very quiet – not with verbal noise but with the mental noise – get very still, very quiet, you will hear, you will feel, you will learn, you will restore great wisdom and qualities of character that are rapidly diminishing with our disconnection to our Earth our Nature. To our Sacred home.

Even still, I can go that tree and that spot in this park, in fact I can just think of it and the space opens to me, embraces me truly like a mother with unlimited support and love and holds me. As it held me then. As the Spirit that moves in all things and communes with all to give us what we need, if we only allow.

Call it what you will – I prefer SACRED SPACE – but whatever it is, may you experience for yourself this SIMPLE GIFT and may it bring you healing, support and blessings whenever you are of need.