Imagine waking up Christmas morning bright and early, rushing into the family room full of excitement and grabbing… your hiking boots? Hiking boots?!?!? Yep that’s what I said. This year each of our families chose to celebrate Christmas AFTER Christmas. Completely unheard of for me, I mean, what was I supposed to do on Christmas Day? At first I was sad… I NEEDED to see family, have a huge meal, watch the little kids open their awesome presents and then play with the boxes. That HAD to happen to make Christmas actually CHRISTMAS right? Way wrong. I didn’t need gifts or lots of food or even family to enjoy Christmas, I needed to remember that I already had the best gift of all, the gift that I get every day. Jesus’ birthday was “today,” and he was my gift, my eternal gift.
So what did we do? We went Hiking! Same thing for New Years Day a week later! Have you ever been to Clifty Falls State Park? Its right outside Madison, IN and about 1.5 hrs from Cincinnati. How about John Bryan State Park in Yellow Springs, OH? Go! Pack your hiking boots and GO NOW!
On Christmas day we went to Clifty Falls State Park, no one else was as crazy as us so we had the entire park to ourselves. We took the extra rugged trail and hiked up the creek bed, having to crisscross the creek a bunch (thank goodness for water proof boots!). Bri loves hiking too, there’s always a time we find to let her off her leash and run the trails. Deep in the creek bed with no one around she was able to run free and she loved every minute of it! Bill had to carry her a few times across the creek because she is a little low to the ground and the current picked up in some areas. It was beautiful and cold!
A week later we found ourselves at the beginning of 2014 and had another free day on our hands… off to John Bryan State Park we went! With Bri in tow and Bill’s brand new gear (new coat from Mom that was probably his favorite thing about Christmas this year!). John Bryan took us along the Little Miami River, down one side, across the river on the foot bridge, up the other side and back again. We saw lots more people this time and Bri had to stay on her leash (that was ok, she helped pull me up the hills when Bill was in front. She always likes to be up front with him, leading the way). We did let her run off leash in the open field at the end so we could play fetch. Well Bri’s version of fetch which involves Bill throwing the ball as far as he possibly can, Bri running top speed (impressing us all) and grabbing the ball. She then looks all the way back at you, so proud that she got the ball, drops it and waits for you to come all the way over and do it again…
There are 13 weeks until our wedding and I hope to find 13 more places to hike between now and then. We may have to find a few urban hiking places if time is short. This New Year we are going to do a lot of new things together, the biggest of which is getting married! God has truly blessed us with each other, but more importantly He has blessed us with his mercy and glory. Beginning a new year gives us a chance to reevaluate what we’re doing with our lives and what we’re doing to glorify Him.
You know what else happened on New Years Day? Little Wart pulled the Sword from The Stone and became known as King Arthur. “It’s a miracle, ordained by Heaven, this boy is our King!” Funny how a very old, and very humorous Disney movie can parallel the most perfect Christmas gift we have all been given on Christmas Day: A miracle boy, from Heaven, born to be our King.
I hope everyone had a merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Looking forward to a great 2014 with friends and family.
PS We did have a fantastic Christmas dinner with Bill’s family at his brother’s house on Christmas night. So we weren’t totally without the tradition of loving family. We even got to see the little nephews open gifts and play with the boxes.