Just when we were really embracing winter, spring seems to have come early this year. Bradford Pear trees budding at the end of February in Tennessee? Unheard of! Yet, there’s no stopping those buds from bravely pushing their heads through the wet soil, and before March 20th even arrives, spring has taken our hands and walked us into a new season.
Last night, my husband and I made a fresh strawberry pie with homemade crust, and the very act of it felt like ushering spring into our home and lives. I love the Scripture, “He has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11, NIV), and experiencing spring is a way we can see, taste, smell, hear, and touch that promise. Spring is a time of excitement, a chance to try new things, to go on adventures, to soak up the beauty of flowers, blue skies, warmer weather, and growth.
Here are some creative ways to welcome this beautiful season of awakening, wherever you live:
1) Try a new recipe or cook with a spring produce item. Do you know what spring tastes like? It tastes like strawberry pie or fresh creamy peas mashed on toast, or sweet beets in a salad with spicy arugula. Spring is a great time to try cooking or eating something new. Here are some common fruits & veggies that are seasonal in spring:
Spring recipe ideas:
● Balsamic Beet Salad with Arugula, Goat Cheese & Walnuts (After you boil the beets, save the magenta-colored water to naturally dye Easter eggs!)
● If you are a little bolder in the kitchen, try this Strawberry Rhubarb Pie (you could just use strawberries), or Strawberry Slab Pie. If you’re like me, you’ll feel like a superhero after making your first homemade pie crust.
● And my all-time spring favorite, which is also the simplest: radishes with butter and sea salt. Divine.
2) Let out that inner artist. Pablo Picasso said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” Pick up a set of watercolors (even children’s’ ones will do!), some watercolor paper, take them outside and paint what you see. Nothing is silly, and there are no rules. Spend some time alone artistically enjoying nature, or have a painting party with your kids. After your creations dry, put them in crisp white frames so you can enjoy them year after year.
3) Visit a farm. One of my favorite memories last spring was checking off an item on my bucket list: finally taking my daughters strawberry picking at a local farm. I’m not sure if the strawberries were actually juicier than any I’d ever tasted or if I romanticized them because of all the sweat and effort that went into picking them. But they sure tasted that way. On our farm in Tennessee, we’ve absolutely loved seeing both adults’ and kids’ faces light up when they hold our new baby chicks which, miraculously, arrived alive and kicking in a simple box from the post office. These little balls of fluff will, in a few months, produce food that can nourish us. They will fertilize our soil and significantly contribute to the ecosystem God created.
4) Take a nature walk. Take a slow walk without agenda, collecting anything natural that looks interesting to you. Take photos of them, as close-up and focused as you possibly can. Collect treasures and tape them into a journal. Or, as we did a few weeks ago, clear off a dusty surface in your home and make it your “nature table.” My girls stop by ours multiple times a day and rearrange things or just touch and look at them. Currently on our nature table: a cardinal feather, heart-shaped rocks, quartz, birds’ nests, cow bones we found in our woods, and sticks covered in moss (the only rule is that they can’t leave the table and migrate to other parts of the house!).
5) Play. I have young children, too – I know that a trip to the playground can feel like a much-needed breather, a chance to catch up on texts or just sit and think. But when is the last time you went down a slide next to your child or tried out the monkey bars? The results might be pretty hilarious, but your child will think it’s the best thing ever, and it’ll fill both of your hearts with joy.
We have a large yard around our farmhouse, and this expansive grassy space is new for us former urbanites. My new favorite thing to do in the yard is to dribble a soccer ball for 10 minutes, up the hills, down the hills, aiming at “goals” between trees. One of my girls usually ends up wanting to play with me, and in the end, we’re both breathless and smiling.
6) Revitalize your family time. Instead of movie night, how about a Friday early evening or Saturday morning breakfast picnic? Take a short drive to a nearby state park, natural area, lake or waterfall and look for adventures along the way. Take a spring drive without any agenda without anywhere to be at a certain time.
7) Bring spring inside your home. Add splashes of yellow in your decorating. Remove the curtains, diffuse lemon essential oil, put daffodils in a vase. My mom always says, “Nothing transforms a house like crystal clear windows.” Personally, I rarely have a chance to wash the outside of my windows or even the insides for that matter! But when I do, it’s like having no windows at all, and the outside is invited in.
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Whatever is going on in your life, let spring be a gift straight from God to you. I promise if you look for it, if you open your eyes, you will see little love letters from Him in the sky, the land, the way the earth is bursting forth with goodness and beauty. He did those things because He loves us. He didn’t have to make this world beautiful, but He did. Enjoy it!