When we moved to Virginia six years ago, one of the main reasons we came was to be in a place where we could be outside a lot and raise our kids to find enjoyment in the outdoors. Being from north Atlanta, we were used to being in the mountains on the weekend and were thrilled by the idea of living in the middle of them. With four distinct seasons, Blacksburg was an ideal location for all of the activities we enjoyed.
Camping and hiking top our list of favorite activities along with kayaking, canoeing, and fishing. When the weather is warm, Kevin loves to take the kayak out on the New River and just relax or practice his newest hobby of fly fishing. As for me, I enjoy hiking in all seasons and admittedly wear my 20 lb. weighted vest for an extra challenge (the rest of my family thinks I’m crazy).
As a family, one of the places we love to camp is at White Rock Campground. There is nothing better than tossing the cell phones and focusing on relaxing, cooking, talking, and playing games. Even if the kids aren’t totally on board with it at first, it is amazing to see the change as they settle in and start having “simple” fun. Enjoying all of these activities and sharing them with our kids did not come as a surprise to us. What did surprise us were all of the ways these times made it easier to share our faith with each other.
Many people feel close to God when it comes to nature, but having alone time by yourself or with your child in the quiet outdoors really allows for some great meaningful conversations. Being a morning person, I love to get up for a sunrise hike. I am very fortunate that I can hike from my house to the trails in Pandapas, and a few times I have brought one of my kids along on these hikes. We pack our breakfast in and as we walk in the quiet morning, we have some of the most meaningful conversations that you may not get to have in a place with a lot of distractions. This can certainly be beneficial as a couple as well. A couple of weeks a year, the kids will be away visiting grandparents and Kevin and I will have our outdoor time kayaking or hiking and just enjoying being together.
In the same way we need quiet time with God each day, we have learned, for our family, that being outside away from technology, in all forms, keeps us connected and helps us truly “know” each other. I knew moving to Blacksburg was a blessing from God, but I didn’t realize all the ways He would use our surroundings to bless our family and our faith.
So if you are ever up for a hike, kayak trip, or just a walk in the woods, we would love anyone to join us and experience what our beautiful surroundings have to offer.