We have lived in the same house for 25 years now. We built our house when Brooke was two and while I was pregnant with the twins. Our backyard has been many things for us over the years. When the children were small, it looked like a daycare playground with lots of outdoor toys for climbing and spinning and swinging. As the kids grew, we replaced those toddler toys with a pool and a wooden playhouse/swing set. The deck has been remodeled multiple times. The backyard has witnessed and endured many changes in our family life.
We have a creek (really two that merge) that runs next to and behind our home. A beautiful dogwood tree and that creek were the two things that drew me to our property. I grew up playing in a creek and wanted my kids to do the same. The creek and creek banks were always favorites for our boys to explore. It was on that creek’s bank that Cody fell out of a tree and broke his back as a tiny first grader. (Another story for another time.) There are many stories about the boys and the creek.
While we loved the creek, we really never had the time, money, or energy to truly clean up and develop the yard around it. Doug worked hard to get the creek that runs next to our house near the road groomed and beautiful. He would clean out the underbrush on the banks of the other branch regularly. Both of us always wanted more for the creek and our backyard.
Now that our kids are all grown and building families of their own, we decided it was a great time to make our backyard into more of what we envisioned. A place to gather as a family. A place to relax. A place for our grand-treasures to play. A place to be in God’s creation and just watch.
Doug has taken on lots of Pinterest-inspired projects! A couple summers ago, he built me two huge picnic tables that sit end to end so our whole BIG family can eat together on the patio he made just for those tables. It is my favorite place to eat when we’re all together. This past spring, he constructed a gorgeous bridge across the creek so we could put a large play structure in the shade on the other side. From steps made of log slices down the creek bank to planters made from hollowed out logs, he’s poured lots of love (and maybe a bit of frustration) into it all.
Our most recent additions include a walkway with raised garden beds and an old-fashioned clothesline. This is a work in progress that is evolving as we figure out the rest of our plans. Now, we are in the planning stages for another patio area near the creek with a fire pit of some sort.
I’ve always loved being outside, although I am definitely not an outdoorsy type. Strange I guess. As I’ve watched our backyard transform, I am drawn to it more and more. Whether sitting and watching our grand-kids play on the play place or watching birds, squirrels, and other creatures eating up the nuts and seeds put out for them, I find a peace being in creation that just isn’t the same as being indoors. That makes sense when we look to scripture. The Bible tells us that God’s creation tells us about God!
20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Then, you don’t have to look far to find how God takes care of his creation beautifully, including His people! I love to be reminded how much God cares for me when I see the birds and the flowers.
Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?
27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith!
So while we enjoy our backyard and continue to make it a place for our family to spend time together, I pray that it will also always remind us of how big our God is and how much He cares for us!