Story by

Bethany Baird

April 12th, 2016

I read this quote from Ryan Leak, "Become today who you intend to be tomorrow. The bridge between who you are and who you want to become is simply courage. At some point you've just got to wake up and make a decision to get over the pile of excuses you've built up in your head for not being the person you really want to be."

I have a confession. We have not always lived our values and priorities. In fact, there was a period of time where life felt like just surviving. We got so caught up with what we were "supposed" to be doing – and what everyone else was doing – that we forgot what story we wanted to tell. Sometimes you have to get to a place of brokenness to wake up and really start living.

During that time Aaron and I sat down and wrote out what was important to our family. We formed the notes into a mission statement. Part of that included getting outdoors more with our kids and exploring as much of the natural world with them as we could. We knew the value of teaching our kids to slow down and soak in nature. We both grew up enjoying the outdoors and knew what kinds of things it can teach children: learning to be okay with discomfort, facing fears, and perseverance…not to mention the loads of science and relational lessons. We discovered that this time together – the great memories and moments when we struggle and have to work together – are the elements of strong relational building blocks. While enjoying nature is lovely, building a strong family and community is what it's really about. Getting outside is just the conduit for that.

We began with several hikes a month, babies strapped to our backs and a soundtrack of whining along the way. We moved to weekly hikes and now camp once a month. We have become the family we envisioned. We have watched our kiddos conquer miles and elevation gains that we would never have imagined possible. We have seen them overcome fears. We have witnessed them come alongside friends and encourage them. We often have onlookers scoff as we head out on trails only to have their jaws drop when the kiddos come around the corner at the top of a summit. With consistency, we all are able to do much more than we ever imagined. So who are you going to be today?