Sunday, January 1, 2017

Finding a Purpose in Life

Standing on top of the fallen hickory tree

It's a wonderful feeling 
to have 
a purpose in life.

How many years ago 
did I find my purpose?

It wasn’t like one day 
I was struck with lightning 
or had a chat 
with a burning bush.

Maybe the day Harri, the landscaper 
told me to plant trees.
Two thousand-plus trees later 
I’m often called 
The Tree Lady.

Or the day I read the challenge 
to go one day a month without using a car.
I thought it was impossible.
But I tuned up my bike, traded in my purse for a backpack and now my car sits idly in her garage most days. 

The Bike Lady

And, yes, some people 
call me 
The Bike Lady.

But I think the beginning of this cascade of events started at the 

I always loved being in nature.
My Grandmother and I planted flowers together.
One of my first dates with Tom was to Eagle Creek Park to take pictures of deer (mostly their butts running away from us).

I got married, had 4 kids, wanted a vacation.

So from National Wildlife Federation 
I got the idea to take the whole family 
ages 2 years old to 48 
to the Adirondacks to our first 
Family Nature Summit.

My life did change that week.

I learned to walk in the wilderness like a native American with all my sense alert.
I met marvelous teachers of nature like Betty Trummel and Steve Houser and Craig Tufts.
I hiked over boulders to the top of Roger's Peak. 
We ate strawberry vanilla drops as our hike leader told us the story of Roger’s escape.

But most of all I encountered people with purpose.

People who saved forests and protected clean water.
People who cared in the depths of their souls for God’s green earth and all its creatures.
People who lived a life of incredible passion.

This was what I wanted.

My life has changed since that first Summit.
With the help of my beloved husband and sometimes reluctant kids, 
I have begun to restore a 33-acre farm to become a nature sanctuary.
We’ve planted those thousands of trees.
We’ve done hand-to-hand combat with garlic mustard and invasive honeysuckle.
I’ve raised bluebird families and monarch butterflies.

And yes, we’ve returned to the Family Nature Summits year after year.
The Rockies and the Smokies
The crashing coast of Maine and the beautiful beaches of California.
From St Andrews Canada to the Ghost Ranch of New Mexico,
We have traveled with The Summit across America –
Seeing the best of America –
Both the landscapes and the people who protect those landscapes.

And they have inspired me to protect my little corner of the world in rural Indiana.

Thanks to the Family Nature Summits…
….I found my purpose.

Tall grass prairie in Indiana