“Mom!” he yells loudly, to wherever I happen to be at that moment, “I’m going outside to whittle!”  It’s usually followed by me yelling, “Please don’t cut your fingers off.”  Then there’s a door slam and soon enough you’ll see him, sitting out on our fence, whittling away with the new pocket knife that he received from our friend Ellis.

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My mom fears aren’t unwarranted.  Last year, using the world’s tiniest swiss army pocket knife with the tiniest, yet sharpest blade, he did chop through one of his fingers, resulting in an emergency room visit and five stitches.  When he took up wanting to whittle again, I had to build a bridge and get over it, while cautiously throwing out my many mom warnings here and there.    Because honestly, while I wouldn’t want another ER visit, I do love that he gets outdoors to do outdoor things.

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He sits under a mysterious fruit tree that grows in the corner of our yard.  It’s the oddest tree.  It blooms in the Fall and seems to be dead throughout the Spring.  And last night, I noticed that it’s growing some sort of fruit though I don’t think it’s edible.  I’m curious to know what kind of tree it is, but Horticulturist, I am not.

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It was beautiful out last night.  I caught the tail end of a Flying V of birds, noisily announcing their departure.  I loved the crisp air and the feeling that Fall is finally here.

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As Christian whittled away, Ellee diligently rode in search of perfect sticks for him to whittle with.

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She’s a dedicated sister like that.  And while he rejected many of her offerings, she didn’t seem to mind too much and still scooted happily around, searching for perfect sticks to bring her to her brother.

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And watching our son, and writing this post made me glad for the simple things like whittling.

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Christian’s nearing the end of a self-imposed month off from video games and television.  It was the result of a lofty contract of big expectations, and being a young man of his word, when the contract was not met, he stuck through the consequences.  Throughout the month, I noticed our son slowly embracing the screen-less life and quickly enough, being totally content exploring the more active and outdoor life.

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I’m pretty proud of our son.  Just saying.

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The moon slowly started to rise.

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And as the sun descended slowly, it left quite a beautiful display.  I will never cease to be amazed the beauty left when something as glorious as the sun departs.

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And right before I called the kids in, Christian proudly showed me the four “Dipping Pencils” that he whittled.  He explained that they were like pens that you would dip into black ink.  Then he explained an elaborate way that he was going to crush something and create said ink.  And I just smiled.

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Here’s to quiet evenings, and clever kids.  I think whatever we can do to encourage our kids to be awesome and to do creative things… it’s a bit of a win in parenting in this odd electronic obsessed day and age.  Granted there is always a time and place and I am by no means anti-screens.  But amidst it all, I have this growing desire to encourage our kids away from that all, because there is such a great and grand world out there, begging to be known and explored.

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Written by lauraherr8

I love Jesus, my Youth Pastor Husband and our two beautiful children. I'm a professional photographer and I love people, especially kids. My best days include time with my family, Hot Yoga and a Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream cone.

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