Spring happiness: hiking, bluebonnets, and apple love.

Oh, spring. How you redeem the state of Texas for me. How you make up for the sweltering, sticky summers. Green, green, and more green has surrounded us this year.  It never gets old.

On a clear, cool spring morning recently, I met up with my dear friend Erin at Cedar Ridge Preserve, my haven just outside the city.   Erin is a kindred soul - we've been through thick and thin together and have so much in common like our nerdiness, love of Jesus, and crafting.  We both have toddler girls close in age, Luci and Lawson, who love to play together sometimes on Saturday mornings.   But what I love most about our friendship is how different we are.  I have the opportunity to learn from her personality and be spurred on to seek Christ in ways I otherwise might miss.  

Our walk through the woods was refreshing on a day when I really needed it - we've been steeped in multiple toddler tantrums every day around here lately, exhausted from the consequences of my husband hurting his ribs in a bike accident, and the ongoing small business/money woes. 

But a morning in the woods with a friend is the best medicine - the scent of mulch and mud, the sound of crickets and lawnmowers, sunbeams illuminating our hair through the trees, both of our heads nodding and our spirits quickening as we walked and talked.  It's so good to be with someone with whom you can agree, "Yes.  This is what life is about."

On our hike, we passed green prairie meadows with freshly-mowed walking trails...

...forested pathways...

...clear rainbowy streams...

...new growth sprouting with the energy of spring.

After the hike, Erin had to bid us farewell, but Luci Belle and I got to linger at the Preserve a little longer.  I fished inside my bag and pulled out a Fuji apple for us to share.

It was so simple, that apple.

But in the sunshine, with my daughter, time stood still and the multitudes of stress from the previous week seemed inconsequential.  I'm thankful for moments like these.  Does it mean the struggles don't exist?  Absolutely not.  But it makes them more bearable.

She asked for a bite, and then didn't want to let go.

MORE pictures, Mommy?  Yup, still holding the apple.

Meanwhile, her usual favorite snack of salted cinnamon pumpkin seeds lay untouched.

After licking that apple core clean, we decided to head home.  On our way out, we caught sight of an entire field of bluebonnets, the Texas state flower.  I swerved the car to the shoulder, hopped out, and snapped a few photos.  After all, they come and go so quickly.

No sooner were we on the road when I glanced in the back seat.  The ultimate sign of a successful morning outing?  A completely conked-out toddler...

...and a quiet ride home for a mom who's able to be a little more patient, a little more kind today, after having spent some time in nature with a close friend, wildflowers, and an apple.