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Cassidy Van Slyke recalls growing up with plenty of opportunities for her soul to connect with God's beautiful miracles in the natural world.

The first encounters with God that I can recall are lying in the warm grass and staring up at the big blue sky, watching the floating clouds wisp into magical shapes. My heart filled with wonder, experiencing my first monumental memories of pondering what lies beyond, my little soul connecting with the all-encompassing power of God’s beautiful miracles.  

Growing up on many acres of land that had been a functional farm many decades before, I spent most of my summer days climbing tall trees, hiding inside potato field groves, and pretending I was Laura Ingalls Wilder. I pioneered with my imaginary family, frolicking in the fields, joyously lost in my own world. 


Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice; let the sea and what fills it resound; let the plains be joyful and all that is in them. Then let all the trees of the forest rejoice. (Psalm 96:11-12) 


My family of origin frequently traveled to the mountains out West, where my brother and I exuberantly skied through trees, rode gondolas up to the tops of mountains, and listened to the quiet solitude of clean air, always encouraged by my parent’s passion for the outdoors and spending quiet moments in the wild. As I grew older, there were many times during my teen years when I wanted to go on the beach vacations and commercial cruises my classmates experienced, craving to be like everyone else versus the Idaho horse ranches and small mountain ski resorts we visited, most notably without crowds of fellow teenagers that I was hoping to meet. 




All grown up now, my husband and four little children just returned from a week spent in the same mountains I visited as a child. What a gift it was that I could share the unspoiled beauty of God’s natural world with my children. There was no hesitation in my husband's and my choice to journey westward, just as both of our families did with us growing up. Ironically enough, we both grew up skiing on the same Colorado mountain, probably skiing at the same time as children in the 90s, without ever knowing that many years later we would come together again on that same mountain with our own four children.   

Unbeknownst to me, these childhood moments within God’s divinely created Mother Nature shaped my future. I truly believe that because I was given the unguided time among the trees, my brain began to conceptualize the calm beauty of the world, realizing I was the conductor of my explorations, giving me the unconscious courage to create based on my internal heart song. Grasping these early experiences of play and wonder influenced my success in my career and beyond, allowing me to think past the typical structures and embrace Blue Sky Thinking, the technique where you brainstorm ideas without limits. 




I now realize that these moments in nature throughout my entire life, was God and the Holy Spirit encouraging me to open my arms to the calmness and brilliances of nature’s beauty. This lesson taught me the power of pausing amidst the chaos and learning to connect my heart straight upward toward God and the heavenly floating clouds above. 


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Copyright 2024 Cassidy Van Slyke Blenke
Images: Canva