A Delightful Trip

Mrs. Phil and I recently had the chance to visit some friends in the Pacific Northwest. Since the time we first met them elsewhere, we decided that it was a trip that we would have to add to our naturist bucket list of places to visit for a nakation (clothes free vacation). It did not disappoint!

Any time we can get away together is good, but when we have some naked in nature time together, it’s even better. Throw in some friends, and some new friends, and it’s a great experience.

A question that gets asked often is: Why does nudity have to be social? Well, it doesn’t have to be. And for many naturists, it isn’t. Many are home nudists but don’t have the opportunity to be nude in non-sexual ways with others. This is unfortunate, because there is something about being that open and vulnerable with other people: friends or strangers. The longer we have embraced this way of living and thinking differently, we can testify to one fact that affects naturists more so than non-naturists. Simply put: winters are harder. The reason they are hard, is that due to the weather and other factors, socially nude time greatly diminishes. We can’t even lay out in the sun for an air bath by ourselves! But because we were made to be social creatures, the lack of opportunities really puts a damper on what some already see as a dreary season. There are things I do like about winter, but this is definitely not one of them. I don’t know what it is exactly, but the friendships made with those with whom we’ve been socially nude are some of the best friendships we have. When we go too long without experiencing socially nude time, we both start to feel like something important is missing. Why social? I say why not? We are social in textile situations, and we should be in nude ones too. The era in which we live makes this level of friendship difficult, but not impossible.

This is why a trip in the spring was such a welcome idea. We were feeling the need for such a trip and an experience of this sort badly. Mrs. Phil told me the confidence she had gained from being socially nude was waning. She is so much more confident than in the 20 years before embracing naturism, but she could feel a need to be befriend her body again. Shedding all your clothes has a way of shredding with them the insecurities those clothes hide away. We weren’t in danger of falling back into old habits and an old way of thinking, but since we have this freedom, why not use it? We desperately wanted to go, and are so glad we did.

Aside from the absolute beauty of God’s creation and getting to see a new terrain, we got to be just as we were created in all it’s glory. This is something else that often goes overlooked or unappreciated by non-naturists. Can’t you hike and see amazing landscapes with your clothes on? Yes. But when you can experience these sights and be in your natural state, it’s even more amazing! If you haven’t done it before, you’ll just have to trust me on that one. I feel so close to our Creator when I’m unencumbered by any trappings of society, and simply enjoying beautiful nature and joining with creation to praise our Lord. If we don’t do it, the rocks will cry out, Jesus said. To experience natural hot springs (and several of them in different terrains) was awesome, and I use that word sparingly. Here, the Creator has built into his creation a hot tub that doesn’t require electricity. It simply requires strategically placed rocks to create a pool that separates the hot water from the freezing cold water of the river. You can do a polar plunge and warm up in the hot spring within 10 feet of each other! And you can do it all in the comfort of your own skin, no soggy bathing suits (or shame suits as a friend calls them).

A neat thing is to hear how accepting the culture up there is towards nudity, especially when it comes to hot springs. There was one we did not get to see because when we arrived, there were a bunch of “suitors” (bathing suitors) there, or “textiles.” Sometimes it’s not an issue, but this was a big camping group with little ones, so we just went on our way to the next one. Our friends will often take their own little ones to the hot springs and just like at a family friendly naturist park, there is no problem and it’s perfectly fine and acceptable. Any thoughts otherwise would prove a pornographic mentality, as opposed to a mature and renewed mind we talk about on this blog so often.

We got to meet a bunch of people from all walks of life. They were all very nice. The lack of clothing jump starts better conversation because the small talk that generally happens is unnecessary. Humans don’t only tend to hide behind clothes, but also hide the real and authentic versions of themselves as they attempt to project a certain image of themselves. I think we do this instinctively, or at least subconsciously. Perhaps not all of that goes away, but naturism tends to accelerate the loss of phoniness due to the common acceptance of our natural state. I’ve observed this phenomenon over and over, and even though I can’t explain it, I do appreciate it. 

This blog post makes some good points worth further reflection and contemplation: “Nudism is not about seeing others naked or being seen naked, per se, but I also think it would be disingenuous to say that seeing and being seen are not part of what makes nudism so liberating and empowering. Overcoming the fear instilled in us throughout our upbringing and, for many of us, throughout much of our adult lives, by confronting head-on the anxiety associated with being nude in front of others is one part of it. Another part of it is a very sincere curiosity and a very human desire to know others and to be known for who we are, to be vulnerable, to be acknowledged and accepted and, yes, seen. Not seen for the sake of exhibition or attention. Not seen to show off or flaunt. Seen in order that the truest version of ourselves, warts and wrinkles and wounds laid bare, might be accepted and celebrated.” I love that thought and others mentioned in that particular post. I love that we can express joy and freedom in its most raw form together without shame spoiling it. 

During this trip, we were also off the grid with no cell service or wifi. That made Mrs. Phil a tad nervous having left our kids at home, but they survived just fine without us. We had a terrific time and relaxed those days and enjoyed the handiwork of our Creator on display. We can cross the Pacific Northwest off our naturist bucket list now. Not that we won’t be back again, but we’ve been there and done that. We didn’t get the t-shirt, but rather we took them off. Oh, and one more thing. Ignore this whole post. The locals told us to say there’s nothing there that’s worth seeing! I think they just want to keep it for themselves!

Sharing the News

It wasn’t long after Phil shared with me that he was a naturist and I decided to join him that we started talking about telling our parents. I have a very close relationship with my parents and I knew this wouldn’t be something I could keep from them. I think it was probably around 2 months in that we decided to have the conversation with my parents. We asked if we could come talk to them and they immediately asked if we were moving. We assured them we weren’t. We went to their house and spent the next 3 hours small talking and naturism was never brought up. I was waiting for Phil to start the conversation and he thought since they were my parents that I was going to start the conversation. We ended up leaving without doing what we had gone over there to do! We were both kicking ourselves, so we called them up and said, “Ok, we didn’t even talk about what we wanted to talk about because we chickened out. Can we come back?” They laughed and said they thought we had and of course we were welcome to come back. We turned the car around and began to pray for courage for us and understanding for them. We spent the next 2 hours telling them our story and sharing with them our understanding of Scriptures that we felt not only allowed us to be naturist, but convicted us to be. They didn’t say much. My dad asked a few questions, but my mom was pretty quiet. I have seen that face before. It’s her, “I’m disappointed” face. It broke my heart. She kept saying, “you are adults”, but I knew she was struggling. Who could blame her?! I had struggled too. I knew it would take some time. My mom is my best friend and I prayed this wouldn’t change that!

Over the next couple weeks my mom was very distant. Usually we talk several times a week if not daily, but she stopped calling and when I called she was short and tried to get off the call quickly. It was awkward. My dad told me that she was struggling because she was fighting what she had been taught her whole life too, and what she had taught me. He told us to temper our excitement when we were around her and probably not even to talk about it. I was devastated and continued to pray that this wasn’t a permanent change in our relationship.

Over the next few weeks God gave Phil and me a couple opportunities to talk with my parents again. My dad has had a much easier time dealing with the news than my mom and for that I am so grateful. I could sense my mom beginning to see my heart behind this decision and how it was making me a more confident woman and how my relationship with Phil was thriving. Slowly she began to call again and our conversations returned to normal. A couple of weeks ago we spent the day together and were able to make some jokes about being naked and had a couple good spiritual conversations. It was a great time!

We told my parents quickly, but it took quite some time to build up the courage to tell Phil’s parents. Phil’s family has been in ministry forever. Currently his dad is a Bible college professor. We were anxious about how they would react. We didn’t decide to tell Phil’s parents until several months later. Phil called and asked if we could come talk to them, but they ended up coming to us to watch our daughter’s basketball game. After the game we came back to our house and sent the kids upstairs. We shared basically the same thing we had shared with my parents, but with even more conviction. They were shocked, but seemed to take it pretty well. However, the next morning I called my mother-in-law to ask her a question about something unrelated. She sounded like she was emotional. I asked if she was ok, and she said she had just gotten off the phone with my mom. She need to talk to someone and my mom was the only person she knew she could talk to. I was grateful that she felt comfortable enough to reach out to my mom, but really wished I had been able to give her a head’s up at least! My mom was caught off guard a little bit. We decided later that it was a God thing because if she had known that we had told them she may not have taken my MIL’s call. My mom was able to share with Phil’s mom about the changes she had see in us, and that while it’s scary, she felt we had matured and were being smart. I think this gave my MIL a little bit of peace of mind. We have been able to make a few jokes about it now with Phil’s parents and things seem to be fine. We haven’t had another opportunity to talk seriously about it with them again, but I know eventually God will provide the time for that.

I am grateful for the way God has prepared the path before us in having these conversations. At the moment, only our parents, our children, my friend, and one of Phil’s friends are the only ones who know about this journey outside of our naturist friends. We look forward to the day we can share this journey with others, but like we’ve said before, because of our situation, we are unable to right now.

I am so grateful to our parents for their continued love and acceptance of us, even if they don’t full agree with us… yet! God is good and I rest assured in the confidence that He will continue to be good, forever and ever!

Instant Family

Have you ever met someone in person for the first time and felt an instant connection? I’ve only had that experience a few times in my life. Once as a 3rd grader at a new school, I met my best friend. We are still friends today. The others have been when I have met my fellow Christian naturists. If you have read our other blogs you know we went to Florida last year to a Christian naturist marriage retreat with some other couples we had been talking to online. When we showed up in Florida and were greeting each other, one of the ladies introduced herself and as she hugged us she said a phrase that has stuck with us, “Instant Family”. That phrase has become what we use to describe how it feels we have met others who are of like mind concerning the body.

It might feel this way because, well, they’ve now seen me nude. Although, most of my family hasn’t seen me that way and it doesn’t make them any less my family. And I have friends who don’t yet know about our naturism that I consider family, so I don’t think this is why.

I believe it is more about the spiritual connection. Many of these people we have chatted with online and have built up a friendship long before we have been able to give them hugs in person. We have had silly conversations and joked with one another. We have had deep spiritual conversations concerning many different topics. We have mourned with one another in times of loss and rejoiced in times of celebration. They know things about me that only a few outside of my naturist friends know. When we are given the opportunity to meet up in person it is something we look forward to with great anticipation!

There was a time maybe a year ago as we were really just starting our journey, that because of some internet glitches, we lost contact with some people (one in particular whose story is similar to mine and was helping me deal with the emotions and struggles I was having). I was devastated! I remember telling Phil through tears, I don’t know if I can do this without her to help me through it! She had literally become like a big sister to me! Thankfully, this glitch didn’t last long and we were able to get back in contact, but it did confirm in my heart that there was something special about the relationships we were building on this road.

This same friend was one that met up with us in Florida and after that experience she wrote some beautiful words about the experience. One of the things she said was this, “I am convinced that there is an intimacy that we are missing out on walking around in our clothes. It is an intimacy so deep that we don’t even miss it until you experience it. But it is there buried deep in our core waiting for us to come home…”

We have heard other friends say the same things. That this connection is very rare in the outside world especially so quickly. During these times we can be naked physically and spiritually and emotionally. During these times, I have never been more vulnerable. I’ve also never felt more safe. It’s here that I am accepted for who I am in so many ways. I am loved without having to prove my worth, because to my Christian naturist family, I am worthy just because I exist. God feels the same way about me and you. We don’t have to work hard to impress Him. We don’t have to say the right things, or look the “right” way, or go through the right motions to prove our worth, because in reality we never could anyway. God wants us as part of His family so much so that He offers us a lifeline through His Son. He loves us just as we are and desires a relationship with us that is so deep that we feel safe being vulnerable and naked in every way before Him. We should live in the confidence of His love for us!

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven. Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Hebrews 4:13-16

Florida Thoughts from the Mrs.

Over a year ago, my husband stumbled upon a way to defeat Satan’s schemes by dealing his porn addiction a final blow! In October of last year, after he confessed to me the journey he was on, I started a journey into learning about the image of God in my own body. I’ve done a lot of study of scripture and reading books written on the subject and talking with people who have been on this journey longer than I have. It’s been a combination of very scary and so enlightening and liberating!

This summer my husband and I joined 5 other Christian couples at a villa in Florida. We were putting the things we have learned over the last several months to the test. We were about to find out if ethical naturism could really be a thing in our lives.

These couples all believe in our bodies as the image of God. We all believe in treating people with dignity and respect.

We all believe in monogamous marriage relationships. This is a group of married Christians who believe that non-sexual nudity can be experienced with others of like mind without it causing any of us to fall into sin. Last year I would have thought this was crazy! “NO WAY! That’s not possible! Oh my gosh, those sinners!!  I’m too insecure! Everyone will be thinner than me! I don’t look good naked! No way I’m gonna let my husband see other naked women who have better bodies than me!” I would have said, “I will never do that!” Actually, I think the phrase I used with my husband regarding going to a nude beach was, “NOT IN A MILLION YEARS!” Oh and we did that too and it was awesome! At the beach, I had my sunglasses on and the 2nd or 3rd wave knocked them off my head and the ocean took them!

It’s as if God was saying, “No, you won’t wear anything this time, enjoy it as I created you!”  

There was a lot of anxiety going into this week, even though I was excited to get away from the craziness of life for a bit. When we arrived at the villa after grocery shopping and putting everything away, it was time to cool off in the pool. I took a deep breath, took off my clothes, grabbed my towel and headed out to the pool where some of the others had gathered. It was weird at first because it was new. It didn’t take long though to embrace the feeling of the water on my bare skin without a tight bathing suit clinging to me. Actually, it was an amazing feeling!! After a while, I climbed into the hot tub with about 5 others and we began to talk.

I can honestly say the conversations we had have been some of the most open and honest and amazing conversations I’ve ever had in my life!

You know what I haven’t experienced? I haven’t experienced anyone acting inappropriately. I haven’t experienced anyone staring or gawking. Am I the skinny one here, no? Do I feel insecure about who I am and what I look like? Maybe a little bit if I stop and think about it too much, but as a general feeling, I am not even noticing it! I’m just enjoying the pool and laying out working on my tan free of tan lines. I’m cooking breakfast nude and eating it around the table with 11 other nude bodies. We are playing games and laughing and studying scripture and praying together and living out Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

We are learning about the Lord from each other and having a great time in the process!

I learned this week that being naked with others of like mind, not only physically but emotionally, spiritually, and mentally is nothing short of amazing! Literally nothing to hide! I never felt like I had to stop myself from saying something I wanted to say because of how it might be perceived. We spoke our minds and our hearts. We let God speak through us and to us. We were relaxed in the skin we were in.

Never in my life have I felt so confident! Even fully clothed!