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There was a time when babies were of an age to start walking and they were laced with hard sole, high top shoes so stiff it was funny the kid ever learned to walk. How there could even have been any circulation in those poor little feet as they clumped along like they were wearing their grandfather’s chore boots, I will never know.

Now we see babies with socks or just their bare little toes and they are allowed to run that way unless they need to be protected from hot sidewalks or objets that could hurt them.

When my aunt Toody was a baby my great grandpa, Chris, frequently brought her a pair of shoes when he came to see her because he knew active little Toody would have worn out the soft little slippers that had been made of cloth or soft leather.

In my mother’s day it was common for kids to go barefoot all summer. Economical I suppose, but it was also just what kids did back then. Now kids wear "flip flops" because they can slip them on quick and easy. They are usually inexpensive and they do help protect at least the bottoms of the feet. What they do otherwise I don't know, but I doubt they are more harmful than the high heeled fashion shoes that may be beautiful to wear but murder on your feet.

In my family we always talk about my Grandma Hanson and the passion she had for going barefoot. It probably started out the same - economical. Shoes weren't as plentiful in her childhood days and she got used to going barefoot and just kept on. My mother, who was also a "barefooter," said as she grew older, she could see the advantages in going "foot naked." Walking barefoot can be beneficial because it gives more stability and you aren't as likely to trip because you can "feel" and there is no material between you and the floor, etc. to get in the way.

Why am I writing this now, or why did this come to mind? Well that old saying, "What goes around, comes around,” applies. The "Journal of Environmental and Public Health" reports that Dr. Mercola has found plenty of reasons for people to go barefoot. When was the last time you kicked off your shoes and reveled in feeling the earth under your feet? Has it been a while? It may be hard to believe, but this simple pleasure can be a powerful and health promoting activity.  This startling realization is just a beginning to gather scientific momenteum.

Given a fancy name for barefooting, it is now called "grounding" or "earthing" and it has been found to improve quality of sleep and feelings of restfulness. It also helps raise our heart's ability to respond to stimuli and alter the pace of how it beats.   Going barefoot also helps reduce muscle stiffness and chronic pain, as well as reduces the severity of inflammatory response after we have participated in intensive workouts.

"Bare footing" also helps balance our nervous system’s "rest and digest" functions in our bodies, as well as quiets our nerous system’s cue to "fight or flight." Going bare foot creates a direct connection between your body and the earth. It is like getting regular sun exposure, which is also important for our bodies. Walking barefoot outside is a simple practice we can easily accomplish and it doesn't cost a thing.

"Bare footing" not to your taste? Sit outside with your bare feet and touch the ground or grass for 30 minutes or so. Even those short periods have significant benefits. Just be sure that where you are sitting or walking has good grounding surfaces like dirt, sand or grass, better if moist. Bare soil, even with a little bit of fine stones in it, is fine, as long as it is directly on the earth and not painted or sealed are all good "grounding" surfaces.

Walking barefoot along the water at the beach is ideal because water is such an excellent conductor. Taking an early morning walk on the dew laden grass is also good as well.  Exercising barefoot outdoors is one of the most wonderful, inexpensive, and powerful things we can do in our lives.

People who go barefoot are not as apt to have some of the deformed problems with their feet like odor, or bunions, etc., because bare feet don't sweat like those encased in plastic, which many of our shoes are made from today. Leather shoes are far better, but cost more of course.

Now is the perfect time to go back to nature and take a walk in the nice green grass. Your feet will love you for it!

Birthdays and anniversaries include:

• Thurday, July 30th: Tregg Hagen, Levi Horvei, Trevin Andrew Stollard, Scott Briggs, Amy Hohansee VanderSyde, Gary Sloan, Cindy Vaith, Larry Jensen, Kay Cassen, Shane Christensen, Cindy Esplan, Dani Layland, Kurt & Kelly Krumwiede, Nathan & Lindsey Schlaak, Jerry & Tanya Blouin

• Friday, July 31st: Zane Andrew Miller, Michelle Eaker Stevens, Coni Misgen Evenson, Lorie Paulson, Joan Mast, Brian & Pam Muri

• Saturday, August 1st: Parker Brant Simon, Wendy Schultz, Dale Mrotz, Karen Vaith, Stanley Jensen, Lonny Thostenson, Tad Cornelius, Karen Brockman, Rick Christensen, Larry & Carol Spear

• Sunday, August 2nd: Kolten Aaron Michael Hanson, Tara Cromwell Lembke, Cole Lehmberg, Vivian Dulas, Cora Lynn Harpel, Ryan Nelson, Scott Sommers, George Wangsness Jr., Carol Lein, Melissa Marlin and Courtney (Vallarelle) and Dakota Tracy were united in marriage in 2014

• Monday, August 3rd: Arianna Elizabeth Pence/Ortiz, Jo Lerberg, Kristine Dummer, Cynthia Nelson, Kent Swearingen, Jean Molenaar, Matthew Wayne, Nicholas Wayne, Gerald Flugum

• Tuesday, August 4th: Madysen Grace Waage, Karen Edwardson Loge, Harold Jensen, Bryce Ingvaldson, Terry Vaith, Ryan Wangsness, Michael Hanson, Tom Lang, Bethany Cooper, Rachel Reichl, Gary & Kathy Reichl, Warren & Ilsbeth Wayne

• Wednesday, August 5th: Wayne Schimek, Corey Wangsness, Gabriella Lynn Olson, Gladys Johnson, John Ramlo, Annette Thostenson, Jennifer Broskoff Dutton, Andrea & Kane Malo, Christopher & Kristen Hanson, Tom & Kari Wayne

• Thursday, August 6th: Lynn Nechanicky, Rick Cook, Matthew Miller, Andy & Mary Lerberg, Wendell & Connie Kuehni

• Friday, August 7th: Shelly Mangskau, Zachery Vangen, Lori Titus, Dylan Waltz, Jack Jensen, Dakota Wayne Heideman, Kaityn Quimby, David Arbogast, Darren Casper, Allen Wacek, Tom & Katie Marlin

• Saturday, August 8th: Ian Matthew Wayne, Luke Wangsness, John Vander Stoep, Jamie Walworth, Kathy Born, Scott Crabtree, Jessica Marcus, Sharon Miller Jensen, Barb O'Conner, Gary Peterson, Emily Jensen, Marc Collins, Matthew Swift, Don Gould, Mya Glienke

Sending you heartfelt wishes for a great day!

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