Scripture Motto

"Let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father." Matthew 5:16

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Walking For Life

Psalm 37:23

With only a few weeks to go, the training is intensifying. I am walking more and carrying a heavier pack.

Getting in shape physically is difficult while living in the plains where our hills are not too steep. I walk on our country roads in the mornings when the temperatures are below 90 degrees but the humidity can be high.

I also do strength training by using free-weights and a balance ball. Sit ups, push ups, squats, and lungs are still among the best muscle builders.

However, preparing for the mental challenges is more complicated. So, for this year's trek, I've added a new motivator: making the journey into a fundraiser! Yes, a walk-a-thon benefiting the Crisis Pregnancy Center in Lincoln, Nebraska. The idea has put joy in my heart and a skip in my step.

No matter what I do on this side of the trip it won't be enough. My legs, hips, and back will still hurt. I'll get discouraged and wonder "what in the world was I thinking." But, that's how it is in a love-hate relationship!

Well, my pack is ready, so, I better get my boots on my feet and hit the road before the storms move in.

My steps are established by the Lord.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

DAY 152 - Eighty days to reach my goals!

"They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles." Isaiah 40:31
I have sloughed-off long enough. Depression held me in its grips too long! It’s time to get up a go again; which means getting on the scale, recording my food intake, and walk or workout every day.
Since losing and maintain weight has been a forty-year struggle, goals like backpacking 62 miles in 9 days are great motivators. Last time, my first time, hiking with a pack on my back, I know that every pound – no, every ounce matters! My husband and I plan to cut all our weight – from our bodies and our backpacks.
The weight of my body will only come off by me diligently being mindful of what I put into my mouth. Recording it in a notebook or by using internet programs tells me the truth. Using measuring cups, spoons, and scales eliminates any guess work.
Walking, with and without my pack, helps with the weight loss as well as builds strength to the body. On weekends my husband and I will hoist our packs onto our backs and extend our daily 2-4 mile-walks to 6-8 mile-treks. The longer weekend treks challenges our mental stamina, especially as the heat and humidity rises with

Why do I do it? Because its there! Why not?
Actually, I love challenges, physical and mental ones. The Appalachian Trail pushes me in both, plus emotionally. I don’t really like the emotional challenge but the combination stretches me in all areas of my life. It really is the epitome of life’s ups and downs!

When I return from this journey, life’s difficult days will seem easier. I’ll be able to push through my mental breakdowns, complain less, and accomplish more. My body, spirit, and soul will be strengthened.

My strength will be renewed; and I will soar in life above the fray like as on eagle’s wings.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

DAY 119 - What’s Up?

It took me two months to update the “What’s Up” page of my writer’s website, because of the struggle of winter depression, but as my motto declares, I want to be open about my struggles as well as my victories in "livin’ my life out loud for Jesus."

I feel bad for falling short of my goals for 2010 in my life, in writing, and in getting ready to return to the Appalachian Trail. With leaves popping out everywhere, lilacs in bloom, and my allergies high, I feel certain that spring is definitely here! I am walking more often, eating better, writing again, and putting myself back into society.

Last week, I walked or hiked 4 of 7 days, for 14½ miles over 11 hours. I carried my backpack with about 10 lbs for 8 of those miles (4½ hours). I also spent about 40 minutes one morning getting some resistance training with the treadmill, hand-weights, balance ball, and stretch tubes (or whatever they’re called). It has felt amazing. I have also been eating wiser and healthier. I have about 16 weeks to get in shape for our 60-mile trek.

As for writing, I’ve mainly been focused on getting my weekly devotionals written for the website; but began reading a very inspiring book this week called “The Traveler’s Gift” by Andy Andrews. I originally picked it up at the library for research on writing short stories, but am enthralled by the context and lessons on “seven decisions that determine personal success.” (I highly recommend this book.)

I mentioned being back in society because the winter pulled me away from interacting with people. Yes, I continued to attend two different Bible studies, one with a group of women and the other a mixed group of men, women, married, divorced, and widowed, but I was not fully engaged until a couple of weeks ago. I went because I knew I needed to be with people, but dreaded the travel to and from. The women’s group stopped meeting just before Easter, while the mixed one was just getting started. The transition was odd for me,;however, I’m enjoying being in a group with my husband after many, many years.

I praise God for sustaining me through the dark, cold, dreary winter and for His Faithfulness in the return of spring sunshine and warmth. Onward I go with my face to the Son, the King of kings, and Lord of lords. Philippians 3:13-14 & Hebrews 12:2

God bless you all.

Monday, April 12, 2010

DAY 102 - Back in the Race

“…Run in such a way that you may win…everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things…Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim…lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.”1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Well, it’s been 3 months since my last blog and 3 months of living in the miry bog of depression. It held me in its grips like never before as snow covered the ground surrounding our house from early-December to mid-March. Without a hint of brown grass or black dirt anywhere for over 4 months, my heart felt trapped inside our country home.

When spring finally broke through, the temperatures increased as did the hours of daylight, but gray skies and rain also came with it. All of my goals or New Year’s resolutions melted and washed away on February 20. If you read “Day 50 – Fallen” you’ll see that I found a thread to pull me upward but it wasn’t strong enough to hold me for six weeks when real sunshine and warm weather arrived. I have written very little, exercised, or kept on special projects since that last blog of February 19th.

However – after a rough weekend, I determined today to hit the restart button (again)! On a scale of 1–10, this day has been a 9.75! (I’d give it a 10 but it’s only 4:30 in the afternoon.)

The laundry is almost done; washed, dried, folded or hung up, and put away! I walked 2 miles this morning, and then went to my doctor for a follow up cholesterol check this afternoon. Since my appointment last fall I have lost 5 pounds (those I lost in January and kept off), and my cholesterol numbers were better (not quite where they should be, but better). Praise God!!

A huge key to my day’s success is that this is the first time I’ve been on the computer today. I also began with a strong mindset to stay within the boundaries of my preferred daily routine.

My brain seems to be functioning on all cylinders. My energy level continues to be running in high gear. I’m back in the race and revving to go. When the green flag dropped in front of me this morning I hit the accelerated and charged toward the finish line. (I’m writing during a brief pit stop…so, I need to get back on the track!)

I appreciate the cheers I hear from you!! I hope this encourages you to return to your New Year’s resolutions or goals and start again.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Day 50 - Fallen

"Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8

I have fallen to a level that makes it terribly hard to pull myself up. Winter is having its way with me, but so far I have been able to stay conscious.

The cold, snow, and wind make walking outside close to impossible. The clouds hide the sunshine. My mind craves to eat all the wrong foods – milk chocolate, ice cream, white flour and sugar. I have not been inspired to write for two weeks. I hid from two commitments this week – one being a Bible study, the other a writers’ group – both of which are marvelous groups of Christian love and encouragement.

Like the last few weeks, today did not begin so good, eating the worst breakfast and lunch and wasting lots of time. I skipped my usual time of praying and reading the Bible. From there I attempted to work in the office, only to turn my attention to computer solitaire. Depression is winning. But then, two special emails arrived.

The first contained a photo of a split-level suburban home. My eyes were drawn to the snow covered yard. Upon further observation I noticed the sky above the house; it was blue. I was reminded of my trail scripture, Psalm 121. It begins, "I will lift up my eyes…from whence shall my help come…My help comes from the Lord…" When hiking, if my eyes are looking down, I tend to get tired more quickly, but when I lift them upward, I find strength and energy.

Within the second email I received today, was Philippians 4:8, a verse that also helps me to focus my thoughts away from me.

Theses two passages of scripture gave me strength to focus my mind. It has not been a simple switch, but one which I am again mindful. I am praying, as on the trail, for the strength to take another step in the right direction. I have been searching for alternative answers to keep me from slipping further into the pit of desperation. I have set my heart on praising God for what is good, right, and excellent.

For my afternoon snack, instead of baking a batch of brownies as my mind demanded, I reached for my healthy trail mix. And, as you can see, I began to write. There are a few hours remaining in this day that I might even step onto the treadmill.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Fighting the Winter Blues

It is 4:25 a.m. and I’ve been up for at least an hour, awake since 3:00. A dream stirred me, and then the sound of something dropping onto the floor pulled me out of bed. Then my mind began dwelling upon the frets in my life – money, my grown sons, my brother, my mom, and the list goes on. My stomach felt queasy as I lay in my bed praying to God wanting to return to a restful sleep. Instead, I tossed and turned.

So as not to disturb my husband’s sleep, I decided to move from the bed to the recliner in the living room. The moonlight reflecting off the freshly fallen snow lit up the night sky and beamed through the many windows of our house. I had no need of a flashlight to find my way to the chair.

With a small pillow for under the crick of my neck and throw blanket over my legs, I leaned back and raised the level. Instead of reaching for the usual TV remote, I clicked on the stereo quickly making sure the volume was low and tuned into the local Christian radio station.

The music helped me let loose of my thoughts to God, but my stomach was still flip flopping. I began recounting my day. I had taken unplanned one-mile walk in the crisp cold air upon the lightly icy gravel road with that fresh coat of snow. The deep cleansing breaths helped to release the tension of my winter worries, but evidently not all of them. As that sour taste rose from stomach, I was reminded of the handful of trail mix I had eaten just before bed and that I had not taken a single Prilosec all day. The upset stomach is now making sense.

The winter blues have arrived earlier than usual this year. We have received a lot of snow along with extremely long bouts of cold temperatures. There have been more overcast, foggy days than sunny ones. The forecast calls for more snow and ice later this week.

I feel confined to the house; my penitentiary with insurmountable walls, towers on each corner where guards stand poised to shoot, and gates locked down.

I have to fight back these feelings. I have to resist the temptation to eat poorly. I must change the environment within the walls of my house and break out into the cold even if it is only to walk up the driveway to the mailbox like I did today. Once out there, I felt like I had escaped my prison.

In reality, my prison is my mind, locked away for the winter, restless and anxious, rattling at the cage instead of using the key to get out. Here it is: I don’t like being cold, and hate the work it takes to bundle up. So, instead, I stay inside. I make excuses to avoid going out to the mailbox, to the grocery store, and even to church.

While locked away in my prison, instead of using my mind and my time to write or clean the house, I reach for the worse foods in the cabinets ~ as the good stuff like fruits and vegetables are in the refrigerator. Instead of using the treadmill, weights, and walking DVD to exercise my muscles and get oxygen to my brain, I watch TV, search Facebook, or play solitaire. Instead of reading, singing, or dancing, I sit and pout.

Well, on this moonlit morning, I reached for the stereo remote instead of the TV. My intensions for opening my laptop was for the purpose of getting on Facebook, but instead clicked open MS Word and wrote! Instead of fretting and twisting up my stomach, I have turned my thoughts into words.

It is now 5:25 a.m. I think I’ll “get up” now and begin this new day that the Lord has made for me. No matter the weather outside, I have to live and breathe and see The Light shining on me. I must let His Light reflect upon my world. Winter is only a season; spring and summer will return in His time.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Day 22 - Tripped, Stumble, Crashed

I made it 21 days before my shaky, tired self lost my steady pace. Today, I tripped and fell. It began with a bad dream causing a great deal of anxiety; in fact, I felt like I was wearing a weighted down straight jacket. When your hands are tied up and you’re carrying extra weight on your shoulders, it is pretty much impossible to catch yourself.

I rolled down the mountain and into the hands of carbohydrates. The fall didn’t knock me unconscious though, as I recorded every bad thing I ate. I sat there for quite awhile wallowing in my pity. Then, I made myself take charge of the situation by posting and publishing my website weekly devotional. After that, I crawled to the foot of the Cross where I wrote in my prayer journal and read the Word.

As my body began to gain a little strength, I got on the scales and weighed myself. Unraveled the tape measure and calculated my inches. The results after 3 full weeks: lose of 4 lbs and 4 ¾ inches. I was neither disappointed nor ecstatic. So, I took my numb self and sought rest to my soul by soaking in a bubble bath and reading a book.

The day is almost done. My wounds still pain me, but praise God for the weight and inches lost. Tomorrow is new day. I will rest tonight and pray for renewed strength to soar as on eagle’s wings. (Isaiah 40:29-31)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day 21 - Changing habits

They say it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. Well, today, I consciously resisted a long-standing bad habit that hits between 3:00 and 5:00 pm. It is made worse when I’m tired, bored, or frustrated. My usual reaction is eating something with carbs as the fulfiller. Toast or bagels, also toasted and smothered with margarine is a frequent, convenient food of choice.

(Is this too much revealing information?)

A couple of strategies
Several years ago, I learned a little trick that sometimes helps. When I’m hungry, I note the time and wait 15 minutes. Then, I determine if I’m head or stomach hungry. If I’m stomach hungry, I eat; if I’m just head hungry, I mark the time again and wait another 15 minutes. This doesn’t always work, as my head hunger (which is based upon my mood) over takes my will.

Another bit of wisdom that I’ve used not for weight issues, but for better health, is to keep a trail mix handy. It contains raw almonds, walnut pieces, golden raisins, cran-raisins, dried tart cherries, and for a bit of salt, a small portion of salted, roasted almonds.

Today frustration was the culprit when our satellite internet service refused to work for me while posting my weekly website devotional. I considered toasting a bagel, but knew how it would blow up my daily calories. Because the internet also wreaked havoc on my access to, I was unable to see where I was for the day or what it would actual cost me.

Victory! I reached for a bottle of water, added a packet of cherry-pomegranate Propel and a tablespoon of cherry concentrate, and drank away my hunger.

It feels good to win over the temptation! It feels great to outwit the daily mind game of hunger. It is worthy of praise to my God who supplied the strength, knowledge, and alertness to develop smart new habits.

The first temptation Jesus dealt with after forty days in the wilderness was hunger. He responded to it with "...Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:1-3) See, hunger is not relieved with bread!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Correction to previous post, Chuggin' Along: It should read "...I attempted to write 3000-3750 words in 10-12 hours a week," not 300-375 words!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Day 15: Chuggin' Along

Wow, has it really been fifteen days?! I’m still pressing forward, staying the course, and focusing on the goals but I admit that some days have been more challenging than others due to obstacles and distractions which are mainly my own emotional roller-coaster ride.

Fear, doubt, hurt and confused feelings
Fear stood before me as I attempted to write 300-375 words in 10-12 hours a week. At times it made me curl up into the fetal position, quivering and crying like a baby. Still determined, I stood up, washed my face, and shuffled along.

That’s when doubt grabbed me by the feet, knocked me down, and hog-tied me. I fell to my knees into the dirt. With the little fight left in me, I attempted to crawl toward the goal, but doubt held the rope taut. I felt helpless, worn, and defeated. I called out for help, and God sent a helping hand named “my husband.” His words of encouragement refreshed my soul, and his hand of love swept the dirt from my knees. With a tender kiss to my cheek, he untied the rope and raised me up again.

The path seemed smoother and rid of the obstacles. My steps were lighter, even skipping. Words began flowing from the tips of my fingers onto the computer screen. The pace picked up so much that I felt a new confidence overcame me and I began to jog. The sun shone brighter and my smile grew bigger. The goals laid ahead of me came back into view, and then…wham!

Standing smack-dab in front of me was a wall that hurt and dazed me. I hit it hard and fell back on my butt. It came out of no where. When the stars stopped revolving around my head, I saw my bloody feelings running from my broken heart. I tried to stop the bleeding with reason and understanding. I stepped aside to receive first aid from God to heal the abrasions. He laid His hand upon my wound while whispering sweet words of comfort removing my confusion, and helping me to avoid the temptation of quitting or sabotaging my journey.

Courage, belief, healing, and clarity
The obvious challenges of hiking the Appalachian Trail are the steep climbs up and down the mountain sides wearing the body down, but add some rain and the mind becomes the bigger deterrent to keep going. Lifting my tired, heavy legs as not to trip over tree roots, stones, or even my own feet was a constant confrontation. Crossing bogs by way of twelve inch sliced logs was a greater fear for me than wild animals in the dark of the night. Not being able to see clearly the path before me did not give me the option to give the journey up.

The Trail taught me courage to believe that I could overcome obstacles and distractions. It showed me that cliffs are for climbing over or around. I learned what it truly means to press on, to keep on keeping on through the tough stuff life throws at me.

This week has been trying as you can see, but I am not defeated, not pressed down.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Taking Breaks for True Rest – Matthew 11:28-29

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden…find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29

Struggling this afternoon after a great start and morning with a wonderful time with the Lord, working out with my circuit training video, and posting a new devotional to the website. No time for a break, I must press on.

Sometimes, taking a break is necessary, but too often I attempt to press past the need thinking that pushing myself is better. However, while backpacking, I learned – the hard way – the difference between simply stopping and truly resting.

At first, when we would stop for a break, when my husband would insist that I take off my pack and lay it down, I resisted, insisting that it was too much work to take it off and then put it back on. Yet, he was the experienced backpacker!

We took fifteen minute breaks every couple of hours on the trail, especially following grueling climbs. So, I would lean against a large rock or balance on a log with my pack strapped to my back. When we resumed the hike, my feet felt like a ton of bricks. It seemed to me by removing my pack wasted time, but after several of his gentle insistences, I heeded his advice.

Wow! It made a huge difference. In just those few minutes of relief from the burden on my shoulders, a few handfuls of GORP, and a good amount of water, I was felt the spring in my step return.

Remembering this experience and what it taught me, will be of great value as well on this journey. I may need a break to rest and recover. Leaning to take breaks by laying down my burdens, refreshing my soul with true rest, will put a spring back in my step to press onward.

Tomorrow is another new day.

Monday, January 11, 2010

DAY 6: Excited for “something new”

I am excited for “something new” as I enter my wilderness, climb a hill, or ford stream. (Reference: Isaiah 43:19)

As I press on the trail of this journey, I sense that God has something new around a corner, over a hill, under a rock, or behind a tree. I don’t know any details about its features or how it will effect me, but it’s somewhere along this path.

It will be a precious unique gift. It will catapult me into the next adventure of my life. He has given me a hope for the future, as well as the strength, encouragement and perseverance to reach it.

I could speculate on what it may be, but I’d rather wait with my eyes, ears, and hands open ready to receive it from the Giver of Life. I want to trust and obey Him on this adventure.

I press on toward the upward goal of God’s calling upon my life; to strain and reach forward with my eyes fixed upon the One who blazes this trail. I will accept the pain to obtain the gain.

AS FOR MY PROGRESS thus far, it is going very well. I am settling into a new mindset of what I eat in order to lose the excess weight on my body. I am beginning to desire the workouts to strengthen my muscles. I am again comfortable with the characters and plot in writing the story that is in my heart and mind. Since I have been down similar trust roads in my lifetime, I know that this is all possible and the rewards are beyond anything I can imagine.

I am excited for the "something new."

Friday, January 8, 2010

"...Behold, I will do something new..." Isaiah 43:19

"Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new..." Isaiah 43:18-19a


As I take the first steps of my "thousand-mile" journey, I begin by pondering the whys, the hows, and the oh-mys! Just as when on my first backpacking trek of the Appalachian Trail, I'm asking, "What have I gotten myself into?"

I have started the journey of weight lose many, many times before, but I have never before openly exposed my journey to the world! I have even completed several legs of the course leading to the goal, only to find myself sliding back down as I sat on my laurels of accomplishments. You see, the journey never really ends. Reaching plateaus along the way are for resting and taking stock, but not stopping with the attitude of "this is far enough." Even standing on the pinnacle is not the end.

You see, bullies await to push me off and back down to where I began, or even worse, further down into the miry pit of despair. Yes, I get tired of climbing this same mountain knowing the joy of real success is not simply sitting on the peak, but standing strong upon it, maintaining my hold on it!!

I also know that when my body is healthy, I feel better and function my efficiently! My mind is clearer for making wiser choices for every aspect of my life. My emotions are stronger for handling whatever events come along. And, obviously, when I look in the mirror I like what I see!"

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." (I wish I knew who to credit with that saying!) The first thing I must do is leave the past in the past and move forward one-step-at-a-time. I must not be afraid because of past failures, but be strong and courageous to pursue the triumph of living a healthy life. As one of God's Holy Spirit temples, taking care of this body He created for His purpose is essential.

So, today, I begin again! New strategies are in place. My course has been laid out. So, I hope that by exposing my struggles along with my successes in this endeavor will encourage other travelers along similar journeys.

Okay, I need to go take that first step: stepping on the scale and measuring my body!!!