Bible, Christian Life, Health, Life

Reflection

Since our PCT thru-hike attempt and our subsequent Oregon section attempt, I’ve been reflecting on the purpose of it and what I should do now. I spent most of my non-work time for seven years planning for our thru-hike and thinking about it every day, and now I sort of feel like I’m in limbo. I haven’t thought of another BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal, as my parents’ pastor puts it) to plan for and right now I’m just not doing much at all.

We weren’t able to conquer last time. But shouldn’t I be doing this? And better still, SHOULDN’T I BE DOING IT IN CAPITAL LETTERS?

I like to be productive, and while I get my eight or nine hours of sleep a night (early to bed, early to rise!) when I’m awake I prefer to be accomplishing something. So I keep asking God, “What are you calling me to do? What’s the next thing? What thing should I be planning for now?”

Seriously, I completely, totally do.

Something I’ve noticed recently is that I’m just tired. I’m not a super high-energy person generally, but I seem to feel more regularly tired than I did before our hiking attempts. After our four-mile beach walk on Saturday I came home much more weary than I should have been. I couldn’t get going on any other projects even though we got home early in the day.

So I’ve been trying to figure out what God wants me to do next, and what I’m sensing is that I should rest, take a sabbatical (a break or change from normal routine) from planning. I really enjoy planning, so I’m constantly running over things in my mind. I’m the one who starts packing a month before the trip, ha. Rest is defined as “peace, ease or refreshment.” My brain has been on one track for so long, I think it really needs that refreshment. I will plan for small things like holidays, and will rest from planning big things like thru-hikes. I will be able to put more energy into serving at church, studying God’s Word, dealing with some health-related issues, and reading more books. I will still do my transcription work, but will more available to others. I will endeavor to learn how to trust and hope in God completely. I will be able to put my heart into all these things more than I did when I had a big event constantly on my mind. I look forward to wisdom gained and strength renewed!

28 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31

Bible, Christian Life, God, hiking, Life, Things I've Learned

Running

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Hebrews 12:1-2

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:12-14

These passages have been hard for me to get through my head, and I’ll tell you why. I ran track when I was a sophomore in high school. The Sis and The Sis-In-Law and the rest of our friends were on the track team, and I thought it would be fun to join them. Because I wasn’t fast enough to run sprints and couldn’t run for long enough to do the longer races, I ran the 400 meter race. (I am told now it’s one of the hardest races to run. Thanks for letting me know then, track coach (not).) Turns out I am just a very slow runner, and I lost every single race. I mean, I came in dead last. Every. Single. Race. I went to every practice and every meet, but since I wasn’t one of the winning team members the coaches pretty much ignored me and didn’t give me any pointers. When it was time to give out awards, I really hoped that I could get a letter just because I tried as hard as I could and ran every race regardless of my lack of talent and subsequent embarrassment, but you only got a letter if you received a certain number of points and that meant you had to win events. (Our school didn’t offer letters in choir. If they had, I totally would have gotten all the letters.)

Hebrews 12:1 talks about running with endurance, and Philippians 3:14 talks about winning the prize. Well, I ran but I didn’t have much endurance (hence my not being able to run the longer races), and I never won a prize. The only competition I’ve ever won on my own was a spelling competition in middle school, and then when it came to the bigger contest I didn’t come close to winning that one. Not being a competitive person by nature, I don’t enter contests if I know I will be competing directly against others. I don’t like competition. I mean, I enjoy winning but really don’t have confidence that I will.

So I have always been rather flummoxed when reading these Bible passages about running and winning, since now I can’t even run at all (Well, I can run half a block. Then I have to stop because I can’t breathe. Ow. Running hurts.) and I have never been good enough at anything to win any important competitions. And I am not that great at pressing on toward goals I set for myself, so there’s also that.

I have decided, however, to replace “run” with “hike” in my thinking. I can hike with perseverance and reach the hiking goal, so that speaks to me better then the idea of running. I have reached many summits (though not any 14ers, but then I haven’t tried) and have only had to turn around a couple of times, mostly because of sketchy snow on the trail. This gives me hope that although I will never be like Jesus completely, I can move forward and become more like Him as I hike through life. I’m a slow hiker, but I get places.

Me on a summit

Obviously there is so much more to these scriptures, but that is for another post!

Bible, Cars, Christian Life, Cool Stuff, hiking, Success!

Stickers!

I like stickers. I have liked stickers since I was a little girl. When I was in middle school they started selling rolls of really neat stickers at the card and stationery stores, and you could buy just one sticker at a time. They were shiny and glittery! It was awesome!

Anyway, I still enjoy stickers, especially waterproof vinyl stickers and decals, and I put them on water bottles, coffee cups, my bear canister, and my car windows. (Not on the paint. Never the paint!) When it comes to the stickers on my car I change them occasionally, because I don’t like to drive my sweet ol’ hooptie around with stickers that are half coming off. A couple of weeks ago I noticed a few of my stickers on the car were looking a bit shabby, so I ordered some new ones.

These are the old stickers:

Two of my favorites, the “Conquer” sticker and the “Onward” bear sticker, were coming off and had turned a funny color. The other ones I intended to replace were the Bigfoot and the one that says “Hiking is always a good idea.” They just didn’t look so great anymore.

I ordered some new stickers and decals from Etsy and they came this last week, so I set out to remove the old stickers from the window. Easier said than done! At least for me. I was using an X-Acto style knife to remove them, and that was taking awhile. The Hubs came out and saw what I was doing, and then went to the shop to get a regular flat razor blade to remove the stickers for me. He just went zoop, zoop, zoop, and the stickers and leftover sticky were all gone! (I won’t use a naked flat razor blade because I stuck one in my thumb once. Ow.)

This is the decal on the passenger-side back window. I hope it stays on for a long time, I really like it.

Here are the new decals and stickers (sorry the window is so dirty, I did run through the car wash last week but it didn’t stay clean very long):

The “Mountains, please” decal and the kitty sticker both have some brown spots, but I am going to keep them until they start coming off the window. I really like the “Mountains, please” decal, and Marnie gave me the cute kitty sticker.

The “Be Strong and Courageous” comes from Joshua 1:9, one of my favorite scriptures.

I really like the King James version (below). “Whithersoever” seems like a lot more places than just “wherever”, ha. It is spelled wrong in this meme though! “Neither” is also spelled wrong, but I like the photo and you get the idea. “Dismayed” means feeling distress or anxiety, typically at something unexpected, or to look around in terror. I tried so hard not to be afraid or dismayed when we were hiking in SoCal and kept coming upon rattlesnakes. Talk about looking around in terror! I don’t know if I succeeded in obeying God’s command there. That’s a tough one sometimes. But thankfully we live in a nice, venomous snake-free area and don’t have to worry about them here!

After The Hubs scraped the stickers off and went back to the shop I realized I had forgotten the decal on the driver’s side back window which I also wanted to remove. I liked it but it was pink glitter and didn’t really match with the other stickers. That decal looked like this but was a rose-gold color, about 5″ X 5″. Thankfully it came off easily with my X-Acto knife.

I have an idea of something to replace it. I will share it after I put it on the car!

Backpacking, Bible, Christian Life

Psalm 91

Did you know there is a psalm in the Bible specifically written for hiking? Well…not exactly, but it is a great comfort to me as we go on our backpacking trips. 😁 (I added the words in parentheses.)

Psalm 91

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
(being trapped)
    and from the deadly pestilence (ticks, norovirus, etc.)
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield
(protection) and rampart (a protective barrier).
You will not fear the terror of night (bears, mountain lions, rattlesnakes),
    nor the arrow that flies by day (humans),
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,

    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;

12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone
.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra ;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent
(mountain lion, rattlesnake).

14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

The psalmist probably didn’t have in mind those things I put in parentheses (or who knows? Maybe at some point he did!) My parentheses are a bit whimsical, but protection from bears, mountain lions, snakes, disaster near my tent, humans who wish to do me harm, striking my foot against a stone? Awesome!! But we don’t want to miss that the whole of Psalm 91 concentrates on the power of God and His willingness to care for those who love Him. Note these paragraphs from Debbie McDaniel:

“This entire chapter of Psalm 91 is filled with the goodness and power of God. Great reminders that He faithfully works on behalf of those who love Him.  And at the end of it all, God gives 8 reasons of why we do not have to fear.

He promises: ‘Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.  He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.  With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.’ Psalm 91:14-16

Psalm 91‘s Promises from God

  • “I will rescue him…” (deliver, cause to escape)
  • “I will protect him…” (set him on a high place)
  • “I will answer him…” (respond to, speak)
  • “I will be with him in trouble…” (in afflictions, in distress)
  • “I will deliver him…” (rescue, to bring into safety)
  • “and honor him…” (to make rich, strong, heavy with honor)
  • “With long life will I satisfy him…” (to have abundance in the journey)
  • “and show him my salvation.” (let him see my deliverance & victory)”

We see from this psalm that God is always there with those who love Him. We can take these promises to heart. It doesn’t mean that Christians will never have anything bad happen to them, but that God will be there through it all, and we can be assured that He is completely in control!

Backpacking, Change, Christian Life, Cool Stuff, Doing Things Differently, Fun, God, hiking, PCT

PCT, Here We Come!!

So here is my official announcement blog post — my bestie Marnie and I plan to thru-hike the Pacific Crest Trail in 2022!! The trail traverses California, Oregon, and Washington, from Mexico to Canada, and is 2650 miles long. We plan to start at the southern terminus at the Mexico border and head north. It is a journey of five or six months, depending on how fast you hike.

PCT Southern Terminus – photo from thetrek.co
PCT Northern Terminus – photo from PCTA.org

We have gotten our thru-hike permits from the Pacific Crest Trail Association (albeit for days at the end of May which isn’t feasible when hiking through the California desert, we are looking for cancellations to get a better date and a date together) and we are working to get prepared for the trail.

EDIT: We were able to get permits for the end of March! Yay!

We would love it if you would pray for us for these specifics:

  • That God will be glorified in our hiking.
  • Provision (finances, bravery, physical and mental strength, etc.) for the trail.
  • Protection from injury/illness, ice, snow, water crossings, critters, anything else.
  • Fitness and ability to get good nutrition on trail (both of us sometimes find it hard to eat while backpacking).
  • Successful and smooth food and resupply boxes prep (there are places where there isn’t a good place to resupply for food, we will mail supply boxes to those places).
  • That we will get our “trail legs” soon so we can hike the miles we need to hike to finish on time (before the snows in Washington).
  • Energy to journal at the end of each day.
  • That neither of us will experience post-trail depression when we get home, but instead have energy and enthusiasm for the next stage of our lives.
  • Anything else applicable that you can think of!
Marnie (left) and me on a day hike.

Thank you!! Please feel free to ask any questions about our trip in the comments!

And if you want to know more about the PCT, The Trek’s website is a great place to start!

Books, Christian Life, God, Recommendations, Reviews

Book Recommendation — The Bethany Tales

I want to recommend The Bethany Tales, Four Intertwined Stories of Restoration and Hope, written by Bryan E. Canter.   The book looks at the lives of four people from the village of Bethany in the time of Jesus – Mary, Martha, Lazarus, and Simon.

          “These four tales use the creative gift of imagination to explore what each of these men and women might have been thinking and feeling, while remaining true to the biblical accounts and consistent with life in first century Israel.”

I read the book around Eastertime, and found it hard to put down!  I received a much deeper insight of Jesus’ relationships with people and his last days here on earth in reading the book.  The author’s note at the beginning and the Bible passages behind the story at the end help with understanding the accounts even more.  The Bethany Tales would be a blessing to anyone who wants a greater appreciation of these records in the Bible.

The Bethany Tales is available on Amazon and other sites in hardback, paperback, ebook, and audiobook formats.