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!

Aging, Change, Cool Stuff, God, Memories

Keepsakes

Marnie and I went to an estate sale today and found all sorts of goodies.  I even missed some of the items for sale because there were so many things to look at!  All the items for sale had been moved to the barns on the property and some items were very dirty.  In fact, one of my items was marked $3 but the lady only charged me $1 because it was really filthy. Dirt for the win! Right now I’m going through some of the things I bought, hoping to find things I can sell in my Etsy store.  I got a whole box of sewing notions – vintage patterns, thread, buttons, and zippers; a bag of game pieces; some Christmas decorations; a bowl made of English walnut that is worth far more than I paid for it; a concrete bear statue for the side yard; two wind chimes; some other things, and most interestingly a box of cards and letters originally owned by a Mennonite girl named Irene.  I think this is her senior picture:

Right now I’m going through the box and wiping off all the dirt and spider webs from the cards and letters.  They are mostly just letters from her friends with a few newspaper clippings, such as this one about some giant waves at the coast.   I do wish there were more newspaper clippings, as I enjoy reading the ads and other little articles.

Irene was very detailed in noting on each envelope that she had answered the letter.  I assume she would have gotten many more letters than this in her life and I’m not sure why these are the only ones left, but I imagine that her family had looked at these and didn’t feel they were important.  There are no photos in the box except the senior photo.  Plus, they are all dirty and webby and there was an actual spider in the box.  

Of course, you don’t learn much about a person from reading the letters sent to them. I don’t know if the estate was hers or how she was related to the person who left the estate, but I found her obituary online and she indeed passed away in the last few months.  It sounds like she was a wonderful and generous woman who loved to help people.  But she had no children of her own, and some letters from her teenage years would have meant little to her nephews and niece, I think. 

Anyway, I always find it very interesting to read old letters and postcards.  I was hoping to find some postcards in the box, but only one has turned up so far.  It is a photo of Giant Geyser in Yellowstone National Park, from 1961. 

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.