Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Dead Air

I'm still around.

Life is still crazy.  Well, my job situation is crazy.  And gets crazier every day.  Major changes are announced weekly or happen weekly and there is no time to adjust or settle or prepare.

Once I find more of a rhythm again, I will write regularly again.  I hope.

Kids are healthy and happy and doing great in school.

Marriage is great.  Jeff is great.

Things are great- except for the insanity of my job.

So keep me in your thoughts and prayers.  Hook up with me on Facebook since it's easier to pop up for a status update to stay connected.

And I hope I can get back to fun and deep thoughts and inspiration and motivation someday soon...


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

How Are You?

It can be a loaded question.

How are you?

I've heard it said that people lie every day- when they answer that question with the generic "fine."

I know people who will always answer "blessed."

I don't have a set way that I answer.

At work, I might give an answer that indicates that I am stressed, over worked, tired, in need of coffee.

In public, I'll give a generic answer.

Amongst my friends... I struggle with how to answer.  Because the people who love me ask that question because they know there are things in my life that are difficult.  When there is a great big complicated ball of stuff going on in my life, there is no easy answer.

I guess I answer as honestly as the other person asks.

Last night, I had some meetings at church and some of my good friends were there.  After the meeting, several wanted to check in, see how I was doing.

Friends who love you and know what is going on in your life mean it when they ask how you're doing.  And they understand what it means when you say... Things aren't fine but I made it through today.

Friends who love you and know that you're in a hard place don't even ask... they just tell you that they're thinking of you, they offer you a hug, they tell you that they are praying for you.

Maybe it isn't the answer that matters.  Maybe the important thing is the asking.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Silver Linings

It helps to count the good things in life when life has felt like a bit of a bully...

  1. I have set a development goal at work- I've answered, officially, the question of what I want to be next with my company.  It was scary but putting it officially in company documentation makes it more real and means I can do things to work towards it.
  2. The work load might be huge and I might feel like a lot of work is untouched or unfinished but I am feeling productive and am working on using my organizational skills to at least know what needs to be done.  Feeling even a little bit of control is a good thing.
  3. I have a date with a friend next week.  I can't wait to spend time with her.  Our souls connect- friends like that are really special.
  4. My husband loves me and I love him.  He takes care of me and has been so good to me as I figure out all of this stressful stuff.
  5. My church family loves me.  I know that there are people praying for me every day.  I know there are people ready to give me a hug, listen if I need to vent, offer advice, and these same people will lovingly let me know if they see me in a dangerous or damaging place.  Those are important people to have in your life.
  6. I can pay my bills.  I can pay my bills and still have money to splurge with, to be other needs with, to eat out with.  And I'm not racking up credit card debt.
  7. While not everything about my work situation is ideal... I will say that it is still better than the Worst Boss Ever that I worked for when I was a social worker.  No one here is trying to break me, no one has a goal to "break my ideals" and no one is trying to make me cry every day.  
  8. I bought the cutest little Nutella snack thing - it has a serving of Nutella and little crunchy breadsticks to dip into the Nutella.  
  9. Seasonal creamer flavors are here!  I bought Pumpkin Pie Spice and Salted Caramel Mocha... and that Salted Caramel Mocha is heavenly!!!
  10. My kids are healthy and happy and love each other.  
What are your silver linings today?


Monday, September 17, 2012


It's been a difficult few days.

Last week, I learned that my grandfather had been hospitalized with pneumonia.  He was expected to recover.  However, the pneumonia was soon complicated by a UTI and heart problems.  On Tuesday he was assessed by the palliative care team and on Wednesday he was transferred to Hospice and by Thursday, he had passed.

My grandfather lived a long life.  He was a pastor and he truly gave his life to God.  While his beliefs and mine didn't mesh, we did believe in the same God, the same Jesus, and the same Christianity.  I know we will see each other again in heaven.  I was sad when he passed.  But my emotions were different than I had anticipated.

I was concerned for my mom and her siblings.  I was concerned for their sadness, their mourning.  There had been difficulties in the last month or so amongst the siblings in regards to the care of my grandparents.  I am so glad that there was peace made in that situation prior to my grandpa's passing and I hope the family stays focused on maintaining that peace when questions arise about caring for my grandma.

Here is what I want people to know about my grandpa.  These are the things I will always remember, love, and cherish about him.

He loved classical music.  When he was writing a sermon, he would be in his office behind a giant wooden desk and would have Bach blasting through speakers so that the room was entirely filled with the music.  I know that my love of music is founded in being exposed to his love of the great composers early in my life.

He loved gardening.  When my mom and I lived with my grandparents, my grandpa had an amazing garden.  When my grandparents moved away and I would go visit, I remember his garden.  And when my grandparents moved near Chicago, I remember the gardening my grandpa did in my aunt's garden.  I remember his radishes especially.  He would bring in radishes, wash them, and eat them with about a pound of salt on every bite.  And it's just about the same way I eat radishes now!

He taught me that men are safe and good.  Thanks to the positive male role models in my life, the choices of one male who hurt me greatly didn't completely damage my view of men.  My grandfather taught me that men can love appropriately, that men can protect, that men demonstrate loyalty.  There were no grand gestures, my grandpa wasn't one to offer affection.  But he made important and powerful decisions in my life story that will forever stay with me.

The church's (where my mom and my grandparents were members and where the funeral was held) monthly newsletter included an article written by my grandpa about the meaning of the words "Gloria Dei."  The church my Grandpa pastored for most of my life was Gloria Dei Lutheran Church so I know these are words with great meaning for him.  He sums it up most succinctly when he said, "Gloria Dei is a Latin phrase meaning: God's glory. ... It is an apt name for a Christian congregation. It states its mission, namely to proclaim God's Glory in the community." One piece of the article he wrote really spoke to my heart.

"And we sing of God's glory. it is the sole subject of our hymns. We sing of what God was done for our salvation, how He has redeemed us through His Son. We sing how Jesus was "the lamb of God who took away the sins of mankind" (John 1:29)"

Granted, my way of proclaiming God's glory is pretty vastly different from his way- but that's the beauty of diversity and one of the many miracles, in my opinion, of the myriad ways that the Holy Spirit reaches out to so many different people.

I am blessed to have known him, blessed to know the impact he had on others, and humbled to imagine the greeting he received at the Pearly Gates- I imagine Martin Luther was waiting for him so they could discuss theology.

In addition to my grandfather's passing, there was additional loss for me last week.  The layoffs that were announced in early August... the last day of work finally came for my friends and co-workers.  It was a hard week and Friday was incredibly difficult to get through.  Saying goodbye to people I have worked with for 12 years... 5 years... 8 years... Saying goodbye to the people I was most likely to go out to lunch with... Saying goodbye to people that I have learned so much from... it was incredibly difficult for the end of that day to arrive.

Last week was a week of much loss.

This week, I have to focus on what there is to gain, on what I already have.

I knew I needed a different kind of spiritual filling on Sunday.  I had made arrangements for my obligations at church to be covered in case we were out of town.  We got home late Saturday and I had decided that we would just take the morning off on Sunday- just rest, relax, have down time.  Stay in our pj's and not go anywhere.  But when I woke up Sunday morning, I had a drive to seek some spiritual growth.  I didn't want to go to my church.  That might sound weird.  I love my church and my church family.  I knew that I would receive nothing but amazing support, offers of love, ample amounts of hugs.

And I didn't want that.

It sounds weird to me- even now.  But I just wanted to go somewhere and not be known, not have anyone know I was mourning, not have anyone expect anything out of me.

So I visited another church.  A giant church where I could truly be anonymous.  I'm not church shopping, I'm not looking for a new church home.  I just needed to find the message my heart was seeking.  And I got it.

I took that Sunday morning, by myself, to be just a Child of God like every other face in the crowd.  I enjoyed the experience, I took notes on some things to bring back to my church, and I took a lot from the message given by the pastor.  It was the quiet and alone time that I needed- even though I was surrounded by hundreds of people.

Today, I face the day at work without my friends and co-workers.  Today, I pray for my mom and her sister and other family members as they bury my grandpa's body.  Today, I pray for my friends who are now unemployed and continuing the search for new employment.

I started my day with quiet time in my car as I drove to work.  I kept the radio off and stayed away from my cell phone.  And I had an out loud conversation with God.  I would contemplate and meditate (while safely driving, of course) and then speak my prayers to God.  When I arrived at work, I knew that the hard times of the weekend were behind me.  I knew that today was a new day, that God has a plan that I have to continue to be open to, and that I still know His purpose for my life.

In loss, there is also gain.  In mourning, there is peace.  In sadness, there is joy.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012


One thing I did not anticipate finding at Disney World...  Angels.

We had the chance to zip over to the Polynesian for lunch and there was a shop with a display of sculpture by artist Gaylord Ho and I fell absolutely in love with these pieces.

I have been searching online and can't find much information on Mr. Ho.  I have read enough to know that he believes in love and peace.

Gaylord Ho was born April 11, 1950 in Hsin-Wu, Taiwan. A master sculptor and inspired artist, his goal in every sculpture is to capture forever the fleeting emotion of a single moment in time.
Ho's sculptures represent the ideal human spirit in all of us as we strive to transcend the daily struggles of life and to become something more spiritually divine. The beauty of his figures uplifts us and gives us encouragement to continue in our efforts to excel and surpass our greatest dreams. This theme is most evident in 'Transcendence' - the upward-reaching angel.
Gaylord practices Tai Chi & quiet mediation every morning. He is a spiritual person who believes strongly in the strength of the inner self. A quiet and thoughtful person, he treats himself and the world around him with gentle respect.






Monday, September 10, 2012

Instant Childhood!

I have so much to share from my trip last week and I am still processing so much of it... but a quick lesson on instantly connecting with your inner child...

Go to Disney World.

And hug characters from your childhood.

Even if you don't think it will impact you that much... it just might.

On our final day at Disney, my friend and I headed over to the Grand Floridian and had a character breakfast at 1900 Park Fare.  I knew it would be a breakfast with Mary Poppins and Alice in Wonderland.  And on the way there, Jennifer mentioned that she had just read on a Disney forum that other characters included Winnie the Pooh and Tigger.

Pooh Bear!!!  Tigger!!!

Memories from my childhood are sketchy at best most of the time.  One thing I remember was that I had Winnie the Pooh curtains in my bedroom when we lived with my grandparents.  It's a small connection to my happy place- my grandparents' home.

And apparently meeting people dressed up as Pooh and Tigger does magical things to a person.

I don't mean the part where you just pose next to your favorite character...

I mean the part where you get to hug your favorite character.

Because I started crying when I hugged Winnie the Pooh.  Not a weird ugly cry or anything.  But the kind of joyful happy cry where the tears just can't stop spilling down your cheeks.

And then I hugged Tigger.  And Tigger hugged back fiercely- like he knew what I was feeling.

The people inside these costumes have such an important and special job.

Instant happy childhood memories.  Take 1 part grown up, 1 part character and hug fiercely.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Guest Post: 4th Frog

I made friends with Amy of The 4th Frog Blog very early in my blogging career.  I always enjoy her writing and her sense of humor.  I really enjoyed this post from her and hope you will, too!


While Liz is jetting off to places down south to light her spiritual fire, I'm back here in Indiana serving up a little food for thought -- my own brand of Lizdom, if you will.

I'm really excited for Liz. You can see in her writing how alive even the idea of this trip makes her feel. I've had those spiritual experiences -- some of them lasting weeks or months, where I was just fervent in my wonder at all God was doing in my life. And I've had my desert moments --  I wonder why that Footprints poem is set on a beach? My lowest times sure felt more Mojave than Malibu.

My husband broke his ankle about 10 days ago, tripping on what we now refer to as the most expensive Goodwill pile ever. He didn't just break it in a slap-a-cast-on-it way. No, he managed to do one of those this-will-need-surgery-and-a-long-time-to-recover numbers. I've tried to look at this through a spiritual lens. Maybe God was telling us we need to slow down. Maybe He was telling us we need to pick up the bedroom more often. Maybe God wasn't saying a darn thing and Mike just needs to watch where he is walking.

The other day at Mass, I ran into an old friend. After church, I mentioned we were going out to dinner. She said she was alone for the night and she'd join us. It was great to spend time with her. She is one of those friends who I don't see or talk to often, but who I can pick right back up with whenever our paths cross. Being in the same place at the same time and both free for dinner -- was that a God thing? It did happen at church. Or was it just a predictable coincidence?

There are some people who would say that God things are explainable, are just matters of interpretation, don't really have anything to do with God at all. And there are others who will go down fighting with their whole hearts and souls that God is indeed the conductor of our lives, allowing these things to happen -- maybe even orchestrating them -- as a sign of His faithfulness.

For me, I think the biggest God thing of all happens when I move through my life with my eyes and heart open to the possibility for God to work even simple miracles through me and for me. Even if that miracle is a clean bedroom.


Thank you for this post, Amy!  Ironically, there was a message that came along during the Conference that marries nicely with this message.  What it boiled down to was that we can believe that every little thing is a God thing- every moment, every choice, every circumstance is part of God's plan.  And maybe it is.  But we can't presume to know His ways.  So whether every bit of life is a God thing or if certain parts are a God thing- it doesn't really matter.  His ways are a great mystery and being open to His possibilities is the best way for His work to be done- whether we understand it or not!


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Guest Post: Doreen McGettigan

I am always humbled when people choose to share their stories with me.  When today's guest post was sent to me and I read it and I went and learned more about Doreen and what her family has gone through... I was again humbled.  There are bits of her post that I was nodding my head with- because I've been there.  Maybe you will feel the same way.


When I am, alone I do a lot of thinking. I wonder what celebrities think when they see just plain down to earth mean comments or headlines. I wonder what Sarah Palin felt when she saw the photo of a dummy representing her hanging from a roof. I wonder what Hillary Clinton thinks when she sees a photo of herself with the caption ‘who let the dogs out.’ I wonder about the people responsible. Are they insecure? Perhaps they are mentally ill. Are they trying to be funny? They cannot possibly think they may swing you over to their way of thinking…could they?

I wonder what could possibly be going through a mother’s mind that videos and cheers on her teen daughter as she pummels another teen.

I wonder what your reaction would be if you saw and heard a neighbor taunting another neighbors child who was terminally ill. Would you shut your door and ignore her or would you confront her?  Would you quietly, simply ask her why? What would I do?

When I am, alone I remember what people said to me at my murdered brother, David’s funeral.  People really do say some stupid things. My favorite stupid thing was, “He’s in a better place.” Seriously, whenever I heard this, I wanted to scream, “What better place?” Heaven cannot even be better, now. The best place for David was here with his wife and son, with his family. Another favorite saying of mine: “Time will help.” My twenty-six-year-old brother was murdered. It hurt like hell. This is a funeral, and it is awful! Time will not fix this.

What I appreciated hearing was, “If you want to talk, I’m here.” In addition, I appreciated the people who actually did something, like bringing over food without asking what we would like or my wonderful, God-sent friend Tina, who was just there. I just think about her sweeping the floor that was so comforting. I also really liked it when people just said, “I do not know what to say.” I know everybody is different, and maybe these things would not bother somebody else. I especially appreciated people I did not know sharing stories with me about David.

When I am alone, I wonder, what I can say or do that will be the right thing to say or do for my friend with cancer, my daughter who’s child is recuperating from a painful spinal surgery, my 86 year old client that just lost her 25 year old granddaughter in a head on collision with a tractor trailer or my granddaughter who is being bullied.

I wonder why people find it easier to ignore a friend or relative in need.  Is it a fear of not knowing what to say or do? I have been guilty of this myself. I over-think, wonder if I have the right to intrude during such a tragic time. Am I close enough with the person?

Sometimes when I am, alone I take down a beautifully carved wooden box from the top shelf of a closet. It holds the 100’s of cards I received from friends, relatives, neighbors, co-workers and absolute strangers after David died. I reread them and remember how they felt like hugs when I received them.

When I am alone, I pray for the right words, actions and reactions in all of my life’s moments. I pray for the strength not to judge others for their words and actions but to pray for and forgive them. I pray for the wisdom to get the words correct in the stories I write. To speak the words that will touch someone’s heart at just the right time their heart needs to be touched.

I pray often, lately, for the silent nudge from God to be quiet and to listen with my heart and my ears when someone is speaking to me. For that gentle stub of my toe telling me, I do not have to have all of the answers, all of the time.

I pray for a blaring reminder not to spend my time alone worrying. I know that worrying will not change the outcome of anything other than the precious time I have left, alone.


Doreen, thank you for sharing something so personal with us.  Anyone who has experienced loss- expected or not- can certainly relate to your thoughts and feelings.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Meeting the Teacher

Last week, our daughter's elementary school held the usual "Meet The Teacher" night.  There was a big presentation by the principal and then the PTO president and team.  It's a pep talk about how great the school is but also a bit of a "lecture" on being involved.  Our principal focuses on the basics- kids need sleep, breakfast, and please read to them.

Then the parents stream down the hallways into the classrooms where the kids spend their days and we get to learn about our teachers.

It's kind of a great way to get an idea of the feel of the classroom and get a sense of the teacher's style.

There is something about Teagan's 2nd grade teacher that I really, really, really like.

She isn't a bribery teacher.  She doesn't do big reward systems and overdone praise.

Don't get me wrong- there is a time and place for that and kids certainly do respond to that.  And as a parent, we've certainly used that!

But I have always liked the philosophy that being driven to make the right choices for the sake of doing the right things is best- not because you will get a cookie or pencil or sticker or whatever.

There is a behavior system in the classroom- each child has a clothespin with their name on it and everyone starts the day in the middle (Ready To Learn).  As the day progresses, you could go up to Good Day, Great Job, or even Outstanding.  Or you could go down to Think About It, Teacher's Choice (usually means losing some recess time), or Parent Contact (a note or phone call home about the issue).  Just because you hit the low side doesn't mean you stay there all day.  You may end up with a consequence that sticks no matter what but you can still turn it around and end up back in neutral or up in the positive end.  It's kind of confusing but now that we've seen it, we understand it better and can work with encouraging Teagan to achieve the upper levels.  This morning, we set a goal to not go below Ready To Learn and to get on Good Day for most of the day.

I think this teacher is going to be very good for Teagan.  I think Teagan is going to learn to use her people-pleasing drive in a different way.  This teacher isn't going to give Teagan what she's been able to get from other teachers- this teacher is going to be pleased when Teagan masters a new skill, follows rules that she has struggled with, and so on.  Teagan will please this teacher by, essentially, pleasing herself!  There isn't a system for Teagan to "play."  She can't earn stickers or fake money or points towards an end goal.  Instead, it's more about natural consequences and making the right choices simply because it is what is right and expected.

On a side note, we stopped by the art teacher's class.  You might recall that there was quite the brouhaha last year when I shared about the art teacher's "no no board."  Even after all of the discussion, I still liked the No No Board just fine- especially after talking to Teagan about it and her telling me that she didn't ever think she could draw people like real people until she tried.  This year, we stopped by the art teacher's class and the no no board is still up.  I introduced myself and told her the tale of that blog post and we chuckled about it.  Let me assure you that she is kind, fun, the kids love her, and the No No Board is nothing punitive, intimidating, or scary for the kids.  The purpose of this art class is to learn about art- technique, artists, style, color.  The lessons are set so that there is a specific art project that develops these foundations into real life artistry through painting, drawing, sculpture and more.  The kids have free art time, too, and that is when the "No No Board" is allowed and the kids can truly draw or paint or color anything they want.  There are great and positive messages about art and creativity throughout the classroom.  So in case anyone has been hanging on to any worry from last year about that No No Board... you can now be at ease.

So the school year is now in full swing.  Zach is adjusting well to Kindergarten and it looks like Teagan is going to have a great 2nd grade year!


Monday, September 3, 2012

Dear Forces of Evil

Something big is happening in my life.

I was once warned by my pastor that when God has a plan that is taking action, when big things are happening your life, that's when the devil will come after you the hardest.

I tucked that bit of info in the back of my brain and moved on.  I don't give a lot of thought to that devil guy.  My focus is on my faith, my God, my life and not on what the tricky one has up his sleeve.

But I have noticed that my pastor's warning has been spot on.  Whenever there is something big about to happen- whether it is known to me or not- evil forces keep stepping in and trying to stop me.

Let me share with you the events of the past few days.

I posted on Thursday about Teaching My Children To Be The Light.

Friday evening, a good friend of mine from church asked if I wanted to go with her to volunteer with the IHN families.  Jeff was ok with staying home with the kids so off I went.

I was incredibly blessed to be there.  While most of the volunteers from my church already had jobs to do- playing with the kids, preparing the food- I hadn't thought I'd be there so I had no assigned job.  So I sat down in the common room with the adults.  I started chatting, asking names, and asking how long they'd been in the program.

I spent a bit of time talking to 2 women.  To protect their confidentiality, I'm going to call them Sue and Mary.  Sue and Mary have been a couple for almost 4 years and have seen more than their fair share of hardships.  The story is long and complicated but it's a story that could truly happen to anyone.  Sue works a 3rd shift factory job.  Mary has 2 kids.  One bit of bad news hit the family and then another and another and another and they ended up here in Indiana (not their home state) and without a home.  We spoke about their experience in other shelters and programs.  We spoke about what they've learned from their experience with homelessness.

And what I learned is that dignity is something that should be protected and provided whenever possible.  And that dignity can come from the little things that are so easy to take for granted- like a good cup of coffee or taking a shower.

I left that evening and knew my spirit was on fire.  We already had our family plan in place to celebrate Labor Day as a labor of love day by making blessing bags, taking them downtown, and finding people who are homeless.  I was ready to take on the project full force.

Saturday morning, the kids and I headed to the store and bought the items we needed for the bag.  We got to the check out and my bank card wouldn't swipe through when ran as credit.  Tried 3 times as credit then ran it as a debit card and it went through.  Got to the car, got to the next stop on the errand list and got an email from my bank letting me know there was an issue and I needed to contact loss prevention.  I went directly to the nearby bank branch, spoke to them, they made a call, they said I was fine, I left.

Now, there were a lot of panicked moments in that sequence of events.  I am going on a trip this week.  I am flying away, staying in a hotel, and won't have my husband with me if I need assistance.  I need access to my bank account.

We get our bags put together, pick up Jeff, and head downtown.  We drop off donations at 2 places.  We then head into downtown, trying to figure out how to find homeless people.  Because I have no clue what I'm doing and I was really up front with my family about that - I was going on faith to guide us.  Driving downtown is not our strength because we rarely go downtown.  So we're going in circles and getting confused about the street directions and trying hard not to get mad at ourselves.

But we did find people and we did give and it was a very positive experience for our family.

So we went for pizza at a local place downtown and the forces of evil struck again by giving me a parking ticket.  An undeserved parking ticket.

We get to Sunday.  And I go to get gas in my car.  And my bank card is declined.  So I call loss prevention because now it's Sunday and I can't go to a bank.  And the bottom line is that the bank branch didn't call the right place and the account was still under alert and the charges were internet based for a dating service in the UK and I'd have to dispute the charge that went through and they need to cancel my card and send me a new one.

I leave my house at 4:30 Tuesday morning.  Banks are closed for the holiday on Monday.  I will be travelling with no credit card whatsoever.  I was able to get cash from the ATM before they shut down the account.  And the bank lady helped me come up with a back up plan for in the future.  And my travel companion is helping me out with the hotel piece.

I'm feeling quite strongly that there are forces trying to tempt me to choose to not go on this trip.  I feel that if I had given up on our family mission project because my card was declined or because we couldn't find people or because we were driving in circles... it would have been the start of a shut down.  I feel like fighting through this credit card issue and whatever issues are still to come is truly something trying to stop me from going on this trip.

Because this trip is about God.  I'm not going on vacation.  I'm not going for a getaway.  I'm going to a worship conference.  And I am now convinced that something is going to come from this trip or this conference or the time with my friend that is a big part of God's plan for my life.

So to those evil forces out there trying to stop me from going, trying to tempt me to cancel, trying to entice me to just stay home... it won't work.  As a friend of mine said, "That sneaky devil... let's kick his ass!!"


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Walk to Bethlehem

My church is kicking off a new project today.

We are taking a virtual Walk to Bethlehem.  As a group, we need to log 6,245 miles between now and Christmas.  Because there's something about Christmas and Bethlehem that Christians celebrate... what could it be??

The really cool thing about this program is that St. John's has it very laid out for you but you can still tweak everything to best suit your group.

Here's a run down of how our program will work:

We are traveling from Indiana to New Orleans to Guatemala to Africa.  In Africa, we will travel through Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan.  Then we venture into Egypt and finally end in Israel.

As we accumulate miles to reach our set milestone stops, the group will receive information about the area we have reached.  The country, the culture, the religion, the demographics.  We will have focused prayer requests for those areas.  And we specifically chose our route to travel through Guatemala in order to focus on Mission Guatemala where a missionary that our church supports is located and where we have sent mission teams over the years.

We have a Healthy Living group that meets weekly.  Every other week is Zumba and our non-Zumba weeks will focus on the group getting some miles in with group walks.  The guide from St. John's provides weekly devotions for our journey.

The logging system is user-friendly because it is set up so that any person at any level of fitness can participate.  If you wear a pedometer, 2,000 steps = 1 mile.  If you walk or run and track actual mileage, 1 mile = 1 mile.  And if you are a slow walker, cyclist, elliptical fan, group exercise attendee, Zumba fanatic, or whatever else, mileage can be calculated as 20 minutes of intentional activity = 1 mile.  The guide even suggests involving those who can't do any physical activity by inviting them to spend specific time praying for the group, the countries, etc to earn miles.

I plan to schedule some walking meet ups.  The cool thing is that if someone from the congregation invites a neighbor or friend to come and walk with them, the friend's mileage counts towards the overall goal.  So if I can get 5 people to join me for a 2 mile walk on a Saturday morning, we can log 12 miles in about 30 -40 minutes!

I am one of 3 Tour Guides leading this project.  Our team will be mapping our progress on a map at the church.  We have a Facebook group where we can log our activity each week, schedule meet ups, and inspire each other to keep going.  We will be posting regular updates through various lines of communication at the church.

It's all about bringing everyone on board to be part of a team while also influencing some healthy behaviors at the same time.

If you're in the Indy area, I'd love for you to meet up for a walk with us.  I'd love for you to come visit my church so you can learn more about who we are- and if you come a couple of times, I want you on our Walk to Bethlehem team!  We need your steps/miles/time!


Saturday, September 1, 2012

6 Words: Planning

Travel: What are your "must packs?"