Why the blog?

I write as the Spirit moves me. I have prayed about what I'm supposed to do with my life a lot. A lot. Writing. Writing is what I believe God is leading me to do. Whether or not He wants me to write for anyone to read is His business. Much of my writing has been therapy for me so maybe I'm the only one who is supposed to read it. So, why the Blog? As a sounding board, a note pad, a place to keep my ideas and thoughts. A place to share and promote my books, and photography. Written prayers, a place to vent. Possibly, even a place for the unknown reader to learn about the love of Jesus.

Monday, May 11, 2015

How to Bathe a Cat in 19 Easy Steps

Seriously?  You've never bathed your cat?  My first cat, on my own in my own home, was a tiny, scrawny, ugly little kitten with fleas.  She was a gift.  I'm glad to say she grew up to be a beautiful cat and sad to say she passed away at the ripe old age of 18.  This cat was bathed often.  At first it was to get rid of fleas. In Houston, Texas it is HOT in the summer.  She had long hair and she often slept in the cool bathtub, especially after my showers while the tub was still wet.  Bathing her was easy.  She liked it. Not all cats do.  

Bathing cats can be like bathing 2-year-old boys.  Sometimes you have to get in with them and have a little fun.  

The following is a step-by step guide of how to bathe your cat:

1.  Cut their nails.  Really.  Those things are dangerous and have torn up a few good shower curtains, not to mention my skin.
2.  Gather all your supplies.  Towels (plural), soap, plastic cup or bowl, comb, blow drier, change of clothes.  Band-aids if you skipped step 1.  
3.  Put kitty in the bathroom and close the door.  Love on them a little by combing or brushing their fur and cutting their nails (if you haven't already done so).
4.  Turn on the shower - yes I said the shower - and let it run for a little while and get it to warm to tepid.  A shower with a glass enclosure works better than a tub with a curtain.  Kitty can dive right through those things and pull down the curtain, rod and all.
5.  Get naked.  Yep. Go ahead and strip down, you're going to get all wet anyway.  
6.  Lovingly pick up kitty and love on him/her - feet facing out - and back into the shower.
7.  Close the door!!!  Quickly.
8.  Put kitty down, gently, not under the water spray and let them roam around and holler.  They will holler, moan, cry, scream.  You know, just like little boys who don't want to take a bath.
9.  Kneel down or sit down and nudge kitty under the water. They won't like it - at first - or at all.  Fill up the cup, pour it on to get kitty all wet then start massaging in the soap.  This part they might like.  The attention and the rub down is pleasurable if they can forget the wet, wet water and the noise of the shower.  
10.  Talk or sing to kitty.  
11.  Stay calm.  
12.  Now rinse.  If possible, pick up kitty - feet facing away from your delicate skin and stand up so the shower gets their belly. 
13.  All rinsed, time to squeegie.  Squeeze out as much water as possible so it doesn't end up all over your floor. 
14.  Carefully open the shower door and get the towel (or hang it over the door).  
15.  Dry your eyes then dry kitty as much as possible.  Wrap kitty in the towel and exit the shower.
16.  Place kitty on the counter and give him/her a good rub down.
17.  With blow drier on low and warm, give the full spa treatment with a blow out.  The delicate kitty skin will appreciate this gesture.  
18.  Dry yourself off and get dressed.
19.  Celebrate your success with a favorite delicacy or beverage.




Oliver during his shower.

Sally getting her post-shower rubdown

Time to blow-dry

Sally - Queen of her Domain.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Team 413

Several years ago I stumbled across a Facebook post that captured my attention.  It was all about my favorite Bible verse:  Philippians 4:13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (NIV).  The page? 
TEAM 413 - GRACERUNNERS MINISTRIES

I clicked on "like" and began getting daily quotes that I gladly shared.  This was, as I discovered, a ministry that reached out to people like me - endurance athletes.  I had found, or rather, God had placed before me a group of people with similar goals and interests and I was excited to share and be a part of their ministry.  

A large part of their ministry is going to race Expos where they sell their TEAM 413 t-shirts and share their faith.  On my next Disney race expo day I made a point of going to their booth to buy my shirt so I could wear it proudly.  Chis Gillespie was there and I met and spoke to him for a few minutes not knowing what lay ahead.  

From their Facebook page, here is a little more information:
Mission:  Our mission is to... Share the love of Christ in the athletic world through words and actions; Promote the physical, mental, and spiritual well being of the athlete; Minister to runners in road races across the country as we run "side by side!"
Overview and description: TEAM 413 exists to share the love of Christ in the athletic arena, promote the physical, mental, and spiritual health of the athlete, and compete in road races across the country.  Our mission is to... Share the love of Christ in the athletic world through words and actions; Promote the physical, mental, and spiritual well being of the athlete; Minister to runners in road races across the country as we run "side by side".  We believe that the truth of "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" in Philippians 4:13 is our call to serve Christ in ALL we do.  From one t-shirt to a worldwide ministry ---Chris Gillespie, founder and executive director, calls TEAM 413 a miracle of God's grace.  In 2003 Gillespie founded TEAM 413 inspired by God's calling in his life.  Even though he is the Director of Athletic Training Education at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabana ---TEAM 413 is a passion --- a labor of love for runners and other endurance athletes from all over the world.  Whether challenging others to walk a lap around a track or run a mile, change an attitude or improve a relationship, Gillespie shares a message of confidence, perseverance, courage, and strength.  His goal is to exhibit in his own life and to part to others the truth of Philippians 4:13 -- "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  


Like any other ministry, they need money to operate and they do that through fundraising.  Team 413 Gracerunner Journey 2015 has just begun and I am proud to be a part of it.  Before writing this blog and before promoting and asking for donations I wanted to know a little more about where the money went.  I did what most people do, I asked a question on the Facebook post.  The following day, much to my surprise, I received a call from Chis Gillespie, founder and executive director who gave me more information that I had anticipated and I am thankful for his call.

This is what I learned:  100% of the donations from this fundraiser will go to expand the ministry.  The mission field is endurance athletes.  It will pay for entry fees to race expos (Disney costs $3,000!).  It pays for daily operations (no one involved gets a salary).  It goes towards other mission efforts such as supporting young runners by buying uniforms.  Chris told me the money raised is for the "potential for eternity".  

liked his answers.  I appreciated his phone call.  I loved his passion for Christ and the ministry laid before him. 

If what you read touches your heart, won't you please pray and then if God moves you to do so, click on the caption under the picture and donate and/or join my team to help raise the needed funds for this awesome ministry.  In Disney races alone, there are upwards of 15 thousand people who can be reached for Christ.  Chris told me this story, and it's not a direct quote:  He was at a race, wearing his TEAM 413 t-shirt.  A man tapped him on the shoulder and they began to talk.  They prayed together.  By the time they crossed the finish line - together - the man had accepted Christ.  One t-shirt, one soul saved.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

5 for 50

This is the year that I celebrate my 50th birthday.  I'm so excited!  In honor of this great occasion I plan on hanging up my running shoes, packing away my Camelpak, and take it easy for the rest of my life.  I'm going to get a pedicure, scrape away all of those nasty callouses and paint my toenails red.  I'm going to get a manicure and grow out my nails so I'll look like a lady.  I'm going to throw away my running clothes and buy silks and satins.  Then, I'm going to put my feet up, sit on my new porch swing and relax.  I mean, after all, I've worked hard for the first 50 years of my life.  According to my grandmother, who is in her late 90's, I've got about 50 more to go. So, it is time for me to take a break, take it easy, relax, and.......




HEY, WHO HIJACKED MY COMPUTER!!?????

Yeah, right.  I'm not going to do any of that.  

This year alone I have hiked on several islands, snorkeled, kayaked, went on a zip line course for the first time, and raced my 5th marathon.  You really think I'm going to slow down? 

My new motto is - "If you can, do, because there will soon be a day when you can't and wished you had."

Thanks be to God, I still can, so I will keep doing as long as He gives me the ability.  

Last week, for example.  I wanted to do something to celebrate my 50th birthday. (It's not until July, but hey, why not start early?)  I found a trail race.  I've always enjoyed running trails so I found an off-road marathon, signed up, then promptly got a season pass to Wekiva Springs State Park.  There are more than 20 miles of trails there and with a season pass you can also get an after-hours pass with a code to let you in at any time of the day.  I'm a dawn runner.  Perfect.

Twice a week I drove to the park for training.  Met lots of nice, and not so nice animals.

I prayed a lot during those runs.  "Please God, don't let me trip and break something."  "God, keep the bears away."  "Thank you God for the beauty of the deer, the squirrels, and the weather."  "Dear Lord, keep this cute little raccoon away and don't let him bite anyone." "Thank you, Jesus, for strong ankles.  That root came out of nowhere."  

I invented a handy little device.  It's called 'rubber bands on CamelPak for iPhone'.  It put my phone front and center so that 1) I don't need to use headphones, 2) I can easily make emergency calls, and most importantly 3) I can play my music loud enough to let oncoming mammals, i.e. bears, know that I'm coming while allowing me to hear my surroundings.  

Never saw a bear.  Thank you Jesus. (saw one on the road once but that's a different story)

Race day came and I felt prepared.  I slept well, ate well, packed plenty of #Runergy, intestines did what they needed to when I needed them to.  My only hesitation was the fact that the race was very small.  Four race lengths - 4 miles, 10 miles, marathon, and 50k with a total of less than 250 people.  There were less than 30 in my race.  Well, two hesitations.  Would I get lost?  Would the trails be marked well enough?  

At the start line, the race director gave us a brief, told us which colored tape to follow. (Mine was pink).  He also told us that part of the trail had just recently been burned and there may be some smoke.  That didn't bother me too much because the 50k runners started ahead of us and they were on the same course at that point.  If there was a problem, they would alert the rest of us.  At least I hoped they would.

Go! was called and I was off.  There was no electronic timing or chip timing.  All by hand, so I started near the front.  The first three people shot off, the next two close behind, and I fell in behind a tall young man.  Seventh in line.  The course was mostly single track.  We stayed in this order for the first 6 or so miles.  

Then it happened.  Hills.  First hill, not so bad.  A little difficult to grip, being sand and pine needles.  I stayed behind the guy.  Second hill, I slowed down.  By the fifth, I was walking.  I lost count of the hills.  To say the least, I did not expect so many, if any.  At least not tall hills.  In central Florida. I trained on hills, on wet grass up hills, but not for 26 miles.  Uphill.  I had to jump over a fallen tree, twice.  Came to an 8-foot drop, a gulley, and had to stop and figure out where to go.  Down, back up, continue on and up another hill.  

Around mile 13 (I think) I came to the burned out section.  There were hot spots with smoke and ash and burned out trail. I pulled my shirt over my mouth and nose to breathe. Someone drew with a stick arrows to point the way.  Thank you!!  A tree branch with the trail tape had fallen over and I had to jump over that.   A large tree, that was still smoldering, had fallen across the trail.  I sideswiped that and barely missed getting burned.  If the air temperature had been 5 degrees warmer I think the forest might have erupted in flame.  A woman passed me who wasn't wearing knee socks (I was). The back of her legs were black with ash and dirt and mud.  

Once the guy in front of me was out of sight, I pretty much ran alone.  That didn't bother me because I was too busy making sure I was on the right path, dodging roots, and praying.   Oh yes, I prayed.  "Thank you God for giving me this ability."  "God, I run today for those who can't."  I named a person for each step.  I take this step for Loretta.  This one for Corelai.  This one is for Angie.  Mrs. Matthews. TJ. Grandma.  James.  Ken.  Darryl.  The list went on and on.  I pretty much convinced myself/decided right there and then that as long as I was capable of running, I was going to continue to do so.  I am going to be the oldest person in the race one day.  I am.  Just ask my husband. 

At 4 hours and 38 minutes and 31 seconds the battery in my GPS gave out with less than 3 miles to go.  I texted my husband and let him know where I was.  Using Siri voice activation, I thought I said, "On the last loop."  The text went through as, "Just our luck to."  Ha Ha.  That's okay.  The point was to let him know I was still alive.  

I made it to the finish line in 5 hours and 13 minutes.  Not fast at all for a marathon.  But - and here's the BUT - IT WAS THE HARDEST RACE I HAVE EVER DONE AND I FINISHED!!!   Not only did I finish, I was still breathing, not crawling, not bloody (except for one blister), not broken, and pretty happy.  I even had enough energy to jump up and slap the FINISH LINE banner.  

After drinking a full bottle of cold water I said to my husband, "You know, that was fun.  I think I want to do a race ON my birthday."  It is is 4 months.  


Running the trails

Hello deer

Raccoon on my trail

Follow the pink ribbons!
Nice feet! Only one blister.

Ready to run!

My reward, a shirt and a medal.  5 for 50.
Results.  10th overall.



P.S.  I have signed up for my "birthday race".  It is in Utah on 7/24/2015.  
  

Monday, March 9, 2015

It's strawberry picking time!

Up the road from me is a U-Pick-Em Strawberry farm, Oak Haven.  For those of you who don't know - and I didn't until recently - that means you go and pick your own berries straight from the plant. It's fun for the family, or me all by myself, and you know they are delicious because you pick the ripe ones, the big red delicious ones.  Then, if you can restrain yourself, you go and pay for them before eating.

Here are a few pictures and a recipe.

Just picked.

I filled the carton!

Still on the vine, for a second longer.

Time to go and make something yummy.

About to make dairy-free strawberry ice-cream.

2 cups chopped berries.

2 frozen bananas

add 1/2 cup coconut milk, 1/4 cup honey, 1 TBS coconut oil, and 1 TBS vanilla extract.

Pour puree into mold.

Melt 1/2 TBS coconut oil, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 cup dairy-free dark chocolate chips

Melt in microwave on very low heat or use double boiler.

Pour chocolate onto partially frozen mixture.

Add a second layer/second batch. 

Add raw almonds to left over chocolate.

Cool for a garnish.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Oak-Haven-Farms-Winery/170470146484213

RECIPE:

1/4 cup regular canned coconut milk
2 cups of fresh strawberries, washed and cut into halves or quarters (measure after cutting up)
2 frozen bananas
1/4 cup raw, local honey
1 TBS coconut oil
1 TBS vanilla extract

ADD CHOCOLATE IF YOU WISH:
1/2 cup dairy-free dark chocolate chips
1/2 TBS coconut oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
       - slowly melt in the microwave or with a double boiler.  Let cool, but not so much that it hardens, then drizzle into strawberry puree.



Colleen Wait Edits

Colleen Wait Edits

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This YouTube channel was created to add video to my blog.  Read it here:  www.colleenwaitwrites.blogspot.com.  I write about my life, my books, my family, my cats and kids, and of course travel.