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.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

A lesson in patience

If you're even a little bit familiar with the Bible, you know there are many, many passages about patience.  If you know me even a little bit, you'd think I'd never read the Bible.

Yeah, I hear you laughing.  It's not even a little bit funny.  Patience is the one thing I lack.  I'm a 'do it now' kind of woman.

It's not that I have absolutely no patience.  After all I'm a marathon runner.  Training takes time.  Lots of time.  You don't go from 0 to 26.2 in one day.  It takes time... translate here to :  patience.

Let me tell you a story.  It's a sad story with a happy ending and a moral.  You see, one day I was doing some cleaning up.  My husband and I travel quite a bit and my housekeeping skills are, well, lacking.  Plus my adult daughter had just moved back home.  We had lived in our house for a little over 10 years and I never lived anywhere for that length of time. Deep cleaning was done twice in my lifetime - move in and move out.  Needless to say, our home needed a thorough deep clean.  After much discussion, my husband and I decided to hire a cleaning crew to do it for us.  To be honest, I hate to clean but I love a clean house.  Toilets are just gross.  Of course, what do you do when strangers are due to arrive to clean your house?  Clean of course.  I called my son the morning before and asked him to come help move a very large and very heavy coffee table from the downstairs living room to an upstairs bedroom.  He was due around 1:30.  At about noon I decided to move said coffee table from the dining room to the staircase.  A distance of about 15 feet.  It was to save time of course.

Once the coffee table had been slid to the staircase, on a bath mat because it was heavy, I looked over at the other, smaller and lighter coffee table to decide which one I really wanted to haul up the stairs.

In a split second, the coffee table fell over and landed on my left foot.  BAM!  Impatience just broke my foot.

Seriously.  It was bad.  I screamed and cried.  Not because I was in pain, which I was, but because I had a marathon to run in Montreal in 2.5 weeks!

To make a long story short.  I was diagnosed with a small chip fracture.  Boot, crutches, no running were prescribed.  Many tears were shed.

I pulled up my big girl, impatient panties and decided I was going to heal fast.  Two weeks fast.  I kept the boot on and no weight bearing for as long as I could stand it.  6.5 days.  Exactly.  The boot was heavy and the crutches were dangerous.  I nearly fell down the stairs twice, nearly fell getting in and out of the shower several times, and even with using two different types of crutches I was a danger to myself just standing up.

On day 6.5 I took off the boot, threw away the crutches (not literally, they are still in my closet), and stood up.  Carefully.  My heart pounded with fear.  What if it hurt?  What if I couldn't walk?  What if I put a little weight on it and made it worse?

To alleviate my fears I requested a copy of my x-rays.  Got the CD.  Not films, a CD.  It was blank.  I wanted to scream.  However, the official report was in the envelope and it read, ahem... "may be an avulsion..."  MAY BE.  I loved those words.

"I'm going to run!" I said to myself excitedly.  "I'm going to run!"

I tried.  Didn't work. Sure, I could walk, but there was pain in my arch.  "You're calf is tight, roll it," came advice from strangers.  I rolled it.  Still hurt.  Felt better, but still some discomfort.  I stretched, rolled, wiggled and moved my foot as much as possible.  Hit the floor and did every floor exercise that didn't require weight on my foot that I could find.  (My abs are rock hard!).

Monday before I was to leave for Montreal I tried to run.  First, I walked for three miles.  Then I took a few running steps.  My gait was short and there was pain.  Walked another mile.  Didn't feel good.  Took a break and stretched my foot.  Walked some more.  Tried to run again.  No go.  Stride was like a little tiny trot and it hurt.  I cried the rest of the day.  That was that.  No running in Montreal.

My husband, saint that he is, decided to go to Montreal with me to make sure I didn't run.  That, in and of itself made the whole ordeal worth it.  I got my husband all to myself for five glorious days.  The weather was cool and sunny except for Friday morning.  We went sight-seeing, walked the underground city, went shopping, ate - a lot.  And, for the first time ever I got to see the winners of not one but four races - 5k, 10k, half marathon and full marathon.   Plus, I took some awesome photos of the city and recalled a little high school French.

Today, I saw the orthopedist.  He said my x-rays were fine, normal.  However, the foot still needed a little more time.  That's okay, I have a little time.  A little, 37 days to be exact.  I'll be able to participate in the New York marathon if I can just be...oh...what's that horrid word ......

PATIENT.

Right.  Patient.  One day at a time.  God's time, not mine.  I'm slowly realizing I'm not 18 anymore.  I'm 51.  I physically cannot do some things I used to do at 18, 30, and even 40.  However, I couldn't run a marathon at 18 and I've already done 7 starting at the age of 40-something.  I'll ask for help now and then and not try to do it all, all by myself, right now.

Patience is a virtue.  Maybe I'll have that virtue, one day, maybe.  I'm getting there.  For now, I need to memorize and live these verses:

Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.  Proverbs 14:29   (moving a 75-pound table displays folly)

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Romans 12:12   (Affliction demands patience, demands prayer.)

Pray for me while I'm attempting to be patient.  I need it.  If you need me to pray for you to have patience I certainly will.   Attached is a video of some of my many photos.  Enjoy.




Saturday, July 9, 2016

Avocado Brownies, No-Bake

Avocado no-bake brownies

In my never-ending search for the perfect chocolate recipe, dairy-free of course, I decided to try something new.  There were two brownie recipes that I really liked.  One was baked, the other no-bake.  One used avocado, the other didn't.  Hmm.  How could I mash up the recipes?  I had recently purchased coconut flour because the store I frequent was out of flaked, which I use regularly so why oh why did they have to run out?  In any event, I had on hand avocados, coconut flour, an assortment of raw nuts, and my usual 5-pound bag of dairy-free dark chocolate.  With my I-Pad open to both recipes I mentally mashed up the ingredients and came up with this.  Viola.  It's so yummy.  

INGREDIENTS:
2 Haas Avocados
coconut flour
cacao powder (preferably organic and not cocoa powder)
espresso powder
raw honey (if you're a purist vegan, substitute Agave)
hot water
2 Majool dates
raw cashews
dairy-free dark chocolate chips

2 bowls, 4 x 4 pan, plastic wrap, food processor

First:  In the first bowl, mash or puree 2 avocados. Add one cup of coconut flour and 1/2 c cacao powder.  Stir well.  Heat 1/2 c water to very hot, not boiling.  Add 1 TBS of espresso powder.  Once dissolved, pour into bowl and stir well.  Add 1/4 c honey.

Second:  Grind 2 large Majool dates with 1 cup of raw cashews.  Put this into bowl #2.  Then, grind 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips.  

Third:  Add 1 TBs of the date/cashew mix & 1 TBS of the chocolate chips (ground) into the first bowl.

Fourth:  Add the remainder of the ground chocolate into bowl #2 then add 1/4 c honey.

Mixing crust and filling of brownies


5th:  Line your pan with plastic wrap.  Make sure you have enough to cover all sides.  

Pan for avocado brownies


Spoon bowl #2 onto the bottom of the pan and press firmly.  This is your crust.  Spoon bowl #1 on top of that.  Cover with plastic wrap and press until the mixture is flattened.  

Line with plastic


Place mixture into refrigerator for 2-3 hours or the freezer for 30 minutes.  Cut into bars.  Keep remainder covered and in refrigerator or freezer.  


Yummy Avocado Brownies

A close-up of delicious Avocado no-bake brownies

One more photo just to get your mouth watering.


Friday, June 24, 2016

Rainbow Baby

Facing the past.    

Today I did something that I never want to do again, willingly, something I haven't done, willingly, in a very long time (if ever).  Hope I never have to again.

I went to a cemetery.  

On Facebook today, someone wrote, "Today is Rainbow Baby Day.  A “rainbow baby” is a baby that is born following a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death or infant loss. In the real world, a beautiful and bright rainbow follows a storm and gives hope of things getting better. The rainbow is more appreciated having just experienced the storm in comparison." 

I'd never heard of it so I looked it up.  There is such a thing.  I didn't know. 

Of course, I quickly posted that my daughter and myself are both Rainbow Babies.   Then I thought for a minute, that's not quite true.  My son is a Rainbow Baby, too.  

Then, the memories came back.  The memories of the deaths, miscarriages.  The memories of the abortion.  The memories of the feelings that flooded me...when those events occurred.  And I wanted to do something to commemorate, remember.  I've never done it before.  Never.  I don't have a grave, or tombstone.  I'd fought so hard to forget, forgive.  You never forget.  

So, I decided to go find a cemetery, and remember.  I got a pink teddy bear and some fake flowers I had in a closet and I went to an old cemetery.  One way out in the woods.  I found some really old gravestones of children and I took some pictures of them.  On my way out, I found four headstones.  Unmarked.  Two together, and two next to them.  Four.  They were all babies.  

I swore I wasn't going to cry.  Fought the tears harder than the oppressed emotions.  It's in the past.  I've gotten over it.  But....I haven't.  So, I took a picture of those four gravestones without the teddy bear.  somehow it seemed right not to.  They had no visible names and I didn't want to add or subtract from the visual.  I wanted to remember it the way it was.  

I can't remember all the dates.  I kind of do, but I wish I had the actual dates.  Because, those were my babies.  Whether I wanted them or not at the time.  Some I did, some I didn't. They never were given names, either.  Whether I had emotions about them at the time...some I did, some I didn't.  They are still a part of me that need to be remembered and never forgotten.  It has taken me a long time to forgive myself.  I know God has and he has forgotten my sins.  

Now it seems wrong for me to forget.  Now I have pictures of headstones to prove I didn't.  


In Memory

In Memory

My heart aches

In Memory

In Memory

In Memory

Friday, June 3, 2016

Oops I did it again...

Today was long run day.  It's Florida and it's hot - 75 at 5:30 am to be exact.  I've got my camelback filled with water, fuel, and my trusty head lamp.  16 miles to do and hopefully do them as quickly as possible to beat the heat.  Ha!!  No such thing.  It's hot.  I keep telling myself, "It's okay.  Train in the heat, race in the cold."   Remind me I said that in August.  In any event, my next two marathons will be cold - Montreal and then New York in November.

Speaking of New York.  I'm running the New York Marathon under the fundraising umbrella of Team World Vision.  I have a goal of $5000.00 to raise.  This money will be going towards child protection in Africa and thus far I have raised $810.00.  

Fundraising isn't my thing.  So, why did I sign up for it?





I signed up to fundraise for these beautiful faces.  Read their stories here.   See the woman in the bottom picture?  She's gathering drinking water for her children (photo credit Scott Stauffacher).  Where did you get your water today?

So the oops.  I ran pretty slow and was drenched with sweat, including my socks.  I swung up my left foot to the countertop to check my toenails when I felt a sharp pain in my left 2nd toe as it clenched.  You remember I broke that toe over a year ago. Orthopedist told me it could take a year or more to completely heal.  Great... That hurt so bad!!  Praying it doesn't hinder my running.  If I'm in pain next run, Monday, I will remember these faces and remind myself that I have such a blessed life.  A little broken toe is nothing compared to the living conditions and the dangers these precious children, God's children, face every day.

Next time you are hot, sweaty, in a little pain (or a lot), remember these children.  Make a difference in their life by donating.  As little as $50 can provide water for one child for their lifetime.

Thank you for your support.



DO WHAT YOU CAN, NOT WHAT YOU CAN'T


None of you should be looking out for your own interests, but for the interests of others.
(
1 Corinthians 10:24)


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

One last trip to Korea

After my first trip to S. Korea I told my husband, "Never again."  It's not that I didn't like it.  I loved being there, hiking the mountains, exploring the city, traversing the subway.  The problem is - getting there!!   And back.  From Detroit its a 12.5-hour flight!  Ugh.  

I have now been three times.  This time, I'm really done.  Haven't seen everything, but enough to have a pretty extensive library full of photos.  Plus, now all four of our children have been.  I'm not going to post a long travelogue of our ten-day stay, just a link to the YouTube slide show.  Enjoy.



Saturday, April 30, 2016

Peru, Lima to Machu Picchu

MY JOURNAL, PERU - LIMA TO MACHU PICCHU.

4/6  Approximately one year ago, my husband came home from worked and asked me if I wanted to go to Peru and climb Machu Picchu.  My jaw dropped.  My reaction was one that you would get from any busy mom if you would have asked her if she would like chocolate, new shoes, a massage, and a housekeeper for the rest of her life.  All at the same moment. I picked my chin off the floor and said, "Well, of course!"

We did a lot of research on Peru, the mountain, tour companies, etc. and decided on G Adventures. I called and spoke for at least an hour with a representative, whom they call 'CEO's.   Booked the trip and began training for what we knew would be a difficult 4-day hike along the Incan Trail.

A month before the trip, we got the flu.  I got a mild version and recovered quickly.  My husband ended up in the hospital.

4/11 Today I officially cancelled Mark on the trip.  So difficult to do.  No turning back now.  Go alone or not at all.  I have started putting things in a suitcase - deciding what goes in my backpack and what gets checked.  I will only be alone on the first plane ride.  Joining the group at the hotel.  Will miss Mark for 10 days.

4/17 Arrived in Lima.  Got through customs quickly and found my driver, Walter, without too much difficulty.  City is bigger than I expected.  Very noisy and lots of traffic.  Typical for this part of the world.  Hotel La Castellana is quite charming.  On the 4th floor.  No elevator and no AC but nice and clean.  I lost my glasses on the plane.  

4/18  Got a map from the desk clerk and went exploring.  We are in the Miraflores district.  I walked to Kennedy Park, which was filled with hundreds of cats.  I learned to cross the street with locals.  Your life depends on it!  Cars don't obey traffic lights or stop signs - when there are lights and stop signs.  Traveling solo is a bit lonely, but I like the solitude, seeing a new city, experiencing a different culture, observing the people who live and work here all at my own pace.  There is a low haze over the ocean and a cool breeze.
I met a young lady from Canada. (Bumped into her several times over the course of my stay.  She's in one of the photos on video #2).  I had to change rooms from a double to a two person with a roommate since Mark didn't come.  I didn't mind even though I had already paid for the private room.  Her name is Nicole.  
Group meeting was very informative.  I did not need to bring my backpack.  The tour group will give us a duffle bag, limited to 6 kilo.  Will carry my camera bag as my day bag.

4/19  On the plane to Cusco.  Our group is comprised of Canadians, Irish, English, and Australians.  It's nice to be traveling with other world travelers and be able to talk of my journeys without sounding like I'm bragging.  Everyone is talking about the altitude, fretting, worrying.  I'm not worried.  Should I be?  Our guide, David, met us at baggage claim.  I immediately feel the difference in the air.  It feels 'clean'.  My heart started beating faster so I did deep breathing exercises to acclimate.  In through the nose, out through the mouth.  30-minute bus ride to hotel.  It's very quaint, Spanish architecture. Called Prisma Hotel del Cusco.  I'm rooming with Nicole again.  We put our luggage in our rooms then took a group walk.  Sunny for ten minutes then a sudden downpour on our way to lunch.  I need rain pants!  The one thing I didn't think of.  I had Alpaca for lunch.  Yum!  Then found rain pants. The store we were recommended to go to had one pair of rain pants in stock.  Thank you, Jesus, they were just my size!  At 4:30 we had a meeting at the G Adventures office where they gave us an itinerary for the hike with very detailed information about the trail and what to expect.  The duffel bag they gave us could only weigh 6 kilo or less including sleeping bag and air mattress.  I packed and repacked many times. 

4/20  We left the hotel at 7:30 am and went to the Sacred Valley to the Planetarra Project.  Click the link to learn more about it.  The women's weaving co-op is in the Sacred Valley and not at all "touristy".  

The land here is so beautiful it brings me to tears.  I stood and stared at the mountain, singing to myself, "Lord oh Lord How Majestic is Your Name."  Mark would have loved this.  Next was lunch at Parwa, another G Adventures project.  Delicious!!!  We then drove 1.5 hours to Ollantaytambo and our next hotel - Inka Paradise.  The weather has been perfect all day.  Slight chill with a breeze and mostly sunny.  There is a lot of red clay soil in the mountains.  We pass farm after farm after farm following the Urubamba river.  The school children all wear uniforms with wide-brim hats.  David tells us that Ollantaytambo is a living museum.  It is the center between Cusco and Machu Picchu, a 'hotel' for the upper class Incans.  We walked to an historical, archeological site.  David gives us a history lesson and even though he is thorough and very knowledgable, the photographer in me wants to leave the group to explore and take pictures.  However, it is best that I don't wear myself out.  Trail in the morning! 

INCA TRAIL DAY 1
We left the hotel around 8 am and drove 35-40 minutes to "82 km", the starting point.  We met our new guides, Joel and Elias plus 18 men who serve as our porters and cooks.  Only nine of us are hiking.  One of the women from Australia got sick and backed out.  The trail ran alongside the river and at times the railroad track.  It was rock, gravel, with sometimes slow grade and sometimes steep incline going up and down.  We stopped every 15 to 30 minutes for a break and twice for archeological sites.  We are told, whenever you hear "Porters!" to move to the mountain side of the trail to let the porters pass.  Every day they will leave after us and arrive before us.  Thus, they are running!!
Lunch - We arrived to our lunch site already set up.  One large tent with a table and chairs.  There is a bathroom "Bano" that costs one Soles, the currency of Peru. I don't like to pay to pee, etc. but we are all so well taken care of in every other aspect I can't complain.  The alternative is nature.  After a three-course meal, we are on the trail again.  Every time we start up and especially after a meal I'm out of breath and heart pounding the first five minutes or so. The coca leaves and tea really don't seem to make a difference so I stop.  Two hours later, we arrive to our overnight campsite - again already completely set up.  We get to choose our own spot on the three-tiered site.  I chose the tent closest to the bathroom.  Beautiful view of the mountain and moonrise.  The guides introduced each worker - porters and cooks who ranged from 18 to 63.  We then did the same and took a group photo.  
Dinner - First, a snack of tea, crackers and popcorn followed by a game of cards.  Another excellent three-course meal.  It has been an amazing day.  The beauty of this land gets more spectacular as the hours pass.  No rain even though at sunset we saw rain clouds and heard thunder.  G Adventures takes such good care of their staff and the people in the community.  They give back and help them to succeed in life.  I'm very impressed thus far.  I'm in bed and they are still working.  I hear sounds of people in other camps, dogs, frogs, and occasionally the bray of a donkey.

INCA TRAIL DAY 2
How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.  How do you hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?  One step at a time.  How in the rain?  One SLOW step at a time.  Before bed I prayed if it were going to rain, then all night would be fine.  I forgot about needing to go to the bathroom.  I woke needing to go but didn't want to come back and get the tent went.   Held out until 4:15 am.  Took me half an hour to pack my stuff and put on my clothes and contacts.  Exited the tent at 5 am, went to the bathroom then hung out in the misting rain while the breakfast tent was readied. Contacts fell out several times. Weird. We hiked straight up for four hours then down 1.5.  The rain stopped right after I bought a new poncho at the second rest area.  I ripped my old one in several places.  (Note to self - invest in a good quality poncho!! Bring duct tape!)   The sun came out just before Dead Woman's Pass, our highest point for the day.  Downhill after that to our camp.  
Late lunch, where it started to rain again (light).  It's 3 pm.  We are here for the night.  The day was hard, not horrible, but difficult with all the rock steps and the mud.  Lunch was great as usual.  
Toilets are squatties - you know, a hole in the ground.  Not the end of the world but difficult when your thighs are burning and shaking.  Rain started again after I got back to the tent for a siesta.  

At tea time we played cards. The guides are hysterical trying to teach us new games.  Clouds rolled in.  Lots of mist.  Made for good photos.  

On the trail today, it was remarkably quiet.  Sounds of the rushing river and a few birds that flew overhead.  Parakeets traveling in pairs.  When people did talk, it was at a whisper.  Now, snug in my sleeping bag, there is a chorus of frogs mixing in with the sounds of the rushing river.  Tomorrow is the longest hike day.  Praying for favorable weather.  

INCA TRAIL DAY 3
It sprinkled a little bit overnight but we awoke to cold and clear skies at 5 am.  It was a cold night!  After a carb-loading breakfast we left at 6:30 am.   Plan is to arrive at the next campsite by 5 pm.  The trail was beautiful.  We walked a while then stopped at several archeological sites along the way.  It was a long hike, but not nonstop.  We kept to our own pace and often there was no one in front or behind me.  Lunch was at a peak and we could see our campsite from the high mountain.  Well, sort of.  We could see the archeological site step terrace and the camp was 25 or so minutes beyond.  SIDE NOTE:  Every time we entered camp for lunch or for the night all the porters clapped us in.  It was very encouraging!!  We returned the favor by clapping and saying Go G! as they passed us on the trail.   
The weather was perfect all day.  A tiny brief sprinkle after lunch when the clouds rolled in - we are at cloud level.  So cool.   The trail was the same as before with two little tunnels.  Slightly muddier than previous days.  Saw several waterfalls.  
At dinner we organized to get a Facebook page.  We have been named team "Sexy Purple Warriors"  (in Spanish).  Elias added the Sexy because we are seven girls and only two men. At dinner we gave the porters a generous tip and said our formal goodbye to them.  Tomorrow the wakeup call is 3 am.  

It was a long amazing day!!   So glad I'm keeping a journal.  I'd never remember everything that happened.  

INCA TRAIL DAY 4
It rained hard overnight.  Thought we might be washed away.  But, the tent stayed high and dry! Thanks porters!!  Rain slowed to a slight drizzle by the time Christine's alarm went off.  I was actually in a deep sleep for once.  We had to be out of the tents by 3:30 am because the porters had to have camp completely packed up early in order to catch a 5 am train.  I didn't eat breakfast until later.  3 is way too early.   We hiked about 5 minutes to the checkpoint where there were already nearly 50 people there.  The gate opens at 5 am and we have to check in as a group, via our guides, one group at a time, with a limited number allowed in.  (All the groups had to pre-pay.) There was one small shelter and one bench so we stood until 5.  My left contact kept falling out. Again.  Did it the first morning as well.  I was really irritated but finally got it back on after multiple tries.  Elias led us through the checkpoint and we walked, in line, down the much narrower trail for two hours. I burst into tears, full of emotion.  Partly because my journey was coming to fruition and partly because I missed my husband, sad that he was missing this amazing journey.  Half way we stopped to remove layers - rain gear, warm jackets, etc.  Several minutes later, I saw a guide running back to the checkpoint.  Uh oh.  Not good.  Sure enough we came upon a narrow curve with people standing around. There was a large puddle blocking the path with a 3-4 inch diameter stick denoting the edge of the trail.  Someone in a big hurry decided to ignore the 'stay to mountainside' rule and tried to pass someone on the wrong side and fell down the mountain. Slid actually, there was a lot of wet vegetation.  Not sure how far down he went but I later learned he was ok.  This person was with the rowdy group who were always running and goofing off, singing Justin Bieber songs at camp.  

At the Sun Gate, Machu Picchu was in full sight and the sun was just beginning to shine on it.  Elias gave us a guided tour of part of the site then allowed us to explore on our own.  I wandered around on my own for another hour or so.  So many steps!!  I really, really...i mean really despise selfie sticks!!!!  

After I got my thousand or so photographs (see videos below) I took a bus ride down to the small village for lunch and then a train ride back to Ollantaytambo, then back to Prism Hotel in Cusco.  After a nice hot shower we had a farewell dinner at La Feria.  

This trip was just about perfect.  The only thing missing was my husband.  It was the journey of a lifetime and I pray that We will be able to come back.  Even though the hike was difficult - I expected it to be - and the weather was not what I was used to, I was well-prepared for both.  G Adventures was amazing.  We were pampered, as much as possible, and the chefs even made a cake for the two newlywed couples at the top of a mountain!  I still look at my photographs, a week later, and cannot believe I was actually there - on Machu Picchu mountain! I'm so appreciative of my life, the things and people God has blessed me with. I hear people complain about the most ridiculous things and think, they need to go to South America, Central America, any other country than this one and see how people live.  In general, we Americans see 'those poor people' and think they are pitiful and unhappy and unfortunate.  I don't see that at all.  The people I've met are content, happy, joyful.  They work hard to make the best of their life with very little complaint.  The main thing they are concerned about is providing for their families.  Food, shelter, water, family, love, God.  What else do you need? 








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Friday, March 25, 2016

The road to NY, hit a pothole

Question:  How do you jump back into marathon training after a week of the flu?
Answer:  You don't.

I don't care how healthy you are, how tough you are, how physically fit you are, the flu knocks your body to the ground and does a double body slam.  Then it crushes your lungs and takes your physical abilities way, way back to the day you first started the quest for that elusive thing called "The Marathon".  

I've had the flu twice now. The first time I was in my early 20's.  Wasn't a runner then, wasn't even very physically active except of the occasional trip to the gym.  After all, I was in my 20s.  Had the flu for a week, took two weeks to feel "back to normal."  

This go round, the flu itself wasn't that bad.  It couldn't be.  I didn't have time to be sick because my poor husband REALLY had the flu and I needed to be well to take care of him.  My last good run was on a Friday, 14 miles.  Started running a fever on Saturday.  Today, it's Friday and I've only managed a few miles on the treadmill in a week's time.  My lungs are shot, still coughing.  My congestion is gone and my energy level is returning, however, I'm not 'bouncing' back.  

It's going to take time and I don't like that!!  I've done everything right - nutrition, hydration, sleep. Obviously, I should have been able to run at least ten miles today, right?  Right?

WRONG.   

Yes, it's frustrating, however, I know..I KNOW... it's going to take at least another week for my lungs to be back to 'normal'.  I won't give up, it's not in my vocabulary.  Therefore, the answer is, you do not jump back into marathon training, it's simply one day at a time, one step at a time, one breath at a time.  

After all...  I AM A MARATHONER!!!  

And.  I have goals!  
1) Climb Machu Pichu
2) RocknRoll marathon Montreal
3) TCS New York Marathon
4) breathe normally
5) Celebrate Easter  -  This list is actually backwards somewhat but that's okay.  

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Building a better world for children

Help me reach the goal

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Journey continues

Training for the New York Marathon is in full swing - did it ever end?  This week-end's cross training consisted of carrying 20+  40-pound bags of dirt up and down the hill in my back yard.  I built a vegetable garden to save money.  Will take a lot of veggies to break even, but hey, they will be extra healthy, right.

See, here's the thing, every Spring I get the urge to plant things, play in the dirt, see pretty flowers in my yard.  Then, every Summer I watch them die.  I'm great at planting, not so great at keeping them alive.  Every year I tell myself it will be different.  I WILL keep better care of my plants and they will thrive.  So, I keep telling myself.  Don't get me wrong, I do try.  I try a little harder every year and I'm getting better.  I think.  Plant, water, grow.  Sounds easy.  

I turned to cactus and succulents last year.  They are doing great!  This year, however, I wanted to grow veggies.  With my marathon training I eat a large container of spinach a week, plus a large head of broccoli, a couple of pounds of berries, four apples a week.  Wish I could grow an almond tree.  I eat a pound of those every two weeks.  

Today, I'm running on the treadmill.  Heavy rain last night and I'd rather not slip on wet leaves.  While I was running, I was trying to think of ways to encourage people to donate to my World Vision fundraising page.   Here's an idea I came up with that sounded fun:

For every $100.00 donated this week I will run for one hour up and down a busy street in my town in a costume of your choosing and since I don't own a ton of costumes, you would need to provide the costume.  I know that will be difficult for those not near me, but I'll figure something out if you cannot get me a costume.

I will, of course, post pictures.  


Donate here


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Journey Begins with Just One Step, and a little help from my friends.

Today I got the news I didn't want to hear, "You didn't get in."  This was from the New York Marathon Lottery system.  This means my name was not drawn for entry into the race.  Fortunately, there's more than one way to run a race

My race calendar is planned out at the very least one year in advance.  I keep a list posted in my office of races I've signed up for, races I want to do, races I might do, and of course the "Bucket List" races.  The TCS NYC Marathon is on that list.  

So, I didn't get my name pulled out of the hat or runner's shoe or whatever.  I'm not going to let a little thing like that stop me.  

Therefore,  I've joined a charity.  This means, I sign up for the race through a charity, promise to raise money for them which guarantees my entry.

After much thought, research, and prayer, I have joined the "Team World Vision" charity.

Watch the video here to learn more about World Vision:  


After watching the video, please prayerfully consider donating to my fund here:  http://goo.gl/oB6jyL



World Vision

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Rhubarb. Is it a fruit or a vegetable?

It's colorful, it's tasty, and it makes a great desert.  So, fruit or vegetable?  According to Wikipedia, who knows everything:

Rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum) is a species of plant in the family Polygonaceae. It is a herbaceous perennial growing from short, thick rhizomes. It produces large leaves that are somewhat triangular, with long fleshy stalks and small flowers grouped in large compound leafy greenish-white to rose-red inflorescences.
In culinary use, fresh raw leaf stalks (petioles) are crisp (similar to celery) with a strong, tart taste. Most commonly, the stalks are cooked with sugar and used in pies and other desserts. A number of varieties have been domesticated for human consumption, most of which are recognised as Rheum x hybridum by the Royal Horticultural Society.
Rhubarb is usually considered a vegetable. In the United States, however, a New York court decided in 1947 that, since it was used in the United States as a fruit, it counted as a fruit for the purposes of regulations and duties. A side effect was a reduction on imported rhubarb tariffs, as tariffs were higher for vegetables than fruits.[1]

But seriously, who cares!?  It's delicious.  The other day my husband informed me that he loves rhubarb pie.  I had never eaten rhubarb in any form or even cooked with it so I didn't give it a second thought.  That is, until I saw it in the freezer section in my grocery store.  I bought two bags, just in case.  He added vanilla ice cream to the cart to make a simple rhubarb smoothie.  
To prove that I'm a good wife (that's a joke, he knows I love him), I did a little digging.  I found a good smoothie recipe (see below) but I also found something better - BROWNIES.  Who knew.  Now you do, too.

INGREDIENTS:
1 c raw honey or agave
1/2 c coconut oil, softened
2 eggs or 2 flax eggs (2 TBS ground flax seeds soaked in 1/2 c water)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/3 c cacao powder (not cocoa), raw cacao powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 c finely chopped rhubarb (measure after chopping)
1/2 c dark or semisweet dairy-free chocolate chips

PROCEDURE:
Preheat oven to 375.  Line an 8x8 or 9x13 or similar pan with parchment paper. 
Mix wet ingredients then add dry.  
Bake for 20 minutes or slightly less if your oven runs hot.  
Chill before cutting and removing from parchment. 
ENJOY!


Rhubarb brownies hot out of the oven

Rhubarb brownies

I don't have a photo, but here is a smoothie recipe and variations.

1 c milk
1/2 c frozen strawberries
1/3 c frozen rhubarb
1 TBS ground flax
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp honey

Puree until smooth.  Variations:   Use almond milk or chocolate cashew milk.  Add a banana.  Leave out the flax seeds.  Use agave instead of honey.  If you use a banana may not need the honey.  

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Carrot and Zucchini Nut Bread

Valentine's Day is right around the corner.  It's a day where tradition and the card companies tell us that we must show people how much we love them by buying cards, flowers, and candy.  An expensive dinner out is usually a plus.  I say, why wait?  Why not tell the people you love every day? Why not show them acts of kindness and give expressions of love as often as possible?  Showing someone love doesn't have to be expensive.  Oftentimes, it's the little things that say I love you so much more than jewelry.  My husband tells me he loves me every day by going to work, coming home, and genuinely wanting to spend time with me.  His greatest act of love was when he married me - a broken, insecure woman who felt worthless and unworthy.  His next greatest act of love was when he made it possible for me to retire from a job that was sucking the life out of me.  I do my best to reciprocate and show my appreciation.  One of the hardest things I did for him was get on an airplane.  I used to be terrified of flying.  I would have anxiety attacks and use all available air-sickness bags.  That being said, it took great courage on my part, and his, to get on a plane for a 13+ hour flight to S. Korea.  He now has me hooked on travel.  (see some of my travel videos on YouTube).  

What has this to do with bread you ask?  I'm getting there.  After writing and publishing 11 books (Amazon.com) I decided to take a break and focus my attention on photography, and baking of course.  I've become a bit of a food mad scientist as you've probably seen with my previous recipes.  It's been fun looking up ingredients and adding them to a bowl to see what happens.  Below are two recipes.  One is Carrot and Zucchini Nut Bread and the other is my gift to my husband - Bacon Chocolate Cheesecake.  Enjoy:

CARROT AND ZUCCHINI NUT BREAD
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 c ground rolled oats
1 TBS ground flax seed soaked in 2 TBS water
1 TBS chia seeds
2 TBS amaranth
1/4 c ground raw nuts:  almonds, cashews, sunflower, pistachios
1-1/2 c ground carrot (grind or grate before measuring)
1 to 1-1/2 c ground zucchini (grind before measuring)
1 tsp each baking soda and baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 c unsweetened plain almond milk

1.  Put ground flax in water and set aside.  Set oven to 350 F.
2.  Grind oats and nuts.  (I use a Ninja chopper but you can hand chop the nuts or use a food processor)
3.  Grind or grate the carrot and zucchini, very fine.  
4.  In large bowl add all ingredients 1-3 and stir.  Add the soda, powder, and salt.  Next, stir in the almond milk.  Once incorporated, shape into a ball and let sit for 20 minutes.  
5.  Spray a large bread tin with nonstick spray.  Alternatively, you can hand shape and bake on a silicone mat.
6.  Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.  Cover with foil, lower temp to 300 and bake another 10-15 minutes.  Cool  for 10 or so minutes before slicing.  It will be slightly soft in the center.  Best not to over bake or the crust will be too hard.  If you prefer, slice then toast.  


Hot out of the oven, Carrot and Zucchini Nut Bread

Carrot and Zucchini Nut bread ready for eating

Bread

Did I mention it's vegan?





























Now for the husbands, and other bacon lovers.  Bacon Chocolate Cheesecake.

Step 1:  Bake 4-6 strips of thick bacon in the oven.  Time and temp varies.  350 for 10-12 minutes is what I did.  Bake it crisp and flat.  Pat off the fat and dry on paper towels.
Step 2:  Melt 4 squares of semi-sweet baking chocolate and 1/4 tsp coconut oil.  Double this if you want more chocolate.  In a double boiler, melt the chocolate.  
Step 3:  Get your baking pan out.  I used a cupcake tray.  Cut your bacon to the size of the bottom of the tray.  Next, put the bacon into the bowl of chocolate, using a fork to coat well.  Line a flat plate or cookie sheet with plastic wrap or foil.  Using your fork transfer individual pieces of bacon onto the cookie sheet.  Put into freezer or refrigerator to set.  Reserve the remainder of the chocolate for later.
Step 4:  Make the cheesecake.  I used the Philadelphia 3-step cheesecake recipe.  This part is up to you.
   1 package Philadelphia cream cheese
   1/4 c sugar
   1/4 tsp vanilla
   1 egg

   Blend on high until creamy.  Take strips of parchment paper and make an X in the baking pan.  This will help remove the cheesecake.  Put in about 1 inch of batter.  Bake 25 minutes if using cupcake tray.  Remove from oven and allow to cool until warm.  Don't cool all the way.

Step 5: Line cookie sheet with plastic. Place bacon pieces on top of warm cheese cake and immediately invert onto plastic.  The bacon is now your crust.  Drizzle the top of the cheesecake with more chocolate and add an additional piece of bacon, if desired.


Bacon Chocolate Cheesecake

Bacon Chocolate cheesecake

P.S.  I am still in training for my upcoming races.  Saturday and Sunday the 20th and 21st I am running at Disney.  September I'm headed to Montreal for a marathon and finally the TCS NYC Marathon.  I will keep you posted on the fundraising efforts for New York.  I also am loving my new camera zoom lens.  Check out some of my photos for sale Twenty20 and FOAP.

Colleen Wait Edits

Colleen Wait Edits

About Me

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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.