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Hike Like a Goat: Part 1—Plan to Fall

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Hike Like a Goat

This 7 part series came out of a conversation that my Honey and I had about being sure footed on the trail. She wanted to leave the fear of falling behind with all of its timidness and tentativeness. In other words she wanted to Walk Like a Goat. When I said that the first time to her, she wanted to know what that meant because it sounded derogatory…until I explained: a goat is confident  and relaxed on rugged and uneven ground—so stable and skilled on her feet is that goat that falling is not even a fleeting thought. Walking Like a Goat is a high complement for any Honey on the trail.

Let’s unpack Part 1 of this series called:

Plan to Fall

To plan to fall—to anticipate what could happen during the step you are about to take and having the very next step picked out just in case. It’s about being mentally prepared and practiced so that you will react with beautiful adjustments—stepping gracefully forward.

As my feet fly down the trail over rocks and roots I stutter step, hop, glide and skid without thinking about it. But when she asked, “How do you do that and not fall?” I began to pay attention and realized that it is all just planned falling.

In terribly slow detail here is what essentially happens. I step out for what looks like a good place to step. It looks like it will hold my weight and not move under me. It looks like I can push off of it for the next step while controlling the direction and speed.

Then as I run, in the same split second, I am picking out the next spot with that same criteria and one more—where am I going if I start to fall? If the first step isn’t solid and something under my foot moves, I have a plan. If I can’t push of it like I had hoped, I’m ready.

This process of selecting good footing is slow at first but with practice it will come much more quickly.

It is not only the selection of the footing itself but it is that your body is ready to react. You don’t know which way your ankle or knee will need to adjust but you are ready for any adjustment. It feels a little bit like playing outfield in baseball or softball. You assume a ready position with your legs bent, your weight slightly forward and evenly distributed down into the balls of both feet—ready to spring in any direction to catch the ball.

Muscle memory develops with repetition and your body “knows” what to do to adjust.

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My Honey slips, executes her plan for this occasional eventuality and quickly regains stability

Ideally you will pick a spot that is solid but in the event that you don’t your body will be ready to make the adjustments and move to the next step because you picked it out and because your body is practiced at quick adjustments.

I used to think that it was just a natural athletic ability but it can be learned. Be grateful if you have it and you don’t have to think about it or practice, but if you are like my Honey who used to trip on flat sidewalks, you will have to practice and think it thorough but it can be learned.

My Honey is the proof. Her confidence and speed has risen and she is so much more relaxed. She’s having more fun and so can you. It’s an easy process that can be learned.

18 Keys to Better Balance On The Trail

Using your arms with slightly bended knees leaning a bit forward are all ways to be better balanced on the trail!
Using your arms with slightly bended knees leaning a bit forward are all ways to be better balanced on the trail!

I (Loral) have always struggled with being a  prone to tripping—even on a city sidewalk. When I first moved to Chicago years ago and got places mainly by walking, my roommate used to joke and say, “OK, your trip of the day has happened, so you don’t have to worry about it anymore.”

Needless to say, if I would trip on a flat sidewalk, getting out on an uneven hiking trail— particularly as you descend—can be kind of scary.

Because of my naturally not-so-graceful tendency, I have intentionally tried to gain better balance through the years. I have learned somethings along the way that I hope will be useful to some of you—or  for you to pass along.

My first few tips are from my dance training—those techniques definitely comes in handy—so if you can take dance lessons and would enjoy them, great! If you can’t do that or don’t have that interest, I’ve spelled out some of the lessons for you here.

  1. Suck in your stomach when you walk, keeping your core engaged at all times. Doing this will help you not too lean too far forward or backward.
  2. Strengthen your quads and hamstrings to protect your knees from impact.
  3. Keep your knees slightly bent, kind of in a relaxed pulsing position.
  4. Lean forward slightly with your upper body when you are climbing.
  5. Use your arms to help you balance and counterbalance your body—or grab onto trees or rocks as you need to—but keep your arms primarily in front of you. Let go when your arm gets behind you to avoid shoulder strains.
  6. Make sure your knees and the direction of your feet are aligned in the direction you want to move. In this case, avoid the dancer’s turn out with you feel.
  7. Check your weight, making sure it is more on the balls of your feet—more than on your heels.
  8. Wear high quality shoes with good tread. Ahnus are my favorite, because they were specifically designed for balance.
  9. Ensure those shoes are properly tied, supporting each part of your foot, especially your ankles. Buy the good hiking socks—I like smart wool for all occasions. Don’t skimp on your feet. I only have a few pairs, and we hike a bunch.
  10. Commit to one foot or the other when you step. If you are using both feet, one may drag. Just like in dance, your weight should always be on one side or the other as long as you are moving and not in neutral.
  11. Try to think about where you will step next before you get to it, and try not to change your mind at the last minute. This practice is kind of like leading in dance. You have to be a step ahead in order to clearly signal to the other person.
  12. Glance down, but don’t lean your head too far down for too long. Try to keep it more level.
  13. If you start to slip, if your knees are bent and you are leaning slightly forward, and your arms are out slightly, you can often catch yourself.
  14. Prepare yourself both cardiovascularly and with strength training off the trail. I’ve let exercise go a bit with the business of moving this Spring and an increased workload this summer, and I can tell. I’m recommitting to it this fall.
  15. Don’t try to do too much at one time. If conditions require much balance, consider shortening your distance if you get tired, or take more breaks. If you get tired, it’s hard to be cognizant of your body’s signals.
  16. Be cautious but not fearful. Go at a steady pace that makes you feel comfortable. Especially as you are starting out, taking it slower until you feeling confident in your footing is so important. If you end up turning around rather than going on a loop trail, you will have more confidence.
  17. Stretch out before you hike and after you are finished. Even if it is short and an “easy” hike for terrain, or if you go up hundreds manmade steps, your body will be forced to take it easy for more days if you don’t stretch.
  18. Take snacks and plenty of water so that you don’t get light headed or dehydrated.

If you haven’t already done so, feel free to read my other tips for enjoyment on the trail.

Happy trails to you!

If you have something you would like to share in a blog, article or book, but don’t know where to start, please visit my company page, cowriterpro.com. I’ve been helping corporations, small businesses and authors get their messages out for nearly 20 years—and I’d love to help you. For help, please contact me.

 

 

 

 

The Joy I Feel When He Builds a Fire

A lovely romantic fire on Christmas Eve
A lovely romantic fire on Christmas Eve

Honey’s Perspective

The first time I (Loral) saw my Hiker build a fire in the woods was mind boggling. Here are several things I felt—and still feel every time!

Where am I and what year is it?
I felt like I had been transported into some kind of time machine to frontier days, when I look back, and my Hiker comes marching through the woods with a tree (not cut up, mind you, but a 20-foot-long tree over his shoulder, like he was Daniel Boone or something. He later explained that the backpacking saw wasn’t very good, and this was by far easier.

How on Earth did I get blessed with someone who is so strong and easy on the eyes?
Let’s face it ladies, if you were single like I was in your upper 30s, you may have wondered when the men changed from nice looking to someone more like your dad or grandpa with a belly. I began to think that was part of aging that I had to accept. That’s I was so pleasantly surprised when I met my Hiker! He cares about his appearance and staying in shape. I joke with him all the time, “How old are you…like 27?”

I married a master craftsman.
He carefully arranges his logs according to type of log, smoke flow, layering small pieces with larger ones—using all kinds of strategies that he has explained to me many times. I don’t think that he gets that I am lost in awe because a wonderful man is building me a fire, and all the technique talk he is engaged gets lost…I admit I have a hard time paying attention.

I love watching him make the fire grow.
He gets down on his hands and knees and blows on it, taking great care to get it going. He continues to rearranges the logs like an editor sculpts words and a master chef experiments. When it takes off, or catches, the smile of achievement is priceless.

He builds a fire out of love for me.
I know there are many nights when we didn’t need a fire—but if it is below 70, I like one. He even built one after a 90-degree day in Florida. Although with the ocean breezes, it was a bit chilly. It is relaxing and romantic.

It mesmerizes us.
We don’t have to say a word, but just watching how it moves as the fire shifts is so powerful and soothing. We love it so much, that we got a fake fireplace heater in our cozy country cabin that we now live in when we aren’t on the road.

He made s’mores work for me, despite my dietary restrictions.
He bought gluten free graham crackers and organic chocolate so that I don’t get as sick, but we still indulge. I love how instead of trashing this tradition, he made it work for me.

I share this story for the ladies who want to get out there…I’ve found appreciating the small things makes a big difference in the heart of your man. I also know that watching him turn sticks into fire is a sure fire way to keep the romance alive—especially when you praise him for his part in caring for you.

Is there a story burning inside of you that you feel like you have to get out? I’ve been helping corporations, small businesses and authors get their messages out for nearly 20 years, and I’d love to help you, too! Visit cowriterpro.com to learn more about my editorial services, and feel free to contact me.

 

 

How I Became His On Unexpected, Redeemed Dates

The special swing: the scene of my risk taking and a late evening proposal
The special swing: the scene of my risk taking and a late evening proposal

The Scene—A Sacred Place in a Special Town

It was August 2, 2014, and I (Loral) was going to be maid of honor in one of my best friend’s wedding celebration in Grand Rapids, Ohio, a town that had been a refuge for me during the last five years of city life in Chicago.

During those previous five years, my friend and I, as single ladies, would have visits about three or four times a year. We would pray diligently about all the circumstances of our lives, with a significant portion of the prayer being for our future husbands. Whenever we could, we would sit on a swing on the banks of the Maumee River. It was such a beautiful place.

My friend had actually met her husband along the river, and they had gotten married the previous September 7th there, but were now having the bigger party a year later for family and friends.

Originally the celebration was supposed to be in May, but because my friends husband was in the army, and away, it had to be moved back to August.

These are all important facts to my story. You see, I hadn’t even met Seth in person in May. By August, however, we had become quite serious about each other. I had invited him to come to my friend’s wedding as my date.

Taking A Risk

I was a bit nervous because previously when I had been dating, if the guy wanted to bail, a wedding was a sure fire excuse. But, Seth had laid some pretty strong hints that his intentions for me were permanent.

So, I took a huge risk. I took him to the swing where we had prayed. I told him the story of how we had prayed for our husbands there, and that I believed that he had all the characteristics that I had ever prayed for. I genuinely wanted him to know, and I could tell, to my relief, that his heart was delighted.

But I had taken this risk when I didn’t have that much time before I had to be with the bride to get ready, so there wasn’t much time for discussion. It was a sweet moment, and I left it at that.

A Lovely Time

We embraced, got up, and I went on to get ready for the wedding and the evening. I gave a toast for my friend, Seth and I talked much throughout the celebration, and the wedding ended with fireworks. It was truly a picturesque evening. I was so glad Seth was with me.

An Unexpected Walk

After the wedding was over, he was going to drive me back to the bride’s parents house, where I was staying and he would go back to his hotel. Just as I got in the car, he said, let’s go back to the swing. I gladly said OK, but didn’t think anything about it since we didn’t have much time before.

We held hands, walked along the riverbank, looked at the moonlight and then went back to that swing.

The Mood Shifts—And Our Lives Change Forever!

We were hugging on the swing, and all of a sudden he was very quiet and serious. He said I have something to ask me, but warned me it was all out of order, and then, there on that swing, where I had prayed for a husband for several years—he asked me to marry him!

You know we have this blog and we are married now, so you know I said a resounding YES! But where it was was so special!

I never dreamed THAT place where I cried over previous heartaches, and prayed diligently for a future spouse would be where I would get engaged.

The Additional Importance of the Calendar—Redeemed Dates

You see, initially, when the date was postponed to that date—August 2nd, back in May before I met Seth, I cringed. Why, because that was the date my divorce had been final 15 years earlier, at the young age of 27.

How incredibly painful, I thought, to go to a wedding alone, again—on the anniversary of my divorce—the day my dream for being a young wife and mother died. But I loved my friend so much that there was no way I was not going to be a part of her special day.So I told her of course I would be there.

Now however, not only was it special for her, but now that date is completely redeemed for me as well—and one of a special celebration.

And, we didn’t plan it this way—it just happened this way because my family was already going to be in Tennessee on September 7, so we got married on that date.

That date, as I had said earlier is the same wedding date that my friend had gotten married the year before. When that date had come and gone the year before, I had been sad because my single prayer partner and another one of my best friends was now married. I knew things wouldn’t be the same after that.

I never dreamed that a year later I would also be getting married on her one year anniversary!

I praise God and thank him for bringing happiness to our stories so close together—and how sweet He is for even redeeming the dates!

Do you have a sweet story to share but don’t know where to start? Let me help you formulate a blog post, article or book. I’ve been helping others get their stories out there for nearly 20 years, and I’d love to help you to. To learn more about my professional services, visit Cowriterpro.com and contact me.

 

Hiking with Broken Lenses—6 Ways to See More Clearly

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Our backyard. Do you see a weed, an allergen, pretty flowers for a vase or picture? What do you lenses let you see?

Look at a beautiful mountain scene or a pretty flower and tell me what you see…  Do you see beauty, reality and imperfections? What are you focusing on? Are you seeing accurately—whats really there? I propose that we are all hiking with broken emotional lenses.

I’ve stayed in places where the mirror was cracked and my face didn’t look quite right looking back at me. I’ve worn glasses since the second grade and have had to see through real broken glass lenses. Many times on the trail I’ve had to stop and clean my glasses because of sweet, fog or rain. No matter what the condition I am only seeing what I’m seeing—it is altered by my lenses. These are some physical examples of the emotional reality I’m thinking about.

We don’t see what is real with exact accuracy when we look at the one we love. We see what we see—yes! But it comes through our culture, gender, personality, experiences, knowledge…and damage. We don’t really know what the other person is feeling or what they meant by what they said. We get better at it over time but much will always be lost because of our lenses. Here are 5 things I try to do to help me cope with my perception—what I think I see:

1.  First, I ask God to help me see her the way He does. She is His daughter first and His beautiful creation.

2. I try to remember that what I see is filtered. My Honey’s behavior is actually only my perception of her behavior.

3. I attempt to filter what I’m perceiving though who I know her to be. I try to make assumptions that give her the benefit of any doubt in the positive direction of my knowledge of her love.

4. Process any thing that hurts in a mixing bowl of all the times she has told me how positively she feels—loves and respects, trust and highly regards.

5. Ask for clarification when what I hear, see or think I experience doesn’t line up with what I know and believe about her. Then listen carefully.

6. Act on what I believe is noble, chivalrous and of good character. Lead with gracious loving sacrifice.

Do I do this well? No. She may actually give me more credit than that but I know that I am still refining this process. Perfecting the process of seeing clearly is a life long pursuit. These are some of the things that help me deal with my broken lenses and the distortion that I see while I hike with my Honey.  She’s worth all the effort!

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Before you react or even gently respond to your Honey, could you check you lenses a little bit more? Could you be a bit off in your perception of her? It’s worth some thought…yes? She is certainly worth it:)

Tips for Enjoying the Trail With Your Man

Guestpost by Loral Pepoon

Today I (Loral) would like to share some tips for ladies who are just starting on outdoor adventures, for those who want to get out there but haven’t yet, or for those of you who really don’t want to go on the trail at all—but your man does.

Guys, you may want to read as well. You might find some points that resonate with you too.

I knew when my Hiker and I met that he loved being on the trail. He was definitely more adventuresome than I was. However, I also knew that I loved hiking and seeing God’s beautiful creation, so I believed that a compromise could be found and that we could create something wonderful together.

When I chose to marry my Hiker, I knew that he was a man of give and take. And, I saw when we were dating that he knew what he liked and expressed his opinions freely to me in a respectful way. I also know that I am a woman who does her best to exemplify those two characteristics as well. Therefore, my Hiker and I have had those healthy relationship patterns established since early on in our relationship.

I attribute the formation of these heathy patterns to us both submitting to God and His direction, and to both of us undergoing significant personal counseling to deal with the “junk in our trunk” prior to us meeting. If you have some of these healthy relationship foundations established, coming up with an adventure that you both enjoy isn’t as difficult.

If you are still navigating, establishing or recreating healthy relating patterns, don’t be discouraged from getting out on the trail. Just know that outdoor adventures can escalate underlying issues if you aren’t aware of them.

My Hiker and I have found that the beauty of the outdoors has really helped us find “our way” as we continue to improve our issues. Don’t let our mostly smiley pictures fool you, though—we are very much still a work in progress.

All that being said, here are 16 useful tips to help Honeys enjoy the trail:

  1. Know that any journey will be a work in progress. If hiking/outdoor adventures are new to you, you will need to try a few times to work out the kinks.
  2. Be grateful for anything your Hiker does for you. Whether he researches a good place, helps you carry some of your stuff, or whatever he does, reward him. Say “thank you” and appreciate his efforts to help you have a good time. Show him with affectionate words and actions.
  3. Share what you would like to see on the trail, as your man may not know to ask or have ever dreamed your ideal adventure up. I told my Hiker that I love to see flowers, waterfalls and beaches. Then I asked him if we could fashion adventures to see those elements—and we have :)!

    Loved seeing this waterfall on a short hike to a mill in Illinois!
    Loved seeing this waterfall on a short hike to a mill in Illinois!
  4. Encourage open communication by stating your desires in a loving and respectful way. Don’t be upset if he didn’t automatically know or sense them. Similarly, if he expects you to know something in his head, but you had no idea, gently tell him that you can’t read his mind, but that you want to support him.
  5. Try bite-sized adventures first—this point is sooo important.
  6. Volunteer to do a short hike that meets your physical ability. Maybe go walking on local paths first and realistically assess where you are at.
  7. Try one night of camping first, and go in with your best attitude. Know that it’s only one night, and that you will improve each time. Go with people who own equipment or borrow some before you invest in your own.
  8. Don’t combine an epic hike and camping the first couple of times. If you do a long hike, maybe see if it fits in your budget to stay in a cabin. If it’s your first time camping, schedule a short hike. Once you get overly tired, you are likely a mess.
  9. Watch the weather and the temperature, and be flexible to go in ideal conditions at first. This strategy helps you get used to being outside and having fun. I recommend early fall hikes before it gets too cold and spring hikes when it is dry to start with. Summer heat and winter cold take a bit more gear, physical preparation and having a better understanding of your limits.
  10. Schedule your first few times of hiking/camping during the better two weeks of your monthly cycle. I know that I can act like a bear at certain times of the month…and bears aren’t desirable on the trail.
  11. Wear thin pants and a light shirt, with a layered windbreaker type jacket that you can tie around your waist if you don’t need it. Being more covered in clothing is the best way to avoid bugs and cuts.
  12. Make sure that your Hiker and you are prepared with bug spray, sunscreen and a hat or bandana (both of these help with heat regulation and bugs). My man preferred cold weather hiking, so he didn’t always have those items as part of his routine in the beginning! He does now though!
  13. Take a small first aid kit with you.
  14. Start on a trail that is rated “easy” where you can where tennis shoes. After you know that you like hiking and are willing to go on a more regular basis, you and your Hiker can talk about investing in hiking shoes. I love my Ahnus. They were specifically made to be non-slip shoes—I’m naturally not sure-footed and prone to trip—and they have definitely helped my confidence!
  15. Kick hunger and thirst to the curb. Carry some snacks. Nuts and dried fruit work great for your first few times. Drink enough water. Try 16 ounces of water before you get out there. Then drink about 8 ounces an hour after that. This tip applies to all weather conditions. You may not feel as thirsty when it’s not as warm, but your body still needs water! If you decide you want to have these adventures regularly, take endurance products and rehydration products. We are distributors of a wonderful product line called Amp. You can learn more about it at http://HikingWithYourHoney.isagenix.com.
  16. Smile often and remember how lucky you are to have your man with you. After not meeting my man until I was 41, I definitely remember how I longed for a permanent companion.

After your adventure, reward yourself with some down time just for you! Try a bath, a wonderful cup of tea, get out some candles, do a home spa treatment, or anything else you might do to relax. When you are through recharging, you might want to show your Hiker your appreciation by loving on Him too. Within a couple of days, debrief about your trip so that you can make the next one even better.

If you would like to learn about how to share your life experiences with others through a blog, article or book, but don’t know where to start, please visit Cowriterpro.com and contact me. I’ve been helping corporations, authors and small businesses get their messages out there for nearly 20 years—and I’d love to help you, too!

Carter Cave Kentucky

During the third week of July we went to Carter Cave Kentucky to hike and hear bluegrass music. This is another great way to combine interests. We both love live music and hiking. We also threw in a little cave tour just because.

In a cave opening on Horn Hollow trail
In a cave opening on Horn Hollow trail

The park is pretty big so for reference for directions, the resort is 30 miles west of Ashland KY. We went North on I-65 out of Nashville TN, then East on the Bluegrass Parkway. Then we wiggled around the west and north edges of Lexington to get on I-64 East. We took exit 161 for US 60 east. We stayed on that for 1.5 miles and turned left on KY 182 north. After that we just followed the signs to get the Lodge. The latitude and longitude according to the website is N 38.36902 W -83.12372. I did not mark this one myself so I can’t validate the accuracy. It took us about 5 hours with a couple of little stops.

Curious formations in a rock wall along Horn Hollow Trail
Curious formations in a rock wall along Horn Hollow Trail

This trip was actually my sister’s fun idea—she and her family were going on this adventure and they invited us to meet up with them. It was probably a sneaky way for my sister to gently interrogate my sweetheart if the truth were told. My Honey accepted the invitation when I told her that I had planned to rent her a separate room since we weren’t married yet.

We arrived in Olive Hill Kentucky, introduced my Honey to my bother and his wife and enjoyed dinner at the Smokey Valley Truck Stop. They can find the most unique yummy places to eat.

Then we went to a blue grass concert in a cave.

Band stand inside a cave!
Band stand inside a cave!

It was so cool! A bring your own chair event but be careful. Don’t unfold your chair under a steady drip from a stalactite.  The acoustics were great and the husband and wife band were truly gifted.

The trail we choose was the Horn Hollow trail. It was a two mile loop with some cave entrances featured along the way. It is scenic, hilly and takes you from the ridge to the bottom of Horn Hollow.

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Here are two links to help you get more information if you would like to  go do this too.

http://parks.ky.gov/parks/resortparks/carter-caves/trails.aspx

http://parks.ky.gov/!userfiles/aParkBrochures/Maps/CarterCaves.pdf

this cave is about the size of a 1.5 man tent and dry
this cave is about the size of a 1.5 man tent and dry

You may notice that the trail description says it’s 1.5 miles and the map says it’s 2.0 miles. This is something to watch out for and very common. A hiking venue website will sometimes have conflicting information about trails. Then when you get to the trail, you may find a different distance altogether and confusing unmarked trail crossings. I think this happens over time as trail maintenance workers make adjustments for the changes in the forest. Hikers often create unmarked trails that after a while start to look like the main trail too.

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This trail was a good choice for the mix of adults and children from the toddler my sister had in a carrier on her back to the “old man” of the group…me. We had a blast soaking in the sun, enjoying the shade and exploring the cave features.

Pondering Your Path

Would visiting a park be a good way to combine interests and get in some hiking? What park would satisfy the vacationing desires of a group of your family or friends?

Oh, by the way…my newly found hiker honey passed the sister scrutiny!

Wesser Bald Part 2

Posing in the fire tower on Wesser Bald
Posing in the fire tower on Wesser Bald

Yesterday, I told you about our climb to Wesser Bald and the fire tower look out. I have been to many overlooks but this was the best view for me by far. We gasped in amazement and “ooo’d” and “ahhh’d” for quite some time. Then when our eyes could not take in any more glory, we climbed back down and found a picnic spot where we ate quinoa salad and yogurt.

Our friends went on ahead and we stopped to take care of some “business.” We got back on the trail and began to be silly while we hiked. We sang for a while and then made up stories and told them to each other with a British accent. Sometimes we aren’t very grown up…and I prefer it that way.

Near the bottom we were feeling our trail legs wobble and we started singing song re-writes on the fly to describe this funny feeling. My favorite was Donavan’s Mellow Yellow to read: “they call me mellow jello”. Eventually we caught up to our friends.

Nature's carpet—slippery when wet...but pretty
Nature’s carpet—slippery when wet…but pretty

We learned an important lesson at the moment we caught up with our friends: check the fitness level of your hiking companions for this sport. Our friend was hurting from the hike. His favorite sport used a different set of muscles. He just had surgery and his hip was mad at him. He can smoke me on a mountain bike trail even with that hip—literally leave me gasping for air and trying not to throw up, but hiking was different.

He wasn’t mad at us but found it irritating in a funny sort of way that we were singing and laughing about jello legs while they were struggling. We didn’t know that, of course, and were very sympathetic when we figured it out. We discussed how to compare preparedness levels ahead of time when crossing over to different activities. I could have suggested, for example, hiking poles to spread out the pressure and that would have helped him immensely. I’ll take better care of my friends next time.

All ended well with a great meal in downtown Bryson at the Cork and Bean followed by s’mores at the fire pit beside the cabin.

On the cabin porch just before heading back to Nashville
On the cabin porch just before heading back to Nashville

Pondering Your Path

Who could you get together with for at least a day hike?

Adjusting to an Injury

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Riding up front in our “Gondola”

Injury—Do you have to stop enjoying the outdoors when one of you gets injured? If the injury isn’t completely dibilitating, maybe not. It’s very important to heal and to protect yourself from making it worse; but maybe…just maybe…you can get creative and still have fun.

Frozen shoulder—Our recent injury happened about 6 months ago when out of the blue, my Honey’s right shoulder lost at least half it’s mobility. This came with a significant almost constant pain. At first we backed off of everything because we didn’t know what caused it or how to find healing. After a few unsuccessful attempts to find a solution, we found great care with a long term solution through Dr. Boles at Exodus Chiropractic. While searching for a medical solution, she had the growing awareness that while her should was healing, it was going to hurt no matter what she did. With this attitude in force we started getting creative so we could still have fun outdoors.

Sleeping injured—with a frozen shoulder as “part of the equipment” we picked a tent site where we would not have to carry our supplies too far. This made it easy to haul a dozen blankets to make a really thick mat for sleeping comfort. She didn’t have to carry anything and we could still sleep under the stars in comfort. It is so important to sleep well under healthy conditions but even more so when you are healing.

Gondola Style Kayaking—The next morning, I took my injured bride to a small lake where we put in our two seater kayak. (Well, I guess I should say, My friend Richard helped me put in the kayak and she watched. She will help me again soon.) Eager to see some beauty, my Honey let me lower her into the front seat of the Kayak. I sat in the back and did the paddling. She crossed her legs so that one toe hung in the water and we glided over the glass like surface of the lake hoping for extraordinary sites. We stealthily followed a large Blue Heron from one spot to another and really enjoyed his huge wing span as he flew over our heads. We enjoyed the novelty of watching hornet activity from a safe distance. The nest was bigger than a basket ball and about 40 feet in the air. The sun kissed her face with warmth and the shady spots were welcome too.

Large hornet's next high in the trees
Large hornet’s next high in the trees

If it’s possible, creatively work around your injury and keep drinking in the outdoor experience. It might be just what the doctor ordered.

What is holding you back? Can you adjust your expectations, be creative and still spend happy moments outdoors?

Collaborative Camping

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Yesterday, I got to tell you about out first night in a tent. I described how we got used to night noises and the fun day we had afterwards to balance out our emotions.

I saved the lesson about collaborating for today. We fought and made up prior to the test run in the tent and here is how it went down…and back up.

I thought that I was the teacher. I expected to explain the parts of the tent and the process and she would watch and learn. I would do most of the work to set up the tent and she would help as I guided her. My experience included setting up many different kinds of tents. I wanted to be appreciated for my knowledge, demonstrate my skill and have a little assistance on the task.

So when I said, “Would you help me?”, it didn’t really mean give me advice. Now, my Honey is an out loud verbal processor. She takes in data and turns it every which way, asks questions and offers ideas that occur to her from this process as they occur. In this environment, where I thought I was the authority, I was not prepared for this method of learning.

She began with “why this?” and “why that?” Then went on to “what if we did?” and “maybe we could try?” I was beside myself. I could not comprehend how there could be so much to talk about on such a simple process. In my opinion, I certainly did not have anything to learn and she would not stay focussed on my “right way to do it” long enough to learn. She was busy figuring it out in a way that worked for her. I did not realize at the time what she was doing and was quiet offended.

We had a little “intense fellowship” that spoiled the tent set up to be sure. She stopped talking altogether and I grew even more miserable with the silence. I did really want a conversation but I wanted it about how I was doing it so she could learn my method. What was I to do now? Within a couple of minutes I just stopped working, stood up straight and gently asked why she was silent. She said that she did not want to irritate me, but she had an idea worth sharing. I adjusted my attitude like a coal miner washing the soot from his face after a long day underground. I asked if she would please share.

What happened next was a God thing. She pointed to a place in the tent’s fly where the fabric was not tight and flat. She asked if it might leak there and wondered if maybe there was a clip or buckle or tie or something we could use to pull the fabric tight. I had my best attitude on and crawled in the tent to look. I expected to demonstrate that it was just the nature of this design. I stared completely stupefied at a clip right where she thought it might be nice to have one. I had never seen it before! I am still wondering if God just put it there to help me learn a lesson about communication and to save our future outdoor adventures from unraveling. I clipped it in place and eagerly crawled out to hold her close. I thanked her for her contribution and promised to work on being collaborative about learning to hike and camp together even when I felt I was the uncontested expert.

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Guys, your lady might want to just watch and assist as you guide her; she might want to just rest while you apply your trade; she might, however, be like my Honey and want to have her thoughts and ideas valued and appreciated by you. If you are not sure what approach is best for her, just ask. I know my Honey appreciates it when I consider what will work for her.

You might find that collaborative camping finds culmination in considerable cuddling…like it did for us that day.