look beyond their behavior

When I was in nursing school I heard one of the most influential pieces of advice I have ever heard. It has totally shaped the way that I approach my nursing career and has impacted my personal life as well. Cathy Ryan (one of my instructors) would frequently tell us to “look beyond the behavior”. At the time it seemed like it was just one of those kooky things that the professor was saying, but I have since realized it’s wisdom.


Basically all behaviour is an external expression of an internal process. If we look solely at the behavior, we can often times MISS that internal process. If someone is mean to you, could be because they are tired or crabby or they don’t like your shirt. Not necessarily because they don’t like you or you did something to cause it. Not everything that someone does TO you is BECAUSE of you.


That leads me to the subject of this post. I was asked something along the lines of, “how do you feel when people judge you”. (Either because I am eating something “unhealthy” or my usual MASSIVE amount of food or because I am sweating WAY too much or whatever non skinny person thing I am doing in the moment) My short answer was roughly “I try to understand that it isn’t about me. Their judgement is more about their shortcomings than anything I am doing or saying.” It got me to thinking.What are some of the reasons that people become judgey and how should we deal with them?


So in no particular order or rank this is what I thought of and how I would deal with it.


1) Maybe they are judging what is on your plate because they are jealous. I get this one a LOT “I wish I could eat that much”, or “I’d weigh nine million pounds if I ate like you”. Either they think that it’s an inappropriate  amount or frequency or content.


It really doesn’t matter what they think. Maybe they weren’t given enough acceptance as a child and so they can’t be accepting. Maybe their dog was abducted by aliens and force fed until its stomach exploded and it died and what is on your plate is the last meal their dog ever ate. Maybe they think they know something about “nutrition” and how it applies universally to every human on earth. Maybe their husband called them fat this morning and they are taking their self pity/hatred out on the world.


How I deal with it depends on the person and how well I know them. Sometimes I just smile and nod and make some comment about how lifting weights makes me have a super metabolism. Sometimes I just ignore them. Sometimes I just hand them my phone with my progress photos and say nothing. Mostly I just smile and ignore. It doesn’t matter what they think because what I do is what works for me and I am not going to change because of them.


2) Or possibly they think it’s wrong. They think that “fat people” *shouldn’t* eat certain foods. They think that “fat people” shouldn’t eat at all, especially in public! I think that this one usually comes from people not having an understanding of what it means to have food addictions. Or what is actually required for the human body to sustain life.


These people are easier for me to deal with. I eat what makes me happy. Period. End of thought. I pay no attention to what makes OTHER people happy if I eat it. Granted I don’t eat grains and I don’t eat MUCH dairy so I get less of the “why are you eating a box of twinkies?” and more of the “you ate a whole jar of peanut butter this weekend?!” kind of thing. But no matter what I eat, I only eat what makes me happy. If it doesn’t make me happy I don’t eat it.


It is easy for me to understand that people don’t know me or my story or what works for me. They don’t know what I have been through and they don’t know my stress/success. I  can remember that and eat my food that makes me happy and smile and ignore them!


3) Sometimes I hear people say something like “women shouldn’t lift weights” or “women shouldn’t lift heavy” or “that’s a man’s lift”. People get judgey because they feel like women might get all veiny/muscular/whatever, because they don’t understand that women who aren’t on the juice won’t look like Arney! Or maybe they feel like their opinion of “sexy” is the only one that is REAL. Or maybe they are genuinely concerned that I might hurt myself in the gym. They might possibly think that the “one true exercise” for weight loss is CARDIO, hours and hours of  fast treadmill.


This one is another one I deal with on a case by case basis. If it’s just some random stranger in the gym? Chances are that I didn’t even see/hear them because I had my headphone on and music loud. I tune people out in the gym. If it’s someone I kinda sorta know, I don’t really bother with a response although “thanks for your concern” is usually a good one. My family has done given up judging me on this one out loud because they know it’s a lost cause.


4) When people hear that I don’t like to do the treadmill and that I prefer hiking, mountain biking, long distance trail rides, or mountain climbing (which are generally considered “extreme”). I sometimes get judged. It could be because they see me having massive amounts of fun doing zany things and they are jealous. Could be because they think that “extreme” things are dangerous and that women shouldn’t do them.  Maybe they knew a friend of an uncle’s sister’s neighbor’s third cousins twice removed’s ex fiancee who went hiking and never came home and left her to deal with six dogs and three children and a parakeet and her life was NEVER the same! Maybe they don’t like dirt/bugs/heat/extreme sweat/being alone and away from amenities/whatever and think that no one else should like them either.


This one goes right back to I do what makes me happy. If people question me I usually just smile and say “it makes me happy”. Just because someone else doesn’t like it doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t like it either. If God had made us all the same the world would be a terribly boring place.


5) Sometimes I hear “you shouldn’t dress like that” or “a lady should look like” or “NO CARGO PANTS”. I think people who want to impose their way of dress upon the world are people who really don’t understand individuality. Maybe they grew up in a home where individuality was frowned upon. Maybe they think that conformity to the ideal that they hold is the only way that anyone can be happy and they really want me to be happy. Maybe they LIKE not having pockets??


I usually smile and nod and go on about my day. I don’t worry much about what other people think. If someone who doesn’t pay my bills is that concerned with what I wear they can just not look at me 😉

This is really the biggest things that I personally get judged on. How about you?

all heroes need a backstory


Starting in the beginning is always best when writing a backstory 🙂 but I have culled this one from bits and pieces I have written in various and sundry places. (first written  08 July 2013)


I have ALWAYS had issues with my breathing. I remember as a young child sitting on the couch and reading drinking my hot tea and feeling my heart racing from the theophylline and unable to go and play outside because I couldn’t breathe. I was always a tiny bit chubby, but it wasn’t until high school that my weight ballooned.


My freshman year of high school I got very sick with my lungs. Out of a 45 day semester I was IN CLASS for 12 of them. It started with the mile test in gym, I had a VERY severe asthma attack and the school wouldn’t let me leave (even to go to the nurse) so I just left. It was my first time skipping school but I was turning BLUE and I figured my mom would be ok with it so I just walked home. It continued for months I was in and out of the hospital and on and off oxygen and in and out of a humidified oxygen tent and and and and and. I saw all kinds of doctors (even a shrink because they were CERTAIN I was faking – although I am not sure how I could have faked turning blue! and the low sats!).


Eventually I had a bronchoscopy and they determined that I had an aspergillus overgrowth in my lungs. This isn’t something that  HEALTHY people get and so I finally had a doc who diagnosed me with alpha-1 anti-trypsin deficiency. It’s basically genetic emphysema. I was on super ridiculous amounts of prednisone during this time and my weight BALLOONED. I don’t remember exactly what I weighed, but I know I was above 200 and probably near to 250 for the first time in my life. I have such bad tears for stretch marks 😦


They told me that I would need a lung transplant by the time I was 35 with the way my decline was progressing. And that I would never have healthy kids. And that if I didn’t need a transplant that I would be on some serious oxygen. (FYI: I have NOT had a transplant and I am NOT on oxygen 😉 )


My senior year of high school I lost like 80# by eating only peanut butter and applesauce. I was riding my bike all the time and hiking and generally being a mostly healthy kid.


And then I got married. And I stopped riding my bike everywhere. And I worked fast food and was working my way through college. I got pregnant and had a miscarriage in 1996. It was devastating. And I didn’t stop eating. Oldest boy was born in march of 1997. I spent 4 weeks in the hospital because my water broke at 28 weeks. I was on SUPER STRICT bedrest (the amount of times I could PEE in a day was limited because they didn’t want an excited uterus now!) and high dose steroids (baby’s lungs and all) and he was born a preemie at 33 weeks 3 days. He was fine. But, now I had a baby and was in college and hubby wasn’t very supportive, so I ate. Fast forward to 2004, three babies in 38 months. I never got back to “pre-pregnancy” weight. I just kept gaining.


So in April 2004 I had this cyst on my breast that I had to have removed, and when the cytology came back that it wasn’t cancerous I was relieved. However the doc said “this cyst had the makeup of something we see often in very severe diabetics, have you been tested?” which sent me to the lab for blood work and and and… long story short I was diagnosed with diabetes (my A1C was >14  which meant my average blood sugar was >350) I was 340#… and I was miserable… I had three toddlers (my youngest was about to turn 4)… I couldn’t keep up with them I couldn’t walk and run… I was *THAT* mom… the one who sat on the bench at the park and yelled at them…. the one who just sat there… if there was a problem they had to come to me… I had no energy I was in constant pain I was miserable

Growing up I had an “Aunt” (friend of the family really but we called her Aunt Betty) who had diabetes… her first amputation was her toes then part of her foot then partially up her shin and then her knee then halfway up her leg… by the time she died she had also lost toes and fingers… the gangrene had settled into her pelvic area and there was no more to cut off and she got very ill and died… we watched her children suffer with this… and in my mind it was all because she couldn’t give up her soda and her twinkies… I watched the resentment that we had for her because she wasn’t able to do it… I thought about how much her children HATED her and how hard that was on them… and I refused to do that to my kids!!

that was the beginning for me… I bought a pedometer… I stopped drinking *real* soda… I made the goal to be more active… I started by just logging and not making any changes… I have this belief that if you want to go anywhere you have to know where you are… so I started just logging my steps and calories without changing… the first goal I set for steps was something like 900… because at that point I was averaging 700 or so… and 1000 was WAYYY too much… so every two or three weeks I added 200 steps to my goal… I would call my mom and talk to her while walking in my driveway to get my steps… there were MANY MANY days I didn’t make it… but I slowly worked my way up… and now I don’t have a *daily* goal anymore… but I have a monthly goal… last month I logged 191.8 miles… it was insane (by bike and by foot)

I also started counting calories… I got a notebook… this was before I had a smartphone so I would use programs on the computer… I kept notes in a daily notebook and just tracked things… my first steps were to just log what I was eating…. I had NO clue but I knew that whenever I tried to do the 1200 calories per day (that my doc recommended) I felt like I was STARVING and I was ANGRY and HUNGRY ALL THE TIME… seriously… NOT GOOD!!! so I was eating like 35-3700 calories a day… my first goals were 3200 a day… and some days it was a struggle… then every 2-3 weeks I would cut that down

in 2004 my (now ex) husband decided it would be a good idea to move from AZ to VA… his kids from his first marriage lived here and he wanted to be closer… he told me that he had a job lined up (which I found out later was a lie) and that he had a house lined up (again a lie) so we packed up the three kids and moved cross country in our volvo… about half way here he tells me no house… and then later no job (but he made it out like they fell through)… this was the beginning of me seeing that the issues in our marriage were unsolvable…

I lost a bunch… .. got down around 280or so… and then gained… it was horrible… my first goals were so stupid… “lose 10# in a month” and stuff… I would fail (oh I only lost EIGHT pounds) and then binge as a way to express my depression over failing… and then I would be MORE Than I was at the beginning of the month which would set off this horrible cycle… my ex would bring home junk food and donuts and no matter how much I tried to change he would berate me… “just because you are becoming a sugar nazi doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy good food” “well maybe you are just never going to be thin so here have a donut” he would buy a 2# package of cookies and he and the kids would eat the whole thing in one setting… we would be lucky if they even made it home from the store… we went through about 20# of sugar every month…. and I can’t begin to express how much bad stuff we ate…

it’s been a BATTLE transitioning my kids to healthy eating since he has been out of our lives… but I can say SEVEN years later my kids now LIKE good food and healthy stuff and usually pick the good stuffs over the bad stuffs… they get treats now and then and just because I don’t eat it doesn’t mean I don’t let them… it just means that junk food is usually left for when we are doing a big hike (like more than 10 miles) or a big bike ride (like more than 30 miles)… and my yongest has issues with weight gain (as in he is 13 and 80# and TINY) so I am a little more lenient with him than the others because he needs calories… but he still has to eat the good stuff before he gets the bad stuff… (but he eats like 4000 calories a day so I don’t really worry about him getting too fat )

separated from the ex in 2006… went back to school… spent 4 years getting 2 2 year degrees… past nursing school/boards… got pneumonia once or twice… had sinus surgery… was unemployed for almost 3 months after school looking for a first job… got a job… was prematurely promoted… lost the job because of office politics (I asked to step down… there were issues with our state inspection… and I was the newest and youngest nurse and the director didn’t like me)…. spent 6 months unemployed then I got a job at the local university in intensive care… fast forward to last year and I was back up to more than 300… and I decided that I was ready to REALLY Get back to work… I had stagnated… and I wasn’t going anywhere (except up) and I wasn’t happy… I was very close to 320 and I NEVER wanted to see that number again… I started playing with carb cycling… sorta worked… played with IF…. sorta worked… played with restricting calories… sorta worked… yo yo’d from 290=310 most of last year…

started jogging… started long distance biking… it was awesome… I logged so many miles last year… amazing

then in august I broke my foot… I was jogging… and it just broke…. stress fracture… I got a boot and went to work (on doctor’s orders) and the third day I injured it more… somehow I caught the giant boot on something in a patient room and twisted it and tore the nerve… they told me NON WEIGHT BEARING for 8 weeks… the pain was terrible… torture… I didn’t leave my couch for six weeks… I could not even really shower (ewww) because I have no balance… I really wanted to not lose the gains I had made so I was doing knee push ups… I would crawl off my couch and then do push ups and then lay there because my foot was throbbing and then crawl back to my couch… I was out of work for 12 weeks

somewhere towards the end of that I found nerdfitness… (my 1 yr anniv is in oct)… I was like… oh well another thing to try…

I was getting more active… I was doing all the right things… and I broke my dumb foot…

I was not losing like I wanted… at least I didn’t gain anything when I was broken… I had a reaction to the lyrica (given to me for the nerve pain…. when they talk about psychotic depression… it is a possible side effect… PAY ATTENTION) I wanted to kill myself… I ate all the things and I didn’t care… it took me almost a month after being off of it to feel normal again… I have battled depression for YEARS and it has gotten very bad… but NEVER to the extent it was last fall… I didn’t even really tell people the thoughts that were going through my head because I KNEW it would get me put away… and I probably should have gotten help… but I did stop taking the meds and went back to neurontin which worked better for the pain anyway…

I was given the go ahead to start walking again in november… and it was hell… I had pain… I had no endurance… I was tired ALL THE TIME but I tried… and I did it… and I just forced myself…

in January I did a daniel fast with a church that I follow… basically you eat fruit and veggies and drink water… I did that for 19 days (was going to  do 21 but I got VERY protein deficient and sick after a large hike…. I don’t like almost dying… ) I LOVED it… I felt so amazing… the intestinal symptoms that I had for YEARS were gone… I had no pain in my guts… my joint pain was VERY improved… I felt awesome… the only thing I craved was MEAT (I seriously had dreams about meat…. like where I chased cows and just bit them… it was… unnerving) when I went back to “normal” at the end of the fast… the symptoms and pain returned with a VENGEANCE and it was like… I didn’t realize how much pain I had until it was gone and then it was back and I was so sick I wanted to die…

the 6 week challenge that started in feb… I decided that I would try “paleo-ish” (I eat beans and corn and don’t eat nuts)…. basically just fruit/veggie/meat… it has worked very well for me

I am back up to biking long distances (we did the greenbrier river trail in june 160 mils… just did 105 miles on the c&o trail last week)… am going to get back into hiking the distances… I have done a couple long hikes but no more than a couple days… am working my endurance back up…

I started this year at 285… I was 250 at the doctor’s last month and I have no idea what I am now… I had a challenge goal to not weigh this six weeks because I was addicted and weighing multiple times a day and it was horrid… it kinda scares me that I am coming up on a hundred pounds lost… I am shocked and amazed

until a few months ago… I think probably until may… losing weight was just something that *might* happen… even though I had lost in the past it never really occurred to me that it was going to happen… it was just like I was just talking… no amount of planning was going to make it happen because it was just words…

then I had this massive shift in my thinking while on my last trip (I wrote about it in my challenge thread… I am running out of time and have already written a book )


the paradigm shift

previously when faced with an idea of something hard to do… my first instinct was to think of all the reasons/excuses for NOT doing the thing… let me just story here… because it’s not making sense in my head…

so…. The Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) rail-trail offers 150 miles of hiking and biking between Cumberland, MD, and Pittsburgh, PA. In Cumberland, the GAP joins the C&O Canal Towpath, creating a continuous 335 mile long trail experience to Washington, DC. (that was copy paste because I am lazy)…. on the trail we were talking about how it would be cool to do the C&O/GAP (out and back)…. previously I would have thought… holy cow 335 miles… that’s 670 I could never do that far… I wouldn’t be able to carry enough food and I would not be able to sit the saddle that long and it would cause me injury and and and… (I could come up with about a hundred things in 5 seconds)

the other day someone said “hey it would be cool to do the C&O/GAP trail round trip” my first thought was “ok I can average 30-40 miles a day how long would that take” and it took me a minute to realize… I actually felt capable of it… I didn’t feel the excuses… I didn’t feel the “I can’t do that I am not fit enough I am inferior” thoughts… I didn’t have excuses… I just thought of how to get ready…

and… this doesn’t even feel like it makes sense… but I don’t know how to word it… it was just…

for the first time in my life I feel like I am physically capable… I always like to compare myself to “high school Jenn” (who weighed in at 150 and went hiking and biking and stuff) but… she couldn’t do HALF the stuff I do… and most of what she could do she had to FORCE herself to do and it wasn’t EASY…. I did 14 miles today and it was easy!!! (after doing 90+ miles the three days before that) high school Jenn did 20 miles once and it made her cry for several days…. I did 20 miles the first day of our trip… She thought she was fit… I AM fit… even up to last year or so… I was not physically capable… (sure I did stuff… but it hurt me and it was hard…) I did 105ish miles and I don’t even feel like I did anything… I feel like I could go get on my bike and do 105 more…. “”

I don’t care if I NEVER win a challenge… I don’t care if I NEVER win a race…. I don’t care if I NEVER get down to my goal weight… I am an athelete… I am physically capable… it doesn’t matter what anyone says about me I KNOW I AM CAPABLE… I can do GREAT things… and I am AWESOME

I don’t have to win anything to know that

update on 24 may 14

so I have been plateaued at 240 ish (between 239 and 249) since august…. did a 2 week (like 11 days really) of super low carb to try and break it… I will NEVER EVER do something like that again… I did <10 TOTAL carbs for the first week and then <20 NET carbs for the next 4 days… I thought I was gonna die… I was SUPER crabby cranky and hated life and the world and had an INSANE headache… and it never got better until I had a LOT more carbs…

anyways… I did end up losing about 6# (and hopefully the stupid plateau is broken)

but I learned something about myself… being happy is a LOT more important to me than that demon liar scale!!

I don’t really give two whits what that lying beast of questionable parentage has to say about me!!

ok well yeah I do… and I came up with new rules of eating for myself… 1) full paleo (ish – I allow corn in moderation) 2) limit white potatoes (my nemesis!!) to once or twice a month (unless they are eaten on a day with a >10 mile hike) 3) sweets are limited to days with >6 mile hikes 4) no added sugar other than coffee (because the artificial sweeteners are bitter!!! and I only drink a cup or two a day) 5) limited cheese to once or twice a month… that I can live with that make me HAPPY … which should allow me to still lose… and not obsess and not be an idiot…

but I am at a point in my life where I deserve happiness… and obsessing over food and how many carbs/calories/whatthecrapever doesn’t make me happy!!

I also had no gains in the gym and whatnot while lowcarbingit…

and that’s what I want!! I want gains in the gym… I want faster miles!!! I am not gonna get those things unless I fuel myself!!! and if I keep making gains and getting faster I WILL LOSE WEIGHT!!!

it took me many many years to get into the outta shape shape that I was in!! if it takes me half that time to get into shape (realizing that I am like twentygazillionbillion percent more in shape than I was 10 years ago) then I am still doing awesome!!

I am training to do the apalachian trail for my 40th birthday (2017 start date) I am running again (got VERY sick this winter and the ice and weather… I feel I lost nearly everything and had to start from ZERO again)

I decided that I am unwilling to do that to my body… I am on a plan now




Living a white blazed life

You should be able to tell by now that I like hiking. 

What you don’t know (probably) is that I am my own worst critic. I talk to myself in ways that would probably get me arrested for battery if I spoke to another person. If I were to talk to my kids the way I talk to myself I would lose them to the CPS system forever. If I were to talk to anyone else the way I talk to myself I would get shot a lot more often. 

So why do I mention this? 


Posted this on facebook a while back:

I totally just blew my mind… I typed this in response to someone’s thread…


“being sick HAPPENS….


failing doesn’t make you a failure…


awesome is as awesome thinks”


like…. WOAH!!


think about it… awesome IS as awesome THINKS


I suppose you could also say awesome thinks as awesome speaks since the power of life and death are in our tongues. .. and we can be transformed by the renewing of our minds


So to THINK differently we have to SPEAK differently


I KNOW this! I know that the way that I think and feel is reflected in the way that I speak. Also that the way that I speak reflects the way that I think and feel. It’s this odd circle. But, the amazing thing is that I can change one aspect of the equation and it will impact ALL the other variables. If I change the way I speak, after time it will impact the way I think; which will in turn impact the way that I feel. 


So if I ultimately want to FEEL better I must speak better. 

Makes a lot of sense, right?

So what does all this have to do with hiking? It’s a long convoluted path. 

When we were driving we were listening to a podcast about activating your faith. 

One of the ways that we HEAR the word of Christ is to SPEAK the word of Christ. 


I am super bad at the segue so I am just gonna hop on the next thought. 


While we were hiking I had this internal dialogue. It was probably the first real day of the hike and the first HARD day of the hike. This was a totally normal (for me) internal dialogue.

You are hiking so slow and this is so hard and you are stupid to think that you can do this hard of a hike so soon after you hurt your foot and you are a damn loser and you will NEVER be able hike the entire trail if you can’t even do one stupid section of this trail and you are NEVER gonna be fit and you are always gonna be an idiot and you are always going to be uncomfortable and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and 


This went in for miles. It’s NO WONDER that by the time I stopped I felt drained and tired and cranky and horrid. 


The next day when I was hiking after the first couple hours when it started getting hard the internal dialogue started in again. 

You are so stupid and a loser and you are slow you are a damn fool loser WAIT! What am I supposed to believe? Am I supposed to believe what I say or what God says? I am supposed to believe what God says. OK so what does God say? Does God think I am a loser? NO! God says I am MORE than a conqueror

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.Romans 8:37 


Either God is lying (small hint… he isn’t) or I am! 

So if I am not loser but I am a conqueror, what does this mean about what I am saying to myself? Does a conqueror talk like this? NO! 


So what the hell am I supped to say huh?

And here I was lost. 

Until I remembered

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, James 1:2



let the weak say, “I am strong.”  Joel 3:10


 for the joy of the LORD is your strength Nehemiah 8:10


So, the joy of the lord being my strength and joy comes from trials and I feel weak so I am strong. 

(which I realize that my theological link between those scriptures might not be the strongest, but I am not a theologian!)



The thought made me laugh so hard that I couldn’t even stand any more. Sat on a rock and laughed myself silly!

Also what occurred to me  

Which means what I feel is not what’s real. It’s just what’s going on with my body. FEELING happens in the body, what’s real happens in my spirit! 

So as I was walking I kept repeating a NEW internal dialogue and every time I started to revert to the OLD dialogue I said SHUT UP and started repeating the new one 🙂

What I feel is not what’s real. I am supposed to count it all joy. ALL of it. Even the hard stuff. Especially the hard stuff. This is hard so I am counting it joy and the joy of the lord is my strength so I am strong because I serve a VERY big God. who has more than enough joy and love to share with me. 

The pain in my feet and my shoulders was less. It was easier to walk.  And then as I was walking  I saw the blaze on the tree. 


Blaze means so many things. In this case it was the white mark on the tree. 

It occurred to me “I want to live a white blazed life” 

I was thinking about the many definitions of blaze. A white spot to mark the trail. An example. 


A FIERCELY burning fire.  


Something that burns fiercely that shines brightly that achieves something in an impressive manner. 


But also it means so much more. My life has already been blazed. 

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jer 29:11

Sometimes in life, like on the trail the blazes aren’t as easy to see. Sometimes we turn off the path and onto a side trail. Sometimes it feels like the blazes are difficult to see. Sometimes the trail is nice and easy and easy to find. 

But when the trail is hard to find you can always ask God to show you where the blaze is! 


If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God… and it will be given to you. James 1:5

For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. Luke 21:15

For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.  Proverbs 2:6

To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness Ecclesiastes 2:2

God doesn’t want you to be confused. God doesn’t want you to wonder where the trail is he wants you to see the trail and walk it! 


I want to live a white blazed life. So I want to follow the blazes that God has laid out for me. And I know that I am called to be a light. 

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

So I want to follow the blazes and I want to be a blaze. I learned many years ago in chemistry that a white flame is the hottest fire. I want to live a life so on fire for God that people look at me and want what I have. I want to ask God to show me the blazes he has placed in my life to be able to follow the plan he has laid out for me.


I want to live a white blazed life in every definition of the words. and it starts with how I speak to myself.



Maryland: part the second

AKA: In which Jenn finishes the state of Maryland 🙂

Also AKA: In which Jenn bombards you with a gazillion pictures because her phone was replaced



Made some adjustments. .. based on what I learned from the last hike. … also using a different pack… not counting my hydration bladder or a couple small snacks I want to get I’m down to 27#… granted I pack heavy  and you pack differently (sorta) for a four day hike than a six month hike. … and I’ll have a MUCH better/lighter backpack for that hike. … but I think I’m getting better at the packing


only thing not pictured is the gatorade I got enough powder to mix in my hydration bladder each day… then Carcassone… and some chocolate covered espresso beans and almonds… and extra socks… although I suppose I could have labeled one of those bags “extra socks” and you would never know the difference… but I didn’t add them til after the pic 




It feels so light compared to last time it’s almost CRAZY!



holy crap… look at my neck the way it has definition and crap…  and I still can’t get used to how terribly tiny my ankles look… not sturdy at all


I got the fanny pack to make things like snacks and my phone and map easier to get to…  :) that way I snack more often and I can do better on ze hike


 we got a fanny pack to use as a training pack for her… I am not sure what style I wanna go with yet for her eventual “big girl pack” and she can’t have real weight until she is at least a year… so I wanted something light



This is the boy and his pack. It ended up being way too super heavy for him and he got rid of a lot of his stuff. 

My friend that we hike with got out of work and to my house later than we intended. And then we went out to dinner and it was horrible. We went to the Butcher Block Buffet. The only things that they had to eat were fried or breaded or floating in gravy. The manager was nice enough to give me some ham and brisket from the dinner menu that  they heated up. So at least I wasn’t hungry. 

The end result is that we didn’t GET to the parking lot until 330 pm… so after packing and what not we weren’t ready to leave until almost 4. We decided to cut day one super short because I average about a mile an hour and I didn’t want to be walking until 11 pm. 

First day was only 2 miles 🙂 

Fitbit says 21 flights of stairs… 


The shelter was amazing 🙂



The book was full so I wrote in the back cover. 



Carcassone before bed


The view from the other side of the table



Ezra got loads of loving from everyone 



Ezra wanted more loving and was mad that we kept chaining her and not letting her visit all the hikers 😦



Getting ready to hike the next day. Here is breakfast on the trail. Everyone should eat this well 😉 (and Ezra got the juice I drained from my tuna and salmon, making EVERYONE happy!)

I ended up eating that whole jar of peanut butter in the few days we were on the trail. 


Super tired Jenn is Super Tired – Ezra was not tired for walking only 2 miles and was super wild ALL night long. My fault for not walking far enough the first night. 

My ankle is still feeling like crap from the sprain last week so I super taped it before the hike. 


Not looking forward to the planned elevation changes. Not in the least. Unimpressed Ezra is unimpressed. 





There was a LOT of up

So much up 

Stopped with Chris for a snack. 



And the obligatory feet hanging off of stuff photo 🙂 It’s such an amazing feeling being so far up and so unafraid. 

Look at this view. It was so super. You could see for a bazillion miles. I think that when God made those mountains he must have had LOADS of fun. Just pinching up the ground like a puppy pinches the blanket. And then I think that if I were the only person here on earth God still would have made it look this amazing because he loves me and wants me to be happy!

At Gathland state park. GATH was a war correspondent in the civil war and he was apparently rich and designed this giant arch to celebrate correspondents 

It was so creepy to look up and see the horse heads and the Goddess statue staring down at us. And this thing was giant. I tried to get someone to take a pic of me (for size comparison) but no one was interested.


This plaque in front of it was as tall as my chest. 


Someone painted this rock near Gathland. 


Hanging out at the Ed Garvey shelter. This was 9.1 miles from Rocky Run. We were all insanely tired at this point. The plan was to play a game and then head out. Since we cut it short the first day we had to hike more every day. 


She was terrified to go on the second floor of the shelter. 

I ate so much peanut butter. An entire jar in 4 days!


I was so super insanely tired that the thought of more miles was really really cranky. 

This is the railing from the other side. I have no idea how he still has energy. 

We ended up hiking two more miles. 

The guides agree that we hiked 11.2 miles. 

Hiking after dark was my one and only fall. It happened in slow motion. I was stepping up onto a log and the area after the log was very muddy. I couldn’t get traction with my back foot and it slid back down to the lower step. It felt like it was five minutes later that my front leg hit the ground. I almost only fell to my one knee. I was reaching down to the ground with one hand to help myself up and the weight in my pack shifted (I didn’t have it very snug on my shoulders at this point because I was hurting) and dragged me to the ground. I must have dropped my hiking stick at some point because I landed on it. I somehow trapped my arm between the stick (that I was laying on). So I am laying here on the ground with my stick stuck under my hip and at this point I have shifted to my back. On top of my pack. So I am laying here like a TURTLE, and Ezra is hooked to my belt. I am trying to catch my breath to tell my friend how to help me up and I only have one hand available to help and I have a dog in my face. I finally catch my breath and tell people that I need the stick pulled out of my butt because it’s trapping my arm. And I tell Chris to get Ezra.


After what feels like an hour, but that’s really only two or three minutes, I manage to get my pack off so I can stand up. All in all the whole experience was less than three minutes.



This is where we slept, near the Weaverton Cliffs trail. We were so tired by this point that and it was so super dark that we didn’t realize that we were sleeping almost directly on the path. 


I still don’t care.


We walked down to the cliffs after breakfasting. 

See that red speck down there? Let me make it a little bigger for you. 


It’s a house. We hiked from the top of the cliffs to street level. We walked past that house. From 1140 feet of elevation to 263 feet of elevation. It was kinda insane. 

This was the trail down to the cliffs. 

Can you believe this view?


ALL the climbing.  Can you believe this?


The start of the DOWN. Which also means it’s end of the UP when we are going back to where we decided to camp. The sign says “prevent erosion do not short cut”. I took this one because I had an idea for a blog post about living a white blazed life. I plan to get to that one tomorrow or so. 


We made it into Harper’s Ferry around noon and walked around a bit. Had some lunch (an awesome gyro salad) and got all our water refilled. 

The information kiosk had this beautiful painting all around the edge with a forest/river scene and lots of happy people 🙂



I had the best custard ever!!

The streets were stone, and the gutter on the side was stones. It was so beautiful. 

The sidewalk. It’s easy to forget you are in the 21st century. 


This picture here. It means that I walked the entire state of Maryland. 


The ENTIRE state!


This was the only mushroom like this that I saw the whole hike. It looked like a flower and was kinda hard. It was more peachy colored than the picture would indicate. 


ALL the sweat. It’s so hot and so tired and I was so cranky. This was about half way up the trail back to the Ed Garvey shelter. It was SO HIGH!


He never sweats, probably because he’s always freezing. You see me here covered in sweat with it dripping off my face and pooling in the small of my back? (well you obviously can’t see it pooling in the small of my back, but it was!) He’s wearing a long sleeve shirt. And half the time he hiked with a blanket on his shoulders to pad his backpack. 


He’s got no meat on them bones. 

We are headed the right way! Not that we were doubting it. There is this feeling on the trail. When you are just walking and walking and it feels like it’s been an hour but you check your timepiece and it’s only been 8 minutes and your mind starts to play tricks on you. Tries to tell you that you must be going the wrong way because there’s no way it’s going to take so long and you SHOULD be at the next thing on the map. You SHOULD be there!! So when you see signs that point the way it’s reassuring.

We slept at the Ed Garvey shelter on night three. By the guides we hiked  10.5 miles. 


I wrote this in the log at Ed Garvey shelter. I am going to let it speak for itself.


I am going to write more about being more than a conqueror and celebrating life and my internal dialogue tomorrow or so when I write about living a white blazed life. 


Going home. The plan is to hike the 11.1 miles back to the car. I am really stiff and sore by this point. I added more tape to my ankle and have been taking more tylenol and ibuprofen. 


We got back to Gathland park and I had some lunch. Finished my peanut butter. 


We had internet service. I posted this to facebook. 

I’m seven miles from my car and I don’t wanna walk anymore. … so hot/tired/cranky

12:15 pm

I don’t know if it helped or hurt my mood that I kept gps’ing my car.


Also on FB.  Over the course of the hours. 

  • Just gps’d my car. .. 5.8 miles

    So hot so humid so tired

    I’m excited that I’ve hiked ALL of Maryland 

    1:29 pm
  •   I feel like I’ll never get there. .. but I’m 4.8 miles now
    2:19 pm
  • Planning waffle house maybe on the way home
     I hate your state SO MANY ROCKS!
    2:19 pm
    • I feel like I sit a lot when I’m hiking. ..
    •  3.3 miles to go. … and I’m sitting again. .. need to eat because I’ve not eaten much but it’s SO DAMN HOT I’m having a hard time eating
      I felt so weak but I forced down some nuts and dried fruit. I understand that not eating is why I was so cranky and tired and everything.
      By the time I got to Rocky Run we were ALL super exhausted. 
      And super funny story. My friend left Ed Garvey a little while before we did and headed to the car. He planned to wait for us at the car. I had given him the keys so that he could go ahead and get his stuff all settled and packed and not have to sit on the ground to wait for us. Instead he tried to meet us. 
      He was apparently parked at the circle when I crossed that road. He couldn’t park close to the intersection and I missed him. Although it would have been bad for me to see him at that point because Chris was ahead of me and was waiting for me at the star. (that’s Rocky Run) 
      Rocky Run is 2 miles exactly from the car. A couple hundred feet from the car I heard my friend calling my name and finally ran into him. He had parked my car at the arrow. He cut a mile off my trip which was totally exciting for me!
      Went to Hibachi after. Had about 6 plates of food and 4 cups of water and a pot of tea. 
      Hungry Jenn was hungry. 
      Doing my flexing friday picture because I felt so intensely amazingly buff after carrying that pack for so long. Look at the definition in my back and shoulder. It feels so much more amazing than it looks
      I’m home
      I’ve been par boiled
      I’m in my bed
      I’ve got my heating pad
      It’s not as good as a hammock but it’ll do

      Something like 30 miles. .. hundreds of flights of stairs. ..

      Good night world

      And today is recovery day. I would prefer to make it a recovery week or month. SO TIRED!
      Pretty much the only injury. Which is interesting because it was injured BEFORE I went and wasn’t healed enough.  I don’t think I was ready for this hike and it was really stupid to not be more healed before I went. 
      I have ice in a bag under a towel on my ankle. … Ezra put her head on it and looks content. …

      Asked her if she wanted to go for a walk and she just sighed.

      Tired Ezra is TIRED. 
      There will be more to come tomorrow. I had a LOT of internal dialogue that I want to share and some wonderful insight and thoughts. 😀

Fill your backpack


That’s my empty backpack. There’s nothing in it. Big surprise eh? An empty bag has nothing in it?

Let me back track for a little bit first though.

I struggle. LOTS.

I struggle with the things I say to myself. I struggle with the things I say about myself. I struggle with being NICE to myself. But most of all, I struggle with forgetting God’s promises when I am in a mess.

I believe things. I believe that God has a plan for me. But sometimes (ok a LOT of times) when I am in the middle of a situation I tend to just think about what’s going on instead of what God tells me about it.

I believe that God is in the healing business. But sometimes (ok most times) when I am broken or sick instead of remembering that God heals and WANTS me healed I dwell on the pain.


I have been talking to a friend about this for many years. About how I KNOW that God heals, but I spend so much of my life in pain. How I KNOW God heals but I spend so much time sick. How I KNOW God loves me and cares for me but I FEEL unloved. How I KNOW that God has a plan for me but I still feel lost. I still feel depressed.


Many years ago I was talking to a friend (actually we have been talking about this FOR many years) and he made the comment about your mind being like a backpack. I didn’t think about it for ever and I don’t remember the rest of the conversation. A few weeks ago when I was on the trail I sat down and thought to myself “I’m tired and frustrated and I feel like crap and I really want some chocolate covered espresso beans.” God said to me, “well it’s a good thing that you put some chocolate covered espresso beans in your backpack so you could take them out huh?”


And the conversation with my friend poured into my head. I can only take OUT of my backpack what I put IN to it. I can’t take out chocolate covered espresso beans unless I have put them in.


Seems kinda silly huh? I can’t have those beans, if I don’t put them in there. Also, if I don’t make them easily accessible? I can’t get to them quickly.

See them there in the front pocket? If I buried all kinds of crap on top of them I would have a difficult time getting to them. This all makes sense!


So why did it take me forever to “get it”?

And what does all this mean?

I suppose it means that I have to put the stuff IN my pack that I want to take out.


Deuteronomy 11:18 NIV

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds;

tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.

Teach them to your children,

talking about them when you sit at home and

when you walk along the road,

when you lie down and when you get up.


So how do I do this?  How do I “fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds”??  That’s as easy as it is confusing.


The basic idea is the I need to spend more time in the word. Speak it. Hear it. Read it.

 Romans 10:17 NIV

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message,

and the message is heard through the word about Christ.


I typed this in response to someone’s thread on NF…
“being sick HAPPENS…. failing doesn’t make you a failure…  awesome is as awesome thinks”

like…. WOAH!!

think about it… awesome IS as awesome THINKS

I suppose you could also say awesome thinks as awesome speaks since the power of life and death are in our tongues. .. and we can be transformed by the renewing of our minds

So to THINK differently we have to SPEAK differently

Proverbs 18:21 NIV

The tongue has the power of life and death,

and those who love it will eat its fruit.

I know what I need to do. I now know what this means.

Romans 12:2

but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

The basic idea is the I need to spend more time in the word. Speak it. Hear it. Read it. Spend time with God. I need to put things into my backpack so that I can get them out. I need these things to be in my readily accessible pockets and not buried under mountains of “junk”.

I need to spend more time in the word. Speak it. Hear it. Read it.