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Posts Tagged ‘walk’

 

I try to take long walks over my lunch hour. One of my favorite spots is along the Cedar River. We have a beautiful downtown trail that hugs the river through town for over a mile, and will soon extend over the river in a beautiful bike/pedestrian bridge. We have all kinds of birds that use the river (and trail) as a food supply. As I was walking today I couldn’t help but think of the traits of some of these birds and how they mirror the traits of some people I know (no names, of course).

Year round, the Cedar River area teems with Canadian geese. They love the trail even more than I do…because they leave multiple deposits everywhere they go. They nest along the river, pecking along the grassy banks for whatever food geese eat. (This blog is not meant to be a science lesson on the habits of Midwestern birds.) And they are more than slightly territorial…especially at this time of year. When those male ganders see a pedestrian, they stick their heads pretty high in the air, make some serious hissing noises, and intimidate me to no end. Even if it’s all an act, they are very believable, and I go a different route.

We also have a crow problem. I’m mean a serious crow problem. Three years ago city workers installed dead crows in the trees to try to deter the living ones…maybe it worked to some degree, but not totally. As the snow is melting, it’s uncovering dead crows everywhere. Large, ugly birds…which I’m sure have a purpose on this earth…but while living, tend to be loud and obnoxious, pushing into others birds’ nesting areas and eating dead animals. Yuck!

Lastly, we have a large, but temporary, population of bald eagles. Last week I counted over 30 of the large, majestic birds perched on a tree along the river, sometimes swooping down to catch an unwary fish but more often, gliding beautifully up and up and up through the sky. Soaring_EagleI was mesmerized today by the three or four I saw on a different stretch of river. They were perched on a patch of ice, occasionally lifting off to glide just above the surface of the water, and other times, playing “chicken” with each other. One in particular kept my attention. At first he drifted above the river, close enough that I could see his beautiful white head. But as I watched, he soared higher, and higher, and higher, until he was just a speck in the sky. It was obviously a good day to fly.

I started thinking…what kind of bird am I? And, what kind do I want to become? Am I only interested in protecting what’s mine, taking over and leaving crap everywhere I go? Or maybe I’m loud and obnoxious, a bully that’s satisfied with taking what isn’t mine and pushing everyone around. No – I desire to soar on eagles’ wings. And that means I must place my hope in the Lord. Only He can cause me to rise above my circumstances, my fears, my disappointments. Only He can renew my strength and give me the ability to fly.

Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:28-31

 

 

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Sundays are my rest day. Kinda of. After making pulled pork, hauling it all to church, making endless pots of coffee, Sunday School, church and fellowship including cleanup, I’m exhilarated and exhausted at the same time. Thus, rest day is really more like rest afternoon. 

But after a week of rain behind me and the potential of more this week, I thought I’d get in a short trail walk before tackling the last of my taxes. Truly – anything is better than taxes. 

Instead of staring straight ahead, I noticed little things off the trail as I stepped along.


Majestic oaks in natural black and white against a gray sky. 


A homemade hobbit home a few steps into the wood.


A classic slowly becoming part of the forest. 


The thorn tree at the trail entrance, quietly waiting to impale an unsuspecting coat sleeve (or worse).

I captured each picture by noticing my surroundings, taking time to step off my path and moving into the unknown…over partially buried fences, through scrub and wet leaves, under low-hanging branches. 

Rarely do I find hidden treasure until I get out of my comfort zone – decide to step off the safe road and take a risk. 

Now – back to the taxes. Ugh. 

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Every day we wake up to choices. Get out of bed or stay in? Bath or shower? Coffee or tea or water or…? Read my Bible or watch TV? Workout or sleep longer? Go to work or call in sick? 

Each choice brings a set of consequences, some immediate and some we won’t feel for a long time. Some consequences are the result of years of choices, made well or made poorly. For instance, the dark chocolate M&Ms I’m currently munching on give me short term happiness, but long term weight gain issues. Obviously I’m choosing instant gratification over long term consequences. 

View from a Cedar Rapids skywalk


Despite the rainy, gray spring day in Iowa, I chose to take a long walk today. I knew I may be uncomfortable in the short term, but glad for my choice later in the day when my Fitbit celebrates 10,000 steps. 

Tonight our children’s midweek church program ends until September. Though each adult helper I’ve talked to seems glad for the break in activities, I know each made the choice to serve in this area because of the long term consequences in the lives of these precious children. They know their choice to help in music or crafts or youth may not reap rewards today, but each child encouraged or fed or loved on will benefit for years to come. 

How are you doing on your choices today? Settling for the short term, or banking rewards for the future gain? 

Choose well. 

“I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I have set my heart on your laws.” Psalm 119:30

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My 30-Day Gratitude chart has some very interesting topics on which to focus. Today says “What hour of the day are you grateful for?” This seems like a silly question to me, as I’m grateful for every hour of the day. Aren’t you? Why would I not be grateful for another hour to live, to breathe, to love, to eat, to sleep…whatever? Maybe they mean – “what hour of the day are you MOST grateful for?”

Easy – lunch hour.

And not just because it’s another opportunity to stuff my face.

Monday through Friday I work in an office where I sit for the majority of my 8 hour day. But on my lunch hour – almost every day – I walk. If it’s warm, I walk. If it’s cold, I walk. Even if it’s rainy, I walk. As you can tell, I’m somewhat obsessed with walking.

TrailWalking does many things for me, physically, emotionally, mentally and even spiritually. One website says a daily walk of 20-25 minutes could add 7 years to your life. Sounds great to me. The author, Dr. Mercola, claims a two-mile walk a day can cut your risk of heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis. Other benefits include improved sleep, joint health, and circulation.

I love my lunch hour walk because it clears my head. I usually pop in my ear buds, turn on a walking playlist of music, and sing along as I walk through the neighborhood. Yes, I’ve received looks from other pedestrians, but I’m not concerned. I don’t sing THAT loud. By the time I’ve completed a 2 to 2.5 mile circuit around downtown, I feel refreshed and mentally ready to tackle the afternoon.

Even if the weather is cloudy, or chilly, or gloomy, I can walk because Cedar Rapids has a great skywalk system. If I start at our public library and walk to the end, including all the little side trips, I’ve gotten over two miles of walking…and stayed warm and dry. There are several restaurants along the route so if I feel inclined, I can stop for pizza, or a burger, or soup and salad. I can enter and exit the skywalk at over a dozen different locations, so I can do a little inside and little outside walking, depending on the weather and my mood.

Sometimes I leave my music in the office and pray as I walk. Sometimes I just think about the tasks I have left on my to-do list or what I’m going to blog about. My lunch hour walk is a sacred time for me, when I quiet my spirit and worship through music or prayer; when I give my body a good workout; or when I just think. I don’t believe it’s an accident that God promises to walk in close fellowship with us through life. He wants to accompany me as I journey along each day…not run from task to duty to job…but walk, conversing together as I put one foot in front of the other.

“No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
    and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
    and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

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thankfulIf you are at all familiar with social media, you probably recognize #TBT. It stands for “Throwback Thursday.” It’s an opportunity to post a past picture of yourself or people you know. Most are meant to show how far we’ve come, or how beautiful we used to be, or who we used to hang with. Some of those pics cause me to gasp in horror, tear up in memory or laugh in disbelief. I love #TBT. But I’ve decided to start by own Thursday hashtag – #ThankfulThursday – where I take a picture or comment about things for which I’m thankful. Pretty self-explanatory.

Today’s a pretty normal day for me – nothing special happening. I find that on extraspecial days – days with lots of fun activities, or days with friends and family around – I have no problem being filled with thankfulness. But on typical and routine days, it seems to take more thought to find things to be grateful for…but I’m up for the challenge. How about you?

I took a great long walk over my lunch hour, with comfortable shoes, in glorious sunshine, listening to my favorite music, on my nice smartphone. Right there I’ve got at least 9 things to be thankful for: I can walk…I have food for lunch…I have a place to work…I have shoes…I can see and feel the sunshine…I can hear…I have music available to me 24/7…I own a cell phone. Not so hard to be grateful, is it?

When my kids were much younger, and we had long car trips to endure, we came up with games to play to keep ourselves entertained. As a homeschooling mom, I was always looking for ways to teach my kids something, so we called our favorite pastime “The Alphabet Game.” This wasn’t rocket science. We’d come up with a category  like Animals, Food, Cities in the United States, Capitols of the World, and then, starting with A, we tried to think of a item that would fulfill the category. So if the category was Animals, we’d take turns going around and coming up with an animal starting with the letter A. We didn’t allow for duplication, so if I said “aardvaark,” the next person had to say a different animal, until all four of us had played. Some letters were easy…some extremely difficult ( “x” and “q” – ugh). As the boys got older, the categories got harder. On one of our last trips we used the categories “Musicians,” “Musical Trios,” and “Academy Award winning Movies.” Sometimes only Sean and I play, especially if we’re in the front seat together. But it never fails, we always get occasional input from the backseat passengers (i.e.”Queen Latifah” from my husband when I was struggling with musician starting with letter Q).

I’ve come up with a new Alphabet Game category for our next trip…What Are You Thankful For? Starting with A, you must say something you are grateful for. I started playing it in my mind on my walk today.

Big_Daddies       Gyro_Hut

A is for Aromas – I must have passed at least three restaurants that were oozing wonderful smells…barbeque smoke from Big Daddies, the mouthwatering french fry grease smell from Gyro Hut, and grilled hamburgers from Parlor City. What other A things can you come up with?

If you’re having a tough day, take a Thankfulness break. Stop to think of all you have to be grateful for – write them down if you need to remind yourself later. We’re all going through rough patches…financial struggles, health issues, family crisis, depression and sadness everywhere. But a simple but surefire way to combat the hard times, is reminding yourself of the good things…the common things that give us joy and gladness. Make this a real deal #ThankfulThursday.

 

 

 

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good-things-are-coming-down-the-road-just-dont-stop-walking-quote-1

I took a new route today. And I’m better because of it.

Most of you know I try to walk every day over my lunch hour. Today I needed to run an errand on the other side of town, so I took the time and opportunity to walk a new path in a new park. The path was crushed gravel, and with our recent thaw, was more like mushy sand. But I enjoyed seeing new trees, discovering differences in the beauty of the same city I walk in every day.

The walking path at this particular park was a loop of about 1.2 miles…a nice length to get in a pretty quick two mile walk. But I found a fun bridge crossing a little stream, and a delightful grouping of machines for a healthy break in the middle. Even did about five push ups before continuing on my way.

IMG_2190  IMG_2191

The air was chilly, the breeze brisk, but I enjoyed myself immensely because I was seeing and doing a new thing. The only ruts I was in today were the bicycle tire ruts through the mushy gravel.

It really doesn’t take much to get out of whatever routine you’ve allowed yourself to get stuck in. Make the choice to search out a different park or a new coffee shop. Change your purse, throw a funky scarf over your shoulder, select an old CD for the car, call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while, visit a museum, take a new route to work or shopping…or here’s a real risk: try out a different grocery store and spend a little extra time discovering some new food to try.

You will never know what or who you could encounter if you never take the risk of getting off your beaten path and selecting a new way. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you. His still, small voice is saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

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