Saturday, February 26, 2011

and He walks with me

There ain't no snow in the Bay Area today, at least not below 1000 feet. We all got so excited... us pseudo seafaring city goofs. Other parts of the US and world shiver in record cold plus multiple feet of snow. We crane our necks for a dusting while others may save their pennies for a holiday here. Irony and beauty do a little polka.

In 1993 or so I bought a very posh pair of hiking boots from LLBean - from their store in Maine, no less. They were at the time a small fortune for me: $100! Yes, they were stiff leather and would take some breaking in. Throughout all of my subsequent global rambling those boots followed me, from Scotland to Seattle to California and parts in-between. My expensive hiking boots!

Fifteen years later I finally admitted that they did not fit properly. I had relinquished countless hiking opportunities because I'd clung to a pair of boots that were supposed to do the job and yet hurt my feet after 20 minutes of walking. "I paid $100 from LLBean, dang it. They're supposed to be GREAT!" They might well have been but not for my odd, semi-flat and duck-like wide feet. I held on in denial. And didn't get my heinie out into God's glorious lands unless the weather and terrain were just right.

Two years ago I gave them away. I let go. I told myself the truth. This isn't working.

Two weeks ago I high-tailed it to REI, found a harried yet helpful salesperson in their shoe department, and proceeded to try on pair after pair. I had 10 minutes remaining before I was to leave to attend a Eucharist with the Benedictine monks in the Berkeley hills. Eyeing a pair on display, I asked for these in two sizes. I often need a shoe a full size larger than my size 6 feet. Slipping on the size 7's, I walked around the store. I felt like I was walking on air yet supported. I walked some more. SOLD. Mine!

It wasn't even until I made it to the checkout counter that I realized I'd found a $200 pair of footwear. Barely blanching, I got out my credit card (which I do pay off every month, incidentally). And this past week, injured from a fall last Sunday and taking a break from the gym, I put them on and went for a one-hour walk in the local hills. I breathed the air, I watched a deer eye me and then scamper away, I made it to the top of a small hill with yes, multiple stops. It was muddy in places. It was twisty in places.

It was beautiful.

I have been humbled by the consequences of slipping on early morning ice en route to church last Sunday. Landing soundly on my butt I also pulled a few muscles. I am healing ... however my self will run riot I WILL lose those eight pounds dammit! fervent go GET 'em! gym rat run has taken a pause. Is all of me God's or am I still trying to impress Him by attempting to atone for my in-denial gluttony of the past year? Granted it's been a muddle, which is why I can take so long to wake up. Of COURSE it's awesome (lavish pat-pat-pat) that I'm going to the gym! I'm rebuilding my brokenness by His Grace! Or am I also trying to make good on my own until it's Showtime for God? Houston, we have muddle. Of course "God didn't make me fall" - however post pity party has found me contemplative. And prayerful.

This past week I tried out my new hikers on a glorious cold winter day. I've paused my almost relentless gym run which has built muscles but not addressed my in-denial snackaholism. I've prayed more. I've given thanks more.

Wry humble pie as Lent draws near.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

He blesses me

This was a Christmas gift from my dear friend Stacey. It was also the first time I'd suggested to any living being that I had a Wish List on Amazon... cheeky me! I had linked this gorgeous icon from another site. Stacey listened with her heart and I was filled with delight!

The mystery spots have nearly all gone. The cold is a memory Thanks Be to God!, replaced by what I suspect are allergy sniffles and congestion. On a recent return to the gym, I told my darling private trainer Robert to "work me as best he would." The session before I'd been exceedingly particular about what I did and did not like. As the polished pro he is, he attended to my wishes and I had for the most part a milquetoast workout. Last week I said, "You know my issues - tell me to do whatever and I'll do it." Bless him, that man worked me! And what a wry joy to spend more time concerned about fleshy thighs and bottom than whether I'd live or die that day! This is a good thing. And how posh is this, to admit that I'm working with a personal trainer sometimes once a week?? Of course I shoot for workouts on my own 3-5 times weekly....

Spring is here, six full weeks before its official date. It should be in the early 70ยบ's this weekend and it's only early February! I want to cheer and not gloat for my friends in other parts of the world shoveling snow and shivering. I'm timidly thrilled about our good weather fortune ... please don't disown me!

On the continued health-building front, I'm close to wrapping up a really really involved search for a new dentist. The kind gent with whom I've worked since 2004 is a fine dentist, but we've had a bit of a head-butting philosophically and it is time for me to move onwards. OK, since you're probably wondering.... my mouth is, to put it delicately, a train wreck. It was a piece of work before the AML hit and has backslidden even more with my focus on other things like blood counts and learning to hear God's voice in pursuing an array of alternative healing modalities. So when at my last visit, Dr. F touted some gum-healing products filled with fluoride, I balked. Actually I simply refused. And he got, shall we say, annoyed. Good sir, I need dental work in the five figures, even with my paltry excuse for dental insurance. We need to be on the same page. Cancer survivors don't DO fluoride! So on I've trekked, arranging in-person consultations (not exams but talks) with now four fine physicians. I have one more to meet and then it's time to begin sitting my butt in that dental chair and, assisted by prayer, headphones and a tiny smidge of nitrous (my 1st time in 28 years), go for it. Thank You God that I can afford this. And if the bill tally begins to soar, I know of someone who chaperones people to Tijuana for the same quality of dental work at one-quarter of the cost. Some people even fly to Singapore or Costa Rica in the name of dental tourism! How wild to be so blessed and yet live in a country that is essentially Third World (apologies for the un-PC term) in regards to quality medical care that all people can afford.

A hoped-for Holy Land Pilgrimage has been postponed until 2012. I am now beginning the work of researching travel to my beloved Scotland. I miss my friends there! It's also a royal investment of time to scour the web for options, so I shall weave it in between work (always a source of endless surprise), my worship communities, exercise and play. That's a life! How can I not praise God?

I can sin like that. The plague of spots got to me and I sat back in my chair scowling. I let the dark side get a few points on that, stabbing into my impatience, abandonment issues and sense of entitlement. This shouldn't be happening to ME! Well. Another day is then lost while I whine and act like a 3-year-old. Today if I find a new mystery splotch {...after all I've done, suffered, et cetera oh woe could be me... hey look, martyrdom!}, I will pray for patience and wisdom and not abandon the One who stands by me through all.

Psalm 118:24: "This is the day that LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."