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New shoes

This year I am making my health and fitness a priority again, so I’m walking at the track and a pretty path in town, eating healthier, and  not drinking Dr. Pepper (a big challenge!). Yesterday I got to the track later and it began raining. It had rained on and off all day yesterday. At one point in the afternoon, there was sunshine so I sat outside awhile to soak up Vitamin D. 

Before I went to the track, I had been “voxing” (Voxer app, like a walkie-talkie/text app for both iPhones and Androids) with my biz coach, Diane Cunningham Ellis. She was talking to me about my Nike shoes, which have been great walking shoes, but are several years old. Diane used to run marathons, 10K’s, and 5K’s. 

woman runner

woman runner

Diane said that I needed to buy new ones with the best support and fit, and suggested that I google for a local running shoes store, where the staff helps you find shoes with the best fit and support. They actually watch you walk as you try on different shoes, to examine your gait, etc. 

The conversation made me think about shoes. The importance of shoes, your feet, and your toes. About 1 1/2 years ago, an emergency alert went off in the middle of the night on my phone with the news of a local flood warning. I had fallen asleep in the dark on our love seat in the front entry room, jumped up to see if there was rising water outside (no!), and banged my left toes and foot hard on our daughter Leah’s hope chest in the process of getting up so fast.

It was painful, and over the next few days, I wondered if I had broken my toe(s). My middle toe was bent (curved to the left), very swollen, and it turned black and blue from bruising. The pic below was before it swelled and bruised the following days. One friend, Jennifer Petersen, joked to look on the bright side: my toenail polish was sure pretty!

hurt middle toe

hurt middle toe

My husband Ray, a paramedic, and friends on Facebook advised getting a toe bandage to “buddy wrap” the hurt toe with one of the toes next to it. I had never seen this before, but it sure did help, as well as icing it and elevating my feet and staying off of them. 

"Buddy-wrapping" my hurt toe & elevating my foot on pillows

“Buddy-wrapping” my hurt toe & elevating my foot on pillows

This was difficult as I am busy and had things to do! God taught me during this time about the verse, Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that I am God.” To rest and to trust in Him. To do what is important and really matters, not having my life ruled by the tyranny of the urgent. 

I don’t think I broke it, but sprained it. My toes are still healing from this accident, and feel tender as I walk. Diane told me last year that our bodies have a wonderful way of healing themselves with care, and that God would help me to walk again. I received that prophetic word, and I’m walking again! Praise Jesus!

The goal right now is simply for me to re-establish a habit of walking, at least 3 to 4 times a week, and more is better. I’m not running a marathon or going for a 10K or even a 5K race (although I have completed two 5K races, and hope to do this again one day!). For now, this is about rebuilding a great habit—exercising to move my body to get fit and healthier.

the goal

the goal

Like I said, when I went to the track yesterday, it started raining and I got quite wet. I can handle sprinkles and maybe even some heavier rain, but not lightning! I was thankful it did not storm. I was more concerned with my iPhone getting too wet! I use it to play music as I walk. I pray and think. It’s a time of refilling and strengthening for me. 

I got wet, but did it!

I got wet, but did it!

 

grey rain clouds

grey rain clouds

Getting to the track before dark was one hurdle. The rain was another. There’s always going to be obstacles in our way when we have set goals. The enemy Satan wants to sabotage us and our God-designed purpose. We have to make a decision each day to keep going and overcome the obstacles. 

hurdle

hurdle

As Diane and I “voxed” about me needing to buy new, good walking/running shoes, I reflected on my shoes. I’ve had these Nikes a long time. They have given me good support. They have taken me many places. Places I dreamed of going. Places where God sent me for His purpose and glory. Canada. The Bahamas. Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Kenya, Africa. Ireland. Florida. Georgia. New Mexico. Arizona. Guatemala.

shoes

My Nike shoes. They’ve taken me many places!

 

Karen Wells, Doreen Penner, Beth Jones

When I spoke in Canada for Doreen Penner’s women’s conference. Karen Wells, Doreen Penner, and me.

 

me on beach in the Bahamas

me on beach in the Bahamas. I spoke at a women’s conference on a cruise for Dr. Tony Robinson.

 

Ray in Haiti

My husband Ray in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. I went with him on his 3rd mission trip there.

 

Beth Jones speaking, Kenya, Africa

Beth Jones speaking, Kenya, Africa

 

My precious beautiful daughter Leah & me at the Cliffs of Moher. A lady offered to take our pic together.

My precious daughter Leah & me at Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

 

Beth Jones on Jacksonville, FL beach

Beth Jones on Jacksonville, FL beach

 

with my  sister Maria in Georgia

with my sister Maria in Georgia

Where have your shoes taken you? Will you obey and go where God sends you? It may be to your grown child’s house to have coffee or eat lunch with her or him. It may be to the restaurant with your spouse for “Taco Tuesday.” It may be a neighbor’s house to bring the tax stimulus check that the postman accidentally put in your mailbox (this happened to me and my neighbor was so happy I brought this good news!). It may be to bring a single mom and her children a week’s worth of groceries. It may be to another country to pray for the indigenous people in extreme poverty there. It may be to speak or preach somewhere, sharing your testimony and the miracles that God has done in your life.

I want to go places where I’ve never been before. It’s time for some good, new shoes. 

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Blog, Business, Faith, prayer, Spiritual Gifts, Travel

My trip to Antigua, Guatemala (“the place of many trees”)

Me by Santa Catalina arch, Antigua, Guatemala

Me by Santa Catalina arch, Antigua, Guatemala

My big dream is to travel all around the world to many nations. But Antigua, Guatemala was never on my radar, and yet I just returned from traveling there! It is what I call a “God thing.”

My friends Ron and Rhonda Hedrick, who are missionaries in Guatemala, had both invited me there to visit and to speak to women, but I sensed it was not  the right time yet. They are doing a great work for God there, feeding hundreds of hungry people.

Kim Rogers, Heart for Guatemala

Kim Rogers
Founder, Heart for Guatemala

Then last year, I became Facebook friends with Kim Rogers, who heads the not-for-profit organization, Heart for Guatemala.

She inspired me with her posts and her beautiful pics of Antigua, Guatemala. I felt God stirring my heart to go there and began to pray.

First view of Guatemala from my plane

First view of Guatemala from my plane

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 13:1, “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.”

I am not the type of person who needs 100 confirmations to make sure what I heard is really God! Jesus says His sheep hear His voice, and I am His lamb (a Christian believer). But since Guatemala is dangerous, I felt that I needed God to confirm that I had heard accurately and this was HIS idea, not just my own bright one. 🙂

As my sister Maria pointed out when I told her about the trip and one of my daughters had expressed concerns about me traveling there alone, I have been to other dangerous nations, including Haiti, the Bahamas, and Kenya, Africa!

View of volcano in the clouds from my plane

View of volcano in the clouds from my plane

After getting to know Kim a little more on Facebook, she invited me to Antigua to visit her – and she even offered for me to stay in her home! When I shared with my friend Ron that I was thinking about going there, he too invited me there (again), offering for me to stay in his and Rhonda’s house for a week.

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Blog, Ebooks, Faith, Family, foodie, Parenting, Travel, Walking With God, Writing

Killorglin: flies, a spider, a moving bed, and a French couple!

This is post #11 of a blog series I’m writing including pictures of the recent amazing trip I took with our precious, beautiful daughter Leah. Here are posts:

#1, My daughter Leah and I went to Ireland,

#2, Ireland: Dreams Come True,

#3, We visited Bunratty Castle in Ireland,

#4, Bunratty Folk Park: the waterfall, the lamb, and the fairy village,

#5, The Gorgeous Cliffs of Moher,

#6, Galway Girl,

#7, Galway Girl, Part 2,

#8, Treacherous Corkscrew Hill, and

#9, The ferry in Kerry County.

#10, Torc Waterfall

We took so many pictures with our phones that I need to break up the posts, to make it easier for you to read, as I know you live a busy, hectic life like mine and you don’t have lots of spare time!

I hope these blogs inspire and bless you. I thank my Lord Jesus Christ, who made this amazing opportunity and prayer possible.

The recent trip I made to Ireland with my precious daughter Leah for the first time in our lives was incredible. I had booked our trip through Great Value Vacations, choosing their B & B’s package, which I believe was the right choice. It allowed us to travel throughout the southwest of Ireland at different Bed & Breakfast places.

I read lots of reviews to decide which ones to stay at as we traveled in a direction that resembled a Shepherd’s Hook. Every one of them was immaculately clean, with a full Irish breakfast served in the morning and tea/coffee and cookies in the afternoon to welcome us there.

Road in Killorglin

Road in Killorglin

There was only one B & B that we stayed at where I couldn’t wait to leave! It was in the town of Killorglin, which is located in County Kerry, located on the famous Ring of Kerry and The Wild Atlantic Way. It is founded on the River Laune, known for its salmon and trout fishing, and the Reeks District is renown for outdoor activities, mountain walks, and sports activities.

I loved the canopy of green trees driving to this B & B, pictured above, as well as the unusually beautiful roses in the driveway. It was beautiful.

gorgeous roses

gorgeous roses

 

yellow roses

yellow roses

There were palm trees and beautiful, majestic, blue-purple mountains in the background. It was one of the prettiest places we visited.

mountains

mountains

The owners of this B & B near Killorglin had a sheep farm; they had a sheep dog, a breed of dog that Leah loves. To my amusement, they also had a cat that looked just like my black cat Natalya. She even had green eyes and the little tuft of white hair on her chest like Natalya’s!

sheepdog

sheepdog

 

The cat in Ireland that looks just like my black cat Natalya!

The cat in Ireland that looks just like my black cat Natalya!

 

black cat in Ireland

black cat in Ireland

I noticed a pretty topiary plant at the entrance of the front door, which are plants pruned or shaped into certain forms. To me, this was a symbol of the entire house’s decor: elegant.

topiary plant

topiary plant

As soon as we knocked on the door of this B & B and entered the house, though, I noticed right away one disturbing thing: flies. HUGE flies–everywhere! Maybe it’s because this was a sheep farm. Leah said it was because they had the front door open when we first arrived. I assume this was to let in fresh, cooler air; most places in Ireland don’t have central air and heat.

Even though there are flies in the United States, LOL, and we have had flies in our house at times if the door is left open (especially in summer), the flies left a really bad first impression in my mind. I tried to just ignore them and be gracious, mindful that I was leaving an impression too–as a guest and an American.

The hostess was wonderful and so welcoming. She had tea and cookies for our arrival, as did the other B & B hostesses. However, she didn’t have enough tea and sugar set out for us. I wondered about this, as she knew we were coming (along with other guests there).

The room she gave us was beautiful: two single beds, as I had requested. It had large windows letting in the sunlight, and the decor was in beautiful, lacy white.

Killorglin B & B

Killorglin B & B

In fact, the room was so beautiful and clean and WHITE that I was afraid to touch anything. I didn’t want to dirty it with our muddy boots!

white lace

white lace

 

white satchel with lavender

white satchel with lavender

Leah was intrigued with the pretty lamp with faux glass on our table beside the beds, that resembled a chandelier.

"chandelier" lamp

“chandelier” lamp

We brought in our luggage and settled into our room, and then decided to go into the town of Kilorglin, which was only a few kilometers away. Leah really liked the fine dining restaurant that we went to there. They were so polite to us and seemed to go out of their way to serve us well. It also had a very nice atmosphere.

Restaurant in the town of Killorglin

Restaurant in the town of Killorglin

 

Killorglin restaurant table lamp

Killorglin restaurant table lamp

They had HUGE cheeseburgers, which we both got. As usual, it was served with some type of potato, so we chose French fries. We noticed that a small, fresh salad is often served with any entree in Ireland, which I enjoyed.

Leah ordered a drink called a “Double Dutch,” consisting of gin and watermelon flavor. She liked it. I love the pretty glass bottles which water is served in and the little table lamp, pictured above.

huge burgers in Killorglin

huge burgers in Killorglin

The older couple in the picture below chatted with us, with all of us laughing over how big the cheeseburgers were!

Leah at restaurant in Killorglin

Leah at restaurant in Killorglin

 

Quaint town of Killorglin

Quaint town of Killorglin

We sat awhile in this restaurant. Leah seemed to relax here. Then we went back to the B & B, and as Leah was doing her college homework, suddenly a giant spider fell on her bed and then ran under it. We both screamed. I tried to kill it with a shoe, but to no avail. We couldn’t find it. I think it came through the window, which we had opened to cool off the room. I prayed the Irish spider wouldn’t crawl on or bite one of us during the night!

Then I went into the bathroom, which–oddly for a B & B–was across the hall. I got locked into the bathroom! Leah and the owner had to help me out. The owner tried to tell me that I just wasn’t unlocking it correctly, but Leah told her she had trouble with the lock, too, when she tried to come out. This is definitely something they need to fix if they are going to have a B & B for guests!

As I tried to lay down to sleep, each time I rolled over, the little single bed squeaked and moved, bumping into the wall! There was a couple in the room next to ours, with a little child. I was afraid the noise was going to wake them. I felt frustrated. Despite the spider, Leah liked this place. This was the one B & B that I could not wait to leave!

Killorglin bed

Killorglin bed

There was another full Irish breakfast the next morning (you could also order other items of your choice). We met other guests staying there, among which there was a young French couple. To my delight, I was able to speak to them briefly in French as we were leaving. It blessed me to be able to show Leah that if you study a foreign language, even a little bit, you can converse with foreigners. I need to brush up on my French again—and maybe learn Gaelic, too! (And Spanish!)

I apologized for our noise to the couple who were in the room next to us, and explained about the squeaking bed and then the couple. They said I didn’t wake them or their child, and laughed about the spider. Then they shared their own horror story of having a flying roach in their hotel when they traveled to Hawaii.

The hostess came into the room then to serve us more hot coffee, smiling and pleased that her guests were laughing and obviously enjoying themselves, but having no clue what we were laughing about. After my incident with the locked bathroom, I didn’t have the heart to tell her about the spider!

 As I looked later at the key that was supposed to unlock the bathroom, I thought how Jesus is the key to everything in our lives! After we left there, Leah and I laughed about the things that happened at this B & B, but at the time it wasn’t funny! But this place stands out as one of our vivid memories in Ireland!

Jesus is the key

Jesus is the key

I decided that the next morning we’d retrace our steps and go back to the town of Killarney to shop, which was only about 25 kilometers from Killorglin. In my next post on this Ireland Blog series, I’ll blog about the town of Killarney which I loved and share pictures of beautiful Saint Mary’s Cathedral with incredible stained glass windows.

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