From the Cocoon

TRAILS AND TRIBULATION

Trails can quickly change.   They can suddenly become the unexpected, the not-your-usual walk through the woods.  Round a corner and bam – a hairpin turn, a steep incline, a vast wilderness or fierce predator, even a drop off a cliff.  And rarely a “Hazard Ahead” sign to mark what’s coming.

Steps Crooked

God calls to us in the midst of those trails.  Especially on those trails.  Pointing the way through – not around, not above, not below, but through.

Isaiah 40: 3-5

A voice cries in the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
Make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

Dear Lord:

Help us to listen for your voice.  As John cried in the wilderness to prepare the way for our Savior, so today during this Advent season we open our hearts for the promptings of your Holy Spirit.  We experience your guidance, your encouragement, your healing touch.  We feel your comfort, your strength and your love lifting us along the way.  We pray that our hearts be opened, purified, perfected as only you can accomplish in us.  As we move toward the light that is Christmas, remind us of the blessings of the trail.

Shared by Karla Hendrick

 

My Friends Threw in the Towel, But I kept Walking…

Several years ago, I read the book The Nature Fix:  Why Nature Makes us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative  by Florence William.  This book has inspired me to spend time outside nearly every day and it has helped me to push myself to get into better shape.  Yes, I have had that lifelong battle with my weight and I need to get outside and move as often as I can.

And the book has also inspired me to find unique outdoor experiences, like the Volksmarch to the top of the Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota, a non-competitive, but pretty challenging 10K.  And I met up with some friends to walk up the rough path with steep inclines and at an altitude that I just was not used to as I live in a state with its highest point at 812 feet.  By the 2nd checkpoint, each of my friends had given up.   When you look at the walk from about halfway, I understand, but I was not giving up and realized I could not do this alone and needed help from others on the trail.

I was able to get motivation from all of the walkers around me:  four sisters from Oklahoma (one sister was 85 years old), a family from Colorado, a local Girl Scout Troop, two elderly Korean War Veterans from New Mexico, teens from the Rosebud Reservation, and some folks from the Pacific Northwest.  They kept me company, encouraged me as I struggled at times, and pushed me when I did need to rest along the last part of the walk.  If you ever do a Volksmarch, you will find people of all different ages and abilities and when I could not rely on my friends, all of these strangers lifted me up that mountain.  Here are the pictures from the top where the face of Crazy Horse is 9 stories high and then at the finish line after my walk down.  I carried a prayer to say at the top from one of my friends who works to bring the problem of missing indigenous women into public knowledge and for their safe return.

I may have completed one of the toughest Volksmarches in the country, but what I learned along the this trail was the goodness of people who offered support when I really needed it.  I will keep finding these Volksmarches as I try to get my nature fix.

“One of the underappreciated benefits of venturing into remote landscapes is that we are often thrown into connecting with each other.”
― Florence Williams

For more information about the American Volkssport Association, which is a non-competitive walking organization that sponsors events all over the country, you can find it here:  American Volkssport Association.

A Trail of Poetry

Over the years I have written to friends needing support and encouragement.  Learning my words helped another gave me a great feeling.

Several years ago, poetry sparked my interest and I attempted this genre.  A friend said a poetry group met at a local library.  With some trepidation, I decided to attend.  The poets have varied voices and styles; I found most are phenomenal writers.  At meetings we read our poems aloud.   Then the others in the room convey corrections and ask questions about parts of the poem.  Sometimes quiet is a response.  At first, when my poem was met with quiet, I discovered I needed thicker skin.  Listening and assessing the comments can be a catalyst for improving.  Revision is needed sometimes.

These poets are broadening, encouraging and inspiring.  My voice is my own, unique and distinct, I drive on Tuesdays to the library with anticipation.  Courage helped.  A trail can also be a leap and for me this is a choice I made in my seventies.

Meetings held with individuals having had varied life experiences–things seen and hills surmounted.  There are poems of joy and poems depicting tears.

There is acceptance and understanding of each other’s journey.

Friendships ignited and are blossoming here.

I am grateful because this trail led to enlightening my journey.

 

Shared by Lynn Doll

Yesterday

Cheerokee Proverb

This Cherokee proverb is often a much-needed reminder for me. If I could tattoo it on a loved one’s forehead so that I could see it all the time, I would. 🙂  I have had to settle for putting it on my refrigerator as I do visit that frequently.

I especially need these words during this season. Sometimes I get caught up in expectations of how this holiday season should look and comparisons to past holidays.  I need to remember that today is all that we have and it is a gift. And that, of course, leads me to think about God’s gift to all of Us-God’s love which came into this world as the baby Jesus.

So instead of allowing myself to be mired in how I wish some things were different this holiday season, I focus on the one thing that remains constant- God’s love and presence in my life.

Patricia Wu

Footprints…

Sunset Susan

I’ve left footprints upon grains of sand.

I’ve left footprints in the dirt.

I’ve left my footprints on a wooded path.

They became a trail where I could leave my hurt.

 

I’ve left wet footprints on the sidewalk.

I’ve left crunchy footprints in the snow.

I’ve scattered leaves with shuffled footprints,

And each print felt seasons come and go.

 

I’ve scuffed footprints in the carpet.

I’ve trudged footprints in the mud.

I’ve padded wet footprints on the bathroom floor.

I’ve even left my trail of blood.

 

But of all the footprints that I’ve left,

And each has left its mark,

None has touched my heart so well

As those from my beloved Monarch.

The “King” that we all longed for

Left his footprints for me to match,

Or follow, or feel upon my soul;

No swinging gates or creaking doors for me to latch.

This Guide, this Ultimate Sustainer,

Shines an all encompassing light

To show me where my footprints have been

And trust in His delight in my flight to becoming alright.

 

 

Susan Ceely Philips

 

 

 

Path of Life…

 

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Psalm 16: 11 NIV

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There are times that I am overwhelmed on the path of life and I always am calmed by music.  Today I am sharing two songs from Porter’s Gate Worship Project, songs you may not be familiar with, but I know that these will calm your soul this Sunday.

Father, Let Your Kingdom Come

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHIGm7qYVz4

We Labor Unto Glory

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRuPZCXShg4

Shared by Annemarie Edwards

Two Different Worlds

My life’s most significant journey has involved a wide road, two circles, a choice at a fork and a complete change of direction.

After leaving home at 19 in search of freedom and satisfaction, I chose to walk on a broad, well-populated trail. It started out feeling liberating, good and right. It led to turmoil and then despair. My chosen path had become an ever-descending spiral.

It was at that time that I was invited to various church events and concerts. Places I normally would never have been caught dead in! But to avoid offense I agreed to go. There the Word of God was spoken and sung. I kept a safe arm’s distance around me. Inwardly I mocked what seemed very naïve and Pollyanna-like.

Yet I couldn’t help but notice in the faces I saw, a different sort of people. Seemingly peaceful, joyful, full of life.

Back at my apartment resuming my usual modus operandi, I became more and more aware of the dichotomy between my life and what these people seemed to have found. I felt a growing conflict inside. Late one night, feeling completely tossed to and fro, I went out for a long walk around a lake.

KarenD

Two Different Worlds

Ringing the lake in the dark of the night

Tug of war raging on in my heart,

The life I was living vs. lives I’d just seen

A battle of Light and of Dark

 

A conflict so fierce like a ripping inside

Would I trade all I knew for completely unknown?

I’d never before felt a splitting like this

Neither place that night feeling like home

 

One, familiar as skin but now stranger I felt

The other so polar to all of my self

As I couldn’t stride pond edge and path the same time

I could neither live both worlds

Then…Whole shift paradigm!

 

 

One night I surrendered my life and said “yes”

Narrow way I stepped on with my fears,

So uncertain inside yet a full turnaround

That has made all the difference these years

 

My baby step onto that narrow way has brought me the “abundant life” I had longed for. One day that path will lead me to my forever home with Him. All because of God’s great love!

May we “prepare Him room” in every part of our hearts. Savior Jesus, born to die for our sins, “Come in.”

“I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” ~John 10:10

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter though it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” ~Matthew 7:13 -14

Shared by Karen DiProspero