The Inaugural Adventure, What Can Go Wrong?!

Have you ever researched something, planned something out and thought, Yeah, I’ve got this! Only to find out you don’t “got this”? That happened to us on our inaugural adventure with Katy the Kamper.

Since we got the RV fever, we’ve been researching campers, reading blogs by RVers, watching YouTube videos, and asking friends who RV for advice. Oh, we knew we weren’t seasoned pros, but thought we had at least covered most of our bases as we headed out for our first trip. Well, life isn’t perfect and neither was our first camper trip experience!

Since the kids were working or spending the Christmas holiday with the other side of the family, we decided to take the new rig out for an inaugural adventure! 10 nights, three state parks, two camp fires and a rain storm; what could possibly go wrong?!

Oh hail.

It’s been a long standing joke, when we go camping it rains and this trip was proving to be no different. On the fourth night of camping a storm was predicted to blow through. We kept an eye on the weather alerts, watched the radar and sure enough, we began to hear rain drops on the camper. After years of tent camping and things getting wet, it was awesome to go inside and stay dry while the rain pitter-pattered on the roof. However, suddenly it was no longer a gentle pitter-patter, the noise grew loud and the rain drops sounded much more like rocks. Hail?! Yes! On our brand new camper, on our first trip. Fortunately, it was small and didn’t last long and there was no damage to the camper or the truck. What did we learn from this? Expect the unexpected, always pay attention to your surroundings. Thanks to weather apps and cell service we knew to expect a storm and had taken precautions (awning in, things outside put away, etc). When we pay attention to our surroundings it saves us worry and damage. Go ahead, apply that to everyday life – notice the difference it makes to pay attention and expect the unexpected.

J picked up some of the hail after the storm, it had already melted a bit, but fortunately wasn’t a lot bigger than this!

No, the camper’s not on fire, Renetta’s cooking!

The camper still had that brand new smell. Well, I fixed that! Normally, I am a fairly good cook and don’t burn things on my average cooking day, so what happened was truly a surprise, and not a very good one either. We had learned from our months in the tiny house in our driveway, camper ovens do not cook evenly, they burn the bottom and leave the top raw. Taking the advice of those who have forged ahead of us, we put a baking stone in the oven to evenly distribute the heat. It was Christmas eve and we were having steak, baked potatoes and roasted asparagus. Baking a potato, easy, right? You would think. I turned on the oven and 20 minutes later smoke was billowing out of the oven, the smoke detector was screaming and my eyes were burning! Turns out, the baking stone, having been used in the big house several times, had something (oil?) on it and it was smoking like a chimney! I had to remove the baking stone, I set it outside so no more smoke would fill the camper. It was too cool outside and it cracked. Good riddance. What did we learn from this? If baking stones are going to be used to distribute heat, they need to be clean! We are now searching for a new, CLEAN baking stone to go in the oven! We also learned that burned, smoky smell doesn’t dissipate very quickly!

No, the picture isn’t blurry, that’s the smoke from the oven filling the camper!

Chock. Chock it again.

This particular lesson will not be repeated because it hit us in the wallet and we all know money speaks loudly. We were stopped in Bastrop State Park and setting up for a few days stay. As the trailer was disconnected from the truck it rolled slightly, and bent the front stabilizer jack. As we searched for the cause of this we realized we had only chocked one side of the trailer. Chock, chock both sides BEFORE you disconnect from the trailer. Yes, I know, some of you are shaking your heads at how we could have made this mistake. Because we were both working on this project, I thought J had done it, he thought I had done it, it happens. What did we learn from this? $282 for two new front stabilizer jacks later, make a check list and follow it! Now we double check and double chock! Both sides of the trailer have chocks to keep it from rolling and X-chocks to further stabilize the tires.

Make sure those wheels don’t roll while parked!

Lights out!

After 5 days on the road and learning from our mistakes, we had settled into a good routine and the trip was peaceful. When you let your guard down, you have another learning opportunity! We travelled from Junction, TX to Brady, TX on our way to meet our kids for New Year’s. As we approached Brady, J mentioned the camper brakes didn’t feel as jerky as they had before. In Brady, at a stoplight on the town square, J quickly hops out of the truck, runs behind it, runs back and jumps in before the light turned green. I asked why the firedrill? Yeah, about that…..the lights and brakes weren’t plugged in! ! Sorry to all those behind us that didn’t know if we were turning left or right! When we took off from the redlight, we could feel the camper brakes tugging! What did we learn from this? Remember that checklist I said to create? Create it and follow it!

Overall, the inaugural adventure was a great experience with a few learned lessons! The checklist is created and we are following it! And the biggie for me? The rain and hail storm sealed the deal; camper lifestyle is much more comfortable and dry than the tent!

Just a reminder of the sites you can see while out and about Texas. Lovely sky in Ganado, TX.

What have we done?!

We did it! We bought a brand new travel trailer!

What have we done?! If you know us, you know pre Harvey flood we would have never even considered an RV as a means of camping, much less living. For the past almost 30 years, we have been tent campers and water skiers. We’ve owned a boat almost all of our married life and dragged said boat and all camping equipment to lakes, bayous and rivers for family and friend fun. There are too many stories to write in this post about all the memories we made with our kids and so many others as we pitched the tent! (usually a rain storm was involved)

But along came Hurricane Harvey. He decided to drop 52 inches of rain on Houston and the rivers, bayous, creeks, ponds and coastal praire swelled to overflowing with the water. Our house was one of the many to take on water. Although ours wasn’t nearly as bad as others, we had to go through mud out, deconstruction of 4 feet of sheetrock and everything that got wet, then reconstruction of it all.

During that time, we were fortunate enough to live in a travel trailer in our driveway that we affectionately began calling the “Tiny House”, and so began the small thought, then full on fever of tiny house living, being an RVer!

The fever has us biting our nails as we look inside camper after camper, are we really going to do this?!

Not afraid to purchase used, we set out on a very large RV lot, looking in camper after camper. We got some great ideas, couldn’t even walk in a few due to the fumes remaining from the animals kept inside (seriously, the overwhelming cat smell burned my eyes!), and didn’t really find what we were looking for.

We were not discouraged because we weren’t buying today, we were just looking and getting ideas. So, we decided to drive out to Katy and visit some new campers to get more ideas. We stopped at Ron Hoover RV and Boat, Robert listened to what we wanted in a camper and proceeded to show us a handful that we really liked. One we even really, really liked.

The next weekend we hooked up to the boat and pulled it one last time, to trade it in on an RV. What?! Trade the boat for an RV?!

This boat has seen many learn to ski, wakeboard, and kneeboard. It’s seen many wipeouts and heard lots of laughter ( and maybe a few bad words when it left us stranded on the river).

Different seasons require different outfitting. The boat outfitted us for a grand season of fun in the sun with lots of teenagers, family and friends; but it wasn’t being used to it’s potential anymore. It’s a new season and we needed a new outfit.

Thanks, Robert and Ron Hoover, she fits us perfectly!

Our new outfit is a 25 foot bumper pull camper with a kitchen in the front and bedroom in the back. It’s got lots of windows that lets in the sunshine and best of all, when it rains, we aren’t sleeping on the wet ground!

We’ve named most of our vehicles through the years. My little college car was called the White Flash because she was white and well, I drove too fast sometimes. Big Red got our family from place to place for years, J named his motorcycle Saphira after a dragon in a book he read, our daughter named her car the Snozberry and our son named an old fishing boat the USS Henry; so, the camper had to have a name. Since J and I aren’t as creative as our kids, her name is Katy the Kamper, after the city she was purchased in. We are excited to take lots of adventures with Katy the Kamper! Look out state parks, here we come!

Here she is, Katy the Kamper in her natural habitat!

Is Knee Replacement Worth It?

Well, my friends, knee replacement surgery is a done deal! The surgery went well, although I made the doctor work hard on this one. Go big or go home! It took longer than most because he cleaned out some bone spurs and arthritis, giving me a nice new knee. It’s been 11 weeks since surgery and the big question is “is it worth it?” 

My immediate answer is: YES! Why did I wait so long?!

Before! This isn’t my knee, I found it online, but my knee looked very much like this maybe slightly more bowed. Image from:
Look at that beautiful titanium knee! My surgeon said it was beautiful. 🙂

Why, you ask? Here are my reasons for saying this surgery was absolutely the right thing to do.

  1. And this is a BIGGIE! NO MORE bone deep pain waking me up all night long. If you have never experienced bone pain let me tell you, it doesn’t go away with Tylenol, Advil or even all the wonderful essential oils. It stays with you all. the. time. This surgery was worth it just to get rid of that pain. 

Temporarily I have a new pain. My surgeon told me I would hate him and want to cuss him the first two weeks after surgery. I was naive enough to think, “Nah, I have a high tolerance fo pain, I’ve got this.” Well, I was right and he was right. I do have a high tolerance for but and this hurt like hell, after the spinal wore off! I sat on the couch with swollen, bruised and painful leg. But that pain began to subside and physical therapy began making me stronger. The temprary pain I still have is some nerves reconnecting causing spasms. That too will go away, no more pain!

2. I don’t have a gimpy, limpy walk anymore! I walked with a slight limp (on bad days a pronounced limp) for almost 10 years! My physical therapists had to teach me how to walk again, but with hard work….NO MORE LIMP! I can’t run or dance just yet, still have to allow the bone time to grow around my titanium, but I WILL jog and dance again and won’t have to elevate, ice and medicate afterwards.

Here I am learning how to walk again, I started off with a walker, graduated to a cane and then left that cane behind!

3. This is a benefit I didn’t even count on….my lower back and right hip no longer “feel different”. I didn’t realize how my bowed knee was causing my back to be out of alignment. When I first stood on my leg, putting weight on it, I thought it was longer than the other one! That’s how compressed the bone was. Now both legs are the same length and I am in alignment.

4. Remember one of the reasons I said I wanted to replace this misaligned, painful and swollen knee is to be able to travel and see the beauty God created in nature. Hiking and biking is big on that list! It’s not quite 3 months later and here we are, enjoying nature on beautiful hikes and a quite challenging bike ride!

Was it worth it? Absolutely! And I hear it only gets better from here. If you are struggling with a painful knee needing to be replaced; it is my humble opinion you should find yourself a good surgeon and get that taken care of so you can enjoy your life!

The Waiting Game

I’ve checked off all my pre-op orders and checklist. And now we wait for a week. Waiting. How’s the waiting game for you? Are you a patient “waiter” or do you have anxiety over having to wait for something you want Right. This. Minute.?

anxiously waiting …….pictured from Unsplash

When our children were little we would not tell them their grandparents were coming until the day of, maybe the day before because they would drive us crazy with the “when will they be here?” questions! When you are driving in the car you here “are we there yet?” at least 100 times. That is anxious waiting. We need to just take our minds off the anxiousness and enjoy the here and now.

The wait for surgery is on, but my week isn’t filled with anxiousness. No, I am enjoying the here and now… is filled with wonderful, joyous things before we get to the big day of being under the knife.

Our nephew is getting married this weekend and we are hosting the rehearsal dinner at our house, family is coming in to stay for the weekend festivities, I am coaching clients, and planning for a new workshop coming up in November. Then next week, I will drift off to sleep for an hour and a half while the doctor fixes my bum knee!

However, even after surgery, there is still a bit of a waiting game to get to the point where I have no pain and a strong, active leg again. I will spend the night in the hospital and when I wake up from surgery my leg will already be on a machine moving it, bending it, and getting it ready for me to walk on that evening! Then, when I head home, I will begin physical therapy; making that leg and knee strong once again, ready to walk with no pain!

I will say goodbye for now and when I wake up after my “nap”, we’ll see what I have to say about knee replacement then.

My 5 Item Pre-Surgery Checklist

October 9 is getting closer and closer. That is the big day the surgeon will add titanium and high molecular weight polyethylene to my left knee and give me a new shot at freer mobility! Before every big surgery, there is prep work to make sure the surgery and recovery go well.  Here is the checklist I am following….just so you know, I totally made this checklist up.

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.

Benjamin Franklin
I use checklists to keep me on the path to my goals!

Choose Your Doctor – When a knife is about to cut through skin or bones are going to be replaced, you don’t want just anybody holding that knife! No, no, no, huh-uh. I decided I was going to be very picky about who was going to have access to the internal workings of my knee!

I thought to myself, if a doctor can make a professional football player able to play after banging up his knee, surely the same doctor can make me able to walk pain-free! I feel very fortunate and thankful to live in a place where some of the best doctors in the world take care of their patients, so I chose a highly recommended and experienced doctor. Dr. Leland Winston at Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine will be taking care of my knee. He told me having this surgery in the fall would guarantee he would be in town since he works with the Houston Texans and the Rice Owls. Yes! I chose wisely, grasshopper! Plus, he’s a genuinely nice guy. When we met him at my consultation I felt immediately at ease and that is very important given he’s going to be cutting off a little of my bone to add in the new knee joint!

Follow the doctor’s orders – Before surgery, the doctor wants to make sure your body can handle general anesthesia and all that will happen during and after surgery; so I received a list of instructions from Dr. Winston. I like lists, they keep me focused. Get blood work – check, get EKG – check, get chest x-ray – check, attend surgery orientation – next week, and meet the PA for pre-op – the following week. All of these items have to be within 30 days of surgery and I am right on schedule.

Lose Weight – I told you I totally made this checklist up. But, here’s my thinking on this…. this will not surprise any of you my age, I am not the same weight I was in high school – it seems like the years add more than little lines around my eyes! Then I found out 1 pound of weight is 3 pounds of pressure on your knee and ankle joints. If I lose 10 pounds, I take away 30 pounds of pressure from my knees! That is bound to make physical therapy (which was not exactly easy the first time around) easier, so I set out to lose some pounds and lower the pressure. So far so good, eating healthy fruits and veggies, lean meat and whole grains and the jeans are looser in the caboose!

Exercise – This one kind of goes along with the above item on the checklist. Not only does this help in the weight loss, but it also gets the muscles stronger, again for physical therapy (can you tell my PT memories are painful). I googled knee replacement exercises and started working on those already. And, I’m riding my bike, good cardio that doesn’t jolt the joints.

Check your Beliefs – If I have said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, belief drives behavior. If you go into a surgery believing it’s going to be painful and physical therapy is going to be awful and you are going to hurt all the time… will be. I am not in la-la land believing there is not going to be pain involved, I am a realist, it’s going to hurt (they are going to cut my bones for crying out loud). But my belief is, this short-term pain is going to remove the constant pain. I’ve got a very positive outlook, so if you are gloom and doom, sorry, I am not talking to you until I am done with physical therapy.

Thinking about what I think about

Here I am, less than a month away and honestly excited to get this done! Ready for the freedom that will come, my eyes are on the prize! What are you preparing for? What’s on your checklist? I love hearing what’s going on your lives and how we can make each other stronger.

My Big Decision-3 Reasons to get Knee Replacement

Me, the next Bionic Woman? Why yes, please and thank you! Well, let’s be honest, maybe I’m not, nor going to be the Bionic Woman, but I do have some superpowers (we’ll get to those at a later date) and I am getting a new titanium and ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene knee! Yes, I made a huge decision to join the knee replacement club.

It was not a decision I made on the spur of the moment without much consideration. It has actually taken me years to make this decision. Some decisions just take time and thought to make.

When I have a big decision I use my tried and true method for decision making. I take some time to think about what I want and why. When I am confident of what I want my outcome to be, then I make a list of the pros and cons. This just lines up the information in an easy way to see which choice makes the most sense for what I want. Add a lot of prayer to all of that thinking, reflecting and comparing (because I need to talk it over with God and then listen for wisdom) and then I can make the decision.

I’ve had two surgeries in my life and had determined to never have another one. So why did I choose to have this done now? After much deliberation, here are my three reasons:

  1. It hurts. All. The. Time. Due to my injury from my dirt bike crash, my knee is bone on bone, no meniscus left. I have never been able to be quite as active on that leg as I was before. I water ski, but not aggressively. I walk but have to watch overextending. I climbed the stairs of a historical belfry in Belgium, but rested and iced the knee afterwards. I danced at my niece’s quinceanera, but took ibuprofen and iced afterwards. Recently the pain from the femur bone grinding on the tibia bone has gotten worse, limiting some of my activities, and I feel like a couch potato. I’m tired of the pain being a constant companion.
  2. Goals to see the country. If you know me at all, you know sitting still isn’t something I do well and adventure (mental or physical) is something I seek out on a daily basis. J and I have a goal in the very near future to travel in an RV, our version of tiny house living. That means hiking beautiful mountains, skiing when we can, and walking around historical places. That does not mean sitting in a chair watching from afar while everyone else has fun. One doctor told me I could adjust my life to fit my failing knee or I could change my knee to fit my active lifestyle. Pfft, in my mind, there was only one option – continue to be active; so, I chose to get a new knee.
  3. The new knees last longer! Thanks to great technological and medical advances, the knee replacements are lasting anywhere from 20-30 years! That’s double the lifetime of older replacements. In 30 years I will be 80 years old – I think I might be ok to sit for longer periods of time at that age.
I want to chase the sunlight! Photo cred Emma Frances Logan (Unsplash)

I’ve come to the conclusion my new titanium and ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene knee joint (that is a mouthful and just sounds so bionic) will be well worth no more pain. Plus, I will have the freedom to exercise my adventurous spirit! My next step in this journey is to have bloodwork, EKG and chest x-ray done, stay infection free, and attend a joint replacement surgery orientation.

What journey are you on and what is your next step? I would love to hear from you as we journey into the new and improved us with our super powers!

2009 Came Crashing In

We decided to celebrate New Years 2009 by taking the family out, suiting up in protective gear and ride the multiuse trails on dirt bikes.  With four families of friends, we set out to bring in the new year; little did we know 2009 would come crashing in! A series of unrelated dirt bike accidents have etched that memory onto our brains; this is second of the dirt bike crashes and the beginning of my journey with a bum knee.

Our family loves to be adventurous and we love outdoor sports.  In the heat of summer and the coolness of winter, we enjoy camping, water skiing, dirt biking, hiking and mountain biking.  Sometimes we invite (drag) others into our adventures; other times we get dragged (go willingly) into their adventures.

On this trip, we had fun teaching the newbies how to ride; riding the trails with mud, sand and tree roots. Three days of riding during the day and sitting around the campfire at night with ooey-gooey ‘smores made for some fun memories. If we had stopped then it would’ve been a great vacation. But no, we couldn’t just stop with that.  We had to add another day.

8 of us line up, ready to ride the trails in Sam Houston National Forest.

It was a beautiful day, the sun coming through the tall trees, the whine of 5 (that day there were only 5 of us) dirt bikes warming up, the smell of 2 and 4 stroke engines.  Oh yes, a good day to ride the trails. I was riding a Honda 150 dirt bike through the Sam Houston National Forest with my bestie, Angie. We were riding along trying to catch up with our faster halves who had sped through the forest. Angie and I did not speed. You might even say we were more like the “Pokey Puppy” rather than “Speed Racer”.

We came to a part of the trail that was mud; wet, soggy, mud. Angie was leading and kind of washed out a little so slowed down, I was following too closely and hit both front and back brakes which caused a mudslide I will never forget. As the bike was sliding through the mud, mud flying everywhere, I knew I was going to fall over and I stuck my leg out to stop it. I ran into Angie, she fell over; I fell over, the bike fell on me and I knew instantly I had broken my leg.

There we lay, in the mud, laughing so hard at what had just happened. Angie says, “are you ok?” “Yeah, I’m good,” I responded. After our laughter, she said we should get up out of the mud and off the trail, other riders might be coming; but I couldn’t get my leg to move and when I picked it up to move it, pain shot from the tips of my toes to every nerve in my brain.

After a trip to the ER and a visit with the orthopedic the following few days, turns out I had fractured my femur and tibia, torn both my ACL and PCL in two pieces, sprained my MCL and tore the meniscus. I thrashed my knee. And I had no one to blame but myself. I could hear Billy and J in the back of my head, “don’t put your leg down, just fall over.” Well, I had not followed that advice and required surgery to repair the ACL and time to heal the bones; the meniscus couldn’t be repaired.

 The lesson from this story? Be adventurous, but follow the advice of someone more seasoned than you in your adventures! Don’t stick that landing, just fall over!

This is J’s bike……not the bike I crashed….notice I can barely touch the ground, I didn’t ride this one for long. 

Find out next week what I decided to do about my bum knee.

Safety at 70

A few weeks ago we enjoyed a ten-day, 2700+ mile motorcycle trip through 8 southern states! Let me tell you when you are on a motorcycle your view is unimpeded without car frames and windows; there is no “roll cage” around you and safety is a huge priority.

We ride two-up on J’s big Harley and have really enjoyed the trips we’ve taken. People have asked me why I don’t ride myself, no way! I sit on the back and enjoy the time, the scenery, text, Instagram, write down ideas and keep tabs on our route and weather. While riding through the gorgeous scenery of Texas, Louisianna, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas we came to firmly appreciate a few safety items and we highly encourage you fellow motorcycle travellers to put these into practice. But car travellers, there is a big one for you too!

Safety Item NO. 1

Helmet. Wear one. There is a big debate over not wearing a helmet because one might love the feel of the wind whipping through their hair, or they feel it’s their decision to not wear one and it shouldn’t be a law. Some states require a helmet for all riders, some require a helmet for riders under the age of 18, some under 21 and 3 states have no law about helmets. I am not debating this issue, I’m just saying its a very good idea to wear a helmet. If a motorcyclist has an accident, head protection is key to being able to ponder life’s decisions at a later time.

Beyond the obvious reason for not cracking my skull open, I have another reason for wearing a helmet. We were riding through Missouri one afternoon and had an encounter that made me very thankful for the red helmet strapped to my head. Think “Wild Hogs”, the movie. We were riding along, enjoying the Mark Twain National Forrest when we suddenly saw a small dark “cloud”  moving towards us; then quickly realized it was a swarm of bugs. DUCK! J, driving, ducked to avoid the center of the swarm, I was exposed! With only a second to duck my head, I did and heard what sounded like someone throwing gravel at my head! Just like the scene in the movie, we were dying laughing as we were so glad we didn’t take any bugs to the face. When we ducked our heads, our helmets took the swarm of bugs! Many bugs lost their lives that day on our helmets, but not in our hair!!

When we stopped for a break we were treated to the vision of sticky bug guts all over our helmets.

Safety Item No. 2

Glasses. It took one short ride on J’s first bike to learn to always wear glasses.  The wind blowing straight into my eyes is extremely irritating. I squint, can’t see and then once stopped my eyes water and mascara runs; it isn’t a cool look. Recently, I’ve needed help being able to see, so I got some Wiley X sunglasses with prescription lenses. I love them! They have a soft foam layer between the glasses and the skin to keep the wind out and are rated as safety glasses. Boy am I glad of that!

As a truck passed us, it kicked up a tiny rock, that rock flew into my glasses. I heard it ping and then could see a scratch. My eyes are very thankful for the sunglasses, otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to see!

Safety Item No. 3

This really isn’t an “item” and it isn’t just for motorcyclists; I have tried to use humor, but this one isn’t funny, at all. If you drive, PUT YOUR ADDICTION DOWN!

We hear all the time about drunk drivers. Since I have had several friends killed in alcohol-related accidents I have particularly strong opinions and emotions about this. But do you know who is WORSE?! All you sober people addicted to your mobile phones! At least buzzed drivers are trying to pay attention so they don’t get caught; you cell phone addicts are driving 70 mph with one hand on the wheel and both eyes scrolling Facebook. Yes, when you drive too close, over the white line, I can see your Facebook open on your phone. I was screaming at the lady who got that close and she was oblivious to the fact she had even crossed into another lane. Put your phones down and pay attention, lives depend on it!

Safety at 70 mph. Be safe and go find some adventure!

Weed or Flower? It’s a Matter of Perspective

“I want to get a motorcycle. It’ll be fun!” J stated these words when we had been married for about 8 years. Since he had supported most of my whims (everything within reason), I was on board; after all, who doesn’t want to have fun?!

It has been fun. There are a few stories we will tell about our motorcycle trips, but for today I would like to point out one thing I really like about the motorcycle. It changes your perspective. I know you were thinking I was going to say the sound of the pipes as the engine revs, or the gorgeous glitter paint job, or the feeling of freedom. All those things are great, but perspective was brought home in a very real way on our last motorcycle trip in search of Texas wildflowers.

When you are driving or riding in the car there is a tendency to “check out”, but on the motorcycle, you have to be more aware of your surroundings because you don’t have a “steel cage” protecting you. Thus, you notice more things than you notice in the car. Pay more attention to the cars, to the sides of the road. A varmint running across the road (or a soccer ball rolling) in a car will not matter so much, but on the bike, the consequences are much greater. Yes, that soccer ball rolling out in front of us is a story for another time!

Your perspective on the motorcycle gives you an up close and personal view. You see things you will miss in the car.

weeds along the roadside?


Take a look at this picture.

From where I’m sitting, there are a bunch of weeds on the side of the road. They are kind of pretty, but you might wonder why they are left to grow so high. Why not mow those things down? Their pollen is strong and they are just spreading seeds everywhere.

In the car, you might be driving 70 miles per hour and not see anything but a blur of weeds. Since we were on a hunt for Texas wildflowers we stopped to enjoy the beauty around us. When I got closer I began to see details I missed from farther away. This picture, taken of the same weeds, shows the delicate beauty of the flowers.

Now let’s apply that same principle to life. Let’s face it, we might be zooming by a lot of weeds; just trying desperately to get to the other side of the weeds with greener grass. Not all of life’s circumstances are beautiful, some are extremely ugly. But when we stop and take a step closer and search for the beauty I dare say we can always find at least one thing beautiful in the middle of the ugly.

Next week I will share a story of how changing perspective allowed me to see beauty in a very ugly season filled with weeds.

Some of our favorites

10,000 Steps – Why steps are important

Oh, the places you’ll go! But you have to take the steps to get there.

I’ve always been an active person. I played outside as much as I could when I was a kid and honestly as much as I can as an adult. I like to be “on the go”. Since beginning my coaching and consulting from home, I have noticed I sit on my rear end a lot more in front of my computer. Of course, I still get out and get exercise and I am still active, but I became aware I was being more sedentary. So I am taking measures to make sure I am moving.

My FitBit Charge

In an effort to be more intentional to get up and move and see just how many steps I was taking I got a Fitbit. My new little companion worn on my wrist challenges me (I set my daily goal at 10,000 steps), keeps me aware of my activity, and has made me very aware of where my steps are taking me.

Excuse the crane, they were doing a lot of work in the centrum.

One day I went to the nearby city centrum of Ghent. A medieval city in Belgium, Ghent boasts of cobblestone streets, old buildings and churches built in the eleventh century, and a huge belfry. I’m talking the tallest in Belgium at 91 meters! Construction began in 1313 on this massive structure and was completed in 1380; it has been restored several times to keep it sound in structure. Used first for religious purposes, then as a way to announce important visitors, send out warnings and as a watchtower, today it draws visitors with its rich history and a view around the city like none other. I “had to” climb those steps! 366 of them!

The top of the Belfry tower

Thankfully, there are 5 different levels you can stop and catch your gasping breath and see the history and workings of the tower. There is also a lift, which makes it nice for those who have difficulty climbing or have bad knees. I confess I used the lift to go back and forth between the levels when it felt like my knees and lungs were older than I am. But in order to see the view of the city, you have to climb the last steps allowed and walk out on that area just beneath the clock in the photo. The steps are narrow and winding; the energy used leaves you gasping for air, but the view leaves you breathless! The climb is well worth it!

It really got me thinking about the steps I take every day. Each day I am given the opportunity to sit on my backside or step into life and find the adventure in my day. Here’s why I think (notice this is just my humble opinion) being aware of our steps is so important.

Steps are very important for growth. Those first steps a baby takes in learning to walk are difficult. They are wobbly and fall down a lot, but with taking those steps over and over, getting back up after a fall and taking them again, they become “walkers” and a whole new world is opened up to them! For adults, there are many articles written on the steps to ….. (fill in the blank with whatever you are wanting to learn), 12 step programs to help people overcome difficult things in their lives, and steps we can take to improve all areas of our lives. Don’t be afraid to wobble and fall down, keep taking steps into your potential!

Steps take us closer to things and people we want to see. Like the belfry, sometimes you have to take quite a few steps to see something wonderful; a park, a mountain, a peaceful lake, etc. But we also have to take steps to make relationships strong. Walk over to the neighbor’s house and visit, drive to family far away to spend time, stroll through the grocery store and talk to people you meet. Take steps to enrich relationships.

Steps take us closer to our goals. One of your goals may seem far-fetched; some smaller goals on the way to the bigger goal can be stepping stones to success. As the quote says, “The best way to get something done is to begin.” It begins one step at a time and all those steps add up to accomplishment!

There are things to do, places to go, people to see! What are you doing with your steps? And if you ever find yourself in Ghent, climb the steps or ride the lift in the tower, you will not regret it!