Sunday, March 23, 2014

Lessons from the Appalachian Trail: We Get by with a Little Help from Our Friends

There’s only one way to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail: one step at a time.  And while no one can hike it for you, it’s a rough, lonely road without some friends to keep you company along the way.  I met some amazingly helpful souls as I hiked the 2000 mile trail in the Appalachian Mountains.  These folks didn't pick me up and carry me down the trail, but they helped me reach Katahdin, nonetheless.

First, there’s my husband and best friend, the Professor.  He’s often told me how much he worried about me on the Trail.  He’d get to a particularly gnarly rock scramble and wonder, “How the heck is my 5’5” wife going to navigate this? I barely made it myself.”  *Note: my husband is 6 foot 4 and full of muscles. ;-)

A few times he actually waited for me, only to shake his head in amazement as I did what needed to be done without so much as a hand up.  Actually, at first, I'd get a little pissed if he’d offer it.  This dynamic created some problems we had to overcome as a couple, but in the end we both realized two important things. 

First, we both had to hike on our own and in our own way.  We could hike together, but we couldn't hike for each other or even like each other.  As I mentioned earlier, no one can hike for another, nor can we take on another's hiking style.  In other words, you have to hike your own hike.  (More on that in next week's post.)  

Second, we both needed to accept help, at times.  There were moments when a word of encouragement was enough to get us over the bog bridges unscathed.  But, sometimes, a hand up was helpful, despite my ego’s insistence I do it ALL BY MY SELF.

The Prof and I learned these lessons the hard way after some bickering and bad feelings, but we
did figure it out.  And then there were the members of our AT Tribe.  Each soul brought something unique to our hiking experience, and when the going got tough, especially the last two months of the hike, I was oh so glad to have them ALL by my side.
On the most grueling days, when I felt like I was running on fumes, my tribe rallied around me and we hiked in a long line, singing songs, playing games, and generally buoying spirits and steps.  I can say from the depths of my soul that they got me through it and without them, I don’t know what may have happened.  Would I have given up and gone home?  Would I have broken an exhausted leg on the slippery, moss covered rocks in Maine?  I don’t know.

What I do know is that they were with me in the end.  On top of Katahdin, we posed for the money shot pictures and popped bottles of champagne together.  They were with me in the dark, when my motivation lagged, and they were with me in the brilliant sunshine to celebrate the joyful accomplishment.  And they are still with me in my heart. 

They’ve become a part of me: Tapeworm and Sensei, Peacemaker and Little John, Flutter-by and
Pox Holiday, Hammer and Kodiak, Landscape and Sightseer, Roy G. Biv and Should-A-Known, Twilight and Floweasy, Baltimore Jack and Gecko Goat, and the list goes on.  I carry them with me and when it gets rough out here, I draw on their positive energy.  And I hope they do the same.

While we must do the hard work ourselves when we want to achieve big goals and chase big dreams, we are more likely to succeed if we gather positive, supportive, uplifting souls around us.  And how do we do that?  By being a positive, supportive, uplifting soul ourselves.

Who are the people that get you through the most difficult times?  Who are the people who celebrate your triumphs with you? Probably the same people YOU cheer on, console, and celebrate their victories with.

Love and light, beautiful souls.  You are precious to me.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Smells Like Patchouli OR Why Is my Third Eye Chakra SO Sick of Winter?


Holy moly, I am SOOOO glad winter is dead, and apparently, so is my Third Eye Chakra.  Time to slather on some patchouli, melissa, and drop some frankincense.  Cool, dude.  Trippy, man. ;-)

Seriously, winter wreaks havoc with your Brow Chakra, also known as Ajna or Third Eye Chakra.  Why? Because it is associated with two key glands: the pituitary and pineal.  The pineal gland is the only other organ besides our eyes that detects light, by the way.  It produces more melatonin, an antioxidant that makes us feel sleepy, at night.  So, you know how you feel sluggish and want to sleep more in the winter months?  That's because there's less light, which translates to more melatonin.

So what does this have to do with being sick of winter and patchouli and frankincense?  Less light during the winter months can make us not only lethargic, but also depressed.  Depression comes in degrees from having a bad day to clinical depression.  During the winter, many of us can be affected by the lack of sunlight, some to the point of clinical depression.  More than one medical professional has suggested that I suffer from what is called Seasonal Affected Disorder or SAD.  Yeah, not cute.

The snow and bitter cold has not helped me with this, either.  Thanks, polar vortex, I owe ya.

But I have developed ways to deal with it.  Besides my daily essential oil protocol and yoga, I bring out the big guns like patchouli when the SAD thing gets bad.  I already use frankincense as part of my daily routine, but I add patchouli when I need a boost, especially when I'm having trouble getting out of bed in the morning, increased levels of anxiety, and am having trouble trusting my instincts.  These all happen to be symptoms of an unbalanced Brow chakra, too.

And while my creativity increases every winter, leading to a ton of writing and crafty projects, its unanchored.  What I mean is I tend to lose touch with what's a real worry vs. a fanciful plunge off the deep end.  Basically, my feet are no longer planted solidly on the ground and my mind is running away with all the possibilities, good and bad.  Very disconcerting and also a symptom of an unbalanced Third Eye chakra.

Patchouli

When my mind is running around its cage throwing tantrums and spooking at it's own shadow, I get out the patchouli.  According to Daniel MacDonald in Emotional Healing with Essential Oils, Patchouli is the Oil of Physicality and it assists in bringing a person back down to earth and stabilizing them.  Perfect. Exactly what I need when I'm in this mode.

While patchouli is traditionally thought of as a Root chakra oil because of its ability to help us be present in our bodies, I believe its grounding properties are exactly what someone needs when their Third Eye Chakra is unbalanced and the symptoms are anxiety-like.  The thing is, patchouli prepares us for uniting the spirit and the body, which be the way, is also why its so widely used during yoga and mediation.

I believe the disconnection of spirit from body is related to or creates the imbalance in the Third Eye.  The Third eye is the seat of our unconscious self and our intuition and if it becomes unrooted, we lose touch with reality and spin off into made up worries and exaggerated fears.  We lose our sense of existence as a physical being. This can lead to anxiety and depression, making it hard for us to leave our beds, much less our fortified homes.

This is the way I tend to swirl when the winter settles around me like a dark shroud, but some folks go the other way and find it hard to think at all.  Their thoughts become confused and weighted, heavy and un-agile.  They may become disheartened and unable to perceive themselves as a being of light, literally feeling trapped inside an unattractive shell.  In this case, I would also use patchouli, but I would add some Melissa essential oil.

In the Healing Emotions, Melissa is called the Oil of Light.  Take it at face
value and let this oil bring some much needed light into a dark winter.  Put a little drop or less on your wrists, about three fingers width from the base of your palm and inhale whenever you need a boost.

Melissa, lemon balm
Take care of yourself, my friends.  Winter is over! Jump into spring with a renewed spirit.  If you're having trouble with that, here are some other things you can do to stimulate/balance your Brow chakra:

-Wear something indigo (a deep blue-purple color)
-Gaze at the stars.
-Meditate.
-Eat eggplant, blueberries, or anything a deep blue-purple.

Check out my Third Eye Pinterest board for more ideas and please let me know how you're doing.  Has this winter gotten the best of you?  Do you feel like punching out Jack Frost?  Ha! Me too.  Mother Nature needs to move on, already.

Much love and light to you!




Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Focus on Friendship: Kellie

I've decided that I have the most amazing friends in the world and I need to celebrate each and every one of them.  Yeah, I'm biased, but come on.  If you're not thinking exactly that about your circle of friends, then maybe you need to get some new friends.  Just sayin'.

And I thought maybe others should know about these amazing people in my life, too. I'd love to have a big party and invite all of you and introduce you all, but that's going to take some planning, so in the meantime, why don't I start one at a time right here on my blog?

To begin, I'd like to introduce you to my friend, Kellie. We have been friends for a long time, going on eight years, now.  She is one of the rare people that I can say anything to and she is never offended.  If you don't have a friend like that, you need one.  Seriously.

She also happens to be my personal trainer.  I hired her when she started her own business and because I knew she wouldn't let me get away with making excuses.  When I need my ass kicked, she's there to make me pick up those heavier weights or make me think about what I'm choosing to put in my mouth.

But the thing I wanted you to know most about Kellie is that she is a survivor and a winner.  She's been through the wringer, but has come out the other side better and stronger for it.  I am constantly amazed at how she has transformed her life...and her body, by the way.

The picture on the right is of her winning 2nd place in a Fitness competition.  She worked extremely hard for that achievement and she continues to work hard on all areas of her life:  family, work, fitness, and spirit.

I am proud to call Kellie my friend and one of my soul tribe, and you can see what Kellie's up to next on:

Her blog:  Kellie Complete Health
Twitter:  @kcompletehealth
Facebook:  Kellie Complete Health

Have you told a friend how much they mean to you, lately?  Make a list and get to it.  You're lucky to have them in your life.

Love and light, y'all.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Review: Transcendent


Transcendent
Transcendent by Olivia Hardin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



In this latest installment of the For Love of Fae series, Olivia Hardin weaves a wonderfully emotional story of love, redemption, and political intrigue.

It's hard to make readers fall in love with a character that they once despised, but that's exactly what she does. If you've read the Bend-Bite-Shift series, you met Robin and maybe like me you thought he got off far too easy. Devon, the faery-witch, banishes him to the feary realm, stripping him of his magic powers. I had a sense of smug justice, though, when he appears in a later book transformed into a weasel, because in the faery realm "what is, is." Lol! Perfect.

But in this book we find out what happened in his past that led him to do the things he did, and we also get to witness his metamorphosis. People are capable of change, if they really, really want it. And what motivates us more than love? To love and to be loved.

I couldn't put it down and had to read it twice, immediately. Great book by an awesome author.



View all my reviews

Recipe of the Week: Black Beans and Rice

My family is not picky about food, for the most part, so I enjoy trying new recipes out on them.  However, like all families, we have our tried-and-true, go-to meals.  This recipe is one I come back to over and over, sometimes adding beef, chicken, or ground turkey on the side as an option for my seriously carnivorous family.

While I consider myself an omnivore (a.k.a. I'll try just about anything once), I do have vegetarian, as well as vegan recipes in my rotation.  I focus more on healthy and balanced than any one dietary approach.  Sometimes I feel like meat, sometimes I don't.  I trust my instincts, for the most part, and eat what I'm hungry for.  But I must caution you: I have spent the last ten years re-training my body and tongue to WANT healthier options.  If I would have tried this approach before then, I would have reached for Good's Potato chips and Hippie ring bologna every time. ;-)

We like to make "burrito bowls" with this dish, adding toppings like fresh salsa, lettuce, tomato, onion, sour cream, and so on.  I'm sure you have your favorites you could add to that list.  But I'll warn you, my Black Beans and Rice recipe is so flavorful you won't need to add the toppings.  I actually have to watch myself when there are leftovers of this dish in the fridge--I can scarf it down without thinking, it's that good.

This dish is vegan, for those of you with special dietary considerations.  Enjoy!

My Black Beans and Rice

Ingredients:

3 cans black beans
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 green bell pepper, diced
5 scallions
1/4 large, sweet onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves (or more if you're into garlic)
1-2 drops Lime essential oil (doTerra brand)
2 cups fresh chopped cilantro
Tiger Sauce to taste
2 tbs. cumin
2 tsp thyme
1-2 tbs. olive oil
Rice, your choice

Note: I do not salt while I cook, for the most part.  Salt is best added after the cooking process when less will be more flavorful.  However, there are certain recipes where the chemistry of the cooking process requires salt in order for the recipe to turn out as intended.  This is not one of those recipes.

Instructions:

Start the rice.  I'm assuming you can read the directions on the rice packaging and can handle this part on your own. ;-)  I make brown rice in the rice steamer, but I also cook up some white rice on the stove top because my family members differ on their rice preferences.  I like having leftovers to toss in with stir-fry and other dishes during the week, so there's no such thing as too much rice at my house.

Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-hi heat.  Add garlic, scallions, bell pepper, and onions and saute until tender. Add beans, cumin, thyme, tomatoes, and Tiger sauce, stirring occasionally until heated through.  It's important to achieve your preferred tenderness in the veggies before adding the tomatoes.  The acid in the tomatoes will prevent the vegetables from softening much more.

Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until desired consistency is achieved.  I like to reduce the liquid at least a third, creating a thicker consistency.  This usually takes about 20 to 30 minutes.  For the last 10 minutes of cooking, add the chopped cilantro.

Note:  I also prepare a side dish of ground beef, turkey, or chicken "taco style" for my meat-loving peeps.

Serve beans and rice with your favorite toppings, make-your-own-bowl style, or if your family prefers, you can serve it with tortillas.  Either way, its absolutely delicious and sure to please.

If you try this recipe, please let me know how it turned out. Anything you changed? Please post a comment and share!  I love hearing from y'all.  :-)  Check out other recipes on my Pinterest boards.  I have them categorized by Breakfast, Dinner, Side Dishes, Fun Foods, and my Perfectly Balanced Meals, for those looking for well-balanced nutrition in a quick meal.

Love and light to you and yours.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Lessons from the Appalachian Trail: Goals are Good but Hot Showers are Heavenly

Last Sunday was the anniversary of the start of my 1998 Appalachian Trail thru-hike, and I wrote about it and how that first day reminded me to stay humble here.

Since then, I've been paging through the photo album of that hike and the stories have come flooding back.  My husband, nicknamed the Professor, and I have been sitting on the deck going down memory lane over coffee. This is nothing new, actually.  It's something we do on a regular basis.  One of us will start with, "Do you remember when..." and the next thing we know we've followed a spider-web of stories from one trail memory to the next, just like surfing the internet.

So this morning I was remembering how effing cold it was those first few days in Georgia on the trail, and how grateful I was for my first hot shower at Goose Creek Cabins.  There is nothing like it after a few grueling days of hiking and sleeping in the cold.  I try to keep that experience in mind whenever I'm getting impatient for something...food at a restaurant...my child to grasp a concept I'm trying to teach them...my hard work to pay off.  

Patience is a virtue, but its hard to appreciate that until you've experienced the euphoria of having given your all over a long period of time and then achieving your goal.  When you have a big, long journey ahead of you with the end result months and months away (even years away), its super easy to get discouraged.  You have to find a way to keep motivated, to satisfy that need for some sort of reward, anything at all.  That's where hot showers can come in pretty handy, literally and metaphorically.

The first day on the trail it rained and then turned to snow as the temperature plummeted.  We hiked roughly five miles the first day, not nearly enough by my estimations to get us to Maine on time.  And when we woke up the next morning, everything was covered in an inch of snow, including our friend, Snore, who opted not to pitch a tent under the pavilion we slept in.

We hiked about five miles that day, too, because, well, of me.  I was not yet trail-hardened and hiking even five miles was kicking my ass.  Prof and Snore had hiked the Trail just a few years before, and I can remember resenting how fast and hard they could hike right out of the gate.  I was left behind in their dust to mutter and curse their names.  

Your body doesn't forget that kind of training, and they had no trouble falling back into the cadence of stride, breath, and pace required to hike long distances day after day.  It took a good six weeks before I could do that.  But to this day, I can walk and walk and walk for miles, and while I will definitely feel it, I can do it.  But back then, during the first few weeks of my hike, I was a tender-foot holding my husband back.

I even felt a little sorry for myself the first couple days and nights, I have to admit.  It was hard, discouraging work hiking for hours on end with a 40 lb. backpack only to accomplish five miles at the end of the day.  And Prof and Snore were always ahead, waiting for me to catch up on breaks.  It sapped my initial excitement over our adventure fairly quickly. 

The second night with only ten or so miles behind us, I fell into my sleeping bag with my legs twitching and a sense of foreboding.  What did I get myself into?  How was I going to keep this up, day after day for six months?  And did I mention that in order for us to make it to Katahdin in Maine before the snow forced the rangers to close the mountain trail, we'd have to average 15 miles per day?  That wasn't going to happen at my current pace.

Oh, and did I say it was bitter cold?  So cold on the second night that both Prof and I kept waking up.  Our sleeping bags were rated to 20 degrees and come to find out the next morning when Snore loudly decreed, "It's 9 fucking degrees!" our bags were insufficient.  Not a surprise considering our ordeal to keep warm that night.

Here's a little trick for keeping warm on a night like that:  put on every stitch of clothing you have with you, then heat water to almost boiling and fill a couple of Nalgene bottles.  Slip a sock over the Nalgene bottle and put one at your feet inside your sleeping bag and hug the other one to your chest and belly for dear life.  This will keep you from getting hypothermia, at the very least, but it won't necessarily allow you to get a good night's sleep.  When the water cools down, reheat and repeat until morning.

After another day and a half of grueling weather and work, we finally made it to Neel Gap, the first rest stop along our six month journey.  We stayed at Goose Creek Cabins and I will never, ever forget the pure bliss of a hot shower.  I stood under the pounding spray, eyes closed with an utterly grateful heart.  When had a shower ever been so gratifying?  Never before in my life.

With a towel wrapped around my wet head, I climbed into bed just because I could and Prof
turned up the heat until we were sweating and melty.  I learned from the other hikers there that they too were struggling with the daily miles thing, and Prof and Snore assured everyone that in a few weeks, we'd all be hiking like old pros.  Well, not all of us.

I am sad to say that a bunch of folks we met over those first few days never made it out of Georgia.  They quit before the North Carolina border. I can't say why because I never saw them again, but the most typical reason people give for quitting early on is that they didn't realize how hard it was going to be.  And they got discouraged thinking about how far away the end was.

But Goose Creek Cabins taught me a lesson that would keep me going no matter what:  make the little things your sweet rewards when you're hiking the trail.  That shower?  bliss.  And when I was back on the trail, slipping on the ice, grinding out my few, pathetic miles at the beginning, I reminded myself that in a few days, I would get to have another hot shower.  Ahhhhhhhh!  And I'd pick up my pace.

Now, if I'd worried about how far away Katahdin was (2000 miles) back then and how few miles I was making, I could have gotten just as discouraged and quit, too. But I chose to focus on the next rest stop and the next shower and the next hot meal...you get the picture.

I still use the promise of a sweet, little reward along the way to get me through the tough stuff now that I'm back in the "real" world pursuing other big dreams and adventures.  I had no choice on the Trail but to wait for my rewards; now, it's a matter of self-discipline to make myself work for them.  

But the sweets are sweeter for it.

Ever hike and camp in the cold?  How'd you stay warm?  What rewards keep you on task when you have a long-term goal you're working toward?  Post a comment and let me know how you stay motivated.

Happy hiking, my friends.










Saturday, March 15, 2014

Who is Responsible for Our Health and Happiness? or Reprogramming Our Brain Smells Like Licorice

I recently had the privilege of speaking with a group about taking personal responsibility for our health and happiness. This topic is a passion of mine because I truly believe that wellness starts with our thoughts, and our thoughts can make or break our peace of mind.  Why is peace of mind so important (besides the obvious)?  Because our ability to relax into a peaceful mode is the foundation on which we build our health.

Chances are if we can't relax, our bodies will have a hard time healing themselves.  The repair and healing process requires a relaxed state: it's one of the reasons our bodies heal the best while we sleep.  When you're sick or recovering from an injury, there's a reason your body wants to sleep so much, and why it takes longer to get over a cold if we don't get adequate rest.

I've discovered this is a scary topic for a lot of people.  Dare I say, even one that puts us on the defensive?  I've had folks comment angrily, "So, you're saying its our fault we're sick?"  No.  I'm not saying that at all.  What I'm saying is that our health and happiness is something WE are responsible for, yet we tend to maintain an outward locus of control.  We hold the doctors and other "experts" responsible for our physical health, and we also hold others responsible for our state of mind.  And its a very dangerous thing to hand over our happiness to others--it can literally undermine our health.

Our perceived level of happiness has a direct affect on our ability to enter a relaxed state, where healing happens.  (Check out Mind Over Medicine by Lissa Rankin for an in-depth, professional look at this concept) Thus, whether or not we allow others to directly affect our peace of mind, in this case a.k.a. happiness, has a direct affect on our overall well-being.

This is a layered topic, so I'm not going to try to fit it all in one post.  I've already written about how to use yoga in our quest for a happy life and how we use cupcakes to adjust our brain chemistry.   What's on my mind today is who and what we hold responsible for our health and happiness. It's so easy to point fingers of blame at people and situations when it comes to our unhappiness.

Our family is crazy; our friends aren't paying enough attention to us; our spouses aren't listening; our children are out of control.  The list of people who steal our happiness goes on and on.  But, frankly, I have to call us out on this one, including myself.  No one, and I mean NO ONE else on this planet or elsewhere is responsible for our happiness or lack thereof.  We are the ones in control of OUR happiness.

Okay, I can hear the grumbles already.  "But there are assholes out there who say and do mean, aggravating, stupid things.  We can't help that they piss us off."

Um, yes, we can.  Now, I'm not saying its easy, not at all. It actually takes a LOT of work to get past the brain training that makes us emotionally salivate like Pavlov's dogs whenever someone rings our bell.  Basically, we have to retrain ourselves.

We have to undo the programming that says, "Other's have the power to affect me without my permission."

How do we do that?

By writing a new program.  May I suggest, "I am responsible for my emotional and physical well-being."

I like to keep my programming simple.  Uncomplicated mantras have the power to reprogram our brain in profound ways, and in ways we never imagined.  And the way to use this mantra is simple, as well:

-Whenever we allow another person to steal our peace of mind, repeat the mantra.
-Whenever our thoughts go something like this, "She really pisses me off", repeat the mantra.
-Whenever we are tempted to think, "When I get that promotion or when he starts doing x, I'll be happy", repeat the mantra.
-Whenever we make our happiness dependent on anyone or any thing other than ourselves, repeat the mantra.

Keep in mind that I said the reprogramming process was simple, not easy.  It requires dedication to the task.  EVERY time we have a thought that supports the old programming, we need to halt that destructive thought and whip out our mantra.  Its a long, tedious process.  I know.  I've been slowly chipping away at my old programming for years now.  Once I get one line of code rewritten, I discover another line that needs modification or elimination.

The secret to changing our programming is tenacity.  We have to be determined to stick to the reprogramming process long enough to make the change.  Think of it this way:  we did not program our brains to think other's have the power to affect us overnight.  It has been years and years of running the same program until we don't even notice it, its so automatic.

Therefore, isn't it logical that reprogramming may take some time, as well?  I do think using essential oils in tandem can speed up the results, however.  For instance, I recommend Fennel essential oil for assistance in taking back responsibility for our health and happiness. Daniel MacDonald writes in Emotional Healing with Essential Oils, that Fennel is the oil of responsibility. Rub a drop on your solar plexus in the morning and then keep a cotton ball with a drop or two in a ziplock with you.

Whenever you stop one of those negative thoughts and repeat the mantra, "I am responsible for my emotional and physical well-being," take a sniff of the Fennel essential oil.

Yes, it smells like licorice.  If that is offensive to you, try Ginger essential oil.

We are ultimately responsible for our own health and happiness.  We have to make the effort.  We have to heal ourselves.  The best doctors will tell you that they can only assist the body in its own healing process.  There are no miracle cures, my friends.  Only dedication and a willingness to learn.

Struggling?  Tell me about it.  I'm hear to listen.  I don't have all the answers, but I love to discuss ideas.

Much love and light, my friends.

Namaste.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Friend and fellow REB author Olivia Hardin releases Transcendent, book 2 in the Love of Fae Trilogy

release day pbt banner"Olivia Hardin takes a character we hated in a previous book and somehow makes him a hero we love. That's no small feat. Transcendent captures perfectly the tension and temptation of falling in love in the midst of turmoil and intrigue. . .it's a story that will linger in your heart."

faery moon chapter header

"Olivia Hardin weaves a wonderfully emotional story of love, redemption, and political intrigue in Transcendent. Be prepared to transcend your own expectations."

  Transcendent small

To the Women on the Hill McKenna is a spy who sails the nightwind to keep close tabs on her people. In truth, McKenna is a double operative, an integral part of an underground rebellion. The Women are secretly bleeding the fae of their powers then banishing them to the Island Anethemusa; but the Dissenters, rebels who suffer under the crushing power of the Women, mean to put an end to their reign.

When McKenna happens upon a talking weasel, she knows she’s found the perfect envoy for her covert mission. Robin Weir’s punishment for a life of betrayal is to be stripped of his magic and exiled as an animal in a foreign realm. He’s used to dirty jobs and subterfuge so becoming McKenna’s errand boy should be a simple task.

But things heats up when Robin finds he has the power to shift into a man again. For McKenna the pet she’s invited into her home now wants nothing less than to possess her heart, body and soul. With the uprising at the ready, lives could be lost if McKenna can’t balance her separate identities of spy, rebel and lover.

Barnes & Noble Smashwords

 

And don't miss the Facebook Party and Social Share Event March 10-14! Lots of prizes and fun to be had

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Sunday, March 09, 2014

Starting My Appalachian Trail Thru Hike OR Learning to Stay Humble

Sixteen years ago today, my husband and I started our Appalachian Trail thru hike--a two thousand mile hike from Georgia to Maine.  It was cold and rainy, then snowed on us that evening.  Turned out, it was a harbinger of things to come.  We spent the first month of our journey cold and wet, and the first night sleeping in a pavilion in a cemetery.

That's where we met our friends, Roy G. Biv and Should-a-Known for the first time, and Should-a-Known was officially dubbed...well...Should-a-Known.

Why?  He was drying his socks over the fire and we all warned him about the synthetic fibers smelting.  He laughed and said, "That's why I've got them on my hands, so I can feel if they get too hot."  A few minutes later we all sniffed the air.

 "Do you smell that?" someone asked.
"Yeah," we all replied.
"Oh shit!" yelled Should-a-Known.  He lifted his hands and there were black scorch marks on his socks.
"Should o' known!" we chorused.

 Ahahahahahhahaha! It still makes me laugh to this day-sixteen years later.  *sigh*  I try to remember this little life lesson whenever I'm getting a little too cocky about anything.  As much as we think we already know, its amazing how the little things trip us up.  You know what I'm talking about, right?  We all have lots to say, plenty of opinions about everything, but we can be obtuse to our own short comings.

What's glaringly obvious to everyone else, we are blind to.  Interesting.

Anyone out there starting a thru hike this year?  Ever dreamed of doing it?

Anyone ever eaten humble pie?  lol! Me too.  At least we didn't get nicknamed for the rest of our lives because of it.  Maybe... ;-)