Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Countdown to the JMT

We are getting really close - 20 days now until I fly to Fresno, CA for the big hike.  I have been feeling great after my recent 'clean bill of health' from Dr. Kritz and doing a lot of training - cycling, stairmaster, and of course, hiking with weight on my back (40 lbs is typical).  I wish I had better news on Renee's hand.  While she is definitely improving, it is very slow - her hand remains swollen and she cannot make a fist.  She sees the doc every other week now but does physical therapy many times a day, which is very painful.  Poor thing!

With my sisters and Shirley and Don Skinner
On the 4th of July I traveled to Los Angeles to attend my cousin John (Skinner's) wedding - he's the youngest of Shirley and Don's 5 kids, the 5th wedding out there - I've been to all 5 - the first was cousing Joan's in 1988.  Laure and Jill were there too, none of us had spouses or kids with us so we had a unique 'sibling time' together - a great blessing.  My parents would have been there but my father took a little spill on the tuesday before the wedding so could not fly.  Still, it was a great time.  I played a round of golf with cousin Jim at the Riviera CC and shot one of my best scores of the year, 78.  Jim is an outstanding player and he carded a 72.  But the best part was just being able to walk the gorgeous golf course catching up with Jim on all the happenings with the Skinner bunch.

With Jim Skinner at the 6th hole, Riviera CC
From California I went straight to Emerald Isle where Renee's family was already ensconced in an 8 bedroom beach mansion - there were 26 family members in the house!  We had a nice time there but back to work last Monday.  The changes at work have been great - I am much more at peace, with time to do my early morning bible study and prayer time, my workouts, and help with dinner - while still putting in a "full" day at the office.  And of course my health and well being is much better.

I am making final equipment choices and checking and re-checking flights, shuttles, and other logistics for the trip out west.  I've really enjoyed reading "My First Summer in the Sierra" by John Muir along with his biography.  What an incredible life - his love for nature seemed to be God-given - no one really "inspired" him, he just was born with a craving for solitude and natural beauty - and his influence on the development of the national park and national forest system will endure for generations.  I will be thinking about this a lot while I am on the trail.  

My sister Jill is creating a 'prayer strategy' for my hike.  Of course anyone can pray anytime they are led and I hope you will, but just to make sure that I'm covered in prayer every day, we will have 4 prayer leaders each take a specific week, then assign days within that week to their friends and family.  My two sisters, plus my parents are each taking a week and I will have a week to assign out to my friends.  
More on that next week....gotta run now....remember - nothing comes to you which does not go through the Father first - for all your trials, He is there and wants to redeem them for His and your future sanctification and glory.  Trust Him, for He loves you.