Tag Archives: prayer walking


After the intensity of yesterday’s post I long for the simple again.

Just the everyday thoughts and remembering the everyday stuff that makes life beautiful.20140605_224323

Like the grown kids popping into visit and my refrigerator being full enough to feed them all, no problem.

Full. Abundant. Lots of left-overs. Fresh stuff, too.

Like the cool air on my bare arms last night as hubby agreed to walk at a nearby park. The clouds were cotton on blue and by the time we left the pink tinged them with glory. We bumped into some longtime friends who were at the lake fishing. Our youngest son rode his long board, weaving in and out of the those who, like us, strolled the sidewalk.

Just beautiful, simple living.

Hubby and I went grocery shopping.

We found a great sale and bought meat. Chicken breasts. roasts. steak.

And we COULD. We could pay for it.

How many times have I taken such simple graces for granted?

Today blueberries arrived on my doorstep. I’m dreaming of blueberry pancakes. There’s already real whipped cream waiting in the fridge to top them.

The roses are beginning to bloom, and I planted bright fuchsia and dark purple petunias. Would you believe a few pansies lived all winter long in my flowerbed, right through the snow, and have raised their pretty faces to greet me?



I put a bright pink Gerber daisy next to them, a feast for my eyes each time I travel my own sidewalk.


I’m walking again, and those few pounds that tried to steal my weight loss are beginning to recede. I am empowered. Stronger when I walk.

My new-to-me $25 dishwasher is amazing. After the week and a half of hand washing I’m especially grateful. And it holds more dishes and gets them cleaner than the old one did. And after a week and a half of the chaos of repairing the damaged floor and having clutter everywhere, my living room and kitchen feel huge. Clutter makes me claustrophobic, but oh the joy of putting everything in its place again! It makes an ordinary, familiar room seem new.

20140605_224433-1Fresh mint and lavender now grace my glass water pitchers, picked from plants next to the driveway. Sometimes I add lemon slices.

This isn’t a fancy post. No careful wording, no effort to ease into a poetic feel, no going deep.

Just real.

Just me.

Just thankful.

Just hoping you and I can grab a little joy and rest in a little beauty.

Noticing the little things.






Spirit-Seeker Sunday ~ Walking it Out

spirit 4 stephen

photo by Stephen Moldenhauer

“Spiritually I feel much more weighed down by stress and problems when I’m not taking care of my body. Physically, I have less energy to serve God and more emotions to wade through when processing life.”

The above statement alone is one of the most profound discoveries of my weight loss journey. I didn’t write those words, Lysa TerKeurst did. But I so relate.

For years I prayed for joy, for the ability to overcome discouragement, for hope. I don’t see myself as having completely arrived in these areas, but I’ve found a powerful tool in discovering joy, combating discouragement, grabbing hold of hope.

It’s called taking a walk.

Eventually I usually end up talking with God, but even when it’s not a focused conversation my spirit rises up within me in worship just being outside, hearing the birds, feeling the fresh air.

There’s something about looking up into a huge tree or seeing the mountains in the distance, or gazing at the clouds or the flowers that puts me in my place, reminds me there is something bigger than I am, and HE is Good.

I grew up in church where we were often told to take care of our body because it was the temple of God. Unfortunately most of what was taught–or at least of what I heard–was the old southern “don’t smoke, drink, or chew or go with boys who do.” Once in a while I caught that I should think about what kinds of food I put into it, but I totally missed the idea of caring for my body as God’s temple by taking good care of it in the area of exercise.

I loved when Lysa wrote: “I want to . . . dedicate my exercise as a gift to Him and a gift to myself.”

Let’s join Lysa in the prayer: “Help me see the ability to exercise as a gift. I dedicate my temple to You and commit to start rebuilding it today.”

How about you? What do you do to add movement into your day? What exercise do you enjoy? Do you ever exercise just because it’s good for you even if it is not something you enjoy? If you keep doing it do you start enjoying it?

And what about schedule. How do you fit it into your busy days? If you don’t, could you add in once a week, then twice?

A Walking Tour of Montrose

Putting on tennies in the dark isn’t easy. Neither is slipping out the hotel door without waking your comrades. I wasn’t totally successful. In fact my friend and fellow speaker Kathleen E Kovach told me later she rolled over, emitted a soft moan, and asked God to keep me safe before she slipped back into slumber.

(This post relates to point #2 from my Little Bit Wiser blog a few days ago.)

It was the day after we’d taught Fiction FUNdamentals at the Montrose library. Soon we’d load five women into a truck crammed full of luggage and begin the 12 hour trip home. (Okay, Montrose is roughly 6 hours from Denver, but not when you travel with five women who like to shop and need lots of potty breaks.)

I needed some movement before the drive–and wanted to experience a little of the town instead of whipping through, speaking, and packing up. I’d walked a bit the morning before the library gig, but it was mostly a clear my head and pray kind of trek. I didn’t have time to go far and my wanders led to a very dry, ugly spot full of cracked earth, desolation, and old furniture dumped haphazardly. It was great inspiration to pray for opportunities to replace barrenness in a place where there seemed to be little community or support for Christian writers. It was not, however, especially attractive.

So this morning I headed the opposite direction, initially following a small river.

walk 01

Soon that path ended. Disappointed I headed down the primary road, unimpressed with the end of town that sported mostly old signage. (I later discovered a quaint main street awaited me farther down, but alas I saw it only from a moving car.)


I turned down a side street and the adventure began. What I noticed most were the trees. Beautiful, diverse, and full of character. If you know Colorado you know that on either side of the mountains, or in long valleys, trees are not plentiful. This made the trees of Montrose even more treasured, and I wondered who planted, watered, and cared for them. How old were they?

walk 1 tree

I got really excited when I found a bike path, just sure it would lead to a nature walk or beautiful park.

walk 4

After lots of concrete I found myself at the city hospital.  At least I found roses hanging over a privacy fence.

walk 3

I gave up on the bike path and returned to the shaded streets of a modest neighborhood. I’m always grateful to those who take time to bring beauty into our world by planting flowers.

walk 2

Eventually I found my favorite site of the day, the beautiful Townsend House built in 1887.

walk 7 (2)

I was especially intrigued by the two sidewalks in front of the old place–a decaying brick path and a new concrete one. One of these days I’ll find the metaphor here, and we’ll have another blog post.

 walk 9

walk 8

I’d walked almost an hour when I met a lady who urged me to go past the swimming pool and the big red silos to the park on the edge of town. She said the path there would soothe my soul. I didn’t want to be late for breakfast, but I couldn’t resist. I set off for the park jogging a little and wondering if I’d have to run a good deal of the way back to be on time. That was not a pleasant thought, but it didn’t deter me.

walk 10

As I headed down the trail to the park I saw a sweet-looking woman walking alone. I asked the Lord if I should talk with her. Soon we were in conversation. She and her husband daily feed the cats and ducks at the park. When she discovered how far I was from the hotel she offered me a ride back. Her husband initially turned the wrong direction assuming my hotel was on that side of town. They were a surprised I’d walked the entire length of their community. (And I’ll admit it. I felt a bit of pride at the thought.)

When I returned Kathy rolled her eyes at my story of the provision of a return ride. I told her they were nice people who fed the wildlife. She said I needed to start watching Criminal Minds. I told her I prayed first and knew they were safe. That seemed to calm her.

(And don’t YOU start worrying. I don’t typically take rides from strangers.)

It’s a good thing I took a walking tour of Montrose before the road trip home. Five women pack a lot of snacks.

So there you have it–how to fight the battle of the bulge and see the world, one sidewalk at a time.

Hope you protect some time this week to find the little things a nice walk reveals. If you do, I’d love to hear YOUR story.

Tweet it:

Discovering the world on foot

The Shrinking Middle

weight loss beginning and end

11-2-12 and 5-19-13

The middle continues to shrink!

Yesterday I put on my skinny shorts, and they had become my fat shorts. Too big, they made me feel heavier than I am.  The pounds are crawling off now instead of dropping, but my body continues to reshape.

I’d like to take credit for this, but honestly since the wedding a month ago my exercise routine has been up and down, and my calorie intake has had the same inconsistency.

But my shorts are still too big. Lucky me!

Giving credit where credit is due, one of the promises of the Benew system is that it shrinks fat cells.

That said, just being thinner is no longer enough. I want to be stronger. I’ve tapped into a new, healthier lifestyle and don’t want to let it go. I’ve slacked off, but that doesn’t mean I have to give up! Every single choice made for health is a step onto the path of perseverance in this benew journey.

With that in mind I got up this morning, did some stretches and shaping exercises, then walked the neighborhood. All of me benefits from the twitter of the birds, the blue of the sky, and the movement. I walked a ways, then jogged a few short distances. After that I circled a nearby school picking up trash and praying for the kids. I even sang a little. When I rounded the corner for home I spent a little time smelling the roses, literally.

roses pink bush

roses pink

 It cleared the head and heart even as it strengthened the body.

To be even more transparent, I’ll admit my head and heart needed a good clearing.  I’ve slogged through a bunch of stresses lately, and to make it worse I awoke way too early due to an upsetting dream. Thankfully, I don’t have those often, but even when the things we dream aren’t real our emotions feel as if they were!

My walk in the sunshine was an attempt to work out the crud. I also contacted a few friends for prayer, and made a point to stand up to the voices that tried to embarrass me and tear me down.

What about you? Is life digging at you? Is there a step back onto the path of perseverance in your physical, mental, emotional, and/or spiritual health that you can take?

What does that look like? Exercise? Prayer? A conversation with a trustworthy friend? More water? Resisting junk food? Turning from negative thoughts? Eating an apple? Smelling a rose?

roses red

Whatever it is, I’m saying a prayer for you and me as I close, asking the Lord to show us the next healthy choice and give us the strength to make it.

Share with a friend:

Discover the next healthy choice and do it!

Every  choice made for health is a step forward

Aslan, the White Witch, and my Weight Loss Journey (Day 94)

We all wear masks. I’ve been called positive, playful, and joyful. I am, but I am not those qualities in isolation. Only those closest to me know the depth of my fight for joy.

Today was one of those fighting-for-all-I-was-worth mornings. Tonight’s schedule included a special event that would require a public face.  I didn’t want to plaster on a fake mask, but no one would want to see the discouragement I fought.  I needed to dig deep, find my joy, and be a survivor.

Thankfully the weight loss journey has given me a new, healthier way of coping. I walk, run, stomp . . . and eventually pray. The fresh air, the ground beneath my feet, the birds singing, and the conversations with God help me combat my struggles and deal with whatever negative emotion my peri-menopausal body flings at me.

So I walked to my morning appointment in hopes I would be in a better state for the evening’s requirements.

Much of this last year has been about breaking free of a hard season, not just the car accidents, but also the years of intensity that preceded them. Last summer I awoke for several days to Christmas carols playing through my mind and heart, sensing HIS presence in them.

It wasn’t the season for such music, and I shared the experience with my friend Jill, wondering at what it might mean. As we talked she got excited. “It’s His promise to you, Paula. Remember The Chronicles of Narnia? Because of the reign of the evil White Witch, it was always winter and never Christmas in the land. But when Aslan returned the waters began to thaw. Father Christmas broke through the evil forces. Eventually the land blossomed into spring and summer. The songs are God’s promise that  Christmas is coming in your life. Winter is thawing. The reign of the White Witch is coming to an end.”

I’d had much joy during the Christmas season, but in the cold of January I’d struggled to find it again. I began begging God to show me that this promise was true. I share this story so you can appreciate what happened on my three mile trek.

I started off at a pretty good clip, focused on the goal of being on time to my appointment. Soon I was on an unfamiliar route. I knew the area from the road, but not from the footpath. I came upon a frozen stream.

aslan 20

aslan 5

Captivated by the cold beauty, I slipped closer.

aslan 8

And I noticed something surprising for that January day.

aslan 17

A cracking.

aslan 12

A slight gurgle.

aslan 10

The unmistakable sounds and sights of thawing.

“Are you paying attention?” HE said.

“Yes, Lord.” My heart sang. “Aslan is on the move.”

I’m sure He smiled.

aslan 2

I slipped back onto the sidewalk. My heart and body felt light.

And I ran for a mile.

A New Prayer Walk Experience (Day 88)

Strange walking day. Drawn to and repulsed by a certain route, I followed my gut. I ended up in a unique situation where I sensed God wanted me to pray for a whole bunch of people I didn’t know.

So I did.

I walked through the crowd and prayed inside my heart.

At one point I felt assaulted—not by anything physical, but the feeling was so strong I took a step back. I looked to my right and a young man stood there staring at me, like he knew what I was up to and didn’t like it. His gaze was threatening.

I stared back.

Neither of us spoke, but I truly believe his spirit and mine had a confrontation. It was really weird.

I left the area then walked out and around the block where this gathering was. I praised God and prayed for light to penetrate darkness. That Scripture has been on my mind more than any other the last few months as I’ve fought my way back to health after the car accident:

“In Him (Jesus) was life and that life was the Light of all mankind. And the light penetrated the darkness andlight in dark the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1—writing from memory, I think I’m quoting the New International Version)

That’s so often my prayer now—for the True Light to penetrate the darkness of my life, of my neighborhood, of my world.                                                                              ~January 19, 2013

Real Time Update:

Yesterday I met a woman walking through a very difficult time. As I prayed for her I saw a picture in my mind of a path. It was pitch black all around her, but a bright light shone on her next step, then became a beam ahead of her, illuminating where she was to walk, even though the darkness was still on all sides. Makes me think again about that verse, how light penetrates darkness every time, how God will show us next steps, how He never leaves us consumed by the darkness.

How About You?

Where is light penetrating your darkness?

Muddling in the Middle (Days 75 & 76)

uphill climg

Photo by Stephen Moldenhauer

As the journal entries below show, the newness of the joy of weight loss wore off about half-way there. Suddenly the climb seemed a little steeper.

I’ve had some frustration, a little muddling around about half-way to my weight loss goals. The good news is this is pretty normal–AND I DID lose more weight! And just as important, I continue to learn about life, about me, about God.

January 6, 2013

Life with a weight loss goal is up and down. I wrote about joy a few days ago. I’ve had more peace and joy in the last few weeks than in a long time. I also had a lot of affirmation the last few weeks as people started noticing my new size. Super fun!But today . . . I’m frustrated. I’m more often hungry again—and fighting more cravings. I don’t know if my metabolism has sped up due to consistent exercise and that makes me hungrier, or if holiday foods were less healthy, and it messed with everything. But I’m not craving sweets. It’s cheese. Gooey and piled on. I had a little cheese on a small potato with ground turkey and salsa for lunch. Thought it would be wise to have a little of what I craved rather than ignore the desire and then binge.

Still, it’s weird to suddenly fight the process again. I was mostly at peace with it for so long.

I am on BEPure this week. Maybe I’m going through another emotional purge. The last cleanse didn’t bother me, but I’ve been weepy over all kinds of stuff today, especially over my on-going head symptoms and inability to concentrate for long periods of time. I’m entering month six without diagnosis or complete healing . . .

On the positive side I know I’m smaller ‘cause I just had to take off my ring to type. It kept rolling around too much . . .

January 7, 2013

They say the first weight off is easier than the last weight. It is coming off slower for me, now, despite the fact that I’m eating healthier and exercising consistently. This morning I worked for a while on writing stuff, like this blog. My head symptoms that began over six months ago flared, but I pushed through for a while. By the time I quit they were going pretty crazy.


  • That the scale isn’t dropping very quickly.
  • That no one can tell me why my head gets weird.
  • That I’m still having symptoms associated with a car wreck that happened last June.
  • That money is tight
  • That hubby’s computer crashed again and . . .

So I went walking. The first half mile or so all I did was grumble to God. At a mile and a half I took a break, popped into my favorite coffee shop, asked for water, and went to the bathroom. Then I circled the nearby school.

I prayed about hope, standing strong, looking to God for answers. As I prayed for the school, I realized I also prayed for me, for our family, for our whole neighborhood. By the time I’d circled a few times, pouring out my heart, I felt better. I walked past the abandoned strip mall, praying for good things to come there—asking again if it might be a church. Then I walked to the high school, surprised by a nature path I didn’t know about. It was beautiful!

This walking thing isn’t just about losing pounds; it’s about losing bad attitudes, finding faith, believing in hope. Seeking the Son in His sunshine.

Walked close to 5 miles.

I’m home now, enjoying a cup of tea and a homemade persimmon cookie that I don’t feel guilty about. Yes, there’s a little sugar, but there is also a lot of healthy ingredients in it.

And I’ll have plenty of extra calories today!

How About You?

Anybody else find a new round of struggle about half way to your goal?

Weight Loss Journey Day 59

I’m amazed that only a few months ago I was spending hours in bed, gaining weight, unable to do much/ Now I can average over 4.0 miles per hours just walking! I go up the hills, down the hills. I even jog! Sometimes when I feel the urge to run a little way, I see a driveway or mailbox and sense God wants me to jog to it. Often it is farther than I want to try, so I’ll negotiate. I can almost hear Him saying, “Okay. Just that far, then.”

But the distances I run are lengthening.

Today was another of those breath-taking God days. I didn’t  want to put much effort into my God-walking time. Wanted to listen to my Scriptures and just meander. But I sensed Him directing my feet and readjusting my attitude. I ended up at one of the churches I have prayed for periodically. (Often when I turn down a side street I still don’t know where I’m going to end up!) I told the Lord, “Okay, just this one. But I don’t feel like praying for all five of them. I’m tired.”

I felt the prompting to sing. I sang lots of carols and a few praise songs. I walked around the property of this little church a couple of times since I felt led to keep going for awhile. When I finished, I started to walk across the parking lot, and a man came out. “Can I help you?” he asked.

I fumbled around, explaining that I sometimes walk around his church and pray for his people and sing praises to God.

“I heard you singing,” he said. “It was beautiful.” I enjoyed his accent. I asked if he was the pastor, and he was. I smiled and started to leave.

“Will you pray for me?” he asked.

“Sure.” I’m still moving away.

“Will you pray for me right now?”

My feet stopped. “Of course.”

Humbled, I prayed for this stranger. Soon tears fell. Overwhelmed, I felt such a great honor to stand in that parking lot, hand on the arm of a pastor, asking God to pour into him and his church, to bless their Christmas service, to speak grace and love into his relationships and into his family.

In these times you just pray. You never know what situations are behind the words that come out, but you trust that God is giving you the prayer.

We parted, me walking forward in absolute wonder that the God of the Universe would orchestrate such a sweet meeting of two strangers of faith. I never wanted to pray there that day. I was too lazy. But God had a blessing for me and for the man, and He led me anyway. Glory to God!

At this point I was ready to go home. I started to cross the busy street to return to my neighborhood, but there were too many cars. My walking app was still running so I didn’t want to stand there and mess up my average pace. I started up the hill, looking for a break in traffic. It didn’t come. I walked further.  I was just under the lip of a hill and thought it would be unsafe to cross because I wouldn’t be able to see the traffic until it crested the hill. So I topped the hill still on my side of the street, and there was another church.

And no traffic.

I laughed and crossed the road. I might not have wanted to pray for the churches this day, might have felt tired and not wanted to expend the energy, but the Lord had different plans.

There was a victorious spirit pounding through me as I walked around that church, sang praises to God and prayed. A whole different kind of prayer poured through me, and I felt like a warrior on the offensive, breaking ground for really wonderful new things. I prayed for a new release of His grace and truth, for an enhanced ability for this church to serve others, for an incredible worship time as they celebrated Christmas. By the time I finished I was crying again, tears streaming, full of power and victory and singing, “All Hail King Jesus!” with arms raised.

I’m sure the drivers of the cars passing by thought I was one crazy woman. I did get some startled looks.

I started down the hill back toward home, passing yet another church. Of course I stopped to pray; how could I not?

As I circled the little church—twice—my heart grew heavy. The grounds spoke of poverty, the little playground for the children in need of repair, the very earth barren and hard and cracked. I was sure there was no carpet of grass there in the summer. I prayed against discouragement. I felt the call to pray for the youth not to give up and turn from Christ. I prayed this little group would sense God’s grace and embrace His love and be full, not barren.

A little later, back home, I reflected on my incredible walk. Who knew one could have such adventures so close to home?

My younger boys and I packed up and headed to my brother’s house for a little holiday family time. My sister-in-law made a beautiful meal, with chicken slow-cooked a champagne sauce for the main dish, and spiced plums over ice cream for dessert. (I love how losing weight doesn’t have to mean eating nothing but lettuce.) I did a game with some little gifts for my niece and nephews, then we put the younger children to bed. I snuggled a moment with each, joining them in goodnight prayers and basking in how precious they are.

Then the rest of us curled up together for a Christmas movie, “Joyeux Noel.” I had no idea how impacting it would be. It was about WWI, when many spots on the front chose to stop for Christmas, had mass together, shared their meager supplies and even competed in soccer. I wept again, thinking of the power of the Incarnation, of the unity true love in our God brings to us, broken, lonely, sometimes desperate people. Thinking that there is hope in Him even in the very darkest places.                                            ~December 21, 2012


Real Time Update:

Sorry today’s post went a little long. I have some stuff to share about what’s going on here in March, but I’ll save it for tomorrow!

How About You?

Would love to hear about everyday adventures that surprise you.


Weight Loss Journey Day 57

Today I took a chance. I did something kind-of brave because I sensed God asked me to. The results were breath-taking. God is amazing. He really, really loves us. He answers prayer.

(At first I wasn’t going public with the story. I treasured it to my heart for a time, but as I reflect on December 19, I decided to share the journal entry. It is to God’s glory. He is amazing . . . So if you’re my Facebook friend and wondered what happened that day, now you can know. Here goes:)

I finally did it. I finally knocked on the stranger’s door like He told me to do a week and a half ago. I texted my son with the address, just ‘cause I had no idea what I was getting into and figured someone should know where I was.

At first no one answered. I told the Lord, “I’m only doing this once. If this is your deal, and You led me here today like I thought You did, You’re going to have to send someone to this door. I’m not going to find the courage to come back and try again.”

The door opened.

I stood there, awkward, fumbling for words.  “I . . . uh . . . can I just tell you my story?”

A woman, probably in her 30s, stood before me, brow wrinkled.

“I . . . take walks for exercise and I . . . um . . . sometimes pray for the people in the houses I pass. And well,”

I’m crying now, feeling silly, but feeling Him.

“when I walked past your house a while back, I felt like God showed me how to pray. I boxdon’t pretend to always hear Him perfectly, but . . . do you guys need food?”

The woman begins to cry. I wrap her in my arms and cry with her. “I have food in my van, can I bring it in?”

She nods.

On my second trip into the house with food, an older woman comes downstairs. She tells me how her daughter (the woman I met earlier) lost her home and moved in with her five children and how the cute little guy on the couch is her grandson. She babysits for her granddaughter, a single mom.

“My husband and I are retired,” she says. “We’re trying to help, but it’s hard. In the mornings I wake up and tell my sweet Jesus that I don’t know how we’re going to make it, and He has to help us. It’s hardest on the little ones. They don’t understand when we have no meat, but I tell them if we have beans and macaroni, we have food.” A tear traces her cheek.

The woman’s faith, perseverance, and strength humble me. That I get to serve such a faithful servant humbles me. How God loves the two of us through this incident blows me away, reminds me that He is the One who Sees. That His love is bigger than I can fathom.

Amazed by my God, on cloud nine I drive home.

(But I wish I hadn’t taken so long to obey. I wish I’d given them food sooner.)

Real Time:

I’m undone again as I post this. No updates today.

How About You?

What has happened in your life that leaves you undone–in a humble, good way?