For those of you who may be considering taking me into your home (or your car) along this journey, I thought it might be a good thing to tell you a little bit about myself…
THE MOST CURRENT STUFF:
I don’t update this page often, but as of Dec 10 I have 360 miles to go (of about 1700)! I’ve completely traversed Washington & Oregon from the Canadian border near I-5 in Blaine WA and I’m deep into central California – Morro Bay. To date, I’ve stayed with about 50 host family homes. I’ve also stayed in 8 different churches with keys to the front door.
All of these people were strangers upon arrival, friends upon departure!
I grew up in Florida, living on a golf course in the countryside that my dad managed for much of that time. I spent most of my time barefoot and on horseback – in fact, my horse was my ‘transportation’ for any place I wanted to go until I got my driver’s license.
When I was 18 I met my husband (Larry) at a stoplight at U of FL in Gainesville – true story! 39 years later, we’re still going strong. Larry was in management at Chevron-Texaco, and until he retired in 2008, home was “wherever Chevron sent us” – including 8 glorious years in Hawaii.
Early in our marriage I became a CPA with the intent of having an in-home practice so I could stay home with our kids, but our transfer to Hawaii changed that goal because of HI state regulations – so I gave up accounting entirely & became a full-time mom. I’ve never regretted it!
We settled in El Segundo, CA and have 2 sons, both godly men married to godly women. Our eldest (Grant) is an architect who lives near Atlanta – wife Crystal & 2 daughters (Avery & Hannah). Our youngest (Matt) is a stock analyst in downtown L.A. – wife Kelsey & son (Levi) & daughter (Eden). I can’t forget to mention our lovely Labrador Retriever, Layla – and our grand-dogs Bo & Sushi!
Larry & I are both active in our church, Hope Chapel in Hermosa Beach, CA. Larry is an elder & on the church council – and a shepherd for our Wednesday night mini-church. Until I started my trek I taught Sunday School for special needs adults through our church’s ICAN ministry (one of the charities I’m walking for), and I’m also one of the worship leaders in our mini-church whenever I’m home.
I’m an adventurous type – which lends itself well to this challenge. Zip-lining, hang gliding, bungee jumping & snowboarding are all in my ‘over-age-40 wheelhouse’. But in our quieter moments, we love watching sunrises & sunsets together, no matter where we are – God’s greatest ‘free show’, and never the same twice!
We have hosted 50+ people (actually, mostly strangers) in our home. It all started years ago with my father-in-law who lived with us for many months while helping us build our first home in Grand Bay, AL. Then we hosted a dear friend for many months while he built a home up the road from us. All of this laid the groundwork for what we now know is our spiritual gifting – hospitality.
My husband is a baseball coach, so we’ve hosted teens from AZ, SoCal, Guam, Hawaii, NV, etc., when our town has hosted regional baseball tournaments. We also hosted a friend’s son who was doing summer training with the Los Angeles Dodgers, a friend’s daughter who was displaced during Hurricane Katrina, and soccer players from the UK. In recent years, it’s been mostly been all about short track speedskating. We’ve hosted numerous short track speedskaters (and some long track) during summer training, or while recovering from surgery in the L.A. area, including Olympic medalists and world-class skaters from 4 different countries. If you watched short track speedskating in the 2014 Olympics, you were watching people who are dear to us!
In late 2013 we heeded a call from our church to host our church’s missionary family to Mexico (a family of 10 and a dog) who were coming ‘north’ for their daughter’s wedding. We had never met them, and they arrived when we were out of town! I had sticky notes all over the house, and it was an odd feeling to see a Facebook post from a family that we had never met posing in front of our house in CA while WE were having dinner in New Orleans! They won our hearts immediately, and now their eldest daughter & eldest son are living with us – Emily is one of our church’s youth pastors, and Zac is pursuing a career ‘behind the camera’ in the film industry. We are so blessed to have them here!
I’ve always felt astounded at the trust that all of these people have placed in us – we were total strangers to each other. If they can place that trust in us, then I’m willing to place that same trust in total strangers for my own walk.
Both of our sons have recently opened their own homes to friends in need of a temporary home, so it’s true – the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!
At the time I begin this trek, I’ll be 58 years old – when I finish I’ll be 59. I’ll confess that before Day 1 of this trek it had been decades since I had walked 10 miles. My training consisted of a total of about 30 miles – no day longer than 8 miles. l was relatively out of shape and could stand to lose a few pounds – oh…and was prone to plantar fasciitis, too, which seems to have disappeared with this trek!
I subscribed to the school of thought that says the best way to train for walking 10 miles a day is to walk 10 miles a day – so it was basically been on-the-trek training, and with only 360 miles left to go, I see no problems with my training regimen!
The completion of this walk will only be by the grace of God – pray for me!