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Is this thing on?
Good Day, Ladies and Gentlemen! Welcome to my Groovy blog!
I guess I can extend that welcome to myself as well, since I haven't been here in so long.
Much has happened in the past few months. Since I do plan to begin writing regularly again, I shall give you a brief overview in photos and exclamation marks.
Hmmm, now where should I start?
OK...first of all, God has given me so many hugs lately that I am overwhelmed with thankfulness. I don't know why He is so good to me, but I do know that He is worthy of all my praise - in good times (like now) and in bad. He is my rock and my King forever! Lately, He has graciously chosen to bless me with several desires of my heart.
First, and most importantly, Funsocksgirl called us with some very exciting news. She and J-Man are expecting a baby! Our first grandchild from them! (I have 3 other grandchildren that are my son's precious kiddos)
See, here's the proof!
Naturally we are VERY excited!!!!!!
Secondly, those of you who have been faithfully reading my blog for many millennia know that I love dairy goats. The girls and I have been involved with dairy goats in 4-H for 6 years now - other people's dairy goats. I have wanted my own for a very long time, but The Best Hubby Ever was opposed. Farm animals take too much time, cost too much, are too much trouble, yadda, yadda, yadda.
But over the past few years, as our passion has continued and as I've gained experience as a farm sitter and as the BHE has fallen in love with goat milk cheese, God has been slowly changing his heart. The final result being that we now have a small barn and pen and TWO goats of our very own!
Here's the new barn and pen that the BHE and our dear friend Pastor Jon built together.
And this is Miss Mindy with Silly-Head and Girly-Girl. Mindy is an older Nubian. She is supposed to be pregnant, but, unlike Funsocksgirl, she does not seem to be showing any signs thereof. We are leasing her for the summer. In exchange, we were supposed to get to keep her kids. But sadly, there are no kids.
So for a few days, she was here all alone and oh so stressed! Goats are herd animals and do NOT like being alone. She called and called and called and wouldn't eat. It was so sad! Fortunately, my friend EarlyBird has a goat farm. She said she lease us a companion for Mindy. See her in the back of the pen?
Her name is Annika (We call her Annie). She's a miniature dairy goat - a Nigerian. They didn't like each other much at first, but now they get along fine. We have the option to buy Annie in the fall after she has been bred. That way we can have her and some kids and finally get some goat milk.
By the way - and this is very hush-hush - so don't tell anyone: The BHE is totally smitten with this little goat. He-who-hates-animals LOVES her! He even likes our Mindy who is not pregnant and will not give us milk!
Isn't God good?
Here they are together. The picture is a little blurry, but I wanted you to see the size difference. They are both full grown.
And thirdly, I finally did it. I rode my bicycle 180 miles in the Trek Across Maine to raise money for the American Lung Association. I've been TRYING to do this for 5 years now.
Year 1: I tried to ride, but I hadn't trained adequately. I was absolutely miserable and totally exhausted. I quit after Day 2 and ended up working as a volunteer instead.
Year 2: I jumped into training too quickly and strained my achilles tendon. I couldn't train for over a month, so I decided to volunteer for the whole weekend instead while the BHE rode.
Year 3: I did a super job a training and was in GREAT shape for the Trek. However, 2 weeks before the Trek I noticed some discomfort in my left leg after a lengthy ride. It went away and I thought all was well. On Day 1 I rode. It was pouring and many folks were hypothermic, but I love riding in cool weather. I was so excited at how easy it all seemed. Sadly, in the last 20 miles of the ride, the leg pain returned and got worse and worse and worse. By the time crossed the finish line it hurt so bad I had trouble walking and stairs were murder. We had a dorm room on the third floor... I took a boatload of ibuprofen and iced my leg and hoped for the best.
I only made it 12 miles on Day 2. By then I was in so much pain I had to flag a medic. A SAG van took me to the finish. I volunteered for the rest of the Trek. I was depressed for weeks after the Trek. I felt like such a failure!
It gets very disheartening to see folks who are grossly overweight or who never train who ride the whole stupid event like it's nothing. I kick my butt trying to be ready and just can't do it. I was in a depressed funk for weeks and weeks.
Year 4 (Last Year): I had a severe allergic reaction in March and ended up on prednisone. Prednisone completely wastes me, so training was out of the question for well over a month. I didn't even try to ride. The BHE rode and I volunteered. Again.
Year 5 (THIS year): I started training in the middle of winter by running on the treadmill and lifting weights. I increased my distance and speed little by little in an effort to avoid injuries. I started riding when there was still snow on the ground. Unfortunately, we had alot of rain. So I tried to fill in the gaps with walking, running, and weight lifting. When I did finally get to ride, I felt great aerobically, so I increased my riding distance too quickly and, guess what? I started feeling that leg pain again.
I immediately backed off and did some research. The Lord led me to a fabulous website that helped me figure out that pain was patellar tendonitis. The website also gave me some wonderful info on how to treat it myself and how to alter my riding style to prevent it.
I was just starting to get a handle on the tendonitis when I had a bad reaction to the sun. Which meant that now I could not ride in sunny weather. Which we now had alot of. Yee-haw. I was able to treat it with a prescription steroid cream instead of prednisone, but now I was becoming seriously concerned about the weather during the event. I knew I could cover pretty much all of me except my face and neck. Sunblock helps, but does not provide complete protection. After much MORE research I found the answer: Take mega doses of beta carotene and buy a UV Buff. I ordered one from the UK and it didn't get here until 2 days before the Trek!
AND my period was due JUST before the Trek. I am perimenopausal and my periods are ugly affairs that make me pretty much worthless for a couple of days a month. I literally cannot exercise during those couple of days...
Needless to say, I was on an emotional roller coaster. Could I actually do it this year or was I going to "fail" again. One minute I'd cry and want to throw in the towel and the next minute I'd have a calm assurance that God really was making a way for me. After all, I was already in great physical condition. He had helped me find the info I needed to work on the tendonitis. He had helped me find the Buff and the info on beta carotene. He actually put me in a position of forced rest from biking (hello! Sunny Days!) so my tendon could heal. He worked in my body so that my period started a full week early. He helped me raise over $1,000 so I could be in the "Winner's Circle". Many, MANY people prayed for me. And He gave me a Scripture - Psalm 20:
1 May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob set you securely on high! 2 May He send you help from the sanctuary And support you from Zion! 3 May He remember all your meal offerings And find your burnt offering acceptable! 4 May He grant you your heart’s desire And fulfill all your counsel! 5 We will sing for joy over your victory, And in the name of our God we will set up our banners. May the LORD fulfill all your petitions
6 Now I know that the LORD saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven With the saving strength of His right hand.
7 Some boast in chariots and some in horses,
But we will boast in the name of the LORD, our God.
8 They have bowed down and fallen,
But we have risen and stood upright.
9Save, O LORD;
May the King answer us in the day we call.
Wow...It still makes me cry to read this. I truly felt He was speaking to me and yet I felt guilty and unworthy. There are people going through cancer and earthquakes and floods and tornadoes and dead loved ones. Why should He care about my insignificant desire to ride a bicycle.
And yet, He did. Not only did I ride the whole Trek, but I never had any trouble at all with my leg. My hands never went numb. My feet never hurt. I had one minor reaction to the sun and one application of the cream stopped it completely. My muscles did get tired, but they never got sore. Even today, after riding 180 miles over some incredible hills, I feel terrific! In fact, if I wasn't just a tad saddle sore (some chaffing, you know!) I'd be thrilled to ride a few more miles.
God. Is. So. GOOD!!!!!
The Trek went right past our house on Day 2. See what the girlies made for us? Take special notice of the balloon bicycle. Silly-head is getting quite talented with her balloon work!
And here I am. At the FINISH. With my MEDAL.
Because, by the grace and goodness of God, I DID IT!!!!!!!!