Sunday, July 21, 2013


My post is once again inspired by a song from my Pandora..What Faith Can Kutless.

One segment of the lyrics in particular caught my attention and has been rolling over in my mind ever since,
            "It doesn't matter what you've heard 

 Impossible is not a word
 It is just a reason for someone not to try"

WOW! was my first response and continues to be. Looking back to only a year ago there is no way I would have believed that I would be able to say "I have walked 800 miles in 4 months." Two years ago Jim and I accepted our first walking challenge...250 miles in 3 months.  After doubling the distance in the set time my comment was "Let's walk across the USA" Jim thinking that I had surely lost it, looked at me questioningly. " "VIRTUALLY I mean", I responded.  Impossible you say.... The laundry room wall became the 'Map Wall" and would you believe we are almost on the east coast!!!

But wait a minute...some goals require a strategy:

Knowing that a 3,000 mile hike was a little overwhelming we begin making "do-able" goals. I got out my address book and set down at the computer to 'google' addresses of friends and family. We set out to make it from the nearest to the furthest, calling to announce our arrival and "joining" them for a cup of coffee.Who says you can't make the Impossible fun? When I called my sister in Oregon we had a good laugh and a promised cup was waiting for our actual visit.  A few weeks ago when we reached Erie,PA I called our daughter to announce "being outside her door" we enjoyed a dish of ice cream together :) Walking to Oregon or PA would have seemed IMPOSSIBLE even 21/2 years ago.

What I learned was, each time I achieved a small 'impossible' goal the more POSSIBLE that huge goal became. As I look back on my life I can see many "impossible" goals that have been reached. Some have been reached through the encouragement from a friend or family member who could see what I could not. Some have come through a determination and strength from within. ALL have come because I made that first step...
A favorite scripture is Phillippians 4:13  "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" which to me says " it doesn't matter what you've heard..Impossible is not a word "
 It is not always a physical challenge, it may be speaking in front of others, choosing to trust, choosing to stop and just be, beginning a new job. It may be choosing an unpopular path because I know it is the right path...
Whatever it is.. your adventure begins by setting that first 'impossible' goal. Step out of your comfort zone with a little bit of faith, then shoot for the stars and reach for the moon!! 

Walking Strong

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sharing a Smile with God!

While on my walk this morning and "patiently" waiting for my Fitbit to let me know I had reached my 10,000 steps, my Pandora started playing the song "10,000 Reasons" ( to Bless the Lord) by Matt Redman. I hesitated in my walk to make sure I had heard correctly and then shared a little chuckle with God!! I love it when He and I share those moments of knowing that HE knows exactly what is on my mind :)
The next several moments were spent contemplating some of my " Reasons to Bless the Lord"... number one at that moment was that I could be walking 10,000 steps!! If you know my story you know that every step I take is cause for celebration, and I was thankful for the reminder! ( check out my earlier blog: Overcoming Obstacles)    
The obvious blessings began flooding my mind, Salvation, Health, Provision, Relationships,Family,Strength and  etc..  I made a  decision to actively accept a  challenge to begin listing my " Reasons to Bless the Lord." I'll let ya know from time to time how it's going!
How about you??? The best way to get on track with life is to begin counting your reasons to "Bless the Lord".  As life gets busy, health or financial or relationship issues bring challenges beyond our ability to "fix it" counting the blessings we DO have often changes our perspective and gives opportunity for those little "wonders" to drop onto your path.
I pray for joy and peace to be yours as you begin  to count your reasons to Bless the Lord!! He assures us in the Bible,  Jeremiah 29:11 "I know the plans I have for you" declares the Lord, "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future"  I love that promise and have held onto it many times in my life.
Counting my blessings and
Walking Strong     

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Motivation...As I have mentioned in previous blogs I am training for the Susan G Komen 3day 60 mile walk for the cure of breast cancer. After posting that I am REALLY close to 800 miles since making my commitment in March a friend asked, "What is it that keeps you motivated?"
The answer was really quite simple for me.."I walk in honor of the donations made on my behalf but more than that I walk to honor all those who have or are now fighting their battle with the " BIG C. " Friends,family and strangers alike have chosen to support me financially and emotionally through this journey. My promise to them has been to WALK STRONG. 
 When I feel tired, or think," I did a good walk yesterday," I only have to remember that someone out there does not have a choice on which day to be strong and carry on...that is motivation for me to grab my sticks and get on the road. Then there are those little 'wonders' that drop into my the older lady struggling to put one foot in front of the other, but determined to 'get her walk in for the day.' I casually slow my speed and meander with her for the next little while till we reach her home. We talk about the beauty around us, the gift of health and walking and I learn her daughter is dealing with breast cancer. I get her daughters name, assure her that I will carry her name on my walking shirt as I do the BIG walk and finish my 16 miles with a new motivation. 
The 'wonders' have been many, a story shared, a ping on my phone "a donation has been made on your behalf" when I am feeling a bit tired and least expect it. A 10 mile walk with a 17 year old who assured me "I'm a dancer..I don't get tired" and then proved it while keeping me company and making my walk go so much more quickly. The old man who was awed by my walking sticks and excited to think  that "with a set of those he could once again get back to doing something he loved and missed".. a walk.
How often I take the simple things in my life for granted, like being able to walk across the room without pain, the ability to speak, see, hear and hug.(one of my favorites!)
The fact that I am loved, have a home and family that are intact. ( Not perfect but mine none the less.) When I give myself time to think and meditate on these things I am motivated to bring HOPE and HELP to someone else, if not through walking sometimes through just being there, taking a moment to be. 
In your busy life..What is that motivates you? What is that you find makes you want to be the best you that you can be?
Montana Gram
Walking Strong    Because Everyone Deserves a Lifetime   
My 3 Day Journey

Thursday, July 11, 2013


INSPIRATION....what or who comes instantly to mind when you hear that word??  My first thought was of my children who have each found their niche in life and gone for the gusto, while keeping their priorities in check. I have shared several times in this blog about my family, the support, love and encouragement we have shared. It is a wonderful thing when as a Mom I find myself finding INSPIRATION from their lives. I love them all "Past the Clouds!"  (a family endearment created by our twins when Jim and I were working on our pilots licenses and constantly looking heavenward to 'name that cloud formation')

I look at their lives, the strength of their convictions and their accomplishments with assurance that the home, love, discipline and support that Jim and I have striven to give has been a part of their INSPIRATION for making those life choices. No...we have not always made the best decisions,or given the best advice but that being said, our goal was to acquaint them with the ONE who could and would always have the best directives and plans for their lives. We just loved them fiercely at all times. 

So now it comes full circle and they become my INSPIRATION  to go beyond my comfort zone and push myself to be all that I can be! "Life is short...don't waste a moment"   "You only live who cares if you look a little silly...enjoy that Grandchild!"  "Go ahead Mom...start that blog :)"  "You CAN walk 60 miles!"   ...the list goes on...  

As I write this I realize that my life goal is to find opportunities to to be an INSPIRATION and encouragement to others. To help even one person see beyond the boundaries they have set around themselves, step out of their comfort zone and  "Go for the Gusto."  Life IS short we are not promised health or life for tomorrow so join me in my quest for making each day count in your life and the life of someone else!!


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Finding my Normal

After almost 3 weeks we are home, our house is quiet and the daily routine is once again in play. Having family here and the rooms filled with laughter, stories,  "Adventures in the Life Of ....", squeals of joy and finally tears of departure, life is getting 'Back to Normal.' A good thing??? I'm not sure how I would truthfully answer that..good in the sense that each have their homes where life brings to each his own adventure and challenges...sad in that the quietness can become awfully loud at times. But, I know that, that in itself is a good thing and the memories will have to suffice until life brings us together again.

Normal for each of has its own meaning. When we have small children running through the house normal is often chaos, laughter and  never ending piles of laundry to be washed and folded. As they become teenagers normal at our house was a home filled with friends, always hungry and looking for fun. Then became the time for new relationships,new love and building of homes and families of their own. (For Mom that meant new sons or daughters in love and grandchildren to be loved and spoiled!) Prayers change as each new step brings with it new requests and needs. Funny how safety, happiness and guidance always are on the list :)

Normal for me right now looks nothing like I would have pictured it a year ago, but I guess that is what life is really all about. Change, Challenge and making a decision to JUST DO IT. In February of this year I reached one of those 'milestones' in life and decided to take a leap from my 'norm' and began what has become a journey of a lifetime.

 After watching a commercial, with my daughter, for the Susan G Komen 3Day 60 Mile Walk for the Cure, I made a commitment, put on my walking shoes and haven't looked back. Instead of getting out of bed,doing a bit of exercise, and planning a day of 'retirement.' I now get up, have a quick breakfast, grab my walking sticks and am out for my 6 to 15 mile walk. At the present I am averaging 40-50 miles per week. That has NEVER been normal for me. I have never been an athlete so I have shocked myself and my family with the 'new me'.
After experiencing compound fractures in both legs as a teen and breast cancer 6 years ago the decision to create a new normal has been an adventure beyond measure. Turning a couple negatives into a positive by participating in an activity to bring HOPE and help to others has proven to be a very healing process. You can share in the battle My 3Day Walk

So I ask you.."What is your normal?" Life feeling a bit 'sluggish? ' It is never to late and you are never to old to create a new normal and find  a new joy and purpose for living. JUST DO IT!!

Walking Strong      Because Everyone Deserves a Lifetime

Saturday, July 6, 2013


Family...That word alone can bring feelings of joy,safety,support and the warmth of love, or the chill of fear and darkness, loneliness and dread.
When I think of my family my heart nearly explodes with all the emotions and memories that instantly flood my mind. I am "most blessed" as a daughter, wife, Mom, Mother in love,and Grandma. This week as we have had all five of our children,their spouses  and their children (that would be 16 grandchildren:)and cousins with us we have seen and shared the results of 46 years of creating 'our family'.

I was born the 'tag along' child into a family of 8 children to parents who had gone through the depression and knew what hard times and love was all about. Most of my life we lived in the country where Daddy farmed 'on the side' after putting in his hours at a job of manual labor. Momma was a 'stay at home Mom' cause that is what Mom's did. She canned our food, baked our bread,washed our clothes(wringer washer and line dried :)was doctor,nurse,and counselor. Discipline included a switch if deemed needed,but was always fair and consistent. All discipline was balanced by hugs and the assurance from the parent that 'this hurts me more than it does you'. I found that hard to believe as a child but as a Mom I'm pretty convinced it was true. 
Our day ended with a Bible story and prayer as we snuggled beneath our 'stitched with love' quilts. We were never of aware of the day to day struggles with finances and everyday living  that our parents dealt with because those were the burdens for adults.
Our home had the 'OPEN DOOR POLICY'so was the gathering spot for friends and family alike. Laughter and good food was always on the menu.
With that lifestyle as my model I set my goals high as I thought about what MY family would look like. I have found through the years that I have endeavored to glean nuggets of wisdom from my parents,incorporate them in my home, and pray that I would find some gold of my own to add to the mix!
Although we are not a perfect family, you will find FUN,LAUGHTER,LOVE and general chaos always is a part of who we are.
 My diagnosis of breast cancer 6 years ago brought all the kids home, without any planning, their love and laughter and stories of past adventures was the best medicine any Momma could have.
The birth or adoption of a new child brings out the party in all of us!!
The news of someone coming home is an opportunity for a family dinner and maybe the spark needed for another sibling to load up and join us.:)
It has taken 5 years for all the gang to be in one spot at the same time but what a time we've had! 
Jim and I found ourselves in Washington just 18 days ago to welcome our newest grandson as our youngest daughter adopted her 4th child. We stayed to see she and her husband 'swear to care for and cherish' this little bundle and then headed home to prepare for the arrival of our gang and the wedding of our oldest grandson.
Within a two week time we have celebrated a birth, marriage, baby shower, book signing No Maybe Baby by Marcy Hanson,the graduations of 2 grandsons and the wonder of being together!!!
Although the need for each family to get back to their homes and schedules has begun the memories and adventures will continue to bring smiles and chuckles for days,weeks and years to come.
Prayers for safe travels and anticipation of visits to come will be on my agenda for several days to come.