PSALM 139

14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

I think of that verse every day when I get up. Before my coffee and a little makeup it’s on the fearful side, but after those I can at least move toward something akin to wonderful.

This post falls under the category of “what is wrong with this woman?”

I grew up a plain dumpy little girl in homemade clothes, sensible shoes, and certainly no makeup.

I think God meant for me to be a mommy to three girls. When they were little I loved dressing them in glittery clothes, light up sneakers, and lots of animal prints. I was born to unleash those girls to be extra wonderful and I reveled in it.

As they grew I allowed myself to dip my toes in to the waters of sparkly clothes, high heeled shoes, eyeliner, and bright pink lipstick. I even indulge in the occasional mani/pedi.

Granddaughter on the left – Lady M on the right

Shoes by Kate Spade (on sale)

Now as I pack for the Camino I realize that I’ll have no need to ponder the perfect outfit for each day, no need for eyeliner, and certainly not my Kate Spade’s. The Camino is not a catwalk, it’s a pilgrimage and God sees me just as I am. Not a dumpy little girl and not carefully applied lipliner. Just me as I am.

Perhaps some of the earlier verses in Psalm 139 express it best…

1 O Lord, you have searched me and known me.

2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away.

3 You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.

4 Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely.

5 You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it.

I thought I was going to walk the Camino to face God, but perhaps I’m meant to just face myself. Perhaps I’m doing that already.

Can I at least pack one lipstick? 💋💄😊

HOW MUCH STUFF DO I NEED?

I think I have pared my back pack down considerably. The last time I weighed it it was 14.96 pounds. Today it is 13.7 pounds. I took out some clothing and some small items that I discovered we had duplicated in our packs. I even took out my Bluetooth keyboard that I bought especially for the Camino to keep my journal with. Removing that did eliminate 5 ounces.

But I’m still worried. I’m worried that I’ll need something and I just won’t have it. And I’m worried that my pack is still too heavy and I’ll have trouble carrying it every day.

So I’m trying to take comfort in the words of two of my favorite philosophers.

“It is when I possess least that I have the fewest worries and the Lord knows that, as far as I can tell, I am more afflicted when there is excess of anything than when there is lack of it; I am not sure if that is the Lord’s doing, but I have noticed that He provides for us immediately.”

Excerpt from The Way of Perfection

Teresa of Avila

16th century Carmelite nun & Spanish mystic

“Your house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on it.”

George Carlin

Comedian extraordinaire

Click here to here more from George about stuff

BE SURE TO PACK A CONDOM…OR TWO 😉

Ok get your minds out of the gutter. This post goes under the subject of weird stuff to bring on the Camino.

As you know at the beginning of this trek I wanted shoes/boots with good ankle support and that are waterproof. Over time while the boots I had were comfortable, they were just too heavy so I switched to a breathable, lightweight trail runner.

I really like these shoes but if you’ve been following this blog you’ll know that I had a problem with some ankle deep mud. So I’ve been on a quest to find something to waterproof my shoes without undoing the breathability factor.

At first I thought that maybe I could put my shoe into a plastic bag and secure it with duct tape around my ankle. Perfect, right? Well walking in the bag is a bit slippery so it’s not a good solution.

Then I tried some hospital type shoe covers. These come off easily. I could try to secure them with duct tape but it would take a lot of tape to make them waterproof at the edges.

Then I found what I think is the perfect solution.

CONDOMS! Or to be more precise SHOE CONDOMS*

https://www.google.com/amp/s/nypost.com/2019/05/21/shoe-condoms-are-here-to-protect-your-footwear-this-summer/amp/

You just slip them on over the shoes and…voila! Shoes that are now waterproof.

And unlike regular condoms…these are reusable 😉

*I received no compensation for including this link

ROCKIN’ ON THE CAMINO

Today we are rock hunting in Zanesville. There’s a farm there that sits on a huge deposit of flint. We thought that for our rocks to take on the Camino it would be good to bring something special from Ohio.

There is a tradition that pilgrims bring a rock with them on the Camino. Originally the rock symbolized the sins of the pilgrim. This is still true today but the stone can also have other meanings. For some it is a symbol of their presence on the Camino, for others it represents a prayer request, and for still others it is a burden they are coming to grips with. It is also a tradition to leave the rock at the base of the Cruz de Ferro or Iron Cross. The Iron Cross is located at the highest point along the Camino Frances.

Today is an extra good day because our daughters and grandchildren are here with us hunting for rocks, the weather is warm but not sticky, and we’re having a potluck picnic after the rock hunting.

Everyone is having fun and I’m watching them. I keep picking up rocks for myself but I don’t know which is the one to take. Some people say a rock will speak to you but these are silent. Or maybe I’m just not listening hard enough.

When Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday the crowd was shouting his name and telling of all the wonderful things he had done. The Pharisees were annoyed by this and they called to Jesus to silence the crowd.

He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”

Luke 19:40

I guess the stones in Jerusalem were chattier than the ones in Zanesville 😕

WHAT WILL THE TEMPERATURE BE???

There is a heat wave right now in Europe. It’s been described as hellish, sizzling, and scorching 😩

I took each of my girls to France when they were teenagers and I always remember Paris as being sweltering in July. We stayed with my cousin and her apartment had no air conditioning. This was not good. Leaving the windows open at night when there was some respite from the heat was a double edged sword. Yes it was marginally cooler but the street noise kept us awake and since she had no screens on the windows the aerial assault of mosquitoes was a force to be reckoned with.

🦟🦟🦟🦟😮

I have a weather app in which I entered most of the towns along the Camino. This is a sampling of the temperatures today.

I can only hope that the humidity isn’t that high 🥵

BEADS! THEY’RE NOT JUST FOR JEWELRY

The desert fathers and mothers often used beads to help them focus in their prayer times. This is true across religions. Islam, Catholicism, Buddhism, Greek Orthodox, and more all use prayer beads. I bought myself a rosary (and I’m not catholic) made of olive wood 15 years ago while visiting Norte Dame de Paris with my oldest daughter. I would pray a verse of scripture and meditate on its meaning

For my birthday my husband bought me a beautiful rosary dedicated to St. James and the Camino de Santiago. Santiago means Saint James. It’s really pretty as you can see.

However I’ve decided to not take it on the Camino. It’s quite heavy and I don’t feel comfortable carrying it while I pray and walk. So I found this smaller simpler rosary to take on the Camino.

Since I’m not catholic I don’t really know how to say a rosary. My understanding is that one starts with the crucifix/cross and recites the apostle’s creed , the next bead is for the Lord’s Prayer, the smaller beads are for the Hail Mary, and then the Glory Be, also known as the Gloria Patri.

The Hail Mary feels a little long for me to memorize so I’ve decided to say the Jesus prayer instead.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.

Or…the expurgated version…Jesus Christ have mercy on me.

Most of the time I like to sing the Gloria Patri. I wasn’t really raised in the church but for a time we did attend a Lutheran church and we did sing the Gloria Patri every worship service as part of the liturgy. My heart feels a little closer to God when I sing it.

🎼 Glory be to the Father,

🎼 and to the Son

🎼 and to the Holy Ghost.

🎼 As it was in the beginning,

🎼 is now and ever shall be.

🎼 World without end.

🎼 Amen Amen

So that’s part of my prayer plan for the Camino. I know I’ll be in good company since the desert mothers and fathers, the saints of old, and the great cloud of witnesses all used some type of bead or stone to help them focus on their prayers. I won’t be alone as I take this exciting external and internal journey.

DOING THE PASO DOBLE

My husband got a package in the mail. He actually gets a lot of packages…very small quick drying towels, tiny cork screws, chewable tablets of toothpaste, you know…stuff to take on the Camino. So I didn’t think anything about this one. It’s probably one more thing that I had no idea existed. Well I know you’re just dying to know what was in it so I won’t keep you in suspense any longer. He ordered a bunch of CDs of Spanish music. No kidding it was all Spanish music! And the one on top really caught my eye. It was Bullfight Music From Spain.

I just had to put it on right away. The trumpets heralding the matador into the ring, the castanets clacking like tap dancers. That bullfighting music with its pulsing beat filled me with a desire to get up and dance.

When I was little my dad used to say that if I was tired of walking I could always run. Well if I get tired of walking on the Camino I just might dance to some bullfight music.

💃🏻🕺🏻

If you want to see what some good bullfighting music can do, check out this YouTube clip from the movie Shall We Dance where the character Link (Stanley Tucci) dances the Paso Doble to this well known Spanish music. Warning: there is a little spicy language in the beginning.

https://youtu.be/NUXt-stAcRw

FRAILTY THY NAME IS WOMAN

That’s the line that Shakespeare’s Hamlet says in response to his mother’s quick remarriage after his father’s death. Hamlet, and I suppose Shakespeare are talking about an emotional frailty not her physical stamina. But that line has been dogging (no pun intended and you’ll soon see why I say that) for the last week.

Last week I called my youngest daughter and asked if I could spend some time with my grandson. He’s two years old. My husband is out of town and since my time is all my own I thought it would be perfect. It turns out that her husband was also out of town so it was doubly ideal that I was available.

We set a time for 1:00 pm as they have a nanny in the morning so I could be at their home when she dropped him off. Then my daughter asked if I could come a little early to take their dog Coco for a walk. I love dogs and said yes.

Coco is a beautiful mixed breed dog that they found at a shelter. I don’t know her make up, but she’s a short haired hound that probably weighs about 40 pounds. This is in contrast to my Pico, a Maltese/Shih Tzu who weighs 12 pounds.

So I showed up early and took Coco for a walk.

That evening I told my daughter that Coco and I were fine but whereas I just hold the leash so Pico can’t wander too much I wasn’t prepared for how hard Coco could tug on the leash. That’s when she told me her husband was concerned about me walking Coco because I’m such a “dainty woman”

What?! 😮 Dainty?! Me???

How can I walk the Camino if I’m dainty? I need to be tough. The soles of my feet must be like leather, my muscles strong, my stamina unsurpassed. I can’t be dainty!

Dainty prances around but can’t possible climb a mountain. Dainty will melt in the rain or wither in the heat!

What if I really am dainty and can’t walk the Camino? Yesterday I walked 13.5 miles and today I walked 6.3 miles. Now I have a blister on my little toe and it hurts. I limped from the parking lot to the Apple Store to take a videography class this afternoon and it hurt 😖😫😟

Please God, give me strength and courage to make this pilgrimage. Walk beside me and hold my hand when it gets tough. Turn this fear to peace. And God…help my blister to heal quickly. Amen

Psalm 28:7 (NRSV)

The Lord is my strength and my shield;

    in him my heart trusts;

so I am helped, and my heart exults,

    and with my song I give thanks to him.

Note: I had great time with my grandson 🤗

AN ALTAR UPDATE

On May 20th I wrote a post about finding an altar of rocks along the path I was walking. Since then a devastating tornado ripped through Dayton leaving my home untouched and the walls of other homes torn apart so you can see into the rooms like a child’s dollhouse.

Last Sunday we were taking another long walk that took us through the metro park past the dam. I was thinking about all the destruction that tornado wrought and I wondered if my little altar of rocks had survived.

Picture taken May 19th
Picture taken June 2nd

Now I know that the tornado didn’t pass by the dam so I shouldn’t have been anxious or surprised to see that the altar was still there. But there was something that spoke to me after seeing trees with three foot diameter trunks be uprooted and yet these stones, gently and carefully placed one atop the other should remain unscathed.

The grass withers, the flower fades;
    but the word of our God will stand forever

Isaiah 40:8