We all have many means of recording our mileage.  When training for my last adventure at our parish park, there are mile markers along the trail indicating each and every mile. I never hiked that I did not announce to the group each and every mile marker we passed.

As you wind through the woods you are always aware of how far you have been by the signs along the way.

When I travel to and fro to Texas, the mile markers along the interstate keep me attuned to how far I have been and how far I have left to go.  It becomes a game to count off the miles and watch those markers fly by.

This one turns over my tickle box.

Several of my friends and family have these fancy GPS watches which give them an update on their daily mileage of their workouts.  They then post the information on their Strava App for all the world to share.

We seem to all be suffering from the need to know our exact mileage whether traveling by foot, on a bike, in the water, or in a car.  All cars are now equipped with a Trip Indicator.  What is the deal with our need to know?  

One of the lessons I have learned from my hiking trips is the mileage is not nearly as important as the scenery along the way.  Though I wear a fitbit, I can honestly say I never looked at it to see how many steps I had taken nor how far I had been while hiking through the Grand Canyon.  The breath-taking beauty of the trek was far more important than how far I had been.  What would I have missed had I been consumed with how far I had been instead of the wonders I had passed.

So it is with life, we become so obsessed with our ways of counting  that we miss the beauty of the trip along the way.  How much money am I making, how many degrees do I have, how many people did I see today, how big is my house, how many awards have I received, --how many friends do I have on Facebook, how many hits on the blog were there today--on and on--we are counting to determine how well we are doing.  Sadly we often skip over the important things and sometimes altogether miss them with our obsession with keeping track of the numbers.  

Always thankful for these reminders and I am practicing keeping my eyes open as I trek along this path of life for I am surrounded with the glories of the Lord's creation.

A man’s heart plans his way,

But the Lord directs his steps.
Proverbs 16:9


For those of you who are not Facebook friends, I have been off on my latest adventure---Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon--via Nevada, Utah, and Arizona.  With a different stopping place all but two nights of the week, when we were camping at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, I spent a great deal of the time trying to figure out just what time it was.  You see Arizona does not observe Daylight Savings Time and Nevada is in a different time zone and it certainly was not the same time as Louisiana.  WHY it made ANY difference, I cannot explain---except for my crazy NEED to know what time it is.

Though it certainly was an excellent adventure, my post is not a recount of all we did, but instead one incident filled with lessons from above.  The next to last day of hiking was down in the Grand Canyon in the Havsau Falls area. The 
Havasupai Indians own this area at the bottom of the Canyon where we spent three days 
and two night soaking in the wonders.  The second full day, after hiking the ten miles down to our campsite the day before, we were to go on a guided tour to a series of waterfalls.

The first waterfall we had read plenty about and knew it would be a very difficult hike--BUT it was only a mile or two away.

It was VERY difficult!  We then forded the creek several times hiking to the next two falls--the last of which is Beaver Falls.  What we DID NOT know was how difficult the last two plus miles of the trek would be.   More ladders--more rock walls and steps.  When we finally reached Beaver Falls, I opted to view from above and skip the last two ladder descents in an effort to give my legs a chance to rest.

We start our trek back--only one way in and out--which means--climbing the same set of steps, ladders, and trails.   As I rounded a corner and looked down at the trail, I knew this switchback would be slippery.  The scree and sand on top of the rock make for little traction.  I looked down and thought, watch your step and the next thing I knew I was on my way down the slope.  When I finally stopped sliding, I began to take inventory.  At first I was very concerned, but after slowly getting up and deciding nothing was broken I was relieved, but my ankle was definitely sprained.  Then we noticed the gash in my arm---thank goodness for my nurse friend, Sonja.  Pulling the skin together on the cut and bandaging all the trail rash, we head out again.  For you see--even though it was painful--there was no option but getting up and getting going.  It was over two miles back including climbing up the chains and ladders at Mooney Falls, but the only way out was one foot in front of the other until I reached our camp.

The thing that seemed to work was to keep moving forward--even in pain.  It was much more painful to keep it still than to try to slowly move forward.  Even in pain, forward motion was the best answer.  With slow determination, I took each step--forded those streams, climbed those ladders,  scaled those rock steps inside the caves and kept moving forward.  The campground and my tent were a welcome sight after seven hours of hiking--but I made it!  

I survived  hiking out and hiked the next day the two plus miles to the helicopter pad for the lift to the top.  (Good sense prevailed and I did not even consider the eight additional miles up and out of the canyon.)  Since returning home, my wounds have gotten better every day with a lovely rainbow of colors all over both legs.  

So it is with life--there are times we are in intense pain--sometimes coming with no warning.  The answer is always to continue to put one foot in front of the other.  Sometimes the forward motion keeps our minds off the pain and sometimes the forward motion makes the pain less--but the forward motion is always the best answer.  Standing at a standstill only draws our attention to the pain and does little to aid our recovery.  I decided a LONG time ago, while running -All Forward Motion Counts--Once again God has reminded me of the truth in this statement.  He is always by my side--- giving me a helping hand--and knows my pain.  God is my crutch in the midst of it all-He is my strong right arm.  Keep your eyes upon Him and keep marching forward---one foot in front of the other until you reach the finish line---all forward motion counts.

the great trials which your eyes saw
 and the signs and the wonders 
and the mighty hand and the outstretched arm
 by which the LORD your God brought you out
Deuteronomy 7:19