Camino de Santiago

Month: December, 2015

Making Room


“An attitude of receptivity to life is the beginning of grace.” Fran Ferder

I read this quote earlier this month and it has been quickly becoming my new favorite quote. I kept turning it over and over in my mind and I had decided I wanted to write the next blog using this quote. It seemed every other day I had a new idea or thought using this quote that I wanted to share with you. In fact, a new insight occurred this morning as a result of the Christmas sermon we heard today in Church.

The Christmas sermon today was regarding the two words, “no room”. Those were the words spoken to Joseph and Mary when they were looking for a place to spend the night. The innkeeper replied he had “no room” for them. They instead found shelter in a barn for the night and we all know the rest of the story.

This sermon got me thinking about this quote again. It seems to me that in order for those special times of grace to appear in our lives we must “make room”. So not only do we need to have an attitude of receptivity to life, we also need to have “space or room” to see, taste, smell, feel or hear life around us.

Being available, by creating space or “room” for life, is something we all need to work at these days. I know for me it is very easy to be distracted and preoccupied by so many “other things” that are not as important. Some examples that come to mind include: our “smart phone addictions”, our “football addictions”, our “video game addictions”, our preoccupation with the latest gadgets, you get the idea.

When we fill up all the available space and room with these “addictions” that distract us, then we are surely going to miss out on those special moments of grace. In particular, those important “grace moments” we might have had with our spouses, children, family members, friends, co-workers, the checker at the store or the neighbor next door.

We saw this happening as well on our Camino walk. In the Albergues where stayed overnight, there was often Wi-Fi available for us to use. The available time talking with our fellow pilgrims was “squeezed out” as many of us were busily distracting ourselves with our smart phones or tablets. We just filled up the space and missed out on those “grace moments” with our fellow pilgrims.

As we approach the end of this year and we begin to think about our New Year’s resolutions, I propose we all think about creating more room in our lives for people and less time being distracted and preoccupied!



Photograph of the Week

Winter Comes To Lake 22

One of the most popular hikes in the local area is Lake 22 up on the Mountain Loop Hwy out of Everett. It is a hike you can almost any time of year (tough to get up there right now with all the snow we had in last week!). What makes Lake 22 unique is its beautiful setting with the steep mountain cirque surrounding the lake and a trail you can follow all the way around the lake.





Strong Legs Strong Mind

140910-Camino Photos-13-John's Legs

One of the gifts that I have been given is a strong pair of legs. Growing up on the lower portion of Queen Anne hill was also a blessing, as it got me started young in climbing up hills. We walked about a mile to school each day and the first four or five blocks where all up hill. So it was only natural for me I guess to love walking up hills!

Walking the Camino, we encountered several mountain passes we had to cross, the first and largest one, was the first day of the walk. We climbed a total of 4600 feet and then descended back down another 1600 feet before arriving at our destination, Roncesvalles. Boy, were we tired that night and thankful for a place to rest our heads! Those strong legs and my love of hiking up hills served me well that day.

I have also worked very hard this past year, to keep my legs fit as I realize how important they are to keeping my love of hiking up hills going! I recently came across a New York Times article on another benefit of a keeping a strong set of legs, it may lead to a stronger mind! A new identical twins study has found that there is a link between muscular power (especially in the legs) and a sharper mind.

One of the reasons I was so intrigued by this research study, is due to the fact that my mother had Alzheimer’s disease. My siblings and I all share the concern we might also find ourselves victims of this disease. As a result of this concern, several of my sisters have been very proactively working to keep their minds sharp (e.g. learning to play piano, taking a foreign language). Now it looks like my hiking is also going be helpful as well!

The study “results imply that whatever your genetic make-up, building muscles can strengthen your mind, and should your legs currently be spindly, you might want to consider walking, running, standing or dancing more often.”

So there is my word of encouragement for you all! Keep moving and building up those leg muscles!

Here is the NY Times article for those that are interested.

Brawn and Brains



Photograph of the Week

Elliot Flowing

This image was taken during a hike this late fall to Goat Lake (Trail off the Mountain Loop Highway). It was rainy, cold hike along a beautiful creek (Elliot Creek). This photograph was taken near the beautiful falls that are just below Goat Lake.