The Beginning of the End

We are on the home stretch of our walk! I have loved having my daughter Sarah walking with me these last 10 days! 

The body is truly showing the wear & tear of miles upon miles of walking and pounding. Other pilgrims are in the same boat and many have had to stop to rest or go home. When I fell the other day and bent my knee back, for a moment I was devastated. I’m so thankful I will be able to continue. Then yesterday I got stung or bit by something on the rear! Very humbling to have to go and ask the Pharmacist how to treat it! ūüė© Bottom line… I’m not giving up!

The “Way” has changed drastically since Sarria. This city is where many “tourist Pilgrims” hop on the path. One has to walk 100kilometers to achieve a Compestella or certificate of achievement. These folks are easier to recognize, they walk faster, in big groups, wearing new shoes, and they smell better than the 500k Pilgrims. It is hard not to be judgmental and want to have preferential treatment for being a “real pilgrim”. A beautiful lesson about this whole journey is to be accepting, gracious, and loving towards every person walking “The Way”. Every age, walk of life, nationality, language and gender is represented and we are all in this together! 

As I look back over the last 37 days of being on Pilgrimage, I can say with a grateful heart, this has been a life changing experience! My Camino coach says it took him a month to process all he needed to! We have 3 days left of walking and I want to treasure every moment! I am anticipating walking into Santiago on Sunday morning after a short 10k walk! I have heard from our friends who are already there, that they have experienced overwhelming pride and joy, and others have said it was not what they expected! I’m not sure what I will feel but gratitude will be at the top of my list! Gratitude for a family, friends and colleagues whom have supported, encouraged and made possible this journey! I have relied on others to help me succeed! Grateful to Jill (my Camino buddy) who put up with me and all our differences! 

Thanks to all of you! You’re a blessing to me! 
Sue

Horseback and a Fall

June 3

Las Herrerias to Fonfria ! Mixed it up with riding horseback to OCeberio ! Very fun way to climb a mountain! Of course, I got the horse who had gas, poops and atitude!


June 5

The last two days have been so beautiful! Some of the prettiest walking through Galicia! We are beginning to count down the days as our bodies are showing the wear and tear of lots of miles/kilometers!

Today I slipped down a steep gravel hill, my leg got some gashes and my knee bent backwards! Thankfully the knee is okay and I’m treating the scraps with topical antibiotics! For a moment, I was scared that my ability to finish walking might have been threatened (feelings of heartbrokenness) but I think I’m good to go for a 22k day tomorrow! Prayers for both mine and Jill’s legs appreciated!

Sue

How’s Your Camino Heart?

Hello my dear friends, 

I’m sorry I’m not blogging more but I have come to realize that at the end of the day I’m exhausted and I forget all that I want to share with you!

After 13 days of walking, 3 days of riding bikes (which was not easier) through the rain and 3 days of rest, we are walking again! It is truly amazing how much your body begins to crave it! We thought the bike riding would be easier but NOT!! It’s much more a cardio workout and the butt soreness was something else! It was a great/different challenge but I’m glad to be walking again. 

This morning I got a text from my “Camino Coach”; asking “How’s my Camino Heart?” 

The first few weeks emotions were flooding me but now after 22 days there is a normalcy setting in. 

I truly believe I have an open heart each day. What will today bring? What meaningful conversations will I have? Who will I meet etc. So today, I was processing that question with a fellow Pilgrim and I heard or recalled the Bible verse; “Cease striving and know that I am God”. What did that mean for me? Then we see a Camino marker with a heart painted on a rock…hummmm? Is this a message for me?


One of the reasons for my Pilgrimage is to have the time and head space to seek God’s direction for the next step in my personal life; more schooling, do I want to teach, specialize in something, start a new ministry? Not sure the direction I should or want to go. 

My husband says that I am driven and always working on something or trying to accomplish some goal. But the “Cease striving” felt loud and clear from the Lord today. But what does that look like? I have no idea! 

I asked God to bring clarity for me. The things he brought to mind were;

  • *I love it in the mornings my oldest daughter & I have a cup of coffee together before the day starts and we go our own direction
  • *I love to just sit & chat with my husband & girls 
  • *I love to listen to my husband play the guitar
  • *I love to be able to walk with a friend
  • I love to BBQ, have family & friends over
  • I love some spontaneity 

You get my meaning!  

So I guess my question is “How’s your “Life Heart?”  Is there something that you need to “cease striving” for ? Maybe like me today, it’s just to have an open and still heart to see what God may bring your way! 

Buen Camino my dear friends & family… I truly do love & miss you! 

Sue

Half way Compestella

“How Are Your Feet?”

We just finished day 13 of walking! For Mother’s Day we decide to stay in a hotel converted from a hospital! Ironic really! 


Belarado. May 14

I have seen a real switch in conversation with people! It has moved from “why are you doing the Camino” to “how are your feet?”. I am intimately aware of how everyone’s feet are around me! Even when we stop for coffee/lunch, the shoes and socks come off , and the examination of the blisters are now table talk! 

Granon. May 13

We have figured out that if we go 13 to 15 miles a day we are good but anything after that the body really starts breaking down! I have a shinsplints and about 4 blisters but otherwise, I’m doing pretty well! 

Villafranca Montes de Oca. May 14

It really a must to be in tune with your own body! We need to listen to yourself and gauge what your body can tolerate day after day! 

Castidelgado. May 14

Isn’t  that so true and daily life? Why do we not pay more attention to our own body, mind and spirit!? We need to nurture, care and know our limitations so we can be the best we can be! 

Sue
Sent from my iPad

Let It Go!

Hello from Spain! 

 

We are eight days in of walking and 32 more to go! I’m in a little town called Torres Del Rio. We pushed through today and did about 39k (18-19 miles) ! I am physically doing good with only two blisters on some toes! 

I can honestly say the last couple of days have been emotionally difficult. I dropped my phone and broke it! I was truly beside myself! For over two days I had nothing to communicate with or even how to navigate! It was also my camera, so no photos. I tried to not be discouraged but to no avail. I was a mess! The tears came unabashedly as well as the frustration. 

I bused it into Pamplona alone and navigated the city only to be told, yep, it’s broken and ten days from now it might be fixed. They had an iPad mini refurbished for half the price, so I got it.  Cool, here we go!

NOT!  I forgot my passwords because I had taken a picture of them with my phone! So, again ten days for Apple to recover the settings because I was now locked out. 

Do you see how I am being sifted? I’m beginning to get Gods message for me… “Let it go and focus on me!”  

So today, through my letting this go, the encouragement of my walking partner and a great group of people, I had a new attitude.  So today was a great day! I felt like all those “crutches”  I have are being striped away! And we walked longer today because we were with great people. 

We got to our hostel and I was sitting by the pool. One of the guys asked how it was going with the solution to my broken phone. I told him about how I have been locked out of all my accounts. He said “I used to work at the phone store. Give me that. I will figure it out!”  And so he did! And I am back online, without a phone, but have access to apps! 

I can’t begin to tell you how true it is that the Camino provides! I had the privilege of helping a lady who had pain today and in turn,  I was helped immensely. It wasn’t until I was able to lay it all down that I got it back!

I wonder what distractions we need to lay down so that we can hear or listen to what God or our minds need us to hear!?

I am exhausted today but invigorated by God and people’s goodness!

Sue

Sent from my iPad

Day 4. Walking for 9 Hours.

Today was day 4 of our journey on the Camino! I’m so sorry that I’m not writing more… I’m exhausted from 9 hours of walking each day!

We made it to the famous old city of Pamplona where the running of the bulls takes place!

I’m doing okay but hurt in places I never knew existed (I’ll spare you the details)!

We have been staying in hostels/albergues with other Pilgrims. I am meeting some amazing people along “the way”! Everyone has a story of why they are doing the Camino and for the most part are willing to share; the 18yr old gal who has worked so hard in high school but not quite sure what she wants to do in college, or the gal deciding whether to end her 42 years marriage after finding out ¬†her husband is having an affair. But the most profound story I’ve heard this far, is the 43-year-old man with 10-year-old twins who has spent the last years suffering from cancer. Three months ago he was unable to walk after spending six weeks in the hospital. And today, three months later he is walking the Camino to try and live joyfully! I am moved by all of the stories!

Today we went to the top of a hill (one of the many) where a church was. We went in for a time of prayer and was given the Beatitudes of a Pilgrim. We then could write a prayer and leave it at the foot of the cross!

I have had time to think and it’s amazing with the rhythm of walking where my mind goes!

My fitbit says 16 miles!

My new best friends have become my walking sticks. ¬†Almost every Pilgrim has a set. These sticks provide balance, stability, keep me from falling, absorb 30-40% of the pressure my knees and hips, push me up a hill and keep my hands from swelling. I have come to depend on them because one fall or twisted ankle and the walk could be over! ¬†We all have some sort of crutch in our lives…. but the question is, does it help you live a healthier, happier or holier life… then I say use them!!

Tomorrow we are going to take it a little easy and let our bodies rest and adjust!

Buen Camino,

Sue

The First Three Camino Days

MAY 4 ¬†The first 3 days have been extremely hard, but exhilarating! I’m learning that one has to do the Camino your own way! As I climbed the Pyrenees, I sensed I was the last in the pack. The innate pressure to keep up with everyone else has to be let go. Hearing about how to do the Camino and actually doing it are very different things!

MAY 4  They said it was only 13.9 miles today but it was really 19!  Hard but great day! Knee was yelling at me about but staying strong! Meeting the best people!

MAY 3  The first 2 days of walking have been amazing! These are claimed to be the hardest Camino days! Yesterday, it rained, was all uphill and today about 75% uphill and the last 25% straight down! I have learned how quickly people get hyperthermia. I am meeting people from all over the world who are walking for many different reasons.

The 2 most powerful things today were getting to the top of the mountain pass and walking into the monastery after 13 miles! I must admit, I’m exhausted! I would write more but fatigue has set in… well it could be the wine too! Buen Camino for tonight.

 

 

And so it begins!

We have arrived at St Jean Pied de Port!

 

We got our Pilgrims Passport and are ready to begin walking tomorrow, uphill all the way! It’s suppose to rain most of the day… yikes! Amazing people we have met.

 

 

And so it begins!

Love,

Sue

 

Here We Go!

The day is here…I can’t believe it! Close to two years of thinking, planning and plotting have arrived!

On Sunday some family and friends gathered to send me off. These are the people who have prayed, encouraged and walked (life) with me. I was humbled as many circled around me and prayed for this journey.

My simple prayer is “Lord please keep me safe, well and walking!”.

The Pilgrim’s journey to Santiago begins at the front door of one’s own home. The pack is ready, the shoes broken in, and only the bare necessities are being carried.

(I’m also on the Walk to End¬†Alzheimer’s -notice the shoe laces-a disease my Grandmother had.)

So I’m off to Paris, France first thing in the morning. I will meet up with my walking buddy, Jill, for a day to explore Paris on Saturday. Then on Monday, May 1 we will head to the Southern border of France, a town called St. Jean Pied de Port. This is where the walking of 500 miles will begin!

The first two days are up over the Pyrenees mountains and has been known to be the hardest part of the walk. I will let you know if I agree!

 

Starting May 1, I will be reading and journaling though the book, ¬†The Ascent to Santiago.¬†¬†My cousin, Ron Ottenad, wrote this after his Camino experience. I invite you to¬†read and journal along with me if you’re so inclined!

 

 

I ask for your prayers as I travel alone to Paris for the first few days. Thank you for all your encouragement and prayers!  I know you believe in me.

Talk to you soon.

Blessings,

Sue

What Is “The Way” And Why In The World Would I Want To Walk 500 Miles?

The Camino de Santiago means… “The Way of St. James,” This is an Christian Pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain. The legend believes this is where the remains of the apostle James lie.

Today, many people walk the 500 miles of the Camino for their own reasons. Some want a religious reflection time or an emotional healing, a challenge or just for fun! My reasons are not as clear cut! I only heard about the 500 mile Pilgrimage a couple of years ago. My cousin decided to walk this journey; he blogged and wrote a book about it! I was drawn in and immediately in awe of the experience. I remember thinking… “I have to do this”!!! I am in a transition phase in my life and it makes sense to walk this journey now!! To be very honest, I am afraid to wait! So in 22 days I will begin my Camino journey!

I have been preparing for 2 years, physically (sort of), emotionally, and spiritually!

Physically: I have struggled with my weight my whole life and it has prevented me from doing many things. I decided I wanted to do this, I could do this, and by God’s strength I will do it!!!

Emotionally: spending the last several years finishing my Bachelors & Masters Degrees plus 3000 clinical hours in pursuit of becoming a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist…I finished and am in private practice. One of the things I impress upon my clients is how important their own emotional health is and each person must be their own advocates! How can I teach this if I don’t model it!!

Spiritually: I have known the Lord since I was 13. I believe in Jesus with my whole heart! I know that I need some time and head space to hear from the Lord in this next phase of my life! I want to walk to listen and be ready to hear from the Lord! I’m not expecting any great revelations…. just His still quiet voice without the clutter of life!
So there you go!
In 22 days I will head to Paris, meet up with my walking partner and head to St.Jean Pied de Port to begin this 500 mile, 40 day walk across northern Spain to Santiago! I invite you to follow me, pray for me and participate in my Pilgrimage along the Way!