Living Sacrifice

Monday, July 31, 2006


The word on my mind tonight is "healing."

Over the past several years, I have dealt with some serious issues in my life, which I have addressed before, and never have I received complete healing from these aspects of my life, which combine both hurt and sin for me. Struggles. Hardships. Turning away from God. And though I desire freedom, I've come to realize that maybe I haven't desired it enough to give it all up for a relationship with Christ. I hold onto things, not willing to leave them behind. I often live in the past, I live in sin, I live amidst my selfish endeavors and within my own mind. I am detrimental to my own health. I hurt myself.....and yet, instead of choosing the path God has designed for me (which seems harder, but yet I know it offers optimal joy), I choose my path. My path of destruction.

Lately, I have found myself at a very low point in my life. At the moment, I have nothing to define myself. I have no job, I have no hobbies, and I have minimal faith, and so I am faced with....Me. I am faced with questions like "what defines me?" and "who am I....really?" I am left to explore. To discover. Who is this person I have lived with for 23 years? Who is she? I wonder if much of my life has been a lie.....I've lied to myself about who I really am and what I really enjoy. And in that process, I've left behind the most important parts of myself.....lost part of myself in the process. Now, I'd like to pick up the pieces and start from the beginning, but the question that follows is "how do I do that?"

I don't know.

And I also have to ask myself: Do I really want to get better? Do I really want to move on? Because part of me says that I like being this way. I like being sad. Cooped up. Selfish. Depressed. But that can't be true.

I wrote a letter of confession to Cathy a couple of days ago, and she sent me the most beautiful, heart-felt response. I just finished reading it. And so many thoughts go through my mind. There is a love shown that I can't understand. Why do people still love me even through all of my crap? My mind really can't comprehend it, but I know the only explanation is that it is not a humanly love, but instead Christ's love dwelling inside of Cathy.....and her obedience to listen.

I do desire freedom. I desire to find myself again.....the person who has been lost for so long in tears and depression and self-hatred.....the person who God made for the purpose of loving others in the deepest sense of the word, love that has no explanation except that it exists unconditionally for all people.

I hope tomorrow that I can get out and sort through some of these thoughts and emotions. Hopefully pray, which I have done very little of for a long time. I need to find some answers, and after living for 23 years and often trying to do things on my own, I have learned that the only real answers lay in the hands of a loving God.

I’d like to end this post with a song from Phantom of the Opera (which I watched tonight). This song reminded me of a conversation that might possibly exist between God and myself (or anyone else for that matter). It’s a song sung between Christine and Raoul. You can insert your name for Christine’s and God for Raoul’s. It’s pretty awesome.

All I Ask of You

No more talk of darkness,
forget these wide-eyed fears;
I'm here, nothing can harm you,
my words will warm and calm you.
Let me be your freedom,
let daylight dry your tears;
I'm here, with you, beside you,
to guard you and to guide you.

Say you'll love me every waking moment;
turn my head with talk of summertime.
Say you need me with you now and always;
promise me that all you say is true,
that's all I ask of you.

Let me be your shelter,
let me be your light;
you're safe, no one will find you,
your fears are far behind you.

All I want is freedom,
a world with no more night;
and you, always beside me,
to hold me and to hide me.

Then say you'll share with me one love, one lifetime;
let me lead you from you solitude.
Say you want me with you, here beside you,
anywhere you go, let me go too,
that's all I ask of you.

Say you'll share with me one love, one lifetime.

Say the word and I will follow you.
Share each day with me, each night, each morning.

Say you love me...


You know I do.

Love me, that's all I ask of you.
Love me...
that's all I ask of you.

Saturday, July 29, 2006


Does anyone know where I can find apartments or homes to rent on a month-by-month basis? I don't have a job yet, but I've GOT to get out of this house. Please help.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Changes Come

Well, today is the day. The last day for the Osterdays to attend church before they move down to good 'ol Kentucky to start some new roots there. It's going to be hard for Christi to be Forever My Roomie if she lives 3 hours away, but I know we'll work it out somehow ;)

Going to miss them so much. Things will definitely not be the same without them around. BUT....I know that their lives are going to bless the pants off of so many new faces in KY and that God is going to use them in huge ways, so I can't be selfish and hog them all to myself for the rest of their lives, right? Obviously, KY needs a little TLC from the Osterdays, and I know that Christi and Eric will deliver! :) It's what they do best.

Love you guys.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Life Goes On

My trip to Oxford this weekend was well worth the $45 in gas. Yes, gas is outrageous, and if I don't get a job soon, I'm going to be broke.

I was surprised to find how much I felt at home in Oxford after being gone for over 4 months. Church was especially awesome. Being around everyone there always seems to bring me back to my roots and remind me what life is really all about. I tend to forget a lot. But when I go there, my excitement for God and what He is doing in all of us always seems to get ignited inside of me. And I am always amazed at how much love is felt among all of us there. It's definitely something supernatural, because that kind of love isn't found just anywhere, and I don't think it is a natural human tendency to be that way. It's a reliance on one can take the credit for it. And I am so grateful for the family of people who love me no matter what. And I mean NO MATTER WHAT.

I also got to talk to Micah and visit Megan. Both were totally awesome and made me really happy. And I had dinner with Jared, which was weird I guess, but really good to see him again and give him a hug. Also got to have lunch with Eric and Christi. They are going to be greatly missed.

So after this weekend, I still have no clue what I am going to do with myself, but for now, I am cat-sitting/house-sitting for the next 10 days, with a 2 1/2 day break to go camping this weekend with Veritas. Really looking forward to camping. I miss the forest and the trail, so it will feel good to get the tent out again. And Glenn and Cathy just bought a tent that has a built in front porch, and Cathy said I had permission to sit in it if I came. Sweet. :) The house sitting should be cool, too, because the lady lives right across from the YMCA, and the condos have an outdoor pool and exercise room and all that. It's a sweet complex. My own mini vacation right here in central Ohio. And I get paid for it! :)

Other news: Doug said he'd find me a place to live if I came out there to be an assistant manager. :) And I finally caved and joined myspace. Yep, I'm a sucker.

Oh, I start kick boxing tomorrow! haha That should be interesting. And yoga on Wednesday.

I'm already ready to move out of my parents' house. They're great, but I'm ready to be on my own. I NEED HELP! Arg, I hate not knowing what is going on with my life. And I hate looking for jobs.

Well, until the next blog........

Peace, from the Jobless Bum

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Time with Doug

On the way home from our New England vacation, we made a stop at Hershey, PA, where we took a tour of the Hershey factory and smelled the glorious aroma of melted chocolate. But more importantly, we got to visit Doug!!!!!!!!!!!! He lives about 15 minutes from the Hershey factory, and only about 20-30 minutes from access to the AT, so it all worked out perfect. I got to hang with Doug, see the amazing new theater of which he will be in charge, eat at Mama's Pizza, see Doug's apartment, take a trip to Wally World, and then I also got to show my parents a short part of the trail the next day.

Being with Doug was fantastic. I'm so glad we got to visit him, and I hope to go again soon sometime. The following are a few pics from our visit there. And by the way, Doug wasn't kidding when he said that the people where he lives are mean. They really are mean! I saw it with my own two eyeballs, including a dude swerving in towards Doug car as we were driving....for no reason at all.

Anyway, here are the pics!

Mama's Pizza

Doug's Sweet Place

Doug and I

Monday, July 10, 2006


Taco in the weather on Katahdin

Summit Pictures!


The day after

Taco and I

End of the Road

I guess I never did write about the 100 mile wilderness. I thought I was going to be hiking the 100 mile by myself, much to my chagrin. But......while I was staying at the infamous Shaw's hostel in Monson (my last hostel of the trail), Pa Bert came strolling in during the early evening. I can't tell you how happy I was to see him! Here I was, all this time writing notes to Taco in the registers telling him where I was going to be and teasing him to catch up, having no idea that Pa Bert was so close behind. I was ecstatic. He's such a sweet sweet man and has more stamina at age 62 than I think I will ever have. He informed me that a few days prior, he was doing upper 20 miles with Taco to catch up with me. The man is amazing.

So, I didn't have to do the wilderness alone, and thank God, because I think I would have been miserable. One of many things I have learned to appreciate on the trail is friendship and how important community and human relationships are. The importance of fellowship that we have been emphasizing over the last few years at church was only enhanced by this trip. We need people. NEED. It may be a humbling thought, but it's true.

So anyway, we started out the next morning. I'm sure it must have rained that day, because it felt like it rained every day. The mosquitoes were relentless, and I spent several nights burning up in my 10 degree sleeping bag to protect my flesh from ravaging mad bugs. I guess I sort of got used to the bugs after a while, but they were still horrid, and I used close to an entire bottle of DEET in probably a period of a week. It'll probably give me cancer or something someday, but if you had told me that when the mosquitoes were attacking me, I don't think I would have batted an eye before I soaked my skin with it. That's how bad they were.

And the hundred mile wilderness not only offers hungry bugs, but also unyielding roots and rocks that slow your pace to a crawl. Most of the time, these rocks and roots were wet as well, which means lots of slips. And even beyond the rocks and roots, there is the Maine mud. Yes, these are things I will remember about Maine. Rocks, roots, bugs, and mud. Hmmf. Don't get me wrong, Maine is BEAUTIFUL, but you usually miss most of the beauty because you are too busy staring at the ground trying not to trip or else swatting at the mosquitoes that have bitten you on your triceps and the very top and back of your legs. They know where the hard to reach places are. Smart boogers.

But beyond all that, the 100 miles was fun, mostly because Pa Bert was there. And then.....2 days later....Taco strolled into a shelter close to dark. I screamed of course, and we hugged, and then Taco convinced me to go jump in the river in front of the shelter with him. I couldn't resist. It was so cold it took my breath away, but at the same time, it felt wonderful because I had spent the last hour steaming in my sleeping bag to keep the bugs away.

So the three amigos plodded on. We were quite a gang. We were convinced that we were going to summit Katahdin on June 30th. We hiked the easy 13 miles into Baxter State Park, only to find that the weather was supposed to turn sour, so we decided to hitch into Millinocket and stay the night at the hostel there, leaving the last 5.2 miles to be finished at another time. You can imagine the disappointment, but we were also happy to think about getting into clean clothes and out of the rain and bugs. It took us over 2 hours to get a hitch. Taco was so mad.....he moped behind as Pa Bert and I walked and chatted away, sticking out our thumb for the lone car that would come about every half hour. I tried to make Taco feel better. I gave him a dried pineapple to throw, and Pa Bert offered a Nutrageous Bar for eating. That made him happy for a few minutes at least.

To make a long story short, we stayed at the hostel that night and got a cab the next morning back to the park to hike our final 5.2 miles. Because the AT goes up the mountain and ends there, most hikers come back down the same trail (you have to get down somehow), and so this means you don't have to take your big pack up with you. So, instead of carrying my normal approx. 40lbs of equipment, I probably had 8 lbs. And let me tell you, this makes a world of difference. I felt like a feather going up that mountain. It was still tough at times (a large section of rock climbing boulders took me quite a while), but it was so much easier than it would have been with my pack.

I thought that I would be silent and weep at the top, but instead, Taco and I were letting out victory whoops and hugging and cheering and all that. Pa Bert was a little more subdued....I might have seen a tear or two from him. It was a great feeling. We did it. We finished. It's over. Wow. I can't explain that to you.

On the way down, the fog and clouds that had enveloped us the entire way up cleared out and we could see for miles. It was a lovely ending.

And so, once back into town, we had to celebrate, so we all walked down the street and smoked a cigar. Yes, I smoked for the first time ever, and probably the last time ever, while walking the streets of Millinocket. I had to ask Pa Bert which end to light, and then he and Taco had to show me how to smoke it. It was pretty comical. I kept making sour faces when I got a big puff. Ewww. But it was fun, and it must have been a hilarious sight to see three very different hikers, 2 with packs on at the time, walking down the sidewalk smoking cigars. *laugh* What a crew.

And the rest is history. All the families came in to visit and celebrate, and then I spent the next week touring New England with Mom, Lace, and Dad. And now, I'm home.

I'm home. :)

I am becoming painfully aware that over 4 months, a lot of things change. This might be more difficult than I thought.

Sunday, July 09, 2006


I just experienced one of the most liberating and beautiful moments of my life, and simple. I drove my car for the first time in over 4 months. It was so lovely. It's one of the first things I did when I got home. Jumped in my car, put in Sarah M. and then Over the Rhine, and drove down Rte 23 with the windows down and sunroof open as the gorgeous orange/red sun set to my left. Destination: Wal-Mart. Where else? ;) Bought some things I needed, you know...Ice cream, a CD, chocolate, that kind of stuff (hehe) and then speeded home in the dark listening to my first ever personally owned country CD and looking to my left once again to see a beautiful orange moon on the rise. And the wind swirled through my car. And I found out that I most certainly have not forgotten how to drive, so the whole experience was just amazing. I can't explain it. That's what the trail does to people. It makes people appreciate all the small things in life. I can already feel it leaving me, though, and I'm already taking things for granted, but I hope I can keep reminding myself of what a blessing it is to have all the things I have and experience all the things I experience. Like, no more pooping in the woods....I have flush toilets for that! Amazing! And running water whenever I want it. And a house to keep out the rain. And a car that can get me to Marion in 15 minutes instead of taking most of the day. Ah, I love it.

Unfortunately, not everything is so easy and amazing all the time. I am already feeling pressure to figure out my life, find out what I am going to do, when in my mind I'm just kind of like "I really just feel very chilled out and would like to enjoy this time I have off to spend it doing a lot of things that I never take time to do." Like (and don't tell him) but I want to take my dad to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame sometime soon for a day trip. Just he and I. Spend some time with Pops. And I want to do some things with Lacey. I've never really taken time for her. And I want to go visit all my peeps in Oxford that I have neglected for the last 4 months!!!!!!!! :) I'm coming soon, I really am! God willing, anyway.

So, beyond the pressure to find a job, I am also dealing with this whole eating and metabolism thing. It's going to be a rough road I know for the next few weeks. Not sure how I'm going to deal with it all. At one point on the trail, I had lost 30 lbs, but since off the trail for about 7 days on vacation with the fam and no hiking, I think I have already gained back close to half of that. Eek. And there are all of these books about the trail....hiking it, reflecting on it, many diverse experiences, but no one has written a book (to my knowledge) about how to deal with getting off the trail. I mean, most hikers go through this awkward physical phase where they aren't quite sure what to eat anymore, and then there's the emotional turmoil that a lot of people feel as well. No books to help with this. I'm on my own. What do I do?? All of the friends I made that might be able to understand live hundreds of miles away. Crap. Well, needless to say, I will get by. I'll figure something out.

Anyway, tomorrow I hope to write about my last day on the trail and the summitting experience with Pa Bert and Taco, as well as my reunion with my parents and Lace and post a few pics. For now, I feel like I have a bazzillion things to catch up on.

Man, it does feel great to be back in Ohio. But I never really thought about how incredibly flat it is until we were close to incredibly flat. :)

Monday, July 03, 2006

The End of the Journey

On July 1, 2006, 116 days after the commencement of my journey at the base of Springer Mountain, I officially completed my Appalachian Trail journey. Let me just say:


It was a wonderful moment. I hope to have a couple pics to post when I get home. And I had the privelage of summitting with two of my favorite people out here, Pa Bert and Taco. Pa Bert caught me just before the 100 mile wilderness, and Taco a couple days after that. It was fantastic, and I love them both so much.

The climb up was quite a doozie. Approx 4000 feet in elevation change over 5 miles, and that's with a relatively flat first and last mile. Lots of rock climbing. It was an incredible mountain. Of course, though, it was foggy and windy, so we didn't see much, but after about a mile on the way down, it cleared up below us and we could see for miles. It was awesome.

So now what? I'm going to Disney Land! hehe Just kidding. I am, however, vacationing with the fam around New England and then I should be home sometime around the 10th of July. Upon arrival, I will probably head straight to bed and sleep for a week. Then I will crawl out of my hole and visit all my wonderful peeps in Oxford. :) Feel free to call the cellie now. I don't have reception here, but I hope that I can get it while driving around New England somewhere. I hope to make a bunch of phone calls when I can.

Love you all. Thanks for all your prayers and support. Couldn't have done it without that.

I'M FINISHED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

For the last time.......Do-Rag