Thursday, January 31, 2019
Annual Mailout - DONE!
W2's - DONE!
W3 - DONE!
Quarterly Report - DONE!
All January 31st deadlines completed - BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM!
Special thanks to Birddog & The Cat Lover for all their help!
Bring on February =)
Tuesday, January 29, 2019
Some adventures become a quest of ongoing challenges and the human will to persevere.
This past weekend's annual swamp hike started off with great promise. We debuted our new high quality Osprey backpacks & top notch gear. We had 5 returning Swamp Thing participants and 4 newbies all eager for our most UNpopular event. And we had our youngest swamp hiker ever at 12 years old along with her Mom.
We spent an hour and a half packing our backpacks and preparing for the 100% chance of rain forecasted for our entire 2 day trip. We prayed and committed the entire adventure into God's hands rain or shine, the good, the bad, the ugly. And we set out for an underwater trail marked only by orange paint marks on trees in the swamps of the Everglades.
Our upbeat hikers were on a fast record setting pace. It looked like we would complete our hard sloshy 3 mile trudge to camp in 3 hours. One mile in it began to rain. We dawned our ponchos, ate some snacks, and drank some water. We continued on.
At the 2 mile mark the wheels fell off during our next break. As we were finishing up our 10 minute break for water & snacks one of our hikers was sawing some wood with the sawtooth backside of his machete. The machete stuck fast into the wood but the momentum of hiker's hand continued down the slick wet handle and onto the razor sharp edge of the machete. The result was a deep laceration into their index finger. It could have happened to any of us. The blade was so sharp and the cut so deep that he didn't even notice how bad it was. Until blood started rushing out. Thankfully it wasn't spurting, but the cut was severe. In the blink of an eye the entire trip changed.
As we assessed the severity and began treating the cut our injured hiker said he was losing his vision... then immediately said he was losing his hearing... then just as quickly turned pale white. It looked like he was going into shock. But could it be something worse? Something internal that we couldn't see? The potential consequences were too high to take any chances. We needed to get him to medical care. Thankfully there was a new fire station 2 miles back at the start of the hike. But that was 2 hours away by foot for a healthy hiker and maybe 5 hours away if we had to carry him out. I had the GPS Spot Device that can send out an emergency call from anywhere we have GPS coverage. But I still had strong cell phone coverage. The only good option was to call 911 and see if they could contact that fire department and have them on standby. Our injured hiker was now sitting in the cold swampy water leaning against a tree pale white, disoriented, with his bandaged finger and hand elevated above his heart.
The simple 911 call turned into a 2 hour ordeal where the emergency personnel wanted us to stay put and they would try to come to us. But the area is so remote and the cypress trees so densely populated and the surrounding swamp buggy roads so deep that even a heavy duty vehicle couldn't get to us. Only a swamp buggy could make it nearby without difficulties, but to the credit of the paramedics they were trying as hard as they could on the swamp buggy roads to drive a dually truck as close as they could to us. But they weren't familiar with the hiking trail so when I told them we were between mile marker 34 & 33 that meant nothing to them. They tried to find us by sounding their siren and getting our feedback, but they kept getting further away. I text them a Google maps satellite screenshot of our current location and sent 2 hikers to the last swamp buggy roads we crossed about a half mile back. I hiked to the next swamp buggy roads crossing about a half mile ahead. But they couldn't find us. Then the GTD curse hit the paramedics... they got a flat tire on the swamp buggy road!! After 2 hours of trying to navigate to each other we had to move on to making up plan D.
By this time our injured hiker was past the shock and feeling able to hike with his backpack. All the sitting for most of the hikers was trending us towards hypothermia. It was cold and rainy. We had about 2 hours of daylight left. I decided we were going back to the parking lot. The trip was going to be cut short. But then I received a call from the National Park Service who encouraged me to go the remaining mile to our campsite instead of the 2 miles back to the parking lot. They said they could get some help out to our hiker. They kept mentioning possibly sending out a helicopter, but things had stabilized and that wasn't necessary. All I originally wanted was for the nearby fire department to be on standby. But it kept escalating into a rescue party and now they were talking about a helicopter. I kept telling them it wasn't to that degree. And thankfully they literally "called off air support". Over the next hour we hiked towards our campsite. By the time we were about 10 minutes from camp the paramedics had enlisted the sheriff's office to bring out their truck and continue on the swamp buggy road towards our campsite. We resumed navigating towards each other over the phone. Finally 3 1/2 hours after the intial 911 call we were able to send our hiker out with the police officer & paramedic and onto the hospital where he received several stitches to his sliced finger. He is doing well.
I can't thank our First Responders enough for their perseverance in finding us and caring for our injured hiker. It became much more than I intended, but I greatly appreciate the priority they put on us to make sure our hiker was thoroughly cared for.
As for the remaining 8 swamp hikers, we all made it to camp. We had a short break in the rain that allowed us to set up our tents and hammocks as well as cook dinner. Then the rain started back up and continued for the next 13+ hours. Sometimes the weather becomes the defining aspect of an adventure and all you can do is bunker down. We all crawled into our shelters at 7:30pm and didn't have to get up till 8:30am. That was 13 of the best and most comfortable hours of rest and sleep. Listening to the rain while laying in a warm sleeping bag high & dry in an extremely comfortable hammock was so enjoyable. I rarely get that much sleep so it was a savored night =).
Throughout the night the rain drenched everything at camp. But it didn't dampen the spirit of our hikers. Everyone rolled with the punches. We cooked breakfast, broke camp, and spent time doing a group devotion about choosing joy in the midst of the trial and choosing to persevere during tough times (all from James 1:2-4). We went around the circle and shared something that we are thankful for as well as a story about a time we didn't give up even though we were tempted to and look back at it now with great joy that we stuck it out. One of the greatest regrets in life is to look back at times when you should have kept going, but instead you chose to give up. Rarely does someone ever regret going the distance.
We hiked back as the next cold front and band of rain was on its way. We bonded. We didn't quit. We didn't give up. This was a hard trip that was defined by an injury and poor weather. But the satisfaction that we all experienced by rising to the challenge and finishing what we set out to do is absolutely priceless. In fact, we are better because of it.
Thank you Jesus that we don't have to be rescued from the storms of life. It can become a great journey with our Creator that builds character, closeness, experience, and memories. The storms test us. They can build us. They can take us to greater heights than we could ever experience from constant calmness. The secret is to be in the storm without letting the storm be inside of you. Just like Jesus sleeping in the back of the boat in the middle of the storm. He's our great example =)
Click here to see all the 2019 Swamp Thing pics: https://goingthedistance.smugmug.com/2019/2019-Adv-Trip---SWAMP-THING-Public
Saturday, January 26, 2019
Laurie is rocking it! Up till 2am packing for group for the Swamp Thing Backpacking Trip even though she can't make it this year... looking forward to a God-awesome swampy adventure this weekend =)
Friday, January 25, 2019
Thursday, January 24, 2019
1) For the first time in probably 30 years I resisted the urge (for an entire year) of using "all-nighters" to accomplish my work load. In 2018 I pulled 0 all-nighters. That may sound like no big deal to most people, but when you're a workaholic who loves work and has constant deadlines & 7 months to do 12 months worth of work the all-nighter is clutch for getting things done. But it is also counterproductive because your body pays for it for the next few days and the cumulative effect is poor health. So I'm striving after great health which means no more all-nighters. In 2018 I accomplished that (thank you Jesus!) =). And now my goal is to sustain that.
2) Along the same lines as stopping all-nighters a second major milestone for me in 2018 was to not miss a Sabbath. After 6 days of creating God rested on the 7th day and called it a Sabbath. He said we should do the same thing. Take one day off each week when you "cease from striving" (that's my favorite definition of Sabbath). I did that 51 of the 52 weeks last year. I almost made it all 52 weeks, but we had 1 major event that was 6 days long and in all the hustle and bustle I forgot to take a day off. But I'm immensely thrilled with my personal progress in that area. Now I can't wait for my Sabbath each week. It's a day when I turn off the striving button and turn on the rest and relaxation button. It actually makes me more productive the other 6 days and fills my life with more fun, diversion, family time, laughter, and real rest. It's something I've abused for years. I took God's command of taking a Sabbath each week and treated it more like a suggestion. Praise God for his grace and for His patience with my foolishness. That is major progress for me and my own personal health has greatly benefited from this one "small" adjustment, increased discipline to stop working, embraced wisdom, and obedience to God's direction.
3) Another major milestone for me is that I "speed journal" everyday now. For the past 18 months I've used an app called Daylio to quickly (it takes about 5 minutes) enter what I did (or didn't do) that day. At the end of the month it gives me statistics on my consistency. I can see if I'm actually following through with my priorities. That measurement is priceless at assessing progress and detecting flaws and areas of improvement. Basically it's impossible to quantify progress without some sort of journaling tool. This is the simplest & easiest tool I could find and it's invaluable to the progress process. God bless the people who designed it!
So that's a small progress report from my little world. I'm looking forward to all the ups & downs, expected & unexpected, triumphs & tragedies that will make up the rollercoaster ride of 2019. One thing is for sure, I may not know what the days ahead hold, but I do know who holds my eternity... and that kind of security adds so much peace & celebration in a world full of daily chaos, corruption, and trajedy.
STRiVE to THRiVE!
Wednesday, January 23, 2019
<> Day Trips
<> Overnight Retreats
<> 5 day Adventure Trips
<> 6+ day Costa Rica Mission Trips
<> Muti-day Backpacking Trips
<> Multi-day Canoe Camping Trips
<> Team Building Events
<> Summer Internships
<> And more =)
More Info (GTD Blogsite Link)
Going The Distance Adventure Ministry, Inc (Est. 1996)
Love'n Life Because of Jesus Christ!
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
GTD's annual weekend backpacking trip to The Everglades is almost here!
Register Online | Trip Details
Event: Swamp Thing Backpacking Trip
Date: Jan 26-27, 2019 (Sat-Sun)
Location: Florida Everglades
Total Distance: Approximately 8 miles round-trip
Cost: Only $23 (in celebration of GTD's 23rd year of ministry) plus food
"For God has not given us a spirit of cowardice, but of power and love and self-discipline." - 2 Timothy 1:7
Going The Distance Adventure Ministry (Est 1996)
> Love'n Life Because of Jesus Christ! <
DRUM ROLL PLEASE... NEW FUNDRAISING RECORD!! ...NEARLY 82K RAISED BY MIDNIGHT DEC 31st!!!! ...ONLY 18K LEFT TO GO BY JAN 31st =)
The first 75k raised goes towards running our programs and funding continued growth & development. Everything above 75k goes to repairing & replacing deteriorating equipment and acquiring newer equipment for sorely needed new GTD adventures (such as kayaking, stand-up paddleboards, island camping gear, fishing gear, & other water-based adventure equipment).
We want to express our deepest love and gratitude to everyone who has participated in our current fundraising season. Ministry is a team sport and fundraising is the main adventure of any non-profit. God bless each and everyone of you for your investment into this ministry and the fruit God will birth through it in 2019 & beyond!!
STRiVE to THRiVE!
Going The Distance Adventure Ministry, Inc (Est 1996)
Tuesday, January 15, 2019
After a great few weeks of "Off Season" & holidays, yesterday we kicked off our 23rd year of ministry with our number one volunteer - my Mom (aka BIRDDOG). Looking forward to all that God has in store for 2019 =)
Monday, January 7, 2019
Here's a powerful praise & worship song that has a feel of being in a biker bar that's converted into a biker church.
No matter who you are or where you are, you have a soul... and that soul needs to be nourished... everyday.
Take a few minutes each day to talk to God about whatever is on your heart & mind, to read a few sentences from His love letter to you (the Bible... start in the book of John if you're looking for a good starting point), and listen to or hum to or sing some great worship songs like this one. These are 3 great & easy & quick ways to feed your soul... which can change your day... which can change your direction... which can change your life =)
"For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul?" - Matthew 16:26
Tuesday, January 1, 2019
One of the most beautiful things God ever created was new beginnings... every day, every week, every month, every season, every year, every person, and every opportunity has the distinct blessing of giving birth to new potential, adding on to wise decisions, and forsaking self inflicting poor choices. The power of new beginnings is transformational. No matter how good or bad our choices have been we can't change our history, but God continually empowers and encourages us to change our future to something that immensely satisfies our soul and glorifies His name. How is that accomplished? By making the best possible decision in the moment that you're living in. By embracing each new beginning and navigating it in such a way that it sets up your tomorrows with fullness of joy & the absence of regret. To engage your soul in a love affair with your Creator. To allow Him to impart to you the knowledge & wisdom & conscience & Spirit & discipline & warrior's fight to turn each new beginning into your best possible decision. To resist the urges, emotions, desires, and faulty thinking that lures you to make habitual choices that turns you into your own worst enemy. New years are the beautiful creation of God to evaluate the past and glean from it everything you can to launch you to an even better year ahead. Great lives are made up of great years that are made up of great days that are made up of great choices that are made up of 3 things: wisdom, the discipline to implement that wisdom, and the fight to resist the temptation to ignore that wisdom. Great choice after great choice produces an unstoppable momentum that makes every day your best day and sets your tomorrows up to be even better than your best todays. Of course you'll have days where you miss the mark full of wasted potential, missed opportunity, regretful choices. But that's the beauty of a new beginning the next day. You keep that bad day from becoming 2 bad days in a row. You fight to maintain the momentum that you've already established. You apologize to God and anyone you've offended. You take full responsibility for your choices. You recommit to following God's lead and you go back to building a thriving life one awesome choice at a time. There's no other way to build (or destroy) a life... it only happens one choice at a time. That's the beauty of new beginnings - you can make new choices (or keep making great choices) that gives birth to great fruit in your life. And that fruit nourishes your soul while glorifying the Gardener (John 15).
Happy New Year friends!! Let's make it our best year ever... and then do it again the following year... and then the year after that... be a repeat champion, and then a three-peat champion, and then a quad-peat champion as you journey on your way to building a dynasty and then a legacy... and it all started with one good choice =)
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." - 2 Corinthians 5:17