Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I've organized an event called iHope the past two years. It's an evening of hope for women - hope shared through stories and beauty. I've directed ten iHopes and I always encouraged the speakers to share 'the good, the bad and the ugly' because we can all learn so much from each others stories. Though I'm 'working' at each iHope, I've been blessed by each one. The 'will to survive' spirit in each woman - the 'digging deep' to process and move forward with life after devastating loss, grief and/or pain is inspiring and brings hope.

Frequently, someone would ask, "When are you telling your story?"
"Someday," I'd reply, not sure if I was ready to tell it all.

Well, the someday has come. (If I tell others to be real about their story, guess I need to be willing to be real about mine) On May 20, 2009, it will be five years since I was injured in the accident. iHope happens the 3rd Tuesday of each month, so it seems 'right' that I share my story on Tuesday, May 19, 2009. Below is the info from the posters friends put together about the event.

iHope is ... one woman telling her
story in a setting of creative beauty
with opportunities to connect with other
women and activities that create hope.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 - 7PM

During childhood, Janet Oberholtzer had a
hard time imagining the love of God.
From restlessness to adventure to a
tragedy that almost took her life.

Then left with physical limitations after narrowly escaping death,
more questions surfaced for Janet. But she has risen above the
circumstances of her life and defied the odds - one step at a time.
Though she still has some questions, she believes the promises of God
and is living proof that Jesus wants us to live an abundant life.
Janet will share her story and the journey about learning to
live in the tension between disappointments and miracles.

Music by Carol Ruffner and Jessica Zimmerman

Art - Photos and cards from Janet's journey

Hopewell Christian Fellowship
Elverson ,PA

7 Women 7 Stories

Anne Beiler and her mother dancing during intermission.

This past weekend I attended 7 Women 7 Stories - first conference hosted by Anne Beiler - the soft pretzel queen . Anne believes in the power of sharing our stories to help ourselves heal, along with encouraging others to be real about their own stories. Though the details of each of our stories is different, we often experience similar feelings and by sharing we can help each other process the good, bad and ugly of our lives and then move forward freer and stronger than before.

Anne had a lot of good points - here's one ...

Growing up, Anne thought 'Life is good, God is harsh.'
Now she knows that - 'God is good, life is hard, Don't confuse the two!'

The difference between those two statements is vast. If God is good, why do we blame him and/or make him responsible for the hard/bad things in our lives?

Monday, April 27, 2009


Great run tonight at running club. Love these temps and my knee is feeling better! Most times, I have done more walking than running at club, because every week something hurt, but tonight the planets finally lined up and I went to club feeling great and was happy to do 3 miles - walked a little to warm up and walked twice for 2 mins during the run, but otherwise ran the whole thing and that's a big thing for me!

Must have been because yesterday I totally relaxed when Jerry and I took our small boat out for a few hours on Blue Marsh Lake. It's only the end of April, but we've been having temps near 90 the past few days.

Friday, April 24, 2009


There was a man who had four sons.
He wanted his sons to learn not to judge things too quickly.
So he sent them each on a quest, in turn,
to go and look at a pear tree that was a great distance away.
The first son went in the winter,
the second in the spring,
The third in summer,
and the youngest son in the fall.

When they had all gone and come back,
he called them together to describe what they had seen.
The first son said that the tree was ugly, bent, and twisted.
The second son said no it's covered with green buds and full of promise.

The third son disagreed; he said it was laden with blossoms
that smelled so sweet and looked so beautiful,
it was the most graceful thing he had ever seen.
The last son disagreed with all of them; he said it was ripe
and drooping with fruit, full of life and fulfillment.

The father called his four sons back together, and said, "You see each of you have observed well the condition of a the tree at a particular season of the year, but your judgment of the tree was only partial, and made too quickly based on what you saw on only the one occasion. See to it that you never judge human beings this way. Never evaluate them too quickly or on the basis of one encounter, for it is unfair and unwise. Indeed all living things should only be evaluated over the course of time and after repeated careful inspection, for who knows but the ugliest and most unproductive of living things might some day turn into the most beautiful and fruitful."
- Author Unknown

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Running Trails

Union Canal Towpath Trail

This body of mine defiantly feels better after running on a trail surface versus on a road. So I've been scoping out all the trails I can find near my house. Wow, I live in a great area for trails - I didn't know there were so many - all within 7 to 12 miles from my house.

Angelia Creek Trail
Exeter Scenic River Trail - parking along Gibraltar Road, 1.2 mile north of Rt. 724
Horseshoe Trail - crosses Maple Grove Rd a mile from my house
Nolde Forest - a number of different trails in this state park
Thun Trail - I like to start at Brentwood Park - you can go east or west from there, plus there's a few other starting spots around Reading.
Union Canal Towpath Trail - Starting at either Gring's Mill or Red Bridge.

All are great walking and/or running trails, expect the Horseshoe Trail and Nolde Forest are suited best for walking/hiking, not as good for running.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Unknown

"Dig in!" ZigZag leans forward, his hands crossed, looking intently at my omelet. It smells good. It has a lumpy appearance. I pick up my fork, and start to unfold it.

"Uh uh!" ZigZag holds up one hand. "You don't want to spoil the surprise."


He looks furtively in the direction of the kitchen, then leans closer and says in a hoarse whisper.

"Sometimes they leave the feet on."

Feet? I swallow, setting my resolve. I really don't want to know what is in a road kill omelet. I'll just pretend it is country sausage, or Spam. I cut a bite, spear it on the fork, and put it in my mouth. I start to chew.


I nod. "It's good."

"There you go! The unknown - it can be fabulous!" With that, ZigZag leans back on his bench, takes a long swallow of his coffee, and lights another cigarette.

"People fear the unknown, Mike. Why? It's all around us, and just like a good breakfast, it is tasty, and nourishing. Don't be afraid of the unknown - tear into it, cut off big pieces, and savor it. More often than not, you'll love it!"
- Michael Kenyon, from Following a Zigzag Path

Friday, April 17, 2009

One Step/Word at a Time

The muscle behind my knee feels good until I run about a mile, then I feel pain again. So I walk most days and every few days run until the point of pain, then I stop and walk home again. Hopefully doing this will strengthen that muscle to the place where I can run more again.

I've been busy writing/rewriting/editing my book - gosh, what a journey that is! I do hope to be able to send out query letters soon to see if there's any agents that would want to represent me and my book. But gulp, that is scary. So for now, I won't go there, I just keep rewriting and editing for a time :)

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Happy, happy, happy!

The pain in my right knee was bad, really bad during the last mile on Saturday. I tried everything - stretched/massaged/etc. to make it feel better so I could run (not walk) to the finish. I've ignored a lot of pain in the past 5 years, but this pain was too tough to ignore. After turning the final corner, the support from Jerry, the boys and friends helped me block out the pain and push to the finish.
During all that - I kept telling myself to find that 'line' of how far to push it - the race was important, running to the finish was important - but neither was important enough to cause long-lasting injury to myself.

Since I ran the 2nd leg of the relay I didn't run to the finish at that time, I transferred my ankle bracelet with the timing chip to the next runner and collapsed on the grass in pain.

"I get by with a little help from my friends."

Then later when our team finished, we crossed the finish line together - well, kind of together. My knee was killing me at this time and I slowly ran across the finishing mat. At the time, I was wondering if I'd done something serious to myself.

Went for a massage at a friend that lived near the race on Saturday afternoon and she gently massaged it. It hurt Saturday night, but not bad. By Sunday, I couldn't feel it at all when I walked, and only slightly when going steps. Monday, another massage and she said it is probably a stressed ligament and it needs time to heal. No running for a few days and when I run again - only run to the point of pain.

So the last few days I only walked and today I braved running again after warming up by walking for 3/4 mile. I'm thrilled that I could run 1 3/4 mile before I felt any pain behind my knee - yippee! That was much longer than I thought I would be able to. And since I don't like the treadmill, it was way to long for that :) Hopefully the weather will warm up soon, so I can enjoy some runs outdoors again.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Garden Spot Village Marathon

It was windy today.
Wind, wind and more wind!
As Pooh would say ... "It's a blustery day."
Jerry's assessment - the wind felt like a tornado without a funnel.
So windy you could sail from New Jersey to England in about 30 minutes.
When you used a porta pot - you made sure someone held it up, so it didn't blow over like a few others did.

Get the idea?

Other than that it's been a good day! Garden Spot Village's first marathon, my first race post-accident, 5 teams in the relay from our running club and/or friends I knew (with over half running a race for the first time) friends from Canada came to cheer me on, other than a sore muscle on my knee, I felt good - so it was a good day.

Quick notes of the day ...
  • Most of us were there by 7:30AM to see the race start at 8AM (very cold at this time - I was annoyed and wondering why I had the 'great' idea of doing this)
  • Our first 5 runners took off with the beginning crowd
  • The other runners took shuttles or carpooled to the relay transfer spots, then waited (froze)
  • One by one the first runners arrived - with a quick transfer of a velcro band put on the ankle containing the timing chip, each 2nd leg runner took off.
  • I ran the 2nd leg, so I warmed up with a short walk around 9AM knowing Lee, the runner before me, would take a little over an hour. By this time, excitement had replaced the annoyed feeling I had earlier and I looked forward to beginning the run I had recently been dreaming about and training for. Lee arrived, we transferred the chip and I took off. Actually 'took off' is a relative term, since that start was due west into the wind (had to be careful not to have both feet off the ground at the same time or I think I would have gone backwards!) Running into the wind was hard, but I felt good - breathing was fine and legs didn't hurt more than normal. A few times through the 4.6 miles - cheering would erupt along the way or from cars driving by, the support of friends was such an encouragement. During the last 1 1/2 miles - a muscle behind my right knee that I had some aching in lately, really started hurting. Hurting to the point of needing to walk/massage/stretch it to keep going. Coming into the relay transfer spot was encouraging as Jerry, the boys and friends cheered me in. I was hoping to finish under an hour, I made it in an hour and 2 1/2 minutes - with those winds, I'm happy with that.
  • Now it was time to cheer the others on - I loved this!!! Pre-accident I did a number of races, but rarely with anyone. This time there were 20 runners/walkers on our teams, plus I knew some other people that were participating - so the 'cheerleading' was fun!
  • Jerry (my wonderful chauffer) took me from one relay transfer spot to the next to watch and cheer during the transfers of our teams.
  • Our teams finished between 4 hrs/4 mins and 4 hrs/40 mins!
  • Everyone I talked to was happy with their run, except for the wind.
Great job all runners and/or walkers!

Runnning - because I can!

Picture at 6AM

Friday, April 03, 2009

Race Day Course

This is the course I will be running in 12 hours ... omg, am I ready?

About 1 to 2 miles south of New Holland, I will be starting at the corner of Peters and Mentzer Road around 9AM. I go west on Peters for a short distance, then right on Hollow. At stop, I'll turn right (west) on Ridge Road for about a mile, then right on Hollander Road. The first left on Scenic - then right on S. Groffdale Road, left on Musser School Road and there's the relay transfer spot - yes!!! I made it - I'm done!!!
Oh wait, I'm not there yet, just writing directions about being there. Well, hopefully sometime between 9:45 and 10:15, I will be there.

Rest Days

Well, the training is done for now ... and these are the rest days. Part of me loves a few days of no running (especially in the rainy and/or windy weather we've been having) but the other part of me finds it hard to rest because I want to go run, so I can run well on Saturday. Part of me feels like I need to train more and so I should be running NOW. (I just want to do one more long, hard run and lose 10 lbs - why didn't I do that a month ago?)
But wisdom tells me it's not good to starve myself now and it's too late to train more, any training I wanted to do needs to have already happened. The best thing I can do for my legs now is give them rest, so they feel good for tomorrow and eat a healthy, balanced diet so I have energy.

Telling myself to remember it's one step at a time - I know the best way for me to do that is to spend some time today doing what the Psalmist said centuries ago ... "Be Still and know that I am God."