Wowsers, it’s amazing how much can happen in a short period of time…I got married and had three kids since I last wrote! Haha – just kidding, but many of my friends are pregnant right now (congrats to them ALL: Sarah, Emily, Tiffany and Holly just had her first…just to name a few!!). And friends are definitely getting married (congrats to Lindsey and Peter!!! Beautiful/anointed wedding! Next, my friend Sammy and THEN Kathleen and Ben!!) So awesome to celebrate with everyone!
So here’s the update on this end. Today I officially start my training for Kilimanjaro!!! WOO HOO! Now what does that entail? It’ll consist of a whole lot of cardio (running, biking and attempting to swim), strength training and backpacking in Chicago. Yes friends, I said backpacking…in Chicago. And yes, as much as I don’t want to say it’s an oxymoron, it sure feels like it. You may be wondering, “Shelly how on earth will “hiking” in flat-Chicago help you train for a 19,000 foot mountain?” Well, I’m glad you asked…and we will find out together!! I think the most important thing is to get my body conditioned “cardiovascularly” for endurance purposes (since I cannot train in higher altitude). It’ll also be very important to strengthen my quads and legs, since they will be bearing most of the weight. My favorite part folks…back-packing in Chicago during the winter – YES!! Ok, I will honestly try to find forest preserves and parks so I can actually feel like I’m in some sort of wilderness, but for the most part and for convenience purposes, I will be taking it to the streets. Part of my training is that I must back-pack with a weighted pack each week. The pounds and the length of time hiking increases each week. So I will essentially go from 1 hour hike with 20 lbs this week to 12 hours with 50 lbs strapped to my back in two months!!! Yep, that’s serious stuff. Even when I trained for Tibet, I think the most I carried was 4o lbs on a stair climber at Moody’s gym. That was surely embarrassing, but WELL worth it. Please pray for my team and our health as we all seek to train through this winter season~
I already have some stellar friends who are willing (and absolutely crazy!) to hike with me…I love my friends. So, I look forward to updating y’all on how the first hike goes this Saturday : ) AND I also plan on getting used to sleeping in a sleeping bag on the floor…yes, I will be practicing at home ; )
On some other news, God has been faithfully providing support for this trip and I have to give a shout-out of praise!!! Thank You Abba! So far, 25% of the support is in and I still need another 25% by December 1. His timing is perfect and I’m learning to abide and trust in my Father. I cannot thank everyone enough for their Prayer and financial support – please continue to pray with me regarding this step of faith.
In other news, God has also SOOOO wonderfully provided financially for me to go see my family for Thanksgiving AND Christmas this year!! Honestly, it’s probably been 5 years or more since I was actually able to do this twice in a year – Thank You Lord! So, Thanksgiving will be in New York with my mom’s family (and we’re surprising my dad with a 70th Birthday Bash that I’m planning). And I’ll have a Georgia Christmas this year (oh I cannot wait to see friends)! Well, you may be wondering if I struck the lottery–ok, I’m sure none of you actually thought that, but I’ll still tell you how I’m able to go home. In God’s sovereign timing, He has blessed me with an incredible blessing…a ROOMMATE!!! Yes, and I have to say again God’s Sovereign timing. I had so much fun this summer with friends staying with me for moments here and there (shout-outs to Jamie and Jenn!). I also had the privilege of hosting Mary Woodward, a sweet missionary from Spain for a little bit. After praying, seeking, waiting and one shut door after another, God brought Miss Tiffany Mariani – a dear sister and friend – to live with me! We actually know each other from Moody! It’s been such a blessing having her in the home : ) – she loves loves loves the Lord and has a passion for discipleship, prayer and inner city work (oh, and did I mention…she LOVES peanut butter and coffee….I’m just saying, God is Sovereign!).
Friends…I can’t quite describe it, but I just want to revel in God’s faithfulness. Yes, we are hard pressed so often, but I’m seeing that every tear sown has been seeds of faith that now hindsight, is reaping a harvest of JOY. God is good and He is so very faithful.
Last friends, I leave you with some photos that I hope you enjoy : ) Yes, I am crazy (for already putting up Christmas decorations!!!) and super sentimental. I LOVE Christmas time – it’s the season filled with many memories of my mom and baking, family and friends – no matter how difficult or lacking times may have been. This is a time where I’m constantly reminded of how God’s faithfulness has always blanketed my life. And I LOVE it a thousand times more because I revel in the truth that my incredible Savior, who heeded the Father’s passion to pursue mankind, came down to dwell amongst us. Isaiah 43:10~