Geralyn Wichers

"Life is a great adventure, or nothing"

Just in case I’ve scammed anyone into thinking I’m superhuman, I’d like to confess that I’ve had a series of lousy runs. Two bad runs this week (and one bad session of cross training and weight training). My seven-miler the weekend before I left for Mexico was good, but before that my runs were marked by general lack of pep. Today my legs were like lead for the entirety of my four-miler. Four miles isn’t supposed to be intimidating, but I was really hoping to set a challenging pace. No dice. I was just happy to finish.

Post-run, not looking good!

Post-run, not looking good!

Though, for what it’s worth, I ran Abe’s Hill (our local sledding hill) three times.

This may be perfectly normal, but I have no way of knowing because I’m a first-time half-marathoner. I’m guessing I’ve just plain pushed too hard. Why else would I, usually healthy as the proverbial horse, come down with cramps or headaches or colds every second week? Right now I’m kind of scared that I’m going to get to the half marathon and choke about half way through. How many bad weeks of training can I afford to have?

I’m going to have to research this one.

Meanwhile, full of fear and discouragement, it’s a challenge to pack the gym bag or look ahead to the next day’s run. You know, I have as my blog tagline “Life is a great adventure, or nothing.” In most of the great adventure stories I’ve read or watched on the movie screen, there is a low point, or a progressive downturn before the climax and the triumph.

For instance, today I was listening to leadership author and speaker Chris Brady tell the story of Sir Sidney Smith. Smith was a sea captain and a British spy during the Napoleonic wars. Imprisoned in the Temple Prison in Paris, in danger of being executed as a spy, Smith carved into the wooden ceiling of the cell these words (quoted here as best as i can remember):

“Fortune’s wheel makes strange revolutions, it must be confessed. But for the turn ‘revolution’ to be applicable, the turn of the wheel must be complete. You [speaking to Napoleon here] are as high as you can be. Very well, I envy not your good fortune for mine is greater still. I am now as low in the career of ambition as a man can very well descend. But let this capricious dame Fortune turn her wheel ever so little, and I must necessarily mount for the same reason as you must descend.”

Not much later, Smith escaped from prison. He was given a couple of ships and commissioned to sail to Constantinople. While en route, he stopped over in Acre, Turkey, and found the citizens about to be besieged by Napoleon himself. Smith had about 5000 men, once he’d recruited local Turks and fortified the tiny town of Acre. But with a load of daring an initiative (and apparently the ability to be almost everywhere simultaneously) Smith and his men repelled Napoleons army of 10,000 eleven times and eventually forced them to retreat. Smith got his revenge on Napoleon in grand style, and effectively ended Napoleons plans to capture the east for his own new empire.

It seems a little ridiculous to equate this with my own little journey toward running my first half-marathon. But it illustrates that for one, when you are at your lowest you can’t see what your high point will look like, and second, that an ordinary person (Smith was not technically an officer when he took command of his ships, and then the battle of Acre) can with courage and daring, do great things.

It’s been my prayer that if I’m going to pour all this time and energy into training, that my first half marathon wouldn’t be just about me. It would be a way to empower others and bring glory to God. And some way or another, that is going to happen. Right now, with my feet up and aching muscles, I can’t see it. I can’t see the finish line.

But I think… I think it will be worth it.

photo credit: wikimedia commons

Have you ever swooned over a celebrity? Kept their photos on your walls or your desktop, or (God forbid) on your phone case? I knew someone who had a Chris Hemsworth iPhone case. It was the freakiest thing when they were texting across the table, and Thor himself was staring you down. Speaking of Thor, I have to admit that I have a slight crush on Loki himself, Mr. Tom Hiddleston. So perhaps you should take this post, originally from February 2014, with a grain of salt. Enjoy!

Originally posted February 15, 2014.

Summer camp is the scene of much stupidity, and preteen girls will argue, but no argument perplexed me as much as the one over who was ‘hotter’—Chad Michael Murray or Paul Walker.

It was the early 2000’s, we were in the spring of our youth, and were just discovering boys—my cabin mates more so than I. I had no idea who Paul Walker was, and had only seen Chad Michael Murray in Freaky Friday (not a high point of his career, or his looks). I didn’t think either was hot, so I sat on my bunk bed and kept my mouth shut.

At about the same time, Brad Pitt was in his ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ days, and my companions were equally goggle-eyed over him. “Disgusting,” I thought. “He’s old enough to be my father.”

I don’t understand celebrity crushes. I mean, what’s the point?

I’ve seen footage of the Beatles performing live, while all around young women are screaming and weeping at the very sight of them–not unlike the mania that surrounds any of Justin Bieber’s shows.

Do any of those young girls, screaming and flailing about in the crowd, think that Bieber will give them a second glance? Yet they’d defend his reputation to the death when he’s caught coming out of a brothel. That isn’t the kind of guy they should be with. Fortunately, they won’t be.

Then there was this episode of the Graham Norton Show, in which Chris Pine’s and Benedict Cumberbatch’s fan clubs compared who had travelled the farthest to see their idol. One chick had travelled from Hong Kong to England to see Benedict Cumberbatch. Hong Kong!

Why?

Did she just want to breath the same air as him? Gaze upon his face? What could she possibly hope for? I’m damn sure Mr. Cumberbatch didn’t think to himself ‘Oh, how touching. From Hong Kong? I must sweep her off her feet. She must be mine!’

I admit that, of all celebrities, the closest thing to a crush I have right now is on Benedict Cumberbatch. I think it may be the accent, because other than his fine blue eyes, I’m not much for his looks. He reminds me of my grandfather.

Not that celebrities don’t fascinate me. I watch the Graham Norton Show, read fashion magazines, and catch the Oscars. I’ve seen all the production videos for The Hobbit. I like to hear celebrities talk about their craft, see what they’re wearing, and hear their funny stories about filming. I enjoy seeing the people behind the characters.

But they’re just people—albeit successful, famous ones.

If I boil it down, what I find appealing about famous men is how they handle themselves in public—suave, gentlemanly. And which woman doesn’t like a man who knows how to behave? They’re well groomed, well dressed, and mannerly and that goes very, very far.

Ah!  That’s probably why people think Benedict Cumberbatch is sexy. He looks good in a suit.  There, solved that one.

But what if it’s all a façade? What if these men are just stuffed silk shirts, while inside they’re full of rot and decay? Time eventually tattles and tells us what they’re made of. Many lead lives worth admiring—excellence in their craft, philanthropy, a healthy family life. But others end up collapsing under the weight of their fame. Like a ketchup bottle, what is inside will come out when squeezed.

And that is a problem we all bear. After all, famous men aren’t gods, but mortals.

Just a thought.

What about you? Have you had a celebrity crush? 

I had perhaps the most traumatic shoe-shopping experience of my life–and the most enlightening.

I prepare to lace up for the first time.

I prepare to lace up for the first time.

My first pair of runners were just the pair that fit the best and were the right price, bought at the local Shoe Warehouse. The extent of my research was ‘what’s the difference between a runner and a cross trainer?’ I had no idea if I’d even finish Couch to 5K, after all. The shoes were my Gideon’s fleece. If there was a pair for less than X dollars, I’d buy them and start running that day.

And there they were. Purple New Balance runners. I had no running gear, but I put on a pair of sweats and a t-shirt and hit the pavement. That was June 2014.

Today I drove to the big city to hit up the Running Room for a real pair of runners. I wanted the whole fitting experience. I wanted to know if I walked funny, supinated, pronated, whatever all that was.

Unfortunately, despite the help of a nice young gentleman, I didn’t find any shoes there. I have weird, freak feet apparently. As IMG_0893a sidenote, you won’t see skinnier legs than in a running store. Not even on the catwalk in Paris.

Anyway, I moseyed on down to City Park Runners. Or I should say, I tested the full limits of my iPhone’s navigational skills. That was the traumatic part. When I finally ended up in the right store, the sales girl measured and observed and studied (I have one neutral foot, and one that pronates it seems) and then started pulling out shoes. Oh did I try on shoes, and none of them fit! Finally I found one pair to test on the treadmill. They were okay, though a bit clunky. Electric blue, too (that was fine, though). Then I found the winners, my beautiful Mizuno Inspires.

And dang, they didn’t come cheap. But I suppose education costs money. Before today I didn’t know about neutral shoes, or stability shoes, or different types of heel padding. What I wanted was a full shoe education, and it seems I got what I wanted.

And on the way home, my phone died. That was traumatic. Fortunately I was in sight of familiar territory. :)

I realized then, that I’d just bought my first half-marathon shoes. I’m pretty pumped about that. I’m a bit sentimental about retiring my first pair of runners, but I’m excited about where these new shoes will take me.

crowd unsplash

“It’s them! It’s the boss, the American government, the religious fundamentalists, the atheists, the…” Whatever bad thing happened, it is ‘their’ fault, whoever they are. But perhaps it isn’t so simple, nor so easy to squeeze out of responsibility. This is an article originally posted March 28, 2014, that addresses this.

“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?” –Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

I first heard this quote, from The Gulag Archipelago, paraphrased by Dr. Andy Bannister in a lecture titled “Does Religion Poison Everything?” (borrowing from Christopher Hitchen’s line, “Religion poisons everything”). Bannister said that ‘religion,’ in the quote, could just as well be replaced by ‘money,’ since money causes crime, poverty and resentment. Or ‘politics’, since politics causes bloodshed, strife and war. He said that whatever humans ‘lay ahold of,’ they poison–sort of a reverse Midas touch. That applies to politics, money, government, science–and religion.

But all of those things can–and are–used for good as well. The dividing line runs through our hearts.

I recently repeated Solzhenitsyn’s words to someone who was bemoaning the prevelence of technology–smartphones in particular. I think she was thinking of the ubiquitous iPhone, and the ‘smartphone slouch’ that goes with it, and how people use their phones as an excuse to not talk to each other. It’s a valid complaint, if misdirected. My iPhone (on which I am writing this blog post) is the single most powerful business tool I own, but it is one of my greatest time-wasters, and a gateway to all kinds of destruction. It all depends how I use it.

Another example. I grew up around guns. My family is a hunting, fishing and trapping family. All my life, I’ve been comfortable with guns because I’ve seen them since I was little, was taught how to shoot and how to handle guns safely. My Dad and his gun were what put meat on our table, and they continue to do so. But other people have used guns to kill and cause all manner of human suffering. It depends on the use. The line of good and evil runs through each of our hearts.

We would like to say that it is religion, or politics, or money, or sex, or guns, or just ‘those people’ that wreak havoc in our lives and in this world. If we could only eliminate the gun, the smartphone, the religion, the poison would go as well.

If only it were that easy. Solzhenitsyn, who as a survivor of the Soviet Gulag knew true evil, realized that the horrors he had known could not be eradicated by destroying a certain group of people because evil was in every heart.

The poison isn’t the object, the poison isn’t ‘those people’. The poison is in us, and everywhere we go, there we are.

Malcolm Muggeridge said: “The depravity of man is at once the most empirically verifiable reality but at the same time the most intellectually resisted fact.”

But perhaps it is easier to blame it on the smartphone, or the religion.

sons of earth final ebookHi Friends,

If you are a Kindle Select subscriber, Sons of Earth can be read for free!

Also, if you’ve yet to pick up We are the Living, it is 1.99 on Amazon Kindle for a few more days.

It’s a freak snowstorm day here in Manitoba–a good day to curl up with a book. I’m going to get in a few chapters of Harry Potter yet. :)

Have a great day,

Geralyn

I was as thrilled as a little schoolgirl this morning when I stumbled across the box set of Harry Potter novels posted on Varage Sale. In an instant, I’d answered a cool ‘interested’ in the comments section while inside I was screaming “Meeeeeee! I’ll take them! Give them to me!”

Thus and thus, I became proud owner of the Harry Potter books at age 24. IMG_0889When I was a youngster, growing up in a conservative Christian home, all things Harry Potter were forbidden on account of the magic. I agree that magic is a biblically grey area, and if I should have children, I’d probably at least want to read the books with them so we could talk about those things. So, unlike my peers who grew up with Harry, Ron and Hermione, I waited to meet them until last autumn.

I committed to the movies first, and I thoroughly enjoyed them. Never mind that they were ‘kids movies’. Little Harry and his friends were so darn cute, and I especially loved know-it-all Hermione. I’d be the one going ‘Don’t you read?’ too. Later on, as the stakes get higher and the movies become darker in tone, the relationship between Harry and his friends grows even stronger in contrast the evil they face. Yeah, there’s a little bit of harmless romance in the story, but the platonic, brotherly love is what shines in these stories. Love, sacrifice, friendship and loyalty are praised almost above all else.

I’ve been reading a lot of ‘kids books’ lately. I’m plugging away at a seven-in-one volume of the Chronicles of Narnia. Narnia is my lunchtime escape from the perils of work. The imagination is so much fresher than in ‘adult’ books. The good is so much ‘gooder’ and the bad is so much more cut and dry. I guess I’m surrounded by cynicism all day, so reading a kids book is refreshing to the mind.

So I’ve finally got my hands on the Harry Potter series. I’ll be the lone adult on the plane or in the waiting room, reading Harry Potter. So what if I’m too old? :)

Oh, it makes me giggle to see how far I’ve come. I wrote this one year ago, before I’d ever dreamt of running. Now, well, It seems I’ve become a gym rat. The horror! Enjoy these 5 workout tips, from a former no-worker-outer. :)

Me no work out. And when I do, it must be short. Fifteen minutes max. There’s no point in buying me a gym membership because I won’t go. If I can’t work out in my pyjamas in my living room, well, it ain’t gonna happen because I ain’t doing my beached whale moves/crunches where any skinny gym rats can see me.

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Science has proven that wearing something made by Lululemon causes you to burn 25% more calories

Nevertheless, I’ve worked out for two months straight now, because I have my motivation strategy all worked out. And now, you can be motivated too! Here are five steps to motivation:

1. Tell Yourself How Good it is For You

You’ll sleep better, you’ll have better
circulation. It’ll clear the mental fog–but most of all, it will keep you limber. And for me, being able to finally sit cross-legged is a big deal.

Not kidding.

That failing, move to:

2. Stand in Front of a Mirror–In Your Underwear

First, flex your muscles and admire the biceps you have developed. Second, squeeze the jelly roll around your middle. Those reverse crunches? Oh yeah, it’ll be gone.

But if that doesn’t work.

3. Kick Your Own Butt

I say to myself “Who’s the boss? Who’s the boss?”

**meekly** “I am.”

“Then get out there!”

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I’ve got my game face on.

But if you’re still on the couch, try:

4. Promise Yourself Something

If I work out four times this week I’ll:

Eat chips.

Fail.

Buy the next book in The Mortal Instruments series. Ding Ding Ding!

But, if you cannot possibly bring yourself to do a squat, lunge or a step on the treadmill, there is one last maneuver you can try.

5. Watch Extreme Makeover: Weightloss Edition

If this doesn’t scare you into your workout gear, at very least it will inspire you. They always look so beautiful at the end, and they have so much confidence!

That’s all we want, right?

Friends, I’m a royal wimp when it comes to working out, but if I’ve learned anything, it’s that doing what you said you would does wonders for the mind, body and soul.

So put on the sweats. Tie back the hair. Off the couch in three, two, one… go!

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Boy, am I excited to share this with you!

sons of earth final ebookMy newest novel, Sons of Earth,is now released on Amazon for you to download, and purchase as paperback (in some countries).

Sons of Earthis a sci-fi, dystopian drama set in a near-future city. Human clones, or ‘Manufactured Persons,’ are the new workforce in the City. They are engineered to be physically perfect and mentally compliant. Dominic, a clone himself, escaped from the clutches of Caspian Genetics. Now he returns, in the guise of a scientist, with sabotage on his mind. He doesn’t anticipate falling for his boss.

A manufactured person is no person at all. Designed to fight and die, Dominic escaped from the metallic womb of Caspian Genetics. He knows that if he is found out he’s as good as dead, but he cannot forget that his brothers are enslaved.

He matches his wits against Caspian’s might. But how can Dominic stand against an industry that denies his personhood when he doubts his own humanity? As his plans unravel, Dominic is forced to face the question: Was he lied to? Is he human after all?

Purchase it here.

Read the first chapter at this link: Chapter One Sons of Earthliving_kindle

Do you like zombies, combined with a good story of love and redemption?
For the next two weeks, my first novel We are the Living is offered at a discount on the Kindle store. You can pick up your own digital copy for 1.99 (US) right here.

Inspiring thoughts on how accepting reality can combat stress and suffering in our lives. The following is condensed from Should I Fire My Doctor, by Patricia J. Sulak, MD.

dropsStress is inevitable. Suffering is optional. In my pursuit of wellness, I have come across this concept multiple times. I agree. We need to Stifle Stress, and we can then Sever Suffering. How do we decrease the stress in our lives? It does not matter if I am reading the words of Greek philosophers, the Buddha, Confucious, C.S. Lewis, or the New Testament–the answer is the same. We suffer when we argue with reality (or many call it arguing with God).

Rules of Reality cause us to suffer if we deal ineffectively with them. I have narrowed them down to four.

Reality Rule #1: Life is unpredictable. Even though we all know this, it doesn’t seem to keep us from stressing out over the unexpected… It may be the traffic jam on the way to an appointment, the unwanted mammogram results, the layoffs at work, or the phone call with bad news about a friend.

Solution to Reality Rule #1: Expect the Unexpected. Rather than each morning waking up hoping that everything will go the way you want, expect the unexpected. Ask yourself, “I wonder what is going to happen today something not on my radar, that I will need to deal with…?” …we can train ourselves to deal with events in a thoughtful fashion with improved outcomes.

Reality Rule #2: Life is Transient. Most of use believe, or say we believe, that there is a better place after death, usually referred to as heaven. Although often described as the ultimate five-star luxury residence–with no demands, dealines, or discomforts–none of use seem in a hurry to reach that destination… Although we know that death is inevitable and happens unexpectedly every day to many, we hope it won’t be a family member, a friend, or us. But, one day it will…

One patient who came for her annual visit announced that her husband had died unexpectedly three months ago. They had been married over 35 years. I asked her how she was doing. She smiled and told me she was not going to live in misery but was going to cherish and honor the time they had together. This was the total opposite of some of the patients, who over ten years after the death of their spouses, “still can’t get over his being gone.”

Solution to Reality Rule #2: Life is Precious. Cherish each moment.

Reality Rule #3: I’m not in control of most of life’s events. While we can decrease adverse and demanding circumstances and manage many aspects of our lives, we are not in control of most daily events. I cannot control the weather or traffic. I cannot control what people say about me. I cannot control what people do to me. I cannot control many things that happen in my life.

Solution to Reality Rule #3: I can choose how I react to life’s events. …No one has stated this better than Victor Frankl, a survivor of Hitler’s concentration camps. He said, “The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.”

Reality Rule #4: I am not perfect. This may be the last, but certainly not the least Reality Rule. When I say and do things that hurt others, it’s usually because I was thinking of myself and not being mindful. I was not focusing on where someone was coming from and why she said or did what she did. Or, I was trying to be helpful, but could have chosen different words or actions. I do things that personally don’t serve me well.

Solution to Reality Rule #4: There is room for improvement! I love the saying, “There are no mistakes, only lessons…” For everything I have done that did not serve others and me well, I can learn from the experience and help others and myself…

What about the times I have hurt people? I can use those experiences to improve my own behavior and be more understanding when people do things that hurt others. In fact, now when my husband and I catch ourselves saying something negative about someone, we try to remember to add the phrase “…just like me.”

(end quote)

I thought I’d share these thoughts with you, not because I’ve mastered them but because they’ve challenged me–particularly solution #4. I’d like to remember to add “…just like me” when I’m tempted to judge.

sons of earth final ebookHi Friends,

The release of Sons of Earth is immanent! Like next couple days, immanent! So to share my excitement, I am releasing the first chapter for you to prime your appetite. Click the link to read the entire first chapter.

Chapter One Sons of Earth

Once the book is live, you can bet i’ll be shouting it from the rooftops. In the meantime, I’m pleased to announce that We are the Living will be offered at $1.99 on Amazon Kindle at the same time.

Enjoy the first chapter. All details shall follow.

Geralyn

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