Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Quite a January: Steps in a Good Direction

I am writing this post a few days earlier than planned, and I won't be pushing this on all the social network channels. But I have had PLENTY of time to work because I have been iced in work. We had an unexpected winter storm spring on us- we dismissed school early, got a lot of people out- but ended up having students, parents, staff, and a few stranded motorists stay overnight at our school.

It has been quite an experience! We opened the lunchroom and served hamburgers, snacks, popped popcorn, candy... almost like an old times youth group lock-in... except there are too many who have been stranded or trying to find shelter.

It is 4:28 AM and waiting on the sun to come up and see if the roads will improve at all.

So what has been up this month?

Had a great consistency on exercise and Bible reading. I started a few days early- so yesterday was actually 31 days of Bible readings and workouts in a row.

I am doing the McCheyne Bible Reading Plan and reading notes from D.A. Carson as well.

I am very appreciative that the Lord has blessed the readings.

There is NO DOUBT that the Word is living and active! And it seems like there has been a personal message and consistent theme in each day.

I have been using a google doc to collect notes and thoughts and hope to use the notes for a 2015 Devotional series. I am also sharing the document with my children and hope it ends up being something they would be glad to have even years from now.


I have made a lot of changes in how I am blogging. This site continues to be the MAIN artery of original content, but I tend to use this a personal journaling and chunks of foundational ideas.

I have also developed 4 WordPress sites that allow some organization to my varied topics: is called "The Best of Jayopsis" and is a way to pull the most read posts into one site is a Football only site and does contain old and NEW content is a brand new site where I plan to publish devotional series that will last for an entire year is a site I put together that pulls the Coach Bryant series into one place

I have been blown away at the amount of traffic at each site.

The football site has had almost 7,000 views in less than 3 months. It has also allowed me to link up with a network of football coaches from across the nation.

The football gets the most traffic- but I love writing the devotional site and I am very excited about what this will look like as the content grows.

Of course, I WILL NEVER abandon the original jayopsis blog. I am fast approaching 60,000 views for this site that I have stayed fairly consistent with since 2004.


I  usually pick a theme for a year and then set monthly goals.

The goal this year is ZEAL 2014 and I will have to explain it in a later post. I'd like to wait until later with, hopefully, a good report.

But Jan is usually a goal for FITNESS and I did well on that.

February is typically a FAST. Last year was a facebook fast... and I am thinking a little bit about a caffeine fast for this Feb- though I am not looking forward to a 28 day headache.

But- time to close. I always feel like I am a very blessed person and I have to always be grateful to the Lord!

Sunday, January 05, 2014

New Year's Hike

From time to time I like reflecting on a hike. We did a great one yesterday at Oak Mtn. Chilly but sunny and thankfully no wind. It was  North Trail- yellow/white loop using the yellow/white connector that was the toughest straight up the hill climb we have ever done.

This route was 10.01 miles and took us about 3 hrs and 6 minutes- we stopped to take in a few views and pics and avg. about our normal 20 min per mile pace.

The start of the white/yellow to Maggie's Glenn (about a mile in) was great and somehow I missed the white turn-off and we ended up doing it backwards.

It is mostly flat until you get to Old Lake and spillway which is one of my favorite parts of the park. I wouldn't mind staying there one day.

From there, you have to a little negotiating to get back to the old camp road. We went a red bike trail 'Garrett's Gulch' to the gravel road.
Once you get to the road, your instinct says to go left to "Lightning" but you want to go right and find the Yellow/White connector and CLIMB the mountain to the crest.

I love that part of the White trail and the view was majestic.

This picture (left) is just before Maggie's Glenn.

Leigh Ann was a good sport- she had no way of knowing it was going to be 10 miles... and she never complained.

The low part of the trail was a little muddy- but the streams are beautiful in winter.

Every time I see a mountain stream I think of the Scarlet Letter where Hester Prynne is talking to little Pearl.

To Pearl, the stream was babbling songs of joy, but Hester said the stream was singing songs of sorrow.

Most nature poems speak the truth, that nature seems to always shine according to our disposition at the time. Some days it is walking in sunshine and other days the venerable whispers of melancholy. I seem to always feel hints of both. The grandeur of God's creation never fails to tug my desire to praise Him- but as I get older I sense the truth of sorrow as years make us acquainted with grief.

This stream was singing to me the whole time.... Happy New Year... and also I could feel the hint of the deep cold that is approaching this week as well.

And then the YELLOW/WHITE CLIMB- wow- it was something else- just after the 'experimental toilet' on group camp road, you start the ascension (603 ft at the base) to the top (1229 ft). The thing is- it is a 2.1 mile climb straight uphill for the most part.  IT TOOK US 45 MINUTES TO CREST! My heart was racing and I was pouring sweat. The Map My Run app said we burned 2701 calories- I bet 700 of those was right there!

This is definitely one of our favorite family activities and I am thankful to be healthy enough to do it. There were a lot of folks out yesterday- bikers/hikers/ and horseback. Always friendly people- and the healthy benefits of the sunshine radiate on everyone.

2014 is going to be a great year and already has had a promising beginning!

The next few days in Birmingham are going to be bitterly cold- so I way not be here again for some time. But I was so glad to get to enjoy it again.