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Undaunted, Because of The One Thing

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John 16:33– I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]

I looked up the word “undaunted”, and found synonyms like “brave, bold, steadfast, unafraid, undeterred, undiscouraged, unflinching, valiant”.  I want to “be of good cheer”, I want to be “undaunted”, but honestly I feel more as if I am drowning.  Continue reading

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Sunday 2-24-13 The Few

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Iditarod is fast approaching, and as I think about the activity happening this week, I am amazed at the level of training that has gone into each and every dog on the best teams.  I am humbled at the difference in the level of consistency, commitment and STRIVING that comes from professional dog mushers in comparison to myself.  They aren’t free to simply take a day off when they’re tired or busy or when the weather is bad or the snow isn’t great.  That’s what “big time” training is all about!  You must prepare your team (and yourself) for all matter of conditions you may run into in the race.  You don’t want your dogs to have never run in a blizzard before or slept on a trail or be handled by Veterinarians or performed for hours and hours with only short rests.  They wouldn’t perform well in the race (in the trial) if they weren’t introduced to the conditions and taught how to run in them beforehand.   They need the training, and it must occur consistently. 

Professional Dog Mushers are a very hearty breed, able to push through pain and fatigue, independently problem solve in all sorts of conditions and overcome fear and despair in all sorts of dangers.  The more I do with my little team, the more I RESPECT and am in AWE of the “real drivers”!  Thinking about the seriousness with which these Iditarod mushers approach their training astounds me!  There are many recreational mushers who run their dogs when they can or when the conditions are perfect.  It’s easier then and honestly, more fun than running in the rain!  We often leave the hardest work to “the professionals”, either by choice or necessity.  We all aren’t gifted in the same ways physically or financially to be able to chase after such a goal as Iditarod.  There are very very few who strive after the lofty goal of completing the 1000 mile Iditarod Race, and even fewer who strive to win it!  There are few who are able to STRIVE that hard, for that long! 

This comparison between professional and recreational mushers reminds me again of how few will enter through “the narrow door” into eternity with Christ, as I wrote about Friday.  May we STRIVE with all our might, and all the Grace of God, to enter through the “narrow door”, by God’s design.  After all, that goal is far loftier and  infinitely more valuable than anything on earth. 

Matthew 7:13-14, 22-2313 Enter through the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and spacious and broad is the way that leads away to destruction, and many are those who are entering through it.  14 But the gate is narrow (contracted by pressure) and the way is straitened and compressed that leads away to life, and few are those who find it…21 Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven.  22 Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name and driven out demons in Your name and done many mighty works in Your name?  23 And then I will say to them openly (publicly), I never knew you; depart from Me, you who act wickedly [disregarding My commands].

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Friday 2-22-13 Consistency

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Consistently Amazing…

I’m rejoicing to hear of SNOW falling in the mountains as I write! I recently changed my computer background photo to one I took earlier this season on top of Dandy Pass on a beautiful sunny day in a world encrusted with snow and frost, and have been hoping for just one more glimpse of this beauty from my sled this season before Spring replaces the White with Green.

With the new snow comes a new plan for one last snow race this year, Bachelor Butte Dog Derby in Bend, OR. Once again I’m faced with the reality that my team has not had any consistent training during the last two months, but I’m hoping to go run in our fresh snow next week to see what we’ve still got left in our tanks. I’m hoping to run a 30 mile race (over two days), but will drop down to the 10 mile class if my team shows signs of not being strong enough (mentally or physically) to run the longer miles. Continue reading

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Monday 2-18-13 Finishing

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Home from another whirlwind trip running (and racing) my dog team.  We had some great experiences and are once again left feeling very thankful for where the Lord is leading us this season.

Got to spend a bit of time with Mike off-island and enjoyed a lovely Valentine’s Day lunch before heading over the mountains.  We seem to be passing each other a lot these days, and I am so very thankful for his awesome love and support of me chasing after these special times on the trails with our “kids”.  He is the best husband!!!!

Team Wulik arrived at the race site on Thursday night and enjoyed spending a quiet evening relaxing with Capt. Larry and Michael and Doreen (& Ivy) in their comfy trailer complete with heat!  It was nice having some “down time” before all the craziness geared up.  I got my site set up, including a shelter for the rain that was forecast.  I set up my sled for an early morning run and Kanoo and I bedded down in the cab while the rest of the team were happy in their boxes. Continue reading

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2-13-13 Uncertainties…

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Today I am packing again, tomorrow hiting the road again, for one more race.  This one is closer to home and again on familiar trails.  On some level, I know what to expect, but in reality I am filled with lots of uncertainties. 

I’m HOPING my dog team looks more familiar to me this week than they looked at Cascade Quest, functioning as a unit and ENJOYING running down the trails.  I’m HOPING Tozi is healthy and doesn’t show any signs of continued back soreness, especially after pulling away from me during checking his back last night.  I’m HOPING Cicely decides it’s more fun to run than to ride, and actually keeps up with the team for a good steady10 miles.  Continue reading

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Thursday 2-7-13 Feeling Led to Publish

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Contemplating publishing this season’s writings into a book, perhaps an e-book…

Stay tuned!

 Do it!  (J.R. Miller)
“Whatever He says to you–do it!” John 2:5
How can we know what Jesus says? We cannot hear His voice as the servants at the wedding heard it.
He speaks now to us in His Word, and the reverent heart may always hear what He says as the sacred pages are prayerfully pondered.
He speaks in the conscience that is kept tender by loyal obeying.
He speaks in the providence which brings the present duty to our hand.
There never is any real uncertainty as to what He says, if we are truly intent on knowing His will.
“Whatever He says to you–do it!!” It is the doing which is important. We should never ask questions nor make suggestions, when Jesus has spoken–the one thing for us is obedience. We should never ask what the consequences may be, or what it may cost us–we are simply to obey. Jesus knows why He wants us to do the thing–and that should be reason enough for us.
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15

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Wed 2-6-13 Direction

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Tozi

After spending all day yesterday writing the blog and reliving the highs and lows of the past two weeks of races, I’m finding myself a bit at a loss… The things that have been consuming me since fall training are now mostly behind me, both things that were stressing me, inspiring me and exciting me.  It just occurs to me how blessed I am to not be living for things that are temporary!  What a depressing life to only look forward to earthly things that are fleeting at best, and rarely turn out the way you hoped they would.  I thank The Lord that my steady hope and focus is Him, and He changes not!

“Great Is Thy Faithfulness” is a popular Christian hymn written by Thomas Chisholm (1866-1960) with music composed by William M. Runyan (1870-1957) in Baldwin, Kansas.

“Great is Thy faithfulness, oh God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be
.

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
to Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!”

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Rom 11:29, 36  For God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable. [He never withdraws them when once they are given, and He does not change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call.]…36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. [For all things originate with Him and come from Him; all things live through Him, and all things center in and tend to consummate and to end in Him.] To Him be glory forever! Amen (so be it).

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Sunday 2-3-13 Priorities

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This morning when I woke up, I knew pretty quickly that it was the right thing to do for my dog team to not ask them to continue today.  I am not a professional dog racer… I am a caretaker first to these furry kids, and am called to do what’s best for them before I do what I want to do at their expense.  I knew they had not had their usual fun the last two runs and didn’t want this weekend to end on that note, so I decided to take them out for a short, fun run, going as far as they told me they wanted to go (by watching them in harness) and call it good.  I also hoped to find Dr. Shawn to assess Tozi after a run, in hopes of finding out what was going on with him.  It would be devastating to find that he isn’t able to run on the team, but more importantly it would be devastating for him to be in pain.  Shawn had diagnosed a subtle, chronic injury on Yuki several years ago when he had a partially torn wrist ligament by having me take him out for a run and check him immediately after.  I knew this would be the best shot I had of getting a diagnosis from him, and if she could actually see him run, that may provide the key clue to what was going on with him. Continue reading

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Saturday 2-2-13 Trials on the Trail- Going Backwards

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I overslept Saturday morning, even with all the noise around me, which told me how exhausted I was.  Tkope, on the other hand, was pawing at me to get up and get going!  He and Lance were the two who were keeping their heads and bodies in the game, but I needed more than two dogs to get us back down! Continue reading

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Fri 2-1-13 Vet Check and RACE START

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Headed To Trinity!

Friday morning I woke on time and even prepared some breakfast that I shared with Steve, who won the 100 mile Eagle Cap last week and had parked next to me.  I was enjoying my hot breakfast when the vets showed up for Vet Check, and I needed to help hold and comfort Lance, who was not at all excited about being handled by yet another stranger.  He was doing better though and even though he was spending much of his time underneath the truck, was coming out more readily to say hi.  The dogs passed their checks and I finished packing my sled.  I definitely had lost the “Rookie Bulge” from the last time I ran to Trinity (the amazing Ghost Town/Mining Town that is the checkpoint for the race).  I was very thankful that I had learned a few things anyway!  It was not an easy lesson to learn though, and I spent many-an-hour this season brainstorming how to spare every ounce and coming up with good systems for carrying necessary gear and being able to access them quickly, etc.  I especially was proud of my snack bag that hung on the handlebar and was very easy to get into, complete with trail mix in a bottle for easy eating! Continue reading

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Thurs 1-31-13 To the Quest

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Got a late start leaving home because I’m finding I’m not quite recovered from last weekend and needed to sleep in a bit.  I don’t know how mushers do back to back race weekends!  They have FAR more energy than me!  I had planned to get to the race site early enough to do a short run, but it was a bit late and took a while to get parked (I always seem to have to move three times to get just the “right” spot to park, which is actually kind of a joke among mushers… it’s a very important strategy to park in a “good spot”!) so I decided to let that run go.  After talking to Laura last week and hearing how her pre-race runs almost always go poorly, and after my last example of that theory (being drug on my side down the icy road and smashing my GPS the day before Eagle Cap), I was actually disappointed to not run because I wanted to prove to myself I didn’t have to be afraid of “disasters”!  I decided to start packing my sled instead, and was so pleased with the result that I took a picture the next day when it was completely packed!  I even had a waterproof little “seat” for Cicely, because I was pretty sure I’d be carrying her for a good part of the race.  I really wanted my whole team to get to Trinity, so was certainly willing to carry her.  As I said when I adopted her, “if she didn’t make it as a sled dog, at least she wouldn’t take up much room in the bag!”  I unpacked my Wiggy’s bag and slept in my front seat quite comfortably…especially because it was not cold, which was a concern to us all.

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Sun 1-27-13 Leaving Joseph

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Sunday morning we all packed up and got ready to leave Joseph, but had a few minutes to spend with each other at the cabins.  We took a group picture (including Bet!) and made plans for coming back next year, with a possible brunch on Sunday morning before leaving.  I really hated to leave!  My stress was all gone and NOW I was ready to visit with everyone!  LOL!  As we drove through town with the sled on top of the truck, other drivers waved goodbye to us and we felt the community’s support right up until we drove out of their wonderful little town.  It is DEFINITELY a race to at least visit, even if you’re not a racer!  Just expertly put on with tremendous support from all the officials and volunteers, none of which are even mushers! 

As I drove away I realized I was feeling a little bit let down that we had “only” run 62 miles, so I decided to do a little test.  I started the trip odometer and counted up to 60 miles….. that was when I realized how FAR my kids had run!!!!!!!!!  Amazing!  I’m sure they were all sleeping good, and certainly had earned a nice rest!

Our next step will be Cascade Quest, a 3 day, 75 mile race including an overnight stay at Trinity, perhaps my favorite place in the state.  But for now, I’m going to relax and appreciate what we’ve just accomplished, take a few days to spend with my wonderful husband and catch up on some responsibilities.  Then we’ll put it in “Race Mode” again!

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Sat 1-26-13 Awards Banquet- In The Money!

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I was much more relaxed to be in the room with all these amazing mushers tonight, knowing that we had completed our goal and had finished the race.  I understood a bit more about the drive that their dogs have by seeing it lacking in my own.  I also understood better how I still have a LOT to be proud of with my team, knowing how HARD we’ve worked to get to this point.  I didn’t feel as out of place as before the race, knowing that we proved something of our toughness by simply finishing, and I was happy to congratulate the other mushers on their accomplishments too.  When it was time to go collect my certificate, I stepped to the microphone and nervously said how happy I was that there were only three entrants in my class because I won money!  How cool was that?!?!  I’ve got that check for $21 on my refrigerator right now, not yet ready to give it up!  I heard myself saying I’d be back next year and toying with the idea of running the 100 miler!  (I knew then I must be crazy!)  It was great to wrap up this experience with such amazing people all around.  I timed my need to drop dogs poorly, and the banquet went longer than anticipated, so I had to leave for what was to be a fast 10 minutes to let the dogs down to go potty at the truck, but when I got outside my truck was iced over.  I couldn’t even get my key into the lock and the snaps were freezing and re-freezing as fast as I warmed them up with my breath or my fingers.  I got some help from Bill D and when the festivities were over we all made it back to the cabin.  I was, in a word, satisfied, and in another word, proud of my team.  We had hoped for a 100 mile race but will certainly be happy with a 62 miler, for now anyway!

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Friday 1-25-13 Pushing A Rope to The Finish Line

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Friday I woke up and quickly decided I was going to problem solve the cliff challenge by “rough locking” my runner by wrapping a neckline around it. It’s the same idea as putting chains on a car tire… it grabs slick things and gives some steering ability. By wrapping the uphill runner only, it helps keep the sled turned towards that direction, thereby preventing it from sliding over the edge, or so I hoped! I got to the race site earlier to watch some of the 100 miler teams finish but missed the first two. While we were standing around waiting for the next team, Steve starts talking about how Jackie’s sled had actually gone over the cliff and it took one other musher and himself to help get it back up onto the trail. Well, if I wasn’t freaked out about the cliff beforehand, I certainly was after hearing that story! LOL! I didn’t care how slow the neck line on my runner made me go… I just hoped to live! LOL! I fought back fear and focused on other things, including how “relaxed” my dogs looked…or were they tired? Hmmm…. I’d soon see! Continue reading

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Thur 1-24-13 Pre-Race Jitters

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Full Moon Runnin

I woke up the next morning and opened my Bible to the same spot the Lord led me to before leaving Pam’s house.  It is a section that I don’t typically turn to even though it’s right in the middle of the Word, the book of Psalms. 

Psalms 62: 5-8: “ My soul, wait only upon God and silently submit to Him; for my hope and expectation are from Him. He only is my Rock and my Salvation; He is my Defense and my Fortress, I shall not be moved. With God rests my salvation and my glory; He is my Rock of unyielding strength and impenetrable hardness, and my refuge is in God!  Trust in, lean on, rely on, and have confidence in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is a refuge for us (a fortress and a high tower). Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!”

Continue reading

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Wed 1-23-13 Vet Check and a “Fun Run”

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Making Tracks

I woke up almost shaking I was so nervous this morning!  I knew I had to get out on the trail to prove to myself I remembered how to drive a sled and dog team.  It felt like it had been a month since I was behind my team and I was beginning to think we had made a mistake thinking we could do something like this.

I made my plan of when I wanted to leave for our appointed Vet Check time but got out about 30 minutes behind schedule.  I had built in plenty of extra time so made it to downtown Joseph with plenty of time to spare.  I had loaded Lance in the cab because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get him to come out of his box with all the strangers and cars and trucks and chaos that would be associated with Vet Check.  I was really glad I did that because when we got to town I saw several big groups of school kids moving through the dog trucks parked in the road.  I knew there would be no way to get him out of his box (since it’s got the 2” lip along the bottom that he can push against).  I just prayed that the Lord would provide for my dogs, knowing this was going to be stressful for several of them.    Continue reading

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Monday 1-21-13 On the Road to Somewhere

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Left the island this morning for Eagle Cap Extreme!  Woo Hoo!  I wish I felt relief, knowing that this is the pay off for all the training we’ve been doing this season, but instead I just feel hesitant.  It’s all an unknown, especially the part about whether my team is ready for a 62 mile race.  It will be our longest, and even though I felt prepared at the end of December, after January’s failed attempts at training (due to getting sick, too much snow and then hurting my back), I’m feeling very unsure of where my team stands right now, with both their physical and mental preparedness.  I want to approach it without fear, and yet I feel like I’m wading into water too deep for me, and am wondering if we’ll sink or swim! Continue reading

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Sunday 1-20-13 Climbing Back Up

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Just loaded and washed the truck, including a 40# bag of dog food, and my back seems to be hanging in there.  I had a very encouraging phone call from my dear friend Laura this morning, and some wonderful info on the trail from the Race Organizers, and it sounds like it’s going to be quite possible to run it, even with my limitations.  I’m so very thankful, that it appears we will actually get ro race this week!  We’ve once again climbed back up from where we had crashed, moving “On By Grace”, to the JOY God will bless us with!

God does not send us two classes of providences–one good, and one evil. All are good. Affliction is God’s goodness in the seed. It takes time for a seed to grow and to  develop into fruitfulness. Many of the best things of our lives–come to us first as pain, suffering, earthly loss or disappointment–black seeds without beauty–but afterward they grow into the rich harvest of righteousness!”         J.R. Miller

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11

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Fri 1-19-13 “What Could Possibly Go Wrong?”

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Fri 1-19-13 “What Could Possibly Go Wrong?”
Writing my last entry, I joked about this statement in referring to my last week of training before our race. It isn’t a joke anymore… Continue reading

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Saturday 1-12-13 The Hump

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Silly Siberians

My alarm went off at 3:50 am this morning, followed by a very quick dressing, dropping dogs and loading the last few items, and we were on the road again by 4:30.  Got to work to drop off my sled (so I didn’t have to pay the over height charge for the ferry home, which ends up being double the ticket price), fed and dropped dogs again, and drove the last few miles to the ferry landing. 

While yesterday I woke up feeling healthier, even though I got up at a crazy early time, today I’m actually feeling excited for the upcoming races for the first time in weeks.  I feel like we’re over the “very-steep-learning-curve-of-a-hump”!  I’m actually catching myself wondering about more mid-distance races next year!  (GASP)  I know we have one more week of training, but what could possibly go wrong?  Continue reading

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