Great Things

“Great things are done when man and mountains meet.”

When the great poet William Blake spoke those words almost 200 years ago, I can only imagine he had no way of knowing that they would come to life right here in Eastern Tennessee in 2017.  He could not possibly have foreseen that my friend, Benny, would live out exactly what he meant.

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For the past 2 months Benny has been on a quest of epic status.  On January 1 of this year, he set out to hike every inch of trail miles in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park by the end of the year. That is a Massive undertaking since most people take years to complete hiking a map.

But just a few weeks into the journey, he decided that maybe he could break the current record of hiking each and every trail..

The Current record is 4 months and 12 days.

This Saturday Benny will complete his journey, setting a new record of 2 months and 19 days.

Oh, did I mention that there are over 800 miles of trails in the Smoky Mountains?

I remember very vividly seeing Benny make the post about going for the record.  At the time I had never met Benny, but we are both members of the same Facebook hiking group, and I was well aware of who we was and the enormous task before him.  I instantly joined his page, so I could follow along with his journey.

This man was phenomenal. With each and every post he made me feel like I was part of his journey.  Every few days we were treated with an update, and the most beautiful pictures.

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I was instantly a fan girl!

By chance, I was able to meet Benny at an event we were both attending at the first of February.  One would think going after such an ambitious record would give you a swollen ego, and extra large head, but sitting and chatting with Benny for those couple of hours was like catching up with an old friend.  Within seconds, I knew he was the most down to earth, humble person I have ever had the honor of meeting.  Of course I had to go all fan girl and get a selfie with him and another friend of ours.

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Personally meeting Benny, made following his journey even more sweeter.  Now I was invested in his success.

But following Benny’s journey also got me to thinking about my own.

Struggling with my injured foot, life stresses, and just being plain tired, had caused me to put off fully seeking completing my own map.  “Those mountains aren’t going anywhere.  I have all the time in the world to finish.”

But watching the passion that Benny exhibited, the fire within me was lit to immediately get serious about what I needed to do to complete my own map.

Those mountains may not be going anywhere, but I am not guaranteed tomorrow.  Watching Benny actively pursue his dream showed me, that NOW is the time.  Don’t put off what you are passionate about until later.  Later may never come.

For the past month and half, I have worked obsessively on a plan to help ensure that I will finish my own map hopefully by the end of next year.

This Saturday, I will join my fellow hiking community as we come together to celebrate the final leg of Benny’s amazing journey.  I will watch with tremendous pride as my friend takes his final steps towards his dream.

Benny may not be aware, but he has inspired many.  In him we see what happens when you want something bad enough, and you work hard to make it happen.  He sacrificed time with his wife and children.  Time away from work.  Time to just sit and relax.  He went out cold,wet, sick, tired, and hungry, but never once did he post a complaint.

Never.

How could he….he was living his dream.

Harriet Tubman once said,

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer.  Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars, to change the world.”

Benny has reached for the stars, and while he may not entirely change the world with this phenomenal record breaking hike, he has definitely changed the hearts and the lives of those who have been following him.

Great things indeed.

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From Contender to Champion

Theodore Roosevelt once said, “If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.”

Wow, Teddy, thank you so much for calling me out.

If there is one thing I am absolutly AWESOME at, it is finding an excuse for things that happen to me.  Seriously, it is NEVER my fault.  I mean, look at this innocent face….. Continue reading

My Own Pace

“There is an old weather bettion house
that stands near a wood
With an orchard near by it
For all most one hundred years it has stood

It was my home in infency
It sheltered me in youth
When I tell you I love it
I tell you the truth.”

The above poem was written by Louisa Walker.  She was one of the infamous Walker Sisters who grew up deep inside the Great Smoky Mountains.  Her grandfather built a cabin in Little Greenbrier Cove sometime in the 1840’s.  When her father, John, came home from fighting for the Union in the Civil War, he moved his wife Margaret to the house and there they raised 11 children.  Continue reading

Made To Fly

Through the years there are many things I have longed to be.

Skinny
Rich
Beautiful
An Astronaut
A Ballerina
A Famous Broadway Director
A Brunette

I could go on and on with the list. However, I’ll just leave you with the highlights. 🙂 Continue reading

Astounding Ourselves

Lazy and Unmotivated.

Those were two words that up until 8 months ago described me.

However, on Sunday, those words were forever removed from my permanent file. The final check was placed on my goals I set back in February, and I  finished feeling tired and beaten up, but OH so wonderful.

It took me a while to Realize it, but there is a fierce warrior that resides in me, and I think I like her.  She came out when I stopped saying, “I wish I could do that”, and I started DOING IT. No longer did I live on the Border of something wonderful.. I was there. Continue reading