Hail Mary

My husband is good at encouragement, and he has encouraged me several times to start blogging my walks again.  So, here are some gorgeous sights from St. Mary’s Retreat Center in Oxford, MI, where I am attending an Anglican women’s retreat.  It has been raining​ for several days, and the sun came out this morning, so I knew I needed to take a stroll.  I was rewarded with a prayer path with the stations of the cross, an abandoned basketball court, and lots of Mary.



Three Things that I Love

It is the twilight of my Spring Break, and I spent it doing three things that I love.

1. Walking. 

2. Spending time with my husband. It is about a three mile walk to and from Family Video, depending on which route you take.  We’ve made the trip several times since the weather has gotten nice!


3. Feeding my love of Downton Abbey.  I have gotten Ben hooked, and we scored disk two of season two from our local Family Video (they only have one copy of each disk, so we snatch it up!)  I’ve been patiently waiting to watch Season three as he catches up!


Look at him loving Downton! 


26 Years Old: What I Do Well and What I Want to Learn

I’ve been in a funk lately.  I have a feeling that it may have something to do with a quarter-life crisis,  if those are real.  For about a year, my mind has more easily slipped into gloom-and-doom than my usual default optimism.  I’ve found that as I have entered into the quarter-century of life life, I’ve had to work a lot harder to achieve equilibrium.  I’ve never been a worrier, a cynic, or even a realist.  However, I am finding that these things, in moderation, have been a good addition to my personality as long as I keep them in check.  However, one things that always lifts my spirits to the plane of optimism is setting goals for myself.  Over and above this, I want to also make a list of things I have accomplished in the past two and a half decades of my life.  So, here it goes:

Thing I have accomplished:

Bachelors of Education Degree in English, Religion, and Speech- Yes, it took a while, but I have two majors, a minor, many school involvements, and study abroad under my belt because of the time I spent at CMU.

Marriage- and not just marriage, we are cultivating something that we intend to last.

World Travel– France, Spain, Thailand, Cambodia, Uganda, and Rwanda. (Okay, Canada counts, too.)

A Secure Circle of Family and Friends- I am not a person who is easily friends with everyone that I meet, so I am proud to have a close circle of people who really care about me.

A Career- It has been a shaky start, but I am really beginning to find positive identity in my role as a teacher.  Also, I think I am darn good at it!

Things I’ve Done and Want to do Better:

I Can Cook- Case in point, I finally got closer to perfection in my quest to be a better strawberry rhubarb pie maker (it is my husband’s favorite dessert).

I Have Religious Knowledge-  This has always been a fascination for me.  Right now, I am in a HUGE questioning period and my faith-o-meter is reading pretty low.  However, I am happy that I’ve cultivated a questioning and inquisitive heart when it comes to Christianity.  Also, I love studying other religions want want to continue doing so.

I Have a Growing Appreciation for Beer–  Four years ago, I wouldn’t touch the stuff.  Now, through experimentation and the encouragement of my friends and husband, I am in love with craft beers and have even gone to a beer tasting dinner.  I would like to gain more knowledge in this area.

I Can Write–  I have kept a steady stream of journals since I was in elementary school.  I can safely say that I can write decently and use it as a tool for expression. However, there is always room for improvement.

My Love for Walking–  I am not sure why I am so in love with walking.  It may be something mystical passed down from my mother’s love of nature.  I have never been “athletic,” but I have always had slow-and-steady endurance, so walking just seems to fit me well. I am so soothed and motivated by long walks, and I seem to encounter the best adventures when I am walking.

I Can Sing and Hold My Own on Stage-  Though I am not very good at reading music, I can sing well and I can easily lend my voice at church or whenever there is a need for it.  Also, I can get up in front of a group of people and be mildly entertaining (improv helped with that, and I do it every day when I teach!)

I Finally have some Video Gaming Skill-  Even though my passion is limited to the Fable series of Xbox games, I can finally say that I am not totally inept at gaming.

I Can Drive-  This is a shout out to myself ten years ago, when 16 year old me could finally drive on her own!

Healthy Eating- I’ve been constantly educating myself since I was a teenager.  However, I’ve let a lot of the good habits I’ve established in the past to lapse as I’ve gotten into my adult life.  My goal is to continue building what I know and continue practicing good choices.

Things I want to be:

I want to be a hiker-  I want to move past simple walks and really get into backpacking.  I was first bitten by the backpacking bug this summer on Isle Royale, and I want to continue building my skills and endurance.

I want to be better at grammar–  Yes, I am an English teacher, and I have struggled with remembering the labels for everything.  I can “DO” grammar very well, but once you start talking about gerunds and participles, my brain glazes over.  I consider grammar the “math” of English, and I am not good at math.  So, my goal is to better my English abilities by re-teaching and retaining grammar rules.

Write a Full-length Story–  A novel?  A chapter book?  Something like that.  I am good at writing non-fiction short stories about my life, because I practice in my journal every day.  I want to expand and write something fiction and longer.

Non-specific craft–  I want to learn how to make something with my hands.  More specifically, I want this to be something that I can make money off of in my spare time.  I will leave this ambiguous for now.  However, two ideas are learning how to sew Renaissance clothing, or learning how to whittle with the woodcarving knives that my grandma left for me (I would love to continue her legacy.)

Well, there you have it!  I hope that I can look back on this post and add more accomplishments to the top and place some tick marks next to the ones “in progress.”  Also, I hope this served as some sort of inspiration to my readers, to not only set goals for yourself, but also remember that there are some goals that you’ve already accomplished that deserve some recognition.  Okay, time to go live day one of my 26th year!  In light of my marriage accomplishment listed above, I will leave you with my favorite wedding photo:


With out powers combined….!


Spring is in the air and I am back on the trails!  Since I last blogged, I have gotten married and have moved to the beautiful area of Plymouth, Michigan.  Along with the move comes a whole new set of places to move my feet!  Specifically, I now live along the I275 bike path, which also connects to Hines Park, a 17 mile stretch low-lying land dotted with parks.


The I275 trail has a nice barrier so the sights and noise of the highway are blocked.


Very near my house is a stretch of Hines Park that runs along Newburgh Lake.  On the island in the left of the picture (well, peninsula,) there was an epic goose battle going down.  Honks and squawks echoed across the lake as traditional-looking white geese with orange bills tried to drive the Canada geese away from their nesting area.  I am sure that the Canada geese politely backed away, eh.  “Sorry aboot that, orange bills.”


I never actually made it to Hines Park proper, in favor of an earthen path closer to Ann Arbor Trail.  This bigger path as many sub-paths leading to breathtaking lake views (as showcased in a previous picture.)


It was soothing to see wildlife back at their antics.  This crazy little squirrel found a branch nubbin to chew on.  I also saw quite a few robins and cardinals:

See what I did there?  I’ve been watching through “The Tudors” on Netflix, and this joke had to be made.  But in all seriousness, I DID see a lot of cardinals.

So, that was the first of many spring walks I hope to document!  If you’re new to my blog, I capture my walks as a motivation tool, as well as a memory-capture device to show where my adventurous feet have taken me.  Enjoy!

Back on a Walk!

Hey everyone!  I am back!  Finals are over and I am quite happy with my grades for the semester.  I got in quite a few good walks, including a few 5-milers!   5 miles is becoming the magic-mile-goal for me.  I got nearly 5 miles in today!  I did this loop twice (thanks Livestrong.com!)…

I have yet to unearth my camera from my move-home clutter, but I will find it soon!

I have nearly a week before I head to the summer camp where I work.  Sadly it may (yet again) be sparse post-wise, but never fear, working at a camp=walking everywhere.

Make Tracks!

A Day Without Shoes (with a poem!)

Today I walked barefoot for a cause.  Toms Shoes is a company that takes consumerism and turns it on its head.  For every pair of shoes that you buy, one pair is given to a child in need.   Check out http://www.toms.com to get your own pair!

Today was Toms Shoes’ “One Day Without Shoes” day.  I bought some Toms a few weeks ago, and I love them!  I went to class today in the cold rain, shoe-less, to raise awareness for the Toms cause.  I think I got some people to check into getting some!

My friend Sarah (from the “Out on a Night Walk” post) took a picture of our Toms the other day!

Also, I wrote a poem about my shoe-less day during my debate class (obviously I was paying attention, ha ha!)

My Sole Touched the Ground By Gloriann McDonald

So much of us is covered
Thick woven thread
over legs covers
chest and arms as a
barrier between skin and air
We are good at covering ourselves
Today I touched the ground
The sky was thick
gray air was cold
rain fell in chilled puddles
Today I took off my shoes
The pavement was gray
numb and cold
puddles chilled my feet
Today I took off my shoes
and my sole touched the ground.

And I would walk 500 miles…

…Just to be the (girl) who walked 1000 miles to fall down at your (place of employment)

I spent my entire day working on my Emergent Church Movement research paper for my Religion capstone course the other day.  I needed to get off the couch, so I strapped on my Chacos and trekked to see my boyfriend at work!

It had rained nearly all day, but the sun came out for my walk!  Oh those April showers!  Here is picture of Wariner Hall, the main building at Central Michigan University!

This is a picture of a statue near our football stadium.  I am not sure if this is urban legend, but I hear the university accepted the statue before it realized the phallic reference.  So they banished it to sit in the middle of a pond far away from the main campus.  Notice the lady’s legs and the *ahem* snake.

One part of this walk that I love is walking through the Veteran’s Memorial Peace Grove.  This is a little-known spot on campus that really does live up to its “peaceful” name.

The path to peace…

Hidden in a little hill is the Peace Grove.  In the middle is a beautiful miniature tree and places to sit and reflect placed in the surrounding stone structure.

No frills, all peace.

I finally “hit the Target,” ha ha.

It just so happened that Ben was due for a lunch break, so I decided to get some Starbucks (a “perk” of this Target,) and read a little.   I would like to give a shout out to Starbucks, whose Dark Cherry Mocha is DIVINE.  Seriously, try this one if you haven’t yet!

Glamor shot of the boyfriend at Subway (surprise I have a camera!)  All in all my walk there was 2 miles.  Sadly, it got dark and COLD very quickly, so I had my wonderful roommate, Jodi, pick me up.

Thanks for taking another walk with me!