Kiera’s Song


A shadow darkened the already dimly lit forest. Kiera could hear the dragon’s roar and knew that her grandmother would need the herbs she was picking very soon. Every time the dragon attacked, people came from the village for healing potions. The dragon had distracted the village elders from the witch hunt they were organizing. Healers from all around the land had been in hiding from the elders for months. Kiera’s mother and aunts were caught and taken away to the castle. No one had heard news of them, so there was a chance they could be alive.

She could smell the dragon fire. It must be close. Kiera picked a few more herbs and put them in her basket. Suddenly, she heard yelling from the meadow and realized that the King’s men were close. She turned and ran back down the path to her grandmother’s cabin.

Behind her, she could hear a loud commotion but she didn’t stop until she got home. Breathlessly, she came into the cabin and put the basket on her grandmother’s workbench.

“The king’s men are in the meadow. I think they are fighting the dragon, but they are very close!”

Her grandmother turned quickly. “Let’s go, child. Even if it’s the dragon they are after, we cannot take the chance they will find us!”

They gathered the herbs from the workbench into a basket, put on their cloaks and went out the door. Following a faint path behind the cabin, they went into the darkest part of the forest. Kiera kept close to her grandmother, not wanting to get lost in the dark or spirited away by the ghosts. They walked quickly and quietly until they reached the tiny stone hut where her grandmother’s grandmother had been born. This part of the forest never saw the sun, so she didn’t see the hut until her grandmother stopped.

The hut was musty. Her grandmother lit a candle. In one corner, the roof had collapsed and there was mold growing down the stone wall. Along one wall were the stone benches which served as seating and as beds. A large fireplace took up the back wall. Her grandmother went to the fireplace and lit a meager peat fire. The rest of the hut was dedicated to herbology: a large work bench and a cabinet which held crocks and tools.

Kiera set her basket down on the workbench and then got the bucket. The stream was only twelve steps from the door. She went out and rinsed the bucket and then filled it with cold, clear water. When she returned, she poured half of the water into the pitcher on the workbench. Then she used the remaining water to rinse off the benches, the small table and the workbench. Meanwhile, her grandmother was warming the stew she had brought from the cabin.


This Crazy Journey


Recently, I have seen a couple of messages on social media hoping 2017 is better than 2016. While I would hope it is better, 2016 has been pretty good for me. Not in the way people usually measure success… I’m single and broke. But I have learned to work with what I have and how to live my life on my terms.

Somewhere in the past year, I found some motivation I didn’t know I had. I started out with the idea that I didn’t want to grow old as an overweight, unhealthy person. I don’t want to have medication for the looming health problems. Shoot, I don’t want to grow old at all!

So I found a wellness coach and started to change my eating habits, cutting out a lot of processed food and working (still a work in progress) on portion control. At the same time, I started walking and worked very hard to make it a part of my daily routine. When I started, I only wanted to walk on hiking trails, not in the neighborhood and I didn’t want to go to the gym at all. At some point, neighborhood walking became part of it because I don’t always have time to drive to the foothills to walk. And this last week, I added the gym back as well because there are times when I don’t feel like walking. Since the 1st of July, I have missed less than 10 days of exercise🙂 and have lost about 25 pounds.

However, the journey isn’t just about my physical health. My brain is getting involved too. I am beginning to realize that I can take care of myself.

I finally cut an extremely toxic relationship out of my life. It was harder than it should’ve been because he was backing me up. At least I thought he was. I finally saw what many around me had already noticed… everything he did to help me had strings attached to it. So while I thought I was moving on with my life, he was still controlling parts of it. It’s been a struggle the last couple weeks just getting past that idea that I am truly doing this without that safety net.

There are a couple of people who have been extremely helpful and encouraging…hiking with me, listening to me stress, giving advice but not getting in the way of this journey I am on. For them, I am eternally grateful because without the support I don’t know if I could’ve kept moving forward. And of course, all my other friends and family who are cheering me on. Thank you for that

So 2016 has been a year of discovery for me. Not always easy but phenomenal in a lot of ways. I am rebuilding myself into someone I have always wanted to be. My plan for 2017 will be to continue the process.


Sandia Snow



In my head

In my dreams

Unsure where to go

Which way to turn


In forgotten memories

In a sea of emotions

Twisted up by thoughts

Of what could have been

Of what should have been

Wishing my mind could

Let go of expectations

And just relax

And trust that all is unfolding as it should.wp-1456170947267.jpg



Rounding the path
Seeking for that elusive something
Always hiding around the next bend
Scrambling over rocks
Skipping over streams
Longing for a hint of freedom
Carried in the breeze
A feeling of accomplishment
As the trail becomes easier
Less scary
Determination fueling need
The need to do more, be more
To prove something to yourself

Giving Myself Permission

One of the interesting side-developments of this fitness journey is that I am taking on a lot of different aspects of myself. This is not just about losing weight or living a healthy lifestyle. I am finding that I am tackling some healing that needs to happen, and some things I have spent my life fighting.

I started this post thinking about dinner tonight. I have never really gotten the hang of cooking for one. I always cook too much and I tend to eat it all. Which doesn’t jive with the lifestyle I am trying to create for myself. I have to learn to eat less and healthier. I am working on changing food choices, but amounts are still challenging me. So I need to learn to give myself permission to save some for later.

I need to learn to give myself permission.

I am in charge of my life. No need to look to anyone else for permission. I’m it. No one to save me, no safety net. Pretty powerful stuff for someone who has spent her life following the lead of whoever was in charge.

No more walking on eggshells, waiting for the explosion. No more keeping my mouth shut for safety sake, even though I knew what needed to be said. No more dancing around, skirting the issue to keep the peace.

It’s somewhat scary not being scared.

Now, though, I have to learn to do some of those things that I have never really had to worry about. Money management…which I am not particularly good at. Time management…which I can do if I have a goal. And this fitness journey.

I need to give myself permission to succeed.

Goal Setting

As a teacher, I am very aware of setting goals: goals that are measurable and attainable. However, I have not ever really done much in the way of goal setting on a personal level.

As I have started my fitness journey this time, I have done a couple of things differently. First, I am seeing a wellness coach. She is helping me to keep my focus and to think about goals. Secondly, I have started looking at the end game. What is it that I want to accomplish? Just saying I want to lose weight or I want to be healthier isn’t enough. I have an eventual goal weight but that is so far away from where I am now, that it doesn’t seem like a realistic goal.

The first goal I set was to record everything I eat…no cheating because really, who am I cheating? I have done well with that, even though its been somewhat painful to realize how badly I eat when I’m not thinking about it. Way way way too much fat…LOL! I am working on changing my thoughts on eating. Those who know me realize how hard that is. I’m a baker and cook whenever I can.

The second goal is one that has been in my mind for a long time. I want to be able to hike up mountains, specifically up the Pino Trail to Sandia Crest. This plan is what has really fueled my fitness journey. I NEED to be in better shape for this to happen.

So, my current goal is to walk at least 6 times a week. Since the start of July, I have walked every day but one. Most of my walks have been at least a mile. So I am now adding a new goal to this. I am going to sign up for a 5k walk on Aug 6th with a challenge to myself to do one 5k a month for the next year. I don’t know if I will eventually run these or not…I have never been a runner. But you never know!

I have added some weight work to my plan but haven’t decided what my goal there is yet. I know that building strength is part of what I need to do, so I will come up with a plan.

Somehow, I am cobbling together a fitness plan that I enjoy and am doing on my terms🙂 Looking forward to the day I can take a picture of myself at the top of the mountain!!!

Getting Started…Again :)

Here we go…
I have been heavy for a long time. Not in my childhood, but since getting married the first time and having children. I weighed 160 when I got married, 200 after my first daughter, 220 after the second, and 250 after my son. In the last 20 years, I’ve been divorced, married and divorced again. And put on another 60 pounds. I’ve dieted kind of haphazardly over the years.

After my second divorce, I sat down and thought seriously about what I was doing. I knew I couldn’t keep doing thing the way I had been but I wasn’t sure what I wanted. I love the outdoors and taking pictures of landscapes I see. So I decided I wanted to hike in order to get better pictures. Somewhere along the way, I decided I wanted to challenge myself to hike the Pino Trail to the top of Sandia in Albuquerque. This is a 9 mile hike up and back…up the side of a mountain. Seriously need to get into better shape to make this happen.

Recently, I have found my motivation. I am seeing a wellness coach and have hiked in the foothills or walked in my neighborhood every day but one since the start of July. I have lost 7 pounds and am working to change my eating habits. I’m feeling good and have good friends who have been encouraging me and hiking with me. The last week or so I am waking up thinking about the walk🙂 Just need to keep the focus and get some of these habits ingrained before school starts up in a few weeks!

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