My EPIC Year: Lake Powell Revisited

by: Robin Gerblick

I used to obsess about climbing Mt. Everest in the worst way… I bought all the books, read all the stories, watched all the movies… yes… even the IMAX and as I matured in my thinking (thank God), I realized we live in a world obsessing over the next big EPIC Adventure. Who will be the oldest to climb Everest? Who will be the youngest, the fastest, with or without oxygen, assisted, not assisted, married, divorced, single, male, female, climbing for cause, climbing for self gratification… you get the picture!

And as my thinking matured, I realized that years ago, I had already achieved an EPIC adventure of my own… I spent 4 weeks on Lake Powell, a family vacation of EPIC proportion and lasting memories to pass on to the next generation… a life legacy (as my most amazing mom would say!)

It’s 1963 and I’m 10 years old. This is the first year that forever changed the course of the mighty Colorado River and created what we now know as Lake Powell. It was 7 years later when it would forever change the course of my life.
Our family “truckster”, fully loaded with camping gear, 3 kids + friends and our Reinell ski boat in tow, we head to a destination unknown… our mission? To see and explore as much of this newly formed landscape as we could before my dad needed to return to work and us kids, back to school… it’s summer… it’s hot. Fast forward and many years later, I find myself drawn to the landscape that won’t leave my soul and ask myself, “Why do I keep coming back to this place?” Is it the canyon walls echoing my name or the green sand bottom water welcoming me home?

I am not Navajo… I’m as white as white can be (although I tan dark as dark can be). Perhaps, it is something deeper calling me… Another life that beckons my presence in this landscape of my childhood.

I have been coming here since 1970, the lake starting to fill, seeing the evidence of life no longer seen. As a young woman, I hiked Antelope Canyon, Rainbow Bridge, Hole in the Rock… the sheer beauty of creation is hard to put into words, but I know, you too, will feel it calling. If you really let yourself go, just for a moment, you will hear the call of a distant civilization, a greatness larger than life itself! Sheer canyon walls disappear into dreams yet dreamed. Canyons narrow, as in life with age, the slots carving out segments of time… the times of our lives. Every time I return to this place, my childhood comes alive, bringing home the memories that breathed life into my soul. A very special place that has shaped family values, vacation times, a lifetime, to pass on to the next generation. This is why I keep coming back… to capture another sunset over Castle Rock and cherish the sunrise over Navajo Mountain. I want my children and grandchildren to ride the ebb and flow of the river and come full circle to a sacred place… a place of reverence, peace and indescribable beauty, a place to call home where memories are written on our hearts and lie in resting slumber, carved on the canyon walls. Anchor, tight in a cove, where only you and the night sky sleep together.

Breath deeply…smell the fresh water over hot rocks, simmering in the summer sun.

Look intently, as shear rock disappears into rays of green light beneath you.

Sleep outside and count a zillion stars… catch the fallen ones in your dreams.

Yell your name off the canyon walls and see if they answer.

Cherish conversation without background noise.

Stand in awe of creation without chaos.

Reflect your God given vision as you see it written on the water.

Gaze at campfires designed to inspire.

Bath in the warm night air as it soothes your sun burnt skin.

Ski the “evening glass off”… you deserve perfection!

Stay up all night and count your blessings!

“Whisper talk” at night and learn how sound travels over water.

Climb Sand King, just because you can!

Feel the squish of red mud between your toes… dig in, learn forward and see how far you can go.

Wake up to early morning mist rising… grab your board and venture deep into the narrow.

Grill Spam… yes, Spam! A camping culinary delight, over the open fire, topped with pineapple and brown sugar.

Watch wicked storms brew while lighting bounces off the high cliffs and as thunder shatters the night air.

Wake up to the early morning sunlight, warming your face and filling your soul… you’re ready for another day on the lake!

This year is an EPIC year for me… I turn 60 and married 20 years… it’s the 60/20 rule! Where will I celebrate? What great adventure will I accomplish? I think you already know!

© All rights reserved 2013.  All or part of this story may be reproduced with written permission from author.

Women Who Change the World

Janeen Johnson

Janeen Johnson and Operation Christmas Child

Janeen Johnson serves as the area coordinator for Operation Christmas Child for the Northern region of Arizona. She has been involved with “OCC” in some capacity for 14 years, and formally partnered with them in 1998, where she became a volunteer to run the collection center in Flagstaff, Arizona. Shannon and Janeen started together by simply praying that God would build a team of people that will reach out to our region around us with message of the project all year long, and ultimately reach children around the world with the hope of Jesus Christ. The great thing is that God answers prayers and brought together a high impact team of men and women together to reach community, business, organizations, churches, individuals and families to collect gift- filled shoe boxes. When God is part of a unified group, tremendous blessing and the favor of God rests upon our efforts as Christians. The growth of the ministry is astounding! In Northern Arizona for example during collection 2009, collaboratively, we collected 10,362 shoe boxes. The Lord has blessed us over the years considering that in 1998 our collection was just a little over 2,300.

Serving with “OCC” is a tremendous responsibility, but I would be thoughtless if I didn’t tell you about the absolute side-busting, laughter-filled, plain ol’ FUN it is serving with Shannon and others. God has the ability to call us to do big things like calling each of us to share the gospel to the world, and even though we lead busy lives He expands time for us and makes is a blast! We are also blessed to have very supportive husbands that come along side on what could be referred to as “Mr. Toads Wild Ride”, thank goodness for Bruce and Jim shoring us up. And frankly, none of us want to miss what God is doing, because He is faithful to do through us what He calls us to do.

Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child

Every day boys and girls worldwide suffer from war, poverty, disease, and natural
disaster. Operation Christmas Child, an international Christian relief organization headed by Franklin Graham collects gift-filled shoe boxes and delivers them in the name of Jesus Christ to children living in desperate situation around the world. Ultimately millions of children experience God’s love through these simple gifts. These shoe boxes open doors for presenting the Good News of Jesus Christ by working in and through local churches where possible, offering children’s literature and through culturally appropriate evangelistic and follow-up programs. In all humility, because of the faithfulness of God the project actually is the largest children’s evangelistic outreach in the world, since the beginning of the church!

The ministry of Operation Christmas Child has certainly seen tremendous growth since its inception in 1993. The total number of shoe boxes collected in 2009 internationally was 8,166,491. God is calling everyone to serve in some capacity with Him and build His kingdom, all too often we sit on the sidelines wondering how to get involved, most
of the time God is orchestrating a great leap of faith on our part. What you are waiting for most likely won’t happen until you at least crack open the door. If you are interested in discovering and utilizing your God-given talents and abilities, with a biblically-based and highly focused development for individual and team effectiveness, then Operation Christmas Child is the ministry for you. The leadership in this project is committed to care for, support, develop and disciple us as we fulfill the Great Commission. For more information or to volunteer, visit and fill out a volunteer interest form. Or call Janeen Johnson – she is always willing to talk about Operation Christmas Child @ 928-606-

A Teachable Heart

  • How well are these characteristics being exhibited in your life?
  • What does it mean to have a “teachable” heart? What does a “willing spirit” look like?
  • A bendable will?
  • Doesn’t society tell us to “be Strong!” How will you show and share your loving attitude with others this week?

Comment so we can all grow and learn together.

Teachable Heart and Spirit

“A teachable heart. A willing spirit. A bendable will. A loving attitude. This is a woman guided by God.” Lysa TerKeurst

The Heart of the Matter

Heart Disease is the number one killer of women – please learn all you can to minimize your risks! Having a healthy lifestyle (both spiritually and physically) can help reduce your risk of having a heart attack. Going on retreats such as our upcoming fitness retreat can help you build the foundation for a healthy life.

Register for Next Retreat

Heart Health Facts

Did you know…

  • One in four women in the United States dies of heart disease, while 1 in 30 dies of breast cancer.
  • 23% percent of women will die within 1 year after having a heart attack.
  • Within six years of having a heart attack, about 46% of women become disabled with heart failure.
  • Two-thirds of women who have a heart attack fail to make a full recovery.
  • Symptoms can be quite different for women than they are for men.

Get Educated

Share your story

Read Rhonda McGarrah’s inspiring story of surviving her recent heart attack.

Change your thoughts and you change your world. ~Norman Vincent Peale

The Smart Way to Shop For Food

  • Frequent Farmer’s Markets for fruits and Vegetables. Discover Local Sources of Meat, Dairy and Eggs. Grow Some of Your Own Fruits and Vegetables.
  • Shop the Outside Aisles of the Grocery Store.
Most of the packaged and canned foods are in the center aisles, along with the frozen section. Canned fruits and vegetables are much less nutritious than fresh or frozen. Many packaged ‘convenience foods’ are made of GMO corn or soybeans and unpronounceable chemicals. They are not nutritious food choices.
  • If You are Reading Lots of Labels, You are Eating the Wrong Foods.
Remember, you are what you eat. As a living being, consuming live, fresh food is the best choice to build a healthy body and supply energy needs. When you buy packaged foods, consider the following recommendations:
  • Ignore the Front of The Box

Read the ingredients list and “Nutrition Facts” box printed on the label. Ingredients are listed in descending order of weight.

  • Watch for Ingredient ‘Aliases’.
Fat, Salt and Sugar have many different names. Fat can be listed as lard, shortening, hydrogenated vegetable oil, coconut oil, tropical oil, tallow, monoglycerides or diglycerides.
Salt can be listed as monosodium glutamate (MSG), baking soda, baking powder, brine, kelp, soy sauce, or a variety of names containing the word sodium.
Sugar can be listed as honey, molasses, dextrose, sucrose, fructose, maltose, lactose, dextrin, maltodextrin, maple syrup, malt syrup, corn syrup, and worst of all…high-fructose corn syrup.
  • Avoid All Trans Fats

Hydrogenation chemically alters fats, to render them more solid. Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated oils are commonly used to make french fries, donuts, margarine, commercially baked goods, including cookies and crackers. These fats interfere with normal cell metabolism, and pose a serious threat to your health. I suggest using extra virgin olive oil for salads and cooking, organic coconut oil for occasional high-heat cooking, and small amounts of real butter for flavor. All vegetable oils and canola oils are chemically treated and unhealthy.

  • Pay Attention to Serving Size
Serving size is the quantity upon which all the other nutrition information is based. Serving sizes are often confusing. Sometimes, the confusion is intentional, in order to qualify as low-fat or ‘heart-healthy’.
  • Pay Attention to Product Placement
Product manufacturers pay a premium to have their products at eye level. These are often heavily promoted products, and not the most healthful. Look at the lower shelves for healthier options, or better yet, note the ‘silence of the yams’, and head for the produce section.
  • Scrutinize Impulse Items.
Items at the end of the aisles and at the checkout counter are placed there because these positions are conspicuous. The idea is for you to buy something you hadn’t planned on buying.
  • Avoid the Snack food Aisle.
Don’t be tempted by baked chips and low fat packaged snacks. They are not real food or good choices. Fruit, raw veggies, unsweetened yogurt,, whole wheat toast with almond butter, or a handful of raw nuts are healthy snacks.

Testing Fitness

This is a test for fitness blog posts.

A Walk A Day

The popularity of walking as a fitness activity has grown by leaps and bounds. Low-risk and easy to start, walking has proven its health benefits in numerous studies. An eight-year study of 13,000 people found that those who walked 30 minutes a day had a significantly lower risk of premature death than those who rarely exercised. In addition, research has shown that regular walking can decrease total and intra-abdominal fat and reduce your risk of developing diabetes or breast cancer.

fit facts

A regular walking program can also:

  • Improve your cholesterol profile
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increase your energy and stamina
  • Boost “couch potato” bone strength
  • Prevent weight gain

Experts at the CDC and National Institute of Health recommend that every American adult engage in 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity just about every day of the week. One way to meet this standard is to walk 2 miles briskly (about 4 miles/hr). If this is too fast,choose a more comfortable pace.

Get Ready

A walking program is simple to start. All you need are comfortable clothes and supportive shoes. Layer loose clothing, keeping in mind that brisk exercise elevates the body’s temperature. Shoes specifically designed for walking or running are best. Make sure you have a little wiggle room between your longest toe (1/2″) and the end of the shoe. Avoid cotton socks since they retain moisture and can promote blisters. To warm up, walk at an easy tempo for the first several minutes.Then gradually adopt a more purposeful pace.

Get Moving

  • Begin with short distances. Start with a strollthat feels comfortable to you (perhaps 5-10 minutes) and gradually increase your time or distance each week by 10-20% (add just a few minutes or blocks). If it’s easier on your joints and your schedule to take a couple shorter walks (10-20 minutes) instead of one long walk (30-40 minutes) each day, do it!
  • Focus on posture. Keep your head lifted, tummy pulled in and shoulders relaxed. Swing your arms naturally. Avoid carrying hand weights since these put excessive stress on the elbows and shoulders. Don’t overstride. Select a comfortable, natural step length. If you want to move faster, pull your back leg through more quickly.
  • Breathe deeply. If you can’t converse or catch your breath while walking, slow down. Initially, forget about walking speed. Just get out there on a regular basis and establish a habit of activity.