If You Can’t Run . . . Walk

It was unusually quiet and peaceful during my walk this morning. No lawnmowers. No traffic. Not even a barking dog. Either my neighbors were still in bed, already at work, or the rapture took place and left me behind.

As I always do when I’m outdoors I looked for critters. They must have been raptured, too, except for two fuzzy caterpillars and birds chattering back and forth from the trees. Maybe they were having church or gossiping or both.

Shuffling along, I’m not even halfway into my walk and my body is already whimpering, especially my back. It’s been out of whack ever since Bella, our greyhound mix jerked me off the deck. Several weeks later I was in the emergency room begging to be put me out of my misery.

Not many years ago I jogged the city streets, rain or shine; pounding the pavement, dodging cars, yapping dogs and guys trying to pick me up. Twenty years, twenty miles every single week.

Walking was too easy. I had to run. It was in my blood. I swore I’d never stop.

Then, I did.

I got stupid. I got bored. I lost my drive. I dove into the sea of wimpy excuses and drowned there.

Ten years and thirty pounds later, I tried to pick up where I left off.


I walk, now. At my pace, whatever that pace may be. I do what I can when I can without feeling the world depends on me to keep it spinning. No guilt. No shame . . . well, maybe just a little.

On the home stretch, I stopped and talked to the neighbor that lives across the road from us. She was walking her little Russel Terrier, the neighborhood-yapper.

She’s quiet-spoken with a shy little-girl personality and lots of southern charm. I admired her white hair peeking beneath her pink floppy hat and told her I was so happy that her cancer is in remission. We both said we’re ready to leave this earth but not right now because we don’t want to make our families sad. Cancer makes one think like that. Just getting old makes one think like that.

Though I enjoyed my thirty-minute walk I was relieved to get back home, pour a cup of coffee and plop into my favorite chair by the window.

That’s what old people do when they’re too tired to do anything else.




















Once a Runner, Always a Runner

I was thirty-five. I tossed my last pack of cigarettes in the garbage, never to take up the nasty habit again. I was still slim and trim, so I thought, till I paid a yearly visit to my gynecologist.

“You’ve gained six pounds. And you gained it all in your butt!”

“Wow! A whole six pounds, I mocked.”

“Six pounds this year, another six pounds next year, and the next, and the next. You get my drift?”

“Yeah, I get it.”

So I bought an exercise tape and started jogging in place which was a total bore. I’m an outdoorsy kinda girl, so after a few weeks I started walking around the neighborhood. That was boring too, so I ventured up town to the gulf course which was fine till the guys started gawking at me and asking me if I was lost.

So I began walking on the well trodden streets of down town High Point, North Carolina where I felt safe. It was noisy, but safe . . . except for seemingly blind drivers cutting in front of me as I was crossing an intersection, or smart alecks honking their horns and yelling, “Hey baby! Wanna ride?”

For three months, sixty minutes a day I’d walk. Every day. Aches and pains. Rain or shine.

Pushing through the sweat and tears, horn-honking and jerk-yelling paid off. I lost ten pounds. My legs were firmer, I was breathing better, and I felt stronger than I had felt in years.

I was very athletic in grade school, running relays, 50 yard dashes, and jumping the high rope. My long, skinny legs could outrun any guy any time.

So, at the ripe old age of thirty-six, I started jogging, first two minutes, then four, then ten. The first time I jogged twenty minutes non-stop, I felt like a bird gliding through the air. There was no stopping me now. I was a runner.

Three to four times a week, every week for seventeen years I’d lace up my running shoes and hit the pavement, never stopping till my sixty minutes were up. I didn’t run for speed, I ran for distance. Saturdays, I’d throw in an extra thirty or sixty minutes for added strength and endurance.

Then I entered a few 10k’s, never seeking to win but, to push myself a little harder. One race, my son ran with me, encouraging me all the way to the finish line.

Most people thought I was nuts and asked me why I’d spend so much time running, especially in the hot, summer months of North Carolina.

Running gave me peace of mind and a tremendous sense of power and control that I never felt growing up. My self-confidence soared and I was simply a much happier person. People who don’t run or do some other type of strenuous sport can never understand that.

Sadly though, in spite of all the life-changing benefits, I stopped. Not cold turkey, but my runs became less frequent and less and less enjoyable. During every run, feeling as heavy as cinder blocks, my legs rebelled. I became frustrated and discouraged. It’s as if my body was screaming, “I’m not doing this anymore!”

But, my brain kept yelling, “Oh, Yes you are! You’ve worked too long and hard to stop now!”

Finally, I told them both to shut up, that I was done.

Then came the excuses: I’m too old. It’s too hard. Too hot. Too not my thing anymore.

I tried walking, but after all the years of running, walking didn’t do it for me. I had to walk too fast and hard to get my heart rate up. So ignoring the guilt of even thinking of giving up, and because I’m an all or nothing nut case, I just quit.

It’s been twelve years since I made my fateful decision, regretting every minute of it. By now I have a ton of excuses not to run: I’m sixty-eight . . . way too old now. My bones are too fragile. My legs are too weak. I’ll fall and break something. And I’m just too fat, too tired and lazy, too far gone to ever get back in shape again. Besides, who cares anyway?

I care for one. My family cares. My doctors care. And I don’t want to just sit around eating candy and drinking sodas while my life slides down the tubes. Now is the time to think about my health and well-being. Now is the time to get off my big fat butt and do something.

I’m into my fourth week of walking, four to five days a week. This week I started jogging. Not because I’m not afraid of getting injured, but because my Oncologist’s words keep bouncing around in my head, “Once a runner, always a runner.”

Plus, my son is a fitness trainer: Making An Impact : Robert Staton Selected For The Cobra-Defense and doesn’t allow for wimpy, fat momma excuses . . . no matter what your age or how out of shape you are. As long as you’re breathing, you can do something.

But, I don’t have the luxury of going to Robert’s boot camp over thirty miles away. And I envy those who get his grueling training in the flesh. All I get is his distant voice ringing in my ears, “Go momma! Push through the burn! You can do more than you think! Never give up! Push, momma! Push!”

Excitedly I call him and share every small victory. His words of praise and encouragement thrills my heart, giving me the strength and desire to keep at it.

I don’t want to put my family through unnecessary grief because I won’t take care of myself. I don’t want them to see me old and helpless. I don’t want them to visit me in a nursing home because I failed them and myself. I know that there are some circumstances that can’t be helped. But, in my case, I can and I’m a fool if I stubbornly refuse to do it.

God has blessed me with a strong and healthy body and expects me to take care of it. He says so in His Word (1 Corinthians 6:19). He healed me of colon cancer. He delivered me from emotional bondage. And He’s with me every day, rain or shine, encouraging me to be all that I can be. Giving me all the strength I need. Loving me every step of the way. How can I give anything less than my best in return to Him?


The Blue Ridge Parkway

Although we missed the peak, the leaves shimmered like jewels along the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was a sunny, 72 degrees. Not a cloud in the sky. Peaceful. Absolutely breathtaking! And what made the adventure more spectacular was sharing it with my husband and his sister, and our youngest grandchild.

Between my ancient camera and the blinding glare, I came up with a few good shots to use in my digital designs. I hope you enjoy our little adventure.

The Blue Ridge Parkway
The Family Gathering

             None of us like having our pictures taken, especially our grandson. But he humored me for a few seconds at least!

The Blue Ridge Parkway

We are only a few miles from surrounding mountains in our area, but a hundred miles from Fancy Gap. The sites along the way, however, are just as breathtaking as standing and looking across the mountain itself.


I’d love having a little log cabin with a big porch overlooking this view. Put a swing on it and I’d stay here all day!


Market Street

Market Street
Market Street


Market Street

Wilmington, Delaware

Spending time with my grandmother was like Christmas. Although I enjoyed the peace and quiet of the outskirts of Newark, Delaware, I looked forward to the hustle and bustle of automobiles, buses, and smells of the city in Wilmington. That’s where I learned to roller-skate, jump rope, and play hopscotch with my city friends. That’s where I’d skip ten blocks to the Dairy Queen, or hop next door to the bakery. That’s where my grandmother would cook my favorite stuff, like apple dumplings, fluffy egg omelets, and fried tomatoes and gravy.

I always stood in awe of the old, two-story Victorian boarding house where my grandmother lived, with its huge parlor, quaint little kitchen, and lovely glassed in front porch. The few elderly people who lived there were always warm and friendly and a joy to talk to.

But my most favorite things were hopping the city bus with my grandmother, sitting on my favorite seat, and spending the day on Market Street. I never knew where to feast my eyes first; on the farmers in their overalls and straw hats, the candy and toy shops, or the cute little bunnies for sale.

I could hardly wait for my grandmother to finish squeezing tomatoes and melons, and asking for a pound of this and a pound of that so I could go to the Five-and Ten-Cent store. That’s where I always picked out a car or truck to take home to my brothers.

Without skipping a beat, we’d visit the candy shops and cookie shops, clothing stores and shoe stores. From one end of Market Street to the next we’d shop. By the end of the day I was hot and tired, my knee-highs were around my ankles, and my long, flowing red hair was damp and plastered to my head. But my ninety-pound, seventy-five-year-old grandmother showed no signs of wilting. Not a hair out-of-place; not a wrinkle in her dress; not a sweat drop on her face.

My adolescent mind concluded if you want to stay young and fit. . . shop on Market Street!







When darkness falls and shadows lurk

Beneath the moonlit sky

When gusty winds turn icy cold

And bats begin to fly

When trees like monsters twist and bend

And hover overhead

When moans and howls pierce your soul

And all the earth seems dead

When your pounding heart nearly bursts

Within your heaving chest

And your blood curdling screams and frightful shrills

Are choking you to death


Sandi Staton


Autumn Blessings

Autumn Blessings


Children laughing and jumping in leaves

Wind howling through the trees

 Moon casting shadows on the ground

Jack-a-lanterns carved with ominous frowns

Owls screeching in the dark

Lovers strolling through the park

Scarves and mittens and rosy cheeks

Running and giggling and hide n’ seek

Cookies and milk and off to bed

A story told and a kiss on the head

These warm fuzzy feelings of comfort and cheer

Are the wondrous signs that Autumn is here

Sandi Staton


The Front Porch Swing

The Front Porch

There’s nothing special about it at all. Sometimes it squeaks. Sometimes it houses wasps and hornets. Several times It’s even crashed to the porch with me on it! Yet, the old, country swing, with its rusty chains and layers of paint, holds a treasure chest of memories.

It’s where I take my morning coffee, where I sit and listen to the birds, and where Imeditate. It’s where I talk to God, laugh and cry, and reminisce.

But, my fondest memories are swinging with my grandchildren, talking and laughing, and pretending to sour high above the clouds on Mrs. Eagle’s feathered back. Then at night we’d listen to the frogs, and watch fireflies.

My oldest grandchild, Brandon, who was in junior high at the time, wrote me this beautiful poem, On the Front Porch, Swingin’. I thank God for reminding me how important it is to spend time with my grandchildren, and how fast they grow up.

On the Front Porch, Swingin’

As the sky starts dropping liquid beats,

The door, it creaks, and opens to the world.

Grandma’s rejoicing as Grandson’s voicing,

“Let’s go out and listen for a bit,

Before it quits. I hear it dyin’ down,”

The boy, he beckons.

“You’re right, I reckon.”

Cause one of these days Grandson’s gonna be a man,

So she’s gotta cherish moments while she still can.

Taking hold of the boy’s hand,

the two go out together on the front porch, swingin’.

“Dee Dee, can you tell me a story? Dee Dee, will you rub my back?”

And, “Dee Dee can you breathe real easy

while I lay my head on your lap?”

“Brandon, can you hear my heart singin’

In the midst of this thunderstorm show’r?”

Together on the front porch, swingin’.

“Let’s stay for another hour.”

Brandon Staton


Digital Photo Painting

Using Paint Shop Pro 2019, I turn ordinary photos into works of art. I also create picture tubes, bookmarks, Facebook Covers, cards, tags, and more. I don't sell my art, therefore, all my creations are free for your own personal use.

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He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. ~ Psalm 147:3


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