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Abundant living through the healing of the mind, body and soul.

My Blog



Posted on November 7, 2015 at 12:47 PM Comments comments (166)
Recently I spoke with a friend of mine who is experiencing intense grief due to a  tragic loss of a beloved.  I too have had many losses this year.  More than most people experience in a life time let alone a year., so I have been told.  My losses may not be as great as my friend’s loss, but I am finding that grief can be a relative term.  In talking about ways to cope with grief through distractions, the thought came to me that we never lose that grief.  I used to think that when that horrible tearing pain of grief ended I would be able to move forward.  And until that happened, I would seek distractions to help me through the grief.  The reality is that the hole that grief bores in our heart stays and morphs through time.

A thought popped into my brain about the need for distractions to walk through grief. Allowing the quest to find beauty in the midst of my grief becomes my distraction. Allow living abundantly however that may look for me, be my distraction to grief. As heavy laden my heart, may I quest to find beauty again.  And I am finding that in the midst of discovering beauty, I might cry.  Crying is the pressure valve to my heart-a sacred act of worship.Tears are treasured by the Creator.And they can help, even but for a brief moment to wipe the scales of grief from my eyes.

I mustn't fight grief; rather embrace the searing pain of loss that makes beauty even more brilliant and precious when discovered. Beauty is beyond the darkness. Like faith, beauty exists. It is a part of the focus when I open my eyes, even just a wee peep to see the harsh light of my fractured, fragmented brokenness, that becomes the beautiful stained glass mosaic of my life. Living is previous, fragile, painful, bittersweet, and beautiful. I am discovering all at the same time.

Grief cannot be avoided.  Grief is an inevitable part of life. I cannot run from it, I cannot hide from it. From the time we are born, we are dying. It is an undeniable and ever present cycle of life. And just as the four seasons of life it has its’ place. Fall is necessary for death and decay to nourish new life.  Oh, the brilliant colors of Fall. Winter is a time of rest and the killing of  harmful germs amidst the frigid sparkly blue cold of newly fallen snows that echo the quiet stillness of the earth.   The Spring that brings renewal-new life-abundant life.  The trickling of melting winter that heralds in the first peep of tender new life springing up through the thaw.  Then comes the hot searing sun of Summer.  A time to play, explore and start the harvest for the coming winter.

We all deal with grief differently.  No one can tell us how we should dance to the tune of grief.  It is a journey that is as individual as our thumbprints.  Grief is a dance partner that steps on our toes when we least expect it to happen.  Grief is the sucker punch of life that takes our breath away.  Beauty is the inhale of living.

I have come to realize that we basically are holding our breaths in life.  When a babe is born, the first gulp of breath is a great lusty inhale.  And the last breath of earthly life is an exhale that can be as lengthy, agonizing or as suddenly as it takes to leave our bodies.

Holding my breath is exhausting at best and deadly, as grief can be.  Those moments between breaths, like those moments between thoughts are where peace abides-Divine love.


Namaste and Abundant Blessings---

Psalm 121:1-2


Posted on June 6, 2015 at 2:26 PM Comments comments (28)
In 2010, I had hit the track before dawn to walk off my already anxious day. The full moon hung like a rare pearl nestled in the gray velvet folds of the night sky.  I asked Abba to please give me a sign of hope that I would get through this very difficult time in my life.  As I started my third and final mile of my daily walk, I noticed the atmosphere grew darker and the temperature drop a few degrees as it always does before the dawning of each new day.   
I waited in great anticipation for the first chirp of the morning which would lead to a second note of awakening which would bring on a glorious symphony of song much like Handel's Messiah, heralding in a new day with new mercies.  As promised, I heard the first note and as I rounded the bend on the track, I looked up at the night sky which winked the first hint of dawn.  The outline of the mountain range still shrouded by night began to appear and like faith, the mountains were always there as they had been since the dawn of time and will be long after I leave this earthly realm, I just couldn’t see them through the darkness.  I watched the night sky turn a salmon pink hue and the pinnacles of the mountains began to barely cast a golden glow.
And just as I caught my breath at the beauty of the sunrise, a gentle quite voice roared like a great ocean wave crashing on the dry shore of my heart, "The same Creator, whose hand paints the first salmon swatch of a brand new day, creates new mercies just for you. Mercies not left over from a day that is gone and never to return, nor mercies borrowed from a day not yet created nor promised.  But brand new mercies made for this brand new day just for you, Heidi, for such a time as this”. 
The infinite Creator who hung the rare pearl of a full moon against the midnight gray velvet sky had me snuggled very close to the Divine heart which beats as one with mine.  The tears in my eyes which had bogged my steps dried like diamonds, and my step quickened for I knew that my petition for hope had been answered and my faith strengthened---JUST FOR THIS DAY---.
As I came off the track, the birds were in full chorus singing to my now uplifted heart the psalm of ascents sung by the ancient shepherd boy king, “I lift up my eyes unto the mountains-where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2).
Oh, Holy One of Many Names, thank you that your mercies for your beloved children are new every morning.  Make us aware in a very real way, as only you can in our individual lives, how very close you hold us to your heart and that your love for us is eternal.  Amen. 


Posted on April 5, 2015 at 2:23 PM Comments comments (27)


Let’s get this out on the table at the beginning of this musing. 

LIFE SUCKS!  (sometimes)  

And I am not going to sugar coat that fact nor is it necessary to do so.  Life is not fair, nor is life just.  I don’t why we presume it will be.  Once I accepted that truth, it has made it easier for me to not have unrealistic expectations of people, places or things.

Life can be very, very difficult.  Life can become unbearable and unmanageable.  People can hurt and disappoint.  People can be evil.  People can be annoying.  People can be self-serving, which is utterly devastating.  It is understandable how one can lose the will to live.  Yet, I have to remember that ALL people must be treated with dignity and respect regardless of their character defects as we ALL have them.

I have been through a very difficult time in the past few months of no harmful intent fault of my own.  I have felt devalued, abandoned, betrayed and for the most part like a disposable commodity.  And I have been banging around trying to figure out where to go from here.  Yet, I have continued to walk through unexpected doors that opened as I have learned to do even though I am lacking in confidence and "want to".  Because of that action, good things are coming my way but I have found no solace in those gifts from above.

So, last night being completely devastated, and irritated, I asked The Creator to give me some sign that I was headed in the right direction.  I was getting weary of slaying dragons that were finding their way to me.  And I was getting irritated with life in general. 

Just sayin’---

When I awoke, I decided that I was going to go to Lowe’s to get some herbs for my kitchen.  Yesterday, I had helped to run an errand with a patient to get some herbs for her home.  For some reason, that sparked my mojo.  I rearranged the kitchen to make a spot in the window for an herb box.  And I decided to move my study around to another room that has A LOT of light and space.  Now mind you, I am not a happy camper but no one promised that happiness is a feeling.  So, I proceed to move things around.

A few days ago, I saw a precious vintage steel bed frame for sale outside of a home in the neighborhood.  It had a homemade sign that said, FOR SALE-STEEL BED-$40.  I couldn’t shake the thought of that bed and knew that was the perfect thing to put in my study to have a place to rest between studies and writing.  Somehow I got my mojo going to potentially move furniture, and set out to find that house.

We are in a cold snap, it was early and I didn’t expect the bed to be outside or available.  I prayed to find the house with hopes of knocking on the door and meeting the owner.  I drove around the neighborhood trying to remember where I had noticed that bed and I saw a woman outside a house having her morning smoke.  I paused, rolled down the car window and asked if this was the house that had the steel bed for sale.  Her eyes lit up and she said, “Yes, it is”.  She invited me to the porch to fetch a piece of the bed for me to look at when I heard a man’s voice request that I come in.  There in the living room surrounded by medical supplies lay a man in a hospital bed who was the owner of the steel bed.  He wanted to sell the bed to make room for a larger bed when he moves back into his bed room in hope of his recovery.

The woman who is his sister and now his care giver introduced us.  The man proceeded to tell me the story of the bed.  It was one of two beds that his father rescued from the Old Knoxville Hospital before it was torn down many, many years ago and is now the site of the Knox County Health Department.  This was the better of the two beds and the other had long been disposed of.  His father had painted it yellow.

I told them a bit about myself, my call and where my future was taking me and the man’s eyes lit up as he had been a long term employee of the hospital that I will be doing a CPE internship beginning this May.  He and his sister are people of faith.  And as we chatted, I realized that this steel bed, that I have intentions of putting in my study came from an old hospital and had held those patients I love and whom I am called and long to serve.

I made the transaction, gave them my phone number, hugged some necks and noticed their eyes shown brighter then when we first met.  I don’t think that it takes a rocket scientist to realize that this was no coincidence that I should seek out this bed from a humble home, with humble people trying to make ends meet at the last of the month before payday by selling a priceless family heirloom to a struggling chaplain trying the best she can to make sense out of a vapor called life which was never meant to make sense as life is a mystery---

(The afghan on the bed is one my mother made when I went to Maryville College.  She made all of her children afghan's in their school colors and the year of their projected graduation.  My graduation date is a bit different but then again so am I---)



Posted on October 21, 2014 at 3:10 AM Comments comments (24)
Yes, even we clergy can have crises of faith.  There are times, perhaps more than I would like to admit, that I doubt that there is an eternal loving Creator who has my best interest in mind.  I learned a long time ago in my faith journey that contrary to what I was taught as a young girl, God did not control my life nor did parent Creator micro manage it.  Nor did God desire to do either.  I found just the opposite!  The beautiful rhythm of relationship between Creator and creation and freedom to walk in that unique creation is the freedom with which we are given.  This is the beauty of walking in synchronization with the natural world around us and other creations which leads us across the veil to the metaphysical.

This past week, I learned that I have a couple of health issues that I need to monitor.  This has come on top of a broken relationship, broken dreams of furthering my education, broken promises and broken hope of ever serving in the capacity of what I am called to do with my life.  There was just a whole domino like effect of life issues that happened in just the course of a few months.  And I was at the breaking point.  My way of coping is to literally “head for the hills”.  I believe the mountains are the footstool of the Creator.  And at times of crisis, I go there to rest at the feet of the Almighty.

Early this past Sunday morning, I headed toward the mountain top to see the sunrise.  I wasn’t so sure there was a Creator. To be honest, at that point I wasn’t so sure that I cared or if that was even important!  I was trying to make sense of what is happening in my life, as if anyone of us can or need to make sense of our lives, and I knew that the first rays of sun light would energize me.  I knew that I was weak in body but was driven to go up the half mile incline to a weather tower that has a 360 degree view of the Great Smoky Mountains so I could soak up the vital life giving force of the first rays of the a new day. I arrived at Look Tower before dawn and waited at the man head.  At first light, I made my way up the side of the mountain.  Being an avid hiker, it pained me to now have to pause every few feet to get my bearings, keep my balance and catch my breath.  But when you have to do things yourself, you just learn to do what you have to do to make things work.  It is a “do or die” type attitude that I have had to develop.

This is the Fall of the year as it is the Fall of  my life.  I have seen many seasons come and go and will see many more seasons come and go but I am more aware than ever before that there are more years behind me than are ahead of me.  And I don't know that I have accomplished much of anything with this life that has been given to me.  But I digress-I enjoyed the changing of the path which I have walked in all four seasons.  I snuggled into the cool of the morn as opposed to the heat of the summer.  I soaked in the brilliant, vibrant colors of the fallen leaves that strewn the path.  The way looked different than it did just a few months ago, but I knew where I was headed.  I also knew the view is never the same when I get to the top.  There is always a glorious surprise that awaits.

Pictures cannot do justice of what I witnessed when I got to the tower.  The portals of heaven had opened up and rays of sun light shone across the valley. I cannot say that I found resolution that morning.  It did not change things in my life.  What it did for me was to make me realize I must live my life the way I was created to life it which is juxtaposed to the expectations of this culture and society. That is OK.

My unhappiness comes from when I try to tend to things in my life the way I know are not good for me.  I cannot dictate to others what is good for them.  The freedom to flow in the diverse ways we are created to be is the beauty and wonder of life.  I have been grappling of how to take care of this health issue, i.e. holistic vs. western medicine.  And in this case, I cannot combine the two.  I can’t change the broken relationship.  That is over.  I can’t change my past.  I can’t change what has happened with school.  What I can do is follow what I believe is right path for my healing.  

We must ALWAYS be true to ourselves.  If we are not true to ourselves, then we are not true to our Creator. Life is fleeting.  Our body’s age but our spirits are timeless.  I think that we make the mistake of being led by our bodies and not by our spirit.  Years after this heart stops beating and my body becomes part of the cycle of life, my spirit will continue to live and thrive.  I will be just as much a part of the cosmos as I am now.  And if I can realize that now, I will be all the better for it.  It is not all about me and my angst.  It is about the good of the whole.  It is about service to others.  It is about keeping this body healthy and well to continue to serve others.  No person is an island unto themselves.  And somehow our lives are not our own. 
We are all a part of one another.


Posted on August 25, 2014 at 4:54 PM Comments comments (29)

I was up at Look Rock Tower last week seeking renewal and refreshment after a very long but productive week.  I was waiting for the sun to burn off the haze of an early morning fog that had laced the mountain range. I noticed a wind had whipped up that swayed the trees and the already dense fog turned ominously darker and the temperatures dropped as will happen right before a storm.  My heart skipped a beat as I knew that I was at the “top of the world” looking 360 degrees from North Carolina to Maryville around to Knoxville over to Townsend and back to North Carolina.  Surely, I thought, after the storm comes and the rains start to subside, I will see a rainbow.  And never a better place to find one.  So, as I settled down and waited for the storm to come, I remembered the lesson that I learned a few years ago about finding a rainbow after the storm.

Here are a few clues for finding a rainbow.  First of all you have to look for them and trust that they are going to be there.  Look toward the sun when finding a rainbow.   Rainbows appear when the sun comes out after a storm.  And the sun always comes out after a storm.  It has since the beginning of time and it will continue to come out until the end time.  As surely as the sun rises and sets, it appears after the storm clouds start to subside and dissipate.  You don’t always have to wait for the rains to completely come to a standstill to see a rainbow as the sun sometimes shines before the rains cease.  Look through the droplets.  Sometimes the biggest rain droplets come at the very end which makes the colors of the rainbow even more vivid and brilliant.  And sometimes you will find a double rainbow!

Well, back this supposed storm I had been waiting on for an hour and a half.  A fog had completely settled on Look Rock Tower and I was confused as to why the action had settled down.  I was sitting in the midst of cold, damp fog waiting to find my rainbow when a ranger came up the ramp and I asked if there was storm brewing.  He said that there was no storm front expected and that I was actually sitting in the middle of a cloud!  I told him about the manifestation of what I thought was a pending storm and he told me that is what happens when a cloud settles.  I had no idea that a cloud had any activity associated with it.  I just looked at them as white fluffy patches of water that brought great delight in imaginings of shapes or gray ominous patches that brought promises of rainbows.  I had just been given a gift of experiencing a cloud gently yet with great power surround me like a mantel around my shoulders.  How fortunate can a gal get?

What I have to take from this day of renewal is the reminder that rainbows appear after storms.  And I can count on the fact that there is never just one storm over the course of a life time.  As I grow older it seems like the storms can get a little more angry and the rains pelt down with a sting that can be welting. I have come to learn to accept that fact.  I have to realize that the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow can be found.  Sometimes the gold is in the form of a friend that walks with you through the storm and assures you that you will come through even though they are walking through a storm of their own.  Or a simple gesture of a friend who cares enough to have heard you didn’t make your coffee that morning and hands you a cup to stave off a headache due to lack of caffeine. Gold comes in the form of patients I meet every day whose courage humbles me.  Gold comes in the form of nurses, doctors, administrators, healthcare professionals and food service workers whom I serve with all working together for the common good.  Gold comes in the form of family and friends I see waiting diligently and patiently for their loved ones to return home.

All I can do is to encourage you to keep your face to the sun.  Find that rainbow.  Your circumstances might not change.  Your heartache and grief may still be magnified.  But I believe that we all will find a way through the storm.  Don’t be foolish as this gal to think that we can walk through this life alone.  I have also learned there are sojourners along the way named friend who can help lift my face toward the sun when I can’t lift my own.  Love them with all of your heart.  Revel in their friendship and never take advantage of this golden gift from God.  Friends are put into our lives for a reason, a season or a life time.  It doesn’t matter for how long as we only have this moment in time.  We only have NOW.

©2014 Heidi Parunak/  All rights reserved.  This material may not be published, rewritten, broadcast, recorded or redistributed without express permission.     


Posted on February 12, 2014 at 10:50 PM Comments comments (26)
Here is the thing about this thing called love.  It can be thrilling, it can be tantalizing, it can be tenacious and sometimes it can be exhausting.  But the thing about love is that it can’t ever be forgotten.  What love people give to others great or small is sacred.  Whether together or a thousand miles apart or on another realm, love cannot be destroyed, the bond is eternal.

Love can be wounded.  Pictures can be deleted.  The physical presence can be gone.  A computer reset and love letters burned.  But love is indelible, marked in the memory and engraved on the heart.  Every look, every wink, every breathless moment of love can never be taken out of the universe or the minds’ eye.

But do you know what really is amazing about love?  It far transcends some silly little man in a diaper holding a bow and arrow.  Love never dies like a dozen roses.  And love is as delicious as chocolate and the only weight that is added is to the heart!  So, now with the Beatle tune blasting in this old girl’s head----

“All we need is love. wah, wah wah, wha, wah.  All we need is love. wah, wah, wah, wah, wah. All we need is love, love.  Love is all we need.”

---I encourage you never to put up a Chinese fire wall of fear when it comes to love. 

Relationships may fade away.  The fire wall may burn down and love may ebb but it never really goes away.  It has been released into the universe.  Imagine the eons and eons of love that has already been released.  How time and eternity would change if we truly understood and harnessed that love. 

Love freely.  But first, love yourself freely.  Only then can you truly know how to love another.  Don’t be afraid of letting that love fly free.  Always hold love with an open hand for it is not yours to own.  If it is time to set it free, release it with blessings and let the tears nourish the soul.  And watch it fly to heights unknown.  Be grateful that you were given the gift of love.  And like that old corny poster that was plastered on my teenage bedroom ceiling mused- it might come back to you. 

Even then, if love is truly set free, there is no expectation or thought of it coming back.  There is however, the anticipation of watching perhaps from afar that love burst into a million brilliant stars and light up the night sky.  The love that is within you can also burst into a million brilliant stars and light up those in your world.   Release the love and watch it grow.


©2014 Heidi Parunak/  All  rights reserved.  This material may not be published, rewritten, broadcast, recorded or redistributed without express permission. 

Walking Out of My Shoes

Posted on January 11, 2014 at 9:53 PM Comments comments (15)
I got so tickled this morning when I was mall walking for our Saturday morning trainings with the Knoxville Track Club for the CHKM 2014.  It was raining cats and dogs and at the last minute I decided I would go to the gym instead.  It had been a bitterly cold week and I was wanting a bit of a break from the elements.  I got a call from one of the coaches and she said the gals were going to mall walk.  So, I decided to join them.

Now, I had been having a lot of trouble walking the past month or so.  My injuries from the previous year have healed but I just felt like my feet weren't working correctly.  My ankles were giving me problems and I found myself having to stop and stretch more than I usually do.  My New Balance runners that were bought for last years BW 2013 team were getting worn.  I noticed the traction grips on the bottoms were smooth from wear and the heals were getting worn but I didn't think that was the issue.  Then I noticed the same thing happening with my hiking boots that I purchased last spring.

I decided to slow down and study the situation for a few minutes.  My boots are now at least a half a size to a size too large.  I knew they were getting a bit loose so I would double sock and tie those laces even tighter.  That wasn't working after awhile and I realized this morning that they are simply too big. HA!  I realized the same for my runners this week when I started to jog and my heels literally lifted out of the back of the shoes.

However, there is something that is more meaningful about my shrinking feet.  When I was a young girl, I struggled with the fact that my feet are very broad with a high instep and no arch.  I had a lot of trouble finding shoes that would fit and were stylish.  It always caused great angst to go shoe shopping and my mother did everything she could to encourage her daughter that a size 10 wide shoe at the age of 13 was not the end of the world but rather indicative of a young woman who had a "firm understanding, dear".  A firm understanding of what I didn't quite understand at the time.  Though I knew then as I know now she was trying to find some humor to lighten those very tense shopping trips which usually ended up in a flood of tears and self incrimination.  As if I had control over the size of my feet.

But really, what is a mother to say to her only long awaited daughter after raising 3 sons when she can't wear a cute pair of little strappy sandals with a sharp pair of linen shorts and a fun halter top because her feet are too big, her thighs rub together and prevent the shorts from staying in place and her shoulders are too broad for a decent halter top?  Endless blisters in the name of fashion and a lack of appropriate looking shoes for a teenager with large broad feet were just a part of life.  And the numerous summers at the beach wearing sneakers to walk in the sand because I was not able to wear flip flops or huaraches are now sweet whimsical thoughts of a young girl coming of age in the '70's.

So, when I have those glorious moments like I have had this morning with the shoe issue, those early days are just precious memories of a life that seems so long ago yet just like yesterday.  I am so very, very grateful that I can walk and hike and take a stroll in the park to the extent that I wear out shoes and now literally walk/RUN out of them.  Who would have thought?


©2014 Heidi Parunak/  All  rights reserved.  This material may not be published, rewritten, broadcast, recorded or redistributed without express permission. 

PASSAGES OF TIME (A Momma's thoughts On Children)

Posted on December 11, 2013 at 4:35 PM Comments comments (161)
I have had the most delightful nine months following the pregnancy and birth of a first child to a woman and her husband whom I met a year ago whose father delivered one of my own children.  There was never a child more wanted than this little one who entered the world this morning.  There are enough people who have witnessed and waited for this arrival as if she was their own.  This is the beginning of a new family with hopes and dreams of their own not only for this child but for their own family unit.

It has given me time to think of when I had my own four children.  I relived those early days.  I thought about those same four children who are now grown, some with children of their own.  I thought about all those expectations you have of  a child when they come into to the family.  For me, I wanted them to be healthy, happy and do what they loved the most in their lives.  Of course there were hidden expectations as well.  I remember my own Mother teaching me that my children are not my own but rather loaned to me for a short, albeit brief time.  She used to recite to me passages of Kahlil Gilbran, from his poem On Children the collection The Prophet.  Looking back, I wonder if she was reminding herself of a universal truth when I was not doing something as she thought I should.

I had four babies in four years.  I have figured out that four children meant a total at least 10,000 diaper changes, most with cloth diapers (yes, I am dating myself).  Equally as many bottles and sippy cups.  Numerous lost socks, shoes that didn't match and mounds and mounds of laundry, dozen of Kleenex and at least 3 or 4 years of lost sleep.  Untold hours of  potty training, training pants, countless meals and dishes.  As I was told as a young mother, "Where there is life, there is mess".  And my 10 year old daughter confirmed that with her hands on her hips and disgust in her voice as she surveyed a messy house and commented, "Mommy, there must be an awful lot of life in this house".  Yes, there was!  And lots and lots of noise; laughter, tears, arguing and playing.  A cacophony of sounds that I didn't realize at the time was a beautiful symphony of family.

The years have flown by.  The house is now clean and tidy. And very, very quite. Today, I pray my children are healthy and happy.  Though it is none of my business, I do sigh and shrug my shoulders when I think they aren't being true to themselves and others.  There are times when I wonder what they are doing and why they are making the decisions they make.  I don't know the answers to those questions nor are they relevant.  What I do know is that I love each one of them no matter where they are or what they are doing.  Just when I want to snip their heads off, I remember them as the ones who came through me and that I held in my arms and nursed under my heart.  I then remember those precious downy heads whose hair I brushed as until they could brush their own and it tempers my emotion.

I cleaned their sweet bottoms. I washed their knees when they learned to crawl and their feet before they fell asleep in their beds after a day of play.  I wiped their noses. I wiped my own nose when the bus pulled off on their first day of school.  They are never far from my thoughts, they are indelibly marked in my heart and I am now comfortable in knowing that conflicting thoughts and emotions for children are all a part of parenthood.  It is all a part of loving a child.

So, I now understand the wisdom of my own Mother in teaching me the freedom of knowing who the ones that come from you really are and your place in their lives.  Perhaps she taught me the most valuable lesson of the ultimate love of a mother for her child.

On Children
An excerpt from "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran
And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said,
"Speak to us of Children".

And he said:

Your children are not your children,
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but are not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and
He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
So he loves also the bow that is stable.

© 2013 Heidi Parunak/Trinity  All  rights reserved.  This material may not be published, rewritten, broadcast, recorded or redistributed without express permission. 


Posted on September 29, 2013 at 8:33 PM Comments comments (21)
So, here we are one year almost to the month when I was accepted for the Covenant Health Marathon Biggest Winner 2013 team.  I am still overwhelmed and privileged to have been part of such a great group of folks, coaches and manager.

As I write this post, I ponder where I was last year, where I am this year AND where I was four years ago in October 2009 weighing over 400 pounds.  The best way to put this past year into perspective especially the past few months is to make a list of the high lights.

I want this to be taken as braggadocios or self emulating. I don't want this to be taken as of self aggrandizement.  I want this to be a testament to the fact that poor health can be reversed.  A broken life can be renewed and restored.  The rewards are numerous and aren't necessarily all tangible. 

So here goes----

  • continued to hone my personal workouts and nutrition with the goal to run some of the following marathons.

  • registered for the Covenant Health  Knoxville Marathon 2014 on opening registration day this summer.  I have 4 other folks who registered along with me.  We are all doing the 5K.

  • joined the Knoxville Track Club the first of September!

  • took my first spin class with the spectacular Joe Mitchell as my fearless leader on September 16!  YAY

  • registered for the Buddy's Race for the Cure which will be held November 10.  Missy Kane's team.

  • jogged my first full mile with out walking/jogging (WOG) on September 28.

  • lost another half shoe size.  I was a woman's 12 WW in October of 2009 and I am now down to a woman's 10 1/2 regular.  My running shoes of last year were size 11 W.  YES, feet can and do shrink! I am currently needing to double socks my old shoes and hiking boots as they are becoming almost too loose.

The best news of all is that when I am out on the track or at the gym I do not think of myself as being 56 earthly years of age.  I think of myself as timeless/ageless.  My health continues to improve as does my energy level.  I look forward to each new day with renewed hope and vigor.  I can't imagine what my life would be like today if I had not been chosen for the CHMBW2013 team.

Namaste and abundant, abundant blessings,




Posted on August 21, 2013 at 2:31 PM Comments comments (12)

     It has been a year since the advertisement to apply for Biggest Winner 2013 came to my attention. Long story short, I dared to apply. They dared to accept my application. Oy gevalt!  What were any of us thinking?  I have struggled with a lot of regrets since the 2013 CHKM that I did not work the Biggest Winner Challenge like I had wanted, intended, or expected too.  One of the goals stated in my Biggest Winner 2013 Challenge application was that I wanted to run.  I had learned to walk again and now I wanted to run.  It didn’t work out that way.  I was bitterly disappointed.  I felt I had blown my chance of a life time.

     After the team disbanded, I continued on with my quest for spiritual, physical and emotional wellness.
I have gone back to walking the track where my quest started back in October of 2009.  That track became my safe haven. It gave me the motivation to get out of bed to watch the sun rise over the mountains.
I enjoyed the anticipation of the inky midnight blue sky of dawn come alive with ribbons of salmon pink before the sun made its appearance.  I took solace and comfort on the days when drizzle or snow would become my mantel surrounding me with the knowledge that life indeed goes on no matter what the weather brings.  I logged hundreds of miles on that track as well as pounding out a lot of hurt and tears through the soles of my shoes. Little did I know the metaphorical life lessons I would learn from those early years of walking away from the darkness of depression fear and panic attacks into the light of health wellness and wholeness.

     For the past few weeks I have been faithfully and religiously walking the track again. The mile track has benches every 1/8 of a mile. This past week I began to WOG walk/jog alternating an 1/8 walk then an 1/8 mile jog (albeit slow jog).  During those walks I have been trying to reconcile some of those regrets of a year ago.  There were many valuable life lessons learned that I am still applying.  I remembered those lessons I had heard our coach Missy Kane teach our team.  I remembered our manger Tonya Stott-brown and her smiling face and that “go-get ‘em” encouragement she had for us each every time she saw us.
I remembered the life coaching lessons facilitated by life coach Chris O’Hearn where he encouraged us to envision in our minds the individual desires or dreams we wanted for ourselves.  For me at that point in time it was running; knees to the breeze, elbows pumping, the rhythmic whoosh of my breath.
Imaging what it would feel like for ME to run.

     I remembered Joe “Suck it up” Mitchell who patiently walked with me on that first early morning training with the Knoxville Track Club and then later gave of his Saturday mornings at the Fort Sanders Health and Fitness Center when a calf and ham string injury rendered me to the recumbent bike.
I will always remember Joe’s unending patients with helping me overcome my fear of treadmills.
I will always appreciate the fact that he never verbally said “Suck it up, cupcake” (don’t even know if he was thinking that) as he helped me to understand and overcome my fear of treadmills.

     I will always remember my team mates who individually inspired me to greatness in their unique way.
How I miss them.  I remember thinking many times that my acceptance to the team was a mistake and the powers that be didn’t have the heart to tell me otherwise.  I was way out of my league with those folks!
     Fast forward to today when I accomplished the beginning of my hearts’ desire to run.  TODAY
my two mile loop consisted of a 1/8 mile jog segment, two quarter mile jog segments finishing with another 1/8 mile jog segment.  When I found myself actually running the first quarter mile segment the lyrics of the tune by Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild” popped into my head (no telling what else is in the dark recesses of my mind) and I finished my laps on that rhythm.  Feeling my body run, breathing even and body strong I had the knowledge that what I did last year was phenomenal.  How I processed and executed the opportunity was all a part of a bigger experience. Eighteen years stubbed up in depression, fear and home bound. I was only three years out of the house in my wellness journey, clear of mind. One year in volunteer work as a companion with home hospice.  This old girl, still morbidly obese even after dropping over 100 pounds DARED to apply for something that would thrust her into the public eye, photo sessions, TV news programs, interviews and a marathon of all things. The powers that be DARED to give me a CHANCE OF A LIFE TIME. 


Get your motor runnin'
Head out on the highway
Looking for adventure
In whatever comes our way

Yeah, darlin'
Gonna make it happen
Take the world in a love embrace
Fire all of your guns at once
And explode into space

Like a true nature's child
We were born
Born to be wild
We can climb so high
I never wanna die
Born to be wild
Born to be wild

“Born to be Wild”from Steppenwolf: All Time Greatest Hits

Moving Forward and Abundant, abundant blessings,

Heidi Parunak

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