I'm excited to announce the book signing for my 30-day SUP devotional! It will be on Saturday, June
24th, from 11am to 1pm, at Paddle Up (525 Basswood Ave., Nashville, TN 37209).
The first 10 people to purchase a book at the signing will receive a free Padrino's Pops popsicle in your choice of flavor. Also, everyone attending the book signing will receive 15% off a paddle board rental for that day or for any time during the 2017 season!
Spiritual Understanding & Prayer on a Stand Up Paddleboard is a reminder to not just listen to God when you're reading your Bible and praying, but also when you're working and playing. This is true no matter what your own hobbies are or what kind of work you do.
I hope to see you on the 24th, rain or shine! If you've already purchased a book, bring it with you and I'll personally sign it for you. If you're not located in Nashville, you can purchase a copy of the devotional online at http://bit.ly/SUPdevotional.
Thank you in advance for your support of this passion project. Profits from book sales go toward travel expenses and supplies for my mission trip to Brazil. Your purchase creates a ripple effect in God's Kingdom like a single drop of water does in a vast ocean!
May 27, 2017
Four days after my previous post, I found out I had a detached retina. My doctor schedule me for surgery right away. Instead of a simple laser surgery, it was much more complicated. It was "surgery-surgery." But what was supposed to be a short recovery turned into a lengthy time of complications and intense pain.
In addition to my pain and weakness, my eyes were extremely sensitive to light. I had to sit inside my condo for 5 weeks straight with the blinds closed. And you know how much I love being outside in the sunshine, so that was torture for me.
Also, it hurt to look at a computer screen for several weeks, so I couldn't work either. I couldn't drive since I was on pain meds and the surgery had temporarily made my vision worse. I was so bored and depressed. In trying not to feel sorry for myself, I kept thinking it could be worse, and that I should be thankful for God's blessings. A difficult thing to do when the stabbing pain is an 8 on a scale from 1 to10!
The first day I was able to get back to church I saw someone from the congregation who is blind. The first day I was able to get back to work, I saw another person who is blind. It was a humbling reminder that, even though God wasn't minimizing what I was experiencing, He was confirming my thoughts.
God's Perfect Timing
The entire month of January was slow in that I wasn't getting any new clients and couldn't understand why. But of course God knew. He knew what was ahead of me and that I wouldn't be able to work at all in February due to my surgery and recovery.
This also explains why my part of the mission trip to Brazil was postponed from early March to mid July. I was still struggling in early March from the surgery.
I praise God none of this occurred during paddle season or else I really would've been depressed. In
The only things that kept me from diving into a depression were of course God, calls/visits/meals from friends, and college basketball. If it hadn't been conference championship and tournament season, I would've been bored out of my mind since there's not much else I like to watch on TV.
Thank God I'd already submitted my manuscript for the book version of this blog to my publisher before my surgery. They were able to do a lot of the edits while I was recovering. However, the surgery did delay the release date, but that's okay. I know God's timing is perfect.
The Time is Now
Despite having to have a second retina surgery at the end of April, I'm now back on the water! And God is showing me it's the perfect time to release the 30-day devotional inspired by this blog.
The book is now available for purchase online. I'll also be holding a book signing here in Nashville at the end of June (date and location TBD). Proceeds will go to funding the remainder of my expenses for my mission trip to Brazil in July.
I'm so excited to see what God is going to do with this book. And I'm so honored that champion SUP racer and pro surfer Candice Appleby penned the foreword to the book. She is a sister in Christ who openly shares her faith in the SUP community. She continually points her achievements in SUP and surfing back to God, always giving Him the glory.
Click here to order your copy of the SUP: Spiritual Understanding and Prayer on a Stand Up Paddleboard. Thank you in advance for supporting this project. Your purchase creates a ripple effect in God's kingdom just like a single drop of water does in an ocean!
January 16, 2017
Hi there! I hope you're having a great new year! Despite the unusually warm temperatures for this time of year, the rain and wind has made it near impossible for me to get on the water. So, I've been keeping busy with my work and a new book based on this blog.
During the end of 2016, I challenged my clients to take on a "passion project" for the new year, something personal they've always had a desire to do or accomplish. My own passion project for 2017 is to publish a 30-day devotional based on this blog. This project combines three of my passions: my love for God, writing, and stand up paddling.
I plan to use money from the sales of the book to help fund a mission trip I will be taking to the banks of the Amazon River in Brazil. So far I've already raised $1,775 and have only $725 to go!
I’ve been told that if there was ever a mission trip to get me out of my comfort zone, this would be the one. We'll be sleeping in hammocks on a small boat which is cool, but I’m a little nervous. I'm not afraid of the piranhas or of the Zika virus, but I can’t say the same about the anacondas since I have an intense snake phobia.
We'll be serving with an organization called Justice and Mercy Amazon that exists to educate, equip, encourage, and care for the forgotten people of the Amazon by building schools, educating jungle pastors in God’s Word, caring for children with special needs, and offering emergency food and medical assistance to those living along the Amazon’s endless banks.
If you'd like to contribute with the purchase of my new book, you can CLICK HERE to pre-order a copy at only $12. If you prefer to give more, you can do so at http://justiceandmercy.org/pay-for-a-mission-trip/ (change the dollar amount to your preferred value and include “Lori Bumgarner, July 2017” under the field labeled “trip participant/trip date”).
I encourage you to also take on your own passion project this year. If you need help, let me know! Thank you for being such a faithful follower of SUP: Spiritual Understanding & Prayer on a Stand Up Paddleboard!
November 9, 2016
July 17, 2016
|Photo source: Billy Lush Board Company, Knoxville, TN|
The day after paddling with my uncle at Watts Bar Lake, we headed to downtown Knoxville to try out the hydro bikes at the local paddle shop. Hydro bikes are something I’ve never done before, so I was very excited to try something new on the water.
These bikes look like actual bikes from the pedals up, but instead of wheels they have a similar feature on the left and the right as do the amphibious airplanes that land on. This is what keeps them stable and afloat in the water. In the front where the front wheel would be on a land bike is a front rudder. The handle bars are what turn the rudder so you can control the direction of the bike.
The guy who was working at the paddle shop told us not to turn the handle bars sharper than 45 degrees or else the rudder would be turned sideways and we would just be wasting energy pedaling and getting nowhere (much like if you turn the handle bars too sharp on a regular bike).
Just like in our spiritual walk, if we turn too sharp to the left or too sharp to the right, we can get stuck or stalled in our spiritual journey. Yes we will experience a few curves in our path, but we mustn’t overcorrect. We must make the adjustments in our steering that are within our control, and trust God to do the rest to get us straight and back on the path.
Failure is a part of life and there will always be times when we as humans will fail. But God’s promises do not. He is always available to help us straighten out our lives and start over. When we acknowledge our sins, He is ready and willing to help us start again.
July 16, 2016
|Photo source: http://surfboardline.com/gerry-lopez/|
Last week, I got to go paddle boarding at Watts Bar Lake in East Tennessee. I was visiting my uncle and it was his first time paddle boarding. The paddle board he had borrowed from a friend was missing its fin, and my spare fin did not fit the fin box of his board, so we had to make do without one.
I let him use my board so he could have one that was properly outfitted, while I tried to manage with the board that had no fin. It’s amazing the difference an experience can be when you’re not properly equipped versus when you are.
The purpose of a fin for a paddle board is to make the board go straight and keep it stable. I quickly found out what it was like to try and paddle without a fin: my board wanted to go in every direction other than straight! Add to that the wind we were experiencing and I was just being blown around in circles unable to control the board at all. It felt like when you’re in a bumper car and you start spinning around. No matter what you try to do to try to make the car stop spinning, not much really works. I wasn’t able to get to where I was trying to go, and if I did, it took A LOT longer without the fin.
That’s what our spiritual life can be when the Holy Spirit is not living inside of us. We are not properly equipped to remain on a straight path. We’ll go in every direction, jumping from one new “self-help” gimmick to the next, oftentimes finding ourselves wasting time just going around in circles with no real results. And we can’t stop our spinning in circles in our own strength. We need the Holy Spirit to stabilize us.
How do you get the Holy Spirit inside you? It’s pretty simple. You just admit your need for Him and accept the invitation He’s already extended to you, and in turn invite Him into your heart. He does the rest. And you can rest in that, trusting He will direct you on a path that is straight and stable.
May 31, 2016
Last week I found myself in a bit of a precarious situation. I decided to go out for an evening paddle last Wednesday evening despite some looming clouds. All day the skies had vacillated from sunny to cloudy and back to sunny again. It never did rain and the weather report didn't seem to call for rain, so I decided to go for a paddle in the clouds.
When I first started out, I thought what a perfect evening for a paddle! The current was low and the water was calm, the winds were low and the clouds shielded me from the blazing sun. Even the bugs were on their best behavior which is a rare thing in the evenings.
Since the current was low, I decided to go downstream and went about 2 miles before turning around. Once I did turn around, I could tell the current had increased since I first went out, but that was no problem. Then about half a mile later around 6 or 6:30pm, the bottom dropped out.
The rain fell so hard there was little visibility. The water ran into my eyes so I had to keep my eyes squinted to almost fully closed so my contacts wouldn't get wet or pop out, making visibility even worse.
Then the winds picked up. While I had no wind at all going downstream, I now had a head wind while also having to go against a stronger current and pelting rain drops. I had to return to my knees to lower my center of gravity in the strong winds and had to paddle with all my might. Anytime I'd slow down or switch hands with my paddle, the wind would try to blow my board back downstream.
There was no one around, not one boat, not one fisherman. Everyone had taken cover from the pouring cats and dogs, but there was no place for me to go. I just had to paddle the remaining mile and a half back upstream.
I have to admit, I was getting nervous and a bit scared. All I could do was pray, "Lord, please just get me back to the harbor." Fortunately, there was no lightning or hail, and despite the winds the water was still pretty calm. I'm so thankful for that.
I did finally make it back to the docks, but my legs felt like Jello. Having to paddle that far on my knees made them so shaky. And I was shivering from the wind blowing on my drenched skin. But I was glad to finally be back safe and sound.
Two days before this experience, I had written something down in my journal. Now, you must know that when I write in my journal, I do not record my own thoughts, and I don't write in first person. Instead, several years ago I changed from recording my own thoughts to instead recording the thoughts I felt God was sharing with me. It takes a lot of quiet time and focus to hear the still, small voice of God, but oh how powerful it is when you recognize it!
And it's even more powerful to journal in this way, writing it as if God is saying it to you, and then going back and reading it later. It shows how God knew what He was saying and knew what was going to happen. And even more important, it shows how God keeps His promises.
Two days before my frightening experience out on the river, God spoke to me through the scripture verse Isaiah 43:2, and I wrote it down in my journal as if He was saying it to me directly: "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you." I was so amazed and comforted by this. God knew where I would be two days from then and He kept His promise to keep me safe.
If you've never spent time trying to hear from God, I encourage you to do so. God starts off by speaking to us softly with a still, small voice, so you have to get quiet to hear Him. Turn off the gadgets, get off social media, and get to a quiet place every day to listen for His voice. Start with reading your Bible because that's one of the first places He'll speak to you. Pay attention to the well-meaning people in your life because He speaks through them too. You'll be amazed at the difference in your life when you begin to develop these simple yet powerful daily habits.
April 30, 2016
It's been a while since my last post. I attribute that to two main reasons: 1) unlike last winter, there weren't as many opportunities to paddle this winter due to dangerous river currents all winter long and 2) I've been busy revamping my business.
You may recall from some of my past posts that I had been feeling frustrated with my work as an image consultant, feeling restless and discouraged. In fact, I started feeling that way around the same time I first took up stand up paddleboarding.
Up until Christmas of 2015, I was in prayer for a year and a half asking God to show me what I should do. Should I quit the business I had put 8 years of hard work into building a brand and do something different? If so, what was that "something different"? What did it look like? Was it going back to work for someone else (ugh!) and lose my flexible schedule (double ugh!)? Was it offering a different service to new clients?
A year and a half felt like a really long time, but the day after I got my new inflatable paddle board, an answer came so suddenly and quickly while I was in, of all places, the shower! What came to me was so very clear and I was able to see how all of my past experience and all the hard work building the name of my business fit in with this "something different." It was like a flashing neon sign that said:
PASSIONGod was showing me that I am to use my past coaching and career advising experience, my spiritual gift for encouragement, and my love for living life to the fullest and taking risk to help others discover and pursue their passions in life and career.
I am now a Passion & Career Specialist. Since making this change at the end of 2015/start of 2016, I feel like what Peter must have felt like following a long day of catching no fish at all to letting down his nets at Jesus's command and having his nets overflowing with fish. I have been getting more steady business without even trying than I had when I was previously doing image consulting.
And get this: for several months I had been racking my brain trying to figure out how I could "marry" my skills with my love for SUP. God made it clear that I could do some of my career and life coaching sessions out on the water, letting my clients use my new board (now that I have two instead of just one!). I could parallel many of the lessons I teach to SUP beginners with the lessons I coach my clients on.
In fact, just today I began to outline what that will look like because several of my clients have already said they would love to do a session on the water while learning how to paddle board. And, after a long hard winter, it's finally the season for it!
In addition to sharing SUP with my clients, I'll also continue sharing my own adventures, this time more through my business in addition to this blog, and this time through some live video and interviews with others talking about their own passions. I hope you'll check it out!
A couple of weeks ago I did my very first Periscope broadcast, just a short little video talking about my passion for SUP and beautiful weather, encouraging others to get out and enjoy their own passions. You can see the recording of the live broadcast here (please be kind, after all it was my first 'Scope!):
And last week I took the new inflatable board out at Percy Priest Lake following a wonderful and soul-rejuvenating women's church retreat entitled Finding Who I Am In Whose I Am: Studies from the Book of Colossians (how appropriate, right?!). I spent much of my time laying on my board basking in both the warm sun and in God's provision and perfect timing. I am blessed.
December 20, 2015
"God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with him."---Jim Elliot
I've been considering trading my current 12'6" x 28" SUP race board in for a 14' x 23" race board. I feel like I've plateaued on my speed with my current board and know that a longer, narrower board will be faster. I took some time to do a little research and talk with my knowledgeable friend and owner of the local SUP shop to find out what the cost would be for such a board, and how much I could get out of my current board.
During our conversation, there was something that just kept gnawing at my gut. Something wasn't feeling right. Even though I found out I could probably get more for my current board than I expected, I knew I wasn't going to make any decisions until I test drove a 14' x 23" board.
Now, I've paddled a 14' board before, and loved how it felt, but it was a little wider (27"). But when I got on the 23" wide board to test it out, I did not like how it felt (it's amazing what a difference a few inches make!). With a board that narrow, I knew it would take me some time to get used to its lack of stability.
This reminded me of my first board purchase. I first test drove an 11' x 23" board. The owner of the shop said it would take at least five good paddles for me to get used to that width, and my response was, "I want something I can enjoy from the beginning" so I got a 12'6" x 28" race board.
This reminder took me back to the beginning of why I began paddle boarding. It was never to be the fastest or to try to win any races. It was to have fun out on the water and get fit while doing so, and maybe improve my paddle stroke, but never to be in competition. I know that if I couldn't enjoy a new board from the first day, it didn't make sense to pay that much money for a new 14' x 23" board.
I left the meeting a little disappointed and still feeling that gnawing feeling in my gut about what to decide. As I was driving home, I was craving something sweet and saw a Cracker Barrel while waiting at a stoplight. It was also my birthday that day so I decided to stop and treat myself to my favorite cake, the Coca-Cola cake, which is now a permanent offering on the Cracker Barrel menu (it used to be seasonable, that is until I participated in a focus group for Cracker Barrel and explained to the market researchers that fudge cake is a year-round thing and therefore should be offered year-round!).
While I was waiting for my cake, I checked my email on my phone and noticed I had a sales promotion in my inbox from the SUP shop that I was about to delete, but decided to open and read it instead. It was a promotion for a sale on an inflatable rec board (a wide-body board that is the opposite of a race board). The more I started reading about it, the more I started to realize that if I was going to get another board, it should be this one (which I never would have previously considered).
The more I gave all this some thought, the more excited I got about the idea of the inflatable board. I have plans this year to visit Cumberland Island National Park and surrounding areas, and would love to be able to take a board with me that I can just toss into the trunk of my car. And the fact that it's indestructible means I can explore some really cool places without the worry of my board getting damaged by rocks (and I can even learn to surf with this board!).
But something else I realized that made me even more excited is, the inflatable would be an affordable way for my friends to paddle with me. The inflatable is great for people of any skill level, beginner included. And, it would be free for them, allowing them to paddle with me more often. Having an extra board would allow me to share my joy with more people than before!
All of a sudden, that gnawing feeling in my gut was replaced with a feeling of "rightness." It felt right to spend the money on something I could share with others and was more versatile. I was so excited! All of this reminds me of the verse Psalm 37:4 "Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart." Sometimes we take this verse to mean that God will give us what WE want, but in reality, He teaches us to desire the same things He desires for us, His best. I went into this situation thinking I wanted one type of board, but then God showed me what type of board He knew would be best for me.
Of course though, I slept on the idea before making the final decision (because this is not a cheap hobby!), and then the next day I added a brand new inflatable to my fleet! So, who wants to join me on the water this spring?
"But don't begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?" (Luke 14:28)
November 15, 2015
I've never considered myself a very competitive person. But, as I started logging more and more miles due to the great weather we've been having, I became motivated to reach the goal of 100 miles. Not only did I complete the hundred miles, I did so by November 11th, one full month before the challenge ends, and was in 2nd place on the leader board after completing my last paddle, coming in at a total of 102.3 miles. This was a good feeling, but even better than that was the experience of getting to know the other challenge participants at an even deeper level while out there paddling together, working toward a common goal.
There were a lot of days when I was paddling by myself, but also several days where I was with a group, or paddling with one person. This gave me the opportunity to talk with them and learn more about them. It was the one-on-one paddles that led to the deeper conversations which seemed to naturally gravitate toward topics of faith.
Our conversations weren't about the paddle challenge, but instead about the challenges we were each facing in life. It was encouraging to know I wasn't the only one facing similar challenges. And it was an opportunity to be an encouragement to them too.
Even though I've already met the 100 miles ahead of most of the other participants, I'm going to still participate through to the last day of the challenge when weather permits because I want to continue investing in the new relationships this past-time has brought into my life. Who knew the Fit For Fall challenge would not only make me physically fit, but also spiritually fit?
September 26, 2015
Last week I did something I never thought I could do...I paddled 16.4 miles from downtown Nashville to Rock Harbor Marina. Now, I've never done any kind of runners' marathon before, nor have I ever had the desire to do so, but my love for stand up paddleboarding outweighed the lack of interest in a long distance effort.
Even though this event was not a race, it was a personal challenge since I have only ever paddled seven to eight miles at the most. In the days leading up to this long-distance paddle, I prepared physically with mileage building paddles, strengthening exercises, and muscle stretches. But I knew I also had to prepare spiritually and mentally for it. I had my small group praying for my safety and for strength. And I personally prayed for God's strength and for good conditions.
Despite the fact that our group had a head wind and little to no current to help carry us downstream faster, we did it in a lot shorter time than we expected. I figured it would take five to six hours, but I finished in four hours and 15 minutes! The weather was perfect. Temperatures were comfortable, yet there were sunny skies even though the forecast was for mostly clouds (I had prayed for sunshine!).
Not only was I surprised at how fast I completed the 16.4 miles, I was also surprised that I didn't start feeling tired until about mile 11. When the fatigue tried to set in, I just kept repeating to myself, "with Christ anything is possible," and "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
With two miles left to go, I got my second wind. My muscles were hurting immediately after I finished. I thought for sure I would be sore the next day and would sleep like a rock that night. But, I tossed and turned from the adrenaline rush I was still on, and the next day I had only a little soreness in my triceps and my abs. I felt great!
In reflecting on the experience, I was trying to think what I would write for this post. Then I received from one of my clients a devotional that described just what I was feeling all that time out there on my board:
How Strong Are You?
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." (Phil 2:15)
"'Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?' But we have the mind of Christ." ( 1 Cor 2:16)
"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." (James 1:5)
"It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure." (Psalm 18:32)
"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you." (Isaiah 41:10)
"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak." .(Isaiah 40:29)
"In all your ways acknowlege Him, and He will direct your paths." (Proverbs 3:6)
"The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps." (Proverbs 16:9)
"Very, verily I say unto you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father." (John 14:12)
"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being." (Ephesians 3:16)
"Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always." (1 Chronicles 16:11)
Sally I. Kennedy ©2014
August 12, 2015
As I've shared in a couple of the previous posts, I've been discouraged which has caused me to feel weary of my current reality, so of course I decided to combat those feelings with an afternoon paddle since today was so sunny with comfortable temperatures.
Despite the sun and great temps, it was a windy day on the water. I had a very strong head wind I kept having to fight while also paddling against the current upstream. So, I decided to take a little break from my battle with the wind by paddling inside one of the coves along the riverside. I knew the cove would shield me from the strong winds and be a temporary escape from them. I was right.
Once I was back there, everything became so quiet and peaceful. I had to slow down my pace since there were many tree branches and roots in the water to maneuver around. The peace and beauty inside that cove was awesome. I could actually see the fish in the water. Different kinds and all very large. I also was able to see more turtles in the water than I do in the actual river.
I went as far back into the cove as I could get before fallen trees blocked my path. Once I reached that point. I just laid down on my board and soaked in all the peace and beauty. It reminded me of the many scriptures in the Psalms that refer to God as a refuge, a place of protection and a place of solitude. Here I could get the quiet I needed to relish in some of God's beauty and be protected from the harsh winds of reality.
Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Lord and take refuge in him; all the upright in heart will glory in him!
Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.
Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”