Monthly Archives: February 2014

Urban Eagles and Curling

It’s in all the local papers. Mr. and Mrs. Bald Eagle from Hays in Pittsburgh have just laid a third egg in their big-ass nest. This is the second year in a row that the eagle couple has chosen to raise a family within the city limits of Pittsburgh. Last year, one egg hatched and fledged. The last time this happened was over 150 years ago according to the “eggsperts”.

eagle nest

Like most of the traffic on Route 19, their Hays area nest is now under 24 hour surveillance by remote cameras. If anything suspicious happens, it will be on film. I am enthralled with the return of the eagles and love to see them flying overhead but watching the live feed is much like watching Olympic Curling. You know it’s supposed to be interesting but you are not sure why. Click the picture for the link to the big event where egg number 1 is seen for the very first time. Find the frame for “first egg laid, 2-19-2014.” The first 2 minutes are cool. After that, it’s like the 6th End for the Great Britain Curling Team…just not really going anywhere. (

Tom and I will be heading over to congratulate the lucky new parents this weekend. Sadly, they have declined our invitation to join us for dinner afterward at the Hofbrauhaus. (If you visit along the trail, you’ll notice a sign insisting that you keep your voice to a whisper so as not to disturb the love birds whilst nesting. Apparently human voices might drown out the sounds of trains, traffic, construction vehicles, and barge horns that eagles love so much.)


Posted by on February 26, 2014 in The Hikes


Time For A Confession

eastern_bluebird_11“Can’t we take the shortcut?” That was me whining. It was getting colder as the afternoon wore on. The trail was a slippery mix of mud, ice and dirty snow. There wasn’t much to see and my ears were cold. But Tom was ever bright and hopeful. “You can make it!” My mouth smiled but the rest of me didn’t. And so, on we went. The Long Way.

Not even 100 yards of ooze later, I stopped so fast that Tom ran into me. A bluebird was sitting on a frozen branch right in front of my face. It was so incredibly bright blue against the dull gray woods. Then Tom spotted another. It was chirping out a cheery little chuckle of a song not 10 feet away. Two more flew into view, then five or six more. It was so exciting I could hardly breathe. Ok, yes, it’s true. You were going to find out sooner or later: I’m a bird nerd. Be warned. Once you start down this path of identification, bird calls, and migration schedules, you’ll find you just can’t stop. Binoculars, birding books…the whole Avian enchilada. Remember Jane Hathaway from the Beverly Hillbillies? That’s me in five years. Jane Hathaway

Tom too has succumbed and now shares my unnatural affinity for bird culture. But he looks more like Kenny Bostick from The Big Year. rrc_TBY_bostick_mag_clearance

There are four things I’ve noticed about birdwatching which are listed below. Since birding is inherently geeky, I totally understand if you never read my blog again.

1.  Birding is just not that cool. If you think otherwise, you are wrong and suffer from acute denial. 

2.  It’s not just a chick thing (no pun intended). There are an equal number of men out there, and they really look like they want to be, if you know what I mean.

3.  Birdwatchers are predominantly white. We need to seek Justice here and get our Black and Latino friends involved.

4.  The 15-39 year old age group is not well represented in the birding world. Make what ever conclusions seem logical.

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Posted by on February 23, 2014 in Lessons from the Trail, The Hikes


What’s Your Legacy?

What is the most important legacy you can leave your children?  Most Christians would immediately say that building a strong Christian faith is the highest priority.  But if there were just one more value that you could instill in the hearts of your children, it should be the meaning and vision for marriage.

Remember when kids went to weddings?  No wonder young children, even those raised in the Church, lack a basic understanding of marriage.  By-gone church weddings have been replaced by today’s pricey adult affairs. The popular wedding site The Knot encourages brides to “stand strong” and “limit the guest list” and warns, “Don’t extend ‘ceremony only’ invitations to children.” Martha Stewart’s wedding etiquette agrees that inviting children is “not appropriate” at most weddings. (What? … really!?) When asked “who has been to a wedding?” very few elementary school children’s hands go up. The occasional “yes” will then reveal that it was “my mom’s” or “my dad’s” wedding. While marriage has become irrelevant to the post modern millennial generation, today’s Generation Alpha kids will be left completely adrift with no real understanding of the concept.

As a sexual abstinence educator for over 25 years, I’m convinced that if we are going to ask our kids to wait for marriage to have sex, then we’d darn well better show them that marriage is something worth waiting for.  God’s design, His purpose, and His very heartbeat is revealed in the sacred vows of marriage.  To understand a wedding is to glimpse into God’s love of His Bride, the Church.  The lifetime pledge of a husband to his wife sheds new light on the eternal covenant God makes with His people.  Without a vision for marriage, sex has no context, purity has no meaning, and we leave the next generation without the picture of God’s covenantal love.

ImageOh, yeah…today’s hike was fun.  I love being married to Tom Scheuring.

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Posted by on February 19, 2014 in Lessons from the Trail, The Hikes

mcconnells mill March 2011 006

Hell’s Hollow at McConnell’s Mill

The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?

J B Priestly

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Posted by on February 1, 2014 in Quotable


Why I Love Hiking in the Snow.

jan hike pic

No, really I’m serious. I love it.  Here are a few great reasons to march out into the snow before it’s all gone:

  • There are no bugs or poison ivy.  This is huge.
  • It’s gorgeous.  The leaves are down.  Snow shows every contour of the ground that you don’t see at other times of the year.  Views are spectacular and the occasional pine groves feel cozy and homey.
  • Everything smells wonderful.  Hints, of deer, pine needles and distant woodstoves make you stop in your tracks to suck it all in.
  • It’s bright.  Even on a cloudy day, the woods look bright and welcoming.  This is a real pick me up for the winter blues.
  • It’s quiet.  Other than the crunching beneath your boots, snow absorbs sound.  We didn’t see another human being on the trail today…sublime peace!
  • Tracks.  Today we saw zillions of tracks from bunnies, deer, birds, cross country skis, mountain bikes, dogs, and previous hikers.  And it’s so great to leave your own mark alongside the snowy traffic of the forest!

Today’s hike was at Deer Lakes Park. Find great trails here: deer lakes trail map


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Posted by on February 1, 2014 in The Hikes