Recovery Walks the Appalachian Trail: From Phil’s Family

photo-224x300Yes, Phil Valentine begins his amazing journey this week. I hope his family doesn’t mind, but I just had to show two beautiful blogs that wife Sandy and daughter Samantha have written for Phil’s travel website.

10 Days by Sandy Valentine (March 7, 2015)
‘It’s only 10 days until Phil hops on a plane to Georgia, and officially begins his adventure. Each day this week, he adds another item to the table of supplies he started. Each time I wonder what item will be the first to go when he’s worn that pack a few hours.

I also wonder – who will I blame when the tp roll isn’t changed? Who is going to clear the driveway a la the winter that never ends? Who is going to remind me “trust them (kids) til they give us a reason not to”? Who’s going to make the family brunch on Sundays?

No one can replace his presence in the house, but as we’ve done before, we will create a new “normal”.

Today, I am grateful that my eldest made the decision to come home and work this summer, turning down opportunities down south, in order to be our “man of the house”.

Today, I am grateful that Matthew and Mary are wise beyond years, and even though only 10 and 13, realize their Dad is following a call from God and are supportive.

Today, I am grateful for every single person who has offered tangible ways to help me while he is gone.

Today, I am grateful Samantha will be home for a week to see us through the final days before he leaves.

And today, I am grateful that God’s whisper in Phil’s ear was really God’s whisper. Nothing can convince me that this 4 1/2 year planning could have brought us to this place with affirmation every step of the way, unless it was His plan. God is so very, very good.’

Walking With Dad by Samantha Valentine (February 27, 2015)
‘On March 19, 2015, my dad will embark on the longest walk of his life. A 2,180-mile trek, passing through 14 states along the Appalachian Mountain range, my dad will walk from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mount Katahdin, Maine.

I could not be more proud.

This may be the hardest thing my dad will ever do, but it certainly will not be the only difficult thing my dad has journeyed through. Five years ago, on March 19, 2010, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 oropharyngeal cancer – cancer of the tongue. Now, not only is he in recovery from alcoholism and cocaine addiction, he is also a cancer survivor.

On March 18, 2005, my dad wrote a blog post on his Hooked On Recovery page titled Walking With Samantha. This post was written almost exactly ten years prior to the date he will start his hike.

Ten years ago, we thought that the 3-mile hike to church was ambitious; who would have known that 3-miles would turn into 2,180! I wish that I could be with him physically on this journey, but it is time for him to go on a walk with his Heavenly Father.

Dad, I want you to know that I support you and I will be with you every step of the way, in spirit and prayer.

May we walk together for a long, long time.’

Valentine family, my thoughts are with each one of you.