A. T. & T(im) J#11: Ad maiorem Dei gloriam 

The Journey thus far: 

I am now 1,335 miles into my trek! I have conquered 7 states!!! I just recently finished Pennsylvania aka Rocksylvania, went into New Jersey and am now finishing it up. New York up next!  

Here are a couple photos that capture Rocks: 


That’s all I can show, anything more will trigger my PTSD… just kidding! The rocks weren’t much! I was fortunate to escape them without injury. I can’t say the same for my shoes though:

 

As the days continue to fly by and I get closer and closer to my destination I find myself being more and more thankful for the little things. For the past week or so I’ve been hiking with a sort of Tramily and it’s been awesome! There are some really cool people out here and it’s always great to be able to share in the day to day joys and sufferings with others:



This past Sunday was Corpus Christi, the feast of Jesus’ Body and Blood. Many of my experiences these past two weeks have made me think about Christ’s Body in relation to us. We are the body of Christ. Together, all of us make up his Body here on earth. We work together: one body with many parts, and we are to be Christ’s Hands and Feet: physically living out His commands. Another thought that I had and often have came during the consecration. When Jesus/the priest in the person of Christ say: This is my Body, given up for you (paraphrasing here) obviously that is Jesus saying it is literally His Body given up for us to consume and be in full communion with Him but also I take it as a motto to follow in our everyday lives. We are Christians. That means we try to, as closely as we can, immitate Christ. I feel like everyday we should be saying back to Him: This is MY body given up TO You. In the way we eat, the way we take care of our bodies, when we are tempted with impurity, in the way we dress, when hardship on the body is necessary or imminent ALWAYS we should be saying: Christ, here is my body, I give it to you. **THIS IS SO HARD, For myself especially. But we are called to do hard things. Being a Christian ain’t no walk in the park. Jesus tells us to repent and believe in the good news. Let’s start living it! 

Pictures: 








This app won’t let me caption any of these but you know what they say: a picture is worth a thousand words. Thank you all for your continued prayers and support! A special shout out to Fr. Jack and the Pilgrims in Italy walking 100 miles for you, me, and religious freedom. They sent a video to me, from Italy, with songs, prayers, and encouragement. It gives me such hope and joy to be walking and praying in solidarity with people like these. Thanks y’all, you’re awesome! (You can check the vid out on my FB page if that floats yo boat) 

Keep on praying! 

-Timchi

A. T. & T(im) J#10: Everything is Grace

The journey thus far:

It has been 99 days since I began my trek. As of now I’m 1,146 miles in. That’s more than half way! I’m currently kicking it at the legendary Doyle Hotel in Duncannon, PA. 6 states down 8 to go! It’s been a bit since I’ve posted. These past three weeks have been filled with so much grace. 

Where we last left off was in Harpers Ferry, WV. That Monday I got back on I was accompanied by a train of hikers. My mom, grandma, little siblings, Mrs. Johnson and her younger kids, and my friend TJ all hiked with me for about 5 miles through Harpers Ferry. From there TJ hiked the entire Maryland section. Along the line we were also joined by two of my very good friends Brandon and Sam. Fr. Jack Lombardi also joined in for a few miles. What a blessing it was to hike with some of the best people I have the pleasure to know. After we finished MD and stepped into PA I was fortunate enough to go to Ocean City, MD with my brothers and some friends. A welcome recharge before tackling the second half of the trail. 

Getting back on the trail I still wasn’t done with seeing friends. My brother Peter hiked with me for one day. As I walked into Boiling Springs, PA I was greeted by the  Tayler Howie and her family who were gracious enough to feed, house, and take me to confession. Not too far after I was able to spend time with Cat Imholte, her fiancé    Peter, and the Imholte family. They too fed me, sheltered me, and took me to Mass. Miles after that I was picked up by the Duiduch family in their big, black, 15 passenger van. I stayed at their house for a couple days where I enjoyed the company of a loving, faith-filled, generous, and hilarious family. Also, I’m certain I saw Bigfoot somewhere on their property. Here in Duncannon I am meeting Mr. and Mrs. Harper who are kind enough to drive up here and treat me to dinner. 

It is times like these where it is made unmistakably apperent how blessed I am to be supported by the community I have. My family, especially my Mom and Pop, are one the greatest gifts God has given me. Unending Faith, Love, and support flow from them. I love you all, thank you for all you do! 

Thank you so, so, so much to everyone who took time out of their lives to lend support to me. YOU are the Body of Christ furthering His Gospel of unconditional Love. 

I admit, for me, being served (especially this frequently and fervently) can be at times uncomfortable. It’s a humbling experience when someone gives to you without measure and there’s really no way for you to pay it back. I think in these moments I catch myself believing that I am the last on a list of people who deserve a community like this. I feel inaiquate of unconditional love. 

There’s a song by the band “Relient K” called “Be My Escape” in which a line goes: “the beauty of grace is that it makes life NOT fair.” We could argue all day about what people deserve or don’t deserve but when it comes down to it, grace: God’s free gift to us, does not discriminate. The beauty of Love and Mercy is that it makes life not fair. We love all because Christ loved all. Everything is Grace! (Also a great song by Matt Maher)

So even though I don’t deserve wonderful friends like you, guess what? Life isn’t fair! I’m so glad that life isn’t fair! Thank you all! I have less than halfway to go and can now begin counting DOWN the miles. Keep on praying! 

And pictures: 











Until next time! Peace!

-Timchi

A. T. & T(im) J#9: Verso L’alto 

The journey thus far: 

I have hiked 1,022 miles!!!! Thank you, God! I left off at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia! 4 states down 10 to go! What a blessing these days have been. 

This past weekend I came home to good, old Frederick, Maryland. My dad picked me up outside Front Royal, VA and I was able to watch my little siblings perform in a theatrical version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I give it 10 out of 10 stars. I was also able to be home for Mother’s Day!

The weekend before last I was able to see my Aunt and Second Cousins right before I entered Shenandoah National Park. So many blessings! 

I’m taking this next portion of the trail pretty easy. I’ll be hiking with friends and family and coming home on the weekends. Almost to the half way point!!! 

Over these past weeks things have been very challenging and confusing. I often feel plagued by doubts and desires for a change of scene. This trek is not easy. While home I was able to clear my mind and heart and renew my hope. I was reminded that we are not made for comfort but for greatness. It should be a discipline in everyone’s life to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. I’m still working on that. The title of this post is: “Verso L’alto” which means “to the heights.” I have a small Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati holy card that has this picture on it:


Verso L’alto was one of Blessed Pier’s mottos. He was someone who was constantly pushing and climbing to the heights, spiritually and physically. He once said “the higher we go, the better we shall hear the voice of Christ.” I want to go verso l’alto. I want to hear the voice of Christ. 

Pictures: 



Crossing a stream on a log.
On the university of Virginia campus.
This man from Afghanistan insisted on being in my picture and holding one of my hiking poles.
Hiking with my friend TJ



Also I was able to go off trail and spend some time in Luray Caverns: 

My mugshot at the ATC headquarters in Harpers Ferry.
That’s it for now. Keep praying!

-Timchi 

A. T. & T(im) J#8: Be Anxious for Nothing 

The journey thus far: 

I have traveled 727 miles in 63 days and have now been on the trail for more than 2 months! Wow! What a blessing this trip has been. For the past couple days I’ve been laid up in the Daleville, VA Super 8 due to some sickness. I’ll spare you the grizzly details but let’s just say I was up all hours of the night with my face in the toilet. Too much info? Probabaly. But I’m feeling much better and am ready to hit the trail tomorrow. Only 10 days till I get to be home! 

This past week and a half have been super challenging, gracefilled, and eye-opening. There’s been a lot of rain, heat, dehydration, doubt, struggle, conquering, prayer, trail magic, near death experiences, and contemplating my current purpose in life. First and foremost I just need to ask for your continued prayers as I continue to listen to the voice of Truth and follow wherever He may lead me. There has been a lot revealed to me in the past couple days and more still pouring out as time rolls on. I just ask for prayers for clarity. Jesus, I trust in You! 

In other news, for the past week or two I’ve been reading a book called “Letters and Papers from Prison” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer and it’s amazing. Bonhoeffer is one of my favorite authors and you should totally check out his work. For those who don’t know who he was: Bonhoeffer was a German, Lutheran Pastor, and genius theologian who actively fought against Hitler’s rise to power. Long story short he was found out to be  involved in a plot to assassinate Hitler and was arrested and imprisoned by the Nazis. The book I’m reading are his last papers and letters written before he was hung for his crimes in 1945. While the book is filled with so much food for thought, raw honesty, and a sobering reality, there is one thought which seems to continually bounce around in my head and heart. Bonhoeffer writes: “Who stands his ground? Only the man whose ultimate criterion is not in his reason, his principles, his conscience, his freedom or his virtue, but who is ready to sacrifice all these things when he is called to obedient and responsible action in faith and exclusive allegiance to God. The responsible man seeks to make his whole life a response to the question and call of God.” This snippet seems to speak directly from how Bonhoeffer lived his life. God’s Will is everything and the only thing. Sometimes we don’t understand or we get turned around or we think we have a better plan but in the end His Will is all and we are meant to have an intimate relationship with Him and learn to be sensitive and receptive to His every move. I think everyday I’m learning more and more what that means to me personally. We can always cultivate a deeper intimacy with Christ. 

And, of course, some pictures: 








“The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) 

Thank you so much for your constant prayers and support. I am and will always be praying for you! 

-Timchi

A. T. & T(im) J#7: Alleliua is Our Song

Happy Easter!!!! He is risen!!!

The Journey thus far:

I have traveled 545 miles in 51 days! As of now I’m taking a break in Groseclose, VA and am tackling the Virginia portion of the trail. That means I have 3 states down and only 11 to go! What a blessing it is to be here. 

A couple highlights: 

I was blessed to spend the Easter Tridium in Bristol, VA at St. Ann’s Catholic Church. This has, by far, been my most challenging/rewarding Lenten journey which made celebrating Easter that much more joyful. Side note: St. Ann’s choir was AMAZING. 

I hiked my first marathon a couple days ago: 27 miles in 9 hours. I am both proud and sore. 

In Grayson Highlands State Park, VA wild ponies roam the hilltops. It’s awesome! Evidence:



Saint John Paul II once said, “Do not abondon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and Alleliuia is our song!” That is the theme for this post and our entire lives: Alleliuia! He is risen. Christ literally died and literally came back to life!! He gave us ALL life! Like, we can’t ever sing that enough: we can live in eternal happiness because Christ died in our place and literally conquered death. That is hope: it never fails! Side note: since entering into the Easter season I feel a sort of mental resurrection for this hike filled with strength, hope, and joy. What a blessing! Alleluia! 

Some pictures: 







That’s it! Short and sweet! Thank you for your continued prayers and support!

-Timchi 

A. T. & T(im) J#6: Blessed are the Poor in Spirit

The Journey Thus Far: 

I am more than a month into my trek and have traveled 378 miles. What a time to be alive! I’m currently getting my Palm Sunday on in Elizabethton, Tennessee. It feels so good to receive the sacraments and worship in these final days of Lent awaiting our Lord’s resurrection. 

This past week and a half have been my hardest days on the trail yet. Haha I feel like I’ve gone through so many trials in such a short time. I’m missing home like crazy: my family, my friends, my home Parrish, and just being around people who lift me up and challenge me to be the best-version-of-myself. Don’t get me wrong there are many good and loving people out here but God is not calling us to be good people, He’s calling us to be GREAT people that means we live for Him and Him alone. That, tragically, is a rare find on the A.T. I also got sick for about three days. I had some intense stomach pains, did some baby-mile days, and eventually took a day off at a hostel to recover. I’m thinking it was the unfortunate result of consuming copious amounts of sugar, not consuming much of anything else, and hiking 15+ miles a day. Like everything in life, I need to find a better balance in my diet out here. Let’s see what else… Oh yeah! It snowed! Again! And it was COLD! So Cold! Here are some nice pictures of the snow: 

As it began…
A Christmas Tree decorated year-round in memory of a hiker who passed away







Here are some snow stories: (Also: both day and night while snowing we had 30 mph winds)

Night one: I get to the shelter I planned to stay at and by this time it’s below freezing with wind-chill and snowing. I set up my bedding and begin to warm up in my sleeping bag. As I lay frozen I then realize the gap between the walls of the shelter and the roof. It was just enough space to allow the falling snow to be blown in. Long story short I woke up to my sleeping bag being coved in snow, ice, and water courtesy of this ingenious design. What a night!

Night two: this second night was even colder than the first: lower temps and higher winds, fortunately no snow. Somehow, me and this other hiker, the only ones dumb enough to stay out hiking, ended up staying on top on Roan Mountain. Roan Mountain, standing at 6,000+ feet, is, according to A.T. experts, the coldest part on the Southern A.T. year-round AND the shelter we stayed in is the shelter built at the highest elevation on the entire trail. So, to put in simple terms, for the coldest night on the trail so far, and maybe for the whole trip, I was at the absolute coldest spot I could be at. That’s something you can’t do anything but laugh about. After a well below freezing night I wake up to find EVERYTHING is frozen. My water bottles, my pants and socks were literally frozen solid, my shoes were blocks of ice, etc… These are the nights that make boys into men. They were very challenging but I am grateful I was able to experience, conquer, and be safe. 

The title of this post is one of the beatitudes: Blessed are the Poor in Spirit. In these days past I have been very poor in spirit. I am at another breaking point where all I can do is lift up my hands, pray: Jesus, I trust in You, and hope that one day the kingdom of heaven will be mine. Jesus tells us: “Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest.” I am weary.

Also, more importantly, is a quote I can’t seem to get out of my head. It comes from the book “To Kill a Mockingbird.” It goes: “courage is when you know your licked before you begin but you begin anyway….” I love that quote! It’s so true and I couldn’t help but see in a new way how courageous Jesus’ life truly was. By coming to earth Jesus had to die. From the moment He was conceived Jesus was “licked.” He was destined to die the most horrible death for all the souls of the universe. As we procliamed the Gospel of Jesus’ passion and death were are reminded what true courage and love looks like. Praying in the garden Jesus knew He was licked but he said: “I’ll do it anyway: Not my will but Your Will be done.” So many mornings in the past week or two I knew I was licked before I even got up. I didn’t want to get up and walk, to be sore, or tired, or hungry, or lonley, or uncomfortable. Jesus says: “yeah? So what? Not Timmy’s will but God’s Will be done.” Even when you know your licked, begin anyway! We can do all things in Christ who strengthens us! His power is made perfect in our weakness!

Now, more pictures:






Thank you all for you continued prayers and support! I hope you have a blessed Holy Week!

Life is short, live it well!

-Timchi

A.T. & T(im) J#5: Be Thankful

It’s been a little while so here are some quick, need-to-know highlights:

  1. My official trail name is now: “Pilgrim” because I’m on a pilgrimage and some guy started calling me that.
  2. I hiked the Smoky Mountains (which were amazing!) along which is the highest point on the entire A.T.: Clingmans Dome. Here’s a pic:

IMG_0720
Atop Clingmans Dome standing at: 6,643 feet. The wind was whipping, the evidence: my hair. What a view!
3. I now have LESS than 2,000 miles to go! Today I got off the trail in Hot Springs, NC which puts me about 274 miles in. God is good and I am so blessed as I continue to chip away at these miles.

4. I am also blessed to be able to visit my Grandma, Aunt, and their significant others while here. They are so generous and it brings me so much joy to be able to see them and catch up. I love you all!

This post and life are about being thankful. Here’s a story:

Earlier this week I stayed the night at Standing Bear Hostel. Many of the hikers I have come to know and love stayed there too and it made for a great time. Some of us were chatting in a small group and the topic of faith came up. One of the hikers shared about their faith life and how in the past year or so they’ve started to have doubts and were hoping this trek would restore their faith. The discussion then moved on to the existence of God and the proof that nature holds. This thought came into my head and I shared: whenever I’m on top of a mountain and see an amazing view or gaze upon the simple beauty of a flower or contemplate the complexity of the human person I find myself wanting to thank someone or something. Beholding nature awakens thankfulness in us. What separates a theist and an atheist is what or who they thank. G.K. Chesterton once wrote: “The worst moment for an atheist is when he is really thankful and has no one to thank.” Let us give thanks to God the creator of the universe, it is right and just! He is the designer of all beauty. Our hearts know gifts and that He has given them to us. I cannot help but see God in all the beauty of this trek.

Also, there have been many instances where I just thank God for small moments of mercy, community, or peace. There have been nights where a bunch us hikers found ourselves around a fire, enjoying each others company, and gazing up at the stars. I have also had access to guitars which make for fun nights of performance and sing-a-longs. Moments where silence and stillness coincide are fewer than expected on the trail but bring about amazing peace.

Now, a whole lotta pics:

IMG_0544IMG_0554IMG_0556IMG_0560IMG_0565IMG_0573IMG_0579IMG_0585

IMG_0661IMG_0663IMG_0671IMG_0680IMG_0683IMG_0700IMG_0704IMG_0705IMG_0711

IMG_0719IMG_0723

IMG_0729
The “space needle” in Gatlinburg, TN
IMG_0736IMG_0760IMG_0767IMG_0774

IMG_0780
Trail Magic

IMG_0782

IMG_0785
Trail Angels providing some Trail Magic!
IMG_0789
Some of the first blooms of sprin

IMG_0796

 

IMG_0801IMG_0808IMG_0852IMG_0853IMG_0876IMG_0863IMG_0890IMG_0929IMG_0972IMG_0990IMG_1006IMG_1008IMG_1010IMG_1023

IMG_1029
Karaoke Night at the Laughing Heart Hostel

Thank you all for your continued prayers and support!

 

-Timchi