The Rest of The Way Posts

LEONA aka "SAL"
Monday, December 27, 2021 by Leona Choy

I don't remember how it started, but in correspondence with certain friends for the past few years, I have been signing “Sal” as my informal signature. I refer to myself as “God's SALmon still swimming upstream in life”—only somewhat more slowly due to my longevity.

This past year I've been blessed by a host of wonderful new viewers of my blog posts, but they haven't a clue what I'm talking about. This coincided with new insights I learned in a course on “personal branding” during the exciting virtual Christian Writers Conference where I had the privilege of serving on the faculty this summer. I came up with my own “life brand” image based on my life experiences. I plan to use it for the ongoing header in my forthcoming 2022 blog posts. This will relieve me of the extended time it takes me to search for a new related image for each post.

To faithful long-term viewers of my website—please bear with me while I explain to the newbies and repeat a little background on the salmon analogy so we can all be on the same page as we view this website in 2022.

Alaskan salmon live a most adventurous life. (We should appreciate them more when we savor a salmon steak for dinner.) Their life span takes them from the rivers and streams of Alaska's wild frontier—an incredibly long distance to the high seas of the Pacific Ocean—and back again. In fact, an unbelievable return to the very same place they were born. (They don't suffer from short-term memory loss.) They find their way from the immensity of the ocean by their amazing created instinct from God. Salmon swim from freshwater to saltwater and back again!

 

 

 

 

 

Hatched from small eggs in an Alaskan stream bed, they set off downstream towards the ocean without a GPS on a journey that will take a couple of years. After that, they head out to the salty ocean for up to four more years. They swim and feed more than 2000 miles throughout the northern Pacific Ocean. Their journey is hazardous at every point being constantly hunted by seals, whales, and fishermen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When fully mature, the adult salmon will swim back to their original stream or river re-adapting to freshwater. Downstream was relatively easy; returning upstream is life-threatening, dangerous, and requires great strength and risk. They swim against the strong current through rugged rivers and leap up miles of rapids and rocky waterfalls, traversing fish ladders, avoiding nets and hooks of fishermen, and trying to stay clear of fierce, hungry bears.



The hardy, advanced age salmons that survive to finally reach their natal stream breed and lay their eggs. Their life cycle is complete. They have reproduced. After spawning they generally die within a week or two, fertilizing the stream and creating a nutrient-rich environment for the infant salmon about to hatch.

An analogy to myself? I too have been on a long, adventurous life journey of many decades in various geographical scenarios and under challenging conditions, both physical and spiritual. I have overcome obstacles and hazards and adversities or have accepted and managed them with the help and strength of the Lord. I hope I have matured in wisdom while I've been weathered by the changing seasons of life and shifting circumstances. At times I've felt that the change from life's fresh waters to the sting of salty waters was impossible to endure. But one adapts. God refreshes me with abundant freshwater blessings again and again.

Violent bear and whale attacks both material and spiritual have been frequent. The hooks of the enemy often came too close. The battles have been fierce but not terminal—some wounds and scars remain. It seems that I've often had to swim against the current; at times also in deep waters and stormy seas. The distances to accomplish the goals of my life which I've felt the Lord gave me often seemed daunting. Sometimes I have lost direction in the vast ocean of life. Time and again God helped me readjust my compass to align with His will and send me on my way once more to the destination He planned.

At times I've been exhausted, worn, and weary by the length of life's lonely journey. Retirement beckoned invitingly. Why not stay in the perceived shelter of the ocean and drift with the tide to some easier Finish Line? Swimming upstream and leaping rapids are getting just too difficult anymore. That's meant for the young—I've been there, done that.

Nevertheless, the vision and destiny and calling from God that He planted in my heart from my youth, like the inborn instinct of the tiny salmon hatch-lings, impelled me to first head downstream into the thick of ocean life in my prime years. And in my mature years, to struggle back upstream again. “I press on [keep leaping upstream] in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.” And I press on [keep leaping upstream] toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4: 12,14).

As long as God generously provides His life and breath and strength and opportunities through my spoken, written, published, or recorded words, I will keep leaping the rapids upstream. In these days of my longevity I want to be faithful wherever and however and whenever I can to reproduce the Christ-life in others. That is my calling. God's calling has no expiration date—it is for a lifetime. No retirement program is offered if one's focus is to do the will of God “on earth as it is in heaven.” It's a joyous upstream adventure all the way!

Now you know that by signing “Sal” I remind myself of the Lord's continuous upward call on my life without respect to my calendar age which will be 97 this coming year.

Would you like to join me as a member of GOD'S UPSTREAM SWIMMING CLUB? Welcome!

Happy New Year

SAL aka Leona

 

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Comments

BettyVonn Snapp From Stephens City At 12/29/2021 11:27:43 AM

You are such an inspiration - the world is blessed because of your sharing your gifts and talents so selflessly - and I know God is pleased. Blessings and love in 2022 - in a little over a week, I will turn 89. It sounds old, but I feel young!

Reply by: Leona Choy

Sweet friend Betty, Hang on to Psalm 103 especially v. 5 and repeat it every morning when you wake up. God will bear you up on eagle's wings. HAPPY BIRTHDAY IN ADVANCE!

Elaine From Minnesota At 12/28/2021 11:40:58 AM

Thank you so much for this message - It was one that caused so much awe and thankfulness for and to our Lord. He truly abundantly blesses me again and again!

Reply by: Leona Choy

And Elaine,the Lord will give you much grace and thankfulness for the changes in your life that may be coming up this next year which are meant by God for good. He takes seeming obstacles in our path and turns them into blessings as we lean not on our own understanding. "SAL"

Mary Martinez From Virginia At 12/28/2021 10:36:08 AM

I love this analogy, Leona....um, I mean, Sal! You've been blessed with the gift of words; they always create the most vivid pictures for this visual learner. Miss you!

Reply by: Leona Choy

Mary, you are a forever friend even if we don't see each other. I pray for you to accept the changes that will be happening in your life and in the lives of your sons. You are all in God's hands and His master plan for each of your intertwined lives is for ultimate good. May any rough times be balanced with joyful times of spiritual refreshing.

Lindsay Van Sicklen From Arkadelphia Arkansas At 12/28/2021 10:29:46 AM

As a long time follower. I recall SAL but love occasional recap. Hope this finds you well and regaining strength daily.

Reply by: Leona Choy

Thank you, good buddy. I need prayers for the leftover extreme fatigue which COVID brought with it. It's tempting to just drift downstream and relax our calling instead of continuing to leap the rapids. I pray the same for you, Lindsay. SAL

Mary Ellen From Alabama At 12/28/2021 10:02:50 AM

Thank you! Love and often reflect on everything you share!

Reply by: Leona Choy

I pray for you as I write this. May you accept from the Lord the many changes that lie ahead of you and your family this coming year. Some may be rougher and last longer than you would wish, but hang on to the assurance that they are all in the perfect master plan God has going. You too are a "Sal"

Annette Smit From Virginia At 12/28/2021 9:26:27 AM

I love this analogy. I would tell M. About your blogs sometimes. She passed away this morning. Happy New Year my friend.

Reply by: Leona Choy

Dear Annette, I pray for your own ongoing sadness and comfort from the Holy Spirit from the loss of Dave. Who is it now who has passed away? I pray that the year ahead may be good for you whatever lies before you. I am over COVID, thank God.

Dot From Dan At 12/28/2021 8:19:33 AM

Swim on, Sal! We're with you all the way that we can go. If you're headed for 97, I must be headed for 99. God help us!

Reply by: Leona Choy

We are together on both this earth journey and the eternal one that will never end.

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Leona Choy
4/4/2020

GOD'S OBSESSION WITH FRUIT
Leona Choy
4/3/2020

BLOOMING BEHIND CLOSED DOORS
Leona Choy
4/2/2020

GRAY CLOUD FOLKS
Leona Choy
4/1/2020

END OF THE STORY
Leona Choy
3/31/2020

RAVENS DELIVERY SERVICE
Leona Choy
3/30/2020

CALAMITY COMFORT
Leona Choy
3/29/2020

A DESERT FABLE
Leona Choy
3/28/2020

A PERSONAL MESSAGE
Leona Choy
3/27/2020

SURFING THE PANDEMIC WAVES
Leona Choy
3/25/2020

HOW ARE YOUR “WITS” DOING?
Leona Choy
3/24/2020

FALLEN ROCKS
Leona Choy
3/23/2020

HUNKERING AT EAGLE SUMMIT
Leona Choy
3/21/2020

TENT DWELLING
Leona Choy
3/21/2020

A MATTER OF PERSPECTIVE
Leona Choy
3/20/2020

HANDS ON THE PLOW
Leona Choy
3/19/2020

SUBMARINE LIVING
Leona Choy
3/18/2020

A NEW HAPPY DANCE
Leona Choy
3/17/2020

SOCIAL DISTANCING
Leona Choy
3/13/2020

THE RELUCTANT PILGRIM
Leona Choy
3/11/2020

THE MYSTERIOUS "SELAH" WORD
Leona Choy
3/9/2020

MY CLAP OFFERING
Leona Choy
3/8/2020

ONE DOLLAR DAFFODIL
Leona Choy
3/7/2020

BOUND BY AN INVISIBLE THREAD
Leona Choy
3/4/2020

NOT SILENCED
Leona Choy
2/26/2020

BEING OWLISH ABOUT WISDOM
Leona Choy
2/24/2020

"In the beginning..." before GOOGLE
Leona Choy
2/22/2020

PULLED FROM THE BRINK
Leona Choy
2/20/2020

APPLE OF HIS EYE
Leona Choy
2/9/2020

SINGING HER WAY HOME
Leona Choy
1/31/2020

EATIN' SHORTBREAD
Leona Choy
1/24/2020

PLATFORM, PODIUM, PULPIT OR PEDESTAL?
Leona Choy
1/17/2020

BUCKET LIST AGAIN?
Leona Choy
1/12/2020

IN SEARCH OF A MAKEOVER
Leona Choy
12/31/2019

SEASONAL SAG
Leona Choy
12/30/2019

THE MYSTERY OF TIME
Leona Choy
12/28/2019

2020 MY RENEWED EAGLE YEAR
Leona Choy
12/26/2019

Post Surgery Report
Leona Choy
12/3/2019

SURGERY ENCORE
Leona Choy
11/23/2019

“You Have the Right to Remain Silent”
Leona Choy
10/31/2019

WHO IS SHAKING MY TREE?
Leona Choy
10/30/2019

WHO IS THE BOSS OF ME?
Leona Choy
10/15/2019

LORD, MOVE MY MOUNTAIN!
Leona Choy
10/13/2019

ANOTHER WAITING ROOM
Leona Choy
10/11/2019

DON'T BE SHEEPISH
Leona Choy
10/10/2019

THE VALUE OF SELF-TALK
Leona Choy
9/28/2019

LASER PRAYER
Leona Choy
9/27/2019

THANKS FOR THE MEMORY
Leona Choy
9/12/2019

CARRY ME, FATHER
Leona Choy
9/5/2019

MY PERSONAL SPIRITUAL WORKOUT
Leona Choy
9/4/2019

PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS?
Leona Choy
9/1/2019

Lessons from My Cup
Leona Choy
8/20/2019

STRAW & THE CAMEL'S BACK
Leona Choy
8/7/2019

BECOMING MORE "FRUITY"
Leona Choy
7/10/2019

CREATIVE ENCOUNTERS
Leona Choy
7/3/2019

PITCHING IT RIGHT
Leona Choy
6/30/2019

“WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO WHEN YOU GROW UP?”
Leona Choy
6/25/2019

34580 and COUNTING
Leona Choy
6/18/2019

MOUNTAINS AND MOLEHILLS
Leona Choy
6/14/2019

CHEERLEADING
Leona Choy
6/6/2019

HANDS ON THE PLOW
Leona Choy
5/22/2019

WAITING FOR GRADUATION DAY
Leona Choy
5/17/2019

I THINK BOOKS
Leona Choy
5/13/2019

ONLY TALK WITH YOUR MOUTH FULL!
Leona Choy
5/4/2019

HO-HUM FAITH
Leona Choy
4/18/2019

BREATHTAKING THOUGHTS
Leona Choy
4/7/2019

TOO MUCH ON MY PLATE?
Leona Choy
3/31/2019

EARTH SUIT vs SPACE SUIT: Increasing Tension
Leona Choy
3/4/2019

AVOIDING A SPIRITUAL "OOPS!"
Leona Choy
3/1/2019

PURSUING WISDOM
Leona Choy
2/19/2019

A THORNY MATTER
Leona Choy
2/15/2019

A SOMEWHAT GRUMPY CHAT WITH GOD
Leona Choy
2/12/2019

A FISH STORY
Leona Choy
2/8/2019

LET'S EAT NOODLES TOGETHER!
Leona Choy
1/21/2019

SATISFIED--A SECRET TO SHARE
Leona Choy
1/11/2019

STILL RUNNING
Leona Choy
12/29/2018

RESISTANCE TO ASSISTANCE
Leona Choy
12/6/2018

CHALLENGE OF THE FOURTH QUARTER
Leona Choy
11/26/2018

KEEPING A TRADITION
Leona Choy
11/15/2018

PUBLISHING FUND PROGRESS
Leona Choy
11/5/2018

"GOING STEADY" WITH MY "SUGAR CANE"
Leona Choy
11/3/2018

A SHOUT-OUT FOR A NEW BUTTERFLY
Leona Choy
10/31/2018

THANKSGIVING IN OCTOBER
Leona Choy
10/7/2018

REPEAT OFFENDERS
Leona Choy
9/30/2018

SHINING WHEN YOUR BATTERY IS LOW
Leona Choy
9/21/2018

I DESERVE IT...DESERVE IT NOT....
Leona Choy
9/13/2018

WHAT'S IN A NAME?
Leona Choy
9/10/2018

WAITING FOR GOD'S DUE TIME
Leona Choy
9/3/2018

STONES AND COVERUPS AND HOLY EARS
Leona Choy
8/31/2018

IT'S ALL ABOUT SHOES
Leona Choy
8/29/2018

THE HOLY SPIRIT IS MY CELL TOWER
Leona Choy
8/27/2018

REJUVENATION GOD'S WAY
Leona Choy
8/17/2018

STUCK IN THE MUD?
Leona Choy
8/13/2018

TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE STAR
Leona Choy
8/8/2018

WHEN'S A GOOD TIME TO "EXULT"?
Leona Choy
7/30/2018

Survey For the Calendar-Challenged
Leona Choy
7/25/2018

Destiny Decisions
Leona Choy
7/19/2018

BEDROOM SLIPPERS OR HIKING BOOTS?
Leona Choy
7/18/2018

Hurrah for the Prepper Bridesmaids!
Leona Choy
7/13/2018

THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS?
Leona Choy
7/10/2018

BARNACLES
Leona Choy
6/5/2018