Just get out and move!

Just get out and move!

That was my motivation some four and one half years ago when I bought my first adult mountain bike at a Goodwill store for 16 bucks. It was a small frame Specialized brand, obviously built for someone of a much smaller frame than I am, but I was on a budget and made it work.

I still remember the look on my Honey’s face as she was looking through clothes and such when I walked up to her with the bike in tow. She had given me this look many times before. It was one I am familiar with, being the dreamer in the family and all. Plus, being one who has had a higher than average amount of hobbies in our 28 years of marriage, I wasn’t surprised by her reaction.

I had needed to get out, move, and get healthier. I’m not a runner, never have been, so bike riding seemed a great alternative for me to try out. Turns out, I really missed riding a bike. I began riding in the large fields on motorcycle trails between our house and the church building about a mile away. I could ride different routes and get some decent miles in. I even rigged up some lights for heading home in the dark.

After a few months of riding, I downloaded an app to track my progress. I recently received my ‘happy anniversary’ email from them with my lifetime stats. I’ve ridden over 2600 miles and burned over 245 thousand calories since 2012. I’ve not always been faithful and consistent though, with injuries or illness, the occasional vacation, or just life in general getting in the way. Let’s not forget inclement weather too! Riding in the bitter cold or gusty wind is just not fun!

I have switched over to road cycling and now that I live in a more road cycling friendly community with many bike lanes and routes, I am being more determined to get out and put some mileage in. Today is a down day. I’ve put in about 80 miles this week in three rides. That may be a drop in the bucket for some of the extreme cyclists’, but for me, I used to think that a 12-mile ride was a killer. Now I feel like I’m just warming up around 10-12 miles.

On my ride yesterday, I was thinking about why I share my stats on social media. It’s not about, ‘Hey, look what I’m doing and you’re not!’ but rather more for the hope that it motivates others to get out and move. I feel better getting out there. Sure, I hurt and am tired when I get back from a ride – it’s supposed to be that way! The results though are far more beneficial than the temporary discomfort.

Latest Iphone photos 297

 

 

Cycling may not be your choice, I ride by many people who are out there walking around the block, or running/jogging. I saw one older lady out with her walker! Way to go Granny!

Just get out and move, you’ll be glad you did.

Oh, and try it without socks!

 

Cycling can be Spiritual

Cycling is a Spiritual experience for me. Not in the generic term of spiritual, that is so often times abused in our culture today. I am talking about how this is my time with God, not some ‘Koo-koo-ka-choo, I am the walrus’ thing where I am trying to transcend into a higher plane. If that is your thing then have fun with it.

For me, it is my time to clear my head of the garbage and focus on what God is doing around me and in my life. Just the fact that He has given me the strength to make the bike move is part of the experience. I put on some praise music and just go. Sometimes it is a quick ride, other times it is more of a challenge. Today I challenged myself.

I am located in the desert where it is relatively flat. However, there is one road headed out of town that is, from my house anyway, the most grueling incline on the routes I choose to ride. As I was riding it today, I experienced a Spiritual lesson from God. Not a new lesson, but one that I needed reminding of and now I share it with you.

On this route, I have about two miles of flat to warm up and then the grade begins. Once the grade kicks in, there is really not any recovery point until the top of the grade, four to five miles away, a stretch that generally cuts my average speed in half. If you are going this route, you are committed to it. Well, I guess you could turn around and choose another route, but where is the building up going to happen if turning around is an option. You just have to gear down and keep going.

Once at the top of the grade there is still no turning back, if you are committed to the journey. The rest of the route is a two-lane road with no shortcuts or turnoffs. You are committed to go the distance to the first road, a twenty-mile loop back to my starting point, or the second road, a twenty-six mile loop. I chose the twenty-mile loop today.

As I was trudging up the grade, God began to impress on me that this ride is like my Spiritual journey with Him. It is not going to be easy. There are parts of it that just slow me down. Battles and struggles that cut my forward progress in half, much like the grade slows my average speed. Nevertheless, I keep going! Spiritually, this is when I grow my faith in my Lord. I need to rely on Him to keep me moving forward and not turning around.

Sure, when I get to the top of the grade, there is a downhill section, but it is not an opportunity to just coast through, I still have to pedal because there is usually some form of wind pushing against me. This is where the Spiritual growth happens in our lives, after the hard work, in the consistency of moving along the route God has mapped out.

Then even when things are going smooth and you are feeling good with yourself, some form of discouragement can creep in. For my riding, and me this happens when an ‘old guy’ passes me. I am talking guys fifteen to twenty years older than me (I am fifty). However, I quickly realize that these guys have been doing this a lot longer than I have. They have been on the road more than I have. So I choose to watch them and try to learn something in their cadence and style. Just as we should with those who have been walking a Spiritual life longer than we have.

There are times when I tell myself, “If only I had an actual road bike instead of my Franken-Bike!” Side note – the bike I ride is one I built out of three or four other bikes. It works! One day I will graduate to an actual road bike and probably still complain when the old-guys pass me. One day I will be one of those old guys passing others! For now, my Franken-Bike and I will persevere.

That is what our Spiritual journey with God is about – persevering through the route. Not stopping; not being discouraged. Moving forward under the power He gives you at the time. Not looking for a short cut or thinking about turning around. Growing stronger and more consistent with each rotation of the sprocket or step.

Be encouraged today in your own Spiritual journey. No matter what you are facing, you are getting stronger in Him. Let God be your strength today and every day.

Oh, and if you can do it without wearing socks, go for it!

Thanks for stopping by. Blessings to you.

Update on settling in…

Well, the settling in is progressing here in Ridgecrest. We were able to find a nice house with a long lease option that allowed us to get out of living in the travel trailer. We moved our belongings and stuff, but it is still just taking up space in the garage and storage shed. It is interesting when you live in two places for a time and one of those is a travel trailer, we discovered there are things we do not miss or really need on a day to day basis. There will be a large donation made to the local thrift very soon, well as soon as we are motivated to go through it all. While most of the country is enjoying the onset of autumn while here in the RC we are still experiencing upper ninety-degree days. This does not bode well for wanting to sort through boxes in a hot garage!
My Honey is working part-time as a shift supervisor with a local pizza parlor. We are both still taking online classes while balancing ministry. RC4SQ (our new church home) is moving along slow and steady. There is a great core group of people here and we have some good friends who moved here to join us in ministry. They even have shared the experience of living at the church in our trailer! I think that will be the new training ground for anyone wanting to go into ministry; it really builds your faith in God while also building patience in His plan. (They get to move into their new home tomorrow.)
There have been some difficulties with settling in. One thing we are noticing, even though this is a close-knit community and the people are great, we are still the new folks. We have to remember what it was like when we moved to the Kern Valley. We spent almost twenty years there raising children, ministering, and owning a business. We cannot go anywhere up there without running into several people we have shared life with in one way or another. We are making good strides in building relationships with people and have some great neighbors too.
Our fur-babies are happy to be out of the trailer/church living environment also. They have a large yard to romp and play in but they are not very sure of the increase in jets flying overhead. Living in a town with a Naval Air Station brings a renewed sense of patriotism to me but my dogs prefer to bark more when the planes are active.
Another great thing that has happened since being here is our sixth grandchild arrived three weeks ago, another little girl! I have more in common with my son-in-love now that he too will be raising three girls. I am feeling my only grandson’s future troubles as well, him growing up around all girls; he is going to need to be tough!
Even though this community is bike friendly, I have not been as active as I would like. It could just be the heat of summer, but I have gotten out for a few rides and managed to reach a goal for one of the few hills we have here in the desert. I just need to plan on the extra time to get to places or meetings and force myself to go on two wheels!
Another discipline I will be working on is writing more. My class this semester was English Comp and it has been very insightful, helpful, and extremely challenging. The assignments have revived my inner writer so I will be trying to stay up on my posts.
Thanks for stopping by and taking a few moments out of your day to read my musings. Remember…if you cannot do it without socks, it may not be worth doing!

Time for another check mark on the Bucket List!

Last Fall my Honey and I went to Belize for my birthday trip. When we sold our coffee house last year, we had decided that we would take some of the proceeds and take two once in a life time style trips. Or as a friend of mine put it, “Vaca like the rich people do!”

Well, now is the time for my Honey’s trip. Bucket List check mark; ALASKA!

Deena and I have always dreamed of going to the last frontier, and now we are. The trip to Belize was great. Tropical beaches, lazy days, sun, ocean, hammocks, great food and good rum. We were there for eight days and commented that it was just the right length of time to be away.

Somehow the trip to Alaska is twice the length of the trip to Belize! I have scratched my bald head about this one a few times! Why exactly is the trip for her birthday twice as long as mine was?

Two reasons…

First; SHE DESERVES IT! And not just for putting up with me and my BS for 26+ years either!

Second; She is a bargain shopping queen! This trip for 16 days is roughly the same price as the 8 day trip cost. Plus on the Belize trip we ended up with airline vouchers which saved on the tickets.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!!! (picture my cheesiest late night infomercial flashy smile here)

She went online and found an Alaskan Travelers Super Saver Coupon Book that allows us to do several adventures at half the price, plus benefits the Special Olympics. She has found restaurant coupons online for some places we will be visiting. We will be staying in hostels to lower our cost. (No we have not seen the movie by the same name and probably wont)

Plus I got a great deal on the rental car…$15 a day!

We’re calling this our backpacking in a car around Alaska trip!

The airline did bump our flights around a bit. I was only supposed to miss two Sundays at church but we leave tomorrow midday so my Armor Bearer will be handling three Sunday’s for me. (And when we get back we will be hitting the ground at Mach speed, more on that in a couple weeks)

Looking forward to this Bucket List adventure with my best friend, its gonna be GRAND!!! I can’t wait to ride a bike in Alaska and ingest the beauty there!

I’ll check in along the way, but don’t expect much!

Time to go finish my packing…my Honey has been packed for a week or more!

Oh, and by the way…

YES, I will be doing as much of Alaska as I can while NOT wearing socks…Life’s too short not too!

Shalom!

Support comes in many different forms.

My Honey and I just got back from a Car Show held in town. It was nice seeing all the old vehicles and old friends come out on a nice day for this event. Our kids and grand-kids who live local were there and that’s ALWAYS a good thing for us. I even took my short hairy kid Tekoa to work on his social skills and he did great.
 
This wasn’t just a run of the mill car show though. The car guys up here in our little rural community do those a couple times a year. There is also a big Rod Run annually that draws folks from all over.
 
No, this car show was to support a family whose little girl Anna has Leukemia. Anna is five years old and the oldest of three kids. Her parents are hard working folks. Her dad Ray works for the roads department and Stacy has always been a hard worker wherever she lands. She worked for us at our coffee house before she got pregnant with Anna. I was the one who officiated  their wedding. We’ve got history with these kids and it’s our privilege to support them any way we can!
Anna w cheese
The turnout for the car show was amazing. Our little community knows how to come together and support a good cause. A motorcycle club who were on their way to another fundraiser today even stopped by to lend support. One Hundred plus bikers rolled in and gave the family a check to help. It was an amazing sight!
 
Support doesn’t always have to come with crowds though.
 
Earlier this week I was called to a scene of a suicide. Part of my job as a sheriff’s chaplain. I sat with the widow for a few hours and asked her to tell me about her husband. She called me the next day and shared with me that during our time the night before she had wanted to tell me to just shut up and quit asking questions. She came to realize that I had helped her remember the good things about a man who deeply loved her and she thanked me for supporting her in that way.
 
I told her I was just winging it and God gets the glory for that!
 
Then yesterday I received support from one of my cycling buddies. I went after the hill again on our ride. This hill is a bear (that’s the clean ‘b’ word to use for this thing)! It messes with your head; short and steep for a good 3/4 mile at the nine mile mark of our ride. I had done it before but had to stop a couple times to catch my breath.
 
Yesterday as I was ascending this beast (another ‘b’ word that works), my buddy Mark was right next to me, encouraging and supporting me the whole way. If it wasn’t for his support I might have left the hill for another day.
 
As you can see from my words today, support comes in many forms, even more than I’ve mentioned here.
 
The real question is; Who needs your support today and how can you show it?
See, when you give of yourself to support others, when you need it most, someone is there to support you.
 
Go support someone today…and try not wearing socks when you do!