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.

Living in two places…

Ya know, I really like to travel. In fact if I could get paid to do it I probably would! Technically I am getting paid to travel between our permanent home and our temporary home ~ our 26ft travel trailer parked at our new church home RC4SQ Church. But that kind of travel is different.

I’m really enjoying being in both places, yet living out of a suit case while not really traveling is getting a bit old. I told my Honey last night that this whole maintaining two households is not easy. We have to make sure we take all the necessary items with us rather than trying to keep both places stocked up. I told her I have no idea how people who lead double lives can keep it all straight! To which she replied, “They have wives!” Sorry, two houses, two families, and two wives ~ not gonna happen!

Just the maintenance alone is interesting. Having the tools needed to do projects at the new church and hoping I won’t need them at home…trying not to use two vehicles for traveling back and forth…making sure the schedule is updated often so as not to miss any appointments…having enough cloths at each location for the days we are there…oh and then there are the needs of our short hairy kids…

Tekoa, my boy, only really likes to travel in the back of my little Toyota pick up. He loves catching the wind in his cheeks and slobbering all down the side. Abby, my Honey’s girl, is pretty content in the back seat of our car, to the point of even trying to nap. Yesterday was travel day and I tried something different since it wasn’t too hot…I kept the back windows down in the car so Tekoa could get his wind therapy. He did pretty good and was a bit more content on the ride. Abby even tried some wind therapy too, something she really doesn’t do in the back of the truck.

Eventually the travel time will be getting reduced. We’ve been looking at houses trying to get an idea of what’s available and price ranges, along with area and neighborhoods. God will show us the place we are to land eventually. We are thankful for what we have in the meantime.

Living in two places isn’t really all that bad. I don’t think I’ll ever have to worry about having multiple homes around the country or world…that would drive me nuts!!!

Shalom everyone!

And remember…in the Northern Hemisphere it’s summer…lose the socks!!!

My hike to a glacier in flip flops!

So today in Alaska, my honey and I traveled from Seward to Girdwood. We checked out of the hostel by eleven and had till six to get to our next hostel. It’s only a two and a half hour drive, we had time to explore!

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We saw the sign for Exit Glacier as we were leaving Seward. I looked over at the road as we passed then looked at my lovely traveling companion…she says, ‘Hey, we can go that way for a while, we’re not in a hurry!’

So I flip a u-ee at the Pit Bar where you get free ice with every purchase from the liquor store (just in case you needed to know where to get free ice while in Alaska).

So we drive up this beautiful Alaskan road for about eight miles and end up at the parking area. We check out the distance to the glacier, and of course, we decide to go for the walk. I mean come on, its a freaking glacier in Alaska! In a few days we will be hiking out on one, it will be a paid excursion and will be a blast!

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My honey needed her extra jacket for the walk, and I had to get our water bottles and some snacks. I also figured that I would get my hiking shoes too. But…

As I was walking back to the car I began to think…’What am I thinking! I’m the guy who lives life with no socks for the most part! Why would I put shoes and socks on to go to a glacier in Alaska?

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That’s right! No socks and wearing shorts on the mile hike to a glacier! I wish I had pictures of all the people we passed on the way up! So many gave me strange looks and my honey told one guy, ‘Yeah, he’s crazy!’ Only one lady said ‘buhhrrrrrr’ to me on the way up!

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So for all of you who are going through life way too fast and wearing socks every day, along with long pants…come on, live a little! Drop the socks and go for it!
You may not be in Alaska, but you don’t have to be! Life happens where you are…live it!
And do it without socks as often as you can!

Shalom!

Hostels…an update on our travels!

So, my Honey and I have escaped to the last frontier for a16 day vacation!
She’s calling it our ‘backpacking through Alaska in a car’ experience!
In order to save on our overhead for the trip we are staying in hostels.
Many people do this world wide, and we figured this would be a great way to travel, meet people from many different places…and we have!
Anchorage was great! The Artic Adventure Hostel was great! Met many wonderful people…
Masa; the young Japanese man who was robbed of some of his items to go climbing on Denali. Now part of my stuff will be going with him along with my prayers for safety!
Will; the humanitarian worker from Panama we talked about Christian ministry and missions work opportunities!
‘The Professor’ didn’t catch his first name but had a great conversation about traveling and family!
Tiffany: our hostess, nice gal she should be on duty when we get back to Anchorage..
Many others who we didn’t get their names but enjoyed their company!
And then there was Rene’! I’m gonna call him my adventure brother from another mother. This guy is a gregarious German who shares my bald head choice! He’s on an adventure on motor bike from northern most Alaska to southern most Argentina! Talk about a bucket list item!
I’m going to dedicate a separate post for him later!
He left while we were gone yesterday but as we were headed to Seward today I see this motor bike and a guy in a turn out and it Rene’!
I flip a u-turn on the highway: Deena’s thinking I’m nuts til I tell her that’s Rene, we stop and exchange info; well I ave him a business card so he can email me!
Only in Alaska right?
Oh, and by the way, so far I’ve only worn socks for like five hours total since being here!
Shalom!
And our current location of bedding down…

Yeah, let’s just say the smell reminds me of my grandmothers house when I was a kid and its not as nice as Artic, but we are troopers and will motor through!

Keep on keepin’ on!

I try to get together with a couple friends three days a week to ride our bikes. We started up about a month ago but due to my schedule, I’ve missed a couple days.
Last week I set a new goal for myself to reach a certain point of the road we ride. Well, Friday I was in a very important meeting and couldn’t make it…no worries, I’ll do it Monday.
Monday came and I was scheduled for a ride-a-long with the local sheriff deputy, part of my duties as a volunteer chaplain. I had planned on doing a half day then hitting the rode with my homies.
God had other plans.
I was needed during a call and subsequent investigation to help the deputies further. No worries, that’s why I signed up!
Wednesday comes and my schedule is free to ride! Time to meet the new goal!
Now the road we ride is a gradual uphill, I’m not fond of uphill riding per say, I like a bit of a mix.
You may be thinking, “Hey, that means its downhill all the way back!”
You’ve heard the expression, ‘Uphill both ways’?
This course is not that, but it does have wind. And when I say wind, I’m not talking about a pleasant breeze beeping us cool on the ride. I’m talking about 30-40 mph with gusts above 50!
My wife and I saw a guy one time riding downhill and she asked me why he was pedaling if he was going downhill, why not coast?
Headwind! All I can say is headwind!
On the route my buddies and I roll on, we get a bit of a tailwind when we take off, a lot of crosswind, and then the headwind on the way back.
One stretch the other day where, with little or no headwind I can coast at around 20 mph, I had to gear down at only hit 8 or 9 mph!
Its windy again today, so I’m expecting the same workout.
Oh, and about hitting my goal, I did hit it and went up to the top of the hill past it, partly because one of my friends is old enough to be my dad and he passed me while I waited at my goal spot!
Exercise is good, doing it with friends is better, being passed by an old man…priceless!
I wanna be like Gary when I grow up!
As he said the other day, “What? OLD?”
Yeah, old and passing younger guys on hills, motivating them to do their best!

This is one thing I have to do with socks on though!