Posts tagged Faith

Life’s Ups and Downs

Ups and DownsGosh, it seems like my biking friends and I are making good progress getting, but I feel an emptiness. I don’t know if it’s because I was outvoted about not staying in Hurricane and Apple Valley, Utah, or if I’m just feeling road fatigue. My mind thinks back when it was just me. I went as far as I felt like going, stopping where my heart felt content.

Now, I have these great people helping me achieve my goal, but as with anything when more than one is involved you have a difference of opinion. I didn’t feel like I’d expressed my discontent with traveling the forty-three miles to Colorado City, Arizona, but they all seem to be leaving me alone. And as with any bad day one has, I’ve put them in a lose/lose situation. If they rode close to me and tried to have a conversation, I’d probably tell them I needed my space. But they’ve already figured that out and have given me my space. I don’t like it.

Could I grow up some and simply ride up with them and start a conversation? Yes. Will I do that? Probably not today. I need the time to get in touch with myself, with God, and with all that surrounds me. I need to make sure I know how lucky I am to have these fine people watching over me, giving me a place to sleep, never asking for money for room and board, but just being good-hearted people. I need to look at the beauty that surrounds me and thank God for all He’s given me. And I need to give myself a quick kick in the behind and tell myself to get out of my funk. Life is too good to waste on such petty occurrences.

As we approach Colorado City, Arizona, my heart lightens. Carol slows up enough to say, “Hey, I know you were wanting to stay at those towns. I’m sorry we didn’t, but I’m glad to have those miles behind us.”

“I’m OK, Carol. I’m glad to be here in Arizona. I’ve spent way too much time on this trip already. It’s time to get some serious mileage behind me.”

“Well, we’ve decided that you get to pick the next town we’ll be staying in.”

I laugh, knowing Tuba City, Arizona is the next town, and that was 190 miles from here with not much in between. It was then I realized how important it was for me to be with my blessed friends. At least we’d have the fifth-wheel to stay in even if it were on some country road in the middle of nowhere. My heart lightened, and I gave Carol a hug and said, “We are a team. I choose to do what’s best for the team.”

That evening, after thanking my friends for taking such good care of me, I crawled into bed and thanked my Lord for ALL He has given me.

And in my real world, my ups and down came yesterday when I had to have my fifteen-year old sheltie euthanized. It wasn’t a hard decision for me, for I knew he was sick beyond repair. And that became evident when the first shot that simply relaxes them almost took him out. He was not only sick, but he was tired and old. His life had come to an end.

I mourned my dear friend, but awoke this morning knowing his misery was gone. He’s probably going around heaven right now telling all the other dogs that there are rules to rules to be followed. His cousin, Zu, is probably creating the rules as any good German shepherd does, but Sparky is ensuring that all the other dogs are obeying those rules.

And I know I’ll now have the time to focus on my needy Irish setter, Vanna. She loved her “mommy time” last night. She’ll be having her ups and downs, too, as she morphs into being the one and only, but once she figures out she is the queen bee, she’ll have a perfect life.

So when you are facing the ups and downs of everyday life, know that you aren’t the lonesome stranger. We have to have those down times to appreciate the good things we have that we’ve ignored. And I find it’s best to give someone you love a big hug. They’ll help you through those down times.

Peace to all of you and let’s keep going the distance.

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A Ride Well Worth Taking

Image   Hello from Lincoln City, Oregon, a tourist and retirement community located on the Pacific coastline.  I finally made it to the west coast, and the views in this town are breathtaking and have made the miles I rode well worth it.  I can see why it’s a tourist attraction and why people choose to retire here.  And I must admit after taking more than 3 years to get here I thought about putting down some roots and just staying here, but once again the uncharted road is calling out to me.  So my stay here in Lincoln City will be brief.

After getting my tent set-up at the Devils Lake RV Park, I biked on over to the Pacific Ocean.  Yes, I know I was camped right by this lake, but I wanted to dip my toes into that awesome ocean.  It was an inspirational feeling.  At that very moment in my life had I not already believed in God, I would have to believe in Him now for there is nothing greater than feeling this mighty ocean crash against your legs bathing them in its cool refreshing water.  The salt smell in the air was euphoric.  No way could I say this mighty ocean was not a creation of God.

I sat on the beach for several hours thinking about my life, my journey, and my family.  I felt peace where peace hadn’t been for a while.  I knew that the fatigue of riding these past 2,190 miles had taken its toll on me, but now sitting here seeing the Pacific Ocean made all that fatigue melt away.  I had accomplished something I never had been able to do before.  So many diets I’d been on, so many attempts to make exercise a part of my life and yet each time I found that my lazy side would win.  But here I am, sitting on this beach knowing that I had just made it the first leg of this trip I started over 3 years ago, a trip that was supposed to help me lose the weight that doctor of mine had said made me a candidate for weight reduction surgery.

Okay, so I’m already delving into my real life as I talk about my doctor recommending me for lap band surgery.  I’m sure he meant well with his sage advice, but I know that most of those drastic weight surgeries give one a quick fix, but doesn’t allow the brain to recognize that the body has lost a bunch of weight.  At my age my mind is confused enough I didn’t need to add in quick weight loss to add to the confusion.  Besides I have still managed to shed over 30 pounds.

And I know that this ride has not only helped me lose weight, it’s helped me through a lot of other life issues.  I no longer argue with my mother about the number of beers she’d like to have each day, but rather I simply tell her “this is how many you get.”  It irritates her that I won’t raise my voice giving her the opportunity to argue back and blame me for starting a fight.  When one remains calm with someone who is angry, it’s hard for the angry person to stay angry.

I guess that’s why so many counselors are so calm when they are counseling someone, much like our wonderful Life Connections counselors at Catholic Charities.  These women are such calming forces not only with the clients they see, but with day to day work issues.  I’m blessed to know and be a part of each of their lives.

I’ve had people recently tell me how proud they are of me for staying dedicated to this ride, for caring for my mother, for taking on the whole process of writing a book about this journey I’m on all the while I’m working a full-time job.  And I thank them all for their compliments, but really, isn’t this all just a part of life?  Isn’t this what God wants us to be doing, to not take life for granted, to utilize the talents He’s given us, to be selfless with the way we live our lives?  I don’t see anything I’ve done now or in the past as being any greater or lesser than anyone else on this fine earth.  We all are just one big family of God and if my little blog stories help someone through a difficult time or if it can impart a smile on someone’s face then I feel I’ve accomplished a task given to me by God.  Thank you all so much for following me on my journey as it has all been well worth the effort and as always, let’s keep going the distance.

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All Good Things Must Come to an End

As with all good things, an end comes at some point.  No, my trip has not ended, but my money came to an end.  I found myself in Drummond Montana with depleted funds and in desperate need of a job.  I knew that I had enough money left to buy food and lodging at an RV park for a month, but I didn’t want to continue on the road knowing that my money was dwindling. 

So my first task when I arrived in Drummond was to find an RV park and then a job.   I was a bit concerned knowing that Drummond is a small town of 400 citizens, but I stood in faith that God would direct me as He had done up to this point.  What happened to me could be considered extraordinaire, but is pretty typical of what I found in small towns and by having faith in God.  I stopped by a gas station to inquire about any RV parks and was a bit taken aback when I discovered they only had a city park.  When asked why I was looking for a park I explained my predicament.  To my surprise this town had been waiting for the crazy lady riding across the United States to come through their town.  I was told to go to the Wagon Wheel Café and Motel where I’d be able to get my free lunch.  

I headed over to the Wagon Wheel thinking “a free meal is nice, but what I really need is a job.”  As I approached the Wagon Wheel my eyes immediately gravitated to a sign in the window saying “Help Wanted”.  Could God be this good to me by providing me a free meal and possibly a job?  I would soon find out.  

I entered the restaurant and was immediately greeted by the hostess.  She asked me where I was from and when I explained, her grin seemed as wide as the state of Montana.  “Great, we were hoping that you would stop in our town.  Your meal is on us.”  I thanked her and proceeded to tell her that I was also in need of a temporary job so that I could save some money and continue on my trip.  She seated me at a booth then went to tell the manager of my predicament.  The manager was soon seated across from me asking me what my talents were.  I explained that I had mostly done administrative work, but that I was also experienced with cleaning as I had my own cleaning business for a few years and also cleaned condo units while living in Aspen.  He asked if I had any experience cooking.  I told him I was a good cook, but that I hadn’t worked in a restaurant kitchen since my high school days.  He grinned and said I was exactly what he was looking for and that I had a job for as long as I needed to stay.  He also said that housing would not be an issue because he had a small cottage behind his home that he’d let me stay in.  

I got myself settled in and the next day I began working at my newest job.  My time at the Wagon Wheel allowed me to meet some great people who know the meaning of treating people right.  The staff was always happy and it showed with the work they did.  Rooms were always immaculate and the clientele would always comment on how surprised they were and how they’d make this their stop each and every time they’d come through this way.  Despite the lousy economy across this country, this small Montana town still knew how to keep business going. 

I have been so blessed on this trip of mine and I know that God is truly a great God.  I believe that my faith in God has led me on this trip and continues to lead me through life.  I spent 2 months there before I felt I had enough funds built back up to make it to the west coast.  I know that I’ll need to find jobs along the way, but I also realize that faith in God and the goodness you receive back from God is the one good thing that does not come to an end.  It grows as we grow.  And it’s through this faith in God that I’m able to continue my trek across this great country of ours.

 And in my real world, faith in God gives me the strength to deal with the sorrow of having to put my dog down, deal with the issues of caring for my elderly mother, dealing with my own health issues, and working for a non-profit that struggles with these economic times just as our clients struggle to make ends meet.  It is this faith that has kept me going forward on this virtual bike ride of mine.  I have never stuck with any exercise program as long as I have this one.  It is true that it’s taken me several months to get across one state and I did take a lot of time off during these past several months to regroup and deal with the issues of life.  But it is through my faith in God that has kept me focused on my goal and has given me the drive to continue.  I don’t beat myself up for taking so many days off or for taking so long to make it through Montana on this virtual ride.  I see this as a huge accomplishment. 

As I say my daily prayers I always include those whose faith may not be so strong.  I ask that God inspire them, motivate them, and help them through all their needs.  We all cannot be famous heroes that will be written about and remembered for years to come, but we all have a place here on this fine earth.  God finds us to all be heroes and He is there for us each and every day, giving us the direction we need.  All we have to do is ask for His help.  And that’s what I’ve done these past several months as I struggled to maintain this bike ride experience.  

Now that I’m in Idaho I find new motivation to keep going the distance.  Let us all find the faith we need to keep going the distance in our daily lives.  May God bless you all.

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