Posts tagged Tuba City

God’s Canvas

CoalMy riding group is a bit confused when Bart pulls into the Quality Inn Hotel parking lot.  Carol looks at Mac who only shrugs his shoulders.  Faith is asking Pete if we are staying at the hotel.  Martha finally clears up our confusion and says, “Guys, there wasn’t much to pick from here with regards to RV parks.  There’s one behind this hotel.”

And, indeed, there is.  It doesn’t have any WiFi or TV reception, but we are finding that we look at TV less and less.  And as far as internet service, we all know we can do with a little less on-line socializing and web surfing.

Of course, my thought is, “What is my French friend, Lucas, going to think if I don’t get in touch with him on our social media site?”  Well, Lucas is going to have to wait a day.  I know he will understand.

We help Bart get the trailer setup then we head to the grocery store to pick up tonight’s supper ingredients.  We decided to keep it simple with hot dogs, hamburgers, and chips.  Faith throws in a can of baked beans.  I think that isn’t her wisest move, but I say nothing.

Once shopping is done, we head to the Navajo Interactive Museum.  I am in awe of the history of the Navajo nation.  This is a place I want to come back to when I’m done with this trip of mine.

Next, we drive out to Coal Mine Canyon where I meet a nice photographer named Matt.  He’s already taken some wonderful shots of this breathtaking canyon, so I wonder why he’s hanging around.  Of course, my suspicious side kicks in, and I think he’s really not a photographer but someone who is up to no good.  I go so far as to assume he stole the camera and never took any of those pictures.  Faith is as guarded as I am, but, once again, Bart starts talking to Matt as if they were old friends.

Turns out, Matt is waiting for sunset to get his final shots.  And within fifteen minutes, we begin to see what he’s waiting for.  Matt smiles and says, “Now that’s the ‘God’s Canvas’ I’ve been waiting for.”  We all start snapping pictures of this majestic place.  Words cannot describe the feeling you get while standing on this ridge looking out over the rugged canyon.

And Matt describing it as God’s Canvas is spot-on.  There are pinks, oranges, purples, along with some light yellows and dark blues.  And all of my suspicions about Matt wash away when he helps me understand how to get the most out of the camera I’ve owned for years.  He shows me just exactly how to get that professional look.  How can I ever pay Matt back for his kindness?

I decide to invite him to dinner, something I shouldn’t have done since I have not been allowed to buy any food on this trip since meeting up with my friends.  But they all agree that’s the least we could do for Matt’s professional help and knowledge.

That night, as we sit around a campfire talking about today’s events, I wonder where Matt’s travels will take him next?  It’s not long before I find out.  Matt will be headed to the Grand Canyon, our next stop.  We ask if he would like to tag along.

Matt eyes our bikes and says, “I’d love to, but is there any way I could use one of those bikes?”

Pete is quick to say, “Use mine.  I’ll drive your car.”

We settle in for the night, happy that we’ve added one more person to this growing party of mine.  I can hardly wait to see what Matt will be seeing along the road.  I bet he takes a bunch of pictures before we even get to the Grand Canyon.

My final thoughts before falling asleep are, “Thank you, God, for showing me Your canvas of life.  You’ve painted in another person I’ll never forget.  Matt, thanks for showing me God’s Canvas.”

And in my real world, there have been many times I’ve gotten a glimpse of God’s Canvas.  Sometimes it’s a brilliant sunrise on Pikes Peak, or a crystal clear stream.  But often times, God’s canvas shows the harshness of life, like a homeless man in a tattered coat waiting in a soup kitchen line, a child longingly looking in a bakery window only to find out those delicacies aren’t in their parent’s budget.  But if one truly looks at this canvas even when the bleakness is showing, they’ll see God’s love.  God is everywhere we look, in everything we do, and in every person we see.  We just need to be aware of the beauty that surrounds us daily.

Much like Martha and Jake are finding out on their own state-by-state bike trip in my first novel, Going the Distance.  You can read more about this book by clicking on this link – www.amazon.com/dp/1500552607 And as always, let’s keep going the distance.

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A Lousy Passenger

daydreamingWhen one decides to set out seeing the country on a bike, they are in for a huge treat. Not only are you able to stop and truly see your surroundings, but you can smell all the smells and feel one with nature. That is, if you are not me.

I found myself wondering how many days it was going to take us to get to Tuba City, Arizona. I wondered how Bart was going to find a place to park the fifth-wheel. I wondered if we’d find stores to buy food, if the generator would last, if we’d be safe parked in some obscure place.

I heard my riding partners talking about the beauty of this area, how pretty the wild flowers are, and the animals they saw off in the distance, the changing terrain, how nice some of the people on the roads are. I saw none of this. I was too busy seeing my life as a half-empty glass. How could I have allowed myself to get into such a funk?

As Bart pulled into another rancher’s yard asking for permission to stay on his property overnight, the realization of what I’d been doing became clear to me. Carol and Faith were describing all those wild flowers, asking me if I had noticed how pretty they were. Pete and Mac were talking about how Bart has this uncanny way of knowing which ranch or farm to stay at. Martha stood back taking this all in, noticing how out of sync I was with the others.

She says to me, “Penny for your thoughts.”

Startled, I say, “I’m feeling a bit guilty right now. I didn’t see any of those flowers. I didn’t notice any ranches or farms. I rode all those miles that God had placed before me, and I missed it all, because I was busy worrying about everything that didn’t happen.”

Martha smiles and says, “But you did get a nice visit from God.”

She walks toward Bart who is busy talking with the rancher. The rancher is pointing exactly where Bart can park the fifth-wheel. I stand there taking in the entire scene and pondering Martha’s last words to me. I feel a lightness overcome me. Martha was right. God had come to visit me. I bet He was riding alongside me all those miles. And I missed that, too. Or had I?
God found the right way to open my eyes to all that was around me. He gave me the comfort and protection of my friends who help me see my path in life. How very blessed I felt at that moment. I say a quick prayer that this newly found awareness does not leave me. I pray that I see all that God wants me to see. Live was very good again.

And in my real world, both my sister and I have been feeling like we are on the cusp of a major change in our lives. My sister and her husband know where they want to end up, but I do not. I have been feeling like they are more in control of their destiny, where my destiny is so unclear. I felt myself being slightly jealous that my sister had a P L A N. All I had was some idle thoughts and a little faith.

I say “little” because if I had a lot of faith, I would not be here telling you what a lousy passenger I’ve been. Through the little bit of faith I have, I learned to let God drive my bus. But while I allowed God to drive my bus, I was not looking at all that was going on around me. I sat on that bus staring at a blank scene in my head, wondering where God was taking me, when we were going to get there, and what my life would be like after I got there.

I didn’t see one thing that went by. Until now. Last night, God pointed out to me how perfect a fit my dog, Vanna, was when I got her to replace the passing of my previous Irish setter. I realized, immediately, just how much I had been missing while God drives me to my next destination.

I know that He does not want us to miss a thing because we are worried about where we are going, when we’ll get there, what will happen once we get there. He wants us to see everything that lies between here and there.

I made a vow last night, that I would stop being a lousy passenger, and that I’d start seeing this world the way God wants me to see it. So don’t be a lousy passenger on God’s bus. Look at what He wants you to see, enjoy everything while He takes us to our next destination. For what we see on the way may play a big part in what we do once we get there.
I also discovered my sister was being a lousy passenger. She, too, was busy thinking about where she knew God was taking them, but didn’t know how long it would take to get there. He made a little visit to her, too, and now she’s working at being a better passenger knowing God’s timing is perfect. Praise the Lord.

And as always, let’s keep going the distance. God bless.

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