Posted by: pdfflyers | November 21, 2013

Thankfulness: A living Response

One of the things I am most thankful for in my life is my family and great friends. When I am with my family and life giving community, my life is full. There are many people today who are missing on a daily and weekly basis the gift of family and community. Many miss this by choice or circumstances.

Today I was reading about Zaccheus. If you recall, he was one of the most influential Jews in the Roman tax-collecting business. By accepting this role, he had been expelled from his family and community. He had no family and no friends; just money. Then Jesus comes into his life and sees Zaccheus seeking him from a distance in a tree. Jesus’ gift to him was to come  as a guest into his home. It says that he quickly climbed down from the tree and took Jesus to his house with great excitement.

Zaccheus was so grateful! Jesus simple act of relationship broke down the walls of loneliness. Jesus crossed the written and unwritten boundaries of relationship and simply loved Zaccheus by being present. I love Zaccheus’ response in thankfulness for Jesus’ act of love. It says that Zaccheus gave half his wealth to the poor and if he over charged taxes to anyone he would give back four times that amount.

At Thanksgiving we can be thankful and tell others what we are thankful for. I am challenged by Zaccheus. His thankfulness went beyond words. His thankfulness was shown in action. May we all not only speak words of thanks this season but ask ourselves what we might do in response to the very things we are thankful for. If we are blessed; how might we be a blessing to others…..

Peter

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Posted by: pdfflyers | November 19, 2013

Calm in the Storm

I was reading this morning in Luke 8 about the time when Jesus and his disciples were sailing across the lake and a fierce storm put them in real danger. I was caught by the raw emotion, fear and panic in their voices as they awoke Jesus. Why did they react the way they did when they had Jesus with them? Storms come into our lives often. Many storms we see coming, yet many catch us off guard. I find myself often living into a presumed outcomes. I presume what is next and what it will mean in my life. The weathering of many storms can be tiresome and when one comes around that we recognize, we can allow emotions to get the best of us. The disciples experience told them that a storm on this lake would mean death. In that moment they forgot who they have with them and whose they are. How often do we experience very challenging moments and allow the emotions based on past experience dictate our reactions in the moment. We forget that Jesus promises never to leave us nor forsake us. We forget what the apostle Paul wrote,Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Jesus immediately calmed the storm when they cried out and they were reminded of who he is in their life.

May I seek Jesus in every storm that comes my way, even the ones I know well, that I might find peace and calm within even if the circumstances seem to prevail.

Posted by: pdfflyers | July 24, 2012

Solitude

I haven’t blogged anything in quite awhile. Who knows why. Distracted by the activity of life ? Well let me catch up and share a thought. Last summer, Betsy and I, along with our daughter Ondi and her husband Manny, embarked on a bike adventure. We loaded up a rental truck with our bikes, panniers, and BOB (trailer I would pull behind my bike); heading off to SEATAC. Our bike trip would take us from Seattle, across Washington, and down the coast to San Francisco; a self supported ride. We rode on average over 50 miles per day for 20 consecutive days in rain, fog, and sunshine. We sustained only 4 flat tires, met knew friends along the way, ate amazing food, and drank many new beers to replenish the 1000’s of calories burned. Epic trip.

So this year rolls around, and our hearts draw us back the joys of bike adventure. Being teachers, we have the time and Manny with his new accounting job can get away for 10 days. We decide to finish the coastal trip and head from SF to the US/Mexico Border. This year we headed south and averaged over 70 miles per day with quite a few 80 mile days in the mix. Again we experienced new friends, Oyvan from Norway, great food (Sebastians @ San Simeon: best hamburger EVER!), NO RAIN, and a chance to connect with friends in SoCal. For me however, there was  an underlying theme/task, that needed to occur to refresh my soul.

I fill my life with activity and have a difficult time finding space for solitude and reflection. Time on the bike has been that for me. The psalmist in the bible poetically writes, “Be still and know that I am God.” In my activity I can lose myself and perspective. I have never been one to be still, but this summer I needed to sit still. I thought I could take some time and do a silent retreat for a few days away from my peeps, but I couldn’t motivate myself to do it. So enter the bike trip.

Even though we ride as a family, we are in a line on the road for safety reasons and there is much time to reflect. Being an athlete at heart, body in motion and solitude go together and I honestly can only sit with myself that way. A chance to be silent, reflect and listen. Whether you believe in God or the rhythm of life that Jesus lived, these are necessary moments for our souls. I had four issues in my heart that needed tobe reflected on and I needed God to speak into those. He did not disappoint (another blog to write).

As I enter another challenging school year and cross-country season, my spirit is renewed and I am grateful for the ability to ride and the gift that my time on my bike is. It has become sacred space and I am excited for what is ahead of me this coming fall. My hope is that you will find that sacred space that God has uniquely created for you and that you will enter it daily, weekly, and seasonally. It is in that space that you dwell in God’s presence and find yourself. Blessings.

Posted by: pdfflyers | March 2, 2010

Kleenex

I rarely get sick, but in the past 3 months I found myself getting sick 3 times: two colds, and the swine flew over Christmas. Crazy! In bed sick on Christmas day…a first for me. This past week I came down with a cold that kicks you when your down. Sore throat, huge headache, and then the congestion that drops down into your chest. I guess I had become vulnerable from work, a training week of over 300 miles (with 150 of done in 2 days), not enough sleep, and many things weighing on my mind. Our bodies have amazing chemistry that can fend off anything when respected, but when violated, especially by a 49 yr old, the defense is down and open for the nearest bug. Then add on top of the that a week of rain and overcast….gloomy to say the least. Some how in moments like this you just aren’t living.

So Sunday, I wake up and the worst of the cold is over. The sun is out and my body is crying out to ride, my bike is sitting their lonely (if bikes get lonely) beckoning me to take it out. So get my bike stuff on, fill up the bottles, and stuff my pouches to head out on what I call a “snot ride”. Sorry for the graphic, but when one’s cold has passed, the first ride is that, literally, because the body is going to get it all out to restore itself.

The ride was amazing. Fresh legs (6 days off the bike will do that), a slight breeze if any, mustard in full bloom, flowers starting to pop out of a sea of green on every hillside, trees bursting with blossoms, wild life out and about, and the warmth of the sun on my skin once again. After a swift 40 miler, I returned home feeling like I had found myself once again.

As always, this moment was a huge reminder to me to work harder making right choices to keep my life in balance. It reminded me to not neglect the priority of rest. It reminded me to train reasonably and keep work in its proper perspective. It reminded me take the time and deal with the check list that I keep in my head. My body reminded me to stop and honor that balance that life requires. Even though it was a gloomy time, it was necessary to bring me back to reality. And even though I had been inactive, I needed to respond and get back out there to cleanse and see the life that is out there in our world for me.

I think we all can slip into a pattern of life that isn’t healthy and we can become vulnerable and lose our way. In losing our way, we can grow weary and lay down and forget the great life that is out there. Sometimes we need to just stop, heal, and take the time to cleanse out our lives to restore the simple balance we need to live. Maybe bad colds aren’t so bad.

  Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke (way of life) upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.”

Posted by: pdfflyers | January 26, 2010

Calm In the Storm

Saturday I put on my mild weather clothes, filled my water bottles with Cytomax, stuffed my pouches with food and was off for a much needed 4-5 hrs. on my bike. It has been raining alot and I have found very few days that I could get out and ride. The Weather Channel said 10% chance of rain and even had a pic of the sun with a little cloud. Pretty good opportunity to get out and enjoy some real training that doesn’t involve my turbo trainer or a spin class.(a whole lot of riding that goes no where: I am glad God didn’t make me a hamster; I would have gone nuts on that darn wheel!)

As I headed down my normal warmup route I saw an extremely large thunder cloud coming my way and so to avoid it, I changed my route and headed towards blue sky. I was successful and for the next hour and half enjoying mild temperatures, clean roads, and great beauty. But my reality was that this darn thunder cloud was growing and coming my direction. It was unavoidable. As I turned up a mild climb, I couldn’t believe my eyes, there before me was a funnel cloud forming. It was taking shape quickly and the tail was dropping down within 100 yards of where I was riding. I felt the temperature beginning drop. I didn’t know whether to stop (I wanted a picture) or to get out of there quickly. So I continued and felt a mysterious calm in the air. My curiousity and desire for a picture made me stop. So pulled over to a safe spot off the road and pulled out my BlackBerry to get a pic (forgot I could of gotten a video). As I focused and began to take a few pics the funnel cloud began to weaken and chose not to wreak the havic they can. I got back on  my bike and began to ride on.

Within minutes it began to hail. This wasn’t tiny hail; this was hail the size of marbles. When you are riding a bike at 20mph, you don’t want to ride through a hail storm like this. I was getting pelted. Cars on the road were pulling off due to the accumulation of the hail making the road unsafe. They all looked at me like a fool as I raced towards home. Freezing and wet I pulled into my driveway and just then the sun poked out once again.

A thought. There is a story told of Jesus riding out a storm in a boat with his disciples. They are freaking out because of the danger they are sensing while Jesus sleeps in the front of the boat. How often do we enter the storms of life worried about what we are seeing? How often do we encounter storms and try to run from them only to find them around the bend once again? How often do storms pelt us relentlessly  making our life extremely uncomfortable? Maybe we need to stop and gaze upon the storm and allow the calm that comes from faith in something larger than ourselves and our storm will dissipate. We may take some blows as we return to the truth in our lives, but through the comfort of the Son we will come home. Jesus saw the disciples overwhelmed and was baffled by their fear, but knew their hearts, so he calmed the storm.

Posted by: pdfflyers | October 21, 2009

Why Keep Going?

My friend and elite triathlete, Jan, and I just finished the Solvang Fall Double century. Every one of these is a unique experience and this one was no different. As we began with all the other riders in a scratch start, they took off, and we took the easier pace of warming up. We found ourselves at the very back of 120+ riders. At the first check point we were only ahead of 6 riders. As the day progressed, there was beautiful scenery, a missed turn (thanks to the race director for putting us back on course quickly), long steep climbs, heat, a great lunch, an insane climb, a gravel road, cool breezes, a new friend, and my complication of this ride; saddle sore.

Not to go into the details, but needless to say, getting saddle sore is very uncomfortable. This set in on me at about the 130 mile mark and there were still 70 miles to go. When ever I encounter difficulties on these rides, I do think about quitting. But the ever present idea of receiving a DNF (did not finish) in the results doesn’t fit in my realm. On this ride, I was attentive to the questions that ran through my mind. “What was I thinking?”, “I am not going to do anymore of these!” “How can I stop; I have come so far”, “All the training I do is for this, I can’t stop.”, “Jan came to ride this with me.”, “I have invested alot of time and money.”, “Maybe this discomfort will go away.”, “It can’t feel any worse than it already does.”

As we entered the last 10 miles, I could sense the finish, and the discomfort had now become irrelevant. It was awesome once again to complete another double century and experience the depth of personal perseverance. Thanks so much to Jan and my new friend Todd, for pulling me through. We ended up finishing in the top 50.

I wonder as we go through life and difficult times come, (and they do come) why some people quit and others continue. Richard Nixon in the darkest moment of his career and life said, “Defeat doesn’t finish a man, quit does.” We live in a time when many people are just giving up on life because it is getting difficult, uncomfortable, or defeat is looming on the horizon. We have been sold a bill of goods in our culture that life is meant to be easy, comfortable, and filled only with victories. We seek after that and our world celebrates it. Thus in our careers, relationships, and life pursuits we measure the win or loss based on wrong perceptions.

What if we reflected on how far we’ve come, how much we have invested, how much we have learned and still have to learn, and how every apparent defeat has stretched us further than we ever imagined? Maybe we might gain strength to continue and rise above the whole concept of “quit.”

May you continue in your life knowing  that the real victory is to be had in the experience of “growth thru perseverance.”

“Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.James 1:4

Posted by: pdfflyers | October 6, 2009

The Journey

I have been participating in double centuries for the past few years. Needless to say, it is a test of not only of one’s physical perserverance, but also a test of the human spirit. Each double is a unique experience. It doesn’t matter what the weather conditions are or the amount of elevation gain; two hundred miles is still two hundred miles. As one rides for 12 to 14 hrs, sun up to sun down, you experience a variety of moments that are both enjoyable and euphoric and other moments where you feel like quiting. I have found that no matter where you on the ride, you need to press on because you body will enter a different phase. When you feel like quitting, something changes in you and you gain new found energy and momentum to take you the rest of the distance. There are many moments where you ask yourself “why did I get myself into this thing?” and other times where you have tears of joy for the mementous experience. There is nothing like finishing a double century.

I have found that as I journey through life, I have experienced moments where I have questioned why I am doing what I am doing. I have questioned the circumstances that I have found myself in and wished that I could quit and move in another direction. Something in me doesn’t allow me to quit what I have begun. The journey through perserverance changes ones person. You gain strength, maturity, and a renewed sense of self when you finish what seems like a daunting task or moment.

The crazy thing in the last miles of a double century is that you gain this renewed strength as if you were just starting the ride. You zoom home with joy of the accomplishment and desire to attemp it again. For those who choose to be steadfast and endure through the rough times in life, you will find the joy in the journey and be glad for the experience and anxious for such another challenge.  The challenge of the human experience is pressing into one’s limitations and unchartered circumstances and discovering how human you really are. 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us.  Hebrews 12:1 (NLT)

Posted by: pdfflyers | July 23, 2009

For Those Who Thirst

So, last week, I was up at Tahoe for the week hangin with family in a timeshare they so graciously chose to share. I had  time get in some rides, but the obvious ride was to go around the lake. 75 miles to be exact. Not that long as training rides go, but at elevation and some steep grades around Emerald Bay, it would be a great ride. I took food along for the journey and filled two water bottles. Leaving around 8am, I was able enjoy the coolness of the morning as I headed through south shore. Due to the cooler temperatures, as usual, I ignored my hydration needs. As I approached Tahoe City, I began to drink through my water bottles and stopped near Kings beach to refill. But it was already too late. The day was heating up into the 90’s and I had not drunk enough this far into my ride.

As I headed into the Incline area, I dropped down onto Lakeshore Blvd to take in the scenery and check out the homes. In the next 4 miles, I saw homes the were simply amazing. Cabin homes the size of mansions that had to have rung up into the multi-million $ range. The people, the cars, and the boats exuded great wealth. At the end of Lakeshore Blvd, I headed up another highway to connect with Hwy 50 to return home. As I climbed up the road, my legs began to cramp due to poor hydration, not exhaustion. I grew very frustrated knowing that I had about 20 miles remaining that included 10 miles of climbing. The thought occured to me that I needed water and I needed it now. There was no where to get more water on the stretch of highway that I was on. No access to water, but I had to keep going. No options.

I began to think of the millions of people around the world that go without water on a daily basis. I was riding around a lake of fresh water for my recreation that could sustain millions. My thirst was nothing compared to the thirst of those who have no water.  According to statistics provided by the UN Water World report in 2006, 3800 children die each day of from diseases associated with access to safe drinking water. I know that there are many organizations world wide that are equipped and ready to drill wells, help people learn to store water when rains come and how to properly and safely irrigate water to areas of  need. So here is my question: “I wonder how many fresh water wells could be drilled to save lives from the sale of just 1 of these multi-million dollar homes on the edge of one our largest sources of fresh water?”

As I finished my ride around the lake, managing my cramping muscles, I looked forward to getting off the bike and getting the necessary liquids back into my system. Fresh water and powerade in endless proportions to meet my every need.

Posted by: pdfflyers | July 22, 2009

First Blog

This is the my first blog on my blog page. Here is the deal….I ride my bike alot. I mean alot. Training for double-centuries and the like. Most of my life has been all about me, but as my life has journeyed forward, I have come to learn that there is much more to this life than me. So as I ride, unlike my competitive past, I want to ride with renewed purpose. Thomas Merton’s great work, “No Man is an Island,” goes to the depths of our lives and the impact or lack of impact they can have on the world around us. We are part of a much bigger picture. As I ride my bike, I see many things in our community, county, state and country that open my eyes. I can observe, ignore and ride right on by or I can ask the question, “what do I do with what I’ve seen?” As I ride and train, I want to begin sharing what I have come to see and share ways in which we can respond. Join me and let’s see where this all leads….more to come!

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